She seemed to recognize me, though she could only communicate it with her one working eye and the adorable smile on her lips. She was the last in a train of three wheelchairs being pushed by airport workers along the jet bridge to the gate. She didn’t need a wheelchair, though it may have been helpful for containment purposes. Her travel companions were two young boys – one from Cote d’Ivoire, Africa, and one from its northerly neighbor, Burkina Faso. The three of them met in Paris, France, along with their flight attendant escorts, and flew away from their families, across the Atlantic, to a world so familiar to me, yet foreign and uncomfortable to them.… Keep Reading

take heart


I use the heart emoji a lot, though not as much as one of my daughter’s friends who finishes every one of her texts with at least 28 hearts, 5 unicorns, and a rainbow. (I love her so much!)

I like hearts and what they represent – kindness, goodness, and of course … LOVE. I also like the shape of the heart – symmetrical, smooth, and full. I believe all our hearts started in that shape way back when, but over time, many have taken on a different form.

You’ve heard the many idioms that use the word “heart”. Take for instance the phrase “tug at your heart”.… Keep Reading

who’s that girl


With that title, I know all you 70’s babies are thinking … Madonna!!! So here’s the 1987 video. You’re welcome.

Anyways, back to the point … since the announcement of Ma’s return (today!!), I’ve gotten a handful of questions. Maybe two handfuls. But who’s counting? So I thought I’d answer a few of them.

Who’s that girl?

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Ma … and for those of you who have nodded your suspicious head … or given a skeptical thumbs-up … or looked dubiously at Pippa when she has said she has a younger sister … here’s the 411:

Ma is a near 5-year-old girl from Cote d’Ivoire, Africa, who has spent over 2 years of her short life with our family being treated for retinoblastoma, eye cancer.… Keep Reading



Our recent family vacation took us to Italy. Our full itinerary can be found here. Today’s focus is on our first stop: Rome … the city of layers … where ancient walls are graffitied by artists and occasionally hit by passing cars.


We chose the city. Next up – picking a location or neighborhood within the city to stay. We like to walk and/or use public transport in the cities we visit, so we tend to pick a location based on its accessibility to most of the things we want to see. Makes sense, right?  We planned to visit the typical top spots in Rome, so decided to stay in a central location.… Keep Reading

madonna art


As I wandered the streets of Italy last week on our family vacation, I became aware of all the Madonna art seemingly every few steps – on walls, in churches, in courtyards, in tiny alcoves. Paintings, sculptures, ancient, modern, simple, elaborate, colorful, plain, peaceful, painful.

I am a person of the Christian faith, though not Catholic. I am used to seeing brown-bearded, friendly-eyed pictures of Jesus. And like most Protestants, I don’t own a crucifix. No, we remove Jesus making it a clean and tidy cross. Pain-free, worry-free art. And Mary is not often seen outside the nativity, where she calmly sits beside Joseph and a few farm animals looking adoringly at the little bundle in the manger.… Keep Reading