…and so I will stand

I’ve started three different blogs today all around the theme of being in Bellingham for 6 weeks, all about the loveliness that surrounds me and the lessons that I’m learning and walking in.

But before I write that blog there is apparently something I need to get off my chest, something that sneaks up on me here and there and lately it’s been trying to steal from me and cause me to question truth around me.

There is something I just need to say:

Anxiety is a bitch.

It creeps up on me in the weirdest of moments and decides that it is allowed to make home here.

But to that anxiety I would like to say this:

Hell no!

I think we all have things, certain feelings, certain skeletons that are long since dead and buried that try to come up above ground and live normally with us. 

They sneak in the backdoor and hide in a crevice around the corner and just wait. They wait for that singular moment to sneak up on you and jump in.

And sometimes you don’t even notice. 

Tonight I was struck with anxiety sitting at a restaurant with friends and it began to bubble up. It grew like a weed, really fast because I just didn’t notice it.

We were having some spirit-filled conversation and the anxiety inside me started to react to it, started to push against it and all I wanted to do was run. I wanted to get out of that restaurant as fast as I possibly could.

I wanted to get in the coziest of clothes and get as far away from people as I could.

But I knew that’s not what I needed.

I needed to stand my ground. 

That’s what it was.

In the moment that I wanted to hide in my room I realized that I just needed to stand my freaking ground and reclaim my headspace and my heart space and remember that I have the ability to do that.

I can easily allow anxiety to have control over my emotion. I can allow it to cause me to spiral into the oblivion, to cry and to surrender to the chaos and confusion that I feel in my head.

Sometimes it is actually there. And when it is I do have to deal with it.

But tonight the moment I gave a “hell no” to the mess inside it began to subside and ease up.

When I stomped my feet and stood my ground physically the knot inside began to untwist.

My life isn’t easy-breezy right now.

I am working hard and jumping into community.

I have lessons I’m being taught and truths I’m being reminded of.

But I am also learning that I have the power to move mountains inside me and today as I told the anxiety inside me to go to hell I’m realizing that I can indeed to that.

So this is my encouragement, my challenge and my reminder: stomp your feet, stand your ground and remember that the person with the power to fight hardest is yourself. Your words to yourself are just needed as your words to others.

And the other part of that is this: surround yourself with good people. Because they will give you the courage to stomp your feet and stand your ground.

So I guess this blog does speak of the loveliness of this place because I am surrounded by truth, kingdom and love and I have the roaring voice inside me to yell back at what comes at me.

I have people around me on a daily basis that walk in who they are and because of that I am able to stand in who I am.

This community empowers me more then I can describe.

And man, is it lovely.

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Find an exit buddy

To the interns wandering around Mijas;

Though our paths didn’t cross, I guarantee we’ve sat in same places all over that white washed village. (My favorite seat in the epi was the one in the center section next to the pole closest to the office just FYI).

It doesn’t matter that we’ve never met, we are apart of the same tribe, the same family, we share something even without knowing each other’s names.

So, I am sitting at the table and would love to echo something I’m sure you’ve heard whether you’ve been there 1 or 4 months.

Please, listen when they encourage you not to go alone.

Because, whether you believe it or not at this point, it changes everything.

I will never forget sitting at OCP with George Ridley during graduation week my first term. He asked me what my plan was, where I was going and I responded I didn’t know and the place really didn’t matter.

He told me four things I needed: people, a place to live, a job, and people doing something I loved. And when it came down to it if the three check marks didn’t include a job; that didn’t remove the place.

But it was logical and clear cut- go to people who were filled with life and love.

I was going to tell you my how. HOw I made the decision not to go alone.

But really that’s not what I want to tell you.
I want to tell you right now, to choose; to decide not to go try to do the thing alone.
Go TO people. Go WITH people.
Please, don’t try to save the world single-handed.

I left Spain in December with the knowledge that by August I would be living in Bellingham, WA with my friend and a member of my home team, Patty, and I’d be going to A Life Family church and getting to know the people there, some I’d met, some I’d heard about and some I’d (spoiler alert) stalked on Facebook.

What I’m saying is I had found an exit buddy.

I had a friend who knew the fears and the hardships and the goodbyes emotions I was feeling because she was going through similar things. I had a friend who reminded me in the ridiculous times of working retail that this was apart of our doing of the damn thing.

It’s August and I just paid my second month of rent. I’ve attended church and community group and gone and got beers or coffee with the people I’d only heard about. Each night my roommate and I recap our day, sometimes over an episode of saved by the bell.

And in the days when it’s hard, though I can and do text and FaceTime my people scattered over the world; one of my people actually lives in the same house as me.

It changes things.

Our home is filled with life, because we chose to have it be that way. Filled with truth, encouragement, wackiness and beer.

And had we come to a new place without community, we would have probably been ok.

But guys, GUYS, coming to a place and a community you already trust with people who you trust (Even borrowed trust) changes absolutely everything.

That advice George gave me that day in front of OCP fixed my gaze on the logical and that made it less scary.

Coming to Bellingham where there was already a community and people was probably the best decision we could have made for ourselves.

To quote both Andrew & Freddy “it just makes sense”.

{And in the days when you maybe almost get a concussion from hitting your head so hard on a cabinet at work and your roommate has to go to class, you can call someone, even though you just met him a mere 3 weeks prior and he can sit with you and eat pizza and make sure you don’t have a concussion.}

We came to a community that we trusted because those we trust, trust them.

And guys there are those people all over the country. We are here in Bellingham and in Denver. There’s a table in Chicago and one in Memphis and so many others in between.

I can guarantee there is someone from this tribe with a similar heart and vision, either already doing the thing or looking to start it.

We aren’t meant to wander aimlessly.
And the more people around you the less chance you will get off track.

Start those conversations now. We emailed with a friend here in Bellingham for months prior to moving.

Ask questions.
Ask the staff questions, ask who they know that have similar hearts, ask them to connect you.

Don’t be me for the first three months, believing I could end up just anywhere, which was basically true. But I was missing that I needed to end up Not just anywhere but with people.

It changes the good to celebration and changes the hard days to face to face conversations rather then over FaceTime.

It just changes things.

So if you read this whole letter I want to challenge you to have those conversations, ask those questions and decide to do the thing with people.

Reach out and grab it.

It’s so good.

If you have any questions or want to know specifically what’s going on here in Bellingham or our process of deciding to come here please shoot me an email. (Mmreeve @gmail) And if you are ever in the area we live in the best little yellow house and our door is open and there is normally beer & wine in the fridge and some emergency cookie dough ready to be thawed and baked.

I don’t know you guys but I do know you are amazing.
Do me a favor and love the staff really well, they are some of my favorite people on planet earth.
And please, PLEASE, go buy a bag of paprika chips from spar and eat them for me.

With love,
Meg

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a life message at 30

I have realized over the last 6 months or so that I am developing words and phrases that are turning into what I can only classify as “life messages”. It was a concept I didn’t really know about until Spain, until I met men and women who have certain words and phrases that touch their hearts.
I think at 30 I am more then allowed to claim things as apart of my heart and as apart of something that I will always speak on or know.
One of those things is the concept and what I deem the lifestyle of borrowing trust.

Now, before I get into this I am want to be clear and say this: if you know in your knower in the deepest part of you that your trust or even your borrowed trust cannot be given then don’t do it. You know you know.

What is borrowed trust?

Have you ever been in a situation where you were sent somewhere or to someone by someone that you trust and you had to choose in that moment to trust that place or person before you had time to deem it trustworthy? You just knew that you couldn’t give your own trust time to develop and you just chose to dive in?

That’s borrowing trust whether you knew it or not. That was taking the trust of the person that sent you- the trust that they had in the person or place and claiming it as your own.

The concept and theme of borrowed trust is very important in my life.

At first I thought it was something that I first encountered going on the world race. Because I chose outright to trust the Garmon’s and Tiff, Kelly & Joshua with who I was because I had chosen to trust AIM and since AIM trusted those people then I could trust them too.

And then somewhere down the line I gave AIM that borrowed trust back because I had my own.

But I realized that going to therapy was very much about borrowing trust. My therapist was a preschool dad. He was someone somewhat well known and I had to choose to trust him from minute one.

I didn’t have the capacity to do so.

There were people I knew that trusted him. It was a spread out kind of trust but I was able to collect enough of it to hold onto until I had my own.

In a way borrowed trust is like the blankets and toys my little kiddos in my classroom have. They are a small reminder of home. They are a reminder of mom and dad. A reminder that mom and dad left them there and loved them and trusted us. So, even if it takes a moment for the kiddos to trust me, something in their blankie reminds them that their parents trust me.

And eventually the blanket gets lost in the shuffle.

Borrowed trust is important because it gives us the chance to live before we think we might be ready too.

Borrowed trust reminds us that we already trust something.

I don’t think I could have come to Bellingham without borrowed trust.

I had to believe that these people and this place was for me.

I had to trust that when I made this jump I wouldn’t get too bruised.

There are a good handful people in my life who trust this place and this people. They are people who I first trusted on a hell of lot of borrowed trust that I have since given back and replaced with my own.

And because of them and what they have done and who they are in my life I trust this place.

We need to find trust as much as we build it. We need to choose to connect people with trust from others.

You can’t borrow trust if you don’t trust in the first place.

Let’s choose to clear out the bad examples in our lives and replace them with piggy banks of trust that we can take and use.

It will not only change your life but I guarantee it will cause you to move in ways you never deemed possible.

 

so, I can store the suitcase?

Sometimes I wish I didn’t feel the urge to write because normally what follows it is the unbelievably annoying nagging feeling that I cannot give up until I put words to a page that aren’t backspaced or deleted.

Writing is something that comes so naturally to me when my brain is working in the proper creative way that it is supposed too; but then again when I just let my mind and fingers directly colliding with each other with the middleman of an outline I find that I get the truest words out.

I’ve been in Bellingham for 13 days now. Thursday starts week 3. And I don’t think–outside of emails– I’ve written anything. A friend asked me today what I needed prayer for in this transition and I said “a creative space”.

But I realized a little later, after cooking dinner and folding clothes that I need to start realizing that I create all the time. That just by my spirit being in this place it is a “creative space”.

It’s difficult to realize that sometimes. It’s difficult to realize that our presence in a room brings something to it, that who we are changes the atmosphere. I think that it has been the most difficult for me in this place because for the first time in about 3 years I technically do have ownership over a place. My name is on a lease.

That’s a hard thing to wrap my mind around. That this place, that I wake up in and come back after work, this place that has already been flooded with Holy Spirit and laughter and food and joy, is mine.

I’ve missed that. I’ve missed laying my head down in a place that I can call my own. I’ve missed feeling ownership over a place.

And I think all of those things is why it took me a moment to realize that I’m no longer in a place where I am preparing to leave.

We move through our high school, college and post college life mostly preparing to move. Preparing to change schools, go to grad school, get a raise. We are so quick to get out of a season and go to the next.

I’ve always grab the phrase that was spoken to me so many times by the wise Betsy “present over perfect”, but now the hit me because in all honesty there is nothing my mind is grappling with outside the everyday (family, friends, work, etc.).

I’m not preparing to leave.

I’m just living.

Living in my own space, with my people.

LIVING.

That’s a big word, that has rolled around in my head more then I’d care to admit.

I think I had forgotten how to just live.

Bellingham is different then any other place I’ve ever laid my head for an extended period of time.

And that’s wonderful.

And I think it’s perfect for me to begin to live in this way, in this place, as who I know I am to be.

I’ll never forget the first time I met someone who would end up being a college roommate of mine. I was in the elevators in Catalina Hall during music camp and I gleefully introduced myself to Deanna. Because I had chosen to be outgoing and put a new foot forward.

But here, I don’t have to put a new foot forward.

I just have to put myself.

This has been a ramble, an attempt to hit the things that have been circling in my mind.

Bellingham is good.

I’m realizing it’s for me. I’m choosing to live.

And I’m me.

That’s all.

playing haman: be your own sparkle tape

{As you know from my last blog I was up in the mountains of southern California last week at Royal Family Kids Camp.}

The Saturday before we left for camp I got a phone call from the drama coordinator, who happens to be one of my cheerleaders in life, Michele. She asked me if I wouldn’t mind being in the drama that year.

Sure! I’d love to be a part of the wonderfully, wacky group of people who put on the drama.

Who would I be playing?

Haman.

If you don’t know the story of Esther all you need to know is that Haman was Hitler before Hitler existed. He wanted to kill all the Jews and then at the end of the story he was hung in the gallows. (if you prefer the veggie tales version he is sent to the island of perpetual tickling.)

Now the being in the drama was fine. I was in theater in high school and have no problem making a fool of myself in front of kids. So, what was I actually worried about?

It may sound dumb but I was worried I was going to be booed.

In the past I’ve watched the person playing the “evil” character get booed through the week.

So I started in early. All day Monday before the kids met Haman I told the them that I would be playing a man who made really bad choices and I made them agree they would still be my friend.

(Ok ok I may have resorted to bribery with scrapbook tape and stickers)

Guess what? I didn’t get booed.

The kids came up to me and had conversations about what was going to happen to Haman, the choices he made, how tantrums don’t solve anything. On the off chance a kid called me Haman, I would look at them shocked and ask if I was wearing a wig. Most of the time they’d giggle and say no then call me Miss Meg (and ask me for some sparkle tape).

My 5 day stint as Haman made me think of all the times in life where I was freaked out about what COULD happen. Like this week, last year, I was afraid to go to Spain for so many reasons.

One main one was “what if they don’t like me?”. Which, like being afraid of being booed was so very dumb. People I loved, and who loved me were already there waiting to hug me when I got off the plane.

But like my sparkle tape to the kids I took “precautions” when I got to Spain.

I did. I volunteered for things and was overly helpful.

For so long I thought the value I brought was ONLY by what I did.

But of course, when it came down to it none of THAT really mattered. I remember the week of reunion when I had been there a mere 6 weeks Kellen came up to me and told me I was appreciated (and what he may not know is I lost it promptly after). It hit me hard that I had barely been there- and that people were seeing ME, not the role I was attempting to play.

I forget that who I am is someone who is capable of being appreciated and loved. Who I was last week was still a person who the kids knew loved them. So even IF they would have booed me they would still know I loved them. (Though I stand by the fact the sparkle tape DEFINITELY helped.)

I believe it’s one of those deeply rooted human lies that we each have: that we aren’t enough without the things that we can bring to the table. And I believe that singular thing can cause us to NOT bring what we really have. I believe it causes us to bring THINGS not HEART.

It causes us to SET things on the table and not SIT at the table.

Playing Haman was hilarious. I got to spend my nights at camp with some hysterical people and I got to use gifts that have been long buried. I could have said no to playing Haman, because I was a wee bit worried, but that would have been silly.

I shook hands to an agreement to do the thing in Washington back in October, sitting in front of El Ultimo Mono. And that handshake agreement is officially in real life. In now time. There is a cute little yellow house waiting for me with a roommate whom I adore to the moon and back.

And all of those lies that I’m not enough, that I have nothing to bring, that I’m going to fail, they’ve all made rounds in my head.

We can’t be afraid to just sit at the table. We can’t be afraid to bring what we deem nothing to a table that seems bursting with everyone else’s gifts and talents.

It’s ourselves that matter. It’s what is innately in us. We don’t have to bring anything extra. Sure, you can if you want too but it’s not necessary.

And at the table you are surrounded by people who won’t let you be scared off by some silly little lie that you aren’t enough. Or that someone is going to boo you, or not see who you actually are outside of the job you work to pay the bills.

Show up and open your mouth in spite of what people may think and see what happens. Show up even if you think you might get booed because of a way you used to be in the past. Show up even if you think that someone ELSE may deem you unqualified.

Show up not to PROVE you are enough but to ACKNOWLEDGE that you know that you are.

Don’t bring sparkle tape to the table- be your own sparkle tape.

a letter to my royal family

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This, this is for all the girls, and boys all over the world
Whatever you’ve been told, you’re worth more than gold
So hold your head up high, it’s your time to shine
From the inside it shows, you’re worth more than gold
(Gold gold, you’re gold)
You’re worth more than gold
(Gold gold you’re gold)

gold-britt nicole

I know that for most people the hashtag #themostwonderfultimeofyear is centered around Christmas and Starbucks red cups and all of that kind of stuff.

But if I am being completely honest, my favorite time of year is a span of 6 exhausting days tucked up in the mountains wearing wigs, eating salad, laughing with kiddos and being with one of the most giving group of people I’ve ever encountered.

To my hard-working, incredibly loving, (more than just) sometimes sarcastic Royal Family-

You all are amazing.

I’ve been trying to put it into words over the last twenty-four hours. I was in tears getting on a train traveling away from Orange County today.

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lauren.krystle.vanessa.priscilla. lovely ladies I get to do {camp & real} life with and be a {temporary} buddy for.

My heart swells at the thought of all you. Every single one.

On Sunday while we were running around Pinecrest getting all the things ready; the thought that kept coming into my head was about the importance of changing the connotation of family for the kids coming up the hill the next day. How important the word “family” is. How important our interactions are in front of the kids. The hugs, the inside jokes, the smiles we give each other all week is so important because it shows the kiddos that even though we aren’t related we are indeed FAMILY.

I know beyond a shadow of a doubt this week the friendships that have formed and grown amidst the 100 counsellors, staff and teen staff showed the kids a picture of Christ. It showed them that family isn’t just what you are born into but it’s also the people you are given.

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photo of {a lovely photographer} Casey taken by {another equally lovely photographer} (and also her mama) Janel. So grateful for these two who catch the joy of the kiddos like photo ninjas.

It’s such a lovely thing. And I know it’s exhausting but man, this royal family needs every part. From the teen staff (who are the most awesome teens ever) to the nurses and staff counsellors, to the deans and directors to the mail ladies, to those of us in chapel to the coaches on the field and the karate instructors on the pavement, to the activity centers, wood shop workers, fantasy corner inhabitants, grandma & grandmas, aunts & uncles to our photographers and videographers. To those who do all the work pre-camp to our birthday party volunteers who come up one day to bring the kiddos so much joy. And last but in no way least; to the counselors who tuck the kids in at night after running around with them all day.

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i’ve gotten to watch these guys do their thing for 4 years and was stoked to get to be apart of the crew this year.

I’ve met a lot of people in this world, a lot running great ministries and doing beautiful work all over the world. But it’s all you guys, all those who head up that mountain for the week that give me hope. All of you show me the love of Christ in such beautiful ways. Because you don’t have too. It’s not your job.

You do it for the kids.

It’s all of you who make it never a sacrifice to come up the hill; but an utter privilege.

I’m so grateful that 6 years ago Kim made me fill out an application to be a counselor instead of just being the person who house sat while they were gone.

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5 year pin. Here’s to 10-15-20-25 more.

Thank you for allowing me to be apart of this family. Thank you for laughing with me (or at me because: Haman.) thank you for encouraging me and hugging me (or putting me in a headlock) and thank you for letting me see pieces of the inner strength you have in you that maybe not many other people see. Thank you for taking the story God gave you and the life you’ve lived and pouring it not only into the kids but into me.

So lastly, this week, as you go about your daily lives I want you to all remember something:

You are so utterly and completely lovedAnd every ounce of love you gave out last week will come back to you.

You are wonderfully, beautifully known and loved.

You are all in my heart and I am so very, very proud to know you.

Can’t wait to see you next year,

With love, blessings and {so much coffee},

Meg

(aka Haman aka Juneapera)

{to learn more about Royal Family Kids Camp or to find one in your area click here)

an example of how I can turn anything into a sermon illustration

I have a confession to make.

It’s kind of (really) embarrassing, but I just wanted to put it out there.

I like….I mean, LOVE fan fiction.

Fan fiction (noun): written by a fan of and featuring characters from a particular TV show, movie etc. …

It started slowly, with Vampire Diaries and lead into Hart of Dixe with a smattering of Criminal Minds and now I’m full blown into the Mindy Project. I don’t read every single one and I can usually tell within a paragraph if I am going to read the whole thing. It normally has less to do with story and more to do with grammar and spelling.

I love reading stories and stories that are focused around characters I already love? Even better.

Let me tell you there are some talented people out there, some crazy storytellers. I myself have never really dabbled in it (she says as she remembers college and stories written based on a red headed pop star) mainly because I suck at dialogue and my creative mind doesn’t normally work that way.

For some fan fiction is a way to see two characters actually end up together and to “right a wrong” the writers did by not having them end up together in the first place (klaus and Caroline-am I right?) and for others it is a home to take already created characters and twist them into something new (ladies and gentleman I give you the fan fiction that made millions of dollars off of the characters Edward and Bella- fifty shades of grey).

Fanfction is the ability to create a universe for yourself.

It’s creating something out of bits and pieces of something already created.

Really, if I get down to thinking about it- it’s kind of how I feel about my life.

I’ve already been created. My story has already been written.

And then God said, “create!”

But wait haven’t you already done that? Haven’t you already created? Shouldn’t I….

And God said, “create!”

Here is what baffles me about that. God didn’t create us out of something already created. He didn’t add on. He didn’t take characters someone else had formed.

He created us, formed us- out of NOTHING.

WITH HIS WORDS.

How do you even live in the same realm of creating when God himself the creator of creation is the one who tells you to create?

It’s hard for me to grasp that I create with words. Sometimes I don’t like to place my writing into a form of creating. God used words and BOOM universe.

A song lyric from my friend Allan’s song entitled “song of inheritance” punches me in the face every time I hear it

So scream out what you want and from chaos create because he gave you HIS voice and it’s filled with HIS power

Woof. I’v read, referenced and listened to this line hundreds of times. And yet it still gets me right in the knower when I think of what God created with words.

And I- whether I choose to believe it or not- create with words.

Oooof.

CREATE.

What’s really stopping me?

Because this parallel terrifies me.

Now let’s hit the brakes for a second. I’m not saying I can create exactly like God and abracadabra here’s another universe.

What I am saying is if I took the power that God has nestled in his pinky toe and used that to create what could I do?

We are ALL creators. All people have the ability to create something lovely, beautiful and God-breathed.

So why the heck don’t we?

Why the heck don’t I?

Why do I allow the silence around me not to be filled?

Maybe because I don’t necessarily know how to use that power.

I’m working on it. Figuring it out. Delving into the mystery that is creating things, making things alive with words.

That power was awakened in me in full force last summer amidst the unrelenting Mijas heat. It was nurtured with a some shabbas and a tough cookie or two.

This creative power, these words bubbling up inside of me are ones of which I want more.

I don’t know what I am going to create but I am.

So why don’t you?

Why don’t you find that thing that one thing where the power of God’s pinky toe is nestled in you and use it to create lovely and raw and life giving and changing all in the same breathe.

Use it.

I am.

(And yes, I will also still be reading fan fiction because I need to know what happens in 60 years when Bonnie dies and Elena wakes up and I need 200 different versions of Mindy and Danny’s life after baby)

Dear Lauren

Dear Lauren:

I have never in my life been this heart broken to finish a nonfiction book. Normally it’s the fiction ones, the ones where I want the story to continue, where I want to see where the characters go AFTER the final sentences have long passed. I want an epilogue to everything I read.

I started reading your book “Girl Meets God” about 2.5 months ago. I have savored it. Not reading more than 20 pages at a time or less. I haven’t wanted it to end. A friend had recommended it to me after I came across your words on foreshadowing and said I should read it.

She’s a good friend who knows what she is talking about.

Here’s the thing: The last two years I had been in a spiritual maze. I started in the labyrinth when I went on an 11 month mission trip and when I came home I didn’t realize that I was still in it. Then I went to Spain and had 6 months that rocked my core. I call it a maze because I was lost, but I didn’t realize that was ok. I didn’t realize I didn’t need to know where I was going at the time. But the thing about this maze is that suddenly it opened up without me knowing it.

It’s not like I was changing religions or denominations or something like that but I was finding a faith that was my own, that was free from living by rules and putting myself in a box.

“Oh,” said the wife. “Now I see. You’ve come to see us because you’re trying to figure out how to put your life back together.”

I wish I could tell you how many times I’ve quoted this. How much this one sentence described what I feel like I’ve been trying to do the last six months. How I’ve been trying to put together not only what I knew about the last 16 years of being a christian but what my mind has seen, heard and felt over the last two years.

I wish I could describe to you how much I was trying so hard to combine the church I knew and the church I had seen and come to love. How much I wanted the church I knew to see the Christ I had found.

I wish I could go back and show you how many quotes I’ve instagrammed or text to friends. Or the fact that I too talk to my books and this one is highlighted and written in as if I have to take an exam or write a paper.

I wish I could fully show you how much your book has reminded me that I’m not alone in a shifting of something that was so grounded in me.

“Sometimes, as in a great novel, you cannot see until you get to the end that God was leaving clues for you all along.”

I want you to know how much hope and joy your words gave me. How many times I laughed out loud because of the way the wrecking ball hit me.

How much peace your journey gave mine.

That’s all I want to say.

Thank you for allow others a moment, a glimpse, a photograph of who you are and what you went through and the words God gave you.

Sincerely,

Meg

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I want you to know I prefer my water with bubbles: 29.

“28 was a turning point.

Showing me that I never want to live in a world where God is only as big as we make him.”~ me about to turn 29.

I’m about to turn 30 and I literally don’t even know what happened this last year. I’m trying to find words right now that aren’t just a mess of HA! and shaba and caffeine. I’m trying to figure out how to tell you about two halves of a year that are polar opposites, but both still so good. And I didn’t start this to be one: but here is a list. 29 things I want you to know about 29. WITH PICTURES.

1. I want you to know that I drink my coffee black now and that’s a big deal.

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2. I want you to know that after years of making excuses of why I didn’t, I actually started reading my Bible for myself.

3. I want you to know that I am grateful for the people I did life with pre-28&29 because they are the foundation of why I was capable of being so brave.

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an oldie but a goodie. A3forlife

4. I want you to know that I felt known.

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The Garmon’s. So grateful to continually have them in my life.

5. I want you to know PEGARINA.

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and TRIBE

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G42 October 2014 to December 2014 term


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#classofsix December 2014


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Santi. One of the best big little brothers I’ve ever had.


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thornhill men. enough said.

and HOMETEAM

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family twice. family forever.

6. I want to tell you about people who showed me the Father’s love and a home that wrapped me up from the minute I set foot in it.

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some of the most open armed people I have ever encountered.


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freds. no words. none.

7.I want you to know that I met a new Christ I had never known before.

8. I want you to know that chose to believe.

9. I want you to know I learned that things weren’t such a big deal.

10. I want you to know the conversations I had looking at this view with people I knew for a day or for six months changed my life.

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the view from the mijouse porch at sunrise.

11. And I want you to know I kill at making omelettes and that sometimes lunches of spreadable brie and prosciutto and congas are the best ever. And that sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts are one of my love languages.

12. I want you to know that prophecy and revelation are daily practices in my life.

13.I want you to know that I found a voice I didn’t realize I had and words I didn’t feel capable of speaking and songs I didn’t know I could sing.

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14. I want you to know that I still roll my eyes at cheesy Christian jargon but I will be the first to use it with my people when they need to be slapped across the face.

15. I want you to know that one of my favorite things I am called is Nina.

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16. I want you to know I am proud of myself.

17. I want you to know I love my parents a lot.

18. I want you to know that I found joy in sitting with a pot of tea at the English tea room or a glass of wine at the wine museo or the shrimp tower at pampa.

image19. I want you to know that it isn’t day drinking~ it’s lunch.

20. I want you to know I do my best writing in coffee shops.

21. I want you to know that the last 3 years of my life I have made some of the scariest but best decisions ever.

22. I want you to know that one of those scary best decisions is moving to Washington with this chick.

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23. I want you to know that her friendship showed me more about God’s timing and sense of humor than I had ever known.

24. I want you to know that my new favorite book is “girl meets god” by Lauren F. Winner and that it will always make me think of 29.

25. I want you to know that I made wedding cakes and birthday cakes and realized how much heart and life I can pour into baking.

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gorbett’s one year cake. parker wedding cake. andrew’s birthday cake.

26. I want you to know whether I am 3 years old or 30 this is still my best friend.

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27. I want you to know that my life theme is to #chooselovely

28.I want you to know that my faith was broken in the most beautiful way.

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my first week in spain at what would become my favorite spot.

29. I want you to know I fell in love.

And 30 for luck and for life- I want you to know that I prefer my water with bubbles.

So I raise my glass to 29. I thank it for its adventure, its people, its tears, its wine, its laughter and its love.

Here is to 30 and everything it will hold.

Let’s do the damn thing.

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a letter to anonymous: please speak life

I live in a really small town. Like a can’t walk into the grocery store without at least knowing one person type of small town. When I went on the World Race my local paper did an interview about me and I still field questions about my “adventures”. We have Stars Hollow type town events with a Swedish theme and a daily basis there is a Swedish music playing over the town loud speakers and you can always find the lovely Swedish lady in her Swedish garb sitting outside her shop.

When tragedy strikes our town it hits pretty hard. I’ll never forget a father of a friend of mine that passed away when I was in Junior high. It felt like the entire population felt the impact of it and was at the funeral celebrating his life. It was a bittersweet moment; bitter for the occasion but sweet to see people coming together to lay hands on one another’s shoulder and comfort in that moment.

Yes, there are the small town hindrances. Everyone knows everyone’s business. Gossip runs a wee bit rampant and people can be judgemental. But if you can widen your eyes and look beyond that you will see the whimsy, the life and the loveliness that abounds down our main street and through the mismatched houses, through stories told by old murals and through overhearing the men that sit at the donut shop every morning for their coffee. You can find comfort in knowing that your kids will most likely walk at graduation in high school with people that they sat next to in preschool. Stability in small towns is a gift and a curse, but we just can’t narrow our eyes to what is negative.

This past week the local high school where I went, where all of my aunts and uncles and my mom and my brothers all went was hit with tragedy. Two students over the course of a week committed suicide; one freshman and one senior. The staff and students and the community are reeling.

And so is the comment section of the news articles that have been going online.

I hate comment sections. I rarely read them or dabble in them. Because usually they make me angry. There was one that hit me. I’m not going to quote it but I am going to say this:

There is life and God and Holy Spirit in this small town amidst everything.

People can see our sweet little town and see a conservative, Bible thumping place full of hypocrites. And yes, sometimes I have seen that. I have been hit by that and hurt by it.

But we have to choose to see the sweet along with the bitter.

Last year when I got home from the world race I was a wreck. I didn’t want to go to church, didn’t want to read my Bible or talk to God. But without a fail, once or twice every week I would find myself sitting in Common Ground Coffee House. It’s a sweet coffee shop that is run by a church in the town.

I couldn’t go to church but I could go there.

And even though I felt wrecked and in no way full of any kind of life it was still there in that place, bursting out of the seams and pouring out the door. The conversation that would occur around me were full of laughter and sweetness, victory and celebration and oh so much joy. And that cannot occur unless there is life, unless there is Holy Spirit~ unless there is Christ.

And because of that light and life and Holy Spirit I found words and truths that were buried deep inside me because I allowed the light and life in me to come alive in little bits and pieces in that place.

And now in the midst of sadness and death I know that people will go there to talk and lay a hand on each others shoulder and question and ask why, but they choose to go there because there is life and light.

And darkness cannot exist inside of light. Because light BANISHES darkness.

So to me, just that small picture shows me that there is still life and light and Christ in this tiny town. There is still goodness.

So yes, there are really tragic, bitter things that have occurred within the city limits of this small town. There are conversations that have had to be had that I wish on no teenager.

But there is also the sweetness of a prayer circle on a high school campus, of high schoolers opening their eyes to what it means to listen and be there for someone, really be there. Of conversations between two people who didn’t know each other yesterday. Of casseroles and meals being made for a family you might not even know.

In the midst of death there is life happening.

If we spent our days solely seeing the pain and the hurt and the bitter, that is all we would see. Some days yes, we have to scavenge to find the sweet and the joy.

But it’s always there, whether or not we choose to admit it.

So please, speak life. Call out words and prayers of hope and encourage and sweetness. Find places of life and replicate them. It’s easy to speak to the darkness and the violence and the things that are ugly. It takes more to stand and look them in the face and tell them to go back where they belong.

Let’s come together to speak life.

(a gofundme account that was created by a student to spread the word about depression and suicide)