Friday, November 30, 2012

saying goodbye to autumn

It's hard to believe that November is already coming to a close. It's been a good month...autumn leaves falling off the trees, spending time together as a family, and drinking cups of apple cider. But, here in the sunset of November 2012, I have some thoughts on the things this last month has held.

Some thoughts from this month: 

i. I found myself especially thankful this Thanksgiving (and month in general) for everything that has happened this year--from surgeries, to adoptions, to moving, adjustments, and learning to be this family of eight. There have been some hard days lately, though, where I am reminded of how difficult adoption can be. It is not all smiles and laughter. The Lord has been convicting my heart to be more patient and more loving towards the boys--even when I don't feel like it. It has been exciting to see them explore their new lives, and learn how to be a part of our family. But then there are the days where they miss China, and my heart aches. Because, I know this is not just hard for me to get used to--it's hard for them, too. The fact is: things are not what they were like this time last year. It's different, and that's not a bad thing. It's just hard to get used to.

ii. This month, I officially decided that Autumn is my very favorite season. The weather is neither hot nor cold, and I love watching the leaves change color and drop from the trees. I love drinking hot cups of tea and devouring bowls of soup. I don't think I could ever get tired of wearing scarves and long sleeve shirts or plaid button-ups. I love the way the air feels outside and I love watching the sun slip behind the mountains earlier and earlier. It's a precious thing to watch the seasons change. Though, I'm not sure how I feel about the coming of winter. I relish the snow, but the frigid temperatures and icy roads aren't things I enjoy as much. At the same time, though, I do love Christmas and all the things that come with it--maybe Winter won't be so bad after all.

iii. This November, I've been learning a few things: I've been learning to live in joy, to pray with expectation, to place my focus on the things that are truly important, and to be thankful in all circumstances.  I've been learning to trust God more and more with my future. It's an ironic thing that I have trouble with entrusting it to Him, because the reality is that He is the one that is in control, I am not--and never have been, in charge of my future. I think God has really used this whole year of hard things to teach me to grow closer to Him, and to trust in Him with my whole heart. His plans for me are so much better then anything I could ever imagine.

iv. I have been increasingly grateful this month for the gift of friendship. Long, honest and authentic conversations late at night, and breathless fits of laughter are things I never tire of. I love the feeling of a hug from a close friend right when you really need it, and the reassuring words of a friend when I need encouragement. I'm thankful that I have opportunities to sit at my friends' kitchen table, with a cup of coffee and just talk. I love having these people that are always there for me, and remind me of God's everlasting love.

November has been a good month of learning for me. It's sad to say goodbye to autumn, but I'm generally excited about December and all it will bring. I hope you've all had a good day today. Happy Friday, y'all!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Today, I am missing China. I'm remembering all the unfamiliar smells, the sounds of the traffic, the beckoning of the street vendors as they tried to sell you an array of different things. I remember how the streets were covered in trash, how people were digging through dumpsters, how many would beg on the sidewalks for money. Not a day goes by where I don't think about China.

The most precious memories I have of my short time in that country, are the memories that were made when I was able to visit a foster home there. It was only six short months ago that I was there, but it feels as if it has been a life time. But, those two or three hours that we spent in that room with those precious and special children are some of the very best hours of my life.

I remember staring into those children's eyes, looking at their sweet faces, hugging their small bodies. I remember sitting on the floor of that foster home, silently praying that God would bring them the perfect families, in His perfect time. When the time for us to leave came, I did not want to go. I didn't want to leave. As we closed the door of the foster home, I cried. I cried because I wanted to bring every single one of those children home. I cried because every single child should know what it's like to be loved by a family. I cried because it broke my heart to know that while they were being taken care of so well, they still needed a real home, with a mommy and daddy. My heart hurt for them.

Every day since then, I think about those children. I have pictures of them up on my bedroom walls, so that I will never forget. I pray that the Lord will bring them to the perfect families someday soon.  My heart absolutely swells with a longing to go back to China, and such a love for the children there, that I could burst. Yesterday, as I was in the car, my mom told me on the phone that two, possibly even three of those precious children have families! I cannot even tell you how thrilled I was, my heart was so incredibly happy and so thankful! To know that these children will be a part of a family and know what it is like to be loved makes me overjoyed. How great is our God.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

the adventure is just beginning.

"You need to start blogging again!" my friend says. "I know," I reply, "but I feel like I wouldn't know where to begin or how to start again...there's too much to say and not enough time." 

If you could look in my drafts, you would see that I have really tried to start again. There have been days where I have made myself sit down and try to blog again, but the words never come. Maybe it's because so much has happened recently that I don't know how to even begin to tell you about this Summer. Then again, maybe it's that I feel like I just can't put things into the right words. 

But, I've missed it this Summer--being able to just sit and pour out my thoughts into this blank white box, waiting to be filled with words. While writing is often one of my favorite things, it can also be something that frustrates me and fills me with intimidation. I struggle with what I should say--are these thoughts things that I want to share with the whole world? Or are they things that are better kept inside? 

I have decided though, that this little space of the Internet is something similar to what my life would be like if it was written in a book form. It would be an odd book. Some parts of it would be terribly exciting, while other parts, filled with tears. There would be chapter after long chapter that would be boring and seem quite useless all together. Maybe there would be sections that would keep you turning page after page, wondering what was going to happen next. Yet, as silly as this all may sound, that is how my life is. It's a story. A new page is added to it every day. The best part is that I'm not even the author of it--God is. 

So, naturally, if my life is like an ongoing book, then this blog would follow suit. As I live out this adventure, I want to be able to chronicle it as it happens. I want to cherish it. The ups and downs, the heartache, the struggles, the joys, the laughter. Just, life. In all it's messiness. 

Finally, after a blogging break that has lasted far too long, I'm back. Excited and ready. The adventure is just beginning. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

brave & courageous

This morning, my sister is at the hospital having surgery. They're implanting a bone anchored hearing aid because she is deaf in her right ear. Last night I gave her a bath and brushed through her black silky hair with a pink comb. As I got her dressed in her pink princess pajamas, I started thinking about how thankful I am that she's my sister. I realized how blessed I am that she's in my life. She is absolutely the sweetest little girl on the whole earth. I love her silly little giggle. I love her curious smile. I love how much she loves life. She's playful and hilarious, and we are constantly laughing at her little jokes. I love getting her dressed in the morning and helping her slip on a pink dress or a polka dotted shirt and jeans. Everyday she asks me to play dolls with her or paint her toe nails or bake a batch of cookies. I say "Not right now, I'm too busy" far too often. I need to say "Yes" more to her, because I love spending time with her. I love helping her get her dolls dressed, I love the stories she makes up while playing with my old doll house. 
She is brave. Oh, so incredibly brave. My little five year old sister is without a doubt one of the most inspirational people I have ever heard of or met. She has taught me so much. I've learned, by watching her, that you don't have to be serious about every situation--sometimes it's okay to just laugh. She taught me that challenges are meant to be overcome. She's taught me that hugs can make your whole day better and that maybe dancing in your pajamas is an important part of one's day. I've watched her overcome so many obstacles. I've watched her turn from a shy, adorable, little baby, into a hilarious, gorgeous, spunky little girl. 
She's a trooper. The beginning of her life was spent going from an orphanage to various foster homes, just waiting for a family to bring her home. This girl has courage. Even when she first met us, her forever family, she had to be brave. She didn't know us, or trust us, and she had to have courage. She's battled health problem, after health problem. From surgeries, to weekly physical therapy sessions, to frequent x-rays, and many doctor's appointments, she always has a beautiful attitude. She has come so far, learned so much.

So, today, I'm just thankful for this sister of mine. I'm grateful for her and for everything she has taught me, every laugh she's given me, every time she's made us smile. She is truly a gift from God. She's my little princess, my roommate, my friend, my confidant, my sister. So many days I prayed that God would give me a sister and oh, how he answered my prayer! And now, this whole bone attached hearing aid? Well, my sister, is just a success story waiting to happen. 

Love you, Moriah Mei, and am lifting you up in prayer today that the Lord would give you peace and a very successful surgery. Thank you for everything, sweet sister. Love forever and always, your Jie-Jie.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

little memories

In-between moments. Those times where the house is silent and all you can hear is the chirping of the crickets. Or a freshly baked batch of chocolate chip cookies cooling on the kitchen counter. Little moments when you and your friend can not stop smiling or when you complete your final math class for the year. Laughter that echoes off the ceiling and music that explains everything you feel inside. Sunshine that makes you feel happy and memories that you will cherish forever. Every smile, every tear, every sound of laughter. These are all things that tend to get lost in the day-to-day.
To be quite honest with you, life has been overwhelming lately. Final exams are just around the corner, and the beginning of Summer is just within reach. Besides being incredibly stressed for finals (missing a total of 5 weeks of school is making studying much harder!), I am thrilled to see what the future holds. It's difficult to stay calm and focused while the sun is bright and shining, and while the weather is gorgeous. But I must say that remembering to appreciate these little memories, these little moments is making everything far less tedious.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

sophia maria//portraits

It was a bright sunny day, the kind that makes you feel happy the moment you wake up. It was surprisingly warm and there was a slight breeze. There were birds chirping in the trees and it was a beautiful spring day.  Her blonde curls were falling into her face, her bright eyes looks gorgeous against the sky and her rosy cheeks were beautiful. I'm so thankful to have her in my life. We like the same kinds of things, we talk about practically everything, and I love the fact that she calls me her "big sister."She loves anything vintage, and photography is her passion. It was a perfect afternoon. 
p.s. you can see her blog here 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

our new normal

It's time to give you an update. We've been home three entire weeks but it doesn't seem possible that it's been that long. Sometimes I feel like the boys have been a part of our family forever, and other times I feel like we don't know them at all. We're learning more and more about each other as the days go on, and we're learning to live our new normal.

I'm not going to lie, it's been hard. Really hard. I don't like change, and I have a really hard time whenever our "normal" is interrupted. But here's the thing, what we used to call normal, and familiar, and life, well that's no longer our normal, or our familiar, or our life. Everything is different now. And finally, I'm starting to realize that it's okay. So, maybe I don't like the noise level, or the mess, or how we can't communicate with the boys, but that's okay. In a few months the things I view as problems now aren't going to matter anymore. Sure, they chew loud when they eat.Yes, it's sometimes hard for them to get along with everyone else. But, that's okay. Those things are not the things that really matter, those are just the things that are happening right now, not the things that are important, just the things that make it a little bit harder.
The boys are doing wonderfully. Really. They're helpful and sweet and they try so hard to say the few English words they know correctly. Everyday when they wake up, I know it takes strength for them to get up and face the day. They don't know us, they only met us a month ago. Each day they are brave. They try new things, learn new words, meet new people, live a new life.

Adoption isn't easy. It takes patience and strength and God. It takes prayer and grace. And alone, I'd never be able to get through it. But with God, all things are possible. In Him alone, we can find our strength and our grace and our peace.

A new normal. More grocery shopping, more noise, different languages, more tears, more smilies, more doctor's appointments, more laughter, more love. It might be hard, but this whole new normal thing? I think I can handle it. It's beautiful and hard and difficult and wonderful.
It will take time. We're going to cry, we're going to smile and laugh, but eventually this new normal will become familiar.