Always ready to jump on the computer and create something thoughtful and beautiful, my name is Melanie Perkins and I’m a long-time wife and stay-at-home mom of 4 mostly grown children. The other full-time job I have is managing my mental health, with an illness that mostly lets me live an ordinary life, but once every five years or so throws me outside of reality and usually into the hospital for a month or two. Another source of meaning and activity in my life is leading crafts for a group at church of girls from grades 2-8, always incorporating the themes that we’re learning that year so it’s not just a trinket they take home but a lesson in disguise. While my career started as a part-time high school German teacher, I soon entered motherhood in full swing, with only 4 years between my youngest and oldest, with twins in between. Sometimes I wonder how I would be different if I had returned to teaching, but taking my illness into account I don’t know how feasible that option would have been.

My home is in Wisconsin now, although I grew up moving around the United States and Canada so I’m also familiar with Iowa, Alberta, and British Columbia, with a couple of trips to the Yucat√°n in Mexico, and a couple of places in Germany during my college years. I am tickled pink that my kids have taken up a propensity for languages, and my husband relishes the musical talent that runs prevalent in our family. Besides self-taught graphic design, I love calligraphy and watercolor, and also reading (mostly non-fiction) and list-making, as well as nice, predictable Hallmark movies and imaginative, contemplative sci-fi (both genres celebrate the beauty of the human race, in their own ways). While we don’t have a television in the house, I’m often at our local library choosing out a new TV series on DVD for those hours when I need some down time.

Every day when my husband comes home from work, we take a nice walk to catch up on our days, although in Wisconsin weather this sometimes takes a bit of commitment and occasionally we’ll wimp out because of too much snow or wind chill. Many mornings you can find me at our local Starbucks, taking advantage of the free refills and designing my next journal or doing the hard work behind the scenes that entrepreneurship requires.

Do I journal? Yes and no, depending on the season of life I’m in or the day I’m having. I usually can’t resist buying journals, but it’s usually more for the cover than for plans to fill it. Still, I do have my bullet journal that I’ve set up for note-taking when I’m reading or watching webinars, and I’ve got my notebook where I track my dietary intake when I’m putting in extra effort to manage my keto diet, and from time to time I’ll print out a new format of planner sheets to try to get a better handle on my day. And when I’m having a bad day, I will either take a walk to stir my thoughts up, or I’ll sit down with a blank sheet of paper and a Frixion eraseable pen and spill all my thoughts out to better understand what’s going on with my emotions and to learn new things about myself that I never noticed before. Sometimes I go through the ACTS acronym to turn it into a prayer (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication). For that I have a journal where I always use sparkly gel pens. And during certain periods of my life, I discipline myself to sit down before bed and summarize the events of the day in a paragraph. I also have a journal by my bedside to write down questions that arise when I read my Bible and get curious about the choice of words used in a passage. I don’t use this journal often enough, but it does become very important during those times when my illness intensifies and my mind gets more exploratory about the construct of the world we live in. I especially dwell on the first chapter of Genesis and the first chapter of John. The concept of Creation is a safe place for my mind to wander and wonder. I never get bored thinking about a God who is creative and invested in beauty.

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