Wrapping up the Week – March 28, 2015

A light snow has fallen all day. I’m sitting on the couch watching the flakes dance with abandon, blown by the wind, just doing what snow flakes do. I smile in spite of myself. They stop at the whim of no one but their Creator. Would that I be the same! Unstoppable in purpose, dancing with abandon and joy.

In our part of the world it’s a perfect day to curl up with some good reads!

Holding Space by Heather Plett is my first pick. I’ve never seen this blog before but I am struck by the author’s desire to in her words “hold meaningful conversations.” In the piece I have linked to, Heather talks about how a palliative care nurse helped walk her family through end of life care by “holding space for them.” She describes what this is and how to do it well. I found the piece wise and interesting and hope you will too.

Excerpt: “What does it mean to “hold space” for people? What does it mean to hold space for someone else? It means that we are willing to walk alongside another person in whatever journey they’re on without judging them, making them feel inadequate, trying to fix them, or trying to impact the outcome. When we hold space for other people, we open our hearts, offer unconditional support, and let go of judgement and control.”

You Probably Won’t Read this Piece About Syria is in Al Jazeera and felt sad, troubling, and convicting. March 15th was the anniversary of Syria’s fifth year of conflict, fifth year of civil war. The article is a direct challenge to continue to care. A challenge to the journalist, a challenge to the reader, a challenge to you and I. The difficulty that I pondered as I attended a party with mostly Syrians a few days later is: how do I care? what does it look like practically to continue to care when we are miles away? I would love to hear what you think.

Excerpt: “Several human rights groups, and many Syrians, had a powerful accusation to make that day. The world, they said, had failed the country and her people. The world didn’t care anymore.

The twisted steal the attention. And the people we should pay attention to fade into the background, bit players in a narrative wrongly and unfairly dominated by the grotesque.

Sometimes journalism itself feels like a fight to get people to care.

And as often, maybe more often, it’s a fight to get yourself to. Every day, the media deals in stories of death and devastation and despair. Too often, it feels like work, just there to be processed. A day’s pay to be earned.

But we have a duty. Because these are other people’s stories.

And they deserve to have them heard.”

We Palestinians Say “Allahu Akbar” by Nadezhda Kevorkova is an interview with the only Palestinian Orthodox Christian priest in the Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem. It is a fascinating interview and I think it is an important one for Western Christians in particular to read. Archbishop Sebastia Theodosios talks about being Palestinian and being united with Muslims and Christians alike in the Palestinian struggle. He also challenges the notion that the word “Allah” should only be used by Muslims. Allah is the word for God, and in Arabic speaking places both Christians and Muslims alike use this word. I find it incredibly irritating when Western Christians go off on the word “Allah” ignorant of how it is used in other parts of the world. He reclaims the words “Allahu Akbar” as words that a Christian can use to express the greatness of our Creator. This is only one of many interesting things in the interview.

Excerpt: My church has been protecting the Christian presence in the Holy Land and the sacred items related to the life of Christ and Christian Church history.

I am proud of my religion and nationality, I am proud to belong to my fatherland. I am a Palestinian, and I belong to this religious people who are fighting for the sake of their freedom and dignity to implement their dreams and national rights. I support Palestinians and share their cause and their issues. We the Palestinian Orthodox Christians are not detached from their hardships.The Palestinian issue is a problem that concerns all of us, Christians and Muslims alike. It’s a problem of every free intellectual individual aspiring for justice and freedom in this world.

We the Palestinian Christians suffer along with the rest of Palestinians from occupation and hardships of our economic situation. Muslims and Christians suffer equally, as there is no difference in suffering for any of us. We are all living in the same complicated circumstances, and overcoming the same difficulties.

As a church and as individuals we protect this people, and we hope a day will come when Palestinians get their freedom and dignity.”

On my night stand: I’m so excited about this next book! I met the author at the Families in Global Transition conference that I went to in March in Washington D.C. Her name is Brittani Sonnenberg and the title of the book is Home Leave. The book is about a global family but centers on two sisters. Stay tuned for more as I do a book give away in the next week or two. It was amazing to meet this talented young author and I look forward to giving away a copy of Home Leave. Instead of an excerpt I will leave you with one of the reviews of the book on Amazon.

Review: “It’s hard to believe that this astonishing novel is Brittani Sonnenberg’s first–she writes about family with wisdom, humor, and native daring. Here is Persephone’s journey, undertaken by an entire family, the Kriegsteins, who ricochet through time zones, moving from Berlin to Singapore to Wisconsin to Shanghai to Atlanta, together and alone. Sonnenberg’s prose is so vital and so enchanting that you will read this book in the dilated state of a world-traveler, with all of your senses wide open. Her family members are so well-drawn and complex that you’ll close this book certain they exist.“—Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia! and Vampires in the Lemon Grove

Travel Quote:

plane with quote 

Now it’s your turn! What have you been reading? What do you recommend? I would love to hear from you. 

Wrapping up the week – March 7, 2015

While you read this, I will be sitting with a group of people I’ve never met, but with whom I have a great deal in common. I am at the Families in Global Transition conference in Washington, DC. I will write more about this group later, but for now I am enjoying the gift of spending time with like-minded people and I can’t wait to weigh in through writing on all I learn and do. But onto some good reads! 

The Wanderlust Gene: When People are Born to Travel. This essay says it all. And it completely validates my essay in Between Worlds called “Designed for Travel.” Those of you who itch to get on planes, and who rearrange the furniture when you can’t hop on a plane, will love this essay! Just a note that my dad for sure has this gene! He will be 89 years old this summer and he still has that twinkle in his eye and a lilt in his step when he gets to go on a trip.

Excerpt: You’ve been this way for as long as you can remember – which probably dates back to your first few trips growing up, boarding that plane to Disney World every few winters, as a child.

According to recent scientific claims, it may have been embedded in your DNA, even before that.

As told on one psychology blog, the inherent urge to travel can be traced back to one gene, which is a genetic derivative of the gene DRD4, which is associated with the dopamine levels in the brain.

Repairable by Tara Livesay in A Life Overseas. This beautiful post is such a picture of second and third chances. Tara lives in Haiti with her large and lovely family. As a person, I deeply admire Tara from my computer screen. Our only connection has been online but she is all the things I admire in a person. Strong, funny, deeply loves God and the world, and a midwife so that sealed the deal for me! I urge you to head to A Life Overseas and read this essay but for now, here is an excerpt.

Excerpt: I remember vividly the pain of crashing a second time. I was a divorced, single mom.

At twenty-two years old I was trying desperately to piece my life back together after the second shattering.

I said and thought things to myself.
“I cannot be fixed.”
“Once was enough.”
“Who will love you now?”
“This is too much. Give up.”
“You cannot be made whole.”

Cracked into so many jagged pieces, repair and restoration seemed unlikely if not impossible. 

At the time I was carrying in my womb the unplanned little baby girl who would grow up to look me in the eye and say to me with confidence, “This is repairable, you just watch.”

From a Private School in Cairo to Isis Killing Fields in Syria in NY Times. There are many theories behind why people join ISIS. The fact is we don’t know what all goes into a person’s decision but we do know that it is a group that crosses cultural and national boundaries. This is an article that looks at the life of a young man in Cairo and his journey to join ISIS. It was the impetus for the piece I wrote called “A Mother’s Grief; A Father’s Pain.”

Excerpt: “But it is here, in the very fabric of this community, the living rooms, the streets, the mosques and the halls of power, that the fertile ground of extremism has been prepared.

There is no single path that leads to jihad, but in exploring Mr. Yaken’s life, signposts emerge. There are influences familiar and easy to discuss, like a lack of economic opportunity and a renewed sense of political alienation, especially among youths. But there are also more delicate subjects — less often publicly debated, let alone dissected — like the increasingly conservative thinking that defines the faith for many Muslims today, or sexual repression among young people who are taught that their physical and emotional desires can bring them eternal damnation.” [emphasis mine]

On my night stand: I have finished I am Malala and am processing the book. There are things I liked about it, and there are things that concerned me. My opinion of the book has nothing to do with my opinion of Malala herself. I think she is an amazing young woman and I look forward to hearing more from her in the future. It’s the book that I’m processing. I look forward to reviewing it in this space in the next couple of weeks. I am reading a small book called Stories from Gaza, given to me by my daughter Stefanie for Christmas. I love the whole premise of the book, which is making sure stories from Gaza survive and are not only told, but published for wider distribution.

Travel Quote: This one comes from the article above. Enjoy!

map-wanderlust quote

Photo Credit: http://pixabay.com/en/map-navigation-hands-travel-route-455769/ WordArt by Marilyn R Gardner

Wrapping up the Week – February 14, 2015

For those who follow Communicating Across Boundaries regularly, you know that I am buried under seven feet of snow. We have word that another 18 inches are coming tomorrow into Monday. I have nothing else to say on that matter!

But snow and indoors make for some great reads! We go from forgiveness to homes to vaccinations in today’s recommendations. I hope you enjoy them!

The Act of Rigorous Forgiveness by David Brooks is a stunning piece in the NY Times. The impetus for the piece is the scandal in the United States of news anchor Brian Williams and his lying about being in a military helicopter that came under fire during the Iraq war. What I appreciate about the piece is Brooks does not focus on the ‘sin’ of Brian Williams; rather he moves us into a deeper look at forgiveness, not as a sentimental gesture but as a ‘rigorous’ action. He then describes the steps of rigorous forgiveness. This is an article worthy of bookmarking and re-reading. The excerpt I have chosen hit me hard, because I see the tendency in writing to do those very things.

Excerpt:The sad part is the reminder that no matter how high you go in life and no matter how many accolades you win, it’s never enough. The desire for even more admiration races ahead. Career success never really satisfies. Public love always leaves you hungry. Even very famous people can do self-destructive things in an attempt to seem just a little cooler.”

Safe as Houses by Rebecca Martin in Curator Magazine. Of all the pieces I have read in the past two weeks this piece moved me deeply. The author begins by taking us into her childhood world and the houses she experienced in books. From there she talks about houses, safety, and paying attention to those around us. But that’s doing the article a serious disservice because it is so much more. Lovers of literature will especially love this piece as she pulls quotes of home and space from a variety of sources.

Excerpt: What is the point of yearning for a home if some piece of eternity can’t break into this present reality and illuminate ordinary days with a sense of belonging, of comfort, of peace, of history, of safety, of meaning, of home in all its best iterations?

On Vaccinations and Immunity, thoughts from east Africa by Rachel Pieh Jones. You would have to be an ostrich to miss the outrage on social media about the outbreak of measles at Disney Land. I love this piece because it gives the perspective of people who live in countries that don’t have a lot of money, that are not privileged, and that understand the terrible consequences of the decision not to vaccinate. As a public health nurse this piece resonates; as someone who has lived in the developing world it resonates even more. Rachel also quotes from the book on my night stand — On Immunity by Eula Biss.

Excerpt: “When someone tells me, in the US, that they don’t need to vaccinate because we don’t have those diseases here anymore, I want to say, ‘The reason we don’t see those diseases is because of vaccines.’ Kristen Howerton of Rage Against the Minivan quoted this statistic: ‘It is estimated that before vaccines and antibiotics more than 70% of children died before the age of five.’ It is an incalculable privilege to be able to raise our kids in a time without rampant diseases that blind, maim, and kill. The diseases have not been eradicated, our kids are simply protected. And they aren’t protected because of some imaginary ‘super immune system’ or because they are being raised in an illusion of isolation. They are protected because of vaccines.”

On my night stand: Nothing new to report, but some new ones on the horizon! Namely a book given to me by my husband for my birthday Midnight at the Pera Palace – The Birth of Modern Istanbul. I hope to get lost in that in the next few weeks.

Travel Quote (of sorts!)

door Narnia quote

Lastly, Happy Valentine’s Day to those of you who celebrate! We’ve done some posts on Valentine’s Day in the past and I have linked those below for any who want to read. We tend to challenge the notion of Hollywood and Hallmark expectations in these pieces!

 

Wrapping Up the Week – January 31, 2015

Now Available on Kindle! 

Between Worlds

Along with the massive snow storm affectionately called the Blizzard of 2015, the big news here this week is that Between Worlds – Essays on Culture and Belonging is on Kindle! More so it’s FREE on Kindle until Sunday night so please! Take advantage of it! If you have a Kindle or any kind of electronic reader there is nothing to lose! And maybe, just maybe, you’ll want the print edition as well. A girl can hope. Click here to get your free prize. Stay tuned for a giveaway on the blog next week! 

Conversion Roads by Laura Merzig Fabrycky. The best thing I read all week comes from a friend who writes for the Washington Institute of Vocation and Culture. This piece comes from the wisdom of a child’s remark at a dinner table. You won’t want to miss the poignant challenge of this piece.

Excerpt:  “It is not lost on me that parts of modern-day Nineveh — right where Jonah was sent by God — are still under the control of Daesh, those who call themselves the Islamic State. My heart is not unlike Jonah’s in  that I naturally long for God’s holy, wrathful judgment upon these murderous zealots, rather than for his gracious, blindingly good interventions. Perhaps among these we call Daesh, there may be another Saul? And perhaps, among us, there may be another Jonah?”

After The Slaughter, A Pakistani School Seeks To Heal. You all know that Pakistan has a big chunk of my heart. This piece goes along with the piece I wrote a couple of weeks ago called “The Courage to Begin Again.” 

Excerpt: At first glance, the school does look “healed up.” Clumps of bright-eyed boys, wearing smart, dark-green jackets and gray slacks, are hanging around on the lawns outside beneath a dripping gray sky. They’re chatting and examining this arriving stranger with friendly interest. Classes are over for the day; they’re waiting to go home.

Then you start to notice the details. The fresh concrete, where the school’s perimeter walls have been made much higher; the glistening new razor wire coiled on top of those walls; the soldiers with machine guns guarding them; and also, hanging from those same walls, the many banners bearing the words, in capital letters: “I SHALL RISE, AND I SHALL SHINE.”

With fewer voices, Auschwitz survivors speak This week marked the 70th anniversary of the closing of Auschwitz. The stories of Auschwitz continue to make us shudder and close our eyes to the horror, and to take our breath away with the hope and resilience shown by survivors. I did not want to miss talking about this during this week. Here is another piece from BBC News: Auschwitz 70th anniversary: Survivors warn of new crimes

Making “Fawaffles”: An Experiment with Arab and American Cultural Identity This is a delightful read by a kindred spirit and blog friend, Jessica. Jessica is half Palestinian – her mother grew up in Nazareth – and half American – her dad grew up in the midwest. Jessica knows well what it is to grow up Between Worlds. One of the ways she has chosen to embrace this is through food. You have to read her blog to learn more about this, but I love what she does with her blog Bint Rhoda’s Kitchen. In the meantime take a look at the article I linked above.

Excerpt: “But here’s the thing about being a third-culture-kid, about being from more than one place.  You always have more cards than you show.  And maybe, just maybe, the only way to truly be at home is for you to occasionally, just occasionally, throw down your whole hand.”

On my bedside stand: I’m still reading I am Malala – here’s a poignant quote from this past week

First the Taliban took our music, then our Buddhas, then our history…”

Travel Quote: Source – http://istanabagus.com/quotes/travel-quotes/

world make memories

Picture Credit: http://pixabay.com/en/hands-world-map-global-earth-600497/ word art by Marilyn R. Gardner

Wrapping up the week – January 24th, 2015

I’m sitting on my couch looking out on a white world. Snow is falling in those big, beautiful flakes that you can easily distinguish. It’s producing white fluff, like marshmallows, on the ground. Our Greek neighbor, the oldest man on the block, has already cleaned his sidewalk so well that it looks like it never snowed.

And though I don’t want to admit it, this fluffy world is beautiful. It hides city dirt and throws a blanket of lovely across roads and houses.

It’s been a busy week. We came back midday on Martin Luther King Day and the very next day I went to an all day workshop on health insurance and the Affordable Care Act. And if you are in the United States and you don’t understand the ACA or health insurance, don’t worry – it really does take a rocket scientist. This I can attest.

But on that note – here is a site called ObamaCare Explained that includes a video called ObamaCare for Dummies. The title may not endear you to it but believe me, when it come to health coverage, we are all dummies. It’s that crazy complicated.

This week I am focusing on some photojournalism – pictures that tell stories in places and ways where words limit.

  • Demolished. Here is a look at the history of public housing in Chicago through pictures.
  • Along with that, a friend who lives in Afghanistan alerted me to this photo essay. A “majestic building in Afghanistan and the destruction it has seen.” Take a look here.

Both of these essays feel critically important to me – the story they tell, the people that are affected. What do you think?

Excerpt: “Because of you, our understanding of the Gospel includes rough places made plain and crooked places made straight.  Your belief taught us to seek healing and to fight for restoration.” 

  • A Railway Pilgrimage in Pakistan This piece called  took me back in time to the many train journeys in my youth. For those who read my book Between Worlds you will remember the essay “The Train Party.” The essay I link above is a wonderful piece that includes beautiful pictures and stories of people along the journey.

Excerpt: “The train whistle blows, echoing throughout the station. “Can I carry your luggage?” a porter asks me. I shake my head and push my way into the crowd. The Khyber Mail is parked just ahead—the Pakistan Railways logo painted in fine white lettering in English and Urdu on the side of the engine. Through the windows of the Mail I glimpse families stuffing metal trunks, rolls of bedding, water coolers, and metal containers of food under the berth or wherever they would fit. For the tuck-shops—the small kiosks selling toys, snacks, and everyday items—on the platform, this is a burst of brisk business. Chai vendors scurry back and forth collecting empty glasses from passengers as the train starts to pull out of the platform.”

Excerpt:“Chinese will regularly comment on your weight, your age and the way you raise your kids. You get used to it, but some comments are stunners. In 2012, near Chongqing in central China, a weathered peasant, who was standing around eating peanuts, asked me my age. When I told him 61, he laughed. “I’m 80 and I look better than you,” he said. So this guy, who probably weighed 100 pounds and was missing most of his teeth, thought he looked better than me? Next time, I resolved, I’d say I was 90 and see what happens. (I never did it.)”

Reader Jocelyn brought this piece to my attention: Thoughts on Peace, MLK Jr., Hiba, and Life Unarmed.

On my night stand: I continue to read I am Malala – I don’t really want it to end and I haven’t had much reading time lately so my wish may come true!

Travel Quote: This one comes from blog reader Ginny. Thank you Ginny – love this!

Cairo View 2 Sarah Groves quoteWhat have you read or seen?

 

Wrapping up the Week – January 17, 2015

I have some great reads to share with you today! These are pieces that resonated with my soul in many ways. From depression in an immigrant mom to a dying mom’s prayer, there is a lot to read and take in and process.

Excerpt: “The strain of burying the past, losing one identity and embracing another, can be overwhelming. Home is an indelible place. It is the landscape of unfiltered experience, of things felt rather than thought through, of the world in its beauty absorbed before it is understood, of patterns and sounds that lodge themselves in the psyche and call out across the years. When home is left behind, or shattered, an immense struggle often ensues to fill the void.

I was born in London to South African Jewish parents. We left almost immediately for South Africa, lived there for two years and returned to Britain. Although the word was never uttered, we were immigrants. Our priority was assimilation into Englishness. Pogroms and penury had been left far behind. The past was as silent as a village at the bottom of a dam.”

  • From Teenage Angst to Jihad: The Anger of Europe’s Young Marginalized Muslims by Abdelkader Benali in New York Times Opinion. This is a powerful piece that looks at the struggle of immigrant teenagers as they come of age and face people and opinions who they feel don’t understand where they are coming from. Jhumpa Lahiri talks about being raised by immigrant parents and says it’s like being raised in an alternate universe. It is a difficult journey for any teen in the western world to work through their identity. For the teenager who is an immigrant, there are some unique challenges.

Excerpt: Something snapped. I was 13 years old, dreaming of books and girls and nothing else — a healthy Dutch kid with a Moroccan background who freewheeled through life. Then something happened that made me feel different from the pack. One day in history class, the fatwa against Salman Rushdie became the subject. Our teacher talked about freedom of expression; I talked about insulting the Prophet. There was an awkward silence. What was that Abdelkader guy talking about? Fatwhat?

  • By Degrees – Living and Dying by Kara Tippetts. Trigger Warning: Tears, maybe sobs. A mom is dying and her husband does what he has to do – calls hospice. This is a beautiful, deeply vulnerable piece about dying – but also about living. Grab tea and tissues.

Excerpt:So, there it is. My little body has grown tired of battle and treatment is no longer helping. But what I see, what I know, what I have is Jesus. He has still given me breath, and with it I pray I would live well and fade well. By degrees doing both, living and dying, as I have moments left to live. I get to draw my people close, kiss them and tenderly speak love over their lives. I get to pray into eternity my hopes and fears for the moments of my loves. I get to laugh and cry and wonder over heaven. I do not feel like I have the courage for this journey, but I have Jesus- and He will provide it.

Excerpt: It is time to start examining our books, our traditions, our hearts. I don’t know what it will take for violence to end but I know one of the first steps needs to be developing compassion.

Compassion: to suffer with.

I don’t mean developing an emotion or an inner attitude of compassion. I mean active, engaged compassion. Intentional. In order to suffer with we have to look at each other and engage with each other. We have to know each other’s stories. In order to do that we have to get into relationships, we have to meet people. In order to do that we have to take the gigantic risk of stepping outside our homogenous circles.

On my night stand: I’m continuing with On Immunity by Eula Biss that I wrote about last week, but I’ve begun I am Malala and that is the book traveling with me to a wedding in Florida! I am loving reading about this young woman and her family. The things about Pakistan are both familiar and remind me how much I don’t know about this country.

Travel Quote: Today’s travel quote is from Robynn and it’s perfect! 

suitcases with quote

How about you? What have you read? Seen? Heard? Any new travel quotes? We would love to see them in the comment section.

Picture Credit: http://pixabay.com/en/airport-travel-traveler-business-519020/ word art by Marilyn R. Gardner

Wrapping up the Week – January 9, 2015

A couple of years ago I began a week wrap-up. I stopped it during one summer and never revived it. Recently several people have asked me about it. “Remember how you used to tell us about articles and about what you were reading?” they said. “We miss it.” While I can’t promise it every week I’m going to try to do this every two weeks. What I would ask you to do is to use the comment section for your recommendations and why you recommend the piece. That way it becomes a richer conversation all around!

Worth reading:

  • “Hawk Mountain” from Brain Child Magazine.  A death, a hike, and remembering — this piece beautifully explores all three of these as a mom takes a hike with her family.

Excerpt: “The sixth century monk St. Benedict reminded his students that they should live in such a way as to “Keep the reality of death always before [their] eyes.” I think of Louisa as I hike. I think of her family, who in their blinding grief, feel the dark edges of this reality.   I think of how my life is small in the ways of the universe, tiny in the eyes of the sun or the shadow of this tree. I glance up and see Grant ahead of me, his strides growing confident and sturdier as we climb. I turn and see Mark behind me with Renee, weary from her fearless exploring, hoisted onto his shoulders. They are all so full of life. The blood pumps through their bodies, the neurons explode, rocket-ship-style, in their brains.  Unpredictable, wild, beautiful. Alive, like the trees growing skyward, like the hawks catching the wind, all but a breath.”

Excerpt:Sobremesa – the time spent after lunch or dinner, talking to the people you shared the meal with.” 

  • How Cultures Around the World Make Decisions from Ideas.Ted.Com. This article begins with the caption: “Is the American obsession with individual freedom really such a great idea? What other cultures know about how to make good choices.” This is a thought provoking piece that challenges the obsession Americans have with individual freedom.

Excerpt: “THE AMERICAN CULTURAL RESPONSIBILITY TO REVERE CHOICE HAS BEEN PRESENT SINCE BEFORE AMERICA WAS AMERICA. IN OTHER WORDS, IT WAS NEVER A CHOICE.” “The American obsession with choice insists that choice be installed globally, whether through geopolitics or consumer goods. It’s anathema to let people limit their own choices.” 

Excerpt: “Rarely, if ever, it seems, has this Western blend of belief and materialism been so remote from the experience of hundreds of thousands of Christians elsewhere struggling to cope with an unwanted and bloody collision with the Islamic exclusivism of jihadists, primarily in Iraq, Syria and Nigeria. And rarely have Western worshipers seemed so reluctant to acknowledge that their faith could be entering the final stage of its long decline in the lands where it was born and first propagated.”

Excerpt: “Perhaps our unspoken fear is that If we learn to sing songs of joy in this new place, this new land, then we will forget the old, we will lose our identity, all that we know, all that is familiar. As one person put it: “I wanted to preserve my identity, to hold dear the soil in which my roots are settled, to Never Forget who I Am. After all — my identity has come at such a high cost.”

On my nightstand: On Immunity: An Innoculation by Eula Biss. This short book is full of insight and challenge,  using vaccinations and immunizations as metaphor. Stay tuned for a book review by this talented author who is also a Creative Writing teacher at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. It was the impetus for me to write a piece on protection in the new year.

Travel Quote: This week’s travel quote comes from Maia Manchester who can be found on Twitter @doubleomoo and blogging The Unlost Wanderer. Maia is a TCK and a post that I love is called “We’re the same, but not” Thank you Maia! 

star-clusters wit quote

 

Wrapping up the Week – 7.20.13

Readers  – there’s too much to share to keep silent this week. A heat wave in Boston has kept us indoors with ice, fans, and the occasional air conditioning. So there is time to read.

On Joy: This piece by Rachel Pieh Jones at She Loves Magazine will make you laugh and cry. I read while at a cubicle at work and my cubicle neighbors wondered what was going on. I then read it aloud at home and we all laughed and teared up. Here is a taste of this lovely ‘must read’ article:

“Who wants to pray?” Grandpa Pieh said.

“I will,” Lucy said. She kept her eyes open and took a deep breath. “Thank you, God, for Christmas. Thank you for my family and for this food. Thank you for Jesus. And now,” she sighed long and deep, “now, I will play a song for Jesus on my new harmonica.”

Her face was solemn, her eyes heavy. She ducked her head and slid the harmonica from her pocket. She cupped it, tenderly, with reverence. She inhaled and blew slow puffs. She swayed her head back and forth in time with the soulful notes. She put her shoulders and elbows into the music and I squeezed my eyes shut tight to keep from laughing or from springing tears.

Lucy stopped, looked around the table at each of us in turn. “Amen,” she whispered and slipped the harmonica back into the pocket of her blue jeans. ~ From God, Giver of Harmonicas in SheLoves Magazine

On vaccinations and drones: In 2011 the CIA ran a covert operation in Abbotabad, Pakistan disguised as a vaccination program. The long-term results have been disastrous for those who care about public health in Pakistan and set up vaccination programs. In particular the concern is polio and the 8th reported polio case this month because people are not getting vaccinated. The Taliban targets vaccination programs brutally and ruthlessly as foreign intervention designed to hurt Pakistanis, not help them. While I do not agree with everything in this article I believe it is an important piece, not least because I care about both Pakistan and public health. To date over 30 vaccination workers have been killed by the Taliban. You can read the article “Prescription Strike” here. And stay tuned for a blog post on this next week. An excerpt from the article:

“At a recent conference on “Polio eradication in the light of Islam” hosted by the International Islamic University, Islamabad, and designed to dispel anxiety over the vaccine, scholar Samiul Haq told the crowd, “People of Pakistan, especially in the KP [Khyber Pakhtunkhwa] and tribal ­areas, assume that there must be some hidden interest of the West in the polio campaign because it is killing us through the drones and … giving us the vaccine on the pretext of eradicating polio.” ~ From Prescription Strike in The New Inquiry

On Faith: A few weeks ago I read an article in New York Magazine called “Saved” about Mariano Rivera. For 17 years he has been the Yankees ‘closer’. I’m not an athlete but I found out that means he is “the specialist who arrives in the ninth inning to protect a tight lead”. Evidently Rivera is top of his game, better than any one who’s ever played the game. But he’s so much more. His real love? God and his faith. Read “Saved” and be encouraged and challenged to love God with heart, soul, mind, and talent.

Favorite quote from the article: “Sportswriters often discount athletes’ religiosity as a sideshow…but the full story of Rivera’s career is unmistakably a story about faith. On the mound, Rivera is implacable, a warrior with the Buddha’s face. But talking about faith with Rivera is like opening a bottle; years of feeling come out. He speaks less like a theologian than like an enthusiastic believer, channeling all his considerable charisma, curiosity, and preternatural seriousness into the conveyance of passion. His is not a questioning faith but a conviction, invulnerable to attacks from skeptics and doubters, and so his answers to existentially vexing questions can sound to some uncomfortably neat. But Rivera isn’t worried about rationalist complaints because it is in certitude that he finds his strength.”

On Racism: I had to stop myself from reading things about the Martin/Zimmerman case this week. There were way too many words uttered from far too many sources. Instead I did some soul-searching and thought about how I contribute to our fallen world – it wasn’t a pretty picture. I would recommend this article by a woman who identifies as African-American. You may not agree with all of it but it will get you reaching deep into your own heart and soul. Here is a quote to bring you into the article Meet the Racists – you won’t be disappointed!

We are not post-racist.  We will never be post-racist until every last one of us mugs is in heaven.  That is when all of us can kick up our holy feet on a giant global ottoman and rejoice that white and black Americans have finally reconciled.  But until then, I wouldn’t mind us ALL setting down our grandiose ideas that white Americans and black Americans are going to cease from racism.

I personally know of many blacks who hate whites, many whites who demean blacks, many Arabs who are repulsed by blacks, many blacks who want to kill Arabs, many Latinos who take issue with Asians, and on and on and on.  That’s just my Michigan peeps!  Of course, I need not go on when we expand it out globally.  The Hutu’s & the Tutsi’s still got beef.  There wouldn’t be wars in the Middle East if the Jews and Arabs were bosom buddies.

I hope we can all admit, (please God?!)  the entire globe is a big ball of racist mugs.  Pretty much, we hate each other.”~ From Meet the Racists in A Deeper Story

On my Bedside Stand: Let me tell you about my book! I am reading an epic journey called Birds Without Wings by Louis de Bernières. The setting is a small village in Anatolia at the end of the Ottoman empire and the characters are now my best friends. It is 700 pages of an excellent read. The perfect summer book. So if you want to have more best friends I urge you to pick up this book!

On the blog: We delved into anniversaries, roots, injustice, confessions, and my favorite – An Open Letter to a Young TCK.

Thanks for reading!

Wrapping up the Week ~ 6.01.13

It’s hot. It’s as though all the passionate pleas for warmth during winter gathered in the Heavens and sunshine and heat have come in abundance. I love this weather with all its sweat and lethargy. The whirring fans spell ‘h-o-m-e’ and the heat takes me to palm trees and dust, to Pittman’s house in Karachi and Addleton’s in Shikarpur, to Islamabad and Rawalpindi and Cairo back to my couch in Cambridge. I love this.

The cottage 3And today we unpack ‘place’. A small cottage-condo by the sea will be ours for the summer until fall rolls round and new renters sign a lease. Rockport is a special place for our family. Rockport means slow weekends with no internet or television, piles of books, long walks by the rocky coast, and art projects galore.

And so my blogging schedule will change. I will be posting Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, Robynn will continue on Fridays, and Saturday wrap-ups will go on hiatus until the fall.  Any extra time will be spent enjoying summer life and working on a two book projects – one with Robynn where we explore more of our TCK roots and compile what we’ve already written and add fresh, new material; and another that is shaping in my head with input from my husband and brother, Dan.

Onto wrapping up the week….

On Photography: My brother Stan has submitted a photo to the National Park Photo Contest in the United States. Stan is a superb photographer and this picture does not disappoint. Take a look at ‘Realignment’ and pass it on to others. You can share on Facebook as well as vote on it.

On getting rid of books and moving on: All of us know what it’s like to go through that gritty, difficult passage from one stage to another. Sometimes it happens through moving countries, other times through other life events. In a NY Times op-ed Stanley Fish explores this in a piece called Moving On. He begins the article on looking at what it was like to get rid of books and look at empty shelves but moves it from there to looking at retirement. A quote from the piece:

“I’m not going to go on forever. I avoid this realization, even as I voice it. I say, “I’m not going to go on forever,” and at the same time I’m busily signing new contracts, accepting new speaking invitations, thinking up new courses, hungering after new accolades. My books are clearer-eyed than I am. They exited the stage without fuss and will, one hopes, take up residence in someone else’s library where they will be put to better uses than to serve as items in a museum, which is what they were when they furnished my rooms.” from Moving On NY Times May 27,2013

On writing: I was delighted to be asked to be a monthly contributor to A Life Overseas. I’ve contributed two articles to A Life Overseas and love the perspective I see from other authors there. They are working through thoughts and feelings on poverty, nationalism, saying goodbye, having household help, and faith with passion and strong voice. I feel privileged to join them on this journey.

On the amazing book by my bedside table: It continues to be Americanah and oh I am loving this book. The descriptions, the attention to detail, notions of home, flawed and fully relatable characters  – all of it wrapped up in a great package. I don’t want this book to end quickly so I’m taking it in sips.

And to you who read….last night I met someone at a wedding who reads Communicating Across Boundaries.  I had met her only once before and she found the blog through a link on someone elses’s site – so humbling and wonderful to meet her. That’s how I feel about you all – it’s an honor that you read and share. Thank you and see you on Monday!

Wrapping up the Week – 5.25.13

This weekend in the United States is Memorial Day Weekend. Practically speaking, in the U.S this means we have a 3-day weekend bringing some extra rest and fun. The weekend always brings about nostalgia for two reasons: When we moved to the United States from Cairo, we would celebrate this weekend with my cousins. Even if we hadn’t seen them all year Memorial Day would find us at a (usually) cloudy but delicious barbecue and playing killer croquet with my Great Aunt Lottie. Aunt Lottie died some time ago, and we moved, and my cousins and the Scuzzins (cousins kids) moved.

The second reason is that 26 years ago today we welcomed our second child, first-born son to the world on a hot day in Islamabad, Pakistan. You can read more about that in my post An Expat Lady and a Ramadan Baby. So nostalgia reigns today as I think of life as it was, breathe a sigh, and embrace life as it is.

On to the wrapping up the week.

On Memorial Day: A Life Overseas posted an excellent essay on Memorial Day. Called “God Bless the World“, it captured much of what many of us who have lived overseas feel about this event. Take a look and see what you think. One of the quotes that stood out to me was this:

A life led overseas often reveals the enmeshment between our faith and our nationalism.  And we begin to ask questions that we may not have considered, questions that we might not like the answer to.

On Place: You can’t hang around Communicating Across Boundaries for long before there will be a conversation around identity or place.  These things matter. Place matters. Place shapes us. Place is used in our lives, for good or for ill. I found a short op-ed in the NY Times particularly poignant this week. It’s not about third culture kids, or global nomads, or expats. But it is about Place. Because everyone can relate to Place. The quote that shouted out to me was this: “Place is not meant to be eulogized. I don’t want to think that my place may have to be.” And yet many people have had to eulogize Place. My husband’s childhood home was razed to the ground to build a parking lot for a zoo in Miami. Places where many of us vacationed in Pakistan have been droned, and a eulogy rises creating further conflict between two countries who don’t “get” each other. The specific place in this article is Seaside Park, NJ – severely affected by Hurricane Sandy. I’d love to hear your thoughts on place and eulogizing place. Here is the article called Seaside’s Last Summer?

On the blog: There was great conversation on prejudice and bigotry on CAB this week! One of my favorite comments was from Jenni:

“I grew up in urban Australia, under the influence of my father’s extreme prejudice against indigenous Australians. Before going to live in an Aboriginal community as an adult, I confessed my prejudice & asked my church family to pray that I would learn to love “Aboriginal people”. I didn’t. I learned to love June and Stephanie, Peterson and Wurrip, to be disgusted by the behaviour of others, (some of them friends), hurt by some, to ache for the children and love little Jethro (though not so much when he taught my son how to turn a frog inside out) – I learnt relationship”

Also – There’s a new look on the blog….take a look and see what you think! 

On my bedside stand: A great new read called Americanah about a Nigerian immigrant who returns to Nigeria. It’s about identity, place, culture and so much more that I am not doing it justice. Stay tuned for more on this book.

What about you? What did you read, see, hear this week? Would love it if you shared through the comments.

And a Very Happy Birthday to my son Joel!

Wrapping Up the Week – 5.18.13

With our daughter Stef home from college accompanied by a friend, our house has been full of activity this week. The walls are bursting and the dishwasher is forever running. Accompanying this was our first summer-like day of the year. With temps in the low eighties on Thursday and now in the seventies, it feels like all things are possible.  And I’m so looking forward to summer – longer days and warmer nights; where Sangria meets porches in twilight and life takes on new hope.

On to wrapping up the week.

On violence and neighborhoods: There is much to read in the debate on guns, but I loved the article “Gunshots on Warm Spring Evenings” for its poignant reminder that life continues to go on in neighborhoods where there is violence. Where gunshots are fired and the wounded continue to walk around and live life – because they don’t have a choice. Here is a quote from the article:

“My heart ached for him. I’ve spent many years reporting on Newark, and I consider myself pretty well acquainted with the havoc that gun violence wreaks on a community. But it’s not just about blood and mayhem. The effects include a gradual acclimatization to violence that makes it seem O.K. to let your kids play 100 yards from the spot where someone just squeezed off a few rounds. It twists your perspective. Alters your perception of danger.” ~ Jonathan Schuppe, Oped piece Gunshots on Warm Spring Evenings

On Social Justice: Christianity Today published an excellent piece this week on social justice. “You Can’t Buy Your Way to Social Justice – Or Why the Activism of some Fellow Americans Scares Me”  is a must-read.  I won’t be able to do this article justice so will give you a quote that I hope will lead you straight to the article to take a read:

“If my generation cares so deeply about global issues of justice and poverty that they are willing to change eating, clothing, and living habits, where are they? A significant challenge for nonprofits and ministries remains recruiting people who will commit to serve long-term outside the United States.

I know there are a plethora of good reasons that concerned American Christians can’t just uproot and leave the States, from family to health to finances. I know I simplify. But I have a theory about what is partly contributing to the dearth of young Americans willing to spend their lives on behalf of others. They think they already are.” ~ Rachel Pieh Jones in You Can’t Buy Your Way to Social Justice

On Grandmas and Food around the World: This article will make you smile – take a look at 34 Grandmas around the world and what they cook their families! It’s a fun look at food and culture!

tangerine2largeOn my bedside stand: Travels with a Tangerine – From Morocco to Turkey in the Footsteps of Islam’s Greatest Traveler by Tim Mackintosh-Smith is part travelogue and part history as the author traces the journey of Ibn Battutah, a 13th century Arab traveler. It promises to be a fun and informative look at travel throughout the Middle East as well as a great way for this non scholar reader (me) to learn more of the history of the region. Along with this book I’ve begun a small volume by Saint Athanasius called On the Incarnation. It is excellent in its wisdom and explanation of the mystery of God in the Flesh.

So that’s it – have a great weekend and thank you for continuing to read Communicating Across Boundaries, offering your perceptive comments and views! 

Wrapping up the Week – 5.10.13

I’ve neglected the week wrap-ups these past couple of weeks so welcome back! Where I live spring has come with full force and the colors are extraordinary. New life is everywhere – in flowering trees, Lilac bushes, Azaleas, and eight baby goslings following a mama down by the river. Amazing Grace.

Communicating Across Boundaries had a lot of activity this week – particularly around the post on Grief. If you haven’t seen it take a look and be sure to read the extraordinary comments. People were deeply honest about grief and all its power and unpredictability. To those of you who are new here because of the post – thank you for reading and coming by.

On to the wrap-up.

On Abortion: Despite the world surrounding me being pro-choice (including most of my friends and all of my colleagues) I am unapologetically pro-life. At every level. From homeless to unborn to drone strikes. I like to think I keep my friends who disagree honest about the issues in a pro-choice world – they certainly keep me honest. This week The Daily Beast published what I felt was an extraordinary article by Kirsten Powers. Powers is a lifelong Democrat, served in the Clinton-Gore administration and by her own admission has never voted non-democrat. She wrote an article that I feel is a ‘must read’ on abortion calling the abortion rights community the “NRA of the Left” – for those of you who don’t live in the United States – this means they are militant without reason, militant even when all the evidence is pointing to them being in the wrong. Take a look at this article called: Abortion Rights Community Has Become the NRA on the Left published in The Daily Beast. My favorite quote is this:

I cannot legitimately say I am a person who cherishes human rights and remain silent about our country legally endorsing infanticide.

On Moms: I did a full post on the State of the World’s Mothers Report published by Save the Children. In case you missed that post, here is an article on the report from Huffington Post. Moms and babies are important and continue to be an important public health priority world-wide that we dare not ignore.

On Hope: Remember the horrific garment building collapse in Bangladesh? A woman trapped under that rubble for 17 days has survived and is now rescued. This is a miracle – that survival could come this late after the collapse, that the dead have grown in number day after day, this is Hope – this is life in the midst of a horrible tragedy.  The article will bring tears to your eyes today and hope to your world. This is a must read this weekend – 17 Days of Darkness, A Cry of ‘Save Me’ and Joy. Hope in the midst of Darkness, Joy at the end of the road. Unbelievable.

On American Mother’s Day: You’ll love this article posted in Babble Voices – Honoring Mothers, Djibouti Style by Rachel Pieh Jones. A great article giving you some cultural insight as well as a reason to thank your mom.

On My Bedside Stand: In true admission a stack of books that remain unread  – my hope is that will change as my work load decreases this week.

Have a great weekend where ever you live and thank you as always for reading!

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Spring time – Mount Auburn Cemetery

Wrapping Up the Week – 4.6.13

I write this as I prepare to leave tonight (Friday) from Logan Airport’s Terminal E – the International Terminal – on a Swiss flight to Istanbul by way of Zurich. My heart is full and anxious to be in a place where the Call to Prayer is my alarm clock. This week I will be writing in Istanbul but not blogging a lot – wanting to be fully present  in the midst of bazaars, the Call to Prayer, Turkish tile, and most of all – best friends and relatives (in this case they are one and the same!)

I have a wonderful series for Readers on Re-Entry from Joy Salmon, a fellow TCK/MK from Pakistan, as well as a couple of other fun things scheduled ahead so be sure to tune in to those pieces.

And I look forward to sharing Istanbul with you through writing and pictures!

Thank you for reading, for responding, for your wise comments. 

On to the week wrap-up.

On Thirsty India: I’ve heard about water wars in the future, but haven’t paid much attention. This article called Indian States Fight Over River Usage talks about a fight already going on. This quote made me sit down:

“India will need 1.5 trillion cubic meters (396 trillion gallons) of water per year by 2030, about double its existing supply and more than a fifth of the projected global demand, according to a 2010 report from the International Finance Corp. and the consulting firm McKinsey & Co. Yet as the population swells, India’s water supply per person is dropping.”

On AIDS in Africa: The words in the article boldly proclaim a message – The story you’ve heard on AIDS in Africa is wrong! This article pulls out facts, statistics, and narrative that you’ve probably not heard. It’s premise is that the narrative is wrong because it’s the church that is central to helping to control the AIDS epidemic in Africa. I read it. I loved it. This is the Church in action – I’m proud to be a part of the worldwide Church as I read this.

“There is no ambiguity in the data: Religion has been central to curbing the spread of HIV in local communities across sub-Saharan Africa. Measurable changes and improvements were detectable before PEPFAR and Gates dollars started rolling in. This leaves the puzzle of why this story has remained untold for so long while atypical stories of religious leaders pushing abstinence and burning condoms continue to circulate widely.”

And the last paragraph:

“In the standard narrative, ignorant or aimless Africans passively await guidance and assistance from plucky Westerners who ride in to help—often to intense applause. (Think of Nick Kristof’s regular columns praising earnest American volunteers.) Like Wainaina, we read such stories cautiously and suspiciously. Beyond being mildly offensive, these narratives simply don’t fit the Africa we know—a place, like any other, in which people converse about and respond to AIDS, famine, war, and plain-old daily hardships in contested and complex ways. On the world’s most religious continent, people use religious ideas, language, and organizations to address problems, big and small. This is the source of religion’s positive contribution to the recent improvements in Africa’s AIDS situation. Such stories need to be told.”

The article in its entirety is called Good News on AIDS in Africa. I urge you to read it and be encouraged!

On Pakistan: While we in America evangelize through Facebook status updates and symbols, Christians in Pakistan use a predawn procession through the streets on Easter. This is an incredible picture of living out faith in a place increasingly hostile to the Christian minority. It’s been a pleasure to connect online with the writer of this blog – Titus Presler. We are finding we have a great deal in common. May you be encouraged as you read this amazing article called “Predawn Easter Procession of 2500 Christians in Peshawar – ‘This is our Evangelism’

“So there you have it: a Christian community in an adverse environment that is nevertheless robust, ecumenically involved, and witnessing to the resurrection of Jesus on Easter morning.”~ Titus Presler

On the Book I’m Traveling With: Finding Calcutta by Mary Poplin. This book is affecting my heart. It’s based on this quote and so I leave you with this:

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Have a great weekend and thank you! 

Wrapping Up the Week 3.23.13

This has been a week of blog silence for me. I re-posted and pre-scheduled all the posts that were published and went on a hiatus. You’ll get some of my thoughts on the break tomorrow, but right now I am clear-headed with the confidence that comes from knowing we are more than our blogs.

Now on to the week wrap up. 

On Teen Courage: Malala Yousafzai, the 14-year-old who has captured the heart of the world with her courage and tenacity has returned to school in England. We will hear more from, and of, this young woman as she continues to heal and pursue her education. But for now take a look at what could arguably be the best news of the week: A picture and short story of Malala on this NPR blog.

On Teen Pregnancy: A new campaign targeting teen pregnancy has launched in New York City. The ads show sad or crying babies and toddlers with captions like:

“Honestly Mom… chances are he won’t stay with you. What happens to me?”

or

“I’m twice as likely not to graduate high school because you had me as a teen,”

New York City, Teen Pregnancy

Supporters say this is a great and realistic campaign, that teens need to think through the consequences and an ad campaign like this puts all those consequences right in your face with a gigantic cute baby crying from a billboard. But others aren’t so sure and the ads have stirred up a lot of controversy. One of the issues raised is that they are based on shaming teens and shaming doesn’t work so well in this country. Another is that depicting a child criticizing a mom is just plain sad. So what do you think? You can read more in the article “New York City’s New Teen Pregnancy PSA’s use Crying Babies to Send Message” What do you think? Does shame work? Do you like these ads or find them offensive? And why? I would love to hear what you think through the comments.

On Boys will be Boys: Steubenville, Ohio has come to symbolize a horrific picture of rape, disrespect, and wrong, indeed sinful, choices. We are collectively shaking our heads thinking about what has gone wrong in our society, about the place and plight of women and men, about dignity and lack thereof. Ann Voskamp speaks with the authority and words of a prophet as she calls out the Steubenville tragedy and presses truth hard on our hearts and souls:

“Son. When the prevailing thinking is boys will be boys — girls will be garbage.

And that is never the heart of God.

That’s what you have to get, Son — Real Manhood knows the heart of God for the daughters of His heart.”~Ann Voskamp

Take a look at her article After Steubenville: What our sons need to know about manhood. You won’t be disappointed.

On my Bedside Table: Are you ready? Augustine’s Confessions sits on my stand with the goal to have it read by this year’s Pascha (Eastern Easter) I read 5 pages and thought “Why has it taken me this long to pick up this book?” My thanks goes to Aaron Friar blogging at Like Mendicant Monk for the recommendation.

What has caught your eye this week? I would love to hear through the comments! 

Wrapping Up the Week – 3.16.13

A long-awaited spring is still a distant thought as our temperatures plunged to the low twenties this past week. So.Cold. Our heat went out on Thursday night and Friday opened with cold nose, cold toes, and cold heart. While the nose and toes still feel cold, the heart is warmed through tea and talk. Pizza also helped.

This week Communicating Across Boundaries went from Outrage to Pity to Social Commentary to Roots – I loved what you added through your comments, some that agreed – some that called me out! Thank you.

St. Peter's Basilica at Early Morning

On a New Pope: Peggy Noonan’s essay in the Wall Street Journal on the new Pope begins this way: “I’ll tell you how it looks: like one big unexpected gift for the church and the world.”  And indeed her essay made me stop, pause, and give thanks. I am not Catholic – but as one who believes in the worldwide Church, this picking of a new Pope is important. The author goes on to give some personal observations of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis. It’s a beautiful and encouraging essay so I urge you to take a few minutes and head over to read Go and Repair my House.

From the article:

“He is orthodox, traditional, his understanding of the faith in line with the teaching of John Paul II and Benedict XVI. He believes in, stands for, speaks for the culture of life……He loves the poor and not in an abstract way. He gave the cardinal’s palace in Buenos Aires to a missionary order with no money. He lives in an apartment, cooks his food, rides the bus. He rejects pomposity. He does not feel superior. He is a fellow soul.”

On White Saviours: Be ready to be challenged and perhaps angered by this essay, written a year ago by Teju Cole. I gave you a couple quotes and a preview in You Can’t Empower Those You Pity but here is a link to the entire article. I would love to hear your thoughts, good, indifferent, or bad.

From the article:

“How, for example, could a well-meaning American “help” a place like Uganda today? It begins, I believe, with some humility with regards to the people in those places. It begins with some respect for the agency of the people of Uganda in their own lives. A great deal of work had been done, and continues to be done, by Ugandans to improve their own country, and ignorant comments (I’ve seen many) about how “we have to save them because they can’t save themselves” can’t change that fact.”

On Social Media: Do you use social media? Of course you do! Yo arrived at this blog via FaceBook! (Just Kidding) This chart is funny and has some smart advice. Take a look at the Social Media Flowchart! You can find it here. 

On the Printed Word vs. the Electronic: Remember that post I did on “Who ‘Kindled’ Your Parents?” Where the discussion went around the world on the merits of paper vs. electronic (or vice versa?) Take a look at this 30 second video that shows with surety: Paper is not dead!(Note – you don’t need to understand French to enjoy this!) 

On my Bedside Stand: And there’s nothing new….life has left little time for reading this week. So I ask you: What should I be reading? Thanks in advance for the suggestions!

Thanks so much for reading and responding so intentionally to CAB!

Wrapping Up the Week 3.2.13

I’m couch-bound so it affords a perfect opportunity to sit back and wrap up the week. Remember the Ugly, Beautiful Scars? Well – we’re waiting to see just how ugly, beautiful this one is. Surgery was yesterday and yes, there will be a blog post. There is something terrifying and lonely as you gaze up at bright operating room lights and you realize you are completely out of control. And then you remember that, lonely as you are, there is One present who knew you before you were born and your nervous heart and anxious mind begin to rest in His care….(to be continued!)

On to the weekend wrap up.

On human trafficking: In the west it is easy to armchair simplify some of the problems in the world. From poverty to health care to world hunger we want big, sweeping, answers and progress. We want people to make healthy choices without considering some of the obstacles that could prevent them from making those choices – for instance, having to take three buses to get to a grocery store, yet McDonald’s is across the street and offers a full stomach and 1400 calories for $1.49 plus tax. And that’s only one small example. I believe human trafficking is one of those issues that our limited vision sees as one-dimensional. We’d love to swoop in and rescue, but usually these problems are far more complex. In the article You Can’t End Human Trafficking Without Ending Hunger the author points to the desperation created by poverty and hunger. Desperation that can lead to the unthinkable. Take a look and see what you think.

On rice: Even as hunger looms as a world-wide problem, there are glimmers of hope. India’s Rice Revolution tells the story of a “Miracle Village” in Bihar that has set a record for growing rice – all with no artificial herbicides. It has scientists and food experts around the globe cautiously excited. Could this be an answer to world hunger? I don’t know enough about it, but the article is hopeful and a great read.

On birthing children in faraway places: This article is an older article found through a new blog. Rachel lives in Djibouti and blogs from Djibouti Jones – Life at the Crossroads of Faith & Culture. I have loved perusing through her blog and I think you will as well. The article I read resonated fully with me as I gave birth to one child in Pakistan and two in Cairo, Egypt. She chronicles well the process and realization that this child has begun a life between two worlds. Take a look at A Child of Two Worlds published in the New York Times.

2013-02-26-mlady1On Family Pride: My daughter-in-law Lauren turned 25 this week. We are so honored to be a part of her family. Lauren is an amazing, talented actor and this week her improv group, M’Lady, was featured in the Huffington Post. Take a look here at The Oscars Improvaganza. Their group is the first one featured. We are so proud of her and this group so if you live or visit Los Angeles, think about going to the show!

On my bedside stand: I’m immersed in Behind the Beautiful Forevers. It is so well written; poignant and heart piercing. To end this weekend wrap-up I leave you with some words to draw you in:

“Asha grasped many of her own contradictions, among them that you could be proud of having spared your offspring hardship while also resenting them for having been spared.”

Thank you for reading and engaging in Communicating Across Boundaries!

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Wrapping Up the Week 2.23.13

This was a great week on Communicating Across Boundaries. We went from wrinkled ladies to third culture kid arrogance to beautiful pottery to recognizing that many times our worst fears are never realized! And the wonderful thing about this? – you were able to hear voices other than my own. Thank you Cecily, Stef, and Robynn as well as all of you for your part in making the discussions rich and meaningful.

Today I sit with my niece Melanie, drinking a latte, and grateful for family. I don’t write as much as I should about my extraordinary family – but let’s just say that there are a lot of moving parts — personalities, passions, and people. Today one of those moving parts is across from me sharing a slice of life.

On to the week wrap-up….

On Global Health: I try to keep a pulse on what is going on in global health through a variety of sources. Some of those include Save the Children, Partners in Health, and World Vision. While the western world battles with diabetes, obesity, and a combination of the two, the developing world is still in a place of battling tropical diseases that cause malnutrition, anemia, serious developmental delays and more. These are present in communities that are largely neglected and unknown. They are Neglected Diseases of Neglected People. The article linked cites the case for responding to these and argues that the return on investment is well worth making this a public health priority. Take a look at the article and see what you think.

On Women: I will quote directly from an article that I think is a provocative, ‘must-read’ written by a woman who is African-American and in her words sees “where race and feminism collide in ways I can’t reconcile…”

First, the promotion and marketing of abortions in The United States of America was born out of an effort to control the population of African-Americans.  Today, the largest majority of locations offering abortions are housed in African-American or Latino neighborhoods.  One of every three abortions in the U.S. are African-American children.  When numbers and statistics like these collide, I put it on the same level with Female Gendercide in China.

I understand that it’s convenient to go on promoting abortions as a ‘women’s rights issue’ without regard to the fact that abortion has cut into the African-American population by over 30 million lives, yet it’s appalling and reprehensible to ignore the facts.” [From A Deeper Story – Why I Respectfully Decline Feminism]. I urge you to read both the piece and the links within this quote in  Why I Respectfully Decline Feminism.

On Friendship and Dialogue: Remember last year when the United States was divided not by Red and Blue, but by Support Chick-fil-A or Boycott Chick-fil-A? This year the anniversary of that day went by with barely a nod. Why? Why did something that caused such controversy not even come up? Largely because Dan Cathy, an older, white, avowed conservative Evangelical quietly began reaching out to the man who organized the boycott – a gay man who is married to his partner. It is an amazing story of reaching across ideological divide, not giving up your beliefs, but being willing to listen, to learn, and to forge an unlikely friendship. This is a story that should have been on the front page of every newspaper. As you read it, I believe you’ll be challenged to offer grace and friendship despite polar opposite beliefs. Read Dan and Me: My Coming Out as a Friend of Dan Cathy and Chick-fil-A – you won’t be disappointed.

On Film: Finally – this weekend the Big Event of Hollywood is on. It’s the Oscars.We are a big film family so will be watching and texting family members with either shouts of triumph or groans of despair. Will you be watching this event?

On my Beside Stand: I’m finishing the book First They Killed My Father with tears in Behind the beautiful Foreversmy eyes. So hard to read. Yet another reminder of the grace of human resilience. Another book has come on my stand and I’m already immersed. Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo. I first learned of this book through this blog post and wish I was going on vacation so I could curl up and read this 24 hours straight. More on this book after I’ve read and digested all that it offers.

What’s on your coffee table, bedside stand, or heart? Would love to hear through the comments. 

Wrapping Up the Week 2.16.13

The snow that wrapped up this city and left us a paralyzed package with a big frozen bow at the top is down to a mere pile and a slush. It’s amazing that one week ago we never thought we would dig out of our piles. Warmer temperatures hit the greater Boston area and we are basking in sunshine and mid 40’s. Other than the fact that the snow left on the ground is ugly brown and grey streaked, the warm weather is welcome!

On to the wrap-up.

Miami Herald, Afghan Women March Against ViolenceOn Afghanistan and Women: On Valentine’s Day in Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital city, activists held a march protesting violence against women. Afghan men and women are speaking out, openly and loudly, to call for an end to violence and abuse. Read about the march in the article “Afghan Women March Against Violence” published in the Miami Herald. It’s a great reminder that lasting change happens from within.

On Street Kids in Karachi: Pakistan has one of the world’s largest populations of street kids. It’s throat catching tragic – but like so many things, there are whispers of redemption in the middle of horrible situations. This whisper of redemption is through a Street Kids World Cup soccer match. It’s an amazing endeavor and I’m so glad to know about it. Take a look at this article “Saving Karachi’s Street Children One Goal at a Time”. It is inspirational and educational.

“Finally, there was an arena that provided a clean slate for these children, where their worth was not dependent on what was in their pockets or whether they sold their bodies” ~ from the article.

On White Privilege: I don’t usually get into this topic – it’s too big, too complicated, too defeating. But having our oldest daughter with us for a couple of months is challenging me to look harder at some of the things I just brush off and don’t think about. My challenge this week came through an article that looks at the movie The Impossible. I am sure that this movie is amazing, and Naomi Watts has proven herself once more by being nominated for an Oscar for her role in this film. But – and this is a big but – isn’t it troubling that the film emerging about the Tsunami in 2004 that took thousands of lives, many of them children, most of them Asian, focuses on the survival of a white family? And the original family was Hispanic….! I know I’m posing a controversial opinion but I’d love for you to read this article called “Notes from the Margins: White People Problems” and see what you think. Weigh in through the comments or through the comments on the article itself.

On Making a Difference: Oh you will LOVE this website. Freerice.com is an organization that donates rice through World Food Programme to those in areas where hunger is rampant. But there’s a fun twist to their donation – they have you go into the site and answer questions – for every question you get correct, they donate 10 grains of rice. It doesn’t sound like much but through clicking through and answering questions correctly yesterday I ended up donating 660 grains of rice. It’s FUN! Try it today – if enough of you try it we can set up a Communicating Across Boundaries team.

On the Blog: Every day I’m reminded how amazing you all are – your comments are thoughtful, challenging, affirming and daily encourage. More and more comments have come on the post “‘Saudade’ – A Word for the Third Culture Kid.” If you get a chance – take a look. It’s amazing the responses that speak to belonging, memories, and loss.

On my Bedside Table: I took a break this week and did fun! I reread Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier – that quintessential mystery, romance novel that many of us read in high school. I was not disappointed.’

Where ever you are – whether Istanbul, Yemen, Cairo, the UK or anywhere else – have a great day! As always – thanks for reading.