royal family kids camp, To dream

He restores my soul

I rarely take the time to write at camp.

I know I should- I should pause, still myself and take a breath and look around.

For me camp is giving out every last piece of who are to the kids. It’s piling layer upon laying of sunscreen on myself and logging 20,000+ steps. It’s saying yes and yes and yes again.

It could be in the form of helping lug something upstairs or walking from the chapel to the dining hall and back again because counselors need another human to walk with them.

Camp to me is sitting outside the bathroom in the mornings watching campers go in and out and in and out so their counselors can go get coffee.

But, tonight as my friend Tyler was leading communion and reading from psalm 23 something hit me.

Now, I’ve read that psalm multiple times, memorized it with kiddos and even taught it at camp five years ago.

As he read it tonight the words “He restores my soul” caused my throat to get a little scratchy and caused phrases to pour out of my mind.

Because, yes, this week is about the kids. It’s my most favorite, hardest, hilarious and tiring week of the year and it’s all about the kids.

Today, I realized something beautiful.

This week, every year, without fail- he restores my soul.

I come tired, wearied, and feeling as if I have nothing to give but the moment I set foot on this campus: He restores my soul.

I felt it the moment I opened the car door and felt it seep down to my toes.

It took my back to each year and the memory and feeling.

I’ve always known this week brings me life and laughter and joy.

But this week He brings me back to a piece of myself that I forget about.

He reminds me of stories that need to be told and stories that have already been written.

He helps me take a deep breath and he restores parts of me I thought not able to fixed.

Now, I write all these things for three reasons:

One is to remind you to think of us this week, as we keep going and going and going for the kids.

One is for me to remind myself of the feeling of hope that lives here.

And lastly again, for you to remember to find the things that piece you back together and fill your nooks and crannies.

Whatever it is that restores your soul find and keep it.

Deep breaths to the toes my friends.

And to my friends at camp: let’s do this.

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.

I choose champagne, To dream, washington whimsy

at some point, ice has to melt.

I am sitting here for one last silent Sunday of the year at my favorite bar. I sit here as many Sundays as I can, at the table in the corner by the window (and the outlet) and drink 1 or 2 or 3 grapefruit mimosas and I write.

Sometimes other people join me in silence, but most of the time I just sit by myself attempting to verbalize thoughts in my head. This has become one of my most favorite times of the week. Without the people around me knowing it; this bar has become a part of my church. It’s become a safe place for me to choke back tears and form thoughts and have weighty realizations.

So, tonight, I’m sitting here and thinking about all that 2017 was. It was a lot. I’ve been trying to separate the good and the bad. The ugly and the uglier. The places of heartbreak and the places where my heart hasn’t even gotten the chance to break.

Many things stand out here and there, so many people and places and events.

June is a big one. In June I turned 32, I had about 32 people that I adore here in Bellingham over to my house for tacos and laughter and love. In June I ended my time with the two year olds and turned 3. In June I felt betrayal and hurt that I can’t match to any other time in my life.

In June I went to my other home for camp and was reminded that I can take joy in what I do.

If I am being honest- a lot of other things feel like an immense blur.

I want so badly to say that this year was good. I want so desperately to say that this year redeemed the year before it. But it didn’t

I want to say that I found ways this year to be who I am. I want to say that I’ve learned to apologize less and to not second guess.

I want to say that my heartaches less and that I am 100% happy in my own skin. That needing a space for one has gotten easier.

I want to say that I’ve been brave.

I want to say all of those things.

But, I’m just not sure I can.

It’s funny. I spend 40 hours a week telling tiny humans that they need to use their words. I hold their hands and look them in the eyes and take deep breaths with them. I say, “I understand that you are feeling frustrated. I understand that your body feels upset. But what I need you to do is take some deep breaths and tell me with your words whats wrong.”

I felt a lot of things this year. I felt lonely, I felt pain and anguish for myself and on behalf of those around me. I felt joy. I felt love that I can’t really articulate. I felt every single damn day for the 18 tiny humans who are on my class list.

But, ask me to articulate what I was feeling on behalf of my own self and I was never quite sure.

I don’t think I was the only one with that problem this year.

A lot of things happened this year. Things in our control or out of it. Things that impacted us or our neighbor. There was anger and hate and laugher from disbelief. It spilled into everything. Every aspect of our lives were impacted whether we wanted them to be or not.

I don’t have the words to describe all the things.

But, I think what I can say, is that in spite of all the things, in spite of the loneliness and the betrayal and the hurt I didn’t give up. In spite of my inability to use my words, I didn’t stop trying.

In spite of all the things, there was still joy.

And there it is my friends.

In spite of all the things- there is still joy.

There are still moments of joy.

I tried, so incredibly hard, in the midst of all things to find joy.

I think we all did. If we really searched through our memories, we tried this year to balance all the things with joy.

I was and still am numb to this year. I’m numb to the things that made me feel less like the person I know I am. I am numb to the things that added to my character.

But, at some point, ice has to melt. At some point an asleep leg has to wake up.

So, to 2017 I say this,

Thank you for the people in my life.

Thank you for my roommate.

Thank you for my work wife.

For my bosses and my coworkers and all those I would never know without the Y.

Thank you for my church, for the people who are scattered in the rows around me, who are family.

Thank you for my forever best friend.

Thank you for my OCfamily and that little blue house in Irvine.

Thank you for my family whom I grow to appreciate with every passing year.

Thank you for opportunities to speak and space to give love and be love.

And to 2018 I saw this:

Let’s thaw out the numbness and find places each day to wake our words up a little more.

Dear 2018,

Please, I beg of you.

Use your words.

With love,

Meghan

Honest, To dream

in 2017 i met the wind again

fullsizerender

After the clock stuck twelve last night I slipped out of the warm house that was filled with a group of humans I’ve grown to like a lot. I slipped out barefooted in my sparkly gold dress with a glass of champagne and I sat on the edge of the porch with my feet up listening to the ruckus around me on the university street I live on and I watched the snow fall silently to the ground.

And I wept.
That’s the only way I can describe what occurred. Weeping.

I wept for things lost and moments gone. I wept for joy that was taken. I wept for my aching heart.

I also wept for the beauty. Beauty of marriages and babies and friendships formed. I wept for the love I feel and the love I’ve been given.

And then two of the most important women in my life this year, Patty & Joanna, popped out to hug me. And we had a moment reminiscing on where we’ve been, what we’ve done and how we got here.

Then we went inside to finish celebrating and laughing and starting 2017 off with a bang.

And then, today, the wind came.

It met us after church. It was howling and sweeping around not yet melted snow. And it kept coming.

As I’ve sat in my front room attempting to rest and gear up for another week, the wind has knocked on my door on multiple occasions, it’s rustling the barren trees and moving around the bits of trash left over from a night of people reveling.

The wind met me, a little over 3 years ago, on a dirt road in Swaziland. Out of absolute stillness the wind came. In that moment it came to knock down walls in my life. The wind met me again in Spain. It was destructive, and calming and aggressive. It uprooted and plowed through me.

Today, the wind met me in 2017 to uncover.

I had a dream two nights ago, which is rare for me, and as I talked it through with a friend I realized it was full of significance for myself. In part of the dream we were restoring this beautiful estate. We were moving mounds of dirt that had piled up over these beautiful porches and patios and gathering areas. And then we gathered and celebrated in the beauty we had uncovered.

I’ve always known that the wind comes to uncover what was already there. What’s been there.

You just have to choose to clean up the mess that it moved.

Who knows what 2017 holds. I may or may not find that guy, I may have more unsuccessful days at work, the two year olds might do me in, I might feel lonely or sad.

But the wind came today.

The wind came and it moved all the crap and dirt and pain that 2016 left in its wake. It moved all of it to show the beauty that 2016 left. The beauty and the loveliness that has always been there.

I’m going to let the wind keep uncovering the beauty and truth in my life in 2017. I am going to create more, I’m going to hone my baking skills, I am going to write.
I am going to sing.

The wind brought me hope today, that I forgot I was capable of having.

royal family kids camp, stateside, To dream

playing haman: be your own sparkle tape

{As you know from my last blog I was up in the mountains of southern California last week at Royal Family Kids Camp.}

The Saturday before we left for camp I got a phone call from the drama coordinator, who happens to be one of my cheerleaders in life, Michele. She asked me if I wouldn’t mind being in the drama that year.

Sure! I’d love to be a part of the wonderfully, wacky group of people who put on the drama.

Who would I be playing?

Haman.

If you don’t know the story of Esther all you need to know is that Haman was Hitler before Hitler existed. He wanted to kill all the Jews and then at the end of the story he was hung in the gallows. (if you prefer the veggie tales version he is sent to the island of perpetual tickling.)

Now the being in the drama was fine. I was in theater in high school and have no problem making a fool of myself in front of kids. So, what was I actually worried about?

It may sound dumb but I was worried I was going to be booed.

In the past I’ve watched the person playing the “evil” character get booed through the week.

So I started in early. All day Monday before the kids met Haman I told the them that I would be playing a man who made really bad choices and I made them agree they would still be my friend.

(Ok ok I may have resorted to bribery with scrapbook tape and stickers)

Guess what? I didn’t get booed.

The kids came up to me and had conversations about what was going to happen to Haman, the choices he made, how tantrums don’t solve anything. On the off chance a kid called me Haman, I would look at them shocked and ask if I was wearing a wig. Most of the time they’d giggle and say no then call me Miss Meg (and ask me for some sparkle tape).

My 5 day stint as Haman made me think of all the times in life where I was freaked out about what COULD happen. Like this week, last year, I was afraid to go to Spain for so many reasons.

One main one was “what if they don’t like me?”. Which, like being afraid of being booed was so very dumb. People I loved, and who loved me were already there waiting to hug me when I got off the plane.

But like my sparkle tape to the kids I took “precautions” when I got to Spain.

I did. I volunteered for things and was overly helpful.

For so long I thought the value I brought was ONLY by what I did.

But of course, when it came down to it none of THAT really mattered. I remember the week of reunion when I had been there a mere 6 weeks Kellen came up to me and told me I was appreciated (and what he may not know is I lost it promptly after). It hit me hard that I had barely been there- and that people were seeing ME, not the role I was attempting to play.

I forget that who I am is someone who is capable of being appreciated and loved. Who I was last week was still a person who the kids knew loved them. So even IF they would have booed me they would still know I loved them. (Though I stand by the fact the sparkle tape DEFINITELY helped.)

I believe it’s one of those deeply rooted human lies that we each have: that we aren’t enough without the things that we can bring to the table. And I believe that singular thing can cause us to NOT bring what we really have. I believe it causes us to bring THINGS not HEART.

It causes us to SET things on the table and not SIT at the table.

Playing Haman was hilarious. I got to spend my nights at camp with some hysterical people and I got to use gifts that have been long buried. I could have said no to playing Haman, because I was a wee bit worried, but that would have been silly.

I shook hands to an agreement to do the thing in Washington back in October, sitting in front of El Ultimo Mono. And that handshake agreement is officially in real life. In now time. There is a cute little yellow house waiting for me with a roommate whom I adore to the moon and back.

And all of those lies that I’m not enough, that I have nothing to bring, that I’m going to fail, they’ve all made rounds in my head.

We can’t be afraid to just sit at the table. We can’t be afraid to bring what we deem nothing to a table that seems bursting with everyone else’s gifts and talents.

It’s ourselves that matter. It’s what is innately in us. We don’t have to bring anything extra. Sure, you can if you want too but it’s not necessary.

And at the table you are surrounded by people who won’t let you be scared off by some silly little lie that you aren’t enough. Or that someone is going to boo you, or not see who you actually are outside of the job you work to pay the bills.

Show up and open your mouth in spite of what people may think and see what happens. Show up even if you think you might get booed because of a way you used to be in the past. Show up even if you think that someone ELSE may deem you unqualified.

Show up not to PROVE you are enough but to ACKNOWLEDGE that you know that you are.

Don’t bring sparkle tape to the table- be your own sparkle tape.

Spain g42, To dream

this is weird to say NOT in Spain

I have wanted to write a blog to share about some decisions I made while in Spain. I was grateful to be in a space of people for 6 months that I could easily sit across coffee tables from and talk through my though processes and talk through what God was teaching and they were there literally at the exact moment a decision was made.

I was in this bubble in the guise of a village in southern Spain and now I’m not there anymore.

And now, I feel like I’ve tried, to the best of my ability, to explain what I learned and what I am doing next. I’m wishing I could just deposit all the conversations and presentations that were done and had onto this space because it explained it so well.

So now, I’m just sitting here staring at my screen and trying to telepathically put words onto it. I just want people to know.

I want people to know that in August I’m moving with my friend Patty to Bellingham, Washington.

I want people to know that for the next few years we are going to working our butts off, because we are going to start something.

And that something is a bookstore.

It sounds so simple. A bookstore.

But here’s the thing.

It’s not JUST a bookstore.

It’s a gathering place. A place for creative people to sit around a table and do life together. A place where the spirit of all of the creative writers and thinkers fill the book shelves. Where local artists put their work on the walls. A place for people to be known and to become who they are in whatever way that looks like. A place to dream and become more of who you are.

So yes, it’s a bookstore. But it’s also a kitchen table for people to sit at and a home for people to come too.

So that’s what I’ve been trying to tell people in 1 minute conversations. Trying to explain my heart, and trying to focus on the why and the what.

And of course there are a lot of questions that have been asked when I start this conversation.

The hands down most asked question is this:

Why Bellingham?

When we were deciding where to move and where to do this thing Patty drew us a map of the states. It had 6 or 7 dots on it. We took that list and started to see if there was community, jobs, if there was creativity.

And then Bellingham got added after meeting a smattering of people from there.

It’s creative. There’s community and a church we know we can walk into with trust.

It’s near a good handful of our friends.

(Yes, it’s rainy and I’m from California)

So we are going to go in August get jobs, become involved, open our home and as Patty so eloquently says:

We are going to do the damn thing.

(I’m only at about 500 words or so right now and I could keep talking.)

I could tell you how much I feel believed in to do this thing. How we have people behind us, praying for us, spurring us on.

I could tell you about the passion I felt inside speaking about this place, this home.

I could tell you all these things. All these good, good things that fill my heart with hope and joy.

I have so many words that I don’t exactly know how to splash across the page.

So I want to ask you to ask me.

Ask me questions;

ask me about Spain and Washington.

 Ask me about the spirit that is now in me.

I’ll answer. I will sit across a table or a Skype screen.

And I’ll share.

So that’s it.

That is what I’m preparing for; that’s a piece of what Spain brought me too.

Thank you to those who knew. To those of you who supported us and pushed us to make the decisions we were a bit scared of.

Thank you.

Let’s do this.

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.