And He became their Savior {A Thanksgiving Post}

“I will recount the steadfast love of the Lord, the praises of the Lord, according to all that the lord has granted us, and the great goodness to the house of Israel that he has granted them according to his compassion, according to the abundance of his steadfast love. For he said, “Surely they are my people, children who will not deal falsely.”

And He became their Savior.

(Isaiah 63:7-8)

This season… this Thanksgiving… oh Heavenly Father how GOOD you have been to your children.

I worked at the hospital all day Wednesday and Thursday. Jeremy worked the night shift (Yes, we work in the same unit of the hospital.) Our Thanksgiving was spent in a new but wonderful way. It was hard, the days were long, but I would not have traded that precious time in the hospital, having the opportunity to encourage those who could not leave, for anything.

Because I did day-shift and Jeremy did night-shift, I got to “report” off to him each evening, and he reported off to me in the morning.


The bus stopped running Wednesday afternoon, so I had to walk home (not a long walk, but one that I don’t usually prefer to do when it’s dark.) To make it “safer” I called “home” (aka: China) and chatted with Lily. Because chatting with your eight year-old sister who is in Inner Mongolia makes everything safer, yeah? On my Wednesday evening phone call I got a little taste of the craziness that was Thursday morning in our little apartment on the 15th floor in the middle of the city in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia.

A turkey was ordered online. And the 20 pound turkey arrived. Qimuge, our dearest Ayi, helped chop piles of veggies the day before. Elisabeth and Naomi worked on the 4+ pies (I think that there were five?). Daddy fried onions to top the green bean casserole. And the turkey…

…it’s always the turkey, yeah?

So, the Turkey came in all of it’s 20lb goodness and my mother plopped it into the rice cooker to cook, just like anyone would do, right? You cook your 20lb purchased-online-turkey in the rice cooker, don’t you? (remember, our “oven” is a large toaster). The rice cooker was turned on and the poor turkey started burning. No worries, we’ll put a steamer rack on the bottom of the rice cooker, and then thread a string through the turkey so that when it’s done, it’s easier to lift out. Makes sense, right? The turkey didn’t come with it’s own string, so… hmm… a-ha! let’s use a kite string.

Sounds good so far, right? (no? why not?)

So the turkey stopped burning. But something else started burning… or smoking… and the beginning wafts of Thanksgiving-scents that were filling the apartment were suddenly overtaken with an awful stench. Someone opened the windows. It’s 0 degrees outside. “My eyes are burning!” “This stinks.” “What is that awful smell?”

is this what an purchased-online-turkey smells like? Is it even turkey? 20+ guests are only coming over in 2.5 hours and the turkey is not only not done, it smells horrible!!

That’s about when I hung up to let them figure out the turkey madness themselves and I went to bed.







So, what happened? It was the kite string. Chinese kite strings are coated in who knows what and I highly suggest that you do NOT put your made-in-China kite strings in the rice cooker. Just sayin’. Not recommended.

The kite string was removed and the turkey was put into the toaster oven and fast-forward a few hours… most of the 20+ guests came early… and they ate every single bite of turkey. Itty bitty Granny from down the street ate the drumstick. The sweet potatoes were all gone, but one serving… and there are pies for breakfast for days… (guess they filled up on turkey?).

Happy Thanksgiving from Hohhot!












a day later, Jeremy and I were done with our holiday shifts and we found a few friends and drove down to Charlottesville to eat Nana’s leftovers. She was kind enough to save us half of a turkey. Most of the family had celebrated on Thursday, but Tim also works one of those “busier on the holidays jobs” at a restaurant, so he joined us with Kate and their incredibly adorable child.




After lunch we sipped proper English tea, played cards, and talked about tea… Kate, Christine and I are rather enthusiastic about it.



…so after the cards, I loaded up my mini van without cousins and friends and drove us all downtown to check out a teahouse that Kate has been telling about for months and months. We sipped Chai and Turkish blends and sang Christmas carols at the top of (some of our) lungs while walking up and down the Downtown Mall. The obvious pro of celebrating Thanksgiving on Friday is that as soon as you slice the pie it’s Christmasstime.




As I work furiously on finishing my reading of the Old Testament within the next few weeks, I’m struck and overwhelmed and choked up at how the Gospel is there – in every single chapter of the whole Bible. It’s there in Job and it’s there in 2 Chronicles and as I begin reading through the Psalms… it’s there too. I keep finding myself flipping over to Isaiah, to bridge the gap between Deuteronomy and God’s Word to His people, and the Gospels according to Matthew and Mark and Luke and John.

The verse I began this post with was a breathtaking discovery today… “And He will be their Savior.” Tomorrow is the first Sunday of advent, and because I’ve been singing “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” to myself for weeks already, I’m ready. So ready. Come, Lord Jesus.

“But now for a brief moment grace has been shown from the Lord our God, to leave us an escaped remnant and to give us a peg in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and grant us a little reviving in our bondage….” Ezra 9:8

25 Years

25 years ago, before God and man, two 25 year-olds clasped hands and pledged “’till death do us part” and then they sealed this lifelong covenant with a kiss, walked down the church aisle with big smiles on their faces and thus began a legacy of faithfulness.

I’m overwhelmed with gratefulness. I get choked up just trying to come up with words… the steadfast love my parents have had for one another, for each one of their children, and for all of the many, many people they have ministered to together these last 25 years is an example of the steadfast love that Christ has for His bride – the church.

Happy Anniversary, Daddy and Mommy. Here’s to 25 more fabulous years!


Fill their Stockings…

Hi friends!

Christmas is sneaking up on us and it’s time to think turning our little foster home in Inner Mongolia all merry and bright.

All of the information is HERE



There are a limited number of packages to sign up for and send, but the number of stockings you can “sponsor” with a donation is unlimited!

…and all of the kiddos need monthly sponsors right now as well. You can meet that need HERE.


Together | the song, and paper chains

Two things.

  1. I’ve been begging Ben to re-record this song that he wrote last year. It’s one of my favorites, but the demo of it he had done was a little bit hard to understand. The lyrics in this song are powerful. They are true. They are inspiring. And now you can listen to and read them. Ben sent this to me yesterday. I highly recommend watching it a few times.

2. I’m not the only one counting down the days before Jeremy and I fly back to China to be home for Christmas. Naomi just sent me this picture of the paper chain she made. One ring for each day between now and then. Each day one of the girls will tear a paper ring off, and when the rings are no more? We’ll be together – hugging at the airport. I can’t wait, and, apparently, neither can they.

IMG_8693Oh! One more thing. Next week (after my big exam on Monday) I will be starting the Christmas Sponsorship program for New Day North kids. Christmas for the kiddos in the other foster homes in China will be managed by others, just fyi. But, if you are interested in being a part of Christmas for some sweethearts in Inner Mongolia, keep your eyes peeled. I will be carrying over gifts, so the shipping fees will be significantly decreased (you’re welcome). There will be a limited number of actual “shopping-for-presents-wrapping-and-mailing-them” sponsors, but SO many opportunities to support our work with orphans in Inner Mongolia. If you want to get your name on the list to be part of this fun season of giving and loving, go ahead and e-mail me ( but I will probably not reply until Wednesday/Thursday of next week, so keep that in mind.

Have a happy Saturday!

“But you shall seek the Lord at the place which the Lord your God will choose from all your tribes, to establish His name there for His dwelling, and there you shall come.” Deuteronomy 12:5

Seek the Lord. Establish His name. Come.

Faithful Forever || Perfect in Love

I have “Sovereign Over Us” by Michael W. Smith playing on repeat right now. Father is Sovereign over us… faithful forever, perfect in love. His plans are still to prosper, He has not forgotten us! And then Exodus 15:13 “In Your lovingkindness You have led the people whom You have redeemed; in Your strength You have guided them to Your holy habitation.”

faithful forever, perfect in love, sovereign over us

I was just counting the days and realized that I’ve been here, in this place, for five months. Two months more and this semester will be over and Jeremy and I will probably be on a plane, going “home for Christmas.” Time is flying, days are full, God provides and sustains and the joy of the Lord is my strength.

Last weekend Jeremy celebrated his 22nd Birthday. That Sunday, we had a happy crowd of friends over for lunch after church, and feasted on homemade Mac and Cheese and pork roast.


I made a carrot cake and lit all of the candles I could find…


We sang, he blew out candles, and it was a very happy birthday.



This weekend the Folk Festival has come to Richmond, and I joined Abby and her little posse of friends to check it out.


What a lovely, lovely afternoon. This weekend has been especially restful, because unlike just about all of the past weekends this semester, I don’t actually have a test on Monday. Whoohoo! I do have a paper due tomorrow morning, though… and I’m almost done with it.


Meanwhile, on the other side of the world…


Naomi turned twelve. (whaaatttt!??!) I think that she had a good birthday, despite the fact that I wasn’t there. I have arranged for some goodies to be headed her way, but they won’t arrive until next weekend… so her birthday will just get to stretch on a bit. Which is probably okay.


This coming Tuesday is Elisabeth’s birthday. I don’t even want to think about how old she is going to be in two days. Blink, and they are suddenly all grown up… *sniff*

“The Lord is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation; this is my God and I will praise Him;” (Exodus 15:2)

Now my soul cries out [Hallelujah]

This season is different than any other.

There is more beauty, and more pain… so much rejoicing, and yet such sobering thoughts.

Jeremy and I are here on the East Coast of the USA.

Ben is in Taiwan.

The rest of the family– they’re in Inner Mongolia.

I didn’t know that separation would hold this precious dichotomy of joyous pride over each another, and then longing because I think that we’re all homesick for one another.

I’m so proud of my little sisters. Elisabeth, Naomi and Lily are persevering through homeschool in the middle of a desert. They’re doing well. They’re learning, but they are also living; riding horses, organizing and leading English camps (yes they are!), rock-climbing and blossoming into the most beautiful third-culture young-ladies I ever knew. If hearts literally burst with joy I would be dead by now because mine is so full of admiration for these three lovely ladies.





Ben is so successful. The Lord is blessing him extravagantly by answering all of his whispered prayers in very faithful ways. I just skyped him the other day and got to hear some of his amazing stories. He has people all over the country singing, “I’ve Got So Much!” and it’s a beautiful, beautiful thing.

psst, you can sing along too

Me? Here in Richmond, Virginia? I’m falling in love with this place, these people, and the tangible opportunities to lay my life down and be an ambassador for Christ every single day. I’m an utter failure, but I have such an amazing Heavenly Father that He is making all things new regardless of what I say and do… or don’t say and do.

Last week we went to Charlottesville for Nana’s 75th birthday. What an incredible woman she is! — Jeremy and I had dinner with Nana and Papa last night in celebration of Jeremy’s birthday (which is tomorrow!) and we peppered them with life-questions and soaked up all of the wisdom that they had to share.

Eleanor's 75th Birthday Party_027

My roommate, Abby, and I discovered that we both have a mutual love for the whole wide world… so naturally, we bought a 7′ map to put on our wall. We’re either wanderlust, or were homeschooled and obsessed with cultures. Or both. And then earlier this week I got a care package from some dear friends with a world map shower curtain… friends, it the most wonderful shower curtain I have ever seen. Come brush your teeth and brush up on world geography!


Today is the National Holiday in China, and it’s a week of holidays for the whole country. Because of this, our team in Inner Mongolia is working overtime, making sure that the care the kids in our project get continues to be top-notch and excellent. Please do keep them in your prayers, and ask for strength, endurance, and overflowing joy (because you can never have too much!).

Alrighty — I’m going to get back to my studying right now. I’ll hopefully pop in again here before too long.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

When I was in elementary school a friend’s mom made these muffins for snacktime and she called them “Heaven on Earth Muffins.” I believed her and decided that my favorite kind of muffin was “heaven on earth.” It took me a few years to realized what heaven on earth actually was…

Chocolate chips

And boy do these muffins taste heavenly. There’s a tricky thing about them, though. They smell incredible, they taste amazing… but they’re actually best on the 2nd, 3rd or 4th day, after the flavors have had a chance to really sit. Why is this a problem. Because the chances of these muffins lasting for even 24 hours after baking are slim slim slim. So triple the recipe? Your call!

1 1/2 cups  flour
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup  unsalted butter, soft
 2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup  pumpkin puree
1 cup  chocolate chips
Mix together the flour, soda, spices and salt. In another bowl beat together the softened butter, sugar, then add the eggs and vanilla. Now, combine these two and add the pumpkin and chocolate chips! See? Super easy! Bake at 350 F until your kitchen smells amazing (20min for minis, 30+ for regular sized muffins). Taste one right away with butter!

I just made a double batch (half are still in the oven) for our picnic after church tomorrow. The apartment smells amazing…