That Post Where I Give Away Some Fun Stuff

Hi, friends!

In honor of my sweet friend, Holley, and the fact that her new book is officially releasing tomorrow, I’m doing a giveaway.

P.S. I’m a total gift-giver, and I haven’t done nearly enough giveaways in this space, so this is perfect!

So, first up, I’m so excited about her new book, You’re Made for a God-Sized Dream: Opening the Door to All God Has For You. I got an advance copy of it because I’m part of the Dream Team, and I’ve been happily burying my nose in it during the past two weeks. I’m not quite finished yet, so the review will come later, but let me just say…

Friends, you want to read this book.

Holley writes with Truth and beauty, and I finish every chapter knowing I need to stop and process and reflect…but I also fight the urge to keep reading because it honestly feels like she’s sitting down to have coffee with me every time I open the pages.

So, I’m giving one of you a copy of her new book.


Oh, and because I really love you all, I’m throwing in a couple extras, too…

Some chocolate. My very favorite chocolate.

And a $10 Starbucks gift card.

A good book + chocolate + coffee = some perfect time spent, in my opinion. :)

To enter…

1. Leave me a comment. I’d love to hear about your God-Sized dream if you’ve got one. If not, feel free to tell me about the weather, your favorite kind of chocolate, or you can give me your opinion on whether or not you think I should add a few streaks of dark blue to my hair. (‘Cause I’m totally thinking about it. ;))

2. Share this post on Facebook. (And come back and leave me another comment.)

3. And I’ve gotta be honest here…I don’t use Twitter like I should. But if you tweet this link, hop back over and leave me another comment, and I’ll give you another entry. (And you can follow me @barefootmel if you don’t already. ;))

Contest ends Saturday night/Sunday morning at midnight, CST. (I never know what day that actually is…hope that’s specific enough! :)) And U.S. residents only…sorry. Someday I’ll do an international giveaway!

I’ll announce the winner on Sunday.

Good luck! And what are you waiting for? Enter!

And thanks for stopping by, friends! :)


My God-Sized Dream: Mending

The most dangerous word for a God-sized dream is “someday.” How can you start implementing your God-sized dream {even in a small way} right where you are?

I wrestled with this question for several days.

And then, the other night, I cried to my husband.

The tears came after we’d had a little spat…the kind that should have normally never even been an issue. The kind that really wasn’t an issue…it was just a buildup of too many feelings…that were released because I forgot to rinse out the blender after I made my protein shake. 😉 (Can anyone relate here?!)

And in expressing those extremely worked-up, tear-streaked, emotions, I started talking to him. Really talking.

About how my past still hurts and haunts me.

About how, each time I return to my hometown for a visit, which I did last week, I leave feeling more battered and scarred.

About how I need to quit letting the past define the woman God wants me to be. Because, in some ways, it’s keeping me from becoming her.

The truth is that if I let who I was be who I am nowI will never move on. Yes, I grew up feeling as if I never had a place to belong. Yes, my parents divorced when I was sixteen, causing emotional heartbreak that only God has been able to even begin to heal.

And while the past might hurt, it is never wrong to keep moving forward, talking about it when it’s necessary, because sometimes it is, and choosing to learn and grow from the pain instead of sitting and letting it continue to wound me.

When I think of Indonesia, it seems most natural to write about the good…the things that brightly painted my days and filled my heart to the point of overflow.

But if my goal is to be honest and real, then I have to face some ugly moments…the times when God chipped at me and dragged led me, sometimes kicking and screaming, through places I didn’t want to go. Because He wanted to bring Himself the glory, as it should have always been.

Writing this book has been a lesson in dealing with the past.

Yes, revisiting things that make my heart sing with complete JOY because of what He did and how He moved in such an imperfect life.

But it also means opening up those places I would rather leave locked behind a heavy, unmovable door…the places He still did some amazing things, but the places where my flaws and inadequacies were put on display for all to see.

So what I can I do now?

The writing part isn’t hard.

What I have to do now is be willing to go to those places. And while they may hurt, I need to trust and KNOW that no pain is ever wasted…and that His healing will be even greater, far surpassing what I can even imagine.

It is a complete God-thing, too, that I came across an (in)courage community that seems to be a perfect fit for this season. One of my dear God-Sized Dream Team sisters is helping lead a study on this book…and while I’m finding myself a bit guarded right now, I really am looking forward to what God will show me.

I am choosing to believe, with everything in me, that God can and will mend a heart that is still cracked, one that still sometimes-hurts, one that has never been able to fully let go of the past.

My prayer is that He will give me the grace and strength to do just that…because I really can’t wait to watch what He will do.

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23

Every Tuesday we’re linking up here! Click the button below to read how God is molding and shaping the lives of some amazing women who are choosing to dream BIG while following Him in obedience. We’d love for you to join us!

God-Sized Dreams



Been awhile since I’ve done this one. And it’s a good way to wind down on a Sunday night. :)

Current Reads: Just finished Unglued (Lysa Teurkeurst)…we read that one for Mom’s Bible Study. It was so, so good…I recommend it to just about anyone. Just about finished with A Year of Biblical Womanhood (Rachel Held Evans) which has been a fun and challenging read. Also almost finished with The Do-What-You-Can Plan (Holley Gerth) and so excited to dive into her new book, You’re Made for a God-Sized Dream! (Planning to start it tomorrow!)

Current Playlist: I actually just made a new favorites/running playlist a few days ago. Even splurged and bought a few new favorite songs on iTunes. This one is definitely toward the top of the list…I even hold my own little karaoke session in the car whenever it’s on. :)

Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: These. Found on Pinterest, of course. 😉 I decided that even if we didn’t have plans for the Super Bowl, we could still eat something yummy. Oh, my.

Current Colors: Gray and mustard yellow, green, cream, black. Lovin’ a lot of colors right now.

Current Fetish: Leg warmers and tall boots…two things I love about being cold and am desperately trying to wear as often as possible. :)

Current Food: See above. Though we went out for some pretty amazing buffalo chicken pizza here last night. Gotta be a winner when you combine two of my favorites.

Current Drink: Water. Though thinking about making some coffee. Yes, I’m boring. 😉

Current Wishlist: Nothing, really. I’m boring? A new laptop, but that will have to wait. Still got a few miles left in this new-to-me one. 😉

Current Needs: Peace…and more trust in my Father through some uncertainties that seem to be looming on the horizon. He is Good.

Current Triumph: A pretty fantastic week (minus a few isolated incidents) with my daughter. Less and less temper tantrums, less and less mama-frustration…lots more happy memories and bonding moments. She is my sunshine. :)

Current Bane-of-my-Existence: Rude drivers who don’t obey merge signs. (Not that I’ve had a recent experience with that or anything. ;))

Current Celebrity Crush: Well, there’s this pretty cool guy. And he’s married to a girl who could maybe be a published author in the near future. And that would make him a celebrity, right? Yeah, I’ve got a crush on him. 😉

Current Indulgence: Too much coffee. I blame it on the creamer…always the creamer. And that sinful, buttery dessert I may have mentioned a few times already.

Current Mood: Subdued with a bit of guilt. I should be trying to add a chapter or two to the rough draft tonight. (Though there is definitely still time since I don’t really care about the game. ;))

Current #1 Blessing: One? Really? My little family. My sweet friends. My Father and His love for me.

Current Slang or Saying: Oy; Oh, goodness; Really?!

Current Outfit: Hoodie, jeans, and my favorite slipper boots.

Current Link: I always hate this one. I’ve got a bunch of new faves on the sidebar of my blog…feel free to check ’em out! :)

Current Photo: Tonight you get me and my sweet boy, Andre. Love him. :)

Happy almost-Monday, friends! Hope your weekend was a good one.


2013: What to Read

Since I’m kind of in goal-setting mode, I thought I’d continue today. :)

Yesterday I shared more of my “life” goal for the year.

Here’s my intellectual/spiritual one. (More to come on both of those, though.)

As much time as I’ll spend writing words, I also want to put some good ones into my brain, too. What goes in must come out, right? I’ve got quite a few books on my list, and thanks to a Kindle gift card and some good prices for the new year, I’ve already got them all. (I just had to buy two of them, but hey…I’ll always take a good deal!)

Here they are…no particular order.

1. The “Do-What-You-Can” Plan: 21 Days to Making Any Area of Your Life Better. (Holley Gerth) I wrote about this one yesterday…I started it a few days ago, and boy, is it a good one. Holley has broken it up into 21 days…short chapters and good things to think about, pray through, and do on my way to my big goal. :) I really can’t recommend it enough, even if you’re not pushing toward a God-Sized Dream…at least yet. 😉

2. You’re Made For a God-Sized Dream: Opening the Door to All God Has for You. (Holley Gerth) I haven’t seen this one yet. It releases in March, but I’ll get to read it before because as part of the team, I get an advanced copy to read and review. :) I’m really, really looking forward to reading it. And, as a side note, I am so giddy that I get to call the author of these first two books my friend! :)

3. A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband “Master”. (Rachel Held Evans) There are extremely mixed reviews on this one from just this side of the fence. I’ve read some of them, but if I’m being honest with you, the title alone made me itch to get my hands on it. I’ve started it, and so far, I’m enjoying it. I may not agree with everything in it, but I think there’s always a lesson to be learned somewhere. I’ll definitely let you know how it goes!

4. One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are. (Ann Voskamp) I have wanted to read this one for a long, long time. And today, as I was browsing, I saw that it was really on sale, so I eagerly snatched it up. I can’t wait! (P.S. There’s also a Bible study to go with the book…I’m hoping to do that this year, but we’ll see how time goes.)

5. Is it cheesy that I added the Bible? I’m saying no, and I’m not adding it to gloat that I’m planning to read it all, cover-to-cover, in a year either. I’m actually not…I had to do that once in college, (in about eight months, actually) and it became more of a chore than a hunger for Truth. While I may read the whole thing, I refuse to promise that now. The bottom line is that I want to grow closer to my Father through His Word.

I’m sure there will be a few less thought-provoking books thrown into the mix this year, too. I’m sort of a sucker for Sophie Kinsella’s books…she keeps me laughin’ like crazy! So when her newest one comes out…yeah. 😀

What about you? What’s on your reading list for 2013?


Currently… (aka: the I’m-Tired-So-I-Need-a-Blog-Prompt Post)

One of my favorites…I don’t even know the original source. :)

Current Reads: Just finished Kisses From Katie, which really is worth a few separate blog posts in itself. Such a fantastic read. Still working (and haven’t gotten far) on Water For Elephants. (Have any of you read it? Is it worth it?) Also, in a very unlike-Mel move, I read this the other night. It was hilarious, it was political, it was everything I don’t typically enjoy. But it was short, which was why I was able to make it through the whole thing…in about an hour, I think. But since I don’t talk politics in this space, I won’t tell you about it. 😉 It’s free for Kindle right now, though, if you’re dying to read it.

Current Playlist. Oh, goodness, I just made a new running playlist that is enough to get me out of bed early. :) It’s amazing how changing up the tunes makes me want to run out of sheer curiosity at what’s coming next. That, and I had a really fantastic praise time with my Father the other morning…I’m pretty sure He shuffled the songs in the perfect order Himself. Love when He does that. :)

Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: Today? Chocolate dipped cheesecake on a stick. (I did have a partner in crime if she wants to admit it. ;)) Golly, it was so good I’m gonna dream about it tonight. Really. (In my defense, I have not been to a state fair it what could be termed almost-eons. Therefore, I deserved whatever I wanted to eat on a stick. And it was a completely justified indulgence. :D)

Current Colors: Dark blue for the jeans that it’s finally cool enough to wear. Lots of gray and black. I need more color…I know, I know…as one of my faithful blog readers has been telling me.

Current Fetish: Lately I’ve loved going through my closet and finding things I’d forgotten I had. Yay for “new” outfits! I think I wore THREE things this past week I hadn’t touched in several months. :)

Current Food: I think I admitted it already. See: shame-inducing guilty pleasure. 😉

Current Drink: Oh boy, oh boy! So very exciting. I am drinking…Airborne. To kick the cold I came down with yesterday. Thankfully, between that and DayQuil, I am somehow not feeling completely cruddy, which is usually not the case.

Current Wishlist: I need a new pair of jeans. The practical side says I should go with my favorites at Maurices because they go with everything. And because I love them. And because the price is about the best I’m going to find for a decent pair. The completely off-the-wall side of me…wants these. In the bright blue. Or green. :)

Current Needs: Prayer. But I don’t really want to go into details in this post, so I’ll just say jeans. ‘Cause I need them, too. But I’d appreciate your prayers, too. :)

Currient Triumph: Honestly, just doing life with my girl and my hubby. Striving to live fully and love well.

Current Bane-of-my-Existence: I don’t really have one today that I can think of. I’d love it if Maelie would still take her afternoon nap, but I’m not going to term her awake-ness as that. It balances out when she goes to bed at 7:30, anyway. :)

Current Celebrity Crush: I always leave this one blank. But if I have to choose…and my hubby already knows this…I’d have to say Dennis Quaid. Just because. That’s all.

Current Indulgence: Man, that cheesecake is coming back to haunt me…in the blogging world, anyway. 😉

Current Mood: Anxious, a little. But mostly content. It was a really good day…I like those.

Current #1 Blessing: I’m a daughter of the King. I’m blessed with a wonderful hubby, an amazing daughter, and pretty awesome friends.

Current Slang or Saying: Aduh. (The Indonesian equivalent of ugh or stink.) Oh, goodness/good grief. (I need to find a few new phrases!)

Current Outfit: Black running shorts, a tank top, and a gray workout jacket. (Strangely, I did not…and have no plans to…work out today.)

Current Link: I linked enough things in this post. :)

Current Photo: Please excuse the messy hair and slightly streaky makeup…it was a good day. It was also a busy one. (And, yes, in case you’re wondering, that IS Elmo in the background in his underwear, sitting on his little plastic potty. You’ll NEVER guess what we’re working on at our house…) 😉

Thanks for stopping by, friends!


Rainy Night Thoughts

I love a rainy night. :)

Especially the kind when hubby forgets to close our bedroom windows and the temperature is just perfect for making a cup of hot cocoa and climbing into bed under a fleece blanket to update the blog.

As close to perfection as it’s going to get for now. :)

All that’s missing is a fireplace, but I’m guessing that won’t be happening anytime soon around here. Though my neighbor has one…maybe I’ll crash her living room on the next rainy, I-need-to-blog-and-feel-cozy night. :)

I do have to tell you that I love my new, red fleece blanket, though. You know that 5k I ran last weekend? The goodie bag rocked. A cute t-shirt (5k t’s are rarely cute) AND a blanket. The kind that screams, You know you want to go to take a nap just so you can cover yourself up with me. Yep, that kind of blanket.

Be jealous. 😉

It feels like it’s been a long time since I’ve just written…you know, had a virtual coffee date with you all like I used to. Except tonight we’re havin’ hot cocoa. And it’s good despite the fact that I had to dig through the cupboard to find a packet of it, and I’m sure it’s been there for at least a year, but I think it might be closer to two. Hey, isn’t that what preservatives are for???

So, since we’re catching up, I guess I’ll just talk about…we’ll just see where it goes.

I finished Kisses From Katie yesterday.

I can honestly tell you that, besides the Bible, it’s not only the best book I’ve ever read; it’s also the most life-changing. Read it…testimonies of God’s abounding grace just leap off the pages. I saw pieces of myself in her, but mostly I saw the Father’s heart…which I think was the point.

You won’t be disappointed. I promise.

And as a complete side note…I feel like I understand myself and where I’ve been a little more after reading this piece of her story, too. Sometimes it’s hard to explain to people why we spent time overseas…it was cool too see her put into words some of the reasons. I could relate. :)

Ok, just read it. (And I’ll move on to something else.)

My sweet girl is all but done napping. It’s a blessing and a curse all rolled into one. Her non-nappingness (Golly, I looooooooove my word creations sometimes!) gives us more flexibility with our days, and that’s definitely a bonus. But it also makes the days long. It also means potentially super-crabby evenings, but also almost guarantees that she will crash the second her head hits her special pillow.

Yes, she has a special pillow. And tonight, she has special jammies, which I had to pull out and cut the tags off and get her really excited about because the worn-almost-every-night princess jammies are a) dirty; and b) too non-covering for a night like tonight. Thankfully she bought my made-up excitement about jammies covered with snowmen and reindeer that I bought for 70% off last January. :))

Someday she will read this and be embarrassed…thankfully that day is not today. 😉

I love her. And I suppose the fact that she got excited about Christmas jammies in September is comparable to me and my new blanket. (Which is still super comfy, since I know you’re all wondering!) 😉

It’s been kind of an up and down few weeks, but I’ve been thankful for what He’s doing despite the roller coaster moments. I’ve tried to be intentional about counting my blessings…it’s amazing to look around and see all the good that surrounds a day despite circumstances and emotions.

I almost skipped my run this morning, but I’m so glad I didn’t.

The weather was perfect, and I made a new running playlist a few days ago, and I was excited to hear more of it. I basically went through every song in my iTunes, picked my very favorites, and shuffled them.

Toward the middle of mile two, this one came on. I hadn’t heard it for months…and I didn’t even remember adding it to to the playlist. But sometimes God just surprises me…and this was a blessing. I hope you’ll take the time to listen to it. :)

And each time I will fall short of Your glory, how far will forgiveness abound?

And You answer, “My child, I love you. And as long as you’re seeking My face, you’ll walk in the power of My daily sufficient grace.”

Powerful words from my Father…Wow.

Love you all…thanks for stopping by. :)


It’s Late? Let’s Talk About Stuff.

Yeah, it’s totally late.

And I’m drinking more of that coffee…

I really need to stop with the caffeine at night.

Tonight was my weekly workout with my awesome girlfriends.

It. Is. Tough. Seriously tough.

Our fearless leader knows her stuff…and knows how to make us sweat. We start off our workout with twelve minutes of stairs, alternating one at a time, then two. It’s crazy and always the worst part of the night, for me at least. :) Then we spend the next hour doing weights and (evil) lunges 😉 and more cardio and sometimes some yoga.

I’m pretty sure I burn an entire day’s worth of calories.

But it’s so, so good.

I’m not sure if I love the actual working out part, but I love the group of women who are there. It’s just a good time. So Monday nights are one of the highlights of my week.

But they are also pretty late nights because I almost never blog before I go. As my wonderful husband pointed out to me, as I was sitting down at the computer at 10:30 pm…”Um, honey, you don’t have to blog.”

I know that. But I want to. :)

So Mae and I have a wide open week, mostly. It’s spring break for Immanuel, Bible study is cancelled, and several friends are gone. We chilled today and are having coffee with a friend tomorrow morning, but other than that we are free and hoping that the week will somehow fill up a bit. If the weather warms up we’ll probably go to a couple different parks. Maybe grab a Starbucks. Take walks.

Sounds fun. :)

Really random, but Saved by the Bell is on Netflix now. Oh my, what flashback fun. I am not letting myself waste my brain on it too often, but an episode before I go to bed is not a wasted 22 minutes. Good, good times. Now, if only Full House would join the Netflix party…my other favorite from my preteen years.

What happened to TV? Really. (That could be a whole blog post in itself…hmmmm.) 😉

On to more random…I’m turning into a reading junkie. There are so many freebies out there for my Kindle, and a lot of them have actual substance. I stumbled onto this one that is such a cute read…I wish I’d had it when I taught 4th grade…it would have made such a fun read-aloud. (Though, for that one, I paid a whopping $.99…but there are lots of good free ones out there, too.)

Oh, I love books.

There aren’t enough hours in my day to read everything I want to. Sigh.

Well, my coffee mug is empty and I’m watching the clock turn later and later…so I should find my pillow.

G’nite, friends. 😉


Love Me Some Dr. Seuss…

So I didn’t splash my love for Theodore Geisel all over creation today…there was plenty of Dr. Seuss love goin’ on in the Facebook realm.

But I do love the guy…or at least the masterful literary works he created for our enjoyment.

A few of my favorites…along with a few memories attached to them…in no particular order. 😉

The Lorax: And I’m not just saying this because the movie came out today…this one is right up there with my faves. In college, I used it in a lesson I taught to my peers…and that lesson came complete with making truffula trees. I smile. Good stuff. And I can still recite the whole book…

At the far end of town where the grickle grass grows,
And the wind smells slow and sour when it blows,
And no birds ever sing excepting old crows
Is the street of the lifted Lorax.
And deep in the grickle grass, some people say,
If you look deep enough you can still see today
Where the Lorax once stood just as long as he could
Before somebody lifted the Lorax away.

And I confess…that was typed by memory.

I. Rock. Oh, I do.

Fox in Socks: Goodness, I just like this one for the silly, tongue-tying sentences…my goal (still) is to get through it completely without messing up. I am close…but I still manage to mess up the Bim and Ben page…oy. Still a fun book.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas: This one? Is right up there, too. How I love this story! All year long, too. In fact, I think I read it to Mae last week.

:) I was overjoyed at Christmas to find the actual, animated version on DVD for $4. We watched it several times. Aaahhh…

The Foot Book: I have a newer appreciation for this one…Maelie loves it. And it makes my heart happy to see her love Dr. Seuss…so I’ll say that this one is up there, too.

ABC: My Dr. Seuss list would not be complete without this book, another of which I have memorized every word. It thoroughly annoys me that the smaller board book is different (and shorter) from the regular version. So a real copy of this one is on my I-must-buy-for-Maelie list. :) A classic.

Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?: I add this to the list because, again, my daughter adores this book. She makes all the sounds…and, well…I can make them, too. 😀 But that’s not the point. I love the memories that will be etched in my mind forever from her childhood, and this book is definitely one of those.

Along with the awesome books he wrote, Dr. Seuss left a lot of other wisdom.

One of my favorite quotes is one from him:

Don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened.

In the craziness that has been our life, this quote has been close to my heart. It’s gotten me through goodbyes and changes and heart hurts and times when life isn’t fair. And it reminds me that there’s always a reason to smile.

Thank you, Dr. Seuss, for SO MANY reasons to smile!