Safety Check: Istanbul Atatürk Airport

I was writing yesterday when I learned about the attack on the airport in Istanbul, Turkey. I have traveled to Istanbul by way of that very airport, and as I listened to the reports and saw images and CCTV footage, I was overcome with sorrow and pain for such a beautiful city filled with wonderful people from around the world.

I began writing down my thoughts and feelings, and this is what they became.

Continue reading


Great Stories Are Told In Conflict

“Somehow we realize that great stories are told in conflict, but we are unwilling to embrace the potential greatness of the story we are actually in.”

Don Miller

My best friend is rereading Don Miller’s A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, and she shared the above quote today.

I have something really difficult going on in my life, and I have something else that’s really exciting, too. I’m not used to having to deal with such extremes at once.

I feel like I’m in the middle of a vast ocean treading water.

I don’t want to be unwilling to embrace the potential greatness of the story in which I’m privileged to play a role.

Go & Tell

In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest,

And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” Continue reading


“The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.”

Proverbs 16:9

Sometime before I was born my parents traveled to Morocco. Their stories became a part of our family’s history, and for years there was a desire in the corner of my heart to visit. I got my chance in 2006 when I went on Spring Break with a group from my university.

Morocco stirred up the embers of wanderlust in my soul. Now, looking back, I can see how it was my very own call to adventure. Because I might have planned my own way, but just like He did for my parents before me, God was directing my steps.

To give you a taste of what Morocco is like, watch this video by .


This post is a response to “I’m From…” found at Communicating.Across.Boundaries

Istanbul, emilykazakh

I am from

generations of pioneers. I follow trails made by

unsettled hearts

seeking more.


I am from

dusty shoes lined up at the door,

woven rugs hung on the walls,

and tables laden with bread and tea.


I am from

economy seats–

2 a.m. flights–

time zones–


exchange rates–

customs officers–

I am found amongst the pages of my passport.


I am from

a home of story.

I have roots in the tales I have heard and told

with every new introduction.


I am from


and “hellos”…

My home is in welcoming arms and the blessings of each farewell.

5. Plant

(via Pinterest)

(via Pinterest)

5. Choose a plant and make up a symbolic meaning for it

Poppies, poppies! Poppies will put them to sleep.

The Wicked Witch of the West, The Wizard of Oz (1939)

If you go outside of the city Almaty in your dusty SUV, you’ll bump along a tree lined road past villages until you come to the steppe, and if you’re there at the right time of year, you’ll discover the Kazakhstan steppe gloriously red with poppies.

Poppies are used to convey imagination but also sleep and death, with red poppies symbolizing pleasure. There are two images that come to my mind when I think of poppies—Dorothy asleep in the poppy field in The Wizard of Oz, and the poppies of Kazakhstan. The first will, of course, always evoke it’s traditional meanings, but the second inspires me differently.

Yes, there is something soothing about the poppy fields of Kazakhstan, even lethargic, but to stand there before them, with the sun beating down and the wind blowing about you, there is a peace that is less calming and more forceful. There is a serenity the moves me to action, that encourages me to run forward into the wind. There’s a peace that make me believe that all things are possible.

To me, poppies are a symbol of freedom.