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

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!

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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What’s On Your Bookshelf? With thanks to National Public Radio

Books with quote

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 the other day 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! 

 Photo Credit from http://pixabay.com/

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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!