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…

Thank you for the cross, Lord

my heart-song today. and every day


Thank you for the cross Lord
Thank you for the price You paid
Bearing all my sin and shame
In love You came and gave amazing grace

Thank you for this love Lord
Thank you for the nail pierced hands
Washed me in Your cleansing flow
Now all I know Your forgiveness and embrace

Worthy is the Lamb
Seated on the throne
Crown You now with many crowns
You reign victorious

High and lifted up
Jesus, Son of God
The Darling of Heaven crucified
Worthy is the Lamb

And So It Continues…

What an adventure this life is. I’m in awe- living gloriously meditating on Isaiah 53 and Galatians 2:20 and Romans 8:1. Guys, it’s right there. The gospel. It’s all I need and that’s marvelous. His love is marvelous.

The timeline of my life is so out of my hands and I’m loving that right now. May 5th I arrived in the USA. School started with intensity on the 12th and continued through July 28th. Then followed a few weeks of quiet with lots of crazy thrown in. I got a job, started orienting and then – boom! – school started again. Two weeks ago classes began again. It’s been over a week and I’m totally in over my head, but swimming along.







Rich Blessings

Oh friends  — I have been blessed so richly!

I think that part of me felt like coming here, to the USA, to a university town and to an apartment with roommates where I was paying rent and all of those grown-up, independent type things, was going to be more of an isolating time. I was going to be forced to do things on my own, to rely upon myself more than I like, and that it would be hard. But no… but no, the Heavenly Father has been lavish with His blessings.

Friends – some dear, dear people whom I got to meet during the first weekend of my return, were just the spark my soul needed to begin this new mission. And then, as they left for another adventure in another state, we got to meet yet another dear, sweet couple, who have taken me under their wing. Oh, it’s wonderful. And all of the spices and sauces and the chili oil… she said, “you like to cook, you like to host large groups of people, you can use these things that were left…”




So we had a happy crowd over for dinner on Sunday and it was marvelous. Rice and curry and delicious things – precious gifts, palate-pleasing soul-blessings. Having Jeremy in the same little corner of this city is a crazy-wonderful thing that I could go on and on about. He brings his friends and I bring mine and then we sit around a table eating spicy and loving Jesus.

Jeremy even bough 50lbs of rice. So the hosting will go on and on.


Grandparents just an hour away – it’s incredible. What wondrous love is this, oh my soul? That the Heavenly Father would see fit to bless me with these things? Nana bought me tea in England. Um. Let me repeat that. Nana bought me tea in England. And then she lent me Great Grandma’s teapot. So teatime? It’s at my place. Just come – the door is always open and I can put the kettle on in a jiffy!


So I as read the passage below – the promise and the command, I am overwhelmed because it’s huge. It’s a calling, and one in righteousness, oh, wow… I do not deserve this. And yet You, Lord, have been sin on my behalf, and so I can. Oh, sacred head now wounded! And so He calls, and He holds, and He watches over… and then He appoints. Because He is the Lord – that is His name! Glory, glory, glory…

“I am the LORD, I have called you in righteousness,

I will also hold you by the hand and watch over you,

And I will appoint you as a covenant to the people,

As a light to the nations,

To open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the dungeon

And those who dwell in darkness from the prison.

I am the Lord, that is My name;

I will not give My glory to another,

Nor My praise to graven images.

Isaiah 42:6-8


How have you been richly blessed?

What Wondrous Love is this, Oh My Soul!

It was a few weeks ago, as I sat at a desk in someone else’s home, studying for my final exam, when the rain started to drizzle down, then pour.

For weeks and weeks I had been out of my apartment, repairs/renovation/youdon’twanttoknow were going on and a move-back-in date was uncertain. So there I was, sitting in another person’s home, probably my seventh “home” since arriving in the USA from China just a few months ago. And it felt so good.

A gift, Lord. You are so good – so kind! – to me.

For years, probably forever, one of my mini, selfish priorities has been comfort. I like a comfortable bed, a pillow, a place to call my own and ideally some convenience and predictability. But lately, the Good Father has been teaching me that He is enough. So much more than enough. Unfathomably sufficient. All I need.

And in the richness of His kindness He gently stripped away layers of protection around what I thought was a fragile person, and showed me through the power of His grace that, yeah, He really is enough. A bed? A pillow? A place to call my own? No, I don’t actually need any of those things. I can sleep on the floor – I didn’t know that I could, I honestly thought that it was impossible, but I can! Through Him who strengthens me, yeah? So, so faithful… I asked the Lord to prepare me for whatever and for wherever He will one day lead, and now I sit here, overwhelmed with how faithful He has been, and how gentle He has been.

The uncomfortableness of literally being homeless for moments (but there was always someone who would take me in, so it was really only moments)? It was glorious, a glorious poverty.


So I sat there, the rain pouring down, writing flashcards and refreshing myself on metabolic acidosis and other such things, and meditating on how good God has been to me.

The journey He has led me on the last two years has been exhausting and exhilarating. The first nine months in Inner Mongolia were similar to re-opening a wound that had never healed well. All of the emotions of the four years previous, the deaths of babies I loved with everything I had… the trauma of people coming and going, of uncertainties and growing up so much in such a new place… all of those hard things were overwhelmed with trials and tribulations and even some despair. But it was all part of His plan, because He’s good like that. And so, when it came time to go to the USA (the last place I wanted to go, just being honest) last year, I did, but found that it was the most refreshing gift. Because those wounds that were freshly open and oozing and sore? They were perfectly prepared for healing (granulation, medical folks), and so last year the Lord worked a mighty work of restoration in my soul and spirit, so that when I returned to Inner Mongolia again, at the beginning of this year, everything was new.

Joy. Adventure. The good news. Oh, it was all just so, so good. I don’t even have the words to explain, I just want to quote half of the Psalms, all of Isaiah, some of Zechariah and a bit of Habakkuk and then 1 John because He brings forth new life. He really does!


And now this season? This indescribably wonderful season of growing in the knowledge of Him? It’s made all the more precious because of the trials. It’s made all the more precious because He is holding my hand tightly, “Come, daughter, let me lead you through these things – My Promises, and you will see just how great I really am.”


What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul!

#LettersFromNaomi |two|

Hi Friends! Today’s post is brought to you by my lovely sister, Naomi. Last week the family invited over a few local girls to do some fun activities, like crafts and baking. I heard that it went pretty well, not completely smoothly, but that fun was had by all. Naomi took all of the pictures for this post, and even wrote up the captions. Enjoy!

We made cookies with some friends that we had over.


IMG_0063 IMG_0064

Then we did crafts with melty beads.





We made chocolate and cranberry oatmeal cookies.





More and More cookies!!



We also played spoons, but I didn’t take any pictures of that or else I would have lost.