This past year, in response to a post on Home, a reader who has become an online friend said this:
Home is where I feed my cat.
Soon after, she sent the photograph above. Donna is a TCK living in Chicago. She is a thoughtful writer and thinker. This photo and my interactions with Donna illustrate why I love blogging and connecting to those of you who read Communicating Across Boundaries.
I began blogging three years ago. I remember the day I decided I wanted to write. I was sitting in our living room with my daughter Annie. Annie is an excellent writer and editor. She also knows social media like no one else I know. The conversation went like this:
“I want to blog”
I listed the reasons:
“I want to have a voice. I need a way to process my time in Pakistan. I need to become a better writer. If Sarah Palin has a voice, I need a voice.”
Annie didn’t dispute any of this. She just gave me good advice. If I wanted to blog I needed to use WordPress not Blogger because it was more user-friendly and professional. I needed to link to social media sites. The blog posts shouldn’t be too long. There was more but the general tenor of the advice was practical and affirming. She didn’t mock or question my motives. She just gave great advice.
And that’s how it all began.
So today I celebrate my 3rd year and highlight some of what this year held writing wise.
- I connected with Djibouti Jones and gained a friend, a writing mentor, and a voice that challenges me every time I read something she writes. Rachel did a series on Third Culture Kids this year that I contributed to (probably my most honest piece of writing ever) and one of my all time favorite stories of hers is called God, Giver of Harmonicas. Take a look at it over at She Loves Magazine. I read it aloud to my family last Christmas; I read it aloud again to my family this Christmas.
- I began writing for A Life Overseas. It has been a joy to connect to this community and to have a regular place to write with a group of people, all with the same goal. Those of us who have a global background struggle with many faith blogs because the point of view is so narrowly western. The purpose of this blog is to connect people who live overseas. I’ll continue writing for them this next year and hope to get involved more on that site. To see posts that I’ve written for them click here.
- Robynn Bliss began writing regularly for Communicating Across Boundaries. It has been a gift to have her a part of this blog this past year and a writing project is in the works for us.
- A couple of organizations approached me to use my posts in orientation materials for people who are heading overseas. This was a gift as the requests came at a time when I wondered what business I had in writing at all.
- I began writing about my faith journey toward Eastern Orthodoxy in a series called The Reluctant Orthodox. This has been a hard thing to do but I think it’s important in my journey of faith, writing, and connecting the two.
- Lastly – I compiled the most read and shared posts on third culture kids and cross-cultural journeys and sent them to Doorlight Publications with hopes of a late Spring release date. I’m excited to move forward with this project. Next will be a memoir on growing up in Pakistan but this is a first step forward in actually getting these into book form.
Beyond that were Blogging favorites. The most popular posts written in 2013 were these:
- Learning to Grieve Well
- The Arrogance of the Third Culture Kid (written by the incomparable Cecily at Cecily.Mostly
- Exploring TCK Bigotry
- Thoughts on Entry from a Third Culture Kid
- What to Do When You Know You’re Right by Robynn Bliss
- Beyond the Headlines – Pakistan Zindabad
My personal favorites were:
- You Can’t Empower Those You Pity
- The ‘Where are You From’ Game (take a look if you haven’t! You will love the responses!
- In the Midst of Tragedy – A Call to Pray
- We Who Cast Stones
Most important because of content:
- A Practical Response to the Syrian Refugee Crisis
- Burqas for Babies – by Pari
- Out of Darkness into Light (on MK abuse)
- Lost to a Call (on the Call of God and its effect on kids. The Washington Institute picked up this one)
- Broken Made Stronger by Brooke Sulahian on the problem of fistula.
- Just One Click (on Drones and Pakistan)
Finally – here are some things that caught my eye from around the web:
Favorite New Blog: The Link Between – Jody explores many topics from privilege to culture to cross-cultural relationships. Always thoughtful and engaging.
Most challenging post of the year: Silver and Gold on DL Mayfield’s blog Living in the Upside-Down Kingdom. This blog is amazing – this post by Ben Bishop shook me in a way that I haven’t been shaken in a long time.
Funnest Game: What Would I Say developed by some Princeton grad students takes all your Facebook Statuses and generates a status for you. I’t nonsensical and hilarious. Play it with your family – preferably on Facebook.
The one that brought tears to my eyes: The persecuted Christian minority in Pakistan suffered some tragic events. Two bombs going off in a church in Peshawar and a colony burnt down in Lahore were two of the biggest tragedies, but other smaller ones are continually escaping news coverage. This article Human chain formed to protect Christians during Lahore mass showed Muslims and Christians coming together to protect a community.
Favorite recipe blog of all time: Food Lust, People Love by Stacy, a TCK and expat who has lived all over the world. I love that she weaves expat stories into her recipes. Check out her muffin recipes every Monday on Communicating Across Boundaries!
The story that made me cringe: When a Fox news reporter claimed that Jesus was white. On what planet is this true?
All time number one most read piece on Communicating Across Boundaries: Saudade – A Word for the Third Culture Kid. No matter what the day or time, this post that I spent only a few minutes writing continues to be shared. Third Culture Kids need tools, and one of their tools is using words to articulate feelings. I don’t know this, but I’ve a strong suspicion that this is why this post continues to resonate.
And with that long year-end report I’ll say thank you – to really express my gratitude is difficult. I’ve learned and grown much through this process. Thank you for reading and sharing some of our complicated lives alongside Communicating Across Boundaries.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 180,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 8 days for that many people to see it.