Finding JOY

I had a really rough day yesterday.

The kind of day that, when faced with blogging at the end of it, I couldn’t do it.

I couldn’t write, I couldn’t think…so I wrote fluff.

Like, real, stupid fluff. Very rarely does the quality of my writing stoop to that level.

Last night when finally got into bed, I felt my fingers grasp the small silver circle I wear on a chain around my neck.

It’s simple. It contains the stamp of a small flower and three letters.


I wear it in memory of my friend. I wear it to remind myself of the JOY I have because I have a Father Who loves me and values me. I wear it to help myself remember to choose that JOY each and every moment.

And I have to be honest with you that last night I wanted to do anything but choose it.

In fact, I would have been happier to throw it all out the window.

It wasn’t a good day. It started off fine, but by afternoon, it wasn’t so good.

I couldn’t string a sentence together to s

ave my life. There’s no post for the Patch this week.

I couldn’t stop the tears from falling. I felt worthless.

Tobin and I had a pretty good argument which ended, as usual, with me in tears. I got to leave for grocery shopping with eyes so puffy and red that I felt everyone staring at me.

It ended up being a late night, and by the time I literally crawled under the covers, all I wanted to do was forget about everything, including the JOY I’m supposed to have.

That JOY…that choice.

The one that says, I’m going to make the best of this and be happy with life no matter what I’m given.

And that’s when I thought about her…that girl. Gitz, who was so joyf

ul. I didn’t visit her condo, the one she stayed in 24/7 for years. I didn’t ever meet her in person, only in the words of life that she spoke through her blog. I didn’t read her complaints… I read her joyful words.

In one of her posts, she wrote the following, and I thought through those words last night.

A reader asked her, “How do you manage to stay so positive

? So happy? Don’t you ever just get really mad?”

Here’ s her an


I suppose the cop out answer, while true, is that I just don’t have the energy to be mad. Seriously. It takes so much effort and energy to wallow. And it’s not any fun.

I live 99.8% of my time alone, and if anger was all I had to
live with I would lose my mind.

I think, for me, it has been about learning to want what He wants for me more than what I want for myself. It’s a tall order and I don’t say that flippantly. But my joy has truly come from Him finding His joy in me rather than me finding my joy in what I desire.

It doesn’t mean I don’t long for different, it just means I find peace in fulfilling rather than understanding.

In the knowledge that this life isn’t about me, it’s about Him.

The thing I try to remind myself of, as I am without all the things that I wish I had to make me happy, is that my biggest need is Him. More than I need to be outside in the fresh air, more than I need to move without pain, more than I even need Dad… I need His will to be done in my life whether it is comfortable or not. There is not one thing that feels comfortable about my world right now, but I need Him more than I need to change my circumstances.

It’s still brutally hard. I have to remind myself of these facts every day. It doesn’ t always come easily.

But it doesn’t make the truth any less true.

And the truth is that I can choose the joy.

So I do.

This morning I woke up and went for my run. Two miles in the somewhat-freezing cold, and I smiled the whole time.

I came home, got my girl ready for the day, and we headed to church to help with something. After, we went out with two friends who always make me smile…and it was good.

My heart was happy, and the truth is, I know that every day won’t be like this…but there is still so much JOY in my life around me, even on those days when I can’t see it.

But if Sara could find it, I know I can.

I miss her. But I also know that, at this very moment, she is more JOYful than she’ s ever been.

And that’ s pretty cool.


Random…With Some Help From a Friend

Tonight, friends, you are in for

a treat!

My sweet friend, Lex, aka: Whoopie Pie Queen, is helping me come up with the random that makes

up a day.

Just for your information, at this late hour, neither of us claim total responsibility for the randomness and/or craziness that may come from this post.

Here we go!

#1: If you’re having a crappy day and your eyes are all puffy from crying, walk down the coffee aisle at the grocery store.

Just sayin’…it made me feel a little better.

#2: Lamps from the clearance section at Target can often turn into cool decorations.

#3: Always leave at least one safety lock open on your windows so you can break into the house if necessary.

This is wisdom spoken from very recent experience.

#4: Google Maps and GPS cannot always be trusted to get you to your location. This is being written by a girl who had a very, very early coffee date this morning and couldn’t find the hotel where she needed to pick up her friend  in the dark.

Frus. Trat. Ing.

#5: I just want french fries and chocolate. I want them so badly, I would eat them together. Mmmmm.

Have you had enough random


I’ll be back tomorrow… hopefully a little more awake.




Missing Moments

It’s barely early afternoon, and I already know I won’t be getting the Mommy Award today.

Tuesdays and Wednesdays are busy…and stressful. Because I leave for work at 4:30, I have to make sure that Mae and Tobin have something to eat for dinner…and pb & j is really only ok every other week or so.

They like REAL dinner…can’t say I blame them too much. 😉

I’ve also been slightly procrastinating a blog post that I need to finish by tonight to keep myself on track…and I haven’t found the time to string the words together yet.

And in between getting all of that ready and spending all day with my girl, I’ve found myself losing my patience with her 

so much more quickly.

I think part of it is Mae’s age, but I KNOW that most of it is me.

Mae is dying to be close

to me all the time and wants to help me do everything. Her idea of being helpful

? Throwing EVERYTHING into the kitchen garbage.

No matter what I try, she just can’t seem to understand that not everything belongs in the trash can…she just loves to “help”.

It’s almost as cute as it is annoying, and I truly think she’s trying to be helpful, but after fishing things out of it over and over all morning, I finally lost it.

And I yelled.

The look on her face said everything, and I knew I’ d completely messe

d up.

I took a few deep breaths, counted, and went over to her.

I love kids and how quickly they forget.

She held her arms up, and when I picked her up she gave me a hug. I sat down with her on the couch and talked to her about staying out of

the garbage.

I know she doesn’t get it yet.

But that’ s not the point.

I also asked her to forgive me and prayed with her.

I know she doesn’t get that yet, either, but that’s really not the point.

I’m finding that on busy days when I have an agenda and so many things I feel like I need to accomplish, I miss out on the moments that make up a day.

My girl is 16 months old, and she’s already growing up too fast.

She’s down for a nap now, and she’ll probably wake up just before I leave for work.

I’ll get a few minutes with her, and then I won’t see her again until tomorrow morning.

Another day gone.

And how many of those moments did I take today? I sat down to read a few books with her, I played the stacking toy with her, I took a (very, very) short walk outside with her.

But I don’t w ant to miss

those precious hugs, those sweet giggles, those times I can’t get back…any of them…because I’ m too focused on

making dinner or finishing a blog post or making a grocery list.

I don’t want to miss a day.

A moment.

A second.

Tobin and Maelie might have to order a pizza more often, but at least I’ll know that I spent my days in the best possible way I could.

Because I didn’t miss any moments.


Dancing in the Rain

It hasn’t been a horrible few weeks at all.

In fact, life is really good, and we KNOW we’re blessed.

It’s just that sometimes the little things start to get overwhelming, and then suddenly…


The rain just starts to fall.

It’s been a long six weeks for Tobin.

We were eagerly counting down to today, hoping that his cast would come off. Today at the doctor, he was told at least two more weeks.

Thankfully, everything’ s in place.

No surgery.

We (primarily Tobin) have spent a lot of our extra time lately looking for/ at used cars.

We’re thankful that when we returned to the States a year+ ago that we could buy a reliable minivan. We are so, so grateful for that, and for the last year, we’ve been able to get by with just one car thanks to our incredible friends loaning us their extra car for a significant amount of time and beca

use Tobin could bike to work in the summer.

Now that the weather is getting colder and there are more places that Maelie and I can/have to be, it’s just becoming necessary to find another vehicle. (Read: cheap, old, point-a-to-point-b car.)

That’ s not a

s ea

sy as it sounds. In f act, thinking of it these d

ays gives me a headache.

This morning, our most promising one fell through…it needed more work than it was worth.

I’m really trying to focus on the silver lining here.

Though we are becoming desperate for another vehicle, the last thing we want is a car that’s going to drain our bank account.

My get-out-of-the-house job is kind of up in the air right now…because the owners aren’t sure what’s happening with the shop.

I’m really trying to have a positive attitude either way, but sometimes it’s just nice to know what’s going to happen, isn’t it? Yeah. I’m actually thinking of hopping over to Starbucks and working a couple mornings a week  there…we’ ll see what happens.

No matter what, I’m giving thanks that Tobin has a good job, and that we’ll be ok if I don’t work.

I’ve really tried to be intentional about choosing JOY lately…both because I know God commands us to be joyful in all things, but also because I want to live that kind of life, just as my sweet friend Sara did.

Some days I’m going to flail and flounder, but I really do want to learn to choose that JOY…and not only to choose it but to live it.

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”


We’re Goin’ Running!

So…um…at least I am.

I’m kind of a runner…at least I pretend to be. And I probably run about ten miles a week; that qualifies me as a real runner, right? 😉

I got into running the year

before I had Maelie…I loved to go for late night jogs in Kota Baru.

After I had her, I decided that to help me get back into shape (um, that’s questionable :)) I would run a 5k, and I literally registered for the first one I found online.

Thankfully it involved chocolate or I would have had zero motivation.

I r an it with Tobin

and a friend, and we had a good time. It was more than a little early, but the chocolate waiting for us at

the finish line made up for it.

:) And we got a nifty jacket/hoodie, so that was kinda fun, too.

But the course was extremely crowded, almost to the point of being dangerous, and I decided that I didn’ t wan

t to run it again this year.

Until last week.

I randomly decided that I couldn’t NOT do it… and so I registered.

The problem is that I can’t find anyone who will run it with me…so I’m facing a 5k in 19 days alone.

Well…alone, along with 14,999 other people I don’t know.

Unless you want to run it with me.




And to give you plenty of notice, I’m planning on the Chicago Marathon 2012.

You are welcome to join me.


I’m sure there will be plenty of pain and puking, but I totally plan on finishing it and getting that medal.

(Ok, I really need to make my bucket list, huh?)



Thinking Aloud

Sometimes I drive my husband crazy when I “think aloud”…he’ll try to figure out what I’m talking about and then get frustrated when I inform him that I’m just saying what I’ m thinking about and not talking to hi

m at all.

I suppose I can see where he’s coming from…a little, anyway. 😉

Tonight my brain is just a jumble of thoughts that don’t really relate to each other at all.

And, I’ve got a nasty headache that I’m hoping to sleep off.


I’ll let you know how that goes tomorrow. :)

Just think of tonight’s blog post as a coffee date without the coffee ’cause I had too much Diet Coke tonight, anyway. :)

I’ve been thinking all week about what I blogged last Sunday. Feel free to hop back and read my kinda-long-winded thoughts about how I was feeling somewhat worthless. After I blogged it, I noticed this quote on a friend’s refrigerator:

Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.

I like it…but it also made me think even more; about how even if I may not be the best at anything, it’s still important to do things to the best of my ability, to work hard, and to leave the rest up to God.

Something I’ m definitely still working on.

It’s been an I-miss-Indonesia day. I’m really ok, just a little teary about it all. Tobin and I went out on an actual date tonight (sorry…that completely deserved bold letters!) and chatted about it a little. One thing we’re so thankful for is how God has blessed us with good friends from each sea

son of life.

We love where we are now and wouldn’t trade it for a second, but those friendships from our time overseas are so valued.

Yeah, definitely missing Indo and all the craziness that it held.

On the flip side of that, I’m having to show some restraint already in my writing for the Patch.

I want? To write about Indonesia this week.

I need? To stick with my original theme at least for a week or two before I divert.

You know, I’m really thankful for writing.

Sometimes I complain when it’s 10 p.m. and I haven’t blogged yet, but really, the blog has become so much more than words to me. It’s almost like a friend…the place where I hash out beliefs and convictions, share stories and dreams, and remind myself over and over of how blessed I am. I also love that my daughter will be able to come back to this someday and read what we were experiencing as we raised her.

Hopefully she won’t be mad at the funny/slightly embarrassing stories about her that I’ve shared with you all. :)

I warned you…I’m really random tonight. :)

And sticking with the random, I’m going to crash.

It’s been a long, busy day.

Love you all.



Having a bit of writer’ s block tonight.

Don’t worry, I won’t give you Round 2 of “Mel and Tobin Finish Each Other’s Sentences”….though it IS tempting!

Maybe I’ll just tell you about my day


Yeah, I’ ll do that.


If we’re being technical, my day actually began at the Village Squire.

I was out with some friends and didn’t get home until about 12:30. Ooops…short night of sleep, but so much fun to hang out with them!

I did manage six hours of sleep before I woke (BEFORE my alarm) to the sounds of Maelie protesting the confines of her crib. Seriously, kiddo?! It’s still dark out!

I dragged myself out of bed anyway, showered and got ready, helped get the girl ready, and then went to coffee with my friend, Kris. Yay for Caribou and a chance to catch up! AND a short trip to Goodwill, which really is starting to grow on me.

I love a good deal, and today I got TWO of them! 😀

Definitely a good start to the day.


I came home for a few hours, played with a cranky (perhaps sleep-deprived?) girl, fed her lunch, and then she was happy again when I left for a bridal shower.

(And took a close-to-FOUR-hour nap while I was gone!)

I spent about four hours helping with a painting project, and it was fun. Good company, and I perfected my tropical flower-painting skills.

I even managed a palm tree…which was kind of cute.

Kind of.

Then it was home, a quick two-mile run (well, “quick” is subjective), dinner, bath time-play time-bedtime for my Mae, and now…

There’s laundry to do, a blog post that is (almost!) done, and sleep to get.

I like that last part a lot.


G’nite, friends.


A New Place to Read My Thoughts

Hi, friends!

Today I finally get to tell you all about that new writing opportunity I have.

A few weeks ago I met the editor of the Algonquin Patch at the coffee shop where I work.

Through conversation, she mentioned that she really needed bloggers, and I informed her that blogging was right up my alley!

And that I would be more than excited to blog for the Patch!


It was one of those conversations that happened at the perfect time.

I love writing my blog but have been itching to do a little more writing…and maybe a different type. I also love that I’m under no obligation to turn in posts at a specific time; I can go at my own pace, though I admit that my brain is full of ideas right now!


Today, you can head over here and check out my first post.

If you’re a long-time reader of my blog, chances are that most of it is nothing new, but you’ll enjoy it anyway.


I still have plans to keep up on this blog every day, but am looking forward to expanding my audience a little by contributing to the Patch about once a week.

And I’ll link here each time I write, so you can keep up on those posts, too.

Thanks, my friends, for reading!


Little Blessings (Pt. 11)

:) Friends who cheer me up and encourage me.

:) Writing…and a new opportunity, which I can hopefully tell you all about tomorrow!

:) Insanely gorgeous weather for about 12 days straight.

Rain today? No reason to complain at all…let it pour!

:) The BK play place and that Maelie is somewhat big enough to play there now.

:) Batik blankets and little reminders of Indonesia that are everywhere.

I love that it will always be a small part of us.

:) Creativity and the fact that it’s slowly creeping back.


:) A sweet daughter who loves other people.

:) Eight hours of sleep.

:) A sweet hubby who made me coffee this morning.

:) A fun weekend to look forward to…a girls’ night, a coffee date with my sweet friend, a bridal shower to help with, church, and (hopefully) a date with Tobin.

Hope you’ re feeling as blessed

as I am today.



Ok, just so we’re being up front, I typically don’t use “LOL”.

Unless I really do laugh out loud.

..then it’s ok. :)

Today I totally laughed out loud.

For real…I’m surprised I didn’ t wake up Maelie.


For those of you on facebook, you know how there will be friends’ previous status updates that randomly pop up on the sidebar

? And how they can be from eons ago?

This showed up a few minutes


Tobin Schroeder: My wife’s water is going to break on Monday!

I laughed so stinkin’ hard. 😀

Then I stopped, and thought to myself…Goodness, I’m so glad that’ s not true anymore!

Haha. :)

Thought I’d share.