Fighting Homesickness, Education & Good Reads

*Day 30 of 31 days of Traveling & Living Overseas with Kids

**All stories are true.

It happens to us all, we get homesick for the greener grass of another country.

Sometimes we don’t remember the hardships back in America,

or we are don’t care and just want to feel normal again.

When my kids hit the homesickness bug,

we try to build them up through a few ways.

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We listen to familiar music that we learned in the States,

Read books we brought over,

look at pictures and home videos taken in the States,

and we remind each other of memories we had.

Finally the kids love to hear their birth stories and

that seems to soothe them as they realize they are a part of a family

and they are loved!

 

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A few books I would recommend for those traveling, moving or living overseas

are:

Uprooted by Rebecca Vandoodewaard

Notes from a Blue Bike by Tsh Oxenreider

Third Culture Kids by David Pollack

and for kids,

It will be Okay by Lysa TerKeurst

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What are books you’ve found helpful?

If you haven’t traveled before, do you want to travel with your kids?

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Traveling Woes & Throes

*Day 7 of  31 days of Traveling & Living Overseas with Kids

**All stories are true.

It can be hard to always see the bright side and I definitely do not. I am a pessimist at heart

though my optimistic husband likes to fight it quite often.

While traveling I have found some ways to be thankful when it’s easy to find the disappointing.

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Look for the good and be grateful.

(Even if it’s a bad time to sleep, at least Scoob is quiet and cuddling with her favorite blanket)

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Focus on the plentiful, the helpful, the beautiful, the full life.

In the above picture my kids are freezing and we all just want to crawl into a warm bed,

but we have thrown rocks into the Aegean Sea and climbed over old ramparts.

 

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Say little thanksgivings to the Lord.

In Turkey, our kids were eager to finish dinner in order to receive their complimentary apple tea and baklava.

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Disregard the hard, the ugly, the uncomfortable.

 Two of our kids had motion sickness and vomited in the car at the same time.

Not fun. But we pushed through.

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At the end of another trip, it’s not the bad that we remember.

But the laughs,

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the memories of climbing further,

eating new foods,

sleeping so well,

   and being together as a family.

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Chasing the Light

I know the Word is powerful, a double-edged sword and my faith in Him is the shield to fend off the fiery darts of the devil. But somehow I don’t dig into the Bible as I should. We’re about to move overseas. My body reacts negatively to a lot of pressure and stress (strange huh?!) and I lose sight of Him. I focus on my to-do list and pause my relationship with Jesus which compounds every situation in life!

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But He grabbed me in my quiet time, as I read John 1:4 “In him was life, and the life was the light of men.”

Jesus was at the beginning with God as God breathed in life into human.

Genesis 2:7 “[T]hen the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.”

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And what is that life? What is the life that we are striving towards? Jesus’ life. His example. He had fullness of life.

Who is the light? Jesus. And the Hope and already realized resurrection.

Who has the light? All of us. We are made in God’s image and God has breathed life in us.

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So I am chasing light. I need that reminder of light. The light is in all of us. Even the grumpy receptionist at the doctor. And the packers and the movers. And the nosy neighbors. And the rude Facebook status commenter. I hope to get beyond my narrow-minded outlook. Get over the “wasted” hour explaining to my toddler where she should go potty. Or the realize all my clothes have stains. Or that my house will never be clean ever again.

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Chasing light will remind me to find the blessings in life. So I am going to start finding light and blessings in every day life. Sometimes there will be pretty sunsets and maybe it will be the empty laundry baskets. Or maybe it will be a good laugh over spilled dinner.

Will you chase light with me?

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A Biblical view of Stay-At-Home Moms

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Before I share my thoughts, I want to be mindful of friends who are not able to stay at home.

I recognize their desire to love & care for their kids but the need for them to work full time outside the home.

Currently staying at home to care for our kids is one of the most important roles God has given me.

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S. Randall Photography The Third

In many ways our society discourages and demeans the work of stay at home moms.

However God sees mothering at home as a prestigious and very important work and uses this time to develop the fruit of the Spirit in ourselves and our children.

Full-time mothering is a period of life where you must lay aside many of your desires to devote your whole self into raising the future generation.

It involves cooking, feeding, cleaning, playing, organizing, driving, disciplining, mentoring, laughing, crying, comforting, reminding and hopefully a little sleeping, every single day.

Salary.com estimates that stay at home moms are worth 113,000 dollars annually.

Mothering is not a charity cause, it’s kingdom work.

It does involve a lot of self-sacrificing and sanctification on our part but the job is simple and eternal.

Mothers get to partner with God to share His Truth & hope to the youngest generation all day long and all night.

We have been given the responsibility & pleasure to raise our children and live out the Gospel to them.

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Isn’t that wonderful news? I don’t have to be perfect. Christ died for the moms that mess up–BOTH the moms that stay at home and those that work.

The most important role as a mother is to recognize my sin and confess it, letting forgiveness and grace wash over me.

As I live out my faith and invite my kids in, they will witness what is essential in life.

Some exemplary mothers highlighted in the Bible provide us with clues on succeeding in such an intense task.

Hannah, who was accused of being drunk because of her fervent praying for a child became the mother of Samuel, one of the most influential priests to the Israelites.

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She prayed intentionally and intently.

Mary, the mother of Jesus was young and inexperienced yet God chose her to be the one to care for our Savior.

Luke 2:19 reads “But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.”

She took note of the details in her son’s life realizing it was of great worth.

Exodus 2:3 says, “When she could hide him no longer, she took for him a basket made of bulrushes and dabbed it with bitumen and pitch.

She put the child in it and placed it among the reeds by the river bank.”

Moses’ mother had to put her son up for adoption trusting God would care for her son.

S. Randall Photography Girls

S. Randall Photography Girls

These three mothers provide me with a few key reminders.

1. Pray without ceasing.

2.Be involved in your children’s lives.

3. At all times we must trust in the Lord, as we will be called to sometimes sacrifice our desires for the love of our children.

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One of the most vivid times this truth came to life for me, was while I was washing dishes.

One of my sons asked me to read him a book.

I replied that I didn’t have time.

To which he quickly replied, “ Oh Mama, I have time. I’ll give you some of mine.”

That’s just what I needed to be refocused.

Quality time with my children is of greater worth than checking another item off my to-do list.

S. Randall Photography B&W

S. Randall Photography B&W

Though I mess up more times than I care to remember, Romans 8:37-39 reminds me,

“No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love.

Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.

No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

I think one of the greatest struggles stay at home moms deal with is loneliness.

Yes mothers are surrounded by children, but real Biblical community can be lacking in the homes for moms.

Titus 2:3-5 tells us “They [older women] are to teach what is good and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled,

pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.”

We desperately need loving, gracious, experienced mothers to come along side and encourage us!

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S. Randall Photography Sweet Cheeks

We must continue to remind ourselves of God’s truth-our every day work is important, it’s kingdom work.

Let us not listen to our culture’s pressure to reduce our significant role in the world but uplift one another as the Bible says.

Every day presents new challenges, when to potty train your child, how to educate your children, what to say yes to and when to say no.

Our family has a lot of unknowns in our future.

We are planning to move to the Middle East, with the federal government financial problems and the sequestration,

my husband’s military career may end, we don’t know what tomorrow holds.

But we know who holds it.

So take heart moms,

“May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy,

giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.” Colossians 1:11-12

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When Praying Gets Routine

I had gotten into a rut. Praying the same prayers. As if it were just rote memorization but not actual communication to my Lord, Guider of all life.

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After reading two books, one on praying and the other on living to abundantly bless those with our excess I opted to do a praying experiment.

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I didn’t have grandiose plans for the short experiment but was curious to see where it led.

I realized I had some excess time that I could funnel into prayer time instead of Instagram or blog reading/writing time.

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Starting with 5 minutes on the first day, I prayed and added 3 minutes each subsequent day.

I was curious if my ever distracted, multitasking mind could handle praying for long periods of time.

I was curious if this alone time would boost my relationship with my Savior or leave me even more “bored”.

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Just as some days are mundane ones, others are filled with new experiences. I found the prayer time similar to daily life. If I was focused and seeking time with God, the prayer time sped by. Likewise if I was tired, I’d easily get distracted or fall asleep.

I left the experiment wanting more. More prayer time, more quiet moments in His presence, more earnestness to seek Him. I long for asking big prayers and seeing big answers.

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I learned that:

1. A prayer journal is really helpful.

2. Recording my prayer list helped me stay on task.

3. Adding Scripture verses to various prayer points gave me beautiful words that I could really understand and ask forthrightly.

4. Starting a timer on my phone gave me total freedom to pray and be in communion with Christ knowing I had set aside the time and made the time priority.

5. During my longer prayer times, I found my days flowed better. I was content and peaceful. All my concerns I had already laid down at the feet of Jesus. All I needed to do was wait; listening and watching for the answer.

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I worked up to an hour but felt led to stop when I noticed I had to multitask to complete the allotted prayer time within a 24 hour period before falling sleep.

After asking my husband for wisdom on when I should end the experiment and we mutually agreed that it was probably the right time to end it, I had to battle guilt.

My sinful heart loves to accuse me of giving up for the wrong reasons, heaping coals on my head reminding me how human I am. So I have prayed in the short quick moments in the day that I wouldn’t bow to guilt.

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Now that I have been able to digest this experiment, I hope to build in a little more blocked prayer time into my daily routine.

Did you know Martin Luther prayed for at least 2 hours every day? I may not have the fortitude of Martin Luther but surely I can chisel out 15 or 20 minutes in the early quiet to talk to my King.

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And I recognize that there will be seasons of my life where even those few precious minutes will need to be elsewhere.

Praying to the Prince of Peace has given me the direction to the flow of my life.