Creating a Home in Life’s Chaos

Standing in line on a Minneapolis street in 2006, we started crying. Wiping tears off our cheeks, we laughed self-consciously.

“It doesn’t feel right to be here without Mom, Dad and Jeremy, huh?” I said. My sister nodded.

Photo: Carolyn Pinke

Fifteen years earlier in war-torn West Africa, our family of five lived in a green concrete house. Under towering mango and papaya trees, our corrugated zinc roof roared raindrop music in the daily tropical storms. Red dirt circled our house, clung to our feet, and spiraled off military jeep tires as they passed. Militia and rebel groups increased on both sides and BBC radio broadcasted growing concerns. Soon atrocities and the American embassy required our evacuation to neighboring Ivory Coast.

Photo: Carolyn Pinke

By kerosene lantern light, my mom poured rattling popcorn kernels into a metal pan. Dad shuffled plastic cassette tapes beside our battery-powered stereo, clicking one into play. Canadian musician Bruce Cockburn’s guitar thrums and throaty voice swelled into familiar verses and choruses. Hot popcorn sizzled and exploded, a salty nut smell hitting my senses…

Follow me over to Emily’s site for the rest of the story, please? 

I’m honored to be guest-posting there during the release of her newest book, Making it Home: Finding my Way to Peace, Identity, and Purpose. Her writing and heart are beautiful.

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  1. Mommy Emily on September 23, 2015 at 8:30 pm

    So grateful for your heart dear Jennifer. XO

  2. Jennifer Dougan on September 24, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    Thanks, Emily.

    Jennifer Dougan

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