Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My First "Ask Jamie Jo"

My very first “Ask Jamie Jo” assignment, and I am stumped.

The general idea, of course, is that you will be able to ask your questions anonymously, and then I will post them on the forum, and people who are experienced can share their answers. Until forums become a reality, however, you are stuck with just my simple answers here on the blog.

Can I just post the question and then say “I don’t know” and then leave it to y’all to rescue me in the comment section? Nah, I will be brave and attempt a meager reply. But I trust you to help me out.

Here is the first question:

We are relatively new parents and are discovering that the parenting style in our country is very different from ours - to the point that we think it is destructive to children and families. How do we practice incarnational ministry (becoming part of the culture as much as we can) while at the same time choosing to go completely counter-culture in the way we raise our children? -- Flummoxed on the Field

Isn’t that a great question? What would you say to her, those who have been in her dilemma? Honestly this never affected me because I was fortunate to live and work in a place where my parenting style was not counter to the cultural norms. Being a stay-at-home mom for all these years was very much like the mothers in the neighborhood, except for the home schooling part.

As for practicing “incarnational” ministry, wow. What a great question.

My first response would be that it is more important to be like Jesus in everything you say and do. Whether you are like the culture you are embracing, or whether people around you understand your decisions regarding child rearing, your primary objective needs to remain obedience to God and faithfulness to His Word.

If your life exhibits love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control, you will be an inspiration to those around you, even if they think you are off your rocker the way you raise your children.

Trying to fit in sounds like a noble idea especially when you use the term “incarnational” but my advice is to be very careful that you stay close to the Lord and listen to the Holy Spirit. He will never lead you to do something destructive to your family or that would hinder the gospel message.

Now it’s your turn. Please expand upon my overly simplistic response.

IRL* Feeling a bit like a contestant on “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?” (see sidebar) where the answer isn’t necessarily yes. Can I copy someone’s answer after the fact?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Surprise unveiled! Yes, ladies, what we’ve been waiting for is this: a separate password-protected forum that will provide a more private place strictly for women serving cross-culturally, where we can get down to the nitty-gritty and discuss the things that concern us, stir our hearts, bug us, and make us laugh. [Editor's note: Although the forums are still in the research and development phase, we will keep you updated with the launch date. How could we stifle JJ's unabashed enthusiasm?]

In the meantime, I am proposing we have a monthly “Ask Jamie Jo” blog post where we post someone’s question or concern, and then have an open forum for you all to post your solutions or viewpoints. We'll use the current comment section to do that.

Don’t you love it? I sure hope you do, since I stated three times last week that you would.

The benefit of an “Ask Jamie Jo” question is to allow you to ask things you might not feel comfortable posting if you had to sign your name to it. Being in the line of work we are in does not prevent us from having occasional marital disputes or even (gasp!) personality clashes with our coworkers and conflicts within the Christian community. However we do need to be discrete in addressing these publicly. Thus, the “Ask Jamie Jo” feature. Once we get the forum up and going, "Ask Jamie Jo" will move there.

The forums will not be exclusively tied to this particular blog, but will provide a safe place for us to discuss articles from the onlineMagazine, movies and books we recommend, things we are learning from the WOTH Writer’s blog, etc. You could even “Ask Jamie Jo” about things I have written here. For instance, Cindy Blomquist was asking me last week for an update on the Friday afternoon Bible study I mentioned leading in Spanish. On the forum we can tie up loose ends like that.

Can you tell I am seriously jazzed about the potential for this new WOTH Forum?

In my spare time, I love to read the different blogs listed on Coffeegirl’s sidebar. It’s a way for me to connect with you and get to know you. The forum will make it even more personal. Blogging sometimes feels like speaking to an empty auditorium, but a forum is community. We may not always agree with each other, but we will learn to love each other better online and IRL as we see different sides of potentially hot topics.

Until the forums are up and running (pray for our dear techie guy in the WOTH office who got dumped with this great vision!), let’s start with our first “Ask Jamie Jo” blog post next week. Send your questions to Cindy (, and she will select one for me to address next week. Let her know if it needs to be anonymous or if we can use your name. When needed, Cindy can sign your name appropriately like on Ann Landers and other columns, “Friendless in Mexico,” “Sleepless in Saigon,” “Snarky in Singapore.” Things like that.

IRL*Creating community EXCITES me!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I've Got a Secret

Last week I had the pleasure of visiting my mom and family for a very brief few days in Dallas. It was wonderful to return to my roots and hear people who talk “raht” (right). The funny thing is that I spoke to two of my children on the phone while I was away, and both of them commented on my Texas accent. I slip right back into my old way of talking when I’m there.

That really has no deep spiritual application or meaning whatsoever. It’s just a trivial little confession while I am stalling and trying to hold my tongue. You see, (here comes the bigger confession), I am very, very bad at keeping secrets. That’s the truth. I’m better than I used to be, when I would insist “I can keep a secret; it’s the people I tell who can’t keep a secret!” But it’s still a struggle.

As long as I have a secret, I simply cannot keep my mind off it. I’ve started this post numerous times on a variety of topics, but everything in me is dying to blab a secret. I’m not sure the editor will let me spill the beans just yet. Darn. This is killing me. You will just love it. It’s right up there with the 35% discount off T-Tapp.

No, I will be good. I will not so much as give a hint until I’m granted official permission. Maybe for the right price…. No, not even then.

The best bribe you might have dangled would be a Kindle, since I’ve been hankering for one for quite a while. However, I got curious and opened a box my husband had ordered from Amazon that was shipped to my mom’s house, and found a Kindle inside, which I am almost certain will appear as a gift to me on my birthday next month. So don’t bother bribing me with a Kindle.

Whew. Now that I divulged the secret that I opened my birthday present before it was even wrapped, I think I can keep the other secret a little while longer. Now I’m off to pester Cindy and see if she will let me share the news next week. You will love it. Oh, I said that already.

For now I’m off to confide in my trusty journal, which is what I generally do when there is something I want to say but shouldn’t. It contains many secrets of my heart.

How about you? Any confessions you can share to keep my mind off the surprise?

IRL*You really are going to love it.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Tapping into the Future

What a blessing to be able to look ahead at a mostly blank calendar year and affirm in advance that it will ALL be good. Come what may, blessings, tragedies, and petty problems alike, it can all be used to form me into the image of Christ.

If I make one New Year’s resolution each year, that’s what it is: that I might respond in a Christ-like way to every person and situation I face. Each December 31 I gladly watch the old year slip away with all my failures to accomplish my hope-filled resolution.

It’s a good thing I can’t see what lies ahead in 2011. If I knew, I would likely be tempted to fret or to manipulate events more to my liking. As it is, I can simply relax and let the story play out the way God intends, and only softly beg that it be relatively free of unwanted drama (head lice!) and suspense (financial uncertainty).

Last year I started the year like many of you with another familiar resolve, to get into better shape. I think I accomplished that, more or less, thanks to a homeopathic doctor in the city and Teresa Tapp. In spite of holiday splurging, I still weigh less today than I did a year ago.

If you haven’t heard of Teresa Tapp, go to her website for a sneak peek at the “Wellness Workout that Works.” I wouldn’t go so far as to imply you will lose two dress sizes in 4 weeks, as her book boasts, but I will agree that it is an ideal “anti-aging” workout that helps counter the daily stress of living cross-culturally. If you want one new workout idea for 2011, I can’t recommend T-Tapp highly enough.

For busy women serving cross-culturally in places where “going for a run” is frowned upon or laughed at, T-Tapp can be done in the privacy of your own bedroom. The best part is that it only takes 15 minutes a day to do the Basic Workout. There is a longer 40-minute Total Workout for the ambitious ones, but you will get results with the shorter version. Neither one requires special equipment or clothing.

Thanks to my friends on the Sonlight forum who inspired me to start “Tapping” about three and a half years ago. Since then quite a number of missionary friends here in southern Mexico have been doing this workout, too.

You may or may not see visible results, but I can guarantee that you will feel more energetic if you start Tapping in 2011. That’s my little New Year’s gift to you. See the sidebar for a special discount from Teresa Tapp and me.

IRL* Working out is only one of the ways I am being transformed.


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