Graduation Gifts for Your TCK

graduation

Every where I look I see graduations. Cambridge and Boston are alive with the activity and color of students who have finished their college or graduate school education. From the bright red gowns of Boston University to the maroon gowns of Harvard, you can’t escape this season. And neither can your third culture kid who may be far away from the landscape of Harvard and Cambridge.

You have watched this young one grow from doing the toddler waddle to confidently crossing the globe alone. And now they are graduating. They are leaving the tight expat or missionary community that has loved them well and they are moving on to college and another life. What do you get them? How do you express what you feel as you say goodbye? Besides writing them a note – which is the best idea possible – here are some tangible gifts for your TCK.

Journals 

Books

  • Finding Home – a set of essays in an e-book compiled by writer Rachel Pieh Jones. These are written by either third culture kids or their parents and address a number of areas that are pertinent to the TCK.
  • The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton, This is a delightful read that looks at the “pleasure of anticipation, allure of the exotic, and the value of noticing everything!”
  • Between Worlds: Essays on Culture and Belonging – this was my first book, and I really do believe it will resonate with many TCKs. If it doesn’t, I promise you your money back!
  • Worlds Apart: A Third Culture Kid’s Journey – my second book and personal story. I’ve included a quote at the end of this post from the book! “We left behind our entire lives the night of graduation. We said goodbye to all we knew.”
  • Misunderstood: The Impact of Growing up Overseas in the 21st Century by Tanya Crossman – Tanya’s book is an excellent read and must have on your TCKs book shelf. Through interviews with over 250 third culture kids she gathers themes and thoughts on belonging, transition, home, and more.
  • Third Culture Kids 3rd Edition: Growing up Among Worlds  by Ruth Van Reken et al. In this 3rd Edition emphasis is on the modern TCK and addressing the impact of technology, cultural complexity, diversity & inclusion and transitions.
  • The Global Nomad’s Guide to University Transition by Tina Quick. This is a guide book to help TCKs understand what takes place in re-entry and/or transition and gives them the tools and strategies they need to not only survive but to thrive in the adjustment. This is the first book written to and for students who have been living outside their “passport” countries but are either returning “home” or transitioning on to another host country for college/university. It addresses the common issues students face when they are making the double transition of not only adjusting to a new life stage but to a cultural change as well.
  • Stuff Every Graduate Should Know by Alyssa Favreau. This is not TCK specific, but looks like a great guide to have on hand for life beyond high school.

I am a Triangle Merchandise – The I am a Triangle community is an amazing community of folks from all over the world. It was founded by Naomi Hathaway who has become a dear friend. The I am a Triangle Swag Shop is great for gifts for the global nomad. Mugs, T-shirts, Bags, and Multilingual Hoodies are just a few of the great gifts available.

Phone Charging Passport Holder – I love this! From the command “Just Go!” to the practicality of having the phone charger, this is a great gift for the one who has traveled the world and may worry they will feel stuck.

Plane Ticket or Airline Gift Card – Sounds expensive right? It is and you probably can’t do it, but even for a domestic flight, that TCK will welcome the chance to get on a plane and fly to visit a friend.

Gift Card or Assortment of Gift Cards  –  Target, Forever 21, H & M, Primark, or Amazon. Personalize them by putting each one into a separate envelope using the labels – Dorm, Clothes, Miscellaneous Stuff, Books, Fun.

Visa or American Express Gift Card – I prefer American Express as there is no expiration date and they are amazing at reimbursing lost cards. The trick is to register them, so take that extra step and register the card for them. That way they won’t have to keep track of it.

Map of the World – With gift-ready packaging, this scratch-off map gives a concrete visual for the TCK to remember their previous journeys and look forward to more. Available here and here

Money, Money, Money – I had no idea how much I would need money. As cards were stuffed into my hand in the midst of tearful hugs I didn’t know how life-saving the gifts of cash would be. I still remember a few months later when strapped for cash I pulled out an envelope, and opened it with a grateful “God bless Auntie Connie for this money!”


Exerpt from Worlds Apart: A Third Culture Kid’s Journey

Graduation Night: 

The magnitude of what I was leaving was not completely lost to me that night. Even in the midst of the goodbyes, I felt my throat catch. But as I look back I am overwhelmed by it. We left behind our entire lives the night of graduation. We said goodbye to all we knew. For the rest of our lives we would struggle to answer the question, “Where are you from?” We would rage at those who attacked our adopted country, even as we raged at Pakistan herself. Some of us would be accused of crying “every time a cow died in Pakistan.” Others stoically moved forward, silent about the impact of being raised in another world.

As for me, I went back that night to the cottage where we had set up our home for the past few weeks of summer. Suitcases and bags sat on beds and chairs throughout the cottage. It was beginning to echo with the empty place we would leave behind, and it smelled musty and damp, the effects of monsoon season already begun. Crying had to wait, there was still packing to do. But how do you pack up a life? I stayed up to gather the remainder of my possessions, putting them into an old green suitcase, and finally fell asleep to the sounds of monsoon rain on the tin roof.

The next day I would leave Pakistan and never sleep in this house again, never walk up the hill to catch the school bus. The final chapter of life as a child in Pakistan had ended. I was the baby turtle, making its way slowly to the sea. No one could do it for me. In order to survive and thrive, I had to do it by myself.

About a Book….aka Kill Those Darlings!

Worlds apart promo

Some of you may remember a big announcement last year. It was about a book. A book that I was so excited about. I talked about it on the blog and on social media sites. I had a book reading and signing. But something just wasn’t right.

That book, that precious book where I let my childhood memories in all their vulnerability out into the world, did not sell. Meanwhile, my previous book kept on selling.

I couldn’t figure it out. It was so defeating and so depressing. I had been writing that book for eight years. What happened? Why was it so poorly received? I didn’t talk to anyone about it, because when you love writing and you want people to receive your words….well you don’t talk about the hard stuff.

Right after the book came out I had major surgery. While I had hoped to spend my recuperating days writing, instead I ended up just healing. It was the hardest and most humbling work I’ve ever done, and it was a fulltime job. Soon after that, I realized that my dad was entering into his final illness. I needed to spend as much time as I was able with my mom and dad, which is never enough time. He died in October, and soon after that, some of the stuff you never talk about on a blog happened.

And the book got lost in all of the stuff that was happening. But I would still think about this book. Why on earth did I write it? What did I expect? Dear friends from Pakistan were writing me regularly telling me they would never read the book. It was just too hard for them. So what was it for anyway?

I realized I hadn’t written it for them. I had written it for a far more general audience, but the book didn’t reflect that. I also realized some things about writing. Just as an artist puts their heart and soul into their art, we who write put our heart and soul into our words. We craft and recraft sentences. We look for meaning behind things that happen to us and we invite others into those events, hoping they too will find meaning. As Joan Didion says: “We tell ourselves stories in order to live….We look for the sermon in the suicide, for the social or moral lesson in the murder of five. We interpret what we see, select the most workable of the multiple choices….” 

Writing helped me to understand more about how important stories are to our understanding of others and ourselves. I thought more specifically about the third culture kid’s journey, the stories behind the arrivals and departures, the narrative that captured the sweetness of hello and the bitterness of goodbye.*

In the middle of all these life events, I did a book reading.  It was there that one of my friends asked me about the title. She said it so graciously, but I took the words to heart. “What about the title?” she asked. “Why did you choose to call it that?”

My friend is Israeli and Jewish – in other words, we come from different countries and different faiths, but she loved the book. Her words took root in my heart.

It was in early winter that Doorlight Publications reached out to me. They wanted to reprint the book. It wasn’t selling well. What did I think about retitling the book and adding a foreword as well as a section that would take the reader from reading about my story to writing about their own journey?

There is a phrase in the writing world that talks about killing your darlings. In other words, the things that you hold onto the most in writing sometimes need to be killed off, taken out, severed from the body of the book.

The title was my darling. I so wanted ‘Pakistan’ to be in the title. And it seemed to make sense that I would put faith in it. But it narrowed the focus of the book too much. The book was my journey through my developmental years in Pakistan and included so much more than Pakistan and faith. Would I be willing to kill my darling?

I would, and I did.

Just last week the book was re-released under the title Worlds Apart: A Third Culture Kid’s Journey. I love it. I love the cover. I love the foreword by Rachel Pieh Jones, who is writing her own book to be released in 2019 by Plough Publishing. I love the ‘Mapping Your TCK Journey’ at the end, followed by book resources.

And I’m excited for this new start. You don’t always get another chance with a book, but I did with this one.

So would you give it a chance? Would you consider buying the book? I would love it if you did!

I would love to have you purchase the book! It’s on sale through Amazon and available wherever books are sold.

*Page 184 Worlds Apart: A Third Culture Kid’s Journey


barnes and noble

amazon logo

books a million


Passages Through Pakistan – Film & Reviews

The train rounds a bend.
The rest of the cars appear one by one,
all tied to one another
far into the distance.
It comes as a surprise to be tied to things so far back

Human Landscapes from My Country

by Nazım Hikmet

____________________________________________________

passages-cover

As many of you know, Passages Through Pakistan: An American Girl’s Journey of Faith was released in early March.

Below is a short video about the book with some amazing pictures of Pakistan taken by a couple of friends, as well as me. Enjoy!

 

Passages Through Pakistan from Marilyn Gardner on Vimeo.

Advance Praise for Passages Through Pakistan
“Passages Through Pakistan tells the captivating story of Marilyn Gardner’s childhood as a ‘third-culture kid’, raised by her Christian, American missionary parents in the heart of Pakistan. Gardner’s eloquent story of the trials, tribulations, and lessons of growing up as a bridge between these rich cultures serves as an important lens through which Americans and Pakistanis can learn more about one another and their important long-term partnership in a time when the gap between the two nations seems to be growing ever larger. By shedding light on how our faiths, our cultures, and our worlds are far more alike than different, Gardner’s story is a must read for those wanting to build bridges.”Ambassador Akbar Ahmed, Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies, American University,Washington, DC
*********

Marilyn demonstrates sensitivity and understanding toward an often misunderstood part of the world…

“Marilyn Gardner’s Passages Through Pakistan is a wonderful book, presenting in both a descriptive and reflective way the wonder of her childhood that took place in the mountains of northern Pakistan, the villages and deserts of southern Pakistan and the small towns of New England, along with some of the places in between.
As the only daughter in a remarkable family that included four brothers, Marilyn emerges as a sensitive observer with an impressive eye for detail as well as a well developed memory for the small anecdote that often reveals a much larger meaning.

Part spiritual reflection, part childhood reminiscence and part travelogue, Marilyn’s book will be especially welcomed by those trying to make sense of their own personal stories, especially if they involve transitions across multiple cultures and geographic locations.

A deeply moving observer of the places, people and events that have surrounded her, she demonstrates sensitivity and understanding toward an often misunderstood part of the world, presenting the sights, sounds, landscapes and peoples of Pakistan in ways that are largely absent in both newspaper headlines and superficial social media accounts that all too often know little and understand even less.

Americans growing up in Asia and Asians growing up in America will especially gravitate toward this account, capturing as it does the complexity as well as the wonder and astonishment of childhoods spent in unlikely places. It will also resonate strongly with missionary kids and third culture kids everywhere.” – Jonathan Addleton, former US Ambassador to Mongolia, is the author of several books including The Dust of Kandahar:

A Diplomat Among Warriors in Afghanistan and Some Far and Distant Place

Passages Through Pakistan is available at the following locations:

Small Things for the Kingdom

“Long ago, it seemed, I had been ruined for the ordinary.” 

It was six years ago that I had the opportunity to go to Pakistan, place of my childhood and land that I love, to work with displaced people. Massive floods had uprooted millions of people and Pakistan was feeling the after effects. Villages sat empty, every house unliveable because of water damage that had reached high on the walls. IDP* camps were full of people who already had so little – now they had lost the little they had.

Something happened to my heart the day that I saw a picture of Jacobabad, a place of one of my childhood homes, on the front page of the NY Times completely flooded. More than anything in the world, I wanted to go to Pakistan. I wanted to go help.

For many, this would seem brave. The Taliban had just attacked 36 trucks filled with fuel on the outskirts of Shikarpur – the place where I was headed. Pakistan was constantly front page news, not for anything good. For me, this wasn’t about bravery. It was about longing. It was about place. It was about home. It was about getting away from the “ordinary” that had become my life. 

In the words of Danielle Mayfield, author of the new book Assimilate or Go Home, “long ago…I had been ruined for the ordinary” 

Those two weeks in Pakistan were weeks that I will never forget. What we did was small in the big scheme of things. But the trip set in motion a longheld desire to work with refugees and displaced people. I found that this desire was bigger than place, (although to begin this work in a place I considered home was wonderful.) The desire was bigger than me.

I came back to the United States and no one wanted to know about my trip. Not a single person asked about Pakistan. I was a package of defeat, humiliation, and dysentery. Here was a place and a work I cared about – and it didn’t matter to my current, every day reality. It didn’t matter to the ordinary.

In retrospect, I wonder why I expected it to matter – that in itself was unreasonable. But beyond that was what was happening in my own heart.

Suddenly, it didn’t feel enough to be where I was. I wanted to be somewhere else. I wanted to make a difference. I wanted my life to count.

I wish D.L. Mayfield’s book had been available at that time. Six years later, I had the privilege or reading this book and as I read, I found a kindred spirit.

On the surface, Mayfield’s journey has stark contrasts to mine. But just below the surface, there are many similarities. She grew up as a nomad in her own country – the United States. Moving from place to place, she learned early what it is to be uprooted, what it is to start over. Mayfield also knows what it is to not really know the meaning of ‘home.’  She brings this into her journey of living side by side with refugees, learning the rhythms that define their lives in a new place, and through this, learning more about what it is to really understand that God loves you.

Those rhythms –anticipation, reality, depression, acceptance — are the way she tells her story. She writes “The resettlement cycle is a loose, fluid look at how so many in our world are being asked to envision and forge new lives for themselves, and what a rocky journey it can be……There was and is something to the emotional arc that connected with me, the process of leaving the safety and security  of my background and religion and being launched into the wilder territory of discovering the kingdom of God.” 

Mayfield’s journey is initally about wanting to do big things and go faraway places. As she sees the world dropped into her neighborhood in the form of refugees, she realizes that the kingdom of God is not about doing big things. It’s not about going exotic places. It’s not about major conversions. The kingdom of God is about his love for our world, and us showing up to reflect that love; a love that turns everything upside down. 

The book is about refugees, about communities that could not be more different than white America, about finding God in the margins and the broken. But mostly, it’s about learning how much God loves you; how much he loves me. How much he loves each one of us, not for what we do, but for who we are.

Slowly, I found myself relaxing and resting in the love that D.L. Mayfield discovered, and then with surprise, I realized I could relax and rest in that same love for myself.

After my trip to Pakistan, I desperately wanted my world to change. I desperately wanted to make a splashy difference. But that didn’t happen. Instead, slowly by slowly I’m learning to function out of love of God, right where I am, in the ordinary of life.

It’s only as we discover God’s love for us that we truly have what it takes to embrace our broken world. It is only through understanding the deep love of God that we are equipped to do small things for the kingdom. 

assimilate or go homeNote: For more information and to order Assimilate or Go Home, take a look here. The book is available wherever books are sold!

*IDP – Internally Displaced People

What’s On Your Bookshelf?

Books with quote

Two years ago, I asked this question…but Communicating Across Boundaries has grown exponentially since then, so I’m asking it again.

The task is simple but oh so hard! Pick three books on your bookshelf that summarize you. What three books give us a snapshot of your life?

This was introduced by National Public Radio’s ‘All Things Considered‘ show a couple of years ago and I loved it so much I want to use it here at Communicating Across Boundaries. Anyone who responds in the comments will be put into a drawing to receive one of the books that is a snapshot of my life.

So let’s get started! My three are:

1. Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo. Katherine Boo takes us into the stories of real people living in the Annawadi slum in Mumbai. The slum shares walls with the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai. This ethnically diverse community lives in close quarters, daily confronting poverty, violence, conflict, illness, and government corruption. Because I love the Indian subcontinent this book resonates at many levels.

Quote: “.. becoming attached to a country involves pressing, uncomfortable questions about justice and opportunity for its least powerful citizens.” 

2.The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit: A Jewish Family’s Exodus from Old Cairo to the New World by Lucette Lagnado. This book is my heart book and chronicles the journey of a Jewish family from their home in Cairo through their adjustment to life in New York City. There is so much I love about this book, not least is its descriptions of how much this family misses Cairo and their cry of “Ragaouna Misr” (Take me back to Egypt!) that still echoes through my soul.

Quote: “We had barely drifted out of Alexandria‘s harbor when I heard my father cry ‘Ragaouna Misr!’ – Take us back to Cairo! It became his personal refrain, his anthem aboard the old cargo ship…”

3. Some Far and Distant Place by Jonathan S. Addleton. Jonathan is a childhood friend, best friend to my brother Tom through the years. He writes of growing up in Pakistan but intersperses throughout the book history of what is happening in the region – things I caught only partially while growing up. I love this book and periodically reread it. This book is home.

Quote: “…’Look carefully’ my brother said. ‘It will be a long time before you see stars shining this brightly again….'”

So now you – Three books from your bookshelf (or Kindle) that give us a snapshot of your life!  Include quotes if you can! 

 Photo Credit from http://pixabay.com/ photo art by Marilyn R. Gardner

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Harry Potter as TCK Lit

In July of 2014, two of my kids challenged me to read the entire Harry Potter series. Although we were first in line to get the books through the years and my children dressed up for the movies, hitting the midnight opening shows more than once, I had (shamefully) not read them.

So I took the challenge, and six months later on New Year’s Day I read the last sentence “All was well” and, realizing I had finished, I burst into tears. I had fallen in love with Harry Potter and all the people in his world.

It wasn’t until later that I realized how much Harry Potter’s world resembled the world of the third culture kid. Harry Potter lived between, learning to negotiate the Muggle world, even as his life in the wizard world was not perfect. Harry Potter’s best friends were like TCK best friends, who stick with you through the years, even though you go through times of not speaking or hating each other. Harry Potter knew he was ‘other’ when he was with his relatives, the ghastly Dursley family. The first sentence in the book is a perfect description of this Muggle family:  “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”

Through all seven books, Harry’s adventures are relatable to the kid who has lived on three continents and knows several different languages. He even speaks Parseltongue, making him a bilingual hero.

But it was this paragraph that convinced me that Harry Potter was a third culture kid: “Harry kicked off hard from the ground. The cool night air rushed through his hair as the neat square gardens of Privet Drive fell away, shrinking rapidly into a patchwork of dark greens and blacks, and every thought of the Ministry hearing was swept from his mind as though the rush of air had blown it out of his head. He felt as though his heart was going to explode with pleasure; he was flying again, flying away from Privet Drive as he’d been fantasising about all summer, he was going home… for a few glorious moments, all his problems seemed to recede to nothing, insignificant in the vast, starry sky.” [Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, pp 54-56.]

So call me crazy, but this series will definitely be in my resource list for TCK lit. For the thousandth time, I thank JK Rowling for regifting the gift of imagination.

I’ve included some of my favorite quotes in today’s post. Enjoy, and, if you’re a Harry Potter fan, feel free to add your own.

On Adventure:

Adventure HP quote

On Dreams: 

HP Quote version 2

On being a stranger in our passport countries: 

Snape quote

On Being Yourself:

Luna Lovegood 2

On third culture kid connections:

hearts beat as one

 

Winners for Meditations Coloring Book!

Last week I announced a giveaway on Communicating Across Boundaries. The giveaway was for a beautiful coloring book, hand-drawn by the talented Lorien Atwood. The rules were simple: Just leave a comment on the blog post.

Today, I’m happy to announce that the two winners are:

Abigail and Karlyn!

Here is the program that I used to pick a name: Random Name Picker

I’ll be contacting both of you to get addresses and make sure you get your gift as soon as possible. Thanks to all of you for reading Communicating Across Boundaries!

For the rest of you, take a look at Coloring in Truth and order your copy today! 

And remember: Creativity is intelligence having fun! 

creativity quote.jpg

 

 

 

Anne of Green Gables, My Daughter & Me

  

Anne of Green Gables, My Daughter & Me—A Book I recommend by Lorilee Craker wherein she explores what it means to be Orphaned and what it means to Belong.

I suppose Lowell brought home this book from the library because of the title. I’ve always loved Anne of Green Gables. I read through the entire series by Lucy Maud Montgomery when I was in grade three. I’ve watched the movies more times than I can count. In 2014 a dear bosom friend, Corinne, took me on the trip of a lifetime to Prince Edward Island to discover where Anne came to belong. I have always loved that precocious Anne with an “e”. However, I had never really thought of themes in the stories that I so completely connect with–themes of being orphaned, of longing for and of finding belonging.

Craker, in this deeply personal book, explores briefly what it is in us that is fascinated with literary orphans. Why do we resonate with characters like Oliver Twist, Mary Lennox (from The Secret Garden), Tom Sawyer, Harry Potter, Orphan Annie, Polyanna, Heidi, Dorothy Gale from the Wonderful Wizard of Oz and others? Our popular culture is curiously populated with orphans too: Tarzan, Elsa, Mowgli, James Bond, Cyclops, Snow White, Margo, Edith and Agnes from Despicable Me. Even our super heroes are not exempt: Superman and Spiderman, Batman and Robin, The Flash, Captain Marvel, Captain America were all orphans.

In her story Craker came upon a definition of “orphan” that perhaps explains in part our obsession with the orphan. It was a definition that struck a chord. An orphan is one bereft, left behind and left.

By that definition, we’ve all been orphans at one time or another. We’ve all been brought to our knees by the loss of someone we love, somebody whose death bereaves us terribly. We’ve all been left behind, renounced, ditched, and forsaken. Fired. Dumped. Snubbed. And who among us has not been just plain left, plopped down on the curb of life, waiting for the ride that will never come? (page xi)

 The entire book is a masterful weaving together of Craker’s own story of being adopted by a kind hearted book seller and his devoted wife, the story of her adopting their beloved daughter, Phoebe, from Korea and the timeless tale of Anne of Green Gables. As the book unfolds the reader is invited to join Craker in her honest search for what it fully means to belong.

I suspect, as an Adult Third Culture Kid, I was part of an unintended audience for such a book. And yet I felt my heart stirred and consoled as Craker shared with vulnerability her painful questions and some of the answers she comes to that bring varying levels of comfort. Who knew that the red headed orphan girl who found a place on Prince Edward Island and in the hearts of Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert could lead us to deep truths about heart connections, kinship and true community?

That (heart) break belongs to everyone who has ever been bereft, left behind, and left—in other words to Maude, to Phoebe, to all of us. But God mends and makes us strong at the broken places…

            Phoebe has to do her own work… I can tell her she’s work fighting for. I can tell her that our cracked stories don’t have the last word, not by a long shot. Baby girl, believe that the best things lie around the bend in the road. Stay fascinated with the road beyond! Speak in your own tongue and minister to the needs of humanity. Never forget.

            I can tell her that our heart-bones are healing because we belong to Jehovah Rapha.

            He said that there could be a better way; that all things could be made new.

            Everyone wants to feel secure and wanted. We all want to belong.

            He said He would not leave us as waifs on the street; He comes for us. He never forgets the children whose names are written in the palm of his hand. God makes us belong. He is enough.

            At every bend in the road, our Father is waiting for us, reaching out his arms. And we are orphans no more. (Anne of Green Gables, My Dauther & Me. Lorilee Craker, Tyndale House, 2015. Pages 222-223).

Kids Books Without Borders – A Guest Post

Kids Books Without Borders by Gail O’Connor

Books without Borders

Journey back with me to a city in France, in the late 60s, as I revisit my childhood as a third culture kid… :

As the cold and the damp settled over the French landscape, it seemed to seep through the walls of our house. Even our free range cats, normally night prowlers, huddled between our legs at night and slept on top of the radiator covers during the day. Umbrellas and boots cluttered the front entryway. The last of the hazelnuts were gathered from the roof of our backyard chicken coop. At the end of our block, heaps of coal towered behind a high wall, waiting to be loaded into trucks and delivered to homes. Occasionally, large chunks of coal tumbled onto the sidewalk as we walked home from school. My older brother, Rob, and little sister, Renee, and I would trudge home with our ‘cartable’ (backpacks) at 4:30 pm, as the already sunless sky darkened.

Gail

 

After completing a few worksheets and stuffing them back in my backpack, I could think of no greater pleasure than reading. We had a small, one-room ‘bibliotheque’ (library) where we lived in Villeneuve-Le-Roi, France. I loved to gather up as many mysteries as I was allowed to check out – Les Six Companions series by Paul-Jacques Bonzon was my favorite. There were also the comic series Asterix et Obelix (by Goscinni) and Tintin (by Herge), and a shelf in our living room with a set of Childcraft encyclopedias. The one titled Rhymes and Poems, illustrated with rosy-cheeked, plump, and happy children, was the most worn. At bedtime, my mother would often read aloud to us, taking me us away into a world of mischievous bears who liked marmalade (Paddington Bear, by Michael Bond) or the adventures of children carried off into the night on a flying bed (The Magic Bed-Knob, by Mary Norton).

As a third culture kid, reading was not just a soothing activity, it allowed me to enter into worlds very different from my own and also to find characters who understood and put words to my emotions and life experiences. As a child in a French school, I once wrote these very thoughts on the significance of reading in an essay. I was very proud of my essay, and my teacher read it aloud to my class. I thought she was going to praise it, but instead she made fun of it, using it as an occasion to vent her strong dislike of Americans. Feeling humiliated, I wanted to sink through the floor. Looking back through adult eyes, I now know that this teacher was wrong in how she treated me and in her assessment of my essay. C.S. Lewis aptly remarked:

Since it is likely that children will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage.”

Reading stories of children who faced difficult situations, such as Mary in The Secret Garden, Anne in Anne of Green Gables, and Pollyanna, or brave women such as Gladys Aylward as recounted in biographies, gave me courage, inspiring me to be brave and strong and not to allow the hard things I occasionally faced to bring me down, and to be a positive influence on those around me. That teacher may have had a bitter cup to drink in life; I will never know. I can only hope she found God’s love and grace to heal her own wounded heart.

I remain a strong believer in bibliotherapy. Reading continues to sustain and inspire me. That is why I started Kids Books Without Borders. I want to extend this gift to other third culture kids, offering them a range of books: picture books, early readers, chapter books, classics, fantasy, realistic fiction, biographies, fairy tales and folktales, multicultural books, TCK books, poetry, science fiction, non-fiction, and young adult books. We have many instances of them all!

I also have a blog with the purpose of sharing stories, resources, book lists, and my own reviews to help you select the best books for your third culture kids. While I write about my favorite books and classics, my niche is children’s books that address TCK issues (moving, self-acceptance, loss, travel, cultural identity, etc.). I also have a love for multicultural children’s literature –children’s books that address issues of race, culture, language and adapting to a new culture.

If you are living overseas and would like to request books, please go to my website at kidsbookswithoutborders.wordpress.com. I currently have over 4,500, thanks in part to donations from families at my local church, friends, and homeschool groups. I would love to hear from you and to have the privilege of blessing your family with great children’s books!

Note about the author: Gail O’Connor is a TCK friend from my Chicago years who grew up overseas in France with a British mom and an American dad. She lives in Bloomington, Indiana, home to Indiana University where she has raised her family. She loves to read and now extends this love of reading and books to those who live overseas.

“I am Glad to be Alive in You!”

Anne of Green Gables

“The “Anne” series let us dream about adolescence while holding on to childhood. The world of Avonlea—Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, the apple blossoms and the knickers and caps, dance cards, hay rides, Gilbert’s patient and steadfast heart—was gentler than what we might have imagined about adolescence……a last moment of being able to enjoy gentler childhood ideals.” from Why We Loved Gilbert Blythe” by Sarah Larson in The New Yorker

A couple of years ago, my daughter Stefanie wrote something on social media about “waiting for Gilbert Blythe.” I’m not sure the exact wording, but I remember laughing when a young woman who was six years older than Stefanie responded “Get in line.” This was the phenomenon that was Gilbert Blythe. 

My daughters grew up on Anne of Green Gables. Megan Follows was a household word. We loved the books, we loved the movies. Like the quote above, this series let girls “dream about adolescence while holding on to childhood.” And that is a gift my friends.

In honor of the untimely passing of Gilbert Blythe on April 19, a man who woman, separated by generations, all loved, I offer you these quotes from the “Anne” series.

Quotes from Anne of Green Gables

“Well, that is another hope gone. My life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes. That’s a sentence I read once and I say it over to comfort myself in these times that try the soul.”

“Dear old world,” she murmured, “you are very lovely, and I am glad to be alive in you.”

I don’t want any of it to change. I wish I could just hold on to those days forever. I have a feeling things will never be the same again, will they?

“It makes me very sad at times to think about her. But really, Marilla, one can’t stay sad very long in such an interesting world, can one?”

“There’s a lot of different Annes in me. I sometimes think that is why I’m such a troublesome person. If I was just the one Anne it would be ever so much more comfortable, but then it wouldn’t be half so interesting.”

“Would you please call me Cordelia?”

Anne Shirley: Don’t you ever imagine things differently from what they are?

Marilla Cuthbert: No.

Anne Shirley: Oh Marilla, how much you miss.

Quotes from Anne of Avonlea

“Gilbert stretched himself out on the ferns beside the Bubble and looked
approvingly at Anne. If Gilbert had been asked to describe his ideal
woman the description would have answered point for point to Anne, even
to those seven tiny freckles whose obnoxious presence still continued to
vex her soul. Gilbert was as yet little more than a boy; but a boy has
his dreams as have others, and in Gilbert’s future there was always a
girl with big, limpid gray eyes, and a face as fine and delicate as a
flower. He had made up his mind, also, that his future must be worthy of its goddess.”

“In Gilbert’s eyes Anne’s greatest charm was the fact that she never stooped to the petty practices of so many of the Avonlea girls — the small jealousies, the little deceits and rivalries, the palpable bids for favor. Anne held herself apart from all this, not consciously or of design, but simply because anything of the sort was utterly foreign to her transparent, impulsive nature, crystal clear in its motives and aspirations.”

“For a moment Anne’s heart fluttered queerly and for the first time her eyes faltered under Gilbert’s gaze and a rosy flush stained the paleness of her face. It was as if a veil that had hung before her inner consciousness had been lifted, giving to her view a revelation of unsuspected feelings and realities. Perhaps, after all, romance did not come into one’s life with pomp and blare, like a gay knight riding down; perhaps it crept to one’s side like an old friend through quiet ways; perhaps it revealed itself in seeming prose, until some sudden shaft of illumination flung athwart its pages betrayed the rhythm and the music, perhaps. . . perhaps. . .love unfolded naturally out of a beautiful friendship, as a golden-hearted rose slipping from its green sheath. ”

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“I think for legions of young women around the world who fell in love with the ‘Anne of Green Gables’ films, Jonathan literally represented the quintessential boy next door, and there were literally thousands of women who wrote to him over the years who saw him as a perfect mate,” Kevin Sullivan, Producer of “Anne of Green Gables” as quoted in NY Times.

We Have a Winner!

Readers – I’m behind on almost everything these days including the book give away! 523 people entered the GoodReads Giveaway and 75 people entered the Communicating Across Boundaries Giveaway.

The two people who will receive books from the GoodReads giveaway are Andrea Ozment from the state of Tennessee and Jennifer Helinek from Pennsylvania.

The winner of the Communicating Across Boundaries book contest is Judy Daudt! Congratulations Judy!

I don’t know Judy but I know from her comment that she works with TCKs at a small university and she is a regular reader of Communicating Across Boundaries! Thanks to all of you who entered the contest.

Stay tuned for another giveaway later in the summer. 

For now – if you buy Between Worlds between now and August 9 all proceeds will go toward Syrian Refugees affected by the now 3-year old conflict. Here is what a recent Amazon reviewer says:

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful

By K. Lloyd Warford on July 28, 2014

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

“My own experience and the circumstances of my childhood as a military dependent were very different from those of Marilyn Gardner’s childhood but the emotional journey she shares in “Between Worlds” is remarkably similar to my own. When Marilyn describes sipping tea with friends in a Chai shop in Pakistan her words capture perfectly the bittersweet feelings such memories hold for third culture kids and others who have lived abroad. I have never been to Pakistan or known the taste of chai but her story ignites my own journey back almost 40 years to sunny afternoons at a Bratwurst stand in Bitburg, Germany. I laughed out loud reading about how she fought off her nomadic urge to move by rearranging the furniture. She captured the confusion and fear one feels when leaving a place you know and love to go to a place where you don’t know a living soul and have never lived before; a place you have been taught to call “home.” She describes perfectly the frustration third culture kids experience when they feel the need to edit their life story to keep new friends from thinking they are bragging or being snobbish. I could go on but suffice it to say this book moved me and helped me better understand my own nomadic childhood and the role it still plays in who I am today.”

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Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 4.47.35 PMSo: Buy Between Worlds. Between Worlds, Essays on Culture and Belonging  a set of essays on living between worlds today. The book is divided into 7 sections and each section is illustrated by my talented daughter – Annie Gardner. Home, Identity, Belonging, Airports, Grief & Loss, Culture Clash, and Goodbyes set the stage for the individual essays within each section. Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

If you live in the Boston area, I would love to have you come to a book launch on August 10. Contact me for more details at communicatingblog@gmail.com!

Lastly — the whole world has felt desperately sad lately and with that, it is difficult to know how to respond to the good in our lives, that which is not hard, that which needs to be celebrated. I am convinced that  joy and grief, tears and laughter can coexist without guilt but with thankfulness and clear recognition of grace. So this weekend my prayer is that insanity will be replaced by sanity, that grief will give way to joy, that laughter will be heard in your world.

A Quote and a GoodReads Giveaway

I talked about my favorite book the other day — the book Christy.  Several of you said you loved it as well. A reader, Christie, who has been living in Melbourne, Australia the last few years and has been going through the reentry process, said that she loved it so much she memorized the last 10 lines of the book. Today, because this week has held so much awful and evil on the worldwide stage, I’m leaving you my favorite quote from Christie.

“Evil is real – and powerful. It has to be fought, not explained away, not fled. And God is against evil all the way. So each of us has to decide where WE stand, how we’re going to live our lives. We can try to persuade ourselves that evil doesn’t exist; live for ourselves and wink at evil. We can say that it isn’t so bad after all, maybe even try to call it fun by clothing it in silks and velvets. We can compromise with it, keep quiet about it and say it’s none of our business. Or we can work on God’s side, listen for His orders on strategy against the evil, no matter how horrible it is, and know that He can transform it.”
― Catherine MarshallChristy

May you rest well this weekend.

ATTENTION:  Not only is there a giveaway on Communicating Across Boundaries – there is also a giveaway on GoodReads! Take a look and enter by clicking the link below.

FBetween Worlds Essays on culture and belonging by Marilyn Gardner

Between Worlds Essays on culture and belonging

by Marilyn Gardner

Giveaway ends July 27, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at GoodReads.

Enter to win

The Wonder of a Book

Boston is bathed in fog and rain. Sometimes it’s a light rain, other times it’s torrential and the humidity makes everything stick. Our bedroom door squeals in pain as it shuts and clothes and sheets are all damp. It reminds me a bit of monsoon rains growing up – except that the monsoon lasted for six to eight weeks.

And all I want to do is curl up with a book. Work feels so unnecessary in the summer. I have the second Harry Potter book by my bedside, the one where Dudley has turned into a fat teenager and Harry doesn’t make it to Platform 9 3/4. I promised my children that this year would be the year I read all of them. It’s an exciting goal.

Growing up my favorite book on ever earth was Christy by Catherine Marshall.

It was a thick, dog-eared paperback that sat on our bookshelf, just waiting for me to read it during my 3-month winter vacation from boarding school. On the cover a beautiful, smiling woman was on a hillside, her face to the sun – young and hopeful. Christy was the first book I read that could probably be considered ‘historical fiction.’ The story was based on the author, Catherine Marshall’s, mother, who left a wealthy southern family in Asheville, North Carolina to go to Appalachia and teach for a year in a one-room school house. Appalachia was an impoverished community with multiple problems miles away from Asheville in both distance and resources, The book chronicles her journey of learning to love a people and a place, understanding for the first time in her life what it meant to be privileged, how to respond to poverty, and most importantly – what it was to recognize and face evil.

Through the story of Christy I fell in love with the character, her students, and all of Appalachia. I lived out her story and every year I would re-read the book.

There was a lot of time to read during our winter vacations and daily you could see one or more of us in a spot in the house reading. Our imaginations could go from a Swiss mountain boarding school to a South African mansion; from a brownstone in Brooklyn to an imaginary land called Narnia; from the search for a treasure in a mountain by small people who loved parties to the ocean with some Bobbsey Twins. We traveled everywhere through Child Craft, Reader’s Digest Condensed Books, and anything else we could get our hands and eyes on.

There is magic in a book.

And yesterday my very own book arrived – oh yes it did! It arrived in a large box around six in the evening. I saw it outside and ran to get it. The rest of the family were in their separate spaces and so I had this moment alone opening the box. Nothing prepared me for the feeling. The cover is so beautiful — I held it like I would a baby. And then I opened it and there it was. Words I had written, descriptions I crafted, thoughts and beliefs I have. In the big scheme of things this is so little, in the small scheme of things it feels so big and unexpected, such an incredible gift. 

And so today I am announcing a book giveaway. In the next week if you leave a comment here on the blog, send an email to communicatingblog@gmail.com, leave a comment on the Communicating Across Boundaries Facebook page, OR put a link to the book on your own Facebook page and tell others about it, then you will be eligible to win a copy of Between Worlds: Essays on Culture and Belonging. In a week’s time I will put all the names of those who have contacted me through any of the listed methods, and put them into a computer program that will shuffle them and spit out a winner! I am excited to give away one or two copies of the book. I will send them your way, complete with a discussion guide that you can use on your own or in a small group setting.

Between Worlds: Essays on Culture and Belonging is not a suspense thriller that will make you curl up until two in the morning, flashlight under your covers, reading as though your life (definitely the life of the character) depended on it. But my hope is that it will be a book you read and nod and think – “yeah, I’ve felt that. I’ve been there.”

I thank all of you from deep within my heart that you have read and encouraged me enough to have the courage to write. 

Now – Let the games begin!

Remember – there are 4 ways to do this:

  • Comment on the blog 
  • Send an email to communicatingblog@gmail.com
  • Leave a comment on the CAB Facebook page! 
  • Put a link for Between Worlds on your Facebook page!  http://amzn.com/0983865388

Thank you so much for reading and encouraging through this process, for being a part of this journey! 

Between Worlds. Between Worlds, Essays on Culture and Belonging is a set of essays on living between. The book is divided into 7 sections and each section is illustrated by my talented daughter – Annie Gardner. Home, Identity, Belonging, Airports, Grief & Loss, Culture Clash, and Goodbyes set the stage for the individual essays within each section.

Share your favorite book and why in the comments! 

On Being Miss Rumphius and Robynn Bliss

 

lupines by Janet Wachter

Today Robynn is taking a day off – I dedicate this post to her and talk about why she’s taking today off at the end! 

One of my favorite children’s books is Miss Rumphius. 

The book begins with a little girl named Alice on a grandfather’s lap. There she would sit listening to exciting stories of faraway places. She would listen and listen and then say to her grandfather “When I grow up, I too will go to faraway places, and when I grow old, I too will live beside the sea.”

Her grandfather says ““That is all very well, little Alice”….“but there is a third thing you must do…You must do something to make the world more beautiful.”

“All right” says Alice. So Alice becomes a librarian – A librarian named Miss Rumphius. As a librarian she helped children find books that told them all about far away places. When she retired she decided to travel herself to see some of those far away places she had only visited through books. She travels and travels, gets tired, and finally ends up in a small cottage by the sea. But she still hasn’t figured out what to do to make the world a more beautiful place. Miss Rumphius ends up with a terrible back ache and has to have complete bed rest. It’s while laying in her bed that she knows what she wants to do to make the world a more beautiful place: she will plant lupine seeds. That way lupines will grow all over the country side.

So when Miss Rumphius is well again that’s what she does. She walks all over spreading lupine seeds. And the next year the ground is covered with beautiful lupines. She is now little and old and people call her the “lupine lady.”

The book ends delightfully with Miss Rumphius telling her nieces and nephews stories about far away places. And when they say they too want to go live in far away places and have houses by the sea she says to them exactly what her grandfather said to her:

“That is all very well….”but there is a third thing you must do…You must do something to make the world more beautiful.”

The book is based on the author’s great-aunt. It is a delightful read no matter what age you are and should be on every child’s bookshelf.

Today I was reminded of this beautiful book when my friend Janet, an amazing photographer, posted pictures of beautiful lupines. On this Friday the idea of lupines and making the world a more beautiful place makes me smile. And it makes me think of Robynn who is taking this week off as she transforms a house that is not beautiful into a place that is beautiful and warm, a place where she can love her family and care for her mother-in-law. And I love this. I love that she is transforming a house. I love that the ugly mural on a wall is being covered with fresh paint. I love that she is in the business of helping to transform lives and souls. 

So here’s to you on your day off Robynn! Keep on making the world a more beautiful place — through your writing which we get to enjoy weekly, through transforming your house, and for being a person used to transform souls. We love you.

Today how can you make the world a more beautiful place? 

Picture Credit: Janet Wachter who is also making the world a more beautiful place. Thank you Janet!

Readers – stay tuned for a book giveaway next week! 

 *Check out the book Between Worlds:Essays on Culture and Belonging – Available at Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon GermanyBarnes & Noble!

 

Release of Between Worlds – Essays on Culture and Belonging

Between Worlds is available NOW! Order your copy by going here!

I began writing three years ago – “I want to have a voice!” I said to my oldest daughter, 26 years old at the time. And on July 1st the “voice” will be transformed into a book titled Between Worlds – Essays on Culture and Belonging. 

And I am excited. Really excited. And I am scared and I feel like achild who thinks she’s mastered the art of tying her shoes only to realize that one loop doesn’t make a bow” (author unknown)

And yes – I will be honest: I want people to buy it! Of course I do – it would be crazy for me not to. Though my identity is wrapped up in something far greater and stronger than the temporary tissue paper of public opinion and selling books, I want people to read and be able to say “Yes! that’s me!” or “Yes! That was my experience!”

So just as you have joined me thus far in reading, commenting, and encouraging both me and each other, I hope you will join me on this new book launch. There will be a give away next week of two books so stay tuned for that! In the mean time here is what some others have said about this set of essays:

Between Worlds

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“To read this remarkable collection of essays is to journey with Marilyn Gardner between the worlds of East and West, home and not-feeling-like-home, touching with her the boundaries of culture, the inspirations of faith, and the comforts of loved ones. Her stories are compelling and unforgettable. And while her essays will instantly resonate with those, like Marilyn, who have lived between worlds, they speak volumes to those like me who have not. Every one of us has been at some point between two worlds, be they faith and loss of faith, joy and sorrow, birth and death. Between Worlds is a luminous guide for connecting – and healing – worlds.~Cathy Romeo, co-author, Ended Beginnings: Healing Childbearing Losses

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“Drawn from her honest, penetrating blog writings, Marilyn Gardner’s Between Worlds invites us into her memories with loving hospitality, connecting the various and vivid threads of her fascinating life without over-sentimentalization. She is a wise raconteur, knowing that memories are living, formative things. Her richly evocative descriptions of the places that have formed her engage every sense (and will likely leave one a bit thirsty for chai), and the book is delightfully adorned with her daughter’s pen drawings. Throughout her essays, Marilyn presses in on the questions with which every human soul wrestles, particularly our God-given desire to belong, and to live securely and coherently with oneself and others.

In a world that has grown ever more globally connected, her recollections engage us all to think through how “God uses place” — and, at times, acute feelings of displacement — to make us into the people we are. Adult third culture kids will find in Marilyn a compassionate, empathetic friend, and anyone who has lived “between worlds” will appreciate her gentle approach to the more disorienting facets of a globally nomadic lifestyle.”

Laura Merzig Fabrycky, The Washington Institute for Faith, Vocation, and Culture

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Between Worlds: Essays on Culture and Belonging available NOW! 

Read reviews of Between Worlds here: 

Purchase here:

Readers – thank you! It really belongs to you – and I would love for you to walk with me through this whole “book launch!

Interview with Tamara Lunardo – Editor of What a Woman is Worth

What a woman is worth picture

On April 1st the book What a Woman is Worth was released. Today I’m excited to introduce you to editor and writer Tamára Lunardo. In today’s post she talks about birthing the book, weaving her own story throughout and what she hopes readers will take away from What a Woman is Worth. Read more about Tamára at the end of the post. 

 

1.  How would you describe the book What a Woman is Worth? It’s a diverse and unified gathering of women’s voices to challenge and inspire people’s understanding of the value of women and girls.

2. How did you get the idea for the book? The responses I got from people who read my blog post “What’s a Girl Worth?” made me realize that I wasn’t alone in my hurts and questions of worth– so many others were struggling too. So I wanted to create something that would say to the world, “Women and girls need to hear a better story of themselves.” 

3. Your story is the common thread that weaves these diverse essays together–can you tell us a bit of what this was like for you? It really messed me up in terrible and necessary and beautiful ways. I thought I was going to just put together other people’s stories and that would be that– very sanitary. I’m a professional.

But the thing is, when you allow someone else’s story to get into your heart, you come face to face with your own– heart and story. So it delayed production for about a year because my story began to change as I acknowledged and interacted with it. And it was far from sanitary– it was messy, because that’s how hearts are, and our stories are our hearts. So now a lot of that developed story is woven into this book. And a lot of it will become a book of its own.

4. What do you hope women who read the book will learn or gain? I hope they will see that they’re not alone in their experiences, questions, or hurts and that who they are is intrinsically, unshakably valuable.

5. How about men– why might it be important for men to read WAWIW? The book has a female perspective on a universal issue because that’s where I come from. But I don’t think we have to have the same perspectives to learn from each other’s stories; in fact, we often learn more from those who see from a different vantage point.So this book is important for men, first, because the question of worth is one that every human is faced with and, second, because they have so much power in the world to make it better for everyone. I want them to see how women get such wrong messages about their worth, and I want men to step up and take part in sending better messages.

6. As a writer what’s next for you? I told my awesome agent, Rachelle, about the journey my life has taken throughout this book process– the frightening self-discovery, the painful divorce, the upending yet comforting of God’s good voice, the surprising, beautiful new life ahead. And she said that it’s a story I have to write because other people need to know what I’ve learned, which is that you only get to meet with God when you show up as your real self.

7. Any last thoughts about WAWIW to leave with readers? It’s terrifying to become vulnerable in front of the world. And I want you to know that the 30 women, plus me, who dared to shared their most personal stories could only have done it for a damn good reason. That reason is you.

We would love to hear from you! Leave any questions about the book or thoughts in the comments.

Want a copy of What a Woman is Worth

Order a paperback on Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/p2z7hrsOrder a Kindle version on Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/qdrqywv

Tamara thumbnailAbout the Author: Known for her disarming honesty and humor, Tamára is the editor of What a Woman Is Worth, a monthly contributor to A Deeper Story, an award-winning, syndicated blogger, an essayist appearing in several anthologies, and a copywriter for a large, child-focused anti-hunger organization.She holds a degree in English from the University of Florida, and her five kids, when they let her; she almost never holds her tongue.

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What a Woman is Worth – Buy Your Copy Today!

Two years ago I sent off an essay to a woman I only knew from blogging – Tamára Lunardo. I sent it off with shaking fingers, afraid of rejection, knowing I was an ‘unknown’.

Tamára had written a blog post that resonated with hundreds of readers. The post asked this question: Have you ever struggled to believe what you’re worth when God and the world disagree? The responses came from the hearts and souls of woman with an overwhelming “Yes!” “Yes – I’ve struggled to believe I have worth” “Yes – I’ve struggled to believe I am okay, I am worthy, I am beloved.” 

And from that one blog post, a book has emerged. A book called What a Woman is Worth. It is a set of 30 essays, woven together by Tamára Lunardo to create a tapestry of truth. In it Tamára offers up “an invitation to discover alongside [me] what a woman is worth.”

The book is divided into five sections:

  • Part 1: Am I Loved? Stories of Relationship
  • Part 2: Am I Broken? Stories of Abuse and Healing
  • Part 3: Am I Visible? Stories of Society and Culture
  • Part 4: Am I Good Enough? Stories of Expectations and Pressures
  • Part 5: Am I Whole? Stories of Faith

And yes – my essay was accepted. It is called “Relentless Pursuit” and sits on page 85. And I am grateful and proud in what I hope is a good way – because I think this work is important. Because every day in a million ways the world can shout that as women we are not worthy; But our Creator God whispers “Yes You Are! I died for you! I have loved you with an everlasting love.”

So this book is an important work, a work that shouts to the world we are loved, we are visible, we are good enough, we are whole. See what the primary author and editor says about the book here.

You can purchase the book at Amazon or head to the publisher Civitas Press or head to Tamára’s blog. Stay tuned for an upcoming interview on Communicating Across Boundaries with the Editor! 

Read what others have to say about What a Woman is Worth.

“A powerful, moving read, What a Woman is Worth brings together an all-star cast of today’s best storytellers to tackle some of the biggest, most complicated questions of the heart with unusual bravery and grace. The writing is sharp, funny, colorful, and raw, and the diversity of perspectives represented in this collection brings womanhood–in all its contradictions and shades–to life. It’s a celebration of what we all have in common, and it’s beautiful.” Rachel Held Evans, author of A Year of Biblical Womanhood

“The question of our worth lies at the root of so many things that hold us back in shame, fear, or doubt. This book is a brave ‘I’ll go first,’ inspiring all who read it to take important steps forward into freedom.” – Kristen Howerton, Professor of Psychology, Vanguard University, and author of RageAgainsttheMinivan.com

“What a Woman is Worth is a powerful collection of voices finding their home. Through words, these women link arms and make the powerful statement that our worth will be found in the whispering of our stories. The time for silence is over, and Lunardo does a beautiful job collecting and guiding these voices into song.” – Elora Ramirez, author of Every Shattered Thing

“A must-read for any parent concerned about how girls receive, internalize, and manifest the myriad subtle familial and societal messages about a woman’s worth.” – Cymande Baxter-Rogers, ARNP

“What a Woman is Worth is an engaging series of essays. Challenging, convicting, and artfully rendered, the collection of voices offers not only unique perspectives on what it is to be a woman but also how different women come to terms with defining womanhood — for themselves and for others. Sometimes humorous, often clever, this series is a tapestry of lived experience.” – Preston Yancey, author of Tables in the Wilderness: A Memoir of God Found, Lost, and Found Again (Zondervan)

“Powerful, compelling, and sometimes heartbreaking, What a Woman is Worth reminded me of the destructive narrative often force-fed to women in our culture. I came away with a renewed determination to help my wife and two daughters remember where their true value lies.” – Shawn Smucker, author of Refuse To Drown

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