Miss

Christian womanhood, family, Gospel, Guam, Travel, Travel Home

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It happens nearly every night as I lay my head on the pillow. Images of our Guam kiddos, images of our sweet boonie dog, and thoughts of what if we never see them again fill my mind. I fight them: No, let me sleep.

Sometimes Eric and I talk of what we miss about Guam. We crank out our accents, and he mocks mine like always. This missing, I see it in the quiet grief in his eyes, in the pained smile when people say (with eyebrows raised), “Guam–for twelve years?!” This and that and most everything we miss about our darling Mariana island. If it is not on our lips, it is a thought lingering. But we must be careful.

In all this missing, may we not miss the beauty around us.

When missing my sweet toddlers, may I not miss the little children at my new church. When missing the Pacific, may I not miss the Atlantic and the lovely homes that make Charleston such a gem. When missing the feeling of home, may I not miss the ever stronger sense that Jesus, that Jesus and Eric are my home.

Missing is only profitable if it encourages me to take in today, to love those I meet today—even if they can’t speak Tagalog, even if they don’t know about Haputo beach or what the word ‘chod’ means.

I am learning new things here—about God, His Word, about the history of Charleston. The culture is rich, full of rustic European beauty, as well as heaviness from the evils of the former slave trade. We talk at church about how to all come together, no matter our amounts of melanin, no matter our backgrounds. Pride and prejudice may have made a good title for a book, but it does not make a good reality.

Wherever you are, do not miss what is going on around you. For if you love Jesus, your purpose is the same, your joy is in Him, and your hope is never-ending. Reminiscing about a former season of your life is good and natural, but still breathe in today. Notice the gifts of today. They may look different, but they are there.

We will not miss the beauty, even in the missing.

Keep the Faith,

Audrey Ann

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Multicultural Manners: The Art of Kindness on Guam

Christian, Christian womanhood, etiquette, Guam, http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post, island, kindness, manners

When I was a teenager, I came across a 1st edition of Emily Post’s Etiquette. Being a lover of old books, I glanced through it and was overwhelmed with all the details and rules about how to conduct oneself in society, how to set a table, how to do nearly everything, it seemed. 


Several years later my interest in the subject grew, and I was encouraged by a dear friend who is a certified Protocol and Etiquette consultant (you should visit her fabulous blog). I bought books and did research on all things “Protocol and Etiquette.” To my delight, I learned that etiquette is not merely about how to set a gorgeous table, but how to respect others and offer them kindness with everyday interactions.


On Guam there are many cultural differences, but kindness is universal. We all desire it, and we all have the potential to give it, if we make some effort. When I first came to Guam (about four years ago), I was excited to learn about new people and customs, but I was also afraid. 


It seemed so easy to offend others, if I did not know their traditions. However, since I was a teacher, I was reminded through the interaction with my students that we all desire the same thing, no matter our culture or ethnicity: we all desire kindness.

Friends need not share the same culture, as long as they share a similar kindness.



Sometimes we read the news and feel baffled by all the negative events that are taking place in the world right now. But we should not forget that we, too, influence this world. Let’s influence it for good. Whether it’s holding the door, putting down your cellphone for a conversation, or smiling at a passing stranger, we can all help our island (and our world) be a kinder, well-mannered place.


However, how can you do this is in a multicultural setting? How do you have “good manners” when different social norms dictate different practices? While it would take many years to grasp all the nuances of the various cultures on Guam, there are certain manners than can transcend cultural boundaries, and help our island be an even lovelier place than it already is. It’s a fun challenge! The love of God extends throughout culture and color. Therefore, so should our kindness and awareness.


Manners matter because people matter. Although I have made (and will continue to make) mistakes with regard to manners, the goal is to keep learning and spreading kindness along the way. Emily Post said, “Manners are a sensitive awareness to the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.”

Keep the Faith,
Audrey Ann

image credit: retroette.com