Rio, Kerri’s Twin, and stuff….


That Kerri Walsh Jennings sure looks good in her volleyball bikini after having three kids.  She said she was born to have kids and play volleyball.  I feel like we’re twins or something except she had three easy pregnancies and I don’t play volleyball and the whole body thing.  Just sayin.

The Olympics is underway.  Since I live in a sports crazed house filled to the brim with testosterone, it may not shock you to know that we have been watching everything from fencing and rowing to women’s gymnastics and yes, as I mentioned in my opening paragraph, beach volleyball.

Generally speaking, I don’t tend to love what the media has become in the last several years.  There are practical limitations at times to media neutrality, but pervasive bias which contravenes the standards of journalism as well as coverage filled with divisive vitriol has become widespread to the point where it makes television virtually unwatchable for me—well except for Chip and Jo Jo.  Those two I love.

For a few precious days, though, my TV woes are pushed aside as we all get to be on one team!  U-S-A! U-S-A!!

Last night, I saw two super cool things in between the commercials I am trying desperately to ignore so they don’t ruin the Olympic experience for me.

First, I saw a young swimmer from Indiana screaming with delight at the end of his swim.  You could NOT hear the NBC commentators over the joyful outburst.  What made it awesome to me was that this kid, Cody, was the bronze medalist in his event.  In the lane next to Cody stood an excited Brit with his arms in the air—and HE had set a world record and won the gold.  That didn’t matter to Cody Miller.  He had done his personal best and he was PUMPED about coming in 3rd and seemed genuinely thrilled for the man who had bested him, giving him a huge hug of congratulations.  THAT is TV worth seeing and it was a powerful witness of what sport and life should be about—HAPPY for the other guy, GRATEFUL for your own blessings!

My other Olympic smile comes courtesy of the beautiful skyline of Rio de Janeiro.  There, on display for the world at a time when we all desperately NEED JESUS is Christ the Redeemer.  Standing with arms wide open on Corcovado Mountain, this masterpiece which cannot be missed by even the most secular of media outlets, is 125ft high, I heard on the Today Show.  I love that Hoda and Matt told me about it.  An article on the Olympics that I read said the statue was made with the purpose of showing that Christ loves all and to spread peace to all who see it.  The stone is from Sweden, the design is Polish, and it was engineered by both French and Brazilian men.  God Bless Brazil and all who made it possible!

The Olympics is a personal favorite, as I am sure you guessed by reading the opening paragraph of my post.  It is part of a text string shared between myself, my sister and my hilarious mom this week.  I read an Irish proverb once that said, “A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything” and it seems to me remarkable wisdom.  The world is just so darn serious lately and there’s so little smiling!  Are we forgetting to notice the good stuff?  Could we all just use a giggle and a breath of fresh air?  I think YES!  Let’s work on our smiles and spread them around?

Signs attract attention, and the more luminous, the more they stand out and the greater the impact.  The lighthouse at the end of the pier in South Haven, or even a traffic light is powerful because of its difference.  They couldn’t do their job if they didn’t stand out from the things around them.

Our smiles?  They are signs too!

Everytime you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing. –Mother Teresa.

If I am not different in some way, or if I am afraid to be what I am called to be, I will also go unnoticed.  Cody was a witness because he did the unexpected.  The people of Rio and their message of love and peace—powerful!!

I think Jesus wants us to be signs too, in our lives, as little as our lives or moments may be—a tension relieving giggle can definitely be darn good Jesus girl stuff.  A van full of teenagers singing “Yes, Lord” at migraine inducing volume in a minivan is for darn sure a valuable contribution to the world.  So is leading a simple prayer before a meal.  When I maintain courageous hope and strong faith, then I am an authentic Christian.  That brand of holiness, born of desire and effort to grow closer to Christ, is what makes my ordinary valuable.

As my fellow parents of 2016 grads and I send our oldest kids off to college, I felt a strong tug to issue a reminder of what we have been doing with these last 18 years of smelly blessings.  We’re sending new lights out into the world, friends.  Keep on keeping on because your job isn’t done yet.

How much fun is it going to be to see the glow spreading across the country, though?

Oh, and Mom? You’re SO right about Kerri.  Twins.  TOTALLY.  GO USA!!