People are so interesting, aren’t they? Everyone has a story to tell, but too often I forget this and miss opportunities to hear their stories. I first met Lauren about a year ago when she became the Instagram Manger for Velvet Ashes.

Lauren and her family moved to Laos a little over a year ago. And guess what, Lauren is working on a PhD. I love asking people about their dissertations because, while I’m interested in learning, I do not have the personality or focus to earn one :). Let them do the hard work for hours and hours and days and days and then let me glean. I asked Lauren if we could glean from her this week because she fingers in many pots. She said yes!


Just look at her, don’t you think you could be her friend? Me too. And from what I know about Lauren, she’d take one look at you and want to be your friend too. Some people just sparkle, don’t they?

Well, after Lauren and I had worked out what to share with you, she met with her committee and they changed the trajectory of her dissertation topic. (See above comment as to why I’m not well suited for a dissertation). So instead of shoving all Lauren has for us on her “old” topic and her “new” one into one post, we’re going to savor our time with Lauren. The messy middle of life strikes again, but so does the grace of God.

This is the first of special three day series. We’ll touch on (sadly, but fascinating) sex trafficking in Southeast Asia, adjusting to new roles in life, and what it means for us where we are.


With Lao friends

Little cutie

In her own words, Lauren tells us a bit out herself:

Eliza is almost two years old! She was a 9-month-old when moved abroad. So we’ve been here a little over a year. But we planned to move overseas for 8 years. It was a long time coming. My husband was a first-year medical student in Memphis when we started to make plans. We took a couple of survey trips to SE Asia and fell absolutely in love with Lao PDR (Lao People’s Democratic Republic).

I finished my coursework for a PhD in International Family and Community Studies from Clemson University before we made the big move. Since then, I’ve been finishing up my thesis, submitting comprehensive exams, and starting my dissertation research. Keeping my fingers crossed I can aim for graduation next May…we’ll see!

As if life isn’t crazy enough, we have one more thing that is a big piece of our hearts. We’ve been in the adoption process for almost two years, an are waiting on a referral from Uganda. Living overseas complicates this process just a bit, and we are thankful to be working with an agency that specialized in expatriate adoptions. We love our agency, but are in a holding pattern as we pray for a child to be identified in an ethical way. We are anxious to grow our family. This is just another way we are out of control in determining our future…learning lots about that these days.

His timing is perfect, and we know this. But in times of transition and unknown, we have to practice saying this on the days we struggle believing it. I think at this point, my husband and I are just thankful that we have a year of intense language and culture learning under our belts. We are looking forward to walking through some of the doors the Father has opened to us after this period of quiet and submission. He is faithful!


You can read Lauren’s blog here, follow her on Instagram here, and follow her on Facebook here.

Do you know other people who live in Laos? What would you like to ask Lauren about life in Laos, working on a dissertation while in a foreign country and with a toddler (?!), or how she keeps her hair looking great in humidity? (I’ll be the first to say, I have hair envy. Oh, and while filming the Velvet Ashes Retreat videos, I learned Lauren also had ear lobes of steel. She can wear amazingly large earrings. I inherited rip-able ear lobes, so dainty earrings it is for me).

As you can see, Lauren is up for anything, she can swim from the shallow end of the discussion pool to the deep. Lauren, we’re honored to have you and your strong ear lobes here this week!

Leave A Comment

  1. Ashley June 9, 2015 at 7:05 am - Reply

    LOL, Amy. The ear lobes. Only you. ;)

    Looking forward to more from you, Lauren! In my head, we’re friends. So if we ever meet each other in person and I start talking to you as if we have a friendship history, that’s why.

    • Avatar photo
      Amy June 9, 2015 at 1:09 pm - Reply

      Lauren does a great job of making a person feel important, doesn’t she?!

    • Lauren Pinkston June 9, 2015 at 8:47 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Ashley — likewise! Friendship history…I like that. The beautiful thing about understanding each other is that we get to skip all the ‘living overseas changed my life so much’ talk because duh. And then get to the deep conversation :)

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