December 29, 2009

life's candy and the sun's a ball of buttaa

First of all, I woke up with "Don't Rain On My Parade" stuck in my head yesterday. I felt like that had to be a good sign for 2010. But so far, twentyten (thats how I say it - and I think you should too) has been a lot like 2009. Not in a really terrible way so much as in a just-because-we-write-a-different-year-on-our-checks-doesn't-mean-our-lives-are-dramatically-altered, kind of way. I suppose this was to be expected. Weird.
However, I know a LOT of people for whom 2009 was not terribly fun. I realize that yes, there were parts which were not heinous, but a lot of the parts were pretty un-fun. That said, I know that many of us (myself included) are hoping, praying, begging, pleading, for a really fantastic twentyten. That's a lot of pressure to put on a change of date.
Transitions are never good for me. In fact, I think it is fair to say that transitionally speaking, I am legitimately awful. I deal poorly with big change. There are many reasons this is the case, but I think the most pronounced is the fact that at each transition, I am faced with myself: who I am now as opposed to before. What I did last time, how I failed in this span of time, what resolutions I failed to accomplish, how little I have grown, as I see it. I am not particularly nice to myself as it is, but it is at these times that I become particularly hateful. I give myself a once-over and see all the things I didn't get done since last year, since last graduation, or whatever. I am overcome with a sense of the time I have wasted, the things that I still, yes still, struggle with, the many ways in which I have let myself, God, everyone else, down. Harsh? Overly critical? A little ridiculous and irrational? Perhapsicle. But if I told you that anything different was happening in my brain, I would be a big fat liar.

For this reason, I do not believe in New Years resolutions. It's like saying, "Hey, I have an awesome idea - lets make a list of things I probably won't do this year, so that when the year is over, I have an actual, pre-written checklist of reasons I suck. Hooray!" No thank you. I do, however, like the thought of a new year. I also like the thought of a new phase of life in which for the first time ever, I am not a student. I am well on my way to grownup-hood! And I like this. While my instincts tell me to panic doubly over twentyten and graduation, I am resisting (i.e. breathing into a paper bag every few minutes). Here are some things that I am excited about doing/trying in this, the new year.

- Learn to play the Ukelele, and get really good at it.
- Get a library card. Allison and I say pretty much every day, "we really need to go get library cards." Then we don't. So now this is my life goal for 2010.
- Write more... but seriously. Now that I'm out of school forever, this feels like something I want to do more. So I will. Boom, roasted.
- Do more things I like a whole lot. This list might or might not include: wearing blue nail polish; hanging out with people who make me laugh ALL THE TIME; as of last night, playing Rock Band goes on this list... I will sing my heart out with reckless abandon; also, along the same lines - I will sing more karaoke, I think; I'll wear things I like without wondering if other people will; I will be freer, generally speaking.
-OH! And most importantly, we decided that high-fiving is SO 2009. In twentyten, we face-kiss. So, for those of you for whom physical touch is not your love language - prepare to be wildly uncomfortable.

Generally speaking, I want to do more of these things: enjoy, love, laugh, do, play, sing, appreciate, listen, tell the truth, affirm, comfort, hug, face-kiss, challenge, be challenged, create, write, pray. Among other things. I will be a busy girl in twentyten.

The moral of the story is that I want to not make changes out of the place that says: you need to fix/change/get better, generally speaking - but from a place that is exciting, new, full of new, cool stuff.

and in closing:

get ready for me love, cause I'm a comer
I simply gotta march, my heart's a drummer!
nobody, no, nobody is gonnaaaaa rain on my paraaaaaaaaaaade

December 10, 2009

things I am anti

People have different ways they say this - for me, it is things I am anti. Such as, I am anti- fill-in-the-blank. For my friend Beckie Vicky (I think she's going to love that shout out), it's a list of Life Rules (for example, as a rule, Beckie V does not eat ketchup or play volleyball). On SNL it's "REALLY????" with Seth and Amy. After discussing Beckie's life rules the other day, and after making several "no, sorry, I'm anti-whatever" statements lately, I decided that it would be a good decision to compile a list.

I am anti: encased meats.
Sausage, hot dogs, bratwurst (oooh especially bratwurst) are on my list of things I cannot make myself eat. Once in a very blue moon I will eat a hot dog - but bratwurst and sausage really gross me out. Then recently I discovered that there are actual factories which produce casings for these meats. Meat that's encased. GROSSSSSSSSSS. I think now I will just embrace this about me and never eat encased meats ever again. I am highly and vehemently anti encased meats.

I am anti: paying for airport transportation/airport parking.
This is why we have friends, people. When I meet someone, I think to myself, "I better be nice, because someday, I might need a ride to or from the airport, and this person might be the only one not in class/at work/washing their hair when I need to go." It angers me when people pay for taxis or super shuttles or, even worse, God forbid - for PARKING at the airport. I mean really. Have we spoken/hung out more than once? Are we Facebook friends? Good enough for me. I'll take you. Buy me a drink sometime and we'll call it even.

I am anti: processing fees and charges when purchasing online.
Literally, there are few things that get me AS worked up as ticket charges and processing fees. Yesterday I bought a ticket to a concert online that was $13.00. When all was said and done, I was paying nearly TWENTY FIVE dollars for that damn ticket. Here's the thing. If they said, "this ticket costs $25," I wouldn't care. I would pay with a smile on my face and be thrilled for that concert. I'd never know the difference. But just the fact that I start at $13 and end up over $10 higher in the end infuriates me! I try whenever I can to purchase the tickets AT the theater, thus avoiding these charges, but in order to keep Ticketmaster in business, the theaters' available times for ticket purchases are something like every third Wednesday from 3:45-3:46 AM, or when the temperature is precisely at 21.5 degrees, or whenever there's a full moon. Thanks, theater. That's helpful.

I am anti: poor grammar, misspelling names, and most text/internet abbreves.
1. Try as I may, I cannot send an email until I know all of the punctuation is in the right place, the wording is ideal for the point I'm trying to make, and everything grammatically makes sense. 2. I can't handle it when people send me emails/facebook messages and spell my name wrong. My name is right there. Spelled correctly. In my email address. Which you had to type in correctly to get this email to me. So why, then, did you begin with, "Hey Meeaghane!" 3. I also have a very low tolerance for these phrases: LOL (and anything else that falls under the I'm-laughing-so-hard-I-can't-even-type-out-all-the-words umbrella); 1 letter substitues for real words; Luv as a substitute for Love. Now let me be clear - it doesn't really bother me when other people do this (ok sometimes it does - but not very often, so don't get a complex about it like I did about using emoticons when BV told me she hated them), I just can't do it. I've tried, too - I've typed texts with those things in them, but I can never press send. If I did, I think I would immediately have to send a retraction text. "wtf was that txt b4? R U serious? IDK wut i was thnking. LOLOMG."

I am anti: abiding by any kind of schedule.
Some people call this disorganized or scattered or irresponsible - I call this that I am just a whole other breed of control freak. Bear with me here: I make a schedule, or I have a general plan for my day. On my way to whatever I'm doing, I'll start shifting things around (this usually happens in the car) and making a new plan. "Well, I'm supposed to see kid A at 11. But if I saw kid B at 10 then I could be writing a treatment plan for kid C by 11 and then see kid A on Thursday because I have that hour of free time anyway... yes, that is a far better plan." Nonsensical? Yes. At the end of the week, the same things have been accomplished. But it always makes me feel really cool and powerful, like I'm bartering on what I will or won't get done in a given day. Only in the end, I'm bartering with myself, which isn't all that exciting and doesn't make me very powerful at all. And still it remains: I am anti schedule.

I am anti: men wearing sleeveless shirts.
I just think it's wrong. And gross. The ONLY time it is moderately acceptable is in some kind of sports/gym situation, and even here it's a grey area, and you probably still look like a tool.

I am anti: texting as a form of legitimate communication.
This is starting to have to change - because the world is now operating in such a way where texting is a legitimate method of communicating. Before, it was a way to say funny things or maybe send a reminder every now and then. Now I'm getting babysitting jobs where our only communication is a few texts before I show up to watch their children. I'm having important, meaningful conversations in 160 characters or less. Boys are asking girls on dates in TEXTS! Close friends send birthday wishes in a teeny tiny (and unsatisfying) text. Entire relationships begin and end with a few nonchalant text messages. And do not even get me started on sexting. Whereas before a text was an easy, breezy, beautiful (yes) way to say something, now it takes 20 minutes to formulate a clever, witty response that appears breezy because a text is just as valid as a face-to-face interaction. You have to wait a certain amount of time so you appear aloof and moderately busy and important. Nothing is easy anymore. That's the moral of this story.

I'm sure there are more. Let me know if you think I missed anything crucial.

December 3, 2009

oh, NOW I get it.

"If it's great reverence you're looking for, or earnest expressions of gratitude -
well, then, you don't work with kids." - Curtis Sittenfeld

clear as day.

November 30, 2009

when unprayed prayers are answered

Somewhere along the line, I think I became a writer.

I went for a walk this morning because it was so pretty outside and I realized that we don't have many mornings like that left. As I walked, I felt like everything was a story. I know that sounds impossibly cheesy - I can't actually believe I wrote it - but it's kind of true. I found myself at each turn writing what was going on around me - putting it into words over and over until I finally found a way I liked. It was a nearly unconscious process; but then suddenly, I realized what I was doing, and I realized that this has become a part of the way I think. I've been writing on airplanes, and in airport terminals; while driving, walking, riding, talking, listening, observing, sitting, standing. On the elliptical and at family gatherings. I want to describe Christmas lights, and the bells of the church across the street from my house. People are stories to be told; words are like those tiny pieces of glass that people who are crazy talented use to make those incredibly intricate mosaics.

I've never really felt like a writer until this morning. And it was there, on Gaylord Street, Annie Lennox on my iPod, that the smells of Christmas candles and omelets and coffee and dog poo made me suddenly want to write a story about what it was like to walk down Gaylord St., listening to Annie Lennox, smelling candles and omelets and coffee and yes, even dog poo. It's poetry, people, I'm telling you...
Part of me wonders why now; but then another part of me tells that part of me to shut it and just enjoy it. Now don't get me wrong - I have a LONG way to go and a lot more to learn about writing and living and loving and the like. I'm nowhere near finished. But I'm starting to feel awake, and I don't think I've always been. I wouldn't call it happy - although it makes me that way, sometimes - because that's not what it is. Openness to feeling runs the whole gamut; which has to include pain and grief and suffering. No, it's not happiness - it's freedom to live authentically, I think. I will be vulnerable because it is far less scary than it is not to be. I care what you people think - I don't know that I can get rid of that entirely. I am, however, less worried about the inevitable catastrophe that is rejection, because really, it's ok. I'll be ok. And the truth is I'm better when I'm not worrying than when I am. Some people like me and (GASP) some people won't. I don't think I've ever been ok with that before in my whole tiny life. I may never craft a poem as eloquently as e.e. cummings, and maybe the only people who will ever read what I write will be my 15ish followers (most of whom are in my immediate family). But it doesn't matter, because I am a writer, and I will write because I love it and I am free to do so. TAKE THAT!

Why now? I don't know. I didn't ask for it. But I do know this: "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will." [Romans 8:26-27]

I didn't know what I needed. I hadn't a clue that this was what I longed for.

[thank You]

November 24, 2009

An open letter to individuals who utilize air travel

Don't get me wrong, I like people. I do. But there is something about planes that make adults lose all of their social skills and all of the things they learned about manners in kindergarten and makes babies & small children immediately behave crazily. Must be something about being up at however many thousand feet, I guess. I don't know what it is, but I feel like everyone on planes is ridiculous.

On my flight from TX a few weeks ago, I sat next to a person whom I'm 99% sure was certifiably, probably qualified for some kind of institution situation crazy. (I'm a mental health professional so I can say stuff like this.) She continually, throughout the flight, swore (the worst words on the spectrum, too) under her breath. Several times she placed her leather jacket on my lap so she could do something or other - and she repeatedly made a noise that sounded like a combo of some kind of animal mating call and hocking a loogie. [That is a gross phrase to write out. I don't think I'll do it again.] At one point I had a tiny arm spasm and touched her arm - she elbowed me back. Hard. She also clipped her fingernails mid flight - that's not a joke - the lady on the other side of her ended up leaving at this point. Don't know where she went, but I wish she had taken me with her. On the way off the plane I saw a team of security people who I'm pretty sure were coming for her. Several people on the way off the plane gave me empathetic glances or said something to the effect of, "well that must have been fun for you." If by fun you mean terrifying, then yes. I literally pretended to be asleep the entire 2 hour flight because I was so scared of Sybil. (That's what I named her.) I practically ran off the plane, and even after it was over, I was jumpy for the next 48 hours or so.

Here are my thoughts from tonight:
To the insanely tall college women's basketball player sitting next to me: please stop angling your body in such a way that our hips and practically our butts are touching. I don't even know you. You're making me uncomfortable.
To the mother of the child sitting behind me: I have to be honest, I'm not terribly concerned with the fact that snapping her seatbelt buckle might pinch her fingers, like you keep reminding her. I'm more interested in the fact that the repeated noise of metal on metal is making my ears bleed.
To the chorus of babies all directly behind me: was that a new harmony you guys were working on? Was this some kind of baby-screaming rehearsal you planned for during our flight? I mean really, well done. I especially liked how when one of you stopped the other one started so it was never ever not for one second silent. That was a pretty sweet technique.
To the girl sitting on my left: please, I beg you, stop talking. This guy who is apparently interested in the inane things you are saying is probably just being polite. Stop flipping your hair and waving your arms and saying weird things. Oh, and when you talk about "cocaine," maybe consider lowering your voice a little. Just a little constructive criticism.
To the guys in front of me: yes, I know I went to high school with one of you and that I know you, other guy, from somewhere in Denver, but I can't remember either of your names, so I am not planning on meeting the eye contact you are attempting so we can have the awkward "oh hey weird meeting you here how do we know each other when did I see you last and what is your name again?" conversation. I'm sorry. I just don't have it in me. The chorus of babies and the metal on metal in addition to psycho girl over here have taken every bit of energy I previously possessed for stupid airplane small talk.

Ok, ok, I'm half kidding. The other half, though, not so much.

Kindest & Most Sincere Regards,
Dreaming in Denver... of a peaceful flight & maybe a nice little nap, that is.

November 19, 2009

today, I am free

to wear what I want
----- & not wonder if you don't think my purple cords & boots are as kick-a as I do
to sing like a rockstar
----- & to like how I sound
---------- (in my car, anyway)
to say no
to write what I think
to say what I feel
to ask for what I need
to voice my desire
to not worry about the reactions I'll get
----- to my feelings, needs, desires
to recover
to do something different
to be fine
to not be fine
to paint my nails blue, if it feels right
----- (it does)
to be funny, if I want
to not be funny, if I don't
to say yes
to be heard
to be a little bit crazy
to listen to christmas music
----- even though it's not yet thanksgiving
to love who I love
to like what I like
to laugh like a dork
----- (and snort if its funny enough)
to be who I am
to like who I am
to love who I am
to desire freedom
-- & to be free

to look at this list & realize these things have not always been true
but also to realize that that's ok

because today, they are
today, I am free

and I like that

& I'm free to like that to my tiny heart's content

November 17, 2009

eatdrinkread.wordpress.com

OFFICIAL PLUG for the BOOK CLUB BLOG:

eatdrinkread.wordpress.com

It was my month to host and post... so my blogging genius went into the November report. I'm not posting it here so as to encourage you to visit the Book Club blog! Also you can see our upcoming book selections and steal them as ideas for you to read yourself. I'd suggest doing so. We have excellent taste.

peace, love, & literature: Megan

November 15, 2009

love is a battlefield

As you may or may not have heard, I am very smart and/or intellectual. So I've been thinking about C.S. Lewis lately:

"Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket of your selfishness. But in that casket -- safe, dark, motionless, airless -- it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable."

Well... shoot. The decision to be vulnerable. I think about my life and all the things/people I love, have loved, will love, and I have recently come to the startling realization that loving is hard. You love, and you risk. I love, and I get hurt sometimes. It's just what happens. But I mean, Pat Benetar warned us, did she not? Love is a battlefield. (How much do you love that I quoted C.S. Lewis and Pat Benetar all at once? Epic.)

Risky business though it is, it seems to me that it is far scarier to not love than it is to risk, love, and maybe occasionally be hurt. And losing love and being hurt is really freaking hard. In loving we risk loss, we risk disappointment, we risk rejection, we risk the heart-wrenching feeling of watching another person suffer and being helpless to assist. It is occasionally an appealing thought that I could just, if I wanted, say no. I could choose not to invest, not to care, not to do any of it. I could say, "You are scary. I will not love you even though it's what my heart wants, because you terrify me. You could hurt me, but I won't let you. HA! Suckaaaa!" If I don't do it, I'm safe. I'm unhurtable. I'm 100% unvulnerable. Unwringable and unbreakable. And since vulnerability scares the hey-ho out of me, that sounds kind of awesome 85% of the time.

But I don't want that, really. So I try on love. And to love means to risk the awfulness when something bad happens. It means to risk the hurt that comes with my not being able to protect another person from hurt. It means to hurt and be hurt and forgive and be forgiven because I love them too much not to. It means to sometimes cry in a counseling session with a kid even thought it's maybe not the most professional option. It means to cry sometimes just because I know what you're all going through. It means to hurt and grieve right alongside people and hold their hands even when I might need someone to hold mine, too. It sometimes means to let someone do these things for and with me, even when it seems like letting them is the actual scariest thing in the world.

I talked to a friend the other night whose heart is broken and wrenched right now. I have felt the same way, all too recently, and I had very little to offer my friend in the way of comfort or good advice. And in spite of the fact that I hardly know what to say when the people I love get to this place, I love them. They love, I love, and we are wrenched, and I have to believe at the end of the day, it's worth it. That loving each other is a great, wonderful privilege - something we just cannot let ourselves give up no matter how appealing the option looks in the thick of despair.

It's kind of exciting, if you think about it. I mean, exciting in an I-might-pee-my-pants-at-any-given-moment kind of way, but exciting, nonetheless.

"heartache to heartache, we stand..." Preach it, Pat.

November 11, 2009

ALERT THE MEDIA I'M HAVING AN AWESOME DAY

I don't like extremes, I think. I'm self-conscious about being overly negative, but today, I'm self-conscious about being overly positive. Maybe I should stop being self-conscious? Or learn to live in some kind of middle ground. But that sounds kind of boring. And so not my style. So, here we are.
I do not know why I woke up this way this morning, I really don't. I mean, today hasn't even been that great. I'm having a terrible hair day, for one thing (it's in a side braid. why? I couldn't begin to tell you), and for another, I messed up the coffee-to-water ratio AGAIN this morning so I was uncomfortably jittery until about noon. But it's kind of like the Negative Nancy who lives in my brain was murdered in the night and replaced by someone awesome and sickly positive who tells me only good things. Either that or someone has medicated me against my knowledge. Those are the only logical options, I think.

There is a part of me, I have to confess, that wants to feel guilty for having a good day - like my grief and my sadness isn't serious enough if I could still have such a good day. But the fact is, I thought about Audrie today just like I always do. I missed her, just like I always do. It still wasn't right that she isn't here. None of that changed because I had a good day. Being happy today didn't mean that I wasn't honoring my sister.

And I'm not going to say much more about it, because sometimes, things are so nice and so simple that they do not need a bunch of words to explain just how nice and simple they are.

I have been quoting ee cummings lately like its my j-o-b, I know, but ending with this just seems apropos.* Interesting that this particular poem is coming up again, by the way...

i thank you God for this most amazing day:
for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday;this is the birth
day of life and love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any-lifted from the no
of all nothing-human merely being
doubt unimaginably you?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

and even if tomorrow sucks, it will be fine. I think baby steps, for now, are enough.

*I can't begin to tell you how pleased I am with myself for using this word. Just throwing that out there.

November 4, 2009

today

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

November 2, 2009

I think I'm going to like November

who are you,little i

(five or six years old)
peering from some high

window;at the gold

of November sunset

(and feeling:that if day
has to become night

this is a beautiful way)

[ee cummings]

November 1, 2009

there were so many people in my house last night.


I have two new favorite things. Fake eyelashes & Sparkle Spray.among those in attendance at 1403 HP 2k9 were:

+ 3 Rainbow Brites. I know. Like my worst nightmare come true. But don't worry - mine was the best.
- Allison Wonderland (see what I did there? It was Allison... as AliceIN wonderland)
! Danny, Sandy, & Frenchie from Grease... Chelsea did a bang-up job with Sandy and Troy was a great Danny, he even had some lines down which Chelsea forbade him to continue sharing because she was embarrassed. I thought he was pretty good. And Frenchie, Chelsea's little sister Hannah, was way cute too, that beauty school drop out...
# So many CELEBS! Lindsay Lohan, her lesbie lovaaaah Samantha Ronson, Hannah Montana, Kanye West...
$ a car wash
^ Mister Rogers in a women's sweater...
* Romy & Michelle! "if you fall, I will catch you, I'll be waiting... time after time" so beautiful.
() the Blockheads from Gumby - their costume was ridiculously good. Also ridiculously large.
% Goldilocks & the 3 Bears - Goldilocks was played by an insanely tall man with a beard, which made it funnier I think.
AND SO MANY MORE GOOD COSTUMES!!!! I mean, people really went all out... I was impressed. I loved it. also in attendance was my sort of creepy but also endearing old man neighbor, the guy I lived next door to 2 years ago and haven't seen or spoken to since moving out, two of my favorite Sigmas from Trinity, Carla and Whitney, & a bunch of my JCrew friends (below)!!
My sweet friends Susan and Chris came (as Dairy Queen and Burger King) and they are ENGAGED!!!!!! I just think they are the cutest... couldn't be happier for those two! That makes all 3 of my former roommates with big fat diamonds on their fingers. This house must be magical! Either that or I am. I'm hoping it's the house.
It was an all-star cast. And even though my house was trizzashed (that's ghetto for trashed) this morning, it was worth it to have all of our friends in our house and see everyone have so much fun dancing and singing and being hilariously funny and creative and wonderful. I heard there was a friend of a friend who attended who said something to the effect of, "wow, you guys have GREAT friends!" It's kind of fun in situations like last night where I realize how freaking awesome the people I get to hang out with are.
KCi & Jo Jo "all my life" came on - and I got asked to dance - which was pretty sweet. We later went on to bring the night home with a lot of karaoke duets. They included "my favorite things" from sound of music, "linger" by the cranberries, "you're the one that I want" from Grease, as well as "summer nights." We're real good.
Around 2 am, the karaoke got really hoppin. We pretty much did that until 4. Well, 3 because it was daylight savings... but still. This part was maybe the most fun.
It's always kind of sad when really fun things are over. We've been excited about this party since... well... November 1st of last year. It's the best when ridiculously high expectations are absolutely surpassed. I have such fun friends, such a lovely house, and roomies who support throwing massive parties.

Spent the day lying in bed, looking at everyone's pictures, reminiscing the night with different people... typical day-after-party stuff. Tomorrow... back to real life. No more snow days or parties! But on Friday I am finally, after much anticipation, SAN ANTONIO BOUND!!!!! Trinity Alumni Weekend... here I come...

peace, love, & sparkle spray,
Rainbow Brite

October 28, 2009

I'm dreaming of a whiiiiiite... Halloween?

I plagiarized that from my friend Erin because I think it's hilarious. I mean... really?
When I was little, I remember when the first snow flurry fell, there was only one thing on my mind. SNOW DAY. We would watch the slow-moving ticker on the bottom of the news, praying, hoping, to see our school's name with "CLOSED" next to it. Oh the joy, the glee, as we, bleary eyed from sitting so close to the TV for 3 hours, finally saw "Wichita Collegiate: CLOSED" roll by on the ticker. It was so good. My friends, I am here to tell you - it is just as good when you're a grownup.

The view from my bed:
out the back door:
and in the backyard:
Are you confused? Me too. I woke up yesterday and I thought, "I mean, I know I stayed up until 3:30 writing a paper on the Orthodox Church and that I had WAY too much coffee that I accidentally made WAY too strong because I don't really understand the coffee-->water ratio situation, but did I actually sleep until December? Because it certainly does not look like October 28 outside." What is happening?

So it's STILL snowing. We are on, I believe, 18 inches and it's STILL snowing. I am on snow day #2, so I'm not so much complaining, but still. Really? Everything is cancelled! Internship, Denver Seminary, the world has veritably shut down. At least for those of us who are in school situations. Sorry, real worlders. No such luck.

Yesterday we attended a "snugglefest" at a friend's nearby - watched "When Harry Met Sally" and drank hot chocolate. Today might be slightly harder to get around only because of the sheer volume of the snow... but everything in my life is cancelled, so I may have to leave the house at some point. I'm even wearing my Sigma sweatshirt, which I only do in extreme comfort situations, because even though I love it, the world (my friends) is (are) not so accepting of my sororital roots.

So since I've got nothing but time & Allison is making pumpkin pancakes, here are some other things that have been going on... but first of all: YUM
Went to Wichita and bribed Timmy & Shelbs with SUGAR!! Ice cream sundaes. They were big fans of us (me & Allison). I'm pretty sure Allison and Beckie are in a silent feud to see who can make the kids like them best. What can I say? I got lucky in the nieces & nephews department. Actually, I think I kind of got lucky in the whole family department. (I know I know, dry your eyes... & now, back to the hilarity that is my life.)
I think Shelbie gets cuter by the minute. It's a little bit ridiculous.

Oh, and the other reason we made the pilgrimage to Wichita: to see Becca & Colin get married. I mean, does this picture just not warm your heart? This is pretty much what they looked like the entire night. Their faces MUST have hurt.
A few weeks ago, we went to Traildust Steakhouse to visit our friend Chris (middle) who works there. His stage name is Maverick. When we got there, I told the 16 yr old hostess, "it's really important that we're in Maverick's section." She looked at me, knowingly; "So you think he's really cute, huh?" Yes. Yes we do.
This is Dusty. Dusty, I'm 99% sure, instills nightmares in children. And Christy (left).
This is one of the many reasons it is fun to live in my house (other than that my roommate makes pumpkin pancakes on snow days). We have this sign up in the kitchen when we have small group or people over & we make food... people add to the list... (admittedly, some (most) of it was me...)
Allison just posted on her facebook that she made pumpkin pancakes, and now, 10 minutes later, a bunch of boys (ok, 2) are coming over. This, we have decided, will be our new man-catching tactic. I'll let you know how that works out.

OK, with all this time on my hands, I could do some serious blogging damage, so I will stop myself while I am still at an acceptable length. Enjoy your day. I'm currently trying to convince people to risk their lives to come over to my house so I don't get bored but also don't have to leave. It's a win-win. For me, anyway.

Still snowing, by the by.

October 26, 2009

ladies and gentlemen -- Bigger Timmy

well, ladies and gents, today is a very special day...
BIGGER TIMMY's BIRTHDAY!
You see, in our family there is big Timmy (little Timmy) and bigger Timmy (this Timmy) because little Timmy (don't tell him I said that or I'll be in biggest trouble) "is not little." Clearly.

here is Tim (Papa,) swimming with Joel...
Here is Tim doing what he does best, busting a move on the dance floor.
And here is the other thing Tim does best. Whatever Mom tells him. Haha I KID I KID... dressing up for Halloween as Woody and Bo Peep.
I am continually thankful to have this Timmy in my life & in my corner! Whether it's because I got a speeding ticket or because I need a partner to sing "Grundy County Auction," he's always there for me.
You are the best Timmy Jimmy!! I love you!! Happy Birthday!!!!

Bold in the Broken Places

she held her grief behind her eyes like an ocean & when she leaned forward into the day it spilled onto the floor & she wiped at it quickly with her foot & pretended no one had seen [storypeople]

I like writing a lot, which is why I have a blog, because it's an excuse to write things and use words & exercise my piercing wit & use ampersands (&) to my heart's content & imagine that people care to read it. I haven't written anything in a while. I figured out why. It's because I have nothing positive to say.

me: and I can't even blog! I have nothing positive to say.
smart person: so what you're saying is that life is hard & you can't think of a way to write about it & then tie a nice little bow on it at the end... so you can't write anything at all?

hmm. I'm in a very tricky position, you see, because there are two things I don't want to be, ever: 1, Debbie Downer. 2, inauthentic. It is the ultimate in blogging catch-22's. I don't want to just put all my crap out there without saying something hopeful and seminaryish at the end... but a hopeful, seminarian bow at this time would not be genuine. Herein lies my problem. I get twitchy when I enter DD territory. My internal alarms enter panic mode when I don't offer some inspiring wisdom alongside whatever difficulty I choose to share. I'm going to try, though, to tell it like it is, at least this once. Maybe it will help me, maybe it will help you, or maybe I will press "publish" and immediately have a panic attack. We shall see, we shall see...

Much to my dismay, I find myself kind of really pretty considerably pissed. I keep thinking it will just go away, but there is just horribleness everywhere. I'm mad in a very big way about the state of things, about the utter brokenness of the world; ranging from the basic struggles of my basic life - to the loss of my young & beautiful sister - to the horrific lives of the kids I work with & then send back each night to horrible homes and situations - to the millions of other nightmarish things that are happening in the world. Tragedy is everywhere & it's hard to stomach.

Rationally, I know there are a lot of counter arguments to all of the items I just listed, but as some of you may know, I am not always rational. Let me say once (to ease my own discomfort, mostly) that I am not without hope that at some point I will return to a state of relative peace with all of this, and be able to manage life better. And every moment is not terrible - I laugh, & my laughter is genuine, I enjoy my friends & family & I like what I'm doing with my life. There are good things. But at the end of the day, I'm left with all of this, & I'm overwhelmed.

That said, here it is. I'm angry & sad that Audrie is gone. I'm angry & sad because the holidays are coming and my sister, our sister, won't be there. The loss of her laugh & presence in our family is almost tangible; whether spoken or unspoken, her absence is everywhere. I'm sad because my family, whom I adore, is hurting just like me, feels that absence just like me. I'm hurt & angry because people I care about have let me down, but mostly I'm so sad because I miss them & the way they made me laugh, think, feel, love. I'm so so angry that the kids I'm working with have seen more pain at fifteen than I might ever have to see in my whole life, & I'm sad every day because I can't protect them. I'm mad & frustrated that after years of struggling with the same crap, after countless prayers for God to heal that part of my life, I wake up every morning and that crap is STILL my crap.

I'm embarrassed to admit that I'm embarrassed to admit that I don't pray very much right now because it's hard. And as odd as it may sound, I miss the certainty of relying fully on God, & I miss the comfort that it brought me to put a bow on the crap even if it was, at times, haphazardly tied. I'm sad & angry & hurt & disappointed & I don't know where to put it all. I'm overwhelmed & when it comes down to it, I just can't understand it. Right now, I need to admit that. I don't understand.

I want to be able to say that because I'm about to graduate from seminary that I'm a pillar of strength & faith & trust, but it would be a lie. Mostly, I don't want to go through my life wiping my accidentally spilled tears away with my foot, just like I don't want that for any of my kids at school or for any member of my family & just like I wouldn't want that for any friend who had an ocean of tears held behind her eyes. Despite my current difficulty, I do feel confident that that is not how our Creator intended us to go through this life. My heart is hurting. Maybe yours is too. I need to be able to share my heart even when it's messy and broken. I need to practice being bold in the broken places.

October 16, 2009

story of the day [www.storypeople.com]

stable as long as nothing else in the whole world shifts
(so don't get your hopes up)*

*more soon, I promise**

**well, at least at some point in the next 2 weeks before I see my therapist again...
because she told me to and I dare not disobey her.

September 29, 2009

hadn't thought of it this way

"The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it." - Flannery O'Connor

I kind of wish it did, though.

September 23, 2009

"story of the day" [www.storypeople.com]

coasting on her reputation today because she's a little fragile, so it's hard to be fierce

September 21, 2009

blackest-black, professional pants, & autumn

It's been a long time since I blerged (that's how I say it in my head). Naturally, today, since I am in the library trying to write my first paper of the semester, it seemed like the ideal time to get back in the game. Paper due Weds? psssssssh. I don't have to start that till Tuesday at 10pm.

So here is a little list of things that are going on here in Denver... to get you up to speed. Enjoy.

I recently purchased "blackest black" mascara, to replace the "brownish black" that I have been using. I'm told it will make my eyes pop. I'm hoping it will change my life dramatically. I'm pretty sure it will make all the difference in my dating life, too. By my blackest-black calculations, I should be engaged by November or so.

Fall is here - evidenced by the 41 degree temperatures, and apparently, snow? Juxtaposed with yesterday's 80+ degrees and sunny, it's safe to say Fall wanted to make an entrance this year. ok, Fall, easy. You're here. We get it.

There are other things I love about Fall... like Pumpkin Spice Latte's (PSL's). I had my first one - it was delectable, as it is every Autumn. The other thing I love about Fall is TV. Don't judge me, but I really do like it when all the shows come back. Season premieres are so exciting! This year I am jazzed about The Office, Grey's Anatomy (I can't help it), Brothers and Sisters... those are the top 3, I would say. OH, and I love the new show Glee. It's a show about Glee club. Lots of show choiry numbers. Are you surprised that I love it? It's a musical TV show. It's a little bit like when the PSL was invented. I loved pumpkin. I loved latte's. The combination was a little bit like a dream come true.
I also love "sweater weather." I love cold weather clothes. I like needing a jacket. I also like it when it is not 100 degrees in my bedroom, so I am excited about the arrival of cooler weather.

Last month's book club book was "American Wife" by Curtis Sittenfeld, and I loved it. Loved it. Read it.

I'm trying to get involved in stuff. Like supper groups and small groups at church. Approaching the end of school (forever) kind of made me realize that for the first time, you know, ever, I was going to have to make friends like a grownup. Shoot. All else fails, I'll just be the creepy graduate who still hangs around the student center pretending to have a reason to be there. It's an option, anyway.

I'm very professional these days. I wear dress pants and dresses and high heels that click in the hallway. I don't know if you knew this, but that's how you can tell if you're officially professional - if your shoes click in hallways. I hadn't bought heels in a long time... just bought some really cute ones at Target (pronounced tar-jhay, like the French say it) that make me feel like I am, well, really professional. I AM SUCH A BIG DEAL. Very busy and important, as it were. [Here's my secret: my internship scares the poo out of me. So dressing like I know what I'm doing is hopefully tricking everyone (myself included) into believing that I do, in fact, know what I am doing. I think it's working. I think my new shoes with the clicking sound will help, too.]

I got a new room, got new roommates, and our house looks, pretty much, like a new house. It's kind of ridiculous & I'm kind of loving it.

Ingrid Michaelson, my fave, has a new CD! This is excellent news. Even excellenter (deal with it) is that I get to see her in concert on Oct 19 for the third time! That's once per year that I have lived here. Thrilling.

I blogged a while ago about my friend Zac who was battling lymphoma. Maybe some of you checked out his blog - it has been good, for me, to read his thoughts and perspectives on having cancer, dealing with cancer, chemo, etc... and I am so excited to tell you all that he had a PET scan last week and he is clear of cancer! That is awesome.

So hmm. That seems to kind of cover the very important details of my always exciting life here in Colorful Colorado. Hope this finds you enjoying better weather, similarly gleeful about Fall's arrival and all that it entails, and not writing church history papers in a library of any kind.

peace out girl scout.

I don't know. It just felt right.

put on your creative hats

It's ALMOST Halloween time again. I mean, more than a month away. But definitely time to be thinking of costumes. Definitely. Remember how good my costume was last year? Remember how epic our party was? Well, this year, our party has a reputation... which I believe will make it even better, bigger, epicer, than last year's. No joke. People have been talking to me about the Halloween party since July. It's a main contributing factor to the reasons I stayed in the house even when my roomies disbanded. It's a big deal.

That said...

What should I be this year??!?!!!!???!

Discuss.

August 31, 2009

well hello there, change.

there is something about clean sheets that makes everything feel new.

new room
new roomies
new [and last] semester of school... ever
clean sheets
new perspectives
clean [like new] house
new developments
new internship
new new new new new new new

terrifying? a little.

the times they are a changin'...

August 30, 2009

no words for the cuteness

So I'm technically a day late - but really I'm only a half hour late, so I'm counting it.

happy 2nd birthday Shelbie!!


here are some of the things I ADORE (and I do mean a-dore) about Shelbs:

- her fantastic taste in accessories and desire to have them on all the time - I love that about her
- the sweet way she puts her head on my shoulder when she's sleepy - I always offer to put her down/get her up from bed/naps... because I love that time with her
- the way she says my name - aunt meggie = a very clear "ahh miggie"
- her preshy presh little blondie curls and big blue eyes
- that when I say "smile" - that's the face she makes (above)
- her tendency to be naked
- that she is sweet and sassy all rolled into one - a constant source of entertainment - an all around cutie.
Do you not just want to eat her up?????

I feel SO LUCKY that I get to be that little girl's auntie!

August 9, 2009

let's get to work.

Tomorrow will be my first day helping at The Well, a homeless ministry/food pantry at my friend Kenneth's church, Wellspring. We're going to be spending the morning and afternoon cooking and serving spaghetti and getting to love some homeless people. I even spent some of this evening baking multiple batches of brownies. Then, I went to the movies with a friend.

We went a little early and bought our tickets, walked down to a delightful little ice cream place called Sweet Action and did some seriously excellent people-watching. We were hit up for change a few times from some people on the street, not atypical for that part of town, but we were having an enjoyable time, overall. It was a perfect night, and there's nothing like an ice cream cone and a good movie, if you ask me. There was one guy, I dubbed him the Mumbler, because when he asked us for money I couldn't hardly decipher what he said. The Mumbler asked us once on the way to Sweet Action, and we walked right by - did the pretty typical if-we-just-keep-talking-maybe-he'll-think-we-magically-don't-see-or-hear-him routine. He walked down in front of Sweet Action while we sat there, and I watched him mumble at a few more people. On our way back to the theater, the Mumbler was, yet again, in our direct path.

I don't know if it was that we ignored him twice, or that I had watched countless other people ignore him too, or what it was about the Mumbler that hit me so hard as we walked into the theater to see our movie. I don't know if it was the sadness in his voice as he asked us for our help. I don't know if it was the fact that he wasn't much older than me, or that he looked like someone I could have met at church or school or in a Starbucks. I don't know what it was, exactly.

And I don't quite know what the feeling was - a combination, I think, of guilt, definitely, and sadness and grief and shame and sorrow. No sooner had we passed him without looking or acknowledging did I feel an unbearable sadness at what I had just done. I had walked by a person, desperately in need (though, I admit, I don't know of what) and I pretended like he didn't exist. Not only did I not help, but I didn't speak to him, smile at him, look at him, acknowledge his presence, acknowledge his need. I was, perhaps, a little shocked at how easily I had dismissed another human being. For the next 20 minutes before the lights dimmed and the previews began, I obsessed at my friend over what we could have done. I didn't honestly know. I didn't know what I could have said or done to help or make it better. I still don't, really. But I knew in the very core of myself that what I had done was wrong. It was kind of callous and sort of unbelievable, if you think about it.

I can't imagine what life would be like if people quite literally walked past me as though I did not exist. I can't begin to put myself in his shoes, I'll be the first to admit that. I'm not trying to make some ridiculous connection between the two of us and our situations. But I can't imagine, no matter how hard I try, if I stood on the street, asking, begging for help (again, whatever that looked like, no matter how right or wrong I was) and I was ignored. Not yelled at, told I was bad or the scum of the earth or whatever, but ignored. As though I didn't exist.

Drama factor in this post = potentially a little high. But sometimes life calls for drama. Tomorrow I will go and I will put on my most compassionate face and I will serve food and I will love those people. I will, and I will mean it, too. But what does it matter if I don't offer those I meet in my every day life with the same regard? What does it matter that I spent Sunday serving food to people if on Saturday I pretended like those same people were practically lepers? I know that a great deal of my reaction was fear-based, which is occasionally fair, but in this particular situation there wasn't anything to fear, per say. Are we supposed to put on our Christian volunteering face once a week or whatever and then turn it back off when we walk down Broadway? I don't recall there being a part of the Bible that said to love people - but only if it was safe. Contained. There was nothing safe or contained about Jesus. And if the Mumbler showed up at the Well tomorrow, and he caught me in that hypocrisy, I can't put into words how ashamed I'd be.

I know there is need for a certain degree of caution (Mom... I know you're about to have a panic attack) and I'm not going to go crazy and sleep on the streets or anything. I'm definitely not going to start handing out money, because I think at the core of "can you help" is not, in fact, a request for funds. There are things that I can do differently. What if I had asked the Mumbler his name? What if I had stopped to hear his story? What if I had invited him to eat spaghetti and brownies the very next day?

A guy I met at Seminary my first semester, Zac, has recently been diagnosed with cancer. Read his blog: you will be blessed. He posted a video on there the other day of a letter that he had written to his 17-yr-old self, from his current perspective - which involves the tragic (from my perspective) reality that he may not have much longer to live. His words came to mind as I got home tonight. (Admittedly, this quote is a little choppy, but it's all his words.)
"Start right now. You must break your heart for the people around you. You must love them. You must be passionate about them. 1 John 4 says, 'Beloved, let us love one another. For love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.' You claim to love God. A very real, tangible way to love God is to show that love to other people. You're going to meet many, many people. Love them, and show them the way to Jesus. Desperately try to leave each and every person you meet better off than when you first met them. Desperately pursue God. Desperately pursue the people around you, and love them. Our time is short, my friend. Let's get to work."

July 28, 2009

why hiding doesn't work

When we were waiting for my mom to arrive at her surprise party, we got the call just ever so slightly sooner than we anticipated, and had to rush to change our clothes and put the finishing touches on our dishes and drinks, etc. I finished making my guacamole, ran upstairs, and quickly started to change in the same room my almost 5 yr-old nephew, Timmy, happened to be in at that moment.

Timmy, who is quite literally the funniest child I have ever met, said, “You’re changing?! I don’t want to see your booty!”

I laughed, and replied, “You won’t see my booty, silly, I’m all covered up!”

Then, with this look on his little face that screamed, “Even though you are a grownup I am maybe a little bit smarter than you,” he said this:

“Doesn’t matter Megs. I can still see how you are."

Out of the mouths of babes. Now, this was horrifying for a plethora of reasons, but the very first thought that entered my mind was this: I’m not as good at hiding as I think I am.

I haven't been able to shake those words from my slightly obsessive brain. It reminded me of my favorite part of Psalm 139:

Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become dark around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
Even though I was changing very modestly, trying to keep Timmy from seeing my booty, as it were, he was right – I couldn’t hide “how I am.” I go to great lengths to keep my booty from being seen, figuratively speaking, to keep from being vulnerable, to keep anyone from seeing how I truly am. I think we all try to keep from being caught in the buff, at the peak of vulnerability. We don't want to be found out. My friend Kristin and I used to talk about new relationships and how we had to be sure and "hide the crazy" for a while. We were laughing at the time... but were we joking? I pretty much go through life trying to hide the crazy. Timmy’s words freaked me out. I laughed, but I was also shockingly anxious in that moment. I have to wonder if God doesn't look at us, hiding, and say to us the very same thing. I think all the time, "Surely, the darkness (or whatever else) will hide me!" But even the darkness is as light to Him. This is why hiding doesn't work.

I just finished reading a novel with a teenage girl in it who was desperately broken. She was making herself throw up several times per day, she was stealing, and had started regularly cutting her arms with razor blades. Towards the end of the book, she gets caught by her father, and I think its a beautiful picture of this whole thing:

The more my father yelled, the more tightly he held on to me. And here's the weirdest thing of all: now that the worst had happened—now that I'd been found out—it wasn't disastrous. It felt, well, inevitable. My father was furious, but me, I couldn't stop smiling. "You see me," I thought, my eyes closing. "You see me."
Even though being seen as we are is a concept that borders on terrifying, I really believe it’s what we all desperately desire: to be seen and loved anyway, maybe even more because of it. When Timmy said, "I can still see how you are," I realize that I was anxious because in hearing those words, I immediately felt shame. It was my biggest fear come true. I was waiting for the rest of the sentence, for the other shoe to drop. What I expect, what I think I deserve, is, "I can see how you are, and it's bad. I can see how you are, and it's wrong. Stupid. Not good enough. Ugly." But in Timmy’s little words there was no judgment or condemnation, he was simply stating fact. Timmy loves me. I saw, in him, a perfect picture of Christ's love for us. I think the sentence does have a second part, but I think it goes like this:

You're trying to hide, but I can still see how you are. And I love you anyway."

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. [Romans 5:6-8]

I don’t have to hide, because Jesus sees how I am, which is less than perfect. And he died for me even though I don't deserve it. He loves me anyway.

July 27, 2009

the MOTHER of all birthdays

Dear World,
As you may or may not have heard, today, my lovely and talented mother, Tracy Lynn Lyday Farrell... is FIFTY!!!!!!!!
thats right. Book 'em Danno, she's five-0!
She dances (and looks, clearly), however, like she's not a day over 25. See?
We celebrated with a SURPRISE party in KC this weekend, which was way fun and took the birthday queen totally by surprise!

5 things you may not have known about my mother:
1. She takes tap dance with her friends and is, "the best in her class" (according to her)
2. She loves rap music and also hip hop and also has an affinity for Disco
3. She thinks I am hilarious, which I clearly love about her. Except when she asks me, quite literally, to perform for crowds of people.
4. I think she knows everything about everything. I feel like I could call with any random question and she would know exactly how to do it/who to call/what the answer is. She's kind of brilliant.
5. Her faith is amazing - she loves Jesus with her whole self... I have been so blessed to have such a great model for what authentic faith looks like.
So here's to you, Mommy Dearest, the queen of hip hop and censored rap music, the cutest Mom I know, on this, the first day of your 50th year! I love you so much!


July 26, 2009

celebrations, belated and otherwise

In my brief hiatus from all things blog, I have missed a LOT of really fun things to celebrate. So in order to properly acknowledge the celebrations of you, my faithful readers, here are some things we have celebrated in recent months, in no particular order (aside from the order that Blogger decided to upload them):

my sweet nephew Joel turned 12 in June!! getting dangerously close to the teens... here we are at the lake:
Emily, Joel's sister (which would make her my niece) turned FIFTEEN on July 14. Which is ridiculous. I feel like she should still be 5!! This was taken when we were at camp in Colorado, on the top of Mt. Chrysolite! Beautiful view, beautiful girl!
my sister, Amie's birthday was June 29! We spent it at the lake which was WAY fun... cake for breakfast, our whole family together, dance parties on the boat... it was a much needed mini-vacation. Here, Amie is singing her heart out on the boat. And Shelbs is plugging her ears.
We celebrated Ben's 21st in June.... the 28th, to be exact. Clearly, we had fun:
Kelly "Misdemeanor" Marhaver turned 24 on July 18! Not the 17th, which is when I called her, thinking it was the 18th. Fail. This picture is an oldie but a goodie. Look how young and cute we were! This was taken right before we went on a sweet double date to the Outback Steakhouse. Classy.
Lori Ingersoll (2006 Homecoming Queen of Trinity University: see picture) had a birthday on April 30... AND, ladies and gentlemen, as of a couple weeks ago is now betrothed to be MRS. Bobby Zabor!!! YAY weddings!!!!
My dear friend and lovely former youth grouper from FPC San Antonio, Wilson, has been kicking cancer's @$$ for the past year or so... and he just finished his last treatment!! Happy Remission, Wils!!!!!
Heeeeey Brother: Thomas turned the big 2-1 in May... much to my dismay! Here he is in his younger retainer days. FYI: this picture, when I stumbled upon it, made me laugh out loud.
Audrie's birthday was June 12. This was hard for all of us, but it is a wonderful reminder of the life of the sister, daughter, and mommy we loved and continue to love dearly. I found this picture in an old shoebox of pictures in my closet at home... I hadn't seen it in years. I always feel relief and comfort when I stumble on or remember something like this, a little reminder that even though Audrie isn't here, she will always be alive in our hearts and in our memories.
So there you have it. If I were to make a list of things I love, among them would most definitely be birthdays, engagements, and remission. More to come in the near future, never you fear...