Monday, December 31, 2018

Treasuring and Pondering Fall 2018

Fall 2018 

So this Fall we welcomed Christian home for a semester as he prepared to study abroad for the Spring semester.

Yeah, yeah, I know...  great opportunity, awesome experience...

blah blah blah...

talk to me in June and then I might agree with you!


More on that later as I just cannot speak of it yet!


Now as we welcomed one home this semester, we delivered another to his Freshman year at college.

Funny, how quiet it has been around here since, oh I don't know...

maybe August 18th???

 Charlie brings laughter and chaos and love and fun and he is truly missed.

His first visit home was a complete surprise and just like Charlie and something I should have expected...

but didn't and it was the best surprise ever!

Halloween came and went...

try explaining that holiday to a 14 year old from China!

in the end, all he needed to hear was "candy", lots of "candy"...

the rest was unimportant!


I have never been a huge fan of Halloween but I love Thanksgiving and Christmas and for me, the Christmas Season starts with Thanksgiving...

and this year, we had much to be thankful for.

As I look back on memories from this time last year, I am transported back to mounds of paperwork, heaps of fundraising, moments of sheer panic, an abundance of prayer and smack dab in the middle of all of that...

a fullness of peace...

a peace that defies all logic because it transcends our earthly boundaries of possible and real.

This time last year, we were in the race of our lives...

for - Will's - life.

This time last year, we were anticipating one more chair at the table...

one more running back for Thanksgiving front yard football...


one more helper to trim the tree...

one more hand in the Reindeer Food frenzy...

a few more gifts under the tree...

and one less orphan.

Yes, this time last year, we were giving thanks for a journey that had been years in the making but was just beginning to unfold and this year...

we are giving thanks for God's faithfulness and the way in which He prepares and equips us for those journeys that transcend the realms of our comforts and the world's definition of "normal" or even "doable".

This time last year, we were giving thanks for what we knew the Lord would do, as we had experienced this kind of trust before, each step taking us farther away from "normal" and "humanly doable".

It is almost as if the next step appears just as your heel leaves the last, your fear decreasing as the expectation of that next step and the equipping that accompanies it, is established.

This year we are thankful to have been chosen for this impossible journey and the privilege of walking out Matthew 19:26:

“With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Cause y'all, there is just no way we could do this without Him...

and we are thankful.

Will was so excited about Christmas.

He told everyone that this was his first Christmas!

He thought maybe he would get a toothbrush...


but he really hoped for, talked about and longed for a remote control airplane.

So ya know, we just had to make that happen, cause...

this was his first Christmas after all...  there was much rejoicing!

The best gift we got???

Will asked to speak to someone at our local Chinese Church.

Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.  John 8:32

Overall it was a very good Christmas, filled with much to be thankful for...

however, as Christmas quickly approached, so did the departure of our eldest.

Yes, this is an amazing opportunity and a wonderful adventure for Christian and yes, I am so very excited for him...

but as much as I long to cling to moments past... 

time rolls on, in an ethereal mixture of pensive reflection and anxious but optimistic expectancy, our grip loosening as we trust in the Lord's plan for the children whom He first entrusted to us.

I have been praying about this adventure ever since it became a reality.

I have been praying for the Lord to keep him safe and for the Lord to use this time for His good and I have also been praying for Christian's host family.

I have prayed for them every single day for a few months now. 

We didn't know anything about them until a few days ago, when we received an email with their information.

Dad, Mom, two boys (14 and 12 years old) and a dog!

So far so good but as I read down further I saw Christian's Host Dad's name:

Father's name:  "Jesus"

Jesus had this and I was once again overcome with the way in which He helps me to hang on and to trust and to cast my cares and to help me to remember that He really is listening and working.

The morning after Christmas was still hard and I still cried but not because I feared for my son.

That mixture, that beautiful, wistful melange of past and present and future as Christian stepped out of our story and into his own, was ever present that morning and I just longed to hang on to a few more moments of our past when his story was still entwined in ours.

  One of my favorite Bible verses is Luke 2:19

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

What faith Mary had...

a young girl who faced an impossible situation who knew beyond any doubt that it was all possible with God.  She was excited to behold what the Lord would accomplish through this precious baby boy...

her precious baby boy.

I can only imagine the hope and the anticipation and the fear and the pondering that lived in her heart in those first beautiful moments and all of the moments to come that would be "treasured up" as she prepared to lose the precious gift that was entrusted to her care.

I have treasured up so many memories over the years and in these moments, these junctures of letting go and trusting, I find myself pondering and praying and in awe of our God who began to prepare me even before I knew He was preparing me, even before I truly recognized His hand in my life.

In no way I am comparing myself to Mary, her faith, her loss and the immeasurable purpose she was chosen to fulfill but in some minuscule way, I understand.

I realize the treasuring and the pondering as I live within the anticipation of what God will do and this Christmas with its tinge of reflection, we are thankful...

thankful for what has past and thankful for what is to come because in between the two, He is there, just as He is in every single moment, past, present and future and as the Christmas decorations are packed up, once again, for their yearly hibernation, I muse over the circumstances under which they will return.

We have one going abroad, one headed back to college, one setting his sights on college, two who will be teenage girls very soon (shudder), two who struggle and inspire with every effort and one who doesn't yet grasp the bigger picture of why he is here, and the Lord is in the midst of it all...

and we are thankful.


  1. I hope the New Year finds you in good health and excellent spirit!

  2. Annie- Thank you for the wonderful read. It was so nice to get caught up with happenings. We serve a gracious and good, good God, don't we?

    Blessings for 2019~~~~Jenny

  3. Thank you for such a beautiful letter wrapping up 2018 with some of the joys, and a bit of sorrow, on the adventures and growth experiences for your family....I am so pleased to see Will got his airplane, and he looks so happy...I love how he has his hand on the precious.
    May your older son have an amazing adventure wherever he is going and it will be so fun for your family to hear and share in what he experiences.
    Not many people blog anymore , so your blog is the first to bless my 2019. I have no grandchildren, so I think yours are just adorable...all of them.
    Many blessings in this our new year of 2019 from
    mary m, age 72

    1. Thank you so much Mary! Your comments touched my heart! Praying for many blessings for you in this new year as well.