So I can’t always seem to get these favorites posts to you by month’s end, but better late than never right? ~Elizabeth
Teenagers. 17 years in to our ministry journey, and I still love youth. This semester I taught math to the teens at our co-op. I’ve been with these students for a couple years now and have gotten to know each of them, and they are all special to me. Teaching them has been one of the greatest honors of our most recent term in Cambodia. I love watching them come alive and interact with different ideas, each in their own way.
At the end of this semester we lost 6 teens to family moves and graduations, and it was a difficult sendoff. I asked if I could say something to them at graduation and then pray over them. It was an emotional thing to do, but I really wanted to say goodbye well. Next year will not be the same without them! But we know they are headed where God is leading, and we trust Him even when things get hard.
Palm trees in Los Angeles. I wrote about our trip over the Pacific here.
Trip to Emerald Hills. We always visit Team Expansion’s home office, and this year’s visit was particularly good. I wrote about it here.
Trip to Washington State. We visited family and friends, which is of course its own treat. But we also saw the magnificent Mt. Hood on descent, drove to see Mt. St. Helens, and even climbed an ancient lava tube (basically a 2-hour hike up a 60-degree cave) at Mt. St. Helens. I’d never seen a volcano in person before. Beautiful.
Meeting my nephew. He’s 6 months old, but I hadn’t seen him yet. He was even cuter and sweeter than the pictures showed. He fell asleep in my arms several times, and I fell in love with him. I was pretty bummed when we had to say goodbye.
Trip to northern Missouri. We’ve been friends since our college days, and we’ve always gone to visit their farm, even before we had kids. The Galt Christian Church there always welcomes us wholeheartedly. Honestly, every time we visit I am blown away by their kindness and generosity.
Grand River Valley Choir and Orchestra. While we were in Galt, we went to see another friend who was singing in a concert. It was marvelous. I don’t get a chance to see much live music in Cambodia, and it is just different from music you can access online. It may have been my girls’ first experience of live music in fact, and they loved it. Some of the orchestra music had an Irish theme, which was fun, while the choir music was themed around the stages of life, from new baby to old age. I will tell you I cried. Quite a bit actually. The director I hugged afterward may have thought I was crazy!
I have not finished a single book, but I have looked in detail at several library books, including:
Stuff Matters by Mark Miodownik and The Language of God by Francis S. Collins (both in search of high school science books),
Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension by Matt Parker (a favorite Youtuber of mine),
The Not-Quite States of America by Doug Mack (recommended by Rachel Pieh Jones and in preparation for studying American history next year with my kids), and
The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr (recommended by the people at Sonlight and full of history and neuroscience).
I’ve also been reading Mr. Putter and Tabby books and the Whatever After series (recommended by my friend Danielle and her daughter) with my girls. Both are fun, heart-warming series, and I can fully endorse them both.
MISSIONS AND INTERNATIONAL LIVING
To My Adult TCK Self: I See You by Rachel Hicks. Makes me cry every time.
The Stories We Tell Ourselves About Africa by Arthur Davis. Note: If you want to really think (or cry), read Arthur and Tamie Davis. They are Aussies living in Tanzania, and they blog at Meet Jesus at uni.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is Not a Ministry Guide by Susan Mettes. Intriguing and important.
6 Reasons Why You Should Not Go Overseas by Wesley Mills. For more on that subject, see Laura Parker’s classic 10 Reasons Not to Become a Missionary or Ryan Kuja’s newer The Call Is Not Enough.
The Top 10 Most Valuable Mindsets for MKs and TCKs by Michèle Phoenix.
25 Things They Don’t Put in the Life Abroad Brochure by Jerry Jones.
Leaving Poorly: a whole new set of options for departing expats also by Jerry Jones.
Is it a failure, or is it a growth opportunity? by Kay Bruner. So much grace here. (You may also be interested in Kay’s interview with Sarita Hartz.)
We Need Each Other by Renette. I like this perspective. Reminds me of discussions on community and culture in Alissa Wilkinson’s book How to Survive the Apocalypse. (And you know I always love anything reminiscent of culture critic Alissa Wilkinson.)
HOMESCHOOLING AND PARENTING
Calculus is the peak of high school math. Maybe it’s time to change that. by Sarah D. Sparks. Has me thinking.
The Problem With Hurrying Childhood Learning by Justin Minkel. I’m always a big fan of a non-hurried childhood.
Education is a dangerous thing: a conversation with Wendell Berry. Long interview, but good, especially the bit on “education for homecoming”
FOR WRITERS AND ARTISTS
You Are Not Your Work: On Receiving (and Ignoring) Feedback by Jonathan Rogers.
OTHER CULTURAL CONCERNS
Why America is the World’s First Poor Rich Country by Umair Haque.
How can we untangle white supremacy from medieval studies? Important conversation with David M. Perry and Helen Young.
What Google Bros Have in Common with Medieval Beer Bros: the exclusion of women from coding fits perfectly into centuries of labor history by David M. Perry. Enlightening but concerning.
Prominent Democratic Feminist Camille Paglia Says Hilary Clinton ‘Exploits Feminism’ by Sam Dorman. No matter where you stand on the political spectrum, this is a fascinating read.
‘We’re teaching university students lies’, an interview with Dr. Jordan Peterson. I don’t agree with everything here, but there is much food for thought.
Could managed consumption be a better form of treatment for alcoholism? by Sasha Chapin. Also intriguing.
Found on Randy Alcorn’s Twitter and I believe quoting John Piper:
“It is sentences that change my life, not books. What changes my life is some new glimpse of truth, some powerful challenge… I do not remember 99% of what I read, but if the 1% of each book…I do remember is a life-changing insight, then I don’t begrudge the 99%.”
From Doug McKelvey on the Rabbit Room, quoting G.K. Chesterton:
“Happy is he who still loves something he loved in the nursery: He has not been broken in two by time; he is not two men [or young women!], but one…”
Here’s the best explanation I’ve ever heard of how children can follow the 5th commandment, starting with childhood and extending into adulthood in this order. From a sermon at Legacy Christian Church (my parents’ home church, where we’re going this summer and where my kids participated in a fabulous week of VBS.)
- Willful obedience
- Expressing appreciation
- Frequent communication
- Care for them in their frailty
So Will I (100 Billion x) by Hillsong. Yes, I like this song (along with everyone else).
Fly Away Home by Pink Zebra. A song that had me tears at the concert. Besides all the other layers of possible meaning here, to me it also represents the fact that whether I’m leaving the States for Cambodia or leaving Cambodia for the States, every time I step on a plane, I’m “flying away home.”
If you’re a TCK in a less sentimental mood, try No Roots by Alice Merton instead.
Churchill. I watched this on the plane and cried through much of it. Emotions are understated, making them all the more powerful. Coming on the heels of a semester studying World War 2 at co-op and my yearlong obsession with The Crown series, this movie gave more depth to the historical character of Winston Churchill, some insight into the challenges of marriage in politics (or ministry!), and some perspective on the atrocities and traumas of war. Well worth the watch.
Candy Jar. A fun movie. I saw my younger self in the main character probably far too much. There’s some bittersweet in this story, which took me by surprise.
Little Dorrit. I absolutely loved this BBC adaptation of the classic Charles Dickens story. Here’s my FB conversation about it.