and Entering the Teen Years

The transition from childhood to adulthood can be an exciting time for a young man or woman between the ages of 13 to 19.  But it can also be a confusing time, with all the emotional highs and lows many teens experience – the crushes, long talks on the phone with friends (or should I say, texting?), parties, heart-breaks, physical changes and testing the limits.  How far can I go?  Should I take a little sip of that drink?  Should I try that cigarette?  Should I take that picture?  What if my peers won’t like me?  What if that boy won’t like me?  Do my parents really know anything?

My teen years are so far behind me.  I lived through them and wished I had been more confident and prepared to make wiser choices in the face of different teenage traps along the way.  And now I am a mama of a 13 year-old.  Some of the pressing questions I have had as I have approached this season have been: How will I prepare this child for all the physical, emotional and social changes she is about to face?  What can I do to set her up for success and help her become confident in who she is as she faces the challenges that will come her way?

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and Making Friends in the South

Time flies!  We have been here a little over two years!  You may think we are past the transition, but the two year mark has hit harder on me than the first year mark.  I was on survival mode for the first year, searching for the basic necessities of life.  Do we have a place to live?  Check.  Transportation?  Check.  Schools?  Check.  Church?  Check.  Grocery store?  Bank?  Check.  Pediatrician?  Check. Walmart?  Target?  Check.  Friends?  Hmmm….  A few. Continue reading

and Time Management

February flew by and March flashed before my eyes.  I blinked and they were both gone.  As you and your family adjust to a new schedule, a new way of accomplishing tasks, you will find yourself wondering where your time went.

When you move from a warm-climate culture into a cold-climate culture, you will realize that time is a very valuable and non-renewable resource.  You will find more and more demands on your time that will force you to become much more scheduled and much less spontaneous.  I did not want to fall into the busyness trap, rushed, anxious and tired. But all of a sudden, without realizing it, I became over-committed, disappointed and exhausted.  How do I step back, re-evaluate and re-arrange my and my family’s schedule?  How do I protect this valuable resource?  Allow me to give you a few suggestions.

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and School Search

This is my seventh year to home school and because we lived in rural Honduras, the decision to teach my kids from home was the most practical one we could make.   The Honduran public school system was in chaos, with constant national teacher-union strikes that forced children to constantly miss school reducing the school year, some years, to less than 100 days.  We also did not have an adequate private school option for our oldest daughter, who at that time was five years old.  Our decision was reinforced by the fact that, all the other ex-pats families we worked with home-schooled their children.  We also observed the the quality of the kids being educated at home.  They displayed many characteristics we wanted to see in our own kids.  The homeschoolers around us were polite, smart, talented and able to carry on an intelligent conversations with a varied age group of people.  We assessed our family values and decided home school would be the best choice.  It was not a difficult decision, so our home school journey began. Continue reading

and House Rental

It took us over 2 months to move into the current house we are renting and it has really been an answer to prayer.  I was getting tired of not having a place to put the little stuff that we own.  Now that we have a place to call home, the house fills up and the our bank account depletes.  We are now proud owners of a couch and we hope to get a dinning table delivered in a few weeks.  I almost cried when I went to Sears with my husband to buy a washer and dryer only to find the last box of exactly the same pots and pans (click on Adiós Microwave post) I owned in Honduras!  I was so excited!

We had a house rental secured even before we left Honduras.  We were only going to stay at my in-laws for about a week and then move to our own place.  So a few days before we were scheduled to move, we went to see our soon-to-be rental home only to find that it was not exactly what we had hoped it was.

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and The Microwave

It was a little over six month before we moved back to the USA that our microwave stopped working due to the frequent power outages in our rural area of Honduras.   The timing was just right, though.  We were too close to our departure to purchase another one.  Having a gas range oven for re-heating food helped when the power was out, too.  And even though I missed the microwave initially; I learned to survive without it.  Here is how I survived: Continue reading

and Finishing Well

In our seven years of working among those serving cross-culturally, we have had to see many others leave before us.  Some come for weeks at a time and then go.  Some, we think, will stay for a life time; and they return to their passport country in a year.  The average foreign assignment lasts about three years.  No.  Living cross-culturally is not easy.  There are bumpy, pot-holed roads to deal with, heat, sickness, fear of being robbed, political unrest, etc..  All things people all over the world go through.  But the truth is, the reason most people leave their assignment prematurely is RELATIONSHIPS with other expatriates.  Relationships are hard.  We’ve been there!  They are!

Therefore, finishing well in your relationships as you close up a season of overseas work is very important, perhaps more important than how you start.  But it will take some purposeful planning and prayer to end well. By God’s grace, we were able to end well.  Here are some suggestions: Continue reading