New Blog

At least for now, I am blogging elsewhere!

Come hang out at my new blog.

(margaretharkin.blogspot.com)

You’ve been good to me, WordPress, and “Waiting Quietly”.

But this time of my life calls for a new place on the World Wide Web.

Perhaps I will be back, perhaps I will not.

Love you.

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Leaving for Nepal

The day is finally here. We’re leaving for Nepal this afternoon!

I’m not sure how frequent, if at all, I will be able to blog from this account. But our team goal is to have someone blog every night from the team blog. Can’t promise you anything, when there will probably be 600 other things to do rather than blog, but hopefully it will get some pretty steady updates.

http://teamnepal2012.wordpress.com

Grace and peace, your prayers are appreciated.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

“Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose…” Isaiah 46:8-10

Nepal!

It was confirmed yesterday by our leaders, the university, the government, and our contacts in Kathmandu, that we are headed to Nepal.

Yippee!! Thank you for praying!

T-minus FOUR days until take-off.

Follow our blog!

Politics in Nepal

This is a pretty good article describing what’s going on in Nepal currently. As of Sunday at midnight, the formerly Maoist government in Nepal failed to meet their deadline to draw up a new constitution for the country. The country has began preparing itself for some serious rioting and lashing out against the lack of action by the government, as major political parties are withdrawing from the government entirely.

Please pray for Nepal. And that we would be compassionate and concerned for that nation, but completely at peace with the fact that the Lord knows where He wants us. We are supposed to leave in six days, but we won’t know until likely tomorrow where we are headed.

Sitting here with a teammate, Brian, it is crazy to think that for seven months, everything was smooth sailing in Nepal. And now, the country and the government are falling to pieces.

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Nepal Update

“And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” And he said, “Go, and say to this people:
‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand;
keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’
Make the heart of this people dull,
and their ears heavy,
and blind their eyes;
lest they see with their eyes,
and hear with their ears,
and understand with their hearts,
and turn and be healed.’
Then I said, ‘How long, O Lord?’
And he said:
‘Until cities lie waste
without inhabitant,
and houses without people,
and the land is a desolate waste,
and the LORD removes people far away,
and the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land.
And though a tenth remain in it,
it will be burned again,
like a terebinth or an oak,
whose stump remains
when it is felled.’
The holy seed is its stump.”
(Isaiah 6:8-13 ESV)

The commissioning of Isaiah takes on new meaning the last 36 hours, as our team was informed that it is unlikely we will be able to proceed into Nepal. We were set to leave 10 days from today. But, alas, the Lord has made clear, that our destination is unknown. The political turmoil throughout Nepal the last few days has made it unsafe for our group to enter the country. The Office of World Missions is looking into re-routing us to Thailand, Bangladesh, Burma… It is all very unclear at this point. There is also the chance that with the passing of bills in the last two days, the striking and rioting in the streets of Kathmandu may calm down for a couple of months, allowing us to enter the country.

Your prayers are appreciated. Our team is fully submerged in prayer, whether we are in Azusa, Saratoga, Lodi, Thousand Oaks… Each of us has felt helpless and out of control, as the plans we have made for the last 7 months have unraveled in front of us. But, we have been forced to rely solely on the Lord and His desire for our team.

Pray that He sends us where He desires, and that we are quick to say “Here am I, send me”. Wherever that may be. In ten days.

Yikes.

Photos

My roommate is a fantastic photographer, and is taking some pictures of me for graduation pictures to keep forever and ever and gift to people. You should each expect an image of me for your next five birthdays. 🙂

These are some from our first location

And my personal favorite…

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Bittersweet

To be honest, I only became interested in Shauna Niequist when she announced that she was to speak at our commencement ceremony. And even after hearing girls rant and rave about her books Cold Tangerines and Bittersweet, I still had little interest in reading them. That was probably because they were just so darn popular in my community that I just didn’t want to follow the crowd. But now living with two girls who adore her, I decided that I would read her writing. Just to be able to form my own opinions on her books. But, I decided I’d read Bittersweet first. Just to be different…

Some of it is too cheesy for me. But some of it is just right. Here’s a couple of my favorite sections so far.

“I used to think that the ability to turn back time would be the greatest possible gift, so that I could undo all the things I wish I hadn’t done. But grace is an even better gift, because it allows me to do more than just erase; it allows me to become more than I was when I did those things. It’s forgiveness without forgetting, which is much sweeter than amnesia.” –Bittersweet, p. 83

“This is the thing: when you start to hit twenty-eight or thirty, everything starts to divide, and you can see very clearly two kinds of people: on one side, people who have used their twenties to learn and grow, to find God and themselves and their deep dreams, people who know what work and what doesn’t, who have pushed through to become real live adults.

And then there’s the other kind, who are hanging on to college, or high school even, with all their might. They’ve stayed in jobs they hate because they’re too scared to get another one. They’ve stayed with men or women who are good but not great because they don’t want to be lonely. They mean to find a church, they mean to develop honest, intimate friendships, they mean to stop drinking like life is one big frat party. But they don’t do those things, so they live in kind of an extended adolescence, no closer to adulthood than they were when they graduated college.

Don’t be like that. Don’t get stuck. Move, travel, take a class, take a risk. Walk away, try something new. There is a season for wildness and a season for settledness, and this is neither. This season is about becoming. Don’t lose yourself at happy hour, but don’t lose yourself on the corporate ladder either.

Stop every once in a while and go out to coffee or climb in bed with your journal. Ask yourself some good questions like, Am I proud of the life I’m living? What have I tried this month? What have I learned about God this year? What parts of my childhood faith am I leaving behind, and what parts am I choosing to keep with me for this leg of the journey? Do the people I’m spending time with give me life, or make me feel small? Is there any brokenness in my life that’s keeping me from moving forward?

These years will pass much more quickly than you think they will. You will go to lots of weddings, and my advice, of course, is to dance your pants off at every single one. I hope you go to very few funerals. You’ll watch TV and run on the treadmill and go on dates, some of them great and some of them terrible. Time will pass, and all of a sudden, things will begin to feel a little more serious. You won’t be old, of course. But you will want to have some things figured out and the most important things only get figured out if you dive into them now.

For a while in my early twenties I felt like I woke up a different person every day, and was constantly confused about which one, if any, was the real me. I feel more and more like myself with each passing year, for better and for worse, and you’ll find that, too. Every year, you will trade a little of your perfect skin and your ability to look great without exercising for wisdom and peace and groundedness, and every year the trade will be worth it. I promise.

Now is your time. Become, believe, try. Walk closely with people you love, and with other people who believe that God is very good and life is a grand adventure. Don’t spend time with people who make you feel like less than you are. Don’t get stuck in the past, and don’t try to fast-forward yourself into a future you haven’t yet earned. Give today all the love and intensity and courage you can, and keep traveling honestly along life’s path.” –Bittersweet, p. 89-90

Selah

I want to remember this time period.

This time spent in a treehouse-like apartment on Alosta, across the street from the campus that has become home over the last two years. This four weeks of four girls each preparing for great change: marriage, Nepal, Turkey, the internship of a lifetime… Long, hot days spent fitting in hours at the pool, half-off Starbucks drinks, Bananagrams, kitchen experiments to rival Bobby Flay, and tan-lines. A time when we all swapped fantastic books, packed the kitchen full of super-foods, made smoothies for meals, and threw cover-ups over bikinis to walk to the newly installed Yogurtland. When friends came and went, staying a night here and there, and when we housed the Tanzania mission team before they took off, making our apartment their headquarters for planning and prayer. When the moped was our favorite form of transportation, and riding in flip-flops to Costco for soft serve was totally worth the helmet-hair. The time when Monday nights were reserved for Dancing with the Stars and The Bachelorette, to be viewed with my roommate’s mom in Glendora after a home-cooked meal, with fancy schmancy lattes in hand. When board games and movies were paired with wine, and funny accents emerged and laughs abounded. Where alarm clocks were unnecessary, the Brita was always filtering, the sun was shining brightly, our hair smelled like coconut, our skin of tanning oil, and our home like Ralph Lauren perfume.

I want to remember this piece of life just as much as I want to remember this past year. The year where I crashed and I burned frequently, followed by small periods of joy and of learning. The year when forty-six 18 and 19 year olds taught me more about myself than I had learned over the last 21. The year when I was forced to play “bad cop” for a few, acted as “mom” for more, and was “sister” and “friend” to young women I want at my wedding. The year where I learned it’s okay to open up, to let myself be pursued and taken out. The year where casual dating became fun, but was made aware of just how fragile the human heart is. The year that I realized that God will bring people in and out of my life, and bring me into and out of the lives of others, for as long as I shall live. Nothing is concrete, nothing is unfailing, except for the Creator of my soul. A year where I have never been more sure of the fact that I have absolutely no idea what I am doing, but a year where I have been constantly reminded that I reside in the palm of a loving God, who hears my prayers, knows my heart, and has walked with me through sadness. A year that I fell in love with the wilderness, found beauty in photography, and admitted that I don’t always know what’s best. In fact, I usually don’t.

This four and a half weeks between the graduation I didn’t get to walk in and my departure for Nepal, has been and will be, far from what I expected it to resemble. In reading through the same Psalms I scoured on Walkabout in August of 2011, I was intrigued by the term “selah”. It was a word I had studied in an Old Testament course last year, our professor saying that there was uncertainty as to the exact meaning of the Hebrew-rooted term. Some say it means “to measure or weigh in the balances”, others “to praise”, and yet others “to lift up”. Some believe it is a musical cue or direction written in for the instrumentalists and singers who performed the Psalms during the time of the Israelites. Each time “selah” appeared, the musicians would pause, to take a breath, sing a cappella, or let the instruments play without the accompaniment of voices.

Walkabout was a period of “selah” before the school year began.

A “selah” is what this time is as well. A pause between one crazy time and another, where I am taking a breath, and letting the instruments play on unaccompanied.

Fundraising!

My Nepal team is still in need of some serious fundraising help!

If you would be interested in helping support us financially, the link is below!

Here!

Thanks!!

Passing the Torch

I vividly remember the walk back to Bowles last year at one in the morning. Laughing with a staff mate for the next school year, who would later become my closest guy friend. I remember getting ready for bed and carrying my new autographed-by-many plunger everywhere with me through my dark apartment. It was a tangible representation of the years of sweet memories, tearful conversations, and fun events that had come before me. I remember crawling up into my top bunk, the fans on full blast on a warm early summers night, and settling into my bed in the stratosphere. I could not stop smiling! I had just been passed the torch to Engstrom 3rd East. And I was elated.

Tonight, I passed that torch on. For the first time in 365 days, that plunger is not residing in the same room as myself, but rather in the room of a different young woman. One who is undoubtedly walking around a dark room as her roommates, sleeping soundly, are unaware of the joy she can’t contain. Or who’s slowly preparing for bedtime, smiling at herself nonstop in the mirror. Or who’s settling into her bed on this warm early summers night, grinning ear to ear.

This season is ending. Am I ready? No. I want to do it all over again. I want to do some things exactly the same, and others starkly opposite. I want that exciting month of Walkabout, summer nights, RA training all day and new friend bonding at night. I want that empty hall with doors propped open, to wander through and sit on empty bunks and ponder the hearts and souls that would soon inhabit those rooms. I want to anticipate the 46 girls whose names i didn’t even know yet. Whose wardrobes would soon overflow those closets.

But, alas, I WILL have that empty hall again, doors propped open, summer air filtering through cracked windows. But they won’t be awaiting the hearts and souls that I know them to contain. Instead, they eagerly await new faces that I won’t likely ever know.

I get an empty hall back. I’ll have an empty room eventually too. But I’ll leave it empty. And it will await the arrival of its new soul in early August.

MY season as the 3rd East RA is ending, just as my dear friend Stacie’s did before me, and another dear friend Elisa’s before her, and years and years of young women before them.

But Lindsay’s? Lindsay’s is just beginning.

Live it up, kid. Because you blink, and the years gone.

#3rdEastForever