Little Blessings (Pt. 60)

:) Playing puzzles with my girl.

:) Laughter and extra snuggles on a rainy day.

:) Finishing a pretty fantastic book/Bible study. Highly recommended. Definitely looking forward to our next one, too!

:) A productive writing night. Smiling after another 3,500ish words…definitely getting there!

:) A lazy night to snuggle under a blanket and watch episodes of my favorite show on DVD.

:) A day this week in the almost-60’s. It may have rained, but at least it wasn’t freezing outside!

:) Friends who encourage my heart.

:) Sharing dreams.

:) Lessons learned on days that are tough.

:) Knowing that my Father has everything in His hands.

It’s a great night for counting blessings…what are some of yours?

Sig

My God-Sized Dream: Pushing Past Doubt

When I went I away to college, I was barely 18. (Read: just weeks into adulthood.)

There were a lot of rules going on at my small, Baptist college (another day, maybe ;)) but the one that nearly destroyed my college career was the you-can-only-miss-three-weeks-of-classes-per-semester, any-more-and-you-fail rule. No exceptions.

At face value, this rule didn’t seem like much. Who plans on missing that much school?

What I didn’t factor into the equation was the possibility of sickness.

Two weeks into the semester, I came down with a bad case of bronchitis which turned into pneumonia. I missed my three weeks, but I was adamant that I would not fail my classes and headed back to school even though I probably shouldn’t have just yet.

It was a tall order to fill…if I missed any one class another time, I would automatically fail it. (Let me just point out here that at a college with 7 a.m. classes, oversleeping was an entirely realistic possibility. Especially for a girl who loves her sleep. :))

I went back determined…and I did ok for a couple weeks until I heard two girls talking about me. (They have no idea, to this day, that I heard their conversation.)

She’s never going to be able to do it. She’ll give up and go home.

At the time, the words sliced like a knife. I couldn’t believe that at a Bible college, people were being anything less than supportive. (A bit naive, perhaps? ;))

I found myself tucked into a corner in my dorm room that night, knees huddled to my chest, crying my eyes out…So. Ready. To. Just. Quit. I had started to believe what those girls had said was true…that I could never do it. That I should just give up.

I’m not sure at the time if it was more because I wanted to prove those girls wrong (which I totally did…YAY me!) or if I wanted to obey God. I knew He wanted me to be a teacher, something I had dreamed of for years, and a failed semester with all of that wasted money would only put that dream even further out of reach.

And so I stayed, wading through life a day at a time, praying I could somehow do it all. I didn’t come out of that semester with straight A’s, but I did make it. :)

***************************

And now here I am. Still Mel.

A little wiser and maybe-a-little older. 😉

Wife, mommy, friend, blog-writer, hopefully, soon-to-be, published-author.

There are those days when the enemy whispers discouragement and frustration into my already-doubting heart. The sad thing is, sometimes he uses people to do it.

I had a situation recently where someone said something that literally about destroyed me…they had a hard time believing I’d follow through.

The logical part of me gets that…I do, I really do.

I’m extremely fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants. I get passionate about something and dive ALL-IN, sure that the entire world around me can’t wait to join in the fun. :)

But the emotional, wear-my-heart-on-my-sleeve side needed to get the tears out first.

And after I’d cried about it for probably-too-long, I talked to God. I even admitted to Him that sometimes I have a hard time following through. As if He needed me to tell Him that. 😉

But He was so Good, bringing me back to this scene from college, one that I had almost let ruin me and my future, because I’d allowed a lie to creep into my heart and take root.

The lie that said I couldn’t do it. Just because someone else didn’t think I could.

We dreamers…that’s including any of YOU who have ever had a dream…are in a vulnerable place. It takes courage and confidence and strength to put those dreams out there for the world to see. It takes even more of the above to push forward and follow those dreams with a curious audience watching. It puts us in a place where it’s very possible there will be word-throwing and ability-bashing.

And sometimes failure.

We just have to keep going. Trusting. Following what He’s called us to do.

I’m not going to tell you all that I’ve completely forgotten those words that were said to me. I’m extremely thankful that there’s been resolution, and I’m holding nothing against that person. Hugs have been exchanged, all is good. :)

But I’d be willing to bet that it’s not the last time this kind of discouragement is going to creep in, but rising above it and pushing forward is what my Father wants me to do.

Remembering that it isn’t about proving someone wrong…it’s about following what I’m called to do.

My dear friends, dreamers…follow your calling. Don’t let people get you down. Do what you know you need to do, and never forget that

The One Who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.
1 Thess. 5:24 (NIV)

Want to read more stories of how God-Sized Dreams are being realized? Click on the button below and hop on over…we’re linking up every Tuesday to share what God is doing!

God-Sized Dreams

Sig

Post-Weekend Chatter

Weekends have been kind of quiet lately…and I almost didn’t write today.

There’s nothing crazy or too-interesting happening in life (well, other than the random ice storm that showed up yesterday and has since made a slushy, sloppy, swimming pool in our yard) but maybe that’s not a bad thing.

Whatever it is, my heart has been pretty silent the last few days. That in particular seems slightly out of character, but it is what it is. :)

I’ve been trying to put more focused energy into writing my book, and the draft is getting there, one story at a time. I have to admit that some of the stories are making this book more and more painful to write.

I started with the easy stuff. I don’t cry over things like remembering the time I ate a baby octopus in one bite or the first time I tried durian. Those things bring happy smiles…though, along with them, perhaps a slight gag reflex. 😉

It’s the stories of painful-chiseling, pride-crushing, and relationship-breaking that make me cry. Says the girl who sobbed all over her keyboard at Starbucks last Wednesday night. Twice.

I’ve got a lot of stories that will make you laugh, but there are a few that will make you cry, too. And as I’m pounding them out one by one, it’s coming together. I am so, so close to the halfway point, which symbolizes a lot for me. It means I’m actually writing a book.

Wowza. :)

I’ve been going through Holley Gerth’s The Do-What-You-Can Plan: 21 Days to Making Any Area of Your Life Better, and I’m following one of her awesome suggestions. (Actually, I’m following quite a few of them, but I especially liked this one.) 😉

A reward for reaching a goal.

See? See Mel’s reward? Do you SEE????

Of course you do. 😉

This is my Mel-gets-to-use-this-when-she-gets-to-the-halfway-point purse! :) (Special thanks to my dad for the Christmas money. ;)) The deal to myself is that this purse hangs where I can see it, but I have to reach the halfway point in my draft before I’m allowed to put anything in it and use it.

I kind of want to point out the incredible self-control I am currently demonstrating… 😉

The halfway point for me is 26 chapters/short stories AND 25,000 words. I’m close in the chapters department but behind with the word count, so I have some tweaking to do.

But on to other things because I’m really supposed to save my book-talking for Tuesdays. :)

The other exciting thing in our lives (though you will not finding me jumping for joy over it) is that we are potty training. Again.

But as of late Monday morning, it is going far better than any other attempt.

I am motivated.

She hates having her diaper changed, and truth-be-told…I am growing to hate changing them.

She is preregistered for PK-3 for August…I know! We won’t dwell on this one or I may sob (again) all over the keyboard. (Prerequisite: Must. Be. Potty. Trained.) And? It would be lovely if she could attend VBS in June…which she will love and for which she must, again, be potty trained.

My biggest motivation is, perhaps, that she is almost too big for her size 5 diapers. While I’m already tired of buying them, I’m even less excited about the fact that for a box of size 6…you get 30ish less diapers for the same price.

Hence…we are hard-core potty training for a few mornings this week. (And stuck at home until Thursday morning, should any of you like to bless me with your presence to provide some much-needed socialization. :))

The bright side to my Monday (besides the extra large bag of M&M’s used as Maelie’s reward…of which I’ve eaten far more than she has…) is that I get to hang with this girl.

I adore her. Insanely.

Even on potty training days. :)

Happy Monday, all! Hugs. :)

Sig

Five-Minute Friday: Again

Today I’m linking up with Lisa-Jo at The Gypsy Mama for Five-Minute Friday.

Join me!

The rules: Write for five minutes. No editing, revising, overthinking, or backtracking. Just write.

Today’s Topic: Again

I pick her up by her armpits and swing her high in the air.

The goal is as high as my muscles can handle…and probably even more to achieve the loudest, most exuberant, overjoyed, squeal possible.

It’s a new game we started about a month ago, and she really can’t get enough of it.

When I’ve given her a few good swings and gotten those little feet way up over my head, I give my muscles a break.

But this sweet, two-year old girl? Doesn’t always understand the word, rest. :)

Again! Again! More, mommy!

If my muscles aren’t completely dying, I’ll usually indulge her pleas a few more times before I need her to give me an honest break.

Even though she’ll still beg me to swing her up into the air again.

One more time. Always one more time. 😉

Sometimes I think about my relationship with God and how I am such the same way with Him.

He asks worship. A life of obedience. Simple praise.

He doesn’t ask for it once…He asks for it Again. And Again. And Again.

As He should.

And often…I will excuse myself with the simple fact that I’m too tired to read my Bible and spend quality time with Him…the kind that has been lacking during my busy day. It’s ok to miss today, I tell myself. I’ll do better tomorrow.

But it isn’t a once, whenever-I-feel-like-it kind of thing…It’s. Daily. Obedience. Worship. Praise.

It’s an again and again and again thing…regardless of how I’m feeling, regardless of my circumstances.

Father, I pray I’ll do better. Today.

Five Minute Friday

Sig

I Heart Community: A Guest Post

Hi, friends! Today I am thrilled to be the guest over at (in)courage!

Last year I wrote about my experience with (in)RL and how GREAT it was…you can go here to read it.

And, if you haven’t signed up for (in)RL 2013 yet, it’s definitely not too late! Think about joining this awesome community of women and (in)couragement…you will definitely be blessed! :)

Sig

My God-Sized Dream: Hand-Holders

In life, I need those people. We all do.

Hand-holders.

The ones who will celebrate victories by taking my hands and, no matter who is watching, jump up and down with me.

Squealing gleefully is optional but most definitely adds to the fun. :)

Those same people are the ones who will grasp tightly to my hand as I sit with a mug of coffee and heart-spill all over the glazed, wooden, Starbucks table.

The ones who will grab my hands and say a prayer because sometimes that’s all they can do.

I am always amazed as I consider the different paths on which my Father has taken me. Places I never would have imagined, valleys I’d never even considered, victories better than anything I could have dreamed.

At every step, there’s been a hand-holder.

For I have never done alone well.

I need friends who not only will go out for coffee :), but will sit and share hearts. Cry tears. Laugh loudly. Love deeply.

Hold my hand. Sometimes…really, always…in their hearts.

And so when the God-Sized Dreaming began and my book-writing dream began to grow even more in my heart, I knew which hand-holding friend would pray me through this journey.

Kris is so much more than my friend and neighbor. Lucky her. 😉 She’s my sister-in-Christ and the Godmother to my daughter. She’s a fellow coffee-drinker, dark chocolate-consumer, music-lover. She reads my blog, encourages my writing, and when we chat…well, sometimes it lasts for hours. She loves people well and inspires me through the way she walks in Grace.

Oh, and she makes really amazing hot fudge sauce. Like, so good you don’t really need the ice cream at all. :)

She’s prayed me through some tough days and celebrated some pretty wonderful ones with me, too. And knowing that she’s lifting me up every day means…a lot.

I am so blessed to call her my friend.

(This pic was last summer…we really need to get the camera out more. :))

I believe we all need real-life friends who will love and encourage us, but I have also been so blessed by the connections I’ve made with God-Sized Dream sisters. Last week we teamed up with other dreamers in our group to pray for and encourage each other. These two women are amazing…and I know you’ll be blessed by reading their stories and hearing their hearts!

Cathy blogs at Moments on the Journey. She is an encourager and has already blessed me and made me smile so many times in the past week! Hop over here to read about her God-Sized Dream and what He’s doing!

Jessica is also a dreaming sister and blogger. Her space is a great place to be…head on over and read about what God is doing in her life and heart!

And I really can’t end this post without mentioning this guy.

Yeah, I kinda love him.

We are extreme opposites, and anyone who knows us…knows that. :) I rock the fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants ENFP label, and he…is the ever-rock-solid ISTJ. He is not a blogger. He often doesn’t “get” my writing style or the random ways my brain works. But he loves and supports me…to the point that he told me last week, Honey, you can buy a ticket for that blogging conference. I want you to go.

Yeah, this one.

Insert extremely happy dance. 😀

He has loved me on the days when I’m anything but lovable, held me up through days when I couldn’t stand on my own, celebrated victories with me by buying me chocolate and sweaters…and as a bonus, he’s a pretty fantastic daddy to our girl.

And though no part of our journey has been perfect, he’s an amazing hand-holder too. I love you, Honey. I’m so blessed to have you by my side.

No matter where we are…no matter the path…no matter the length of the phase of the journey…we all need those cheerleaders, the ones who will grab on to our hands and say, (preceded by the almost-mandatory jumping up and down and squealing,of course)

“You Can Do This!!!”

(And if you’d like to read more about what God is doing in the lives of other dreamers, click on the button below and come on over…we’ll be linking up every week!)

God-Sized Dreams

Sig

Little Blessings (Pt. 59)

:) Bedtime snuggles with my favorite little one.

:) Dress-up clothes and princess shoes.

:) Coffee and a friend-chat.

:) Dreaming sisters.

:) Sleeping in.

:) Cake.

:) Good reads.

:) Music and celebrations.

:) Moments of rest.

:) Laughing with my family.

It’s a good night to count blessings. What are some of yours?

Sig

Five-Minute Friday: Cherished

Today I’m linking up with Lisa-Jo at The Gypsy Mama for Five-Minute Friday.

Join me!

The rules: Write for five minutes. No editing, revising, overthinking, or backtracking. Just write.

Today’s Topic: Cherished

Buried up to what felt like my neck in dirty dishes this afternoon, I sighed as I looked down into the sink to see several of Maelie’s play dishes from her Little Tykes kitchen.

Sigh again.

A moment of frustration for me definitely…I completely wanted to just sit down. Fighting the flu/sinus/cold stuff going around, doing anything extra wasn’t really on my agenda for the day.

But since her dishes were already in the sink…along with the rest of the ones that were actually dirty, well…there was no choice.

So I held in my impatience and washed her dishes…letting them dry in the draining rack.

Oh, thank you, Mommy. Thank you for washing my dishes!

Those few words uttered from my daughter just melted my heart into a puddle. By taking the time to let my daughter know that I would make what was important to her important to me, she knew that she was cherished.

And she is…so completely cherished…I just sometimes forget to show her that.

I love how my Father does the same thing for me…for all of His children. (Well, minus the frustration and impatience part. ;))

He sees what is important to us, what we hold dear…and He cares for us because we’re cherished in His eyes.

Today was a moment of humility for this mama…I realized that I so easily get wrapped up in my own thoughts and desires and life…and I forget about the little girl running around at my feet…the one who is already growing up way too quickly.

May I take each and every opportunity I am given to let her know she is cherished.

Five Minute Friday

Sig

The Reality of a Day

Warning…I might rant a bit in this post. Might. 😉

I pulled out a can of diet ginger ale tonight because a) it’s just one of those nights where I feel like I need to be drinking something while I talk to you all; b) I slept horribly last night, and caffeine just might keep me awake; and c) I need to stay hydrated, though I’m not sure anything of the soda variety really helps.

All of that AND I took a large dose of NyQuil about 30 minutes ago…I’m not sure how well that would mix with caffeine, but I’m not sure I want to find out, either.

The eyelids are already drooping, but we shall see how long I make it before I pass out from exhaustion.

And a stuffed up head.

Goodness, I’m annoyed. This might be the part where there is some virtual foot-stomping and/or slight complaining that occurs within the context of Mel’s day being hashed out for you.

I may or may not have complained in December when I had a lovely little upper respiratory infection that lasted a good 18 days. (Not that I counted or anything…why would a person do that?! ;))

I really thought I had paid my dues for the flu season…so much so that I toyed with the idea of getting a flu shot last week but never actually did.

Mistake.

Guess who woke up with an equally wonderful sinus infection yesterday?

I will not throw too big of a fit. That’s mostly because getting up off the couch to actually stomp my feet would require too much energy. And I’m tired.

Though I might just be pounding the keys on my laptop a little harder than usual. 😉

Anyway, so yesterday was me in denial. But by the time Tobin got home from work, let’s just say I was ready to fall into bed. And today, I spent the afternoon on the couch after being out a bit this morning.

I’m kind of thinking a flu shot is no longer a maybe. I’m getting it every year. And if I can still get one when this round of the ick is over, I’ll be the first person in line. Really.

So the reality of my day is this: I am sick, slightly crabby, and not at all myself. (And I probably should have just given myself a blogging pass.)

BUT the reality of my day is that I got an afternoon of snuggles from my favorite little girl…and even though I don’t feel great, I’m not sure there’s a better way to spend an afternoon. :)

This Nyquil is gonna zonk me quick…I better crash.

Thanks for stopping by tonight, friends! :)

Sig

My God-Sized Dream: Finding Balance

Hi, friends.

I’m gonna start by repeating myself. :)

I am just so, so incredibly thankful to God and blessed to be part of the God-Sized Dream team. Each day I am encouraged, inspired, and challenged to grow closer to my Father by these amazing women. I just love them…and hearing about what God is doing in their hearts  and how their dreams are coming true is just the best.

Ok, on to book-writing. :)

I’ve shared the dream. To take my Indo stories…the blessings and the tough stuff, the best moments and the things that made me cry, all of them…and put them into one place.

My book.

I’m already calling it that…even if I don’t have a publisher yet. :)

I’ve been going through Holley Gerth‘s e-book short, The Do-What-You-Can-Plan: 21 Days to Making Any Area of Your Life Better.

To tell you that this book has been a blessing is an understatement. I feel like God is using it to give me clarity, focus…and amazing hope and expectation for what He is going to do in my heart and life.

I’ve known He wanted me to write the book for awhile now, and in my fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants-pretty-much-every-day, dive-in-headfirst, mind…I guess I figured I’d just sit down and tap out the words…and Voila!

Book.

That’s proven harder than I anticipated. Maybe we’ll just call it a reality check for someone who tends to live with her head bobbing in the clouds. :)

Holley stresses over and over in this book…small steps. One thing at a time. It will happen.

I SO needed to hear that…and hear it over and over and over. (Can I blame it on the ENFP in me? ;))

So twoish weeks ago I sat down and started to write out the small steps…the shorter-term goals…I felt were necessary to reaching my goal. I was desperately needing to find some type of balance…because I’m not just writing a book. I’m also a wife and a full-time mommy…I love my husband and daughter, and they deserve the best from me…not my “left over” time.

So here are the goals I came up with…one step at a time. (I only had to technically share one or two, but hey…I’m an overachiever. Or, I just like to talk. :))

1. Write out a plan for the book. My book is divided into three sections. Seventeen shorter chapters per section. I needed a plan or outline…some way to put it on paper so I could see where I was heading, to keep track of progress, and to actually see my chapter ideas. I’m finding that, due to the length a book should be…I will probably need to add a few chapters. I don’t think coming up with ideas for that will be hard, so I’m encouraged. And I’ve (mostly) finished this part.

2. Have a somewhat-flexible writing schedule…aka: certain days/certain things. It is extremely out of character for me to even use the word schedule. 😉 But listing out what I should be doing on each day has helped me find balance. Balance between being a wife/mommy and a dreamer who’s reaching for a goal. For example…today’s Tuesday. :) My goals are to work on my post for the G-SD team, spend some time reading and commenting on friends’ blog posts and goals, spend lots of time with Mae, catch up on cleaning/laundry, make dinner, and work out tonight. No book allowed on Tuesdays, and it’s good. (Maybe I’ll share my schedule with you in another post. :))

3. Connect with my prayer buddy on a regular basis. This one isn’t too hard since we text almost daily, and I have chances to talk with her throughout the week. While I don’t want to overwhelm her (she has a life, too!) prayer is an important part of this journey, one that I sometimes put on the back burner. The truth is, it’s an amazing blessing to have a friend (and even, friends) who will pray me through this journey.

4. Surrender daily. Along with prayer, I’ve realized that each word I write needs to be surrendered to my Father…I want to give Him all of my book and all of my dream. This isn’t about me keeping a tight clench on the pieces of it I think I can handle on my own. It’s about letting go and trusting that He’ll bring something beautiful in His time.

Progress is slow on some of these, but I feel like I’m finding balance…something that has often been lacking in my daily life.

And since I should probably save something for next week, I’ll stop there. :)

Definitely smiling today…God is so Good, isn’t He?

And if you’d like to read more about what God is doing in the lives of other dreamers, hop on over here and check out the linkup! Truly, there are some incredibly beautiful stories here that God is writing. :)

God-Sized Dreams

Sig