Aspiring edge-dweller.


Student: Teacher, what does “orso” mean?
Me: Orso? ORSO? I don’t know. I don’t think that’s a word. 
Student: Yes, teacher. Orso. What does it mean?
Me: Orso?? I have never heard that. How do you spell it? I never say that. 
Student: Orso, teacher! O-R-S-O. 
Me: Orso. Ok. Um. I don’t know. Where did you hear that? Use it in a sentence. 
Student: Yes, teacher. “I’ll be there around 7 orso.” 
Me: OHHHH!!! You mean OR….SO!!!! 


(This conversation happened in Kurdish)

Me: Excuse me, do you have helke (eggs?) 
Shop owner: Helke? Helke? What is helke?? 
Me: Helke! You know! Helke!! (makes round shape with fingers) 
Shop owner: I dont know helke. What is helke?? Helke of what? 
Me: Helke!!! Small, white – Helke!!! 
Shop owner: Helke??? OHHH! HAYLKE!! Haylke? Haylke! (goes to get a set of eggs) 
Me: Oh. Yes. Haylke. Thank you. 

I later learned that “helke” actually means “slices.” Whoops.

Language learning and teaching… Oh the joys! 


Heaven Stories

Burk Parsons just tweeted this. What a brilliant image. 

In heaven I look forward to hearing everyone tell the story of God’s grace in their lives, while listening to Jesus fill in all the gaps.


An older student in one of my classes that always talks about the history of this country and what things used to be like. He will usually start with “Before 1991….”and tends to rant on a while until I finally cut him off and let someone else talk. It has gotten to be a joke in my class that whenever he raises his hand and begins to speak, we all say “Before 1991…”

Some of our students at the Language Center invited us out to dinner after class last night. We went out to a nice restaurant, had kebabs and drank tea. It was a refreshing time and good to see some students outside of the classroom.

A younger student that was at dinner last night and said, “Teacher, I will tell you about before 1991.” He started describing his life… He was 7 years old when army men barged into his home, looking for his dad and shooting people around him – family embers and neighbors. He was laughing slightly to deal with the awkwardness of telling such a heavy and macabre story, but you could see the pain and hurt still fresh in his mind. Especially as he said, “I will never, I cannot, forget that.”

Almost everyone we know here has a similar story of pain, hurt, loss and war. Such is life here and may the Father grant us the wisdom and words to know how to respond in love, truth and compassion to those who are still hurting.

Sunset over the rooftops one evening

Mountains and Shepherds

Trip to the mountains recently. 

I love that there are actual shepherds in this part of the world. Seeing a shepherd lead and herd his flock stirs the soul. It’s such a lovely reminder of who Jesus is, how we are called to follow Him and the way He cares for us. 





Kite Season

Winter is slowly coming to an end, people are beginning to gather together on corners and outside gates during the evening hours. Kids are running around outside more. Spring is in the air. With spring also comes kite season! This is the view of an empty field near our neighborhood, where the kite flying takes place.  


Talk Under

I guess I could categorize this as cultural lesson #926471.

While in Turkey, we were out to dinner with some friends. The father in our group told his sons in the restaurant to “talk under” each other. He went on to explain to us that they have used that phrase in order to help their kids understand culture. In our American culture, we tend to get louder, talk over people and try to be heard. But here in the East, people do not talk over. They talk “under” each other.

This is a great framework for me to understand life here. They tend to be quiet and discrete, blending in with their surroundings and disapproving the loud, boisterous attitudes we embrace in America.

Back here in our city, we were talking with a few friends and realized that there is not a word for “funny.” This culture does not especially value humor, and their language reflects that. There is, however, a word that encompasses someone’s worth, value and wisdom. They say that when a person is loud or smiles too much, their “worth” decreases.

Now we walk the line between respecting these cultural beliefs, but not losing who we are as people and who we are in the Son.

Here’s to fighting the tension!



Christmas loot brought home from Turkey. I think I brought more stuff from Turkey for Christmas than I did originally from America. Especially excited about the homemade hot chocolate mix, moleskin-like notebooks found in Turkey, yarn and carbon monoxide detector (much needed). Tidings, yall!

Good Tidings

Merry Christmas from Turkey! 

Yesterday, we went to a Christmas Eve service. It was lovely to be able to sing and worship with a big group of people. One line of “Joy to the World” caught me like it never had before… 

“Far as the curse is found” 

Looking into this line, I learned that this song was not originally meant to be a Christmas song. It’s based on Psalm 98 and is really looking forward to the second coming of Christ. He has come to those as far as the curse is found. The curse is in me, it’s in you, in every nation, tribe and tongue. And that curse is redeemed through the One whose birth we celebrate today. 

May your Christmas be full of good tidings – because we have much reason to be merry. 


Just Another Day?

It was a normal morning. Thankfully, we had power. Checking a few emails, reading, getting ready to go teach. Suddenly, our power started to flicker and off it went. This is a normal occurrence in our part of the world. I thought nothing of it and continued on with the morning.

All of a sudden, Roommate 2 downstairs yelled, “We have fire!!! TURN EVERYTHING OFF!!!”

“What?” I thought. “Surely not…” I moseyed over to my space heater and turned it off along with a few other things I had on. I pulled on my coat and went downstairs. I have no idea why I didn’t seem to believe her at first.

One look outside at our smoking electrical box got me moving a bit faster.

Roommate 2 ran to her car to get a fire extinguisher while Roommate 1 ran upstairs to call our supervisor. I stood there, feeling pretty helpless. Roommate 2 opened the electrical box and that’s when we saw the flames. I’m laughing a bit on the inside at this point (our electrical box is outside, in a courtyard-type of thing so it didn’t feel like any real danger!). Roommate 2 takes the stance and then proclaims, “How do you use this thing?!!!” referring to the extinguisher.

My mind reeled as I mentally scanned every memory I have, realizing that none of them had to do with using a fire extinguisher. “Uhhh! I don’t know!!!!” I shouted, jumping up and down at this point.

With the might and dramatic flair fit for a movie, Roommate 2 popped off the pin and doused the fire. After the flames went out, we looked at each other and just laughed. She went next door and banged on the gate of our landlord. he eventually came out, looking quite tired, but his hair (of course) was gelled back and styled as if he’d been up for hours.

He looked at our poor electrical box and you could almost see his thoughts dawn on his face: “These girls… wow…” He said he’d fix it later on in the day. We went back inside to finish getting ready and go to work.

Did I mention that our landlord is one of my ESL students? He entered class with a little smirk that morning.

Thankful this fire extinguisher was close on hand!

The charred electrical box post-fire.

Just another day here in Central Asia!


In Ezekiel 16 l…

In Ezekiel 16 lately. 

Can’t seem to shake this imagery: 

And when I passed by and saw you wallowing in your blood, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’