Honest, hope is a verb, I choose champagne, To dream

33: a bit about me and a bit about you

I’ve become really good at writing short, quirky bios about myself. It’s fun to try to condense who I am into a small amount of words.

But, isn’t that an interesting concept? Condensing who you are into a small amount of words.

About four years ago at the end of my g42 term during graduation festivities one of the prophecies I received from one of the staff at the time was this, “Meg, don’t diminish yourself or shrink back or hide to make the people around you feel comfortable but just unfurl yourself to the fullness of who you are and force them to catch up.”

What’s funny is I haven’t thought about those words in a couple years. But today, in this moment, thinking about writing more than 140 characters about who I am feels overwhelming. Who I am feels like too much to describe.

We are each amazing, beautiful, individual humans. We have stories and experiences, we’ve gone on adventures and traveled through darkness and been on mountain tops and everything in between.

We should share with each other who we are and where we’ve been.

So, without further ado, here is a little bit about me, the “she” who writes on Sundays.

My name is Meghan. I go by Meghan, Meg, Megs, Teacher Meg, Miss Meg, Nina, Aunt Mega, Meglyn, Sox, Moses (it’s a good story, you can ask me later) and in a few weeks, once again, Junapera.

I am 33 and I’ve taught preschool in some way, shape or form since 2007. I’ve been to 15 countries and if around it enough I can speak Spanish pretty well. I have a BA in English, a minor in music and I’ve been singing since the 2nd grade and was the president of my University Women’s choir my senior year in college.

I’m a Southern California girl from a small central California town who lives in Bellingham, Washington.

I love my people.

My favorite week of the year is the last week in June up on the mountain in Southern California with Royal Family Kids.

I love beverages (of the bubbly variety especially).

I love avocado.

I love a really good croissant.

And tacos.

I’m a feeler. A 2 on the enneagram.

And the place where I feel the most peace is when I am sitting in front of blank screen.

I believe everyone has a story. Everyone has dark and light intermixed. Everyone has something for someone else.

I believe we need each other.

Everything I do in life or try to do in life or sometimes succeed at is about making connections. From the tiny humans to people I meet once, twice or see every day.

I went through a season, maybe I’m still in it a little where I didn’t want to believe that I mattered. I physically didn’t want to matter.

Mattering is heavy.

I honestly just wanted to be in the background. I wanted to move people along, lift people up and teach them.

I want control over my spotlight.

But, I think what I’ve learned this year is that sometimes someone else needs us to be in the spotlight for them. We need to say the words, or do the things or be put in the hot seat so that someone else finds what they need.

What I am trying to say is that it’s not all about you even when it seems to be just that.

So, I say all this, I give you a small glimpse into who I am, what I believe, to say that in my year of 33 I am going to try to be better at remembering I have things to give that push me to the edge of anxiety, that make me feel slightly uncomfortable, but those things are worth it.

On the other side of me wanting to shrink away or hide, there is someone who needs something I’ve been given.

AHEM.

On the other side of you wanting to shrink away or hide or think you aren’t enough, there is someone who needs what you’ve been given.

Honest, hope is a verb

To just BE (#7)

I had the realization as I was getting ready to come write that this would be my last silent Sunday in the bar as a 32 year old. I’m going to be on a plane next Sunday and then the Friday after that is my birthday.

It’s a bit overwhelming of a feeling for me. I have this wonderful middle of the year birthday. Almost like a new year in the middle of a year. I have a chance to hit refresh and pause and take a deep breath before I dive in to the crazy busy of summer and what feels like a fast forward on an already fast forwarded life.

But, that’s the ahead. Let’s look back instead.

I got a tattoo last week.

I wasn’t planning on it, it was a fleeting thought I mentioned to Victoria on Tuesday. So then, on Wednesday after work I text my roommate Patty and asked her to draw “be” for me. And an hour and 11 little sketches later, I was sitting in the chair at a tattoo parlor.

I am currently reading “Come Matter Here”. It’s a book by the lovely Hannah Brencher and it comes out on May 29. But, as I have been reading this book, I’ve had moments where I’ve thrown the book on the ground, where I have told it to shut up and where I have just started sobbing.

I’ve been reading Hannah’s blog for the last 3 years or so. I read her Monday morning emails as I fill bleach bottles and sort laundry at work. I know her words.

Her words, quite often have been mine.

She writes in “Come Matter Here” about getting a tattoo in the midst of a debilitating season of depression. She gets the word “stay”. Not necessarily in the moment to stay in a place. But to stay in the fight, stay in the struggle.

And as I read those words mere hours after mentioning the word “Be” to Victoria my brain started moving.

To “be” has been incredibly hard for me lately. To BE myself. To BE at peace. To BE present. To BE loved.

And of course, to BE with God.

This past season of my life in regards to God has been one of the most draining that I’ve ever walked through, solely because, I chose to still show up. I still chose to (for the most part) show up and be in the places that felt the most dangerously close to where God was.

I kept and keep showing up even when I don’t believe God himself is showing up.

“I am learning that God doesn’t bring us places to meet our expectations. For him, it’s a lot more about the transformation. He loves who we are, but he will never pass up on the chance to use life events to make us better.”

Come Matter Here*Hannah Brencher*pg71

This last stretch of time, this current moment I am in, has been about choosing to BE. In however that may look. And for me that choice is showing up and choosing to bring who I am to the table.

Because, my last in this list of meanings for a two letter word is this: BE at the table.

This past year I’ve wanted to run. Run fast away from the things inside of me, from the abilities and the pieces that I know I bring to the table, because it was too much.

Because as much as I preach that you have the thing that someone else needs, the responsibility inside of me felt daunting when my inability to believe was shaken.

To BE part of the puzzle was too much, too heavy.

I know, that I don’t have to be all the things. But, the energy to even be some of them was weighing down everything inside of me.

To be known, to be at the table.

To be noticed.

To take up space.

To be loved.

Now, doesn’t that just sound ridiculous?

That I have to coach myself into being ok with being known?

Being known, being seen and being present in that is horrendously scary.

But, as I have been told by multiple people in my life- it’s also my reality.

I am a human who is known. (Even when I think I am really good at not being known)

I am timid to write more declarations about choosing to BE in the year of 33.

But, what I think I can say is this:

I’m learned this year that in the places that I have MOST wanted to run from, the places where I’ve wanted to slip out before the end, the places where I didn’t want to participate or share or give, were in fact the places that I needed to BE the most.

I don’t know what my choice to be will bring me this year.

I just know, believe, choose to remember that the choice to be will bring more to myself than I was yesterday.

As always, deep breathes to the toes my friends.

Let’s be.

Honest, hope is a verb, ramblings, Uncategorized, washington whimsy

But we are here, together.

I’ve been staring at my blank screen for about an hour.

I’ve written three or four different beginnings and deleted them because I had no clue where they were going.

I’ve pulled out my journal and jotted phrases, I’ve pulled from conversations this week that have shaken me and provided me no answers but just the assurance that I’m still going and I’m still here. I’ve pulled from moments of wanting to punch people from their ability to challenge me to my feet.

I don’t think people read my blog for answers.

I think maybe they read it because I flood their newsfeed with links, others read it because they are kind humans, and other read it because hopefully to see if what I am saying is what they are saying too.

I’ve been taking a lot about (or a lot around) God these days.

God and I are currently in a season of life where our relationship doesn’t work the same as it used too. So, we (me) are trying to figure out what it looks like now. In reality I am choosing to believe it’s because it’s deeper than it ever has been.

When I write I try my best to relate to people where they are. I try to use broad terms and illustrations to remind as best I can that we are all human.

I try to make sure that people who read this, be it people who see me on a daily basis or people that have seen me in months or people that have never met me, know that on a basic level, I am always ok.

The ok may be shaken sometimes but it’s always there.

The season/process/chunk of life I’m in right now is definitely a “shaky ok” kind of season. Mainly in terms of my faith, and my relationship with God and my inability to receive beautiful soul-filling words that are currently being said to me.

All the things in my life that used to work aren’t working anymore.

And so, I write for you from the middle.

I write from the middle so that you know that the middle is ok.

That these stories and processes and lives we are a part of creating are good and beautiful even when they feel ugly and hopeless.

I share my stories and my beliefs or lack thereof to show you that we aren’t that different whether you believe in my God or another God or nothing at all.

I don’t know what the answer is for me right now. I chose not to go to church this morning hoping to find some semblance of a response and was met with silence.

But, I know that silence wasn’t actually silence. It was incredibly loud in actuality.

And I say that for this reason: what may feel like silence isn’t. What may feel like the universe or god or whomever isn’t responding isn’t that. There is something there. I swear.

I don’t think people read my blog for answers because I sure as hell don’t have them.

So, whatever you are going through, whatever seems insurmountable, whatever doesn’t seem right or true or hopeful.

Know that you are the thing that is hope.

You are the thing that can get over the mountain.

And maybe, all you need to know, is that we are here, together.

hope is a verb, royal family kids camp

To my counselor: a letter

A day or so into camp I was asked if I’d write a letter from the perspective of a camper. I got teary-eyed just contemplating the words I’d scratch on paper. There are a few key things that get me every year at camp. So I took a couple mornings in the gazebo and part of the car ride home to change my perspective to the other side of camp. I’m working on my letter to my Royal Family, but wanted to post this first. Hidden in it are parts of my why. Why I come to camp and why I chose to fly to California to do the thing with the humans I do. 

To my counselor,

I was really nervous to come to camp. I had never been to camp before.

There were so many kids there, getting on busses and it was loud and busy. Whenever there are a lot of kids, I usually get forgotten about.

I’m nothing special.

When I got on the bus a kid sat next to me that had been to camp. They told me that the camp people were the nicest people they had met.

That they loved us no matter what.

I couldn’t believe that.

How could someone love you no matter what?

The bus ride felt really long and bumpy.

I felt butterflies start again when it was announced we were almost there.

Would my counselor like me? Would I have a place to sleep? Would there be enough food?

Then the bus turned the corner and there was a big group of people in blue shirts holding signs.

It was so loud and bright and all the people looked so happy.

And that’s when I saw it.

My name.

It was printed on a sign, held up by a stick.

And you were there.

Yelling and smiling and cheering.

You knew my name.

When they called out my name you got so excited, like you’d been waiting to meet me all your life.

When we finally got to our room that first day it looked so cool.

And my name was everywhere.

It was even on a blanket.

You told us that people prayed for us and whenever we covered ourselves up we could remember that there were a lot of people who cared about us and loved us without ever seeing us.

I didn’t get it.

How could people love us without knowing us?

This camp wasn’t what I thought it was going to be.

Then it was time to go swimming for the first time.

I got kind of nervous when you said you weren’t swimming with us, but you said you would be back.

I wasn’t so sure. People don’t always come back.

The pool time flew by quickly and then there you were.

You showed up.

You came back.

Just like you said.

And those things didn’t change all week.

You said my name so much, like it was your favorite word.

So did all the people at camp.

My name has never been said, so much, so nicely, ever.

You always smiled at me.

And were so excited about what I had done and accomplished.

You always came back whenever you left for a meeting or dropped me off at the pool.

You always came back.

The end of the week came too fast.

And as we were packing up I noticed you still putting my name on everything. You helped me tuck things in safe places and made sure I had everything I had made. 

Right before I got in the bus you gave me a book filled with notes and stickers and pictures of me.

I noticed something about the pictures: I looked happy.

Thank you for reminding me what a smile felt like.

Thank you for always coming back.

Thank you for laughing with me.

Thank you for showing me I was special.

And thank you for knowing my name.

Love,

Your camper

hope is a verb, To dream

hit replay: of a different spirit

(I’ve come to a realization that finishing g42 is finishing a season that was started 3 years ago when I heard a message at church and took it as my cue to jump. And as I will be sharing what’s next soon and where this season of 3 years has brought me; I wanted to share the original recap from the sermon I heard at Rockharbor church 3 years ago this month. It restored a spirit inside of me that I didn’t even know was there. To hear the message this is a recap of click here)

As written on January 1, 2012:

I feel like I have had a lot of “standing on a precipice” moments in my life.
One of the clearest is when at the end of my junior year in college I got elected to be the president of my fifty member University Women’s choir.

I don’t think I have ever been so afraid in my life. I was racked with doubt for the entirety of the summer. There was no possible way I should have been put in that position. I wasn’t a leader, I wasn’t perfect, I didn’t know how to lead a team of officers.

I was so wrong for the job.

When the time came to start I somehow got through Music camp, giving my devotion. Leading a team of wild and crazy freshman. But after the first rehearsal of our choir I went and cried.

It was too much for me. I couldn’t be an example. I couldn’t fight battles for these women in my choir. I couldn’t do it.

The giants were just to big for me. Just like they were for the Israelite leaders who went to look at the Promised land. They saw the milk, the honey. But they saw the giants that were smack-dab in this land that God had given them.

And that was all they really saw. Sure, they brought back the fruit, they told of the amazing land.

Then there was a really big BUT. They spoke of the giants. Of the fact that there was no possible way they could take the land.

Even though it was theirs for the taking because God had ordained it to be so.

They in that moment forgot they had a God bigger than the giants. They had a God bigger than absolutely anything and He had PROMISED them this land.

They had a God that had done so many miracles just to get them to the place where they were.

But one look at giants and all was forgotten. One word spoken of failure, loss and the people wanted to turn around and run back to Egypt.

This is the God that brought them OUT of Egypt and they were choosing to run back instead of jumping into this adventure, this life that God had given them. The Israelites didn’t stop to listen to Caleb and Joshua. These two men standing together REMEMBERING that God brought them out of Egypt. The people were choosing to run back to Egypt

How often to we choose to run back to Egypt?

How often do I choose to run back to Egypt?

Too many times to count.

In those moments when looking forward is like looking into a mine field. I was positive I was going to step on EVERY single mine. I had forgotten what God had already brought me through. Even in those first 3 years in college He had brought me through a close friend dying, through living away from home for the first time, through my first season of depression. He had made me stronger.

I promptly forgot that when I saw the giants.

But God stopped to show me I was stronger. He caused me to look down at my feet and make the move to stand with those who remembered that He would be there always. No matter what. That He would jump with us because He knew better.

I was still terrified most of the year. I was afraid most of the time that I wasn’t being a good influence to the 25 freshman girls in my choir. That I wasn’t leading the amazing friends I had in that group well. But looking back I know it was all ok because God was there each time to jump with me.

That ended up being one the most growing, amazing, refreshing, terrifying times of my life.

And now as this new year comes to being I need to remember that year. I need to remember how God brought me through that. I need to remember how God brought me out of Egypt.

Because I am on a precipice again and need to jump.

And I am terrified of those giants in the Promised Land.

But I am choosing to stand with Caleb and Joshua. To remember that our God can do anything. That He is telling me to jump.

I am choosing to live this year of a different spirit.
I am choosing to jump out and face the giants.

Honest, hope is a verb, Spain g42, To dream

an attempt at an elevator speech

It’s been over a week.

Over a week since I walked the streets of Mijas, over a week since I sat at Maria’s one last time with Kaitlyn.

Over a week since Patty and I got in a car with Kellen and Whitney and held back tears on our way to the airport.

So what does that mean?

It means it’s been a week of letting words, truths and practices seep into my being in a way that I never thought possible.

The day after I landed in the states I was sitting across from my friend Leah and we were talking about a smattering of topics over breakfast and I got slightly weirded out.

 I think my exact words were “It’s so weird to talk about this not in Spain”.

I’ve at this point had two really, really good conversations about who I am post Spain. I’ve sat cuddled up with a family I treasure and told them so many lessons and what’s in the next. I’ve sat drinking a margarita telling my friend Casey about what God’s point and how it affected me.

And it is still REALLY weird to not be having these conversations in Spain. But with each conversation I’ve realized that it is in me. It’s not just in Spain. It’s something I carry.

So, I’ve been trying to find some sort of a way to sum in up. Some way to bring the point across of where I have come from and where I’ve been. Is there a lesson or a statement? Is there a person who rocked me? A week of teaching that stands out over all of them?

There is a lot.

There’s my class. My family. Who sat around tables with me and cried and laughed and prayed in loud voices on rooftops.

There is the staff who were in my life daily, who spoke truths to me, who saw me, who met me where I was and pushed me into where I ACTUALLY was.

There is Ferg who brought out this realization that I hear God’s voice in ways I didn’t think I could and that I need to speak those things out.

There’s Herman, this crazy, wine loving, JESUS loving Dutch rockstar who left creativity in his wake for us to pick up.

There’s Ethan and Kristen who taught me about God’s love and showed me I knew it was there.

There’s Ted and Michael who both rocked my theological foundations in the best way.

There’s David who had us climb mountains to realize that we in fact, could climb AND claim mountains.

And then there was Andrew who never stopped reminded me, from the moment he patted me on my cheek and said ‘welcome home’, that I had Christ inside me

And of course, Freddie, who as simply as I can put it; renewed my trust.

There are even more people to name who, a week at a time (or sometimes with one DAY), brought truth and revelation into my hands that I had never seen before.

 That’s a lot.

 It’s filled in pages of my journals and scribbled in the margins of my torn, well worn bible.

AND It’s written on my heart. 

So what do I say?

What do I say when someone comes to me and asks me what I did in Spain? What do I say in a span of 30 seconds to describe pages of journal entries, hours of teaching, buckets of laughter and tears (and wine and bocadillos and mr. chicken)?

 I say this:

I lived in Spain for 6 months. I learned that we are here to BE loved and out of that beautiful love we are meant to love others in return. I learned who I am, what I was created for. That I have something to say. So, I made a plan. I found a seat at a table.

I lived in Spain for 6 months.

And it changed everything.

Soon, oh so very soon, I’ll give you the “what’s next”, the plan, the beautiful dream that unrolled itself while I was in Spain.

It’s going to be awesome.

But for now, if you have questions, comments, or a limerick or Haiku shoot me a message or an email. I’d love to hear from you!

(And for those who haven’t had a listen: another way I can explain my heart and my time in Spain is through this song my friend Allan and I wrote//recorded. You can have a listen here)

hope is a verb, Spain g42

don’t drink my coffee

Due to the fact that my friend Santiago has a countdown to traveling to see his girlfriend that happens to fall on the same day that I leave Spain for the states I know exactly how many days I have left.

But I’m going to pretend I don’t.

Let’s just say I don’t have a lot of time left here and I’ve realized something very, very important:

I have some SERIOUS giants to slay in the next (insert how many days I have left here).

I guess I should go back.

January 2012. The first sermon of the new year was about the giants in the promised land and how Joshua & Caleb were “of a different spirit”. That was my, “Oh crap. I need to quit my job. I need to move on to the next. I need to jump” sermon.

And that was not the last time I’ve heard that message over the last 2.5 years. It peppered talks on the World Race and now here in Spain it’s laced into most week’s topics. Being of a different spirit. Stepping into the river and taking what’s mine.

The last 2.5 years in my life have been wilderness years. They’ve been full of adventure, provision, wisdom and an immense amount of preparation.

At this very moment I’m standing on the edge of the river bed and I can see the Promised Land.

It’s terrifying.

And I think part of me has already touched the water. I might be standing ankle deep. And I can see these giants.

From far away they look scary. Gnashing teeth and fierce eyes. They are ready to kick me down and tell me that I’m not meant for greatness. That the land isn’t mine. That I’ve survived on garlic and onions and I should keep it that way.

They have names written across their chest.

Unworthiness. Lack of trust. Invisibility. Independent. Stubborn. Burden.

These words scream at me daily.

These words need to go to hell.

These words are “fundamental truths” in my life. They pepper the foundation of who I am. They are the scope of which I view myself. They are words from which I’m able to emotionally detach myself. I pretend//act like, they don’t effect me in anyway. I’m able to get beyond them, but in reality they are still there.

May I repeat?

These words need to go to hell.

I don’t want to live cowering in the shallow end of the river not walking the rest of the way to the Promise Land because these giants are kicking back and drinking my good coffee in the place I belong while I sit sipping instant coffee.

I don’t want to leave Spain with these giants still in front of me. Now, I’m not saying once I slay all these giants my promised land won’t be have hardship or hurt or I won’t struggle with lies.

But I won’t struggle with THOSE lies anymore.

They are going to find a final resting place in the south of Spain.

That’s what I’m going to be doing these next several weeks.

Continuing the process of choosing to slay giants because I’m choosing to see and claim my promise land.

 Two and half years ago I realized I wanted to be of a different spirit.

And today, sitting in a cafe, drinking my good coffee, I choose to make that decision again.