MoNDaY mOrnINg CofFeE LoVE

Clearly, from the title, I need a good dose of the stuff.

It’s 7:45 a.m., the girlie is still asleep, we’re almost packed for our trip, and YES.

I’m drinking coffee. :)

Mae and I are headed out to Iowa in a couple hours. (I’ll tell you more about that at the end.)

In the meantime, I am SO incredibly, super-excited that I finished packing for both of us by 9:30 last night. That, like, never happens. Of course, there are still the last-minute things, but I’m impressed with my organization/lack of procrastination. And that I’m sitting down to blog before we go! (That usually never happens before a trip, either!)

Though I did make myself get up early so I’d have time for it.

Oh, the commitment I have to this space. ūüėČ

Ok, I’ll stop. Obviously, I should be chugging more coffee if that’s where my brain is right now. OY…

And as much as I want to go on and on this morning, I need to keep it short. Ish. I told myself we’d leave at 9, but that won’t happen. Does anyone else out there do that? I SAID 9, so we’d be out of here by 9:30. That should happen. I hope. :) Really not relishing the thought of hitting the afternoon rush in Des Moines, and I think if we leave by 9:30 and don’t make too many stops, we’ll be good. Rush hour + Mel = don’t mix.

We had a good weekend. It was Pumpkin Days at Immanuel, and of course, we took our girl. She’s been fighting a cold for a few days, so she was definitely not as crazy as she usually is, but she completely hearts bouncy houses, and she had a great time with that. She even joined some of her older friends in the “big kids” bouncy house with the slide. Tobin and I were amazed that she could climb up to the slide in there. Sigh…my girl is growing up way TOO fast! We’re glad she had such a good time, though.

In just a few, Maelie and I will be heading to Iowa for a few days. The purpose of part of the trip is so she can have grandma/grandpa time. :) We’ll spend the night there, and tomorrow morning I’ll leave her in Creston and head back to Des Moines for a couple days to see my two best friends. Hence, the other purpose…to help one of them pack to move back to Creston. She and her six sweet kiddos will be moving in just a few weeks. I’m sad for them…they’ve had such a hard year. Though the details don’t belong on the blog, please keep them in your prayers. :)

It will be fun to have a change of pace from my normal, though I’m sure I will miss my girl like crazy! I’m looking forward to reconnecting with them and just being the three stooges that we used to be. We really are a riot when we get together. :)

Along with that, I’ll be taking a hiatus from the blog for a few days. Even if I can carve out the time to write, I’m not going to. I know it will all be here when I get back on Thursday night! ūüėČ

So, in the meantime, prayers are appreciated since, as most of you know, I completely love driving long distances by myself. (Well, with a toddler.) Please pray for safety and good mommy/daughter bonding time. We have lots of fun music, snacks, toys…hopefully it will be a good six/seven hours. :)

So, happy Monday and happy week, friends! Back soon. :)


There’s No Place Like The Purple Couch

I’m back. :)

So I ended up taking a two day hiatus from the blog. And that’s ok. I need to give myself permission for things like that.

Especially when abdominal surgery is involved. :)

So the gall bladder came out on Tuesday.

The surgery itself was fine…I cried a little when they took me back to the OR and made me say goodbye to Tobin. But they gave me some type of sedative that had me floating within seconds, and before I knew it we were in the Operating Room. I vaguely remember them moving me to the operating table and strapping me down, and the next thing I remember is coming out of it all and doing something totally Mel.

Yeah, when the nurse asked me what I needed, I told her I wanted a hug.

Thank God for nurses who oblige strange requests, and even better, don’t make the patient feel like a complete idiot for asking in the first place.¬†

She totally gave me a hug and then held my hand ’til I came to a little more.


At the time I thought it was completely normal to need a hug…now I roll my eyes at myself. However I suppose it IS better than spending the entire operation talking to my surgeon about something obscure. (Which, to my knowledge, did NOT happen. Another thank You, God.)

Tuesday afternoon was full of morphine and naps and a visit from my daughter and some sweet friends who were definitely good for my heart.

But since I was still in pain, the morphine continued to be administered.

By the next morning I still couldn’t eat anything or keep more than a tiny sip of water down, and I had a headache on top of all of that.

They figured it was the morphine making me sick, and I had to wait it all out for several hours before I could have anything more for pain. Or nausea. Or my headache. I’ll spare you the details, only to say that it was a miserable 4-5 hours.

I remember lying in that bed having a conversation with God. There was a lot of pleading with Him just take the pain away. I’m so thankful that in moments of weakness like that…especially when praising Him and giving thanks to Him were the furthest things from my mind…that He still hears prayer and answers it.

He sent a few things…a text from a friend, a phone call from my pastor, a quick chat with a nurse…to help take my mind off of the pain, too.

Once they were able to give me different pain meds and they kicked in, I perked up. I actually ate jello and crackers and even half of a turkey sandwich around 11 pm. (That is SO me…again.) :) I watched part of the Tonight Show and managed to get a decent night’s sleep, which I think is what really helped.

Today was ok…less pain, though it is still there and will be for a few days. I was blessed with some pretty great nurses who were there, for the most part, all three days I was in. It was nice to be on a first-name basis. :) Though when Tobin and Maelie came to get me around 1:30 this afternoon, I was definitely ready to go.

I went straight to our purple couch and have been (mostly) resting there since. A couple friends have stopped by, and those visits were definitely spirit-lifters. Life is good.

It’s always good to look back after a few not-so-easy days to see God in the smallest details. Gallbladder surgery was nothing earth-shattering, but it was still nice to have those reminders of His love and care.

Well, it’s getting somewhat late, and I can’t wait to crash for the night.

On the couch.

Oh, there’s no place (at least for now) like the purple couch. :)

Thanks for your prayers, friends.


An Answer to Prayer

I was just thinking today about life two years ago…

…about how Mae was so teeny-tiny.

…about how we were packing up our lives to move here and begin a new chapter.

…about how Illinois felt more foreign than Indonesia.

…about how scared I was that I’d never find friends.¬†

One of my sweet friends from Minnesota told me that she was praying extra hard for God to send me one or two close friends. I’m sure I prayed that off and on, too…in between diaper changes and feedings and naps and coffee and episodes of Little House on the Prairie. ūüėČ

But I know¬†she prayed it…often.

And God answered that prayer…beyond what I could have ever imagined. And these two beautiful women, Kris and Alison, are a big part of that answer.

Friendship is such a gift…and I am so blessed.

This pic was taken at my surprise birthday party the other night. Will tell you all about it tomorrow. :)


A Heart Spill

I just started a pot of coffee. (It’s 9:15 p.m.)

It could potentially be a long chat tonight. (And if it’s not, hey…hubby will have iced coffee in the morning. ;))

So for the last few days…I’ve kinda fluffed my way around the blog. I didn’t really write junk…I just wrote things that didn’t make me think too hard. The fact is, I’ve been thinking a lot lately.

But putting those thoughts into words on a blog is much more difficult than the actual thinking. (I write some pretty great bestsellers in my head!)

I’m not sure how to process this…so I may just let my thoughts spill and see where they go. I apologize, in advance, if you hopped over here for Mel’s witty take on life. Maybe tomorrow. :)

By the way, you may have noticed that the blog is different? Yeah. I’m in the middle of updating some things and figured…if I can’t change the past, at least I can change my blog!

So I really hate those nights when I KNOW I need to share something. (Or a million somethings.)

It has been a really discouraging week. I can’t count the number of times that uninvited tears have overflowed and made my eyeliner run all over the place. Or how often I’ve felt so exhausted and drained that doing anything has felt impossible. Or how often, out of sheer exhaustion and impatience, I’ve raised my voice at Mae.

On Saturday (following several days of this), Tobin and I knew we needed to get out of the house, and the three of us went to Menards. Mae did fine for the first part of the trip and started to get fussy toward the end. While we were waiting in line to check out, I gave her a tiny sip of my coffee to calm her down. (Judge me now. Enough people in line were doing it.) I could feel their eyes burning at me, and to make matters worse…that one sip only made her want more. She started screaming, Coffee! Coffee! Coffee! After a few seconds, when it became apparent that this wasn’t going to stop anytime soon, I picked her up, took her outside, and carried her across the entire parking lot to our van while she continued her rant.

I could feel people staring at me, and it only reiterated the thought that I’m a bad mommy.


Add to it the fact that for some reason, Indonesia keeps coming back to me…and not in good ways.

Here’s the thing. We loved it there. (Most of the time.) But we also struggled, and it was no secret to anyone that we were ready for what was next. I don’t believe we left on bad terms, though I do know that God definitely had something else for us and that He moved us on at the right time.

Lately I’ve been seeing pictures on facebook and hearing stories of how great my former students are doing…and I’m filled with questions and, often, regret. Don’t misunderstand me…I completely loved them and am thrilled that they’re thriving. But it makes me wonder…

Did I do enough? Did I love them enough? Did I let them know how much they mean to me? Was I a terrible teacher?

More lies.

Tobin and I have been through one of our more difficult seasons of marriage recently. The details don’t belong here, we’re working through things, and we really are ok even if there are tough days. But there are also those times when I look around the house and see a total disaster…a sink full of dirty dishes, clothes thrown around the bedroom, a nursery floor covered with books and toys or we exchange less-than-kind words…and I start believing that I am bad at this wife thing.

You know, the lies are really starting to get to me.

It’s been a silent week. The kind where friends are busy and plans don’t happen like I thought they might. My phone has been pretty quiet and my social interaction pretty limited. For an extrovert who thrives on being busy and social, this is possibly the worst kind of week. And even though I know it’s not me, I start to believe that my friends don’t want me.

I’m ready to squash satan’s lies.


The fact is that I know, as a mommy, I have my days. We all do. But I also have DAYS…the ones when Maelie and I have the best time ever together and we laugh all day long and have adventures and soak up every moment of this precious, mother-daughter bond. We make memories that will be etched in my mind forever and, hopefully soon, in hers.

That’s truth.

It’s also fact that, though Indonesia wasn’t perfect, it was still time that wasn’t wasted. While we don’t know the kind of impact we had, we know that we were impacted and left there feeling completely blessed for having the chance to be part of what God is doing there. We got to love some pretty amazing students and grow with some incredible friends.

More truth.

I believe with everything in me that satan will try everything to destroy a marriage. Tobin and I aren’t perfect and we’re fully aware of that, but we love each other, and we love our Father. We’re both guilty of letting things like a dirty kitchen and selfish moments take over our days…but at the end of those days, we love each other and we’re committed.

Complete truth.

And while I’ve had a lonely week, sometimes I forget that being alone isn’t necessarily a bad thing. One thing I don’t do well is be still…and maybe that’s a lesson He’s trying to teach me. To take those times I feel alone and let Him fill that void. My first instinct, rather than to grab my Bible, is to grab my cell phone. He always meets me exactly where I am, with exactly what I need for the day.

He is Truth.

I guess I share all of this to ask you to pray for me. Please pray…

…that I’ll be able to throw regret out the window and live fully in the present.

…that I’ll choose to ignore satan’s lies and walk in Truth.

…that I’ll strive to live a life that pleases Him every single day.¬†

He’s Good…and His Truth is just that.


Thanks for listening. :)


A Heavy Sort of Morning

It’s a heavy sort of morning.

Outside, the blanket of white beauty that fell overnight makes the world a little prettier. The tree branches bending under the weight of their icy frosting make the scene outside my window look much more like a photograph than reality.

But it’s real…and a very real reminder to my¬†heart this morning.

A few hours ago a dear sister from a decade ago went in for surgery, the doctors hoping to correct the problem with seizures she’s been having, their frequency and¬†severity increasing. It’s a delicate surgery, and the snow covering the world reminds me of the blanket of prayer in which she’s wrapped.

God is Good…and He will be just that regardless of the outcome. But this pastor’s wife and mama to two precious girls has so much living to do…and we all pray that she will be able to do just that. KS, you are in my heart and prayers today and in the days to come.

Another dear, lifelong friend is aching and hurting so much right now. In so many ways, she is my hero. The Proverbs 31 woman, a fantastic mommy to¬†her wonderful and beautiful children…and the ache in her is something I can’t fix.

That kills me.

All I can do is pray. He has already wrapped her in prayer and love. She is loved…so loved. And we trust in His goodness even when we don’t see purpose.

And still another dear friend faces unknown. I ache for that unknown, for I am still learning trust. But her strength and joy encourage me, a daily reminder of the Grace in which she walks.

Today I am reminded that just as the blanket of snow outside makes everything a little prettier, so is His Love.

It makes things beautiful.

He hears prayer, He calms troubled hearts, and He proves over and

over that He is Love.

And that He is Good.

It is in that blanket that I wrap myself today.

And the one I hope you find yourself covered in, too.


Morning Thoughts

It is an extremely rare day that I blog before noon. Even rarer, before 9 a.m.

Mae is up for the morning, having her breakfast, watching her “Melmo”. (Elmo ;))

I’ve showered and am sitting down with a rather strange combination of morning goodies…my Airborne drink to (hopefully) keep on keepin’ this cold away; my oatmeal, with chocolate chips of c

ourse; and a cup of coffee. (With this amazing York Peppermint Patty creamer, since I know you’re all wondering!)

I had a good chat with a friend yesterday that provided a pretty enlightening moment for me.

See, I tend to be a burden carrier.

My heart takes the hurts and burdens of others,¬†carries¬†them around…and that eventually starts wearing me down as a person.

There are a lot of people in my life right now who are hurting. I want to be there for them. I ache for them. I cry for them. I lose sleep for them.

It’s the way my heart works.

Some people are easily able to give their burdens to the Father…I struggle with that. I want to but often find it hard to trust.

I processed that with her a little yesterday and left the conversation realizing that there’s a difference between letting burdens weigh me down and having compassion like Jesus did.

Last night I got a phone call from a dear friend, and she shared some heartbreaking news. I think I felt my heart break, and I could feel that I was weighing myself down once again. My mind raced, and I wondered what I could do to help…and her response was simple.

Please, just pray. It’s what we need right now.

Prayer. Giving it to God. Laying those things at His feet, knowing and trusting completely that He has it all figured out.

I am working on that…on not carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. On giving things to Him.

Still allowing myself to ache and cry…and love completely.

Because that’s compassion.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.‚ÄĚ

Matthew 11:28-30

I love His promises, and this morning, this one is precious.


Short and Sweet…

Tomorrow is my¬†hubby’s surgery. In case you’re out of the loop, it’s to “fix” that ridiculous, almost-impossible-to-heal bone he broke in his wrist over Labor Day. (Yeah, four months ago…)¬†It’s a fairly minor surgery, it’s necessary, and it’ll all be good… those doctors do this all the time.

But I still worry so stinkin’ much. My stomach just twists and turns when I think about it…and I’m not even the one they’re cutting open!


We’d really appreciate your prayers…both for the surgery and recovery.

And since it’s my blog, if you could pray for me to be able to stay calm…and that I’ll be able to give things over to God.

Right now the thought of sitting by myself in a hospital for two hours seems almost¬†unbearable…and yet I know He will meet


He always does.


We have to be at the hospital at 9, surgery is scheduled for 11, and if all goes as planned, we’ll be on our way home by 3, maybe even earlier. We’re so thankful for friends who have told us they are praying…those prayers mean so much.

Will let you know how it all goes!


Time to Talk

God has been teach ing

me a lot about prayer in the past few days.

It’s¬†something I’ve always struggled with…being intentional about spending time in prayer.

As a little girl, I always thought I had to stop what I was doing, bow my head, and close my eyes (no peeking!)…before I could pray.

Now I know better.

:) And while there’s definitely a time for praying like that, I’m learning how sweet it is to just talk to Him

throughout my day…as I’m washing dishes, picking up after Mae, or sweeping the floor.¬†Sometimes it’s about me, more often it’s not. Sometimes it’s a couple sentences, sometimes I sit down and talk to Him for a few minutes.

It’s sweet.

Today there was something on my heart that was discouraging, and I didn’t know how to approach it.

I prayed, and God provided a conversation that helped me process…as¬†His way of giving me an


It was such a good reminder to me today…

That God wants His children to talk

to Him.

That He wants to meet the needs that are most pressing on their hearts.

That the talks I have with my Father are precious…and it is time well spent.

Just a little reminder today but something I wanted to share.

Happy weekend, friends!


30 Days of Thanks, Day 28: Prayer

Every single day I’m thankful for prayer…

Not just because I know I can talk to my Father anytime but also because I know He is listening.

All the time.

And that He always cares…and always answers in His way in His time.

There’s a family we know from Indonesia that really needs your prayers right now. In fact, if you’re reading this, will you stop and pray for them? They got some very scary news today regarding their husband/daddy’s health.

They have been so Christlike through the last week as they waited and waited for test results…and also after learning the results.¬†Quoting Scripture, clinging to the promises that God has given, trusting completely that He knows what is best. It brings me to tears to read updates from them.

But the fact is, it’s a serious situation.

They’re being showered in prayer by people all over the world. Will you join me in praying for them?

Thank you, God, that we can always cry out to You and know that You hear.


Chattin’ on a Thursday Night

Hey friends.

I’m sitting here with my Diet Pepsi, wondering how long my eyes are going to remain open.

It’s been a busy day. Bible study and awe som

e, made-me-think-too-much video; hanging with the girl and squelching some crabbiness (thankful for naps!); getting some things done around here including making dinner for hubby and Mae; picking Tobin up from work; hair appointment; praise team.

Whew. I’m tired.

It’s been an emotional week.

Good stuff…some of it.

Some not so.

I’m hurting. I’m trying so hard not to dwell on the impending death of a friend.

I can’t believe the ache and tightness I feel in my chest when I think of her family and friends surrounding her, walking her Home. And letting her go.¬†On the flip side, I truly smile with JOY when I think of her pain free, body completely healed, in the presence

of her Savior.

It’s a strange paradox to smile through pain.

And Sara consumes most of my thoughts and prayers these days.

I am thankful for that and what He is teaching me about JOY when things are hard.

When we don’t understand. When we can’t see but know that He can.

So I finished my song…the one I’ve been working on for two years.

(That bold line above is directly from it.) I was literally waiting on the bridge for two years, and it finally came two weeks ago.

I have to admit that I’m happy with how it turned out.

There are two people I want to hear it…then maybe I’ll post it here.

But I also admit to you that I’m not a songwriter or, really, a singer for that matter. I’ve wrestled with why I was even writing it for a long time because I have no intention at this time of doing anything with it.

I think it may have been part of the healing process for me in dealing with the losses through our failed adoption and miscarriage.

My heart feels more ready to move on now, if that makes sense. ūüėÄ (Yeah, there’s a smile. A big one. Because I’m choosing JOY today.)

In “finishing” it, (aka: being able to chord it on the piano and sing it at the same time…yay for multitasking!) I feel like God is preparing our hearts to start praying about the adoption road again.

Two years ago, we swore we’d never repeat it…and yet, time does heal.

And He heals.

Praise God.

We really have no idea what the future holds for us as a family, but we know that our Father does.

And that’s enough. So right now, we’re praying. Just praying. Taking things slowly and waiting on His timing.

Thanks for praying for us, too, friends. :)

And because this is getting way too heavy…

This week I got rid of all the bad food in the house. (Ok, I need to rephrase that.

There’s still a little in the house because the other two residents need to survive!) I’m drinking protein shakes, eating a LOT better, and treating myself with the occasional Clif Bar.

Four days later my pants are already looser.

Woot woot! (However, I do not want my weight to become an obsession, so we’re not going to talk about it

too much on here. If you’re that interested, e-mail me. ;))

I will say, though, that I am very thankful

that I somewhat enjoy working out and eating things like rice cakes and zucchini. True story.

This has been a random collision of emotions tonight. Thanks for riding along.

Some nights my thoughts are allowed to be all over the place, right? ūüėČ

G’nite, friends. You bless me.