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Let’s Stay Vertical!

Almost exactly one year ago I attended a retirement celebration for Al Proo who was leaving his Executive Director position with the Happy Hands Education Center (HHEC) in Tulsa, Oklahoma. HHEC is a center for families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing and children who have other communication disorders. HHEC has been both a prayerful and financial support to the Happy Hands School here in Honduras, and I wanted to show my support for Al and the center’s vision.

As I hugged and said goodbye to him after the celebration, he said two words to me that I have remembered to this day … “Stay Vertical!” I have thought about this phrase often and have even reminded myself at times, “Christy, stay vertical.” What a powerful encouragement and even exhortation!

photo (44)And then one day I was sharing this with a Deaf friend and was signing to her what that meant. And it hit me … the sign (Honduran Sign Language) for vertical is the handshape of a “V” that moves up and down. But when you look at the sign, it is also the same sign for LOOKING UP. And then there is the sign for horizontal with the handshape of an “H” that moves side to side. But if you look at the movement and handshape, it looks similar to that of LAYING DOWN. You signing folks will pick up on this quickly, but I hope all of you get the gist.

Wow! It’s such a simple concept and so visually clear. Keep your focus up. Make sure your relationship with Christ is what drives you in daily living.  Stay Vertical! Don’t get so caught up in horizontal circumstances, distractions, frustrations, etc. This doesn’t mean don’t care about those around you. Just the opposite really. Staying vertical is a call to do everything you do in life with your ultimate focus on pleasing and glorifying our Father.  Eyes on Him!

When I watch my daughter Lili, just gaze upon her, I can’t hardly do so without smiling.  God has made her so beautifully unique and it just makes my heart grin.  I think the same should be true as we gaze upon our Father, having a vertical vision of looking to Him.  I’ll be honest, there are lots of times I don’t do that very often and sometimes I just flat out forget all together.  But what if I kept my gaze upon my Father more than on my own feelings or goals or even failures.  I’m pretty sure seeing through His lenses more often would help me care more about what He is doing in the lives of those around me and in me and less about my present circumstances.

Happy Hands Education Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma under the leadership of Jan Pride (who visited us here in Honduras this past summer) and Happy Hands School in Tegucigalpa, Honduras led by Oneyda Aguilar both have something in common beyond their name … a vertical vision. I can’t wait to see what this year will bring for both schools, their children, staff, and families.

My hope and prayer for myself and each of you as well is that we will stay vertical as we move about this day and everyday … in the grace, peace, and love of our Father.

Note: This is my second blog post … ever.  Don’t worry!  I won’t be numbering them each time, though I’m a math type and totally tempted to do so.  I thought this would be a good time to share with you what types of blog posts you can be expecting from me.  Well … I’m not really sure.  I simply hope to share about life, culture, and experiences as well ask questions and give you glimpses of what God is showing me about life.  I don’t consider myself a writer nor a theologian nor a tenured professor, so I will just share my heart as best I can and thank you in advance for your grace as you read.  I hope you will come along for the ride!  If you would like to receive these posts via email, go to my website,, fill in your email and click the subscribe button.