On Birthday Cards and Aunt Charlotte

Each year for as long as I can remember, I would receive a birthday card from my Aunt Charlotte. It didn't matter where I was in the world - that card always came. While other aunts lived in nice suburban houses with picket fences and bay windows, Aunt Charlotte lived in the city - New … Continue reading On Birthday Cards and Aunt Charlotte

“This is My Fate” – A Lesson in Cultural Humility

As soon as the angry words came out of my mouth, I regretted them. I was speaking to Rehmet, the woman who helped me care for my kids and my home. She was a Punjabi woman, uneducated, illiterate, with a smile that stretched across a beautiful, weathered face and a personality as big as her … Continue reading “This is My Fate” – A Lesson in Cultural Humility

Dear Dorothy – A Letter to my Mother-in-Law

Tomorrow I will board a plane and travel to Florida for my mother-in-law's funeral. Since we found out last week, I have been thinking about death - how final it is, how permanent it seems, and how unreal it is until you are actually back in a place where the person lived. I read these … Continue reading Dear Dorothy – A Letter to my Mother-in-Law

Loving People Well – Djibouti Jones

Readers, I'm sending you over to Djibouti Jones this morning. She has written a beautiful "post U.S. Election" piece called Loving People Well. Here is a just a taste of her beautiful piece: What does it look like to love well? Listen to broken hearts, serve the needy, give up my tendency toward greed so … Continue reading Loving People Well – Djibouti Jones

After the Election:How to Build a Bridge

At 2am I received a message from a Turkish friend living in Istanbul. She wished me luck with the election. "I hope it will go well for you" she said. I was deeply touched. Global friendships are a gift that God has given me and I am grateful. Right after I heard from Elif I … Continue reading After the Election:How to Build a Bridge

It Takes a Long Time to Grow an Old Friend

Friends - I am in Cairo, Egypt on a speaking trip. It is a gift to be here in a place that has meant so much to me through the years. Though things have changed, there is a sweet familiarity all around me. It is in the palm trees and dusty roads; in the call … Continue reading It Takes a Long Time to Grow an Old Friend

#Hashtags and Relationships

It's difficult to write today, but it would be worse to keep silent. "I don't want to become a #hashtag. Becoming a #hashtag is a very real fear in my community."  Yesterday at the end of a long and good meeting, a few of of us began talking. The conversation was around race and privilege, … Continue reading #Hashtags and Relationships

Love Goes the Extra Mile

We've just come back from a family vacation where we spent seven nights near the Smoky Mountains in northern Tennessee. Every morning we woke up to far off frothy fogs rising up between the hills and ridges across the horizon. Every evening we watched the sun's benediction settle over and under and behind the mountains. … Continue reading Love Goes the Extra Mile

On Belonging

Recently I watched a group of younger colleagues. They seemed so at home with each other, so comfortable.  Like pieces in a puzzle, they all fit. There was without doubt some diversity among them, but they spoke the same language, had the same Masters of Public Health (MPH) after their names, had gone to similar colleges, … Continue reading On Belonging

A Challenge to Christians During Ramadan

I am on the mailing list of a large mosque in the Roxbury area of Boston. While Egypt's minarets give us a journey through history and Turkey boasts Ottoman style mosques, the mosque in Roxbury is modern. It sits across from Roxbury Community College, its dome and minaret smaller than those in the Muslim world. I've … Continue reading A Challenge to Christians During Ramadan

The Laws of Smartphone Use

It is painful to admit, but there are times when my smartphone has controlled my life. In an effort to be transparent about this, I am writing my own laws of cell phone use. Call them commandments, call them laws, call them guidelines, call them what you will -- they are designed to remind me … Continue reading The Laws of Smartphone Use

Short Sunday Thoughts: On Politics and Facebook

"Dialogue is best done in relationship, over breaking bread, over coffee." From On Sharing Bedrooms and Dialogue As I think about the next year in the United States, I look back on something I wrote in the past, and I pray I will stay true to that conviction. "We all have strong convictions that could … Continue reading Short Sunday Thoughts: On Politics and Facebook

Hearts Made Larger

We returned from Iraq yesterday, touching down at Logan Airport's international terminal late afternoon. It is difficult to find words in English to describe our trip. Amazing, interesting, challenging, joy-filled .....those adjectives are not strong enough so I'll stick with this: The trip was extraordinary. This was my first time to Iraq. We arrived in early … Continue reading Hearts Made Larger

The Heart Demands Conversation

"The heart does not want coffee or cafe, The heart demands conversation with friends, Coffee is the excuse in this case"* I smiled as I read this quote. It comes from a sign in a coffee shop in Antalya, Turkey and I intend to track it down at some point. The heart may not want … Continue reading The Heart Demands Conversation

To Carol on her Birthday

Yesterday my sister-in-law Carol celebrated her birthday in the beautiful city of Istanbul. I wasn't there to celebrate with her, and so I wrote this instead.  Dear Carol, It's hard to accept that I can't be with you today on your birthday. Because you know I would make you a cake and we would laugh … Continue reading To Carol on her Birthday

A Love Story Begins At Box 25, Willow River, BC

A Love Story Begins......by Robynn Lowell and I are getting ready to celebrate our 21st  anniversary on May 7th. Our twentieth was lost in the shuffle of death and memorials and details last year but we are redeeming our 21st! Lowell has already booked us into a bed and breakfast for a weekend getaway in … Continue reading A Love Story Begins At Box 25, Willow River, BC

Hospitality – A Humble Primer Part 2

Friends - today we continue with the Hospitality series by Robynn. If you missed the first part click here. We would love to hear from you in the comments. What would you add?  Many of us learnt hospitality from the gracious reception we were given as expatriates living in a “foreign” land. Pakistani's are pretty … Continue reading Hospitality – A Humble Primer Part 2

Enjoy the Journey

Enjoy the Journey - by Robynn I know it’s a horribly cliché title….but it came to mean something very significant the other day when I was on my way somewhere….! Tuesday, September 23, I spent the entire day traveling. Departing from Manhattan, Kansas I made my way to Prince Edward Island on the far eastern … Continue reading Enjoy the Journey