Forever Camping (Or, Interdependence and the Belovedness of Community)

I have a distinct childhood memory of one summer spent camping somewhere in Oregon on our family vacation. My sister and I pedaled about on our little bikes, befriending new kids in adjacent campsites, hurtling throughout the campground in a pack of small bicycles with no regard to the one-way arrows posted by some septuagenarian campground manager. One of the pleasures of camping is the freedom to unabashedly observe the possessions and paraphernalia of the campers around you, you smell each other’s food (for better or for worse), and you hear each other’s late night music and conversations.… Continue Reading “Forever Camping (Or, Interdependence and the Belovedness of Community)”

Living in Weakness: My Story of Anxiety

“Live leaning in when the pain is fierce

Oh, the bow, it will break at his coming

Stand who can understand the design

The refining holy fire.

Oh, gracious light. Oh, gracious light

I have been walking, walking so long, in darkness.”

(Sandra McCracken, Oh, Gracious Light)

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There is an episode of Call the Midwife, where an elderly woman with a gynecological malady (I can’t remember what) comes in to the clinic asking for help. The midwife calls a doctor to assist, and the doctor diagnoses an ongoing disorder.… Continue Reading “Living in Weakness: My Story of Anxiety”

Eden and My Girls

Elise is wide eyed at everything, from the start of each day. Her wide eyes search me out in the morning hours, and she is keen to touch my face as she greets me. In fact, she touches every face she can reach, no matter how unfamiliar the face. To her, every person is attractive, a potential friendship.

She zealously crawls about the house, hungry to see and touch everything within reach; when she finds an item of interest, she stops to taste it and forgets all else.… Continue Reading “Eden and My Girls”

Matters of Injustice

I want to share some thoughts on the matter of injustice, by way of a personal experience. But before I tell our story, I want to preface this by saying that it is a single story, and is by no means an indicator of the hospitality we usually receive as foreigners in this country. On the contrary, it is an exception in our case, and I want to make that clear.

Not long ago, a person we’d once thought of as an honest friend took advantage of us.… Continue Reading “Matters of Injustice”

Five Years’ Time

In February five years ago, I flew to Myanmar for the first time. I had never been to a developing country before. I had considered and sworn off the idea of cross cultural work back in college, my business studies leaving me certain that westerners overseas did more harm than good.

But I came to Myanmar, planning to see Yangon and Rakhine state, and experience the place my fiancé had called his home for the past seven years. It was to be a three-week visit, and for two of those three weeks, I wanted to be anywhere but Myanmar.… Continue Reading “Five Years’ Time”

Christmas is for the Oppressed and the Oppressor

The Christmas story is not really a very nice story. We have made it that way through years of re-telling, whimsical stories and songs, and whitewashed nativity scenes. But the nativity story is really dominated by themes of power, patriarchy, vulnerable people, injustice, genocide and poverty. If you were reading the Christmas story for the first time, the stage that is set is not one upon which you would expect to find God.

Before I moved overseas, my love for Christmas was love for the folksy story many westerners know and celebrate; my understanding of Christmas was incomplete.… Continue Reading “Christmas is for the Oppressed and the Oppressor”

Elisabeth’s Arrival

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Elisabeth’s Birth Story

I only had time for one pre-natal appointment with my Chiang Mai OB before giving birth to Elise. At the appointment my doctor echoed the words of my Myanmar OB and mentioned that I was measuring small and that the baby seemed small. I wasn’t overly concerned, as they said the same thing about Lena, and she was 6.5 pounds at birth (She was born at 38.5 weeks). I was nearly 37 weeks at this appointment, so I expected that I had some time for the baby to pack on some more weight before birth.… Continue Reading “Elisabeth’s Arrival”

Lingering in Happiness

It has been rainy season here since late May/early June. The appearance of the rains is always a source of refreshment, as there has been no precipitation since November, and March-May tend to be difficult months, relentlessly sunny, in the 100s most days, and hardly any cooler in the evening. We sweat through several changes of clothes each day. The dust and the pollution increase and it gets really tough to go out with kids on public transportation. Toward the end of April I start haunting the long-term forecast websites for any sign of rain, and I tend to get a bit too hopeful if I catch a breath of a breeze or see a darker-than-usual cloud.… Continue Reading “Lingering in Happiness”

International Women’s Day: A Defense and a Lament

When my daughter was born, the medical staff asked what name to write down. Without looking at one another, my husband and I both replied, “Magdalena.” We had another name in mind too, but as soon as we saw her face, we knew we wanted her to carry the story of a woman loved by God and chosen as the first to see his resurrected face. In a society where a woman’s testimony and personal worth had little value, it seems no mistake on God’s part that he chose a woman as a first witness to his resurrection.… Continue Reading “International Women’s Day: A Defense and a Lament”

Of Flags and Feet: Patriotism and Respect around the World

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Earlier this month, Amazon and the nation of India had a small debacle. The first offense on Amazon’s part was to sell doormats emblazoned with the Indian flag. This product was met with much consternation and anger in India. Shortly after, Amazon found themselves in hot water again, this time with a third party vendor selling Gandhi flip-flops on their site.

One thing frustrated me about these news stories: none of the western outlets reporting this story gave any reason for the outrage of the Indian people.… Continue Reading “Of Flags and Feet: Patriotism and Respect around the World”