Going Barefoot…For a Cause

So I like to have fun with the whole barefoot


Yeah, I got married barefoot. (seriously) Yeah, I jumped around in two feet of snow barefoot.

Yeah, I’d rather be barefoot year round than wear shoes.

It’s just me.

But the thing is…I’ve never had to go barefoot<


I’ve never been without shoes.

Come to think of it, I’m pretty stinkin’ blessed…I’ve never gone without anything.

And there are so many people in the world who go without shoes every. single. day.

But now there’s a good reason to go barefoot.

I think it’s awesome…and the wheels are already spinning on how I’m going to get

tons of people to join me!


Leave a comment and let me know you’re going to be part of this great event!

And for those of you who need to be like to be reminded, I’ll devote my post on April 4 to reminding you

to kick off your shoes for a good cause.

You can learn more at http://onedaywithoutshoes.com.


Micah 6:8 (Part 2): Do Justice

On my first day of 5th grade, I was seated next to a boy named…we’ll call him N, on the off chance that he ever sees this. :)

N had a dirty mouth. We are talking Dir. Ty.

Every other sentence was riddled with nasty words…every bad word you can think of…repeatedly. Every single day.

All day long.

Imagine the “fun” he had when he learned that I couldn’t stand his excessive swearing.

(And really, I don’t think it was that I’d fully learned that I shouldn’t talk dirty yet…I think any normal person would have been sick of it after five minutes.) Anyway.

He took every opportunity he could to make me mad…and eventually he resorted to calling me some of those names.

Sometime around October…since I’d been putting up with it for weeks…I decided it was time to administer some justice. (After all, I was a cop’s daughter…I knew all about justice, right

? :)) I took my elbow and I jabbed him. Hard.

I learned quickly that this jab would shut him up for a few blessed, peaceful minutes. And so I used it as my tactic for bringing some san

ity to my day.

Eventually we switched seats, and thankfully, he moved on to share his wonderful language with another poor, unsuspecting student. Although I silently rejoiced that I no longer had to sit by N, I felt sorry for the student who now had to put up with him.

Imagine my surprise when we switched seats a few months later…and who did I get the utter privilege to sit by again?

You guessed it.

And he hadn’t changed a bit.

Thankfully I had a tried and true method and I wasn’t afraid to use it.

Multiple times a day I would take my elbow and jab him as hard as I could once he got going on his swearing rampage.

A couple times he even said, “Ouch!”…and oh, the joy I felt.

Until one day…when I wasn’t careful enough.

Just as N finished calling me yet another name, I let him have it.

And Ms. S. saw.

Oh boy, did I get it.

Yeah, that’s right. I got it. Not him. Me.

I don’t remember what the punishment was. I think I got my name on the board and had to write sentences or something.

But what got me about the whole thing was that I got in trouble.

Wasn’t I just doing the right thing


Well, that’s subjective, I guess.

And I have to be honest here…a tiny bit of me still flares up when I think of that moment and how justice was served to one person, but not both. I am sure that I (and probably others) informed my teacher of exactly why I was using the elbow jab. But it didn’t matter. Physical violence was not tolerated.

I guess the school hadn’t yet realized that verbal can be worse.

So the whole idea of justice…yeah, it came up in my life at an early age.

But what does it mean exactly?

Justice. God tells us to do it–the version of the Bible I grew up with words it a little differently…to do justly. I don’t think He meant that I should repeatedly use my own form of justice to punish someone, though.

Every night Tobin and I pray for Maelie.

We have a list of 31 character traits, and we pray one for her

each night. Last night was justice…and I couldn’t help thinking of this story as I prayed for her.

What do I pray for her in terms of justice?

Well, first off, I never want her to be treated unfairly.

(Mommy hat on here…) I never want her to treat others unfairly. I want her to learn that when we do wrong there are consequences to our actions; but on the flip side of that, she should know that there are rewards when we obey…and that God rewards those who obey as well.

I want to be an example of that in Maelie’s life. When Tobin and I have an argument, do I treat him justly or am I unreasonable? When I get frustrated or upset with something do I react in an appropriate manner or do I lash out? Sure, she’s not old enough to understand…yet. But I’d rather not wait for the day she can understand to make sure that my thoughts, words, and actions toward others are just.

And I think that’s where the other parts of this verse come in…love kindness (mercy) and walk humbly.

(Parts 3 & 4) God knew what He was doing when He wrote that verse.

:) When we do justly, kindness and humility should be the products from our actions.

If I could go back to that situation in 5th grade, knowing what I know now, I would probably handle it differently. (Chances are the school would, too…now that bullying is an actual issue that is being addressed and not swept under the rug. But that’s not the point.) Regardless of how I was treated, my actions should have displayed kindness…such as ignoring him or trying to talk to him; and humility…not creating drama (who, me? :)) by continually elbowing him.

Ah, the lessons we learn much later than we should.

I don’t know where N is today…but I hope a lot of things for him–the obvious, that he’s cleaned up his mouth and his life. But more important, that he’s found forgiveness and hope.


Woot Woot!

Ok, so I had unofficially decided that Mondays would be my what I’m learning/Bible blogging day of the week.

However, THE PACKERS WON THE SUPER BOWL YESTERDAY, and we must celebrate!

So theology will have to wait until tomorrow. And it gives me another day to think about what to write anyway. :)

I don’t really follow football other than through my huge Packer fan of a husband. I can take it or leave it–I enjoy a good game but at the end of the day, there are things I’d rather do with my time. (Like hanging out with my girl or talking with friends or blogging…although Mae does enjoy football and has “watched” several games this season with her daddy.)

I have learned A LOT about life being married to a huge Packer fan.

Like how I should cheer for the Packers to win so I will have a happy husband. Or how I should NEVER, ever say, “If the Bears make it to the Super Bowl instead of the Packers, I will cheer for them.” Or how I should not ask Tobin to feed Maelie her cereal (or really ask him anything) while the game is on. :)

All that to say…somehow the last few weeks of football have been fun. I love watching the underdog do well in something.

Five weeks ago, no one really expected the Pack to make it to the Super Bowl much less win the thing.

So it makes me smile.

And I’m happy for Tobin, I really am…he’s been a faithful fan through some less-than-stellar seasons.

So it was really fun to be able to watch them in the Super Bowl yesterday.

We had some friends over, ate too much food (my stomach is still reeling from all of that pizza and too many brownies), had some great laughs at some of the commercials, and celebrated the Pack’s win. And I’m pretty sure I had the happiest husband in the world this morning…and it’s an even sweeter victory since we live in Bear Country. ( But we know better than to rub it in.


Congrats on a great season, Packers!

And I’ll be back tomorrow with what I’m learning. :)


A Powerful Mommy Moment

I’m not even sure I know how to write about this.

It took

me over a week just to put the feeling into words.

But I’ll try.

One of the hardest things my husband and I have gone through in our married life was in 2009 when our plan to adopt fell through. I blogged a little about it here and here.

At that time, I almost completely lost the ability to write…hence the reason there are really only two posts about the subject.

However, one thing I found solace in was music…it was like an escape for my soul. Whether drowning out the world with my iPod and headphones or belting out a tune while strumming my guitar, it helped me survive when life felt like it would never be ok again. And one Friday afternoon in my classroom, the words to a song just came to me. The chorus? Came in like ten seconds.

The verses took about an hour. The bridge…I’ m still waiting on.

Sometimes in the mornings, Maelie will play on the floor and I’ll pull out my guitar and sing to her. Last Friday, in an attempt to get her to spend more time on her tummy, I decided it was a good day for some music. I strummed through a few familiar songs and then played the one I wrote two years ago…a song I really hadn’t touched since then. I’m used to her cooing or bopping to the music, but when I started singing that one, she stopped and stared at me intently, almost as if she understood what I was singing about.

And then I realized, Now I get it, too.

It was a moment that brought tears…but so many reasons to smile, too.

I am so very thankful for my daughter…not just for her but for what I’ve learned through her. That my Father is so amazingly Good. That there is healing after loss.

That it is possible to love even through sadness.

I am just so filled with overwhelming gratitude to God for my sweet girl.

Maelie Naomi, I love you so much.

Thank you, Father, for broken dreams that turn into something more beautiful than I ever could have imagined. Thank you for holding my hand through it all. Thank you for seeing when I couldn’t.

There I Am

It wasn’t what she’d dreamed,
She’d always had a plan.

It wasn’t what she wanted,
And she didn’t understand.
Every night she prayed
For a way to make it through.
In the sleepless nights she heard His voice,
“I will carry you…


I was there, and I still Am.
I am right beside you holding your hand.

Though you can’t see,
Trust that I can.

No matter where you go,
There I Am.”

Disclaimer: So I did attempt to record this (it’s only part of the song), but my computer’s not the greatest for this kind of thing.

And I don’t really write songs. And I desperately needed to change one of my guitar strings.

And… I was really freaked out about posting myself singing on this blog.

So a little mercy, please. :) And…ok, just listen to it.



The Healing Power of a Coffee Date

I don’t know what it is with women and coffee.

Give us a cup of java and a good friend and all is right with the world.

A few weeks ago I had an almost-meltdown.

It had been ages (we’re talking months) since I’d gone out for coffee with a friend. For the last five years, that’s how I’d dealt with the stress of life–I’d grab a friend, jump on a motorbike (or in a car, depending on where we were living), and head to Starbucks. I can’t begin to count the number of times I spent hours

having coffee and talking about everything with a friend in Indo.

Then we moved to a place we didn’t know anyone.

And I don’t know why, but it took me forever to get up the courage to ask someone to go have coffee with me. It was almost like I needed to make sure they would want to.

Well, duh…we’re women.

Anyway, back to the almost-meltdown. It had just been a rough week…fussy baby, stuck in the house for four days straight…yeah, it was time to get out. At the end of Bible Study one Thursday morning, I was on the verge of tears. To save myself, I just threw out, “Does anyone want to go get coffee tomorrow?”

Amazingly, a couple friends were like, “Sure, we’d love to.”

Again, duh…we’re women. We drink coffee and talk…it’s just what we do.

And so we went…to a new place I’ d never hear

d of. (And can’t remember the name right now…I love mommy brain. :)) Good coffee but even better conversations.

Some serious, some fun. It was so incredibly healing for my heart… I just needed some time to sit with friends, talk, and process the million things racing through my brain.

So good…so good that we’ re going to make it an every-other-Friday tradition and check out some other cool spots to grab coffee.

(I will let you know what we find!)

I was blessed with two more fun coffee dates this week.

Yesterday Alison and I hit Starbucks and the mall for a couple hours.

And this morning my friend Kris and I headed to Caribou for what could have been longer, but we only stayed three hours. :) (And as a side note, we know that Maelie is truly my daughter when she can be an angel the entire time.

Yep, coffee dates already agree with her!


It’s almost like sitting down with a cup of coffee gives us freedom…to laugh, cry, share stories, get frustrations out, talk about the good stuff…and the tough stuff, too. I love it. And I need it.

So here’s to coffee, good friends, and lives that are worth sharing.

And being blessed.


A Post a Day for a Year…Can I Do It?

So I have to admit…I was both excited and nervous to have my own blog.

or~~ –>

Because I shared one with Tobin for six years, I always felt that there was a certain amount of restraint and accountability because what I wrote represented both of us. (Plus, if he ever disagreed, I always knew about it right away. :)) But now, it’s just me…and while he agrees with most of what I write,

it represents me.

Not him.

One of my goals with this blog is to “make it” into the mommy blog circuit…which we’ re slowly working on.

It’s going to take some time, and I’m willing to work hard and be patient. I love to write…it’s how I communicate, at times how I survive, how I am myself. And sometimes…how I spill the contents of my brain. (And please remember, I do have mommy brain.)

But I realized just this week that it’s often difficult to bare my soul when I don’t know who is going to see what I write. My post from this past Monday made my heart pound when I pushed the publish button.

I had written about some things that were very heavy on my heart and I knew there were people who would see what I wrote, disagree, and possibly judge me. But I still felt like they needed to be said and so I found every ounce of courage I had and published the post anyway.

My post for Sunday makes me nervous for a different reason…but you’ll have to wait until then.


Sometimes I question whether it’s ok to share stories that are so personal, and at times I may step over the line between what should be shared and what should stay private. I hope I don’t ever cross that line…but if I do it’s bec ause sometimes I

am so passionate about something that I forget to have a filter. That’s something I need to work on and I know it.

While I hope that my blog will be going strong for longer than this, my ultimate goal is to post something meaningful every single day for a year.

I’m 11 days into the project and have already hit writer’s block once.

(That would be yesterday’s post which took me six tries to write.) It is not the most fun feeling to be staring at a computer screen at 10 p.m. knowing that I need to come up with something in the next two hours.

Thankfully I had a few ideas stored away and was able to pull from those.

All that to say…a post a day…that’s my challenge for the year. I’m excited and looking forward to the things I will come up with, the adventures I’ll write about, and what God will do in my heart.

Thanks for reading what I write.

(And tell your friends!) :)


The Words I Would Say

I had the most precious cuddle time with my girl this morning.

Th at is

a very rare thing.

I don’t mean that she isn’t sweet or huggable…just that she’s never really been a cuddler. (With me, anyway… she does cuddle with Aunt Kris once in awhile.


We’ve been waiting for her top two middle teeth to come through for the past couple weeks…and we are still waiting. And while we wait, she is cranky and doesn’t feel well. But this morning she decided that instead of being fussy, she would cuddle up close, which was an amazing surprise, and I loved it.

I just sat on the couch and held her, and it was probably the best part of my day.

And while I was holding her, I was thinking about parenting and all that we’ve learned since Mae was born in June.

Like how little sleep we can actually survive on.

Or that she consumes the majority of our time…and that’s ok. And that time for just the two of us is precious because it doesn’ t happen of


And that having a daughter is the best thing that’s ever happened to us.

I heard the song “The Words I Would Say” by Sidewalk Prophets awhile ago, and it immediately connected w

ith my heart.

Not all of it applies, but the chorus especially made me think of Maelie and the things that I want her to know about life…well, as soon as she’s old enough to understand. :)

This is such a great song…and I found several different versions on Youtube if you like free. But it’s definitely worth your m oney

on iTunes, too.


The Words I Would Say

Three in the morning,
And I’m still awake,
So I picked up a pen and a page,
And I started writing,
Just what I’d say,
If we were face to face,
I’d tell you just what you mean to me,
I’d tell you these simple truths,

Be strong in the Lord and,
Never give up hope,
You’re going to do great things,
I already know,
God’s got His hand on you so,
Don’t live life in fear,
Forgive and forget,
But don’t forget why you’re here,
Take your time and pray,
These are the words I would say,

Last time we spoke,
You said you were hurting,
And I felt your pain in my heart,
I want to tell you,
That I keep on praying,
Love will find you where you are,
I know cause I’ve already been there,
So please hear these simple truths,

Be strong in the Lord and,
Never give up hope,
You’re going to do great things,
I already know,
God’s got His hand on you so,
Don’t live life in fear,
Forgive and forget,
But don’t forget why you’re here,
Take your time and pray,
These are the words I would say,

From one simple life to another,
I will say,
Come find peace in the Father,

Be strong in the Lord and,
Never give up hope,
You’re going to do great things,
I already know,
God’s got His hand on you so,
Don’t live life in fear,
Forgive and forget,
But don’t forget why you’re here,
Take your time and pray,
Thank God for each day,
His love will find a way,
These are the words I would say.


Barefoot Mel REALLY Goes Barefoot!

Can I win an award for this or something

? I just thought the opportunity was a little too perfect…

Now, if you’ ll excuse me, I need to go put my shoes and socks on.


And yes, as if the look on my face doesn’t say enough…IT. WAS. COLD.


No Regrets

I looked in the mirror

the other day and caught the reflection of both myself and my husband.

We looked so old.

Tobin was not pleased when I shared this with him, either.


I don’t think I meant that we look like we’ve aged 30 years in the past eight…I think I was referring to experience. Things we have seen, done, ways we have changed, what has stretched us, what has hurt us, how we’ve grown, and how we have come out of it all looking…well, more experienced. :)

Sometimes when I look back I just don’t believe that we’ve really squeezed all we have into the last 8 1/2 years. It felt like so much of that time was go-go-go, and in the midst of that, I forgot to soak it up. Between the two of us, we’ve had nine different jobs, lived in four different houses on two different continents and two different states,

and driven five different cars and two motorbikes. We’ve “adopted” two dogs, had a baby girl, gone through more transition squeezed into six weeks than most people go through in a lifetime, all while trying to keep it together in our marriage.

And when I look at our marriage and family, that’s where I see the hand of God most clearly in our lives right now. There have been so many times when either of us could have just walked out…quit, been done with it all. There have been a few times when I think the sheer stress and emotions of life could have completely destroyed what we had…but somehow we hung on.

And I know now, more than ever, that we didn’t hang on in our own strength.

So today I’m just thankful for the man I married.

He keeps me laughing with his goofy sense of humor. He shows me his love in a million ways–especially by working so I can stay home with our girl.

He also does the dishes most nights, which I am really thankful for, even if I don’t always express that appreciation.

He goes on crazy adventures with me, like African safaris and Indonesian beach trips. (Heck, for those, getting there IS the adventure.

:)) He even bought me my own website because he thinks I can make it in the mommy blog circuit.

I love this guy so much.

And I have absolutely no regrets…even if I forget to soak up some of the moments.