I know better

I mean well … but I know better. I know better than to open my mouth and share my opinion when it isn’t asked for. I know better than to let my own feelings get in the way of what a friend really needs.

A friend shares that she is struggling in her marriage. My heart breaks and I want to help. I remind myself to be a better listener than talker. I do so well until the very end. I couldn’t quite hold it together long enough. I asked God to give me the right words and to say the things she needs to hear. But I know, as soon as it comes out of my mouth, it was wrong. I try, but I fall short.

Another friend is struggling with her spouse and setting healthy boundaries. She knows it and I know it. She has just enough energy to get through the day, let alone address the issues in her life. So why do I continue to have the same conversation over and over? Let it go Mel … let it go, let it go, can’t hold it back anymore – ok my kids are a little obsessed with Frozen – it’s worn off on me. But honestly, what is my problem? Zip it Mel! If you want to be there when it’s all over, don’t say so much now. She needs silent strength from the sidelines. She knows what’s going on; she’s the one fighting the battle. Of course, it’s easy to think you know how to fix things from the sidelines. The coach on the sidelines might get upset when a play doesn’t go as planned, but to the players on the field understands why. 

It’s so dang hard to watch people who have so much to offer the world, sit and accept below average circumstances. These friends are amazing – they are loving – they are caring – they are people I want to be around. So why is it that I continue to say things that aren’t helpful? I honestly just want to help. I want to light the fire in their souls so they fight for something better. I want to plant the seed of hope deep in their souls that grows into new dreams and guides them when things seem unmanageable. I want to scoop them up and love them. I want to be an answer that makes it all better.

Knowing that many in my life have watched me struggle and have felt the same about me … I know that the best way to love is to just listen. Offer thoughts only when asked. When my life was unmanageable – I knew it. I didn’t need anyone to point it out to me. The people that I clung to were those who were able to talk to me about normal stuff – who were there when I broke down and needed to unload – but were also able to carry on normal conversation. I’m only able to do it for so long … pretend the elephant isn’t in the room for only a period of time.

I know I need to cut myself a little slack. I guess I’m hard on myself because there were so many people who were wonderful to me. I want to be the same for those whom I love.

I’m the kind of friend who isn’t afraid of struggle. I’m not afraid to join you in the trenches. Life is messy – I’m alright getting a little dirty. Hell, I’m ok being covered in life mud. What I am afraid of is losing people who I love.

Dear heavenly father, guide me and teach me to love people as you did. Guard my tongue from saying things that aren’t helpful. Use me to speak your promise and to grow loving hearts. Encourage those around me to know just how much I love them. Use the love I have in my heart for your good. I pray that those I hold close know just how special and loved they really are.

Love, Mel

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The danger of dreaming

A few posts ago, I wrote about dreaming. It is a healthy thing to do … thinking about what the future could look like. It’s also a slippery slope … it becomes dangerous when your dreams begin to turn into standards. When you begin use your dreams as a pathway to control and plan the future.

I’ve always been a thinker & a planner-outer. I like to know what I”m doing each night – where I’m going to be. I tend to plan out things. (Works well in the office, but drives my family nuts!) In high school, I had a serious boyfriend – we dated for almost 6 years. During my sophomore year, we were “on a break.” I had heard that he wasn’t going to go to his homecoming dance because we were broken up … I agreed/offered (whatever you want to call 15-year-olds trying to figure out the dating world) to go with him as friends. I had little to no expectations of the evening. It ended up being the most amazing night! We danced, laughed and just enjoyed each other. That night I learned (and I”m still learning) that you can’t dream out every second of your life. You’ve got to let go and just experience the moment. When you spend all of your time dreaming about what each day might hold, you place unrealistic expectations on yourself and others.

So, how do you keep your dreams from becoming expectations? I’ll be honest … I”m really not sure. I do know that it helps not to think about something too much. When you start to think about a “what-if” more than what is actually happening … it might not be balanced. I spend so much time dreaming about what it would be like to have a man in the house, that I am missing the experience of being independent. Mystery. I am too big of a control freak to just let the mystery happen. God says, “Close your eyes and just experience the ride, trusting in Me as life whips around each corner.” I’m so busy trying to see the tracks, that I forget I’m not the one steering the car. Each time I try to plan out what is ahead, I ruin the surprise.

The ironic part? I love surprises! Want to show me how much you love me? Plan a little surprise. That’s how Doug caught my eye when we were dating off and on. He went to great lengths to surprise me on my birthday. He baked his first ever cake (chocolate cake with chocolate frosting). Then, he had the receptionist call my desk to let me know there was a package I needed to sign for at the front desk. As I rounded the last flight of stairs, there he was, standing with his 9×13 chocolate cake. I knew that birthdays weren’t big to him, but he knew they were big to me. We found a table in the cafeteria and shared a piece of cake and a little time together. It was simple – doesn’t take very much – but it was a surprise. Magic.

The cake was magic because I didn’t expect it. When I start to dream about every moment, it ruins the magic. It eliminates the possibility of  being swept off of my feet. Ha! And that’s what I dream about most of the time … being swept off of my feet. How is someone going to surprise me if I”m busy thinking of all the romantic ways someone could enter my life?

Turn off your brain Mel … stop thinking! Just focus on what is in front of you. Put on your cement boots and stay grounded. Stop focusing on what you could have and love what you do have.

Dreaming is good – it keeps fresh air in the room. When life gets tough, it keeps you focused on tomorrow. Dream on friends … the sky is the limit! If you’re like me … just be careful and don’t let your dreams become expectations. Turn off those over thinking brains and let yourself be surprised. I can type out the words, but it’s a lot hard to do than type. Maybe we can work turning our brains off together?

Love, Mel

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I heard angels sing

This week has been a little on the crazy side. The church that I work for has been hosting a children’s choir from Africa. That translates to an extra 22 children (ages 5-11) and 9 adults in the building. There has been a buzz in the hallways, angels singing from the Sunday School wing, running, laughing, soccer being played in the front yard. There is energy in the building. These children hug everyone they meet. They call me auntie. They are obedient and silly. They are just lovely.

I watched them for a while during their dress rehearsal. The beat of the drums and the energy was enchanting. They had moooooves! The six year old could move her hips better than this mama of four!

This afternoon, someone asked me more about the choir … so I pulled up asantechoir.org and started reading. Every single one of these children is an orphan. They have no parents, no family – no one. Yet I had no idea by spending the past few days with them. Not one of them looked sad or lonely. They just love Jesus. They have innocence in their eyes. Reading their story moved something within me. It made me realize that their happiness wasn’t because of their innocence … it was because of the love of Christ. The love from other Christ followers that have given them hope again. They felt rescued and loved.

Puts things into perspective. When I don’t like the food I have in my refrigerator. They are just happy to have food on a plate. I’m irritated because it was too hot to sleep well the night before. They are thankful to have a bed to sleep in. I struggle to find enough time to fit in both family and friends. They have no one but each other. Incredible how quickly you can be knocked into a new perspective.

When I watched them again, tears just rolled. Watching each of their smiles. Watching their beautiful costumes and their vibrant colors under the lights. Then picturing them in their home towns … living on the streets, torn clothing, bare boned, no parents, no job … nothing. Yet they were jumping and clapping and signing about God’s love. You can’t manufacture those kinds of things.


The concert ended with a young boy, about 7, belting out “I’m Trading My Sorrows.” The choir jumping, clapping, arms flying and faces smiling behind him. Those smiles. Those loving eyes have seen such great despair. Those tummies have felt such extreme hunger. And here they are living care free.

I don’t think that they were so lighthearted because they were rescued. See, when I pictured them in the streets of their hometown, I still see those same eyes. I see the same Jesus-loving hearts. They are lighthearted because they follow a good God. They sing about an all loving, all powerful God. He’s the skip in their walk and the twinkle in their eyes.

Such beauty in such young people.

I’m so incredibly thankful that God brought the Asante choir to our middle to upper class, mainly Caucasian congregation. I’m blessed to have been moved by the beat of the drums to have danced to the songs of angels. I’m telling you … they are angels walking on earth. It’s all perspective. And it’s all about the big guy upstairs.

Love, Mel


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Living Out Loud

There are some very serious moments that I wish I was one of those classy ladies … you know the ones that can pull off heels with any outfit, that always have their nails painted, they have a cute laugh, they know the right thing to say and they can hold their tongue (not literally, but figuratively). But I’m not. I bite my nails … I love my flip flops … I snort when I laugh …

I mean I can try to be more composed – I can put on that “well put together” face, but it only lasts so long. I’m like a kinked hose on full blast. It all builds up behind and when you let go – watch out! It all comes sputtering out. I’m messy. I’m emotional. I say too much. I’m raw and emotional. I have no boundaries when it comes to talking about “stuff.” My life is open … I share lots of things that “normal” people might not.

Here’s a good spot for a story … I’m a spaz. I leave cabinets open all the time. It’s like a tornado just came through the kitchen when I’m done cooking. Drove Doug nuts. He would get so irritated with me … couldn’t understand why I couldn’t remember to just shut a cabinet. I honestly don’t know why – perhaps I’m just doing too much at once or too excited to get on to the next thing that I don’t fully finish what I was in the midst of. I know I’m not perfect and I have idiosyncrasies that drive others nuts. But I want to be loved despite them. I want someone to giggle and shake their head when they see cabinets left open … “Mel was here.” When I lived in the rental, I would sit down for the night and could see right into the kitchen … cabinets were open all of the time. No one got mad. In fact, I often shook my head and said … yep I live here.

There is a deep desire to be comfortable in my own skin and for people to like me. There is a real fear of being judged or looked down on. I live my life out loud. There is no changing that. But, when I live out loud, you always know where you stand with me. I love you. Plain and simple – I love everyone. You’ll always have a friend in me – even if we didn’t end on good terms. If you call, I’ll be there. Second changes are given freely (sometimes too freely). I believe in second chances.

So here I am, with my open cabinets, hoping I can bare my soul without being judged. Praying that one day I will find someone who will love my messy self. Maybe it’s not in the cards for me to find true love. Maybe my work is to learn how to love myself. I’ll continue to pray for love every night. There isn’t enough love in this world … love each other.

Love, Mel

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Lots have happened in the last few months…

So much has changed over the past few months. I’m approaching my 1 year anniversary at my job – which  means I’m starting to feel a little more comfortable in my role, rather than just trying to learn what the heck I’m supposed to be doing. The boys and I moved into a  new home. All kinds of new responsibilities and tools to learn how to use. The kids are getting ready for another school year. Just lots going on. I also feel like I’ve had a little more time to think about what it is I want.

All kinds of things that I want. … house projects I want to accomplish … dreaming of new flooring in the bathrooms, new toilets, paint the deck … I feel like a kid making a list for Santa. A pretty lame Santa list … but a list all the same.

Then, there are the things I want to do with my kids this year – water parks, bike rides, trips to take. I dream of a bedtime that is less than an hour long. I envision and start to plan for a “mommy boot camp” where I get my supermom powers aligned and take mommyhood to the next level. I think about how I can be more involved at Jaden’s school while still being a full-time working mom. I think about how I can figure out time for Jaden to have a friend over. I find myself making imaginary chore lists on the things my kids could do to help around the house.

I look in my **new** craft room and dream about all the projects I bought supplies for but haven’t actually accomplished. Beautiful yarn to crochet into afghans, blank canvases to paint, photos to put into scrapbooks … there just isn’t enough time in the day.

I also find myself thinking about what I want out of my life partner – if I would ever dream of marrying again. I think about the “type” I’d go for …. the rugged cowboy who knows how to fix anything but also cleans up well and likes to go out for dinner and go nice places. Someone who can share what’s on his mind and who cares what’s on my mind. The traditional man who wants to protect his family, but one who would cherish a warm meal and a woman who would be by his side always. (This could probably be another post.)

Bottom line is that life is starting to settle in but my dream list is growing exponentially. I feel like there just won’t be enough time to accomplish everything in life. It’s a constant game of choices – a balancing act of what needs to be done vs. what you’d like to get done. Where to spend your energy when you know you’ll never have enough for it all? I love to sleep, but I really wish I didn’t have to some nights. Just think about how much more we could accomplish or even dream about if we had another 8 hours to our day?

What’s on your dream list? Dreaming of what what you want life to be like is healthy – a sign of growth. There is hope in the future and a promise of a better life. Change is inevitable, pain is unavoidable, but dreaming for the future is something to work for. There was a day when life seemed like it was never going to get better. I was plagued as a single mom forever – life was just going to be hard and I would have to get used to it. I never imagined I’d be dreaming again …

Love, Mel


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I donated blood today

The church I work at held a blood drive today. It’s been years since I last donated blood and I thought it was about time. I never expected it to bring back so many memories. Not memories of the last time I donated, but rather memories of Owen receiving blood while on life support. I had silent tears running down my cheeks from the moment I sat down in the little cubical. The guy probably thought I was a nut job.

He treated me just like any other regular donor. Inside I was wondering if he knew who I was. I mean, come on … I am the mother of an organ donor. Like the biggest of all donors … you don’t get more donor-y than giving your organs! He concentrated on the tablet in front of him, verifying my information. My account should be flagged or something, right? There should be something on his screen that would show him that I was a VIP … a first class donor. Giving my son’s organs makes me a gold card holder, right?

BCW gold card

Shouldn’t I be getting first class treatment? Hot towels? Free glass of champagne? Be escorted into a special waiting lounge? Where were the fancy bags of pretzels? I wanted to ask him if he knew who I was … but he didn’t. I was just a normal donor like anyone else that walked through those doors.

What really made the tears flow, was when he brought over the bag and started scanning all the bar codes. I remember Owen’s nurse, Cindy, bringing in the same kid of bag and hooking it up to Owen’s IV. He received platelets a few times while on life support and did get a blood transfusion towards the very end. And here I was donating to fill the same kind of bag that might help someone else’s little baby boy. I’ll never know who or where my blood is given … but maybe another mom will have the same memories like I do. It sucks to know that another mom might need my blood for her child, but on the other hand, it’s comforting to know that I can help another mom sleep a little easier knowing that the medical care they need is available.

Dear Blood Center of Wisconsin, if you are reading this post – perhaps you’ll consider giving us donor mom’s a gold card for when we donate blood. I know I’m one of thousands … I’m no one special really. There are other mom’s out there who have given their baby’s organs and have never received the recognition that I have. It just doesn’t change the fact that I want the world to know that I have four sons – not three. I have a son that no one can see anymore. He lives on in more than just my heart – he lives in the eyes of his brothers, in the smile of Josie (who has his heart), in the prayers for the little girl in IL who was gifted his liver. He lives on in each of you who wear orange and remember him. I speak his name almost every day.

So why was it so hard to bring up Owen while donating blood today? Instead, I let the tears roll down my cheeks one at a time and gave my blood in silence. I listened to the woman, Trish, who was taking my blood. I made small talk; asking her how her day was and about her family. Turns out her mother-in-law passed away only a week and a half ago. She was her main caregiver and brought her home to die, in her own home. She held her mother-in-law’s hand while she took her last breath. Trish spoke the Lord’s name and said, “All I’ve ever wanted to be was a good servant. Just help wherever I am needed.” What a life moto. Just aim to help where you are needed. 

I’m usually the one who has a crazy life story to share – one of life in the midst of death, hope and healing. I listened this time and God was there. Trish ministered to me.

The flashbacks I had today were unexpected. The tears still flow, three years later and I’m going to guess that they always will in some way. Losing a child isn’t something you ever really get over. But you can heal to a point where another person’s pain feels greater than your own. Trish’s grief was fresh and raw … it still stung with every hour that passed by. Proof that I am healing … day by day … and Trish will too. It all just takes time.

Love, Mel


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When Dreams Come True

Yep – this happened a few weeks ago.


I think I am still in shock that I would ever have a home I would be proud of. Being a single mom of three boys isn’t easy. Every morning I wake up I wonder if it was all a dream. A happy home. A home where there is enough room for my boys to play. A kitchen with more than 18″ of counter space to make lunches on. Enough bedrooms for each of my kids. A neighborhood where I feel safe. Finally a home that reflects the kind of family I want to be.

There is a sense of sadness in being a home owner on my own … I’m alone. I never dreamed of owning a home by myself. I never wanted to bare the responsibility only on my shoulders. It sort of made me stare at myself in the mirror and be honest with the fact that I am single. Which hurt. It sucks to be honest with the truth that someone who was supposed to love you forever, really didn’t love you at all.

I have received so much help over the past few weeks – it’s hard to know where to start in thanking them. I like to think of myself as a handy girl – and if not handy at least, resourceful. But dang there is so much to learn and I’d be lost without my loved ones, especially my dad. I did successful learn how to lay commercial grade tile in my laundry room and how to re-stain and varnish my window sils. I also learned how quickly a dishwasher can flood my kitchen floor. My dear family friends and family were at my house until almost midnight, every night, for almost a week – painting, cleaning, unpacking and making my house a home. I’d be lost without them … or buried under unpacked boxes.

So yes, I wake up every morning thinking that it couldn’t possibly be true that a dream became a reality. I am reminded of how much I still have to learn every corner I turn. And I am starting to wonder if there will ever be a night without a house project!

I am so blessed. Dreams really do come true and girls really can know how to use power tools!

Love, Mel


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Reflections on Jaden’s 8th Birthday Party

Today is Jaden’s 8th birthday. I became a mother for the first time 8 years and 12 hours ago, photo1   almost exactly. Where on earth did the time go and how on earth do I have FOUR more children already!?!?

We like to celebrate birthdays big in my family … my mother coined the term “birthday week.” So last night, we had a bunch of Jaden’s friends over to my parent’s house for an outdoor movie. The party didn’t start until 7 p.m. which is quite late for a bunch of 7-8 year-olds. I had thought we’d be able to start the movie around 8 and then kids would be picked up by 9:30. Not so much … turns out the sun sets at 8:30 ish and it’s not even really dark enough to show a movie outside until almost 9 p.m. Sure wish I would have known that before 7:30 p.m. on the night of the party. Needless to say, I had a lot of stalling time with 15 kids running wild. Annnnd one might say I didn’t do the best job planning either. That doesn’t change the fact, that I was highly unprepared to entertain my own children, let alone the 15 that were dropped off at the front door.

We played Red Light, Green Light. We played ghost in the graveyard, which apparently is called fox in the cornfield when played in daylight. We played pick up the broken pieces of balloons in the grass. We sang happy birthday and eat Minecraft rice crispy bar cake (because it’s photo2something that I can make Jaden-friendly because of his food allergies). I was running out of stalling activities and the sun was still very clearly still in the sky. I texted my sister, who was upstairs, and asked for HELP!!! ok it was a mayday signal. I was in over my head, and I had no idea how on earth to control the situation. Just because you are a mother, does NOT mean you have the gift of controlling mobs of little people called children. I was in over my head and sinking fast.

My sister and brother came outside and asked me what was next – presents, another game, start the movie? They were there to help. I was a deer in headlights and didn’t know what to do. At first they thought maybe I was just being flighty Mel – the one that can’t really focus enough to make a decision. Then, they saw my face and realized that I really didn’t know what to do … they jumped in to help. It was decided that it was time to open presents, then we would start the movie inside and move outside when it was dark enough. THANK YOU!

The rest of the night turned out great. My sister continued to give me pointers on what to do next. When they had all been picked up, I was feeling both like a failure and that I accomplished a miracle, But most of all, I had such a profound appreciation for teachers. They actually choose to do this on a daily basis and most of them actually like it. Saints I tell ya.

Being able to control small mobs of children is not easy – it’s a god-given gift, one that I do not have. There are many talents God did give me, just not this one. It’s also evidence that just because you have lots of children, does not mean you are a good with children. I love my kids to the moon and back, but for the most part, I have no clue what I am doing. I relay on books, parenting groups, prayer and advise from other moms on how to mother. It does not come easily for me, but it’s something I’ve always wanted to be. I find that I’ve got the loving and playing with my children down pat, but not the disciple or getting them to do what they are supposed to do thing down.

I continue learn a lot from my sister in that department. She has the god-given talent of being in control of young people. She is able to captivate their attention and get them to quiet down so they can listen. She shows strength and discpline. She is my role model when trying to be a better mother. Ironic because she isn’t a mother herself (yet). But lordy has she taught me lots and shown me how to be a better leader in my own homes. (Side note: my own mom teaches me a heck of a lot in this department as well!) 

Lessons I learned on Jaden’s 8th birthday:

  1. 8 years goes by really super fast
  2. Jaden is my favorite 8 year-old on this planet!
  3. I have little to no experience (or talent) in being in control of 15 people under 4 feet tall
  4. It doesn’t get dark enough outside for a movie until 9 p.m. and the time between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. can seem like an eternity
  5. When having a “build your own trail mix” bar – kids really interpret that as a “fill my bowl with candy and skip the cereal” bar
  6. Having lots of children does not mean you are good at being in charge of lots of them
  7. Mobs of children can be intimidating
  8. My sister is an amazing teacher
  9. My 8 year old, Jaden, is an incredible little man
  10. I would miserably fail at being a teacher

I have now delegated the motherly task of planning my children’s birthday parties to my sister. She will be in charge going forward. It’s for everyone’s best interest … 

Love, Mel

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Not what I wanted to write about …

I sat down tonight to write about something happy and funny – anything happy and funny really. And the only words I hear are “I just want to be loved. I just want someone to love me.” I don’t want to write about this part of me – it sounds pathetic and wrongly focused. I am loved. My family loves me to the moon and back. My children love me. Jesus loves me most of all. He IS the man in my life ;)

But there is still something missing – that partner piece. That person who is as invested in life, children and home as I am. Someone to share with – to navigate life together. I remember a conversation I had with my dad … he travels all around the world. He’s been to so many exotic places. When I told him how cool it must be to have seen more of the world than most people ever have the opportunity to see, he answered quickly and without hesitation, “the places are amazing, but they aren’t anything if you don’t have anyone to share them with. All of you are at home, it’s hard to really appreciate a place when you don’t have your family to share it with.” I suppose that’s sort of how I’m feeling these days.

My parents, sister and brother are my “go-to” peeps these days. They are the ones that I call when I need to vent, or when I have something to celebrate. They are my problem solvers, parenting advisers, toilet plunging backup. They are my better half. But there is this small gap … this is my life, my house, my children. This is my nest that I’m rebuilding and ultimately, these are my choices. They can share their input and they can share in the experiences, but they each have their own lives too. I’m steering this boat all on my own. The responsibility lays solely on my shoulders. What am I going to make of myself?

But this stuff is heavy, messy and not really inspiring. I feel like I’m having a huge wimpy cry fest. It reveals a lot of my “unhealed” parts. I want to be ok. I want to kick these divorce blues in the butt! I want to come out on the other end stronger than ever, but here I am, writing all this sad crap.

I want to hurry up and get to the good parts. I feel like I’ve been waiting forever to get my dessert! It’s about time that my fairy tale dreams come true … but who am I to say when it’s time? I suppose the boss upstairs has more teaching in mind. There is more work for me to do here in the trenches.

I’ll be okay – God is faithful and good all the time. He’s on my side and fighting right along with me. I’m a warrior. I’m a survivor. Divorce is tough, but I am tougher.

Love, Mel

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No Power

Earlier this week my parents took Jaden on an overnight to Iowa. That meant, I had a night where it was just Logan, Weston and I. When I was a stay at home mom, it was just the three of us every day. Since I’ve gone back to work, I’m not sure when the last time I had the triplets all on my own. Monday night was a little treat for everyone :)

I had wonderful plans of cuddling up on the couch with the triplets, some popcorn and watching a movie, cuddling before bed. We weren’t even through dinner before the bad weather knocked the power out. Then the fun really began …

I couldn’t find a candle for the life of me. I had packed them all away since they were merely decorative – I didn’t really need them, right? So here I am, in the basement, with my iPhone flashlight looking at all these boxes … I must have gone through all of them four times until I found the ONE box I didn’t check – the one at the bottom of the stairs. As in, the very first box I would have come across and I just walked right by it. OYE. The good news is I found plenty of candles. Thank you Jesus for iPhone flashlights!

I quickly grabbed a few things out of the fridge just in case (i.e. my wine for when the kids were sleeping … I had great plans of reading a book by candlelight with my wine) … I then instructed the boys not to open the fridge. They didn’t quite get it … they kept forgetting and would try to get a yogurt or more water in his cup. Drove me a little nutty.

Then, the boys decided they were going to have a sword fight … in the dark … not the smartest idea, as you can imagine. It was only a matter of minutes before someone got clipped in the knuckles and was crying. That’s it, we were done with swords. I asked Weston to give me the one he was holding. He looked me right in the eye and flicked his sword up into the air. It came crashing down on the table – just barely missing all the candles. I had a flash of the house burning down. The sword landed in my wine glass instead … my full wine glass of the-only-cold-white-wine-I-was-going-to-have-that-night … it crashed to the floor, glass and liquid heaven flying in all directions. My usually defiant Weston knew right away and for the first time in my life, he went to the time-out chair on his own without having to be walked there. I instructed Logan to sit on the kitchen tile while I attempted to clean up wine and broken glass off the living room floor … IN THE DARK! Not really the start to my cuddly night I had imagined.

We read half a dozen books and then attempted to go to bed. We walked by iPhone flashlight and I tucked them both in their beds. You would have thought that the complete darkness would have been calming. Not for my boys! Pitch black = gymnastics! They were crazy! And by crazy, I mean it took me two HOURS to get them to settle down and go to sleep. Now, let me also say not the entire two hours was horrible. They were pretty darn cute too! At one point, they were cuddling in Logan’s bed together. Cute until Weston bit Logan. At another point, I played the Frozen soundtrack and Logan and Weston sang along with all the words. Eventually they both snuggled in and fell asleep.

By this point, the house was getting hot and I was tired and uncomfortable. My phone was almost was dead so I decided to go out to the car to plug it in for a while. I walked out the back door to find a HUGE animal in my garbage can. The animal scattered and I yelped loud. Not sure who scared the other more! While sitting in the car, watching the little green lightening bolt, I started to really freak myself out. The street was dark … really dark. It’s usually pretty lit up with the street lights, the church parking lot and the huge light up sign outside. But I couldn’t even see across the street. I felt like when I was a little girl and had to run up the basement stairs “just in case” because it felt like someone was chasing me. I braved it until my phone got to 60% and then I ran back inside, quickly locking the door behind me. I tried to not psych myself out … no such luck. I grabbed one candle, my wine, my journal and decided to write in my bed with the covers over my head.

It came time to blow out the candle. I made sure to put the lighter close to bed, just in case. At 3:30 a.m. I opened my eyes groggy, there was something lit up. All I could think was, “Crap! I thought I blew the candle out! I lit the whole house on fire!” After 2.5 seconds I realized the light was coming from the living room – the power was back on! I got out of bed to check on the house and turn off the lights. I crawled back to bed and treated myself to a few games of Candy Crush before going back to sleep.

Who knew the sound of cartoons would be like sweet music at 6 a.m.? Who knew I would have another surprise?!? I was getting into the shower when I found THIS on the curtain:


I can’t even tell the story without wiggling all around. Gross-gross-gross! It was time to put on my big girl pants one more time. I grabbed the biggest wad of toilet paper I could. I climbed up on the edge of the tub and I let out a ninja scream as I killed that sucker! ew ew ew I shivered as I threw the ball into the toilet and flushed. I jumped into the shower and as I was washing my face, trying to find my happy place again, I looked up to find ANOTHER SPIDER up in the corner – this time too high for me to reach. Sick – I closed my eyes and took the world’s quickest shower.

By this point, I was so over being the adult. Not just the adult, but the only adult in the house. I was exhausted of playing both mom and dad. There was a very vulnerable moment when I just wanted someone to protect me. I was tired of being strong and I just wanted to be weak. I wanted to fall limp into someone’s arms and be taken care of. I allowed myself to feel this for just a while. Any longer, and the feelings would have started to take root. I can’t afford to be shaken at my foundation right now. My children need me to be strong. So strong I am – Supermom/dad, cook, comforter, disciplinary, protector, handyman, bringer home of the bacon – I’m it all. I’m strong not by desire or any power of my own, I’m strong because my kids need me to be and because I ask for God’s help.

Love, Mel

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