Monday, September 10, 2012

Know Yourself

9-10-12

Lauren,

Hey.  Today's lesson is about knowing yourself.  If there is any one thing that I think it is absolutely important to know, it is to know yourself.  I don't mean knowing your favorite color, knowing your favorite snack, or knowing what your favorite band is. . .any of your best friends should be able to tell you that.  When I say it is important for you to know yourself, I'm talking about the little things, and noticing what makes you "tick" and what doesn't.

Some things you'll figure out as you get older, but why not start now?  Notice things that make you happy, things that make you sad; notice if a certain situation makes you uncomfortable, or if a certain person makes your emotions go from one extreme to another.  Notice when your body feels healthy, and when it doesn't.  These things are important to know, and if you start noticing them earlier rather than later, you'll learn how to better deal with them.

I have always been very observant of myself and others.  Several teachers and adults have told me that I'm observant and "wise beyond my years," so to speak.  That's why I know something is up with me lately.  I don't feel like myself.  The things that normally make me smile, and even the things that normally make me sad, don't really affect me at the moment.  And my body. . . .well I feel like my body is waging a war against me. First it was the surgery seven months ago, now it's acid reflux, or my hip, or any of the other fifty gazillion things ailing me. But now that I've recognized those things, I can work on them.

You know what really bothers me, though? When you tell someone something about yourself and they say "Oh, you'll change your mind one day," or "That's silly...why would you say something like that about yourself?" Because I know myself, duh! This is another reason why it's important to know yourself. . .if you grow up letting other people tell you who and what you are, you'll never truly figure it out for yourself.

So. . .start today.  Know yourself, and learn who you are.  It'll make you a much better, stronger person!

Love,

Meghan

Sunday, August 26, 2012

I Haven't Forgotten About You

8-26-12

Lauren,

Long time, no write! It's not that I've been slacking...I've been doing anything but, trust me. I worked my butt off this summer. . .three jobs, friends, and family to keep up with: that can take up quite a bit of time. That's not to say that I didn't lose focus, though.  As work started, and things got crazier, I lost my motivation.  I have that back now.

I have so many things that I could write to you about, especially after this summer. If there has been any time in my life that has tested my willpower, and my overall sense of self, this summer has been that time. And thank goodness I have not lost my will to write. I've said multiple times lately that I went to school for nothing, that my degree is doing me no good.  But then I get back on here and I remember why I love writing so much.  You've got to have something to keep you grounded, and this is one of those things for me.

So for now, I'll leave you with the promise of more letters.  And, the promise to tell the next part of your story.  Some stories do have happy endings, and so far it seems that yours is going to be one of them.  As always, keep your head up girlie!

Love,

Meghan

PS- Good luck with your first day of high school tomorrow!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Hello, Again.

5-24-12

Lauren,

Ahhh.  It has been a while since I last wrote for you, almost a month exactly.  I am truly sorry for abandoning this during that time, but there are some times in life when you just have to let something sit and breathe for a little bit.  Guess I needed to give this a chance to breathe.

It's kind of hard to come up with something "profound" to write about everyday.  Especially when every day feels like the last, and life becomes mundane, as mine has seemed to lately. I've found that I'm investing myself in work after being out of it for so long during the winter.  I've finally found that energy and motivation again, and it has kick-started itself for sure.  What motivates you? And when you get that motivation, how do you channel it? 

I've always been very ambitious, an overachiever of sorts, and a control freak in certain areas.  When I get ideas, I usually stick to them hardcore, hardly ever letting anyone change my mind.  Look at my college career for example;  I chose to major in English, and stuck to that all throughout college.  Not many people can say they did that (Now whether or not that was a wise choice is a whole other topic). Despite my few hiccups with this, I've pretty much stuck with it since I started it.  And now, here I am with three jobs, as crazy as that sounds, but I'm determined to work through it even if it means sacrificing a few things.

I'm going to try to keep writing more.  It may not be every day, but I'm still here, and I don't plan on going anywhere any time soon.

Keep your head up!

Love,

Meghan

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Love, Lose, and Love Some More

4-25-12

Lauren,

Hey.  I want to talk to you a little about love.  Love is a broad topic, so let me narrow it down a bit for you.  I'm talking about the sappy, boy-meets-girl, romantic movie kind of love.  At 13, you probably don't know much about this kind of love; I know I didn't at your age.  But trust me, one day you'll find out.

When you're older and finally have that moment where you're like "Hey, I really LOVE this guy," it'll be one of the best moments in your life (well, usually, unless he doesn't love you back. . .that's a whole other letter topic).  I had a moment like this.  It happened right at the end of my high school career.  You probably know whow I'm talking about, but for his privacy I'll leave him nameless.

Loving someone and being in a relationship can be a great thing.  I had a lot of fun times and fond memories with this person.  It can also be a great learning experience, too. You learn a lot about yourself as part of a couple, but you learn a lot about yourself as an individual, too.

Of course, with love comes loss.  This is almost a given.  This is what really sits heavy on my mind today.  On what would've been a big milestone, I'm forced to face what I have lost.  It's kind of bittersweet because on one hand, it was a great loss, and a terrible one, because that person meant a lot to me. But on the other hand, that loss opened the door for me to discover so many great things about myself as an individual.  I hate to say it, but you'll probably figure out what I mean someday.  I just hope that if you do, you come out on the other side as a better, stronger person like I did.

So today I'll probably take a little time to remember.  But then I'll also take time to remember why it ended, and how that got me to where I am today.  I love who I am now, and as they say, until you can love yourself, no one else can.

Love,

Meghan

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

He-Said, She-Said

4-17-12

Lauren,

Hey.  It took me a while, but I am finally back with a new letter.  Sometimes you just have to take a break from something before you can get any new ideas and move on with it.  That's what I had to do with this.  Sometimes the thoughts just come to me, other times I have to sit back and wait for them to show themselves.

Today I come back with an interesting topic, one that you would think would die as you get older.  But rest assured, gossip and drama never die, not even with age or maturity.  No matter what you do to get rid of it in your life, it will find a way back in.  It can be through something someone else said or done, it can be because of how you react to something, it can be because it was fabricated for someone else's gain.  Either way, drama never dies.  In the past few days, at 24 years old, I've found myself tangled up in something like this.  It's not the first time it's happened (I am a girl, and as a girl, it happens a lot). In the past, I might have been the one to start it, unfortunately.  But in the past few months I've buried anything or any relationships that had caused me the "need" for drama.  It's very peaceful.  So how, you might ask, have I found myself in the middle of something lately? He-said, she-said stuff.  I'm telling you now, stay away from it.  It's no fun.

I think how we react to things, like drama, partially defines who we are as people.  It's a thought I've considered greatly over the last few weeks, and care to discuss more in depth at another time.  How do you react to drama and gossip? At 13, I know it's got to be prevalent in your everyday life.  Learn from me and my friends.  Don't spread rumors, don't start stuff, and don't be the bully.  It's nothing you should be proud of.

Keep your head up!

Love,

Meghan

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Solitude

3-31-12

Lauren,

Life can be a little overwhelming sometimes. It's not rare that people get caught up in their everyday routines, and all together forget what it's like to enjoy a little solitude every now and then.

I've found myself enjoying quite a bit of solitude lately despite the hustle and bustle of my everyday life.  For me, this is a big accomplishment.  It wasn't that long ago that I found myself restless and unable to cope with the quietness of being by myself.  Back then, if I even spent one day at home by myself I would find myself searching for some way out of it, contacting any friend I could to find some peace.  Here I am today, though.  My best friend is out of town, my phone sits silently next to me, and I am able to sit here and write in a quiet house.  And I do this all knowing that I have no plans ahead of me for the day.  It's kind of a great feeling.

People aren't just overwhelmed by everyday routines, though.  They are also swamped with emotions, and those things that cause those emotions.  This is the thing I find myself dealing with again.  The stresses that come with things like responsibility, health and friendships are all things that I am facing right now.  I wouldn't say that I'm exactly struggling, but it I don't deal with these stresses in the right way, I may find myself overwhelmed and consumed by them in the future.  Know what I mean?

I hope you are able to enjoy some solitude like I have been able to lately.  Every now and then we need a little time alone to remember who we are, and to do those things that, by ourselves, keep us grounded and in the right place.

Keep your head up!

Love,

Meghan

Saturday, March 31, 2012

What Went Wrong?

3-31-12

Lauren,

Pre-warning you now: this letter is a little "deep," so bear with me.

Sometimes I look at you and Chrysta and wonder what went "wrong" with me.  Let me explain.  Chrysta, although she's not always had the greatest relationship with Mom, is fully capable and willing to tell our parents and other family members that she loves them, or can even give them a hug with no second thoughts.  Then there is you, the "baby" of us three girls.  You're the same way as Chrysta, and still have a strong relationship with and a deep affection for our parents.  You have no problem telling us that you miss us, and still say "Mommy" and "Daddy," both of which have a loving and affectionate connotation to them.

And then there is me.  Meghan, the oldest child.  The one who has a problem saying "I love you" to family members, the one who feels weird hugging her parents, and the one who cringes when her parents call her a name like "honey" or "sweetie."  That's what I mean by what went wrong with me.  It's like I lack that fundamental gene that is needed to express positive emotion to someone in my family.

Besides the things I've already mentioned, there are other things that are strange to me, too.  I think I've mentioned it before, but I can't buy a serious card.  I just can't.  And I've often had this thought:  If I ever get married, the idea of the father-daughter dance just weirds me out.  Let's not ignore the fact that I haven't said "I love you" to Mom or Dad in years probably.  Or the fact that any positive attention, or negative attention for that matter, from anyone usually makes me want to hide in a corner.  So again I ask, what went wrong?

The only time I felt comfortable saying "I love you" or randomly hugging someone was in The Long-Term Relationship (this is its new moniker).  And then that ended.  I wonder sometimes if I'll ever be able to do something like that again, either.  Pretty much the only person left that I can show affection towards is Megan, and she's my best friend. . .

So I don't know. . .this is something I've often pondered, and so I thought I'd share it with you.  I hope you never get to this place.  It makes for a lot of uncomfortable, awkward moments.  I am working on it, though, so I guess that's all that matters.  I love you!

Love,

Meghan

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Back to the Past

3-27-12

Lauren,

Ever hear someone say something like "Things were so much easier when we were kids," or "I wish I was in high school still when I didn't have to worry about adult stuff?"  It's true, those times were a lot easier in so many ways.  There were no bills, no pressures about getting married and having kids, and no stresses about where to live.

Me as a toddler with no worries!

Yes, those times were nice, but sometimes people spend so much time and energy living in the past that they don't get to live in today.  You're probably wondering why I'm talking about this.  I found a quote by Audrey Hepburn today that I really liked, and it got me thinking about all of this.  It says:

"Living is like tearing through a museum.  Not until later do you really start absorbing what you saw, thinking about it, looking it up in a book, and remembering- because you can't take it in all at once." - Audrey Hepburn

It would be nice to live a fun-filled life where all I worried about was homework, but at the same time I have experienced so much and learned many things as an adult.  As Audrey Hepburn talks about, living is about trying new things, making mistakes, and creating new memories.  You look back on those memories, learn from them, and move on to make new memories.

Lauren, you're at a very important point in your life right now, and what you're going through is an experience that you will probably never forget.  Learn from it, but don't dwell on it.  If I were to dwell on all the bad things I've been through, I probably wouldn't be here right now.  Learn from it, become a stronger person, and then move on to the next new memory.

Keep your head up!

Love,

Meghan

Monday, March 26, 2012

I'm an Older Sister?

3-26-12

Lauren,

It's the weirdest thing, but I'm just now starting to feel like an oldest sister.  I don't know why it took me 23 years to finally feel that way. . .maybe it's your age, or the fact that Chrysta is engaged and has a kid.  Either way, it's a strange yet refreshing feeling.

I think it kind of hit me the other day when I asked you about your best friend.  When you told me it's a boy and that he's 15 I was like "Whaaaat?!"  I guess that instinctive older sibling protective vibe kicked in and I actually noticed it.  It made me feel old.  My little sister, who is ten years younger than me, is old enough to make me worry about her and boys. . .I am old!

But all jokes aside, it is a weird thing being an older sibling.  As I think I told you before, I never really cared about being the oldest, or really ever gave it any thought until now.  Now that you're old enough to start making some big decisions I am going to worry about whether or not you'll make the right choices.  I'm going to worry about how I influence you.  But, you are a good kid, and if you're anything like your older sisters, you'll be fine. :)

Keep your head up!

Love,

Meghan

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Transitioning

3-25-12

Lauren,

There are a few moments that define us in life, and then there are those times that we change and transition without even realizing it at first.  It usually takes a little while to see the change, and when you finally do it's like "Hey, when did that happen?"

This subtle change that I'm talking about has happened to me a couple of times in the past few years.  There was the change in my weight which gradually increased throughout college.



When I finally noticed it, I couldn't believe I had let it slip past me.  Then finally I did something about it, and now today I'm more aware of my body and how I eat and take care of it.



There were other changes that sneaked up on me, too.  These were more attitude and life-outlook changes than they were physical.  In my serious romantic relationship that I spent years in and working on, I realized one day that my views on marriage and children had changed.  That change became part of why that relationship ended.

Recently I noticed another sudden change in me.  I feel more calm, not necessarily a peaceful calm, but more like I'm finally settling in and giving into "me."  These past ten months or so have been a struggle for me, trying to figure out who I am and what my purpose is in this big world.  And finally, I feel like I'm finally making it to the other side of this "fog" that's been clouding my mind lately.  It's a good feeling.

As humans we should always be changing and evolving into better people.  The moment we stop changing we've either given up or become perfect, and no one is perfect.

Love,

Meghan

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I Need a Vacation

3-20-12

Lauren,

Hey.  Sometimes when I'm not quite sure how I'm feeling I'll go on to Google and search for quotes that provoke some type of thought within me at that moment.  Today was a day to search for quotes.  While on my quest for the "perfect" quote, I found one that said:

"Vacations are not about 'getting away'- but about getting in 'touch.'" -Chinese fortune

This quote really struck a chord with me today.  With all the stress I've been under lately, and with summer right around the corner, I can think of nothing more than taking a vacation.  Things have been so crazy, and my thoughts have been so jumbled and foggy lately, that the idea of getting away from it all is SUPER appealing.  

While it would be nice to be able to put everything behind me for a few days, perhaps i am feeling a little "out of touch" with myself lately.  Back in the fall after going through counseling all of my thoughts and feelings were extremely clear and easy to comprehend.  But here I am months later, and those things aren't so clear anymore.  

Do you ever feel this way?  If you do, I hope you know how to cope, and that it doesn't last long.  Keep your head up! I know I'm trying to.

Love,

Meghan

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Infatuated

3-20-12

Lauren,

Let me just take a minute, or a whole letter in this case, to drool over Gavin DeGraw a bit.  Just in case you didn't know, I'm head over heels for the guy, and I've never even talked to him before! On my angry days, his music calms me down.  On my sad days, his lyrics sing to my heart.  On my happy days, his voice makes me even happier.  How could there be a more perfect man?

I've always been a sucker for guys that can sing.  I highly doubt that I'll find a guy that can sing, though, so looks like I'll have to settle for YouTube videos of Gavin DeGraw performances for now.  I can spend hours in front of my computer watching his music videos and learning how to play his songs on the guitar.  I'm obsessed. . .I'll admit it.

I hope you're having a good week so far.  I'm already looking forward to Friday.  But until then, I think I'll relax and listen to some music :)

Love,

Meghan

Here's his newest music video, "Sweeter:"


Monday, March 19, 2012

Smallest Good in the Biggest of Bads

3-19-12

Lauren,

Hey.  You probably noticed, but I'm still pacing myself a bit here lately with these.  During my little break from writing letters, though, I have been taking some time to think about stuff, and to find both the good and bad in every day.  So let's talk about one of the good and bad things from this past weekend. . .

Saturday night I lost my voice. Gone. Out of nowhere, too. The only way I could talk was to whisper, or to take the time to text whatever I was trying to say.  It was annoying.  If you know me well enough, you know that I love to sing.  I like to talk, too, but singing is something I have to do pretty much every day, and if I can't, well I'm one sad Meghan.  And so, there I was. . .St. Patrick's Day weekend, no voice, and I couldn't sing.  So sad :(

I am me, though, and somehow I still manage to find humor in everything, even the sad things.  So of course, between my friends and I, we definitely found some humor in my lack of voice.  Walking into Walmart yesterday with Megan and Emily, I found myself trying to laugh.  Between the laughing making it worse, and the fact that my vocal chords were all out of whack, I ended up sounding like one of the Chipmunks while I was laughing.  And of course, this led to more laughing.  The cycle was endless.

This is something I've been trying to do lately: finding even the smallest good in the biggest of bads.  If I couldn't and didn't, I'm not quite sure where I'd be right now.  Things have been rough lately, as you can tell through my lack of letters, but I push on.  Hope you're doing okay. Keep your head up!

Love,

Meghan

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Bit of a Let Down

3-15-12

Lauren,

Hey.  I was going to give myself a few more days away from this to think about things to write, but then you called me today and I needed to vent somewhere, so why not vent on here.  First, you did nothing wrong by calling me.  I just feel bad because I haven't been able to come to the visits lately, and because I can't come this Saturday to have dinner with you.  I know you probably already feel let down so much, and now I'm letting you down more by not being able to see you.  I know I'll get to make it up to you in the near future, but at the same time it just sucks that I can't be there on the one day that you ask me to be.

I feel like a bit of a let down in other ways here lately, too.  I feel like a let down to my roommates because I haven't been able to pay rent on time from where I was out of work after surgery.  I feel like a let down to my friends because every time they ask me to go out somewhere with them, I have to say no because I need to save up.  I feel like a let down to myself because I still haven't started grad school searching, even though I told myself I would have one picked by February.  Things have definitely been a little rough on me lately, and strong as I am, there are times when they finally catch up to me and it all just spills out.  I'm sure everyone has moments like this.  It would be unusual and not human to never feel sad, disappointed, angry, etc. . .having emotions is part of being human.  But it's knowing how to deal with them and how to learn from them that makes the difference.

I will definitely see you soon.  I know our situation is not ideal.  And I know I can't always be the big sister I'm suppose to be.  But hopefully that will change one day soon.  Love you.  Keep your head up!

Love,

Meghan

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Unsure

3-11-12

Lauren,

Hello.  I'm not sure if you've noticed lately, but I'm slacking a bit in the letter department. I think I have an explanation for this, or at least a better understanding of why I haven't been able to write much lately.  One, I just don't know what to write anymore.  It's not that I'm running out of ideas.  I just don't feel like I have going anything in my life lately that is really worth writing about. 

I would say life has felt a bit "empty" lately, for a lack of a better word. I'm finally back to work, which is awesome, but everything else seems to be changing.  More and more often lately I find myself wondering about the things that used to be so solid for me.  One major thing is my friends.  This is one of the hardest parts about growing up.  People change, and so your friends change.  My friends that I have had for years all of sudden feel very distant to me, and I find myself turning to newer friends for the stuff I would normally go to my BFFs for.  This definitely bothers me.  I'm trying to accept the change, but that is never easy.

Thank goodness I'm still sure of myself.  That is about the only thing I can be sure of these days.  Jobs change, friends change, guys come and go, but I know who I am and so hopefully, as long as I work at it, I won't ever lose that.  I'll try my best to find worthwhile things to write to you about.  I try to look for the good and bad to tell you about, but sometimes it's just easier to focus on the bad because when it's there, it's usually screaming in your face. 

Keep your head up!  I know I'm trying to keep mine up, too.

Love,

Meghan

Saturday, March 10, 2012

I'm a Stubborn Girl

3-10-12

Lauren,

I am one stubborn person.  Add to that the fact that I am also very determined and ambitious, and well, I can do some serious business if I really put my mind to something.  Depending on what my motive is at the time, the outcome can be something great.  Or, it can simply be something silly, like buying something that I've been wanting for some time. 

Here lately, I've been pretty stubborn and pretty determined when it comes to a couple of things.  One, I've recently convinced myself that I'll be getting a new piercing and, gasp, a tattoo somewhere in the near future.  I've always been the one to say that I never want a tattoo because I'm too chicken and it would hurt, but here lately I find myself wanting one more and more.  The more I think about it, the more I'm determined to do it, painful or not.  When I first said I wanted my tongue pierced I told myself I would never get it done because it would hurt.  But then one day this past summer I was sitting at Jamie and Kenny's house in North Carolina and I was like "You know, I really want to get my tongue pierced." I kept saying it over and over again, and I ended up getting it done later that day. I've been doing the same thing lately with the tattoo.  The more I think about it, the more I want to get it done.

I'm also being stubborn lately when it comes to a certain person.  This person drives me crazy, and now I'm telling myself I'm going to ignore them for a while.  I think that's all I'll say about this for now. . .I'm sure there will be more to come later. This is when being stubborn is silly.  But hey, it is me, so what can I say. . .

Either way, I don't think being stubborn/determined/ambitious is necessarily a bad thing.  It helps me to get things done.  This is not to say I'm always this way.  There are days when I'm the complete opposite and don't feel like doing anything.  But it's a good feeling to know that I can do whatever I put my mind to.  I hope you can say the same!

Love,

Meghan

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Pinterest= Addicting

3-7-12

Lauren,

So I have a confession: I'm a bit obsessed with Pinterest.  I don't know if you've heard of it, or if you have ever been on there to see what it's all about, but it's pretty neat.  For someone like me who is obsessed with baking, shopping, hair and makeup, it can be just a tad bit addicting. 

You should have seen Megan and I tonight; we were both sitting here, eyes glued on our computers as we scrolled through pictures upon pictures of dresses, cupcakes, and any other eye candy we could find.  It really makes me want to go shopping, too.  This is a problem, though, because I don't have any money.  No money= no shopping.  There are days when I really, really want a new dress, but I can't get one.  And so what do I do?  I make a new outfit out of clothes I already have.  I don't know how many times here lately I've texted Megan to tell her that I have a new outfit and I didn't even go shopping.  Pinterest might fuel my passion for a new wardrobe, and it might test my willpower to save my money, but it also gets my creative juices flowing, and that's always a good feeling :)

I hope you're having a good week!  Keep your head up girlie.

Love,

Meghan

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

It's Been A While

3-6-12

Lauren,

Hello.  It's been a few days since I last wrote, and I really have no excuse other than that I don't really know what to write lately.  It kind of bumming me out, too, because my goal was to do this every day, and yet here I am four days later with a new letter.

I feel like there is a fog around my thoughts lately.  I'm not sure why, but I can never seem to quite fully get a grasp on what I'm thinking and feeling.  Maybe this is because things have been so up in the air lately.  I really don't feel like I have a grasp on my life right now, especially after being out of my one job for a month with the surgery and all.  Things have felt a little strange with my friends; they've all seemed pretty distant.  Another reason why I might not be able to write is because I'm not writing, if that makes any sense.  I have so many thoughts going through my head and instead of getting them out into writing, I'm hoarding them in my brain.  Probably not a good idea. 

The only things that haven't changed as of lately are my determination to exercise as much as possible, and my constant need to dance.  I am doing pretty good with the exercising.  This week is getting a little busy, so I might not be able to go out and walk/run as much as I have been, but I'm still going to do it when I can.  As far as dancing goes, well I dance whenever and wherever I can (I'm sitting in my chair bouncing around and dancing as I type this). I dance while doing the dishes, alone in my room, when I go out with my friends, in my car. . .you get the idea. 

I hope things are going okay for you.  Wish I could see you more.  Keep your head up!

Love,

Meghan

Friday, March 2, 2012

Random Would Be the Right Word

3-2-12


Lauren,

Hey there.  I know, I know.  It's been a few days since I last wrote.  I have an explanation for that.  See, with all this nothingness going on around me lately, I don't feel like I have too much to write about.  And everything I could write about, well it all seems very trivial.  For instance, I dyed my hair again yesterday.  Not too much knowledge that you can pull from that, right?  Right.  I did learn that if dye is kind of burning your scalp and bleaching your fingers that you might have gotten something a little strong, but that's beside the point.

I haven't had too many experiences that I could really learn from as of lately.  I've been dealing with a lot of the trials that come with being single (I know, sooo difficult right?), but they're starting to repeat themselves so I'm not really learning much from it.  In fact, being single is really starting to confuse me a bit.  When someone tells you to call them, and you don't call or text them for four days, why do they feel the need to call you? They should get the hint.  Same goes when you tell someone that you're probably going to end up hurting them.  I'm not trying to be mean.  I'm just trying to save these guys some heartache and headaches.  I really don't get it.

Another thing I haven't been getting much of lately: hours at work.  It's been a month since I had surgery, but I wasn't able to work for a while, and so hours at work have been scarce for me lately.  I finally get to go back to my one job this week, though, so I'm pretty excited about that.  And I got a call yesterday saying that I might be able to pick up even more hours than I had originally thought, so I'm pretty excited.

If I wasn't the positive person I am, all this nothingness would probably put me in a bad mood as of lately.  Thank goodness I'm able to notice the small things that make me happy and make me smile.  I put a quote on my Facebook lately that kind of reminded me of the whole thing.  It's one of my favorites.  It says:

"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." -Oscar Wilde

Everyone has down times, crappy times, sad times, but there are some of us that choose to look up and focus on the positive and more beautiful things that happen with each day.  Hopefully you can learn to do this one day.  Keep your head up!

Love,

Meghan

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My Natural State

2-28-12

Lauren,

Last night I decided to take a picture of myself sans makeup and with wet hair, and then put it on Facebook for the world to see.  This isn't something I'd normally do, but here lately I've been trying to love the "natural" me more and more.  If I can't love the natural me, then who can?


I've really gotten into makeup the last few months, especially eye make up.  It's always fun to play with new colors, and to see what works best with my pale complexion.  But at the same time, I hate the way my skin feels suffocated when I wear a lot of make up.  Usually at the end of the day I want nothing more than to go home, wash it all off, and to go back to my natural state. 

Do you like the way you look?  As girls and women, this is one of the things we struggle with the most: our self-image.  I'm getting a lot more comfortable with mine lately; I hope you can be comfortable with yours one day.  It'll take some work, but you'll get there one day!

Love,

Meghan

Monday, February 27, 2012

Take a Chance

2-27-12

Lauren,

Hey. Blah.  Yup, blah.  That word right there pretty much sums up how I'm feeling right about now.  I need a distraction from my brain and pronto.  When I hit a marker or important moment in my life, or make any kind of important decision, I usually stress like crazy until I finally get to see the outcome.  Well, I had a couple of those important moments this weekend and now I'm going crazy.

Taking chances is important.  If we didn't, as people we would never get to experience some of the things that really make life rewarding and worth-wile.  You take little chances everyday, but there are some days when you  make take those really big, world-sized risks that make your heart pound and your brain race like crazy.  I try to say "yes" to as many of those big risks as I can, as long as I know they won't put me or other people in danger.  And in saying yes, I know that even if I fail or something goes wrong, I know that at least I tried. 

How do you take risks?  Do you ever speak your mind, even if you know it might offend someone?  Or have you ever told that one guy that you like how you feel about him?  What about in school. . .do you try certain tasks even if you know that you might fail at them?  I hope you do.  Be confident in what you do, and try something if you know it'll get you another step further towards a bigger goal. 

I hope you had a good weekend.  Keep your head up!

Love,

Meghan

Friday, February 24, 2012

She's Getting Married!

2-24-12

Lauren,

Hey! I have something special I want to talk to you about today.  I'm not sure if you heard or not, but a few days ago Bobby and Chrysta became engaged.  This is something our family has been waiting for for a while.  After being together off and on since 6th grade, and after having a child together, it almost seemed inevitable that it would happen.  And it finally did!

Normally in the movies when a sister tells another sister that she's getting married, the one sister gets all excited for her, jumping up and down, probably squealing a bit, and usually gives the engaged sister multiple hugs.  That's the movies, though.  When Chrysta told me she was engaged, my reaction was nothing like that.  It was quite the opposite, actually.  First, Chrysta told me through text, so it's not like I could reach through my cell phone and hug her brains out.  And I don't really like hugging family members (I know, I'm weird), so it would've been strange to hug her anyway.  When she texted me, my response was "Yay. . ."   After first, it was all I could think of to say.  I know. . .a little insensitive, right?  She didn't really like that response much, and I guess I can see why.  I really do think I lack a certain bone or fragment of DNA that makes me capable of responding to such events with happiness and glee.  When I open presents, I do it without showing emotion.  I'm incapable of buying a sappy birthday card, and when someone uses a term of endearment like "sweetie" or "honey," it makes me cringe a little inside. Either way, my reaction to Chrysta's engagement was a little, well, lame.

So what do you think? One of your sisters is finally getting married.  It was obviously going to be Chrysta first.  I never plan on getting married, and if I do, that guy is going to have to be something pretty darn special to change my mind about the whole marriage thing. 

Love,

Meghan

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Bigger Picture

2-23-12

Lauren,

Hey! How's vacation going?  I could really use a vacation right about now.  And today the weather was so nice; it makes me want spring and summer weather even more!

Well today I had an interesting conversation with a friend.  A lot of it had to do with past experiences and where I'm at today as a person.  I told this friend that I'm happy with who I am today, but I'm not happy with my place and role in everything as a whole.  Does that make any sense?  I've gone through a lot in the past year to become the person I am today.  Lots of learning, observing, and questioning had to be done, and it wasn't always easy, but I got through it.  But as far as where I'm at as a person in society and as a person in this huge world of ours, I can't quite say I'm that satisfied.  I have worked hard to become a college graduate, but other than that I feel like I have so much more to fulfill.  Know what I mean?

So that's something for you to think about. . .are you happy with who you are as a person?  And are you happy with who you are as a smaller part of the big picture?  It's never too early to start thinking about it. 

Keep your head up girl!

Love,

Meghan

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Your Future Self

2-21-12

Lauren,

Hey there.  Ever think about what you'll be like as an adult?  I remember when I was younger I would sit there and think about how I would be as I got older; what I would look like, if I would be pretty, what kind of job I would have, what kind of guy I would marry, if I ever would get married, who my friends would be, etc.  I used to think about all of that.  I remember how people, especially family members, would reassure me that I would be someone awesome.

I don't always feel like someone awesome.  When I would spend that time imagining my future self, I would always picture a super-independent, super-successful, super-fun woman.  That's what I wanted to be.  It's still what I want to be, and it's something I work towards every day.  But you know what's funny?  Things don't always turn out like you want them to.  People can spend years upon years planning for their future, only to have very little of it go the way they want to.  I never thought I would be a twenty-four year old working in retail, still not knowing what I want to be when I "grow up."  I still haven't gotten my grown-up job, or my grown-up house, or even my grown-up family. 

Some days this bothers me.  Here lately, you might hear me call myself a "loser." I don't always mean it, but at twenty-four, I'm not quite where I want to be and so it bothers me.  I am a very ambitious, very stubborn person, and so if I'm not reaching my goals, well then I'm not satisfied with my life.  And this ambition showed in my goals when I was younger, too.  I used to picture myself being a singer or a writer, both of which require a tremendous amount of ambition and dedication.  I strayed from the music part when I realized I was better at writing.  I still write today, but I don't know if I'll ever be that famous writer. 

So what do you think you'll be like as an adult?  Chances are, your vision of your future self will change as you get older.  My vision did, and it's still changing today.  You might be thirteen, but before you know it you'll be eighteen and out of high school, so you might as well start thinking about it now.  I'm not telling you to stress over it; that's not what I want for you at all.  But be a little creative, think about what you want, and you never know, you might just be that person you imagined yourself to be. 

Love,

Meghan

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Let It Snow!

2-19-12

Lauren,

Hey.  There's less than an hour left to today, but either way I'm making sure I get my letter in!  Today has been another lazy day.  I had a little bit of girl time with Megan last night, which was really fun.  Today I got to spend some more time with her, and Chrysta, too.  And best of all, it's snowing! So, without further ado, let's talk about some snow.

I don't know what it is, but there is something about snow that is very peaceful and pure. I know white is the color for purity, so maybe that has something to do with it.  But it's also how quiet things are when it's snowing outside.  Not a lot of people are on the roads, and so that constant rumble of tires turning on pavement isn't there.  And when you have the big, fat flakes like we did today, there is something very soft about them and the way they fall to the ground.  What's sad is that a lot of people hate snow.  When you live in an area like we do, snow is usually rare, maybe coming once or twice a year.  Usually rarities are some of the most treasured things in life.  But not snow for some reason.  People complain and whine about the cold, about driving in it, or about how it ruins their plans.  But for me, I love it when it comes because I don't get to see it that often.  It's another one of those things you have to stop and appreciate.

I hope you get to play in the snow, if you got any at all.  I remember when you were little how we would take you outside with your huge marshmallow of a snowsuit on and pull you around on the sled.  You're probably a little too big for that now.  Hope you had a good weekend! Keep your head up :)

Love,

Meghan

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Getting My Stuff Straight

2-18-12

Lauren,

Hey.  So I started reading a book recently that really has me thinking these past few days.  It's called "Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man" by Steve Harvey.  Yes, it's one of those relationship books, but it's pretty interesting and thought-provoking, which means it has my attention.  Unfortunately, I can't share everything with you that I have found interesting in the book.  One, I just don't have enough space to do that, and two, some of it would probably be above your head considering your age.  I'll make sure to share the extra stuff in your journal, though, so that maybe you can read it one day when you're older.

So let me share with you the one idea from the book that really has me pondering some things.  It's the idea that until a guy is sure of who he is, what he does, and how much he makes, he will not be able to be in a productive, loving relationship.  But I'm starting to wonder if this could be indicative of both men and women.  This has got me thinking about the past eight months in which I've been single.  In all of those months, I have not met one guy that I would want to date.  While that has something to do with the type of guys I have met, I think it also reflects my own life at this point.  Right now, I'm pretty sure of who I am, but that's about it.  I'm not sure about what I want to do, and I'm definitely not content with how much I make.  And until I figure these last two out, I don't think I'd be able to focus on a relationship.  Right now, I'd rather focus my time on getting MY life straight than focusing on making a life with another person.  But I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing, either.  Who would want to date someone that wasn't sure of how they wanted their life to go?

Maybe it's time for me to start getting serious with my goals.  I know I want to go back to school, but that's kind of been put on hold because of surgery and financial costs that go along with both.  Maybe I need to set some short-term goals, like finding a better, more stable job.  Being a day-to-day person really helps eliminate a lot of stress with everyday life, but when it comes time for me to make big decisions, I know I'm going to wish I had planned ahead.

I hope you're having a good weekend.  Enjoy being a teenager while you can!  I know it might not seem like the best thing, especially when you're going through puberty and you have the awkwardness that comes from changing from a kid to a young adult, but being an adult is so much harder until you can figure it out.  And I'm still working on figuring it out.  Keep your head up!

Love,

Meghan

Thursday, February 16, 2012

I've Got the Blues

2-16-12

Lauren,

Hey!  Well, I would ask how your day went but I did see you a few hours ago, and unless it's changed drastically since then, I think I got a good idea. . .but anyway!  So my letter yesterday was a little sucky.  I don't know what it is lately, but my mind has been in shut down mode, and I'm not doing the best thinking.  I think it has a lot to do with the fact that I've been cooped up in this house so much for the past two weeks.  When you're not out living your normal life, and you're going through your normal routine, it's hard sometimes to really learn any lessons in your day to day life.  At least that's how I feel, anyway.  For me, it's usually about those profound moments of realization, and well, I haven't had many of those lately.

I've definitely been a little down lately.  For anyone who knows me well enough, if I'm playing Gavin DeGraw on repeat, well, we have a problem.  Maybe it's my lack of a social life.  Or maybe it's the fact that I'm not working a whole lot.  Either way, I've been feeling like I'm getting the blues lately and it's so not cool!  What do you do when you're feeling down?  I usually crank the saddest music I can find, and then chase it with the most upbeat dance or hip hop music I have in my collection.  By the time I'm done I'm a sad person bouncing up and down in the driver's seat of my car.  It's probably not pretty.

Well tomorrow is Friday, and a new day.  I'm pretty excited that I get to sleep in.  Hope you have a good weekend! Keep your head up!

Love,

Meghan

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Work, Sleep, & Sweets

2-15-12

Lauren,

Hello!  I'll give you a heads up now, my mind is very blank, and so today's letter is probably going to be pretty random.  I started off my day at work, went and ate some food with Mom and Dad, then came home, took a nap, made dinner and took some to Megan.  Eventful, right?  Not really. 

So I don't know about you, but I've had LOTS of sweet stuff in the past few days.  I'm guessing it has something to do with Valentine's Day.  Yesterday it was cookies.  Today it was cake.  This girl is in heaven!  But at the same time,  I feel like a fatty eating all of that junk.  Guess that's the price you have to pay to be a girl with a sweet tooth, right?

Sometimes it's nice to have a random, blank kind of day.  I would choose that kind of day over a day when I'm super stressed or feeling bad from being sick.  It's important to make sure you always take time for yourself.  I hope you had a good day today, even if it was random and uneventful like mine.  Keep your head up :)

Love,

Meghan

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day?

2-14-12

Lauren,

Happy Valentine's Day...right?  I'm not so sure about you, but today is just another day for me.  But in any case, I decided to dedicate today's letter to the holiday. 

So what do you do when you don't have a significant other to spend Valentine's Day with? For you, you're probably exchanging Valentine's Day cards with friends at school, unless of course you've already decided that you're "too old" and "too cool" for that anymore.  I bought them for my friends all the way up until I graduated from high school, and this year I made them at home with lots of glitter and red and pink, of course. Some single people, like myself, decide to spend the day pampering themselves since they have no one to do it for them.  This morning I made a really yummy breakfast that consisted of pancakes, bananas, and chocolate.  Later I plan to do my makeup with a theme of red and pink.  And I get to have dinner with one of my good friends, too. 

I bet you some people even go so far as to write themselves love letters.  I caught myself earlier thinking about this, and what I'd say to myself if I ever did decide to write myself a love letter.  At first, the idea of writing myself a letter full of nice things to say about myself seemed silly, and a little vain, especially considering how often Mom tells me I have a "swelled head."  But then, the more I thought about it, I don't really think it's a bad idea.  Here's what I imagine I'd say to myself:

Dearest Meghan,

Happy Valentine's Day!  Today is a day all about love, and so I thought I'd take a few moments to tell you what I love so much about you.  First, despite everything you have been through in your 24 years, you are a very strong and determined woman.  While you have your moments when you become down on yourself, and you may doubt who you are, you never give up and always find your way back to who you are.  Second, I love you for your sense of humor.  Sarcastic, dry, or silly as it may be, your sense of humor is what keeps you going every day.  Third, you are observant.  This is how you learn from your mistakes.  And last but not least, you are pretty, even if you have days when you don't feel like it.  So there.  Even though we have really rough days, I just wanted you to know that I love you in every way that you are.  Happy Valentine's Day!

Love,

Yourself

So yeah. . .that was a little silly.  But it's never a bad thing to love yourself, as long as you don't become vain and let it go to your head.  Try it today. . .be your own Valentine. Hope you get lots of Valentines! 

Love,

Meghan


PS- Here's the perfect song for today. Love Song For No One- John Mayer

Monday, February 13, 2012

Trust Me

2-13-12

Lauren,

Hey.  Sorry I flaked on yesterday's letter.  It was a busy day, and I was pretty tired, so I didn't get a chance to get to it. 

I don't know if I've ever talked to you about it, or if you've ever noticed from my letters, but I try to learn something from every day, even if it's just something small.  Today I've had quite a bit on my mind, though, and so I want to talk a little bit about it.

Do you know what it means to really trust someone?  And what trust entails between two people?  This is what I've been thinking about.  I'm not necessarily talking about the trust between a boyfriend and girlfriend, that's not my issue right now.  I'm just talking about two people, whether they're friends or family.  And trusting yourself, well that's a whole other topic. . .

The first thing that people usually think of when talking about trust is confidentiality.  When looking for someone to trust, one of the main things is usually finding someone that can keep your secrets and any other information that you may indulge to them in confidence.  This is a big part of trust.  But for me lately that doesn't seem to be the issue.  What about knowing that someone won't judge you, and knowing that someone will accept you for who you are no matter the flaws?  That's what I'm having a hard time with.  It's never fun to feel like someone doesn't fully accept you, especially when that person is someone you trust.  Am I right in this?

Hopefully you don't figure this out the hard way.  Just because you can tell someone your secrets doesn't mean you can fully trust them.  I'm sure I'll work through this, and things will go back to normal, but until then it will probably sit heavy on my mind. 

Keep your head up, girl.

Love,

Meghan

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Ready for Some Fun

2-11-12

Lauren,

Hello!  Today has been pretty boring, not going to lie.  I made stuff for Valentine's Day, did stuff on the computer, and now I GET TO GO OUT! OMG you have no idea how much I've been wanting to go out with my friends and dance and have fun.  Being cooped up for two weeks is noooo fun, let me tell you.

So tonight I get to play DD.  In case you don't know, DD stands for Designated Driver.  Very, very important job, and not something you should take lightly.  Of course, you better not figure this out anytime soon, because you won't be 21 for another 8 years.  But yes, despite being DD, I still get to have fun tonight!  I'm so excited about getting out and seeing people that I'm pretty sure I'm going to be super hyper just being sober.  I'm really glad that I'm the type of person that can have fun without drinking.  I'll still dance and do silly stuff without needing any other influence.  When you get older you'll understand more.  If you need alcohol to have fun, well that's just lame.

I hope you're having a good weekend!  Have lots of fun if you can and keep your head up. :)

Love,

Meghan

Friday, February 10, 2012

Out of Nowhere

2-10-12

Lauren,

Hello.  My mind is kind of blank today, so I'm just pulling this letter out of nowhere.  I guess I'll talk about a couple of things that have been on my mind today, if that's okay with you. 

Let us start with Valentine's Day.  Good ol' Valentine's Day. . .ahh I don't know if I'm excited about it this year, or saddened by it.  This is the first year in five years that I've been single on Valentine's Day. In the past when I was in a relationship, I didn't put a huge emphasis on the day, but I always did try to do something cute and fun for my significant other.  I'm not sure what to really expect this year, though.  As it's getting closer, I seem to be thinking about it more, and not always do the happiest thoughts come to mind.  I'm not going to lie, it would be nice to have a special someone to spend the day with.  But at the same time, there is no one that I feel is special enough to have my attention for the day, and so I'll probably put that attention towards my friends.  I already plan on giving each of them a little something. :)

I guess since I started with the subject of Valentine's Day I'll go on and talk about guys, too.  Guys. Ick. Blahhhh. You can probably tell where this one is going.  Guys just really, really aggravate me sometimes.  Maybe it's me, but I just can't seem to find one that is special enough to get me back into a relationship.  So yeah, maybe it is me.  Maybe it's not guys.  Sometimes I think I'm too selfish.  I like my "me" time, and I like my friend time, and I don't want anyone interfering with that.  I also like the possibility of meeting new people, and even more so, meeting new guys.  Is that bad? Sometimes I think it is.  Maybe one day I'll get past it and find that one guy that is special enough (not to mention being brave enough to put up with me).

I hope you aren't dreading Valentine's Day.  It was always a fun day for me when I was still in school.  Hope you have a good weekend! Keep your head up :)

Love,

Meghan

Thursday, February 9, 2012

What Inspires You?

2-9-12

Lauren,

Hey.  I've got a question for you today.  What inspires you?  It could be anything. . .just think about it.  It doesn't have to be a huge inspiration.  It could be something that inspires a feeling, an action, anything like that.  I've been in a Gavin DeGraw mood lately.  Usually when I'm obsessively listening to his music days at a time, I'm either 1: depressed, 2: hopeful, 3: soulful, or 4: I'm straight up missing his voice and music (I'll make sure to share one of my favorite songs of his with you so that you can see why I'm so obsessed).  Well I've been listening to his music a lot lately.  Don't worry, I'm not depressed.  It would take a lot for me to get to that point again.  I'm feeling a bit soulful and a lot pensive lately, and he inspires me.  Just his lyrics, his tone, and his overall gorgeousness. . .something about him inspires me.

While music is an obvious inspiration because of the way it can make you feel, think about the other stuff, too.  Food is an inspiration for me (that makes me sound like a fatty).  I love to try new things with different foods.  It gets me feeling creative.  Pinterest is another thing lately that has inspired me to try some fun new projects, recipes and looks.  You should check it out sometime. It's definitely addictive.  And then of course there are people.  You inspired me to be a better big sister and so I started this blog.  It's stuff like that that pushes me to do new things.

So what inspires you?  I challenge you to think about it, and when you feel inspired, act on it.  There's a reason you feel inspired in the first place.  Keep your head up!

Love,

Meghan


"Glass" by Gavin DeGraw

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I Carry the Weight of the World

2-8-12

Lauren,

I am the kind of person that carries the weight of the world on my shoulders.  I've been that way for as long as I can remember.  It's not always the greatest character trait to have, either.  Do you know what I mean by the "weight of the world?"  I'm a fixer.  I'm the kind of person that will see a situation, try to find a way to fix it, and if I can't, I stress over it and feel bad for not being able to do anything.  The situation might not even have something directly to do with me.  It could involve a friend, family member, or coworker, and I'd still take on that extra burden. 

Our family's situation isn't an easy one.  It's not fun, it's not exciting, it's not simple.  It's the opposite of all of that.  And as one of the children, it's not directly my "problem" either, for a lack of a better term.  But I still somehow manage to make it my issue.  Every time Mom and Dad go to court, ever time I sit through a meeting with the social workers, every time a new "solution" is presented, that weight just gets a little heavier. 

Sometimes I am amazed that I have made it through each trial, each weight added to my already heavy load.  I mean, I know I'm a tough person, but how much stuff can one person hold?  I wonder the same about Mom and Dad sometimes, too.  If I, the strong, stubborn, ambitious one, have trouble from time to time, then surely they do, too.  But then I remind myself of just what kind of person I am.  I'm strong.  I'm definitely stubborn.  I'm ambitious when I want to be, and because of that I hardly ever give up.  And that's how I make it through each addition. 

I hope, for your sake, that you're not like me in this way.  To carry the weight of everyone else's stuff, even if they don't ask you to, is a huge job.  And with it come great responsibilities, great emotions, and great realizations about the way life really is.  And if you do end up like me, well I hope that you have a great understanding of yourself, because there will be times when you have to remind yourself of who you are, and why you keep on going the way you do. 

I told you these letters wouldn't always be flowers and sunshine.  It's just part of who I am.  Love you.  Keep your head up.

Love,

Meghan

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Queen of Awkward

2-7-12

Lauren,

Hello! How's your day going today so far?  Kind of silly for me to ask considering you can't answer right away, but hey might as well try, right?  Anyway, today was another blah kind of day.  I got my taxes done (yay, adult responsibility!), and did a few things around town with Mom while we were there.  I attempted to eat Subway today, my first fast food after my surgery, and I think I succeeded.  Meghan-1 Food-ehh...well food is the reason I had surgery. But anyway...

Ever have really awkward moments?  I have them a lot.  It's just part of who I am.  I tell Megan all the time that I should be called the Queen of Awkward because, well, I'm just that awkward.  Today I had a few of those moments.  Let's start with the car ride home today.  Mom and I were in the car.  As usual, we were talking about random things, like how awesome I am (note the sarcasm with that), or like how teenagers like to ride around on back roads and park so that they can get some kissing time in.  This, of course, led to a conversation about kissing, which is not something I normally like to talk about with our mother.  You can imagine how that went....it ended almost as quickly as it began!

The next awkward moment came when Mom decided to stop at a cemetery on the way home.  Don't worry, it's not like we stopped at some random cemetery and started creeping on random people's graves.  We went to the one where Mom's mother is buried.  Going to a cemetery has a the potential to be all kinds of things...awkward, creepy, sad...the list goes on.  For me though, who seems to lack some type of sensitive gene in the area of emotion, this was kind of awkward.  For one, I hadn't been there since Mom-mom was buried, or at least that's the last I remembered going there, so I felt kind of bad that it had taken me 16 years to get there.  Of course, then I had to make some typical comment about how I was walking around over a bunch of dead people, and that I hoped they didn't mind.  Luckily Mom kind of understands my sense of humor, so this wasn't as awkward as it could have been...

Do you have a lot of awkward moments? I do.  I've had them for quite awhile, too.  But you want to know the cool thing? I own up to them, and can laugh at them, and so they're not really that bad.  When you're younger, awkward moments SUCK because you don't always know how to handle them.  So, live up to it.  Own it.  You'll see :)  Keep your head up!

Love,

Meghan

Monday, February 6, 2012

Put a Smile On That Face

2-6-12

Lauren,

Today has been pretty boring. I've spent most of the day fighting an upset stomach, a bit of dizziness, and a migraine that I woke up with, so needless to say, I've spent most of my day in bed.  But regardless, it hasn't been a day wasted.  I spent a lot of time catching up on Pretty Little Liars, which I have been meaning to do for a while.  I also repainted my nails, did some laundry, and cooked a pretty good dinner.  I also got some pretty good ideas while laying around and surfing the web. 

I think I'm going to make my close friends cute little homemade presents for Valentine's Day.  I keep saying how I want a project since I have all this free time on my hands, and what better project than one to make my friends smile.  I have a couple of cute ideas...I'll have to share them with you after the fact that way I don't spoil the gifts for my friends that might be reading this.  I like doing things for other people, though.  It's always nice to do something, whether small or big, that puts a smile on a person's face. You should try it sometime :)

Hope your week starts off well, and continues going that way.  Hopefully in the next few days I'll be pretty much back to normal.  Keep your head up :)

Love,

Meghan

Sunday, February 5, 2012

What Super Bowl?

2-5-12

Lauren,

Today is the day football fans go crazy.  Whether they are actually rooting for one of the teams playing, or if they are crying over the fact that their team sucked too much to make it to the big game, most eyes will be on the television today.  Not mine, though! I have never been a football fan.  Call me weird, call me lame, call me whatever you want.  I've just never liked football.  I've never really understood it, either.  When I tell people this they usually look at me like I'm crazy, or like I must have been too dumb to finish high school.  Either way, I won't be watching.

Sure, sometimes you'll catch me wearing an Eagles shirt.  I guess this is how I show my "family pride."  Ever since I was little, all I remember is our dad, his brother and his father rooting for any Philadelphia team.  Since I actually like baseball, I'll wear the Phillies gear every now and then, and even watch a game on tv when I can. And truthfully, I've always been curious about ice hockey but have never watched it.  Maybe I'll have to check it out one day.  But football has never been my thing.  Still, when I wear that shirt I'll gladly defend my family's choice in teams.  I'll say "My Dad is from there.  So was his dad, and his dad's dad."  Then I usually go on to talk about how our great-grandfather used to write for the Philadelphia Inquirer when he was still around.

So, no, I won't be watching the Super Bowl today.  If I could actually eat all the yummy food that goes along with the big game, then you'd probably find me at some gathering, but since I had surgery I can't even participate in that part of the Super Bowl.  For some, today is a big day. But not for me.  If you are watching the game today, I hope you have fun.  Maybe you'll be a football fan as you get older.  Not all of us sisters have to be the same. :)

Love,

Meghan

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Things We Take for Granted

2-4-12

Lauren,

Today is my last day of no driving, and I have to tell you, I'm pretty psyched.  I can't wait to get back out there!  After a week of almost bed-rest, I'm anxious to be able to see my friends, and to be able to do the things that I was doing before I went into the hospital last weekend. 

Experiences like this one quite often open a person's eyes to the things that we take for granted in everyday life.  One major thing for me has been driving.  Ever since I was 16, I have been able to come and go in my car as I please, with the only restriction being my parents when I was still in high school.  But this past week, I wasn't able to do that.  I had to stay in bed, whether it was at the hospital or at home, and not drive my car.  Another major thing has been my overall independence.  I am a VERY independent, stubborn person, so for me to have to rely on other people was a major change.  I didn't like the fact that I had to ask for help when washing my hair, or getting out of bed, or even the fact that I had to call a nurse every time I wanted to be unhooked.  Those were all big challenges for me. 

The other major thing I noticed that I take for granted is people.  People like Mom and Dad, and my friends, even you and Chrysta.  You see these people everyday, and expect certain things from them, but when you're in a situation like I was, they don't HAVE to be there for you.  As an adult, I'm pretty much on my own.  But Mom and Dad were there everyday if they could be, and even helped me with things that any normal functioning adult wouldn't need help with.  My friends stopped by when they could, and offered to bring me anything that would make me comfortable.  People are probably one of the things we take for granted the most.  And I really learned that this week.

So try to notice the things you take for granted.  Whether it be your friends, or the television, or the meals you eat every night, notice them, and when you do maybe you'll appreciate them a little more.  I know I do!

Love,

Meghan

Friday, February 3, 2012

BFFs

2-3-12

Lauren,

The last few days have been pretty rough, and that's why I didn't get to write you a letter yesterday.  The pain from my surgery is bad, but I can handle it.  Although pain and no gall bladder are the two most obvious results of the last few days, there is also something else that I came away with.  I realized how many good friends and caring people I have in my life.

Friends are a funny thing.  There are the ones that are always there; these are usually your best and closest friends.  They're the ones that know you the best and that love you no matter what state you may be in.  For me, these are the friends that I trust the most, know the best, and expect the most from.  But then there are the other friends, the ones that you know are there, but that you don't see or hear from as much.  I got to see a lot of these friends this week.  People that I don't talk to a lot, or get to hang out with much, were checking on me constantly and offering to help if I needed it.  Going through what I did this week reminded me that I have a lot of good people in my life.

Friends are important.  It doesn't matter how many you have, or how long you have known them, friends are a great thing to have.  This week I really appreciated my friends.  Take note of the good people in your life, Lauren.  One day you may really need them, and if you take care to keep them around, they'll be there for you.  Friends are like a second family; I'll write you a letter about that one day, too.  Thanks for visiting this week.  You may be my little sister, but you're one of my good friends, too.  Love you!

Love,

Meghan

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What It Means to Be Your Sister: Pt. 2

2-1-12

Lauren,

So today I'm going to talk a little bit more about what I think it means to be someone's sister, and in particular, your sister.  Last time I said it was about setting an example for you.  I think that is a common principle when someone thinks about what it means to be an older sibling.  But I also think it's about paving the way for you.  As children, we often look up to our parents to pave the way for us to do things in life, both as children and later as adults.  And I think this concept goes hand in hand with setting an example, too.  But as an older sister, I think in a way it is my responsibility as well to pave the way for you.

In our immediate family I was the first one to finish my college career.  While I'm setting an example for you, I'm also paving the way for you to do the same thing.  When you're the first one to do something, sometimes it's hard to make to even make that initiative to do it in the first place.  Things like fear of failure, and fear of the unknown would both make it hard for someone to try something new. I was definitely scared when I went to college.  Mom and Dad, despite taking a few college classes, didn't know much about what it took to be a full time student in college, and so it was up to me to do it on my own.  In that particular situation, I hope I took away that initial fear that I was talking about so that you won't be as afraid to try college one day.

There are other ways I have paved the way for you as your older sister.  Chrysta has as well, too.  I was the first to get my driver's license out of the three of us.  Chrysta, although the situation was stressful, was the first to move out of the house.  She was also the first of us to have a child.  There are many things that we have done so that hopefully one day you can experience them, too. 

So what does it mean to be your sister? It means a lot of things.  So far I've covered setting an example, and paving the way for you do to and experiencing things in life.  There are plenty of other things, too, that I haven't even thought of yet, so when I do think of them, I'll make sure to share.

Love,

Meghan

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Just Another Day

1-31-12

Lauren,

Another day of sitting in the hospital.  It's kind of hard to think of something to write when you've got machines beeping around you and people walking in and out of your room constantly to check on stuff.  Not the best environment when you're trying to think of something profound and worth while to say.

I've never liked going to the doctor or dentist really.  The thought of needles freaks me out, which is weird considering I have so many piercings.  And the thought of surgery, or anything cutting me open, well that freaks me out even more. When I was little, it would take four or five nurses to hold me down just give me a needle.  They would tell me that if I didn't hold still, the needle would break off in my skin and then we'd have even more of a problem.  It's comical thinking about it now, but to tell a child that? Well that's just wrong...

So now when I go in to have stuff done, I'm like a giant baby. "Tell me when you're going to stick me."  "Don't let me see the needle."  "I really hate this..."  These are all things you can hear me say to a nurse when she's trying to draw blood or give me a shot. 

I just keep reminding myself that things could be worse.  Things could always be worse...

Love,

Meghan

Monday, January 30, 2012

A Healthy Girl is a Happy Girl

1-30-12

Lauren,

So right now I'm sitting in the hospital because of my stupid gall bladder again.  Except this time I had to stay over night, and I'm probably going to need surgery within the next few days.  Being in the hospital is pretty boring, just in case you haven't heard.  Thank goodness Dad brought me my laptop, or I'm pretty sure I'd be going crazy right now.  And speaking of Dad, you should see him passed out in the chair right now. :P

So I don't know if you remember, but my body has never really liked me.  When I was 12, I had pneumonia, bronchitis twice, and mono all in the same year.  I've had asthma for awhile, joint problems, dizziness, etc.  There was that thing a few years ago when my mouth swelled up pretty bad from cold sores.  And then more recently, I learned I had gallstones.  So yeah, I'm pretty convinced my body really doesn't like me. 

I know you're only 13, but make sure you start taking care of yourself now.  Don't wait until later to worry about a healthy diet, exercise, and all the other things that keep a person healthy.  If I had known five years ago that eating foods like pizza, Chinese food, and ice cream would put me here today, I probably would have cut back.  Soda is another bad one, too.  And always exercise when you can!  Even if it's dancing for fifteen minutes in your room or going for a bike ride around the block, find an exercise you like and do it.  It will give you more energy and make you feel like a better, healthier, more energized person.  Trust me!

So take care of yourself.  In the meantime, looks like I'll be watching cartoons and playing Words With Friends...

Love,

Meghan

Sunday, January 29, 2012

One Day at a Time

1-29-12

Lauren,

There is one question that I kind of hate.  I know you're young, but has anyone ever asked you where you see yourself in five years?  I hate it when people ask me that question.  I usually don't know how to answer it, either.  Typically I say, "I hate that question; I'm more of a one-day-at-a-time kind of person. Five years from now? Who knows? I probably will still be single, no kids, and hopefully I'll have my own place."  That's what I typically say.

One day at a time.  I like that idea.  Not worrying about yesterday, because it's already happened and there is nothing you can do to change it, and not stressing over what could happen one, two, five, or three hundred days from now.  I like just focusing on what's happening in my life here and now.  Some people could say this is foolish because I'm not planning for my future.  I don't see it that way, though.  Yes, I think about the future and what kind of person I want to be.  The reason I don't think too much about it, though, is because I don't want to spend the time I have right now stressing over the million things that could happen tomorrow. I hope that makes sense to you.  Focus on today...it'll make life just a little bit easier.

Love,

Meghan

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Do Something

1-17-12

Lauren,

Hobbies.  I know it's silly, but I want to talk to you about hobbies.  Mom told me the other day that you don't want to do band anymore when you get to high school if you go to Decatur (I wouldn't, either).  Despite school rivalry, though, I think you should stick with it.  Hobbies, like band or singing, scrapbooking, or sports are important.  They're part of who you are.  And in a new place like a high school, they'll help you relate to people that you might otherwise never get to know.  And as you get older, these hobbies will be what keep you grounded.  For me, writing in a journal and cooking for my friends are two of the things that I like to do when I'm stressed.  Trust me, you'll figure it out one day.  So don't stop playing that flute!

Love,

Meghan

Friday, January 27, 2012

Notice the Simple Things

1-27-12

Lauren,

Do you ever stop and notice the way something makes you feel?  You know the saying to "stop and smell the roses," right?  That's what I'm talking about.  If you haven't, you should really try to stop and recognize the simple things of everyday life.

Right now, the rain is coming down pretty hard outside.  I don't know how rain makes you feel, but for me it is very calming.  Maybe it's the constant sound, the gray skies, or the fact that water relaxes me.  Whatever it is, the rain just puts me in a certain peaceful mood.

Something else I noticed is about singing.  I absolutely love to sing.  I don't think that will ever change.  There's just something about the way certain notes feel in my chest that makes me feel soulful.  Some artists, like Amy Winehouse, Etta James, Evanescence, and Breaking Benjamin to name a few, really bring this feeling out more than others.  Maybe it's their lyrical content, or the range of notes they sing in, just something about them gives me more "soul."

So try it one day.  Notice the small things and how they make you feel.  It could be a song, a certain shirt you like to wear, or even a smell (I love the smell of vanilla).  Whether it's one of these things or something else,  noticing these things will help you know yourself better, and it'll probably make you smile.

Love,

Meghan

Thursday, January 26, 2012

What It Means to Be Your Sister: Pt. 1

1-19-12

Lauren,

Here lately I've been thinking about what it means to be someone's big sister, or in my case, two people's big sister.  Honestly I can say I never thought about it in the past, probably because I just didn't care.  You are so much younger, and Chrysta is always doing her own thing, so I guess I thought it didn't really matter what I did as the oldest child.

But here lately my view on that is starting to change a bit.  It's not really changing in the way that I feel I need to protect you.  I guess it's just that I'm more aware now of what kind of impact I can have on you.

When you posted that song, "You're the Reason," on my Facebook, I think it kinda hit me.  And then there are the times when you tell your friends that I'm "crazy" and what not.  That's when I realize that you look up to me.

I know you don't have any younger siblings, but you do have your niece, and so maybe on day you'll feel the same way.  I'm not perfect, never have been, but I'll try my best to keep this in mind when making decisions.  And hopefully you like what I'm doing with this blog, and can be proud of me for it.

Love,

Meghan

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghFZG4qVmXE&feature=share

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Time to Crawl Into a Hole

1-24-12

Lauren,

Boys. Guys. Men.  Whatever the heck you choose to call them.  They're all a pain to me.  I'm starting to think this is another one of those things that will never change...

Yeah, I know, finding a boyfriend at 13 is not easy...you've got acne to worry about, you don't want cooties, and you're at that awkward stage where you're taller than all the guys by at least a foot.  Trust me, I know.  I was once 13, too.

But guess what?!  Finding a guy at 24 isn't easy, either!  Now, instead of acne or being too tall (both problems I still encounter occasionally), I'm too "intimidating," too "aggressive," or I "think too much."  It seems like no matter what age you are, being single is tough.

And let's not even talk about the kind of guys I attract...younger, has a girlfriend, never texts back, doesn't want a girlfriend, only wants one thing...the list goes on.  It's seriously so frustrating sometimes that I just want to give up!  I even told Megan that I'm going to crawl into a hole and stay there until I'm ready for the suckiness that is dating.

I will tell you this, though (yes, another lesson...there's always a lesson!).  Don't look.  It's as simple, and yet as hard, as that.  Don't look, because the moment you do start looking you'll be willing to settle.  Never settle.  If you and value yourself enough, you'll wait until the right person comes along.

I might as well get comfy because it looks like I'll be waiting for awhile...

Love,

Meghan

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Backstory: Part 2

So today is another post, not a letter.  I have one more question to address before I start posting letters again.  This one usually comes from people my family has known for a while, or other people in and around our community.  "Your parents aren't bad people...they aren't doing drugs, they're not alcoholics, and you girls are some of the nicest girls we know...so why your parents?"  Very, very good question.

I'll never forget the time Chrysta and I sat down with one of Lauren's social workers, and the woman said to us, "I'm so sorry you never had your own room.  I feel bad for you." What?! Seriously?! I'm not going to lie, that statement really shocked me, and still to this day I shake my head when I think of it.  I felt as if she was saying that just because I didn't have my own room, my life as a child must have been miserable and unbearable.  It was quite the opposite, though.  Sure, there were times when I didn't like my sisters or my parents, but every child goes through that.  It's not those times that matter later on when you're an adult and looking back on things; it's the times you laughed and made connections that mattered most.

So back to the question: why my parents? I still really don't know.  They were pretty good parents, and being their child, I think I can make that statement fairly.  They always pushed me to do my best, and my sisters, too.  They might have had a low income and couldn't always afford things like a new car or my college tuitioin, but they always made sure we were active in things like band, soccer, and Glee club.  We might not have gotten to go to the movies every week, but that was okay.  We found other ways to entertain ourselves, like writing plays and hanging out with the other kids in the neighborhood, both of which taught us how to be creative.  They took us to church to learn morals and values, and scolded us for getting bad grades or getting in trouble at school.  Because they always pushed me to do my best in school, I was able to go to college on scholarships and grants, graduating with no debt.  They were never high, never had drunken shambles, and never neglected us.  We were chubby kids, and definitely had plenty of clothes :)

So honestly, I don't know why this happened to my parents.  Obviously they left more of a positive than negative impact on me.  And the few negative things I do remember, I observed, took into consideration, and learned from them.

If you have anymore questions, feel free to email me at letterstolauren@yahoo.com, or post it as a comment below.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Backstory: A Sister's Point of View

In case you didn't notice, there is a little something different about today's post.  I'm not posting a letter like I usually do.  Instead, I'm answering a few main questions that people have been asking me since I started this blog: What happened to Lauren, and why is she there?  It's not everyday that a teenage girl is taken from what otherwise seems like a normally functioning home.  So let me tell you a little bit about our story...

First, I want to say for anyone reading this, that this is MY version of the story, how I've seen it as a daughter and as a sister.  So just because I may represent something one way doesn't mean that my parents, sisters or other family members see it the same way I do.  So on with the story...

Lauren left my parents' home on January 11, 2011, just three days after my 23rd birthday.  We still don't know who made the call to have them investigated, but honestly that isn't important at this point.  When she was forced to leave, Lauren stayed in the care of friends and family members from that day up until the end of Summer 2011.  After she left the care of family and friends, she officially entered into the foster care system in the state of Maryland, and was placed in a foster home.

Now I have received quite a few questions about why Lauren was forced to leave.  On the surface, my family seems to function pretty well.  My parents were actively involved with church, my dad works at the local hospital, Chrysta and I (my other younger sister) had both graduated from high school and gone on to college.  I even graduated from college.  We as kids, and still as adults, have never gotten into any legal trouble, and for the most part, were pretty well behaved children.  That was on the outside, though.

The inside was different.  My parents had their troubles, like in any other marriage.  When I was 12, and then again when I was 18, my parents separated, but both times worked things out and got back together.  However, as a result of both separations, the house took a beating.  Things began to become messier and messier.  Basically, you could say that my parents could probably be on an episode of Hoarders.  And so, someone reported this, and Lauren was taken away.


And so, here I am today with this blog.  As an oldest child, I've found myself lately questioning my duties and responsibilities as the oldest sister.  It's really hard to be there for someone when they aren't present in your life regularly.  And it's even harder when your contact with that person is limited.  And so I made this blog.  Lauren might not be able to read it everyday, but one day she'll be able to read it, and hopefully some of these letters will help her to get through certain things in life.  I have the same hope for other girls out there that might not have someone to look up to for guidance.  Maybe they can read what I've been through and gain some knowledge from it.


I have other big goals for this project, too.  It would be awesome one day to create a fund/organization that helps to guide and counsel young people who may in a situation like Lauren's.  And I think it would be even more awesome to be able set up some kind of network to place these young people in contact with one another, so that they know that there are other people out there going through the same things that they go through from day to day.

So there's the story.  Hopefully it helped to answer some questions, and if not, feel free to comment or to email me at letterstolauren@yahoo.com.  I would love to hear other people's stories, to help anyone, or to answer any questions that someone may have.

Meghan


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Waiting

1-16-12

Lauren,

Today I am writing to you about patience.  Trust me, like everyone else, it is really hard for me to be patient sometimes.  Whether I'm waiting for a phone call about a job interview, or for a text from a guy I like, I have a real hard time waiting.  I start questioning why it's taking so long, if I did something wrong, etc.  This kind of questioning is never good.

Sometimes you just have to wait.  Part of being patient and having patience is having the confidence in knowing that you'll reach the other side.  So, sometimes you just have to wait...usually when you do good things will come from it.

Love,

Meghan

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Sparkly Piggy Bank

1-18-12

Lauren,

Money has definitely been on my mind lately.  Despite having two jobs, I still can't seem to make ends meet.  Have you ever thought about what you'd do/ buy if you ever won the lottery?  I know it's a "what if" question, but sometimes it doesn't hurt to dream a little...

Want to know what I'd do?  First, I'd put aside money for me to go back to school, and money for you and Chrysta to go to college.  Then, I'd pay off Mom and Dad's house, and pay off my debt.  Then I'd probably buy myself a house.  Oh! And I'd make sure that Hallie had money for college, too.  Throw a little shopping trip in there, save the rest, and I'd be good.  I would continue to work, too. 

So what would you do?  I'm assuming shopping and something music related would be on there (like paying your current celeb crush to be your boyfriend).  You might even buy a car, even though you're only 13.  Bu what about school?  Or saving?  Or even helping other people?

Take it from me: it's awesome to have a big chunk of money.  I basically got paid to go to college.  I blew it, though, and now when I'm struggling to pay bills, I could kick myself over and over again for not being smarter.  Start saving now, even if it means getting a sparkly piggy bank like I did.  You'll feel so much better in the future if you start planning now.

Love,

Meghan

Friday, January 20, 2012

Let's Talk Laundry

1-20-12

Lauren,

I'm going to let you in on a little secret...I absolutely HATE folding laundry.  Awesome secret, right?  Doesn't matter how motivated I'm feeling that day, doesn't matter that the pile of clothes is blocking my view of the television, IT DOESN'T MATTER.  I absolutely hate it.

Maybe I hate it so much because part of my duties at work are to fold clothes until my arms fall off.  Or, it could be that I feel like it's pointless to fold something that I'm going to try on later and throw right back on my bed when I decide it doesn't look good.  I'm sure you have chores that you hate doing, too.  Am I right?

I don't think that ever changes as we become adults.  You may be 13, and I'm 24, but guess what?!  We both probably hate doing chores!  Funny how universal some things can be...

You're probably like "Okay, Meghan.  Enough ranting about laundry..."  But, I have a point in all this laundry talk.  No matter what age gap, whether it be 10 years like me and you, or 35 years like you and Mom, there are some things that we go through every day that we all may react the same towards.  In my case, I'm 24, and like any random 13 year old out there, I hate doing laundry.

Keep your head up girl.  And remember, no matter what it is, even if it's chores, you're never alone in what you're going through.

Love,

Meghan