Favorite Posts of 2011

by Laura on January 1, 2012

So they say that you need to look back to look ahead.

Okay, well, I’ve actually never heard anybody say that.

I just made it up because it sounded like a good introduction for a post about favorite posts from the past year. Though, really, I guess if you did that, you would just end up tripping a lot, so I reckon it’s bad advice in the first place.

Regardless, here are a few of my favorite aLifeOverseas‘s articles {and photos} from 2011 . . .

Why “Did You Have Fun?” is the Wrong Question. I wrote this post on our front balcony one morning in thirty minutes after an epiphany the night before after an evening spent in family, ah-hem, “ministry.” Lots of people talked about this simple perspective- change with their kids, and I am still asking different questions of my own.

The Guy in the Rice Field Never Read Wild at Heart. This post had been stirring for about 8 months before I actually wrote it, following a conversation I had with the worship pastor of our church back home {Todd Z, yeah, that’s you.}. It talks about the {potentially?} false idea we sell ourselves that following God always means following our dreams.

God, The Cosmic Bartender. This image of God as a bartender, handing concoctions of awful to us produced perhaps one of the most honest and interesting conversations in the comments. I loved engaging in the back-and-forthness of the discussion as we all tried to flesh-out the ideas of how God and suffering intertwine. You made this one a favorite for me.

Knock-Down. Drag-Out. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about blogging, it’s that people relate and talk about suffering, perhaps more than any other topic. There is something deeply relatable when a community begins honestly talking about how it feels to get “kicked around” by God Himself. Yeah, I wrote this after a bad week. And I guess it struck a chord.

Nights. Because the women trapped in the rampant sex industry in this part of the world still break my heart. A lot. Daily.

Just, Hammered. This video was my first attempt at actually editing footage on our computer. Obviously, I am no pro, but it was a fun project and turned out kinda-funny. Thus, it earns a spot on the Favorites List, because learning something new– even if it’s crappy comparitively–should be celebrated, too.

Objects in the Rear View. This is one of my favorite photography-inspired posts to date. We were in this massive line of traffic during some flooding here in Chiang Mai, and I happened to have the camera with me as we passed this row of garbage trucks that were parked on the street because of water in the parking lots. I love how the pictures turned out, but mostly, I love the reminder to myself to stop being so dag-gum judgemental of others.

The Love Sanghli Project and A Finished BathHouse. I love these posts because they document some tremendous financial giving that a global community (and the community here) championed– to provide surgery to correct an extended tailbone for a Burmese child and to build a new bath house for Breanna’s House of Joy Girls’ Home which we are connected with here in SE Asia. I continue to be grateful to be a teeny part of both.

On {not} Becoming Cynical.  This post was my New Year’s One Word post for 2011, written about this time last year. I talked about my desire to not let the disappointment screw with my ability to remain soft, open and vulnerable towards others. And I think back over the year, and I’m afraid I kept that resolution about as good as I kept that one about cutting out coffee. Argh.

When Missions Goes Hollywood. This remains one of my favorite posts about missions, support-raising and the possible ethics involved in the process of communicating to back home what’s going on in the field.  Oftentimes the flashy websites don’t equate to the quality of what is actually happening on the ground, while other times, true ministry gems are little-known and (gasp!) don’t have a twitter account.

On Living a Good Story {And Maybe Why You Shouldn’t Try So Hard}. Another post which brutally revealed that so often my motives suck. I wrote this soon after I wrote the one about wanting to be the Guy in the Orange Shirt— passing out water bottles to the poor kids in some African desert. {I vlogged about that idea, too.} Both highlight one of the most major ideas I’ve sunk my teeth into during this second year of missionary-living . . . that maybe we whities aren’t nearly as {effective? important?} as we tell ourselves that we are.

Digg that Bible, Dawg. A video of my kids rapping. Just because I think they are really funny. And maybe {hopefully?} not as screwed up as I fear I am making them.


I can not communicate how very much I have enjoyed the conversations that have happened in this space over the course of 2011. Thank you for visiting, for reading, for sharing, for commenting (nearly 5,000 so far!). Thanks for giving grace when I communicated poorly or drew a line to deep in the sand or forgot to use spellcheck.

In fact, I told the kids to naturally express what they felt about the readers of aLifeOverseas and those generous souls who support us being here, and the photo to the left was their initial reaction. Really.

Well, okay, I made that up, too.


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