Jungle kid and what it taught me!

my childhood

We all look back at our childhood memories and reminisce.  I've been doing a lot of that lately and have come to realize that a lot of how I was raised is now influencing the way I run my life and my interior design business.
Our house in the village where we lived.
As some of you know, I was a missionary kid and for part of my childhood grew up in a pretty primitive part of Mexico (Chiapas).
My parents were on staff at Jungle Camp where they trained missionaries how to live in primitive areas.  Above is the local people meeting our family when we landed.
plane greeters
We flew in on a small airplane and landed on a tiny airstrip in the middle of nowhere.
My mom was a nurse and my dad was one of the lead instructor for training those missionaries.
Teaching them how to make a bed to sleep on from sticks.
Things like how to survive in the jungle, how to learn the languages, how to adjust to the culture, how to find food, how to steer a canoe, how to wash your clothes in the river, etc.
canoe trip
My  mom was such a good sport! She is in the middle.
  We had to live in a small village for part of that time to actually experience it for ourselves.
butchering the cow
Here are some of the things that I learned from that experience.  We lived in many other countries as well and each experience gave me the same lessons.
 I'm grateful that while we eat we don't have kids peering through watching us.  Grateful for privacy.
We lived very simply.  I don't know how my mom did it but she always made it feel like home.
Notice the mud stove where she cooked ALL our meals.  Including boiling the water that we brought up from the river each day.
 As I look at this, I'm so thankful for my double oven and my Ttavertine and wood floors.  I daily remember that it is about simplicity and not having to have everything.
Making our own bread and cinnamon rolls.  We baked them in the mud stove with a special technique using the coals.
Feel blessed that I was able to teach my kids how to make bread and also love my Krispy Kreme Donuts and Starbucks down the street! 
We were home schooled and often were  accompanied by a neighbor playing the guitar or little kids peering through the windows as they were so curious about what we were doing.
I'm thankful for the memories with my mom and that my kids have an incredible school they get to go to.  Mom you did a great job but  how blessed I am that we have great schools where we live.
We had no electricity so we had dinners by candlelight.  It made us eat as a family, that's for sure.
  Love that I have a switch that turn my lights on and off.  I also still love my candles, even though my house almost burned down because of them (that's another blog entry).
My sister and I washing clothes in the stream with our friend Cecillia.
Dad called us his twin tub washing machine.  Guess who had to hang them all out on the washing line?  Yes, We did.  Cecillia taught us how to carry the silver buckets on our heads and we felt quite pleased and proud about that.
I am thankful for being able to adjust to another culture and make friends with kids that didn't even speak my language.  Hand motions does the trick every time.    My washer and dryer are also at the top of my thankful list even though they aren't the red front loaders that I love so much.
Mom doing dishes outside.  Luckily we couldn't reach the sink!  She never complained (at least that we knew of).  She always said, "I have a great view."
I'm thankful for my mom and dad that instilled in me a great attitude in hard circumstances and am extremely happy that I have a dishwasher that washes and dries my dishes within an hour - it disinfects them with HOT water too!
Reading letter from home - 4 week old news but we were glued to every word from our grandparents and cousins in Africa.  Notice the mud floors and my precious porcelain bride doll on the window ledge that went everywhere with me.
 What a blessing to have e-mail and Facebook where I can communicate with my friends and overseas family by the minute.
We bathed in the river but we often loved walking to our favorite waterfall "our shower"!
It was absolute heaven on earth and we tried to make the trip each weekend.  We didn't tell a soul we knew about this hideaway!
I'm thankful for pool in my backyard and for my hot water that automatically comes on in my shower each morning.  I'm also glad that I don't have to hike 2 miles to get to my bathroom!  I'm also happy that I get to use shampoo and conditioner instead of just plain ivory soap!
Our grocery store.
My parents trained other missionaries on how to survive in the jungle.  We would stock up for 3 weeks and take everyone out for a test survival run.  Above are all the moms stocking up for their families.
I'm loving my Tom Thumb store that has more selections than I could ever imagine!  The first time my mom came home to visit she cried when she saw all the fresh vege's in the store because she was so happy - I still think of that now when I'm choosing my fruits and vegetables.
Our beds: hammocks! Is this heaven for kids or what?  Poor dad had to put up 5 of these!  Thanks Daddy!  Not only did he hang all our hammocks, he also dug a hole for our outhouse and even made a seat for us to sit on :)
My hammock.
I was so proud of it and made it all comfy cozy inside.  The first night I slept in it some kind of animal bumped up underneath it and scared me half to death.  I kept our whole family up all night.

 Thanks Daddy for all your hard work and diligence that has taught me so much about patience and hanging in there even when it is tough.  Pushing through even when it isn't fun.

I'm grateful for my king size "Heavenly Bed"  from the Westin Hotel that has no animals living underneath!
Our pantry and closet.  Oh my, how did my parents do it?  The food had to be in bags off the floor so the animals couldn't get to them.
I'm thankful for my pantry and for my closet..even though it doesn't have Elfa shelving.
Making bread on the open fire.
My mom and dad always found a way to entertain even in the jungle.  Our jungle home was always filled with people.
Glad I have friends around that come over and share life with us in the good and bad times.  Learned that my house doesn't have to be "perfect" to enjoy others. Our door is a constantly revolving and we love having people in our home.
We walked everywhere!  Sometimes my dad would carry us because it was just too hard.  The mules carried our belongings behind us.
Happy that my Honda Pilot SUV serves me well by getting me around and has seat warmers.
My 11th birthday - Our second house behind us!  We upgraded to the mud hut with thatch roof.

I'm thankful my parents always made us feel special on our birthdays.  All it takes is the simple things like friends, lots of hugs,  pinatas and cake for a kid to feel special on their big day (of course back then it only lasted a day...now I milk it for a week....shhhhh, don't tell).

Rope swing we made!  We also had one that swung into the river!
The simple life made me get creative when we were bored.  We didn't have to be entertained.  I'm hoping I can teach that to my kids.
Of course we all know that our childhoods start the process of who we become as adults.  All of life's experiences turn us into the people that we are today. 
What I've learned that I can apply to my business daily is that "using what we have" and making the best of every situation is a great lesson to apply to life.  Fortunately we HAD to do that as kids and it has made it easier for me now as an adult.
I wore thick glasses until I was 10 -
the best day of my life was when I got contacts.
I learned not to worry about what I looked like but what was in my heart.  Still working on that one, it's a constant process.
My business was started with the philosophy that I can "use what you have" to make something spectacular for your home.
It's been fun for me to see where my creativity was stemmed from.  I thank my Mom and Dad for teaching me so much about life from the experiences they gave me.  It was so hard for them I'm sure. 
However, for me it was the best of times. Thanks mom for always making a HOME no matter where we were. You guys always had us involved and kept us active even in the middle of the jungle.
I've been able to apply these skills to my business and use these life lessons daily as I'm introduced to new people and go into so many different homes.   

What lessons did you learn from your childhood that has made you who you are today?