You guys are in for a TREAT today!
I want to introduce you to one of MY FAVORITE ladies...
Alison is the soul and beauty behind one of the blogs I read religiously...
the Chino House blog!
Oh... My... Goodness...
There is so much life, love, character, spirit, beauty, yummyness, and adventure in her posts.
Oh... and did I mention she has one of the most BEAUTIFUL children in the world?
Ok... let me go back a few years (well, wouldn't say a few... it's more like... a decade and a few).
I have to confess I don't remember all the details.
I was living in Seattle when Alison and her husband Taido were serving at Chinese Baptist Church, where many of my close friends attended. I'm not sure how it all happened, but one day I was asked to babysit their children, along with a dear friend, Jermaine. Not sure why, but one of those odd things I remember is that they didn't have a dining table... they were too cool and had a picnic-like table in their dining area! How cool is that! The kids that night were a blast! I remember watching a movie while laying on pillows on the floor, then watching the kids jump on their beds right before 'lights out'! :) They were young and probably don't even remember that night!
Fast forward a few more years... I find myself in grad school at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, where Taido had gotten his graduate degree as well. I think he was one of the silent reasons why I even considered going to TEDS, and I don't regret his quiet influence in my decision to walk on that campus. Thanks, Taido!
Alison's example of a loving wife, creative mom, faithful friend, beautiful spirit, and DEEP LOVE for Jesus are just some of the reasons why I admire this lady. She might not even know she has a "fan" living in the country roads of Indiana, but she truly represents the organic version of someone I look up to.
At the end of last year, Alison and her family moved to Scotland!
Another one of those surreal events in someone's life.
To make a long story, short, Taido is getting another one of those crazy theology degrees at a prestigious Scottish school... Taido, you're my hero! The journey that led them to Scotland is one of those book-worthy, sermon illustration-worthy, God's divine intervention and direction-type of counts. Yup... AH-MAZING! Truly, God's hand at work!
Okay, but this post is about Alison, so, let me stick to why she's the one I'm choosing to write about today.
This past week, Alison blogged about her dark days of depression.
The word that I often try so hard to avoid.
The part of my past (and sometimes present) that I resent. I don't like it.
But Alison managed to call it for what it is... Walking In The Dark.
It disguises the light, hides the truth, and creates a false image of what we want to portray instead.
When I read the honest description of her reality, I was able to identify with her struggle, and realized how much more alike than different we really are. Instead of looking up to this amazing woman, for the first time I saw myself IN her.
I guess moving to a different country has a way of shaking the core of someone's existence.
When I first heard that the Chino's were packing their bags to relocate to Scotland, I thought about my own family. I was 15 when my dad was invited to attend seminary in the US. Growing up in Brazil, going to America was only a reality to those who "could". So, moving to the US was a dream come true for me... for my dad, for all of us. So... just like Taido and Alison, my dad and mom took their 4 children and headed to Southern California (a post for another day!). I LOVED the newness of everything! The new sights, the food, the smells, the weather, the culture. But I missed my friends, relatives, my church. Can I even begin to imagine how the Chino children feel? Maybe... but I can't wait to see, read, and hear about what God is and will continue to do in their lives.
So, have I convinced you to give Alison some of your love, yet?
If not... can I suggest you check out her recipes? Granola, soups, muffins, salads, anything with chocolate, yummm!! I could live and die happy if I had someone cook one of each one of her recipes for the rest of my days. Ok... I'm totally exaggerating! But, seriously! So good!
And what about the fact that this lady inspired me to pursue my READING hobby more seriously? I once asked her how she managed to read so many books... and her answer... she just does. She makes time. She looks forward to. So that's why READING is now breathing to me. I need it and love it! Thank you, Alison! For your example, joy, and spirit.
Go check out the Chino House and tell her I said hello.