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

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Written, revised, photos added and formatted, print and bound.  Aren't they beautiful?  I know the photo is a little silly, but at this point after a week and a half of intense writing these essays kinda feel like my babies and I had to show them off at least a little bit.  Tomorrow these three and their "twins" (we have to submit two copies of our work) will be put in the essay box, but for tonight they'll all proudly rest on my desk.  

I do have to say that I feel both excited and anxious about the work.  The essays are probably some of the best thoughts I've written ever.  In reality I feel fairly confident that these essays are better than last term's work, but I still had this small feeling of dread as I was walking back from the printers this afternoon- like what if I totally missed the point.  [smile]  That is why apart from taking the above photographs I've ignored the essays for the rest of the afternoon... a little iTunes browsing and ice cream as a reward for getting the essays done.  Tonight I'll rest well with nothing to haunt my dreams and tomorrow I'll celebrate with my class (tea with Jos, lunch with the rest of the gang, and drinks followed by drinks at two local pubs tomorrow night).  Thursday I'll have to get back to work... preparing for my presentation at the upcoming conference... but in the infamous words of Scarlett, "tomorrow (uh... Thursday) is another day." [smile]

Just, Margaret

Monday, March 30, 2009


I always find the last few hundred words of an essay to be the hardest to write, whether or not they are part of the composition of the conclusion.  I can never focus on the task at hand... procrastination takes over and it is an art.  [smile]  Currently I'm so close to finishing my last essay that I can taste it and smell it.  Speaking of the physicality of the writing process... I need to take a shower, my back aches from hunching over my laptop, my left eye keeps twitching, and my desk/room looks like its the site of a natural disaster.  I actually took a couple of pictures of myself this morning (I told you I couldn't focus [smile]), but I've decided against posting it because I'm afraid it might frighten away any readers I currently have.   I'm also hungry, but that I'm about to take care of... after I publish this I'm heading downstairs to the kitchen for an early dinner.  Maybe a break will help me to get the last words written when I get back to my desk.  The pressure of needing to print everything tomorrow should help.   

Just, Margaret

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Lights Out!

For Earth Hour.  Don't worry this post was scheduled.  No energy usage here.  Just thought I would remind you out there in different time zones that today is the day you should give up energy usage for one hour 8-9PM.  Have fun fasting from energy consumption and think about integrating something of what you learn into your daily life.  

Just, Margaret 

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A little insanity never hurt anyone, right?

Yesterday I was struggling with a bit of writers block (I think I just really needed more of a break between papers).  Today writing is proceeding quite well.  I had this idea when I woke up to dispute, well maybe just shake up, like all the existing theory of contemporary archaeology.  Either I'm going to end up sounding completely brilliant or slightly insane.  

All for now, except to say to Blair that knowing you're writing up this week has been so helpful to my psyche.
Oh the joys of grad school. 

Just, Margaret

Monday, March 23, 2009

Progress Report

One presentation and one essay down and two essays to go. I expect to be finished by Friday. [fingers crossed] It feels great to be getting work finished, but its a little hard not to take a long break to celebrate each little victory. Just have to keep telling myself to take it one day at a time and that soon I can take a real break.

Just, Margaret

Sunday, March 22, 2009

We live and then we die. Does it matter if God exists?

[A few words to preface this post:  There is no way I can begin to describe the meeting/worship service I attended this morning.  My goal is then to simply share some of the words I heard and the thoughts they brought to mind.]

I awoke this morning with another Sunday before me to seek Sabbatical living per my Lenten goal.  I must confess that I hadn't yet decided where to worship this morning.  As I still haven't found a congregation that I really feel at home in Bristol, I've gotten into a habit of church-hopping which consists of me waking up on Sunday and choosing where to go then and there.  Something about the morning (another beautiful Spring matin), the sun bursting through the slit of my window shades and a bouquet of daffodils sitting on my dresser that spoke of the need to remain in this joyous Sabbath quiet and the choice was made- to the community Quaker meeting.  Choosing to attend the Quaker service always takes a little commitment, as it takes a while to get to the closest meeting house and it is always a practice of spiritual discipline.  So as I walked the mile and a half to the meeting house, I tried to prepare my spirit to enter into the deeper silence and peace of the gathering.  

By now you are probably wondering what the title of this post has to do with any of this and you may even be thinking I must be a little insane, but those were the words that framed the "ministries" shared at the meeting this week.  And they just opened a flood of discourse (well a flood by Quaker standards at least [smile]).  Since I'm not sure exactly how to frame all that was said or think I will be able to remember all the beautiful insights, what follows are just some statements that were made throughout the meeting and at the end the words I felt guided by the divine unifying Spirit to remember.  Hope you will find them challenging as I did and join in the discussion.
  • Understanding that I, like all other humans, am capable of doing good for others and not and have the potential for great intuitiveness and imagination, I find I better understand Christ’s command to love your neighbor as yourself.
  • Thinking in terms of physics, God is the potential and we are the current that combined creates power. 
  • Our statement of belief in God doesn’t effect the exisitence of a divine being. It only falls to us to trust in God. 
  • "This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to anyone who asks, stand up for the stupid and the crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God." This is the best definition of being a Quaker that I know and they are the words of Walt Whitman
Silently now I wait for thy. 
Ready my God your will to see. 
Open my eyes illumine me, Spirit divine. 

Just, Margaret

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Anniversary Post

Today is the first anniversary of beginning this blog.  Just want to say thanks if you've been reading this on any kind of regular basis.  I've enjoyed rediscovering a love of writing that I think I'd really forgotten in the past.  Looking over the various posts from the past year, I have to say I feel really blessed to have so many good moments (eating crawfish in Louisianain New York with the US-2s, Labor Day and Christmas with the Nine, Green Bough retreat4th of July at home, snowy Bristol), awesome friends (international friends with whom I celebrated Halloween, Thanksgiving abroad, Rotary Club members on trips to London and Chichester, my tea party with Aunt June), and varied experiences (walking down and climbing back up to Clicket on my first fieldtrip, watching as Barack Obama was sworn in as president) to remember.  This year has been one of transition and writing about it has probably helped me to remain at peace through it all.  Transitioning from working as a US-2 to a post-graduate student has not been easy, but looking back it all seems to be part of a grander plan, one that I hope will eventually unite my two career interests (social justice and archaeology) more profoundly.  

Now I'm looking ahead to what this new year will bring with hope and joy at the prospect of growing more into my authentic self.  A new year... a continuing adventure.

Just, Margaret

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Rotary District Conference

So I have 50+ photos from the weekend (oddly no good image of the beach), but since posting all those is a crazy idea.  I'll just post a few of my favorites.  Hope they are diverse enough to give you an idea about my weekend.  [smile]

"The Four Star Hotel"

Friday night festivities... Rotarians like to have fun. 

One of the Island's memorials to the Occupation

It wasn't all play.  

One of the quaint views I happened upon on my Saturday adventure.  
Some might say I got a little lost, I prefer to think I purposely took the scenic route to the Jersey War Tunnels. 

Jersey War Tunnels Museum... very nice exhibit

View from the really tiny plane.  

In other news, I finally finished reading Willa Cather's O Pioneers. It is one of the best books I've read.  I've now read about 3 of her books and Cather is such an amazing storyteller.  Read her.  Find out for yourself.  Anyway O Pioneers' ending was sad and beautiful and as I was reading on the plane, my eyes began to tear.  

Just, Margaret

Jersey update

Fun people, good food, nice views, lots of sun.  Overall a good time.  I'm now just exhausted... currently waiting for the plane back.  I'll go to sleep early and hope to wake up ready to work tomorrow.  Pictures to be posted later tonight before bed.  

Just, Margaret

Friday, March 13, 2009

**4 stars**

So I expected the Rotary District Conference this weekend to be a posh event, but I didn't realize the accommodations would be so elegant.  I'm currently writing this post from my own room in a 4 star hotel.  It is definitely the nicest hotel I've ever stayed in and you can understand why it feels even more luxurious when you remember that I'm currently living the life of a poor student.  I think you could fit three and a half of my student rooms into this one room.  There is both a single and queen size bed.  I'm sleeping on the queen of course... needless to say I've missed my big bed at home and plan to enjoy all the extra space.  [sleep]  The room also has free Wi-Fi and a TV.  Best of all I have a bathroom all to myself, with an extra-long tub.  I totally indulged in a warm bath tonight before cuddling up in the complementary robe to write this (and plan to do the same tomorrow night).  Ah, the simple pleasures of a graduate student.  [smile]

Just a quick note about the Conference so far.  First, its on the island of Jersey... not sure if I mentioned that on here before.  Interestingly I had a lecture on the Channel Islands this week, about the material vestiges of their occupation by German forces in WWII.  Tomorrow I'm hoping to take some free time to explore a bit of that history.  Back to the Conference, tonight was basically just a fun evening of welcome with a delicious 3 course supper then dancing.  I even got on the dance floor with some of my club members.  [smile]  Time to be off to bed... long day tomorrow.  

Just, Margaret

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Crazy Busy!

It's getting into crunch time at university again so please don't expect too many posts over the next few weeks.  I need to concentrate on getting the word count up on essays instead of my blog. [smile]  I'm sure I will come through fine, but would appreciate any prayer you might think to offer on my behalf.  That being said I do hope to be able to post some photos from Jersey where I will be this weekend for the big Rotary Conference.  Must get back to work. 

Just, Margaret

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

Me and Daddy, Easter, 2006

Today my dad celebrates his 52nd birthday.  Perhaps you can tell from the picture above (that is actually several years old... we need to take a new photo together when I'm back in the States [smile]) I'm a bit of a "daddy's girl".  I love him so much and feel so very blessed to be his daughter.  He's a great comforter (he's got to be... with three daughters), good listener.  He is a model of discernment, compromise, and love in his work.  I absolutely love having his voice in mind when I listen to certain passages of scripture read in all the churches I visit.  Speaking of my dad's voice, I can tell even over international phone lines when he's smiling and that he is happy that I've called.  He's taught me so many things about life- how to play backgammon, how to appreciate really good singer-songwriters and the beauty of the voice of an acoustic guitar, how to fly a kite, and how to admit that I don't (and can't) ever know everything.  His hugs are so steady and lasting.  I know he loves me and my sisters and my mother.  Like I said I am blessed.  
Happy Birthday, Daddy.
I love you.
xxoo, Margie

Just, Margaret

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Productive day and its only 11:15

Blaeavon World Heritage Site, Wales

After a field trip (see photos above) yesterday that left me completely knackered, I went to sleep early. And consequently being well rested, I woke up rather early for a Saturday- 7:15! I guess hiking up and down hills in Wales is good for the body and soul because even at such an early time I was wide awake and ready to get to work. So far today I've done a little shopping around the village (fresh bread, cheese, veggies), went to the grocery for milk and yogurt, stopped by a local boutique and found the perfect shawl to go with my dress for the "ball" I'm going to next week, and then popped in at the library to pick up a movie I had reserved and finish a little research I was doing on Ancestry.com. Now after a lovely brunch using some of what I picked up this morning, I'm half watching Time Team and half reading for class on Monday. Some writing should also get done later this afternoon.

Hope you have a productive Saturday too or a lazy one if that's what you're after.
Just, Margaret

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A Bristol Blue Door

One of my favorite things about living in this city and being a pedestrian (well, aside from the fact that it is so much more eco-friendly) is that everyday I can observe something new about the city.  Amazing is the continuity within the city of form and aesthetic.  Maybe its intentional in some places, but I like to think that mostly its not and that the city has taken on a life of its own that flows through the various boroughs and communities.  A silent reminder that she is the uniting force for all the people gathered here.  A signature color I've observed throughout appears to be a rich blue seen in signage, commercial areas, and residential.  The actual hue is difficult to describe, kinda a cross between primary blue and navy with the depth of indigo.  Lovely color.  I've decided someday when I have a more permanent place of residence it will be the color of my front door, my personal tribute to the city and the year I've spent here.  I've no photo to accompany this post... I'll work on that.  

Just, Margaret

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Did you know?

A miscellaneous post today with just a few short notes about things happening in March.  

  • Yesterday was Dr. Suess's 105th birthday.  Did you miss it?  I did, but I'm making up for it today by wearing my t-shirt with Horton, Thing 1, Thing 2, The Lorax.  [smile]  Looking for a way to celebrate visit Suessville.  
  • March is Women's History Month in the U.S. and March 8 is International Women's Day.  If you feel like assisting in the efforts to continue to combat violence against women, you might be interested in sending a letter to Senator Richard G. Lugar,
    Senator John F. Kerry, President Barack Obama, and Vice President Joseph R. Biden via the UM General Board of Church and Society's website to reintroduce the International Violence Against Women Act, which would support liberating programs for women all around the globe. Think about it.  
  • I would remiss not to note the major weather events that have occurred in the US Southeast over the last couple of days:  IT SNOWED IN MARCH!  From what I understand many places in Georgia received a fairly significant amount.  And definitely the thought of snow was enough to cancel school across the state and cause a run on staples at the grocery stores, I'm sure.  [smile]  Most of my blogging friends included posts about the natural wonder, but Lindsey's pictures are worth a 1000 words.
  • Finally, just thought I would remind you that Earth Hour that day where you can join people all over the world in fasting from electricity for an hour is coming up: March 28th.  If you plan to participate, sign up with one of these two websites:  UK or US.  Earth Hour was the topic of one of my first posts.  This year I will celebrate it, but probably not on that day as I will be spending a weekend with a Rotary Club away from Bristol.  I'll carve out a time either before or after.
  • Which brings me to my final point:  my first year of blogging is about to come to a close.  Which I find kinda exciting!  Not sure how I'll mark the day so if you have any suggestions leave them in the comments. 
Just, Margaret