Friday, April 10, 2015

Put Me In Coach.

The first time I sat in his office as a high school senior visiting potential colleges, I'll never forget the way he "sold" me on attending what was probably the smallest Christian college on Earth.

Instead of saying small - he'd say "select few."
When speaking about the older campus buildings, he'd call them "Charming."
When he first asked me about what sports I played in high school, his eyes lit up like a Christmas tree when I mentioned girls basketball.
I asked him if his girls basketball team was any good...... he told me there was "Opportunity."

Coach Olson or "Coach" as we lovingly called him - couldn't help it.
He was always looking forward & upward.
He had a southern twang & gentleman's demeanor.
He had a smirk on his face that just made you think he had some secret plan for you in the works.

Coach loved his players.
The way that all coaches should.
He took a deep interest into our lives & expected no less than greatness from us.
Whether it meant sinking the winning free throw.
Or scoring an A on those killer theology tests.
He had his own way of making you want to come out from your shell & shine.

Coach wasn't the one to be on stage - being the center of attention.
Preaching some loud, bold sermons about God's plan.
Coach was subtle mostly. [Except for game nights.]
He'd sneak in encouragement when you weren't even listening.

He's the voice that would tell me "Next Game" when I literally just walked off the gym floor losing to another team by 100 points.
[No. Seriously. 100 points. Those games still hurt.]

He was the voice when I was sure that Trevor would never be interested in dating me.
"He'll come around. Boys are just dumb like that sometimes."

He was the guy who openly wept with Trevor & I as we said goodbye to our college years.
Reminding us to take care of our families, to do good out there, to always think positively, and to love each other.

No one who ever met Coach will forget his laugh.
His appreciation for a good prank.
His love for his family.
His fond affection for Golden Corral.
Or the ways that God used him to bring us closer to the people we were meant to be.

You never forget a Coach Olson in your life.
And if you're lucky, you get the chance to say Thank You before it's too late.

Your life meant so much to those of us who knew you Coach.
I'll see you when I get there dear friend.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Through It All.

I've decided this year is all about thinking positive.

At least that's what I'm telling myself tonight.
Think about the weekend you just had Meggan.
3.5 amazing days off of work.
Holding babies who are almost not babies anymore.
Laughing with my brother. Catching up with my sister.
Appreciating my sister-in-law so much I cried. [Ask Trevor. It was embarrassing.]
Easter egg hunts.
Singing in a church for the first time in over a year.
Winning 4 tickets for box seats to 'Disney's Frozen On Ice.'
Hearing about all of the inspiring work at the non-profit my Mom runs.
Seeing my nephew walk for the first time.
Watching Kentucky win at the last possible moment to make it to the Final Four - ensuring my March Madness bracket stays completely in tact.
Ya know, the important stuff.

Those are the things I will remind myself of.
As I unpack the car & wash all the dirty laundry.
When Monday hits like a barrel of bricks & my eyelids just won't open.
As I stare at my poor dog sleeping so hard, you'd think he wasn't even alive.
Do those dogs get ANY sleep at the puppy hotel we checked him into this weekend while we were out of town?!
Also. If anyone asks, I am morally opposed to any puppy hotel that charges me the same amount for a weekend of taking care of my dog that I could totally make my car payment for.
Hashtag ridiculous.
Hashtag I need a new puppy hotel. Sheesh.

Sitting around the table with my family this weekend, my older brother, who by the way is never afraid to ask me hard questions, asks me:
"So, how come you're not blogging anymore?"

Sometimes I get so into thinking about puppy hotels, I can get really thrown off by these types of questions.
Mostly because I don't always have the answers quite figured out myself.

The easy answer my dear Internet is time. Lack of interest. Withdrawing from mankind.
Being people'd out. No "Me" time. Working a lot. Sheer Exhaustion.
All of those are very true reasons I can assure you.

But the night my brother asked me this deeply personal question, none of those answers came out.
Instead I said something to the effect of: "I have nothing positive to say. And I don't like to write when I have nothing nice to say."

I mean, I might as well have been laying on one of those little sofas in a therapist's office.
Oprah always called these her "Aha Moments."
And right there at the family dinner table, I decided I was indeed Pessimist Pam.
No offense to any Pam readers out there......
But I have been in a rut.
And saying it out loud only made it worse.

The truth is, my little family has been going through a lot lately.
The hardest part is not really wanting to tell anyone that.
And it's not because I want people to think I have my life together.
The opposite is actually more true in my own life.
I find it very liberating when people know BEYOND A SHADOW OF A DOUBT that I am indeed a not-at-all-perfect hot mess.
When I can just purge it all out there & get it off my chest.
When I can walk into a room & be right where I am.
Valuing authenticity & transparency at frightening levels.

To the point where I have been encouraged not to be quite so open with people.

I mean who would just get up tell everyone you know [and now many perfect Internet strangers] that you Meggan - ex pastor's wife - haven't been able to bring yourself back to church in over a year?!
Yeah, well. Filtering has never been my strong suit.

This has been a grave season of loss & mourning.
And if there's anything the past has taught me, it's that grief is a very intensely private, exhausting, selfish, emotional, tolling process.
If it's done right, it hurts like hell.

And while it's something I long to put into words, the truth is - there just aren't any right now.
There's tears. And pain. A lot of pain.
There's some yelling at the sky. A few good f-bombs.
I read. I stay in a lot.
I keep to myself mostly.
I stare down at my shoes.
I sleep. I rest. I take a lot of deep breaths.

The worst part. Oh this is most definitely the worst part of all.
Is trying to push past the pain.
Especially since I long to live in freedom. To move forward. To put it all behind us.
To forget mostly.

And God won't let me.....

Honest to goodness.
That Man has a plan. And it's got nothing to do with my plans.
I just long to be anywhere other than right where I am.
Right here is so painful & raw.
I tell God I cannot bear it. For a single second longer.
And yet. Here I am.
Broken. Scared. Tattered. Messy.
Refusing to stand.....
But still somehow standing.

Where every second feels like a year.
And every mile we go is one further than we'd ever thought we'd have to travel.
It's heartbreaking.

And honest to goodness, who wants to READ THAT?!

People love a good comeback story.
No one enjoys the movie where the people stay lost at sea until they are eventually eaten by sharks.

But through the miles upon miles of wear & tear, there is still something in there...
A tiny Hope that endures.
It survives.
I forget that sometimes.
And in the quiet moments where I pause long enough to stand still, Hope still finds me.
It quietly whispers that we will not be in this place forever.
It reminds me that I - in my lost brokenness - am not forgotten.

This morning at church there was a song I had never heard before.
It's lyrics - "I'd give all I have just to know you."

Like do people even realize what they are agreeing to when they sing this song?!


These words are still chasing me tonight.
I could give up money. Dreams. Security. Careers. People's opinions.
I've done all of this already for the calling God has placed on my life.

But ALL I HAVE. Is everything I've got left.
And when God asks you for the only good leg you've got left to stand on.
You can either curse the sky & get pissed at how demanding God can be.
Or you can realize that God doesn't want you standing on your own strength for one single moment longer.

And I guess if there's anything left to say, it's that.

So today I had communion.
I wept.
Cried off all my make-up actually. Super attractive I know.
I made a resolve that somehow I was going to find a way to stop hating the Church.
And really, I have absolutely no idea how to make good on that.
That this place right here has it's purpose.
Though that doesn't mean I always have to like it.

Through it all, no matter how far gone I go.
Hope finds me.
You cannot have a better comeback story than that.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Stuff I Think About.

My life motto: Work hard. Be present. Love others. Find balance. Choose joy. Forgive often. Buy the shoes. Laugh at yourself.

Something You're Learning: Do one healthy thing daily.

One Trend You Like To See End: Ombre hair.
It confuses me.
Did you forget to schedule your hair appointment or is that the hairstyle you were going for?
One never knows.

Worst Decision You Made This Week: Bumping into someone & asking about her pregnancy.
When it is HER SISTER who was pregnant.
I've had this happen to me.
All I can say is that a woman never forgets the moment someone asks her about her nonexistent pregnancy.
I felt AWFUL.

Best Kept Beauty Secret: Shave your legs with Shampoo. It makes them extra shiny.

Worst Advice You Ever Got: I once heard a man speak about why the "Praise Section" of any prayer request time made him cringe.
He said that people should be mindful of saying things like "I praise God for safe travel" because what about the people who didn't travel safely??
I think he was trying to imply that people need to be more empathetic to the feelings of others.
But for some reason, this did significant damage to my faith walk for YEARS.
It made me think that I couldn't thank God for things or be joyful for the good things happening in my life.
Because someone, somewhere is suffering & we need to be mindful of that.
It is good to be empathetic.
To listen & respect the needs/thoughts/opinions/feelings of others.
But if that empathy steals your own joy & keeps you from praising God, then you are too focused on people pleasing & not enough on God pleasing.
God LOVES when we praise Him. [Insert the book of Psalms here.]
If anyone keeps you from praising the One who made you, RUN AWAY.
Now there's some good advice.

What Motivates You Most To Work Out
: New workout songs.
I get bored easy when I run.
Especially when I am at home just running in the same spot on my treadmill.
Which in Minnesota, is a good solid 6 months of winter indoor treadmill running.
Music keeps my energy up.
Cute workout clothes help too.
Or watching Miss America. Or the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders. Wowzer.

Getting Ready Song: My favorite band of all time is Lifehouse.
I still listen to their first album No Name Face more than anything else I've ever owned.
If we're talking something new - I'm into Ke$ha
It's up beat & peppy.
If I'm getting ready for a date, Boys II Men. All the way.

One Weird Thing About You: I get really freaked out by dreams.

50 Shades Of Grey - Really Hot or Really Not:  I'm a self-proclaimed romance junky.
If it's romantic, I'm usually into it.
The online church community has had a pretty strong reaction to this book/movie.
Which is of course: DON'T READ IT. DON'T SEE IT.
For awhile there on social media, it was everywhere.
My rebel side naturally wants to indulge. Just to piss off these people.
Simply because some of these reactions come from judgmental places.
And I really, really, really hate that judgy, preachy place.
But lots of things have kept me away from all of this 50 Shades biz.
Time mostly. Other things going on. Other books I've wanted to read. Other movies I preferred to see.
And I figure if I've stayed away this long, I probably can live without it.
I'm not really sure I'm missing anything.

Favorite Thing To Read: The "Hey, It's Okay" section of Glamour magazine.

Most People Don't Know: I eat a granola bar almost every night before bed.

Something You Should Do As A Teenager: Dance with a lot of boys. Kiss only a few.

Something You Should Do At 20: Take your first real vacation without your parents.

Something You Should Do At 30: Decide what you really want to be when you grow up. Also decide on graduate school. Once & for all.

A Secret Confession: I still eat fresh snow. Stop judging me.

Something You Pray For:  Hope.

Something You Need To Buy: New running shoes.

One Thing You Recently Taught Your Kids: Tonight I taught Parker some Spanish.
Hola Amigo!
He'll be the coolest kid at preschool next week.

I'm Really Struggling With: The dress code at work. Colored denim is business casual no?
My poor boss. Oh Meggan.

One Thing I was Reminded Of This Week: Don't give up on people.

Team Britt or Team Kaitlyn: Don't hate me America. Team Britt. #TheBachelor #IHaveMyReasons

Book You're Dying To Read: Searching For Sunday: Loving, Leaving, & Finding The Church.
Can this book please just come out now?! April 14 is sooooo far away.

The Last Argument You Had With Someone
: My husband. He was hosting poker night. And I asked him if he cleaned the bathroom before guests came over. [I have a weird, crazy obsession with a clean bathroom. It's almost psychotic.]
"Sure. It's clean."
What he should have said ----> "I picked the kid's wet towels off the floor."

Favorite Place In The World: Split Rock Lighthouse on Lake Superior.
Just spread my ashes there.

Things That Made Me Laugh This Week: Yes. Yes. Yes.

Have a great weekend!