Through the darkness into the light. Trust. Live. Fly.

How to learn from a butterfly

A little butterfly was caught in the bathroom of a house. She must have been entered through a small opening in the wall and couldn’t find her way out. She seemed so desperate and kept trying to fly towards the light, where she bumped against the closed window, over and over again. There was no way to open that window. I opened the door and tried to show her the way out. But she was so busy and too excited to see that there was someone trying to help. Although the door towards freedom was already open, she chose to continue the same painful way, the only one she knew. For hours, she run repeatedly against the closed window. Until she finally broke down, lying exhausted and frustrated on the bathroom floor.


How could I help him? 

I then realized, that the only way out led through the darkness. The light, her  freedom could not be reached through the closed glass window. She had to take all her courage, leaving her now familiar environment and change direction completely. She had to fly to the apparent uncertainty in order to gain freedom.

Surly, even more challenges would wait for her, behind that scary bathroom door, through the dark corridor to the front door. But if, she would not dare, she would for the rest of her life, see the light only through a closed glass pane.


Do not be afraid to walk through the darkness to make your way to the light.

-Annie Lulu-



Will she ever be able to find her own way? 

She’s just a little butterfly? The fact that she has come so far, is the proof that she can. A butterfly already went through its biggest transformation. As a small caterpillar she has built a cocoon from which she has finally forced herself out with her own power. And only through these enorm efforts, she was able to unfold her full beauty. Had anyone helped her and brought her out of the cocoon, her wings wouldn’t be strong enough to fly. Only through the tedious constraints out through the small opening of the cocoon, she was able to strip the gunk of her wings.

And so it is for you, the fact that you’re here, that you have come so far is proof that you can do it. All your recent challenges, your most experienced pain and your misfortunes … ..this all have made you the man or woman that you are today. You’ve come this far, so you can make it even further. Remember, we never get a challenge that we can not cope with.

To all freedom-loving people out there, to all who feel there must be more, to all who once broke down, desperately lying on the floor:


Do not give up! Go your way! Fly! 

Do not be afraid of the Dark! 

Only you know your way.

Deep inside you is the answer to all your questions.


There are people who are too busy analyzing why they got into a certain situation. Instead of being active, they are paralyzed with fear. Fear not to make it, afraid of failing. And then, they lie on the floor without even giving themselves the chance for another life.

While it is helpful to ask yourself: How did I get into this situation? What can I learn from this?, it is very important to start taking actions.

Trust. Live. Fly.

There will be people who will support you and there will be people who want to stop you. This might have many different reasons. They are happy where they and they don’t see the need to change anything or to seek something bigger. Maybe they envy you and your courage to do what they do not dare. They may project their own fears on to you and want to protect you from a ‘mistake’.  They believe you’re not capable of doing it and that their own limited belief is the only correct one.

But what do they know about your soul plan? About your longings? About your courage and incredible strength? Everything you need you’ll find inside yourself. No one else can tell you the direction, because no one else has the exact same experience as you have, no other but only  YOU yourself.

Trust. Live. Fly.

First Edition: The Way of St. James with a toddler

In a few weeks the first edition of my book  “The Way of St. James with a toddler ”  will be published.

It will be available in German and Dutch. If you’re interested in helping out with the translation into English and Spanish, please contact me.

The first part is a guide for parents who want to walk on the Camino with their child, but still have many unanswered questions.

The second part is about the Camino in general and about the challenges life gives us over and over and how we can deal with it .


*** We are all connected, we are all one . ***


In October 2014, Annie Lulu walked together with her 3 year old daughter Malia Luna on the Way of St.James in Spain. They walked 200km from Ponferrada to Santiago de Compostela. ‘The Way of St. James’ or ‘Camino de Santiago’ is by his pilgrims lovingly called ‘Camino’.

The Camino has so many similarities to real life. For Annie and Malia Luna it was sort of the start to a life-changing journey into faith.

Together with her daughter Annie is traveling the world for already many months. They support social service projects and non-profit organizations and live locally together with the people in need. 

They call themselves ‘The little owl and the Rucksack Coach’ and support since December 2014 in Asia. In the Philippines, Annie organized operations for cleft children, in Thailand they’re currently working with traumatized and disabled orphans.

A mom with her daughter, who organized everything on her own initiative. She founded her own charity and funded at the beginning almost all out of her own savings.

In the beginning there were many question marks. Own fears and well-intentioned transmitted fears of others.

With this book Annie Lulu wants to motivate and encourage you to go your own way. One step after another, the path unfolds while walking. Trust.

All benefit of the sale of this guide goes to the nonprofit organization Rucksack Coach Lulu gemeinnützige UG (haftungsbeschränkt)



Portrait No 27: The good soul of the transient house in Manila

Ate Cynthia is the good soul of the transient house in Banawe, Manila. She takes care of the patients, cooks, laughs and prays with and for them.

The transient house is run by the ICM Immaculate Conception Missionary Sisters. Patients in need and their accompany receive simple accomondation and food for around 2$/day.

Several month I stayed with our cleft patients with the ICM sisters. Noordhof Craniofacial Foundation Philippines-NCFP paid for all of our patients. I used to buy extra food for the patients, sometimes I got donations but most of the time I paid from my money.

Even though Philippinos, as they told me themselves, don’t like raw food, they got to love my fresh vegetables salad.

Portrait photo copyright by Ann-Kathrin Lange.

From the Way of St. James to the Ironman. German Ironman supports children in need.

Philipp Keckes, 28years old from Germany is an IRONMAN.

We met him in october 2014 on The Way of St. James, the Camino de Santiago in Spain.

I was walking 200 km on the Camino de Santiago with my 3 year old daughter and we met Philipp on our first day. Two weeks later we met him again on his last day in the cathedral of Santiago and we prayed together at the tomb of the apostle St. James.


Malia on the shoulders of Ironman Philipp

Philipp is supporting our social cause Rucksack Coach and asked his friends and family to donate.


In Austria Klagenfurt he

swam 3,86 km

bicycled 180,2 km

run 42,195 km



swim 3,86 km


bicycle 180,2 km


run 42,195 km

Philipp, you are an IRONMAN

Philipp, you are an IRONMAN

Congratulation IRONMAN Philipp. We are proud to know you!

Ironman supporting Rucksack Coach

Ironman supporting Rucksack Coach


Please donate here!



Within seconds Everything can Change – Earthquake 4,8

Within seconds our life can change. Everything can be different, there are no guarantees. Choose wisely: your thoughts, your friends, your activities… they could be your last.

An earthquake of the strength 4,8 met Sanghklaburi in Thailand a few hours ago. The quake which was clearly to be felt has caused no bigger damages according to the first reports, nevertheless, it has caused fear.

It could be also understood as a wake up call. To concentrate on the essentials.

We were in the bathroom, I was just going to brush the teeth of my daughter when the building started shaking.

It was not my first earthquake, instinctively I picked up my daughter and brought her outside.

The first minutes are thrilling with uncertainty whether this was only a prequake and what would still come. I observe the dogs on the street. Dogs have a good sense and from their behaviour one can interpret something.

And then? Serenity settles in.

There is one question: “How would I want to spend my last moments on this earth?”

Shortly before the quake had started, I had dealt with a problem that were already running all day through my head. At this moment of the quake, this problem was not relevant at all.

It was also not important whether my child was on time in bed, whether the clothes are ironed or the house is cleaned. It was important that we were together. In case of any postquake I instructed my daughter what was to be done. And then we enjoyed the evening, sat late with friends together and concentrated on what is important to us

Have you asked yourself once: What would you do if you had to live only few hours or days? With whom would you want to spend this time? Which thoughts would you wanted to have? What stops you from doing this?

Please share your toughts.

Rainy season and Pyjama Party – like The Way of St. James in Spain


It’s raining and raining and will probably rain for many more weeks and even month. It’s rainy season.

October 2014 iI walked part of ‘The Way of St. James’ with my three year old daughter. In many ways, the Camino was the preparation for our charity journey. On The Way of St. James, we walked many days in rain, sturm and even lightening and thunder…..and here ist is almost the same….


Many years I didn’t use an umbrella, still I am not used to carry it around and leave in everywhwere….5 minutes later it is gone…and we have to walk through the rain…

Malia is using a plastic bag as raincover.


The path to our accomondation is long and muddy.


Our little house lies very remote.


It’s great so we can be as loud as we wish. The nights however can be a bit creepy.

While our neighbor is gone for a few days, we have two girls as sleeping guests.

Malia is reading them a good night story.


And jumping into the selfie.


However most impressed I am with Malia, how easy she got used to the very cold water. Even bathing in it…


Orphanage Baan Unrak in Sangkhlaburi, Thailand.

Every Child has an Angel – You will simply call her Mom

A baby asked God, “They tell me you are sending me to earth tomorrow, but how am I going to live there being so small and helpless?”

God said, “Your angel will be waiting for you and will take care of you.” 

The child further inquired, “But tell me, here in heaven I don’t have to do anything but sing and smile to be happy.” God said, “Your angel will sing for you and will also smile for you. And you will feel your angel’s love and be very happy.” 

Again the child asked, “And how am I going to be able to understand when people talk to me if I don’t know the language?” God said, “Your angel will tell you the most beautiful and sweet words you will ever hear, and with much patience and care, your angel will teach you how to speak.”

And what am I going to do when I want to talk to you?” God said, “Your angel will place your hands together and will teach you how to pray.” 

Who will protect me?” God said, “Your angel will defend you even if it means risking its life.”

But I will always be sad because I will not see you anymore.” God said, “Your angel will always talk to you about Me and will teach you the way to come back to Me, even though I will always be next to you.” 

At that moment there was much peace in Heaven, but voices from Earth could be heard and the child hurriedly asked, “God, if I am to leave now, please tell me my angel’s name.”

God said, “You will simply call her, “Mom.”

YouTube video: The children’s Angel

Photo: copyright Inga Schlieper
Poem: author unknown

Athlete grew up with cleft, had to overcome ridicule and is now running marathon for cleft patients

¨I desired I were dead, thinking I would be better off that way instead of living in the bitterness of rejection.


Rojan J. Pajarin is a good looking man, husband, father of two children, a marathon runner, hard working man who empowers cleft children, cleft grown ups and their families. I met him in Manila, were he is working for NCFP, when I brought 10 Bohol cleft patients for surgery to Manila.

From the first moment I was impressed how organized Rojan is, and how dedicated he is to all his cleft patients. Rojan himself was born with a cleft lip and cleft palate. He had to experience how cruel people can be…cruel for no reason.

Rojan was born into a simple fisherman family and he always had the hunger to achieve more. He made his way to Manila were he works for NCFP supporting patients who have the same condition that he suffered from before. Rojan knows first hand, that cleft is not fixed with an operation…there is so much more.

In order to support his family, he works in addition to his 40 hour job for NCFP as a pedicab driver in the nights and on the weekends. He also makes time to train for his special cause:

Rojan is running to raise awareness for complete cleft treatment. Soon we will hear more from this ambitiousness man.

I am so proud and honoured that Rucksack Coach is on his runnig shirt!!!

Here is part of his story:


I want to share what I have been through in receiving complete cleft care from Noordhoff Craniofacial Foundation Philippines Inc. (NCFPI).  I cannot forget the first time I met the NCFPI team in my province at Daet, Camarines Norte. That day was like rising from the dead. I had many setbacks and disappointments in the past due to my cleft condition that I even wanted to die.

I had my first operation in a cleft mission in Albay when I was five years old. I was diagnosed with an incomplete cleft on my lip’s left side and with a complete cleft on my palate, both of which were repaired. I had my second operation in NCFPI through Dr. Xenia A. Velmonte on October 2, 2007 to redo my cleft palate surgery because I still had a fistula after my first surgery.  Despite the success of this surgery, I still had difficulty with speech. Our speech pathologist said I had velopharyngeal insuffiency, so I had another surgery last May 8, 2008 to fix that. On April 22, 2009, Dr. Bernard Tansipek with Dr. Glenda de Villa, Dr. Xenia Velmonte and Dr. Sam Noordhoff worked together for a surgery to revise my lip and nose.

I experienced much pain as I went through all these surgeries.  In my last surgery, the original plan then was to do it with local anesthesia as an out-patient, yet eventually, it had to be done inside the operating room.  The last thing I remembered seeing was the operating room lights.  I also remember hearing the voices of the nurses and doctors… I lost my consciousness but I was sure that the surgery will be successful. I had no relatives with me in the hospital then, but the NCFPI doctors were there, and I trusted and believed in them. NCFPI doctors are molded by the best schools, trainings, advisers and experiences, and through them, I felt joy in God’s blessings despite my unpleasant experiences.

Cleft is not as bad compared to other inborn illnesses and may not even really be a disability if it will be treated early. In my case, the medical intervention was too late. I say this because I have seen similar cases of cleft conditions like mine in my 7 years of working at NCFPI and I can say that they were treated successfully.  Why is it that my first surgeries were not successful?  I do not know what really happened. What I know today is that cleft treatment needs regular follow-up consultations after surgery.

I now understand the difference between a one-shot cleft mission compared with a center-based cleft care treatment. In most missions, the doctors come and then leave after they have finished all their patients’ surgeries. No follow up consultations can be done. That approach is not bad as long as the operation is successful, but in my case, there was still a small fistula or hole in my palate area. My parents did not know what to do with this problem, where to go, or who to ask. We found that going to hospitals was not the answer because the doctors there just told us that the one who should remedy it is the doctor who operated on me. Perhaps if we had the money, my parents could have had me operated on in a hospital where I could go for regular consultations.  I grew up with that small hole and it caused me great suffering. But now that I have known NCFPI, even if it is quite late in my life, I am thankful that I found the remedy to my problem. In a center like NCFPI, a cleft patient can go there as long as they need to and they can get the best care possible even as soon as he is born.


After my surgeries, I attended speech therapy sessions with the NCFPI speech pathologist Sir Paolo Sison III. He taught me the techniques of proper speaking after an assessment of my speech problems. I am also blessed that our volunteer dentists took care of my teeth, especially Dr. Rachel Anne Santos. I am also very thankful to our orthodontists, headed by Dr. Janet Pandan, who patiently work on my misaligned teeth. She continues to help cleft patients with their teeth until they get the correct “bite” or occlusion. I am also proud of our surgeons, and many of my friends with craniofacial conditions at NCFPI underwent successful jaw alignment surgery or orthognathic surgery to improve their facial appearance.


The face of a person with a cleft truly requires much work from many people and not just the surgeon.  The parents, especially the mothers, have to support their children with cleft in their totality, especially emotionally.  I realized that cleft treatments may have an end but people with cleft also have to continue striving and healing themselves.  I realized too that the greatest solution for a person with cleft is self-acceptance, and this is the starting point to set oneself free, to move on beyond your own perceived limitations and fears towards a happier life.





Rojan with his NCFP collegues and the little Lulu from Rucksack Coach. They took cleft patients on a very special day out in Manila.




Frontpicture Copyright: Ann-Kathrin Lange