Honest, hope is a verb, it takes a village, ramblings

How do you hope?

I’ve been contemplating these words I’m going to write since Friday.
It’s been a hard thought process because I feel like they are uncharacteristic of me, but in the same breath feel very tangible and real to me. And weirdly important.

On Friday (which mind you, I had to scroll through and see if it was indeed Friday, because who knows what day it is), Katie, Victoria and I were texting, as we do, and Victoria said the following phrase which struck something in me.
She said, “because hope feels dangerous”.

And as I’ve been thinking about that phrase and talking it through, I’ve come to truly realize that hope is a word that fits most parts of speech.
In this, the word hope feels like a descriptive word. And the word it’s describing is danger.

Now, don’t stop reading, I know that feels weird. It sounds like I’m fearful and hesitant to expect hope to be good. And in some ways I am. But I am also someone who adamantly believes that peace is not easy and doesn’t necessarily feel “good”. It just is that: peace.

I guess I should explain a little more. Even as I think about typing the words I’m writing I can hear the rebuttal or the explanations of what I am doing to make hope feel this way, but I need you to know that even when hope feels dangerous I am trying my damnest to walk in dangerous hope.

Hope feels dangerous because the other shoe keeps dropping. My floor is littered with them. Now, that sounds defeatest and victim I realize. But, what feels more tangible to me is seeing that something bad won’t maybe happen, it probably will. In my life, in the lives of my friends.

That’s not saying I don’t see the big, beautiful good things in my life, I do. If I didn’t I would absolutely without a doubt in my mind, be laying in my bed in darkness right now, not sitting in a bright room. I wouldn’t have tears rolling down my face thinking about how much my crew has stepped up for each other and watched out for each other.

If I didn’t see the beautiful, good things I wouldn’t be able to function at work right now with the anxiety I feel.

Because I’ve been there before and I know what it’s like to live without hope.

Right now though, I’m not living in bright shiny hope. I’m not living in the hope that the world will be bright and shiny and I’ll get everything I want.

I’m living in a hope that hurts a little. I’m living in a hope that I hold onto with tears running down my face. I walk to work every day, a little tense, but knowing that even without trying I can be hope to some.

I’ve realized over the last two years, hope is not easy.

I didn’t learn about this hope in Sunday school, I didn’t teach it in Sunday school. I didn’t learn about this hope in Bible classes. I wasn’t able to see this hope around the world because I hadn’t lived in this version of it.

Hope to me used to be all or nothing.

Hope was never scary.

But, like my lovely work wife said, hope feels dangerous.

It’s dangerous because choosing to hope, with the knowledge that it probably won’t look like what you thought.

Choosing to hope anyway, is choosing to walk through a season knowing that you won’t come out of it the same.

I know, I know, that’s literally any season ever.

But right now, feels monumental. And it feels more unknown than anything I’ve personally walked through.

Hope feels dangerous because I really don’t know what I’m putting my hope in. And as I typed that the hymn lyric “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness”.

And once again I KNOW.
HOPE CAN STILL BE HARD.
HOPE CAN STILL FEEL UNKNOWN.

I think right now I am holding on to the dangerous feeling hope for myself and giving the hope that’s light to my tiny humans because in all honesty they need and deserve it.

I am holding on to dangerous hope because I believe it will teach me to be able to hold onto the lighthearted hope again.

I’m holding on to dangerous hope because in all reality out of everything flying around it’s the one I can grab.

I think I wanted to write these words, push back or not because they struck such a chord in me that I knew they were important.

I think I wanted to write these words because I wanted to vocalize that even though hope might feel dangerous and even scary and wrong, it doesn’t make you any less than.

I wanted to write these words even though I’ve literally been crying the entire time writing them because I am not less than or less of myself or less of someone who believes in God.

It does not make me less than.

Whatever you feel, however you are coping, whatever feels like or doesn’t feel like doesn’t make you less than.

But what I want to ask is that you write it down. You need tell someone. You need to speak it out loud.

You name things you don’t need and toss them out.

And however this looks, please for the love of everything, find some way to show up each day. However, that make may look.

Dear world,
My name is Meghan.
I miss my people more than I can even say.
I am more tired working with 6 kids than 15.
I am grieving things that may never happen.
And hope feels dangerous.
But I am going to try to hope anyway.
And keep fucking going.
Sincerely,
Meg

Honest, hope is a verb, I choose champagne, tiny human teacher

I didn’t want to write this

I don’t really know where to start.
It feels like a little over a week ago the world started crashing down. And it feels as if its been at least 3 weeks since then.
I haven’t wanted to write. I haven’t wanted to look for hope. Not because I didn’t want it but because I am tired.

And I specifically haven’t wanted to write because what I am feeling and going through seems petty in the big picture. BUT what would happen if we all chose to share how we are actually doing?

So, I’m gonna take a deep breath and try.

I’ve been trying to eek out some hope and positivity each day- especially at work. Yes, I’m still going to work each day, caring for tiny humans. But, that’s another story for another day.

A little over a week ago on a Thursday, we found out that our production of the Music Man had been canceled. We joined so many shows across the globe who have been working for months on end to share some joy and love and theater with the world.

We had a lot of tears that night. My two besties and I curled up on the couch after all working that day and we cried. We cried for the Saturdays spent rehearsing, for the moments we wouldn’t get. We cried for the parts of ourselves that felt dead and for what theater had done for all of our mental health.

At some point in all of our tears, I called my mom to tell her.

And the following is what I want to share with you guys.

I found out that my parents, who live in California, who don’t fly or really travel much were going to start driving on Thursday the 26th to be in Mount Vernon for the Saturday night showing of Music Man.
(I’m getting teary-eyed right now thinking about it).

For those that know my mom, you know that this is a huge, huge thing for her.
On the phone that night my mom told me she was doing this for two reasons:
1. She’d never missed a show I’d been in so she wasn’t going to start now.
2. She wanted to come to Washington to prove to me I could do anything.

My mom was going to do a very hard thing for me to prove to me that I could do anything.
I can’t confirm or deny that all of the baeby sharks were crying at this moment.
But right now, even with tears streaming down my face, because I can cry on the weekends, is that we are going through a hard thing.

And please don’t comment that we’ll be fine. We will. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t hard. We are allowed to say things aren’t ok. That we aren’t ok.
That the world feels painful.

But!

We are going through a hard thing and it’s going to prove to ourselves that we can do anything.
What are those anythings?

Some of them are small. It could be being more kind, or checking in on a neighbor. It could be staying put when your anxiety keeps you moving.
Some are big. To some parents homeschooling is hard. To some working at home without human interaction is hard.
The list goes on and on and on.

My anxiety is larger than life right now. It’s amped up and tangible. I am watching movies with my phone upstairs, I’m cleaning and I’m leaving my window open. I’m giving grace to myself for showers and naps and tears.

The world is a lot right now.

But I want to leave you with the words from Patt Reeve again slightly changed, who was going to come to watch a play two states away.

We are doing hard things right now to prove to ourselves we can do hard things.

And if your hard thing is getting out of bed right now. That’s ok.

Get out of bed and take deep breathes.

Shoot me texts if you actually know me or find me on Instagram @megmagnolia or just comment with what your hard thing is right now.

You got this.

Keep fucking going, however that looks.

I choose champagne, ramblings, smash the cardboard

145,659 + these words

I just spent a good 20 minutes scrolling down my blog. Scrolling through the 200 posts and almost 146,000 words. I’ve gotten a little teary. I’ve felt some rage. I’ve seen where I’ve come from.
I’ve felt kind of proud.
I’ve also backspaced a lot in the last hour. I’ve written what I’ve now realized are disclaimers and excuses. (They are also full of my eye-rolling a lot which I’ve been told to stop)
Because the bottom line is that the words flitting through my brain all have to do with identity.
The words flitting through me all have to do with me peeling labels off of myself and remembering that I am more than.
I’m working on getting out of a box I placed myself in and figuring out ways to do that.

I am more than.

I am more than a Christian.
I am more than my stamps in my passport.
I am more than a preschool teacher.
I am more than the single friend.
I am more than the friend that says yes.
I am more than a two on the Enneagram.
I am more than a doormat.
I am more than the youngest.
I am so much more than the lack of a ring on my finger.
I am more than a strong independent woman who needs no man.
I am more than all the things I feel I owe my friends.
I am more than a plus-size female.
I am more than my inabilities.

I am more than.

This list could keep going and going.
But, what I’ve realized is for every box I’ve been put in by someone else I’ve also put myself in probably the same box.
Just because I’ve decorated it with word art and pictures of my friends doesn’t mean it still isn’t a box.
This year I’m working on remembering I’m worthy enough to take myself out of boxes.
Because the thing about a box is that eventually, it’s gonna break down. It’s just up to us whether we are the one that does the breaking.

I don’t 100% know what all these words are for. I don’t know what is springing out of these reminders to myself.
But, I do know that we have the ability to move. We have the ability to choose to believe that we are more than.

And it’s fucking hard.

It’s hard to live in a world that tells you that you belong in a category to not believe you belong in one.
It’s hard to live in a culture that makes you check so many boxes so that they know how to deal with you.
It’s weird to live in this world and not do it to yourself without even knowing.

But, I’m deciding today it’s going to be possible.

I’m deciding that I am going to do my damnedest to not stay in the boxes I’ve put myself in.

They aren’t my whole identity, they color and highlight parts of who I am and they are beautiful and heartbreaking parts of my story.

But, I am more than them.

You, human reading this, are more than something too.

If you’re feeling brave, shoot me a comment or a message on Instagram (@megmagnolia). Take a picture and post it with the hashtag #smashthecardboardboxes
Let’s remind each other that the people who put us in boxes most often are simply ourselves.

Let’s remind each other that we are more than.

Let’s smash some cardboard boxes.

Honest, hope is a verb, I choose champagne, relationships, Uncategorized

This is not the end.

All I want in the world right now is to walk away from my computer. I want to chug down the rest of this coffee and pack up and walk out of the coffee shop.
Because if I had decided to sit here and go through all the beautiful things that happened this year, it would be different. When I sit, even for a moment, I am inundated with goodness.

Amidst all the stress, confusion and anxiety there was so much beauty. I was welcomed into a wacky theater family, I officiated two weddings- one being the wedding of two humans I treasure more than I can imagine. I went to camp again and celebrated my 34th birthday in California. I moved into a new house, I saw my friends in way too many shows, I went to Leavenworth twice and found small semblances of peace there. I got to go to my cousin’s wedding in Kansas and see some Reeve family. I got many, many chances to celebrate people I adore.

There were so many twinkly lights of joy in this year.

10 years ago in 2009 I walked into what was then my hardest, most dismal season of depression. I lost friends, lost bits of myself that I don’t think have ever returned and walked very differently into the decade than I thought I would.

I walked into this decade having seen things and felt things I didn’t realize I was capable of feeling.

And likewise- I’m walking into this next decade in the same way. A little more weathered, beaten and with more open eyes than I had before.

I’ve lived in Bellingham for a majority of the 2010s since I spent a year and half (basically) overseas, I’ve taught in a classroom 8ish/10 of the decade. I’ve gotten 9/10 tattoos in this decade. I’ve set foot in 14 countries.

I’ve come to terms with certain aspects of my life that I’m choosing to be ok with it or else I’d go crazy.

2019 reminded me that without a shadow of the doubt ( and please don’t reprimand me for the following sentence): I’m the single friend. The one you can count on to be there. The strong independent woman who can just do the damn thing. (PS Amanda- more on this later).

2019 reminded me that I will show up. Even when it is the hardest thing for me to do- I’ll do it.

2019 reminded me that sometimes people aren’t going to choose me- and that’s ok.

It reminded me that I still, even when I don’t want to, hear the voice of God.

2019 reminded me that I don’t always have to agree with you.

2019 reminded me that it’s ok that I changed.

2019 reminded me beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am 100% capable of the ability to keep fucking going and that , that ability isn’t a weakness but it is strength.

I’m looking forward now. Looking forward with the ability to move forward.

I had this picture fill my brain in church today. You know the scene in the “The Prince of Egypt” when Moses parts the Red Sea and they all start walking through it. And as they move deeper down they start to see all of the creatures in the water through this beautiful wall of water?
I was walking through the ocean, looking at the creatures, with this slight foreboding that the walls were going to crash down.
I think because I’ve lived this whole decade out of that fear, that any second the walls would come crashing down and I would drown in the thing that I saw as so beautiful.
But, today watching that picture play out in my head and seeing the water behind me urging me on, all I felt was peace. Like it was ok to move forward and soak in the beauty and the calm of the ocean around me.
And I’m going to be incredibly real with you: I don’t know if I trust it still.
Sitting here writing those words, feeling the hope that comes off of them, I am unsure if I can grab them.
But, I’m going to try.

Dear 2019,
I think if I could thank you for anything it’s that you tucked me in tightly with my people, you brought me moments and smiles and the ability to celebrate them and I thank you for that. I thank you for all the lessons and the tears, and the moments where I had to pause myself long enough so I could breath normally again.
I thank you for the good and not so good choices for my body and the laughter and stories each of those brought.
I thank you for my anger because it reminded me I could still feel it.
And I thank you, lastly for being an end of a season I didn’t even know I was in.
With love,
Meg

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, I choose champagne

At last, Sunrise

My favorite track on my favorite instrumental CD (“We were Legends” by Maree Docia) is entitled “At last, Sunrise“.

I listen to it every morning as I walk to work. Sometimes I just repeat that two minute track 5 times. I listen to it as I am walking and writing, at lunch while I’m scrolling through Instagram.
There is just some immense beauty in the chords and the instrumentals. And there is something about the hope of sunrise.

I think part of it too is that I am a cheesy teen drama aficionado (like, as I’m reading this I’m contemplating going home and rewatching Riverdale). BUT in the shows I love like Riverdale and The Vampire Diaries they are so often waiting for the night to end and the sunrise to come.

And when it does, they take a big breath and they walk away from the night into the places the lightening sky touches. When they do, I can just hear the characters saying, “At last (DEAP BREATH COMMA) sunrise.”
I think that a part of the reason I love the cheesy teen supernatural-esque shows it because, I am reminded, eventually sunrise comes. Eventually the sun will come up and shine itself upon all the things that were dark.
What doesn’t happen on those supernatural shows, for the most part, is they never show the clean up the sun brings. On TV all the devastation and gore happens but once the sun comes up the town square is miraculously cleaned off of blood and oh wait the football games tonight- but our quarterback is dead, oh well.
But, in our lives when the sun comes up after a night of turmoil, the relief the sun brings is also matched with the fact the light is shining on the chaos.
Right now, in my life, I feel as if the light is coming and the pinks and the light blues and the purple is filling the sky and as it does I’m starting to see things that happened in the dark.
I think right now, I am choosing to believe that the sunrise is happening in my life. That I am finally developing the space in my life to take a breath and say “At last, sunrise”.

I think that sometimes we have to remember to let the sun come up.

We have to take our black out curtains off of our windows and allow the sun to come up.
And then we have to go feel it on our faces and believe it will stay.

I think we have to choose to face the mess in town square and clean it up and throw a party anyway.
As a people we focus on the negative so often, we focus on the dark and the chaos and we miss the sunrise when it happens. It’s like we put up black out curtains so we can pretend it’s light out when it’s not and then we miss the light.

PEOPLE WE NEED TO STOP MISSING THE LIGHT.

(MEG YOU NEED TO STOP MISSING THE LIGHT).

And when the light comes we need to take a breath and thank it for showing up.
We need to not be afraid of the blood on the pavement (sorry, that’s totally gory, but like shows about vampires are in my brain).
I don’t know where you are in life. I don’t know if you don’t want the light because you don’t want to see what mayhem happened in the dark, I don’t know if your future is so filled with it you got to wear SPF 50.
I don’t know if you’re afraid of it, or don’t believe it’s ever coming again.
I do know though that the sun will rise again. I do know it might shed itself on things you don’t want to think about.
I do know being in the dark changed you and the light might no longer seem safe.
I do know that we need who you are- even the parts that were changed in the dark. And I do know those changes that happened in the dark feel hard to explain. And that the sunrise might not feel welcome in this moment.

And I do know that you can’t tell someone else what their light looks like. You can’t see light for other people. You can remind them to look- but you can’t see it for them.

But I do know the light is coming, it’s turning the sky beautiful colors and we need to take a deep breath and walk forward into it.

IMG_6227
one of my favorite sunrises I’ve ever seen in my life: angkor wat in cambodia

At last, sunrise.

 

 

royal family kids camp

To my Royal family: 1+1+1=1

To my Royal family,

I started writing this on Friday in the gazebo around 7am which turned out to be a horrible idea as I swatted away multiple mosquitoes (I rounded out at 19 bug bites).

Before I get into it I want you reading this to take a deep breath with me and say the following statement (which you can obviously edit if you don’t like my word choice):

“We did the damn thing”

I don’t know about you but this was my most exhausting year at camp. It’s Sunday and I barely did anything yesterday and I might feel rested now. Maybe.

Since Friday morning I’ve been contemplating what I learned this year from the kids and from you guys. I’ve been trying to think about what my first thoughts of take away are from this year.

Every year there is a small piece of me that thinks I might hit a point where the magic wears off. Where my love for this kids and this camp won’t be enough to push through. I came into this year of camp probably at the lowest I ever have. I’m pretty burned out, fresh out of ideas for things happening in my own classroom and just plain tired.

I wrote about this at the beginning of the week but the moment I got out of the car at Pinecrest I felt new again.

And then the week began.

And as I am every year- I am amazed by the way all of you love and serve the kids.

Obviously we aren’t all perfect and there are things that happen that I don’t agree with and that frustrates me, but it’s those moments that you all think no one sees. It’s when you bend down to listen to a tinier camper or when you give an older, tougher boy a chance to be a kid.

It’s when you get into the pool with the kids and see the look on their faces that you would get in the water. Or when you get up on stage to dance and it lights up their faces.

The thing about a week at camp is that the effects last a lifetime. Five days can change the course of everything.

Even just one of those five days.

I think we know that, somewhere deep inside, but I think sometimes we forget that each year of camp changes us and leaves a mark on us.

This year camp changed me more than others. And even as I sit here on Sunday morning I’m overwhelmed with just how much I love those kids. Even more than I thought possible.

I’m not quite sure how it changed me yet if I’m being honest, but this year left a mark on me (and not just the bug bites and the two bruises I got in the pool). I’m not ready to go back to life yet, I’m not ready to leave and I’m not sure how to take what I have now into my life.

But, in that, I want to remind you to take a moment or two or three, today and next week and the week after and jot some things down about camp. What you learned, what you didn’t want to learn and what you are holding on to. I want you to shake off things you don’t need and place things at His feet that you don’t need to carry.

I want you to remember that you are amazing. Whether you are a teen staff, a counselor, a staff member stationed at activities or a staff that was constantly moving locations, a grandma or grandpa, aunt, uncle or a dean. If you are someone who can’t come to camp but in hours with quilting or fundraising or the birthday party. If you were my team coach or work with the LIT. If you were one of our amazing staff counselors or last but certainly not least- if you are Becca or Susan:

You are amazing and out of this world.

Every year I am blessed, excited and beyond words with getting to work with, laugh with, and say all the words or no words with.

We did the damn thing for the kids.

We learned what worked. (The pool system)

We learned what didn’t go well ( #ripvarietyshow2k19)

And we on top of all of the that: we loved, we WERE love and I think we received more love than we can comprehend.

Every year I’m in awe of the kids and every year I’m in awe of you guys.

Another year in the books.

So let’s take a breath, write some reminders for next year and take what we learned into Monday and see how we can bring a little bit of camp to ourselves each day.

I love you all.

Until next year,

Meg