Tomorrow, we leave. And I think stupid, unprofound things like I wonder why they call it “the Philippines” instead of just “Philippines”? And I consider that crossing the International Date Line is about as close to time travel as I’ll ever get. On the way back home I’ll leave Tokyo at the exact same time I get to Atlanta! I am simple and empty.

And I am overcome. I zip up my bag to make sure I can, checking one last time for the small gifts I’m bringing along. It sits there, mouth gaping open and exposed, my things mixed in with their things. It is all packed in tight. I leave it there and walk to the kitchen, scrape the last of the dinner plates, listen to the ice machine hum. Ice. We have ice. In our house.

I’m here but not here, and there is the strangest heavy sad excitement building. It feels like a birth and a death all at once. Cries in the delivery room. Laughter at the graveside.

I will live my small part of this big story and I will write it as I go. It is a gift, an honor, a responsibility. If you would like to follow us to the Philippines, and I sincerely hope that you do, there are several ways to do so.

Of course I hope you’ll visit me here each day. That is one way. You can also step into the story by sharing one of these banners on your blog or Facebook page. There’s lots to choose from. This one is my favorite.

Here is where you can follow us on twitter. We’ll be using the hashtag #cbph.

You can find all the post from the Compassion Bloggers in one place if you wish to follow all of us. I’ve heard how interesting it has been on past trips that everyone can look at the same things but see something entirely different.

And thank you for praying. I know you have and I say that with my head bowed low and my hands trembling, thankful. It is a gift to know you are there.

And as I say it, I smile. Because it occurs to me that I live in the United States. Why not just call it United States? We don’t and neither do they. I’ve never thought of it before.

And so I will get to my local airport in the United States at dark early in the morning. And I might tweet a bit as I wait in airports before we leave the country. We’ll be flying out of LAX (with a dream and my cardigan) around 3:30 EST and get to Manila sometime on Sunday. Ish. Prepare our hearts, O Lord. And come quickly.