Be You

Just a few reminders….



Friday’s Letters 9.0

Dear Self-  
It has been such a rough past month or so.  And things have been so crazy.  
Just know that I am proud of you and I love you.
Dear Nasty People in the world-
 You will not bring me down.  But go ahead and wear yourself out trying…
Happy Friday, friends.  Be strong.
Linking up for my only blog post this week.  Sorry y’all!  I hope to bounce back soon.


Friday’s Letters 8.0

Dear Baby Jesus– THANK GOODNESS IT’S FRIDAY!!!!!!!!
Dear Chest-wrenching Cough that I Have had all Week– You’re bags are packed.  I left them by the front door.  I called a cab.  You can leave anytime now.  Nice knowin’ ya.
Dear Liam and Collin–  What say you two conveniently decide to sleep in until 9:00 a.m. tomorrow morning?  NO?  How about 8:30?  8:00?  Fine.  7:30, and that’s my final answer.
PS– I love you both IMMENSELY
Dear Broccoli– I love you.  You look like a tree, you’re a platform for spicy ranch, and you help a sista out.  I could go on and on, but I think those reasons alone prove my case that you’re the best veggie alive.
Dear Maria–  Thank you for making me the most delicious coffee every morning (Hazelnut Iced Coffee, to be specific).  You are very important to me.
Dear Bed–  Thank you for housing me and my sick, pitiful self for the first 3 days of the week.  I probably could have left your side a few times, but you just wouldn’t let me.
Dear Grilled Cheese–  Ima eaaatttt youuuuuuuu!!!!!
Dear Current Job–  I am worth WAY more than you make of me.  You know what that means, don’t you?  I don’t know when, or how, or where, but I will be finding a replacement for you.  The main thing is that now, I know WHY.
Dear Family–  Thank you for always supporting me.  Each and every one of you play a significant role in my life, my happiness, and my sanity.  I promise to always honor you.
Dear Friends–  As I said in my last post, Happy Friday!  
Linking up for Friday’s Letters with Ashley and a ton of other amazing bloggers!  
As always, go peep her blog.  She’s great!
Until next time….


Victims’ Rights Run & Walk

George Mason University hosted it’s 16th Annual Victims’ Rights Run & Walk this afternoon.  The event raises awareness and support for victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault, and other crimes.  It is part of a series of events during National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.
I have been an employee here at Mason (Go Patriots!) for going on 4 years now, and I have signed up to participate in this walk every year.  As is often the case with having small children at home, I have gotten pulled away to tend to the needs of my family each year, and I have not been able to actually walk/run with my department.  
Not this year, baby!  This year, despite having been on my death bed all week, hacking up lungs and all, I walked with a group of co-workers (“Team U-Hall”).  
 It was a perfect day… sunny, 60 degrees, with a chilly wind.  It was so nice to get out of the office for almost 2 hours mid-day and support a cause that deserves as much attention as it can possibly get: Victims’ Rights.
I know several people who have been personally affected by physical and/or some form of sexual abuse.  This is a cause very near and dear to me, and it has been a central theme over the last 4-5 months.  Not on purpose, actually.  Just random pieces that are forming a bigger puzzle for me.  I have written papers about this topic, I will be giving a presentation on teen dating violence next week, and today, I walked for victims.  While all of these things were not planned around or because of each other, I think I have found a calling; a cause that I want to throw myself behind.
What are some causes you hold dear?
Happy Friday, friends!!!


Superhero School

With the help of some great people, including my Super Mom, Liam had one heck of a birthday party last weekend.  Here are some of the sweet, silly, beautiful moments:

Looking forward to getting back to posting soon.



Journey Forward: Roadblocks

If life were an Olympic sport, I would be a hurdler.  For sure.  I might even be a good one.  But that did not come without practice.
In yesterdays post, I talked about my biggest ambition: getting my degree.  
It is so close I can almost feel the tassel brushing up against my cheek.  
It has not been an easy journey by any means.  Roadblocks, detours, dead ends, etc.  You name it, I faced it.  This process has really taught me a lot about resilience; it has really shown me how to apply myself despite unfavorable odds.  That’s the thing about hard times: they tend to build your fortitude if you’ll let them.
On my journey through living kindly, there are challenges I face on a daily basis.  
We live in a world where being critical is encouraged; a society where cynicism and sarcasm are built into our very language(s).  This is by far one of my biggest confusions while I try to put kindness and love at the forefront of my actions.  My intentions are true and pure and good, but translating that into constant kindness is way, Way, WAY easier said than done.  I find myself having a negative thought sometimes, and I really have to catch myself (if I can) before it flies out of my mouth.  I have to almost reprimand myself:
“Oh man… that’s not nice, I shouldn’t.  Woosah, Meg.  Woosah.”

I seriously do that.  
By far, my arch-rival on the kindness-mission is traffic.  This may sound really silly, again, but I become a different person behind the wheel of my car. 
My blood pressure rises up to the tippy-top of my ear lobes and
I can literally feel a panic attack waiting in the wings of my soul. 

I have a real problem with how inconsiderate, or neglectful,  or unaware, or RECKLESS other drivers are, and my anxiety levels shoot through the roof. 
When this happens, kindness flies out my passenger side window.

It is something I am working on, but it is also something I think I need help with.
A driver’s therapist?  A certain type of music?  A different route?
(Yeah right.  In Northern, Va. all routes are awful).
As I said before… challenges are a good thing.  They are healthy.  The teach you.  The build character.

But only if you let them.  

Linking up (a day late) with Chelsea from Life is a Sunset.  Check her out!!  




What is the one thing in your life that your will stop at nothing to get/be/do?  
That one thing that you will never stop striving to have.  
That one thing that would fulfill a part of your soul that nothing else could.  
That one thing you stay up and think about at night.
 That one thing that you talk to yourself about.
That one thing for me is my degree.
It may sounds silly, but it is totally true and I’ll tell you why:
I graduated from high school in 2000 (yep, I’m almost the big three zero).  
And what year is it again… 2012?  
I went straight to college and lasted (not even) a full semester.  It was a confusing experience, and one I am not extremely proud of.  Sure, I didn’t do what I set out to do, and blah blah blah.  But what mattered to me in the years to follow was that I let down some of the people that supported me.  It was a horrible feeling, and one that I was not equipped to handle on an emotionally mature level at that point in my life.

So what did I do?
I rebelled.  I partied, and I partied hard. (something I did almost none of in grade school).
I came out of the proverbial cage like a bat out of hell, and I avoided responsibility like the plague.

For almost four years I worked in and out of ordinary restaurants, had a few near death experiences, drank WAY too much, and gave my parents a few extra (thousand) gray hairs.

Finally, in 2004, tired of running myself ragged and having nothing to show for it, I made a serious decision to go back to school.  With the help of my family, I stared at a community college where I would spend the next two years busting my ass before transferring to a university with a 3.8 GPA.  Yeah… I was serious about  it this time.

After 3 successful semesters at George Mason University, Bren and I found out we were expecting a baby.   Needless to say, this put an immediate halt on the ol’ education.  I took two full semesters off of school.  I cannot tell you how upset I was about having to stop taking classes.  I was thrilled about having a baby, but depressed about the changes it was going to force me to make.  (I have to laugh at that now… “changes.”  Yeah… a baby changes EVERYTHING). I swore that I would go back as soon as I could.  Bren promised to do everything in his power to help me do so.
About 3 months after I had Liam, I landed a full time gig at George Mason University (how convenient you say!), and began taking classes again soon after.  Luckily for me, GMU offers its employees tuition benefits.  This allowed me to take 2 courses per semester (which was all I could handle anyway having a newborn at home and all…). 
 Four years and two kids later (Liam and Collin), here I am: On the cusp of my last semester.  About to graduate in about 7 months.  Working full time.  Planning crazy birthday parties last minute.  Trying to do this blogging thing (which I love and wish I had more time and energy for).  
I cannot begin to tell you what getting my degree signifies for me.  
Strength.  Support.  Faith.  Determination.  Focus.  Creativity.  Passion.  Hope.  Drive.  Comfort.  Relief.  Relentlessness.    
Most of all, I know, that if I can do THIS… I can do anything.
Never give up on that one thing.  It will be yours sooner than you expect!


Friday’s Letters 7.0

Dear blog– Please forgive me for neglecting you all week.  I can’t believe I haven’t done a single post.  It’s not that I didn’t WANT to.  You’ll just have to trust me on that one.  I’m hoping you and I get to spend more time together next week.
Dear fellow bloggers– Has this ever happened to you?  I have been so busy this week that not only have I had a limited amount of free time, but in that free time, I haven’t been able to come up with anything interesting to write about.  I’d call it “writer’s block,” or better yet “blogger’s block,” but it is so much more than that.  “Thinker’s block,” possibly.  How do you combat this if and when it has ever affected you?  I don’t want to fall of the face of the blogosphere every time I have a stressful week.  Any and all suggestions would be welcome and appreciated.
Dear Hub– OMG.  All I wanted to do was curl up next to you this morning and not move.  You are so comfy.  I’m sorry I fell back asleep when you went down to make our coffee.  And thank you for sending me a text (“Get up.”) to wake me back up.  It worked. 
Dear Liam– First soccer lesson this weekend!!!  Aren’t you so very excited?  If not, I’m excited enough for the both of us!  I promise you’ll have fun Bubs.  I can’t wait to see how well you do!
Dear Collin– I see dat wittle toooof poppin’ through doze wittle gumz!  I’m rootin’ for ya, Monkey!
Dear 80 degree weather that is on its way– Everything is better when you’re here.  Everything.  Never leave me.
Dear Mom– It was so nice spending time with you and AK last weekend.  Thank you for everything: the pictures, the lunch, the dress, the company.  I had such a good time!  You’re the best!  I love you!
Dear Bri and Alex– Can’t wait for a little girl time with you tonight!!!  Such a treat!  Let’s pretend like there’s no one else in the bar but us! 
Dear Friends– Have a wonderful weekend!  Make it just what you need.  Whatever that may be!

Linking up with Ashley from Adventures of Newlyweds!!  Every Friday, yo.  Every single Friday.  😉  If you haven’t yet, check her out!!!


P.S.- Here are some pictures from the week:

Friday’s Letters 6.0

Dear HOT 99.5’s Kane Show– 
Thank you and DJ Dirty Elbows for kickin’ it old school on the Weekend Rollout this morning.  In particular, thank you for playing Motown Philly.  
“Could it really happen, or do dreams just fade awaaayyy, yeah.”  
Took me back!  And it made for a pretty awesome car-dancing session, as well.

Tell me this didn’t just make your morning
Dear Lady with the “Baby on Board- Stay Back” Sticker on her car–  
I wonder, is that sticker a warning for other drivers, or perhaps a reminder for yourself that you shouldn’t be texting while weaving in and out of traffic at 70 mph without using your blinker?   
News Flash:  You’re the one driving like a maniac.
Dear Invisible Children
Thank you for my Kony 2012 package.  It came in the mail yesterday, and I was so happy to finally see it.  I already put on my bracelet (and gave the second one to a co-worker/friend), and I can’t wait to start Covering the Night.
Makin’ him famous
Kinda stylish?

Dear Liam and Collin
I don’t want a day to go by without you knowing how amazing you BOTH are.  
It’s just incredible to be your mother, and I am looking forward to all the years ahead of us.  
(Another Liam quote: “I’ll never let go of you.”  Me: “You’ll never let go of me?  Why?”  Liam: “Because I love you.”)
Special moments
 Dear Hub
Let’s play hooky from work again soon?  Circle yes or no.
I adore you.
Dear Roasted Veggie Cous Cous
You’ve got me wrapped around your tasty little finger.  I think hub is getting suspicious.  I’ll meet you at the fridge at midnight.  I’ll be the one wearing pajamas with bed-head and drool streaming down her chin.  HOT!
My edible lover
Dear Friends
If you read my post from a couple days ago, I hope that you know that I was coming from a really gentle and sincere place.  One of fairness and love.  I’m struggling with the thought that I may have offended someone with my opinion.  But when it comes down to it, I have to stand firmly by my beliefs.  Again, if I offended anyone, please accept my apology.
Have a very happy weekend, y’all.
Linking up with Ashley for Friday’s Letters!  Click on the button and link up too!

[in photos]: Journey Forward

I joined the Journey Forward series for the first time last week.
It is a perfect pairing with the vibe of Smile at a Stranger.

The goal of participating in Journey Forward is personal enrichment, self awareness, and moving toward your potential.  It is based on a central word, or theme, on which you focus your energy and attention, and blog about it weekly.

My “word” was an easy choice for me because it is an attitude I wish to impart on life in general: Kindness.
This week’s Journey Forward post is about images, or graphics (i.e.- videos) that embody your chosen word; to share some of your pins from Pinterest that exemplify the significance of your word. 
This is what kindness looks (and sounds) like to me:

1- Sarah Kay– Spoken word artist.  “Hands” Listen- It’s just beautiful.
2- Kindness is an animal instinct.  And an animal NEED.
3- Kindness is priceless, ya know.
4- Video- Amy Krause Rosenthal’s “Thought Bubble”- asks “How Do YOU Want to be Remembered”  “What Have You Filled the World With?”
5- Because making others feel good makes ME feel good.
6- Simplicity.  Kindness is not complicated.
7- Anis Logjani– Spoken word artist.  “Shake the Dust” Another amazing person trying to lift people up with his wonderful gift with words.
8- This is what I see everyday at home with my two boys, and besides a mother’s love for her children, sibling love is one of the purest forms of love (and kindness) there is.
9- Do RIGHT.  Because it’s wayyyy cooler than doing wrong.
10- Parents.  And especially my mom.  From whom I learned what kindness was.
11- What Teachers Make- Taylor Mali.  Powerful stuff, y’all.  
Linking up with a fellow NoVA girl, Chelsea, for Journey Forward!  
Can’t wait until next week!