Crew 52

  • While waiting and stuck in the Bullseye Lodge line, “Hey ‘Crew 52’, can you get us free Doritos?”
  • “Don’t trust someone who wears sunglasses indoors.” “Sunglasses are the best for people watching,” says fellow Zone 8A volunteer.
  • Those who are really paying attention to Crew 52 uniform. “Where can we buy Bold North mittens?” “The color matches your skin.” “I like your hat!” “So, do you really get to keep it all?”
  • “We were here last night. We live on 12th and LaSelle. We had to come back cause we didn’t see it all,” a couple shared.
  • “Where are the restrooms?” Having to answer with the closest porta potty location.
  • Waiting 30 minutes for the Kitten Bowl, “Can I get a beer while in line?”

Interview Day. Inside Volunteer Headquarters, I was greeted by happier than normal, brighter than usual smiles. I sat across a blonde lady who asked questions about what I enjoyed in Minnesota to times I provided hospitality. She said none of us hopeful volunteers would be inside the stadium on game day. I didn’t know Volunteer Headquarters would become an important place.

Orientation. A flock of purple and gold inside the Xcel Energy Center. My demographics fell within the youngest age group of volunteers. First time seeing Chad Greenway in person. The fashion show of our provided uniform was a sweet surprise. Counterterrorism, human trafficking and homelessness training to come? This was getting real.

Role Specific Training. Tailgates up early morning downtown on the day of Vikings’ soon “Minnesota Miracle” win against the Saints. Informed of possible duties. Picked up our uniform box sized best to carry inside a large Ikea shopping bag. Light flurries.

Super Bowl Live. A free 10-day festival filled with pre-Super Bowl fun. I was pumped to the point where I made a public video announcement to Facebook friends to invite and encourage them to come. What cold? What crowd? Layer up and enjoy! The most time I’ve spent with memories made along Nicollet Mall.

I was in my mother’s womb the first and last time the Super Bowl was held in Minnesota. I had to actively be a part of it this time around. A historical, once in a lifetime, moment. I initially wanted to be a Halftime Field Team Member. Crew 52 was a special way to represent Minnesota. There’s a warm, missing everything that happened, glow inside.

P.S. I’m glad Minnesota showed itself off on Super Bowl Sunday with the negative wind chills. Gotta be bold to endure the Bold North!


Ms. Esperance

Guest teachers have interesting career journeys.

“Where have you taught before?,” I asked Ms. Esperance.
“I taught in Rwanda. I moved to the US and worked in business administration…”

Rwanda. My heart dropped. I tried really hard to pay attention as Ms. Esperance continued sharing her work history. Ruranga, my dear sponsored child, lives in Rwanda. I shockingly found out Spring of 2017 I could no longer sponsor Ruranga because she moved to an area without a sponsorship program. 5 years with no official farewell.

I shared with Ms. Esperance my connection to Rwanda. Ms. Esperance named “Compassion,” the sponsorship program, even before I explained. My heart sank again. She expressed how Compassion really helps poor families. She asked about how sponsorship worked out. She thanked me for being a sponsor. She even read a part of a letter (I showed her one as I explained the sponsorship process) and pronounced Ruranga’s full name to me in Kinyarwanda. My heart became full.

I will take this as a sign Ruranga is doing well. When I shared with my sister, she said, “This is the closure you needed.” I cried a whole lot when I opened the letter saying the sponsorship had ended. It was a real heartbreak.

I had plans of going to visit Ruranga. Going to Rwanda was a trip I had to make in my life. All of that had to disappear.

Sometimes, I still wish it wouldn’t have to end the way it did.

I will remind myself of my own words, “Because our sponsor-relationship suddenly broke, I hold Ruranga even dearer within. I could let her go missing. I choose to build on what we had. Of all things, I pray most Ruranga holds onto her salvation and faith in Jesus Christ. If we do not get the chance to meet on Earth, I am extremely excited to meet her when it is our time in Eternity. To cope and slowly move forward, I will press onto the Peace which surpasses all understanding.”

Thank you God for Ms. Esperance.

School year is here.

The reason why I have disappeared.

“‘Mahogany,’ I like that word.” I miss my high schoolers.

“Ms. Lee, your shoes look like Michael Jackson shoes,” the best compliment ever in my life from a kindergartener.

Getting back into the swing of things. Lots of learning and adjusting to a new environment. Taking it day by day. Staying positive is key!


Responding In Crisis

A year ago.

3 p.m. Stopped at a T-intersection with oncoming traffic. Waiting to turn. Clear. Left. Right. Le…..

An immense, darkening, quick amount of pressure hit. I lifted my head in confusion to notice my car had been pushed into the middle of the T-intersection. Thankfully, no oncoming cars were present. I looked in my rear view mirror saying a quick, “Please don’t drive away,” prayer. I walked out seeing my hanging bumper touch the ground. Avoiding stepping on white plastic and glass, I made my way to approach the other driver.

After making a call to authority, I sobbed and grunted in frustration at the scene. “Why now? Why of all times, now? In exactly 12 hours, I am meeting my team at the airport, a team I’m supposed to lead, we are going to be in the deserted desert of Arizona. God, this really, really, really, sucks, please don’t let me get any excruciating pain!”

3 a.m. I arrive at the airport with an ice pack in hand for my neck. Everything and everyone passes security except for my ice pack as it was “50% solid and 50% liquid.”

I applied lots of Icy Hot balm on the plane rides and every night in Arizona. My teammates easily smelled my presence.

I could have blamed God, telling Him how awful He is for letting such a horrible thing happen, for making things difficult in such a time. After expressing to God how much the situation sucked, I chose to trust Him. Trusting God to allow me to be fully present as a team leader, to bring physical healing and let there be opportunity to take care of insurance logistics (We were out in the desert uncertain of service. There were cell towers right by the church!)

When crisis hits at the worse timing, choose to respond by fully leaning on God. Spill your beans to God. Pray honestly sharing with Him the hurt you feel, uncertainty you have, loneliness you are experiencing, distance you feel from Him. Hold fast in believing He is good in the moment of your pain.

“But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” -James 1:6

Go Outside


Standing and sitting on the edge were two different worlds.

Standing. Distant. My soles against the earth. Watching the winding, calm-rushing Kettle River. Making note of the shoreline. Treetops dancing, following their lead partner. The vast spectrum of green, blue and brown. Browsing.

Sitting. Touch. The smooth-rough sandstone. Sensing the swift pressure of movement beneath my freeing, dangling feet. The river’s airflow against my skin upon each lean to look over the water. Hearing the passing rapids. Pausing.

I really could have sat there forever.

It’s instances such as these where the simplicity of going outside is the best thing we are missing. Senses become alive. Refreshed and connected. Spending more time outdoors is one of the best decisions I’ve loved making. Let’s go!

People We Meet Once In Our Life

Tous Les Jours.
Manhattan location.

I waited by the glass entrance for my sister and brother-in-law to make their scrumptious selections. A handicapped mother and her daughter tried to inch their way in. I went to hold the tall door open.

With the coming and going, regulars who went directly to their favorite, indecisive roamers trying to make up their mind, the mother knew her electric wheelchair would cause great distress in the body-filled aisles. She parked to my left as we waited together at the glass entrance.

“We come all the way from Brooklyn just for this,” the mother introduces herself.
“Do you?! It’s our first time here,” I reply with my excited tourist voice.
“It’s worth it,” she says. I assume it’s quite a trip.
“What do you usually get when you come?” I ask to get her favorites.
“The Fruit Pastry.” She motions the daughter to bring over her wooden tray to show me. I take a good look to make sure to get a Fruit Pastry next time (which I do–it. is. yum.) My sister and brother-in-law are ready with their bag of goodies. I say thanks and farewell to the mother.

We didn’t exchange names. Our interaction lasted less than five minutes. I think of her today.

Art in Bloom 2017

As long as I am living in Minnesota, an annual welcoming of Spring is attending MIA’s (Minneapolis Institute of Arts) Art in Bloom. What made this year standout was the chance to interact with florists. Maybe that opportunity was due to my first time attending the show on its first night, I’m not sure.

IMG_6575I had a nice, quick chat with florist Lisa Flynn who was a first year participant. I asked about her inspiration behind choosing Henri Matisse’s Boy with Butterfly Net. Flynn’s answer went along the lines of, “MIA gives us around 200 art pieces to choose from. The net grabbed my attention. I thought to myself, ‘What kind of flowers would the boy catch?’ I researched butterflies. I spent a lot of time at Home Depot. The net was my inspiration.” Absolutely adored her arrangement!

Another moving art is granny-fashionistas. This was my third time attending Art in Bloom. I was reminded how each time I’ve gone, it is the one time where I see a multitude of the fanciest, old people, ever. One was covered in bright hot pink from head to toe. A walking flower of her own.

Everyone Needs A Sibling Who Will Teach You Things You Would Never Learn Elsewhere

Me: On my test there was a question that I didn’t study for and made me think of you. Paraphrasing it, “Space exploration and aerospace led to which of the following modern technological advancement?” I chose the computer. All the other answers had something to do with radio waves and/communication.

Brother: Space is all about the passing of information. For example, when you call someone, your cell phone sends a signal to a radio tower, which then transmits that to a satellite, which then transfers that signal to another satellite that is overhead of whoever you’re trying to communicate, then signal goes from that satellite down to radio tower down to other user aka the person you’re trying to contact. It takes a lot of work.

However, computers aides in this process since computers are what controls the radio towers and controls your satellite. Radio waves are critical to communication too since there are a lot of different radio waves aka frequency that are used for communication. Some frequency are unsecured and some are secured (think military). So, the correct answer to your question would have been “all of the above.” You need all of them to have communication worldwide unless you want to use a can and string method to talk with someone.

The most critical part of space is GPS. GPS doesn’t just help you navigate, but the most important feature of GPS is time transfer. What I mean here is that everything we use everyday has a time clock built inside of it. GPS helps keep everyone’s time clock to be synchronized. If the clocks are out of sync then banks would be affected, internet would be degraded, cell phones would be messed up, transportation would be a big mess since stop lights runs on time clocks, and etc. That’s just for the civilian side of things. For the military, without GPS our capabilities would be greatly limited since a lot of what we use is reliant on GPS for example navigation of airplanes, ships, and satellite control, GPS guided munitions, and etc.

That was all via text message. Added here with minimal editing. Funny thing is, as I was typing the above, my sister texts me, “Hi, what is the singular plural for the word WHO?”


Last month I turned a quarter of a century. 25 years old. A milestone age in early adulthood. Not much feels different…yet. One thing for certain is the 12-year-old-me’s imagination of what a 25-year-old-me would be is not happening in real life. Married? Nope. Traveled the world? Nope. Dream job? Nope. Am I okay with that? Yes. Time has taken place between struggle to peace. Let that be a strong yes.

Lessons I learned while on the road to solitude:
Be brave to do things on your own. Watching a movie at the theaters, going to a professional sporting event, hiking a quarter-of-a-mile (note: “quarter”), are the few I’ve spent alone. Sometimes opportunities aren’t worth missing just because there isn’t company with you.
Make time to spend with people. I pencil in my planner scheduled hangouts. I look forward to these dates the most! Sometimes I feel if a person isn’t in my planner, they aren’t really in my life. It’s not that we are all too busy, it’s just about prioritizing time. The individuals we invest time with are the most important to us.
Fall more in love with God. I’ve given myself heart-checks in purposeful relationships. With God, it’s become head knowledge vs heart change. I am very aware of my need to know God for who He is instead of who I think He is. Vulnerability, obedience and devotion towards an almighty, sustaining, fearsome, all-satisfying, gracious God.
Explore right where you are. It’s easy to dream and talk of going to distant, bucket list worthy places. I cure my travel bug by adventuring right where I am. Traveling is all about being surrounded in newness. From new restaurants, new parks, new museums to new neighborhoods, search and go explore your state! Of course, always revisit favorites.
Stay driven with patience. After college, some jump start their professional careers, some completely change it up doing nothing related to what they devoted years of studying for, some find any job to conquer student loans. My current job description touches each category a little bit. Keep striving even if it takes re-dreaming your dreams.

Younger-than-25’s, what are values you find important? Other 25-year-old’s, what are some lessons you’ve learned? Beyond-25’s, what advice would you give to your 25-year-old self?