A Letter to Our Little One

Baby Wessels,

IMG_9298It’s hard to put into words all the excitement and anticipation your Dad and I have for your arrival and the start of our bigger family. We’ve waited you for a long time and every single day we talk about how excited we are to meet you in just 3 short months.

While our adventure together is just getting started, it’s so fun to think that you’ve already been around through so much:

  • At 2 weeks we went camping and climbing together in Taylors Falls.
  • At 1 month you joined us for your first [Macklemore] concert. IMG_0113
  • At 2 months we took our first road trip to Iowa.
  • At 3 months you visited South Dakota.
  • At 4 months you started seeing patients with me in clinic.
  • 5 months we took our first gondola ride to the top of the slopes together (and then your Dad built a fire to warm us up).
  • At 6 months you tagged along while I took the 2nd part of my National Chiropractic Board Exams.

And today, as we begin our 3rd trimester together, we’ve never been more excited to get to hold you in our arms.

My Hopes and Promises 

IMG_0775I can’t wait to take you climbing to teach you how to rise above your fears, to watch you grow as you find your passion in life, to take you to church so you can find joy from above, to show you how to love and take care of animals and simply just watch you be you.

I promise that we’ll start and end our days showering you with love so you always know how much we care about you. I promise to share with you the value of family and loved ones, even if our loved ones are spread across the country. I promise that even though we may be busy working, we’re working hard to offer you a creative life filled with adventure. I promise to help you appreciate the beauty of nature, especially the breath-taking Rocky Mountain sunsets. I promise that as long as you try your best, we’ll support you and be proud of you no matter what you do with your life. I promise that I won’t be perfect, but I’ll always strive to be the perfect mom for you.

Regarding Your Dad

Melanie+Nick-5707You’ve already heard him talk to you and wish you goodnight and I just know you’ll love him from the moment you lay eyes on him. From the second we knew you were coming, he’s worked tirelessly to help take care of us and prepare our home and our life for you.

He’s going to be your rock, so even though he’s really tall, looking up to him will get you far in life. (Just a heads up, he’ll probably put you in Cubs gear as soon as possible so I hope you like red and blue.)

And From the Dogs

IMG_3316The furballs said they are happy to share their toys as long as you share yours. They also apologize in advance if they bonk you over and smother you in slobbery kisses (both of which are pretty much guaranteed).

I say this often because I mean it and it’s especially true regarding you…. the best is yet to come!

We can wait to meet you!




This is Why We Rescue

Happy Endings

Roxie, our first Foster in Minneapolis

Roxie, our first Foster in Minneapolis

With the help of my incredibly tolerant and kindhearted fiancé, we’ve been fostering dogs through Pet Haven in Minneapolis.

Our last Foster ended perfectly. Roxie found her forever home with an awesome couple who loves her, walks her, trains her and is setting her up for a healthy, happy life.

While I was so sad to see her leave, I was so excited for all that was to come in her life.

But that’s not the case for our most recent foster.


Today we had to surrender our foster dog, Missy. And I’m heartbroken. We’re incredibly disappointed that we couldn’t make the difference that we wanted to make. The difference that would save her from the shelter system and place her into a forever home…

Missy, our most recent Foster

Missy, our most recent Foster

Missy had been abandoned twice, unfairly and under false claims. We took her in believing it would be a great match and excited to help her find her place in this world.

Ultimately, we weren’t capable of offering her the help she needs while also maintaining a healthy environment for our own dogs. Long story short, we had to make the call that we couldn’t provide her what she needed to be rehabilitated and set her up for a successful adoption.

Then this morning, I was the one that abandoned her. I felt as though my heart was ripped out of my chest and was replaced with guilt and sadness. It’s the worst feeling I’ve felt in a long time.

Not for the Faint of Heart

I try to take an it’s-not-personal-it’s-business approach with animal rescue, but when you have a heart for animals, it’s extremely difficult to leave your emotions out of it. And, you see how well that worked out for me this time.

The truth? Our hesitation and delay in returning her to the shelter system is that she could likely become one of the 1.2 million dogs that are euthanized each year in the US shelter system. After all, she was on the euth list before we rescued her.

Nauseating… isn’t it.

Our hope now is that another rescue or adopter can step up to the plate, help rehabilitate Missy and live happy ever after. We pray it happens this way, although we are very aware of the reality of the situation.

Being Brave

So why do we rescue if it it’s so difficult? Well, saving lives takes work. And, even though we weren’t able to get the outcome we were hoping for, we still made a difference. A huge difference.

Missy went from being stuck in the shelter to living a good life for a while. She went running every morning, played with squeakers, chased squirrels (and cyclists 🙈), ate bananas, napped in the sun and stole my seat on the couch (and popcorn) while we binge-watched Suits.

So while it was a lot of work and caused some heart-break in the end, it was worth every bit of it. And, we will most certainly do it again.

Now What?

For those of you still reading this, (thank you by the way), there is so much to be done!

  • If you can adopt, please do.
  • If you have pets, spay and neuter.
  • If you have an extra dollar, donate!
  • If you have time to volunteer, do!
  • If the facts come as a shock, read up!
  • If you feel touched, please share.

But mostly, keep that chin up. With an incredible amount of animal lovers out there, we can make this shelter situation better.

A Special Thanks to Activists

I am especially grateful for those out there doing so much for those in need and I am always inspired by the dedication that so many have to help others.

Whether dogs, cats, people or nature…whatever your passion is, thank you for being brave enough to make a difference.



T1 in the books

We did it!


Running into my Grandpa on campus was a highlight of my tri!

I’m so proud and extremely excited to say that yesterday we finished our first trimester at NWHSU. And wow, what an incredible time it was.

Ready to Change the World

When we first arrived, we were so excited, inspired and eager to see what our first trimester would bring. Our diverse class came from all paths, making sacrifices to be here and begin a new chapter.

That said, it is so refreshing to belong to a university where everyone has the same goal in mind, health. To look around the room and see each other strive to be their best, drinking teas, doing cleanses, trying new workouts, using essential oils, talking about their acupuncture session or new favorite supplement. While only those close to me understand my lifestyle, here we all fit in. It’s an incredibly rare and healthy environment.

Then it Got Real

The expectations and course load are intense and don’t allow for the simple pleasures of relaxing, hiking or chasing those beautiful Rocky Mountain sunsets. I definitely gained a new perspective, understanding the discipline of what becoming a doctor requires.


Adventures in cadaver lab with these brainiacs!

Our classes were, for the most part, really refreshing as we’re all learning about things we truly care about. There were some classes that felt relaxing to study for compared to others (ahem Biochem, it’s not you it’s me).

During the trimester, some lost loved ones or parted ways in their relationships. Some had to be away from their families and children. Some struggled to stay healthy or balance life and school and some felt the stress of a heavy student loan lifestyle. Simply put, everyone had their own battles.

For me, this trimester was intense and difficult. I gained an incredible amount of knowledge but I also had experienced more frustration and disappointment then I was prepared for. I’m so grateful for my incredible loved ones because without their support, I couldn’t get through this program.

Collectively, by the end of the tri we were all pretty worn down and ready for some R&R.

Ready to See the Light

Meanwhile, we have an awesome class. Everyone was so supportive of each other, willing to help in whatever way they could. It felt like a little family. We’re so inspired by the upper Tri’s and can’t wait to begin learning techniques and adjusting at the end of the year.

Onto the Next

I’m thankful that after trial and error, I’m finally figuring out how I learn best and I’m excited to have a fresh start and to make T2 a more positive experience. I’m sooooo thankful for the friendships, memories and coffee dates and look forward to more of the same!

While I know our class is different in many ways, one thing is for certain. We’re all going to get through this, and we’re going to get through this together. And when we’re done, I know it will be worth it.


T1: Day 1 Meet New People, Invade Their Lives

And So it Begins…


Another year, another chapter…

Today was my first day at Northwestern Health Sciences University here in Bloomington, Minnesota. Celebrating it’s 75th year in 2016, I’m thrilled to be a part of this university and equally scared and excited to finally be doing what I should have done from the beginning.

It was so fun to to meet (some of) the 45 chiropractic Trimester 1 students I’ll be joining in this journey, making up just around 700 of the total students in the chiropractic program. I can’t wait to spend time with like-minded people who will surely become life-long friends. Coming from all walks of life, states and countries, we’re in this together…

The Chiropractic Program:

Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 4.29.36 PM

T1 starts off with a “bang!”

  • 40 months
  • 10 trimesters
  • 220+ credits
  • 4,300+ contact hours

Goodbye home office and helloooo library!

I know that this is probably going to be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but I’m finally learning for the right reasons and I cannot wait to see where this journey takes me.

So let’s get to it!


When One Chapter Ends…

…Another Begins

I can’t believe that after five-and-a-half years, today will mark my last day at Vortala. This chapter, long in the making, now comes to an end. And while I may have cried a few tears lately saying “farewell” to my closest team members, I am filled with joy and forever excited to begin my next chapter in chiropractic college.

To My Team,


Friendships like this, last a lifetime.

While some may describe Vortala as an internet service, to me, it’s so much more than that. We don’t just develop websites; we better people’s lives. We don’t just work nine-to-five; we work until the job is done. We’re not defined by our jobs; we’re defined by our passions. And most importantly, we’re not just co-workers, we’re the truest of friends.

Our bond is strong because, at Vortala, our jobs are just a small fraction of what we mean to each other. We go far beyond helping each other with tasks at work and over the years have truly become tight-knit friends. We carry each other through every single up and down of life and support each other in our journeys… because that’s what friends do.


Sarah, you are by far, the best mentor I could have hoped for.

You all have been with me through so much over the past years and I wouldn’t have made it to where I am today without you. Thank you for all the help, guidance, understanding, love and support you’ve shown me and I can’t wait to rejoin your team down the road (on the flip side).

If you ever need some cheesy quotes, someone to talk to, or a little company, you know where to find me!

Wishing you all the best that is yet to come,

Next Stop, Bloomington!

SD -> WY -> CA -> CO -> MN!

There’s only one thing I’ve ever truly wanted to do, I just simply wasn’t brave enough to do it. Those circumstances and excuses behind me, I’m finally off to make it happen.

That means it’s time to redefine what “home” means. For the next four years, I’ll be calling Bloomington, Minnesota “home”… my desk, the library, lecture halls and labs included. Because finally, it’s time to chase my dream.

(Soon-to-be) 5 Generations Strong

Two of my grandfathers, my father and my uncle all attended NWHS.

Two of my grandfathers, my father and two uncles all attended NWHS.

As a chiropractor, my dad has always been my hero, my rock and my inspiration. I’ve always been so incredibly proud of him and now I’m honored to follow in his footsteps. This January, I’ll be attending Northwestern Health Sciences University to become my family’s 5th generation chiropractor! So, I better represent, kill it and have an incredible time doing it!

(Mom: Your career has been just as inspiring except you embrace middle-schoolers with more grace and understanding than I ever could 🙂 )

At First I Was Afraid, I Was Petrified

I am so in love with Colorado that the last thing I want to do is leave my friends and family, again. But! Colorado will be still there when I’m done. And, after a little time to think through it, a bestie encouraging me to chase my dreams, a very special loved one and overflowing support from my family, I’m so excitedddd!

I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart) I am never without it (anywhere I go you go, my dear) :: e.e. cummings

I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart) I am never without it (anywhere I go you go, my dear) :: e.e. cummings

I cannot wait to do something I’m passionate about all while helping people live their most vibrant life. And if you know me at all, you know I love a new beginning, a new chapter, a new adventure, whatever you want to call it. It’s cheesy, but to me, starting over is such a cleansing and fulfilling feeling.

So, if you ever want to send a care package, put yourself on an airplane and come chill with us in Minnesota.

As always, the best is yet to come!

Xo, Melanie

P.s. Shout-out to all of my family chiropractors and chiropractors that feel like family.

I’m thankful to have grown up being influenced and adjusted by you since the day I was born. Thanks for showing me what a holistic lifestyle feels like. Thanks for helping me heal after my accident. Thanks for teaching me how to help others with your hands and heart. And, thank you for inspiring me to do the same. ❤️

5 Ways I Got Through a Divorce

Well Hello Sunshine,

I’ve recently had some close friends express that a) back in spring they were concerned with how I would handle going through my divorce and b) that at times some thought I was masking my pain and wasn’t truly healed (aka faking my happiness).

...and I just decided to be happy again.

…and I just decided to be happy again.

I was surprised to hear this and also thankful.
:Surprised to have such amazing friends that are so honest with me.
:Thankful for friends that make me think about how I got to where I’m at today.

Their concerns reminded me of the times going through my divorce that I just wanted truth.

To hear it, read it, see it….anything that I could relate to. But, I had a hard time finding the raw, honest truth. So, this very-personal post is from my heart to yours. Whether you’re a friend, an acquaintance or a stranger, I hope my story can somehow help you in yours…

So here’s how I got to where I am today.
Continue reading

have faith bigger than your fears

faith bigger than my fears

have faith bigger than your fearsLately I keep seeing picture-quotes about “having faith bigger than your fears” and they always make me so happy. Why?

1. It sounds so simple, so wise.
2. It seems romantic.
3. It’s exactly what I need to do.

1. Faith v. Fear | Great wisdom, but wait… 

In church the other day, the pastor pointed out these definitions:

fear: the belief that something unseen will come true
faith: the belief that something unseen will come true

I was confused for a while until I learned the difference. Faith is having absolute trust that God’s plan will work out as it’s meant to be (including timing).

2. Yes please to romance.

For some reason I hear this quote about faith and I just picture this incredible future, full of joy and love and confidence that everything will be okay. Not perfect, I know that…but it will be as it was meant to be.

And, if possible, I don’t want fear to get in the way.

3. I need to quit the drama and be done living each day in fear.

Ugh, here we go: my insecurities about my body, my anxiety about things being out of my control, worrying that I’ll get my heart broken again, etc.

My fears are getting in the way of a joyful future (see #2). It’s heavy to carry around and I don’t think faith and fear can coexist. So, I need to ditch one.

Over & Done, It’s Not Me, It’s You…

Dear Fear,

I’ve had enough. The only person that is going to let my past ruin my future is you. So, I have to let you go.

I choose faith. I choose to be happy. I choose to believe in God’s plan (and timing). I choose to believe so deeply in what’s to come that I won’t allow you to get in my way.

So that’s it. I’m breaking up with you and starting a new romance with faith. And, I decided this, um… this morning when I woke up.

Xo, Melanie

P.s. I’m already living with faith… too soon? Too bad.


As much as I wish I could.. I’m not saying I’m instantly SuperWoman (although I love her style). Rather, each day I’m going to try to be less fearful.

Instead, I’ll be more faithful. More confident. More relaxed. More trusting. More brave. So as my faith grows, my fears will fade.

And, I’m ready… Shall we?

Piney River Ranch

falling in love (truly, madly, deeply)

Oh, What an Adventure It’s Been

January 2014 began a whole new chapter for me. I packed up my life in LA on a whim to start fresh in Denver, CO. I didn’t have somewhere to live, I didn’t say goodbye to everyone and to be honest, I wasn’t ready to move away.

Af first, I was broken. Broken-hearted and unsure of who I was and what I was capable of.
Also, I was hesitant. Hesitant that compared to LA, I would be bored in Denver. (Sorry Denver, but I’ll redeem myself soon)
Then, I was scared. Scared I wasn’t strong enough to start fresh on my own and scared of the unknown.
And, I was sad. Sad to leave my LA friends, my life and my unfulfilled LA bucket-list.

Now, I realize this move, and all that it encompased, was an opportunity for me to find my joy again. And oh, how I was wrong about Colorado…

Falling in Love with Life in Colorado

Downtown Vail

A quiet morning in downtown Vail

Earlier this year I promised that I would make this the best year. This self-made promise has been a great reminder to always say “yes” to new experiences so that I would really make the most of this year.

And, to be completely honest, I cannot even begin to tell you how delighted I’ve been lately.

I’ve loved the opportunity for a fresh start here in Colorado, the chance to heal and become a better me, new adventures and experiences, rekindling my faith, taking care of my mind and body, meeting incredible people and the joy I’ve found in my heart. All of this coupled with an incredible state of beauty and this adventure has me falling in love with Colorado, hard.

And, I just can’t get enough.

My Colorado Happy List

The view from the top of vail mountain

A peaceful moment at the top of Vail

A close friend introduced me to the concept of a “happy list.” To create this list is to remember the little things in life that bring us joy each day. To count our blessings and remember that happiness is sometimes made up of many little moments.

And, while it’s a forever-project, I thought I’d share a few things on my current Colorado Happy List:

  • the crisp, fresh mountain air in the mornings
  • a chocolate-covered coffee bean on caribou coffee mochas
  • a really intense trail run in Boulder with Ruth
  • chilly mornings spent waiting in line at Snooze, coffee mug in hand
  • running in colorado and colorado runners
  • the spring storms that scare and excite you at the same time
  • hip hop classes with the ladies, followed by mimosas and a night out
  • breathtaking sunsets at Daniels Park, or anywhere for that matter
  • the crunch of fresh snow on the coldest days of winter
  • the sounds of downtown Denver in the evening
  • seeing Stig come alive on hikes, in dog parks and running in open spaces
  • Subaru’s and Subaru drivers… it’s what makes colorado, colorado
  • all the free poop bags ( <—it’s the truth, deal with it)
  • Linger rooftop and a hand crafted cocktail at the end of the day
  • anytime I look up and am awed by the beauty of the rockies

Living Without Darkness.

It is in our darkest moments that we must focus on the light. And, some say, that the stars cannot shine without darkness.

So, here I am. I’ve had my darkest moments and now I’m ready to shine and come out stronger than I’ve ever been.

Now I feel alive, like I’m finally living life again. I feel happy. I feel blessed. I feel ready to take on the world. And, I feel like for the first time in a while, I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.



Piney River Lake near Vail

Piney River Lake near Vail

love your life

losing who you are…

I’ve had a lot of conversations in the past few months with friends regarding people “losing themselves,” being defined by whatever is going on in their lives… children, animals, fitness, etc. Conversations, social media outlets, photos…they all so accurately reflect our current fascinations.

And these expressions seem to really gets on people’s nerves for some reason.

Somehow, I find myself really defensive when this topic comes up. It’s probably because I know it’s something I do as well… dating, my dog, marriage, running, divorce, God…you name it. I quickly let my identity be overtaken in the excitement of whatever new chapter is upon me.

Guilty as charged.

Their Highlights v. Your Behind-The-Scenes

I post tons of photos of my dog and talk about him all lot. I feel guilty after I post a photo from a run but I just want to share the beauty along my path. And, honestly I don’t like feeling bad about it.

Nor do I want to feel guilty not blatantly posting the bad in my life. I believe in good energy and don’t want to bring others down for no reason. So, while I’m not hiding any secrets, I still remember to never compare my life with other’s, and vice versa.

But why is this so bothersome to some?

I can’t quite figure it out.

Are you obsessed because you’re posting baby photos to your Facebook feed (or dog photos <–guilty)? Have you lost yourself in your relationship because your profile picture is you and your partner (rather than just you)? Are you vain for posting fitness photos on Instagram?


I’m realizing that it doesn’t mean you’re losing yourself at all.

Rather, you’re finding yourself in your present journey.

It’s defining the person that you are today, your passions, loves, and struggles. It’s being present in the moment, regardless of what others think about you. It’s embracing your beliefs and simply, embracing you.

And, it’s sharing your life with the world.

So cheers to loving the life you live, and letting other’s lose their way onto their newest path,

Xo Melanie

love your life