tag:kristina.themeltonplantation.com,2013:/posts Kristina Melton 2018-10-01T14:16:17Z The Meltons tag:kristina.themeltonplantation.com,2013:Post/1269975 2018-04-07T16:21:56Z 2018-04-07T16:21:56Z Surgery Recovery - Swirls of Emotion

Here I sit nearly 3 weeks post surgery, and while I feel pretty great physically - no major pain to speak of, and I have more energy than I've had in some time - I have been struggling with my limitations post surgery. The first week or so after surgery was easy enough to sit back and let others help with things. But as I started gaining back my energy and I didn't have any pain to indicate I needed to -NOT- be doing things, I found that my body wasn't quite ready yet to resume all those normal-life type things. One evening I helped with getting bags of groceries out of the car, and while I tried to be cognizant of not getting heavy bags, apparently the lifting and moving ended up being a not-so-good idea, after all. I didn't experience any pain immediately, but a couple hours later some mild cramping indicated that it may have not been the wisest choice. I've also found that while my energy levels seem to be up, I am still easily tired. So it leaves me a little stir crazy feeling like I can (or should) be doing things; but my head telling me "maybe that's not the best idea just yet". 

My body is also trying to level out my hormones, which is kind of exciting {heavy sarcasm}. I've had extreme acne - the likes of which I haven't seen since I was a teenager. I cry at the drop of a hat - but only sometimes and absolutely when I least expect it, or when I absolutely don't -WANT- to be emoting. A friend mentioned to me that it may take over a year for my body to adjust and my hormones to settle down. [Insert excited clapping here]{More heavy sarcasm} In addition to the extreme acne my body went into ultra-hypothyroidism mode and my TSH levels jumped over 2 whole points from where it had been just 90 days ago. So thankfully since I had already had a check up with my regular doctor we caught that pretty quickly and adjusted my medication accordingly. Let me tell you, as an Enneagram 9 messy emotions in myself are SO HARD to give grace to. It's easy for me to love on and come along side others who have big and/or messy emotions, but to have them myself... that's hard. Enneagram 9's don't always know what we are feeling - we're not deeply in touch with our feels. 9's don't do conflict (like a cat with water...), and sometimes emotions feel conflicting. SO when big AND messy emotions start showing up it feels scary, and out of control (box that up and throw it into some deep dark corner somewhere RIGHT NOW!). My head-space feels off-kilter - like I've lost my balance so to speak. I feel scattered and frayed at the edges. So even though I know in my head that my hormone imbalance is at the root of all this crazy-feeling-stuff it's still hard in the midst of the crazy feels to make sense of, and to calm the feels. It feels lonely, and scary. 

What am I doing in all my spare time? Well, I've done a lot of Netflix-ing. I've done some painting (and now have more projects I can tackle thanks to my mom who amazon-ed me more materials). I've entertained my imagination with all sorts of ways that I -could- organize my house, but may or may not ever get executed once I am physically able to do so. I go for walks for coffee because that's one of the only ways I am allowed to get exercise for at least another 3 weeks. I found out the hard way last night that I can't even play a family game of Monopoly because the repeated bending at the waist and scrunching things up there apparently angered my insides and I started having mild cramps again. Then major emoting followed, because 1) Anger - are you kidding me?! I can't even do THIS? 2) Sad - because we had to stop the game, and family game night is such a fun thing around here. Something I am SUUUUUUPER looking forward to is Mosaic's Women's retreat coming up next weekend. I think it'll be so good for me to have a change of scenery. Plus it'll be a super-awesome weekend of fellowship and worship, and all kinds of things that I hope will fill my cup. I have such fun memories of the first one I went to 2 years ago, and the new friendships that began blossoming from that time together. Plus a sweet friend and mentor of mine is going to be speaking so I'm pretty excited about that, too. 

I am SO VERY THANKFUL for my super-amazing family. I truly do not know what I would do without my husband and daughter. They have come along side me and taken such great care of me, with not a single whimper or moan about having to do things like laundry and dishes. My husband is super intuitive with my emotions, and can sense/feel when I'm not feeling quite right. He helps me talk through things in ways that my brain wouldn't naturally do. It has been helpful and validating to have him talk me through the feels and for him to affirm that I am not crazy, and my feels are natural part of the process.

So - this is where I am. Sitting in my crazy jumble of feels. 

The Meltons
tag:kristina.themeltonplantation.com,2013:Post/974139 2016-09-07T18:06:00Z 2018-04-08T23:46:26Z Visual Impairment

The world of visual impairment is varied and vast. Impairments can range from simple vision corrections with the use of corrective lenses all the way to complete vision loss. There was a great article I came across a while back that helped me, and ultimately drove me to write up my own version of what visual impairment from the eyes of Teena looks like.

It all started October 2012. Up to this point I had what would be considered normal corrected vision. With some minor help of contacts & occasionally glasses I had 20/20 vision. After October and a diagnosis of Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension I was left with aprox 45% of my vision. January 3rd, 2013 I was told I was legally blind; no peripheral vision or night vision. My husband explained it best, and I've used his analogy ever since - It's like looking through a pair of toilet paper tubes. My right eye I have between 5-10% vision left, and my left eye has 35-40% vision left. I have central vision (the same corrected vision I had before just lots less) so I make eye contact and track things with my eyes, but there is a lot that goes unnoticed. I frequently trip over things because I can't see my feet unless I'm staring directly down at them. I am not allowed to drive any more. However because I don't use a cane many people don't realize I even have a visual impairment. I have a cane, and occasionally use it. But it feels like a blaring red beacon and when I'm in normal surroundings that I am familiar with I don't usually have any problems. I very rarely find myself in unfamiliar places alone these days so even if I do have problems I usually have a friend near by whose arm I can use for guidance.

I have a significant gap between my eyes vision fields, which in normal every day activities isn't blatantly obvious (our brains are such interesting pieces of magic). I'm not aware of the gap, until I miss something significant. Computer screens are now one of my worst enemies because that gap is very obvious and my brain is not able to fill in the gaps so easily. Where once upon a time I spent far more than 8 hours a day staring into my computer screen crunching numbers and analyzing data, now I can barely stand to be in front of one for more than 15-20 minutes without giving myself a migraine.
The Meltons
tag:kristina.themeltonplantation.com,2013:Post/1059361 2016-06-03T14:20:47Z 2016-06-03T16:14:10Z When Vision Changes

As most of my friends know, several years back I lost a significant amount of my physical vision. Back in October of 2012 I had a swift onset of Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertention, which ultimately claimed 85% of the vision in my right eye, and about 60% of the vision in my left eye. Leaving me with zero peripheral vision, a label of legally blind, unable to drive ever again, and a new perspective on life.

The first year after the diagnosis was hands down the hardest. Getting used to my new reality, understanding my limits without limiting myself, the learning to give myself a lot of grace in the process. There are still hard days (weeks, and months even). But what I have come to find is that not just my physical vision changed. I have found myself in a whole new place! Let me back up a little bit. Before my vision changed I was a full time working momma. I was struggling big time at life. My marriage was going through hard stuff. Work was grueling. I had a 3 year old who was absolutely the best gift I'd ever been given, and the most challenging obstacle I'd ever encountered up to that point. I felt like I was being pulled in a million different directions all at once, and was not doing any of the things well. I was good at my job, I loved working at the L'Oreal Bentonville office. My team was amazing, and lots of fun to be around. It was the first job in my whole career that I actually didn't dread going to work every day - because I enjoyed the people I was around. But I also felt like I wasn't giving my marriage, and my child nearly enough of me. And there were just no good options. I felt like I was just slogging it out.

Looking back I can see that God set me on that path in order to set me up for the next phase. Because of where I was, I was able to utilize amazing health insurance benefits that kept us from major financial ruin when my health catastrophe hit. It also meant that I was able to secure long term benefits once it was confirmed that my vision would never return. But these were just things to maintain care of myself and my family. God had/has bigger plans for what happened.

Over the years I have been amazingly blessed by the women that have come around me and offered love and support. Whether it be a ride to the grocery store (Hello Teena Taxi Ladies!), or friends that stop by to chat "just because". The body of Christ has really been there for me in ways that are just amazing. It has taken me a long time (and sometimes I still struggle) to get used to accepting help. But I have found that - if nothing else - it is an amazing way to start a relationship. Many of the ladies that I so lovingly call my Teena Taxi Ladies I had never met before they volunteered to drive me around. Now - I love them all dearly and call them all friend.

So for this introvert - it's been a good thing that I have to call on others, and ask for help. Because if I had simply been a stay at home mom when I felt like I wanted to be, my life would not be nearly as rich in relationships as it is now. It's so easy for us introverts to hole up and go about our day to day without ever popping our head out of our holes to see who or what could use our assistance. But now, I'm finding that the more I spend time around the ladies in my circles, the more enriched my days are. So even though I may be bent on my introvert ways, I recognize that it's not always healthy for me to stay there. So now I challenge myself as often as I can build the emotional energy to do so, to engage with others and live in community. Bring it all; the good, the bad, the ugly.

The Meltons
tag:kristina.themeltonplantation.com,2013:Post/917513 2015-10-16T13:44:24Z 2015-10-16T13:44:24Z Reflecting - 3 Years of Change

At this point, 3 years ago I was experiencing the initial onset of what a week later would be diagnosed as Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension. By the end of the day I was experiencing blurry vision in my peripheral region, in less than 48 hours my vision continued to deteriorate. I saw several doctors, and visited the ER and everyone kept telling me I had a sinus infection and the pain in my head, and neck and shoulder spasms were due to stress. It took over a week for someone to finally address my extreme vision loss and take things seriously. Unfortunately by that point, and what we didn't know at the time, was that permanent damage had been done to my optic nerves. I would never drive again, and I would not return back to work. My life was drastically changed. Yet God has been so faithful to us. I have experienced such joy since that painful time. Because I can't work, I now have the time and energy to focus on my family the way that I wished I could while working. Because I can't drive I have built some really fun relationships with ladies who are willing to take me (and The Ginger Girl!) wherever we need to get to. God orchestrated the timing of our move to the downtown area which has afforded me amazing freedom and mobility in ways that I hadn't had since my illness. Yes, there are many days that I get frustrated. Yes, I have spent time being angry. Yes, I wish I could just drive myself and not have to think ahead and plan out every single detail if I want to get out. Yes, I get paranoid that people don't understand my disability because it's not obvious and I worry about being judged harshly for it. But ultimately, I'm in a lot better place emotionally, spiritually, and physically *because* of what happened 3 years ago. 

God does know the plans He has for me. They are plans for a future, and a hope. When I am weak, He is strong. 

The Meltons
tag:kristina.themeltonplantation.com,2013:Post/859782 2015-05-22T14:23:26Z 2015-05-22T14:23:26Z Parenting yes's and no's

I love what Jen Hatmaker says in her blog about parenting yes's and no's. As a parent I'm constantly worrying if I'm getting it right. Am I setting my focus on the things that matter? Am I demonstrating grace, or am I just being too soft? Jen has some good thoughts. 

The Meltons
tag:kristina.themeltonplantation.com,2013:Post/813430 2015-02-19T18:14:02Z 2015-02-19T18:14:02Z Bubbling over

God has been teaching me some really amazing things these past few months, and I really am just literally bubbling over. I came to a realization today while sitting through Dianne Sanabria's Identity In Christ and Spiritual Warfare class just how far God has brought me over the last 4 years. To the point that I do not even recognize the person that I once was! Hallelujah! HE sets us free! I was so bound up with anger and resentment. I was bitter and depressed. I was self righteous and superior to those around me. I was confused, unhappy, and insecure. He has brought me to a place of humility. Through that humility I have learned how to BE loved, and I have been shown love that is beyond my own comprehension. He started calling me by name, and had to drag me through the trenches to get me to pull closer to Him. But in those darkest moment he has shown Himself to me. He has cared for me in ways that I cannot express. The God I know today is so much bigger and so much more real than I ever gave Him credit for. If only I could let others see what I see and have them embrace it for themselves. It is literally painful to me to see others who are stuck in the same way that I was. To be blind to the bondage that is holding them back from feeling the power of our Saviors love for us! I am so thankful for all of the amazing people that God has one by one placed in my path on this journey to find Him. Each has served a unique roll and I can look back and see the stepping stones of the journey He has me on. So with all of that I am SO EXCITED for what He has planned for me in His grand story! He WANTS me, He has CALLED me. I am His child and He has freed me. All glory to our Father and Creator! Praise His holy name!

The Meltons
tag:kristina.themeltonplantation.com,2013:Post/808017 2015-02-06T17:20:24Z 2015-02-11T14:59:18Z Finding Quiet

I have found that when I have too much time on my hands I seldom appreciate the quiet and the space to do life as I choose. Yet when the pace picks up those sweet moments of peace in between the chaos are simply golden. I got a moment of golden peace today. Between Baker Bash and quick lunch with my Ginger Girl I stopped to sip coffee and have peace in a bustling coffee shop. Then strolled over to the library where I plugged in my headphones and just journaled. My selfish side tends to yell that I need more quiet time. But I actually seem to be more productive with my peaceful moments when they're tucked neatly between blankets of bustle. And if these winds of change that are brewing are any indication, that's a good thing. Things are about to pick up. They're about to get real in a hurry. So we best get used to how change feels. God has big things in the books. 


The Meltons
tag:kristina.themeltonplantation.com,2013:Post/796585 2015-01-15T18:38:47Z 2015-01-15T18:38:47Z Finding Your Identity in Christ

I started a new study this week through my church and we're focusing on finding your identity in Christ. And in that, I had an opportunity to step outside my comfort zone and be a "table leader". If you know me very well, you know that I run from leadership roles. I fear them, I don't feel well equipped. If given the opportunity I will come up with 100 (in my mind) good reasons why you don't want me doing that. Yet God in his infinite wisdom knows just exactly how to put me in those circumstances so that I can thrive. That is what happened to me today. As it happened several of the ladies who had volunteered to be table leaders came down with one illness or another, and we were left with only 2. One of which being my sweet friend who drives me. So when I tagged along to the meeting before the study I was graciously asked if I would help. Well, as I do when faced with an "I need help" situation, I was unable to come up with a good reason not to help. So I nervously took my paper with questions to aid in table conversations with heart thumping and palms sweating. And you know what? I didn't die. In fact, I was blessed with some of the best 30 minutes of conversation I've had in a while. These 5 women who had never met before, myself being the youngest, managed to laugh and cry and enjoy each others company enough and become even more excited about the weeks to come as we embrace our identity in Christ. So, here I am, throwing my hands up once again. Okay God. Clearly YOU got this. I had NOTHING to do with this, but you let me in on it anyhow.

A few of the things that stood out to me today from the study:

Why is your identity important?

  • how you do life is determined by what you believe
  • you cannot pour out to others what you don't know yourself

"Your Christian walk is the direct result of what you believe about God and yourself . If your faith is off, your walk is off. If your walk is off, you can be sure it's because your faith is off." ~ Neal Anderson in Victory Over the Darkness (emphasis mine)

"... idols can't be removed, they must be replaced. What we need is a living encounter with God." ~ Timothy Keller in Counterfeit Gods

When we believe lies about ourselves, we are believing lies about God. 

When I have the opportunity to share with others about my experiences from the last few years of my life; the healing of my marriage, and the complete redirect of my life when I lost my physical vision it is SO FREEING. God uses opportunities like this to remind me that HE works all things for good for those that love Him, and that HE HAS A PLAN for this, for me. I just have to have enough faith to continue to put one foot in front of the other and follow in the direction He's taking me. He's working out the details. I just have to keep walking.

The Meltons
tag:kristina.themeltonplantation.com,2013:Post/749731 2014-10-01T19:07:22Z 2018-10-01T14:16:17Z Acorn ponderings

I am going to attempt to describe my ponderings from today as I was mowing the yard on how God spoke to my heart by using acorns. **Full disclaimer - sometimes my story telling is not exactly in a straight line, and occasionally takes random detours. This drives certain people (AhemJeffAhem) a little bonkers. So my apologies in advance if it's not exactly concise. 

Over the last several weeks the weather began to think about getting colder (although it changed it's mind this last week...) and got pumpkin spice latte's and all things Fall started to emerge in the market places. Additionally our roof began being pelted with acorns from a tree in our back yard that is a rather mature acorn maker. It started off with just a tap or two that I recognized from years past as the start of fall. *TAP* Yep, there's those acorns again. *TAP-TAP* Yep, it's fall alright. Then occasionally it sounds like someone just threw a bucket of acorns at the roof *WOOSH BAM*. I mentioned to my husband recently that I was a little wary, even, of stepping off of our covered back porch for fear of receiving a concussion from those crazy acorns. I could just picture it: the news article would read "Bentonville woman receives emergency care after neighbor finds her unconscious from head trauma due to acorns".  Needless to say; while I was mowing my yard today I was a little wary of going too close to the tree lest I get smacked.

But then my heart was stirred. *Hey, you* What? Can't you see I'm trying to be productive here? *Don't you think all of these acorns here scattered on the ground, do you think this is maybe how you speak to Me?* I'm not following... *Sometimes you come to Me with your daily needs and wants, and others you pelt Me with the desires of your heart.* WOOSH BAM indeed. Whoa. Then, as we do these days, I went to take a picture for posterity sake and it dawned on me; the closer you get to the trunk of the tree, the thicker the crop of acorns becomes. *WOOSH BAM* 

Matthew 10:29-31  Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Psalm 37:4  Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

What an Awesome God we serve, when he can speak to me through the acorns in my yard.

The Meltons
tag:kristina.themeltonplantation.com,2013:Post/680946 2014-04-23T14:09:37Z 2014-10-30T19:32:23Z weight loss

Jeff and I have been working hard over the last 9 months to get healthy. The goal for Jeff started out with just wanting to be healthier, and has turned into him losing a solid 40 pounds (WOOHOO! Rockstar!), and becoming a running machine. We all got new, good quality bikes back in November to help us on this track. We've tracked calories, we've adjusted the things we consume, and increased our overall activity. For Jeff, he saw results pretty quickly, losing 15 pounds in the first several weeks. For me, it's been a lot slower process to boost my metabolism. After 10+ years working behind a desk my body has taken longer to get jumpstarted. But it appears to finally be moving in the direction I want it to! It's soooo much easier to stick with something when *I* am seeing tangible results. Finally I can say that I have lost a big round number (10) and I'm seeing the results in my, now, baggy jeans. It may have taken 9 months to get here, but I'm just glad to finally see results. I haven't turned into the running (or riding) machine my husband is, yet. But I do walk. A lot. And when I walk it's a speed walk. It's what me and my siblings used to call my mother's Cedar Point walk. We would go to *The Awesome-est* Roller Coaster park when we lived in Ohio, and would occasionally get season passes. When we were all old enough and tall enough to ride the big coasters we were on a mission each visit to ride every coaster as many times as possible. So the Cedar Point walk was this walk-as-fast-as-you-can-without-running thing (*because running was not allowed at the park in the lines...) Anyhow, running just has not been my thing in the past. My lungs couldn't handle it, more than anything. Last fall I tried jogging for very short periods of time and in the length of 3 houses in my neighborhood I'd be dying. So I stopped trying and just stuck to the speed walking. Well apparently that has paid off. This past weekend I was pleasantly surprised when I went on the Fun Run with Aylin (After Jeff did his actual RUN RUN in the Mana Spring Fling 5K) and while keeping up with the kiddo we actually jogged most of the 1 mile and I DIDN'T DIE! And I wasn't absolutely toast after, either! So maybe it's time to try the jogging again...

The Meltons
tag:kristina.themeltonplantation.com,2013:Post/637303 2014-01-03T16:07:06Z 2014-10-30T19:31:13Z Those Pesky Feelers

I recently had a conversation with a friend that left me spinning for days, maybe even a week. It never ceases to amaze me the "truth" that others choose to speak in the name of "love". Where there may have been some small nugget of truth (I'm still trying to work through that and decide for myself) the fact of the matter is that the presentation was far from helpful. Although I am certain that the intent was pure and intended to point me in the right direction, the effect that it had ended up causing me to question things that I shouldn't. So for those of you who have the gift of Exhortation, I urge you - despirately - to use caution when attempting to spread your "love". When speaking to those who are much more sensitive than yourself you may end up doing more damage than good. If you don't have all the facts, refrain from speaking until you do. When digging for informtion, don't assume you have the full picture. 

I have always struggled with being able to clearly articulate how I feel about a matter. Frankly it hasn't gotten any easier in my 30+ years, I've simply decided that it's something that is worth working on. But there are those who have similar issues to me who don't feel comfortable or safe even attempting to share their feelings. It is so much easier to just crawl in a hole and attempt to disappear. Is that helpful? No. Does it solve anything? No. But it is a gut reaction to those of us who have a hard time connecting feelings with words, and clearly communicating them. 

Do I need to work on being able to clearly communicate my thoughts and feelings? Absolutely. Do I need to work on being able to speak up for myself in the moment when someone is off course. Definitely. But I would also encourage those of you who feel it necessary to chastize others to think twice about what is going to come out. Is it necessary? Is it true? And are you offering helpful advice, or just spewing your opintion? 

It's always difficult for me to swallow situations like this, mostly because I just can't identify with them - At. All. The concept is so foreign to me that anyone would feel the need to correct someone in this fashion, I simply cannot identify with why anyone would feel the need to tear another person down. But I recognize that simply because I see it this way does not mean that they see it the same way. In the same way that I recognize others may not see things the way I do, I would hope that others can recognize that the way they feel about a matter may not be the same as their recipient. Above all, when in doubt speak in love. I don't mean by  "lovingly" telling your brother or sister they need to change how they are living or acting. I mean be there for them, be a shoulder or an ear. Tell them you hear them, and that your Father loves them. Let HIM be the one the conviction comes from. HE can and will do these things if we let him.  But when others get in the way and feel that - if they don't say it, no one will - it is likely to do more harm than good. 

Peace. Love. Grace.

May we wallow in those things.

The Meltons
tag:kristina.themeltonplantation.com,2013:Post/619035 2013-11-13T15:58:28Z 2014-10-30T19:26:35Z year one. love.

This week I have my one year follow up with both my Family Doc, and my Ophthalmologist. It's kind of sureal to me that a whole year has passed. An entire year has gone by where my visual ability has completely changed from what I knew little over a year ago. And although my vision is not so terribly great these days, I choose to believe my over all quality of life has improved. My relationships are stronger with my family, my marriage is in the best shape it has ever been, my child is learning and growing and thriving. I have had the opportunity to meet and be blessed by an amazing community of women that I might not have ever had the opportunity to know had this event never taken place. 

That's not to say that this last year hasn't been hard. Because, the Good Lord knows - it has been. Probably the hardest year of my life so far. Yet everyone that has surrounded me over the last year has been a helping hand in one form or fashion to help keep me going. To encourage me when I need it, and to drag me out of the dark hole I often find myself slipping into. I pray every day that the Lord will bless all of the amazing people in my life with an extra portion of the amazingness that they have shown me. 

If I have learned nothing else over the last year, it's that you can never know the full extent of a kind gesture. Simple things can be so huge, and have been for me so often. So I hope and pray that any person who might feel discouraged or jaded by an effort of giving - don't give up yet. Bless, and Love others because He has asked it of us. Your acts may encourage others. Even if the direct recipient of your acts do not receive the full blessing you offer we can never know if someone else will. Love. Because loving feels good. Loving is what we are called to do. Let the world be rained on by our love. Let it be drenched to the core and saturated with it. Love. 

As one who has been rained on with love and saturated to the core - more people need this feeling. I never would have survived this last year in the condition I have without the love I received. 

The Meltons
tag:kristina.themeltonplantation.com,2013:Post/614403 2013-10-30T13:33:19Z 2014-10-30T19:27:42Z Letting go, and letting Him

In processessing through the Stuck study by Jennie Allen, a piece in the Overwhelmed portion keeps calling out to me. So I'm sharing it here:

... All that while, He was there, beckoning me to find him and to find freedom. But to do so I had to die. And honestly, I loved God, but I also loved me and I loved control - and I even loved my to-do lists and schedule. I wasn't sure I wanted God messing with everything. I wanted a little of Him, but not too much. But when we surrender, trust, and obey in the radical way He wants us to, as the old hymn says, the things of earth growing strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.

The Meltons
tag:kristina.themeltonplantation.com,2013:Post/599484 2013-09-06T14:42:01Z 2014-10-30T19:29:28Z So, what's next? That is a question I find I am constantly asking myself. To which I seldom find the answer that fully satisfies. I feel as though I've been munching on popcorn to hold me over when what I really need is a steak and potato. This limbo land wreaks havoc on my planner tenancies. So while I wait for clarity on future movement I'm going to reflect on where I've been and where I'm at now. 

This last year has been insane for me. Mid October will mark 1 year since I was sick/diagnosed with Idiopathic Intra-cranial Hypertension. It also marks the last time I worked in an office. Little did we know then the permanent changes that would follow. Little did we know then the terrible damage that was taking place that would forever alter my path in life. 

You see, not only did this illness effect my career, it effected my freedom. I was no longer able to drive. Truly no one can fully understand the helplessness that a very stubborn, very independent grown woman feels when freedom has been ripped away so suddenly, until you have walked it first hand. I do not have the ability to simply get up and go if and when I please. 

Not only did this sudden illness effect my career and my freedom, it altered the course of our family plan. My husband and I had just begun discussing when/if we should bring more children into the picture. Natural and or adopted was the question on the table. Now the idea of natural children seems too risky. 

I've held strongly to the fact that I know God has a plan, and I know it has to be better than anything I could possibly plan for myself. But golly, it's hard not knowing what comes next. I've busied myself this year with increasing my mobility and gaining confidence in going out on my own. I've been aided by some amazing women who volunteered to help take me out once a week for errands and appointments (See Teena Taxi Team). Each of these women hold a special place in my heart for the role they've played in helping me regain my freedom. I've recently conquered both crowded ball games in the dark and crowded airports. Which one year ago would never have been more than an inconvenience. Now, thanks to proper training and lots of personal cheerleaders I know I can tackle these things again.

Another struggle I've had to work with, is how people change. Either better, or worse. I have been abundantly blessed by some pretty amazing people that have stepped up to help me. Most of whom I had never even met before. Without these people I truly would not be in the good place I am now. Then there are others who I considered myself very close to, who for whatever reasons have distanced themselves from me. That's been a hard pill to swallow. I've asked myself far too often "what did I do to deserve this?" or "what's so wrong with me that you don't want to be around me?" And for better or worse those thoughts have all stayed in my head or have only been voiced to my sweet husband and my amazing mother. Then along came yet another group of women, who I got to serve with. Each of us broken in our own way. These women have been sweet salve on my broken heart. We celebrate our brokenness, we celebrate our shortcomings, and most importantly we celebrate each other. 

So, what is next? I still don't have any idea. But whatever it is, I have this feeling it's something big, and glorious. So while I wait for Him to start writing the next chapter,  I'm getting the paper and the pen and ink ready.

Photo Courtesy of a dear friend; Mimi

The Meltons
tag:kristina.themeltonplantation.com,2013:Post/583828 2013-06-12T13:54:32Z 2013-10-08T17:26:19Z Emoting

My emotions seem pretty wild lately. Up until about 8 days ago I had been very excited about learning to use a white cane. I met my very nice instructor last week, and he left me with a used cane to practice with until we determine exactly what kind of cane would be best for me, and then order one. 

After he left my emotions went crazy. I don't need this, what was I thinking?! Embarrassment, shame, fear. What if someone thinks I'm a fraud because I can see, some? I know I have to stop worrying about what others think, but geeeesh, it's hard. 

This whole process has been so different, so foreign to anything I have ever experienced. There is no possible way for me to prepare myself. For someone like myself who likes life neat and tidy and planned out... That's hard. 

Trying to take this one step at a time. Literally, one foot in front of the other. Deep breaths...

The Meltons
tag:kristina.themeltonplantation.com,2013:Post/583079 2013-06-07T17:00:55Z 2013-10-08T17:26:11Z Too Many Doors Left Open, Too Many Words Unspoken

I sit here frustrated. 

Just frustrated. 

So much of my life has changed over the last 9 months. Yet there are so many loose ends. The most difficult one for me to swallow right now is how I had been cut loose from my work team. And yet somehow that process still isn't complete. I was told back in January that there wasn't a position for me to return to and that I would be receiving a severance package.  Here it is, June, and I've yet to receive anything. Any and all communication with former coworkers has been nonexistent. I feel like a leper: Ignore it, don't acknowledge it. It'll just go away.  It never really existed, just pretend its not there.  There's a part of me that wants to scream at the top of my lungs until someone finally acknowledges me. Then the rest of me just wants to slink away, they don't deserve my time anyway. But I'd really love to ask just what they think I did, personally, to deserve this treatment? Does anyone *want* to lose all or some of their sight? I certainly didn't willingly give up my job. Do they think I enjoy being dependant on others?

Generally I feel as though I've been rather successful in seeing the good in my circumstances. Because there *has* been good. But right now I have to acknowledge the bad, too, or it's simply going to eat me alive. 

Being cast aside so carelessly, and then completely cut off from the life I once knew adds insult to injury, quite literally. Then having to fight for what I was promised to begin with just piles on the insult. I have a horrible taste for the corporate world of retail in my mouth. Companies should treat people with more dignity, more respect. And this is just a guess because I can only speak for myself; I'm pretty certain that most people who find themselves disabled in one way or another would most likely - gladly - give up whatever benefit they receive to no longer be disabled. 

The Meltons
tag:kristina.themeltonplantation.com,2013:Post/479967 2013-04-23T18:32:13Z 2013-10-08T17:04:15Z When You Find That You Are The Lemon

They say when life hands you lemons, make lemonade. What do you do when you realize that you were the lemon? 

In my case I made an apology and am going to do my best to make amends. 

Life isn't easy, and there certainly no guarantees for how things turn out. When we've realized we've made a mistake I think the best we can do is recognize what we did wrong, and do our best to right the wrong. Whatever that may look like. 

The Meltons
tag:kristina.themeltonplantation.com,2013:Post/416463 2013-04-18T16:45:40Z 2013-10-08T16:51:28Z Teena Taxi Team

I have been blessed beyond words! Recently two sweet ladies I know organized a group of ladies of 9 ladies who rotate and provide a ride for me each week. Whether it be for errands, shopping, doctor visits, or just to get out of the house! The amazing part? I've never met any of the ladies with the exception of the two that organized it! All of these sweet, amazing ladies have volunteered to be my driver once a week out of the goodness of their heart. This has been so wonderful for me, so freeing!

As I said: blessed beyond words! So thankful for these giving hearts.

The Meltons
tag:kristina.themeltonplantation.com,2013:Post/400602 2013-03-11T23:21:40Z 2013-10-08T16:48:07Z Everything Changes - The New Shining

This song seems to fit right in with where I'm at right now.

Everyone is changing
The worlds a little stranger
Every time I stop and look around

I have to face it
Might as well embrace it
Those days are never coming back, no more.

The Meltons
tag:kristina.themeltonplantation.com,2013:Post/400615 2013-03-11T22:31:58Z 2013-10-08T16:48:07Z Roller Coaster

When I last worked, I felt as though I was part of The Elite. Not just because we had just been told that at a company retreat where we ate great food, and relaxed with each other over cocktails and Wii bowling. But because as a team we functioned so well together. My direct management was probably the best manager I've had in my entire career. Someone who was not just committed to what was best for the company, but wanted to help his people learn and grow. We had many fun times together in the short time I was there. I miss the daily camaraderie, the jokes about our boss being old and me being short. I miss the sense of belonging. Of all the companies I've worked for over the last 11+ years, I can honestly say this last one was the only one I truly enjoyed being a part of. I took pride in other jobs accomplished, and I enjoyed working with other people, but never the whole package as I did there.

Don't get me wrong. I know I always said I wanted to be at home with my babies. I wanted to be a housewife. And aside from feeling trapped without the ability to *do* and *go* as I please, I am enjoying being a housewife. But I think the longer I had to work, the more I became resigned to it. In the end I think I found more fulfillment in it than I realized.

Even if I had wanted to be at home, the abruptness of the change is enough to send a person whirling. I think Jeff put it best when he said its like jumping off of a freight train into a wall of jello. Going from living the highlife, to being queen of the couch is a difficult transition in the best of times.

I'd like to think they miss me as much as I miss them...]]>
The Meltons
tag:kristina.themeltonplantation.com,2013:Post/400617 2013-02-21T22:12:13Z 2013-10-08T16:48:07Z Everything Changes

I'm still trying to adjust to this new set of circumstances I have found myself in. Blindness. Not being able to drive. Being let go from my job. Some days it's all just too much to take in. I've enjoyed the slower pace of being at home. My house is clean, and I've had loads of time to cook and experiment in the kitchen. But I don't know what to do with it all yet. One of the more difficult things for me to come to terms with, silly as it may be, is being let go from my job. I was petrified of going back to work. I don't think I was emotionally ready to go back yet, but not having the choice to go back is hard to swallow. It's hard to swallow that, whatever reason they have to label it with, they didn't want me any more. Was it convenient because I was already on leave? Would they have let me go if I'd never have been sick? Or would I have still been let go had I not missed any work? I'll probably never know the answers to my questions. I guess what's next is for me to rest in the knowledge that God knows what he's doing and that he has a better plan for me than what I can even imagine.

The Meltons
tag:kristina.themeltonplantation.com,2013:Post/400626 2013-01-23T15:59:51Z 2013-10-08T16:48:07Z the storm

I once was captain of my own ship. Clever, courageous, and driven.

I have been taken captive, I am shackled and chained in the belly of my ship. I'm beaten and bruised, being tossed about by the raging storm above. My head barely remains above water as the storm tosses the ship about. I begin to wonder if I will ever see the light of day again.

My head tells me liberation will come, but my heart is not so trusting. ]]>
The Meltons
tag:kristina.themeltonplantation.com,2013:Post/400639 2013-01-11T02:52:04Z 2013-10-08T16:48:07Z Remembering My Papa * Ice cream
* Rootbeer
* Drums
* Aquanet hairspray to keep those handsome locks in just the right place.
* The exclamation of "Glory!"
* Shared birthday cakes when they were in town (our birthdays are 3 days apart).
* Funny faces
* Eagles
* Happy
* Gentle
* Bibleville
* Boxer dogs
* That twinkle always in his eye
* Rummicube
* Special trips visiting Papa & Grama all by myself.
* Electric razor
* Old spice
* Skating rink smooth baked potatoes
* "Eat every potato and pea on your plate"
* "Why does the gravy dish drip? Because it can't go *snniiiifff*!"
* Sailboats
* Always a jokester
* Big warm hugs
* Overflowing with love]]>
The Meltons
tag:kristina.themeltonplantation.com,2013:Post/400647 2012-12-17T20:42:00Z 2013-10-08T16:48:08Z upcoming changes — roadmap and rationale

Over the coming months, I plan to make a number of changes to the way my family and I connect with the world. The first change will be to our email server. Last spring, we quit using our Google accounts for anything except access to Google’s Android application store. I moved all our email, contacts and calendar to a server “in the cloud” that I administer myself. That’s been a successful experiment, and I’m ready to move it into the next phase: Bringing that server down out of cloud and under my physical control at home. It’ll save us a few dollars, too, and that’s always welcome.

In addition to bringing the mailserver home, I will be merging my online personae. For a number of years, I’ve maintained a public/private persona split. I’ll begin bringing those together in coming weeks, and eventually all of my email and blogging will move to The Melton Plantation. That merge is as much about consistency and values as it is about simplicity. It’s time everyone who finds me online sees the same picture, for better or worse. I’ll also be closing down Kristina’s eponymous site, moving her email and blog to The Melton Plantation.

These moves will, among other things, allow me to continue teaching myself a few new things. I like server administration, and this is going to be a good stretch for me in that respect. I have no experience in building, launching or maintaining personal websites, and I plan to move our blogs off free hosted services (Tumblr and Posterous) to self-hosted solutions. This will give me an opportunity to work with a number of different blogging platforms. My reasoning for consolidating our domains, then, is in part to keep the task manageable. It will also save us some money. Just as I don’t need compartmentalized sharing, having come to realize it’s inconsistent with my other values; I don’t need vanity link-shortening. And so the five domains we now own will point to one for a time, after which four of them will revert to ownership by others.

At the same time, I’ll be closing my Twitter accounts, moving to an account at App.net. There are few people with whom I regularly interact only on Twitter, and all of you know how to find me elsewhere. I’ll not go into great detail here about that change. That may best be served by a post of its own, but those of you who know something about my philosophies on technology, privacy and the internet won’t need much of an explanation. The rest of you will be utterly and irreparably confused. [waves at Mom] There are precious few of my close friends and acquaintances who both understand and agree with my positions, so I’ll not waste our time pontificating. My App.net username will likely be changing during this transition, as well, but I doubt that will matter to many of you. If you want to find me there, suffice it to say it’ll be linked from my blog. Kristina will, as far as I know, be keeping her Facebook and Twitter accounts live.

I also expect I’ll be implementing significant changes to my mobile connectivity over the coming months. Once the transition is complete, I won’t be checking email, IM or whatever-else while I’m out, and I probably won’t respond to text messages. That will most likely mean you’ll need to pick up the phone, dial my number, and talk to me live if you want to get in touch with me right away. I’m out of contract on our cellphone plan, so it’s a good time for me to consider other options. I don’t need constant connectivity; I probably never did. In fact, I’m not convinced it’s healthy for any of us, but that’s another rabbit trail I won’t chase just yet. I’ve talked about moving to a no-contract pay-as-you-go service with a top-end smartphone — and I may yet do that — but it’s looking less likely by the day. It would be simpler, of course, if I kept the phone number I’ve had for nearly 11 years. But that has its own philosophical and practical implications. So my number is likely to also change as part of this process. In fact, I may eventually take a cue from a friend on App.net, and eschew myself of a mobile phone altogether, in favor of a portable HAM radio. I recognize many of the limitations and complications of taking a step like that, and I understand there are probably issues I’ve yet to consider, so it’s not a move I’ll make lightly. Kristina will — again, as far as I know — be keeping her mobile phone and number. As with the internet-based changes, my motivations here orbit primarily around simplicity and economics. There are deeper philosophical motivations, perhaps, but those aren’t well-formed enough to yet be put into words, so I’ll leave them for now to percolate.

I’m still mapping out some of this in my head, and since a good bit of this is new territory, I’ll be taking it slowly. It may be an ugly, frustrating process, during which I expect to curse a great deal, either publicly or privately. So it is with new endeavors, valuable as they may be. I’m posting this everywhere in hopes that no one will worry or get left behind. I may take as little as three months to get all the server work done, but I’d say it’s more likely to take me six. The unused domains will probably (hopefully?) redirect until November-ish, when they’ll revert to other owners. The Posterous and Tumblr blogs may stay live through the end of 2013, solely to point stragglers to the new site. We’ll see. Any phone transition will happen over a relatively short period of time, and is more likely to be sooner than later. Since I don’t yet have an amateur radio license, any moves I’d make to HAM will take somewhat longer.

As always, you’re welcome to ask questions. I may not answer them at all, or to your satisfaction. Such is life.

The Meltons
tag:kristina.themeltonplantation.com,2013:Post/400649 2012-08-01T02:04:17Z 2013-10-08T16:48:08Z Holding the Haines family up in prayer I've never directly met Seth and Amber Haines, but their story right now keeps sending me back to Him. Keep lifting this sweet family up in prayer. Below is a link to Amber's blog where you can follow their story.


The Meltons
tag:kristina.themeltonplantation.com,2013:Post/400650 2012-07-06T14:35:00Z 2013-10-08T16:48:08Z Rewind

After reading: They Smile, But Do They Laugh (http://www.homeschoolconvention.com/blog/they-smile-but-do-they-laugh/), I can't help but cringe.

My family was a part of ATI for 4 or 5 years starting around the time I was 11 or so. We were not as deeply involved as some families, but involved enough just the same. My parents did not follow Michael Pearl's teachings on discipline, thankfully. But the repressing of emotions was so real. At 30 years old I still struggle to understand my emotions because they were buried so deep. Now that I've released them, its hard to know what to do with them half the time.

I am so thankful to have a patient, loving husband who is willing to help me figure them out. Someone who is patient when my emotions frustrate, or confuse me. Most importantly, someone to love me despite the messy emotions.

Gothard's teachings are so dangerous. Even when "taken with a grain of salt".

There is so much more I could say, but I don't think I have the processing power at the moment.

So for now; Live freely, Love deeply, and Laugh often.

The Meltons
tag:kristina.themeltonplantation.com,2013:Post/400652 2012-07-04T18:08:18Z 2013-10-08T16:48:08Z Double Crust Taco Pie Recipe For those of you who have requested the recipe for double crust taco pie I posted about recently: here you go!

This is the smaller version of the recipe. Good for apx 4 adult portions. You can easily double the recipe.

1lb ground beef, browned & drained
1 packet of taco seasoning
1 8oz brick of Monterey Jack cheese.
3 cans of refrigerated Crescent Rolls.

Preheat oven to temperature listed on Crescent Roll instructions.
Follow directions for taco seasoning with ground beef.
Shred the brick of cheese.
Line a 7x11 baking dish with Crescent roll dough, leaving at least 1 can unused.
Place taco seasoned ground beef in the bottom of the dish. Top with shredded cheese. Then place remaining crescent roll dough on top to seal it all in.
Bake for apx 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
Serve with sour cream and salsa (black olives are a nice addition as well).

The Meltons
tag:kristina.themeltonplantation.com,2013:Post/400653 2012-07-04T15:52:56Z 2013-10-08T16:48:08Z Adventures in the Kitchen, with Teena

Over the last month or two I've been enjoying branching out and cooking new things. A lot of which stems from what we get from our farm share each week. By going to the Farmers Market each week I then got hooked on trying meats from local farmers as well. I want to see if I can keep track of all these new and exciting things!

¤ Lamb shanks roasted with (fresh) rosemary and (fresh) garlic butter. With onions, new potatoes, and baby carrots. *all items were either from our farm share or purchased at the farmers market! ** this meal was amazing!

¤ Cole slaw from farm share cabbage (and store bought carrots and dressing). *next time I'll make my own dressing. And next time I'll know that a little dressing goes a long way...

¤ Skillet cabbage (shredded cabbage, sliced green peppers, brick of cream cheese, salt & pepper). Cabbage and peppers were from the farm share. * very delicious! Makes a lot! Probably better as a side dish as is, or if done as a meal add sausage.

¤ Bisquick made shortcake * this may seem trivial, but I stumbled upon it when I had strawberries I needed to use but didn't have shortcake. Turns out I'll probably never buy those little store cakes again!

¤ 100% homemade blackberry cobbler. * made from blackberries from the farm.

¤ Oven roasted bourbon honey peaches. Peaches from the farmers market topped with homemade whipped cream.

¤ Homemade whipped cream! * now that I've discovered how easy - and super yummy - this is homemade I'll default to this over the tub stuff!

¤ Roasted leg of lamb with (fresh) Rosemary, carrots, golden potatoes, and onions. * only the onion was store bought. ** super delicious!

¤ Homemade fresh salsa! Made from onion, tomatoes, banana peppers, and garlic from our farm share (plus 1 1/2 jalapenos and lime juice from Walmart). * can't wait to do this again. Sooo delicious!

¤ Apple wood smoked sausage added to the leftover skillet cabbage. *Jeff cooked the sausage **Yum yum yummy!

¤ Spaghetti (store bought sauce) spruced up with fresh sauteed onion, green pepper, and tomatoes from the farm share. The remainder of the apple wood smoked sausage added in.

¤ Meatballs made with ground lamb and ground pork from the farmers market. Diced green pepper, garlic,and onion from farm share in the meatballs. * these were amazing!

¤ Sauteed Swiss Chard. * definitely different, will use less of the stalk next time. Very good flavor in the greens.

¤ Homemade ice cream! We've done a chocolate, peanut butter, with chocolate chunks and then also a vanilla peach with farmers market peaches. So much fun!

It seems like there was more, but thats all I can think of off the top of my head.

Stay tuned for more Adventures in the Kitchen with Teena! ;-)

The Meltons
tag:kristina.themeltonplantation.com,2013:Post/400658 2012-06-24T19:56:48Z 2013-10-08T16:48:08Z The Anniversary of a Metaphorical Hurricane

Today marks the date where 1 year ago the little Melton family would change forever. I think I can speak for all of when I say that we are all greatful it had a much better ending than any of us might have imagined one year ago. 

1 year ago, I packed up a little U-Haul with pieces from the home that Jeff and I made in Stella Missouri, left a note stating my intentions for divorce, and moved into another house.

Both of our worlds were rocked. Both of us were broken. Miraculously, and through our Heavenly Father's loving guidance and provision, the planned end result was never achieved. The separation only lasted 6 weeks. It seems so trivial to say *only* 6 weeks. It felt like so much longer. There was so much that went on in that 6 weeks. Fear, Anger, Resentment. Those things slowly melted into Love once again in *only* 6 weeks. I was able to receive love again, in a way that I was never able to before.

Don't get me wrong, it's taken far more than 6 weeks to find healing and for us to be in a healthy place once again. But 6 weeks was what it took to knock the wind out of me completely and to see what was right in front of me. What I stood to lose, and what I was trying to throw away.

We've spent the better part of the last year repairing the damage, on both sides. But on so many levels we are in a much healthier place *because* of where we've been. Past the hurt, the anger, and the fear there was a garden of love, passion, tenderness and caring that I never knew existed.

I have learned a lot about myself in the last year. The good, the bad, and the ugly. I will never be the same person that I once was, and I'm certain that's a good thing. God has shown me that I am so much more than I ever gave myself credit for. I *am* lovable. I *am* special. I *am* worth it.

Thank you, Jeffrey, for sticking it out with me. For being willing to walk through the fire with me, and for helping me be the Teena you always knew I could be. I am proud to walk with you through this craziness we call life. I. Love. You.

{Loved ones} Celebrate with us, as we continue to learn and grow and follow whatever path He has in store for us. We have many people who have helped guide us over the last year, and for you we are forever greatful. Your loving arms around us and your faithful prayers covering us were such a huge part in helping us find peace and healing.

Grace abounds.

The Meltons
tag:kristina.themeltonplantation.com,2013:Post/400660 2012-01-16T19:56:21Z 2013-10-08T16:48:08Z "Mom, I'm Fat" & "You Never Marry the Right Person"
A couple of really great articles that I came across this afternoon.
Mom, I'm Fat: http://huff.to/ycgdex
I can only pray that I would have the courage and the wisdom to respond as this mom did.
You Never Marry the Right Person: http://bit.ly/wmVy20
And all I can say is this is so very true. Love/Marriage is not about simply accepting someone as they are, but wanting to learn and grow *with* that person. It takes work, and you have to want to do the work.
The Meltons