Honest

2018 was not silent.

To my friends,

We fucking did it.

I wanted to put that more eloquently. I wanted to have a better starter sentence but that’s all that really fits.

And really, truly we did do it.

I wish I could explain to all of you how intensely proud I am of all of us for continually facing what 2k18 brought to our table. Because it seemed every time we got to the place where we thought we’d gotten over that last thing, that last mountain, another one rose up in its place.

2k18 was drenched in our tears and our exhaustion. It was drenched in coffee and tequila and vodka and wine. 2k18 crushed dreams and held devastation and swung wrecking balls of hopelessness.

There was burnout and the feeling of being unable to catch up to life.

The absolute belief that the other shoe was going to drop followed every single moment of joy.

This year has been so packed full of disappointment for some of the humans in my life that the joy hasn’t been loud enough to break through.

And in some cases the lack of anything, joy, goodness caused us the inability to see those things even when they were right in front of our faces.

This year held good things, it really did.

(Like three words: 90’s themed birthday)

But honestly, at the end of the year I can look back and say that we fought. Maybe not all the time, maybe not loudly, maybe we laid our heads down at one point but we are still here.

Every single one of us.

I don’t what 2018 did to you.

I don’t know if you cried more or laughed more. I don’t know if this was the best year of your life or the worst or even in that dead middle where you don’t know tears from smiles. I don’t know if you wanted to give up.

I don’t know if you had sufficient amounts of rage (🙋🏼🙋🏼🙋🏼) or joy (YASSSS QUEEN- never forget that 2k18 we met the FabFive and with them all things just keep getting better). I don’t know if you had love or loss or both.

I just don’t know.

But, my friend…

YOU ARE STILL HERE.

You are still moving and taking deep breathes and showing up for your life (even if you missed a few days here and there).

You may have a few more wrinkles or grey hairs or pounds. You may have given your body a beating this year; but you still did it.

2018 took a lot of my tears. A lot of my friends tears. 2018 tried to rob me of a hell of a lot of my joy. 2018 took some of my faith and replaced it with something different (and that I’m still figuring out).

2018 brought engagements and babies and weddings and friends moving here and there and everywhere in between. 2018 did bring a little bit of hope-but just not how we thought.

2018 was not silent.

But, honestly I don’t think we were either.

I don’t know what 2019 will bring. I can’t promise joy. I can’t promise everything will be fine. I can’t promise people won’t be haters.

But we can do the damn thing.

That I can promise.

I can promise that showing up isn’t always easy, but we can.

Because we have.

My planner is already getting full for 2019. I already have three weddings to go too, one that I am the officiant of honor in. My work life the next two months is going to be insane.

And in the midst of all the the things, that parts that aren’t the best in my life and in the lives of my friends don’t go away with midnight.

The struggles and things that aren’t great in your life won’t go away with midnight.

The battles and all those things don’t disappear from 11:59-12:00.

BUT there is something to it.

Something new, something more. Time to dust off the dirt of it all and step into the new year a little stronger than last. (Or in new Calvin Klein heels).

You can.

You will.

You have.

Let’s do that damn thing.

With love,

Meg

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

washington whimsy

a thankful thirty

I have been sitting in front of my computer for a a couple days trying to explain what thirty has been. I turn 31 on June 1 and as per my writing tradition I’m looking back on thirty and seeing what’s up.

This is the first year since I was 26 that I spent 90% of my year in one place.

I haven’t stayed for a long time.

And that’s what 30 was about really.

30 was about staying.

And good lord, it’s been difficult.

And that’s what I was going to write about.

But here’s the thing: when I focus my topic on that–it’s what I am going to see. So instead: here is a list of 30 things I am grateful for in thirty. Serious, lovely, funny, food based. And of course, in categories.

Days of the week:

{all these days of the week activities don’t happen every week, but they happen enough with people I adore, to remind me that I live a very full life}

1. Dawson’s Monday’s

2. Red light Tuesday’s

3. Woods Wednesday’s

4. Happy hour Thursday

5. Beer Friday

6. Mimosa Saturday

7. Brunch Sunday

Daily gratitude:

{a mishmash of three things}

8. LaCroix (hydration obsession)

9. Washer/dryer (adulting)

10. My long hair (self-control to not chop my hair)

Places:

11. Orange County (always in my heart)

12. Bellingham (a whimsy, weird town full of wacky)

13. The Liberty house (a place of comfort and piece)

14. The table (a place to land)

15. My own room (the first since I was 18)

16. The yellow house (home)

Words:

17. Group text (hometeam, pegarina, triumvirate, PNW birds, three wines, “but the children love the books”, sister tables, the choi’s)

18. IMsg/what’s app (ways to connect with: India, Memphis, Mijas, Oxford, Jacksonville, Nashville, Atlanta, Kingsburg and everywhere in between)

19. Email (wisdom, sanity, challenge, joy)

20. Snail mail (thoughtfulness)

People:

21. My parents (belief, trust, love)

22. Jess (always)

23. Melissa (truth, growth, change, sarcasm, real)

24. Royal family (safety, belief, family)

25. The Y (laughter, growth, trust, blessing)

26. Tribe (near, far, never met, known my whole life, spent five minutes with, likeminded, HA)

27 Abundant Life (blessing, growth, challenge, laughter, home, me)

28. bellingfamily (who would have thought: my people)

29. PReed ( singing in the car to that one tow’rs song, yelling, dreaming, dancing in the hallway. Love. Chick emoji.)

And what is #30?

Both/And.

I’m grateful for this year, because it has caused me, pushed me, challenged me, aggravated me, to live in tension. To live in the black and white.

To live in a world of both/and.

So, thank you thirty, for your difficulties. Thank you for making me step out in ways I thought I couldn’t, for not scolding me when I didn’t.

Thank you for beer and friends and tiny humans and coworkers for bringing me sanity.

Thank you for being a year where I was placed in a place that I was cared about in before I was even known.

Thank you for knowing better then I did sometimes that I would stay where my feet are.

Thank you for prayers and prophecy and a culture that makes that daily practice.

Thank you for tables, this yellow house and people who know who I am when I don’t.

Thank you, thirty, for bringing me to Bellingham, even when I have kicked and screamed.

Here’s to 31.

I’ll have more eloquent words for you. But for now: see ya in a week.

Honest, Uncategorized, washington whimsy

Starting from scratch

I met a magical whimsy unicorn in October of 2012.

Her name is Betsy Garmon. And she is absolutely wonderful. She’s one of those woman who makes the gritty look lovely. She turns the things that seem torn and broken in your life into art and hope and dreams.

last day of the world race in december 2013

I have learned and continue to learn so much from her. One of the life lessons I learned from her that keeps flashing in neon lights above my head these days is to hold space for myself.

I’ve been told on more then one occasion over the last few months to have grace for myself, to not be so hard on myself, to take care of myself. 

If we want to discuss broken records in my life this is one of them. 

Here’s what it is: I know how to do it. I do. I know how to live well.

I’m not sure though; if I know how to live intentionally. 

A favorite quote of mine is by Mary Anne Radmacher. I saw the words for the first time summer after my junior year in college in a tourist shop in time square on a magnet. My choir was in New York to sing at Carnegie hall and it was my first technical week being the president of the choir. And I was terrified.


I remember reading those words and thinking how lovely they sounded before even knowing what lovely was. I truly believe I wanted to do those things but didn’t have the means to do them.

Now, I believe I have the means, but not the ability.

My whole self is tired these days. I could potentially state that this is the most tired I have ever consistently been in my life.
I’ve been trying to figure out why my receiver has been unable to receive lately. Well,more so than normal. It’s been a struggle. Nothing sticks. And I want them too, more than I can describe. I’ve searched for a reason my walls go up and I haven’t been able to find it.

But what I keep coming back to is eventually if I can’t find a way to hold space for myself how will I continue to do it for others?

We live in a weird world friends. A world that says to look out for yourself, but also tells us to cram as much as possible into our lives and to earn money so we can retire and do nothing. We live in a world that has for the most part lost the art of the kitchen table and breaking bread together.

And if we aren’t going to slow down to eat our food how are we going to slow down to sit in space with ourself? And we aren’t going to do that, then how are we going to live fully alive?
I know that I am not living fully alive these days. I can feel it in my bones. I’ve been a little terrified of the silence and of sitting with God and even sitting with some of my friends.

I don’t like feeling like I don’t have it all together for everyone.

And if I am being real and true, I don’t know if I know how to make these a daily practice. 

I feel as if I am starting from scratch on the taking care of myself. 

And that’s why I’ve wanted to say all these things I’ve said in the last few blogs I’ve written. The depression, the ugly, the hurt, the tired. 

I’m coming to the realization that it’s ok to feel like I’ve already “done this”. Because I haven’t. It feels the same but it’s not.
I don’t have answers, I barely have words. 

But I’m choosing to say the ones I have.

I’m choosing to do things that feel hard.

I’m choosing to sit in silence even when it drives me nuts.

I’m choosing my space.

washington whimsy

100 days home

100 days ago this weekend I did one of the weirdest, maybe even craziest things I have ever done. I got into a car with someone whom I had never actually met, and drove with him to a city I had never been to, to an apartment I was renting that I had never set foot in with a friend with whom I had actually never technically lived with.

I own my crazy well.

In 100 days I’ve made the city of Bellingham a home. Something that’s mine and mine alone. It isn’t the place I grew up, or where my family is from or the area I went to college in. 
It’s just my home. 

The last 100 days have been filled with a lot. A lot of laughter, crying, dancing in the hallway. Beer, prayer, time at church and time around tables. It’s been filled with snuggling kids to sleep everyday and learning a new language of communicating with tiny humans that I hadn’t really used before.

It’s been filled with choosing to live out of who I have learned I am.

So because of that I am going to make a lis. And as an homage to my most favorite late talk show host ever, David Letterman, here is a top ten of ten words about my first 100 days in the wacky city named Bellingham.

{but first, for those that just want the bluf; the bottom line up front: I not only love everyone in my path here in Bellingham but I am also so very loved here in Bellingham. And that my friends changes everything.}

1. LIVE (from the yellow house) I live in the best house with the best roommate. I met Patty Reed 3 years ago this week at World Race Training Camp. She was my seat buddy on most flights and other then that we never really chatted. She has become, in the last year and a half, one of the most treasured friends in my life. She speaks truth to me and helps me off ledges and doesn’t bat an eye when I stomp my feet. She’s one of the best people I know. She’s my home team and literally apart of every named group text on my phone and I am utterly grateful to live in this yellow house with her.

2. HAPPINESS: (In no particular order)Aslan Fryday //co-op hippie cookies//NYP brunches//NYP everything//avellino Fantasia// lettered streets// rocket donuts// beer beer beer//coffee coffee coffee
3. WORK:  For those of you who don’t know: I’m the lead teacher in a one year old classroom. I got the job two days after I arrived. I normally have 14 kids and two assistants and a whole lot of boogers and conversations about giving your friends space. But I also have dance parties at snack with co-workers to not only entertain the children but also to keep us sane and donuts when we take the kids on walks. I am learning that I have more knowledge than I thought. And I treasure moments with these tiny humans each day.

4. COLD: Mom you will soon be able to officially ask me if I am warm enough and know it’s not an illegitimate question.
5. CHURCH. I don’t know how to describe it really. Wait no, I do. ALIVE. That’s the only word for the church family I am apart of: alive. It’s been since high school where I attended a church where I felt known and seen like I do here. Where I have felt pushed and challenged and changed in the most lovely, gritty ways. I knew I was coming into something safe when I set foot in the church for the first time. But to come somewhere that feels like a continuation rather than something new is a feeling I can’t describe super well but that’s what it is. And that’s because it wasn’t starting over coming here.

6. LOVELY: one of the loveliest moments in our home has been when Andrew and Mo Shearman (founders of G42) were in town to preach at our church and we got to host them and a crew of our friends for lunch. I don’t know how to put to words the meaning behind having Andrew stand in my house and declare over it and speak in tongues and break bread at our table. It was a stacking stone moment. A memory to remember forever. To cherish. We have had those moments in so many different instances here from a road trip to Winthrop, to girls nights with Yessina, to afternoons that turned to evenings and coffee dates that turned to dinner.

7. COMMUNITY (that cliche c word) Like I said; I got picked up 100 days ago by someone I’d never actually met. Bellingham and A life is currently the church/city with the most g42 alum and also just some really awesome other people. There are so many people I can tell you about, but just know that the people who reside in the third row {center right} are some of the weirdest, wackiest people I know and I am so glad I get to sit around tables with them.

8. DREAMS. Since moving here I have realized that these dreams and passions and visions and hopes that I’ve carried so long are so very small compared to what I could do and accomplish. {which leads to…}

9. MORE. I thought I had met more before. I had but what I didn’t realize is that more gets even more then it was before. Even just today in church the reminder that I am the more. The hope. The life. And that I have great words and truth and voice inside me. This is another blog, another topic, but it’s building and growing and I am choosing to believe.

10. And one last word: TRIUMVIRATE. (Words also applicaple: sanity, laughter, truth, life, surprising and random.)

If you made it through this whole list, thank you. I am going to pick up my pen more and write the things in my mind and heart and the truth being pulled out of me daily. For your eyes too. I’m unlocking the more and the life and the wisdom daily and choosing to go forth knowing that I am meant for more.
{and yes, California, I do miss you and your people. You are so apart of the here it’s ridiculous}

washington whimsy

what pressing pause looks like

I will never forget the moment I met Bekah.

I was sitting in one of the meeting rooms at RockHarbor for a communication meeting to map out writing and sermon recaps for the upcoming season and I noticed this lovely, curly-haired, blond woman who I hadn’t really ever seen. This, mind you, is not hard in a church with 5 services and thousands of people.

Chattering was occurring and I overheard her mention she was looking for a preschool because her family was moving and I, being the cheerleader for my place of employment, handed her the card for Lighthouse and let her know about all the wonderful families and kiddos that went there.
And I ended it there. I thought she seemed like a ray of sunshine and knew she probably had a handful of fantastic thoughts and ideas and whimsy under her surface.

Sometime later, on a random weekday at work, my boss popped her head in and said someone had mentioned me when they called and were coming to visit.

Bekah’s precious kiddo started soon after and wormed his way into my heart.

It’s been over 3 years since I had that last three year old class but Bekah has been a constant encouragement in my life.

She is a writer of truth and vulnerability and doesn’t settle for anything else. I have learned a lot from just reading the words she paints on a screen. When I am in need of truth and life I remember her and her heart and her words. Today, when my mind felt a little wacky I reached out to her. Just that act opened the floodgates. Drawing from the spirit and heart of those a few steps ahead of me.

Here’s the thing. I currently feel like my writing is on pause. Like I go to journal out what’s going on in my head or the things I am feeling and there is nothing. I had a heavy morning at church filled with a lot of goodness, a lot of me getting my “back off cloak” torn off and stomped on and a lot of my heart longing to reach out to the people in my life who need love. And a lot of realizing that there are a lot of things that I need to lay facedown on the ground with in my own life.

I’m surrounded by a lot good spirit here. Things that probably are always around me, things that I’m just beginning to notice and become even more aware of. And it’s a lot for the senses to take in. Because it’s not just seeing or hearing, but it’s tasting and touching and smelling. When you realize that you take things in with all five senses it begins to overwhelm. And when something gets overwhelmed or too full, much like an iPhone that gets too hot, it can potentially cease to work.

I won’t cease to work, that’s not the problem, but I am learning that my ability to take in things is actually coming from more facets then I thought.

So I do need to pause a bit, I need to lay on the floor, I need to dance it out and write sloppily in a journal. I need to turn to the writing and truth and wisdom of those around me.

Today, I am going to pause and let words get scratched out on my ipad, I will write some words for others. I’m going to drink coffee with vanilla creamer and I’m most likely going to cry in the hallway.

And that’s ok.

Because pressing pause is in no way passive. It’s the ability to ready yourself to take something in. It’s not stopping moving, but it’s preparing. I’m preparing for the breakthrough by actively allowing myself to move through the life that comes before it.

May I repeat?

It’s ok.

And if I didn’t know or think it was ok I could just look at people like Bekah and know that the mess, and the snotty noses and the not having words is ok. Because eventually the words and thoughts and revelations will come and I will pass those on to the next person just as she passed them onto me.

Now, if you don’t mind; I have some vanilla coffee creamer with my name on it.

(To read the whimsy and lovely and truth of this powerful woman check out her home on the interwebs Upcycled Jane)