Posted in Uncategorized

Clever Title Here

Each day is a little easier.

21 days.

3 weeks today.

And my heart is beginning

To understand

What it really needs,

What it really feels,

What it really longs for.

This 40-day journey will continue

Well past its Sept 24th end-date.

Healing has no timeline.

But I’m finding this time has been

Necessary to regroup,

To let the air and the light in,

To heal.

And the healing hasn’t just been

From the last year or so of

What-ifs…

It’s been from a lifetime of

Why?

And Why-me?

And What’s wrong with me?

I’m learning to embrace me.

This sounds strange to me because

My heart was made to love others deeply.

I wasn’t made like you.

My heart beats in stanzas and

Is filled with enjambments.

My favorite color is every

Hue and changing glimmer

Of sunset.

I live to help and love

And encourage.

A good hug is pure comfort.

So to live unloved in a way

I had hoped to be loved

For years and years

Has been torture to a heart that

Lives to love and be loved.

But I haven’t been unloved.

Not really.

I have kids and family and friends

Who are amazing.

I’m a communicator.

But I’ve realized lately I’ve taken

Scraps of communication in the

Form of texts and “likes” and emojis.

Mere scraps.

Let’s have coffee and conversation.

Let me drink in your story

And share mine over crispy bacon

And creamy-sweet coffee and

A side of hugs and laughter.

Let’s take in a movie, then sunset.

Let’s do life.

Putting down my phone these past weeks has helped me to

Sleep better,

Communicate better,

Think, breathe, work, play,

Live better.

So my journey continues.

As does my healing.

I’m in a battle for a settled,

Well-balanced heart.

As I said in a blog a couple of days ago,

“They lied to us.”

Love is NOT a fairytale.

Love is the day-to-day choice

To be kind and love well

And abide – together –

No matter what.

I’m facing reality squarely.

I lean on your prayers

And I am always praying for you.

When I’m done,

Let’s do life – and friendship –

Better.

I love you.

Posted in Uncategorized

Words Matter

I’m a writer. Usually my poetic mutterings here reach the 6 of you who regularly (kindly) read me.

But IRL I am on a team of writers for a major company who made a major announcement today.

Within minutes the media picked up and ran with a memo we got 40 minutes prior. My job? To help give talking points to a few thousand call center agents who were unknowingly about to handle hundreds of calls about this extremely politically charged issue.

Calm was the order of the day. Tone was everything.

All at once time was the enemy and words our best … ammo (pun intended). If you’ve not switched on the news today, you should.

But that aside, it got me thinking…

When time is short and anxieties are high, the words we use really do matter. All too often with my kids, these kinds of moments are ones for which I have to apologize later. This is where what’s truly in my heart comes out.

Words can encite a mob or calm an anxious crowd.

Maybe your job isn’t to find the words that will calm the masses. Maybe your job is just to quiet your own household.

Either way, words matter.

Choose wisely.

Posted in Uncategorized

Get Rid of “Me”

Good morning. It’s day 6 of my quiet, social-media-free journey. It’s been nourishing for my soul.

Yesterday I slept almost all day because of a stomach virus. Truth is, I don’t feel much better physically today. But I’ve been way behind on getting any real rest – for months. So a day where I was forced to sleep helped me catch up.

I don’t feel like getting out of bed to get my journal and pens, so online journaling will have to do. The title of this blog is Get Rid of “Me” – here’s why:

For most of my adult life I’ve been a caretaker. I’ve been a single mom for 16 years. Every person I’ve dated post-divorce I’ve felt like I had to take care of in some way. I’m finding out that I unintentionally sought out people I could take care of so I wouldn’t have to think about my hurts, my fears, etc. In so doing, I helped many, but neglected myself.

So now I’m working hard at losing weight, being in the Word, finding out who God wants me to be. In short…taking care of myself.

Newsflash: neglecting myself was selfish.

It was selfish because when I don’t take care of myself, other people eventually have to. I want to live a long life and be part of my kids’ and future grandkids’ lives. I don’t want them to have to take care of me. I am finding out it is only when I take care of myself that I can take care of others in a healthy, balanced way.

So the title here reminds me that I need to get rid of the “me” who feels prideful and important when I take care of others before myself. I needed a motive check. A reality check.

In Mark 12, the Word says “Jesus answered, “The most important is Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is, Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other command greater than these.”

Mark 12:29-31 CSB

If I neglect my soul, live with a broken heart, am out of my mind with worry, and have no strength physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally, I cannot love the Lord well. I want to love him well. He is so worthy.

And the 2nd part of that verse hit me hard last night as I was studying this: love your neighbor as yourself. This implies that I love myself. It implies that I’m already taking care of myself. Already. Without hesitation. As a given. How can I “love well” if I don’t love myself well?

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about loving myself like this selfie-driven, me-first, all-for-one-and-that-one’s-me world says to.

I mean just basic self-care.

  • Being in the Word daily
  • Eating well
  • Exercising regularly
  • Sleeping well
  • Living a balanced life
  • Being intentional in real (not online-only) friendships

When I am done with this journey, there’s gonna be a whole lot less chatting and a whole lot more face-to-face. I’m so done with guessing what people mean when I just see their words on-screen instead of hearing their tone and seeing their facial expressions. So done.

With that, I’m going to try to get up and work as long as I can today.

And I’ll be “offline” social media wise (except for the occasional blog) til Sept 24th.

And then I’ll come back as a stronger, healthier “me”.

I’m always praying for you.

I always love you.

-Melissa

Posted in Uncategorized

Resetting My Life

I’ve had some life-altering experiences recently, which brought me to some major realizations. I’ve been wrong about some things. Instead of walking a path I thought God had me on, I’ve realized I was on the wrong path altogether. I’ve been on a path I wanted to walk down…and in the process, I’ve broken my own heart.

So I’m taking time to sort through some questions I have. I’ve been taking some necessary steps to be more balanced.

One thing I have been weakest in on this journey is my dependence on my phone and on social media. I have needed a break from both. There’s nothing on social media that helps me, and I do little there to help others while I’m this heart-broken and hurting this badly.

Today I went to IKEA with my daughter. As we were paying for her new dresser, I took my phone and my wallet out of my pocket. I noticed my phone was acting strangely. It turns out I must have hit the button to reset it to factory settings, because that’s exactly what happened.

I probably said, “you have GOT to be kidding me,” at least a dozen times while reinstalling all of my apps. The app I use to connect to my work’s VPN was the worst hassle – that alone cost me about an hour on the phone with tech support.

In the end, though, I did not reinstall Facebook or Pinterest or Instagram or any of my social media apps.

I feel like this happened for a reason. I need to take a break. So I am taking a break.

The past 3 nights I’ve been filling up my pen and paper journal with Psalms, scriptures, thoughts, questions, and prayers.

And I plan to continue. I’m on a 40 day journey to healing. It’s time for more than my phone to reset.

It’s time to reset my whole life.

If you’re reading, please pray for my journey. I’m sure this blog will post to my social media accounts but I won’t be checking responses there.

Until next time, God bless you.

I love you.

Posted in Uncategorized, waiting, Writing

Startle Me Brave

In late Spring when the sky balayaged to a deep somber grey, I’d sit with my knees gathered up to my chest under Grandma’s top sheet and pull it up to my ears. The wind would whistle and crack through the old oak. If the storm was going to be bad, Harold Taft would tell me so from in front of a weather map on the black-and-white rabbit-eared TV. If not, Bo and Luke Duke would continue to harass a muttering Boss Hogg on the Dukes of Hazzard.

All too soon I’d hear the tell-tale ting, ping, ting-ping-ping of rain on the window ac unit until the room filled with a beautiful symphonic movement – crashing and flickering and the calm chaos of Spring.

It was such a moment when I first learned what it felt like to be alone and brave. Mom had taken my brother somewhere brotherish and Grandma was in the kitchen filling the house with the smell of chicken fried steak, biscuits, mashed potatoes, and gravy.

I was back in the bedroom when the sky suddenly went dark and the ting-pinging started. Only it wasn’t rain. At four years old, in all my put togethers I hadn’t heard a sound like that. Ice cubes were banging off the windows, Taft was saying a “bad” word on the TV (hell/hail?), and I was scared.

I pulled the top sheet over my head and sang at the top of my voice – “a sailor went to sea, sea, sea, to see what he could see, see, see…”

Anything to drown out the crashing out there.

It was just then that I made a conscious decision that I wasn’t going to be scared. Maybe I borrowed courage from the sailor going to the sea. I’d only ever heard about the sea, but it seemed like a place a little girl could get lost forever in, but if the sailor could be brave, so could I. I don’t know what came over me. I was suddenly determined to go see, see, see what was banging on the window.

I slowly peeked out, swung my little legs off the bed, put my bare feet on the just-swept floor, and walked to the window. My eyes were probably as wide as any of the hail stones falling outside.

I made it to the window, looked out, and just stood there on tip-toes watching the storm.

The banging slowed, then stopped, and the rain started in again.

I could handle rain. It was comforting.

Grandma called in from the kitchen, “Sweet Baby Ma-lisssa. You stay away from the windas, ya hear now?”

I ran from the window, quick-climbed back into bed, and tucked myself in.

“Yes Gramma. I love you Sweet Baby Gramma.”

Not sure why this moment has my attention tonight.

Maybe because it’s quiet in my life right now and I’m usually alone.

Maybe because I’m in a storm right now and surprised at how calming it is to let it fall around me while I look on.

Maybe because I’m meeting people tomorrow for the first or second time in my life and being vulnerable enough to meet them means I’m risking rejection and it scares me to death, but I’m going anyway.

All I know is, that brave little girl lives in me, and we’re far too courageous to lie in bed while the world and all it’s mysteries clang and crash about us.

I love moments like these where life startles me brave.

Posted in Friends, Uncategorized

Do You Have Friend-surance?

I was driving to work early today to enjoy a leisurely lunch before an in-house meeting. (I usually work from home.) My commute is a beautiful, winding drive through Argyle, TX.

I have had a rough couple of days, which followed a rough couple of weeks.

That’s when it hit me. Literally. I was stopped in traffic and the car behind me hit my car fairly hard. My neck and right arm took the brunt of the impact.

I sat there stunned for a few moments, then pulled over. The lady behind me pulled over too. Surprisingly, no one else in the long line of traffic stopped to render aid. I was okay. Just dizzy and stunned. My vitals were good. We exchanged info. My bumper is a bit roughed up. But no real damage was done.

And then the headache started. As the afternoon wore on I realized I can barely turn my head to the right. My right hip feels like someone took a baseball bat to it. And my right arm protests anytime I move.

Sometimes what appears to be minor damage on the outside causes major pain on the inside.

It seems like the smallest impacts can make for the greatest aches. And these kinds of aches seem to come in ripple-effect waves.

My latest life impact is actually something I should have seen coming and gotten out of the way. The impact point was a friendship I saw moving toward a relationship and we completely miscommunicated.

Miscommunications happen.

There was a minor impact when we finally communicated clearly, but my heart has taken the brunt of the impact.

To be fair, he communicated clearly and my heart didn’t want to hear it because it would hurt, and I’d put in over a year’s worth of time and effort to something I thought we were building together. When I realized it just wasn’t going to happen, my heart wanted him to see things my way. I think they call this bargaining.

Our miscommunication is like the picture of two people looking from opposite ends of a number. Is it a 9 or a 6? The answer is – yes. It all depends on your perspective.

Just like my arm and my neck today after the wreck, time and rest will heal me. When I look at it objectively, nothing really got broken. It was a minor, repairable scratch in an otherwise strongly-built friendship. The friendship will definitely survive. But right now I just ache so badly. I’m ready to start to heal and begin the repair work.

If you know me you may be surprised that I’m walking through this. I’m pretty strong. I just keeping on walking through life, but my heart hurts.

I smile. I write. I encourage. And just like today – I went on to lunch and work post-accident, but I was hurting the entire time.

Why am I writing this? Is this a journal entry or an encouraging word?

It’s both.

Can you think of a time you lost a friend or had words with a loved one or miscommunicated or had some kind of impact that hit you out of nowhere and you looked fine on the outside, but were aching on the inside?

I just wanted to say – I get it.

Build solid enough friendships that minor incidents won’t damage much. And if damage is done, which is what usually happens in any relationship, build in the friend-surance of love, grace, peace, space, forgiveness, and laughter to help get you healed and back on the road.

Oh…and some other great friend-surance is of lots of time spent laughing over lattes.

Life is better with friends. Take care of those you love.

Posted in Life Lessons, Love, Poetry, Truth, Uncategorized, waiting, Writing

In the Valleys

I sat and watched the sky
And the prairie running wild
Up to the mountains.
I watched the blues and reds
Scatter colors overhead –
Night fell around me.
And suddenly a whisper
Came from somewhere
Deep inside:
I’m walking here beside you
I hold every tear you’ve cried,
Just look around – see:
Some things grow better
In the valleys.

And I pondered the past year
And how if He holds every tear
They must fill an ocean.
When I looked up again
The prairie grass in the wind
Stirred up the notion –
That the God who made
The mountains
Is the God who made the seas.
The one who paints the skies
Is the one who painted me,
And peace swept around me –
Some thoughts are deeper
In the valleys.

If my heart ever finds love,
Or if it never does,
It makes no difference.
Please don’t misunderstand
I don’t think it’s in His plan
To be alone forever.
But looking at the mountains
It begins to make some sense
Some mountains are a fortress,
Some a tall, barbed-wire fence.
When He surrounds me –
Sometimes I’m safest in the valleys.