Thursday, December 31, 2009

new year.

Well, only 6 1/2 hours left of 2009. I've already reflected on my year, gone through old pictures, cards, journaling, and blogs. I have to say this again: What a damn good year. (Excuse my language).

So tomorrow is a fresh start. A new beginning. I fully believe in new beginnings. Just because you had a rough day today, or maybe even a really rough year, does not mean it's the end for you. I personally have a hard time letting go of things, I cherish good memories and internalize the bad ones. I torment myself on what I could have done better to save a friendship or stop something bad from happening. However, I've learned to let go. There's no point in keeping all negativity in my life packed up in boxes. Open up those boxes and throw them out. You don't need anyone else telling you what to do or how to live your life. Be you. Be the BEST you that you can be. Wake up every morning with a fresh attitude. If we keep letting the small things build up, we turn into a mess.

I'm also a believer in resolutions. Maybe not life changing resolutions, but small goals that you know you can achieve. Find someone that can help motivate you. Write a post it and put it somewhere you will see it everyday. On that note, here are mine:

-Exercise. I've been doing really well on my weight loss journey (besides Christmas break. I hate you, cookies.) However, I'm not losing weight at the speed I would like to because I am not exercising. I would like to get a membership at the Y, as long as I can find the time to get over there.
-Keep in better touch with the other MVC communities. I know we're all super busy, but I would like to talk more with my friends I made at orientation and be able to share ideas with them.
-Keep organized on my paperwork for school. I get a little overwhelmed and lazy when it comes to the paperwork for the lunch program. I need to stay on top of that.
-Live in the moment and say yes to opportunities. Although I have progressed with my anxiety issues, I still let it get the best of me and turn things down sometimes. I would like to make the BEST of this experience with MVC and to do as much as possible.
-Stay positive about my future. I get so nervous and anxious about what I'm going to do in June. I need to remind myself to just let go and let God take me wherever He needs me to be.

Alright, I have to go get ready. I hope you all have a fabulous New Year's Eve celebration. Love you.

OH! I'm not sure if I've posted this...but here you go...I wrote this in November.

Who let me fall for you
How could this happen
I’m supposed to be strong on my own
Don’t need you to hold my hand
So why is it that
When you’re around I feel weak
I could crumble at any moment
Just by looking into those dark eyes
I put my guard down
Suddenly I need you to save me
To run away with me far away from here
I don’t know how this happened
I’m supposed to be strong on my own
I always said I didn’t need love
I’d do just fine in this crazy world on my own
But when you’re around everything changes
I suddenly need you to save me
Let’s start over somewhere new
In a place where I don’t have to hide my feelings from you
Cuz suddenly all I want is for you to save me

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Megan's 2009: Part 2

-Visting Gem: I visited Gem a few days before her birthday. It was a time when I was really stressed out with no sign of a summer job yet, and I also had not heard about MVC. The trip was good for me and we had a lot of fun. It was the first time we spent time together when we didn't have to rush around and be on a schedule, so we just enjoyed each other's company. I really enjoyed that weekend and I am very thankful to have her in my life. No pictures for this one (Gem, do you have any?).

-Nanny for Sophie and Kate: Shortly after I returned home from Gem's, I got a call for a nanny job. I was a nanny for Sophie (age 2 1/2) and Kate (age 1) for about a month- until their dad was laid off. It was a challenge, and exhausting, but I loved it. They were so sweet and intuitive. I won't forget Sophie saying to me "you're the best Megan ever" or Kate calling me "wagon" and asking to see "puppy". I still think about them sometimes!

-4th of July with Sam and Lauren: So random but SO much fun. We got in trouble for singing David Archuleta too loud on the tunes, spied on a high school party, and partied at Monaco. I got us a ride home from Booker T, who later gave us his personal card. So funny! I love those two so much. Girls, thank you for being amazing friends and always making me laugh.

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-Women of Faith in Cleveland: Considering I wrote a 2 part blog for this already, there's not much more that I can say other than spending time with Holly was AMAZING and see Mandisa was, as always, a wonderful experience. Not only that, but I also pulled away from the weekend a fulfilled, stronger person. The speakers helped me out so much, and Mandisa's story/music were the added bonus. She's such an inspiration. I owe her so much!

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-My Birthday: I celebrated my birthday by going out to dinner with friends from softball and my best friend Christine. It was really nice and a good way to wrap up the summer and say goodbye before I left for orientation. I raised $200 for Malaria No More via facebook. It also helped that I got the best present EVER from Chikezie. I had been hinting that I really wanted him to cover the Justin Timberlake song "Another Song". Well, I woke up the day after my birthday and I had an email from him...with an mp3 of that song and in the e-mail he said "I'm sorry I couldn't get this to you sooner, I was up until 3 am trying to get it on youtube". How precious is he?

MVC Orientation
: I was so nervous for this and for the entire MVC process. However, the week was so positive and reassuring that I knew I made the right choice. I made some amazing friends and was lucky to have people there that understood my anxieties and pushed me to step out of my comfort zone. Each of us in the program bonded instantly and I will not forget telling ghost stories outside or doing puzzles without looking at the lid. I had so much fun getting to know my roomies and the other MVC volunteers. Also, our act for the talent show was pretty amazing.

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-MVC Experience/living with Dave, Katie, and Nate: The first week in Detroit is a blur. We were all a little nervous, still trying to feel each other out, and anxious about our sites. However, I am amazed at how close we've become. The four of us have really been lucky, we look out for one another and have so much fun just hanging out. I am appreciative of everything that they do for me, and they each hold a very special place in my heart. I have enjoyed growing spiritually and emotionally, I couldn't imagine having three better roomies to share it with. I can only hope that we continue to grow.

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-Idol Concert Grand Rapids: Even though I wasn't emotionally attached to Season 8, I still went to the concert with Sam, Lizz, Brenna, and others. We had amazing seats AND won after party tickets through Michael Sarver. We met Matt, Michael, Scott, Allison, and Kris before the show. Michael LOVED us during his set. We met everyone but Adam at the After Party and I had a moment with Danny Gokey. I also made a sassy sigh for Aaron (drummer) and threw it at him on stage. Lil Rounds is STILL my hero for giving it to him, and Aaron is my hero for tweeting it later. I had so much fun with my friends and meeting the idols, especially my faves Allison and Matt. What a fun night- no stress, no drama, just fun. Oh, and my epic picture with Megan....AND the amazing Slow Ride, which was one of the only reasons I went to the show.

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-E Women Conference: When the stress of living as a volunteer was JUST starting to get to me a little bit, E Women came and saved the day. It was EXACTLY what I needed: refreshing, fulfilling, and peaceful. I was able to talk to Mandisa for a few moments, and she gave me two shirts and the sweetest card. I also met Thelma Wells, who is an incredible person. I learned so much that weekend and much like WOF, I take it with me every single day.

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-Kelly Clarkson: When I found out that I was meeting Kelly, I screamed a little. I have been trying for SO LONG. That night was incredible. She is exactly what I thought she would be, chatty, outgoing, and SO sweet. I was VERY nervous to meet her, but she made me feel so comfortable. I had to stop her from talking because she kept going on and on. I had to make sure I told her about my songwriting, since she is the reason I write. She looked at me like I had said I was Obama. She was like "thank you so much that is the best compliment. Don't stop writing!". THE SHOW ITSELF WAS INSANE. Wow. Screaming the words to Never Again and crying during Chivas. I miss it. Let's go back.

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-Thanksgiving Weekend: Ya'll know how special this weekend was but seriously, I look back on it and smile. I had so much fun! Bringing my roomies to meet my family/family football game, Archie/sleepover with Sam, barbie party with Alex. Good times all around, and I felt at peace and completly comfortable and happy.

-Working at Cristo Rey: I saved this for last even though I have been working there since August. You guys, I cannot even tell you how much I have grown because of working at this amazing place. I am such a different person. Stronger. More confident. More compassionate and understanding. I have seen the world in a different light. It has made me more aware of my blessings and surroundings, a better picture of WHY I am volunteering for a year. I love this school, I love my co-workers and I am in love with those kids. I will never be able to put into words just how much this place means to me, or how much it has given me. It has forever changed me. Thank you, Cristo Rey. Thank you, kids.

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Well, that's it. I want to thank Sam, Lauren, Alex, Alicia, my family, backups, my roomies, MVC'ers, my new friends, and my idols for the amazing year. Here's to 2010 and what it will bring. I have no idea where I will be sitting a year from now, but I'm confident that with God and my support system, I will be happy.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Megan's 2009: Part 1

I was watching a VH1 special titled "2009: That REALLY Happened". They were discussing all the crazy antics that happened during the year. At one point, one of the comedians said "when we look back at 2009, the first thing we're going to think of is that Michael Jackson died". I'm sorry, sir, but no, I won't. the first thing I think of is that I graduated from college. Michael Jackson's death is pretty low on my list of precious memories.

2009 was one of the best years yet. Besides Laurence being sick and my few emotional breakdowns over figuring out what's next, I had an amazing year. Here are the hilights!

-Living with Lauren/Jess. : I had a strong relationship with both these girls. Jess and I had been friends throughout our four years, so we went through a lot together. It meant that we understood each other and were able to support and stand up for one another. Lauren and I were extremly close, and when I think of those last few months with her I think: digging cars out of snow, den sandwhiches, American Idol, Friday nights on the couch, award shows, Main Street, lazy movie days. I really miss that aspect of college.

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-Our party in January: The three of us decided to have a party in January, and it was such a blast. I think back to that night and just laugh. Alex, Sam, and I were ridic as far as dancing. JBizz passed out on the couch but waking up for "single ladies". Alex and I doing "no air". So fun, and I have the pictures and videos to prove it!

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American Idol Season 8: The next season of American Idol began and with that I was offered a writing position for the Detroit News. I was able to blog about Idol after every episode. Looking back, that was quite a blessing. It allowed me to grow in my writing and gave me a different perspective on the show. I enjoyed watching the show with Lauren, texting Sam, and calling my mom during commercial breaks. I wasn't as emotionally attached to the season, but it was fun.

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-Internship at KCAN: My internship at KCAN was a big part of January and the rest of that semester. I was nervous about it, but a few days in I knew it was perfect. While I wasn't working directly with child abuse cases, I was providing education and outreach to the community on the issue and organizing our fundraisers. It was an incredible experience overall! I'll never forget the board meetings or late, late nights during the Be A Lifesaver campaign. I am VERY thankful for my supervisor, Mimi, and all the people I met at KCAN who gave me opportunities to grow.

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-Melinda's Album Release: Us backups had been waiting for Melinda's debut album for two years. The result was worth the wait, she produced an incredible album that was perfect for her. I am incredibly proud of her and the project. Every single song is perfect, and Melinda's way of connecting emotionally is beautiful.

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-Melinda @ the Borders Promo Tour: I had the incredible opportunity to see Melinda twice on her promo tour and introduce her to my parents and one of my best friends, Alicia. Everyone in my life knows how much Melinda means to me and what she has done for me, so to be able to have all the important people in my life meet her was very special for me. It was also the first time I was able to have a good chunk of one on one time with Melinda. Kelley and Melinda made it a point to give me advice about graduating and job interviews. I'll never forget those two nights and I am very grateful for them!

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-Mandisa on Valentine's Day: I was also able to see Mandisa that month, on Valentine's Day to be exact. Mandisa and I had been corresponding via myspace the 4 months prior to that, and I was very excited to be able to see her and thank her in person. She has been an inspiration for me in so many ways and I know that she was put in my life for a reason!

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-Idols in Concert (Dearborn/Chi-Town). When I found out that Melinda, Chikezie, Phil, and Gina were touring together I flipped. Melinda and Chikezie are my all time faves, and I adore Phil and Gina. I went to the show in Dearborn with Sam, Lauren, and Gem. Talk about an amazing experience. That may have been one of the best concerts of my life. We had front row seats and were practically on the stage. Chikeize and Melinda made eye contact with us for 95% of the show. Chikezie sang "More Than Anyone" to me which is my favorite Gavin song. Lauren and Gem both thought I was going to pass out. I met Gina for the first time, Phil was so hyper, Chikezie wouldn't let go of me and Melinda had to pull us apart, Chikezie let me listen to his first single, Melinda came charing at me full speed. Holy MOLY do I miss that night. The next day, after my walk for the homeless (see below), Gem and I drove to Chicago to surprise Maria/Des and to see the show again. Things were not as magical this time, due to an ice storm/delayed show. However, I did get to meet Melinda's daddy. I also was blocked off from meeting Jon Peter Lewis because Chikezie ran around the table to hug me. Melinda was next to him and was like "are we really going to do this again?". Then she hugged me and said "hi little baby girl". Maria got her first Chikezie hug..Gina and I cried when I told her how much her original song meant to me, then she kissed me on the head. I hugged Melinda forever at the end because at that time I didn't know when I would see her again. Gem and I had to spend the night and the hotel was a crazy maze. Spending quality time with Maria and Des was very special. I'll never, EVER forget that weekend.

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-5 Mile Walk for the Homeless: In January, I had decided to really get on top of my weight loss journey. I started walking every single day and trained for a 5 mile walk in March. I would walk 4-5 miles a day and loved getting fit, I could feel my calves building muscle. I completed the walk the day after seeing Idols in Dearborn (don't ask me how I woke up for that, I'll still never know). It was special for me because even though it was only 5 miles, it was a major accomplishment. Plus, Gem was there to greet me at the finish line. I also raised $200 thanks to my AMAZING friends.

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-Graduation: I never thought I would make it through four years at Western. It was a rough four years, and I went through many struggles. However, graduation day was a very proud moment for me. Sam and Alex drove in and my whole family was there. It was such a blast celebrating and rejoicing. I miss parts of college, but I wouldn't go back and do it again. One day I hope I can think of college and smile, rather than think of anxiety and bad roomates. Graduation was the day of the marathon, and I got to talk to all the backups + Janet/Kelley/Melinda, and Melinda made me a special video. I had SO much fun that night with Lauren, Sam, and Alex, too.

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-Idols in Utah/Visit to Vegas: The BEST graduation present I could have asked for from the backups was to visit Val in Vegas and see Melinda/Phil/Gina/Chikezie again. I flew across the country all by myself and was able to spend some amazing quality time with Val in the BEAUTIFUL Las Vegas area. I really have no idea what Vegas is like until you see it in person. It's like it's own world. We drove an hour or so away to the MOST AMAZING venue I've ever been in- it was an ampitheatre in the mountains. Just picture that. I also got to see Maria, Des, Ape, and Cathy. Ape was a surprise and I almost knocked her over hugging her. Melinda and Chikezie didn't know I was coming, I thought Melinda was going to fall of the stage. Her performance of "home" that night was unforgettable. At the end of the show she grabbed Chikezie's hand and they stood in front of me, singing and waving. Afterwards, I was in the middle of talking to Chikezie when it started to downpour. We had to move to a covered area, he still had my picture in his hand so he came to find me. The backups chatted it up with Melinda and then she asked who gave Chikezie the Vegan cupcakes. Miss Sassy Pants called him over and told him it was me, which got me another hug and conversation with him. That night I for real hugged Melinda for the last time in a while (haven't seen her since). OH, and Chikezie kissed me on the cheek and promised to come visit me soon ('s past soon). It was a very special night and to be able to spend time with those backups was SO much fun. I want to go back and relive that weekend!

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-My brother gets engaged! My brother let us know that he was going to propose to his girlfriend, Sara, and asked that we would come and be there. We traveled to Indy and met Sara's family at a restauraunt. Sara and JP walked in a little later, much to Sara's surprise. I am SO happy for them! I am excited to have a new sister and that my brother is so happy, he truly deserves it. It was great to be able to get to know Sara's family and spend time with my own. I cannot wait for their wedding and again, I am so happy for those two.

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So there you have it, folks. The first 1/2 of 2009. My biggest struggles at this time were figuring out my life, financial struggles, and drifting away from friends. I had a major falling out with one of my best friends, and the experience hurt me but also allowed me to grow, to take a step back and realize I can only worry about myself, not trying to please everyone else all the time.

Part two is coming up :)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

2009 In Music and Movies

2009 was an amazing year in entertainment. We had some epic award shows, incredible albums, and touching movies. I love reflecting on the year and looking ahead to what's next. Before I get to my personal reflections and memories, I'm making my (meaning...what I listen to...not what the critics say, thank you) list of favorites of the year. Ready? Here we go.

Top 10 Albums

10) John Mayer- Battle Studies
9) Gavin DeGraw- Free
8) Kate Voegele- A Fine Mess
7) Jordin Sparks-Battlefield
6) Taylor Swift- Fearless Platinum
5) Jason Mraz: Beautiful Mess LIVE
4) Mandisa- Freedom
3) Lady GaGa- The Fame Monster
2) Kelly Clarkson- All I Ever Wanted
1) Melinda Doolittle- Coming Back To You

10 Favorite Singles (Some albums were not released in 09, but these singles were)

10) Taylor Swift- You Belong With Me
9) Kanye West- Heartless
8) Beyonce- Single Ladies
7) Gavin DeGraw- I Have You To Thank
6) Jason Mraz- Lucky
5) Lady Antebellum- Run To You
4)Jordin Sparks- Battlefield
3) Kelly Clarkson- My Life Would Suck Without You
2) Lady GaGa- Bad Romance
1) Melinda Doolitle- It's your Love

10 Favorite Non-Singles (all from albums released in 2009).

10) Kate Voegele- Lift Me Up
9) Mandisa- Freedom Song
8) David Archuleta- Zero Gravity
7) Gavin DeGraw- Glass
6) Jordin Sparks- Let It Rain
5) Taylor Swift- Superstar
4) Lady GaGa- Speechless
3) Kelly Clarkson- The Day We Fell Apart
2) Jason Mraz- Beautiful Mess
1) Melinda Doolittle- I Will Be

10 Favorite Movies I saw

10) I Love You, Man
9) Twilight: New Moon
8) Wolverine
7) The Hangover
6) Zombieland
5) Harry Potter 6
4) Up
3) My Sister's Keeper
2) The Proposal
1) The Blind Side

Movies I Still Want To See:
- Adventureland (Watching right at this moment and so far I love it).
-Time Traveler's Wife
-Julie and Julia
-Princess and the Frog
-Where The Wild Things Are
-This Is It

Second blog coming up tonight or tomorrow about my personal experiences this year.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

this is life before you know who you're gonna be

It's the night before Christmas eve and tension is high. I'm not surprised or disappointed, I'd be more worried if this didn't happen. Everyone gets so anxious about cooking and cleaning and hosting the perfect Christmas. If you're one of those people: CHILL. Your family members won't be around forever, so cherish this time you are spending with them now. You'll get everything done, you always do. Take a step back and tell everyone just how much you love them. LET IT GO. There's no point in having these negative feelings toward one another. This season is about giving, loving, and honoring Jesus, not stressing. Just relax and say thanks to God for all your blessings.

On a completely different note, Taylor Swift's latest single, "Fifteen", has been on my mind lately. The first time I heard it was when I bought her album last fall, and I thought it was a cute song, but I often skipped over it when listening to T. Swift music. When it was released as a single, I heard it on the radio on my drive to school. Although it's only been a year since the first time I heard it, the song has a whole new meaning for me now.

I played it for my favorite (shh) student...the one who left a few weeks ago. I played it on her 15th birthday and watched her facial expressions as Taylor sang the words. She looked up at me at one point and said "don't you hate it when a song is SO TRUE?". She asked me to make her a copy of Taylor's CD. Now, every time I hear that song, I think of that student....and all my other students who are dealing with issues of figuring out who they are, who they want to be, falling in love, striving to be popular.

When I was 15, I had a wonderful parents who supported me and cared for me, always making sure I was taken care of. I went to an amazing high school and had plenty of friends. I was sure I was going to be a nurse and was passionate about helping other people and putting a smile on their face. I became more interested in music and writing. I was happiest when I was at school, because I was in my element there. Almost everyone knew my name and I was always busy. Inside, I was struggling with anxiety. At the time, I didn't understand it, so I pushed it away and covered it by eating. Despite the anxiety, I would say I had a very good life. I thought I was in love with a boy, but I know I had no idea what love was.

My kids, on the other hand, are struggling. Almost all of them come from single parent homes, some live with a grandparent or other relative. They are all from low income households and are at our school because it is the only Catholic, college prep education that they can afford in the city of Detroit. They have been through more than I could possibly imagine. They've seen the affects of violence, drugs, their neighborhoods, in their own homes. I don't know how they remain so strong. When I look at them I see faces of children, looking for someone to reach out to them and hug them, to be their mentor...someone who actually gives a damn what they think about, their dreams and hopes. I see how desperately they try to get the attention of the opposite sex, right now that is their biggest priority. They want to feel loved. They think they will marry their secret crushes, and they have no idea where they see themselves in a few years, because, for the most part, they have been told they won't go anywhere. The staff pushes them hard, making sure they know they can be the best person they choose to be. That's why I play songs like "Fifteen" for them. I want them to know that although it may seem like the whole world is against them, there are people cheering for them. Even Taylor Swift.

Another 15 year old who deserves all the love and peace in the world is Laurence. You all know the story of my cousin Laurence and that right now he is very, very sick. Laurence is extremely special to me, he's always been my little buddy and I adore him. His illness has been hard on me, and hard to grasp that someone so young is suffering so much. I went to visit him on Monday, something I've been wanting to do for a while. His head is very swollen, and he is very thin because he barely eats. He can't stay awake very long and speaks 1-2 words at a time. However, I could still see how hard he is fighting and how much he cares. I loved that he was wearing a U2 Shirt and that he was trying to listen as I was talking about my job and my students. He has raised over $16,000 for Nothing But Nets, getting closer to his $20,000 goal. There will be a story on him in the Detroit News out on Christmas Day, so those of you in the area make sure you get a copy. Laurence, I love you to pieces, I'm proud of you and inspired by you. Keep on fighting.

I love you all and hope that you have a very, very Merry Christmas. Here is the video for the song....take a listen and reflect. Reach out to a 15 year old and let them know you love them.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

love on the rocks

I was under the impression that this week would go by super fast. I figured since we were so busy, it would fly by. Ladies and Gents, I was wrong. So very wrong. Yesterday afternoon I was in the admissions office with a group of students. They were pretty wired, and I was pretty quiet. Suddenly I said very loudly "WAIT. It's only WEDNESDAY?" the kids laughed and then asked if I was ready to go home for break. Oh kiddies, you have no idea. I would go home right now if I could, crawl into my huge bed and stay there for days. It's not that I don't love my job and my roommates, because I adore both, but I am beyond ready for a break. I'm sure there will be times over the two weeks I'm home where I get annoyed and frustrated with family, but nothing beats being at home....staying up late chatting with my parents, playing rock band with my brother, eating my dad's famous tuna melts. I'm so excited!

Christmas this year is going to be laid back, and honestly I'm looking forward to that. Too often we get caught up in the commercialized Christmas, and I think taking things a step back will help to remember the true meaning of the season.

Last night we had our big community meeting with our program coordinator and 1/2 of our support couple (Mike). We talked about any issues in the house, what we want to change for January on, etc. It was nice to reflect on how we've been doing and what we need to work on. We closed the meeting by sharing affirmations about each other, which was really nice. I think it was exactly what we all needed, to feel loved and appreciated :) Afterwards we realized that it was the last night the four of us would be together before break, so instead of my usual bedtime of 9:30 pm we stayed up and spent some time together. I love that, when we can just sit back and talk and laugh. I don't know how I got so lucky to live with such amazing people, but I am very thankful.

Another great part of my day yesterday was taking a group of students to Meijer to go shopping for our adopted families. They broke up into teams and were assigned a family to buy clothes/toys for. They had to do it on a budget and a time schedule, and did such an amazing job. I could see in their eyes and their smiles how proud of themselves they were. They showed me each item they bought and explained it, as if I needed to know why a 5 year old would want a Barbie. It was really cute and I am so glad to see my students enthusiastic about this project and giving back to others. Tomorrow I will take a different group of students to actually deliver the gifts to our families, and I am super excited about that. It should be really cool to watch and be a part of.

Well, it's Thursday. I'll have a quiet afternoon because my 8th period study hall is working today. I'm supervising make up Latin tests, but other than that I'm looking forward to spending the afternoon getting stuff done before break.


Listening to "Love on The Rocks"- Sara Bareilles

Monday, December 14, 2009

believe not God is in your heart, child, but that you are in the heart of God

The past few weeks I have had several opportunities to reflect on how much I've grown. These opportunities range from one on one's with those who are called to support our community, Thanksgiving break, talks with people who have helped me through my challenges, going to confession (something that terrifies me, but absolutley blessed me this past week), and the visit from our program coordinator this week. It scares me sometimes how different I am from the person I was a year ago. I've come to so many exciting realizations and to be able to feel happiness and peace is such an amazing thing. The changes in me may seem small to others but I am ecstatic about how strong I have become and willing to cross boundries and break down the barriers that once held me back from truly living my life.

This past weekend was so incredibly busy, all four of us had different things going on. Friday night I cooked dinner for everyone and stayed in rather than meeting up at the bar with some friends. I was too lame as that may sound. I hope I can find a husband who will stay in with me on Friday nights when I can't keep my eyes open long enough to hold a decent conversation.

Saturday morning I woke up WAY too early (6:30 AM). I couldn't sleep so I laid in bed doing some writing. I finally got up and got some Christmas shopping done. When I returned Katie and I went to help Nate out at a children's Christmas party. There were 500 kids there between the ages of 5-11. I'll let you imagine how crazy that was. It was so fun watching them and seeing them excited for santa. The best part was seeing how excited they were to get a big bag full of presents. Most of these kids won't get a lot on Christmas, so the joy in their faces was adorable...especially to see how excited they were to get winter coats, gloves, and hats. It was really touching to see them so appreciative of things that the rest of us don't even think about, things that just show up. For them it was truly a gift. Although I was approached my 3 clowns at the party (I don't want to talk about it, thank YOU), it was fun and so special. My job was to get kids from their assigned tables as their parents came and picked them up. Even though these kids had never met me before, they talked a mile a minute about their day. So precious!

Saturday night Nate and I went to dinner and to a beautiful production of "Messiah" (but a jazzy version) at the Detroit Opera House. It was really nice to be able to spend time with him, and SO sweet of the sister's to purchase tickets for us. We had great seats and I really enjoyed the show- especially the absolutley unbelievable piano solo. I'm still not over how good that was- never in my life have I seen someone play piano the way that man did. Nate and I had a great time, came home and I passed out. 3 hours of walking back and forth to get kids to the parents plus a night out exhausted me.

On Sunday, Katie, Nate, and I walked to Most Holy Trinity for Mass. We've been Church hopping every Sunday the past 5 months that we've been here, but we're ready to settle. I am proud to say that I absolutley love Most Holy Trinity. They are devoted to service and a very family friendly, community loving parish. I feel at home there, and not just because the priest mentioned us twice at mass...just the mission of their church and the motivation of all the people involved. I'm really glad it's so close to us. After church we had our family breakfast and then I headed off to Mercy for their annual Christmas concert. As always, it was fantastic. There is so much talent at that school, I'm proud to be a graduate :) Sunday night we had our spirituality night and watched a movie together. I love spending time with my amazing roomies :)

Monday was the start for a very busy week for us. Not only do we all have crazy things going on at work, but our program coordinator, Marie, came to do her site visit. She is the person who we've talked to throughout the entire application process, she matched us with our sites and is our main contact person for MVC. We didn't get to meet her at orientation, so I know we were all really excited to finally be able to meet her. When someone has put so much work into your life for basically 7 seven months, you're excited to meet them. She visits each of the communites across the country to check in and see how everything was going. Yesterday she visited Cristo Rey at 2 and first had a meeting with the principal/my supervisor. I have to admit, I was nervous. Although I trust that my supervisor would have already approached me if there were any issues, I was still a little anxious. During 8th period I was called down to meet with both of them after they had their own conversation. I was given a very good review and was honest with what I felt my strengths and weaknesses were. I was happy to hear that my supervisor has noticed that the kids really trust me and enjoy coming to talk to me about their issues, and that she also knows my frustration with my 3rd hour study hall. (In fact, I may not be getting them next semester...ya'll better PRAY for that). It was good to connect and to hear that my supervisor is confident that I'm making a difference. Sometimes it's hard for me to see that, so it was really awesome to be able to know that she feels that way.

As far as the challenges, we were pretty much on the same page that the hardest thing for me is to balance being the person that everyone comes and talks to and trusts with their issues and also being an authority figure. We both agreed that it's not really my fault considering I have no classroom management experience, I'm so glad that everyone realizes my 3rd hour is literally impossible for me to control.

Later that evening Marie came over to our house. Besides visiting our sites, she is also having individual meetings with the four of us. For almost two hours we sat at the kitchen table talking about every possible aspect of MVC- Cristo Rey, community, simple living, stipend, spirituality, safety, the house, social, challenges, EVERYTHING. It was really nice to be able to spill how I felt about absolutley everything to someone who knows the program inside and out. I talked to her about how positive the entire program has been and how much change I've seen in me, how much I'm growing spiritually, how much I ADORE my roomates, everything. I also talked to her about my challenges, which fortunatley there aren't that many.

I am really glad Marie came this week. Although it's a crazy busy week, it's nice to have her around and hear her feedback, and to have her see how close the four of us are. It's obvious to me how much time and care she put into matching each of us at our sites, so I'm extremly thankful for her.

Well, I guess that's it for me. I'm sitting in the cafeteria typing this up and getting some other stuff done. One of my favorites (shh) is across from me, working hard on her chemistry homework so she can pull her grade up. She's said "I give up" about 10 times, and every time she says it I answer "never give up". She laughs, and then continues working. You got this, girl.

Have an amazing day, everyone!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Don't Waste The Pretty

Domestic violence is one of the most serious issues in our society. An estimated 1.3 million women are the victims of domestic violence every year, although they are many more because most cases are not reported to police. The reason I talk about women and not men (although that is another tragedy) is because 85% of domestic violence victims are women.

In most cases of domestic violence, the abuser is a controlling, powerful person who uses emotional and physical abuse to break down their victim. The abuser uses put downs, insults, mind games, guilt, and treats the woman like a servant. Often times, the first thing that goes through the mind of an outsider is “why didn’t the woman just leave the situation?” Here’s the thing…they can’t. The abuser puts so much pressure and power over their victim that the person finds it nearly impossible to leave. Perhaps they are afraid something worse will happen, or maybe they have been so brainwashed that they think it’s their fault or that they are crazy. A victim of domestic violence feels isolated, anxious, terrified. They live every single day in complete fear of what will happen to them.

I see the way the kids at my school treat each other. Many of them come from backgrounds where emotional and physical abuse is part of daily life. Therefore, they think it’s normal and acceptable to be disrespectful. We try to shape them and teach them differently, but it’s so hard knowing that violence is such a part of their world outside of school. I had a chat with my girls in peer mediation about the ways boys treat them, and to never ever let anyone disrespect them or make them feel scared or uncomfortable. We talked about the Chris Brown/Rhi Rhi situation and I am happy to report that most of them felt Rihanna was a strong person and would have stopped listening to her music had she gone back to Chris Brown.

It came out yesterday that a former well known local news anchor was the victim of domestic violence. She attended Mercy High School, and when I was a senior she came to talk to us for career day. I remember admiring her for being a woman who made a difference (the motto of Mercy ). Yesterday, when I heard her heartbreaking interview on the radio, I was touched by her strength. She talked about how horrible the abuse was and the emotional torture she went through. She is using her experience to advocate for the education of domestic violence and to educate young girls. I am glad that she can serve as a role model for young women in Detroit.

It makes me sad that domestic violence is overlooked or turned into a joke. This issue is serious and devastating. I want every single one of my friends, family members, and students to know that they should never have to suffer to violence or abuse. YOU are beautiful and worth so much more, so don’t ever let anyone take that away from you or tear you down. Do not settle for less than what you deserve. In the words of Allison Iraheta, “Don’t waste the pretty on him!”. Let’s stand together.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I wanna let you know, I'll never let you go

This post is going to be all over the place, and then I'm posting one on a more serious topic.

There's been talk that one of my students would not be returning to school. Nothing's been official, but she did not show up on Friday, which is her work day. Missing a work day is a big deal, kids rarely do it. Yesterday we didn't have school, so today I stood in the gym waiting anxiously for her to walk through those doors. Nothing. I waited until 3rd hour, when I have her in my class. Nope. Immediatley my heart sank. I think she's really gone. I still have not gotten the official word, but according to a few adults and her best friend, she's gone. Just like that. She's one of the students I have been working the hardest for. We've developed a very close relationship, even though I give her detention 3 or more times a week, she lights up my day. She drives me crazy but I love her. I've considered her a little sister, I always look out for her and push her to be the best person she can be. She came to ME bawling her eyes out last week when things got out of control. She's the kind of kid who wouldn't be caught dead crying, yet she was sobbing in my arms in the middle of the hallway and telling me I'm the only person who cares. Now she's gone. I am going to miss her more than I can tell you, but more than that I am worried about her. I saw her making small changes leading up to this mess but I've got this horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach about what kind of trouble she is going to get into when she's not in this safety net. God put this girl in my path for a reason. I don't know what's going to happen but I know that I cared about her, and I'm going to miss her.

Laurence isn't doing so good. They hooked him up to an IV. Everyone is worried about him and trying to find the strength to deal with this situation. My heart goes out to everyone in his family, especially his dad Patrick. I admire Patrick so much. He's been through more than anyone I know and yet remains strong in every situation. It is unbelievable how he is able to overcome all the extreme obstacles he's been through. That man should write a book, I'm telling you. Please continue to pray for Laurence and for his cause, Nothing But Nets. He has raised over $11,000! He's such an inspiration. Please continue to pray for him.

I was in a really negative mood today because of all the stress I'm feeling until I attended Mass with the school. The priest and a co-worker, Fr. Jose, gave an amazing Homily about saying "yes" to whatever God tells you to do. It really helped me understand some of the obstacles that have come up and what exactly I need to do to handle them. There was also a really peaceful moment afer Communion when the music was playing and the room was silent. I sat with my head in my hands praying and thanking God for all the gifts He has giving me. One of my students was sitting next to me and squeezed my hand. It was so cute, especially because she usually has a major tude.

On a completly different note, today's Tuesday, which means new music. I woke up to an amazing surprise: a new Spill Canvas song! Gah. I've been waiting forever! I cannot wait for them to release a new album and tour again. They are perfect. Nick's voice...

Also out today is the new We The Kings album. It's not my fave, the songs are all very similiar to one another...but, it's a good pop rock album and I really like "Promise the Stars" and "Rain Falls Down". There's also a song called "In-and-Out (Animal Style)" which immediatley reminded me of Melinder.

Michael Sarver released two singles today. I'm not liking "Cinderella Girl" (too country for me, I think) but I am in love with "You Are". Such a beautiful song!

Hanson (don't judge until you listen to them, please) released an EP called "Stand Up". It's five tracks of perfect songs. They have a unique sound and amaizng lyrics. I can't really pick a favorite, because they're all amazing, and it was def my favorite release of today...but I have a soft spot for "These Walls".

On an even more completly unrelated note, my Christmas list. First, the unrealistic list.

1) A trip to Nashville.
2) Having every single friend and family member together.
3) A job...okay, I guess this isn't unrealistic...but seriously. Someone hire me come August.
4) To go to the Grammy's.
5) Laurence to be cured so he can live out his mission.

Now, what I would love to get this year.
1) Christmas cards - snail mail, e-mail, video blogs, whatev's. I just love hearing from you beautiful people.
2) Mixed Cd's/song recommendations. I know postage is annoying, no need to mail me cd's. Just comment with new music you think I should hear.
3) Posters! Vintage, art, tour posters, band posters, whatever.
4) Stuff for my vision board: Postcards of Ireland, NYC, and LA. Quotes about writing a book/song. Anything to do with working with kids and making a difference.
5)Donations to the Mercy Volunteer Corps. After everything this program has done for my life, I would greatly appreciate if my friends and family would donate. You can donate right at this link:

Okay, last thing of this random post is something I wrote a few months ago that never made the cut to the blog. I'm posting it now because it is about my faith and I have been very much in touch with my spirituality latley.

I'm not always where I should be
I don't always follow the path you pave
But you still come to me
You're there in the beautiful faces
Of those around who take my hand
You're in the rain and the wind,
In the struggles that I face
And the fights I win
You give me the answers I need
How glorious are you, who still comes to me
Even when I'm not who I should be.
People tell me I'm special
I know it's because you're with me
You bring me comfort and peace
When all I want to feel is anxiety
You pull me up when I fall down
I don't know where this road is going
But I know that every step of the way
You come to me
Through the people I see, the songs I hear, the words I write
You come to me


Friday, December 4, 2009

09 Resolutions- Fail or Win?

Someone (and right now I can't remember who it was, so I apologize) suggested that we look back on our new year's resolutions from last year and check our progress.

Mine were pretty simple:

1. Do more to help out my mom and dad. Over break I have realized just how much my parents have done for me and how much they love me, and also how much I love them. So in 09 and beyond I want to make sure that I am doing more things to help them out- either by making things easier for them or just making them happy, because lord knows they deserve it.

I think I did pretty well at this, especially when I was living at home for the summer. I made dinner and cleaned as often as I could, before I had my nanny job. I love my parents!

2. Keep a positive attitude. There is no doubt in my mind that this year is going to be rough- financially. However, I am going to make a promise to myself to just start off each day by thinking it will be a good day- because I believe that will help.

I tried my best to keep a positive attitude. I had nervous breakdowns about my future, but other than that I'd say I was pretty positive. I have kept an open mind when it comes to the new way of living this year and that has really worked out for me...and for the most part, when I've been REALLY stressed, I've remained positive. Except for today when my grumpy butt just needs to shut up.

3. Get back in touch with people I have lost touch with. This is so important to me especially because in the fall I pushed so many people away due to school. That won't happen again, because I felt alone so many times. And there are people that I am better off without, I realize that now. So I have to be careful.

Ummm yeah. I failed. I mean, the people I didn't need anymore and who were constantly bringing me down, I didn't keep in touch with, and that's probably for the best. However, I also failed at contacting some of the most important people in my life who I have let drift away. Get on that, Megan.

4. Write more. In addition to pushing people away, I sort of pushed writing away. I need it back in my life .

I've def been writing more. I wrote a ton of songs/poems in 09. I'm hoping to pull a few more out before Christmas. Plus, I started this blog which was a huge outlet for my writing.

5. Meet new people and get more involved at St. Tom's. My anxieties can't hold me back any more, I have got to step out and meet new people, be more involved and build stronger relationships with the people at St. Tom's.

Fail. I got busy with the stress of senior year and my internship that I did not focus on this. However, this year I've met so many new friends, and I'm really proud of myself. It would be easy for me to slip into the comfort of being alone and avoiding people, but I've pushed myself.

6. Last, but most important. Lose weight. I have been saying this for so long and I did so good over the summer- lost about 20 lbs. Now I've gained that back, and I am tired of it. I am going to restart my weight loss journey my space and seriously write in it at least 3 times a week. I am ready for this. I am going to need some help from people but I know who to ask, and they are all backups. Plus Lauren, since she lives with me and I know she will keep me in line. There are several others on this journey with me so I am excited about that. Ready?

I've done so well with this, I can't even tell you. I've had my low points for sure but for the most part I have a completely different attitude toward food and my struggles with food. It is something I live with daily, but I am so thankful that I can recognize my own struggles and be able to fix things.

So, did you keep your resolutions?

Although I'm sure it's coming any day now, right now I'm so thankful that there is no snow yet. I don't mind the snow and the cold necessarily, but I do mind the driving and how long it lasts. Last year I hated waking up every single morning to several inches of snow. We were snowed in for a week and 1/2 in January. I don't miss that at all. I don't think it will be that bad this year because I'm on the east side of the state and because it hasn't snowed once yet, but can wait. I don't mind at all.

I woke up in a grumpy mood today and it's stayed since then. I can tell I've been taking it out on the kids and that I've been irritated very easily. I need a pick me up and to snap out of this. It's not healthy for me or my kids. Ugggghhh.

Sorry this isn't much of a post. We've got a crazy weekend ahead so I'll update soon. Love ya'll.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

David Archuleta in Ann Arbor Review

I've been replaying David Archulet'a Christmas Concert over and over in my mind. It was clear that David was in his element on Friday night as he performed with the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra. Throughout his two part set, David proved to the audience why he ALMOST won American Idol: not only because of his gorgeous voice, but also his sweet, humble, awkward personality. The concert had it all: traditional Christmas music and catchy pop songs. The combination made for a once in a lifetime experience. If there was ever a show to see David shine vocally, this would be the one.

He opened up the show with an amazing rendition of "Angels We Have Heard On High" that gave me goosebumps. David chatted awkwardly with us in between each song, explaining his connection to the music and rambling about the acoustics in the beautiful Hill auditorium. He was obviously nervous, as he was being backed by one of the best symphony's in the state of Michigan. However, David's near perfect vocals made up for it. I was skeptical toward how the pop songs would sound, but David proved me wrong. The fan favorite tunes "Zero Gravity" and "Crush" accompanied by the symphony were made new and different, and David adjusted to the change easily. My personal favorite from the first half of the show was "To Be With You", a ballad off of David's debut album. I also enjoyed the cover of the Five for Fighting song "The Riddle".

By the second half, I was speechless. David's vocals were out of this world. I have heard him sing live before, but nothing was quite like this. I sat with my jaw open during David's Latin rendition of "Ave Maria". I can't quite describe to you how good it was, but it may have been my favorite David performance yet. Although it was in Latin, David had a strong emotional connection to the song and belted out the notes so perfectly. At the end of the night, David had successfully moved the entire audience to tears and up on their feet for a standing ovation.

I believe that this concert was a highpoint of David's career. I know his fans are eager for David to return to his more standard pop concerts, but I think performing with the beautiful symphony in a gorgeous auditorium was critical for audiences to hear David's vocals.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Allison Iraheta: Just Like You

What do you get when you combine the musical styles of Kelly Clarkson, Pink, and Ashlee Simpson?One of the best pop/rock female artists of the past few years: Little Miss Allison Iraheta. I guess it's no surprise that I am head over heels in love with her album "Just Like You", since I was a fan of Allison's on American Idol. (Homegirl should have WON). However, I will admit to being terrified that her label would spin her into an annoying teenage popstar singing about Jay-Z songs. (Heeeey Miley). I was wrong. There's only one song I would happily take off the album, and that is "Robot Love". That has nothing to do with Allison or her music, just the fact that I can't personally connect to the lyrics. However, I'm sure girls her age will. Overall, Allison's ablum is incredible...probably one of the best non winner Idol releases, and outstanding for a first album. I think it gives Allison plenty of time to continue to rock out. She didn't go all out with the rock on this album, which may dissapoint some, but I find her unqiue blend of pop songs and mature ballads perfect.

Allison hooks in her target audience with the catchy, rock edge songs "Friday I'll Be Over You", "D is for Dangerous", and "Holiday". She shows her maturity with "Trouble Is", "Scars" and "Still Breathing". Anyone who has seen Allison perform live knows that she is a born performer. When she's out there rocking out I forget she's only 17. She will perfect these songs when she performs them live, I have no doubt about that. I'm so excited to see where she goes from here, this is not the last time we'll hear her name.

Do Something :)

December 1st is World Aids Day. HIV/AIDS is a viruse that attacks the body's immune system. Often times, our world immediatley classifies HIV/AIDS with a specific group of people. In reality, this deadly disease affects more people than ever before. HIV/AIDS can be passed through sex without a condom, sharing of needles, during pregnancy. The disease is treatable (although no cure yet) and preventable, yet almost 40,000 people die DAILY in Africa. Together, we can make a stand to educate and prevent HIV/AIDS. Most importanly, we need to break the silence of this disease. So many people find it embarassing or something to be ashamed of or mocked...this disease should not be a secret. No one should be silently suffering. If you are not educated on the disease or ways you can help, visit or . Encourage young people to get tested. Teach safe sex. Do whatever you can to keep each other safe. We're here on this earth to look out for one another. Do your something.

This holiday season, let's all do our part to help those in great need. At school today, we announced our project for the season. The cool part about it is that it's going to be almost complelty student run. We are doing the "adopt a family" program and donating food to those in need. Our prinicpal asked for volunteers from each grade level to volunteer for different jobs: collecting money, collecting nonparishable food items, using the money to buy more food and some gifts, wrapping gifts, and delivering the gifts to the families. Honestly, I was a little worried we'd be begging kids to volunteer. Shame on me, because when I walked past the sign up sheet, it was complelty full- there were names written all over the page. I stopped and smiled, seeing how enthusiastic they were about helping others. We all know our kids don't have that much to begin with, but the fact that so many of them were willing to put that aside really touched my heart. I'm excited about it and anxious to see how it plays out these next three weeks.

So, my dears...what are you going to do this season ?

Up next: Allison's album review