Monday, October 16, 2017

Me too - An open letter to women and October

Dear October,

You didn't give us much room to breathe after September (suicide awareness month). But here we are, in the middle of it.  Facing breast cancer awareness but also infant and child loss awareness don't forget national coming out day and now there is a call to the "me too" movement advocating on behalf of women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted.

You make my heart heavy,

Dear Women,

To the women who are currently suffering, have had conquered, or grieving the loss of those battling breast cancer; you are strong and courageous! I literally have sat at my computer screen for minutes, trying to orchestrate the words that share my heart; but only silence is played. The battle you are facing is not one that people envy you for.  Thank you for being beautiful in all moments and stages of life; from the hair loss, to breast removal surgeries, to the inside as your heart going through times of being bitter and angry to finding life once more. You are not alone, you are loved.  

To the women who have lost a child or infant. This is a topic, in my opinion, that our society and our churches do not speak on enough, giving it the light and justice that it deserves.  Truth be told, this is a topic that I am not very good at navigating myself. So many variables to how you are handling and processing these major events of your life.  Stories after stories; I had a facebook friend share a picture of her box that holds treasured memories of her son's passing - something that took leaps and bounds to not only open, but open for all to see, letting us into her heart.  I can't imagine what one goes through day to day knowing a child is gone. Reading this article, about a family who donated their daughters organs, making a sacrifice to share life in the midst of loss.  My very own student showing me her baby brother's ashes that she binds around her neck, close to her heart, a beautiful necklace she just got today.  To all of my friends and family who I have cried with, hugged, and loved on during these tragic events, there are far too many. These stories are important, your child is not and will not be forgotten.  You are not alone, you are loved. 

To the women coming out. October 15th came and went and for those who were brave enough used the day to share their story. I personally want to step up on a soap box, I hate how a person has to be "brave" in order to be themselves, it bothers me (gets off soap box)... please keep sharing your stories.  I am listening. For my female friends who have already faced the masses, thank you.  Thank you for allowing me to be apart of your life, learning to judge less and care more. You have taught me so much.  You are appreciated! Your story matters. You are not alone, you are loved. 

To the women who have been sexually assaulted or harassed. You are not a victim. You were not "asking" for it. It was unwelcome, not invited, uncomfortable, forced, and something - that no matter what you do - will never go away. From physical touch to hurtful words, the scars that are left will never heal fully; shaping you daily into the person you are.  The movement "me too," starting on twitter, has been sweeping social media.  This letter is for you, that as you type those words "me too" I hope that you feel welcomed into a sisterhood of understanding, grace, and compassion.  That as you slowly tell your story, leaving or including as many details as you wish, healing will take place; a process that takes time. I want you to know that you ARE worthy. You ARE important.  I believe you. Tell me your "me too". You are not alone, you are loved. 

This letter is for all women.  Through stories (and sometimes coffee) we bind ourselves back together, weaving a tighter sisterhood.  If I could only reach through the screen and wipe away your tears I would. If I could only gently grasp your shoulders, drawing you into a hug, letting your rest your head on my shoulder - I'd carry that for you. If just for a moment I could stop time and let you take that deep heavy sigh and catch your breath, I'd wish it in an instnat.  You are not alone, you are loved. 

We all have a story. I am more than another number.  I am more than a statistics.  I am a me too. 

You are not alone, you are loved,
~Megan #metoo

PS - A letter is a form of communication, please feel free to write, message, text, call, e-mail me so we can continue our communication and sharing stories.  If possible, let's schedule time. I want to hear your story.
PPS - Men, yes I understand you can have breast cancer, loose a child, come out and be sexually harassed - you are loved too. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

I tried - joy {September book and update}

Hi everyone!
It is that time. My post slow down as life rushes around. My plans focus on educating 126 young minds all while having a functional hospitable home, doing both with love.

Y'all, it's exhausting.

For the past six weeks I lead a Facebook group, reading through Ann Voskamp's "One Thousand Gifts" - and although at first her over poetic flowery word choice was a bit much for my dry soul, I learned to love her words - they, her words, could take scripture and etch it deeper within my heart.  I think at the start I was just jealous that I couldn't write as eloquently as her.

When I started reading this book in September, I also starting writing down 3 joys, gifts, happy moments on a piece of paper.  Listing out on the times that brought cheer.   Some of my favorites include: 
undisturbed water droplets on a yellow leaf spotted when running in the rain
squeals of laughter as the youngest plays snake and squirms down the hall after older brother
reading books to a babe with lavender smelling hair
raining Saturdays with slow non-rushed starts
parking lot conversations with new friends
chick-fil-a (gotta keep it real)
someone asking if I am okay and wanting to listen 

I have now been listing for 41 days.

It's changing me. Just as Ann experienced in her highly recommended book.

Today's list:
asked to cuddle with oldest
moments to read another book

run in a long sleeve shirt clearing my head

This time of year is my favorite, but I also tend to drown in facts of my reality and loneliness.  My phone lies idle, my e-mail box empty, mail box vacant, truly just alone. As an introvert, I often prefer to gain energy being alone or in small intimate groups.  But this is the dark alone, not one of energy.  And as every year past, as long as I can remember, time will move on and self pity will weaken transitioning into go-mode again.

So I list, and once I find my joy, I cling to it.

On occasion my oldest, who's 5, has been asking me to cuddle with him, he use to want to sleep in our bed at the start of every school year.  Unknowingly I thought that it was because he missed me going back to work, he too could feel the crispness, the turning, the sense of "sighs."

Now, I realize my little-man didn't need me, God designed him because I needed to find joy.  God gave me the biggest gift I could have asked for (next to transforming me and my husband into Christians).  He gave me a son, who at a very young age, knows how to care.

Tonight when he asked me to cuddle him, minutes after prayers (naturally I am already tucked in my blanket with a book) I tell him I will be in in one minute, never have regretted spending time with him/

I climb the ladder to his creaky loft bed.  Oh, why did we buy a loft bed?  As I am climbing I tell him I am getting to big for his bed and don't want to break it.  He responds with "would you like an animal, here's a blanket, you aren't too big, you are perfect."

I take the big monkey (technically it was mine from years, decades, ago) and pull the blanket up around my shoulders.  We are finding peace in the midst of our chaos. I can feel his breaths slow as I know it won't take long for him to be asleep.  I smell the children's toothpaste, thankful that he brushed. I kiss his sweet forehead.  The same head that use to carry a huge red angel kiss birth mark.  The same forehead that holds incredible thoughts and dreams.

A sweet little voice simply says "Thank you."
"Thank you for what?" I ask.
"For kissing me."
"I will always kiss you."
"Even when I am older?"
"Yes, you won't be able to stop me."
"I can't wait for you to visit me in my house when I am older."
"Yes, our visits will be grand.  I love that you dream and think about your future, but don't grow up too fast."
"Why not?"
"I like you just as you are, my son, my five year old."
"Mommy, I will always be your son."
"I will always be your mommy."

With that he takes his perpetually sticky hands and holds my face. "Thank for cuddling with me." Then kisses my forehead.

No my dearest child,  THANK YOU.  Thank you for asking me to cuddle.  Thank you for reminding me that I am needed and loved.  Thank you for being joy.

PS - totally read her book.  It's good. =]

Thursday, September 21, 2017

I tried - the news

Dear Heavenly Father, 

My heart is tearing like the veil. 
The news. Cops making MY friends, GODS children walk into on coming traffic - yelling at her and her 1 year old son.  I am outraged. Protect them. ALL of them. Black lives matter - they are white but were peacefully loving their black family, neighbors, friends - their home. 
The news. A local teenager took their life. A home is missing their son.  
The news. Earthquakes destroying, fires burning, droughts in Africa - Mother nature is raging war globally. Homes no longer standing in existence. 
The news. Our country might be bombed; by a person, another human - that others have degraded by calling him rocket man.  (Because that's professional).  Home of the brave we claim? 
The news.  Our president.  Sigh.  He needs prayer. Break him. Humble him. Use his loud mouth. I pray the loudness will be truth one day.  So our home will continue to pray for leaders. 
The news. Unwanted relations. Be with the children. Heal their hearts, bodies and mind.   Make home safe again. 
The news. People are fleeing. They have no home. 
The news. Explaining accidents to my kindergartener, again, as we drive home. 
The news. Another job loss. Another home facing foreclosure. 
The news. Another child hungry. Another homeless friend. 
The news. Another marriage ending. Another home torn. 
The news. Another miscarriage occurred. Home is in deep sorrow. 
The news. Another sick loved one; surgery, cancer, illness. Hospitals unfortunately more frequented than home. 
The news. 

I. Am. Overwhelmed. 
The news is, I look forward to Heaven.  The news will be different there. This world is not my home. 

God - as you and only you search my heart, may you find the words to my prayer, for this world is falling apart one stitch at a time. Being ripped. 

Thank you for the GOOD news. We fervently await your return to take us home.  

God, I ask that when given the opportunity I can love people better. Feed the hungry. Welcome the stranger. Hug the hurting. Stand with the black, refugee, homeless, gay, orphaned person.  God,I cry from the pits of my soul to do more.  

But. I am at home. So I pray. 

The news. 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

I tried - reading Mississippi Bridge [September book and updates]

September!  Hooray!  

This month I started an online book club/study to read Ann Voskamp's book "One Thousand Gifts"

So far, the book is going really well - in fact it is a quick read.  I am doing my best to slow down, really dig deep and get into this book; not just to be a good facilitator for these women, but to find peace for myself.

Fall is my favorite, and as I am sure I have blogged before, although fall is my favorite, it is also a somewhat sad time.  I just feel like I need more time to enjoy it - that it this is my time to find my pace and speed for the next season of life.

One Thousand Gifts couldn't have come at a more perfect time!  Because we are reading the book over a period of 6 weeks, I wanted to keep reading other books, being engaged.

Labor Day my dad gave me a book and said it would take only 20 minutes.  Well, I'm a slow reader, but it was done in less than an hour.

Mississippi Bridge is a short book by Mildred D. Taylor (she wrote Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry).   I was doing research for what age the book would be good for (5th grade) but honestly, I would love for some adults to read this amazing piece of fiction.

It is so incredibly relevant to today.  How, even today, there are people who are teaching their children hatred (and some do it without even knowing they are!).  But for some children, they will "rebel" and fight for what they want to understand better - loving people.

The ending is great!  No spoilers here, just read the book yourself!

Believe me, it reminds me of the story of the Old Man his White Horse - Perspective.

Perspective is everything.
This book hurt me to read, how people are so ignorant and unkind. Perspective.
I am torn between wishing I lived in a previous time period or not.  That I would be an activist, if I didn't get myself killed. Perspective.
The ending. Perspective.

So, Here's to a great month.  A great season. A season of peace and gifts.  A season to love and be present.  A season to be outside, reading, educating and helping others.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

I tried - fighting {Who are you fighting for}

A little bit about me - for vulnerability opens hearts of others.

I am loyal to a fault,
and stubborn.
Favor the underdog.
Going against the norm, is my norm.
I ask tough questions,
making people mad and uncomfortable.
Believe in justice on all levels.
I am a white, working mom.
My heart is elastic.
I love quickly, deeply and hard.
When I am hurt, I rationalize the situation to pieces.
Over thinking is my hurdle.
If you hurt others, I hurt for you.
I do not believe in the death penalty.
I do not believe in war or harming others.
I do believe that love will win.
More times than not I feel very alone in this world.
Holding on to Joshua 1:9.
Taking care of others is my passion.
If I am not careful, my words are sharper than arrows.
One of my favorite scriptures is Romans 12: 9 - 21 (and many more).
My dad thought I was going to be a lawyer, I am a fighter. 
Now, I am a teacher. 

Earlier this week I got into one of those fun "word wars" on facebook feeds.  With a family member.  A lot of hurtful words were thrown my way, including the twisting of what I said; topics that were not even being debated were brought up - low easy blows - from a person who doesn't know my story.

I finally, said my peace and stopped responding.  Other people have since made comments; the carrot is in front me, waiting for me to nibble.  I have, on occasion, even typed up a response - pausing and deleting it as God asks me to.

My heart is heavy.  I have learned that if something bothers me long enough, that I need to share; regardless of if anyone agrees with me.  With enough prayer and honesty, I know God will be searching my heart one day; as he will do with others.  It's not my job to soul check others.  Gotta keep me in check.

I can't get over something that was said to me.  "You claim you're a Christian and you're standing up for injustice? No that's what I'm doing, defending president Trump, showing that he was never racist until he ran for president, and defending him from liberals and the media who have nothing better to do but insult him with impunity."  -JM

Who are you fighting for? 

Should our president's actions and words need so much defense?  A person of authority, leadership, great power, constant media coverage - constantly needing defense.  I don't need memes or youtube videos to hear the words that come from his mouth or see the "tweets" he post.

Later, this same word war, it was stated in my direction that if liberals weren't so closed minded and would see the truth and just listen for once that we wouldn't miss it.  *heavy sigh*  little do we know about each other.  Bubble living.

Who are you fighting for?

If you are asking someone to look for truth, but then do not welcome their comments, thoughts, insight, personal beliefs.... are you walking the walk or just talking the talk?

I was in tears over this conversation.
Angry tears.
Hurtful tears.
Mourning for their soul tears.

These people that I care about, and yes the strangers on this feed, are missing it.  

Who are you fighting for?

As you fight for the president....
Who's fighting for
the poor?
the oppressed?
the refugee?
the orphan?
the sick?
the homeless? 
the gay?
the widow?
the porn addict?
the prostitute?
the neighbor?
the least of these? 

(Matthew 25:40)

As I look back at these last few days, I have to remember that I am not here to fight for the President who has dug his own pits. The only way I will fight for him is through prayer.  

But I am hear to fight the good fight.  At least that is what I am trying.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

I am overwhelmed {with today's news}

Most of my blog titles contain the words "I tried" or "I am trying"
Today I simply, am.

I am overwhelmed with heart break, confusion, anger, compassion, and love.

A little over a year ago I wrote a blog about being the devil's advocate when it comes to black vs blue lives mattering.  A few months after that, during the election, I posted about loving all people.

Today, many of the same thoughts raise up in me.

Saying I am overwhelmed is the easy part.  I can not seem to find the words I am looking for as current history is taking place.  Today, everything I have been watching (Brene Brown/Vulnerability), reading and listening to, have all pointed to the same feelings within me.  Overwhelmed.

I was thinking it was irony.  God's too big for irony, my day was neatly woven by Him.

I keep typing half sentences, then holding down the delete button with vigor.

over. whelmed.

Pray for - the KKK - those that are racists, the men who claim to be superior.  For their darkness is not welcomed. That their hearts will break and love will fill their lost souls.  That truth and love will shine brighter than their torches.

Pray for - the injured and dead - as these marches and riots take place that lives can be spared and that peace will be restored.

Pray for - the families - of the victims and all that are involved.  That generations of hate will not breed anymore hate.  That generations of love can prevail.  That the armed services will find safety and be able to use knowledge over weapons. 

Pray for - the church - that we can come together and pray for these events, people, his kingdom. Be advocates. I pray that the church does not turn a blind eye. That the church will not stand with such atrocities.  But stand against.  When the dust settles, the history is written, that the church will come together picking up pieces. Hold the hands of those who hurt. Hug the ones who have lost. Pray with and for the ones who have hated. Supply the basic needs in replace of destruction. 

Pray for - Trump - he is our President, whether you like it or not.  We are asked to pray for our leaders. That his words will be humble and helpful.

Pray for - war - that is happening, has happened, and will happen.  Christians are currently at war, a peaceful war.  Lives and souls are at stake.  If our country continues to act the way it does, I am afraid we will be like Syria or any other war-torn country.  

Pray for - history - that it not does not repeat in its fullness.  Honestly, hate has never stopped.  From Biblical times, to WWII, to now... the shape of hate is the same and the darkness still exist.

Pray for - USA - that our country will not continue to fall apart in pieces as immaturity and ignorance tears apart the seams of this country.

Pray for - knowledge - that for people, like me, will be called to do what they need to.  Be it prayer, or to be active in Charlottesville, that all people will be armed with truth.

Be bold. Live loved.

I tried - reading lots of books! [August book review]

With a little extra down time, I was able to finish up July's second book, "Hoot," as well as read Philip K Dick's "The Man in the High Castle." Ambitiously, I plan on reading "Heaven is for Real" by Todd Burpo - but.... with school starting very very soon... we will see how that comes along.

First, a short little write up about Hoot.  My dad gave me this book a long time ago, knowing that it was for young adult readers, or even elementary readers, he thought I would enjoy it to relate to my students.  I found out that the movie is, or was at one point, on Netflix and plan on watching it soon.

The book itself was an easy read.  Had cute relatable characters and a bit of mystery to the entire story (if you are 12).  Was it life changing, no not for a 30 year old.  Was it something I could easily pick up and put down for interruptions, yes.  Recommend this book, yes to the target audience or anyone that wants an easy read.  It was cute.

This book was a bit more difficult for me than Hoot was.   I am not for sure if it's because I tend to be a slow reader or if it was because there was a lot of "difference" to process through. Differences like, German and Japan names that I had to properly pronounce to develop characters.  Differences like, the time frame this took place was a real historical time, but yet futuristic as well.  Differences like, the geography was the same but ruled by other groups.

The differences were good though.  I really liked this book. 

The Man in the High Castle takes place in 1962 with an alternative outcome to the second world war.  Franklin D. Rosevelt was assassinated and therefore the journey for the USA to overcome the depression was never a success; causing Nazis Germany and Japan to win the World War II 15 years later, and take over other countries.

(Having this map might have been helpful, however, I was able to picture this in my head to some accuracy)

The book had several story lines and characters that overlapped one another and was neatly woven together.  The book not only offered an alternative outcome to war, but also within our science, technology, and anything the human race dealt with - the futuristic part - traveling at warped speeds from countries, studying and traveling/living on Mars the book was incredibly well thought out.

Two of the most intriguing parts of the book were:
1) The book did not take place in a Christian world, and because of the outcome of the war Christianity as a religion as well as American culture ceased and was replaced by German or Asian culture.  The historical 'book of changes' - the I Ching - has been China's ancient divination for centuries and it was the center belief for this story. Even though the Bible was only mentioned once, maybe twice, as an old USA artifact, the other cultures had Christian theology.  For example, at the end of the book Mr. Tagomi thinks "When I was a child I thought as a child.  But now I have put away childish things.  Now I must seek in other realms."  Starts off fairly biblical, but changes back to his current beliefs.  It was just interesting to see different religions and cultures mesh together.  It was sad at points, thinking that Nazis could have won the war and our 2017 state of living would be in hate.... but even in current news, we haven't come very far from this. 

2) One of the common trends, for many of the characters, was the book "The Grasshopper Lies Heavy" by the fictional character Hawthorn Abendsen - Ironically (for I just mentioned that TMITHC doesn't discuss much of the Bible or other Christian theology) is based off of the Bible's Ecclesiastes12:5.  Now, this fiction book in TMITHC,  follows what would have happened if Rosevelt escaped the assassination. A BOOK WITHIN A BOOK ABOUT THE BOOK. COOL.

With a quick google search I found out that in 2015 Chandler Duke did write "The Grasshoper Lies Heavy," a story that takes place in 1966 (4 years after TMITHC was written) about if the United States was actually ruled by four countries.  Whether Duke wrote this after reading High Castle, I am not for sure.  On Amazon, Chandler writes that he did have finally have a professional edit and read his book.  So I am not to for sure who much I want to invest in this book.

The book is good.  I would not have finished it if it wasn't.
The book is complicated - you have to not have distractions while reading it, or you'll miss important details.
The book is interesting.  I would have not read the book in a week.  I could not put this down.
The book is a tv show.... wait, what?  Yes - on Amazon Prime there are not one, but two seasons, of the Man in the High Castle.  

I eagerly can't wait to start watching them!  

If you like history, fiction, war, drama, culture, thought provoking outcomes, differences, than read Dick's, "The Man in the High Castle."