Monday, October 29, 2012


I have been intrigued this morning by the idea of The writing process is significant, a means of discovery cultivated by formation of words. First for myself, occasionally also for others, it helps bring clarity to what I think, feel, believe, hope. I want to become more fluent with such words and, as with spoken language, development of fluency requires practice.

So the writing part is obvious, but why

First, the format. Incomplete little notes are scattered about my world -- grocery lists, people to call, tasks to complete, quotes, sprouted ideas, barely-planted seeds of ideas, metaphors, and more. I like the thought of writing "to think out loud without having to worry about half-formed ideas, random tangents, private stuff, and all the other things in our heads that we often filter out" before putting them to words. While I'll surely keep jotting random notes, a quick morning writing exercise may help to sort and sift thoughts, or at least store them more searchably for later.

Starting Small:
the Egg
Second, the badges. While not convinced that I'll do the 750words thing for an extended time, I do intend to use it as a means of developing ideas and language. Sometimes writing is easy, other times not so much. Badges are a goofy little way to mark achievement of goals, adding fun to the process. I've named three to pursue: the Flamingo of Consistency, the Hamster of Focus, and the Early Rooster of Discipline.

Finally, the analysis. Seriously -- check out the site creator's page of graphs and various other tidbits. I love this stuff! Participants' writings are automatically analyzed, too, more like this. The mix of subjective experience and objective analysis is fascinating. The reliably quantitative parts are seasoned with qualitative estimates which may not be accurate but serve rather as interesting thoughts to ponder.

Yeah. Even if it's just for ten days, I like this idea.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Bangladesh: CDCs

I've always been intrigued by the theory of child sponsorship programs that help care for children in need through food, clothing, education, etc. It's a great idea, and in terms of strategically applied compassion -- that is, going beyond feeling sympathetic and doing something truly useful to meet genuine needs -- such programs have a lot of potential.

I've wondered, though -- what are they really like? Is the implementation truly strategic? Genuinely compassionate? Do such centers actually bring to fruition what the literature promises?

Mark and I traveled to Bangladesh earlier this year with a handful of others. While there, we had opportunity to visit several Child Development Centers (CDCs) supported through Nazarene Compassionate Ministries (NCM) -- playing with the children, hearing stories of the country and villages and families and individuals, eating and singing together. We had lots of opportunities along the way to talk with a number of program leaders, too, to ask lots of questions and discover what kinds of things they think about as they develop the various programs.

It was amazing!

Tahmina speaks Bengali fluently

These are a few of the sponsored children.
They are learning English, and doing very well!

I tried really, really hard to learn to count to 10 in Bengali.
The kids tried really, really hard to teach me.
Still can't do it, but we had fun.

These CDCs provide children with five meals each week. It's not just food for the days; they study and work to provide nutrients often missing in the children's diets, and teach the families how they can do this, too, using inexpensive, locally available products. This is helping to improve the overall health of entire villages.

Food Security Program

Preparing food for many
Families of many of the children cannot afford basic school supplies, and even young children are often put to work earning money for their families. CDCs provide education to those who otherwise would be unlikely to receive one, including social, spiritual, and cultural activities. This helps not just with their immediate needs but also gives them tools to help their families, their villages, and ultimately their country for many years to come.

Uniformed school children. The school prepared a special
program for us, with dancing, singing, recitations, etc.

School books

The young woman in red performed one of the cultural dances

School children gathered

Some lessons are expressed quite well through visuals!

Music is important in the culture and education

The school children were very attentive...

... and enthusiastic :)

Play equipment

Caring for the physical health of the children is woven through the programs, including stuff like sanitary latrines, sanitation education (e.g., use of latrines, hand washing, etc.), tube wells, medical check-ups, frequent treatment of intestinal parasites (a significant cause of childhood death there), and more.

The well next to one of the schools

Sanitation matters. Even simple latrines save lives.

The programs are run by Bengali people. They know their culture ,
working within it and through it. Here, two actors put on a play to teach
sanitation and other health-related topics in the center of a village.
Advertising not necessary -- when things like this start, people show up.

Music added to the draw and to the teaching

The gathered crowd seemed to enjoy the program

The children are protected, nurtured, sheltered. And beyond all that, they are given love and affection, new experiences, praise and recognition, a sense of belonging, and more. My favorite part of the whole trip -- which is saying something, because I loved it all and was quite impressed by how the programs provide for educational, physical, social, and spiritual needs -- was seeing the leaders' fierce love for the children, and the children's fondness for the leaders.

And there is so, so much more.

It was an incredible experience to see the Child Development Centers in action, not just appreciate the idea in theory. They are created strategically for effectiveness and sustainability, coordinated and run by passionate and gifted Bengali leaders who know their culture and love their people. They're doing great work and doing it in sustainable ways. The world will never be the same. These child sponsorship programs are a phenomenal investment.

Saturday, October 27, 2012


We're getting ready to adopt another dog. There are a couple of places I've been looking into that do great work with both dogs and people, so those are where I've been searching. These groups want to make sure they find good homes and good matches for the dogs. They post photos and descriptions -- often not just stuff like breed/size/gender, but also personality and quirks. In other words, there is far more information available than the sheer cuteness or handsomeness of a still photo.

That's where my mind has been, too. What do we hope for as a couple, and what do we offer? The "ideal" dog would be housebroken, obedience-trained, good with other animals but not dependent on them for company, big enough to be sturdy but small enough to fit in the car, friendly with good-hearted people but protective if needed, quiet but not timid, fun but not rambunctious.

In other words, the "ideal" dog does not exist.

And we are not "ideal" either.

Whichever dog joins our family will move into a place with people who sometimes get impatient, who don't always want to play, who leave him alone for hours at a time, who dislike going outside in the wee hours of the morning, who insist on sleeping every night.

There will be a time of adjustment when we establish our places in the pack and figure out routines that will work sufficiently well to meet all our various needs. We'll reinforce the dog's previous training and add to it as needed. And really, those processes will be ongoing, as in any family.

But that's part of the beauty of it -- each of us entering into relationship as a unique creature with strengths and weaknesses, all of us figuring out together how to welcome and care for the others.

And the more I think about it, the more I think that really is the ideal.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Focusing Curiosity

One day as a child, I was obediently vacuuming my room when I came to the under-the-bed part. We had one of those canister vacs that could reach really well into such spaces, and thoroughness was expected in our chores. I lifted the little bed skirt to slurp up whatever dust bunnies may have been breeding beneath and saw a book, open face-down to keep my place from the night before. Not wanting to lose my place, I turned it upright to glance at the page number before moving it.

...and I got distracted by the words.

I don't know how long, but apparently long enough for Mom to come check on me. By that time, I was leaning against the bed (which, at my size then, looked an awful lot like sitting on the bed), book in one hand and still-noisy vacuum in the other. Mom quite reasonably concluded that I was trying to be sneaky, pretending to vacuum while actually goofing off.

For the record, that wasn't true. I just hadn't noticed that I'd begun reading and had completely forgotten that I was in the middle of vacuuming.

Thirty years later, stuff like that still trips me up sometimes. It's not usually that I'm disinterested in whatever it is that I'm doing, but rather that so many other things are interesting, too. I could spend all day online looking at blogs and Facebook and everything else, attention pulled this way and that by information and ideas that aren't inherently bad -- except that they draw me away from what is more important. It is tempting to lose myself at work in gathering data and drawing up detailed plans, and some of that is certainly useful -- unless it hinders doing the work and engaging with others. It would be easy to enroll in an M.Div. program, an immersion Spanish class, music lessons, freefall instruction, swimming, and a psych degree -- easy, but not the right course of action. And, of course, entire shelves of written words still call to me.

Joshua Becker posted recently on the benefits of limited curiosity. "Our information age has made unbridled curiosity a constantly available distraction... [and] we lose all track of the immediate, beautiful world right in front of us." While respecting and enjoying a God-given desire to learn, I still want to keep growing beyond where I was as that kid, focusing my curiosity enough to develop it as a productive strength rather than a significant distraction.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

People Pyramid

I think it was Miss Jouper who introduced me to the concept of the food pyramid. I was excited that cheese has calcium and other important nutrients because I loved cheese. It was even better to realize that pie and other desserts contain important nutrients, too. We didn't have pie at home, but we had cheese, and I loved cheese. I could eat cheese! Lots of cheese! Every day! Because it's good for me! But then Miss Jouper clarified that different foods provide different nutrients, so eating cheese (or pie, sadly) for every snack and meal is not healthy. Even good things can become fatal in excess.

Fast-forward thirty years... (used with permission)

I enjoy keeping up with friends and family through Google+ and Facebook. We share news, send messages, show photos, express what matters to us. Email and text are usually personally addressed, which is a start. Phone conversations help with communication through tone and real-time interaction. G+ Hangouts and Skype share more of the nonverbals, which can be wonderful, or (especially in conflict) at least wonderfully helpful. Physical presence adds another dimension, both literally and figuratively.

It seems you and I show up to each other more when more of us actually shows up, which in turn allows for a much more solid foundation upon which to build. Like pie or cheese, Facebook and texting provide nourishment for relationships in pleasant ways. And, also like pie and cheese, such media can take up space in the interpersonal diet that really needs to be filled by something different, more substantial, even more real.

I'm looking forward to three-dimensional time this evening having dinner and conversation with people I love.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Encountering Nature, Part 9: Snake Guy

Jamison came to our house a couple of months ago. We had snakes on our property and he's a snake guy. He really likes snakes. A lot. And because he likes snakes, he wanted to save them from their likely fate if they stayed around. He came searching for the little buggers, put them into a bucket, and took them away to live elsewhere.

He had five or six safely contained when a few of us went out to talk with him. Asked how fast they travel, he pulled one out and put it down to show us it's pretty close to walking speed. Then he picked it up near the end of its tail. (Then again, isn't pretty much all of the snake a tail? But you know what I mean.) Her head bobbed back and forth, body squiggling in the air as he carried her back to the bucket. I commented on that, asking if this extraordinarily flexible animal was unable to twist herself back up toward his hand for a bite. She can, he explained, but she doesn't want to. The snake was not inherently violent; she just needed to know he wasn't going to hurt her, and he communicated that to her through his actions.

I'd been thinking physiologically, in terms of muscles and gravity. Jamison responded psychologically, in terms of motivation. His respect for the snake and educated assessment of the (low) risk involved was combined with a familiarity with its behavior that gave him confidence in the interaction. The snake wasn't particularly comfortable with Jamison, but seemed to recognize that he wasn't threatening her. Each respected the other's boundaries, which gave both reason to trust enough for the moment.

That interaction captured my heart. I'm not picking up snakes and I'm certainly not letting them go to catch them again. But as a human metaphor, I find myself sometimes in encounters a bit like that of Jamison and the snake -- two very different creatures, both personally engaged, each capable of harming the other and (most of the time) neither bent on doing so. I want to be clear-headed in distinguishing the relatively few "venomous" ones, of course, skilled in responding to genuine threats. I want to recognize mutual good intent where it exists. And whatever the situation, I want to be courageous in the unknown, wise in my boundaries, and always respectful of the other as a unique fellow creature.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Enjoy the Days

A veterinarian told me a couple years ago, "You have a geriatric Labrador retriever. Enjoy the days you have left with him." We had significantly more time together than any of us had expected, and while it wasn't easy to hear, I am grateful for the words of that vet, and for the compassion with which he spoke them. His gentle reminder stayed with me; I did indeed enjoy what felt like "bonus" years with Sirius.

Scarcity changes perception and helps to see more clearly value which already exists. Much of life is "ordinary" -- so common that it is easy to take it for granted. I am reminded again in the limits of time to truly appreciate the "ordinary" joys of life as they come.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

And I Found Out Later

When I was growing up, "I don't feel well" had to be accompanied by something sufficiently measurable and sufficiently big to qualify for staying home from school. I remember such an illness when I was in high school and stayed home. Strep, I think. At any rate, I was so miserable, so feverish, so exhausted, and just laid in bed drifting in and out of consciousness for a few days.

Then Mom came in and woke me. I couldn't understand all that she was saying, but figured out she was telling me to get up. What was up with that?? The house rule was that we had to be really sick to stay home, and mine clearly qualified. I argued with her, but weakly and briefly. I just didn't have it in me. It hurt to talk, and I was about to fall asleep again mid-sentence. Mom, both sympathetic and unyielding, bundled me up and put me in the car. I was asleep when we arrived at our destination -- an unfamiliar place located (I discovered eventually) a few minutes down the road. She led me into what looked like a guest room and got me settled in there. I concluded that she was visiting a friend and didn't want to leave me at home alone. Confused, weary and still a little annoyed, I slipped quickly again into sleep, waking periodically with the disorientation of illness compounded by unfamiliar surroundings.

It could have been hours that had passed, or days, I didn't know -- I was still in the same bed, in the same unfamiliar room. But my body fought the infection as I slept, and I gradually shifted back again toward coherence.

And then I discovered that my family had moved.

And I had moved. Or, more accurately, I had been moved.

My family started living in a different house, and I found out later.

From what I reasoned out afterwards, my mom had been packing up the house while I was sick in bed. When the day came to move, she took stuff to the new place down the road and got my room all set up, then returned to move me over. Once she'd gotten me settled in to my new room, she (and Dad joining her after work, presumably, especially with furniture) continued her task of moving everything else. By the time my mental fog started to lift, it was all done and looked like we'd been living in this new place for years.

It's no wonder I was confused.

And while I thought at the time that Mom was being unfair and unreasonable, I was so wrong. Though not appreciated in the moment, she was quietly doing her thing and being amazing as she did it!

I'm admittedly still fuzzy on the details of those days. It's surreal enough that I have doubts, especially given my mental state in those days. But at the same time, it makes sense from what I know, especially of my mom -- a creative and determined woman who works hard, overcomes obstacles, and nurtures others along the way.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Encountering Nature, Part 8: Snakes

I encountered a snake sunning himself on our front porch in early June, then regularly on late afternoons which followed. Turns out these snakes are common in our area and this one had found a cozy place behind our steps. I was disturbed and unsure what to do. Some friends said to kill it lest it reproduce and we wind up with an infestation of snake babies. Others suggested finding ways to share space with the snake, noting ecological value. Both suggestions had merit, though the thought of killing a snake made me queasy. So, undecided, I didn't actively follow either suggestion, and mostly developed a pattern of avoiding the snake.

In the midst of my indecision, I did some research about snake repellents, traps, and euthanasia. I read about several ways to kill snakes, along with the perceived humaneness of each. Folks who really like and appreciate snakes weighed in, too. I learned quite a bit, just didn't do anything. Meanwhile, the snake mostly disappeared for awhile, which I mostly appreciated.

But then it showed up suddenly as a friend approached our home one evening. She yelled and flailed, and they both evacuated the area. More days went by and it seemed again that perhaps the snake had moved away, until it suddenly appeared between my bare feet (!) as I was walking outside one evening. Again there was flailing, mutual evacuation, and no more snake. This creature was getting bigger, but the times between its appearance were getting longer. Maybe I could ignore it and it'd go away. That sounds reasonable, right?

I believe this is what my junior high English teacher called "foreshadowing," because there is clearly more snake in the shadowy future of this story.

That future came on a Thursday as I was heading across the driveway, talking on the phone, mind in many places at once. An itty-bitty snake, maybe six inches long and thin as a pencil, suddenly darted in front of me. It was disconcerting, like a dry, scaly, and really fast-moving earthworm. The quick motion created a sense of urgency. I didn't have a shovel, but did have sturdy shoes and a burst of adrenaline, and that was enough.

Yeah -- ugh.

I didn't like killing the snake, not one bit, and especially not that way. But at least it was over, right?  I regained my composure and continued toward mowing the lawn...

...where I encountered another in the grass, with similar result, except that ten minutes later, this "dead" one slithered away while I wasn't looking. So not only was I hating that I'd killed something, now I also had the guilt of having left one wounded and in pain.

I'm hoping that's the one that slipped under the lawn mower soon after (and got mulched). Another one appeared by the fence post (shovel), and yet another as I trimmed the bushes (hedge clippers). A fifth slipped by and escaped as I dealt with the fourth.

Ugh, ugh, ugh, and ugh.

In the midst of all these encounters, I kept seeing movement in the grass running along next to the lawn mower. Certain that any remaining snakes were disturbed, I wondered whether they were just trying to get away or were actually attempting to threaten me. It took several laps around the lawn before I realized all that movement was just blades of grass being pushed around by the hot air of the mower's exhaust.

And that was all just the front lawn! I never did get to the back half on that day. And I was okay with that, because in my imagination, the flower beds and rocks back there now held a slithering mass of these critters. Worn out, I went inside, grateful for walls and stairs and doors to separate my world from theirs, yet uncomfortably aware of their lurking presence nearby.

But this isn't just a story about snakes. I've also come to see it as a story about conflict.

Conflict happens, appearing unexpectedly and catching me by surprise even while I know full well it is very much part of the human experience. Some people, feeling quite threatened, instinctively want to killitquicklynomatterwhatjustmakeitgoawaynow. Others appreciate its value in the relational ecology and suggest giving it space to stay. Both responses have some merit, neither is the full truth, and the best approach in a given situation can be tough to discern. But indecisively avoiding conflict and just letting it have whatever space it takes is never a good idea. Boundaries are necessary.

Discernment is so vital because, when conflict establishes its home, it does not simply disappear. It keeps popping up, often unexpectedly and at unfortunate times, when we're least prepared for it. And when opportunity presents itself, conflict tends reproduce. Unhealed rifts darken perceptions of others, so that even mere difference of perspective creates a breeding ground for all sorts of new conflicts -- ambiguous statements are interpreted, gossip spreads, motives are questioned, imagination takes hold and cultivates fear which triggers attacking or avoiding rather than dealing with issues in a healthy and reasonable way. And when caught by surprise, we tend to react to conflict like I did to the snakes -- flailing, stomping, yelling, and generally just making a mess -- while there are much better ways to go about it.

I had an epiphany during a workshop awhile back when the topic of conflict came up. A participant commented that everyone hates conflict, and I had the sudden realization that that's no longer true of me, that I no longer hate conflict. It can be quite uncomfortable and I don't actively seek it out, but I have found myself developing a healthy respect for conflict, even appreciation. Handled well, conflict cultivates growth as we challenge each other appropriately, seeking to redeem our differences by attending to the relationship while pursuing truth and resolution together. Like snakes keeping the rodent population under control, conflict has helped to cut down such figurative pests in me as misunderstandings and character issues.

So I am learning to ask: Is this conflict the simple garden-variety kind or one of those really poisonous ones? What's at stake if I bring it up, and what's at stake if I don't? What boundaries do I need to establish, and what boundaries do I need to honor for the other(s) involved? Am I pausing to discern the best course of action or just avoiding what is difficult in hopes that the problem will solve itself? What do I need to learn in this situation? What seeming "threats" are really just perceptions based on fearful expectation more than on reality, the result of my own hot air stirring things up?

Like snakes, conflict really does have a place in the ecology of life. And, also like snakes, it must be handled with care to keep it from becoming an infestation -- an out-of-balance, uncontrolled force which threatens the health of the whole relational ecosystem.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Not Quite NaBloPoMo

Breakfast is the best meal of the day!
I spent an early October weekend with about three hundred other women at a retreat in Cascade, Idaho. We woke early and stayed up late. We sang, listened to speakers, enjoyed meals that didn't require us to cook or do dishes after, played games, talked. Saturday afternoon held free time options like riding the zipline, attending a Bible class, learning to fish, getting a massage, doing a craft project, hiking, and napping. It was lovely.

And, in the back of my mind was the thought: I'm blogging this month. Every day through October. And this is an October day, so I'll blog something.

And then I didn't.

It was a short retreat and I'm glad I could be there. Not just there in body, but fully present. It was good to be with others awhile, to engage together in fun and learning and some of the deeper conversations that tend to happen only when we make space for them.

There will be time for blogging and such later. And if there isn't? Well, that's okay too.

Meanwhile, once the perfect streak of daily blogging had been broken for this month, return to "perfection" became impossible. The plan remains; the self-imposed expectation does not. There is a kind of freedom and joy in this.

The daily challenge of NaBloPoMo still draws me, and I may try again next month. But for now? For now I know that in recent weeks I've been drawn often from my scheduled path toward "burning bushes" (Exodus 3:1-4) instead, and I am grateful.

Sunrise at Trinity Pines

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Showing Up in Person

Awhile back, I needed to get a minor adjustment made on a bank account. I tried online and received confirmation, but the change didn't stick. I tried again and received instruction to call their 800 number. The gal on the other end was friendly and listened well to my purpose for calling, then explained (in summary) that I would need to receive permission before making the change. And really, I was okay with that; in matters like this, it is entirely appropriate to take extra care. But unfortunately, the only person who could give that permission is me, and I wasn't authorized to give myself account access. (Yes, that explanation was indeed as hopelessly circular as it sounds.)

I asked clarifying questions. In my experience, so long as we all stay respectful and solutions-oriented, pretty much all these problems can indeed be solved. In the end, though, she was stymied, and I couldn't solve this on my own. She even agreed with my assessment that it was an entirely circular argument and she saw no way to fix the problem. Finally, she said they could probably work something out if I brought two particular people with me in person (each lives over 20 miles away) to affirm the change.

In her defense, she seemed like she genuinely wanted to help and was genuinely dismayed that she couldn't. She really was doing the best she could within the system she had to work within. Getting all grumpy with her would be disrespectful and wasn't going to lead to a solution anyway.

So I waited until after the conversation was over before sighing heavily. Seriously, why do things have to be so complicated?

And that's a good question. After all, back in the day didn't people just walk into banks and do business in reasonable ways like reasonable people?

So -- I tried it. I dropped in at the nearby bank branch and explained to the teller what I needed. She couldn't make the change for me, but walked me over to a banker who had it fixed within about two minutes. Maybe three minutes if you count the friendly greeting chat.

I live in a tech-oriented time, and much can be done easily and well using tech methods. But there is something significant, too, about simply interacting as human beings together.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Sharing Solitude

I do love people -- and I'm an introvert. As a result, being drawn to people is balanced by a need to also have time alone. Regular times of silence and solitude help me to love well. So, after three wonderful days with three hundred women, and before jumping head-first into five days of a training camp, I climbed a mountain.

I took pictures from the top and, seeing there was at least a bit of cell reception at the peak, sent a few to my husband and to Facebook. It was odd, perhaps -- to go so far out of my way to be away and yet to reach out from that most distant spot. But there is something about sharing the joy with others that garnishes the experience with extra goodness.

You know those "wish you were here" cards? Well... I didn't. That time of solitude was awesome! And, at the same time, I am glad for friends and grateful for such opportunity to share something that mattered to me.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Perspective, Restored

I have one pair of shoes with a heel. Nothing tall or spiky, but they raise me up maybe an inch. The interesting thing is that just an inch is enough to noticeably shift my perspective. With that inch, I see from a slightly different angle, sometimes even slightly different things.

I found myself in recent days needing a shift in perspective. But I didn't put on my heels today to see from an inch higher. Instead, I donned hiking shoes and raised my eyes a few thousand feet. I sought the big picture, and also the beauty in the little things. I was reminded of God's power and presence. And, through the course of the day, my soul was restored.



Monday, October 8, 2012

Choosing to Fly

The zip line at Trinity Pines in Cascade starts at a height forty feet above the ground. On belay, participants use a ladder to start up the tree, then big metal staples embedded in its trunk, finally reaching a small wooden platform where they are secured to the trolley and sent on their way down the 600-foot cable. Four men worked together to keep everyone safe through the whole process -- Ray ensuring harnesses were put on safely, Steve belaying for the climb up, Brian in the tree transferring the harness connection to the cable, and Bob at the end platform helping with return again to solid ground.

I stayed for hours watching women strap into harnesses, climb the tree, step off into the air and fly. I saw them reach the end ramp, and finally heard them return to tell of the experience.

I'd forgotten how much I love the zipline. Or, more accurately, I love the ziplining, because I saw far more than just harness-climb-zip-return-harness-climb-zip-return-harness-climb-zip-return. I saw great metaphors of faith and life, and perhaps that's really at the core of why we go out of our way to do such things.

I saw the significance of transitions and decisions -- signing up and showing up and gearing up, taking the first step onto the ladder, shifting to the more vertical climb using staples, standing high above on a sturdy platform, and stepping off again to fly. Each is a new challenge, and every new challenge matters.

I saw participants experiencing fear and choosing to trust -- relying on equipment to hold them up, guides to keep them safe, peers to offer support. Fear is an important means of helping us stay safe, and taking calculated risks can be a very good thing, too.

I saw the truth lived out that "Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear" (source uncertain) -- things like developing trust, testing faith, leading the way for others to follow, or simply experiencing adventure.

I saw steps of faith symbolic of other "steps" of faith which are far more significant.

I saw fun and friendship and the joy of living.

In the end, I decided to ride, too -- a ride of celebration and gratitude, a symbol of freedom and hope.


It was a great day.