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Grieving Christmas Before Moving Into 2014

3 Jan
It's A Small World will go back to being normal, too.

It’s A Small World will go back to being normal, too.

I’ll admit it, I’m grieving the holiday season. It’s over. The tree is about to go to the recycling spot. The twinkling lights are in a ball on my living room floor because I just haven’t had the heart to put them away yet. The Christmas cards are still hanging next to my door, but those too will soon come down. Last remenants of Christmas candy and cookies are in our pantry either to be forgotten in leiu of healthier options.

It was a good Christmas. It was relaxing to be with family. It was nice to go to church again with my dad and to remember how much Jesus loves us. It was neat to see a whole gaggle of kids open presents again at my husband’s family Christmas party. It was good to take a flight again and then to drive through the desert home with Mark.

I like peppermint mochas, the smell of pine. I like looking at mall santas and seeing how closely they resemble the Santa Claus of collective memory. I like the traditions. Seeing the same Christmas ornaments come out and adorn the tree year after year. It gave me a sense of stability for another year full of lots of changes. I liked having permission to not look for a job. I liked knowing that I’ll have a few days of rest and my mom’s cooking. I enjoyed a Christmas party with college friends who have all come back together after marriages, babies, and job transitions.

And then came the rest of the holidays. New Year’s Eve wasn’t really on our calendar. I figure we would just get to it eventually. And we did. More with a wimper than a bang. Mark was sick with what I think is bronchitis and he threw out his back that day. While I’d hoped we’d be able to go for a bike ride, we were mostly inside for a few days. It wasn’t all bad. I roasted my first chicken! We had our first two Monopoly games together! And last night, we discussed God in a new way. We wondered if he was trying to tell us something considering we’ve both been so sick lately. We talked about churches and what we both hope to get out of one. It was good to talk. I’m glad we’ve been sick because it’s forced us to be together to talk and figure things out. We’re in new season and new is often hard at first until it becomes more familiar.

Grieving is like that. It’s looking back. Fondly remembering. Acknowledging the loss and being able to move on. 2013 was a good year. And the holidays that followed at the end were nice. Sweet times with family. Fun with kids. Lots of game playing, eating good food, and resting. Time to be thankful and remember the blessings I have.

Now it’s time to get to work. 2014 is going to be the year I pursue life and go after what God has for me in a new way!

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Asking Coldplay’s Question, “How Long Must I Wait?”

4 Dec

Jesus in a Manger Luke 2:7

It’s the season of waiting. Advent. Waiting for Jesus to come and dwell with us.

And I’m not going to lie, part of me is a little bit perturbed.

For the past almost 8 months, I thought that once I got married, the whole waiting thing would be over. I’ve been single for years, waiting for the day when I could wake up next to my husband. When I met Mark and we got engaged and I figured out he was actually going to be my husband, I waited until we could be in the same city. I waited until my job could be done so that I could plan my wedding. I waited until my wedding day with much anticipation. I waited for marriage until we were able to consumate it. By the time I thought all of the waiting was all over, I breathed a sigh of relief and settled into a few weeks of wedded bliss I was through waiting. For good. Or so I thought…

Illustrating the fun part of marriage.

Illustrating the fun part of marriage.

The honeymoon is done, the dress is back from the cleaners and we’ve settled into the life you would expect for newlyweds as they learn to be husband and wife. The big smiles we exchange when he gets home from work. The nights spent cuddling on the couch watching “Sherlock.” The date nights. Getting our first Christmas tree together. And some of the not so fun things…the burnt meals as I learn how to use stainless steel pots and pans and our weird electric no-burner oven. The sleepless nights of “I’m cold, can you give me some blankets?” and  Mark’s restless legs which wake him up around 3 or 4 which means I wake up at 3 or 4. The harsh words we sometimes exchange when one of us is too tired or too hungry or when we just need a way to accept all of this transition but don’t know how to tell one another.

It’s all a lot of newness and as I learn how to be a wife, I’m still waiting.

What for?

Well for one, I’m waiting for my driver’s license with my new name to arrive.

I’m waiting for someone to call me back for an interview after I’ve submitted my millionth resume. 

I’m waiting for friendships to blossom. 

I’m waiting to fully settle into a church.

I’m waiting to get used to the silence in my apartment that is not accompanied by the strangely comforting helicopters on police searches, the techno music blaring through the floor below… (although now we have a pitter patter of a dog’s feet most days and every other Sunday a child who likes to pretend our ceiling is a trampoline while her parents are…where are they?!) I’m waiting for them to repremand her.

I’m waiting to figure out who I am apart from Melissa Mills. So I bought a website. MelissaBlakey.com. I’m going to be transferring my blog over there soon. I’ve been writing pages daily just to write because Melissa Blakey is a writer, a wife, and while she’s not employed currently, she’s wrestling through the waiting period known as transition. It happens to coincide beautifully with Advent. Sometimes I think God has a funny sense of humor and he proves points to me constantly with it.

It’s like He’s saying, “Melissa, I’m still God even when you have to wait.”

And so, I wait. I’m not always happy about it.

Some days, I’m really down about the waiting.

But I’m trusting that the God who once made it possible that I would miraculously win a claim for $4000 with my dental insurance will show up.

Me, at 7

Me, at 7

I’m hoping that He who saved my life at age 7 when I had a kidney problem will not let me down.

I’m here. Grateful for my husband, my life in San Diego, the friends I still have in LA, the friends I soon will have here. 

I’m believing that God will come through:

“I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.” -Psalm 130:5

What about you? What do you find yourself waiting for this season? 

When Will The Rhythm Come?

14 Nov

For weeks I’ve been trying to write something to completely capture my various emotions throughout this season, but I’ve come up short. Through engagement, moving, wedding planning, the wedding, honeymooning, and now returning to my new home, I’ve felt everything from extreme happiness to complete shock. I’m navigating through a fantastic, fun, but also lonely season that no one really talks about in marriage books. I’m in a haze. I don’t have a wedding to plan and I’m trying to get used to a man sleeping in my bed.

But here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

I’ve gained a husband and a new apartment. I’ve gained a great new city. I have a lot of great stuff for my kitchen. I go to the library again. I’ve learned to snorkel and zip line and ride unconventional buses in Mexico. I’ve watched more than one World Series game. I had the best wedding ever. I’ve mellowed out in a lot of ways because I’m not sitting on the 405. I get to start things over. I’m thankful. Truly.

But I’ve lost my rhythm.

These kind of look like the shoes I have

These kind of look like the shoes I have

When I was a kid, I had this dream of being a tap dancer. I actually still have new tap shoes that I keep to remind me of that dream that never materialized. In retrospect, I never was great with rhythm in terms of dancing. I was off beat, insecure, and always felt the other people in the classes I took were better than I was. But in other areas, I had great rhythm. I was an excellent student who thrived in the confines of school and rose to the occasion when teachers gave me assignments. I also thrived in ministries. I showed up, I figured out what to do and how to do it with gusto. Since 2008, I’ve known exactly where I was going to be on Wednesday nights. It’s kind of nice.

A few months ago, my friend, Sarah, who is one of the most creative people I know, mentioned the word “structure.” I shuddered a little bit. Because I like to be unconventional and rebellious in my own way, I have hated to think I need a routine or a structure. I’ve always thought that I was too creative for that. My mom keeps telling me I’m wrong…when Sarah told me structure is good, my jaw dropped open and I secretly wondered if she had been taken and replaced by someone else.

The more I thought about it and the more I’m still considering “structure,” I realizing that I feel like I’m tumbling head over feet in a wave of newness, looking for something familiar so that I can put my feet down on solid ground. Like Sarah, I need to find my structure, or rhythm. I was listening to an unfamiliar jazz station here on the radio when it hit me.

I wonder if I’m like a good jazz song.

Right now, it seems like there’s no reason and there’s a lot of instruments making different sounds. But as you listen, it starts to make sense. The familiar notes start to repeat but at different speeds and in little bits and tastes instead of the way it is in traditional music when you hear the same verse over and over. Maybe I’m like that. Finding different parts of myself in a new way. It just takes time for the undercurrent of the rhythm to take hold.

I started thinking of that song lyric, “I’ve got rhythm…I’ve got music, I’ve got my man who could ask for anything more?” Well, I’ve got the man but the other two are kind of hazy at the moment. I have more questions than answers at this point, but I’m glad I’m putting some of these thoughts down into writing.

Instead of being impatient, I’ll just keep asking questions and reminding myself that transition takes time and I decided to do three huge ones at once. What does my rhythm look like? I don’t know quite yet. So I’ll keep feeling the feelings, writing them out, and asking God to lead me, even in the mundane. Hopefully as I start to be more intentional about my days, the rhythm will come. And it will be a sweet sound when I begin to dance.

Quitting, Leaving, New Beginnings, And All Of That

22 Aug

Beach walkWell, I did it. I quit. Why did I quit my job, you ask? With less than two months before I get married, it’s time to make this transition and fully focus on the bittersweet process of leaving my old life and starting my new one. Some of you I’ve told in person, others may be finding out for the first time…I’m sorry if I haven’t had the chance with all of the craziness to talk to you all one on one, but at the end of September, I’m moving to San Diego County. I’m not going to say this has been the easiest thing for me. In fact, it’s been incredibly hard. But I think it will be good for many reasons. And it’s not like I’m moving to Djibouti.  It’s two hours away.

I’ll soon be entering into the unfamiliar territory called marriage and in order to do that well, I need to give myself time to process my life here in LA and all that this has meant for me. I need time to fulfill this bucket list of things that I’ve never done but have always wanted to do. Taping of Jeopardy anyone? A visit to Sprinkles? Touring some of those incredible looking churches on Wilshire I drive by sometimes? Also, most importantly to my soul at this point, I need to not sit on the 405 for three hours a day anymore. So, I’m leaving my job.

I’ve been in LA since 1998 and I’ve wanted to move to here since I was 10 years old and had the dream of becoming a “performing artist”, as I liked to call it. I even did a report on this when I was in 7th grade. My freshman year of college at USC, I made part of this dream a reality and I moved out here. Then I fulfilled another dream  of learning about film and television and got into USC’s film school. Not knowing what to expect, I fumbled my way through my freshman year as a Midwesterner public school kid in a California private school. I figured out how to write college papers, made some surface friends and then later some real friends, and learned a ton. I also became a Christian, which completely changed my priorities.

Upon graduation, I had several fun but crazy jobs in entertainment, I co-wrote a screenplay, wrote a play, worked on several TV shows, and realized that what I wanted most in this crazy city was a place of belonging. So I joined a women’s life group and a church and faced the world, relationships, breakups, unemployment and disappointments with others by my side.

I love LAI’ve grown to LOVE Los Angeles in many ways. I know it. It’s familiar. I’ve lived here longer than I’ve lived anywhere. It’s eclectic, diverse, interesting, never boring, urban, suburban in parts, and it’s the city where my dreams turned from superficial ones where I would become the female Steven Spielberg to where I learned how to follow Christ with all my heart, love justice, be a friend, serve, love, be broken, and be rebuilt again. It’s where I learned that money wasn’t everything, friendships could be fought for, and sticking to my true values in romantic relationships was more important than the feeling of being loved that I was so desperately chasing. LA has shaped me. I have so many memories here. As my time comes to a close, I hope to write about some of them and share what I’ve learned. I hope to end this chapter well and on my own terms so that I can enter my new life with a healthy outlook, spiritually grounded.

When I joined ChristianMingle and “smiled” at Mark, I did not know where San Marcos was. I thought it was a lot closer until I looked it up on a map.  We’ve been doing the 100 mile drive almost every weekend since April 2012. That’s a lot of miles. We’re both ready for that to be over and can’t wait to actually come home at the end of the day and get to be together.  With that happy possibility looming, it’s making my departure from the LA life brighter. I have hopes for the future. I want to be able to drive to the beach in 15 minutes. That will be awesome. I’ll hopefully be able to go to Mission Bay frequently and meet Shamu, finally. I hope for new friends, a new dream, and to fully launch my writing career that has been birthed out of my time here in LA.

Lots to do. 58 days till my wedding. 10 more work days, 20 more commutes. I’m doing this!

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Fear of The Unknown And Not Feeling Known: What Do I Do With All Of My Anxiety?

20 Aug

Frustrated. Sad. Anxious. A clamor, a panging, a feeling that I was forgetting something majorly important. My engagement ring? Well, yes, it was at home in the box, where I’d left it safely the night before, only to be abandoned in my morning haste to beat the traffic that coagulates near Downtown LA on Thursdays mornings after 7:15. But something else? What?

Sometimes pre-wedding anxiety is like that. You just have a constant feeling you’ve left something to chance and that it won’t be okay. Weird, right?  I’ve had too much caffeine. Not enough actual food. In fact, have I eaten at all today, save those two candies in the church office? Hmm. It doesn’t matter. It didn’t matter. What mattered was this: after the rush, after the haste, after the pounding head and spinning wheels and 29.2 miles in 70 minutes, I was here. Here. To breathe. Breathe? Really? Yes, breathe.

I often find myself feeling most at home on beaches. I took this shot on a cold day in South Carolina when I found this deserted beach.

I often find myself feeling most at home on beaches. I took this shot on a cold day in the Carolinas when I found this deserted beach.

I knew what I needed. A trip to the beach. A different beach that I had only been to once before during a Spring Break several years back when visiting my friend in North Carolina.  A North Carolina beach.
And so I sat there in the counselor office, closed my eyes, and we went there. But not just the two of us. I invited a friend along. One it felt like I hadn’t seen in awhile.
He came from a far off place in the distance. We usually meet on tropical shores but today, it was a warm winter afternoon with a slight breeze on that beach in North Carolina. The one where the wispy grass blows calmly, the seagulls congregate in a lazy circle, the water is shocking and colder than you remember, but a comfort all the same. We usually sit on a log together and chat, but I sit all day so I decided we’d walk on the shore. The sky was more clouds than anything. No blues, just soft, muted grays that reminded me that this wasn’t paradise, but it was a place where all slates were wiped clean. Simple. Truth could be revealed here.
He saw me and acted surprised. But not in a “Make you feel guilty” way. More in a “You’re the only person I want to see today and I’m so glad you showed up!” way. He got closer, not a care in the world, dipping his feet in the water, getting his clothes wet like an excitable 5 year old with rain puddles aplenty, too many to resist.  So he jumped in and out of the waves, waving at me? And then his face grew serious. Not in a scary way. In a “Where ya been? I’m so glad to see you!” way. He approached and I exhaled, the first time in weeks.
And we began to walk. I was hesitant. I told him of my fears, still scared that I would say too much. I hemmed and hawwed, skirtted around words, which I never do.
“I’m scared of a new life where I don’t feel known.”
Not just announcing a feeling but the other Unknowns. Feeling alone. I was wondering, wondering if he was going to go to San Diego with me since I had first really met him and grown with him in LA. It felt honest. It was. I was. For the first time with him, my old friend who knew me better than I knew myself. I was saying everything that had been bottled for far too long. Not champagne but feelings bursting forth, a fountain of truth was emerging.
I talked a bunch. He listened. Then I began to listen. I felt him calm my fears. He showed me pictures of when I’d been so scared before.  Brokenhearted. So lonely. He reminded me that he had been there that time. I had been hopeless, I didn’t see a future. He was now showing me now that I have one. That there are plans laid out. Where I will still have choices and friends and where my love with my future husband will grow into that beautiful thing that I believed in when I was a little girl. I will have a place to call home. Not just a physical place, a place where I will be stable and rooted.
A place that will start with Him. Not my husband him, but Him Him. I won’t create it, although I’ll help. I will claim the gift he is giving me. Like the Israelites when they came back to the Promise Land. I will belong. I will be free. I will lead because those gifts don’t go away with a location change. I will look back at this moment. I will remember how deeply I felt and that what I was asking for was courage and faith. I can’t conjure those up on my own. I can’t dream them into being. I had to ask. I had to confess the places where I had forgotten that He is Lord and I am not. I had to let go of me and hold tight instead to Him when the me part ceases to make sense.
p_00044I’ve been wondering how to feel this “joy” people talk about when they are engaged. Mostly I feel stress and like planning a wedding is a full-time job. I’m not a fan of big decisions or “you HAVE to do it this way.” When I left the beach, it didn’t matter. I knew in this way that you know things after an encounter with the Living God that it was ALL. Going. To Be. Fine. I was going to thrive. I was Set Apart. I was Known and better than anything, LOVED.
It was the peace that surpasses understanding. Finally.
It was the easy burden, the light yoke. I get it now! 
It was the flowers of the field ,not worrying, it was the moment when you laugh because Jesus looks down at his wrist where you think the watch will be and it’s not there because he invented time! “Why wear a watch?” he asked. I laughed. A real gut busting laugh….
I’m now back to my quiet couch in South Pasadena, where I will be for three more months before this new unknown, but less scary now adventure begins. The sky is a briliant orange and pink. A tad different from that serene beach calm, but still calm. He’s showing me life and life abundantly. And I’m starting to believe it again because I had forgotten! It is for freedom that we were set free. And so I do what I learned to do and I. Just. Breathe.

My Teeth Are Falling Out: Coping With Life Changes The Best Way That I Can!

19 Aug
Photo by Daniel Schwartzkopf Photography https://www.facebook.com/danielschwartzkopfphoto

Photo by Daniel Schwartzkopf Photography https://www.facebook.com/danielschwartzkopfphoto

It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged. I’d say life has gotten in the way. I’m attempting to make a huge life change…well several life changes. Not only am I getting married for the first time, I’m also leaving the single life that I’ve had a love/hate relationship with for quite some time. Not to mention, I’m attempting to find a new home in a new place, I’m leaving my job, and launching myself into the Unknown. Needless to say, the stress of these new changes on top of planning a wedding has left me little time to process. But after a dream I had on Saturday night, that’s all about to change.

You know how there are dreams where you feel they are so real that you wake up in a fright? That’s where I was Sunday morning when I jumped out of my bed in a cold sweat. For the better part of an hour,

I couldn’t shake the feeling of the dream.

Although the topic was pretty standard, I thought it was so real that I had to check the mirror three times before I realized that it was just a dream.

My Mouth TodayI dreamed that my teeth were all falling out one by one, crumpling in my hand and the more I tried to put them back in together, the more that fell out. Soon, not only pieces of my teeth were falling out, but wires I didn’t realize were even in my mouth were falling out! It was scary! Later that day, I Googled it to see what it could mean. I’m not huge on dream interpretation, but when I read the positives and negatives of the dream, I was shocked. They all seemed right on the money!

What does it mean when you dream about your teeth falling out? This symbol has both negative and positive meanings that can help refine your interpretation.

Negative meanings
  • Insecurities, especially about a personal loss  (YES! I’m leaving my life and starting something new. Leaving singleness, which is known for married life, unknown).
  • Anxiety about sexual experience (Without getting too TMI, I’ll just say yes)
  • A compromise that is costly to you (Yes, see above)
  • Life changes and “growing pains” (HAHA. Again.)
  • Fear of becoming older (Eh, not really.)
Positive meanings
  • Signs of personal expansion (WHOO HOO. Yes. I hope to expand personally! Always)
  • Wish or need to nurture yourself more carefully (Yes. I’ve been thinking that once my job is over and before I move, I’ll go get a massage. Wedding planning is rough).
  • An invitation to explore feelings of loss and personal growth (Yes, that is why I’m writing this blog)
  • A call to look at your support system (Yes, I miss my support system. It seems in all the commuting too and from work and the exhaustion that goes along with it, I’ve not reconnected to my support system lately. Definitely need to do that.)
  • The Jungian interpretation: Times of renewal and “rebirth” (Yep, Yep. Excited about that, also a little nervous)
Photo by Daniel Schwartzkopf Photography https://www.facebook.com/danielschwartzkopfphoto

Photo by Daniel Schwartzkopf Photography https://www.facebook.com/danielschwartzkopfphoto

So, as it is, I’m feeling all sorts of things at the moment. Rather than stuffing them down until they turn into me lashing out against the nearest person and then breaking down into tears about it, I think I’ll go back to old faithful–journaling and blogging. Praying again. Getting in touch with the God that I so want to trust through this process. So, if you’re so inclined, follow my journey on the blog as I make the biggest transition of my life! Maybe you’ve already made this transition? Leave me advice in the comments! I could use it! 🙂

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