Monday, March 27, 2017

YOU MIGHT BE A T.C.K. IF...

YOU MIGHT BE A TCK IF...

1. You're English vocabulary isn't extensive, but you can carry a conversation in at least one other language fairly easily.

2.  You understand that Asia is made up of multiple countries and cultures and is not one big 'country.'

3.  You have tried to pay at a toll booth with your right hand.

4.  You find it entertaining to eavesdrop on other conversations in a public place because you can finally understand everything without having to even think.

5.  You don't know which country to cheer for in the Olympics or World Cup.

6.  You have four different clocks on your desktop.

7.  You get early and late Birthday wishes from your friends all over the world.

8.  You always miss someone.

9.  Filling in the "permanent address" box on a form makes you anxious.

10.  You fear that someone will ask you where you're from.

11.  You're accent changes depending on who you're talking to.

12.  You have spent a crazy and possibly unhealthy amount of time on airplanes.

13.  Your circle of best friends is about as diverse as the United Nations.

14.  The end of the school year was always rough because so many people moved away.

15.  You know pretty well that home isn't a place, but the people in it.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Third Culture Kids (& Five Things You Should Know)

      I have grown up as a TCK and have come to realize that there are a lot of people who don't understand what TCKs are or even know what to do with them...This next year I am planning to do a little blogging on TCKs and some of the things I have experienced.  If you have any words of wisdom, any advice, thoughts, struggles, or questions, please comment, message, email, or contact me somehow.  I would greatly appreciate it. :)

     For now, let's get started with five things TCKs wish other people would know or understand...They aren't the top five important things in a TCKs life, but five things I have often wished other people would know or understand...      

      ((For those of who wishing to see a definition of a TCK before we keep going...))
      A Third Culture Kid is a kid who is raised in a culture other than their parents' (or the culture of the country given on the child's passport, where they are legally considered native) for a significant part of their early development years. (According to Wikipedia) 
    
      

1.     TCKs don’t get as excited about their birth country as you think they do.
When a TCK returns to his birth country, usually people think they are over-the-top excited to be home.  The assumption that now they can eat healthy, clean food, live in a safe environment, trust the hospital care, and be with friends is made a little too quickly.  I can’t deny the fact that it is fun and exciting to land in the US and see friends I haven’t seen for years…but two weeks into the trip I start to feel a little bit like I don’t really know what to talk about with my friends and some cheap food from the market would just hit the spot.  It’s not that I don’t like America and the people I know here, it’s just that I don’t have history with this place…the people…or the food.
The best thing you can do for a TCK is ask them about their home life.  If you find yourself at a restaurant together, ask them what kinds of things are different back at home in those restaurants, or find ways to see a little more of what their world is like.  You will never fully understand what you are saying to a TCK when you ask them about their world and then listen to what they have to say.
2.     You travel as a passion, but TCKs travel out of necessity.
When you look at your passport, you usually check to see how many stamps you have and that’s cool…even TCKs like to think back to all those different moments in different countries as they flip through the pages of their passport…but remember, a passport is necessary for a TCK.  For you, it’s probably because you went on vacation in the Caribbean or on a mission trip with your church.  That’s not the kind of trips TCKs are taking.  When you flip through a passport of a TCK, you will see pages full of stamps, but sadly most of them are just from legal work.  A TCK doesn’t have the freedom of living in a country without having to worry about being legal or leaving the country every so often.  Consulates, embassies, and other government buildings are just a part of life…usually with negative feelings attached.
So when you talk to a TCK about traveling, please remember that you aren’t always on the same page in the area of travel.  Yes, TCKs get to go on some cool vacations to other countries, but usually the money that is spent on travel is to take a trip back to their birth country to see family or to leave the country to renew a visa.  It’s not always as glamorous as it may appear.
3.     TCKs just want a steadfast friend.
Change is the most constant companion of a TCK and when it comes to people coming and going, I can’t tell you how much that affects Third Culture Kids.  Usually TCKs have friends all over the world, but can I remind you that most of them are pretty shallow relationships…they are friendships with people who they’ve only known for several years.  When it comes to other TCKs being their friends, you can’t really break the bond that is there…whether or not they message each other once a month, twice a year, or every-other day…TCKs just understand TCKs without having to say anything.  They are their own nationality in a way and there isn’t a lot than can change that.
For you, just be a friend that will ask, listen, and really care about their lives.  You are probably tired of me saying this by now, but asking and listening mean more than you will ever understand.  For me, as a TCK, I’ve often felt like I’m the one who has to find a way to keep a conversation going…and usually it is centered around the American life because that’s where we are currently at with our friends…and that’s ok.  But there has to be a point where people will take the time to hear from TCKs and then continue to do so for years to come.  If you can’t prove to them that you actually really care about them, have fun trying to be besties because it probably won’t work.
Often a lot of people assume that since you know so many people, you have lots of friends and don’t really need any more…so you are overlooked or just have those “Hey, how’s it going?” conversations…please remember that there is no way one can be close friends with five thousand people, but neither can all five thousand people just view this TCK as a random, see-you-once-a-year friend…that’s what creates loneliness for TCKs and a struggle that makes life rough.
4.     A TCK isn’t always who you think they are.
One of the hardest things about being a TCK is trying to find your place in this world.  When you are in your birth country, everyone expects you to fit in like everyone else, but you don’t.  When you are at home (in the foreign country), you look different and right away you are put in a box of not fitting in.  Then there are those days when you open your mouth and the native asks you if you are part Thai…but you have to explain that you’re not.  The Americans think you are a cool, world-traveling American and the Asians think you are a fun, American girl trying out Asia (but you speak their language and that doesn’t line up)… So who am I?  Who is your TCK friend?
Whatever you do, please don’t expect them to be who you are.  They don’t think like you, eat the food you do, or love what you love.  Their world view is so different and wars in foreign countries affect them in ways they don’t affect you.  They might be sitting at a rodeo and see some Asian friends in front of them…if your TCK friend is super happy and suddenly feels at home, please don’t make smart, judging comments because in reality, they are almost as much Asian as they are American.  Just ask, listen, and let them know you care about their life.
5.     Home.
Home is where the people you love are, not necessarily where a specific building is or where you’ve grown up…  When it comes to knowing what country to call home, it almost feels impossible; but at the same time it’s as though you have two or more homes on this earth.  It can be really hard to know how to respond to people when they ask you if it’s good to be home when you make it to your birth country…and sometimes it can be the same way when you return back to the ‘foreign country.’  Airports and airplanes are also one of the many homes of TCKs and being with other Third Culture Kids makes you feel like you are in a home of sorts…or whatever home is I guess… 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

9 - 20 - 16

Saturday I spent some hours at the beach with the kids I was babysitting and while I was there I stood where the sand and water collided and thought about the beauty before me.  I was completely lost in God's love and His beauty. 




If this is beautiful, or gorgeous, or something incredible...what is Heaven going to be like?  If my times of worship here send shivers down my spine and move me to tears, what is it going to be like to stand before the Throne of God and see His beautiful face?  The many colors decorating the sky as the sun began to feed light to the other side of the world left me in awe of God's incredible talent and skill in creating a world with details He didn't have to give...

WHAT WILL IT BE LIKE TO BE IN HEAVEN?

Monday morning I awoke to my alarm and for some reason I decided to check my Squad Chat Group on Instagram before I got up...I hardly opened the chat and realized that something serious had happened.  I scrolled to the beginning of that particular conversation and began reading...my eyes couldn't scan the words fast enough.  As a lump appeared in my throat and a knot in my stomach, I tried to grasp the reality of one of our Squad members standing before Jesus.  She was ready, but the accident was so sudden.  We would never be able to all see each other again on this earth and that's hard to think about...But the fact that she finished her race and is HOME brings a smile to my face.  

We all long to finish our race and to do it well.  This life is so temporary and we know that, but for some reason we don't live with the right perspective that at any moment I could go, or you could go...I might never have the chance to tell my family how much I love them again.  I might never have the time to tell my friends how much they mean to me.  They might be taken home before I see them again.  Why don't I use the moments I have to love the people around me...ALL THE TIME??  So often I get frustrated at the stupidest little things in life and I let them affect my relationships with people, but you know what?  THAT IS OF NO IMPORTANCE IN LIGHT OF RELATIONSHIPS + ETERNITY!  Every moment that I have with someone is a gift...something I can't take for granted.

I love to listen to music while I'm getting ready for the day, but this particular Monday morning I couldn't decide what I wanted to listen to...I knew that anything would bring me to tears + I wasn't into picking a song that would always remind me of this particular moment.  I turned on the radio and the first words I heard were, "...Take this world and give me Jesus..."
Yeah, you got it.  I cried my eyes out right then and there.

This world is not my home.  This isn't where I belong, but I have been sent here for a mission and I don't want to leave until my mission is complete.  This world has nothing to offer me, but I can tell you something right now...I HAVE BEEN GIVEN THE GREATEST GIFT MAN CAN RECEIVE + BECAUSE OF THAT, I HAVE SOMETHING TO OFFER THE WORLD.


The past couple days I have found myself thinking about life and it's frailty.  When I go, what will I leave behind?  Will people be pointed to Jesus or will they continue on as if nothing ever happened?  Will they look back on my life and the choices I made and see the grace and love of Christ or will they see self and fleshly desires?
I know one thing, I have goals for my future and whether or not I see another day, I hope and pray that those around me will stay strong in Jesus Christ through joy and pain and when they stand before God on judgement day they will hear the words, "Well done, My good and faithful servant."  & They will realize that everything was worth it!

Stay strong + faithful in Jesus.   


Monday, August 8, 2016

Dear Journal...


Here I am
Down on my knees again
Surrendering all
Surrendering all
Find me here
Lord as You draw me near
Desperate for you
Desperate for you
I surrender

I want to know You more.  Through all the trials and pain in life.  I want to keep you in complete focus.  Everything surrendered to YOU.  I just want YOU to have YOUR WAY in me.  There are so many things that don’t make sense.  So many struggles in life that look humanly impossible to figure out, but then I look at my past….Your faithfulness in every detail of my life.  I read Your Word and it all points me to the unfailing character of the ONE who created life.  Everything around me has changed + it will only continue to change…but YOU never change.

F A I T H F U L   B E F O R E.  F A I T H F U L   A G A I N.

These are the words that have continually come to me the past several weeks.  My desire is that nothing.  Absolutely nothing would separate me from Your LOVE.  I have been pleading for a relationship with you that exceeds anything I have ever experienced in my life.  My longing and prayer has been a relationship with You that outweighs anything I desire in life.  It has been so long since I have had a deep longing and hunger for Your Word and I have been dreaming of the day when my only driving force in life is YOU.

Here I am.  In the midst of a struggle I never really thought would be reality.
I am surrounded by a world full of pain, confusion, stupid arguments, and imperfect people.  Sickness that destroys life and causes people to question Your goodness.  So many people let down by their expectations that are far from realistic.  People taking out their anger on others when it really isn’t their place to speak…causing pain and struggle for more imperfect people.  Hurting people hurting others…
People are coming and going…some call you friends and family, but later move on in life…others, they love you more than you deserve.  What kind of friend and family member am I?  Where is my loyalty and to whom am I paying respect?

It gets confusing and chaotic.

Then I hear the words of Jesus… “This is here to make you stronger in Me & to draw you closer to Myself.  You prayed for a relationship that would exceed anything.  You asked Me to bring you closer…Here you are.  In My arms.  Your tear streaked face reflects the pain of this world, but you have a relationship with Me that is greater than anything you will ever receive in this world.  I am doing a work in your life and I am not finished with you yet….”
Faithful before.  Faithful again.

Wow, God.  You really have a lot of trust in me…I mean, to give me life to live for You in a world that can be so tempting at times…You have given me ever so many blessings that I don’t deserve, but you just want to show me Your love.  I’m overwhelmed.  Completely overwhelmed by Your faithfulness.  The way You speak so personally and the way You use people to show care and love when we don’t deserve one bit of it.  Why am I struggling to let go of my future when You have it all under control?  Why am I anxious in something I have no control over? …..I’m done.  It’s all YOURS.  My past.  My present.  My struggles.  My future.
 All that I am, I place into Your loving hands...I AM YOURS.

Surrendering all.

Desperate for You.

Monday, June 22, 2015

June 22, 2015

It's 11:58 PM on June 22, 2015.
In two minutes I'll hit the mature age of 20.  ohboy...  That just started to sink in.
Totally unreal.

There's no way to stop the mad rush of memories from the past 20 years of my life flying through my mind.
I'm speechless really.

**I sigh to myself and take a deep breath.  I glance around the room from my comfortable position on the floor.  Here I am.  In my very own room with music blaring...frozen strawberries in my mouth...My Christmas tree providing light to the pages of my journal + the air conditioner making the air more bearable.
Yeahhh...I have it made.. <-- to be honest.

My family is awesome.  I have super cool friends.  My life has had its adventures & I HAVE JESUS WITH ME ALL THE TIME.
ok. yeah. I'm spoiled.  ((I confessed, Madre))


But the more I think about it...the more I realize the seriousness of life.  And so often I take it for granted...sadly. 

Here I am.  At the twenty year mark in my life + I have a purpose.  No, I wasn't placed here randomly for whatever reason.  I am here to bring glory to the Creator of the World...which is actually the coolest thing you could ever do. :)  Not to mention the fact that I am also given the responsibility of pointing everyone around me to Him, encouraging the men in my life to step up to the role of leadership in their lives, and making the girls successful in whatever they are called to.  Yeah. It's pretty cool + super hard all at the same time.  But that's ok.  No, for real.  It is.  Even when it doesn't always make perfect sense or stand out as a significant role in life.

So here I am...trying to make the most of my last teenage min....oh nevermind. I guess I am no longer a teenager.  I officially just became old and mature. {NOT}  But I'm trying...sometimes...
Here's to a new beginning in life & the many new adventures that await.  Not to mention the becoming mature and having to go to bed early because that's what old people do.

To all my friends and family.  YOU GUYS ARE AWESOME. really. you are.
I could have never made it this far without you guys.  Keep being real + pushing me in what really matters in life.  Together + with Jesus, we can do this thing called life.

{peace out}

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

||five.six.fifteen||

It was just like everything was being stripped away...
And I was starting life all over again.

Everything was new...except my family.

After a year and a half, I came home...
Or I thought that's what I was going to do…

As I stepped on the plane, everything within me wanted to run...run as far away as possible...away from the airplane, away from the direction we were headed, away from life.
I couldn't put words to the way I felt.  Everything within me was reacting.

Tears streamed down my face as the plane left American soil.
How would I ever live through all this emotion??

Nine months later and I’m still trying to find my place.
I thought I was coming ‘home’…but home changed while I was away…

I constantly think of the words I mumbled to my counselor two and a half years ago when she threw this question at me.

“If there was one thing you could change in your life, what would it be?”

“Consistency…I would try to make life experience more consistency.”

Consistency is one thing my life has lacked…it’s not wrong; it just brings pain in all styles of shapes and sizes.
 
The only common thing through all the years has been change.
||besides my family + God||

Here we are again…trying to find our place in all the change.
This is one of our Earthly homes God has granted us, but in the time we were gone 
s o  m u c h  c h a n g e d.

My flesh longs to fight it all out.  I desperately try to stay strong…but then I find myself wiping tears from my eyes at the oddest times.
Even when I think I finally pulled it all together, I find myself squeezing Jesus’ arm as we walk through the storm.
Sometimes I see one set of footprints in the sand and I know the only way I’m making it through each day is because of His strong arms carrying me.

Will life ever get back to the way it used to be??
I don’t think so…and we need to be ok with that.
But I do think it’s ok to miss the old days and the small family feel of life way back then…
Change isn’t wrong…it’s just a part of life.

With Jesus, all things are possible…and because of Him, we press on.

||He is my Refuge + my Fortress.
My God in whom I trust…||

Saturday, March 21, 2015

A Dream + The Seriousness of Life.

As I glanced around the room and saw all those faces of the people I loved, I couldn’t stop the smile coming to my face.  Everything seemed to be going right.
Suddenly a trumpet sounded and time went into slow motion.  Somehow we all knew it was coming and we all knew what it meant.  The Rapture was taking place.  We were all taken away…everyone, that is, except for one friend.  As I was whisked away, I desperately tried to somehow make my friend come along…But I couldn’t….
The dream continued…
In fact, it seemed to be doing an instant replay in a different location, only this time I couldn’t enjoy the moments with friends.  I fought hard.  I knew what was coming and I didn’t want to face it again.
Right before the trumpet sounded, I found myself trying to make it all come to an end.  I wanted my friend to make it along this time.  But I couldn’t.  The trumpet sounded and once again we were all whisked away…everyone, but my friend.
My heart pounded and I shook with fright as I jolted awake.  A dream….it was just a dream.
“Why, God?  Why??  Why would you let me experience that?”

Months later I woke with a startle.  In my mind I knew I was supposed to do something…but what??
This time the dream was a little less personal, but ever so urgent and important.  My mind ran continually…attempting to figure out the reason behind it all.
“God, please show me…”

We have been given the gift of life and for us to live it however we want is downright stupid.  Our lives are so incredibly short + there’s no time to waste.  There are people around you every day.  Some of them may be Christians + others may have never heard of Jesus.  That makes us responsible.
God continually brings these dreams to my mind and with them the seriousness of life.  I don’t think we will ever fully understand.  But we can act wisely.
I know there are days when I make mistakes.  Fact is I do it all the time.  Sadly I wish I could overcome that, but my human strength is too weak to do it on my own. 
My only hope is Jesus.  And He is the Lifeboat.
All of us are on a sinking ship.  Some of us know of the existing Lifeboat.  Others have no idea.  And still more are choosing to believe they will somehow make it without the Rescuer. 
Say your house is burning down… Your neighbor quietly walks to your house and rings the doorbell…waits a few minutes and rings it again.  Finally you realize, so you make your way to the door.  Once you see your neighbor, you begin to chat about life and the everyday occurrences.  After ten minutes of nothing deep, your neighbor attempts the task of informing you of the danger on your second floor.  He beats around the bush until you begin to get the idea.  Suddenly you realize it’s urgent, but by then it’s too late.  Your family is upstairs sleeping and there’s no way for you to get them out safely.  You, yourself, barely make it out alive.
Do you see where I’m going?
You aren’t the one in the house.  That’s the people around you and you don’t have time to waste.    You have the greatest gift of all…a relationship with the Savior of the world.  Do the people you face every day realize that?
Time is running out!  What are you going to do about it?