I miss having a friend.

I know, I’m overtired and hyperemotional, but I do.

I miss having a friend who knows me better than breath.

I miss having someone always around to talk to in the middle of the night about everything on our hearts and everything trivial in our days and everything in between.

And I see the people around me, my friends, and it seems like they’ve found that. Like maybe it comes easier for them or maybe they just got lucky, but either way, it’s them.

I feel like a third wheel sometimes.

I remember curling up with my dad over Thanksgiving of my senior year and sobbing, because I was terrified of the future and still heartbroken over a friendship gone bad, and together we prayed that I’d find someone at school who’d be a best friend. Who I could share my heart with and who would share her heart with me.

It’s nothing I’m guaranteed. Nothing I’m entitled to.

But it’s still a cry of my heart.

And it’s still unfulfilled.

And that hurts.

I have good solid friendships here. I’m so grateful for that, because that definitely isn’t where I was this time last year. And I have amazing friendships at home, and I know that we’re going to be able to weather whatever distances life may impose on us, because we love each other like sisters and we’ve been through too much together.

But I still feel really alone tonight.

I think I probably just ought to go to sleep.

Actually, I know I should.

But what I want to do is go wander around campus in the dark and get lost in conversation with someone.

I don’t know who that someone is. I keep hoping I’ll find out.

I wish Lubbock was closer. I wish Bakersfield was closer. I miss my sisters.

I want to go home.

– M


life up high

I love the thrill of hurtling through the skies in a pressurized tin can.

Which is a really sensationalist way of saying that I adore flying.

(I actually really dislike sensationalism in most contexts, because it is highly overused and highly abused in 90% of the contexts I see it in. Like those “news” articles that everybody shares on facebook. [And I refuse to capitalize ‘facebook’ because their logo is literally a lowercase f and so why the heck should I capitalize their site if they don’t?!] But in this context, I felt sensationalist and so there you have it.)

Did you ever fly as a child? Were you one of the terrified, whimpering little waifs who convince themselves against all odds that this is going to be the day that they die? I dislike children in general, so if you were one of those children and you also happen to count me as a friend, then thank your lucky stars that you grew out of that short-person-ness and became someone that I don’t have to mistrust on principle.

If you weren’t that sniveling beastie, then there’s a reasonable chance that you were the other extreme, for children, much like myself, often live in extremes. That extreme being that you could hardly be restrained to your assigned seat during the entirety of the flight because you were so thrilled to be off the ground and among the clouds. Even if this wasn’t you, you know the type: the kiddos who practically have stars glimmering in their eyes from the sheer wonder of it all.

Yeah, that’s basically me any time I fly. I adore it.

I mean, security’s a drag, but I get why it’s necessary.

But then you get into the terminals—people-watching paradise—and then you board the plane, which is kind of a ‘meh’ step, except that ‘in the plane’ means ‘headed toward the skies’, so I can tolerate the monotony.

And then, oh liftoff! It’s kind of my favorite. (I say kind of because the whole thing is actually my favorite, so…) The whirr of the engines pushing past the limits that mankind accidentally set for ourselves so long ago, and the feeling of being pushed back in your seat, like you might forget to hang on for the ride and get left behind except that life won’t let that happen to you just yet.

The flight itself is (obviously) best enjoyed from a window seat, and even an endless field of blindingly white clouds beneath the plane (or the fog of clouds around the plane) doesn’t quite get boring if you remember your ordinary everyday view of their underside. In the absence of clouds, earth itself bears a strong resemblance to the patchwork that is life, and the possibilities for contemplation of what’s implied in the analogy are absolutely limitless.

On a side note, I think that when I’m flying I most fully believe in magic. Not rabbits out of a hat or any of that nonsense, but just simple, everyday magic. The magic of a splendor so majestic that my heart screams out that yes, there is a God, a God so much bigger and more beautiful than all I can ask or imagine! The magic that’s not really magic at all, but I’m five years-old at heart and so it’s called magic all the same.

Landing is also my favorite, because It’s basically a race to stop. Life as I customarily know it grows back into focus: from pinprick to matchbox car to full-size pickup truck still dwarfed by the enormity of the sky-bus I’m in. And then woosh: we hit the ground and the flaps on the wings go up and the breath gets pulled out my lungs as we’ve arrived somewhere where the air doesn’t need pressurizing and you don’t need wings to get from place to place.

In other news, I’m flying today* (surprise!) from Dallas into Kansas City so that my dad and I can road trip back to Texas with the truck he bought via eBay. On our way to the airport this morning I was marveling at the thought of what the Wright brothers must have felt in the moment the first test flight succeeded.

Like, woah.

For thousands of years we as a species had looked to the sky and envied the birds, and suddenly we were among them! Everything changed in a moment.

But so much of life is that way: so many things have been radically redefined in the mere blink of an eye.

I mean, it would only take the loss one person I love in a tragic plane crash for this flight to go from an absolute delight to something I’d lose sleep, sweat, and tears over.

But, for now, I’m not afraid.

I am above the clouds, and I’m over the moon about it.

Life is a patchwork of beautiful things; be sure to ‘waste some time’ being elated over them.

– Melissa
Check out one of my favorite artists pretty well capturing what I’m feeling: Alligator Sky (no rap version) by Owl City

*Note: I actually didn’t fly anywhere today. This was written while in the air on Saturday (1/16), but I didn’t have internet access to post it until Sunday, and then I just slept for hours, and now it’s Thursday (1/21) and I’m just now remembering that this is still sitting unpublished on my hard drive. So yeah.

Homecoming and Mud and Everything Else

It is currently 11:45pm and I am so tired that I can barely function. So what am I doing?

Writing a blog post. Duh.

Tomorrow morning’s gonna be rough. I’m just gonna call that right now. But, hey; whatever.

It’s Homecoming Week at HSU, so things are hopping around here. As if advising season and sorority/fraternity pledging season weren’t enough to fill the campus with general tumult, add in homecoming prep and daily activities and this crazy event we at HSU call “All-School SING!”

From a performance standpoint, SING is…madness. It is chaos. It is too much pressure and too much singing and a much coveted title of Champion.

From a technical standpoint, SING is…complete madness. It is utter chaos. It is too much pressure and too much singing and directors who don’t understand that we aren’t actually trying to ruin their lives when a cue goes wrong.

Guess who’s working SING Tech…?


This girl.

The one sitting at the house-left side of the booth in front of the computer, running projections.

It’s not an awful job, actually. A couple of the shows don’t even have projections.

And it’s easy to amuse myself, intentionally and otherwise.

Like, on Tuesday, I added one slide to a slideshow, turned to talk to the director, turned back and found that I had also added 236 additional slides besides the one I wanted. So that made me giggle way too much.

And today, before the show began, when the curtains were closed and nobody in the audience could see what was being projected, I found a picture of a baby chimpanzee and made him think encouraging things for the people backstage to see. That was fun.

So yeah. I’m amusing myself and getting paid and trying not to dwell on how tired I am or on the people who I’m letting get under my skin.

Aside from SING madness, it’s been raining here!

I love the rain!

I love to run around in it and splash in it and soak up the annual rainfall of Bakersfield in my clothes in the space of an hour.


I learned today that Toby’s pen does not particularly love rain. Or, rather, it does. Much too much.

My dear, hydrophobic horse is now living in a lake, ruling over his wet domain from two little islands. The water is at least four inches deep. Plus another two inches of mud.

I am very glad that I own rain boots.

And I am very ready for the sun to come up and evaporate the lake. Because Toby is not a seahorse. He’s a horse horse.

Really, if I’m entirely honest, life has been crazy and weird on all counts for a while now.

And by crazy and weird I don’t mean all and sunshine and roses.

I mean that lately there have been some grey-colored days, and on those days I am just grateful for people who come into my quiet to let me know that I am not alone and that it’s going to be okay. Hugs are sometimes the best things ever.

I mean that recently I have had spinning-like-a-top days, and on those days I am so grateful for people who don’t get scared of me and who keep up with my mad energy and join me in adventuring into all sorts of mischief. Camaraderie isn’t just a word I can’t spell or pronounce.

On Sunday I was ready to drop out of school.

I’m totally serious.

I was curled up at my aunt’s house with first my sisters and then my entire family, and there was not a single bit of me that wanted to return to Abilene to this drab little dorm room to resume my life as a student.

And so I didn’t return.

Or, rather, I put off returning until I finally left so late that I didn’t get back to campus until 11:30pm. I still managed to go to bed earlier that night than I am tonight. Oh well.

Life’s buzzing in my head, feverishly reminding me that there are a million and one things I want to say, but my tired mind is out of words and so I think I’m going to call it a night.

One final thing, though: Why does my hair always look nicest in the middle of the night?! For realzies! What’s with that? My only option is to sleep on a head of curls that will look frizzy and slept-on tomorrow morning.

So not cool.

– Melissa
A Happy Song

i burned the chocolate pudding today

Woo. Today.

Today was today and today was unique.

Of course, every day is.

If it weren’t, we’d be living in a never ending time loop where everything was the same and nothing was ever different and it was all horrendously boring.

I don’t like horrendously boring.

Actually, I don’t like horrendous and I don’t like boring, so when you combine them you end up with something I absolutely detest.

I also detest spiders and when my sister’s boyfriend encourages my sister to play with knives. But that’s beside the point.

Today: August 9, 2015.

It all began at 5:30am…

Okay, now this has turned into a detective narrative in my head and it’s super cheesy and I apologize even though I’m not going to make you live through that.

Have I mentioned that the only thing I have eaten in the past four hours is chocolate? I drank some water and ate a whole bunch of chocolate. Chocolate pudding, chocolate brownies, and chocolate MnMs.

Yay, chocolate!

Anyhow…this morning my sister headed out to begin her college adventure. The little punk turned down the opportunity to live with me in Abilene and is instead opting to live with my aunt about three hours away from my school. Weirdo.

I mean, my aunt is cool and all, but I’m…beyond cool.

So she and my mom headed out, and I cried even though I’ll see her in two weeks and (hopefully) fairly regularly after that. Did someone say road trip?!

And because it was about 6:30am when they headed out, afterwards I went back to bed and slept until I got up for church and then I went to church. I like church. I love the people and the worship (and the cookies) and the great, awesome, incredible, indescribable God who loves me despite the mess I am and empowers me to love people despite the messes they are.

People are so messy. And it drives me so crazy.

Like, I seriously cannot read through my facebook feed recently without freaking out about people’s atrocious grammar. I mean, come on! Your and You’re are two different words, and two, too, and to are three different words!

I’ve become obnoxious, even if it’s just within the confines of my own head. So I decided that it wasn’t worth the stress and took a hiatus from facebook, and it’s honestly been really nice. Weird, but nice.

Anyway, Abbie left and I miss her and that is all I have to say about those emotions.

So then I worked for my dad. For, like, four and a half hours. And since the house we’re renovating to sell is six weeks behind schedule, none of us have been the most patient with each other on the job site. So it was a kind of rough day. But hopefully showings will start tomorrow because that house is as near to done as it will ever be and HOO-RAH!

Working is not my favorite thing generally. Working on a belly-full of conflicted and confused emotions is most definitely NOT my favorite thing at all. (I know that was redundant, but it needed to be. Trust me.)


Friends are my favorite.

The people who I love most dearliest (new word) and who I feel safest around.

So Grace and I picked a couple of them (who have both been horrendously busy this summer and who we’ve hardly gotten to see at all -_-) and we all watched Thor on my back porch because I have a projector.

(Everybody should have a projector. Life is so much more exciting that way. And movie nights can happen literally anywhere.)

In short, I am a hyper mess tonight, and I am here instead of bed because I don’t even know how to describe the amount of chocolate that I have ingested tonight.

I also burned an entire saucepan of chocolate pudding today because I got distracted and I forgot all about it. I may have ruined the saucepan.

But I know what a saucepan is now!

Yeah…I had to look that up, and I’m stating that now because eventually Grace will decide the world needs to know that and I’d rather you heard it from me. I have never claimed to be a cook. Just be grateful that I haven’t accidentally poisoned anyone yet.

That’s a much sunnier perspective to have, now isn’t it?

I have a lot to say tonight.

But I can’t make sense of it enough to tell you.

I’m a little bit scared for life to turn topsy-turvy on-its-head again when I move in a couple of weeks.

But God is bigger, and each day is just a new chance to take a step and say, “Okay. You’ve got this. Not me.”

My summer has been big. Big and different and exhausting and maybe I’ll write all about it here someday and maybe I won’t. I’m not sure.

Either way, God remains bigger.

It’s past midnight, so I should probably call it a night.

I think the chocolate might be wearing off anyway.

Wow. I’ve wrapped this post up well.

‘Way to pull off the stellar conclusion, Melissa. If this were a paper, you’d get an A.’


If I wrote papers the way I wrote blog posts, I would never have gotten into HSU. I would never have graduate high school, for that matter.


Good night. (Even though it’s most likely morning as you’re reading this.)

Sleep tight. (Even though I don’t know what that even means, unless you’re a baby and you’ve been swaddled, in which case you don’t know how to read and so this post is completely lost on you and therefore irrelevant.)

And don’t bite the bed bugs, because that’s rude.

Bugs are people, too, you know.

(Actually, they’re not; I just say that because I’m tired and sassy.)

– Melissa
This is a picture of mayonnaise.

Journey through Oceans

I still remember the first time I heard the song. It had to have been the summer before my senior year of high school, and though I don’t know exactly what my spiritual and emotional status was on that particular Wednesday night, I do know that I had come to youth group to worship Jesus, by golly. So I socialized as always and then maybe even did the announcements before the worship service—I don’t know for sure—and then the lights dimmed and the band started the set they’d prepared for the night.

I don’t recall the songs prior to that one, so I can’t have minded them too much, but then our worship leader started telling us about this new song she was going to introduce and how it had touched her and spoken to her and all this. Great, I think, so now let’s just sing it. I’m here to worship, remember?

If shown four power point slides, one of which contained the background that the sound booth fellows decided to put behind the lyrics that night, I could almost assuredly pick out the correct one. It’s that clear of a picture in my mind of those frustrating moments when I could not pick up the melody or figure out how the lyrics fit or glean any type of meaningful worship out of whatever it was that the worship leader was so beautifully singing.

In short, I was not a fan of Oceans by Hillsong United.

But that’s sort of typical for me: I start out hating the songs that will become my favorites. (Just ask my family about my Fireflies mania…)

Over the course of that summer and the following months, Oceans grew on me. I started to understand what the lyricist was trying to convey, started to identify in the pulse of a cry for God in the midst of unknown and seemingly terrifying circumstances.

My heart learned to sing along with my mouth.

“You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand”

By the time my senior year was wrapping up, Oceans was the song that my apprehensive heart so clung to that I would, without fail, cry through it every time we sang it in church.  Which was every few weeks.

For someone who hates crying in public, I got very used to sniffling my way through worship services.

And then all of a sudden a summer had flown by and I was beginning freshman year of college and that ocean was not just looming deep, I was floundering in it.

And Oceans became a daily prayer, a desperate plea for my Savior to remember that I still felt like I needed saving, still needed someone to keep my head above water. The chorus was my mantra.

“And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine”

First semester passed in a hazy blur of tears and uncertainty, a success based on grades, a failure in terms of my spirits. I had found a church and become a regular attender, but my heart wasn’t truly tethered, and when I came home for Christmas break I found myself feeling the way about the church I’ve always called home.

Where was God now?

What happened to feeling secure?

Again I fell back on the penned prayer of my by-now treasured lyricist:

“Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now”

I can’t imagine that God managed to escape the whole thing without having to smile at my piteous persistence. For all my health and family and blessings, I sure was convinced that my world was among the more terrifying in existence.

But even if God did allow Himself a smile, He never stopped caring for me in ways that daily blew my narrowly-focused mind.

When lived moment by moment, my days throughout Christmas vacation and the second semester became egg hunts for God’s provisions and love notes: prizes easily found if only I kept my eyes open.

Sunrises and letters from friends and the wonder of rain on my face kept bringing my focus upward, reminding me of who was in control of both oceans and my life.

And, believe it or not, that song kept cropping up, at worship services and on my car radio. And, surprising maybe no one but myself, I found I was a little less desperate and a little more awe-filled as I sang. And also a little more inclined to smile at the thought of this crazy adventure I was on and of all the provisions I was getting to experience along the way.

“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior”

This summer I’ve been home, and my heart has had the opportunity to rejoice in more of the same second semester-type experiences. The biggest difference is that each day now seems to open my eyes a little bit more to the security that I have been afforded in Christ.

The oceans may rage, but my God is so much bigger that me getting upset over it is like the fleas on a dog getting really worried about seeing a puddle that was all choppy from a breeze. Those waves may seem majorly mammoth to the flea, but the dog has got the situation more than under control.

(Also, I don’t think of myself as a flea. It’s more a size thing. Because similes don’t have to be perfect.)

Every day is such a blessing, whether I’m working alongside my family on the house we’re prepping to sell or spending time with the friends I spent two semesters missing like mad or just ambling along through the countryside with my amazing horse.

And sure, there have been tears and frustrations and more than one ‘Why me, God?! What’s up with this super crummy, super unfun situation?!’ screamed silently or not-so-silently at the sky. This is life, remember? And since life doesn’t revolve around me, things don’t always go in a way that’s my favorite.

But every night I end up crawling into bed with a heartfelt ‘Thanks for giving me today and showing me a little bit more of who you are’ on my lips, because it’s kind of hard not to be incredibly grateful when you keep noticing how blessed you are.

One of those blessings this past week was the opportunity to attend Glory Fest 2015 in Santa Clarita, CA with five of my very best friends in the world to hear three super awesome Christian bands in concert. But before the bands played (some very awesome worship music, I might add), a group of very talented worship leaders from across the community led us in a time of worship.

And Oceans was the third or fourth song they played.

I was standing in the middle of a park, literally surrounded by the Church, so very far from the spot of fear and trepidation where I stood a year ago, and singing a song that is so well known by my heart. It was beyond beautiful.

But a funny thing happens when God’s growing you: you start to see things a little differently than before.

“So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine”

Keep my eyes above the waves.

For over a year, that was a plea to keep my head above water. Don’t let me drown, Lord. Don’t let me end up in a place where the water fills my lungs.

I spent so long treading water.

And on Wednesday, I realized that I’m not anymore.

And now, the words mean so much more.

Keep my eyes above the waves, Lord. Don’t let my line of sight keep creeping down to the problems that seem to want to overtake me. Let me so deeply trust in your control of my situation that I don’t even have to try to monitor the mess anymore. Keep my eyes up on your face.

We’re called to step out of the boat, just like Peter in Matthew 14, and the One we serve is more than capable of allowing us to walk on the waves.

For some reason we let ourselves be convinced that somehow we’re going to drown.

But you know what?

That isn’t going to happen.

He’ll help you keep your eyes above the waves. Whatever that means to you today, and whatever that means to you tomorrow.

Because you know what?

He loves you.

– Melissa
Oceans by Hillsong United

the post i actually got typed up (instead of just thinking about it)

Life is never planned.

I mean, perhaps your parents planned to have you, and maybe you even came at the time they were hoping you to.

(I was 10 days late, but born around the time of life that my parents were hoping to have kids. My younger brother was a surprise baby.)

But what I actually am talking about is our absolute inability to dictate how a day is going to transpire.

Sometimes everything goes right.

Sometimes everything goes wrong.

Sometimes life balances precariously in the middle of absolute disaster and absolute ecstasy and there’s nothing but the color of your lens on life to decide which way the scales are going to tip.

Speaking of scales, my youngest sister is learning to play piano and I wish she had a keyboard with headphones.

It’s how you view life that mixes up everything.

Today I got paid way too much to move furniture, far too little (in my opinion) to work a few hours at renovating a house my dad is trying to sell, I took a lovely (though belated and short) nap, and watched bits and fragments of rather uninteresting movies and TV shows on Amazon Prime.

Six months ago, today would have been a bust in my eyes.

Two months ago, I’d probably be curled up in a corner somewhere, trying to remind myself that things are never as bleak as I make them out to be, pep talking myself with the good that I could recognize from today and trying to reason that the good at least balanced out the bad and that today was at least counts as neutral.

Today, however, isn’t six months ago. It isn’t two months ago. It’s today. Here and now in the present.

Today, one of my favorite quotes comes from Owl City: “Every mushroom cloud has a silver lining.” (Which I think maybe I’ve quoted within the confines of this blog before, but it’s still one of my favorites so I’m going to risk redundancy which isn’t really a risk because I have no shame about repeating myself when I’m safely within the confines of my blog.)

Today, I’m fully capable of laughing softly at the misfortunes of today, of grinning joyfully at the unexpected pleasures of today, and of sending nonsense text messages that have very little to do with anything at all sensical.

Sensical is a word. Because nonsensical is a word. Because I say so.

I found a picture last night of a trio of meerkats, dressed and ready for a wedding. There was an officiating clergyman, wearing spectacles and clasping his bible; a bride, clad in a lovely dress and veil and holding a bouquet of roses in her gloved paws; and a groom, spiffy in his tux and bow tie and carrying a rather too large ring in his mouth. It is one of the odder sights that my phone’s screen has presented, but I find the nonsense of the thing perfectly delightful. It made my night last night, and continues to prompt an idiotic grin from me whenever I catch sight of it.

I haven’t really planned for most of what has gone on in my life recently.

Granted, I planned to come home for the summer.

Hallelujah, I’m home for the summer!

And I planned to spend time with my horse.

One forgets the possibility of being so sore after riding until she quits riding for almost a year and then suddenly resumes it with ferocity…

But I hadn’t really anticipated how much adjustment it would take—on the entire family’s part—for long-absent sister to reintegrate herself into the unique (and sometimes volatile) mixture of personalities and emotions within our household. It’s like a daily experiment, and because I never liked science, I never know which chemicals are going to make the other ones explode. Actually, it’s nothing like science. I just felt like saying that. On the bright side, I think all four siblings are on speaking terms with me at the moment. Unless I’ve missed something. Which is entirely possible—life seems at times nothing more than a mad scramble to try not to step on toes.

I also hadn’t really prepared myself for what an analogy of myself my horse provides. Granted, he always has reflected (quite clearly) all the worst parts of me in his stubborn insistence to do things in his own way and his ability to just barely toe the line while still asserting his control over the situation and other lovely tendencies like that, but so long out of the saddle let me forget what a humbling experience trying to work with a horse is. Particularly a horse whose poor training is entirely upon your own head. This summer is going to be a mad scramble to teach an old horse new tricks. Specifically, how to do some very basic maneuvers without grinding his teeth at me.

I have a confession to make:

Humankind is not as idiotic as I usually assert.

It’s only that most of humankind is totally idiotic.

I just keep meeting the exceptions.

I maintain this position because social media and news headlines are both full of records of people doing stupid, stupid, stupid things. Occasionally even my friends decide to dabble in mainstream idiocy and do stupid things. Me included.

But that’s an exception.

Just like the non-idiots are the exceptions.

Hear me: I’m not definitely calling you an idiot. Just vaguely alluding to it in a way that hopefully won’t offend you but will instead demonstrate my general disgust with the majority of society.

We should all keep ducklings to snuggle with.

Ducklings make everything better.

Except for soup.

Never put ducklings in soup.

That’s just cruel and unusual.

Life doesn’t go exactly as we intend it to. But whether the glass is half full, half empty, or full of idiots, God is good and, if you’re looking, you’re sure to glimpse that.


Watch this if you need a smile. Also, I can sing ALL of it, including the onomatopoeia and the too-fast-for-belief monologue.

12:00 AM

It’s funny how things evolve.

Now, don’t hear me buying into the idea of Evolution of present day life from an amoeba.

I’m talking about how things like emotional responses change over time.

Because I’m still crazy homesick. But ‘crazy homesick’ is manifesting itself differently this semester than it did last semester.

Last semester, the longest I ever went without breaking down in tears stemming from my vast desire to no longer be here but instead be there was about a week.

I’m less weepy this semester.

Last semester, it felt like every waking hour was filled with thoughts completely centered on home, and whenever I did end up distracted, I noticed.

I’m less single-minded this semester.

Homesickness is more of a persistent ache this semester. It’s fixating on what I hear about life at home and on the pictures I surround myself with. It’s relating every bit of life back to something about my family. In other words, it’s more subtle to me but probably still glaringly obvious to everyone around me. Maybe even more obvious than last semester. I don’t know for certain.

The play closes tomorrow.

And, on one hand, I’m super relieved. I’ve been so exhausted the past week that I’m only certain the week happened at all because a) it’s a different weekend than it was last weekend and b) homework’s turned in that I had to have turned in during the week of February 9-13. The hustle and bustle and socialness of a show has me drained even when I’m getting enough sleep.

But, on the other hand, I’m super dreading the cessation of this show’s run. Because I know me fairly decently by now, and I consistently come down with a bad case of post-show-blues upon the close of any and every show. Even shows I hate. Even show’s I just worked backstage for and spent two weeks bored out of my mind during.

Anticipating how awful something is going to be usually makes it worse, psychosomatically and all that, so I’ve been trying very hard to talk myself out of this sense of impending gloom. Yet history speaks pretty loudly and clearly.

I’ve even taken actions to prepare myself to get over the hump I presume (know) is coming: I’ve started prep work to begin the legwork for putting on a show at home this semester (stay tuned for details as they arise) as well as stocking my plate with various other projects to engage in.

The truth: I’d rather just shut my emotions down and go into hiding for awhile.

Turtles have it good: they take their shells with them everywhere.

And armadillos (which I personally like to call darmarillos just for the heck of it) have armored plates on their backs and the curl up and look ridiculous and are fairly well protected.

And porcupines have awesome terrifying quills bristling everywhere.

(Have I ever mentioned that I have a slight phobia of porcupines? Oh, and also of fire. If you don’t believe me, ask the two idiots who, with a lighter, had me cringing halfway across the stage before the curtain came up for Act 2 tonight…)

And then there’s me: I can be as prickly or turtley or tough as I want, and I still have to deal with people and life.


This is normally where I’d get spiritual. Talk about how what I’ve been learning in my quiet time or in Bible class relates to all this. But it’s midnight and so I’ll condense it to just saying that I’m really really trying to remember to do life not on my own strength. To forgo comfort and safety and do whatever it takes to bring glory to God. I’ll also say that it’s not that I feel that I’m entirely failing. It’s just that the Christian walk isn’t easy. It goes against everything in us. For me, it means dealing with people. And boy oh boy am I over dealing with people.


It’s late.

I’m going to sleep so that I can be alive, alert, awake, enthusiastic for church and Hay Fever and set strike tomorrow.

Blessings on all your heads. And maybe water balloons, too.

If any of you have a random water balloon materialize over your head and fall down and land on you with a splat and drench you in icy cold water just as you’re reading this, a) you’re welcome and b) please tell me so that I can laugh in delight at your misfortune while also marveling at the awesome weirdness of God.


– Melissa
Check this out.

Lights and Glamour and Humility

Night and exhaustion combined turn me into a sort of half-crazed lunatic who says whatever comes to her mind in whatever order it may come. I think I’ve demonstrated that by now.

But there have been several things bouncing about in my mind that I’ve wanted to share, and so tonight I’m going to strive to accomplish just that.

Which may be difficult based on the way I keep spelling things.



Since the last time I dropped in to say that life was going well, life has continued to…well…go well.

Thursday, in particular, was one of those days that show me why people can preach a ‘health, wealth, and prosperity’ gospel, because it was so fabulous and it was super easy to connect the dots and think, ‘I’ve been doing my devotions and praying and talking to people about my faith and so now I’m being rewarded and why didn’t I start checking all the little boxes of ought-tos earlier so life would quit being so dadgum difficult?’

Except God’s blessings aren’t dependent on our level of surface-level perfection.

And God’s blessings are every bit as present on the days when I don’t get out of class early, find out that I did indeed manage to test out of a class, learn about a concert that my dad buys me and my friends tickets to, get a call from my mom saying that she gets to fly out to see me in the play Hay Fever (which everyone should come see…) and enjoy three full, nearly-healthy meals.

But yeah, that was my glorious Thursday that my suite mate and roommate and I spent quite a while squealing over.

And then Friday was, by all accounts, a fair day.

And then Saturday I had to get my hair cut…which is stated in a rather displeased mumble and accompanied by a face that communicates that this is not a matter that I am exceptionally pleased about and no, I would not like to discuss it further. I miss my hair but am grateful for the opportunity to be in a show even if it requires sacrificing my hair. I keep telling myself that.

BUT Saturday night my roommate, suite mate, and I all got to go see the concert that we found out about on Thursday.

A while ago I gave y’all my rather unimpressed/confused thoughts about seeing the Newsboys in concert.

Tonight I want to (briefly, because I fear I’m getting loopy) share with you my thoughts about seeing Tenth Avenue North in concert.

First off, I adore Tenth Avenue North, and have since my dad introduced the band to me long before they were immensely popular.

Of course, Dad couldn’t remember the numerical value of their name at first, or even which direction they claimed, so for a time I thought the band was Ninth Avenue West. But life goes on and muddles get sorted out, and the sound of Dad singing along to their Over and Underneath album while we detailed the van beside our rental house in Carthage, North Carolina sticks with me.

Also, I’m pretty sure that there’s no other band whose songs I have cried to as often.

And I’m not talking about those hideous ballads, like where the kid’s dying and his family pulls together so that he can celebrate one last Christmas in September before he dies. I detest songs like those. Because I know that life is depressing. I see it all around me and it breaks my heart on a daily basis. But can’t we fill the airwaves with songs about how great God is in that tragedy instead of singing about how tragical the tragedy is?

Sorry if I just insulted your genre. Maybe I shouldn’t post offensive things on the internet. But…yeah, moving on.

The type of crying I’m talking about is in those moments where I’m feeling lost or alone or broken, and I turn on my ‘shuffle all’ playlist and all of a sudden I hear someone singing right to where I am, whispering the words of God over me or murmuring the silent plea of my heart.

Like, seriously, when you find yourself in a place of spiritual desperation, listen through an album or two of these guys’ and you’ll almost without fail find a song that’ll let you breathe, ‘That, that is what I’m feeling.’

So that’s the basis of my thoughts on Tenth Avenue North. I already love them as singers, song writers, and musicians.

But I like Newsboys as singers, song writers and musicians, too.

Tenth Avenue North (gah, I love the band but I’m getting really sick of a three word long band name to type out all the time with no logical abbreviation that doesn’t strike me as totally tacky…TAN…?…10AN…?…yeah…no) last night won me over as performers.



Unpacking that idea:

The first song played, as the lights came up and the audience shouted for joy, was their latest hit from their latest album. Everybody knew it. Everybody sang. It was great.

(Side note: I get a tremendous emotional rush from being surrounded by like-minded believers joining their voices in worship. Church sometimes makes me tear up for this reason, and there’s always at least one moment like this at a Christian concert. Just the beauty of being together, of being free to worship, of being the collective Bride of Christ—loved more than we could ever begin to imagine…mmm…it’s just so beautiful.)

From there the band jumped around from album to album, playing new hits and old favorites, and constantly constantly engaging the crowd in family.

At one point, we were all instructed to put our arms over the shoulders of the people beside us. Because we were family. We are family.

It made me insanely happy to watch each of the rows of people in front of us in the theater (there had to be about ten) start to sway to the music. As a group. A body. (Like I said, emotional rush.)

We danced together—except for the people who didn’t believe in dancing and just did ‘choreographed movement.’

Mike (the lead singer) talked about the symbolism of raising our hands in worship: that it’s not a holier-than-thou position at all, but it’s a reaching up and echoing the words of his daughter when she cries out, ‘Daddy, hold you!’ I love that picture. And I loved being surrounded by hands lifted in surrender and desperation and adoration.

I guess what I’m trying to impress upon you was that it was a night of family.

Not family and a band.


Broken individuals united by our desperate need for a savior.

I paid to go to a concert.

Instead I got to be part of a worship service/party.

With impressive lighting effects and a bunch of normal guys who happen to be well-known for their worship lyrics.

And that normality? It just made them all the more impressive.

I still ache to have a platform, to get to make a difference like that.

And Tenth Avenue North is an amazing reminder to me that what I’ve visualized is actually possible.

God can be given all the glory through flashing lights and microphones and platforms.

So anyway, it’s pretty late now and I’m not in bed the way I told myself by the time I told myself I was going to be. I’m still pretty giddy from last night (obviously, I think) and all I can really leave you with is an invitation to check out the music of Tenth Avenue North if you never have, and a reminder just how great it is if you are familiar with it but haven’t played it in a while.

And remember…

We’re not meant to live this life alone.

– Melissa
No Man Is An Island by Tenth Avenue North

Hungry Hungry Miles

Perhaps one of the crueler inventions of an already callous world was the idea of making someone drive 1453.4 miles to a destination she didn’t want to ever attain. Perhaps I’m making a mountain of a mole hill. But either way, I am officially exhausted from three days of traveling.

I never wanted to learn to drive.

Now I never want to drive again.

(I’ve actually loaned my car out for tomorrow afternoon, which is neither here nor there.)

Semester numero 2 commences tomorrow.

Not excited.

The thing about 1453.4 miles is that it gives you a lot of time. Even with talking to your little sister and with making her life difficult and having your life made difficult by her and with the occasional scattered phone conversation and with music and music and music and with trying not to hit or get hit by anyone on the highway, there is plenty of time. Time for thinking and mulling things over.

I mull things over a lot anyway. That’s actually part of the reason that I have a blog. That, and I love having an audience. Even if it’s only, like, two of you and my parents. Simply the idea of having the opportunity to speak to the world is enough to satisfy me.

But to get back on track: mulling things over.

I wrote, like five or six good blog posts over the last three days.

In my head, of course.

If texting and driving simultaneously is illegal, I can’t imagine what typing out a blog post on a laptop while driving is.

No, I can imagine what it is.

It’s insanity.

Which I did not partake of.

And now all those wonderful, well-thought-out thoughts…they’ve vanished. Lost in the oblivion of physical weariness and emotional weariness and a battle against an already aching homesickness that I refuse to give the reigns of my semester to.

Now all that I can manage is a muddled attempt to shatter the walls around my thoughts and a garbled attempt to tell the people who care about me that yes, I’m alive, and yes, I did make it back to this place after all, and no, I’m not going to drop out of school this semester, and yes, I do need your prayers. Desperately.

I miss my awesomely weird friends. I miss my wacko sisters and my zany brother. I miss hugging my mom and butting heads with my dad and making fun of my idiot horse to his face and getting nuzzled anyway.

Everyone has told me that the first semester is the hardest. Which would, in theory, mean that these next four months will be easier than last go round. But I’m afraid to hope and then get my hopes dashed.

But at the same time, life without hope is like a blank canvas.

No, it’s worse than that:

Life without hope is like a wooden frame rudely stripped of its canvas covering and hung in the art gallery all the same.

The next week is going to be full of reacclimating and adjusting to a plate full of new classes and rehearsals every night.

But Christmas break was a beautiful mess, and I’ll try to scrape up some time to rehash some bits of it.

Maybe some of those lost thoughts from all those miles will come back if I ask very nicely.

Most immediate, though, is my need to call it a night and let these tear-watered eyes get some sleep. Tomorrow’s a new day, full of possibilities and classes and people whose scars run just as deep as mine.

Have you ever pondered that: that each of those million-or-so cars that zoom past you on the highway is full of a person who’s thinking about something and who loves someone and who’s going somewhere? It blows my mind. Every time.

The world’s so big that it scares me. But it also makes my problems pale in comparison.

Yet he sees each tear I cry and hears me when I call.


On that (rather unexpected by my-weary-self) note, I shall bid each of thee a good night and a beautiful and blessed tomorrow.

Make a difference. Or at least don’t be afraid to try.

– Melissa
He Knows My Name*

*When I was in fourth grade, our little children’s choir sang this song. This version isn’t as good as ours, of course, but it’s still a beautiful song. Also, the YouTube video linked is titled differently, but don’t be confused—it’s the same song. Just mistitled.

giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving! Okay, so it’s several days late. Be thankful for your blessings every day and all that jazz.

The reason for my belated posting is that…well…it was Thanksgiving. And I was busy hanging out with my beloved family of weirdos. You think I’m exaggerating? We had a Turkey Bowl in the snow and the eight year old was expected to tackle my mother. (Yeah, that rule did get changed. But still.)

I feel like I used to be a lot better at mental multi-tasking. Maybe I was just better at mentally checking out. Either way, I’m finding that time spent with my family becomes time that I’m not thinking in blog posts or texting friends until all hours of the night. I guess it comes down to the ‘you never know what you’ve got until it’s gone.’ To anyone still in high school: don’t take your family for granted; before you know it you’ll be living a six hour flight away and get to see them once a month if you’re lucky.

Instead of Thanksgiving being a homey affair, we (my aunt, family, and I) congregated in the little town of Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Pagosa Springs is a tourist trap, desirable for the “healing” properties of the natural hot springs for which the town is named.

Fun facts: the hot springs in Pagosa Springs stink and the closest Walmart is an hour away until they open the one they’re currently building in town.

No family is perfect, mine included, and we did our share of wanting to kill each other, but we also had a boatload of fun. We drove half an hour to Wolf Creek Pass to play in the snow on Thanksgiving Day, which is where the Turkey Bowl took place and where we got the family picture that is going to be vying for a spot on our Christmas cards this year. We drove two and a half hours (plus the detour to Walmart in Durango) to Four Corners, and we all got to straddle the four states that meet there: Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona.

I’m not sure if I’ve been in Utah other than that experience…hmm….

Anyway, Four Corners was fun, but if you’re planning to go I’d suggest you wait a few months and then hope and pray that they’ve finished construction on the bathrooms they’re working on because…whew…that portion of the experience was an assault on the olfactory sense.

My sisters, Mum and I got to go window shopping around town yesterday, which was fun for all. Well, the youngest sister had slightly less fun, because she really prefers the concept of shopping to the concept of window shopping. But she found an, um, unique card she’s planning on giving my parents for their anniversary next month, and that pacified the buy-something bug in her to some extent.

Basically, it was just fun to scamper about gigglingly with my favorite girls again. I’ve missed mocking clothes and offering to buy each other atrocious knick-knacks together.

And then we scampered off to see Mockingjay Part 1—Grace read the first of the series early last week, we watched the second movie on Thursday, and she had no idea what to expect going into the movie, so it was hilarious to watch her freak out over the plot. I’m not going to offer a review for all of you, but let me just say that even the very limited use of ASL onscreen (I think they used a grand total of five signs) absolutely made up for any variations the screenwriters may have made from the book’s plot.

All things said and done, good and bad, it really did balance out to be a wonderful extended-weekend.

But now (as in when I wrote this; now it’s this today’s tomorrow) I’m on the road back to the dorms. (My aunt’s driving, people. Stop assuming that I’m stupid enough to try driving and blogging at the same time! Yeesh!)

Not my favorite situation.

However…it’s just twelve days until I see family again, and only a few days after that until I’m back home with the rest of the gang and my friends and my horse. Twelve days of Christmas.

I suppose I don’t have overmuch to say tonight. I’m definitely not feeling overly philosophical, nor even overly emotional. I just know it’s been awhile since I updated the blog, and so wanted to check in with y’all and remind you of the value of those oftentimes insane people you call brother or sister or mom or dad or aunt or some nickname that has such a complicated back story that you don’t even try to explain it to strangers.

I’m sure I’ll be back with updates sooner than later, especially as the chaos of finals ebbs and flows and I procrastinate by finding “equally important” things to do. I’m really good at that.

Until then, though, enjoy the Advent season (there really is no other good phase for the awkward little bit of time after Thanksgiving but before Christmas is truly just around the corner…) and enjoy your family and enjoy life.

Oh, and also learn American Sign Language, because it is a beautiful language. (That’s got little to do with anything, but I just happened to think of it and I tend to type whatever I think. You’re welcome. And I do mean it about learning ASL.)

– Melissa
(insert every Christmas song ever imagined here)