Dear 2008 Self,


Hey girl!  Just want you to know you’re my favorite! How’s it going?  Oh wait.  I remember.  Not super.


Here you are in China in 2008 showing the folks back home what the toilets look like.


You’re smiling here but I know what’s really going on. I know you’re struggling with where you’re living.  Life overseas is tricky.


You’re wondering why they are spraying canned “snow” for flocking trees in your hair during the Christmas Eve church service.  I gotta say, that one still confuses me.  You don’t know when you’re going to get the “snow” out of your hair because they water is only sometimes on in your building.  You haven’t had a shower in a week because of it.  An irritation for sure.  You’re concerned about the flames shooting out of the outlets in your living room.  A valid concern indeed.


You’re longing to have a properly made latte and chat over it at a coffee shop with a girlfriend.  You’d punch a stranger if you thought it would get you an avocado or some blueberries.  But mostly, you’re aching to start your family.  You’re weary of the heartbreak of not being pregnant over and over again.  So deeply painful.  I still cry sometimes when I think of it.  Right now, in fact.  Thanks for that, 2008 self.


Well, I’m here to tell you that you’re leaving that place and you’re getting those kids. Here’s a picture so you’ll believe me.  I know you don’t think it will ever happen.




Yes they are fantastic-to-the-max but not so fast…all is not resolved. I have to tell you that you’re still struggling, you’re still chronically wishing and you’re weary to the bone on some days.


Now we both know you’re a focused individual.  You attended three different colleges and changed majors multiple times and STILL managed to graduate with your degree in 4 years.  You’re in your element when you’re completing tasks and everything is going “right.”


That’s all well and good…but that’s not always how life works.  You need to know that sometimes your focus is off.  Like waaaaaaay off.


No offense, of course.  You know you’re my favorite, right?


What I’d like you to consider, what I’m percolating in right now as well, is how to be thankful in this very moment.  I have a strategy I’d like to share.


Wait for it…


Be thankful.   Just do.  Stop struggling and wishing and start thanking.  Allow me to help:


So you don’t have children.  You’re the wife of an amazing man living in a fascinating country. That’s pretty rad.  You visit the Great Wall of China on a regular basis for heaven’s sake.  You got to go to the temple where Kung Fu originated.  You have eaten scorpions.  It’s disgusting, but it’s a cool story.  You vacation in Thailand every. single. winter.  Ugh.


In fact, here you are at a beach resort having Thai food made by real-live Thai people.



And here you are up so far north you’re practically in Russia.  At a castle made entirely of ice.  I’m sorry, but that’s pretty awesome.



These days, I drive to a small Louisiana town for vacation.  Does that make you feel better?


You know all that free time you have?  Enjoy that because it’s basically gone in 2014.  You’re an expert on Dora and Spiderman now, friend. And, just so you know, they are precisely as uninteresting to you now as they seemed in 2008.


And the 5 pounds you wish you could lose?  Well, it’s more like 25 now.  Your kids are happy to let you exercise, they are not the reason you are expanding.  You’re just kinda getting old in 2014 and more than a little lazy.  And there is so much bread in the States!  You’re no match for it all.


So with all due respect, wrinkle-laden 2014 me with no free-time or pants that fit would like to tell thin, well-rested me to kindly, get over it.  Be grateful for what you have.  Like right now.  Give thanks in all circumstances.  God’s got this, friend.


And, because I’m you, I know that thin, well-rested me would like to throw the same charming sentiments right back at my  now “big-boned,” over-the-hill 2014 self.  You’d say, “You have the kids I want.  Enjoy them and quit complaining about things I would kill for in 2008.”


And once again, because I’m you, I couldn’t agree more.


We are so smart.  Here’s to a thankful 2008 and 2014.


Your favorite person ever,



*this exercise was fun, but I feel like a schizophrenic. I’m linking up today with the ladies at Velvet Ashes. Click over and read some other notes to self. I bet they manage to pull it off sounding less crazy than I did. I have a certain “way” about me that compels mental health professionals to hand me their business cards…

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43 thoughts on “Dear 2008 Self…

    1. rcfinkle

      Dear gentle readers, I happened to know that Emily has newsletters which she posted monthly from China. they were also very well written and humorous with insight into that country and the strife the people go through with out knowing that a wonderful God is out there and accessible. possibly we could get Emily to share some of these if we plead with her, people help me here we need to see these letters ha ha.


  1. Mike Riley

    This is good. Very, very good. In my dreams I can write like this. You regularly reach in and touch my heart.


  2. Danielle Wheeler

    Yes, I did feel a bit schizophrenic doing this too! The pronouns got especially confusing. But WOW, you did such an amazing job on this!!! So true that we can live life constantly wishing for what we don’t yet have OR for what we once did have. The advice you gave yourself is the best. Be thankful. Just that.


    1. emily Post author

      The pronouns WERE confusing! Are we “we” or am I “you”? What’s going on? That might be the reason we write to ourselves less often…


  3. The Waiting

    Oh man, I am loving this HARD right now. When we were living in Korea, I used to throw myself pity parties when I only got to take a four nap on Sunday. Waaaaaaaaah. A lesson in gratefulness and humility is always well-needed.

    What was the name of the town in China y’all went to that was almost in Russia? One time I was watching Anthony Bourdain and he went to a Chinese city that was really close to Russia and it was like -100 degrees but I still want to go.


    1. emily Post author

      4 hour naps! Amazing. Whatever did we do to fill our time before kids needed us every five seconds? I actually timed it once. I could manage literally 5 seconds between wails.
      We were in Harbin. It was so cold that it felt hot. A very strange experience. They have masks they wear so your face doesn’t freeze clean off. We called them “face panties.” You should totally go. Bring your panties though.


        1. emily Post author

          I am devastated to say I did not know about any such establishment during my time there. I think an Elvis-themed bar in China would have been a priceless experience.


  4. Jenny Mullins

    I loved this…It is so easy to focus on what we don’t have instead of focusing on what is going well with our lives. My eyes filled with tears as I saw the picture of your beautiful children. God is good and the ways He redeems our pain and sadness is amazing.


    1. emily Post author

      Girl, you were there through it all with me that’s why you cried too! That, and you always cry when other people are sad because you’re the nicest person I’ve ever met. :)


    1. emily Post author

      Ha! Somehow I don’t catch that drift from the concerned look in their eyes. :)
      So, where’s YOUR letter to yourself, Missy? I want to read it!


  5. Morielle

    Duuuuude. Emily, I can really really relate to your 2008 self. I mean, those things you tell 2008 self to feel thankful for–I have those things. I have so much time to sleep. I have the coolest adventures. I eat the best food. I also struggle with your 2008 self’s struggles. LONGING for a latte and a girlfriend, for a language I have command over, for a culture I understand, for a husband and some kids. Thanks so much for the loving wake up call! <3


  6. Colleem

    Hopped over from Velvet Ashes and wanted to say hello and that I loved this. I would punch someone in the face to head to a small town in Louisiana right about now. (I am a New Orleans girl who left Acadiana for the mission field two years ago). Thanks for inviting us to your space.


  7. Carolyn

    I love this letter, Emily – you had me laughing and crying… just like Danielle promised :) I loved the squatty potty pic, and the way you managed to so clearly portray both your now-self and your five-years-ago self, while still conveying what God has taught you and how you’ve grown since then… awesome job! And such a good reminder to me to enjoy what I have… right now.


  8. Anna Craig

    Oh I love your letter! It’s so truthful. I can relate. I definitely need to be more thankful for the place I am in now and quit wishing so much for the future to come already.


  9. Ginny

    Another successful blog! As you look back it makes me think of my tool to compare the things I haven’t and the things I have, you know, the wishes in the left column and the real in the right, the right always wins. I guess that could be a sign of a positive thinker & that’s ok.
    Read your other comments, so I know you’re good at what you do. Love u, Gma


  10. Steph

    Ahhh… 2008. To think that I was a part of your “blessed” 2008 Guiyang year and self. I wish I could have supported you more with your cross-cultural issues and desire for kids, but know that I enjoyed having you as a teammate, even when we stayed in a Miao village in quite a stretching couple day adventure. My prayers continue with you with your new challenges and joys. May we draw near to our Father in each chapter. You are missed.


    1. emily Post author

      You supported us just fine! I was just going through a “special” season. :) Ah the Miao village trip. We were JUST talking about that trip last night. It sure left an impression…
      Miss you too, Steph!


  11. Mikkin

    I just was going through the link-ups over at Velvet Ashes and had to laugh at your post about sparks flying in your apartment in China. Was this is Zhengzhou? I ask because I got electrocuted in “our” (yours & mine) Zhengzhou apartment. :-) Brought back a “wonderful” memory. Thanks!! :-)


    1. emily Post author

      Oh my goodness! I never got electrocuted in our Zhengzhou apartment. And I’m sorry to hear about your situation! We were in Guiyang when all the sparks were flying. Just curious, where were you in the apartment when it happened?


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