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!

October 2013

Happy Halloween! And welcome, Great Pumpkin!

I thought about giving this post a cooler title, but with the original intentions of it really being more like a newsletter from the East Tennessee Clyde Crew, I figured a simple date would suffice.

Matt & the minions

In a nutshell: Matt and the minions are doing gloriously! I am HUGE!

After only a week of being out of work, Matt landed a new job with Rengo Design and to say that he is in his element doesn’t even do it justice. He loves the challenges that come his way, working in the corporate world. A night doesn’t go by where he isn’t rattling off with full enthusiasm about what he accomplished that day at work, or what is in the works for the following weeks. I love seeing him so happy with what he does. And apparently he’s good at what he does. That makes me even happier. He’s able to apply so much of what he’s learning in his Masters program and there is such a massive satisfaction in that. And speaking of school, Matt has consistently been pulling A’s (and maybe once a B) in his classes – even when life was hectic and a bit overwhelming. This man truly impresses me with the amount of responsibility he carries.

MattMatt has joined the Cumberland Worship Center’s Men’s Bible Study and is thoroughly enjoying it – gaining new insight and utilizing it daily. We really enjoy the worship and messages this church consistently puts out there. The spirit is definitely moving at CWC and we’re so excited to see what God has in store for this church. We’re also so blessed that we may possibly be a part of that!!

The minions are beyond thrilled to be back at their old school with their friends for yet another year as opposed to readjusting to city life in Murfreesboro. So far all looks great on the academic front, of course report cards aren’t due out until next Friday, but I haven’t been informed of any issues so “no news is good news”. Their homework appears to be hitting high marks and that’s enough for me rest easy at night.

EthanEthan (minion #2) turned 8 this month!! I can’t believe how time has flown! He was enrolled in guitar classes for a month before he decided to take matters into his own hands. *sigh* What can I say? He’s like his mom. Slowly but surely, he’s learning chords so he will be able sing and play the songs he wants to. Matt and I tried to assure him that if he really wanted to play a mean guitar he was going to have give in to lessons eventually. (I don’t play a mean guitar. Case in point.) He’s now hoping to direct his focus on basketball. Matt and I will sign him up in about two weeks for that – we love basketball, so that should be fun to watch every week anyway. Besides, the kid (an 8 year old) is the height of a 10 year old. Tall and skinny. If he can handle the ball well, this may be a niche for him.

AidanAidan (minion #1) is holding out for saxophone lessons…still. He’s been obsessed with this idea for about two years now. Hopefully, someday, we will be able to not only find a teacher but afford the actual instrument. In the meantime, Aidan continues to search for the perfect extra-curricular activity that will not only keep his attention (aside from sax lessons), but also cater to his quirkiness. He is, however, gearing up for his second round of being “big brother” as he impatiently awaits minion #3’s arrival. I’ve never seen him so excited – nothing against Ethan’s arrival, for Aidan was only 2 then. Actually, Ethan is excited, too. He’s moving on up from “baby” to “big brother” – though I admit a tad bit of concern over middle child syndrome he may encounter.

Minion #3Minion #3, tentatively named Liam, is clearly doing wonderful, because I am physically miserable. (haha!) In all seriousness though, we all can’t wait to meet this little guy – possibly in 10 weeks. We’re hoping to see his cute little face before the turn of 2014. Not only will it be great for tax season – ha! – but Matt will be doing his last week of residency in Missouri at Evangel University for his Master’s program from the New Year until days before I’m due. Like the other two boys, Liam will be delivered by cesarean to avoid risk of uterine rupture, so his birth date will be planned in advance to prevent going into labor. I don’t care how I have him as long as he’s healthy. He’s going to be a hoot, that’s for certain!

Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsThough it may not seem like exciting news to you, for me and the minions, this takes cake: Back in January, on our return drive from Joplin, MO when they met Matt’s family, we all agreed to start reading the Harry Potter series. *gasp* Yes, I know. Some of you are either offended that we haven’t read them before or your offended that we’re reading them at all. We had never even watched the movies so we were seriously flying in the dark on these books. All I knew was that I had heard so many awesome things about this series and because it was so popular, I was determined not to give it platform – probably because I’m a natural born snob. (At least I am aware of this. Right?) Anyway, we agreed to start these books when we returned to Tennessee and from the get go, we were HOOKED! After every book we finished, we set up a “Harry Potter Movie Night” that Matt swiftly became involved in. There were times even that he would harrass me to “hurry up and finish that book so we can watch the movie!” Due to custody rights with their dad, I get the boys every other week so this series has stretched out from January until this week! Alas, we will finish Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in no more than two nights, making Wednesday night (October 23rd) our last “Harry Potter Movie Night”!!! Perfect for Halloween! And I must say, these books have been far more enjoyable than almost any other book or series I have ever read. The hype was legit! My only regret (as well as Matt’s) is that we didn’t read them earlier enough to take part in the big screen debuts of the movies. Still, it’s been a fun journey this year and I’m slightly disappointed to see this series end… and no, I have NO IDEA how it’s going to end. As far as the books being “evil”? I’m not going to waste my breath on explaining one Christian’s different journey and conviction from another’s. I’m saving that chat for my official website “Grace and Glass Houses” that I plan to launch in 2014. But I will say that the books were awesome and just downright fun and I found nothing but positive results in sharing these treasures with my minions. Someday, I hope they take the time to read these books to their kids. Our next literature conquest – starting in November – will be “Lord of the Flies” then after that I’ll let my mom and Matt duke it out over what our next book should be. Mom says “Treasure Island”. Matt says “Huckleberry Finn” or “Tom Sawyer”.

NickabobWith Halloween upon us our annual Nickabob wars are in full swing! Back story: Three years ago my sister and her husband moved into a new home where the previous owners left a lot of their junk in the garage. Among this junk, my mother saw an eerie sight – a scarecrow. No, not one of those happy and friendly Hobby Lobby scarecrows. I’m talking about something homemade and…well, quite frankly, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if it walks around at midnight eating children. Just kidding – haha! Anyway, as a family tradition – when we made friendly scarecrows in the past – we always named them Icabod. So “Icabod” it was! Icabod was strategically placed around the house that first Halloween at my parents and by the end of the season Ethan begged for us to put him in the garage, calling him Nickabob (his best attempt at “Icabod”). He watched with the strongest distrust you could imagine at several paces away, my dad retiring Nickabob that year – placing him in the garage with the other seasonal decor. Nickabob returned the following year and this time the minions strategically placed him to scare me as well. It became a game for sure and this year Matt is part of the game. Our family may seem sick and twisted, but we definitely have fun with this game and it has bonded us for sure. Besides, while I’m preggers, haunted houses and corn mazes are O-U-T. (Next year will totally be a different story.) I’ve been regularly posting updates on Nickabob through Instagram and Facebook, so feel free to follow me. And yes,he has his own hashtag. #Nickabob

Maybe someday he will have his own Facebook fan page where people across the grid can post pics of their own “Nickabobs” in action. 😛

As I have mentioned, I have been moved to begin a website called Grace and Glass Houses, inspired by a combination of things I have learned while obtaining my counseling degree, basic human observations, and judgments that we as Christians cast onto to one another as well as non-Christians. Even judgments cast upon God’s children. (It’s all wrong.) Originally, I was going to debut it in September, but I have chosen to give myself some healing time before I start. Although life for us is finally settling after our move to Crossville from Murfreesboro and it was clearly in God’s plan, the move itself was far from our plans and involuntary to say the least. He really does all thing for our good though and it has taken this transition to really brand that into me. Our lives today are better for this move – happier, healthier – and for that I am ever so thankful, but please don’t assume that how it all transpired didn’t hurt emotionally or even financially. In fact, if I can be transparent for a small bit here, I am still very hurt with it all and even angry at times. Yeah, yeah… I know; we’re supposed to “forgive and move on”. This is often easier said than done, especially for a Melancholy – we have a tendency to keep score. However, I have been diligent in my prayers not to just forgive but to let go. I’m asking my friends out there to keep me in your prayers over this matter as well. It’s the very root of what has prevented me from being capable to launch Grace and Glass Houses without the fear of being hurtful in any of my posts – that’s not my intention at all. This website is supposed to promote and inspire healthy relationships among the church, outside of the church, and within our families and right now, I find myself focusing more on the very unhealthy behaviors I see within churches as opposed to the good. This hurt/anger has also kept me from wanting to fully plug into our new church – out of plain and simple fear of being hurt again. So until this matter is dealt with in a healthy manner – between myself and God – I have not only put off the launch of Grace and Glass Houses, but I have actively made the decision not to take part on a worship team yet – which is clearly what God continues to push me into. It just doesn’t resonate with my spirit to drive forward when I have a few things I need to work on. It’s much like the song by For King and Country when they say, “If I sing but don’t have love I waste my breath with every song. I bring an empty voice, a hollow noise. If I speak with a silver tongue, convince a crowd but don’t have love I leave a bitter taste with every word I say.” When I am finally able to look beyond this hurt, leaving it with Christ, and look with eyes of pure love, then I know God will place the opportunity again before me and I truly look forward to that time. But I want to do it right.

“If I sing but don’t have love I waste my breath with every song. I bring an empty voice, a hollow noise. If I speak with a silver tongue, convince a crowd but don’t have love I leave a bitter taste with every word I say.”

Until then, while healing, I’m focusing my efforts (not just on healing) but on writing – books and music. I’m also in full preparation mode for Liam. My mom and sisters are throwing a co-ed baby shower for me and Matt on November 9th and I am so grateful. I haven’t one single baby thing left from Ethan – 8 years ago – so we are seriously starting from scratch. I never thought I’d be doing this again at 36. It’s definitely not as easy as it was in my twenties, but it’s still been fun. An adventure. Liam is an active little twerp that enjoys long walks on the beach, moonlit nights, margaritas, and dancing on my bladder. I’m a frequent visitor of the bathroom because of this…the precious angel.  Also, the numbers are in, for the first time in my LIFE I weigh about 190 lbs!! What the Heck!? I’m not devastated yet, but I probably will be after Liam is born. Matt has already promised to put me through “zombie apocalypse training” this winter…he’s holding out for a smokin’ hot wife, clearly. Other than that, I’m still redheaded, still drinking my favorite coffees, and plan to finish this short hiatus from school soon and jump back into my Master’s program in Christian Counseling. Matt is clearly going to beat me to the finish line this time.

IMG_2145 (2)To wrap up this update: Married life is hilarious. Not that we’re being flippant about our “adventure” together, but Matt keeps me laughing. Never in my life have I laughed on such a consistent basis and sometimes starting first thing in the morning – which is HUGE for this chick who hates mornings. Sure, much of his humor is either inappropriate or an inside joke, but nevertheless he will leave my stomach hurting from laughing so hard. We have fun together and are still discovering how much more we have in common – as well as things we don’t have in common. Daily, I am reminded how thankful I am that we have found each other. We’re hoping that maybe – a big maybe – sometime next year after Liam is born we can start working on music together again. He’s got the itch to drum as I have the itch to play keys and sing again and who better to do that with than your soulmate!

Not to Shop PledgeI hope everyone is enjoying this fall weather and ready for Halloween! The holidays are just around the corner and the Clyde Crew is excited to be spending our first holidays together as a family while we await for the arrival of baby Liam!! Start your layaways if you haven’t already done so and I’m asking that everyone, no matter how tempting the sales may be, to take the pledge to not shop on Thanksgiving Day. I know it may be asking a lot, but while others are asking you to save the pit bulls or to protest Obamacare, I’m asking you to not shop on a holiday. Because if you’re shopping, someone else is working and not spending time with their family. Just give it a consideration…Black Friday is still Open Season in my book though!

I’ll post again next month – turkeys, family, and “Catching Fire”! Until then, be blessed and be thankful! And don’t forget to pay homage to the Great Pumpkin!

It's the Great Pumpkin!

The World Didn’t Come to an End


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.


And Now, May We Introduce…

Christians, in general, have given themselves a bad name for their lack of grace when others seem to stumble or simply not measure up. Unfortunately, I must admit that I am not only guilty of stumbles and temptations, but also guilty of throwing rocks in glass houses.

Not much by means of privacy...

Not much by means of privacy…

Welcome to my glass house! If you find it necessary to throw any stones, feel free. I’m slowly learning that once I show humility and repentance for my wrongdoing — maybe even apologizing to a mass of witnesses for my indiscretions — that once I’ve released that shame and actually have left it with Christ the problem one has with my sin is no longer my problem, but theirs, and my glass house becomes shatterproof. That’s not to say that if my sin has left a trail of disaster for me to clean up that I simply leave the mess in my house; I am to accept full responsibly and take consequences for my actions. I am to clean my house; no one should live in filth.

Now, before you begin to think that this blog post is really a sermon or a how-to on house cleaning, stick with me. I’m just working myself to the ultimate goal of surprise and excitement. And I am not a preacher—by far… nor a house cleaner. I am quite the clutter-queen.

I am 36 years old and I am marrying a 27-year-old man. Many find this amusing, some find this disgusting, and then we have our fans who are either un-phased by our age difference or are shocked that I am as old as I claim to be… and trust me, I despise admitting the truth about my age. It’s a woman thing. Matt and I plan to have children of our own. I have two awesome boys from a previous marriage (Divorce – something else that I have been “stoned” for among Christians once in a while). We were going to start trying to add to our wonderfully blended family next year when he would finish his Master’s program. I would finish my Master’s shortly after, as well. Still we had a concern that getting pregnant was going to be a somewhat tough battle to overcome due to the simple fact that it’s easier to get pregnant in your twenties than your thirties – not to mention late thirties. I have also had a pregnancy mishap in the past that could be a reoccurring issue. But to us, it is worth the try. We want children together. And quite honestly, my other two minions are more than encouraging to us to give them a baby brother or sister (preferably sister, to Minion #2).

The Adventures of Matt & Mel

The Adventures of Matt & Mel

As I mentioned in my previous post, Matt asked me to marry him on Easter this past Spring and I eagerly (beyond eagerly) said, “YES!”

Wedding plans have been underway. We didn’t want a long engagement and wanted to be settled in a routine family life in our new place so that Minion #1 and Minion #2 would be better prepared for the new school year in a new place—change can be hard, you know? I started a diet and even started exercising. By the end of April I realized that I hadn’t lost a pound but instead, had gained five pounds and even a few inches around my waistline. It was the worst time to realize I had no control over or didn’t understand my own body! Finding a wedding gown became virtually impossible. I wanted to slit my wrists (not really) at the size of dresses I was having to try on and when I would finally cave in to the idea of a dress, I would go back to find that it, too, no longer fit! It was devastating to say the least. Practically begging Matt to cancel the wedding altogether and just go to the Justice of the Peace, he refused stating that we had too many friends and family who have waited for too long for us to unite as husband and wife… and I admit, he was right.

I was stressed and was becoming resentful with my own wedding. And as we all know, stress can sometimes mean more weight gain and so, I gained more.

Fear not! There was a solution! (Nope, this isn’t a Body by Vi pitch either.)

Two days before Minion #1’s tenth birthday, I was given an encouraging word from a very spiritual woman in our church. She assured me that I needn’t worry about my wedding or the dress. That I was going to be beautiful! And that my baby was well favored with the Lord.

Say wha-?

Say wha-?

*record scratch* Say wha—?

I laughed (think of Abraham’s Sarah) at the promise and said, “I’m not pregnant, I’m fat.” Then I gave her this huge spill about how I’m having the hardest time losing weight and that I’m actually worried that getting pregnant is going to be a trial because of my irregular cycles and age and past trauma. Clearly, she was embarrassed with her “word” of my pregnancy and back-pedaled immediately, claiming that maybe she just heard the Holy Spirit wrong — maybe she was supposed to assure me that getting pregnant would be easy after Matt and I got married because God had so much favor on us and our union. This seemed to be an acceptable answer to me for about 5 minutes until I walked away from her and told Matt. Know that this woman is highly anointed by God in the prophetic and I can honestly say that I have never heard her pass on a “prophetic word” without any truth attached to it.

Maybe she heard the Holy Spirit right and I was the one wrong? So I went home and took the fourth pregnancy test since February….

Without further ado, Matt and I introduce to you Minion #3!!!

(And that woman of God that gave me the prophetic word, I now refer to as my walking-talking pregnancy test.)

get-excited-we-are-having-a-babyWe are pregnant! And I shout this a huge smile on my face. Yes, yes… I am very aware how this came about and that we are not married. “Shame on us” – Am I remorseful? Only for my actions of intimacy. Am I a hypocrit? No, because I’m openly admitting to you all now that I make mistakes. I screw up often. I don’t do it on purpose nor with the agenda of fooling the world.

The Word clearly states in numerous scriptures that sex before marriage is immoral. And for those of you who want to argue with this way of thinking, it’s not up for debate. Our [Matt’s and mine] consciences clearly stated the same when sexual intimacy would occur. We still do not condone it, do not encourage it. There is so much that goes in to intimacy that sometimes we can’t even wrap our heads around it! I blogged at least twice on this issue.

Still, I’m a firm subscriber that God holds his children accountable, wants us to take responsibility so we can mature, like a good Father does. He doesn’t seek out to punish us for our sins; they were all taken to the cross. And He really does all things for our good. It’s not the best timing, sure — that’s our consequence. But He knew and still knows our hearts’ desires—and therefore, He has blessed us with a Minion!!

We are beyond thrilled. And I will proudly display my round tummy in a maternity dress on July 20th when I walk down the aisle. From here on, I’m leaving my shame and guilt with Christ, right on that cross. I love our baby Clyde and absolutely cannot wait to meet this little dude – or chick.

Our counselor reminded us that apologies are no longer required at this point. That with every new apology we issue for this pregnancy, this baby becomes less of a blessed gift. This is something I plan to enforce when I counsel and come across this very situation in the future.

So this will be our last apology:

I am sorry if we have caused you to stumble in your walk someway or have caused you great disappointment. We both work in a church setting and understand the nature of the sin and hurt that has been caused. But from here on, we are focusing on the bright future before us and invite you to take part in our joy as well. It’s how we handle this situation from here on that will speak volumes. Matt and I are very human and oddly enough, I’ve made more mistakes as an adult than I did as a stupid teen. My hope and prayer is that when others see our carnal fall and then our graceful climb back to our feet, they will also see two people they can seek for honest, loving, and confident counsel. Our hearts have been with family minded ministry for a long time – to encourage and counsel – and I believe that this was all part of God’s plan to make us more qualified and understanding to meet others’ needs.

Al Pacino - Godfather III (I actually pretend that this movie was never made, but great line anyway.)

Al Pacino – Godfather III (I actually pretend that this movie was never made, but great line anyway.)

Now, to answer questions that will be asked (I’m sure): No, we have no idea what the gender is. We don’t even know how far along I am. (I haven’t cycled fully since January, have had 3 negative tests since February, and look as though I’m in my second trimester.) Our first ultrasound should be July 2nd. For a girl we’re considering the name Gabriella (“Gabry”) which is feminine for Gabriel. This would make her a “heroine of God”. As for a boy, Brody McClintock — like the John Wayne movie (so Brody would be a hero too). Minion #2 wants a girl and Minion #1 believes it’s a boy AND a girl. (I could kill him for speaking that over me.) I will be registering for baby stuff after the wedding because I haven’t had a baby in eight years and basically have nothing. I don’t even have maternity clothes anymore — “Just when I think I’m out, they pull me back in.”

Now to wrap this post up…

Our families have already moved beyond the hurt and anxiously await the newest addition of the Ellis clan and the first-born Clyde grand-baby. Thank God for our loving family!

We announced our growing family to our church family yesterday and were met with nothing but love and support from them as well. Some even had similar stories of their pre-wedding babies. The church accepted our remorse but better yet, accepted our joy and are now taking part in it. Our glass house hasn’t even a crack in it. I told you — shatterproof, when we truly repent and leave our sin with Christ.  Everyone (if they’re bored enough) is now just watching me sweep up the mess, vacuum a bit, and put everything back in its proper place.


Folks, this is real Christianity — God’s people — and I am sorry if you have not experienced it first or second-hand. But I assure, this is how God wants us to be with one another — it’s always comes down to love. Plain and simple.

And our adventure just got bigger… literally.

Oh, and if you find many typos or grammatical errors, I’m going to give you the same excuse I’ve been giving Matt for the last few weeks-worth of forgetfulness and clumsiness… I’m pregnant.