Modern Missionary Mamas

Because Christ is our all in all, all over the world.

Twitter chat!

Night (5)

So, I use Twitter to learn about all kinds of things, but mostly book publishing. And they have a very helpful thing called #askagent, where agents will get online and you can, well, ask them stuff. So it’s kind of like a chat room, except literally anyone anywhere can participate at the time or scroll through it later to see questions and answers. I realized that there’s lots of people in the States who follow this blog, who may be pre-field or just curious about what life is like on the mission field. So (drumroll please!) I’d like to do our own Twitter chat!

Here’s how to participate:

1. Get on Twitter. It’s free! (A missionary mama’s favorite price, amIright?) If you don’t have a log in, make one.

2. Next, at the designated time (in this case, November 14th at 8:00 EST), use the search bar towards the top to search for “#MMMchat”. Yes, you need the hashtag (that’s the pound sign for us old-timers).


2b. Search for my Twitter name (@charms139) and you should be able to see me using that hashtag.

3. Ask a question in 140 characters or less. Abbreviate! It’s okay. And include the #MMMchat hashtag so I’ll see it and (hopefully) answer.

For example: “What do you do when your laundry won’t dry? #MMMchat”

Let’s try it! I’ll show up one week from today on November 14th from 8:00-9:00 EST, full of wisdom and insight and definitely not exhausted from wrestling two kids into bed, and you can hit me with your best shot. You know, digitally, anyway.

See you there!


#Momhack: Kids sitting through church


One of the ways I keep my kids happy in church is books. But I found that if I brought books with words in them, they always wanted me to read them. So the solution was…wordless books! And if you can, get actual paper books; it hasn’t worked well to take the tablet with us, as they inevitably want to play games instead of read.

Image result

This is one of our favorites. It’s about flying frogs. David Wiesner has also written a book called Flotsam about a boy who finds a camera that took pictures underwater of hidden worlds. And a more recent offering is Free Fall about a boy’s magical dreams, and it was a Caldecott Honor book. (Caldecott is an award for excellence in illustrations…you can see an example of the medal in the picture above.)


One book that has a more spiritual aspect is Noah’s Ark by Peter Spier.

Image result

This one has some humor that older kids will pick up on, like how there’s two rabbits when they get on and about 100 when they get off. 🙂 His illustrations are very thought-provoking with some beautiful details.

When my littles were little-little, they also loved Good Dog, Carl. The mom goes out (!!) leaving the dog in charge (?!), and he has to keep the little girl from getting into trouble (…?!!?!?). Ok, so the premise is a little “old-school,” but it’s pretty cute. But also, don’t do any play dates at Alexandra Day’s house, mmkay?

I haven’t read this one, but it’s going on my Christmas list…to quote from someone who’s read it, “Two stories and two cultures are told simultaneously in one book. The stories appear side by side as the reader turns the pages at the same time. Mirror follows a typical day of two boys on opposite sides of the world. The stories take place in Sydney, Australia, and Morocco, North Africa.” Amazing, right?

And last but DEFINITELY not least, if you need a wordless book for an older kid who’s struggling with reading, I highly recommend The Arrival by Shaun Tan.

Image result

Mamas, I got this book from the library on furlough, and I stayed up until midnight reading it. I’m usually asleep by 10:00…and y’all know how precious sleep is. It’s that good. And third culture kids will really connect with the story of a man entering a culture that seems completely foreign to him for the sake of his family. It’s so true to the emotions of moving to a new place, but I think anyone could enjoy it.

And apparently, I have good taste, because all the books I recommended are also on this list of Reading Rockets’ Favorite Wordless Picture Books. 

Note: I put in a bunch of links. That’s just for your convenience. I don’t profit in any way, so buy them wherever you want. 🙂

Maybe now we can get through worship without having to step out, eh? You’ve got this, mamas.

Two Hands of Bananas

This is from Linda Ringenberg, originally posted on the MAF StoryHub, which you can find here.

It had been a very busy month, so part of me that morning was just wanting to retreat into my bedroom and hide from the world of need that so often comes knocking at our door. And then I heard a soft voice outside. I really don’t feel like dealing with any sellers right now, I thought to myself. Sometimes Papuan men or women came to our doors selling fruit, and although I really could have used some, I was willing to give it up in order to not have to deal with the interruption.

I sighed, but as I walked to the door, I recognized this woman. She was older, and her net bag hung down her back filled with bananas. She was a kind woman who sold good fruit that she raised herself. She looked very poor, dressed in a simple skirt and old blouse, with no shoes on her feet. She lowered her net bag onto the cement and showed me her bananas.

“How much?” I asked.

“Twenty thousand Rupiah,” she whispered.

“I’ll take that one.” I reached down to pick up a large hand of bananas.

She picked up a smaller one and offered it to me as well. “No,” I said,” I just want this one.”

She kept softly repeating something, and I finally realized that she was saying, “This is a gift for your service here.”

Humbled, I took the extra bananas and thanked her. Here was a woman who had nothing – except these bananas she had raised to sell – and she was giving me an extra one. I was struck by her deep generosity. It stood in stark contrast to my own jangled attitude. God’s Spirit and His love wafted from this woman, almost as tangibly as a beautiful scent. I was greatly blessed by two hands of bananas.


To-do’s and ta-da’s

Attainable goals, mamas! Self care counts!

Heard a great thing this week: we’ve all got “to-do” lists, but what about “ta-da” lists? Can you make a list of all the meaningful stuff you did, all the times you played megablocks, the times you let yourself be interrupted to have a conversation with a neighbor, the nights you spend working for the family instead of goofing off…I look at all that and say, “Ta-da! Look what I did!” Cheer yourself on! Give yourself a little pat on the back for those small choices; they add up to glory.

Happy weekend. 🙂

Monday Meme

…especially true when parenting TCK’s!

On time travel

I’ve been thinking, mamas. Thinking, as I take my laundry off the line. Thinking, as I boil my beans. Thinking, as I darn a sock and put a button back on my kid’s shorts. And what I think is this: “When did I step back in time?” My role in our family has been dialed back decades compared to many of my friends’ lives in the U.S. I never did laundry by hand unless I was camping. I cook almost everything from scratch…but without the “open and pour” option regarding ingredients at times. And many expats here in Haiti would consider me spoiled with all the options I DO have, since I live in a city. 

And it isn’t just the work itself, although it isn’t exactly how I’d pictured my life as a girl. It’s the way people treat me…as if it’s what I’m good for. When we moved to our new house last year, I instructed the helpers we hired to lift with their legs, not their backs. They snickered…not because they knew, but because they assumed I didn’t know. (And putting my hands on my hips and informing them that I’d been to college only made it more hilarious.) After all, what would a white lady know about carrying heavy things? They snicker when I hammer a nail into the wall to hang a picture. A lady using a hammer…They stare at me in wonder when I pull up alone to pick them up for work. “Madam, I didn’t know you could drive…” 
In some ways, it hurts that people expect so little of me. It makes me wonder how Haitian women feel. I was a valued professional in my pre-field life…I know what I’m capable of…but the magic of time travel sometimes messes with my head. And what makes it worse is that this menial housework I’m “too good for”? I’m really bad at some of it. My compost has just been a pile of ant-ridden dry leaves for six months. Despite my years of Girl Scouts, which taught me about how capable and like totally equal to men I am, I’m still terrible at starting fires. (Hello, kerosene.) I wasn’t a good housekeeper in the States, so when they took away my swiffers and my vaccuum cleaner? Disaster. I intended at first to go without househelp…and it quickly became obvious to me why that wasn’t going to work. Well, let me clarify: if I wanted to do nothing but housework, that would work fine. If I wanted any other interests, I was going to need help. Thankfully, I found some wonderful employees, but I still had to put some hard work not only into my house, but into my attitude about how I could best serve my family here.

So I tried to use my professional skills when I wasn’t needed at home. Teaching English still felt time-traveled, when a goat wandered into my classroom and one student insisted that dogs couldn’t learn any name except “chen”…the Kreyol word for “dog.” But at least I was seen as an authority, if only for a few hours a week. And I learned something I value to this day: ignorance is no barrier to love. I can bless you even if you laugh at me, even if you see me as “less than” because I don’t speak French. A well-meaning friend once commented, “International Baccelaureate students don’t become house mothers!” Well, this one did. She did it for love. And believe it or not, my intellect still benefits my family and my students on a daily basis…even if they don’t have any clean underwear. 

You and your brain have got this, mamas. 

What I Wish I Knew Before Teaching Abroad

One thing I’ve noticed is that people think teaching is easy. And maybe it is for some people…but for many of us, things like classroom management and bonding with students must be taught. Loved this gal’s perspective on teaching abroad, especially her teachable spirit to glean from local teachers. That’s success right there.


Getting real about missionary struggles

This is a quote from the article above:

“We need to hear stories about the real struggles and joys of missions work. These kinds of stories have the power to improve our missiology; unless we are honest about the challenges missionaries face, we won’t find realistic solutions. But if we are forthright about what the job requires, we’ll stand a better chance of attracting the right people and preparing them adequately for long-term service, rather than sending them home early, disillusioned and depressed.”

This. This is why I write this blog. It hasn’t happened yet, but one day, I imagine someone will accuse me of deterring people from becoming missionaries with my excessive honesty…and all I can say is that if Jesus is the truth, we must love it everywhere we find it and embrace it even when it hurts.

Mike drop.

When your “exotic overseas life” feels ordinary

I especially like what she has to say about capacity. Don’t miss the comments section on this one.

Love you, mamas.

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑