An Impossible Perspective

I look around me and I wonder.

I wonder a lot of things.

I especially wonder why…why, in this beautiful tropical country, one where God’s fingerprints are everywhere, I still see such need all around me.

Not just physical, but emotional. Spiritual.

It’s as if the need has become too great and no one knows how to help.

Each day is the same for me.

I put on my one pair of tattered flip flops and trudge to the market.

I pass children in their school uniforms. Carrying backpacks with books. Pencils. Paper. They’re excited.

Oh, how I long to be one of them.

There’s so much to learn…do…see…discover. And I want to sit in a classroom and soak it all up right along with them.

I arrive at the market and find my father…the man who sells fish.

Sometimes he sells enough to provide for our family that day. Sometimes not.

But I help him. I love him and am so proud of him for doing what he can for our family.

That evening we go home. Short on sales that day, our family has a bit of rice for dinner. My parents are tired, worn out, discouraged…and we go to sleep early on the corner mattress we share.

I lie there in the dark…and I wait.

I’m waiting for something. Someone. I’m not sure what or who or how, but I pray every day that it will happen.

That someone will choose to help ME. That they will sacrifice a little so I can go to school. And wear red shorts and a white shirt and sit in a classroom and learn all I can. So my family can eat. So my parents can rest easy each night knowing that our basic needs are met.

Maybe they will even have enough energy to join me at church on Sunday.

It’s a beautiful dream and one that could come true, but I need that person. Someone to say, “Your life matters. You are worth investing in. And I want to be that person.”

It would truly change my life forever.


Sometimes, even as a writer, I find it impossible to fully find the perspective of someone.

A child waiting for a sponsor is one of those people.

It’s almost a place I don’t want to go. Most of you know that I’ve seen this very situation…walked right past it many times, I’m sure. I’ll never forget the sight of those students in their red shorts and white shirts on their way to school. And near them, the children who didn’t wear their school uniforms. Didn’t go to school…not because they didn’t want to but because they couldn’t afford to.

I saw need. In the eyes of those children whose lives were spent begging at the corner of Jalan Sukajadi and Pasteur. I wanted something different…better for them. I hope and pray that somehow they found it.

Tomorrow marks the last day of Compassion’s Blog Month. As of Friday, there are still over 400 children waiting for sponsors.

It’s never too late to change the life of a child.

Because every child deserves a chance.


Five-Minute Friday: Grasp

Today I’m linking up with Lisa-Jo at The Gypsy Mama for Five-Minute Friday.

Join me!

The rules: Write for five minutes. No editing, revising, overthinking, or backtracking. Just write.

Today’s Topic: Grasp

I watch each step as her grown-up-much-too quickly toddler legs carry her faster than I could have imagined even a few months ago.

She’ll explore. Climb. Jump. (Jumping is her trademark.)

Eventually she always discovers the tallest slide…you know, the one that gives this momma’s heart a near attack each time she climbs toward the top. She’ll hang out on the platform near it, hover over openings that this Mama Bear thinks should never even be there…and sometimes she’ll go down the slide. Other times, she’ll climb right back down.

The truth is that going to the playground is more stress for me than anything.

I constantly wonder when it will be that she’ll take a nosedive or a freefall, totally-on-purpose jump.

And then…I remind myself.

That she’s two. Growing, changing, discovering, learning…just as she should.

And though it’s tempting sometimes to hold on so tightly that she’ll never leave my arms, I know that’s not my calling.

I have to give her that space to Grow. Change. Discover. Learn.

A little at a time, I have to release my grasp.

And watch her fly.

Five Minute Friday


The Difference of a Few Words

Several years ago when the book, The Five Love Languages, became popular, I read it.

As any emotional, feel-y female would be, I connected with the fact that Gifts was my love language. (Who doesn’t love a good gift?!?!)

But as I’ve spent much more of my time in the past few years writing and hanging with people, I’ve realized that Gifts actually comes further down the list than I once thought. My two love languages? Are really Words of Encouragement/Affirmation and Quality Time.

Especially words. We ALL need them, whether we admit it or not.

God has been challenging me in the last year or so to be intentional about using my words to build others up. That can be done in many ways…a blog post, a simple face-to-face conversation, a text, a phone call, a card.

In fact, I will shamelessly admit that I keep cards. So if you’ve ever sent me a little note or a card, I probably have it saved somewhere. :)

Words of encouragement have such a healing, uplifting power…at least for me. And for probably a lot of other people, too. :)

Dayspring recently sent me a free packet of cards…which I LOVE! (Thanks, guys! :)) They sent me the Colors of Compassion set, and as I looked through each one, I actually thought of several people that those cards were a perfect fit for. Someday…when a little word love is needed. :)

But there was one that caught my eye and challenged me to step out of my box. So, pardon me while I do a little storytelling. πŸ˜‰

Two years ago, my family and I moved to Illinois from Indonesia. But between those two places, we had a quick six weeks in Minnesota and a teeny-bit of time to reconnect with our church from pre-overseas life. The church had changed quite a bit in fiveΒ  years, though we still had several friends there. There was a woman there that I literally met in passing, and we had a few conversations during those weeks, but when we moved, I didn’t really keep in touch with her.

But I did read her blog.

And about a month ago, I caught up on it, and it made my heart bleed. She was going through some really tough things and was so open and honest about her struggles. I admired her courage for sharing the difficult and realized that, though I barely knew her, I could relate to a lot of what she wrote through the different seasons I’ve had in life.

But I had no idea what I could do. I said a prayer for her when I thought of her, and that was that…or at least I thought it was. Maybe our paths would cross again someday.

And then a few days ago I got a card in the mail. It was a completely unexpected, simple, I’m thinking of you note from a friend, and it made my day.

I thought about how much those few words meant to me at this particular time…and asked myself, Why don’t you just send her a note? The worst that can happen is she’ll never reply.

As I flipped through the stack of cards that I’d stashed in a drawer, I found the right one, wrote her a note, addressed it, and mailed it before I had time to chicken out.

I don’t know what will come of it, honestly, and that’s ok.. When I went back and thought about all she’d processed and shared with those who read her space, I realized she just needed some encouragement. Someone to let her know that there were prayers being said for her. Maybe a friendship will come of it, and maybe not, but either way…it’s all ok.

It was a chance to build up a sister-in-Christ.

I really hope it makes her smile. And reminds her she is Loved.

What about you? Is there someone you can encourage? Pull out your phone and send a text to a friend you know is struggling. Take time to jot a note to that friend you haven’t seen in ages but wish you could gab for hours over coffee with. Leave a comment on a friend’s blog just to say hey. (No subtle hints here, I promise. ;))

There are so many ways to make a difference with just a few words

Be blessed today, my friends. Love you all. :)


Good Morning!

Yes, I’m fully aware that it’s late at night.


A friend mentioned this song by Mandisa last night at workout, and it’s been in my head all day long today. Therefore, completely worthy of sharing. Plus, it’s a good one. :)

Ironically, it’s not really an accurate description of our morning. Up past midnight, I woke late to one of the dogs barking his head off at I-don’t-know-what, my hubby already gone, and Maelie still (thankfully) crashed. (We were ALL up too late.)

On those kind of mornings, it’s just so hard to get up and going. I showered, made coffee, got Mae up around 8:30…and I can’t exactly tell you where our morning went or what we did. It just kind of passed and we chilled.

We really needed to get out, though, and since we had no plans, we took a jaunt to Dairy Queen. (This time I walked. ;)) It was a perfect, gorgeous, early-fall day, and though I walked almost three miles, I still wore flip flops.

Yes, I AM a die-hard flip-flop wearer, if you haven’t noticed. :)

It was good to get out, but it was just one of those tired days. Bedtime came early-ish for Mae, and I crossed a couple things off my to-do list. Always nice. :)

As I pushed Mae in the stroller during our walk, we just chatted with each other, and it was SO FUN. My daughter is TWO! We have conversations! We laugh together, even on the days that are more challenging.

I just love her…and am so thankful for her, even if I forget the blessing that she is sometimes.

Here are a few random pics from today. :)

Love memories. Love her even more.

Mae woke up a few minutes before I went into get her this morning. This is what she had done with her stuffed animals…what a funny girl! (I especially love the fact that she has Grover hanging by his neck…haha.) πŸ˜‰Β 

SO love the cheesy smile!

Yay for mommy/daughter ice cream dates! And more cheese, too… πŸ˜‰

My sweetie!


Monday Rambling

Monday night.

Workout night.

I am pretty sure I won’t be able to sit down tomorrow…let alone even get out of bed without help. It was our first night back in the gym after a summer of outdoor workouts, which are good, but I like the gym better. Maybe not the pain that comes with it, though. We always run stairs. And then do a fantastically grueling (haha…I’m wordy tonight) combination of squats and suicides and squats and lunges and ab work and squats and weights. Oh, and squats.

Sorry…we just did A LOT of squats tonight. πŸ˜‰Β 

I’ve kinda been on a workout kick today. I actually ran this morning, too. It was comical…kind of. Well, for me, anything is funny at 7 a.m. :) At the last minute…literally as I started running, I decided to abandon my usual (read: so-familiar-I-can-run-it-blindfolded) morning route in exchange for the bike path by our house. Really, I was mostly just curious to see how fast I could make it to Dairy Queen, which is somewhere between 1.3-1.5 miles from our house. (I forgot to charge my GPS so I had to go on what I remembered, and my pace proved it, I think.) Anyway…the important thing is that now I know I can get to the land of blizzards and freezes (which are my favorite) in 11-12ish minutes. (Maybe even faster if DQ is actually open and there is ice cream waiting.) :)

Oh, and if people stop for runners at crosswalks like they’re SUPPOSED to…I’ll tell that story another day. Maybe. :)

Am I teetering toward dorkiness tonight? I’m thinkin’ so. Sorry.

Tobin had today off, and we had a family adventure to IKEA. For all of the world we’ve seen, I’m sure many of you will find it funny that we have never been to an IKEA, despite living within 30 minutes of one for over half of our married lives. We thought it was a bit ironic, but such is life.

The Pros: Golly, the shopping cart was sweet…the one with the Cozy Coupe-like thing attached to the front. Maelie loved it. Most importantly, she stayed IN it and didn’t run around too much, thus enabling US to actually enjoy the expanse of all things home decor. :) Free breakfast on Mondays, which we didn’t even know about until last night. Uber adorable little girls’ bedroom furniture. I shamelessly took a picture. Happy sigh…someday. :) A cute little pink rug for our girl’s room. Wine glasses…which we needed because after my little mishap (klutzy Mel+granite countertop) we were down to three. Oh, and Chick Fil-A was ever-so-conveniently located on our way home…love how that happens. So, all good stuff. :)

The Cons: Honestly? We thought it was slightly hyped up…and were a little disappointed. I mean, it was an enjoyable outing and was fun to look, but I’m not sure what I was expecting. (I am totally talking myself in a circle here.) And I was sad that the mongo chocolate bar for 99 cents was really not so good. It wasn’t bad…I just wanted super-yummy chocolate. Sadly, it’s not worth my calories. I’m sure I’ll find a culinary use for it anyway. :)

But at the end of the day, it was family and it was fun, and we had a good time.


Well, the adrenaline is starting to slow down, and my eyelids might actually be starting to droop…it IS 11:30…way past my bedtime.

Hope you all had a great Monday. And the good news? You’ve got six more days before there will be another one!



Cold Toes

Summer is turning to fall.

I feel it mostly in the air. And, in my cold toes.

A few days ago, I caved and put socks on. (I usually reserve those only for when I go running.) Refusing to give in to actual shoes, I even tromped outside, sporting the socks and flip flop look for a day or two. SO not cool, Mel…oh, the fashion police I will offend just to avoid shoes.


However, I did finally give in over the weekend and pull out my combat boots. You know, those steal-of-a-deal ones I so fortunately nabbed at Goodwill last December? Yeah, those. :) I smiled as I dusted them off and may or may not have let out a giggle when I realized the last time I wore them was the day we tromped six-ish miles through Pareeee. (Sorry, that was my epic failure of an attempt to sound French.)


And though they were real shoes, I have to admit that my feet liked them very much as I stomped the last bits of European dust off.

I’m sad, though…I’m gonna need to find some replacements very soon. While they’ll work for my Monday-Saturday life for a while longer, I really shouldn’t wear them to church anymore.

Yes, I did say anymore.

I wore them all the time last winter/spring. I do believe that makes me insanely cool. πŸ˜‰

Really, I am pretty ready for fall and all that comes with it…crunchy leaves :), pecan pie, pumpkin spice coffee creamer (found that one a couple weeks ago already!!!), apple cider, sweaters and jeans, going for a morning run when the leaves are pretty, raking the leaves into a big pile and jumping into them because I’m making up for my Indo, fall-less years.

Aaaaahhhh. :)

All of that fun?

Is definitely worth the cold toes. :)

And just because I can…this pic is a couple years old. (Obviously…the girlie is teeny-tiny!) But I love it.


Five-Minute Friday: Wide

Today I’m linking up with Lisa-Jo at The Gypsy Mama for Five-Minute Friday.

Join me!

The rules: Write for five minutes. No editing, revising, overthinking, or backtracking. Just write.

Today’s Topic: Wide

Have you ever seen the movie, The Shawshank Redemption, when Andy is finally free at the end and he opens up his arms wide and fully embraces life in a way, I’m sure, he never had before? Yeah, it’s a pretty sweet movie-moment for sure.

I’d like to think I live like that…or at least try to.

At times recklessly, but mostly just wide open…ready for whatever and whoever comes my way.

I especially see that in my life when it comes to friends…I want those deep, lasting relationships that start with wide open arms that say, Come on in! I’m not interested in superficial or shallow…I want the real deal. People willing to spill hearts, crumble walls, and embrace imperfect…all of which are even better over a cup of coffee. πŸ˜‰

It doesn’t mean that I always embrace life fully…but it’s definitely something I want for myself. To live with a safe-ish reckless abandon and learn to love fully like my Father did. And still does.

What a beautiful example of wide…the way my Savior’s arms reached out so. much. wider. than mine ever will…He embraced the Father’s will for him and used those wide open arms to show the world just how much he loves us.


Five Minute Friday


Little Blessings (Pt. 49)

:) A day of sunshine with back porch guitar lessons.

:) D minor and the fact that my fingers can almost find it now.

:) A healthy daughter who, somehow, took a headfirst dive down twelve steps today and is completely fine. I know all kids fall down stairs, but that was the scariest thing I’ve ever seen. So thankful she’s ok.

:) Red toenail polish and flip flops in September.

:) Words of encouragement from friends.

:) Music and laughter.

:) Smiles for a friend.

:) Episodes of Road to Avonlea. (Yeah, I’m still addicted.)

:) Clumsy moments…yeah, that’s me. Thanking God my eye isn’t black and blue. Yet.

:) Having permission to dream…and knowing that my Father isn’t limited.


Tuesday Toast and Tea

I know you’re all marveling at my astounding alliteration.

But before you think I’ve gone all British on you or that I’m a complete dork, though that IS highly probable most days, I’ll just throw it out there that I feel icky. Clearly last night’s hope of my cold being almost-over crashed and burned. Therefore, sick = (honey/butter) toast + (peach) tea. (For those of you who like specifics.) πŸ˜‰

I am blessed in the fact that I don’t have anywhere I need to be tomorrow. (Other than resting as much as possible.) I am extremely grateful that my daughter decided an afternoon nap was a glorious thing today…here’s hoping she feels the same way tomorrow. πŸ˜‰

Sometimes I don’t so much enjoy the grumpy, sick Mel. Colds are the worst. I’ve said it before that I’d take a 24-hour stomach bug any day over a cold, especially the kind that clogs up my throat and ruins my voice. Singing to Maelie tonight was extra lovely, I can assure you. I’m glad she won’t remember my extremely raspy version of Brahm’s Lullaby. πŸ˜‰

Man, this cold is just bringing out the sarcasm all over the place.

In all seriousness, though, Maelie and I managed to have a pretty good day. A dose of DayQuil got me through the morning. A friend stopped over for coffee (always fun!) and then my girlie and I trekked over to Goodwill for a few. I was running out of steam (aka: the meds were wearing off) and so we cut the trip the short, but I did have a few good finds…and they were things I needed. I can’t wait to go back and finish my trip. :)

Maelie and I had some good princess castle-playing, and we even played an actual card game…sort of. She dumped all the cards out and then matched some of them up. I was impressed…I didn’t teach her how to match them…maybe Tobin did. (honey???) Puzzles, care bears, ponies…all the usual favorites. It was a nice way to spend the day with my favorite chica. She sure is a sweetheart…well, except when she rocks the rocking chair right over my baby toe. (But that’s a story for another day.) She kissed it better without me even asking her…that may or may not have melted my heart into a mongo puddle.

Life just kind of is this week…and honestly, it’s good. Maelie is just so fun right now…conversations make sense, she’s able to actually play with people, we laugh together, there are lots of hugs and I-love-you’s and walks around the neighborhood. She’s so eager to help and just be near me…I love it so much I almost want to freeze time. (Except for part with the random temper tantrums at hospital main entrances…totally hypothetical…but I’m guessing all mommies would agree on that one. ;))

Just soaking up the blessings of today and thanking Him for each one.

Heading to bed…I’m determined to feel better tomorrow. Blessings, friends.


Monday Observations

Time for the random of a Monday.

Actually, it’s time for the random of my brain. It just happens to be Monday. πŸ˜‰

Flip flop weather is almost over. This makes me very sad…very. I’m not sure what to do with my feet once it’s too cold for flip flops. Well, besides put socks on and pray that my combat boots make it through another winter. I’m gonna need to be on the lookout for another pair. Remember how I always have a backup pair of sunglasses? Combat boots are kinda in the same category.

Even though it’s almost time to wear actual shoes, I’m looking forward to fall. Hellooooooo, leaf-crunching while I run; sometimes I go out of my way to run through random piles of leaves :) Plus, I love sweaters and jeans and, ahem…combat boots. (See a theme going here?)

Over the weekend, we spent some time at Heritage Fest in West Dundee. I was impressed with what a big deal it was…and it was a lot of fun. Good music, good friends, good food. (See yesterday’s post. ;)) Maelie especially loved the parade and caught on quickly to the fact that she could run out into the street for candy almost faster than I could chase her. I think she gave me about a dozen almost-heart attacks, but we still had fun.

I came down with a cold on Saturday. My first in, like, a year, so I can’t complain too much. I can’t tell if it’s coming to an end already or if it’s still going to hit hard. Praying it’s almost over…I’m a grump when I’m sick.

I did yoga for an hour tonight. I can’t understand why people enjoy it. Is there something I’m missing? I just don’t like it. I think I’m just more of a run-like-mad, sweat-it-up, get-the-workout-over-with-already kind of girl. I am almost positive that I will hurt tomorrow, though…possibly even later tonight. So it had to have been good for me. Or something. :)

I went back at looked at my bucket list for 2012 over the weekend. Please don’t go look, too. I am waaaaaay behind. Way. Ugh. Funny how, at the beginning of the year, twelve months seemed like more than enough time to get things done…but it really wasn’t. (P.S. Can someone teach me how to thread my sewing machine???)

This has been, possibly, one of the more pointless posts I’ve ever written. At least you know where my brain is at…not a total loss, right? πŸ˜‰

Happy almost-Tuesday. Hope your Monday was a good one. :)