Simply Trying to Sleep in Russia

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The International Airport in Moscow

One of the most amazing nights of my life was spent in a Moscow airport.  It was huge, brightly lit, and shiny, and it provided no place to sleep except in uncomfortable metal chairs where sleep was impossible.  I tried dozing at a 24-hour cafe (spending too much money on food and tea just to sit there), but eventually I found my way down the (probably forbidden) levels of stairs into the basement.

I climbed under the stairs, lay down on my faux fur coat, and simply slept for a few minutes before a woman descended in her noisy heels, and I felt like I must move back into the passenger terminal before I was caught and put into a Russian jail.

Now I know a little how Edward Snowden feels.

Ironically, for $200, I could have slept in a nice hotel-like room complete with shower and television, on the upper floor.  But I barely had enough money to leave Russia after teaching English in Samara for a long, frozen 6 months.

I had missed my flight because I was attacked by an Uzbecki man on the train from Samara.  He tried to wrest my passport from my pocket as his friends watched and laughed.  I was able to escape and run to the Provitnitsa at the other end of the wagon.  She let me hide in her locked compartment while she alerted the Moscow police who met us at the train station and delayed me, my luggage, and the suspect (who ended up deported to a Siberian work camp without a trial).  That’s how I missed my flight and spent a simply sleepless night.

Read more about my Russian adventures in my book, Fire and Ice.

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Selah’s Escape

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Do you ever feel like you’re in a situation that is impossible to escape?  Selah the slave girl felt this way.  She had always been a slave, and escape from her master and the stone walls of his Keep seemed as unlikely as opening a locked, iron door with only her fingertips.

One day, a stranger appeared at the Master’s table.  He spoke to Selah as she filled his glass with water she had fetched from the desert well.

“Tonight you will be free,” Micah promised, his face partly hidden by the green hood of his cloak.

He slipped a cold object into her hot, weary hand–a snowflake that did not melt.  That very night, Micah led Selah through a secret door, across the desert, and to the distant mountains where rain fell, rivers flowed among trees toward lakes, and snow gathered at the Summit.

Once I felt like I would never escape an abusive marriage.  I wrote my prisoner’s emotions into my fantasy novel.  Journey with me and Selah the slave girl to a mountaintop that touches stars.  Maybe you, too, will find escape.

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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

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Growth

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Growth

Milford Sound Waterfall, New Zealand.

I journeyed by car, foot, and boat to find snow-topped mountains above water, where waterfalls cascade down green slopes in the South Island of New Zealand. This is Milford Sound in Fijordland. I captured this waterfall from a boat. To me, it symbolizes “growth” because without water, growth is not possible. Notice the little tree at the bottom right of the waterfall. It is happily growing. Jesus said, “I am the water of life; if you believe in me, living water will spring up from your soul.”

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Ankara, Turkey Video

For those of you who liked my story about visiting Anitkabir, Ataturk’s Tomb in Ankara, Turkey, here is a video with more photos. I spent all afternoon walking around the amazing complex (in the snow) and was amazed at views of Ataturk’s life: his clothes, books, cars, boat, swords, pens, and historic photos of Turkey.

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My Life Is a Battle

My Life Is a Battle

I lived in New Zealand over a four-year period, took some of my best photos, and wrote some of my most amazing adventures. This is a Maori boy in the village where we lived, dressed up in the armor I once owned but had to leave in New Zealand (hey, I write fantasy novels :).

My life here in southern Turkey feels like a constant battle–to make enough money to survive, to make my new apartment home-like (with furniture I don’t have yet), to find new friends, to battle the forces of darkness . . .

Does your life feel like a battle also? I try to write books about what I experience. I also pray and read the Bible–and ask for help. What do you do?