royal family kids camp, stateside

To my Royal Family

To the fabulous people of the Newport Mesa Royal Family Kids Camp:

Female LIT counselor and our dean (AKA my OC mom)
I’m at my church in Washington right now, holding back tears.

I’m tired, emotionally exhausted, a little beat up-it goes without saying that my heart is broken.

It was a tough week up on the mountain. Every five minutes felt like a battle I wasn’t ready for, every word I said was rememebered, the good, the bad and the ugly. One of the purple people asked me at the church, after all the kids had gone, what my biggest challenge was during the week. I didn’t even have to think about the anwser.

One of the things you should know about me is that I have about ten years of early education under my belt. I never went to school for it, I’ve taken maybe 6 or 7 classes, so most of my knowledge is trial and error. Mainly error.

So when asked what my biggest challenge was–my response was easy. Seeing how the things I know of child development acted out to the extreme. Knowing that structure and rules= love. And knowing that those things will pushed at.

longest tuesday ever NBD
That they were pushed at–all week.

But you keep going. You stay. You remain. Then at the end of the week in the last five minutes the kid who deemed you “mean counselor meg who always says no” runs up to you to give you a hug.

my fellow world traveler
Camp is for the kids. That’s true. If it wasn’t for the kids-I probably wouldn’t do it. It wouldn’t be worth it. It certainly doesn’t always feel good, or make sense. But it’s for the kids so at the end of the day it does indeed make sense and is worth it.

But for me camp is also a family business. Coming to camp is coming home, coming to something that feels like the most wacky normal ever. Coming to camp is coming to family.

I was also asked by purple people why in the world I would fly from Washington.

It’s easy. This is the camp my family goes too. It’s my people. My home base.

family.
You guys inspire me. Year after year. I beam thinking about the amazing people that take a week out of their lives to be on a mountain, eating camp food and sleeping on duct tape for a chance to make a kid smile.

I’m grateful to be apart of your family.

Thanks for always welcoming me home.

With love,

Junapera aka mean counselor Meg.
(Special shout-outs to: Michele for my caboodle, Becca, Kim, Tyler and Priscilla for outfitting my room, Kinda for the same and also lanyards, Krystle for helping my dream of being a gospel back-up singer come a little more true, Casey for being Casey, everyone for never making fun of my makeup when I let the kids do my makeup, teen staff for being the best, Sue for regaling me with a story that made me almost fall to the ground in laughter and tears, Brooke for not judging my morning vocabulary, the ladies of Cedar for being the best, Lauren for being a kindred soul at camp, Ryan for not putting me in a headlock, Sarah for being the best surprise buddy a girl could have and for riding the struggle bus, airplane and coaster with me and of course to my second family the Choi’s for letting me out of dog sitting 7 years ago so I could come to camp.)

royal family kids camp, stateside

a letter to my royal family

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This, this is for all the girls, and boys all over the world
Whatever you’ve been told, you’re worth more than gold
So hold your head up high, it’s your time to shine
From the inside it shows, you’re worth more than gold
(Gold gold, you’re gold)
You’re worth more than gold
(Gold gold you’re gold)

gold-britt nicole

I know that for most people the hashtag #themostwonderfultimeofyear is centered around Christmas and Starbucks red cups and all of that kind of stuff.

But if I am being completely honest, my favorite time of year is a span of 6 exhausting days tucked up in the mountains wearing wigs, eating salad, laughing with kiddos and being with one of the most giving group of people I’ve ever encountered.

To my hard-working, incredibly loving, (more than just) sometimes sarcastic Royal Family-

You all are amazing.

I’ve been trying to put it into words over the last twenty-four hours. I was in tears getting on a train traveling away from Orange County today.

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lauren.krystle.vanessa.priscilla. lovely ladies I get to do {camp & real} life with and be a {temporary} buddy for.
My heart swells at the thought of all you. Every single one.

On Sunday while we were running around Pinecrest getting all the things ready; the thought that kept coming into my head was about the importance of changing the connotation of family for the kids coming up the hill the next day. How important the word “family” is. How important our interactions are in front of the kids. The hugs, the inside jokes, the smiles we give each other all week is so important because it shows the kiddos that even though we aren’t related we are indeed FAMILY.

I know beyond a shadow of a doubt this week the friendships that have formed and grown amidst the 100 counsellors, staff and teen staff showed the kids a picture of Christ. It showed them that family isn’t just what you are born into but it’s also the people you are given.

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photo of {a lovely photographer} Casey taken by {another equally lovely photographer} (and also her mama) Janel. So grateful for these two who catch the joy of the kiddos like photo ninjas.
It’s such a lovely thing. And I know it’s exhausting but man, this royal family needs every part. From the teen staff (who are the most awesome teens ever) to the nurses and staff counsellors, to the deans and directors to the mail ladies, to those of us in chapel to the coaches on the field and the karate instructors on the pavement, to the activity centers, wood shop workers, fantasy corner inhabitants, grandma & grandmas, aunts & uncles to our photographers and videographers. To those who do all the work pre-camp to our birthday party volunteers who come up one day to bring the kiddos so much joy. And last but in no way least; to the counselors who tuck the kids in at night after running around with them all day.

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i’ve gotten to watch these guys do their thing for 4 years and was stoked to get to be apart of the crew this year.
I’ve met a lot of people in this world, a lot running great ministries and doing beautiful work all over the world. But it’s all you guys, all those who head up that mountain for the week that give me hope. All of you show me the love of Christ in such beautiful ways. Because you don’t have too. It’s not your job.

You do it for the kids.

It’s all of you who make it never a sacrifice to come up the hill; but an utter privilege.

I’m so grateful that 6 years ago Kim made me fill out an application to be a counselor instead of just being the person who house sat while they were gone.

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5 year pin. Here’s to 10-15-20-25 more.
Thank you for allowing me to be apart of this family. Thank you for laughing with me (or at me because: Haman.) thank you for encouraging me and hugging me (or putting me in a headlock) and thank you for letting me see pieces of the inner strength you have in you that maybe not many other people see. Thank you for taking the story God gave you and the life you’ve lived and pouring it not only into the kids but into me.

So lastly, this week, as you go about your daily lives I want you to all remember something:

You are so utterly and completely lovedAnd every ounce of love you gave out last week will come back to you.

You are wonderfully, beautifully known and loved.

You are all in my heart and I am so very, very proud to know you.

Can’t wait to see you next year,

With love, blessings and {so much coffee},

Meg

(aka Haman aka Juneapera)

{to learn more about Royal Family Kids Camp or to find one in your area click here)

Honest, Spain g42

Live (in) Lovely

I remember certain months on the World Race last year where I had so much to tell and yet no words to share the chaotic amount of thoughts in my head.

Welcome to my first month in Mijas, Spain. And learning to “live lovely”.

It’s been a busy, crazy July here. We’ve had birthdays, a wedding, 4 weeks of classes, 5 different festivals in the square, the World Cup finals, no fewer than 80 people tromping through Mijouse, we are just wrapping up the inaugural 5 year g42 reunion where 30+ people came from all corners of the globe to remember and celebrate the beautiful things that happened here.

And we’ve danced a lot.

I’ve had multiple glasses of wine with lovely people. I’ve had 3 blue chair sandwiches so far (I promise I’ll do better Mer), I made the prettiest cake for a wedding that I’ve ever had the privilege of baking, I’ve gotten up early mornings to walk with Tiffany and have beautiful conversation, I helped make 600+ tapas for the alumni cocktail party, I’ve begun to dabble in water color, I’ve continued to write a novel and I’ve laughed a bunch.

And I’ve continued to learn what it means to be loved unconditionally.

During worship last week to kick off the reunion I was feeling incredibly overwhelmed. I won’t begin to even touch on all the lessons and revelations piling up in my head today, but know that there is a lot in there.
So between all the thoughts jumbled inside and the fact that there were 30 extra people in my home I was freaking out a bit.

OK.
I was freaking out a lot.
So I went to the back of the church in an opened space to just breath and look at all these new and old friends in my life.

And I realized something that knocked me off my axis a bit.

They love.
And right as I was twirling into this train of self-doubt, insecurity and unworthiness one of the staff came up to me to tell me that I was appreciated.

(Cue tears.)

I said thank you and promptly turned into the wall away from everyone to stop the tears.

I’ve “stopped” the tears a lot this month.

Because for as much as I’ve been overwhelmed with the reminders of worthiness, acceptance and love I’ve had a voice shouting in my head to retreat, to pull back, that I’m just needed not wanted. It’s a space and place I’ve wrestled with all my life and it is rearing it’s ugly head and I’m having to fight with it as I go through the list of topic sentences that God placed before me.

So there’s that.
It’s not necessarily pretty.
But it is lovely.
And it will be lovely with every step I take down these cobblestone streets. It’s choosing to be present amidst the chaos in my brain, to stand firm in what I DO know, and be ok in questions and not knowing.

That’s all for now. In the next week I’ll be sending out a newsletter with more details of what I am doing and where I am going. But for now scroll through these few pictures of my life here in Mijas and I’ll be back with more soon.
And just as I will, I pray you will continue to be present over perfect and choose to live lovely.

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(Patty, Whitney and I produced 600+ tapas for the alumni cocktail party)

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(The wedding cake I made for the wedding that was held at Mijouse the 2nd weekend I was here. 5 layers and raspberry filling!)

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(my beautiful roommate and friend painted this for me. Many a time have I been given words that say “I’ma bird”)

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(And last but not least; one of the strongest forces to get me to Spain. Still can’t believe how blessed I am to do more life with her.)

Honest

Seriously, where would I go?

A couple weekends ago I went to Orange County.

It was glorious.

There was boating, salsa dancing, drunken watermelon, Susie cakes, laughter and friends.

(and that was just Saturday)

Sunday though? Sunday was my day. Haute Cakes, coffee, RockHarbor, getting to see my Grandma Winnie (who might I add made me teary eyed with just one hug, I miss that woman)

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Sunday felt like home. It felt normal.

Walking into my church on Sunday was overwhelming. I remember the first Sunday I went after I came back in December. It was something I’d been waiting for. At that point it been a little over 2 months since I’d been in an English speaking church. To not have to listen for translation is something I can’t really describe.

And to be in a place that has seen so many of my tears?

The surge of emotion that came when worship started was almost too much for me, but I held on. I knew that if I lost it, there would be no coming back.

A new series on Sunday “Words of Life”. I feverishly took notes, and read along with the scripture.

But there was one verse that stuck out to me. We were in the book of John (chapter 6), after Jesus fed the 5,000 and He had just explained to them that HE himself was the bread of life. And the disciples could not grasp it. It was too hard of a concept.

So some of them left.

He then turned to the twelve and asked if they were going to go.

Let me stop there.

Life has been rough lately for too many reasons to count. Lonely, depressing, quiet, among many other things.

So when Jesus turns to the twelve and ask if they were going to go I get it. I feel like He’s maybe asked me that question in the last 4 months, not in a “when the going get’s tough” kind of way, more in a “When I just can’t seem to make sense of it” kind of way.

Sometimes Jesus makes NO sense, at all. He speaks in ways that we can’t comprehend or fathom. He knows it’s going to be ok. But sometimes we forget.

In verse 68 Peter says this, “Who will we go to? You have the words of eternal life.”

And it doesn’t say, but in all honesty I picture Peter being weary here. Extremely weary. He’s been following Jesus, listening to him, trying to wrap his head around all of this truth and wisdom. He’s been trying to figure out how it fits in his life. What he is supposed to do with it.

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All that thinking is tiring. Truly exhausting.

So at the point where Jesus is asking if they are going to go, Peter throws his hands up and basically is like (this is the Meg Message version), “we know all of it sounds crazy to so many people, we know that sometimes it is crazy but we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you speak truth, that you are truth and we want to live in that truth.”

And that verse shook me to the core and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

I know that weary feeling well.

The feeling I’ve had these days takes me back to parking lots and tears and nightlights in the dark.

But the thing is, even then and even now I know that there is nowhere I would rather be and no one I would rather follow then Jesus.

Because even though it is sometimes crazy sounding, even when he tells me to do things that no one ever will understand, I know he speaks the words of eternal life.

So sitting in church, I threw my hands up.

Because really? Where WOULD I go?

Who would I turn too?

Just like the twelve that day, I knew.

Because I know from the bottom of my heart WHO speaks the truth. I know that sometimes those words just aren’t easy to comprehend, but they are still the truth.

I think I’ve always known that. The days when it was super dark, or super bright. Be it in the United States or chilling in my tent in Mozambique, I’ve always known that He is the WAY the TRUTH and the LIFE.

So, when I feel like life has gotten too big or too hard, I’ll remember that. When I feel as if life has gotten away from me or my mind contemplates life without Jesus before I can get my heart to remember what I know I will rest in the knowledge that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that HE is on the throne.

It’s a comforting thought, comforting knowledge to remember and know that HE is on the throne. Because whatever life throws me, WHEREVER life takes me I can be assured in that.

I’ll leave you with these words I wrote. My creative writing professor my senior year along with my songwriting/music theory professor always reminded us less is more. So after you’ve read all of these words you can read this shortened version of everything I just said.

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