Wednesday, December 25, 2013


have yourself a merry little christmas



we hope your holiday is filled with joy and hope.

we hope you feel loved. because you are loved. we hope you will join with us in celebrating the best gift ever given. redemption wrapped in human flesh and born to walk among us.
emmanuel. god with us.


love, a + g

Monday, December 23, 2013

the big family christmas

G's "extended" family gathers every year for Christmas to eat, talk, and play "Dirty Santa". Three years ago I spent my first Christmas with G's family. He took me the day BEFORE he asked me to be his girlfriend. I sat through hours of different family members asking me if I was G's girlfriend while I cringed on the inside and smiled on the outside and said "no" over and over as sweetly as my fiery New Jersey attitude would allow.  

A year later we were engaged. 

Now we're married and I've come to accept G's very large, loud, and loving family.  G had the great privilege of growing up with his aunts, uncles, and cousins and considers his cousins some of his best friends. I am now learning what a luxury the big family life is and have found some dear friends of my own in the crowd. 

This year we had much to celebrate. An engagement, a new baby, a cousin home from serving with the army for R&R, and a birthday. It was also special to have the matriarch of the family, Alice, with us. As I've said before, time with aging family members is precious. 

I will let you guess which one the matriarch is and which one the new baby is in this photo.


The next few days are ridiculously packed. And I love it. I will be soaking up the hugs and the laughs and the calories. Hopefully I'll make a quick trip to the gym to day to pay for some of those Christmas treats.

Monday, December 16, 2013

sweet p's first christmas

as promised. the pictures of Sweet P. 

i love this little guy. i'll admit i was nervous to shoot a squirmy little baby but he was the perfect little model. i look forward to many more shoots with Sweet P and his parents as he grows up.

the rest of the photos are after the jump...

Saturday, December 14, 2013


i didn't get around to sending out christmas cards yet again. so i'm going to indulge in the awkward end of year recap right here on the little blog-o.


we bought a house. a house wasn't on my list of things to buy. especially here. but it has been good for us. for our marriage. for our life. to have a little slice of earth to call our own. 

we celebrated our first wedding anniversary. i will admit. the first year had its moments. and they weren't all pretty. but we are rocking year two.

i started graduate school. enter debt. exit free time. G has suffered the most because i ignore him a lot through the week to work on homework. i need to work on a more balanced lifestyle next year.

G started his own hunting club. i don't really know about the significance of all that. but it is significant and worthy of blog documentation.

we're having a baby! just kidding. we celebrated with friends and family to welcome many new little babies into our lives this year including Sweet P who you'll see soon right here on the blog. we also celebrated several new marriages including about one third of G's 800 cousins. 

we said goodbye to my grandmother in august. she is whole and restored and who she was made to be now with her Savior. but she's not an angel. i am not into calling the deceased God's new angel in heaven. weird.

we said goodbye to my brother-in-law's mom. unexpectedly and heartbreakingly. and we wish she could be here for Christmas.

we joined the band at our church. and it is has been a lot of hard work. but it's also been a huge blessing in our lives. and we're so grateful to be a part of what God's doing at our church.


it's been a full year. sometimes it's felt too full. but i am so lucky to have the life that i have. and there is so much more i could say but i'll stop here and just say thank you.

thank you to friends for making me laugh and keeping me grounded.

thank you to family for loving no matter what.

thank you.

Thursday, December 12, 2013


It seems like everyone we know either recently had a baby, is getting ready to have a baby, or wants a baby. This is great news for me because, as I've mentioned before, I love babies.

I love to hold babies. Even crying babies. Because I realize that people only stay teeny and squishy for so long. I was 15 when my baby brother was born and I held him every chance I got. I cuddled him all. the. time. And let me tell you. I don't regret one second of all that baby loving. Because he'll never be that small and new ever again. In fact he turned twelve this week and I am in denial.

Whenever I talk about babies, people tend to think I have major baby fever. 

Actually I have the opposite of baby fever. I have the "I think I might have a mental breakdown if I found out I was pregnant" fever. If that's even a type of fever. I love babies. But I just don't want one of my very own yet. Yet. 

Someday I will probably fill this blog with thousands of pictures of my kid doing absolutely nothing. And gush over how smart and funny and brave and clever they are. I will probably be that mom who thinks my kid is prettier and better in every way than your kid. Hopefully I will also be the mom that keeps those opinions to myself. 

But right now I am a wife. A new wife. And let me let you in on a little secret, mmk? The second year is so much better than the first year. I can't tell you how thankful I am to be enjoying the second year of marriage baby free. G and I need this time to ourselves. We are grateful to God to have this time to ourselves. 

I'm thankful for all the cute little babies in my life to love and snuggle. But I'm also extremely thankful for time for me and G to live life, be selfish with each other, and enjoy the time when it's just us.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

thanksgiving 2013

last saturday our home was filled with friends for our annual friendsgiving. our little house was filled with the sound of little feet and toddler voices. the quiet laugh between friends catching up. the clinking of plates and passing dishes. the low roar of multiple conversations. and the quiet moments with full bellies. 

it was a good sweet day.


today we're spending time with family. my family for lunch. G's family for dinner. it's a long day but we're so grateful to have today with them. i thought i'd just pop in to remember some of the many things i'm thankful for. 

our little house so full of love

family that will always stick by us

friends that love to the end

animal babies that fill our hearts and drive us nuts

quiet nights at home

our church that we serve with and worship with

celebrating new marriages and new babies

most of all today i'm thankful for grace that makes life sweet and worthwhile and meaningful

i hope your thanksgiving is full of love and laughter. i hope you can find gratefulness and joy whatever your circumstances may be. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

type a

last week was full of errands, work, homework, commitments, and just life. by friday afternoon i was totally exhausted and feeling a bit overwhelmed.

some might say i'm type a. i say a is for awesome.

the weekend was also full of more homework, errands, church, commitments, and life. and i was dreading it.

so saturday morning i took a break from all the things i had to do and had the privilege of shooting some christmas photos of my friends' babycakes. you may remember them from their pregnancy christmas shoot last year.

basically we transformed the empty "dining room" of my house into a makeshift photo studio. complete with christmas tree and lights. consider this the sneak peek. you'll have to wait until closer to christmas to see more.

the weekend was busy and hard and exhausting. i took the most epic nap sunday afternoon and pretty much woke up feeling like i had been drugged. but it was also one of the best weekends. full of God's grace and mercy and power.

i can't even begin to tell you what an awesome weekend i had at church. i can't write out in words the joy and blessing of witnessing so many people give their hearts to Jesus. i can't express to you how humbled i am to have served alongside my church as they walked with people to meet Jesus for the first time.

every week won't be hard. every weekend won't be overflowing with activity. but this past weekend was also a gift. and i don't want to forget baby smiles through my photo lens or the look on people's faces as they realized they were loved by God.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


the only thing i wanted for my birthday was tickets to the UGA vs. AppState game. i think that i should be given a cookie for asking to go to a football game for my birthday.

i am actually a big Georgia fan. i am not a fan of SEC football in general...i'm from north carolina and i bleed carolina blue. but anyone that can beat the Florida Gators has my vote. Gators = no bueno. 

G was smart enough to get tickets near the AppState band in the visitor's section. and even though we were surrounded by red, it was nice to hear our band play our fight song. Go... Fight...

this is App's mascot, Yosef Mountaineer. he was twerking and running around like a crazy person and i had to chase down this poor person in the over-sized head for this picture. and it was worth it.

UGA is in Athens. Georgia. i'm sure it's not as awesome as Athens, Greece, but it is a cool college town. we parked behind this local coffee bean roasting company. and of course, i made G pause to play model.

and then i played model for G. in my youth sized shirt. i still rocked it.

G and i were both on band the day after the game at our church, so we had to head straight home. but we made a pit stop at P. F. Chang's for birthday dinner. o. m . g. i know it's a chain restaurant and not very hipster of me. but seriously, as an asian person i feel qualified to say that P. F. Chang's is so yummy.

basically. i had an amazing birthday. thanks to G. and my family. and my friends. i am so blessed and so thankful for all the awesome people in my life who love on me and celebrate the highs with me and stand in the lows with me. 

thank you for the best ever start to a new year of life. crushed it.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

it's been one week

this #thankfulthursdays every day in november thing is really helping me realize i have a. lot. to be thankful for.

just in case you haven't been following me on instagram (alovesg), i thought i'd post a little recap of what i've been thankful for so far this month.

day one
a husband not participating in "No Shave November". beards = no beuno.

day two
an early birthday present from my frand.

day three
my view from my street

day four
a chance to go back and keep going

day five
driving to work with the sunrise

day six
a snuggle buddy while the husband was away

what are YOU thankful for? post your #thankfulthursdays posts along with me every day this month on facebook, twitter, and instagram. it's never too late to join in and get thankful! perhaps your post will even make this super famous blog. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


I am a summer girl. A summer girl and a city girl but alas summer is finally fading here in North Carolina. Even though I already miss summer, there is something really beautiful about how the afternoon light makes the changing leaves look like the trees are on fire.

I may not get to live in the city. Or in perpetual summer. But I'm grateful for the big maple tree in my backyard that glows yellow and orange like flames.

And um. G may not have expressly permitted me to post the above photo featuring the insides of his nose. But maybe he doesn't read the blog and he'll never know?

Moving on. I've never been a big fan of Autumn. But this year, as I'm challenging myself to be more thankful for the things I've got going on, I'm going to be thankful for a husband who will begrudgingly be my model and for trees that look like fire.

Let's end with a random bit, shall we? Man photos. Hands and fingers totally in the pocket or thumbs poking out as seen above? I think it's totally strange to have a picture where both hands are shoved completely inside pockets. But perhaps I'm wrong. What do you think?

Sunday, November 3, 2013


November is adoption awareness month. Adoption is a topic that I am passionate about partly because I am adopted, but mostly because I truly believe that all followers of Jesus are called to support adoption.

Why do I think all Christians should love and support and fight for adoption? Because if you love Jesus, you are adopted. He promised to adopt you. But that promise wasn't just for you. It was for everyone. Because even those of us born into big families are born as orphans. Separated from our Father.

Today is "Orphan Sunday". A day to shine light on the needs of orphaned children all around the world. There are children in your neighborhood that need a forever family. But adoption is only part of the solution. A big part of rescuing orphans is keeping biological families together and keeping kids in the homes and communities they were born into.

What I'm saying is you don't have to adopt a child to participate in adoption. You can pray for and financially support a family trying to bring a child home. You can support foster care programs around the world. You can pray for kids with families that need to fight harder to stay together.

Being an orphan is part of my story. Adoption is part of who I am. But it's also part of who you are, whether you know it or not. And there is a beautiful blessing in store for you when you participate in adoption and orphan care.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

really really thankful

Instead of No Shave November it's going to be #thankfulthursdays every day in November. Follow me on instagram for daily (!!!) #thankfulthursdays updates. My handle is alovesg

Feel free to join in the thankful spirit by posting to facebook, twitter, and instagram with the #thankfulthursdays hashtag thingy. Let's get thankful!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


There is something really awesome about joining in. For quite some time I've been a passive observer when it comes to church. I go regularly. I am in a small group. I clap my hands at church and I share my heart in small group. But I’m not part of the movement. I've just been riding the wave.

And for awhile that was fine. God allowed me a season to rest after a dark season with organized religion and church splits and all sorts of other ugly things. But I used that season of rest to become lazy. And when it was time to get involved again, I held my ground and refused to join in. And so it was for years.

Until recently.

G and I decided to join our church’s worship band and after many months dragging our feet, we finally had our first Sunday serving on stage. And you know what? It was good. Not because I sounded awesome and everyone clapped for my mad keyboarding skills. Actually, I made several mistakes and strayed from the almighty click track once. It was good because God is good and being a part of the body of Christ is good. 

Submitting to God’s will for your life is sometimes really hard. But not submitting will wear you completely out. I felt more full and rested after a long Sunday at church than I had so many other weeks of sleeping in and sitting through one hour long service. And it’s hard to juggle work, school, worship band, small group, marriage, friends, and family. But God gives you the time for all the things he’s called you to.

And that is all the time you need.

Monday, October 28, 2013

one fine day

G and I have sort of decided that sometimes, you have to kind of forsake practicality and just do things that are good for your soul. So last week, G surprised me with tickets to the Biltmore House.

The Vanderbilts are one of the wealthiest families in American history and have homes in New York, Rhode Island, and this one, in Asheville, NC. It's a lovely piece of history and worth the trip, at least once.

This past Saturday was my second visit to Biltmore. G took me for my birthday almost 2 years ago. I think I took like 5 photos last time, none of which were any good. All the photos today are SOOC (straight out of the camera) because I'm in graduate school and I don't have time to edit and also because my photoshop decided to stop working and I don't have time to fix it.

Please feel free to donate to my "I need a macbook pro and lightroom and 85mm lens fund". Just kidding. I don't have that fund. But maybe someday, right?

Okay. On to some pictures.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


Saturday was Ashley's family birthday party. Ashley is Gary's younger sister. I think they fought a lot growing up. They might tell you it's because they're so different. But really, it's because they are the two most stubborn of the four siblings.

The above picture is James' contribution to the party. I volunteered to make gluten free mac & cheese (a huge success) and James decided she would help by preparing the dish. Don't worry. I washed it out after this photo was taken and James was banned from further assistance. But it's the thought that counts.

Anyway. Ashley's birthday. Ashley is as strong as she is fragile. She is feisty but also sweet. She is passionate and organized and focused. She is also one of the least judgmental people I've encountered yet fiercely loyal. If Ashley loves you she will always have your back. And I love the dependability of that quality.

I am so thankful for Ashley. I'm thankful for all of Gary's family - for in-laws that I love and love me back. Happy belated birthday, Ash. I hope 27 is the best year yet!

Monday, October 21, 2013


Last weekend G and I traveled "up the mountain" to watch some Appalachian State football. It was homecoming. And it was a blow out game. Unfortunately, AppState was the team that lost. 

G and I both attended AppState but had very different college experiences. G worked full time while he went to school and commuted an hour to his job every day. This left him with little time to engage in the full college life and thus many of his memories of undergrad are wrought with stress, driving, and obligation. 

I on the other hand lived in campus and only worked part time. My roommate became my best friend, I was involved with a campus ministry, I loved my major, and I graduated with lots of great memories of college life. 

Autumn always makes me miss Boone and the simplicity of college student life. When I was a senior I lived in a hall right across from TCBY. There was a little guy that worked there that gave me and my roommate, Sarah, free Pumpkin Pie froyo. Like every day. Those were the days I could eat whatever I wanted and remain a cool 102 pounds. 

Every Tuesday night before I had my car on campus, Sarah and I would walk to CCF, the college student ministry we were involved in on campus. Walking around campus with friends is one of my favorite memories. But there is something special in my mind about sharing those walks to "church" with my best friend in the crisp autumn air. There was also that spring that Sarah and I took a health class on the opposite side of campus and braved the crazy Boone wind to listen to Paul Moore for 20 minutes two times a week. 

Sometimes I really feel bad that G doesn't have those sorts of memories. Saturday morning trips to Stick Boy Bread Co. for scones. Standing in line at McAlister's for an hour. Cheap movies at the auditorium on campus. Long lunch dates at the student union. Granted, my time at AppState had it's own struggles and worries, but it was a really fulfilling and joyous time in my life. 

Even though we had to watch our team lose, it's nice to go back to Boone with G and make new memories. We often imagine what life could have been like if we had met and fell in love at AppState. Our story unfolded just the way it was supposed to, but it's fun to imagine. I like going back and walking through campus with my hubs and remembering the good times and remembering how I prayed for a certain life and enjoying just how good my life is now. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

tiny pepper

Let's start this post with honesty, shall we?

I had a hard time deciding what I was thankful for this Thursday. Not because I have so many things I'm thankful for that it's hard to choose one...but because I haven't exactly had a very thankful week.

There are plenty of things I have to be thankful for. I've just forgotten to actually BE THANKFUL. It's not that I don't appreciate the things I have, I do. But part of thankfulness involves action. I have to act thankful by using what I've been given, by valuing what is valuable, and by giving God the glory for everything I have. And well this past week, I kind of just went about my business and didn't really think about being thankful until it came time to write this post.

No bueno. 

But truthfully that's what I started #thankfulthursdays. I need accountability. I need a constant reminder that I am so blessed and need to give thanks to my Savior who gave it all for me. 

So this week I am thankful that God continues to bless me, sustain me, and restore me even when I'm not all that thankful for it. I'm thankful for his goodness in my complacency. I'm thankful that he's always faithful, so constant, and so full of new mercy every day. 

(sidebar: obviously my pictures are unrelated to my words in this post, but hey. i'm rockin' what i got. also. G took the picture of the tiny pepper and i thought it was just oh so cute.)

Thursday, October 10, 2013

it's the little things

Lately, G has been playing with my hair. I'm not really the type of person that likes to be touched a lot or have her hair played's just not my thing. But there's something so sweet and simple about my hubs twirling my hair while we're watching tv on the sofa. 

A couple weeks ago G spent all day Sunday watching football at his friend's house. I was totally fine with it because I had a lot of schoolwork to get through. But we're so busy through the week that the weekends are usually the only time we have to do anything fun together and I knew we'd be giving up some of that time. While he was gone, he sent me a text and totally unexpectedly told me he wanted to go on a froyo date when he got home. 

I don't want to take these little things for granted. I want to cherish them and remember them and celebrate them because even the little things matter. So this week I'm thankful for hair twirling and frozen yogurt dates.

Monday, October 7, 2013

this is your life

I went to a baby shower for some friends over the weekend. They are expecting their first baby this month and I am pretty excited about it. Some people don't really get babies. And that is totally fine. But I am not one of those people. I love babies.

Baby showers, on the other hand, are not my thing. But this shower had no stupid decorations, games, or otherwise baby shower themed paraphernalia. It was basically just a lot of good food and conversation.

In the midst of that conversation, my friend and mother-to-be said sometimes she feel's like that Switchfoot song, This is Your Life, is directed toward her. And although I didn't say it, I totally feel the same exact way.

 My life isn't everything I thought it would be. But at the same time, it's a whole lot of things I never even considered. I thought by now I'd have a pretty little "Ph.D." behind my name. I thought I'd be living in a big city in a tiny apartment. And while there's nothing wrong with wanting those things. There's also nothing wrong with not having those things. 
I have a steady job in a difficult economic climate. I don't live in a big city, instead I live in a small town in a house with a husband and a big back yard. I never thought my life would look like it does at this very moment. But maybe my dream was the wrong dream. Maybe I'm living the dream and I don't even know it. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Take a journey into my mind

Sometimes I wonder if I'm crazy to maintain a blog. I work in a public sector and anyone could just google my name and find my blog. I really don't like that.

Also, I find it really hard to be as brutally honest as I want to be. Some of my favorite blogs share some of the hardest stories. And I want my blog to be a place where I can record the hard things and the good things. But I'm afraid that if I tell you about the things I suck at and struggle with, that your judgment will be too much for me. I worry that I'll say too much or not enough and you'll misunderstand me.

But for today, I'm going to let all of my insecurities about this blog go and just tell you what's really on my mind.

I felt really guilty when my grandmother died in August. Because I didn't adore her the way people typically adore their grandparents. In fact, I disliked her a lot of the time. She said and did things that made our relationship hard. And I was unforgiving. And that unforgiveness turned into bitterness and then her mind went and it was too late to heal what was lost. She is the one who taught me how to sing "Jesus Loves Me" and "Jesus Loves the Little Children". She's the grandmother who taught me nursery rhymes and how to like pretty things. I never got to mend that relationship. It just kind of died and then she died.

When my grandmother died it made me really question other relationships that could be healed but aren't. Last year my relationship with my other grandparents fell apart. For a lot of reasons, my grandfather and I stand on opposite sides of some important issues. And he threatened me based on those disagreements, and not for the first time. So I walked away and didn't look back. I still go around for family things. But I barely speak to him. In the last year and a half I've said a handful of words to my grandparents. And none of those words were "I love you". I have no idea how to begin healing that relationship. Some days I don't even know if that's what I really want. 

And I'm afraid that these feelings and damaged relationships make me a failure. Satan tells me over and over again that I am a failure. He loves to point out how all these things are my fault. All the things I've done wrong in these relationships. How I'm unlovable. I believe the devil when he tells me how ugly, and messed up, and damaged I am. I believe him because I am messed up. But the real failure is that some days I believe that's the end of the story.

But that's not the end of the story at all. While Satan is screaming my failures to me, Jesus is whispering that it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter how ruined or spent I might be because it's not about me. Grace isn't given to prove how deserving or loving I am. It's the opposite. Grace is given to prove how loving and deserving God is. I am undeserving and damaged and unlovely. But God still wants me and loves me and pursues me with relentless love because he deserves my love and praise. And maybe those words seem counter-intuitive to you. But for me, the Gospel story frees me. Because my story doesn't hinge on how good I am. It hinges on how good God is.

I don't have it all figured out. I can't go back and change the way things have happened. But God already knows the end of my story. And it ends in his glory. And I am so thankful for that.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

thankful thursdays.

i'm over throwback thursday. otherwise known as #tbt. frankly, i don't want to relive the glory days of straight cut bangs, matching cotton shorts outfits, and jellies. oh, you didn't wear that? i'm sorry you weren't cool.

then there's the first two years with braces. and then two more years. oh, you have perfectly straight teeth? good for you.

i digress.

i want to be thankful on thursdays instead. not horrified at my childhood fashion choices displayed on instagram for all to see.

so this thursday i'm thankful for a lot and yet not enough. i'm thankful for my husband. even though he drives me absolutely nuts sometimes. he's so faithful and i'm lucky to have someone so dedicated to glorifying God in marriage.

guys. let's get thankful. #thankfulthursdays

Thursday, September 12, 2013

august as told by september.

last month G and I traveled to New Jersey, the land of my childhood, to say goodbye to my grandmother. we laid these beautiful yellow roses to rest with her. the same type of rose i carried on my wedding day. watching my grandfather toss a rose on his wife's coffin was maybe one of the most beautiful and most tragic things i've ever seen. 
last month we also celebrated my niece's first birthday. a celebration of a long life that lives on in heaven and a new live with well wishes for many years more. my niece's birthday party was maybe one of the loudest events i've been too short of a college football game. truth. 
there was also a wedding for G's cousin thrown in there. and a cookout to christen our new house where G and our brother-in-law created a mini forest fire in the back yard. and now it's time for fall. pumpkin spice everything and leather jackets and football. 
a new season begins. let's go.