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

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Moving Day

On my way back to Georgia via a detour through Florida for a Rotary Orientation Weekend. I'm sad to be leaving this home, but it's nice to know that my destination is also home. I don't imagine I'll have access to a computer for at least five days, but I'll make sure to take lots of pictures of all my adventures and record my thoughts to share when I'm back online in the mean time.

Just enjoying being on the open road, Margaret

Monday, June 23, 2008

The last this or that

Yesterday was my last Sunday at the little church I've attended since living in this community. Several times throughout the service I had people speak their goodbyes and during "passing of the peace" many hugs were shared all around. I have surprised myself a little at how little sadness I've felt through this whole process. Usually on the last Sunday before we moved, my whole family would be in tears. I don't think it has anything to do with a lack of feeling connected with this community. I do feel so much love for these people, but this whole process this time around feels more like a celebration than anything else, especially during the church service. I feel so grateful for my experience here, but I also feel very prepared and excited about moving on to a new experience. Two years of service after college was the right thing to do. Of that I am so self-assured, but now it is time to get back into school. I feel so much more empowered by the experiences I've had and look forward to exploring my discipline now with new eyes. I am very hopeful and so the tears haven't come.

Just, Margaret

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Not another box and no more tape, please.

This is an attempt to delay more of the inevitable cleaning out, sorting, and packing. I can so not function in my apartment right now. You would think a seasoned p.k.* would be so used to packing that I could get everything accomplished in just a few hours. I guess in our family packing has always been accompanied by a general spring cleaning or de-junking if you will, which I think is actually a very healthy process. It's nice not to feel weighed down by stuff, but still the whole process is not fun, especially going through it alone. At least when my family moved I had four other people to commiserate with about the growing piles of boxes and the the chaos. Thanks for letting me vent. Now back to packing.

Just, Margaret

*p.k.: preacher's kid, a.k.a. divinity school offspring. In the United Methodist Church, synonymous with nomad.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


I'm an alum of Dublin High School and so proud to know the some of the young adults who have been developing this non-profit organization/grass roots social justice movement. If you live in Georgia, join me for the premiere in Dublin. If you're not a Georgia resident, consider their work a challenge to you to "see, go, and do" in your own communities.

Just, Margaret

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I am so happy!

For the second time in two days I've had one of those epiphany moments when I realize how happy I am... to be me, doing the work I do, living on this campus, being a member of this community. That's as specific as I can be, but isn't contentment one of the best gifts to receive. Even knowing that I only have five full days of work left and that I will be leaving this place that has become my home, I remain content with my present and hopeful for my future. I've moved so many times in my life and this is the first time I've felt so much at peace. I think its a sign that the whole process is being guided/lead/ordained.

Each week my best college girlfriends, "The Nine," and I share a list of at least five things, events, people, circumstances, etc. for which we are grateful. It's a process that isn't always easy, but always rewarding. This past week or two a trend has developed. We have all expressed our gratitude for each other and email. As one of the my friends wrote, we all live relatively quiet, inconspicuous lives, but sharing our stories with each other makes them feel extraordinary and special! I'm so glad I have them with which to share my joy.

Just, Margaret

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

New friends

Finally after a year and a half of working here and with only a week to go we have more young people on staff! I'm so excited to be working with some people who are in my age bracket. The added bonus is that Ted and Melanie are great young adults. Both have beautiful spirits and very compassionate hearts. They are serving as summer interns and will be working on campus in June and July. The Summer Intern program is another one of the young adult programs offered by the United Methodist Church. So they, like me, were appointed to work here by the General Board of Global Ministries. Ted and Melanie have actually been around for a week, but I've kept forgetting to take their picture to add to this post and thus the delay. Over the week I have happily learned that we all share a passion for social justice work, an affinity for Disney films (childhood favorites include The Lion King, Aladdin, and Beauty and the Beast and new favorites Ratatouille and Finding Nemo), experience playing woodwinds in our high school marching bands, and a tendency to laugh uncontrollably in worship (hopefully that was just a one time thing). As there is very little to do in Baldwin during the week, we've spent a good bit of time together. I also gave them a tour of Lafayette this weekend-- Super Target, Barnes and Noble, and Zeus, a Greek and Lebanese cafe.

Just, Margaret

P.S. I've added a link to Ted's blog on the list to the right.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Rejoicing in the rain

It has been too long since our last really good rain, but today the skies emptied. I just love the rain and didn't even mind getting soaked. Life is renewed.

Just dripping wet, Margaret

Thursday, June 12, 2008

24 years old

Every once and a while I'm reminded by my job how fortunate I am to be me... to have parents who support me... to have a job that I love and that provides me with the funds to live comfortably... to have the freedom to travel and explore childhood dreams... to have a healthy home in which to live... to be responsible only for myself.

Today I met with a young woman who lives a life completely different from mine although we are both 24 years old and live less than a mile apart. She is the de facto head of her family of seven- her mother, twin 16 year old brother and sister, and her 3 children (1, 4, and 6). She works part time for what I assume is minimum wage and lives in a trailer that is infested with termites and rapidly falling apart. She entered my office so emotionally drained that you could read it on her face and in her body language. In her arms, she carried her squirming 1 year old son.

She talked of feeling hopeless, "needing hope." She spoke of her attempt to provide more for her family by seeking a better paying job and then finding herself without the needed support from the Food Stamps program. She told me about her mother's lack of commitment in caring for her siblings one of which is mildly mentally disabled and her mother's plan to leave Baldwin and her children to fend for themselves. She described the loss of her grandmother several months ago who until that time was the head of her family. I could see that her grandmother, like both of mine, loved her so completely, supported her, and had provided her (even at her death) with all that she was able. She was overwhelmed with the responsibility she now had to provide her family with a safe home, basic physical needs, and emotional support. It was evident that she was attempting to fill the space left by her grandmother. And was searching for whatever help she could find. As she made a list of the items that she and her family needed, I held her son and thought about how different my 24 years had been from her own.

Today I understood more fully, almost personally, the injustice that put her in this position. The injustice of being born into poverty and at once entering into a cycle which few overcome. The injustice of a nutritional service program that instead of rejoicing with the small success of finding a job with better wages or benefits practically punishes individuals by withdrawing all support. The injustice of a child welfare system that is so overwhelmed by cases families with absentee parents sometimes remain unaddressed. The injustice of a economically segregated public education program that does not provide those in most need with the skills necessary to survive. Today I gathered donated supplies from our depot on campus and shopped for food staples to give to this young woman while feeling like I was really just putting a band aid on a cut that required sutures. And I wondered what more I could do.

Just, Margaret.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Summer nights make me restless. I think it must have something to do with the extra daylight. I remember my parents reading me a book when I was little about a mother attempting to put a child to bed during the summer. I don't remember all the mishaps that occur, but eventually the mother paints a night scape on the child's blind to make it appear the time it felt. But I don't think my restlessness is that problematic. Plus I'm not sure whoever moves into my apartment would appreciate my painting skills.

Instead for the past couple of evenings I've been spending time at the gazebo on the bayou. Being outside and watching the night come helps bring me that rest I seek. Last night I was outside for 2 hours... reading until the daylight was gone and then watching the sunset, which was beautiful especially reflected in the bayou. Before I walked back to my apartment, I had to spend a few minutes gazing at the moon. My grandmother has this infatuation with the moon and practically insists on looking at it every night (and bringing me outside with her when I'm visiting). I'm not sure what she sees in the moon, but it attracts her like it does the tides. I think that as long as I live whenever I see a moon I'll think of her. I also like the thought of being contemplative when I look at the moon. Moongazing is observing something that changes yet remains unchanged. It's definitely an interesting philosophy to consider.

Just, Margaret

Monday, June 9, 2008

I am not a French Chef!

Neither are tons of other people, but they seem to be able to combine eggs, milk, cheese, and vegetables to make an omelet. And I alas cannot. I've tried several times with all the best intentions (and some really great veggies, I might add) to no avail. I always end up with fancy scrambled eggs. Any advice from expert omelet makers out there would be greatly appreciated.

Just eating scrambled eggs until then, Margaret

Friday, June 6, 2008

You've got mail!

One of my favorite times each day is when Bettye, our office Business Manager, goes to get the mail. Maybe this sounds kind of silly, but I always hope for a letter. And I guess I'm spoiled because rarely does a week go by without hearing from a UMW group or my grandparents or my mom or a member of my church in Georgia. Today I received a letter from both my mom and the Kelly's, members of my church. I had to smile because for a second it was like being at home. Both were fun to read. Ms. June shared with me about some books she was reading and my mom shared this poem about dancing. She said it reminded her of my adventures in New York City. I won't share the whole poem, but here are my favorite parts. It's called "Cast All Your Votes for Dancing."

Keep squeezing drops of the Sun
From your prayers and work and music
And from your companion's beautiful laughter...

You are with the Friend now.
Learn what actions of yours delight Him,
What actions of yours bring freedom
And love...

Now, sweet one,
Be wise.
Cast all your votes for Dancing!

Just dancing, Margaret

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Too much light to sleep...

How is it that right before you leave a place you find a spot, somewhere special, you've never noticed before. Suddenly the thought of leaving even to go home seems ominous. It happened for me tonight... 21 days away from leaving Sager Brown... 21 days away from completing my missionary service and I found a place of peace that was here all along. I had just not been present enough to observe it.

Tonight at 6:45 I ventured away from the comforts of my apartment for vespers worship (my routine for practically every Thursday night for a year and a half). The service from the first "And so shall we" of the Social Creed to our closing "Shalom" was special, but not out of the ordinary. Once again it was a blessing to share in the volunteers stories of service and little epiphanies experienced throughout the week. Hearing Teresa of Avila's declaration that we are Christ's hands and feet and then singing Pass It On was another reminder of my purpose in stepping away from my other life to serve.

As I left the service, the bright, late dusk of summer beckoned me to remain outside and so after stopping by my office I ventured to the bayou. And here I sat watching the water, feeling the breeze, sensing the coming dark and basically just recognizing this unusual gift of the present moment.

Just grateful for 21 more days, Margaret

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Waking up to wisdom from the Buddha

Today my "green" page-a-day calendar offered a quote from The Buddha.

What we think we become.

How apropos for a day when all my thoughts have been consumed with worries from work. I'm in the process of writing a proposal for a grant... something I've never done before and I'm totally overwhelmed. The people that this money could serve are in such need and I feel so much pressure not to let them down... to communicate their need in a succinct and efficient way. Also it sorta feels like this final challenge for my time as a US-2. I'm sure I'll get it done, but today I'm going to own this feeling of being overwhelmed so tomorrow I can pick it up and give it another go.

Just, Margaret

Monday, June 2, 2008

My best friend in Louisiana

I'm not a participant in the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program, but I might as well be. Since beginning to attend Asbury UMC last February, I've acquired a curious shadow, by the name of Kayla. Kayla is a first grader- well as of last week a second grader- and attends church with her "MawMaw," i.e. great-grandmother. I'm not sure why, but from the very beginning Kayla chose me to sit by during church. She's a rambunctious young lady, of course, and sitting in worship over the past year has not been one of the most peaceful activities, but I've not looked forward to worship so much in a long time.

Over the last month, Kayla and I have missed seeing each other in church for various reasons and as I'm going to be moving in a few weeks, I was beginning to worry that I wouldn't get to see her before I left. Happily yesterday she greeted me with a big hug as soon as I entered the sanctuary. It was such a gift to see her again and I could tell she was excited to see me too. We sat together in church and although she tried really hard to be quiet at the appropriate times, I was blessed to have her whispering rather loudly beside me. Once in response to the pastor's statement that your friends can sometimes fail you, Kayla leaned over and said, "Not me." Its true she has been such a faithful friend to me. I am blessed.

Just happy to be Kayla's friend, Margaret.