Living a good story means living outside yourself

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by Tsh

Tsh is the founder of this blog and lives in Bend, Oregon with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

My word for 2012 is story, but honestly, it kinda ended up being my word for 2011, too. At least, that’s what I see when I look back. See, my family and I, for the first time in a long while, lived in the States for more than a few months, and we did normal things like buy couches off Craigslist and find the best deals in town for ground beef. Tate went to school for kindergarten, we joined a homeschool co-op for first grade, and we finally caught up through season 5 on 30 Rock.

In many ways, these daily liturgies were things I dreamed of when we lived overseas. I grew to love our cross-cultural life, but I’d be lying if there weren’t many days that I longed to completely understand the language spoken around me in coffee shops, for my blonde children to not be stared at, to not be the foreigner. I’d read about my friends’ playdates on Facebook, and I’d yearn for Everyday American Life.

2010 was a blur, because we lived in a waiting room for most of that year. Are we living here? Are we living there? What are we doing for work? And who are you again? But once we knew we’d be stateside for awhile, it felt insanely good to just settle in. Toss the cardboard boxes, and let the kids hang things on the wall. We had complete peace that God was leading us clearly, so we followed excitedly.

We still are. We moved to a brand new town 2,000 miles away, knowing not a soul, and we jumped in with both feet. It was actually easier than we anticipated; I guess because we’d done the same thing four and a half years ago, but in a new culture with a different language. Moving to Oregon was a piece of cake compared to that—we just needed to stock up on polar fleece vests and remember that it’s pronounced Will-AM-ette.

But now that we’re here, living in our passport country, I get the itch. I miss being foreign. I miss everything being interesting. I miss all the good things of other cultures, and wish I could brush away all the bad things about American culture.

More than anything, however, I miss living an adventure.


At my old “grocery store.”

Overseas, I constantly felt like I was in an adventure. Even in the mundane of hanging laundry on the line and standing on the crowded bus with an armful of groceries (and these were most days, mind you), it always felt interesting, because I was wearing foreign lenses. Every bit of life was filtered through my home culture, so life, while frustratingly hard, never failed to at least be interesting.

But my world did a 180 when I went to the Philippines last May with Compassion. I’ve been in plenty of countries and seen my fair share of poverty, so it wasn’t just those things that shook my core. Here I was, visiting a stellar ministry that works among the poorest of the poor, as an average member of western society. As I listened to the volunteers and kissed Filipino cheeks, I represented millions of moms who spend their days making PBJs and driving to Costco. I was now a card-carrying member of the workaday Janes who live in the first culture, and I was visiting the third.

And that’s when it hit me—that adventure can happen anywhere. Story, and living a good one, is deeply etched in every one of us, from the old lady washing her clothes in the river to the 30-something mom loading her Maytag in the suburbs. No matter where we are, we are given the opportunity to write a great story with our words and thoughts and actions, and why? Because we woke up again this morning. We’re alive.

The setting of my story right now is in central Oregon, supporting our sweet Filipino “daughter” through Compassion, and recently sponsoring a new little boy in Ethiopia. We give and pray for many, many friends still living cross-culturally. And we work. Make dinner. Teach school. Fold jammies. Run to Trader Joe’s. And daily, we look at the giant map on our wall in the living room, and remember to care and pray for the rest of the world.

Uncle Ben was right—with great power comes great responsibility. And if we were to equate power with wealth (which is both true and untrue in today’s world), then we average westerners are spectacularly powerful. If the world was only 100 people, then six of us would be Americans, and we would hold half of all the money.

But power unweilded is crazy dangerous—that’s why most lottery winners file for bankruptcy a few years after their big win. Knowledge is essential to using our wealth—financial and otherwise—for good and not evil. We westerners owe it to ourselves and the rest of the world to learn what’s really going on in the world, so that we can wield our power responsibly and ethically.

Here are a few ways how:

• Keep up with the news. And not just the local news—read the international version. BBC is a great place to start to get a non-American perspective on the globe.

• Teach your kids about different countries and cultures. Make it a normal part of your everyday life.

• Have a globe or map in your home. Refer to it often, and keep them accessible for your children, so they can learn geography.

• And speaking of—learn basic geography. Know the location of Bhutan, and understand the difference between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. This year, I’d like to learn all the capitals and countries of Africa, and to be able to place them on a map.

• Spend your money wisely. Invest where it matters, and don’t spend where it doesn’t. Head here to see how wealthy you are.

• Learn, learn, learn. Listen to speakers who know what’s really going on around the world, and read their books. Be a student of the world and its current issues.

One life-changing way to do this last one—learn—is to go to The Justice Conference. Held in Portland, Oregon, this year’s gathering is February 24-25. Put simply, The Justice Conference is gathering of people—from activists to stay-at-home moms—collaborating to restore the fabric of justice. Everyone is invited to learn how irreplaceable they are.

This conference was created by our pastor here in Bend, and it has a stellar speaker line-up. (Jamie’s husband’s organization, Love146, will be there, too.) It looks amazing. Take a chance and sign up. Follow The Justice Conference on Twitter. And learn how you’re important to the world, even in the midst of kissing owies in suburban America.

They also have a great video that beautifully explains what justice actually is:

And even if you can’t go, continually be a student, wherever you are. Intentionally choose to remove the blinders that keep you out of the loop of what’s really going on. The world will be better for it.

What do you do in your everyday life to live an adventure? How does your story, wherever you are, impact the world?

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Comments

  1. I love this Tsh! This is totally my heart for my family and I love the practical resources you list here. We memorized all the countries in the world but but haven’t done capitals yet. I really want my kids to know about other cultures whether we have the chance to travel overseas or not. The Justice Conference also looks amazing and if I weren’t doing Blissdom we could take a family roadtrip to Portland. Such a good post. :)

  2. I love this post. I love your heart. I love what is at the core of your message, the core of your being. I love that your acknowledge things that are bad, in the American culture. I love that adventure can and does happen anywhere. I love this post.

  3. (I hate typos sorry – I mean *you acknowledge things) :-)

  4. What a wonderfully written post. Thanks for sharing your beautiful heart. I love your talk about story.

  5. I love this – embracing where we are, always nurturing the learner. In our house, actually listening and then exploring a lot of the endless questions my kids ask, following the rabbit trails and discovering the answers together – at the library, online, in conversation. These often lead to wonder, sometimes to hard answers and the reality of a broken world, and always good discussion.

    • Annie! I love how you parallel adventure and wonder! I do the same thing with our children partly because my parents raised my sister and I in a very similar way. I did not travel internationally until I was in high school, but we were constantly taking and learning about other places. We spent a lot of time in nature and I feel like a well-traveled person! Wonder and imagination are a powerful tools:)

    • Love that, Annie!

  6. This is a fantastic post and rings true to how I feel living my life in Germany right now…and have in the US…and likely will wherever we end up next. Sometimes when I hear the phrase ‘naval-gazer’ I want to snort and think proudly how it’s not me, but really, it so easily and frequently is. Thanks for the reminder and the encouragement to live with an outwardly-facing heart.

  7. I think embracing where you are is great! I am trying to live more in the now, instead of constantly thinking of the future. Making my place now is important :-)

  8. Great post! I’m French and after living abroad for some years I also yearn for seeing my everyday world with foreign eyes (a sobering experience sometimes) — that’s why I read foreign blogs! Learning languages is one key; and making online friends from different cultures (while sharing your own values) is a great opportunity to broaden your horizon.

  9. The part about living an adventure really got to me. In 2007, I sold everything and moved to Jerusalem, Israel for the greatest adventure of my life. It only lasted 6 months because my husband came and proposed but still is the greatest thing I have ever done. I was scared, uncomfortable, lonely and in some ways the happiest I have ever been. Glad you are settling in well in Oregon. I really enjoyed your book and continue to re-read it!

  10. Living an adventure and a good story is what my life is all about. From where I live to what I buy and how I raise my kids. Bring it on!

  11. Hi Tsh – a came across your blog after a friend recommended your book. Living overseas, it’s been a blessing to follow you and others who live intentionally, no matter where you are geographically. I actually met my husband overseas, and we moved back to the states to get married. During the few years back in the states, before we returned overseas, I struggled A LOT with identity & purpose. Even though I knew better than to place my identity in anything but being a daughter of the King, saved by Grace, I still did. It’s embarrassing, but I realized that I took pride in the stamps on my passport and the fact that I lived in “difficult” circumstances! The 2 1/2 years back in the states was such a refining time for me, and now that we’re back overseas, I’m thankful that God loved me enough to open my eyes to my misplaced identity/pride/purpose. So thanks for sharing your heart and reminding us that following Jesus is about following Him wherever He leads – overseas to a completely foreign culture, and even right in our home culture. May our pride not get in the way of us partaking in His Kingdom!

  12. avatar
    Jennifer B says:

    I’m now almost 20 years out from my international living days, and while I’m more used to being “American” in America, there is a certain familiarity when I travel overseas that calms my soul – I get off the airplane, make my way to wherever I’m staying and feel a part of me relax into being the “foreigner” again.

    It doesn’t matter that where I’m going isn’t where I had lived before, or if I have ever visited that place before. It’s the foreignness of it all that brings back that heightened sensitivity to my surroundings and reminds me of the years I lived overseas.

    I don’t think I’ll ever feel fully at home either at “home” or abroad. But I can certainly appreciate what each place gives me.

  13. what a great post!

    Hmmm… as far as our local adventures, they’re a little sparse these days so I’ve been trying to spice things up a bit. Just yesterday I took my two year old on a Metro trip downtown (subway) which we haven’t done in forever! We went to the Hirshorn Museum and looked at modern art, followed up by a Carousel ride on the National Mall, and then a run around the Sculpture Garden before heading home. And all because we wanted something to get us out of the house. That was adventurous, right? :)

  14. This really spoke to me. One of our goals in homeschooling our children was to show them how the world worked outside our own backyard. And to some extent we’ve acheived this, but not nearly to the extent I envisioned. Special needs, learning disabilities, family needs, job changes- those things that mean you have to bring your focus closer make it hard to expand that focus back outward. Mostly I am at peace with that and we immerse ourselves in the diversity of our own local culture. I did, though, finally find our big wall maps after our most recent move and am plotting a few cultural studies. International travel has to wait a bit longer, but it’s still on the radar screen. Small steps, right?

  15. Thank you!
    After 2 years of living in Mexico, daily life in the US seems boring – except for those days when I start defending Mexico!
    But now that I have new lenses, I can thank God for every day I am healthy and well-off.
    Blessings.

  16. I was living quite a predictable and quintessential American life and while involved with missions giving and going, it was orderly and only vaguely adventuresome. When I became a single mother, I quickly shifted into another role, a scary adventure to be sure. Now I am much more aware of another culture even within our own US borders and I’m thankful for the perspective and learning the priority of what is truly important.

    I can do much more to raise my little ones with broader global vision … but I have been known to Google truly impoverished children when on of mine claims to be “starving” after rejecting the meal I’ve prepared. Grrrr.

    Thank you!

  17. Oh, how this speaks to my heart!

    A little about my story: I grew up as a third-culture kid in Thailand and Malaysia (for my dad’s work). We’re from Ohio. I miss being the minority. I miss not understand what anyone is saying. I miss the ADVENTURE, just as you say. So many stories to share. So much excitement, even in the mundane.

    But, I also really, really love being near my family now. I really love getting to be a part of their life. And I came to the realization in college that best way I can be an asset and contribute to my community is by being present to my community and staying put. Learning my community. Being IN my community.

    And we have this poster hanging in our kitchen, which is a good reminder to ‘think local, act global’ and all that. :)

    I love this, Tsh.

  18. Your post’s title says it all. Living outside of ourselves no matter where we are and no matter what we’re doing is always the best way to live a good story. Thanks for the reminder.

  19. avatar
    Candice Foldenauer says:

    Thanks for this! I have a deep disdain for suburban life but mostly because I don’t know how to make it more meaningful. This helped!

  20. thank you for sharing your heart here! i lived overseas for 15 years of my life and i can totally relate to what you’ve expressed. also, i LOVE that map – the size as well as how it is mounted (is it on canvas?) can you point me in a direction of where to get something like that? i’ve been looking for something for our family room but have not quite found what i’m looking for yet. this is the closest thing I’ve seen! thanks!

    • I got it at Ikea—Here it is! Not cheap, but it’s huge, made of heavy-duty canvas, and is stretched onto steel beams. We hope it lasts forever.

      • Thanks for sharing the link for the map! I was wondering where you found it, then my husband peered over my shoulder and wanted to know, too! It’s a big hit, I take it ;)

      • We have the same map hanging front and center in our living room. It is the best conversation starter ever, both for our family and whenever anyone else comes over. And teachable moments with it abound.

        We bought ours several years ago, so now we’re bummed that it doesn’t include South Sudan. (But even that has been a great teachable moment…that is, the fact that our map is now technically outdated and why.) We’re hoping for an updated version eventually!

        I’m right there with ya on this post, Tsh!

  21. I really appreciate your list of ways to live an adventure here in North America. I sometimes need help thinking of ways to live a good story here at home. I love the thought of teaching your kids the capitals of all the African countries — that’s so counter to American (and Canadian) public education, which focuses so narrowly on *our* geography.

    Beautiful writing too, by the way!

  22. Love this post. We have a globe, out for the kids to twirl. We just put a map of the world on the wall in our eating area, and I think that I love having it out more than the kids. It is good to look at it and think about the whole wide world, not just our little corner of it.

  23. Thank you so much for this. You really have me thinking. I love the idea of having a world map on the wall. We were already planning to do a world map puzzle today, but having it up all the time would be great.

    My adventure feels a little small today, but I know I am doing important things, and I’m inspired for the adventure to grow.

  24. I love this post….I just moved back from the Philippines and witnessed first hand the poverty and the amazing things people are doing over there to help. Many people I had the pleasure to meet and become friends with are making a huge difference 1 flip flop/feeding/caring/loving at a time. I only regret that I didnt fully immerse myself in helping more. I was there for 1 year for my husbands job and felt so overwhelmed with day to day life. Right when I was about to immerse myself in volunteering- we were on our way back to the US. So it taught me to take advantage of now….JUST DO IT…..helping others is so important!

  25. I really see the point of your post and appreciate it. What I don’t get is that so many feel the need to designate cultures or worlds first or third. We are all pavement. One disaster away from nothing. When I worked in social welfare, I (and my coworkers) always knew the only thing between us and our clients was a paycheck or two.

    • Of course, we are definitely all humans, and sadly, what’s separates so many of us is little more than a paycheck, or the only difference between us is where we happened to be born. And that’s what makes justice—and not living blindly in the west—so important.

      It’s important to understand the distinction between first and third worlds because, unfortunately, there is a difference. They’re just titles, but they’re not meant to be derogatory. I think of the third world as “an entity with common characteristics, such as poverty, high birthrates, and economic dependence on the advanced countries.” It’s not a good thing, and yet it’s not a slam, either. It is how it is—and there is a difference between these countries and so many others.

  26. avatar
    Kelly Smith says:

    Love the story. Our family has made many moves over the years and each one is an opportunity for the children (now teens) to learn something new about the people and culture around them. We do not need to look very far to see people who need their blinders removed to accept people who are different. Right here in the good old USA our children need to look at the differences between us, to try and understand, empathize and accept those differences. My heart breaks with each story I hear from my children or my friends childrens when they are faced with hateful words and actions because they are different. Let us teach our children to see the world around them here and afar with open eyes and hearts.

  27. Like Tate, I was homeschooled for 1st grade, and my mom had me learn all the the countries of the world, and their capitals, and where to find them on a map. It’s been remarkably useful my whole life [um, I DID make it to the state geography bee level 4x :)] and it horrifies me how little other people know of our world.

    I have a friend who is a teacher, and is very smart. And she talks about how till she was 18 she thought Alaska was an island, because of how it looks on maps of the 50 states. She tells it like it’s funny, but it makes me sad to think that people are almost proud of their ignorance of our world.

    But I myself have been really guilty of living in my own little bubble lately, with only occasional glances at internet headlines. New goal: start checking the BBC site daily! It’s bookmarked, but I never use it, thanks for the inspiration to get re-involved!

  28. I LOVE this post. Its so vital that we teach our children that the world is bigger than their city and what the newest toy is. If we start early, our children will just know that caring for others and giving of themselves is a way of life, not a hobby. A life after God’s own heart. My daughters are the main letter writers for our Compassion child, and they take it very seriously. Thank you for sharing.

  29. “I miss being foreign” – I wish we could trade for a while! I do not know what it is like NOT to be foreign? My mom was foreign wen she got me, so was my dad, and am foreign ever since. I do not know what it is like to speak just one language, I do not know what it is like to have a home country. Does anyone know what I am talking about?

  30. Thanks you so much for this post Tsh! We all (rich,poor, western, or eastern) have soooooo much more power to do good than we even realize. If only we could all recognize that no matter your station in live we ALL have something to give. We all have the capacity to serve someone else.

  31. I was thinking about many of these issues last night and my last thought before I fell asleep was “I need a big world map for the house!” Seriously. But I have no idea where to find one. Anyone have an idea for me?

  32. Thanks for your post, Tsh! Another good news site is Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty,
    http://www.rferl.org/

  33. Thank you so much for the info on the conference–I definitely want to check this out. I love your continuing message of social justice and practical ideas for how to teach it to our kids.

    Having a huge map of the world readily available is awesome, and doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive. When my guys were little, we had a map of the world shower curtain in their bathroom. Can’t tell you how many times I would walk by the door to be pulled in by my son, who would be in there just staring at it, needing to show me something or ask me some question. One of my favorite memories of his younger years.

  34. avatar
    Christina Y. says:

    I have a bachelors degree in international politics and spent 4 years of my life learning about what a difference the US can make on 3rd world countries! I became so focused on becoming someone who would “change the world” when I finished college. I was going to be a missionary and spend all my time helping those who needed it most. Then I met my husband my junior year of college, we fell in love, got married and started having our children. My dream of changing the world soon evolved into changing diapers! I LOVE where I am at today – being able to be a stay at home mommy to three little ones has been an amazing blessing. But every once in a while, I get the “itch” to do what I had planned on doing may years ago…
    Though I know I can’t leave my kids right now and physically help others overseas, we do small things as a family to help as much as we can right now – pray for others, give as much as we can, and always be mindful that we’re not the only people God has created! It’s nice to read your post and know that others feel the same as we do!

    • Yes! Changing diapers does change the world in its own way, doesn’t it? I used to have this Brother Lawrence quote above Tate’s changing table when she was a baby:

      “We ought not to grow tired of doing little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed. “

  35. Thanks Tsh, I decided to become a SAHM when I took a sociology course and learned about the world’s problems. So many of the solutions came back to people needing to be brought up to be polite, hard-working, honest, generous, and helpful (locally as well as internationally). That is what we are striving for. After reading this post I looked up international volunteer opportunities for families. There is a lot out there. We are still too young but it is something to look forward to as part of our future story!

  36. I never lived abroad but I have been through most of Europe and spent 7 weeks hiking the country of Peru. Getting outside of your own culture is profound. I had seen poor people in the US, but it wasn’t until I went to Peru did I see real poverty, lack of hope. The time I spent in Europe opened my eyes to the way we waste in this country. They have been using baskets for shopping and composting and recycling for over 30 plus years. I would like to travel with my children, in the mean time I often preface things I tell them with the phrase, “In our culture we do…” so they realize that there are different ways people live and that is a good thing, not something to fear or make fun of.

  37. I totally agree with everything you said. I have longed for the opportunity to live overseas, but God has never opened that door for me and my family. We do, however, live in a college town and enjoy working with internationals who are drawn by our university. It feeds my soul when I teach the Bible to a group of Koreans one morning or meet on Tuesday nights for friendship with some beautiful Turkish ladies or teach English to some Arab friends another day. Each opportunity is a chance to share the love of Christ by developing relationships and meeting a need. The huge map on our playroom wall that we ordered from Skymall reminds my children that we are “world Christians,”plus it is a delight to see our international friends point out their own hometowns. My kids’ world is so much bigger because we enjoy hosting these friends in our home (btw, an overwhelming percentage of int’l students will return home having never been in an American’s home). My family and I are doing our best to lower that number!

    I definitely feel your heartbeat in this.

  38. You really touched me with this post. I am really, deeply touched. I just wanted to thank you, because I… I don’t know, but reading you sometimes I just feel hopeful. It makes me think that there are wonderful people like you in the other corner of the world, and that gives me faith.

    Lots of love from Barcelona.

  39. LOVE this post! Sometimes life in America doesn’t feel that adventurous, but God has called us each to live for His glory. And that makes life an adventure!

  40. I’ve got so much to say on this topic – I have to limit myself! I have been a foreigner in many countries including the USA. I think it’s fairly safe to say that most people see the US as a dominating force in the western world (and more) and yet your formal education system seems to be so inwardly focused. People grow up and live their entire lives not knowing about the rest of the world because of this. If you are always bigger, stronger, popular, winning, successful etc, then it’s a responsibility to have a broader understanding of others experience. So thanks for your post and your viewpoint Tsh. Learn about other countries, people, cultures and belief systems, it’s SO important. As a foster carer to three kids from three different cultures, but all Australian, it’s a vital part of my day to day life to help them grow up knowing their culture, it’s part of their identity. My respect for who they are will help them to grow into respectful, happy adults.

  41. I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot and am wanting to teach my kids about other cultures and countries. Do you have any recommendations for picture books that show children, families, etc. from other countries?

    All my kids are under 6 so I probably won’t be taking them on mission trips anytime soon, but my oldest daughter is learning to write so hopefully she can write to our Compassion kids before long. A good book will have to do for now.

  42. Thank you for the reminder, Tsh. We have such a responsibility and sometimes, as Westerners, our worldview is like tunnel vision. A trip overseas, even short-term, should be a requirement for adulthood!
    We’ve been blessed to go overseas and have our eyes opened to God’s people in the 3rd world, and wonderfully blessed to adopt our son from a culture we’ve grown to love. All of our kids have such a better understanding of the Big Picture than I ever did growing up, and I’m thankful for that and for so many resources to make our world smaller. Thank you again for this post! Funny to find that you are on the other side of Oregon, too. I just finished your book last weekend and was much blessed.

  43. I really enjoyed this post and I like your geography ideas! I lived in the middle east several months and did a few other short international trips and LOVE other cultures. One way my family keeps adventure and culture in our life is volunteering and visiting with refugee families in our city. In many ways, the world has come to us here too!

  44. This is a really cool post. You hit at why I enjoy vacations so much… it gets me out of routine and into a new place, and you just see things differently. Plus, you gave me a different way to to think about the missionaries our church supports (4o of them). My thoughts are rolling… not sure where they will lead, but you got me thinking in a new way.

  45. Fantastic idea about the map! In today’s world it is so important to understand others, and move our understanding towards compassion. We are given so much and it is so important to teach our kids that they need to build into the lives of others. Avoiding a “me” generation is definitely a conscious teaching point in our parenting.

  46. It’s so easy for us to live in little bubble, surrounded by people who are like us in every way, from ethnicity to religion to socioeconomic status. It’s understandable, because it makes us feel comfortable and it’s easy to organize into communities around those things. But I’m reminded every time I travel, whether it’s out of my neighborhood or out of the country, that people are living out their lives in entirely different ways. And we’re better off for having experienced some of that.

  47. So great! So glad that you’re enjoying Bend … and excited to see you at the Justice Conference. We recently bought an enormous wall-sized map that’s in our living room. The kids (3&5) LOVE it and they’re learning so much. Thanks for sharing, Tsh.

  48. Thank you for sharing, it encouraged me as I am currently in the process of packing up 7 years of living internationally to go back to the states (back ‘home’) for this next season. Although I don’t know how this next season will ‘play out’ or when I will next be overseas, but I was comforted by your words that even that is part of our story and our adventure, and an adventure it will be! Thanks for sharing!

  49. awww. i loved this post. i dont know where you have been in the middle east, but i’m a mother of 3 from israel. we lived in europe for 5 years and i cant wait to go on another advanture….
    thanks. love this blog.

  50. avatar
    Elisabeth says:

    Wow, LOVE this post–and like so many of your other commenters, I’ve also lived overseas and can relate to the feeling of being the foreigner. Now back in California (with my “foreigner” husband), I’m even more aware of the power and overwhelming consumerism that seems to dominate the American way of life. Even before I lived overseas I knew I wanted to be a mom and make that kind of lasting impact (e.g. teaching them geography!), but especially now that I’ve seen the global picture a bit more, and how Americans are often perceived to be insulated and ignorant and arrogant–I don’t want to be that way. But your readers all seem to share these sentiments–the people who need to hear what you’re saying aren’t reading yet! Sharing on FB, and hoping it gets passed around!

  51. I love this! I lived in Thailand for a year and I can so relate to what you’re saying about every day things feeling like an adventure. And I miss that too. I love all your ideas for learning what’s going on in the world and I do want to make an intentional effort to bring learning about the World into my daily life and into my kid’s lives as well. Thank you!

  52. I love this Tsh. There are certainly those days that I miss normalcy {whatever that is} and I do so miss the Will-AM-ette too, and the mountain, and the city, and, and, and.
    I love your suggestions for living outside yourself wherever you are! There are SOOO many opportunities, just as you mentioned, to live outside yourself. Love this post!!

  53. My New Year’s Resolution was to start meal planning.
    I’ve been doing it with an online spreadsheet template and life has been much easier because of it.
    A Plan To Eat membership would take it to the next level.

  54. We have dealt with the same feelings about living the adventure this year. We spent 2011 on our way to work cross culturally in Africa, and at Christmas it became clear we couldn’t. We have wrestled with wanting to make our life count and live an adventure while we plot a new course to live in suburbia and most likely buy our first house. Its been a hard month but God is bigger. Thanks for the encouragement.

  55. Tsh, thanks for this! You’re so right about living an adventure overseas being easy, but living an adventure anywhere being possible. Our family currently lives in Laos. This week my little baby broke his femur and we had to be medivaced to Thailand, so we’re been having the sort of adventure you never want to have and I won’t lie – I’ve been longing for the western world and good hospitals just a drive away. I’ve subscribed to your blog and look forward to reading more.

  56. We too think that anywhere is an adventure and have lived a bunch of places.

    We’re living the other side of the world adventure right now and loving it, but I can totally relate to the desire to not have your blond kids stared at where ever you go.

  57. This is wonderful post,Tsh.I also like to locate countries and their capitals on the world map with my toddler and preschooler boys.We like to talk about our family members who stay in a different continent and how different things are everywhere.Being an Indian,I have been taught to look at unity in diversity.I feel that when we talk about countries as first and third world,is it any different than referring to someone as being a part of a particular race or religion and does it really matter?I do like the thought that we need to look beyond our mind made world,which could be your next door neighbour also.Its only when we look beyond, can we appreciate all that we have.This attitude of gratitude leads us to give.It is also important to give and let go.

  58. I feel ya. I’ve understood those feelings before, but not to the same extent. I’m embarking on a world exploration with the kiddos- every other month we’re exploring a continent while my 4 year old and I learn the names of all the countries!

    I just put up our highlights of our Africa continent: http://www.playeatgrow.com. Check it out if you’re interested! I think we’re going to do Central and South America next.

  59. Hi! I just began REALLY reading your writing (I was directed to you by a dear friend and have been getting your tweets/etc for some time now). You are wonderful and inspiring! We are expecting our first baby and therefore becoming a “simple mom” sounds beautiful. Thank you for sharing your words with all of us!

    My husband is from Bend, lived there all of his life, his mom still lives there, and we visit a lot (we are in NorCal right now–a mobile military family). Maybe one trip I could steal you for coffee or a cup of tea :-D

  60. To live an adventure, we go outside! An do new things as much as we can. With a 2-year-old it is easy to look at everything around us with a bit of a sense of wonder. And to teach him about what we really care about.

    I do sure miss doing adventurous things like living abroad and traveling. I didn’t think starting a family was going to put an end to those things for me (because I’m adventurous!), but it sure has slowed me down way more than I expected. So I take pleasure in the little adventures like splashing in puddles in the back lane.

  61. ‘ … that adventure can happen anywhere.’ I love this! I expected to miss the freedom of adventure after Bub was born. Then I realised life with a brand new person leads to spontaneity anyway: from being drawn into a Vegas busker’s act to hanging off a concrete mixer’s door Jackie Chan-style while waiting for The Wiggles television show. I realised my life was a lot more predictable before Bub.

  62. I found out about you through a friend, borrowed your book from the library, and discovered the blog from there. I’ve spent 2 days catching up, reading posts, all the while thinking you still lived overseas. Until I read this one.

    At first I was presently surprised that you live in my home state. And then you mention The Justice Conference – the 48 hours that have changed my life forever. I think finding this blog might have been a Divine guiding.

    Nice to find you. Looking forward to reading what you have to share.

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