11 from 2011

Wowsers, it seems like 2011 flew!

Today is a brief (or not?) recap of 11 highlights of the year. (In really no particular order. Promise.)

#11: barefootmel.com is born. Truly this one has been an adventure. You have no idea the things I have learned as I’ve
splashed my life out every day for you all to read. It’s been fun, it’s been frustrating, it’s been time consuming, it’s been healing. I am so thankful for words and how God gives each of us different abilities to use them.

#10: One more hole. This year I did something I’ve wanted to do for years…pierce my nose. Yes, it hurt. But I’m so glad I did it…and I love it.

Really. But in case you are nervous for whatever reason, know two things: 1) there was zero rebellion attached to the decision; and 2) there will be no more piercings for Mel. :)

#9: Four more wheels. We got by for sixteen months with one car, and I think it taught us a lot about not needing everything we always thought we did.

However, with Maelie getting bigger and busier and me often feeling trapped, we knew we needed to buy another one eventually. That happened on a Sunday morning (before church!) in October. We’re really thankful for that silver Mitsubishi in our driveway.

#8: Road trip fun.

In September we took our first true “family” vacation, visiting Green Bay, St. Louis, and Southaven, MS in the span of ten days. We had a wonderful time with family and friends and discovered that traveling with a one year old can be done…and can even be fun!

#7: Guestwriting: In May a short piece I wrote was published on one of my favorite blogs. And in October I started writing (very sporadically) for an online newspaper in our area. It’s good, and I’ve enjoyed getting my feet wet in the writing arena. (Now I just need more time!)

#6: Coffee love: Yeah, I love coffee, and that’s not news to anyone here! In August I started working at Café Firefly, a (somewhat) local coffee shop. It was a fun job and I loved meeting some new friends there, but sadly, it just didn’t work for my family’s schedule, and my last day was a couple weeks ago. I’ll miss it and am thankful it’s a short hop away so I can still say hi. :) (And caffeinate myself.)

#5: Immanuel: In June we joined Immanuel Lutheran Church and have loved getting involved there through Bible studies and praise team and volunteering. When we think back to previous years and how we’d talk about what we were looking for in a church, we realize that Immanuel fits those things. The people there are becoming our family, and we love them…and love worshiping our God with them.

#4: Home: In July, just one day shy of a year after we moved to 127 N.

Wisconsin, it officially became ours.

I’ve gone on and on about that enough on this blog, but it doesn’t mean that it’s any less important to us.

We’re home…in a neighborhood we love and a community we’re slowly becoming a part of.

It is so good to be home.

#3: Holy cow, we have a ONE YEAR OLD!

In June, our sweet Mae turned one. We celebrated by throwing a big bash for her and inviting our new friends and neighbors over for a BBQ. Over 50 guests, 100 hamburgers and hotdogs, and the cake to end all cakes made up of 86(?) cupcakes. It was a memory we will always cherish. :)

#2: Milestones: Along with a growing and changing daughter come those milestones…some sad, some happy, some
in-between. There were first steps that all too quickly turned to running, first words that soon turned to constant chatter, first haircuts, new things discovered each and every day. And while there’s a twinge of sadness that Maelie is growing up so quickly, we are learning to love and cherish each moment spent with our daughter.

She is an amazing person, and being her mommy
has without a doubt been the highlight of my year.

#1: Where I am: It’s a category on my blog that I post about often. Truly, it’s been an upside-down, rightside-up year.

There have been joys, sorrows, times of growing, times of struggling, gains, losses…but in all of those things, my Father has never left
me, and each day I am learning to love Him just a little more.

I pray that will continue in 2012.

And I hope you are as blessed as I was this year. :)

Th anks to

all of you for being

a part of my life. I love you.


What Mel Does On Her Day Off…

Which one

to buy, which one to buy…

Don’t worry, friends,  I only bought one.

The silver one in my right hand, if you’re curious.

Y ay for

a new purse!

(And a hubby who knows what his wife wants for Christmas… ;))


Home Again

Sorry for the less-than-exciting blog posts lately.

We’re home from Minnesota as of about five hours ago…and tired. (Can someone please tell me why sitting for hours in a car makes a person so exhausted?!)

Anyway, we had a good time, and there are a few pictures I want to share with you…later. (aka: When I’m thinking more clearly.)

It’s weird that

Chr istmas

is over. The season crept up, and suddenly…it was gone. I’m hoping Tobin will let me keep the tree up for ano

ther week or so.


Tomorrow…which will definitely make a blog post in the near future… is my day off.

Tobin gave me a day off for Christmas.

Technically, I’m not taking the whole day off, but there’s going to be a morning run, some alone time to think and write, time to spend some Christmas money withOUT a little person along, a much-needed coffee and chit-chat session with a sweet friend, and an also-much-needed Girls’ Night Out.

I’m really looking forward to a day to catch my breath…and I know I’ ll miss my girl.

I always do when I’m not with her, but this is good.

Taking a break actually makes me a better mommy, and I’m not going to apologize for that.


Hope this has been a good week for you all.

Lots of love.


That Picture I Post When I Can’t Think of Anything Else

No, seriously, it seems like every Scrabble game is good times…and it’ s been a good vi

sit with family in M


A little bit sad to leave



Maelie’s 1st Haircut

Yes, friends…it was another milestone today for our girl.

This milestone made mommy’s heart a little sad, but it’s ok…she’s too cute for me to be that sad about it. :)

Here we are with Aunt Bethany, who did the hair cutting.

(She is actually Tobin’s sister, but she looks like she could be my sister. True.)

Here’s a pic from the front…

… and from the back.

Yep, the curls are gone…but we’re sure they’ll be back!

Definitely a d

ay to remember.



Love From Minnesota

Tobin and I came “home” to our first home today.

..well, our first one together.

We spent our first three years of marriage in a suburb of Minneapolis, and it was a great place to start out. After Indonesia, we kinda thought we’d come home to here…but God had other plans.

It wasn’t easy to leave this place…and we thought we’d return to visit more often than we have. We spent Thanksgiving 2010 here…and that was the last time we’ve been to Minnesota until


That seems like a long time to go between visits.

But what’s funny is that though home is now C’ville…which we LOVE, Minnesota still feels so familiar.

I guess it’s good that a place that isn’t home anymore still feels like a place we can come home to.

We’ll be busy the next couple days

with family…including LOTS of Mae’ s cou

sins, so forgive me now if my posts are short or just pictures. :)

Sending a little love from Minnesota…it’s good to be b ack for

a few days.



Merry Christmas!


From my family to you…Wishing you a jo

yous Christmas as we celebrate the birth of our Savior!


Sing Noel

One of my favorite Christmas songs.

Enjoy. :)

(But as a side note, I’ m not a huge f

an of the video.

Just sayin’. ;))


Christmas Blessings

Maybe yesterday’s heart spillage was healing for me.

I went to bed and woke up feeling like I actually slept…which is something I haven’t felt for weeks.


It was a good day.

Like, a really good one.

There were smiles and laughter.

The laughter began early when we discovered that our gymnast-of-a-daughter was turning somersaults in her crib. I kid you not. We’ve seen her do it once before but thought it was a fluke…apparently not. Seriously?!?!

There were reflections on the season

and moments of rejoicing. Mostly due to the fact that I took some time to truly think about what I wrote about Mary yesterday. I decided she’s definitely one of my heroes.

There was a 3-mile run spent singing along to my favorite Christmas songs. (Sorry if you were driving by and happened to hear me…it is very hard to sound good when you’re out of breath and wearing earbuds. But I SANG. And it was really good.) And to make you laugh…I know all the words to You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch. I blame Newsong for putting it on their Christmas CD.


Maybe the biggest blessing of the day was being able to encourage a friend. You know how when you are hurting and feel like you are the one needing the encouragement? This opportunity fell into my lap…and it made my heart happy.

Sometimes my favorite thing in the world is making someone else’s day a little brighter.

I’ve talked about JOY over and over…knowing full well that it’s often a choice.

But at the same time, making that choice to find JOY in my days has become almost habit. I think that’s a good thing.

I’m really looking forward to celebrating the next few days with family and friends.

I hope you are feeling blessed this season.

If you’re not, take some time and count those blessings…you’ ll be surprised how much JOY is in a day.


Love to you…and thanks for praying.


Two Thoughts

I was reading some of my favorite blogs tonight and was struck by two different thoughts that somehow tie together in my mind…and actually make sense with the place I am tonight.

I’ll start with a very UNdetail-oriented overview of life lately.

It’s been really hard. And I can’t give you details, just ask for

your prayer.

At the same time, I know that this difficult time…this brokenness…is what God is asking me to do right now.

And it WILL be good and it WILL be what He wants, but that DOESN’T mean it’s easy.

I haven’t been able to talk through things with anyone. At times, I desperately feel the need to process what’s going on in my heart, but I’m seeing the wisdom in the fact that, through circumstances, God is asking me to wait before I talk. (New concept for me, definitely. ;))

And so I wait in what seems like darkness and oblivion.

And I choose to trust though I’ll admit that I don’t understand.

And through tears, I find JOY buried somewhere deep in side.

..choosing to see it in the small things that make up a day. A hug from my daughter, a text or call from a friend, a promise from the Word, a cup of coffee.

The last two weeks have been spent walking this road, doing just these things.

And then I think back to Mary…and how she did these same things… on a much greater scale.

What was being asked of her, she never would have chosen. The road of judgment and fear and unknown that He asked her to travel…she did so with complete trust.

I’m sure there were days when it was dark.

I’m sure there were moments when she just couldn’t understand why God chose her to carry His Son.

I’m sure she sometimes had to dig deep to find JOY in the midst of something so unknown…so scary.

Yet, she chose to be obedient and do what God asked of her when He asked it.

I’m not sure these two connect for any of you…but it’s where my heart is tonight.

What I love about God’s promises is that they are just that…PROMISES.

He doesn’t leave those He loves brokenhearted. Without hope. Unloved. Forgotten.

He does exactly the opposite. He heals the brokenhearted. He gives a Hope that is more sure than anything.

He Loves with an everlasting Love.

And He is with me always… never leaving my side.

I ask for your prayers…but I also completely trust my Father.

Sometimes life is hard.

But my God is still so very Good…and I cling to that. :)

Love you all.