Posts Tagged ‘journey’

map of salt and stars book

I’ve always loved maps. Since I was a child sitting in the backseat of my parents’ car, tracing our summer road-trip routes on the pages of my dad’s United States atlas, I’ve been fascinated by those collections of lines and space. They help us navigate the physical world, but they tell us so much more than where we’ve been and where we’re going.

For Nour, the twelve-year-old narrator of Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar’s novel The Map of Salt and Stars, maps are her mother’s livelihood and her family’s lingua franca. But one map in particular may guide her to a brand-new home.


I read The Map of Salt and Stars back in March; it came out in early May. I loved every page of Nour’s story, which is interwoven with the legend of Rawiya, a young woman who apprentices herself to a famed medieval mapmaker.

I’m sharing my full review over at Bookclique, a site run by my friend Jessica Flaxman. Please head on over there to read the rest of my thoughts.


Read Full Post »

Crimson peppermint candle, new Over the Rhine CD playing softly, music from Lizzie’s TV upstairs, cozy slippers (also red), desk lamp glowing brightly, stacks of half-finished and yet-to-be-started books on the desk. (I’m trying not to buy any more books until I’ve read at least a couple of these.) Peppermint hot chocolate in my stomach. Hours of talk tonight with Lizzie, about weddings, siblings, friends, a dog called Mayday, and other randomness. Wind and rain on a chilly night, and the prospect of a walk or bike ride into town tomorrow.

My three weeks in Texas were amazing. Chaotic, but fun and chock-full of family and dear friends. Scrabble with Jon by the fire; chatting to Adam about his new life in Seattle; coffee with Walker; lunch at the Hickory Street cafe with Julie S. Breakfast with Dawne, dinner with the Danleys, four days in Ruidoso with my family, a whole week and a half with my beloved J. I miss him already, though it’s only two months of separation this time (he’s coming for Spring Break). And a bit of me, as ever, misses the close-knit family at Highland and dinners at Rosa’s and lunches at Los Arcos.

But I am back in my own cosy room, no longer living out of a suitcase, and ready for a new semester full of plans and dreams. New ACU group arriving with Cole on Thursday; Jacque comes in this weekend; St Aldates is still here and as vibrant as ever. And it will soon be time to bury myself in schoolbooks again. Meanwhile it’s high time I had a browse in Blackwells and a scone at Queen’s Lane.

I so enjoyed the visit back to my Texas home – my past and future. But for a while longer at least, Oxford is my present, and it’s good to be back.

Let the new year begin!

Read Full Post »

Off again

The ACU students are off to Italy, to Austria, to Turkey. My laundry is off the drying rack in Grace’s room. Jo is off to Cardiff to see her family for a few days. My classes are off until 6 November (I have to give a presentation on the night we reconvene, but we’re not thinking about that yet). And tomorrow noonish, I’m off to Austria.

I’ve been a bit freaked out about leaving as I have three major things due in the next two weeks, but if I can’t take a holiday during mid-term break, then when can I take one? And when Brittany, Kamerie, Ashlynn and Brent said they were going to Salzburg and Vienna, well, I couldn’t resist.

My reason for loving Salzburg is the same as many people’s – the beloved movie in which the hills are alive, which has been my favourite since I was nine years old. The girls watched it the other day to prep themselves for the trip, and I caught the last hour. It’s such a wonderful love story, family story, courage-and-hope story, and a God-story. And, of course, the music is fabulous.

I took a trip to Salzburg in April 2004; my roommate Joy and I just drank in the quiet mountain peace for four days, and (of course) I took the Sound of Music tour…saw the gazebo and the palaces and the church and the gardens. I probably won’t do that this time, but am planning to walk through the gardens again, and gaze at the Alps, and stroll the narrow strassen, and eat Apfelstrudel. I’ll do some reading work on the plane, then forget all about school for a few days.

And, as always when I travel, there’s the delicious anticipation of coming home. I love the feeling of stepping off the bus at Gloucester Green and breathing in the air of Oxford again. Home never feels more like home than when you’ve left it for a while. And then, of course, there will be hugs and stories at Canterbury Road. My basement boys have scattered to wild and various places this week – I can’t wait to hear their tales of adventure. And share a few of my own.

I hope, also, to have better luck uploading Austria pictures than I’ve had with Ireland pictures. So perhaps you shall see some photographic evidence of my trip soon. Until then, so long, farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, goodbye…

Read Full Post »

The two halves of the post title don’t actually connect in the way you’d think they would. Yes, I am glowing inside (and outside, as I am a little sunburned) from an absolutely fantastic four days in Ireland with Colton. (Though I am slightly knackered, especially after travelling all day today.) But I think the title is fun, so I’m leaving it up.

The real purpose of this post is to say that I am one of the new bloggers for the freshly relaunched Radiant Magazine web site. Click on the link and go to “Featured Blogs” – my post is called “Sacredness in the Everyday.” Alternatively, you can go to Blogs and scroll down to Sacred Spaces. I’ll be posting on there fairly regularly from here out. This post is just a little snippet, written in haste before I went off to Ireland. But I hope you enjoy it anyway. There’ll be much more to come.

Off to bed…slainte (Irish for “cheers”)!

Read Full Post »

Off to the Emerald Isle

Drinking a cup of strawberry tea from a polka-dotted mug, with my birthday flowers (still perky) on the table, and Jo typing on her laptop nearby. Just wanted to say that I’m off to Ireland tomorrow! Colton Mailes, my dear friend since childhood (our dads grew up together and our grandparents are great friends), is studying abroad in Galway this semester. I’ve never been to Ireland (and I haven’t seen him in a couple of years), so I’m flying into Dublin and then taking a bus to Galway to spend a long weekend with him. Weather permitting, we shall be hiking and biking and generally enjoying ourselves in western Ireland. I’m so excited! Pictures and stories to come when I return!

Read Full Post »

I’m here!

I arrived at London Gatwick at 10 a.m. local time this morning, to cloudy skies and cigarette smoke and heavy luggage. I arrived in Oxford around 1:30 p.m., to sunshine and blue skies and Jacque! My dear friend, who was waiting for me at the bus station, flung her arms around me and exclaimed, “Welcome home!” I am home, indeed.

We took a taxi to Canterbury Road, lugged my stuff into the foyer of House 10, and had a lovely lunch in the House 9 back garden with my two favourite Morgans. Talk and laughter flew back and forth like the bees who buzzed around, apparently attracted to our food and the flowers nearby (which freaked Jacque out slightly). After a hot shower, Jacque and I strolled down to City Centre, where we had tea and scones at Queen’s Lane Coffee House, supposedly the oldest in Oxford (est. 1654).

Jacque left to go meet her boyfriend, Mike, for dinner at his house, and I wandered back home, taking pictures all the way. Stopped in the 9-to-9 on North Parade to buy a Cadbury Dairy Milk bar and a nectarine, for a total of 84 pence. (Thank goodness for cheap fruit and loose change found in a drawer recently.) I then made myself some homemade pizza and have been chillin’ out.

So I’m here. Not even too badly jet-lagged. And ready for a whole new adventure in my other home. I do miss my Jeremiah already. But tonight, my heart is at rest.

Read Full Post »

I have spent my last night in the little flat, sung my heart out at Highland for the last time (for a while), hugged every member of my beloved Lifeteam, squeezed all my stuff into Jeremiah’s storage unit (thank you, honey – and everyone who helped!) and all of my clothes into my suitcases and my parents’ closets. I have bought a new camera, as my beloved old one has been acting up for a couple of months. I have weighed my two huge suitcases at least four times each. I will probably wind up paying at least one overage fee.

I have had coffee and hugs and tears and smiles with various girlfriends – Kathy, Amanda, Barbara, Jana, Dawne, Charity, Grace, Leigh Anne, and two Julies. I have spent two nights with my dear friends the Montgomerys – Monday night because I planned to and Tuesday night because I just couldn’t leave. I have cuddled with my J every night for the past two and a half weeks, and I have finally held him and cried with him and blown him a last kiss goodbye. We still have several phone conversations to go. And we will see each other via Skype soon – and for real in just under four months.

I have eaten half a dozen Tex-Mex meals in the last few days (thanks to Cole and other friends) – stocking up because I won’t get any for a while. I have left my wedding ring with my mother, my plants with Grace, and a large part of my heart in Abilene. And I am ready. Ready for this new adventure, which holds all sorts of things known and unknown. And my plane out of Midland leaves in 16 hours – and my flight out of Dallas leaves tomorrow at 7 p.m.

So here’s goodbye, here’s so long
I must go and follow love
I feel my heart movin’ on
I must go and follow love
Carry on while I’m gone
This is what I’ve been dreamin’ of
I’ll miss you so, but I must go
Go and follow love

-“Follow Love,” FFH

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »