All a-flutter



There are a few phrases that set my heart a-flutter. Yes, all the romantic ones that are just mine and his to share.  And also this one: “press 2 for English.”

With those four little words, I remember I’m not the only one here. I remember that there are other faces and places and languages surrounding me. I remember that our world is big enough that I’ll never see it all but small enough that I can spend my life trying to.

When I’m about to get on a plane to a far-away place, the butterflies in my stomach remind me that so much could go wrong. But also that so much could go right.

And this is why travel is my first language: the way I travel is the way I want live. So much could go wrong, but oh so much could go (and has gone) right! That’s what I’m celebrating today as I press two for English: all that’s gone right.







Secret Identities


Tomorrow some of the world’s superheroes will hang up their capes for another year.  They will return to their secret identities as Nurses, Salespersons, and yes, even Lawyers.

But this week, this week the capes came out and the masks were donned at Royal Family Kids Camp – a special camp for abused or neglected children.


This week, over 100 superheroes banded together to fight evil.  To “punch the devil right in the nose” as has been said.  Donning camp t-shirts and superhero masks, the true selves came out.  There’s Queen Bonnie, who valiantly launders soiled bedding and clothes.  Lifeguard Peter who can be a mean old pirate or your best buddy, depending on your pool manners.  Mail-lady Audrey, who can run circles around your local mail-man even though she can’t run a mile.  And Tea Party Leslie, who reminds you with a smile that “when in doubt, pinkies out.”

These are their true selves.  These are the selves that love tirelessly, that get smacked (sometimes literally) and offer the other cheek, that dress up for tea parties and dance like gorillas just to get a smile or a hug.  These are our truest selves.  The selves who see the person instead of the problem.  The selves who step beyond denomination in the name of love.  The selves who stand up to evil and say YOU. WILL. NOT. WIN.

This is why I call them Superheroes.  It takes a super strength – one that can only come from a Source greater than us – to stare into the face of a ten-year-old who cuts herself to feel better … or a nine-year-old that finds it easier to communicate with fists than with words … or a six-year-old with cigarette-burn scars … and show them that love will win.  That they are more valuable than anything that’s been done to them.  That there’s another way.  That there are safe people and safe hugs.

When people ask me if I had a good week at Royal Family Kids Camp, I always pause.  Yes, yes I had an amazing week.  I saw love win.  But also, also I had to see things that I wish weren’t true.  I had questions that went unanswered.  I saw things I can’t control or prevent or turn back the clock for.

But see, this is when superheroes are needed most.  When love and hope and trust are threatened.  When nightmares come true.  And so we don the capes and shed the business jackets.  Put on the tea party dresses in lieu of a stethoscope.  And dance like no one’s watching (in fact, kinda hoping that they’re not).

But the thing about superheroes is, even when they’re in their secret identities – as Doctors and Nurses and Lawyers and Salesmen and such – they are forever watching, forever praying, forever aware of the children that need their love, and willing to give it in a moment’s notice.

And this world is a better place for it.  These kids are better for it.  I am better for it.

What about you?  Have you met a superhero lately?



Playing Into the Wind


I’m not a golfer.  Not by a long shot – pun intended.  My husband’s a golfer, and four years ago he got me golf clubs for our anniversary.  I squealed in delight because they are “pretty” – I tried them on.  You know, slung the strap over my shoulder and struck a golfer’s pose (whatever that is).  And that’s about where my golf experience ends.

But I know there’s this idea of playing into the wind.  That true golfers can’t blame the conditions for their bad game.  That part of the game is assessing the wind and playing your ball accordingly.

There’s a hefty breeze blowing in my life right now and I don’t like it.  Not a bit.  It’s an uncomfortable, harsh wind.  It’s throwing me off my game.

I’m not a stranger to changing breezes – I’ve weathered multiple storms.  I just wasn’t prepared for this one.  This breeze comes in the form of a job loss for my husband.  In the most untimely of seasons: as we are in the midst of a remodel/renovation on our recently purchased house, and as I’m just starting to take my own risks in career/life transition.

I don’t like this breeze.  Not a bit.

There are days that it makes me sad, days that it makes me angry, and days it just makes me plain tired.

See, I was playing my game (translate life) and was just starting to feel the swing of things.  Sorry, I just can’t resist the puns today.  Not in my nature, but I’m just going with it.

But really, if life were a game of golf, you would have seen me smiling as I looked down the fairway on a beautiful sunny day.  I was swinging my little club with a sense of clarity, passion, and fun.  But then this darn breeze kicked up.  And I see all my golf balls flying to the right and the left.

Some days I get so angry at the wind that I could spit into it.   But see, the thing is with wind is, it always wins, and the spit will just fly right back in my face.  And that may be the very worst thing about it:  that my anger, my frustration, my sense of injustice, doesn’t change the wind a dang bit.  I am powerless in the face of this wind.  DANG for powerlessness.

The wind is the wind and it doesn’t care that I don’t like the way it’s blowing.  Leaving me with three infuriating options:

  1. I can keep hitting my darn balls the same way and complaining about that dang wind that keeps blowing them sideways,
  2. I can stop playing altogether, or
  3. I can play into the wind.

The thing is, I don’t want to stop playing.  So that eliminates option number two.

And while I want to keep playing my game the way I was, I’m really not getting anywhere with that strategy.

So that means I have to change my game.  And I don’t want to.  I really, really don’t want to.

But I have to play into the wind.

This is what I think it looks like to change my game:

  1. Look Forward.  I have to stop looking backwards and thinking about how the wind was blowing, or how I think it should be blowing. Forward is the only option, and every minute I spend thinking about the past is a wasted minute.  It won’t change anything.
  2. Remove obstacles.  Right now, that’s my anger.  My anger has to die.  I want to feed it and cultivate it because I think I’m right.  Like, really.  I think I’m right and choices that have been made are wrong.  So what I WANT to do is hold onto the anger.  But what I HAVE to do is put it to death, starve it, stop giving it time and energy and attention.  If I don’t, it’s game over for my heart.
  3. Study the wind. The only way I can play into the wind is if I understand where and how it’s now blowing.  This will require me stopping, being still, watching, and listening before taking action.  Bagger-Vance style.
  4. Adapt my swing.  Change what I’m aiming for.  Re-calibrate, re-position.
  5. Swing.  It’s not enough if I take all the first steps – I still need to actually play.  This means my first calibration might be wrong, might need some tweaking, might take me back to steps 3 & 4 again.  And again.  And again.
  6. Be ready for the wind to change again.  If it’s not clear by now, I’m not the most adaptable person in the world.  I used to think I was, but I’m not.  I’m just not.  But the wind is a wild thing, and not subject to my desire to tame it.

So this is my world right now.

It’s breezy.  The wind is whipping my hair in my face.

But I’ve still got a game to play.

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What about you?  Any breezes blowing?

What does it look like for you to play into the wind?