We were so sad to say goodbye to Lea & Emily nearly two weeks ago. They have been wonderful friends over the past two years, and its hard to imagine Shenyang without them. I felt very blessed to be asked to take some pictures of the Jones ladies around our apartment complex. What a fun way to spend a bit more time with these lovely friends before we said goodbye.
There are probably more like a million reasons to love Lea & Emily, but here are a few that I can think of right now.
10. They love each other so much! It was a blessing to observe their mother-daughter relationship continue to develop. They have a strong bond and connection that many moms/daughters would be envious of.
9. They understand each other.
8. They enjoy and appreciate beauty. Oh yeah...they are also beautiful inside and out! Whether it's their ready smiles, or their sparkly eyes, be prepared to be mesmerized!
7. Their sense of humor is contagious. We love to laugh together! Who knows why we're laughing, but I feel like every time we're together, there's lots of laughter.
6. Their faith impacts others. Lea's testimony and obedience, Emily's tender heart and compassion--they are an inspiration, encouragement, and blessing to those who meet them.
5. Emily's friendship. Even though she is 5 years older than Willow, she always accepted her as a friend. It was wonderful to watch their relationship grow. Willow's screams of excitement whenever Emily walked in the door, Emily's ability to teach Willow new games and tricks, Willow's desire to say Emily's name, Emily's generosity in giving Willow many of her toys. I will always remember the week that Emily stayed with us while Lea was getting knee surgery. Emily is incredibly strong to have lived in China for two years. Emily has exhibited tremendous bravery through trials. Emily is learning to trust in God more and more. When I think of Emily, I see a picture of joy and kindness, mixed all together with a lot of mirth on top.
Thank you, Emily for befriending my crazy baby, and always having a good attitude about playing with her. It meant the world to me; she doesn't have many friends and you truly reached out to her. I know spending time with you was one of the best parts of Willow's life. Sometimes, you were the first person she asked for when she woke up in the morning. You've brought so much joy to Willow, Adam, and myself--we wish that we could keep you forever!
p.s. Thank you for always eating what I cook and bake. Not only do you eat it, you always ask for the recipe. I love that about you! :)
4. Lea's Friendship.
Always willing to help in the kitchen on family nights,
Always willing to babysit Willow,
Always offering help when she could,
Always encouraging me as a new mom,
Always sharing valuable advice,
Always accepting--never judging.
Thank you, Lea for the play dates with our girls, the starbucks dates, the shopping trips, the many meals we shared, the no-bake cookies, and the sushi! I'll miss having you over for dinner. I'll miss the edifying conversations, the massage trips, and having you over every Tuesday. Thank you for sharing your daughter with us. For the way you have trained her with your godly example. For encouraging her in her strengths and helping her in her weaknesses. For being an example to me of what a biblical mom looks like.
3. Their heart for service and community. Whether it's at school, with their neighbors, or in the Philippines, these girls are constantly showering love on those around them.
2. Lea's Obedience. She walks where He leads.
1. And the number one reason is.....You can't imagine how you lived before you met them. Lea and Emily, you have impacted our lives in more ways than you'll know this side of heaven.
Zai Jian, to our special friends. I think we'll meet again in this world, and I'm excited for eternity together.