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, I choose champagne

2016.2017.2018. Let’s just be who we are.

I am sitting in my favorite bar, as it becomes increasingly more crowded than normal on a Sunday early evening. Most are in pairs, or groups. I’m the sole solitary human, sitting at my favorite table tucked in the corner. My back is against the window and I am directly next to an outlet and the exposed brick.

I am pretty comfortable sitting by myself in most places. I am fine shopping by myself, I’ve traveled across an ocean and been alone in the Istanbul airport more than any other airport in the world.

I almost always get slight amounts of anxiety right before going somewhere by myself or to an event with a large amount of people. But here, and a smattering of coffee shops, public transport and airplanes- I am always good.

This year, I believe, has been about being as home as I possible can be in my own skin, in my own identity. It’s been about being where my feet are.

I don’t always do well at this.

But, I am trying.

And now, it’s the end of the year. Now, for me personally, 2017 has been eons better than 2016. But, as my work wife has pointed out, 2017 hasn’t been all confetti, champagne and sunshine.

In reality, I said the F word more times this year than last. I lost more faith in people than I ever have. I have had more anxiety and more moments of being alone.

I haven’t been as constantly exhausted but I for sure have hit more walls of “all done friends”. My schedule has been more busy than I think it has been in a long time.

And that isn’t going change when the clock strikes midnight and turns the year to 2018. Last year, I remember sitting, shortly after midnight, in my sparkly gold dress, barefooted, on the porch of my friend’s house, watching the snow fall with a glass of champagne that slowly became mixed with the tears falling down my cheeks. All I wanted was for the world around me to feel different.

I tried to believe it did- but it didn’t.

So I became busy in 2017. I did a lot of things. I rarely had a week go by that didn’t involve at least 3/5ths of the weekdays being filled with something, be it working at my church, hanging out with someone or having an event or organized group situation.

I think part of my reasoning for becoming busy was that busy equaled full. That my life could be classified as full because it was busy.

I could say that my life was full because my laundry had piled up to overflowing in my closet and didn’t even care that there were dishes in the sink.

Busy meant not being able to stop to hear what I needed to hear.

Back in August, a part time job popped up at a different church. It would have been 10-20 extra hours a week being a children’s director of a local churches smaller downtown campus.

It would mean a lot of things: extra income, no free time, getting paid to do something I know I love (and am good at), having no social life and not getting to go to the church I adore.

But, I had done that exact same thing before so I knew I was capable of that schedule.

I had a random day off in August, the day after the ad had been discovered. I had coffee with a good friend, lunch with my roommate and obviously talked to both about it. I headed for home to work on my cover letter and resume.

Because of applying for this job, I ended up having a very honest conversation with one of the pastors at my church. Through the conversation we had, I realized that I was running from being known. She, of course, called me on all these things, as she should.

I didn’t end up interviewing for the job. In all reality, though I want a job like that, but working 60 hours a week and moving from the two places where I feel like myself in Bellingham was not the best idea.

In reality, most of this year I’ve been running. I’ve been running from stopping, from thinking and from pushing in.

I have in certain places and situations. There are friends in my life with whom I can never run from my problems around. But I have reached that place here in Bellingham where I am known and that’s terrifying.

So, why have I said all of this?

It’s simple actually.

I want to encourage you not to make resolutions.

(What?)

I just want to encourage you to step more into who you are everyday. No matter what.

I spent this year trying to busy everything so far away, in the name of my resolutions that I forgot parts of who I was. When those parts were awakened they felt like hope, when in reality they should have just felt like me.

December 31rst and January 1 are no different from today and tomorrow.

There is symbolism in the changing of the year. It is a new book in your life. But it’s not a separate book. It’s a continuation.

So, as the holidays kick in full force and as my kitchen get covered in flour and coconut sugar. As we celebrate the year, the now and the yet to come, I want to remind you that the changing of a calendar doesn’t change who you are.

I want to encourage you to hope for more, but not put the more on a new year.

Don’t run from who you’ve become in all the things. Grab who all the things have made you.

Right now. Today.

Here, in this bar, where I am the only solitary human, I am being where my feet are more than I have in a long time.

Right now. Today

washington whimsy

A letter to creatives

To my dear creatives,

I know you are probably sitting in front of a blank slate right now.

I know you believe with every passing moment that words don’t form in a sentence or you aren’t able to mix colors just right on a pallet or your cake falls flat for the third time that you are no longer creative. That something inside you isn’t working right anymore.

And I know that the shame piles on from there. 

Man, does it hit you like a wrecking ball. Each time you say you are going to do this or that and come up empty. Each day you set aside time to practice or write or sculpt or cook and you end up cleaning the house or reorganizing your coffee cup collections for the fifth time.

You don’t know how to sit with yourself and not feel the shame pile on, not feel the guilt or the all of the “I told you so..” about your creativity.

And I know you probably feel if you have to call the creativity out of yourself that something in that isn’t natural.

But sometimes, my friend, we have to call out to our creative spirit. We have to yell at it and tell it that it needs to come to the table and do some work. We have to remind it that there are nuggets and truth and whimsy below the surface and sometimes we can’t wait for it to just be there, sometimes we have to ask it to show up.

So, my dear creative friend, to you, I say first: shame off. You are no less on the days when you feel incapable of creating then in the days when you write the great American novel.

And second, on days where you feel the furthest from the creative that you are take a deep breath and choose to call the creativity out of yourself. 

Tonight, amidst yawns and back pain and exhaustion that’s what I needed. I chose to, in any way shape or form, find a way to put words on a page and realize that the shame creeping in wasn’t mine to grab onto.

So third, please remember this:
You don’t have to always create be a creative. 

You are creative because it’s who you are, not what you do.

It’s in you, down to your tiptoes and it pours out of your finger tips.

You are still creative even when you feel incapable of creating.

With love,

A writer who doesn’t always feel like a writer but knows forever she will be a writer.

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)

Spain g42

creatively speaking: a story

normally I don’t post creative works on here. but last week we had one of my favorites here:Herman Haan. He always challenges us to step outside our box. to do something unexpected. this week he brought two songs to us “one of us” Joan Osborne and “if it be your will” Leonard Cohen. we had to take one of the two songs and analyze it and share that and then we had to make our own creative interpretation. this is the fictional story that came out when I sat down to interpret “one of us”

And so I sat.

I take the same train home everyday.
I sit in the same spot in the same car.
Most people deem that impossible but I know it’s the same because of the mickey mouse sticker stuck on the bottom of the seat across from me.

I come home from work at almost the same time every day so I see the same cast of characters.

There’s a trio of school teachers normally complaining about this is that. There is an always loud group of teenage girls coming from dance class.

There’s multiple businessmen who every day get frustrated with the exact same breaks in cell service.

Then there is this guy. Who usually has a suit on and it’s rumpled in all of the places you’d expect a suit to be rumpled.

One time I saw him pull a rattle out of his pocket. He smiled at it and stuck it back in his jacket.

I gather he’s a father.

But for as rugged as his appearance can be, I never know if he’s coming or going. I don’t know if he’s going to work and lacks an iron or if he’s coming home from work and carries weight and responsibility with him.

The thing about train commuters is that we are a people who are creatures of habit.
So when I got on the train today I was shocked to find him in his rumpled suit sitting in the seat next to the one across from the mickey sticker.

I contemplated sitting somewhere else since he had so oddly changed the assigned seating of the 5:30 train.

But something about the look on his face compelled me to sit. It wasn’t just that he was tired looking, like he had a lot going on, he looked wearied. But he looked wearied and alive at the same time.

He looked young but old.

So I sat.

Sitting next to him he fished out of his pocket a torn crinkled picture; one that had gone through the washer a few times. I found myself hooked on it. He kept running his fingers over along the seams created from time spent in a pocket. I just kept my eyes glued.

I don’t know how long I stared at it but in a swift moment I felt the atmosphere change. I could feel his eyes on me. Looking at me.

I wanted with everything in me not to look up.
But at some point I’d have to look up. Up into the eyes of this man who took the same train as me.

I found myself want to look in his eyes. If anything to find so many answers to questions I had stored up. Not necessarily about him, though I did have some, but mainly every question I had stored up sitting on that train. Every moment that I had watched poles scan by the window. Every moment I sat contemplating what I was doing.
I knew he would have the answers.

So I looked up.

He held by eyes and smiled this tired smile.

Here’s the thing: I’m just a normal person. I work a 9 to 5 job and go home to a studio apartment.
I have a basil plant and a fire escape.

I’m not complicated.

And this man could understand that. He saw something in me as he held my gaze. It was like the picture he had in his pocket had me in it.
He knew me.
He saw me.
He saw me.

I didn’t want to break away from the stories and emotions running through my head, but he broke eye contact from me.

And I sat.

I sat long enough to come to the realization that I had, for the first time ever, missed my stop.

I didn’t want to stand up, didn’t want to get away from what was happening, didn’t want to lose what I might have found.

But I knew the further away I got, the further that I would be away from home. The harder it would be to GET home.

So I stood up on shaky legs. Not knowing what had happened.

It was as if in an instant my life flipped. One moment of eye contact and I realized I hadn’t been seen in a long while. I walked out the doors of the train and turned around to glance back in the windows and say him, smiling tiredly, once more.

I hugged my bag tightly as the wind started to pick up. Fall was coming, a change was coming.
A change had come.

A change had come in the form of the unknown father sitting next to me.

I don’t know what I was going to do with that moment. A moment most would normally throw away and deem unimportant.
But I was going to do something.
But I knew I had to do something.

Honest, Spain g42

lovely, once more

I don’t like writing things out by hand. It feels as if the words that I place on paper have more power and emotion behind them then the words that I type out.

I don’t know why.

I just know that it is scarier for me.

It is scarier for me to place things handwritten in a journal.

It is scarier for me to place HURT in a journal.

There is so much pain involved in placing phrases and story in my own hand, phrases that hurt parts of my soul.

My journal is sacred. It’s filled with notes from class, quotes from books that impact and lovely musings.

It is where I separate the light from the dark. It is where I should be able to be vulnerable.

But here in this moment I want nothing to do with vulnerability.

I don’t want to fill my journal with words and phrases.

It is terrifying

It terrifies me so much that I bought watercolors to paint the pages in my journal and make them beautiful so I would WANT to write in them. To entice me to place words inside its covers.

I have another blog started on another blank page.

It’s about one of the reasons I am at G42.

A reason I never talk about.

I was going to explain it.

Because in all honesty I just want it to go away.

But while in conversation with one of my precious people in the haven and warmth of her home I realized I still hurt.

I still feel ugly in those things.

As the women who are influential in my life always say tears and anger are a map.

My tears showed me a lot today.

And it’s tough. I’m sitting here on the floor trying to even eek out a sentence in regards to all that’s in my head. All the beginnings of sentences I began in conversation with my dear friend.

I guess I want to encourage myself and in turn encourage you to write the ugly things. I’m writing mine on beautiful painted pages in my journal. I’m surrounding things I deem ugly with beauty.

I think it’s wonderful that I live in a world where ugly things are made lovely so often.

And that’s what I want to strive to do. Show people what they deem ugly in their story and show how they can create out of it beauty

That’s what I’ll be doing in my journal. Sentence by sentence, line by line, I’m going to paint pictures with my words and make the things that aren’t lovely, lovely once more.