Our deepest calling is to grow into our own authentic selfhood, whether or not it conforms to some image of who we ought to be.  
Parker Palmer, Let Your Life Speak

Monday, March 31, 2008

A little bit about my job

I work for a non-profit and as I'm sure any of you who have experience with non-profit work that you may have a job description, but it's very likely what you actually do from day to day will differ greatly from that. Lately I've been reviewing landscaping plans, looking for books about native Louisiana plants, and reading email newsletters about gardening on the Gulf Coast. Just to clarify... I have no gardening experience whatsoever. I do have several indoor plants, but until a year ago I've not been really good at keeping them alive. So why gardening? Well, as the director of community outreach I thought cleaning up/beautifying some parts of our community would be a great way for our volunteers who don't have construction know-how to get involved in a community activity.

Our first project last year was for the local library branch. The branch director had a clear vision of what she wanted and so that project was deceptively easy. This year we've been working on an extensive landscaping project for the downtown domestic violence emergency shelter. It would be an understatement to say that this project is just slightly more difficult. With little direction from the shelter staff except the request to include a palm tree in the design, I've been working with a long term volunteer at our non-profit to help formulate and execute a plan. Linda, the long term volunteer, has really been such a great help- investigating the correct plants to use and coming up with a total cost list. Today we began to put plants in the ground and although it was just a small bed compared to all of the other work left to do it felt like a really big deal. I hope we're able to show these women who have just escaped from such hard circumstances that we care. Who knows, maybe it will start a movement to clean up downtown that would be nice for this small town.


It finally happened...

I missed posting two days in a row. I knew it had to happen sometime and I think that it almost takes some of the pressure off. Still missing two out of fourteen days is really not too bad.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Posting by candlelight

It has been a really busy day and I haven't had much time to think about what to share today. Now its just about time to go dark for an hour, so I'll simply say, "Buenas Noches." Margaret

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Earth Hour 2008

I'm participating in Earth Hour '08 and you should too. One hour sans electricity is so doable. Plus now that we are on daylight savings time, it might even still be light outside. United we can make a difference!

Join me in the movement. Margaret

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Two posts in one day

I thought about only posting the answer to the word game today, but I have had such a great day that I wanted to share.

First of all I must put this in context, usually the fourth Wednesday of each month is the most stressful workday. It's the day we distribute commodities and I'm in charge. Today all that went off with few problems mostly because everyone was in such a good mood. Why such good moods? I'm not sure,but the glorious weather couldn't have hurt. The temperature was a perfect 80 degrees with a slight breeze to keep everyone outside cool and the gnats away. The sun was shining and it just made everything look so new, so much like Spring was really here. Then this afternoon I went out with a volunteer to inspect homes for housing repair and they were the most well kept homes I had seen in all of the inspections I've done. It was really phenomenal. Most of the homes I've seen have been close to falling apart and definitely not clean, but these few women took such pride in the place that they lived. It was a pleasure to check out how we could help them. Plus on the drive to get to each of the homes it felt like I was seeing this community anew for the first time. I'm serious. I saw places I'd never noticed before and places I'd seen a thousand times seemed to have a different glow about them. It was such a blessed day.

Hope your eyes will witness a similar miracle today, Margaret

The answer is


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

More about games...

One of my favorite things to do each day is play the word games from the Merriam-Webster website. Lately I've been really intrigued by the Jumble crossword. I have to say that I'm pretty good. Take today's for instance I completed it in under two minutes. It does take a little practice to learn to think about words in a different way. But if you are looking for a way to strengthen your vocabulary I can't think of any way that would be more fun. Another great website for vocabulary practice is FreeRice.com. Why is it called "Free Rice," you ask? Well for every analogy you get correct the website donates 20 grains of rice to people of need around the globe through the UN World Food Program.

For a treat, today I've included a word puzzle that was forwarded to me by my grandparents last week. Try to solve it, check out the websites, and have fun. Margaret

What nine letter word in the English language is still a word when each of the nine letters is removed one by one?

Check back tomorrow for the answer.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Time for another clue...

It's been a really long Monday at work, but I wanted to make sure to post something today. I'm not sure if you've noticed, but I've been really good about posting so far. Let's not celebrate yet! This could just be a fluke. If I'm still posting a month from now we might have reason to rejoice. Maybe we'll have an online party. I'm not sure how that would work, but I'm sure I could find a picture of balloons to post or something.

Anyway for today's post I thought I would give you another clue to the Margaret mystery... I love to play games. Card games, board games, word games, puzzles, ect. Maybe this doesn't come to that great of a surprise to you because of the mystery post theme. I've never really thought about why. I'm sure it plays into my competitive nature. I do have to admit that I enjoy the game best when I win. I think it also has a lot to do with spending time with others. Playing a game is quality time with other human beings and I think deep down we all thrive on that. It's also really fun to see what you can learn about other people during a game. One of the best games for icebreakers with a crowd you know or one you don't is Apples to Apples. It's a party game of word play and I say the more people the better. It is so cool to see how people's minds work.

I'd have to say that my favorite game to play is backgammon. Do you know what that is? If not then check out the Internet backgammon pick on your games menu. Backgammon requires some strategy, but it often comes down to the roll of the dice. My dad taught me how to play and he is still my favorite opponent. We keep score of game wins and every time I come home for a visit we have to play at least one game. Lately, mostly because I've been down on my winning total, we've called it even when I've left. I think my strategy has weakened from my time spent playing online.

Another fun part of the game is the board we play on. It has a history. When I was younger, my dad had a friend he played with, Mr. Bill, a really special older gentleman. When Mr. Bill died, his widow gave my dad the board they played on along with a note that said she thought her husband would have wanted him to have it. It folds into a small case (like all the other boards I've seen) and it has a suede exterior with felt and suede on the inside. The pieces are white and brown, a heavy plastic I guess, and you roll the dice with these special cups made to match the board.

So I guess its not just about the playing of the game, but also about the textures, sounds, colors. Mostly it's about spending special time with my dad. Daddy-Daughter Time. I love it!

Just Margaret

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Margaret's Ultimate Coconut Cake Recipe

I've been in the kitchen all evening preparing for an Easter covered dish meal, but I didn't want to miss posting something new. So I thought I would share a super-easy recipe with you. It's for what I like to call an "Icebox Coconut Cake." I've always loved coconut and my grandmother made this for me the last time I visited. This is the first time I've made it and I have to say that it has so few steps that I can't imagine that anyone could mess it up.

1 box white cake mix
1 can cream of coconut
1 8 oz. tub of Cool Whip
1 14 oz. bag of coconut flakes

Step 1: Prepare cake mix as directed in a 13x9" brownie pan.
Step 2: Immediately after removing cake from oven poke holes in top
with fork.
Step 3: Pour entire can of cream of coconut on to cake.
Distribute evenly.
Step 4: Allow cake to cool and then frost with Cool Whip and top
with coconut flakes. [The recipe calls for all of the coconut flakes to be used on the cake, but even a die hard coconut fan like myself thought that was a bit much. Just use your discretion.]

Serve cake refrigerated. [I'm not sure this is a necessary step, but its just how my grandmother has always served it. Refrigeration is obviously needed to prevent the Cool Whip from spoiling and I think it should also help set the cream of coconut.]

Bon Appetit! Margaret

Friday, March 21, 2008

The first and I'm sure not the last post about books

I shared yesterday that I love to read. Today I thought I would elaborate a bit with a quote that I love about books from a documentary I watched about book obsessions. The documentary was called The Stone Reader and it is definitely a must see for anyone who loves to read and has had their life changed by reading a book. The director leads the audience on this seemingly hopeless search for the author of a book that he read years ago. After publishing this first novel, the author simply dropped off the map. Ultimately the documentary is about the mysterious connection that one person make with another when reading. So here is the quote.

Happy reading, Margaret

Its like food. You know, there are some pleasures that simply never run out and books are one of them. In every way from simply diverting yourself from life you enter worlds you couldn't possibly enter in any other way. You feel the pressure of another human soul on the other side of the book and that makes you feel less alone and less trapped in your own body and less isolated. And you feel that you are the brother of the author and that the two of you are working together and that's a very profound, moving experience. It's almost spiritual.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Today I'm determined to make this post a happy, optimistic one. Last night I was thinking about all that I've written so far and I'm not sure that it gives you a good idea of who I am.

So clue #1 to the great mystery of me: I'm a pretty happy person. I love to smile and laugh. "What makes me happy," you ask. Well, I'm like most people I guess, I'm happy being around people I love, particularly my family and my best friends, a.k.a. The Nine. I'm so blessed to have some many people who I know love me. I also have hobbies that make me happy. Reading is at the top of the list. Even the anticipation of reading is great! Sometimes when I just know that a book I'm about to read will be one I'm going to love forever part of me hates to begin it. Because even though I know picking it off the shelf years later is going to feel like coming back to a good friend, the excitement of reading it for the very first time will be gone. The change of seasons is another thing that makes me simply rejoice. There is something so magical about experiencing fall or spring again after summer or winter.
But I have to say the one thing that makes me happiest of all has got to be feeling like I have a purpose. I know what it's like not to feel that way and that just make feeling purpose-filled even better. Saying that my life has purpose is definitely not to say that I know exactly what the rest of my life will hold nor does it mean that when I felt like I didn't have a purpose one wasn't there. But for now, in this moment, I do have an idea of what my role is in our global community and it feels great. Part of this fulfillment comes from being happy with my job and with where I live (see above picture of me at work), but its really more than that. My purpose includes understanding how I fit into my family or my group of friends. It's knowing that I read not just because it makes me happy, but because each new thought or idea that I come across is making me me. It's also being content with the knowledge that even a crazy girl who gets giddy when the weather changes is someone who matters in our world.
I'm happy to be just me.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Trying not to be too ambitious

I've thought about what to write next pretty hard and I even hesitate to actually post something two days in a row. I'm afraid I might be pressing my luck and even worse building up my readers' expectation. Quick side note: That last statement sounds pretty optimistic. "My readers"... I'm not even sure if I have one. And while I'm on the subject, it seems to me that the whole concept of a blog is a little self centered. This statement is definitely not meant to apply to all blogs. I get the appeal of those that are on a particular subject or a specific hobby. But even with all of my optimism I have a hard time believing that some random person would want to read a blog just about my life. So that leaves us with the question:

What should be the focus of this blog?

I did consider possible subjects before jumping out into cyberspace with a blog again, but I really couldn't decide on just one thing. So many interests come to mind... I love to watch movies and I thought about making this a movie review page. I'm a knitter. Perhaps this blog could become another of the many forums for exploring that craft. Of course I can't forget my passion for green/sustainable living practices, but I'm not sure I know enough about that to make this blog interesting. And that's the ultimate goal of blogging right!? First, to create a web page that people want to visit again. And second, if most bloggers are honest, to find some self worth in the popularity of their site.

For now I think I'll let the subject of this collection of posts remain a mystery. At least in the philosophical realm I won't have the excuse of not having anything to write or share? Theoretically if the focus is the mystery of who I am, how I feel, and what I do then the possibilities are limitless. So I guess I'm back where I started and have decided to let this blog become one of the other billion that's just about me.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Welcome... the sequel

How should I start this? If you haven't already, please take note of the little side note "About Me." Before you even begin to read my blog I want us all to be on the same page. My goal with this first post is to actually let it make it to publishing without too much editing. In all honesty its not going to great so far. I've used the delete on my computer too many times to count. So I think it will be best if I start small with a simple "Welcome."

I hope you'll decide to stick it out with me.