Marla in Asia

The first four days after we arrived back in Asia, we were dealing with some pretty severe jet lag. Needless to say, we didn’t do much touring or picture taking during that time. But once we started to emerge from the fog, it was time to catch up!

Marla started pulling all sorts of random things out of her luggage. Most of it was for the girls (think trick gum and whoopee cushions), but one morning she came out with this selfie stick! So appropriate for Asia!

Elephants and Starbucks! Such a good mix of the East and West.

One afternoon I went upstairs for naps with the little girls. When we came back downstairs after naps, Nid was giggling like a little girl and said she had a surprise for me. Apparently Nid and my mom had gone on a joyride on her motorbike while we had been upstairs!!

At this point Nid was calling her, “momma!”

Last weekend we went up a nearby mountain to look at the city from above. It was a clear day so we had a great view!

We had our pictures drawn at the lookout point.

Can you imagine trying to draw these three wiggle worms? Just look at the faces Hollyn was making!

A selfie with this happy girl!!

We are loving my mom being here and the opportunity to show her our lives in Asia!! Thanks for following along on our journey!

Finishing up and Traveling Back

On our second week in America we had to do some catching up on shots. These girls handled it like troopers. Lillian came in with the most shots getting 5 + a finger prick. Hollyn was next with 3 shots + a finger prick. And Taelyn brought up the rear with 2 shots + a finger prick. And Scott and I each got one shot. These girls are so brave!!

On Wednesday night, Taelyn visited the 2nd grade GAs class at our church to talk about our live overseas. This is the class that she would be in if we still lived in America. I taught all of these kids in Mission Friends a few years ago so it was so fun to see how they are all pretty much exactly the same as they used to be… just older! Taelyn did a great job sharing with her friends.

These sweet friends spent some time praying for Taelyn and our family at the end of the class!

Scott and I hear stories of people who live overseas going back to America and being completely overwhelmed with the amount of options there are to buy at Walmart. We’ve heard tale after tale of the cereal aisle completely doing people in. Well, maybe its because we’ve only been gone a year, but Scott and I had a completely different reaction. We didn’t get overwhelmed and end up leaving the store with nothing. We got overwhelmed and ended up wanting to buy all of it! Our carts were full with all of the things that we wanted to eat while home and all of the fun things we wanted to bring back with us!

What we were overwhelmed with was the SIZE of food items offered in the US. When we left there were “family size” boxes of cereal. When we came home they had “GIANT sized” boxes of cereal. And then we stumbled across this 2lb block of Rice Krispies Treats!

And this MASSIVE box of chocolates. No wonder the Asians think we are so fat.

We had a lot of delicious breakfasts like these while home!! Thanks Bebe!!

And a few breakfasts like these that we enjoyed *almost* as much!!

I was able to spend a morning with my women’s Bible study from church sharing about our lives. These women have meant so much to me through the years and I have always been grateful for them and the many Monday mornings that I spent with them in the word. It was so wonderful to be back with them.

Sweet Doughnut!! She loves finding that tiny little spot of sun to lay in. And she lucked out on this day and had a stuffed animal to lay her head on in the little spot of sun!

Gammy made it back to Jackson and we started our final preparations to head back to Asia with her in tow!!

Bebe’s dining room table was filled with all sorts of goodies to bring back with us. Coffee, instant oatmeal, cake mixes, muffin and cookie mixes, applesauce, coffee creamer, deodorant… We had more food items packed in our bags on the way back than clothes!!

On our last full day we finally made it to Mama Hamil’s for lunch! Couldn’t miss that one!!

I wish I could have packed some of this in my suitcase to come back with me!!

Mallory and I are also really bad about taking pictures together. I’m glad we now have a current one!

Miss Millie stopped by to see us one last time before we headed back! Lillian is definitely missing her “best friend” right now! She loves to look at this picture every few days!

We woke up at 4:15am on our travel day back! The girls handled it well, but it definitely made us start the trip super tired.

Taelyn, all ready to go!

Grumpy Hollyn at the airport waiting to board. And check out a tired Lillian in the background!!

On the flight from Jackson to Atlanta! Taelyn was excited to get back to school and friends!

Hollyn was ready for a little nap!

Gammy was excited to be heading back with us!

One last breakfast at Chick-fil-A in the Atlanta airport!

And we finally boarded our long flight (15 hours) headed to Seoul!

We finally made it back to our city and we have been having a blast showing Gammy our lives here!! Thanks for following along on our journey!

A continuation of our time in America

Like I said in a previous post… Lillian spent a large amount of time in the floor petting Doughnut. I was so glad that they loved each other while we were home!!

We went to eat sushi at Nagoya with the Smiths and Ginns one night while home. We had such a great time catching up with these friends and getting to share about our life overseas with them. And the food was unbelievable.

I also got to enjoy dinner one night with my Little Feet friends!! It followed the trend in America with good company and good food!!

Had to teach the girls the Asian way to take a picture!

Sweet cousins reading a book together!!

On the Saturday that we were home we were able to have “Christmas” with our family! It was such a special time!!

We didn’t want to bring a bunch of things back to Asia with us, so the grandparents and aunts all went in together to get a few really special things.

Taelyn got an American Girl doll and she was so excited about her!! You can see Doughnut in her normal spot on my lap as I watched the action. And me covered up with a blanket because it was COLD in America!!!

Hollyn opening up her Daniel Tiger and Baby Margaret dolls. Baby Margaret was definitely the favorite gift. She has kept Baby Margaret in her arms at all times in the past 2 weeks! And hearing her say “Marget” is the cutest!

Lillian was super excited about the Barbie lego set that she had asked for! Gammy wasn’t so happy about it when she spent 2 hours putting it together once we were back in Asia!!

Hollyn finally has a dress up dress that actually fits her! She felt like such a big girl when she put it on!

All of Hollyn’s loot!

Bebe took this picture of a happy Hollyn one night in the car.

Science museum fun!

I had dinner at El Sombrero with all the girls one night!

We ate plenty of Chick-fil-A!!

And I had a fair share of Pumpkin coffee!!

Sweet friends made sure the girls had plenty of stuffed animals to play with while they were home!!

The cloud pet pictured above between Lillian and Taelyn may be my very favorite present that the girls got! Our family can send messages to the cloud pet through the app and his little heart glows when the girls have a message from someone. They can push his paw and listen to the message and then record one to send back. It has been such a special toy that gives us another way to keep in touch with our family when we are so far away. I love technology.

Hollyn was completely overwhelmed by everyone’s generosity!

Haylie, Ms. Sissy, Lucy and Greyson drove down one day and we got to spend some time together!! We headed back to the park to play!

All the friends together!

More Chick-fil-A. Don’t judge.

And since Haylie and I haven’t taken a picture together since she had Lucy 5 years ago… we thought it was time for another one!

All of our days in America ended with sweet sleep!!

Thanks for following along on our journey!!

American Whirlwind

Our girls have been quite scared of dogs since our move so we weren’t sure how they would act around our two dogs once we got back to America. Lillian warmed up to Doughnut right away and most of the time that we were hanging around the house I could find her in the floor petting sweet Doughnut.

Gammy helping Hollyn with a yogurt tube on morning one! Hollyn may have eaten 5 yogurt tubes a day. Catching up on that calcium.

Scott and I had dentist appointments  that first morning and so Gammy, Bebe, and Mamie took the girls to the children’s museum. Lillian has been asking to go for months so they ended up being able to take them twice while we were in Mississippi. These are pictures from both of their trips.

After our dentist appointments, Scott and I headed to Clinton so that he could get some resources from the MC library for a paper he had to do while we were in the States. We popped into Susan’s office and ended up being able to have lunch at Newk’s with Susan and Brian, Dr. and Mrs. Cope, and Mr. Buddy and Peanut. It was so good to be able to catch up with all of these special people so early in the week!!

Scott and I both had a Newks Q with lobster crab bisque. We’ve been talking about this meal for weeks!

Getting a picture with these women who have taught me so much and poured so much into me and our family over the years. This is the most typical picture for us.

But we also took a good one!

Taelyn wanted to take a nap with Max that day! I have a picture of her as a baby napping in the floor next to Max so I love that they recreated that pose!

We loved being able to wear pants, long sleeves and boots while we were home. How cute is Hollyn in her Uggs? I’m so glad she had a chance to wear these before they were too small for her! Sophie and all of my girls wore these Uggs!

On Wednesday night we loved going to Wednesday night supper at church! Lillian got to see Miss Millie!!

And Taelyn sat in with a GAs class that she has been exchanging videos with all semester. She did a great job talking to them about our country and work!

And Lillian made trouble with her best friend, Emmy, in the preschool. It’s probably a good thing that we separated these girls when we did!!

Catching up with fun friends!!

On Thursday, Taelyn and I were the mystery readers in Sophie’s second grade class at school. We read the book Nadia’s Hands and talked to the class about how you can tell stories about Jesus by using henna. I did some henna drawings on Taelyn’s hand so that they could see it and smell it. Sophie’s teacher asked for henna on her hand, too! And the kids tried some of our fun snacks from Asia!! It was a great time with this sweet class!

The girls all enjoyed the science museum at some point that week! Our days are all running together in my head!

Scott, Taelyn, and I enjoyed some popsicles from Deep South Pops one afternoon. We had to see what all the fuss was about!!

We got together with our old crew at the park one afternoon! The kids took right up where we left off and had so much fun together! Hollyn loved the swings!

The whole gang together again!!

I’m not even sure where this was from! The grandparents definitely showed the girls a good time while we were home and went to all sorts of fun places!

And, of course, we did this all in the midst of being severely jet lagged so there was also plenty of these moments.

I’ll stop there for now, but I have plenty more fun moments to share about in the next few days! Thanks for following along on our journey!!


My opinion on the Syrian Refugees

I’ve known for some time now that America no longer values the sanctity of life. But this week I’ve seen Christians posting pictures on social media comparing Syrian refugees to a pit of snakes or a bowl of M&Ms. And for the record, if I had a bowl full of M&Ms and knew that 2 of them were poisonous, no I wouldn’t reach in and grab a handful to eat. But this is M&Ms, people. Since when is human life comparable to the value in a bowl of M&Ms?

Not 4 months ago I was seeing Christians bombard social media with shouts to “defund planned parenthood” because they don’t value human life. And now these same Christians are bombarding social media shouting to lock America’s doors. Where is that same conviction to uphold the sanctity of human life at all costs? Or does the sanctity of life only extend to those born on American soil? Those who look like us, talk like us, think like us?

I can’t find very much in Scripture that promises us physical safety and security. In fact, what I’ve read in Scripture are letters written from prison; words written by martyrs. I’ve read promises that we will have trouble. I’ve read where God promises us that He will be with us, and that He will fight for us, but not too many promises assuring me of physical safety. I’ve read commands to not be afraid, to be strong and courageous.

And I’ve read tons of verses where God tells us to make His name known among the nations. Maybe since we aren’t doing that great of a job of going to the nations, God is now bringing the nations to us. What an opportunity to spread the good news of Jesus Christ to the nations without ever having to leave the comfort of our own home. And I don’t think it is a coincidence that there are thousands of people seeking refuge on American soil at the same time that 600+ missionaries are about to return to America to continue their ministry there. God is sovereign, y’all. Let’s take advantage of His sovereignty to make His name known among the nations.

Going to America!

The night before we headed to America we got to spend some time with our precious friends saying goodbye!

Our flight didn’t leave until midnight on Sunday, so we had a full day to get through. We went to church and then went to wish our sweet friend, Lemon (Nid’s daughter) a Happy Birthday!! Kristi and I made her cake on Saturday so that she could enjoy it with her friends Sunday after church.

Scott played basketball, as normal, that afternoon. When he got home we went out to eat. Then we came home for showers and last minute preparations. And finally it was time to head to the airport!

Once we had all of our bags checked, Hollyn ran through the airport saying, “I so ecited. I so ecited” as we headed to our gate! Doesn’t she look big with that little backpack on??

The struggle is real when your flight leaves at midnight.

Our first flight was 5 hours from our city to Seoul, Korea. We didn’t get much sleep on that flight so the girls were pretty exhausted by the time we got to our gate. That airport is super nice, though! And we enjoyed eating Dunkin Donuts for breakfast.

Our next flight was about 13.5 hours from Seoul to Atlanta. We all got a pretty decent amount of sleep on that flight and because we were so excited to be on American soil everyone was in a good mood when we landed! But you can probably understand why I don’t have any pictures to show from a 13 hour flight. No one was really in the mood for pictures on that one.

We took this from our gate in Atlanta. We are all looking a little travel weary at this point.

Of course, the plan had been to eat Chick-fil-A for breakfast from terminal C in Atlanta, but it took us so long to get through customs that we missed breakfast by about 25 minutes. We knew we could eat lunch at Chick-fil-A once we got to Jackson so we didn’t want to do two Chick-fil-A lunches in a span of a few hours (although now I’m wondering if this wouldn’t have been such a terrible idea!!), so we ended up getting chili cheese dogs and chili cheese burgers from the Varsity! Nothing like a messy chili cheese dog to welcome you back to America!!

And after another short 1 hour flight we landed in beautiful Jackson, Mississippi!! Two of the girl’s cousins were there to welcome us back to the country!

Happy reunions!! Taelyn was immediately “freezing” so Sophie was sweet to give up her sweatshirt!

And I loved laying eyes on this sweet friend who met us at the airport!! Hollyn was a bit overwhelmed by it all and more than a bit weary from the long flights.

As soon as we got home, the grandparents started the spoiling immediately. They had scooters for each of the girls and they sure did enjoy those the entire 2 weeks that we were in America! And Bebe was so sweet to put up her Christmas decorations so that we could celebrate an [early] authentic Christmas while we were there!

It was the start of a great two weeks!! Thanks for following along on our journey!!

Craft Night

Friday night we had a craft night for the women in our church! It was SO MUCH FUN. I was able to start out the night teaching the ladies how to make fondant!

Pii Yo and Pii Nid being silly!

I love these ladies!!

Walking through the process with Pii Dtun and Pii Pen. Pii Pen was in serious mode with her fondant! You should have seen the muscle she put into kneading!!

I had to include this picture for my friends because it is such a classic Casey face. (And check out that monster mosquito bite that I got on my arm an hour before!)

Pii Nid has the greatest smile!! And I love Nong Rat’s face when we told them that they had to get their hands in there and start kneading!!

Nong Rat was enjoying getting her hands messy… you can tell by those faces!

I love Nong Jane! And Hollyn REALLY loves Nong Jane. This is the lap that she sits in most often at church!

So much fun being with these women!

… Checking our consistency!

Starting to look like cake decorations!

Showing off their handiwork!!

Emily (back left of the above picture) did an amazing job talking about how God is the potter and we are the clay. It really made sense after doing kneading and molding ourselves!

Then we made pumpkins for Fall!! I think the high was around 94 on Friday, but it was so fun to explain fall to our friends! Pumpkins are used widely for cooking here, but I think they thought we Americans are crazy for putting them around our house as decoration!

Khruu Taay and I showing off our masterpieces!

Then we also made some cute little clips to hold pictures!

Everyone was so creative and the clips turned out so cute!!

Working hard!

The finished product!!

It was such a wonderful night having fun and being creative with all of these women in our church! We loved laughing away the night together and making fun things in the process!!

Thanks for following along on our journey!!


Taelyn: “Momma, those people over there are looking at us.”

Me: “I know, baby. It’s because we look differently than they do.”

If the only thing that my kids learn from this experience is what it feels like to be on the receiving end of that, and they use it to change the way they act towards others once they are no longer on the receiving end, our time spent living overseas will be worth it.

4 Year Old Expats

These are some phrases that I now hear coming out of the mouth of my 4 year old expat, that I never would have heard her say a year ago. 

  1. “You have to turn the VPN on before you can watch that on Netflix. “
  2. Referring to where someone lives as their “city.” 
  3. When playing: “I need to see your passport” or “make sure all tray tables and seat backs are in their upright and locked position at this time.”
  4. When requesting a certain item asking, “Can we get that in our city?” The knowledge that some things just aren’t available when you want them.
  5. Asking regularly, “Is this water safe to drink?”
  6. When an adult gives her something and I tell her to say, “thank you,” I’m never sure which language is going to come out of her mouth. 

I’m sure there are many more that I am missing! If you have a good one, leave it in the comments!

Thanks for following along on our journey!


I have some lofty goals for our 12 day visit to America. Here they are, in no particular order.

  1. Do not hand wash a single dish.
  2. Do not hang dry a single garmet.
  3. Drink loads and loads of water from the tap.
  4. Do not sweat.
  5. Gain 10 lbs.
  6. Wear pants and boots daily.
  7. Do not eat a single bite of rice (exception: sushi from Nagoya).
  8. Go to Target. Maybe daily.
  9. Soak up as much of our family, friends and church as is humanely possible.
  10. Love on Doughnut and Max as much as is humanely possible! These two have been a constant part of our lives and our kid’s lives for so long and we have missed them so much this past year. Here are some pictures that I happened to have of Baby Taelyn and the dogs and Baby Lillian and the dogs.