Honest, it takes a village, tiny human teacher

fall is coming

Here is the thing: Right now, in this moment, I am choosing to have hope for fall.

Not just for myself but on behalf of those around me.

We all need some hope after a summer of drought and I’m going to find it for us.

When we were kids, the physical seasons meant more.

We waited for summer break, fall meant seeing friends again and the thrill or terror of a new school year. Winter meant Christmas and break. Spring brought sports and school plays and the rounding out of the school year.

And then summer came once more.

Life was built around the actual seasons and it worked. We knew when one thing would end and another begin.

But in adulthood, seasons mean something different.

The ever lovely full of wisdom teacher Victoria has one of my favorite illustrations and reminders to me in regards to tiny humans.

Victoria’s tiny humans are 12-24 months. When they experience things like teething or a diaper rash or a sickness they can’t verbally explain, she likes to remind the other teachers in her classroom of this when a tiny human is incapable of being consoled (the following is as direct of a quote as I could remember)

“They don’t know what’s happening and they don’t know if the pain is ever going to end. All they know is it’s happening now and this is how life is now. They’ve only been around for so many months, so like, this must be how it is now.”

New tiny humans don’t know about seasons, they don’t know the pain is going to go away. They probably think this is just how it is.

And that sucks.

I’ve realized that there are things in my life, seasons in my life that have felt so permanent that I feel that same way.

“This must be how it is now”

And that sucks.

Have you ever thought that? Like you don’t know if something in your life is ever going to end. It just showed up, you don’t know where it came from, but that must be how it’s going to be.

It’s very defeating.

And that’s why, to the best of my ability and strength I am going to fight for hope for myself and on behalf of others.

I’m going to decide that the changing of seasons does change something.

That is does mean something.

Just like when we were kids.

The fall can once again mean something new. Something fresh. Another chapter.

I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt we have the ability to turn our own pages. We can choose to say “all done friends” to something, someone, somewhere.

So, to you my sweet friend reading this, whether or not I’ve ever met you, I want to remind you of something.

This is not how it’s going to be forever.

This is not how your life is now.

This is not a new appendage you have to carry.

This will end.

You can turn the page.

Fall is coming.

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

I choose champagne

2016: the last word pt2

Here goes nothing.

I just went back and read my words prior to 2016. And the final line of that blog was “here’s to a new year with space for all the things.”

I just wrote four or five lines on how this statement wasn’t true. But I deleted them because I realized that this year did indeed have all the things. Meaning there was space for them.

There just wasn’t space for anything else.

I wrote in part one how I cried a lot this year. Painful, gut-wrenching, heartbreaking sobs.

But, because most things in my life in one way or another relate back to tiny humans as this last week has been me in a state of exhaustion I began thinking about this fact that’s always in the back of brain especially in regards to the tiny humans that take a little bit more of my teacher Meg voice.

For every negative that is spoken over a human (no!, that wasn’t a good choice, redirecting, or even stepping into help with a direction) you need 5 positives to balance it out. And actually, at the end of the day most need ten. We have an average of about 20,000 interactions a day. And how many of those are positive or negative. 

This is where I feel we get hit.

This is where I feel I get hit.

Partly because if I’m being honest , I am not the first to speak positive things to myself. Not neccesarily that I speak negatively to myself, but I don’t counteract the outside world.

I also am not the greatest at receiving the words or big acts from people. 

It’s not like I had many people being mean to me left and right this year. But I had a lot of being second choice, I had people physically showing me they did not want to be in my life, I had a lot of the life around me telling me I wasn’t enough, or that I was needed not wanted and I had people that showed they didn’t respect the kids I loved so dearly to just show the eff up. (Ex. The dark times in T1. Shout out here to: Katy and Krys for always being there, Jamie for always being encouraging, elizabeth for looks through the window, Victoria for always showing up early and Patty for always having wine)

So, as I’ve come to the end of this year I feel I can say that this as a sum up of all the things:

2016 was a full fledge attack on my identity.

It was a year that told me time after time after time that I wasn’t enough, or good enough, or first choice, or wanted. It was a year that told me to just give up. It was year that tried to strip the joy away from things in my life that are good and lovely.

But you know what? There is something, deep ingrained in me, that tells me that the lovely and good are still there. And for as much as I will be the first to say that I battled things in this year that I thought were long passed-insecurities, and ghosts and anxiety I will also say but.

Because the people.

Because the people in my life had so many lovely, celebratory things happen in their life and they invited me along for the ride. Because the people in my life had hard, hard times and they invited me to grieve with them. Because the people in my life put their arm around my shoulder when I had no words for what I needed. Because for as many times as I told the people in my life that they weren’t crazy and it was ok they said the same thing back.

If this year has taught me anything or really reiterated a lesson I already knew, it’s that I do better, I’m more myself because of the people around me. 

And on the days when the lives of the people around me cause me to see what I’m lacking, I have to choose to remember that without them I’d be lacking and vice versa.

So yes, I have absolutely no problem saying this year will not go down as a favorite. 

But I will say that I learned to celebrate small things and REALLY celebrate the joyous beautiful things. 

I will say I learned to choose my battles. And to stand my ground.

I will say learned to say no (more than the year prior)

I will say I fell more deeply in love with the people in my life.

Because without them, what’s really the point?

So 2016, I bid you a gigantic peace out. I thank you for the tears from laughter, for the margaritas on Tuesday, the champagne on Sundays, for a dozen cheesecakes and tables teeming with people. 

But like, please let the door hit you on the way out.

2017, let’s choose champagne. 

Honest, I choose champagne, washington whimsy

What if I can’t be thankful?

I’ve been trying really hard to be thankful.

I am person who can generally jump into gratitude. I am thankful I have a job that I mostly love, I have a roof over my head, clean water, food, and people in my life. 

But these days being thankful for 2016 is not natural. 

I feel like I’ve been making my own luck these days, making my own story whimsy and beautiful and I’ve gotten tired. 

I’m thankful I’m someone who finds beauty in creating a beautiful meal for myself, or writing a note to someone or popping open a bottle of champagne.

As I wrote a week or so ago, I’m wanting to go into the new year actively choosing champagne. Actively choosing beauty.

But, if I’m being a little honest, I have some trepidation.

I’ve speaking a lot about changing my perspective, changing the way I see things, choosing champagne and buying my own damn kitchen aid. 

But what if I can’t?

What if 2017 is filled again with tears and loneliness and long weeks and tiredness and I find myself unable to push through? 

What if I can no longer be thankful for the little things?

What if I still want to run?

Choosing for yourself to see beauty, to have gratefulness, to choose hope daily amidst everything else in life is exhausting.

The weariness of this year is like the fingerprints on the glass doors in my classroom, it never quite goes away, and right when the fingerprints are scrubbed off 14 pairs of hands rush the door again.

This has been a different kind of year. I’ve had years that have caused me to question my life, my faith, my choices.

Ironically, when I reached a point where I felt like I knew who I was the most, this year has caused me to question the things that make up who I am.

And that has caused me to be weary.

I am thankful for parts of this year. I’m thankful for my roommate, for my friends, for the yellow house, for my job, for my church, for baby Choi, for plane tickets and Facetime and tears caught by people I trust on a cement floor in a garage.

I’m ready for the new year, excited by it and hopeful–because those are buried deeply in me, no matter what has happened to me. They’ve been question this year. I’ve pondered if it’s worth having those defaults. If they have gotten me anywhere.

In the midst of writing this blog my beautiful friend Katarina text me on of her favorite quotes:

That’s where I am with only a few weeks left in 2016. I know eventually down the road I will be thankful for what this year held as a whole, but right now I’m choosing to not be.

And I think that’s ok. 

Honest, washington whimsy

2017 might not be different

I normally wait till the end of the year to start processing a year gone by. But there are about 7 weeks left in 2016 and I am counting down.

This year has been brutal. Not necessarily lots of “bad” things have transpired, but every single week has been a competition for the award of the longest week. Most days have felt like battles I was unable to win
And I’m trying to figure out why. Was it me? Was I not trying? Did I not trust? Was I not kind enough? Was I not giving it my all?

I’m 31 and at some point I guess I began to believe the lie that eventually this would get easier.

But it doesn’t. (At least not in the way we think it should).

I’ve searched to find bright spots (and I have–I’ll share those another day), but those even seem to get muffled in what look like mistakes, miscommunications, burdens.

The wonderful, beautiful moments are lined in heartbreak. The dreams have a “but I’m not there yet” tagged on the end.

And, what I’ve come to realize is a new year isn’t going to change any of that.

That’s hard for me to say. To come to grips with. 
It’s not the person that I am.

I’m the one that says, “choose to believe”. I’m the person that hopes when people can’t hope for themselves. I believe when you are unable to choose that.

And I have to say:

2017 might not be different.

I distinctly remember when the year went from 2004-2005 or 2009-2010 or even 2012-2013.

I cried at midnight each of those years.

I was ready, I knew that no matter what, the year that followed would be nothing like the year that preceded it.

Depression, death, heartbreak.

But now, I’m 31 and I’ve experienced all those things more than I care to admit.

So, here’s what I’ve concluded.

2017 might not be different. 

It might have depression, heartbreak, death. It will probably have more than a handful of long weeks. It will have tears, anger, sleepless nights. The things that are lovely and joyful might be tinged with heartache.

2017 might not be different.

But I have to choose to be.

I have to choose to believe that I am a more whole person than I was when the year moved from 2015 to 2016. I have to remember that I care less what people think about me and more if they feel loved. 

(And I dare say, that maybe I am funnier than I was in 2015.)

I’ll share more as this year rounds out, more victories in the midst of feeling unsuccessful. More lessons, more moments that brought me to tears with laughter. This has been my year of honesty in writing and I will keep bringing that to the table.

Because 2017 might not be different.

But I will be.

To dream

29: Sorry Mr. Demaris, I need to relearn spanish.

26. (you were a wacky ride)

27.(you went whoosh)

28.(I’m gonna need a new passport)

Good heavens.

I started my 28th birthday in the midst of running across the Istanbul airport trying to get to the correct gate to catch our flight to Johannesburg, South Africa. South Africa in that moment was probably my most favorite country in the world. And I was going to get the chance to spend my first month of being 28 nestled in the outskirts of my favorite city getting to spend my days doing ministry, living on a guava farm and of course getting to look at Table Mountain every day.

IMG_8806((my 28th birthday on a plane))

And what a start it gave 28.

The first 5 months of my 28 was spent in foreign countries. South Africa, Mozambique, Swaziland THAILAND, Cambodia, Malaysia.

I slept in a stable, in my tent in the middle of a village, on a foam mattress in the middle of a team house, in a tent in a house surrounded by lizards, in a strip mall, in (a lot ) of hostels.

piclab-26((randy&betsy// two people who brought me more wisdom and love than I could ever fathom in my 28))

I did life with some utterly amazing people. I saw elephants and lions and so many giraffes. I hitchhiked down African roads. I laid hands on people and saw demons physically come out of them. I cooked for 100 widows and orphans on $30. I taught english, gave singing lessons, drank a lot of coffee, held babies, held some more babies, I filled up journals, wrote blogs, ate roti, cleaned   bathrooms everywhere, ran in the southeast asian humidity, baked cakes, and drank some more coffee.

IMG_8811((just a perfect day off with some amazing, truth speaking, lovely people))

I cooked for my family of 50 and got blisters cutting up butternut squash.

I found out that I was truly a BA

I fell in love with the city of Bangkok.

IMG_8809((my cooking crew in swaziland. cooking butternut squash mac n cheese for Nsquad))

And with street food in Mozambique.

I was reminded of my love for leading worship.

I learned so much about myself.

More than I can even begin to fathom.

And then that journey ended.

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((my BA women in Swazi))

I remember sitting in my counselor office on my first Thursday in the states.

Did that just happen?

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((the 112//no words needed))

Was it a dream?

And now almost 6 months later I can say it wasn’t.

These last 6 months I’ve reconnected with friends. I’ve had numerous skype dates and facetime calls holding onto the relationships I made last year. I’ve gone to Georgia and got to do life in the states if but for a moment with those I treasure.

IMG_8807

((i carry you in my heart))

I’ve got in and out of darkness over the last 6 months. In and out of ruts. I’ve curled up on the couches at my best friend’s house and laughed with her and her sweet girls. I’ve gone to orange county and laughed in an apartment that holds so many memories. I’ve sat in the same chair at a new coffee shop in my hometown and poured out so many of my feelings and heartaches.

((I still haven’t had the Choprah))

I’ve written A LOT.

IMG_8802

((the bestie and my goddaughters// my loves.))

I’ve realized I’m so much further from what I once was than I thought.

I’ve seen God in a new way.

I’ve made a decision to walk over fear and keep going.

28 was up, down, in and out. 28 makes me long for foreign breezes and watching the sun tuck behind an ocean that is not my own.

The beginning of 28 oddly enough felt like home and the end has felt murky.

I’m going to spend the beginning of 29 on a foreign lands.

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((our first family picture in 20 years. My older brothers and I))

I have so many hopes, dreams and passions and the beginning of 29 feels like the start.

I wish I could properly articulate why this next step is so important. It’s happening because of all I learned about myself in 28. There is still more to do and grow.

28 rocked me and changed me.

I literally and metaphorically conquered mountains.

IMG_8804

 

((members of Team V who conquered Table Mountain in South Africa))

It allowed me to be able to stand on the edge and yell that I am worth it.

29 is going to be apart of helping me believe it and 29 is going to be rough as I take an even bigger plunge.

28 was a turning point. Showing me that I never want to live in a world where God is only as big as we make him.

Because he is so much bigger. And I’m going to spend 29 and beyond pressing into that and showing those around me His truth.

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((hashtuck// ankgor wat, Cambodia))

((I still need some help to get there. If you want to join me in my 29 adventure and partner with me please check this out.))