teaching them to ‘plot twist’

An attribute that has always been important to me to instill in my kids is adaptability – in relationships, situations, goals and everyday life while still remaining consistent in their core beliefs and values. The ability to adapt and change as needed will not only open the door to some pretty incredible adventures, but it also makes day to day life far less frustrating.

Since they were all tiny, Chris and I have tried to teach them to approach change and the unexpected with a positive outlook…to be able to smile and say, “Plot twist!” when the unknown and unexpected pops up in the story of their days.


Today marks one week in China. The last week has flown by so quickly! We all settled into life here very quickly, didn’t really deal with jet-lag, and culture shock has not been a thing. Chris and I prepared for helping the kids if they struggled with all the change and unfamiliar, but so far it is like they don’t even realize anything is different. While walking down a small alley in Beijing, Corbett asked me, “Is it weird that this is not weird to me?” I’ve prayed for and tried to teach my kids adaptability at the earliest ages – it is pretty cool to see just that in them. They are so adaptable and simply don’t skip a beat.

They’ve made friends. Savored new foods. Haven’t seen a fork in a week. Walk miles each day. They’ve made themselves at home.

Sometimes I think I have to wait until my kids are grown to see ‘the fruits of my labor’ in regards to raising kids. That mindset is simply not true. All the tough years of pushing them to adapt to new places, new foods, new schedules, new people – in the last week I’ve watched firsthand how beautifully they ebb and flow with changes in life. I’m so grateful for this time – for them, but also for myself. It is really encouraging as a mom and goodness there enough discouraging days in motherhood!

Hands down the hardest part of our trip so far has been that foreigners are not allowed to take photos in the village we are staying in. As hard as it is for me to keep my camera tucked away, I am a visitor in this beautiful country and a guest in this village – I will honor what the local officials have declared. I guess you could say I’m learning to be adaptable and trying my hardest to say, “Plot twist!” with a smile.

5.17ChinaAdapt-12The pictures I’ll be posting (and have posted) will be from when we venture outside our village, are in our apartment complex or at New Day Foster Home. A big chunk of our time in China will be spent learning and serving at New Day, no doubt I’ll be sharing more about that later!

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  • Carrie - So good! So glad you are doing this! Thank you for sharing. 🙂

  • Rebekah - Hopefully your new village will welcome your family as you interact with them, and who knows, maybe that photo restriction will be lifted before you know it! 🙂 Thanks for sharing your family and experiences. I always enjoy reading your words of insight and seeing your “everyday” from the viewpoint of your camera.

  • Tammy - What you have taught them is indeed wildly important, but the examples you and Chris model for them in LIVING what you teach is priceless.

    God bless and keep you all on this amazing journey!

  • Sara Torbett - I have read your blog for years (and years!) and often like to share what you’re blogging about with my husband. You feel like a friend! 🙂

    Thank-you for sharing these lessons in motherhood with those of us who have littles at home. Thank-you for sharing your journey in China also!! I am delighted to read along and pray for your family.

  • Melanie - Please keep posting here! As much as I like your Instagram pics I love to read your deeper thoughts via this blog.
    I’m totally excited about your chinese adventures!

  • carrieg - Yes, thank you for posting and sharing! My husband and I are not big travelers/adventurers, in part because it is difficult with kids and part it is just our personality. I love seeing places through your adventurous eyes. Thanks for taking me on this trip through your blog post. Your words often encourage me as I parent, to do hard things and even embrace the hard.

  • Lisa M. - You need to write a book. I don’t think I have ever read anything you’ve written (here or on social media) that hasn’t inspired me.

    It sounds like you are a having a wonderful, adventurous time all while serving – your kids and the locals.

    Thank you for including us in this journey.
    Blessings to all of you!

  • Christi S. - It sounds like you’re raising future foreign service officers! 😉 My kids have had to learn the same adaptability as we travel the world with my husband’s job. It’s amazing to see what these little people are capable of!

  • Rachel - If you don’t mind sharing, I am looking for a good backpack for hiking, is there any you would recommend? I will be carrying a days worh of stuff in it. What type is Corbett wearing in the above picture.
    Also, I love your blog perticularly the posts on China. Thank you for sharing your life with us in this way. I’m praying for a safe journey home for you all. God Bless

  • Meghan Pence - As a mother who is anxious by nature, I am inspired by your parenting style. I truly wish I would have believed “things almost always work out” while my children were young. If I could do it over, I would prioritize embracing “plot twists”. Your mind set is a gift to your family and your readers. Thank you!