Beautifully Human... Mandy Swain...


As we continue our series today, Beautifully Human...

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We focus on the beauty of humans and the power in their stories…

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Through telling their stories we hope to connect this world. To spread strength, love, and humanity...

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To show a common thread of beautiful humans…

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This week we go to Warsaw, Indiana with Amanda Swain to hear her incredible story...

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Mandy is one of my many cousins. Sadly I do not see her as often as we used to.

Growing up I remember laying on the floor with Mandy at our Grandma's house and looking at picture books of different states. I feel like those moments shaped both of us and our love for travel.

Mandy is such a kind and caring woman. I have always admired how incredible she is with her family. Seeing how we all were as kids I know she has a lot of that in her household.

It makes me happy to watch her and her family grow and adventure together. Happy to have her as family.

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Let’s all be beautifully human…

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#beautifullyhuman #amandaswain #wanderlustmoonduo #stayhuman



Tell me a story that shaped your life…


- I think something that has really shaped my life is my father dying when I was 4. I remember my 4th birthday with him laying in his hospital bed smiling at me while I played pin the tail on the donkey. He died 3 days later. I know this isn't a story really, it's an event but my life has been shaped by his legacy. He was an amazing man and I just wanted to make him proud and continue his legacy.



Tell me a story that enriched your life…


- I have so many stories from my travels that have enriched my life. Just seeing how people live all over the world and how little you need to be happy. It's all about relationships, with each other and with God.

Seeing the slower pace with less modern technology in Kyrgyzstan, the way neighbors help each other out and really create a village in Cambodia really makes me want for a slower pace of life. And they always have their hands open. What little they have they are so happy to share. It's a different worldview and it's really refreshing. I have really tried to slow the pace of my life and to live with generosity.


Tell me a story that enriched another life…


- I went to Cambodia a few years ago and led a women's retreat for the pastor's wives. And they were in tears every day because so many people came and helped their husbands while they stayed home and took care of the kids or ran the family business so their husbands could go to surrounding villages and preach.

But a group of women came with me and we spent the week just pouring into these women and basically telling them that we see them and that what they are doing is so important. We also swapped recipes (my kids get to enjoy my international recipes) and time just sitting and getting to know each other.


Tell me a story of crazy life…


- So my 15 wedding anniversary Dave and I spent driving home from the Bighorn Mountains with the kids. Well, we tried to drive home. We made it about 2 hours (so we were in the middle of nowhere Wyoming) and the Suburban just lost power and died. We managed to get the suburban and our trailer to the side of the highway and Dave tried to figure out what was wrong with it but we surmised that we couldn't fix it on the side of the road. We ended up calling a wrecker from the last town we passed and finally found one that could haul a suburban and a cargo trailer that we converted to a sleeper trailer. We piled onto each other's laps so we all fit in the wrecker and we got towed back to the town. They decided that since it was the weekend of Sturgis we might be in town a few days while they looked at the Suburban.

So the guy who towed us called his friend at the Crazy Woman campground and he hooked his pickup to our trailer and we all piled into his pickup and he took us to the campground. We walked through the town and found a free museum where the elderly volunteers were so happy to have someone to talk to and we were happy for some air conditioning. All the while Dave and I would smile at each other and snarkily say "happy Anniversary". We found a park and played there while eating granola bars and then walked back to the crazy woman campground where we made sloppy joe tacos. We were at the end of our vacation and the meals were getting interesting.

Dave and I both got pooped on by a bird while cooking our anniversary dinner. We spent the evening playing farkle and watching all the Sturgis bikers roll into the campground. And thankfully they got to our vehicle that evening so we got on the road home the next day. I think that will be one of our most memorable anniversaries. I love that we can make the most of whatever life throws our way. I hope it leaves a legacy for our kids that life happens and you gotta make the most of it and just roll with it.


Tell me a story of hope…


- I think a story of hope is watching my kids. Seeing how they notice the kid who has no friends and sits with him. My oldest is so good at that. He was bullied by a kid at school some and he would come home and say that he felt bad for this kid because he was different and kids made fun of him. So Noah made it his goal to befriend the boy. And he did. That was several years ago and Noah is still his friend. He is just great and looking past people's differences and being their friend.



What would you want the world to know about you…


- I would want the world to know that through everything God has been faithful. God provided a step dad and siblings for me that didn't take the place of my dad but was a good dad. That through all the moving and making of new friends and then moving again God has always been there. And now with my husband being a police officer and all the craziness that is involved with that I don't have to worry because I know that God will continue to be faithful.

What did / do you miss most during covid 19…


- I really miss international travel. I have a group of friends and we still get together so I don't have to miss the seeing of people. And I love a slower more intentional pace of life. But I do miss international travel. I was going to hike the St. James Way in Spain last summer and then help run a hostel and that's on hold.

What brings you the most joy / smile the most...


- I think having fun with my friends and kids. Like good ole fashioned sledding or sandcastle building or jumping waves or hiking or blaring music and having dance parties or painting.

If you were given a plane ticket to anywhere, where would you go…


- That is so hard. My daughter and I are doing a unit study on Madagascar. That place looks awesome. So either there, Tucson to visit my grandma, or Nepal.

What brought you to where you are at in life today…


- My faith. I see a lot of things that could've made me bitter or angry but seeing how God has sustained me and my family through it all has kept me the person that I am today.

What is your most prized possession…


- My family. And if you are thinking an actual thing....I don't know. I could live without a lot of it. We go to the middle of nowhere where there is no electricity, no phone coverage or anything and live in a campground (or the side of a dirt road) for two weeks in a converted cargo trailer and a few outfits and a book or two each, a small bag of art supplies and hot wheel cars and our hiking shoes and those are the weeks we live for all year. The freedom from stuff and the pull of technology.


Traveling is my life, and has also saved my life. It shows the beauty of other cultures. tell me a story of your favorite travel moment…


- It would either be the dugout boat ride in the interior of Cambodia that lasted 7 hours and I (being pregnant) survived on oreos and pringles. But seeing the floating villages (we rode the mail boat) with the people smiling and riding their canoes out to us to get their mail or eggs or whatever they had ordered was amazing. Or going to a remote village in Kyrgyzstan along the Uzbeck border to try and find out why all the kids ages 6-8 in that village had certain medical issues. We were welcomed so warmly by the village.

We first had to give a wonderful grandma we found alongside the road a ride because we were so lost and didn't want to accidentally cross the border. She helped us find the village. Then during the clinic because I was just the team leader and don't have medical knowledge, my teammates did that all, I got to play with the kids. They had the biggest smiles when I blew up balloons and let them play with them. It didn't matter that we didn't speak the same language. We could both smile and play. A smile crosses so many cultural barriers.

We then were invited to one of the elder's houses for a meal and spent the afternoon with her. It was just amazing. I love seeing how people live around the world. In another life, what are you doing…


- Living in a village somewhere overseas enjoying a super simple life. Not free of hardship but a slower pace where you know the whole village.

How has your life been different than you thought it would be…


- My life is so different than I thought it would be. I thought I would be living overseas as a missionary. But instead I live in a small town in midwest USA. I am thankful that I get to travel internationally on a regular basis. What is your biggest fear…


- My biggest fear is that I would waste the time I have with my kids on something that is less important.

What is your biggest regret…


- My biggest regret is that I worried so much in high school and college what others thought of me. If I could go back and just encourage me younger self to just be me and take the risks I would.

What do you do for work… and why…


- I am a stay at home mom. I homeschool my two oldest kids as well. I want to spend the time I have with my kids pouring into them. I homeschool because that is what is best for my kids right now. My daughter had a lot of anxiety in school and since homeschooling she has really become way more confident and come out of her shell.

What was your first tattoo...


- Don't have one

If you had the ear of everyone in the world, what would you say to them...


- I would want to give them all a hug and tell them to calm down and know that God has got this.






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