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? πŸ˜‰

So it’s Thanksgiving, and we are headed up north. (Such a Minnesota term.) πŸ˜‰ 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. πŸ˜‰


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.Β 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,Β and I want to tell them.Β 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. πŸ˜‰

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


Behind the Scenes: Surfing in Iowa

I’m a surfer.

I call myself that as I currently sit in the place I call home…the freezing burbs of Chicago. (It snowed yesterday. I’m still not over it.)

But it’s true. I actually surf.

How it happened is kind of funny…it was almost a last-minute, last-day-in-Bali, gotta-do-this-now-or-I’m-never-gonna thing…and after a few major wipeouts, I completely fell in love with all things surfing. This pic is actually from ’07 and is one of my first rides. :)


I’m well aware of how awesome I look. πŸ˜‰

After this first ride, anytime we were anywhere near a beach, I would run down, rent a board, and take on the waves.

And it’s probably safe to say that I miss it now. A lot, some days. I haven’t had the chance to go since before I was pregnant with Maelie, though a nice surf instructor at Kuta Beach in Bali did offer me a discounted rate on board rental when I was six months pregnant, with a looks-like-nine-months, belly.


I have to admit that would have been quite the sight…IF I’d been able to actually stand up. :)Β 

This past weekend, Tobin, Mae and I took an insanely quick, 36-hour trip to Iowa to see his family. We had some good times, more than enough more-than-good food, and managed to pull off surprising his older brother for his 40th birthday. It was fun, it was crazy at times with 22 people all in one house, and Mae soaked up the time with her twelve cousins. (On the way home: I miss my cousins! With wailing.)

On Saturday afternoon, the weather was so beautiful that we headed to a nearby playground so the kids could run off some (or more than some) energy.

Friends, I’m not kidding…when I got out of the car and saw this playground, I couldn’t wait to play. It was that good.

One of the first pieces of equipment we saw (and immediately jumped on) was this…to describe it? Basically as close to surfing as you can get in the Midwest and on a playground. :)

Long, skinny, wobbly, and requiring some good balance to stay on it.


It went up and down and up and down and I almost fell off once but totally saved it and my former-surfer pride. It was fun and a little tricky, and a great chance to bond with my sisters-in-law, all three of them, as the four of us navigated this piece of playground equipment…I’m still not sure what it was called.

But it was fun…and a happy memory from the weekend.

And, it’s probably as close to surfing as I’ll get for awhile.

What do you think? Should we build one in the backyard for Mae? πŸ˜‰


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

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

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




Behind the Scenes: We’re Not Just Picking Flowers Here…


When I first look at this picture, I think,

Mel, couldn’t you have at least gotten this from another angle? Really? It’s your precious girlie picking a flower!

And then I answer myself with a loud, resounding,Β NO!

Because this is not really a story about picking flowers at all…but I hope you enjoy my drama storytelling, anyway. πŸ˜‰

On Sunday afternoon we left town around 12:45 p.m. and headed to Madison, Wisconsin, for Tobin’s uncle’s birthday party.

It’s a two hour drive.

ETA with a potty break thrown in there: 3:00 p.m.

Right. On. Time.

But, no. Oh, no.

Our first mistake was getting on I-90 which was kinda like downtown Chicago after a Bulls game.

Times about a hundred gazillion.

Traffic was creeping…and I do mean creeeeeeeeeeeping.

We sat in it for a good fifteen minutes before we were able to inch our way toward the first exit we saw.

We’re poring over the GPS, trying to find an alternate route, already running super late, and have just turned onto Route 72 when we hear that little voice from the backseat.

I need to go potty!

It’s our first road trip with her being potty trained. {OF COURSE she needs to go potty…it’s Murphy’s Law at its finest and most inconvenient. ;)}

We stop at the first gas station we see and We. Make. It.


But we’re Tobin and Mel and Maelie…the fun never stops with just a potty break! πŸ˜‰

She spots a field of flowers as we’re walking back to the van. Down the hill from where we’re parked.

I’m wearing heels. (Of course…when am I not? But still.)


Knowing that the easiest thing to do in this situation is to Just. Let. Her. Pick. The. Flower…I kick off my heels and we run down the hill to find the very best one.

Realizing at this very moment that this is potentially a perfect picture for my Tuesday post, I whip out my iPhone and snap a picture as fast as I can before we run back up the hill to the van.

And, yes, I remembered to go back for my shoes. πŸ˜‰

Soon we’re off again, down or up or whichever way we were going on Route 72. (I’m thinking I need to write a song here…)

The drive is going smoothly for about six minutes, which is a record for us on this trip, friends.

Things. Are. Most. Definitely. Looking. Up.

And then we see? The brake lights.

There’s a train. It’s. Not. Moving. At. All.

People are turning around, and I just think, Can’t you wait a few measly minutes for a train?

And then Tobin points out that people on the other side have gotten OUT of their cars and are walking around. Clearly, this train is not moving anytime soon.

We sit for a few minutes, thinking that maybe our presence will bring some good luck and things will get moving again. Not a chance. Like the multitudes, we backtrack and find another route. (At this point, the GPS tells us we’re going to be about 30 minutes late.)

Finally on our way (again) we head toward Rockford. We are Just. About. There. when we pass over I-90, which I think may have a new name in my mind now. (It does not belong here.)

Traffic is moving.

We’re encouraged that perhaps we can hop back on the freeway and make up a few minutes.

Our next mistake: We get back on the freeway.

Because we’re optimistic like that.Β πŸ˜‰

No sooner had we actually entered the highway when we saw brake lights and it backed up.

We crawled.


Actually, I’m pretty sure I could have gotten out of the car and, literally, crawled faster.


At this point, I think the phrase, And WHY are we doing this?, may or may not have escaped my lips.

But by now, I just need to focus on something else, so I pull out my phone and tap out a text message to a friend. It’s all, Hope you’re having a good day, we’re stuck in traffic, haha, but she knows me well enough to know that I’m just not telling her exactly how frustrated I am.

It takes up a minute of our forever-into-eternity, long trip, and then I look up.

Still traffic.

Twenty more minutes before we hit Rockford, which is normally a 40 minute drive for us. Sunday? It took us

An. Hour. And. 40. Minutes.

Good grief, have we done something wrong?! Don’t answer that.

Thankfully the rest of the trip was uneventful except for one more little stop right before we arrived at our destination just a few minutes before 4 p.m.

Happy party, fun to catch up with people we hadn’t seen in a long time, there was cake, all is good.

Except there’s a drive home, ya know?

We planned it and got off the freeway Completely. Before. We. Even. Arrived. In. Illinois.

Take THAT, I-90.


Home in two hours and a few extra minutes. Praise Jesus.

Except I have to go through Rockford next week, and I have no idea how I’m going to survive it.

Lots of prayer?

More detours?

Please. Send. Chocolate.


Happy Tuesday, sweet friends! On Tuesdays I link up with my sweet friend, Crystal, at her space for Behind the Scenes.

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.

I hope you’ll take some time to hop over and read about the real and messy of life that happens behind the photos we take.



A Mess of Batik…and Identity

The other day I was digging through some boxes we’ve stored in our basement.

Some of them contain items we shipped back to the States from Indonesia three years ago, and while we’ve gone through the boxes at least once since then, we weren’t in the place yet where we could just start pitching everything we don’t use. (Though that day is definitely closer now. ;))

I was actually digging (and making a total mess…really) for a book that I’d had shipped to me in Indonesia and thought I’d brought back. It figures that I didn’t find the book, but I did find?



Yes, it kind of fits me like a great, big, batik, tent. πŸ˜‰

But, before you cringe…let me tell you the back story.

During our years in Indonesia, I loved all things batik, especially the patchwork kind. Purses, shirts, even skirts…I couldn’t get enough of it. When I stumbled on this tank top in a little batik shop in Yogyakarta during our Christmas trip of ’08, it was like finding a treasure. And so I bought it and wore it and loved it. (And I’m guessing packed it up to ship home way before I actually left Indonesia because my prego belly was probably way too big for it by then. ;))

And that shirt wasn’t the only batik thing I brought home. A couple skirts, shirts, a kebaya, blankets, more bags than I can count… IndonesiaBags

Yep, I stocked up. (And, bonus points to the person who can count how many batik purses are hidden in all of that.) πŸ˜‰

I wanted to make sure I had enough batik to get me through however long it took me to…

Well, I’m not exactly sure how to finish that sentence.

For several months after my return, I wanted that piece of Indonesia.

The kind I could look at and hold in my hands, the kind that could remind me of the place that still held so much of my heart, even if my feet weren’t planted there anymore.

I’d wear those batik shirts around and carry the cute bags and find a little piece of my identity in the fact that even if I couldn’t be there, at least I could remember it.

But eventually that day came…the day when I pulled out a bag I bought at Target. And I dressed in my jeans and and equally-Target tank top, probably with some Old Navy flip flops thrown in there, too.

I’m not sure how, or even exactlyΒ when, it happened, but I became ok with not having that piece of I’ve-obviously-been-somewhere-most-of-you-haven’t-and-that-place-is-my-identity, thrown out there for the world (or at least my little C’ville) to see.

Finding that shirt the other day brought me back to that place…and reminded me of the silly things I sometimes find my identity in.

While a cute bag is always nice (can I get an amen, here?! ;)) and so is a fun, unique shirt…if I’m choosing to label myself with something that trivial, then I have a long way to go.

I guess I still do.

We all do.

That’s why I’m thankful that I’m redeemed, that He’s called me by name, that I’m precious and honored in His eyes…that He loves me.

That. I’m. His.

And as I sit here writing this, still wearing that tent-like tank top, it’s a beautiful reminder, one I need every day.

Thank you, Father.


But, seriously…I added a striped sweater. Don’t you totally think I should wear this on our next date night?! πŸ˜‰Β 


On Memories and Sarongs…

A few weeks ago, I broke my favorite coffee mug. It was a travel mug I purchased at the Starbucks at BIP in Bandung, my last night in Indonesia. (I looked for a picture and couldn’t find one online…just think cute, batik, brown and blue. :))

I was crushed, no pun intended ;), to the point of tears. I had already been in I-miss-Indonesia-mode like crazy…and it just felt like a crushing blow.

Yes, it was just a coffee mug, but that mug was special.

But breaking it did make me start to think…about the things I hold dear, about the things that have a place in my heart and life, about the things that take priority where they shouldn’t.

And so, yesterday, I did something I’ve been putting off for three-days-shy-of-three-years.

See, in three days I will have been “home” from Indonesia for three years. (It’s strange to see that typed out. Time has truly flown.)

And when I packed my bags and boxed up what I wanted us to ship back to the States, a lot of those things included were little, at-the-time-symbolic-but-generally-just-taking-up-space, trinkets. And for three years, I’ve kept them stored in a few random bags, which were stuffed, mostly-unopened, in one of our closets.

I’ve known for awhile that this kind of clutter needed to go, but it’s hard.

So many of those little things were gifts from students and friends, little oleh-oleh (souvenirs) purchased during trips. They all hold a memory.

And it’s hard to throw away memories.

But, let’s be honest here…a person only needs so many sarongs. :) (Not kidding when I tell you that I came back with more than a dozen. Ahem…can I blame it on my love for going to the beach?) πŸ˜‰

So I started…smaller. I went through three bags of jewelry and other random “fun”…and I threw out 90% of it. Straight into the garbage can. I pulled out a few things to save for Maelie when she’s older and even found two or three things I’d been wanting but had no clue where they were. πŸ˜‰

And then I moved on to the sarongs, which were a bit more difficult to part with. Like I said before, there are so many memories tied to them (again, no pun intended…man, I’m on a roll today! ;)) and it’s hard to just toss them aside. I let myself keep three…my two favorites and, again, one for Maelie.

But I honestly felt guilty about throwing those away…and so I didn’t.

Here they are. :)


And here’s the deal. (If you’d like. :)) If you see one you like in the picture, leave me a comment to claim it. (I’ll get your address through email.) I’ll toss it in an envelope and send it your way in the next week or two…and in that way I can get rid of some of the clutter and pass on a little Indo-love at the same time. (I will tell you that I’ve used a few of them once or twice…and I promise to wash them all before I send them out. :))

But if you want a purchased-somewhere-in-Indonesia (most likely, at a beach) sarong, here’s your chance. And it would make me happy to pass them on to friends instead of just tossing them or donating them. :)

The longer we’ve been back in the States, the more I’ve realized that my memories from Indonesia don’t lie in the souvenirs that surround me.

Not in seashell necklaces, not in bright-flower sarongs, not even in the world’s cutest batik coffee mug.

The memories…and, more importantly, the people…are in our hearts. And that’s the way it should be.

:) Blessings, friends.


A Reminder of His Protection

I don’t love to fly.

Which could actually be shocking to many of you, considering that my life, in general, has deemed traveling by plane very necessary.

I’m not kidding when I tell you that takeoffs and landings, especially, scare the b-geebies out of me. This, coming from a girl, who has endured at least two hundred of them. Yep, I still sweat and grip the armrests so tightly that my knuckles turn white.

So, you can imagine the kind of conversation that ensued when, Saturday morning I trudged out of bed (yes, I usually trudge for the first few minutes…not exactly a morning person), and his first words to me…

This is crazy…a plane coming from Bandung overshot the runway in Bali and landed in the ocean.Β 

So, like any curious, former-Bandung-Indo-resident, Bali-lovin’, girl would do, I immediately headed to the computer to watch a clip with him.

It kind of shook me up to see it.

We’ve flown all over Indonesia. Once, even with that very airline. We’re also (still) aware of the fact that several of the airlines there don’t meet safety requirements, and runways in several major Indo airports teeter toward the too-short length. There is one, in fact, that has been “officially” deemed too short, but it’s one we never actually landed on.

Seeing the footage sent chills up and down my spine as I recounted the many times we’ve landed on that very runway. (Prayers being uttered during every landing by yours truly. ;))

Once we watched the footage together (and laughed at how one of the announcers pronounced Bandung (friends, its Bon-doong, not Ban-dung ;)) we had to process it out, you know.

Or, at least one of us did. :)

Indonesia and Bali are both on our list for next year. We’ve been wanting to take Maelie there before she gets too much older…plus, if we’re going that far, we have to do Bali so this girl can hit a surfboard for a few hours. πŸ˜‰ Well, and so we can introduce our girl to this little slice of paradise that is so special to us.

But, true to my personality type, I immediately freaked out. I guess there’s no way Maelie will see Bali now!


It’s moments like that when I’m glad to be married to a rock-solid, albeit-slightly-a-little-too-steady, ISTJ like Tobin. Because his response?

Why not?

He gets it, and it was a short, not too earth-shattering (thought maybe plane-splitting ;)), reminder that my Father has it all figured out. The fact is that if our time to go…and if God chooses a plane crash for that…then there’s not a lot I can do to stop it.

I just have to trust that He’s got it all worked out for good…and I know He does.

I’m posting this video because, praise God, other than some minor injuries, everyone made it off the plane safely, which seems like a miracle when you see the plane. (It is also, in fact, shocking how close to shore that plane is.) We used to hang out at Kuta Beach and watch the planes come and go from just a mile or two away…crazy to think that a plane went down just that distance from where I surfed and boogie boarded. Wild.

Thanking my Father today for His protection of these precious people.

(P.S. My apologies for any potential ads that may precede this video…I tried to find the least-offensive one, but who knows what’s gonna show up. ;))


I Confess…

Happy Monday morning, friends!

Though the calendar may say March 18th, my lawn in the burbs of Chicago is blanketed with white.


Gotta say I’m ovvvveeeer winter.

Spring, come on!!!

Yesterday morning I got up early and actually went for a run. Outside. It was glorious, exhilarating, and slightly cold, but it gave me full-on spring fever.

I thought a few Monday confessions might be good for cheering up my soooooo-ready-for-spring heart. Feel free to add some of your own in the comments. :)

I’m sitting here in a running jacket and the thickest scarf I could find in the closet. (Snow makes me cold. Even if I’m not outside in it.) Oh, and guess where I bought the scarf? Indonesia. Not kidding. Not sure I ever actually wore it there, but I do love it here! :) (And I realize this is not a great pic…another confession: This is the real of Monday. Really thankful for makeup today.) :)


Lately I’ve been missing Bali.Β  I always have a little ache in my chest when I think of Indonesia, and that’s nothing new. But Bali…it must be the lack of spring around here. And the fact that I’m doing a last read-through of my rough draft before giving it to my first readers. How I miss the ocean and surfing and wiggling my toes in the sand of Kuta beach. (Here’s a pic to make you want the beach, too. Anyone wanna go on a little vacation?! ;))


I let Maelie wear my new (Goodwill) heels this morning. She put them on over her footie pajamas and tromped around our bedroom. And though a small piece of me thought those three inches might be a little dangerous, when she put on my headband, my heart just melted, and I sat back to enjoy the moment. Then I took a picture before I made her take them off. (Sorry, the lighting in our bedroom is not fabulous for an iPhone. And please forgive the pile of clothes…I’ll clean them up later today. ;))


We may, or may not, be slightly addicted to Tangled in our house. And not only is it a great movie, the music is so fun. For the last few weeks, I have been trying to get the first song down…besides having a ton of words, the note jumps are tricky. But I’ve got it and am, unashamedly, admitting that I walk around the house singing it all day long. (Do any other musicians out there think this is a hard song to sing?)

And…here it is! Rough draft. Printed off last night. 123 pages and 36, 223 words of heart and soul on paper. I’m (most likely tearfully) handing it over to three friends this week. I’m not sure if that part is the confession…more the intense mix of elation and nerves that are currently taking over my stomach. Nothing like a little fear of rejection to make a person sweat. πŸ˜‰ But mostly, I’m thrilled to be at this point. FRIENDS, I WROTE A BOOK!!!


And since my heart is pounding like crazy just from telling you that, I’ll just wish you, again, a happy Monday!

Blessings. :)


Little Blessings (Pt. 62)

Just a night for counting blessings…join me!

:) Sweet memories with my hubby. 366 days ago, we kissed under the Eiffel Tower. (Sorry, I don’t have a picture of that; we were too busy…um…kissing. ;))


:) Hand-holding days with my girl…I want to savor every one because I know a day is coming when she won’t want to hang on anymore.

:) Unexpected blessings like chatting with a friend and a random lunch date.

:) Beautiful sunshine to make a cold day seem a little less so.

:) Music and the freedom we have to praise Him in this place.

:) A surprise conversation today with someone I’d never met who understood my Indonesia life a little. What a blessing that was to this still, sometimes-homesick, heart.

:) New friends who have spoken Truth, love, and encouragement into my life.

:) Old friends who also speak that same Truth, love, and encouragement.

:) Hard lessons and the reminder of the importance of daily surrender.

:) A Father Who loves me…even when I have those many, many moments a day when I am unlovable.

And, P.S. I couldn’t resist posting this picture just one more time. :)

best eiffel shot

What are some of the ways He’s blessed you this week?


My God-Sized Dream: Deep Breath…

What do you really want more of in your life? Will you dare to say it out loud?

Well, since you’re asking…I really want more coffee and sleep. (Strange paradox, I know.) :) And, silly, but I’ve kinda been hoping for a pair of these…I can’t believe this world traveler has stomped her feet in so many places without a pair of TOMS. πŸ˜‰Β 

But since those probably aren’t acceptable (or inspiring) answers, we can talk a little longer.


This was another question I wrestled with over the last week, but I think that wrestling and battling was so much against my own fear…and IΒ think what’s coming out of it is good.

Scary, but good.

Though, up front you need to know that this. is. the. scariest. post. I’ve. ever. written.

Please be gentle with my heart.

Deep breath…here we go.


In the fall semester of 2007, over our Idul Fitri break from school, some friends and I flew up to Sumatra to visit Bukit Lawang, an orangutan preserve. Included in that long weekend was a day-long jungle hike.

Forgive me here for not sharing too many fun details. This may, or may not, be a chapter in my book. :)

At some point during that hike, we stopped for a water break, and I took the time to really look around me.

Vines everywhere…it was totally like the movie Tarzan. And I’d kinda had this dream to be Jane at one point in my life. :)

It was at that moment I realized there was an opportunity in front of me…one that, if I didn’t take then, I might never have again.

So I asked our guide to cut me a vine so I could swing.

He looked at me, laughed a little, and then obliged. He was even kind enough to test it out for me.

I was scared for a minute, but I reminded myself that now was the time…and if I ever wanted to be jungle-swinging Jane, this was the day.

Deep breath…whoooooosh. I sailed through the jungle.

Ok, ok…so maybe sailed is the wrong word. :) Gotta be honest that my awesome vine-swing was not exactly like it is in the movies.

Definitely still a dream come true, but it wasn’t quite so dramatic. :)

My point?

Is that sometimes dreams take a deep breath and bravery, but they can turn into something truly incredible.



I’ve been reading (and re-reading parts of) a fantastic book that I think maybe some of you have heard me talk about. πŸ˜‰

It’s pretty much amazing.

And as I’ve been chewing on the first part of the book (no, not literally…though I may have chewed off a few fingernails!) I’ve realized something.

When it comes to dreams and saying them aloud, I’ve been safe.


Maybe it’s because I am an ENFP through and through…very much a talker, processor, people-lover, sky-high dreamer, and I thrive on it all.

So when I shared my dream for the first time, it didn’t scare me, at least too much.

The prospect of writing a book, in general, doesn’t scare me because I’m not afraid of words and stories.

Don’t get me wrong, there will definitely be butterflies that will most likely be doing backflips off of my stomach lining when (and if) my book is published, but this kind of dreaming makes me want to jump up and down and do cartwheels.

At least right now. :)

All that to say, for me, there is safety with words.

God has given me this dream, and I know it’s for me…and because He gives good things to His children, I know He’s got this. And I can’t wait for His plan to unfold.

However…ya had to know there would be more, right?!

What do I want to see more of in my life?

Deep Breaths.


Leaping out of my comfort zone with my arms outstretched, ready to embrace whatever He has for me.

Last week a Dream Team sister and I were exchanging facebook messages, and I let something slip. Sort of…I really did want her to know. :)

My other dream.

There is another one…that long-term one that really seems out of reach right now.

For a long time I wanted to keep it hidden, preferrably behind a door with twelve locks, but that’s not being brave, now, is it? πŸ˜‰Β 

I want more bravery…more courage…to let go, and trust completely that my Father has all of these dreams in His hands and that He’s going to make them beautiful.

And not only the bravery to dream them but the heart to accept His answer, whatever it is.

So we’ve come to the part of the show…ahem, post…where I take a deep breath.

Deep breath…

Deep breath…

Deep breath…

and tell you another deep desire that has been rooted in my heart for quite some time.

There’s a pretty fantastic online space out there…maybe you’ve heard of it? πŸ˜‰

I’d love to be one of their regular writers.

Big exhale.

Father, you are the Giver of all dreams…and I trust You with this one, too.

Amen. Amen. Amen.

Friends, we are linking up! Every Tuesday at amazing, Holley Gerth’s place. Click on the button below and join us!

God-Sized Dreams


The Woman on My Wall

(I figured I should probably post the picture before you all get creeped out by the title. ;))

My husband snapped a picture several years ago when we were living in Indonesia.

We were on our way to the beach. And we’re not talking a nice, smooth, hour or so drive to pristine sand and sea. Just clearing that up now. :)

Indo roads wind…and wind…and just when you think they can’t wind anymore, they do. Like, to the point where Mel’s very best friend during said excursion is a tiny little pink pill called Antimo, guaranteed (almost always) to keep the breakfast down.

But the up side is the fun, random stops you can make along the way. Friends who have experienced this kind of drive can completely attest to this…you just never know what you might see. :)

On this particular trip, we were traveling with a large group and had split by gender…the girls in one car, the guys in the other. We ladies had stopped at a roadside fruit stand for some manggis (mangosteen), one of my favorite fruits. (I would seriously choose this over chocolate on many days so you know it’s good!) The guys stopped at a gas station, and while Tobin was waiting for everyone else, he pulled out his camera.

I’m just going to interject into my scattered storytelling the fact that I am ever so grateful I married someone who actually thinks to take pictures. And takes them well. I don’t do either.

He saw a woman working in a nearby rice paddy and thought it was a cool shot.

So he snapped a picture.

She looked up, and he snapped another.

And then? She waved and smiled…which it typically atypical…and he got another. (Not that Indonesians aren’t kind…they’re just often shy with strangers.)

We arrived at the beach for a weekend of relaxing, sunshine, ocean-playing, and hanging with friends…and somewhere in those days, I’m sure he showed me the picture. Which I’m sure I liked. :)

But over the years, we’ve come to really love this picture, almost more each time we see it. It’s just beautiful. Gorgeous green color, beautiful smile from an (I’m sure) equally beautiful woman.

But after we returned to the States, this picture became even more of a favorite, to the point that we finally ordered a large canvas print to hang on our wall. (Which hubby hung yesterday.)

I love the tangible reminder we now have of Indonesia…one we can see every day.

But what I love even more about this picture is that it truly is a representation of this place that holds a piece of my heart forever. I think of beauty and kind people when I think of my Indo…those are the two biggest things I took away from what I now call my second home.

Tobin and I were talking yesterday about this woman…and how we don’t even know who she is. He insists he could find the gas station again, and by asking around, we could probably eventually locate her…it’s highly unlikely that we’ll ever have that chance, but we do wonder.

Would she be embarrassed that she is now the focal point of our family room? :)

I hope not. I hope she’d be honored…because, to me, she represents the beauty of Indonesia.