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

T I P S + A D V I C E :: thirty ways to a better a day


Sure, we all have bad days but we do ourselves a disservice when we allow the bad days to get the best of us. Giving in to a bad day is simply a waste of precious hours you could be using to do something incredible. So, in order to battle the bad days, here's a list of thirty ways to have a better day.

Call up an old friend
Pet a dog
Read a magazine
Eat some chocolate
Go for a run
Light a candle
Say hi to a stranger
Twirl in your dress
Write something down with a permanent marker
Open up your bible
Disconnect
Think of your best day
Turn on your favorite song
Go to Target. Walk around. Breathe.
Give someone a hug
Write down five things you're good at
Give someone a compliment
Watch this video
Drink some chai
Take a selfie
Paint your nails
Take a bath
Buy an unneeded beauty item
Talk
Go to a yoga class
High-five a friend
Dream of a perfect day
Learn a new joke
Roll your windows down and dance while driving
Smile

I know life can get hard. I understand that sometimes it's easier to call it a day and shut the door and wait for tomorrow. I know that life is worth the struggle though. So in the midst of the bad days and terrible moments, take a step back and try to make it better. If for no other reason than your sanity. You can do it! Here's to a better day!


xo. melisa

S A Y :: free people, free people


Lastnight I had the privilege of speaking at our Wednesday Night Youth Service. I was the perfect mix of nervous and excited. I have gone through a two year discipleship program where I got my ministerial credentials, 4 years at a bible university and been involved in ministry for 10 years, I've taught Sunday school classes and led small groups, but I have never ever preached a sermon. Why? Fear, nervousness, feelings of inadequacy... all of the usual suspects. So, Elisha regularly tries to get me on stage and I always have some excuse not to. Well, this time he got me. He asked and I said yes (and then immediately regretted my decision). As I prayed and thought through what I wanted to share, I began to get more and more peace about what I was going to be doing.  I realized that I had gone through certain situations in my life, felt certain feelings and experienced certain life change, that for me to share, would be my way giving those things purpose. I failed, I learned, I grew and now it gets to benefit other girls; and that's amazing! 

So lastnight I shared and it was incredible. I felt...comfortable. One word that I never thought I'd say about preaching. I didn't even feel afraid. It was really great being able to share with these young women and have them come up to me and share how much it meant to them. I know I am not the greatest communicator, but God has given me (and all of us!) a voice. 

At the Passion Conference I went to this last weekend, there was a phrase that kept being shared and it was: free people, free people. When we are free, when we know the truth and we tell others about our experience, it changes and frees them too! You have a voice, use it! 

I thought of rewriting my sermon as a blog post, but let's be honest, sometimes hearing a voice talking directly to us, makes a big difference. So, if you'd like to hear my sermon on relationships and the four lies the world tries to convince us of, take a listen! 



Thanks so much for all of your support and kind comments left for me on instagram and twitter! Y'all are the best! 

xo. melisa

**for some reason it starts the video at minute 7... sorry!

S A Y :: do what you're good at


D O   W  H A T    Y O U  ' R E    G O O D   A T 

I read these words the other day and I haven't been able to shake em. I think somehow in attempt to grow, we try our hand at things and let's be honest, we're just not that good at them. For some reason we continue to do these things, either because we're "supposed to", we feel like "we should be good at this", or simply because we want to "get better". But here's the honest truth, we should stop doing the stuff we suck at and start doing the things we're great at! Not only will our work be more satisfying, because generally we love what we're good at, but we'll create work that is great, instead of creating something mediocre. Find your strengths and build on those. Sure, we should work towards turning our weaknesses into... not weaknesses(?), but more than that, we should capitalize on our strengths. As I write this, I start to question whether or not I even know what those are. That's another thing! Sometimes we focus so much on the things we're lousy at that we don't even realize what we're great at! So, stop what you're doing (but finish reading this first), grab a pen and paper, or pull up pages, or grab your phone and open up notes - write down your strengths. For some it may be easy, but I'd venture to say a few of us will stare at our blank page for a moment or two. When we know our strengths and stop trying to "fit in" and be something we're just not, it's so freeing! Instead of being a round peg trying to fit into a square hole, stressing ourselves to be great at something we were never even intended to be good at, we can just simply be who we were created to be. We were all created with brilliant thoughts and ideas, filled with gifts and talents, brimming over with potential, so... what are your strengths? 

S A Y


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

S A Y


This question has been plaguing me as of late; "what makes you happy?". What makes you come alive? Is it being alone with your thoughts, or in a crowded room of loved ones? Is it doing absolutely nothing still in your pjs, or going on an adventure - running or hiking through the woods? Is it in a conversation or a moment at all? No, for me I think it's a state of mind. I think it's when my passion is ignited, that I find myself most alive - when I'm doing the very things that set me apart and make my insides feel whole. It's when I'm singing, or sharing the love of Christ -  It's when I'm laughing so hard I cry, or designing something that moves me - doodling and making nonsense into something lovely through words in a post - it's all of the above. I am happiest when my passion is being fulfilled.
What makes you come alive??


xo. mel

LE WED :: everything I wish I'd known


Having just gotten married two weeks ago, I thought I'd share a little bit about my engagement experience while it's still fresh. I know of several sweet ladies who are currently engaged and so from one bride to another, here's everything I wish I'd known.

A FEW CLICHE THINGS PEOPLE SAY, THAT ARE IN FACT TRUE

In regards to the dress "Once you put it on, you'll just know" - I can't explain it, but something truly magical happens when you put on The Dress. I tried on many dresses at three locations and many were beautiful, but none were "mine". Once I put on the dress I ended up buying, it was like I was looking at the picture I'd always had in my mind. In that dress I felt like a bride, not like a girl in a pretty dress. So yes, you'll just know. And it'll be an incredible moment that you won't get back so soak it in!

"Something will always go wrong" - yes. Just yes. I know you're thinking (just like I did), what could possibly go "wrong". Everything is planned and I can't imagine something major not working out. Well it happens; in spite of all the planning and precautions, it happens. It was a few things here and there for us, and of course the minor issue of our photographer having to cancel two days before the wedding. Things will go wrong, but SO many things will go right! And the mess ups will find a way of working themselves out, turning your wedding into a dream come true.

"Take in every moment, because you're likely not to remember a thing" - I tried to do this as much as possible because I already know how forgetful I can be and I knew that the stress and magnitude of the day would inevitably only make me more forgetful. I would catch myself just stopping what I was doing to just say "You're getting married!" and then cry, ha! You don't have to do the crying part, but the former is necessary. Let it sink in. This is such a bright spot in your life, that to not take it in to it's fullest would be a shame. 

A FEW THINGS I'M GLAD WE DID

+ I decided to not wear any jewelry or anything in my hair. Most people felt I should get more "fancy" and wear jewelry because it was a special occasion. I never wear jewelry or put my hair up. I wanted to stay true to myself and I'm so glad I did! Looking at pictures I feel like I look like myself and I love that. That's not to say that you can't be a little more shiny on your big day, but if it totally goes against you and your personal style, then it doesn't have to be for you.

+ We didn't have a "first look". Elisha was pretty adamant about not seeing me before the wedding. He wanted the first time to be when I was walking towards him down the aisle. This was hard for me because we got married when the sun had already set and I really wanted photos of us during the day. Fortunately, we ended up having an incredible photographer who got super creative. Elisha and I were led by my bridesmaids to a field prior to the wedding. We had our eyes closed the entire time and our photographer posed us and we got some exceptional shots. We would take turns looking at the camera, but never actually seeing the other - it was such a fun experience. The moment Elisha saw me and the expression on his face was priceless, so I am SO happy we didn't go with the first look.

+ We stayed true to ourselves. Sure, there's some really cute and trendy ideas floating around pinterest, but not every great idea has to be great for you. Early on I was pretty set on making this wedding about two things - me and Elisha. I wanted everything to convey who we were and celebrate that with our friends and family. So when people asked what our "theme" was or even colors, I'd just say... it's kind of a mix of things. Because we're kind of a mix of things. Nothing really "matched", but it went together because we go together. I'm really happy I didn't jump on any one bandwagon, but created and bought things that we loved, simply because we loved them. And I think in the end it all flowed and people loved it!

A FEW THINGS I WISH WE'D DONE

+ The little things. There are honestly not a lot of big things I would've changed about the wedding. It was just a lot of little things that sort of slipped my mind in the process. I didn't pack pens. We had our guestbook and advice cards, but I only put out pencils for the advice cards. They ended up getting used for the guestbook and everyone's words aren't as easy to read... I didn't get a chance to finish all of the chalkboard signs that I had wanted to put out...ya know, the little things that really didn't make a big difference.

+ Sparklers. We decided it would be fun to use birdseed for our exit. I made cute pouches (which i'll be sharing a DIY for here in the next few weeks) and filled them with seeds. I thought it was a cute idea because it didn't cause a bunch of "trash" that confetti would create and it was a little different then the weddings I'd been too. Well, in theory, great idea. Actually, it was awful. Not only did people decide it was a good idea to pelt handfuls at our faces, they were so tiny that they got in my dress and in our hair. We spent a good hour trying to get it all out! So, birdseed bad, sparklers, good.

A FEW HELPFUL TIPS

+ Have a plan. Knowing that several things will go wrong, doesn't mean you shouldn't have everything planned to a T. Even setting up Plan B's will be hugely helpful.

+ Hire a coordinator for the day of. Even if it's just a close friend that you trust. You need someone on the day of who will be able to handle the process and answering questions on your behalf. That's why it's best that it's someone who knows you well enough to know what you would want. I'm SO happy I had my dear friend Lydia for our big day - couldn't have done it without her!

+ Go with the flow. Here was my mantra, "at the end of today I will be married" - that was really all that mattered. The rest was fun, and beautiful and exciting, but all that truly made the difference was those two words... I do!

+ Use your resources. If you know someone who has a ton of glassware, ask if you can borrow it. If your friend has an amazing voice, no need to hire a band, just let them do their thing! If you're friend is an incredible artist, ask her to do your invites. We are so blessed with creative and gifted people in our lives that getting everything we needed was so much fun! It makes the wedding even more exciting because people you love aren't just attending, but they're involved.

+ Hand out jobs. If you haven't hired a cleaning crew, then just utilize your bridal party and family. Have a list of everything that needs to get done and assign different people to each job. They will be happy to help and feel like they're able to contribute. 

+ The things you think will matter, kind of end up not mattering. It's funny because the things we poured the most time and energy into, kind of ended up not being the best things about the wedding, or just not really working out the way we thought. For example, our catering was from a food truck called Salsa Limon, from here in Ft Worth. We were SO excited to have the food truck because they were going to actualy be able to drive into the venue and serve from the truck. We love eating there, so it was special for us. After the planning and stressing of having them there, it turned out that the ac on the top of their truck made it too tall to fit in, ha! Day of, it really didn't matter, but it was just funny to think that we thought it would be the highlight and it didn't even come together. But it happens. Just don't get too attached to any one part of the day - except your groom to be!

I am by no means a pro, just a girl who went through it. This was such a wonderful time for me and Elisha. We grew so much closer and really saw how we worked as a team. If your fiance isn't as into the planning portion that's okay too, that's what bridesmaids are for! Which, I absolutely couldn't have made it to the big day without those sweet ladies. And a special shoutout to my sister, the ultimate MOH. But seriously, if she could be a professional MOH, she would make bank - so lucky to have her! Just have fun, take photos of the process, soak it in and enjoy - you're getting married!  If you have any questions about anything leave them in the comments and I'll answer them as best I can!


xo. melisa

L E W E D :: the wait is worth it


This is a post for all of the lovely ladies who are either: currently dating someone that they've been with for several years, or currently not dating anyone and wondering if they will ever meet "the one".

As a Christian, there's this certain pressure to get married young and start your ministry as soon as possible.  Most girls are encouraged to get married during their college years and at my university there was a saying of getting your "ring by spring". As crazy as it may seem to some, I gave into this idea and wondered when I was going to get married. I started dating Elisha when I was 16 and as I've shared before, I was certain that we were going to get married - and so was he. We had initially wanted to get married once I graduated high school (kids in love). Plans changed when I decided to enroll in a 9 month intensive discipleship program called Master's Commission. It was like a mixture of an internship with the church and bible school; focusing on devoting your time and energy on your relationship with God. I was excited, but the only problem was the fact that during your first year, you weren't allowed to date. Which meant Elisha and I had to "break up". I put quotes because yes, we didn't date, we didn't talk or text, but in our hearts we knew that this was a season for us, but we were still going to be together.

So, we postponed the inevitable marriage. I ended up doing another year of Master's Commission and we were able to date again. After that year we moved to Texas and I started school in the Fall and he started his new position. We decided marriage during school just wasn't smart or responsible for us. We wanted to start fresh - no debt or school bills and full time jobs. So we waited.

Now, during these years, don't think I was cool, calm or collected. More often than not, I was a mess! I understood that there was a plan, but I'm a girl and as girls, we tend to freak out. I saw my friends getting married. They were getting married to guys that they had met, dated and married all during the time that Elisha and I had been together. It wasn't easy. Simply because I was just so ready to move onto the next phase with Elisha.

Here's what you need to understand; every moment you are with the man you love, should be enough. period. I remember God asking me, "what if you never got to marry Elisha?" I told Him that was ridiculous and He couldn't possibly be serious. Again, He asked the question and I thought to myself. Well, I would still be with him. If I could never be his wife, it would be beyond difficult, but I love him and I cannot imagine my life without him. It was in that moment that I understood. In whatever season we're in, close or far away from eachother, on a break or going strong, dating or married, we are together. Together forever.

I know the wait is hard. Oh trust me, I know. 

I guess I wanted to share this because it always encouraged me to know that there wasn't something wrong with me - like I wasn't the only one in the boat. There's quite a few in your boat. Most of the time I felt like I was the captain of the boat. But there was a day, when Elisha proposed, that in a single moment, all the waiting, all the tears, all the conversations with God, all the anxiety, worries and wondering, finally made sense. I know there could've been an easier way. I know we could've just gotten married right away, but if we had, I wouldn't have known God's faithfulness the way I do today. I am able to appreciate His loving care for us and His plan in an entirely new way. For that, I am grateful. It's our story. It's unique and it's not the way everyone should have it, but that's what makes our relationships so perfect. 


xo. melisa