Hi, I’m Lisa-Jo. I’m South African by birth and American by marriage. I write, I travel, and I sincerely believe motherhood should come with its own super hero cape.
I’ve blogged for Compassion International and love my current gig as the Social Media Manager for DaySpring and the Community Manager for their beautiful site, (in)courage– a true home for the hearts of women, where you’re always welcome, just as you are.
The past decade has seen me and my husband, Peter, gypsy our way around the globe: from South Africa to the United States, from Washington, D.C. to Notre Dame, Indiana, from Chicago to Kyiv, from Pretoria to Michigan, and back again to DC where it all started – 12 years, 3 continents and 3 kids ago.
A scribbled overview of our travel trails would look something like this:
Messy, I know. But what journey isn’t? Translated, mine looks like this:
- Born in Zululand, South Africa while my doctor dad was working at a mission hospital.
- Spent three years in Philly, PA where my dad completed a masters in Theology and my mom had another baby.
- Returned home to Pretoria, South Africa. My mom has baby number 3. I spend many happy years with my two little bros and the fam in Pretoria. Twelve years to be exact. My most permanent period of residency in a single city: 1980-1992.
- In 1992 my mom dies one week before my 18th birthday. I graduate high school and run away take off for a tour of the US, Canada and Europe.
- Home again in South Africa 6 months later.
- I hanker for the States. I apply to colleges and start as a freshman at a small Christian liberal arts college on the East Coast, USA. I make some of the best friends of my life.
- As a sophomore I attend an off-campus program in Washington, D.C. I. LOVE. IT.
- Coincidentally, I also fall in love with a Midwestern boy who is attending the same off-campus program. My life plans are hijacked. My father tells the boy, “but she was supposed to come home after graduation.”
- The boy and I are both accepted to grad school in South Bend, Indiana.
- I marry the boy in South Bend and 4 months later we celebrate all over again in Pretoria, South Africa.
- I graduate and the boy and I move to Chicago for just shy of a year.
- The boy receives a fellowship to complete field research in Ukraine. I quit my job. We move to Ukraine on a 10-month plan. We stay two and a half years.
- We visit Italy, Poland, Belarus and the Czech Republic. I fall in love with Prague.
- Homesick after a decade away from South Africa we make that our next stop. Despite the fact that I had always assumed I would rather eat glass than have kids, big changes ensue.
- Our first baby boy is born. He becomes best friends with my newly adopted little brother. We reconnect with family and friends in a frenzy of memories making up for ten years of separation anxiety.
- Michigan, USA offers us a wonderful opportunity. We accept. We move to tiny Owosso, Michigan. WE. LOVE. IT. Our second baby boy is born.
- The boy – now my main man – receives a job offer from the very same off-campus program where we met 12 years before in Washington, D.C. He accepts.
- We joyously relocate to the DC area. It’s like coming home. Again.
Oh and if you want to get in touch? That'd be nifty! I dig emails: thegypsymama1(at)gmail(dot)com I'm on Facebook. I have a crush on twitter. And if you ask me, there isn't enough snail mail going around these days: Lisa-Jo Baker c/o Mandy Butler DaySpring Cards, Inc. 21154 Highway 16 East Siloam Springs, AR 72761