Saturday, June 30, 2012

boredom and chances

It's a summer Saturday night in Birmingham and I am bored out of my mind. Roomie is at her sister's house for the weekend, friend cancelled dinner plans on me, and other friends already have plans. So there I sat, in my house. We haven't set up our new router yet so no internet, phone has not been acting right, and I am trying to save money so I can't do much anyways. So what did I do?

Well first I cleaned my house. Some, at least. I still need to do laundry and clean my room but before I got to that point I was like- wait a minute- I need to get out of this house. So I packed up my laptop and drove 2 miles down woodward to the only 24 hour Starbucks that I know of. Apparently, I am not the only one with this idea considering the place is packed and I was forced to choose the bar top seat by the window. Which means two things: 1. I can't people watch. 2. Everyone can see my laptop and can see what I'm doing. Not a problem per say until I pull up my tumblr dash. And the girl next to me is working on Biology homework but secretly creeping. I see you.

I could have very easily sat on my couch, watching the Kardashians and sipping on wine and feeling sad. But I decided I didn't want to do that and if I wanted to get out, I was gonna do it, darn it. Sure I'm not bumpin at a club or taking shots but I'm out, trying to feel inspired. 

July 2012, Megan Carolin
I took a chance
And let you back into my life
I took a chance
And let you talk that talk again
I gave you a chance
To prove you wouldn’t hurt me again
All you wanted was for me to fall for you
Only so you could break me again
And you can go ahead and say you didn’t mean it
I know, chances are
You meant every last word
And I know now what I’ve known all along
You’re nothing but a fake
You don’t know what you want but I know
it’s not me
I’m done with chances
I’m through with you and your words
Don’t you ever come on back here
And try to squeeze in one more chance
Take a chance on someone else, not me

Friday, June 22, 2012

the end of a rough week.

You know, I probably say this all the time, but this week was one hell of a week. And by that, I mean this week sucked. It was full of "ouchies" and it took way too long to go by. I was in Port Huron on Monday; yet that breakfast feels like weeks ago.

Does anyone else just adore Fridays? I sure do. I always have at least a couple volunteers in the office on Friday. I can catch up with them and they help me with different projects. They put me in a good mood and they remind me why I like this job. Even though they aren't dealing directly with our patients, it is so refreshing to see people who are willing to help out and spend a few hours hanging out with me.

I usually spend my Friday afternoons preparing for the next week. Today that meant a major meeting in Jackson on Monday; a tea party on Tuesday; and a training on Wednesday.

Field staff often come in on Friday's to drop off paperwork or finish their charting, so I get to see some of my friends and hear their stories from the week. what I learn from my interactions with them is this: we've all had a rough week. We're all emotionally drained. And we are all more than ready for the weekend.

I suppose that is what I love the most about my job. That even though each member of the team serves a different function, we're in it together. We put our own unique perspective on each case to deliver the best patient care we can. For the most part, we care about each other, as more than just co workers but as friends, sometimes as family. I try to wish everyone a happy birthday, try to ask how their day is going and try to tell them thank you. Because yes, this is our job, and we have to be here, but we also need to spread some cheer amongst one another.

I hope everyone has a really lovely weekend. I have offered to dog and house sit for one of my fellow Mercy associates. The dog is young and can't stay at home for too long by itself, so I really plan on sitting on her beautiful back porch and writing all weekend. I want to get some work done on my book for Laurence and work on some materials for the associate process.

So yeah, a tough week. But I made it. We all did. And for that, we should be grateful.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

car problems 101

You know how a few weeks back I got locked out of my house but somehow found that God taught me a lesson?

Today my car died. Right on 15 mile road. I stopped at the light and then it just wouldn't go. In a very short time frame, I went from wondering how to start my new recruitment project for volunteers to pure panic. Parents (because I still call mom and dad when things break down!) and Triple A were called and there I stood on 15 mile. My dad came. Pushed my car further onto 15 into a turn lane so I wasn't blocking so much traffic. A troy police officer stopped, asked if I was okay, talked to me about the shop I was taking it too, and lit one of those fun sparkler thingy's so I wouldn't get killed. He also said to call the police if I needed anything. Ironically, two years ago a similar thing happened to me...except in a really bad area, in the middle of the freeway. And two cops passed me without stopping. So thank you, Troy Police department, for caring. The tow truck man was very nice. The people at Jake's Auto have ALWAYS been nice and greeted me with a calm manner and a smile. My mom let me borrow her car so I could get to and from work. My coworker/friend Maggie helped me to get a hold of a volunteer I was trying to meet. And several of my coworkers got wind of what was happening and texted to see if I needed a ride or coffee. No, what I need is to win the lottery, because I'm looking at an $800 billl.

Now here are some of the ironic parts. I bought that car from my sister and I still owe her payments. Literally just yesterday I said to myself "I should just pay that whole thing off. I'd be broke, but I could start saving for a new car". Yeah, now that's not happening anytime soon. Irony number 2. One of my volunteers has been absent because of car problems.  I said to her, YESTERDAY, on the phone "car problems are the worst. I've been lucky though, my car hasn't needed much". Irony number 3. On Monday one of my coworkers was talking about getting a new car.  I said something like "Mine has a lot of miles but I'm hoping it lasts me until next winter".

So now I have to pay this bill, finish the payments to my sister,  then start saving for a new car. Or win the lottery. Which ever comes first. And I know I know, I should have finished paying Mo sooner, and I wouldn't need to worry about this. A million people telling me that fact changes nothing.

I'm coming off as a very whiny person here, but I just needed to vent. A bad morning turned into an even worse day. I was unable to get much work done today because my mind is in a million different places.  But I did figure out my next recruiting project, the one I was daydreaming about before my car died, so there's that.

But hey, I'm okay, I'm alive, and this will force me to take a much better look at budgeting and finances. I already do pretty well all things considered, but now I can take one more step up.  And, Johnny Depp is single again, which makes for an all around okay day. Also I think I have become the queen of car problems, thanks to my Taurus a few years back. I even knew what a "fuel pump" was when the mechanic called me!

Have a good rest of the week everyone. Stay cool. As I keep saying,  I feel like I am trapped in a fish tank full of steam.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

father's day

I've had this blog for a few years now. A few father's days have come and gone. So you've probably read about my dad.

So I won't need to tell you that he is one of my best friends. That he has taken in countless numbers of our friends and family members who didn't have a father figure growing up or who have recently lost them. That when you look at him you can see the compassion and gentleness in his eyes.That he taught me how to drive, how to swing a softball bat. That he -and mom- financially supported me until very recently, and still help with a bill here or there. You probably know that his motto is "bring each other up, don't tear each other down". That he's the one who does the gardening and cooking, because my mom is swamped with teaching and checking papers. That he listens and gives advice with ease. That I go to him with any question I have about money, houses, cars, jobs, friends. That he started watching American Idol to watch it with me, and now that I don't live here, he's "not into it as much". That he has driven two and a 1/2 hours to pick me up from college, only to drive two and a 1/2 hours right back. That he's fun to party with, he loves to laugh and make you laugh. That he finds something to connect to you with and uses that every time he sees you. That he puts his family first, always. That he probably would catch a grenade for any of us.

And if you didn't know that, then you just learned some of the amazing things I love about my dad. There are many, many more. I will say this. I am lucky. I know many people who have lost their dad's, or whose dad was never around. I often wonder how they get through days like today, when the rest of the world is celebrating their father's. To those people, I say this- celebrate your father figures. Celebrate your mom if she did it solo, your grandparents if they raised you- celebrate whoever has made you you. I also say this: you have your Father. He can bring you comfort and He loves you unconditionally.

Friday, June 15, 2012

10 years

I recently read a book called "What Alice Forgot". Alice hits her head at the gym, and when she wakes up at the hospital, she cannot recall the last 10 years of her life. And as she slowly pieces things together, she's not too happy with who she turned out to be. The book is interesting, emotional. It got me thinking, what if that happened to me?

10 years ago I was just fourteen years old, a month shy of turning fifteen and getting ready to begin my sophomore year of high school. I wanted to be a nurse or a teacher. I played softball and field hockey, dabbled in pastoral ministry. Got along with everyone but hung out with the theatre kids. Had no idea where I wanted to go to college, but was hoping to go to a small school out of state. I listened to bands like Something Corporate and Yellowcard but also 50 cent and Eminem. Totally thought I was meant to be with this guy.

I think my 14 year old self would be just shocked to hear that I only talk to three people from high school. That I had a really, really difficult college experience. That I work for a hospice managing volunteers. That I have lost so many people close to me that it's hard to keep track.

But overall, I really don't think I'd be that surprised. Mercy is still very much a part of my life. I still wear my heart on my sleeve and care very deeply for other people. I still listen to a mixture of alternative rock and hip hop music. I don't think I have changed much. I think I'd be pretty happy to hear how I turned out at this age. I still have so much growing up to do, I'm still young and have a lot to learn. When people older than me hear about some of the things I have dealt with or gone through they tell me I've been through a lot at a young age. I have, but I don't always see it that way...maybe because I also count my blessings, and I know there are millions of people who have it had 10x harder than I have.

I know I need to slow down and enjoy the time to be a 24 year old. I know I put too much pressure on myself to please other people and then leave myself exhausted and drained. I've always been this way. But I have to stop, because if I want to give people the best of me I have to feel my best. And I can't possibly feel my best when I am doing way too many things at once. As the kids say these days, YOLO.

So this weekend is going to be about moi. Besides, you know, Sandcastles training. But I am going to take it slow with that, and not starting my volunteering until the fall. Anyways, tonight I'll have dinner with my sister. Tomorrow I'll see a movie with Alex. Sunday I'll rest, write, and have coffee with a friend, hang out with the Carters. Just have some time to do what I want to do.

I hope you all find time to do the same. And I know this blog post started off much differently than it ended. Sorry. Let's get it back. If you erased the last 10 years of your life, would you be shocked to learn what those 10 years have been like?

Sunday, June 10, 2012


Well, they did it.

I cannot, I simply cannot, begin to adequately express my pride or glee that I have flowing inside of me right now. I really don't think you can understand until you've been there.

So let me try, and I do mean try, to paint you a picture.

Two years ago I walked into Detroit Cristo Rey High School as a Mercy Volunteer. My role? Serving lunch; peer mediation; monitoring study hall; teaching creative writing; teaching life skills. I was busy, but I was lucky, because I knew every single student. I didn't teach just one class or sit in an office. I was in every classroom, in the hallways, in the lunch room. I had conversations with every student. I heard some pretty heartbreaking stories. I got letters stuffed in my hands in between classes from students, particularly the girls, who just needed some advice. I worried about the kids, whether they were making the right decisions. I was, often, frustrated with them for not putting school first, for not always behaving themselves. All I really wanted was for them to succeed, to defeat the odds. To grow into being good people.To  behave themselves, and to treat each other and themselves kindly.

Today, I saw that all of those things have come true for them. No, they aren't perfect. Yes, they make mistakes. But all 46 of them were accepted to the college of their choice. You just don't see that happen anymore. I could sense how much they have grown, even just in the way they stood and carried themselves. They have really grown up, and grown into witty, polite, compassionate young people who will, no doubt, make a tremendous impact on this world.

The ceremony was wonderful. Hot, but wonderful. I cried a few times. Seeing Jasmine awarded the Fr. Foley award. Watching them get their diploma's. Talking to some of them outside and seeing their growth. But they were happy tears. Proud tears. I can't believe I was able to be a part of this tears.

Congratulations to Cristo Rey on having their first ever graduating class. and Congratulations to my babies. You did it. Now go, grow, learn, live, and love. Do not forget Cristo Rey.


Saturday, June 9, 2012


Let's talk about this weekend....

Saturday was jam packed. My day started at 730 am and ended at 8 pm. I had Sandcastles training from 8-12:30. It was a good day in training, we were able to share a bit on where we are in regards to our own grief journeys. It was cool to know that although we've all had different experiences with loss, what remains the same is that we are deeply affected by it in one way or another. And it's nice to know that we can have those conversations, even if it's not "the norm". We also talked a lot about reflection as a communication skill, which is ironic considering that's what most of this weekend has been for me.

I scooted out of training early to had to the McCauley Center. I had been asked back in February by the staff at Mercy Volunteer Corps if I would be willing to speak to this years group of volunteers at their transition retreat. I gleefully accepted, and over the past few months have been sort of discerning what to say to them. I very clearly remember my own "transition". I was nervous, I had no plan, and I was truly greiving the loss of my community. So I was very happy to be able to be there for the volunteers this year and help put their minds at ease a little bit. I was nervous upon arriving at McCauley. I am not much of a public speaker and have not seen the MVC staff since the fall of 2011. Plus, while I sort of kind of knew the Detroit group this year, most of the volunteers were total strangers. But I have to say, once I started talking, I was put completly at ease. I answered questions about how to include spirituality, simplicity, and community in your life after mvc, how to discern where to go next, how to say goodbye...I tried to be as honest as possible with the group. My goal was to let them know that it IS hard but also to give them the confidence that a door will open for them- it may not be tomorrow , it may be a year from now, but something good will happen to them. I used the word patience a lot, and honesty- patience with yourself, honesty about your feelings with yourself. I really hope I was able to help even just a little bit.

The MVC staff was so. incredibly. helpful to me during my applciation process when I initially signed up to do the year of service, and their support during my year was just incredible. As I mentioned I have not seen them since the fall of 2011. So when I got to see them and hug them today, I felt so overwhelmingly happy about it.  And after I gave me talk? I was near tears when Marian, the executive director of the program, hugged me tight and said she could not believe how much I have grown since I first started my MVC journey.

The second I got home from my evening out I e-mailed the staff and thanked them for allowing me to join the retreat today. This was what I said:
Thank you, thank you, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to speak with the '11-'12 volunteers on their transition retreat. It was one of the coolest things I have ever done and it gave me a whole new sense of positive energy. I loved to be able to reflect on some of my experiences and share them with the group. I want you to know that MVC has given me so much more than I ever could have imagined. I meant to share this with the group but forgot- this year for Christmas  I decided to donate to charities that fit the interest of my family members instead of giving Christmas gifts. I knew immediately which charity to pick for each of my family members, except my dad. So I asked him what he thought he wanted. His response was "Mercy Volunteer Corps, so that more people can have the same experience you did". I will always hold a special place in my heart for the program and the people I met through it. Please note that I will do what I can to continue to support MVC in any way you need it. 

Also on Saturday evening I got to have dinner with Bridget. Bridget did MVC in Philly the year I did it in Detroit, and then she did a second year in Detroit. We have similar values and outlooks on life and even had very similar MVC experiences, so we've stayed in touch. I haven't seen her since she left Detroit last summer, so it was wonderful to catch up.

I guess my point in writing this blog, besides to share with you my weekend so far, is to just say this: everything happens for a reason. I don't know what possessed me to google "jobs with mercy" at 4 in the morning in April 2009, but something did, and I stumbled on Mercy Volunteer Corps. I don't know why MVC allowed me to be the first ever applicant to be placed in their hometown, but they did, and I had the best year of my life. And I certainly don't know why I am working for a hospice as a volunteer coordinator when my plans were to work with at risk youth. But here I am. Everything has found it's place. Every person I have met and every experience I have had has shaped me into the person I am today. So, just know that you have a purpose, and life will lead you down many many different roads. Hold on tight, be open, and enjoy every moment.

I'm going to end this here and post a part two tomorrow. Tomorrow is Cristo Rey's graduation. The first ever graduation for them. 100% of the senior class was accepted to college. These kids were sophomores when I had them. Now, they are getting ready to be sent off.  I am ecstatic for them, proud of them, and ready for lots of tears.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Today has been one of those ass kicking, emotionally draining kind of days where I got home at 10 pm and just couldn't do anything but babble on about my day and all the craziness that is happening. I knew I wouldn't be able to go to sleep until I had some sort of outlet. So that would be why I am writing a blog at 10:30 on a Tuesday night when really I should be sound asleep.

Today was so emotionally draining for several different reasons. Most I can't reveal all the details of to protect other people. But I can tell you, there was a common theme in all of these instances: care and compassion for one another.

I have talked about this so many times on my blog you all are probably sick of it. But it became so evident to me today that our lives REVOLVE around the care and concern we present to other people. We so often disregard the fact that we are all humans and as humans we absolutely MUST take care of each other. And we must stand up for what we believe in and stop hate and violence as we see it happening; and also stop it before it happens. We do that by looking out for each other. Educating each other. Providing resources. Wrapping your arm around someone and saying "hey; I'm here for you".

I am so passionate about this I could burst, and it's just so crazy to me how this theme keeps playing into my life, whether it's at work, in my personal life or just things that I observe. We can't tear each other down just to make ourselves feel better. We must be compassionate toward all people.

I am totally guilty of gossiping, judging, saying mean and hateful things about someone so I know that I don't have much room to sit here and preach. But I am going to make a very conscious effort to just go one day without saying something mean about someone else. Just one day. If I can do that one day I know I can do more. Join me. Start a revolution.

This week is not over and there are even more emotionally draining events to come- another sandcastles training tomorrow, mercy volunteer corps transition retreat saturday, and cristo rey graduation sunday. But I will somehow make it through this week.

I love you so, so much and I want you to know that by reading this blog you have made me smile today.

Sunday, June 3, 2012


I had a jam packed weekend so I was happy to spend my evening sitting on the couch watching tv. First it was the Adele special on Dateline. Then I wasted about 20 minutes of my life watching the MTV Movie Awards. But my brain kept saying "dude, you're better than this". And, to quote my friend Betsy, "it's a bigger mess than a Delta Gamma formal." (She said this about the mtv movie awards in 2007 and it remains one of my favorite comparisons to use). Anyways, I got sick of hearing Russell Brand's voice so I grabbed the remote- and found Rent.

Instantly my heart and ears were happy. Rent is one of my favorite things about this world. Not only is it a beautifully written story with an amazing cast, and outstanding music, but it brings me right back to my 16 year old self. (Before the movie came out, I should note) Driving around with my friends, singing along to the soundtrack. Quoting it in school, yelling things like "NO DAY BUT TODAY" (so much cooler than yolo) at each other down the hallways of Mercy. sleeepovers, parties, pretty much everything we did, Rent was a part of it. I also very vividly remember when the movie came out. I saw it with two of my high school friends. We cried the entire time.

Once I was with another group of people and someone said "for whatever reason, we were all destined to cross each other's paths". That's how I feel about my high school buddies. We don't talk much anymore, but for a few good years we were all each other had. And I could not have asked for a better group of friends who understood me, accepted me, and loved me. I still think about them. Maybe not all of them, and not every day. But once in a while, I'll just sit and think "damn, that was a good time". Leanne, Kaits, Shannon, Brie, Mary, MKB,  Ruth, Liz, Amy, J Bizz, Meg Mal, Meghan, Staci, Heather, Will, Perky, Carlotta, Sam, Sarah, Smitty, Melissa, and everybody else that I forgot but still love, I hope you're well and happy. And I hope you still live life with no regrets. No Day but today.

Friday, June 1, 2012

15 Positive Things That Happened This Week

1. No work on Monday. Spent the day listening to Zac Brown Band, sippin on Iced Coffee, and reading my book; plus enjoyed a bbq with my fantastic parents.
2. Forced myself to go for my walk on Tuesday evening, when all I really wanted to do was bum on the couch all night. I posted a facebook status about it, and a friend texted me to say I inspired her to go for a walk.
3. Crystal Bowersox released an EP on Tuesday that is candy to my ears. I adore her style and ability to kick me in the gut- hard- with lyrics.
4. Had an absolutely fantastic meeting with Sr. Karen on Tuesday. We talked about God in our lives and our sense of community.
5. Talked to my bestest friend in the entire world on Tuesday evening for a good hour or so. Able to vent to one another and share good news with each other.
6. Laughed hysterically with our medical director throughout our long, all day meeting on Wednesday.
7.  Had a training for Sandcastles on Wednesday evening; learned about myself and found it neat to be sitting on the other side of a volunteer program.
8. Picked up drawings of "what nurses do" from the little third graders at an elementary school
9. My friend Sarah tripped but landed perfectly onto her chair. I laughed so hard I cried.
10.  Had dinner with my beautiful friend Christine and her boyfriend Paul.
11.  Had one of my blog posts published to the Mercy Volunteer Corps newsletter. Received 6 different e-mails from nuns telling me how much they loved the article.
12.  Watched a video on the seniors at Cristo Rey and cryied. Hysterically. Because I'm just so damn proud of them.
13. Running up and down the hallway at work yesterday evening telling people it was time to go home.
14. Forced myself to take an hour lunch today and step away from my work. I ate outside. It was lovely.
15. Mean girls is on tv right now.