Monday, November 28, 2011


I'm feeling a little stressed and overwhelmed this holiday season. It's mostly for all the expected holiday reasons, but there are also a few things I'm not ready to discuss.

Jonathan and I still haven't found productive ways to deal with our stress. I took him to urgent care over the weekend because his heart has been racing nonstop lately. I think he just needed to hear that his heart is fine and he's not about to die — and he did hear that, thanks for asking. I know some of my stress affects him as well, and for that I feel incredibly guilty.

One of the many things I'm trying to do is to learn to let things go. I have to-do lists piled all over this house. I'm pretty sure I've put "make to-do list" on a to-do list before. I have serious problems. Some days I feel like my anxiety will kill me.

One thing I've been very frustrated by lately is my apparent lack of time management skills. I have a strong desire to spend more of my time and energy serving others. I know this won't take you by surprise, but I have a list. Yes, I have a list of people I want to serve. I plan to tackle this list before the year's end if it's the last thing I do — and at this rate, it probably will be! These are the things that make my time feel meaningful. Right now, I feel like other things constantly stand in the way. I don't know what to do, other than pray. That is where I'm at.

Please just say a quick prayer for Jonathan and me. We need to find productive outlets for our stress. The things that stress us out are constants, but how we choose to deal with them are the variables in this equation. Yes, I just busted those terms out.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I'm Thankful

This is my favorite holiday of the year! It's a time where the chaos that is my every day life momentarily stops to give me a beautiful reprieve.

I treasure spending time with my loved ones. All of the available carbs don't hurt, either.

This year, I have so much to be thankful for.

I'm thankful for grace, hope and love. I'm grateful to have found Jonathan — and for all the moments we've shared. I'm thankful for the little home we've built (figuratively, of course!). I couldn't have better family and friends. I love my church family and our community group. I'm thankful for the new jobs that found me this year — I am fulfilled and appreciated for the work I do, and I get to serve Christ thru my endeavors.

I'm even thankful for the little things: Crisp bed sheets, fall leaves, laughter, hugs, a new CD, that first sip of coffee in the morning, Pinterest, my blooming Christmas Cactus, creating something delicious in the kitchen, the last 100 pages of a good read, Saturday morning snuggles...

What are you thankful for?

Happy holidays from the Melvilles!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

While I'm making recommendations...

Shame on me for not sending you all to my best friend's Etsy site before now!!! I'll probably end up with coals in my stocking for this one.

Lezlee Elliott is a licensed illustrator and freelance designer. She will be a household name. Trust.

I've been saying for some time that Lezlee is quickly becoming a star (and not just because she designed me these awesome business cards!). She should be a star. She works harder than most — and she's working for herself — and fancy, schmancy people are starting to take notice. You better hurry up and get an original Lezlee Elliott design before she's no longer affordable.

Her Etsy site always includes seasonal goodies. For Christmas she's selling hand-painted ornaments, custom Christmas photo cards, and much more. Check out her store!

Also, follow along with her adventures on her blog because she's been known to give out free things now and then ;-)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Like Christmas

I was like a kid on Christmas Tuesday when my friend and former coworker Angela McRae let me be one of the few privileged people to lay eyes on her first published book, "Dainty Dining." See below:

As the subtitle of the book suggests, the book includes "Vintage recipes, memories and memorabilia from America's department store tea rooms."

Let me preface my review of this book by saying that, in real life, I'm like "eh" about tea. I have a spot of it here and there. Mostly when I have a sore throat. My appreciation for tea came from Angela's gentle nudging. Add to that the fact that most of these tea rooms were extinct before I became cognitively aware, and I thought I would be giving my friend's book the ol' obligatory, cheery review.

I was wrong. As I write this blog, I'm devouring my advance copy. I'm so captivated by this book. Jonathan loves it, too!

The first thing I noticed is that the book is packaged perfectly. It looks amazingly professional — and it's pretty, too! Pretty in pink, to be exact. That was no surprise to me, though, because Angela's favorite color is pink.

The content inside does not disappoint, either. The pages are packed with beautiful pictures, delicious, must-try recipes and interesting stories from our nation's history.

It's a wonderful niche publication, but it definitely has mass appeal. You should pick up a copy for yourself — and definitely for anyone who appreciates tea and longs for the return of the department store tea rooms (I do, now!). This would make a great Christmas gift.

For more information on ordering, check out Angela's blog:

I am so proud of my friend's accomplishment. She deserves this — she poured her heart and soul into this. I hope she's basking in the moment. But not for too long, then she needs to get started writing her next book!

Friday, November 4, 2011

I need your input!!!!

This is going to be a short, random blog post.

Jonathan and I have realized that we don't play as hard as we work. He does IT full time and then spends a great deal of time on his freelance web design business. I have my two part time jobs and write for the magazine and occasionally do other freelance work.... Oh, and I'm the house manager around here, which is like having another full time job.

We're trying to plan something fun for this weekend, which might include an overnight trip somewhere. We're neither one the greatest at spontaneity, though :-( And, I realize the time we have to do this with just the two of us is slipping away!!!

Short of spending a fortune to travel, what are some creative ways we can have fun for a reasonable amount of money — or, better yet, for free. And, obviously, keep it clean, folks! ;-)

PLEASE share your ideas with me!!!!!!!!!

Pretty please.

With a cherry.