A Slice of Life – Kurdistan

"Write more about Kurdistan! I want to hear more about your life!" This text came from my younger daughter recently. I realize I haven't written much about my new normal. Perhaps it's because my new normal sometimes seems so far beyond what I ever imagined that I can't find words. Other times it feels so … Continue reading A Slice of Life – Kurdistan

The Rain Came

The rain came. One minute it was the hot, dry sun of a high desert and rays of light spread across my living room and peeked into the darkened hallway. I took a quick walk to our plant store nearby – we call it our arboretum – and walked back with a green treasure, its … Continue reading The Rain Came

Physical Well-being and Cross-Cultural Adjustment

I was sick yesterday. Not laid flat in bed with a high fever sick, but a low grade fever, aches, and general feelings of misery. I was scheduled to visit the maternal child hospital with the Maternal Child Health Professor- Mamusta Renas. I had been looking forward to this visit, and I was not going … Continue reading Physical Well-being and Cross-Cultural Adjustment

Speak Out Loud

Keep in mind to speak out loud the works of God! As you transition with your soul mate it will be good to hear your voices remembering what God has done...* One month ago we left the United States with 8 suitcases, two carry on bags, and two hearts that were open to whatever awaited … Continue reading Speak Out Loud

Beauty in the Ordinary

The light was just going over the mountains and shades of purple, blue, rose, and orange all melded together into an ordinary sunset. Miraculously ordinary. I wanted to capture it, even though I know that there will be another one tomorrow. And the next day. And the day after. Beautiful sunsets are a part of … Continue reading Beauty in the Ordinary

On Picnics in Kurdistan

Yesterday was Friday - the day of worship, rest, and picnics in Kurdistan. Yes - picnics. About a 10 minute drive from our apartment is beautiful Lake Dukan and an area called Darband. Come Friday and Saturday, Darband is full of people from all over the area enjoying the cool breezes and beauty of Lake … Continue reading On Picnics in Kurdistan

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