Yellow Itinerary Sheets

My angel Mom who loved us so well. I miss her!

Certain memories bring healing and this one reminded me of the love of a dad and a mom, willing to listen to the pains of a not-so-young child at the age of 29. I thank my parents for teaching me what it means to face boldly family wounding as they modeled courage to listen to broken hearts. Their legacy of love has given me ability to face some of my mistakes as a parent. The story below happened 23 years ago and it began a journey of reconnection which I will forever be thankful for. My mom has been gone for 6 years and dad is 88 but I’ll always be grateful they took the time to listen to a hurting child.

It was a hot day in Temple City and the air-conditioning felt cool on my face even though I felt fire in my chest! Dad and mom were sitting in the fireplace room on the far side of the house. As I entered the carpeted room, my stomach felt knotted and wound up like a revved up toy car. The wooden paneled walls seem to be closing in on me as I stood awkwardly in the middle of room. “Mom and dad, I need to talk to you about something.” My mom looked up and smiled and said, “sure” as she put down her pen while my dad silently looked up from his book. The tension in the air was thick and the heaving of my chest seemed to pound through my body. “I have been angry at you both. I feel like you don’t really care about me”. I went into a long monologue describing how I felt hurt that they always chose their work over me..that I wasn’t important enough in their lives. I went on to tell them that I always felt second best…I recounted the lonely days and years of being separated from them. Going to high school and adjusting all alone in a foreign country that was supposed to be home. I related the fact that dad didn’t come to my high school, college or grad school graduation. “I never heard you say you were sad that we were separated and that we couldn’t be together. It was always, “sorry, we can’t be there”. I uttered these words with a boldness that seem to come from nowhere. “I wished you had chosen me instead of your work.” Mom wrung her tissue paper in her hands and looked down at the ground. I could tell that she was trying to make sense of what I had said. Quietly, she responded to my angry and forceful words.  “Ruth, we tried our best. We prayed and we believed that God was going to take care of you.” Mom’s eyes filled with tears and I could see the pleas in her eyes for me to understand.  “Well, that wasn’t good enough for me!” Hot angry tears rolled down and I had somehow found myself slumped to the floor, shoulders caving in. All the years of grief seemed to tumble down my cheeks. The deafening stillness stopped time and space as the three of us sat silent in that tiny room only to be broken by the clock ticking above the fireplace. I lifted up my head to see dad sitting frozen in his chair. His face seemed contorted with pain and his lips pressed tightly closed. Questions and doubts filled my head. “Should I have said nothing?” “They aren’t gonna understand me.” “Its just the same old thing.” After what seemed like hours, the soft voice of dad cut through the noise of my jumbled emotions. “I am sorry, Ruthie… I tried my best as a dad. I put God first and then family came after that.” That is how I see my life. I have lived like that all my life. Forgive me if I haven’t been the kind of dad you wanted. I am sorry that you feel hurt.” Dad’s words came out in broken pieces and they seemed to echo the broken places of my heart. “Well, it’s not good enough, dad!” I needed you and mom to be around. I needed you to show me that I was important to you.” Choking out these words, my heart squeezed out my unspoken desire that I never dared to utter. Suddenly, I felt mom’s hand on my back. Her gentle caressing strokes in cadence with my warm salty tears that trickled down. “We didn’t mean to make you feel like we didn’t care. We love you. We prayed for you. I cried everyday when you left. Your dad missed you and your brother terribly. But we are here now.” I let my mom and dad’s word sink in. “But, I never knew how they felt. I thought it didn’t matter to them that we weren’t together as a family anymore.”  In that moment, an image of my father as a little boy came to me. Dad was a refugee. He didn’t have a family. He didn’t know any better. He just did what he knew how to do. Mom was a diplomat’s kid…had servants who took care of her. With that sudden realization, the anger and hurt melted into a wave of compassion. It was as if God said, “show them how to do this, Ruth. They don’t know how.”  With a deep breath, I steadied myself and spoke out in a clear voice. “Well, I want to change how we are going to do this now.” As I looked at dad, his soft brown eyes invited me to continue on. “I don’t want to be second on your itinerary. When you come to visit, I don’t want my house to be your hotel room.” You aren’t allowed to go speak at 4 meetings and spend just one meal with us. I want you to make time for me and M…we aren’t your afterthoughts.”  Mom and Dad calmly listened with their faces turned toward me. As I laid out my hopes and dreams for our future interactions, the openness of their hearts gave me courage to continue on. Dad reached into his brown briefcase and pulled out his familiar yellow typed itinerary sheets. “Let’s see what we can move around this next week.” As dad read off his meetings and ideas on how to shuffle them to make more room for “us”, mom came in from the kitchen with glasses of ice cold lemonade. 

My hero, my dad

Eyes on the Shore

This past week we were given news that schools are completely going online and that the numbers of those sick with Covid-19 are increasing where I live. Skyrocking numbers more accurately! Since March 13, 2020, some form of sheltering in has been in place. What has been happening is unsettling and I find myself bewildered by what is going on in our country and in the world. As I was thinking about the uncertainty that is ahead for many, I liken it to waves that are uncontrollable and unexpected. 

When I stand in the ocean, I sometimes don’t know how strong a wave can be. I also cannot anticipate where it would break. And sometimes, it is very unnerving to even be pulled under by the waves. Yet at the same time, the good Lord reminded me that he is The Calmer of waves in life events. Jesus has the ability to also pull us out of the waves and quiet the turbulent surges that is also internally within us. Whether it is worry, anxiety or stress, Jesus has the power to pull us into a space of peace and calm. 

While in the relentless ocean of change and unknown, the Lord also gave me a picture of a swimmer who is tossed around in the sea. Instead of floundering, she can fix her eyes on the direction of the shore where safety is promised. Jesus is that shore for me. When I focus on Him, I know where safety is. I can take captive of every thought that is causing havoc in my mind and focus on Jesus, the one who promises to give us abundant life in the form of courage, peace and faith.

The waves may not be lessening in the days to come but I have to keep my eyes on the shore. It is my only way to keep from drowning.

Sunset Cliffs, California

Finding A Long Lost Friend

What do you do when you finally find the long lost book that you read as an eleven year old?

As an eleven year old, I entered a new school once again. I had already lived in three different countries and attended four different schools in three different languages. One thing that was however constant in my life was my family’s love. Another lifesaver was books. My mother and father both loved to read. We didn’t have much in material goods while I was growing up but we had books! Mom frequently scoured used book stores and the library card was our credit card. No matter where we travelled, the precious cargo of books went with us. Reading was our sanctuary.

Entering fifth grade where I was the foreigner who had the funny accent and didn’t know what “a tuckshop” was, books became my escape route. After a long day of school, navigating on public buses, and finally returning home sweaty and hot, I would sit and read in my air-conditoned bedroom. When it was time to sleep, I would secure a torch under the covers so I could stealthily read into the night. Mom soon figured out I did that so she would come into my room and stand over my bed until I dutifully switched off my light! I even started hiding in the bathroom under the pretense of having to go pee just to keep on reading.

Penny’s Way, a book by Mary Kathleen Harris was one of my midnight companions. This book resonated with me as I tried to assimilate into a new school and culture. Penny had to attend a new school, lost all her old friends and wasn’t doing too well in her studies. Reading this little Puffin paperback as a pre-teen made me feel much better. This kid, Penny, she understood me. I felt like her. Sometimes lost, often anxious and struggling to cope with a new situation.

When I was sixteen, I left home to move to Boston to live with my aunt and 80-year old grandmother. I packed a suitcase and a box of books. Penny’s Way didn’t follow me across the ocean. I only had limited space. James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small and my dog-eared Little Women won a place in my apple box.

When I turned 44, I found myself teaching middle school in an international school in yet my fourth country of residence. With many TCKs (Third Culture Kids) attending the school, the topic of transitions was a regular conversational piece. One day, while I was talking to my 6th graders, I brought up the topic of how books help to ground us. My mind suddenly recalled Penny’s Way. After a busy day of teaching, I pedalled home and went online. Logging onto my VPN account and then to Amazon.co.uk, I was amazed to find this 1963 classic for sale for £15 but shipping would cost me another £25.99. Nope. That would be more than 240 dollars in the local currency. Too much money and who knew if it would ever arrive since mail was spotty where my family lived. But, I had found my childhood book. That reality somehow exhilarated me.

As the years passed, I would sometimes check websites to see if Penny’s Way was still available. But, I never felt comfortable in spending money to purchase an out of print book that would take weeks or even months to arrive.

At age 50 something, I now find myself sitting in my apartment in my passport country engaging once again in my sanctuary activity. As the pandemic continues to rage through the earth, reading brings me comfort. I look for new books to read and suddenly Penny’s Way comes to mind. With determination, I get out my laptop and do a quick search. Amazon.co.uk has no record of the book. I sigh but don’t give up. After some more searching, I finally find it! Penny’s Way is still for sale through a British independent bookseller for 7.03£ and believe it or not, there are no shipping charges!

So what does a middle age person do after forty-one years of not reading a certain book? I click that “place in shopping cart” button and smile!

Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.” – Anna Quindlen

Family stash of books that keep us going during this Shelter-At-Home season

When all else fails…you just gotta LOL!

I started taking online German language classes seriously a little over a year ago. Since I work a regular job and have a family to take care of, I only take about 2-3 classes a week averaging maybe 8 classes a month. After 107 hours of lessons, I have great respect for my German teachers. 99% of my instructors are hardworking, creative, on task and patient. They deal with internet glitches, students who forget to turn on their mics while answering, students who are doing other things besides attending class (such as trying to catch an S-Bahn while repeating the umlaut ä as in der Käse) all with great professionalism. Besides keeping pace with the content in the lesson, monitoring student progress, and speaking concisely and loudly, they have to be tech savvy. Using highlighters, sharing their screens, and writing in the chat box are all skills required for effective online teaching.

I homeschooled my older child for 8 years and my younger for 3 years, and had been a teacher for 20 years both in K-12 as well as college education before changing professions. I am familiar with how much work a teacher has to put in, in order to keep his or her students interested in the lesson being taught. As an older student learning a new language, I really admire online teachers. Unlike in-classroom language instructors, online teachers don’t always have the luxury of seeing their students’ faces and are never sure what their students are really doing besides participating in their class. Not only do they deal with atrocious pronunciation and poorly constructed grammatical sentences, but they also have to cope with unstable WiFi.

In the history making period of the Coronavirus pandemic, teachers have become circus jugglers with nerves of steel. Online teaching is difficult enough; it is even more so with children in tow. The spring of 2020 will forever be immortalized as the time where schools closed, and countless people WFH. Some online teachers have been left to fend for themselves as they educate their students AND care for and homeschool their own children.

Just imagine, teacher Svenja going over the German intricacies of the Wechselpräpositionen, attempting to explain it to 5 students on how the Accusative form is used this way while the Dativ is used in another situation. Add a 3 year-old child attempting to climb on her lap while Svenja patiently tries to shoo the child away. Then, factor in loud giggling and singing on top of one’s lungs as my poor teacher tries to keep her students on task while alternatively muting herself to plead with her little girl to take her singing to the other room. With hand gestures and embarrassed grimaces, my valiant instructor keeps up with the pace of our lesson all the while trying to fend off a little girl who just wants her mommy’s attention. As the lesson comes to a close, we (the students) are treated to a dance performance by the little one who prances and laughs behind the seat of her mom occasionally belting out a big, “ha, ha, ha”. Svenja apologizes profusely but is quickly consoled by laughter and giggles from us students. We get it! These are hard times. We can only do what we can and not what we can’t. So, when all else fails and you can’t win, what can a teacher do? You just have to join in the fun and laugh out loud!

Dedicated to all those wonderful human beings out there who are both enthusiastic educators and longsuffering parents. You will always be a hero in my book!

Watch this for fun: Professor Robert Kelly being interrupted by his children as he was being interviewed by the BBC in 2017
https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-39232538/bbc-dad-interview-with-robert-kelly-interrupted-by-children-live-on-air

The Bliss of Being Unaware

I lived through SARS. At that time, my family and I lived in a outback town in China that was surrounded by vegetable fields and rice paddies. Our internet was slow and streaming a movie was unthinkable. Google and Facebook were things of dreams. CNN was blocked and most English news websites would just hang in no-man’s land and never load. The hospital right next to our apartment complex took care of SARS patients. That year, many of our fellow expats in our province were told by their agencies and companies to return to their passport countries. Our close foreign friends were upset that they were not allowed to stay in-country and stand in solidarity with the local people they loved and served with. We stayed in our rapeseed fields town with our little daughter. The streets were unusually empty and at the beginning, many people hoarded bags of rice, oil and staples for peace of mind. Many people died from SARS that year and we knew of doctor friends who served on the front lines caring for very sick people. Our lives were quite simple back then. We carried out some of our poverty alleviation work, did our daily house chores, homeschooled our child and read many books and stayed up many-a-night playing Settlers of Catan. Living next to a hospital that treated SARS patients sometimes made me a little anxious. My husband and our team leader still continued their trek into the villages to work with the farmers and their families. Every time they returned home, a thorough process of cleaning took place. Take off shoes and rinse in bleach bath, shed off socks, shirt and all clothing after entering the apartment door and jump into the shower for a quick soapy rinse to wash off any germs or viruses. We tried to stay indoors as much as possible and did not venture out into public spaces that may present the problem of crowds. A slightly quarantined life proved to bring us some more margin in life. The interruption of our previous busy life was a welcome change. I never felt too stressed or burdened. Maybe just sometimes a little stir crazy from being stuck in one place.

Seventeen years have passed and now I am once again “sequestered” at home because of another virus known as the Covid-19. At my fingertips, I can get the latest news on the Coronavirus from NPR (National Public Radio), the BBC, CNN and DW (Deutsch Welle). I can find Youtube videos on how to wash your hands properly, read countless articles on what it means to “flatten the curve”. Instagram and Facebook are filled with tutorials on mask making, bread making, and music making. If I googled any subject related to Coronavirus help, I would get countless advice, some scientific, others unbelievably silly. My friends and I also text back and forth with the latest news on the rising numbers of Coronavirus patients in our county or what website has the most creative resources to teach our kids cooking.

With modern technology, a free-flow of information 24 hours a day, one can get caught up with trying to “help” oneself cope. I found myself become victim of too much information. The more I read, the more anxious I became. The more access I had of the internet and its ubiquitous news, op-eds, and advice, the more I tried to problem solve. And I found myself ill at ease. Definitely not the same state of mind and heart that was evident during the SARS crisis.

More access to information in the year 2020 has brought more anxiety and need for control and problem solve. Less information in 2003 in reality led me to a place of rest and peace. After all, what could our little family do but just live life one day at a time and trust that God was still sovereign. As I spend another week “safer at home” and face the reality that this week may be the worst yet in the number of deaths from the Covid-19, I have come to realize that ignorance is sometimes truly bliss. Knowledge is a blessing but it can also be a curse. It doesn’t lend itself too well in learning to have faith either.

The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. Hebrews 11:1 (The Message)

For the Love of Brot und Musik

Excursions for essential items…that is what we are allowed to do now. No walks in the parks, no loitering outside. This “forced” rest makes one ponder on what really matters. It has made me discern what constitutes necessary excursions out of my house. As I think about this question of what really matters, the first thing that comes to mind may be the obvious deep connections I need with family, close friends, and my faith in God. Other times, what really matters is just plain and simple: some good German bread and a child’s need to play music.

Every week, I make a 10-minute trek to pick up my favorite Black Forest bread at a quaint little cafe & bakery. Since the lockdown during this Covid-19 crisis, I have been very careful to order first and pick up really quickly. I stand 10 feet away from the front door of the bakery, wait for the one customer to exit (they only allow 2 at a time) and then make my order speaking loudly to the bakery personnel that I want my bread sliced and bagged. In the last two weeks, there have been little but obvious changes made to the store: no need anymore to get a ticket out of the little red dispensing machine, workers putting a table near the cash register so there is a natural divide between customer and staffer. Today, the bakery personnel were all wearing legit masks and huge square plexiglass barriers hung from the ceiling to shield the worker from the customer. As my friendly baker bagged my bread I inquired, “You all doing ok?” “We’re ok!” I hear a tinge of weariness in her answer. And I know that this shelter at home brings a certain amount of stress to people. “I appreciate you all and my weekly Black Forest bread trek is a lifesaver. Thank you!” I take my leave with those words and solemnly walk out reflecting how a loaf of bread is what makes my day now. And the sweet bakery workers diligently make sure that someone like me gets what brings me life.

Next stop is to a ten year old little friend’s home. His mom is leaving his violin out on the porch so I can tune it for him. Music is another gift in this season. My daughter’s orchestra has gone on Zoom to do coaching online. Gustavo Dudamel and KUSC’s Brian Lauritzen are hosting “At Home With Gustavo” several times a week. I find the violin case at the front porch and take out my handy dandy tuner app. As I tune the 1/2 size violin, I make small talk with my friends, cautioning them to talk to me through the glass pane and not open the sliding window. For the sake of music, and for a chance for a little boy to keep learning the violin, tuning this instrument is of utmost importance. I don’t want him to lose out playing music. Not even the Coronavirus can stop us from doing things that bring beauty into life. I drive away listening to Hilary Hahn playing Bach’s Sonata in G minor.

And I think I will keep making this journey since Schwarzwälder Brot und Musik are lifelines for me!

The Lion

As a child, I was introduced to Aslan, the Great Lion in C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia. Lewis explained that Aslan is what the second person of the Trinity (God the Son) might have been like had he been incarnated in a magical world of talking animals and living trees. I wrote this poem one rainy day 10 years ago when I was feeling especially burdened. While thinking about the turn of events in April 2020, I was reminded of the Great Lion and how leaning on him brings so much comfort and security in certain times. I dug this little poem out and will immortalize it here in cyberspace.
The warm embrace of the Lion
Heals my wounds of weariness 
As I lay my head
On your tender breast
My cares and burdens 
Slowly dissipate

You who sang the earth into existence
You who roar with mighty power
Still have a place in your bosom
For a weary soul like me

You who are acquainted with 
Life's ebbs and flows
Know the deep inklings 
Of my tired soul
And you say, my friend
Come lay on me
For my bosom is tender and soft
Safe for the laying of the head

So I lay down on you
The Great One
And the memories 
Of your paw prints
Float through 
The recesses of my heart
Through the thick 
Forests of doubt
Through the torrent 
Rivers of fear
Through the hill tops of hope
You have led me through

What state my condition lies
It is never new to you
For you have walked me 
Through each landscape
Through vale, valley, and hill

So, dear Lion
I lay down just a little longer
With the knowing in my heart
That this place 
At your bosom is
Never distant, never foreign
Always welcoming

When I rise up
To face each new sun
Though its beam 
May sometimes be blinding
I can and will stand up
For I know the Lion is 
Right beside me

Shadowing Psalm 44

The Old Testament singers and poets wrote songs about how they felt. Read Psalm 44 and I was compelled to write my own lament: God of my grandfather, my father and mother, God of Abraham, Esther, Paul, Luke, I call out to you. You who promised to hold all things together, I come to you for help. I cry out about my despair of the numbers of dying people around the world afflicted by this terrible virus. God, why can you not stop this disease in its tracks? You, who have the power to resurrect, can you do something to stop this endless cycle of death and disease? You see the destruction, the chaos and the anxiety…Lord, please answer your people, answer our cries for I feel helpless and worried. Our schools are closed, our children’s lives are disrupted and people are dying. Trapped in my home, I feel frustrated, tired and angry at times. I cannot escape from the feeling of being at a loss of what to say to people who are hurting, who are suffering. All I hear is more bad news each day. Lord, can you change the news of the day to be one of hope, one of breakthrough? Can you please rise up and stop this madness? You have shown up before so can you please come and show up now? I don’t know how long I have to wait for you! I have trusted you all my life. I have put my confidence in you since my youth. You have been my hope and joy. I remember all the dark times you have showed up for me. You carried me through the valley of the shadow of death; you allowed me to live to this day. I thank you for always being trustworthy and also gracious to me. In my despair, you lift my head and do not allow me to stay in the place of pity and desolation.

I look to you as the watchman waits for the dawning of the day. I proclaim your hope as the sun arises. You, Oh Lord, you are my Light and my Salvation! Whom shall I fear? Shall disease, sickness, death set me apart from your love? No, nothing can touch me for I am your child and you are my Father. I give thanks to You for giving me breath to breathe and life to live. Help me Lord, to cling onto you for my every need. Thank you that in your reckless love for me and for the world, you will yet redeem this time so I wait patiently for you, oh Lord.

Out from the Covers

Literary Mentors At Their Best

If I die…I’ll let you weep, mom. But, I’m gonna live on.”-Anakin

Following the “safer at home” order in California, excursions outside have consisted of essential grocery runs for Trader Joes‘ Orange Juice with extra pulp and the very much coveted Chocolate Brooklyn Babka bread. Once in a while, my daughters and I traverse outside our home at 10pm for a stroll. The streets are usually eerily silent void of happy night time snackers and after dinner coffee drinkers. We live in the city center of a town that has a famous outdoor shopping complete with a gold statued waterfall. Even The Spirit of American Youth Rising from the Waves has become a victim of the Covid-19 with no spectators admiring its regal pose. While walking block by block, I mentioned to my younger kid that I felt sad about the deaths of so many people. Explaining that we live in a time of history that is filled with uncertainty, we humans have had to come face to face with how frail and finite we really are. I go on to tell her that one day she may tell her own kids about the famous event in 2020 where the world stopped in its tracks. My 15-year old begins to tell me that this time is not actually very different from many other bleak periods of history like the Black Plague, World War II, and 9/11. My astute daughter goes into a monologue of all the reasons I shouldn’t be surprised that this has happened. I pipe in with the comment that I was afraid the virus would make people I care sick or worse, die. I would be very sad and devastated if that happened. 

In a very matter-of-fact tone, I hear this reply: “If I die…I’ll let you weep, mom. But I won’t be gone. Only my mortal body might leave but I’m gonna live on. My dying is not the end, mom. I’ll be in heaven. It will be so much better.” Anakin continues on by saying that she understands that I wished we weren’t living in such a time like this by quoting a line from The Lord of The Rings when Frodo lamented about dark times in Middle Earth: “I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of The Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien)

As we continued walking towards home, while trying to ponder on the words of the great Gandalf, Anakin offers me yet another nugget and quotes Cecil Gershwin Palmer’s prose, “The past is gone, and cannot harm you anymore. And while the future is fast coming for you, it always flinches first and settles in as the gentle present.” (Can be found in podcast and book, Welcome To Nightvale-Joseph Fink).

As we enter our small ice-box of an apartment, I marvel at the wisdom of a child and thank the Good Lord that I taught this child to read at four years old. It has paid off. Her literary mentors come alive to teach an adult a few lessons on perspective.

Pick a sword, any sword!

On a recent Tuesday, I had a conversation with my fifteen year old about the lies we believe about ourselves. Sometimes, we have false narratives that run like a broken record in our hearts and minds. This record can be damaging to our self esteem and our self identity. I know for a fact that my Creator God created us to have worth. We are deeply loved by Him. And I know that it is important for me to block out the deceptive voices from the enemy that say, “I am all alone,” “No one understands me,” and “My voice doesn’t matter.” But, sometimes these lies knock me down just as the phrases “I’m a failure,” and “I am not good enough,” harass my child. During these times when false narratives are loud and deafening, we have to listen for the truth from our Heavenly Father. He proclaims that “we are his beloved children” and we are “way good enough”.

As I pondered the heart processes that I go through to fight the lies I believe in, I received a text on the next day from a dear friend who is a mom to two young little boys, ages 4 and almost 2. She shared how the four-year old (who we will call Little L), had been struggling with the belief that he was not special. He believed that everyone else was special, but he was not. This wise mom came up with this game that was quite ingenious. Every lie from satan is like a snake. And this snake needs to be killed! And my four year old little friend proceeds to go around the house chopping off the heads of all these snakes. “Whack!” “Hit!” “Kill them suckers!” I could picture little L swinging his plastic sword around! LOL!

A few hours after my chat with the four year old’s mom, while meeting with a close friend for prayer, I was given a picture from the Lord. In it, I see warrior Jesus unveiling a table filled with glittering swords…the type of swords one sees in Tolkien’s Lord of The Rings– ones with gilded handles, embossed emblems, sharp, long, serrated, wide-an array to choose from. As I step forward to the table, I hear the Lord say, “Pick a sword, any sword!” As the image faded and I opened my eyes, I am again reminded that I am not helpless against the lies thrown at me, and my kid is not either. In fact, my family, my friends, my fellow warriors of the Lord, including the four-year old all wield swords from Heaven. So, lies, you come our way and we will chop you off!