November 13, 2014

That moment when you can finally take a deep breath, stretch out your tense muscles, and mutter on an exhale, “Yeah. That’s over.”

I am finally at Thursday afternoon, and while I do have one remaining class for today, it’s just lecture and turning in an assignment I finished polishing up this morning.

In other words…it’s the weekend. And what a weekend it will be.

Thanks to the fabulous generosity and love of my parents, I fly out of Dallas tomorrow for a crazy fifty hour whirlwind-weekend at home in California. My sisters and I have already discussed that sleep probably isn’t anywhere on the agenda, and we’re okay with that. Life’s too full of friendship for sleep to be anywhere near important.

As I’m pretty sure I’ve communicated, I’ve been pretty homesick since moving to school, and while my family visiting last month was a major blessing, it didn’t lessen my longing for my horse or my best friends or my favorite haunts (namely, church, my bedroom, and the barn-thing in the backyard). And in less than twenty-four hours…I get to see all those things!


I just have to make it through these last twenty-three hours. At least I get to sleep through a decent fraction of them.


Deep life thoughts aside from the fact that I finally get to visit home.

I decided last Thursday night that it was finally time to cut back on the amount of sugar I consume. Because sugar affects me. Majorly. And so for the last week (excepting Sunday, when I had to bake a cake for a potluck thing, and it’s impossible to bake a cake without licking the batter off the spoon and sampling it fresh out of the oven and licking the icing off your fingers) I’ve avoided anything blatantly sugar filled. So, basically, almost all of my favorite things. (I know that there’s sugar in pizza and macaroni and cheese. But not as much as in ice cream, so I didn’t count those.)

And you know what?

It’s been okay.

Now, sure, I want to have a meltdown every time I walk into the caf.

And I totally miss riding the sugar highs—I like to let myself forget about the inevitable crashes that are oh so unpleasant.

But non-sugared Melissa is a little bit more grounded.

That crazy sugar-induced panic in my chest that I get when I’m facing two exams and a major project on a single day (yesterday…) wasn’t there, and I could just be stressed and exhausted without melting into a puddle of tears.

When I spout off some ridiculous nonsense (today I was singing about deer at the beginning of hunting season to the tune of Best Day Of My Life by American Authors as I ate lunch) I know that it’s actually me talking, not some crazy hyped-up version of me.

I will never get drunk.

Nor will I ever do drugs.

The ways that sugar plays with my head are quite adequate for me, thanks.

All that to say, it’s been a grand (though interrupted by a Sunday) experiment, and I guess I don’t totally regret it. At all. (Wow. I can’t talk in a straight line today. Good grief.) And while I won’t be making this a permanent change, I do envision cutting back on my sugar consumption to at least some degree, especially on crazy exam weeks. (Now that I say that, I need to plan on doing this again during Finals Week. Glad I thought of that.)

The world’s a crazy beautiful place, even when it is consistently below freezing temperatures and you’re from California and you’ve never been this cold in your life, and I’m pretty grateful to be a part of it.

And I’m also really really grateful that before too long I’ll be somewhere where it’s not below freezing and I might even get to run around in shorts because it’ll be above 60 degrees. Yep. Good things.

Well, not too much longer before class, so I may as well start walking that way.

I hope you find your own reasons to smile today!

– Melissa
Food for Thought


Breaking It Down by Building It Up

I guess something I never expected to learn from living 1,300 miles from home is how to be missed.

Funny, huh? And a little (lot) bit strange.

I mean, who needs to learn how to be missed? Don’t we instead have to learn how to deal with missing someone? Isn’t it our own coping mechanisms that need perfected?


But I think we sometimes—no, I know from experience that I definitely did forget how to be missed.

Don’t worry. I’ll explain.

I know that my family misses me. It’s that thicker-than-blood tie that we share after living in the same house all our lives, after trying to kill each other several times, and after nearly killing anyone who tried to hurt anyone else in the clan. (That sentence makes my family sound bloodthirsty. In reality, I just exaggerate things. Call it poetic license or whatever. But we didn’t actually ever contemplate real-life murder, just for the record.) I expected to miss my family and I expected them to miss me.

But friends are another thing.

Knowing me, there was once a time where I was young and naïve and all the world was sunshine and roses and anyone I missed automatically was assumed to miss me too. I’m still that naïve, unsuspecting girl in many regards. But I’ve lost that supposition that people I care about return the feeling—which is very true in some (a lot of) situations. Except that I apply that distrust to everyone. Including people who actually do consider me their friend.

I’ve had several people I called really true friends walk away in the past years. I’ve gotten used to being the one who cries myself to sleep as someone else forgets that ‘Melissa’ is anything more than a pleasant-sounding name. And so I’ve built walls.

I think maybe, to some extent, all of us have.

We get hurt, we decide that maybe that pain isn’t the most fabulous thing in the world (again, poetic license here) and so we go to semi-drastic measures to assure that we won’t repeat the experience.

But walls like these work to rob the joy from life.

Walls like these feed our insecurities until they are monsters too big for us to prevail against on our own.

And walls like these limit fellowship with people who truly do care about us.

It has taken me nearly three months to stop second guessing people when they say ‘I miss you.’ People who have demonstrated how much they care about me multiple times and in multiple ways.

Pretty ridiculous, right?

What a trust issue, right?

Glad to have gotten over that one, right?

(Well, mostly gotten over. I still have my days.)

But here’s an idea: what if we specifically devoted ourselves to being the reassurance to others that it’s okay to learn to be missed? What if we valued each friendship for the priceless jewel that it is and we didn’t just walk away with no explanation? What if we actually learned from our scars?

I know I’ve been hurt.

I strongly suspect that I’ve unknowingly hurt others.

And I know that that can change me.

It can change each of us.

Just my thoughts this afternoon; take them or leave them. Also: Texas weather is bipolar. That is all.

– Melissa
John 15:12

cloud people

Let me preface this by saying that this is not a political statement of any kind. This is not a theological statement. It’s just a story that I happened to write tonight. Please don’t hold me responsible for whatever views you might read into this, because they’re your inventions and maybe not what I meant at all. I only share for the reason I share anything: to invite you along as I do life, which tonight involved writing fiction about a race of people in the clouds.

Melissa Continue reading