5 Years

Five years. I’m torn between exclaiming that “five years” is a long time and lamenting how quickly those years pass, how fast five years can be.

To borrow a phrase my grad school department frequently champions, I’ve been “living in the tension” of how short five years are and yet how much can happen in them.

This past weekend was my five year reunion during Wheaton’s Homecoming. I felt that tension this weekend when I saw the physical signs of the passage of time: several college friends have a child or two, many are married, a few are done with med school and into their residencies, a couple are practicing attorneys, and others are in their sixth year of teaching. By those accounts, a lot can happen in five years. 

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On Turning 27 in 2014

So, I turned 27 a few days into my Wheaton in the Holy Lands experience. I’ll post more about those six weeks soon–I have a couple of posts in the works but want to give them the time, thought, and effort that they deserve. 

Somehow, 27 feels a whole lot closer to 30, and 30 seems…well…old. (Sorry for any of you reading this who are over 30…but, you’ve been there, right?!?). I actually heard two girls from the US talking last night, and one was explaining that she’ll turn 27 in a couple months and it suddenly feels much closer to 30, so I’m not the only one, at least. Maybe the fact that I spent the past six weeks alongside 38 undergrads with an average age of 20 made me feel that much closer to 30. I’ve loved my 20s and most of what they’ve entailed: the adventures, the challenges, and the amazing ways God has shown His faithfulness in this decade of my life. Granted, He’s always been faithful and always will be, but I’ve absolutely seen that in the past 7 years. 

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Pilgrimages and Such…

A ton has been going on in the past couple of weeks! My Wheaton grad school finals finished up last week, my mom came up to Chicago and helped me pack up plus drive 14 hours home, and this week I frantically unpacked my stuff in Texas only to run around North Dallas getting ready for my Wheaton in the Holy Lands trip. I’m currently at the Philadelphia airport on an 8 hour layover between DFW and Tel Aviv (so excited!). I’m spending the next 6 weeks with Wheaton in the Holy Lands (WIHL from here on out, cause I’m lazy…): 3 weeks in Israel, then 3 weeks combined in Turkey, Greece, and Rome studying the land of Paul and the early church.

I’m exhausted from the year in grad school and trying to finish up all of my pre-course reading and assignments for WIHL, but I’m so excited about this trip! I never studied abroad in undergrad because I was busy with volleyball and a ministry I helped get going, and in the summers I worked at Kanakuk. So, consider this my “study abroad” experience…even though I’m the only grad student going with around 40 undergrads… So basically, I’m the big sister on this trip. The study part ends in Rome, and my mom is flying over to meet me there. From Rome, we’re planning to get in as much of Europe as we can in two weeks. I plan to come home in 8 weeks, thoroughly exhausted but hopefully having seen some amazing things!

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Medal Round: Top 3 (un)Helpful Things People Said

In honor of the Winter Olympics, I thought I’d share with you my top  three favorite things people told me when I was going through cancer…and by that, I mean these are the three statements that were meant comfortingly but probably should have just been replaced by a hug and silence. 

Lest this sound too cynical, know that I understand these words were spoken from sincerity and out of a loss for the right words to say, so I’m not bitter at all. However, there are times when, if you don’t know what to say, sometimes it’s just best to admit that and give someone a hug (but more on that in my next post!).

So, here we go with the bronze, silver, and gold of my favorite things people said followed by my (sarcastic and internal) response.

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“Be exalted, O Lord, in Your strength; we will sing and praise Your might.” ~Psalm 21:13

(Written on Friday, 5/14):
Today is a day of celebration. Why, you may ask? Well, today is exactly one year from my last chemo treatment!!! That, my friends, is definitely a cause for celebration.

I’m kinda liking that May 14th is one week from my birthday because I think I’m going to annually give myself a reason to celebrate one week early, which will, of course, carry out through the following week, so it’ll be like one big week of celebration, basically. 🙂 Anyway, as I think back to one year ago, I first cannot believe it’s already been a year, and second think that at the same time, it feels like that was in another lifetime. Weird how that happens, isn’t it??

I guess I really don’t have that much to update other than the fact that today is such a day of praise, but I have been learning some things lately that I’d like to share.

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“I will praise You, O Lord, with all my heart, I will tell of all Your wonders.” ~Psalm 9:1

Happy April!!! I can’t believe we are already 1/3 through April of 2010—that’s SO crazy!

Whew! The month of March has come and gone, and I feel like it FLEW by! Here’s what happened and why it moved so quickly: My mom and sister came the first week of March. We had such a blast. We survived The Tsunami (which never really hit…so it essentially killed our sunny Saturday but made for a great story as we evacuated up to a lookout high above Honolulu…and I have a t-shirt that says “I survived the tsunami”…AWESOME). Also, we found the Pirates of the Caribbean ship, The Black Pearl, which is here on Oahu for refurbishing as they turn it into new ship for the 4th movie which is filming on Oahu and Kauai this summer. Long story short, we met the guy in charge of the project–who happened to build the Black Pearl in the first place–and after some shameless begging, he gave Madelyn and I each pieces of the Black Pearl. I got this heavy metal welding something, and Madelyn got a 2 foot long plank from the side of the ship. Below is a picture of my mom, Madelyn, and I on our Pirates adventure.

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“Oh Lord my God, I called to You for help and you healed me.” ~Psalm 30:2.

Today is another landmark day or anniversary. It has officially been a year. “Since what?” you might ask. Since I got the WONDERFUL call from my Nurse Practitioner that I was in REMISSION. PTL! How time flies! I can’t believe I’ve been in remission for a year! 2009 has come and gone. I can’t believe it’s coming upon a year anniversary of having graduated…time is just moving right along, and I’m not sure how I feel about that. As Ferris said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop to look around once in a while, you might miss it.” Profound words from a slightly less profound source.

I realize that it’s been a while. Jumping back into things in January is always crazy, as you surely understand. I’ve been thinking of blogging for a while, but I hope I’m not so narcissistic that I think I should post because everyone is waiting on that. While I find that blogging has been incredibly therapeutic for processing, for some reason it seems hard to justify blogging when I don’t have a ton of Hodgkin’s related info to convey since I don’t want to be self-important and think my voice needs to be another one to add into the mix of this day and age where everyone can be a “writer” by their own standards. But, that’s another topic…one that I get hung-up on as a former English major and current English teacher.

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“You turned my wailing into dancing…that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever.” -Psalm 30:11-12

Wow. One year ago on this date, it was the day before Thanksgiving, and I was shopping at Northpark Mall in Dallas, TX with my friend Caroline. I got a call from Dr. Santi back in Wheaton who explained that my biopsy from that Monday came back positive, meaning that I had cancer. As he proceeded to explain my diagnosis of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, I looked around for something to write on, but all I came up with was my shopping bag, so I wrote down all the information on that Nordstrom bag. WHAT A BIZARRE day! What a bizarre time and place to get such a diagnosis, and what a bizarre year that followed!

As I think back to last Thanksgiving, there were so many uncertainties. I was just reading over my very first blog from this day last year, and so much came back to me–needing to find a doctor, figuring out all the scheduling, all of the tests, what chemo even MEANT–so many uncertainties! Needless to say, this has been a November of reminiscing.

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“He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.” –Psalm 40:2b-3a

That verse is pretty poignant: in the last year, God definitely brought me through the fire, picked me out of the metaphorical pit, and placed me on solid ground, giving me a new song of praise to sing to Him!

I realize it has (once again) been a LONG while since I last updated, and I’m going to try to fix that bad habit in the future. BUT, I wanted to make sure and blog tonight since today is such a poignant day in the history of Hannah McGinnis. Why, you may ask?

One year ago on a beautiful Friday morning in Wheaton, IL, I went to the Wheaton College Health Center to get my flu shot. Once again, God’s timing was SUCH a blessing: I waited until Friday to get the flu shot because (lamely) I wanted to wait until volleyball season was over. In my mind, I’d just jumped back into the game with two weeks left of my season, and since my knee was still in killer pain, I didn’t want to add a sore arm from a flu shot into that mix. Again, what a BLESSING that, though lame that I didn’t want a little shot to interfere with my hitting (because really, what are the chances that would hinder me from wanting to hit the ball?!?), GOD’S timing in that was PERFECT because my waiting allowed me to close the chapter of playing volleyball before opening the next chapter (of which I was completely unaware when I woke up that Friday, November 7th).

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“But I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, for He has been good to me.” –Psalm 13:5-6

Wow. Once again, it’s been WAY too long. I’ve been meaning to update for a few weeks now, but things have been crazy, and time is FLYING. Literally. Ok, not literally, but it’s gone by quickly.

Friday concluded our fifth week of school at Hawaii Baptist Academy (see what I mean about time flying?!?). We are now only 3 weeks away from Fall Break, which means 3 weeks until I get to see my family and friends back on the mainland. Don’t get me wrong–things in Hawaii have been awesome, but it’s definitely far from those I love and miss (but more on that later).

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