Marilyn

I’m sitting at my desk in our guest bedroom when the bells from the church across the street begin to ring. They began at eight in the morning and they end at ten at night, giving us a full ten hours without being reminded of the time. This is new for me. While hearing the […]

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Cultural Hope

by Marilyn on May 11, 2020

“But what on earth can I write?” This was what I wrestled with last week as I thought about writing for A Life Overseas. Half of you are displaced, wrestling with when you can get back to your host countries and homes. Half of you are sheltered in place in various places around the world, […]

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Raising Healthy Third Culture Kids

by Marilyn on April 16, 2020

It was in the fall that I first saw the announcement from Lauren Wells that she would be writing a book about raising third culture kids. Like many TCKs, I get skeptical any time I hear that someone is writing a book about us. But Lauren’s approach and the fact that she herself is a […]

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Grief at Gethsemane

by Marilyn on April 10, 2020

Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with […]

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On Safety and Sanity

by Marilyn on February 9, 2020

“Safe passage cannot be bought. We have no holy passport to protect us and so we venture forward, fragile maps in hand, flying our banners of courage and of hope.” Call the Midwife, Season 6 When life feels like it is too much, and I can’t make sense of our broken world, I turn to […]

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Living Borrowed Lives

by Marilyn on January 10, 2020

“A Syrian painter recently told me that we all have a map in our bodies, composed of the places we have lived, that we are constantly in the process of redrawing. A street from our childhood might be traversed by a train car in which we once fell in love. A garden from a year […]

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On Family Albums and What I Didn’t Know

by Marilyn on December 9, 2019

Our family albums tell amazing stories. Picnics in the shadow of the Great Pyramids of Egypt; bucket baths in Swat Valley – home to Malala the brave; hiking in the foothills of the Himalayan mountains; feeding pigeons outside the Spice Bazaar in Istanbul; climbing on canons in Quebec City; wandering through Topkapi Palace with cousins, […]

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Mountains of Transition

by Marilyn on November 11, 2019

Northern Iraq is a place of mountains. From our front balcony in Ranya we looked across at the snow covered mountains of Iran. At the back of our apartment, beyond the mosque, were the rugged Kewa-Rash or “black mountains” famous in our region. Beyond those mountains were more mountains. We never tired of looking out […]

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On Scarcity and Abundance

by Marilyn on October 14, 2019

I’m sitting on my couch, feet stretched out. The mosque next door has just begun their Friday sermon, broadcast loud in a language that is still unfamiliar to me. The electricity is on and I am trying to be grateful instead of fearful that it will go off.  In recent weeks, I have thought a […]

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By Robynn Bliss & Marilyn Gardner For Muslims around the world, the holy month of Ramadan ended on Monday night. Here in Kurdistan the excitement as the month ended was palpable. Loud chanting at 4:30 in the morning from the mosque next door marked the end of the fast and the beginning of the feast. […]

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I can’t remember when Jonathan and Elizabeth Trotter first entered my online writing life. Perhaps it was when the former ALOS site founder and I were discussing one of their posts, perhaps it was before – no matter, at some point I realized that our online friendship had become one that I looked to for […]

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I work in public health. As opposed to being a nurse in an emergency room or intensive care unit where care is focused on an individual patient, as a public health nurse I look at whole populations and health projects that will ideally make entire communities healthier. Before moving to Kurdistan, I had the privilege of […]

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