I’m on a quick flight from Santa Barbara back to Phoenix. I just finished a John Grisham paperback my father gave me for as a birthday present back in November of last year. I had every intention of reading it over the Thanksgiving break, but it was not possible given my workload with school.

On my dining room table I have a ten-inch stack of black binders filled with documents, notes, and assignments. Depending on which of my three classes I’m preparing for, I’ll start my day by fishing out two binders and begin working. I’m expected to master all of the knowledge about accounting, global marketing, and economics. It’s exhausting. Within two days I’ll be finished with these three subjects and I’ll have four days off until we start a new trimester.

Yesterday my sister Katie and her husband Brian have a new little baby named Jack David back in Georgia. I know that those two names will be with me for the rest of my life. Also yesterday others in my family attended a funeral in Arizona for my unborn nephew named Kolbe Michael. How do you write about these two experiences? There is such joy and pain in the hearts of people who are so close to me. I have not reconciled the juxtaposition of these two events. I’m lost in the emotions of both.

(Out the window to my right is the coast of Southern California with a few islands scattered in the distance.)

My father is now home safe after a two-week trip with Eric Martin to Haiti to help with the earthquake recovery efforts. He was deeply moved by his experience. We’ve spoken on the phone a few time since he’s returned home, but I believe the complexity of his experience cannot be communicated over the phone. I’ll be seeing him in a couple of weeks and I’m anxious to spend time with him and hear his stories.

I can’t wait to get home and be with Candyce and Norah again. It’s only been 36 hours but I miss them so much.