Rania – Reflections on Place, Work, and Travel

I walk up the three flights of stairs to our apartment and unlock the door. I step inside and breathe a sigh of gratitude. No matter where you live, you need a home base. This is why the displacement and refugee crisis of our time is so important to care about. We are created for … Continue reading Rania – Reflections on Place, Work, and Travel

Peeling Pomegranates in Rania

I wake to a sun-filled room in Kurdistan. It is Friday and we have slept late, still catching up from hours of lost sleep in the last couple weeks of packing and moving. Friday begins our weekend in this part of the world, and the mosque behind our apartment reminds us that it is a … Continue reading Peeling Pomegranates in Rania

Enlarging our hearts in Ranya ڕانیه

It's difficult to believe that we have only been in Kurdistan for 48 hours. Our flight from Qatar was uneventful. We connected with another new faculty member just before boarding the plane. The fact that she spotted us so easily was a reminder that we are westerners and everything from the way we talk to … Continue reading Enlarging our hearts in Ranya ڕانیه

Next Stop Kurdistan

We head to the airport in Doha Qatar early in the morning. Already the air is heavy with heat. Humidity is high and my husband’s glasses fog up as soon as he steps outside. The majority of Qatar is not Qataris but those in Qatar for work or travel. It feels like a fascinating and … Continue reading Next Stop Kurdistan

About Iraq….

"Now, about Iraq...." We wish we had money for every time someone has asked about our future plans with that sentence! There are a number of questions we've been asked and a number that we have overheard, so to simplify things here is a list of frequently asked questions. You're moving where? We are moving … Continue reading About Iraq….

3 AM in the First Class Lounge

I have never been in a first class lounge before. This hits me as I sit in a chair at three o'clock in the morning at a first class lounge in the Qatar Airport, my head resting on on of those brilliant, semi-circled plane pillows. We are here because of an extra long layover after … Continue reading 3 AM in the First Class Lounge

Palestinian Christians and a Prayer for Healed Eyesight

“The perseverance of small, powerless drops of water dripping on the same rock, in the same place, ends by breaking the rock. In the same way, the power of faith with perseverance can break walls of hatred, of rejection, and of violent injustice.”* The book sits on our book shelf, old and dusty with pages … Continue reading Palestinian Christians and a Prayer for Healed Eyesight

On East and West (and In Between!)

A few months ago I was invited to do an interview with Orthodox Christian Network. The interview was with Father Chris Metropulos, President of Hellenic College Holy Cross in Brookline, Massachusetts. I was invited to respond to several questions about growing up in Pakistan, about living in both Pakistan and Egypt as an adult, but … Continue reading On East and West (and In Between!)

When Learning to Swim is a Privilege 

It was mostly toddlers who drowned off the coast of Libya.* Toddlers who had never paddled chubby legs in YMCA pools; who had never learned to hold their breath under water; whose last, terrible moments have to be given into the arms of God - because if not, life could not go on.  I only … Continue reading When Learning to Swim is a Privilege 

Persecution of Christians: Real and Stable

I speak up for refugees, immigrants, and Muslims on this blog. It's right that I do so. I see, read, and hear fear about all of these groups from a variety of people.  But today, I am speaking up for those from my own faith tradition who face persecution: Christians.  An organization called Open Doors … Continue reading Persecution of Christians: Real and Stable

1500 Olive Trees

Friends, I wrote this back in January, but I know many of us have been hurting over what is going on in Aleppo, so I am reposting. There comes a time on any trip where you feel overwhelmed, when tiredness and lack of control of your surroundings can creep into the journey. I think it … Continue reading 1500 Olive Trees

In the Fourth Watch of the Night

Recent Headlines: Saturday, December 3 - 10-alarm fire in Cambridge, MA displaces 166 people. Saturday, December 10 - Explosions outside football (soccer) stadium in Istanbul kills many. Turkey declares Sunday a national day of mourning for the country. Sunday, December 11 - Terrorist attack in Coptic Church kills over 25 people with many more wounded. Most of … Continue reading In the Fourth Watch of the Night

Refugee Sunday – A Day of Sharing

Each year, the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America set aside the Sunday before Thanksgiving as a time to specifically remember refugees and highlight the humanitarian  work that they do through International Orthodox Christian Charities. Today is the day set aside for 2016. It is hard to get our heads around the … Continue reading Refugee Sunday – A Day of Sharing

A Life Overseas – Relax!

Readers, I am at A Life Overseas today talking about how God is at work in places where we go -- and because of this, we can relax. In August of 2015 I had the privilege of going to the Kurdish area of Iraq to work with refugees. On my first day there, I was traveling … Continue reading A Life Overseas – Relax!

Aleppo – History, Horror, and Cry for Help

In early September, main stream news sources and  all of social media were  alive with indignation when the Libertarian candidate for president – Gary Johnson - asked the question “What is Aleppo?” Indeed – What is Aleppo?  Aleppo is History. For hundreds of years Aleppo was the largest city in Syria and one of the … Continue reading Aleppo – History, Horror, and Cry for Help

When Pictures Wake us Up

The world grows tired but pictures wake us up. The world is weary of words, but pictures change the conversation. I write about refugees, knowing that there are those shaking their heads "yeah, yeah, we know already." This is coded language for the longer "We know there are refugees, we know there are overwhelming needs. … Continue reading When Pictures Wake us Up

For Sale Cheap: Kidneys and Children

"An entire criminal infrastructure has developed over the past 18 months around exploiting the migrant flow." Brian Donald, Europol Chief of Staff to Observer   It was five in the evening and we had just returned from South Lebanon. We had an hour before our evening appointment and so we collapsed on the bed, drained. … Continue reading For Sale Cheap: Kidneys and Children

Waving Olive Branches

Olives are ubiquitous in the Middle East. Served with almost every meal, they vary in color and size, offering a pungent, salty taste. Eat them with bread and white cheese and you have a meal fit for royalty. The trees are everywhere – in gardens, along the sides of roads, and in churchyards. You cannot … Continue reading Waving Olive Branches