Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Happy Birthday, Little King

"All I know is a simple name, and everything has changed......."

Those lyrics are taken from the new Taylor Swift/Ed Sheeran duet "Everything Has Changed". And while the song is meant to be a sweet love song, a song about finding someone new who changes everything, it works for today.

Because today, all I know is that a little 6lb, 1.3 oz boy named Ryan came into my life, and everything has changed. When I walked into my sister's hospital room and saw his face, I was so overwhelmed with love that I felt like I could melt right there. I've seen a lot of babies before, but no one has stolen my heart like this Little King. He's perfect in every single way. His arms are long, so he'll grow to be strong. His eyes are the perfect shade of blue, and when he opens them you can see that they are full of wonder and curiosity. His skin is this adorably perfect shade of pink. His hands reach out for the sky. His hair is sandy brown. He is gorgeous  And he's my nephew. I haven't stopped smiling since I first laid eyes on him.

So Happy Birthday, Ryan, you sweet boy. We are all so excited to have you here. I was ironing my pants for work when my phone rang. I threw the iron down, ran to get my phone, and saw it was your mommy. "You have a nephew" she said. "Ryan Michael". My stomach did a billion flips, I said a prayer of gratitude that you and mommy were healthy, and then I called into work. I had more important things to do- like meet you! Your Grandma and I went shopping, and then headed to the hospital. Oh Ryan, you are so perfect! There are so many people for you to meet, so many memories to be made. There are so many things I want to talk to you about. There are so many things I am dying to learn about you. But mostly, I'm just really glad you're here. October 30th. What a perfect day for you to choose to come into our lives. The air is cold and windy, and there are so many world disasters and traumas happening around us. But we have you now, our joyful little guy, to remind us of the important things in life. So, thank you for coming. I love you Ryan! Happy Birthday!

And to my sweet sister and brother in law, congratulations. I am so proud, so happy for you both. I know this has been a long road, but he is here now, and he is perfect. And you will be amazing parents. Get some rest, and know we are all surrounding you with love and peace.

World, meet Ryan.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

"you're doing WHAT?"

November 2nd is a really big day for me. It's the day I make my commitment as an associate for the Sisters of Mercy. I have been preparing for this for about a year, doing different readings, being mentored by the amazing Sr. Karen, going to spiritual direction. Just soaking up all things Mercy and preparing to make it official, to say to the Sisters "I am ready to walk this journey with you as your companion and friend". 

I realize that a lot of you have no idea what this really means. But to me, its one of the most important things I've ever done in my life, and it will be one of my proudest moments.

I am going to answer some of the questions I've been getting about this whole process.

What exactly is an associate?
Per the website, An associate member of the Sisters of Mercy is a woman or man who agrees to share the Mercy community life and mission in the tradition of Catherine McAuley through ministry, prayer, study, retreats, celebrations and bonds of friendship. Joined together, Associates and Sisters of Mercy strive to support one another through prayer, participation in community life, and service to those with whom they live and work.

Why are you doing this?
Think of the place that you love the most, where you feel the most comfortable and are the most at peace and at home. For me, I have two places. One is my parents house, and the second is 11 mile and middlebelt.  Mercy's campus. Mercy is a part of me. I went to a Mercy High School where I was deeply influenced by our president, Sr Regina. She was so gentle and sweet, and took the opportunity to actually know and care about the students. I saw how much good she did, I saw how genuine she was in each action and interaction. Then I did a year of volunteer service through Mercy Volunteer Corps, where I not only was revitalized in my spirituality but I was surrounded by Sisters of Mercy, who were, plain and simple, doing the work of Jesus Christ. And they did it with a smile on their face and opened the arms to everyone with whom they came in contact with. These women, these educated, dedicated, compassionate women, are so amazing. I brag about them all the time, talking about their accomplishments and works of compassion. I can't just talk about it as if I'm not a part of it, as if it's something I barely know anything about. Mercy is a part of me, it runs in my blood. To just walk away from that would be unjust. I belong there. And not only that, but I have a desire to be like those women. But since I also have a desire to be married and have children, I know becoming a sister is not for me. Being an associate gives me the opportunity to walk closely with these women, to pray with them, to encourage them as they encourage me. It is not only a promise but a bound relationship. Does that explain it well enough? I feel like I never can quite put it into words. I just. I just know that this is what I want to do.

Once you're an associate, what happens next?
That's a darn good question and one that I have spent the last few weeks discerning. To me being an associate is more than just showing up for an event every once in a while. It is truly being with the sisters in prayer and service (and also fun! those gals can have a good time!) There may be opportunities to put some of my gifts to use. For example, I am so very passionate about the importance and power of mentoring. I also (clearly) love the Sisters and think they have so much wisdom to offer. So I'd love for there to be more of a connect between the sisters and the students at the high school. We'll see where this journey takes me, what comes to me. 

So as I spend the next week and a 1/2 in the final preparation of my ceremony, I ask that you say a quick prayer. Ask me questions- I sometimes get frustrated because it's so hard to explain, but I like talking about it and about my passion for Mercy.

I love you all and I want you to know that if you are reading this, it is likely that you have played a huge role in my life and in my spirituality, and for that I am most grateful.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

aunt megan

I am sitting here. on a cold Saturday evening, cuddled up in blankets at my parents house. I am watching youtube videos, writing and editing my Laurence book, and waiting anxiously for Saturday Night Live to come on.

I just looked down at the date. October 20th. And it hit me. I am going to be an aunt in roughly 15 days. Cue panic mode. And by panic, I mean excitement. But, yeah, also a little bit of worry. I want to be a good aunt. And being that it is my first time, I don't know how. I even googled "how to be a good aunt". (Good ole google!)

I also started thinking about my own aunts, and the qualities in them that I admire. But that made me a little sad, because, if I'm being totally honest, there is only one aunt that I would actually call up and talk to, and that is my Aunt Maryann. It's not that I don't love the rest of them, I just have not had many close relationships with my aunts. But I do have precious memories of almost all of them. Sleepovers and family bbq's at Aunt Tucky's, perfect Thanksgiving dinners at Aunt Linda's, Aunt Marty always buying me books. Playing in Aunt Pat's basement with her dollhouse, Florida and Christmas dinners with Aunt Terry. I could go on and on, but my point is, they are all special in their own ways. I have just grown apart from most of them.

I don't want that to happen with my little niece or nephew. I want them to be able to call me, when they are 25 and I'm 45. I want them to be able to tell me when they are in trouble, or share good news with me, or ask me for my advice. More than anything, I want them to know that I am here for them. That our bond won't be broken despite what time or distance does. That I love them, unconditionally.

I want to be the kind of aunt that is just there. I know it sounds simple, but it's something I wish I had more with my aunts. I want to be the aunt that sends a card just because, visits just because, actually attends the kids school plays and soccer games. The dependable aunt, who is also fun, a little nerdy and awkward, who is not afraid to tell that kid how special they are...and to give them a goofy nickname that only we understand.

I cannot wait to meet my little niece or nephew in roughly 15 days. I can't wait to begin to build our relationship. I just can't wait.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The good in goodbye

Saying goodbye can sometimes be tough. It usually means moving on and letting someone or something go, usually someone or something that we love very much. Sometimes goodbyes are forced, other times it is a choice.

There can be good in goodbye. That's something I've had to learn very fast in my twenties; that change is okay. Friends grow apart. Life happens. You don't need to hold onto every little thing, especially those things  that are toxic.

I spent some time tonight thinking about what, in my life, right now, do I need to let go of. This is this list I created.

There is no point in putting things off. Life moves too fast, opportunities slip away too quickly if we make excuses. We've got to say goodbye to them. They don't do any good except hold us back. You have this moment, right now, to do something, so use it wisely.

People Who Bring Us Down
I have never once understood when my friends go back, willingly, to the people that hurt them.But then I realized I do that sometimes too. Oops. I always tell people "You don't have to stick around someone who makes you feel like crap. You are worth so much more than that". I need to take that to heart as well.  It's time to say goodbye to those people and put those battles to rest.

Filling our lives with THINGS, not PEOPLE
This one is harder because we live in such a material world, where we have to get the latest thing instantly. But if there's one thing my job has taught me it's that what matters most in this world is your relationship with other people, not what phone you have or your shoes. Say goodbye to desires that don't matter, and hello to more home cooked dinner dates with friends and family.

Working Too Much
t. It makes us cranky and tired and sick. And then we push people away because we just need a night to ourselves and to stop working. I personally, since Saturday, have already worked 46 hours this week. It's only Wednesday. I still have Thursday, Friday, and Saturday to go. Megan, say goodbye to working too much and hello to having more time to be a normal 25 year old girl. At the end of the day, work tasks can wait. Family, friends, and self are much more important, despite what society tells you.

Worrying goes you know good. Things will work out the way they are supposed to, like they have before. There are people in your life who love and support you, no matter what. Say goodbye to fears and anxieties, and hello to acceptance and responsibility.

I know, that if I make a conscious effort to say goodbye to those five things, that I will live and breathe easier. I will be happy. And, when recently asked what I want most in this world, my response was "to be happy".

Friday, October 12, 2012

Catch my breath, won't let them get me down, it's all so simple now

This week, beginning on Tuesday, I challenged myself to keep track of the positive things that happened. I refused to let negativity get the best of me. Enjoy.

October 9th
-Had volunteer orientation at Gilda's Club, a cancer support center. I will be working the front desk and/or children s playroom once a month, plus possibly hosting a writing workshop for teens. It's an amazing atmosphere and I felt energized after my orientation. I like the flexibility in the volunteer schedule.
-My Aunt Mary Ann called me and gave me the name and email address for the campus minister at UofM, thinking it might be a good connection for me. Mary Ann and I also had a nice little chat on the phone :) 
-Ran into someone who used to work at Make A Wish Foundation and who knew of Laurence. 
-Starbucks with two of my coworkers during our lunch break.
-Cuddling under a blanket with the Pitch Perfect soundtrack on repeat.
- This email from my coworker: "There is a big world out there for you to explore. I hope that soon you can afford to travel and buy things for yourself and have time for fun! You have to take care of yourself. You are so smart and talented and young! I am sitting with the tv on tcm- there is an old silent move on that I am not watching but the music is lovely. Not always in the mood for something like this but it is calming me down somehow. Just a weird tidbit! Oh I get sidetracked easily don't I?????

October 10th
-Snacking on almonds, drinking coffee, and giggling over silly stuff with my coworker Jill. Started the day off right.
-Lunch in an abandoned office with Christine
-Phone call from my friend Jena that I probably would have ignored a few days ago, but today, I was excited and energized and wanted to talk to her.
-Listening to Kelly Clarkson's new single "Catch My Breath". Again and again and again.

October 11th
Honestly most of this day is a blur, but the positive thing is the most important
-Sitting around my work bff Maggies kitchen table with Carol and Christina, chatting about work and life, eating pizza. But the best part was meeting Maggie's newborn baby, a sweet sweet little boy who is absolutely precious and beautiful. I could not help but stare at him and watch Maggie cuddle him. I am so happy for her. I can't stop thinking about that little peanut. It was a perfect evening and I am beyond blessed with good friends at work and that I was able to meet Mr. Little Guy. Plus, it made me even more excited for my future niece/nephew who arrives in just a few weeks!

October 12th
-Laughing hysterically to myself in my office relating Mean Girls quotes to my work life. "That's why her pony tail is so high, it's full of secrets". Even better were the looks from my coworkers outside my office  watching me giggle uncontrollably.
-Visiting a married couple on our hospice service who have been married 72 years. Their love for one another was so evident. I hope I can find a love like that.
-Running into two of my coworkers at one of our buildings (a nurse and an aide) and just stepping back to watch them as they interacted with patients. It was beautiful.
-Catching up on all the TV shows I missed this week.

It's the weekend. I work tomorrow, but it's a volunteer training and I enjoy those. Sunday I have a retreat reunion from the retreat I went on last spring, and then youth group. So it won't be much of a relaxing weekend, but I'm looking forward to it and to being surrounded by good people.

Monday, October 8, 2012


I love fall so much I just wanna snuggle it and never let it go. I love the changing leaves, pumpkin flavored EVERYTHING, the crisp weather, cuddling up in hoodies and fleece pants, cider mills. I even love haunted houses and horror movies. But I hate Halloween.

I don't know if I've always hated Halloween or not. I'm sure I loved going trick or treating with my friends and swapping candy with my siblings. But dressing up? No thanks. There's so much pressure to have the BEST costume. It's totally nerve wracking. You don't want to be that kid that has a bad costume. You have to be unique and extroverted and totally confident in yourself and your costume. I hold none of those characteristics.

I really started to hate Halloween in college. Halloween was just an excuse for people to get totally drunk, wear little clothing and try to out skank each other. Totally not cute. Costumes for older women are all the same: gross. Unless you are creative and can avoid that route...which, again, I am not.

Do I have a bad memory associated with Halloween? yes. Yes I do. I was abandoned by friends in college. The night did not end well. It didn't really start well either. That one night caused an entire collapse of friendships for me. So when I think of Halloween, I think of that night. Talk about scary.

Ever since then, I avoid it as best as I can. The next two years in college I went home for Halloween. I passed out candy to the kids in my parents neighborhood. I wanted no part of the excessive partying. I've managed to pretty much avoid it every year since then, too, except the year I did MVC. But that was different, because my friends actually shared the same values as I did, and I felt comfortable enough around them to dress up and participate. (I was a teeny bopper.)

I've avoided it again the past two years, again passing out candy at my parents house while Psycho played in the background and I sipped on my apple cider. I like seeing the little kids costumes. I like when my moms students come to the door and ask for her. It's precious. Halloween is for kids, if you ask me.

But this year, my dear friend Alex is having a Halloween party. Now I'm really at a crossroads. I love Alex, and I miss him. We never get a chance to hang out anymore. So YEAH, count me in, we'll have a blast! But then- it's a Halloween party. Costumes mandatory. Really Alex. Why you gotta do that? So I started looking at costumes online and my sweet sweet lord. The costumes got shorter and less...clothing. I want to be Sophia Grace, that little child rap princess on Ellen. But do you know how hard it is to find an "adult princess costume" that's not skanky? So then I think...okay. I'll just be a hipster. It's easy and I can get my entire costume at salvation army. (Ironically, of course). But is that good enough? I also thought about being Katniss Everdeen, but that's pretty much the costume of the year. So much PRESSURE!

But I am not going to avoid Halloween this year. I'm going to challenge myself. I'm going to the party. I'm gonna have fun. And no one will stop me.

PS: For real though, what should I be for Halloween? Ha!

Friday, October 5, 2012

love actually is all around us

This week, I was reminded that love actually is all around us (Love Actually). Here are the examples.

Sometimes it takes a really good friend to grab you by the arm, look you in the eye, and say "you're not happy". That's exactly what happened to me this week. I thought I was fooling my friends at work, laughing and joking and being my normal happy go lucky self at our meeting. But then one of my sweet friends, Carol, stopped me in the hallway, grabbed me, and said "Megan. You're not happy. What's wrong". She was right. That day, I had a horrible morning, and was trying to put it aside to concentrate on my other tasks. The day prior, another horrible day, with emotions running high and tension so thick you could cut it with a knife. It had just been a series of bad days, cranky attitudes, high demands, and pressure. I was crumbling, and Carol could see it.

We're often so afraid to reach out and help someone. We see them struggling but we just pass it off. assuming someone else will take care of it or that that person is just having a bad day. But it's not always just a bad day. Sometimes they need you to show that you care. That you notice.

I was so grateful that she did that, because I could take a giant sigh of relief and say "you're right. I'm not. And here's what is wrong". I didn't have to hold it all in anymore, I could just let it out and vent. and she listened. Not only did she listen, but she gave me encouragement. Then she took it a step further by sending me an e-mail that evening, saying that she was thinking of me and hoping things turned out better.

Example 2. That same day I crumbled and was called out by my friend, I was on my drive home from work and needed to talk to someone who understood. So I called my good friend, Tierra, who used to work with me. And boy, did I let her have it. She was such a good listener, she made me laugh and she reminded me to pray and turn it over to God. That's love.

Example number 3. I put up a facebook post about how I wasn't feeling well, and several people commented telling me to get better. That's love. One of those people, Christina, another coworker of mine, e-mailed me the next day,  a short but sweet message saying she hoped I was feeling better and to let her know how she could help. That's love.

And finally, the greatest act of love of all. My beautiful friend Maggie gave birth to a little bundle of joy, Alexander. I nearly cried when she sent the picture and have been looking at it every day since to remind me of how precious life is. Maggie's words say it all "He is perfect. I am in love with him". Does that not make you smile like a fool? How sweet. She is going to be a wonderful mom, and I am absolutely overjoyed for her.

What this has taught me is that despite all the ugliness, hate, defeat, and fear that I am facing in my life right now, love still exists. And there is nothing better than knowing that your friends love and care for you.

I heard this song on the way home from my parents house last night; I know I was meant to hear it because it brought me to tears and it describes perfectly how I feel right now. God, I need you now.