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

I think I’m about to yell.

I have a lot of things I’m not saying these days, which honestly is probably shocking to some. I have a lot of things I’m not ready to say or do, even though I should 100% be ready to say them and do them.

I’m realizing that I’m INCREDIBLY good at staying silent.

I’m amazing at suffering in silence and letting myself boil over and then getting more angry than I should.

I’m super talented at knowing what I need but not wanting to vocalizing it at all.

I know, I know why am I saying this?

I’m saying it because I’m realizing more and more that we all have a lot more in common than we give ourselves credit for.

Last week, I posted an Instagram of myself with tears in my eyes, with words saying that I felt a lot of things, but I kept moving.

I posted it because I didn’t want to just hide in my messy room. I wanted to reach out and say, I feel this and if you feel it, it’s okay.

And I was shocked at the response. My comments and messages weren’t filled with pity or sad face emojis at all.

They were filled simply with this:

“I get it.”

I don’t speak up as much as I should. Sometimes it feels as if my words don’t matter or they fall flat.

I don’t write for the accolades.

I write, I speak, I share, because I want other people to know that they are not alone.

And I, myself, want to know I’m not alone.

I want to know that amidst all the words I don’t say, or all the things I don’t yell out over all the noise, that I’m choosing not to vocalize that I’m not alone.

And that too, that moment is to tell you that you aren’t alone in your silence. You aren’t alone in your deciphering of what is or isn’t being said or done.

I think I’m about to get loud. I think I’m about to yell, whether or not someone is listening.

I think I’m going to speak my truth, even when my voice is shaking.

And, I’m terrified.

But, I’m grateful for it because I can almost be 100% positive that I’m not alone in that.

So that, that is why I write.

I just want you to know that you are’t alone. Even if the only other human that feels the things you feel is me.

I’m here.

Sitting in this coffee shop.

About to yell.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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

At last, sunrise.

 

 

Honest, I choose champagne, relationships

Damn it, you’re enough.

When I was in college I was in an all women’s chorus for all four years. Hands down, best part of my college experience.

My senior year (cough 2006-2007 cough) I had the privilege and honor of being the president of that beautiful group of women. One of my many jobs that year was that I was in charge of the truck crew- which just meant at concert we unloading and loaded the equipment and then other teams set them up.

The largest pieces of equipment we had were the risers. They were clunky and awkward and heavy. But, they were on wheels and it really wasn’t that hard.

Sometimes, we would have combined events with the concert choir and the orchestra and all the teams for all different ensembles would work together. Now, our choir didn’t have a vice president which was essentially the position that handled set-up, so I being the president, would deal with set up for our choir.

And the concert choir VP Johnny Rocha and I would ALWAYS argue about the fact that he didn’t need us to help with the risers. That the guys had it. (He and I went head to head a lot but that’s another story).

And if anyone knows me, you know that, that is a not a thing that I do well with, because I am highly capable of doing it myself.

I thought of this story today because, yesterday in discussing our upcoming move, I told my friend Benjamin that I might ditch my green chair. It’s so great, but it’s heavy and cumbersome and I don’t necessarily want to haul it up stairs.

He looked at me like I was ridiculous and said, “You know Shawn and I are going to move it up the stairs. It wouldn’t be you”.

(And I’m sure when he reads this he is going to know that I was inwardly- he’ll say outwardly-seething.)

Because, I am a strong independent woman. I can move my own chair up the damn stairs.

Now, I am grateful that I have a really good group of guys  (and gals) in my life. I am so lucky that I have people who watch my back, who don’t think twice about helping me with something, who would fight for me and who make sure I get home safe and that are going to move my cumbersome heavy green chair up the stairs to my bedroom.

But spoiler alert: there might be a day where there isn’t someone to make sure I get home safe, or I might carry a heavy green chair into a new house by myself. OK I know that like honestly in reality this isn’t true because I have an amazing community of humans, but what I’m trying to say is that I might be alone one day in an empty house and be a little more island-y while my friends go home to their families and their own homes.

But, in all of my talk of identity and figuring out my life right now and where I want to go and what I need to do, I am very much coming to terms with the fact that I only feel lonely sometimes and that I can deal with that.

I think we don’t talk enough about the fact that it’s ok to be ok being single. I had to scroll back into 2017 on my blog to find the last blog I wrote on this topic (Don’t call my singleness brave).

I think I don’t like to talk about it because it’s just another thing that the world says I haven’t accomplished. It’s just another thing that says I haven’t reached where I need to be. Now, not that I believe any of that, BUT when someone is yelling at you eventually words are going to break through.

And I’ve reached the point where I’m getting sick of the narrative that is being written about this topic. Especially in regards to single women.

WE ARE NOT LESS THAN IF WE DON’T HAVE A RING.

Whoops, sorry. Let’s do that again:
We are not less than if we don’t have a ring.

Does it always feel good?
Nope.
Does saying “no, I’ll take a separate check” feel like a spotlight is on you?
Yep.
But are we going to be ok?

Hell yah.

I don’t know why I felt so inclined to say these words today. I don’t know if I’m more riled up than not, or if probably more likely, I’m feeling some feels about not being enough based on this topic.
Because, those feelings? They’re normal. It would be weird if I had no emotions in this area of life as I’m mostly surrounded by couples and I’ve been in more weddings than your average human.

I want you to know this about getting out into the dating scene or not. It’s not about not “putting yourself out there”.

It’s not about listening to one story after another after another of people who “stopped looking and then found who they are married too”.

It’s about being who you are.

If who you are is someone who just wants to not be single, I’d encourage to look for the things you are.

If you are someone who hides being some fear, (cough me cough), I encourage you to keep speaking out against the things that battle inside of you and settle into yourself.

If you don’t care but other people care for you- screw them (with kindness obviously).

I want you to know that obviously I’m not writing this from a place of typing this out with a diamond ring on my finger saying “Be enough for yourself, don’t mind me getting blinded by my sparkle”.

I’m writing this from a place of learning to be enough for myself and speaking out that I may have emotions and feelings but that’s what makes me human.

I want you to know, that if you are a single human reading this (or really, honestly any human in any part of life), that you’re enough for yourself. 100%. You are enough for the rest of your life, and you are enough for your friends without another human attached to you. You are enough for the child you might want to adopt and the business you might want to start and the house you want to buy.

You’re enough.

End of story.

 

I choose champagne, it takes a village

Broccoli IS good: words on identity

The concept of identity is so damn weird.
We spend our childhood, for the most part, doing whatever the heck we want. We make choices and we try activities and we more or less do what feels good, fun or what we are forced to do by the adults around us. Through that we begin to find our likes and dislikes, what makes us happy and what we are good at. We little by little find out who we are.
Then, at some point, people start telling us who we are.
And here’s the kicker: we believe them.

We spent how many years of our childhood never believing our parents when they said broccoli was good (it is) and that we’d have fun at school ( for the most part truth), but the minute someone said “You are not…” or “You are too..” it was automatically engrained into our person.

What was I told that I believed?

I was: too sensitive, not normal, a silly talker, too fat, a nerd, four eyes, not cool, not popular, not talented, not worth it.
The list, in this moment, seems endless.
And yet, I didn’t believe that broccoli was good.

Then as we get older and become a teenager and go into high school the voices get louder and louder.
And all we are told is that “sticks and stones make break your bones but words will never hurt you”
Sorry not sorry that’s BS.

I want you to close your eyes for thirty seconds and I bet you can think of AT LEAST 3 phrases that have hurt you. If you can’t that’s great!
And I get the fact that words shouldn’t have power over us. And you give people permission, etc. etc.

But that’s not my point.

My point is that as a child and a teenager we are told a LOT OF WORDS involving our identity.
And really, shouldn’t we be the only ones who decipher who we are?

It reminds me of that scene in Runaway Bride where the main character is figuring out what type of eggs she likes. She’s only ever like the type of eggs that man she is with likes and she doesn’t know that piece of herself.
She’s probably a woman in her mid to late 20s and she doesn’t know what type of eggs she likes because she’s spent the last few years letting other people tell her what she liked.

So here’s my question: why don’t we teach kids how to find who they are? Why don’t we let them explore and fail and not try broccoli, but instead we tell them they’re too loud or too quiet or too sensitive?

Identity is defined as the of being who or what a person or thing is.

The weird part about identity is we are already thing we are supposed to be, but it’s just been bogged down and covered and marred by phrases and traumas and statements that other people believed were true. Just because something is a lie to me doesn’t mean it’s not truth to another person.

Just because something started as a lie to me doesn’t mean it can’t become a truth I walk in.

That’s not great I realize, but it doesn’t mean it can’t happen or hasn’t happened.

Identity is weird because AS MUCH as we need people to not tell us who we are, and to not define us, we also need other people to tell us who we are.

We need people to remind us of the beautiful undeniably true things.

Take my work wife Victoria.

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Pure joy of pre summer 2k18

I met her four years ago and we didn’t really become friends til a few months later, but she is without a doubt one of the kindest, giving humans I’ve ever met.
She gives more grace than she believes she is capable of, she loves harder and more authentically than most humans.
Victoria cares so much.
But I don’t think she’d ever say that about herself. So, I make sure to try to tell her and remind her. I am not perfect at it, but I know she doesn’t always believe those things so I just want her to know that I see her and I see her beauty.
Identity is weird because we do sort of need the world to tell us who we are. We need them to see the beauty we are sometimes incapable of seeing and the nooks and crannies we’ve been told so often aren’t there.

Identity is weird because we need to filter what people tell us and toss out what we don’t need and keep what we do.

Identity is weird because we are already who we are- we just have to figure out who that is.

We have to make the choice to believe broccoli is good and what kind of eggs we do or don’t like (like: scrambled, fried, poached, over easy. don’t like: hard boiled, egg salad). We have to reframe things that have become truths in our life or toss them out all together.

And we have to actively remind people of the good in them, because that stirs up the good in us.

About a year ago or so I was in a place where I kind of, sort of, wanted nothing to do with God. But I had made commitments to show up to different things, so I showed up.
One night I went to a prophetic worship night at my church and I 150% didn’t want to participate.
But, one of my humans ask me to go to a certain station to wherein you wrote words for the person in the picture that was covered up by a sheet. For other people, I realized I had beautiful words.
Then it came time to share- and I wasn’t going to and then another one of my humans asked me to (and I did, because it’s who I am to a fault) and then he asked me to take the sheet off the pictures.
(If looks could kill, he might have been dead)

Under the sheet was a mirror.

But, what I realized was I had stirred something up in myself for someone else, the words were clearly for me. Plain as day ( so I wrote them in “I” form- pictured below).

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So, what I want you to do right now is 1 of three things (why not all three?).
1. (The least scary) I want you to write down good, real, true things about yourself.
2. (The next least scary) I want you to text, email, call, carrier pigeon, some words to a human in your life about who they are (look upward at what I said about Victoria- it’s that easy).
3.(The most scary-maybe) Text, email, call, carrior pigeon a friend and ask them if they can tell you three things about who you are as a human. If that feels weird, just say it’s for a job application because they always ask those kind of questions. Or honestly if you are someone that knows me you can 100% text me “Hey Meg, #3 please”

Identity is weird because we get told a whole hell of a lot of things that aren’t true to us but become true.
Identity is weird because we both need and don’t need people to find who we are.
Identity is weird because broccoli is actually good and I’m not too sensitive.

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

Honest, hope is a verb

a late april easter

My faith has been elastic the last few years.
It has stretched out to fit big truths that need to be held and it has been scrunched down to fend off words that don’t need to be kept.
I believe that there has been times where it has broken and torn and then stitched back together to try again.
My faith has for all purposes, changed and I’ve been given a fresh perspective on what it looks like.
I know it seems incredibly stereotypical of me to write about Jesus on Easter but, the Jesus I’m going to talk about is one I’ve found never in a place Jesus “should” be.

I’ve been finding Jesus at bars or parties, I’ve been finding Jesus in my anger and confusion and loneliness.
I’ve been finding Jesus in my mess, my literal mess in my room.
I’ve been finding Jesus in moments eating taquitos and in text conversations with my roommate.
I’ve been finding Jesus in people who would never deem themselves people with Jesus.

A little over a year ago I wrote a blog at a bar entitled “In the midst of it all” where I talked about being unsure in my faith. And in this last year I have gone to church less than I ever have and I think in doing so I’ve made space to find Jesus in places I didn’t think I could or ever would.
I’ve always been an advocate for choosing to see the good in everything everywhere. Of choosing to see the holy, the lovely and the Christ in everyone and everything.
Sometimes, that’s easier to me without the lenses of the church. I’ve always gone to church out of habit, out of requirement- not that anyone ever told me I had too, but I just thought I was supposed too.
And this year I felt the freedom to step back when I needed too and to take a breath when I needed too and to step back in when I needed too. And to choose to go when I didn’t want to but truly felt I should.

And it changed something inside of me.

I believe I changed in a way where I became capable of loving more, and loving with less borders and also giving more boundaries to my love out of protection of my own self.
I think of this on Easter for many reasons.
To me, this year, Easter is a reminder to keep going. To keep moving forward.
To keep living.
To keep choosing to see love in people and don’t be held up by walls.
To see people who they are.
To see people with eyes that aren’t full of hate but of hope.
To me Easter is a reminder to keep seeing people.
I have a bracelet on my wrist that I bought for my baeby sharks. The inside of it has in scripted “keep fucking going”.
I know that seems aggressive for words on Easter.
But, shouldn’t we all be doing just that?
I don’t know what you believe or don’t believe. I don’t know what you’ve been hurt by or who you’ve been hurt by. I don’t know if you feel like you belong or feel like you’re just out of the frame of the picture.

But, what I want you to know today is this:

Easter is a lot of things. It’s a day where dead things came to life. It’s a day where it was declared the last word has not been spoken.
It’s a day that’s signed with love.
BUT it’s also a day of newness and day to remind ourselves that we can stand up and keep moving forward.
Today, on this day, in this moment, you can keep moving forward. You can take a breath and choose to see what is lovely and good and hopeful around you.
It might be Jesus to you and it might not.
Find the good, the moments, find the hope in what isn’t hopeful and keep moving forward.
I think I’m still in the midst of it all. I think that I still have places where I’m coming from the middle and looking down into to it to see what’s happening but that’s ok. That’s more than ok.

It’s good.

With love,

Meg