Honest, washington whimsy

You won’t win this round Washington.

I was writing an email to a couple friends today, it was an email I’ve tried to write at least three times in the last two weeks. I’ve done a lot of deleting and not saving drafts. And as I was typing I started talking about how California was never a battle. Like physically. Living in Orange County, in the environment, the air, the ocean, the sunshine.

Sure my ten years in Orange County were filled with depression and sadness, death, broken friendships and tears. But I also did yoga, on the beach, while the sun went down. And Disneyland was my backyard. And I wore sandals most days. And nighttime beach trips after mojitos in Huntington. 

I didn’t have to physically battle with the environment around me.

So I came to a weird realization as I haphazardly threw words on a page. 

Washington is beating me up. 

The weather, the lack of sunshine, the fact that said sunshine isn’t super warm. 

And then I got to thinking to the world race and the countries that physically were the hardest: Peru (both months), South Africa, Mozambique and (duh) Cambodia.

Peru was dirty, all the time, and hot and sticky. But I can never get back the month spent in Trujillo with access to some of my favorite people all the time and I would have followed pastor Nestor all day and watched him interact with the people of Chincha. South Africa was cold and cold and cold and tiring and frustrating and sad, but when I walked out of the stable every morning I could see Table Mountain and I felt home. Mozambique it never stopped raining, everything was wet, cooking was an all day event, but the spirit of the Lord was there. 

And Cambodia. Dirty, small eye, cellulitis, all the freakin things. But after a seemingly rough month in Thailand of team dynamics, I dare say the 112 was officially bonded for life over Cambodian princess pictures and also Cambodian small eye.

So, what I can learn from all these experiences is when the environment is tough and dirty, and wet and you spend too much money on Clorox wipes, sublime chocolate, Maui onion & balsamic chips and ice cold pop, that when the environment is wanting you to run, that maybe just maybe you need to stick around for the view from the top.

I remember when we were in Capetown and a group of us decided to spend one of our last days there climbing table mountain. Our contact said it wasn’t “too bad of a climb”.

It was a staircase up the side of the hill.

And I was maybe ten minutes and was the least physically capable person in the group and looked at the physical challenge facing me and wanted to throw in the towel. But the ladies wouldn’t have it. They wanted me to make it to the top with them.

And it took me longer and more breaks, but I did it.

And let me tell you–it is something I will never forget. 

  
I will never forget that view, or the view of the rice fields in Cambodia, or the expanse of the land around the compound in Trujillo.

All those times I just wanted to out my head down and run, or sink into myself (or not be in a tent in Mozambique during the rain). All of those environments, physically were everything I find it hard to exist in. They all tried too, and sometimes succeeding in their attempt to beat me up and push me out before I had the ability to get to the top to see the view.

Those were really small seasons in life, 3-4 weeks tops. They are bookmarks in my story, a place where I have dogged eared the pages in order to remember and look back on.

Washington though, is life and home for the near future. 

And it’s doing everything it can to beat me up. 

Telling me that I can’t wear flip flops and shorts. 

Telling me that I can’t be who I am here. 

Telling me that I can’t make it to the top of the mountain and find the goodness.

Washington is trying to tell me I don’t fit.

YOU KNOW WHAT WASHINGTON?

If I ran from every place I didn’t feel like I fit in at I would be nowhere.

I didn’t feel like I fit in Spain, or at Vanguard, or in Kingsburg. I didn’t feel like I fit on Team BA and I was their leader. I don’t feel like I fit or have a place at any of the churches I attended/worked.

I have spent most of my life battling the environment around me and not feeling as if I fit in it.

I just had another listen to my now over a year old prayer and prophecy from grad week from G42. And all of them are crazy scary accurate to my life. 

The last two were spoken by two men whose words I hold in high regard. And as I heard them again I realized that they had truths I need for now.
“But Meg, don’t diminish yourself or shrink back or hide to make the people around you feel comfortable but just unfurl yourself in the fullness of who you are and force them to catch up.”

“Where she takes a safe place with her, not leaving a safe place, you are a safe place….. you are going back out as a safe place”

Because, if I have learned anything from my years of traveling and being places where I didn’t feel as if I fit, it’s that at the end of the day I am still the same human, whether I am in the deserts of Peru or the rain of Washington or the sunshine of California. It’s taken me a lot to get to that place and (obviously) I’m still learning how to fully remember that when my brain feels spinny. 

So that’s it. No solutions. Small epiphanies. Ugly truths.

But one I thing I know for sure: if the cellulitis, small eye filled village in Cambodia didn’t cause me to give up on who I am?

You don’t stand a chance Washington. 



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.

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((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.

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((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.

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((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.))

ramblings

(maybe one day I’ll make you cry over a vampire baby)

I had the privilege and the great joy of living an amazing story in 2013. I set foot in 11 countries, I had conversation that superseded language and religion. I climbed Table Mountain in South Africa and dropped down waterfalls in Ecuador. I watched the sun go down over the Indian Ocean from the balcony of my flat in Mozambique. I got a tattoo in Romania and held lots and lots of babies EVERYWHERE

I know what you’re thinking: How in the world do you top that?

I have so many stories to tell from last year. Like the time a babushka gave me a sweater in Ukraine or about how much I love Bangkok. Or how in Mozi we ended up on an island in the middle of the Indian Ocean surrounded by fishermen.

But when I really think about it, when I really delve into it; my stories about life were pretty awesome before then. They just weren’t wrapped up in foreign countries.

Like how I once changed 30+ diapers at an event at a church in one day. Or how my preschoolers say the best things. Or that one night when my friends and I ran into Dennis Rodham and he bought us drinks.

Piclab-3                                   ((a piece of story//extreme home makeover South Africa))

I can tell stories upon stories of heartache, of loss, of joy, of laughter and stories upon stories of how Jesus always heals us.

We ALL have jaw-dropping stories whether we believe it or not.

It’s just whether or not we choose to believe them or tell them.

Stories don’t just have to be encouraging or heartbreaking.

Story telling is an art form. Whether they are fiction or non-fiction. Whether they are about you or not.

I appreciate all forms. For instance last week I watched the finales of my two favorite show. (The Vampire Diaries and the Originals JUDGE ME I DON’T CARE) and those writers, MAN, can they weave a story. I’m still easily emotional over a magical baby and the death of a character whose redemption is 5 seasons in the making. I had all of the feels and emotions over vampires who don’t actually exist because their story was told so well. I can appreciate that greatly. The heart and creativity that goes into making people cry over murderous vampires.

What would happen if we took that ability, that gift to tell our own stories as well?

What do you think would happen?

Piclab-2                                                            ((a piece of story// COFFEE))

We all have story. Some we choose to tell, some we hold close to our hearts. I’ve told a lot of story over the years, I’ve written a lot down, shared them in classes, with friends, in bible studies. Like how I finally in this blog talked about Joe or how I wrote my heart into a fear piece that I sent to a lot of my friends. We were meant to do that. To share our hearts, our experiences with each other.

I don’t think God used the written word to reach so many because it was the “easiest” way. I think he used it as an example to us. For us to share our stories, to share what he taught us, to share what we’ve been through. To share how we need to come together.

It’s ingrained in us.

Why do you think we cram on couches week after week to see if Caroline ever shows up in New Orleans, or if Damon is going to come back from the dead (#toosoon) or are Wade and Zoe FINALLY going to be together for heavens sake! (that’s all just me? Once again; judge away)**

Because we are a people who long to be involved in story. And sometimes we think that those stories being told on a TV or in a book or on the big screen are bigger and more important than what we walk in daily.

Spoiler alert: they’re not.

Every action we make, every minute in our day is filled with good story whether we know it or not. It’s just whether once again we choose to make it be so.

If you ever want to hear more from my life, or read my piece on fear, let me know. I’ll tell you about holding babies into all hours of the night in South Africa or scraping paint of bathroom tile for hours on end. I can talk to you about working with kids from the foster system, or all of the ridiculous things that were said in the pink room the year Em and I had all boys in JK.

And I can tell you lots and lots about Jesus.

IMG_8117                                             ((a piece of story// jay leno california perfection))

We need to step into telling stories more, make it a practice.

I’m going to try to be better at it: writing them down, typing them out.

Even attempting to fix the fact that I suck at creating dialogue in story and working on some fiction pieces that are floating in my head.

I’m going to continue to live a good story whether I am sitting listening to the train go by in Kingsburg or whether I am sitting next to the Mediterranean in Spain.

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Story is story and our lives are the same wherever our feet may lie. It all lies in the telling. And if choose to allow others into them.

**if you understood ANY of those references….we should talk.

(to learn more about my story and where I am off to next check this out)