wherever you go

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I so love my sister. She is a brilliant writer, an amazing thinker, and a wonderful mother and wife. I remember hearing about her “ludicrous crap” and have actually retold that story to lots of people.

So, what evidence do you have of God in your life?

Texas Schmexas

When I was an undergraduate student up at Houghton College, I had a certain English professor who was relatively well known for writing “Evidence?” on students’ papers.

Over and over.

And over.

It was shorthand for “You’re making some claims here that you aren’t supporting–what’s your evidence for saying this?”

His insistence on evidence was just one of the quirks that made him quite scary to most students, but I always liked him for his honesty and his unwillingness to let students be mediocre.

In fact, his writing on one of my freshman papers that my thesis was (I kid you not) “ludicrous crap” ended up becoming somewhat legendary. Years later, his daughter exclaimed, “That was you?!?”

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my calendar

On Sundays I look at my calendar, see what’s coming up, and update things.  Today I looked at November, and there’s a lot going on! Daylight savings, Myka’s birthday, a week at my Aunt’s, Thanksgiving at my mom’s, a visit from my Aunt and cousin from Alabama, a trip with them to Sight and Sound.  Yay! I am incredibly excited for every one of these events! Oh, except daylight savings.  I mostly put that on there to remind myself that it’s coming.  Dark at 5:00?! I’m not a fan. There is that extra hour of sleep though!  But all of those other events help the time go quickly, which is lovely. Have you heard the phrase “the days go slowly, the years go fast”?  The more things I have written in my calendar the faster these days go by.
And, hey… Have you heard about the storm that’s coming?!  Haha.. I love storms, but I’ll be praying that nothing is damaged and everyone stays safe.

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Patriotic attire…

In the United States, people are viewed as patriotic if they wear red, white, and blue clothing.  Or wear a small American flag on their lapel.  Or wear a flag patterned fabric.  This typically comes out for special occasions such as Fourth of July, Memorial Day, Flag Day, you get the idea.

Here in Saudi Arabia it is a little different.  They have a national attire.  An official outfit.  And they wear it quite regularly.  You’ve probably seen pictures of it.  Have you ever seen any Middle Eastern royalty or official dignitary?  They come in all shapes and sizes.  You can even get designer attire.

A thobe or thawb.

Looks like a robe.  But it is a white lightweight fabric that goes down to the ankles and has long sleeves.  It also includes a head scarf, keffiyeh or ghutrah, and a cord wrapped twice around the top of the head, the agal.

Men wear these quite regularly.  They are everywhere at work.  They look quite comfortable.  Some people wear them all the time, some people occasionally, and some never. 

I have seen plenty of Saudi flags around, but not on clothing.  This is their patriotic outfit.  This is how they connect to their beliefs and to their country.  They are closely tied together here. 

Of course we have all heard of the attire women wear.  It’s in the news quite regularly. 

The abaya.

In public all women must be covered, this also includes wearing a scarf to cover your head.  Foreign women are given more leeway on this issue.  At beaches and some resorts they don’t have to wear an abaya, but for the most part they are everywhere.  Conservative Muslim women will also wear a niqab.

After a couple weeks of being here, I went to a work dinner at one of the compounds.  Typically, inside the expatriate compounds women are not required to wear the abaya.  So for one of the first times, I not only saw women, remember I work in an all male environment, but I saw women wearing western clothes.  I was surprised that it surprised me.  Guess I had gotten used to seeing women covered up at the grocery store.


Happy Sunday…

Hi.  Good morning all.  Today, as with most Sundays, many of my friends and family are attending church, worshipping together, hearing a pastor give a sermon, and fellowshipping together.

The call to prayer just went off and here I sit at my desk.  Working.

But I feel close to you, I feel happy, I rejoice, I praise, I worship.  Because God knows no boundaries, knows no limits.  No matter where I am, He is.

I put my headphones in and worship.  I pray.  I think of you all.  I pray that you would find God wherever you are and in whatever experience you are going through.


Please translate that into English.

Oh, that is English, sorry.  One of my closest new friends over here is British, so he does speak English, but it is different some times.

I found this article a few days ago and it inspired me to note some of the interesting words I learned.


I started keeping a list in a small notebook I carry around in my pocket.  I’m a nerd, I know it.










So here’s my list:


Not only are their different words used between British and American English, here in Saudi Arabia they also refer to things differently.  A regular non diet Pepsi is a “Pepsi Normal”.  A diet Pepsi is “Pepsi Free”.  You also have to order “Water Normal” if you don’t want sparkling water.

There are also some interestingly different “normal” products over here.  Paperclips.  Did you know they look different?  Well, I do now.  Take a look.  My paperclip from home vs. a paperclip I was given here.










Now, something very different.  The potty.  You have to be mindful of what stall you walk into when wanting to use the facilities.  If you’re not careful, you may end up with a squatty potty.










Though I have heard squatty potties are better for your system.  I haven’t attempted to use one yet.  I don’t think I will until I have no other alternative.  I can just imagine it now.  Pants around my ankles trying to hit that small hole in the ground and I fall over on my backside like an idiot.  “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up”

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I did a little math…

 Today, I went to a gas station.  The coworker who gives me a ride to work most days and drives our group of guys to lunch needed to get gas in his small car.  So while the attendant was filling up the car, I looked over at the pump and noted the price and quantity.  Here’s what I learned

Gas sells for 0.47 Saudi Arabia Riyal (SAR) per liter

1 US dollar = 3.75 SAR

1 liter = 0.264172 gallons

Therefore, gas in Saudi Arabia costs…  $0.47 per gallon

Gas might not grow on trees, but it does grow in the sand over here.


Pin of the week – 10 things not to say to your kids

Myka…I love that girl.  She is smart and silly, stubborn and creative.  And MAN she can push my buttons.  We had a particularly difficult day last week when she spilled iced tea on my new laptop, played with nail polish instead of napping, and cut her own hair.  It was a bad day.  I’m still annoyed about her super short bangs.

But it’s really the little things that bother me.  The sassy way she will answer me sometimes.  How she tells me what to do.  When she suggests a new option other than the two I just gave her.  Or when she yells at or pushes her bother.

I decided my parenting needed some refreshing.  Or at least some consistency.  Two things that work with Myka are being sent to her room and having toys go in time out.  She can come out of her room when she is happy and will listen, and she’s usually in there for about 1.6 seconds. And having a toy that is being destroyed or claimed as ‘mine’ taken away for a time is sure to make her willing to do just about anything to get it back.  My problem is the consistency.  Moving at the moment of her behavior to correct her.

Which leads me to the pin –


The one I’ve been using the most is number five.  I’ve been saying to Myka, “If you choose to step on the books, you choose to have them put on top of the shelf,” or things like that.  Anytime I can make something her choice it helps.

And it’s been working! She is obeying quickly more often and I’m repeating myself less.  It’s good to refresh my approach every once in a while.  And it amazes me how much my actions and decisiveness affect her and how our day goes.

What do you think? What works for you?

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You can see the remorse in her face in the pictures above, but by the time I got her cleaned up and combed her hair she was back to her silly self.

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