January Friday Favorites {and a GIVEAWAY!}

early morning coffee final
Ok, seriously, y’all. I win.

It is 3:40 a.m. and my eyes are W.I.D.E. O.P.E.N. so I win something.

I’m not sure what that is exactly…perhaps an extra cup of coffee? Because I’m definitely going to need it. 😉

And you can definitely believe that the coffee is flowing this morning, thanks to my new, awesome-and-slightly-obnoxious-aqua-colored, Keurig. Yes, friends…dreams do come true in the form of coffee makers. I finally have my Keurig!!!

Cue happy dance at 3:45 a.m. 😉

So I am completely in love with the Friday Favorites linkup my awesome sister, Crystal, is hosting at the end of each month. I just HAD to participate! Plus, it’s always fun to share my favorite things with you anyway. And I love to give things away because giving gifts is my love language times about a thousand. (Ok, ok, yes cake is my love language, too. And if you’d like to send me some, Please. Do.)

Here ya go…my current favorites. And, keep reading for a fun giveaway at the end! :)

Jan 2015 books final

I love books. A little too much, perhaps, which I would realize if I took take the time to count the number in my house or on my Kindle. I guess if I’m going to do something with my free hours, (haha…free?!) reading is potentially the best thing I could be doing. Or, one of them.

The Best Yes (Lysa TerKeurst) is the book my Thursday Morning Moms’ Bible Study is going through. It’s good stuff, and I love the discussions we have. I feel like that book choice was a God-thing as I’m really trying to have better priorities.

Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet: Tasting the Goodness of God in All Things (Sara Hagerty) Oh, good grief, I have cried more than I haven’t cried reading this. (I even broke down in front of the neighbors’ dog during the first chapter and freaked her out a little. Not kidding here.) I’m about halfway done, and it has been a process…each chapter leaves me feeling wrecked and it takes a day or two to be able to pick it up again. And, yet? One of the best I’ve ever read. I can’t put it down even when I can’t pick it up.

The Hardest Peace (Kara Tippetts) I’ve had this book for a few months, but it’s honestly taken me awhile to begin. It’s just been a hard season, and I knew this would be an emotional read. I’m not too far into it yet, which means I’ll need to give you an update next month. Also, would you say a prayer for the author, Kara, and her family? You can catch up on a bit of her story here. Also, the Kindle version of this book is just $2.99.

Back Home (Michelle Magorian) I loved the Disney Channel movie in the early 90’s and can’t find it anywhere on DVD. So I figured the next best thing was getting the book. (I’m a sucker for the used books on Amazon that cost a penny plus some shipping.) Good book and it gives me a change of pace. I normally prefer nonfiction, but occasionally I’ll pick up a fiction book. I like this one.


I’m not a big TV watcher…I’m just not. Sometimes I’ll turn on a movie just to fill the empty. (Yeah, I’m an extrovert and noise is my friend.) But other than a few guilty pleasures that go in spurts, I’m pretty out of it most of the time when it comes to TV.

Also, Tobin and I have been discussing the kind of things that happen on our TV screen, and we want to be careful and show integrity whether our daughter is in the room or not. We have seen a couple good movies lately, though. :)

The Impossible was a really intense movie we watched early this month. It’s about the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and a family that miraculously survives it. It’s powerful and a tear jerker and makes my heart pinch because you all know how SE Asia holds such a special place in my heart.

The Good Lie was a powerful one, too. I watched it twice in the span of 24 hours because I wanted to get my money’s worth from my Amazon rental…and because I wanted my hubby to see it, too. (I watched it alone the first time.) It’s one of those that made us stop and remember how blessed we really are. There is suffering in the world that we cannot even imagine…it made me look at some things differently. Just be warned…I’m pretty sure I cried all over the couch the first time. (You’ll need tissues.)

Also, I’ll be watching the Super Bowl. With friends, and I honestly like that part more than the actual game. 😉

ipsy final JanWear

One thing I’ve really started loving lately is eye makeup, and Ipsy has helped with that.

Ipsy a monthly subscription for $10 (free shipping!) and you get a beauty bag with 4-5 items, some sample-size and some full-size. My latest bag (picture above) was awesome…and, actually, I haven’t had a bad bag yet. They sent me some gel eyeliner and an eyeliner brush…those were my favorites this month, some eye shadow, eye cream, and some sheer glo cream. (That was the only product in my bag I was a little meh about…I’m not exactly sure what to do with it. But it was sample size, so I didn’t care too much.) 😉

To sign up, you answer some questions about your preferences and are sent the items from a pool of 20-30ish different options, based on the products available for the month. You don’t get to choose, but honestly, the items are so awesome that I’d be happy with almost all of them. And for a cool $10? What’s not to love?! (But be aware that there is a wait list for this. There are things you can do to bypass the wait list, but I chose not to and waited about two months.) And if you sign up through this link, I get some bonus points for freebies. If you feel so inclined. 😉

Also, I’ve been eying this dress…but alas. I don’t really need another dress. It is cute, though. (And maybe my hubby will read my blog today, too…size M, darling.) 😉


I’m a music girl, and there are a lot of songs that have resonated lately. This one is probably one of my favorites…and I need the reminder on a daily basis, too. Have a listen. :)


So I kind of love to give gifts. I just do. Plus, it’s been a long time since I’ve given anything away here.

So…leave me a comment and share one of your current favorite things with me, and I’ll enter you to win a $15 Amazon gift card so you can order a new book or watch a new movie or find some new makeup. Something fun. :)

I’ll email the winner on Monday. Good luck! :)

Friday-Favorites 300


Deep, Not Wide

Allume 2014-0730(1) final

I made a mistake last year.

Well, to be fair, I make them every day. 😉

But this one…it was the kind that grated on me for a year. I just couldn’t get it out of my head. And I knew things needed to be different, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what I had done wrong. And, really, it took twelve months to process.

But this morning, as I sit down with my coffee and pour my heart out to you, I’m starting to see.

And, oh…it feels good to finally see.

So one of my dreams has been, for a long time, to “make it” in the blogging world…to become the next big blogger, whatever that looks like.

And what that DOES look like…well, I still haven’t quite figured that out. For a long time, I had it in my head that it meant tons of followers, comments, a platform the width of the world, lots of recognition. And, of course, a book deal to follow.

In reality it sounds like a lovely, perfectly-ordered dream, doesn’t it?

And there was a time…a span of about a year…when I chased that dream hard.

Too. Hard.

Today I’m over at God-sized Dreams telling a heart-story, one that’s tough to share with the world. Will you join me there?



The Gift of Perspective

Christmas animals
Or maybe I should title this something more along the lines of, “When Your Day Falls Apart and You Have To Deal With it Anyway…”

Oh, Wednesdays.

So, usually, I like this kind of day. Wednesdays are the one day of the week when we don’t have to be anywhere until 11 a.m.

I try to sleep in a little and pray Mae does, too, but she seems to be on a permanent, wake-up-at-6:30-no-matter-what, kick these days. And so our day usually starts a bit earlier than I’d like it to, but yesterday morning I figured we’d make the best of it all, and I crawled into her bed to cuddle. We laughed, we joked, she stroked my hair and asked me if my headache was better. Yes, you may melt now. She’s just that sweet. :)

And then we got up to face the day. She had her breakfast and watched some tv while I worked out and got ready to leave the house.

We usually leave a few minutes early for gymnastics on Wednesdays so I can stop at Dunkin’ for a caffeine fix. It’s my once-a-week treat. :) We also needed to pick up a friend, too, and so I went out to the van around 10:15 to start it.

Turned the key.


I figured it was a fluke because we have had starter problems in the recent past. (Here, I might just insert that I don’t recommend a Dodge Caravan. I love my minivan, but I won’t be buying another one…this one has left me stranded just a few times too many.) One trick is to shift in into neutral, which will usually kick the starter back into working right.

But the van wouldn’t shift AT. ALL.

I called my friend and told her we wouldn’t be making it to gymnastics.

And then I called hubby, and by then I was so frustrated that I cried. (Sorry, T. I know you know it’s not you, but I’m still sorry.)

I tried a few other things like using a different key and attempting to shift it again, but nothing worked so hubby came home from work to look at it and confirmed that I wasn’t crazy. (Which was a weird relief. While most of me wanted the van to JUST. START.ALREADY, there was another little part of me that was relieved this wasn’t me and my female, I-don’t-understand-anything-about-cars, brain.)

And this was the part of the day when my brain started racing over all the things I needed to do. Pick up one more thing and get a friend’s birthday package in the mail. Bible study this morning, afternoon music practice for Mae, two music practices for me tonight, followed by a cookie exchange.

In short, I needed my van today.

But we had to have it towed…and the estimated return time? Unknown.

And I had to stop myself and remember that this was not the end of the world.

In my first-world mind, it felt like a big deal…until I thought of the people I know and love in another country who do life without a vehicle every single day.

The ones who live not much more than day-to-day and find the faith to know without a doubt that their needs will be taken care of.

The ones who don’t celebrate a Christmas that looks like mine…yes, we do Advent and look forward to Jesus and the reminder of just what a miraculous gift he was and still is. But our Christmas also comes with beautifully lit trees and equally beautiful packages (if my hubby wraps them) and music and apple cider and cookies and parties and special church services and a thousand other material reminders of the holiday that is so wonderful, so meaningful, and also so commercial.

And maybe I just need to, daily, go back to a young woman who, over 2,000 years ago, probably took the most uncomfortable ride of anyone’s life on a donkey. Dude, I know donkeys were just how people traveled back then, but still…I could barely walk when I was that pregnant. I can’t imagine sitting my bum on a donkey, riding through that kind of terrain, and actually staying on, to boot. (Ok, so yes there are theories out there that maybe she didn’t ride on a donkey…I’m going with the Sunday School answer today.) 😉

When it comes down to it, it’s all perspective, really.

Yeah, it’s a stinky day when life doesn’t look like I want (and need) it to. But maybe I don’t need it to, either.

Maybe my heart needs to slow down and remember the season…and the truth that I am a blessed child of God because of the gift that came wrapped in cloths, lying in a manger, so many years ago.

And may I remember that always, even on days when my van won’t start.

Update: Too much money later, at least I have my van back this morning. But it’s always good to gain some perspective, isn’t it? :)

Photo Source: openclipart


Please Use Caution When Opening Your Drink…

smilebooth2 final I should have titled this post something more along the lines of…

Allume 2014.

Family Reunion 2014.

Lessons From a Really Great Weekend.

On Meeting With an Agent and Other Things That Whisper Hope.

A Weekend of Blessings.

Or, all of the above.

I flew in late Sunday night after a glorious five days spent in the beautiful city of Greenville, South Carolina. Seriously, y’all (do you HEAR me getting all Southern already?!) I heart this city. I have plans to bring some of you TO this city. If I didn’t love where I live so much, I’d be tempted to move my family down there so we can eat fried green tomatoes and sweet potato cake for the rest of our days.

Maybe I love it for reasons like this…

cupcake quote finalBecause, YES. I do want to live in a city that has signs like this on their sidewalks.

Or, this…

cutepuppy finalMel walks into cute, upscale boutique.
Is greeted by cute puppy.
Immediately trades browsing for puppy cuddles and a picture.

But chances are, I love it most of all for this.

allume4-1024x768 finalMy heart sisters. They are forever that.*

When I started my blog back on that lonely, cold morning in January 2011, I had no idea it would turn into Community. Family. Sisterhood.

These are my people…

The ones who stay up late and chat deep and laugh loud with me when I totally explode my drink mid-flight. Yes, yes I did.

Mandy&Mel1 final

The ones who, when you finally meet in person for the first time, are just as wonderful and sweet and encouraging as you knew they’d be.

AmyB&Mel final
The ones who take the time to hold my hand, share a hug, and whisper Hope to me in a season that doesn’t feel like there’s much to hope in.

Mel&Kate final
The ones who pray me through a knee-knocking meeting with a literary agent, the kind in which I hand over my proposal. (aka: My. Heart.)

Laura&Mel final
The ones who don’t count how many cupcakes I eat in one weekend.

DelonnaGindiMel&Kim final
The ones who will sit and drink coffee and share life, even just minutes before they have to leave.

coffeeshop final
The ones who make me smile just because they’re near me.

Tracy&Mel final
The ones who will stand by my side as we worship our Father and trust that He is good in ALL.

MelAmy&Crystal final

The ones who share their dreams and stories…the pretty parts of them and the not-so-pretty, too.

Meetup finalLoved the God-sized Dreams meet up!*

Yes, I went to Allumeand it IS a writing conference…an amazing one. Logan and her team did an awesome job, and I’m so grateful for the prayers, sweat, and tears they put into it for all of us.

But it’s also so much more than a writing conference. It’s that place where I find so many of my friends…sisters. It’s a place where we just get each other. It’s a place where we raise our hands and praise Him…completely…even when it’s hard and the tears flow. It’s a sweet, precious gift, and when it’s over…well, it takes more than a few days to process it all.

I didn’t know how much I needed to be there this weekend…how much I needed to just go and cry and laugh and beand then find some healing. And there was…it wasn’t the kind of healing that makes it all go away. It was the kind where God used people, over and over, to remind me that He still loves me so much and that there are so many blessings still to be had. Even in loss.

There were some cool God stories…and I’ll share those someday. Stories about how God opened up seats BOTH TIMES on full flights so my sweet sister and I could sit together and share life and eat cupcakes at 20,000 feet for a bit longer. Stories about how God brought two precious women…now friends…into my life to bring some Hope to a heart that has just begged for a glimpse of light.

MIssy&Mel finalI love this girl…she has such an amazing heart.
And she makes some of the most awesome jewelry ever.
(See Mel’s necklace.) 😉

Dawn&group finalWith my friend, Dawn, in the middle next to me. LOVE her, her story, and how God planned our meeting.
(And we’re with two super awesome women who I wish I’d had a chance to talk with longer!) :)

Today, though, just think of this post as the scratch-the-surface-and-dump-my-photos kind. Feel free to share some smiles or grab a picture. One of the whole twenty…maybe…I took. 😉 And if you’d like a copy without the watermark, just let me know and I’ll send it your way.

To the wonderful women…friends…sisters…who were part of this weekend. Thank you. You mean so much to me…and though it’s hard to put into words, I think you understand just how much that is.

Until we meet again. And I hope it won’t be too long.

*I’m not sure which of my GSD sisters get credit for these photos. But, thank you!!! :)


A New Space for A New Journey (And a GIVEAWAY!)

For years, I’ve stared at it.

The boring space that is A Barefoot Life. Really, friends…it was boring. I’m just being real here. 😉

Maybe what I wrote wasn’t always boring, but there’s so much that’s appealing about a pretty blog. And as a polka dot lovin’, flip-flop wearing, fashion-adoring girl, it just seems right that the place I live online should be cute too, huh? Can I get an AMEN?! 😉

And my sweet friend, Lisa? Well, one of her callings in life, at least according to me 😉 is to design pretty blogs. And she did an amazing job, didn’t she?!

Oh, I’ll be coming back here all day (and probably all of forever…) just to gaze at the beauty that SO not my gift at all. I’m so very thankful that someone I love is gifted in this area. :)

In thinking through my blog redesign…the one I’ve been wanting to do for a year, at least…it was hard. I had no direction because I was going through that kind of season. You know, one of those.

What’s my purpose? Who am I exactly in this great, big, bloggy world?

Because let’s be honest, friends…this bloggy world IS big. And it IS easy to feel like a tiny drop in a sandbox bucket.

Over the past few months, God has been whispering something. It’s not always been something I’ve wanted to hear, but He’s been pretty loud and clear.

He’s not calling me to write a book (right now, at least) or to be some big, awesome, word star. He’s just calling me to share my words.

Beautiful or messy, profound or just chatter…for the people who need them. And that probably won’t be the entire world…though that would always be nice. :)

He just wants me…Mel. My heart, my willingness, my words…for me to take those and use them for Him and let Him do the rest.

It has taken a long time for me to embrace that and not just be ok with it.

But today?

Today I’m completely owning my new taglineLive the Adventure. Tell the Stories. (<====Tweet this!

And there’s actually a funny story about how He gave me that tagline. It was somewhere, in the air, between Doha and Chicago, as I fretted over situations and processed a dream that had come to an end when I opened my email during our layover in Qatar. It was in those moments of grief and even a little fear that I heard my Father whisper…

Live the Adventure…it’s what I’ve created life to be. And then Tell the Stories…the people you love, the places you go, all I’m doing in you.

That’s it. And I kind of love it. A LOT.

So welcome to my new place…same site but a whole lot prettier. Thanks again, sweet Lisa! :) 

I can’t wait to share the adventures with you…the ones that happen as I slowly traipse my way around the world and the even better ones that happen in my own backyard.

I hope you’ll join me for all of them!

Here’s to a new space for a new journey…I can’t wait! :) (<====Tweet this!)


I’m so glad you’re here, and I want to say thank you with a happy, fun, summer giveaway. Use the rafflecopter below to enter to win some of my favorite things! (Sorry…U.S. residents only.) :) 

First up…what’s summer without COFFEE? (Really, what is LIFE without coffee? But we might have to go into that another day…) 😉 And, psst…Dunkin’ Donuts has any-size iced coffee for 99 cents all summer from 3-6 pm! WooHoo!) And if, for some sad reason, you are nowhere near a Dunkin’, let me know, and I’ll throw in $10 so you can get yourself some good coffee. It’s not like that gift card won’t get used around here…ahem. 😉

Finding Spiritual Whitespace…it’s one of my new favorite books. In fact, I’m reading through it for the second time so I can journal it out in detail. (I never do that with books. I’m doing that with this one, though…it’s that good.) It will probably take me six blog posts to talk about why it’s my favorite. But if you’re craving rest and intimacy with Jesus, you need to read this…Bonnie shares a journey of heartbreak, healing, and hope. It’s inspiring. And I think, no matter who you are or where you are in life, her words will resonate somehow.

My sweet friend and blog designer also has an Etsy store with some of the most beautiful prints I’ve ever seen, and Lisa is offering a free print from her store to the winner…you get to choose! Be sure to hop over and check out her amazing designs…they are seriously gorgeous. (I need more walls in my house just so I can buy more of her prints!) And as a bonus…the money raised from all sales goes to help fund her family’s adoption. How cool is that?! :)

Last up…check out one of my new favorites. Ok, so it took me a loooooong time to embrace dresses and skirts again…five years of being forced to wear them might do that to just about any woman. But gotta admit that they’ve stolen my heart this summer, and Target has some cuuuuute dresses right now…this one was an awesome $11. Ok, ok, I had a $5 gift card and got a sweet 20% off with Cartwheel. 😉 Take this $20 gift card and pick up something fun to wear. 😉

Thanks again for being here, friends. I wouldn’t want to walk this journey with anyone else!

(And I’ll pick a winner on Sunday. Or, rather, Rafflecopter will.) 😉

Photo credit: plugged mind

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Five-Minute Friday: Nothing

Today I’m linking up with Lisa-Jo for Five-Minute Friday. So, 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: Nothing

I was up early this morning.

We didn’t have to be anywhere until 10:30 and I’d already squeezed two workouts into yesterday. It was truly a morning off, and I wanted to write.

I made the coffee, I gave myself some time to wake up, I read a few verses. And then I sat down, hoping the words might flow.

There were a few attempts, but it soon became clear that it wasn’t the morning for writing.

I had nothing.

And so I poured a cup of coffee and wandered to the back porch with my laptop, hoping for some inspiration. Even the cool, perfect morning (and the equally perfect caffeine) 😉 just didn’t do it.

Nothing. No inspiration.

Friends, it’s been a dry season…and it’s been pretty quiet around here, too. I can’t quite explain it or even understand why the words just aren’t there. There have been times it’s been frustrating, and other times it’s been a relief.

But mostly…well, mostly I just wish I could write.

I miss it. A lot.

And sometimes I feel like nothing when I can’t get the words out.

I know the truth…and so I tell it to myself over and over…that though it feels like there’s nothing, it’s a great big something. It’s just that my something looks much different.

And so I embrace it the best I know how…

in a park date with my daughter, flower planting with a sweet friend, a mug of coffee on a perfect (if wordless!) morning, a visit from Indo friends, even sunshine and a bit of a sunburn.

None of those are nothing…in fact they are pretty incredible somethings.

And I’m whispering thanks…because He is good.

And because I know that someday the words will be back, too. :)


Five Minute Friday


Less Words…

This might be the kind of day when I heart-spill a little too much.

So if I do, forgive me. :)

It’s 5:45 in the morning, and I’m up early because…well, because I’m trying to get into a good routine, and as much as I’d love to sleep much, much longer, this is my time to get things done.

I have to admit to you that I wish I were drinking coffee right now. We’ve got a big ‘ol container of Bailey’s Mudslide Coffee Creamer in our fridge right now (it was the only size they had) and OH. Yes, it DOES make me want to drink coffee all day. (As if it takes creamer to do that…) 😉 But, alas, I am not drinking coffee.


See, I’m also trying to be better about getting up to run early in the morning. I’ve been good during the last few months about doing lots of strength training and cardio/strength, but I need to get back to running more often. And my rule? No coffee til the run is over.

I know. Oh, I know. ‘Tis a bit brutal. 😉

I’m pondering life and love and the fact that my sweet three, almost-four, year-old finishes PK3 today. It has been such a good year for her, and I’m finding myself thinking back to the times when I would finish a year of school; especially when I was younger, I would always be devastated to say goodbye to my teacher. Clearly that emotion has been passed, straight on, to my girlie.

She cried yesterday when she told me she had one more day. I don’t WANNA leave Mrs. H! Or Mrs. B!

And, oh, how there is that piece of me that would gladly let her remain there forever…but we go forward anyway.

And with a few tears because that’s how a lot of us roll, I think, whether we’ll admit it or not.

And along with the whole finishing PK3 thing comes other milestones to remind me that my little girl is growing up so fast. A ballet recital on Sunday in a sparkly costume with her hair all pretty and MAKEUP. So not ready for this one…

A real, kid birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese to celebrate the BIG FOUR. Not ready for that one in a completely different way…

Swimming lessons to come. That one I’m excited for…she’s been asking, and I want it for her.

So many changes every day…the pants get shorter and the cute little shirts don’t cover her belly anymore. Her aqua toenails peek over the edge of he flip flops, and I realize it…

…I wasn’t looking, and she grew up.

So time marches on, and while the snuggles and kisses remain, the I-love-you’s are a daily thing, and we laugh and dance together because it’s just what we do, I know it’s going to change.

That’s the part I don’t want to come.

I think back to the things I’ve always wanted so much for her…

To know that she’s loved so much…

…accepted as she is…

…and beautiful. SO beautiful.

Those things…they start with me.

And God has been doing some things in my heart when it comes to my daughter.

I was in Houston a few weeks ago with some pretty awesome sisters, and during our time there, a friend and I took a little break outside for a bit to sit by the pool in the glorious, Texas sunshine. (You know, that thing we haven’t seen much of in FOREVER here? Yep.) 😉 We were chatting up life…the two of us are in different parenting seasons…and I was soaking in all she had to say. The mama of four daughters, she gets this…

And I admitted to her that I felt like the blog was wearing me down and all I wanted to do was just be mommy. (But please, my readers, don’t run away.) 😉

As we continued to talk, I confessed that I felt like the time and energy I’d spent trying to build and comment and connect had depleted me more than filled me. That was a hard confession because I love…LOVE…this community. I want to be here…writing, sharing, doing life together.

And God isn’t saying to give that up…but He IS saying to step back a little.

That’s why it’s been so quiet in this space. It’s been a word battle anyway lately, but I also haven’t spent as much time at the computer. The majority of my day is spent with my girl…how it should be anyway. And nights are a little different, too…I used to spend them commenting and answering comments and reading blogs…and there’s nothing wrong with that.

But you see, I have a husband, too. He and I are desperately trying to find our dance again. We’ve both kind of forgotten how that looks, but it definitely doesn’t involve computer screens.

It’s such a confusing place to be…knowing I’m meant to be a writer, but being aware that to everything there is a season. And I think it’s my season to write less. A lot less.

I miss connecting with my community as often. I miss the twitter parties and late nights…and while I may show up once in awhile, it’s no longer the commitment I sprint out of praise team for. It’s an added blessing when my day allows it.

And so, for this season, the rough draft still sits. The blog is a bit quieter. And the words flow through my heart more than they do through my fingertips.

But I’m good with that because it’s where I need to be.

And now I need to go…because four miles, a pot of coffee, and a sweet, three year-old princess await me.

Life is so incredibly beautiful…and I don’t want to miss any of it.




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!



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!