Tuesday, December 21, 2010

a blog move

my blog is moving to a new url.  i think it will be permanent although i'm not positive.  if you'd like to continue to keep up with me, please send me an email to melissa (at) melissairwin (dot) com and i'll send you the new link.

thank you to my readers!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Sneak Peak - at my book

Ok - so this is a big deal for me.  Let me know what you think.  I am writing a book.  No I do not have a publisher nor have I made official contact with any publisher.  I'm writing anyway.  The chunks and meat of the book will remain a secret - and most of it is written.  Now I am working to weave my personal story throughout the text to personalize it and offer transparency, life, humanity.  Below is the essay the first of those essays.


From The Wet Carpet

Even as I close my eyes today, I can float above myself as I lie on the floor then, in an almost out of body experience.

She was broken.  Depleted.  Horrified.  And she was lying in a puddle of her heaviest tears.  Her face was wet.  Tears pooled up in the creases of her neck and the corners of her mouth.  They say you can drown in no more than an inch of water.  I say you can drown in your own tears.  And she would say that she tried.

I try not to linger here above myself for long because it burns like a fresh wound.  I see her wishing she were dead, and how thankful, overwhelmed and amazed am I that she is not.  Praise Jesus.  Only Jesus.

That pool of tears nearly drowning out the existence of her breath led her here to me, where I am now, basking in the light of the one who came to save.

As dreary and as hopeless as those moments were, they are the pin-point on my lifeline where I cried out to the Lord in one true gesture, a roaring desperate wail.  I had been skeptically speaking to him for years.  But this time he recognized the depth of my despair.  He knew my lowest point was there on my lonely living room tear stained floor.  He knew this time I would follow without doubt.  He knew my white knuckled grip would not loose, though the white would slowly fade.  He knew this was it.  Melissa would finally lean into him, stretch outside of her comfort zone, pivot her focus onto his design and grow into maturity until His work in her would be complete.  His… to the finish.

Divorce took me to the floor that time.  Married after 8 ½ years of being a single mom to a then 9 year old, the spouse decided his commitment to his hobby was tied with a tighter rope.  His decision to leave after a mere year was quick and simple.  For me it was a death, a failure and an emptiness I pray never visits me again.  But it cannot and it will not because every empty hole in my being was filled when Christ rescued me that day in the floor.  The only emptiness left is the longing for my true home in the heavenly realm where no carpets are saturated with gut wrenching tears.  Till then, there are praises to sing, prayers to raise, journeys to walk, lives to touch, messages to carry, and hope to spread.

He said, “come, follow me”.  Let us.

Monday, December 13, 2010


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Homegrown News

About once a month I send out a Real Estate related newsletter via email to my contact database.  Yesterday and today I have received many responses that my newsletter should be a blog post.... not a bad idea.  And just for clarity - my real estate branding/logo is of a homegrown tomato - because i am a native Nashvillian and have branded myself as the Homegrown Realtor.  Here ya go....

Tis the season to be jolly!  And yet this season leaves a lot of our fellow man singing the blues.  Foreclosures are still big news, as are unemployment, deaths of our troops, and the current political battles over taxes.  Let's be honest, sometimes it is just flat out impossible to be jolly.  The best way to improve our lives is to focus inward.  I believe we create peace when we seek it.  And I believe that joy is a choice, no matter what circumstances we may be facing.
In the past few weeks, my blog, my facebook page and my inbox have been filled with prayer requests.  I've carried a lot in my heart lately and lifted up numerous prayers....ranging from relationships between mothers and daughters, sicknesses, surgeries, sons on the front line in Afghanistan, sudden job losses, deaths, and news of betrayals.  This morning my children and I decorated our Christmas tree and as I sit here in my home office and smell the fresh sappy pine, I just cannot help but think of the people I know today who are fresh out of jolly.  I'm reminded of the season, and the reason.  If you celebrate Christmas you already know that the birth of Christ ushered in a season of hope.  Where would we be without hope?  So....if you cannot find your jolly today, my prayer is you will latch on to the hope ~ and hang on for dear life.
If you are jolly today, my encouragement to you is to spread it around.  Pour it out like syrup all over someone else.  Sticky sweet is a.o.k. and totally acceptable this time of year. 
On the homegrown-front, I am so excited to have just sold a house with one of my buyer clients, and have two fresh listings with a couple of others coming up in Janurary.  I'm keeping busy!  I have also just celebrated the first offiicial Board of Directors meeting for the charitable organization I have started.  And I've wiped tons of runny noses.  (just keepin' it real).  This might be the appropriate time to mention also that I wrestled a Christmas tree and won, although just barely.
Although I sell houses for a career, I'm well aware that a house cannot enrich a life.  Only love can do that.
Love more!
Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays to all!  

Saturday, December 11, 2010

In Your Boat

I was really young when I first sailed.  And in fact, I didn't just sail.  I raced.  Some of our family friends owned sailboats and raced all the time.  They had children my age and I was invited along.  I remember having the real possible fear we would tip over.  I slipped several times and I had to work hard without any training.  It was fast paced and overwhelming.  I remember getting queazy.  In fact, I've thrown up off the side of many boats, including sailboats, speed boats, and ferry's.  The most exciting place I ever tossed my cookies into the water was from a parasail.... but that is probably tmi.  I also nearly drowned in an ocean near Savannah, Georgia.  Not good times.

You can imagine, I'm not a big fan of water.  It is beautiful.  I respect it.  But keep me out of it.  Please.

In a body of water, far away from the shore is a intimidating and dangerous place to be.  Whether lake, ocean or swamp, waters are deadly.  Those boats we putter around in are barely a safety net.  Engines break down.  Leaks threaten.  Sails tear.  Communication can fail.  And then there is the unknown underneath - traps, deadly animals, blades, and sometimes contaminants.  Why does anyone really go out into the waters to begin with?  I imagine it is for the beauty or for the solitude or for the quiet or for the mystery or for the sport and challenge of it.  If this earth is two-thirds water the oceans and other bodies of water offer the best options for escape, despite the dangers.

Whether you love the waters and/or boating or not, I think we can all agree that waters are powerful, more powerful than we are.  And no one can know your experience in your boat, unless they are in it with you.  For decades I have heard variances of the saying "we're not in the same boat" or "but you're not in my boat".  The deal is, we don't know if that boat is dark, if it is leaking, if it is surrounded by hungry sharks, if the engine stopped working, or the anchor just won't reach the bottom.  We don't know if that boat is carrying 21 conflicting personalities or one lonely captain. That popular saying is used in everyday conversation and to me it makes a lot of sense.  Indeed, we are not in the same boat.

It is raining a lot here today.  I keep having a vision of boats, and as I presume is strongly influced by the Christmas season, I keep having visions of Jesus walking on the water to get back to the boat of His friends.  The men were supposed to wait for Him in the boat at the shoreline while Jesus went up the mountain to pray.  Instead, they drifted out a good distance from the shore.  But there was no distance, truly no conditions that would hold Jesus back from walking out to join His friends in their boat.

No matter what our circumstances, Jesus will join with us in our boats.  No distance nor darkness nor shark can keep Him from His beloved.  You're not in this boat alone.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Backroads, Tennessee - part #2

A few more photos from my backroads excursion the other day. I have just enjoyed these photos so much and couldn't resist posting more! Loving my camera! And the scenery of course.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

My Issues with Santa

I get absolutely no joy out of my kids believing in Santa. Oh how ready I am for some little rotten jerk in kindergarten to spoil it for my Asher. I just can't do it.

First of all, Asher believes that Santa or his elves can make anything, and therefore Asher should get anything and everything he asks for. When I tell him that Santa will only be bringing him one gift, he rebutts with, but last year Santa brought (some other kid) 5 toys, so why would he only bring me 1? Asher is also excited because he thinks all the orphans in Africa are getting presents from Santa - that Santa can bring them food, clothes, toys, and anything they need to live a better life.

I'm irritated on many levels. First - we are supposed to be celebrating the birth of Christ. And while it is fun to exchange gifts in the celebration of His amazing birth...... who on the planet has ever said "Oh I love my new diamond necklace in the name of the birth of sweet baby Jesus!" in the same breath? And what child has ever said "hey I got a transformer for Jesus' birthday!"?

The other irritating thing is the sheer competition between parents and Santa. First of all, money is an object. We do not have a Christmas budget. But even if we did have an endless budget.....how does one decide what will be from Santa and what will be from mom and dad? Does Santa automatically get to give the best gifts? I realize that I am competing with a myth, but for now, that myth is real to my kids. If I'm going to spend hard earned money on thoughtful gifts for my kids, I want them to know it is because I love them, not because some overweight jolly man who talks about Ho's thinks they are special. If we let one good gift come from Santa and the other, smaller, not as exciting gifts come from us....well.....that's not fair and I'm in the mood to throw a giant sized temper tantrum about it.

But what of this? This concerns me most of all. In this house, we talk about God on a almost daily basis. We teach our babes about Jesus and encourage their personal relationships. Asher talks to God and prays any time he feels like it. He has never met Jesus. Jesus has certainly not ever left anything for Asher under the Christmas tree. Once a year, we allow stories of Santa to come into our home and we go along with it. But we know Santa isn't real. Right now, to my 6 year old, both Santa and Jesus are real. When he discovers that Santa is not, in fact, real... what will that do to his belief about the other man he has not yet met? It worries me. It bugs me. And in some small way, it is ruining the season for me.

I've got 2 questions for you.

When did you learn the truth about Santa?

If applicable, how did your children find out?