Sunday, March 10, 2019

Loving My Scars

I’ve heard that all scars tell a story and that every scar shows us something we’ve overcome. It’s taken me a long time to realize just how true this is. I never saw my scar on my arm as anything but an imperfect mark on my skin. I always felt slightly insecure about it, as it has always reminded me of my past and my fear of extreme heat.

When I was younger, my mom would tell me that someday, when I was older, we could look into methods that would hide my scar. I’m going to be honest here; there were times when I really wanted this. In the summer, when I would wear a tank-top or go to dance with a sleeveless leotard, people would ask questions. I know they were just curious, and I really couldn’t blame them for inquiring, but it really did bother me. In my little girl mind, having to tell people multiple times that I didn’t know how it happened was the most embarrassing thing.

Now, I look back and see things differently because my embarrassing moments have been far worse. More importantly, my perspective on my scar has changed; half the time, I don’t even realize it’s there. It’s gone from being this imperfection on my skin to being a “battle scar.” It shows where I’ve been and how far I’ve come and now it’s starting to fade. Now, people don’t notice it as much, and I rarely get questioned about it.

One night, when I was trying to sleep, I suddenly realized that I didn’t want my scar to fade. This thought literally put my whole brain on halt for three seconds, which is beyond rare. I spent most of my life wishing it would fade, but now? I want my scar to stay as long as it will. Now, that I’m getting older, I see this mark as a part of who I am.

I know my parents would be supportive if I wanted to do something cosmetically to fade or get rid of the scar. But, as much as I wanted to when I was younger, I couldn’t bring myself to do it today. It’s more than a scar to me: it’s part of my journey and my story. And, the scar is the one thing I still have from China, and it’s one of the blessings I’ve been given.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Just In Time For Christmas!

Here’s to a belated Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! This season truly reminds us of all our blessings, doesn’t it? This week, I was blessed, humbled, and amazed to be a small part of an ongoing adoption process.

Two years ago, when my book The Newest Flower was still in the publishing process, my mom and I were planning a book presentation at our church. The day before we were to present, our pastor postponed our presentation for one week later.  Of course, we were both a tad bothered by this because we had stayed up late the night before planning our presentation.
Little did we know that the following week a very special couple were visiting from Wisconsin. When my mom and I went up, I shared a little bit about my own story, and how adoption was close to my heart. This testimony blessed this couple to the point that they came and spoke to my mom at the five minute break. They told her how much my story had moved them and how they had considered adoption but were hesitant.

Later, at the end of the church service, my mom felt led to tell them how we were scheduled to present the week before, but our pastor had cancelled at the last minute. As the tears fell from this couple, we all knew that this was not a coincidence!

Two years later, this couple came home for the holidays--one of the rare times we saw them at our church. They came up to my mom and showed her a picture of a beautiful little girl that they are adopting from China in March!

Honestly, this is one of the best gifts I’ve ever received! I’m still trying to wrap my brain around how great God is. He used one little presentation to give this little girl a story of redemption and a family.

I hope this story makes you smile and realize just how amazing adoption can be. I hope that you will join me and pray for this family as they embark on this journey.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

The Missing Maidservant Part 4

The next day was not any better; in fact, in Maria’s eyes, it was worse. Prince Emil had one of the male workers bring down the painting and asked his brother, who had come that morning, whether it looked more like Lady Thea or Maria.
His brother, Prince Malthe, was basically a younger version of Prince Emil, with the exception that Malthe had telltale sideburns, and his dimples were not as obvious as Emil’s. For a few seconds, he stared at the painting and even cocked his head to get a better angle. “Definitely looks like her,” Prince Malthe concluded, pointing at Maria. “Her eyes and nose are not as . . . established as Lady Thea’s.”
That night, when Maria entered the kitchen, a small bag with her belongings was sitting on the table. The cook, who was a very wide lady, was standing behind the counter and abruptly said, “She kicked you out.” Then, she passed Maria a note that simply stated that her help was no longer needed and that she would need to be gone by dawn the following day.
Not saying a word, Maria trudged out onto the rainy streets that she had called her home for so many years. Six years of serving Lady Thea with great honor and respect, and now, she was rewarded with a new home, back out on the streets. At least, her lowly uncle would give her a job at his cafe, even if it was long, underpaid hours; it was a job nonetheless.
“What do you mean she’s gone?” Prince Emil questioned. “According to your staff, she was one of the best workers you had!”
“Why worry yourself about her? She’s simply a servant,” Lady Thea laughed at the breakfast table.
Prince Emil, in his anger, stood up from the table, motioning his brother, who hesitated, but then, followed him into the hall.
“Let us search the city; she could not have gone far,” Prince Emil whispered, and donned his coat, making his way to the door. Prince Malthe just rolled his eyes and followed him. Searching for a girl in the thick fog instead of sitting and eating seemed ridiculous, but Prince Emil was older, and he always got what he wanted.
“Can we get a drink? At least a bite? It is lunchtime,” Prince Malthe prodded his older brother. After an hour of nagging, Emil finally gave in and headed to a local eatery, where Maria was serving another table. Emil elbowed his brother and whispered something in his ear.
“Can I have a table please?” Emil tapped Maria’s shoulder.
“Of cour-” Maria stopped in her tracks and just stared at the two princes in her uncle’s cafe.
Eight Months Later
As the carriage turned the bend, Princess Maria gasped in amazement. “It’s so beautiful. Large,” she paused. “That must be a pain to clean,” she sighed, leaning back in the velvet seat.
“You will not have to lift a hand, Maria,” Prince Emil laughed softly at his wife, who was clearly new to the ways of the royals.
“Then, what will I do all day?” Maria retorted.
“If you want to clean the oven, then I suppose I cannot stop you,” Emil replied shaking his head softly. A gentle smile spread on Maria’s face-indeed, this was going to be an adventure.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

The Missing Maidservant Part 3

They're back! Part 3 is here!

Nothing spectacular happened at dinner, but Prince Emil was clearly surprised when he saw Lady Thea for the first time, but gathered his composure and kissed her hand. He didn’t say anything but kept glancing over at Maria with a questioning look. Of course, the other servants didn’t fail to notice this and teased Maria when out of his earshot. The glances were so apparent that even Lady Thea detected the tension and after dinner demanded to talk to Maria.

“You called me, ma’am?” Maria came over and automatically started untying the laces, which came loose with a simple tug, and the whole corset seemed to breathe in relief as she continued to work down her back.

“When you saw Emil, did you talk to him?” Lady Thea accused, angrily staring at Maria’s reflection in the mirror.

“He stopped me in the stairwell and confused me for you,” Maria gave Thea a fleeting glance in the mirror.

“How could he mistake us? You are just so, so . . . simple,” Thea replied with a haughty look in her olive green eyes. Maria just nodded as she worked to take off the skin-tight undergarments that Thea had magically managed to slip into.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

The Missing Maidservant Part 2

Sorry for the wait! Part 2 is here!

“Maria! Place these flowers in the hall. Prince Emil shall be here soon, and I want to look radiant,” Thea shooed Maria off as she praised herself in front of her mirror. Briskly making her way through the house, Maria almost forgot about her task at hand when she heard a loud clatter, and then, the main door rattled shut. Not wanting to be detected, she set down the flowers and quickly returned upstairs. As she ascended the stairs, she stepped a little too loudly, drawing attention to herself, and soon the prince was steps behind her.

“My lady,” he took her hand and kissed it, “you look even more beautiful than in the portrait.” He gave her a charming smile and offered her his arm.

Maria looked down to the ground, pondering on what to say, “I’m not Lady Thea. She is upstairs expecting me. I am her maidservant. If you will excuse me, I need to go check on her.”

A shocked look crossed the young man’s face. “How can it be? You look just like the girl in the painting I received.” Maybe he had been expecting an answer from Maria, but she had already retreated to the confinements of her mistress’ room, with an irritated look on her face.  

“He’s here.”

“What did he do?” Thea just giggled and tried to rise, but her corset limited her movement, causing her to fall forward, only to be caught by Maria. “Is dinner ready?” Maria just nodded, regretting the fact that she had to see the man again.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The Missing Maidservant Part 1

As a school assignment, I was told to create a story from a painting. I have decided to add some short stories to this blog to give you guys a smile during the day. Feel free to give me story ideas or tell me your thoughts!

Part 1
“Turn your head slightly to the left, Lady Thea. Maria, please come brush that irritating speck off her face,” Enzo Beaufort, the artist complained, waving his paintbrush in the air with an exasperated look on his face.

“Master,” Maria started, “That is a mol - beauty mark. I cannot scrub it off.”

“Maria! Go to the kitchen and make something to get rid of it! Now!” Thea commanded, swinging her head, which caused her headdress to slip off her rather large head. Maria just nodded obediently, quickly turning, and scurrying to the kitchen.

“Would you put your headdress back on, my lady?” Enzo was vexed on how his project was going, and by the looks of it, this portrait that was to be sent to Prince Emil of Denmark, would likely scare off the toughest of men.

“I’ve come with your ointment, ma’am,” Maria scampered in, quickly dabbing Thea’s face with ghostly, white paste.

“Ah, now, I have my inspiration,” Enzo picked up his brush and began to stroke the canvas.
Stay tuned for Part 2!

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Lost the Key

Since the beginning, I have been overwhelmed with love. Even as a toddler, Mickey and Minnie were our first “real” couple. Eventually, it changed to Ariel and Eric, and then Rapunzel and Eugene, my favorite! We also fondly remember these famous couples: Cory and Topanga, Jesse and Becky, and Prince Harry and Meghan. Our culture is in love with “being in love”. So, naturally, these feelings have started to take root in younger kids. And while love is a worldwide phenomenon that knits families, friends, and people together, it is also demonstrated through our society to have a partner in life.

Recently, I’ve been questioning myself. I’m thirteen and have never had a crush. Actually, this is not 100% accurate because I have to admit that I’ve had crushes on fictional characters, but never a real live human being. Yep, weird, I know. Let’s continue. I thought something was wrong with me; after all, I am “the one” at the sleepover who talks about the guy in the book that she had just read.

Why do I do this? I blame it on being abandoned multiple times in China, reading too many romances, and watching television. In all these plots, it usually consists of falling madly in love (usually not admitting it), betrayal or something taken the wrong way, breaking up, crying in bed for a day, and then getting back together. You see, as an author, I can create a enticing story plot, but unfortunately, this is also one of my weaknesses. I create stories in my head of possible life circumstances and end up making them end terribly. This is similar to daydreaming about my birth parents, except these mini stories could be Hollywood blockbusters but not with a happy Disney ending.

A lot of this is psychological. If I never like a guy, I can never get hurt. If the guy never likes me back, I won’t be upset because I will never let myself dwell on him.

Summing up, I’ve basically locked up all my feelings for guys in a little box and lost the key.

It’s not just my overly creative mind; it’s a coping mechanism. If I can make myself afraid of attaching to someone, then, I can’t be hurt by that person. When you create these stories, they start to haunt you in life and affect your decisions, actions, and thoughts. Being scared of love creates walls harder to tear down, which leads to less people hurting you. I lost a lot of people during my early years, and because of that, I’m trying to protect myself from losing people in the future.

Honestly, I’m not sure where this understanding will lead me. I might not have feelings for a guy until I’m seventeen, or it might be in five months, I really don’t know. I just know that in time these puzzle pieces of my life will fall into place, just like God planned.