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"

Sunday, July 21, 2013

My Neighborhood

 I felt inspired by the visual arts team for WJPK and decided to do a little photo session of my own around my neighborhood. Here are also some short, corny, silly, somewhat deep reflections.

 I call this one "Happiness Waiting for the Garbage Truck."
 Tourist Taking Strange Picture at USC
This makes me wonder where this hat has been before in landed here as litter. Who wore it? Where did they wear it? Things you don't think about unless you are looking for a picture.  
Don't shoot down my heart! 
 Barbie cake. My question is, how do you eat it?
 Lived here for 3 years never been inside this store. 
 My neighbor's garden
 Gates make me sad.

 I call this the Pocahontas tree at USC
 I am not a person who walks slowly but I appreciate those who do. I wonder how they take in the world differently from me.

 Longing for friendship that looks like this. Or least how I imagine in my head their friendship to be based on this picture.
Rolling in the grass seems like what God created it for. 

 This is major stalker status. 
 Missing being able to "play" with my sisters.
 The beauty that is discarded and left behind.
The multiculturalism of LA. I love it!
 What lies ahead of you?
 Don't let anyone tell you that you can't walk somewhere
 Sometimes my heart feels like a maze that is always under construction
Waiting for...

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Success and Failure in Monsters University

This post contains spoilers to the movie.

I watched Monster's University on a field trip with my students. Some of the themes of it hit me pretty hard.It actually has a lot to do with Success and Failure which is our theme for WJPK this summer, so it caught my attention.

So basically Monsters University follows the story of a little monster named Mike Wazowski. When he was a kid he had this experience of watching a "Scarer," and from that moment on he decided that he wanted to be Scarer. He got into Monsters University as a Scare Major. He finds out that he must pass the midterm to stay in the program. Now Sullivan also goes to MU. His family is somewhat legendary for being great Scarers.  He finds no need to study as he say, "You don't need to study scaring, you just do it." Mike studies really hard but both Mike and Sully fail the exam and are kicked out of the Scaring Major. Mike is heartbroken until he finds out about the Scare Games. Its very similar to the Goblet of Fire Competition in Harry Potter except with teams. Mike forms a team with the most outcast fraternity and Sully. If they win the games, the Dean will let them return to the Scaring program. Mike takes this fumbling group and trains them to be winners. Against all odds they make it to the final competition. Sully find out from the Dean that even if they win, she will not let Mike back into the program because he is just not scary. Mike is the last to compete and pulls off a record breaking scare. After the competition Mike finds out that Sully cheated and rigged the machine to save him the embarrassment. Mike's anger leads him to enter the human world to prove first hand that he can actually scare a kid. But when his moment comes, he couldn't. The kids just laugh at him and they are not scared at all. Sully follows Mike into the human world to try to save him. There is a great scene with Sully and Mike that breaks my heart. Mike has to come to terms with the fact that his dream will never happen. The the thing he has wanted and worked for his whole life, will never happen. He is not scary. No matter how much knowledge he has about how to scare, it doesn't change the fact when it come to the real world, he isn't scary enough. Sully also admits that he feels like a failure. His family is legendary and he flunked out of the Scaring program. He also admits that although he seems tough, most of the time he is terrified.

I like that this story is true to life. Its not your typical, if you work hard enough, you can overcome any obstacle. There are sometimes where you have to come to terms with the fact that your dream is not going to come true. It has been something that I have been thinking about since I moved to LA. I long ago came to terms with the fact that I was not going to be an actress. I know I am not good enough, and its something that I don't even want anymore (most of the time). But my desire is to be able to teach theatre to kids full time as a job. Since moving here there has been a lot of closed doors. I have been able to teach theatre but the way I am doing it now is not sustainable in the long run. At what point do I have to come to terms with the fact that this career path just is not going happen? I'm not willing to sacrifice everything to try to make it happen. Not that I feel like I cant do the job, but its not working the way I am going about it now. Its hard to think about letting it go because I have been working for this for so long. I wouldn't even know where else to go, what other career path to pursue. I feel the burden that Mike feels. The loss of something you had so much hope in and aspiration for. I am not at the point yet of giving up on it, but at what point do I need to face that? At what point do you just need to move on?

The story for Mike does not end there though. Both Mike and Sully are expelled from MU. They get a job at Monsters Inc in the mail room and work their way up. Mike becomes a coach, which he loves and is very good at. Its also interesting to consider the ending to Monsters Inc. They find out that laughing produces even more energy than screams. Mike is the one who goes into the human world to make kids laugh and produce the energy. His dreams comes much later and in a different way.

This also gives me hope. If my dream has to die, God can give me a new dream. One that might even be better than the one I have now.

Thank you Lord for speaking to me through children's movies!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

When Justice and Peace Kiss 2013

When Justice and Peace Kiss 2013
This year marks Steetlamp Studios’ 7th annual production of When Justice and Peace Kiss. Based on Psalm 85, “WJPK” is a multidiscipline arts program that encourages students to create original art about social issues they encounter in their daily lives.

The Impact

During my time in Los Angeles, I have learned about the dramatic impact that the arts can have on students. The Los Angeles Unified School District  has one of the highest drop out rates in the nation. A study by James Catterall called, “Champions of Change,” looks at the impact of students’ involvement in the arts. Cartterall found that 85.9% of high school seniors rarely if never are involved with any after school arts enrichment. Yet he found that seniors involved in regular arts programs performed 15.9% higher in reading than students with low involvement in the arts. Students have less risk of dropping out, are more involved in community service, and more engaged in school when they have higher levels of arts involvement. Carterall explains, “When well taught, the arts provide young people with authentic learning experiences that are real and meaningful for them. By engaging his or her whole person, the student feels invested in ways that are deeper than knowing the answer.” It is with these and other benefits in mind that we hope to maintain a vibrant arts program in our community.


Jamal is a graduating senior who has been a part of WJPK since the program began.  Through the years he has grown into a compelling musician. I have had the privilege of seeing him perform 3 original songs that he wrote on the themes of not giving up, finding freedom, and battling depression. This year will mark his last performance as a student with WJPK before he graduates and begins studying music at a local community college.

What's New This Year?

This year we will be working with the theme of Success and Failure. In the midst of our culture and media telling us what it means to be successful, we will look at how God views success. Through studying the life of King David, we see someone who was not set up to succeed, yet is remembered as one of Israel’s greatest kings. I am excited to see how God can reveal his idea of a successful and prosperous life to these youth, who are surrounded by a lot of systemic and economic failure. 

How you can support WJPK

This program is not possible without the prayers and support of people like you. This year 100% of the donations will go directly to supporting the needs of the program. If you are able to financially contribute you can give online at t choose Fundraiser for Megan Ibarra in the dropdown menu.

If you are interested in being an intercessor for the program who receives regular prayer updates please email me at

Here is a link to one of our most memorable pieces from 2 sisters singing an original song,  "I Can See the Light"
Thank you!