Kicking Butt & Taking Names

Hey everyone!!

So after that previous post containing some unfortunate news about not getting the Penland scholarship, now it’s time for a FUN POST filled with exciting news! Remember how one of my 2018 goals was to write, illustrate, and publish a children’s book? Well, that goal has officially been accomplished!  After getting my test print, I ordered 150 books that were delivered to my door this week!  Meggoline is officially in print! (There’s a lot of exclamations points in this post so far, I know.  But I’m just SO EXCITED!)  I unloaded the boxes into this massive stack in my studio and have spent the last couple days signing them, addressing envelopes, packaging them up, and making trips to the post office!  Thankfully the postal workers have been much kinder about having to process all of these packages than I had thought they would be.  Let’s hope that continues because book orders keep rolling in!!  I am so, so grateful to everyone who has supported me on this journey so far!  Whether through backing my Kickstarter, leaving kind comments on my Instagram updates, liking my Meggoline Facebook page, or ordering the book itself, it has all been very encouraging and uplifting.

meggoline spine

So what’s next for me?

Right now I still have a couple dolls I need to finish for the Kickstarter rewards. (I have loved sewing them, but MAN they are taking longer than I had anticipated!)  Then I have a couple collabs I hope to work on with some lovely folks on Instagram. PLUS, I am getting my Etsy shop prepped for a re-launch on May 1, 2018 (mark your calendars)!  And meanwhile, don’t you worry, I am definitely still brainstorming ideas for my next book!

Scroll down some photos of the printed book and stay tuned for more fun things to come!

meggoline interior


meggoline copyright

meggoline one bed

meggoline back



Kicking Butt & Taking Names

GOALS: update

WOW it has been a busy couple of weeks!  Who knew that chasing my dreams and accomplishing goals would so all-consuming.  But it has been such a blast so far and honestly really encouraging.

(If you are interested in following along on the day to day I provide a lot more frequent updates via Instagram (@the.megan.mill) and Facebook. 

Goal: Author/Illustrator

If you want to know more about the book I am writing or get a copy of it, you can see the Kickstarter page here .  There are also other rewards, like vinyl stickers, postcards, prints, or commissioned art.  The campaign goes until the end of February and as of right now I am only $700 away from my goal!  Which means 39 lovely backers out there have helped me to get 72% of the way!

kickstarter_19 days to go

The process itself has consisted of so many different pieces, from sketching, inking the final drawings, painting the illustrations, scanning, digitally editing, page layouts, text editing, marketing, researching publishing methods, connecting with nannies on social media, reaching out to organizations and companies to collaborate (that hasn’t been as successful as I would have hoped… thus far anyway… but if you want to collaborate please let me know!), filtering through unsolicited advice, thanking backers, prepping files for print… Gosh, the list goes on and on!

made some art_web_higher res

In reality though, it really has been fun to have a goal to reach for and go after.  And even more encouraging has been the chance to get to connect with so many awesome people!  Lots of nannies have messaged me to say how excited they are for this book… how they have been looking for a resource like this or how they wish there were more children’s books on the market related to the topic of nannies.  I never knew how big the nannying community actually was!  So many others out there who also love kids and crafts, creativity and playgrounds.  But also so many other who have gotten close to a little one, developed a bond, but then had to say goodbye.  It really is a tough balance of holding on and letting go.  And not just for nannies… in life in general.  No matter who we love, nothing is permanent and we will all face changes, transitions, and goodbyes.

waving goodbye_web

Because of the excitement I have seen and how much I have enjoyed this process, I am feeling more and more confident that this will not be my only children’s book.  I have one or two more in mind for now… But am trying to not get too far ahead of myself… Gotta finish one first!

tea party_web.jpg

For those of you who don’t know me or really know my history, I have struggled with depression on and off for most of my life.  There have been a lot of days where everything has felt so remarkably meaningless and it was hard to get excited about anything.  So the fact that I have goals right now… and not goals that were part of a pre-determined plan (graduate high school, go to college, get a degree, get a job, etc.), goals that I am excited about and actually want to achieve… this feels big. My life feel full of passion and authenticity and dreams!  (Man, I sound like a sappy commercial or something…)  And to bring it back down to earth, ya, there have been hard days.  Days of anxiety and self-doubt and frustration.  Days where I have said “holy crap holy crap what am I doing, I’m not qualified for this, I’m going to fail, ahhhh”.  But all-in-all it has been a good season.

Though, speaking of seasons, it has been remarkably cold here in Virginia recently.  So one of my other goals to walk all of Blacksburg hasn’t gotten a whole lot of focus.  In fact, I think I have only been on three outdoor walks since the new year. But as things warm up I am excited to get back into that as well.  Today I went out on a trail I never knew existed and found a beautiful field, informational plant signs, and some deer poop…. So, that was a win, right?

Thanks for following along on this journey!  I would love to connect with you, hear your goals and passions (or what you saw on a walk today!) so feel free to leave a comment below! :)

GOALS: update


Hey friends.

I have a confession to make.

Perhaps you already know this, perhaps you don’t care, perhaps this will shock you…regardless, I need to say it:

I am terrified.

I am terrified of failure.  I am terrified of disappointing people.  I am terrified of the unknown and of death.  I am terrified of terrorism, of losing my loved ones, of looking stupid in social situations, of being called dumb, and of public speaking.  I am terrified of getting into a car accident or of being on the phone with someone when they do. I am terrified of people thinking I am selfish, rude, or inauthentic.  I am terrified of being selfish, rude, or inauthentic.  I am terrified of wearing my heart on my sleeve, of putting myself out there for everyone to see.  I am terrified to share my writing and my thoughts with people who may not receive them well.  I am terrified of being judged and of being judgemental, of becoming an alcoholic, of being fat, of being a lousy wife, or someday a bad mother. I am terrified of making new friends and of losing old ones.  I am terrified of meaninglessness and of that feeling in the pit of my stomach that tells me that I am not unique, not special, not important.  I am terrified of the darkness that creeps into my head, twists my thoughts, grabs me by the wrists and pulls me down. I am terrified by my doubts but also terrified by blind faith.

I am terrified of being anonymous but equally as terrified of being known.  I am terrified of the prospect of trying to start a business…for I am just as scared to fail as I am to succeed. I am terrified of dying, but I am also terrified of living.

There you have it: I am a repetitive scaredy cat.

I live in constant fear of what people think of me, of wasting my life, of denying who I am, of not knowing what that even means.  I feel like I am constantly fighting, swimming upstream against all of these fears…the ceaseless voices in my head warning me of all the ways everything could go up in flames.

But here’s the thing.  I am not going to stop swimming.  In fact, as I continue to identify all these things that I am afraid of, I feel as though I am slowly getting more equipment, increasing my ability to swim.  The more I study the flow of the water, the currents, the jagged rocks…the more I am able to avoid the things I should be afraid of and ignore the others. That doesn’t make the water flow less, but it makes my muscles grow.

Okay…enough of that long, rambling (kind of dumb) metaphor.

The point is: I want to keep taking steps to face these fears.  I want to identify the things I desire to be true of my life and actually go after them.  For basically my whole life my goal has been college.  And I thought at the end of it, I would be done searching… that I would know my “life path.”  Funny thing is: I’m here now, at life post-college, and I think I know less about this path than I did going in!  On one hand that terrifies me, but on the other it gets me so dang excited!  And some days I think it only terrifies me because of the way other people react when they hear that I am not getting a full-time architecture office job straight out of college.  (Yes, I am appreciative of my college education.  No, I don’t think contemplating altering my career path makes it a waste of five years.  No, I don’t intend to just be a lazy bum mooching off of my husband.  No, I am not worried about how this time spent nannying will look to future potential employers.)  At the end of the day it is not them who has to live with my choices and decisions (to get a job I resent, to chase my dreams, to take time off), it is me.  (well…. and my husband…who is wonderfully supportive!)

So this post is for two reasons:

#1  –  I have been afraid to really mention my blog on Facebook much at all, for Facebook contains high school friends, old teachers, relatives, parents, fellow church members… a whole host of people who may not necessarily react well to all of the things on this blog.  Because this blog is one of the most honest and vulnerable places in my life.  Here I feel free to doubt, to wrestle, to share.  I am terrified of how people could respond… If I share that I am wrestling through doubts about my faith, my biggest fear is that people will turn me into “a project”…or that I will perceive it that way.  But by not even giving other the chance to enter into the conversation, to see the real, authentic, vulnerable me I am not helping anybody.  Are other people in my life asking similar questions?  Do they desire community as much as I do? Are there others who wish they had a group of artists to paint with, open-minded thinkers to chat with, nature-lovers to stargaze with? I’ll never know unless I push past those fears and insecurities holding me back.

#2  –  And secondly, today is Day 1 for me of the Life is Messy Challenge by Mayi Carles. You can accept this challenge too if you want to!  What I hope to gain from these five life is messy challengedays is some sense of where I want to begin heading.  I am not thinking that by the end of this I will suddenly have my life “figured out.”  I am not even really hoping to have any semblance of a business plan.  All I know is I need to start somewhere and this seems as good a place as any!  Plus I have really loved getting to know Mayi’s site better and it seems like she really knows what she is doing!  (and who doesn’t love the adorably cute illustrations?!) So here was the assignment for day 1:


Super Power Finder1

I was tasked with listing out things I love to do, things I am praised for, and thing clients will buy.  Things I love to do was easy.  Obviously I know what I love.  However the other ones were harder.  After some thought and sifting through memories I was able to pull out things I have been praised for over the years.  But that last one… man, that last one is the hard one!  Things clients will buy?  I don’t know what people will buy!  If I did, I wouldn’t be doing this! haha  But I took a stab at it… based on some of the things that have been purchased from my Etsy shop.  (If you are reading this and have suggestions or comments… pleaseee put them in the comment section below!  I would LOVE some honest feedback.)  In conclusion, pottery and kids seemed to be things in the overlaps.  With art/collages/cards floating somewhere near the middle.  So I guess we’ll see where Mayi takes me tomorrow!

Well, anyway… that’s all for now. To those of you new to my blog: Welcome.  For those of you who have already been walking with me through this roller coaster of philosophical-existential-poetic-rambling-mundane-art-filled journey of mine….thanks for hanging in there.


[…and now back to our regularly scheduled program…]


Collaged Canvas of Normalcy

And so it begins.
Life after college.

The canvas of normalcy yesterday morning, woven with waking covers stumbling coffee toothbrush, was collaged over with an array of emotions cut from every medium I own; graduation

the strangeness of the realization that the title “graduate” is now permanently embroidered on my identity, stitched for all to see, for all to assume, to expect, to judge;

the freedom from the lurking looming pressing in and down pressure of “The Thesis”… finally released with the placement of a CD in the tray next to the paper with my name still incorrect;

the feeling of subtle panic bubbling as I search for a way to turn down the heat so the full boil won’t erupt into lost wandering and existential crisis; the anxious need for a plan a schedule a checklist a map so that I can at least pretend that I am not “wasting my time” (whatever that means), so that I can make something of myself (whatever that means), so that I won’t disappoint my parents my friends my relatives my professors my husband myself God (whatever that means);

the excitement of getting to start a new adventure, a continued search for “who I am” and “what I am passionate about,”

the desire to begin life-giving, healthy habits now before I accidentally get into routines that are unproductive, unfulfilling, selfish, lazy, ignorant… the fear of mental, physical, emotional, spiritual decay starting the minute I walked across that stage… the fear that I will waste that paper, experience, five year period that cost tens of thousands of dollars, that I won’t “make something of myself,” that I’ll be a failure;

the peace of knowing that life doesn’t have a rulebook, that other people aren’t the judges, that I am married to someone supportive, that I have come to realize the things I value, that I am not expected to have all the answers yet, that I have been provided for, that I have jobs lined up that I am excited for, that this isn’t an end and it isn’t a beginning either… this is life and I am still here to live it.

. . .

In conclusion, in the first quiet moments after the graduation chaos died down, I was filled with peace and anxiety and fear and excitement and panic and freedom and desire.  I made goals and lists and plans, not wanting to be neglectful, but also open to those things changing. I hope to stay mentally and physically active, I hope to start a small business, I hope to find places to volunteer and ways to contribute to the world beyond myself, I hope to make more friends and deepen/maintain existing relationships, I hope to learn more about kiddos and grow in patience and love.

may2016Sooo…I began my life as a graduate (after coffee and list-making) with a nannying job for a sweet 2 year old boy (including a trip to Kroger, a car seat in my car, and time at the playground), a nap, working on a collage for my Etsy shop, and another childcare job watching 13 kids in a basement during a church small group.  I am excited for all the little ones I get to love on and care for in the coming months.  Kids keep me looking out, they keep me moving and learning, they keep me on my toes.  I am a different person with children.  I laugh more, I smile more, I feel like anything is possible.

Maybe it is.

. . .

And just as a final addition, here is writing from someone who so often verbalizes the exact things I have once thought or felt:


Written by Jacob Ibrag]

Questioning my inquiring process.
Am I seeking the right answers? Are
these thoughts original? If not, where
did they come from? Looking into
the mirror, witnessing fragments of
all the people that touched my psyche
take shape to form the face I see in
front of me. A hybrid. Better. Worse.
More of the same. Recycled. Carbon
copy cluster of garbage. I become
them. Part of the whole system.
Politically correct human.

Collaged Canvas of Normalcy

update // five years later…

I guess the biggest news is that I am officially and finally graduating on Saturday.  Five long years of architecture school later.  Five years that contained a whole mix of sleepless nights, too much coffee, laughter with friends, crying with friends, crying alone in the shower, 3 trips abroad, my first ‘C’ in a class, going camping and hiking, living in the dorms, moving out of the dorms, signing my first lease, eating way too many gummy bears, working in a dining hall, moving in an out of studio ten times, working in an architecture office, walking with a friend through a cancer diagnosis, doubting the goodness of God, driving 12 hours straight home from Florida, throwing up from too many drinks, getting a smart phone, crying for weeks when my parents said they were getting divorced, being scared by the shooting of the police officer here at Virginia Tech, watching a friend struggle with the repercussions of being raped, obsessing about my weight, battling depression, seeing my first counselor, getting married, honeymooning in CT, playing pool with my classmates, the unintentional ending of a friendship, dropping a Harry Potter class because I couldn’t keep up with the reading, creating an architecture thesis, doubting the existence of God, fearing the loss of my friends, spiraling into an isolated despair, ending up in the hospital, seeing a second counselor, learning to throw pottery, babysitting for so many adorable children, starting an etsy shop, doing yoga, learning to cook, grieving the loss of my mother-in-law…

Needless to say it’s been a heck of a journey.  At the start of this post I was about to brush off graduation, because it’s been feeling pretty insignificant.  Most of my friends did normal majors and graduated in four years (a.k.a. last spring) so in some ways it feels like I already graduated.  But I guess this is a bigger deal than I have been making it out to be.  Because college has been such a life-changing time in my life.  I have grown, seen, learned, and experienced quite a bit.  Sometimes it feels like too much.  But on the good days I can see how it all seems to be weaving together, how it seems to (hopefully) be making me into someone more resilient, more empathetic, more understanding of what really matters in life.

(And on that note, I’m going to end this post because I am going to make dinner for my wonderful husband who will be home from lab soon.  However, these two videos are short but (I think) very insightful.  They kind of sum up some of the things I have come to realize more fully throughout college, and especially in my thesis.)

(love the quote “big egos have little ears”)

update // five years later…