Melissa Bradley–Advice for Birthday Party Planners

What is your name? Please include a nickname if most people call you by that.
Melissa Nicole Barrett Bradley, family and close friends call me Mimi (since I was twelve, dad started that). Fun fact: I’m supposed to be called Nikki, the name Mom called me at birth. Still have aunts and uncles calling me Nikki on occasion. In kindergarten my teacher said it was a baby name, so I refused to answer to anything but Melissa. If I wasn’t so stubborn I’d be Nikki right now.I shall henceforth be calling you Nikki. What is your occupation? I’m actually disabled due to multiple sclerosis. Dependability is not something I can commit to, unfortunately. I work as hard as I can when I can; however, when I’m down I’m literally down. Blessed to have a hard working hubby who works hard enough for us both.

How old are you? (You can lie if you want to, but make it an entertaining lie. “I’ve been thirty-nine for several years now.” “My age is a closely guarded military secret.”) Literally thirty-nine. I’ll reach forty in November.

Where do you live? Hendersonville, North Carolina, one of the most beautiful places in the world.

How can we find you on the internet? I’m a serious Facebooker. Posting more than often. Lots of pictures and quotes, to the point of people following me, haha.

The most interesting place you’ve visited? Honduras. Worked at an orphanage for a week. I was very homesick. I spoke only three words of Spanish. I’m a very picky eater so I stuck with rice all week, especially after the first meal there where I was asked to try criadillas. Criadillas are fried bull testicles. Um… what!?!? Rice…just rice, please.
I did, however, meet Franklin Graham and attended a large revival, where despite the language barrier I saw hundreds accept Jesus Christ. Amazing memory. I also saw children aged 5-12 play soccer like professionals. It was incredible. Great experience, but I like stateside missions best.

Your favorite meal? Oh, so many. I love steak and baked potatoes made at home, honestly.

Pet peeve? People being disrespectful.

Favorite book, or movie, or television show? Anything by Terri Blackstock, or Christian mysteries. I love Prison Break, Hallmark movies, General Hospital and, for whatever reason, reality TV is a guilty pleasure.

What reality show do you think you’d be best suited for?
Surprised you had to ask. “America’s Next Top Model,” of course. (Just kidding.) Actually I’d love to be on “Ellen’s Design Challenge” or any HGTV show.

If people want to pray for you, they could pray for….? Health

Are you married or have you been? Any kids? Grandkids? Pets? Happily married for almost sixteen years. Abbreviation of our story is that we dated when I was fifteen. (He even gave me a promise ring.) We broke up, both went and had separate lives for a few years and reconnected. We got married and have raised two wonderful people. My daughter Megan is twenty-three, she works as a CNA at Pardee Hospital, going back to school after a break in the fall. My son Taylor is twenty-one and is preparing for his dream of being a pro wrestler. School starts in August. Such a gift being their mom honestly. Brought more happiness than anything I can imagine. Grandkids? Not yet but, oh, I can’t wait. I love my Liam who’s my nephew and I think of him I guess like a grandkid. We say I’m his co-parent. He’s six going on twelve. So smart. Eccentric and loveable. Pets? Yeppers. I have three dogs now. We’ve had many over the years. Currently a Chihuahua named Lucy, Pit Bull named Sophia, and my baby, a Yorkie Norfolk Terrier named Scout. He’s special. A cat named Stripe who thinks he’s a dog. House trained and all.

One thing many people don’t know you can do? Hmmmm. I’m pretty open, most know all I do. I guess rearranging, if that’s a thing. I can envision the way a room should be, best glow I guess. Not decorating, just placing pieces

If you had any spare time, what would you do with it? Read. I love to lay by the pool or beach or even on the couch and just read. My mind shuts off from day to day life.

What are you reading right now?
The book I just finished is Terri Blackstock, “If I Run.” Great series.

Tell us some interesting things about yourself that aren’t already covered. I’m happiest taking care of people, I love being needed yet appreciated. I like to cook for lots of people. I plan good parties. Always have, even my kiddos’ birthday parties were a big deal. My sisters are truly my best friends. I have three. Oldest, Chel, lives near Charlotte. Youngest, Mel, lives five minutes away yet I never see her, she’s busy. Grew up with middle child syndrome lol ( Marsha, Marsha, Marsha). I recently (well, years ago) found my sister Christina who lives in Indiana. She’s pretty great and I guess the oldest-oldest. She has three kids who I wish I knew better, but I love nonetheless. I get to keep my cousin Lindsey’s little girl some. Lindsey and my Meg grew up together, six months apart in age. She has a five month old, Eloise, who’s captured my heart. Love the time with her.
I adore my in-laws, which some don’t. I think I lucked out. My happy place is my church. Peaceful, quiet and still. I feel the world gets shut out when I’m there. This has been fun.

I’m glad you’ve enjoyed it. Can you give us some advice for birthday party planners?
Something I usually always use as a rule of thumb is to expect half of the amount of people you invite to show up–when budgeting for food, use that number.
Save money on things like paper products by shopping online if you can and always stop and eat before the party starts if possible so you can focus on making the event the best it can be.

Thank you much, Melissa (or Nikki, as the case may be). We appreciate you letting us get to know you a little bit, and we’ll be praying for the health issues. Take care and God bless.