Marilyn

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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Success or Faithfulness?

by Marilyn on March 8, 2019

It has not been an easy week here in Kurdistan. From difficulty with websites to difficulty with people, there are times when I would like life to be easier. I’m sitting now at one of the two coffee shops in Rania, listening to Adele on repeat. Adele is easy on the ears, and I find […]

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A Prayer of Repentance

by Marilyn on February 9, 2019

To the women and girls of New Tribes Mission* Lord, we repent for the sins against children. We repent for having ears that were deaf and eyes that were blind. We repent for the loss of innocence and beauty – things that were stolen from children molested in the dark of night. We weep for […]

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Clenched Fists and Heart’s Desires

by Marilyn on January 9, 2019

It’s a New Year here at A Life Overseas and as I type I’m looking out at the barely visible mountains that surround our home here in Northern Iraq. On clear days, you can see the snow-covered mountains in Iran and they are beautiful. Today as I look, the entire area is covered in milky […]

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‘Tis the Season of Incongruity

by Marilyn on December 9, 2018

Deck the halls with calls for charity! Fa-la-la-la-laaa, la-la-la-la! ‘Tis the season of incongruity! Fa-la-la-la-laaa, la-la-la-la! #CottageChristmas or starving children? Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la! My heart is caught and I cannot win this thing! Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-laa. I don’t know about you, but I can’t do this. The sense of incongruity is overwhelming me this Christmas. I go from essays […]

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