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Up Up and Away

Celebrate Hot Air Balloon Day by Focusing on What You Can Do

Today, June 5, is National Hot Air Balloon Day and I thought it would be the perfect backdrop for a motto shared to me by Seeds of Hope.

Focus on what you can do, not what you can't do.

This is often applied to people with disabilities but I think this message is important for all of us.

Have you ever been to a hot air balloon festival? If so, you might have been surprised. I had assumed hot air balloon flying was not only beautiful but simple.

Wrong. Watch this YouTube video to see it takes more than blasting hot air into the balloon.

Furthermore, the weather has to be perfect. If it's windy or rainy, they won't fly. Hot air balloons are probably not great ways to transport goods. Hot air balloons have a limited capacity for travelers and certainly a limited amount of time it can be up in the air.

Does it mean that aeronauts should stop flying hot air balloons?

They can if they want to, but hot air balloons are a unique way to experience the world from the sky.

You're unique, too.

But, like the hot air balloon, you're not perfect. You have your own strengths and weaknesses, things that make you, you.

In a world that tells you that you can be anything, this message can be tough.

I wanted to be a ballet dancer. It saddened me that my arthritis prevented me from being as flexible as I wanted to be. It just didn't feel good to keep dancing (I wasn't great, either).

This doesn't mean that any challenge that presents itself should force us to roll over and forget it. I am constantly challenged as a writer but write every day. I might not win a Pulitzer or have a screenplay produced but I know I can write (Yes, I sometimes struggle with imposter syndrome). The talent I have I use to inspire and entertain others (if you're in the vicinity of my office, you'll hear me laughing or crying, so my writing entertains me, too).

We don't want to give up when challenges present themselves but in order to see our unique value, we must be humble and grateful for what we have.

This reminds me of the Voice of an Angel episode from Touched by an Angel, a show that ran from 1994 to 2003. Charlotte Church was the guest star, and she played a member of an inner-city choir more interested in a contest than the choir. The angel, Monica, played by Roma Downey, was jealous of the young woman's voice, especially since she herself could not sing. Both the choir member and Monica learned valuable lessons about being appreciative of their gifts and having the humility to use them to serve others.

Sure it's a television show but I think the message is pertinent, even twenty years later. When I look up into the air and see a hot air balloon floating away, I don't think of what it can't do. I only think of the beauty it provides being a hot air balloon.

Thanks for reading.



One of the discussion questions at the back of Early Summer is: What questions would you like to ask the author?

Do you have questions? Email me at


I'll be at this festival on Sunday, June 11. Hope to see you there!

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Jun 05, 2023

Lovely post, Carol.

So true. You can be anything is intimating, especially for all the graduates in this season.


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