a blessed life, a life of gratitude

Last year, after my dad passed away, as I was writing the eulogy for his memorial service, I asked my mom and sister to share memories with me that, to each of them, captured or conveyed who Dad was, what he valued and how he lived his life. Mom shared a memory that has stuck with me—and has, in moments since, become a part of my life, too.

She told me and Kathryn that, over the years, throughout the summer and into the fall in Northern Michigan, Dad would occasionally take the boat out on Crystal Lake by himself before making dinner. (Anyone who knows our family knows Dad was the cook—and a really good and talented one at that.) Dad would take a drink with him and told Mom that, out on the lake, he would toast his parents, telling them how great his life was and how blessed he was.

This short story is emblematic of Dad’s gratitude and approach to life—his approach to living.


Waymaker, Miracle Worker

This year has been a big one, so to speak, in countless ways — and it’s not over yet. It’s a year full of some of the most difficult days of my life, and those of my family, and simultaneously a year of abundance and blessings. I fully feel the second part of that statement. God has shown up time and again this year, and I’m encouraged by the challenges and the victories because I see how He is there in all of it. He is a good, good God. Every day, I’m learning more and more that so much of life truly is about our perspective, the way we choose to see and respond to what’s in front of us — no matter who or what we believe in.

Shortly after Christmas last year, my dad was hospitalized. On January 3, 2019, he was diagnosed with B Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. The doctor who broke the news to us, while kind, was vague in terms of my dad’s chances of beating this and how long he might have to live. We learned a week or so later that, were he to continue without treatment, the cancer would likely take his life in 4-6 weeks.

So once an abscess in my dad’s intestine was treated — another story altogether, one where I also 100 percent see God’s hands at work — he started a month of inpatient chemotherapy at University of Michigan Hospital. Another round of outpatient chemo followed in March. In April, we learned my dad had several strong matches for a bone marrow transplant, and at the end of April, he successfully received a bone marrow transplant from a 20-something-year-old man in Germany. While the transplant was successful, my dad was not in the clear, and I would argue that May and June — though still full of blessings — were his toughest months and the most challenging for all of us. I know they were for me.


a letter to my Berkeley roommates

To Laura and Nicole, my first roommates in the San Francisco Bay Area —

My move from the Bay Area to Buenos Aires has me reflecting a lot on our first year in Berkeley together. Our lovely little house on Hearst with an overgrown front porch, the most comfortable olive-green couch and our very own washer and dryer. That home holds many memories for me. It’s the one I shared with the two of you; the foundation of our friendship; and the place in which I started my Bay Area life.

I thought a lot about you and my first year in Berkeley as I was packing up my apartment and leaving the Bay Area in September. But it wasn’t until I arrived in Buenos Aires and navigated my first month here that I really grew to understand and appreciate your influence in my start, and then life, in the Bay Area.

You see, without the two of you, my life there would not have been the same. In more ways than one, you helped me get my feet on the ground and flourish in Berkeley.


practicing gratitude, finding light in life’s ups and downs

Two weeks ago, during my first week in Argentina, I was talking to a colleague on the phone about a challenging situation at work. The situation is sudden and has been a source of worry, stress and frustration for our entire team. Between my recent international move and this situation at work, I found myself in the middle of an immense season of uncertain change, both personally and professionally.

As I talked with my colleague, I could feel my frustration getting the best of me. In that moment, I realized I needed to take a step back. I needed to step away from my fears — the negative thoughts that would continue to pull me under if I gave them the chance — and focus on everything I have going for me. Because truth is, there’s a lot of good in my life; there’s much to be grateful for.