- Tell us something fun about yourself that is not in your author bio.
I love animal print. It’s on my picture frames, my house slippers, and even patterned on my rug. Despite twenty-six years of experience in East Asia, our “American” living room is now filled with hints of zebras, leopards, elephants, and giraffes. I had one visiting guest double-check to make sure he hadn’t misunderstood where we had lived overseas. “Did you say Asia or Africa?”
- What’s one thing you miss from North America when you are on the field, and one thing you miss from the field when you are in North America?
After trying to pinpoint one specific item like a preferred toothpaste (Arm & Hammer) or my favorite bubble tea (Passion Fruit Green), the fact remains that relationships are what I long for most, no matter which side of the ocean I’m on.
Ex-pats are quite adaptable in building relationships, a skill we learn with so much moving. But, although making new friendships is fairly easy on the field, ex-pats tend to be some of the world’s worst at correspondence once a move separates the two of you. Years of deep connections can disappear overnight with a reassignment.
On the other hand, I’ve found that our North American home culture isn’t accustomed to the depth of relationship that we came to expect overseas. Deep friendships take more time to develop once you relocate “back home”. Even church family tends to have their “friendship cards” filled with family or friends with history. Breaking into existing groups isn’t easy, which makes a new stateside friend all that more valuable. I’ve found that joining a common cause or finding someone else new in town were this global woman’s best stateside connections.
- What do you think is the benefit of writing and sharing your story?
Writing is much like journaling — I put into ink what I myself need to remember. But just because I write down a revelation, doesn’t mean I have learned the lesson! Maybe that’s why Paul said, “not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect” (Philippians 3:12). Maybe he shared my experience of having his own writings challenge him yet again.
Writing is a good way to stimulate conversations with fellow sojourners about God’s revealed truth. My articles are more a stimulant for greater discussion than they are the final word. No matter how much God teaches me personally, I always learn fresh insights from others as we share together.
I know how I treasure the notes I’ve found written by my deceased mother and grandfather. So to keep their memories alive, I’ve recently begun writing memories of my childhood. I’m hoping that one day my family will read these words and be motivated by the faithfulness of God to their ancestors. I pray that my story will always point to the larger story of God as told in His Word.
- How do you create time/space in your life to write?
Writing must be on my priority list for the week or it just doesn’t happen. There is always something more “important” to do rather than sitting quietly at a computer putting thoughts into words. As an extrovert, I struggle with the quiet and contemplative nature required to write. Blocking several mornings a week for writing or editing helps me to keep writing as a primary task before me.
- Where besides Connection can our readers read your writing?
I freelance for several LifeWay devotional publications, including Open Windows and Journey Magazine for women. I blog once a week on my own website hungryformore.org and regularly guest post on several other Christian sites.
My most exciting news is that my husband and I have just finished our first book together! Written from life experiences of our thirty-five years together, Hungry For More: Marital Intimacy celebrates intimacy over the long haul. This book initially began as a pre-marital workbook for engaged couples who were separated by great distances. Over time, Marital Intimacy has morphed into a marital mentor, for both those who have great examples in their lives as well as those who have none.
- What are you reading/listening to now? (especially something that is a helpful resource)
I’m currently listening to the audio version of Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Theology by Eugene Peterson. As translator of The Message, Dr. Peterson uses historical finds, vivid stories, and fascinating illustrations to rekindle a desire to digest God’s Word. When the Bible becomes familiar to the point of hum-drum, this book reminds me how the Word of God is truly food, not just for thoughts to be dissected and then discarded, but for life sustaining power and energy.
- What do you think is the best kept secret out there (in terms of an organization or resource that is useful to global workers)?
blueletterbible.org is my go-to for digging into the Word of God no matter where I live. With multiple versions, dictionaries, commentaries, and both Hebrew and Greek lexicons, Blue Letter Bible is a must for anyone wanting to do in-depth study of God’s Word. Even language novices like me can hear the voice of God clearly in a fresh way.
- Who (dead or alive) would you want as a mentor for life and ministry?
Andrew Murray, Nineteenth-century missionary and prolific author/statesman. In so many ways, I believe that his writings actually did mentor me, especially during the dark, dry days that are so inevitable in a faith walk.
There is something solid about the wisdom of men and women long gone from this life. My friends often tease me that I mostly read “the dead guys”, but you have to admit that Christian classics have stood the test of time for a reason. Andrew Murray’s works aren’t glamorized by pop culture or promoted by the backing of a great advertising campaign. When trends fall away, authors like Andrew Murray and Hannah Whitall Smith will still speak from the grave.
- If you could choose a kitchen utensil or appliance that best described YOU, what would you choose and why?
Probably a hand mixer. I have always had about three speeds: low, medium and high. (Of late, I have noticed that the fastest speed doesn’t work quite as fast as before). As a young woman, I tended to stir things up whether they needed it or not. If I was plugged in, I sought to have my beater into any bowl nearby. With age, I’m learning that my particular spin isn’t suitable for every recipe; that I can over-beat; and am actually a little too noisy for some people. I’m (slowly!) realizing that I’m only one tool of many and best used in the Hand of the Master Chef. (Now may I remember that tomorrow as well).