Today I am thrilled to be guest posting at Failing Joyfully, my friend Bree Morel’s lovely blog. Bree’s writing is lush and authentic, and her blog is always a visual treat. She is running a wonderful series called “Common Light,” which highlights common stories of our humanity. (Check here to submit your own Common Light piece!) My story today goes way back to my Thailand days. And includes a lovely old picture of me at age twelve. 🙂 


When I was twelve years old, I went with my family to the International School of Bangkok on the Fourth of July (American Independence Day). My family had been living in Bangkok for the past year doing missionary work. The school grounds had been transformed into a carnival of sorts; there were all kinds of games and activities for kids. There was a large grassy lawn where American expats were sitting in lawn chairs and on blankets eating hot dogs and hamburgers. It could have been a scene from a Fourth of July picnic anywhere in the U.S.

After lunch, there were a variety of lawn games for both children and adults. One was a watermelon-eating contest. I don’t know why I decided to join the contest. I am competitive, but I also don’t particularly like getting dirty. Yet for some reason, it sounded like fun. Each kid had to kneel on the ground with her hands behind her back and a large slice of watermelon in front of her.



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