Celebrating Freedom

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!  To celebrate, I thought I would share some of the stops on my trip through the South.

Bus representing the Freedom Riders at the Center for Civil and Human Rights, Atlanta

Simulation of experience sitting at a “whites only” lunch counter. How long can you last? Taken at the Center for Civil and Human Rights, Atlanta

First African Baptist Church, Savannah, GA; It was also a stop on the Underground Railroad

George Leile, a freed slave, was the founder and first pastor of First African Baptist Church

Slavery Monument on Riverfront in Savannah, GA

Slavery monument on the riverfront in Savannah, GA including a controversial quote by poet Maya Angelou

“We were stolen, sold and bought together from the African continent. We got on the slave ships together. We lay back to belly in the holds of the slave ships in each others’ excrement and urine together, sometimes died together, and our lifeless bodies thrown overboard together.

Today, we are standing up together, with faith and even some joy.”





My word for the year: 2015

On Top of Stone Mountain

Happy new year dear readers!  It’s getting off to a marvelous start, don’t you think?  Every year needs a theme to help propel us forward.  My friend got me started on this practice of creating a word for the year.  I began with possibilities in 2013 and then confidence in 2014.  So what’s my word for such a stellar new year such as this?


This could be the most exciting and intimidating word I’ve chosen yet.  Nobody likes change.  I think it’s part of our defense system as humans.  We’re taught to believe change equals something bad, when in reality, it often doesn’t.  In fact, by welcoming change, we invite all kinds of unique experiences and opportunities into our lives.  When we learn to embrace change without fear, that is when we are most likely to grow, soaring to new heights.

As my husband finishes up his masters program, I can see all kinds of change for us on the horizon.  Part of me hesitates, as I sit on my comfortable perch.  But being comfortable doesn’t always mean better.  And I don’t want to miss out on all life has to offer simply because I’m comfortable where I am.  Leaping into the unknown is scary, but it’s the kind of uncertainty that will set you free.  Let me offer you an example or two.

My husband and I recently took a road trip to the South.  He lived there for three years, but I’d never spent any time there, mostly because I felt it was too different.  Given the history of the culture characterized by racial inequality and differing values, I assumed I wouldn’t like it.  But I realize now that by not going, I was harboring my own set of prejudices.  Defining an entire culture based on one moment in time.  And as it turns out, I was missing a lot!  I saw a part of the country that was not defined merely by its mistakes but by its ability to claim them and move through them.  There is integrity in that and hope.  It also made me recognize more clearly the separation that still divides us close to home in the North.  I hope we can recognize and own that, too.  My husband and I are grateful we live in a time that allows for more differences and hope that trend will continue to grow in the future.

But getting back to the South.  That southern hospitality reminds me of the politeness found in Japan.  It feels genuine, too.  The cuisine blends the comfort food of the past with the modern trends of farm to table and foodie culture.  The warm climate, the Spanish moss, the charming squares, historic buildings, and the country/jazz/blues music all found their way into my heart.  I was also impressed by the diversity found in major cities like Atlanta and Nashville.  We even found a Japanese bakery, which felt like home.  Consider me a changed person already, and the year is just getting started!

Now as I sit here typing on my Dell, I face my next big change.  A new computer.  My first Apple.  I haven’t even opened the box, yet.  Ha!  But you can trust that I will.  Because it’s a new year and I’m embracing the change that is all around us.  The only constant.  I feel myself expanding in every direction.  Welcoming all the possibilities with confidence.

In the coming year, how will you embrace change?

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.  Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, CHANGING yourself, CHANGING your world.  You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.”  —Neil Gaiman, author of Stardust and Coraline