August 25th, 2014

Pre-Terrible-Acting-Performance as Anakin Skywalker, Post-Teenage-Druggie/Heartthrob in rehab-drama Higher Ground, a young Hayden Christensen was in a little film called Life As A House with Kevin Kline. This movie spoke deeply to me— with all my teen angst from freshman year of high school— and made me surprisingly and truly appreciate the blunt/overbearingly obvious titular metaphor: Life, as a house. It’s something we build and something we toil with and sometimes things are crooked and costly… but ultimately it’s where we learn and laugh and cry and eat and sleep and work and play. 

Since moving in to my new house, the spare hours have been filled with countless projects: painting walls, chairs, picture frames. Installing shelves. Organizing the laundry room. Trips to Goodwill. Whittling down boxes of junk and piles of clothes. I’m on a first-name basis with a woman at Home Depot (sup, Darlene?) 

Suddenly, without warning, my House Project Stamina wore out. Whilst trying to hang curtains, I realized I was attempting to drill into solid brick. Standing on a ladder, pushing against the drill with sweat dripping into my eyes, I knew it wouldn’t budge. From my stance,  I realized our old house’s foundation must be crooked because though the level reads straight, the beam look crooked. At that moment, the sky opened up and dumped buckets of rain on my freshly painted chairs. Life, as a house. 

At some point during the drilling fiasco and the thunderous rain, I gave up. I left the curtain hanging halfway secure on the wall and curled up into a ball on my bed. Yep. That’s it. Done. Nope. No more. I’m eating a huge bowl of popcorn and calling it a night. Calling it a week. Calling it, never to return. I left that half-hanging excuse for a curtain for a few hours, wishing it would magically fix itself or some boy would appear out of nowhere and do it for me. I think I binge-watched 3 episodes of Breaking Bad before emotionally surfacing from the storm. 

When I finally slid my sweaty sad self out of the bed (to get more popcorn, obviously) I noticed the flowers on our dining room table— colorfully and meticulously perched in a jar for no other reason than my enjoyment. I went outside and listened to the rain. I listened to it splash the fresh paint off the wooden chairs. I looked at my half-finished coffee table project and a yard littered with paint cans and mud. I stepped out into the rain and stood there for a moment, letting my glasses fog up and obstruct my view. I turned and faced the house, looking at its quiet red hue through droplets on the frames. It was messy and serene in the backyard mud and quiet except for the plink plink of rain hitting my face and shoulders.

Life, as a house.  

August 20th, 2014
Here’s To French Toast, Kortney Kardashian, and 60s Chart-Toppers!

I took an impromptu trip to Atlanta to have breakfast with a dear friend at one of my favorite ATL morning establishments (I see you, West Egg. I see you.) Right from the start I thought I was being cool and ordering my new favorite caffeinated bevvy (come to me, delicious cortado) when my friend informed me that Kortney Kardashian has been rocking them on her show for quite some time. 

Defeated by unintentally keeping up with the Kardashians, we moved to more pressing issues like life, love, and the pursuit of normal adulthood— All things we seem to be failing miserably at! 

There is something quieting about splitting a meal with someone who gets you and can talk sense to you and humble you when your “coolness” is on par with a Kardashian. I am thankful to have friendships that dig deep and span many years of collected laughs and heartaches and joys and sorrows— it certainly makes french toast even better. 

One of my favorite parts of our conversation was, of course, about the elusive creatures that are Men and our inability to make one love us. It’s tragic and at the same time ultimately freeing! For two independent ladies, it is a great reminder that I am not in control like I think I am or would like to be— not being able to make a certain gentleman fall in love with you reminds me that any sense of control I feel is an illusion— only God truly knows anything about what our lives will look like and who, if anyone, we will end up with. That reminder was like salve to a burning wound, and I’m thankful for the harsh reality and laughter that came from that conversation. 

I got back to my car to drive home and within a few minutes, The Supreme’s “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me” came on the radio… fully engulfing me in laughter and reminding me again that God must have a great sense of humor.

Here’s To French Toast, Kortney Kardashian, and 60s Chart-Toppers!

I took an impromptu trip to Atlanta to have breakfast with a dear friend at one of my favorite ATL morning establishments (I see you, West Egg. I see you.) Right from the start I thought I was being cool and ordering my new favorite caffeinated bevvy (come to me, delicious cortado) when my friend informed me that Kortney Kardashian has been rocking them on her show for quite some time.

Defeated by unintentally keeping up with the Kardashians, we moved to more pressing issues like life, love, and the pursuit of normal adulthood— All things we seem to be failing miserably at!

There is something quieting about splitting a meal with someone who gets you and can talk sense to you and humble you when your “coolness” is on par with a Kardashian. I am thankful to have friendships that dig deep and span many years of collected laughs and heartaches and joys and sorrows— it certainly makes french toast even better.

One of my favorite parts of our conversation was, of course, about the elusive creatures that are Men and our inability to make one love us. It’s tragic and at the same time ultimately freeing! For two independent ladies, it is a great reminder that I am not in control like I think I am or would like to be— not being able to make a certain gentleman fall in love with you reminds me that any sense of control I feel is an illusion— only God truly knows anything about what our lives will look like and who, if anyone, we will end up with. That reminder was like salve to a burning wound, and I’m thankful for the harsh reality and laughter that came from that conversation.

I got back to my car to drive home and within a few minutes, The Supreme’s “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me” came on the radio… fully engulfing me in laughter and reminding me again that God must have a great sense of humor.

July 9th, 2014

My Idolatrous Digital Life: Part One (introduction here

I once broke up with a boy because he “wasn’t that into the Internet.” Read that sentence again and if that’s not the dumbest thing you’ve ever read in your life, you need to make better book choices. It should be the dumbest thing you’ve ever read because it is the dumbest reason to do anything, ever. (There was, of course, more to the story… but that was the crux of it. Commence cringing.) 

It was the time of my life when I felt “internet famous” in my own little way because of this blog. I can’t even write that without feeling incredibly lame and squeamish, but it was true: I would often meet people who would say things like “Oh, I know who you are. I read your blog!” or “Oh! You’re Morgangster! Cool!” Much like any compliment, I liked the sound of those words… and those deep, dulcet tones of self-importance drove me into a pit of narcissism: I am important. People listen to me. People know me. I’m not fleeting or worthless. I matter to these people. I am somebody. And it was honest-to-goodness total self-righteous garbage. 

Around the same time the Self-Delusion Train was pulling out of the station, a met a Great Guy. When I tell stories about past relationships and I get to This Guy, I refer to him as my “List Guy.” A List Guy is the guy who completes whatever arbitrary list you’ve made in your head (or possibly actually on paper) about what kind of partner is ideal for you. This Guy was my List Guy. He checked off all the blocks of everything I thought I ever wanted. He was perfect, really, save for one thing: He just wasn’t that into the Internet. 

And that was a problem for me, as I was really into the Internet. And what I mean by that is… I was really into who I was on the Internet.

It seems weird to me now that I didn’t see the complete stupidity of my thoughts and actions towards The Guy. Here was this Flesh-and-Blood-So-Called-Perfect-For-Me-Human who didn’t give a crap about my Internet persona but in turn actually liked my Actual-Flesh-and-Blood Self. My actual face. My actual sense of humor. He liked spending time with my actual person in actual places having actual conversations. But I felt like since he didn’t care about my online life, he didn’t really care about me.  I didn’t see the error of this thought process: Who I am on the Internet is not Actually Me. (I’ll be addressing this problem another day as it’s a doozy.) I wanted him to like the Perfectly-Crafted, Humorsly-Self-Depricating, Online-Version of Morgan… but he didn’t care about her because, well, she wasn’t real. She was a shade of who I really was, and he liked the real me. And yet that wasn’t enough. Who I was online was a growing, hungry monster and he wasn’t feeding it, so I wasn’t feeling it. I ended things because my ego couldn’t handle it. I needed him to approve of me— in real life and online.

I now see just how crazy that all is. Like, an actual crazy person might read this and think “wow, that’s messed up.” It is. My online persona was so important to me that I couldn’t fathom sharing life with someone who didn’t care about it. What’s even crazier is that it didn’t seem crazy at the time but instead totally justifiable! I could no longer separate my online life from my real one and so it felt like a denial of some deep part of me that he didn’t follow me on Tumblr. Do you understand how insane that sounds?! And yet… I still want people to like and envy and adore my perfectly crafted online existence. That was years ago, and how much different do I treat my social media now?

You see, idols aren’t necessarily bad things. In fact, they’re often good things (which makes them sneaky and hard to miss sometimes.) But idolatry happens when we take good things (or bad things) and make them Ultimate Things. Anything we worship, love, and adore more than God himself is an idol, plain and simple. I broke up with a boy once because he “wasn’t that into the Internet”and this is the story about how I realized I needed to break up with Internet because I was too into myself. This is the story about how I became an Idolator of Self, of Approval, and of Pride. 

And List Guy… if you’re reading this: I’m sorry. But you’re probably not reading this. Because you’re probably still just not that into the Internet. And I commend thee for that. 

May 11th, 2014

Last weekend I was a groomswoman at my cousin’s wedding. It was a very different wedding experience for me, mostly with it being a family wedding and of course the “standing with the bros” thing. It was also the first wedding that I’ve opted out of the crazy dance floor escapades and the customary bouquet toss to single ladies.

Part of me felt old and part of me was just enjoying sitting at a table with my parents and my relatives, holding my little baby cousin and watching the antics of the younger twenty-somethings. At one point, I had Baby Elsie bouncing on my knee as the music swelled and I looked over at my mom and I mouthed “I want one!” It startled me.

I’ve never really admitted anything like that out loud (even though, technically, it was barely audible…) and it was so bizarre that it even took me off guard. What, exactly, did I want? A wedding? A baby? A dance party with all my closest friends?

The wedding continued, cake was cut, toasts were given, sparklers were lit, family parted ways. I had a two hour drive ahead of me and all I could think about was that whispered admission I had made hours earlier: I want one. It scared me, honestly.

I had saved a few podcasts for the drive home— one of them being a Tim Keller sermon a dear friend had suggested just a day earlier. I drove home, barefoot and tired in the dark Georgia moonlight, listening to that sermon with the backdrop of my wanting and wishful heart pounding along with the pavement.

The sermon convicted and compelled me in a way I haven’t felt in sometime. In it, Keller unpacks the story of the rich young ruler who comes to Jesus to find out what he lacks. He is, by all accounts, a good person. He keeps the commandments. He has done well in his life and has the wealth to show it. But Jesus doesn’t just tell him the one thing he lacks— He tells him he lacks the only thing that matters.

"Jesus smashed this man’s religious views. He came knowing he was lacking… That he needed something to make his relationship right with God. He just wasn’t sure, so he comes and asks. He approaches it with the assumption that Christianity is something you can add and something you can do. He thought he could just furnish his life out with Christianity. Jesus in turn gives an outrageous request: it’s not something you add, it explodes what you have to make way for something new. You must be completely redone. You don’t need one more rung to get over the mountain. What Jesus has smashes through the mountain and makes way for something entirely different. He is not an edition. He isn’t another book on the shelf. He something completely different altogether."

"You obey all the commandments, do you? Let’s just start with the first one. Love God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind. Have no other gods before me. Ok then— Sell all your stuff and follow me. Is God first in your life? If so, everything and anything else is trivial. Do you have any other gods before him?"

This is where it really got me:

"I want you to be willing to live a single life, all of your life,for me. He comes to Abraham and says "I want you to take your son, your only son whom you love, and offer him as a burnt offering." To the rich young ruler, "I want you to sell everything and follow me." We have to surrender all our dreams. Jesus says "I want the most important thing in your life. I want the thing that, with it, you dream of a power and life without God. Until you do, we aren’t right, and it’s killing you."

Anything that you have decided will give you a life of joy and power without God becomes a monster. It drives you. Jesus looks at the wealth and says “this is your monster. Give it to me. Put me first. Be willing to part with anything and any idea. Be willing to walk away from it all, and let me decide.” Jesus says “surrender your dreams.” It’s not the dream per se, but it’s the dream before Jesus— Your deepest desire above and without him.”

I deeply long to be married. I want a family. Heck, I just want someone to go to weddings and dance with. If you asked me what my deepest desire is, I would say just that. I want one. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks… And I finally spoke. I want that.

I don’t necessarily think The Lord is calling me to be single all my life, but I know that I am right now and I hate it. I hate it so much that I desire to be rid of it above all else. I do find myself thinking “ok God, if I could just meet someone, then I’d be happy.” Then I wouldn’t need You. Am I willing to walk away from this monster that drives me? The monster that makes me think I will be happy and finally living…without Him who is true life and joy?

I don’t know what this looks like… To really live as one satisfied and totally surrendered to whatever He has for me… To say “yes Lord, if this is what you have for me, I will not waiver…” To never look back at the “treasure” I have left to follow Him… To hand over to Him my greatest desire and ask for a new one: nothing but Himself…


Listen to the sermon here//

April 15th, 2014

My uncle has been entertaining my mom’s side of the family (of infamous Pumpkin Roll Fame) since January with a daily email of stories and pictures from the family archives. One of the most fascinating stories to surface so far was the trip to Assateague Island, and so I share it with you now:

In April after the Ash Wednesday Storm of 1962, we took part in the insane expedition to Assateague Island. The pictures don’t do justice to that amazing ”drive along the beach and camp out” trip.

The group drove south to the mainland in Maryland and loaded the Shidner’s pick-up truck on a barge that was towed to the island.  Maybe there was a second truck.  Once on the island, the tires were deflated somewhat so the rear-wheel drive truck could ride over the dunes and down along the hardpacked sand at the surf-line.  Everyone rode in the back or on top of the truck.  Whenever the truck got stuck, we all got out and pushed.  We never saw another person on the island. 


The few existing houses had been ripped apart or washed out.  The men headed south to where the fence both barred access to Virginia and kept the wild ponies on the Virginia side.  However, the storm had destroyed the fence at the waterline and we drove out and around it into Virginia.  Along the way, we saw a half dozen skeletons of wrecked wooden ships that had been buried under the dunes for centuries, but uncovered by the storm.  The big keels and ribs remained.

The weather was cold and sometimes rainy, so the men took the extraordinary step of taking over the US Coast Guard Station that was evacuated and abandoned during the storm.  The station was atilt and the lower story was full of sand.  We cut open a fifty-five gallon drum and fabricated a stove, which they hooked up to the stovepipe inside the Coast Guard Station.  We slept upstairs in the barracks.  Looking back, it’s hard to believe we just invaded government property! 


The storm had not affected wildlife; we saw sea turtles laying eggs, raked clams and oysters, and tried to catch the wild ponies.  That was the trip where we found the baby raccoon, who became our pet, Racket.
In the photos you’ll see inside and outside the Coast Guard station (sand and the drum stove visible!), the truck that they rode down the beach in, my mom sitting in front of the Coca Cola cooler, and of course— Racket the raccoon. 
April 8th, 2014

One thing my Grandmom taught me about having a wildly spectacular life was that it’s fun to have things you love that are “special & yours”— blue & white china, walnut ice cream, sapphires, hot coffee, fancy rings, watercolors, big band music, tiny sandwiches, the beach.

For me, it’s mint chocolate, bike riding, pancakes, fireworks, fresh OJ, baseball games, shirley temples, Sufjan, stationery, red velvet cake, and ranunculus.

Thanks G-mom for teaching me right and to Gracie for bringing me these blooms after a sad weekend of saying goodbye.

February 24th, 2014

Years ago (literally about 4, which is RIDICULOUS) our little group of Athens friends would play tennis at Bishop Park and then eat dinner together at local restaurant every Monday night. Those were the days when the only thing on our minds was becoming a regular at the restaurant and getting a healthy fitness glow from the sweet Georgia sun. We never thought those days would end and I was convinced I would finally have a consistent backhand.

I was wrong about both things apparently as I can’t hit a backhand to save my life, and tonight, when I ate there for the first time in years, I was immediately taken back to the glorious phase between college and real responsibility and the huge pasta portions we would justify after casually playing tennis for a few hours.

I sent a group text to the old crew and this response captured my sentiments perfectly: “That was a lifetime ago. Good times, friends. I’m not one to say that the best is not ahead but damn that was fun. Athens fam fo’eva.”

It’s not good to live in the past, but sometimes it’s good for the soul to eat a large bowl of pasta and look at old pictures…

February 4th, 2014

A few days ago, it snowed in Athens. We didn’t get the drama or the news coverage of our Sister to the South (Atlanta); we got a few peaceful, quiet, cold and crisp days off from the hustle of normal mid-week activities. We got sledding and snowflakes and sleeping in. It was glorious. So glorious, in fact, that I posted the top picture on Instagram as I walked to meet some friends for a snowday brunch.  

In reality, the untouched, un-Instagramified, un-VSCOed picture is below. It, too, in it’s raw form, is beautiful: the way the road slopes up, seemingly forever; the snow piled up on the banks, the naked trees cascading along like a canopy. 

But. I fixed it. I fixed it so that it … looked better. More snowy. More magical. 

My life looks nowhere near what I thought it would at this stage. In practical ways, this is your typical 27-year-old-girl internal drama of ithoughtiwouldbemarriedbynow and howisitthateveryoneiknowishavingbabiesandicantevengetallmylaundrydone etc etc etc. But a lot of it, too, is the fact that I compare myself to others constantly and think that if my story doesn’t match theirs, something is wrong. I do it without even realizing it.

Our internet/social-media savvy generation has become obsessed (me included; I realize the irony of writing this on a blahg) with documenting our lives: what we eat, what we wear, who we hang out with, our adventures… but in the midst of that self-obsession, we’ve also become obsessed with what others are doing and how we do or don’t measure up. Every time I open Instagram, it’s an emotional roulette: will my friend’s egg fritata make my Cheerios look lame? Will I see evidence of a dinner party last night I wasn’t invited to? OH Great… now I want to redo my living room, too! 

I think the internet is great. I love Instagram and I love Tumblr and I love reading blogs and keeping up with both friends that live far away and far away people that I wish were my friends. I love taking photos, and I am even OK with photo editing to make something look better (because, hey, that picture is really beautiful, no?) I think the little moments and tiny warmth and connection you feel whilst reading someone’s post where you think Oh, man. Me too. I’m glad I’m not alone or I really cannot wait to try to make that maple ganache frosting or I needed a laugh like that today… these moments are all worth sifting through the mess of the rest. 

Just before the snow storm, I received a Facebook message from a girl out in Dallas who reads this blog. She stumbled upon it a few years ago and has kept up with the (mis)adventures of Morgangster ever since. I was totally flattered and surprised… but the coolest thing that she said about her and her friends is really why I’m writing all of this in the first place: 

…your posts have resonated with each of us in different ways. From career changes to moving cities to wondering why we’re 26 and single, we have always come back to your blog for some wisdom and candidness. Your group of friends really reminds us of ourselves.

So keep Instagramming. Keep Facebooking. Keep blogging; I’ll keep reading and I’ll keep writing. I think it’s important to share our stories and our experiences and our wisdom, because humans are pretty neat and hilarious. But when you find yourself feeling badly, feeling left out, feeling left-behind or feeling unworthy… unplug. Walk down your street and take an unfiltered photo of the street where you live on this day, at this period in your life. You won’t always live there, and an un-doctored reminder of the place where you were at this specific point in time will be more valuable to you than a wintry wonderland created in a phone. I promise. 

October 29th, 2013

Being known by someone is the best and sometimes most terrifying feeling in the world. Other people knowing you so well and perfectly!!! Wow. To have someone look at you and say "Hey. I see you. I get you!" is all at once freeing and exhilarating and humbling and exposing… 

Yesterday was my 27th birthday and the start of my 28th year here on earth. It was, at least as much as I can duly remember, one of my best birthdays yet (though the scavenger hunt for birthday #8 was pretty epic, I do recall.) New friends, longtime friends, younger friends, older friends, kiddo friends… my house was filled with the many faces of people whom I adore. We ate chili and red velvet cake and cooked s’mores over a fire and drank delicious seasonal drinks and taught kids how to throw darts and played with babies and laughed and listened to my favorite songs and sat outside in the brisk October night with strings of light twinkling overhead. It was relaxed and wonderful and no one made me blow out candles because I despise it and I really don’t think I stopped smiling all day. 

Between the breakfast of donuts and a second breakfast of a Mama’s Boy biscuit and gifts of my favorite candies and drinks and music and flowers and everything my little heart could ever desire… I thought my heart was going to explode. 

Despite all of that… the best present I received yesterday was a tiny glimpse of what it feels like to be known and loved by the Lord: for all of my messiness and craziness… I am fully known and fully loved. 

Here’s to 27 being the best year yet. 

September 9th, 2013

“In wisdom gathered over time I have found that every experience is a form of exploration.”  Ansel Adams


We drove up 85 to the state line and headed west towards the mountains, with our only plan being to hike down Brasstown Creek Falls and see where the day took us after that. 

We passed through Westminster, SC in the middle of their Apple Festival and decided to take a pit stop for some plump red galas. A girl working for a local orchard told us to swing by Chatooga Belle Farm for the best view of the mountains— promised us we would not be disappointed.

We took our apples and after the somewhat treacherous trek to 3 of the 4 falls of Brasstown (fear of death-by-falling-into-a-rock-laden-waterfall keeping us from the 4th), we headed to the farm that did indeed have a breathtaking 280 degree view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. We met a man there named Wray who told us we shouldn’t leave the area without visiting Woodall Shoals and a BBQ place called The Gathering. A couple of turns down an unmarked dirt road later and BOOM. One of the coolest places I’ve ever been.

My take-aways from this adventure are: take unplanned stops, talk to locals, and 100% go to Woodall Shoals. Also, if someone I know doesn’t get married at Chatooga Belle Farm I’m going to be upset. Also also… the Hot Sauce at The Gathering might be the best thing I’ve ever eaten. 

July 22nd, 2013

I’ve been attending a lot of Going Away Parties recently. Calling them Parties seems a little mean, mostly to me, the One Who Is Left Behind. Saying goodbye to someone that you really love is really quite difficult. Saying goodbye to a whole bunch of people you love… man, it hurts. 

"In the wilderness, God is killing the desires that are killing you."

Yesterday’s sermon was on Exodus 17, the famous passage of the the grumbling Israelites forgetting their rescue from 400 years of generational slavery in Egypt and the Lord’s provision for them in the desert (walking through the Red Sea, manna from heaven, etc etc.) and how they questioned whether He was truly with them or not. It’s easy to sit there, comfortable in the pew of the air conditioned church and think "Those guys were so dumb. How could they not see how God was taking care of them?"

And then I realized. I am in the wilderness. I am an Israelite. I am grumbling. I am worried. I am fearful about tomorrow. Heck, I’m fearful about today. Today, I heard the click of the door as one of my best friends left Athens for a new permanent life in Washington D.C. And she’s the just the first! Over the next few weeks, I’ll hear that proverbial click about 6 more times.  

"In the wilderness, God is killing the desires that are killing you."

I thought about that quote from the sermon a lot yesterday. Killing what’s killing me. I thought about what’s killing me right now— my desire for my life to be what I want. To have friends that will stay in Athens forever with me. To be known well and know others well. To have friends and people to share life together and walk alongside and grow up with. Those are my desires, and losing them is making me miserable. But perhaps the misery is necessary.  

What does it look like to trust that the wilderness might just be the thing that will save me from myself? From my idols? From this ideal life that I had planned for myself? When everything else is crumbing away into desert dust… all that’s left is the Rock that God says he will provide water from— the Rock of Christ. 

I’m not sure how long I will be in this wilderness— maybe a while, and I think that’s OK. But until then… I will trust that this is for my good… for removing my expectations of life that are making me feel lonely and not good enough. For allowing me to see something even more beautiful than my little plans. 

And speaking of plans… please invite me to do things as I will most likely be sitting at home watching Revenge on Netflix by myself. K thanks. 

July 9th, 2013

This is the first morning in a few weeks where I’ve woken up and not felt like I was simultaneously being punched in the face and dragged out from under the covers against my will. 

I’ve been reaaaal tired, yo. 

If I didn’t work in youth ministry, I would probably need to go to the doctor and have this exhaustion examined. But as it turns out, teenagers have a pretty profound effect on ones exhaustion meter. Who knew? 

In the car last week on the way down to our high school summer beach conference, Taylor Swift’s 22 came on and I proceeded to tell the kiddos that nothing made me realize I am most definitely NOT 22 anymore quite like that song. Just listening to it made me tired and want to switch to NPR.  

I took a deep, exhausted sigh and looked over at the 16 and 17-year-olds in my car, windows down, singing a the the top of their lungs. We’re happy, free, confused, and lonely in the best way… it’s miserable and magical OH YEAAAAH… and I started laughing. We’re really not so different after all, even though I’ve got a decade on them and a college degree under my belt. But in that moment I remembered what it felt like to be a teenager and have your thoughts flit between whether or not it was going to rain at the beach and whether or not God was real. 

There’s a lot I don’t remember about being a teenager… probably from intentional suppression or because most days were pretty ordinary. But from what I do remember, it was this scary, wonderful time where everything seemed possible and impossible at the same time. Where I worried about AP Calculus and what it meant if this man named Jesus really did die on the cross for my sins. (Mostly I thought how it probably meant I needed to be nicer to my sister and I surely needed to pay closer attention in math class.)

I saw myself in their faces that day in the car—- windblown, excited, overly-caffeinated. I thought about 16-year-old Morgan and how different I am now… and how in 10 years, maybe these same kids will be driving a group of teenagers to the high school summer beach conference, praying they’ll learn a little more about Jesus and trying to remember what it was like to be young. 

June 4th, 2013

Can I be real with you for a minute, Internet? 

I wasn’t going to breathe a word of this story to anyone, but last night when I confessed this to my roommates as we made a late-night-spur-of-the-moment-adult-decision-run to Mickey D’s for some hot fudge sundaes… I changed my mind. 

Well. Not so much as changed my mind but was convinced via EBs uncontrollable laughter and giggling pleads to “pleaaaase put this on your blog. Please please please!” Why have a blog if not for moments like this? 

Towards the end of what seemed like our 3rd swing of winter, I decided I would plant a little garden. Nothing fancy: a few flowers and some herbs to see if my thumbs were indeed green. I tried various methods of planting: a few from just placing the plants, a few from bulbs, a few from tiny seeds themselves. 

The plants that were already growing seemed to be doing fine (Easy. Check.) Even the plants from the bulbs sprouted quickly and started shooting up. But the flowers from the seeds I wasn’t so sure about. 

They were sure growing fast, but didn’t really resemble what I thought the flowers were going to look like: I had planted zinnia seeds, and these didn’t look like zinnia stems. But I pressed on, undeterred by the strange appearance of these “zinnias.” 

I was diligent. So diligent, ya’ll, I can’t express it. I bought the right soil. I watered them in correct amounts, at the right time of day. I even bought some Miracle Grow pellets! In my mind I thought “this is what people with pets must feel like—” Me and my plants. I felt so proud. 

A month or so goes by. The plants keep on keepin’ on… and my skepticism about the “zinnias” continues to grow (pun most definitely intended.) albeit silently inside my head. 

The roomies even make comments about how quickly the “zinnias” are growing and I too am outwardly impressed with their progress. Inside I’m thinking “these really don’t look like zinnias…” but I continued to water them and check on them and mentally mark their progress. 

A few days ago, the “zinnia” buds bloomed. 

Not zinnias. I don’t know what I was expecting, honestly, but they were most definitely not zinnias. In a moment of sheer horror, I realize that these giant “zinnias” I’ve been growing and tending and nurturing in my front yard are indeed weeds. 

Weeds. 

Countless people over many weeks have passed by our house (as it’s on a popular street for walking dogs/letting dogs poop on the train tracks) and there I was, sitting on the stoop, so proud of my giant plants that were in fact growing like weeds.  Because they were weeds.

When I confessed to my roomies as we were enroute to hot fudge sundaes… uncontrollable laughter arose—- I had been so careful! So loving! So disciplined about watering and planting and— hilariously— weeding the flower beds that the fact that I was actually growing weeds was too much to bear! 

"Isn’t that just how we are, though? We think we’re growing all this good stuff… all these flowers… and we’re really just growing weeds." EB, in her profound laughter, was right. We are just like this. I kept thinking about all the other things in my life that I treat this way… thinking I’m doing something good and producing something great and beautiful when really it’s just weeds. Even when I suspected something was wrong, I was too embarrassed to admit I didn’t know what I was doing, or what a zinnia should really look like, even though I googled it about 800 times. I was so convinced that somehow that giant weed would turn into the beautiful flowers I thought I was planting. There was even a moment a couple of weeks ago when I knew it was a weed… and I kept on watering it anyway because I didn’t want to fail. I thought I’d rather have weeds than nothing at all.

We scarfed down our Sundaes and EB made me promise to take a picture of the “zinnias” before I pulled them up, which I did promptly as soon as the sun came up this morning. 

Sometimes you need an EB in your life to point out the hilariousness of the facades you are trying to keep up… no matter what they are: your own physical appearance, wealth, material possessions, friends, blog followers, adoration of others…  On the surface, it was just a weed pretending to be a flower and me totally going along with the weed’s ridiculousness. But often it’s a deeper problem… one that must be ripped out from the roots and not planted or tended or nurtured again. 

This has been a day in the life of Morgangster. 

EDIT: Not a zucchini. Similar flower, but the stem is totally different/no zucchini fruit to be found… could be a squash of somesort though. (My mom grew zucchini/cucumbers etc. and this is similar, yes, but not the same.) Plus… not a zinnia. And that’s what I planted. So either way there was a problem aka WEEDS and it was taking over/smothering all my other plants in the flower bed :) 

May 8th, 2013

I haven’t posted much since I started my new job (long story short: I love it!) because I’ve been so busy. The good kind of busy where you’re equally happy and tired at the end of the day. 

Last week on my day off, I went to the Botanical Gardens (which I affectionately call The Botans) and drank Grapefruit San Pellegrino amongst the flowers. Tomorrow I’m headed to visit my grandmother in Atlanta and drink Grapefruit San Pellegrino with her. It’s an exciting life I lead. 

If you think about it, call/write/email/visit your grandparents soon. I’m realizing now how crazy it is that we live so close to each other and I don’t often get down to see her. Life is busy, for sure, but some things are more important— more than even flowers or gardens or Grapefruit San Pellegrino (though it delicious and I am obviously obsessed.) 

April 25th, 2013

That is the face of someone who has their last day of work tomorrow. 

Me. 

!!!

In my new job, I’ll be continuing my role as a graphic designer + some other extra special duties that involve hanging out with my favorite teenagers and talking to them about Jesus. It’s literally a perfect combination that doesn’t make sense outside of divine intervention. 

Full Job/Life/Excitement Update next week, but until then, enjoy looking at this cartooned version of my face. HOLLER HOLLER HOLLER. 

m o r g a n g s t e r

a twenty-something breakfast enthusiast just trying to find my way in this crazy world. a designer by trade, a photographer by passion, a believer by grace.
Athens, Georgia

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