Jacob and I were both born and raised in the Texas Panhandle. It is a place of unique beauty that generally takes a native to see — wide open spaces and wide open skies. There’s something freeing and peaceful about it. It’s a friendly place, where everyone knows everyone else and you can drive 45 minutes without seeing another soul. I have two younger brothers, and Jacob has one older brother, 2 younger brothers, and one younger sister. Our parents live about 10 minutes apart.
We met in high school when Jacob and his brothers all transferred to our very small school. With a K-12 population of under 350 students, there were no strangers in our school. He was a senior and I was a sophomore, and we became best friends within a few months.
We didn’t start dating until after he graduated. I was a senior in high school. Jacob went to college at the University of North Texas, and I attended Baylor University. We dated the whole time we were both in school, and to this day, I don’t like long-distance relationships. I graduated in 2003 with my Bachelor’s in political science with minors in public relations and philosophy. Jacob graduated in 2004 with his degree in electrical engineering.
After I graduated, I moved to Dallas to be closer to Jacob and we both started working. I was given the amazing opportunity to work in international adoption. I loved it. Adoption was always a part of my life — both of my brothers were adopted; William was adopted domestically and Daniel was adopted from Brazil. When I was a kid, I secretly remember envying William a little bit because I thought adoption was just so cool. And, as I grew older, I always knew that I wanted to adopt someday myself. So, being given the chance to work in international adoption was like being given my dream job. I’ll always be thankful for that chance.
Jacob and I
finally got married at half past ten in the morning on August 6, 2005. (It was at 10:30 and not 10:00 because I liked the way “half past ten” looked on the invitations.) It was a small ceremony in the first church that was ever built in our part of the Texas plains–a small, white-clapboard structure that even had a bell my little brother rang after the ceremony was finished. I was so nervous that I don’t remember much about the wedding, other than the beautiful sound of the string quartet filling the small space. We left the same day for our honeymoon in Montreal and Quebec City, Canada.
My job in international adoption is sort of what started us on the journey to come to China. If you really want to know about us, you should definitely read the story of how we came to be in China. It’s long, but if you read it, you’ll really understand our heart for this work.
We’ve lived in China since October 2007. We don’t know when we’ll move back to the states. At this point, we have no plans to leave. We made this leap a bit unorthodoxly. We didn’t join up with a mission’s organization, and we didn’t have a lot of training before we came. We sort of came as a 6 month experiment… except we haven’t left. We can do this work because people choose to partner with us, and we’re so thankful and humbled by their generous sacrifices.
I feel like that explains the facts about us, but there’s a lot more to us… so, here are some random bits of information that might give you a better picture of who we are:
1: I love to bake. Especially bread.
2: We have a scooter. Jacob loves motorcycles… he’s been riding since he was like 5. Our scooter is a poor substitute for an actual motorcycle, but it gives us a bit of freedom.
3: I love raspberries more than any food in the whole world.
4: Jacob likes tomato sandwiches, but he doesn’t like eating tomatoes plain. I think this is weird.
5: We both like eating out for fun. But, mostly because we like trying food from different parts of the world. Our current favorites include Moroccan, Thai, Greek, and German.
6: I don’t like eggs, fish, or milk.
7: I love to read. I especially love novels, but I always think I should read books that have intellectual significance. So I usually have a couple books going at any one time.
8: We love to camp.
9: We love beautiful places in nature. I don’t think I could pick between the mountains and the ocean.
10: We love to snow ski.
11: We love to travel. Right now, our top travel destinations would be: Nepal, Cambodia, Tibet, Yunnan, and Thailand. But, due to financial constraints, we have no trips planned…
12: I love praise and worship music. Right now some of my fave artists are: David Crowder Band, Sara Groves, Hillsong, Brooke Fraser.
13: Jacob loves Coldplay.
14: That doesn’t mean he doesn’t also like praise and worship music.
15: I also like Coldplay.
16: Jacob and I don’t argue much. But we’ve learned that if we cook together, we should have separate jobs. Otherwise, it is breeding ground for conflict, because we each try to tell the other person how to do his/her job.
17: Since October 2007, Jacob and I have worked together every single day. For most of the time, we sat next to each other, too. (We don’t anymore.) We eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner together every single day. I’m really thankful for this.
18: We both struggle with perfectionism.
19: We love to watch movies and sitcoms together.
20: We like the rain and don’t like the wind. I think this is because of where we both grew up, where there was an abundance of wind and a shortage of rain.
21: We love Jesus, but don’t claim a particular denomination. The last church we attended prior to coming to China probably most closely matches our personal beliefs and theology. We’re still “podrishionors.”
22: We don’t mind the long flights between the USA and China. Jetlag still stinks though.
23: I think my husband is brilliant. Seriously. No matter what he works on, he does it well.
24: When I was a little girl, I wanted to visit any country in the world. Except China. I thought it would be overcrowded. I think God laughed at this.
25: I was born on March 8, 1982 and Jacob was born on July 25, 1980.