The One with the Changes

Today, as opposed to my Tuesday night’s sleep, was wonderful.
I was actually cold most of the night in bed last night.
Not a positive thing for most people but it meant lots of cuddling which is my fav.
I woke around 7:30am to find the day shining beautifully.
After lounging in my robe with the Today Show and a bowl of my favorite oatmeal, I headed out for a run.
I decided to switch things up this morning, though.
Crazy! I know.
I ended up running down to the corner where the library sits and then walking back. Totaling just over an hour.
And yes, I’m pretty sure I walk almost as fast as I run.
Not sure how I feel about that.

After some housecleaning and showering, I sat in the sun on our back porch reading Captivating.
Thankfully the smell of the rotting bird carcass had dispersed as I took care of that with a handy shoebox yesterday.
Not pleasant at all.
Tears almost ensued.

Back to the book and the sun.
What a fantastic place God has me in at this moment in my life.
A place of refining. painful but purifying.
I have finally come to a point where I am desiring more than ever to give up control.
Every day is a deeper yearning for the freedom and healing only He can offer.
It is no longer an obligatory sacrifice out of a fleshly desire to please.
I can’t do it anymore.
I have tried to call the shots and it just doesn’t work. ever.
He has whispered my name over and over and over and over again.
I turn around to let him know I hear, but then turn back to continue on my own way.
Never in my life have I wanted anything more than right now.
“Take all of me, Lord. I want to dedicate each day to you. Every act, every word, every thought–make them yours.”

I could go on and on, but at this moment I will refrain.
This may be woven throughout future posts if I am so led.
But for now, back to the wonderful day.

Kevin arrived home early in the afternoon–around 3:30.
I shared much of my Captivating experience and revelations with him and then we headed for the store.
He had complete control of The List.
This was hard for me.
I like to be in control.
But I’ve mentioned that already.
I managed to let him be fully engaged in the shopping date (that is, “thinking through and executing the shopping list”) while enjoying my time out with him (that is, “trusting him not to skip things and being thankful for the mundane activity that was giving us time together.”)

We got home just in time to prepare some amazing turkey burgers.
I’m still not sure how Kevin fit his the height of his double decker into his mouth.
Then we ran off to worship team practice.
The only “not so fantastic” part of the day.
*wink*
An evening of relaxing over FRIENDS and ice cream and Jeopardy and conversation has been just right.

And how could I forget the reason I started this post in the first place.
The Girls are coming tomorrow!!!!
We haven’t all been together for an extended period of time in way too long.
Possibly since May 2008.
Emily, Betsy, Angie, Magan, Tabetha, Melissa, Britt, Jennie and me. (poor Karina has to work!)
All night.
Girls only.
At my house.
What a blast!

The One with the Midnight Rampage

Have I mentioned how much I hate humidity.
In fact, I would go as far as to say I despise it.
The only time I appreciate humidity is when the weather forecast indicates 100% humidity in the form of rain.
And even then, there is a limit to my appreciation.
It’s been humid lately.
Not cool. [literally in fact.]
Besides my bodies natural distaste for heat, I believe I was conditioned by my father’s dislike for this weather as well.
We would much prefer 60s. Or even 30s.
We like snow.
Though my dad would disagree with me here, I must admit that I do not even enjoy heat in the form of relaxation.
Steam baths.
Hot tubs.
and the like.
I enjoy the warmth for approximately 2.5 minutes.
Then my lungs and my heart and my skin cells are screaming for fresh air.

Last night sucked.
When I went to bed I was under the assumption that the recently fallen rain had begun a cooling affect on the evening.
I was sadly mistaken.
At 12:51am I woke up quite irrate.
I kept this anger to myself so as not to disturb my sleeping husband. [not like I could have if I tried.]
I whipped open the curtains that were blocking what little breeze was blowing.
I marched downstairs to retrieve the fan.
Halfway down the stairs I nearly turned around to grab Kevin from his slumber and pull him to the basement with me where I could sleep in the coolness.
But I refrained from that drastic action and plugged in the fan.
Now I could sleep.
Or not.
The fan was on too high and too direct.
It was drying out my closed eyes. [don’t ask me how that works.]
I finally returned to my REM but not without tossing and turning, trying to achieve the correct balance of coolness and warmth.
Out of the covers I was chilled.
Under the covers I was scorching.
Either way my skin was coated in moisture only humidity can bring.
I still managed to sleep.
I just wasn’t very happy.

And I love snuggling with Kevin.
I’m a big time snuggler in fact.
But snuggling requires cool temperatures.
Hence, snuggling was forced out of the picture.
Except when his alarm went off at 5am and he asked to cuddle during the snooze time.
Even though I was still roasting, I could not deny such a request.
*grin*

The One with the Relationships

I knew it! Geoffry and Melissa are the two finalists on The Next Food Network Star!
I’ve been rooting for Melissa all along–given her fabulous, down to earth personality, her career of being a stay at home mom of 4 little girls, and her inspiring self-taught culinary skills that have gotten her into the top two! Go, Melissa!
She’s the type of woman I aspire to be.
Though I don’t know whether or not she is living her life for Christ, she is loving her girls and pursuing her passions.
You may already be aware of this, but when I watch something on tv I’m typically really into it.
I think it comes with the territory.
The “being a woman” thing and all.
I am relational.
I connect with people on shows I enjoy.
I become emotionally involved with them.
You may remember the breakdown I experienced during the last episode of Gilmore Girls.
You may also guess that I was gushing at the end of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition on Sunday when the final screen told that the father lost his battle to cancer 3 days after the rebuild.
I cried at the end of Friends.
I cried at Cory & Topanga’s wedding.
I identify in some way, shape or form with a character in every book I read, every show I watch, every story I hear.
That’s just the way it is.
And I like it that way.
After all, as a woman I was created to exude qualities of God that only I can fully express.
God is relational at his core.
Melanie is relational at her core.
I love that.
I’m re-reading Captivating by John and Staci Eldredge.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read this book, but this time it’s needed.
There has been a battle waging for my heart and I’ve been losing sight of my purpose.
And maybe, just maybe I’ll be able to use my reading and my experience to change the life of a young girl.
All about relationships.
I also happen to be reading Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky.
And Angels and Demons by Dan Brown.
And a whole slew of magazines from the library. (since I fly through my Real Simple and Reader’s Digest in a few days!)
Good Housekeeping.
Redbook.
Christianity Today.
Martha Stewart Living.
And I mustn’t forget about Jesus Calling. One of the most fantastic daily devotionals ever written.
I’m also trying to finish the third book in the Annie’s People series by Beverly Lewis.
Wow. I am kind of crazy. All over the spectrum. But again, all over the spectrum is who I am.
Before I go, I want to make sure you all know to be praying for baby Stellan and his family over at MckMama’s blog. Their story is touching and if you don’t know what they’ve been through and what they’re going through right now, you should check it out. (Once again proof that I love my relational connections, even if they are with Christian women whom I’ve not met and not meet this side of Eternity.)

The One Where I’m Free to Be Me

I have the greatest, awesomest, bestest husband in the whole universe.
Not even exaggerating.
[And yes, I can use words that I deem words. This is my blog after all.]
I cannot even begin to describe the circumstances that have unrolled (unravelled) this weekend.
My life has been a bit of an emotional roller coaster.
That’s not completely atypical for me, but these days were particularly unpredictable.
I’m not even sure if I can remember (or if I want to remember) everything, and I’m fairly certain you don’t care to know everything.

If the latter is the case, then maybe you ought to find another blog to read.
One where the author doesn’t spill her guts out into a heap that resembles…well…guts.
Life isn’t always pretty.
Though sometimes life is breathtaking.
Other times life is heartbreaking.
But no matter the case I find this blog to be a place of honesty and vulnerability.
I don’t want to feel inhibited because it’s possible someone may be taken aback or offended by my truthfulness.
This is the place where I can share my life. My real life.
My real life which is sometimes mundane. sometimes endearing. sometimes romantic.
You may not approve of how much t.v. I watch.
You may not understand why I’m so silly at times.
You might cringe at the movies I find so entertaining.
You may be offended by one of my rants on frugal shopping.
But you might also be encouraged to bake more because you hear me talk of how much I love it.
You might find yourself enjoying a little jolt from your standard thought process and learning right along with me.
You might hear yourself laugh at something stupid I say or chuckle at the enjoyment I find in the little pleasures of life.
You might even see God in a new way. [I pray you do.]
But in every instance you’ll find me.
With every entry you’ll learn more about who I really am. Not who you assume me to be.
And maybe, just maybe this path will lead me to discover the woman God created me to be.

My life is always blessed. Even if I’m not seeing the blessing through the raindrops.
My life is always filled with love.
Love from my family that cannot be diminished.
Love from my husband that grows with each day.
My life is filled with Love Himself.

To know a little more about my heart listen to Francesca Battistelli’s Free to Be Me.


The One with Cloud 9

What a fabulous day!
As Elizabeth deduced from my facebook status I’m pretty much on top of the world.
The status reads: “loving bonus time with my man! baking his fav. molasses cookies. played tennis ball golf. took the car and got a bit of a new hair style.”
How great is that?!
So this morning I was ready to do my JM workout but decided the gorgeous weather was beckoning me.
Oh and have I mentioned the wonderful week of sleeping in?!
I always feel a twinge of guilt when I sleep in past 7am (though I’m normally up around 6am).
But then I told myself, “Self, this is probably the only time in your life when you will have the luxury of waking up whenever YOU want.”
Thanks to my job, I’m totally flexible and can get my planning and prep work done whenever I want.
For 22 years my schedule was run by my education.
Once we have children my schedule will be run by them. and their education.
And who knows what other jobs I might hold that won’t allow such flexibility.
So this week I decided to…get this…NOT set an alarm.
I know! You can’t believe Melanie did NOT set an alarm.
But I have loved it.
Woke around 8am every day.
One day did nothing until 9:30am. crazy.

So back to this morning.
I went for a 3 mile run at 8:30.
Then walked for 30 minutes.
Then on my way inside I did what I loathe more than almost any other job.
Weeding. Gardening. Tending to the flower beds. Trimming bushes. and WEEDING.
But it had rained yesterday so I knew now was an optimal time to pull the weeds out by their extraordinary roots.
It took me a hour to work that 8×4 flower bed out front.
I have been despising its poorly maintained appearance.
But I was despising the thought of maintaining it even more.
blah.
I pulled enough weeds to fill the box our 22″ charcoal grill came in. I couldn’t budge it.
But man, does it look better!
Now I just need some colorful flowers to fill in where I pulled out all the “Queen Anne’s Lace.”

After that I was drenched with sweat and covered in dirt.
I showered.
I helped Britt & Nick find a Walmart along their travel route.
I started a batch of Molasses Sugar Cookies for my husband who has recently declared them his favorite.
Then my cell phone rang.
It was him!
He was coming home at 11:45!
YAY!!!!
We played tennis ball golf which is way cool. Except that I suck and am totally inconsistent in my swings.
I want to improve.
And actually golf.
Then I took to the car and went to cash in my 5.99 hair cut coupon!
I am loving my new do! I’ll have to share a picture sometime. Kevin’s loving it too! ;)
Then I bought a gallon of chocolate milk for $1.59 and a gallon of lowfat frozen vanilla yogurt for $2.99 at Kroger.

Now here’s my thing about Kroger.
I LOVE that milk is super cheap!
I don’t love that the store is totally out of my way.
I don’t love that their little yellow “sale” signs are mostly just gimmicks playing on the mindless purchasing of 90% of Americans.
Sure, they’re a lower price but most of the time they could be found much cheaper at a store such as…Aldi.
But I won’t go into my love affair with Aldi.
Believe me, you don’t want me to go there.

Nonetheless I’m so happy with hair.
And the chocolate milk.
And the ice cream.
And Kevin.
And now pizza for dinner!

The One with the Medical Graphic-ness

I don’t know about you, but I am totally ok with this mild summer we’ve been having.
With the exception of that one week before July 4th. yuk.
I am all about the 70s and sunny.
I am not, however, a fan of warts.
They are disgusting.
I have known many a beautiful person to suffer from this skin infection (is it an infection? I don’t even know…), but never once thought that I would have to deal with these “growths.”
Gross.
Gross growths.
Ha,ha. I’m funny. or not.
So if you’ve been around me at all in the last couple months you’ve probably been subjected to a viewing of my hideous hands.
Women are supposed to have gorgeous satiny hands with perfectly manicured nails, right?
Me? Not so much.
I’ve always been a nail biter (I won’t blame that on my dad, but I probably could) so there goes that lovely attribute.
I have short, stubby, torn off nails with hang nails here and there and poorly cared for cuticles.
And warts.
At least 5 warts.
One which happens to take up at least half of the surface area of my thumb.
If you don’t believe me, ask my husband.
“Why on earth did she just share that?” you might be thinking.
I have no idea.
I’m just the open and honest and “hang out my laundry for all to see” type of person.
In other news, ……….
…….well…….
I guess…….
after thinking about it for over a minute, I have no other news.
At least nothing that can rise up to the wart conversation standards.

The One with the Week in Review

What a week this has been. A great week!
Friday we set up camp.
Had a camp fire. LOVE camp fires.
And roasted marshmallows. Roasted perfectly I might add, by my darling husband.
We had camp fires every night. Now THAT’S what I’m talkin’ about.
You just canNOT say you’re camping if you don’t have a campfire EVERY night.
At least Kevin and I can’t. So he makes the perfect fire. And roasts me the perfect marshmallows. And every night is pretty much perfect. Especially when we’re blanketed with more stars than I’ve ever seen in the sky all at once. And when the weather leaves nothing to be desired.
Perfect.
We slept on the ground.
Yes the actual ground.
Our air mattress pooped out on us and rather than be all high maintenance I decided to give the ground a chance.
I was pleasantly surprised with how well I slept every night.
Comfortable.
And just the right amount of warmth.
We hung out with the teens at their 9:30-12:00 service every morning.
That was sweet.
We thought we’d be mostly “off duty.”
Not so much.
Within 5 seconds we were called on to lead small groups.
“Ok,” we said.
Luckily this form of leadership is all but second nature to us so no big deal.
I was able to help a scared young girl build up enough courage to step out of her mom’s van, wipe her tears, and walk into the teen tent for her first time.
It was a blessing.
We became fast friends. Especially after finding out we love the same Subway Sub–Italian BMT with all the veggies, on Italian Herbs and Cheese bread with Chipotle Sauce. Scrumptious.
I must say, I have a problem with those people (who are far too many) who get turkey. and lettuce. and mayonaise. BORING.
Ok so maybe not an actual problem. I love my friends even if they don’t love variety. But my tastebuds beg for more!
Anyways.
Hanging out with the Wellsprings was fantastic.
Their music was so well executed.
I can’t wait to have one of the teams to our church this fall.
And a couple of the people on the team are my good friends and seeing good friends is always, well, good.
And Ben Barnes and Adam Davidson are pretty much the two funniest people in the world.
Well, I can’t speak for the whole world, but I can speak for myself and they crack me up.
Without fail.
Thanks, guys.
And we caught up with other great friends too.
Brooke. oh how I miss my Brooklyn. It’s always a breath of fresh air to be together again.
Britt. We had so much to catch up on. Girl talk hadn’t happened in way too long. So good.
Kirby. He and Kevin had a blast hanging out for a few hours and getting to be truly geeked out together.
Gavin. How can we not love talking with Gavin. I heart him and I’m pretty sure Kevin does too. :)
Emily. I’m so crazy proud of that girl for living in the Dominican and teaching and being independent and. It was so wonderful to talk with her and see what God is doing in her life.
Shelby. Hanging out with one of our teens on a day to day basis was sweet. And getting to know little 3 year old Sierra was so fun!
Being with family is always a blessing and seeing many many MANY more friends than listed here is wonderful and encouraging.
That’s what family camp is all about.
Kevin and I then packed up on Thursday and had most of Thursday and Friday to just chill as we love to do.
We watched Les Miserables–the musical–and oh my stinking goodness was it fantastic!
I’ve seen it/heard it so many times, but I really paid attention this time (novel concept!) and LOVED it.
The music itself is so fantastic it made me cry at the end.
Then I drove to Cleveland.
Met mom and grams at the hotel.
Ate way too quickly at Bob Evans.
Made our way (somehow!) to Quicken Loans Arena–the Q.
Arrived a whole HOUR early. Crazy for us.
Had a great night and all day Saturday of worship and sharing through the ministry of the Women of Faith team.
Home sweet home again. It’s all good.

The One with Where We’re Going to Family Camp

Tonight we leave for family camp and we’ll be gone until Thursday.
It should be a great time!
Now, if only we can fit everything into our Civic.
Not even kidding.
Kevin and I are taking our bikes and will use them to take us the 5.5 miles down to Freddie’s Freeze.
It’s ok to overload on ice cream if you exercise on the way, right?
Last night we watched Chocolat which I had borrowed from the library.
It was superb.
I really really enjoyed it and Kevin liked it too.
I didn’t even fall asleep once!
It helped to be eating rocky road ice cream I’m sure.
I can see why Dr. Brewer used it as a movie review choice in Survey of Worldviews.
Our group chose Life is Beautiful.
Also an excellent movie.
Don’t let the French keep you from watching.
It’s worth reading subtitles.
Now I shall finish packing. Let’s hope I don’t forget anything too important.
Like my long underwear (since I hate being cold at night).
Or my bathing suit (since I hate being hot anytime).
Or the cooler full of food (since I hate not having food around.)
Ok.
So you get the picture.

The One with the Question of the Day

I’ve been a lazy bones this week.
Ok, maybe I shouldn’t go quite that far.
Maybe I’ve just been taking it easy.
For once.
Kevin’s getting up at 5am now so he can come home earlier. Which is awesome.
Except there is NO reason for me to be up at 5am. 6am was early enough.
But I haven’t even set my alarm for 6. or 7. or even 8.
Yesterday I did get out of bed at 7:30.
Today it was 8:25.
Even though I look at the clock at 6:20 and could probably get up there’s just not enough motivation.
So here I am. Taking it easy. Just this once.
Today I have to get my butt into gear and pack for a week of Family Camp out at SBC.
Kevin took the week off and we’re both pumped to be out there together.
On Tuesday Kevin and I took our BOGO Blizzard coupon to the closet DQ.
Toledo.
We met Ben Lane there.
It was sweet.
Except my Chocolate Covered Strawberry Blizzard did not impress me.
I just keep trying other blizzards but none can make my tastebuds as happy at the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.
Except maybe the Mint Oreo.
But the Oreo cookie part of that would kind of not be the right choice for my tummy.
I will not turn my back on you again, Mr. Reese’s Cup Blizzard.
What is YOUR favorite Blizzard??
You DO love Blizzards, don’t you?
Check out this website for your BOGO coupon.

The One with the Letter to My Readers

Dear Readers,
I haven’t posted in a week.
That’s a long time.
I apologize.
But I’m sure you didn’t mind looking at beautiful pictures for a week.
I know I didn’t.

Want to know why I haven’t updated in so long?
Yes, you say?
I will have to blame that on my emotional instability at watching the final episodes of Gilmore Girls.
Not even kidding.
If you’ve watched seasons 1-5 two times through and waited and waited for 6 and 7, you’d be attached too.
Even a certain gentleman in my life is a bit attached.
Not even kidding.
“It can’t be over!” I screamed. “It can’t be done! There’s so much left to tell!”
I was sobbing.
Then I was laughing. hysterically. at the fact that I was sobbing. over a tv series.
But you would be too.
I dare you to watch Gilmore Girls and not get attached.
I double dog dare you.

Also, I was not blogging because I was baking.
And planning.
And going a bit crazy.
Ok, not really crazy, but I was preparing for our BIG 4th of July Party.
I baked and baked.
I planned and planned.
So many were invited.
My parents came up late Thursday night.
It was great to have a day with them.
And with Ben.
Ben Lane.
He couldn’t come on Saturday so he came on Friday.
We all hung out. During the power outage. It was great.
He’s a good friend.
My parents are good parents. and friends. and people.
Even if they are a bit obsessed with my replacement–Cooper, the Bichon Frise.
I don’t mind.

It was a perfect weekend.
Perfect weather.
Perfect gatherings.
His parents. brother. cousin. grandparents on both sides. uncle.
My parents.
Britt & Nick.
Britt’s parents. brother.
Ross & Clare.
Teens–Chris and Megan.
Monroe friends–Amanda & Josh.
There was grilling on our new charcoal grill we’ve been wanting. Yay, Weber.
There was waaaaaaaay too much aaaaaaaamazing food.
baked beans. potato salad. fruit salad. tossed salad. rolls. hotdogs. sausages. burgers. buns. tons of potato chips. meatballs. cookies. brownies. 3 cakes. fudge. fudge. iced tea. water. all good!
There were 2 great games of Ultimate Frisbee.
The official sport of our guy friends.
And my official sport since I can actually play.
My dad rocked the “professionals'” socks off. I wished I could have played then.
but I had just swallowed my last bite of sausage and…not so much.
I played later.
It was a great game.
Despite the 4 on 6 (or really 2 on 6 since Ross & Nick rock.)
The bugs were ridiculous though.
They dive bombed my mouth. and nose. and eyeballs. and ears.
There were late night fireworks.
And The Secret Society of Married People sleepover.
Yeah. I stayed up until 1am. That was crazy for me.
Ross, Clare, Britt & Nick and Kevin & I had great times together.

Kevin and I got up at 7:30 on Sunday though.
That was kind of lame.
But we had to open the church since the pastor is out of town for the first time in forever.
I’ve never “opened” the church. It was cool.
Kevin & I did most of the running of the service.
It went surprisingly well.

9 of us (parents, married friends, Britt’s dad who made a bazillion trips back and forth retrieving lost purses!) ate at Pete’s Garage. We were all ridiculously impressed with our food.

My head pounded all day.
Despite the 4 ibuprofen and 2 Excedrin Migraines (not all at once.)
This is why I don’t stay up past 10 or 11.
But I must say it was worth it.
Such good friends we have.

Kevin told me to sleep in this morning.
I did.
It was glorious.
Even 8:30 was glorious.

We played tennis ball golf when Kevin got home.
It was the best.
Seriously fun.
We might actually get into the real golf thing.
We think we could really enjoy it.
We watched Casablanca. It was as great as Lorelai Gilmore said it was.
You should watch it.