Embrace It

Is there one particular quality you don’t really love about yourself?

I definitely have one. (Actually, a bunch, but tonight you just get one.) :)

And since Mae and I had a pretty long day, I decided you get to read all about that ONE quality tonight.

I’m a total klutz.

I always have been…I’m pretty good at hurting myself doing bizarre things.

Like the time I w as

trying to make Maelie laugh and made a sliding-superhero entrance into the living room…and totally crashed into a wall. (And Tobin laughed at me. Dork :P)

Or the time I was juggling in an attempt to entertain her again (see a theme here?!) and I totally ate it down the basement stairs. My butt was sore for days.

Yeah, I’ m just cool like that.

And I’ve got a dozen more random stories of things I’ve done that confirm my total klutzy-ness.

Tonight I pulled a pretty good one. Actually two good ones within the span of about twenty minutes.

(I should totally win an award.)

I was putting laundry away and yanked the drawer out to put Tobin’s socks away.

The entire drawer came flying out and landed square on my foot.

(Ok, I suppose we can debate as to whether this was a moment of being a klutz or a possessed dresser drawer. I’ll let you debate.)

For a few minutes I thought something was broken, but after crying to Tobin after awhile I figured it was probably just a good bruise.

I limped for awhile but needed to get Maelie’s bath going…so I kind of ignored it.

Until I bent down to check the temperature of her bath water.

And I totally stubbed my last three toes on the toilet. (Seriously, WHO does that?)

I guess

I do.

That hurt more than the dresser drawer falling on my foot. (Still hurts.)

I am such a klutz.

Sometimes I just cannot understand how God could possibly give so many clumsy characteristics to ONE person.


I guess He has a sense of humor. :)

Anyway, so yeah.

My foot kinda hurts tonight. (But I’m still planning to run in the morning because I’m also stubborn.

At least I’m going to try…and I hope I can.)

With all of this accident-prone-ness that tends to infiltrate my daily life, I have two choices.

Hate it.

Or embrace it.

Honestly, it’s part of who I am.

So I guess I choose to embrace it.

And if you’re lucky enough to be a fellow-klutz, I hope you embrace it, too.

‘Cause we’re a pretty special group of people. 😉


Birthday Party Planning!

So…um…I may have mentioned just a few times that my girl is turning ONE very, very soon?

Yay, Maelie!

I’ve been kind of thinking about what I want to do for her big day.

We’ll be going to Iowa the week before her birthday, so we’ll celebrate with my family then, and that will be fun.

But we also have some pretty incredible friends here who have loved her (and us!) this past year, and we want to celebrate with them, too.

So…I’ve been planning a party!

Here’s something you need to know about my personality type… and me, in general.

I have tons of huge, fabulous, wonderful ideas. (I know, I’m so modest, huh?)

My problem comes when I actually have to turn those ideas into reality.

I find it very difficult to actually follow through on the big schemes that I’ve created, weaved together, and organized in my brain.

So I might need some help from those of you who are actually gifted in the area of event planning.

I started with making lists: of guests, of what we need and how much it will cost, of what we can borrow.

Then we made an invitation that needs to be printed off and mailed this


And I found a picture of the cake I want to make for her. I am breaking Schroeder tradition and doing a CUPCAKE cake.

If I can make it turn out, it will be super cute.

(If not, at least cake is yummy.)

I bought Mae a fluffy pink skirt and birthday shirt to wear on the big day. (She still needs a crown…I’m looking, I’m looking!)

What am I forgetting



Once Upon a Time…

Once u

pon a time there was a princess.

She lived in a cute little blue palace on Wisconsin Street with her prince charming, her princess baby girl, and her two royal doggies.

She was pretty cool sometimes…but other times, not so much.

Her days were always up and down.

Up and down.

And…up and down.

It felt like every time she’ d go

up? Then she’d go down.

‘Cause we all know that what goes up must come down, right?

She could never figure it out…it felt like a day could start out so wonderful and end up so completely horrible.

She tried to think happy thoughts…to say nice things, to do good for other people, but no matter what she did, it always seemed to blow up in her face. She’d say a hundred things right, and then one thing wrong…and BAM.

It was no longer a good day.

She fought with the King on this…’cause He made all the rules of the land, and she couldn’t understand why no matter what she did, it never turned out quite like she thought it should.

That’s when He said to her, very gently,

My child…I know you try to do all this good.

But you can’t do it with out Me.

If you do things in your own strength, they’ll never be done right.

She looked at Him, with tears welling up in her eyes.

Ok, King. I’ll follow what you say because I trust You. This is, after all, Your Kingdom, and I’m your princess.

Slowly, she began to walk away, but not before the King put his hand on her shoulder. As she turned back to look at Him, He spoke just three words to her.

You. Are. Mine.

And that was enough.

She took a deep breath, smiled, and vowed that tomorrow would be a better day.


Random Dreams

In keeping with the random Saturday tradition, today I’ m going to let

myself dream. Feel free to come along for the ride.


I could start off my random with a rant of sorts…how I dream that maybe the residents of this house could be in GOOD moods today, but that does not seem like a possibility.

Maybe it’s the wea

ther? All I know is that we all woke up cranky. I tried to make it better, but nothing really helped. Thankfully we don’t have to see any one

today. (And thankfully, the girl is down for her second…and hopefully long…nap of the day.)

End of the Day Edit: Maelie took an incredible afternoon nap, and when she woke up, we were all happier.

Definitely a much better ending to the day…Hallelujah! 😀

So I’m a dreamer, as those of you who know me well are aware.

I’ve had some run-ins with people who aren’t dreamers…and are more dream-squashers. While I don’t necessarily dis like people

like that, sometimes they bug me.

I told my husband the other day, I’d rather dream and get my heart broken than never dream at all.

I think that’s pretty profound, though I am rarely that.

So, I bring you some of my latest and biggest dreams. (Yeah, I know they won’t all happen, but a girl can dream, right?)

First off, I’ve always wanted to see Europe. Really, see it. Some of the places on my list besides the standard London and Paris? Istanbul, Athens, and Budapest. (I love history.) Some of you know that we have actually been to Europe… for three days.

On our way home from South Africa in 2004, we took a short stopover there because our flight was insanely cheaper if we stopped for a few days.

(And spent the money we saved seeing

the best of Amsterdam. And…ahem…eating our way through it!) Yeah, I want to see Europe.

But beyond travel…’cause, really, we all want to see the world, right?

I dream of writing/publishing a book. I love the blog and will keep it going probably until I die, but I really dream of seeing that cover with my name on it. I actually wrote a book several years ago, but after living overseas and realizing how far off my perspective actually was, I have never done anything with it. No, you may not see it. (Cause I know you’re thinkin’ about asking!) I’m not even sure what I’d write about. Any thoughts?

Another thing I’d like to do

? Completely redecorate my house (once I own it…yeah, still waiting). Included in that redecorating? Knocking out a wall that divides our two “living rooms”, completely making over our bedroom, and doing one room completely Indonesian. (I actually have some fun ideas for that one…again, I just need to own the house.)

One of my biggest professional dreams is to blog a Compassion trip. Every year Compassion sponsors several trips, and they take bloggers with them. Oh, how much I would love that. I have no doubt that it would completely break my heart in half to experience some of the heartaches that come with a trip like that, but I also think it would change my life.

That’s one of those dreams that I keep locked away in a corner of my heart, hoping that someday it might happen. (I guess it’s not locked up anymore since you all know about it now! ;))

Another dream I have that’s a little less tangible…to live fully for Christ. That’s a hard one. I think as a Christian, I struggle in giving it all…there are always things I want to keep back for myself, those little things that, if released, would give me so much freedom. But it takes strength…and I’m weak. I sometimes wonder what that life would look like…and realize that dream isn’t so far out of reach.

It just takes Mel letting go a little. Working on that. :)

Just a few things I’d love to see happen.

What about you?

What do you dream of?


Five Minute Friday: On Forgetting

Today I’m linking up with the Gypsy Mama for Five Minute Friday. Join me!

And for more great Five Minute Friday stories, click here!

Oh, and the guidelines: Write for five minutes.

No editing, revising, or w

orrying. Just write. There is no right or wrong.

Today’s Topic: On Forgetting

Today I snuggled up with my daughter

as she took her afternoon bottle before

her nap. This is not an unusual occurrence…she will let me cuddle her as long as she’s got her “ba-ba.” :) However, this afternoon was different.

I started to think…and remember.

The first time I held her…how tiny, new, and perfect she was in my inexperienced mom my arms.

I couldn’t believe that this was my daughter. It was the most euphoric, wonderful feeling of my life.

And while I haven’t forgotten that I was happy, I have forgotten just exactly what that joy felt like.

The first weeks were one big lesson in mommyhood.

The late, sleepless nights; the random feedings at insane hours; the pacing up and down the hallways to get her to sleep at 2 a.m….at the time, it felt like such a chore, but it was precious bonding time.

And while I haven’t forgotten the pacing and the late nights, I have forgotten the feeling of having this tiny baby nestled in my arms.

The next months…as she grew, changed, learned to roll over, “talk”, crawl, (almost) pull herself up…I watched in amazement as my daughter became a little person capable of so many things.

It’s been magic to watch.

And while I haven’t forgotten the joy of watching her grow, I’m afraid that I might forget how new and exciting each little step is for her.

My girl will turn one year old in just a few weeks. My tiny, precious baby girl…is no longer a baby.

She’s turning into a beautiful little girl…one who fills up my heart and makes me thankful to be her mommy every single day.

I love these moments, and I want to freeze time.

Because I never, ever want to forget them.


Pouring the Coffee on a Freezing Day

Holy cow, it’

s FUR-EEZING outside! I think it’s 50 or so on May 26th.


So, yes, I’ve had my Diet Coke today, but right now I’m having coffee, too. And typing this while covered with a flannel blanket. And wishing that my daughter would just SLEEP…because she’

s slept a grand total of ten minutes all day. I need more sleep than she does, apparently…which is scary because I can survive on very, very little.

(Correction: I can survive, but that doesn’t mean I’m pleasant. So, really, I should get my sleep.)

Speaking of, it’s been a week of little sleep. I hate how stress affects me…mostly in the area of inability TO sleep for more than a few hours at a time.

I’ll wake up, toss and turn, and maybe…if I’m lucky…get back to sleep again.

Perhaps a nap would be a better use of my time than blogging right now…we shall see. But for those of you who are interested, I’m drinking coffee (now half-caf…yay for REAL caffeine!) with butter pecan creamer. Yeah, it’s pretty yummy. Out of my brown and lime green mug with a flower on it that Tobin bought for me in Indonesia when I was having a really rough week.


Based on some info in the previous paragraph, you may have figured out that I’ ve finally weaned Maelie.

It’s better for both of us.

She’s independent now and capable of giving herself a bottle without my help. But she still lets me snuggle her while she drinks it if I want to…but she’s just as happy not being held. So it’s a win-win.

I think I may be raising a girl who’s just as social as her mommy, too. I tend to get grumpy if I go more than a day or so without seeing a friend or getting out of the house. Apparently, so does she. Yesterday morning, she was just a wreck. In all fairness, we hadn’t been out since Sunday, so part of it was justified. She whimpered and cried most of the way to Judson when we took Tob to work and most of the way home. Then we headed to a friend’s house for the Oprah party, I plopped her on the ground with some other little kids, and she was as happy as anything… for over an hour.

So apparently I need to fill up our schedule with play dates! 😀

So sometime during our coffee date, the story of my “crappy” day will probably spill out. (No pun intended…seriously.)

And, really, it’s ok to laugh now. Cause I will laugh as I recall it.

It started on Tuesday morning around 9 a.m. I had changed Mae’s diaper not too long before but thought I smelled something. I waited it out for a few, but it still smelled and so I carried her upstairs to change the diaper, not realizing that she had exploded out of it completely.

All over my tank top.

We changed the diaper, I changed my shirt, and all was well…or, so we thought.

About an hour later, the dogs were being obnoxious on the porch; I herded them inside to bring peace to the entire neighborhood. Andre kept begging me to go back to the porch…that’s what I thought, anyway.

He was, in fact, begging me to go outside because his poor puppy tummy was upset. Well, I didn’t get the hint, and I paid for it big time.

I was sitting on the couch when he came over to me, squatted, and had diarrhea all over the floor.

It got my jeans and would have gotten the couch if (thank you, God!) a blanket hadn’t been covering it.

So I just cleaned it up (changed clothes AGAIN), threw some laundry in, and called my husband for some sympathy. And took the poor doggy outside again. :(

Later on, the icing on the cake occurred. Really, I’ve just been waiting for this to happen. It was bound to at some point!

I was frazzled from the “poopy” morning and not really thinking clearly. I had mixed up Maelie’s bottle and went to pour it into the liner (we use drop ins) and…


I totally forgot the liner.

Formula went EVERYWHERE. (And out of the three messes within the span of two hours or so? This was was the worst to clean up.) It was all over the counter, floor, and garbage can. Nasty. (Formula, in my opinion, rivals the smell of poop.)

It was one of those comical moments where I was: a) SO glad no one was watching; and b) not sure whether to laugh or cry.

(I chose to laugh.)

We managed to get through the rest of the day with nothing too major other than another diaper blowout that, thankfully, didn’t get all over me again.

But really…sometimes when it rains it pours…or maybe there’s some random poop analogy, but I think I’ll leave that alone. Unless you want to share one. :)

I’m looking forward to my hubby’s long weekend. We don’t have a ton planned, but he mentioned a parade on Sunday. That’s cool. We haven’t gone to one with Maelie yet…and I’m a teensy bit (or a lot!) excited about it. We’ll probably find some things to keep us busy or at least entertained. And I also have a birthday party to plan for my girl…

I don’t know how I feel about that yet. Is she REALLY almost one? Golly gee, time flies.

Well, my toes are frozen…I’m thinking it’s time to go find some socks.



I have a serious problem with this.

However, my feet are cold, so I’m off to fix that.

Hope you are all having a wonderful week. Thanks for joining me!


Her Mommy’s Daughter?

I snapped this picture yesterday…

Maelie might not look like me, but she is most definitely my daughter.

We’ll h ave her hitting

a volleyb

all in no time!

(Just look at that concentration!)

And…one of my favorite mommy/ daughter photos so far.

I just love my beautiful girl!


Taking a Break…and Being Honest

I’m going to give myself a break from The Journey tonight and go a different route.

I’ve been wanting to chat about something that’s come up recently, but I sometimes feel like a broken record.

I mean, how long can a person grieve over something?

It’s been a little over a year since I left Indonesia.

When I first left…I was sad.

I missed it, and I

missed my husband more. Those first weeks home were spent anticipating his return and the birth of our daughter…I’m not sure there was a lot of grief over Indonesia mixed in there.

Then Tobin came home…and life was focused on our little girl and getting ready to move to Illinois.

Yes, there was grief…over leaving Minnesota and friends…but not so much about the loss of Indonesia.

And then we moved…and there was a whole new kind of grief… grieving what was no more.

It’s been a year of figuring that out…but also a year of being so incredibly blessed by life as a family of THREE, by new friends, by a new community and church.

Our minds were so busy with those things that we didn’t really think much about Indonesia.

It wasn’t intentional… it just happened.

And somewhere in the last month…grief started to creep in.

There were days when I would try to push it out and ignore the pain, but it wouldn’ t go away.

I’d get on Facebook, see pictures of former students, and my heart would just ache. I’d hear about staff members and what was going on with them…and I longed to be a part it. I saw pictures of the senior banquet…students we love…and we’re not there.

I think I most accurately verbalized my feelings last week when I told Tobin, “When our students are in Indonesia, I feel like we always have the option of going back to see them again…so it’s ok if we don’t miss them too much. But now another class of incredible students is graduating…and scattering. I’m not sure we’ll ever see them again.”

That’s sad…and the reality of a transitory community.

I’ve let the tears drip this week…surprisingly, there have been a lot of them.

They come at random times but never stick around too long.

The ache is there, though…the dull, physical heartache that makes me long for the day when there will be no more goodbyes.

Just where I am today…sad.

But still thankful.

Because grief means it meant something…that it was worth loving and worth hurting over.

I don’ t long

to go back

to life in Indonesia. It was a season, a piece of our lives.

Life is here and now, and for awhile, I will take the time to grieve if those moments hit.

But I’m going to spend far more of my life looking forward and enjoying the blessings God has given me today.

I’m so, so thankful.


A Journey, Part 2

Denomination: a name or designation, especially one for a class of things.


The word bugs me on so many levels.

Mostly because it creates distinction and designation within the body of Christ,

something I don’t prefer. There is nothing wrong with people who call themselves Baptists, Lutherans, Catholics, etc. It bothers me when those distinctions lead believers to elevate themselves over another body of believers.

I don’t think Christ would have wanted that.

Having a denomination or labeling ourselves is something that Tobin and I have chosen not to do…but we don’t judge those who do. We just prefer the term follower of Christ.

And that’s really where our journey begins. But before I dive into more deep thoughts I want to clarify something.

You might think from some of the things I have written that Tobin and I have disagreed with every church we’ve attended, and that’s not the case. Our last one was Baptist and we loved it.

I’m more referring to the churches preceding that one. On the whole, we disagree with certain things being taught in some churches. ABC…we loved. I simply have nothing negative to say about it, and that’s the truth. And I also can’t lay blame on any one church or college…because life is a series of experiences. There are many good things that were taken from those churches and that college I attended…and also some things that I am choosing to not take away. So please don’t see this as Mel’s bitter revenge but rather as a piece of the journey.

At one time there was some bitterness, but I am choosing to move on from that.

Ok, deep breath.

Tobin and I have said over and over that the most valuable thing we took away from Indonesia was a more open mind. Don’t misread that as us being tolerant of all things now…we simply view life from a different vantage point. We have seen how preferential differences in the body of Christ can be something positive rather than negative. Too often, many Christians believe that anyone who is different is wrong…and that’s not the case at all.

Tobin and I had quite the conversation about LOVE last week, which I eluded to in a previous post.

We’d been talking about how important LOVE is…how we can have so many things, do so many things, believe so many things…but without LOVE, it’s nothing.

LOVE was what Christ showed when he walked the earth, what he demonstrated when he went to the cross, what God showed when he let him

go to the cross.

But I think LOVE is lacking in some Christian circles.

My husband made a comment that has stuck with me for the last week, one that drives home the need for me to continually keep my attitude and mindset in check.

He said, “Because of the way I was raised, my first instinct is to judge rather than love.”

He is trying desperately to change that, and I’ve seen what can come from a human being making that decision.

It’s a blessing to me, my marriage, and my family, but I also thought, Wow. What if we all had that mindset?

Am I loving first


Most of the time, no. But I am seeing, firsthand, what it looks like when someone chooses love over judging.

It’s incredible.

So, armed with that LOVE…through, and only through, the power of Christ… we are trying to be follo

wers of him.

Because we’re no longer calling ourselves Baptists, does that mean that we’ve abandoned everything we were taught?


In fact, our core beliefs have not changed.

However, are we following the expectations we experienced as children/teenagers/college students/adults?


We’re learning what it looks like to walk the fine line of finding freedom in Christ without using grace as an excuse

to do what we want. Of being in the world without being like the world. Of making sure that our preferences still follow what God’s Word has to say.

Some of you are probably wondering why I’m even blogging all of this. At times it probably seems like too much information. And maybe I’m doing it more for myself than for others. But I did have the thought the other day that

If I had known me for years and read some of the things I’ve written lately, I’d wonder.

So maybe it’s my attempt to tell you that while some things have changed, I’m still following Christ. I still want that with all my heart.

And I’m trying to love others through it, too.


A Journey, Part 1

Today I’m going to open up my heart

in a way I never have before.

There will be some raw, tender moments…and I ask that if you choose to read this that you are careful with my heart.

It can’t take being ripped apart right now, especially by someone who has not been in my shoes.

But I do ask that you read what I write…cause that’s why I write it after all!

But if you don’t want to, that’s ok.

And now that I’ve completely contradicted myself? Let’s go.

I once read a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Life’s a journey,

not a destination.”

So profound, and at the same time, so incorrect…at least for me in the place I am right now.

There is nothing wrong with a journey.

In fact, that’s what I’m going to write about today. I want my journey to be important, to matter, to be life-changing.

But as a believer in Christ, I must never, ever forget that it is the destination that is what’s important. And my destination, my true home, is Heaven. But there is plenty to be said for a believer’s journey and the impact he/she can have on earth.

God has taken me (and my husband) on quite the journey this past year, and I want to share it…truly share it…with you. I would be writing for hours upon hours if I attempted to fit it all into one blog post.

So, instead, I’m breaking it up into who-knows-how-many days.

We shall see. :)

This journey is one of faith, of validation, of assurance, of a search for Truth.

You see, my husband and I have been what the world would term Christians for most of our lives. We were both taught at an early age that Jesus died for our sins, that he rose again, and because of this, we could have eternal life in Heaven someday.

We know that…it has been ingrained and implanted in us for years.

We can give you the plan of salvation in a minute flat, Scripture included.

We know the answers for most situations and how to back them up with verses.

We can even flip our way through the Bible faster than most of you can. Ok, ok…so that’s not a fair judgment…I’m just sayin’. :) It’s pretty stinkin’ fast. It would be fun to have a contest sometime, though!

However, a few years ago, things started to shake a little…figuratively. And looking back, we see this shaking as a blessing in disguise.

We realized that we knew SO MUCH…but had no idea why we believed it.

We had been living in a more non-denominational community and were amazed by the things we learned. Forgive me for what I’m about to share…but bear with me.

Because I’m not lying.

The crux of it is that we came to a quite sudden realization that not just Baptists would be in Heaven.

Go ahead and pick yourself up off the floor…it’s ok. So we were kind of (or completely) raised to think we were right, and no one else was.

And before continuing with this thought, you need to know that the idea had been in our minds for quite awhile, though we’d never really talked about it.

The last church we attended in M

innesota was a Baptist church that was balanced and very Biblical. (And pretty amazing, too. Love you all at ABC. :))

However, suddenly we were around Christians from all types of backgrounds and denominations…and these people believed just like we did.

(Well, maybe without all the stuffy rules that we’d been guilted into following for years.) These people were passionate, on fire, and dedicated to loving the Father.

They put me and my rule-following to shame.


As we got to know them and realized how much they loved God, we began to feel that we’d been deceived but didn’t know how to communicate that. And so, to a certain extent, we shut down.

And then after Indonesia, we moved to a new place. We knew no one…and we also knew that there was no better place for us to continue this journey.

Because here we were…in our 30’s.

And searching.

For what, we had no idea. But we knew God would show us in His time.

Part 2 tomorrow: Losing the denomination and following Him.