Can We Catch Up, Please?

Hey Ladies,

I was just missing you and thinking of you all and thought I would do a quick catch-up on my life since it has been so long.

Life for Colin and me over the past few months has been a bittersweet transition, a combination of missing our first home together in Atlanta and fully embracing this new season God has for us with both hands.

Here are just a couple of reasons I miss my life in Atlanta:

Friends.

Friends

Friends

And, friends. Especially friends who can cook like this one:

Here are just a couple of reasons I love my life in Houston:

Getting to know my Aunt Gay again after many years. The purest redemption I have ever witnessed.

Sunshine with Mom.

Jackson.

Watching Amanda transform into an impromptu barista at Bible Study:

Fighting with Mom over our favorite coffee cup at work.

Wearing my favorite slippers at Living Proof. They’re really feminine, right?

Tex Mex.

Tex Mex.

And, oh my goodness gracious, Tex Mex.

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Thank you, Roxanne Worsham.

Watching Jackson bond with his lizard who he first named “Lizard” and then, later, “Longtail.”

Annabeth Jones. Β She is too busy and wiggly to take pictures but here are a few.

She is the cutest thing on two legs.

Also, she has taken to domestic life. Who knew?

Generations before and generations after.

My Pawpaw and Memaw. Β My Pawpaw is in his hard hat with his house plans watching his new house get framed exactly like he wants it. Β The two of them were sitting in folding chairs watching 6 men work. Β A classic moment.

And here is one very good reason I love my life no matter where I am:

In addition to the big move from Atlanta to Houston, the biggest change in my life is that I am back at the Living Proof offices writing some small segments for the James study with Mom. I was joking on Twitter the other day that I am able to write about one sentence per every fifty pages Mom writes. It is a slight exaggeration, but not much. I am a very slow writer and Mom is a machine. She has to repeatedly tell me, β€œRemember you don’t have to say everything to say something.” This is probably the best piece of advice I have gotten since I started the project. I think about it multiple times per hour.

Over the past several years I have grown quite comfortable with working at the research level. It is nice and convenient. I can remain detached from the conclusions and implications of the data with which I am working and can’t be held responsible since Mom is the author and I am not. I am smiling right now because I know Mom would be smiling at that comment. But, seriously, writing is a different beast. It is vulnerable. I feel stripped and exposed. I am finding that it takes a whole lot of courage. The ugly truth is I am inordinately afraid of making a mistake. And this is not humility, folks, but a very sneaky and dark form of pride.

In Madeleine L’ Engle’s reflections on writing, she quotes a few lines from Anton Chekhov’s letters that have been restorative to me in this new process: β€œYou must once and for all give up being worried about successes and failures. Don’t let that concern you. It’s your duty to go on working steadily day by day, quite quietly, to be prepared for mistakes, which are inevitable, and for failures” (Anton Chekhov quoted in Madeleine L’ Engle, Herself, 72). Just reading that is liberating.

While I obviously think writers and teachers should think carefully through content and style, perfectionism really is incapacitating. And it can become an idol. All that to say, I am practicing the art of being patient with myself.

So, that is me and probably a lot more than you wanted to know.

How are you?

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460 Responses to “Can We Catch Up, Please?”

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Comments:

  1. 51
    Gene says:

    Melissa, thanks for being real about writing. Three areas seems to reveal the soul and make anyone feel vulnerable – writing, singing, and praying in public.

  2. 52
    Nancy says:

    Loved your post and pictures!! So good to see pictures of Jackson and Annabeth also….don’t wait so long to post again….we love you!!

    Nancy

  3. 53
    Kate says:

    Melissa,
    What a lovely post. We were a moving family for many years and there was always something to miss and something to embrace. In a weird way that feeling now makes me think of heaven because the things that I long for here on earth, whether it is H&H bagels from New York or my dear friend in Dallas, will never be completely satisfied on terra firma. No one location can give me all the people I love in different places AND barbecue AND rolling vineyards in California…
    Madeleine went to the church we attended when we lived in NYC and one year I took her Lenten writing workshop which was held in her apartment. She taught writing in that exact way, urging people forward and avoiding overthinking. I still think of some of those lessons and the amazing writers who were in that class.
    Bless you and your mama for doing the hard work that results in words of life for all of us.

    • 53.1
      Melissa says:

      Kate, your comment is gorgeous. And you are so right about there always being something to miss and embrace. I miss every place I’ve lived and I’m pretty much nostalgic for everything. Hah! I cannot believe you had the amazing opportunity to take Madeleine L’ Engle’s Lenten writing workshop. I cannot imagine how special that was and I really like your phrase, “urging people forward and avoiding overthinking.” My best to you.

  4. 54
    candifer says:

    it’s great that God brought you back and is stretching you! seems as though He’s doing that in my own life right now–recently started a new job handling insurance claims, billing and accounting for an oral surgeon. my previous job was managing a local coffee shop, and my college degree has absolutely nothing to do with numbers! (music and sociology!)

    but man has God been building my character through this process!! i had become pretty sure of myself in the past couple of years as a barista… i think i’ve relied on God more this past month than i have in a long time. and it’s really, really humbling to go from knowing pretty much everything to knowing absolutely nothing. boy, did i need this reality check!

    hope you take God up on the opportunity to rely on Him as you’re writing/laying your soul bare on the page!

  5. 55

    I know what you mean about the difficulties of writing when you are constantly second-guessing yourself. My dissertation was put on hold for a while because a professor’s criticism (and he wasn’t even my adviser) had me fearful that everything I wrote was somehow wrong.

    Nothing is quite so productive to the enemy as our paralysis, wouldn’t you say?

  6. 56
    Jan says:

    Melissa – Loved every single one of these pictures, and especially the one of your Pawpaw & Memaw with the house plans. My parents sat in lawnchairs and watched their house being built too. Actually had their Sunday School class come out..hilarious. I love to be around senior adults!

    I honestly miss just knowing you were up I-75 a bit, but your family must be thrilled to have you there. Family is everything…Jeremy brought his 2 children over tonight while his wife was at a retreat planning meeting and when Zeke left he said, “I hope we see a frog outside like we did last time Gran Jan, let’s stomp it.” Thankfully there were no frogs in sight.

    My spring garden is growing well – red potatoes, Texas sweet onions :), snow peas, and sugar snap peas. The tomatoes and squash and cucumbers will go in this next week!

    Life is good on the farm. Come see me!

    Love you,
    GA Jan (aka Gran Jan)

    • 56.1
      Melissa says:

      Miss Jan, I feel like we’re the same family only in parallel universes. It is so funny that your parents did the same thing! Absolutely hilarious that they brought along the Sunday school class. And I agree with you about senior adults. They are the best! I miss knowing you’re only an hour and a half away, too! I have a friend moving to Macon in a few weeks and I keep telling him about Jeremy’s church. You’re the best. Love you, Melis

    • 56.2
      • Diane Bailey says:

        That should say, ” I love YOUR AKA name” So Cute!

        • Gran Jan says:

          Diane! Thank you. I picked out the name “Gran Jan” way long before I became a grandmother and it has “stuck.” My oldest grandchild is a little over 2 1/2 and he has set the standard for the other wee little ones. πŸ™‚

          Blessings,
          Gran Jan

    • 56.3
      Sandi says:

      GA Jan,
      We still have snow in northern MN! Wish I could get my garden in this early!

      • Gran Jan says:

        Sandi!!! Are you serious? I would be in great withdrawal if I hadn’t already had some “digging in the dirt” time. I hope your snow melts soon. Take comfort in that we will be BLAZING HOT soon and you will be having great weather! What will you plant?

        Jan

  7. 57
    Tammy says:

    Oh Melissa,
    It is so good to hear from you. I was transitional girl in my early years too and I always missed something and looked forward to what God was showing me ahead. Now I am stay put girl so to speak who is watching her twins grow into fine young gentlemen and wishing I could turn back the hands of time. I sometimes ache for those times when they were little and now I thank God each day for how he is molding them on their journey.

    Thanks for letting us know how you are. I loved the pictures and will pray that God will continue to make the transition come together in His plan.

    • 57.1
      Melissa says:

      Tammy, How fun that you have twins! My sister just went and registered Jackson for kindergarten a few weeks ago and she was bawling. I cannot imagine what it is like to raise kids and then watch them grow up. The Lord bless you and keep you.

      • Barb says:

        I still can remember clearly the day my son, Christian, headed off to kindergarten. I dropped him off at the school and watched his tiny little frame with a backpack as big as he was lumber down the long walk that entered the school. I could barely see as I drove off…now he will be turning 16 next month. The years go by way too fast for sure!!

  8. 58
    Jackie says:

    Thanks for sharing your heart with us…just wanted to let you know that I’ve been very blessed by your words. I love the bond that we all have being sisters in Christ. Enjoy every minute with your family…isn’t being an aunt the best!??

    Blessings,
    Jackie
    Cypress, TX

  9. 59

    Dear Siestas would you pray for my family. One year ago this week my brother who was almost 47 left this world for eternity. I remember so clearly going to be on the night of April 5th and praying, “God please have mercy on my family. Please redeem my family. Show up. Be what only you can be to them. Do what only you can do. Please save Brian (my brother), Rachel, Kaleb and Kyle (his children).” I shut my phone off and went to bed.

    The next morning I woke up early and thought it was wonderful that I had an hour to snuggle under the covers before I had to get up and face the day, but as soon as I turned on my blackberry and it went nuts with messages and texts, I knew something was wrong. In the moments, I read through them, I learned of the agony of the night for my brother’s family and my Mom.

    It has been such a hard year for the kids. They are young adults but do not know the Lord as far as I know. They are following in the paths of their parents as it is the only road they know. Please pray with me for them and for my Mom. My Mom is a believer. She is worn thin from all of this.

    My prayer tonight is the same as it has been this last year and for quite sometime before my brother died. They need the Lord. I live in another part of the country and am not able to be there for them as I would like. I am asking God to send someone to them to minister to them and that their hearts would be open to the Gospel.

    • 59.1
      Barb says:

      I am praying as I write and will remember you tonight as I pray before sleep. How hard this has to be for you and for your brother’s family… God is good and I pray that He will bring people in their path who passionately love Him and will reach out to them in their need. May He stir up His love in their hearts and this tragedy can be turned around for His glory and the salvation of Your family. Peace…

    • 59.2

      Saying a prayer for you and your family.

    • 59.3
      Mary says:

      praying for you and for the family. Asking God to send His workers and warriors to reach out to these young adults. And to send peace and comfort to all.

    • 59.4
      Rychelle Reiling says:

      Oh dear friend, I am so sorry for your loss. I understand the grief of losing a sibling as I lost my sister 17 years ago. I was thirteen at the time and she was the closest thing to me. I write you to offer hope and encouragement for out of her death my life was saved (about 14 months after). Praise God!!! I don’t know what I would have done without Him! So, keep praying! keep praying! keep praying!!! No prayer is wasted. He hears every cry of your heart, so don’t you give up girlfriend… Our Lord desires that they come to know him; and when this happens we will ALL REJOICE with you!

      Please know that I will be joining you in prayer tonight for your family (and your heart too) as you enter the memorial of his passing. Tender times my friend. Hold tight to the one who is your refuge for he is closer than the breath that you breathe. Love to you sister.

      Rychelle

      • HarborMom says:

        Rychelle, my brother died 18.5 years ago. My faith and our God were, and still are, the only way I find joy and life in death. Who knew we shared so much in common when we met in the will call line at Lpl in Tacoma!

        And to my precious Cat Lady, the Lord will carry you. The first few years are hard. There is no getting around it. The Lord will bring new life.

    • 59.5
      Cindy Childers says:

      Dear Sweet Siesta in South Carolina,
      May the tenderness of our Lord Jesus be with you, your mom, and your brother’s family this very moment. May this NEW year, beginning April 5th, 2011 bring such healing and love to all of you. Lord Jesus, open the eyes and hearts of her brother’s family so that they are unmistakably aware that it is You and only You who offers us hope in times of grief. Lord, restore to this family beauty for ashes and let Your Light break forth like the dawn. Let your Mercy and Love overflow into their lives. In Your Precious Name we pray. I love you Jesus. Amen

    • 59.6
      Terri Lynn says:

      Dear Siesta in SC,

      I’ve prayed for your family and for you this morning. My own heart understands the ache of wanting salvation for those we love who are yet unsaved.

      I’m wishing you His peace that surpasses understanding.

      β™₯

      • Thank you dear Siestas for praying. I so wish I could fix things, but only the Spirit can draw a heart, only Jesus can save. I continue to plead with Him to do what only He can do. How I long to see them come to know the Lord and have the real hope and life they so desperately need that can only be found in Jesus.

  10. 60
    Bethany says:

    Melissa,

    Transitions are hard. I’ve recently moved also and am learning how to deal with the change that comes along with starting life over in a new city. I am so happy that you and Colin are close to your family. I know that it brings your parents tremendous joy! But missing your friends in Atlanta is hard.
    Loved the pictures. The one of your mom and your aunt Gaye is just super special since she shared a little of your aunt’s testimony this weekend. It causes my heart to fill with joy to see the redeeming work that God is doing in your aunts life. It is humbling to have heard of your aunts struggles because as well loved and respected as a bible teacher that your mom is…one would be tempted to think that no one within her family could be utterly lost. But that is not the case…your aunt Gaye has been redeemed in a major way and I celebrate with your family over her!
    As for me, I am just plugging along with life in my new city. I’ve had a huge change in my lifestlye with this move. The most impacting being a 75% pay cut in my new job but God is stripping me of all things that I was finding my comfort and worth in. He is teaching me to walk in total dependency on Him. It took losing my job, my house, and many of my family members for me to realize that Jesus is all that there is…truly, He is all!
    I am on the road toward healing and I am excited. My prayer each day is that God be lifted high. That I honor Him and be a pure vessel for Him to work in.

    Now aren’t you glad you asked how we are doing???!!! I gave you a pretty long winded answer!

    Love you dearly sweet girl!
    Bethany (modesto,ca)

    PS. I LOVE the tea cup!!!! I would be fighting with her over that one too!

  11. 61
    TruthInLove says:

    Only Christ. I write that to say that social media grieves me. The ego grieves me. The constant earthiness of it all grieves me…the photos, the talking of self, just makes me breathe hard.
    Oh and I am being gentle. All any of us should ever care about is Christ and Him alone. He deserves all the pre-eminence. Precious daughter, the fear of man is what keeps anyone from writing His truth. Desire only to please Him and you will be set at liberty.
    His peace, love, mercy and grace to you.
    TruthInLove

    • 61.1
      Melissa says:

      TruthInLove, I am sorry to hear that the photos and the talking of self make you breathe hard but I have not blogged in months and I will absolutely not apologize for sharing my life.

      • Barb says:

        Melissa, continue to share…your photos, exposing your life, your struggles, your joys…make you human to us and someone with whom to relate. I think of Jesus and how he loved children and would gather them to His knee. While others, even His disciples, turned them away because they might not have been spiritual or maybe they thought it wasn’t the proper time…but no, our Lord welcomed them with open arms. I think of Jesus weeping when Lazarus died…of Mary sitting at His feet absorbing every word. I think of Him having fellowship with sinners, sitting at a well with a woman who was so lost and found that day Living Water. So, thank you…thank you for being approachable. The pictures of your grandparents stirred my heart for I just lost both of my parents within a year of each other. I know where they are at….they had such a deep relationship with Him. Your pictures made me praise Him all the more! Press on!

      • Dawn, Pottsville says:

        You go girl! I’m a Siesta that thrives on His word, His love and all words and love that I find in this sisterhood in Siestaville. My Siestas here have lifted me up so many times. Melissa, thank you, thank you, thank you. You are precious and I love you and your family. Dawn

      • Shannon says:

        We’re meant to do life together. If Jesus could celebrate at weddings (with wine, no less), talk to his friends, play with children, and grieve deaths, we should do no less. This is not a stop along the way. This life matters. And we should share it with each other.

        If your love for Jesus precludes you from entering into other people’s lives and loving them, then it’s not really Jesus you love.

      • Diane Trail says:

        Please keep sharing your life with us, Melissa. It’s OK to talk about struggles and earthy things. That’s just life and I appreciate you being real, as well as sharing the serious stuff about the Lord.

      • June says:

        I am new to this blog and even on the other side of the world from you all, I have recieved fellowship and comfort in the sharing of your thoughts and wisdom Melissa.Regardless of the radical comment above, as a novice writer, (trying to be serious one at that!) I have copied out the quote from Chekhov’s letter, as it was so pertinent to my inability to put words on paper because they may not be ‘good enough’. This has meant for me never writing anything! Six months have gone by! Of course there may also be scripture to back it up too, but as a new Christian, I don’t exactly have that at my finger tips. However, the sharing of our humble human experiences brings us closer as sisters and we all know what the ultimate goal is. We give thanks for the gifts God has given us and we need to be gracious in acknowledging them and using them to His glory. This I hope to do now, having been inspired by what you wrote and your little Chekhov quote.The spirit in which it was shared has given me the spur to think again about the sin of pride, and sit down, face a blank sheet of paper and a blank wall and just get on with it. Thank you Melissa… I guess you must be Beth Moore’s daughter from what I have read. Before I retired from teaching in the Middle East and moved back to live in UK (phew, that was some move!)our Home Group went through Beth’s teaching on Daniel! It blew me away and still does thinking about it.So thanks to you both for who and what you are in the whole scheme of things! Love from June xxx

      • TruthInLove says:

        Yes, exactly….Sharing YOUR LIFE.
        It is His life we are to share…
        You are loved….it is by love and for love that I wrote.
        Our conversation is to always be in Heaven…so much of what is written is from the soul and not from the Spirit…BIG difference…my breath is His…so when He breathes hard in the heavens it is experienced in my earth.
        Let us all heed His words…come up higher and I will show you more.
        His peace, mercy, grace, and truth to you.

        • Melissa says:

          Dear everyone, thank you for all your thoughts. Forgive me if I started something that was inappropriate or dishonoring to God. We are all in this together even if we see things differently. No further comments will be posted regarding this thread. Let us move on.

      • Paige Szajnuk says:

        Thank you for sharing, Melissa. Your transparency is both refreshing and inspiring. I love seeing the photos – they make me smile. I also love your posts. Some of them make me think hard and others, like this one, are just simply real. We are not of this world, but we do live in it. A lot of us struggle with perfectionism. I’m personally glad you wrote about it. You are an encouragement to many of us. Please keep writing. I don’t have an answer to or for “TruthInLove,” but I am praying for her/him.

      • Puzzlepiecesista-Angela says:

        Sorry for commenting on this one in my earlier post Melissa, I just saw your later post attempting to reign it in and shut us down or up! I think we all just love U and would hate to see you NOT sharing with us. Much wisdom and joy does come to us through you in so many different ways and that does bring God Glory, so, thank you for staying vulnerable.

    • 61.2
      LovingLife says:

      TruthInLove:

      Interesting that you post such a comment on a “social media” website…

      Those of us that love hearing about Melissa, are thrilled to see her LOVING God’s creation and His people.

      Keep on posting those gorgeous pics Melissa!!!

    • 61.3
      Rennae from Canada says:

      Dear TruthInLove!!!

      I have never responded or blogged before in my life, but your comments to Melissa created a longing in myself to respond to your unloving comments to her. I sense a loss of first love for Christ, for those who truly love do not worry about people showing us a sneak peak of their lives. I do sense a envy in you that produced these comments to her. We as the body of Christ and women should not be tearing each other down, but encouraging each other. Correcting others, can only come from those who truly know and love us. And you cannot truly know someones heart from reading a blogged posting. I do hope you hear what I am saying, for the words you said to her are of the world and not of Christ! Melissa, We love you and want you to share your pictures and your life with us! It is not bragging, it is called sharing!

      Love Rennae

    • 61.4
      beckyjomama says:

      Truth in Love,
      Yes Social Media CAN be destructive and self serving … it all depends on how it is used. If a person feels as though it leads them down a path of destruction, then, by all means, step away from it.

      We should be glorifying Christ and edifying each other, that is true. And, I dare say, if you truly knew these women and this ministry, you would see that THAT is what this blog is all about. Beth, Amanda and Melissa LIVE for the Glory of the Father. And their hearts for women is evident in each and every post. This little place of “social media” has become a familial community. We lift each other up, we hold each other accountable, we make each other smile & laugh, we hold and counsel each other through grief, anger and fears, we walk together through this life and, more than all, we PRAY for each other. This community is all about the love of the Father and sharing that love with each other and with the world.

      If they – Beth, Melissa and Amanda – write about themselves and their family, post pictures and share themselves, it is because we CARE about these things. We share OUR lives with them as well … THAT is what families do. We are SISTERS IN HIM. Plain and simple.

      I would invite you to take part in this community and see the love that lives here. It is true. It is honest. and it is very much of HIM.

      In Him, and with the utmost respect and Christian love,
      Becky Jo
      Siesta and Fellow Sojourner Through Life

    • 61.5
      Terri Lynn says:

      “grieves me”.
      “grieves me”.
      “grieves me”
      “the talking of self”
      makes “me” breathe hard.

      “All any of us should ever care about is Christ and Him alone.” TruthinLove, where is Christ in anything that you said above?

      Dearest TruthinLove,

      Our Father in Heaven entreats us to uplift and encourage one another, to make ourselves vulnerable by sharing the truth of what He has done and is doing in, through and for us which is successfully accomplished when we openly, honestly, transparently share our lives, hopes, fears and hearts.

      He, as well, entreats us to rebuke one another, and that is the purpose of my reply to you. I’ve quoted your words above to point out that the nature of your comment appears to me to be void of Christs love and wrought with your own personal grievances.

      I’m fairly new here and in all honesty this is the very first thing I’ve ever read by Melissa. I receive these posts in email and reading her post this morning brought me to tears as the Holy Spirit grieved in me for how this has been my own truth and in turn celebrated in another of satans lies being replaced by truth which has brought me the liberty that you speak of. I came here to thank Melissa for being transparent – because that transparency obviously leaves us open for judgment and attack/assault, which can paralyze us and keep us from taking the risk of making ourselves vulnerable. I am thankful that she took the risk, and praying that your comment only served to strengthen her resolve to be a risk taker in serving His kingdom.

  12. 62
    Martha Helen says:

    melissa i loved hearing from you again! i am so jealous of your job.. pretty much my dream job. πŸ™‚ i love digging into commentaries and researching and still really long to go back to school one day in the biblical realm. but for now.. i’m a momma. plus getting to work alongside and in assistance to someone like your mom! what a treasure. i can’t wait to dig into the james study! right now our church is doing a class on marriage on wednesday nights and our assignment is to read james every day together with our spouse. so i’ve been in it a ton and can’t get enough of it. every time we read it, i am challeged and convicted. also, thanks for sharing all the pics and the realities of adjusting to a move. its always bittersweet, its true, because our hearts seem to belong in so many different places. love hearing from you and i appreciate your sharing what God is teaching you lately in the process of writing! much love and blessings to you in Him. πŸ™‚

    martha

    • 62.1
      Melissa says:

      Martha Helen, What an amazing assignment to read James every day with your spouse. It really is such an amazing book. Thanks for your kindness. All my best, Melissa

      • Martha Helen says:

        aww, thanks for responding. πŸ™‚ i read the “truth in loves” comment above and thought it interesting that you should receive such an attack when you said what you’ve struggled with in writing during the james study is way over-analyzing everything you said. don’t listen to the enemy’s whispers.. you know you are onto something grand and God-glorifying when satan is so adamant at silencing you. keep sharing your life and thoughts! (i know you will) i am blessed and edified by your posts.

  13. 63
    Amberley says:

    Melissa,

    Thank you so much for sharing your life with us. I appreciated your quote that you shared from Madeleine L’Engle. She is one of my very favorite authors – I have found her writing to be very profound and very gracious in how she deals with difficult life experiences. I, too, am a “recovering perfectionist” πŸ™‚ God has been showing me that it is okay to do things imperfectly, to not let fear paralyze me, to obey even though I am afraid to do whatever it is I feel he has called me to. It is a humbling thing to rely on God’s power to do something I feel completely inadequate to do.
    I pray that you and Colin are getting settled and making friends. Friends help so much.
    Thank you for your honesty. You are loved! πŸ™‚
    Amberley
    P.S. What years were you at Moody? My husband and I graduated in 2002.

    • 63.1
      Melissa says:

      Amberley, We must have barely missed each other or else we overlapped by one year at Moody. I transferred from Baylor University to Moody in Fall 2002. What is your husband’s name? Were you in Houghton? How fun to make this Moody connection. Love, Melis

      • Amberley says:

        Melissa,
        We just missed each other! We graduated in May of 2002. My husband’s name is Marshall Almarode. Yes, I was in Houghton – 3N πŸ™‚ I always love hearing from you on the blog!
        Love, Amberley

        • Melissa says:

          My BFF from Moody was R.A. on 3North. I was on 6North. Way fun to connect with you. Maybe we’ll meet in the hallowed halls of D.L. Moody one day . . . πŸ™‚

          • Rychelle Reiling says:

            I love all this Moody talk! I currently attend Moody-in Spokane, Washington and will graduate in May WOO! I have taken classes in Chicago and still have wonderful friends there πŸ™‚

  14. 64
    Shannon Costanzo says:

    Hey Melissa,
    Long time no hear..or read.
    My mom happened to be my nursing instructor. She was so hard! I had the honor of seeing her as a mother and as a worker. She is a wonderful mother but She is an amazing nurse! She has such a heart for the patients. They would light up when they saw her. I know that I myself am a great nurse because I had her as teacher. I always felt that her shoes were hard to fill. I had one patient who knew my mother as a nurse for many years. She had dementia and I later took care of her for a while. When she first saw me she stared at me and called me by my mother’s name. What a blessing. All that to say, you have your own shoes but the one who showed you how to tie your laces is proud of you no matter what! I hate to disappoint anyone especially my mama. so Write!, you silly women! let’s see your shoes.
    I love you slippers by the way. I have reindeer one that light up. haha and Winnie the Pooh. πŸ™‚
    Shannon

    I love you

  15. 65
    Kristen says:

    I am so happy to hear your update, Melissa! Your pictures are all so beautiful! Hang in there with the project. It goes without saying that all of us Siestas are chomping at the bit to read it but we are your biggest cheerleaders! We’re behind you 100%!

  16. 66
    Candace says:

    Melissa, thanks for the update! We love to hear from you too….your family is precious. So happy you are near them…my three married daughters are all here in CO with me, and all 12 grandbabies too. My husband and I consider ourselves very blessed indeed.Thank you for joining this very effective and far-reaching ministry and working alongside your Momma. ps-love the hair!

  17. 67
    Melissa L. says:

    Thank you Melissa for your post and honesty. I bet your mama is THRILLED to have you close again!! I too am facing a bittersweet transition. My husband is from Ohio and moved us here 2 years ago. I have fallen in-love with the midwest and it’s people! God blessed me so generously with wonderful friends, who are true examples of sisterhood! But…. I am am missing my son terribly! The past 19 years of my life, I was blessed with mothering him and seeing his sweet face daily. He is now in college in FL and there are no words to describe the ache in my soul, not having him around anymore. Oh…if I could just smell his sweet head. :o) I have just recently been through a divorce, which was not by choice. My former husband (strange to even write) has chosen to be with another, which leaves me here alone in Ohio. I am now facing the decision to move back to the west coast to be near family. I will miss my sisters in Christ here, but am looking forward to being near my mom and sister Julie again. I am so, so joyful Christ has kept my heart tender to Him, so I can face each day with hope and purpose. “For Such a Time as This” ….I love Him so!!

    LOL… I had to re-read my reply several times to make sure it sounded okay and not too wordy!! “seriously”??? I think need to go back and re-read your post!! :O)

    • 67.1

      As a brand new emptynester, I have to reply to you that I hear your heart…my baby is a freshman and I miss him so! But a divorce on top of that is unbelievable! I pray for you this night that you know that Infinite Tenderness of Whom you speak, of Whom you have all things pertaining to godliness. What a beautiful attitude you have (Phil 3:15). You blessed me so!

      • Melissa L. says:

        Bev!!

        Thank you for your reply along with your prayers, they are truely felt! Yes, this has been an extream, long season of heartache, yet a season of joy as well. God has shown up in such BIG ways, keeping my heart tender to my husband, despite his affair and abandoment. You know that can only be Jesus! The love and peace HE gives me, during my own trial has transformed my relationship with HIM. HIS word has become so trustworthy and for that, I am so grateful and blessed! God is definitly doing some work with my heart and getting my priorities right! I learned that the victory is not when my marriage is restored, the victory is not when my circumstances change… the victory is when I realized I can’t do this on my own!!
        Blessings! :o)

  18. 68
    Jennifer Dove says:

    Oh my friend…how I miss seeing you, hearing you in your writings and just knowing what is up with you. FB misses you.
    Its great to see you back in Houston. I know your Mom and Sis are thrilled to have you back in their area code.
    I’ll be in Houston in May…would love to see ya!
    And may I just add…you are brilliant. You are brilliant b.c. everyone can hear and see your heart in everything you write. You just have a way of making us feel and thankfully the Holy Spirit is SUPER fabulous at making us change.

  19. 69
    Ashley says:

    “The ugly truth is I am inordinately afraid of making a mistake. And this is not humility, folks, but a very sneaky and dark form of pride.” Yes. Yes. Been caught and incapacitated in that trap for a long time, but I am climbing my way out. He has chosen us to be His glory-bearers and who am I to say His power at work in me is not enough?

    • 69.1
      Melissa says:

      Ashley, thanks. Your final sentence is profound.

      • Margie says:

        Wow. That last sentence needs to get painted on my kitchen wall…in bold print. And the quote from Melissa’s post can go over the stove! Such good reminders. Thanks for taking time out of both of your lives to blog and comment..the Holy Spirit used it to prick this busy mama’s heart tonight. Blessings to you both!

      • Kathy says:

        Wow! Ashley, I had to write that last sentence you wrote down, (on the inside cover of my Siesta Memory Team Spiral so I will see it often)!
        God just spoke to me through your words, thank you!
        I love this community.
        <3 Kathy

    • 69.2
      Traveling Fig says:

      WOW! “Who am I to say His power at work in me is not enough?” That is powerful and humbling. Thank you.

    • 69.3
      Puzzlepiecesista-Angela says:

      Ashley,

      I’ve officially decided after reading your post, not to ever think that again either. What a word due in season!!!! Boy, I’m still chewing on that last line…….

      • Ashley says:

        It was a word in due season for me, too…not at all premeditated when I started my comment. I think I should write it down, too πŸ˜‰

  20. 70
    Maurene Lensink says:

    Well, it is nice to get to know you! Thanks for sharing.

  21. 71
    Carrie says:

    I enjoyed reading this, Melissa! Thank you for sharing your pictures and your heart. That is so true about perfectionism…I have that issue…not with writing but in general. Your thoughts are very eye-opening and insightful. Thank you-you have helped me!!!

  22. 72
    Lucy says:

    Beautiful pictures and beautifully sincere words from a person who is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. Thank you for honoring us with a peek into your life. Love you!

    “But you have an unction from the Holy One, and you know all things.” 1 John 2:20 A-KJV

  23. 73
    To Know Him says:

    Welcome back home Melissa… I can see how much you, your sister and mom love each other…Just beautiful!!! You truly have much to be thankful for, and by the way I just adore your slippers…looks like the lion is munching on your feet πŸ™‚

    As for me, I am in a stale place spiritually, but I am working through it. I don’t like being in this place, but I always learn something if I will listen to God during these times…

    Blessings,
    Kim

  24. 74
    Annika says:

    Melissa, loved all the pictures! Ya’ll are so good-lookin’! πŸ™‚ Thought you and your mom would love this: my son Jackson just turned 6 and we had a pirate birthday party last weekend. One of the activities at the party was a treasure hunt that ended with an actual wood treasure chest (thank you, Ebay) filled with gold chocolate coins that my husband actually buried in our back yard and the boys had to dig it up! Great fun. So tonight we cleaned it up and emptied it and he took it up to his room. He spent forever trying to decide what was “worthy” to be stored in his new treasure chest. Guess what he finally decided on? His Bible. Made me burst into tears, it was so precious. (And can I say…it was convicting, too!) Happy Monday!

  25. 75
    Anne says:

    Melissa,
    Loved the wonderful pictures and I always enjoy your posts. Please don’t stop sharing your life with us because it helps all of us to see that you and your mom are real and can relate to the struggles that we all have. I am often convicted through things you point out in your posts and I believe God uses people along with scripture to convict us or make us think differently. As a mom I know that your mom is delighted to have you back. My daughter is back in town after living in DC for several years. I am treasuring it because she has wanderlust so I know it may not be for long!

  26. 76
    Kathy says:

    rejoicing with your mom and family ’bout the wonderful redemptive story of your aunt gay. i actually heard it on the download of eat, love and pray, and i wept and rejoiced with you all. praise Him !

  27. 77
    Diane Bailey says:

    I Love that you are moving to a treasure as well as from one. Moving to something that is fulfilling as well as relational.

    One of my friends is the mother of one of your roomates. Her mother is from Montgomery, Al. Small world, sometimes.

    I have no doubt that you will begin to write and the anointing will fall on you so greatly that it will be Living Waters from Him through you, to the page, and to His people. You have a generational blessing on you. Never doubt that blessing or that He can move mightily through you whether you are nervous, prideful or inexperienced. He has chosen you for this job. A job many would give their eye-teeth to have! He calls,He anoints, He equips! I am so happy for you, Siesta! Or as we say in the deep South…SUSTA!

  28. 78
    Chrissy says:

    Hi Melissa,
    I am so new to this whole blog world. I feel naked just responding after 88 comments! (and by that I mean vulnerable, of course!)

    I am in ministry and have moved many times- left everything to follow God and enter a new season. It is always an incredible blend of joy and sorrow, isn’t it?!

    I could really relate to what you were writing about pride, perfectionism, and the easy snares of both success and failure. How debilitating these can be, and yet I am finding in my present circumstances that walking in repentance of these is bringing a joy and freedom that I so desperately need. I am reading a really helpful book, “When people are big and God is small.” It addresses this concept and what you described as “not humility but a dark side of pride” is described as “thwarted pride”.

    Anyway, I am so encouraged by the lpm blog, by your honesty and the encouragement reading this brought. I just thought I would write, among other things, thank you.

    gratefully,
    Chrissy

  29. 79

    If you HAVEN’T read Ann Lamott’s “Bird by Bird: Thoughts on Writing and Life” I would HIGHLY recommend it. (Reader be warned there are a few choice words in there, but there is much more TRUTH!) It is my favorite book about writing and reads like a memoir. Very encouraging for writers!

    And I am so jealous of your Tex-Mex.

    • 79.1
      Melissa says:

      Robin, I have read Bird by Bird. I loved it! I would say you shouldn’t be jealous of Tex-Mex, but I would be lying πŸ˜‰ Love, Melis

  30. 80
    Katrina says:

    Awww, such fun pictures! Thanks for sharing! πŸ™‚ Praying for you in this time of transition! And thanks for the reflection/advice on writing. I’m an aspiring writer and struggle a lot with perfectionism. I like what you said about how being so afraid to make a mistake is really a sneaky form of pride…really makes me think. Thanks. πŸ™‚

  31. 81
    Diana says:

    Melissa,
    Thank you for the wonderful post! One of the things I love most is seeing pictures of you and your family. In fact, I usually scroll down before I read to see if there are any new ones! πŸ™‚ I have been following the blog for about a year now but have never posted, but something in your post gave me the courage to dive in. I guess I am an official “Seista” now – have even kept up with my SSMT verses and have done more of your mamas bible studies than I can count! As someone who has been married to the same awesome man and lived in the same house for 27 years I can tell you that you don’t have to move for transition to find you! Thank you and your mom and Amanda for putting yourselves out there for us. I feel so blessed to be a part of this community of sisters.

  32. 82
    Marilyn Johnson says:

    Your blog entry is profound. I love the pictures, but more than those I love your approach to writing. The statement that resonated with me was “The ugly truth is I am inordinately afraid of making a mistake. And this is not humility, folks, but a very sneaky and dark form of pride.” WOW – how very true and I left the “I’s” in there as I am applying that thought to myself. And this one “While I obviously think writers and teachers should think carefully through content and style, perfectionism really is incapacitating. And it can become an idol. All that to say, I am practicing the art of being patient with myself.” Again, that statement hit VERY close to home.

    Thank you, Melissa.

  33. 83
    Cindy says:

    Melissa,
    Such a sweet pictorial of things past, present, and, thank the sweet Lord, future! I’ve discovered as I’ve gotten older that I become more and more nostalgic. Perhaps because I see more and more of life’s seasons in the rear view mirror. Fortunately, His hope is of an abundant life, and I have never failed to thoroughly enjoy the present season, even while looking back at precious things that are now bittersweet.

    And as for your hesitancy in writing – Oh, girl. I KNOW! I can’t hardly blog for the same reasons. And on a lighter note – don’t even get me started on scrapbooking. My sweet daughter can whip out about 6 pages to my one…It is just so PERMANENT! Sad, I know! πŸ˜‰

  34. 84
    Dawn, Pottsville says:

    Jackson’s eyes are hypnotic…is that a word?!!…seriously, they are gorgeous!!

  35. 85
    Leslie says:

    I so need this right now! Thank you for your transparency as it is such an encouragement to me to see what God is doing!

  36. 86
    Ingrid Lathrop says:

    Dear Melissa,
    I so appreciated your blog update. Thank you for sharing a part of your life, your pictures and your heart and struggles. What you spoke here reminds me of Ps. 51:6 “But You desire honesty from the heart, so You can teach me to be wise in my inmost being.”
    You being willing to get in touch with your heart and where you are struggling and your courage to bring it into the light will result in godly wisdom. God can be trusted to keep His Word.
    Oh I pray that you will surrender to what the Holy Spirit is teaching you and speaking to you, and let that rule your heart!!
    God made you an individual and He compares you to no other. He sees you and says very Good!!
    I will pray for you as you walk with our Lord.
    Sincerely in Christ.
    Ingrid Lathrop

  37. 87

    Thank you for sharing, Melissa, thank you for being you…real. That’s one thing I like about you and your mom..you ladies are Real, I know that’s why many are drawn to you both. If you’re heart is pure when you write and you keep it real, writing what the Lord anoints you to write, then it will be great! (you probably know this already…) I concur with your statement about perfectionism, I haven’t written on my blog in over a year because of the same reason (and the loss of my dad). Your words have encouraged me to just “Do It”, write another post..it doesn’t have to be perfect..at least no one else will know, right? May the Lord bless you, your writings and your family.

  38. 88
    Beth Herring says:

    i know that your mom is just thrilled to have you working by her side. i just can’t imagine all the research you do and then are still able to put it to paper in the form of a study. God is certainly using you both mightily. I remember your mom saying one time when she was afraid of ‘messing something up’ – she said the a friend told her ‘ you’re not good enough to mess God up’ – i have always loved that!

  39. 89
    Kim Safina says:

    Melissa,

    Thank you for sharing!!!!!!

    THE BLESSINGS ARE OVERFLOWING IN YOUR PHOTOS!!
    Ya’ll do it BIG in Texas!! I had a Hoot at the Houston Rodeo. Tim McGraw squeezed my hand after I said, God Bless You while he was singin’ a country song!!

    I too, was blessed by Roxanne Worsham!!

    ROXANNE is so special to me! ROXY IS THE HEART OF TEXAS!
    I love her soooooooooooo much!!!

    I too, was blessed by Gay (your precious aunt)!!
    What a testimony!!
    It has been such a humbling privilege to pray for her!!!!
    During the last James study, Gay called out to me and opened her arms and gave me the BIGGEST HUG.
    PLEASE GIVE GAY A BIG ((((( HUG ))))) FROM ME WHEN YOU SEE HER!!!

    There is nothing like the gift of LOVE!!!!!

    You and Colin should be the NEW BARBIE AND KEN FOR THIS GENERATION!!! πŸ™‚

    Bring the family out to the coast and enjoy some rays of SONshine!!!! Our home is always OPEN for ya’ll !!!

    The Scripture below comes to mind after viewing and reading your touching blog ~

    Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things GOd may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
    1 Peter 4:8-11

    “Be Still”
    With Love & “Heaven Bound” blessings,
    Kim Safina

    • 89.1
      Kim Safina says:

      Forgot to tell you ~
      Our home is weeks away from moving in! πŸ™‚
      This remodel has been a learning process.
      what I have LEARNED Most:
      1.patience & trusting God
      2.More Patience & Trusting God
      3.MOSTLY PATIENCE & TRUSTING GOD
      during this 3+ YEAR journey!

      I want to sit in a lawn chair and allow others to decide everything from now on!!! πŸ™‚

      The Theater stage and library desk is awaiting your family arrival. πŸ™‚

      It’s time to GLORIFY CHRIST AND EDIFY EACH OTHER!!!

      I love my Siesta community and THANK THE LORD for so many fantastic friendships of siestahood within this blog! PRAYING FOR ALL OF YOU!!
      1 Thessalonians 5 πŸ™‚

  40. 90
    Lindsee says:

    I, for one, loved your little catch up and am excited you’re back in H-town! You are gorgeous, my friend. And I can’t wait to actually do the James study and read some of your writing. How fun that will be! Let’s do that lunch soon, when you’re not feeling like you’re in over your head. Just know that you’re hard work is already very much appreciated! Much love!

  41. 91
    Carrie Jones says:

    thanks for sharing your life with us, Melissa!
    Your experience with writing rang so true with me. I have recently started blogging and faced all of those obstacles and fears that your mentioned! Thanks for your timely encouragement! Just what I needed to hear today πŸ™‚

  42. 92
    Cindy Thomas says:

    Melissa, thank you for sharing your life with us. He takes great delight in us and in our activities. I think it’s part of why He created the Siestas. How else can we lift each other up or just enjoy each other if we don’t share our lives.

    I truly enjoyed your post and appreciated your honesty.

    Blessings,

    Cindy

  43. 93
    Kara says:

    I totally relate to you about the feelings and experience of writing! Vulnerable, yes! Exposed, yes! Wanting to speak the truth, yes!

    Thank you so much for sharing the quote too! It was a word in due season for me.

  44. 94
    Annie L. says:

    Loved the update and the pictures!! I so appreciate your honesty and I’ve been learning that same thing about myself these days! Thank you so much for sharing!!

  45. 95
    carla says:

    Such wonderful memories and new ones to make. We too are in a season of change. Our middle daughter got married last weekend and it suddenly dawned on me during the weekend festivities that my baby(23)boy is all grown up too and we are starting at the beginning again with each other, imagine mom and dad alone. I must share this because it was so awesome to me. On Sunday afternoon, my son and his roommate were sitting around and chose Fireproof to watch together with us. They told me they had watched it before. Anyway, my son who is very independent called me three times this week just to say hey! Our God is so awesome. I am so grateful for all of my blessings and obstacles I overcame to get here. So glad you are near your family. Enjoy!

  46. 96
    Lauren says:

    Oh, Melissa… this came at just the perfect time. I am continually amazed at how God works out the small details. Not just five minutes ago, as I am typing lecture notes for the class that I will be teaching tomorrow, beating myself up because of the mistakes I may make and not knowing everything, and then I read this before I head to bed, and that quote is perfect… so very true. Thanks so much! I am so glad you are enjoying being around your family. Many blessings, and looking forward to the James study πŸ˜‰

  47. 97
    Holly Smith says:

    You, dear one, are a beauty….worth getting to know. Worth reading. Worth sharing. No one can take from you the beauty that is you. I find it a pleasure to read what you write. And I love Madeline L’ Engle…so does Joanne πŸ™‚ Keep on being fully you–full of Jesus, you are. He shines through you. Thank you for loving the way you do.

    Holly
    who also shares your like for a fresh, new notebook…a new page is a good thing…and I am eager to see the future writings you share from your new notebook

  48. 98
    Sarah says:

    Melissa, I must tell you that one of the things I have loved most about this blog is getting to know you and your sister. And for whatever reason, whenever you post something I find myself wanting to print it out for safe keeping, forward it to friends and somehow referencing it in many a conversation as what you share always seems to be so thought provoking to me. For some reason, your writing really resonates with me and I love any time you do share – however little or much it may be πŸ™‚ May you be encouraged because God is using those vulnerable moments for His glory!

  49. 99
    AbbyLane says:

    Every time I walk into the room to write a song with my co-writers, and think about the fact that they are about 500+ songs ahead of my FOUR, I want to puke. Not to mention then you stick the task of an emotional vocal “performance” on the demo and you might as well stick a fork in me.
    And yet strangely, it thrills me and I keep going back for more. Because I LOVE it so, I think it is one way I consciously chose to force growth in myself in certain areas. But yes, how hard it is to be vulnerable enough to expose your heart to the world, confident enough to feel released from the expectations of reaction and acceptance, and humble enough to be swallowed in the echo of our smallness.
    Love you sister…I’m so behind, but I like the highlights!

  50. 100

    Melissa-
    Girl, I LOVE to hear about your life! One of the things I love
    about your family is that you are so open about your life.
    I think that from what I know about you is that you are very
    humble, kind and warm.
    I understand trying to learn patience with yourself,
    You know I’m a writer, and organization and creativity are two
    different animals. I crave creativity, not organization, but am aware
    at some point the two must come together.

    I was thinking of some of my favorite quotes
    and besides your mama of course I love
    so much of Phillip Yancey, Anne Graham Lotz,
    Sheila Walsh, Nichole Nordeman, Priscilla Shrier,
    Max Lucado, and I also love quotes from
    everyday people…everyone has value:)

    I have no idea if I stayed on topic, but
    I just thought I’d share.

    Have a wonderful day!
    Angie

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