Batu Caves, home of monkeys, a lot of stairs, and a really tall statue.

Welcome back, friends. I had this post saved as a draft from September. The pictures are beautiful, as are the memories, so I’m posting it ūüôā Soon after the happening in this blog, I came back to the United States and Cali went on with his travels. I wanted so badly to go with him, but I couldn’t. I was feeling the effects of being away from my children, friends and family. Depression was setting in. After Mark died, I was painfully aware of how little time we have with the people we love. God was leading me back to the United States, and to a time of change… I hope you enjoy ‚̧

We took a taxi out to the Batu Caves. The caves are a Hindu shrine and they sit at the top of 272 concrete steps. On your way up the steps, you pass by the tallest Lord Murugan statue in the world–104 ft tall! Also on the steps are macaque monkeys ūüôā they are cute, but I also thought they were scary. I mean, they just look sneaky and unpredictable… all the shuckin’ and jivin’ and movin’ fast, probably. It wasn’t a terribly long drive out there, but it was nice to get out of the congestion of the city for a while. The caves followed the same weather trend that We found common in Malaysia: hot and muggy. Not many pictures that day from me… it was almost time for me to leave Him to go back to the US and I was already feeling the separation anxiety. I spent more time holding His arm than snapping photos ūüôā

Enjoy!

The statue and steps. (Photo by me)
Sneaky monkey. (Photo by me)
Awesome... thing. I don't know ūüôā (Photo by me)

It was a nice day. We went shopping and bought a few new dresses, bought things for loved ones back home, dropped off Our laundry, watched Star Wars II and Cali even took a lil nap ‚̧ Later that night, We went to the Ceylon Bar to have a few drinks and enjoy each others company.

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Believe and Receive

Welcome back, friends. If you don’t already know (or didn’t figure it out from my last post: Long Time, no Blog), I live in Lockhart now. Not my first choice of places to reside, but where my baby daddy lives. Slow down… I don’t care to be closer to him than necessary, but my kids live with him, so I made the tough choice to return from whence I came. I don’t get to see my girls very often. Our custody agreement says that he MUST let me have them on every Thursday and every first, third and fifth weekend. Not only, but minimum. He has decided that minimum means only. *sigh* I ask him multiple times weekly for more time with them, I have asked to be able to pick them up after school every day and keep them until he gets home from work, I have tried to schedule times in advance when I am not “scheduled” to have them for us to be together. All shot down. For weeks, coming up on months now, I have prayed DAILY for more time with them. Still, every time I ask-he says no. I bring this up so you have a general idea of where I’m coming from with the rest of the story.

Yesterday, Wednesday, I got a phone call from the baby daddy’s mom. She was asking if I could pick the girls up from school and keep them until someone got home. They had some type of misfortune that required them to leave the house for the afternoon. While I am, and have been, praying that their hard times will be eased, I can’t tell you how AMAZING it was to get that phone call! All this time I have been sad and upset because their dad denies me more time with them. All this time I have been trying to see them and seeking his permission (which I kind of have to have). All this time I have been praying for his heart to soften towards me and let me have them more. I finally got more time with them when God gave HIS permission. No, I’m not happy that their normal after school caretaker is ill. However, that meant there wasn’t much he could do about me seeing them that day. God gave me more time with my girls, and I believe it is only the beginning.

I have mentioned multiple times already in this blog that my ex, let’s call him X, denies me time with my girls. “Why would he do that?” you might ask. Logical question, my friends. I have made mistakes. Many, in fact. Over the past five years, I have not always been there for my kids. As you can see from the many blog posts over the past years, I have been absent a good deal of the time. I maintained contact with them and sent them gifts and videos, but that is hardly the same as being present. They cried many tears, many times, that he was there to wipe. They asked many questions that he didn’t know how to answer. I caused a lot of pain to many people during this time. Have I ever done anything while in their presence that should keep me from them? No. But his thinking is that I could be gone again at any time. I understand. He doesn’t understand the life I have lived. He doesn’t know anything about me or my thought processes firsthand. He has decided on his own what my motivations have been and built a wall as high as heaven between me and those girls. I handed him the bricks to build that wall and it has my face all over it. I stand by the statement that he built the wall himself, however, because it is his ill will towards me that holds it together.

Only the grace of God will tear that wall down. Brick.by.brick.

I truly wish I saw those beautiful faces daily, but I didn’t always feel that way. It has been my own actions and decisions that got me to where I am now. I absolutely brought this on myself, and it is on me to prove myself worthy of them. God gave them to me for a reason. Now is that reason. I have learned so much from them. Their forgiveness and love never fails to amaze me. Teaching them about life, about God, about me and about themselves is humbling. Feeling like a giant and like a pea at the same time is disconcerting, but I don’t think there is a parent alive who doesn’t know that feeling. I only know that feeling because God showed it to me. He has changed me on the inside. In places I could have never reached on my own.

I have nothing but what the Lord provides me with, and I need nothing more. Being patient (there’s that word again) and trusting in God’s plan is heartbreaking at times. The thing about that is: sometimes we NEED the heartbreak. Sometimes, we need to remember that we are not in control. All times, we need to realize that God is perfect and so is His plan, and that if we follow Him we can not go wrong. God only knows how long it will be before I am in the regular presence of my princesses, but however long that is-it is worth the wait.

What are you waiting for? Have you asked God for it? Are you willing to do what is necessary to get it? Do believe it will be yours?

1 John 5:14, 15  And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for. (NLT)

Long time, no blog.

Welcome back, friends. As you know, I have not blogged since Malaysia (September). Around then, my life started changing and there has hardly been time for blogging. The time I have when I get to sit still and think is better spent praying than blogging. There is the first clue that my life has changed. I have been asked many times for blogs that chronicle the rest of the adventuring Cali (the love of my former life) and I did before stopping to return to the US. This is not that blog. Sorry for the disappointment, folks. I just don’t have it in me.

What this blog IS… I don’t quite know yet. I hope you’ll join me as I figure it out.

I feel like I could talk all day about the me I used to be. I could tell stories you might not believe, and others you would hope are not true, and others still that bring a smile to your face. I could talk about my journey back to the US alone, the aftermath, the joyous reunion and the heartbreak that followed. I believe I could even find it in me to share with you the mistakes I’ve made and learned so very much from… but I won’t. Why? Because if you¬†don’t¬†already know, then that part of my story isn’t about you. It isn’t for you. If any part of my story will bring a light into your darkness, God will lead me there with a flashlight of faith that never runs out of batteries. I will not provide my story as a basis for gossip, rumors or hearsay. I will sit down and have a cup of coffee with you and tell you all about it should you choose to ask ūüôā I don’t live in the dark, I don’t keep secrets, I don’t tell lies and I am not hiding anything now that I would be ashamed to uncover to the world. Now and here just aren’t the time and place.

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Meghan. I live in Lockhart Texas, and my interests are: praying, reading my bible, driving legally and spending as much time as possible with the two most beautiful little girls this world has ever seen. I have 2 daughters. I am divorced, but still hold my married name. I would do anything to help anyone, be it stranger, loved one, friend or foe. I love to smile. I enjoy a glass of wine or two, but I do not get drunk. If I hear of a hard time you are experiencing, I will pray about it and ask others to do the same. I juice fresh produce at home. A lot. I want a garden. And chickens. I am growing my hair out to be as long as it can be, which presently isn’t very long since I’ve been shaving most of my head for about a year. I take very good care of my skin with Mary Kay products. I will own a house one day. I love my cat more than you can imagine. I wear comfortable clothes whether or not they are fashionable, though I do LOVE to be in style. My usual attire consists of a tank top and jeans with slip-on ballet flats, or a dress so cute you’ll want to slap me for it. My day (and sometimes night/weekend) job is as an editorial assistant and organizational wiz for a financial¬†copy writing¬†company. Read: I get paid to correct people’s spelling, punctuation and grammar, and I put things away in nice, neat little boxes online. My direct supervisor is one of the most amazing people I have ever met. I heart my job. I love to clean. Not just clean, but CLEAN. Clean like you can see your reflection in the bathtub. Clean like you could cook on and eat off of the floor. Clean like even the dish soap bottle gets a wipe. If I have been to your house, especially if left alone there, I have probably cleaned something whether you know it or not. I am also available to be hired to clean your house, car or office. Did I mention I like to clean? Moving on… I have a large-screen blue laptop that I named Fancy. She hasn’t yet let me down. I listen to Adele quite often. When driving, I only listen to Christian radio. I will let you change the channel to suit your tastes if you ask, but I choose between 3 stations I can pick up depending on what area I’m in. I like to cook. I can cook a few things quite well without any direction at all, but I can follow a recipe with amazing results. I put¬†sandwich¬†cheese on spaghetti. I do not have any outstanding or unpaid tickets. I like rules. I love pink. I want to get married. Yes, again.

All that being said-you still know nothing about me unless you know that GOD is the most important thing in my life. The only reason I’m alive to write this blog, actually. Once I stopped struggling against God’s plans for me and accepted that He knows best, my life changed in ways I couldn’t possibly articulate.

Around February, I found myself with quite a bit of daily time on my hands. My world had been rocked; my future uncertain. I had hit a rock-bottom that I certainly can’t compare to other people’s much rockier bottoms, but for me-it was a devastating time. I felt myself hit the slab of concrete at the bottom of a hole I had been digging for myself over the years. I didn’t even want to wake up in the morning, and I certainly didn’t want to get out of bed when I did. ¬†As I lie there, bleeding and broken, I had to make a choice: Die, or rebuild on this solid foundation of rock that I’d been given. I have always prayed. I have always believed in God. I have always claimed to be a Christian. At that time, there was nothing else I could do. I had lost everything I had fought for. I had done the “right” things and still felt so wrong. I no longer felt as if there was any tangible control to be had in my life. On that rock, I got on my knees. I prayed like I had never prayed before. I prayed with the belief that God could and would intervene in my life, not with the intention that praying would somehow give me the power to do it all myself. That was the biggest difference in my prayers… the belief that I was praying because I needed God, not because I was checking in with my supervisor/insurance policy in order to keep me in good standing or gain power. I lifted my hands and voice to God, and He was right there. Right.There. He didn’t pick me up off of my knees and deliver me into fortune, or take away all the pain I was feeling. He didn’t smite my enemies or bring my love to my door. But once I made the decision to ask God to open my eyes, ears, mind and heart to His word and plan, He did. He began speaking to me. He began changing me. I started to read my bible every day and listen to sermons from an app on my phone. I began vocalizing my intention to follow God and letting go of trying to control my own life.

I came to the realization that I am not capable of running my life alone. I can not be trusted to make the right decisions on my own. Without God, I will ruin my life and the lives of anyone I make decisions for. Once that became my truth, I began to make decisions prayerfully. I began to make decisions based on the old “WWJD?” philosophy. I began asking God for discernment and confirmation. And He gave it to me. No, He didn’t call me up on the phone, or leave me a creepy written on the mirror in the shower fog message, but He was (and is) very clear about things. Listening when God speaks has brought so many blessings into my life and I recommend it to everyone.

I recently had to make one of the hardest decisions I have ever made. A decision I did not (do not?) believe I am ready to make, but God impressed upon my heart that it was time. It involves being patient. Have we met?? lol Patience is not something I can claim to be good at. Even moderately. Knowing I might be waiting for something that will never happen makes it even harder. Trusting in God and believing that He has perfect timing and knows what is best for us all makes it… not easier, but less hard (if that makes sense). I no longer pray for easy. I no longer pray for God to take away my pain or move an obstacle or deliver anything into my hand. I pray for the strength to weather the storm and always believe that God is right next to me fighting for and with me through any pain. I pray for the ability to see and take whatever opportunity God presents me to overcome whatever obstacle might be there. I pray for the patience to wait for the time when I should receive, or the ability to accept when it is not meant to be. I communicate to God what I desire, even though He knows my heart better than I do, and then I trust that if it is meant for me, it will be. If I see a need in someone, I will give all I have to fill it because I know God will provide me with everything I need. If I don’t have something, it is because what I NEED is to go without it.

I still make mistakes. I still fall down. I still cry more than I’d like to admit, earning my “crybaby” nickname from an unnamed source. But now, I learn from my mistakes… when I fall, I don’t try to get up any further than my knees… when I cry, I thank God for His blessings in between sobs. I’m happier now, though my heart is broken, than I have ever been in my life. I am not sinless, but I strive to sin less. I am not perfect and I never will be. I am not who I once was.

Hello. My name is Meghan.

Easter 2012

I may have switched the station, but I still hope you’ll stay tuned…

Merdeka Square, home of the tallest flagpole in the world.

Welcome back, friends.  This blog is not going to be very wordy.  These are photos from a day when We just did some walking around.  The map We have (that is marked with the touristy things to do in KL) pointed out the Merdeka Square area, with a few interesting buildings and the Tallest Flagpole in the World.  We walked on over and took a peek and this is what We saw:

Did anyone notice a common theme in these photos?¬† I will tell you.¬† Flags.¬† Malaysian flags every mother-hmm-in where.¬† No joke, scroll up and look again.¬† Flags.¬† Everywhere.¬† Except, for on the tallest flagpole of the world.¬† That last picture?¬† That’s it.¬† GIANT flagpole-no flag.¬† This is not a joke.¬† There is a funny part though…it was also their independence¬†day weekend.¬† The anniversary of the first time the flag ever went up.¬† Again- no.flag.

Really?  Yes.

Stay tuned…

Exploring Malaysia

Welcome back, friends. Today will be more of a visual blog. On this particular day of exploring We went to 4 different temples, none of which I know much about…so I don’t really have anything to say about them. They were all different looking but served the same purpose- to be a house of prayer and worship. We walked around inside them and took some photos and headed back to the air-conditioned hotel room ūüôā

This first photo is of the temple right outside Our hotel.  Kinda cool to look at while waiting for the elevator or walking towards the stairs.

Sri Maha Mariamman Temple built in 1873

The next few are of the “God of War Temple”.

Guan Di Temple built 1888

From the ceiling hung rows of burning incense spirals.

Next, a clan house that looks deceptively like a temple and is even sometimes called the “Green Temple” because of its striking color.

Chan See Shue Yuen built 1906

Last, We visited a temple dedicated to the Goddess of Mercy.

Guan Yin Temple built 1880

In each of these places, We found there were wreaths of flowers draped over the statues and incense burning in pots, or on altars, or even hung from the ceiling. ¬†There are vendors along most of the streets leading to the temples that make and sell the flower wreaths for people to purchase them and hang them on the statues when they visit. ¬†Sometimes, We were required to remove Our shoes (and charged a fee to rack them). They were interesting to visit, that’s for sure- I’ve never seen anything like it.

Once We finished looking at temples, it was time for me to experience picking out a plate of street food.  I stuck with vegetarian for my first time.

The food was…well, it was fuel. I didn’t starve and I didn’t die so it served its purpose and I will live to eat another adventure ūüôā

Or will I?

Stay tuned…

And the new stamp in my passport comes from…

On Our way! @Gold Coast Airport Australia

Welcome back, folks. ¬†Those ^^^ are the faces of multi-international travelers. ¬†We left Byron Bay Australia at 5am Saturday August 27th and via the Gold Coast Airport flew to Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. ¬†BAM! ¬†New stamp in my passport. ¬†ūüôā It was around an 8 hour flight and then an hours bus ride to the hotel. ¬†We booked Our stay at Alamanda Hotel in the heart of Chinatown Kuala Lumpur weeks beforehand so that even if We spent all the money, We had a roof over Our heads ūüôā ¬†When the bus let Us off in Chinatown, We knew immediately it would be a very different experience from Oz. ¬†Obviously, We were in Asia (big difference #1) but it was more than that…the traffic was horrendous with cars and motorbikes flying around in no particular lane whenever they felt it appropriate to do so, the trash was strewn about in the streets with no “rubbish bin” in sight, the people rushed around or stood around with no clear agenda but to carry on about their own business in complete disregard to anyone near them. ¬†I didn’t hear english words unless someone was yelling out the name of what they were selling as We passed by…Cali took it all in stride, I tried to do the same. ¬†My excitement about being in a new country was being squashed by the unfamiliarity of it all. ¬†I was definitely outside of my comfort zone.

We got to Our street with some broken help from a passerby and realized that when the hotel site said “heart of Chinatown” it meant “middle of the busiest market street in Kuala Lumpur”. ¬†We barely navigated the maze of shop stalls 6 deep across the street and sidewalk to the middle of Petaling St recognizing our hotel only because of the sign high above the crowd.

Our large packs bumped into people and stalls without enough horizontal clearance to move forward quickly. ¬†Figuring out how to leave the chaos of the saturday afternoon shopping frenzy without crashing through a stall was tricky, but at last We made it to Our new home. ¬†(We would soon find out that the market chaos wasn’t just a weekend thing, it was an everyday thing.) ¬†We checked in and dropped Our packs. ¬†The air conditioner was welcome-it was definitely hot outside- and the room We were checked into was a free upgrade from the hotel since We would be staying at least a week, they wanted Us to have a window. ¬†Once Our packs were off, it was finally time to eat.

We had been traveling about 13 hours by the time We looked for food. ¬†There was an in flight meal, but neither of Us liked what We got and were therefor pretty hungry. ¬†Unidentifiable meat on a stick, or Subway for dinner? ¬†SUBWAY please, thanks. ¬†The restaurant looked ¬†like a Subway, said¬†it was a Subway, and had sandwiches named the same, but it tasted… different. ¬†Get used to it sweetcheeks, you are not in TX anymore. ¬†After dinner, We checked out the complimentary in-room internet and fell asleep.

The width of the room, from side to side.

The next morning, Cali let me sleep in while He went for a walk to check out the surroundings.  Once I woke up, I headed down the elevator to make some coffee in the lobby.  I was quite surprised when the doors opened and what I saw was Cali standing there holding a bunch of beautiful flowers for ME.

A wonderful way to start a new day in a new country.  Since it was the end of the month We were getting low on funds so there was not going to be any shopping yet, but We did go sightseeing.

What sights did We see?  Did I adjust any better after a good nights sleep?  What did Our street look like in the morning?

Stay tuned…

Goodbye “Land of Oz”.

Welcome back, friends. ¬†When last we spoke, I mentioned We would be going surfing-and We did. ¬†I got off of work at 1 and with Jessie’s help, We rounded up some wetsuits, grabbed a couple surfboards and headed to the beach. ¬†It was a cold and cloudy day which made me skeptical of the whole getting in the water thing. ¬†You would not believe how warm a wetsuit keeps you!! ¬†I was wearing one with short sleeves and legs and I was still more than comfortable.

The surfing itself was entertaining. ¬†Neither of Us stood up fully on Our boards and both of Us spent a majority of Our time falling off but We caught a few waves on Our knees and had an amazing time. ¬†Seeing Cali in the water and enjoying it (not to mention being particularly fantastic at the whole surfing thing) was awesome. ¬†I got a few new bruises and thought I was going to drown a few times, but had so much fun!! ¬†We intend to do it again whenever possible-who knows, maybe We will become a world-famous surfing couple ūüôā ¬†you can’t really take pictures while in ¬†the water, so here is a few of Us immediately after. ¬†How official do We look?? ‚̧

So much fun!!

Post surfing, We took showers and reconvened at Jess’s house for a delicious home-cooked meal and some “super-fun-times” after which We went back to the Arts Factory and ate a “stoner surprise”. ¬†I don’t mean “finding roaches in the pot” kind of stoner surprise, I mean a cup containing a scoop of ice cream topped with hot fudge topped with hot brownie topped with more ice cream topped with more hot fudge topped with cocoa powder. ¬†Yes, it was amazing. ¬†It was devoured before I even considered taking pictures of it. ūüôā ¬†It was off to bed after that…We were officially DONE.

Our last day/night in Byron was pretty awesome. ¬†There was a good long walk to the Cape Byron Lighthouse on which We saw baby dolphins playing in the ocean, a wallaby, a visit to the most easterly point on the Australia mainland and some goon drinking at a candlelight concert. ¬†Most of this can’t really be described in words, so I will let the pictures do the talking and interject when necessary ¬†ūüôā enjoy!!

The perfect start to a new day ūüôā

The photo above was taken at a hang-gliding ramp.  During Our walk, We came upon someone about to jump so We hung around to watch.  Seeing them strapped to a glider and running off this ramp to glide down to this:

View from hang-glider ramp

Was pretty damn awesome.

Not far from the lighthouse We stopped to look out over the water

and happened to spot some giant black spots swimming erratically.  Upon further inspection, We realized they were dolphins.  Dolphins!!  In the wild!  Not in a zoo, or an aquarium, but like, right freaking there!!

You can kind of see them just over my left shoulder here...
And here is a zoomed photo of one...look close. See the fin sticking out?

It was pretty damn cool to see dolphins just swimming around in the ocean while on a walk.  The view of the lighthouse on the walk was also cool.

The lighthouse at Cape Byron.

We walked all the way up to it and inside it, but the close up pictures aren’t so awesome.

Just past the lighthouse is the most Eastern Point of mainland Australia:

Awe.Some.

On the walk back, We encountered a man with a camera standing very still staring into the bushes. ¬†Of course, I had to see what was going on, so I crept up and at long last saw a damn wallaby! ¬†Cali had seen several since the first week We arrived in Oz, I hadn’t even seen 1 and it was Our last day there. ¬†Finally ūüôā

Wallaby!

After the wallaby, We walked back to the campground and started packing up. ¬†We got organized and then went back into “town” to the bottler and picked up some “goon”.

I present to you, the goon.

Yes folks, that’s right, the drink of choice in Byron is “goon” (pronounced: drunken trouble). ¬†I don’t know why they call it that, I always thought it was box-o-wine but that must be far too simple so goon it is. ¬†The picture is actually making it more fancy than it is since most people just remove the bag from the box and drink from it. ¬†We prefer to keep it classy by leaving the bag IN the box and drinking it from nalgene bottles. ¬†That’s right- classy.

That night the Arts Factory hosted a candlelight concert by the pond and there were several talented performers. Drums, hula hooping, guitar playing…and Our surf instructor/best chai maker/awesome chick Jessie-Rose performed. ¬†She was the headliner, actually, and it was the first time We would see her perform live. ¬†She has a beautiful voice and some serious skills. ¬†She writes her own stuff and is working on an album that I simply must own, but she also did a cover of one of my favorite songs. ¬†Jolene.

This same Jessie-Rose also picked Us up at 5am the next day to take Us to the Gold Coast airport for Our departure to Malaysia.  Seriously, she rocks.

Next stop, Kuala Lumpur and another stamp in my passport.

Stay tuned.