Thursday, August 9, 2012

//my shubin week. guest post by jessica oh!

"this is the story of your life
and it's a story worth telling" - matthew west "story of your life

i'm jessica.
i love jesus. i love mike. i take pictures. mostly of faces + cats. i love rainbows, hearts + grape juice. that's all you need to know.


and for one whole week,
i was a shubin.

{check out instagram : #myshubinweek}

for cereals...
i've known erica for 5 minutes.
no. just kidding.
but i did meet erica on facebook.
 thanks to my friend, rachel.
social networking for the win!
i watched little zahra's adoption
through my computer screen in new jersey.
erica + i became pals.

 {here's a sexy shot of erica + me in heathrow airport looting starbucks mugs on the way home from ethiopia. we make travel look good.}

{us in ethiopia pretending honey wine is delicious. it isn't.}

when her church led a mission trip to ethiopia,
and i tagged along.

i flew down to tampa
and crashed at the shubins for a few days
before leaving for addis.
i ate cereal with silas.
and fought over my iPad with zahra.
i laughed with nichol while olivia talked in her sleep
and teased skyler about his hair. (which i adore!)

{me + 'chol}

{zahra + i showcasing our nose beards. inside joke.} 

{skyler + me at the guest house
in ethiopia. he's mah fav. ever.}

{photobooth shenanigans with silas!}

fast forward a few months later
and erica fancypants photographer is off shooting
a wedding in hungary with her hub and guess
who gets to watch the shubie clan?


sooo...after shooting a wedding in jersey,
i hop on a plane to put some pretend mommy pants on
and call the shots at the shubin casa.

i had the best week.
the shubin kids are the coolest.
they are hilarious.
they are witty, smart and most importantly, love Jesus.

{the first morning! so excited!}

we ate lots of waffles.
and ice cream.
{skyler + olivia in the dairy aisle!}

we swam every 5 minutes.

{skyler being manly-ish}
there were dance parties,

{get it, zahra!}

and slumber parties with the walser girls
 in home made teepees,
{hi lou + danielle!}
{my thrifted quilts were a big hit.}
{skyler being a bum.}

we went to the beach,
and collected seashells,
and danced in the breeze,
and cuddled in the sunshine.

 we took over yogurtland!
 and took feet pictures because i am obsessed.

one night, rachel made us traditional,

{silas praying before our meal}

there was lots of dress up,
and photobooth shenanigans,
{a rainbow backdrop, silas + the best balloon prop eva!}
i took the littles to the cutest bakery...
 and made them model in anthropologie...


we played in parks,
and crafted creations out the wazoo!

 {i love rainbows + hearts!}

we yelled "YOLO" a lot..
in case you didn't know.

 {me + sweet liv}
and there were lots of dogpiles.

and i caught skyler reading his Bible.

i had the best time!

but the besttttttt part was when erica + dave came home

...with my hubby! 

he flew down and met them at the airport so we could all hang out and talk about africa + adoption!

now here's the crazy part...the point of this guest blog post.
i believe with all my heart + soul that God brings certain people in our lives for a reason.
they take hold + our lives collide.
and God uses these people to change everything we know.

my hubby, mike, + i have been praying about adoption for quite some time.  
dave + erica graciously opened their home to us 
+ we legit lived with them for one week.  
we spent hours talking about church, ministry, God, adoption, missions, africa, orphans, everything...
dave + erica literally opened up their entire lives for us to jump into.
{my hubby + i with the kiddos. note the sand all over me - i do what i do to get my shots. don't judge me.}

they let us cuddle their children + read bedtime stories + give advice + settle arguments + make messes..
it blessed us. it encouraged us. it confirmed something for us.
God placed this family into our lives because He was calling us to something big.
last week, my husband + i announced that we were starting our family by international adoption.
we are so thankful God placed erica, dave + their kids in our lives because each one of them played a part in our decision.

at the end of my trip...erica asked me to photograph a family session for them.

it was an honor.
these images are not a a typical family session for me...

they tell a story.
it's a story happy, crazy love + obnoxious laughter...

it's a story that crosses oceans and country borders...

a story as Matthew West sings, "worlds collide and colors fade"...

a story where God conquered loneliness...

and knitted a family together by His unfailing love + limitless grace...

and that is a story worth telling. :]

so with that, i close on some final words for the shubins :

erica + dave : thank you for the extraordinary honor of caring for your kiddos.  you opened your family up to me in such an intimate way + i was so unprepared for amount of love that would gush out of my heart.

nichol  : If i ever have a daughter, i pray she is like you at your age.  beautiful in every way possible.  your sweet spirit blew me away.  i want to care for everyone the way you do.  i want to worry + fuss over things because i want the best for those i love.    it’s hearts like yours that God uses for great things.

skyler  : there’s something to be said when people serve in a third world country together.  my favorite moments in ethiopia include you tickling children at the day care, cuddling with naomi and letting the girls braid your hair at compassion.  i want to be make people feel like they are family the way you made me feel like your big sister.  more importantly, i want to comfortable enough to wrestle with my faith with those i love and be honest and open with my questions, especially when they are hard.  i believe in you.

olivia : there is magic about you...a joy that is contagious + playful.  when you were “it” during “dark-hide-and-seek”, it was always the best. i want to be like you…i want to walk through dark places + feel nothing in my spirit other than happiness + seek out those hiding in holes and corners + pull them out laughing madly.  never, ever lose that gift.

silas : we were BFF’s from minute one and on minute two you had me thinking deeply about God.  at eight years old, your matter of fact faith gives mine a run for my money.  i want to open my heart + friend the whole world the way you do.  i want to be so sure in my faith that there is no nonsense about it.  you are going to change the world.

zahra : your story will forever be a part of my story + joyfully, my first child’s story.  it was your journey home that God used to open my eyes + heart to adoption.  you have stolen my heart.  i want to live the way you do…with no care of what people think of me.  i want to sing at the top of my lungs in target or burst out into a random dance party while i’m sitting at home.  i want to trust my Daddy the way you trust your daddy...without one single doubt as He tosses me into the air + delighting in His great love for me.  you truly love with abandon.

"breathe in deep
feel your heart still breathing
let's go see the reason you're alive
oh, you are here
and love is up to something
so take your fear
and leave it all behind"

jessica oh!


We Are Family said...

WOW! Simply beautiful!

Sara said...

What a beautiful post! You had me in tears multiple times. Awesome all the way around.

Dawn Hall said...

Wow, that was so beautiful truly. Thank you for sharing. It really moved me.

Joy Portis said...

sooo beautiful!!!

Becky Miller said...

I know exactly what it feels like to love this family the way you describe. Thank you for this- I miss them- they've all grown so much- it's amazing to see.

Mama Mimi said...

Where do I even BEGIN!?!? What a beautiful post! Funny and quirky....made me want to jump right in to the Shubin's house and party with yall! And Jessica - congratulations!!!!! The tears didn't stop once you got REAL with us and shared your heart and calling to adopt. Soooo beautiful. And thank you Shubin's for living such a God-honoring life! I may not know ya beyond Skype....but I LOVE ya!!!! =)

La Dolce Vita: The Sweet Life said...

Love this. Love the way you love!