Pick up the pace.

26 February 2018

My story is one of restlessness with the status quo, of giant leaps of faith into unknown waters, of not letting fear make decisions for me, of trust, of throwing off everything that hinders, of adventure and joy and life to the full. It’s not doing things because I should or ought to or society says it’s time, but rather pursuing that which makes me come alive and fulfill the cry of my heart to make the world a little bit better place.

I stopped praying for clarity long ago, and when people ask how they can pray for me I will go as far as saying please don’t pray for clarity.  It was in one of Brennan Mannings’ books where Mother Teresa asked how she could pray for him, and he said clarity, and she said no I won’t pray for that.  Because you don’t need to see where you’re placing your feet when you are gripping the trusted hand of the Creator.  You don’t need clarity, you need trust.  

We’re all just trying to put one foot in front of the other and do something good with our lives, I’m sure of it.  My feet happen to take me across the globe, but also unexpected curves in the road, like this Boston season that I never could have imagined turning out as wonderful as it has.  It’s been restful and renewing and beautiful and freeing.  It’s a really nice place to visit, this place of rest, but ultimately I was created to run the race… and it’s time to pick up the pace.

I’m thrilled to share I’ve accepted the position of Country Director Liberia/Benin for an organization focused on prevention and rescue of child trafficking and child slavery in West Africa called Orphan Relief and Rescue.  It’s an organization founded by former Mercy Shippers who saw a need in the countries they served in and decided to do something about it.  I love that.   They’re growing their programs and need someone on the ground to help liaise with the government and oversee the national staff in both countries and see what kind of new projects can be launched to end the troubling epidemic of the buying and selling of children. 

I’ll be moving to Monrovia, Liberia in a few months’ time; a place I’ve never been and know no one, to work in a field I’m unfamiliar with, doing things I’m not really sure about… and the fact that that doesn’t terrify me but rather gets me excited for a new adventure was one of the biggest indicators that this is the next right thing.  I am so excited.

So once again I begin the (now familiar) process of saying goodbyes and closing out this Boston season, of packing up, deciding what to keep and what to send and what to give away, of starting over in another new place with new people and environment and social circles and living situations.  It won’t be easy but most things worth doing aren’t. 

Thank you for being a part of my story, for following the journey, for joining in adventure and pursuing life to the full.  Surely there will be much more to come.


The other side.

12 February 2018

I’ve spent the last ten days in the hospital.

No panic necessary, I’m fine and quite healthy.  I’m a subject in a research study, as an inpatient participant.  It pays well, and I have the time, so I thought (as I do with many opportunities that come my way) why not?

I’m finishing the first of two ten-day stays where the researchers manipulate my diet and environment and run various scans and tests to measure changes.  (No medications involved).  It’s fascinating, honestly.  I’ve worked in and with hospitals across the world as well as been a researcher in various settings, so to find myself on the other side of both, as a patient and participant, has been an incredibly eye-opening experience.

A few observations, in no particular order:

There’s no such thing as privacy.  I didn’t realize how difficult I would find this; I’m a private person and an introvert, and yes, I had a private room, but nurses and aides and doctors and dieticians and various other people come in anytime, at all hours.  At one point I found myself sitting on the bathroom floor, the only place I knew I’d be left alone, giving myself a pep talk (that usually goes something along the lines of you were in the peace corps, you’re a badass, you can do this) and breathing deep, centering, calming breaths. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to share a room or to be in a big, open ward. Perhaps if I was actually sick I wouldn’t care about it, but it was a challenge.

I’m willing to give up control… but I don’t like it.  No big shocker here.  To not have a choice in much, if anything, is a challenging situation, and made me appreciate when I did have choices.  And especially when it comes to food, I found myself moodier than I’ve felt since I was a teenager. I’m sure it was compounded by needle sticks and challenging sleep, but I’ll be very happy to return home where I am back in charge!  Oh, and caffeine withdrawal is also a nightmare, just saying.

Nurses are amazing people.  We all know nurses are amazing, but to interact daily with them for the last ten days really reinforced this particular fact.  They’re kind, generous, work crazy schedules, put up with demanding patients and caregivers without losing it, at least in front of me.  Mad props, nurses. Thanks for taking such great care of me.

I’m happy to be heading home in a few hours, after the last scans, and I’ll be back here in a few weeks for another ten days.  It’s not a bad gig; the wireless internet is fast, I’ve been able to make some progress on the consulting project I’ve been working on, I’ve slept a lot, I’ve watched the Olympics and Gilmore Girls, read a bit, chatted with nurses, and paced up and down the hallways like the caged animal I am. An interesting experience, anyway, and will allow me to finish up this time of #funemployment without going into debt, a huge win. 

A few photos: 

Home sweet home for 10 days

This hospital is the first to have ever done a surgery under ether anesthesia and it was done in this room, as depicted by the painting.
The other side of what is called 'the ether dome', it was actually a theater and observers would watch surgery

View of Boston from one of the windows

Life goal nearly accomplished: obi-wan is teaching me how to solve a rubiks cube. 

Flowers do make a hospital room much more enjoyable :) 

My oyster.

09 February 2018

Facebook reminded me that it was one year ago yesterday I announced to the world I had gotten my dream job at Harvard and I was moving to Boston for the foreseeable future.  I was so excited.  It was the first and only job I interviewed for after eight years of living and serving in Africa, and my return to American soil and life all seemed to be falling into place.

I moved here expecting, planning for, thinking, assuming this was the beginning of a whole new season. I packed up my life elsewhere, the boxes of memories, souvenirs, and clothing for every climate strewn in various locations across the globe.  They all converged in Boston, where I got a new phone number and bank account and drivers license and voters registration and primary care doctor and accountant and all the little things that together make up roots; plans and components to a settling down, a new life beginning, where I thought America and academia was all I could hope for and dream of.

I ran headfirst at full speed into this new thing.  But, as it turns out, it wasn’t the beginning of a new season. 

It was the tying up and completion of odds and ends to the last one. It was the dismantling of ideals, the crashing destruction of idols, a cacophony of should and ought to in the background of the dawning acceptance and understanding of who I really, truly am, and what I’ve been created to do.  It was a valiant effort to fit into a box and a realization that I won’t ever be truly happy in that box. It was a renewal of passion, a rest, a reminder of who I am and what I have to offer in relationships and to the world.

I’m so profoundly grateful.  

So many people ask some version of where do you see yourself in five or ten years and all I can do is chuckle and say all I can imagine is exactly what I’m doing today; still embracing life to the full, making the world a better place somehow, squeezing every drop of joy and goodness I can no matter where it is or what I’m doing.

And you know what? Things work out.  Somehow, usually beyond any human comprehension.  I’m no longer surprised by that fact, I’m just grateful.

I’m currently working on a project as a consultant for a global surgery organization that I’ve always been a big fan of.  I’m participating in a research study.  I’ve got a job offer I’m thrilled about and will share details in the coming weeks, once a few final questions are answered. I’m embracing every moment here in Boston, realizing that I will have to say goodbye sooner rather than later but reminding myself that no matter how short a time we have with someone special, it’s worth having. It’s looking like I’ll make it through without going into debt, somehow.  And the world is truly my oyster.

And still, every day, I wonder, how is this my life??

With gratitude.  xxk

A few random photos, because everyone likes photos....

Best margarita in the history of the world.  At least in my history. 

Boston, on a beautiful winter walk

Not even halfway.

26 January 2018

I heard it said once, in referring to motherhood, that the days are long but the years are short.  For some reason I can relate at the moment; we’re suddenly screaming towards the end of January when it seems the new year turned over just yesterday, and while my days feel long I know this season of rest will come to an end soon and I’m desperate to wring out every moment of goodness and joy I possibly can.

Last week I celebrated another trip around the sun exactly as it should be celebrated; with cinnamon rolls and chocolate cake and dear friends and a review of the 37th tour that made my eyes leak in appreciation and gratefulness.  Several months in the previous twelve had too many highlights to choose just one.  I visited eleven different states and eight different countries, made a zillion new friends, spent time with friends and family, learned a whole lot, and ask myself on a regular basis how is this my life. Never would I have guessed as a child this is how my days would spend themselves. I love it.

A family member of mine is celebrating her 100th birthday this week. It’s astounding to me, to think about what she’s seen and done and experienced and she’s still got a lot left in her.  It got me thinking.  What will the world be like when I’m 100? I was chatting about this to a friend last week and he said you’re not even halfway through your life and think about what you’ve seen… and I love that thought.  Not even halfway.  I don’t think much about dying, as I’m far more interested in living life to the full, but I have always expected to die young-ish… I mean, I’m an adventurer and my day-to-day is often riskier than average and it’s not morbid or weird, I don’t think, and not something to fear.  But it was interesting to consider that I might not even be halfway through my sojourn on earth. 

And you know what? God himself could stand before me and proclaim I have only three more days left on this planet, or sixty-three years, or anything in between, and it would change nothing about how I spend my days, live my life, or decide my next steps. Nothing.

I have no regrets, my life is not incomplete in any way; I keep short accounts and don’t withhold apologies, I am wise with money but not stingy, I seek to serve and love and breathe life and be light and whether I’m almost finished or really just starting I wouldn’t change a thing. And I’m so grateful.  And I think it’s an important question that we all should be asking, if tomorrow was your last day or you knew you’d make it to 100, would it change anything about the way you’re living? 

I know I have a tremendous amount of favor on my life. I don’t understand why, it’s really unfair; when much of the world grapples with why do bad things happen to good people I find myself constantly asking the opposite, why do such wonderful things happen to such a completely unworthy person?  In these early days of my 38th trip around the sun, I’m so, so grateful for the people and the places and the experiences that have filled these days and years and I’m so, so excited to see what’s around the next corner.

Thank you, dear ones.  From the depths.  May what is to come unfold for all of us in beautiful ways, beyond what we could ask or even imagine.

I love the beach.

Looking forward.

04 January 2018

I see articles come through on my news feed that discuss the need children have of play.  Kids today are stressed out and in desperate need of letting loose on the playground or elsewhere. Play therapy is an important component to mental healthcare, and that time to be free from burdens, stress, and expectations is critical to their health and overall wellbeing.

It’s the same for adults, we just don’t let ourselves do it.  Sometimes we can unplug from the machine for a few weeks of vacation a year, but how many are still looking at emails, never really free from the burden of expectations, stresses, and the neverending grind?

This last two months, since leaving Harvard, I really felt strongly I was not to start applying for jobs.  Completely counterintuitive, my normal driven self might have balked a bit at the thought; but it’s been such a wonderful gift – my own version of play therapy. 

The last eight years I’ve lived overseas and navigated the challenges of Africa, of saying goodbye all.the.time, of brief visits home crammed full of fundraising speeches and donor meetings and family time… of an incredibly all-consuming job (that I loved) in challenging environments, while simultaneously earning my Masters degree…. Then I moved my life to a completely new city and jumped in with both feet, not taking the break that all mission organizations advise you to take after being in the field as long as I have… and then the universe and the divine gave me what I wasn’t able to give myself: play time.

I’ve loved this gift of time and friends and experiences and joys.  I’ve traveled to DC, to Seattle, to Florida and to Minnesota; I’ve visited historic places and checked off activities on my Boston Bucket list; I finished my thesis, giving it the time and energy it truly deserved and I’m so proud of the end result; I’ve spent time with dear friends and family, enjoying life to the full without the stress of work and ought tos and shoulds  in the background.  What an incredible gift it’s been and I’m so deeply grateful to everyone who has helped make it happen.   

Now we’re in January and I feel the shift I knew was coming; it’s time to look forward. It will come as no surprise to anyone, but I’m heading back to Africa.  I’m not sure exactly when or in what capacity yet; those things are in the process of being determined, but it’s where my heart is, where my longings and passions and skills and abilities and experience all collide best into the greatest version of myself that I long to offer in service to others and to God.  I’ve been approached by a few organizations and I’m approaching a few others, and am so grateful to have the time I have right now to make the best decision, not grasping on to the first thing that comes along, but really asking questions and praying and exploring and evaluating what will be the next right thing.

Once decisions are made and offers accepted and moving boxes packed and all that other good stuff that is to come, life returns to the crazy once again, which I love and am looking forward to. But in the meantime, I’m going to spend as much time as possible with friends; a few more people to see across the country, dear souls who have supported me through so much, and once I say goodbye again I know it will be for a long time.  I’m going to keep working my way through the Boston Bucket List, play in the snow, see movies and say yes to adventures.  Knowing this time will come to an end makes it all the more special; I’m so incredibly grateful, happy, honored, and excited to see what unfolds in the coming weeks and months.

On dreams.

02 January 2018

It seems like just yesterday the world was collectively fueling the frenzied anxiety of potential global market collapse because of a single digit computer glitch called y2k… Which, of course, was a whole lot of nothing.  But that was nearly two decades ago now, which simultaneously makes me feel old and grateful for all of the life that I’ve had the privilege of experiencing.

It’s that nostalgic time of the year, when holidays and family time somehow bring out the best and the worst in all of us; when the ball dropping and Auld Lang Syne singing infuses us with a shot of hope for new and greater things; when my upcoming birthday marks yet another revolution around the sun and I’m so thankful I get to do it again when so many can’t, don’t, or won’t.

The last year was a year of transition and working really hard and wondering and trying new things and learning and becoming more of myself, it seems, every single day. I said see you later to Mercy Ships, finished my masters degree, tried out the American life, destroyed some idols, met some incredible people and some others I hope to never encounter again; I grew up a bit, cried ugly tears and laughed until it hurt, and I’m so grateful for every one of those experiences.

This next year is already a mysterious conglomeration of excitement, of new beginnings, of adventures and challenges and dreams and greater things and hope and trials and I’m so, so happy I get to be and do and feel all of those things.  This is life to the full, for me, for this time and season and year.  I’m so grateful. I’m so happy. I’m so humbled and honored and amazed that I get to be and do and experience all of this. 

I’m not one for resolutions; I try to set my intentions on a daily basis, not a yearly one.  But in the big picture of life and hope and dreams, I do want to throw open my arms wide to possibility and anticipate nothing less than greatness; not for me but for us, collectively, for those I have the privilege of encountering and affecting and helping and serving and teaching and learning from and praying with and for.  Why not? Why can’t we dream and hope and throw off everything that hinders?  Every great thing that ever was, from neurobiology to the symphony to cosmology to democracy began as a dream; came from a place of possibility, of hope, of a belief in something greater than the status quo of the day or the season.  That’s what I want to live and breathe and embrace and encounter as I put one foot in front of the other and keep moving through 2018 and beyond.

May it be so.

On Hope.

10 December 2017

Last Sunday was the first Sunday of Advent, and I had the honor of sharing a few words on hope and lighting the first advent candle in the little church I'm currently calling home.  I meant to post this last week, but it got away from me... Here's the words I shared with the congregation.  May you be blessed today and throughout this Advent season!

Hope. It’s a tricky word, especially for a grammarian like me… It’s a verb and a noun and a feeling and you can’t see it or touch it or taste it, and it can mean a million different things:  wishful thinking, intention, desire, longing, an expectation or a belief or knowledge or trust. And as I meditated on this word this week, I couldn’t get this phrase out of my head:

The thrill of hope, a weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks, a new and glorious morn.

It’s from the Christmas carol Oh Holy Night, and I found it an interesting word pairing because I don’t generally associate hope with thrill.  It seems to me that hope is something I’m clinging to, almost as a last or only resort… when all else has failed me, hope remains. 

But thrill, now that’s something I love and know well, as many of us do. It’s in the cresting anticipation and excitement when the roller coaster goes over the top and you feel like you’re flying.  It’s in the watching of the sun set over the open ocean.  It’s in the excitement of getting really wonderful news from a friend and it’s in the relief when that biopsy comes back negative.

But when I think back on those thrilling moments of my own small story, I can see hope intermingled in all of them – Those moments are a reminder and an acknowledgement that no matter what the situation, greater things are yet to come – a new and glorious morn.

And in the bigger story, the story of ages and centuries and of now, in this moment, we desperately need that thrill - the world is weary, I’m weary, with all that is happening around us, in foreign nations and in our own backyards we find ourselves separated from our creator in a way that was never meant to be and left us fractured and broken and desperate… for something greater than what we can see or touch or taste.  Jesus came that we might have life and have it in abundance…  If we could really, truly grasp that, we might begin to understand the magnitude of the beauty found in the manger, the promises he brought on his sojourn here on earth… if we could really grasp that, I don’t think we would be able to contain the thrill that is hope

We need this.  We need a new and glorious morn, and it’s ours to claim, a gift from the baby born in a barn who came to heal the brokenhearted and set the captives free. The hope that greater things are yet to come. Not just in heaven or someday but here, on earth, now, in our stories and the larger story unfolding around us.

I pray, in those of you that feel that thrill, however small, that this season would fan it into a flame, that you could be a beacon of light and hope to those around you.  And for those of you who are feeling rather hopeless right now, I pray right now as we light this candle, from spark to flame, the Holy Spirit in ways mysterious and surpassing all understanding, would light that spark inside of you, that you would feel the thrill of hope. Amen.

On Gratitude.

20 November 2017

This video popped up recently on Facebook, and I’m such a fan of Brene Brown that I watched it.  It puts into words something I’ve believed much of my adult life, and it’s been resonating through my brain in the last few weeks.

“I’ve never interviewed a single person who talks about the capacity to really experience and soften into joy who does not actively practice gratitude.”

“When we lose our tolerance for vulnerability, joy becomes foreboding”.  Moments of joy become moments of terror; we wonder when the other shoe will drop, when all this goodness will be taken from us, when we will feel the pain and the grief that we know is coming, and we don’t allow ourselves to fully embrace and feel joy.

I totally get this. I’m sure I’ve written before, but I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop, because somehow it feels completely unfair that my life should be as awesome as it is when there is horrific tragedy around the world and I can’t possibly feel too much joy because I don’t think I can survive the pain that is sure to be on its heels, someday or somewhere.

It’s such garbage.

What do the joyful people do? The people that really do soften into that experience of and abundance of goodness? They get that shudder of fear too, but they practice gratitude. Fear is not the boss of them.  Fear is not the boss of me. Gratitude is a practice, not an attitude.

So as I’m wandering through what kind of feels like a desert season, I want to soften into the joy.  I don’t want to miss those moments.  I don’t want to dwell on the hurt and the pain, the fractured relationships, the mad controlling monster inside of me that spends hours at the gym or cleaning or organizing something because even though my life feels out of control, at least I can be organized/clean/skinny/whatever. I want to soften into the joy, into the opportunity to laugh and smile and be awed and amazed and grateful. 


The afternoon that Harvard and I broke up could have been terrible.  I could have fallen into the depths of despair, wondering who I am without this and what will become of my life and how do I explain this to people who don’t really get it and what will everyone think.  But I didn’t let that happen.  I walked home in the sunshine, the entire time thinking of what I’m grateful for – for the experience, for the great people I met, for the things I’ve learned including how not to do things and the questions to ask before accepting any job in the future.  I went home and I cried a little, grieving the death of the future I had dreamed we might have together. And then I went as planned to the soup kitchen I volunteer at, washing millions of dishes and pots and pans and utensils used by beautiful souls who are really struggling and can experience a small bit of joy in a warm, filling meal served by people who see them and care. 

Let me tell you, if you ever think your life is hard, volunteer at a soup kitchen or a childrens hospital or on a big white ship in Africa or a refugee center or somewhere, anywhere… serve. You can’t help but feel gratitude, not in a sick sort of I’m so glad my life is better than theirs but in a humbling, awe-insipiring thank you for using me. Thank you for these plates and this clean water to wash them in and the food that was on them that now fills the bellies of those who really know hunger and the people that all came together to make this happen and serve and give and lay ourselves down for someone else.  It’s beautiful.


On the last hurrah this fall granted us, before the icy winds started to blow and the final leaves fell and the scarves and mittens and wool coats had to be dug out of the basement, I embraced the gift of freedom and biked out to Walden Pond.  This is where Thoreau wrote Walden, a wonderful bit of literature that I highly recommend reading.  It was the longest bike ride I’ve ever done; about 45 miles in total, plus a lot of exploring the area once I got there. It was glorious. It was a random Thursday in early November which meant no crowds to disrupt the beauty that is seeing and breathing and listening to the still small whisper that somehow seems clearer away from the clutter of the city and home and pressures there. I’m so grateful for a bike that I love that fits me perfectly; for a body that is strong and healthy and knocked out those 45 miles with only minimal discomfort (honestly, the last few miles everything hurt and I didn’t know if I would make it, but that’s all forgotten rather quickly).  I’m grateful for the beauty that waited for me there, for the whispers of hope and healing and goodness for the future in the rustling and falling of the leaves into the crystal clear water, for the clean crisp air and the gift of time to follow my heart wherever it wanted to wander.  I’m grateful for the state and the country that preserves these bits of glorious nature where a soul can breathe, where beauty heals, where the wind speaks and the heart can soar like the eagles above.

“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.” 
― Henry David ThoreauWalden

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” 
― Henry David ThoreauWalden

“Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.” 
― Henry David ThoreauWalden


This girl. What a treasure.  Friends since high school, while our storylines have diverged  to opposite ends of the spectrum our hearts remain intertwined, and I’m so incredibly grateful.  She’s in the air national guard and has been activated to DC for hurricane response, and I was finally able to use some old United miles I accumulated few years ago!  We visited the Smithsonian, National Archives, Mount Vernon, and a few other places!  

I was captivated by the rainbow of gemstones and jewels on display at the Smithsonian.
Beautiful fall day in DC.

The General and Mrs Washington came for a visit at Mount Vernon, it was fascinating! 

I'm grateful for a country that preserves history the way we have; I'm grateful for historians and museum scholars and art history people and those workers that are so passionate about that kind of thing - because I'm not, at all, but enjoy looking at it.  I'm grateful for the opportunity to spend quality time with my friend in a beautiful place on a beautiful Veterans Day weekend.  


I just ran nine and a half miles…  and it wasn’t even that hard, really. I do need some new shoes.  But I’m so grateful for a strong body that is healthy and fit that can peel off nine and a half miles and still get to spin class tomorrow.  I’d like to run a marathon in 2018.  I’ve run two half marathons but never the whole distance, and it feels a little crazy, but I’ve never let that stop me before.  I can’t commit at the moment because I don’t know where I’ll be living or working yet, but holding it out there as a big hairy audacious goal for 2018.  I’m so grateful I get the opportunity to even consider something like that.  I’m grateful for my running friends who cheer me on and encourage me and inspire me to reach for greater than I think I’m capable of. 

After my run I came home to an apartment I love and a roommate who is fabulous, and I made a huge salad filled with healthy ingredients and vitamins and flavors and textures and I’m so grateful for all of those things. I brushed my teeth in water right from the tap without fear of cholera or typhoid or intestinal parasites; I’m going to sleep tonight in a warm, comfortable bed where I don’t need to worry about my safety or security, and I get the joy of another day tomorrow, to be light and bring life and serve and love and grow and learn and expand my horizons beyond what I see. 

I wrote earlier in this post it feels like I’m in a bit of a desert season… and I take it back. It’s not. At all. It’s a season of abundance, and greatness, and joy, and promise and hope and peace.  And I’m so grateful.


On learning.

09 November 2017

I’m sitting in Logan airport and the sky is such a beautiful shade of blue I can’t help myself but smile.  The air was crisp this morning; a cold front coming through this weekend has Bostonians digging out their winter hats, gloves, scarves, and sweaters. A neighbor across the street has put up a few Christmas lights, and I was giggly with joy.  I’ve been in the states for Christmas a few times in the last decade, but haven’t had the joy of experiencing the season.  The excitement of anticipation, looking forward to family and Christmas trees and menorahs and sweet treats and lights and rosy cheeks… It’s kind of the same anticipation about this season of life, of great things to come, of family and joys and love and so much happy.


The pastor last Sunday shared an illustration that’s really stuck with me. He admitted to being a typical Bostonian driver; incredibly impatient, irritated by people who can’t make up their mind and angry at those going too slowly.  But not always; the exception comes when he sees a banner on the back of the car. Student driver. In those cases, not only does he not get impatient but he’ll be exceptionally gracious; waving them in, giving them space, and a thumbs up as he’s passing.
I relate, though not when driving (I’m not generally an impatient driver), but when I’m ordering something in a coffee shop or a restaurant, and I see that label on the server’s nametag, in training.  Suddenly I’m much more gracious, telling them my name or my order four times without any frustration that would have appeared otherwise. 

They’re learning, and for some reason, that tends to make us all more gracious.

But the point was this: Aren’t we all? Aren’t we all students of life, of earth, of God, of experience? 

We’re all learning, every day, how to do this thing we do, how to live unashamed, life to the full, to put one foot in front of the other and muster all the courage within us to be seen and trusted and make the world a little bit better place.

It doesn’t help anything when I get irritated at the people in front of me in the TSA line for the agent stopping everything to take out their water bottle.  It’s not going to move the line any faster, and maybe they haven’t flown in a decade or ever and didn’t realize, or in their haste to make their flight simply forgot. They’re learning, and maybe what they need in that situation is a wave and thumbs up as I’m passing by.


I’ve learned a whole lot in the last few months; some of it amazing and awesome, some of which I honestly wish I hadn’t had to learn the way I did.

I’ve learned simple things, like how to use Uber and how to roast perfect vegetables and the fact that on the green line train you have to indicate if you want to get off after a certain point after a certain time in the evening.  I’ve learned some hard things, like people don’t always care about other people, not everyone is out to make the world a better place, and logic is often not valued.  There’s still things I’m trying to figure out, like how to navigate a culture where people will tell you one thing, but their actions say exactly the opposite, or yeah let’s get together means you might see them sometime in the next six months, but maybe not.

But within and around and throughout all of this, I’m learning to be gracious with my learning.  And with others, too.


One thing I keep coming back to right now is abundance. I read the 7 habits of highly effective people probably a decade ago, (if you haven’t read it, stop reading this now and go get it.) and that’s one of them – foster an abundance mentality. What this means is there’s plenty to go around – love, kudos, blessing, praise, etc.  There’s an abundance of those things, which means if someone else gets some, the response is to cheer them on and be happy for them, not be jealous of what they have, which would be a scarcity mentality – that there’s not enough and anytime someone gets what you want, there’s less for you.  (That was probably a terrible explanation, but just go get the book).

Anyway, I love it and work really hard in my life to foster that always.  I want blessings, love, life to the full, favor, and goodness over everyone and everything.  And you know what? So does God. I always want to err on the side of generosity and inclusion.  It doesn’t always happen naturally (like in the TSA line), and it’s generally a result of obedience. 

I’m headed to see my BFF on a ticket that cost me almost nothing thanks to airline miles. My roommate had a chest cold all last week but somehow I didn’t get sick. I have time right now to choose joy and breathe and relish in being happy.  I took a life-transforming class a decade ago that taught me that living without debt was a key component in the pursuit of life-to-the-full, and because I worked hard, always lived beneath my means, and didn’t try to “keep up with the Jonses”, I have nothing tying me down anywhere and I can do absolutely anything with my life. What a gift, what abundance, somehow good things keep being poured out on such a completely unworthy recipient. 

My friends and family, for the most part, have been incredibly supportive and encouraging this last week.  I’m so excited to see where this journey takes me.  Thank you, dear ones, from the 

My view at Logan Airport.

A change of direction. (Alternate title: The breakup)

03 November 2017

It’s been quiet here on the blog… for one big reason.

I’ve been kind of miserable in my job.

And so we broke up, Harvard and I.  

It very much feels like a breakup is the best way to explain what happened, so I’ll keep with that analogy.  

I’d heard so much about him, and everyone knew him, and thought we’d be a perfect couple.  On our first date, I went home and cried afterward.  But everyone, including myself, thought we could make it work based on who he is, and the direction we were going, and I really tried to make it work.  I was continually instigating define-the-relationship talks.  I should have realized it wouldn’t last when every single talk was instigated by me. But I held on and we had a few really, really happy wonderful moments.  Moments that took my breath away and inspired hope that the future would in fact be bright.  I had hoped and assumed that those moments would become more common, once we learned more about each other’s quirks and likes and dislikes and approach to work and life and how we affect those around us. 

But ultimately, as much as we can hope for the other person to change, and want to stick with them because we believe they can change, there’s some fundamental pieces of ourselves that will never change. And shouldn’t change. 

And it turned out that the person I am and the person I needed to become to make this work were incompatible.  And I’m not willing to lose myself, my integrity, my fire, my passion, for anyone or anything. 

It stings a little, as any breakup does, even when you know it’s exactly what is right and good and even feels like a huge sigh of relief, there’s a little grief in saying goodbye the life I had imagined we might have together.  It ended a bit unfairly, but no one said life is fair, and I also recognize I see only one piece of the story. 

So I don’t know what’s next.  But I do know a lot of things:

I know this wasn’t a mistake. I learned a whole lot in this last three months and I’m really grateful. I’m glad we both had the courage to try something new, and I know that not everything has to work out to have been a success.

I know I don’t have a single regret, and I’m so grateful to be able to say that.

I know better is coming.  I know there’s someone/thing out there that won’t make me cry at night and will bring out the best in me and not expect me to be someone I’m not.

I know there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with me.  I know there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with him. It just wasn’t a good match.  And that’s enough of an explanation.  If you want more dirt, well, mind your own business.  I’m looking ahead, not behind.  And there’s no sides, either, so don’t bother picking one.

I know I’m going to take a few months off, the time I probably should have taken when I first left the ship but didn’t… I’m going to finish my thesis, give it the time it deserves (and it’s been sorely abandoned in the corner these last few months).  I’m going to explore the special places in the Boston area that I haven’t made it to yet.  I’m going to visit family.  I’m going to put out some feelers for jobs, but not rush into anything.  I’m going to write. I’m going to breathe and meditate and pray and go to the gym and eat well and speak life and put one foot in front of the other while clinging to the hand of the One who created both the feet and the path and the universe and the passion and fire within my soul. 

I’m truly grateful to everyone who has been a part of this journey.  I’m really excited to see what adventure is next.

Greater things are yet to come.

P.s. for those of you who know some of the people I work with – all is well.  True friendships endure, something for which I’m deeply grateful.

The sunrise over Boston this morning... breathtaking.

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