Graduation Day

Graduation was yesterday. I always get a little funny around award ceremonies. I usually walk away feeling like I missed out. Its like a big party celebrating everything I can’t see. Frustrating. Then I start thinking. What can I do to not miss out next year? How can I be recognized? Wouldn’t the work I have to do to get there suck? I don’t even know how to find out what it is I need to do! Is a round of applause really worth it? That’s where I feel like I get stuck.
An award ceremony is not a meaningful enough motivation for me. It’s like watching someone else eat ice cream. Sure, I’d like ice cream, but I’d rather not pay for it, and its gone before you know it. What’s the point?
One could say that there are limited opportunities for joy and pleasure in this life, and its better than spending it dry mouthed and discontent. Reducing pleasure and satisfaction in life will do nothing to ease the bitterness of death. Its more likely to pile on regret. It may also be a lie or bad assumption to assume that once the party is over the effects of it are made null and void. While its true that on many levels one has to start over again, establish their credibility, and win new people over, at least they’ve had practice at it, and it isn’t as if those people whom you benefited and can vouch for you cease to exist. Establishing patterns of success is tangibly more helpful than patterns of failure. Even failure is better than patterns of apathy and indifference.

TheLong Long Island

Shannon knew I was serious about her when I offered to drive her to Long Island and pick her up a few days later so she could help out at a camp. Young men in love learn the meaning of commitment. Now, trips to the island have become routine, though I still can’t really say I know the way. I blame it on everything sounding like a second language. Names like Sagatos, Ronkonkoma, Verrazano, Hauppauge and Goethals keep me looking over my shoulder for the Swedish Chef. It’s a bit of a drive from Dover (and really Seaford this week) so we decided to shake things up a little and take a bus and a train. Lesson learned: you don’t have to go to China to have an adventure.

Bus from Newark to New York scheduled to leave at 7:15pm
Left house at 6:00pm
Avoided traffic jam on rt. 1 thanks to google maps
Odessa also jammed
Started to get worried
Estimated arrival is now 7:10
Checked refund or transfer on missed buses
Not good
Car in front of us goes under the speed limit
Prayers and curses
Feeling guilty
Why didn’t we leave earlier?
Remember God sent these cars
7:17pm Pull in
Thankful to see a line with no bus
Bus shows up
Going to Baltimore
No biggie
Long wait
People on phones
7:45pm We decide to wait in the car
7:46pm Bus finally arrives
Not going to New York
Luke goes back to the car
8:30pm Bus shows up
Looks full
Prayerfully get on
Last two seats are front and center of the upper level
Luke thoroughly enjoys the ride editing a song he recorded
Shannon worries that this is the slowest bus driver ever
Slow enough to cause us to miss the 11:15pm train from Penn Station to Ronkonkoma
11:30pm Arrive in New York City
No more trains that day
Stuck in the city?
Shannon melts down
Stress relief-impulse pretzel buy
Review train schedule
Next train is 12:17am. Not so bad
Midnight snack: pizza and beer


Conductor tells us that our train will be diverted for weekend bridge construction
Get off at Mineola and headed to a bus
Driver takes us to Westberry
Supposed to go to Hicksville
New Yorkers flip out
“Take me to my front door”
“I paid for a train not the bus”
“I should’ve stayed in the city.”
“Why did you take this job if you don’t know how to get to Hicksville?”
Miss the days when we couldn’t understand people
1:45am Finally arrive in Hicksville and board train for Ronkonkoma
2:30am Dad picks us up
It’s raining
3:00am In bed

TLDR: Most things that could go wrong did. Doesn’t mean we were at fault. Thankful for life and breath.

Saturday is alright

Luke here:

Hard to believe it had been a month since our last post. Things are going. Spring break was nice, but not long enough.  We’re both pretty excited for the summer, but working on finishing well. That always seems like the goal for us. Enjoy Dover Days if you get the chance.

Silerquest Feedback Request

Updated: Please leave a comment!
When we were preparing to go to China, we knew that we would need a blog. Reading over other teacher’s blogs was helpful to us, and it was obviously a good way to share and keep in contact with people at home. We decided on a neutral name for our blog, intending to use it even after our time abroad was complete. We have not been as prolific and we would like to be, even with the other unexpected journeys we’ve been called to.
The thing is: our subscription to the silerquest domain name is about to expire, and it will cost $18.00 to renew it. This is not a crucial decision. Our ability to post will not be effected. We would only be losing the rights to Our blog would be found through WordPress. It’s more like a vanity tag than anything else, but it has given a nice sense of ownership to our work.
The question for you is: would you like to continue hearing from us through this blog? I have been brooding over the idea of updating with more categories for some time. Both of us continue to grow together and as individuals. It would be nice to have a way to reach out to everyone who takes an interest.
Please leave a comment!

Overfill my plate

Last Sunday, three weeks of having major surgery, I cried that I can’t clean up my house, run up and down the stairs, put the dishes away, go food shopping, etc. But the real reason for crying was I struggle to rest.
With the encouragement of my husband, I did rest. Dwelling on the events, later that night I connected some dots of my own life.  When I went to college, I became the heaviest I ever was.  I would not only fill up one plate, but three in one meal.  Sporadically I would try to become healthy; working out occasionally, going for walks, and drinking a glass of water before I ate a meal.  Those changes weren’t lasting.  It wasn’t until I was teaching that I started using Weight Watchers’ main idea of portion control. It took lots of discipline, and of course there was some regression, but over the course of three and half years I lost ninety pounds.  For the last seven years, I have maintained my weight by continuing to focus on portion control.
I connect this life experience to my present one- rest.  Using the analogy, “there’s too much on my plate”, I finally see my plans and to- do’s as the real food I would put on my plate. What’s more, God is my portion. Staring at my calendar is like staring at my food plate. I can only put so much on it and I need to make sure it’s healthy.  I plan less overall, more rest time, and engage myself in different areas of life.  For me that means more reading, blogging and crafting.
I tell the truth that I am not always “good” with my eating habits.  Holidays, vacations, family dinners and all kinds of reasons come up to eat a little extra. Life can be similar, however sometimes we choose what’s on our plate and sometimes we don’t.  We didn’t choose cancer, but it filled a lot of our plate, not leaving a lot of room for other things.  Now that there’s open space( Praise the Lord!), I need to choose the healthy things to go on it.

A new hope

Luke (written on New Year’s Eve):
Shannon is at the wedding rehearsal for our dear friend and former team mate Jamie from our first year in China. I’m in the back of the car with a blanket in the hillside of Virginia because I stayed up way too late last night and am sleepy. But before I take a nap, I thought I’d catch you up on some more very good news. Shannon’s surgery was successful; she is recovering (enough to be a bridesmaid), and the prognosis is that  the cancer was caught in time and neither chemotherapy nor radiation will be needed. The obvious and necessary reaction is to thank God, and we do, but to be honest, the emotions in the aftermath are complicated. Everyone else is overjoyed, yet our feelings are subdued. There is relief of a heavy and fearful burden, but then the settling of the old familiar, “what am I supposed to do with my life now?”  The everyday burden we all tote around from day to day is back like it’d never left.
That’s why I’m grateful we’re going to a wedding. It’s a reminder that change comes with time and choice. We may feel like we’re moving in circles but it’s more like we’re swaying like trees, going up and up and up and up. and when the answers do come, the waiting was always worth it. Every choice is simultaneously liberating and terrifying.
Shannon (after returning home):
Through the beginning of our cancer journey and still acclimating into American culture, hope has been and remains with us. I liked Luke’s title “a new hope” which reminded me one of my mentors shared Psalm 23 with me as soon as we found out about Luke’s cancer.  She reminded me that we all are walking through the valley every day, but in the diagnosis of cancer it was more apparent how much closer we were to death.  However, the hope lies in God’s arms: for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.  He comforts us in the everyday life and in the harder times.
Our dear friend shared before getting married, “We’re excited to be doing life together.”  That statement was profound to me agreeing with her and realizes how Luke and I are doing life together. Their marriage vows were sweet to hear, claim again and give us a new hope.
We now move back to Luke working full time teaching and Shannon recovering and gaining strength day by day.
Happy New Year!

Operation Silerquest

Thank you for following us as we write sometimes sporadically about our lives. As we’ve discovered more and more together, we’ve got to take the bad with the good. Shannon needing an operation for colon cancer is certainly a bad thing we did not ask for, yet there is blessing in it. If I could fashion a scale in which each trial we’ve faced was weighed against the provisions provided, the weight would continually favored provision, and by faith we trust it will continue.
Medically, we feel we’re on top of things as much as we can be. Shannon went to the doctor with some concerning symptoms and was referred to a GI doctor who scheduled some exams. A concerning mass in her colon led to an appointment with a surgeon to have it removed and she is recovering. That’s the short story. The bottom line is that we are doing everything we can to deal with this challenge.
The provisions already given us are many and extremely helpful. Luke still has time off for his own recovery and insurance to cover most medical expenses. Shannon does not have a full-time job to worry about. We have a wise and faithful network of friends and family who’ve provided time, experience, connections…all sorts of service and support.
As our surgeon reminded us, the next thing for us to focus on is getting Shannon home from the hospital. After that, we need to know the pathology which will help us understand what needs to be done next. We’d prefer to get a good report telling us that it hasn’t spread and should simply be monitored, but most of all we pray for accuracy and the means to responsibly care for each other. Keep moving forward!