Marriage Isn’t For You

Mark & I are coming up on our 11th wedding anniversary. We had plans for a fun weekend getaway to Malaysia last yr for our 10th. It didn’t work out, won’t happen this yr either… but that doesn’t matter because we know the truth about marriage. It’s not about getaways, it’s about being in the moment & being ‘in it together’ – whatever ‘it’ may be from day to day. It’s about new adventures – as a family, it’s about raising children that love God, it’s about serving the poor & helpless & caring for widows & orphans together, it’s about TEAM, it’s about love… And God IS love… so marriage is really about God! — Mark & I are praying that God will encourage you, strengthen your marriage & show you the truth today!  -JK

Seth Smith also discovered the truth about marriage. Having done so, he’s decided that marriage isn’t for him…

Seth Adam Smith

Having been married only a year and a half, I’ve recently come to the conclusion that marriage isn’t for me.

Now before you start making assumptions, keep reading.

I met my wife in high school when we were 15 years old. We were friends for ten years until…until we decided no longer wanted to be just friends. 🙂 I strongly recommend that best friends fall in love. Good times will be had by all.

Nevertheless, falling in love with my best friend did not prevent me from having certain fears and anxieties about getting married. The nearer Kim and I approached the decision to marry, the more I was filled with a paralyzing fear. Was I ready? Was I making the right choice? Was Kim the right person to marry? Would she make me happy?

Then, one fateful night, I shared these thoughts and concerns with my dad.

Perhaps each…

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to Market we go… every 2 days!

I’ve been pretty sick with a sinus cold this week. I have plenty to say, but not enough brain power to put it into clear sentences for you… Not much to update on the adoption stuff. (We went to do our final fingerprint cards for the immigration papers today – tomorrow we will mail those in & wait another month or so for the next step.) That’s pretty much it, & now I’m bored, since I’ve been in bed or on the couch for two days.

So I guess it’s as good a time as any to upload all these beautiful pictures of our colorful markets here in HK. We go to the market almost every 2 days, due to the SMALL fridge space, high humidity & lovely FRESH foods. I’ve only been promising to share these for over 3 months… so here they are. This is mostly the fruits/veggies. I need to take more pics of the meat/fish… (I also plan to add a post with various market videos soon… ) I just love shopping here, relatively affordable fresh foods too! It has definitely helped me enjoy cooking & eating, having so many fresh & tasty choices! (Check out our other ‘What’s Cooking’ posts.) Please enjoy a walk through our markets!!!

 

-JK

redeeming our Victory lap… {be transformed}

Today started out like any other Friday… I had stayed up too late working on adoption grants & FB, so I slept in while Mark cooked me bacon/eggs/hash for breakfast. Tryston took the train to piano lessons. The other boys played & messed around instead of school because mom was asleep, until Daddy cracked the whip & they got to work. Once I was sipping coffee around 9, Dad left to run errands (Friday is his study/work at home day, so he also runs errands that must be done during work hrs-VERY helpful!) & we all got started on some projects…

Somewhere around 11, Mark & I both had the same idea for a fun family outing everyone had been trying to fit into our busy schedule. This was no small miracle, since we weren’t together or even on the phone/texting each other when this happened… As soon as he got home, I asked if he had seen my text about my idea. “He said no, but can we talk in the other room?” LOL Short story is, we agreed it was the perfect day & weather for a day at the public pool! YAY for taking the afternoon off from school!!

And THAT’S when it happened. Out of nowhere, the house seemed to be in a fog. Kids started bickering, parents were nit-picking & the teenager was huffing around… What is this all about? We were having a great morning & planning a fun afternoon??!! What the heck?

So.Not.Cool.

This was going nowhere fast friends, I was about fit to be tied. With everything we’ve been working on lately for work & the adoption, we have had precious little time as a family to go have fun & relax. How can we throw it all away? People were already suggesting that we just stay home… 😦 I was about to cry…

Instead, I made a DECISION. A choice. We are NOT going down without a fight. Fear Not little family! This is NOT how this battle ends. The devil can go play around with someone else’s family because we’re not defeated today! — So I told my family all that. I reminded them who we are, Children of God. I acknowledged that we have plenty of ‘issues’ that need to be addressed from time to time. (Every family does, if they’re honest!) I told them how we have a CHOICE to get into all of it today, right now, when we KNOW we are planning to leave for a much needed family day… knowing also that the ‘discussions’ may ruin our plans altogether… Or we can CHOOSE to set an appointed time to calmly/rationally address these little dust bunnies that get swept under our rug now & then… when we are rested & can come prepared with rational & well thought out opinions, rather than feeling defensive & angry at not being heard ‘right this second’… For everything has its rightful time & place. But THIS was neither the time OR the place. Not today, not on my family’s ‘family time’!

Of course, I’d like to say we all held hands, prayed & sang ‘Jesus loves me’ at that exact moment. But that would just be a silly lie & you wouldn’t buy it anyway… right? Well not if you know us very well! Ha ha. What we DID do is take a deep breath, go to separate rooms (admittedly, the hardest thing to do in a 680sqft flat with 5 people!), & cool down until lunch was ready… The rest is history. We had a perfectly lovely day at the pool & water slide playground! We had a delicious dinner at a little noodle shop, bought some groceries & topped it off with some soft serve from McDs & a short tv show before bed… Successful fun family day! – Praise the Lord for His grace – our victory lap for today was indeed redeemed!

Moral: NEVER let the enemy steal your joy! Protect your family! PRAY! Mark & I pray constantly pray for our family, our kids & our marriage. The Holy Spirit lives in our home & I’m certain HE is the reason I had the clarity to grab ahold of our quickly spiraling day this time! Be ready to kick the devil out of your house friends! Be ready in & out of season! KNOW that you are God’s children, He is WITH you always. But because of that, the enemy of your soul is out to attack everything he can to derail you from God’s calling & plans for your life! It’s no surprise to us that we’ve had more & more moments where we’ve identified enemy attacks like today’s on our family since starting our adoption of AnnaBelleYou can be sure, if you are following God’s will for your life, it’s not a matter of OF the devil will attack your life/work/ministry/family/health/finances… but a matter of WHEN! – Don’t LET him beat you! He only wins when we stand down… but why should you? With God on your side, who can be against you? The VICTORY is won friends – CLAIM IT IN JESUS’ NAME!

“But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.” -1 John 4:4

“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” -Joshua 24:15

As always, feel free to leave a comment about your experiences or how this peel into our world may have helped you… But please also email me if you have any questions or if you would like prayer for your family!

-JK

a Daughter for mother’s day {5k+1} – [announcement!]

Exciting news to share with all of our friends out there!!! We finally found our daughter!!!

Sounds a bit funny to say that out loud, I mean, it’s not like she was ever lost… But  after 15 years of dreaming & praying, over the last 4-5 of those years Mark & I actually began to think it was possible to have a daughter. (Of course, by ‘have’ I mean ‘adopt’, don’t get confused here. *wink*) Now here we are, in the midst of the miracle we always hoped for – God has shown us His timing & His path to adopting our daughter, the one He led us to, who is living in a Foster home China right now. Just a short 8 hour drive up the coast from us… We know who she is, we fell in love with her smile & her laugh, & we know her name!

Now we are officially ‘Pre-Approved’ to adopt a specific 4-year-old girl, who is more precious than words!!! Mark & I first saw her face last December while scrolling through list after list of “waiting children”, all with at least one “special need”… We want to tell you all everything about our sweet girl so you can enjoy the rest of this new adventure along with us… However, due to the regulations that are in place to keep orphans & their information safe, we aren’t allowed to tell you very much until we are almost ready to go get her. ((Praying that will be by the end of THIS year!)) We can’t tell you exactly where she is or even her given name… & we especially cannot share her pictures online yet. As soon as we can though, you can be sure we will!

ajk signsSo, in honor of Mother’s Day & this wonderful news – we want to share something just as special as her picture… Her new name! A name is very important, especially to God. He puts a lot of emphasis on giving meaningful names in the Bible. Many times, when there is a new beginning or a new life for someone, God gives them a new name to emphasize the changes He is doing in their lives… We also have taken great care in naming all of our children. We especially want our little girl to start her new life with a new name that brings her hope & freedom & eventually, we hope it brings her closer to God.

We also hope when you read our daughter’s ‘new’ name that you will think about & pray for all the other orphans who still need families. Maybe one of them is meant to be in YOUR family. Maybe they are just meant to have your prayers until their family finds them… Consider this:

“Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names
They are easier to ignore before you see their faces
It is easier to pretend they’re not real before you hold them in your arms,
But once you do, everything changes.” 

– from Radical by David Platt

Now for the fun part – we have chosen a fitting name for our sweet little miracle girl:

ajk2bAnnaBelle Janae Kwong

Anna: a Prophetess in the Bible, a woman of worship, prayer & dedication to God, a woman who recognized Christ! (Luke 2:36–38) {also, Anna is MY middle name!}

Belle: French/Hungarian – Meaning ‘beautiful’. German/Spanish – Meaning ‘intelligent’. {just found out, Belle is the name of my ajkStep-Father’s late paternal grandmother!}

Janae: feminine form of the biblical male name Janai. – Meaning ‘God has answered’, ‘God is gracious’ or ‘gift’

It comes with a ton of fun nick names to choose from too! Anna, Belle, Elle, Ellie, AJ, Nay Nay, etc.

Please pray that God will continue to provide the finances for us to go get AnnaBelle! Before we committed to the adoption, we prayed for God to confirm that He wanted us to move forward. When we felt He had, we paid our application fee. When we were accepted, there was a very fast deadline for the first $3,000+ in agency fees. We prayed again, knowing if God provided for the need in the short time, it must really be His will & plan for this girl to join our family! Miraculously, God provided almost $5,000 in less than 2wks! Isn’t he great!!! Since then, He has continued to provide & over half of the fees/expenses have already been paid. Now we are praying for the remaining $20,000 that will need to be paid before we are finished with the adoption. Please pray with us!

Yes. That IS a lot of money. It is simply the cost of adopting internationally these days. The cost of a life… And we KNOW that God will provide it because He has told us He will. He has confirmed it by already providing through many of His children, isn’t the Body of Christ a wonderful thing?! — We can’t wait to pay every penny it will cost for our daughter’s life! SHE’S WORTH ALL THAT & MORE!!! Mark & I & the boys are so excited to go scoop up our little AnnaBelle & bring her home! If all the timing works out, we should have her just in time to bring her home to the States on our next trip – then she can meet so many of you that will have helped to pray her home to her Forever Family!!! Don’t you agree that every little one deserves a Forever Family to love them forever?!

We hope you will check back with us as we share more updates on our adoption journey! We have a long ways to go yet, we only have half of the paperwork phase finished. So there is much busyness around here, getting ready! The boys are very excited too, I’m sure I’ll write more about that another time…

ajk announce1 copy

If you or anyone you know would like to help us with our adoption costs, we do have a couple of ways you can do that. Please just shoot us an email & we will fill you in! (mark.kwong@na-link.com) We are overjoyed to know our daughter will soon be home!! Thank you for your love & encouragement! You all are some of the best people on the planet & we love each of you so much! We’re praying God’s grace & blessings over your families today!

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!!

-JK