10 January 2016

winter song

Christmas was different this year. Our first year John was able to sit with us during the christmas eve service, the first year in a long time that we didn't see sight of snow, the first Christmas in a new state, new place, new home. 

It was magical. 
Of course there was the sting of loss traditions, but there was the blossoming of so many new.

And this weather has captivated me. It's been raining mostly, but occasionally sunny. It's made up for the lack of snow and things have turned green again.

Little Zoey wanted nothing more than to be in the play with her big brother. One day soon, my little love.

I tried my best to carry on the tradition of making Christmas cookies. Jack, my little task oriented kids loved it. I just try to go with the mess, but….yeah.

Jack's performance in the Christmas play. He loved it!

Christmas morning waiting on the steps. These two.

As a new year is upon me I feel ready to find bravery. To just go with it. I am a natural worrier/fear wrangler/overthinker. But this year I want to take steps towards risks and rather than give in to the fear of failure I want to see the risk as a goal, a challenge. Something that can be achieved. And if not, then at least I know I tried. When I feel that feeling of "there's no way I can do this without failing." I want to push myself a little further because those feelings are sign that I'm living, truly living and embracing the scary. 'cause real life is scary. And grown up life is scary. I'm just being real.

That's not a natural thing for me, to take risk. I have always rather avoided risk. But I'm beginning to think that risk is really worth it.

08 January 2016

seasonal changes

Well. It happened, friends. We got the best Christmas present this year. We received our official referral from Haiti! And actually as I write this we are packing up and getting ready to leave Sunday night for our 15 day visit. It. is. happening!!! We still have quite a journey ahead of us and lots more days of praying and seeking, but we are oh so thankful we're reaching this milestone. It's been a long journey, but here we are. If you're interested in getting updates will you email me at mel.dickerson@gmail.com? I'm hoping to send out email updates while we're there.

Once again we have swam through the seasons swiftly and another Thanksgiving and Christmas have come and gone. Our first here in this new place and new season. They were both really wonderful and I tried to embrace the change and the new experiences and starting new traditions. Both of the kids are at such great ages to enjoy the traditions and festivities of holidays.

John wrote an amazing devotional at Proverbs 31 Devotional. It's been such an amazing journey watching him use the gifts God has given him and see him grow as a person and a teacher.

This season has not been void of challenges, or hard days or lonely days. But man, it's been full.

My parents were even able to come for Jack's birthday/our first Halloween here. It was still unseasonably warm then.

This is how Zoey perches her little self often through out the day. She loves everything little and can be heard throughout the house creating great stories and little animals singing together. Sometimes she's like looking in a mirror. Sometimes its a good thing and sometimes it almost breaks my heart. The other day she asked why Jack's teacher doesn't say Hi to her. I wished at that moment I could whisper into her ear "don't for a minute wonder why people don't say hi to you." but alas, that gene is already in there. I will do my best, but the girl is a tender mercy heart who loves people something fierce.

We put up our tree right after Thanksgiving. Another Christmas tree being put up without our little one home, but we so look forward to when she is here. Maybe next year she'll be home.

19 November 2015


Jack loves to learn. It's like he has an appetite for it. Once he finds something he loves he wants to learn everything there is to know about it. Or if it's a song, he wants to listen to it a hundred times. (Current favorite is the Jurassic Park theme song.)  Some things he already knows everything about (imagine that.) like soccer. He knows all the moves. haha.

I admire his confidence and although I think there's great value in not being a know it all (no body likes a know it all) I love the way he delivers facts and little tidbits he's learned. And a lot of the time he's right. His little brain is like a vault of information and when he's told something once he will pretty much remember it forever (he did not inherit that skill from me.) He loves a good task or assignment and loves a good challenge. I love that about him. We're very different, but he's reminded me of the importance of a good nudge. A nudge of hope, of friendships, of finding something you love to do and committing to learn it because there is such great joy in accomplishment. I'm a little late in life to be learning this, but here I am. I used to think that having to do all the work made it kind of pointless, but finally at the ripe old age of 30 I am learning the great value in the process and not just reaching the goal.

And lately, I see this tender side of him. This side that prefers to cuddle and have hugs and kisses and to hear how important bravery and courage is. Lately I see little insecurities creep in and he quickly blames it on his shoes or the pants I make him wear, but the fact that his little confidence meter is being tampered with hurts my heart. I know it's inevitable and it's healthy and in the big picture, good. I just can't believe he's already there. It doesn't get a whole lot easier from here.

There's a part of me that wants to shield him from failure, from bullies, from eating lunch alone or not quite understanding certain things. I try to remind myself it's so good for him and that although this may be real life, it doesn't have to define us or keep us from trying again. I pray he keeps trying again. Love that boy,

07 October 2015


There are a few things I am really loving right now…

First, the reveal of northern california fall. It's unlike anything I've experienced. The sun sets earlier each night and the leaves have started to change (i didn't even know it did that in california!) The mornings are cool and crisp and foggy and yet the days are still warm and sunny and shorts-worthy. I'm trying to soak in that sun (I realized my body has sort of adapted to needing it.)  I like to imagine that just beyond the houses and telephone wire is the ocean and the waves are raging. That's kind of what the air feels like, the water is just a couple miles away. (it's not, but a girl can dream, right?)

Next, I started going to Zumba at our local Y and what started as kind of a joke has turned into a renewed love for dancing. I never danced growing up so it's not second nature to me, but man. i have a serious love for dancing. i kept telling john that if they made an exercise class that was the equivalent to how much fun dancing at weddings is that i would be there! that's pretty much zumba. the teacher is so good and like most good teachers, their love for it is contagious and you can't help but laugh and smile the entire time sweat is literally pouring down your face. It's gross, but it's so fun. I never thought I would write that sentence.

I'm not quite sure what is happening but I think it's called settling in and it fits well. I am learning to love it here, crazy culture and all. But while we're there on the culture let me joke about a few things (because I seriously couldn't joke about it until now)

a, people, why do we have to be so rude? please smile more.
b, please don't make me bring my reusable bags into the stores. i forget every time and the cheap skate in me really hates having to buy a new one for .10
c, but yeah, thanks of that ocean view.


my parent's and sister came for a visit on labor day weekend. it was such a fun and relaxing weekend full of the beach, a fever for my Pop's, a birthday celebration, a lot of coffee, laughter and delicious food.

We found this beach where the otters were literally nearly swimming to the shore. They came so close to people (get out of the water, crazies!!) There were also pod of dolphins. So incredible.

this boy loves the ocean. once his body adjusts to the constant roar of the waves he settles in like a boy with his noise maker (he's slept with a noise maker since he was born.) and he just revels in the freedom to think and run and be on the sand. and he always finds a stick or seaweed or something.

Here is my dad who later that day would have a 101 fever (thanks to a little saliva gland infection) but he was a great sport and tried to make some memories despite his pain.

And dear sister Maggie who also got some time to reflect and be. 

see that little dot on the front right??? thats the otters! little family of them. 

a few weeks later we went back to a different beach and it was the first time i experienced what people describe as a spiritual experience and the ocean. i never quite believed them, but the beach was mostly empty and it was early enough to feel that cool breeze. the waves were strong and high and constant. john has taken the kids for a walk on the beach and i just sat and stared at the water. the waves never stopped raging with all their power and might. knowing that the water goes for miles and the kind of life that lives within those waters is something i can't comprehend. how can life be living in those waters and God still knows the depths of it? i found myself captivated by it's beauty and vastness and in awe of a God who can have that sort of control over the unpredictable and temperamental waves and yet He knows me and can love me with all my temperamental moods and emotions. I can't fathom that kind of love, I'm not capable of that kind of love. Directing the ocean and all it's beauty and still loving a quirky aging mama. Incredible.

This guy, who loves the ocean more than any one I've ever met, is well aware of the mystery and power of those waves. He has a healthy respect for it and won't go too near it but could stare at it for hours. 

01 October 2015

to zoey

my little bird…

I feel like i've uncovered a great secret. i imagine you must miss your jack during the day when he is at school, but my, how i love spending the mornings with you. you are flourishing in your new one on one role and i love hearing your thoughts from across the room, at the store and from the carseat. i love hearing your little stories you create with your animals and the conversations you're creating. i love listening to you sing while you color (they go hand in hand, after all.) and watching your creations unfold as you paint.

I listened last week as you told me how you're ready to have your sister home from Haiti. That you miss her so much and want to tickle her little toes. You want to feed her and no one else can hold her. (your exact words.) I love how big your heart is, little one. So full, so overflowing, all the time.

I hugged you when you came running towards me at chick-fil-e when you buried your little face in my neck and sobbed because "no one wanted to be your friend." (which isn't exactly true since you had only been in there about five minutes.) but you still wept and your tender little sensitive heart nearly broke at the thought of not being liked. (oh, dear one, hang on tight. that's a tough weakness to have.)

i love seeing your brave face when you're scared, i love hearing you tell me "i shy." when the lady checking us out at sprouts says hi and waves.

you're so caring and protective of your older brother. you stand up for him if he's ever in trouble and sometimes that can backfire (like with that one babysitter. we won't talk about that.)

You are kind, strong, brave and beautiful. You love anything pink and sparkly and if there's a butterfly on it, you want to wear it. You love to imagine you're a puppy and Jack can talk you into doing most things, though when you're done playing cars for the hundredth time, you are done.

You hold your own and stand tall. I love you when you're tired, pouting or talking back. I love it when you cuddle up and ask me to sing "mine baby" (also known as baby mine) I love how you sing along and how I find you singing it to your stuffed animals. You almost know the words by heart now and I never knew you would love that song so much. I love how you love life, little one. You're a girl after my own heart. Never lose your sense of wonder, excitement and joy.

Thank you for showing me grace when I lose my temper and for still wanting to do the ugga-mugga nose tickle before bed. Always be yourself.


01 September 2015

rhythm of life (part 5..?)

We're finding our new rhythm, our little tribe. 
It's taken a while and it still has a long way to go, but the rhythm of life has shifted and I'm surprised how ill-prepared I feel.

I am learning that after school Jack needs a break from talking, people telling him what to do, when to do it and how much longer he has. He needs freedom to run and pretend and create. 
(I am totally realizing this now as I type) 
He isn't ready to cuddle and connect. 
Oh, but I am.
By 3:30 I've wondered several times how he is doing and what he's learning and what sort of hilarious things he's said. I am longing to hear who he played with on the playground and if any arguments broke out and why didn't he finish his lunch? ha.

I'm learning that my need for connection can't come before his need to breathe. (healthy boundaries, I say)

Jack's learning how much he likes girls. 
(wish I was kidding)
He's learning all the names of his favorite girls in his class (and they all seem to share the same hair color. Maybe there's a connection.) 
Last night he told me as he drifted off to sleep, "When I close my eyes I see her on the playground and she's sad because I told her I didn't want to play that. I'm going to go and tell her I'm sorry and that I want to play with her."
Oh, young love.

Zoey is learning how to play solo and create her own little stories with her little animal friends. She has reunited with nap time and today we went in for a speech evaluation. She has so much to say and just needs a little coaching on how to get there. The therapist surprised me, however, and didn't see the need for the intervention and just encouraged repeating phrases back to her and practicing our speech skills. Lucky for Zoey, I'm a little bit of an expert when it comes to chatting. I'll teach her what I can, but I know interacting with kiddos her age is going to be the best therapy and we're planning to do lots of that.

Zoey is also learning how she doesn't like sharks, snakes, or any kind of scary animal that may attack and kill a smaller animal. Today, during the speech evaluation the therapist was showing her pictures and she got to a picture of an animal and Zoey just lit up. She loves so fully, so well. When asked to say a word three times rather than get frustrated that her words didn't come out the same as the therapist she broke into a fit of giggles and thought it was hilarious. She looked at her reflection in that little mirror and just laughed it off.

These two love to reunite at the end of the day, but my. How good it is to grow on our own. To find our own two feet and experience life just ours. (it's not always fun for us social beings) but it is so good and necessary.

I pray they know Jesus is with them as they experience challenges, victories and trials all their own. That when they look back they see how He made them brave, strong and able to laugh when things are challenging. I pray they see us standing behind them, looking on and watching them walk all on their own to the class or the car at the end of the day and they know we see how grown up they are becoming. And how proud of them we are.

For it's beginning to hit me, the need to let go bit by bit and encourage that independence and allow the natural consequences to occur. 'cause everything in me wants to keep consequences so far from them (unless I am the one giving them, let's be real.) I'm a mama-bear, but I know its just the beginning of the rest of life for them. and it's good. even if i'm not there to comfort them when the consequences are painful. they've got this and more importantly Jesus has them.

25 August 2015

our weekend routine

Now that Jack has started Kindergarten we are trying to find our new rhythm. One that can exist well with the busy weekends that go along with your daddy being a pastor. One that still allows for moments like these...

Granted, work-weekends are all this kiddo has ever known. And until this month we have enjoyed his Friday day off as our family day and tried to do something fun. Or run errands. Or stay in our jammies until 2pm, take your pick. 

But now that our pace is quickening and our schedules are filling (and will be for the rest of his time in our home) I find myself mourning the loss of carefree Fridays where there wasn't a places to be. But it's inevitable, that pace of life. And our boy has always thrived in a fast pace (he inherited that gift.) and this week has loved every school and all that it includes.

He has loved play time, recess time and snack time. He loves learning, meeting the other kiddos and making friends. I love watching him grow.

He did get his first bee sting yesterday. The First Bee Sting is a monumental moment for me. It's a big deal. And somehow in 5 years of life he has not once gotten stung, but he did yesterday. In effort to fight off the bee, he said. He was on the monkey bars and swung his legs in effort to hit it and, well, you can imagine what happened next.

When I heard that story I had such an array of feelings. I felt proud of him for handling his first war wound solo (he did tell me he cried. He doesn't cry a ton when he gets hurt, so it must have hurt badly.) and no one was there to help him so he had to go and find someone. I felt my stomach drop as I wished I had been there to see and comfort him while we put a bandaid on it. It was my first Mom Moment of the school year (probably not the last) being apart from my brave boy. I blubbered to John about it last night, thinking about him all alone on the playground, most likely in a pool of shameless cries as he has always been more afraid of getting a bee sting than the actual sting.  But more than that, I felt myself entering into this new season of life with my boy where he experiences so many, many things apart from me and that is how it's meant to be. He wasn't meant to be within eyeshot, earshot, (yell shot. just being honest.) forever. He's meant to cross those monkey bars, get a bee sting and cry and feel better on his own. He's ready. So begins the journey of him needing me less and less and as bittersweet as that is, it's time. It's meant to happen. 

It may just take me a few weeks (maybe years) to get used to, okay? 

And for the most part, Zoey enjoys being home. She misses her pal and playmate, but has loved starting to do little school things and has returned to her afternoon nap (thank You Lord!)

So we're finding it. Our groove, our rhythm, our ever-changing pace in life. This old mama has a harder time adjusting to the change, but I'm trying to embrace it.
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