Happy Anniversary, Texas! 

Eight years ago this week, I packed up my few precious earthly belongings and headed out for a grand adventure. I was driving down a road of unknowns, to live with someone I had never met in person, to become an admin for someone I had only talked to through email. I almost turned around when I got to the multi-layer overpasses that greet Dallas visitors, for this Nebraska farm girl was in new territory. But, a 9-month internship turned into some of the best 5 years of my life.

It wasn’t where I ever thought I would end up. My internship was supposed to be in Cambodia, it was supposed to get this overseas bug I had caught the summer after sophomore year out of my system. Instead, I learned some incredible lessons, built relationships with some amazing people, earned my Master’s degree, and finally figured out God just wanted my ‘yes’, no strings attached.

The woman I met for the first time as I carried my suitcases into her home became one of the strongest influences in my life as she opened up her heart to me and showed me the most amazing generosity. I sat at her table for 5 years of Saturday morning breakfasts as we debriefed the week over re-filled-often cups of coffee. We curled up under blankets to watch Hallmark movies, she welcomed me into her extended family, and she patiently listened to all of my dreams and goals, frustrations and sorrows. She daily lived out a faith that I can only hope to see in my own life.

The bosses that I hardly knew are now my role models and cheerleaders. I can’t even begin to count the lessons that I learned from them that are now a part of my life; beginning with the meaning of Unreached peoples, how to balance work and rest, how to pray, joy against all odds, how to do what it takes to get the task done. I was by no means a perfect admin, and there’s a lot I would change if I could go back and do it all over again. But I am so very grateful for the five years that I got to watch these heroes of mine up close.

I found a church family that welcomed me in with open arms. I probably have more grandparents who spoil me there, more friends who give me hugs when I come home, more people there who battle before the throne of the Heavenly Father on my behalf, than I ever could have imagined possible.

I got to fulfill one of my dreams to attend graduate school. Homework was hard, writing papers was hard, balancing school and work and trying to have a life was hard. But I met students from all over the world. I got to learn from professors who have been where I am now and I grew from their stories of triumphs and mistakes. And if it weren’t for a practicum that took me around the world, maybe I wouldn’t be in the place I now call home.

Texas, you have a big heart. Thank you for being my home for 5 years, for being a place I love to go back to. Thank you for the beautiful people who live within your borders. Happy Anniversary.


For the last year and half, joy has often felt far away. I pushed my head above water, fought to hold tight to hope, but sometimes all around me I saw the the frustrations and struggles, my own inadequacies and failings. 

But joy is returning, and I feel the light breaking through again in my heart. My eyes, focused only on the darkness for awhile, are filling with glimpses of the light: 

– In the colors of the sunset outlining the mountains in the distance

– The simplest of meals, given in love

– My very favorite hot coffee with sweet milk, sipping slowly to memorize the flavor for the months I will have to do without

– Declaring Scripture over this land, out of a heart in which faith is taking root and growing 

– Air-conditioning, always a gift 

– Phone calls just to check in, just wanting us to know she is thinking of us and will miss us 

– Tears flowing as children knelt before parents, following Jesus’ example to wash feet and serve humbly and offer words of thanksgiving 

– Hearty bowls of noodles and pork and vegetables, hearts and tummies full 

– These words of promise: “I am the Lord; there is no other God. I have equipped you for battle, though you don’t even know me, so all the world from east to west will know there is no other God. I am the Lord and there is no other. I create the light and make the darkness. I send good times and bad times. I, the Lord, am the one who does these things. Open up the heavens and pour out your righteousness. Let the earth open wide so salvation and righteousness can sprout up together. I, the Lord, created them” (Isaiah 45:5-8). 

– And this, exactly when I needed it: “The Lord is my light and my salvation- so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?” 

The hard times come, there is no doubt. But God’s back is never turned to us, He will never abandon us. These words are not empty cliches meant to give false hope, but they point us to the Rock to which we cling through the good times and bad, when the moments of joy are few or many. He remains the constant thread when everything else threatens to unravel and in Him we rest. 

“Let us dare to test God’s resources….Let us ask Him to kindle in us and keep aflame that passion for the impossible that shall make us delight in it with Him, till the day when we see it transformed into a fact”. 

– Lilias Trotter 

The Reality of Waiting

The humidity was pressing in thick as the storm clouds built up. They were majestic against the bright blue sky, poofy and white and gray turning darker with the heavy promise of rain. Ah, relief was coming. Rain to wash away the sticky heat, replenish the thirsty ground and bring hope for those who daringly pushed seeds into dirt with the expectation of a bountiful harvest against all odds. 

But the rain never came. I kept walking back to the window, straining my ears for those first patters on the tin roof next door. But just like every day this week, the clouds with all their hope passed by. 

This is the reality of waiting. No quick fixes or easy answers, hope rising and falling again and again. But then tomorrow dawns and expectation grows because somehow we know that this waiting will be worth it. Perhaps…today will be the day.

Hebrews 10:35-36 So we do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. 

Finding Sabbath

I realized I needed Sabbath while in language school. I studied Monday to Saturday, with homework and practice at the market filling my days along with basic survival in a foreign country. Sundays were sort of language days too, especially in the beginning when trying to follow a sermon in Khmer took great concentration and effort, straining for any word I recognized and tucking unfamiliar words away in a little notebook to ask my teacher about later. After 6 months of this routine, I was exhausted both physically and emotionally. I needed to make changes to find a better rhythm that allowed space to rest, reflect and recharge. We didn’t have a specific day set aside necessarily, but found moments in the midst of the other things we had going on. Friday mornings when our school schedule allowed, we filled our souls at the House of Prayer during a time of listening prayer led by a wonderful, Spirit-filled woman who took us straight into God’s presence. Friday evenings homework was banned and we found a new movie on Amazon to give our brains a break. We stopped studying on Saturdays and made those hours up during the week so we could have extra time for talking with our families, sitting and reading, or heading to the swimming pool and gym.

Sabbath in the village looked a little different. After a week of leaving our doors open to welcome in the noise of the street, curious neighbors and the wandering chicken or dog, Sundays we kept the doors locked, stayed home from the market, and let ourselves be. It was a day to fill up on English, in the form of sermons from home and familiar worship music. Sometimes if I was brave and let my heart express the emotions of the week, I closed the door to our storage room and danced before the King in worship. Other times when the darkness felt too heavy and my weary heart couldn’t take it, I just crawled back in bed with my headphones in and let the tears fall. Sunday was our day for special baking, pulling out precious supplies of chocolate chips and butter, figuring out how to make favorite recipes paleo and enjoying the fruit of our labor along side a decaf coconut milk mocha or pumpkin spice latte. Our habit in the evenings was smoothies and nuts, tucking ourselves inside our mosquito net for a movie or the latest Downton Abbey.

I often longed to meet with other believers, for a place to fellowship and worship in any language. But now in our new place sometimes I miss those Sundays. I felt free to just let the day be set apart, to feast instead of fasting, to rest instead of striving. Taking that full day gave me the boost I needed to start a new week, to keep going. Sabbath takes intentionality, planning sometimes so errands are finished and space is made for the quiet, the rest, the play. Sabbath is about finding out what brings God-breathed joy to our hearts and nourishing those places. It means a rhythm of working hard and pulling back, emptying out and being filled back up. Sabbath looks scarcity in the face and says, “You’ve worked enough. You are enough, what you do does not define you. God is enough to fill you. There’s enough time to take a break, to linger over a cup of coffee and think and process the past week. There are enough supplies in the cupboard to make something special”. God must have known we would need His permission, so He modeled it from the very beginning when He rested after He had thrown the stars in place and brought forth man from dirt. He marveled and enjoyed, declaring all that He had made good. He invites us to enjoy too, as we look at His creation and the work that He has done through us and around us in the week. My heart longs for Sabbath, and I am slowly finding that rhythm again for this season.

Keep Going

Almost every week-day for the year we lived on the border, Kristin and I would don long-sleeves and hats and prayer walk the streets around our town. Sometimes we would stick to the pavement, weaving around carts filled with suitcases or fruit ready to head across the border, ignoring calls for taxi rides and comments about our height, weight, nose length and skin color. We would attempt to listen to the Holy Spirit and speak out words of blessing, while dodging motos and people and dogs and children. The road looped around the main part of town, past the border crossing, little restaurants, guesthouses and clothing shops, the gas station on the corner and back to our home. 

Other days we would venture down the dirt roads to little villages farther out. If the roads weren’t too muddy from the previous day’s rain, we could focus on asking the Father to open the hearts and homes of the families we passed by, rather than attempting to miss big puddles. 

Sometimes a brave soul would call out a greeting and we would sit under the shelter of a tarp or aluminum roof for a cool drink and conversation. They asked lots of questions about our salary and eating habits, and we shared the bigger purpose in our morning jaunts (no, it wasn’t just ’cause we like to exercise), offering a story or a prayer for healing. 

Many days, I didn’t want to go. For this girl who thrives on routine and predictability, the unknown of who and what we might encounter and the ever-present possibility that no one would want to talk to us wore bit by bit on my heart. The sun beat down, discouragement often came, and once open doors felt very much shut. But we kept going, kept walking and praying and smiling and greeting. We did make friends and often circled by in regular intervals to greet them as we continued to explore new places. 

On a recent visit back to this border town, we were headed back to our guesthouse from lunch when a woman called out to us in English. Back and forth in her native Thai, our Khmer and a few words of English, with a little translation help from her son, she eagerly invited us to her home. “I used to see you walk past my house all the time”, she told us. She welcomed us in, buying us the best green tea latte in town and promising to embroider a Khmer picture for us to take back on our next visit home. She and her husband shared an interest in the things of Jesus and an openness to us coming back to share more. 

Her house is on a road we’ve walked many times, one of the dirt paths where we met the curious gazes of neighbors and asked the Father to open up a household. 

Often I see only the smallest signs of God’s hand instead of the big answers to prayer and I want to quit. But this woman was a reminder to keep going, keep walking, keep sharing, keep loving, keep waiting to see what God will do. 

Psalm 27:14 Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord. 

5 Favorite Things about Our New House

After living in a long-term guesthouse situation (which had lots of perks, despite the more limited space), Kristin and I recently moved into a house that we are renting for the next year. We are feeling all kinds of grateful and spoiled as we actually have furniture and space to spread out, thanks to friends who are letting us use their things and multiple bedrooms. No place is perfect, but here are a few of the things I’m really enjoying here. 

1. A desk 

After doing all of my work and reading and typing either sitting on my bed, or at the little table that also served as our dining area, I’m loving having a real desk and office chair! With the early morning light streaming in, this is where I meet with the Father, working my way through the Old Testament or my current study of Proverbs using the SheReadsTruth app. Late afternoons you can find me here finishing up emails, figuring out the my meal plan for the days I’m responsible for cooking (thanks in most part to Pinterest!), or doing other office-y/organizational type things for our work and team, which I love. We have a separate little office area in our front room where Kristin and I plan our English lessons, brainstorm goals and ideas for our trips to the border, and work on our own language study. So we’re doubly blessed in the desk department. 

2. My bookshelf 

This was one of my favorite things in our bedroom in our house on the border, and I love having it set up to display the small collection of real books I have with me here. It makes me feel at home, like this is my space. I have received a few extra books from friends in packages or brought along in suitcases this year, and although I LOVE having the ability to carry around my phone and have access to tons of books, there’s just something about real pages and the scent of a story that is about to be discovered. Current book I’m loving that isn’t featured on this bookshelf (’cause I’m currently reading it) is David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell. 

3. Kitchen counters 

I’ve been in a lot of different houses in Cambodia, so I know I’m pretty blessed in this department. Putting together healthy meals with lots of fresh ingredients has always been rather soothing for my soul, no matter what our housing situation. But the preparation and cleanup sure is a lot easier with all of this space! 

4. Windows 

Oh man, I didn’t realize how much natural light is a blessing until we lived in a house that didn’t have windows. But now we do, and it is awesome! I’m kind of a security freak too, so I appreciate being able to keep tabs on our front gate and the goings-on around us. Bonus, the tinted windows mean a bit more privacy for us. 

5. Bathroom shower 

In Liam, we had no running water for 10 of the 12 months that we lived there. I said I would never take it for granted again- and every single time I stepped under the spray of our shower at the guesthouse I expressed my gratefulness and lingered under the hot water. Well, my shower here reminds me to keep being grateful no matter what. There is a hot water heater. It just doesn’t have hot water…unless you get rather creative. You have to sort of let the hose and shower head dangle, in just the right way, and then you can’t really pick it up or the hot water turns off. So, yeah, it makes for an interesting time taking a shower if I want hot water, but you know what? There’s water flowing through the pipes and I don’t have to use the bucket method. The gratefulness lessons are still continuing on. 

Shelter for the Storm

My birthday is smack-dab in the middle of Nebraska tornado season. I remember more than once when the sky went all shades of gray and black and green, my dad watched the clouds and knew what they meant, and we took my birthday cake down to the basement. To wait. When the storm rages, you head to the safest place, to shelter from the craziness outside.

Too often in my life, when the situation is messy and complicated, I can’t see through the fog to what is coming next, or a storm is raging in my heart or around me, I run right out into the thick of it. I thrash and rage too, my heart spilling over with complaints and impatience. “Won’t You answer this NOW? Don’t I DESERVE this thing that I’ve waited days…months…years for?”

Haven’t I waited long enough? For the midwife to turn to Jesus. For fruit from all of our praying and walking and pushing out of our comfort zones every day. For an answer to my prayer for energy, healing, joy. For godly spouses for each of my siblings. For freedom for Cambodia from oppression and bondage. For a husband, a partner for this journey, and a little family of my own. For the day my whole family can be together in one place, that does not involve a computer and Google Hangout. For the day when I don’t have to think about ants and critters (I’m totally serious. I pray for patience for this every day).

But here’s the invitation from the Father: to come out of the storm, to wait in the safe place with Him.

Proverbs 18:10 The name of the Lord is a strong fortress; the godly run to him and are safe.

Running to this fortress, seeking shelter and peace in this safe place doesn’t mean that I’m done waiting. But it means I can cease my frantic pacing and planning and trying to make things happen on my own. It is place to draw near, to listen, to rest. In the shelter of the Father He quiets my heart even when the storm still rages outside, and I can ask what He wants to teach me in this season of waiting. I’ve been running towards the tornadoes in my life lately, instead of seeking the safety of the strong tower. I think I need to remember those birthdays in the basement and take shelter in my Father’s strong fortress, and maybe bring some cake (gluten-free of course) with me as I continue to wait and trust.  
What has God taught you in the seasons of waiting?

Linking up with Velvet Ashes again this week. 

Travel Adventures

I honestly am not a fan of traveling. Crazy, right, since I live on the other side of the world? I get motion sick on basically every mode of transportation (I will spare you the gruesome details but thankfully there are not barf bags involved generally), and although I am pretty fantastic at packing, living out of a suitcase is not my favorite. I am much more comfortable navigating my familiar streets and going to the same coffee shop every week, rather than trying to figure out a new system of bus routes and how to take a train and what restaurants to eat at in a new place, especially if I can’t read the menu.

My adventurous side is buried pretty deep down. I do love learning, finding out about other places in the world and experiencing the every day, ordinary parts of a new culture. There are many redeeming things about visiting a new place, especially if I can hang my clothes up in a wardrobe and come home to the same guesthouse or friend’s home every night. Travel pushes us, in many good ways, out of our comfort zone and forces us to look at our own space with a fresh perspective. 

I have not had too many mishaps or crazy adventures while traveling, but here are a few anecdotes from my world wanderings. 

Security Lines

We all dread them right? Taking off our shoes, pulling out our liquids and laptops, new-fangled scanners. I didn’t travel anywhere that exciting until the summer after my sophomore year of college. Not only was this my first time outside of the US, it was also my very first time to fly! Needless to say, I was SOOO nervous. The study abroad group I was with arrived at the airport early for our 6:00 am flight. It takes awhile if you want to fly from Nebraska to anywhere, and to get from Omaha to Quito, Ecuador we were getting ready for Flight #1 of 3. I had tried to be prepared, looked up what to do when going through a security line since that was my first hurdle, that first new thing. Everyone around me looked like a pro, and I tried to copy them as they put the right things in bins and pushed them toward the scanner. As I stepped up for my turn to go through the metal dectector (this was pre-full body scanners), the TSA officer grinned widely and said, “There’s no need to be afraid”. I have no idea, but I must have looked absolutely terrified! Thankfully I can laugh about it now, and feel much more confident after 10 years of making my way through those security lines in numerous states and countries. I have even been asked after finishing the process if I work for the airport because I looked so professional. 🙂 

What language should I speak?

After spending a month in Ecaudor studying and exploring this beautiful country, Spanish was pretty much on my mind. I had now gotten about 8 flights under my belt (see the previous story for the beginning of this trip), but one new experience was going through customs to enter the United States. The professor leading our study abroad group had given us lots of tips, and I was fairly prepared for a rather unhappy customs officer who might ask questions about where I had been and what I did there. Somehow I was the first person in line (not my favorite when I like to observe people who actually know what they are doing), and was greeted by a straight-faced gentleman who took my passport without a greeting. After glancing at my name, he looked up and started speaking. My muddled brain could tell it wasn’t English and it wasn’t Spanish. Where was I and what was he doing? I realized it was German, but replied to him in Spanish to tell him I had no idea what he was saying to me. This brought out a smile. “With such a German last name you don’t speak the language?” I smiled in return and noticed his name tag, which also bore a very German last name. Filled with relief that I wasn’t in trouble for something, we had a great little chat about where our ancestors came from and he let me go without worrying that I had snuck a packet of Ecuadorian Oreos into my bag and then was so nervous that I declared them on the little piece of paper. 

Pageant Queens

My now-teammate Kristin and I were seated next to each other on the 13-hour flight home after our short-term trip to Cambodia. We hadn’t slept much, and after a couple of weeks living the village life we probably didn’t look our best. When the lights in the cabin turned back on and the flight attendants made their way through with breakfast, we were gratefully accepting hot cups of coffee when one of teammates cheerfully peered over the seat in front of us and called, “Good morning, princesses!” We grinned back at her and tossed back greetings and inside jokes that come from 2 weeks of intense life together. The flight attendant smiled too and moved on. Later when she came to collect our trays she asked, “Are you two really princesses?” Kristin and I looked at each other, thinking “Do we really LOOK like we could be princesses at this exact moment?” The flight attendant went on, “Sometimes we get pageant queens on our flights and I thought maybe that’s what you were!” It was probably the nicest compliment we could have gotten if she thought that was possible after exhausting flights and a week of bucket showers. 

First Class

Most of my travel adventures come from outside of the US, but I have also logged thousands of miles flying back and forth between my home state of Nebraska and my 5-year home in Dallas, Texas. For a girl who didn’t fly until she was 20, achieving Gold Status on American Airlines felt like a significant achievement. There are not many perks with this entry-level frequent-flyer status, but I was pretty elated to get free checked bags with my missionary budget and getting on first with priority boarding wasn’t bad either. 

My last Christmas in the States had been simply wonderful, and it was one of the hardest goodbyes at the airport I had experienced (although I had no idea what “I’m leaving for years to live on the other side of the country” goodbyes would be like). It was all I could do to stay in the airport terminal instead of chasing back after my family to let them take me back home. As we got ready to board, they warned us it was a pretty full flight, with all those holiday travelers making their way home. I waited through the boarding of those seasoned travelers who achieved crazy levels of miles, and then stood up when they called for Gold Status folks like myself. I noticed that I was the only one that stood up, and got situated in my roomy exit row seat while everyone else made their way on to the plane. Finally everyone was seated and their luggage stowed but there didn’t seem to be any hurry on the part of the flight attendants or pilot. Then a man came on board and started to make his way toward the back. Where is he headed, I wondered, since all the seats in the back were filled up. He stopped next to my row. “I’m in this seat”, he proclaimed. Of course you are not, I thought, trying to make sense of the situation. My poor broken heart can’t handle getting booted out of the small comfort of being able to stretch my legs a bit. Everyone was staring and wondering why this guy was kicking me out of my seat. Then he said, “You are the only one with Gold status on this flight so they are moving you up to first class”. Oh. Well then. I made my way back up to the front, with a zillion eyes on me (or so it felt), and the ticket lady met me there, and showed me to my seat…in first class. A roomy seat, attentive service, a quiet seatmate who also appreciated his first class treatment. In the midst of the tough goodbyes and knowing the transition I was soon facing, this was a gift straight from the Father. I savored every minute of the two hour flight back to Dallas, knowing such a gift probably wouldn’t happen again. For those of you who frequent the front of the plane on a regular basis, wow. I hope you are grateful. 🙂 

What fun stories do you have from traveling?

Linking up with Velvet Ashes Travel stories

Happy Anniversary, Cambodia!

This picture makes me smile. It was our first night in our apartment, almost exactly 3 years ago. The adventure of life in Cambodia was just starting, and my cheeks were still plump (before parasites and stress and losing 15 pounds). My enthusiasm was high, and I suppose I was a bit naive too. I still got tired of rice back then if I ate it too much, and trying to take a Tuk-Tuk and navigate a new city was a stretch for my budding language ability and I’m pretty sure I always had a story to tell when I survived and made it home. 

I had no idea as we made our first meal of fried rice, figuring out how to use a rice cooker and a gas stove, all of the lessons I would learn over the next 3 years. I didn’t know that language learning would be both a challenge and a blessing, or the beauty of understanding when you can communicate in another person’s heart language and they get what you are saying! The friends that came along side of us in that season are precious. They were patient, repeated things when I didn’t hear or understand the first time, pushed me to be brave and try new things. I can’t even count how many times they sat and listened as I shared a new story in my poorly pronounced Khmer, and asked deep questions that enriched our discussion afterward. 

I didn’t know then that all the things I disliked about the big city would become longings once I moved to the village. I had no idea how beautiful the people would be in our new place on the border, how thick the spiritual darkness would hang over our home, our friends’ homes, and the amount of prayer and effort it would take to fight those battles. If I had known that first night in our apartment that I would come to the very end of myself in this country, that I would struggle to remember my calling and yet see God in spectacular ways, I’m not sure I would have kept saying yes to all of this. 

But here I am, 3 years in, celebrating 36 months of God’s faithfulness. He has held me close as I’ve cried more tears in this country than in any other season of my life. He has opened up my eyes to the desperation of the hearts of people around me, filling my heart with His love for them when mine ran dry. I have stood in downpours in rainy season, sat and prayed for the dying, watched as miracles happened, laughed with friends because I could actually understand their jokes in Khmer, held hands and believed God for the impossible. This anniversary isn’t about me, because on my own I would be nothing. I might not still be here. No, this is a celebration of the God of the nations, the King who will one day be worshiped by every tribe and tongue including the Khmer people. He is most worthy of their worship, and of mine. 

So many adventures in the last 3 years! 

Top 5 Highlights of Hong Kong

My teammate and I recently adventured to a new country for some much needed rest. We didn’t do a lot in the way of sight-seeing or tourist-y things, but here are a few of my favorite gifts from our trip.

1. Quiet

We stayed at a retreat center on an island a 45-minute ferry ride away from the hustle and bustle of the city of Hong Kong, where the narrow streets were too small for cars and bird calls that we couldn’t identify woke us each morning. It was a steep hike up from the main village, and we were always amazed by what creatures we might see crossing our path: lizards with bright blue tails, fat bamboo snakes and other varieties of various sizes, and lots of toads. There is almost constant noise where I live and sometimes I don’t realize it until I am in a place where I can hear myself think.

2. My thinking rock

Every night we gathered for a community dinner with a home cooked meal and new friends to meet. “Have you been down the trail to see the ‘Little Great Wall’,” one of the women asked us as we waited for the bell to ring to signal it was time to eat. She promised to take us and so after our plates were cleared we hiked down a path that wound around toward the shore. The next morning I set off to follow our footsteps from the night before, and I found a little side trail that led to a large rock overlooking the water. With the ocean breeze in my face, my heart open to whatever my Father might speak, this became one of my favorite spots during our stay. I’m not sure I came to any fantastic conclusions there but it was a special spot for communing with the Creator of the beauty I saw around me.

3. Our illegal lunch spot

We were on our own for lunches, so one day we packed a picnic of deli turkey (I honestly can’t remember the last time I had such a treat!), cheddar cheese, carrot sticks, and potato chips, and wandered down one of the trails to see if we could find a lonely beach spot. We thought we would find it one direction, but then realized we were heading up instead of down and that wasn’t going to work. The other direction produced what we thought was a dead end, but then we realized if we climbed over a little fence there was a flat rock that might make a good eating spot. We were greeted with a stunning view of the water and rocks below, and there was even a perfect little table for our food. After enjoying our lunch and the view, we hopped back over the fence and found a sign that said specifically not to go beyond the fence. Oops! Oh well, it was worth it. 🙂

4. Big city sky line 

Maybe it is because I spent 5 years in the metropolis of Dallas, but I have a special place in my heart for skyscrapers outlined against a bright blue sky. We took a ferry ride back to the city to meet up with some new friends, and I loved seeing the view as we arrived. Finding a mall with an amazing health food and gluten-free section just down from the ferry pier was pretty exciting as well.

5. Color

Because we are in the midst of a drought in Cambodia, everything is brown and dead. It was a treat to live in the bright greens of trees and soft blue of the water. Boats of all shapes and sizes added brilliant color to the landscape. It was lovely!


After 2 weeks in more developed countries and temperatures in the 70s and 80s F, entering the oppressive heat and dusty chaos of Cambodia was hard. We squeezed into the back seat of our taxi bound for Battambang, our luggage stuffed in the trunk and our fellow passengers’ chickens tied securely on the top of it all. First they stared at us, making comments in Khmer until they realized we could understand. Then came the questions we have heard thousands of times: “You are sisters, yes? Twins? When will you marry a Cambodian husband?” I seriously considered seeing if I could make an escape out the side door, pondering broken bones and how to tuck and role successfully. But then the driver stopped for yet another smoking break and we all sort of bonded over our desire to get to our destination. Rice cakes with coconut and palm sugar, and hot, fresh ears of corn were passed our way and we all snacked and gave grace when someone needed to shift to a more comfortable position, and I found my heart softening just a bit. This life is not easy, no, but even in the chaos there are gifts.