“It’s Not Fair: Learning to Love the Life You Didn’t Choose” by Melanie Dale https://www.amazon.com/Its-Not-Fair-Learning-Choose/dp/0310342147

*We have a lot of dreams…but, not all dreams are fulfilled

*It is painful when we have a dream that doesn’t come true

*Sometimes our dreams don’t come true because of decisions we make…but, sometimes they don’t come true because of something that is out of our control…loss of job, loss of marriage, loss of health…etc…

*Everyone has something in their life that isn’t fair…something in your life that you wish you could have prevented

*”Welcome to Holland”


*What do we do with the “It’s not fairs” in our lives?

*How do we manage the tension?

*Experience is the greatest teacher.

*Melanie Dale is from North East Ohio and now lives in Peachtree City.  She has been married to her high school sweetheart for 17 years.  They have 3 children (12, 10 and 7).

*What have been some of Melanie’s “Unfairs”?

*She saw her life going one way…she pictured herself with a lot of kids. They spent 5 years dealing with infertility…this took a toll on her and her marriage.  She was questioning her identity and mourning the loss of a dream….feeling depressed.  After 5 years they had their 1st son.  Then, had issues with infertility for another 3 years.  She got counseling.  Overnight her heart opened up to adoption….she and her husband dove right into the process….it also was hard and took many years…they hit every snag–but, were finally able to adopt.  They later decided to adopt again and it was really hard—they had spent so much time and money….a friend sent her an email with a little girl and her story….she deleted it….the friend resent the email. That little girl now calls her Mom!

*She said that her kids could write a better book than she could on what is NOT FAIR….they came with their brokenness and together they are working to hold it together.

*When she started writing the book she thought she was going to write about how she learned to love her life and how you too can learn to love your life!….while writing she kept calling her editor saying that her life was falling apart!

*It is OK to sit in the questions.

*There is a chapter called “How to Fall Apart Like a Boss”

-culturally we are emotionally constipated

-the more you force yourself to appear perfect on the outside…the more junk you have to wash off in the future

-MOURN YOUR EXPECTATIONS…the unicorn children, the unicorn marriage, the unicorn job….etc… when you do it frees you up to embrace the life you have

-she tells her husband what she is feeling and what she needs because he is not a mind reader

-she uses laughter as a coping mechanism….but, there are some days you can’t even do that and it is OK

-she believes that laughter makes us brave and gives us courage when needed

-we need to recognize the ridiculousness of our own lives….if you happened to be watching your favorite character on your favorite show you could recognize it.

*Cadbury Eggs….. Hard on the outside—hard shell for self preservation

Soft on the inside—want to keep your heart soft…don’t want to become bitter……serving others helps do that–take your eyes off yourself and focus on others

*We all have “if Onlys” and “Waiting Periods”…..How do you find joy in the waiting?

-Celebrate the ordinary days

-Savor what we already have

-Celebrate the days inbetween the big wins

-Know who your “Grace Bearers” are….friends that give you grace when you are going through stuff…they sit with us and wait for cues from us to meet our needs—in the book she has a list of 100 things you can do to help a friend (some examples: if you are broke, give them a backrub yourself, no advice–just listen, give Kleenex Plus Lotion, unload their dishwasher, wash their car, go with them to appointments)

*There is a chapter called “Her Cupcake is Better Than Mine”

-so often we don’t have a problem with what we have….we have a problem with comparison

-we think things are ok….and then we look around

-“I need to stop looking across the street and start looking at my own dang Facebook page”

-look around at your life and remind yourself daily THIS IS ENOUGH

-we buy into the lie that we have to be everything


*acronym CLIFF=

C- COUNT YOUR WINS (even when we are losing….at the end of the day they count up their wins…even if they are small)

L- LAUGH (laugh to keep from crying)

I- IDENTIFY your “Grace Bearers”….safe friends

F- FIND professional help…. (she said “we do therapy like other families do soccer”)

F- FALL APART….mourn your expectations…do it in a safe place with a safe person (hers is with GOD…nothing will surprise Him) some people have a prayer closet….she has a “swear shed”

*Steer into the surprise…..like the way you would drive through a blizzard

*”Sometimes we go through the motions, “fake it til you make it.” And that’s something. It starts at fake and transitions into real as your heart remembers how to beat again. Keep Shuffling”

*We think we have to be Ok all the time…but, it is OK to not be OK

*put your actions first and your feelings will follow

*you are not alone

*The “No Bow” Life…..growing up she remembers Christmas at her grandparent’s house in Kentucky….there were lots of big, beautiful packages with bows that were filled with the gifts that they had asked for and were hoping for….there were also little small, plain boxes without a bow that were filled with UNIQUE, UNEXPECTED gifts that her aunt would pick out for them throughout the year at estate sales….these gifts were special and personal…..we live “No Bow Lives”…they are a little different– but still WONDERFUL