This isn't really a post for you, it's more of a post for us.
Doing what we're doing isn't always fun, and it isn't always easy. Shoot just having kids isn't always roses.
However, we've been very blessed and you have taken part in that blessing. Sometimes is does your soul good to reflect on the encouragements especially in times that are difficult. We want to post this so we can have it to look back on later.
So this post is a collection of comments we've received that help us, that are inspiring or encouraging to us. Perhaps those who are following along will get some inspiration or encouragement from these as well.
If you see something you wrote here... THANK YOU! If you don't see something you wrote here it's probably because I missed it when collecting content for this post or because it has too much personal detail to post even anonymously. But we want to say THANK YOU too!
From one of Josiah's former coaches
"It's been fun keeping up with you guys, it would be a lie if I said I wasn't a little jealous hearing you talk about all the heat (it has not been a nice spring).
Please tell Josiah that the soccer team misses him... I had the team say a little prayer for him before practice last night (I'm not sure this meets AYSO regulations).
We did win our first game last week 8-3 and have another one at 2:00 today!
We will try and win today for Josiah."
Seriously? Wow. We're so humbled that because Josiah is the kid he is, a soccer coach will pray with kids half way around the world. Stories like this make everything worthwhile!
From a location independent entrepreneur we met in the Philippines
"Hey Becky I really enjoy following your blog … these are my favorite kinds of blogs where people going on adventures just share their stories, appreciate the time you put into it!"
Again, one of those moments where it's the little things that matter. Yes we put time into this blog. No it brings no financial reward. Yes it brings a ton of other rewards (communication and encouragement being the two largest rewards). However to have a location independent entrepreneur who has read a ton of travel blogs say this about ours... well it feels good.
From a complete stranger, friend of a friend
"... as of today there’s not a clear (as of yet) direction on where to go next. The answer is to simply be still and wait. I believe God has something else for our family in the future. Whether in a month or 10 years I don't know, but He’s definitely pulling us to somewhere/something yet to be defined.
So thank you so much for sharing your story - it encourages me more than you know. We've been inquiring of God about what would be next for us, and trying to leave every option open. Going overseas (whether as "missionaries" or something else) is an option we've kicked around. The fact that there are so many parallels in our stories takes a bit of the fear out of whatever God may ultimately purpose for our lives one day. Regardless of what that purpose may ultimately be, it's important to trust Him and be fearless in our seeking."
"It's not even the fact that you've moved that I find inspiring as much as it is that you've simply done SOMETHING. Paradigms are tough to recognize, and I believe it's only by God's Spirit that they are revealed to us at all. Having seen them though, it takes courage to take action outside of them, especially when so many others don't seem to understand. People you really wish understood.
So thanks again for sharing your story of courage to act on a different paradigm. That courage spills over a bit and helps others be encouraged to step out, too."
We're just following our hearts and what God has lead us to... who knew we'd have impacts like this on other families. And yes, it's totally by God that we're able to see any paradigms and break from them. But like in "The Matrix", be careful which pill you choose, you will find out how deep the rabbit hole goes.
From a friend we met in South Africa 10 years ago
"Paul, I agree with you fully! It depends on how people look at being rich! I fully agree with you people and I think you doing this now while the children are young and you two are also it is the best time. Yes, as you are experiencing there are many fears and anxious moments in planning this type of life style but as long as you as a family are in it together it will work. All of your needs are met and the wants are just extra baggage!"
It's so true, as long we we as a family unit are together we're good. It's amazing the amount of baggage we carry!
From folks we consider family
(see the video here)
It's just a Happy Birthday Greeting, but really, how cool is that! Seeing friends from home is encouraging and makes us miss being with them.
From a friend from our RBC (Kuyper) college days
"I love hearing your updates. Amidst all the spam and advertisements, your posts are fresh air! Glad to be journeying with you. Let me give you some big sister advice. Big sister who wants to see you succeed!
This adventure should be enjoyable. What’s likely to steal your joy is the expectations you feel rest on you….both internally and externally. What if we fail? What if we can’t make this work? What if the naysayers were right? What if……Let it go! Let go of the expectation and just be in the moment, free."
From another friend we met in South Africa
"I love your lists. Well thought out. I so admire what you are doing for your sakes, for your children, and for so many others who need their eyes opened to the larger world. God put His favor on each of you!"
Can you tell we really made good friends 10 years ago in South Africa? -- We all need to be open to the size of the world... it's much much bigger than the default of where we typically find ourselves (even having settled into a community here).
From a family member
"So sorry, but the prawns got a unanimous YUCK!!!! Ewww! Gross!!! You guys are very brave - I would not have eaten them!
Gives me the shivers!! "
Ha! This was in direct response to the picture on this post. Too Fun! This was encouraging because it was a dialogue about our experiences. Not just being watched through the window of our blog but actually living life along with us albeit from afar. Yes we do eat food we're not always wild about and we forget how disgusting some of the food we eat can appear to be.
From a stranger and fellow Vagabond
"After listening to travel podcasts and reading travel blogs for several years before hitting Thailand with my family I have been a little surprised to find that we are actually not all that late to the game. I was expecting this place to be crawling with digital nomad families. I am pleasantly surprised that they are not all that common. Glad to see another out there."
It's been crazy to me. I thought I was the only one surprised to not find digital nomad families. Instead they're all single or just couples, maybe with a young kid. Those with kids are hard to find and hearing from one on this here blog has boosted our resolve to blog about this and make it a reality that families can be location independent.
From a friend we met in Kazakhstan 10 years ago
"I know you all are tired! I am also praying for strength, energy and perseverance.
I am sure I have told you this before, but our family motto when we left for Kazakhstan was, "if we are going to laugh about it later, we might as well laugh about it now."
Embrace Jesus in the laughter, He is there!"
We have fully adopted this motto (as adults) and are trying to work it into our kids days. It's been a refreshing blessing to look at life this way.
As I mentioned before, these are just some of the encouraging words we have received from people, those who are close to us and those who are complete strangers.
Not all the inspiring phrases we have taken in are here... this is just a sample.
We know we are doing the right thing,
Thank you again, Encouragers, for being vocally supportive on this crazy ride we're on!