We often meet the unexpected.  What if instead of freaking out, turning away, running away, we freaking turn toward, run to the unexpected?  What if we steer into the surprise?

For the last few years, that’s pretty much been my M-O.  Up until I married my college boyfriend at age 22, my life was exactly what I’d always planned it to be, but after that, it’s been one big didn’t-see-it-coming.

A Bit About Me

I’m a total weirdo.  I’m Scary-Intense Girl and I stink at small talk.  I laugh at fart jokes, my favorite color is orange, and I majored in theatre (Shut up.).  I love crunchy leaves and I drink lots of black coffee.

My laugh is a combination honk-snort, and it’s so bad that people have moved away from me in the movie theater.  I hide kale in smoothies but also have a waffle fry addiction.  I adore sci-fi and superheroes, and I’m terrified of Pinterest.

I’m allergic to sports.  And the outdoors.  And outdoor sports.

How I Ended Up Blogging

After a five-year battle with infertility and a long stint as a human lab rat, I finally held my baby and took on the title of Mom.  We settled into big-time hunkering in the land of golf carts and capri pants, and then the unexpected happened.  God woke me up from my cushy suburban stupor and set my heart on fire for the rest of the world, his people living in poverty and slavery.

We started the adoption process for our youngest daughter and I began serving as a sponsorship coordinator for a village in Northern Uganda with Children’s HopeChest.  I started blogging about our adoption process and the kids who needed sponsors.  Over the years, I’ve continued to write about orphan care and adoption, and the more kids we have and the crazier our house becomes, the more I’ve blogged about this unexpected party called Motherhood.

What I Do and Care About

I love relationships, the ones with my kids, my husband, my God, and my friends, those other mamas with whom I do life.  I love my friends so much that I wrote a book about them, Women Are Scary: The Totally Awkward Adventure of Finding Mom Friends (Zondervan).

I spend my days blogging in my basement and driving my kids around in a smelly minivan with manual doors.  I have three kids, one son from in vitro, one daughter from Ethiopia adopted as a toddler, and one daughter from Latvia adopted as a nine-year-old.  Our family has formed in the most unexpected of ways.  I could not have seen any of this coming, and I love it all so much. But it’s been a road, so I wrote a book about that, too, It’s Not Fair: Learning to Love the Life You Didn’t Choose (Zondervan).

I love to laugh and use humor as a coping strategy for life’s unexpected twists.  If you read something and think, “I can’t believe she said that,” I was probably kidding.  If I saw you in person, I’d want to hug you, so if you pop by my spot on the Internet, consider yourself hugged.  There should be more hugging in the world.

What You’ll Find Here

I like to open up a lot of space around me when it comes to views. That goes for things like what kinds of choices moms make to what kinds of views you have about God. I love Jesus, but I hope people feel loved here whether they love Jesus or have a completely different take on things. I’m not a theologian, so I try to keep my opinions small. I know two things to be true: God loves me, and God loves you.

So if you stick around here, you’ll find stuff about being a mom, stuff about being a friend, and occasionally stuff about infertility, adoption, and orphan care.  And sometimes TMI about poop, because inside I’m still a twelve-year-old up all night at a sleepover.  Most of it will make you laugh and hopefully go, “Me, too.”  Sometimes we do cool things together to help other people.  I love this blog community because everyone is really encouraging, has a great sense of humor, and loves to laugh.  You guys make me a better mom and a happier woman.

  • Suzanne

    Any advice on a mission trip for a 39 year old mom and a 10 year old daughter? I am hoping to find a group that my daughter and I will be able to stay connected with for many years to come. Your post “10 Things You Need to Know Before Going On a Mission Trip” was very articulate. I was raised in the United States but my family is from Northern Ireland. We visited with family every summer and as a teenager I can remember “feeling” a great deal about the politics etc and it is difficult to explain to others what I learned from my parents, aunts, uncles and cousins. My mom felt that since she had moved her family to the US, she and by default we, had forfeited the right to any opinion about the goings on over there. It was profound for me to realize that I was small – my opinion, my lofty insights were not needed nor were they wanted. I still do a very poor job of relating how beautifully my parents showed me that we are part of something much bigger – we are important and valuable…but so is each and every person we meet. We do not have more to offer than any other, but we do have our uniqueness to share respectfully. I hope to be able to teach my daughter something of the vastness, beauty and value of our world. To be able to look with love and wonder at every person that we meet…I’d love to be graceful and wise enough to give my child, and the world, such a tremendous gift!

    • Melanie Dale

      Suzanne, I love hearing your heart to get connected somewhere long-term, rather than just thinking about one trip. I’m passionate about developing relationships, rather than looking at someone as a project, and I’d be happy to talk with you further, either phone or email. http://www.unexpected.org/cont/

  • http://awellraisedlife.com/ Whitney @ A well-raised life

    I just found you through Coffee + Crumbs and already I know you’re going to be my new must-read blog. Love the story of your family!

    • Melanie Dale

      Thanks, Whitney! And welcome!

  • http://www.hungrylittleanimal.blogspot.com Leslie Kendall Dye

    I am an atheist and I am terrified of scatological humor. Despite these two differences between us, I find your writing hilarious and I am glad to have found it!

    • Melanie Dale

      Leslie, this made my day! Thank you!

      • http://www.hungrylittleanimal.blogspot.com Leslie Kendall Dye

        Your post on Coffee and Crumbs was adorable. Then I got my panties in a bunch replying to the weirdly humorless people who didn’t “get” it. Then I stalked you all the way here. Then I realized I adored you — I too am on a quest to find friends as a Mommy! Can we all pick a city and live in it, seriously? I also love Ashlee, she is perhaps one of the sweetest editors I have never met. Also crazy young to have it all together as she does. I have to look into that, is there a fountain I should be drinking from? Anyway, I will be sure to check back here! P.S. I will never be less afraid of scatological humor,everyone has tried and failed to get me to lighten up. :)

        • Melanie Dale

          Ashlee is amazing! I love her so much. She’s so good at encouragement and cheering us on, whether it’s mom stuff or writing stuff. If there is a fountain, nobody told me, and now I’m having FOMO about it….(I hope your panties are okay. I just go commando on blog days – THAT IS A JOKE.)

  • Jennifer Otts

    There are few people you meet (online or in person) and immediately think, she would make a great friend, but probably way out of my league!!! I think since I’m from Alabama,

    • Melanie Dale

      Aw, thanks, Jennifer. I’m not out of anybody’s league. I’m very league-less. :)

  • Guest

    Dang autocorrect, not greedy, GREAT, friend. Frazzled with field trip today!

  • http://www.corneliaseigneur.com cornelia

    I love your heart! Great to meet you virtually-!

  • Melanie Dale

    Hi, Anke! Thanks so much for leaving me some words! I laughed out loud about the coat covering. So funny, and I can totally relate. Okay, and I’m So Excited when I meet adult adoptees. You teach me so much. Honk-snorting at you from America. :)

  • Amy Healey

    Melanie, I just read your book and have been so encouraged to reach out to other women. I’ve been relying too long on just my husband, mom and kids to fulfill all my relational needs, and I’m hoping to be a better wife, daughter and mom as I embrace your advice. Noticed in the notes that you mention a Denison professor – are you an alum? I graduated in 1997…

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  • Viv

    Oh my goodness, CAN WE PLEASE BE FRIENDS! I just randomly listened to your interview on God Centered Mom’s podcast and I’m certain our combination of inappropriateness and not taking yourself too seriously and natural inclination towards pessimism will be the perfect friendship. #callme

  • Brian M

    Ok… I just came across your blog after stumbling across your “It’s Not Fair” book on Amazon (it came up in a search for Godfrey’s new book “Learning to Love the Psalms” – how sweet is that?!?) I’ve yet to explore it in depth, but your bio and post titles are irresistibly alluring (it’s probably a good thing you and I didn’t go to school together – I was a music major, and can only imagine what delightful distractions any conversations with you might have been! LOL). Congratulations – the hook is set, and I’m looking forward to being reeled-in. :)

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