unexpected stories

A Real Mom

Grabbing coffee together in Riga on a gorgeous, snowy day. On Monday, we celebrated Ana’s name day.  In Latvia, name days are really big, like birthdays, and so everyone with her name celebrates on April 21.  We gave her Legos and I took her for a special mommy-daughter breakfast at IHOP, which she pronounced “eee-hop,” thus making the establishment cuter than ever. As she drank the entire bowl of little  (…) READ MORE

They Were Not Risen

I’ve come a long way since the Easter Freakout of 2008, when my hair straightener broke and I had to attend the celebration of our Lord and Savior with frizzy, stringy, non-coiffed, anti-Southern hair.  I did not handle it well, and let’s just say it’s a good thing Jesus died for my sins, cuz I committed a lot of them that morning. It was my first Easter as a Southerner,  (…) READ MORE

Fair Trade Shopping for Summer

Whether you’re still getting snowed on or starting to experience a little spring in your step, you may be thinking about spring and summer clothes.  If you need a piece or two to jump-start your wardrobe, here are some of my favorites that provide something pretty for me to wear and fair wages for women around the world.  (I pulled my favorite summer options from my Slave-Free Christmas campaign, so  (…) READ MORE

Mommy Pooped Her Brains Out

This pic is from Fletch, one of the greatest comedies of our time.  It led me to my husband, because after watching Fletch, we DTRed (define the relationship) and decided to date.  Fletch is our genesis, and our marriage is pretty much based on Fletch quotes.  And Jesus. Yesterday, I had the deep, dark privilege of experiencing my first colonoscopy. For all of you who are thinking, “Melanie, aren’t you  (…) READ MORE

How Does Your Church Smell?

photo by James Bradley, https://flic.kr/p/7EycGS How does your church smell?  Worship is a sensory experience and we all get there in different ways.  Yesterday with my eyes squeezed shut as I sang my heart out to Jesus through my phlegm-coated, pollenized throat, I had an aha moment about the importance of smell. Growing up in Northeastern Ohio, I remember visiting beautiful Catholic churches with swinging censers filled with incense.  The  (…) READ MORE

Wanna Meet My New Daughter?

This little-big girl burst into our lives last summer and we fell in love.  Hard.  Her laughter fills our rooms and we are honored to get to introduce her to you as our daughter, our oldest and newest child. I mean…that smile…that chin dimple…her sweetheart face.  She likes all things sporty and artsy, her favorite colors are blue and pink and neon yellow, and she loves dogs and cats.  She  (…) READ MORE

Killing Shame

#NoShame I write this a lot at the end of tweets. I just downed an entire box of Rainbow Nerds. #NoShame My kids are still in their jammies from yesterday. #NoShame I can’t remember the last time my daughter had a shower. #NoShame My van smells like dirty feet and eternal flatulence. #NoShame I joke a lot about not having shame, but on a serious note, I’m just now starting  (…) READ MORE