W E A R :: Violets

details :: dress & hat/free people, tights/target, boots/sam edelman

God will often gives me short phrases throughout my day,when I am praying or giving in to worry or stress. These words help me to refocus and gain perspective. I usually write them on sticky notes and place them on my computer or desk as a reminder. I'm actually pulling them out fo my drawer now to write them down because I thought I'd share a few of them with each of you; in case you find yourself in a place in need of encouragement of inspiration.
Create a meaningful presence - I don't want to be easily forgotten. I want to be missed.
When I feel like there's nothing I can do, it means that He can now do everything - this one was from today.
Don't Compare. Don't Compete. Don't Complain.
"What if I say something wrong?" "What if you say nothing at all?" - this was actually a conversation I had with God; wrestling with whether or not I should reach out to a friend to let her know what I felt like God wanted her to know. Sometimes saying nothing is much worse than saying something "the wrong way".
Change is inevitable. Embrace the change. - definitely living in this season!
Unrelenting focus on God.
What in your life truly makes you feel "good enough". - great question to ask yourself to help you evaluate where your head is at and what you place your priorities in.
Where you are willing to lead, I am willing to follow.
True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less. - this one got me good!
When you rush, you forget who you are and whose you are. - I struggle with "being still" anyone else?
Hope these give some of you a boost of encouragement! Do any of you post notes throughout the day? If so, I would love to hear some of your thoughts or phrases that help you get through each day; share in the comments below!
xo. melisa

A WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT :: progress over perfection

Lately I've had the word "evolve" on my mind. I feel like this season is one in which I am evolving. I am growing, changing and learning how to be the woman I feel called to be. At some point, I stopped being a youth, I stopped being a girl, I stopped looking forward to "growing up", and I actually grew up, I became a woman, the woman I hoped to someday be. The day finally came. So it's hard, and confusing, working out how to be someone you never thought you could be. But here I am. Melisa, 26 years old, and feeling just as clueless as I was at 15.

I am assured that I have purpose. And with that purpose comes understanding; an understanding that I  am made for more, am capable of doing more, and filled with the hope of there being more. Meaning, I am not done. I'm not done on my journey of becoming; I have not yet become. Although, I am evolving. Like clay in a potters hand, I am losing shape, yet gaining new shape. It is uncomfortable, painful and difficult. More so, it is fulfilling and a joy. I will someday long to relive these days again and so my prayer is that I am present.

Present each morning as I wiggle my toes and I feel the tiny aches in my legs. Present in the laughter that fills our home when we've become delirious because of lack of sleep. Present as I sit at my desk and work towards tomorrows goals. Present as I cook meals that will nourish our bodies and prepare them for the following years. Present as we play with our sweet girl Gretch. Present as I pray for tomorrows future. Present.

It's easy to be dissatisfied with where you are in life, but it's so much better to have joy in knowing that there's more. That someday still exists and things can only get better from here. Your life may not be perfect. I know that mine is not. I would much rather progress over perfection because progress says we're growing. You are stronger each day through your struggles and hardships. You are more, each day, and that is enough.

xo. mel

A W O E :: don't lose heart

I really felt like I needed to send out some encouragement to you beautiful ladies this morning. Sometimes I have some rough days, or weeks, or months, or yes, years! And there's never really anything anyone can say to "make it better", but simply knowing that you're not going through it alone is enough. One of the incredible things that I've come to realize, is that I have been blessed with an incredible community of women. I know that at any given point, no matter the situation, I can find one (or more) friend to talk to. The older I get, the more I realize that not everyone has that. And that breaks my heart. Because as women, however strong we may be (and yes, we are!) we still need someone. We need comfort and we need encouragement and we need to know that we're not the only ones! Ya know? So, I wanted to write you today to say that you are not alone, you're not the only one facing this issue, there isn't something irreversibly wrong with you, you are not the only one feeling this way, you are not too far gone, you can still do it, there is still a plan, there is a way out, and you're going to make it. You may feel broken, or empty, or purposeless, or ugly, or unwanted, or incapable, or unable, but I know that you're whole, made with purpose, beautiful, wanted, capable and more than able of accomplishing big and wonderful things. So don't lose heart my friend. 

I know that my words aren't always the best and it's easy to dismiss just one voice, so I thought I'd collect a variety of different videos and posts that I have found so inspiring! So take a minute and let your heart be full.

Do Your Thing - Spirit and Haven
How Do You Define Yourself - Lizzie Velasquez
On Changing Dreams - Emma Chapman
A Pep Talk - Kid President
Learning As I Go - Always Rooney
Today I'm Old - Wonder Forest

I also find that looking at puppy pictures or listening to a good song, helps me feel good. Chin up.

xo. melisa

** you can read more of my words of encouragement here.


Forgive me for a moment, while I air out some of my current frustrations with the world. What happened to loving ourselves? When did it become so normal to not be ourselves? What if we stopped judging ourselves and putting the blame on others? Because that's what happens isn't it? We say that others will find us repulsive if we don't wear makeup, or others will look down on us if we're not dressed a certain way. But that's mostly just talk and the root of it is in our heads. 

What if we started to own our face; the one we were born with, the one that resembles our mother's and her mother's. What if we learned to love it, short eyelashes, dark circles, sparse eyebrows and all. What if we looked in the mirror and saw all that was right, instead of all that is wrong. What if we stepped out the door with courage and boldness, not worried of how we would be perceived, but insisting that the world begin to see us for who we truly are.

What if we decided we had had enough and this became our new way of life. Would there be fires and panic? Would the world soldier on? Yes, it would do just that. And women from all around the world would lift each other up instead of tearing each other down. Comparison would no longer be an issue, and insecurity would no longer be a way of life. 

I understand that this is no small feat, but it is a goal. One that I believe we should all seek to achieve. I believe in a day where women will love themselves and not be accused of being conceited. I believe there will be a day when beauty is not measured by numbers of height and weight, but by the smiles she gives and the kindness she shares. I believe in a world where women look different and it's not just accepted, but it's applauded. Where you can look at yourself with excitement in knowing that you are not like any other out there; that you are you and that is not simply enough, but it is everything. 

I'm no longer buying into the ideal. Because "ideally", I would not fit into a specific size, or have hair a certain length, or wear a certain brand, but "ideally" I would simply learn to love myself the way I am. Every day you have the choice to be swayed by the opinions of others, thus hiding yourself under excuses - "oh it's just a bad hair day", "I didn't have enough time to get ready", "I didn't get a lot of sleep last night" - or, you can own up to who you are. We are fatally flawed, but it's our flaws that make us so perfect - they set us apart and make us unique. Without the very things we seek to rid ourselves of, we become less and less. 

Stop shrinking ladies. Stop saying you're not enough. Stop forcing yourself to stay quiet. Stop hating yourself. Love yourself. Stand up straight. Wear the clothes you feel great in. Speak your mind. Have an opinion. Share your views. Seek opportunities. You are worthy and deserving of a beautiful life. Stop believing that you are small and insignificant. You are more. You are more than what you do on a daily basis. You have more voice than you let yourself use. You have more personality than you let yourself share. You are not defined by your looks, your wardrobe, your pay or the car you drive. You are more. You are already who you want to be, you simply have to give yourself the permission to be you. 

And that's all I have to say for now.

xo. melisa

a word of encouragement

Yes, we are called to excellence, but perfection is unattainable. The sooner we can grasp that, the more life we will gain from our days. I spent more than a few years trying and searching for "my place". It was rarely at the front of the line, leading triumphantly, and fortunately enough it wasn't in the back with those straggling along just trying to get by, I was (and for the most part still am) a happy medium between the two. I wanted to be seen in the eyes of my peers as one who had it all "together". Needless to say it was a facade that I would never live up to. I always envisioned a better version of myself out there in the world and I wanted so desperately to be her. 

Looking back on who I once was and who I am today, I struggle with the thought that though I have grown, matured, and ultimately become different, I am and forever will be me. Though one may say I am a new and improved version of my awkward self, I like to think that this girl I am today was in there all along, I just didn't know then what I know now. My confidence stems from lessons learned, individuals who have spoken life into me, and circumstances that only time could have brought to me. You see, I was always who I am today, I just didn't know it then.

I take great joy in this. In fact I find that it gives me a courage to face the days to come with strength and confidence, knowing that deep within me lies a much wiser me, one who has lost and won, who has seen great victories and terrible losses, who has overcome and been beaten, who has stood and has fallen, who knows far beyond what I know now... that girl is me. She is who I wish I could be today, but who gives me hope in tomorrow, knowing that one day I will be her in my entirety. 

We spend our whole lives striving to be the best versions of ourselves, when indeed we are the exact versions we were created to be. Indeed we are our best. God did not create us as less than His best. Life is merely our journey to become who we once were. Through life, mistakes, hardships, temptations, losses, sickness, heartaches and beyond, we have furthered ourselves from our once perfect selves and have thus begun the race to become that which was lost. The beautiful thing is that Jesus fills that gap for us. That which was lost is found, and though we remain imperfect, we gain something far greater, a life with God. I am fatally flawed, but I worship one who is perfect in all ways. There I said it. I know this post is a little heavy and especially if your beliefs don't line up with mine, but whether you believe in God or not, the truth is this; you are important and you matter. You are not perfect, but gosh you are pretty great. You are loved and you are not alone. You can do more than you think you can and one day you will look back on today and wonder why you worried so much. One day you will look and see that you are indeed much wiser, much further, and much stronger than you ever thought you'd be. And what a glorious day that will be.


a word of encouragement

I was talking with Jesus the other day, and this is me just being totally real with you, and I was thanking Him for being so good and faithful to me. I've learned over the years to be in constant thanks; it helps kick the worries and the stresses in the face. I often find myself thanking God for the littlest and silliest of things, but good things no less, that have brought me even the slightest bit of joy. For instance, and I'm aware this may make me sound insane, for whatever reason anytime I find myself in a foul mood, I will come across the cutest baby animal that instantly puts a smile on my face. Like a miniature horse that happens to be grazing in a field on my way home from a bad day at work, or a tiny mouse scurrying across the road just after having a tough conversation, or a tiny dog just sitting in a front seat after feeling completely overwhelmed... Yes, it may be coincidence, or it just may be God sending me a message, perfectly tailored to who I am, to remind me that He is good, He loves me and He is for me, not against me - and then I give thanks. 

So back to my original story, I was in the car the other day, thanking Jesus and I began to think of moments passed when I missed out on the opportunity of being thankful. There are times in our lives where things go awry and we trust God, we pray, and we accept the fate that is upon us, but how often do we find ourselves thanking Him for those circumstances? You see in this moment of thanks, I grew strong in my heart. I did not thank Him because my life was perfect, I was appreciating Him through my struggle; that although life did not feel as I thought it would, it was indeed a part of His plan and I was ever thankful to be a part of that plan. 

It's in the struggle that our love for Him can either wither away, being easily swayed by circumstances, or it can settle in and begin to grow roots, it can trust and bathe in the beauty that is faith - faith in things hoped for, believing in the unseen and knowing that God is indeed on our side. 

I don't know your current state, but whatever it may be, remember to be thankful. It may not always feel like the best life, or even the life you imagined, but it is certainly a beautiful gift - enjoy every moment and give thanks! It's a wonderful feeling to be grateful. In fact I think it is more rewarding on this end than it is to receive the thanks; although that's always nice too!  I hope you have a lovely day!


A Word of Encouragement

Have you ever encountered a fork in the road? You know, like you have two options and you're not sure which one is the "right one."  Here's what I've come to the conclusion of over the last month or so. In your life you will have many forks in the road, opportunities to go one way or the other. While it makes more sense to believe that one way is the "right way" and the other will lead to ultimate doom, I dare take a different perspective. What if, they're both the "right one"?? What if both will get you to the destination you (or God) desires? Is it possible that both will be the "right choice" and both, carrying their own sets of challenges, promises and blessings, will in fact get you to where you need to be; and somehow you have been entrusted with the glorious option of simply choosing which to take based solely on your preference?? I believe so. 

Yes, I think sometimes we are faced with two options and one is clearly a better choice and the other may lead down some serious trials, but more often than not I think we find ourselves in the Two Good Paths scenario. I believe God has a plan. I like to think of my life as a maze of sorts - sometimes I feel completely lost and I feel as though I'm turning aimlessly, while other times I see a turn up ahead that makes total and complete sense and I know for certain I'm going to make it through okay. There are countless times when I face a decision of turning right or left and in all reality, they will both get me to the end; one may take longer, have a few more crazy turns, but if I'm still seeking God, still living my life the way I know to be true, then I'll make it out alive and well. 

I just think it's incredible that God, the maker of all I know to be true, trusts me. Because that's what all this is about. We get ourselves into these situations and we immediately seek God through prayer and get all sorts of anxious when we don't hear a definitive yes or no. Honestly, I kind of love when God does this. It's a bigger leap of faith for me to trust in myself than it is to trust in God. That's worded kind of silly so let me explain, when I hear from God, I know for certain it's God and I listen and obey. When I don't hear from God, it freaks me out. Let's just be honest, at a certain point you have to be willing to trust that God trusts you. Making a choice because God says as opposed to making it based on what God has taught you through the years is just easier, in my opinion. 

Take this all with a grain of salt, but this is simply what has been on my heart and I just wanted to share. If you feel like you're at a fork, and you're not really hearing a yes or no from God, just know that He hasn't left you, He's standing by your side and He trusts you. With Him there is no wrong way; if you're seeking out His dreams for your life then you will get there. Don't give up and believe in who He has created you to be. You can do anything you set your heart to. ( and there was much rejoicing!)


a word of encouragement

Lately I've been faced with some pretty big decisions; mostly trying to decide where God wants me. Without sharing too much, its been a tough week of trying to figure out which direction to turn. While some opportunities may seem great in certain areas, they also carry some draw backs. It's an interesting place to find yourself in when you don't seem to hear a definitive answer on the matter at hand. 

For the last few days I've been in a state of unrest and confusion. Most times when I feel this way I find myself praying to God and talking an awful lot, which generally leads me to one of my favorite verses in the Bible...

"Be still and know that I am God..."

And bam, just like that, I shut my mouth. I get so easily caught up in worry and logistics and planning and talking and talking (see what I mean?) that I forget to acknowledge the greatest thing of all... God is God. Well that just seems silly to say; kinda like one of those "duh..." moments, but it's easy to forget that the one you're praying to already knows the problem and even better, knows the answer, He's God after-all. At times it may be hard to hear from Him, some of you may not have ever heard from Him, but it doesn't change the fact that He's there, and He's talking, it's just a matter of whether or not we choose to listen.

I tend to want a plan (yes, we know this). More often than not though, much to my dismay, the plan goes out the window. I find it best to not make the plan, but alas I do it anyways. In this situation I want to write out my next step, I want to know what opportunity to choose and I want to know how it's going to work out, I want to weigh pros and cons and make lists... cause lists make my heart feel better.

I know now though that no matter the lists or plans, God knows better than I, and whether I choose to go to the right or to the left, I believe my destination will be the same. Each will carry its own set of obstacles, joys, mountains and valleys, but in the end I will be changed for the better. Yes. I choose to believe that these moments of what seem to be confusion are merely lessons from God in trust; not only trusting in Him, but trusting in ourselves and the capacity we have to make good choices. 

I will wake in the morning to make a call, and with that call I will choose to say yes or say no, but either way I will have peace in knowing that I'm one step closer to where God wants me. It's not always an easy journey, but it's moments like these that I'm grateful I don't have to go it alone. Agreed? 


a word of encouragement - to myself

Do you ever go through situations and think, "a few years ago, there's no way I would've survived this", or " last year I would've never thought I'd be where I am today."? I do, like all the time. I think of how silly young me was and thought it would be fun to have a little creative writing lesson, and maybe (hopefully) provide a little encouragement or inspiration for you.

Dear 15 year old self, 

it's me (you) eight years from the future! Weirds right?? Yes, you say weirds now. I just wanted to say hi and let you in on a few tips. There's a lot of lessons up ahead that are soon to be learned. You're going to go through a wide variety of craziness, but overall, you turn out okay. In moments of weakness, trust that you are indeed stronger than you think. When you face difficult decisions, trust your instincts, and don't be easily swayed by others. Believe in yourself; start to dream bigger and wilder than you ever have before! When you fail, and yes, no matter how much you fight it, you will, get back up and try again; perseverance and endurance will become your best friends. Patience truly is a virtue and don't ever pray for it because God will hear it and you will find yourself in "waiting situations" a lot! But I suppose it's okay because He always follows through, so no worries. In moments of confusion, don't overthink it, you'll get stressed out and get migraines and make situations 100 times more complicated, just trust that God is in control and you don't always have to have a plan. No matter how dim your past or present may seem, your future is bright. Continue to value yourself, don't settle for anything less than the best and learn to love who you are. 

I know that's a lot to take in, but truth is, there isn't enough time or room to teach you all you need to know. The best part is, is that I don't have to. Even though it's hard, confusing and overwhelming, every situtation, every obstacle, every problem,,, it has a solution, it has an answer and it holds an opportunity for growth. You may not feel this way now, but one day you'll be proud of who you are, you'll feel less insecure, you'll be okay with standing out and won't constantly want to fit in, you'll have girls looking up to you and because of what you've faced, you'll be able to teach them and help them through similar situations. If there's one thing I want you to know; that one thing I wish I'd known from the start... it's that life is rarely what you plan, but for some reason it comes out so much better.

You and Elisha are still together (hooray!), you lose some friends, hold on to others and make new ones. You get to visit lots of fun places, learn more than you ever thought possible, learn to play an instrument (thanks to hundreds of hours in the practice room), you get a degree, you get your credentials,  you take lots of photos, get to hold lots of puppies (but unfortunately still not own one) and best of all, you're happy. Life isn't always peaches, but you are happy and content; it's really all you've ever wanted. I know there's moments I wish I could relive, people I miss and things I wish I hadn't taken for granted. Enjoy everyday.


ps: the winners of the sponsor spot giveaway have been emailed! Thanks so much to all who participated!!

a word of encouragement

The last few months I've been challenged to trust God in a very unique way, not only for the situations in my life, but of the situations in the lives of those closest to me. The biggest question I am always faced with when talking with those who don't believe in God is, "Why do bad things happen to good people?" It's true, sometimes bad things do happen to incredible people, people who in my opinion deserve nothing but good and wonderful things. While I know the answer isn't a favored one, and sometimes you just want to throw up your hands and say, it's not fair, you have to know that God isn't making anything happen, he's simply allowing it. "Well, why is He allowing it?", you may ask. The answer is simple and something I've learned time and time again and it's something we can glean from His word; in our weakness, He is made strong. Through these situations that literally take the life out of us, we are stronger everyday that we wake up, stronger every time we choose not to give up, stronger every single moment that we overcome. The truth is, that no situation is too big. God has made us overcomers, people capable of enduring and persevering through more than we ever thought imaginable. Be not overcome by your situation, but overcome your situation.

I think of every circumstance I've ever faced, every obstacle I've overcome, every mountain I've climbed and every valley I've fearfully walked through and somehow, I'm still amazed that I made it through all of it and am who I am today. Put me through those first situations years ago knowing what I know now, it would be a breeze. Why? Because I had to go through it to know; to know just how strong I really am, to know just how big my God really is, and to trust that there is a plan and there is always a victory waiting for us.

I don't know what giants you may find yourself up against, I don't know if you're going through a valley or feeling broken, unwanted or empty; I do know that there is a purpose, however confusing it may feel, God is with you, there is still fight in you, this situation can only get the best of you if you let it. Otherwise, it can be one of those life changing events where you turned and looked at yourself and found a strength that you didn't even know was there. 

If you have a need, something you feel too insecure to share with those you know, leave a comment below, or email me; I want to pray for you. I want you to know that you're not alone and there will be no judgement here. I hope this helped somebody feel a strength rise up within them, that they didn't feel before. Have a sweet day!