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Starbucks, London, and the Morrises

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Have you ever had so much in your head that you want to get out and then you just don’t know how? That’s where I am right now. I have a lot I think I want to say, and I sat down to start saying some if it. Then I looked at my coffee cup.

Happy accident: my London minion in the background.

And now, that’s all I can think about.

I bought this cup at my first Starbucks behind St. Paul’s Cathedral in 2005 on my first trip to London (or Europe for that matter) with my friends Jack and Lina Morris.

I was a sixth year teacher helping lead a group of students on a trip to London and Paris, appropriately titled “Tale of Two Cities.” It was one of the years when our school year ended in May so we were able to get an outstanding price. We did Paris first, then traveled the Chunnel over to London. The day I went into my first Starbucks we had toured St. Paul’s Cathedral. It was an inspiring and thoughtful time. The church is still used as a house of worship (as are most churches in Europe that tourists wish to see) so at one point during the tour we were asked to stop for a moment and recite the Lord’s Prayer or honor the worshipers with a moment of silence. I was walking through the church with Jack and Lina. We all stopped and recited the prayer and, honestly, I got chills. I felt God move during that time of recitation; strangers pausing together for this sacred breath.

At any rate, we finished our tour before it was time to meet our tour manager, and it was cold. So, we found the Starbucks. I didn’t even get coffee because I didn’t think I liked coffee then. I got a hot chocolate and bought the mug as a memento of not only my first trip over the big pond but also my first Starbucks.

Jack delights Peter.
Lina holds her answered prayer.

Lina was my mentor when I began teaching. Not only for my profession but just for the kind of person I want to grow up and become. She has been an unwavering example of Romans 12:12–joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. You see, in 2017 she circled me in prayer and asked God to bless us with a child in our arms by the end of 2020. And, you see, Jack–sweet, sweet Jack–has Alzheimer’s.

Taking Peter to meet them in January was one of the greatest blessings of my life. And my child, my sweet and precious Peter, was delighted by them. He smiled so big at them both with no hesitation.

He knows good people.

Do You Have Your Passport?

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CarolynI love to travel.  If I could find a way to do it full time, I probably would.  I love taking my students to Europe and watching them realize just how big the world is and then come to the conclusion that while we’re all unique, we are all alike as well.  People have dreams and hopes and fears and families and friends and insecurities and confidence and all the rest of it no matter what their first language is or where they live.

This love of traveling was sparked in me by my friend Carolyn.  I introduced you to her when I first wrote about my book club, Between the Covers.  She was an amazing woman.  She possessed class and dignity and compassion and humor and more knowledge about literature and teaching than I can ever hope to attain.  She took me to London and Paris in 2005 and opened up the world to me.

Several years ago we were going to go to Rome.  But she couldn’t find her passport.  She looked everywhere.  Carolyn considered having it replaced, but her health was declining, and she wasn’t sure if she’d really ever get to use it again anyway.  As it turns out, 2005 was her last trip across the pond.  The lost passport became somewhat of a joke–if we misplaced things we’d say “It’s with Carolyn’s passport.”Passport

However, Carolyn had the most important passport there is.  Carolyn knew our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  She was a godly woman who was an example not only to me, but also to everyone she was around.  She touched so many lives–in her family, in her friends, in her classroom, in her church, in her visits to the hospital and cancer center, in her nail salon, in restaurants.  She was steadfast in her faith.

Carolyn knew John 14:6: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

This morning Carolyn’s Passport was stamped by Jesus Himself as He welcomed her home.