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

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Retreat in the French Countryside

After 10 lovely days traveling around Great Britain, I'm off to France for a retreat at Taize. Please be in prayer for my experience there... first that I make it to the center safely and without incident and second that this time will spiritually prepare me for my return to the states. I'm also praying for the continued revelation of what I am being called to pursue next.

Before I return to the UK to board a plane I've scheduled a few days in Paris to rediscover the city I first met when I was 19, though this time without my great aunt and uncle who were such gracious hosts. Hope my high school French will see me through.

Just, Margaret

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Happy 85th!

My Granddaddy is 85 today. Contrary to how it may seem from this photograph (which is my favorite photo of him by the way), at 85 he is as sharp as ever... though he does enjoy acting goofy every once and a while. As much as I enjoy laughing with him, I also enjoy philosophizing and praying with him. He is a man of great faith and great love for my grandmother, his children and grandchildren, and the small community in which he lives. And we all love him so much in return. Happy Birthday, Granddaddy!

Just, Margaret

Course work completed!

Can't believe that I'm finished with my Masters degree. Just seems to awesomely brilliant for words. So a photo instead...
Yes that is my 56 page, 14988 word dissertation in the box. What else would you suspect from a girl who insisted her dad take her photo when she voted for President for the first time in November 2004? Got to document all of life's crazy milestones.

Now off to pack... and anticipate the arrival of my parents in about 48 hours!
Just, Margaret

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Happy Birthday, Sarah and Rachel!

My beautiful and brilliant little sisters turn 21 today. I only have the faintest memories of their birth 21 years ago, mostly revolving around the "Big Sister" presents that I received at the time. [smile] I do remember the many years that have brought them to this point to celebrate such a milestone. Their existence has so enriched my life, allowing me to explore my identity as an older sister (sometimes to their ill favor... but what older siblings don't play tricks on their younger brothers and sisters [smile]). Beyond this though I have always felt so proud and blessed to watch them grow.

Sarah- You have become such an amazing artist. Your creations, which I love seeing displayed around our home, illustrate your passions and spiritual awareness. I admire you so much for your commitment to issues of justice... I did drop meat from my diet at your insistence [smile]. I look forward to seeing how your creative spirit will change our world.

Rachel- As you work diligently toward your goal of becoming a nurse, I am awestruck by your deepening compassion for others. You have always been a peacemaker... stepping in on those occasion when Sarah and I were at odds (usually arguing over whose turn it was in the bathroom [smile])... and I know your peace and deep joy in life will serve your future patients and co-workers so well.
Three cheers for my little sisters on their big day! With love.
Just, Margaret

*By the way, Rachel is on the left and Sarah on the right in the photo above.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

So dark.

The days are getting shorter already. It seems like just yesterday it was light until 10PM. I love experiencing the changing of the seasons in England.

Just, Margaret

Monday, September 7, 2009


Tonight I attended the last 20s and 30s Bible Study scheduled before I say goodbye to Bristol. I consider myself very lucky to have formed several different groups of friends while I've been in Bristol... "The HistArchs", the other arch students-especially the North American contingent, my housemates, the Dean's Court flat group, MethSoc, and "20s & 30s". With the "20s & 30s" group I've found friends with whom I could laugh and share. I remember the first time I attended 20s & 30s I was quite nervous as I didn't really know who or what I might encounter, but before the night was through I realized it would be a fun group to be a part of. Tonight I said goodbye... for now, hopefully not forever. Thinking about leaving isn't terribly easy, but it helps to know they will continue to meet on the 1st Monday and 3rd Wednesday to think, grow, and pray together. Best wishes and hope to see you in February.

Just, Margaret

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Act, Love, Walk

When I think about what I'm looking forward to returning to in the United States, I think superficially of foods and amenities (free laundry, my own bathroom and queen sized pillow top mattress [smile]). And of course people are on my list... I'll have not seen most of my family for 10 months when I finally arrive home. But I am just as excited about joining in again in the life of my church community.

The sermon this morning used the passage from Micah 6- "What does the Lord require of you? To act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God." The passage felt relevant not only with the thoughts I've been giving particularly to discerning my future, but also my prayers that God might reveal ways in which I might serve within my home church community while I am in transition. While the priest focused mostly on the explication of the virtues mentioned in the passage, he also spent a few minutes to emphasize the verbs- something that felt new to me. I realized anew that God calls me to action within the church, not just passive attendance. Its exciting to think of the possibilities and I pray I will be connected with others who share this call to action.

Just, Margaret

Friday, September 4, 2009

On the verge of tears

I feel overwhelmed by emotions today... a not so unusual feeling these days. I write this not really to complain or seek companions with whom to commiserate. In fact, I actually feel blessed by the opportunity and capacity to feel and experience emotion. And when my eyes do begin to tear its more a catharsis than annoyance. I'm not sure I can articulate why I am so capable of weeping these days... stress from my tight deadline looming, joy at completing another year of study, excitement at the possibility of being home in Georgia in a month and four days, anticipation of my parents arrival in Bristol in just two weeks, uncertainty of where my journey will next take me, rapture at the natural changing of seasons, sadness at having to say goodbye to the place that has become my home and to friends.

So many seasons of my life are converging these days and I weep, but in a good way.
Just, Margaret

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Smells like September...

I emerged from my writing cocoon for a quick afternoon jaunt around the neighborhood to pick up a few fresh ingredients for my dinner (tomato, pesto, and mozzarella sandwich and baked breaded zucchini sticks... in case you were wondering). And I was overwhelmed by the feeling of September. Sounds odd, I guess. Buts it like how something can taste or smell pink. The day with its late afternoon sunshine and slight breeze just felt September. But what really took me off guard was it wasn't a feeling of just British September, but of Georgia September too. The day reminded me of those first few days of each college year when the anticipation of the opportunities that might present themselves are somehow tangible or the excitement of the first high school football game of the season and I could almost smell the gloriously fried delights of the state fair.

Its autumn!

Just, Margaret

The Story of Stuff

I woke up this morning with a message in my inbox from my Daddy. He was sending me a link to this video- The Story of Stuff. Instead of trying to explain it myself I've included the explanation from their website, but better yet why not take 20 minutes to watch it yourself.

The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It'll teach you something, it'll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever.
It is really well done and quite insightful. Most of what its saying I've read about previously in a book called Cradle to Cradle, but still very nice to see it all put together in a compact way. Follow up the video with "10 Recommendations for Another Way."

*In regards to Recommendation #10: It takes courage, I think, not to buy in (pun intended) to the "Golden Arrow of Production." Luckily its easier if we choose make our communities into places that value something different. Join me there.*

Just, Margaret