Thursday, May 30, 2013

7 months.

Dearest Ryan,
Happy 7 months to you, Little King. Right now I bet you are on a walk with Grandma Gumbel, soaking up this sunshine. It's finally warm outside, the kind of warm that looks like it's going to stay.

In May we celebrated Mother's Day. We all gathered at your house for brunch. You were loving all the attention. I've noticed that sly little smile of yours starting to come out more.

You can sit up all by yourself now! You look like a little old man, just sitting up looking around and playing with your toys. You can also shake your head "no". Except I'm not sure you know that's what it means. But it's still cute, new, and exciting.

I love when you come to our softball games. I usually get to hold you when our team is up to bat, as we run through the batting order. You behave so well. You sit in my arms with your little hat on, looking around at everyone with wonder.

I spent some time with you over the weekend. Mommy tried to feed you green beans for the first time. You didn't like them very much. With every bite, you got more and more disgusted. Listen kiddo, I know they don't taste that great, but you have to get your green vegetables in that belly. They are healthy for you. You can't live off sweet potatoes forever, kid.

It's so fun to see all the new things you can do. Any day now you'll be crawling. And then talking! You're starting to babble, and I can't wait till you speak that first word. Pretty soon we'll be having in depth conversations.

I think a lot about your future, and what you'll be doing at this time next year, or even five years from now. It's all so exciting.

Love you, Ryzinga.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Necklace

Editors Note: I don't write fiction short stories often. Most of my writing is based on real experiences. But the prompt from Plinky really got me thinking, and this story is what happened when I started typing. Be kind in your criticism :)

Prompt:On a weekend road trip, far away from home, you stumble upon a garage sale in a neighborhood you’re passing through. Astonished, you find an object among the belongings for sale that you recognize. Tell us about it.

I couldn't help but stare at the clock. It was a Friday morning, and I was taking a half day at work. I was headed to Nashville with my best friend and roommate, Lily, for the weekend. We had been planning and counting down for months. I had my stuff packed up by 11:45, anxious to leave the office. When noon finally came, I yelled goodbye to my coworkers, ran out the door and jumped into my brand new Ford Focus.

I swung by the house, where Lily was waiting in the driveway with all her bags and a cooler full of snacks. We squealed as she threw her stuff in the trunk and settled into the front seat. With a quick shout of "here we go!" and a honk of the horn, we were off on yet another adventure.

We hopped on the freeway only to get stuck in a major traffic jam. Frustrated, we took a big sigh and sat back in our seats. We started firing questions back and forth to one another, our own little game we liked to play. Honestly, there's no one else I'd rather be stuck in traffic with than Lily. We always made the best out of bad situations and we shared a similar philosophy on life: it's too short. Have fun wherever you can.

Suddenly Lily turned the music down and turned to me."Hey, Julie, you know who would have loved this?". I took a deep breath and just replied with "Yeah. She would have". Lily was referring to my little sister, Kate. Growing up, Kate and I were attached at the hip. We were the best of friends, even though she was five years younger than me. I didn't make a single decision without consulting Kate first.

My world was shaken a few months earlier when Kate was killed in a car accident. Poor, sweet Kate. she had just graduated from nursing school, moved to Kentucky, and was finally going to be starting her career as a pediatric nurse, her dream job. She was hit by a drunk driver at 9 AM on a Thursday on her way to orientation at the hospital. I was still grieving. Kate was supposed to be with us on this road trip. We had planned on picking her up in Kentucky on our way down to Nashville. Lily pat my hand gently and sweetly said "Well, she's here in spirit". Lily was always trying to comfort me.

We were quiet for a while as we continued our drive and were headed further south.  We stopped for a quick meal somewhere in Kentucky, not too far from where Kate had lived. As we were trying to get back on the freeway, Lily grabbed my arm and said "hey look! a garage sale! jackpot!". Lily was all about garage sales- she loved finding hidden treasures. I rolled my eyes and joked "do you want to stop, Miss Garage Sale addict?".  Lily didn't have to answer. I could tell by the look on her face that she did. "Fine. But I'm only giving you a few minutes. We should get back on the road. I want to get to Nashville before tomorrow, please". Lily clapped her hands excitedly.

We got out of the car and Lily practically ran to the owners, talking to them a mile a minute about their goodies out front. I politely smiled and stood back, shuffling through their CD collection. I looked to the left and to browse the jewelry table. And then I saw it. The necklace. I snatched it, and examined it. "Oh. My. Gosh".

With my voice shaking, I called out for Lily. She waltzed over with a pile of stuff in her hands, dropping all of it when she saw what I was holding. "Is that........?". It was.

It was no plain necklace. It was my necklace. A key engraved with the word HOPE on one side and my initials on the back, hanging on a black leather chord. Lily wrapped me into her arms as I began to cry.

My mind began to flash memories like rapid fire. My 25th Birthday party, when Kate stood anxiously watching me open her present. It was the necklace, with a note that read "I know sometimes you get scared, this necklace is to make you brave and give you hope".

Then there was that tragic day.  The day Kate was killed. Hours after the worst phone call of my life, I went for a long run wearing the necklace. When I had returned home I realized it was missing. I retraced my steps and searched everywhere. Eventually, I gave up hope, assuming it was gone forever, just like my baby sister. I was always angry at myself for losing it.

Now, I was holding the necklace in my hand again. So many questions raced through my mind and yet I couldn't open my mouth to speak. Lily interrupted, starting to ask the owners "Hey, where did you..." I cut her off. I didn't need to know. The necklace was in my hands now, and I was going to buy it. It was priced at $3, but to me, it was worth a fortune. I walked up to the cash register and handed over three single dollar bills.

I tried to quickly walk away, but the owner, a beautiful woman who wasn't much older than us, stopped me by saying "Ah, this is a very special necklace. It belonged to my niece, Alicia. She wore this thing every day."

"Can I ask you where she got it? It looks handmade, not something you see every day" I asked, playing dumb.

"We aren't really sure. We just walked into her hospital room and there she was, wearing it. She said something about a visitor coming and giving it to her, that the necklace would help make her brave and to have hope".

"Oh, I'm so sorry to hear that she's sick" I replied, suddenly embarrassed, like I was intruding on this family.

Looking down, the woman said to me "She actually passed away two weeks ago. Leukemia. I know it seems a little weird to be selling stuff, but her parents are struggling with all the medical bills, and this was our last resort."

Well, that just about broke my heart. I looked at Lily, who had a tear rolling down her cheek.

"Kate! That was it!" The woman shouted.

"WHAT?" Lily and I both asked in unison, our heads snapping up.

The woman smiled and nodded as she explained, "Kate. That was the name of the visitor. I don't know how I could forget that. Alicia wouldn't stop talking about her. Said she was an angel. She must have been a hospital volunteer or something".

All I could manage to say was... "yeah...she must have been......."

Lily spoke up, saying "Thank you so much for this necklace. It really means a lot to Julie here. We've got to get going, we're on our way to Nashville".

"Thanks for stopping by. I hope the necklace comes in handy for you, too. You girls drive safely".

Lily had to softly push me down the driveway, I don't think my legs were working properly. I was in shock. We got back into the car and I was still staring at the necklace.

"Well that was weird". Lily said, breaking the silence.

"Let's just drive". I responded. I sat in the passenger seat with my eyes closed, smiling. Kate managed to find me and to touch my heart. She was always so good at that.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tuesday Tunes: Demi Lovato

You guys.

I accidentally fell in love with a Demi Lovato album.

If you don't know who Demi Lovato is, it's okay. I'll tell you. She came from Disney. You know, one of those Disney show actresses who also starts a music career. Most of them don't last that long, only until the next big star comes along. Demi's a little different.

She also has a pretty interesting story. In 2010, at the age of 18, she withdrew from her tour with the Jonas Brothers to enter a rehab facility. It was a bit shocking for her young fans and their parents to handle, I assume. At the time, I really didn't know who Demi was, but I remember feeling horribly for her that she was going through so much so young. I'm only a few years older than her, and having been through some rough patches myself I admired her for her bravery.

Demi left rehab a year later, and also quit doing the Disney thing. No doubt, the pressure must have been a contributing factor to her issues.

Shortly after leaving rehab, Demi released a song called "Skyscraper" a powerful, emotional tune. That was the first time I really started paying attention to her. The song really touched me, and I was again struck by her bravery.

Demi released an album a week ago, and I never really expected to like it as much as I do. But she's got this powerhouse vocal and spunky personality, matched with relatable lyrics and solid pop songs. She's like a younger Kelly Clarkson.

I picked four songs to share with you from Demi's album for Tuesday Tunes.

1. In Case
Kinda hard not to get emotional when listening to this song. It's a very real message about missing someone, and holding onto a little glimpse of hope that maybe, just maybe, they'll come back again. I think most of us feel this in those first stages of breaking away from someone.

2. Shouldn't Come Back
...Or not. This one is almost a response to In Case, know what, maybe it's a better idea if you don't come back, because every time you do, it doesn't end well.

3. I Really Don't Care
And finally, we get to the point where we really don't care about the person or that relationship anymore, and it's time to move on. This sassy tune is the perfect song for anyone in that last stage of break up grief.

4. Warrior
Demi's not afraid to tell her story, and that's exactly what this song does. You go girl.

Well, what'd you think? Share it in the comments below. And I want to know: have you ever really enjoyed an album that you didn't expect to like?

Monday, May 27, 2013

senior sendoffs

I feel old.

The seniors in my youth group that I lead are graduating. I'm happy for them, and extremely proud.

I remember what this feels like. This overwhelming excitement/anxiety about graduating. I was one of those loved high school, would have stayed there forever kind of kids. I secretly hoped my high school would just build a community college in the backyard so I could go there. I remember crying every time I heard a song with the word goodbye in it, dreading giving one last hug to my besties, staying up all night in someones backyard. Those were really the best days.

I can honestly say that I am honored and blessed to know these kids. I have known most of the youth group seniors since they were little, and have watched them grow up through the years. For the past two years I have been lucky enough to work with them at youth group. They are unique individuals, beautiful souls and hearts. They love life and they care about each other. One of them is also a volunteer at my hospice and he has been a prime example of human connection, graciousness, and compassion. Each of these young people have taught me so much about life. I have no doubt that they will make an impact on the world and I cannot wait to hear their stories.

As one of the "adults" in their life, it's part of my responsibility to dish out some advice for their first year of college. Here you go, kids.

  • I know you're ultra busy with your friends, but spend time with your family, too. Your parents have gotten you this far, and they want to have quality time with you before you move away. Go to the movies with them, cook dinner for them. Take your little sister to the mall. Go to your little brother's soccer games. Your family are going to be the ones who come to your rescue when you need it the most, so make sure to squeeze them into your schedule.
  • Say thank you to every single teacher, role model, mentor, etc that pushed you through high school and helped to mold you into who you are right now. They will love hearing it, and you'll feel a sense of relief in letting out your gratitude.
  • Enjoy yourself. Do not get wrapped up in petty drama. Time is moving too fast, now. You don't want to leave your friends on a bad note. Have fun. Surround yourself with people who you care about and who care about you.
  • Don't have too much fun. Be safe and smart.
  • Save your money. If you have a summer job, don't blow it the second the paycheck is deposited to your account. Save it. You're going to need it. There will be a random Thursday night in college when you won't want cafeteria food, ramen noodles, or pizza, and you should be able to have enough cash to take yourself out for a normal meal.
  • Call home at least twice a week. 
  • Be friendly, but not too friendly. Don't let people take advantage of you.
  • Find something that fits your interests and become involved in it- a club, an academic group, a church community on campus, something. 
  • Keep your values in check. Do not change your beliefs to fit in.
  • If you get stuck on something and need help, call someone from back home- someone who knows you and who has seen all sides of you.
  • Surprise people with handwritten notes.
  • STUDY. Study some more. Work hard. Do well in your classes.
  • Ask questions.
  • Don't stress about your major. You may wind up doing something completely different anyway. Do what suites you but know that your life is going to take many different turns.
  • Donate to your high school. Even if it's $10 a year. 
  • Be yourself. 
So Erin, Annie, Gracie, Ish, Trish, Pat....hugs to you. I am going to miss you guys, and I wish you the very best of luck. I hope you know that I looked forward to my Sunday nights with you. There were many times when those few hours cheered me up or changed my perspective on something.

Cheers. Congrats.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

tuesday tunes: american idol edition

Editors note: It may seem a be posting this light hearted post after the blog I wrote last night about Oklahoma, but I drafted this up a week ago. My prayers continue for the people in that sweet state. 

For those who don't know this about me: I am an American Idol fanatic. Have been since Season 1.

This was the first year ever where my two favorites landed in the finale. My favorites usually end up somewhere in the top 10, but rarely the top 2. The last time my favorite contestant won was Season 1 with The Queen, Kelly Clarkson

Kree and Candice are both fantastic singers. I was a fan of Candice last season and was absolutely shocked when she was eliminated during Hollywood Week. Kree blew me away this year at her audition. I picked those two as my favorites from the very start. I didn't care who won, except that I wanted Candice slightly more only because of her history with Idol. Congratulations to Candice, our new American Idol.

So for today's Tuesday Tunes, I thought I'd give you my 10 favorite performances of the season. As Idol viewers know, the male contestants this year did not stand a chance. The only guy I thought was eliminated too early was Paul. Other than that, the guys should have just all left at once and let us go on with the show.

10. Zoanette Johnson, The Circle of Life. Zoanette didn't make the Top 10, but her booming personality and crazy antics made me love her. This performance was the most unique performance I've ever seen on Idol and while vocally not perfect, I loved it and watched it over and over again.

9. Burnell Taylor, I'm Here. I had high hopes for Burnell in the beginning of the season. He started to bore me after a few episodes, but I loved his rendition of "I'm Here".

8. Paul Jolley, Amazed. Again, I think Paul was sent home too soon. He had some real potential.

7. Janelle, You Keep Me Hanging On. This country gal changed up the song and had quite a memorable performance.

6. Amber, What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life. I have a love/hate relationship with Amber. She relied heavily on ballads to pull her through. She's got a bit of an attitude. But she can sing. This was my favorite from her.

5. Angie, Bring Me To Life. I LOVED that she made this song her own! I think we'll be hearing a lot from Angie post Idol.

And now begins the Kree and Candice show. If I'm being totally honest, I loved every single one of their performances. But I narrowed it down to two each for the sake of this post.

4. Kree Harrison, Stars. I chose this one because it's the performance that really caught my attention during Hollywood week. I was drawn to her voice and started cheering for her.

3. Candice Glover, I Who Have Nothing. This song has been done on Idol before- and done very well. Candice's version is flawless.

2. Kree Harrison, See You Again. The emotional tribute to her parents, who have both passed away, is beautiful.

1. Candice, Lovesong. I have watched this performance about a million times, which is a sure sign that it's a favorite. One of my favorite Idol performances ever.

Are you an Idol fan? What were your favorite performances this year?

Monday, May 20, 2013


Dear God;
I don't get it. America was just starting to heal from the Boston tragedies. In the last month following that awful day there have been continued tragedies and violence, yes, but none of us were ready for the tornado that ripped through Oklahoma today. Oklahoma  A state I don't know much about, but I find myself crying for the people who are grieving there tonight. This is a loss they have never known, a loss the rest of us will-never understand. Of the 50 people that have died so far, 20 are children. Those poor babies.


Why do we have to suffer from such tragedies? I know you are here, God. I know you do not abandon us and that right now you are healing people and igniting hope and comfort into their hearts. But why do we have to even endure these things in the first place. I am not blaming you I just wish that we could put a stop to things like this.

Those of us not in Oklahoma will go about our lives tomorrow, because really, what other choice do we have? But it feels wrong to me. I wish that when something like this happened, there was a way for all of us to be pulled from our lives and help, right there, on site. I wish with a snap of our fingers, it would all go away. Things would be rebuilt, people back in their homes. Injuries healed.

I wish things like this didn't happen.

And it makes me so mad that they do.

And I guess I am coming to You because I don't know where else to go. I don't even really know what to say.  I read a comment somewhere that stated prayers aren't going to help. Maybe they don't think so, but I do, and I am going to pray for the people who have lost someone in the tornado, that they find comfort and peace. I am going to pray for the people who do not have a home, that they are blessed with resources to allow them to continue to live. I am going to pray for the people who are helping sort through the wreckage, that they have strength. And finally, I am going to pray for the rest of us, that we may find it in our hearts to do something to help, even in the smallest of ways.

I am sure, God, that you can tell I am frustrated. Defeated. But this is not about me in any way shape or form. This is about the people in Oklahoma.

Help us. Help us to get through this. Help us to understand our role as human beings is to love, support, and assist one another. Help us to embrace life.

Peace be with all of you in Oklahoma, and the rest of us as we do our best to help.

God, send your angels.

Love, Megan

Text the word REDCROSS to 90999.  You need to be 18 or older, or have parental permission, to donate this way. (If you change your mind, text the word STOP to 90999.)

Donate to the Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief Fund by mailing a check to  BGCO, Attn: Disaster Relief, 3800 N. May Ave., Oklahoma City, OK., 73112.

Donate to the Salvation Army online at

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Chasing Storms

I'd like to introduce you to Jill and Kate. These gals met in college, started writing songs and singing together as a duo. They also landed the job of being Kelly Clarkson's backup singers on her tours for several years. Recently, they put that to rest to focus on their own music. Over the past few years they've released four records, toured, spent time on mission trips. They write 100% of their own material. In sum, they are awesome.

In addition to being super talented song writers and singers, they have now jumped into the jewelry business. They hand make bracelets and necklaces with lyrics or song titles. Every few weeks they update their Etsy store page with new items. They sell out fast, so fans have to be quick to grab what they want.

I browsed through their items last time they had a sale and chose the bracelet that reads "chasing storms". It is in reference to this song:

Here's the lyrics for those of you that like to read along:

You’re chasing storms
You cannot fight
Following the trail of lights
Starting fires
You touch the flames
You’re burning up
You don’t notice a thing
Cause you’re tired from chasing the wind
And your feet can’t feel where they’ve already been
Are you right back where you started again
It was all at your fingertips but you can’t feel it anymore
You’re running past what you waited for
And it’s knocking down your front door
But you can’t hear it and you can’t feel it anymore
When everything is not enough
You find your losses and count ‘em up
You wanna get but you’ll never give
So afraid to fight for it
But you’re out there running around
And your eyes can’t see what they’ve already found
Are you right back digging up that same old ground
It was all at your fingertips but you can’t feel it anymore
You’re running past what you waited for
And it’s knocking down your front door but you can’t hear it and you can’t feel it anymore

You may have just read those lyrics and thought "wow...that's sad". And well is. Jill and Kate have said that the song was written for a friend who was going through a hard time, and the girls felt frustrated because they couldn't do anything about it.

Perhaps what Jill and Kate didn't know, when writing this song, was how much it would touch the hearts of their fans. Myself included.  When I first heard this song I was overwhelmed with emotion. Jill and Kate did something beautiful, and brave, here. What they did was wrap up every feeling of sadness and anxiety and put it in a song. That's a hard thing to do. The lyrics touch on the fact that sometimes we KNOW the answer, but we can't accept that, and are too scared to try, so we settle and keep ourselves in the endless circle of anxiety.

Confession: That used to be me. In fact, this WAS me, when this song was released in 2010. So you can imagine how I felt when I first heard this song on their Songs on the 17th album. Goosebumps. Up until about three years ago, I would fall into these terrifyingly dark holes in life. I became almost zombie like. The real danger was that I didn't really care about myself enough to pull myself out of it or to accept the help that was being offered to me. I was, as the song title suggests, chasing storms.

So why would I get a bracelet that has the words chasing storms engraved on it? Not to remind me of the bad times, not to proudly display hey, look at me! I have issues! But rather, I wear it to remind myself where I came from. That I am SO FAR from being that person. That those times made me stronger. That I have moved past the storms, and that I am worthy of love and of loving myself enough to pull through those hard times.

I have learned that the hard times don't really stop. Things happen in life that bring you down. You can't sit there and say that life is happy, 100% of the time. That'd be a lie. But how you deal with it, how you react, makes all the difference. Always have hope, and know that no matter what life is throwing at you, you can, and will, survive. Muster up every ounce of strength you have and take a step forward, leave the mess behind.

 So thank you, Jill and Kate, for writing that beautiful song. A song that means something, a song that defines and explains something so difficult for many of us. And thank you for making that bracelet. It tells my story. 

To learn more about Jill and Kate, visit their website here:
Look for new jewelry at their Etsy shop:

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

tuesday tunes.

Once in a while I just like to share some tunes I'm digging. This is one of those times. My challenge for you: Pick three below that you haven't heard. Give em a listen and let me know what you think! Then tell me some of your current favorite songs!

  • P!nk and Nate Ruess, Just Give Me A Reason. I've owned the P!nk album since it dropped in September. And this was one of my favorite tracks on the very first listen. I literally cannot get enough of this song. It's one of those songs that I think about and have to listen to at least once a day. I know, I'm weird. But it's beautiful. Their voices blend together so well. It is sang so powerfully and passionately  the words are haunting. It's the perfect song.

  • The Band Perry, Done. Who doesn't love an angsty country song? Does this not make you want to jump on a table and throw something at someone? The fast paced, angry tone of this song makes it a great song to belt out.

  • Justin Timberlake, Mirrors. Confession Time: I've never really been that big of a JT fan. I know, I know. Even in my Nsync fangirl days, I was a J.C. kinda girl. I don't own a single Justin Timberlake solo album. But I'll admit that the new one, which I've heard via my roomates, is pretty good. And this song, Mirrors, is my favorite. I love when I hear it on the radio, I love singing along. It's beautiful.
  • Iconca Pop, I Love It. Normally I wouldn't like this kind of song, but something about it just makes me feel like dancing, waving my arms up in the air and proclaim I DON'T CARE. It's an anthem for us 20 somethings, I believe.

  • Imagine Dragons, Radioactive. Big fan of this band. This song is catchy, dark, soulful and passionate.
  • Fall Out Boy, My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark. My inner 16 year old is in love with the fact that FOB has made a comeback! I don't think I'll ever outgrow my love for them, and I dig their new sound.
  • Taylor Swift, 22. When I first got my hands on Taylor's album, Red, I HATED this song. I would refuse to listen to it and skip it whenever it came on. Now? I kinda like it. Damn you, pop songs! I still hate the way she sings it (she sounds like Avirl Lavinge on drugs) but I can relate to the lyrics and I'd be lying if I said I didn't dance around to this song. Plus, I love that Tay Tay so boldy sings out "You don't know bout me".
  • Emeli Sande, Next To Me. I was introduced to Emeli's music a few months back via a coworker, and I'm hooked. Her album is amazing. This single is catchy and fun, her voice is wonderful. Check out her other stuff, too!
  • Lady Antebellum, Downtown. I'm a big fan of Lady A and have been waiting anxiously for new music from them. Downtown does not disapoint. It's one of their more upbeat singles. It's sassy and fun.
  • Phillip Phillips, Gone Gone Gone. I had my doubts about this guy when he was crowned Idol winner last season, but so far he's released two hit singles. This is the 2nd, and I adore it. I like the bluegrassy feel, I like the lyrics.
  • Sara Barielles, Brave. I could just hug Sara for writing such a powerful anthem against bullying. you go, girl.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Colorful weekend

Note: Thank you to all who read and commented on my last post. It was an issue that hit home, and I had to speak out about it. I don't stand for bullying. That's really what the Abercrombie issue is all about. I could care less what sizes they carry, but the bullying is not okay.

Friends...this was a beautiful and colorful weekend.

I am low on funds right now, so I made quite sure to not spend a penny during the week and saved up all my cash for the weekend.  I knew it was going to be a big weekend. Luckily we had already paid for most of the things we did, so I really didn't spend much. This is the life of a 20 something, ya'll.

Friday we celebrated Lauren's birthday. Lauren is one of my two roommates and also one of my best friends. I met her six years ago through a mutual friend at a party. We hit it off right away and soon she was hanging out with Sam and I all the time. We became so close, in fact, that Lauren and I lived together the next year, along with our friend Jess. We've remained friends and live together now, too, along with Sam. It's like everything came full circle. Lauren is the funniest person I know. She can talk to anyone, she isn't afraid to be herself, she says what's on her mind. She's brave, she takes charge. She cares about people and will drop anything to help her friends. She's in love with the game of golf and with Justin Timberlake.

The three of us (Sam, Lauren, and I) had dinner at Champps, and then we saw The Great Gatsby. I've been anxiously awaiting this movie to come out. It is one of my all time favorite books. I saw the original movie in high school. I wasn't quite sure what to expect with the 2013 release. I can't compare it with the book, because if I do that, it's not nearly as good. So I will say that as a movie on it's own, it's incredible. The camerawork and creativity in the costumes and set design is outstanding. The soundtrack is flawless. The actors were wonderful. It's captivating  Lauren and Sam did not know the story and the movie kept their interest for the entire 2.5 hours. It's worth seeing, that's for sure.

It was a fun night out with my gals. I am so happy to be living with my two best friends and creating such precious memories. There are many more to come.

Saturday morning came early. Sam and I were up at 5:30 to get ready for the Color Run. We did the color run last year on my birthday, so I sort of knew what to expect. Sam's friend Patrick picked us up and we made the trek to Ypsilanti. We were there in plenty of time, which is a blessing because we were closer to the starting line. 15,000 people participated in that 5k yesterday, and they were releasing us from the starting line in wave of 1,000. So it was a relief to be some of the first.

The Color Run advertises itself as the "Happiest 5k on the planet" and it really, truly is. If you're gonna do a 5k, choose the color run. As you run/walk the course, there are stations where volunteers throw colored corn starch on you. The goal is to get as colored as possible. Everyone has a smile on their face as they make their way through the color stations. Music is blaring. Little kids giggle and tag along their parents. It is so fun you forget that you're running 3 miles.

The best part about the color run is the finish line. When I crossed I made my way through the crowd and found my friends. We headed to the stage area where runners are gathered with extra color packets. After a countdown, everyone throws their color packets into the air, creating this incredible dusty rainbow. That is when you get the most colored. We stayed there for about an hour, going through the "Color blast" three times.

Here is a picture of myself, Sam, and our friend Julie, all colored.

When we decided we were colored enough, we headed home. Sam and I took turns showering to get the color off our skin and hair. It comes off pretty easily, although blue seems to be the toughest. I still have blue on my feet and legs. Then we settled in for some nice long naps.

That night, Sam, Lauren, our friend Krystin, and I headed downtown for the Tiger's game. We met up with some other friends there, as well. It was freezing. It's not supposed to be that cold in May, but we were huddled up under hoodies, fleece jackets, and blankets, and we were still freezing. The Tigers were not playing very well, but we had fun anyways. It was Sam's first Tigers game. We cheered for our boys and people watched. Made friends with a Steve Carrell look a like. Laughed a lot.

We left in inning 6, when the Tigers were down 4-1. We very, very quickly walked back to our car. When we got there I noticed that the parking lot attendant was the same was when we pulled in. She must have been freezing, sitting there in the dark and cold. I had some extra hand warmers in my pocket, so I gave them to her. I hope they did her some good.

This is Lauren, myself, and Sam at the game

After we left, we went to our favorite coney island to grab some food since our food/sleep schedule had been so off. Then we headed back home to sip on some wine and settle in. We laughed so hard, just making silly jokes and sharing stories and pictures. I laughed so hard my face hurt. My ears burned. Just thinking about it now makes me laugh again. I love those nights. I love these friends.

Today, of course, is Mother's Day. I know we should celebrate moms all year, but I like having a special day to spoil them. I've been blessed with a wonderful mother. Here's what I wrote earlier on facebook about her:

My mom is the first person I want to talk to when I have a bad day. She is full of wisdom and humor. She understands my anxieties and calms my fears. She loves her children ans grandson and each and every student that she has taught. She wants nothing but the best for all of us. She's a Notre Dame fanatic. She cares deeply. She is a friend to many, often a rock for those in need. She's her mothers daughter. She is passionate. She is the very best.

I meant every word of that. My mom is a 2nd grade teacher (and has been for many years). The love and passion she gives out to those students and families is absolutely beautiful. I have witnessed, again and again, people coming to her in need of support and my mom so willingly lending out that support. She is one of my best friends and an amazing woman.

To celebrate today, we had a family brunch at my sister's house. This is my sister's very first mother's day, and she hosted a lovely brunch. It's wonderful to witness my sister as a mother, learning about her little boy and growing each day. She already is a great mom, and I know she will only continue to be the best mom to little Ryan. He's one lucky dude.

And now, it is Sunday evening and for the first time all weekend I don't have anywhere I have to be until tomorrow morning. My bones hurt, my muscles ache, my cheeks are wind burnt, and my eyes are heavy. But my heart is full. I loved this weekend. I love the people in my life, and I love my life.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Fat Chicks Don't Want You, Either.

Hey...Mike Jefferies..

Yeah, you. 

I have never worn Abercrombie. I always thought the whole idea of that store was sexist. Plus, I'm not the kind of girl who wanted to spend $40 on a t shirt.  So don't worry, I've stayed far far away from your little store. Which is what you want, since I am a "fat chick".

Let's talk about what you said though, shall we?

“In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids,” he told the site. “Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely. Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny. But then you become totally vanilla. You don’t alienate anybody, but you don’t excite anybody, either,” he told Salon.

Well sir, guess what? Even though I'm a "fat chick", I was also a pretty freaking awesome kid. I had a ton of friends and I was on student council. I had, and still do have, a great attitude- or are fat chicks incapable of having a great attitude, too? 

You're right. I don't belong in your clothes. I don't WANT to belong in your clothes. 

Your hatred for "Fat Chicks" is actually kind of amusing. You act like we have a disease or something, and if we dare even look at your clothes they will burn. 

Another quote- “He doesn’t want larger people shopping in his store, he wants thin and beautiful people,” Lewis said. “He doesn’t want his core customers to see people who aren’t as hot as them wearing his clothing. People who wear his clothing should feel like they’re one of the ‘cool kids.’”

Apparently you don't know this, but big girls can be beautiful, too. You're just afraid to see that and to admit that. Society tells you thin is beautiful, so that's what you believe and what you are preaching. Sir, you've got it wrong. 

In an age where kids are killing themselves left and right over bullying, are you proud of yourself for being so cruel? For picking and choosing who can shop in your store? No fat chicks allowed, but hefty male athletes pass the test, because they are considered "all american". You are an adult. Your job is to STOP the hate, stop bullying, be a GOOD example to our kids. But instead you are spewing out hate, simply because you have decided that fat chicks can't be cool, and therefore they can't wear your clothes.

So, Mike, good luck to you and your little store. I'm gonna be over here, being the cool kid that I am.

And to the rest of the world, do what you want and buy clothes wherever you please, just stop words of hate from leaving your lips. That's all I really care about.

I know people will read this and call me bitter and I may even get some hate myself for being overweight. And to you I say: Hi, I'm Megan. I know I'm overweight, so you don't need to point it out. Am I 100% happy with my body and myself? No. Is anyone? But I sure do know that I'm a much better person than Mike Jefferies. 

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Friday, May 3, 2013

Say A Little Prayer For You

This story happened a few weeks ago, but I decided to wait until after the A-Z challenge was over to share it on my blog. Enjoy.
It was just a normal day at work. I had music softly playing in the background while I tackled my To Do list one item at a time. But then my personal phone started buzzing. A co worker's name popped up on the screen. For a split second I though about not answering it. Not that I didn't love chatting with her, but I was in the middle of entering a report. But then I figured if she was calling my personal phone, something may be wrong.

I'm so glad I answered that call. On the other side of the line was my friend's voice. Shaken. Panicked. In Fear. A member of her family was in the middle of surgery and my friend was worried they weren't going to make it through. I could hear her voice cracking as she asked me to pray. She then admitted she's never asked anyone to pray for her before...but she didn't know what else to do.

After offering her as much comfort as I could, I hung up, took a deep breath, and prayed. And then looked online for "surgery" prayers, changed the words to one and sent it to her in an e-mail. I also asked two of my other coworkers, both spiritual people, to pray with me.

For the next hour or so I prayed for my friend and her family. An hour later, she sent me a message that her family member was out of surgery and doing okay. Relief.

I share this story to tell you that sometimes we need each other. And it's okay to ask for help, and for prayers. I keep thinking what if my friend had not called me? She would have let it stew inside her brain and her nerves would have been totally shot. But she felt comfortable enough coming to me and saying "I need help". I was proud of her. That takes courage. It's not always easy to reach out to your friends when you need them.

I take my role as a Christian pretty seriously. When someone asks me to pray for them, I do my very best to make it a point to actually pray for them. It's what we are called to do. And you don't even need someone to ASK. You know how sometimes, someone will just randomly come to your mind? Take that as an opportunity to pray for them, or send them positive vibes. They don't have to know that you did it...but you'll know. It's a reminder that we are all connected for a very special reason, and that our duty is to be here for one another.

I wish you all a very happy, blessed weekend. My best friend, a coworker and her best friend, and myself are headed to the Taylor Swift Concert tomorrow night. We are going all out, because, well, why not? So if you see 4 gals in their late 20's decked out in red and glitter, that's us.