Five-Minute Friday: Choose

Friends, it’s been too long, and I’ve missed this community of heart-sisters and friends. And so today, I’m linking up with Lisa-Jo for Five-Minute Friday. If you’d like to jump in…grab a timer, set it for five minutes, and join me!

The rules: Write for five minutes. No editing, revising, overthinking, or backtracking. Just write. Then leave some comment love for the person who linked up before you…and anyone else because that’s the fun and the heart of the community!

Today’s prompt: Choose

I made a choice tonight.

To come back to write for Five-Minute Friday.

I’ve taken several weeks off, and it has nothing to do with anyone in the community…friends, my sweet sisters, you bless me. And I’ve missed you.

But I’ve also been having a doozy of a time with writing.

I call myself a writer, but for some reason I have struggled…battled…to get those words out.

And so I ran.

Not too far and not too long, but I ran just enough that I could give myself an excuse. I didn’t want to go away, but the choice to stay felt too difficult.

And you know what?

That choice made me miss all of you.

Miss the Thursday nights we used to tweet late into the evening and then spill our hearts through drooping eyelids. Miss the laughs and jokes and comments we shared.

It made me miss my community. A place I find home.

And it reminded me that community isn’t because of ability or the amount of words we can splash onto a page or, even, how beautiful we can make them sound.

Community is about making the choice to show up and love, every single day. No matter what.

Friends, I’ve missed you. And I’m sorry I ran for a little while. I might not be back every week, but I’m not going to run anymore.

Because my community…my family…it means too much to me.

And I choose to be here.

Five Minute Friday


Coffee For Your Heart: On Death Grips and Inspiration

We’re sixteen days out.

Sixteen sleeps, as I tell my girl.

It’s crazy…craaaaazy…that in just two and a half weeks, our family of three will be boarding a plane bound for Indonesia. (Only for a two week visit…just in case you thought we were moving back. Nope.) :)

To be honest, I don’t think I’ve fully processed all that will actually go into an opposite-side-of-the-world trip with a toddler. I know there will be extra packing and more organization than normal needed…gone are the days when we can toss things into suitcases the night before and call it good. Now I actually have to plan what she will need, not only while we’re there…but while we’re on the plane. While we’re in the airports. While she’s up at two a.m. and running circles in someone else’s house, thanks to the inevitable, sleep-stealing, jet-lag.

I have gone over and over potential details of this trip in my head…meaning I’m pretty sure I’m missing a lot. (I need to just Make. A. List.) 😉

But I’ve planned surprise activities and gifts for Mae. (A huge thank you to the dollar section at Target.)

Lots of snacks. (Hello, endless fruit snacks and goldfish. Hypothetically, of course. Of. Course.) 😉

New headphones so she can watch movies and play games. (The first flight is 14 hours. The second, nine. Plus a stellar eight hours in the Doha airport. Yeah….)

My goal is to do everything in my power to keep her busy, entertained, and blissfully unaware of what happens when the plane lands.

Because here comes the confession. 😉

I’m not a great flier. I do fine once we’re in the air, but the takeoffs send my heart rate up, and the landings? Well, they send it through the roof.

It’s pretty safe to say I hate landings, which is so weird and ironic, because those landings mean we’ve finally arrived, and the fun can begin.

But I still loathe them…and freak out far more than a person should.

Though the takeoffs make me nervous, I totally plan on grabbing Mae’s hand, comforting her if she’s scared, being close and letting her know that her mommy is there as the plane soars into the sky.

She thinks we’re taking the plane to heaven…goodness, I hope not. 😉

But the landings…well, that’s where I might get selfish and hand it ALL over to my hubby. I’ll be too busy trying to calm my own heart, attempting to keep my pulse inside of my body, hoping I don’t break my fingers as I death-grip the armrest.

And that will be hard for me…I know it. I will struggle as my three year-old sees fear in her mama, up close and right in front of her.

It’s not something I’m proud of…but I also know something. I’ve been on a gazillion flights…I think, last time I counted, we are hovering near the 200 mark.

And I know…I KNOW…it’s not going to be different.

I’m not going to magically have a calm heart and be all chill when the plane hits the runway and, most likely, does a hopefully-only-little bounce. I can pray, and I know He will give me the strength to get through it.

My Father knows how good my prayer life is when a plane is about to land…but He also knows that’s how I face fear.

I’ve been thinking about fear and how I so often view it as a weakness.

But it’s not. Really, it’s just an opportunity to lean on Him and not let that fear overtake me.

And that’s what I’m hoping my daughter sees in me when we have the first of six landings. And the second, the third, the fourth…

When I think about people who inspire me (though I’M not necessarily inspired by ME) I think of those who stare down fear and rise above it.

And that doesn’t always mean the death grip is released and the heart rate returns to it’s usual, whatever number.

It simply means there’s a trust that God is bigger than all of it. Because He is.

I think of a sweet friend and mama who is raising her six precious kiddos alone. She’s so brave as she lives a life that looks different from what she planned, and I’m sure there are times when she is afraid and times when her kids might even see that fear. But she faces it, she trusts in Him as she walks in Grace, and she inspires a lot of people.

I think of a friend who is facing unknown right now…scary unknown. And he chooses joy and trust in the midst of it, knowing that God’s plan is always the right one. That? It’s inspiring.

I think of a dreaming sister who fights for her family and for what’s right, even if it comes at a cost. The days can be hard and the future blurry, but she walks on in faith. And she inspires me.

And I’m hoping that maybe…maybe…one day down the road, my sweet Mae will see the death grip and the shaky, sweaty hands of her mama as inspiring.

Someday. 😉

In the meantime, I’m gonna fight that fear…because He didn’t give me a spirit of fear.

He gave me a reason to lean on Him.

Our Indonesian adventure with a toddler is just 16 days away…bring it on!

This time, as a family of three…and I. Can’t. Wait.


I love my sweet friend, Holley‘s, new link-up! Her Coffee For Your Heart: 2014 Encouragement Challenge is just what it sounds like. Think of Wednesdays as that day where I just share some encouragement…and you can pretend that we’re sitting at a table over coffee, just sharing life. Sounds like a great way to spend Wednesdays in this space. :) I hope you’ll hop over and join us!



For When You Want to Sprint Toward That Dream

windingpathI’m a runner.

I first started really running several months after my daughter was born. That pesky baby weight was still hanging on, and I felt blah from all of the short nights and a basically brand-new life of this wonderfully exhausting thing called mommyhood.

However, I quickly found myself with almost a need to go running. Now I joke with people that I run for two reasons.

One, because it’s faster than walking.

And, two, so I can eat chocolate.

Take your pick…I think they’re both fantastic reasons, though one may tip the scales more than the other. 😉

I just run…I like to get where I’m going, and I like to get there fast.

And the same thing happens with my dreams, too.

I dream big, I dream all-out, and I dream in fast forward.

Must. Happen. Now. Yes, God? I know You totally agree.

I was thinking about this mindset during a Saturday morning several months ago as I tackled my first 10k. In the running world, this is not a huge accomplishment, but it was on my bucket list and something I wanted to cross off with a big, fat, thick X.


And as I sprinted trotted through those miles of hills, (because why wouldn’t I choose a course full of hills for my first 10k???) I thought a little.

Or, a lot.

About how I treat so much in my life like a race.

Today I’m over at God-Sized Dreams, sharing some lessons He’s taught me along the path to a dream. Join me here? :)


Photo Credit: NCinDC


Coffee For Your Heart: I’ve Got Joy

Just call me Mom of the Year.

Really. I may even sport a sash today, declaring it to the world. (Or, at least my town.) 😉

Blame it on the lingering, flu-like whatever I’ve been fighting, the distractions that come with some commitments, the crazy of chasing a three year-old all day, or the fact that I’m just Mel.

Probably all of them are to blame a little yesterday.

It’s bad enough that I missed her Valentine party last week…more on that some other day. Ahem. 😉 AND that I walked into her PK room just in time to hear her tell her teacher, But I don’t haaaaave a mommy {here}!

Dagger to the heart. Vow to never mess up so badly again.

Enter Tuesday.

Bless my heart, I got her to school on time, even a few minutes early. I went home, made some coffee, got a few things done. Definitely looking like it’s gonna be a good day.

Pick her up right at 11:00. Perfect.

Go home. Give both of us a chance to rest and hopefully kick the rest of the flu nastiness.

Mae has her pb&j…and I hear my phone go. A text.

Are you guys coming to lunch? We miss you!


Oh, stink.

Stink, stink, stink.

I forgot.

HOW did I forget?

Special lunch for sweet little three and four year olds at a fun restaurant not too far away. I prepaid. I. Even. Set. A. Reminder.

And I forgot.

I was almost in tears when I told Mae that I’d forgotten. We quickly put our coats on and headed out to catch the end of it, but I was afraid she’d missed the fun.

I told her I was sorry, and she squeezed my hand.

It’s ok, mommy. I still love you. We’ll have fun!

Melt. Me.

Oh. Oh, how often I focus on the times when I mess up. (I kind of do it often. But still.)

But this little girl…she looks at the good…she finds the joy.

JOY. She’s got it.

She didn’t see yesterday as a Mommy-messed-up, day. She saw it as an I-get-to-go-hang-out-with-my-friends, day.

She saw the joy in the moment…and she’s reminding me to do the same.

Joy…it’s found in so many moments. So many.

My Father’s love for me. Promises from His Word. Sweet, good-morning hugs from my favorite toddler. Happy doggies panting in excitement to see me. A kiss from my hubby. Bowling with my girl. A fun Valentine’s dinner with friends. A fresh pot of coffee to make those six a.m.’s just a bit more bearable. A sweet voxer thread from my team of dreaming sisters. A heart-and-coffee chat with a dear friend. Prayers. Uplifting words, verses. Writing. Singing. Playing handbells. A long, not-too-early, morning run. Reconnecting with an old friend. Anticipating a long-awaited, other-side-of-the-world, reunion. Beach trips and surfing. Laughter. Rainy season memories. Family. Being home. An amazing neighborhood. Community. Church. Bible Study. Learning to love others.

I could keep going for a long, long time. There are so many things that bring joy…because the Giver of that joy? 

Well, He’s Good.

And this little girl…well, she is one of my biggest JOYS.

And she might have even seen me as Mom of the Year yesterday, too. 

Do you think I could get her to make me a sash? 😉

What brings you joy today? :) 


I love my sweet friend, Holley‘s, new link-up! Her Coffee For Your Heart: 2014 Encouragement Challenge is just what it sounds like. Think of Wednesdays as that day where I just share some encouragement…and you can pretend that we’re sitting at a table over coffee, just sharing life. Sounds like a great way to spend Wednesdays in this space. :) I hope you’ll hop over and join us!



Coffee For Your Heart: No Matter What Happens

blank screen
I’m staring at a blank screen
…because the words have been just a little absent these days.

It’s not the end of the world, and I know that, but I’ve also been dealing with this little syndrome called writer’s block a little too often lately.

Except mine is more like an impenetrable brick wall, six feet thick. 😉

For days…weeks, even…I’ve had to remind myself of a lot of things.

This happens to all writers…there are just days when the words don’t come and there’s not a whole lot that can be done about it.

I just need to keep writing. Because writers…well, that’s what they do. :)

It’s not the end of the world…and it’s really not. If I don’t write today…or tomorrow, life will go on.

It will.

Sunday was a day. Yes, it was. :) Thankfully we had gone to church the night before, but Sunday morning. Oh, Sunday morning…or, really, Sunday-all-day.

I was in a mood. (I STILL feel sorry for my husband, and I’m pretty sure he’s way past it all…)

I was still sick. I had something that needed to be written that day. I’d been up a lot of the night with my girl, who was having a sleepless-and-sniffly night. And I had planned to stay home from Bible class so I could get that writing done.

And, oh.

Hubby and Mae left for Bible class/Sunday school. I poured a cup of coffee, read my Bible a little, and sat down to write. Nothing.

And so I went outside and shoveled the sidewalk…I was sure that would give me JUST the time I needed to think about what to write. Um, yep. All I thought about was how cold I was and how this probably wasn’t exactly what one who is getting over being sick should be doing. 😉

Come inside, more coffee, sit down. Write a paragraph, delete. Write two paragraphs, delete.

Turn on the Olympics. (Oh, yes I did.) Get lost in the world of something-skiing. (At least I think it was skiing. All of these Olympic events and days are starting to run together.) 😉

Try writing a little more. Still nothing.

T and Mae come home. “Did you get anything written?” He knows about this writer’s, impenetrable-six-foot-wall-thick, thing.

No. (I also might have cried here, just a little.)

Repeat above cycle about four times. (Well, minus the shoveling part.) 😉

The words just wouldn’t come, and it felt like…I don’t even know what it felt like. But it wasn’t good.

Around Mae’s bedtime, I finally had a little direction with it. I thanked my husband profusely for doing bedtime, and I practically flew down the stairs to my laptop.

Written in 20 minutes. Cue happy dance. 😉

I almost shake my head even now. Is this what being a writer is like?


The truth is that there are things that happen in our days. Some are a lot worse than others…and writer’s wall, or whatever we’re calling it here today? Definitely not up there with world-ending, at least most days. 😉

Sometimes our days don’t turn out like we wish they would. I let myself struggle through them when all I need is the reminder that His mercies are new every morning.

Every morning. As in, Every. Single. Morning.

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23 (NIV)

No matter what you’re facing…no matter what happens…you have the promise of His mercy and His faithfulness in each day.

I think I’ll go make some coffee and watch some Olympics to celebrate…just as soon as I push the publish button. :)


I love my sweet friend, Holley‘s, new link-up! Her Coffee For Your Heart: 2014 Encouragement Challenge is just what it sounds like. Think of Wednesdays as that day where I just share some encouragement…and you can pretend that we’re sitting at a table over coffee, just sharing life. Sounds like a great way to spend Wednesdays in this space. :) I hope you’ll hop over and join us!



Embracing Your Gifts: God-Sized Dreams Link Up

I’m mama to the sweetest…and spunkiest…toddler in the world.

Or, at least it feels that way.

Oh, the spunk and sparkle that my Maelie has packed into her three years and almost-eight months of life so far.

We joke in our house that she came out of the womb with a mind of her own, and that hasn’t changed.

And what’s been awesome to see is how God has used her spunky personality to bless others…even though she’s young.

It’s translated to things like random people at church getting full-on hugs. Chatting with people in the store…one day when she was two, she literally greeted an entire family as they walked into Target.

She’s not afraid of anyone…and she’s not afraid to love them, either.

Last fall my husband took her to a playground just down our street. While she was playing, a little girl fell off her bike nearby and was crying. As people went to help her, Mae jumped up to go, too. Wanting to keep her out of the way, my husband asked her to stay with him.

And in all of her three year-old wisdom…and there was a lot of it…she realized what she could do. She stopped, folded her hands, and prayed for the little girl.

That spunkiness? It’s also becoming compassion…

Today I’m over at God-Sized Dreams, sharing a piece of my story…really, a piece of the story God is writing for my little girl.

Join me? :)



Coffee For Your Heart: On Grace and Yoga Pants

It’s five a.m. and I have to be honest here…

This morning is not looking good already.

I’m sick…boo for the world’s fastest-hitting cold/flu/junk. Scratchy throat yesterday turned into a fever, coughing, and being up a lot of the night. I am hoping and praying that means this thing is just moving its way through my body that quickly, too. There’s always hope, right? 😉

To add to it, T is out of town and though his plane is supposed to get in this morning, I’m looking at the snow falling and wondering if he just might get an extra day in warm, sunny, WARM (did I mention that?) 😉 Arizona. (If I wasn’t sick, I might be tempted to pray that he’d get just that.)

And my sweet girlie woke up scared of the monster in her closet not too long ago, and even through a half-dazed stupor, my momma heart just broke. All I could do was comfort her and lie down with her for a minute.

Today is not promising to be the best dayin fact, it might be the kind where I never find the shower and I stay in my yoga pants, the ones I’ve slept in for at least the last two nights. 😉

And I have to be honest with you, friends…too often, I let the circumstances of my moments dictate my days.

We are starting off rough. Rough. And there are certain things that aren’t just going to go away.

Colds happen…grab the tissues, embrace the yoga pants, and sneak in a nap while she watches PBS.

I can’t stop the snow from falling. Give thanks that it’s a beautiful view, pour the coffee, and let go of the fact that the shoveling might not get done today.

My girl drifted back to sleep, at least for now, and I know she’ll be fine. Thank you, Jesus, that monsters in the closet can be chased away by tough and determined mamas with really, really CRAZY bedhead.

Sometimes days are hard.

I’d love….loooooooove…to start each day after eight hours of sleep, followed by a morning run, blog post scheduled the night before. And while we’re at it, let’s throw in a patient mama, an obedient toddler, and a perfect husband.

Oh, I love them, but that’s not life.

And when days like today roll around…Grace. Heaps of it.

I’m looking at the clock, and I know my girl will probably sleep for at least another hour. Time for this mama to rest.

We don’t have to be anywhere. She loves a jammie day…and what a bonus with a beautiful view. Maybe we’ll make hot cocoa, too. :)

And if T doesn’t make it home today, we both have cell phones. Plus there are a few friends I haven’t chatted with in a long time. It would be fun to catch up.

I don’t know where you are today, friend. I hope you had some great sleep and are ready to conquer the day with a cup of coffee in your hand and a smile on your face.

But maybe you’re feeling the way I am…and if you are, know something. There’s grace. Don’t be afraid to do what you need to…and know that He’s going to get you through it.

And remember, too, that a day spent in yoga pants is perfectly acceptable. 😉


I love my sweet friend, Holley‘s, new link-up! Her Coffee For Your Heart: 2014 Encouragement Challenge is just what it sounds like. Think of Wednesdays as that day where I just share some encouragement…and you can pretend that we’re sitting at a table over coffee, just sharing life. Sounds like a great way to spend Wednesdays in this space. :) I hope you’ll hop over and join us!


You can also get her fabulous new book here!



Behind the Scenes: Bless the Mess

messI’ve never pretended to be a neat freak.

In fact, those of you who know me, even somewhat well, are laughing right now. 😉

I wouldn’t label myself a slob…it’s just that I definitely flirt with the cluttered side of life sometimes, and I think there are days (weeks? months? YEARS?) that go by when I don’t even notice it. 😉 That might be, too, because it’s so much how my brain is All. The. Time.

Seriously, friends? I feel Sooooooooo. Scattered. Lately.

I can’t believe how much, some days, my head feels like it’s just spinning at a rate I can’t even comprehend.

I even made REAL to-do lists…that’s kind of (mostly) unheard of for this girl. 😉

The other day I was looking at this picture I snapped…the one of the flowers my hubby brought home…and I realized how much MESS there was surrounding what was supposed to be the focal point of the picture.

Ay, ay, ay.

Do you ever feel like this picture?

I have to admit that when I first saw it and took in the mess, I kind of shuddered.

But then…well, I started to see beauty in it.

Beauty like…

…flowers. Well, duh. 😉 Because gerbera daisies are my favorite, and he knows that. I’m loved. And blessed.

…a wipe-off board. One my three year-old is using to practice her letters. Her little brain is soaking it all up. Blessed.

…a sweet photo from Chuck E Cheese. Memories of a day with my girl that was so much more fun than I could have imagined.

…a water bottle from workout a few nights before. I’m healthy, strong, and able to push my body hard. Blessed.

…a stack of books and my Bible. There’s so much out there to learn, so many ways He wants to grow me. Blessed again.

…a winter wonderland outside. Granted, I’ve had it up to my faux hawk 😉 with snow this year…as most of us have. But when I look out and see a beautiful view and am reminded of the blessing God gave us in this home, well…I know I’m blessed.

…a Compassion envelope on the table containing a letter from our sweet, sponsored child in Indonesia, Putra. Thank you, Jesus, for the blessing of being able to pray for him and to be part of His life. I’m the one being blessed here.

And, as I’m processing the millions of blessings I’ve been given?

I look closely and see the words printed on the vase, the one my hubby picked out of the cabinet.

Grateful for simple blessings.

It’s true that life is often messy. Whether the mess covers the dining room table, the living room floor, or just resides in a busy life or dreams that are All. Over. The. Place… 😉

There have been days lately…a lot of them…when I can’t quite figure out the mess.

When I look at my dreams and I have no clue where they’re going or what they look like.

I see them changing in ways I wasn’t expecting.

I see a rough draft that has been almost-untouched for months.

And I wonder what He’s doing in all the mess.

And maybe I don’t know the answer to all of that, but I do know that I can trust where He’s going when I don’t.

There are so many blessings. SO. Many.

Even in the beautiful mess of the unknown.

I need to count them more often.


Linking up with two of my favorites today!

On Tuesdays, I hang out with some of my favorite friends at Crystal’s place, where she hosts Behind the Scenes.

Behind the Scenes” is a fun link up where we show those photos – but tell the real story behind them. The sneak peek behind the scenes, a look past the edges of the photo to the real life behind it.
And I’m also linking up at God-Sized Dreams, with my favorite dreaming sisters!

I hope you’ll join us for the sweet, sentimental, and silly stories that make up our days…and our dreams. :)


My sweet friend, Holley, who has blessed me so much with her heart, her words, her life…she’s releasing her new book today! (And it’s soooo good!!!) Would you join me in cheering loudly for her?! :) And you can buy it here, too. 😉