October 23, 2015

Some people learn life skills like love, patience and conflict resolution from living with a partner and/or having small children.  I get my character formation from traveling.  Trying to be patient and kind when I’ve been up since 3 a.m., had two delayed flights and the rental car company lost my reservation is stressful.  My sainthood expires after I’ve gone more than 24 hours without sleeping. I flew a lot in the past week for speaking engagements.  Chicago to Los Angeles… Read more

October 20, 2015

I spent the weekend with dear friends. This morning, they dropped me off at the airport so I could fly to my next speaking engagement. Over the weekend, we talked about culture shock. We talked about it, and I said I didn’t have it, that I was so relieved to be home that maybe I wouldn’t experience it.  Also, because I had a chance to write about it, it was like going to talk therapy and processing everything well.  And on top… Read more

October 19, 2015

  Last week I went to Target to make a little care package for my 4-year-old nephew.   I was standing in the art supply aisle, and I had a choice to make.  I could buy him a paint-by-number kit, or I could get him a sketch pad and let him freestyle instead. I choose freestyle over paint-by-numbers.  What great art was ever created by following the lines and numbers someone else decided for you? It got me thinking a lot about numbers,… Read more

October 15, 2015

Every morning I was in Africa, I tried to spend at least an hour writing, praying and/or meditating.  A quiet time to listen to God and talk to him before everything got crazy. A few days after I got out of the hospital after having malaria, I got a cup of coffee from the kitchen and walked back to my room.  I picked up my notebook and my Bible and my pen, prepared to do some deep thinking and praying…. Read more

October 13, 2015

I landed in the U.S. on October 5th. One of the first things I saw when I stepped off the plane in Chicago was pink. A poster of a large pink ribbon.  Pink water bottles.  Airline employees wearing pink ties and pink dress shirts. It dawned on me that it was October in the U.S., which meant it was Breast Cancer Awareness month.  The month I sometimes appreciate, sometimes enjoy, sometimes dread since my own diagnosis nine years ago. As… Read more

October 12, 2015

Hey, friends! I wanted to let you know about my fall dates.  No, unfortunately, not dates with handsome, eligible men who love Jesus. The other kind of dates — the calendar kind. I have the privilege of partnering with Compassion International for a Fall 2015/Spring 2016 speaking tour.  I’ll be speaking at more than a dozen colleges and universities, trying to inspire college students to invest their lives in making the world a better place, making the Lord’s Prayer a… Read more

October 10, 2015

Felix lives less than two miles from the Compassion center. We climb into the director’s car.  I’m sitting in the front passenger seat, and Felix is in the back seat with Ben, the videographer. As we’re driving out of the parking lot, I ask Felix if we can take a selfie. “Okay, say cheese!” He laughs and grins. It’s the first time I’ve seen him smile, and it warms my heart. (more…) Read more

October 10, 2015

On my last weekend in Togo, I visited a Compassion International site in Lome, the capitol city. I’ve been a spokesperson with Compassion for the past year, a non-profit whose mission is to “release children from poverty in the name of Jesus.”  They go into the poorest neighborhoods in the poorest developing countries and partner with a local church to create a community center for kids.   Compassion gives money to the church, who employs local staff to run the… Read more

October 7, 2015

I imagined it at least a hundred times. When I was sick with malaria, when I was exhausted after a 28 hour shift, when the hospital ran out of water, when I lost a patient I’d tried so hard to save, I closed my eyes and imagined coming home. Stepping on the plane in Togo, falling asleep with headphones and a blanket, waking up on U.S. soil, hugging family for the first time in four months. In spite of how unlikely it… Read more

October 4, 2015

It’s my last day in Africa.   I’m staying at a little motel right on the ocean in Lome, Togo’s capitol city.  This morning I’m drinking coffee on the patio outside my room, looking at the waves, thinking about my time here. It’s been a hard three months.  The work was hard, the hours were long, the weather was hot.  Plus, it was a hard season for me personally — physically, emotionally, spiritually.  And getting a bad case of malaria… Read more

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