chapter titles in my book of life (part 2)

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(To read the first 2 defining moments in my life check them out here.)

Now, lets just continue with the last three:

Defining moment numero tres:                                                                                                      

For four years in college I was in the University Women’s Chorus. Basically a beautiful, rambiunticous, sometimes sarcastic, always singing (just not on the bus) group of 50 or so women.

Every year we would have officers and at the end of each school year we would nominate new people to be voted on. My junior year I was in leadership as a librarian and honestly didn’t think I would be in the running for anything the next year.

And in the midst of nominations, one of the exiting seniors spoke up, “I nominate Meghan”

And a couple weeks later I was made the WC president for the 2006/2007 school year.

I was flabbergasted. The summer before senior was epic. I worked at hallmark, lived with Hosanna in Newport, went to New York to sing at Carnegie Hall, made a lot of dinners with Johnny and ate an amazing amount of sushi.

And as the weeks crept up to music camp I started to get nervous. Because one of the duties of the ensemble presidents (there were 4 of us) was that we had to give the devotions at Music Camp.

(This is the part where I remind you that I was/sometimes thing I am painstakingly shy.)

So the thought of giving devotions in front of 200 or so of my peers was not on the list of things I wanted to do.

Now, if you’ve never attend a music camp at a university just know it’s insane. Besides practicing music we were running around like crazy playing games, getting to know the freshman and then practicing music some more. I was going from early in the morning to late and night (because of course the one other job of the ensemble presidents besides leading a team was to host and set up the desserts after night rehearsal every night).

image-11(after this moment I’ve found myself on stage with a mike a lot more)

So the day before my devotion, I grabbed my roommates Hosanna and Kari and our friend Johnny and we practiced worship and I realized what I wanted to talk about.

The next morning I got up and spoke of passion. And living with passion.

And now almost 7 years later I think of how that moment was so thematic in my life.

The year of WC presidency impacted me in many ways but the main one was I realized I wanted to serve Christ, serve people and live passionately. It was a rough year at times (I was in tears after the first rehearsal), but it was empowering to show me such a beautiful piece of who I am.

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                                                                                   (a memory I will always have)

Defining moment numero quatro

Fast Forward to the hell that was my life in February 2009. My mom was in the hospital, my dad was recovering from a triple bypass from the previous November.

I was living minute by minute since I broke down in October of 2008.

I was on antidepressants and probably spiraling faster than I realized.

The October prior my boss had given me a business card. For a therapist. I think I might have emailed him, maybe called him and left a message since then, but between the holidays and the hospitalizations I hadn’t done much with it. But apparently somewhere in those months I had left him my phone number because in the midst of calling people to take care of our animals there was a beep on my phone.

And it was him.

I remembering standing in my kitchen in front of my stove and answering it.

He asked how I was. I said my mom was in the hospital.

He said to call him back.

I did. I made an appointment (one which I had to cancel because I stayed at the hospital for a week) And then I rescheduled.

February 25th, 2009.

I remember the night before filling out the intake forms, while watching whatever reality show, every once in awhile asking my roommates about something on the form. (they are both women with an MA in Clinical Psychology).

So the next day after work, clutching my paperwork, I tromped up what are now incredibly familiar stairs for the first time. I open the door to this tiny waiting room and sat my shaky legs down on the couch.

photo 2(this is more symbolic waiting as opposed to the actual waiting room)

I remember stepping into that room for the first time. The minute I said yes to that my life changed. The minute I said yes to delving into the dark parts of my soul, to the hurts, to what made me cry, I changed. It was a small moment that turned into something bigger.

I can’t tell you how many times I sat in that room over the course of 4 years. I can’t tell you how many times I cried or how many times I yelled. But I can tell you that I would not be sitting here today had I not chosen to seek help and to open my mouth.

Defining moment numero cinco

February 9th 2012.

It was pajama day. I was wearing my favorite purple sweats, my favorite peacock toms and I was heading to work early because I was subbing for Peggy. It was a beautiful day out as I turned my bike down Santa Ana on my way to work.

I saw this kid coming towards me on the sidewalk, I’m sure to heading to the elementary school down the road, and I saw a woman pulling out oh her driveway.

It was probably only a minute in time; but in that I realized she didn’t see me, she wasn’t going to stop, I couldn’t stop fast enough and then I collided with her car. I hit the car, the cement, the asphalt, my glasses flew, my toms flew off and the blood started to flow down my head.

photo 1                                                                                  (the ACTUAL spot where I got hit)

What the hell had just happened?

The next hour was a blur. An ambulance was called, I called my boss, a preschool parent saw me and plopped down next to me. I ended up in an ambulance with no Kleenex.

When I got to the hospital my “sisters” (aka Leah and Lisa) found me and my pastor/older brother Eric had been called by my boss. I was in shock. It took awhile for me to get stitched up and sent out. By 11 I was sitting in my apartment on the couch by myself bruised, in pain with uneaten animal style fries in front of me. I called my parents, my therapist, my best friend.

I cried.

A lot.

Nicole brought me cinnamon toast crunch and milk.

I went back to work the following Monday (it happened on a Thursday)

I went through so many emotions after that day. Anger, hurt, more anger, more hurt, sadness.

And then I had clarity in the chaos.

Because getting hit by a car made me realize the thing that I had been putting off for weeks.

I needed to quit my job. I had literally been moved out of the path I took every day for five years. Everything God had been speaking to me about since November was moving into a new path, taking a new path, taking a leap.

You can read more about that here; but just know that getting hit was the best/worst thing to happen to me. It defined the ending and the beginning of the next part of my life.

image-10                                                                     (the helmet I got AFTER I got stitches in my head)

These are just 5 defining moments in my life. I’ve obviously had more; because each choice, each circumstance can become defining if we allow them too. Some we shouldn’t while others we should.

I leave you with my favorite quote about moments that define us.

(and the day came when the risk it took to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to bloom // anias nin)photo 3

chapter titles in the book of my life (part 1)

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My second overseas mission trip was to South Africa with my church in Orange County. There were 22 of us going and every other weekend for a few months leading up the trip I would leave my Sunday morning job early and haul over to the church for training.                                                                                                                        In an effort to hear story and to get to know each other better we would share “defining moments”: a way to share our heart and apart of story without having to sit there for hours upon hours hearing about each detail of each others lives.                                                                                                                                                    Since that summer I’ve always had that in my head. The concept of defining moments; going back through pivotal moments in life and seeing and realizing how those lead you to where you are now.  I’ve realized that all of these would be the start of new chapter in my life, of a new lesson I was to learn.

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In an effort to share more of how I’ve gotten to where I am now I want to share five specific defining moments (in two parts) . Now, I feel as if I have more than that but these specific four speak volumes into who I am and where I’ve come from. (Mind you; I’m not even touching on 2013 and the world race because that is a defining year and we’re just not going there right now.)

 

DEFINING MOMENT numero uno.                                                                                                                                                                 (my attempt to practice my spanish)

Kind of cliché’ but here I would like to talk about high school graduation. Back in June of 2003 I graduated from Kingsburg High school. I wasn’t a valedictorian (all my friends were) I did get to sing at graduation and baccalaureate. But I knew as I walked across the grassy football field that I was finally officially walking into something new. I was going to get a chance to become someone new.

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And going into freshman year in college I feel like I did.

My freshman year was a jumble of first time experiences and not always making it to my 8AM music theory class. I spent my freshman year as a music major, singing in a choir, taking way too many one unit classes and hanging out with girls I would have never fit in with in high school. We were the girls who broke many of our contracted rules (I went to a private Christian university), we somehow got the mark of the “mean girls”, we generally got what we wanted and we honestly just had a lot of fun. I think that graduating high school and moving into undergrad was everything it was supposed to be for a small town girl who moved to the ocean. It did what it was supposed too. It awakened me to new experiences, to a bigger world, to a different way to experience God and to a person inside of me who never had anyone allowed herself to show. It will go down as one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for myself. It was my first step into a tangible kind of freedom on the inside.

 

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DEFINING MOMENT numero dos,

Freshman year I met a boy. His name was Joe. He was transfer junior; but he was in his first year as well. We had a few music classes together and he was in bible classes with my roommate Melissa. Everybody loved Joe. Including me. Joe made me smile, made me laugh, he called me “han” after he learned I had an H in my name. Joe always showed up to open hours to our dorm room. Joe always found a way to bribe me to get me to go to AM/PM or In and Out at midnight.

When school ended in May and everyone went home for the summer Joe and I still talked a lot. We texted, he’d talk to me on the phone as I walked to my job at the coffee shop. He sometimes text me at midnight and ask me to go to AM/PM even though we lived 3 hours apart, it was mainly a joke but sometimes I wondered if I’d get a text and he’d actually be outside.

Then Joe went MIA in the middle of June.

Needless to say I was pissed. I left scathing voicemails, threatening to never go to in and out with him at midnight, he’d need a new buddy for his Gatorade runs to the gas station. Then on the July 3rd (it was our towns 4th of July celebration day…don’t ask) I got a phone call from “brada joe” (my Hawaiian friend Kaiu had changed multiple names in my phone) I took a deep breath ready to angrily reem him out.

And didn’t get the chance to do any of it. Joe explained how he’d been in the hospital for a couple weeks and all my anger melted away. We talked for awhile about it and made a stupid pact that as soon as I got to campus we’d go to starbucks and not at all before then. And we’d take more pictures, because I informed him, I’d scrolled through pictures and there were hardly any of us.

Joe passed away 3 days later.

That week was hell for me. It was a week filled with tragedy, boating accidents, friends in the hospital and then an instant message from Joe’s brother that brought me to my knees.

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The funeral was a week later. My friends from VU sat crammed in a row meant for less people, holding hands and crying. It was the first loss that we had felt without the impact of our family feeling it too.

It was the first time I learned how to be mad at God. How to wrestling with Him, how to yell at Him. My relationship with God became messy after this, more personal. BETTER really.

Going into sophomore year without Joe was rough, really rough. Questions from ignorant people were worse. I got by, learn to walk in God’s strength for the first time.

There are still some days even now though that I miss his voice yelling at me from the 7th floor of Huntington or the times when he’d plead with me to go with him to in and out just one more time. I wrote about that loss in a poem in my creative writing class senior year. It’s thumb tacked in an old poetry blog here.

So there are the first two.

It’s a lot and nothing all at the same time. Just a couple small pieces into the woman I have become and how I got there. Just segments out of two chapters in my life. Themes that still run deep to this day.

Next up will be the moments where I realized I had more to give, that I needed to open my mouth and the moment that made me quit. Look out for it soon.

(my life’s next batch of defining moments will take place for 6 months in Spain starting in July. To learn more about how you can walk with and journey with me through that here)

pardon me as I ramble about prophecy & truth

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(this blog is very much a ramble. It is a topic that I need to delve more into, that I need to push more into, but these are some of my thoughts on what I think it is to have the gift of prophecy and how this blog turned into talking about feedback)

 

I remember one night at debrief in Brasov, Romania sitting with my friend Julie sipping tea and eating microwave popcorn and pondering what the next month in Ukraine would look like and then before I could even contemplate what was coming out of my mouth, I was speaking truth to Julie, words I felt she needed to hear.

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It wasn’t the first time this kind of thing had happened. I just felt that there were sentiments that God wanted me to tell her.

Nothing special in that.

Just a messenger.

Then she said something I won’t ever forget, because it was something that I never thought would be part of who I am.

“Meg, has anyone ever told you that you have the gift of prophecy?”

Who said what now?

We talked about that for a second longer but I just had it milling in my head.

I wasn’t quite sure I agreed with it.

Going on the race we had to do this little thing called “feedback” essentially speaking truth and words into the members of our team. Sometimes that was difficult and in the form of constructive feedback, hard truths that were difficult to say. I’d begun to get into this practice of praying for the people around me, not just my teammates but my squadmates, my leaders, even my friends at home.
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And I’d found that God just kept filling my spirit with words, with wisdom that I shouldn’t know about it.

If I’m being honest sometimes it wasn’t exactly the easiest.

The main feedback I got through the year was too make sure I wasn’t sugarcoating what God was telling me, which if I’m being honest, I did sometimes.

I know the saying is, “don’t shoot the messenger” but sometimes the messenger feels like they are going to get shot.

Here’s the thing:

I’m a HIGH feeler. (also key WR lingo: “What’s your MeyersBriggs?)

And I care how other people feel (sometimes too much) so to impart such a hard truth on someone, who I know well and love, is a bit too much for me sometimes. I most definitely got better at it over the months of the race though.

piclab-9                                                                           (feedback dice//need I say more?)

So to bring us back to the point, PROPHECY and TRUTH are two words that have followed me home in powerful ways.

I still battle with those words. Being able to speak truth to people doesn’t mean everything I say is straight out of God’s mouth. I’m just a mere person whose brain and heart can get mixed in with the words I hear from Him. Thankfully we can take the words he gives us and put them next to scripture and the things that we know is true of Him.

 

Because, our God is not a God of confusion.

Which is comforting.

I’ve had more than one person at this point now almost a year later from that conversation with Julie tell me that I had the gift of prophecy, of truth telling.

It’s beautiful really because I treasure words so much, and I feel like God wouldn’t bestow this on me if He thought I would haphazardly throw his words around. I pray them over before they come out of my mouth they just start flowing.

In which case I have to pause and collect them, and organize them and pray that they come across wholly as his and not mine.

And in all of this I’ve learned this: God is not always loud, sometimes He is quiet, sometimes he is not speaking. But He never isn’t there.

Delving into and praying through this gift has been a constant reminder that God is always in fact there.

From “The Big God Story” by Michelle Anthony (yes a kid’s book. I used to be a preschool coordinator at a churchJ )

 “But then something strange happened….God was silent for a long time. Nearly four hundred years passed without a word from God. Just silence. But even though God was quiet, He wasn’t gone. His promise was still alive; it was just hidden”.

God has blessed in the last few weeks with the confirmation that wisdom He is allowing me to here for others is from Him. But in all of this; God has been silent about me. I think that’s where this whole topic came from, the silence from God as it pertains to my life, to my walk, to my heart. I know God is there, I know He is close by. He is just silent right now. All the things he has said before are still true, still active, still moving. His plan is still in action right now.

piclab-5                 (beginning of month 10, Siem Reap Cambodia NSQUAD worship// another moment of silence from God)

Right now in my head, it’s a stream of words of truth for others and in the midst of that silence for myself.

And all of this rambling is just for me to say:

Silence is ok.

i am an everyday

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(i am an everday)

 

I spent the night at my cousin’s this past week and we went and saw a movie (“Divergent” True life: I’m a teenage girl.) And while we were waiting to go see the movie and were sitting chatting my cousin asked if I wanted some lemon bars their neighbors had brought.

She didn’t look too enthusiastic.

And with this scenario:

I have a confession.                                                                                                                                                                                              I’m a baked good snob.

It’s true.

If you give me a baked good I will always try it, but I’m not promising that I will finish all of it.

My cousins agree.

We were raised around not just chefs, and innovated recipe creators, but people who believed dessert was the actual meal, an aunt that owned a bakery and to this day brings danishes and cinnamon rolls to Christmas, an aunt who makes the best homemade candy you will ever have in your life and a family who believes “The Cake Doctor” is the bible and boxed cake mixes were a sin.

Even the next day over eggs and abelskivers, a cinnamon roll was passed around the table and we were all “eh”.

 

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(a wedding cake I made)

We just have standards.

Speaking of standards and confessions:                                                                                                                                                                       Here’s another one:

If you’re a grown man, I am going to judge you for ordering a super sugary, complicated coffee drink.

On that same cousin overnighter I spent the morning at a busy, loud, crowded Starbucks attempting to journal, but it just didn’t work incredibly well.

And business man after business man ordered these sugary coffee drinks that made me wrinkle my nose.

And it reminded me of back in grad school I offered to buy a friend of mine a coffee and bring it to class.

“A grande non fat, extra whip, white chocolate peppermint mocha”

                                  WHAT?!

 I have a coffee reputation to protect.

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(my first non instant coffee in peru with my girl Mer)

My barista Alex looked at me.

No, it’s not mine.

(my grad school drink of choice: quad shot over ice in a venti cup. Yes, 4 shots. My day camp coffee? Venti starbucks double shot with an add shot…that’s 7)

On that day I realized that I hold onto few stereotypes except for the one that men should not drink girly coffee drinks. Be a man. If your order is more then three words; it’s not gonna work.

So in this blog post you’ve learned three things about me:

  1. I am a teenage girl at times. Though I love GOOD literature, have a degree in English, some of my favorite books are young adult fiction and my favorite shows involve vampires.  (You would totally judge my Netflix history)
  2. I most likely will not like your baked goods.
  3. (I believe) A man’s coffee order totally correlates to his manliness.

Other things about me?

*I have 5 tattoos and have an idea for a 6th                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

*My passport is almost full

 

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*My favorite movie is Live Free or Die Hard                                                                                                                                                                *My favorite book is Chaucer’s Troulis and Cressid                                                                                                                                                                                          *The song currently on repeat in my head is Hillsongs “Oceans (Where feet may Fail)”

Why do I share these things with you?

Because they are all things apart of my story. Funny antecdotes, fun facts, sometimes sarcastic comments.

I’m not always serious, rarely use bad words, I enjoy a burger and a beer.

So for as many heartbroken and sad moments I’ve had in my life: I have even more joyous and happy ones. I’ve lived a treasured life this point to date. And unless you know me, unless you’ve heard my story, you’d only know the treasured moments. You might hear a bit of the depression, the heartbreak, but you’d just see a woman who lives life.

Think of the women you see each day, at preschool drop off, at church, at the supermarket, at a coffee shop.

You see what is just on their face. You see the moment of rush, the smile. And they just look like the everyday woman, no pain, nothing wrong.

 But you never know.

I’ll never forget the summer before I moved away from I was babysitting a family I’d known for 5 years. I mentioned offhand about how the past few years had been hard. She asked me what I meant. I took an opportunity to share about depression, counseling, family illness.

She didn’t believe me. That’s not the woman she saw when she dropped her kids off, not the woman who was the only one who could calm her kid down when the freaked out.

Because that’s not the woman I put before them.

I’m not saying that we should tell everyone everything. Because that is not what we are called to do.                                                                                                                           But I am saying we are called to love. We are called to honor story even when we don’t know it.

And we are called to tell our story when the time is right.

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(just a crew of everyday women. all with remarkable stories, dreams and hearts)

 So as you pass the same women you pass everyday; on the trail, at the grocery store or wherever just remember that they have a story, they have a place in this world.

Their life may not look traumatic or awful from the outside, (or it might not even be that on the inside) but they have a story. They have a call to move, but have no one to talk to about it, they have a vision, a dream. It could be to host a group of moms once a week to do a Bible study, it could be to start a blog, to open coffee shop.

But sometimes amidst the day to day, the smiles, the forgetting of dreams occurs.

Sometimes the pain is forgotten because we forget to share it.

Sometimes the joys are forgotten because we don’t think they mean anything.

So look at your friends, the people who surround you and think of their stories, think of your story.

Where can they go? Where can they move?

And remember, you are an everyday women. You matter, your story matter, your heart matters, your hurts and your joy.

(and even your love for fiction meant for fifteen year olds)

(if you’d like to help me on my journey to create space and hope for the everyday woman check out how you can journey with me here and read more about my dreams here)

 

It always comes back to my thesis statement

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I have a BA in English, and while it is a mostly useless degree it did give me a chance to come to terms with this fact:

I love thesis statements. And I hate tangents.

Yes, there are some great reasons for tangents. I remember in my AP Lit and Language classes in High School I would get SO annoyed when tangents would happen. (So much so that Becky, Stephanie and I made “Hi Topic!” signs)

Going off subject, off-topic, on a tangent makes everything BLURRY.

You forget why you started the conversation, what you’re doing. Why you might even be there.

My life feels blurry right now.

Not necessarily like I’m on a tangent, or am on a part of the path I’m not meant to be: but I keep feeling like I’m forgetting my thesis statement.

I’m discouraged

It’s been a running theme of my life when I’m in a preparation season. Now, this isn’t saying prep seasons are bad for me. In fact, they are probably some of my favorite seasons (in retrospect of course). Preparation happens before launch.

The summer before my freshman year in college. The summer before I was W.C. President. The season before I worked at the preschool. The months leading up to the race. These months leading up to Spain.

Everything is a battle. People telling you to do something different. To not go the way you are. People literally becoming hurtles in your life to stop you from the next move.

In all of that though, you know when the prep ends and the launch begins.

But I’m discouraged because the line of prep and launch has gotten blurry. Emails aren’t getting replied too, phone calls aren’t getting replied too, my excitement wanes.

It makes it blurry.

But then, there is a moment, a conversation where the line between prep/launch is less blurry. Where I am able to say this is why I am doing this thing that makes no sense.

And someone understands.

They get it.

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And I’m filled with joy, because that peace that filled me sitting on a couch back in Georgia with Tiffany while tears flowed down my face returns.

I’ve had 3 of those conversations. One with a friend over Skype, one with a dad of an old high school friend in the middle of a grocery story and one with a good friend over the phone.

The tears are coming now just thinking of those moments where someone was able to comprehend this dream I have for myself and for others.

The tears came when I woke up one morning and my dad had sent me THIS on Facebook:

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goodness.

I’m still taking it one day at a time. And every day as it gets closer to April and I realize that I might not be getting on a plane as soon as I want I get discouraged.

It’s rough when the line between prep and launch gets blurry.

It makes you forget the why. It makes you forget your thesis statement

It makes you forget the peace that you felt the moment you knew that this is what you were meant to do for the next step in your life.

The blurry causes you to want to move farther off track so you forget the pain you feel each moment your dream has to get differed a little more. The blurry causes you to squint your eyes so much to see the end that your head starts to hurt.

I need to REMEMBER to go back to my thesis statement daily.

Back to that moment where I KNEW.

I’m bringing myself back to Georgia. To crying on a couch with a friend, to writing a mission statement that would impact my thought process and to the knowledge that I have a God that has this plan for me and He will walk with me through it, the good, the bad and the blurry.

So, amidst the tears falling on my keyboard, amidst my heart hurting in the blurry, I want to leave you with my words. The words that empowered me and reminded me where I was meant to go in this life. The words that I am excited to take to Spain to define something, to create something. The words that will help heal me, and one day, with Jesus help me show others the way to life.

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My friend, wherever you may be, whatever you may be working on, hoping for, planning to do, whatever has been stirred in your heart to move towards- if you are feeling discouraged, if you are feeling in the blurry–look back to your thesis statement. Be reminded why you are moving.

Be encouraged that life happens in seasons and whatever is going on now is bringing you to the next- and it’s important. Even if it feels blurry, or away from the topic.

Be blessed.

(to read more on how you can partner with me in going to Spain check out journey with me)

words I’ve already written

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(this is a poem I wrote on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Dubai. It was my second to last flight on the adventure I took last year. It was a small glimpse at the woman I became in the last year. I’ve felt pulled to post it here because it’s something that always strikes a chord inside me. It’s a reminder of who I’ve become, what I’ve seen and where I am going)

I am a women.

strong

bold.

filled with knowledge of her own beauty

Someone who has seen the diversity of this world

and longs to walk in it even more

Someone who has walked the red light districts of Bangkok

the dangerous streets of Peru

bought tomatoes from the women in Mozambique who have joy

in the midst of their dark country.

I’m a woman who has been able to witness babushkas see clear for the first time

I’m someone who worshipped alongside brothers and sisters of different tongues

and from different nations

and it better because of it.

I am someone who longs to sit with someone

through their journey

but now knows not to stand in their gaps.

A woman who has learned the value of

rest

tough words

and community

I am woman who has a clear view

of her future

(as it’s one that involves nothing normal

and everything Christ)

There is more to me know than there EVER was then.

I’ve learned to let go of the darkness and wield the words

God has given me

as a sword.

There is so much more that I don’t even know

Thank you for walking with me in the unknown and the uncomfortable.

For journeying with me in the unthinkable.

For holding my heart up

and bringing me joy in the midst of sadness

And blessing me so incredibly well.

(to read more about my adventures around the globe last year go here. To partner with me in my next adventures you can go here.)

epiphanies in a mozambique marketplace

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One of my favorite things about being in dark, rainy Mozambique last July was days where my ministry was to cook.

I mean that makes sense right? I love to cook. But cooking in Mozambique was no joke. To cook in Mozi meant spending 2 hours at the market haggling, bartering, trying not to smell all the meat, then coming back and chopping vegetables for more hours then I would like to admit. Then cooking for 19 people on a coal fire.

To cook in Mozambique made me feel super accomplished.

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But that’s not why I loved it.

It was the trekking to the market normally in mud, sometimes in rain and buying from the same women I bought from every 3 or 4 days. It was just a moment to smile with them, talk in broken Portuguese/Spanish and try to find out how their day was going.

It was always a highlight to me. Something that always brought me joy.

And as I look back on my life in missions and of course just life in general it’s the talking to and encouraging of women that has been a streamline in my life. From women’s bible studies in Mexico when I was in high school, to talking to moms daily tn the preschool and church where I worked, to walking alongside my friends each day.

spainblog(four of the women I did life with this year and the ways God rocked and changed them)

There’s something in me that’s always had a heart, even as a high school student for story, for hearing dreams, for seeing what people wanted to do with their lives. When I look at my circle of friends I’m amazed by the strong women that with whom God has surrounded me. My best friend Jess is a nurse and a mom of three. My forever roommate Leah works daily with autistic kids to better their lives. Kaytie and Lisa sit and hear stories of people who are hurting and help them through life as therapists. The list could go on.

I’ve always wondered what my place was within those strong women. What I was meant to do. How I fit. I worked as a preschool teacher for five years so I thought maybe what I was meant to do was enrich the lives of kiddos in that way. But then I realized something:

I wanted more.

This past year I spent time in 11 different countries doing life and doing ministry. But some of my sweetest times were those moments sitting across tables from women on my squad and hearing their story, hearing their life, hearing what God would have for them. I remember sitting across the table from my friend Chelsey at a coffee shop in Brasov, Romania as she told me her dreams and her call to move.

sb2(Jo, Abby Tiff and I. 3 women who move and call me to move)

I want to be apart of that. I want to forever be apart of others call to move.

While in South Africa last year, discussing dreams and heart story my squad coach Betsy asked me a question. Did I want to be in the classroom or build the school and run it.

1003789_10151841959050479_2101645836_n(Fuji, Kacie and Jesse. 3 more women of movement that I team lead with in Swaziland)

There are so many answers to that question. One being YES I love being in the classroom. I love literally being apart of the story that God is writing.

But I want to help YOU be in there. On the ground floor. Realizing what you want to do, where your story is and how you want to move.

We all have things in our stories that need to be heard. We all have hurts and pains and joys and happiness. All of these things combined are what makes us who we are. What leads us to move.

Maybe you are a full time mom who wants to group together other moms and have bible study or do yoga together.

Maybe you are single working female who just needs a community and want to find a way to make it intentional.

Maybe you just need someone to talk too.

That’s what Hope is a Verb is about. Empowering women. Realizing truth in story. A call to movement.

sb3(Emily. A women I sat across many tables from all year)

And that is why I am going to Spain.

To be equipped. To help people to movement.

To help myself to movement.

I may have sat across tables from so many different types of women, with different stories, with different hurts and different dreams. (All of the women pictures have changed my life. And the all have their own call to move)

And I’m finally realizing mine.

75207_10201511441850082_1743706677_n(Cassie and I were together every day last year. She’s going to change Uganda and the world)

But I also know that I have parts of my story, parts of my heart I need to fully realize more. I need to place myself in an environment where that is possible.

And that is where G42 comes in.

A place to heal, to learn, to grow, to be surround by a community of people who are in their stories, with passions and hearts to move in the ways God is calling them.

I’d love for you to join me in this journey.

Here are a few ways:

  1. Subscribe to my blog and follow my heart. I try to post about once a week (hopefully more while I am in Spain). It’s a place where I lay down what I am learning, what I am going through. ( you can find my blog here: http://awindlikethis.wordpress.com )
  2. Join me in prayer. If I’ve learned ANYTHING from time on the mission field and just life in general it’s that we need to support one another in prayer. We need to rally behind one another and lift each other up.
  3. Last year in the midst of rainy Africa as I trailed around our host for the month, walking miles each day to visit widows, God spoke pretty clearly to me again about the fact that I truly needed to trust Him. That I wouldn’t be done raising support. I kind of hated that. But I tried to get out of it. But he didn’t relent. So I bow my head ask if you would consider joining me in the ground level of Hope is A Verb by contributing to my time in Spain. I have to raise 6300 for 6 months at G42 (covers all the things except a plane ticket which is already covered for me). If you have 10 dollars or 100 dollars every bit counts. Click here to donate to my support account.
  4. Ask me any question you want! Contact me below.

Thank you for reading and stopping into to my little space on the Internet. Thank you for blessing me and coming alongside in all of the things God has done, is doing and will continue to do in my life.  Thank you for helping me apart of God’s call on my life to live nothing normal and everything Christ.

sit down and open your mouth.

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(this is just a glimpse into apart of my story that got me talking, a part of my story that showed me there is more out there. It’s a small piece in the puzzle of “hope is a verb” and my call to spain and to movement)

I’ll never forget the first time I sat in the little waiting room at my counselors office. We’d talk on the phone twice and he’d emailed me intake forms that I’d filled out the night before.

Needless to say I was scared.

Scared to sit in a tiny room with this man I didn’t know.

Scared to reveal the fact that I was falling apart. Scared to cry (which I didn’t do for weeks)

 Scared to show my weakness.

I was scared to have someone I saw a semi regular basis (he was a preschool parent) see me. Like really see me.

It was scary to sit on the couch in this windowless office and answer questions no one had ever thought to ask me.

Questions about hurt, pain, joy, happiness.

I’d like to tell you it got easier with time.

I mean I guess it did.

But for me, talking about myself wasn’t the easiest thing in the world.

Can’t I just listen to your stuff?

Your problems?

I am so good at that.

I remember one week, a month or so into this therapy journey looking him straight in the face and telling him that I hated talking about myself. And that I felt that therapy was causing me to only talk about myself/think about myself.

And I detested it.

I remember him recrossing his legs and taking a moment. I’ll never forget the look on his face.

He then told me he thought I probably only thought about myself 10 or 20% of the time.

Yah, right.

I talked about myself ALL the time.

But of course as I went into that next week I noticed that he was right.

And it’s so funny.  Because I could WRITE about myself so easily.

But I had no idea how to talk about myself, or what I was going through or how I felt. I was the purveyor of the “I don’t know” or the “I’m ok”

And now, 5 years to the week that I sat in that therapy office for the first time, I’ve gotten better. I’ve sat in more hours of therapy than I might like to admit, I went on this crazy, spiritual journey that demanded I be open and vulnerable.

I can talk about myself now. How I’m feeling.

But what I’ve noticed is sadly; I’m in the minority.

There are a lot of people who don’t even know where to start. We live in this short hand society where a sad face emoticon is put in place to mean 50 different emotions.

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I’m not saying everyone needs to go to therapy and talk about their issues for 50 minutes a week but what I am saying is (to quote my friend Catherine Rosseli) we need to commit to opening up our mouths.

We need a person, a group, maybe even, yes a therapist, where we start to talk. Where we open our mouths and let our story flow.

I think we’d be amazing at what kind of people we could be come.

What kind of friendships we could have.                                                          What kind of relationships we could be in.

What kind of kids we could raise

If we only took  time to find out what sad is, what happy is, what mad is, what excited is, what hurt is.

Like I said: It’s been 5 years since the first time I walked into that therapy room. (February 25th 2009 because I’m good with dates like that).

And yes, It never got completely easy to walk into that office. There were some months I only went once, others where I went every week.

I went and saw him after I came back from the race. And even after a year away it was still a little hard to sit on the couch. But that’s ok. I don’t think it will ever be completely easy to sit and talk about hurt or pain.

Because it is hurt and it is pain.

But if we can’t recognize the things that hurt us how are we supposed to recognize the places where we are truly happy?

(Because not everything can be solved with one of these :) or one of these :( )

Step away from the shorthand and emoticons even for the moment. Sit down across from a friend at a coffee shop, pull up skype and call a friend across the country or even yes, sit on a couch in a therapist office.

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Because, my friends, it’s so good for your soul.

the one in which my heart goes “whoosh”

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I just said probably one of the most ridiculous things via text that I had ever said in my life.

I said I wish I had taken less risk.

Meaning:

Maybe I should have just stayed a preschool teacher.

Not gone on the race.

I’d have more of career, maybe more stability, less dreams, more foundations.

I could be right now sitting in my apartment in Orange County.

Maybe having just gone shopping or something, anything that was Saturday normal.

But instead, I’m sitting outside on my old trampoline at my parents house.

Reading and also staring at my journal because if I’m being honest?

I’m kind of afraid to pour my thoughts into at the moment.

Because I’m terrified.

I’m scared of what people will think when I tell them.

I’m not ready to settle down and get a job.

God’s plans aren’t that for me right now.

I’ve actually been sitting on my hands for about a week out of terror.

Because I know what’s next.

I know that God has put a plan, a vision in my heart and a way to get there.

And it’s terrifying.

Because it doesn’t involve getting a “real job” right now.

It doesn’t involve staying in the states.

It doesn’t involve anything emotionally easy.

It involves more learning, more growing, more being stretched and torn apart.

It involves raising money

It involves pouring my heart out to try to help people understand the why.

It involves going to Spain for 6 month and being apart of a leadership community called G42.

Whoosh.

I remember that sound.

It’s the sound I made when I finally came out about the World Race last year.

It’s the sound of a release of emotions bottled up inside for so long that I honestly didn’t know what to do with them.

It’s a sound that holds my dreams and visions for getting and grasping onto the tools that will empowering me to help remind others that hope is a verb.

It’s the sound of someone who is choosing to allow herself to be launched without much to grasp on herself.

It the sound of someone who is choosing to not be afraid anymore of what others say.

And the sound of someone who can’t believe she even for a second regretted the one thing that changed her life for the good.

I’ll be talking more about G42 soon.

If you have questions, comments or want to learn ways you can partner with me, please let me know.

I just had to get this out there. Not be held down by fear or confusion, but choose to walk in the peace of mind that God has given me.

And for my friends, for those I love and cherish that I haven’t told about this: Please forgive me for letting the few naysayers and pessimistic people I have told get in the way of telling you, the ones who have always supported me and stood by me.

(and HERE is a video a short video with a glimpse into the heart of G42)

Hope is a what?

I’ve been sitting on writing this blog for a few days.

I’ve actually been sitting on a lot of things for the past few days.

It’s amazing how a single email can stop you in your tracks and cause you to cower under your covers in a ball.

it wasn’t even a bad email

it was a GOOD email.

amazing actually.

But I’m not ready to talk about THAT yet.

Maybe Monday.

Moving along:

Last week in itself was HELL.

It was really hard.

It all started on last (not super bowl) Sunday night at my Grandma’s old house.

My Grandma passed away in February while I was in Peru on the race.

And it was really hard. I had to grieve in a whole new way that was unknown to me.

But now being back each time going over there (my uncle lives there now) is EXTREMELY hard.

I say holla, walk through the house, and go straight out the back door in to the orchards and cry. It’s the only time I really cry since being home.

So that’s how that week started.

And it kept getting darker and darker. Reentry is no joke my friends. Coming back from the most life-changing, horribly hard, joyful, best year of my life is like living constantly like the breath has just been knocked out of me.

I just wanted some happy. Something good.

Some hope.

And on then near the end of the week, I went to my new favorite coffee shop and sat to journal. And as I looked back on some sermon notes on grace I remembered when my teammate Lauren had me look up the word hope in the dictionary back in our tents in Cambodia. And I remember looking it up for her on my computer dictionary and reading it out loud. But I didn’t remember the definition. So I decided to look it up again.

Hope:

verb.

1.To wish for something with expectation of its fulfillment

2. To have confidence; trust.

3. To look forward to with confidence or expectation.

Wait?

Hope is a VERB?

It’s an action word.

It’s a call to MOVE.

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Mind blown.

seriously.

I don’t know why that hit me so hard.

Here I am with this dream in life to give others hope.

And it’s a verb.

And it was like all of sudden a bunch of things clicked into place.

I want to hear story.

I want to listen.

Help declare truth.

Help declare HOPE.

Help create movement.

Because we all need someone to listen, to speak life into us, to declare that the things we are hearing are not the truth and to cover those lies with truth. We need someone, anyone, besides to tell us that our dream, our lives and our hearts are worth pursuing

We need someone to remind of us hope.

To show us the reason to move forward.

And that’s my dream, my life and my heart.

To remind YOU of these things.

To walk by you as you go about whatever it is God has given you.

To battle with you, stand with you and remind you that HE is also there with you.

With us.

To remind you to keep moving.

I don’t know what it’s going to look like. I don’t know exactly how I am going to get there. (wherever that “there” is)

I don’t know if anyone even wants or needs that person who instills truth and helps instill movement to hope.

I think I might have found a place to do that and I am excited at the prospect of it (and also terrified.)

So yes, I am still having a hard time. I still need help finding joy, creating hope movement and making my happy. I still feel like I will be/am all alone in this desire.

But from what I’ve learned, when you feel as if you are standing alone in something

You’re not.

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