Lonna’s Lines, Strange News from Around the World (Issue 2, “Leaving Korea, Coming Home?”)

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A Korean groom and bride on display at Incheon Airport’s Native Korean Crafts store

After 3 weeks of being Stuck in Seoul, I finally got the luggage I had to leave behind in China–and air tickets home. My last images of Korea melt into airport shots:  Incheon Airport, outside of Seoul, is the biggest in the world, like a city on an island. Tokyo Airport is the most high-tech and beautiful I have seen. LAX caused delays in customs for my husband, and I do not know how life will be back in California with no house or job. My daughter did not meet me for her birthday, nor did my son. Maybe I will go back to Asia to teach. Maybe I will push past the “Do Not Enter” sign I saw in the Los Angeles International Airport–and see what happens.

My newest surreal video of my trip from Seoul to Tokyo to Los Angeles

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A tiny, foldable paper cup, half full of water, from a Korean hospital; the worker consults a doctor

If you like my Blog and free videos and photos, please check out my books.

My Christmas Adventures Overseas

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My first Christmas away from America was spent in snowy Russia, 2010

Some of you may have read about my tragic childhood experiences of Christmas.  On a lighter note, you may enjoy reading about my recent Christmas adventures in Russia, Turkey, and China.  See how my life has progressed!

Still, as I spend my 4th Christmas teaching English overseas, I miss my children in California and wish I could get back to them.  Let’s all hope for a Christmas miracle and reunion with our families!

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Saint Anthony’s cathedral in Istanbul, Turkey, 2012

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A mall in Beijing, China, 2013

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Writing my Way Home for Christmas

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Jessica as an angel and Jonathan as a gold-crowned king in a California play 2004 

Help me write my way home to see my children in California.  I haven’t seen Jessica (21) and Jonathan (18) in the 3 years I’ve been teaching English overseas.  After I got divorced from their father (who got everything, including them), I couldn’t find a teaching job in America, so I went to Russia in October, 2010.  After 6 frozen months, I flew to Turkey where I lived and taught for 2.5 years.   I met my Turkish husband there.  After nearly getting arrested for writing about the Turkish freedom protests and posting a photo, I went (with my Turkish husband) to teach English in China just 2 months ago.

In all these ups and downs, I’ve been able to support myself.  But I haven’t bought a much-needed new computer (my old Apple laptop is 9 years old and very slow).  I haven’t taken a real vacation.  And I haven’t been able to afford a trip back to Los Angeles to see my children.

From Sunday, November 3 to Sunday, November 10, all 5 of my books are only $.99 (less than a dollar) for Kindle format.  You can pick from my true cancer survival story, travel adventures, science fiction, and fantasy.  Or you could splurge and pay $9.99 for a paperback.  My books encourage people to survive anything, and they make great Christmas presents.  Light can shine in the darkest places.

Please buy one of my books for a friend, think of me, and share my story.

Thank you.  See my books here.

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Jessica, me, and Jonathan in California in 2010 before I left to teach overseas

Delicately Eerie: Woman Haunted by Man

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Here is one of the eeriest photos I ever snapped with a camera.  My daughter Jessica stands in a church, holding a candle, as a mysterious man watches from the background.  Jessica, like me, has been attacked by predatory men.  May Jess be a symbol–a girl bravely holding a candle–a single flame shining in the dark, a delicate resistance.

Read more here.

Surviving Breast Cancer

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Lonna Lisa Williams sits inside the cave behind Duden Waterfall in Antalya, Turkey, 2012

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so I thought I’d share my own cancer story:

I was nursing my baby when I found a lump in my breast. I told my doctor that I felt achy and tired all the time, and he said it was because I just had a baby and chased after a toddler all day. He thought my breast lump was a clogged milk duct and gave me a mammogram. Nothing strange showed up in the mammogram. But the lump didn’t go away, and I felt like I had the flu all of the time, with low-grade fevers and night sweats.

“Something is wrong,” I told my doctor when I returned, my two children with me. I knew that I was in charge of my body’s health, and I had done research on breast lumps and ways to test them.

“Give me a needle biopsy,” I requested. Jonathan started crying in my arms, and Jessica was running around the examining room.

“Just come back in 6 months,” the impatient doctor responded. “You are young, and it’s probably nothing.”

“No, do it now,” I demanded.

That action saved my life. Two days later my doctor told me I had cancer. Thus began my battle with a rare tumor that sometimes appears in women’s breasts: non-hodgkins lymphoma.

I had to stop nursing abruptly and have surgery. Luckily, I only had a lumpectomy (a lump removed from my breast). I faced four months of chemotherapy, shots, and blood work. I endured strange medical tests like CAT-scans and bone marrow biopsies. My hair fell out. I looked pale, not even eyebrows on my face to soften my vivid blue eyes. My family, friends, and church helped me by watching my children, bringing meals, and babysitting me after my chemotherapy treatments left me nauseated and weak.

I wanted to live for my children and believed that God could help me. I laughed when two boys tossed my blonde wig to each other or people stared when I forgot my wig. I joined a breast cancer support group and wrote two books about my ordeal.

Since those books were published, I have fought other battles like divorce, dependence on prescription medication, and a near-fatal car accident. I had to go overseas to teach English, leaving my children with my ex-husband. After Russia, I lived in Turkey , married a Turkish man, and took a new teaching post in China.  Now I’m trying to write my way back to California to see my children.

Last June, Jonathan graduated from high school. Jessica turned 21. I discovered that cancer was only one battle in my life, 17 years ago, and I’m grateful that the battles–and triumphs–continue.

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Read about my story in my book Crossing the Chemo Room.

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Lonna and her Turkish husband Omer at Duden Waterfall in Turkey

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Lonna with her children Jessica and Jonathan in California, 2010

Angels and Demons

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When I was a teenager, I read The Late, Great Planet Earth by Hal Lindsey.  It explained Bible prophecy clearly, and when I put the book down, I believed that I would see prophecy fulfilled.

I’m not the only one who thinks that planet earth is heading into its last days.  With overpopulation, pollution, and climate change brought about by an explosion of technology, nature seems to gasp under the weight of civilization.  Films have been made about Doomsday and the End Times, demons and angels battling on the earth, and the significance of Israel and the Middle East in the final battlefield that will come.

From my viewpoint in Turkey, I see these events close-up and worry about the consequences of another war.  I sit in my small Kocaeli apartment and read the ancient prophecies of Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel.  At night, after listening to the Turkish news report about yet another threat of war, I imagine demons and angels in the corners of my room, small flashes of black or white, spirits roaming the small spaces and wide lands around me, and threats on the horizon–lightning flashing, the moon changing color, stars falling, and Christ coming in the clouds.

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How do I face the struggles of my own life as I teach English in this foreign country and miss my children back in California?  I think of the spiritual armor mentioned in the New Testament:  a helmet of salvation, breastplate of righteousness, belt of truth, boots for sharing God’s Good News.  The Shield of Faith can quench the fiery darts of demons.  The only offensive weapon is the Sword of the Spirit, God’s word.  And surrounding me are prayers like incense, wings of a dove.

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Coke at the Cafe (2 Ways)

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I was sitting alone at a park cafe near the Marmara Sea in Turkey, missing my daughter Jessica who is far away in California.  We used to sit at cafes together near the Pacific Ocean, and I haven’t seen her in almost 3 years since I’ve been teaching English overseas. Soon she will turn 21, and I would like to raise a glass for her step into adulthood.  I sent her a text on my cellphone, said a prayer, and took another photo, this time with a can of coke next to the lonely glass–for her.

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“Best Moment Award”

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Journeyaroundtheglobe nominated my Blog for the “Best Moment Award,” and I’d like to thank this adventurous writer and mom who has seen so many places and who cared to follow my own travels.  I’d also like to thank my children Jessica and Jonathan, who are always inspirations for my Special Moments.

I held Jonathan’s hand across a New Zealand suspension bridge above a raging river when he was 8.  The water roared down from glacial mountains, and he looked up at me with eyes the same color as the river.  He squeezed my fingers tight and trusted me.  Now he’s almost 18 and about to graduate from high school.  I haven’t always led him to the safest places, but I think he will never forget our adventures in New Zealand.

I snorkled with Jessica among brightly-colored fish in a Kauai coral reef cove when she was 8.  She jumped out of the aquamarine water and screamed, “There are fish down here!”  I held her trembling shoulders in my arms and promised her safety.  Now she’s 20 and finding her own home in California while I teach English in Turkey.  I miss her and her brother Jonathan and am trying to write my way home to visit them.

The moments we shared will always live in my heart, and I am grateful to my children for walking with me.  I am also grateful to my Blog readers who care to read about my adventures, and to the Creator who imagined such transitory beauty in far-off places–and in a child’s eyes at home.

You can read more about my adventures in my book “Fire and Ice.” Continue reading

Time is Like a River

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Time is like a river that flows past us, like children who quickly grow up and leave as a current journeys toward the sea.  Enjoy Chapter Twelve of my book, Fire and Ice:

Despite the obvious risks and warnings, I would let Jessica drive our little Saturn car to Forest Falls, so she could practice for her driver’s license, and we could walk together there.  We would roll the windows down and let the air sweep up our hair and laughter.  We whisked by desert plains that rose slowly toward the mountains.  Cactus, sand, and golden hills gave way to sharp green cliffs and oak trees, and then a gorge filled with marbled granite that had swept down on torrents from the summit.  To our right, the river (I will call it Selah’s River), cut into the mountain’s lower walls.  Willow trees clustered around the cold, clear pools between the rocks, and people sometimes parked beside the road and climbed down to wade or swim there. Continue reading

International Women’s Day

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On this special day, I’d like to stand with my daughter Jessica (above) and women throughout the world–against rape.  We all heard about the Indian student who died after being raped in a bus, we may have noticed an article about a student who was threatened by her university after reporting her rape, and we may even have watched an Oscar-nominated documentary about rape in the military.  Most of us have a friend or family member who was raped.  Maybe we were.

If rape happens on a date, involves alcohol, and didn’t cause bruises, we might think it was not so bad.  But rape is always a violent crime, and victims can suffer emotional trauma for years afterward.

Let’s light a candle for women’s safety, everywhere.  Women, like a beautiful flower, should be protected.

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Photo of a rose by my daughter Jessica