Category Archives: Life

Five Years?!

July 11, 2011.

I can’t remember what I was doing that day – but according to WordPress, I posted an ‘about me’ on this page. AKA I started “ceaseless serendipity” (first known as ‘Girl Meets World’), five whole years ago!

Wow… what was I doing five years ago? So much has happened. Five years ago, I was in high school. I was having a… rough patch. High school wasn’t easy, and to be honest, I was mostly doing things on my own. I still consider myself to be fairly independent, but now I have the most amazing friends, and I’m graduating from college in a few months. 2016 must have seemed so far away. Who would’ve thought I would be here now, right?

As an education major, I feel like I am obligated to do a then vs. now Venn Diagram. So here it is: What my life was like five years ago (the then) and today (the now).

venn-diagram

#comicsans

Two and a half years ago (a half-way marker), I was enjoying college and life in general: I was just beginning a summer internship at an orphanage in China, enjoying life, and about to begin my sophomore year in college – my personal favorite year, in my opinion. Now, I am thankful to be able to still enjoy the same college with many of the same friends I made freshman year. A lot has changed, but some things remain the same!

In my Venn Diagram, I forgot to include epilepsy (my seizures) – but I’ll leave that for another time. However, I’ll try to get a post in before the end of the month – November is epilepsy awareness month! woot woot! Another honorable mention: I’m teaching, for real! No, I don’t have my own classroom, but I am in schools, teaching kindergarteners. Now THAT is awesome! Also I’m still incredibly awkward.

Not everything that happens in life is awesome and worth having a party or blog post about. I get that – things like that have happened to me. For me, I process things by journaling: seeing them on paper (or a computer screen) makes craziness in life not that crazy, because they’re sitting on paper and not circling in my head. There are many of ways to process things that work much better for others, but that’s what’s good for me. I wonder about the readers of this blog – YOU! I know I don’t have a lot of readers, but I know a lot happens in your life. It’s not just me that is awkward and indecisive …right? In the grand scheme of things, five years isn’t that long. But it’s not all about me here – I’m sure a good amount of things happened in five years for you, too! I would love to hear about them in the comment section 🙂 Anyways: if the going is tough for you right now, know that sometimes you just have to wait it out… for a long time. Like, a REALLY long time – it might be more than five years. Read: good times are a’comin. 🙂

 

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Moving Forward

I hate to post something that’s mood-dampening, but I have felt many emotions since Tuesday night: shock, concern, and more – and I think it’s important to write them out. At the same time, I know I am very fortunate: the results of this election don’t affect me that much; my life can easily move on.

Many of the students I teach are recent immigrants, and they do not have the same privilege I do. I cried the day following the election, thinking of these children and their families, the life they want to lead, the work they put in, and the possibility that they might not be here a year from now. I couldn’t move on.
Immediately following the election results, I was mad. I was angry that the United States could have allowed this to happen: a billionaire businessman with no political experience, considered as a joke 18 months ago, against so many things the country holds dear, is now the president-elect. There are a lot of reasons and articles explaining why this happened, but I still had a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that this is happening for real. Sure, there was the slight chance that something might happen between now and inauguration day, but anybody who said Trump “wasn’t that bad” was in my line of fire. I was off Facebook on Wednesday, I think it was for the best.

After a little while, I began to think a little more. There just might be hope out there. Listening to Hillary Clinton’s speech gave me a case of the sniffles (Okay, there were tears.) All is not lost… right? Then I began to think about God. Where was He in all of this? I certainly don’t see Him in Trump, even if people have told me otherwise.

To those who did vote for Trump: I don’t think your votes intended to represent a bigoted, misogynist, ableist, anti-immigrant person. I presented an argument against Trump to you, and you defended him with things like:

Mocking people with disabilities isn’t okay, but…

Calling Mexicans rapists and criminals was out of line, but…

What he said about sexually assaulting women isn’t right, but…

“Whatever your reasons, a vote for Trump required a rationalization. In order to vote for Trump, something mattered more to you than his mistreatment or discrimination of certain groups.” (Shannon Dingle) You admit that Trump has said and done some things… but. You rationalize, defend, and as a result, support and voted for what that man represents. Remember: A half-hearted vote counts the same as the vote from his number one fan.

But you know what? I’m not here to rant, be angry, or insult. I’ve realized that I can’t wallow in my frustrations, because that is going to get me nowhere. I have to make a choice: love or hate. So, I decided that it’s the Jesus in me that will love the Jesus in you. I’m going to pray for him. I really, really, REALLY hope and will be praying for our country to come together. Trump begins his presidency in January (the truth, no matter how painful it is to type), even if we don’t agree with anything he stands for. The Bible says to pray for your leaders, so even if I don’t want him sitting in the White House, I need to pray for him. Even if I don’t see God in Trump, I will pray for God to move through him.

Some have suggested “You just need to move on.” When you move on, you forget and concede that “it’s okay, forget it”. I certainly have the privilege to do so, but I couldn’t do it on Wednesday – and I won’t anytime soon. However, with God’s help, I will be moving forward. Pain and sorrow like this doesn’t go away; it makes me who I am. And with everything I am, I put one foot in front of the other on the same dusty path, remembering His enduring faithfulness every step of the way.

 


Side note: I found some C.S. Lewis The Screwtape Letters fan fiction: letters from an older tempter/demon mentoring a younger one.  This quote still hits the nail on the head, and I think it relevant for a time like this.

cs-lewis-quote

Goodbye Ireland!

Originally written on 16 May, 2016, as I was leaving Ireland:

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Just a few of the amazing places I’ve been…

What’s the word for “goodbye”, “I’ll be back”, “I’m already missing here”, “thanks for all the memories”, and “I fell in love with this place”? I’m having trouble finding one!
Ireland has been an amazing place to spend four months, and I feel incredibly blessed to have had the opportunity to come, study, and travel from Dublin. The people – even strangers – have been so loving and generous. I’ve made wonderful, amazing friends who I love and will miss terribly. The natural beauty is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Ireland’s history is amazing and I feel so fortunate to have witnessed the 1916 centennial, visited museums, and participated in the census.
At times, time passed very slowly. I didn’t always liked my professors and missed people back home. But looking back, the time has passed so fast. I can’t believe it’s time to go, and wish I could stay longer. There are so many places I would love to see, and things I would love to do still, especially around Ireland.
Getting to Dublin was much more difficult than some other people coming here, or other places abroad. My friend Macy (not her real name) who came with me from Gordon applied with me, and it was a tough process. We had to petition to come to Ireland, since Gordon didn’t already have a programme set up – so we had to make sure credits would transfer, confirm UCD was safe, etc. etc. – all to say that process wasn’t easy. But I don’t regret that process; it was all worth it.
I have so many mixed emotions as I go; I’m not sure exactly what I feel. I’ve felt this way before: leaving China after 6 weeks (I think it was 6!), Gordon, sleep-away camp… but those were usually for shorter periods of time or about the same, and I always knew I would be back. In Ireland, my stay was comparatively much longer, and farther away, and I’m not sure the next time I will be back in this beautiful country.
Despite the uncertainties, I do know for certain: My heart will always have a place here. Thanks for everything.

wicklow

The grass is actually greener here.

P.S. If you are ever studying in or travelling to Ireland (especially Dublin) on holiday or travel and need some tips, I would love to be of help! Send me a message or comment below! 🙂

A Vermont ‘Spring’ Break

So, I know I haven’t written in a while. A huge thank-you to goes out to Jack and Andrea! I got your email, and greatly appreciate your loyalty!

I haven’t written about my life since my China trip. To make a long story short, after leaving China, my family went landed into San Francisco, meeting my mom’s brother and his family. We stayed at a nearby motel. Let me tell you, it is warm there! I felt like wearing shorts – a huge change from the cold that I had just escaped from. Time with family was nice, especially on a side that I don’t see very often. I came home, feeling that my Chinese had greatly improved. (It leaves you fast when you’re surrounded by English-only speakers!)

However, the winter I had left was absolutely nothing like the winter I was about to face. The thing about moving from Virginia (a place where the bulk of winter takes place December to January) to Massachusetts (a place where winter is November to February, March even), is that you get disappointed very fast when you hope for spring to come in March.  Well, it is March 13, and there is still snow on the ground. Albeit, this is (almost) a record-breaking winter. So. Many. Storms. Four days off school in three weeks, almost all on Mondays – and last year, there was only one day off the entire year. Let’s just say, for sake of all of our sanity, it was a LOT of snow, and a LOT of days of school to make up for!

The snow outside the library. It got to be taller than a lot of people!

Some snow outside the library. It got to be taller than a lot of people!

Besides that, the new semester has been okay. Not incredibly exciting, but not out-of-this-world challenging. However, I have grown to appreciate my friends and my roommate a lot more this year. This semester has had its’ fair share of challenges, and my friends have really been there for me. For Valentine’s Day, most of these friends are single for something we nickname “Single’s Awareness Day”. But it was okay – the day fell on a Saturday, so we went out to a diner for brunch, and had a secret Valentine exchange (like Secret Santa). It was really fun, and I love how my friends are so fun and there for each other.

Friends

Friends

Now, I’m writing from somewhere I’ve never been: Vermont! My friend, Kirstin, invited me to her house for our week-long spring break. Except it’s not really spring, because there’s still snow everywhere and your average day is somewhere below freezing. Kirstin technically lives on a farm – although she doesn’t consider it to be, it fits all the farm requirements for me! – horses, goats, chickens, a rooster, barn cats…. the works.

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The meadow

Have you ever been to a farm? The closest I’ve ever been to a farm was a petting zoo, but of course that isn’t really a farm. Although I love being at Kirstin’s – her family is great, and we watch great TV (see the new show Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt!). Of course there are boring moments, but it is definitely an experience to be somewhere you’ve never been before!

Sometimes I think about where I am right now, and then I think of the places where it is warm – even hot! Places like Florida, California, New Zealand – I have friends who currently live in or are visiting those places, and I am incredibly jealous. It will be sunny soon enough, and summer will come. It might be a bit of a wait, though.

 

 

Believing in the Sun

I’m not going to lie: the last few days were not easy. I’m not writing about those things, though. I was journaling a lot last night and today, and I thought I would share an excerpt from what I’ve written. Journaling helps me to get my cluttered thoughts in down. Somehow my problems are less crazy than I realized, my thoughts more organized after I’ve written them out. So here it goes:

So, moving forward? … It’s putting my hopes, dreams – my literal dreams, too, if I can change that too – into something else. How about the sun? As long as I have been alive, it has come up every morning across the horizon. Now, it has come up at different times, but it’s always come around before 12. So for now, I’m starting from scratch and putting my hopes in things that I can see, like the sun.

This isn’t to say that I don’t believe in God anymore, or that I’ve lost faith in Him too, but that I’m going to be re-discovering, re-needing, and re-loving Him for a while.

I said I believe in the Sun. But today is an overcast, gray-skyed rainy day. I can’t see a single trace of the sun. So does it not exist? Well, it only takes a minute for me to imagine what the sky would look like were the sun not to exist, and then I reconsider that gray sky. I don’t believe in the sun because I see it – I believe in the sun because by it, I see everything else. So even on the cloudiest, grayest, rainiest of days, I can still know its existence by the things around me. Then you can’t blame the sun’s lack of existence on the rain or your bad vision. More than that, your belief of the sun exists more than based sight alone. The warmth of the sun on your face is a wonderful feeling, but it only proves the sun’s existence on a sunny day. To truly know the sun exists is not just to feel the warmth of it on a sunny day, but to acknowledge its presence on rainy days too. Even more than that, it is trusting beyond the evidence of the moment – so that even in the dark, black, cold moments of night, you are certain that the sun will rise again.

P.S. The sun idea wasn’t all me. Credit is due to to the Beatles song, “Here Comes the Sun”, which I was listening to at the time of writing.

P.P.S. As it turns out, there is a C.S. Lewis quote that is very similar to what I wrote and sums it up well: “I believe in Christianity as I believe in the sun: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

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Thankful

“I feel a very unusual sensation – if it is not indigestion, I think it must be gratitude.” -Benjamin Disraeli

I just really like this photo.

I just really, really like this photo.

Call it cliché, but it’s that time of the year and I have a lot of things to be thankful for. This morning as I walked out of the door, my secret sister (like a secret Santa, but for a semester on my floor) left me a Bible verse on my side of the door. I almost cried at the verse, it was so relevant to me:

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me lie down in safety. (Psalm 4:8)

What am I thankful for? So many things. The other day, one of my friends from China challenged me to post five pictures that made me happy. It was a lot harder than I had thought it would be! If you had asked me the same question five years ago, I would’ve chosen funny pictures, with a chance of being an Internet meme or comic. In recent years, however, I have been blessed with friends that I enjoy keeping in touch with. I know, I know: #blessed. Right? Such a basic, commonplace, regular thing to do, a word repeated so often that it shouldn’t really matter. As it turns out, this whole thing of being blessed has a direct impact on my life. When I was in middle and high school, I didn’t have a lot of friends. So much has changed since then, and I am so grateful for a chance to start over in a completely new place.

Ireland, England & USA!

Ireland, England & USA!

My friends? Oh, they’re the best. I have friends all over the world now: Ireland, England, New Zealand, China – it’s fantastic. Oh, America too 🙂 My friends at school are wonderful as well: I have friends in my education classes, friends who do Bible studies, friends who are in Gospel Choir… man, life is good.

RoommatesThis year, I am especially grateful for my roommate. She is so wonderful in so many ways. She always listens to me talk. She takes care of me and looks out for me and talks me through the whole seizure thing. She is a role-model – she is so dedicated to exercise and cleanliness/organization! She takes time to understand and be involved. I love her lots, and am so thankful.

 

This isn’t to say my life is perfect. Far from it! There are a lot of things I wish I could change about myself and my life – but I’ve found that accepting those things as they are is ultimately the better option. Now, the actual acceptance process is the hard part, but the first step is knowing that acceptance is good, right? The awesome part is that when you’re choosing to accept everything, including the hard things, in life, you’re also accepting the good! Call me crazy, but I think that’s something to be grateful for. Okay, life isn’t perfect, but God is good and that’s enough for me to be happy about. Even if I wasn’t extremely grateful for the blessings in my life, God has provided the condition of the possibility (that would be getting into the philosophy that I’m learning about in class… yes, I’m even grateful for my required philosophy class!). And that’s good enough for me.

Thanksgiving 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

“Every good and perfect gift is from above.” -James 1:17

Margaret’s Grand Adventure

“Margaret’s Grand Adventure” – maybe that can be the title of my autobiography, the one that I’m not currently writing! What makes it grand, or an adventure? Well, let me give you some stories from recent memory to showcase it, and then give you some ‘bucket list’ ideas to make this fabulous adventure even more grand.

1. Margaret’s grand academic adventure: I have an exam tomorrow for my philosophy class (it’s a required course, or else I wouldn’t consider it!), which I am quite nervous for, but I’m hoping – and studying – for the best. I also had a writing assignment due and an exam to take for my math class within the last week, and an upcoming midterm exam. So academically speaking, I’m definitely keeping busy. I am also

2. Margaret’s grand baby-holding adventure: Ever since I left ND, I missed babies. Being around babies for several hours ever day was something that I loved, but that had to end. I looked for something that I could do to keep this going, because as an early childhood education major, it’s not impossible! I applied for and was offered a MOPS babysitter job: for several hours on specified Thursdays, you watch young kids (infant to preschool age) for their mothers, who meet for a mothers’ support group. You get paid, too! That’s only a cherry on the top to the fact that I am in the youngest age group, and I get to hold those babies – and they are just precious. I still miss the China ones, but these little guys are definitely worth my time.

3. Margaret’s grand social life adventure: Oh, Margaret. To sum it all up in two words: awkward and complicated. Some things I don’t think I’ll ever understand…

4. Margaret’s grand China adventure: Oh, I already went to China this summer, sure. But… did you know that I’m going back in December? Didn’t think so. December 18, after my last final exam, I’m headed for the motherland. The tickets have been booked! Not for kicks and giggles – not even babies – but for family. My brother is doing his senior year of high school abroad in Beijing, and instead of going home for Thanksgiving, my family and I are all going to China for Christmas. That should be interesting to write about! 🙂 I’ll have to keep you posted. But, on a more recent note, I learned so much in China that I had to continue it here in America. For instance, ASL (American Sign Language). I learned a good deal from Chloe, but I didn’t want to lose what I had learned and I definitely wanted to keep learning. So the natural thing to do would be, of course, to join the ASL club at my school! We get together for dinner on Mondays. It’s fun.

Margaret’s Grand Bucket List

On another note, did I ever mention I had a bucket list of sorts? Well, in China I made a ‘dreams list’, consisting of dreams I have for my future. Here’s a few of them:

  • Get and stay married
  • Go skydiving
  • Travel to England
  • Become a teacher in a US public school within one year of graduation (from university)
  • Run a half-marathon (13.1 miles)
  • Get my drivers’ license
  • Swim with dolphins
  • Keep in touch with Summer Staff after we leave (Summer Staff from this summer)
  • Meet up with at least one China friend outside of China
  • Name an incoming child to NDFH

I suppose one of these dreams have already come true – I have been keeping in pretty good touch with Chloe. In fact, we had a Skype call the other day! I’m also running a 5K race on Sunday. At present, 2.5 miles is still my comfort zone. …baby steps!

To end it on a completely different note, here is a beautiful picture of a tree on the campus of my university – in fact, right outside of my dorm! I love how it has all the colors of fall: brilliant red, orange, a bit of yellow, and still green too! A New England autumn is one of the most beautiful things I know.

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