Monday, May 1, 2017

913 Days

Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."

For 913 days, we waited on the Lord.

We hoped, we wept, we despaired and we grabbled for a stronghold. Time and again we found the Lord - or, more accurately, he found us in our brokenness. He truly works in ALL circumstances to call us to Himself. He is our stronghold in good times and bad. His name is to be praised above all names. It is incomprehensible that God would incline his ear to us and - more - invite us to call him daddy. He has listened to the cries of his people and he has granted us once more the blessing of life. He alone is the author of life.

He is a good God and his timing is perfect. Thank you for this blessing and that I never felt alone in my 2.5 year walk through infertility. Thank you to the countless people who have prayed with us and for us -- who have walked with us through peaks and valleys. It means everything.

If you are still in the wait, remember, there is beauty and blessings to be found in the brokenness. Cling to God and He will indeed make ALL things new. I am praying for you if this is your struggle.

Baby 2: I chose you. I fought for you. I had to choose you again and again when things got hard -- when we traveled to hell and back. 913 days of waiting, wanting and wondering. And you are completely worth the wait. In fact, as weird as this seems to say now, I wouldn't trade the wait for anything because it made this moment so much sweeter.

                                              Nugget #2 Arriving in December!

Isaiah 26

"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock."

Psalm 127:3

"Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him."

Friday, January 6, 2017

My Prayer for the New Year

I took some time off my blog in 2016. I read through the Bible last year for a second time and I realized that God was wanting me to pursue His words more than speak my own. Proverbs warns us that where there are many words, sin is unavoidable. Oh, how that's true.

We know that fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom — and wisdom is to be treasured above all things. This past year, God used His truth and His word to bring wisdom to my life. What he didn't do was give me all the desires of my heart — he gave me the desires of His, which are always better.

In the coming year, I'm going to heed God's instruction for younger women in Titus 2:4 to " their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God." A REALLY wonderful read on this subject is Carolyn Mahaney's "Feminine Appeal: Seven Virtues of a Godly Wife and Mother." I can't recommend it enough for wives and mothers.

In 2017 and beyond, I'm also focusing on cultivating gratitude in every moment. That means fighting through the long day at work or whiny child or husband working late and still want to be present in difficult moments. Throwing away the gift of even a moment is an affront to God and his blessing of time.

Psalm 1:6 tells us that "the Lord watches over the way of the righteous..." I'm comforted by this stepping into a new year. Aren't you?

Happy New Year, friends!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Road of Infertility

Years ago I let myself imagine a life with two children. I prayed a peculiar prayer. I asked God to close my womb until I could appreciate another child. Until His timing was right. And He answered my prayer. He is a good father.

Nearly two years later, I have mixed, complicated feelings about this past season of infertility. God has taught me gratitude (for Nora specifically and, really, for all my blessings) and a whole new appreciation for the gift of life that even years of pro-life work couldn't. I know without a doubt that God is the author of life. I've lived that truth.

The hardest parts have been not getting what I want when I want it and not knowing why we couldn't conceive. There have been definite low points, but by the grace of God through this, they have been few. I praise God I have not endured miscarriages. I know plenty who have and I pray for peace for them.

It has been a mixed bag of blessings and brokenness -- depending on how close I've felt to God, his word and his people.

The bottom line: There's no identifiable reason why I shouldn't be pregnant. There's really nothing wrong -- and that has been the greatest news to me -- a definite answer to prayer. God is in this. Miraculous, blessed infertility. Perhaps just for a season.

So where do I go from here?

Sure, there are a few more things I could explore and other ways to create life. And I may explore more testing. I'm not going through IVF, though. That's where I've decided to draw the line.

Life's a little easier with a 3-year-old than it was with a baby. I have the freedom to do more, serve more, and love more. And maybe that's the only gift of the kind that I will get in this life. But, I think my sweet daughter needs a playmate. I am considering the process of adoption. I'm sure God has brought me to this in so many beautiful ways.

Be still and know that I am God. I have to tell myself that daily.

Life is not about accomplishing our will. We don't get to write our story. It's about trusting in the Lord and being a willing servant in whatever circumstance he places us.

Soli deo gloria!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


If I didn't believe in the power of food before, I certainly do now...

A few months ago when I was still struggling with mono and catching every virus I crossed paths with, a very smart friend said to me, "Hashimotos." I said "bless you!" and then "what does that even mean?" and then went to my naturopath to test my thyroid antibodies, among other things.

Then I waited. Even though my blood work showed that my mono was inactive, I was still exhausted. Like, I-don't-know-how-to-be-a-mother-through-this-exhaustion (not to mention mood swings, blood sugar crashes, holding onto extra weight and infertility). Which causes a lot of tension when you're parenting a threenager.

I do have Hashimotos, an auto-immune disease that causes varying degrees of hypothyroid symptoms. And, good news, it's very treatable and can be reversed. And I have a Vitamin D deficiency and low iron. And that's it. And all the things I've been struggling with have an end in sight. All very good news to me. Here's the part that's not:

Diet and exercise are part of my treatment. I've been told to avoid gluten and dairy. Anyone who's tried this knows how very, very difficult this can be. One time when I was avoiding gluten a couple years ago some friends shared a pizza in front of me and I cried. Literally cried gluten-less tears of isolation and hunger.

Now I just have to find a palatable way to replace everything I eat now with a gluten-free option (yeah, yeah and dairy-free). So far, I've survived two Thanksgiving luncheons. I began this post with the word "anwers." I'll end it with the word "hope."

I have hope that things will be better in the near future. And, regardless, I'm grateful for all the blessings in my life (especially right now since my doctor has me pumped full of vitamin D!). This is the best time in history to be gluten free with all of the options for food I have. Instead of dwelling on the things that are (hopefully temporarily) off-limits to me, I will choose to be grateful. This will be a much-needed season of discipline in my life.

All this to say, if you see me out and about and I have a donut in my hand, smack it out! No, seriously, I love all of the advice I've already gotten. Please keep sending it to me!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Power of Food

I was a picky eater.

Growing up, I didn't eat vegetables — save for the occasional green bean, some corn, baked beans and pickles??? (do any of these even count!?)

You might be wondering what I ate. Let me tell you: chicken, hamburgers, grilled cheese and lots of boxed, processed foods, like macaroni & cheese and hamburger helper. And that was IT.

Sometimes when I'm tempted to point the finger of blame, I look at Nora in her stubborn toddler state and realize my parents did the best they could with what they had — especially if I was half as stubborn as she is.

Learning to cook real food has been quite the process for me. I still remember, as an adult mind you, the moment I realized that even macaroni and cheese could be made from raw materials and not just from a box.

It was in college that my dietary choices caught up with me. I was diagnosed with and suffered from IBS. It was debilitating at times. I experienced a lot of pain and a lot of tears during what should have been the best years of my life. I visited a gastroenterologist to work through it, but I don't ever remember him telling me to put the Pop-tarts down and pick up some spinach.

Flash forward to after college — to my wedding. My digestive tract was flared again. It was messed up enough that I wanted to plan my wedding around the times that I knew my body would give me fits. It would have been preferable for me to skip eating altogether (which I essentially did).

Guys, our food choices matter.

Now, there's nothing more satisfying than making real, nutritious food from scratch for myself and my family. When I watch Nora devouring Brussels sprouts (soon to be straight out of my garden) a baby tear of pride rolls down my cheeks.

Getting married and becoming a mom have given me the drive to cultivate my culinary appetite. I show love through the food I serve. It's my heart on a platter. Nora will not suffer the way I did. I want better for her.

Knowledge is power. 

What can you do? Watch food documentaries. Buy a cookbook that emphasizes real food. Start a garden — no matter how small. Learn to cook a couple of healthy meals from scratch. Replace 1-2 processed foods/snacks/ingredients in your home with real food (homemade potato chips, homemade chicken broth). If you have kids, find a vegetable that you can prepare in a way that they will like it. It's possible, I promise.

As for me, I plan to continue to cultivate my passion for food production and the culinary arts. Sometimes, when you have a God-sized dream, you just need at least one person to come alongside you and tell you you're not crazy. I have been fortunate enough to find encouragement to chase the things that matter most to me.

The Melvilles have a lot of exciting prospects on the horizon in the coming months and years — God-willing. I am not ready to disclose it all here yet since best laid plans and all.... I promise I will bring you all on board when the time is right!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Family Photo Shoot

Finally! We finally carved out time to do a quick, mini-session with our good friends, The Abrahams Photography.

Here are our favorites:

Here are the outtakes, which, let's face it, are usually the best part (and unavoidable when your 2-year-old decides not to nap before the photo shoot):

Monday, October 19, 2015

Winter Survival Guide

About this time every year, the sadness creeps in when I remember that winter lies in wait.

But NOT this year!

This year I'm being proactive:

Vitamin D. I can't recommend it enough. Most women my age are deficient in it. I take it and joy wells up inside my once empty heart :-)

Exercise. I must keep running like my life depends on it. It gives me the good feelies.

The winter garden. This year I have planted kale, collards, Brussels sprouts, spinach and arugula. I need reasons to go outside and to stay active. I also LOVE cooking in the winter, and, in general, I love cooking unprocessed, homegrown food. The winter garden made perfect sense. Just like with my summer garden, I'm learning through trial and error.

What are your winter survival tricks? And I'm trying to kick retail therapy, so don't suggest that! ;-)