2015 was quite a time of healing, changes and growth for our family. Being a part of a new church plant (Doxa), shepherding our children, watching Timothy and Grace’s friendship develop, and growing in our marriage have all been challenging blessings in our year.
For Andrew, fatherhood has been increasingly enjoyable as the kids have grown and have more fun with him. He continues to serve in Sunday School and other areas as needs arise within our church family. He also coached Timothy’s PeeWee soccer team this fall. Workwise, he spent another year at Groupon, expanding in his role to build additional teams in Seattle and NYC to work on the “Things To Do” business.
Jenny’s highlights include starting to home school, teaching older kids in Sunday School, serving and learning in Bible study, and growing in hospitality while we’ve sought Jesus’ healing for our losses. I’m grateful for this stage of our family while I can serve at home, even as I stumble along most days. We’re excited to welcome Baby Mary Anne soon, and welcome your prayers for this new chapter.
Timothy continues to be an affectionate, generous and sensitive big brother/son in our family. His year’s highlights include trips we took, watching his sisters grow, and many adventures with Papa. We’ve discovered he is a voracious and focused little learner. He cracks us up with his comedy and keeps us busy with his questions about everything. He currently enjoys games, puzzles, books, spelling/writing, singing, and all sorts of vehicles. He also likes being an Awana Cubbie this year and doing school at home with Mama.
Grace’s spunky little personality continues to emerge and she is a delight to us. This year she began walking, talking a lot, eating up a storm (not infrequently out-eating big brother!), exerting her increasing independence, and keeps melting our hearts with her humor and cute antics. She loves family time, imaginative play, and giving many hugs & kisses. Grace is also quite the accessorizing little lady and can often be found lugging around containers and bags filled with goodies.
We’re thankful for you, and pray this greeting finds you looking towards the One who can provide you with ultimate hope this season and in the future. Merry Christmas and Happy 2016 to you!
Andrew, Jenny, Timothy (3 1/2), Grace (22 months), and baby Mary
Our family’s been so blessed by you this year. Papa and I have immensely enjoyed you as our daughter and Timothy’s sister. We’re thankful to God for making you just the way He did and giving you to us exactly when He did, too. I can’t believe it’s already been a year with you, but in some ways it feels even longer since we can’t imagine our family without you! Some stats from your first year: you rolled over at about 4 months, sat up sometime during 6 months, scooted at 7 months, crawled quickly at 8, cruised at 9 months, had your first two teeth emerge at 10 months and climbed up the stairs at 10 months, too. You also took your first plane ride like a champ at 11 months. We are waiting for you stand independently before you take steps in the coming weeks (maybe months?). We love your delicate little hands, wispy long hair, lashes that curl on the outer edges of your eyes, frequent big smiles, and contagious giggles.
Some of your favorite foods this first year include nori (seaweed snacks), blueberries, oatmeal, pumpkin, millet, sweet potatoes, bananas, kiwis, black beans, bread and pears. You enjoy playing by yourself quite a bit, but you also love it when other people, especially Timothy, are around even when it means you’re sometimes getting shoved or squished a bit. Your favorite toys are the baby piano, stacking cups, Timothy’s George monkey, play kitchen, your soft books, and whatever “Gaw Gaw” is trying to build with his Legos. You also enjoy any household objects we let you play with, too. I’m pretty sure your first words were “Baba”, “Dada”, “Papa”…basically all the ways you can refer to your father, which was pretty special for Papa. 🙂 “Bye-bye”, “Yeh Yeh”, and what sounds like “more” in Cantonese followed soon after. You also say “Mama” now, and it’s so heartmelting, maybe more so since it’s not often you say it. You also seem to want to skip sign language and go straight to talking when you’ve been asking for more food lately in Cantonese instead of signing. In addition your cute little gazes and smiles, you have a funny little hello wave where you stick your hand out as if reaching for people.
You absolutely adore Papa and he is quite smitten with you as well. It’ll be so sweet to see your relationship grow in the months and years to come. We love how excited you are to see him everyday. You also love “Gaw Gaw” and we’re so happy to see you and Timothy enjoy each other so much this first year together. It’s so special how the two of you can quickly help each other feel better when one of you is sad, simply by being present. You are super happy when you see photos of our whole little family together, and you enjoy reading and singing through books with us. When we dance, sing and jump around all crazy, it makes you smile and laugh. You squeal for bubbles, enjoy playing with water, and love slides and swings. It was so cool to see you catch on quickly to slides and notice you lean forward to initiate the thrill. It’s been a gift to watch you thrive in your BSF class each week. I love that you enjoy Cantonese Story Time, especially when loudly clapping for the songs we sing. You’ve been humming and singing along with us for your sleeptime song of “Be Thou My Vision”, and it’s very loud at times. I can’t wait to have you make more music with us in the coming years.
Our first year together after your birth was so full and difficult in many ways. You made your appearance 8 days early, smoothly, calmly and quickly – we thank the Lord for that, too! Like your brother, you also have symmetrical double hair swirls, which we find fascinating and adorable at the same time. You were born a bit on the small side but gained weight well in the early months. When I was pregnant again, we didn’t know for a little while, but you weren’t getting enough milk so you lost weight between 3 and 6 months. It disheartened me that you needed a lot of formula to get back on track, but I’m thankful for how God provided for your growth in that way even though it was not what I’d planned or wanted for you. We lost your little sibling unfortunately, so that was painful for me to grapple with as I also struggled with your growth curve this year, too. Many people tell me you’re tiny, and it makes me want to burst into tears sometimes…there are those times when I really do sob while holding on to you tightly. Baby girl, you’ve been so tough and cooperative and are back on track with gaining weight and eating most everything we feed you so well. Praise the Lord for that! You’ve also been a decently good sleeper and napper, and we are SO THANKFUL for that gift. While, it’s been such a relief to have an easier sleeper, and you probably also benefit from having us not be as nervous as we were with Timothy. 😉
The Lord has used you to bless our family in ways better than we hoped or imagined in this first year. I never would’ve imagined how much your story so far has helped me to see the world more soberly and compassionately, while also longing more for Jesus. Your sweet and flexible disposition has been so helpful in this otherwise difficult year and we’re grateful for God’s graciousness in making the transition being a family of 4 smoother than we’d expected. I have also felt more helpless and inadequate as a mother than I’d ever felt before with only your big brother in my care. I think this is also God’s grace to me through you to show me that I deseperately need Him to fill and work through me because I cannot do anything truly fruitful on my own.
I pray that as you grow physically, your spirit would be increasingly awakened to thirst for the truth of the Bible instead of the many lies culture will feed you about God, the world, and yourself. I pray that you will find your deepest sense of belonging and worth in your Heavenly Father’s affection and sacrifice for you through Jesus Christ. I hope you will be strong in your convictions and in guarding your heart, as well as compassionate and caring toward others. We look forward to getting to know you more this second year and the years to come.
Happy first birthday to you, our precious and sweet baby girl!
We hope this greeting finds you safe and well. 2014 proved to be an emotional rollercoaster for our family. In addition to celebrating life and milestones with the birth of Grace, our fifth wedding anniversary, and various firsts as a family of four, we also endured loss. Our hearts have been stricken with much heaviness with news stories, distress in our church family, and losing a child. As it does for us, we hope this Christmas season also causes you to reflect, wonder, and anticipate the Good News.
Andrew – This year, I made another career change and left Amazon in May. I joined Groupon to build and manage an engineering team to work on a new mobile app for travel. While we seek the Lord in our church home situation, I continue to serve with technology needs and children’s ministry. We lost Stewie rabbit this year, but 11 years was a good run for that soft brown bunny. As I grow in fatherhood, I enjoy my adventures with our growing little guy and adore my precious baby girl.
Jenny – I had a full year with getting used to caring for two little ones and learning to fight for joy in the Lord. We lost our third baby in September and it’s been difficult to work through. I’m thankful for how God has been immensely gracious with me, though. Questions linger, but I’m learning to trust his sovereignty, purposes, and find comfort in truth. Part of the redemption in this is that I have much more compassion for others’ hurts and have renewed hope in the resurrection of Christ.
Timothy had a big year of growing, playing, and learning. He loves music, water, books, vehicles, balls and so many foods. He dotes on his baby sister and loves doing things together with Grace. Some of his favorite songs are hymns and he belts them loudly. Taking after Andrew, he’s a bit of a clown as he often tries to make people laugh. His Cantonese and English both surprise and crack us up often, too. Timothy’s self-proclaimed favorite color is blue and he enjoys being around lots of people, but especially our family.
Grace has been an immense blessing to us and we so enjoy seeing glimpses of her personality distinctions come out as she grows and explores. She is very sweet and social so far, and overall a mellow little girl. Though small, she is strong and can hold her own among the bigger kids. We find her often plunking on the baby piano by herself, or playing quietly with books and toys. Grace enjoys her BSF class and has taken to new foods well so far. She is affectionate towards our family and has special smiles and giggles for her Papa and brother.
As we move forward, we are thankful for opportunities to grow in faith, regularly open our home to invest in others, contribute to building a church plant, and continue to shepherd our children. May you find hope in 2015 as well.
2013 brought our family many blessings for which we’re grateful.
Andrew continues to do well on the Instant Video team at Amazon. It’s also been a joy for him to serve our church by using his technology gifts to improve processes and create valuable tools to use in building God’s kingdom. Andrew and Jenny both enjoy serving in the kids’ classes at church on Sundays as well.
Jenny is continuing to enjoy and be refined through her roles at home. She loves caring for Timothy and experiencing so many of his early milestones. She also hosts and co-leads a women’s weekly Bible study. It’s wonderful to have our home filled with all generations of women hungry to learn from Scripture, along with many busy babies and toddlers.
Timothy had quite the year with learning to talk, play, walk, dance and much more! We love seeing his sweet little personality continue to emerge and appreciate seeing him help out around the house with chores. He continues to bring many smiles and laughs to family, friends, and folks we encounter while out and about. His favorite activities include enjoying books, being affectionate with his stuffed animals, exploring outdoors and eating lots of food. Stewie (our 9 year-old rabbit) seems somewhat acclimated to friendly Timothy and doesn’t appear to mind all the attention and petting too much, especially since they’re accompanied by fresh produce treats.
We celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary and continue to learn much about God’s intent for marriage. Our little family took a few trips this year for weddings and had fun making some memories. We experienced the beautiful island of Maui in March and Timothy seemed to relish his first taste of the tropics. Another trip to Toronto allowed Timothy to meet much of the extended Ma family. We are saddened to have lost Andrew’s Grandma Ma in November, but are thankful that Timothy got to meet his Great Grandma Ma in April.
Looking into 2014, we’re very excited to meet our second child (first daughter!) Grace Elizabeth in February. Timothy seems pleased to be a big brother and already hugs and kisses his little sister while she’s still in Jenny. We are thrilled to welcome a baby girl into our growing family and welcome your prayers for us as we learn to raise a daughter.
With lots of love, Andrew, Jenny, Timothy (1½ years) and Grace (coming soon)
What a blessed year our little family has had! We are grateful for your place in our lives and hope that this season finds you thankful for the blessings in your life as well. Highlights this year include celebrating our third wedding anniversary, finding a great church home and welcoming our first son – Timothy Ian Ma – into the family. What a full year it’s been! We are thankful for the gospel-centered preaching, teaching and community found in our church home of Mars Hill Bellevue. We are incredibly blessed to serve and contribute to the work God is doing at Mars Hill. Our hearts are challenged and we are growing in our walks with Jesus. In parenthood, we have enjoyed learning the ropes and loving on our little boy so far! 🙂 We are excited and so humbled to have the new responsibility of raising and teaching Timothy in the years to come about God’s goodness and his incredible grace for us. This year, we’ve posted more regularly on our family blog at www.ajmas.com. Please feel free to subscribe for more regular updates.
The first half of the year brought some work trips for both of us. One of Jenny’s trips was out to Baltimore so we took the time to revisit one of the spots we went to on our honeymoon. In the spring, Andrew also visited Israel on a recruiting trip. Though unexpected, it was an neat opportunity for him to visit some biblically significant landmarks. Andrew continues to enjoy his work at Amazon.com on the Instant Video team and is doing well there. This year, he has also taken on a fun project of doing part-time mobile phone app development for a small company in Seattle. It’s been fulfilling for him to learn some different technology and use his gifting to work on an church app platform used by hundreds of churches. Jenny left her role in Sales Operations at Apex Learning in February to manage our kitchen remodel project and further prepare our home for the big change in our family. She is enjoying this new season of working at home in raising Timothy and growing as a wife and homemaker.
This summer, we sadly said goodbye to sweet Sammy rabbit. After battling with several eye infections, she couldn’t fully recover so we, along with her buddy Stewie, had to bid her farewell in late August. Stewie appears to be getting along okay, but seems quite lonely at times. He is over 8 years old and still makes us laugh with his funny bunny quirks.
Our family continues to be very grateful for God’s overly abundant provision for us in this season. We are glad to be celebrating our fourth Christmas together as husband and wife, and are hopeful as reflect this Advent season on what Christ’s coming means for our lives and purpose. Our family hopes you are able to reflect on and enjoy the season with family and dear friends, and look forward to what 2013 may hold. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you!
The Mas – Andrew, Jenny & Timothy (6 months)