I was thrilled when I first saw those two pink lines on our debut pregnancy test. We were going to be parents! The two of us, ever the global wanderers, were going to do the grown-up thing and settle down as a family of three.
As those nine months crawled by and my belly stretched, friends and family frequently reminded us of the well-known advice to sleep while we could because we wouldn’t be able to in just a few months. We knew that; we did. But during all those weeks of setting up a crib and stocking our diaper stash, I wrestled with an even heftier thought: once we became parents, we’d no longer travel as we used to.
You see, my husband, Kyle, and I met overseas, in Kosovo, and we continued to gallivant around the world in the early days of our relationship. We knew that once we had kids, we wouldn’t be able to toss on a backpack, catch a cab to the airport, and buy tickets for whatever flight was next. We subscribed to the commonly held belief that children shrink the parameters of the world to the confines of the local butcher, baker, and big-box retail store.
I’m happy to report that almost a decade later, the opposite has proven true. Our three kids don’t slow us down from the joy of hopping on planes, trains, and automobiles; in fact, they expand our world to horizons I never thought possible. Their vagabond hearts win over countless cultures, giving us entrance to new relationships and otherworldly experiences.
But the truth is, as much as our clan loves to leave our front door and travel, most of our days are spent on the couch in our living room and on the grass in our own backyard. Library trips, grocery runs, and karate practice are much more likely to be a part of our days than a trip to Zambia—love that journey as we may.
Books are the answer to our wanderlust. From the moment we crack open the cover, a book transports us to worlds exotic and unknown. We breathe in the glory of different colors, landscapes, and cultural mores. Books are like passports—but so much cheaper to use!
Jamie’s wisdom within these pages captures the beauty of what happens when books and a love of the world meet. This side of eternity, there are few greater love stories. And the incredible thing? We can introduce our kids to this love affair right at our dining room tables, pages splayed with pigment and tale. Along with us, our kids can smell the smells of the Middle East and touch the textures of South America. Their hearts can melt for God’s greatest creation: people. Diverse, beautiful people.
I’m thankful Jamie has written this book, because when our adventurous family is unable to drive our minivan to the airport, we can do the next best thing—walk over to the bookshelf, choose one of the many books she suggests, and snuggle in together on the couch. Destinations: uncharted. Compasses: ready.
Tsh Oxenreider, theartofsimple.net
Foreword by Tsh Oxenreider
“The World in Our Homes”
PART ONE: FALLING IN LOVE WITH THE WORLD
1 The Good Earth: A Love Story
2 Practical Ways to Invite the World into Your Home
3 The Power of Story
PART TWO: READ THE WORLD
4 The Joy of Other Lands: How to Use the Reading Lists
5 Children Just Like Me: Multicultural Books
6 Bring the Rain: Africa
7 Number the Stars: Europe
8 The Weaving of a Dream: Asia
9 Silent Music: Middle East
10 Wagon Wheels: North America
11 A Harvest of Hope: Latin America
12 Sailing Off: Australia, Oceania, and the Polar Regions
“How to Raise a World-Changer”