Sunday, March 2, 2014

An unpolished poem

I tap, peck, flip, scribble, nibble
The d D e E t T a A a i I L l s S S 
rewind, reply, rewind replay, fast forward, pause, rewind, reply
Freedom, peace, and release are what I seek.

The looooonging, hope, desire, lust, sin, needs unfulfilled depress me.
The emptiness, numbness, disengagement, lethargy, disconnection, and apathy bind me
Promises, feelings, love, and joy are what I seek.

In today's spirited battle Team Uncertainty with their MVP players: Fear, Unbelief, Anxiety, Money and Comfortably will take on Team Hopeful with their all star players: Excitement, Newness, Adventure, Risks, and Learning. It should be a good match today folks. 
Trust, dependence, provision and guidance are what I seek.

The trying, repeating, strategizing, restrategizing, frustration, anger, yelling, well up in me and suck the life out of me. I drag myself up, down, forward, right, left. Try harder, find strength, find energy, push just a little longer until I collapse into exhaustion.
Patience, compassion, energy, and to thrive are what I seek.

I am a creature of many needs, many flaw, many mistakes, many sins. Thank GOD you are a God of limitless mercy, love, forgiveness. Stick in there with me, I'm worth it, or so you tell me.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Cracked Pot

I came across this story in a Jesuit devotional and I thought it was really beautiful.

A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on the end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots was perfectly made and never leaked. The other pot had a crack in it and by the time the water bearer reached his master’s house, it had leaked much of its water and was only half full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to his master’s house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.
After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. ‘I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you.’ ‘Why?’ asked the bearer. ‘What are you ashamed of?’ ‘I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master’s house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don’t get full value from your efforts,’ the pot said.
The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, ‘As we return to the master’s house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.’ Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some. But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again the pot apologized to the bearer for its failure.
The bearer said to the pot, ‘Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house. (Author Unknown)
—The Jesuit Prayer Team

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Standing on the Promises of God in 2014

The above image is by my friend Juliano that I feel like captures how I have been feeling recently.

Our bible study was talking about what promises God makes to us that we can hold onto in this new year. I thought I would write down some that came up for me. I hope to be able to hold onto these promises throughout the year.

"I will never leave you or forsake you." -Joshua 1:5

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified and do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." -Joshua 1:9

"See, I am doing a new thing. Now it springs up, do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland." -Isaiah 43:19

"Fear not, for I have redeemed you, I have summoned you by name, you are mine." -Isaiah 43:1

"Because of the Lords great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning, great is your faithfulness" -Lamentations 3:22-23

"...being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves." Colossians 1:11-13

From the song Standing on the Promises:
Standing on the promises that cannot fail
When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail
By the living Word of God I shall prevail
Standing on the promises of God.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013 in Review

Here some reflection question from 2013.

1. What is the single best thing that God did for you this past year?
It's hard to think of one thing from this year, he sustained me in a lot of little ways and met me in ways that I needed to be met.
2. What was the most challenging part of this year that God helped you to get through?
God calling me into a harder season of loneliness.
3. What was an unexpected joy that you experienced this year?
Collaborating with other theatre teachers. My new job has been such an unexpected play of joy for me. Although my students are challenging, it makes such a difference to have other teachers to work with who care. Teachers who are trying to find solutions and sharing the burden.
4. What is an unexpected obstacle that you have had to face this year?
Trying to juggle 3 jobs. It is starting to take its toll on me. Also having a lot of back pain was a big struggle for a good few months. 
5. What are 3 words you would use to describe 2012?
Unexpected6. What was the best book you read this year?
The Mammy- a hilarious book about and Irish Family during the depression
7. What is the biggest personal change you have experienced this year?
I was able to let go of something that I didn't want to. I opened myself up to the possibility of grad school.
8. What ways have you grown emotionally?
I am learning to notice ways that my soul is processing deep wounds. I will be overwhelmed with emotion and not really know why. But instead of freaking out and frantically trying to solve the problem, I am learning to just let my soul do what it needs to do. Its ok if I don't know why. The Lord will let me know what I need to know.
9. How have you grown spiritually?
I am learning to trust the Lord voice more in prayer, sense how the Lord is moving in a large group, see the ways that God initiates with me.
10. How have you grown physically?
Eh, with the busyness and a lot of back problems this year, it hasn't been a great physical year for me. I still hike and do zumba just not as much as I would like.
11. What was the most enjoyable area of Christian community?
Prayer meeting, church retreat, times in small group, birthday parties.
12. What has been the most challenging part of Christian community?
Not having enough time to be with them.
13. What has been the biggest time waster this year?
Facebook, TV, youtube
14. What is the best ways I have used my time this year?
Bible study, hiking, laughing, time with family, prayer
15. What is something God has taught me this year?
He is teaching me that he will never give up on me. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Why I am excited about my new job

Just found this pic online. Not sure what is going on, but looks like something I want to be apart of.

My name is Megan and I want to give glory to God. (At our church, that is how we start a testimony). Recently the Lord has blessed me with a new part time job teaching theatre. Even though it is part time, it feels like a huge blessing and great opportunity for me. The program works after school with middle and high school students to write their own original plays. It is similar to When Justice and Peace Kiss, just much more in depth. I have only been training so far. I start my first official day tomorrow. Here are some of the reasons why I am excited and it feels like a refreshing working environment

- There is always at least 2 other teachers with me, sharing the work of leading the different activities. It is such a difference coming from a place when I am usually by myself with 14 kids.
-The program leaders are very involved and set up their staff well to succeed.
-It really seems like a place that I can learn and grow. I feel like I have learned so much already.
-The are paying me for outside prep time. Unheard of!
- They discuss after the class what went well and what was challenging about the day. There are other people besides me who care about how the lesson went.
-Their curriculum is very organized and thought through. I feel like structurally it matches my personality and giftings.
-I am working with professional actors who will be a great networking opportunity for me.
-I am working with the population that I care about and invested in.
-I am teaching theatre in a way that empowers students and fosters creative expression.

I feel really blessed to have partnership and collaboration in teaching again. The more I find out about this job the more I realize that it could be only from God because it doesn't logically make sense how I got this position. I also feel grateful that God allowed me to stay at my current after school job a few days a week so that I could continue to invest in those students and keep making money on those days.

Excited to see what God will do. Feeling grateful and expectant of good things to come.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Another Adventurous Hike with the Lord

 Tuna Canyon Hike Malibu

Hiking has been some of my best times with the Lord in these last few years. Its a place that I can get away from distractions, be in nature, be moving, and be with the Lord. As much as I enjoy hiking with other people, I receive so much more hiking by myself. After coming off a hard week this week, I was sensing that I needed a hike just with Jesus. I found this hike that had a labyrinth on top of a hill. I was really excited because I LOVE labyrinths and have had some of my most spiritually significant moments inside a prayer labyrinth. The websites did not have very clear directions on how to get to this hike and how to follow it. I found the trail head ok. I had been praying on my way up that God would provide other people on this hike to help me find the labyrinth. Within a few minutes someone was walking down and I asked him how to get to the labyrinth. He said to just keep going straight up and that the road would dead end at this labyrinth. Sounds easy enough. Somehow I took a wrong turn somewhere. I was following this one trail up to the top of this point overlooking the ocean. The path did dead end but not at a labyrinth. I was very disappointed. The hike itself was not that scenic and seemed anticlimactic to not get to the labyrinth at the end. As I was going back down I saw it in the distance. Yes, thank you Lord! I went back up and tried to follow another trail but it did not seem to be leading in that direction. They I went back out to try to find another way in. I was getting very frustrated at this point as there seemed to be no way in. I went back down trails I had already been hoping to see some turn off that I had missed. Finally knowing that I was close I just pushed my way through the bushes. One way or another I was getting to this labyrinth. I finally got there. Yes Lord, I persevered and made it. The moment was short lived. Although there were some rocks in a design they were not in the shape of a labyrinth. I looked around and literally saw no trail that led this place. I remembered what the man had told me and the pictures I had seem online of the labyrinth and concluded that this is what I had been looking for.

 The place I thought was the labyrinth

Now I was extremely disappointing. I had tried so hard to get here, pushed through the bushes, sure this where the Lord was leading me only to find out that it wasn't. As joyful as I was to start of the hike, I was now very depressed at having not found my goal. I had been hiking for about an hour and half at this point and already feeling tired and could feel my white skin starting to bake under the intensifying sun. As I hiked back out I vented my frustration to the Lord. Then I came to a major junction where it looked like I could have taken the wrong path initially. Ahead was a steep incline. I was already tired, didn't know if this trail was the one I needed, didn't know how far up it went, and there were no people around to ask. One of the joys of going hiking by myself is that I decide everywhere I go. When it comes to hiking I am not quick to give up on trying to find what I want. I started up the hill unsure of how long I would need to go. I talked to the Lord as I hiked. "Lord, we could have this great moment today. We could have this crazy hike where I went forever looking this labyrinth, thought I found it, but didn't but then in the end saw your victory as you led me to it. Or Lord, we could have a really disappointing day, where I tried so hard but never found it. Come on Lord, don't you want to have that great moment with me? Don't you want me to have this great testimony?" I tried to prepare myself that the Lord was still good even if I didn't find it. But it was hard because I was tired and had been hiking for so long. I can to this big circular area where it looked like a labyrinth could have been. I really hoped it had not been taken away or destroyed by a storm.

 A great view from the top

A nice place to sit in the shade at the top of the hike

 I hiked just a little further and saw it. I immediately started to sing, "Hallelujah, thank you Jesus, Lord your worthy of all the glory, all the honor and all the praise." I felt the victory of the Lord.

 Very excited to have found it

Although the sun was beating down on my bare arms I had to spend some time there. As I walked through I tried to let go of all the crap of my week: my bad attitude, my impatience, my sorrows, my tiredness. I spent some time singing in the middle since there was no one around. As I left I asked the Lord to fill me with his presence and piece. This labyrinth is very interesting to visit because there are all these little trinkets throughout that people have left. See pictures. It makes me wonder why people left them: to commemorate something, to let something go? I felt like I wanted to leave something too but had nothing to leave that meant something to me. There was so many great metaphors in this hike. Persevering is hard, its tiring, you work toward something you think is your goal and you find out it isn't. But the Lord always has the victory. Feeling like I needed to commemorate the experience in some way, I scratched on a rock, IWI "It's Worth It." All the frustrations, tiredness, sunburn, was worth getting to this labyrinth. Following God is always worth it in the end, even if you are at a point that is disappointing, or frustrating, or you feel lost. God always has the victory and its always worth it.

PS Magically, somehow I did not get sunburned, despite being 3 hours in direct sunlight with little sunblock on. Another way the Lord cared for me.
 Some trinkets left behind

 I'm sure you can't read it, but it explains how to enter into the labyrinth

Hard to see, but its supposed to read "IWI." It's Worth It.

Monday, August 12, 2013

A Great Story Ends With...

 Our Performance Night
Our performance this year was really a great night. All the details came together in the end. It seems to happen every year that the students hold back in rehearsal, which makes us nervous, but then come alive when they get onstage. They deliver an outstanding performance. This year the youth performed 4 song, 2 theatre skits, 1 dance, 1 stop motion animation, and a photography slideshow. We had 33 students participate in the program and 19 perform.
Jessica and Ashley singing, "Picture Frames"

Exploring the theme of Success and Failure
I think that this year the students really explored our theme of Success and Failure in their different art forms. As we were learning throughout the summer what real success is, we saw a variety of answers emerge in their art. There was a song about working hard to achieve success. Another student was inspired by her dad who put up pictures on the wall of the goals he was working toward. There was a skit about a high school reunion, where two friends enter feeling like failures and must examine why they chose the path they did. Another scene was about how our character matters in our journey of success. I was very impressed by the depth of work they explored this summer.

Jacob, Jesus and Rogelio in "High School Reunion"

 The Crowd Favorite and Emerging Young Artists
Rogelio and Jesus are two students that I have worked with for three years now. They are kind hearted, generous, and respectful young men. It has been my joy to see them both develop as actors. To say they stole the show may be going too far, but I can tell you that no one in the audience forgot their performance. They have built this great connection with each other onstage. They have learned how to play off each other well. These two are going somewhere, so look out! As much as I want to praise and highlight my shining stars, I feel I must also highlight those that the audience may not remember as clearly. Jacob is a junior high student and this was his first year acting. It was a big struggle for him to get the lines memorized. We had a few adults really working with him outside of rehearsals to help him. By the time of the show, he was able to take on this free-loving hippy character. His performance was not perfect but it was also a joy to see him grow and really dedicate himself to this part.

Me performing a skit about a not so nice art teacher

 Thank you again for all your support and prayers. If you would like to stay connected with what Streetlamp Studios is doing throughout the year please check out their website or like them on facebook.

 Dance Group

 Getting everyone warmed up

 Manuel and Nathali in a skit called, "Not So Epic Fail"

 Aubrey and Philip rapping to "Gotta Try"

 Manuel, Abner and Demaure in, "Not So Epic Fail"

 Jesus and Rogelio in "High School Reunion" 

Jamal singing, "Open Mind"