10 blessings of 2013

1.  We moved again.  
This is our eighth location since moving to California in 2000, so moving may not sound like a blessing, but it is.   We are ecstatic that Jim has a job he enjoys and that we get to live in Camelot.  We took our photos at Mission San Juan Capistrano with Jack Randall Photography where "the sun is shining, the grass is green, and the orange and palm-trees swing." I am beginning to understand what Irving Berlin felt when he wrote White Christmas.

2.  Our children are adorable. 
Giselle has the flu right now and is singing away in our bed at this late-hour.  Jameson wanted to sleep next to his sister, as he was worried about her.  I cannot ask for a bigger blessing than two beautiful, gregarious, precocious, intelligent, caring, gifts from God.

3.  Jameson continues studying Mandarin.
When we told our Ayi that we were moving back to the States from China, her biggest regret was that Jameson would forget all that she had taught him.  We are so blessed to have found a Mandarin school for Jameson to attend here in Orange County.  Jameson adores his teacher and I love learning alongside my child as we do our homework together.  I also began teaching Jameson piano lessons as he wants to play the trumpet someday.   Thanks to learning Chinese and my constant singing, or perhaps the fact this his great, great, great, great, great, great-Grandfather is Orlando Gibbons, he has fabulous ear, and picks up melodies quite easily.  Jameson says he wants to be an engineer when he grows up.  He constantly creates new designs in his head and loves to build with Legos, blocks, paper, or anything that is not nailed down.

4.  Giselle sings constantly.
She is either singing, or using some other part of her vocal capacity (wink, wink!)  I am amazed at her capacity to learn new songs. If Giselle is not vocalizing, she is dancing, kicking a pink soccer-ball, or she is "doing it 'self."  I love this independent little angel.

5. Jim is a world-famous engineer.
He won't say it, but I will! The San Francisco Bay Bridge opened this September, and you will find a picture of my husband hanging at the Bay Bridge grand opening warehouse.  Being a part of building this historical bridge in China is a blessing we will never forget.

6.  Giselle fell out the second-story window. 
How could I ever call this a blessing?  Because my daughter is a living, breathing, walking, singing, miracle.  On our third day in our new house, I left the two kids in Jameson's room for a moment to use the restroom.  They were looking through boxes of books and I left for two minutes, or less.  I did not notice that Jameson had opened a window, nor did I know he was able to unlock the window, and that the window was very low.  Giselle climbed up into the window and pushed through the screen.  Miraculously, she escaped with only a minor fracture to her left-middle finger.  I now have locks on all of our upstairs windows and look at Jameson's window with gratitude for a God who protected her when I was exhausted beyond belief.  I cried for weeks, but now understand more than ever that in my weakness, God is strong.

7.  I completed the Yak Academy Chinese Children's Album.
In the midst of our move to Orange County, somehow I eked out a few hours each night to spend in the studio arranging Yak Songs for the San Diego Yak Academy.  This was a great learning experience, and gave me the opportunity to become more autonomous in the studio.

8.  Our music studio is our hideout.
When the children are nestled, all snug in their beds, the laundry is finished (or at least started), the dishes are done, the bills are paid, and the house no longer looks like an atomic bomb recently exploded, I escape into the studio.  I love this space.  Aside from the Yak Songs, I continue to plug away at the Lullaworld Children's album, and have composed three soundtracks for Available Light, a video production company in Shanghai.   I cannot believe I get to use these tools and create every day.  Please enjoy listening to a few tracks I've added to my web-site or visit https://soundcloud.com/lori-renee-kelley-devey

9. Jim is my secret weapon.
With each track I complete, Jim spends hours automatic, mixing, and mastering.  Jim is my editor when I get stuck, and he adds beautifully creative elements to each track.  I love how our little home-studio is set-up and I am so grateful to have married a man who shares my passion for creating beautiful and unique music.

10.  We love our lives.
We are not perfect (see #6), but we could not be happier.  We adore attending Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, and hope to stay in Orange County long enough for Jameson to live in one location for more than 18 months.  If I had to sum up 2013 in one word, it would be "blessed."  We are blessed exceedingly above all that we ask or could ever imagine.

For me, gratitude is like gravity, it always keeps me grounded.  May you find many reasons to be grateful during this Christmas season and all throughout the year!   

"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the Church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen."
Ephesians 3:20-21

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