December 16, 2011
The summer before Matt and I married was one of the most amazing summers of my life. I spent nearly every day with my best girl friends talking about love, God, our futures and everything in-between. We stayed out late, wore matching tank tops on the 4th of July (yep, that really happened), watched the sunrise in our pajamas, dominated an empty dance floor, and had our own grown-up version of elementary school Field Day. That summer will forever hold a special place in my heart because of the depth to which our friendships grew, but also it was the last full summer where we were all together, unmarried and completely carefree.
I am so grateful for the photos that were taken that summer. They remind me of how much we grew, loved and laughed. And now, 6.5 years later, though most of us have moved away, married the men of our dreams and grew into stunning, admirable, professional young women, through those images our fab little group of 5 will forever remain just the way I remember us. Fresh faced, innocent and ready to take on life together.
Earlier this year I donated a Lifestyle Session to the Launch Party for the Minnesota Zoo AZUL Program (who, if you have not heard, have been doing amazing things with young professionals passionate about animals & conservation - check them out!) and the best-door-prize-ever winner, the gorgeous and sweet Lauren, contacted me about the idea of doing a session with her best girl friends; all of whom have been friends into the double-digit years. Can you imagine how fast I said yes? YES!
Lauren, Nael, Sara & Beth. THANK YOU for showing me your friendship. Your love for each other reminds me so much of my love for my own besties and that is a gift. I hope these photos allow you to remember this past summer fondly and remind you to love each other more. xo
i’m yours, melissa
June 2, 2011
I wasn’t going to stop for lunch; I was going to head straight home and whip up a quick lunch and get back to editing but as if I had been forced by a tractor beam, I found msyelf pulling into the Chipotle parking lot. (That is my story and I’m sticking to it.) On my way into the restaurant I heard a soft-spoken, “Excuse me Miss.” I looked up from my iPhone and saw a man around my age, standing near the outside door. I stopped, thinking that maybe I had dropped something and he said quietly, “I’m really sorry to bother you but if it isn’t too much trouble, do you happen to have a dollar or two so that I can go buy lunch for myself?” I hesitated, looking at my wallet and then back at him and sensing my momentary pause, he smiled a defeated smile and said a barely audible, “I understand” and started to walk away. I’ve lived in Minneapolis for 5 years now and being approached for spare change is part of my every day life. But there was something about this guy. I don’t know if it was his quiet nature or the humility he showed but I found myself asking if I could buy him lunch.
In the 7 minutes we waited in line, I learned a few things about this man; one being that he had never eaten at a Chipotle in his life. I clearly didn’t hide my shock well since the next words he said were, “so then I guess you eat here a lot then?” (Understatement of the week and a smack in the face of how much I took that ability for granted.) He asked me if it was ok for him to get a burrito and once we got to the point of the line where they ask what salsas and extras you want on your burrito, he excitedly asked for them all and looked at me with a grateful smile. As we walked out of the restaurant together, he thanked me again and said, “By the way, my name is Moses. I hope I can pay you back for this one day.”
I walked to my car in tears, not just for the kindness of his words, but also because yesterday a friend of mine had tweeted about how she had payed it forward to the person behind her in the Starbucks drive through and today I was granted this amazing opportunity to do the same. Had I not stopped been tractor-beamed to Chipotle for lunch, I never would have met this amazing man who renewed my spirit and gave me way more than the $10 lunch I bought him. It’s so easy to write people off and forget how blessed we are to be able to eat not only well, but also to be able to eat every day.
So today. Today I am thanking God for placing that man in my life. For the reminder of how much I am blessed with and a renewed desire not to take it for granted. And today I am encouraging you to do the same. I didn’t tell you this story so you all would think better of me, but because I’m grateful that Quyen’s small act of kindness yesterday filtered past the hundreds of tweets my brain read yesterday.
Pay it forward; it doesn’t take much. Allow yourself to be shaken out of the ordinary and do something kind for someone else. It is contagious.
i’m yours, melissa
March 28, 2011
I really have no words left to say but THANK YOU. Sincerely and with all of my heart, THANK YOU.
Through your retweets, reposts, comments and re-blogs of the original post, your love for the animals of Japan blew my mind. I spent last night re-reading through the 130 comments and was so overcome with emotion and love for this community of people that I had to stop reading and find that dog of mine for a cuddle session. Thank you to the people who commented that you were also texting to make a $10 donation to the American Humane Association; spending my money is easy, but the desire to spend your own hard earned money is not as easy of a desicion and I’m so inspired by each one of you.
To my incredible redheaded friend, Erin, thank you for the idea and for the inspiration to make that committment and not look back. I gained far more in spirit than I ever could repay.
To my amazing parents who are matching my $130 donation to the American Humane Association, there is no doubt that I wouldn’t be half the woman I am without your leading examples all of my life. I love you so, so much.
To Gunnar, thank you for being the perfect example of a dog who made a girl love more than she thought capable.
XOXO times infinity.
i’m yours, melissa
March 18, 2011
I’m asking you for your help. Actually, I take that back; I need your help on this one. I can’t do it alone. Read on.
photo credit: (the fabulous) Lucky Mutt Photography
I am (quite certainly) the definition of the crazy dog person that you shake your head at. The person who loves her dog as much as a human baby (I can say this because I don’t have a human baby.); I’m also the person who thinks kissing her dog, square on the mouth (multiple times a day), is a totally normal occurence and one that I will actively search him out in the house to do.
Please still like me.
I think it’s obvious at this point, but this dog means the world to me. If anything were to happen to him, the word devasted would not even touch it; if we were separated, you had better believe I would be doing everything in my power to get him back.
Enter the tragedy in Japan last week. I wracked my brain trying to figure out a way to help and since I can’t be there myself to help, I wanted to find a way that wouldn’t just be throwing money at a problem but would be actively DOING something to better the situation of those affected. An amazing redheaded friend, who’s photo is proudly next to mine in the “crazy dog person” dictionary, inspired my decision to focus my efforts on the animals and, in particular, the American Humane Association who’s Red Star Team currently is working day and night to find and rescue animals affected by the tsunami and earthquake.
This is where you come in. I will make a $1 donation for every comment that is made between now and Friday, March 25. It can be a single-word comment or it could be confessions of your undying crazy love for that furry little animal at home; I honestly don’t care, just please comment. And spread the word. The more people know about it, the more animals can be saved or reunited with their owners. You can also donate $10 by texting PROTECT to 85944.
I pray that none of us are ever effected by the effects of a widespread tragedy but if we were, I hope that someone would care enough about the well being of that dog, who brings me more joy than I ever thought possible, to do something about it.
I happened upon this photo yesterday and that was the end of it. It will take you 30 seconds and could potentially create this kind of joy for another human being; really, how could you not?
i’m yours, melissa