The World Didn’t Come to an End


damn-charliefhfhfA “do over” wouldn’t be a do over without change. For those of you who have followed me on this journey of my Mid-Life Do Over, you’ve seen everything from broken-heartedness, revelation, frustration, excitement, as well as a marriage (and pregnancy!) come about in my public do over. There can be happy as well as sad times. It can be challenging and sometimes downright terrifying. The trick through all of it is finding peace whether that be from God, family, or even a new hobby – though I encourage seeking peace through God.

My changes and transitions have been anything but smooth. I’m a clumsy person by nature so therefore I don’t handle change gracefully. It usually consists of me kicking and screaming, or has been known to keep me in bed with the lights down low, shedding a river of tears for quite a length of time. I’m a Melancholy. Change, whether it is voluntary or involuntary, bad or good, is never accepted well on my end. That is one of my many weaknesses and I am okay with that. At least I am aware of my responses and behaviors. This allows me an opportunity to turn my weaknesses into strengths which in the case of my temperament, means I have to find that particular strength in Christ.

Picture-5For most of my life I have referred to myself as the proverbial “Charlie Brown”. I say this not to feel sorry for myself or to gain sympathy from others. It’s merely to point out to readers that when I’m regularly not met with poor luck, I am usually met instead with some crazy obstacle. That’s okay. In the past few years I’ve come to the understanding that this is either a season of strengthening and learning, or God’s way of saying, “Yo, chick! Listen up! You’re going the wrong way!” And of course, I naturally respond to Him with self-pity followed by reluctant acceptance or – if I want to be real honest with you (and I think that’s best in most cases) – blatant rebellion accompanied with the middle finger. What can I say? I’m human. I’m stubborn. I will speak as though the world is out to get me or the sky is falling only to to find in the end that I have grown, become better, and that He still does all things for my good – even if I gave Him that finger gesture. That’s life. It continually moves on with or without our consent and it’s how we respond that ignites growth and maturity (human AND spiritual). This is when I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes of all time which can be found being delivered near the end of “A Boy Named Charlie Brown” by Linus Van Pelt.
Thank God, I married my Linus Van Pelt.

“I suppose you feel you let everyone down, and you made a fool of yourself and everything. But did you notice something, Charlie Brown? The world didn’t come to an end.”

Charlie Brown kite 2

Married life with Matt has been wonderful – from what we’ve experienced so far. We had a fun wedding. A short reception. A honeymoon. And then reality hit us square in the nose. After we allowed our eyes to water a bit and realized that our “noses” were not broken we were reminded that long before the exchanging of vows and even the popping of the question we spoke of how, if we were to marry someday, that we’d dedicate our lives and our family to do God’s work. I meant it at the time. I mean it now. However, I know that unless God reminds me in a way that only I will take heed to, I won’t follow through. Call it a lack of motivation or a diversion of life. It happens.

Last Christmas, without a promise of marriage, I knew that I wanted to be closer to Matt. The decision was made and I began to follow through. I was moving to Murfreesboro. Since January, I have been beyond diligent in sending out resumes and spending hours upon hours filling out applications online for a job in the Murfreesboro/Nashville area. I knew competition for job openings would be stiff and that it possibly wouldn’t be until May when I’d finally get a breakthrough. PERFECT! The boys would be out of school and by then I would have graduated with my degree in Counseling! God was going to provide that perfect job for me on His timing (aka, MY timing).  I had a few phone and person to person interviews but nothing fully materialized before May. But I knew I was on the right path because on March 31st, the man I loved and wanted to share my life with asked me to be his wife. That had to be a sign, right? May came, I graduated, the boys got out of school with nothing but honor roll year ’round. Things really started looking up… and then I was t-boned with the revelation that I was pregnant. Rolling with the punches, we made our apologies and moved on to utter excitement. I could actually get pregnant still! Not exactly the order in which God calls for, but nonetheless, He was blessing our soon-to-be union with a baby! Our plans continued forward. We were going to even buy a house. I mean, why pay near $900 a month for an apartment that our family could fit into when we could pay $700 a month to own a home of our own of the same size plus a yard?

Anxiety Charlie BrownBy the end of June, our plans began to fall through the cracks no matter how hard we tried to salvage them. I was ordered on bed rest due to a “vanishing twin” and other issues. (By the way, bed rest sucks.) I no longer had the option to work and be a financial team player with Matt. Well, I did have the option but at the risk of losing my surviving baby which is not an option in my book. We were able to re-prioritize our budget and move forward on the house that we had chosen. Granted, things were going to be tight on one income, but it was doable. Sacrifices: no more Starbucks, no more Bare Minerals, excessive driving was to be cut back, no more movies, no more going out to eat (I was going to have to learn how to cook).

July. The month of our wedding. The last month before God re-established himself as a clear focus in our lives. The financial stress of my lack of employment fell upon my parents unfortunately. I hated that. The inexpensive wedding that Matt and I were paying for became my parents burden instead (though they’ll swear it wasn’t a burden). This was my second wedding and call me “old school”, but I didn’t feel like this one was their responsibility. They paid for the first one. But they provided the most fun and amazing wedding anyway and for that I am beyond thankful! And let’s be honest, they did this not just because they love me, but mainly because they love Matt – probably more. *wink* I was served court papers that prevented me from moving my boys to Murfreesboro. This in no way is bashing their father. He’s actually an awesome dad. Since the divorce we have shared custody because he lives close by. I get the boys one week, he gets them the other. The boys love it like this. In my move to Murfreesboro, their father would no longer get them every other week and I wasn’t willing to relinquish every weekend to him due to our religious differences. So, he did what any  loving parent would do – he fought for his children. I hold absolutely NO grudges against him for this. But this was just another obstacle that I would have to hurdle, an obstacle I could very well lose.

Charlie Brown. I told you.

We had a wonderful wedding. I officially became Melissa Ellis-Clyde on July 20th on a hot, sweaty Saturday evening in the dead of summer. Maybe I was so sweaty because I was pregnant? Go figure.

Football FumbleDuring our honeymoon we were faced with an obstacle of not closing on the house in time. Matt was due out of his apartment at the end of the month. That gave us three days after we returned from the honeymoon to move him out, into a storage unit, and clean. Stressful doesn’t even cover it. We agreed that I would remain in Crossville while Matt continued working in Murfreesboro. Matt would commute to see me when he could until we would finally be able to close on the house. So, our married life wasn’t different at all from our dating relationship. Not exactly a picture-perfect start to a marriage, but we agreed to refer to our marriage as an “adventure”, allowing obstacles and risks without any prior expectations.

If you look back, starting at my “Last Christmas” paragraph, you’ll see where we never once seeked God for His will in our lives. We made a plan and ran with it – not that there’s anything wrong with that, but sometimes He requires us to look beyond ourselves and our own selfish goals and to look to Him and what He has in store for us. In the long run, He always proves that His way is better anyway. On August 1st, God made himself very clear after months of giving us clues. Without any details to be given (because quite honestly, it’s really nobody’s business but our own), we were shown that Matt’s time in Murfreesboro was done and mine was never to come. This decision didn’t come lightly and quite frankly, we’re kicking and screaming. But we’re submitting.

It was devastating at first, but as we spent more time reflecting on not only all the signs/obstacles we kept facing but also how we felt led at times, how our heart strings were tugged in certain directions in the last year, we found peace. I never have peace, so that’s proof enough that this is God. All the obstacles we faced in the past few months, those were all God’s whispers. It took a scream in the face for us to listen. So in the last two weeks we have abandoned all plans of our own and are listening for His voice in our next destination. In this we ask that our friends, family, and readers to pray for us and with us that breakthrough in this somewhat scary transition is just on the horizon. It hasn’t not been easy on me, Matt, or the boys.

pitcher Charlie BrownFor the time being, our home is in Crossville. The one town I have tried moving mountains to get out of – on and off – since the age of 12. (Why do I keep ending up back here?) Maybe we were meant to be here all along? Maybe God will bring us right back to Murfreesboro and is just giving us a season to seek Him for a deeper intimacy? Matt is looking for employment, not just in Crossville, but between the Knoxville-Nashville stretch of interstate to keep a wide variety of options open. The boys are, however, thrilled that they have been able to return to their previous school with their friends that they have established in the last three years. That makes any mom’s heart swell.

And we are in search of our new church “home” where we can step into the ministries we were called to. Matt and I were never meant to be “bench-warmers”. None of us are. It’s exciting to know that God is working through us, bringing us to place of destiny. Our hope is to continue healthy and loving relations with our prior “home church”. With that being said, we ask that others refrain from accusations, assumptions, and gossip during this transition. We are leaving our church family with love, grace, and yet a broken heart.

The peace that has now infiltrated this transition has led us already to some amazing rebirths and simplicities. Matt and I are getting a crash course on marriage obstacles and so far, we’re just thankful to be going through this with each other, with God in the center. Where I thought I would have to pull out of my plans for a Master’s Degree recently, I have been given a greater revelation that I am to move forward in my education of Christian Counseling. It may take slower than I desire, but it will be accomplished. I have felt for a long time that I was called into this ministry, focusing on relationships whether it be family, marriage, or even within a church. This education will solidify and intensify the wisdom I hope to provide for others. Bringing me to this…

In September, I plan to unveil my new blog, “Grace and Glass Houses”. It’s my hope to utilize this blogsite to inspire, motivate, and educate the Christian community (and beyond) in our relationships with one another. I hope to have many guest-bloggers and plan to do a lot of hard work in each blog – i.e. research, study, and heartfelt prayer. That blog will be less personal than this one, but still with insight to my own personal revelations – my own glass house. The whole point of the blog is to embrace and love others. To throw grace instead of stones.

In closing, I’d like to  reaffirm that though I worked hard, putting things in play and struggling to keep them together, and feeling as though I let everyone down when the bottom dropped out, and made a fool of myself and everything – did you notice something? The world didn’t come to an end.

On the contrary. All is right with the world.HappinessIsAWarmBlanket_Stills_520-2

Fearful Daydreaming


Missing. Last seen in a creek on a makeshift raft with Barbie and Ken. Jem and her holograms are suspects.

For most of my life I’ve either been a late-bloomer or just an true-blue oddball. For instance, in junior high while other girls were on the phone talking about boys, bras, and makeup, I was trying to get off the phone with them so I could return to playing with my Barbies. (Michael Jackson had recently taken a dive off the raft that he, Ken, Jem, & other random Barbie dolls all had built to leave the deserted island they were stranded on. In reality, he [Michael Jackson doll] fell into the creek that ran along-side our house, never to be seen again… but that’s another blog for another time…and probably another age group altogether.)

In early high school, while girls were already dating and going to at least third base, I was panicking that I would never get my period. (No fear, I got my first “monthly bill” at the end of my freshman year. I’m completely normal.) Late high school and early college, it was the beloved Bridal magazine–usually accompanied by the age-appropriate Prom magazine. Girls would flip through the pages daydreaming and envisioning themselves in their favorite gowns and planning their ceremony as well as their reception. Nope. Not this girl. I was mapping out my future as a Broadway star, deciding which classes in college and auditions to attend that would shoot me straight to The Great White Way.

I never made it that far on stage. But this isn’t about my supposed “shattered dreams”. Those dreams don’t  feel even remotely “shattered” to me at this point of time in my life. This is about why I always felt behind and where I’m finally at now, now that some things have already been said and done. In high school, I did not daydream about my future wedding. I did not ever imagine what my marriage would be like, let alone my gown. The same stands for college. I didn’t even want to get married. Having kids were O-U-T, out.

But it all happened anyway, didn’t it? Maybe I should have daydreamed about it, even if only once in a while. Maybe then I would have held myself to a higher standard. Better yet, maybe I should have prayed on it–just once–before I said “I do”. I never once concerned myself with God’s favor in the marriage. I was never officially proposed to (and no, it was not a shotgun wedding). I didn’t really get to choose where I wanted to be married. I had to invite a ton of bridesmaides to match the groomsmen count. I never had musicians play at my wedding (and that’s a HUGE no-no for me seeing as how I am a musician. In my opinion, the whole wedding should be set to a soundtrack as opposed to a soundtrack set to my wedding.) And don’t even get me started on the reception–it was a complete disaster…

(Maybe I should actually spend a whole blog spilling the ruined details of my wedding sometime?)

None of it just wasn’t what I imagined… but then again, I didn’t imagine much before then. So, here I am. Divorced. But not because I had a crappy wedding. Not at all. It was because I wasn’t ready. My heart wasn’t in it from the get go. I didn’t press in to God for the answers.

Some areas of society today, such as the small town I grew up in, promote the unspoken suggestion and pressure to be married in your 20’s. Start young because life is short. You can finish college when you’re married. You’ll get your career when you’re married. You aren’t sure of who you are yet? Don’t worry, you’ll figure it out someday together when you’re married.

I. Was. Not. Ready.

I felt like I was standing 14,000 feet over the Earth, strapped to a tandem skydiving instructor, hanging onto the sides of an aircraft for dear life until the instructor forced us to a plummet… wait a minute, that actually did happen. 80-year-old, Laverne Everett was in that same position in an actual skydiving incident and her results were much like my marriage.

But several months back, I came to my first self-glimpse of what marriage was supposed to be like. Better late than never, right?  (See “And the Two Shall Become One”.) To be honest with you, the idea of getting married again still sets in fear with me. I’m afraid that I’ll choose the wrong person, or after we exchange vows he’ll realize that I was the wrong person for him. I worry that I’ll make the same mistakes I made before or allow the same mistakes to be done against me. I want to believe that I’ve lived and learned, but I haven’t fully been able to shake the fear. My guilt of a failed marriage has converted to an absolute fear.

“Love at Last Sight” – Kerry & Chris Shook

Prayer has been a constant weapon against this struggle and most recently I have been in a women’s bible study about becoming the Proverbs 31 woman, which has opened my eyes to the kind of Godly woman I’m striving to be. The kind of woman a Godly man will find worthy of being his wife.  Along with these two, I’ve also been reading–for the second time around–“Love at Last Sight” on my Kindle.

And out of nowhere, the change has begun.

A month ago, I decided to waste about 2 hours of my night clicking through the internet’s latest craze, Pinterest. I was drawn to photos of cake decorations. Originally, I was checking out the silly zombie cakes–I know, I’m sick and twisted. But 30 minutes into that obsession I found myself marveling at the wedding cakes. Beautiful and creative wedding cakes. Quite honestly, I didn’t think much about it that night. But when I allowed this insanity to occur the second and third night, I started to panic that I was no longer panicking.

Then I crossed the line. I crossed it big time. Don’t blame me, blame my friend Heather who felt that updating her Facebook profile picture to herself in a wedding gown instead of her current pregnant state was a good idea. I studied her dress for quite a while, appreciating the fact that this being a second wedding, she steered clear of the traditional white and chose more of a candlelight color for her gown. And I asked myself… would I avoid white for the obvious reasons? Would I be bolder and actually add some vibrant color in the dress?

One hour and 45 “saved” gowns on my hard drive later, I realized… Maybe I’m not so scared anymore? I mean afterall, I’ve been taking this becoming Proverbs 31 Woman seriously.

Now before there are any assumptions made by those who know me and the person I am currently involved with, we are nowhere close to tying the knot. The idea still freaks us both out. So I repeat, we are not getting married anytime soon. Getting engaged hasn’t crossed our minds as an immediate plan either. I’m just happy to be with him right now and am taking this journey one day at a time… Love is patient, remember?

But I’m finally at that place where my friends were at 15 years ago! Can you believe it? No, I haven’t broke down and purchased a bridal magazine yet, but that’s because I have that sort of information at my fingertips now, thanks to Google. I have just recently entered the realm of do I have a ceremony outside or indoors? And even considered an elopement in Ireland!… or honeymoon. There are so many possibilities!

This all may sound crazy to most and scary to a few, but keep in mind that this is how older girls play “dress up”. I’m in prep-mode which is perfectly normal and healthy. And for once, I’m excited about it. Told you I was a late-bloomer.

Just not excited enough to actually followthroughwith it… not yet anyway. I still need a few tweaks in my life, behaviors, and fears. For starters, I want to finish school this time. I want to have at least the beginning of a career that I believe in. I want my two boys to be ready and prepared for the change in our lives when I get married. I want to lose a few pounds so I can look super-hott in a wedding gown. Not to mention gaining a healthier body to possibly have another baby (yes, that is a daydream too now! Wow!).

I want the fear of marriage and the possibility of messing up gone, because I’m going to mess up and more than just once. But now I understand that a sincere “I’m sorry” goes a long way. That I need to be intentional in my dedication to our marriage. That my marriage will be more than two lovers, but as best friends. A relationship. That I am to love my partner as Jesus loves His bride… that I will never turn my back on that union despite the flaws and shortcomings. God is working on me, creating me for someone. In a few months to a few years, depending on His timing (because that’s what I’m banking on this time around–Him), I’m going to be the perfect match for someone, ready to commit my whole being to him–to us–and jump into a whole new adventure together.

“Love at Last Sight”, Kerry & Chris Shook

Until then, I’m going to continue my own individual journey in becoming who God has always intended for me to be–becoming far more precious than rubies. Striving to be a terrific mom to my boys. Studying hard in school. Allowing Jesus’ light to shine through me daily to others that feel as though they are walking in darkness. I’m going to be an amazing girlfriend, support and best friend to that special guy in my life.

And I’m going to continue daydreaming about my perfect wedding, chisling away the fear little by little, laughing at the future.

God wants me happy and I now know that this dream would actually make me happy.

Happily Ever After… defined as one fun, BIG adventure with a lot of hard work.

The Skinny…


For most of my 30-some-odd years I have been thin. It came naturally to me. As a young girl in grade school my mom would often take me to the doctor for a health checkup because I was so skinny. His questions to her were always the same:

“Does she eat well?”

“Yes. Quite a bit actually.”

“Is she active?”

“Very.”

“She’s fine.”

Whereas heavier girls were self-conscious about their weight, I was self-conscious about mine. I wore sweatshirts in the summer throughout grade school, junior high and high school just to cover my skinny arms. Slouch socks, luckily in style at the time, hid my extremely tiny ankles. I drank protein shakes in high school to gain weight and was actually a whoppin’ 92 lbs for prom because of them–not that I filled my dress out anyway. Thanks to my small weight, I only qualified for a trainer bra until college, and then only wore an AA (yes, they actually exist. They are smaller than an A). I wore little girls’ clothes because they fit better than the smallest offered juniors’ size. I couldn’t even donate blood.

So, ladies, the grass is in fact NOT greener on the other side.

By college, I put on my freshmen fifteen and actually became an appealing lady to look at (in my own opinion). I was healthier looking because of the weight I had put on. It wasn’t because I tried. My metabolism simply slowed a bit. I had no idea how to diet nor exercise, really. I ate what I wanted and was as lazy as I wanted to be. Still I was small.

My depression changed that for me a little. I would get heftier in the winter months because I was so melancholy and chose to literally feed my depression spells. Of course, the weight would practically melt off me by the time bathing suit season came around–without me even lifting a finger.

And naturally, after having a few pregnancies under my belt, my weight has fluctuated in my 30’s.

So, here’s the skinny…

I’m not. Not anymore. I haven’t been for quite some time. Try two years. Does this line up with my divorce woes? Yes and no. When the actual divorce started going down, I chose to feed my depression, disappointment–and whatever else we may call it–with food.  But my divorce has been final for a year and a half, so now that it’s all been said and done… why am I still overweight?

I could give about fifty lame excuses, starting with the fact that I’m practically clueless as to how to get into shape. Realistically, however, we can’t deny the fact that information on weight loss and health is constantly at our fingertips. Just Google it. Not to mention the fact that we’ve been taught since kindergarten that eating right and exercise is the key to a healthy lifestyle and a healthy body. Granted, I’ve had a few pregnancies under my belt that have abused, exhausted, and stretched my body–and to be honest, I’d love to run that course one or two more times before I hit 45–but many women have been able to trim themselves down afterward. Maybe not immediately afterward and they may not ever recover their pre-pregnancy body again, but they still look fabulous.

So again, I ask… why am I still overweight?

It all boils down to willpower and how badly I want to be cute again. Sure, some of you may be venting a few evil whispers under your breath at me as you read this. She’s so vain! How superficial can this woman possibly be?! What about what’s inside? Not the outside!

I reiterate. I want to be cute again.

I sincerely can’t stand to look at myself any longer… and I practically want to cry when I see old photos of myself as a thinner woman.

I’m not ashamed of my insistence that I was cuter when I was thinner. It’s the truth how I see it and that’s all that matters really–isn’t that what all the “inner-beauty” blogs are saying? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking the message of loving yourself for who you are and disposing the titles of hatred like “fat” or “chubby”. Those are great messages and I believe my blog has touched on self love several times. Truth be told, I feel that the message of wanting to be thin is painted as a shallow goal. Heck, I can’t begin to tell you all how many times on our beloved Facebook that I’ve seen a quote supposedly made by Adele saying: “…my aim in life is to never be skinny.”

Adele’s got it all wrong, folks.

What kind of crap message is that? Her perspective on this issue is quite distorted if you ask me. Not only is the singer holding a cigarette–and I’m a  trained, professional vocalist… it’s UNHEALTHY–but she’s toting this “better than the skinny” attitude. In case she’s forgotten, there are quite a few  skinny vocalists who could sing circles around this girl. Being skinny doesn’t make you talented or smarter. Neither does being fat. I refuse to wave a flag for either side in that respect.

I’m downright frustrated with myself that I have let my weight get this far out of hand. Am I being shallow about it? Maybe, but who cares? It’s not because I see what Hollywood or my peers expect from me, it’s what I expect of me. I’m better than this.

And I couldn’t have picked a worse time in my life to be overweight and out of shape. I’m single again; this would be the time to try to stay thin. My face looks super chubby in pictures, so I rarely update my profile picture on Facebook from a “good one”. I am asked (almost on a daily basis) if I’m pregnant. I usually walk into work double-fisted with large mochas from the local coffee shop… and boy they are good! My clothes are dumpy looking. I wear ruffles, scarves, and layers to make me look thin, when in fact the whole get up just makes me appear as a fat girl trying to cover her fat. I’m not fooling anyone. I suck my stomach in as much as I can without passing out, and even then I still “look pregnant”. And we all know you can’t suck in your butt and thighs. Again, not fooling anyone. Oh! And my thighs rub together, giving me raw welts. It hurts.

I secretly get jealous of perfect strangers (women), even my middle sister, that are able to wear fashionable clothes or can wear shorts without worrying that their butt is hanging down to the backs of their knees.

But goes beyond just physical beauty. It’s my health at risk too! I’m aging because of it! I broke my foot 2 months ago and probably because I was so out of shape while I was hiking. I stomp through the house because the weigh is so heavy on my legs. Not to mention the spider veins & cellulite I promote on my chubby legs. More recently, my hip has been out of joint and all because I was wriggling into a pair of jeans I should have retired long before now. (So no, it had nothing to do with sex, but go ahead and continue thinking that it did if it’ll make you laugh.) My feet are sore every morning when I step out of bed because of the weight they bear, still tired from the battle of weight the day before.

My weight makes me extremely insecure about myself. No matter how much effort I put into a look–whether I’m trying to look cute, sexy, sporty, or professional–all I see and feel like is a fat, dumpy girl. I expect my boys and my boyfriend to be ashamed of how I look all the time, because I am ashamed of how I look all the time.

I don’t share this stuff lightly and I’m not fishing for sympathy, for I did this on my own. My hope is that others will read this and say, “Hey! That’s like me!” And if you are saying that, I say to you, “Today, is the start to a change in my life and I want you to join me in that change.”

No more enabling yourself. No more insecurity. No more shame. No more Caramel Popcorn or Ruffel’s Sweet & Smokin’ BBQ Chips!

The skinny girl has spoken.

I’m dieting. No fad diet. Not the 17 Day diet that my sister Jess has found success in. Not the low-carb diet that would absolutely kill me because all my favorite foods are completely forbidden in it. If you are anything like me, to have something totally off-limits to you, only spells failure. If I can’t have it or can’t do it… by God, I’ll have it AND do it. I’ll want it just that much more for the mad challenge. So, instead, I’m just cutting back proportions and guilty pleasures such as chips, mochas, margaritas, caramel popcorn,…. etc. I want to be thin and I’ll work for it, but I refuse to be downright miserable in the process. That’s no way to live.

I also started a 30 Day exercise class… which apparently is more of a 30 Day Shred.

All of this started today. So if you want to join me in this brutal journey, please do! I will be updating my progress as I go along. And just to be real (as horrific and ballsy as it is) today we measured ourselves and  these were my results:

Height: 5’3″

Weight: 150 lbs. (I weight THIS MUCH at the end of BOTH of my full-term pregnancies!!)

Chest: 37 1/2 inches

Waist: 37 inches (I knew a boob job would make me appear skinnier! Now I know why!)

Hips: 42 inches

Thigh: 24 inches

Bicep: 11 1/2 inches (and no, none of that is muscle.)

In one month, I don’t expect to look like I did in college or even before I had children… but I will feel fantastic and look fantabulous! And those around me will feel the same. They will love me no more nor less, but they will be happy for me.

Befriend me on Livestrong.com at http://www.livestrong.com/profile/melissadellis/ . We’ll do this together!!

Ever Faithful


Okay. So I squelched in my New Year’s resolution to blog at least once a week. I’m only human. And for once, it had nothing to do with the lack of material or the desire to remain private over lame or negative life situations to post. Truth be told, I have been so abundantly blessed in the last two weeks that my head can’t even keep it all straight. The provisions of my needs and wants are practically immeasurable and yet to do service to what I stand for, I must share with all of you.

My last blog post was an explanation as to why my birthday and Valentine’s Day is typically ignored on my end. It wasn’t to sound negative, but to give a background as to why I have been so negative toward them for so long. In my defense, I admitted that despite all of my so-called failures and unhappiness in the past year, I was vigilantly faithful that God was about to turn it all around for me… naturally after a few small moments of “why me?!” every now and again. Like I said, I’m only human. I was “coming out of my desert”, nearing a final breakthrough. Almost immediately upon posting that blog, my breakthrough began and I haven’t really had time to stop and catch my breath, or process the extraordinary turn of events in my life. Continue reading

And the Two Shall Become One…


Recently on our beloved Facebook, a friend posted a picture of his wife and said that it was “pretty incredible that he got to share his life with her.” A very common statement, but for some reason the word “share” nearly jumped off my computer screen at me–therefore inspiring this week’s post.

More  often than not, the term used is “spend”–as in spending my life with someone. Not “share”. That’s why it was so different to me. It was as if he carefully chose his words, something my best friend is firm about (choosing his words). So, for the first time ever, I actually looked these words up in the dictionary.

Continue reading

Love’s Imitation


Does life imitate art?

Does art imitate life?

What about love?

I’m a true-blue movie buff. No question about it. You can ask any of my friends and family and they will tell you that more often than not I will quote some movie in a day-to-day dialogue before I will speak my own original thoughts. Usually, I’m just easing my way through a conversation with an actor’s line because I’m uncomfortable and need an “out”. Sometimes, I relate the conversation to a story-line I have seen and instantly have the line slipping off my tongue before I can stop myself. And it’s not just movies. It can be a song lyric. I regularly speak in Spongebob. Not much wisdom comes from that, but I always get a good chuckle and sometimes, that can be worth a thousand words.

But I enjoy almost all sorts of movie. To me, nothing beats a great horror flick. Action is awesome. Dramas… classic dramas. Comedies (not really the raunchy kind). I love the Marx Brothers.  Independent films… Seriously, I love almost all of them – I am not so much of a Romantic-comedy/chick flick kind of girl. But I do have my guilty pleasures…

Since I often relate to movies, I’ve spent the last year watching quite a few more chick flicks than I actually care to admit. I’m a divorced woman. What did you expect? Romance makes me somewhat uncomfortable, though. This may have possibly been the start to the unraveling in my previous marriage. It always felt unnatural to say sweet things or to touch lovingly… to cuddle. When all of this does catch me off-guard as being natural, then I usually panic and swear that it’s not at all happening. “No, I don’t enjoy cuddling!” Denying can only take you so far.

Dirty Dancing

Chick flicks and Romantic-comedies. Most of them consist of story-lines dealing with love, heartache, and friendship. This seems innocent enough. But as I focus more on what I expected my life to be like – based on chick clicks I have seen in the past – I realize that I’ve been viewing life through a veil of fantasy. Naturally, I put my own twist to these fantasies, because my life could never be an exact replica of art (that would just be silly). But in the end, no matter how much you change the circumstances and appearances of character, the whole concept is unrealistic.

For starters, let’s look at Dirty Dancing. My mom forbid me to watch it based on the title alone. Dirty Dancing. Seeing the style of dancing, she also felt it was inappropriate – it looked like sex with their clothes on. But finally, I watched it behind my parents’ back at my friend Cortney’s house during a slumber party in the 6th grade. I just knew that I would fall in love someday – probably at a camp – and meet a handsome guy that could dance and somehow we would win some talent contest as dancers.

-I couldn’t dance my way out of a paper bag, so it should go without saying that this could never happen. And in that case, I won’t even touch Girls Just Wanna Have Fun or Footloose. UNREALISTIC

So I look at something a bit more acceptable, like The Breakfast Club. I would be in detention and fall for the bad boy, possibly causing some chink in my popular girl armor. Yes, I had a thing for Judd Nelson.

-I was never that rich nor popular in high school. I was also too much of a goodie-goodie to even get detention. (And I wasn’t weird enough to be the “Ally Sheedy”). UNREALISTIC

Sixteen Candles

Sixteen Candles it was! Molly Ringwald’s character was more of a girl I could relate to anyway. The girl next door, she wasn’t popular. She was a bit angsty. Wasn’t a complete wall-flower and no one hated her. Yeah, I could be that girl, though never in a million years would my parents forget my birthday. But could the beautiful senior possibly fall for the sophomore girl? Well, he did – but he was a total douchebag that cheated on me and tried stringing me along for years afterward. Jake Ryan would have never treated Samantha Baker this way.

I did however have a geek or two that seemed to never take the hint. UNREALISTIC

College wasn’t much better. Of course, most college-based movies are raunchy comedies. I didn’t find that as an appealing alternative to real-life, but I imagined I would at least look and be built like the beautiful actresses that portrayed the college girls in these movies. Nope. Not a chance. By my senior year, I had finally topped out my college weight at 102 lbs and finally upgraded to a double A bra size. I looked more like Olive Oyl…and even then, I never met my “Popeye”.

UNREALISTIC

Which brings me to my young adult years. How would I fall in love? How would I get married? So many movies I had to choose from!

The Notebook

The Notebook? Not unless my Noah was the douchebag from high school or the  boy I first fell for that lived down the road from me.

Pretty Woman? Well I may have the red hair, but I was never a hooker.

Pretty Woman

Empire Records? I did work in a happenin’ music store at one point in my life with some pretty cool chicks, but we lacked the hott, artistic guys on the staff.

While You Were Sleeping. Though this whole debacle is something stupid I would find myself caught up in, I would have never carried out that facade as long as she did. I would have dumped the guy while he was in a coma and go after his brother. The brother would reject me because I was heartless for dumping my supposed comatose fiance and in the end, I would be alone just the same.

Titanic? I would have let go, Jack, long before our fingers froze together.

Titanic

A quick rundown of what my life has never been: Sleepless In Seattle, Runaway Bride, You’ve Got Mail, Can’t Hardly Wait, No Strings Attached, 28 Dresses, Leap Year, Valentine’s Day, A Walk to Remember (Lord, I hope not. I don’t wanna die of cancer!), Ghost, An Affair to Remember, Dear John, Hitch, 10 Things I Hate About You, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, The Lake House, Clueless, She’s All That, Return to Me, Wall*E (Yes, this would have been a nice change of pace in life in terms of love), Notting Hill, The Holiday, Music & Lyrics, and last but CERTAINLY not least – Twilight.

I am certain I forgot about a million in between. Stick those in there for me as well, would you?

UNREALISTIC!!!

My life has never imitated art. So I wasn’t surprised in the least when my divorce didn’t dovetail with the likes of Hope Floats or Something to Talk About. My shattered marriage wasn’t viewed on a talk show, but like Sandra Bullock, I did secretively slip back into my hometown without even a word. Some of my friends still don’t know that I’m back and living with my parents. And though she finally got a job that she wasn’t overly proud of, at least she got a job. I’m still unemployed.

Hope Floats

Harry Connick Jr. is not waiting in the wings for me. No one is. And even if he was, whose to say that in a few months he wouldn’t freak out because he realized the final step in our relationship would require him to be a step-dad. Sure he loves you and thinks your kids are great, but the end result still remains: He doesn’t want to be a father to them. They never showed that part of the movie.

Julia Roberts was from a well-to-do prestigious family in Something to Talk About and she shocked the other southern ladies of prestige by asking during a public meeting if any of the other ladies had slept with her husband? Though it is very much in my personality to do this, I don’t belong to a prestigious family or a ladies group where I’d even have to ask this question. I will not end up back with my ex-husband either. And I’m terrified of horses.

My divorce has been neither glamorous nor humorous. My marriage didn’t go out with a bang, but a whimper. It’s been a struggle for me and my boys. I’m broke all the time, but fortunate to have friends and family that continue to help me back on my feet. And never in any of the above mentioned movies did the woman decided that what she was missing all along was not a man or her independence and dignity,  but instead the Son of God.

And I haven’t even had as rough of a divorce as the majority of other women I’ve spoken to. Maybe it’s time Art imitates Life? I’d pay money to see it, even if it didn’t promote a “happily-ever-after” ending. It should simply end with the woman being happy that she made her decision, because it was the right one to make. It should end as an inspiring cliff-hanger, because that’s what life is on a day-to-day basis. A cliff-hanger. We get to choose our own adventure and we decide if we’re happy or not where we tread or where we land. Hollywood doesn’t choose for us.

When Harry Met Sally

Watching a movie and expecting it to be your reality is like watching a cooking show and knowing that your first meal is going to be a huge success. I’ve been attempting to cook for over a decade now and I swear that not only can I still burn toast, but I could also set fire to my house by simply boiling water. Even in reality-based movies, moms are sexy! I’m currently covering my grey roots and battling my weight. Not sexy. Real.

My Best Friend's Wedding

But I  can still dream! Maybe my life will someday become a When Harry Met Sally as opposed to a My Best Friend’s Wedding.

Just a random thought.

Next week, maybe I should put myself in a horror movie or western, just for grins and giggles.

A Father’s Protection


Let me start by saying this:

Personal Blogs are NOT for the weak.

With every post, I subject myself to possible judgement and scrutiny. I show my vulnerability. It’s much like songwriting, but scarier. With songwriting, I can tell you a story and bare my soul, but phrase it in such beautiful poetry that it can lead you away from the heart of the matter… or you can interpret it to your own personal need. With blogging, you lay it out for the world to see and there is no second guessing of what is meant. It’s there in black and white. Or in my blog’s case, dark grey and white with a touch of blue.

And my blog is much like a Simpsons’ episode. It starts with one plot and midway becomes a completely different story – and you wind up forgetting what the original story-line was. Which brings me to this statement…

After 34 years of life and a shallow way of thinking, I finally broke through last night thanks to a dear friend of mine – God does not set “rules” for us because He’s a bully; He does it to protect us. Not just from Satan, but from our own flesh.

You’ve just been Simpson-ized!

My friend and I were talking about the temptation of premarital sex . I voiced my concerns about a private issue of mine with her (yes, I said “private” – so don’t expect to read about it on here) and what my expectations were in finding truth in love and in a relationship (something I will be covering in a bit here, so hold your horses). Her response was that she believed that God asks us not to have premarital sex because He wants to protect our hearts and minds for the person He has made special for us as a partner/help-mate.

It wrecked me completely!

This may be old news to most of you, but I sincerely had this idea that God said “No premarital sex because it’s wrong.”  – “Why?” – “Because I said so.”

So not only is this blog to declare my new knowledge and with you or to share with you His (now my) desire for a future in love, but maybe to open someone else’s eyes from this imprisoned way of thinking!

He wants to protect us! I finally get it! *smacks self on the head* And to think it only took 34 years.

I’m guilty of this particular sin. Yeah, yeah… go ahead and cast that first stone. I dare you. I’ve been through so much heartbreak in the last year and a half that it’s only made me stronger, so you better believe I’d just get up and kick your ass. (Please, please imagine me wearing the same wedding gown in the left picture of my blog in the middle of a dirt road after being stoned, brushing myself off and stomping after the perpetrator! haha!)

Why do we have premarital sex? I can’t answer for all of you, but I can tell you why I have. Because not only did God equip our bodies to enjoy sex and it’s my own fault for allowing things to go too far when my physical makeup cannot cut-off after a certain point is reached, but because it gives us a false sense of love. Yup, I said it. FALSE SENSE. This is not to say that those of us who have partaken in this “forbidden pleasure” doesn’t love the other person. I do very much. Muchly. But the love He wants us to share first is the kind of love He gave us already and too often we’re missing the point. More than hugs and kisses, words and doting. It’s the unexplainable love of looking at someone and seeing them as God sees them. Seeing God IN them. Seeing God in yourself!

A breakdown: Sex is not a commitment and it’s selfish when a commitment is not established beforehand. It can break your heart and break your spirit. It can tarnish a healthy relationship. It can get you pregnant. It can make you sick – permanently. It makes you regret. It gives you a bad reputation. It makes you insecure. It makes you jealous.

I am not only a victim of this, but I am a criminal of this as well.

God’s plan for sex: An extra-curricular activity to be enjoyed and shared till your little heart’s content after you are COMMITTED (married). To warm your heart and make your spirit joyful. To get you pregnant. To make you healthy. To make you thankful. Only His goodness should come from it.

I’m married to Facebook. One way or another, I’m on it at least four times a day, even if only to check messages or be nosy and read statuses from my phone. (Being nosy is a family trait. Just ask my dad.) One – and probably the only one – positive thing Facebook has shown me is the difference in how people love one another! I have friends who boast of their love on each other’s walls or post happy pictures together. I think these are awesome, but I’ve seen another love shared as well… The one where the woman is spoken about as a gift and a personal promise from God. The man declares his honorable intentions for their life on her wall as well as friends’ walls, making no shame about it. Pride – but not the sinful kind. He places her on a high pedestal and yet beside him and still puts God before her – and she, him – because they know that with God in the front and center, their love will only grow stronger… because it’s growing from God!! They see God in one another and want to serve Him together and serve each other in the same light.

I’ve seen the way I’ve loved and been loved and I have decided – I want the latter. I have been a slave to the physical for so long, that when someone has shown me the honor – for not only me but himself – to make the commitment to set boundaries to protect our relationship and my heart I feel rejected. Rejected!? But that is love!! And it’s the love I want! Why are we so blind to this?! Do I think one love is greater than the other kind? Heck yeah, I do. And I want it! How do I get it? By loving my Father and allowing Him to love me in return. I need to love me in that same way that He does. Will it be sufficient in my life? Won’t I get lonely? No. Faithfully, I know He won’t allow it.

I need to fix me and He’s the only one who can do that. I have to be sincere in my pursuit of Him, just as He has been with me.

I used to want a man who would go to the ends of the earth for me – walk through fire for me… and it still probably wouldn’t be too bad if he did. A man would who shout from the mountain tops about how much he loved me. Someone who would take care of me when I’m sick and hold me when I’m scared or sad. I still wouldn’t mind any of this, but I now understand that I need and deserve more and that’s what was missing before my “do over”.

Our idea of love is so distorted and selfish. I want a man who loves God more than life itself – more than me – and sees me as a gift from God to him. A man who sees me as pure – though I am not – because he’s looking at me through God’s eyes! I want someone who can give me freedom without jealousy and distrust and I can return the same. Someone who is going to forego our physical “needs” in intimacy to protect my heart as God wanted – even when I swear up and down the halls that I’ll be “okay with it”. Someone who can fill that need of intimacy in an honorable and spiritual fashion without shame attached to it. Someone I can grow as a servant of God with – even if we may serve in different arenas, the support would be there. Only a man who truly knows God can fill this need and I am not going to settle for someone who “sorta knows” what I’m talking about so I can push and pull them through their walk with Him to get them to keep up with me.

Today, I declare that God will bring this man to me because He wants that for me and feels that I deserve that! And today I am satisfied because that love is already being filled by my Father… I’ve just been too blind to see it until this morning.

“We love because He first loved us.” – 1 John 4:19