Faith, Relationships

Allume, My Favorite Weekend of the Year


Well, “my favorite weekend of the year” has come and gone.  This year’s Allume conference was as fantastic as ever, so I want to tell you a little about that, plus do a big ginormous giveaway because it’s almost my birthday and I totes luurrve celebrating myself.

It was a weekend of meeting new friends and connecting with old ones.  I kept trying to make myself Periscope some of the fun but chickening out with my finger on the start button because Live!  Video Feed!  On the Internet!  I’m not sure the world is ready for me uncensored.  It makes me sweaty.

There are a few key points I feel like I need to tell you about.

One Tiny Fraction of All the Awesome People

First, my roommates were perfection, as always.  Here’s my annual Smile Booth pic with Chantel:


I look like I want to eat her, which is a little bit true.  This is what fierce fourth-base love looks like, where I’m smiling but it’s like a GRRR smile, like I’m so overcome with joy to be around you and I will rip things apart with my bare hands in my unbridled enthusiasm.  (Chantel and our other roommate, Ginny, own that doll company, Forever We, that I told you about.)

Our friend Robin brought a disco ball, and all hotel rooms should have disco balls.  (I edited this photo here in WordPress and it doesn’t want to post the edited version, so maybe for some reason Mr. Disco wants to be uncropped.  Just whatever.  This is my level of professionalism.  I just attended a blogging conference at which I was a speaker.  This is me very expertly blogging.)


I finally met Laila in real life.  She and I have been Twitter buds for awhile and she’s guest posted here.  So fun to actually hug.


I was really looking forward to hearing Austin Channing speak because she’s leading us so well in racial justice and reconciliation.  She did not disappoint, and I tried to write down everything she said.


Here are some of the things:

“You will constantly come back to your own brokenness and the brokenness of the world if you commit to racial justice.”

“God’s reflection is carried in my black femaleness.”

“Generations of Christianity & white supremacy have been melded together & it’s our job to break it apart.”

“If you want to enter into this, you have to start following marginalized women.”

“Incredibly important to the work of justice: to be able to follow the most marginalized.”

“Racial justice and reconciliation come with a sacrifice. It’s coming.”

“Reconciliation cannot be done alone. It must be done in community.”

And Amena Brown Owen makes me finally understand poetry.  I read it on a page and I just. don’t. get. it.  But when I hear her do spoken word, my soul lights up and I FEEL IT DOWN DEEP.


Dancing My Face Off

Friday night we had a dance party with DJ Opdiggy, and there is nothing more fun than a group of women in their 30s and 40s shaking their booties together on the dance floor.


I don’t know what to say about my Enthusiastic Selfie Face.  I am extremely scary.  Robin and I laughed so hard we couldn’t breathe and the guy in the elevator asked what was in our cups and we guffawed “WATER!” as we died laughing.  Hashtag Under the Influence of House of Pain.  I called home to thank the girls for teaching me the Whip Nae Nae so Mommy could be cool with her friends.

I had fun leading my breakout, My Mix Tape: Make Your Faith, Life, and Passion for the Globe Work Together.  I was talking about how we fit everything in and live authentic lives and so I thought I’d better wear my favorite jammie pants if I was going to be as authentic as possible talking about authenticity. (WordPress hates me and has decided that this photo should also be uncropped no matter what I do to convince it otherwise.  Just whatever.  I am a fierce blogging expert who knows stuff.  Clearly.  Please enjoy the wide expanse of uncropped ceiling and subtle hotel ballroom carpeting.)


Here I look like I’m doing the time step and am about to shuffle off to Buffalo.  Speaking of which, my friend Amy introduced me using jazz hands, which made me feel so loved.


In Which I Attended a Grownup Sleepover, Ugly Cried, and Made a Craft Project

After Allume, I went with Courtney DeFeo to her fam’s house for a big sleepover.  I know.  I’m twelve.  So fun.  She made these scripture cards that teach kids Bible verses using the ABC’s.  You guys, we are Awana dropouts this year and she may singlehandedly save us from giving up altogether on learning stuff.  We put these on our kitchen table and I see cheesy jingles with hand motions in my kids’ future.  As you can imagine, they will be thrilled.


Here’s me with the beautiful Allison Hendrix (I lurrve her so hard.) on the dock, right before I erupted in this laugh-cry emotional explosion.


You know you’ve hit fourth base when you’re at a writers’ sleepover and feel safe enough to enjoy your biannual ugly cry.  As you can see, I’m wearing my sitting shirt, which is the perfect clothing choice for said ugly cry.  Its excellent sweat-wicking qualities come in handy when you’re rocking yourself and sobbing uncontrollably.

After this, they took advantage of my emotional vulnerability and got me to do a craft.  Look how scared I am in this photo.  I’m gripping my beads and wire and staring with unnerving concentration at Annie Pajcic, my fearless leader.


I made a wooden cross with my own hands and gave it to Elliott, who was very excited when I told him the ocean made the driftwood.  Ana looked at me with a mixture of wonder and suspicion and asked, “YOU made this with your hands?”  I know.  Mama’s going through something and lost her mind.

Melanie’s Big Birthday Blowout


I know.  As moms when we hear “blowout” it means something else and requires an entire container of baby wipes.  But in this case, it means it’s my birthday and I’m giving away a bunch of stuff!  I’m turning 38 and for my birthday, I bought you some stuff.  Also, since I just got back from Allume conference, I want to share some of the awesome swag with you, so enter to win the following:

-big JOYN purse made in India by the beautiful hands of Hukum, Guddy, and Dina!  

-my very favorite Mitscoots socks

-a “together” Lisa Leonard necklace

-set of ornaments from Ever Thine Home

-framed watercolor from Life Passionately

-Deep V T-shirt from Museum of the Bible (This museum is completely geeking me out. Whether or not you engage with the Bible spiritually, it’s certainly incredible historically, and they’re partnering with Protestant, Jewish, and Catholic scholars to create a museum filled with ancient manuscripts and all kinds of artifacts. My inner book nerd can’t wait for 2017 when it opens in D.C. I’m thinking road trip for sure.)

5 Minutes with Jesus devotional

He Knows My Name Bible study with art projects for girls (I met the author Annie Pajcic and lurrrve her. My daughter Ana and I are excited to walk through this together and the art projects are easy enough that I think maybe I can even help.  Or let’s be honest, she can help me.)

Wild in the Hollow, by Amber Haines (You guys, have I made myself clear about how much I love this book? I read it in one sitting without getting up to pee and Alex had to make dinner because I just couldn’t put it down.)

Okay, get after it, girl.  CLICK HERE TO ENTER.  I hope you win!

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  • Mary Carver

    So glad I got to meet you at Allume! Your session was FANTASTIC (and, ohmygosh don’t tell on me, the only one I stayed in for the entire hour).

    • Melanie Dale

      Your secret is safe with me, Mary. I just went all over your lovely blog and I love that you’re a fan of YA books. Me too! Unapologetically. It was so great to see you this weekend, and thanks for the encouragement!

  • Laila

    It felt so good to finally lay eyes on you! I love your heart and your energy. i wish I could bottle it and take it with me. Until next time!

    • Melanie Dale

      Jumping up and down excited that you’re an In Real Life friend now, Laila!!!

  • Allison Stadler Hendrix

    You did a CRAFT!!!!! So stinkin’ proud!

    It was pure joy seeing your ability to snarf both tears and laughter simultaneiously. Impressive my friend, almost as much as your beautiful heart. Love you!

    • Melanie Dale

      Thank you, Allison. You are utterly amazeballs and I’m so thankful to get to know you more and receive your ridiculously awesome hugs this weekend.

  • Jeniffer Smith

    One day I will go to Allume. And when I do, I am going to hug you so frickin hard. Amen.

    • Melanie Dale

      Amen and amen. So frickin hard.

  • Jessica Wyndham

    I am so excited that I got to meet you and give you a full-frontal hug in the bathroom (I feel like most people would have felt weird about that, but it just felt so right… Maybe it’s because you like poop jokes so much. I just don’t know). Anyway, your session was by far the most entertaining, and I am already looking forward to going back next year!

    • Melanie Dale

      Thanks, Jessica! Bathroom meet-ups are the best. (I almost wrote hook-ups but then thought, wait, that’s something else.) So fun to run into you and meet you in person! See you next year!

  • Christin

    So, SO fun!! LOVED seeing you again and really enjoyed our dance party!! My husband is jealous that I won’t do those moves in front of him. ;) Love you and looking forward to digging into your book!

    • Melanie Dale

      Girl, your moves are solid. You should totes bust those out for hubby.

  • Kara Gorski

    Love it! So glad to connect at Allume. Great session! Do you use picmonkey? It rocks for editing and is free! #blogdreamteam

    • Melanie Dale

      I shall look into picmonkey…I’m just…so photographically lazy……….. Um, and your hashtag right there? BEST.

  • Wendy Speake

    Loved dancing with you, hanging out with you at your book signing, and reading all about the parts of your Allume weekend I didn’t get to share. I’m grabbing you for #smilebooth photo next year. (And bringing a disco ball for my hotel room!)

    • Melanie Dale

      Yesss. Disco balls make everything better. See you in the smile booth!

  • Kelli

    Yep. I am so glad I got to meet you in person, and give you that full frontal hug. Lucky for you I left my cone-shaped bra home. ;) You are a delight. I enjoy your bloggy awesomeness.

    • Melanie Dale

      Sooo great meeting you, too, Kelli!

  • Amy Tilson

    Jazz hands, for-evah!!! Choreo next time, friend!! I big, pink, fuzzy, plaid flannel <3 YOU!!

    • Melanie Dale

      Love you, too!!!





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