I'm blogging at www.melaniedorsey.com . Please join me there.

Jun 28, 2010

A Creative Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Waste

Fancy up your flip flops!

Pineapple ~ $2.99 on sale this week at Publix!     Flip flops ~ $2.50 @ Target, Blouse ~ free to me      
Thrifted dress ~ $2.50 

"Orange You Glad" Flip Flops

Puppy ~ priceless!

Yesterday was my birthday (pics below). Today I felt "creatively crafty" so I embellished my new orange flip flops.
I cut several 1" x 4" strips from the free blouse above. Best to use stretchy fabric. The blouse was polyester. Perfect!

I adore the yellow and orange of these roses! I adore this boy!

Jun 21, 2010

Delivering the Mail

No mail on my Saturday or Sunday run! I was actually a bit disappointed. But I think I got the message last Friday.

Before the cancer diagnosis I was "launching" a speaking ministry. I cancelled a women's conference here in Florida and a speaking engagement in Maryland. Of course Andrew was our top priority for months. In the grieving, I questioned whether I had anything to say anymore. The prospect of standing before a group of people and saying ANYTHING felt very distasteful to me. I think part of it was my questioning as to why Andrew was not healed. (Of course he is 100% well in Heaven. Once you are in the presence of the Lord, no sickness exists for anyone!). I felt confused, hurt and let down. I kept thinking I have no answers! None. Only that Jesus is THE answer. And I don't need a microphone or a podium to tell someone that.

From the day in August when we got the results of the biopsy and on through the month of December, I cannot tell you how many times I heard from family and friends how my "ministry" was going to be "even greater."
I would nod politely (at first) but then it all just got on my last nerve! I wanted to shout, "Seriously! Do you think that I would trade the life of my son for a "ministry"?

Of course that is not what friends and family were implying but that's what this mother's heart heard. I even said on more than one occasion. "Jesus died so that others might be saved. My son doesn't have to!"

Perhaps you can, for just a moment, put yourself in my place and understand how all of that sounded to me. Often I find myself making some kind of retroactive deal with God. I think of what I would give up or what I would go through if none of this had happened. You see, it is a kind of relentless agony to wake up every morning and not see Andrew. I can't hear his voice any longer, except on video. I can't kiss him although I kiss his pictures. I can't see his smile except in photos. It's EXCRUCIATINGLY painful. When I am out and I see boys his age on skateboards, a knife goes through my heart. I see boys at church with his hair color and they are sitting with their families and I inwardly wince. For just a fleeting moment if you thought how your life would change if one minute your child was in your home and the next minute...NOT, I'm sure you would have a small taste of just how horrible that would be.

And some of you are in my place and you understand firsthand. And for that...I am sorry.

Back to the "mail."

In February and March I had a couple of inquiries as to whether I was available to speak again. I turned them down.

And then I found Andrew's Message in his Bible. And very slowly my heart began to soften. An inner flame flickered.

One of the ministry leaders I had turned down contacted me again. This time I said, "Yes."

I went back to God in prayer and very simply said, "If you open the doors, I'll walk through and I'll speak for you."
That's it. Where He leads, I'm willing to follow.

I remember very clearly one morning as I was running, I was talking to God and He placed a little seed in the soil of my spirit. From that a message was birthed. I can take you to the exact spot on that morning run where I began to cry and thank God that I could, once again, feel His rhema word fanning that flickering flame into a campfire.
Last week the mail incident reminded me of a scripture in Habakkuk.

Habakkuk 2:1-3
"I will stand my watch
And set myself on the rampart,
 And watch to see what He will say to me,
And what I will answer when I am corrected."

You see, this is the way I have been feeling for several months. "I'm here, God. What are you going to do with me now? I have nothing to give. Nothing to say. But I'm still here. And I'm not leaving. You're stuck with me because I'm sticking with you."

"Then the Lord answered me and said:
"Write the vision
And make it plain on tablets,
That he may run who reads it.
For the vision is yet for an appointed time:
But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie.
Though it tarries, wait for it:
Because it will surely come,
It will not tarry."

When I think back to my decision to start running again, I truly believe it was a desire planted by God. His word tells us in Psalm 37:4:

"Delight yourself also in the Lord,
 And He shall give you the desires of your heart."

A few years ago I was preparing a Bible study and in my research I found that the word "delight" (Strong's #6026) is from the Hebrew root word anag (aw-nag') meaning "pliable." To be pliable is to be malleable, to be softened to the things of God.

When the desire to run again came back, I had a purpose in the running ~ to carry Andrew's Message. And I did that, literally, in the Iron Girl 5k. I wrote it on tablets (posters). I made it plain so that as I ran, other runners could read it. I made it plain so that as I stood at the finish line and those running in the 15k passed by, they could read it as they ran. I made it plain so that the crowd around me could read it.

God sent His Message by way of His Messenger. It hasn't made it to some due to negligence. It was supposed to be delivered but on the way it was dropped.
I'm going to pick it up and make sure it gets to its intended recipient.
I'll help deliver the mail, will you?


Jun 18, 2010

You've Got Mail

The strangest thing has been recurring on my daily runs.
Sometimes I run on the beach or at a local park but this week all of my runs, except for Wednesday's, I ran in my neighborhood. Monday about a half mile out I saw a large envelope and lots of letters scattered on the ground around a mailbox. I don't know the people who live in that house, but I knocked on the door to let them know about their mail on the ground.

Tuesday nearly a mile into my run I saw one letter that had been dropped and I scooped it up and stuck it back in the box.

Wednesday there were no mail incidents because there were no mailboxes. I ran on the beach with a couple of friends.

Thursday I was almost home from a four miler and I came upon my friend's mailbox. I saw that the little door was down because the handle was broken. The box was full of mail so I shut the door and pressed it firmly so it would stay closed. I'm sure she wouldn't want a bill to blow away!

Today I had run about a mile and a quarter when, again, I saw a stray letter on the ground of Whitacre Avenue. And once again, I scooped up the dropped mail and put it back in the box.

"What is going on with me and mail?" I wondered as I quickened my pace. I have walked, biked and run in this neighborhood for thirteen years and never seen anything like this! So I asked God, "Are You showing me something?"
"Is there any significance to this?"

Normally I wouldn't think anything about this as I tend to be leery about assigning symbolism or significance to what may simply be happenstance. But when it happens four days out of five? Could it just be a newbie postal worker on this route? Or is there significance to Melanie "delivering" mail?
I'll let you draw your own conclusions. I'm still pondering it. I do have some news however. But I'll "deliver" that in a day or so.
(When I came in from my run, I asked Son to take my picture by our mailbox. He didn't even ask questions. See? They're used to my picture taking ways!)

Jun 16, 2010

1 ~ 2 ~ 3 Ingredients "Peanut Butter Cookies"




1 cup of peanut butter
1 egg
1 cup of sugar
Drop by the spoonful onto a baking sheet.
Bake @ 350*
Makes a dozen

Son: "Mama, will you make something?"
Mama: "What do you mean, like a dessert?"
Son: "Yeah."
Mama: "Are you sure you wouldn't rather have fish? It's really good for you."
Son: "No, Mama. I don't like fish."
Mama: "It's a little chilly in here. Do you want a jacket?"


Jun 15, 2010

The Rest of the Story ~ 10 New Things

Here are my "10 New Things To Do This Summer."
Inspiration came from this.

~ The Two of Us ~

1. Try 10 new recipes.
I've made 3 new dishes and this one is next.

2. Run a 5k a day.

3. Read the Gospels, working my way from John back to Matthew.

4. Take a cooking class.

5. Participate in a Women's Summer Bible Study.
I have taught these and facilitated studies in a church setting, but I have never participated in one in some one's home. Tonight is the first one. Update: It was great! Lots of cool women that I look forward to getting to know and the first video segment was by Kay Arthur, whose teaching style I truly enjoy. Of course, I cried when it came my turn to introduce myself and tell about my family. I have a wonderful husband and three great kids ~ one in Heaven. Today makes 6 months. Who wouldn't cry? I cry a lot these days. But I'm also very thankful that I laugh more than ever, too. God's gift to me in the midst of grief.

6. Run a 10k at midnight.
This is the one!

7. Paint a canvas.
I like this. The Thrifty Designer made it. (Scroll down her post to see her canvas.) Thanks, Thrifty Designer for responding to my email and pointing me in the right direction to copy you!

8. Make one of these. Update: I made it today! Mine is a vintage journal. It was trial and error. I'm going to do another one and do a better job!

9. Vlog once a week.
I hope I can achieve this. I'll need one of my kids or my husband to help me out.

10. ? Leave some white space for spontaneity.
Who knows what may come up this summer. I'm leaving some space for the unknown. Looks like I'm PLANNING to be spontaneous!

Just showing off my new dress that was a gift from my cousin, Joy. She is my longest best friend.

Jun 11, 2010

See My Mom Run! ~ Running Moms Blog

See her? She's MY mom!

In the weeks following the passing of my twelve year old son, Andrew, from Earth to Heaven, I had a recurring idea flittering through my mind like the butterflies that dance around my front yard flowers.
One day I told a friend, "I'm thinking about running again. I want to run for the...(Go here for the rest of the story.)
My new blog: See My Mom Run! is being relocated to www.seemymomrun.com.
You will be redirected within 48 hours. I hope!

Jun 9, 2010

Ten New Things To Do This Summer

I'll be back to share more of my "Ten New Things To Do This Summer."
But here's a hint to #2: See the bridge?

I'm back.

"Ten New Things To Do This Summer"

#1 Try 10 new recipes.

1. crepes

2. black bean & corn salad

3. turkey meatloaf

7 more recipes to go!

#2 Run a 5k a day. (3.1 miles)

Today's 5k included running the Belleair Beach Causeway

I ran with Jen. (Jen's daughter in blue. 'Love that girl!)

We have affectionately dubbed this bridge the Belleair Booty & Belly Bridge.

Sculptor, Bob Emser responds to this question from the St. Petersburg Times, April 28, 2010:

1. What was your thought process when coming up with your art? I saw the two sides of the bridge, Belleair Bluffs and Belleair Beach, as two different communities. They both had their own feeling and personality. On the east side, because of the tall building next to the bridge, I felt it needed a taller structure. That work stands at 24 feet tall. On the west side, I focused more on the charm of the beach community. That side is made of two pieces, which I named "the Sisters of Belle Isle.'' The big piece is 9 feet tall and the shorter one, which I call the younger sister, is 8 feet. Belle Isle is my play on the word Belleair, and also, in Italian, "bella" means beautiful.

I guess Bella~Mella is running the right bridge!

The view...although hard to truly appreciate when you can't breathe.

I'll continue to share my list of "Ten New Things To Do This Summer," so come back!

By the way, what have you got planned for June, July and August?

Jun 7, 2010

Ten Things

My daughter, Audra, and I were talking about a book she read in which the main character, June Parker, sets out to accomplish a list of 20 things. The twist is the list is not hers. It belongs to a new acquaintance, Marissa, whom she met at a Weight Watcher's meeting. Inspired by her 100 pound weight loss, June offers Marissa a ride home. There is a car accident and Marissa is killed. In an attempt to move past her guilt and honor the young woman, June vows to achieve each of Marissa's goals of

"20 Things To Do By My 25th Birthday."

Inspired by the story line, I decided to make a list of:

"10 New Things to do this Summer." I made my list in random order as I thought of things I would like to accomplish this summer.

#1 Try 10 new recipes.

I have already made 2 new recipes, one of which I am sharing here with you. This weekend I wanted something desserty to accompany the strawberries and cream I had on hand.

I decided upon crepes. I used Alton Brown's recipe but, as I usually do, I tweaked it a bit.

But first let's look at the fish tacos I am craving lately. I have made fish tacos in the past but I am trying to perfect it. So far, this is my best effort.

Grilled Tilapia ~ seasoned with McCormick Grill Mate's Seafood Rub, Old Bay and a squeeze of lime on each fillet.
Corn tortillas ~ fried in a bit of oil in a non-stick pan, just until they get to the beginning stages of crispy.
Slaw mix ~ (Trust me. With fish, it's better than lettuce.)
Sauce ~ 1/2 cup mayo, 1/2 cup sour cream, shake of cumin, shake of red pepper, shake of onion powder, chopped cilantro, and a good squeeze of lime. I started with this and added more of everything for extra sauce.
Red onion ~ add to slaw mix
Cilantro ~ add to slaw mix
Lime ~ just squeeze away
Dress slaw with sauce. Make extra sauce 'cause it's just that good.
Corn tortilla, sauce, fish, slaw w/sauce, squeeze of lime. Make two at a time so you don't have to wait on your second one.

We ate this with a side of black bean and corn salad or salsa. Call it what you will. If you eat it with tortilla chips, it's salsa. As a side dish, it's salad. This is a recipe I got from my friend, Jen. It is my second new recipe for the summer. I'll ask Jen to share this recipe when I feature her in an upcoming blog post. 8 more to go!


Go here for Alton Brown's Crepe Recipe

My tweak: I used buttermilk in place of "milk." I always figure if "milk" is good, "buttermilk is better."

I filled the crepes with: cream cheese, powdered sugar and a good squeeze of lime. Lay crepe flat, spoon the cream cheese mixture down the middle, a line of whipped cream and sliced strawberries. Roll crepe and dust with powdered sugar. Top with more strawberries.

~A Bonus dish for Tasty Tuesday~

Blueberry Cobbler

Preheat oven to 350*
Put a stick of butter in your big cast iron skillet.
Let it melt in the oven while you do this:

Mix 1 cup of self-rising flour, 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of milk (I use buttermilk.)
When butter is melted, gently pour batter into skillet. Add your fruit of choice to the batter.
I used frozen blueberries dusted with a bit of extra sugar.
Bake until golden brown...about 30 minutes.
Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Go HERE for more Tasty Tuesday recipes!

Jun 6, 2010

Sail Away With Me

Biking & Running ~ Sand Key

Running out

Running in

Thoughts of Andrew
We love Andrew.

He loves me.

I love him.

We laugh. We kiss. Sometimes simultaneously.

Our love has grown.

Jun 5, 2010

A Miss Janice Give A Way!

Go HERE for a fabulous give-a-way! You'll love it. I promise. But I hope I win.

Jun 4, 2010

It Must Be Enough

Follow up below~
I'm on my way this morning to sit with my friend Gina while her son has a chemo infusion. Britt has cancer. He met Andrew when my boy was in All Children's Hospital. Gina and I were in college together. Same major ~ Communications. Same oncologist for our boys.

Please pray for Gina and Britt. I want 100% recovery for Britt. Please pray for me today. I will be returning to a place where Andrew got very sick. The last time I was there, Andrew was alive here on Earth. Although I know Andrew is alive in Heaven, still I wish he were with me. With our family.

I don't understand the mind of God. But I love Him and I trust Him. And, as I've said many times since December 15, 2009, that is enough. It must be enough for me.

I just LOVE this face!

Follow up~ Gina and I had a great visit. I got to hug Britt and talk with Gina while he had his chemo infusion. What a trooper Britt is! He is looking good. His hair is coming back in nicely. Gina is a fierce Mama; you know the kind. You are probably in that same category. Fierce Mamas beat off the birds of the air and the beasts of the fields to protect their children.

For the story of another Fierce Mama click here. Then here.

Jun 3, 2010

Do You Cobble?

Do you Crisp, Crumble, Grunt or Cobble?

I have an emotional attachment to cobblers.

Not him.

Although I do like shoes.

Gwyneth Paltrow's shoes

My official summer shoe

Sometimes I crisp but mostly I cobble.

Preheat oven to 350*.
Melt a stick of butter in a cast iron skillet. You can also use a pyrex dish.
In a separate bowl, mix 3/4 cup self-rising flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup buttermilk or sweet milk
(Increase amounts in equal parts for a bigger cobbler.)
Thin out the batter some with the juice from your canned fruit.
When butter is melted, pour batter into skillet. Do not stir.
Gently add your fruit of choice to top of batter.
I used what I had.
What I had: a small can of pears and a can of fruit cocktail (left from when Mother was here).
I only used the pears and peaches from the can of fruit cocktail, although a rogue marachino cherry made it in.
Bake for about 40 minutes or until the crust is golden.
Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.
I made fresh whipped cream.

Do you ever whip up homemade whipped cream? It's very easy.

Mother often made cobblers...mostly peach but sometimes pear. I always went for the crusty, crunchy edges.
The last thing I made with my Mamaw was a blackberry cobbler. She had put up blackberries in her freezer. Mamaw's cobbler was a rolled dough that she laid over the fruit in a lattice pattern. We ate it hot from the oven topped with vanilla ice cream.
Ahhhh...the memories.

Jun 2, 2010

Simple Spring Table

On her post today Sandy, at Reluctant Entertainer, asks these questions: "Are you a simple tablescaper? Or do you get into the fancy stuff, and produce a more detail-oriented table?"

Greenery from the tree in my backyard

Cut glass vase from my mother

Bird, a gift from my friend Alisa at Carolina Panache

Lemon plates, also a gift from Alisa
(You should be so blessed as to have a friend like Alisa!)

These pictures answer Sandy's questions, don't you think?

Simple Spring Lunch: Salmon patties, mixed greens salad, lemon cupcakes and tea.