Five years and five hundred posts later…

It’s been just over five years since I started this blog and today I write post #500.

Five years ago I was nearing the end of my graduate school days.  I was excited about my off-campus pediatric placement I had just completed at CHKD, a little nervous about my upcoming adult placement at an adult rehab facility, working on the final chapters of my Master’s thesis, and studying for my exhaustive comprehensive exam. In addition to my full-time class schedule and full-time unpaid internships, I was also volunteering 2x/week with the youth group at my church and leading YoungLife 3x/week with club, campaigners, and leader meetings. My life was busy and crazy and I never got enough sleep.

On top of all that, I was going through a difficult break up.  It wasn’t a difficult break up because of the relationship itself, but because I was coming to terms with loneliness. On May 17, 2007  I wrote: “I have plenty of people around me who love me dearly, but I still felt alone. Loneliness is perhaps the worst emotion one can feel, and I felt it deeply. One night, when I realized even our friendship couldn’t survive the realm of emotions we shared, I went home and cried for what seemed like hours… But then I began to pray, and as much as I cried, I prayed even more. I didn’t really know what to pray for or what I needed from God at that time, but He knew what I needed even when I didn’t…”

I learned an important lesson through this experience: “God has taught me that people will always dissapoint me; we’re humans, and sinners, but HE is the solid rock that will ALWAYS be there for me to stand on, He will ALWAYS be strong, He will pick us up when we’ve fallen and renew our strength when we cannot find our own. He will NEVER dissapoint us. He will NEVER let us down.” (I would be reminded of this lesson a few times over during the next five years.)

It wasn’t until 14 months later that I decided to write on a regular basis and turn this one-post blog into a story of my life, according to me. On July, 28, 2008 I didn’t know what my blog would be about. I didn’t know how much I would say, how deep the conversations would get, or how often I would write, but I was excited to share parts of my life with the people I cared about and let them in on the “little happenings of my life.” On July 28, 2008 I wrote: “Please don’t expect much from this blog. I’ve written ONE blog  in the past 25 years of my life, so my knowledge and expertise of ‘How To Write A Great Blog’ is very limited, but I will tell you what you can expect… me. I’m a little quirky, almost always happy, and I have been known to have a few “blond moments” in the past. So maybe this blog will at least be a little entertaining, if not for the sake of being able to laugh at someone behind their back with their full knowledge that you’re probably already laughing at them. So enjoy. Laugh with me, laugh at me. Whatever. But keep reading. Maybe someday it will get better.”

And so begins my story… Happy memories, heartache, healing, and hope.

August 7, 2008: The infamous family reunion… “Pray for these unfortunate souls that they will regain composure after realizing their position in the buffet line means they missed all of Aunt Alice’s lasagna. Their life is officially ruined.”

January 22, 2009: I took on the task of trying to follow a new recipe. Not a good idea.”Before someone is allowed to post a supposedly ‘easy quick dessert’ online, they should let ME try to cook it first.”

April 20, 2009: “Cause if you know my family, you know what we all have in common. The three of us Gwaltney kids were given the forehead. Yeah, you know the one I’m talking about.”

July 20, 2009: “Happy 21st Birthday, Cam”

Oct 5, 2009: We did a lot of picking on Cameron, all in good fun… “Good thing he has a great sense of humor cause we probably could’ve caused a lot of mental damage to that kid.”

March 29, 2010: “As he talked about ‘tree tag’ he never seemed to mention the fact that it is completely and totally dangerous and could potentially result in death, if not at the very least a massive brain injury.”

April 11, 2010: “So here is my moment, I step up to the front of the line and I can only think of one thing to say…”

July 1, 2010: My favorite quote on the blog…“I had a dream last night that I ran into you at Office Max and you helped me organize my life.”

July 12, 2010: “Ali decided to conquer the air conditioner’s tendency to make our room frigid arctic cold and in doing so, centered on that Gone With The Wind dress-out-of-draperies thing.”

October 3, 2010My marriage was falling apart and I felt completely out of control, but the only thing I had the courage to write on my blog was “My heart is sad.”

March 7, 2011: Trying to find peace in the chaos… “Child, you are forgiven and loved.”

March 22, 2011: Finding my hope in God just days before I would need it most… “Through many dangers, toils, and snares I have already come.  Tis grace that brought me here thus far, and grace will lead me home.”

May 8, 2011: “Even though I’m walking through the valley of the shadow, I will hold tight to the hand of Him whose love will comfort me. And when all hope is gone and I’ve been wounded in the battle, He is all the strength that I will ever need, He will carry me. And even though I feel so lonely like I’ve never been before, You never said it would be easy but You said You’d see me through the storm.” Song lyrics, because my own words just wouldn’t come.

May 22, 2011: “Your efforts this last year have forever impacted our lives.  Thank you so much.”

June 10, 2011: Healing begins… “Learning daily what God has been trying to teach me for a long time – that I am His treasure, His princess, His prize, His beloved.”

June 19, 2011: “And suddenly I had that truth moment…”

July 22, 2011: “Who says, ‘Hey, let’s race down to the end of the houses!’ while their on vacation?  Seriously.  That level of physical expenditure is totally unnecessary on my week off.”

August 13, 2011: “And not only did God provide me with the means to take this trip and the opportunities to be involved in a huge stylized shoot while on this trip, but also the freedom to just live.”

August 23, 2011: “I thought I was going to die.”

September 9, 2011: Relief, a long time coming.

September 10, 2011: Finally able to release the emotions of the last six months… “I will keep you. I will hold you through the night. I will love you. I will lead you to the light.”

October 6, 2011: Finding myself again… “I am here to give you back your heart and set you free.”

December 4, 2011: “This should be an interesting, exciting, and humbling process…”

December 11, 2011: “We just got pulled over for driving a stolen car.”

December 16, 2011: “Is today the 4th of July?”

December 16, 2011: “Bucket List: Road Trip Across the U.S. = Accomplished.”

December 29, 2011: Adventures on vacation… “Just as we were hoping that our stop at the mainland was coming soon and Dad informed us that we still had another 30 minutes of chilling torture, Knate said “Do you guys realize that we just left a mansion with a hot tub and a cappuccino maker?!?!?!?!!!”

January 12, 2012: “You’ve just been upgraded on the ladder of coolness.”

January 31, 2012: “Perhaps you’re wondering, whatever happened to Frank?  Well, I’m sorry to have to tell you this over the internet, but he died.  He actually took his own life.”

February 1, 2012: “Yesterday was my 29th birthday.”

February 6, 2012: “So what is your goal for 2012? Dangit Logan! Just when I thought I had finally reached a new level of introspection and self-discovery you go and ask me a question like that.”

March 27, 2012: “…now that I think about it I think it also drove my dad nuts because the two of us would start twitching like the auditory stimulus was hitting our neuromuscular system and we had no control over the adverse reactions of this God forsaken noise…”

April 5, 2012: “Did I mention that our family is from West Virginia?”

April 13, 2012: “I realized yesterday, on my way to meet friends for dinner, that it was exactly one year ago that I made the decision that would change my life.”

June 27, 2012: “None of it was planned.  All of it was perfect.”

June 27, 2012: “Hook, line, and sinker. I’m done.”

Five years in the life of Meghan summed up in 38 blog posts.

Five years ago, I didn’t have many daily readers, but over the years I have had sooooo many friends, relatives, and even some strangers tell me how much they love reading this blog, keeping up with me from across the country or just from across town. You have given me encouragement when I was feeling down, laughed at me when I “pull a Meghan” and cried with me as the dissappointments and heartaches of life came at me faster than I ever expected. You have shared in my fun adventures and also read through tears during the darkest and most difficult moments of my adult life.  You have been there through it all, in words and in spirit, and I cannot thank you enough.

Five years ago, I had no idea what it would become.  There were weeks on end with one post after another and then months of very little activity at all when I couldn’t even bear the thought of writing out my emotions much less putting them out on a public forum. I didn’t know what to expect from this blog. I didnt know what you would read, what emotions I would share and what I would just keep to myself, but at the end of the day it’s just about me: “I’m a little quirky, almost always happy, and I have been known to have a few “blond moments” in the past. So enjoy. Laugh with me, laugh at me. Whatever. But keep reading.”

Five years ago, I had no idea what life had in store for me, no idea the realm of emotions I would feel, the rollercoaster of experiences I would endure, what I would learn, and the amazing opportunities I would have. I had no idea that I would get married and divorced within two years, and that I would spend the next 12 months on my own, fully relying on God’s timing and allowing God to mold me and create the woman I was always meant to be. I had no idea that I could be so strong and so happy, alone.

Five years ago, I was five years away from being fully confident in myself and fully content in knowing that God was looking out for me and had a bigger plan for me than I even knew. I was five years from the life I was meant to live.

Five years ago, I was lonely and heartbroken, but only five years away from true joy and happiness.

Bucket List Update

It was pointed out to me recently that I haven’t updated one item on my Bucket List that I accomplished since adding it just a few months ago:

Corolla beach house + three firefighter friends and their wives + late night talks under the stars + five shooting stars + beachin + lunch at Sunset Grille + dance party on the drive home + dinner with friends + Lady Antebellum concert = the best first date ever.

None of it was planned.  All of it was perfect.

End a great first date with a kiss. (Done!)


Wedding Day

Overheard during wedding day prep…

Mother of the Bride: “We should watch a wedding movie like Father of the Bride or Bridesmaids!”

Bride: “Nah, let’s watch soccer.”

God opens the door

I have been so blessed recently to share my faith with people close to me.  It never ceases to amaze me how God continues to open doors of ministry even when I am not actively in any ministry position as I have been during previous years of my life.

One friend told me, at a bar of all places, that he has been reading the Bible regularly and was retelling me stories from Genesis and Exodus, stories of faith and promise, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Moses and the people of Israel. I didn’t ask many questions because I’ve learned over the years that sometimes it’s better to just let people talk and work through it on their own and process what God is doing in their lives and when God wants your interjections and questions, He’ll let you know.

Another person is asking me so many amazing questions about God, faith, Christianity, religion, other religions, and how it all fits together. I’ve done pretty well being able to answer all of these questions although I still fear that one of them will stump me, but God shows me over and over again that I do know the answers, I do have the knowledge and understanding to help someone else through the common yet daunting questions that face every non-believer.

And last is a girl who seems to be more of an  all-roads-lead-to-the-same-place kind of person.  She read The Shack recently and wanted me to read it so she could ask me questions and talk it over. I tried reading it in one day but that just didn’t happen. I finished it last night at the beach house in Duck and can’t wait to begin that conversation.

It’s not about me. It’s not about the “ministry” I’m involved in. It’s not about how often Igo to church, how often I read my Bible, or how often I attend Bible study, it’s about how I live.  Each one of these people knows that I am a Christian but had never seen me at church, reading my Bible, or in a Bible study. They’ve never seen me in a ministry setting and they’ve never seen that part of my life.  But that “part”… that part where God is, is my entire life. That “ministry” is my entire life and apparently they did see that.

I am so grateful for the opportunities He is giving me and I look forward to the relationships He is building between me and His children around me.

What happens in Vegas…

Just booked my flights to Vegas.

Put on your game face.

The Goshen Cabin

Reading about the “Radford Girls” and about some of my upbringing… There’s a good long story here but it’ll have to wait for another day.


Funny Bone

Girls Night Out at Funny Bone. There were 13 of us, not sure how we lost the others.


I hate you, Shannon.

“Hi Meghan, this is Jan calling from —— Salon. I’m calling to confirm your appointment with Georgia tomorrow, Friday the 30th, at 9:00.”

I hate you, Shannon.  And you too, Bonnie.

See??? It’s not just me!!!

Firefighter was over last night after an impromptu movie night to see The Hunger Games (sooo good, and totally reading the books), and was asking my roommates about the lack of smoke detectors in the house. Yes, he’s totally stuck on this smoke detector thing.

So he asked one of my roommates if she would mind if he installed a smoke detector in her bedroom over the weekend, since apparently having them in all the bedrooms is an important piece of the don’t-die-a-tragic-death-while-your-house-goes-up-in-flames puzzle.

Her first response was, “That depends. Is it gonna beep at me all the time???”


Alarm clocks

I have very few pet peeves.  I don’t mind the toilet seat up or the toilet paper put on the roller backwards.  I don’t care if you are a bad driver and you drive too slow when it’s raining.  It doesn’t even bother me when people track dirt into my house. My carpets are already ruined, please add to the mess, it’s really ok. I’ll just buy a groupon for professional carpet cleaning and feel all great about myself that I saved 59% off the regular price. 

But… there is absolutely no way on God’s green earth that I can adequately or effectively explain how much I HATE the sound of repeated ticking, beeping, and ringing noises. My parents used to sit us down for family dinners and if the phone rang, we would hear that ever present “Just let it ring” from my mom, and now that I think about it I think it also drove my dad nuts because the two of us would start twitching like the auditory stimulus was hitting our neuromuscular system and we had no control over the adverse reactions of this God forsaken noise that just kept ringing over… and over… and over… and over… and over… and over… and over… and over… and over… and over……….

and over…

and over…

and over…….

SEE?????!!!!!!  You’re annoyed with just READING about it!!! 

[take a breath.]

I truly cannot find the words to appropriately explain how much I hate ticking and beeping and ringing, so I’m gonna have to quote Dane Cook on this:

“There are certain sounds in this world that when you hear them, they make you react in different ways. There are certain sounds that when they float into your eardrum, and go high into your cerebellum… you hear the sound and you react in a certain way. Some sounds: soothing, right?  You hear the sound of a babbling brook… maybe the sound of the dryer with the towels… but then there are certain sounds in this world that, for whatever reason, just the way it hits you, it makes you want to punch a baby.

It makes you want to PUNCH A BABY.”

So… (Mom: stop reading, ignore the curse word, or just go pray for me later) I got a text today that read: “Have you ever laid in bed for five minutes just staring at your loud-ass alarm clock, hoping you could turn it off with your mind?”

And my first thought was, no, because “God help me!  IT’S THE SOUND THAT MAKES ME WANT TO PUNCH INFANTS!”

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