Honest, washington whimsy

why Spain ruined adulthood

I’ve gotten more then one comment about my emo-sounding Facebook statuses these days. Most of them have to do with being done with long weeks, and needing a drink.
(2016 has been long)
I don’t write them to get a reaction–it’s more like Facebook has become this weird time capsule of my life. And I really enjoy it.
(And I also I like sarcasm.)

I’ve been trying to find longer words and sentences to help explain the thoughts in my head. I’m much better at explaining them at my kitchen island or over group text. But when I try to long form these thoughts I hit a stalemate.

So here goes nothing.

Before I went on the world race in 2013, I had lived in Orange County essentially for about nine years. 

The first four in college and then from 2007 to the fall of 2012, I lived and worked in the area. I babysat a lot, went on adventures with my friends, was involved in my church, paid rent & bills, went to therapy, cooked my own meals, did my own laundry. 

What I am trying to say that before I went on my whirlwind two years of adventure, I had done the adult things. I had dealt with grown-up matters.

And then I went around the world and also dealt with adult matters that a lot of adults don’t deal with: emotional health, spiritual health, border crossings and praying against witch craft. 

But then? 

Then I went to Spain.

And if I am being honest it has screwed up being an adult.

I found out that I have more control over who I am then I ever thought.

I found out my presence changes things.

I found out that there is more to me.

I found out that I could change the colors of my flowers if I wanted.

And now I’m back in the states. Settled. Working 40 hrs a week. Involved in church. Paying bills, doing laundry. Not cooking as much as I should. 

But it’s different. Now, that I am settled and where I am going to be, I found myself living in this tension. 

Now, I know there is more.

And I’m not talking about more in the sense of “more out there”.

(backpacking living ain’t for me.)

Yes, I want to travel more and fill another passport. I want to go back to Spain and have a blue chair bocadillo and I want to see Samaritan Creation’s coffee shop and have Kay make me a Thai coffee.

I mean, there is more for me here. There is more to sink my teeth into. But right now, I’m living in this tension. And it’s weird to describe. Because, I know, I am here for a reason, for a purpose, for a life. And I know that apart of that is what I am living and doing being right now. But there is something beyond the everyday. 

The more is now and also later.

(Both/and)

Here’s the tension: if the more is now, how do we put the more into our daily lives? How do I take all the things I’ve learned and received, that I attempt to walk in daily and use them?

How do I change the color of my flowers if no one else is?

How do I become a person who reacts out of who I am not who the other person is when the person doesn’t give a damn?

How do I fit the more into a 40 hr work week?

Being an adult was so much easier when I didn’t know any of this.

But I do, and I am grateful for the knowledge. I am grateful I have a voice and a mind and higher thoughts and the ability to live in this tension.

I know I’m here.

I know the more is now.

And I know the more the future.

I don’t have any answers.

I’m figuring it out.

the recipe series, washington whimsy

The Recipe Series: an international wedding cake 

Edit

1 cup sugar. Half a cup of Greek yogurt. Half a cup of milk. 1 and a quarter cup of flour. Third a cup of oil. 1 and a quarter teaspoon of baking powder. A splash of vanilla. 20 minutes in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius makes one layer of a five layer cake. Repeat times 7 (because you need back up cakes)That is how you make the layers for a five layer wedding cake with one 9 inch round and a hit & miss oven in the south of Spain.


I remember when I got a random Facebook message from Whitney- a woman I had never met. She told me that Tiffany and Abby had told her that I made wedding cakes. (Fact: I had made one wedding cake) And she wanted to know if when I got to Spain I would like to make the wedding cake for Esther, Andrew and Mo’s daughter.

That wasn’t terrifying at all.

You see, Andrew is the founder for G42, the leadership academy I went to in Spain and at that point in my pre-Spain brain, I was scared of meeting him, because I had a feeling he would be a person who could look at me and cause me to cry with a glance (and I mean for the most part I was right except replace terror with lots of love). So, to make the wedding cake for his daughter was saying a lot about myself. But, of course, being the human that I am, I said yes.

I was only in Spain for a couple weeks when the weekend came to prep and make the cake. I was going to make all of the layers and freeze them the day before and dirty frost them. I had made one test layer prior to this day and it turned out well and got rave reviews, so I felt prepared the cake wouldn’t suck. And I googled how to fill the cake with jam without it toppling.

Baking is sacred to me. And if I don’t like how it turns out I normally will toss it. So, for the first time in my life, I started to fill the baking of this cake with prayer. Because I was an absolute nervous wreck. This cake was going to speak of me, or so I thought, what if it fell apart, or didn’t taste good. Most of the people I was now doing life with in Spain didn’t know me at all, didn’t know who I was or what I was capable of.

What I am trying to say is that I was practically paralyzed with fear that the cake would be a failure.

So I scooped and measured and stirred and cleaned and sang and face timed with friends. I coated the kitchen in flour and powdered sugar and got shaky from said powdered sugar and mass quantities of coffee. I cooled the cakes and wrapped them in Saran Wrap and stuck them in the freezer.

And in the midst of the stirring and measuring and baking, Andrew came by the house to drop off some wedding prep items and as I was the only one in the house he popped into the kitchen to talk to me. I couldn’t tell you what he said to me at this point, but the peace fell in that moment and I believe because of that, the peace fell into my baking.

I had two days of baking in the Mijouse kitchen to create a five layer cake with raspberry jam filling and buttercream frosting. I was mainly alone with some assistance from the flower girl and visits from my friends.

But what I learned from that moment was my stress translates into my baking and cooking. And instead of pouring stress into something I need to pour love and peace and goodness. So I wrote a prayer for Jason and Esther on the cardboard that I used as a cake board.


No one saw it but I knew the cake was sitting on a foundation that more then just a physical piece of cardboard.

In the end I was just plain honored to have made that cake.

I made that same cake two more times. Once halfway through my time for Kellen and Whitney’s one year wedding anniversary and once at the end for Andrew’s 70th birthday; because according to Mo–I made Esther’s cake in the beginning so I needed to make Andrew’s at the end of my time. And it’s funny as I look at the timeline. That I made that cake three different times in the span of six months and how I was a different human each time. And by the time I made Andrew’s cake, I was bursting with love for him and for that place and for that tribe. So I poured all of the love and honor and celebration (and tears) into that cake and it showed. I could tell the cake was different then any others I had made.


There’s a moment in my favorite cheesy dance movie CenterStage in which Charlie tells Jody to “Whatever you feel, just dance it”. I don’t want to bake or cook with whatever I feel. I want to get it all out, the stress, the nerves, the overload, the weight on my shoulders, with the chopping and the mixing and the cutting and the blending. But when I pour the layers into the cake pan, or simmer the soup on the oven all that needs to be left is the truth, the joy and the celebration.


Things fall flat or burn or fall apart when they come from a rocky foundation. But when things are filled with hope and joy and truth and celebration they aren’t wobbly. They are declarative and they are a resounding choice to not be controlled by what you feel. And a resounding choice to live above the fog.

Cooking and baking is about more then just the act of feeding and nourishing those I love. It’s about story and emotion and truth and revelation. This new blog post is the inaugural post for “the recipe series”. While right now it is just words and story on a screen my hope is that one day it will be a physical tangible cookbook. Filled with stories about making butternut squash Mac and cheese for my entire squad in Swaziland, or cooking over the fire at training camp or vegetarian April and poblano pepper and mango quesadillas or my new signature dish coconut sugar, gluten-free cheesecake.

So without further ado, let’s eat.

stateside

there’s no cream in my coffee

Today, while getting ready to come and sit at my favorite little coffee shop in my hometown, I took a sip of coffee out of my mug.

Black coffee.

And with that simple change in my life, I have come to realize that I have changed.

I know, I KNOW. That’s a really silly thing to make you realize that you had changed. Not all of the other monumental aspects in life; but black coffee.

I’ve been meaning to rewrite the “about me” section of my blog these days. For multiple reasons but one of the main ones being this: the person that wrote that almost exactly a year ago is in no way, shape or form the same person that sits in front of the computer today.

I look about the same. I mean, there is nail polish on both my fingers and my toes and I am wearing a sock bun (and yes Whitney it is with the holder). But, I walk a bit differently, my language is a bit more life filled then it was before and I’m not afraid to just put all if out there. I don’t need to hide behind vague languages or mix my words. So without further ado, here is what will be living on my page entitled “who she is”(or my life in about 500 words).

Hi.

My name is MegHan, most call me Meg, Megs, Miss. Meghan or sometimes even Moses.

Grew up in Central California’s answer to a (Swedish) Stars Hollow.

I’m the youngest. 1 of 3. Only girl. I have 2 neices and 2 nephews. I have had the same best friend since I was 4.

Graduated high school. Moved to the beach. (And Disneyland) Studied English and Music. Wrote papers on Sex and the City, said the Indians weren’t people (CONTEXT!) and sang in a choir. Got a passport. Went to China.

Graduated College. Stayed near the beach. Worked at a preschool with kids. A day camp with kids. A church with kids. (this is when I started drinking coffee.)

Kept going to Disneyland. Kept having adventures with some of the best people ever, living in the best apartment ever.

Went through a hellish depression. Went to therapy. A lot. Told my therapist my coach purse made me feel better. (saw him for four years. That’s a lot of coach purses.)

Got involved at my church. Wrote a lot about sermons. And went to South Africa. So I wrote about that as well.

Somewhere along those years I acquired three tattoos.

Then I got hit by a car. (and got another tattoo) I decided I needed to quit my job of 5 years. So I did.

I packed up my stuff.

Went on an adventure to 11 countries. With a group of people who are now family. I was veracious, a BA and a #112. I cooked over stoves, gas fires and coals. I was broken, beaten, Cambodian small eye stricken. My heart was full of stories from all over the world.

(and I got another tattoo)

And I came home. Fell apart

Realized I had shattered into a million pieces.

(Mostly) believed in Jesus

So I kicking and screaming got on a plane.

And spent six months in Spain. Where I not only acquired cooking skills and wine snobbery but where I met Love. Trust. Hope. Truth. VOICE. Where I met Jesus. Where I met Christ. Where I SLAYED giants. Where I acquired more family and a home team. (and then my passport was filled and expired)

So now: I’m moving to Bellingham WA. With a member of my home team. We are going to do the damn thing. And create a home for people to meet Love, to meet Jesus and to meet Christ. (and to read books and drink coffee and all the lovely things)

So that’s me. Meg. Lover of words, Jesus and coffee.

I have favorite places scattered over the world from this coffee shop in Kingsburg, to just about anywhere in Mijas, from Disneyland to Antique Café in Bangkok, from CapeTown, South Africa to the rice fields in Kampong Speu. My favorite places are scattered because the people I hold dear are. They are as close as down the street and as far as across an ocean.

And everywhere in between.

So I will go everywhere in between. With my desire to bring truth, story and home wherever I go. And a desire to bring this crazy love of Christ that I’ve encountered to all the spaces in which I walk.

If you want to know more about me, my love of story, what I’m going to do in Bellingham, about the winds in Spain, my love of coffee, what it means to have a hometeam or the fact that my TV watching schedule involves vampires and shows on TLC shoot me a message. I’d love to hear from you and hear where the winds are taking you.

spain

scrape the chairs

(my cover photo for this blog is in honor of the 70th birthday of Andrew Shearman. He’s the founder and vision caster of this place and I am so grateful for the works he put in motion, the table he created and the love he pours every day into those who follow him.)

Last week, on my second to last day of class, I went to Maria’s to write. When Patty and I find ourselves there to do work at the same time we normally sit at separate tables.

But on days when we start class at ten we end up in the bakery at the same time as the rush of moms getting coffee after they drop their kids at school and at the same time as this group of runners piles itself slowly into a corner.

There isn’t a lot of room at Maria’s. Five round tables with about 3 chairs each. And with the cold wind outside no one dares occupy the tables scattered outside the doorway.

So as it gets more and more crowded and the tables get filled one of us will take notice and will choose to move and make room.

I moved this time. I got up and made room and came to sit at the table with Patty. We rearranged it, moved the poinsettia and the napkin holder.

We made room and I sat at the table.

(From the pounding of my heart as I wrote that sentence, I know that there is more.)

I made room. And then I sat at the table.

When I first got here in July I didn’t think there was room for me. And it wasn’t in a negative way (most of the time), I just didn’t think that this was my table. I didn’t believe I fit.

I was ok with sitting away from everything, watching people continually come back and sit and see how it supernaturally expanded.

And even though I wasn’t sitting there; I was so blessed by watching people come back from all over the world and sit without a care who they were next too.

I saw the peace that came when people set their feet back in this place.

The weariness that was shaken off.

The weariness that was shaken off by coming home.

I remember this one moment in college, it was my freshman year and my two roommates and I were dubbed “the mean girls”. Anyway, the three of us and a friend went to a floor event at a restaurant. We walked and the table all of the others were sitting at was full, and no one moved or lifted a finger to find a seat.

So we sat down at another table.

About three minutes later more girls from the floor poured through the door.

And everyone moved.

We watched in awe of the fact that literally every person around the table moved.They made room.

And now as I sit and think about that moment I realized something:

Did I really WANT to sit at that table?

Probably not.

If I would have, I would have made room for myself.

Moved back a chair and set myself down.

I began to, at some point, make room for myself at tables in Spain.

It took me awhile.

I didn’t want to make room for myself. I was that one who had walked through the door last. I was the one who didn’t know where the extra chairs were.

But somewhere along the way I realized that all it takes is me scraping some chair legs on the floor and someone will help.

This table is filled with a whole lot of family. It’s a place that I didn’t have to work to sit at but I had to WANT to sit at. It’s filled with people I trust, people who have wisdom and authority. People who love beyond condition.

Here’s my challenge, my advice, a piece of love: Find a table; find a group of people; find a family who shares your DNA, scrape some chair legs and have a seat.

It will be a place of love and of change if you allow it.

I found my table, my tribe, here in Spain. I am sad to leave them, but I know I will always have a seat.

Honest, Spain g42

I hate change.

I’ve sat in front of my computer and feel like I’ve started multiple blogs and most times I’ve written, “I don’t know what to say”.

But of course that’s a major lie.
8 times out of 10 I know what I want to say.
What I’m learning is when or when it is not the time to say them.

Right now there are an incredible amount of thoughts, plans, stories stocked piled in my brain that I want to share. It’s so much that I don’t really know where to start. My mind flits from topic, to tangent and I end up sitting in front of my screen deleting full paragraphs of what I have started, shutting my computer and calling it a day.

Today I’m choosing to write about one I’ve been thinking on for awhile.

I have a word that I realize I despise almost as much as “process”.

CHANGE.

I despise the word change. Every day we are attacked with things we need to change.

Changing how you eat.
Changing how you act.
Changing who you are.

But is it really about change?

About 4 years ago I got this tattoo.
image-22
I got it after year of battling, surging through and living in depression.

Restored is finalized. Done. Finished.

That’s what I wanted to be. I didn’t want to have a present tense word tattooed on me for eternity; I wanted something that spoke of an act already completed.

In the process of life I wasn’t “changing” into a less depressed person, I was become restored into something I was already.

Take a painting for example; it’s battered, torn, ripped. A person doesn’t look at it and decide well, it has done its job, might as well scrap the thing and move on. Nope, they call in someone who restores. Who will take the pieces that are there and bring it back to its original likeness.

And that is why I hate the word change.
God doesn’t want to CHANGE us. For heavens sakes, he CREATED us. He saw us in our original beautiful form. He wants to bring us back to where we once were.

He wants to bring us back to the original likeness he created.

I think that we so often think we need to “change” because we don’t actually know what we are supposed to be.
I don’t know how many times I can say it: We don’t need to change. Change means scrap the whole thing; it means take nothing of ourselves. And God gave us so many crazy talents, gifts and desires to use.
So many to keep.

God wants to restore the world. He wants to show us what He really made us to be. That’s why it never works to go into a third world country and try to get them to act like America and do life like America; that’s not how they were designed. We can help them find what they’ve lost in themselves.

I will never ask you to change who you are. Because deep down in all of us is the foundation of encouraging, of service, giving, and love. It’s all in there. We just need to chip away at the things that hide them.

We need to bring in the one who does an amazing job at restoring masterpieces and have him work on the rips and the blemishes.

So as I walked to Spar today and especially over the last few weeks of the new term; I’ve realized that God is restoring me to what I am supposed to be. I’m different. New, strong.

My joy has been restored.

And it’s not from asking God to change me or make me into some new. It’s from walking with Him each day, in the good and the bad and seeing who HE is and in that seeing who I am.

I’m not new. I’m just me. Restored. Realizing passions and dreams that are becoming a doable reality right out in front of me.

Restoration isn’t easy. It’s hard work, it’s allowing some tears to be torn a little more. It’s not about scrapping and starting over.
It’s about doing the work that needs to be done.
It’s about living like you were made for something.
Not like you were made to be something else.

Let’s stop changing.
Let’s get into the business of restoration.

hope is a verb, Spain g42

do the damn thing.

I’m ready.
Or at least, I think I’m ready.

When I had two months to go on the World Race last year I was in the middle of Cambodia in a village, hand washing my clothes and taking bucket showers, battling Small Eye, teaching little children English and for a season being a vegetarian because no has time to accidently eat dog.

I had a countdown chain that was counting the days until I hit the United States. I was ready to go home. Ready to be done. I had to firmly plant my feet in the rice fields of Cambodia and pray for so many aspects of life.

This time is different.

I’m not ready.

I am finding ways to superglue my feet into the soil of Mijas.
Ways to soak up every minute around these people I love.
I don’t want to leave this place. The people, the heart, the DNA.
There were parts of last year I didn’t want to leave.
But there is nothing really about here that causes me to retreat.

And that is why I am ready.
I have two months left and I am going to take all I can and infuse myself with this corner of the south of Spain.

And then to quote my friend Patty Reed “I’m going to go do the damn thing”.

I’m ready to step in the river; not test out the water, not stick a toe in, but go and DO and BE.

So this is why I am so utterly grateful that I still have two months to sink my toes into the sands next to the Mediterranean. Two more months to grab hold of all that this place has to offer.

Two more months to live in this place I will always call home.

My vision and dreams feel more real, more part of myself then they EVER have.

I’m ready to plant my feet and build, speak and create life.

As I sat in class today this is what I came to terms with; I realized I’m ready, but I’m not.

So let’s go do the damn thing.

Spain g42

creatively speaking: a story

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

And so I sat.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I gather he’s a father.

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

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

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

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

He looked young but old.

So I sat.

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

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

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

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

So I looked up.

He held by eyes and smiled this tired smile.

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

I’m not complicated.

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

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

And I sat.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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