When my husband told a kid that he’d also have a strong wife: another adven-nurture moment come to life!

My husband is a truth-speaker. He loves to proclaim his love for me as well as my great value. He also loves to inspire others toward the power of marriage. My heart exults over these things about him. 

A couple weeks ago, we were in San Francisco, walking with my parents. Along the sidewalk where our feet were finding their way, pleasantly parallel to the embarcadero, there was a wooden curb of sorts to our right. It was essentially a 3×3″ piece of timber, about 8 feet long, used to keep people and things from negatively effecting the construction project underway to our right. We noticed a boy, about eight years old, trying to figure out a way to walk on that beam. My husband encouraged him that it was possible and hopped up on it, using my right shoulder for balance.

“See!” he said, “It’s easy! You can do it too! For me, my wife gives me the strength and support I need to do this and many other things in life. One day in the future you can have a strong wife too, who helps you accomplish great things you couldn’t do on your own. Right now, your mom might be able to help you walk on the beam though. Okay, bye!” 

 

The moment was priceless. 

Travel is innately better with this man by my side. We give each other great strength, supernatural strength even. Whether navigating Qalqilya in the Palestinian Territories or enjoying the sunny wind of San Francisco, we get to bring our co-strength and inspire others, even whole cities, with it. Ah, travel! It nurtures our souls, yes; however, we also get to nurture souls wherever we go. 

There is adventure, which we love; and there is ADVEN-NURTURE, which we thrive in! 

Go find some adven-nurture today! Let us know what happens! 

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Middle East Monday: How powerful is YOUR passport?

I lived in Israel and the Palestinian Territories for three years: 2006-2009. I knew there was a global inequity regarding the utility of certain passports. I knew mine was more of a door-opener than many. This reality was made painfully obvious by the restrictions placed upon the Palestinians I lived amongst. Most of them were unable to LEAVE the Palestinian Territories at all. They couldn’t go into Israel proper, they couldn’t get visas to other nations, and this greatly influenced their worldview, their concept of identity, and their sense of injustice.

Likewise, when I was in Baghdad in 2011, I talked with a number of people with a similar problem. However, for many of them, it was a matter of emigration. They wanted to leave Baghdad and they could not get a visa etc to do so. Thus, they were stuck in a war zone. That is absolutely awful. Can you imagine the sense of powerlessness, desperation, and hopelessness one might feel? Daily, friends and family are dying from acts of war and terrorism. You worry about your family, your kids’ safety, and your family’s income in the state of national instability. Not only that, you are exhausted from the daily journey of normal activities which could find you unwittingly at a bomb site, harmed or even dead. That is a very rough life.

Ironically, the following infographic doesn’t represent the Palestinian Territories! That is a further indicator of the lack of awareness about the issues therein.

So, wherever you are from, be thankful for the mobility you have – even if it is limited. Moreover, open your mind to have more compassion and understanding for those who are without some of the simple options you take for granted.

ALSO, what are you going to do with YOUR passport? It’s a key, you know. A key to new places, new spaces, new faces. It’s a courier train, taking your ideas from your norm to someone else’s norm. It’s a library that flies. It’s a thing of wonder, possibility, and beauty.

It’s a pass to other ports. Enjoy it. 🙂

 

World WReligion Wednesday: Religious Refugees in Burma

Confined to squalid camps, supposedly for their own “protection,” Burma’s persecuted Rohingya are slowly succumbing to starvation, despair and disease.

Some are calling it a crime against humanity

Rosheda Bagoung holds her malnourished child inside the tent at the Dar Paing refugee camp in Sittwe, Burma, on May 10, 2014 Lam Yik Fei—Getty Images

 

Let’s dream toward healing and remedying the refugee situation globally. There are ways to create and sustain true refuge for those who need it. Meanwhile, here is the story of what is happening in Burma.

 

A Song for a Baby Now in Heaven

I’ve had many friends experience miscarriages, two experience the death of their three year old to a disease, and then there’s the following story from a woman I don’t know directly, but is a friend of friends. All of these stories have the ability to yank that fetus–like soft spot in your soul and twist it until you feel squished by grief. The death of a child often rips at one’s emotions in a particularly unjust way. It’s the innocence kids display. It’s the hope they carry, the newness, the dreams of generations so freshly in motion. It’s their seeming inability to do much to protect themselves. Babies, with all their wide-eyed wonder, are profound and precious.

Yet, even on the borders of such grief and pain, it is possible to hold hands with True Hope. God is here. He is real, living, and caring. He offers to meet us in our deepest wounds and show us the truth – especially regarding how much He truly loves us, loves babies, and that such horror is not His desire for us. On the contrary, there is a real enemy named “Satan” who roots much of his identity in stealing, killing, and destroying. God, in His radical power, still loves and still comforts, even when things do not go by our hopes or His.

If you have lost a child, I am so sorry. If you are in any form of grief, I send you a hug. You are not alone. May God speak a fresh message to you today as you listen to this song:

My little giant in the heavenlies

 

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It’s Not Guns We Need to Focus on, it’s EMPATHY

It’s Not Guns We Need to Focus on, it’s EMPATHY

I’ve been thinking about writing a very similar article. It’s extraneous to assess and re-assess shootings like these without simply realizing that the main missing component- the healer, the preventer, the way to dismantle such terrorism is LOVE. Love your neighbor as yourself. Don’t ignore their pain, their suicidal jokes, or their maniacal threats. Pause, get bold, and love them.

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“Here’s what doesn’t get the headlines: Empathy. Listening to those around you. Even if you don’t like them very much.

Despite being relevant and important discussions, the glamorous headlines are ultimately distractions — they just feed into the carnage and the attention and the fame the killer desired. They are distractions from what is right in front of you and me and the victims of tomorrow’s shooting: people who need help. And while we’re all fighting over whose pet cause is more right and more true and more noble, there’s likely another young man out there, maybe suicidally depressed, maybe paranoid and delusional, maybe a psychopath, and he’s researching guns and bombs and mapping out schools and recording videos and thinking every day about the anger and hate he feels for this world.

And no one is paying attention to him.” -Mark Manson

World WReligion Wednesday: The Barnian Buddhas

 

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Having recently watched the film “Monuments Men” and, as a response, pondered more extensively what it means to honor a people by preserving their cultural heritage, I think it’s a good time to mention the Barnian Buddhas in Afghanistan. Prior to their destruction, one of them was the largest such carving. Now, there is the question of whether to rebuild or not. What do you think?

 

 

Middle East Monday: When Loving Your Enemies is Loud

Home. Peace. Feeling nestled in.

These are common desires. However, there are areas of the world where this idea of “home” is less established than hearts would like it to be. One such place is the Palestinian territories. I lived in Israel and Palestine for three years. Stories and snapshots, longings and prayers, activism and belief build bridges from dreams to reality. Awareness is important.

With specific regard to the Tent of Nations, I’ve met some of this family. They are kind, just, and visionary. Their experience should be shared- in hopes that influencers will change the direction of their imminent loss. You can be part of the solution. Spread the word.

Tent of Nations on Upworthy

Middle East Monday: Eric Metaxas interviews the “Vicar of Baghdad,” Canon Andrew White. – YouTube

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Me, Andrew, and Lina in Baghdad in 2011

 

Andrew White is a dear friend of mine. He is the person who invited me to go to Baghdad with him in 2011, and we went! We share a deep love for Iraq, the Middle East, hope for the nations, peacemaking, absurdity, and revolutionary risk-taking (otherwise known as “faith”).

If you would like to see him speak in person, you can sign up for the newsletter here.

 

Eric Metaxas interviews the “Vicar of Baghdad,” Canon Andrew White. – YouTube.