I feel a little intimidated writing about being thankful during the Thanksgiving season.

Thankful - Waterfall

photo credit: Will Steward/

So many good things have already been said. So many statements of gratefulness have been made. So many prayers have been prayed.

But I am thankful.

Thankful for the family I have. Every single one of them. My loved ones who love me even though they know me well.

Thankful for the friends I have made. Those people who always seem to be standing close by when tears come or fear arises. Those who are ready to celebrate when good times come.

Thankful for teachers and mentors I have had. Women and men who felt their greatest reward was seeing me succeed.

Thankful for my students through the years — and for what they have taught me. Incredible individuals who are my hope for the future.

Thankful for material blessings that I, for the most part, don’t really deserve.

Thankful for the sacrifices made by men and women to keep me safe.

Thankful for selfless people who serve and who allow me to see God at work in this world.

Thank you.

Surreptitious Sunrise

good times happen -- even when hidden

I seem to travel a lot these days. Unless I’m driving when the sun comes up, I often miss the sunrise. I suppose that’s why I take so much pleasure when the sun rises before me.

Arriving at my office early in the morning, I often groan a bit as I leave my car — a combination of age and perhaps that last set at the gym. But, being in West Texas and having a full view of the eastern sky, my breath is often taken as I stand and my minor pains fade as I’m surprised by the sunrise that is unfolding.

Following yesterday’s magic moment (captured above), today’s display was a little plain. No clouds to the east. No special color. Just sunlight beginning to lighten the sky and brighten the earth beneath me. As I entered into the artificial light of the building, I suddenly realized the power of a new day and the certainty of a sunrise. I began to feel a great deal of gratitude that — whether I could see it or not, whether I fully appreciated it or not — this day was a gift.

For those of you whose sunrises seem hidden, may you feel peace and comfort knowing that the day is waiting for you. And though it may not bring dazzling panoramas and warmth to you immediately, this day is important. The sunrise may be plain or covered by clouds. But a day is coming when a glorious sunrise will be made just for you.


Day 2 – Special Edition

I hesitated to post the earlier entry, “Hallelujah!”, because I was hoping to snag a video from the church service from another team member. Several tried to connect me to theirs last night. But the file was too big and the bandwidth too small. So, after several days of frustration, I’m pleased to announce that I have video from church on Sunday.

These Rwandans are singing people. I hope that you enjoy this little slice of heaven on earth.

Day 0 – Blessings

The turmoil over canceled flights and rebooking confusion continued until fairly late last night. But now, as I sit in the Abilene airport waiting for my flight to Dallas, I feel somewhat confident that each one of us has a seat on a plane going somewhere that will eventually connect with the flight that will reunite us in Kigali. With that pleasant thought, I turn to the blessings we have enjoyed preparing and to those we are yet to receive.

We have been blessed.

  • With the vision and foresight of Betty Gilmore who conceived this opportunity and brought it to reality.
  • With the selection of great team members.
  • With team members from diverse backgrounds who have come together in a loving and caring group.
  • With opportunities to partner with ALARM and MITS — 2 organizations doing incredible things in East Africa.
  • With the opportunity to think through and plan conflict resolution trainings in cultures much different from our own.
  • With the interest of many friends, family members, and even a few strangers who wanted to be a part of this great peace mission.
  • With material gifts filling an abundance of duffle bags and headed to a refugee camp.
  • With health and healthy outlooks.
  • With the thousands of prayers from those who are sending us out.
  • With the grace of a loving God who has allowed us to contemplate joining in His work of peacemaking.

We will be blessed.

  • With moments of incredible insight into mankind — both its treasures and its travesties.
  • With new friendships that will enrich our lives.
  • With challenges that will cause us to think, to question, and to discern.
  • With a burning spirit to serve others and the energy to persevere.
  • With a greater understanding of who we are as individuals.
  • With a broader ability to dream and to hope and to aspire.
  • With a better view of how less can be more.
  • With a closer relationship with our team members.
  • With a glad homecoming to family and friends.
  • With an even deeper bond with our God.

Those are our blessings. Those are our hopes.

Thank you for joining us. We pray that you are blessed, too.