I begin this draft nervously.
Honestly, I don’t know many of the people who follow this blog. Random emails sign up, and every now and then someone I know hits the follow button. But the latter are few.
Somehow it is easier writing to a faceless audience. You can write fearlessly and without restraint or worry that you will offend someone. If you do offend someone, then you didn’t know at the time that they were going to be offended. And while I don’t have a lot of offensive posts on this blog, there are some opinions boiling inside of me that I might write about in the future and it would be easier if I didn’t know you.
However, my curiosity has won out. I really would like to know who you are. Plus, I feel like I talk about myself a lot and I would rather hear from you.
It’s been 7 years since insearchofabrook was launched. Because I don’t post or share my blog on social media, the amount of followers is still quite low. But I do know (from people telling me) that some haven’t hit the follow button, but they check the blog every now and then to see if I’ve updated.
So, whether you are one of those mysterious people who stop in and visit without following, or if you have signed up for email updates, or if you actually follow this site with wordpress, I would love to hear from you.
And because it can be awkward to introduce yourself, here are some optional questions for you to answer. Don’t feel like you have to answer them all, especially if you feel shy. Choose which ones you want to answer, and if you want to add more than that, that would be great!
- What is your name and where are you from?
- How did you find my blog?
- Do you know me from anywhere? Or do you happen to be my dad’s cousin’s husband’s sister’s daughter?
- Do you have a favorite book you would recommend?
- What do you find most interesting on my blog and why?
- Is there anything you would be interested in hearing me write about?
- Are there any questions you would like to ask me?
- Is there anything else you would like to say…??
And now, she crosses her fingers and feels like a self-conscious second grader slipping a card to a new friend…. what if they don’t answer?
27 thoughts on “Who are you anyway?”
I was born in IN to Amish parents, who moved to Honduras when I was 3 1/2. So I grew up speaking Spanish and PA dutch. Dad made us talk English at meal times and we did a little schooling in english at home, but went to Spanish school. I think it’s great that you are fluent in another language! I’ve lived in TX longer now, than any other place. Maybe someday we’ll end up in another country again.
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Good to hear from you! This is fascinating for me too, that you grew up speaking 3 languages, and that you did your schooling in Spanish. I have often wondered what language I would have my children taught in if I would have children here in Thailand. :)Are your parents still Amish?
No, they’re not.. they are members at Waslala, Nicaragua, but haven’t lived there for awhile.
My name is Dawn Harshbarger. I’m from Austin MN. If I remember correctly you commented on Shari Zook’s blog awhile back. I loved your comment and looked at your blog, started reading and signed up to be notified by email when you post. I’ve recommended your blog to friends – also to my cousin who recently moved to Thailand and is learning the language now. Hard work when one is 60. (I am attempting to learn Norwegian using Duolingo on my phone.)
Your post about reading in bed and being too scared to shut off the light reminded me of the book, Tisha.
The story of a 19 year old girl teaching school in Chicken Alaska about 100 years ago. It has a scary chapter or two and of course I was reading that book at night when all the house was asleep. The drama is real! Turning off the light in such a frame of mind is dangerous!
I enjoy reading your poems, memories of growing up in Kansas and your current adventures.
I grew up in northern MN, my husband is from eastern MT. I blog at little shack in the boondocks . Drop on by for a visit.
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Good to hear from you, Dawn. I am very curious about your cousin… is he/she in Chiang Mai? What was the reason for moving here? Also, thanks for mentioning your blog. I will check it out! Also, are you learning Norwegian just for the fun, or to keep your brain young, or for some other reason?
Hi Lori, my cousin is Marge Lanius who works with Team Expansion. She went on several work trips and since then longed to move to Thailand. Yes, she is in Chaing Mai where she is studying the language. You can email me for her address. As for the Norwegian language my husband and I are hoping to travel to Norway sometime soon. I thought it might be helpful to know a little bit of the language before we go. My ancestors came from Norway in the late 1800s. We want to visit the family home which is still lived in and taken care of. Also hoping it keeps my brain young. =)
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As an older man from Texas (age 68), I feel somewhat out of place writing this. I am not sure anymore how I stumbled on to your blog. But I tasted your writing and discovered that you are very sensitive to words and thus I continue to read your every post. Furthermore, I respect the values you represent. You are from Kansas and actually experienced my son-in-law Verlin Miller as one of your teachers. I connect with all that.
Since I am a teacher and writer myself, your blog is a part of my teacher-growth diet. I like to observe how other teachers teach and I like to observe how other writers write. Also, you are a living link to the far-away land of Thailand and I benefit from seeing that world through your eyes, ears, and feelings. Keep that part coming.
Thinking from that standpoint, I would also like to learn the philosophical foundation of your adopted land. I know ideas have consequences. In the West we dimly perceive some of those ideas/consequences which surround you and engulf your living environment. I know you work there to be salt and light, but would you feel comfortable describing the darkness you encounter there? Sometimes we miss describing the rawness of the darkness because we enjoy the light so much. Of course, use your wisdom in how you would do that. Darkness is real and we do well to squarely face it, especially as that darkness becomes lighted with Eternal Light. What have you witnessed in that respect? How does that darkness respond to you as a person of light? What spiritual warfare have you personally witnessed? How do you as a person, thrive spiritually in the land of darkness? Is the darkness deceptive or is it so overtly dark that the darkness tends to oppress you?
Thank you for your unselfish request.
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Thanks so much for stopping in, and I am glad you didn’t let your “out of placeness” keep you from posting. I enjoy comments from all ages of readers. Yes, I remember the earlier conversation in which I had mentioned that Verlin had been a teacher at my school. I think, also, that I might have been at Faith Builders with one of your sons years ago for summer term.
I find your ideas for further posts very thought provoking. I spent a while mulling over this and find it an appealing idea. There is a balance in looking at the dark and light, and while I know that there are cautions against focusing on the darkness, I agree with what you said that sometimes we enjoy the light so much we forget about the darkness. A prayer that I pray at times is, “God, show me how dark the darkness is.” Also, the philosophical framework that is a part of Thai culture has profound impact on even the smallest things, which I find interesting. This is also true of my own culture.
Thanks for stopping by and giving me more inspiration to keep on writing.
Hi! My name is Allison and I live in St. Louis, USA. I am a Mennonite Christian (although from a very different background than you I think, we don’t know each other and I doubt we are related). I am a computer programmer and I work for a tech company, and I have two young daughters. I subscribe to your blog (and many others ) via RSS reader. I enjoy reading good writing and hearing from people with different perspectives and from different parts of the world. I think I stumbled onto your blog about a year ago when it was linked from another blog, maybe from Dorcas Smucker or one of her daughters.
Thank you for putting your perspectives out into the world!
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Thanks for commenting, Allison! It seems like, yes, we would be from a very different Mennonite background but we still share that commonality. Sometimes I think of my readers scattered all over the world and forget that they can also come from the neighboring state.
Hello Lori. In reply to your blog post about introductions…… My name is Katrina, aka Trina, Reinford who hails from the land/state of North Carolina. I live about 45 minutes from the east coast but I don’t go out there very often.. I found your blog from another blog. I enjoy reading blogs and I do not remember whose blog I was on when I found your blog! I love your style of writing! It’s captivating! I enjoy reading about life in a different country. As far as a book recommendation… I LOVE reading! So if I had alot of time, I would type out a big list that would prolly bore you… But I highly recommend the book(s) Ishmael and Self-raised published by Lamplighter Theater. And I think that is all I have for now! Merry Christmas! *Trina
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Hi Trina, good too hear from you! I feel like I might have read both Ishmael and Self-raised years ago, but I can hardly remember. Thanks for stopping by!
Abby M (currently at Wisdom Tree) is a close friend of mine, and one day as we were talking about writing and blogging and my blog, she told me I need to follow you, and I asked her to send me a link. I followed, and I’ve loved reading ever since. You have a way with words, and your life has taken you to interesting places, and because of Abby I feel as though I almost know you but not quite. Combined, you have captured my attention.
I’m looking forward to more. Give Abby a hug for me on your next visit to Chiang Mai!
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Norlene, this was so special to hear from you. I actually just saw Abby this weekend and gave her the hug. I told her about your comment and her eyes lit up. Abby is a very dear person of mine and any friend of hers is a friend of mine. I stopped by your blog as well and like what I saw. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!
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I hope it’s not cowardly of me to reply by email instead of in the comments.I thought this post was a great idea. I often wonder about the people that follow mine too. I didn’t know if I’d respond to your post though because it makes me slightly uncomfortable. But here I am.I’m Sharilyn. You know some about me already I guess if you read my blog. I was born in California and lived my first 18 years there, the first 5 in southern CA, and the rest in Sacramento. Now I live in southern Arizona until further notice. I learned of your blog from my good friend Alisa, who also follows you. The first post i remember her sending me was the poem about the grasshopper. I forget the title. And I really liked it, so I read more from your blog and decided to follow it. I often feel like I can connect with the way you see the world and am very intrigued with your Thailand experience. Sometime I’d love to hear the whole story of how you came to be in Thailand. As for books I could recommend a lot if you get me started.😃 maybe I just won’t since I don’t know where to start.Thank you for writing. Sent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE Device
And I guess my cowardice did me no good. Somehow this still ended up in the comments for all to see. Oh well. . .
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Hi Sharilyn! Yes, I knew some about you, but it was fun to see how you found my blog. I also didn’t realize that you had grown up in California. I have to say this too– I LOVE your photography and ability to weave words to connect with the pictures. And yes, I also thought of it later that maybe there would be people who would rather not reply online, but by email. 🙂 So, it’s ok to not feel brave in that way. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!
I’m Courtney, and I hail from Maine. Being in single shoes myself, and also enjoying writing, I appreciate your honesty about life…not everyone is that brave! 🙂 Keep sharing the words God has given you!
Thanks a lot, Courtney! One of my dreams is to visit Maine during the fall season…. don’t know if it will ever happen. Thanks for the encouragement. 🙂
Hello, I’m Rachel Yoder. My husband and our two little girls live in Belize City, Belize. We moved here from Alabama about a year ago. The church here is small and we don’t have alot of interaction with Christians; feeling a need to have Christian fellowship I decided to follow different Christian blogs. Somehow it slips my mind where I found yours. Thank you for taking the time to write about the journey God is leading you on. I love hearing other people’s stories!
It’s special to hear about others who are also living outside of the US and Canada. I can connect with the need for interaction with other Christians. So glad you commented!
My name is Emily Miller. I am from Newcomerstown, Ohio, and I am not related to your dad’s cousin’s husband’s sister’s daughter. And I got to know about your blog through my co-teacher Melanie Schlabach, whom I believe also has no connection but just enjoys your blog.
I like how your blog has a mixture of poetry and interesting incidents.
Your blog isn’t me-focused like some blogs tend to be. I like the spirit of adventure you seem to have, and I also would be interested in teaching English. At this point it looks like that could be more of a local opportunity to Muslim immigrants.
One thing I would really like to know is how you ended up where you are. Maybe you covered all that before I followed your blog. Did you always dream of doing m$ss@@n work? Who or what inspired you/opened your eyes? How has your world view changed? What would be the hardest thing about living back in the states? What has been the biggest sacrifice? Loneliness? Luxuries? Safety?
Thanks for writing!
“Enjoy His grace and extend His glory.” David Platt
Thanks for stopping by, Emily. It’s fun to hear from people that I have totally no connection to… I hope that means what’s on here is worth reading. 🙂 The ideas you threw out there are some good ones. I did write a post last June sometime that gave a little bit of an inside look on how I came here, but in looking back at it, I also realize it is pretty vague on some of those details. Your questions give me some good stuff to think about in view of future posts. Thanks a lot!
Hi there! I hope I’m not the last and only person to reply to your email! 😣 I tried answering this 2 times now, and was interrupted both times with child care (when mom’s on the computer, that’s a good time to cut up or fight, did you know??) 🙄 I’ve enjoyed hearing about your life in a third world country- it is possible to survive-and thrive-in another country besides the great US of A, isn’t it?? 🤩 And that’s not saying that I have a problem with you being homesick for the place and people you originated with. I grew up in a third world country (belize, located just below mexico- it’s a lovely little country, if you ever get the chance to visit!) , then when I married I moved to the US. I’m not convinced the country trade was in my favor! 🤔(I seem to have a lot more needs, more rationally defined as wants ) It was a definite adjustment and culture shock, in spite of spending furloughs in the states when growing up. And now that I’ve adjusted to life here, I fear I’d have some adjusting to do if I’d return to Belize to live! Especially since I have 5 children to look after and not just myself. (scorpions! Bugs! Oh my! Not to mention that ebay and amazon shipping rates would be exorbitant.)
Currently I live in Kirksville, MO with my little family- Eugene Miller being my better half for the last 13 years, and Sierra, Wyatt, Dante, Elliot, and Piper rounding out our family. We are nearing the tail end of a mentally taxing project- building a new house for ourselves. ( It’s been fun, and wearing, and did you know that the flooring in the color you really really want is not available in the thickness you really should have if you want it to last? 🤯 )
I think I came across the link to your blog either from apearlineverycowslipsear, or lifeintheshoe, and I don’t think I’ve ever met up with you or am even remotely related :} does it count if Missouri and Kansas touch? 😅(Oh, wait! Maybe you know Katie Mast, formerly Hershberger- she was from Kansas, and got married to Sheldon Mast from our church….. 😊 but then, that’s been 4 or 5 years ago. )
Favorite book? Oh dear, to have to narrow it down to one is hard- it’s between The Indifference of Juliet, and The Rosary, I’d say. If I’d go look at my vast array of books, I’m sure I’d have some more to add to the list- oh- He Fell In Love With His Wife is another good one!
Your blogs about your day to day life are fascinating- I love hearing about life in another culture, and seeing how it compares to my life in Belize years ago. But don’t feel you have to limit it to just that topic! The others are interesting too 😊 I’ll be on the lookout for the topics that are stewing there!
Alas, my time is up- child care is dogging my heels again. So I’d better just hit send 😊 Blessings on your work there! Janet
On Thu, Dec 2, 2021 at 10:41 PM insearchofabrook wrote:
insearchofabrook posted: ” I begin this draft nervously. Honestly, I don’t know many of the people who follow this blog. Random emails sign up, and every now and then someone I know hits the follow button. But the latter are few. Somehow it is easier writing to a faceless “
Thanks so much for the reply! I find it interesting how many of my readers are living outside of the US or Canada, or have lived outside in the past. I can imagine it adds another dose of empathy for life in another country. I looked up some of your book recommendations and found them for free on Amazon Kindle, so I got two and look forward to reading them. Katie Hershberger…. not sure that I would know her unless she is from the William Hershberger family and then if she were I would know her family but not her.
> > Hi Lori, > > > > My name is Kristina. I have really enjoyed your blog in the past year. My sister stumbled across your account while randomly surfing blogs and forwarded your information to me. At the time I was serving in a Middle Eastern country so I loved the connection I felt with some of what you shared on your blog. > > I have since returned to America and have asked my church’s blessing to experience a term at IGo. I have not received an answer from them yet so I am unsure if that will happen for me or not, but that was another interesting connection with your blog. > > As someone who has an interest in long term work outside of my country, I appreciate how honestly you portray your life in Thailand. It’s not all glory and glam. There is a lot of dirt and grime and mundane life on the field as well. Thank you for the inspiration your words have been and continue to be. May God bless you with unquenchable peace in 2022. > > You have probably read this poem before, but it challenges me so deeply and I thought you might enjoy. It was written by Amy Carmichael. >
Make Me Thy Fuel From prayer that asks that I may be Sheltered from winds that beat on Thee, From fearing when I should aspire, From faltering when I should climb higher, From silken self, O Captain, free Thy soldier who would follow Thee. From subtle love of softening things, From easy choices, weakenings, Not thus are spirits fortified, Not this way went the Crucified; From all that dims Thy Calvary, O Lamb of God, deliver me. Give me the love that leads the way, The faith that nothing can dismay, The hope no disappointments tire, The passion that will burn like fire; Let me not sink to be a clod; Make me Thy fuel, Flame of God.
Hi! I’ve never before responded or commented to anyone’s blog post, but couldn’t resist responding to this one😃. Since an introduction is what you want… I’m Elsie Miller, a 30-year-old young lady. You ask where I’m from, and that’s a hard question to answer. I lived in two different communities in KY from birth to age 6, upon which my family moved to AR. At age 23, I moved to OH, where I taught school for 3 years for the Conservative Mennonite church that I’m a member of. At age 27, I followed God’s leading to serve Him in Guatemala. I’m still here, teaching school and loving the country and people. It’s bittersweet to look forward to May and the end of school year, when I’ll be going back to the states. I dread all the adjustments of learning how to do life in the USA, but want to trust in God’s provision and grace for the new job Him gave me. How did I find you? From a Mennonite Blog Directory. There’s no mail service down here, so I followed a number of blogs that I thought looked interesting😀. Do I know you? No, I never met you, but think I’d like to😄. And I don’t know that we share any bloodlines. I don’t remember when, but you’ve posted something about growing up Amish, your little girl dreams, and how much of your life is different/same as those dreams. That post and ones about life as a single lady missionary navigating a new language and culture especially resonated with me. It’s hard for me to settle for one favorite story book, but here’s one that really spoke to me…’Safely Home’ by Randy Alcorn . I don’t remember a boring blog post from you, so you can keep on talking about your life😉. I hope the 2nd-grade-girl corner of your heart got many responses😄! Peace and joy to you! -Elsie
On Thu, Dec 2, 2021 at 10:41 PM insearchofabrook wrote:
> insearchofabrook posted: ” I begin this draft nervously. Honestly, I don’t > know many of the people who follow this blog. Random emails sign up, and > every now and then someone I know hits the follow button. But the latter > are few. Somehow it is easier writing to a faceless ” >