Star Scattered Banner

Not all those who look to the stars are lost.

The sky is their compass pointing them home.

For a year, that home for me was in the heart of Turkey

(my heart’s still there)

which has one star punctuating the points of a snow white moon in a scarlet sky.

But the people of Turkey are not one star. 

They are millions. With not one background, but millions. 

To the green eye, the night sky looks like the flag that is mine: 

star spangled banner, cacophony of light and dark color,

spattered across a dark blue dome. 

And yet, the stars do not wander. They weft and warp into patterns. 

Cosmos constellations. 

Listen with your eyes, there are stories woven in the stars

Whispered lessons, secret messages:

They offer not only direction but serve as examples.

Lay down your burden! 

You were never meant to carry weight of the world on beleaguered shoulders; 

You carry the Light of the world in your heart as a compass 

and comfort for others!

The most important thing about a star is 

that it shines.

So shine like the star you were born to be.

Your story will lead you to the place you unfurl your flag.

Adapted from Maryam Farah’s A Poem of Stars in Victoria Jamieson’s When Stars Are Scattered

Turkey: Tapestry in Translation

“Translation is the other side of a tapestry.”

–Sicilian novelist and essayist Leonardo Sciascia

It was clear that being in Turkey had been “like weaving a beautiful, complicated tapestry.” Returning to America was “like looking at the flip side of that tapestry. The stitching showed, the bulky knots, the places where the fringe had frayed. But it was still part of the same beautiful piece.”


Telemachus of Turkey


Early in the fifth century, in 404 AD, a Turkish monk named Telemachus ended up in Rome at one of the bloody gladiatorial contests. He was so offended by the contest and the senseless bloodshed that he jumped into the arena, crying out “In the name of Jesus, stop!”

The blood-thirsty crowd was so enraged by this man who was attempting to deprive them of their sport that they picked up rocks and stoned Telemachus to death.

The emperor at the time, Honorius, was a Christian, and he was so impressed by the selfless act of Telemachus that he quickly made a law that banned gladiatorial contests all through the Roman empire.

One act of faith by Telemachus changed so much in the Roman world. By faith, Telemachus…Sometimes it only takes one act of faith, be it great or small, to trigger something unique and wonderful.

— Leah C. Adams, Hebrews: A Better Blend


New Year’s Resolutions/Renovations


My brother’s best friend and his partner have a building and design company Esso Build + Design, and I have become obsessed with a particular project that they are working on right now. I absolutely love the parquet floor, black and white design and watching its progress. The women’s group at my fellowship is kicking off 2019 with a study on the book of Numbers (of all things), and I was reminded of my friends…

The author’s son worked as a painter and one night at dinner as he was talking about his day, he mentioned that it seems like it takes almost as long to prep to paint as it does to actually get the color on the walls. His crew must clean, sand, fill holes, tape baseboards, and cover floors before they ever pop the top off a can of paint.

Life is like a waiting room (or at least that’s how it seems to me), a perennial season of preparation. A hallway from one place to another. From ESL to classroom teacher. From 140 kids of all ages to 18 first graders. From FaceTime with family to sitting across the table celebrating birthdays and holiday traditions together. From navigating the nuances of a foreign culture and language to the comfort of the familiar. From Turkey to Chicago. From the Middle East to the Midwest. And in some ways still waiting, still longing. For marriage. For motherhood. For more. And yet…

Witnessing these building and design projects serves as the perfect classroom for contentment. My friends’ remodeling work infuses me with hope as I consider the theme of renovation—that both living spaces and the lives that inhabit them can be restored and repurposed for something far more beautiful than when they first began and part of the beauty is in the process.

Happy NY 2019!



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