November 29, 2011

Top 7 Worst Selling Lines I Heard Today at the Market (in Turkey)

  1.  “You have nice teeth.”   (his pick-up line needs serious re-tooling)
  2. “For you half price.” (gets the prize for most original)
  3. ¨Today last day of season - you are lucky.” (it’s only lucky if you give me the right price, dude)
  4. “What you want to pay?” (what does he think I want to  pay?!  Next to nothing, of course!)
  5. “Where are you from?  Ah, España!  Bellísima!” (speaking in a romance language does NOT make you romantic, buddy.)
  6.   ¨I give you two for the price of three!” (ok, I’m not good at math, but really…)
  7. ¨Tomorrow Turkey is closed, you come on right day.” (and if you believe that… should not be at the market!)

November 28, 2011


Never say never.  It’s simple, timeless advice.  It’s not that God is capricious, wondering how He can make you do what you don’t want.  But it is uncanny how many times we are tested on the things we say we’ll “never” do.

I sometimes have thought “I would never want live in a cold or wet place.”  Then I quickly, internally whisper  “I totally take that back, Lord!”  I already live overseas; where else could He send me, right?  Oh no.  It could be worse.  Much worse.

My latest sampling of this principle came in a recent “minor league” experience.  It was minor league because this “never” isn’t really of much consequence.  But let me explain…

My daughters have given me “Training 101 in Fashion Crimes”.  Since teens are  the essence of all that is cool, I pretty much take their word for it.  And on THE LIST of CRIMES were crocs.  I didn’t like the way they make your feet look wide.   I mean, my narrow feet are one of my best features.  It’s not the first thing you see when you look at me but hey, I’ll take all the good features I can get!  So a long time ago I said I would “never” wear them.

So you can imagine my chagrin when at a recent 2-week training course in a country of our region we had to remove our shoes upon entering our building 3x/day and put on the crocs provided. Crocs.  And not just any old crocs.  PINK crocs.  As soon as I saw them, I thought, “I must really need some serious Holy Spirit work!”  And so God began using the crocs as an additional teaching element in that time.  It worked in beautifully with the morning teachings on Humility.  No, I’m not kidding.  Two weeks on Humility.

It was comforting not being alone in that.  We were like 50 adults wearing pink and white crocs (the guys quickly grabbed up the minority white ones).  We croc-ed our way through humility together.  It became rather beautiful by the end; I didn’t even notice them after a while.

For some, it never was a problem.  They are far more mature than I.  They don’t mind crocs.  They actually like crocs and have a pair at home.  But I’m pretty certain it’s mostly because they never said they wouldn´t wear them. 

I might have to buy me a pair to put on when I sense that familiar Holy Spirit whisper to deeper life…

I could never say never to that.

November 11, 2011


I am on my way to Turkey.  That amazing straddler of a country with one foot in Europe and one foot in Asia.  A unique secular Islamic state, land of the Turks (obviously).  Colorful, historical and vibrant it boasts apple tea, water pipes, carpets, music, Turkish baths, Turkish delight, baklava and shwarma.

My trip today has been a “straddling” trip…At my first airport I felt really grown up ordering a Starbucks soy latte.  I could have been a business woman for all anybody knew.  I like being mysterious like that, anonymous.  No one knows I cleaned bathrooms yesterday or carpooled or made mashed potatoes.  They just see me as a traveler with her computer and colorful scarf and warm sweater & boots.  I feel so cool.

The next airport (still in Spain) was classy Barcelona.  I took in the official Barca fútbol store and artsy Gaudi souvenirs and walked by tapa bars before I settled down to do some work & call home.  When I got hungry for lunch I felt less cool & more concerned about airport prices.  I felt bad that my husband can go all day on a candy bar when he travels & he stubbornly refuses to pay those prices to get any real food.  I ate my minimalist sandwich & diet coke with less gusto.

In Munich I got a lot of reading & writing done, walked to stretch (all the stores were looking the same by now) and finally ordered a cup of tea.  It was lovely & warming & gave a sort of companionship as I read.   It’s been 12 hours since I left my house this morning and I am still only in Germany.  But these hours are helping me transition.   

I’m on my way to a language course.  A full two-week course open to all but pulling mainly from people in far away places doing far out things for God – on a low budget.  I’ll be at a retreat center out in the boonies and they’ve already warned us that “there is nothing nearby, bring everything you need with you”, “bring your own mug for hot drinks” “be forewarned you cannot put ANY toilet paper down the toilet or there will be disastrous results” and so you can see how I started my day feeling “business traveler-ish” but am headed into an upscale campout. 

Did I mention it will be cold?  “You may want to bring warm sleepwear and long underwear” they wrote.  Long underwear!  Those words strike fear in my heart, people!  Long underwear means EXTREME cold.  Long underwear = “you will suffer”.  So I am transitioning, straddling, moving from classy Starbucks coolness to humble learner-sufferer.  

I can see, though, that this in itself is cool, too.  That I can do both.  I can live in both worlds (if I put my mind to it).  When I land tonight in Turkey I will have one night in a hotel.  My own room.  My own bathroom.  WiFi.  My last hurrah.  Tomorrow morning I go to the camp.  Limited internet.  Dorm room housing.  Shared bathrooms.  No tp down the toilet.  And…great teaching, amazing people doing great things in cool places, getting tools for my work, and no cooking! (Then again, maybe we have to take turns on kp!)   

On the weekend there will be a chance to see some things.  What I most want to do is experience a Turkish bath and shop at an open market (for Christmas!).  And skype with my family.  And blog & take pictures.  Smoke a water pipe and drink tea with the Turks.  Bargain.  Is my life cool or what?!   What a straddle-life I lead!

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