Friday, June 26, 2015

Disney: Helping Us Be Healthier from the Inside Out

Rarely does my family spring for movies in the theatre. The cost for the five us to sit in a dark room for 1.5-2 hours is equal to that of our water bill for the month and can meet our World Vision child’s needs for two. This is a reality we don’t take lightly. Seeing movies in the theatre is a luxury.

When I saw that Disney was releasing Inside Out I instantly wanted to see it. The religion and psychology major in me took on life of its own, wondering how the film giant would present such an important topic.

We went opening weekend.

If you haven’t gone to the movie yet, fear not (ha, fear is a character), I’m won’t ruin it for you. You do, however, need to know that the main characters of the movie are essentially the emotions 11-year-old, Riley, experiences through a new move and other moments in life.

You are entertained by Riley’s story but you are touched by what is happening within.

Good Lord, this is a religion/psychology major’s dream.

Fear, sadness, joy, disgust and anger are the character emotions responding to the moments Riley’s living. Special past times, talents, and loves make up islands that are the pulse making her tick. Marbles representing which emotion is attached to an experience are stored to remind us that nothing in life is really lost.

My husband and I sat mesmerized right along with the kids. And, Disney has certainly perfected the art of entertaining adults so that we want to spend gobs of dollars to see it before Redbox. I’m not sure I’ve heard my husband laugh so hard in a film as when the dad emotions are in panic mode because his wife is giving him “the look.” If that isn’t humor capturing reality I don’t know what is.

The thing about our culture is we always want to have joy driving our experience. We want that for ourselves. And, we want it for the people around us. But, life is complicated and to only let on to confident joy is to not only discredit reality but it limits our ability to experience true joy.

This movie is profound in that it recognizes a lie of the human condition and sets the record straight with delightful animation.

Fear, disgust, and anger are real in our lives and okay to acknowledge. I always say if we have a God that created those emotions in us He is certainly powerful to help us through them. Disney demonstrated how these emotions might hinder a child (and adult for that matter) from trying something or, oppositely, do something unexpected. We see how this mishmash of feelings might be thrumming through the outwardly angry and in the quiet calm. But, my favorite take away, was sadness being a tie that binds. It actually propels new happiness.

Disney extended itself from making a family-friendly meaningful film to producing profound teaching.  I looked at my girls, eyes glued to the screen while stuffing their mouths with popcorn, and knew there would be take home value to this movie. It is okay not to be happy all the time and in naming the driving emotion I might just be better for it.

Since then my girls have been verbally identifying the emotions at play in different moments of life. They’ve been drawing them. They’ve been thinking more in depth about them without the stigma that something is wrong attached to them.



What if we didn’t say “How are you?” and expect the person to say, “Good. How are you?”

What if we were honest?

I think Inside Out gave us all the freedom to do just that.

Well done, Disney. You were totally worth the cost of my water bill.


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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Real Mom Confessions

How has your week been going, friends? It's Wednesday which means that it's time for some real mom confessions. While some of you are reading this today I will be getting new headshots done. I stressed for hours trying to find the perfect apparel with no luck. Then I took Grace with me and she found something cute in 10 minutes so apparently I should've taken her from the get-go. When I get the pictures taken I'll have all three kids along so if you want to lift up a word of prayer on my behalf for good hair and compliant kids you'll be my new best friend :)

So what happened in my house this week?

1. Wedgie Maker. Unfortunately that is not a typo. Hannah is in swimming lessons this week. Her teacher says, "Have any of you every been to Terrace to go off the drop off slides?" to which Hannah replies out loud IN FRONT OF THE WHOLE CLASS, "My mom and dad call those wedgie makers." OH. MY. WORD.

2. Fetch. If I didn't make fool enough of myself with the pool, I topped it the other night. The water was a little chill but I wanted to be near my older kids so I grabbed some diving wands and stood by the deep end. I gave one a good toss saying, "Go get it girls" and my husband, who is in the water a distance away questions, "Are you playing fetch with our children?!" Yes, it appears that I am. In the end it was really a good game that just looked bad because the kids loved it.

3. Role crisis. Wild, loud storms kept me awake one night and I didn't fall asleep until early morning hours. Then my 9yo woke me up with these words, "Can you get up to help clean Ava's room." I wondered if I was in a dream. What kind of role crisis is this? I should be asking her to clean. I followed my child leader - got up. brewed coffee, and helped clean.

4. Belly bags.  Remember fanny packs? Well during a discussion with Grace about fashions going out she asks, "Will the belly bag go out?" Me: "Belly bag? What on earth is that?" Grace: "It's a little bag that hangs in front on your belly." This means she's seen them multiple times. Me: "Well, they were once known as the a fanny pack. They serve a functional purpose but calling them fashion has been laid to rest."

Needless to say, I'm not winning any maturity awards this week but man we've had a lot of laughs.  

What happened in your house?


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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Real Mom Confessions

It's that time. Time for a reminder that life is a little crazy with kids and crazy is okay. Normal, even.

How was crazy shown in my house this week?

1. Chicken Juice.  I made a Mexican chicken that you serve over rice for supper. It's a moist chicken in juice. As my husband was serving it over Ava's rice some of the juice dripped into her milk. I froze. Do we switch it out or do we let her drink it because "it all goes to the same place," as my husband says? She picked it up and guzzled it all down, calling it "super good." My insides foiled, but, hey, we didn't waste any milk.

2. Coffee. I let my girls have some with me the other morning. The end. Bad mom, I know.

3. Drivers License. It was my birthday last week and it involved the renewal of my drivers license. Before we left I actually asked Grace, my 9 YEAR OLD,  if my hair looked okay. Her approval saved me bonding time with the curling iron so that was a bonus.

4. PJs as Fashion. We needed to make a quick trip to Menards for some lawn mower items but the girls had taken early showers. "Get your clothes on we're going to Menards," I instructed them.  



This is how they came out. Nightgowns as....skirts?  I didn't care. I wanted to go to Menards. A wish until that moment I never imagined myself thinking. Embrace it, woman. So off we went just like this.

Tell me about the crazy in your house this week!


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Saturday, June 13, 2015

Take a Chance with Me

“See, I am doing a new thing” the Scripture says (Is 43:19). And I suppose that is true of my life.

2015 has overwhelmed my life with new. That wasn’t the word God placed on my heart going in to January, but I’m sure He knew I’d need an extra dose of bravery to actually make this all happen or I might’ve shook my head in disbelief.

I’ve always been a planner. Yes, life pains have thrown me difficult curveballs, but, for the most part, I’ve methodically worked towards the next goal. I’ve eyed what I believed to be the prize so that when I got to that place in life I would be ready. I realize this battles with the “let go and let God” thing but when I reframe it as “organized” it sounds less offensive. I never claimed perfection J

Thus, I entered the year with a plan to launch the elementary girl mother-daughter dance class. It felt big. It felt scary. And, I questioned if anyone would even come.

They did.

They did and the emotional exchange fueled more. I quietly whispered imaginings to God, hiding it from most to give me time to prepare and find success in that dream.

Ironically, Rhinestone Jesus: Saying Yes to God When Sparkly, Safe Faith is No Longer Enough by Kristen Welch is on my nightstand. “Some small decisions are big right from the word yes,” she writes and God smiles generous.

I feel like the “bigness” of what has happened from my small decision to mention this class idea to the studio owners has come to fruition. Lives are touched. The newspaper article. The big classes this summer. The toddler-mother class starting



And, oh what a precious time that has been.

 Watch out, lady, I have so much more for you.

God is at work ahead of me with complete disregard for my inclination to have all my ducks in a row before approaching something new. He’s broken my heart to a bigger picture. To awareness of possibility that is about so much more than me. Things have snowballed and He’s asking me to be part of the wild ride rather than steer.

It’s terrifying. It’s exhilarating. It’s so not the way I normally do life and yet it so fulfilling.


This is why I’ve been quieter in this space. There’s much work to be done for powerful new things that lie ahead. To my Lord be all the credit. Soon I can tell you more.

xx Melissa

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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Real Mom Confessions

How is summer going in your house? Busy like ours? I know I've tried to let go of my schedule to be flexible with things with the kids and boy has it resulted in some good laughs.

1. First place. Hannah participated in her first ever track meet. She picked a track skirt because "even on the track it's important to be fashiony" and off we went. As I joke, I told her if she didn't get first place I wasn't going to feed her supper. Joke's on me. When she got lined up and all the little kids and their parents are around she blares, "mom, do I really not get to eat if I don't get first place." 



Also, she's crazy flexible.

2. Butt cheeks. This kid is a hoot. This is what she looked like in the yard the other day. 



Yep, she's wearing a bike helmet. You never know the danger that might be involved in a popping bubble. And whenever that double bubble situation happened she + her sister yelled, "butt cheeks." There's probably a petition going to remove us from the neighborhood.

3. Frog legs.  As Hannah was doing that Ava was toddling around on her bike. Apparently we failed to notice that it was way too small so she looked like frog legs rotating near her ears working outrageously hard try to pedal her way around with this tiny wheeled bike. Then she just gave up and I had to go rescue her.



We've since moved up in bike size.

4. Yesterday we took a break from the outdoor activity to catch up on some cleaning. This was how I found them cleaning the kitchen floor.


Whatever works, man.

I'm loving my time with these littles who keep life interesting everyday. And, I'm also loving the dreaming that has kept me busy in my free moments. I can't wait to share all about it with you. Love your children and invest in their dreams, but don't forget to listen for God's dreams for you too. Sometimes they're a million times bigger than we can fathom.

Later, friends! We're off to the pool :)


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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Real Mom Confessions

It's real mom confessions day. The number of you that have said you like a peak into the craziness of my life cracks me up. You tell me it makes you feel better. I think it just confirms that perfect isn't normal. Life with children is unscripted territory and sometimes we're the moms we imagined we would be pre-kids, but most of the time we just have to laugh at the life that is parenting. A blender of good/bad, get it right/get it wrong, energizing/exhausting moments that create a blessed life.

1. Let's start with how my 7yo sees me. She decided to design a Melissa weemee. Here you have it.



"Mom, I made you. You're mostly in your robe and slippers with a coffee and phone to check Twitter."

If only my life was "mostly" this chill.

I decided to laugh and not remind her of the laundry that I do at the midnight hour, and the countless demands that I'm meeting when they are all yelling what they need at me at the same time, and that I check Twitter to get news to protect them from things they need not see, and that I write and create dance lesson plans around my schedule filled with things to do with and for them. What? Mom has a real job? I'm pretty sure my kids don't think so.

2. My shower looks like a toy aisle of Target threw up in it. The kids split up bathrooms so they can all get baths and showers done at the same time, which is nice for night time convenience, but less nice in the morning. Could we have any more water barbies? I think not. I picked them up and turned the shower on only to notice a flashing light. Was I losing my mind? No. Light up Sophia was still on the floor flashing whenever water hit her. Whatever, man. I didn't have the energy to move her. Enjoy my super hot water, Princess Sophia.

3. The bed time hostage situation. Have you seen Jim Gaffigan's sketch about bed time being an all out crisis that evolves into a hostage situation in reverse? Well, that is pretty much our life say....every night. In fact, I think if they went into their rooms quietly, didn't say a word and went right to sleep like happens in my dream world, I would be terrified something happened to them.

The other night they came out for the usual - one last night night kiss, the bathroom, confirm the weather for tomorrow to make sure the outfit they have planned will work (girls), etc. But, one of them kept getting hurt when she would get back in bed. Don't ask me how. I'm not even sure. I just know that post bedtime does not bring out my finest parenting. Do any of you get me? And I actually said, "If you get hurt getting into bed we're not going to help you because no one should get hurt this much going to bed."

My hubby and I burst out in laughter at the sound of my exasperation and then I promptly apologized to my girls who I assured I would always help if hurt because I love them but to please get to sleep so injuries will not occur and we can all wake up a little happier in the morning.

4. Hydrogen peroxide.  Speaking of injuries, summer seems to break out the destruction of self mode for kids. I'm so grateful that I have kids that are healthy and can be active, but do we really need to exercise it to this extreme?! Between bike falls and games and apparently the aerobic sport of getting in bed and all the other things, we have incurred so many injuries. Two of my girls have such banged up knees they actually had a "no scream" contest with the hydrogen peroxide the last few nights.

Hydrogen peroxide is like miracle stuff. It digs into their wounds + scratches to clean it out with strong visual appeal. It's just that we are needing it often. I looked at my hubby the other day and this went down:

Me: With all the injuries these girls have accumulated since school got out I am so thankful...
(he cuts me off)
Him: That none of them have broken a bone?
nice thought
Me: Well, yes, but I was thinking that hydrogen peroxide is so cheap.

He told me never to repeat that. But, moms, you get where I'm coming from right? If that liquid gold was the cost of gold we'd all be up a crick. Clearly my man is way nicer than I am :)

So that's it for bloopers this week. Laughs aside, we've had an awesome week. VBS started and all three girls are taking part - Ava and Hannah as participants and Grace as a junior crew leader. I'm the official pray-er in the snack room so I get time with all of them. Bonus! And, last night my mother-daughter dance line expanded to include a 3-5yo + mommy class. I can't wait to tell you more about it down the road :)

Good and bad, get it right and get it wrong, energizing and exhausting moments. What went down in your house?



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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Real Mom Confessions

Happy Wednesday, friends! It's time for some real mom confessions and, boy oh boy, have I had some flops this week.

1. Food fail. My man's favorite donut is the apple fritter so when I saw apple fritter bread on Pinterest I designed a whole brinner around it. I wore my cute apron while I whipped it up. Just call me Betty Crocker.



Except don't. Because apparently I tried taking it out of the bread pan too soon and my heavenly smelling loaf turned into a mess. My visions of being the amazing wife tanked so I just canned making the cream cheese topping, broke the rest of it up, and put it in a bowl, presenting it as a "bread side" to eat with a fork. At least it tasted good.

2. Bad school mom. Yes, I said it. School may be out but that doesn't mean there isn't signing to be done. At our children's elementary school they are doing a summer reading program (that I love) in combination with the community library. Apparently Grace had her reading log in a folder that I cleared out. For her to have the same type of reading log as my daughter going into second grade would be entirely too easy so I couldn't make a copy of Hannah's. Commence the tears of my very type A child. Insert me wondering how I could fail at a school thing in the summer. Now you have a visual of what happened in my house. I called the school and confessed my error + told a friend. They all gave me copies and you better believe I ask Grace and happily sign each day.

3. Elementary school library craft screw up. The libraries in our city are really awesome. In addition to great books, they have awesome programming that draws students in. Today they had a superhero craft. Grace and Hannah worked well on their own, but Ava needed a little assistance. When we finished, I was feeling really good about it until the following conversation goes down:

Grace: Mom, you did Superman's face wrong. (She starts laughing).
Me: No I didn't.
Grace: Yes you did. His eyebrows are below his eyes.


Sure enough, she's right. Note the correctly made Superman behind.

I grabbed the red sharpie and gave Superman a smile. Does Superman smile or is he all business? I'm not even sure because I have three very girly girls and, honestly, Superman was the only one of the three superheroes that I recognized. I'd be better with Barbie.

Me: There. Now they're his raised cheekbones from his happy smile.
Grace laughed so hard it made me laugh. Yay for messed up projects. Sometimes they make for more fun memories and than the ones done right.

And speaking of laughter....

4. Checking out. With the exception of taking my kids to the library and pretending to be the principal when the kids were playing school, I read pretty much all day today. My friend dropped off Jim Gaffigan's book and my house productivity halted to zero. Thankfully neighbor kids wanted to play or I would have had to remind my kids that self sufficiency is a real thing.



If you haven't read this book you need to. And if you don't like it I'm not sure we can be friends. Kidding. I laughed so hard I cried multiple times. Like, I'm counting it an abdominal workout. The underlying reminder that none of us parents really have a clue what we are doing and that all our kids embarrass and exhaust us in a myriad of ways will totally make you feel better about the job you are doing. This gig is tough, but so worth it!

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