Yay!! We’re Moving!!

I haven’t updated in a long while (2 months) and with good reason. I’ve been busy with Liam, busy with the holidays, and I swear it feels as though school will never been in session again due to the weather. But all is good. No, better than good. All is fantastic!

"Let me sing you the song of my people..."

“Let me sing you the song of my people…”

A short summary of the last two months to catch us up to date: I gave birth to Liam 7 weeks early. He was 3 lbs. and 9 oz. and 16 inches long. (This whole birthing story will most definitely be blogged on–which a few funny insights–at a later date when I have time.) Anyway, being a preemie, he was moved to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital in Knoxville and was expected to be there for the duration until his original due date. Our time became completely consumed with Christmas holiday preparations and Liam visitations (a lot of traveling) on top of trying to be a normal family. It was hard and sometimes sad, but we made it through and was able to bring Liam home just in time for our family Christmas celebration 3 weeks after his birth. Truly a blessing!!

I really feel a significant shift in this new year for our family. I believe our time of burdens and hard struggles is finally over!

The boys’ winter break was extended longer than expected because of the abundant snowy/icy weather. This trend has continued even after the second semester has started. They love every chance they can get out of school. This winter has been crazy! Even today, the kids are out of school again. Spring break is clearly in jeopardy with all the days school has been canceled. It’s not even February yet! Bailey and Beau, my sister Mandy’s children, are here as well, playing with the boys and doting on Liam as I take time to sit and blog a family adventure update.

**And I just received the text cancelling school for tomorrow too. It’s going to be a loooooong week.**

This living room is a total pig sty!–winter coats that should be hung up are laying on every piece of furniture, tennis shoes that are scattered abroad from the constant in and out (my shoes are no exception. Bad, Mel!). Since Matt and I already share a cramped bedroom with Liam, his “toys” are also in the living room and baby toys such as baby swing, baby bouncy seat, and Boppee Lounger take up a ton of space. With his “distraction inventory” being concentrated in this area, I permanently leave my favorite mauve afghan (knitted by my great Aunt Iris) and a pillow or two in here to make nap time for Liam and, more importantly, me convenient. I have a mobile diaper changing station set up in here as well, which makes the clutter even more overwhelming for me, despite the fact that it’s neatly stacked on top of boxes. And oh the boxes. Like the Mindy Smith song, “Highs and Lows”–got a lot of pictures in boxes. Boxes and boxes of things I love… The things that are not in boxes are stacked along the side of the walls waiting to find their place in a box when we get more boxes. It’s enough to drive anybody nuts, especially neat freaks like my mom and Matt. I’ve lost all hope of sanity for the time being until the “big day”.

Yes, friends. We are finally moving out on our own and starting life on our own family footing! *cue the celebration!*

After the side-swiping news that we were unable to close on the house in Murfreesboro at the end of this past July due to the sudden and heartbreaking decision to let Matt go from his job at Global Fire, we were left with no other choice (aside from being homeless) to move in with my family in Crossville. Each of us were devastated with this turn of transition in our own right. Matt, for the first time since he was 18 was going to have to move in with parents, even if they were only his in-laws. Not to mention the discouragement he felt in being unable to follow through with purchasing a home for his new family. Talk about blow to the ego! I had been living with my parents for three years upon the ending of my first marriage and could never find a financially secure way to move out–just me, the boys, and our dog Virgil. So my disappointment in learning that I was still “trapped” was quite palpable. And the boys… We had built up the event of owning our own home so that they could share in the excitement. Our own rules. Our own furniture (though not much), our own meal plans that just the four of us had to agree upon, and most importantly it had a fenced in back yard–Virgil could be an indoor dog again with the option of going outside in the back to potty without having to be watched. Same went for Matt’s boxer, Sadie. But it all dissolved the minute Matt was informed that he no longer had a job… just days after we returned from our honeymoon.

Still, through all of this, God has revealed his goodness to us and his favor upon us. that His love never fails and that He wanted better for us. Matt’s job, landed only a week later after his last day at Global Fire, is challenging and rewarding. The cost of living here is easy and our new church home has welcomed us with open arms. And though due to dishonest circumstances we didn’t even have a fighting chance to get our earnest money back, we’re still going to be able to get out on our own! Granted, it’s not the house we imagined, but the apartment we will be calling home is going to awesome! And it’s affordable enough for us to stash money away for the next year to make yet another go at being homeowners!

It’s bigger than the house we were set to buy anyway and as any child will tell you, it’s “great because it has an upstairs”. haha! Our back porch overlooks a park and even has a nearby entrance to it so that when weather warms up we can ride bikes and take walks on the trail. Even more exciting, there’s an onsite pool. The minions are water dogs and if I spend enough time with them there this summer, maybe we can condition Liam to be a water dog too. Personally, I’m looking forward to making use of the fitness center, to help shed the pounds from this last pregnancy–same goes for Matt. Let’s be honest, we both packed it on for this baby. 🙂

Aidan and Virgil

Aidan and Virgil

Sadly, though, we had to get rid of two members of our family to make this move work. Sadie and Virgil. Matt has had Sadie for almost two years, and this last weekend she joined another family who will need her during a difficult time in their lives. And Virgil, who had been with us for 6 years, giving the boys comfort and a stable relationship during two sad moves and my divorce is going to be just as much of a blessing to his new family as well. Our dogs have blessed us and will continue blessing others and for that I am thankful. We’re also thankful that their new homes are friends of ours, so a visit will not be completely unheard of. The boys–especially Aidan, my oldest minion–are understandably heartbroken, so remember them in your prayers, that the pain of loss will be dulled in time, and that they will see what their sacrifice means to others.

Moving day is this Saturday, February 1st and we are extremely thrilled. Life will not only get easier for us, but will slow down and relax for my parents who have kept their home opened up to us for three years. Bless their hearts for having a “boomerang daughter”…they deserve this break. They’ll enjoy the sanctuary from chaos again, and have the option to get a taste of it now and again (anytime they wish, really) as we are only moving 10-15 minutes away.

I can’t wait to be woman of the house! I’ve already started collecting quick recipes for dinners that I will prepare…I can’t promise quality, but I can promise that I will try not to poison anybody. (I’m a horrible cook!) I’ve been pinning like a mad woman on pinterest ideas of organizing, budgeting techniques, and creating my own household cleaning products. I’m even jumping on the extreme couponing bandwagon!

Matt + Mel

Matt + Mel

Still, I’m hardly a full-blown cookie-cutter wife. Hardly a “Stepford”. I’m still writing for a small living. I launched Grace and Glass Houses two weeks ago and continue work on my pen named projects–ShadowShifter (I am still promoting), Lycanthrope (I am promoting as it is a new release since October), and I’m finding time in between feedings and poopy diapers to write book #3 in the series (Blood Moon). Matt and I are even working on a music project, our duo Matt + Mel (website will be up in about a month or so). Both of us being musicians, we figured it was the best way to make a little extra living on the side. Besides, a family that plays together stays together. We will be pushing forward on booking dates as we get closer to the summer, when Liam is older and I feel more comfortable with leaving him for a few hours at a time with a babysitter.

Matt is three weeks away from his last class before graduating with his Master’s this May! He’s excited and already planning on recreational reading material for when he’s done as well as taking a few extra classes for certain certifications to help him climb that professional ladder. As he closes in on the finish line, I’m going back to finish my Master’s degree. I should have been finishing up this fall, but hey, life happens. You adapt and overcome.

Aidan is obsessed with Minecraft!

Aidan is obsessed with Minecraft!

Aidan is obsessed with Minecraft. I don’t know what else to say about this other than it’s a weird game. Constantly in “creative mode”, he’s always building and inventing things (for lack of better words) and creating story-lines along with them and naming things. Meanwhile, as he builds, transforms, and fights monsters, the music that resembles a creepy music box plays in the background of the game. His created assistant, named “Doctor Triorus”, is constantly disobeying his requests to test their inventions and potions on the local villagers and instead he just kills them. And two cats just “made” a kitten by being given raw fish… dear lord, I’m giving you a play by play as if this was a soap opera. Like I said–weird. But it makes him happy. He even created a dog that he named Virgil to help him cope with losing him. I guess I don’t have to “get it”, just be involved with his excitment in it. And yes, I know that Aidan will probably require therapy. His pretending has given me plenty of insight to the inner workings of his mind. A scary place. 😉

Liam made another poopy...

Liam made another poopy…

Ethan is playing basketball. He loves it. He needs to work on his ball handling, his aggressiveness, his shooting… well, everything. That’s part of life and learning, but he loves it. When it warms up a bit, I’ll work with him on the other stuff. He’s already planning on playing again next year and that pleases me. Right now, he’s toying with the idea of playing baseball this summer. Ethan has also made A/B honor roll every grade period so far this year. He’s proving true to his choleric temperament as he steps out on his own and out from his big brother’s shadow. Speaking of big brother, he is amazing with Liam. If Liam needs to be comforted, bottle fed, or even requires a diaper change, Ethan can always be counted upon if my hands are tied…or if I’m trying to scrub three days worth of sweat and soured breast-milk off my body while in the shower. He is an awesome big brother! I am so thankful for his help!

Liam Miles Clyde

Liam, at 9 weeks, is finally the size of a newborn!

Liam poops, sleeps, feeds, and poops some more. Aside from the “excitement” of this abnormally huge booger I pulled from his stuffy nose the other day (that provided immediate comfort to him), nothing super exciting is coming from him yet. He is quite alert and currently working on his smile…and is the pooping-est kid I’ve ever had! A very social boy like his daddy. He’s now 9 weeks old and finally the size of a real newborn! Though still smaller than Aidan and Ethan at their births, I am happy to see him at 7 lbs and 4 oz, 20 1/2 inches long. Such a “chunky monkey”. He’s completely out of preemie clothes now and comfortable fits into Newborn size clothing without resembling Dopey from the 7 Dwarfs. Hopefully, before he gets beyond “newborn size” we can get professional photos of him. Because of the situation of his premature birth, he was robbed of anything beyond snap shots from our phones–not even those crappy generic hospital photos.

So until next month–from our new humble abode (Yay!)–I wish every one of you a belated happy new year!!

~Mel & the Clyde guys!

The World Didn’t Come to an End

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A “do over” wouldn’t be a do over without change. For those of you who have followed me on my journey of My Mid-Life Do Over, you’ve seen everything from broken-heartedness, revelation, frustration, excitement, as well as a marriage (and pregnancy!) come about in my public do over. There can be happy as well as sad times. It can be challenging and sometimes downright terrifying. The trick through all of it is finding peace whether that be from God, family, or even a new hobby – though I encourage seeking peace through God.

My changes and transitions have been anything but smooth. I’m a clumsy person by nature so therefor I don’t handle change gracefully. It usually consists of me kicking and screaming, or has been known to keep me in bed with the lights down low, shedding a river of tears for quite a length of time. I’m a Melancholy. Change, whether it is voluntary or involuntary, bad or good, is never accepted well on my end. That is one of my many weaknesses and I am okay with that. At least I am aware of my responses and behaviors. This allows me an opportunity to turn my weaknesses into strengths which in the case of my temperament, means I have to find that particular strength in Christ.

Picture-5For most of my life I have referred to myself as the proverbial “Charlie Brown”. I say this not to feel sorry for myself or to gain sympathy from others. It’s merely to point out to readers that when I’m regularly not met with poor luck, I am usually met instead with some crazy obstacle. That’s okay. In the past few years I’ve come to the understanding that this is either a season of strengthening and learning or God’s way of saying, “Yo, chick! Listen up! You’re going the wrong way!” And of course, I naturally respond to Him with self-pity followed by reluctant acceptance or – if I want to be real honest with you (and I think that’s best in most cases) – blatant rebellion accompanied with the middle finger. What can I say? I’m human. I’m stubborn. I will speak as though the world is out to get me or the sky is falling only to to find in the end that I have grown, become better, and that He still does all things for my good – even if I gave Him that finger gesture. That’s life. It continually moves on with or without our consent and it’s how we respond that ignites growth and maturity (human AND spiritual). This is when I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes of all time which can be found being delivered near the end of “A Boy Named Charlie Brown” by Linus Van Pelt.
Thank God, I married my Linus Van Pelt.

“I suppose you feel you let everyone down, and you made a fool of yourself and everything. But did you notice something, Charlie Brown? The world didn’t come to an end.”

Charlie Brown kite 2

Married life with Matt has been wonderful – from what we’ve experienced so far. We had a fun wedding. A short reception. A honeymoon. And then reality hit us square in the nose. After we allowed our eyes to water a bit and realized that our “nose” was not broken we were reminded that long before the exchanging of vows and even the popping of the question we spoke of how, if we were to marry someday, that we’d dedicate our lives and our family to do God’s work. I meant it at the time. I mean it now. However, I know that unless God reminds me in a way that only I will take heed to, I won’t follow through. Call it a lack of motivation or a diversion of life. It happens.

Last Christmas, without a promise of marriage, I knew that I wanted to be closer to Matt. The decision was made and I began to follow through. I was moving to Murfreesboro. Since January, I have been beyond diligent in sending out resumes and spending hours upon hours filling out applications online for a job in the Murfreesboro/Nashville area. I knew competition for job openings would be stiff and that it possibly wouldn’t be until May when I’d finally get a breakthrough. PERFECT! The boys would be out of school and by then I would have graduated with my degree in Counseling! God was going to provide that perfect job for me on His timing (aka, MY timing).  I had a few phone and person to person interviews but nothing fully materialized before May. But I knew I was on the right path because on March 31st, the man I loved and wanted to share my life with asked me to be his wife. That had to be a sign, right? May came, I graduated, the boys got out of school with nothing but honor roll year ’round. Things really started looking up… and then I was t-boned with the revelation that I was pregnant. Rolling with the punches, we made our apologies and moved on to utter excitement. I could actually get pregnant still! Not exactly the order in which God calls for, but nonetheless, He was blessing our soon-to-be union with a baby! Our plans continued forward. We were going to even buy a house. I mean, why pay near $900 a month for an apartment that our family could fit into when we could pay $700 a month to own a home of our own of the same size plus a yard?

Anxiety Charlie BrownBy the end of June, our plans began to fall through the cracks no matter how hard we tried to salvage them. I was ordered on bed rest due to a “vanishing twin” and other issues. (By the way, bed rest sucks.) I no longer had the option to work and be a financial team player with Matt. Well, I did have the option but at the risk of losing my surviving baby which is not an option in my book. We were able to re-prioritize our budget and move forward on the house that we had chosen. Granted, things were going to be tight on one income, but it was doable. Sacrifices: no more Starbucks, no more Bare Minerals, excessive driving was to be cut back, no more movies, no more going out to eat (I was going to learn how to cook).

July. The month of our wedding. The last month before God re-established himself as a clear focus in our lives. The financial stress of my lack of employment fell upon my parents unfortunately. I hated that. The inexpensive wedding that Matt and I were paying for became my parents burden instead (though they’ll swear it wasn’t a burden). This was my second wedding and call me “old school”, but I didn’t feel like this one was their responsibility. They paid for the first one. But they provided the most fun and amazing wedding anyway and for that I am beyond thankful! And let’s be honest, they did this not just because they love me, but mainly because they love Matt – probably more. *wink* I was served court papers that prevented me from moving my boys to Murfreesboro. This in no way is bashing their father. He’s actually an awesome dad. Since the divorce we have shared custody because he lives close by. I get the boys one week, he gets them the other. The boys love it like this. In my move to Murfreesboro, their father would no longer get them every other week and I wasn’t willing to relinquish every weekend to him due to our religious differences. So, he did what any  loving parent would do – he fought for his children. I hold absolutely NO grudges against him for this. But this was just another obstacle that I would have to hurdle, an obstacle I could very well lose.

Charlie Brown. I told you.

We had a wonderful wedding. I officially became Melissa Ellis-Clyde on July 20th on a hot, sweaty Saturday evening in the dead of summer. Maybe I was so sweaty because I was pregnant? Go figure.

Football FumbleDuring our honeymoon we were faced with an obstacle of not closing in time. Matt was due out of his apartment at the end of the month. That gave us three days after we returned from the honeymoon to move him out, into a storage unit, and clean. Stressful doesn’t even cover it. We agreed that I would remain in Crossville while Matt continued working in Murfreesboro. Matt would commute to see me when he could until we would finally be able to close on the house. So, our married life wasn’t different at all from our dating relationship. Not exactly a picture-perfect start to a marriage, but we agreed to refer to our marriage as an “adventure”, allowing obstacles and risks without any prior expectations.

If you look back, starting at my “Last Christmas” paragraph, you’ll see where we never once seeked God for His will in our lives. We made a plan and ran with it – not that there’s anything wrong with that, but sometimes He requires us to look beyond ourselves and our own selfish goals and to look to Him and what He has in store for us. In the long run, He always proves that His way is better anyway. On August 1st, God made himself very clear after months of giving us clues. Without any details to be given (because quite honestly, it’s really nobody’s business but our own), we were shown that Matt’s time in Murfreesboro was done and mine was never to come. This decision didn’t come lightly and quite frankly, we’re kicking and screaming. But we’re submitting.

It was devastating at first, but as we spent more time reflecting on not only all the signs/obstacles we kept facing but also how we felt led at times, how our heart strings were tugged in certain directions in the last year, we found peace. I never have peace, so that’s proof enough that this is God. All the obstacles we faced in the past few months, those were all God’s whispers. It took a scream in the face for us to listen. So in the last two weeks we have abandoned all plans of our own and are listening for His voice in our next destination. In this we ask that our friends, family, and readers to pray for us and with us that breakthrough in this somewhat scary transition is just on the horizon. It hasn’t not been easy on me, Matt, or the boys.

pitcher Charlie BrownFor the time being, our home is in Crossville. The one town I have tried moving mountains to get out of, on and off, since the age of 12. (Why do I keep ending up back here?) Maybe we were meant to be here all along? Maybe God will bring us right back to Murfreesboro and is just giving us a season to seek Him for a deeper intimacy? Matt is looking for employment, not just in Crossville, but between the Knoxville-Nashville stretch of interstate to keep a wide variety of options open. The boys are, however, thrilled that they have been able to return to their previous school with their friends that they have established in the last three years. That makes any mom’s heart swell.

And we are in search of our new church “home” where we can step into the ministries we were called to. Matt and I were never meant to be “bench-warmers”. None of us are. It’s exciting to know that God is working through us, bringing us to place of destiny. Our hope is to continue healthy and loving relations with our prior “home church”. With that being said, we ask that others refrain from accusations, assumptions, and gossip during this transition. We are leaving our church family with love, grace, and yet a broken heart.

The peace that has now infiltrated this transition has led us already to some amazing rebirths and simplicities. Matt and I are getting a crash course on marriage obstacles and so far, we’re just thankful to be going through this with each other, God in the center. Where I thought I would have to pull out of my plans for a Master’s Degree recently, I have been given a greater revelation that I am to move forward in my education of Christian Counseling. It may take slower than I desire, but it will be accomplished. I have felt for a long time that I was called into this ministry, focusing on relationships whether it be family, marriage, or even within a church. This education will solidify and intensify the wisdom I hope to provide for others. Bringing me to this…

In September, I plan to unveil my new blog, “Grace and Glass Houses”. It’s my hope to utilize this blogsite to inspire, motivate, and educate the Christian community (and beyond) in our relationships with one another. I hope to have many guest-bloggers and plan to do a lot of hard work in each blog – i.e. research, study, and heartfelt prayer. That blog will be less personal than this one, but still with insight to my own personal revelations – my own glass house. The whole point of the blog is to embrace and love others. To throw grace instead of stones.

In closing, I’d like to  reaffirm that though I worked hard, putting things in play and struggling to keep them together, and feeling as though I let everyone down when the bottom dropped out, and made a fool of myself and everything – did you notice something? The world didn’t come to an end.

On the contrary. All is right with the world.

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