Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Oh the Places We Go!

On my way home I got to spend a day in Munich, Germany where I visited this famous castle. The Neuschwanstein Castle was gorgeous--I saw it covered in snow, unlike this picture. The whole place was "just like a fairy tale"... well, except that it was freezing and wet. But we all managed through rather happily I think.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

I'm back!!!

I am back in the States now for a few weeks. I have the foggy mind of someone experiencing jet-lag. But it is actually not too bad. Thanks for all your prayers and support... Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

It is December!!

A Child of the Snows

There is heard a hymn when the panes are dim,
And never before or again,
When the nights are strong with a darkness long,
And the dark is alive with rain.

Never we know but in sleet and in snow,
The place where the great fires are,
That the midst of the earth is a raging mirth
And the heart of the earth a star.

And at night we win to the ancient inn
Where the child in the frost is furled,
We follow the feet where all souls meet
At the inn at the end of the world.

The gods lie dead where the leaves lie red,
For the flame of the sun is flown,
The gods lie cold where the leaves lie gold,
And a Child comes forth alone.

- G.K. Chesterton

Thursday, November 22, 2007

An explanation...

Okay, so I got a comment and several other e-mails and chats about the Indian Mystery Dinner picture. I thought people knew about mystery dinners and such, but I guess not. It is a party of sorts where each person is given a part. They are all suspects in a crime...this one happened to be murder. The man on the couch is 3 parts pillow, 4 parts curtains and sheets, and 1 part basketball. This mystery also happened to take place on a British Plantation in India in 1846. Each character was given various things to reveal and conceal throughout dinner and all were trying to figure out who committed the crime. At the end each character guessed. We dressed up and ate Indian food and had a very very good time.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Puritan Poem and Prayer

Lord of Immortality,
Before whom angels bow and archangels veil their faces,
enable me to serve thee with reverence and godly fear.
Thou who art Spirit and requirest truth in the inward parts,
help me to worship thee in spirit and in truth.
Thou who art righteous,
let me not harbour sin in my heart,
or indulge a worldly temper,
or seek satisfaction in things that perish.
I hasten towards an hour
when earthly pursuits and possessions will appear vain,
when it will be indifferent whether I have been
rich or poor,
successful or disappointed,
admired or despised.

But it will be of eternal moment that I have
mourned for sin,
hungered and thirsted after righteousness,
loved the Lord Jesus in sincerity,
gloried in his cross.
May these objects engross my chief solicitude!
Produce in me those principles and dispositions
that make thy service perfect freedom.
Expel from my mind all sinful fear and shame,
so that with firmness and courage I may
confess the Redeemer before men,
go forth with him bearing his reproach,
be zealous with his knowledge,
be filled with his wisdom,
walk with his circumspection,
ask counsel of him in all things,
repair to the Scriptures for his orders,
stay my mind on his peace,
knowing that nothing can befall me
without his permission, appointment
and administration.

Taken from The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Sorry Letter

Imagine the following in alternating purple pink and orange pen.

Dear M. C----

Yesterday when you sent me to the office I didn't went to get the greenslip because I got one yesterday, but later when you told me I went, until now I didn't believe that Kurdish speech that said "lie's string is short". So I want to say that I am so sorry and I hope you forgive me.

Your student
----- ------

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

What are the lines for, exactly?

There is a particular road, a fairly main one, that has been recently decorated with its very own street lines. These gave me hope that there would soon be more organization on said road and perhaps more predictability in the driving patterns there. However, instead I followed a car for some distance yesterday morning up that hill and instead of passing it, I merely followed and laughed. This particular driver seemed to think that instead of driving between the lines, one was supposed to drive so that the line went directly down the middle of one's car, effectively taking his half "out of the middle" of the road. Other drivers completely disregard the lines as if they don't exist. I guess I always thought that people naturally drive within boundaries, but it must be something I learned through experience, or part of the way my culture thinks. Order is good, we say. God is a God of order. We like order. But these people don't always think that way.

Friday, October 26, 2007

More on my rug..

I think from Mr. Jesch's description, my rug looks like it is machine made... all those knots look really similar to me. Plus there is that nagging thought (although incorrect) that no one on the planet could have the patience to make a rug that is roughly 15 ft by 10 ft.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

My Sewing Project

I thought I would show my progress on my most recent hobby. I am still missing a few colors that are being brought over from the states soon. But it is a relaxing thing and everything is put in order. It is a pleasant task since so much of life here is in disorder or "out of order".

من فه رش (My rug)

Out of the Blue...

I was reprimanding one of my students today and at the end of it, he said to me... "You know Miss C. I still think about what you said, 'A harsh word stirs up anger, but a gentle answer turns away wrath.'"

I wracked my brain and finally remembered a conversation we had early last spring. It is amazing how my kids retain stuff! And it is amazing too, to see how God's word never returns void. I know that I should not be surprised when God's word is true, I have seen the results often enough. But I still get blown away.

Monday, October 22, 2007


It was like the planets had aligned themselves. A week ago, while I was on break and had time, I realized a need to organize some things, and I felt like organizing. All three coincided together...now I just had to figure out how! I needed some smaller bins or boxes for things like pens and cords. I haven't ever seen anything like that here, at least not in my budget. But I discovered a large cardboard box. I received permission to tear it to pieces and and a box cutting knife. I spent nearly all one afternoon and some of the next day creating boxes and covering them in brightly colored paper. My room is now organized and bright and happy!

I made 12 boxes in all, I think. The red one pictured here is the biggest and is triangle shaped to fit economically on my shelf. I have a grand stockpile of various medications that were rather ugly sitting on the shelf by themselves.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Puzzle Undone

Have you ever been both troubled by something and yet, completely untroubled? This is the way with me now. There is less turmoil, but instead a steady waiting, like leaving a puzzle undone on a table. At the moment I am content to let it sit there incomplete and scattered. It has not been put away in a box, nor do I spend hours poring over the pieces trying to make them fit. I know I cannot leave it there forever--I will have to put it together or put it away someday. But as it sits out I am reminded of it, and I pray about it. And there it remains.

Friday, October 12, 2007

O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go

Text: George Matheson, 1842-1906
Music: Albert L. Peace, 1844-1912
Tune: ST. MARGARET, Meter: 88.886

1. O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
that in thine ocean depths
its flow may richer, fuller be.

2. O Light that followest all my way,
I yield my flickering torch to thee;
my heart restores its borrowed ray,
that in thy sunshine's blaze
its day may brighter, fairer be.

3. O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow thru the rain,
and feel the promise is not vain,
that morn shall tearless be.

4. O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life's glory dead,
and from the ground there blossoms
red life that shall endless be.


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Uh oh...

I had something I was going to post about, but before the page opened I forgot. Um... so... lately I have been up to studying the language and reading and praying and it has been nice to have time for these things on top of my teaching. And everyone gets a kick out of me speaking in their language.

It would be fun to type some of the words and letters here, but I haven't yet discovered how to get an Arabic script onto my blog post. I am in the process of looking it up. I don't want translation, just the script. Any ideas?

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Awesome...in a literal sense

I listened to a sermon today by a man named John Courson. The people I live with have some CDs and I thought it would be good to listen to something. The sermon was on the passage of Genesis 5. I dutifully read the passage before listening to the message and was intrigued. I don't think I have ever heard a sermon on Genesis 5. It isn't much to look at. It is the geneology from Adam to Noah with all the years of births and deaths. What most people (including myself) would generally consider rather dry...at least until I heard the talk. This chapter is indeed a presentation of the gospel although in a rather odd and fascinating way. Below is a listing of each man's name and the meaning of his name in the order of the geneology.

Enosh=subject to death
Mahalalel=from the presence of God
Jared=one comes down
Methuselah=dying he shall send
Lamech=to the poor and lowly
Noah=rest or comfort

Man, appointed subject to death and sorrowful. From the presence of God, one comes down dedicated. Dying he shall send to the poor and lowly rest and comfort.

Now that can't be a coincidence, can it?

Thursday, September 27, 2007


I have been reading Colossians lately and I read in 1:19-20 about how God was pleased to have his fullness become human and through his blood on the cross to reconcile to himself ALL THINGS, things in heaven and on earth. While I have always known of the reconciliatory power of Christ's death for those on earth...I guess I never thought about anything in heaven having to be reconciled. Any thoughts?

Monday, September 24, 2007


They have turned the speaker from the local mosq in our direction recently. I hear it more clearly than usual. Perhaps they have turned up the volume as well because the call to prayer holds a tighter reign on the people at this time. It is the month of fasting for them now. This means they don't eat between sunrise and sunset, although there is much feasting otherwise. The students tell me it is to feel the suffering of the poor and one girl added that it makes her feel more thankful for food. Many more women cover their heads as well as a sign that they are fasting.

There is a strange duality to my thoughts about this. My first thought is that these people don't know really how a poor person feels even by fasting through a day and that if it doesn't change the way they feel about the poor then it doesn't matter if it changes their understanding. The idea is all well and good, but just because someone is educated about something doesn't mean it will change their behavior.

My second thought is that most Christians in America pay very little attention to even the possibility of fasting even though it is certainly not unheard of in the Bible. And while we live under grace instead of under law, isn't it an embarrassment to lukewarm Christians that people who have not truly been offered real life are willing to suffer more for their beliefs than people who have been exposed to real truth? There are many facets to this, and the longer I think about it, the less capable I am to write about it. But I will leave it there for now.

What about you?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Presidential Stuff...

So, I generally ignore the news. But with the Presidential Elections coming up, the encouragement of my parents that I should not be clueless, and a certain personal interest in the foreign policy of the next President, I decided to begin doing some research. I came across this. I don't know much about the guy but I have to admit I was impressed by this paragraph from his website.

If we leave, Iraq's neighbors on all sides will face a refugee crisis and be drawn into the war: Iran to protect the Shiites; Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan to protect the Sunnis; and Turkey to protect its control over its own Kurd population. Iraq is a crossroads where Arab meets Persian and Kurd, Sunni meets Shiite, so if it's not a peaceful buffer, it can easily become a tinder box for the region.
Personally, living in the Middle East, this is something I would rather avoid. Now I am going to go look up what other Presidential Candidates think will happen if the U.S. pulls out of Iraq.

Saturday, September 22, 2007


I recently discovered that one of my friends is an excellent at talking piffle. It then occurred to me that many people probably don't know what piffle is and thus it is all very sad for them. For the word itself as well as the execution of it are both very entertaining. Go read Dorothy Sayers.

Friday, September 21, 2007

This is the reading for Sept. 11 in the devotional, The Christian in Complete Armour

“Whenever there is a storm in the spirits of saints, and the winds of their emotions are high and loud, it is easy to see who has stirred up the tempest. The devil practices his black art on unmortified lusts, that enable him to raise easily many storms of division among believers. Paul and Barnabas, for instance, set out in a calm together, but Satan sent a storm to part them in the middle of their journeyings: “And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other” (Acts 15:39).

There is nothing, next to Christ and heaven, which Satan begrudges believers more than their peace and mutual love. If he cannot separate them from Christ, and stop them from getting to heaven, he takes sinister pleasure in watching them get there in a storm. He would have them be like a shattered fleet separated from one another, saints deprived of the comfort and help of other Christians along the way. And when the devil can divide, he hopes to ruin also, knowing well that one ship is more easily taken than a squadron.”

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


I went and taught today. My students were glad for my return from the sickbed and it was touching. The other teachers were also happy that I was back which is good for the ego any day. Other than that, I chatted with one teacher about self-control, which she said was impossible and then I said, of course. Of course it is impossible without God. But Christ promises the Holy Spirit and part of the fruit of the the Spirit is self-control. As Christians we are no longer caught in the whims of the attitudes around us. What a blessing! So that is what has been on my mind today--reminding me that an even higher standard is required of me to prove Christ's power to those around me and yet, that that standard is not for me only, but for all who have the Spirit. And thus it is not only my responsibility or my power, but God's power producing self-control in my life. Thus my role is to rely on Him more and more. This all becomes clearer and clearer, sorry if my words make it seem muddy to you. Blessings!

Friday, September 14, 2007


I have had the hardest time writing lately. Even my journal is lacking and my last several entries are dry and factual. I know I am busy and dealing with all sorts of changes and adjustment. But usually those are the times that I feel like writing the most so that I can sort out my world. Somehow this time is different. Maybe I am suffering from re-entry shock "back" into my old foreign culture. Wierd isn't it?

As far as stories of what I have been doing. The ladies from my team and I went out to dinner and then ice cream tonight. During dessert we began speaking about something (I can't even remember what!) and it was so intensely funny that we began laughing hysterically and uncontrollably. This of course being completely and totally inappropriate for women in public (here) had the whole restaurant of people staring at us. We, of course, were turning various shades of red and pink as well as trying to stifle our outburst. Anyone who has ever laughed this way will know that trying to stop it only makes it ten times worse. Before we had finished laughing, two ladies had accidentally dropped their spoons on the floor. Anyone who had failed to notice us choking in the corner of the room now drew their attention to us. The waiter promptly deposited two more clean spoons on the table; he was so quick because he also had been watching us the whole time. Somehow I have managed to have the embarrassment factor of a Middle Easterner without the same habitual control for my giggles. I am sure they thought we were all drunk--we weren't! We were just enjoying each other's company and fellowship. All in all a good time!

AH! I remember what was so funny. The ladies were trying to marry me off to the waiter's cousin.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Sara Groves Sings

I really Identified with the lyrics to this song, although I haven't been to Rwanda.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

I have been reading the Psalms.

Oh Lord my God,
Help me in my distress.
My face is salty and wet;
My eyes are red with weeping.
I am pulled one way and the other
There is no way to please men.
My path is painful before me
I do not like the ways I see.
Anger rises in my heart
But spills out in grief of spirit.
I am a wanderer blown like the sand
I do not know where I will rest.
One man says go here,
Another says, no! this road is better.
The far-off one speaks with wisdom and authority
But doubts come from the near one's mouth
Smooth words that pull my desire to please
Although lacking in rights.

And yet my God is right.
His voice will lead me.
I will follow and walk in his way
Forever will he keep me secure.
Although those near me may grieve
And one will be disappointed
I will yet praise God my savior.
For I choose rightly with his help.
My actions are according to conscience
Made righteous by the blood of my Lord.
My God will never abandon me
For his love is everlasting.
Though human foundations crumble,
The pillar of YHWH stands firm.
He has shown me where to put my trust.
May I hear and know my Shepherd's voice.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

I'm Back!

I am now back. I am jet lagged but excited. I saw some of my old students and it was wonderful. I set up my lesson plans for the first three weeks for one of my classes. I can't think right now so I will be back another time. I just realized that I used the word "back" 3 times. Scary what having a messed up time zone can do! Xwahafis!

Monday, August 27, 2007

What am I up to?!

Well, mostly this week I have been packing, repacking, and shuffling things. I actually enjoy this process because I like organizing and I like puzzles. Packing is a combination of both. And I like the challenge of both space and weight restrictions. I bought a smaller suitcase this summer so that I would be incapable of packing overweight but still managed to get more than 50 lbs. into it.

Other than that, I have been resting and reading. I recently finished a book called "The Heavenly Man". It is the autobiography/biography of a Chinese Christian called Brother Yun. It was striking to read how the Bible was true in his life and how verses about suffering and persecution applied literally to his life. His call to the Western churches for partnership and revival were amazing. I definately recommend the book.

Friday, August 10, 2007

A little unsure...

So, lately being confused over many things...I came across these verses. Finding that Paul gives no explanation but only the promise of understanding as a result of reflection, I am now reflecting. Please reflect with me.

2 Timothy 2:3-7Endure hardship with us like Christ Jesus.

Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor's crown unless he competes according to the rules.
The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops.
Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Status Quo

I haven't posted for a week and I hadn't even realized it. I have not been really busy, but more of my life takes place face to face when I am in the States. Instead of e-mailing friends I call them up and we go out for coffee. Instead of scheduling Skype calls with my family we sit down together and play a game on a whim. Thus, my computer sits neglected and forgotten.

I have to admit that I don't miss it. I think lots of things we spend our time on we wouldn't miss if we had found something better. Sometimes we have found something better we just don't realize it. For example, I didn't miss TV when I first left my parent's home. My roomates and I didn't get TV channels and life was perhaps even nicer with books and real people instead of the flashing light box.

So, I haven't missed my computer or spending hours reading e-mails and checking the news. I know I will go back to that when I move back overseas this fall. For when I am there, that lifestyle is the way to communicate with my dearest friends and my wonderful family. But for now, for me, things like sight, touch, and smell are gifts much too beautiful to give up for telephone calls and feelingless typed words.

Monday, July 09, 2007

The things I continue to notice...

Our silverware here in the U.S. of A. is fabulous. It doesn't bend at a 90 degree angle very easily at all. For those of you who have seen The Matrix, I am certain that they used Kurdish metal eating utensils for the "bend the spoon" tricks.

In addition, we have spoons that will fit in your mouth. In Kurdistan there is one size of spoon, it is generally the size we would use as a small serving spoon, just a bit larger than a tablespoon. Ahh... revel in your instruments for eating! They are a great blessing.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

After so many years I still don't get it...

And now is the time to pray. It is sad how I only value prayer as much as I ought to when it is the only thing left I can do. Really I should go to it first, but somehow it seems that I try other things first. Why do I do that? And then things become a mess. It isn't my fault really, but I regret spending so little time in prayer over it all.

Monday, July 02, 2007

A man...

There was a man on the Areopagus that day that really struck me. There were other people there too, but this man wasn't part of some tour group or a tourist or anything. This man, whoever he was, made me think. He was most likely drunk or high. As he tried to talk to us his speech was garbled such that I couldn't tell if he was speaking Greek or something else. He seemed king of friendly, but my female companion and myself know better than to get mixed up with drugged foreign men. All in all, though, I was intrigued with the thoughts of what St. Paul would have done had he been there now, in this modern day. This man was the kind of man that Jesus gathered up, that the disciples would have healed, that Paul might have preached to. This man was here, on the Areopagus, and this city was stretched out before us, and they were both lost. What would Paul have thought standing there almost 2000 years later? What would Paul have done for this man? It seemed both hopeless and inspiring.

Paul's speech on the Areopagus (Thanks to blueletterbible.org [RSV])

Acts 17:24-30

The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all men life and breath and everything.

And he made from one every nation of men to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their habitation, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel after him and find him. Yet he is not far from each one of us, for 'In him we live and move and have our being'; as even some of your poets have said, 'For we are indeed his offspring.'

Being then God's offspring, we ought not to think that the Deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, a representation by the art and imagination of man. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all men everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all men by raising him from the dead."

My Personality...wierd.

Your Personality is the Rarest (INFJ)

Your personality type is introspective, principled, self critical, and sensitive.

Only about 2% of all people have your personality - including 3% of all women and around 1% of all men.
You are Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Judging.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Things I have come to appreciate about the U.S.A.

1. Strangely enough the first thing I have come to appreciate is the government. Let me explain. I know very little about American politics and I grew up thinking many politicians were corrupt and out for themselves. This all may be true, I don't know. But I do know that they at least deal with issues in the country, they do accomplish things, and they are not nearly as corrupt as people in some other governments. Our politicians don't pocket the government's money, take bribes as a matter of course, or spend all their time vacationing somewhere far away. They also don't have armies; imagine the Democrats and the Republicans each with their own fully trained military! All in all, considering all the things that they have to deal with, our country is doing pretty well. In addition, despite the fact that most people in foreign countries supposedly dislike America, it is still where they all want to live. Anyway, my point is, my country's government isn't so bad.

2. America is trash concious. We don't throw our pop cans on the ground, their are fines for littering, and we put trash cans in public areas. If Americans go on a picnic, generally they pick up their trash before they leave. People in the Middle East don't. There is trash everywhere. In fact, we joke about how the world's supply of plastic bags must grow on the trees there and be "harvested" and shipped around the world.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


It is interesting to me to see how Satan behaves differently in different places. In the Middle East there are many kinds of temptation and it all depends on the person. For me, I fought against loneliness, comparing myself to others, and self-pity. Here in the U.S. those things are still temptations, but things are added that I never really dealt with too much overseas. For example, today I got my financial reports and began worrying about money. There aren't any new problems or anything, it is all pretty much the same stuff and the same needs. But I began to be anxious. After about 10 minutes it hit me what I was doing and thinking and how I just let myself fall into it after being free from those sorts of things for a good long while. I refuse to be a slave to my worry. It is not hard for me to trust God in some areas, but sometimes I get blindsided by old struggles I thought I had passed beyond. But there is a beautiful solution. I love how the Bible says, "if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." I am so blessed to serve such an amazing God.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Questions & Answers

This question was posed by e-mom specifically, and I get asked it a lot generally.

Do I ever feel unsafe?

Only when I am driving. Actually, no. I have never really felt like someone was going to kill me or even that I was in a dangerous place. People stare and make me uncomfortable. There are men with AKs and M1s (translation: guns-for my less bloodthirsty readers) all over the place. The windows are barred, sometimes elegantly. We have thick concrete wall around our house. There are checkpoints all over the place. Occasionally car bombs go off in nearby cities. But I walk to buy bread or groceries. I do drive. I go to the bazaar (not by myself, but without a body guard). Life has a normal flow to it. I feel safe. I know that I am not in my own hands, or in Al Qaeda's (which has decided to make Christians a target). But I am in God's hands.

"Now if you told me I could die without God meaning it, then I would be worried."

(George MacDonald--The Marquis' Secret)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Things I have noticed...

  • I did a double take turning on the stove top today... All you do is turn the knob. I felt like I had to do something else... Ours overseas is propane flames...

  • I put leftovers in the microwave and just turned it on. My mind went through the motions of "do we have power and with this power do we have the amps to run the microwave" and I had to conciously dismiss the thoughts.

  • Drinking glasses are enormous!!! Nearly all glasses we have overseas are about 3/4 cup by measure.

  • Malls, roads, and everything else are also large, except there are no real mountains here.

  • The internet is so much faster!

  • Unpacking takes less time than packing.

  • I was in 5 countries last week... wierd.

  • I am cold. My body had finally adjusted to being comfortable in 100 degree (F) heat. Now it is 70 degrees (F).
  • I opened the fridge to get some water and overwhelming disappointment hit me as there wasn't any water in there. Turning towards the counter, it hit me... I can drink water out of the tap!

I am sure there is more to come later...

Monday, June 18, 2007


I saw the Parthenon.
I stood on the Areopagus.

I swam in the Mediterranean Sea.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

This is the "Las Vegas" of the Middle East (except for the weather). I slept in a hotel here for about 3 hours. When I got in at 1:30 in the middle of the night it was 102 F and incredibly humid. In the morning when I tried to take a picture, my camera lense fogged up. Thus, these pictures came from the back of the taxi. It was a pretty place... but I wouldn't recommend it in the summer. Then I flew on the Emirates airline. It was fantastic... definately would recommend them... nice seats (even in economy), footrests, good food, movies, etc... It was definately the best of the 5 different airlines I flew on last week.

Thursday, June 07, 2007


In less than a week I will be in Greece. Wow... never thought I would make it to Greece. But when you live halfway around the world, you have to stop SOMEWHERE. So, stopping in Greece for a few days de-toxing for re-entry into the States sounded good and actually one of the cheaper options (Olimpic Airlines has some good deals through Dubai!). Being a Classics Minor in college, visiting the Acropolis is an amazingly exciting experience beyond any of my expectations. Then on to some de-briefing in the States and finally back home in the Northwest. It will be a long haul but then I get to spend almost 10 weeks with my family!!! I will have reliable internet, so I might post more... but I will have less to say since my main occupations this summer will be driving my post-op sister around (and having to learn to drive stick shift... yes, I know...), learning Kurdish vocabulary, and exercising (because I have become rather rotund during my time indoors in the Middle East). Those don't provide much entertainment, however. I may have become enough used to this "foreign" culture that American culture could be entertaining... you never know. If any of you nebulous readers have any specific questions (especially anything about Islam, the Middle East, or Christianity) that you would like me to post about... ask... I might be able to answer them...I might not.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The First Fruits

This is the first fruit from our kumquat tree. It was really really good! You know the funny thing about the word "kumquat" is that although I knew it was a fruit and if you had asked me what it was I might have thought I knew... but when I saw these for the first time, I had no clue what they were. Although I have grown up having learned the word "kumquat" and even knew how it was spelled, I had never known what it really was. Now I know... they are a small citrusy flavored fruit with very large seeds in the middle.

Smelly Update...

Yesterday's pungent adventure gave me a paranoid sleep where I was up at 1:00 am sniffing about our house. As of this morning, the house smelled fresh and airy. There is not a hint of the stomach turning smell from yesterday. I came home this afternoon. Entering the house, we checked the air in the rooms... still no smell. We never found the source of the odor. But, for the time being, it seems to be gone. Praise God for this blessing... Pray that it never returns.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


It is Tuesday morning. I am sitting in my car in our carport typing because everything that needs done, needs done in the house, and I very well might throw up if I have to go back in there. We awoke this morning to a smell my house-mate declared “pungent”. In addition, this happened on the very day where we were going to clean and prepare our house for our departure. The smell we thought was coming from Autumn’s room. But then we traced it to behind the ceiling tiles in the living room. We still can’t find it. It smells soooo bad. We pulled half the stuff out of the room into the hallway. We opened and sniffed cupboards till we were blue in the face. It stinks. That is all I can say.

Eventually, we gave up. The house is aired out and mostly only the living room smells. We still have no idea what to do about it. We had half our team over for a good part of the day scoping out the stink. Pray for this situation. I don’t want to wake up to that smell in the morning.

This is a picture of our living room: Today we cleaned it out, took up the rug, swept and washed the floor, as well as rearranging some for the family that is coming back soon to live here. Then they will be stuck with the smell problem. I am soo sorry.

Monday, June 04, 2007

In the Middle of the Afternoon

Try to put this image in your head...

A man buying cigarettes wearing his polka dot pajamas.

Go figure.

Friday, June 01, 2007

The Celebrity Life

You know, there are some things about being a foreigner that I think have given me a little clue about what some celbrities in the United States go through. As a little background, I will let you know that I am a blonde in a city full of dark brown/black haired people. I stick out like a sore thumb. And the people here are naturally starers... as in they stare at everyone, but at me more.

The number of double takes or triple takes me and my American housemate get when we walk down the street can be downright hysterical. Today I was approached by a guy who was handing out a local English newspaper. One lady we met in an office one day actually stopped to call her husband at work to say that she was in a room with two foreigners. Then she and other ladies proceeded to evaluate every aspect of our persons. Everyone smiles and gives us preferential treatment. I think we park to go to the grocery store in a parking lot reserved for people who are going somewhere else, but the guards just look at us, get flustered and wave us in. I have gotten my picture taken with strangers in the bazaar. So have some of my other American colleagues. Every shop owner practically neglects his other customers to help us find whatever we need. All this is entertaining most of the time, at least when I am right with God. The staring does get on my nerves especially. I am just waiting for the day when I actually cause a car crash.

This isn't to say that I am drop-dead gorgeous. I am fairly normal looking in America. Here it sometimes feels like I should be in a freak show. But this is the life. And I have to admit I like being able to park in a nice place.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

A Rare Sunrise View

ACTS 28:31
Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God
and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

We have new friends... ew...

There has been this eerie munching noise in our cupboard for months! It gradually grew louder and more frequent as time wore on. We all imagined some large creature with pincers. Finally, it sounded like it was on the very edge. One of my housemates pressed on the plastic laminate and found that it felt hollow underneath. Uh, oh! Desiring to know the extent of the damage she peeled off the pale green plastic. We found this whole system of holes with a very fine sawdust. In addition we found one small red-brown beetle, about 2 mm in length. There is still munching. My housemate tried drowning them, but that didn't work. Next she tried putting boiling water down the holes. We haven't heard from them since, but that was only a few hours ago. We would rather not be a zoo...

Posted by Picasa

Friday, May 25, 2007

And the cat came back...

I forgot to mention it, but according to all your predictions, the cats did come back. They "fell" (we still don't know how) down the hole into our house. Once the momma wandered around for a bit and then took them away. The second time we went on the offensive and lured one out (with bread) and caught it in a bucket. The one we got was the grouchy one! This picture of him may look sweet, but don't be fooled! I think the poor thing was terrorized because they haven't been back for a week now.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Moscow, Idaho Shooting

Pray for my home town if you think of it. There was a shooting, 3 are dead. In a town of 20,000 that is pretty shocking to everyone. Somehow, it doesn't surprise me too much. Maybe living in a country where at least 100 people are shot or bombed every day has made me less shocked at the evil of people's hearts. I am sad for their families and friends, but suffering has so many benefits; it is in God's hands. You can find more online. There is still no known motive (at least that I have found yet) and still some in the hospital. Pray that God's glory would shine out in this.

Friday, May 18, 2007

I have fallen in love!

One of my classes is having their final test tommorraow. I will have to say goodbye and release them to a summer of bad influences (like rap and MTV). I pray for them.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A list... now you have to do it too!

I'm sorry, I couldn't resist. I saw this one another blog and it made me laugh. Laughter is good medicine, right?

1. Your Detective Name (favorite color and favorite animal)
Yellow Dog

2. Your Soap Opera Name (Your middle name and the street you live on)
Christine Ashty

3. Your Star Wars Name (The first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first)

4. Your Superhero Name (Your 2nd favorite color and favorite drink)
Purple Lemonade (ewww…)

5. Your Iraqi Name (2nd letter of your first name, 3rd letter of your last name, any letter of your middle name, 2nd letter of your mom’s maiden name, 3rd letter of your dad’s middle name, 1st letter of a sibling’s first name, and last letter of your mom’s middle name)
Oghelle (I haven’t ever met anyone with this weird of name!)

6. Your Witness Protection Name (Parents’ middle names)
Marie Allen

7. Your Goth Name (”Black” and the name of one of your pets)
Black Freckles (ick)

Sunday, May 13, 2007


This is where Kitten 1 and Kitten 2 were in residence. And yes, the drop was long; and yes, it echoed loudly! We have no idea how Kitten 2 managed to make the same mistake as Kitten 1 and fall through today... Momma Cat should know better... but more clues on Kitten 2's personality came later...

Since my last post, but a few hours ago, there have been several new developements. First of all, thanks for all of you that prayed... God was good to us. The momma cat returned (despite the fright she received two nights ago from my shrieking roommates) and climbed down the stairs proceeding to retrieve kitten number 1.

I wasn't using a flash on my camera for fear that the momma kitten would be scared and run off leaving kitten 1 on the stairs. Now what? Kitten 2 was out of the hole behind our shower and was now wandering around and crying IN the shower.

This one was considerable nicer than the first one and I caught it easily with a potholder (just in case it was diseased and scratching). Then I proceeded to carry it upstairs to the balcony. We brought the tuna up and it ate a little in between howling. Finally, I saw a shadow move out of the corner of my eye. It was the momma cat, back for Kitten 2. It was here that we discoved why Kitten 2 fell down the hole. Kitten 2 is a rebellious kitten... Despite the whining, Kitten 2 (whom one of my fellow teamates suggested we name Draino) wanted nothing to do with Momma Cat. Kitten 2 ran into the house! What? NO! Not there! So I ran in and did the only thing I could... I grabbed Kitten 2 and put it back outside. Momma Cat was eating the tuna. Then, does Kitten 2 run to missing mom with glee? No, where did it go... back into the house... there was a hole in the screen. Catching Kitten 2 (again!) we returned him to the balcony. Firmly standing in front of the hole in the screen, my housemate chased Kitten 2 back towards Momma Cat, who by this time had finished the tuna. After she picked up the kitten in her mouth, it was a simple leap and a bound over the wall and off to wherever they live. Ahh... no more kittens... at least until one of them falls down the hole again.

Kitten update..

So I peeked into our hole today... "Hey, one kitten is eating!" I thought. Wait, One kitten? As in one of two? Yep. I don't know how it happened. We had one kitten yesterday, and now we have two kittens. Praise God, they are eating the tuna... So they won't starve to death. But the momma cat is having a very hard time on the roof and it is all very sad. Please continue to pray for a solution... God is going to have to provide one...


Saturday, May 12, 2007

Prayer needed...

We have a kitten... not that we wanted it... not that we can do anything with it... we didn't ask for it... it fell through our house... and now is in a hole. It cries. We cannot get it to come out. The mother cries from the roof. Pray that it will be okay.

I would show you pics... but I can't upload them right now... plus it might make you cry.

I was tagged!!!

I was so lovingly tagged by Nic,

Here's the "rules" of this meme: Each player starts with 7 random facts/habits about themselves. People who are tagged need to write on their own blog about their seven things, as well as these rules. You need to choose 7 people to get tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them that they have been tagged and to read your blog!

My seven random facts...

1. I live in the Middle East. That feels fairly random for a start, despite the fact that most of you know that already.

2. I have, on more than one occasion been the only blonde person in an airplane. This of course is a side affect of random fact number 1.

3. I like to cook... In fact, the more I cook, and the more things I learn how to make (over here especially), the more I like to cook. In our house we have cooked food from America, Italy, Greece, Brazil, Arabic food, Kurdish food, Korea, China, and other concoctions of no place in particular.

4. I once arrived in Istanbul with a total of $13.04. The visa cost $20.00. Yes I realize that was stupid. But at the same time there is a perfectly reasonable explanation for it which I will not bore you with at the moment.

5. I do not like rap and have spent considerable time trying to convince my 6th graders that gangsters should not be their roll models.

6. Dogs regularly pee when they greet me. I have been told that it has to do something with submissive behavior. I have no idea why I am such a scary person.

7. I like toe rings.

I now tag...

Laurel at Why Think in Secret
Nathan at a Jolly Company
Katie (Ibid)

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

High Voltage Has a Whole New Meaning

Last night our TV went on strike when the city power came on. I haven’t ever heard of someone going on strike for getting over-paid, but the TV was getting a little too much power, I guess, despite the multiple surge protectors. And the dissatisfaction among our household electronics seems to be catching.

Tonight during our International Fellowship meeting, our DVD player decided that it no longer desired to fulfill its assigned role. No, indeed, it wanted to be a fog machine! It would have been a fairly prolific fog machine, producing a curling white smoke that drooped off the entertainment center like the dry ice vapor. Having no use for such an appliance in our household, we had it taken outdoors where it continued to puff in solitude. After everyone had left, I went outside to see what it was up to. It wasn’t doing anything. So I told it that all would be forgiven if it would only return to its previous function. After much pleading, however, the only response given was the emitting of a strange brown goo. Do to its stubbornness it has been permanently moved to the outdoors where it will be shipped off to the dump, where all rebellious electronics belong.

Sunday, May 06, 2007


So I decided that after 1 1/2 years of blogging on the same web page template I needed to make a change. At this point I am undecided--my sister doesn't like the fact that the picture has square corners while the frame is round. But I would like the opinion of any of my various readers on whether I should keep this, change it to something radically different, or just go back to the old and familiar. Blessings on you all around!

Friday, May 04, 2007

Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake (from Hershey’s Classic Recipes © 2000)

2 c. sugar
1 ¾ c. all-purpose flour
¾ c. Hershey’s Cocoa or Hershey’s Dutch Processed Cocoa
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 ½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 c. milk
½ c. vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. boiling water
“Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Frosting (recipe follows)

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans or one round 9x13 inch baking pan (then bake 35-40 minutes).

2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large mixer bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of electric mixer 2 minutes. Stir in water. (Batter will be thin.) Pour batter evenly into prepared pans.

3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

4. Frost with “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Frosting
½ c. butter or margarine
2/3 c. Hershey’s Cocoa
3 c. powdered milk
1/3 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The English Language

I have had a hard time convincing my students that:

Fastly does not equal Quickly
Hardly does not means some that is firm or difficult.
Tasteful does not mean Tasty.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


This picture, although not of the best focal or artistic quality, I thought it accurately portrayed the ultimate chaos of the bus ride to a picnic site. Yes, this was taken on a bus! Here are some guys playing chess, obviously. I played 3 games of chess on one of our picnics.

Water is also a wonderful draw to the kids... It was so hard to get them out! But can you imagine swimming next to such a beautiful view!!