I am from always having family dinners – even if we didn’t talk much, eating my mom and grandma’s delicious homemade Chinese cooking, big family reunions in Taiwan.


From hand-me-downs and matching outfits with my little sister, and everything from Costco – from hot pockets to CDs to jeans.


I am from cozy blankets, Bible verse decals being the only décor in my place, a space to play the guitar and worship.


I am from the patch of wildflowers on the side of our home where I used to hide and draw, from the neighborhood apricot orchard that we used to pick from.


From the smell of beef and pork and spices stewing, Chinese karaoke songs being belted out from my parents’ world-class karaoke machine, weird half-hugs from my family.


I am from that Sesame Street jacket I wore all around the house, always being stuck in a book (like Island of the Blue Dolphins and the Indian in the Cupboard), and then The Joy Luck Club (and wanting to be Amy Tan when I grew up).


From my mom, my dad, and my nai nai and poh poh (grandmas) taking care of me when I was young.


I am from my parents’ birthplace, Taiwan (the busy city of Taichung and the rural town of Chiayi), and impoverished villages in China where my grandparents were from before fleeing in WWII to Taiwan.


From my birthplace snowy Buffalo, New York, all over San Jose and then Saratoga, college in Palo Alto, moving up to San Francisco, New York for a short book publishing stint, and 10 years total in SF, my favorite city.


I am from my mom’s warning: “eat all your food, otherwise the thunder Gods will come for you,” and my dad’s advice for studying “preview, do, then review.”


I am from having my mom pack me Chinese food for lunch, only to throw it away because I was embarrassed – to loving and embracing Chinese food today.


From Chinese New Year and moon festival celebrations, having hot pot for Thanksgiving dinners, putting on musical productions for family Christmases.


I am from growing up in the church, and being born again six years ago when I heard God speak to me and show me how to have a personal relationship with him.


From going from a spiritual high after being baptized, into a season where I sought God but didn’t feel close, to experiencing the greatest loss I’ve ever faced.


I am from God moving me through a season of grieving in the past year in a half, after losing my father to cancer, into a season of healing.


From learning what it truly means to hold pain and suffering at the same time as joy and hope in Christ. From experiencing God’s presence and provision in ways I never have before. From understanding what it means that death and loss give you the opportunity to experience unparalleled spiritual growth.


I am from trust in the Lord with all your heart. And consider it pure joy, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. From God can do more in one moment than you can do in a lifetime.


I am from faith, hope, and love.


I am Jennifer.