All the Things: October


My people and I took a little hike up to Devil’s Den State Park this past weekend. We laughed and we talked and we tripped on tree roots and we saw that God hides a little bit of Himself in everything He creates. (I posted this on my Instagram account. It’s my favorite social medium because pictures and no one talks politics over there. Come find me?)

Just a few little things that…

lighten my load
make me laugh
stir my heart
make me think
bring me joy….

I think you might like them, too.

1. Spicy Fall Tea
My affection for hot tea in the past has been passing at best. We might hold hands on a chilly afternoon if I’m feeling a little fancy or just out of creamer for my coffee for a minute. Now that I am getting serious about staring out the window or blankly at my computer for long periods of time (what some people refer to as ‘writing’)…tea and I?
We are taking our relationship to the next level.
Lately, I’m married to these two.

img_6390(does the one on the left remind you of anyone?)

They taste just like fall in a cup.


Sadly, I think about things like how being hydrated ensures optimal body function and how every cup of caffeine needs two cups of water to replace what it depletes. Also when I’m over caffeinated I swerve when I type and talk to people who aren’t there.
So the second best news?
It’s decaf so it’s basically water. Only it tastes interesting.
You can get these two intriguing, full-bodied beauties at your local neighborhood grocery store for around $3 a box.
Stay spicy, my friends.
2. Doing Good is Simple, Chris Marlow

It is my good fortune that Chris Marlow hails in part from Northwest Arkansas. Because of that happy geographical coincidence, his Doing Good is Simple book launched in the upper room of Tavola Trattoria in downtown Bentonville.
I entered a cozy room full of warm twinkly lights and people I didn’t know but recognized in that peculiar intimacy of kindred spirits. I’ve always suspected that good people know good people and the conversations I had before Chris came and welcomed us had me thinking I already recognized his heart.
Chris took the stage and in a halting and heart-cracked voice gave us the why behind this book.
He wiped the tears from his eyes and he did not cry alone.
His people took turns reading passages and telling old stories and I felt like I was invited in to a sacred space.

It was a soul-full night and I drove almost an hour home without the radio and my heart in my throat and my head somewhere above the clouds traveling at the speed of light.
And the why is beautiful and the how is so easy it feels hard and as it turns out:
doing good is simple.
Chris isn’t just handing us his story: he is giving us a fresh set of tools, shows us how to use them, reminds us why it is our good privilege and portion to do so.
Chris is the founder of Help One Now, an organization that mobilizes ordinary people to fight extreme poverty through simple acts of doing good.
Connect with him at Chris Marlow or at Help One Now on Facebook.
Guess what?? I have a signed copy to give away. To enter, leave a comment here or on the blog. If you share this post, I’ll count that twice.

3. Nature Plus Nurture, Rachel Stricklin
‘I’d rather have four quarters than one hundred pennies.’ I say this to my kids regarding the deeply rooted kinship with the friends with which we live life.

This gal is clearly fifty cents of my dollar.


Sometimes it feels easier to dislike people with fresh-churned butter blonde hair and doe-eyed blues with 6 inch lashes and a complexion that probably made God Himself weep when He created it.
But this one’s outside can’t hold a candle to her insides.
And part of her heart’s beat is inside-out health and wellness.
If I’m headed to the grocery store and all I can remember is Taco Night, I thumb through her Insta feed for inspiration. She posts delicious photos with recipes, safe product makeup tips, and an honest glimpse into the life a young mama.

Rachel is on Instagram at Nature Plus Nurture. Go. Find her. Now.
You’re welcome.
4. House of Belonging
I have this thing for words and how they have the power of life and death. I stumbled upon House of Belonging in January and bought a sign for my family to put in the kitchen of our new house.
It might be my favorite thing.
But then I got one for my office that inspires me to be foolishly courageous and one for my girl’s wall that reminds her of how she is clothed in strength and dignity and they might be my favorite, too.
Each sign is handcrafted and custom-made at the time of order and every bit worth the wait.

Fairly regularly there is a 20% off sale and that’s when I strike. You should, too. You know Christmas is around the corner. And your friend is having that baby. And you need one, too, you know.

(Pssst: they also have this rug in the shop and I kind of love it:)

5. Greater

As a family of five ranging in age from eight to forty-four (I married an older man), it can be difficult to find a movie we can all watch that doesn’t include talking animals or conversations which we have to pause the movie to explain. We all five talked about this movie all the way home and it spurred good questions for days after. The true story of University of Arkansas’ Brandon Burlsworth is not like any other feel-good football movie you’ve seen.
You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll leave a better person if you absorb anything at all from Brandon’s life.

And….just some mind gum I found this week:







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  1. Traci | 26th Oct 16

    That last pic is so my life. And I need to find that coffee mug. ? Love reading your words. You’re definitely a favorite of mine.

    • Melissa Blair | 3rd Nov 16

      Traci. Right??! That mug was a gift and I will ask where she got it. It’s my favorite 🙂 Thank you, friend. Miss your face.

  2. Heather Thomson | 26th Oct 16

    I am currently insta-stalking Rachel and pretending I was at Chris’ book reading. Good finds!

    • Melissa Blair | 3rd Nov 16

      Thank you! It’s like the product page–but for adults! I stalk her, too. This week I bought sunbutter and dates and tried pomegranate: this is 40.

  3. Melinda miles | 26th Oct 16

    October has always been my favorite month and now five more reasons for a great month

    • Melissa Blair | 3rd Nov 16

      I told Gavin the other day, ‘I always wanted to get married in October or April. They’re just my favorite.’ He said, ‘Why didn’t you?’ I said, ‘I DID!’ 😉 We sure missed you this year. Arkansas feels like Mars some days and family feels far. I sure love hearing from you. You’re my favorite (don’t tell the others ;)).

  4. Amy Carlisle | 26th Oct 16

    Swerve when you type!! LoL! I really love reading what you write. I would love a copy of Chris’ book. <3

    • Melissa Blair | 3rd Nov 16

      I still have no idea where this stuff comes from. I got you down, girl! I’ll draw when I get back in town and I secretly hope it’s you. Thank you for continuing to hang with me. Really.

  5. Liz Flippo | 26th Oct 16

    I am so quickly becoming a huge fan of yours… Thanks to Ali & Jana for sharing you with me!

    • Melissa Blair | 18th Nov 16

      Liz Flippo. I’m quickly loving you.

  6. Caroline | 26th Oct 16

    I love this kind of post. I was going to comment even before I knew about the giveaway. 🙂 Miss you and yours!

    • Melissa Blair | 18th Nov 16

      I know, right?!? All I mean by that is this kind of always feels like play for me instead of deep, cutting, hard, strenuous, sweaty soul work that other writing can be. 😉 Ha. You know what I mean. Love hearing from you, you courageous, writerly, dream-pursuing sister o’ mine. We miss being in your space. All the time.

  7. Brea Fellers | 26th Oct 16

    ❤️ that mug! I can help with the tea love!
    Email me for some spicy tea samples!

    • Melissa Blair | 18th Nov 16

      Dear Brea,
      1) I got this mug from an Easy shop I will tell you about. Perhaps there will be a chance to win it…hmmmm. You’ve given me a great idea.
      2) I would love some spicy tea samples. How would one, say, if one were extremely excited at the prospect, say, make this happen?
      3) I LOVE hearing from you. You’re in the drawing. Drawing today! Thank you, sister.

  8. Brenda | 26th Oct 16

    All the things are my favorite, except the tea. Why would you drink tea, when God made coffee?! I can’t even relate to a longing for a cup of tea. I wish I could. I love your picks and suggestions and cannot wait to watch that movie! You are a flat out blazing star and I adore you!

    • Melissa Blair | 18th Nov 16

      Listen. I think you’ll love it one season. You’re going to find yourself old and ritualistic one day instead of full of vim and vigor (it’s fine. It’s really fine). You are, as ever because you love me so, generous with your words. I receive them and I echo them all to you. Love running to all the places with you.

  9. Caitlin | 26th Oct 16

    I found this through Caroline’s share on Facebook and I’m so glad I read it! Thanks for the reminder of simple pleasures. ?

    • Melissa Blair | 18th Nov 16

      Caitlin! I love that you said this…simple pleasures–there’s some joy to be found right there (and I must think most often). Love hearing from you. Please come back. You’re in the drawing! Drawing today. Rooting for you.

  10. Maggie | 26th Oct 16

    Oh I miss you! Your writing is always enjoyable! I WANT that cup! Isn’t it funny how God takes out weakness and puts us right in the middle of totally uncomfortable?

    • Melissa Blair | 18th Nov 16

      Maggie. Thank you so much. I got an email from Judy at the church today and I tell her EVERY time I communicate with her: we miss our family so much. We do. I miss seeing your face. Isn’t the cup wonderful?? I got it as a gift but giving one away next month! Stay tuned. Love you, friend.

  11. Alina Blokker | 26th Oct 16

    I’ve been following Help One Now for a while. I am pretty sure I need this book (just bought five books this weekend, but hey). Loved your words – as I do so often.

    • Melissa Blair | 18th Nov 16

      With you with you with you in the book disorder. There must be something wrong with me. BUT I LOVE IT! And love knowing, once again, we are kindred. Thank you for your sweet words. Miss having real conversations with you. You’re in the drawing. Hope you guys are wonderfully well. I think of you more than you could know.

  12. Rachel | 26th Oct 16

    My kindred sister! You are too good to me with your words. I laughed out loud at the flattery. You know I think you hung the moon and love you all the way to it and back.

    • Melissa Blair | 18th Nov 16

      For all the words you’ve ever spoken, prayed, thought for me: eternal dittos, sister. ETERNAL dittos.

  13. Beth | 26th Oct 16

    We are so very similar! Your October post about the things you like, just matches me and who I am learning I am, is like you, in so many ways. Except you have seemed to figure it out, way younger than I have….
    Where. Did. You. Get. That. Mug?!?

    • Melissa Blair | 18th Nov 16

      Oh, bless it. That was my first thought when you said we were alike…I just wear the mess, you know? And then I just smiled so big because I can’t imagine trying to hide it or not figure it out and kind of laughing (or crying) and having a little fun and enjoying the things…and it feels pretty right for me, yeah? And also I love you so much so it makes me happy to hear you say this because I think you are one of my people. Miss your face.

  14. Amber Watson | 27th Oct 16

    Once again your post made my heart smile!

    • Melissa Blair | 18th Nov 16

      Amber. I am SO thankful. And you’ve made me smile. I always love hearing from you. I love what you’re doing over there. <3 You're in the drawing! Drawing today! So late! I know!

  15. Holley Gerth | 4th Nov 16

    You’re awesome. That is all.

    • Melissa Blair | 18th Nov 16

      You know you’re my people. This made me smile so big.

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