Tag Archives: Friends

This One Time… in DC

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Plenty of my friends will vouch for me when I say that, I was not in cool in college.  Evidence for this is provided in black and white on my resume.  There, you will discover that I was the Vice President of the International Business Council– an “elitist” organization within the Business department composed of … my four closest friends. We all elected ourselves to different roles and then mandated that entry into the “IBC” was by invite only. Neither cool, nor nice.

Because we were such a small group and our professor had amazing connections, we were able to take a two day field trip to Washington DC to personally meet the Jordanian ambassador at his embassy.

There is one important fact to keep in mind before I can proceed with the rest of this story: I, Meredith, am geographically challenged.  It’s really rather impressive. If you ask me to find any Middle Eastern or Asian country on a world map, chances are I wouldn’t. My brother once asked me to point out the Hawaiian islands to him. I never found them… cause I was looking in the Atlantic ocean. 

Moving on.

As my peers and I walked into the well guarded and gated embassy, we were welcomed with gifts, Jordanian flags, and ushered into a large conference room that was dimly lit and filled with customary foods and drinks.

The ambassador, whose name I can not recall, came in quietly and without pretension. Well dressed, handsome, and endlessly eloquent, he began to unpack for us the long history of Jordan, its people, it’s government, and it’s role in the world today.  He also elaborated for us his role as the ambassador, what that looks like on a daily basis, and what he hoped to accomplish in the near future. He was truly brilliant. And he was royalty.  Jordan is a monarchy, however their royals carry little influential weight in the creating or carrying out of policies. 

After he finished speaking and answering some of our questions, he swiftly exited to attend more important meetings.

My roommate at the time, Sarah, and I decided to wander over to the finger food table.  As we stood there nibbling on baklava (one of my all time favorite desserts) the ambassador’s daughter and niece came strolling up to us.

Now it should be stated that Sarah is Egyptian. As in… she looks like Cleopatra. She’s an incredible girl who loves the Lord, is crazy smart, extremely witty, and was one of the biggest blessings of my senior year of college.  Spiritually wise beyond her years, she was a counselor to me in so many ways.

“Excuse me,” said the ambassador’s daughter. Sarah and I stopped chewing and turned. “Excuse me, may I ask where you are from?” Her question was directed at Sarah.

“I’m Egyptian,” Sarah replied softly. Suddenly, the ambassador’s daughter and niece began talking to Sarah in Aramaic.  Now because Sarah is awesome, she knew Aramaic and was able to respond accordingly.

Thanks to my short attention span, while they spoke gibberish, my eyes wandered back to the baklava and I tried to strategize just how I could sneak some into my purse for the long walk back to our hotel. But my plotting was suddenly interrupted when the ambassador’s daughter and niece turned their attention to me and repeated their question, “So where are you from?”

“Uhh… Texas?” I replied.

“Really? That’s so interesting because we both thought you were Palestinian!”

Now remember, me and geography don’t mix. So instead of laughing and saying “Oh no, no, no. I’m not Palestinian,” I literally thought to myself “Crap… where is Palestine?”

My roommate, seeing my internal turmoil, gracefully stepped in and said “Oh no, she’s not. But I can see why you would think that. She does have darker features.”

Needless to say, I went home and did some serious Googling to determine where Palestine was and what their women looked like. 

 Turns out Palestine is not where I guessed it was and being thought Palestinian wasn’t a compliment.

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Montana in a Nutshell

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My week in Whitefish, Montana could be summed up in a few short phrases that, although out of context, help to capture the essence of this trip.

“I love having all my chicks in my nest. I just want to sit on y’all!” Momma Dunn.

And perhaps my favorite…

“Stick with me honey and I’ll have you dripping in diamonds bigger than horse turds.” Jewler-man in town.

There are, of course, more stories to share but I thought I would just give you a sneak-peak into posts to come.

Speaking of which– from Montana I am flying south to Dallas to spend the weekend with some extraordinary friends. So while I’m busy playing and have the time of my life with them, I won’t be here.

Catch y’all next week.

Over ‘n Out

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I’m taking a break. Signing off.

Because I think I have a real problem; I think I might be slightly addicted.

To Facebook… and Twitter.

I truly never thought I would be the person that needed to “fast” from those things– those social media sites that are completely inanimate objects; lifeless potholes to meaningless information about utterly irrelevant things that primarily revolve around self.

But alas, here I am.  Taking a large step back in order to reevaluate how I spend my time, my energy, my effort and trying to determine just where I derive my personal hope, self-worth, and intrinsic-value.  As it stands now, I must admit that Twitter and Facebook have dominated most of these areas as of late. 

While I am embarrassed to admit that I am not strong enough to limit myself and instead need complete and total separation from these things, I am overwhelmingly grateful for two things:

1. The awareness of the toxicity of these outlets.  Not to say that they are inherently evil, but that they can be used and abused, manipulated and misconstrued to be bigger and better than they truly are

2. That my sweet friend Amye is doing this with me; because the reality is, I’m not strong enough to do this on my own.  More importantly, I don’t want to do it on my own.  Perhaps it’s my pride, but I don’t want to be the only one that really needs to do this. So thank you Amye.

So here’s the deal– Amye and I are fasting from Facebook (and Twitter too for me) for the month of June.  No checking newsfeeds. No status updating.  No “relationship status” stalking.

Why? Because I feel like I am going crazy.  And as it turns, I don’t like that feeling. 

So for all the time that I spend on Facebook and Twitter, I am going to spend it elsewhere.  Memorizing scripture, reading books, playing outside, and hopefully writing more here. 

My prayer for this next month is simple– God show me where my worth and value lie; show me how much more satisfying you are than a network of (let’s face it) mostly strangers that don’t see my heart the way You do.  Break off chains of insecurities that have taken deep root where they don’t belong and replace them with the fruits of Your Spirit so that I stop speaking in acronyms (i.e. OMG) and start speaking in truth with grace. 

Amen.

June… you don’t scare me.

To No Missed Opportunities

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You know the saying “life’s too short”? Well, my friend Jourdan and I have decided that we don’t want to say that and mean it.  We don’t want to say it  because we missed out on once-in-a-lifetime chances; we don’t want to say that we turned down opportunities for adventure and excitement all because we were a little scared or unsure of what the end result may be.

My dad once said that he had not regrets, only lessons learned. Personally, I think that’s a brilliant perspective, and I’ve decided to adopt that motto for myself (thank Daddy)–I don’t want to regret anything, but I don’t want to be afraid to learn a lesson or two the hard way either.  In my relatively short stint on earth thus far, going on 24 years, I have come to the conclusion that life isn’t really life, that is to say it’s not being lived fully alive, if you don’t mess up time and again; if  you don’t go out on a limb and take a chance, if you play it safe and never risk anything.

What I seem to be discovering is that if you never wager anything (i.e. time, comfort, relationships, etc.) you may never come to know the true depth, meaning, and worth of what it is that you gain.  Even if when you come to the end of some journey suddenly or sadly, I would still be willing to bet that you either learned something invaluable along the way or were changed for the better because of it.  Isn’t that the point behind anything anyways?

Not to be overly simplistic or cliché, but I truly believe that every breath and step taken is purposed for the glory and praise of God–and if that is the case–it is or will be good. It has to be, because He is good, so all that He does and ordains and orchestrates must follow suit.

So what am I writing this out? Why am I saying any of this?

I have no idea really… just thought I would. That’s the beauty of a blog.

One of my Hobbies

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Um... the picture-perfect-Barbie-looking-bride is my friend Tyler

Um... the picture-perfect-Barbie-looking-bride is my friend Tyler

I’m a professional aisle walker…

LOVED this dress...

LOVED this dress...

I can walk exceptionally well in a straight line….

Sisters at heart...

Sisters at heart...

It’s an art really… jason's weddingFinding just the right slow pace is harder than it looks…

Take it from me, you can catch too many bouquets... they'll come back to bite you

Take it from me, you can catch too many bouquets... they'll come back to bite you

But don’t worry. I’ve pretty much nailed it at this point.

Friends Don’t Set Friends Up on Blind Dates

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blind-dateI’ve been on my fair share of blind dates and I can honestly say, they have all been bad.  What’s worse to me then the blind date itself, is the friend that thought it would be a good idea in the first place.  I was always under the impression that blind dates were somewhat of an act of pity or charity.  But the friend who conspired against you will tell you “I want this to happen because I think so highly of both of you.” 

No they don’t… they just have a sick sense of humor.  Here’s why I feel this way.

My first blind date happened the summer after my sophomore year of college. I was in Whitefish, MT (where I have been spent many-a-summer) and bored out of my mind.  A friend of my mom’s knew of an “attractive, eligible bachelor” that would be fun getting to know. “Good ‘ol Texas boy.”  Uh huh.

He called. I answered. We arranged the time and place. Date set.

I show up to this quaint little French restaurant and I guessed that he was the man sitting all by his lonesome on the outdoor patio at a table for two. 

“Hi, are you…..?” I can not remember this guy’s name now, so we’ll call him Joe.

“Yeah,” he answered. Didn’t get up, shake my hand, pull my chair.  Nada.  Not sure what part of Texas he was from but clearly, he didn’t live there long enough.

Conversation was OK, at best.  There were some awkward pauses here and there and subject matter that I couldn’t follow along with to save my life. Needless to say, the best part of the date was leaving.  Strike 1.

My next blind date was my own doing.  The following summer, I was back in Montana and working at a restaurant as a waitress (which I miss terribly).  Two UPS men were seated in my section: one an older gentleman, the other hot more my age. Thank God for those brown shorts.

Serving them was fun and easy. They were chipper, patient, and engaging; asked where I was from (my accent tends to make people wonder), what I was doing in Montana, etc.

When they left, I went to gather my change when I noticed what looked like writing on the back of the receipt.  I flipped it over and on the back, the young hot one had left me his number and a request for dinner sometime soon.

“Heck yes!” I thought to myself.  So I called. He answered. We arranged the time and place. Date set.

Date sucked… yet again.  The entire date, he talked about the process of making beer. I don’t have anything against beer, but the art and calculation on just how to hold a bong ain’t the way to get this girl’s attention.  Strike 2.

The last and latest is my favorite.  Blind date “numero tres” never actually even happened.  He asked to reschedule… then didn’t.  And, BONUS, in a seriously twisted and terrible act of fate (and irony) I found out that he had seriously dated a friend of a friend, who I met the weekend before.  I know it doesn’t sound too convoluted, but I am telling you, the social network of the entire state of Colorado shrunk to the size of an atom.  Strike 3.

If you are someone’s friend and have the intention of setting them up on a blind date, please do them a favor and do your homework.  Even Kevin Bacon knows the “6-degrees of seperation” theory. 

I’d hate to give the impression that I am bitter or cynical.  But for the sanity of men and women everywhere… please stop setting your friends up on blind dates because at the end of the day, no one is actually blind, right?

Healing in Hope

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Remember Abby, my roommate who is getting married this Friday? I was thinking about our dinner date last week and something that she said really resonated with me.  Something she said truly woke me up, got my attention, and made me think.  And by now, if you have read any other post, you know that I think best when I write. I have to tell you a little bit about her story in order to ger to mine.  So sit tight. Please.

Abby was engaged once before, a little over a year ago. She had the dress. Invitations. Flowers. Church. Date was set, arrangements were made, and she called it off.

She moved to Colorado, met some friends at work (enter your’s truly) and began a year long process of healing.  It was one of the most beautiful and painful things I have witnessed.  And I don’t know that anyone could have handled it with a firmer faith or a more gentle spirit.  In the 8 months that I lived with Abby, her heart was more brutally raw, vulnerable, and open to the Lord than I thought possible. 

I remember her telling me, distinctly “I don’t want to get married. I don’t need it the way I thought I did. It’s not who I am. I am a nomad, my heart is with the poor, the widows, the orphans… I want to be the hands, feet, and heart of Christ to the nations. I don’t want to get married.”

She had given up hope.  I didn’t know that at the time and I don’t think that she did either, but when we were eating sushi the other night, she told “I had given up hope and decided to be ok with it.”

Hmmm, that sounds oddly familiar. Why? Where have I heard that before?

Then I caught a glimpse of myself in the reflection of a piece of glass. Oh yeah. There’s the girl that said that.

But the thing is, Abby is getting married this week.  And she only got engaged two weeks ago.  And before that she had only reconnected with this family friend 4 weeks prior. 

As she recounted the most insane, God-ordained and orchestrated love story I have ever heard, she looked at me with her perfect smile, signature giggle, and said “Mere,  I had given up hope and God still granted me the desires of my heart. In fact, turns out, I didn’t even know what my desires were.  I walked away from who I really was because it was easier and He found me anyways.  Mere, you have to hope. Please hope.”

Pause.

The girl who’s faith had helped to shape mine over the course of a monumental 8 month period of my life just openly admitted to me that she had given up hope on her God. My God.  I nearly choked on my Unagi. 

Let me unpack why that statement simultaneously humbled and encouraged me. 

It humbled me because I realized how small I had made my God. I had put the Creator of the universe in a very compact box.  Who am I to say to Yahweh, “You know what, your timing seems to be off, so rather than wait on you, pray, “keep the faith” and persevere, I’ve decided to just let go of that little dream.  No worries, I’ll let it fade and fizzle, along with a large portion of my heart. I’ll just get some cats and we’ll call it even.”

As if the desires of my heart are my own anyway!  Abby made a point (somewhat sternly, halfway leaned across the table) to remind me that the desires of my heart, those things I long for, wait on, and hope for are not things I came up with on my own.  Those things that I subconsciously think about and feel stirring in my soul were strategically and specifically placed there, like notes to be played. And the Meistro that has written the symphony of my days will, like any great composer, orchestrate each instrument, person, circumstance, and season, to create a melody that brings glory, praise and honor to Himself.  And, I hope, that He includes a harmony. An accompaniment that enhances my song.

Ok, that metaphor totally took over and I nearly lost my original train of thought… CHOO CHOO!

Bottom line: to give up hope, is to give up faith. 

The next day, I was sitting at my desk where I have posted numerous note cards with bible verses on them. I have posted them there in case of a mental breakdown, emotional meltdown, or quarter-life crisis attack while I’m at work.  Otherwise, I don’t really glance up to read them. But today, I did and this is what I read:

Now faith is what we hope for, the evidence of things unseen.

It was like God said, “Hey idiot, whom I love, you can not have one without the other. They are spiritual Siamese twins.  To hope in me is to have faith in who I am and what I am doing. To have faith in Me is to trust me. Do you hope for something from someone you do not trust?.”

So, I’m hoping. Not just for marriage, but for life in general. I know I talk about marriage and relationships a lot. I’m not obsessed, I promise.  It’s just what seems to be surrounding me right now.  But really, I could apply it to any other area of my life: Where I am in my career, where I am in my relationship with Christ, my health and maturity holistically.  I want to hope for God’s best in every area of my life because I’m starting to get the feeling that He is waiting to rain down blessing, I need only believe enough to ask with faith, in hope.