Behind the Scenes: On Allume, Cake, and the Blessing of Sisters



This is cake.

It’s my love language. (Well, one of many.) πŸ˜‰

And this particular piece of cake? It was eaten on Sunday, late morning.

After my roomies had left.

After I’d said (and cried over) a lot of goodbyes.

After I’d made a quick jaunt to this sweet little coffee shop with a dear friend.

I just needed a little time to think…about an amazing weekend spent surrounded by so many of my beautiful sisters.

Well, I also needed something amazing to eat as I attempted to cram all of those sweet, awesome, swag goodies into my suitcase. Trust me, friends…when they tell you to bring an extra suitcase, Just. Do. It.

Says the girl who checked a 50.5 pound bag and toted a way-too-heavy carry-on through the airport. πŸ˜‰

Anyway, back to Allume.





It was overwhelming, but the good kind of overwhelming.

And, honestly, I can’t begin to process it all just yet. (Hence, the reason this post is #1 of about 212…)

Because I’ll want to tell you about how the country of Uganda wiggled its way into my heart, probably forever.

Or how I was blessed to meet with an agent and take another step with my book.

About how I met some truly fabulous women who are just as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside.

And those posts will come, but they’re not quite here yet…I’m still processing, still smiling, and a teeny tiny part of my heart is grieving that the weekend is over. Yep, still rockin’ the ENFP all over the place. πŸ˜‰

But I can begin with cake.



GSDT Allumephoto credit: Melissa Aldrich, Quiet Graces

My beautiful sisters.

This group of women who daily inspire me in my walk with Jesus. They live with passionate abandon, they prayer-cover those who struggle, they give an abundance of hugs, they laugh loud and love even louder.

They listen to my stories and share theirs with me.

We do life together…and even if it’s more through computer screens than at coffee tables, I will hold them in my heart forever.

More stories on the way…probably 211 of them. πŸ˜€


Happy Tuesday, friends! Today is the day when I join some sweet friends at Crystal’s space for Behind the Scenes. We’re sharing the silly and sweet and sometimes-tear-jerking moments that happen behind the camera lens…I hope you’ll take some time and pop over to read some great stories.

Social media and online relationships can make us feel like everyone else has it all together. We’re edited, proof-read, Pinterest-perfect versions of ourselves (or so some might think!) when – in reality? There is an unfinished pile of laundry around the corner. That cute toddler smiling for the camera just had a massive meltdown seconds ago. That yummy breakfast-for-dinner you just showed us on Instagram? It’s because the cat licked the chicken that was supposed to be for dinner.

“Behind the Scenes” is a fun link up where we show those photos – but tell the real story behind them.Β The sneak peek behind the scenes, a look past the edges of the photo to the real life behind it.



  1. SO happy to hear about this :) What a blessed time!

  2. I just love that you got cake!! Next year we will have to better arrange our travel plans so we can possibly be on the same flights!! :) Love you sweet friend – I hope you are feeling better!!

    • Haha…it was some good cake. (I’ll make sure we have some next year for sure! And, yes, let’s see if our flights can match up, too!) :) Seriously, girl, you just bless me over and over. So thankful for you and the time we could spend together! Starting to feel better, too. Love ya!

  3. Oh this just makes me smile BIG for you!! Can’t wait to hear more about it!!

  4. Three of my favorite moments at Allume all included you, sweet Mel. Chatting with you, praying with you, laughing with you – thank you for meeting me in that place and letting me be…me…as crazy and awkwardly introverted as I am :)

    • Friend, YES. I loved the time we could spend together. I loved seeing you (in)RL, hugging your neck, and hearing all God is doing. Thanks for sharing and swapping stories with me…I can’t wait until we can do it again. :) Love to you!

  5. You know my very first “Wow- God is working right here!” moment was with you this weekend. It was Thursday. We had just talked about publisher meetings and you needing an agent. We were walking through the vendor “street” while they were setting up and the literary agents had just put their sign up sheet out. And we were right there. You got to sign up first. I loved our weekend. I am already planning for next year and how we will talk about the changes that came over this year. How we will know what’s going on and be able to plan a little more. How we will all be Christine with huge bags of “don’t get sick” meds and we will all plan our rooms to be next to each other. Love you girl!

    • Wasn’t that such a God moment? At the time I was just feeling blessed to actually get a time slot, but the way He orchestrated that? Yep, He was in all of those moments…the ones I’m going to be processing for a long time. I’m so thankful for the time we had together, sweet friend…wasn’t it so much fun? Already can’t wait til next year…and yes! To rooms next door and cake and late-night chats and more cake and DEFINITELY huge bags of don’t-get-sick meds!!! (Feeling a little better, though.) Love you, girl! :)

  6. you clearly had the prettiest suitcase at Allume & the best smile! thanks for starting up a convo at the airport :) it was an amazing weekend and i’m so glad to have met you!

  7. One of my biggest regrets of not being able to attend Allume this year was not being able to meet you and spend time talking about dreams but God had other plans. I know that one day our paths will cross in real life but until then know that I pray for you to always chase after Him. Love ya !!! :)

    • I can’t wait for that day, friend…you were definitely missed! Thanks for praying and cheering for me…you are a blessing. (((hugs))) :)

  8. So awesome to meet you, Mel!! God was on the move in such BIG ways in your life this weekend – I just can’t wait to read the rest of your Allume posts! OH, and that cake – why did I not find that??? What a shame! : (

    • Oh, friend…meeting you was amazing. You are beautiful, inspiring, and such a blessing! And that cake is on the list for next year…it’s a must! As is a BIG bag of “there’s-no-way-I’m-getting-sick” meds, too! :) Love you!

  9. So very excited for you!! What an amazing thing you were a part of. I know the ones that were able to share your company were blessed. Love to you sweet friend!!

  10. UGANDA!!! Yes! Me, too – for quite a while now. I don’t know if I’m ever supposed to set foot there, but it has been a constant pop-up on the screen of my life for a good long while now. Can I tell you how much I loved getting to spend time with you. “Picking” is truly my love language that I show to other people. If I joke with you and give you the business about something you have fully made your way into my heart. If I’m in Chicago anytime, just know I full expect you to make the painful trek into the city, your royal HOTNESS!! :)

    • So just up front…you made me smile so much this weekend. (Which I was thinking that it’s funny we refer to it as a *weekend* cause it was more like half of a week. Anyway. ;)) I will gladly embrace the title of #AllumeHotness…that was a funny and special memory that will always make me smile. You bless me, friend…and if you’re ever in Chicago, YES! I will gladly make the trek into the city. :)

      And Uganda…yes, Uganda. And Sole Hope. And the way that my heart hasn’t stopped bleeding for these children. It still brings tears to my eyes. I’m praying about blogging a trip for them…I think it’s something He is asking me to do. Thankful. :)

  11. I’m so, so happy that I got to meet you and hug you at Allume! It was one of the highlights of my trip! I don’t even know what to say except I think I love you. :-) I can’t wait to see what happens with your book!

    • Aw, I think I love you too, friend! Actually, I know I do. :) You are a sweetheart, and I loved hugging your neck and chatting with you! Can’t wait til next year…or maybe before then? I love this community and am so grateful for you and your heart. Blessings!

  12. Mel, I just loved meeting you! Your effusive smile and warm humor made me feel welcome right away. Thank you for saying yes to me and Julie and sharing your room Wednesday night. I can’t wait to see you again. And I’ll bring cake!

    • :) I can’t wait, too…you and Julie were such a happy surprise, and Allume wouldn’t have been the same without the two of you. I’m so glad things worked out for us to connect and then have coffee, too. (Seriously, that coffee shop has got to be my all time favorite!) :) Blessings, sweet friend…I look forward to our next hug and chat!

  13. Love it, Mel! You’re right: we do life together, and that is no small thing! I am grateful for you and our community. You are such a gift. Love you, girl!

    • Love YOU, friend! And I love that we don’t live too far away from each other. I see a reunion happening very soon!!! So grateful that you are a part of my life and my community. :)

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