Author: Kristin Meador

Heart bent towards God, lover of stories, rusty writer, square peg, traveller

Dachau and Dandelions

They came by train or by foot, thousands by thousands

Across the bridge

Always watched 

Fear of even a slight misstep

Through the cold iron gates

The stone floor 


A glimpse of light

These walls hold their stories

Risking punishment to steal and eat a dandelion 

Dachau became synonymous with death

On April 29, 1945, the U.S. Seventh Army’s 45th Infantry Division liberates Dachau, the first concentration camp established by Germany’s Nazi regime. 

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Crammed Full

Can I just say, packing cubes are the BEST. You would not believe how much I have crammed into a carry on bag. In preparing for this trip, I spent hours watching videos and travel shows and reading about each country and how to best prepare. I have done many road trips and have been to almost every state in the United States, but the only place I’ve been outside of the US is British Columbia. In anticipating this trip, I am both excited and nervous. Particularly about visiting India.  I known that Europe will be different and exciting, but it is not a third world country.

*If you’re wondering why I am going on such an eclectic trip, it all started when my husband was going to a conference in Frankfurt, Germany. Of course, I wanted to go with him. We decided to make it a bit of a vacation, so he suggested spending a couple of days in London, then a few days in France, then a few days in Germany. I knew that I wanted more than a couple of days in Paris, so we decided to spend a week in Paris and then go on to Germany. My middle son is attending film school in Mumbai, India, and his two-year program ends this summer. I have talked about going to visit India while he was there, and now time was running out. I decided since I was halfway around the world, I might as well keep going and go to India. My husband won’t be going on to India because he has to work. So there you have it. 

Because of the time of year and the climates I am visiting, I have to pack for Paris in the spring, snow in Bavaria, and ‘unrelenting heat’ (that is what the description of the safari on the tiger reserve said) in India. I just spent the last six hours combing over my list, packing every item just so, and then rolling up my clothes and cramming them tightly into packing cubes. In the blue soft-sided Biaggi Zipsak, I fit 4 pairs of pants, two blouses, five shirts, a sweater, a pair of shorts, a swimsuit, a dress, a pair of leggings, three pairs of shoes, socks, underwear, a winter coat, and a denim jacket, along with some medications and toiletries (the ones that are less important), cotton wipes, antibacterial wipes, and a LifeStraw Go water bottle (because India). In the small black under-the-seat carry on the I bought at Costco (sorry, no link available but it was $29.99 and is similar to this) are my important toiletries in a hanging toiletry bag, my folder of important papers (flight info, itinerary, hotel reservations, etc), my harem pants pajamas (if my luggage is lost I want my pj’s), a pair of shoes, and my important medications. In my backpack is my purse (an RFID safe cross body Baggalini) and my electronics and cords, electronics adapters for Europe and Asia, some snacks, gum, my neck wallet with my passport and my vaccination information, and a money belt (because my mom said not to keep money in my neck wallet). I’ve included the links for all of the items that I’m using. I don’t get anything for doing so, my blog isn’t monetized, I just included them for convenience. And as my travels continue, I will tell you if the items are worth purchasing or not. Many of them I bought for this trip and haven’t actually used yet.

Seeing these three countries in three weeks, my itinerary is crammed as full as my luggage. That seems to be the way my husband and I like to travel. We don’t want to be leisurely and think “If we don’t see it this time, we will come back and see it next time.” I just can’t do that – there are SO MANY PLACES TO SEE! And I want to see every bit of a place while I’m there, so I can go somewhere new the next time. I’m not saying we don’t return to places that we like, but I don’t want to assume that we will. When I visit somewhere new, I WANT TO SEE ALL THE THINGS. Go to all the places. Eat all the food. Meet all the people. (Okay, I want to meet all the people. My husband, not so much). Which, as you might imagine, does not usually make for a very relaxing trip. We have never been the type of travelers to go to one place and stay. We are always on the move.

But I am entering into this trip with the attitude that my world view is going to change. With each new adventure, I want to see as much and experience as much as I possibly can, but I also want to savor the moment. And I’m not sure how I am going to do that. So that is my challenge on this trip. Here is my prayer that I’m going to pray every day:

Help me to have eyes full of wonder, to not take this amazing opportunity for granted.

Help me to view any obstacle or inconvenience as part of the adventure, as the opportunity to make a memory.

Help me to not rush from one thing to another, with my phone out in front of me. Help me to stop and breathe in, look around with my own eyes, and take in the experience before rushing off to the next great thing.

Help me to really see the people I meet along the way. Help me to show them love, kindness, and compassion, whatever the circumstance.

Help me to treasure this time with my husband, and that we will continue to be great travel partners, and grow together as we expand our world.

Help me to look for God in every place, every experience, and every person I meet.

Holding My Truth Close (for now)

I know, it’s been a while. It’s been almost a year since I’ve written anything other than a few journal pages here and there. Life has brought about so many changes this past year – getting settled in Louisville, finding a church that serves a diverse population and seeks to live pure love in our community, seeing relationships damaged and smoothed over but still seeking healing, working in a job that almost crushed my soul, finding a job that is a good fit and feeds my soul, building new friendships and finding ‘my people’, having friendships strained and tested as we move toward different world views in this ever-changing political climate, realizing that as much as I want to be loving and open I am really scared and selfish, watching tragedy hit my small circle and having our lives turned upside down.

These are all important topics, worthy of writing and sharing. Love, abuse, betrayal, forgiveness, social justice, racism, truth, lies, spirituality, boundaries, passion, purpose, friendship, reconciliation, depression, suicide, mourning, healing, joy, service, and community. Valuable lessons learned, our hearts have grown and we will never be the same. But I can’t write about any of that. Not yet, anyhow. I’ve been trying to figure out how to write my truth, the truth that is blossoming in my heart through the lessons I have learned with family, friends, fellow lovers of Christ, my community, and those with whom my broken heart is grieving. But to share these stories, to share MY story, is complicated. To share my truth involves sharing other people’s truths as well, for they are all connected. And I haven’t quite figured out how to share my truth without betraying another’s truth. So until I figure out how to navigate those waters, I have decided to write about something else. 

To enter back into the world of writing, and in many ways, the world in general, I am going to write about my Next Big Adventure. This life in Louisville has offered us some new opportunities, and consequently I am about to embark on the trip of a lifetime. A three-week trip around the world – one week in Paris, one week in southern Germany, and one week in India. And I want to share it with you. It’s going to be a whirlwind trip, but I will try to write as I have time. Come with me – Adventure is out there!

 

Am I Enough?

Am I enough? Loved ones are miles away, literally and figuratively

Friends are wounded, hurting

The world is fractured and grieving

New paths, new people to serve and love

It sometimes seems that we just brush by one another as we hurry through life, a nod or a wave is sufficient, not taking time to look in each other’s eyes and truly connect

Or we lash out in our passion for righteousness and justice 

While the human on the other end builds a walk around their own sense of righteousness and justice. 

What is enough? Am I enough?

I’m just me – learning, growing, passionate, longing, striving 

Leaning on my God as he guides my heart, or patiently waits in the wings while I take a detour
I will listen.

I will speak up. 

I will come alongside. 

I will love. 

I will show up. 
And that is enough ❤️

Fireflies

Early summer evenings in Louisville, Kentucky can mean wind and thunderstorms or sweltering humidity. But tonight is the perfect night. 

As dusk settles over our neighborhood, I walk out onto our front porch and let out a long sigh. With a slow, deep breath I take in the sweet smell of the almost-summer evening. I close my eyes and feel the warm air caress my arms and the back of my neck under my messy bun. The air is warm but dry, none of the usual humidity that plagues many summer nights. A sweet breeze blows and it feels comforting.

I walk across the street, the pavement still warm from this clear, sunny day. Just across the sidewalk are cement stairs that lead down to the track at the School for the Blind.  As I approach the stairway, my heart quickens. 

The fireflies are here! 

I was born and raised in the West Coast, and the only fireflies I had ever seen were the fake ones in the bayou scenes in the Pirates of the Carribean ride at Disneyland. When we moved to Louisville last July, I was thrilled to see a few fireflies here and there. I’m hoping I’ll see a few tonight. 

The cyclone fence along the road and leading to the stairway is lined with towering trees and low lying bushes, which makes a shadowy sanctuary in the fading light. Before I even reach the top of the stairway, there is a flash in the corner of my eye. As I scan the stairway and the cool green grass leading down the hill to the track, a chorus of twinkling yellow lights greets me. In the shadows, down the hill, on the lawn, around the curves of the track, fireflies at every turn. Everywhere I look, beautiful twinkling yellow flashes of light. 

Walking my laps, my heart fills with joy at this little blessing. I’m not sure how little flying beatles flashing their hind ends looking for a mate can make me so very happy, but it does. 

I’m walking a brisk pace, and every ten to twenty feet a little lightening bug buzzes across my path, as if he’s slowly leading the way. I could reach out and touch him, but I don’t. I stray off my lane to follow him, off the track and onto the grass, slowly floating in the air in front of me, occasionally flashing his tail if I lose him, as if he wants me to follow him. At one point, he seems to almost stop in mid air. He slowly floats near my face, flashes me a short greeting, and flies away. 

Thank you, Lord, for this sweet little blessing tonight. It made my heart flicker with a little light of hope and joy.