So I’m Sticking With Maimed Baked Goods

Opened book

Last month in a last-ditch effort to keep my kids from destroying each other, I pulled out gingerbread men to decorate.  I say “pulled out,” because there was zero baking involved in this process.  These guys were an impulse-buy at the entrance of Kroger one morning and I stuck them in the pantry for the inevitable day when my kids would need a diversion before they went all Lord of the Flies on break.

For ten happy minutes, everyone calmed down and iced things and probably ate candy behind my back.  I took photos to document our craftiness.  Pin the crap out of this:

IMG_7835 IMG_7837

Elliott’s is all Rule-Follower Perfectly Executes Project According to the Directions.  Ana’s is wearing some kind of diaper-swim cap combo made out of sprinkles.  Evie’s is like “I was gonna put more icing on but then I squirted it in my mouth.”

I’m glad I grabbed these photos, because in the time it took me to walk into the kitchen and return, this happened:


RIP Cookie Man.  Somebody has a lot of rage issues.

Sometimes I feel like Cookie Man.  Do you?  You’re going along in your happy cookie life and then someone or something breaks you apart.


(“Do you know the Muffin Man?” – Shrek)

So I wrote this new book, It’s Not Fair: Learning to Love the Life You Didn’t Choose, about those times when we think our life is going one direction and then something happens to completely derail it.  We experience the death of dreams.  I’ve been through some stuff like that and wanted to write a book for all of us who have had these unexpected things.  How do we learn to love these lives we didn’t necessarily choose?

And wouldn’t you know it, after I wrote it ABOUT OLD STUFF THAT HAD ALREADY HAPPENED and turned it in, I found myself wrecked all over again, facing new unexpected challenges, and reading my book to remind myself how I got through hard stuff the first time.  So as much as I’m the author of this book, I’m also a reader who can attest that the stuff I put in it works. 

“Not only am I the Hair Club President, I’m also a client!”


Life isn’t fair.  But.  We can learn to love the lives we didn’t choose.  And I’m re-learning all over again.  Apparently God didn’t want me on the other side looking in at this book from someone who’s finished with the struggle.  Apparently he wants me smack in the middle of it when this book hits shelves, wrestling alongside you.  (I’m trying to decide how I feel about him right now.)  So hi, from within the trench.  It kinda smells down here.  I wish neither of us was here.  But I’m glad we have each other.

Um…so…(looks bashful)…my new book is officially available for preorder and I want you to see it.  I’m really excited about this cover.  When the Zonderpeeps sent it to me I felt so lovey toward them, like they totally get me.


As you can see, we’re sticking with maimed baked goods.  I think Mangled Cookie Man will feel really comfortable next to the Cake Pop Cannibals on my other book.  This lil’ guy says everything.  He’s been through a lot.  He’s not sure if he’s going to make it.  He didn’t choose any of this.

A couple Sundays ago, my pastor asked a question that got me thinking.  “What breaks your heart?”  Immediately what jumped into my mind was “people who feel alone.”  I realized helping people find connection is my number one motivator.  It’s what drives my heart for orphaned and vulnerable children, wanting to plug them into healthy communities.  It’s what gets me excited about partnering through HopeChest with struggling communities to help them develop access to resources.  I wrote Women Are Scary to help overwhelmed moms like me connect with each other, and I’ve written It’s Not Fair to come alongside people going through something hard so they don’t have to do it alone.

My uber-talented web designer husband and I are beginning to work on redesigning my blog, and as we’ve been talking about what my blog is about and what I want for you guys, it’s exactly that.  I don’t want you to feel alone.  I want you to have a place on the internet where you can be yourself and feel like someone else understands and cares about you.  Because I do.  I want us to have each other and not feel alone.

On August 16, It’s Not Fair hits the shelves and interwebz.  

Look.  We have bookmarks.  Bookmarks make it real.


Two Ways for More Cookies:

1. Preorder

You can be an early birdy and preorder it here and it’ll show up at your door this summer.  And then every time I mention it this year you can be all, “Um, duh, I already ordered it, Melanie.”

2. Email

And if you want to stay in the loop about book stuff and launch team info, are we email fourth-basers?  I’d love for you to share your email with me, and I’ll send you my full posts and the occasional note with some insider stuff in it.

Previous ArticleNext Article
  • Katie

    I will punch a teddy bear in the face to get to be part of your launch team. I’m just going to put that out there right now.

    • Melanie Dale

      That’s the kind of dedication I’m looking for, Katie. I like your style. Make sure you sign up for email and I’ll be in touch when we get a bit closer. THANK YOU.

  • Krystale Bithoney

    I really love everything you write, seriously. You hit me right in the mom balls and make me get a bit weepy (I guess being hit in the Mom balls does that?) Anywho. I CANNOT WAIT for your new book to come out. Anything I can do to help – Count me in!

    • Melanie Dale

      Thanks, Krystale! And I completely love your mom balls/weeping correlation. That explains so much.

  • Anne

    I’ve always thought you were so funny and lately you’ve shown your vulnerable side which makes me love you even more. You are so real and relatable and I admire everything you’re doing. Cheers to keeping it real!!

    • Melanie Dale

      Thanks, Anne. I’m feeling vulnerable these days so I’m glad it’s leaking into my writing and finding compassionate friends like you!

  • Jo Rose

    Thank you for sharing your heart. I am a stay at home mom, who longs for deeper richer friendships with other moms who are in the trenches. I needed this reminder that I am not alone today. It is great to be understood.

    • Melanie Dale

      You are not alone, Jo! *waves enthusiastically in the trench*





Oh hey! Wanna be friends?

  • Get exclusive emails each month.