Honest, hope is a verb

Avocado toast to help me see

I’ve had a busy life the last few weeks (months, years) and yesterday I officiated my second wedding and it was a beautiful ceremony and celebration of two people who love each other an incredible amount.

I can’t tell you the last time I took a moment to write on a Sunday.

My phone is filled with so many notifications of messages and emails and my brain is filled with dates and things I’m supposed to be at and trips I want to take and deadlines and everything in between.
But, today as my body finally allowed me to sleep in a little (8 am) and I decided to save some adulting for tomorrow, I feel a little blurry.

(And, I feel a little stuck- but that’s another story for another day)

Part of that is physically blurry. I sat down in front of my computer screen and adjusted the brightness and moved my body so I wasn’t in the sunlight and I still had to squint to see my screen.

(Katie-shark says I’m tired–she’s probably not wrong)

Even now my vision is coming a little more in to focus, it’s still a little blurry on the outside- but I think that’s a lot more internal.
Have you ever had that happen?
You’re moving and grooving and stressing and even enjoying life but at the end of the day you sit and everything feels a little blurry.
You can’t quite focus and even though you just want to sit and watch a movie that even seems like too much?
You want to dream but that takes too much space.

I want to create but none of my words feel hopeful.
They just feel blurry.

I’m trying to decide what I need to see again.

I think one of the things I need to do is take some advice from my college choir director (but maybe re-frame it a bit), Joni used to always encourage us to choose joy. It didn’t mean you had to be happy all the time or couldn’t have bad days- but it meant to me, to choose good. Choose to see it, feel it, walk in it.

I think that one of the things I need to do is choose joy.

I need to choose what brings me joy, who brings me joy and moments that fill my heart (such as the avocado toast I just devoured and letting my body sleep in).
To me choosing joy is saving my adulting for tomorrow and going to laugh with friends for a couple hours.

To me choosing joy is what is going to save my blurred eyesight.
It’s what’s going to help me cultivate hope.

It’s not about avoiding things that need to be done- it’s about not choosing things and people and events that don’t add to your joy.

We have so much noise in our life. We have so many things telling us what to do, what not to do, what to believe, what to support, what to spend our time, money and voice on.
It gets pretty damn loud.

And, just as loud are the voices that tell us to take care of ourselves.

And to me, it’s in that tension that we find our lives can become a little blurry.

So, today, as I sit here for a few more minutes typing words and figuring out what I need to make my world a little less blurry- I want to ask you that question too: what makes life a little less blurry?

We can do the things friends, we can walk in the tension and dissipate it. We can choose things that bring us light and joy ( even if it’s avocado toast) and we can set the things on the side that don’t bring us cultivate joy.

The Marie Kondo method isn’t just for jeans that are too tight folks.
Let’s step into this week and find the joy, But, more importantly, let’s toss aside the things that don’t add to us, that maybe, just maybe, we don’t actually need.

 

Honest, hope is a verb

Five years of wind and writing on Sundays

I just reread the first piece I posted on this website five years ago.

I can’t help but chuckle at the person who wrote those words. Now not in a bad way, because everything leads us to where we are.

But, even though that girl had more hope, that girl had dreams that hadn’t been left on mountains to be forgotten about, that girl still felt like she had so much more to give, I chuckle because I am so far from her.

And that’s not a bad thing.

And I want to tell you where I am right now to remind you of something very important: it’s ok.

Because the truth is, I feel a little dead inside right now. It’s almost as if I needed New Year’s Eve to actually be two weeks of me being able to take deep cleansing breaths and wash away all the things that piled on from the last few years.

That isn’t life though. That’s not how the world works. So the year went from 18 to 19 and I was just there with a champagne glass and wondering how I was going to brush myself off and keep going.

I got a picture today while I was walking. It was of a parched desert with hard packed dirt. Then the rains came. They came and they came and the water sat on top of the dirt and couldn’t sink in. It found nooks and crannies and valleys but the water had no way of infiltrating the surface. It had no where to go but to flood the life that was already growing.

Hard packed dirt that gets flooded quickly can handle the amount of water that comes. It doesn’t have enough time to saturate or sink in or make mud.

Now, I have some of the most amazing friends who give me love and support and joy and encouragement. I have parents who support me even from two states away.

But, I realized today I’ve been a hard packed desert for awhile.

So all the people in my life who have yet to give up on me I want to say for that I am sorry. I am sorry for an inability to receive goodness and joy and hope. I am sorry to you my friends and to myself.

But the dirt and the soil is hard packed and susceptible to flooding and to killing what is good.

And that’s a little bit how I feel these days.

It’s funny because I think of that girl from 5 years ago and the joy and hope that were running off of her.

And she had seen things and had heartache and hurt. She had felt lost and lost who God was, she had been there and back again.

But then, she got older.

And she questioned more and found new words and lost hope and refound it.

And now, she’s here. She’s me.

She’s a little dead inside, she’s forgotten how to laugh a little, how to smile.

And that’s ok.

It’s ok because it’s a part of moving and growing and living.

It’s not shameful or wrong.

It doesn’t mean I can’t love or give out life or hold space for someone or laugh or smile.

It doesn’t mean I’m not me.

And it doesn’t mean I need rescuing or that I am sending up signal flares.

My word for this year is release.

And among some other things I am choosing to release out of myself words so that you know you aren’t alone.

I am choosing to release words out of who I am in hopes that you will release that it’s ok to not be ok.

I am choosing to release words out of who I am so that you know that you can be not ok and still keep living and showing up in spite of it.

You can still be you.

I am that girl from 5 years ago. Parts of her built who I am today.

I haven’t failed her, I haven’t let go of her.

I’ve just learned a little more. I’ve gotten some rough edges.

I’m a little dead inside.

And that’s ok.

Honest

In the midst of it all (a PS)

When I started this blog, now a little over four years ago, I made a commitment to myself to write each week. I wanted to put myself in a state of mind that I was going to write regardless of what I was feeling. Regardless of if I had something to write about.

I wanted to practice being a writer.

Most of the time I can.

But not this week.

It’s 10:45 on Sunday night and I had a part lovely/part anxiety filled day and the last thing I wanted to do is write.

But, here I am, cozy in my bed, with my desk lamp on, typing.

When I was little, like tiny human status, I had my tonsils taken out. When I had my tonsils taken out this one in a million type thing occurred where more air escapes out of my nose and throat then should when I speak. So, after this surgery, I had to learn to place my tongue and slow down in order to be understood.

And I got made fun of a lot. So much so, that I didn’t want to talk.

I retreated a lot and I took to writing things down.

Because if I wrote something down there was no question in what I was saying. But, if I spoke and didn’t enunciate correctly or mumbled at all someone would say “what” and I would stop talking.

(So, like obviously I would pick a profession in which no one understands me and I repeat myself all damn day)

I have felt incredibly inarticulate this week. I haven’t wanted to explain all the things (click this for all the things) and all the things have felt bigger then me. Each day this past week was full of lies and looks and situations that caused me to think less of myself and less of what I’m capable of.

This has been a week where I have wanted to be an island.

Now, I don’t write for pity, because good grief the things going on in my life are just not that bad.

I choose to write, even in the midst of it all, because I find myself to be more articulate in my written words. I write in the midst of it, because I am human. And so are you.

I write in the midst of it, because I’ve come to realize that I am a human who knows her vulnerability boundaries and I am choosing to share the 80%.

I write in the midst of it because I know, beyond a shadow of doubt that what I am looking for is already inside of me. I am already the thing whether I am silent or not.

I write in the midst of it, because I’m still here.

So, I am going to stay in the midst of it, and be where my feet are, and find those things inside that are already there.

Being in the middle, with no clue where you are going is difficult. But choosing to keep moving, choosing to speak, to write, to be, is so important.

You aren’t a mess.

You aren’t less than.

You aren’t broken.

You are human.

And you, my friend, are figuring it out.

Honest, ramblings

Practicing my practice

It’s an interesting place to be in when you sit still for the first time in awhile.

Not on my bed, or in front of Netflix or paperwork or a project. But just sitting, still, with nothing in front of you but space.

I have a new tradition in my life that may sound sad, but really, it’s not.

The new tradition is this: every Friday I have to change into my bathing suit to go swimming with my tiny humans. It’s normal at about 9:30 and I take my coffee into my storage closet and close the door.

But, I don’t turn on the light. I stand, in pitch blackness for at least two minutes. Breathing in and out and drinking my coffee. I did this for the first time on accident. I shut the door without turning the light on and was quickly enveloped in darkness and an intense sigh escaped my body.

The absence of light brought me completely relief.

That sentence sounds like a conundrum really. But in my overly sensory laden environment I’m in every day, being in a pitch black room is heaven.

I’ve been sitting here, at redlight, for over an hour. I’ve started numerous different blogs, I’ve started text conversations, I’ve only had one mimosas and I’ve stared a blank screen.

But now, I came back to this one, these first words I wrote.

Here’s what it is: I’m struggling with depression right now. Depression, coupled with anxiety, with some winter blues to mix it all up.

I don’t like to talk about depression and anxiety because people have opinions.

(Including myself)

There are so many schools of thought on depression and anxiety. So many books and methodologies and experts.

Now, as a human who lived with two people who were in grad programs for clinical psychology (shoutout to A3), I know that there is hope and help and all the things dealing with depression.

But, that doesn’t make me any less prone to talk about it.

There a few types of seasons that come up in my life that cause me to want to shut my mouth.

Because I’ve been through it before, because people have helped me before, because shouldn’t I be able to solve my own problems.

We live in a society that tells us to figure out our own issues.

Fake it til you make it.

There is a time and a place for faking it til you make it.

Because, yes, we just have to get through the day. I have tiny humans who need me to show up for them each day. Routines and a schedule and transitions that have to happen every day.

But, what are you going to do when you stop?

I binged watched a show on Friday. I haven’t done that for awhile. I watched the entirety of the first season of the reboot of Queer Eye. (No but really watch it)

And I cried.

It was the loveliest reminder of what it looks like to care for ourselves. To do things that bring us life. To take time to fill ourselves up. To take time to live.

I am a human, who has for the past 10-12 years, struggled with depression and anxiety.

I’m not defined by it.

It’s not who I am.

It’s just something that rears it’s head in some seasons more than others.

The things that pop up here and there don’t define us. They don’t hold us.

We are still us.

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.

Honest, ramblings, Spain g42

more to you than this

I’ve had a lot of trouble putting words to paper the past few days. I’ve tried to write multiple times. Tried to put together a thought or two. I’ve started I don’t know how many blogs, backspaced, deleted and closed my laptop.

I’ve tried paper and pen, my phone, anything just to get a word out.

And I always have to stop.

The thought won’t finish, I don’t come to a conclusion, I don’t HAVE a conclusion, it’s not flowing right or I just don’t want to share.

Last weekend I watched Little Women for the first time. (Yes, I’m a horrible English major.). But in it there was a moment where the German Professor had just read Jo’s manuscript and he didn’t really like it. It wasn’t enough of her heart.

“Jo, there is more to you than this; if you have the courage to write it”.

Whitney promptly told me that it would be my quote for the week.

(She was right.)

It’s been turning in my mind since that night.

I feel in regards to writing I’m pretty honest. I share what I’m learning; where I’ve been, where I’m going. I let the “raw” come out every once in awhile even though that’s a bit harder and takes a moment more for me to press publish.

But there’s more to me. And that more I don’t really know how to share.

So here is a piece of my more:

If there is one statement about myself that I’ve never had the courage to attempt in print it’s this:

I belittle myself all the time.

Things I’ve gone through, places I’ve been, hurts I have.

Which is why when I sit down to write a blog and can’t see a flicker of light at the end of the tunnel or any kind of peace in the midst of chaos I choose not to write because I feel it must not matter.

It’s a problem I have; choosing to brush under the rug feelings I have, hurts I have and places I’ve been when I think it’s not worthy of telling.

I am advocate for story. I supremely believe every nook and cranny in our life is a story to be told. Be it the story of the people who watched Grey’s Anatomy at my apartment every Thursday or eating tuna sandwiches at my grandma’s in high school or the hours I spent in the Bakersfield hospital when my mom was sick.

Everything big or small leaves an imprint on our hearts.

We need to not push the bad and ugly parts aside. Or even the supremely joyful.

I need to not push those parts aside.

So all this to say I’m choosing to share one of those things that I have been belittling myself up and down about. The thing I found myself with tears running down my face because I was beating myself up for feeling this way.

Selfishness.

In a myriad of ways and moments. I won’t share the why or the what, but every time I’ve had a feeling or emotion or reaction to this specific major thing that just occurred I bat it away because I feel selfish.

It’s a vague thought, but that’s the spot I’m in. It’s not necessarily something sacred that I can’t share; but it something ugly I don’t want to share.

There’s more to me than the shiny. And that’s ok.

I’m not perfect, I’m not glue, I’m Meg.

Yes, there is more to me than “this”.

And I am gaining the courage to write more from my heart with each passing moment and realizing what that looks like. The feeling of not writing for anyone but myself and knowing that it probably actual is for someone

So amidst my ramble,and my wacky thought process and what came from a simple quote in a movie I want to leave you with another lovely quote that is a favorite of mine. It is something I hold onto and will take into the next.

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ramblings

pardon me as I ramble about prophecy & truth

(this blog is very much a ramble. It is a topic that I need to delve more into, that I need to push more into, but these are some of my thoughts on what I think it is to have the gift of prophecy and how this blog turned into talking about feedback)

 

I remember one night at debrief in Brasov, Romania sitting with my friend Julie sipping tea and eating microwave popcorn and pondering what the next month in Ukraine would look like and then before I could even contemplate what was coming out of my mouth, I was speaking truth to Julie, words I felt she needed to hear.

piclab-6                                                                                         (this is Julie. ❤ to her)

It wasn’t the first time this kind of thing had happened. I just felt that there were sentiments that God wanted me to tell her.

Nothing special in that.

Just a messenger.

Then she said something I won’t ever forget, because it was something that I never thought would be part of who I am.

“Meg, has anyone ever told you that you have the gift of prophecy?”

Who said what now?

We talked about that for a second longer but I just had it milling in my head.

I wasn’t quite sure I agreed with it.

Going on the race we had to do this little thing called “feedback” essentially speaking truth and words into the members of our team. Sometimes that was difficult and in the form of constructive feedback, hard truths that were difficult to say. I’d begun to get into this practice of praying for the people around me, not just my teammates but my squadmates, my leaders, even my friends at home.
piclab-7                                                                 (veracity teamtime in Chincha Peru//this is how we pray)

And I’d found that God just kept filling my spirit with words, with wisdom that I shouldn’t know about it.

If I’m being honest sometimes it wasn’t exactly the easiest.

The main feedback I got through the year was too make sure I wasn’t sugarcoating what God was telling me, which if I’m being honest, I did sometimes.

I know the saying is, “don’t shoot the messenger” but sometimes the messenger feels like they are going to get shot.

Here’s the thing:

I’m a HIGH feeler. (also key WR lingo: “What’s your MeyersBriggs?)

And I care how other people feel (sometimes too much) so to impart such a hard truth on someone, who I know well and love, is a bit too much for me sometimes. I most definitely got better at it over the months of the race though.

piclab-9                                                                           (feedback dice//need I say more?)

So to bring us back to the point, PROPHECY and TRUTH are two words that have followed me home in powerful ways.

I still battle with those words. Being able to speak truth to people doesn’t mean everything I say is straight out of God’s mouth. I’m just a mere person whose brain and heart can get mixed in with the words I hear from Him. Thankfully we can take the words he gives us and put them next to scripture and the things that we know is true of Him.

 

Because, our God is not a God of confusion.

Which is comforting.

I’ve had more than one person at this point now almost a year later from that conversation with Julie tell me that I had the gift of prophecy, of truth telling.

It’s beautiful really because I treasure words so much, and I feel like God wouldn’t bestow this on me if He thought I would haphazardly throw his words around. I pray them over before they come out of my mouth they just start flowing.

In which case I have to pause and collect them, and organize them and pray that they come across wholly as his and not mine.

And in all of this I’ve learned this: God is not always loud, sometimes He is quiet, sometimes he is not speaking. But He never isn’t there.

Delving into and praying through this gift has been a constant reminder that God is always in fact there.

From “The Big God Story” by Michelle Anthony (yes a kid’s book. I used to be a preschool coordinator at a churchJ )

 “But then something strange happened….God was silent for a long time. Nearly four hundred years passed without a word from God. Just silence. But even though God was quiet, He wasn’t gone. His promise was still alive; it was just hidden”.

God has blessed in the last few weeks with the confirmation that wisdom He is allowing me to here for others is from Him. But in all of this; God has been silent about me. I think that’s where this whole topic came from, the silence from God as it pertains to my life, to my walk, to my heart. I know God is there, I know He is close by. He is just silent right now. All the things he has said before are still true, still active, still moving. His plan is still in action right now.

piclab-5                 (beginning of month 10, Siem Reap Cambodia NSQUAD worship// another moment of silence from God)

Right now in my head, it’s a stream of words of truth for others and in the midst of that silence for myself.

And all of this rambling is just for me to say:

Silence is ok.