on connecting and sharing
& a triple dog dare

on december 25, 2016, we attended christmas mass at westminster abbey, and it was one of the most sensational, spiritual and sublime experiences of my life. after the service, we left the church as the bells pealed and pealed, so loud and deep, and we found ourselves immersed in a crowd of christmas celebrators, marveling in the moment.

we asked my cousin aubrey, who was spending christmas with us, to take a picture of the three of us outside the abbey on my iphone. a few moments after she did, a stranger - a very small woman with a big camera - approached us.

she told us that she had noticed us through the crowd and, attracted to our reveling joy, had snapped a few photographs of us herself. she felt she had witnessed something special, and asked if we'd like her to email us the images she created. of course we were delighted and i jotted my email address into her phone and handed it back to her before she disappeared into the crowd after we quickly shared christmas salutations.





i forgot about that kind stranger until a few days ago, when a message popped up in my inbox from someone named zo with three pictures attached. "surprise," my new friend had written, "here's the pictures i took of your little family. it really was such a sweet moment."

the email was signed with, "until there's a chance for us to share a moment again, love, zo."

she lives in singapore - we are worlds apart. but indeed, maybe someday we will be able to share a sweet moment of life again.

i've been pondering a lot since i got zo's email on human connection - how much i love it, how much i believe it is central to the purpose of life, how i can cultivate it better. i've realized that connecting and sharing with others - those similar to me and those so so different from me - is why i love living in a big city, why i love traveling, and why i love blogging.

and i've wondered about all the eyes reading this text. who are you? what brought you to this little spot on the wide internet? what do i have to learn from you? how can we connect in meaningful (even if small) ways?

so today, dear readers, i have an invitation for you. no, actually, it's a dare.

a triple dog dare.

i triple dog dare you to leave a comment on this post.

tell me a snippet of who you are - where on earth you are reading from, what you're passionate about, how your life is similar to mine or how it is wildly different. tell me what you like about this blog, what you hate about his blog (seriously - hit me! i'd love to connect on this!), what questions you have about what i share here. tell me about something you've learned recently, or something that inspires you. tell me whatever you want. (and post anonymously if you want.) i would genuinely love to get to know each of you, even in some tiny way.

let's connect!

370 comments:

  1. Hi!! I'm Leslie. I live in South Carolina and am currently on a road trip with my family for vacation! We are similar in that we both blog and we have boys close together. My second son, maddox, was born close to the same time as your Mo. :-) I have been married for 6.5 years and I'm a SAHM as well as a PRN speech language pathologist. I found your blog through your sisters, 71Toes, and I've enjoyed reading ever since. The most recent things that make me passionate are trying to get through this life and figure out how to prevent the comparison game in motherhood from impacting my relationships. Let's just all BE moms and not compare with each other. :-)

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    1. hi leslie! i am also wanting to be better at preventing the comparison game in motherhood (and womanhood, and humanhood in general!). it's soooo easy to compare in today's world!

      thanks for reading and for sharing. enjoy your road trip!

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  2. I'm currently sitting in a doctor's office waiting for an appointment for my son just outside London :) I'm a single mum to 4 children (ages 13- 10) and a primary school teacher. So yes a busy busy person. One thing I don't like about your blog is capital letters, do you know how long it takes to get children to use them in writing....arghhh ;) I do like seeing all the different places on my doorstep that you visit, we are off to Arundel in a couple of weeks. Inspiration comes from everywhere, I think you need to be in the right frame of mind to see it, lift those blinkers. Karen

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    1. haha, i'm sorry about the lack of capitals. i don't know why i'm so attached to the all-lowercase thing. but maybe it's time for a change? enjoy arundel! and bless you for nurturing so many children - chiefly your own but also all those school children! teachers are so important and wonderful.

      i love love love that thought "inspiration comes from everywhere." thank you for sharing!

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  3. I like you love the human connection that blogging brings. In a way it is the modern day of concept of pen pals. What attracks me to your blog, is your love of life and travel. I believe I found your blog through your sister Shawni in Arizona. I also love travel, but how we are different is while I grew up in the church I do not have the family support and great examples that you have in your siblings and parents. I have learned so much from your blog and your sister on how to be a great parent. Oh course, I could have done this through their books which I have read a few, but the blogs have really given me a window into how it is put into practice. Kelleyn (http://travelingbugwiththreeboys-kelleyn.blogspot.com/ )

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    1. hi kelleyn! i'll have to check out your blog! i am really grateful for my siblings and parents, and all the family support i have. and i'm sure you are doing an awesome job paving your own way.

      thanks for reading and for sharing!

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  4. I have been reading your blog for years from New Zealand, until this February when I too moved to London! I keep reading as I enjoy your sunny personality and to marvel at all you achieve. My husband hopes to start his PhD next year, so we are trying to soak it all in since it will most likely mean moving again. So I guess we have some common threads! (Ps. We went to a choral service in Westminster and my husband put it into his top five life experiences!)

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    1. ooooh new zealand! what a wonderland!! but then again, so is london! so...welcome!

      i'm glad i'm not the only one that felt pretty transformed by a musical service in westminster abbey! :)

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  5. I read your blog from Perth, Australia and it is something that I look forward to each week. I have 3 kids (7, 4, 2) and enjoy reading because I identify with your faith based life style. I am a
    Christadelphian, not a Mormon, but find many similarities in life style and family values between us. I love how your blog is cheerful and full of finding the joy in daily life. I also like reading about the travel that you do but will admit to not dwelling on the detail of those posts as much as the regular day to day stuff. I love your photos but sometimes get confused when a capital is missing from your writing because it changes the sense of it.
    I was in London with my daughter (7) while you were in Russia and really enjoyed how it came to life a bit more for be after seeing your photos and blog posts about actually living there. Thankyou for openly sharing the journey that you and your little family are on through life.

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    1. hi! i'm so excited for the day we make it over to australia! i hope you'll chime in with some recommendations when that time comes! :)

      i just looked up christadelphian and i'm glad to learn more about your faith!

      thanks for the heads up about the capital letters. maybe i'll switch over to some proper grammar on that...?

      i hope you and your daughter had a fabulous time in london! it's such a great city and i think so great for kids!

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    2. On the grammar thing ... I actually think it's kind of cool to have a signature writing 'thing' so switching might make it less ... you. I usually figure it out and this wasn't much of a criticism, more of an observation.
      If you ever come to Aus, make sure you come to Western Australia. So many skip it because of the distance (which I totally get) but there are some seriously world class natural gems that will ignite your passion. �� I would be happy to share some of them with you!

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  6. I found your blog from reading Saydria's blog (I'm a Shumway), and loved your openness and zest for life. I'm landlocked in Rexburg, Idaho :) One thing that was hard for me to keep reading through, was after your comment about what you thought of people who voted for Trump. It hurt. It was stereotyping and not accurate or kind. I understand that it's your blog and your opinions, and this certainly isn't a political statement, but it was just so cold water to the face opposite to how I feel about refugees and to have the word "Xenophobic" hurled at me as a truth because I voted for Trump was generalizing and small minded. Thanks for letting me glimpse into your exciting life, it's a beautiful one.

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    1. hey heather! thanks so much for sharing your perspective, i truly appreciate it. i am so sad that you felt my commentary about one of trump's executive orders was directed at all trump voters. that definitely wasn't my intention! i personally know many really good, *not* xenophobic people that voted for trump. i just felt that something he did demonstrated xenophobia and i felt a need to speak out against that. can you help me understand how i generalized this towards trump voters? i genuinely would like to understand that (and rectify it if i can!).

      thanks again for your comment!!

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    2. I went back and read your post about the refugees and either you added to it or I'm in a different place mentally then when I read it previously (I'm sure it's the latter 😉) but you did say, "It seems that the equation for president trump (and his peeps)" Were you referring to people who agreed with him as "peeps"? That certainly felt derogatory. Of course I saw your point of view, but it was also very one sided. You assumed he was doing everything out of fear and Xenophobia, which just makes me scratch my head. All of his grandparents and his mother, were born in Europe and his wife is from Slovenia. So if Xenophobia is a fear of foreigners, that is just strange. I really am not trying to have a political discussion here, I have lots of open minded liberal and conservative friends and I get plenty of differing views. I truly think you are one of the most kind hearted and open bloggers I've seen and I appreciate all of the beauty I see through you.

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    3. hi again heather! i haven't edited that post at all since i published it. and by "his peeps" (ha - that was a funny word to use, charity!) i meant his advisors and his administration. surely all who voted for him didn't help bring that executive order to fruition. i was just trying to illustrate that given the statistical facts, i did not understand how that specific policy could be about something much more than fear and xenophobia. i agree that it is strange, and at the time that i wrote that post (and now!) i am trying to figure out how that policy made good sense to others. i'd love to hear your perspective.

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    4. We have the second foreign born First Lady in history. She came here as an adult and only recently became a citizen. There are Muslims in just about every country on the planet, including Israel. It's about what countries we can trust and what countries we can't doing their part of the VISA process. Surely you don't think the US trusts the government of Syria? The point of the temporary ban on those particular countries was to investigate the process, not the time frame. People are influenced by their news sources. Some of the country is scared of Trump and some scared of Clinton. Some in this country are scared about what an unknown would do and some are scared what a former government official actually did in many roles over decades. Some are afraid of a party system that doesn't allow the people to decide the nominee. The Republican Party trusted the public to pick the nominee despite much discomfort. It's odd to see all the fears over Trump supporters after a Clinton win come to happen by Clinton supports after Trump won. In the end it is still about the single topic of abortion. Marriage has been sorted out. If Reagan amnesty was completed with a border or if any administration since had deported and managed to keep out the deported criminal immigration wouldn't be a concern. If the dems trade deals of nation building actually improved things south of the border people wouldn't be coming without the VISA.

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  7. Hello! I'm from Milwaukee, WI. I found your blog through your sister, Shawni's, blog which I've been reading for years now (crazy). I'm single, 27, and enjoy reading both of your blogs for the positive attitude towards having and raising a family. I want that some day yet at the same time it seems so overwhelming but you two make it seem challenging yet do-able. I also like learning things about the Mormon faith (I'm non-denominational Christian) especially in regards to how you make a strong family and strong connections with other humans (much like this post!). Sometimes around here I get the feeling that everything has to stop when you have kids, such as traveling, working etc. So to see you traveling while having such a young kid makes it seem like I don't have to choose fun/travel OR family but could possibly have both.

    I also enjoy reading about London and other destinations for ideas for future trips for myself!

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    1. thanks for this comment! i'm really glad to know that i am contributing in some way to a feeling that one doesn't have to choose between fun/travel and family! they can go together in really amazing and beautiful ways!

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  8. I am a middle-aged working mom from Ohio. I found your blog through your sister's 71toes blog. It has been fun watching your new family evolve, and I enjoy your travel photos - hoping I have the chance to visit some of the amazing places myself now that the kids are grown and on their own!

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    1. thanks for sharing. i also hope you get to visit some new and beautiful places soon! :)

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  9. Hi! I found your blog through Shawni's , back when you were single and living in SF. I have loved reading it over the years because I also love to travel. I live up in Seattle with my hubby and 3 kids (6, 4 and 1). Lately I've been studying the idea of "even if." Even if God chooses to take me through a trial that scares me or hurts, I know he is still good. I'm finishing a book called "and still she laughs." It is a study of women in the Bible who suffered and grieved and how they walked through it.

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    1. i love that idea of "even if." thank you so much for sharing! i might have to check out that book. i've been wanting to delve into more study of women in the bible.

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  10. I'm a Mormon mother of six; I work online when my kids are asleep teaching writing courses at the Big 10 school where my husband is in the last months of finishing his PhD. In my free time I run marathons. :-) I found your blog through Shawni's. I love reading about your travel experiences and vicariously reliving those golden early years as a mother (my oldest is now twelve and my baby is eight months old). I also really appreciate your faith-based perspective on issues that are important to you and very much appreciated your honesty on the US election, as it mirrored my feelings.

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    1. i am so impressed by every single marathon runner out there. i have determined that i am going to do one...one day (hopefully soon-ish)! i'd love to get your tips :)

      thanks for the reminder that these are golden years. i often reflect on how this will never happen again - being one-on-one with a child i bore. i've got to cherish it!

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  11. Hello! I'm Heather and I found your blog through Shawni's. I live in Minnesota and am married with 2 children and 3 cats and a have little blog of my own. I love seeing all of your travel photos and your sweet little family. That Mo is such a darling! I have a dream to do more traveling, but until then, I love seeing the world through other people.

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    1. hi heather! i love it when strangers tell me that moses is super darling because it confirms that i'm really not just biased! he is just universally adorable :) thank you for reading and for sharing!

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  12. Hi Charity, hi all! My name is Agnes, I live in Berlin, Germany (I am German), I have a husband and a daughter who is 2 years old and I work at Cologne university in the German department (my field is children's literature, and I love it). I found your blog via yours sister Shawni's blog, and I love reading it for the same reason Zo took your pictures - the joy you radiate through your writing and your pictures. I love following your story, I love reading about your family and your travels and though our lives may be different, I sometimes feel very connected in the little things and thoughts you share. On thing I love reading about on blogs is the daily life, especially of mothers - I would love hearing about what your schedule for the day with little Mo normally is like. Thank you so much for sharing a part of your life with us readers!

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    1. i really want to visit cologne (especially at christmastime)! when we make it there, it would be cool to meet in real life! :) i'm so so glad you feel i am radiating joy - that is my goal!

      perhaps i'll do a daily schedule post in the future!

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  13. Hi! I'm April and I live in Show Low, Arizona. I found your blog through Shawni's. I've been reading your blog since your days in California. I am a mother to four boys! My youngest is 3 months old. Three years ago I suffered with extreme post partum depression and it almost took my life. I am in the process of creating a blog to share my experiences with post partum depression to hopefully help others. I feel it's a subject that needs to be talked about more. The blog is www.aprilrises.com it is in the very beginning stages. I love your blog and I'm so inspired by your kindness and honesty about real life struggles. I gave birth three months ago naturally because you inspired me to read that book on natural childbirth and I'm so grateful I was able to! I feel like if we knew each other we would be fast friends! Thank you for spreading goodness, I look forward to each blog post you write!

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    1. congrats on your new baby (three months is still new, right? don't you want him to stay new forever?!)! i'll have to check out your blog. i agree that postpartum depression needs more exposure - so good for you!!

      i can't tell you how happy it makes me that i did something to inspire you to give birth naturally!!

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  14. Hi! I am a 27 year old, single PhD student living in Seattle. I love reading your blog- it gives me a glimpse into someone's story that is different from mine, and I loved reading your journey from single to married and now a mother- hoping the same thing happens for me one day!

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    1. i hope that for you as well! thanks for reading and good luck completing your phd (i know that is NO small feat!!).

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  15. Hi, I'm Natalie. Like many others, I found your blog through Shawni. I am a stay at home mom of 5 (ages 8 to 1.5) Anand we live in the rural area out of Fort Worth, Texas. We are vastly different in regards to travel. The closest I get is by reading your blog. I also struggle hard with finding joy in motherhood, but desperately want to be a deliberate mother and am always trying to be better. I like that your blog inspires me to enjoy the little moments. Your parents are my parenting heroes and I hope my kids turn out as well as theirs. #lifegoals

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    1. hi natalie! i'm sure your efforts to be a deliberate mother are awesome. and i'm so so glad you feel inspired to enjoy the little moments!! thanks for reading.

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  16. Hi Charity! My name is Allison and I am a 25 year old catholic missionary nurse working at a orphanage in Honduras. I am home on vacation after being there 15 months and am visiting my friends and family all over the country before heading back to Honduras for my final seven months. When I finish my missionary commitment I hope to move to Seattle, where my family is, and work as a labor and delivery nurse. I love your blog and have been a follower since your SF days or maybe even before?! I was introduced to your blog from my childhood best friend who went to BYU. I would love to hear more about y'all's love story and more about your single years. Maybe a post of encouragement for us singles! All of my friends are married and have babies and at times it's hard to be content with your life and blessings when you desire what others have.

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    1. hi allison - wow! sounds like you are doing wonderful work in honduras. and that you'll do wonderful work back in the states when your time in honduras is up! (i have often considered becoming a labor and delivery nurse - what a beautiful job!)

      perhaps i'll post more about the single years! thanks for the idea. i'm a huge sharer (obviously), but ian and i have decided that the details of our love story is one thing we will not post on the internet. it's a really, really good one though! :)

      i can totally relate on the "all my friends are married and have babies" bit. but life is beautiful just where you are! sounds like you are making the most of it. xo

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    2. Hi Charity! I am Allie's sister. I live in Seattle, where my husband is a software developer. I am a Catholic stay-at-home mom to three girls (ages 5,3,1) and another baby on the way. Gender yet to be determined - of course everyone asks if we are hoping for a boy, ha ha. Allie told me about your blog when we were planning a trip to San Fran in 2015. We used so many of your recommendations! We especially loved Ike's Sandwiches and biking across the Golden Gate Bridge. I have been following along with your adventures ever since :)

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    3. hi caitlin! so so glad you got to experience those sandwiches and that bike route! the best!! thanks for reading!

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  17. Hi Charity :) I'm Jessima and I live in Australia in a little country town of 2000 people. I am 31yrs old with 4 kids (3 girls and 1 boy) and a stay at home mum. I found your blog through Shawni's years ago when you lived in California. I actually met your Mum and Dad last year when they came to Australia which was super cool. I love to pop by your blog regularly. Love seeing your travels. I also follow you on instagram too which is fun. I love your zest for life and your positive attitude. You write so well. Hopefully you will make it to Australia :) We have a lot of natural beauty here, which is a must to see :) But thank you for being a positive shining light!!!

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    1. hi jessima! i like your name!!

      how fun that you met my parents. i think they are pretty great :)

      i am so excited to make it to australia some day! i just feel like when we go we have to stay for like a month!! so it will be a big trip ... one day! :)

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  18. Hi Charity! I'm Julia, reading from Argentina. Single, Catholic, arquitect, in my 40's... I enjoy your pictures, you're a wonderful photographer and get to capture the escence of the places you visit or live in. In a way your blog it's like reading your personal journal, and that is intriguing and compelling (but nott in a creepy way!).
    I was in London last September and kept thinking 'what if I run into Charity, Ian and Mo?'I also read your sister Shawnie's blog, and as I am from a small family I enjoy reading about your annual family meeting, and about your nieces and nephews... Anywaym this is getting too long for my first comment! Hugs from Argentina

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    1. hi julia! i wish we would have run into each other in london! it would be delightful to meet you. thanks for reading and for sharing!

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  19. Hi Charity! I am Kaity, from Richmond, Virginia. I am not sure how I found your blog, but have been following for some years. Our lives are very different and that is part of what draws me to your blog. I have always been interested in faith and spirituality and I learn a good deal from you (for reference, I am a Christian but have had several stopovers in different faiths on my way there). I am divorced, an attorney, a two-time cancer survivor, a yogi, and a puppy mom.

    If you want to know more, I blog at www.kaitykasper.com :-)

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    1. hi kaity! thanks for sharing. wow - two-time cancer survivor. i'm sure you are one strong woman! if you ever visit london, let's do some yoga together! :)

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  20. Hi! Dana from DC. I think I found you through Shawni's blog or... (whispers) GOMI... (hides)

    BUT I genuinely love your blog, your photos, your positive attitude. I think you have a very open heart and attitude about blogging and perspectives and it is refreshing to see. I especially love the travel posts and when you throw in how to get deals (credit card points!) or afford how you budget on your trips.

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    1. haha, hi dana from dc :)
      i want ian to do some guest posts on credit card points and budgeting. it's kind of his thing (although obviously i'm super involved in it). he's one busy dude, but hopefully some day soonish!
      thanks for reading and for sharing!

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    2. my boyfriend is also credit card point crazy so we have a kindred interest :) would LOVE to have a few posts on what you guys think are the best cards, etc.

      We are travelling to London next month. I am stoked and have definitely used your blog for inspiration.

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  21. Hi Charity - I'm Tracy from a small town near Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I started reading your blog through Shawni's blog as well. Got caught up in your story and your writing - almost like an ongoing novel! I have three children in their twenties and work as an educational assistant in an elementary school. Your flowery writing and effervescence for life is inspiring and refreshing and are things that I'm sure many aspire to!! Thanks for the snippets of your life!

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    1. hi tracy! thanks for sharing!! i'm glad that for you the flowery writing and effervescence is inspiring and refreshing - i totally get how it can be over-the-top and annoying for some people! but it's just who i am :)

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  22. Hi! I'm Heather in South Carolina. I am an Occupational Therapist who works with children with a variety of abilities and needs. I found your blog through your sister Shawni's blog. Not sure how I found her blog, but I'm pretty sure it had to do with sweet Lucy and a diagnosis I was researching online at the time. I am like you in that I enjoy reading about people of all walks of life and learning from them. It's always eye opening (and heart opening!) to see how others see the world. I am not a member of the LDS church, but I respect your beliefs in the same way that I respect Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, and all other faiths. We are all beautiful and all bring such diverse things to the table. I truly appreciate you and the many members of your extended family who share their lives. It's bold to put yourself out there and I admire that.

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    1. hi heather! i totally agree that "we are all beautiful and all bring such diverse things to the table." thanks for sharing that, and for sharing you! :)

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  23. Hi Charity. My name is Meghan and I live in Milwaukee, WI with my husband and 7 month old son. Lately I am really connecting re: baby boys. Although I get a little jealous of all of your traveling, I absolutely love it. I love learning about how you stay connected with your large family. Most especially I love the snippets where you talk about work, vocation and career. I enjoy my job (and the freelance work I do) but still struggle with what my "career" should be - or what I want to do when I grow up. I know you haven't just slid into a perfect career and I like that. Thanks for writing and sharing.

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    1. hi meghan! this is really interesting to hear what people enjoy most that i share.

      i think there are so many more people than we realize that are "still" trying to figure out what they "want to do when they grow up." it's tricky to find our best place in the world! i really appreciate you sharing that you can relate to my journey in this way.

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  24. Hi, I'm a French reader living near Paris. I enjoy reading your perspective on travel and your joy on seeing beautiful scenery, art or buildings. As a non-religious person (though raised catholic) in a mostly non-religious country, I'm intrigued about your faith and often a bit baffled by it to be honest (particularly the missionary thing that I find quite intrusive or the baptism for the dead that scares me) ! But I guess I keep reading out of curiosity to get to understand this new culture I was completely unaware of before discovering mormon blogs ! As a working mother of a 1 year old, our daily life certainly differs a lot (we do have the same stroller !) but I like seeing how active you are with your baby and how it doesn’t keep you from exploring. I also really enjoyed your posts about baby essentials as we also live in a small space and I want to avoid purchasing unnecessary things.

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    1. bonjour! :)

      i'd love to do a q&a sometime about different tenets of my faith and the culture that goes along with my religion. stay tuned :)

      okay, isn't the yoyo the best?! we are SO happy with our stroller decision.

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  25. Hello Charian + Mo,

    My name is Sabrina, and I currently live in Seattle, though I am a transplant from the Great White North (Canada).
    I am passionate about family, like you, but I am different in that I have NO religious background and not active in any faith. I did investigate the LDS church just prior to getting married, but nothing (yet!) came to fruition. To this day, I am still fascinated/interested in the LDS church (despite some differences I have with some of the tenets), so maybe someday I'll be a member :).
    We are currently expecting our first child, due October 9, thanks to the very generous gift of an anonymous egg donor. I lost my fertility 13 years ago due to ovarian cancer... thus, I am passionate about people understanding there are a plethora of ways to build a family, and that being a parent does not require DNA :).
    What I love about this blog is that while it has a lovely LDS theme, you are also so very open-minded (in my opinion) and I LOVE that you are willing to be vulnerable - not easy to do on the web! Not much I don't like, to be honest! In fact, I drool over all your travel escapades :)
    Despite differing backgrounds, I feel like we could be good friends and I think I could learn a lot from you! One thing I am curious about is how do you (if you) grapple with your faith - especially if you have (perhaps) any differences with your faith? (Perhaps being a lifelong LDS member this isn't a major issue for you, but as someone who has investigated the church and has grappled with A LOT, I just am curious how one can reconcile any differences they have with their faith).
    -Sabrina

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    1. PS: I have bought two of Ina May's books (birth & breastfeeding) because of your recommendation many months ago. Definitely the best mother-to-be books (if you can categorize them that way) that I've read so far!

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    2. hi sabrina! if you want to combine ALL of our names, you can call us mosianity ;)

      i'd love to hear more about your investigation of the lds church. there's a lot of tangential things that go with being a mormon, but the personal witness i've gotten from god around the pure doctrine of the gospel keeps me firmly converted. i'm thinking i should blog more about my personal faith - and the things i grapple with - but it's a tricky subject for a public forum. i'd be more than happy to answer specific questions via email.

      so amazing that you are expecting, and due to egg donation! and that you're a cancer survivor! indeed there are so many ways to build a family! all the best and so many good wishes for your pregnancy, birth and journey into motherhood! i'm so glad you've enjoyed ina may's books.

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  26. Hi! I'm a Jewish reader in Philadelphia. I have a son who's almost 8 and a daughter who's almost 6. I work part-time from home as a social scientist (I have a Ph.D. in social psychology and study primarily perceptions of climate change and environmental decision making). I think I found your blog through Saren's, which I found from the blog of a mutual friend with whom I went to college. I love your photography and following along with your travels. I also can relate to many of your experiences as a new mum, particularly since my first was a boy and from what I've read had a similar temperament to Mo. I'm also fascinated by large families (I know your family right now is modest - so far - but since you and Ian come from large families...I'm so curious about what that was like growing up and about how you manage keeping up with all your relatives now that you're all grown and have families of your own), and I find it interesting learning about Mormon customs. I appreciate how you put yourself out here on the internet and are so open to new experiences. I'm curious how you decide what to share and what not to share -- particularly when it comes to Ian and Mo, and how you anticipate that might change (or not) as Mo gets older.

    There's nothing about your blog I hate -- it's your blog and if I don't like something, I can close the window. :) It's a fun escape for me -- usually when I'm procrastinating work. Although I do feel a little odd and voyeuristic keeping up with a total stranger. But I do feel your travel tips will come in handy one day. :) And your photos are gorgeous.

    Thanks for sharing your passions and your exhuberance!

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    1. hi kerry! thanks for commenting and for sharing!

      i love love love coming from a large family and i'd love to blog more about that in the future! and am happy to provide context on mormon customs. please always feel free to ask questions in the comments of any of my posts!
      we keep up with our families through email (both my side and ian's side have a group email address that we use often) and phone calls (facetime is the best!) and getting together as much as possible. i think everyone in a huge family kind of resigns to the fact that we can't all send gifts for every birthday or talk weekly or see each other really regularly - so we just make do, i suppose!

      ian and i discuss what we want to share and not share here with some regularity. mostly, there are just a few things we avoid sharing, and otherwise we are just very open people. i think this will evolve as moses (and hopefully future siblings) grow - we're just going to take it one step at a time.

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  27. Long-time reader but never commented!
    Like you, I live in England, ha! In the historic city of Worcester.
    Love learning new words, a good source is the Merriam Webster word of the day, though I have a little 'well done me' moment if I already know the word. Best I've read so far is Occam's Razor. (Incidentally it was the pronounciation explanation of this phrase that made me realise it was an American website!)
    I love the smell of petrichor....see, another lovely word!
    I work in a secondary school - teenagers make me laugh daily.
    I So enjoy reading your and your sisters' blogs - I try to be positive and always look for the good in people, and you are great teachers of that.
    The only thing I dislike on your blog are the very few comments which can be most unkind, however your responses are most gracious!
    And finally, I love to see your delight and enjoyment in your little chap Moses, and the way you appreciate him daily...I think your kindness shines out of his little face!

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    1. petrichor!!!! what an amazing word! thank you for sharing!
      i'm still wrapping my head around occam's razor :)
      teenagers are the best at engendering laughter. when i was teaching 8th grade my students cracked me up daily.

      thank you for reading, commenting and sharing!
      what a tremendous compliment that kindness shines out of my son's face!

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  28. I'm Sydney from American Fork and the one who invited you to come talk to my Global Adventure Class!!! First off i LOVE reading your blog. It has so fun and entertaining and beautifully written out and seriously makes me look at the world different. That was sooo much fun for you guys to come to my class, and to see you guys in person!!! That was seriously one of the biggest highlights of the year for me. I already knew from reading this blog that you guys were awesome, but seeing you guys in person blew my expectations away!! so THANK YOU!!

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    1. hey girl! i was hoping you would comment :)
      it was so, so great to come to your class, and to meet you (and shelby and your mom and your professor and the other students!). thank you again for inviting us!

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  29. Hi Charity! I'm Jonneke, 28 years old and I live in the Netherlands. I've been reading your blog for quite a while, and for some reason I just feel this(obviously one-sided, since you don't know me) connection with you, even though our lives are not at all the same. However, lately I've been seeing a LOT of parallels, mostly because my life is changing (been married a little over a year now, and I am currently 13 weeks pregnant with our first child). That has made me look at your blog kind of differently. Before, it was more of in a 'oh, life can also be like this!' kind of way, living in San Fransisco, being Mormon/LDS, etc, but now it's in more of a 'hmmmm, I can actually learn a whole lot's kind of way (having a newborn and traveling, how you're so specific in what to buy for children, and - but that was always the case - enjoying and admiring your love for life).

    I love just getting a glimpse in your life; I agree with some choices, envy others and disagree with some as well, but there's nothing that I hate or would want you to change - your blog, your choices!

    Keep up the 'good' work!

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    1. hi jonneke - i'm so glad you feel a connection! congratulations on your pregnancy!! you are in for a wild and wonderful ride. i'd love to hear how it goes! xx

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  30. Hi aim Stacey from Nebraska. I'm a 47 year old mother of four. I've been reading your blog for years. I love your positive energy and your willingness to try to understand people who are sometimes downright rude. Your zest for life, everyday life and travel life, is what keeps me coming back. I love your passion and all your lowercase letters. And this post makes me so happy, connecting in a big wide world with those who are different isn't as hard as we make it out to be. Your blog is proof of that!

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    1. hi stacey! thanks for reading, commenting and sharing! i appreciate your compliments, and especially that you are a fan of the lowercase letters - haha!!

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  31. Hi Charity! I'm Alison from Chicago. I am 32 and was married just about a year ago. We hope to become parents next year. I love your enthusiasm and sense of adventure! Such a great moment with Zo. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. hey alison. thanks for reading and commenting. congrats on your marriage and best wishes on becoming parents. i hope the timing works out just as you hope. we are stopping by chicago for a day this summer and i'm really excited about it!

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  32. I've been reading your blog for several years now. I originally followed your sister, Shawni's blog and then started following yours. I've never met any of you but I admire the strength I see in your family. So here are a few snippets about me.

    I think your enthusiasm for life is infectious. We share a common faith and a love for travel although with my schedule, I really haven't been very many places.

    I try to balance being single in such a family dominant religion and I draw inspiration from others even though my life is so vastly different from other "typical" Mormon women.

    I'm a physician and an osteopath and my work consumes so much of my time.

    I need to find the time and motivation to take better care of me. This is my goal for the next year.

    I wish I had gone on a mission.

    You got married on my birthday.

    I desperately want to travel to England to see what you see everyday.

    I lived in Florida for the last 12 years but will be moving out west next year. I'm nervous about the cold and snow.

    Thank you for sharing so much of yourself!
    _

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    1. hello! thanks for sharing all of this!

      we took moses to an osteopath when he was a newborn and it was a really great experience.

      october 9 is the best day ever!!

      come to england! i'll give you a little tour of london highlights :)

      and...good luck with the snow! haha. you may learn to love it...??

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  33. I live in the SF East Bay with my husband and two school aged sons. I read your blog as part of the "eyrealm chorus" I follow since your mom posts all the links automatically updated. Like you, I have always wanted to be a mom and find it to be even better, and richer, and more joyful than I expected. I read all your sisters' blogs and wish the brothers or sisters in law blogged too. (So fun to read for example how Saren experienced your wedding along with all of your posts) It's super interesting to think about how a family culture affects our adult lives and families. I am part of a "big family and am also raising my own "little family'" and this is something I think about in my own life. I especially love Saydi's writing about life on the farm recently.

    We're active Jews and I'm also really interested in your LDS faith and how it informs daily living. LDS is a very young religion and I'm super curious about how it will develop since I see some really beautiful parts and some very disturbing things by reading about it in your blogs. I'm especially troubled by LDS stands in sexuality, marriage, gender roles, race, and women's leadership and like to see how you and your sister reconcile all of that. (Gabrielle Blair of design mom writes in this too) The thing I like about your blog is your clear enjoyment of the little things and golden moments of life. So important to embrace! My least favorite thing is your entitlement and self absorption in things big and small (best friend inducing labor for your wedding!?!? And this from a natural birth advocate. How "brutal" it was to stand in line to see the Anne Frank house etc) and treatment of yourself as a child/teenager instead of a full blown adult. Being a mother in my passion and I also bring so much to my life, family, community through my work for pay. Seems strange that after you finished your excellent education you pretty much just waited around for a husband (while being a nanny, selling cupcakes, working an office job you hated, being a substitute teacher ) your brothers would NEVER been allowed to ramble so. I look forward to hearing about your new career passion. I also appreciate your honesty about marriage being really beautiful
    And really hard. A tricky subject to write about publicly but I hope you do.

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    1. hey jenny.

      i like you. i like that you say what you think unabashedly, without a safety net of complete anonymity. if you don't like my dress, you're just like, bam, burn that thing! because i'm pretty thick skinned, i genuinely find that refreshing. i do hope you are gentle with those who may not be as thick skinned as me, though :)

      thanks so much for your comment here. i truly appreciate it! i thought i'd share some context and ask some follow-up questions if that's okay. what you've shared is really interesting to me and i'd love to connect on this and understand each other better. take it or leave it!

      re: the church and sexuality, marriage, gender roles, race, women's leadership, etc -- i should probably write more posts about my feelings on these topics. i am hesitant to do that just because i worry that i will be misunderstood - these are really sensitive and often complex issues, and people tend to make assumptions and read too far into shared opinions. but maybe i'll post about this publicly in the future. if you're interested personally, i'm happy to exchange emails about this.

      re: entitlement and self-absorption. gosh, i really don't want to be that way. i genuinely would love to understand how i am coming across that way, so i can fix it (either in presentation or in actuality).
      on my friend inducing labor before my wedding: back then i knew hardly anything about childbirth, and so i certainly had no grounds to be a natural birth advocate. now that i certainly am a natural birth advocate, i definitely tend to think that inducing labor solely for a friend's wedding is pretty objectionable. my friend and her husband made a choice to induce based on several factors, and i only learned that my wedding was one among many after the baby was born. that is definitely not something i would ever ask for or encourage, even in my naivety. my friend and her husband felt that induction was right for their family and were not influenced by me.
      on the anne frank house: i was actually seriously really bitter cold waiting in that line. obviously looking back i realize that it was incredibly silly of me to comment on that given the context, but you know what? i misspoke. certainly you've misspoken before. that feeling when you put your foot in your mouth is awful! i guess i subconsciously assumed that people would give me the benefit of the doubt on this one (because of course i wouldn't compare my experience waiting in line with anne frank's suffering!!)

      can you think of any other examples of times i've shown entitlement and self-absorption here? i really want to fix that.

      on treating myself as a child/teenager: how is this manifested? i'm sincerely intrigued.

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    2. on "waiting around for a husband": i totally get how my time post-undergrad and pre-marriage could come across this way, especially given mormon culture (which isn't doctrine, by the way) around gender roles that you seem quite familiar with. but honest to goodness, i wasn't waiting around for a husband. i *was* in a way waiting around for finding my place professionally. because i left on a mission right after graduation from wellesley, i kind of skipped some crucial career-defining time and found myself quite lost professionally. i was idealistic in wanting to do something i both genuinely loved and was genuinely good at. i took a leap of faith in moving to san fransisco and was sincerely looking for my place in the working world, not a husband (i didn't feel too much urgency to get married at that time). surely i was informed by the culture of my upbringing (and when i consider that, i wish that i was less so and that i had been more proactive professionally from a young age), and no doubt somewhere in my psyche i was hoping for a husband (and yes, i always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, but simultaneously always felt very certain i should and would work outside the home in some capacity throughout most of my mothering-small-children years).
      the nannying and cupcake selling was making ends meet while i applied to hundreds of jobs, trying to not settle for something i didn't feel passionate about or would just be easy and wouldn't really help me grow. i didn't hate my office job - i worked for the world's most influential business thinker (clayton christensen) and really believed in the work of his thinktank. but i did learn that i quite hated working at a desk all day, and that i wasn't reaching my full potential for broadening myself and contributing to the world in such a job. so i moved on to work at a school, and was asked, due to the confidence the school leadership had in me, to teach in an incredibly challenging situation for the last half of the school year.
      i hope this helps you see that i wasn't just waiting around for a husband. i was sincerely trying to find my place so that i could broaden and contribute in powerful ways. i've since felt like i've finally found my professional calling, and i'm so excited about it. i to believe that working for pay in future years will bring so much to my life, family and community.

      lastly, i plan to write more about the beauty and challenge of marriage. you're right, it is a tricky subject to write about publicly!

      all the best to you! thank you for reading and sharing your perspective. i think you are so lucky to live in the bay area, and i too wish my brothers and sister-in-laws blogged more :) i think they are all pretty awesome.

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    3. Yea, I knew the dress comment was obnoxious but I also knew you could take it. You usually look so effortlessly stylish....but that purple shmate?!?!

      So, so glad you have thought about how how your culture and upbringing informed your lack of career ambition as a young woman. Sometimes it seems like all of eyrealm is in lock step. I sincerely hope your family culture evolves so that your nieces pursue challenging, important work outside of their homes as well as becoming moms if they choose.

      As for the childish/teenager thing I guess it feels like you spend a lot of time (and space in your blog) devoted to taking selfies, thinking about macaroons and ice cream, and planning picnics in the park. All lovely, of course. But as an adult it seems like you should chalkenge yourself more. (And I'm not talking about a plank challenge! Or a sugar strike!) instead of wheeling mo in front of yet another colorful mural or flower stand you could instead visit and old age home and find some lonely elders who would enjoy his adorableness and your compnay. Maybe instead of complaining that Ian needs to study you could take some graduate courses and study a little yourself? Maybe instead of keeping to your culturally expected, and automatically assigned, primary calling, you could also take your own iniative to help some refugees resettle through a nonprofit? Or teach children dance? Or cook for those I need? Or volunteer in at a local school? Or a million other things

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    4. hey jenny. thanks for the reply! and for the compliment on my style...most of the time :)

      i think you might have misunderstood part of my comment about career ambition. i was trying to illustrate to you that i always HAVE and very much DO have career ambition, DESPITE how my culture informed me. i do indeed wish that i would have started earlier in considering my career path (i.e. been more serious about it in high school and the beginning of my college experience), but i always wanted to pursue challenging, important work outside of the home as well as become a mom. that's important to me personally (and i'm excited to see how it unfolds now that i am actually a mom), but it's okay to me if it's not hugely important to every woman. some prefer to make their work in the home their only work (and feel that is genuinely right for them), and i'm not in a position to judge that.

      on the childish/teenager thing - thank you for explaining. what you shared is illuminating, and it definitely makes sense to a degree that i come across that way. i have to deny the selfie bit though, just because i cringe at most selfies! while i occasionally hold the camera out myself to take a photo with myself WITH other people in it, i generally would be mortified to post a picture of only me and i took myself with outstretched arm (not saying i never have!). ha! i guess i just feel that the simple pleasures of life, like a picnic, should be celebrated and thoroughly enjoyed, no matter your age. and i hope you don't read over the deeper things that do post on this blog.

      your comments gave me food for thought and i think i do need to challenge myself more. i've been thinking a lot about this lately, actually (i have a "ten thoughts on a wednesday" post drafted that includes something about this), and you've given me some great ideas. you should know that i certainly don't write about every activity i engage in or every good deed i perform on this blog (it feels weird and wrong to me to do that), so there's a lot you don't know about how i interact with my community (or my imminent plans to take graduate courses). but i do want to be better, and i genuinely appreciate your encouragement!

      one last question - how can i include that ian has to study so much right now in the narrative of my life without sounding complainy? i feel like i've just mentioned it to provide an accurate picture of some events i've wanted to share on this blog, but it seems it has come across as complaining, which i didn't intend!

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  34. Hi Charity! I found your blog through Shawni but can't remember how I found hers. I'm reading from New England. I went to college in New England and in high school I looked at and seriously considered Wellesley. My grandmother went there and it is so beautiful! Our lives our similar in that I too, love to travel, and am so jealous you get the opportunity to live abroad. I am engaged and will be getting married this fall so I went back and read your posts about your wedding, which I really enjoyed. My fiance and I have been together 7 years (we met when we were 18) and will be having an 18-month engagement, so it's quite a different experience than you and Ian, but I love reading about everyone's weddings! So special. I'm passionate about science (I work in research) and I love food and cooking too. One question I have for you is with regards to your travels. I am not religious but I think I understand that Mormons are not supposed to have hot drinks, alcohol, and eat meat sparingly, etc. Are faithful Mormons expected to follow this to a T, or would trying a sip of wine, at a vineyard in Italy, a sip of tea in London, an interesting meat dish in Asia, etc. be okay? I was just curious what you do when traveling since it seems like you and Ian do try hard to experience everything "as the locals" do; I do as well and I think it's the only way to travel! I enjoy your blog and reading about motherhood. I do hope to have children someday so I love to read about it even though it may be in a few years!

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    1. oh, beloved new england. such a great place!

      congratulations on your engagement!

      we believe that god revealed a law of health in the 1800s, and it includes abstaining completely from alcohol, tobacco, harmful drugs, and tea and coffee and also eating meat sparingly. most mormons agree that the abstaining bits should be followed "to a t," and there's some variation in interpretation on the "eat meat sparingly" bit. both ian and i have never and would never drink even a sip of wine or tea, regardless of the situation. but we have in fact tried some interesting meats in asia :) it seems kind of rigid, i know, but i honestly believe that god wants us to abstain from those things 100%.

      thanks for asking!

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    2. Thanks so much for the response. I have many friends (Christians who abstain from alcohol, Jewish people who keep Kosher, etc) that feel similarly to you in that they would follow their "rules" regardless of situation, so it makes sense to me that you interpret your law of health similarly. Just something I've always been curious about! I loved this "dare" of yours and reading your responses. My fiance and I (I can't wait until I can call him husband!) are spending a few days in London on our honeymoon, so if we see you and Mo on the street we will surely say hi! Thanks again, Charity!

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  35. Hi! my name is emily and I have moved around a ton. My husband I now live in Southern California. We love Disneyland. We were married exactly one day after you and your husband in the same temple! I have followed your blog since before the SF days and it has been my favorite! I honestly do not know how i found it but I am glad i did. We do a lot of reward nights at hotels and credit card bonuses and have successfully been to asia off of points (flight, hotels, everything except food and tourist tickets) and europe the same way! I would love to learn if you do this a ton or just randomly. I would also love to learn ians budgeting that you have talked about. I would also like to learn your budgeting and savings tips if you have any!

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    1. disneyland! we are trying to decide when the best time to visit disneyland paris would be. we should probably wait until moses is a bit older, right?!

      how funny that you were married one day after us in the same place! we had our reception the day after our wedding, and it was a beautiful fall day - yay!

      we do quite a bit of credit card rewards travel. i need ian to write a guest post about this!! maybe this summer...?

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  36. Reading from Paris, France. We actually met at the summer program at Oxford, although you probably won't remember me now. I love that I stumbled on your blog and love to read about all of your travels and especially your adventures with your adorable little boy! I love your cheery positive attitude, please keep it up!!

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    1. hey amanda!! an old friend!! did we live at the same place during the oxford program?! i'd love to re-remember and reconnect :) are you living in paris or just visiting?

      thanks so much for reading and for commenting!

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    2. Hi!!! We were in the English literature class together and went to church together a fer times while there. I played the violin at the talent show but was pretty shy and awkward LOL. I was
      at St Peter's college I believe.

      I live outside of Paris with my French husband. It's funny how life can take us anywhere! Currently working full time and going to law school, which is...an experience, to say the least!!

      Thanks for replying!!

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  37. Hi Charity - I'm posting from Ethiopia! I live in D.C., but my work in humanitarian assistance brings me here every few months. I found you through Shawni's blog quite a few years ago. I've since joined the LDS church, left the LDS church, but still have an affinity for Mormon's approach to life and commitment to faith and family (which I've tried to bring back with me to the Catholic Church.) I appreciate your enthusiasm, your intentionality, and the joy that you cultivate in your life. Thanks for sharing your little slice of the world with us. (We actually have a few friends in common - always surprises me when you comment on their instagram posts!). Wishing you all the best and many cute kids to come - Emily

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    1. wow - how cool! i'd love to visit ethiopia. two of my brothers have been there on humanitarian trips. i'd love to hear more about your work there.

      isn't the world so small? i love discovering random mutual friends.

      wishing you all the best back!

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  38. Well, I can never pass up a good dare. Ha! Hi Charity, I'm Ashley and live in Utah. I found your blog through your sister Shawni's blog after hearing her and your mom speak at Time Out For Women years ago. I really loved their message of motherhood and family traditions. I have 3 kids and my baby girl was born on the same day as your little Mo! How crazy is that? I think it's fun to watch other babies grow up that are the same age as your own and see the similarities. I also love to see all the picture of your travels. The world is such a beautiful place! Thanks for sharing all that you do!

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    1. july 9! best day ever! so glad moses has a cool birthday twin out there :)

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  39. Hi Charity! I accept your triple dog dare and love it! I am Julie. Living in St. Louis, MO - mothering four children- ages 16,14,11 and 4. I found you through your Shawni's blog. I've never met any of you in person but your family is inspiring! I also connected with Tal and Anita through your sister's blog and had the pleasure of many e-mails with them and a phone conversation about the struggles and beauties of adoption (my children are all adopted.) I love so much about your blog but my favorite things are : 1) you are more daring than me and I am learning from that. I feel like you are living the life that I dreamed of but wouldn't be daring enough to live. By that I mean you are living in my favorite city, living in a small flat and walking your way through life with your stroller, valuing experiences and not things. That was a complete run-on thought! 2) I like joyful people. Life is too short to be grumpy. Don't you think? Joy is in the little things and I love how you celebrate that too. Because of this, I feel like we would be friends in real life. Although, at 48, I would be your much older friend! 3) I can't get enough of Moses. He is just the cutest!

    I am a devoted Catholic but I appreciate the beautiful example of dedication to faith and family that the Mormon church shows the world. Its impressive! Keep on writing! I write at inahappynest@blogspot.com My goal this summer is to write every week day!

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    1. lots of people from the midwest commenting! very cool that you connected with tal and anita. i'm sure sharing your perspective with them was really valuable.

      yes! life is TOO SHORT to be grumpy! totally agree.

      and YES! moses really is the cutest :)

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  40. Hi! I'm Katherine, reading from Toronto, Canada. I love how your blog celebrates family, love and the little, miraculous joys of everyday life. I am moving with my partner to Hong Kong in August to live. He is the love of my life and I can't wait to start a life with him over there. Right before he came into my life I prayed to God and asked him to bring my soulmate into my life. A few months after I started praying I met my partner, and we knew early on that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. We've travelled the world together, similar to you and Ian, so I also love reading about your travels and how you've continued it as a family. I always get inspiration from your blog about relationships, life, love, and values. I share similar values as you do, and I strive to carry them into my everyday life, especially my relationship with my partner. So thank you, for inspiring me and reminding me of what's important.

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    1. what an exciting upcoming adventure in hong kong! such a cool city. and what a wonderful story about praying your soulmate into your life. god sure does have a plan for each one of us - even if that plan seems preeeetty rocky sometimes! i'd love to hear more about your travels! what have been your favourite places?! ahhh there's so much to see and experience in this wildly beautiful world!

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  41. Hi Charity,

    I'm Hannahrose, from Torrington, Connecticut. I think i found your blog through Shawni's, as apparently a lot of others. I'm 26, married to my high school sweetheart going on 4 years, and i have an almost 2-year-old daughter (21 months) named Savannah. I'm LDS; I got baptized when i was 16. I'm a stay-at-home-mom, and i do medical transcription after Savannah goes to bed for a university hospital. i love to read, i watch too much tv, and i try to be a minimalist. im looking forward to eventually having a house to make my own instead of renting an apartment. my husband is a massage therapist (so am i actually, just not doing it right now). i love how you "have lots of feelings" and express yourself well. i put it in quotes because i say that about myself when i have too many to get across well to people who might not understand what or how i am feeling. i am grateful for how much you share on your blog. I think it's interesting how many people blog and how many people follow blogs when we don't know the person but get super interested in their lives. i think sometimes it's because we like to live vicariously through others who are experiencing things we aren't or can't, and other times because we feel so connected. i've been reading since before you met Ian and was with you for the ups and downs you shared all through dating and breaking up (i know about rollercoasters like that from experience - i waited for my husband while he was on his mission and he broke up with me 5 months before he came home. obviously it worked out but was a huge learning experience).

    my least favorite thing about your blog has nothing to do with you. it's just the comments (yes, i shouldn't read them if i don't like them) that people leave that are rude or judgemental. i understand that people form opinions or get jealous of things, but it blows my mind when they think they can say anything because it's the internet...or whatever.

    anyway, this is a rather large snippet. thanks for the triple dog dare. kiss that baby for me! he's going to be 2 before you know it. :)

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    1. hi hannahrose (what a pretty name!). i also love the name savannah!

      yes! i have lots of feelings! and i just think that's the way to live. feeling-ful :)

      the comments get pretty craaaazy sometimes, but it's seriously been such a good experience dealing with criticism in this arena. every challenge is an opportunity :)

      and ahhhh don't tell me moses is going to be two before i know it! i already and dying that he is approaching one!!! ;)

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  42. My name is Jenny, live in Northumberland (North East England), a hubby of 11.5 years, two small people, a boy who is 9 and a girl who is 6. I'm a solicitor (Lawyer), work part time. Came to your blog via 71 Toes. What I love about your blog - all the travelling posts (seriously love these) and more recently 10 thoughts on a Wednesday. Not remotely religious but enjoy reading about your faith, how it shapes you and how you live your life because of it. Honestly can't say there's ever been anything that I've disliked. A few posts have had me a bit "meh" but we can't like or relate to everything can we. My main pet hate (and this is connected to blogging in general not yours) is the keyboard warriors. I'm always dismayed that people feel they can be so rude in writing when we all know that they would never say their words out loud/to the person's face. I love reading blogs because it's like connecting with people's lives and they are people that we would never normally meet. I love to learn from other people's lives and how they conduct themselves. Anyway keep up the good work xx

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    1. hi jenny!

      a lot of people seem to like the ten thoughts posts, and i'm so glad to know that so i know to keep doing them :)

      thanks for reading, commenting and sharing!

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  43. My name is Whitney. I am a third grade teachers (this is my tenth year teaching). I was raised by a single mom who passed away when I was a teenager, so I have been on my own for over half my life now. I am married with one adorable, precious son, Bennett. I love your blog because of your positive attitude, willingness to be vulnerable and grow, and zest for life. I also love looking at the amazing places you travel (I have been to thirteen countries, but you have added places to my list of places I want to go in the future). I would say the one thing I don't like about your blog is the jealousy I sometimes feel (which is totally not your fault). I don't have much of a family, besides the one I have created with my husband and son). So, I often feel jealous that I don't have that amount of love in a family. How cool that Moses has all those cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. Wish that was my fate, too.... Anyways, your blog is one of my favorites. Thanks for being so transparent and authentic. I have learned a lot from you. Hugs

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    1. hey whitney! mad props for all teachers out there. and for people who have lost parents. i'm sure you are a super strong soul.

      it is SO cool that moses has such a wonderful, big, loving extended family. this is something i definitely don't take for granted. what's cool is that we all have the power to create that from our generation down.

      thanks, whitney! xx

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  44. Hi Charity- I'm Kelsey, a longtime reader but have never commented. I live in California with my husband and two children (4 and 2). One of the things I love about your writing is your ability to see the sacred in the ordinary, and your ability to reflect on your experiences (and previous iterations of yourself) with empathy and perspective, and this includes responding to critiques of all stripes, some clearly ad hominem. As a practicing Christian (though not LDS), I find the faith reflections lovely, and would love to hear more; as one commenter above notes, some of the LDS tenets/cultural practices fascinate, yet also trouble me: the race question, gender roles in marriage, proxy baptism, etc. I understand that this might not be the venue for taking up these issues, though I would love to hear your perspective. I particularly love reading about the family culture that your family has worked so hard to create over many decades, and the love that emanates from this active choice. Reflecting on our own privilege isn't an easy or comfortable task, but I respect that you are seeking out your own blind spots and working on them. Thanks for writing!

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    1. "see the sacred in the ordinary" - i love that, and i'm sooo glad i'm doing that (and that's coming across)!

      i do want to post more about my faith, especially when it comes to specific things readers seem to be really interested in. i'm not sure how to approach this/get started, but i think i should in the future.

      i do really want to seek out and work on my blind spots amidst my privilege. i'm really glad that desire comes across.

      thanks, kelsey! :)

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  45. I'm Gem, mother of one as you know living in Scotland! We met when you were a missionary in Reading and you became one of my very favourite people through your zest and joy for life! Sometimes you just meet people so awesome you instantly want to be their friend and that is how I felt meeting you! I love reading your blog, especially now we are in the same time zone because it always comes at just the right point in the day when I am looking for something fun to read! I love seeing all your pictures of your awesome adventures and am travelling vicariously through your posts! I love seeing Mo because he is just the most adorable little boy ever and it is clear to see he radiates his mom's joy that's for sure! I get sad when I see people attack you or write unkind things in their comments especially since I know you in real life and know that you are the most genuinely lovely person and that nothing you write or say is to cause offence or hurt to people. I would love to see more posts about upcoming travels especially the one that is going to announce your Scotland plans (hint hint!!!!) Haha xxx

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    1. hey friend!!! we really do need to get up to scotland. i know you would give us a killer tour of all the best bits of where you live (just like you did when i came to london all those years ago!). we FOR SURE were meant to meet and be friends. i miss you! ella is such a sweetie. i hope i get to meet her soon! thanks for the compliments, and for reading my blog!

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  46. Hi Charity,

    My name is Kate, I'm 32, and I live in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with my partner and my 11-year-old stepdaughter. I work as an Adoptions Caseworker for the provincial government. I found your blog through Pinterest looking for pictures of flower crowns!!
    I enjoy reading about the life of someone my own age, living a where and a how very different than me. I don't know that I "hate" anything about your blog, per se.... You definitely have very different beliefs than I do, which means I don't always agree with your posts... but I don't know that I hate anything.

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    1. haha i love that story about how you found my blog! did i post something about flower crowns?!

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  47. Hi, my name is Danielle. I am in Bountiful, Utah. I found your blog through your sisters. I have two kids, 3 year old and 10 month old. I feel like I've been reading for a really long time, and I've loved your writing on becoming a mother. It always astounds me that people write such mean comments. I enjoy all aspects of your blog. The traveling is so fun to read about, it's great to resonate through the computer on your motherhood posts and I enjoy your very real and truthful words on marriage. I appreciate your willingness to write. Have a wonderful day!

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    1. hi danielle! i'm so glad you've found a bit to enjoy on this blog. thanks so much for reading and for taking me up on my dare :)

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  48. Hi Charity. I live in Los Angeles and have commented a couple of times. I found your blog through Shawni and have been reading you both for yours. I am not religious, have no interest in having children, and have a full blown career.

    I am drawn to your blog for your enthusiasm for life, plain and simple. I'm not particularly interested in the religious or mommy posts. I love the travel posts, the Wednesday thoughts, the curiosity for life, and the posts about your families of origin/extended families. I appreciate that you are not materialistic and your blog never gets bogged down with frivolous products.

    I find you and your sister to be grateful people, who are conscious about their behavior and how it may make others feel. I'm sure there have been weird gaffes where I've cringed or rolled my eyes over the years, but I've never understood the nitpicks of your lives. Overall, it is blatantly obvious you are both kind-hearted people with good intentions.

    I was relieved you and Shawni spoke out against some of our President's behavior and treatment of people, as that seems to be in line with how you live your lives. I would be very curious to hear more of your thoughts and how/if it has changed your political leanings at all.

    Your blog is a joy and has been a treat to read all these years.

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    1. Oh, also, in a weird way, the criticisms you face about your career choices remind me of what I face about my not-having-kids stance.

      Not that I like to see you piled on, but it provides a weird comfort knowing that even if I went kid route and stayed at home, people still can't keep their mouths shut. So any comments I get about not having kids, would just be "so what are you going to do for a living?" CAN'T WIN.

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    2. thanks so much for these comments. YES - the "can't win" thing is REAL. damned if you do, damned if you don't. so we just have to do what we feel is right for us, and confidently live with some passion in whatever life we're in :)

      thanks for reading and for responding to my dare :)

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  49. So interesting to get to read from everyone! I'm not sure whether I need to introduce myself, because I fear I comment far too often and people will think how I have an opinion on everything or that I don't have a life of my own and too much free time... I almost commented on comments here!

    Anyway: I'm Kerstin from Stuttgart, Germany. We're similar in that I had a son on 1/1/17. We are different in that I had been with my husband for almost ten years before we got married and that I am not as thick skinned as you admittedly are.
    I can't tell why I read your blog on a daily level. Obviously, because I like it and because I think - like so many others - we would be friends in real life. I really like what Kelleyn wrote about the "modern day concept of pen pals"! What I "hate" (and not relly hate, but I kind of smile at it) is your surprise at how much you love motherhood. Considering your posts from recent years and your familiar background (like the MFME) I am not surprised at all!

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    1. hi kerstin! i always love your comments! keep commenting! :)

      i guess i just couldn't have ever known how MUCH i would love motherhood. i knew i would love it, but i just didn't anticipate it to be this good, honestly. it is crazy hard in some ways, but i just feel fulfilled and happy in new ways that i could only understand with experience. and moses is just golden!

      xoxo

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  50. So my husband left his Facebook logged in one day and when I went to log on your post was the first thing in his feed. I clicked the link and read your post. Then I realized that you were Shawni's sister. I've been reading her blog for years, so I added you to my blog list and have been reading ever since. I have two little girls, a three year old and a six month old. I just really appreciate the way you and your sisters post about motherhood and all that it entails.

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    1. haha - what a great story on how you found my blog - i love it! thanks so much for reading, and for taking me up on my dare :)

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  51. Hi, I'm reading from Tripoli, Libya, where I work as an English teacher. I like your passion and gushy-ness. I started reading when you were single and a couple of your posts hit home for me. I think it's very brave to put yourself out there the way that you do.

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    1. wow - libya! i'd be really interested to hear more about your experiences there.
      "gushy-ness" - i love that! thank you so much for reading and for commenting!
      xo

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  52. Hi I am Rachel. I recently graduated from college in December. And after graduating high school a year early and college in 3 1/2 years, I decided to take some time off to relax and travel and study for the LSAT(which is in a few weeks ahhhh).
    I started reading your blog because I love stories about people who are different than me. I love reading about different cultures, lifestyles and religions. When I first started reading I thought wow we are so different this is so cool to learn about other people, but as time has gone on I have realized we are pretty similar. So that is one of my new goals in life to look around at people I would originally think are different and find the similarities.
    And side note... I love that even though you are religious you don't have strictly conservative views. Because I have found most people assume I am conservative because I am religious, but I actually lean left on most subjects. (See! A sort of similarity!)

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    1. hey rachel! you definitely deserve some time off to relax and travel :) good luck on the lsat!!!!

      i love that new goal, and i think i will also adopt it, if that's okay with you. truly, we have more in common than we think - with all humans!

      and yes, religious does not equal conservative!

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  53. Hi Charity :) Fun to dare us all! I was on a mission with Shawni and found your blog years ago through hers. She's so good to link you all on her blog haha :) Right now I'm enjoying your blog for all of the London sights and tips since we are planning a trip of a lifetime to London in October :) Also, my mom was on a mission with your dad years ago in NYC. Good connections. Have a great day!

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    1. ooooh you're going to have a great time over here in october! please do let me know if there's anything i can do to help you plan your trip!!
      xoxo

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  54. I am from AZ and found your blog through Shawni's. I am similar to you in that I find much joy in motherhood. I guess I differ from you in that I am not LDS. I do enjoy reading your blog and your zest for life. My biggest complaint would be that I don't feel as though you get very deep. I recognize that your faith is important to you but I am not sure I agree with how you flesh or out. Someone I aspire to be more like is Shannan Martin from Shannan Martin Writes. She truly lives her faith and not by "obeying" but more by doing and being.

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    1. hi kristen! thanks for your comment. i'm glad you enjoy the zest :)

      i'd love to learn more about what you mean by "i'm not sure i agree with how you flesh it out" and "i don't feel as though you get very deep." do you mean i don't write enough on my blog about my faith? or only surfacey things about my faith here? this blog was never intended to be an outlet for my spirituality, per say, but i'm thinking it could and should be a bit more...?

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    2. I didn't really know how to articulate my thoughts exactly which is why I brought up Shannan. I guess I am interested in how obedience to ordinances and a pursuit to eventually attain exaltation puts the focus on Christ and not yourself?

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    3. i'll have to check out shannan's site. thanks for the heads up!

      i am try to be obedient, and to pursue exaltation, BECAUSE i believe in christ. i KNOW that i can't do it on my own - the challenges of this life or the hope of eternal life. i need him. i need his power and his love, and i feel them in my life everyday as i seek him.

      i'm curious if this doesn't come across in my blog when i share tidbits of faith. does it seem like i'm focusing on myself and not christ? if so, i need to change that, stat!

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  55. Hi Charity and all the great commentors! I love posts like this and can't wait to read all the comments.

    I'm Riina, 24, Finland. I just graduated as Master of Political Sciece. I have the honor and privilage to be able to work in the Ministry for Foreing Affair's development policy deparment. I'm a water and sanitation policy officer. Being a public servant is my dream job and being able to play a small part with making the world better is my goal in life. I truly want to leave this earth in better conditition when I leave than what it is now.

    I'm not religious, I don't really have any family apart my partner and my Sister. I believe I would be an Amazing mother given the chance. I love flowers and cake and genuine smiles.

    I love this blog because I feel it is a genuine representation of you as a person. It has the best pictures and adjectives. Sometimes I feel like you are spoiled and don't know nothing about real life. But I guess somebody could think like that of me and since that is not true

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    1. ...why would it be true with you. I love that you love you'r life, I love my life too.

      I Will be disapointed if London won't be as pretty as it is in you'r pictures when I'll visit London the first time next week.

      Love, Riina

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    2. hi riina! ian and i are hoping to get to finland before too long!

      i'm so glad the blog comes across as genuine to you. i try! and i sure do love my adjectives :)

      i can understand how i may come across as "spoiled." i don't write a ton about my experiences with "real life" - hard things in my life and what i observe in the lives of others that i know and try to serve. maybe i should write more about that?

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  56. Hi Charity, love your blog. I met you once in the Oakland Temple. :) Last year you gave me a bit of advice on my England trip (we were going to see Jane Austen sites) and I followed your post of a day walking around London! So you've been very helpful to me. I found you through Shawni's blog and I've read some of your mother's books. I love to read about your travels and also I love to read about Mormon women, who live in today's world but manage to be dedicated to the faith.
    Amy In CA

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    1. i'm so glad i have been helpful!
      thanks for reading!

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  57. working mother of 2 living in bogota, colombia. we are from the U.S. but have been here for 5 years for our jobs with multi-nationals.

    i am fascinated from afar by the Mormon church and the fact that its members really do have a unique brand of joy and peace. i don't ever see myself converting, but from this blog and those of your family i learn so much about family and ideas for my own young family on how my husband and i can create a stronger family structure than those that we come from.

    thank you for opening yourself up to us!

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    1. what an interesting place to live! i'd love to hear about your experiences in colombia.

      it's really interesting that you see a unique brand of joy and peace in mormons. i'm really grateful for how my faith brings me joy and peace.

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  58. Hi! My name is Alicia. I live in American Fork and I am a huge fan of your parents' books- I think I found you through their blog. I have three little kids who are 3, 1 and 6 weeks, so I am in the thick of mothering little ones. I love your positivity and sense of adventure! Thank you for sharing!

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    1. hi alicia! thanks for reading and sharing and taking me up on my dare :)

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  59. Hi Charity. I'm Natalie from Riverton, UT. Like many others I think i found your blog through Shawni's. I have two kids 2 and 10 months. My youngest was born just a few days before your Mo. I've loved reading your pregnancy and mothering journey as (I think) it closely resembles mine. Nice to "meet" you. :)

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    1. i'm thinking that 10 months old is my favourite stage yet! but i guess i've said that about every stage...hmmmm... :)

      thanks for reading, natalie!

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  60. This is an awesome idea. I found your blog through Shawni's after a friend recommended hers to me and have been reading both ever since. I often feel weird reading blogs of people I've never met, but I get so many good ideas from you both and just love your positivity. I live in the bay area and love your SF recommendations and your travel posts. We have a dream to travel the world or live abroad and you are so inspiring that way. I have four kids who are 12, 10, 7 and 4 and also have loved revisiting the baby stage again through your posts. Probably the thing I love most about your blog is the way you are able to handle the criticism and outright meanness you get sometimes and keep blogging. I'm sure it is tough but I admire that a lot. You are awesome! P.S. I think I once saw your (now) husband at the Creche exhibit in Palo Alto. :)

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    1. oh, the bay area is just the best, best, best. thank you for the compliment about handling criticism. i really do see so much value in criticism.
      isn't the creche exhibit mindblowing? love that.
      give the bay area a big high five for me! :)

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  61. Hi Charity, I'm Jeanelle and I live in the Seattle area. I found Shawni's blog one day and then yours and I was drawn to yours because besides also being LDS, you and I were also both single for a bit longer than we had thought we would be (although I'm much older than you - I turn 50 tomorrow!) I actually just got married six weeks ago for the first time ever and it has been the most wonderful and amazing thing. I still sort of pinch myself that this all happened for me. It's just the best! Anyway, I love your happy blog and so appreciate your positive outlook on life.

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    1. I'm so pleased for you. Congrats on your wedding.x

      This gives me hope. I'm 58,childless & LDS. Sometimes it's so hard to carry on but your comment has given me the faith & hope to carry on.

      Thank you. x

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    2. i'm so happy for you, jeanelle! thanks for reading and for the comment. xx

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  62. Hi Charity,

    we actually met briefly in Istanbul when you were doing your around the world trip :)

    I think I share your passion for the small things in live and how they can enrich it. A beautiful street, a good meal, a wonderful encounter... Just yesterday I took my rubberboat out on the river for the first time this year. I had a new add-on boat for food and drinks and we spent an afternoon just floating around. I'm bad at taking breaks, but this wonderful not-doing-anything yesterday helped me to remember how important it is to pause, relax, enjoy the sun and a good conversation with friends - I need to do this more.

    I'm inspired by people who DO things and are not afraid to take a leap. And you are one of the DOers that's why I like reading your blog :)

    Cheers from Berlin,
    Tabea.

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    1. hey tabea!!!! meeting you in istanbul was seriously such a highlight! both ian and i loved getting to know you and sharing the joy of a pistachio magnum bar with you :) you are in berlin now?! visiting or living? i love your thoughts about stopping to enjoy the world around you. it is so important and so empowering, i think!

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  63. Hi Charity! I'm from Arizona - I found you either through your parents' or Shawni's blog and have followed you here (and on Instagram) since 2013(ish). I ran into you, Ian, Shawni, and Dave at Pita Jungle in Mesa one Easter weekend, and by "ran into", I mean I came up to your table to interrupt your meal to say hi and how much I love reading both of your blogs, and all of you were beyond gracious and kind. It made my night, and everyone I was at dinner with heard nothing from me except how happy I was to have been at the right place at the right time.

    I love your pictures and your honesty and your willingness to be frank. In situations that you may have offended someone or stated your opinion that doesn't mesh with someone else's, I love that you will acknowledge it while still being willing to share what you think. That can't be easy on a public platform, so kudos. I genuinely feel that your honestly and openness is teaching all of us how to be be more open and honest in our own lives, even if just with ourselves, so thank you! (This triple dog dare just being one tiny example of what I'm talking about.)

    Your attitude on traveling, exploring different cultures, and putting yourself out of your comfort zone were some of the influences that propelled me to accept both opportunities I had during the past few years to work abroad (Singapore and Germany). I really admire that about you, and the openness that you exude as you write about your travels and experiences with people are some of my favorite things to read and ponder. Plus, Moses is adorable!

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    1. i remember that evening at pita pit! it was so fun to meet you!!

      i really didn't intend for/anticipate that the comments in reply to my dare would be so complimentary! but i appreciate your compliments here! i'm so so glad this blog has propelled you to do something that enriched your life.

      and yes, moses IS adorable. i adore him like crazy!! :)

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  64. Hi,
    I'm 58, childless & LDS. I've been a member of the church 40 years in July & am the only member in my family, which is really hard at times.

    Your Dad was a huge influence on my conversion to the gospel & I will always be grateful to him for that. Every time I sing/hear the last verse of The Spirit of God I think of your Dad.:)

    I really enjoy your blog & especially how you've embraced the British way of life.

    A couple of things I don't like - no capitals, such as a capital I & also and, such as "we went to Dover and the white cliffs and the town and had lovely food etc." I was always taught that you should only put and at the end of a sentence. I've found this on other blogs & Facebook etc too, so maybe it just a way of cramming it all in.

    Still a brill blog tho & I thank you for this.

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    1. hi julie! i always love your kind comments. thanks for being here and engaging.

      that last verse of "the spirit of god" is so funny - my dad always perks up for that one :) but i think it's actually not good news for us if there will be no eyre at the last day with the lamb and lion!! ;)

      i should probably use less "and"s. i just have so much that i love and want to describe! :)

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  65. I'm reading from central Illinois and, like you, am passionate about my kids and my family. Similarities and differences depend on perspective - I definitely don't "drip with passion" like you do. I like your honesty and ability to share your passionate take on life. I don't usually read the comments because in my opinion, people are mean and sometimes take shots at you for sharing what is pure joy in the little things. Your joy gives me a different perspective since I'm "dripping with logic."

    The next part is tough and I mean no disrespect but I disagree with your religious beliefs. If I were to have one conversation with you, I would ask you to try and convince me that Joseph Smith was a prophet. Some things just can't be explained without a conversation. You seem to have many great qualities and I'm sure that we could discuss opposing religious beliefs without being disrespectful. I'm curious if you have many close friends that believe as strongly as you do about about an opposing religion. So many of my deep thoughts center around my faith which makes me wonder what your experiences are. We all choose friends with values similar to our own...do you find religion to be a deciding factor with close friends?

    One of my favorite inspirational quotes for my kids is from e.e. cummings, "It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are." I think you live that quote every day and will continue to do so for years.

    Keep growing! Keep Inspiring!!

    Kara

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    1. hey kara! thanks for your comment. i chuckled at "dripping with logic." love it ;)

      i'd genuinely love to have a conversation with you about religion! i love talking about my faith. there's no way i could convince you that joseph smith was a prophet, though. i'd just invite you to ask god about it. that's how i developed a belief that he was, and that's all i can go back to. i think there's some pretty compelling practical reasons to believe he was inspired, but only god can tell you if he did or didn't chose joseph smith to be a prophet.

      great question about friends of different faiths. honestly, most of my closest friends throughout my life have been mormons. i think there's several reasons for that, the chiefest probably being that being a mormon is such a huge lifestyle thing - there's so much culture that surrounds it and my faith bleeds into all aspects of my life. of course i don't decide my friends based on their faith, but i absolutely tend to have more in common with and more to relate on (and just generally more overlap in activities and lifestyle) with mormons that those of other faiths. i do have some really good friends who are not mormons, though, and i am greatly enriched by those relationships.

      i love that quote from e.e. cummings (my kindred spirit when it comes to lowercase letters - haha!). thank you for sharing!

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  66. Hello from Palo Alto. I am a friend of Saren's; we met on study abroad in London in 1989. Saren and I have stayed in contact, I have helped her run a couple Power of Mom retreats. I am passionate about motherhood, families, the gospel of Jesus Christ, missionary work, and London. I love seeing pictures of London and the Bay Area. I connect with the struggle of different parts of life that you write about, whether it is becoming a mom, balancing married life with individual talents and interests, and have enjoyed reading your blog here and there while I am attending to being a woman and mom myself. I have 5 children (3 at home, one on a mission, one in college). My oldest is in the Lake District this summer doing an internship with BYU at Dove Cottage. If you go through there in the next few months, you may run into her. I will be coming to visit her this August, stopping through London, then heading to France to visit where she served a mission. Thanks for sharing your pictures of the world, your insights, etc. We met a few years ago at church when you lived here in Palo Alto, and briefly made the connection about Saren. You probably wouldn't remember me, but we probably have lots of mutual friends in the Bay Area. Have a great week!

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    1. i think i remember meeting you, julia. you are blessed to be friends with saren. that is one amazing woman. dove cottage sounds pretty magical! we are actually planning a trip to the lake district in august!

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    2. It would be fun to run into you and your family in England. Have a great week! My daughter is Nicole if you go to Dove Cottage before August 4!

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  67. Hi I'm from Elk Ridge, Utah and found your blog through your sister's blog, 71toes. Ive also been to a Power of Mom's retreat at your parent's house in Park City that was amazing! I've lived in both big and small cities (NYC was awesome!) and wish I could travel more-that's probably why I love visiting your blog, I'm living vicariously! Can't wait to see London someday. My passions are graphic design, my children & husband, organizing and the gospel (fellow Mormon here!). My question for you is... what football club do you cheer for now that you live in England? We love Arsenal here at our house. :)

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    1. hey kristen! come to london! you'll looooove it! :)

      i love your question. i am an arsenal fan ONLY because i had a die-hard arsenal fan as a district leader on my mission and so i chose to support arsenal for no good reason. ian and i really need to get out to a football match - i think it would be so fun!

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  68. Dare accepted!
    I live in Berkshire, not too far from Windsor, although I spent some of my childhood not too far from where you live now.
    I came to your blog through 71toes (like so many it seems!), I read a lot of Eyre family blogs now ��I've been following you since long before you came to live over here.
    We don't have much in common other than a love of travel (you're fitting in more than me for sure, although I have Bruges, Copenhagen, Helsingborg & Oslo coming up in a few weeks!). I'm early 40s, a primary school teacher, married for 23 years with a 19yo DS & a 15yo dd.
    I love seeing pictures of your travels & your gorgeous little one.
    Connections matter ��
    Jane

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    1. hi jane! i have a soft spot in my heart for berkshire since i spent a lot of my time as a missionary there :)

      have such a great upcoming trip! that sounds like a stellar lineup!

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  69. Hello Charity, I started reading 'mormon mommy blogs' years ago. I think in part due trying to understand the choices of a girl I used to know at school who was mormon (she was the only mormon at my school). The contrast between my life and her life was interesting, she moved to the US and had multiple kids, while I pursued my education and career. The Salon article about a women working towards her PhD who loved to read mommy mormon blogs aligns with my experience hugely, except that I am British and have always lived in the UK.

    I enjoy your blog for many  reasons: our differences, our similarities your enthusiasm for a city i adore, seeing the UK from a US perspective, the way you live your life with intent and purpose. I love that you are always willing to seek feedback and learn from it, which is a characteristic I try to emulate. I am 32, work just around the corner from you in central London and don't have marriage or children on the horizon anytime soon. Yet, at some point during each work day I will check out your blog to see what you have posted. It provides a good counterpoint to my day. If I ever bump into you and your family during my day to day life I look forward to intruding introducing myself.

    Very best wishes and please keep blogging,
    Helen

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    1. Introducing not intrudin! I really shouldn't type this late!

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    2. hi helen! i hope we do bump into each other around here!
      very best wishes back to you!

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  70. I'm Melanie. I am a SAHM and fellow member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I found your blog from 71toes, which I also adore. I love seeing the bee-u-tiful things you post and understanding things from your perspective. I love smiling. I have five hard-working, intelligent, determined, eager, joyful children and a super husband that my life truly revolves around (happily). I love optimism, laughing--especially with those listed above, eating delicious food, singing, reading, writing, filming (which is a goal of mine to get better and better at), family stories, learning, traveling, and snuggling with my littles. I love setting and accomplishing goals. I am amazed by the immense love of God I notice in my life in every hour. I love the way you and your family members are able to express your ups and downs, as you see fit, in a constantly-uplifting way. It helps me to look at things in my life in a new way. I would love to meet you all in person. :D

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    1. Excited also to hear about your future plans and what you've decided will be your future career. Mo is adorable!

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  71. hi charity! i am a home visitor in rural nebraska - i will be a school counselor next year! i found your blog years ago through shawni's and have been reading ever since! i am newly married. we purchased a $20,000 completely run-down home, and are bringing it back to life. and by we, i mean my husband is doing the majority of the work!

    one reason i keep coming back is because i love your passion for travel. you have inspired my husband and i to make travel a priority in our lives. we leave on our honeymoon soon - finland, estonia, sweden, and iceland! our next adventure will be alaska - my brother in law is moving to barrow. i have loved reading about and learning from your travels, and am excited to make memories of my own!

    i love that you are so open with your life. i remember reading your post on loneliness awhile back, and your ability to be open inspired me. my husband and i are trying to have kids - it's been almost a year, and i had a miscarriage a few weeks ago. i felt like i had to suffer in silence - like my grief was too insignificant to talk about or it was just inconvenient for other people. it was so lonely, and i am determined to kind of lift the silence. of course, i don't want to overshare and have things be weird - but it is part of me and my life. it happened, and i don't understand the mindset of pretending like it wasn't real and painful. so anyway, i appreciate your ability and willingness to be vulnerable. that isn't easy.

    i also hope to be a foster parent one day soon! i have wanted to adopt since i was a kid, and that has morphed into fostering (with the goal of reunification, while being open to adoption) as i've gotten older and understood more about how things are, and especially as i have wrestled with my pro-life beliefs and the reality of the world. i would have become a foster parent as soon as we got married, but i am just waiting for my husband to be ready :)

    thanks for writing your blog! of course, there are times that i don't always agree with you or something you write irritates me, but i have a feeling that you would feel the same about me - ha! plus that keeps life more interesting! thanks for sharing your life with the world!

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    1. hi kayla! what an exciting project with your house! i loooove seeing what people do to fixer-upers. but i would be soooo overwhelmed with a project like that!

      that honeymoon sounds amazing!! we are hoping to do a roadtrip through the baltic states in the next year. and ian is dying to go to alaska since it's the only state he's never stepped foot in!

      i'm so, so sorry about your miscarriage. thank you for being vulnerable and sharing that. because you don't have to suffer in silence! i can totally relate to feeling like my grief is too insignificant to talk about. but i've come to believe that NO grief is insignificant. it's such a huge part of the shared experience of humanity and it's so important to process and work though. i send all, all the best wishes to you in your hope to become a parent, both biologically and through fostering/adoption. i am always so impressed with foster parents.

      thanks so much for reading and for your comment!

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  72. First time commenter-from Mesa Az. I actually came across your blog from your sister Shawni's blog. I went to high school with Shawni's husband Dave. I love your zest for life, adventure and people. Love your tips for traveling especially the Bay area and London. Just recently returned from a 10 day trip to London and Paris where we got to tour the new Paris temple (unbelievable!) I actually am pretty sure I saw you and your cute family in London on General Conf sunday outside the visitors center/chapel but was too embarrassed to be one of the weird blog stalkers!! London is amazing and appreciated some of your tips on what to see an eat!! We especially love Udderlicious and Ottolenghi (Sp?) Thanks for all recommendations you give on you blog-keep it up!!! Love the blog!

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    1. hi jill! i'm trying to remember if we were ever around the visitors centre on that weekend! oh yes, i think i met ian there after the showing of priesthood session. you should have said hi!! i love meeting strangers and blog readers! i am SO glad you got to udderlicious and ottolenghi. yummmmmmm

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  73. Hi Charity! I don't really know what to write but I couldn't pass up your double dog dare! Writing from Boston. I'm working as an elementary school music teacher and high school lacrosse coach right now. It's really fun but also very tiring. I'm really grateful for your blog and how it made me want to learn more about the church. I can't believe it was three and a half years ago that we were emailing and I made the decision to get baptized! I am so grateful for the gospel in my life every day. I love it so much! Thank you for the part you played in helping me find it!
    Love, Katie

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    1. katie!!! hi friend! three and a half years - wow. meeting you was seriously such a highlight of that year, and really of my life! you are one amazing woman - so glad i know you! xo

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  74. Hi, I'm Ros from Melbourne, Australia. I am a WAHM to 4 kids (13, 12, 11 & 10) and I found your blog ages ago through your sister Shawni. When I am not busy working I am chasing around playing taxi to my kids who play basketball and do acrobatics. I myself am not religious but other peoples faith interests me.

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  75. Hi Charity!
    I'm a junior in college, and from Ohio! I found your blog through Shawni's and I have no idea how I found her's, but I seriously feel like I know you, and wish I could meet all of you! I'm in school to be a inclusive early childhood educator, meaning I can teach in typical k-3 classrooms, as well as being an intervention specialist! I just shadowed my 5th grade teacher today to see if I want to get my 4th/5th endorsement next summer!
    I love reading about your faith, travels, and motherhood. I really love traveling, but it will be difficult to do on a teacher's salary! My dream is to go to Australia. I am lucky enough to be going to Paris with my grandma in July as my high school graduation present.
    I find it interesting to hear about your faith, as well as how you mother Moses. Mainly, I just like to peek into other people's lives and see how they live. I think it is so valuable to learn about how others live!
    Something I've been curious about is what exactly is your career? I know you mentioned recently it is something in education, if I can remember right!
    Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing your life with us!

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    1. Oh! Also, when I go to Paris we are taking a day trip to London! I can't wait to see some of the things you have shared on your blog in real life! :)

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    2. hey carley! you can make travel work on your teacher salary! i know it's hard - i was there! but you can make it happen if you really want to :) so exciting that you are coming to paris and london! i hope you have a fantastic trip, and let me know if there's anything i can do to help!

      i am currently a stay at home mom with some work projects on the burner :) but yes, my field is education. i've worked at a treatment center for troubled girls, at a non-profit thinktank doing research around education policy, at a network of charter schools as a learning coach, teacher and administrator (my title was "personalized learning manager" and i oversaw all efforts for personalizing learning at our schools), and as a contracted consultant on a project at a network of academy schools here in the uk.

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  76. hi! I'm K from Columbia, SC. I follow your blog bc of your passion for your family, traveling, and food. I would love to have the guts to move to a big city to take the time to explore and be cultured. I hope when I have kids I have the passion and ability to travel like you do

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    1. hi k! thanks for reading and taking me up on my dare. now i dare you to move to a big city and travel with kids ;)

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  77. Hi there! My name is Amanda and I live in Wagga Wagga, Australia. I got onto your blog through your sisters 71 Toes. Whilst I'm not a Mormon nor religious I enjoy reading what you write about family and raising children. I have an 18 month old daughter and whilst motherhood is certainly tough sometimes, I really love it and like to get tips and tricks on how to do it. I love travelling too so have really liked reading about your lives in London and also your many trips!! I don't think I'd be that brave to travel as much with a toddler but I like to live vicariously through you :)

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    1. hi amanda! wagga wagga sounds like a cool place, just from the name!

      go for it on traveling with your toddler! it might be totally crazy but it also might be totally awesome! so i say it's worth a try ;)

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  78. Hi Charity! I've been reading your blog since you days in the Bay Area. I's Amy from in Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate. I am a full time working at home mom of two kids (16 & 11). We love traveling so I love all your travel posts. We are off to Italy, Greece & England this summer! I lived in England for 2 1/2 years so I love your posts about living in England. I also had a baby in England. It was really interesting reading and agreeing with your experience of having a baby in England. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. ahhhh marin county!!! love love love that part of the world. sounds like you have a fun summer planned. i hope you have an awesome trip! interesting that you also gave birth in england!

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  79. Hi charity! I'm Amy from a small country town South of Sydney (only 900 people in the town). I found your blog from Shawnis and follow all of Eyrealm. I just love your family, you all just seem so passionate for life and your purposeful parenting is inspiring. Im getting married next year and cannot wait to start a family and do so many ideas with my kids I've got from your family (dates, interviews, Valentine's Day attack, bank). I'm catholic but the Morman church is so interesting to me, Id love for a missionary to knock on my door one day and start the process of joining the church but I wouldn't even know where to start! I have followed your blog for so many years, I have loved yours and Ian's love story. I still remember reading your heart ache and heart break post and crying with you, I too knew the feeling of buying ice cream in the car alone and sobbing deep deep sobs in the shower and you put it so eloquently. I felt genuine happiness when you announced you were back together and then engaged. It's so nice when good, good people find happiness they so deserve. Some questions for you: how many kids would you like to have and when will you start trying for N.2? Is it funny how to read back over posts about urging to be a mother now you got everything you wished for? Are you excited for eyerealm reunion? So much joy from me to you!

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    1. lots of australian readers - i love it!

      congratulations on your upcoming wedding!

      if you'd genuinely love for a missionary to knock on your door, you can ask them to come! check it out: https://www.mormon.org.uk/missionaries that's where to start! ;)

      we would like to have several more children, but aren't putting a number on it. and we're keeping our plans for trying for number two private :)

      it's totally crazy to read back over posts about wanting to be a mom - i feel so so so grateful. i am sooooooooooo excited for the eyrealm reunion, especially because i missed it last year. seriously can't wait!

      thanks for reading and for taking me up on my dare! let me know if i can help in any way with your interest in the church!

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  80. Hi charity! I live in Brooklyn and have read your blog for a few years. It's been such a ride to follow along with your dating live in CA, meeting Ian, seeing your wedding, and now seeing Moses!

    I have always loved how honest you are on this blog. As so many bloggers only focus on the things they do, you certainly focus on how things feel and it is heartening and fascinating and humanizing (plus the regularity with which you write is so so nice). I think the way you write creates that sense of human connection!

    Oh and for things that drive me crazy: Only silly stuff that's not worth mentioning because boy does it take courage to speak out publicly like you do.

    Xo

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    1. it's so great to hear that a focus on feeling rather than doing comes across here. thank you! i love love love human connection.

      now i'm ever more curious about what drives you crazy! ;)

      thanks for reading!

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  81. Hi Charity, I found your blog way back when you just returned from mission (I think) by googling for blogs by Wellesley girls since I was thinking of transferring colleges back then. Your emphatic blog name made an impression on me as well as your Mormon faith. I actually stopped reading your blog and rediscovered it this year--with a new baby, husband and location! I found your blog during an unhappy time in my life and one other thing that struck me was how happy and well adjusted you were and I'm still learning to do/be that. I'm Tracy, I just turned 28, I live in the Philippines I'm currently unemployed and planning my way back to school.

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    1. hi tracy. great to hear from you! i wish you all the best in going back to school!

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  82. Hi Charity! My name is Emily. I'm from St Louis Mo.i believe we are about the same age. I'll be 32 next month.
    We are completely in almost every way. I was raised in a low income family by a young widowed mother. I'm a single mother to 4 children whose father is a complicated mess. I worked my way through the first party of nursing school and finished my LPN when my oldest 3 were 6 and younger (as a single mother). I just graduated on Saturday from an RN program in hopes of better opportunities to support my family.
    I found your blog through Shawni. While our lives are vastly different, I have always appreciated having the positivity accessible. The only time I have ever really been bothered by anything on your blog was the post with the many carriers for Mo. It was challenging for me to read. But I commented (emotionally and not logically) regarded the refugees from Syria. And you replied back with grace and dignity. Totally changed my viewpoint.
    I'm the flipside, my favorite post was "on being alone (but not lonely)". I've been raising my children on my own for the vast majority of their lives. And most recently been solo for almost 4 years.
    This quote resonates with my soul:
    "never mistake aloneness for loneliness. in order to grow, you need time away, away from the noises of the world, friends, comfort, and all distractions to find what is important and fulfilling. these alone moments build character and show the level of patience you are willing to endure to find the spirit and wrestle with thoughts that tell you you aren't worth anything or you can't do it right.

    when you are lonely, you are saying, 'i don't have much meaning in my life. someone come and make me happy. i am unwilling to give because i am feeling sorry for myself. you, world and all the people i know, are responsible for entertaining me and proving to me that i am worthwhile.'

    change these moments of loneliness into ones of aloneness"

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    1. On the flipside. Not I'm the flipside.
      And I love Mo's hair!

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    2. hi emily. thanks so much for sharing so much about yourself. so many congratulations on your graduation! i am in complete awe of single parents. you are amazing, and your children are so lucky to have you. i'm really glad the alone but not lonely post resonated with you. the quote is from my high school english teacher, bless her soul.

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  83. Hi from Texas! What I love most about your blog and life is the beauty you find in everyday moments and unexpected places :) I am least intrigued by what you write that is politically-minded (although that isn't much), and I learn most from what you share of your faith-based family day-to-day life. I agree wholeheartedly that travel with children can be amazing--one of our best family experiences to date was a trip we took with our children (ages 5, 7, 9, and 11) a year ago to Machu Picchu. My husband's family is from Cusco, Peru (you haven't been there yet--right?), so finding a way to get back to those roots has been a priority--and a dream come true for us. Thanks for your inspiration to travel, purposefully cultivate relationships (starting with one's own family), and appreciate the good in the world!

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    1. hi! i have actually been to cusco and machu piccu! but it was a long time ago - i was a teenager. i'd love to go back with ian because machu piccu is at the top of his bucket list. we actually wanted to go on our around the world trip, but ian really wanted to do the whole inca trail, and it is booked out so far in advance! someday!

      thank you for all you shared!

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  84. Hello hello! I'm Julie and I'm 26 from Dallas, TX. I think I found your blog through 71 toes and while I don't have kids and am not Mormon, I keep reading because I admire female bloggers who are just trying to figure it all out and are honest in the process about being an adult, wife, and/or Mom. Thanks for sharing, I admire your courage for putting yourself out there! Keep exploring and thank you for taking us all along on your adventures! Cheers!

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    1. hi julie! thanks for reading and for taking me up on my dare! :) all the best to you!

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  85. Hello! I'm Shannon, living in upstate NY, but from Michigan. I'm 44, married with one miracle child. Very much an agnostic- one who marvels and almost envies your faith. I've followed your sisters' blogs for years and have so enjoyed reading about your life's journey too. I've learned a lot from you and so admire your adventures, openness and zest for life- those traits are so foreign to me, I'm the complete opposite! I always enjoy reading your blog; there's such a sweet charm to your writing and goodness, I've seen parts of the world I've never even thought about.

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    1. hi shannon! i'd love to hear more about your spiritual journey that led to becoming agnostic. we all have so much to learn from each other!

      thank you so much for the compliments and for reading along!

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  86. Annette Cumins16 May 2017 at 07:37

    Hello Charity. I am Annette and I am mom of 4 children ages 12,9,7 & 5. I have known about the Eyre family for years because my mom was a fan of your parents' books and ideas and tried some of their tips and tricks to help our family while I was growing up. I found your blog through your sister Saren's 5 kids in 5 years blog. My 12 year-old daughter is in the same grade and goes to the same school as your twin nephews S & O. I recently was in their Spanish class and watched them present their year-end projects all spoken in Spanish. The twins did a great job. (my daughter did well also.) I also love your travel adventures and live vicariously through your writings and photos. I randomly read your sisters' and parents' blogs. Your blog is joyous to read! Due to circumstance and life's curve balls. I do not have the privilege of being a SAHM. I do feel SAHM is a privilege and if one has the opportunity savor the moments. I do have a wonderful job of teaching STEM classes to children all over the county and I get to tell them the great skills and opportunities that the 4-H youth program offers to the families around here. I am somewhat acquainted with your sister Saren but I am not sure she would know exactly who I am. I have traveled throughout the U.S. Outside the U.S. have only traveled to Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina (I served a mission in Paraguay) I have been to Mexico and Canada, Jamaica and the Grand Cayman Islands. I would love to travel overseas to Europe, I want to go to Hawaii and Puerto Rico as well. My parents and brothers and sisters travel a lot and I get very jealous because financially travel is not a possibility for my family of 6 at this time. Last year my dad treated me and my eldest daughter to a trip to Washington D.C. and that was very fun. I liked having the one on one time with my daughter. It would be my dream to live in every country in the world for about 3 months traveling around and getting to know the people that live in small towns and villages, tasting their cuisine and savoring the sunshine and stars seen from their perspective.

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    1. how fun that you know oliver and silas! i love love love those good boys. sounds like you are doing wonderful work in your job. when you come to europe - some day! - stop by london and say hello! :)

      your dream to live in every country in the world is amazing! i too would LOVE "getting to know the people that live in small towns and villages, tasting their cuisine and savoring the sunshine and stars seen form their perspective."

      thanks for reading and commenting!

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  87. Hi Charity,
    I am Sherryl from Sri Lanka. I have been following your blog for years now. Its my weekly inspiration :) I was soo excited to read your recent visit to my beautiful island and was so sad I could not connect with you. Maybe someday.
    Thank you for the lovely posts and the spiritual goodness that you share.
    Love and God's blessings to your family
    From Sherryl

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  88. Hi Charity,

    I'm Juli (21) from Mainz, Germany. Right now I'm studying economics and business but can't wait to start a family with my “boy“ and become a mother. I love to read stories about your everyday life, travels and little (and very very cute) Moses.
    Sometimes I also read GOMI and i really admire your comments there. You have style:)

    Have a nice (and sunny) day

    Love, Juli

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  89. Hi Charity, I'm Kate & I'm a Kiwi living in Melbourne Australia. I'm a mum to 2 boys, an aspiring writer, and have in particular enjoyed reading your blog since you moved to London. I lived there for 5 years & often feel very nostalgic for it. Love seeing your experiences of it, including having a baby there (I didn't, but a couple of my friends had their first babies while living there), and all the amazing travel opportunities - oh gosh I miss Paris!

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    1. Also I just want to add I've really enjoyed reading the other comments here too :)

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  90. Hi!

    I found your blog when I lived in your sister, Saydi's Ward in Boston. We now live in Maine (and love it!). I love reading your blog because I love traveling. You are definitely convincing me to make my way to London soon. My husband is a resident and I coach soccer and stay home with my 3 and 1 year old. We are actually going to Switzerland in September and I can't wait! I just read all your posts from Switzerland. My husband and I are running a trail race along Lake Geneva and then we are headed up to the interlaken area. I'm so excited to take my kids there it looks so beautiful! I like your positivity and beautiful pictures on your blog! Sometimes the posts are too long for me (short attention span here) so I just skim it!

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  91. Hi Charity! I'm Jenna commenting from outside Washington DC. I admire your bravery in daring people to comment and share openly, and I always admire your gracious responses. I think you prove by them that you actually ARE NOT selfish and immature as so many accuse you of being.

    That being said, my degree in Professional Writing means that the lack of capital letters and poor spelling/grammar at times makes me a little "itchy" while I'm reading, but the lovely photos and sweet pics of Mo more than make up for that! ;-) And, truthfully and practically, I LOVE that you post regularly and give us a glimpse into your life that you obviously enjoy so much.

    I think my least favorite thing is the comments. Most of them just smack of jealousy to me--jealousy of your comfortable financial situation, travel opportunities, happy marriage, and healthy baby. It's sad that people feel the need to "land on" those things and be ugly, but it's a sad result of the anonymity one can assume when sitting behind a screen thousands of miles away. I often wonder if any of the naysayers would dare be so ugly to your face?? But, as I've mentioned, you are always gracious in your responses.

    The other thing I feel badly about is that you are so often made to feel that being a wife/mother must mean you are "unfulfilled" or not reaching your potential,etc. I went to private college and graduated with honors. I worked for four years until our first daughter was born after which I was privileged to stay home with our children (now 24, 21, 19, and 17). Now, out of financial necessity (my husband is a teacher! :-)), I work from home and enjoy lots of flexibility with that; however, if it were up to me, I would never be "employed" other than being a wife and mom. THAT is what fulfills me, and I dislike strongly the inference that I am "less than" because I feel that way. If I made a female lawyer/docto/nurse/etc feel that way, I would be vilified but,somehow, it's acceptable for a female lawyer/doctor/nurse/etc to do that to someone who has chosen to be home with her children. The double standard is maddening to me, and I am sorry that you are so often called upon to defend your past employment, future employment, etc. by your readers. So many people who chant "we need to love and accept everyone" defy their own logic by doing exactly what they preach against when they criticize those who have chosen differently. It amazes me that they cannot see the fallacy in their own behavior.

    Anyway......off my soapbox! Have a happy day in London! Enjoy every minute with that beautiful baby in that beautiful city! Oh....and one more thing: I had four babies naturally--long before many people cared one hoot about natural childbirth--and two of my babies weighed more than 9 pounds! But, if I'm totally honest, I was more scared of the epidural than the delivery! :-) Happy Tuesday!

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    1. Forgot to add that I found your blog through reading 71toes!

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