Not Forgotten


There are moments in life when we feel forgotten.

This past Tuesday afternoon was one of those for me.

I was sitting in a cafe at the entrance of Machu Picchu, trying to stomach a sandwich. (That’s probably not a sentence I’ll ever write again.) The truth is that it was the middle of a day I’d looked forward to for, pretty much, most of my life, and I was sick. 

Like, altitude + stomach + probably dehydration + whatever else was taking over my body and making me feel terrible, sick.

I’d made it through half of the tour we’d started that morning, after enduring the craziest (read: most puke-inducing) driving conditions I’d ever seen, along with the most beautiful train ride I’d ever taken. I’d trudged up the steps to several lookout points, taken every possible selfie with a few real smiles even, but most were half-fake. I’d pushed with everything I had, but then that moment came. 

I knew that if I didn’t sit down, I’d become a tourist casualty on the steps of one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

I’ve worn a lot of titles in my life, but that’s not one I want. 

And so I forced myself back down the too-many steps, managing to stay upright, found a place for something to drink where I could sit as long as I wanted, people watched, and chatted with a group of Canadian guys who had hiked for five days to just get to Machu Picchu. I kind of felt unworthy of their presence, but at least they were nice. And also, they couldn’t stop talking about how much they just wanted to sleep in their beds, and I totally agreed. 😉

And as I sat there, I started to ask why…Why, God? Why on this one day? You could’ve picked any other day, and You picked this one? 

Honestly, it’s probably a little early to begin processing this. (It sort of blows my mind that I’m sitting in my Chicago suburb home only three days after this all went down.) I fought back tears as I started writing this post on my phone that afternoon, trying to answer the question I was asking Him.


I felt so forgotten in the middle of one of the things I’d hoped to do for over two decades. I’d dreamed of it. It happened…and then it didn’t. Or, at least the way I wanted it to.

And here’s the thing: I know it’s not the end of the world. In comparison to the many things others are going through or even living every single day, missing half of a tour is really nothing. This is not a pity party; it’s reflection.

I spent last week among some of the strongest, bravest, kindest people I’ve ever met, people who are living out challenges I can’t even imagine. They face hardship and with every moment, they trust God and the work He’s doing in the tiniest corners of the world, the places we’d never think to vacation or visit. (Except, now I’ll visit.) I’m sure, at times, they feel forgotten.

But they’re not, and they know it, and they have this unshakable faith in God that’s hard to put into words. It’s honestly one of the most humbling things I’ve ever experienced, to hear them share stories of their faith through things that hurt so much. It brings tears to my eyes as I see their faces and know that these are my brothers and sisters, and though miles and hemispheres separate us, God’s love doesn’t.

As I sat there and reflected (and, yes, cried a little) I was reminded that my Father always sees me. He doesn’t forget me or any of us because we’re His children.

Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.
Isaiah 43:1

One of the verses God has written on my heart is this one. I’m redeemed, I’m called by Him, I’m His. And because of that, I’m never, ever forgotten. It’s a promise I return to often and choose to trust.

In reflecting over the last few days, I’ve made peace with the things I missed out on. I’ve found smiles and sweet moments in what I did get to be part of. I’ve smiled at some of the crazy photos I’ve snapped (or others have taken) to remember these life-changing days. I’ve had a few happy tears over the friendships God has grown, over the new people He has brought into my life, people I already love and am praying for.

I have a lot to be thankful for, even in the midst of something that didn’t quite turn out like I wanted it to.


The next days will bring a lot.

And thankfully I’ve already caught up on some sleep. I’m hoping for a lot more. 😉

I’ve seen God take a missed connection and turn it into a Starbucks sipping, lots-of-extra-space flight, complete with headphones and movies…the perfect way to breathe a little before the wheels hit the runway at ORD.

I’ve seen smiles and hugs from my people, things I’ve missed so much. Because it’s true that no matter where we go, there’s no place like the home God has given us here on earth.

I’ve gone back and looked through pictures and laughed and cried and remembered and thought that maybe I’m a little crazy. But I’m not (too much, anyway)…I just love people, and God took me back to Peru to give me the chance to love even more people. That gift isn’t lost on me.

And now I get to do the work of asking Him to show me what needs to change. How do I trust Him with the life I have and also enough to be open to whatever He asks of me? How can I take my more-than-enough and use it to help others?

There’s a lot more I need (and want) to share, but first I need to process and pray (and also sleep) 😉 and ask God for what He wants from me…how I can obey Him right now.

And so, though I can’t make promises, I’m looking forward to returning to this space more often to share stories and consider things and maybe…maybe go beyond myself more than I have before.

It’s what He asks any of us, right?

So here’s to a missed tour and a day that morphed into something not at all like what I was expecting.

May I learn to find the blessing in it and remember that I am not forgotten.

None of us are.



Peru: On Humility, Generosity, and the Things That Change Us


Hi, friends. :)

So we wrapped up our official time in Lima last night, and everyone is off to the airport (or already gone) except me and Ginger. We’ll leave for Cusco later this afternoon for a few days before heading back to the States. (But not before we go for a snack run because…well, because snacks. See two posts ago.) 😀

It’s a strange sort of quiet this morning as I look around a room that‘s been filled with laughter, love, jokes, and memories…all of those things spanning just seven days that somehow felt like much more. God truly blessed us with a wonderful team, and I love each of these friends so much.


I got up before 5 a.m. to see most of the team off and also because, selfishly, I wanted one more hug and memory with each of them. And then I climbed back into my bunk bed and tried to go back to sleep, but my mind started wandering and processing all we’ve experienced.

As much as I should sleep because, honestly, there hasn’t been a lot of it lately, I guess I want one more blogging memory, too. 😉


So the coffee is brewed, I’m drinking out of the mug I’ve been using all week…and I’m hoping that maybe my words this morning might begin to give our time here some justice. Begin, at least.

Lima is an interesting city…it has so many things that other large (read: HUGE) cities do: more restaurants than I could ever visit, the crazy driving that somehow makes sense but doesn’t really at all (ask me about our last taxi ride here sometime), and so many people.

So many people. 

They are what make this place what it is…a beautiful, heartbreaking, amazing city and country with maybe the kindest people I’ve ever met in my life. (And also some of the best food. I promise I didn’t come for the food.) 😉

And all of what we did here centered around people. Whether we were visiting their churches, feeding them (but more often, they fed us), teaching, going to their homes to hear their stories and pray with them, playing with the kids at the park…the people are what make Lima what it is. They are kind, generous, and open…I totally jumped on board with the whole greeting with a kiss thing, I guess because it just shows how accepting they are of others. I love how warm and welcoming they were, from the first moments we entered their churches, homes, lives.

It was instant friendship, and that will stay with me forever.

One of our first mornings here, we split into two groups and had the opportunity to visit the homes of several members of the church in Los Olivos. At the first home, we talked with a new mama while her baby napped. I was amazed, as she shared her story, at how much we have in common, and my heart went out to her as she talked about the struggles I have, too…with life and her past, with parenting, with feeling like she’s enough. The things that are universal with every mama’s heart.

A few mornings later, God set it up so I could be in a home with another mama of three, including a nine year-old girl and a three year-old boy. Again, hearing her stories and pain and joy and faith, sometimes all in the same sentence, reminded me that we’re really not so different from each other. We struggle, but we also have hope because of Jesus.

The last few days have been spent in a different part of Lima, where the challenges seemed a little more tangible. It’s pretty hard to forget walking into someone’s house with the first door being to a bedroom…and then realizing that it’s the whole house. There were beds, the tiniest kitchen area, clothes, a tv, everything this family possessed…all in a space smaller than our family room back home. Plastic stools were lined up, and they stood so we could sit.

We were given their very best. 

It was humbling and it was also life-changing. I thought about the place I come from and how I don’t ever have to think about my next meal or what I’ll do if I need or want something. And yet, the poverty here is real, and it stabs a person in the heart so deeply that it hurts…maybe so we can enter into their pain just a little.

And so we don’t forget.

And beyond those struggles, we heard a father of three talk about a difficult health challenge he’s facing, and we saw his brokenness in worrying about his children. I think there were tears in all of our eyes as we listened, and then he stood there and proclaimed that, despite all of this, his Heavenly Father would take care of them because He’s the best Father, and I can’t get this man’s face or words (even if they were in Spanish) out of my head.

If anyone in the world is justified in losing hope, it would be him…but he knows and believes with all his heart that Jesus is our true hope. 


And I suppose I could keep writing this morning…I could tell you more stories and talk about the amazing place called Castillo Fuerte (Mighty Fortress) and about the life-changing work being done there and about how the place is so full of love that it makes a person never want to leave. One of the teachers there asked me, when will you return? 

And I told her…I want to. So much. And I meant it with all my heart. This church and school, a tiny space I’d never be able to find without a map, is doing life-changing Jesus work and families are being transformed. I hope and pray I’ll have the chance to go back (and hopefully before another twenty years pass) so I can hug these people again and see the rewards of their faithfulness.


It’s been a good week. 

It’s been a hard week. 

It’s been a week where the love, grace, and mercy of our Father has been so present. 

There’s so much more to share, and I hope that will happen soon.

For now, it’s time to figure out how to cram everything into my suitcase and still leave room for a few souvenirs for my people. (Including snacks.) 😀

Thank you, all…for your prayers, for your support, for being part of this journey. I’m blessed.

And may I live that way, knowing how blessed I am so I can be as generous as the people I’ve met this week. 

God is good. So. Good.

And I’m so thankful. 



Where Are Their God Moments?


There are moments in life that stand out to me, times when I have known, without a doubt, that God was painting a masterpiece right in front of my eyes so I’d know He was there.

I could talk about them for days, the ways God has shown up in our lives…about how He’s led us to places far beyond what we could have ever dreamed of, how He brought us to just the right place when our beyond-those-dreams life changed into a different kind of dream. How he gave us unimaginable gifts in the form of kids we thought we might never have, about how He’s provided and given and blessed.

I have no shortage of masterpieces in my life. 

And maybe the first, clear one goes back to this twenty year-old girl who traipsed through jungles with a wide-open heart and let God do whatever He wanted with her life. In between the moments and memories, He pressed deeply into her heart the desire to love the people of Peru and serve them.

I remember that when I returned, I knew this was my call…to return and be in the very place I’m typing this post from tonight, twenty years later. Except it wasn’t.

And over the years, as things and seasons have changed and shifted, the painting I thought He was doing in my life changed palettes and colors. I learned acceptance and obedience as I saw Him rearrange all I’d expected and anticipated.

And yet, still…I can look back at all that and know that it’s beautiful. A masterpiece.

It’s all from Him.

I’ve talked often about how this time in Peru feels like a gift in so many ways. Just landing here, spending time with the people, getting to share the love of Jesus with them, praying over them, receiving every single one of those kisses (and boy are there a lot!) 😀 from the probably-hundreds who have greeted me…those things have been blessings beyond what I could have hoped for.


We’ve visited people in their homes, prayed with them, played games with kids and taught them lessons, talked with older people at a health clinic, wandered and explored neighborhoods with rugged beauty and heartbreaking poverty that somehow exist in the same space.

Those things and places and people are all part of His masterpieces, too, and I have struggled with that this week. 

I want to write a post to you that tells all about the amazing things we’ve seen God do and how He’s worked…and He has. Oh, my goodness, has He ever.

He really has been working, and it’s been awesome to see.

But today, as I heard another mom share her heartbreaking story and follow it with hope, as we met with a man and his three children in their one room (yes, you read that right) apartment, who is dealing with unimaginable challenges…and then in practically the same breath, we heard this man preach at us about how God is faithful and provides and takes care of his children and is the best Father to us all…I found myself wondering why the redemption in these stories isn’t more tangible. Here were these people in desperate need, clinging to Truth they know and believe with all their hearts…

And why isn’t God showing up for them and providing beyond what they could ever dream? 

Where were THEIR God moments, the kind where they could look back and know He was making something beautiful for each of them, too? 

And then it was almost like God decided to smack me over the head in the midst of the tears that were threatening to drip…

…because wasn’t the fact that these people, who were facing such heartbreak and pain, could turn to their faith and proclaim their trust in God and all He’s promised them…wasn’t it enough? 

Watching and hearing and knowing they’re living out their faith…those are the biggest God moments.

We were gathered last night as a team, along with a local pastor and his wife, having dinner…and someone told us to look out the window at the dusk sky.

I’m not sure He painted it for me…but it brought to me the reminder that God is writing each of our stories. He sees the people we’ve seen just as much as He sees me. He is present in this hillside village, just as much as He shows up in my suburban neighborhood back in Illinois.

I can trust the God who is writing my own story to write one for each of His children.

That’s beautiful. That’s a God moment.



On Snacks and Language Barriers and Love


Greetings from Peru!

Before I get going too much into this post, I feel like I need to fess up to something that is totally un-holy and absolutely not why I came back to this incredible country, though you would also absolutely expect this from me:

Oh my goodness. The snacks.

I’m not gonna lie. Snacks are always a winner with me, but there’s something so fun about traveling to a new place and exploring the little corner stores and grocery stores and markets that carry so many fun things. On our first day here we wandered into one during the afternoon so I could find my beloved Inca Kola…and, praise Jesus, they make it sin azucar (without sugar) now, so now I won’t be flying on a permanent sugar high during the twelve days I’m here. 😉

img_0528.jpgTotally didn’t mean to match my Inca Kola. 😉

And, of course, while we were there, I had to take stock of the cookies and crackers, and pretty much stuffed an entire package down while I was wandering a little store in the market.

I really didn’t pop in here to talk about the snacks, as good as they are. But I’ll share some pics of my favorites later. 😉


Here I am (we are), and it’s been hard to put it all into words, which is why it’s taken this long to get the first post up. We flew in Saturday night, and I absolutely did tear up when the wheels of the plane hit the runway, just in case you’re wondering. We arrived where we’re staying late and finally crashed after midnight.

It was a short night of sleep before we hit the ground running on Sunday morning. It was a full day…over an hour walking/bus ride to get to church, followed by cooking and serving lunch to the members of the church while Kelley gave a nutrition talk. She’d done a lot of research and spent even more time trying recipes and prepping a menu so we’d have something to work with when we got here. (And she did an amazing job!) :) While she shared with members of the congregation, the rest of us had our first experience of cooking in Peru. We also had some time to chat with people and get to know them. I’ve been digging deep to try to find the Spanish I used to have (and praying that Indonesian doesn’t fly out of my mouth…it has a few times already!) and it’s starting to come back. I’m thankful for that and have mad respect for people who can manage to juggle more than two languages now.


After we left church, we spent the afternoon near the coast, where we got to explore a little. We shopped a little, snack-hunted a little, gazed at the Pacific, wandered some more, and met up for dinner.

It was a great first day, and we all loved our first opportunity to see the ministry at Los Olivos and to explore a little of the city.


Monday morning was another early one…we headed back to Los Olivos (lots of walking and time on a bus), and spent the entire day visiting members. We split into two teams and went with either Pastor Walterson or Vicar Elvis and walked/rode the bus/rode a motor taxi what felt like all over town, but really wasn’t even close to that. (Lima is big. I can’t even describe how big.)

I’m honestly still processing the visits…it was truly a great day, and there are stories to tell and things weighing on my heart that remind me to pray for the people we’ve met here.


One thing I’ve been reminded of as I’ve listened and tried to translate as much as I could…

People are people no matter where you go. There’s always something we can find in common, a way we can connect and laugh and love. Right now my heart feels connected to a new mama we had the chance to visit yesterday morning. She has a baby boy and is going through the same struggles I have and still do…worrying about things, wondering if she’s a good mom, both of us trying to trust that we’re doing our best and not messing up everything. I love that we could connect through those things, even if the language barrier made it more difficult.

In all of it, love transcends language, and I think I’m going to hang on to that one as we go through the next days here.

We’re doing well and are thankful for the opportunity to be in this beautiful place with even more beautiful people.

Thanks for reading and being here.



On Peru: Before We Go

Peru sendoff #1

In my last post I shared with you all that God did something pretty big to open a door for me to return to the country of Peru. For over two decades, it’s been a place that has been hidden in a corner of my heart where I store some of the sweetest memories of my life, memories that have shaped just about every aspect of who I am today. I spent just less than a month there, and during that time, the people captured my heart in a way that’s hard to describe.

I always wanted to go back.

And because God does His own things in His own ways in His own time (which seems to be the theme of my life, um, every single day) He decided now was the time to fling a door open. It wasn’t one I was necessarily looking for, and I think that’s what makes it so sweet. In the busyness of life with a hubby, two kiddos, and several different things that keep me busy, a mission trip wasn’t even on my radar.

And because of that, I feel like God just gave me a huge gift.

Now to Him Mel finaljpg

Two months ago I told you all about how I was raising money for the trip by selling coffee mugs, and boy did you all show up in the most amazing ways! I raised nearly ALL of what I needed to cover my plane ticket, just through friends and family, both local and online, buying these sweet little coffee mugs. (Which actually aren’t that little…and I still have a few, so let me know if you want one!)

And in addition to supporting me personally, I can’t get over how our church rallied around us and gave money, gift cards, and TONS of medical supplies, enough to fill four suitcases. Amazing! We are so blessed.

And I’m just so grateful for each of you who have given and prayed and supported, so thank you.


There are five people from my church traveling to Peru (along with four others), and last week we met for dinner and kind of a “last, what-are-we-forgetting?” chat. While we were talking, the subject of sharing this journey on a blog came up. I said I’d be happy to use this space for Peru updates in the next couple of weeks.

So that’s what I’m doing, and also…in case you haven’t noticed, you’ll get a little of my wit sprinkled in occasionally, too. 😉

So, if you’re new here, welcome! And if you’re not new here, welcome back! It’s good to have you here.

Our team is comprised of: me (of course), Ginger, Kelley, Doug, and Samantha. Ginger is a nurse and good friend of mine from church, and I’m so excited that she’s part of this team! Kelley (physical therapist), Doug (firefighter and EMT) and Samantha (who has lots of cross cultural and refugee work/experience) are all friends from church, who I’ve known through different capacities…singing on praise team, playing bells, participating in volleyball tournaments. (And they’re also husband/wife and daughter, and I think it’s super cool that they’re doing this as a family.) I think we’re a pretty fun group, and I’m looking forward to the time we’ll have together!

Peru sendoof #8(1)

We’ll also be meeting up with a doctor (Jennifer) and three missionaries from the Dominican Republic (Jamielynn, Erin, and Courtney). I’ll share more about them when I can get some photos and stories in person. :)

A little about what we’ll be doing: our trip to Peru is newer territory for the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS), and so the word, flexible, has been reiterated to us many times. The word, in general, just goes with missions. Nothing ever goes as planned. EVER. Or, at least it feels that way.

But our plan is to hold a Community Health Fair in two different parts of Lima, Peru. We’ll be touching on several different things…nutrition, hand washing, dental care, eye care…and helping/assisting the people who come to these fairs. I’m taking the lead on dental hygiene, which is honestly not something I ever thought I’d teach. 😉 My lesson involves eating Oreos, though, so I think the kiddos will have a good time.

We’ll all be meeting in Lima on Saturday (tomorrow!) night, and our official work there kicks off on Sunday. (Some have already arrived, and some of us are leaving tomorrow morning.

This past Sunday our church sent us off with a blessing and a prayer. That first picture will probably make me tear up every time I look at it for the rest of my life. We’re so very blessed to be surrounded by the love and prayers of this church family…and I’m just grateful to have this opportunity.

Please pray for us as we go and love the people of Peru. That’s really what it is, isn’t it? Missions is really just love.

Loving people because He first loved us.

I have no doubt in my mind that each person on our team is going for a specific and important reason, and I’m so looking forward to seeing all that God does and the ways He works. Will you pray with us?


–health and safety as we travel to Peru
–for the people we’ll be serving and loving to have open hearts
–for flexibility as some of the details of what we’re doing will be figured out “as we go”


–for God’s provision for each of us to be able to go
–that God always goes with us and before us. He is so good!

Thanks, friends! I’m looking forward to sharing more stories soon! :)

Special thanks to our friend, Mike, for the great pictures from Sunday. We appreciate you!


Finding My Song Again

My heart pounded a little as I walked into the music room that Wednesday night, and there was really no reason for it. I mean, these were my friends, and singing with them was definitely nothing new or scary.

The normal, pre-practice chatter happened, and that was good, but then the singing started and it was a good thing that we were all sitting in a row and I was on the end because I couldn’t believe how fast the tears sprang to my eyes.

I made myself hold them back and sing the words, but it was hard, and I wondered that night if maybe…this season was over.

And I couldn’t quite wrap my mind around it because how does a season that has lasted 36 years just end like that?

How could a single event take such a big piece of me?

I thought it over during the next days as I half-dreaded Sunday morning. I didn’t want to say to anyone, I haven’t sung since before…

The truth is that in my mind, life is defined right now in two ways…Before. and After.

It’s not a conscious choice…it’s just how my brain thinks right now. :)

Certain things bring pain, and I’ve had to find where to draw the line so I can avoid what I need to…I’m not necessarily avoiding everything that’s difficult, but I’m not just throwing myself into all-things-painful, either. Does that make sense? 

I know it sounds crazy, but the night I started spotting, I was wearing this silly, sweet tank top with a giraffe on it. I haven’t worn it since. I can’t.

I also rarely go to Target. It’s too painful, especially walking by the baby section, which is much-too-conveniently located, smack dab, in the middle of the store. Our bank account is doing better thanks to this, but my heart aches over it. I’ve been back twice…once with a friend, once with my hubby. I didn’t make them hold my hand, but I was close. 😉

Same with Chipotle…which I craved up and down during those weeks. I just can’t go.

And there are other things that make the list, too…like the book I was reading that I haven’t picked up again, the song Blessings…and the list can go on and on.

And Sunday morning came because that’s just what happens when days pass…and while I was ok, I couldn’t fight back the tears as I walked into church, wondering what I was even doing.

I really felt like my song was gone. Maybe forever.

And even as I picked up a microphone for the first time in weeks, I had the sudden urge to run…I seem to be good at that, and it was what felt right at the moment, but I stayed.

And I sang.

And while it was no big deal, really, the morning was a scream of Hope that my heart desperately needed.

I needed to know that my song was still there. Somewhere.

And it was. IS.

He’s finding my song for me again.

He’s healing my heart, one little piece at a time.

He’s Good…and I’m so thankful.


Coffee For Your Heart: Rest

Happy Wednesday, friends!

I’m joining my friend, Holley, today for her new link-up…Coffee For Your Heart.

Really, she had me at coffee…and, maybe, at the first prompt, too. 😉

What encouraging words do you want the people you care about to hear as they begin a new year?

I tossed this question around for a week and almost even titled this Why It’s OK to Wear Two Pairs of Slippers and Legwarmers While Drinking Coffee and Sitting Under an Electric Blanket on a Sunday Morning…but that’s really not what this is about. I promise.


slipperloveI took this photo this past Sunday morning, around 9:30 a.m. When I should have been leaving for church.

I really love my church…as in, REALLY love it. God brought our family there at a time when we needed people to be Jesus to us, needed a place where Sunday mornings felt like home, needed to be embraced and loved on. And we found it there, and it’s become home.

And so on Sunday morning, missing church is never really a thought. We just know we’ll go and that we’ll love it.

Plus, we really want to be there. :)

Hubby and I went out on a date the night before. We hired a sitter and braved the really-not-salted-or-even-plowed-at-ALL roads around here to see The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. (Side note: such a fun movie! And bonus? A friend of ours from Indo was in it! :)) We stopped for dinner after the movie, and I wasn’t feeling the greatest…I have an issue that flares up occasionally and pretty much makes me miserable. I’ll leave the details out here and just celebrate the joys of being female. 😉

By the time we drove through more icy-snowy goodness than my heart rate could handle and arrived home, I had barely paid the babysitter before I was doubled over in pain. When this stuff happens to me, it’s truly brutal for about two or three hours. But it always, always passes.

I curled up on the couch and cried it out for awhile before finally dozing a little. But the pain just didn’t go away. It didn’t pass at all, it was a l.o.n.g. night, and by Sunday morning, I was still hurting.

A shower helped a little, but really, I knew what I needed to do…and that meant staying home.

I have to admit it didn’t help that I was freezing (Helloooooo, Polar Vortex. And goodbye, too. Please go.) and so I bundled up as much as possible and snuggled down under my two favorite blankets. (I may or may not have been sweating slightly by this point, but hey…for picture purposes, ya know. ;))

But I was mostly just bummed.

It was a depressing feeling to be left behind by my hubby and Mae, who got to go where I wanted to be.

You see, it had been a heavy week. A good one, but also one full of words and heart-spills…and sometimes those words you read on a blog take a lot out of the writer.

I was so looking forward to singing and worshiping and just being…sitting in a pew, soaking up the gift of a chance to be in the presence of my Father.

Instead, I sat on the couch with a mug of coffee and stared out the window at the STILL-falling-but-at-least-pretty, snow.

And I reluctantly picked up my Bible.

Read a few verses.

And I realized that I could sit on my couch and do exactly what I’d been longing to do…Worship Him.

I read a few pages of a devotional after those verses, spent some time in prayer, and I just kept hearing Him say it.




It’s ok, Mel…to just rest. You need it sometimes.

It’s not something that I do well…and yet it was necessary. Needed, in order for me to be a wife and a mommy that afternoon and into the week.

Sometimes it feels like it’s easier to just push through those things in life that are harder, to keep going through the pain…and, yet, there are times He calls us to rest…sometimes from writing, sometimes from doing so much, and sometimes in the literal form of just crawling under a blanket and sneaking in a nap. :)

Maybe not an earth-shattering reminder, but it was definitely one I needed on this snowy, Sunday morning…one I need to remember throughout the year…and probably forever. And maybe it’s one you need, too…no matter what’s going on in your life, not matter how crazy the days or weeks…

Friend, it’s ok to take that time…to rest and just be.

And I hope you will. Happy Wednesday! :)


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!



Five-Minute Friday: True

Today I’m linking up with Lisa-Jo for Five-Minute Friday.

Join me!

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

Today’s prompt: True

True confession?

I have a little obsession with making the top row of this linkup.

It didn’t start out that way, and it’s not necessarily ok or admirable or something I’m proud of…it’s just a confession.

And another one?

Tonight I sat there, singing songs and writing forms, marking changes and how many times we were singing the tag…and checking Twitter.

Missing out on #fmfparty, trying to follow along with random glances down at the pew between verse and chorus, not daring to actually tweet along…

But following.

And somewhere in the middle of Your Love Never Fails, the prompt went out, and I had to fight the urge to race into the hallway and figure out how to somehow blog this prompt from my iPhone, which I know is done all the time, but not by Mel. The girl who always writes everything from her computer.

And then I caught myself.

And since we’re talking true tonight, this might sound a little harsh.

Why is it that I feel the need to be first?

Oh, don’t get me wrong…it’s fun to tweet with my friends and then dash off our five minutes and spend an hour or so encouraging each other. That’s such the heart of this community and something I absolutely love about it. :)

But the truth is that competition doesn’t really help anyone. And, does it really hurt me to be mixed up in the middle somewhere, surrounded by beautiful sisters who love Jesus just as much as the lovely ladies in the top row do?

So, tonight? I’m going to spend some time loving on them…reading their words and their hearts.

And being thankful…for praise team practice, for the fact that I didn’t get home in time for the prompt, for the fact that I get to hang out somewhere new and fun.

I’m also making a promise to never, ever open Twitter during praise team again. :)

True story.

Friends? I have this rule, one that I’m seriously considering tossing out after the last two weeks, but not tonight. I always write the first thing that comes to mind with Five-Minute Friday…and this was it. Please know that I love each of you…regardless of whether you link up at #1 or #527. We each have a voice, one that should be heard…and I’m going to spend some time listening tonight. 

Five Minute Friday


For When It’s Hard to Feel

I sat in the pew while he preached yesterday.

Tears brimmed on my lower lids the entire time. The only reason I wouldn’t let them fall is because I didn’t want my eyes to get all streaky before communion.

You know, when someone might notice the black streaks as I made my way back to my seat.

Stupid pride.

He preached about Jesus riding into Jerusalem on the donkey and how the onlookers spread their cloaks and branches, shouting,

Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!

We all know the story…while it was a celebration, the darkest day in history was well on its way.

And the problem was…I knew the story. I’ve heard it a hundred times, more than a hundred.

I keep hoping that this will be the year I feel something.

I’m waiting to feel.

Stupid feelings.

Just about anything can usually make me cry.

I sob buckets at movies.

If I ever argue with T, I’m almost always in tears at some point.

Frustrations make me cry.

Sad makes me cry.

Heck, happy makes me cry, too.

I feel…it’s how He wired me, and I accept that and always make sure I have a tissue.

I usually don’t. 😉

But I have a hard time with being able to accept that when it comes to my faith, it’s so hard for me to feel anything.

I get that a relationship with my Father is not about feelings. It’s not about emotions that pour all over the red carpet of ILC. It’s not about tears that stream down my face as I sing about all He’s done for me.

It is, in fact, about knowing Truth and trusting it even when I don’t feel it.

Yes, there have been times when I’ve cried out to God, literally…and many of them.

Yes, there have been days when I’ve heard a sermon preached and it’s moved me to tears.

There have been life-changing days when I’ve witnessed, firsthand, the power of my Father in transforming a life.

But then there are days like today…days like Palm Sunday when the church is gearing up for Holy Week and Resurrection Sunday and everyone around me seems to be so in awe and emotional…and I sit there.

Oh, the tears were brimming, but it wasn’t because I felt.

It was because I didn’t. And I wanted to. So badly.

In a raw moment, I’m going to say something, in hopes that maybe some of you can relate.

I don’t have an amazing conversion story.

What I have are pieces of ugly and unsure, steps that are hesitant and and taken in fear…that my Father has somehow woven together into a becoming-beautiful journey of trust and acceptance and assurance and surrender.

It’s not perfect, and I know what it’s like to fail.

But I do know…That I’m a sinner. That my Jesus died to forgive my sins. That my Father in Heaven loves me. That He has an eternal home for me in heaven. That I should tell the world.

And I believe it with all my heart.

It’s almost a little too simple, but it’s what He wrote for me, as only He can, and it’s what I desperately cling to on mornings like yesterday when the feelings are absent and it’s too easy to let the guilt become shameful.

It’s Holy Week.

And I know I’ll spend a lot of it reflecting, but while I reflect and regardless of what I feel, I know I need to remind myself that it’s not about feelings…

But about knowing the beauty of what came from that dark Friday so many years ago and trusting that He did it for me.

And you.


The Art of Real

I love those days.

The kind when I’m up front singing with praise team and a blog post idea comes to me, mid-song.

Really. I even somewhat processed it out as I sang, but really that’s not a good idea for more than one reason. 😉

It was one of those days that actually started Saturday.

Wake up with monster headache.

Take ibuprofen, drink coffee, take time getting ready.

Go out to get a few things done.

Come home and get ready for commitment that night.

Monster headache still there…more ibuprofen.

Go to said commitment. Come home around 10:30, don’t get to sleep until 12:30. (with the time change thrown in there)

Sleep for six, too-short, hours.

Wake up, and lo and behold, headache? Yep, we’re good buddies now…apparently inseparable ones at that.

Get ready for church, get girlie ready for church, all of us leave at 9:20. (But, really, it’s 8:20. You know, with that awful time change.)

Look in the mirror when I get to church. Not good. I chose yesterday to wear those pants…you know, those. The ones that are a strange, shiny, shade of blue-almost-black that go with everything and, really, go with absolutely nothing.

Hair a mess…yay for day #2 and the new jar of hair putty I was experimenting with that gives me bedhead all day long. Still contemplating whether the slightly spiky, messy look is really a good thing or not.

Tired eyes…teenage skin. (Yep, it was one of those weeks.)

Belly pooching over pants…six pounds since Christmas, and my sixes don’t fit so well anymore.

I kind of wanted to crawl into the back pew and away from the world. But, noooo…not an option yesterday morning.

And as the morning continued on and I stood in up front of the congregation, the question I asked over and over…

Why am I so afraid of real?

Why does it bother me so much if my hair is less than perfect, and if my clothes aren’t equally perfect? If someone sees me without makeup? Or catches me at the end of a week that’s been full of editing and short nights from the girl and even less sleep for the mama?

Without realizing it, I’ve made it too easy to hide behind the makeup and as-perfect-as-I-can-manage hair, behind an outfit that helps me hide at least some of those extra pounds.

We have this image of perfect…and often forget that He loves imperfect. Anyway and in spite of.

But I still try to cover those imperfections…the ones He sees and knows and, yet, unconditionally loves.

I don’t have a pretty ending for this post. I just know what my heart looks like.

I also know that tomorrow morning, I’ll wake up, throw in some type of workout, shower, putty up my hair, put on some makeup, and wear clothes that (mostly) hide the hopefully-now-only five extra pounds.

But I’ll try…to be a little more content and see something beautiful when I see my reflection…instead of seeing all the flaws.

Because He loves flawed and imperfect.

He loves real.

And, this is cool…I wrote most of this post before I read what one of my favorite bloggers, Lisa-Jo, wrote today. I love her perspective…hop over and read her heart. It’s beautiful.