Category Archives: Life

the hunter

On September 22nd, the Ling family surprised Dad for his 60th birthday with a getaway to the Hunter Valley, a beautiful wine region about 2 hours north of Sydney. It was absolutely amazing in every way and here are a few of my favorite captures from the weekend!

We stayed at a gorgeous, Tuscan-style mansion with a vineyard in the front yard and nooks overflowing with vibrant foliage at every turn. We naturally jumped at the chance for a photo shoot. Here are Kev’s Auntie Olga & cousin Angelica striking a pose:

And, of course, Kev being his #asianhusbandofdreams self (Check the hashtag on instagram to see what it’s all about… my husband is the best) 🙂

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an aussie winter

The last few months have made up my second winter in Sydney (that’s summer for all you Northern Hemisphereans)… It’s certainly been a memorable one! Where to begin? So much has happened and I don’t want to skip any of the important details. Let’s just jump in.

July kicked off with the annual Hillsong Conference, which took place this year at the Allphones Arena in Sydney Olympic Park. This was my third conference and each one has had its own unique impact on me personally. Kev hosted key guests with the driving team and I served with the ‘Because We Can’ team doing a bit of photography and setup for breakout sessions throughout the week. The team was amazing and it was a tremendous blessing serving alongside them!

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an invitation

Syd and I have been married now for 15 months! It’s pretty incredible and we’re back here again in Gulf Shores, Alabama, celebrating Easter with Sydney’s family.

Before the trip, I saw Mom Berry putting together a list of all the great-grandchildren. Every year, she prints t-shirts for ALL the kids at Easter. It’s so inclusive. She makes sure not to miss anyone and double checks so that all of them get a shirt. It reminded me about the list of people we had invited to our wedding day.

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a note to women

The note below was written in honor of the amazing women in my life, one of whom is pictured below: my beautiful friend, Rachel B. Smith. To Rach: Words could never express how blessed I am to have you in my life. You are such an inspiration to me. Know you are loved and cherished by so many, myself included. Keep shining! Xx Syd

You carry within you a light brighter than you know.

With each wave of excitement, or genuine outburst of laughter, or enlightened revelation, or nugget of wisdom, or sharing of experiences past… within your words, the reflections in your eyes, comes a voice deeper than anything uttered by your lips.

From it comes truth, a longing to know and be known, to love and be loved.

Your heart is an endless spring, regardless of those brief moments when it feels drier than a forgotten branch.

Rich, it holds a sea’s worth of flowing water, its source far greater than simply that which lies within. It is universal, yet personal. Intimate.

You know Him well, and He delights in you.

Each moment of your day, in strength or tears, pain or freedom, He watches on, ready to respond. To laugh with you at the silliness of humanity, His beloved yet wayward children. To offer his ear of understanding and soak in your voice as you pour out your day, each smile, each sigh. He never tires of it.

You are a priceless jewel in His crown, an always welcome guest at His table.

His heart is sad at times, in those fleeting moments when you forget of His unmatched affection for you, but a smile towards you never leaves His magnificent face. He simply adores you.

He knows of a future far beyond your comprehension. One He shares glimpses of, but has kept veiled in shadow, as the full picture would overwhelm you by its beauty and perfection.

Close your eyes. Breathe deeply, breathe in His gift… the gift of life, of air, of the present.

Future is not yet come, and past, though as real as today, is gone. But Today, right now, is nothing other than a pure gift from your Creator. He made you, and this very moment, for a purpose. He knew you would be reading this note and be reminded of His scandalous love for you.

What do you do with this moment? This now? In a second it goes, joining the countless moments that make up your history. Our history.

On that note, I leave you. To live with a new resolve to embrace each moment to come, reminded of the nature of moments and the glorious opportunities they are to express what it is only God could steel within you: love. grace. peace. joy. acceptance. beauty. eternity.

Take it and run. Time is yours for but a season, a snapshot in the movie reel of your soul. With a resolve such as this, you will transition to eternity knowing it was as I have said. Complete, lacking nothing. A life well-lived.

Go.

continent hopping

(Above: Kev and me at the airport in Sydney before I headed off for my 3-week trip to NYC/Malawi)

Quick update on my journey so far: My amazing friend and travel buddy Esther Havens pointed out that I hit 4 continents (Australia, North America, Europe, Africa) in 4 days… I hadn’t even realized it! Pretty crazy. And kinda cool.

Yesterday (Saturday, February 11 — also my wonderful husband’s birthday <Happy Birthday, Babe!>), we had about a 6 hour layover in London. Kevin had suggested I get in touch with our friend Amanda to see if she was free to come to the airport so we could hang out and catch up. It worked out to be perfect timing!

She picked me and Esther up and we headed to her dad’s house for coffee and a yummy egg/bacon brunch. It was glorious. Plus, we saw snow (I couldn’t even remember the last time for me), and sat inside by a cozy fire in the living room. We also Skyped with Kev… so fantastic 🙂

I’m so thankful for little blessings like that. Amanda, we miss you so much! Thank you for taking the time out to make our day. LOVE YOU! Check out some photos below.

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you never know

I titled this post ‘You Never Know’ because you truly never know where your words, actions, or life can make a difference in the life of another. I’d like to share this story as an encouragement to you: to live your life openly, be generous with words of encouragement, and always be yourself, never apologizing for who you are (flaws and all!).

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what i long to see

I long to see justice. I long to see equality. I long to see despair turned to hope, death restored to life. I long to see the beauty within each and every person shine with strength.

I long to see connection between God’s creation, blind to color, class or creed. I long to see a generation of people that will not sit back as the world starves… and at the same time grows fat. I long to see a people that will rise to the task, despite the challenge, opposition and pain that it brings.

I long to see communities around the world united, casting aside differences and opinions to find common ground and work together for the common good of humanity.

I long to see my own heart melt with compassion for the fatherless, the unwanted, the abandoned and the forgotten. I long to be all that I was created to be, walking each day with purpose, vision, strength and wisdom — all to the glory of my Savior Jesus Christ.

But I don’t just long for these things. I pray for them, I believe in faith for them, and I work every day towards them. I ask God, help me to never grow weary in doing good. Guard my heart. Renew my mind.

What do you long to see?

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november 2011

November was a FULL month, to say the least. As you saw on my last post, I headed down to Melbourne for the first ‘Together for Adoption Australia’ conference over the Nov 18-20 weekend. The conference was an incredible 2 days packed with engaging speakers and conversations about how we can better care for orphans and at-risk children, both globally and right here in Australia. I met several people who have such a heart and passion for these children who have been abandoned and left behind, unwanted and unloved.

Here are just a few highlights from my time in Melbourne:

A portion of the Watoto Table in the Exhibit Hall of the conference

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raise your glass high

Recently, as I was praying and meditating, a domino effect of thoughts came to my mind. I love the imagery and I hope they will be of encouragement to you today.

Incline your ear. Incline your life. Raise your life up to Him.

Raise it up like a glass of champagne being toasted at a wedding feast.

Your life is simply one glass being raised at the feast, a wedding celebration of Christ and His bride, the Church.

You are an invited guest! Stop sitting outside the tent looking in as if you were a mere vagabond.

Raise your glass HIGH! Up to the Father. He rejoices in your presence. You need not bring anything else. Just all of you and all He created you to be.

Experience the joy of the family celebrating. It’s YOUR day.

Let your life continually be poured out and refilled… the wine never runs out at this wedding feast.

Father

Father,

I am very blessed.

From before I was even born God had you in mind for me. He knew that your character, your physique, your upbringing, and your DNA construction combined with Mum’s was exactly what was needed to create me.

He knew the decisions that you were going to make. To give up the life you wanted, the career you had in mind & the dreams you had. You gave it all up for our family to raise 3 little Indonesian kids in a foreign land which you would adopt as your own.

You took on all the challenges that life threw at you. You took on bills that couldn’t be paid. Worked over time and double shifts. Worked willingly and unwillingly. You battled doubts, fears, frustrations and anxiety. Putting the family first and sacrificing so much, even your own health, for the sake of our family.

It was you who welcomed me into this world. It was you who loved me unconditionally when I could do nothing for myself [and you love me still]. You watched me as I took my first steps, when I rode my first bike. When I stumbled and fell, you would clean me up and get me back up again. You would spoil me with games & lavish gifts on my birthday and Christmas time [and you do still ;)].

He purposely chose you to be the man I needed most in my life. He chose you to be my example. He chose you to be my protector, my comforter, my rock. Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for always encouraging me. Thank you for loving me unconditionally – especially when I didn’t deserve it.

In John 14, Jesus talks about how He is in the Father and the Father is in Him. I am glad to be a reflection of you. I am thankful that there are things about you that are in me. I pray that I will continue to make you proud and be an example of love to others & to my own family, just as you have loved me.

Happy Birthday Dad. This first blog post of mine is dedicated to you. I want you to know that you are so loved and appreciated. I could not think of a better way of declaring this then by letting the rest of the world know. 🙂

I love you always. With all my heart.

Your Son,

Kevin Hezekiah Ling

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