Cassie’s view : life on the east side

so much life happens in such a short amount of time that if i don’t record it immediately an almanac worth of memories is swept away by the current flood of memories being made.

here’s my attempt at salvaging & sharing some of those in-the-blink-of-an-eye memories.

the sprouts were bridal escorts in a friend’s wedding which meant that they got to carry the train of the dress & ride in a limo! it also meant that they were at times the star of the show. but most disturbing for them was that it meant they got caught in a rainstorm of confetti. so being the tidy sprouts they are & taking their duties very seriously they tried to remove every piece of confetti from the bride’s dress, a tedious job for sure!

while jarod’s sister cassie was visiting (late april, early may) she had the privilege of seeing our {normal} life & we got to see our {normal} world through her eyes. here’s a glimpse of our familiar (accentuated by her artistic bent):
she also blessed us with some sweet maternity shots. baby sprout at 6 months gestation.

and some candid moments, like our walk to dinner. what the camera didn’t capture was that during dinner i insisted Sterling remove his helmet to eat which immediately resulted in him falling off his stool and hitting his head… & Liberty vomiting all over me. special memories for sure! (sometime we’ll also have to share Sterling’s “view” of our world!)

over a month later the sprouts are still talking about & missing “Aunt Cassie”.


absent in april…

it’s like a bad april fool’s joke.
destined – if i don’t watch it – to last the entire month.
since returning to the east side i suddenly found myself busier than (it feels) i’ve ever been.
my busyness isn’t so much defined by super hero skills or tasks, but by the daily joy of living, finding & making my way in this new season… requiring i pack a lot into my “work day”. as well as a lot of humility.

truth be told, the little survey i took asking you your communication preferences lent itself to this sabbatical. strangely & beautifully.
in essence it let me off the hook.
with a full schedule from wake time to bed time i was struggling with how to make the blog a priority.
with language lessons while the sprouts are at pre-k, homeschool, jarod’s weekly travel schedule, various communication commitments, life here in general & (get ready to gasp!) domestic duties, i was fighting “blog neglect guilt”… usually during times i was already preoccupied or too tired to think.

so, our little blog – circa 2005 – has been relegated to the back burner. or better yet, the boiler, rarely used & forgotten.


the good news is: for the first time – maybe in our entire marriage – we have margin! we’re enjoying a weekly Sabbath/family day. this means we’re intentionally going tech free for an entire day. and the results – priceless.
we’re laughing more – together.
every day is not an emergency.
our schedule is no longer defined by chaos.
the sprouts are seeing less of my “box” (ie. large screen taking up my lap & attention) & more of my face.
we’re usually in bed by 10… and getting enough sleep to feel rested.

in fact, though I have less time & freedom to do photography (seriously lacking & also a cause for less blogging) & writing, as a family we’re able to be just as intentional as we embrace our life here.

& because it’s worthy of mention, this little blog sabbatical is especially serving me well as i consider what life with the addition of baby sprout will look like.

so, with that said, i’m positive baby sprout will get some well-deserved screen time…
but for now, “the girl” at jdavis2.wordpress is enjoying a lighter load…
& the moments of this season.

thank you for visiting, faithful ones.

highlights from our 2nd week!

we began the week with a sweet time of connecting with family via skype. thankful for this amazing visual/verbal communication tool!sterling & liberty are thoroughly enjoying their time at pre-k. in fact, today when they were dropped off sterling had quite a fan club. thankful for local friends & good teachers. this month i began my first andy stanley study: christian. thankful for the abf class at dpfbc who’s growing in their faith & especially for the leaders who gifted me the participant’s guide.while liberty naps sterling happily studies the local language. thankful for naps, rosetta stone & his eagerness to learn! liberty noticed this brand sticker on our washing machine & is now thoroughly convinced it represents her & sterling. thankful for a sense of humor & joy in the little things!at the grocery store sterling i discovered tortillas. thankful for a taste of home, locally. as a small treat for their first day back to pre-k sterling scored a mini-lego set & liberty a puzzle. thankful for grateful hearts & growing minds.thankful that though liberty wasn’t thrilled with her treat, the sprouts found a way to enjoy the much loved space man – together!since returning to the east side liberty’s eczema has been quite intense. thankful for wisdom, which has allowed her to begin healing – beautifully!

the sprouts have become very fond of our newest east side friend. thankful for people who love our sprouts!

recently discovered a local friend, my same age, is also expecting! thankful for new life & dad’s sustaining grace!

the sprouts were playing kitchen & sterling took a break to work on his “ipad”. thankful for their friendship.

not adequately captured was the beautiful snow day. however, i was able to capture the excitement of lego play & liberty’s adoration. thankful for beautiful blankets of snow, clear air & the wonder that is sibling love.each day the sprouts return home from school they are mentally exhausted – both being in classes that are well beyond their current ability. thankful they are still eager to go! last week sterling {officially} began homeschooling. thankful for his love of learning, amazing perseverance & dad’s grace in this incredible, overwhelming, blessed endeavor! because we took a very long break from homeschool while we were in the states we’re needing to do a lot of review & i battle with feeling behind. thankful for the many reasons to rejoice in the many things he’s already accomplished, the gift of today & sweet reminders that this “task” is not the end goal!

we’re thoroughly enjoying the gift of public transportation, more specifically, the subway system that stops right outside our door. thankful for the sweet opportunity to spend the evening with friends & convenient transportation which made it possible!

9 years on the east side…

this week jarod & i celebrated our 9 year {arrival} anniversary on the east side!

when i say “celebrated” what i actually mean is, after putting the sprouts to bed i realized it was march 5th & nonchalantly told jarod, “oh hey, i just realized today is our 9 year anniversary.”

i wish i could say we got up and danced, or hula hooped, or made a special orange juice toast in honor of this milestone…

but no, instead jarod responded with, “oh yeah… happy lei feng day.”

(fyi: lei feng is still celebrated as a national hero from the “golden age.”)

and then we watched an episode of everybody loves raymond.


we’ve arrived “home-home”

we made it “home-home”!

loving family escorted us to the airport.

on the way the reality of another stint on the east side sunk in.

the last 3 days i often felt like i was a baby bird sitting nicely in my “homey” nest when all of a sudden i felt the winds of change.  each mighty gust lifting my wings from my body.  and i felt the knowing.  soon, that mighty wind was going to propel me right on out of my comfort zone, back into the unknown.  a world i know, & yet one that holds so much mystery.

like the bird perched high above, i have a limited view of the future.

will this stint be like our first one: full of illness, pain, suffering?  or will it resemble our second one: full of grand surprises, great movements, & fulfillment?

surely it will be like neither.

but when your life is divided by chunks of years, so much of who we’ve become is defined by each chunk and it’s only natural to wonder in what ways will we be defined during this chunk.


during our travels…

sterling did amazing!  seriously.  he’s definitely got this jet set thing down.  he was the one to bring me comfort at our sad “see ya later”.  he was sweet & silly.  lavishing kisses on me, drying my tears & bringing me smiles.  he slept 11 hours straight of our 15 hour flight.  when we made our final arrival he really surprised us by pushing a cart full of luggage through the airport.  he couldn’t see where he was going, but even so, he was extremely helpful!

liberty did pretty well herself!  her sleep patterns were more sporadic.  a few hours here, a few there.  but overall, she handled herself well.  towards the end she was quite worn out but still functional & reasonable.  one of my greatest concerns is that we’d have some kind of “accident” but that proved not to be the case!  upon our final arrival she was exhausted & none-too-thrilled with the 12 degree, windy weather.  but we even managed to make it through that relatively well!

jarod didn’t sleep much at all during our entire ordeal, but thanks to Dad’s sustaining grace, he did well and even had the energy to pull my weight.  literally.

because the entire time i didn’t do so well.  i was sick the entire first flight.  and by the time i got on the 2nd flight i only had a cup of water in my stomach.  by the time we landed i was weak, famished & in desperate need of some nourishment.  but naturally fearful that i couldn’t hold anything down.


at noon when we got “home-home” we were greeted by a nice, clean home, food staples & loving friends who brought us lunch.  jarod was very patient with me during the entire day.  which meant i’d eat a bite or two & then go lay down when the nausea kicked in.  i “rested” most of the day away.

but i can assure you the sprouts had a blast – even without me!  by evening time i noticed every single toy was strewn across our living room!  i so wish i had a before & after picture!  perfection turned chaos!

another friend came by while i was out of commission & helped jarod put things away.  jarod was grateful for the company & all the help.  so was i, as it meant jarod didn’t have to do everything himself.

we couldn’t be more grateful for the love & sacrifice our friends made on our behalf yesterday!

so it was, after a full two days the sprouts were happily in bed at 7 pm & we followed soon thereafter.

…and yes, we all pretty much slept through the night!

five sentence friday #30

2 months in, it finally happened – missing the east side.

when we first moved to the east side i would randomly think things like, “i need to go to {fill in the blank} today…” only to be rudely awaken to the realities that that place, that thing that i wanted to get or do was 1/2 a world away and it’d be 4 years before i saw or did that again!

eventually those thoughts, urges… & ultimately griefs – can we say “death to self!?!” – became less demanding & stole less of my mental & emotional reserve.

so as one might expect, being back in my home culture has allowed me to flip the switch & once again enjoy things like running a quick errand to walmart & enjoying the convenience of pre-cut, prepackaged, pre-canned, pre-priced goods…

& yet today i was totally surprised when i randomly found myself missing the local wonton place near our east side home.