Blue Thread Life

Pros, Cons, and Solutions for Working Remotely

When I walked into my office—a streetside coffee shop called Brewed Awakenings—I thought something was on fire. Smoke billowed from a little toaster oven in the corner. But none of the staff looked concerned, and guests sipped their morning brew in peace. Turns out, the owner was set on roasting his own beans, so he did what you do in a developing country: He improvised. He turned a little chicken rotisserie oven into a coffee roaster by adding a perforated drum where the chicken should be, and by bolting a floodlight to the cover to intensify the heat and thus cut the roasting time in half. Step aside, MacGyver!  If…
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Abandon Ship!

Today was our last day of diving off Bunaken. The weather was questionable when we left, but the skipper assured us it's changing for the better, that the weather forecast for the day was only light rain. Connie—my friend visiting from the US—decided not to go diving today due to a headache, and Marion—my colleague—thought she'd just snorkel around this area today, once the weather cleared up. Not wanting to miss out on a final dive of Bunaken Marine Park, I joined a dive party of two guys from India and their friend from Jakarta. The hour-long trip over to the island wasn't too bad. We dived—possibly my best dive…
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A Change in Perspective

I felt, the other day, what it’s like to fly. I ran off the edge of a mountain and soared, feeling the cold mountain wind directly on my face. After about five minutes, I landed in a tea plantation. Crash-landed, actually. But it didn’t hurt. I just laughed and laughed. (more…)
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Serious Play Case Study

Lize Albertyn-du Toit: Farmer and Small Business Owner When you walk into Lize’s farmhouse, you immediately feel at home. Perhaps it’s the welcoming sound of footsteps on the wooden floors. Maybe it’s the rays of sunlight breaking through the little shutters in the solid wooden doors. It could be the laughter of friends busy in the kitchen, a room filled with things that say, “Life’s been lived here.” Old-school kitchenware, not for the show, but for use. Everything and everyone—including the farmer and his wife—says, “Make yourself at home. Stay a while.” I had planned to visit for a day. I stayed a fortnight. (more…)
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Seeing with the Heart

"Here is my secret. It is very simple: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye." ~ Antoine de Saint Exupéry, The Little Prince Rarely do I compare. I've seen too much in life to covet what others have/do/are. Instead, when I do compare, it is with pure gratitude in my heart for the blessing of a nice home, knowing that some of my friends around the world live in mud huts with wooden shutters, entire families crammed into small spaces. (more…)
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Psalm 84

I've been meditating on some Psalms recently, and remembered re-writing Ps. 84 into my own words when I lived in Kenya. God, what joy to live in your presence, in fact, to even have You live within me. How I long to have more of You, LORD, to live in a way that my life is consumed with pleasing You and You alone. (more…)
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This Time, I Really Did Get Stuck

This afternoon, the team and I were out and about. First, we wanted to go and drop off some food with a family in the greater neighborhood. During debriefing one evening, Adriel mentioned how strange it is to know we get such good food (and so much of it) while there are neighbors all around who don't have much. From that came the thought of fasting one meal and taking the food to neighbors. God laid two families on my heart: (more…)
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1 Corinthians 13

This is true of me: I don’t typically make New Year’s resolutions. Instead, I try and live by a motto of resolving what I want to accomplish on a particular day, a specific week, or during a particular season. It is, however, that time of year when we reflect on the blessings of the past year, and we look with anticipation at the year ahead. And so, as you look ahead at this New Year, I’d like to challenge you to seek to live in such a way this year that every component of life—every relationship, every action, and every thought—is connected to and flows from the lifeline of a…
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Lessons Learned from my Parents

On this day in 1963, in Hendrina, South Africa, my mom and dad pledged to love one another. Fifty years later, they're still keeping that promise, and they've said many, many a time that over the years, their love for one another has just grown deeper. Here are a few things I learned from my parents: (more…)
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Thoughts on “Being There”

Today, my thoughts are vacillating between life and death: the joy of life and the utter sorrow of death. Especially death of an infant. I received news that the 4-month-old nephew of a dear friend just passed away. I don't know the mom and dad. But my heart aches for them. And it aches for my friend and her parents. How on earth does one deal with the death of an infant? (more…)
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