Happy Birthday, Andre!

Our boy, Andre, turns eight today.

I’m not sure where those years have gone.

I know he’s not human (don’t tell him, though!

;)), but as I’ve said before, Andre is very much

a part of our family.

He’s been with us for all but the first year of our marriage…and we’ve been through a lot together. International moves, additions, losses, tough times, and lots of happy times.

He’s been a constant in the midst of so many years of change for us.

Today I teared up a little when I said to Tobin, “You know, when Andre was seven, I felt safe.

Now he’s eight…and I don’t.”

I know it’s just another day and that my happy, energetic, dancing boy is the same as always…and today, I choose to celebrate him.Β He’s wonderful, and we love him so, so much.

Happy birthday to our sweet boy. We wish you many more years of exuberance and butt wiggling!

Thank you for the blessing

you are in our lives.

πŸ˜€ We love you!


Micah 6:8 (Part 4): Walk Humbly With Your God

How ironic that

humility is the topic of choice following yester da

y’ s rant of


Like I said in my follow-up post, I have a policy of not deleting posts unless there’ s a really good rea

son. The things I write reflect my heart at the time…and emotions change. I’m not making excuses, just being honest.

Yesterday was drama-ish.

I was tired, hurting, frustrated, and let two seemingly small(er) straws break the camel’s back. Personally, I think I needed a good cry…and those two things provided an outlet for just that.

And my dramatic tendencies were quickly humbled several hours later when I opened an e-mail…and we’re delighted to let you know that we want

to share your submission with our community.

First reaction? Big smile.

Second? Ohhhh… what did I just splash onto this blog


Mel. Has. Been. Humbled.

Happens often.

Of course, because of yesterday’s events, being humble is in the forefront of my mind. Obviously, I need to work on it…and because of that, it’s worth processing on the blog.

When I think of the three things that God tell us to do in Micah 6:8…Do Justice, Love Kindness, Walk Humbly with your God…for some reason, humility stands out. Maybe because it’s attached to the phrase “with your God”.

Humility cannot be achieved alone.

In my own strength, I get wrapped up in myself, in the events of my life, in the things that are complicating my plans.

See a theme here?

In true humility, I would be focusing on Him instead of myself.

I have always struggled being humble.

It isn’t that I believe I’m overly and outwardly prideful, but I think that pride can often creep up and make me think I’m all that.

I was thinking about pride and the things that happened yesterday to “squash” me…first, discouragement about not hearing back from blogs I wanted to write for.

Well, Mel, what makes you worthy of that? Why is your writing good enough for that


Oh, ouch. Ouch. That hurt, but it’s true. Why do any of us have gifts? It isn’t because of anything we’ve done, rather what He’s done.

Then the video. Could it be that I was a little bit prideful with that, too

? I don’t know…I didn’t think so at the time, but maybe there was a l ittle of

it creeping up somewhere.

Double ouch.

(And we found out last night that there was a problem with the clip we sent…apparently the format we used is difficult with Macs sometimes, which I didn’t know. The guy in charge of the project was so nice about it and apologized…it definitely wasn’t his fault at all. He even offered me another chance in the future, and that blessed my heart.)

And then how does God remind me of His faithfulness, although I have had such an awful, me-me-me day?

He gives me one of the desires of my heart.

Oh, when will I learn


Today I am thankful for a Father who gently humbles his children with love and compassion. Who sees a hurting child and, despite her selfishness and pride, continues to give and bless.

Humility is a journey…one that none of us will ever truly complete, but we can keep trying and hanging on to His hand as we walk with Him.

I’m so thankful that He’s willing to walk with me no matter what.


Follow Up

Wow, two posts in a da


I have a policy of not deleting posts…because they are a true reflection of my heart at the time that I write them.

However, when a follow-up is necessary, I’m there.

And today,

it’s necessary.

I cried most of the morning, feeling so discouraged and frustrated

and just, in general, not liking myself.

(Oh, it’s tough to be an ENFP. Seriously.)

I didn

‘t spend much time in prayer…maybe I should have prayed more…but I did ask God to give me what He knew I needed today, whatever that may be.

And He did.

I’m not going to share too many details yet, just to say that I get to write for one of my favorite sites.

Yes. Yes. Yes.

SO excited!!! πŸ˜€

He is Good…even when I’m all wrapped up in myself.

Can’t wait to share more with you soon!

Thank you, Father, for meeting me today.

Edit: My hubby posted this in the comments…and it’s good. (Now I need to go check out the ISTJ!) :)



I’m no stranger to rejection.

I’ve blogged about my insecur iti

es as a teenager and how I never felt like I fit in.

I haven’t blogged (much) about my parents’ divorce when I was sixteen and the more insecurities that followed.

Sometimes I just feel like I’m never good enough.

And this morning I was reminded of that feeling again…not once, but twice.

A couple months ago I submitted a story I wrote to a couple blogs that I really like, hoping it was maybe something they could use.

It was an account from a pivotal time in my life, and I put every ounce of my heart and soul into those words.

It wasn’t that I was expecting them to accept it right away, especially since I’m just starting out on the whole writing thing, but I thought I’d at least hear something.

Thanks for your submission, but we can’ t use i

t at this time.

We appreciate your interest in writing for us.

We’ll let you know at a later date if we’ll be using your story.


But I heard nothing.

At the same time I was working on another piece that really cut to the core of who

I am. I had a dear friend edit it, and she made some good suggestions, and

I fixed it and was really, really happy with it.

But I was also still reeling from the whole I-poured-my-heart-out-and-heard-absolutely-nothing thing…and so I never sent it, kind of waiting for that moment when my heart was ready for possible rejection again.

This morning I opened up one of my favorite blogs to see a post with almost the same title and pretty much the same story.

It felt like someone had crawled into my heart and stolen my words.

And to make matters worse, that’s only half of the story.

A couple months ago I signed up to participate in a Community Reading for another blog I enjoy. My husband helped me do the video,

and I sent it in well before the deadl

ine. Last week I got an e-mail reminder for it and replied, just to confirm that they had received my video. They hadn’t but asked me to resubmit it. So I sent it again and received confirmation that they’d gotten it. Cool.

And I was really excited to be part of that video…having people from all corners of the world sharing God’s Word…it just felt right to have a little piece in something that is so much a part of who I am.

This morning when the entire video was posted, I watched it, a little nervous that I was actually going to be on it…and I wasn’t.

For whatever reason, another girl read the verse I’d signed up for.

I just said to Tobin, They didn’t use me.

Then I went upstairs and let a hot shower swallow up the tears.

I wish I could say they stopped after the shower, but they didn’t. Over an hour later, they continue.

I hate being the one who is never good enough…the who will never make it doing what she loves.

And I get it…it’s not all about me.

But it is my heart, and right now my heart feels like it’s been squashed and stomped on and ripped apart.

Everything in me says,Β I don’t care.

Thankfully my brain knows differently…if I didn’t care, it wouldn’t hurt this much.

Thanks for reading and for loving me anyway. I’ll be back tomorrow.


Why Am I Doing This Again?

Ok, a little honesty here.

I’m tired.

Sometimes, I’m tired of writing.

I don’t mean that as something that’s going to last forever…it’s just where I am right now.

But a few times this week I’ve asked myself, Why am I doing this again?

I was chatting with a friend tonight and told her that I’m really tired of the blog…or, more accurately, the commitment I made to the blog. ( Geez, it sounds like a relationship!

:)) Not like I want to throw it out the window and never look at it again.

But three months ago, blogging every d

ay did not seem like a big deal.

Today, I can assure you that it is.

More often than not, blog posts are completed after Maelie goes to bed around 8 p.m. If I have an idea for a good post, it’s usually not an issue, but on some nights, it’s all I can do to force myself

to stay awake to pull some thoughts from somewhere that are worthy of sharing.

I don’t want it to become an obligation or, worse, take away my love of writing.

That. Would. Stink.

And completely defeat the purpose of the blog in the first place.

So I’m thinking of going down to six d ays

a week. Thinking about it… not doing it yet.

And the main reason I’m only thinking about it is because I don’t want to let myself down. I said I would do something…and I want to follow through.

But I also need to be realistic.

Thursdays are (now) officially dedicated to having a coffee date with you all. πŸ˜‰ I really look forward to writing on Thursdays.

So I’m thinking about one day a week just sharing a verse or two that God gives me.

Or…maybe something else. Any ideas?

Thanks for reading. You bless me just by being here.



Date Night

To preface this story, you need to know how few date nights Tobin and I have had, just the two of us, since Maelie was born. I think three, counting tonight.

So it’s kind of a big deal.

And we really have no problem with taking Mae along with us when we decide to go out. She’s part of us and we love her! But sometimes, it’s nice to just be the two of us.

So I decided on Thursday that the $20 I had in my wallet would best

be spent on hiring a babysitter

for tonight. Then Tobin and I could go to the kids’ musical at our church’s school, just the two of us, and

then even out for dinner afterward.

(Ok, so half of it would be romantic.) :)

We hired the babysitter, told her we had to be out the door by 6:45, preferrably a little earlier, and that was that.

Or so we thought.

6:15 rolls around, and I start to have this feeling. I just know she’s not going to show up.

6:30. Still no babysitter. Tobin tries to call, gets her voicemail a couple times.

6:40. Mel starts to get mad. Really, the flames were ready to shoot…I had to squelch them, and I think I did a pretty good job of holding in the fire.

6:45. I decide to take Mae with us and just go, at which time our sitter finally calls to say she’s on the way. But we’ve got to get out the door, so it’s too late.

I literally snatched the diaper bag as we were running out the door, hoping that we had what we needed, and thankfully I had already made a bottle.

And Maelie was great, she really was.

She sat through the first half of the play and did pretty well, just getting a little fussy. (Which I can hardly fault her for…it was past her final feeding and bedtime.) After intermission, Tobin took her to the back of the gym, and she had her bottle and, for the most part, was happy for the rest of the show.

My sweet friend offered to watch her for us so we could go out to dinner, which made my night.

So Tobin and I went to Emmett’s, a local place, and spent an hour or so just chatting and enjoying being together.

We have missed that aspect of our relationship…and I was so thankful it worked out that we could still have our “date”. We talked about a lot…from an issue we’re thinking through to baby names, which we do NOT need to be thinking about yet. Just sayin’. πŸ˜‰

It was good…and I got home tonight (late) feeling very blessed.

By friends who will step in to help you salvage a bit of sanity, by kids who sing their hearts out and make me smile just listening to them, by a church that we love and are excited to be part of, by a sweet daughter who blesses our lives in countless ways every single day, by a husband who loves me despite my less-than-stellar moments.

(Like the times when flames are about to start shooting…) :)

I’m beyond blessed.

And so, so thankful.


The Outcast

She’d look in the mirror twelve times before leaving for school in

the morning.

How bad is my hair today?

Did I wear these jeans yet this week?

Are my shoes ok


What about my makeup?

Eventually she’d force herself to be satisfied and leave for school.

It wasn’t that she had

a problem with her appearance… but everyone else seemed to.

The constant object of ridicule and embarrassment, certain things needed to be acceptable just so she could survive the day.

Maybe they’ll notice that I bought real Keds, the kind with the little blue tab on the back.

Each morning at school was the same…wait in agony for the bell to ring, hoping that maybe someone might talk to her. Or even smile…a smile was ok, too.

Classes were different.

Usually there was someone who might be nice to her, but not always.

Middle school students, especially girls, can be cruel…

Especially to the outcast.

She’d try…oh, would she try.

She’d study hard, get pretty good grades, go out for sports, even attend extra curricular events.

But it didn’t matter.

They always looked at what she didn’t have, not what she had.

The name brand clothes, the right haircut, perfect skin, the star athlete label…all the things she so desperately wanted.

And always…always… she would fall short as

she searched for that place to belong.

The kind of search that squeezed tears from her already-bleeding heart…as she’d face recesses alone, sitting by people at lunch who wouldn’t talk to her…all the while hoping that maybe someone would care.

It was a delicate dance between hopefulness and realism.

And eventually, she gave up.

After all, she was the outcast.

That part of her would always exist, but she’d find ways to cover it.

Like forcing herself to be bubbly and talkative, hoping that maybe someone could see her for the true friend she could be.

Or, an obsession with hair, clothes, and makeup later that might make those who look only at the exterior willing to give her a chance.

Or, finally realizing that the Father loved her so much.

To Him, she wasn’t an outcast.

And accepting that would change her life.


Thursday Espresso Shots

Ok, after yesterday, I think espresso shots might be more effective than just a normal cup of coffee. (Decaf with cinnamon creamer for those of you who care.

;)) Although I will tell you that, soon enough, I’ll be back on the real stuff. (And I’m already back to drinking Diet Coke with abandon. Yum.) I’m starting to wean Maelie…which is actually a good thing.

Nursing her is not bringing out the best in either of us or doing anything to help the mother/daughter love. I made it ten months…I’m very happy with that. And she’s happy to be moving on to formula and juice.


Anyway, regardless of what I’m drinking (or what Maelie’s drinking, for that matter), grab yourself a cup of java and let’s chat!

Ok, so today I’m drinking coffee from my Starbucks mug from Medan, a city on the island of Sumatra. Medan is an interesting story.

I realized onlyΒ after I’d purchased my plane ticket there

that there was a Starbucks waiting for me. I love happy surprises! (I was going with some friends on a jungle hike at an orangutan preserve, and Medan was the closest airport…four hours away.) So, of course, IΒ had to buy a mug there.

I can’t say I have any wonderful memories of the actual city of Medan, but it was a memorable trip in general.

And, of course, a necessary stop in order to complete my Indonesia mug collection.

Good Bible study this morning.

We’re starting a new Beth Moore study called Living Beyond Yourself, and I’m really excited about it.

Beth Moore is such a good speaker and writer, and I love the group of women I get to study with. It will be so good…just what my heart needs right now.

Maelie is ten months old today which just blows my mind. Really?! How did that much time go by? In the past few days I’ve really tried to soak up every little cuddle and snuggle because I know that those days are coming to an end. Sometimes I really miss her being so tiny, but I truly do enjoy every stage with her.

My sweet little baby is growing up into a beautiful girl. She just makes my life…I am so very blessed.

I read one of the most horribly written articles in a local newspaper today. I couldn’ t believe

the bad grammar, even worse spelling, and generally poor structure. I am thinking about writing to the editor and offering to write for them…for little or even nothing. I’ve always wanted to be a columnist…do you think I’d be any good


I think I’d rock. Ok, I’ll deflate my head now. :)

I’m feeling scattered lately and fighting the Big Block again…it just seems like I write a good post and then battle for several days, trying to come up with something equally good. I am also learning the value of re-reading the things I write to make sure I’m saying the Truth in love. That’s so difficult…especially when the drama side of me wants to stir things up a little.

But I’m being challenged in that area…a little drama is good πŸ˜‰ as long as I’m not stomping all over people’s toes while I write.

(That’s part of the reason my second post on Grace is still a draft.)

I broke down and cut my hair this week. Actually, I got it trimmed over the weekend and when I went home and straightened it, decided that I was done growing it out for awhile. I bopped back in on Tuesday and had her chop up the back again. Aaaaaahhhhh, bliss. I really am a haircut addict…I suppose there are worse things in life. However, there will be no ponytail in the near future, so there will be no party.


Maybe in a few months I’ll be inspired again. The main thing is, my ears are covered again.

That is very, very important to me. (And you don’t need to leave me any comments telling me how weird I am… I already know.


I feel like my posts have lacked depth often lately…and it isn’t because I’m feeling dry.

I feel like God is doing some huge things, but the words just aren’t coming fast enough. I’m of the opinion that a good writer can push through a lack of words and produce something worth reading…but not necessarily something deep.

I hope I’m a good writer.

I better run…thanks so much for joining me for our weekly coffee date. You bless me!


Single Parenting It

To day

g ave

me a newfound respect for single parents.

I did the single parent thing for fourteen hours today…about five longer than normal for me.

I’m used to staying home with Maelie… and we have fun together.

I love my girl so much. :) During a typical week, we’ll get out probably two days, sometimes three, just so I can stay sane. And I had every intention of getting out today, but it didn’t quite happen like I had pictured.

My morning started early. I was up at 5:45 to meet a friend for

a run. I got home around 7:15, and by then, Maelie had already had her morning bottle and Tobin was getting

her ready to go for the day. I took a quick shower, spent a little time with him, and then he left at 8 a.m. for a long, busy day.

T he second

he left, she started crying.

I wasn’t exactly sure what she wanted, but I tried. I checked her diaper…nope. I put her in the high chair and gave her some Cheerios and juice…that worked for a few minutes.

I played with her on the floor… again,

a few minutes. I sang to her…that one didn’t work at all. (No comments, please. ;))

Finally around 8:45 I gave in and fed her early, thinking it would calm her down and that maybe she was just tired.. (She usually eats again at 9:30.) She nursed for an exceptionally long time, and I finally stopped her around 9:30, thinking she’d had more than enough. I changed her diaper and put her down for a nap.

And. She. Screamed.

Bloody. Murder.

For 90 minutes.

(Interspersed with a couple very short cat naps.)

At some point I wondered if maybe something was wrong with her so I checked on her and covered her up because she had kicked her blanket off. Nothing was making this

girl calm down.

Just FYI, Tobin and I have a pretty strict policy for napping.

She goes down, whether she wants to or not. Usually she cries for about two minutes before giving in to sleep, so today was rare. (How long she naps is another story…that varies from day to day.) However, we do not want her to learn that every time she screams she gets her way.

I worked on a couple things upstairs and finally gave in to the screaming, knowing that we were getting absolutely nowhere.

She was more than happy to see that I was finally picking her up, which solidified in my mind that she just didn’t want to sleep…that was it.

We ate some lunch and played a bit, and then I took her outside to swing.

The screaming started again.

No matter what I did, she screamed. We tried the jumper…she wailed. I held her…she was inconsolable. I finally gave up, sang to her, and put her down for another nap around 1:30.

Oh, no, that was not okay.

Fifteen minutes of blood curdling screaming, and I finally gave her a bottle, which seemed to calm her down somewhat. After a diaper change and another song, I put her down for a nap at 2:15.

After yet more wailing, she finally gave in, sleeping for a solid two hours.

And I. Was. Exhausted.

And you? Are probably exhausted just reading this.

Our plans to get out of the house after her nap fell through, but thankfully (?) we had to run to Target for some butterfly tape.

Yeah…I tried to cut my finger off. Thankfully our knives aren’t that good, but boy, was there a lot of blood.

Of all days. Seriously?!

(I’ll spare you the details only to tell you that I only made one frantic phone call, and thankfully he was a calming influence. :))

I had hoped to take Mae to church for the Lent service tonight, but let’s be honest. The single parent thing with a ten month old who is happy is hard. I can’t imagine trying it after the day we’ve had. I’m pretty sure we’d both end up in tears.

So we stayed home and she happily went to bed around 8 p.m.

I’m sure she was tired…I am! πŸ˜‰

In all seriousness, though…it wasn’t a great day. I love my girl and am realistic enough to know that not every day is going to be perfect. However, after today, I realize just how very blessed I am to have Tobin and to not be doing this alone. My heart AND my respect goes out to all single parents.

Now to pour the coffee and kick my feet up…I think I’ve earned it. πŸ˜‰

Have a great night!


What to Write…or Not Write

I feel like I’m leaving so many things unfinished tonight.

First, I wrote a pretty awesome piece about grace. ( Yeah, more grace.

:)) But it desperately needs to be toned down (aka: de-dramatized) before I push the publish button.

That’s for the good of everyone, and I’m more than willing to let the drama queen tendencies fizzle a bit before sharing my deep thoughts with the world. πŸ˜‰

Yesterday I started strumming out my favorite song on my guitar.

Not as easy as it sounds because I have looked high and low for guitar chords online and

have come up empty handed.

(Unless I want to pay…which I don’t. ;)) I thought that might actually be a unique blog post, but I’ve spent hours on the chords and am only about half done.

Then I thought about making a bucket list…which has been in the back of my mind for quite some time.

The only thing is, once I publish it, I want it to be complete.

Not something I can write in ten minutes.

And I thought about writing about something cool I’m going to do in a couple weeks, but really, that’s something that would be better after the fact.

I’ll give you a teaser, though…it involves me, my guitar, a coffee shop, and a microphone.

Yeah, I really love a microphone. Oh, and some friends for moral support. (So if you live in the area, that’s you! :D)

So if ya can’t tell, my brain is kinda scattered tonight…very unable to settle on one topic and actually write with passion. I hate it when the passion is lacking, but hey, it can’t ooze 24/7 or I’d drive everyone around me crazy.

So instead of blabbing on and on about the things I could be writing about, I’m going to close my laptop, fill up my coffee mug, and chill for a bit tonight. Tomorrow’s a long day with Mae because Tob has to work all day and then he gets to go hear (former) President Bush speak at Judson.

I’m so incredibly jealous but happy for him, too.

Good night to you all!