Coffee For Your Heart: You’re Not Alone

Yesterday morning was not my favorite.

Days that involve trips to the Women’s Health Center at a nearby hospital for follow up on what seems to be a never-ending issue don’t generally rank up there at the top.

To say I was in a bad mood might just be scratching the surface.

And even Monday was just not good.

It didn’t help that I was cold because…well, because I live in the U.S. (Is everyone here freezing their tails off? Pretty sure.) I was moody because I got to think all day about going to the doctor first thing Tuesday morning. I was snippy with my hubby and in a horrible mood when I went to work out with friends that night. (Really, I probably should have just stayed home and gone to bed.)

Honestly…I just felt so alone. It’s not like you can shoot into facebook-land a status like, Getting a mammo tomorrow…please pray?

Well, maybe some people would. No judgment on my end, but for me, it just seems too personal. (And, yet, here I write it on my blog.) 😉

But I did mention it to a few people, and they prayed for me. I felt a little better by the time I went to bed Monday night.

But then Tuesday morning came, and I felt defeated.

I put off getting up until the last possible second. My stomach was in knots and my mind was wandering to places it shouldn’t go. But I made myself put one foot in front of the other, and I even put on makeup.

And as I was applying the eyeliner, I heard my Voxer beep at me. It was a sweet, dreaming sister sending a message to let me know she was praying.

I sent a quick reply back, and my phone beeped again.

A text. Praying for you this morning. This time from a sweet friend.

I’m not alone. I’m notthe promise that came to my mind.

Somehow I made it to the appointment with time to spare. (Thankful for back roads.)

My technician was about the sweetest woman I’ve ever met in my life…so compassionate and caring. He knew I needed her.

And while the process wasn’t pleasant, it was the quickest mammogram I’ve had yet. In less than an hour, I was on my way home…No changes. See you in a year. (Which has now been switched to six months, but that’s for another day.)

(Still) Praise. Jesus.

I stopped at Starbucks for a drip brew with white chocolate to celebrate. :)

I got to send a few texts to friends…Things look ok…so thankful.

And looking back now brings tears to my eyes. What I had to do yesterday was almost my least favorite thing ever…and, yet, my Father met me in the most tangible way. With sweet, little reminders that I’m not on my own here…because I know that, but it’s always nice to be reminded.

He’s given me a community of women…friends, sisters…to walk this journey with.

Some days are full of sunshine and we laugh, joke, and share smiley faces.

Other days…well, they’re hard. There’s more rain than there is sunshine and we pass the (sometimes virtual) tissue box around the table and squeeze each others’ hands as we whisper prayers.

But we’re still not alone, and we cling to that.

I don’t know where you are today, friend, but know this. You’re not alone.

He’s got you, and so does this community. Don’t be afraid to grab a hand and join in…because we’re here. :)


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!



God-Sized Dreams: Looking Back at a Year

God-Sized Dreams

I’ve gotta admit something to you, my sweet and faithful readers.

I have procrastinated this post up and down and all around. I have known for weeks…weeks…that it needed to be written. I’ve had days in those weeks when I could have easily taken an hour, gotten comfy on the couch under my awesome sherpa blanket, and pounded out the words you are about to read.

At least, I hope you are about to read them. (I still have to actually WRITE them. Ahem.)


It isn’t that I don’t want to…it’s because when I look back at this year, I almost don’t know where to start.

Except at the very beginning, so here goes. Please stick with me? Thanks a bunch. :)

It really began in 2012, on a cold (and early!) November morning when I was sitting at the table, eyes a bit glazed over, hand clutching my first cup of coffee, making my bloggy rounds. (The list was a lot shorter then.)

I found myself at (in)courage, really the site where it all began for me. I love that sweet space so much and drop by several times a week for the wisdom, laughter, and love these precious sisters share with their readers. That particular morning, I found myself clicking around more than usual, and I landed on a post written by my sweet and now-dear friend, Holley Gerth.

An invitation, really.

She was putting together a God-Sized Dream Team…and would I like to be part of it?

Of course I would!

She was accepting 99 women, and oh…Oh. How. My. Hopes. Flew. Way. Up. Beyond. The. Clouds.

I quickly filled out the application, sharing that my dream was to publish my book.

And when I sent in that application, that’s what I thought. That the heart of my dream was to write a book. Publish it. Maybe be famous, too.

A few weeks later, I received the e-mail that sent me on a little happy dance across my living room. (I really do happy dance. Often. You should try it sometime.) 😉 I’m thrilled to let you know that you’ve been chosen as part of the God-Sized Dream Team!

And what followed in those six months, which turned into a year and now more than a year…

There were gifts like intentional time to find my strengths and pray through how God can use them. (For a non-organized person like myself, this was a good thing. My focus often needs to be narrowed down.) I also learned the importance of carving out that time to pursue book-writing, and I faithfully visited Starbucks (SUCH a chore ;)) weekly to pound out as many words as possible on the rough draft.

In just a few months, I had completed my rough draft and handed it to my first friend.

Dream definitely on its way to being realized. :)



Or, maybe…the dreams were just starting to grow.

Over the course of a year, a little piece at a time, He began to show me that it wasn’t just one dream. While there’s definitely a book in there (and oh, how I can’t wait to share it with all of you!!!) there’s so much more.

SO much more.

Dreams like being the best possible wife and mommy…a dream that I have to daily place in His hands and pray through.


Dreams like someday working on a medical ship as a family. (Yeah, this one’s BIG.)

Dreams like traveling to Uganda to help clean the jiggers from the feet of little children and give them shoes. Shoes that will save their lives…and tell them about the Jesus who saved them, too.

Even dreams that I didn’t know were in my heart…You see, I’d been so used to writing…just writing. Not really connecting, just sharing words and rarely going beyond my little online space.

And then, somehow, God took a group of 99 women and built a family. These women? They’re my sisters. I’ve had the privilege to hug many of them in real life…but all of our hearts are connected.

GSDT Allumephoto credit: Melissa Aldrich

And then, He took a few of us, and we formed a smaller Mastermind group…and from that, the dream of a brave sister became a new site for dreamers, one that launched yesterday.

And my dream of being a contributing writer came true. The one I’d been so afraid to speak aloud.

I feel humbled, blessed, and honored to even be part of it.


 So when I look back at this year of dreaming God-Sized Dreams???

I see blessings…almost too many to even count.

A finished rough draft. Even a meeting with an agent. (I still haven’t written about that, have I?!) 😉

Hugs and heart spills with friends…those in real life and those online. The gift of community is precious.

Prayer times and Google Hangouts.

Voxer and the laughter, love, and sometimes-embarrassment it has brought to my days.

Allowing my heart to bleed even more for what God is doing all over the world.

Learning to take His hand each day and trust Him with my dreams.

And the reminder that sometimes dreams come in the everyday, extraordinary…like this. And there’s nothing small about these kind of dreams, either.


So how do I wrap up a year?

I don’t.

This journey isn’t over. In fact, I’ll be sharing tomorrow what’s next…or, at least, what I think is next.

This year…oh, He’s shown me just how much MORE He can do…beyond what I could have ever hoped or dreamed. He’s SO Good.

And I am so, so thankful. Praise Him for all of it.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV)

And today, friends?

We’re linking up at the new God-Sized Dreams website! I hope you’ll stop by, read the stories of other dreamers, and even share yours, too! And thanks to each of you for sharing your lives and being a part of mine. You bless me more than you will ever know.



When Dreams Come True

I’ve written this post in my head about 636 times. 😉

It’s so funny how things that are so big, so life-changing, so amazing to my heart…are sometimes equally difficult to write about.

And this one? Well, I want to do it justice…because it’s all about dreams. God-sized Dreams.

And I’ll be sharing more tomorrow about how God took the ones in my heart and grew them beyond anything I could have ever imagined. ‘Cause He’s awesome like that. :)

But today, I want to share this brand new space with you.

It’s the dream of a sister and friend, Christine…she bravely stepped forward and obeyed when God said, Yes. Do this. I’ve got it. All.

And we have certainly seen that He does have it all…down to every last, even often small, detail. As we’ve prayed over this space…and shed a few tears before praying some more…we’ve seen Him move and guide.

And now there’s a beautiful place for dreamers to connect.

Today her dream becomes a sweet, beautiful, reality, and she’s invited me, along with several of my sisters, to be part of the journey. And that means that my own God-sized Dream of being a contributing writer comes true today, too. Squeeeee!

Dreams all over the place are comin’ true, I tell ya! 😉

I hope you’ll take the time today to stop by and leave her some sweet encouragement and comment love…she has such an amazing heart for God-sized Dreamers, and I know her words…and her heart behind them…will bless you.



Behind the Scenes: The Day We Shared Life

She sends me a facebook message to let me know she’ll be in town, and I count down the days because I can hardly wait to hug her neck. Yes, we just saw each other at Allume in October, but you see…she’s my community.

My sister.

My friend.


And from the first minutes of the ride back from Schaumburg, it’s like old times. Or, in particular, old timE…because this is only the second time we’ve been in real life. There have been countless Google hangout prayer times and a few other chats, connecting over blogs and Twitter and dreaming…and all of these things have made us old friends.

She does life with me that day…we stop at church and I get to introduce her to a few of my favorite people. We deliver bread to the daycare I visit every Friday. Maelie and I take her to our favorite little restaurant for lunch, and then it’s back to my house, where I put on my yoga pants…the ones I promised her I’d be wearing when I picked her up, and then I showed up in skinny jeans. (Sorry.) 😉

And we make hot chai, kick our feet up on the furniture, and heart-spill.

It’s wonderful.

At one point, we even pull out the Nutella and two spoons…making up for what was supposed to happen at Allume and didn’t. I find that, after trying it for the third time, I actually like it…and I double, then triple, dip. Good friends can do that, you know. 😉

And though we promise not to check the clock, we watch the hours, then minutes, tick slowly toward the five, and we know it’s almost over…the seven hours of in-real-life sisterhood we were privileged to share.

We snap a few selfies and even share one on Facebook with our dream team…and I really should have turned off the flash, but I didn’t, and it’s ok. We’re just really bright and sparkly…which is kind of how our hearts felt that day, anyway. 😉

Too soon, it’s time to pack up and take her home.

The traffic is a little pokey, and for once, I don’t mind. Let it crawl, let it crawl, I pray.

There are moments we want to hold on to…and this past Friday was one of them.

My sweet sister, Mandy, came to my house, sat on my couch, and shared life with me. It’s kind of been a dream for a long time…and it was every bit as sweet as I thought it would be.

And it would have been, even without the Nutella. 😉

Here’s to sisterhood and the blessing of community…a gift I can’t even put into words.


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. The sneak peek behind the scenes, a look past the edges of the photo to the real life behind it.


The Liebster Award

4382d-liebster2My sweet friend and heart-sister, Kristin, nominated me for the Liebster Award. (This is my first bloggy award…how fun!) :) The Liebster is a fun way to introduce smaller blogs to more people…and I’ll be passing on the Liebster love at the end of this post. 😉

I met Kristin for the first time (in)RL at Allume, but it felt like I had known her for years. We first connected through the God Sized Dream Team and then God planned it all out (He did!) for us to be roomies at the conference. We are also part of the same Mastermind group, are both contributing writers for a new blog coming soon, and have been in the same HelloMornings group for the last two sessions.

Her friendship is such a gift to me…and not just because she lets me borrow her boots and her jewelry. (Take note of the necklace in my headshot on the blog…yep. Totally hers. She has fantastic taste, and going shopping with her is on my bucket list.) 😉 But, really? She’s just wonderful. :) Make sure you check out her blog because she just has the biggest, most generous heart ever, and that leaps off the virtual pages of her space. You’ll be blessed!

Mel&KristinAnd thanks, girl, for letting me “borrow” this picture from your blog. Yours is better than mine. :)

So I get to have a little fun, share some love, and then pass the award on to a few of my friends. (See the end of this post for that!)

First up, 11 random things about me.

1. I’ve lived in four different states and one other country besides the U.S. That’s not too impressive until you understand that for the first 23 years of my life, I lived in Iowa. Just Iowa.

2. I’ve been to 20 countries…we love to travel. It’s a beautiful, beautiful world. :)

3. I drove a pink motorbike when we lived in Indonesia. I hate pink now…I purchased it during that very, very short period in my life when I thought pink was cool. But I do miss that bike…it was fun.

4. I taught myself how to play the piano and the guitar, but singing is my first musical love. I can also somewhat hold my own on the djembe and can even pluck out a few songs…a few…on the ukulele.

5. My name is Mel. Yes, it’s short for something else, but there’s a reason I go by Mel. Even people I’ve known my whole life seem to think that my full name is Melissa or Melanie or even McKenzie. (No clue how they arrived at that one, and none of them are.) I’m seriously considering legally changing it, but hubby isn’t on board with that one just yet. But it’s Mel. Always Mel. 😉

6. I love running…most of the time.  In fact, I’d like to run a half marathon next year. But no more than that. Two hours of running seems like it’s about my limit. 😉

7. I’m a klutz. Really. I trip a lot, and it’s kind of hilarious.

8. When I was pregnant, I wanted a little girl so badly that I wouldn’t believe my doctor when she told me we were having a girl. Four times. Even the day Mae was born, I kind of expected her to come out a boy.

9. My hubby and I met, started dating, and were engaged within five months…and we got married ten months later. 

10. I use a copious amount of emoticons when I write. Please don’t go back and count. 😉 

11. I was the world’s pickiest eater growing up. There are now only a handful of things I won’t eat…maturity and most living overseas are probably what changed things.

And Kristin had eleven questions for me. :)

1. What is your favorite time of day? I’m such a night owl…I could stay up until two or three in the morning watching cheesy movies, but life and responsibility force me to go to bed at a more reasonable-ish hour. Usually around 11 pm.

2. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? As tempting as it is to say Bali (I love me some tropics!) I’d choose here. In this house with the people I love. We truly are blessed by the community and friends we have.

3. What is your biggest pet peeve? Hmmm…I have two. Mean people and people who waste my time.

4. Salty or sweet? Can I say both? (I LOVE salted caramel!) But I probably lean toward sweet most of the time.

5. If you could have one wish granted, what would it be?  Probably that my daughter will grow up to love God and serve Him with her life…and as part of that wish (or prayer), that God will give her mommy and daddy the strength to let her do just that, no matter where He takes her.

6. What is your middle name? Rose. Though, funny story. In elementary school, I changed it a few times…and at one point I had FOUR middle names. I’m funny like that. 😉

7. What is your favorite Christmas tradition? As a family, we’re starting a few…like a neighborhood cookie party and reading the Christmas story together. And though it’s completely dorky, I love the movie Prancer. I probably watch it at least five times every Christmas. 

8. What book are you currently reading? Actually, I’m reading several. My hubby and I are reading Love and Respect in the Family by Emerson Eggerichs together. I’m also going through a study on Ann Voskamp’s The Greatest Gift, and it is so fantastic and changing the way I look at Advent and Christmas. And I’m part of a book study on God is Able by Priscilla Shirer…I’m one chapter in, but I know it’s gonna be good! And my Mom’s Bible Study is going through The Resolution for Women. (Also by Priscilla Shirer and also a good one!)

9. What is the last package you received in the mail? Dayspring sent me a pretty sweet T-shirt and some other goodies a couple of weeks ago. That was a happy surprise, one that I wasn’t expecting!

10. How many loads of laundry do you do in a week? Anywhere from 6-10, depending on how many times I work out and how impatient I am to get the sweaty smell out of my bedroom! 😉

11. What is the best Christmas present you have ever received? Hmmm…that’s a tough one. I’ve been blessed with some pretty good gift-givers in my life. 😉 I think it’s a tossup…between the scooter I got when I was nine years old (I wanted one soooooo badly) and the year my hubby bought me the Rogers and Hammerstein collection on DVD. (I think he regretted it when I started hosting my own little impromptu concerts, though!)

Now, my eleven questions for the friends I am nominating!

1. If you could describe yourself in three words, what would they be?

2. Do you eat breakfast? If so, what?

3. Coffee or tea? Or neither?

4. Christmas tree…white lights or multi-colored?

5. What time of day do you do your best writing?

6. You have a rare day off from any responsibilities. What do you do with it?

7. Do you have any hidden talents? Please share!

8. What’s your most embarrassing moment?

9. What’s a movie that you’ve seen so many times, you can practically quote it?

10. Do you sing in the shower?

11. What’s your favorite book…you know, that one you can read over and over?

And now, my Liebster nominees! :) (Please stop by and leave them some comment love!)

Cathy from Moments on the Journey. She’s my buddy from the GSDT, a sweet, (in)RL friend, and I just love her and the encouragement she is to me! Plus, she has some of the most fun ideas ever…just check out her blog! 

Amy from Living in Harmony. Amy is one of the first online friends I really connected with, and she is always a sweet encouragement to me. She claims that she’s a better speaker than a writer, but I really enjoy her writing and her insights, and I can’t wait for the day I can hear her as a speaker, too. :)

Julie from Whimsical Words. Julie is one of my GSD sisters, and she was such a happy blessing to me at Allume. I knew she’d be there and I definitely looked forward to hugging her, but I didn’t know I’d connect with her and love her so much! Silly me…she’s wonderful. AND she makes beautiful, hand-stamped cards. So you should check out her Etsy store while you’re at it!

Thanks again, Kristin…so fun! :)


Behind the Scenes: On Giving and an Opportunity

Sometimes I feel a heavy responsibility, being the mama of a girl.

Or, maybe, just being a mama in general.


True, we have a blast together. Seriously? Being her mommy is so much more awesome than I ever could have dreamed. She’s just the best.

And, for now, she’s three.

A copycat, sort-of three…whatever Mommy does, Maelie does.

This is good and bad…I break into a song from Beauty and the Beast? She’s right behind me singing backup…or, more likely, taking up the lead. 😉

I have an ugly moment and raise my voice? Chances are, her reaction will be similar.

I sit down to write? She’ll pull out her “laptop” or another device and do the same thing.

I’m helping out with bread at church on Fridays? She’s right next to me helping, putting bags of it into the big, orange tubs and delivering them to the head-start with me.

She’s watching…and doing…all the time.

That’s why it’s so on my heart to set a good example for her…in words, in actions, in how I am every day. Oh, I don’t do it perfectly AT ALL…but each day, there’s an opportunity to teach, to love, to be Jesus to someone. And pray that God will grow her heart to love and show compassion to others…and to have a giving spirit. I dream those things for her.

And, friends?

There’s an opportunity to give right now. One that, I hope, will somehow, someday, make an impression on my little girl’s heart. I don’t know how, but I do know it will make a difference right now in the lives of some beautiful women and their babies on the other side of the world.

In Kenya.


I’m so excited to be part of this: Raising the money for a new home in Kenya for young moms and their babies. For Christmas, we’re building them a HOUSE!!!

Yes, a house. And I completely love it.

This…THIS…is a way to be Jesus to women with one of the most basic needs: a place to live while they raise their sweet blessings.

The Mercy House Kenya fundraiser has been happening for several months already, and what’s exciting is that four of the projects have been fully funded already! So far, we’ve raised money for a new vehicle, a classroom addition, a computer lab, and a new generator. The final phase is raising $53,000 for a second home to help more moms and babies.

Would you like to join and give even a little?

I was thinking the other day of how many times I make a quick drive-through stop for coffee. What if I gave that up for the month (or even the week?) and donated the money to Mercy House Kenya? Every little bit helps, and that’s my challenge for each of you today.

Can you give a little to be part of something HUGE…something that will change so many lives forever?

9656753519_8175759417_zphoto used with permission of Mercy House Kenya

To donate, you can go here or click the link on the sidebar of my blog. (That link will also automatically update if you’d like to track the fundraising progress, too.)

To learn more about Mercy House Kenya and all God is doing, go here.

AND…for those of you who need to finish your Christmas shopping, Mercy House also has a store. :) Proceeds from all sales go to benefit MH…I love that. And I love the beautiful items for sale, too. In fact, I splurged and ordered this T-shirt. (Sshhhh, don’t tell my hubby…though he’ll find out soon enough because it’s going in my stocking! ;))

And, as always, thanks for stopping by, friends! What a gift you can be this Christmas! Will you take up the challenge?

9656775943_97b123b4f1_zphoto used with permission of Mercy House Kenya

*UPDATE* The second house has been completely funded! (It was, in fact, almost completely funded in about 24 hours, give or take a few.) Y’all are Awe.Some. And, because there are so many generous hearts out there, we raised (or rather, GOD raised) an additional $10,000 to furnish the house and money is still pouring in for books and educational materials for these women! (The link still works if you’d like to click over to keep tabs on what is happening or to see how you can help.)

WOW. Watching my Father bless over and over in the last days is such a tangible reminder that He really does MORE than all we ask or imagine.

Praise Him for the Christmas these beautiful mamas and their babies are going to have this year!


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. The sneak peek behind the scenes, a look past the edges of the photo to the real life behind it.


Just Blogging Today

I haven’t just written in soooooo long.

Or, just shared pictures.

So, hi. Let’s do that today.

I remember when I first started this blog a few years ago, I’d sit down with a cup of coffee and just write to you all…tell you about life, tell you about where I am, tell you about the flavor of creamer in my coffee cup. (Pumpkin spice today, since I know you care. ;))

That stopped…and there are reasons why, and maybe I’ll share those another day.

But there are things I can tell you today, so why not? 😉

So it’s Thanksgiving, and we are headed up north. (Such a Minnesota term.) 😉 This time, though, to Green Bay to see some of his family. That will be fun…but, confession? And not really a new one…I hate to be cold. It’s gotten worse since moving back from Indonesia, but thankfully the weather report is sunny and not too frigid.

Some of you may have seen this picture on facebook…Maelie got her own tree for her bedroom, and she’s beyond ecstatic about the fact that it’s hers and all things sparkle. This is one of my favorite pictures of the two of us ever…and it’s a memory I will always hold close. She looks happy in the picture…but I wish you could have seen the excitement and heard the squeals as she raced around the room, almost unable to contain her joy in between hanging pink ornaments. Yes, pink. 😉


I kind of want to live like that every day…well, minus the pink ornaments. :)

And I still haven’t fully processed Allume. In fact, I might be the last person who attended to actually write about it. Sometimes you just can’t force the words, ya know? I’m working on one post that’s not quite there yet…it’s heavy but even so much more amazing that I’m still trying to wrap my brain around all that God did…and is still doing.

I also want to tell you about the book. And how I left Allume with hope instead of hurt and, for the first time, the actual desire to let God do with it what He wants, instead of me pushing it like crazy. I’m taking a break until January, and then the plan is to look (and pray!) for an agent. And actually pursue publishing it. Squeeeeee! :)

And I want to share pictures and tell stories of women who have made such an impact. I’m not kidding when I tell you that hugging them (in)RL was a highlight of my year. Lisa-Jo, Ann, Holley, Kristin, Delonna, Christine, Gindi, Mandy, Julie, Crystal, Laura, Kim, Elise…and so many more. So many sister-stories to tell, and I want to tell them. How they’ve changed my life and my community, every single one of them.

MelandLisa-JoMe with Lisa-Jo…hugging her was like hugging an old friend. So thankful for her and her heart for community!

HolleyandMelAnd, Holley…my sweet friend and mentor. She is truly as beautiful, kind, and wonderful (in)RL as she is through the words on her blog and in her books. The whole weekend felt like being home with her and my wonderful GSDT sisters.

PhotoboothLove ’em! Oh, girls, how I miss you…and making silly faces in the photo booth with you!

More stories to come. :)

And because I’m usually so random and it’s just me to throw something like this in here, you need to know about these. Oh. My. Goodness. Where have they been all my life??? (Or, more accurately, where have I been?)

51o-PDE3IbL._SX190_CR0,0,190,246_I. Kid. You. Not. They make arm warmers…aka: elbow gloves. Oh, the happy in this house. You can buy them here because, come on. You know you want them.

And at the risk of disappointing you all, I’m trying to drink less coffee. It’s 7:30 a.m. and I’m on my first cup. (Oh, the horrors.) Really trying to limit it to two cups a day…I’m starting to think maybe all that caffeine isn’t such a great idea, for more than one reason. So far I’ve managed to survive the coffee-downsize with only a two nasty headaches in the last few weeks. Here’s to embracing moderation and drinking more water. :)

And I could probably go on and on about coffee, but I need to stop thinking about it. That’s probably not helping much, either. 😉

Thanks for joining me, friends…and for enduring my random. Wishing you all a blessed Thanksgiving! (((hugs)))


Even in the Small Things: A Guest Post

Sunset 2

I remember the day so clearly, and it wasn’t one of those warm, fuzzy, happy-memory kind of days.

Christmas Eve, 2005. A Saturday.

And we were on the opposite side of the world from our family and friends.

Life and a two-year commitment in Indonesia…but, really, it was all God…had taken us, geographically, about as far from “home” as we could get.

To say that I was in a bad mood that day may be an understatement…and it’s pretty accurate to say that my husband was there, too.

All day long we spatted back and forth. With last-minute shopping and gift wrapping, Christmas music and cookie baking, giving a gift to our house helper, and anticipating the Christmas Eve service filling those hours, it should have been a day full of the joy of the season.

Instead, it was a day of spouting frustrations and complaining.

It seemed, that day, there was a continual focus on all we were missing…from family get-togethers and friends and our church in Minnesota, to really good eggnog, hot chocolate, and snow.

And maybe that makes sense somewhat…it doesn’t mean it’s right, but it makes sense. The holidays can be hard.

They’re hard for missionaries and people who are away from loved ones. They are painful for those who have experienced loss and have empty hearts. They can be lonely and full of reminders of what was.

Probably each of us could place ourselves in one of those categories if we want to.

Sadly, I don’t think it crossed our minds that day to give thanks for the many blessings that surrounded us…

You can go here to read the rest this post.

Friends, today I’m thrilled to be guest posting at my sweet friend, Kim’s space, Winsome Woman. I’ve known Kim through the God Sized Dream Team over the last year, and God even worked things out for us to be Allume roommates for one night. As a bonus, we even got to have coffee at my favorite ever (so far!) coffee shop the next morning. :) She is sweet, kind, and gracious, and I’m so thankful for the opportunity to share on her blog today!


Five-Minute Friday: Tree

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: Tree

We’ve lived in the blue house on Wisconsin and Charles for three years. And almost a half.


It’s home…and we love it here. :)

One of my favorite things about our lot is the side yard and the big oak trees there. I’m not kidding when I tell you they tower over the entire yard. (You can see one in this pic…the other is closer to the street.)

And it may sound a little silly, but when I think of the time we’ve spent here already and the memories we’ve made, some of my favorite ones actually involve those trees. Our first October back in the States, we couldn’t get enough of the falling leaves and were total kids one late Wednesday afternoon, even taking our four month old girl outside for some leaf-playing fun.


Still one of my favorite memories…and one of my favorite photos of the two of us. :)

Then there was the sweet 4th of July spent reading books in the shade and watching our little girl melt our hearts yet another time that day. We still smile over this one. :)

mae reading

And we continue to make more memories…with swing sets and slides and snow-princess building and hide and seek. With frisbee throwing and chasing each other and being a family of three (plus two dogs) in our little place.

Under those trees.

Those trees.

Reminders of how very, very blessed we are.

Five Minute Friday


Five-Minute Friday: Grace

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: Grace

JulieMelKristin(thanks, Julie, for this one!) :)

I spent last weekend with some of the most amazing sisters ever. (To be fair, I don’t have any blood-related sisters, and I always wanted one. Or thirteen. So I like to think that God is just making up for it now with an abundance of them. ;))

I had looked forward to this conference for so long, and there were so many necks I couldn’t wait to hug. So many cups of coffee I wanted to drink while seated at a little table with friends over long, deep conversations.

Some of it happened…as much could be squeezed into an already jam-packed schedule.

And some of it didn’t.

There were some of you, beautiful sisters, who got a quick hello and a hug, and while I know that can convey something, I know how I wanted to find time for so much more.


This week? Well, it’s been a lesson in giving myself grace.

Of accepting that sometimes, no matter how we plan things, they just don’t quite work out like we want them to. And the simple fact that sometimes there’s not enough time.

My Father…He’s been whispering this thing of Grace to me over and over in the last few days. Reminding me that it’s ok. 

That community can connect and love even despite distance and lack of sit-down-in-person cups of coffee.

If you and I had a chance to meet last weekend, I am So. Very. Glad. Y’all are beautiful and treasured…and I’m not just saying that.

This community? I never knew the magnitude of its impact until the hugs started happening and the tears started to fall and I could see it all for myself.


And if we didn’t connect in person, pull up a chair and we’ll keep talking, keep loving…through computer screens and twitter and our blogs. And someday soon, I hope we’ll sit down for that coffee at a cute little table in a corner.


Grace in what happens, grace in what doesn’t.

So, so blessed by grace.

Love to each of you, whether you are part of my (in)RL community, my online one, or both. I’m so thankful to have you in my life. :)


Five Minute Friday