Tell About It

Cheers to Shark Rejection

I’m attempting to learn how to surf.  With my less-than-evolved motor skills, let’s just say you may not see me on the surf circuit anytime soon. But I am having a blast; those seconds standing up on the board are pure magic!

At the beginning of my surf lesson—before even touching the board—I learned about shark flags. Today the shark flag is black—meaning low visibility, but no sharks spotted. I also learned that I would be surfing in the world’s most densely populated area of great white sharks. (I may not be stellar surfer, but I quickly excelled in memorizing the shark flags.)

However, I also was informed that shark attacks in Muizenberg are extremely rare. Apparently sharks have little interest in us humans. And I have never loved the words more “he’s just that in to you.”

This shark ambivalence has me thinking about other encouraging rejections—whether it’s potentially harmful relationships, scams I’ve been protected from, or jobs that could have sucked the life out of me. I suspect I have swam in the waters with many a proverbial great white shark and not even known it.

But I’m more curious about what I’ll need to reject this year—what must I express ambivalence towards? Currently I’m in the midst of a transition—no job, no permanent address, no idea what’s next.

Perhaps I’ll have to say No to a job with enticing pay and soul-killing work. I will likely have to reject panic, when subversive thoughts try to tell me my identity and worth are linked into my job title (or lack of one).  And I suspect I’m going to have to give despair and distrust of God’s goodness the boot—more than once–in the midst of this transitional time.

However, I believe when we have a keener sense of what to reject we are all the more free to embrace the beautiful and noble surprises that come our way.

Can’t resist the question: What shark-rejections are you grateful for at the moment? What healthy rejections are you anticipating this year?

PS – Surf update: I had such fun learning–slowly, slowly adding a couple of seconds up on the board. As  I left Muizenberg the red shark flag was up. A shark had just been spotted…but he too just wasn’t that into us humans. Can’t wait to try surfing again!




I’ve fallen in love with the word “cheeky.” It’s a much more elegant word than “embarrassed,” and it has liberated me to ask the most audacious things while in South Africa.

By simply saying, “I have a cheeky question…” or “I have a cheeky request…” I have suddenly gotten into closed vineyards, reservation only restaurants, and 5 star hotel pools. Strangers escort me places, take pictures for me, and tell me stories their dear friends barely know.

My South African friend says I get away with it because I’m American…and people expect audacity from us. But I don’t think I’d never ask so much if I hadn’t discovered the word “cheeky” and embraced it!

Cheers to the power of a word…and seizing permission to take it to audacious limits!


I eye a dad with his little daughter across the lawn as I sip my tea at the Mount Nelson hotel. He is likely a bank executive or businessman, someone of power. His toddler rolls her little ball and he can’t help but squat to see what she sees. Joy draws him down to her level.

I love how kids beckon you to change perspective, to see the ordinary anew, to become lost in wonder, even if only for a moment.

Squat. What a beautiful act of love.

Can’t resist the question: Currently, who has you bending low or standing tall to see anew?

Living The Wild Life – Learning from Photography Exhibition in Cape Town

“Let the beauty you love be what you do. There are thousands of ways we kneel and kiss the earth.” Rumi

Cape Town’s National Museum is hosting wildlife photography exhibition from around the world. The work was breathtaking – in subject, form, beauty. The photographers captured the poetry of nature. My immediate response was wordless worship and gratitude to my Creator.

And then I got technical…I’m quite the novice photographer, but I’m relishing the opportunity to learn. As I took in the exhibition I was struck by three characteristics of these world-class photographers.

  1. COMMITMENT – They had rose early or stayed up late, waiting hours, days, some weeks, for the image that would tell a moving story. To learn to be a visual storyteller—really, any form of storyteller—I must be willing to wait.
  2. COMPASSION – They seemed to see the beauty and struggle of their subjects in an unsentimental way. There was no sense of pity, rather a capacity to see the strength of the animals in the midst of daily fight to survive.
  3. CURIOSITY — They went to the extreme edges of habitation—crouched low and stood on tiptoes to see what others had missed.

I’m going to keep learning/playing/working at the craft of visual storytelling…and love what it teaches me about writing and life as I observe these extraordinary photographers.

Can’t resist the question: What new experience/hobby/pursuit is giving you fresh insight into something else you know and love?

See the exhibition yourself…You know you want to:

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