You may have read a version of this story before, but what can I say … It was one of those defining moments in my life.

It was the time I stumbled and fell over an innocent, four-worded question.

To her credit, she waited until I had stowed my carry-on in the overhead compartment and settled into my seat before she launched into the obligatory small-talk.

We were, after all, about to spend twelve hours with our elbows touching, and I’d never even met the fifty-something woman who had scored the aisle seat next to me.

“Are you heading home?” she asked.

And that’s where I tripped over my tongue.

My mind.

My heart.

I hesitated.  A little too long.

Then finally, “Um … yeah.  Well, no.  Uh … I’m not sure.”

I wouldn’t have blamed her if she’d flagged down the flight attendant right then and there.  I can picture the hypothetical conversation now: “Um, excuse me, miss, but this girl doesn’t know where she’s going.”

How embarrassing.

“My mom died this morning,” I blurted out, the aircraft still grounded on the Cape Town runway.

The kind woman gushed condolences and well-intentioned words of sympathy before I could attempt to redeem my earlier fumble.

“I’ve been living in Africa for the past eight years and my mom just died in my hometown in MIchigan.  So, I guess I’m heading home.  But not really.  I mean, my husband and kids are still here in Cape Town, so …”

My voice drifted, and I realized the answer to her original question hadn’t become any clearer for either of us.

Was I heading home?  Or not?

The conflicting voices of my heart kickstarted a long-lasting soul search.

Where was my home?



That conversation happened three years ago.

In the meantime, I’ve thought and even written a lot about the concept of home.

And what I’ve come to learn is this:

This is not it.

This life, this living in between, this sojourn … it’s all temporary.

And there is an eternal.

Ever since my mom died and I’ve started thinking a whole lot more about heaven, I’ve made a more conscious effort in my thinking, my praying, my writing, my parenting — to remember that every day is one step closer to eternity.



And hopefully the next time I step onto a plane and get asked the same question, “Are you heading home?” … I’ll be able to answer with confidence, “Yes.  Yes, I am.”

Not because of my earthly destination, but because of my hope in eternity.



Today I’m thrilled to announce a brand new product line brought to you by (in)courage … It’s called the Words Matter Letterpress Blocks.

Aren’t they so great?!





incourage-LetterpressBlocks-main1And the coolest part is that you can click over to this interactive interface and build whatever word you want, then share it on social media.

What word would you choose?

ALSO (!!!) … This weekend (October 2nd-7th) I’ll be hosting a giveaway right here on this blog for one winner to receive a voucher for these beautiful Letterpress Blocks.

So come back to visit and enter for a chance to win!!  (In fact, enter your e-mail address in the sidebar above and the giveaway announcement will come straight to your inbox! What more could you ask for?)  😉

See you all this weekend, and until then, remember: Words Matter.




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8 thoughts on “that time i tripped and fell over a question ~ #wordsmatter

  1. Kate, I love when you share your story. I have been missing my own momma so much this weekend. Each time I ache for her I think of the glorious home she is living in and much of an upgrade she received 2 years ago. Please keep telling your story.

  2. I really like your conclusion about Home being our eternal home rather than our hometowns or the buildings we live in.

    The Letterpress Blocks are very cool, indeed, and I like the interactive interface that lets you share on social media. I will be using that!

  3. Kate,

    It seems like we have a lot in common. I shared in my last comment about my mama dying over 12 years ago. I felt like home went with her to Heaven. I so often say that a piece of me is there with her and I won’t get it back until I am with her again. And so, yes, it does change everything that ‘home’ means. That was my word in 2011 when I thought I’d make our international move (it happened in 2012). My son, who was three, was lost between Florida, Colorado, Pennsylvania and Hungary homes as he tried to re-count the journey to people and understand his nomadic life. It’s such a wild tension between our embracing of the times and places of our lives and that increasing mooring in another world especially through the eyes of little people whose resilience amazes, yet?…I hope to read some of your 31 days from last year on home. But I know enough to know we are in this together 🙂

  4. “All I know is I’m not home yet
    This is not where I belong
    Take this world and give me Jesus
    This is not where I belong”
    -Building 429 “Where I Belong”

    I could hear this song playing in the background of my mind while reading your post. Truly beautiful!

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