credit: wikipedia

barack's wife. malia and sasha's mom. craig's sister. forever first lady. michelle obama.

princeton and harvard grad.





i'm currently reading michelle obama's memoir, becoming. i'll have a full review over at before the year is out. but i had to take a moment to share some thoughts the nation's former first lady. long before her book was published, political pundits, journalists and every day citizens alike were speculating whether she would eventually run for office. 

i've heard her response to this, it has been a resounding no

yet, she is continually asked. i just got frustrated on her behalf the other day, which prompted this blog post. i doubt any more than a handful of people will read this, but i will feel better for writing it. i feel a sense of obligation because while michelle was campaigning for barack and also while in office, she has regarded the military and especially their families with great care and concern. (my navy veteran cousin's wife met her and witnessed this in person.) so, i kinda wanted to pay some of that back with this writing.  

when michelle acknowledged that the whole family is part of the military experience, i felt validated as an army brat of 15 years. as my friends can attest, i'll often speak of my time as a child as when "we were in the army," because michelle obama is exactly right - the whole family serves. the whole family is shuffled around. the whole family has to make new friends every 2-3 years. the whole family has to miss holidays with extended family members. the whole family serves. it's a little easier today with the advances in technology, but it was brutal when i was a child. 14 schools. 13 grades plus college - 14 different schools. i don't have a 5th grade school photo because we moved from one place before school photos were taken and arrived at the new school after they'd already been taken. being a military brat provides a unique life experience, albeit a challenging one. (i still have trouble answering the question: where are you from?)

i feel a sort of kinship with the obamas - especially their daughters. i understand what it is like to be the daughter of a parent who has made a career of serving this country. if, after my dad retired, my mom said she wanted to enlist, i would have just about died. while serving from the white house is vastly different from serving as an enlisted army soldier, there are some similarities. sometimes both parents and their offspring want to serve (e.g., the clintons, the bush family). but michelle has made it clear that she does not want to run, and we should stop asking her. she's answered. no means no. she's served. her daughters have served. her mother, to a degree, has served. there are other qualified leaders. we should be thankful for their service because, i'd suspect, running the country also provides a unique but challenging life experience. 

let's transfer our passion to the next generation of leaders.  

yesterday i got pulled over by a grand prairie police officer ... and it was largely uneventful.

with the current state of police relations, we often see the varying extremes of interactions with the police. -- those very damaging exchanges where some unarmed person ends up dead or the really heartwarming experiences that make us smile and maybe even laugh. those make the news because they are ... well, newsworthy.

i don't get pulled over often. and before yesterday, my last experience with a dfw-area police officer in 2012 wasn't the most pleasant. (as a side note, i just re-read this post and realized i got pulled over about three years ago for the same thing sandra bland was killed for in 2015. re-reading that was more than sobering.)

except from 3/21/12:
about two weeks ago i was stopped in irving because i looked suspicious driving the lexus i own and drive daily in dfw. the police officer pulled me over for allegedly not signaling as i changed lanes (i am pretty sure i did, but even if i didn't, no one gives tickets for that in dfw). once stopped he proceeded to question me about where i was going (home), who i was following (no one) and if my name was really melyssa (yes, that is my legal name on my birth certificate and everything). once i showed him my credentials he let me go with a simple, "drive safe!"

fast-forward to 2017. my niece and i were driving home from dallas. i had helped out at her school field trip at the perot museum. yes, me, the PANK, with a group of 9 and 10 year old girls. do i really have to tell you how tired i was?

so, i'm cruising down i-20, and i guess i was cruising a little too fast. the gppd pulled me over for going about 10 miles over the speed limit. i really felt like i was going with the flow of traffic, but again, i was exhausted, so i probably wasn't at peak awareness. as he pulled me over, he communicated with me through the passenger window so as to keep himself out of harm's way. i already had my credentials out when he approached. he asked me where i was going, and i told him, "i'm headed home. i have my niece in the back (pointing to her as she waves from the back seat) and we are heading home from her school field trip at the perot museum." he explains why he has pulled me over. i reply, "ok. i felt like i was going with the flow of traffic. but ok."

he goes back to his car and returns after a few minutes. and he says, "can you roll down the passenger window?" to which i just kinda gave him this look like, "why?" and then he said, "is it ok if i give your niece a sticker?" and i said, "oh! sure, of course." so, he gave her the sticker and he gave me a warning. and all was right with the world. not because i didn't get a ticket (if you read my 2012 post, i didn't get a ticket then either). all was right with the world because we communicated with MUTUAL respect. even if i had received a ticket yesterday, that would have been a fair experience.

for me, both events will remain etched in my memory for years to come (partly because i've memorialized them on this blog.) and this is because your actions and your words matter. but what's even better is my 10-year old niece witnessed a positive exchange, which will shape her experiences as she gets older.

so, yesterday was no big deal. it's probably not even worth a blog post, but i wanted to share because as with most things in life we tend to accentuate the very positive or the very negative and the everyday run-of-the-mills things often get overlooked.

yesterday was a good, uneventful day.

i have a confession to make. over the past two months, i have been disobedient to God and dishonest with myself. in the midst of extreme loneliness, i chose to entertain a friendship with someone who was, not only unequally yoked with me, but we weren't even on the same plow. 

let me back up. 

at the beginning of this year, while many of us were all making new year's resolutions, i was making an ultimate turnaround-life plan for myself. i accepted the one-year guarantee at my church. (the guarantee: come, commit, contribute, and connect for one year and God will radically change your life.) i started (and am still in the midst) the one-year bible reading plan. i aspired to grow closer to God with each passing day. it was (and still is) a solid plan with good intentions. 

but i am human. and plan as i might, my human nature caused me to fail. i have been single for nearly a decade now, and i so badly want to be in a committed relationship (which is probably why i don't need to be in one at this moment, but i digress). so, i entertained a relationship with a nice, courteous man who is not a godly man. he is a considerate person who called when he said he would and remembered things we'd previously discussed. he opened doors. he asked how my day went. and even "supported my beliefs and church attendance." but what i learned was this is not what a christian relationship looks like. it has some of the same traits, and i think that's what got me off track. 

while i very much want to be in a relationship, i now know i need a Christ-centered relationship. i need a man who will not only be nice and considerate but love me as Christ loves the church. a man who loves me in this manner will not only do nice things and remember anecdotes, but he will respect me. he will protect me. he will have no issues providing for me (note: when i say provide, the emphasis is not on finances, but it has more to do with providing care and concern in the areas where i am deficient.) and he will have no problem professing his love for the Lord and for me. to do these things he needs to be in church and he needs to know Christ or at the very least have a desire to do both. otherwise, he's going to come up empty for me every single time. and i am going to feel angst every single time. i need someone who will not only support my beliefs but also have faith in those things that are not seen ... with me. i need someone who will not only tell me to have a blessed time at church, but to come to church .... with me and engage in the service and fellowship ... with me. i need someone who will not hope for the best for me and our relationship, but pray and seek the Lord ... with me ... daily

do i think that people who are un-churched or non-believers are bad people? no. it is my belief that being bad or good will not keep you out of or get you into heaven. however, everyone who is in any type of relationship (romantic, platonic, familial) has certain needs that must be met. and i know better know what i need. so, i got off track, but praise God i wasn't derailed. and as a result, i know more about myself and my needs. i need a companion, a confidant, a Christ-driven and Christ-led mate. this is a comprehensive list. and i don't think the list is overwhelming. i'm praying (and have faith) that God will meet those needs in a mate for me. it just may not been on the timeline i had planned for myself. and His timing is always so much better, anyway. 

in the meanwhile, i will continue to pray for those who are un-saved and non-believing, hoping that one day they come to know the good, good father i know. If they could just taste and see...

today marks the completion of habit 4 of proverbs 31 ministry's 5 habits of a woman who doesn't quit by nicki koziarz

chapters 7-8:
the fourth habit is: she gives others what she needs.

what i've learned about habit 3:
this week i've received more emphasis on that familiar verse - it is more blessed to give than to receive (acts 20:35). sometimes, i have to dig deep to find the energy to give but overall i enjoy giving myself away for God's glory. while it can be fairly easy to give people things, money, or even time, emotional generosity is a great thing to give others. in this study, i've learned it's also one of the hardest forms of kindness to give. but isn't that how it is with everything? the most beautiful, worthwhile things take the most work and effort.

the other part of emotional generosity is receiving. i've learned that i must be open to receiving what others have to offer me and letting them be a blessing as well. i feel optimistic about this habit because it is stretching me to be a better person by offering emotional gifts as well as physical gifts.

my prayer:
Lord, help me be strong and courageous in completing my goals. help me give others what i need but also allow them to be a blessing in my life. i know this is a way that your kingdom will be advanced and your glory exalted. amen!

my goal is to continually give and decrease so that my God may be increased!

give, and it will be given to you. a good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. for with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. luke 6:38

today, i'm sharing my thoughts on the third week of the proverbs 31 ministry's 5 habits of a woman who doesn't quit by nicki koziarz. you might have noticed, i am a little late posting about habit three. last week i got wrapped up in my birthday celebration and mother's day celebrations. but fear not, i have not quit! so, on to habit three!

chapters 5-6:
the third habit is: she stays open to the movement of God.

how i'm feeling about habit 3:
this week i've learned that i need to invite and involve God into my plans. as a planner, this is a challenge for me. i constantly want to be in control and determine the results of everything that affects me and the important people in my life. however, i must remember to put my faith and God and not let my fear overpower my faith. His plans are always, always better than mine! i will be honest with you, when i follow God, things don't always fall in line as i expect. i hit bumps in the road, but i am always, always blessed because things come out beautiful on the other side. so, i take nicki's words to heart when she tells us things might look a little messy before they become completely beautiful - that is the testimony of my life. i am committed to sticking with the difficult things so i can see the new, beautiful things God creates in my life.

habit 3 is a challenge, i'm not gonna lie. i am a person who is quick to flee instead of fight. however, because of this bible study i have renewed hope in seeing the Lord do new and good things in my life (isaiah 43:19), i must become a woman who doesn't quit. i must find a way to push through the dark, ugly, disorganized places so that i may reap my beautiful reward.

open hands, open mind, open heart ----> opening myself to God's movement. and that, my friends, is a life changer for sure!

many plans are in a man's heart. but the Lord's decree will prevail. proverbs 19:21

my prayer:
Lord, please help me stay focused on the things you've assigned for me. Give me the strength to do and compete all that you have assigned for me to do. Create a new thing in me so that ultimately you may be glorified. amen!

today, i'm sharing my thoughts on the second week of the proverbs 31 ministry's 5 habits of a woman who doesn't quit by nicki koziarz.

chapters 3-4:
the second habit is: she follows through on her commitments despite how she feels.

how i'm feeling about habit 2:
the beginning of the week was very motivational and inspiring. i learned that i need to turn my "i can't" perspective into a positive. realistically, i know it's difficult to have hope, determination, and perseverance in the midst of challenges, but i should strive to be more like ruth. in the bible, ruth leaves her homeland to travel with her mother-in-law, naomi, back to naomi's homeland. in the midst of new territory, ruth agrees to go out and work in the fields. while there, she meets boaz. this turns out to be a blessing for ruth. sometimes we have to stretch ourselves by going to the most difficult places to receive our blessings. i'm sure ruth didn't feel like make those major life changes, but she followed through anyway.

in the teachings this week, i also learned that God may choose to use me to change someone else's life when i follow through with my commitments - that's huge!

humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time. i peter 5:6

but i also know the struggle is real. as i delve deeper into this habit i'm torn with trying to find a balance between being consistent, following through and also being my true, authentic self. should i force myself to follow through with commitments if that means i am not being honest with the person (or people) it affects? i know what's right, and i know what's true. and i know i have to work to reconcile both of these things because ultimately, the truth is always right.

my prayer:
Lord, help me have the best effective, godly communication with important people in my life. help me make wise "no-quitting" decisions in the midst of raw emotions. guide me so that Your light may shine through in all that i do. amen!

image credit: proverbs 31ministries
this week i started an online bible study hosted and sponsored by proverbs 31 ministries (which is a wonderful organization, by the way). the study is based on the book of ruth and nicki koziarz's book, 5 habits of a woman who doesn't quit.

for the next five weeks, i will publish portions of my private journal in this space. i hope you are inspired or motivated by me sharing my journey to quit quitting!

chapters 1-2:
the first habit is: she accepts the assignment of refinement. 

how i'm feeling about habit one:
i think this habit is the most difficult because it requires starting, and starting takes a leap of faith. as a runner, i know the hardest part is starting (really, starting is the most difficult part of any task). personal trainers will tell you, don't stop running during a race. once you stop, it is so hard to get going again. so, stay in the race and push through - that's a word! once you get started, keep going! while accepting an assignment of refinement is hard, once i start, i know i have to keep going and finish ... to completion. in other words - don't quit! :-)

my prayer:
i am praying that i have the strength to stay in this race. i know the battle is not mine, but the Lord's (2 chronicles 20:15). please help me to remember the Lord's promises are true and He promises to give me the desires of my heart (psalm 37:4). help me to look to You when i begin to falter. i know God is my Source and ever-present Help. amen!

1. for people who push me to know better; do better; be better
2. for the unconditional love of God and His grace and mercies, which are new every day (not just the month of november
3. for the freedom to proclaim my gratitude


1. friendly faces
2. time to catch up on life
3. late night chats with nice people

1. friends - thanks ericka and kita for breaking bread with us
2. family - grandma, parents, sister, niece, cousins and more
3. hope for the future