This season of life is a time of transition for many of us as the school year ends, as life opens back up, as new opportunities become available, and as many people relocate. Any transition involves ending one chapter well in order to step into a new beginning.

To encourage means to make strong, to hearten, to give courage and hope to someone. Who in your life needs courage and hope today?

The upheaval of this past year has provided the opportunity to establish new norms and to think outside the box in every aspect of life, especially professionally.

Spring is my least favorite season of the year. Why? It’s allergy season, the season of sneezing and itchy eyes and generally not feeling great. This was true in Colorado; it’s worse in Jordan, where I’ve discovered that I’m allergic to olive pollen.

Many Americans are troubled by the state of the nation. It is an unusual feeling.

“Where can I make a phone call?” I asked my roommate who had lived in Casablanca for a year longer than I had. “There are no pay phones here,” she replied. Hmmm, I thought. Many people in the city don’t have the money for cell phones. How do they make calls?

Are you like me, just waiting for the world to open up so you can travel again? Can you hardly wait to buy that next airline ticket to take you overseas? I really get that. I’m right there with you. In the meantime, I’m learning to evaluate how I view the cultures of the places that I long to visit and to become better prepared to fully enjoy those cultures.

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2020 was a year of reminders for many of us, including the fragility of humanity, the necessity of community, and the unpredictability of life. Entering into 2021, I've been thinking about how to put into practice what I learned in 2020.

In the midst of this challenging year, I had a great Thanksgiving. Our IDEAS community here in Jordan gathered for dinner, as we usually do. The difference this year? 

What is gratitude? Gratitude is an attitude of thankfulness and a desire to show appreciation. It's showing grace or kindness in response to receiving it. It's slowing down to observe, to be thoughtful, and to express thanks.