Embracing Dusty Detours

A spiritual search for depth in desert places

Lynne E. Chandler

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Lynne Chandler shows us the way of blessing... This is a book of hope.
From the foreword by John Philip Newell


'...I feel at last that I am embracing the present moment of life. I haven't arrived, I'm just resting; resting beside quiet waters that inevitably churn and stir from time to time and turn into strong currents that drag me back into the river of the hectic everyday.'

This book takes you on a quest through the chaos of Middle Eastern city life and the drama of a youth-led revolution to endless stretches of desert sand, and Bible places from Mount Sinai to the shores of Galilee. This quest, along life's dusty detours, is in search of oases of all kinds - people, places, and little glimpses of eternity. Lynne's journey involves laughter, tears and raw honesty, and is often one lurch forward and two steps backward, but it has led her to deeper insights into faith and greater reliance on God than she ever imagined.

More about Embracing Dusty Detours

John Bunyan may have pictured the life of faith as a straight and narrow path but in reality it is one of twists, turns and many detours. It's a journey that is travelled every day with two choices, the choice to complain or the choice to celebrate.

In her first book, Embracing a Concrete Desert, Lynne Chandler described in honest and emotional terms her move from tranquil, rural USA to the concrete, noise-ridden, smog-filled jungle that is Cairo today.

I didn't know how I could live without quietness or without being able to feed on God's beautiful creation. Usually our worst nightmares don't come true, but mine did.

The first 18 months were months of tear-filled grief, because God's voice seem to have disappeared, but then came a realisation that negative attitudes were choking away life.

I wanted to survive, but I never dreamed I would thrive. As I began the process of searching within, I found unexpected wells of refreshing water as I dug deeper. My Creator met me where I was and sustained me and restored me to a place of happiness and fulfilment that I'd never experienced... If only... is a statement that shuts me down; what if... is a statement that lets me dream.

Embracing Dusty Detours continues the story in a series of 24 short reflections on life's detours from encounters with donkeys, the dog who ate the Pentecost dove, a precarious camel ride up Sinai, graduating children, the beauty and necessity of life's comfort people, the trials of the misfiring green chariot, the restaurant that buys the ingredients after you order, the fear and concerns amid Cairo's spring 2011 revolution and the myriad ways that east and west are brought together amid Cairo's seeming chaos.

Although the dusty Middle Eastern city of Cairo has proved to be the greatest of challenges, it has also given me the most fulfilling moments of my life. I attribute this paradox to community, as well as God's lavish doses of grace. Alongside other expatriates, the energy of survival, the need for companionship and the realisation that we are journeying through an exotic adventure together continually breaks down barriers...

Though many of my Egyptian Muslim friends may never set foot inside our church doors, they have welcomed me with wide-open hearts. The edges of my traditional sense of community have been pushed and transformed to embrace a feeling of interconnection far beyond the borders of creed and culture... I look for God's fingerprints generously displayed over all the coincidences of my life. Each day I wake up and remind myself that years of pollution in my lungs will not destroy me, but being unaware or ungrateful for the abundance of blessings being poured out to me daily just might.

This is a very sensitively written, very poignant account of one family's experiences of mending the tears between east and west post 9/11- an account that is written from a position of a deep faith that has come to see God at work in the most unexpected of ways.

Each chapter ends with an original poem from Lynne and the book concludes with a series of reading group questions.

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Lynne Chandler shows us the way of blessing... This is a book of hope.
From the foreword by John Philip Newell

A fascinating and delightful read. There are lessons for each of us in Lynne's beautifully observed meditations and poetry. Savour each chapter; this is not a book to be rushed.
Alie Stibbe

Author info

Lynne Chandler was born in Muslim West Africa and spent her childhood in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the United States. After 9/11 she moved with her family to Cairo, home to over 20 million people, to serve as the music director in the Anglican/Episcopal international church that her husband pastors. She is author of Embracing a Concrete Desert (BRF, 2010).


I am always surprised how books I am meant to read find their way to me. This book was in a bag of goodies I received at the Christian Resources Exhibition at Sandown Park. Lynne is an American living in Cairo. She seems to have a large open heart housed within a deeply sensitive spirit and I felt at home. With the insight of a travel writer she guides us through desert places - landscapes and crowded city life keeping a calm unhurried pace within the colours of places and people, family and friends. I felt privileged that she has chosen to share her thoughts, insights and poetry with us and weave them within the tapestry of her Christian life subtly and beautifully. This book embracing her spiritual search is a key to help us explore our own and we can be grateful for that.

Geraldine M Radley

Book details

  • ISBN: 9781841018294
  • Published: 20 April 2012
  • Status:
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 144
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