Less is more

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We have all had to simplify our lives living here in the desert. The nearest city is around 180 minutes drive away and the journey is nothing short of exhausting.  A weekend trip to Abu Dhabi is supposed to be refreshing but any relaxation felt is soon erased by the arduous drive back to our desert accommodation.

At some point, all of us have felt that our former lives in the West have been brutally stripped away and have left us bare and vulnerable. Each of us has often questioned why we are here.

Yet something much stronger overrides this sense of exposure to the unknown and uncertainty of this lifestyle we now find ourselves in. Its name is Peace. http://biblehub.com/john/14-27.htm

Expat Desert Inhabitants have made difficult choices, sacrificing friends and family and a lifestyle back home to follow what we know in our hearts to be the right professional and/or personal choice.  If we looked at our situation with human eyes and took everything at face value, we would feel overwhelmed.

Yet, when we are in a place where we know we are meant to be, we are somewhat at pains to describe to others why we remain.  Paradoxically, we know that if we stayed in our home countries, we would feel restless and unsettled with each passing day; the silent sentiments of no longer belonging to the society into which we were born steadily consuming us.

I am blessed by new friends and colleagues who identify with the difficulties we are facing together. Chats whilst sharing cups of tea and coffee, bread, biscuits, books read, clothes that no longer fit, recipes, drives to the city, weekly car-pools to work when we all need a 30 minute lie in, recommended podcasts and albums all combine to enable us to develop our sense of community and sisterhood.

There is much joy to be found in what is sometimes an incomprehensible life when we look outwards, forget ourselves and keep going. Personally, I am often encouraged by the words once sent to me many years ago by my sister:  Look outwards; forget yourself. And those of my dad:  Keep going and don’t look back or you’ll turn into a pillar of salt! http://biblehub.com/genesis/19-26.htm

Many of us are finding talents which have been lying dormant for so long and are making jewelry or painting and sketching. Some are learning languages for travels to and from the Middle East whilst others are discovering a flare for making sour cream and guacamole (see last post: In the desert, we make our own sour cream…)

Although it may seem we have little, we are growing inwardly and outwardly.  Just as it was in the story of Jesus feeding the 4000, we learn that although things more than often do not make sense, as we continually pray in all circumstances and keep looking on the bright side, miracles happen and we find ourselves coping.http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+8&version=MSG

Prayer:  Lord, forgive us for times when we have been disgruntled, disillusioned and disappointed about the circumstances we find ourselves in. Forgive us for the times when we don’t appreciate what we have and help us see the satisfaction of simple living. Help us understand that it is by spreading out what little we already have that more of us are blessed and encouraged. Thank you that by trusting you, we don’t need to always have and understand the answers. Thank you that you are a creative God who loves communication http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=john%201&version=MSG; that you invented words, chats and a wonderful world to be discovered.

Please, help us, Lord.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Thessalonians+5%3A16-18&version=NIV,

Listen to:  Mumford & Sons

‘In the desert, we make our own sour cream…’

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I attended the rather jolly birthday celebrations of an Emirati friend at the weekend and thoroughly enjoyed stuffing my pretty lil’ face with various Mexican dishes prepared by two beautiful colleagues, R & M.

As we are living in the desert lands, these resourceful ladies, upon realizing that our two local food markets (not forgetting one an hour’s drive away) didn’t stock any sour cream, they decided to do what all good desert inhabitants do: make their own!

Please read below and try it out. I’m sure you’ll agree it’s muy delicioso!

Here are R’s words…  

Sour Cream was easy to make. I used about 1 carton of heavy cream and 1/2 cup of yogurt. I used a lot quite a bit of yogurt because the one we get in the market is not very sour, so requires a little bit. Do heat the heavy milk slightly in the microwave for about 2-3 minutes and then mix the yogurt or butter milk and let it sit in a warm place for about 24 hours. Ours was ready to go just before the party and I had started it 10:30 pm the night before…

Listen to: Salsa Music Party Mix, of course!

Lord, thank you for giving us imaginations and creativity. Thank you for parties, birthdays, global friends and all things jolly. Thank you that you delight in providing so much for us so that we can get together in the isolated parts of the world to have fun. Thank you for our Latino friends and their wonderful recipes and music. Bless them, Lord, and keep them in your care.  Amen.