Thursday, July 30, 2009

To Orientation I go!

I just have to say that the power of prayer and support are absolutely amazing. I had a pretty rough night…without going into the messy details let’s just say my eyes are sore from crying, I completely missed softball, lots of stupid arguments turned into a big blow out, and my car is dead, sitting in front of a house in Royal Oak. I mean like…it’s completely dead. I just got a new battery a few months ago and got a new transmission a few years ago, so our friends seem to think there is a wire problem. I don’t know what it is, but I do know it added stress to everything else already going on. I am just hoping and praying that it is not too expensive, because we were hoping for me to be able to bring it down to Detroit when I move in and for it to just last one more year. Anyways, I came home tonight from all the drama shaking and crying, I asked for prayers and hopped in the shower. God came through for me. Your prayers really helped, I was given the strength to apologize, forgive, and let go. Thank you everyone, now I can rest a little easier tonight.

Moving on…I was actually in the middle of typing this up earlier, before everything went down. So I’ll continue where I was. I am pretty much finished packing for orientation, plus I’ve got everything I need once I move into my new home all set for my parents to bring. I will be bringing a laptop with me to orientation and will have it when in my new house, but I probably won’t have much access to internet during orientation. Please text me if you need me :-)

Last night I had a hard time falling asleep- I am worried about Laurence, and then I suddenly panicked about the next few weeks. I do not like the feeling of not knowing what to expect, and that is how I feel right now. Also for someone who hated college, the idea of living with strangers makes me nervous. I keep telling myself that all of us are here for the same reason, so we shouldn’t have too many problems. The good news is that I am placed in Detroit, so if anything should go wrong, I know I have my supportive parents a ½ hour away! I think I will feel better after this week and I know more and get comfortable with everything- the one thing I keep forgetting is that this is for a YEAR, not just a week doing Habitat for Humanity.
Speaking of, for those of you who don’t know much about simple living or community living, I wanted to try and explain it. Basically, the point of this experience is not only to serve others and to gain experience in the field, but to give up a life of material possessions and worrying about things of that nature and to devote it to building relationships within the community and spiritually. I am not going to be able to travel (and if I am, it will be rare), not making much money, and will have to learn to share many belongings. I’ve heard from past volunteers that it is a little tougher than can be imagined.

Oh, so for orientation we have to bring a special item that will “symbolize you to the community – something that represents who you are, what you value, or a significant experience in your life. It will be used as part of a ritual at the beginning of the week”. I think I am going to bring my KAIROS cross, because it represents Mercy, leadership, my relationship with God, and important people in my life. If anyone else has a suggestion, though, feel free to let me know.
I don’t think I’ll have time to write again between now and my flight on Saturday morning, so I hope everyone has a fabulous week. I will be excited to update you all on everything I learn, if I can write during the week I will! If not, I’ll be back August 9th and will write once I am settled in. I love you all so very much!

Last Five Songs!

Last 5 songs! Aren't you excited? These all have a bit more of an emotional connection, which is why I saved them for last. Three very special announcements first, though!

1) Today would have been my grandmas 92nd birthday. She meant the world to me and was a beautiful, amazing woman. RIP Grandma, I miss you every day.

2) Please say some prayers for Laurence. This is the update I got from his daddy:

Tumor grew from last MRI (not a large amount, but it did grow (it is not just swelling).Decision he is making is to either up the dosage of the current chemo; do nothing; or do an Experimental Level 1 (earliest experimental) Treatment (possibly out of NYU in New York). He has not been nauseated by this Chemo that he is on, and does not want to go back to feeling sick all the time. If he changes Chemo he only wants to do a Level 1 in the hopes that it can help other people some day.

I talked to Laurence last night on FB chat, he said basically the same thing. He is in pretty good spirits and is open and willing to talk about it, but please say some prayers for him.

3) Chikezie gave me the best birthday present ever. If you have been following my blog for the past few weeks you may have seen that I posted I would LOVE for him to sing a cover of Justin Timberlake's song "Another Song (All Over Again)". This morning I opened up my e-mail and there was an mp3 of Chikezie doing the song, directly from him. More about that later, since this song is on the list today!

68) Melinda Doolittle- It's Your Love

It's hard to put into words the meaning of this song for me, but I'll try my best. This was Melinda's first single, and for her dedicated fans such an exciting thing to say. We had been waiting ever so patiently for her to release an album, so it was pretty much a promise that we would love any song she released. I think this one is special because Melinda is so good about making sure she thanks her supporters and shares her love for them. Whenever she sings this song live she makes a point to say she wouldn't be here without the love and support of God, her mommy, and her fans, so this song was a dedication to them. The words are very close to the message she portrays, so it's more than a soulful love song, it's a thank you. I'm posting the live version from her appearance on Ellen because that was also a very exciting time for all of us. Don't forget to download the EP of Remixes available on Itunes and Amazon now!

79) Rent-Seasons of Love

Oh, Rent. It holds such a special place in my heart. This musical brought together my group of friends in high school. Rent defined us. I can't tell you how much this musical means to me, I'm head over heels in love with the message it potrays and the story which it tells. This song is a gentle reminder that each of us need every single day.

I am posting the version which was performed at the FINAL Rent performance. Please ignore all the screaming and clapping in the beginning.

and my 2nd favorite Idol season

83) Sara Bareilles- Gravity

I had only heard "Lovesong" and "Bottle it up" before I heard this song, and then I downloaded her whole album. I absolutley love her music, she's very talented. I could listen to this song all day, it has an amazing emotional connection. Gina Glocksen performed it and said that for her this song was about her dad, which I found so raw and real of her to announce, just like the song, which is beautiful and creative. Love it!


90) Justin Timberlake- Another Song (All Over Again)

Oh here we go. Before we get into the Chikezie story...I have to tell you how this song came into my life. I am NOT a Justin fan, I think he is talented and creative but never been a fan of his. I own any of his albums, never had the interest in seeing him live, AND have never found him cute (sorry). My roomate and one of my best friends, Lauren, is quite the opposite. She LOVES him. She told me to listen to this song, and within a few words I ran into my room to download it. Since then, I listen to it ALL THE TIME. I find it so beautiful, so touching. I have ALWAYS wanted Chikezie to cover it, because I know he's so good at taking pop songs and making them soulful.

So first, here is Justin's version. Learn it, love it.

SO. Yesterday, Sam texted me to tell me not to check twitter because she had to answer Chikezie. Later she told me that he had sent her a direct message, but she couldn't send him one back. This morning, I checked my e-mail, and there was this message:

I've spent the day trying to convert the video to a format small enough to send via email. Couldn't get it smaller that 35MB (the limit being 25MB). @ 3:40 AM I've given up (as I've run out of energy) and simply stripped the audio...
I'm sorry I couldn't get it to you sooner but... Happy Birthday."

Attached was the MP3 of "Another Song (All Over Again", Chikezie style. IT IS AMAZING. I am waiting to hear from him to see if I have his permission to upload it to youtube, and if I get that I will post it. For now you'll just have to trust me that it is amazing and that I cried. HOW SWEET IS HE? I MEAN SERIOUSLY. WHO WOULD DO THIS FOR A FAN? ONLY CHIKEZIE.

okay. moving on.

92) The Spill Canvas- Self Conclusion

My favorite band!! This song is from their second album, it is a true story and the song explains everything so I'll stop talking now and let you listen.

I hope you enjoyed going on this little musical journey with me :)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Free Fallin

65) John Newton- Amazing Grace

The original Christian hymn that has become so familiar to many people was originally done by John Newton. I think it's save to say everyone knows this song and that it holds a special meaning for them. I'm just gonna go ahead and post Melinda's version because it is my favorite and absolutley beautiful.

71) My Chemical Romance- Welcome to the Black Parade

One of the best modern rock bands, this song is outstanding.

81) Ryan Shupe- Dream Big

My friend Lindsay played this song for me when I was getting ready to graduate high school. It reminds me so much of Melinda now because that's her mantra, but it's a great song to listen to when you need a reminder to chase your dreams with your head held high!

85) Straylight Run- Extensialism on Prom Night

Okay I could have SWORN I have done this before but apparently not.
The very first time I heard this song I listened to it about 3940329 times in a row, I was so obsessed. This genre of music has become my favorite, love it.

94) Tom Petty- Free Falling

I remember having a discussion with my roomates my junior year of college about how amazing this song was and then we all sang it at the top of our lungs. If you disagree I don't know if we can be friends, hehe.

Happy Birthday to Me!

I turned 22 today! I am so very grateful for all the gifts that God has blessed me with this year and for giving me the gift of life. I’ve had many amazing experiences and people come into my life, I cannot believe how blessed I am sometimes.

I also want to thank all of those who donated to Malaria No More. There were a few people who donated to the Malaria No More website in my name, so I did raise my 200 dollars and may end up going over. We saved lives today, folks! Thank you for understanding my desire to donate and for respecting my birthday wishes!

One thing I learned today is how many different names I have. By noon on my facebook wall and twitter there was already quite a variety: Megan, Baby Girl, Megs, Meggy/Meggie, MC, Megaroo, Meggers, Carolin, best friend (ha, that was Sam). I find it so amusing, because each of these has a different meaning.

I’m enjoying a pretty quiet birthday today. I love birthdays, I think they are a wonderful day to celebrate a person and the people around them. I hope I never lose that passion, because I think so often people lose the importance of birthdays. For me, it’s not so much about “it’s MY day”, more about “I love all the people who are in my life”.

I will admit, and this may be selfish, that I love being the baby. Let me tell you, though, that no child in the Carolin family is spoiled, so it’s not that. I just love having people look out for me and care about me, having people that I can look up to. I’m the baby in my family, one of the youngest for my class, one of the youngest backups, and, throughout most of college, had a group of friends who were all older than me. Now that I’m 22 I’m not so sure I can be the baby anymore. I know that this next year I will be the mentor and role model for young people at Detroit Cristo Rey, taking care and looking out for others the way I have been looked after. I know that by looking at the examples I’ve been given in my life I will be perfect for this job, but I also know some days I’m just going to want to be the baby. Selfish? Maybe. Honest? Yes.

Someone asked me what the best birthday I ever had was. I’ve had some awesome birthday parties, including Chuck E Cheese, a hotel party, a kick butt water fight on my sweet sixteen, and many more. I’ve seen videos and pictures of birthdays from when I was little, but I think my absolute best birthday was my 19th birthday. I went out to dinner with some of the greatest friends that I will ever have in my life. They were all high school friends, some from my class and some from the year younger than me, but I was extremely close to a group of those girls. Plus, my best friends Alicia and Alex were there as well. I just remember laughing so much and sharing stories. Also, Alicia gave me the sweetest present that year- I opened up a HUGE package with a note on it that said “It’s not even my birthday and you’ve given ME the best present ever”- and then I opened it and there was this decorated mirror. There was a post-it note that said “YOU!” I mean really, how cute? I really miss those friends; I need to contact some of them. Anyways, the next day, I went up north with Jamie, Lindsay, and Sarah, as we did every year. It was an extended trip and we had a blast. My actual birthday fell during this week; I woke up to a decorated cabin and lots of cute birthday surprises.

Sending out lots of love and thanks to all those who wished me a Happy Birthday today- you made me smile! From texts, phone calls, facebook, twitter, to, you made it a wonderful day. Oh and to Melinda and Phil, I love you two, thank you for taking the time to wish me a happy birthday.

I think Sam and Chikezie have something up their sleeve, but I promised Sam I wouldn't read her tweet to Chikezie so I'm resisting the urge to peek. I'm also not getting my hopes up. :-)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

We're almost finished! It's going to be weird to not post these anymore, I rather enjoyed it.

10) Blessid Union of Souls- Peace and Love

I love putting this song on cd's for people because it's a simple wish to those you care about- "May you always find enough peace and love". It's sort of my song for the Delta Gamma, because of the line "maybe time will bring you back, and if it does you'll always have a home". When Delta Gamma closed, we were told there was a small chance it could be brought back to our campus in the next few years, so that's why it reminds me of it.

41) Hanson- Watch Over Me

One of the first things I learned about Sam was that she was a huge Hanson fan. I had no idea that Hanson was still making music, but she let me listen to some of their new stuff and I absolutley loved it. I had never realized how talented they were! We were just becoming really good friends when their album "The Walk" released, and I immediatley fell in love with this song. It's like my very own prayer. Love it love it. Recommend it to anyone.

52) John Legend- Imagine

This song reminds me so much of Amanda, it was her favorite song. I will never forget when I logged onto the backups site the day she passed and this was the song playing in the chatroom. What a beautiful song that reminds me of a beautiful person!! There really are no words to explain how outstanding and well written this song is so I'll just let you listen to it.

56) Kelly Clarkson- Maybe

I've said this before but I'll say it again: I am determined that Kelly stole my journal and wrote this song. It is me, what I believe and what defines me. I hate that Kelly's "My December" album gets such poor reviews, I think it is incredible. Oh, and about this whole "Halo" thing: I knew I've never liked Ryan Tedder for a reason, and team Kelly. Seriously. Read up on the articles, you'll see that she tried to stop "Already Gone" from being her third single. If you ask me, it should have been "All I Ever Wanted"

60) Luther Vandross- All The Woman I Need

I literally just listened to "Maybe" three times and jammed. Okay, back to the list. I love me some old soul music. I am so glad for things like American Idol that have shown me to appreciate soul music. It's one of my favorite genres now! Luther Vandross' music is one of my idol's idol (ha)a wonderful, talented artist.

One of my favorite Chikezie performances.

Chelsea has inspired me to make a bunch of mixed cd's. I already made hers and am sending it off tomorrow. If anyone else would like one, let me know. I'll make you a special, custom mixed cd.

I wrote down a whole bunch of topics to blog about within the upcoming weeks, but not feeling up to writing any tonight so I thought I'd just give a little update on my weight loss journey.

I just got in from my 3 mile walk. To anyone out there who is trying to lose weight, I can't tell you enough how important exercise is. I know, it's not everyone's favorite, but I promise once you get into a routine you will learn to love it. Pick something you enjoy doing and stick with it! I absolutley love the feeling of accomplishment I get when I walk in that door- plus I can feel my legs getting stronger every day :)

I was starting to get frustrated because I was not losing any weight, I would either go up and down and then back up or just stay the same. I've finally started shedding some pounds, though. I credit that to walking and to limiting my intake of sweets and going out to eat. I've also tried really hard not to eat at night, because I tend to overeat when that happens, and I also go to bed feeling icky and wake up with no energy. I try to wake up earlier and eat a good, healthy breakfast. I am NOT a breakfast person so this is tough. I eat weight control oatmeal (try mixing in a banana or raisins to make it taste a little better), drink hot tea instead of coffee, and spend time reading my Grand New Day devotional, writing, or praying. This really does make my days better and brighter, I have more energy and kick my day off to a healthy start.

Really, it's all about choices. I'm learning to change my lifestyle and habits rather than eliminate foods or deprive myself of eating something. I think it's the best way.

While we're on the topic of weight loss, did anyone catch "More To Love" tonight? I didn't watch it, so I could be wrong, but I don't think I feel very positive about that show. I get the feeling that rather than potraying the message that "average" sized girls should be shown on reality tv, I feel that it's going to be sort of a mockery of "bigger" girls. I think I'll have to watch it to decide.

Okay, I know darn well (not because I'm full of myself, but because they have told me) that there are a lot of people (hi people!) that read this blog but don't comment, which is TOTALLY fine and I love that you read my blog. BUT, if any of you are trying to lose weight, I want you to comment or send me a message however you please- let's chat about it! This is probably the hardest things I have ever done in my life, but it's so much easier with people supporting you and understanding you!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Okay second music post, possibly doing a real, actual one if I really feel like it :)

First of all shoutout to my girl Chelsea. She posted a wonderful blog entry about the power of music, and her favorite hobby, making mixed cd's. She talked about how much heart and soul she put into making cd's for people, I feel the same way. I spend forever picking out PERFECT songs for each person. One day, I'm gonna start making mixed cd's for people and sending it to them via snail mail as a nice surprise.

37) Goo Goo Dolls- Iris

I heard this song on the radio today, it made me smile. I miss them! What a great band. Beautiful song that I'm sure everyone loves so I don't need to explain why it's so great!

70) Mandisa- He Will Come

You know there is not ONE song on any of the three Mandisa albums that I own that I skip? I love each and every single one of her songs, I can relate to almost all of them. This one is my favorite because it brings me so much comfort and reminds me of God's love for me. Whenever I have a really rough day I listen to this song!

75) Phil Collins- You'll Be In My Heart

Another graduation/goodbye song. I love me some Phil Collins, haha. Such an adorable song :)

91) Spill Canvas- The Tide

jfoisajfisafasjif. That's all I can say. I mean honestly, Nick Thomas is a lyrical genius. This is one of the most heart wrenching songs I have ever and will ever hear. You MUST listen to the lyrics on this song. I cannot express to you all my love for The Spill Canvas, they are my favorite band ever and I think they are absolutley incredible. One of my favorite quotes ever is from this song "Heaven's not a place that you go when you die, it's that moment in life when you actually feel alive". GOSH I love them.

97) U2- One

U2 is my sister's favorite band as well as my little cousin Laurence, who, as most of you know, is battling brain cancer. His DREAM is to meet Bono, but he gave up his make a wish and asked that they donate that money to kids in Africa instead. What an amazing kid. Whenever I hear U2 I think of him now. Love love LOVE this song!!

We need some ADAM LAMBERT love!

All my roads, they lead to You

First music post today, will do another one later tonight. Before I cool is this...Malaria No More retweeted my tweet about my birthday wish! Which caused a whole bunch of people to retweet it as well. My @replies today have been insane! Thanks Malaria No More! By the way, I have raised $125. I don't think I'll make it to my $200 goal, but that's still a lot of lives saved!

12) Bonnie Tyler- Total Eclipse of the Heart

My friend Sarah and I call each other every single time we hear this song on the radio (which is pretty rare, might I add). So many memories of up north with my girls Jamie, Lindsay, and Sarah. It also reminds me of Old School and singing this song with Fitz when we lived together.

We need some Carlicita up in here

42) Hairspray- Without Love

I am such a broadway nerd, it was hard to only pick a few songs to include on this list. I could probably make a whole seperate favorite broadway/musical song list. Anyways, this one always puts me in the best mood. Wonderful musical, great song.

58) Lady Antebellum- All We'd Ever Need

This is probably one of my top five favorites. when Jess and I went to see Martina back in January 08, I never expected to become such a huge fan of the opening act. That has only happened to me twice in my life, and I am SO happy it happened with Lady A. I had been digging them during their set, but when they performed this I was HOOKED. Such a beautiful song and could not better describe one of my relationships. I knew Lady A would be huge and now look at them! SO proud of these guys and gal. Cannot wait for their new album.

They perform it with such emotion!

82) Oasis- Wonderwall

I mean c'mon...such a great song, right? Who doesn't love it?

93) Sister Hazel- All For You

When I first heard this song I was overcome with how well it described my relationship with God. Just listen to the words and then try to argue with me. I dare ya :)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

I'm behind on these and want to try and get them done before I leave for orientation. That will require doing two posts in one day at times, I apologize for everyone who really doesn't care about my music posts.

It's getting harder to ask people to pick numbers so I just made my own schedule, made sure that I had a variety in each post. Do you see how hard I work for you...just kidding !

32) Fall Out Boy- Where Is Your Boy Tonight

I am so thankful to my brother for introducing me to Fall Out Boy back when they were just another band trying to make it big. I can't believe the success that they have had since then. This song will always be my favorite of their's. Not even sure why, just have always loved it and associated it with car rides with my brother. He's really the one that introduced me to good music. Thanks JP.

Posting the acoustic version:

46) Jewel- Foolish Games

This song makes me sad, but I love it. Remember when Jewel was such a popular artist and every girl wanted to be her? She's so talented, and this song I always felt emotionally connected to.

61) Maroon 5- Secret

I miss old Maroon 5. I used to listen to this album on repeat. I'm not such a fan of their newer stuff. This song is so beautiful and raw, the kind of music I am obsessed with :)

78) Queen- Bohemian Rhapsody

This better be on everyone's list! Possibly one of the greatest songs ever written. First reminds me of driving around in high school blasting it and singing at the top of our lungs, then reminds me of Delta Gamma because we had to use this song and sing it to frat boys using catchy lyrics like "beer pong and keg stands very very frightening!". Yikes.

86) Spice Girls- Wannabe

Shush. I was such a huge Spice Girls fan. I even owned a VHS copy of Spice World. I also was determined that Sporty Spice and I were meant to be best friends, because we had the same shoes. (again, Shush). I have fond memories of dancing around my room to this song. PS...if you watch Spice World now, there's a lot of hidden stuff about how the music industry really works. Smart people.

My immune system just doesn't know what to do right now. Both my parents have been fighting nasty cold's for about a week. I started feeling it on Thursday, and then felt fine up until today...when I coughed and sneezed my way through The Ugly Truth. C'mon cold, just decide if you're staying or leaving.

Anyways. How is everyone? Did you have a good weekend? I'd say mine was pretty lovely. I missed out going on Cookletta weekend with my best friend Sam and some other awesome girls, but had a great time nonetheless. It included being able to spend time with three of my best friends; Lauren, Christine, and Meg Mal. It also brought quality time with my family...minus my brother and Sara. I've said this more than enough times but I have a wonderful family. Thanks, God!

Random sidenote- I was checking facebook on Saturday in between dinner with family and going out with Meg Mal- and I noticed Miss Melinda Doolittle wrote on both of my parents facebook walls

"Take care of my Meggy tonight"

How freaking cute is she? I mean seriously. I love her. Okay, moving on now.

I've been grateful to see several movies this summer. I don't see many during the school year because a) I'm usually broke and b) We kind of forget that's an option, I think. So most of my movie time is during the summer. Most of the movies I've seen have been really good! My favorites were:

-The Proposal: Everything a romantic comedy should be. Perfect.
-My Sister's Keeper: Touched my heart, cried pretty much the whole time. Beautiful movie.
-Up: Such a wonderful Disney/Pixar movie. Captured some really strong emotions.

I also liked Wolverine, Harry Potter, and The Hangover, but you have to be into each of those genres to really enjoy them. The ones I named as my favorites are ones I think anyone could love.

There wasn't any move I saw that I didn't like, I'd say the worst was probably The Ugly Truth only because it was very dirty and VERY predictable. On that note, I do want to mention one thing. In the movie, Gerald Butler's character says that "men are incapable of growth, change, or progress". For some reason I've been thinking about that statement since I've gotten home. I don't think it's necessarily true. I think that anyone who wants to change or is open to change can. If you're content with the live your living and against changes, you won't. I do know, though, that we shouldn't stress ourselves out trying to change other people. They gotta do it themselves, and for no one else but them. That folks, is Megan Carolin's lesson of the day. HA!

I'm behind on my song list so I'll get one of those posted next. I'm also working on a couple of other pieces of writing (that makes me sound all professional, I'm totally not) regarding my send off to MVC, my birthday, and a few other things.

I hope everyone has a fabulous week. Mine will consist of finalizing my shopping, laundry, and packing and fighting off this cold. I know, what a FUN birthday week.

PS: If anyone wants to send hints to Chikezie to sing this song I would not argue with you. :)

Friday, July 24, 2009

We Will Find A Way

I'm pretty sure someone slipped some liquid DREAM BIG medication in my coffee this morning. All day I've been in the best mood and coming up with goals and dreams for the next year!

First of all, I just took a cool quiz recommended by Lisa Whelcel via was on the website , it tells you the role you are meant to play as a woman. My results were Caretaker/Advisor. It was a pretty cool quiz, I suggest you check it out!

Now onto my dreams. Firs the smaller and more likely to happen...I am going to plan a week long trip to Nashville for next summer, once my term with MVC ends. This city is my dream city, and everytime I have been there I've been so rushed I haven't been able to truly take it in. I'm even going to start a seperate jar where I put extra money so that I know I'm saving up for it. This trip will be my treat to myself for having spent a year completly dedicating my time and service for others. Everyone's always telling me to do something for myself, so this is going to be it. It will also be another incentive for me to lose the weight, another reward. I won't be able to go to the marathon this year (at least I'm pretty sure I won't), so I am going to make a special trip. With that being said, if ANYONE wants to join me, please let me know. We can all share a similiar goal and then meet up in Nashvegas and party- sound good? GOOD.

Second dream. This one is going to take a little longer...but I'm going to write a book. I have absolutley no expectations, I just feel like I need to. You ever get one of those feelings? Anyways, I want to write a book about my struggles with anxiety and food, how I discovered it, how I am slowly going to overcome both. What do you guys think? I want everyone's opinion on this, whether or not you normally comment. If you read this blog entry, I would love your opninion, because I am one hundred percent serious. I'm planning on writing up an intro to this book, I'll post it when I'm finished. In the meantime, I've gotta do some research. Send resources my way, please :)

My birthday is next week and as most of you know my one wish is to raise 200 dollars for Malaria No More. I'm at 95 dollars right now. I'll be very content with this, but if anyone is interested in donating, I encourage you to go to this link:

You don't have to be a facebook user to donate! Thank you!

Hope everyone is having as positive of a day as I am....and if you're not, here's some songs to inspire you.

Oh and...THIS happened a year ago today :)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

you're okay :)

Two things happened while getting my reality tv fix that I absolutley have to discuss.

The first was on SYTYCD. This is the frst season I have been attached to, I am so glad I did because I've fallen in love with the show! Melissa and Ade have been my favorite couple from the very first episode. Their chemistry was amazing, both are such strong dancers. Tonight, they happened to be paired together again for the second 1/2 of the season. They performed a dance coreographed by Tyce, the piece was about a womean with breast cancer. I feel HONORED to have watched that beautiful piece take place. Most people don't like to talk about cancer, but we need to. It effects so many people each and every day. Tyce took a brave step by creating this dance, and I am so happy he did.

The second was on the Real World. This show has been around for many years and often brings up topics that so many people are dealing with. Tonight, it was cutting and self-harm. There was a very heated debate because some of the guys on the show felt that the girl who was cutting was doing it just for attention and they refused to feel any sympathy. One of the guys went too far, making jokes about it and telling her to leave the house via notes written in fake blood.

I don't know who reads this, if anyone will stumble upon this, or if anyone I KNOW needs to read this...

Cutting and self-harm is not and never will be a joke. It does not matter the person's reasoning behind it, it doesn't matter if you think they just want attention. If someone is harming themsevles on purpose, they need help. They don't just need a hug and some encouraging words, they need professional help...because somewhere inside that person is pain or confusion. If they need attention, there is something missing in their life that is causing them to feel the need to harm themselves. They need to talk to someone.

On that you know how many times I've heard people say things like "what does SHE have to be depressed about?". Depression is a mental illness, not a phase or an excuse.

For those of you struggling with our self worth or self love, I want you to know a few things. The first is that you are not alone. You may feel alone, but you will never be alone. The second is that you can be helped. You just have to reach out that hand and ask for it. Tell someone that you are struggling. Don't keep it all inside. Most importantly, never, ever give up hope. I believe hope is one of the greatest things we can grasp. As long as we have a little bit of hope, everything will be okay.

I will close first with a poem I had written a little while back and second with a song from Mandisa.

you're too scared to face the world today
so you lay under the covers and sleep it all away
you turn off the phone and dissapear for a while
can't reach out to anyone, so you push them all away

you've given up hope and faith
and believe you'll never get out of this
making lists in your sleep and your insides are tangled in fear
can't even talk to God cuz you're just too hurt

reach out for my hand, I'll help you up
I'll walk by your side as you take it one step at a time
cuz I've been where you are, you have to believe me
it get's better

one day you will see how strong you are
but you can't move on without believing
you're get's better

show them you're better than they ever thought you could be
trust me, it gets better

just keep going, you have to try
what's got you down now can't keep holding you
fight back, push down the wall of fear
I'll be there with you, cuz I've been there before
and i gets better
-Megan Carolin

Do you have ANY idea how much God loves you? I mean each and every single one of us, despite what we think about ourselves.

One Year Anniversary! :)

At this time last year, I was in Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, standing next to my best friend, rockin out to the Idols Live! Tour. Both of us had starting watching Season 7 not expecting to absolutley fall in love with the top ten contestants, considering our connection with Season 6. It happened so quickly I don't even know how to explain it, but I do know that I am SO glad we had an open mind about everyone.

We went to the Indianapolis show and wound up running into the Idols downtown. I'll never forget just standing on the corner talking to Michael Johns when Chikezie walked off the bus and Sam hit me and said "daaaannng" or how we rushed past Syesha and Ramiele as if WE were the famous ones...or how Carly kept looking at us like she knew us.

The highlights from this day
- Ramiele "Is it dark outside?"
-Syesha loving us and our sign, being SO excited to meet her because of the inspiratoin she had been to both of us.
-Archie was very rushed before the buses, but he was so grateful for his gift from Sam and was just as sweet and humble as I expected him to be.
-Carly! She was so talkative and sweet to us and was so grateful for her gift.

-Jason Castro yelling "BOB MARLEY!" after I gave him his gift, and him trying to explain to me that he was happy because he needed new ipod earphones.
-MJ and his obsessoin with us.

The show
-CHIKEZIE. Do ya'll know how long I had been waiting to see his man perform live? He was awesome.
-Syesha's standing ovatation for Listen. Take that, haters.
-Hearing Archie sing Angels live for the first time.
-Please Don't Stop The Music, Chikezie going out of his way to point to me.

The After Party
-Running to Syesha to hug her
-Michael Johns "This is ridiculous!"
-Archie "Are they done...OKAY BYE!!" and reaching out for a hug from Sam. Yeah, the kid who doesn't like to touch people just reach out and hugged her. Take that fangirls. She also told him the Amanda story and the thanked her for telling him that.
-Chikezie! I asked him if he got my gift...his response was "Yes. Come here." LOL. My first Chikezie hug! He also thanked me about a gazillon times. That made me really happy to be a proud Chikezie fan, to see how happy I made him.
-Brooke told us we were sweet. Brooke White told US we were sweet.
-Jason said to tell Melinda he said he wanted to hang out sometime.
-Carly was so excited to see us at the after party and said she saw us in the audience.

As we were walking out we walked past all the crazies by the buses and heard screaming- some girl was climbing over the barricade SCREAMING "MICHAEL JOHNS!" we almost died of laughter.

We had such an amazing experience with every Idol (besides Cookster). We were blessed to get AP passes.

It's probably obvious that my two faves from the season are Syesha and Chikezie. I have to say I am pretty blessed to have been able to meet them as many times as I have. I miss the HECK out of Sye. I haven't seen her since last September. I am BEYOND proud of that girl, especially for her recent Dreamgirls gig! She is perfect for that role and the world better be on their toes for Miss Syesha Mercado.

I can't express how lucky and blessed I feel to have gotten to know Chikezie in the way that I have. He inspires me, he makes me want to try harder at everything I do and to never, ever give up. He has been beyond sweet to me, shown me more appreciation than I probably deserve. I only hope that he has as much success as he deserves, his talent is overlooked and that makes me sad. He's such a great guy.

I would also like to say that Mr. David Archuleta is one of my favorites. See, Cook is one of my faves because of his talent and performance...but Archie is a favorite for so much more than just his amazing vocals. He's just such a great kid, so polite and humble. You can tell that he is incredibly genuine. Plus he's done so much for people I love!

I can't tell you how much I miss last summer and every good time we had with the Idols. I will tell you that I am SO grateful for those experiences!

Only God Knows Why

I'm doing this now because tonight I'm determined to finish my video that I'm making for Melinda- it's going to be a promotional video for her and for our site...much like the Chikezie one I made a few weeks back. In the meantime, here's the 5 songs for today!

8) Blessid Union Of Souls- I Wanna Be There

There's two songs by Blessid Union of Souls on this list, yet I rarely listen to them anymore. Yet another sweet love song :) I remember when I first heard this, my best friends in high school would play it and all of them talked about how they wanted a guy to play this song when he proposed. My song is I'll Be, but this song wouldn't hurt.

20) Coldplay- Yellow

I am really sick of Coldplay, but I had to include this on the list because it is a brilliant song. I remember my sophomore year of high school our color for spirit week was yellow, we wrote "and they were all yellow" all over ourselves in body paint. That's what I think of when I hear this song, back to a time when my biggest concern was winning Spirit Week.

39) Howie Day- Collide

This used to be my song for a certain boy in my life. It still reminds me of him.

55) Kid Rock- Only God Knows Why

I love me some Kid Rock. I think it's rather unfortunate that he's got such a negative image, because he is so talented. His concert is one of the best I've ever been to, such a strong performer. I went through a huuuuge Kid Rock phase and still respect him as an artist...I also appreciate the fact that he shows so much love to his hometown (and mine) of Deeetroit. Someone needs to these days! This song is beautiful...I know beautiful isn't a word most associate with Kid Rock but it really is.

You get what you put in, and people get what they deserve.

allowfullscreen="true" width="445" height="364">

73) Neil Diamond- Sweet Caroline

Everyone knows that this is one of MY songs. I've always loved it but during college, at parties, it used to be my song, there were so many Megan's in our sorority that I was ALWAYS called "Megan Carolin" (in one breath) or "MC". I get so many people telling me that this song reminds them of me, just with an added "e" :) We've had a lot of good times with this song! Puts me in a good mood !

Tuesday, July 21, 2009 far.

I had a nice long blog typed out about (prepare for morbid) death. I know, creepy. It was more about the affects death has had on me than the actual topic, though. I think it's important to discuss something that scares so many people. I ended up deleting it because it was making me too sad, and I didn't want it to look like I was just laying out all my sad thoughts for you to read.

So, it's time for a new beginning. Miss Alyssa suggested I talk about 2009...what has been different, what I'd like to change, the hilights...

Since summer is almost over, I think it's an excellent idea. Actually, 2009 has been quite...quiet.

Obviously the biggest difference in my life has been going from a college student to an adult trying to find a job. I can't tell those of you who have not experienced this that it's easy, or that it's not scary. I would be lying. It was one of the scariest times of my life. I felt as though I was being pulled in a million different directions, yet at the same time in a state of panic because I had nothing. Now that I know what I will be doing in the fall, it's a much clearer picture. I'm still scared, but those few months when all I could see ahead was fog were the scariest.

Another huge difference was having my internship. I started my internship at the Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Council. Honestly, I never would have expected to be placed there, but it turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life. I went into it not know what to expect, and came out a few months later with leadership experience, fundraising experience, and having provided fresh ideas to the agency. It was a real confidence booster. I was even able to use my writing and write press releases for events we held. I will never forget those months, even the days I stayed up all night working my butt off. Thank you to all my co-workers, I love you guys.

The hilights would be:
-Melinda's Borders Tour. Homegirl came to both Birmingham, MI AND Ann Arbor, MI. These were the first Melinda events I had ever been to alone (well, my parents were in Birmingham, but you get the point) and I was able to spend quality time with my mama Melinda. I got to hear new songs from her album as well, which was so exciting. I had a blast these two days!

-Mandisa at the Valentine's Day Event in Ft Wayne, IN. The tickets were a blessing and a surprise, so I know I was meant to be there. She remembered me, I got my book signed, and was able to thank her in person for everything that she had been doing for me for the past couple months. I am such a fan of Mandisa not only for her music but because has helped me to understand and to pull out of something which I thought I was completly alone. I love her!

-The 5 Mile Walk for The Homeless that I did. I set a goal, stuck to my workout plan, and accomplished something I never thought I could do. I know 5 miles isn't a lot, but for me, it was huge. Plus I raised a lot of money for a great cause !

-Idols Spring Break Tour: Dearborn, Chicago, and Utah. Oh my goodness. I can't tell you how exciting it was for me to see two of my favorite idols paired with two idols from my favorite season all on the same stage! Each of the cities were special for their own reasons. Dearborn because I got to see Gem and spend a few days with her, spend the concert time with Lauren and Sam...Chikezie gave me a shoutout on stage and sang to me. I had not seen him in SO long and was finally able to get my Chikezie hug again! He and Melinda both made the night really special...from Melinda pulling us apart and theh jumping on me to Chikezie giving me a sneak peak of his single. Plus I got to meet Gina for the first time!

Chicago was special because Gem and I went down and surprised Maria and Des. I loved being able to see them! This show wasn't the best experience due to the weather and issues beforehand, but it was worth it to see Maria and Des and spend time with Gem. Of course it was wonderful to see Melinda and Chikezie again, I was also able to thank Gina for inspiring me with her original song.

Finally, Utah was special because I was able to fly out to Vegas and spend some quality time with one of my FAVORITE people in the whole world, Val! I never get to see her, so it was great to spend so much time with her. I also got to see Maria and Des again, along with my Cathy and my April. I miss those ladies so much! I surprised Melinda and Chikezie!!!! What a fun trip that was. One I will never forget, that's for sure.

-My Graduation. I know I already talked about this but I was able to have my family and my best friends there to celebrate with me. This was the same day as the marathon and I was able to speak to all the backups plus Kelley and Janet on the phone briefly, and Melinda the next day. What a life changing event- I am so glad I decided to actually go to graduation!

-My brother's engagement! I am so happy for him and Sara, that was such a fun weekend to spend with my family. My brother is one of my heroes, I am more proud of him than I am of anyone else in my life. I only wish him happiness. If anything stands in the way of Megan shall put a stop to that! Love these two :)

-Weekend at Gem's. I am very glad I was able to spend some more time with her, it was the first time we had to spend together where we didn't have to rush or worry about other people- we could just relax and spend time chatting. It was wonderful!

-Schuste's Retirement Party- Think I've talked about this enough :)

-4th of July Weekend with Sam and Lauren! Such a blast with two of my best friends. Monaco Bay, Booker T, and a fab chat in the car. Loved it!

-Women of Faith Conference. Since I've already spent two blog posts on that, I won't talk about it anymore. Just know that it changed my perspective on everything!

Now, my goals for the rest of 2009
-Lose the wieght
-Keep in touch with the friends I've lost touch with this summer that I NEED. No one that brings me down.
-Have an amazing year with the Mercy Volunteer Corps.

PHEW. That only took forever :)

It's Always Better When We're Together

44) Jack Johnson- Better Together

A simple, chill song that reminds me of being with my best's always better when we're together. :) I love Jack Johnson, such a creative, mellow artist. Always puts me in a better mood!

67) Melinda Doolittle- If I'm Not In Love

Well it's about time there was another Melinda song on the list!!! I actually heard this song when we saw her at Music Jam and it was my favorite then- I loved that she took a Country song and turned into a beautiful, soulful ballad. When I heard her sing it live at the Borders tour again, it gave me chills. I think it's one of the songs that better shows off her vocal ability and strength. We all know Melinda is an amazing singer, I think this song proves it. Beautiful song, my favorite part is "why in every fantasy do I feel your arms embracing me...lovers lost in sweet desire...why in dreams do I surrender like a little BAABBYY someone help explain this feeling, someone tell me" so powerful!

76) Pat Benatar- Heartbreaker

This has always been one of my favorite songs to sing at the top of my lungs. Whenever my brother and I play Rockband I demand to sing this song- my apologies to my family :) Such a fierce song! Pat Benetar is incredibly talented.

In honor of her sophomore album :)

82) Rascal Flatts- God Bless The Broken Road

This song is actually what got me interested in Country music. I heard it my senior of high school and fell in love with the beautiful lyrics and message. Rascal Flatts are such a talented, creative group of guys. I dedicate this song to all my friends, and to all the journeys I have taken to get to them. Love you all.

and because I don't show Carrie enough love...

98) Van Morrison- Brown Eyed Girl

Reminds me of Mercy dances- during the sha la la la part, everyone used to get on the ground and kick their legs in the air- yes, even the girls, in their formal dresses. Happy times!

Jordin Sparks- Battlefield

Even though I'm a little irritated with her for never promoting Melinda when Melinda promotes her all the time, Jordin's album is oustanding. I mean, I am so proud of her. It's creative, it's is one of my favorite albums of the year. It's very rock pop, reminds me of a mix between Kelly Clarkson and Rhianna.

I already knew going into the album that I loved two songs- Battlefield, her first single, and Faith. I actually hated Battlefield the first time I heard it, but now I can't stop listening to it! It's one of those songs that is perfect for rolling down your windows and singing the words at the top of your lungs.

Faith is a song she performed at Obama's Inauguration. It is a beautiful song and I am ecstatic that it made the album. It's very inspiring and a great song for her fans. It reminds me of everything that my mama Melinda Doolittle has taught me. Faith is now on my "relax/sleepy time" playlist. If you are looking for some inspiration or comfort, listen to this song.

Other songs I'm LOVIN are The Cure, It Takes More, Let It Rain, Walking on Snow, and Was I The Only One. Let It Rain is honestly one of the best pop songs I've heard in a long time- it combines everything great about a song. The others I named show Jordin's vocal talent as well as her raw emotion.

I like No Parade, Postcard, Papercut.

Veritgo, SOS (Let The Music Play), Emergency (911) need to grow on me. I don't like Vertigo simply because of the line about a teacup at DisneyWorld. I'm sorry, I can't handle that. I do like the beat, though. The other two have a good beat, just don't show off Jordin's voice as well as others should.

Congratulations, Jordin! I LOVE this album, even more than I liked the first one! So proud!

Monday, July 20, 2009

May Angles Lead You In

7) Bob Dylan- Forever Young

I actually only heard this song for the first time a few years ago...I know, a darn shame. It is tradition at Delta Gamma initiation for the big sister to read a poem, song lyrics, story, etc to their little sister before she is initiated. I read these lyrics to my little, Lindsey. I think the lyrics are a beautiful way to express good wishes toward someone you care about. Couldn't you just see it being used in a children's book? Me too :)

22) Carbon Leaf- Changeless

The perfect graduation song :) I actually cannot find a good youtube video, all the ones I've found have pretty yucky quality...but I will post the lyrics.

Call my friends to share some wine
To share some laughs, and last goodbyes
My photographs of these years
Will make me laugh through the tears

What are the odds, what are the odds?
This ends and we don't meet again
What are the odds, What are the odds?
That I will miss your smile

Take awhile! Take awhile! Take care and
Fly away and see the world
Take awhile! Take awhile! Take time and
If you need rest, I'll keep your nest

Let fondness be our souvenir
To keep it warm, we'll keep it near
Otherwise with no heart to recall...
A memory's just a memory after all
I will not leave this pulse alone
Though it may take the long way home
I will not wait until the end
For my applause for you my friend

What are the odds, what are the odds?
This ends and we don't meet again
What are the odds, what are the odds?
This ends and we won't meet again
What are the odds, What are the odds?
That I have missed your smile

Take awhile! Take awhile! Take care and
Fly away and see the world
Take awhile! Take awhile! Take time and
If you need rest, I'll keep your nest

34) Gloria Gaynor- I Will Survive

Aww yeah. This best be on everyone's favorite songs list. I can't even express how happy this song makes me! In high school everyone knew that this was my song- in fact, at dances they used to dedicate it to me! Perfect song for a night out with friends. Such a creative song, too! Tells a great story!!!

I'm posting Melinda's cuz she sounds flawless...wish the band wasn't so loud, because her voice is amazing!

45) Jimmy Eat World- May Angels Lead You In

You may know this song from A Cinderella Story. I love Jimmy Eat World, I miss them, I should get into them again. Anyways, I've always thought this was one of the most beautiful songs. If I die young, I want this song played at my funeral. Remember that. My favorite part is

"A song for a heart so big,
god wouldn't let it live."

57) Kelly Clarkson- Irvine

I have two Kelly songs that are on this list. This song is so haunting and beautiful...she wrote it when she was going through her darkest time, right after a show. It's obvious to me that it is a call out to God. I wish Kelly got more credit for her creativity. She's amazing, and so is this song.

I Believe in A Thing Called Love

I think one of my absolute favorite things to do is people watch. I know that’s creepy, but c’mon…everybody does it. The best place to people watch is at airports…especially seeing people greet their loved ones. It’s such a beautiful sight to see individuals sprint across the airport to hug on their partner, sibling, parent, child, friend. It reminds me that there is so much love in the world, and that aside from all the nasty, ugly things that happen around us..somewhere, someone is loving you. I believe in love, in soulmates, in the fact that people come into our lives at certain times for a reason. Most of all, I believe in the importance of showing your love for others. If you know me or have been reading this blog, you’ll notice that’s a common theme in my life. I just don’t think a day should go by when you don’t remind someone that you love them…or to smile at a stranger. The world might be a better place if we’d all smile and love a little more each day.

I asked on Twitter/Facebook for topics to write about, and Shari came through (as she always does! I love that girl!).

Her first question was if I could have any career in the world, what would it be?

That’s tough! There are so many things that I wish I could be. I think, though, I would most like to be a writer. I want to use my experiences I’ve had in life and will continue to have to reach out to other people. I never thought much about writing until the past year or so, and now it’s something that is on my mind every single day. After this weekend, I’ve had this feeling that there’s something big ahead for me. I’ve never felt like that, usually I am so down on myself and negative about the future. However, right now I feel positive, and that something big is happening. Now I’m I’ll stop :)

Second question was: What is your favorite quote and why?

I have a lot of favorite quotes! I’ll pick the one I chose for my senior quote, which was

“Let your light shine. Let it shine within you so that it can shine on someone else”.- Oprah Winfrey.

I like this quote because I think it displays how our world works- one person makes a difference by inspiring others. Once you let your light shine, other people are inspired by the brightness you bring into the world, and it shines on them.

I’m going to post five songs in a bit. If anyone else has questions/topics, post in the comments or send me a message!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Women of Faith- Part 2.

So, did you enjoy part 1? Again, I apologize that it is so long. I totally understand if you don’t read it. I just need a place to put out all my thoughts of this spirit changing weekend.

We had another early morning wake up call on Saturday, headed into the arena around 7:30 AM. While Holly was in the bathroom, Peggy told me that the hi-light of her conference experience so far had been meeting Holly and I. I can’t tell you how proud that made me.

The morning conference opened up with comedian Anita Renfroe. You may know her as the “momsense youtube sensation”. If you’ve never heard of her, I encourage you to do some googling- she is hilarious!

After Anita came Sheila Walsh. I had never heard of her before but she delivered a talk that I needed to hear. She opened with a funny story about how her husband bought her a snuggie for Valentine’s day. It just so happened that Miss Mandisa was sporting a snuggie on the “porch” where all the speakers sit, because that Nashville gal was not used to cold Ohio weather! After Sheila’s story she told a more personal one about a dark time that her family experienced, where her husband had gotten addicted to spending money and spent everything they had. It was to the point where they were going to lose their home, so she told him that she was done with him. As you can imagine their house turned dark and cold with tension. Shiela felt so badly for their 10 year old son, and one night she asked him if there was anything she or his dad could do to make him happy, what would it be. He turned to her and said “It’s you mom…you need to forgive dad”. Sheila didn’t understand why and felt this was unfair, but felt God telling her that she had to let go. She encouraged us to let go of hurt feelings or let go of anything that was holding us back from living a free life…to let go and let God. This really touched me, I think this is one of the talks that I was meant to hear.

After Shiela I left the arena to do bathroom duty and take over for Holly…but they introduced Lisa Whelchel, who played Blair on Facts of Life. Holly knew how much I wanted to hear her so she told me to get my butt back in there and she would take over. I know this review is already SUPER long but I feel the need to inform you guys that Facts of Life is MY SHOW. I first started watching it when it was on Nick and Night years ago, I was maybe 12 or 13. I loved it and watched it every single night. I’ve learned so much from that show! I’ve always loved the characters; never in my life did I think that I would MEET one of them. Anyways, Lisa walked up to the stage and gave her story. She told us that when she was just 10 years old she moved out to California by herself and had to be an adult- find an apartment, pay bills, balance her checkbook. When she was on Facts of Life, after she had gained some weight, they used to make her weigh in every single morning in front of everyone., but to her she felt like this was normal because her childhood had been ripped away. She realized that the child in her had never come out, and she worked so hard every single day to try and please everyone and do things “right”, or by what she thought was right. She married a pastor, had three kids who she homeschooled, wrote books and traveled as a speaker. One day she broke down and realized she couldn’t do this anymore, and that she needed to open up her heart. She needed someone to protect her and to listen to her and guide her. She encouraged everyone in the audience to find that person, that person who will support us and be there for us in any situation, so that we don’t ever have to feel empty. Her talk was awesome, and she made me feel so much more connected to her.

SO ( I promise we’re getting closer to being finished)

It was time for a break in the program, and Holly and I were on a mission to find some starbucks. The security guards at the arena told us of one located in the mall attached to the arena, about a 10 minute walk. So we hustled over there…got to the mall, no starbucks. The security THERE told us that there was one downtown but it was a few blocks away in the opposite direction. We got back to the arena and headed the opposite way- nothing was going to stop Mandisa’s shoutouts. A nice young man was walking in the street so Holly flirted with him and asked him where Starbucks was. He offered to walk us there, along the way he asked if we were enjoying Women of Faith and how we knew each other. Once we got to Starbucks he asked for money, I knew that was coming! The things we go through to get some dang Starbucks! I finally got my skinny venti iced carmel latte. I was happy.

We walked back to the arena and figured out the afternoon bathroom schedule- the conference was running about 20 minutes late, so all the ushers worked together to figure out who wanted to see what. Everyone was just so nice!

The afternoon kicked off with a concert by Ayiesha Woods, with her brother Donny Woods singing backup. What an amazing vocalist! I love her music, ended up downloading both her albums when I got home. I suggest her song “New Beginnings” to anyone going through a similar life phase as me!

After Ayiesha was Marilyn again…I must admit that by this time I was exhausted, so I can’t remember much of her talk (probably lucky for you all, haha) but I DO recall her talking about the importance of getting professional help if you are having issues with anything instead of keeping it all inside.

I missed the next speaker because I was on bathroom duty, but as soon as she was finished speaking Holly and I sprinted down to the floor of the arena. We sat in the front row because Mandisa was closing the concert with my favorite song from her 2nd album, “Freedom Song”. The Women of Faith Worship team was singing it with her, found out that one of those people was Missi Hale, a student of Janet’s. How cool is that! She's got an amazing voice- and kept smiling at us during Freedom Song :)

After Mandisa sang we literally had to spring from the bottom of the arena to the top and around to her autograph signing. By the time we got there, it was already at full capacity for how many people they could sign stuff for, and her shuttle was waiting. Ayiesha Woods and Lisa Whelchel were also doing signing’s at the time. I worked the middle of the line again, met two girls who were so excited to meet Mandisa.

Mandisa’s line was still pretty long and Lisa’s was getting shorter, so I hopped over there because I absolutely had to get a picture with BLAIR from Facts of Life. I told her I was a big fan and that I loved her story, also that I had bought her book the day before. I got my picture and then switched back over to Mandisa’s line. She was being really rushed because her flight was leaving within the next 45 minutes, but we got another picture and hug and thanked her. I wish I could have said more but she had to get on a plane!

We said goodbye to all the other volunteers and I left that arena a better, strong person than I had been a few days before.

Holly and I went to dinner at Red Robin and then went back to the hotel, looking at pictures and videos, watching Law and Order, and having a blast. It was so great to be able to spend some time with her! We went to sleep pretty early and woke up today for our last few hours together. Had breakfast and Denny’s and then I dropped her off at the airport. I was sad leaving her, it was such a wonderful weekend and having her part of it made it even better!

I said in part 1 that Mandisa’s speel about her food addiction and the reason she began overeating in the first place caused me to have a revelation today. Here it is.
I was driving home, listening to Mandisa’s album and having a conversation with God. I have been struggling with this weight thing for so long, and after I lost 30 pounds in the spring and then gained it all back I was so confused and alone. Well, I started reflecting on Mandisa’s words and realized…that my food addiction and my anxiety in social settings is what has caused my struggle for so long. I have been trying to dig back into my past for so long to figure out wy I turn to food as my comfort, why I eat instead of filling my life with goodness. I can distinctly remember eating a whole bunch of fast food or a big meal before going to anything social in high school and even college- so like Mandisa, I was using food to cover things up- I didn’t want people to talk to me, so instead I just ate to get rid of attention. You guys, this revelation is SUCH a huge relief for me, I can’t even tell you. I don’t know how many of you will understand the struggle I’ve been through with this, but now that I have this figured out it is SUCH a relief and a step in the right direction. I feel free! I feel so much better, that now I can REALLY make progress in my weight loss journey because I can now relate the two with each other. I cannot wait to share this with my therapist, I am so excited. I am FREE!

Okay, my hands hurt from typing. I feel like I have more to say that I left out, but I’ll leave that for tomorrow…I’ll make a post called “Women of Faith: The Forgotten Tidbits”. :)

I love you all, fireflies.

Women of Faith Part 1

Before I even get started, I wanted to send out a little warning that this could possibly be the longest review I have ever written. I completely understand if you don’t want to read this, that’s fine with me. I needed to get all of this out for me :)

A week ago, I was a confused, lonely, overwhelmed young woman who was concerned and frustrated about her future. I even wrote a poem about it, spent a week alone at my sister’s house for some quiet time, and prayed for guidance.

I sit here today completely fulfilled. I may still have questions, I may still be scared, but now I know I do not walk alone. I know that I have complete trust and faith in God, and that he is planning something so much bigger for me than I ever thought possible.

I know this because of my participation in the Women of Faith conference in Cleveland, OH this past weekend. This opportunity landed in my lap as quite a blessing- so I know that I was supposed to be there. I was originally signed up to volunteer at the Indianapolis conference, but when I was placed with Mercy Volunteer Corps, I could no longer participate. I was crushed, but soon relieved to find out that I could volunteer at the Cleveland show. Best part was that my dear friend Holly would join me! She is someone I look up to, so I was excited to share the experience with her.

So, Thursday afternoon after I got my hair chopped off I jumped in the car and headed down to Cleveland. Thankfully, it’s only a three hour drive. I got there pretty early so went exploring…made sure I found the arena and airport! I had myself a salad from Quizno’s and then relaxed before picking Holly up at the airport. I greeted her and gave her a big hug, haven’t seen her in months! Poor thing had a rough flight and was starving and exhausted, so we picked up some food for her and then collapsed at the hotel.

We had an early morning wake up call on Friday, enjoyed conversation over breakfast and headed to the arena. We waited with the other volunteers and discovered that their were only six ushers. Our coordinator told us our main job was to take shifts sitting in front of the one men’s bathroom that was open to make sure no women went in and to work the autograph signing lines. We divided up into two teams- Holly and I were paired with a wonderful woman named Peggy. She is such a sweetheart, and I feel lucky to have met her! The three of us walked around and decided to take the morning shift of bathroom duty.

The speakers I heard on Friday that really inspired me were Sandi Patty and Marilyn Meberg. Sandi talked about her struggle with weight and difficulties expressing her feelings, always felt as though she was hiding stuff about her and wanted to peel off the layers of herself and live freely. I related to her story and she inspired me to live free. I wish I could remember more of her talk but I feel like Friday morning was forever ago!

Marilyn Meberg is such an intelligent woman. She is a counselor and has two master’s degrees. She talked about how all of us have “stuff” that we put in a box and hide away, because we don’t want others to know how we are feeling or we don’t even want ourselves to remember it. I just kept nodding my head during this talk because there’s so much “stuff” being held up inside each of us, we are making it harder on ourselves by packing it all away and forgetting about it. I was able to work Marilyn’s autograph signing and couldn’t help but notice how sweet and personable she was to everyone. She addressed each person in line by saying “hi sweetheart” or “hey babygirl!” it was very cute.

After lunch their was a Q&A with the speakers, the thing that struck me the most was a question addressed to Marilyn- it was “when is the right time to take all the stuff out of your box?” Marilyn’s answer was “why not now?”. That sat in my mind for a while, she could not be more correct. When it’s time, and the time is now. If there’s something you are holding back from speaking up about, or getting help with, do it now.

Soon, the day part of the conference was over, and all of the attendees cleared out of the arena, which was locked until doors opened up again for the evening session. During this time, the Women of Faith staff and volunteers were given the task of distributing goodie bags to each chair in the arena. As we were getting instructions, I had a thought….I tapped Holly on the shoulder and said

"Hey...if Mandisa is singing tonight, she'll probably have to do a soundcheck..and we're in here..."

Peggy told us that probably wouldn't happen, and we were a little the middle of distributing bags, one of the other singers for the night did a sound check. hmmm... After we climbed up and down the steps of the arena distributing chairs, the volunteers were released for dinner. We sat down with Peggy who said "If you guys start to hear Mandisa, I'll totally understand if you run away"

We both giggled and laughed it off until I heard... “IMMM EVERY WOMMAAAN.” I dropped my fork and said "Holly, you better start running!"

We ran down to the floor of the arena and stood right in front of the stage- Mandisa looked over with a big smile and waved. We were pretty much the only ones in there besides the techies, so we basically got our own private Mandisa concert. She sang "God Speaking" and just to be in that arena, with just Holly and Mandisa, two people who have helped me more than they will ever know, hearing that was so special. I got chills and tears. We thought we might have been making her nervous, so we headed back up the stairs to finish eating....until... BOOM BOOM BOOM! SHACKLES! AKA Holly's FAVORITE song! I turned around to give her a look, and she was already sprinting down the steps screaming "SHACKLES!! OH MY GOSH!!! YEAAAH!!" Funniest site ever. Holly was dancing on the stairs and at the end of shackles she let out a WOO!!; and kicked her foot in the air...causing her shoe to fly down a few steps.

After dinner, it was time for the evening portion. We worked out the bathroom schedule again and Holly was able to sit on the floor right near the stage! I was so happy for her because she's never seen Mandisa live. I told Peggy that I had seen Mandisa before so I didn't care that much about being close, but that I HAD to talk to her. The other ushers made it quite clear that Holly and I would be able to work Mandisa’s autograph signing.

So, I sat down next to Peggy for the evening portion. I was able to hear all of it because I wasn’t scheduled for bathroom duty at all. They opened up the evening with a mini concert by Ayiesha Woods and then by introducing each of the speakers who were standing in various spots of the arena. I had been told earlier that Lisa Whelchel, who played Blair from Facts of Life, was a speaker. Sure enough, there she was ! Each of the speakers chatted with audience members and then were seated right next to the stage for the entire conference.

The first speaker was Patsy Clairmont, the most adorable little firecracker. She told a hilarious story to open it up and then shared a very touching story about a dear friend of hers who had passed away a few months before. She referred to this friend as her firefly, someone who was always there for her and who lit up her life. Her story was so touching, it made me cry especially when she was in tears as she said “my firefly flew away”. She encouraged us to make sure that we had fireflies in our life, and to tell those fireflies how much we love them. So, I love you fireflies. You light up my life.

After Patsy it was time for Mandisa’s concert! I was so excited to hear her live again. She opened up with an “old soul” medley, then went into “My Deliverer”. After that song, she said she had to make some shoutouts. She said “my biggest fan is here! Megan I don’t know where you are but thank you!” I was all the way at the top of the arena, in a section completely by myself. I screamed anyways, but she didn’t hear me. Then Mandisa said “and Holly/Spunky, I see you dancing, my second biggest fan!”.

Mandisa went into her American Idol story about how cruel Simon was and then went into her food addiction story. NOW. I had a revelation on the way home about what she said next. It was something I have heard a million times before, and read her book, but somehow…it hit me on the way home today. I’ll tell you about that later, first I’ll tell you what she said. She said “As a young girl I was molested and then raped when I was 16, so I started eating to fill that void. As I got bigger, men didn’t notice me and call me beautiful…they didn’t give me attention, I loved that because I didn’t trust men”.

She also sang “He Is With You”, “Voice Of A Savior”, and “Shackles” (Holly was dancing up a storm, I could see her from the top of the arena, she was way down at the floor!). When she finished Shackles she was given a standing ovation, so she went back onstage and sang “God Speaking”. So amazingly beautiful.

After her set I sprinted out of the main arena and over to where her autograph signing was taking place. I met Holly and gave her a big hug- we decided we would start a fanclub called “Mandisa’s Shoutouts”  People were coming up to me, asking if I was THE Megan, one guy gave me a high five and said “Holla Mandisa’s number one fan!”. The people we had been with all day said they were so proud to hear that, Peggy was smiling ear to ear. Holly worked the front of the line and I worked the middle…it was SO ironic being on the other side of things, usually I’m the anxious fan in line waiting to meet my idol, chatting with the security. This time I WAS security, chatting with the fans in line. I met some amazing people, including three teenage girls who stuck out to me- all at different times.

After Mandisa finished with the people in line we marched up to the table. She looked at me with a huge smile on her face and said “Get back here!” I got back there and sat down, she said “I want a hug!” she asked me where I was sitting and if I enjoyed the conference. She signed my album cover, told me she wished she could talk to me tomorrow and asked what we were doing tomorrow as far as working because she really wanted to be able to talk to us.

After Holly got her hug, picture, and autograph, Mandisa was literally being pulled out of the arena to catch her shuttle back to the hotel. We said our goodbyes to the other volunteers and drove back to the hotel. We were on quite a high, so it was difficult to fall asleep. We finally did, and woke up for day two.

I’m going to give your eyes a rest and break this up into two parts. I’ll be back in a bit with part two!