Podcast Episode 2: Ten things for leading a balanced life overseas

This is the second episode of THE BOSNIA PROJECT podcast. This one came out pretty well, and I hope you enjoy it — it is a rehash of an old blog post, with a few new comments added by me. You can read the old list here, or just listen to this episode via your phone or however you listen to podcasts.

The music in this podcast is mostly from former-Yugoslavia artists. If you’d like to check them out, here is a list:

 

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Podcast transcript

Hi I’m Jonathan, and this is The Bosnia Project podcast. The Bosnia Project is the chronicle of my life as a world traveler youth worker father and husband. Today is episode two, and we are going to share 10 ideas that help give us a balanced life, and they work if you live overseas or in your home country.

The Bosnia Project is the story of how I came to live and work overseas in a country called Bosnia and Herzegovina. It’s my blog, the Bosnia Project dot com, this podcast, and our Facebook community, and email updates we send out to our supporters and followers.

“The Bosnia Project” is at least two things. The first is obvious — it’s a project. This life in Bosnia is a project that takes up all my time and talents. But then the second thing is the thing that is produced – the product is me. So The Bosnia Project a process and a product, all wrapped up into one thing, and this podcast, the blog, and everything else is a way to catch all that work, write it down, record it and preserve it, so that it can be of use to someone. This is the Bosnia Project, and it will continue for a good while longer.

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The big idea in the last episode was that belonging changes everything. Belonging is often the key that opens the door to meaningful experiences and lasting memories. If you want to have any kind of influence on someone, you need to try and find some way to invite them into your life. But when you do, you have to be ready – they might influence you just as much as you influence them.

It is also helpful to see just how much we are influenced ourselves by the things two which we belong. We belong to families, and they influence us, forever. We belong to churches, schools, organisations, companies, and they influence us immeasurably.

If you want to change anything about yourself – if you want to experience meaningful progress – you should look for a group of people who are going to help you change in the way you want. If you want to lose weight, if you want to gain a new skill, if you want to become a better parent – it’s always best to find a few people who also want that thing, and go in that direction together. You’ll get encouragement, you’ll get motivation, and you’ll get that sense of belonging that will help you leave your old habits behind and take up new ones that you want.

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Today I am going to share 10 things that I do to try to lead a balanced life overseas. The thing about this is, as you listen to this list, you gain new perspective about living in the United States, or wherever you happen to live. Because really, these are things that would be beneficial to do wherever you happen to live.

And this list can also be found on my blog; a link is in the description to this podcast, and the blog has some different remarks about each thing from what I’ll be saying here.

Cut the grass
When I came to Mostar, the city where we now live, I had not had a yard or garden in my whole time living in BiH. When we moved to Mostar 3 years ago, we had accumulated three kids, a dog, and a few hobbies — we were looking for a house. No more apartments in buildings in the centres of cities — we decided that we would look for a proper house with a little yard around it.

When we moved into our house I really devoted myself to my work all the time, because my idea was that I came to Bosnia primarily to work. But I discovered that I did not like living in a house that looked uncared for. This was a dilemma — I paid money to get this big house so that we would have lots of room for my family and three kids and a dog, but I didn’t like living there, because the yard wasn’t a great thing to look at, and I was always telling myself I didn’t have time to take care of it, because I needed to work.

Eventually, I had to decide that I needed to invest the necessary time to make the house and the yard look presentable, in order to make me happier about my home. It meant taking some time off to build a playhouse in the yard. It meant spending money on a lawn mower and planting grass in the yard. But it’s worth it, because it gives me a sense of a more full life and a life outside of my work, which is a very important thing, no matter what you do.

Learn to fix things yourself
Over the years, plenty of things have broken in our houses, and we’ve been in need of a handyman plenty of times. Don’t misunderstand me — there is nothing wrong with calling a handyman. However, I have been disappointed so many times that I decided I was better off just buying some tools and learning to fix a few things on my own. And in the end, I think I’m a better person for it — I ended up gaining good skills and maybe (maybe not) saving a few bucks in the process.

Make things with your hands for your family
This is my thing now — I developed a hobby of woodworking, making furniture and other things out of wood for my friends and family. It “cuts against the grain” as they say — because I have discovered that people are surprised by this. It is a very practical skill that I can nurture over time, and it often surprises people that someone in my line of work knows how to build things. But just like cutting the grass, it does enrich your life in many ways, and it gives you a life outside of work.

Ride a bike or walk to work
Many who move overseas find that it is suddenly possible, in their new surroundings, to eschew driving a car, at least for the daily commute to and from work. I took up commuting by bike last year, but in years past I had always walked. Many joke that it’s part of the so-called American weight-loss plan that American expats commonly take up when they move overseas: cut out fast food (because it doesn’t exist), walk everywhere (because you often have to), immediately lose x-number of pounds 😉

Participate in sports
I still haven’t figured this one out. But it’s a good habit. And it also is a way to lose weight.in the end, the relationships forged may be the biggest positive outcome of spending a couple hours playing a game.

Find community activities for your children
This can be a difficult one. My son isn’t interested in sports, but many young children are, and it is something that will enrich your life and their lives if you can find something that they truly enjoy and that fits with your family’s schedule.

Go on dates with your wife
This is one that you can read about in any book on marriage — one of the secrets to a happy marriage is spending time together, and one good way to do that is to plan it out like a date. Get a sitter, make a reservation, plan on an activity, and make a night of it. Make special time to spend with the person that you love.

This is one of those things that, again, helps someone have a life outside of just their work, and is really important for achieving meaningful success anywhere you are. Just like when Jesus said, what good is it if a man gains the whole world but loses his soul, what good is success in the workplace if your marriage isn’t strong and healthy? Your marriage is like your soul, and your work at the end of the day, while it’s meaningful, needs to be just your work. It can’t compete with your family.

Become a connoisseur of local attractions, restaurants, and cafes.
This is something I have yet to do well, but I’m trying. One of the places that we have in Mostar is the American Corner, which is an interesting place. The US government has these American Corners that they’ve opened in cities around the world that promote things like studying in the US, scholarships for students, work programs, education, and other things. These places usually have lots of English books and a space where you can come and quietly read or work on your computer, and then they often have events where they invite speakers from the US Embassy. This has been a great place for my son to start going and play with the LEGO robotics set that they have, check out books, and have fun.

Mostar has a lot of history as well — the old town is internationally recognised as what’s called a “UNESCO world heritage” sight, which means it’s been historically preserved from medieval times and it’s a very important part of our world’s cultural heritage. There are many great Bosnian cultural restaurants and buildings, but there are also lots of great modern attractions too, and it shows a certain level of personal investment if you know about those things and try to stay up to date on the events of the town where you live.

Keep up with local cultural events.
This is related to the previous point, but implies an ongoing habit of keeping abreast of the events in one’s town or city. If there is a festival or concert in town, chances are it would also be a good opportunity for a date.

This has been nine things so far, and the tenth thing I will leave for you to see on my website. So thank you for listening all the way through but there is one more important habit that I think is really crucial to living a healthy and fulfilling life, whether you’re overseas or living in your home culture or wherever you happen to be. You can find it in the blog post that I’ve linked to in this podcast’s description. So go over there, take a look at the post, and at the bottom is a tenth thing that will put the finishing touch on this list.

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The big idea from podcast 1 is that belonging can change everything. And the big idea here is that when we have a place and a community outside of our work where we belong to, it can give people purpose. When it’s taken away — when you begin to make your life all about just your work, no matter how important that work is — life becomes very hard. These are some things that are not gospel, but they are some good things to keep in mind if you feel that life has become dry and difficult, and they are things that help me stay balanced while living overseas.

This has been the Bosnia Project podcast. You can follow the podcast at thebosniaproject.com, on Facebook, and via email. Thanks for listening. In a couple of weeks we’ll have another episode where we’ll talk more about the origin of the Bosnia Project and how living overseas brings experiences you’ll never forget.

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Give to those in need and become the one in need

I will say to those called ‘Not my people,’ ‘You are my people’…

I can still remember the day when my good friend sat down with me in a Starbucks in Atlanta and said, “I want you to come back to Bosnia with me.” He was going there to work with the organization that I currently work for, and he was overtly recruiting me to with him. I had lived in Bosnia for a short time right after college, a period during which many surely thought I was sowing my wild oats. I’d get the travel bug out of my system soon and come back and settle down.

But as soon as I heard “come back to Bosnia”, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I felt a burning desire to go back and help build something meaningful. We mulled the decision over for about a year, but my wife and I eventually decided to go.

Learning a new world

The U.S. can be very different from the rest of the world. Living in Eastern Europe has been an adventure in adjusting to new cultural norms. But somewhere in the process of acquiring a new language and learning new customs, people tend to change. We’ll always be foreigners, but we’re no longer the same people that left the U.S. in 2010.

Yes, there are new habits and tastes that have developed, but most important is the new awareness that has resulted from our time overseas — awareness of ourselves that we would not have had, had we stayed home.

I’ve learned how to survive — quite well — without all the creature comforts available back home. My children speak a different language fluently. speak a different language. I’ve learned organizational skills I never would have learned had I stayed in my old job. And the young people I have worked with have given me more than I’ve ever given them.

The last shall be first.

In this upside-down world in which we live, I think the principle arises that might not have been as visible before. When one ventures out to help others, often the giver benefits more than the receiver — but in ways that were unanticipated before. The one who helps might gather up clothes to donate to the needy, but in that process they gain an understanding of the things that people truly need. Or, they gain lifelong friends in the process of teaching an English class. Building a staircase might serve a temporal need, but the knowledge and skills gained in the process are valuable for a lifetime.

In the end, the givers become the receivers, the first become last, and those who give help discover just how needy they are.

Racism is the killer of the will. Be willing.

America has had a tough week. Never mind that MLK was an American. Never mind that we went from segregated schools and “colored” bathrooms in the 1950s to electing an African-American President roughly 2 generations later. Charlottesville is where we are now. And where we are now doesn’t look very good.

The enemies of the will are walking about.

The will: it’s a posture, an attitude, a way of living. A willing person takes life as it comes and doesn’t keep count of what they deserve, or whether they’ve gotten a fair shake. A willing person looks at the hand they’ve been dealt and fights tooth and nail to turn it into a winning hand because they know the alternative is not acceptable. People are counting on them. Life is precious. And every minute they spend being un-willing is a minute not truly living.

So what does it mean to be un-willing?

Bitterness.

Bitterness is that ultimate killer of the will. Bitterness says, “I’ve got a bargaining chip in the game of one-upmanship, and the only way it’ll be taken from me is if it’s pried from my cold, lifeless hands.” The thing is, every moment we hold onto that chip, our hands get a little bit colder and less lively.

When have we seen bitterness this week? If the photo of the crowd of men carrying tiki torches is not an example of mass bitterness, then I don’t know what is. That image is an incarnation of bitterness, a terrible visual representation of the attitude that grasps for bargaining chips in every imaginable nook and cranny of this life, and spreads its sickness wherever it goes. That attitude does not help create a healthy society.

Dishonesty.

Honesty is the ultimate ally of the willing; it’s opposite is present wherever bitterness thrives. Dishonesty enables us to create fictions that venerate us and our kind, and to spread lies against an enemy that in reality does not have the power to harm us.

What has been dishonest? We, the members of the majority culture, have been caught up in a seemingly benign dishonesty for decades, that has allowed us to think we can save face, and avoid the consequences of our history of sins against the minorities living among us.

Willing people don’t back down from the truth because they know they can’t. The truth is just another part of life that they take by the horns, just like everything else. But they take it because they know that if they can face their history, they will not be doomed to repeat it.

Fear.

Fear is the enemy that dooms us to inaction. It takes our dishonesty and bitterness and uses them to encase us and cement us down — ensuring that no matter how bad our situation becomes, then one thing we will never, ever do is change. 

Where is fear? Fear is the barrier that keeps us from seeing past the next step. Fear prevents us from seeing that living people are more important than stone and metal, and that another type of will — good will — at times is more valuable than the gold domes in our capitols. It paralyzes and prevents the chance of a step in the right direction.

Be willing.

Honesty, courage, and action — those are the allies of the willing. Those are the things that we need now, more than a statue, more than a carving. Regardless of how we got here, this is where we are. Individually, we’ve got to find the will to let go of the things that hold us back, and take hold of a future that will bring people together.

Why 9 to 5 might be poison for the will

Willingness — it’s an attitude, a posture, a way of thinking. A strong will embraces life in the midst of great challenges. Everyone wants to work in an environment that feeds the will, that encourages people to give their all and make sacrifices for the company. But the conventional wisdom about work might be what keeps us from having the experience we know we want.

The conventional wisdom says we work from 9 to 5.

In a lot of offices, you are expected to get the bulk of your work done 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. There’s nothing wrong with that, but problems come when we allow the office schedule to influence our thinking so that we become unproductive. Case in point: we’ve all had the boss who says, “just make sure you get your 8 hours in.”

Thinking 9 to 5 can make us really unproductive.

So here’s what happens: we sit and wait for 5:00 to come. Why? Because we are being “good employees”, getting our 8 hours in. The problem is that logging time merely for the sake of fulfilling 8 hours is inefficient and expensive. Somewhere in our subconscious, we are aware that we won’t be able to finish anything we start after 4:00, and so we devolve into busy work in order to eek out that last hour so that we can go home.

But what value have we actually produced in that last hour? And… how many times have we followed that same pattern at other parts of the day — like the first 30 minutes before or after a meeting? or the last 30 minutes or so before lunch? Or the 10 minutes around the water cooler?

Just getting in your 8 hours probably costs the organization at least an hour a day of true productivity. That’s at least 12% of all the time we work.

Just getting in your 8 hours also probably creates a desire to log more hours than we should, in an effort to appear more productive. That affects us throughout the workday.

We know that people don’t really want to work in that kind of environment. People really want to put their best foot forward — to actually bill hours when they do their best work, and to be free to do their best work and be able to log the time appropriately. And nobody wants to work in an office where there are always some people just eeking out that last hour.

So how can we break the cycle? 4 things.

As workers, we’ve got to make work sacred.

Everyone knows who spends too much time cutting up at the water cooler, or who takes the most smoke breaks. We’ve got to come to the place where we decide to leave those things at home. Embrace work as work. 

As leaders, we’ve got to learn how to encourage productivity.

If you’re a leader, it’s not because you’re better. It’s so that you can bring out the best in your subordinates. Encouraging people to do things simply to fill out a timesheet usually doesn’t help the company’s bottom line. We’ve got to be more concerned with real productivity.

Organizations need to be a little more flexible — workers need to be a little more rigid.

A flexible organization is always innovating, changing with its environment — a lot like an organism. On the other hand, workers tend to want to push the envelope a little too far.

As people, we’ve got to communicate better.

Better communication usually leads to better results. Teams that practice honesty will be more nimble, and will be able to perform better. Good communication will foster openness and support — allies of creativity and productivity.

Ultimately, honesty, courage, and action are the keys to a willing attitude — at home and in the office. If we can find it in ourselves to rethink our attitude toward rest, then why can’t we also question our attitude toward the workday as well?

 

 

An American plan for better work: Stop.

There are few things as American as the work ethic. Some call it the “Protestant work ethic”, connect it to religion, and claim it sacred. That’s their choice, but those people would do good to note: not all that’s worshiped is holy.

And that’s the thing. We often treat our work as if it is high, special, sacred. When work calls, we do. We go. We run. And in the mean time we forget that there are other things in life that require doing, and going, and running — more than our work. 

The proposal

The idea is simple: work gets tough, so stop.

Stop working. Go somewhere where you can’t work. Turn your phone off, unplug, recharge. Then come back, emptied of work, ready to fill up again.

Do it for one week. Do this once, then plan to do it again, in one year. Make this a ritual for life — take your family, go with like-minded friends. People will help you unplug completely.

Plan for it. Save your money all year so you can do this. Entrust your work to trusted colleagues while you’re gone. Watch your life unfold as you travel through time from one period of rest to the next.

Rely on it. Do things that refresh your heart and soul, like playing games with your spouse and kids. Take pictures and hang them on the walls of your house. Look forward to this time, and make it everything you need it to be.

Start working again. Get back into work immediately. Dive into it like an Olympic diver. And know that, no matter how tough things get, you’ve got another breather waiting for you in just a few short months.

The excuses

It’s too expensive. Yeah, it is. That car was “too expensive” too, but you bought it. This isn’t expensive. This is priceless. 

I’m too busy. Exactly. Did you read the proposal? You do this because you’re busy.

I just don’t trust anyone to take over for me at work. Sorry. People probably deserve to be trusted a little more, though. If you never trust them with anything,  you’ll never trust them. With anything. 

I don’t have the money. Somehow people think this is different from “It’s too expensive”. You have the money, you just choose to spend it on other things. Put $50 per month into an envelope. That’s enough to do something fun for a week.

I don’t like vacations. That’s silly. Do anything fun (not work) without stopping for a week. That’s a vacation.

The problem

Conventional wisdom says to find yourself in your work. Find something you love to do, they say, and you’ll never work a day in your life.

The problem is that tomorrow you could be rendered unable to do your work. Then what would you be? Who would you be? If the time you feel really alive is only at work, that’s a problem.

Tell your wife that, and guess how she’ll put it together: if you’re alive at work, then when you’re with me you must feel… dead. 

Ultimately, that’s not her problem. It’s yours. It’s wrong that we can’t find anything to define us other than our work — especially when we have spouses, friends, children, churches, etc. These people deserve our time and effort, just as much as the things at our jobs do. Actually, what they deserve from us, is work. 

The truth

The truth is that there are things in life that are worth more than a paycheck. Oh — and for those who say their work is their passion, there are things in life that are worth infinitely more than that, too.

What good is it to live a life based on things that are not ultimate? If the unthinkable happens, and somehow your passion was taken away from you, what would you be left with?

The solution

The solution is to come to an understanding that people are more than what they do, that a person works better when their soul is full, and not emptied from years of overwork. If you can understand yourself in this way, you’ll eventually come to see other people that way as well.

Rest. The ancient Hebrews had a rhythm of life that was given them in their religion, and it mandated a day of rest on Saturday. Then, they had seven festivals every year, during which they were also not allowed to work. Somehow, they prospered. It was a way of reminding them that no matter how hard they worked, they ultimately would never be able to completely control their own success. They would always ultimately have to depend on God.

That’s more than a work ethic. That’s a rest ethic. 

Work. Work is an incredibly important thing. It should be attacked with vigor and skill. But it is not, and can never be, the only thing. A man (or woman), the saying goes, should work to live — not live to work.

Work without rest is drudgery. It does not require skill to devote time to a task, undivided. Skill is required if one is to balance work with something else. This is our calling, as workers — less conquering, more balance.

A wise manager will promote those who know how to balance many responsibilities. Imagine the kind of person who is sufficiently organized and mature that they have found a way to add a rest ethic to their work ethic. I think that’s the kind of person we want to be.

The why

The conclusion is the why, the reason for all this. It’s deep.

We don’t stop doing important things unless we find something more important. The thing is, more important things exist all around us, regardless of whether we recognize their worth. The stopping of something as important as our work requires us to find those things that are important enough to make us stop.

All of this thinking and planning will teach us 2 things.

It’ll teach us to go, do, and run for something other than our paycheck.

It’ll teach us that, even if our work is our passion, there are times when we need to let it be “just” a paycheck.

The planning and thinking we must do to learn these two things will make us better people, and, ultimately, better workers.

 

 

The person you want to be: an introduction to willing

There’s a man in the neighborhood who has no education, but works three jobs to support his wife and kids. He’s dirty and sweaty when he gets home, but he has a smile on his face, and he somehow still has time to invite you over for dinner.

There’s a cancer patient who is always smiling and full of energy, even when she’s completely drained. She’s making jokes and talking to you about her friends — not her chemo.

There’s a young family with a down syndrome daughter, who invites you into their home and prays for you. Their daughter was diagnosed with leukemia, but they take every challenge with determination and pride.

We know these kinds of people exist. Every day is a challenge, and while they probably wish things were easier, they don’t hold anything back. They’ve put everything out on the table, because they know that life is simply better lived that way.

What is it about these people? Why are they attractive to us?

Is it possible to become like them, even if we don’t have cancer, a down syndrome child, or a manual labor job?

The thing about these people, in my opinion, is something I call will.

It’s not the results. These people never would have chosen the hand they were dealt.

It’s not desire. Most days, these people have to do things they really don’t want to do.

But one thing they are: and that is willing.

They know what they have to do, and they go do those things willingly. They hold the door for people, they practice hospitality, and they are kind — even though they have more than enough reasons not to be.

This is willing: it’s an attitude, a posture, a way of thinking.

I believe we can learn from these people. I believe that, if we examine the lives of people that face life willingly, then we’ll find lots of things we want to copy, that we can copy. And I think eventually we can become people who are a little more willing than we are now.

 

What kind of life do you want? The question you should not be asking.

You’re probably familiar with the motivational speeches and books out there that urge you to choose the life you want, and then go out and make it your own.

“17 steps to the life you want.”

“Live the life of your dreams!”

They make it sound so easy, and yet most of us know that life usually doesn’t turn out that way. If having the life you always wanted was simple, everyone would be rich, healthy, and popular.

Maybe they’ve got the question slightly wrong. Usually, you can’t control the results in life. You prepare, you make choices, but things usually don’t work out as you plan.

So what if you forgot about how things turn out?

Instead of asking “what kind of life do you want,” what would the question be?

I think the question would have to center on the type of person you want to be.

What kind of person do you want to be?

You’d have to have some way to look at qualities that are apparent in lots of different people, and then decide which ones you want to keep, to nurture, and to strengthen.

Honesty, patience, courage, peace, kindness… if we made a list of the qualities we want to add, those would probably be at the top, wouldn’t they? Can you think of any others?

But there are other qualities, too — the kind we already have and probably wish we could get rid of. Most of us have been keeping, nurturing, and strengthening these kinds of qualities for a long time.

These are things like bitterness, fear, inaction. If you’re an adult, it’s likely that you’ve had an encounter with these; they’re like a right of passage. They become like bargaining chips, after a while — we hold onto them tightly, as if they have immense value.

But the truth is, they’re worthless.

Here’s my wager: bitterness, fear, and inaction are those things that keep us from being the person we want to be. If we’re going to become the people we need to be, then we’ve got to go find all those chips and put them on the table.

Everything about this is hard. But that’s the thing about wagers — you can’t take the pot unless you’ve got skin in the game.

Do you want to get in the game? I do.

A story of the will: Ernie Johnson, Jr.

To understand me, you’ve got to know something about basketball.

When I was a kid, I loved basketball. I would play all day, and on the weekends I would watch it on TV. But I remember, about halfway through my teenage years, TBS, one of our Atlanta TV stations, began broadcasting NBA basketball on Wednesday nights. And that is when I became acquainted with Ernie Johnson, Jr.

More to the story

One day I saw Ernie on television, but he wasn’t calling a game. He was shaving his son’s face. And in that moment he became a completely different person to me. Suddenly there was a lot more to him than sports.

The son that I saw is Michael, who is ethnically Romanian. He suffers from muscular dystrophy, and today breathes through a ventilator. In an interview for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Ernie said, “He’s on a ventilator with a ‘trake’ (tracheostomy tube),” Johnson says. “We’ve all become very good nurses, everybody in the family. We know how to suction his lungs. He has overnight nursing, but during the day it’s me or my wife or my oldest daughter if she’s got a day off.”

“I just don’t have that… courage.”

– Charles Barkley,
about Ernie Johnson

Ernie Johnson, pictured with the rest of his crew from Inside the NBA: Former NBA players (from left) Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny Smith, and Charles Barkley

In 1991, Ernie and his wife Cheryl were watching the news and they saw a report about the hundreds of orphans in Romania that the world found out about in the wake of the collapse of communism. A few months later, Cheryl got on a plane to Romania, and brought back a 3-year-old boy.

One of his feet was turned in the wrong way. He had never been outside. The nurses said not to take him.

Cheryl said, “he’s so much more than we said we could handle, but I don’t know if I can go the rest of my life wondering what happened to him.” Ernie said, “Bring him home.”

The amazing thing about Ernie, perhaps, is not that he decided to adopt a kid from Romania in 1991 with muscular dystrophy.

The amazing thing is that he decided to do it again.

Ernie and his wife have 6 kids — 4 adopted, 3 with special needs.

Now, there is something really special about a person who decides to do all that, and then has to go work with larger-than-life characters like Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal.

Doing something like that takes courage, perseverance, and a strong will.

I don’t know if I have a will that strong. Do you?

I sure want to.

 

God makes no mistakes: Abigail Fisher

Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. – Psalm 139:16

This story was recently featured on the Bosnian web portal klix.ba. I came across it the other day, and couldn’t help but click, read, and research the story a bit in the American media. Here’s a link to the Klix version of the story (Bosnian language). This is my take on it, as a father of three.

Abigail Lynn Fisher was born on January 11, 2016, with a rare disorder called Treacher Collins syndrome. In the months leading up to Abigail’s birth, her mother, Kristina, was single and “practically homeless” — short on money and unprepared for the challenges of raising a child. So she went to an adoption agency and found a couple from Georgia who was looking to adopt. No one yet knew of Abigail’s condition.

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