Gutting Fish and Talking to Weeds: A Better Story

A few months ago, I made the decision to write a better story. Not a literal story (yet). Instead, I decided to live a better story with my life. If you are familiar with author Donald Miller than you are probably familiar with the language of “living a better story”. It is the central theme of his book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. I read that book annually since it was published in 2009 and I’ve taken a couple of sporadic steps to live a better story – like booking a trip to Uganda or getting out of bed.

Coming into 2012, something really clicked for me. Maybe it was the sound of my aging knees. Maybe it was something else. Whatever it was, I connected with the idea that I wanted to live a better story and that the only way for me to live a better story was for me to actually live a better story. (Soooo radical and complex, I know.)

So I did a quick assessment of my issues – most of them at least – and the next steps I needed to take to live a better story. One of the first things I did was register for Storyline with Donald Miller which is basically “How to Live a Better Story: 101” but really should be titled “How to Gut Yourself Like a Fish: 801”. I actually just returned from Storyline in Nashville and will share more about the experience in another post. Right now, I’m self-medicating in preparation for the first cuts.

One of the biggest things that I needed to address as I began this quest to live a better story was my health. Over the past few years, I’ve put on a lot of weight. There were a combination of issues – not the least of which was a so-called friend named Little Debbie looking all innocent in her little blue gingham shirt. You can’t trust women who wear blue gingham. Regardless …. I put on the weight and in order for me to live a better story, I need to lose a 12-year-old girl. So far, I’ve lost a toddler (38 lbs). Which is awesome. But I have 10-year-old boy who is clinging on for dear life. But no worries – I’m dumping him like yesterday’s indigestible food. There are things I want to do and the reality that I can’t do some of those things has incited me to action. Whenever I eat a Little Debbie snack, I have to write about another character model. That is quickly curing my love for HoHo’s.

I have this great route I walk from my house to a nearby lake and back. As I return to my house, I have to walk down a sidewalk that is adorned on both sides by really tall flowers and weeds. Each time I approach it, it reminds me of the crowds at the end of a marathon (I’ve seen videos). So, I stick out my arms on both sides and with palms out, I run down the finish line giving and receiving “fives” from all my friends. They are like my own personal champions cheering me on – “Way to go, Melissa!” “Another great workout, Mel!” “Guuurl, look at you living one bad$&* story!” (that last one comes from the thistle weeds).

Here is what it looks like:


What are some things you need to do to live a better story with your life? Leave a comment below!


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6 thoughts on “Gutting Fish and Talking to Weeds: A Better Story

  1. Good post Mel. Everyone likes to talk about doing something big, but it’s really hard to just buckle down and do it. 

    Kudoos to you for making it happen.

  2. Great story.  Jennifer took up running in NC and losing weight.  She has now run 3 5K  one in Forest Park and will run one in Columbia on May 19th for the Heart of the Girls Run.  She is so small now  like she was in 5th grade or so.  She goes to the gym in the mornings at 6 a.m. and then runs 3 or 4 miles 2 or 3 times a week.  Says she cannot think and run so she turns eveything off.