Author Archives: Wendi Sanders

Korean School…


I dreamed of raising Lovey up to know the language of her birth, but I knew I was dreaming BIG. I stuck magnetic Korean characters on the fridge. I read Korean-English books aloud. I played Korean children’s CDs in the car. I encouraged her to build with Korean alphabet blocks and occasionally allowed her to watch Korean nursery songs on YouTube. Still, as Lovey got older and embraced English as naturally as if it was her first language, I felt the futility of my efforts.

You can imagine how delighted I was to learn there is a Korean school not far from where we live. The school is hosted by a Korean Presbyterian Church and is unapologetically Christ-centered. Of course, the teachers are all native speakers and most of the children come from Korean-speaking homes.

Lovey is now the youngest student at The Korean School of Greenville, which meets on Saturday mornings throughout the school year. Most of the other students in her class are four or five years old. Since she is young and (I suspect) from a non-native speaking family, Lovey has her very own teacher, Shinyoung Lee. They work together one on one as well as with the other children as appropriate. From the beginning, Shinyoung was comfortable with Lovey’s visual challenges. She is obviously very bright, her English is excellent, and her accent is not so marked that we have too much difficulty understanding her. We are thrilled with her approach. The whole experience is as close to total language immersion as Shinyoung believes is comfortable for Lovey.

I have to keep pinching myself.

Shinyoung with Lovey on the first day of Korean School…
IMG_9512Lovey with her classmates on the second day of Korean School. Dressed in traditional Korean clothing, they are celebrating Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving Day). It’s the biggest and most important holiday of the year. (You might recognize the hanbok from Lovey’s first birthday in Korea. I let out the stitches Omma had taken in to make it long enough for Lovey. ♥)
Looking lovely in her hanbok and name tag… Lovey uses her Korean name, Sarang, at school…
Lovey and Shinyoung having fun eating traditional Korean rice cake together…
During snack, the children are quizzed on vocabulary…
Lovey gets a chance to name the Korean word for butterfly — nabi…

Teddy at Korean school…

First Day of Preschool…


IMG_9386 IMG_9393My Baby Love on the first day of preschool, sporting a big smile and the backpack she brought home from Korea. Thanks Omma & Appa!

Lovey is in the 2-year-old class in an amazing church preschool that accepts, even embraces children with special needs. She has two kind and loving teachers and a dozen little friends, some of whom we hope will be kindred spirits. As with every area of her life, we see the fingerprints of God all over this new transition.

IMG_9394I took this picture right after dropping Lily off in the classroom the first morning. The little sweetie in the chevron dress met us at the door, as though she’d been waiting for Lovey, then the girls walked off together to find the animals. A defining moment…

On a personal level, this is the beginning of the fulfillment of many of my hopes and dreams for Lovey. Seeing her be able to separate from me and enjoy herself with other children gives me goosebumps. My tears that first morning were a mixture of rejoicing in her growing independence and the bittersweet taste of letting go.

Summer Highlights…


A photo essay of sorts to mark the last day of Summer…




Queuing up her Playmobil animals — a daily exercise…

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Lovey’s very task-oriented and spends hours working on projects. A little perfectionistic, she has an amazing attention span and likes for things to be just so. Of course, productivity and industry are their own rewards…IMG_0815 IMG_0808 IMG_0797 IMG_0796 IMG_0273IMG_0266

Lovey’s first tower with cardboard brick blocks…


Feeding the ducks at Milliken Pond is one of Lovey’s favorite things to do in the world. Since the ducks usually keep their distance, seeing them is a constant challenge for her. Often Mommy photographs and videotapes the little feathered friends, then we go home and watch their antics on the computer.

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The cow’s not the only one who jumps over the moon around here…


My friend Anna Bandy took these precious photos by the creek… Lily-56Lily-99

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We read The Little Red Hen Bakes A Pizza 40 or 50 times and she had to try making one for herself…

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Sunset at Seagrove Beach, Florida…

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Beach Baby (Celebrating no more diapers!)

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Finally, an apt little sign I captured on our way home from the beach…


I Am From Family…


We have a writer in the family

and it’s not me.

My precious Olivia, an English major with a sweet spirit and cheerful disposition, just learned she won first place for a poem she wrote earlier this year. A cash award sweetened the prize.

Beautiful OliviaIMG_0348

Friends, this girl has a way of putting words together that touches the soul.

But don’t take my word for it…   


“Where I’m From”

I am from love,
from laughter and simplicity.
I am from the cobwebs we leave in the corners.
(Too busy with living,
we leave them.)
I am from the pine and the oak,
the thousands of needles
we’d gather and we’d toss.
I am from respect and courage. 

I’m from sweet tea and chlorine,
       from Laura Ingalls and Jane Austen.
I’m from ballet shoes and baseball bats,
       poptarts and lunchables and toaster waffles.
from “You don’t let me do anything!”
       and from confusion and from humiliation and
            from ingratitude.

I am from pride in my goodness
       and from resentment at having to be good.
I am from doing the right things for the wrong reasons.
       I am from rebellious young years. 

I’m from the cul-de-sac and Campbell’s soup childhood,
       from the next door neighbors and after-dinner driveway dribbling,
From the stacks of library books and Dad’s old station wagon,
       from we-can’t-afford-that, and from don’t-roll-your-eyes-at-me. 

I’m from Mama Dean’s back porch and the harvest from the garden,
       from strong coffee and crossword puzzles and
from her two beloved book-stuffed libraries,
       from her breast cancer, and chemo, and surgeries, and from pills.
              From courage despite fear, and from joy despite grief.
       Take joy. 

I am from death and from wild, choking grief,
       from death is not dying.
       I am from her life and her leadership,
              from her hope and from her heart.
       I am from years of memories.
       I am from the answer to her prayers.

I am from giving thanks.
I am from family.

A White Cane for Lovey…


The Orientation & Mobility (O & M) specialist who evaluated Lovey was convinced she could benefit from the use of a white cane for independent travel. This was initially a bitter pill to swallow, given Lovey has a good bit of functional vision and she’s managing to get along so well on her own. The O & M specialist, Laura (a friend and former co-worker), explained how the cane would help her maintain poise at terrain changes. Currently she shuffles and scoots her feet awkwardly when she sees something on the ground but can’t tell what it is. For example, when she walks on large colored tiles at the library, a simple change in color appears to her to be a drop-off. It’s awkward for her to try to navigate a drop-off when there isn’t one. The cane will allow her to hold her head high when walking without having to worry about looking down and will enable her to walk faster. The cane presents a multitude of other potential uses, including helping Lovey navigate stairs safely.

Since we want to give Lovey every tool we can to help her be successful (and independent), we decided to go along with Laura’s recommendation to get her a cane. It’s important for her to learn how valuable the cane is while she is young. When she is older, Lovey will decide when and if to use the cane, but we want to show her what a fun and useful tool it can be. We are blessed to have Laura as our guide.

Here are a few pictures of Lovey’s first cane lesson (in sprinkling rain, of course). She tried out several different styles and lengths as Laura and I watched, amazed at her eagerness and enthusiasm. Most little ones do not take to this new tool so willingly; but Lovey knew immediately how useful it could be. The first thing she did was look for puddles to investigate. A cane for each hand...Exploring a Puddle with Laura...

Lovey’s 3 Rules for Using the Cane:

  • Keep the cane out in front
  • Keep the tip on the ground
  • Hold the grip with your hand on top

She is doing very well with all three, so the plan is to meet Laura at Lovey’s favorite place for the next lesson — Cleveland Park. She loves to go there to walk around the pond and feed old bread to the ducks and geese!

Maybe the geese won’t be so bold when they see Lovey carrying a big stick. Smile. Reminds me of the quote by Teddy Roosevelt,

“Speak softly and carry a big stick”


May she learn to do both with grace ♥