Tuesday, September 15, 2009


I am blessed.

I don't doubt that for a moment.

I am in good health. I have a great job. I have wonderful friends all over the world.

And I've had amazing opportunities to grow, learn more, be stretched.

I've faced my share of challenges, but it pales in comparison to what some of my friends have gone through.

I truly am blessed.

It struck me again today as I sat with some amazing people and shared with them the challenges that some of my friends face in Africa. It was part of a fundraiser friends of mine put on for ELI.

In the process, I got to exhibit some of my photos from Africa.

For me, showing the photos is about inviting people into the story behind the picture. It's about educating them, whether about nature or about people and customs.

I've been blessed with a camera that helps me capture pictures that speak to people's hearts.

I. have. been. blessed.

So today, as I try and mentally prepare for the rest of the week (teaching my precious little ones, working at completing two doctoral classes, ironing out details of a medical team I'll be taking to Kenya in October, running to the coffee shop after school to be at the photo exhibit), I will not be overwhelmed.

I will keep smiling.

Erwin McManus shared a thought that's been mulling around my head for a while now. "Joy is not something you find when circumstances change. It's what changes circumstances."

I've seen that in my mom over the past few months. When we thought she may be facing a terminal condition, she remained upbeat. Through her neck surgery, she and my father have stayed positive despite the pain they've faced together.

I'm blessed to have parents who choose to look at the bright side of life.

It has rubbed off on me.

Not a bad thing to have rubbed off, I'd say.

And so, this week, as people come and look at my photos of Africa, I hope that they'll fall in love with my continent. That they, too, will stand with my friends who've faced more challenges than we might typically face in some other parts of the world.

I hope that they, too, will find the hope behind each of the photos.

And that they walk away realizing how blessed we all are for understanding more about one another's journeys.

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