Melissa Frey

Fiction Writer, Freelancer for Hire, and Paleo Enthusiast

Month: January 2016

Beauty wins Flint: Why the News Out of Flint Isn’t All Bad

I live near Flint. I work in downtown Flint. I grew up near Flint. And, like nearly everyone else, my hearts breaks for the #flintwatercrisis there. This tragedy has touched so many people, some I know by name.

And it is a tragedy, in the truest sense of the word. Things that shouldn’t have happened did. And it’s tempting to focus on that, on the negative. It’s easy to focus on finding blame, punishing those responsible. And while that process is necessary, it shouldn’t be the focus.

I say it’s time to focus on the good.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Downtown FogFall Tree Behind Flint HouseRiverside Fall TreeSnowy Road

(The one above may not be Flint, but it’s definitely Michigan, and we definitely have snow.)

These are just a few of the pictures I’ve taken around Flint. This last one is a bridge over the now-infamous Flint river. And you know what? I choose to see beauty here. I choose to see scores of people being the change instead of waiting for someone else to do it. I choose to focus on the beauty, on the community here, than on all the horrible things happening here right now.

So instead of politicizing the crisis and calling for resignations far and wide, what if we send money, pass out water, donate water, pray for the people of Flint. What if we choose to focus on all that’s going right here?

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” – ‭‭John 1:5‬ ‭‭NIV‬‬

If you know anything about history of the city of Flint, you know the sad story. I was a young girl when the last of the factories started closing. My family drove by all the empty factories and buildings as we went to school, church, my grandma’s house – it’s very sad.

Most of those reminders remain. Some of the lots where factories once stood are now empty concrete slabs. Some are just empty shells with the windows broken or boarded up. And with the factory closings, the businesses around them closed, too. The domino effect on the economy was far reaching.

But there’s a revitalization coming, and it’s already begun.

A New Coffee Shop Coming to Flint’s College and Cultural District

New Businesses Opening Downtown (ABC12)

The New Farmer’s Market

So come visit Flint! We need your help, to be sure, but we need your support more. We need water, but we also need your prayers, your patronage, your blessings.

Come see the great Flint comeback. Visit a coffee shop on Saginaw, take in a show at the Whiting, check out our new Planetarium, eat at the Farmer’s Market!

Be the change. Be the light in what can sometimes seem to be an overwhelming darkness. And don’t miss the beauty.

Upload pictures of beauty right where you are (even if you aren’t in Flint)! Let’s show the world that beauty and love triumphs over hate and fear. Just use #beautywinsflint on any platform.

The Un-Resolution New Year

Okay, so I haven’t posted on here in awhile. Like since last summer. Life’s been crazy, we moved, the holidays… blah, blah, blah. You know how it goes.

But those all kind of seem like excuses, don’t they?

So here’s my un-resolution for this year: no resolutions that will stress me out or cause me guilt. Sound good? I thought so.

Instead, I’m resolving not to make resolutions, but just get back to what I know I should be doing. Yoga, meditation, prayer, Bible study, writing, editing, mindfulness, healthy eating…all the things I did at some point in this past year but that somehow made their way out of my regular routine.

I did some of the things on that list this morning. Did I feel guilty that I didn’t start on January 1st? No way! I’m super proud of myself.

Here’s why: Imperfect progress is the name of the game. Because any step forward gets you that much closer to your goal.

Ann Voskamp wrote a blog post about Perfectionism and Procrastination and Doing the Next Hard Thing. She summed it up this way: “Fire your perfectionism and your procrastination will quit too.”

Isn’t that freeing? So instead of feeling guilty that you ate one more leftover Christmas cookie today or you missed out on yoga because your kids woke you up early and the dog was tracking snow through the house and your husband burnt pancakes in your nice new skillet then your oldest got a bloody nose and your youngest started screaming at all the blood…breathe. Just breathe.

Just breathe, try again tonight, or tomorrow morning, or tomorrow night, or Wednesday at 3pm, and know that imperfect progress is infinitely better than no progress at all.

So let’s all make an un-resolution this year: stress-free, guilt-free, worry-free imperfect progress.

I think we’ll all be surprised at how far we can get.


P.S. Here’s a picture of the wreath I made this year. Yes, it’s still on my door. No, I won’t be taking it down any time soon.

Christmas Wreath


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