2015: Open

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A year ago I chose Restore as my word for 2014.

I believed that God had a lot of healing and restoration for our family, and I chose that word knowing that we were probably looking at a pretty stretching year.

I was ready to be challenged, but I really had no idea that He would choose to bring us through what He did in order to bring that restoration.

I say bring…I should say that He is still bringING. We’re not done yet…we probably never will be.

And there are times I wish I hadn’t chosen that word…but I did, and He sure had a journey to take us on in the twelve months that made up 2014. I talked a lot about that in my last post…as in 1,200-plus-words, a lot. 😉

And now…we’re looking at 2015, and I’m even looking at it a day late.

Truthfully, for the second year in a row, I thought I would be focusing on a word like Create or Art or Do. Part of that is because my hands have been itching to get busy again. I got two new art books for Christmas, a journaling Bible, and tons of new, fun pens. I kind of can’t wait to get to it all. I’m teaching myself to do lettering, and I’m thinking it’s going to be awesome…though whether I am actually awesome at it is questionable. 😉

But let’s get back to how God ISN’T letting me make that my focus for the year. 😉

It’s not what He’s whispering to me…at all.

And so this post comes to you, courtesy of me finally bending to what I know He’s working on in my heart.

open door button final 32015: Open. Let me tell you a little about it.

The word Open came to me as I was thinking about the last year and praying through some things. 2014 was a hard year, and as easy as it often is to go back to those things that made it rough, I’m also aware that there are some things God is doing in my heart. I want to be open to them.

So, some goals for 2015.

Open my Bible.

Every day, first thing, even if it’s just for a few. Find something He wants me to dwell on, to think through, to pray over and apply. (And since we’re talking journaling Bibles, which are AWE. SOME., doodling and writing on the pages is totally included in this.) :)

Open my hands.

There are too many dreams I’ve held onto with tightly-clenched fists, determined that they would come true in my timing and in my way.

Haha. Really, Mel, you should know better by now…

But I am beginning to open my hands by giving you all a gift every Monday. (If you want it!) 😉 Starting this Monday I’ll be sharing my book with you here, chapter by chapter. It’s my way of telling my stories for the simple fact that I love to tell them. No strings attached, just words. (A LOT of them.) 😉

And…Open my heart. (This is a tough one.)

I’ve had this perfect plan in my head for so long, one that includes another baby of our own. Realistically? Well, I know it could happen. And it might, still. But I do believe that the words, my ship has sailed, came out of my mouth the other day in a conversation with my husband. I think God might be moving us into a new season of being open to something different.

While I was at Allume in October, God crossed my path with two incredible women, and through conversation and even a few tears, and through buying the cutest necklace (more on that one another day…) 😉 I learned about The Sparrow Project and Project 143.

I also came home wanting to host a child and possibly adopt.

But I also knew we needed to pray through some things before we decided anything. It’s a shocker, I know, but sometimes I run on emotions. Big ones. 😉

And yet, there was something different about this.

And I honestly didn’t have a clear picture of whether we should even look into it until just last week when the face of an eleven year-old boy popped up into my Facebook news feed. There was something about him, and I called Tobin into the room. As tears streamed down my cheeks, I showed him the picture and told him that I finally felt like now was the time. And maybe the most surprising thing to me was that my hubby didn’t disagree.

Because this is our chance to say, Yes. We’re open to this and whatever might come from it. 

This isn’t an announcement to the world that we’re adopting. A part of me wishes it was…there’s something about having a clear picture of whatever is coming. But the honest truth is that we don’t know. We don’t know if we’re meant to have another child in our family, and we don’t want to walk forward with that expectation as an absolute. Some of you know that we’ve been down this road once before, and it was heartbreaking. The decision to adopt is not something that should ever be chosen without an incredible amount of prayer and surrender.

And yet…we feel that God might be finally giving us a glimpse of what’s next. Will you pray with us?

And so that brings us to 2015 and the year of being Open…being open to whatever He has for us.

I really have no idea what it even looks like, but I love the whispers of Hope that are finding their way into my heart.

I love that I’m smiling more smiles and crying less tears as I type this.

I love looking forward to the new and exciting…and I want to completely embrace whatever He has for us, even if it might not be what I would have chosen.

Here’s to 2015. Let’s do this. :)

Photo Credits: William Murphy, Tim Green

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A New Space for A New Journey (And a GIVEAWAY!)

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For years, I’ve stared at it.

The boring space that is A Barefoot Life. Really, friends…it was boring. I’m just being real here. 😉

Maybe what I wrote wasn’t always boring, but there’s so much that’s appealing about a pretty blog. And as a polka dot lovin’, flip-flop wearing, fashion-adoring girl, it just seems right that the place I live online should be cute too, huh? Can I get an AMEN?! 😉

And my sweet friend, Lisa? Well, one of her callings in life, at least according to me 😉 is to design pretty blogs. And she did an amazing job, didn’t she?!

Oh, I’ll be coming back here all day (and probably all of forever…) just to gaze at the beauty that SO not my gift at all. I’m so very thankful that someone I love is gifted in this area. :)

In thinking through my blog redesign…the one I’ve been wanting to do for a year, at least…it was hard. I had no direction because I was going through that kind of season. You know, one of those.

What’s my purpose? Who am I exactly in this great, big, bloggy world?

Because let’s be honest, friends…this bloggy world IS big. And it IS easy to feel like a tiny drop in a sandbox bucket.

Over the past few months, God has been whispering something. It’s not always been something I’ve wanted to hear, but He’s been pretty loud and clear.

He’s not calling me to write a book (right now, at least) or to be some big, awesome, word star. He’s just calling me to share my words.

Beautiful or messy, profound or just chatter…for the people who need them. And that probably won’t be the entire world…though that would always be nice. :)

He just wants me…Mel. My heart, my willingness, my words…for me to take those and use them for Him and let Him do the rest.

It has taken a long time for me to embrace that and not just be ok with it.

But today?

Today I’m completely owning my new taglineLive the Adventure. Tell the Stories. (<====Tweet this!

And there’s actually a funny story about how He gave me that tagline. It was somewhere, in the air, between Doha and Chicago, as I fretted over situations and processed a dream that had come to an end when I opened my email during our layover in Qatar. It was in those moments of grief and even a little fear that I heard my Father whisper…

Live the Adventure…it’s what I’ve created life to be. And then Tell the Stories…the people you love, the places you go, all I’m doing in you.

That’s it. And I kind of love it. A LOT.

So welcome to my new place…same site but a whole lot prettier. Thanks again, sweet Lisa! :) 

I can’t wait to share the adventures with you…the ones that happen as I slowly traipse my way around the world and the even better ones that happen in my own backyard.

I hope you’ll join me for all of them!

Here’s to a new space for a new journey…I can’t wait! :) (<====Tweet this!)

                                                           

I’m so glad you’re here, and I want to say thank you with a happy, fun, summer giveaway. Use the rafflecopter below to enter to win some of my favorite things! (Sorry…U.S. residents only.) :) 

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First up…what’s summer without COFFEE? (Really, what is LIFE without coffee? But we might have to go into that another day…) 😉 And, psst…Dunkin’ Donuts has any-size iced coffee for 99 cents all summer from 3-6 pm! WooHoo!) And if, for some sad reason, you are nowhere near a Dunkin’, let me know, and I’ll throw in $10 so you can get yourself some good coffee. It’s not like that gift card won’t get used around here…ahem. 😉

Finding Spiritual Whitespace…it’s one of my new favorite books. In fact, I’m reading through it for the second time so I can journal it out in detail. (I never do that with books. I’m doing that with this one, though…it’s that good.) It will probably take me six blog posts to talk about why it’s my favorite. But if you’re craving rest and intimacy with Jesus, you need to read this…Bonnie shares a journey of heartbreak, healing, and hope. It’s inspiring. And I think, no matter who you are or where you are in life, her words will resonate somehow.

My sweet friend and blog designer also has an Etsy store with some of the most beautiful prints I’ve ever seen, and Lisa is offering a free print from her store to the winner…you get to choose! Be sure to hop over and check out her amazing designs…they are seriously gorgeous. (I need more walls in my house just so I can buy more of her prints!) And as a bonus…the money raised from all sales goes to help fund her family’s adoption. How cool is that?! :)

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Last up…check out one of my new favorites. Ok, so it took me a loooooong time to embrace dresses and skirts again…five years of being forced to wear them might do that to just about any woman. But gotta admit that they’ve stolen my heart this summer, and Target has some cuuuuute dresses right now…this one was an awesome $11. Ok, ok, I had a $5 gift card and got a sweet 20% off with Cartwheel. 😉 Take this $20 gift card and pick up something fun to wear. 😉

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Thanks again for being here, friends. I wouldn’t want to walk this journey with anyone else!

(And I’ll pick a winner on Sunday. Or, rather, Rafflecopter will.) 😉

Photo credit: plugged mind

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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In Summer…

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This is, like, the most bizarre time to blog ever. EVER.

It’s late on a Sunday night. I just finished a weekend of volleyball playing, topped off by a sprained hand (Awe.Some.) and being mama alone 24/7 thanks to hubby working about that many hours on the big company move. I just put my girl to bed amid the longest and loudest giggle fest we’ve ever shared…You are so very welcome, I say to my neighbors who have the blessing of windows that face their house.

We’re kind of all tired, to say the least. And some one of us is most definitely subsisting on Coke Zero and Tylenol as she sort-of types, under the glow of Christmas lights, while a purple My Little Pony with freakishly-yellow hair stares her down.

I can’t make these things up, friends. 😉

But the words…well, they’re burning. Through all of that, even.

And so, on this late-June evening, here they are. Because I’ve kind of been thinking through some things.

So, I love summer.

LOVE it. (Profound, I know.) 😉

In fact, I might be doing a little Olaf-dance around the back porch in between sentences right now. In summerrrrrrr!

So good. SO.

Summer for me signifies lazy days. A bit of sleeping in on those non-running mornings. 😉 Coffee on the back porch. (Friends welcome!) Park adventures with my girl. Backyard swimming. Constant flip flops, or even bare feet. So much of fun to be had.

And in some ways, summer feels like medicine for my heart…an actual excuse to live out days that don’t always seem like they have a lot of purpose other than to just be.

And it feels like I’ve been living a strangely similar, summertime world this past year as I’ve fought purpose. Meaning.

Seriously, God…what?! Why am I here?

This isn’t one of those sob story posts because I think we all deal with the idea of purpose at some point in our lives. Seasons change and we find ourselves wondering just exactly what lies in the word, purpose. That’s ok.

At least I’m telling myself that it is.

Last fall I went to a writing conference. When I boarded that plane, I fully intended on going to that conference, learning how to be Super-Blogger-and-Book-Writer-Mel, coming home and rocking the word-world.

Well, I went, it was really good, and God moved in some huge ways, I came home…all good news, right? 😉

But as for rocking anything…notsomuch.

I came home not sure anymore. My rough draft just sat there. And sitting, it has been doing, for eight months. Eight. There have been ideas floating around here and there for it…ideas that I’ve typed into my iPhone, and that’s it.

I came home to a blog that became a (very) sporadic place to share life. It was starting to look like a chore, even feel like one.

And I fought purpose, because why? Why would God give me such a deep desire to write and then literally strip the words away?

Honestly, friends…I feel like I’ve been fighting for word-air for MONTHS. It’s been hard. I see people who dash out beautiful posts, deep thoughts, life-changing messages, and I fall into the comparison trap and figuratively bury my head under a pillow. Or maybe sometimes I really do. Bury my head, that is. 😉

Maybe tomorrow will be better, I tell myself. But then the words are still gone and my heart feels like it’s fading, too.

My season is changing. It is. And I hate to admit that.

Because there was a time when I thought I might be the next big blogger, and instead He said, No. No, Mel…you’re going to be the next big follower of Me. That’s all I need from you.

This space is going to look different in a few days. I’m going to introduce it to you on an extremely random day during the week (think Wednesday) 😉 and share a little about life…just to let you know where it’s all going.

I’m kind of excited for the change. And, let’s be honest, I’m just excited for a pretty blog, because it’s way pretty. WAY. :) (Ok, now I really can’t wait to show y’all!)

I’ll be giving away some of my favorite things, too, because I like to give gifts and make people smile. (And who doesn’t like FREE stuff?!)

So I hope you’ll come back to see the new space and maybe to chat with me, too. :)

I’m still not exactly sure what my goal is in this great, big writing world, but I’m not sure that matters right now. I think He spoke purpose to me a long time ago…and I just need to listen. And now…well, now I just want to live out my season completely, whatever it looks like. Wherever it is. And follow Him through all of it.

Even if it sometimes just doesn’t make sense. And even if it always feels like summer.

And so it goes right into this space.

I can’t wait to tell you all about it. :)

Photo Credit: Bermi Ferrer

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Here

bike canvas

I was walking through Hobby Lobby the other day and I came across this. And I had to have it.

Bonus? It was 50% off…I think I paid $7 for it. (I really, really, loooove that store.) 😉

Yes, it’s a bike and not much else. No inspirational words, no deep thoughts to ponder, just a bike.

A bike.

And yet, it somehow struck a chord with me.

So we’ve been home from Indonesia for about four years and back from our visit for 38 days.

38 times I’ve woken up in the morning, most days with at least a smile because this really is such a good place. I love it.

But there have been more-than-a-few days, too, where there’s that ache in my chest followed by a quick, whispered prayer. Father,  I miss it. Why?

That’s a hard thing to admit to y’all…that my first words of the day have sometimes been of wondering and questioning, instead of trust.

It seems that the theme of my life, the story He has for me right now, revolves around the word, Here.

I. Am. Here. Deep, I know…but a concept every single one of you can relate to, due to the fact that you are…well, you are in your here, whatever that may look like, and wherever it may be. 😉

When I was little, I dreamed of another place…anywhere but my small town, where belonging never did happen. I didn’t want my here.

In college, I longed for a place with a bit more freedom.

I got married, and I longed for more because being married is tough stuff and a continual, day by day, process. Still.

In those first years of marriage, it was a longing for His Great Big Plan…wherever that took us.

And when that plan took us to Indonesia, we longed for home…far too often.

And now, here…well, sometimes we long for there.

It’s a jumble of always being Here. And, often, wanting there.

And it’s been a slow process…to accept that where He has me is always what’s best. It is because…well, because it is, and because it has to be.

My plan isn’t better than what He’s got…you’d think I’d have learned that a long time ago.

So if He’s got me here…well, here is where I should be.

And so I wrestle…and surrender. Wrestle again, surrender some more.

The truth is that my heart is torn between countries and continents, the crack separated by an ocean. It hurts…some days more than others and a few blessed ones, hardly at all.

In all of it, though, there’s been that reminder. Mel, you are blessed. And no matter how you’re feeling, and no matter where you are, there are always blessings. And you need to count them.

And so I count.

The sunny days, the rainy ones too. The days when Mae and I dance together and the days when mama and daughter struggle. The times when the adventures abound and the moments when they don’t. The living room picnics and the pony-playing. The sweet days and the hard ones, too.

All of it.

And maybe that’s what that bike meant to me, the second I saw it…Life is an adventure waiting to be lived. Here. Where I am. (<====Click to Tweet!)

How can I live it today?

Well, I doubt I’ll be riding a bike, but I think there will be some dancing with my girl. Some coffee drinking. Some playing outside. We might even take a walk to the park.

And maybe I’ll find a place to hang my new picture, too. :)

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2014: Restore

Warning: This turned into an intense, heart-spill. Thanks for reading.

Hi, friends! Happy New Year!

And, yes, I’m blogging three days in a row…which hasn’t happened since, like, 2012.

And now that you’ve picked yourselves up off the floor… 😉

Restore. My word for 2014.

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I’ll get to that in a minute. It’s one that has caused more wrestling and wondering and tears before I even chose it as my word for the year.

But let’s back up and talk about Dream for a minute.

It was my word for 2013…and, in every way, the safe choice for the year.

I was already part of the God-Sized Dream Team.

Already in the thick of dreaming and surrounded by so many other dreamers.

It just made sense.

Oh, there were parts of it that were challenging, definitely, and I don’t regret my choice at all. In all of the dreaming, and the hard part…doing, God did incredible things…opened doors and opportunities. 2013 was definitely a dreaming journey, one that has changed my life forever.

But, today…and this year, Restore.

It was supposed to be Create.

You see, that’s the word I wanted. It’s something I love. A word I had planned on making my focus for the year because it’s so easy for me.

To pull out the paint and a canvas and splash art.

To pick up my hook and yarn and make something cute that I’d rather not pay $30 for in a store. Or to make a cute hat for a friend. :)

To frustrate myself through the roof with my Rainbow Loom, but somehow make a cute bracelet. Yes, I bought one. It’s fun. And completely addicting…and, yes, I promise I am 35 years old. 😉

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Creating…it comes naturally. And it’s easy.

But God said something different this time…and, ironically, He said it through a painting. (And a whole series of events that make up an incredible account…I’ll be sharing that soon, but not today.) 😉

He said it through this.

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Restore.

I will restore you. Your marriage, your heart, your emotions, your confidence, ALL of it.

You see, I paint a word mural in this space.

While I keep it real most days, unless you know me intimately, you don’t know the brokenness that resides in this heart.

Some of it is my own doing, some of it isn’t.

But regardless of the source, there are pieces of me that need to be restored. Not fixed completelybut at least brought back to a place of being able to shine Him again, even if it’s through cracks.

Our marriage…it’s hard. We are night and day, sunshine and rain…and looking for the rainbow. I know it’s there, and I remind myself of that daily as, sometimes, we try desperately to hold on. The Truth is that we are working to make Him first again. I’m not sure how it happened, but somewhere in the last eleven plus years, we became more me-me-me, and less Him-Him-Him.

Pray for us? Please?

My mommy heart needs to be restored and reminded daily of the blessing I have in my precious daughter. Most days I know it and feel it and the two of us dance it out like the crazy, fun girls we are. 😉 And others…the ones when my period is late or I’m cramping horribly…well, I focus on what I don’t have. Will you pray that God will restore my heart? And because I believe in being real…and also because so many of you are my family…here’s the deal. Really.

And I want you to know it.

We’re focusing on us and our sweet girl. There’s no trying right now, and I’m ok with that. We are hoping a few months down the road that we’ll be in that place again, but today, we’re not there. It’s been a source of me needing to let go of my perfect family ideal…which didn’t include kiddos who were four or five years apart. (If that.) And yet, here we are.

And I long to be ok.

And there’s also a deep desire for freedom and restoration of my past…situations that left me broken, empty, and almost unable to go back to the place that was my home for so many years.

The truth is that, right now, I can’t go back without a pit in my stomach, a hardness to my heart, and tears brimming on my eyelids.

I hate that it’s that way. Hate it.

And I know that ONLY HE can Restore it and somehow glue back together the pieces that fell apart so long ago.

I mean it when I say that it’s almost become easier to live broken than to live Restored.

But I long for it…and He has spoken it.

Now, I need to obey it.

So, Father, please Restore…whatever it is that needs to be restored in me. Make my heart new, make it long for You, make it shine You again. I know You can and You will.

God gave me a verse recently…and, ironically, it popped up as the verse of the day yesterday. But maybe it’s just another little whisper from Him that He’s got this.

This…THIS…it’s my prayer.

My hope.

My promise from Him for 2014.

See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.

Isaiah 43:19 (NIV)

Restore 2014. He Will.

And, thank you…to each of you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for being willing to walk this journey with me.

That makes you my friend, and I love you for it.

***Linking up at Circles of Faith and the One Word 365 community today.

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Behind the Scenes: On Giving and an Opportunity

Sometimes I feel a heavy responsibility, being the mama of a girl.

Or, maybe, just being a mama in general.

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True, we have a blast together. Seriously? Being her mommy is so much more awesome than I ever could have dreamed. She’s just the best.

And, for now, she’s three.

A copycat, sort-of three…whatever Mommy does, Maelie does.

This is good and bad…I break into a song from Beauty and the Beast? She’s right behind me singing backup…or, more likely, taking up the lead. 😉

I have an ugly moment and raise my voice? Chances are, her reaction will be similar.

I sit down to write? She’ll pull out her “laptop” or another device and do the same thing.

I’m helping out with bread at church on Fridays? She’s right next to me helping, putting bags of it into the big, orange tubs and delivering them to the head-start with me.

She’s watching…and doing…all the time.

That’s why it’s so on my heart to set a good example for her…in words, in actions, in how I am every day. Oh, I don’t do it perfectly AT ALL…but each day, there’s an opportunity to teach, to love, to be Jesus to someone. And pray that God will grow her heart to love and show compassion to others…and to have a giving spirit. I dream those things for her.

And, friends?

There’s an opportunity to give right now. One that, I hope, will somehow, someday, make an impression on my little girl’s heart. I don’t know how, but I do know it will make a difference right now in the lives of some beautiful women and their babies on the other side of the world.

In Kenya.

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I’m so excited to be part of this: Raising the money for a new home in Kenya for young moms and their babies. For Christmas, we’re building them a HOUSE!!!

Yes, a house. And I completely love it.

This…THIS…is a way to be Jesus to women with one of the most basic needs: a place to live while they raise their sweet blessings.

The Mercy House Kenya fundraiser has been happening for several months already, and what’s exciting is that four of the projects have been fully funded already! So far, we’ve raised money for a new vehicle, a classroom addition, a computer lab, and a new generator. The final phase is raising $53,000 for a second home to help more moms and babies.

Would you like to join and give even a little?

I was thinking the other day of how many times I make a quick drive-through stop for coffee. What if I gave that up for the month (or even the week?) and donated the money to Mercy House Kenya? Every little bit helps, and that’s my challenge for each of you today.

Can you give a little to be part of something HUGE…something that will change so many lives forever?

9656753519_8175759417_zphoto used with permission of Mercy House Kenya

To donate, you can go here or click the link on the sidebar of my blog. (That link will also automatically update if you’d like to track the fundraising progress, too.)

To learn more about Mercy House Kenya and all God is doing, go here.

AND…for those of you who need to finish your Christmas shopping, Mercy House also has a store. :) Proceeds from all sales go to benefit MH…I love that. And I love the beautiful items for sale, too. In fact, I splurged and ordered this T-shirt. (Sshhhh, don’t tell my hubby…though he’ll find out soon enough because it’s going in my stocking! ;))

And, as always, thanks for stopping by, friends! What a gift you can be this Christmas! Will you take up the challenge?

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*UPDATE* The second house has been completely funded! (It was, in fact, almost completely funded in about 24 hours, give or take a few.) Y’all are Awe.Some. And, because there are so many generous hearts out there, we raised (or rather, GOD raised) an additional $10,000 to furnish the house and money is still pouring in for books and educational materials for these women! (The link still works if you’d like to click over to keep tabs on what is happening or to see how you can help.)

WOW. Watching my Father bless over and over in the last days is such a tangible reminder that He really does MORE than all we ask or imagine.

Praise Him for the Christmas these beautiful mamas and their babies are going to have this year!

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Happy Tuesday, friends! Today is the day when I join some sweet friends at Crystal’s space for Behind the Scenes. We’re sharing the silly and sweet and sometimes-tear-jerking moments that happen behind the camera lens…I hope you’ll take some time and pop over to read some great stories.

Social media and online relationships can make us feel like everyone else has it all together. We’re edited, proof-read, Pinterest-perfect versions of ourselves (or so some might think!) when – in reality? There is an unfinished pile of laundry around the corner. That cute toddler smiling for the camera just had a massive meltdown seconds ago. That yummy breakfast-for-dinner you just showed us on Instagram? It’s because the cat licked the chicken that was supposed to be for dinner.

“Behind the Scenes” is a fun link up where we show those photos – but tell the real story behind them. The sneak peek behind the scenes, a look past the edges of the photo to the real life behind it.

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Behind the Scenes: When You Just Need a Refill

There’s a scene that greets me every morning, usually before six, that looks something like this.

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For a coffee guzzler drinker like me, this particular scene could be considered tragic…because it means I actually need to get up out of my chair, leave my blanket behind, and shuffle to the kitchen for a refill. Yes, I’m freezing in the morning and am usually wrapped up as much as possible while I do my Bible study… 😉 

That refill? It’s just what needs to happen because I know it’s not good for anyone…and I do mean anyoneif I choose to face by day with just one cup of caffeine. 😉

Maybe that was a bit of a stretch…but it’s so fitting for where my heart sits right now.

I am totally that empty coffee cup, the one with just the last few drops left…the one that is begging for a refill, for the good of everyone.

Friends, my words are gone, and I feel like I’m running on the fumes.

It’s been that way for the last few weeks as I’ve tried to write, tried to share…and nothing comes.

It frustrates me…I compare myself with others who are so good, with those who manage to string such amazing words together for days in a row, and I wonder if there’s something wrong with me.

Which also tells me something…that, potentially, I’ve found too much of my identity in being a writer and not enough in being His daughter.

So there are facts. A lot of them.

I’m writing a book. Actually, it’s written. (I’ll still shout out an Amen! for that one. It feels good. ;))

But, more accurately, I’m writing a book proposal. (Or trying to.) Yep, this wordless thing also carries over to proposals, and I’m currently staring down a 15-day deadline. (Double yikes.)

The timing for this whole where-are-my-words? thing isn’t great. All year I’ve been looking forward to this amazing blogging conference…the one where I will have a chance to learn from and connect with so many awesome women and friends, in real life, that up until now I only know through computer screens. There’s also the opportunity to talk with publishers…kind of a necessary step toward becoming published. And here I am, throwing myself into a mix of writers when I don’t feel like one myself.

I know it’s a lie…one that the enemy desperately wants me to believe. One I can’t choose to believe. I can’t.

Because there’s also Truth.

A lot of it.

The truth is that I’m a bit empty…in a dry and desperately-needing-a-refill season. The kind where I spend more time soaking up than pouring…and though it’s hard, I have to continually tell myself that it’s not bad.

The truth is also that there are times…like now…when He asks me to sit at His feet and just be. To wait and listen and still praiseand be filled with Truth and His love and rest in the fact that I’m His daughter and that His plan for me will be fulfilled when it’s time. 

I know this time of filling is so important…but it’s not what I had planned on for this season.

I had planned. No surprise to Him, though.

So I got up again this morning. Shuffled to the kitchen. (Yep, totally wrapped in my blanket…the turquoise and brown zebra print one, since I know you care about such details… ;)) Made the coffee. Sat down with my first mug and open my Bible. It’s 6:05 a.m. and the scene above is staring me down right now.

I think it’s time for a refill.

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

Happy Tuesday, friends! Today is the day when I join some sweet friends at Crystal’s space for Behind the Scenes.

Social media and online relationships can make us feel like everyone else has it all together. We’re edited, proof-read, Pinterest-perfect versions of ourselves (or so some might think!) when – in reality? There is an unfinished pile of laundry around the corner. That cute toddler smiling for the camera just had a massive meltdown seconds ago. That yummy breakfast-for-dinner you just showed us on Instagram? It’s because the cat licked the chicken that was supposed to be for dinner.

“Behind the Scenes” is a fun link up where we show those photos – but tell the real story behind them. The sneak peek behind the scenes, a look past the edges of the photo to the real life behind it.

Wishing you all a great day! If you’ve got time, I know you’ll love the stories my friends are sharing today! You can click on the link below to find them. :)

crystalstine.me

Sig

Five-Minute Friday: She

Today I’m linking up with Lisa-Jo for Five-Minute Friday.

Join me!

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

Today’s prompt: She

So I have this rule…

I go with the first thing that pops into my head when I see the prompt for a Five-Minute Friday.

You would think, with a prompt like she that would be a no-brainer.

Beautiful, fun, crazy, spirited, wonderful daughter…yep. There’s endless material to write about there.

However…

That’s not the she I thought of. So we go with it…and I give myself grace.

And forgiveness…right now, I don’t want to write about her.

Because she…she was the meanest person I’ve ever known.

The words that came out of her mouth were awful. The way she kicked my knees during choir and stomped on my pride in front of everyone…it was all just mean. The way she’d intentionally find a way to hurt me…

Sometimes I can’t even think about it.

I often resented even being in the same room as she was…I wanted to escape. And, yet…it was high school. Ya know how they have those laws about kids going to school?

Well, they kind of have to. And so I went, but I made every effort to avoid her.

And I honestly haven’t missed her a day since the last time I saw her sometime in May of 1996.

For years, I was sure that my interactions with her had scarred me for life, had wounded my soul, had made me less of a person than I would have been otherwise.

But I was wrong.

In the strangest way, she made me a better person. I learned from her how not to treat others, how to think before I act, how to make things right if I hurt someone.

The list goes on.

And today…on a random Thursday night…I think about what I might say if I ever saw her again.

Probably, it’s ok. And it’s over.

Because part of me wonders what ever happened to her…and if she was ever sorry.

I hope so.

Five Minute Friday

Sig

Behind the Scenes: Just Breathe

There are few moments…few…in the life of this extrovert when space is needed.

Yep, I’m mostly being serious.

I thrive from time spent with friends, my family…and it’s possible I thrive equally on caffeine, too. (Just keepin’ it real today, friends. ;))

That’s why I surprised myself last week.

Or, maybe it wasn’t really a surprise. That much, anyway. I’d seen it coming for awhile.

You see…this space has been going for almost three years. Yep, that’s a long time for Mel to stick to anything. I wrote a lot more during the first two years, but I’ve been posting at least twice, sometimes three times, a week since I started my blog.

And it’s slowly taken it’s toll.

Not always in a bad way, but I was exhausted. Emotional. Potentially starting to detest the idea of sitting down to splash out words from a tired heart that didn’t want the gift of words anymore.

But we can’t always throw away our gifts, can we? And, to be honest, I didn’t really want to.

And so I took a break. As in, I replied to the comments from last Tuesday, and I broke for a week.

That was not an easy thing for me to do.

My online community…where many of my sweet sisters and friends dwell…they were thriving and sharing life, and everything in me wanted to glue myself back together, take back my words, and rejoin them to tweet and pin and insta-whatever…just be a present part of their lives.

But I didn’t.

And instead, I embraced this.

bikepath

This path.

This quiet.

It’s one I used to detest.

Going on and on with not a whole lot more than solitude and creepy woods, it used to bore me to tears. (Not really…no actual tears involved. Just sweat running over my eyes, but that’s kind of the same thing, right?!) 😉

Last week I pounded out over 22 miles on this path.

Part of that is because I somehow got myself signed up for a 10k that involves a lot of running and a lot of hills and, therefore, I need to train my body to go further than 3.1 miles.

But I don’t think that’s the only reason I ran it over and over.

Do you ever have those weeks, friends?

The kind when you question everything?

I’d like to say that I spent this time in prayer…in praising God for His amazing creation. In thanking Him for giving me the physical ability to actually run multiple miles without (mostly) feeling like I’m going to die. In lifting up friends and those I love who are hurting.

Sadly, I think I spent more of my time arguing with Him…telling Him how I thought things should be.

How this writing thing should be easier and the words should just be flowing…it shouldn’t be this hard.

How relationships should be a lot less complicated, too…why can’t we just get along all the time?

And telling Him that I think now (or, at least nine months from now) is the perfect time for us to have another baby…and why doesn’t He think so, too?!

There was a lot more than that, I’m sure. (And so you all aren’t disappointed, I did still sing along sometimes.) 😉

But in the middle of it, even after unleashing that much frustration…I still heard Him.

Breathe. Just Breathe.

I’ve got this.

Friends, I struggle every day.

I struggle to accept the fact that He truly does have it all.

Because I have a plan in my head that seems *so perfect*and I forget that my plans should be His and surrendered and taken out of my fully-open palms and placed into His.

Oh, how hard that is to do.

This is the path where I told Him all of that as my feet pounded and the tears mixed with sweat and the words

Lord, I need You, Oh, I need You

played over and over.

That time for me and my heart and Him.

And now I’m back.

I’m not sure what’s different yet, but something is.

Because He’s Good and He hears the hearts of His children.

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

On Tuesdays, I link up with my friend, Crystal, at her space for Behind the Scenes.

Social media and online relationships can make us feel like everyone else has it all together. We’re edited, proof-read, Pinterest-perfect versions of ourselves (or so some might think!) when – in reality? There is an unfinished pile of laundry around the corner. That cute toddler smiling for the camera just had a massive meltdown seconds ago. That yummy breakfast-for-dinner you just showed us on Instagram? It’s because the cat licked the chicken that was supposed to be for dinner.

“Behind the Scenes” is a fun link up where we show those photos – but tell the real story behind them. The sneak peek behind the scenes, a look past the edges of the photo to the real life behind it.

If you have some time, feel free to stop by for some great stories of the fun and funny, the sad, the joyful…all of those things that happen behind the camera lens. I hope you’ll join us! :)

crystalstine.me

Sig

Five-Minute Friday: Last

Today I’m linking up with Lisa-Jo for Five-Minute Friday.

Join me!

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

Today’s prompt: Last

Oh, goodness.

Well, when I saw the prompt, I knew exactly what I wanted to write about…but it’s kind of one of those things I’d rather erase from my mind forever.

So we’ve all been there…gym class.

For the sake of this story, let’s go back to the *joyous* days of middle school.

It’s time to pick teams for scooter hockey. (Did anyone else play that?)

And there she sits…Mel. Awkwardly, criss-crossed legs, too short uniform shorts, wearing a red t-shirt, Mel.

Watching the others being picked one by one.

By one.

By one.

Until there’s only one.

And then Mr. Captain finally calls out her name, and she stands up.

Walks over to the team that has to take her but doesn’t really want her.

And all the joy of that day’s game is gone…because she feels like she doesn’t belong.

I’m grown up now, but occasionally those feelings still creep back…the kind that say,

You’re not good enough.

You don’t have a place here.

And maybe that’s why I’m so glad that even if I’m one of those who is picked last sometimes (and maybe we all are) that I’m still precious in His sight.

I belong.

We all do.

And if we were choosing teams for scooter hockey tonight, friends, I’d want you all on my team. 😉

Five Minute Friday

Sig