Honest, it takes a village, preschool, tiny human teacher

shame less

I do not like shame.

I wrote a piece awhile back entitled “I met shame in the sixth grade”. It was talking of the moment that shame came into my life. The moment that I can use as a dividing line from being enough/not being enough.

I think that before that I knew shame. I knew that it affected me.

I was told that words could never hurt me, but in reality words have had a more profound effect on my life than any physical thing that has happened to me.

So yes, I do not like shame.

I mean, that should be pretty standard right? But, did you know that you probably have shaming language spoken to you or that you in fact use it yourself?

Think of this scenario. You, as an adult, are giving a report at work. And in the middle of a sentence your boss gets up and says “no, no, no” and proceeds to “correct” you on what you were speaking on.

How do you think you would feel? Being told by a superior in front of a group of your peers “no, you are doing that wrong”.

You would probably feel ashamed.

Now, picture being in grade school and that happening.

Do you think you’d ever want to do a presentation in class again?

What if, you were at camp and you were talking to your counselor and someone from the stage pointing you out to stop talking before they started again-but you had been telling your counselor you weren’t feeling good?

Now, picture being a kindergartener.

It’s your birthday and you are coloring a bird blue.

The person next to you raises her hand and tattles on you.

And then the teacher makes you start again because “no, the bird can’t be blue” and precedes to take your paper and give you a new one.

I know you are probably wondering where I am going with this.

Am I talking about living a life of participation trophies?

That’s not it at all.

I’m talking about choosing our words more wisely.

More specifically, I am talking about doing our best to take shaming language out of our vocabulary, specifically around the tiny humans and kids that we are around.

Shaming language is telling a child they are “too big” to be somewhere when what you are actually trying to tell them is that they are growing up. Reprimanding them from across the room instead of kneeling to their level.

Shaming language is talking about a child’s poor choices in front of them, like they aren’t there, even though they can 100% understand what’s happening. Shaming language is telling a child “they should know better” or “how could you be so dum

A lot of us, be it teachers or parents or people that interact with kids on a daily basis, grew up in a generation where I don’t believe we truly knew the effects constant amounts of shame had on a child.

And now, as an adult, I think we are learning. I myself, am still learning each day, with how I communicate and speak to the tiny humans around me.

We are learning, that the effects of using shame as a tactic isn’t helpful. It causes kids to shut down. To stop talking, stop participating, and attempting to not take up space.

Shame that was present in my life as a small child is what lead me to shut down and what lead me to do my best not to take up space.

And lastly, before you even go there, I know that children are resilient.

Trust me, I know.

(Maybe, like don’t get into this with me, because I have strong words about kids and resiliency)

But, shouldn’t we, as caregivers, parents, kind humans, do all we can to not shame the kiddos in our space? Shouldn’t we build them up and give them the tools to counteract shame instead of putting shame on them causing them to have to find the tools on their own?

There are enough times when we will screw up, or when other adults around or even other kids will put shame upon the kids in our life. Where they will feel belittled or left behind or left out.

There are so many situations that we have no control over in our kids lives.

But, we can control our own bodies. We can control our own words and reactions.

And think of the generation of kids we would be raising and helping to raise if we ourselves realized that our words had weight in someone else’s life

if we raised a generation of kids that had a first response of positivity and not negativity.

What if we just did our best to not be the reason our kids learned resiliency?

And what if, when we found ourselves saying things that don’t settle we choose to be people who explained ourselves instead of just letting it go.

What do you think that might do?

Well, personally?

I think it just might change the world.

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, ramblings

The season in which I don’t write

When I write I untangle things. I figure out thoughts and processes. I give myself space to delve into whatever is going on in my head and sometimes, not all the time mind you, but sometimes I do actually in fact figure it out.

I haven’t written for a month. Not on my blog, not in my journal, not anywhere.

I haven’t paused long enough to attempt to figure out all the things.

But, today, with the huge task of moving houses behind me, I’m attempting to pause.

I feel like I’ve been waiting for a long while. Waiting for a change in the wind, a change in my day to day, something, anything.

I’ve been waiting to feel something fresh.

I guess I should add that when I write to untangle something it also feels as if I am writing to talk to God.

Whatever it may be about, whatever I may be dissecting, I am writing so that you, the reader, can be brought into it, see if it hits something in you so that we, together, might figure something out.

But, I am also writing as if God was sitting next to me.

I shared during a worship night last week at my church.

It felt very out of place for me. I told people I was nervous but in reality I just felt sort of like a fraud. And as people came up to talk to me about what it meant to them it very much was impossible to take those words in.

I think part of the reason I haven’t been able to write this month/year is because it feels like God and I aren’t on speaking terms. We’re currently like those friends you have on Facebook that your “see friendship” function just holds a time capsule of “happy birthday!” back and forth with no tagged pictures or hilarious Mean Girl memes on October 3rd.

And when I go to write I am reminded of that.

Each time I’ve gone to write my brain fills with my failures and with to-do lists I haven’t accomplished and newsletters that have yet to be written and curriculum I haven’t planned and “do I have any clean underwear?”.

There is no space in my brain for words.

I’ve been in this place before. Wherein I am incapable of teaching myself. Hear for myself. Cheer for myself.

But, can I tell you something?

It’s ok.

Why?

Friendships, relationships, sense of self, identity, grow with us.

If I’ve learned anything about myself in the last five years is that I’m going to keep meeting myself. I’m going to keep meeting God however that may look. I’m going to circle back around to things not because I’m a failure but because they are the flip-sides of my strengths. Anxiety in certain situations will pop up- not because I’m weak, but because I have the capability to battle them.

So, long story short, I think I haven’t been writing because I have been scared to say I have nothing to say. That’s what this season feels like. And it feels weird that I essentially just wrote 500 words on why I am not writing, but I think I did this so that you would choose to do whatever thing you aren’t capable of right now.

There is something in you that you put out into the world that means something. Be it running a play group, preaching, writing, singing, leading

– any of it.

There is more to me then what seems like pure inability.

There is more to you as well.

Even if right now, in this moment, it doesn’t feel that way.

I swear, we got this.

Honest, ramblings

the leaves always CHANGE

Today, I was standing in church during worship and I had this moment where I felt like myself.I don’t know how to describe it really.
In that moment it didn’t matter who was around me or what I was doing, I just knew who I was-all the way to my toes.

I’ve been playing around with being called Meghan these days. It’s not a big deal, I’m not going to make people call me Meghan or Meg, they can call me whatever they want.

There was a few years there that being called Meghan brought me a feeling I didn’t like. It brought me a feeling of years of insecurity and sadness and depression.

My debit card obviously says Meghan so places that I frequent; a coffee shop, a bar, people call me Meghan.

So when people ask if I am Meg or Meghan I say yes. Both/and. 

And it got me thinking:

Do we give people the space to discover who they are because it seems like they should know?
It’s funny to me that as we grow we are called to make so many decisions without knowing even a percent of the information out there. And that’s fine, discernment, intuition, and going with your gut are incredibly important.

But what if when you turned 18 someone handed you a piece of paper and you had to write out all of the food you liked. 

And whatever you left off that list you could never eat again.

But then sometimes in your mid-twenties your taste buds change and you are suddenly eating food you never thought.

But wait, you aren’t because at 18 you decided what foods you’d eat for the rest of your life.

We have to do that a lot. From colleges in new cities that become homes to college majors, to first jobs that we find ourselves in ten years later. 

We don’t give people space to discover MORE of who they are.

People are fearful of changing their minds, even once.

Yes, there are people that abuse it. They change and bounce all over the place leaving others in the wake of their change and “discovery”. The people who’s resumes look like a not-so-greatest hit album. The single-in a relationship-single- consistently in your Facebook timeline.

But, because of those, the ones who have things happening in their lives and stories that cause them to be in constant motion, the majority of us sit in fear of grabbing onto something new about ourselves.

I will be the first to say that my conversation views have molded and changed immensely in the last 3 years. That things I believed and thought were “right” in college are very different now. That I’ve realized my viewpoints were based in fear and not love.

As silly as this is, my style is immensely different. I’ve walked into a few stores recently and realized that not only do I not want to wear clothes from stores I’ve purchased clothes in for years, but also I simply don’t understand them.

When I claimed Meg four years ago on the world race, it was like I was drawing a firm permanent line in the timeline of my life.

I know it means something right now. That I’ve been introducing myself as Meghan. That I’ve been allowing that piece of me to sink into this part of the story.

That I’ve been trying to give myself space to realize my story, my life is ever evolving.

So, when I started on this train of thought this morning in church, which coincided with the first message on story, I realized that not only was I not giving myself consistent space and grace to evolve and move and change, I wasn’t giving the people in my life that space either.

It would be like me telling the leaves on the trees that they have to grow back exactly as they did before. That even though a part of them was dying and changing, that they had chosen that path so they had to keep going on it.

If I ever haven’t given you space in your story to find something new, I sincerely, sincerely apologize. You don’t need that from someone else since I’m pretty positive you already give enough of that doubt and lack of grace to yourself.

I’m trying to decide what this in me. Who I am separate from my life as a teacher of tiny humans.

But, I feel something I’m supposed to grab onto is right in front of me. And it’s scary because the world has already told me that this is who I am.

I am Meg and I am Meghan.

Let’s choose this week, to be who we are, and give ourselves the ability to keep being and changing.

Let’s not miss something new, because we’ve decided we have no place for newness.

royal family kids camp

To my Royal family 2017

To my Royal Family,
I put off writing this as long as I could, mainly because I didn’t want to start crying. 

So, obviously writing this on an airplane is something that sounded right.

I’ve been closing my week of royal family out for the last 4-5 years or so with a letter to you, those whose I do the thing with and it’s become one of my favorite writing pieces that I work on.

.family.

I learn something, as we all do, every year at camp.

Day in and day out for the better part of the last 11 years I’ve taken care of tiny humans. Even amidst my travels abroad and the times in between, I’ve found myself filling in at my old preschool, teaching English, babysitting and volunteering at VBS.

I don’t seem to find kids; they seem to find me.

The job that I’ve held for the last two years has been the most exhausting to date. It pulls out of parts of me that have been hard to refill. It’s thrown my life more out of balance than anything I’ve every encountered.

It’s been hard.

And for reasons, some still out of my grasp, I belong there. The people make my heart soar and I’ve adored the families I’ve been privileged to walk alongside of for the last two years.

But, as per usual, camp did something. It reminded me of things I think I’ve tried to bury and shove to the side.

I was pretty busy this week at camp. Moving from an Afro and sequins, to khaki pants and a field guide, to a swimsuit and back again.

#itsbecauseweprayed

I was exhausted.

BUT I wasn’t weary.

These kids get me every year.

It’s in the moment where they comprehend they get birthday presents, or the moment where they hold the slimy sea creatures, or pass the swim test.

It’s in the moment where they understand they are allowed to be a kid.

And especially in the moment that they realize that we believe for their futures.

Some things never change.

Getting to find ways to tell each kiddo that they were meant for more, for greater, that they are allowed to dream.

That gets me.

That got me.

This year, albeit exhausting, I was able to grab some of that for myself. 

I had forgotten or maybe even chosen to push aside the fact that I am meant for more.

I think I’ve had so many unsuccessful feeling days over the last year that I’ve lost that fact that I’m good at what I do.

Camp grants us a week to allow the gifts and talents and abilities inside of ourselves to be used to the fullest potential possible.

We don’t hold back at camp.

This week I was reminded of a few things: I have the ability to find joy in what I do, I miss telling kids about Jesus and lastly, that I shouldn’t hold back, ever.

what happens in drama (doesn’t always) stay in drama

The Sunday after camp I went to NMC, a place that has become my home church in California and Pastor Jordan talked about how Jesus delegates his ministry to the disciples. He used a passage from Mark that always hits me in the eyes:

“He went up in the hillside and called those whom He himself wanted and chose; and they came to Him” (mark 3:13)

I remember when I first heard that verse. It’s an action verse. There is nothing passive in picking up and following Christ. There is nothing passive in choosing to pick up and step into the things that God has given us to use.

LIT partner in crime. And my cousin Terra-cotta

This weekend it reminded me that all the things I use at camp, all the acting, all the leadership, all the yelling and all the love I delve into at camp is with me the other 51 weeks of the year.

And my amazing, breathtakingly awesome royal family: they are all in you too.

So in a month or two, when the thrill of camp is gone, or when you are back in your job, or feel as if you have nothing to give, please remember that camp is always in you.

The love you have to give. The gifts you bring to the table. The silliness to get you through. It’s all in you, each and every day.

You guys inspire me. With you are, what you have and what you bring.

It’s always with you.
It’s not about taking the joy of Christmas with you all year, it’s about taking the joy of camp with you.

On Wednesdays we match

I cannot wait until we can physically do the thing again together, but I know in spirit, spread out from there to here and here to there, we can choose, daily, to bring what we have to camp, to the people in our lives daily.

I love you all so much.

Sincerely,

Dr. Pembroke, Junapera, Coach Sox, Meghan,

Meg.

Spain g42, washington whimsy

Find an exit buddy

To the interns wandering around Mijas;

Though our paths didn’t cross, I guarantee we’ve sat in same places all over that white washed village. (My favorite seat in the epi was the one in the center section next to the pole closest to the office just FYI).

It doesn’t matter that we’ve never met, we are apart of the same tribe, the same family, we share something even without knowing each other’s names.

So, I am sitting at the table and would love to echo something I’m sure you’ve heard whether you’ve been there 1 or 4 months.

Please, listen when they encourage you not to go alone.

Because, whether you believe it or not at this point, it changes everything.

I will never forget sitting at OCP with George Ridley during graduation week my first term. He asked me what my plan was, where I was going and I responded I didn’t know and the place really didn’t matter.

He told me four things I needed: people, a place to live, a job, and people doing something I loved. And when it came down to it if the three check marks didn’t include a job; that didn’t remove the place.

But it was logical and clear cut- go to people who were filled with life and love.

I was going to tell you my how. HOw I made the decision not to go alone.

But really that’s not what I want to tell you.
I want to tell you right now, to choose; to decide not to go try to do the thing alone.
Go TO people. Go WITH people.
Please, don’t try to save the world single-handed.

I left Spain in December with the knowledge that by August I would be living in Bellingham, WA with my friend and a member of my home team, Patty, and I’d be going to A Life Family church and getting to know the people there, some I’d met, some I’d heard about and some I’d (spoiler alert) stalked on Facebook.

What I’m saying is I had found an exit buddy.

I had a friend who knew the fears and the hardships and the goodbyes emotions I was feeling because she was going through similar things. I had a friend who reminded me in the ridiculous times of working retail that this was apart of our doing of the damn thing.

It’s August and I just paid my second month of rent. I’ve attended church and community group and gone and got beers or coffee with the people I’d only heard about. Each night my roommate and I recap our day, sometimes over an episode of saved by the bell.

And in the days when it’s hard, though I can and do text and FaceTime my people scattered over the world; one of my people actually lives in the same house as me.

It changes things.

Our home is filled with life, because we chose to have it be that way. Filled with truth, encouragement, wackiness and beer.

And had we come to a new place without community, we would have probably been ok.

But guys, GUYS, coming to a place and a community you already trust with people who you trust (Even borrowed trust) changes absolutely everything.

That advice George gave me that day in front of OCP fixed my gaze on the logical and that made it less scary.

Coming to Bellingham where there was already a community and people was probably the best decision we could have made for ourselves.

To quote both Andrew & Freddy “it just makes sense”.

{And in the days when you maybe almost get a concussion from hitting your head so hard on a cabinet at work and your roommate has to go to class, you can call someone, even though you just met him a mere 3 weeks prior and he can sit with you and eat pizza and make sure you don’t have a concussion.}

We came to a community that we trusted because those we trust, trust them.

And guys there are those people all over the country. We are here in Bellingham and in Denver. There’s a table in Chicago and one in Memphis and so many others in between.

I can guarantee there is someone from this tribe with a similar heart and vision, either already doing the thing or looking to start it.

We aren’t meant to wander aimlessly.
And the more people around you the less chance you will get off track.

Start those conversations now. We emailed with a friend here in Bellingham for months prior to moving.

Ask questions.
Ask the staff questions, ask who they know that have similar hearts, ask them to connect you.

Don’t be me for the first three months, believing I could end up just anywhere, which was basically true. But I was missing that I needed to end up Not just anywhere but with people.

It changes the good to celebration and changes the hard days to face to face conversations rather then over FaceTime.

It just changes things.

So if you read this whole letter I want to challenge you to have those conversations, ask those questions and decide to do the thing with people.

Reach out and grab it.

It’s so good.

If you have any questions or want to know specifically what’s going on here in Bellingham or our process of deciding to come here please shoot me an email. (Mmreeve @gmail) And if you are ever in the area we live in the best little yellow house and our door is open and there is normally beer & wine in the fridge and some emergency cookie dough ready to be thawed and baked.

I don’t know you guys but I do know you are amazing.
Do me a favor and love the staff really well, they are some of my favorite people on planet earth.
And please, PLEASE, go buy a bag of paprika chips from spar and eat them for me.

With love,
Meg

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)