Off & Running
a Blog of Life on the Run


Trail Hiking Through the Inner Mess

A Weekend at Shenandoah & Sugarloaf

Saturday, October 25, 2014
Skyline Drive in Shenandoah early on a Saturday morning in late October.

The leaves are close to the end of their brilliance. It's quiet. Peaceful. But the park will be packed with leaf-peepers soon. A walk through the colors is just what is needed on a day with a sapphire sky.


Leaves rustling under foot. Puppies bounding ahead anticipating all of the smells. My pace is slower than usual. My eyes are open. I want to take in everything.

A fresh wonder in how I see the world around me. Stopping to take in the beauty and capture it before it's gone. 

My heart is burdened. Thinking thoughts of Africa. Thoughts of the things my eyes have taken in over the last few weeks. 

Feeling out of place and in-between. Not knowing where I belong or how I fit. Reviewing nightmares of the last few days since I arrived back in the States. Wondering when I'll feel like I'm home again. Hoping I never feel like I'm home again. All of my First World Problems. Knowing they don't matter in the grand scheme.


Enjoying the conversation with Michaela. Hearing about life. Taking in the leaves. Laughing at how excited my boys are in the crunchy woods. ‚ÄčChild-like wonder taking hold at the yellows and reds.

Walking in silence for awhile. 

Child-like wonder leading to joy in God's creation. A beautiful day with a beautiful friend. What more could a girl ask for? Oh yeah, not being an entrepreneur for an entire Saturday. Perfection. 


Sunday, October 26, 2014
Early morning voices in my head. Only a few hours of sleep. Last minute decision to drive to Sugarloaf Mountain Stronghold, my favorite mountain, to meet Heidi. Frustrated. Exhausted. Hurry, wait, hurry, wait. Angry. Upset. Close to tears.


Walking. Stopping. Beauty. God's beauty. Earnestly asking God for help. Quiet. Silence. Talking. HELP! 

So many decisions need to be made in the next few weeks. My head starts to sound like someone is changing the tuner frequency and only keeping it on any one talk radio channel for half a second. Too many thoughts, too many worries. Not enough trust.

"God has it. He DOES! Why can't you let Him take it, Melanie? What's keeping you from believing He will take care of it? You trust Him with so much, why not the rest?


The beauty of the Fall foliage reminds me that everything has to be broken and die before it can come back to life again. I'm broken.

This trip to Africa broke me like I never thought possible. And I came back knowing I had big decisions to make with my business and my life - all for the best! I know God only wants incredible things for me and I lead a pretty incredible life, so what's keeping me from living it? Two decisions. Decisions I can't make on my own. This is where patience and trust come in to play. I know the answer will come. It always does. In His time.

There's beauty in the struggle.

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