Beautiful things take time.


Sometimes it’s only when you run away for awhile that you’re able to understand what it is exactly that you had to run away from.

This happened to my husband and I a couple months ago when we hopped on a plane to get out of the city for 5 days. As soon as we rose out of the smog-laden city and emerged into a clear, blue sky, we suddenly realized how trapped we had been feeling.

It became obvious to us that our coping mechanisms for city living are not where they need to be. Although we gave ourselves 5 days to go to the beach, explore ancient ruins, and climb mountains, we weren’t at all ready to get on the plane back home.

Don’t get me wrong, we LOVE what we do. Our culture shock isn’t necessarily from living in another country, but it derives from the stresses of terrible traffic at all hours of the day, minimal greenery, and nowhere to go to be alone due to the 6,530 people (roughly) populating every square mile.

To anyone that asks us, we’ll admit that it’s been tough figuring out how to take care of ourselves in order to be healthy and thrive. Especially when we’re in a place that seems to strip us of energy before we even start to work…

On one of the days during our much needed get-away, we decided to rent a car and go check out a waterfall. What we found was better than we’d imagined it would be. The waterfall wasn’t extraordinarily huge nor was it in the middle of a tropical rainforest, but it was a sight for our city-sore eyes.

After we’d been delightfully refreshed by the waterfall sprays, we found a giant tree root and plopped ourselves in front of the waterfall. We sat there, mesmerized as the waterfall gently collided into the crystal bay of calm turquoise before us.

I wanted to sit there forever. I think my husband felt the same way. Emotions began to blur my vision, so I gave-in and let a few tears escape. The silence was softly broken as I heard my husband praying beside me. I let a few more tears fall and leaned my head on his shoulder.

A little bit later, he spoke up, “See the rough edges? This waterfall was probably created over the years as the river cut into the rock, eventually creating the crevice you see now.”

Beautiful things take time.

While our life may feel extremely messy, exhausting, and out of our control, the fact of the matter is that the current cuts and bruises we’re experiencing is quite possibly the only way for deeper beauty to be made.

So as we run back to what we ran away from, we do so fully aware of the hardships we’ll face, but we also run back with patience for ourselves, grace for every situation, and trust in God for His perfect timing.

We continued to sit in front of the waterfall for a couple more minutes, breathing in all we could of the sacred moment. It took all our strength to get up, but eventually we were able to tear ourselves away, and we started the climb back to the parking lot.






Our Flower Friend


Every day on the way home I pass a small flower shop. Because I live in a cement jungle, I tend to gravitate towards anything that grows. Since this city is seriously lacking in the color green, whenever I walk by the shop, I make it a point to breathe in the freshly produced oxygen from the plants displayed outside the door.

Usually I’m in a hurry, but all it takes is one quick whiff to remind me of the sweet fragrance of my Creator before I continue on my way to face the people and the traffic.

When I got sick on Thanksgiving day, my husband ran to the store for some juice and crackers, but when he returned he also carried with him two small trees and a beautiful bouquet of fresh stems.

Nature is healing, and I don’t think humanity can live without it. Scientifically, we can’t survive with out it. In all his genius, God didn’t only give us creation so just we could live, but also for our enjoyment. While the atmosphere around us does indeed allow us to breathe, it also beckons us to stop, admire, and find peace.

The flower shop owner’s name means “patience.”

He’s been in the same small shop for 30 years now, so he’s seen the city develop from farmland and animals to busy street and underground trains. He said one of the reasons he’s stuck around is to remind people of the beauty that once was, and that one of the reasons people are so stressed out is because they forget.

They forget to stop and smell the fresh blooms, to catch butterflies, to sit in the sun.

But his shop remains as a symbol, waiting patiently for the world to remember the Creator and creation. To stop working overtime. To spend time outdoors. To bring sweet fragrances into their homes and onto their balconies.

Balconies much like this one…

Thank you, dear flower friend, for your wise words and your beautiful flowers.


Let’s be Real


A couple weeks ago, my husband asked if I would speak during the message portion of a prayer and worship night. My initial reaction was a big loud “HECK NO!”, followed by a million excuses for why I’m the last person he should ask to speak.

I mean, c’mon, nobody wants to hear a story that doesn’t have a happy ending yet… That was the first lie.

Besides, God and I aren’t really that tight right now. Lie #2.

I can’t say anything meaningful while I’m still battling with my own doubt. Lie #3.

I don’t have any spiritual insight worth hearing. Lie #4.

I don’t want to burden others with my own suffering. Lie #5.

Need I continue? You get the picture.

My husband challenged me to pray about it, and as I sought for an answer, the Spirit lead me to 2 Timothy 3: 14-15

“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”

and then I turned back to 2 Timothy 2:13 and read outloud,

“If we are faithless, He remains faithful still.”

Even though I feel like my faith has been rocked, that I failed God as soon the road got tough, I KNOW IN WHOM I BELIEVE. My God has a relationship with me, and He has never once let me go.

And for that reason alone, I share with you now what I shared with them on that anointed Saturday night.

If you’ve got 30 minutes, sit down, grab your Bible and some coffee, and listen HERE.

While I do apologize for the blubbering and for the poor recording quality, I will not apologize for being REAL.

May God receive all the glory.



To Women Living as Expats: it’s Okay to be Rude Sometimes


Since moving overseas I’ve had many experiences I wish hadn’t happened. But they did.

Were they my fault? No.

Could I have prevented them from happening? Perhaps, though doubtful.

What emotions did I feel after they happened? Shame. Guilt.

But did I do anything wrong? No.

No. In most of the scenarios there was nothing I could have done differently to stop the experience from happening.

From day one in my new middle eastern city, the bronzed-zippy-Californian-friendly college girl disappeared and in her place was a dark-haired, eyes-straight-ahead, talk-to-me-and-I-give-you-an-icy-stare seriously rude woman.

Gone were the generous smiles and chatty small-talker. If you saw me on the street, you would hardly recognize me.

Why the sudden personality change? I realized that in this country, anything short of looking mean would only bring me unwanted and unsolicited attention.

Yet despite my efforts to be invisible, I am still a woman.

I am a woman living in a patriarchal society.

While the culture has gone through significant breakthroughs regarding equality and embracing modern women in the business world, its roots of male domination go deep.

I’ve had to report multiple incidents to my husband about being touched inappropriately while out by myself.

What’s even more frustrating is that it happens in the light of day without any invitation whatsoever. I could be walking down a sidewalk, riding the train, or waiting at the bus stop minding my own business, and then suddenly be a target for someone’s un-controlled advance.

I’ve stepped on feet, thrown hands away, and elbowed men in the gut. I’ve yelled shameful words and called attention to their disgraceful actions. But whats done is done, and they run away without any real punishment for their crime.

What’s worse is that it’s accepted.

I’ve seen men slapping and hitting their wives in a public park, spitting on them and being rough. The passer-byers just keep passing by. They won’t get involved in a man “controlling” his property.

Before I knew better, if I man started talking to me and touching on the arm, if it seemed innocent enough I would tolerate it for awhile for fear of being rude. I know several other girls who’ve told me the same story. They didn’t want to be mean because they didn’t know if it was normal or not.

Unless the man is related to you, it’s not.

In this culture, the only reason a man touches you is to gage how far he can go.

The man knows he shouldn’t be doing it; local women wouldn’t tolerate a touch from a stranger for an instant.

Don’t even let him start.

If a man says he’ll show you which stop to get off of at the bus, tsk at him and move far away to show how disinterested you are. Don’t give him any reason to start a conversation with you. Some men will jump at any excuse to be invited into your space.

But know this: even if you do your best to send stay-away-from-me signals, you’re still a woman– a foreign women who will be seen as prime material to be taken advantage of.

If it happens, holler and shame the heck out of them. Please feel free to even take your shoe off and hit them with it.

Most importantly, know that it wasn’t your fault. The feelings of guilt and shame do not belong to you; you did nothing wrong.

Go home, confide to your husband or roommate, have them pray for you and give you a hug.

Then remember, next time you go out, it’s more than okay to be rude sometimes.

Winning Moments


This year over Christmas break we headed to the mountains with some friends. Even though I grew up in MN, I’m still fairly new to the whole winter sports thing. All of the winter sports I did were indoors (with the exception of the day I went downhill skiing for the 1st time in 5th grade, bombed the hill, collided with a brick building, and broke my wrist)… From then on I stayed inside on the basketball courts.

My husband and I spent our first winter as a married couple in Northern Idaho, where I experienced the ups and downs of a snow season from a snowboarder’s perspective firsthand. My better half was constantly checking the weather report, checking ski resort reviews, planning family ski days, etc.

Whenever it snowed we would get really excited and bundle up for a day on the slopes. Everyone would cram into the gondola up the mountain with all their boarding gear, and then there was me with my Vera Bradley bag full of snacks and books.

I had to the sit the season out because of a recent ankle surgery, but it wasn’t like I knew anything different. Sure, I would love to get out in the powder one day, but I was happily content with my dark chocolate sea salted almonds, clementines, some of Margaret Feinberg, and some blogs I wanted to catch up on. I honestly didn’t mind being all alone and cozy with my treats and a mountain view.

This time was different. I was going to be part of the fun! I was gonna get a cool lift ticket to put on my jacket and wear giant tinted goggles.

I tried not to have any other expectations beyond the gear, which is good because the expectations I did have only flopped.

The goggles I rented had a broken strap, and they gave us a re-usable lanyard as a lift ticket so I didn’t get to attach it to my zipper. While I didn’t feel as cool as I thought I would, at least I got to be part of their recycling efforts with the lanyards… Smart.

As for snowboarding, it was definitely harder than I had anticipated.

My husband spent the first morning on the bunny hill with me as I got used to my two feet being glued together on one board. I nearly chickened out and switched to skis, but I was determined to learn. After lunch we decided it might be easier to learn on a bigger slope, so I braved my first chair lift with a snowboard hanging from my foot.

My husband was right, the bigger slope was easier. As I descended, going left, then swiveling my board and going right, I decided to practice a new trick I’d been learning the week before; I was gonna try to do this one. thing. at. a. time.

Instead of thinking about getting all the way to the bottom, I instead focused on the angle of my board on the slope, where my body was leaning, and breathed into every switch down the mountain. I imagined my turns AS they were happening. If I fell, [WHEN I FELL], I first got a grip on my surroundings, put my heart into standing back up, and then took a long pause to reestablish myself before I started moving again. I spoke it out-loud to myself: “Ok Kimmy, you can do this. Just one thing at a time.”

It was hard work. Every time my edge got caught on the snow, it never failed to propel me flat on my face or slam me backwards onto my rump. With my tailbone quickly bruising and wrists aching, my body screamed out “No more!”, but l had to win.

What exactly was I winning?

I was winning the moment.

For if I won the moment, the next moment would be easier, as would the moment after that, and the moment after that.

Before I knew it, I had reached bottom. I made it.

As I went up the chair lift for another round of getting beat-up, I suddenly realized why I was so determined.

Different from the other mysterious health ailments I’d been struggling with, I chose this pain. I willingly succumbed myself to potential consequences of learning to snowboard. For the most part, I was in control. I could stop anytime I wanted and head inside to a comfortable lodge where I would quickly be warmed up by the fireplace. Or, I could bear this temporary pain and win.

Maybe if I won these moments, moments to come, moments that don’t make any tangible sense as to why they are happening, moments where I feel like I don’t have any control or line of sight to what will happen next, maybe those moments won’t seem so hard.

But for now, I’m gonna enjoy flying down this snowy mountain. Don’t you remember, Kimmy?

Let’s take it

One. Thing. At. A. Time.





A Communal Commotion


There was a bit of excitement on the first floor of the apartment complex as two Americans opened their door to let a rush of smoke billow out into the hallway.

These foreigners (or ‘ya-ban-jihs’ as locals call them) had semi-spiked their neighbors’ curiosity when they moved in about 7 months ago, but as time passed, their newness wore off and the locals kept politely to themselves.

However, as smoke started pouring into their apartment, not knowing who to call, the Americans ran across to the neighbors and knocked on their door.

The old woman opened the door, saw the smoke, and yelled “fire fire!”

Old-man-to-the-rescue pulled on his pants, threw on a winter coat, and stepped over into the young couples’ threshold. They pointed him to the busted breaker, smoldering with putrid smoke. Alarmed, he ordered the American boy to run to the the basement and get the doorman.

The boy leaped down the steps two at a time.

After turning the main electricity off, the boy quickly returned with the doorman. Thankfully the smoke started to slow from its steady stream to a whispy leak.

While all this was happening, the upstairs tenants came downstairs complaining of a bad smell and saw the commotion. Cell phones came out, questions were thrown at them, and noses began to poke.

“What did you do? Why does it stink?” The worried neighbors insisted on knowing what was happening.
“Nothing! We were eating dinner and all of a sudden our house started to fill with smoke and smell bad. But don’t worry, the doorman is helping us.” The blonde woman reassured the covered woman that the situation was under control.

Still, just in case, the man whose wife had been interrogating the blonde dialed the doorman to make sure. Then together they devised a plan for the electrician to come fix the yabancis’ problem in the morning. He left only to come back a minute later, advising the kids to put their meat on the chilly balcony outside so it wouldn’t go bad.

The apartment still wreaked like a dead rodent. As the foreigners were deciding what to do next, the neighbors graciously asked them to come over for tea. The old man and woman weren’t upset for being bothered late at night. In fact, it seemed that they enjoyed being able to help this young couple and wanted the evening to continue.

The couple was welcomed in, greeted with kisses, and ushered straight into the living room where they were presented with a table of dishes filled with nuts and dried fruits. They were asked whether they preferred their tea in a glass or a mug.

“Eat more, eat more.” The wrinkly face smiled and gestured towards the table.

So they ate more.

It was a typical conversation of who are you and where did you grow up, what do you like about Turkey and what food do you cook… They exchanged favorite recipes and suggested places to go on walks in the city.

The Americans went to bed that night grateful for the turn of events and for the helpful community God placed them in. They praised the Lord for their safety and that nothing worse had happened.

Give Thanks


You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
you have loosed my sackcloth
and clothed me with gladness,
that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!

Psalms 30:11-12

Even after a hard year, I can’t help but give thanks. In fact, on many accounts it’s the only thing I CAN do.

It’s been nearly 11 months since being diagnosed nutrient deficient. The healing process has been longer and slower than I anticipated, but because I was lacking the nutrients my body needed to survive, it was shutting itself down.

A recovery from such takes time, and every day I have the chance to push it along via greens and whole food supplements. But that’s about all I have control over. How my insides respond is up to God, and from what I can see, He’s not quite ready to heal me just yet.

See, I’ve had more than my share of dreaded down time, meaning I’m on the coach with a headache clawing at my eyes and stomach about to turn. However, it’s been in some of those most agonizing moments where God decides to have ‘us’ time.

Whether it’s a word of truth through a song I have playing softly in the background, a peaceful Presence during a burst of silent (or not-silent) sobs, or when He shouts out a sudden halt to my negative spiral of thoughts, the Lord continues to pursue me.

Wherever I am, however I’m feeling, Jesus wants to MEET. WITH. ME.

But God, I haven’t been reading my bible…

Kimmy, just be with me.

But I’m in so much pain…

Beloved, give me your burdens. Let me help you.

But if I were healed I could do so much more for you…

My daughter, do you realize I already did everything for YOU?

There’s been many of these conversations where, in result, I end up turning my heart upward in gratitude to my Savior. Physically nothing has changed, but inwardly my soul has been renewed, washed clean by one who underwent more torment than any human ever could.

It’s basically an understatement to say that Jesus gets it. He truly understands. And although in His darkest hour the Father and the entire world turned their backs on him, Jesus never has and never will turn His back on me.

For that, I give thanks.