Monday, December 28, 2009

Gonna Write a Letter

Ladies and Gentlemen, children of aaaalllllll ages, friends, foes, and fellow countrymen... listen up, y'all! I figured things are getting a little, shall we say, heavy 'round these parts; so I thought I'd take this opportunity to start a little thing we bloggers call a meme. Although, I guess it's technically only a meme if someone copies it and spreads it. Any takers?

Well, whether you call it a meme or a theme or just something to write about when my brain is fried, I am proud to introduce: Gonna Write a Letter or GWL.

Who among us hasn't come home from a vacation, a store, a fast-food drive-through and said, "I'm gonna write a letter to that manager... or owner... or CEO... or President of the United States"? I have probably said that phrase a ka-jillion times in my life, yet I have never, not once ever, written one of those letters. And since I am probably too chicken to ever actually send a letter like that, I have decided to post them here for your viewing entertainment.

Now, here are the rules:

1.) You can write a letter to any person or organization you choose: past, present, or future.

2.) The letters can be positive ("Hey, thanks for not laughing when I fell down the escalator.") or negative ("I don't think french fries are supposed to taste like dirt.")

3.) Keep it chruhstian, y'all. (If you're not from the deep south, chruhstian, pronounced "Kruhr-Stiuhn," is literally translated "Christian" but is more often used in looser translations as "No curse words and only PG themes.")

4.) Write the letter on your blog or (if you don't have a blog and would still like to participate) email your letter to brandythixton at yahoo dot com. Just make sure you title it GWL so I don't think you're telling me that you didn't appreciate the look I gave you across the register last Thursday.

Eventually, I might add a timeline like "First Thursday of the month" or "Every Monday at 8:30am" or somesuch nonsense. But seeing as how I can't seem to keep my regular blog updated at decent intervals, I don't think I can make any grand promises about how often this little meme/theme will pop up. If you don't like it, write me a letter. :)

Stay tuned for my first Gonna Write a Letter....

Saturday, December 26, 2009

2010: Part 2 (Alternate Title: The Year of Random Resolutions)

Ok, so lets get down to the nitty-gritty of 2010. (Can I just say how much I love the word(s?) nitty-gritty? I love the sound. Just say them over and over... nittygritty nittygritty nittygritty. They're fun, yes?)So, the nitty-gritty of 2010. This is where the rubber meets the road, where we attempt to live out the things that God has put in our hearts over the past twelve months. It's a new beginning. Tabula Rasa. Blank Slate.

I luh-huv a new year. And 2010 promises a slew of resolutions:

1. Lose weight. Original, no? Seriously though, I have an appointment with good ol' Dr.Z on Monday where I will get the okay to begin my hormone therapy once again. Barring any unforeseen pregnancy (like last time), I plan on continuing the treatment for three months, which will (hopefully) kick off the rest of my weight-loss for the rest of the year.

2. Refresh the little wells. Kim Heinecke wrote a post about the little wells in her home. She reminded me that "What's in the well will come up in the bucket." While my little one has a lot of Mickey Mouse and Barbie Princess and Ariel in her well, I'm ashamed to say there's not a lot of Scripture. So we are adding "Verse of the Month" to her repertoire. Taking a cue from Aunt Martha, we have a tradition of saying/singing things while we brush Chloe's teeth. It helps her to learn things (songs, ABC's, counting) and provides for a great distraction while doing a task that she hates. So this year? We'll be quoting scripture during those times. One verse a month. So that, theoretically, she will have a new verse memorized at the end of every month. Genius, no?

3. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Among the principles we want our children to learn is the principle of stewardship. In money, of course, but also in managing the earth and its resources. We might not be able to reduce the use of fossil fuels or restore the demolished rain forests, but we can separate our paper, plastic, aluminum, and glass. And so we shall.

4. Avoid Stuffitis. Dave Ramsey says that many Americans suffer from a disease called Stuffitis - the need for more "stuff." In Korea, we lived with less "stuff" than I ever though possible. While I am thoroughly enjoying the comforts of American living, I would love to keep that Korean mentality of "less is more."

5. Jingle and Jangle and Change for Africa. More on this later...

6. Bake. I love to bake. Seriously, it might be my most favorite way to calm down after a long and difficult day. But I'm tired of the old stand-by's: chocolate chip cookies and apple pies. I want to learn yummy pastries and scrumptious tarts. I want to layer cakes and whip frosting. So my goal is to learn two new baking recipes a month. But... since I'm going to be working with Dr.Z and avoiding all things baked, I'll need some guinea pigs to tell me how everything tastes... any volunteers?

7. Cook a Goose. Yes, a goose. A whole, beautiful, goose. Like in the Charles Dickens novels. I just have to figure out where to buy one... and how to save up for it...

So. That's it. I wish I had 10 resolutions, just because that would make a nice, tidy blog post.

Se la vie.

Alrighty then... I might be out of touch for a few days because my sweet hubby has planned a little trip for us and because Christmas is not completely over for our immediate family and because I will have an entire day in the car heading back to Memphis. So, yeah.

I guess I'll see ya when I see ya... Lord willin' and the creek don't rise.

Monday, December 21, 2009

2010: Part 1

Over the last year, one passage of scripture continually comes into my mind. During prayer, during church, when I wake up, when I go to sleep, when I'm washing my dishes, in conversation, in messages, in music -- it seems to be popping up everywhere.

Then, my first night in our new home, I finally realized why the Lord keeps bringing these verses to my attention.

They're found in Hosea chapter 2, which starts in verse 2 like this...

Rebuke your mother, rebuke her,
for she is not my wife,
and I am not her husband.
Let her remove the adulterous look from her face
and the unfaithfulness from between her breasts.

Daaaaaang, y'all. He ain't kiddin' around.

The background of this story goes something like this: God instructs Hosea, a prophet, to marry Gomer, a prostitute, as a symbol of God's relationship with Israel, who has been selling herself to her "lovers" (other gods) and committing adultery against God.

It's kind of harsh. Are y'all ready for this? Lets start again at verse 3:

Otherwise I will strip her naked
and make her as bare as on the day she was born;
I will make her like a desert,
turn her into a parched land,
and slay her with thirst.

Vengeful much? verses 5-13:

She said, 'I will go after my lovers,
who give me my food and my water,
my wool and my linen, my oil and my drink.'

Therefore I will block her path with thornbushes;
I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way.

She will chase after her lovers but not catch them;
she will look for them but not find them.
Then she will say,
'I will go back to my husband as at first,
for then I was better off than now.'

She has not acknowledged that I was the one
who gave her the grain, the new wine and oil,
who lavished on her the silver and gold—
which they used for Baal.

"Therefore I will take away my grain when it ripens,
and my new wine when it is ready.
I will take back my wool and my linen,
intended to cover her nakedness.

So now I will expose her lewdness
before the eyes of her lovers;
no one will take her out of my hands.

I will stop all her celebrations:
her yearly festivals, her New Moons,
her Sabbath days—all her appointed feasts.

I will ruin her vines and her fig trees,
which she said were her pay from her lovers;
I will make them a thicket,
and wild animals will devour them.

I will punish her for the days
she burned incense to the Baals;
she decked herself with rings and jewelry,
and went after her lovers,
but me she forgot,"
declares the LORD.

Can I just be honest here? I have a haaaard time with these verses. This isn't the God I know. The God I know is gracious, slow to anger, abounding in mercy, and gentle in His discipline. But this God, the one of Hosea, He ain't playin' no games, y'all. This is His bride we're talking about here! He removes all her security, all her earnings. Doesn't He know what she went through -- what she did -- to earn those vineyards? Those fig trees are a part of her. She is more secure than all other women because she has figs and grain and oil of her own... food and goods that she literally sold herself to attain. And now He destroys it all. As if that weren't enough, He strips her down, exposes her in public. He humiliates her in every way possible.

Verse 14:

Therefore I am now going to allure her;
I will lead her back into the desert
and speak tenderly to her.

I tell you what, I don't like my husband even looking at me after we've had an argument. You mean to tell me that this God who just stripped everything away and completely humiliated her now wants to take her into the dirty, dry, parched desert and whisper sweet nothings into her ear?

But something beautiful happens in that desert. Something lovely and mysterious and supernatural occurs in that dry, dusty, lonely place:

Verse 15:

There I will give her back her vineyards,
and I will make her Valley of [Trouble] a Door of Hope.
There she will sing as in the days of her youth,
as in the day she came up out of Egypt.

After everything has been stripped away. Every thing she had acheived. All the things that told her who she was. Her jewelry. Her suggestive wardrobe. Her financial security. Any semblance of who she had been. When every single reminder of the shame and resignation that came with her occupation had been completely demolished. When He had completely destroyed her old identity...

He slayed her with thirst in the desert, and became her water and nourishment.

He removed her foundation, and became a strong chest and a broad shoulder on which she could lean.

He removed the name "lover" from her lips, and became her husband.

Men paid for her body.

He made her priceless.

Men treated her like a whore.

He made her His bride.

How do I know what happened in the desert? How am I certain beyond any doubt that, though He seemed vicious, it was His mercy and unfailing love that lead her into the desert? How can I possibly understand the myserious and beautiful transformation that happened in that place?


I am Gomer.

I have sold myself. For money. For sleep. For a television show. For a nicer car. For a better body. For some personal time. For friendships. For love.

I have sold away pieces of myself time and time again to achieve some semblance of security, of balance, of a life that everyone dreams of.

And it has all, in one way or another, been stripped away.

That, my friends, is what has happened over the past five years.

I have made plans and developed ideas. I have bought property and saved money. I have told myself that, because I had made wise choices, I was secure. And that security was my god. Sure, I was still "married" to the Lord. But He was not my security. I had not acknowledged that He was the one who gave me the grain, the new wine and oil, who lavished on me the silver and gold. And I used it for myself and to strengthen my sense of security.

But those things were stripped away. One by one, the things in which I had put my trust began to falter and crumble. I realized that the things for which I had sold myself - my time, my energy, my love, my passion - were dwindling away.

Spiritually, emotionally, financially, physically - I was, I am - slayed with thirst.

And it was in that place where I realized. He is my source. He is my strength. He is my foundation. He is my security.

So, here it is, the year of 2010. And would you like to know what I truly believe He has in store for me this year?

Verses 15-16:

There I will give her back her vineyards,
and will make the Valley of [Trouble] a door of hope.
There she will sing as in the days of her youth,
as in the day she came up out of Egypt.

"In that day," declares the LORD,
"you will call me 'my husband';
you will no longer call me 'my master.'"

In that day I will make a covenant for them
with the beasts of the field and the birds of the air
and the creatures that move along the ground.
Bow and sword and battle
I will abolish from the land,
so that all may lie down in safety.

I will betroth you to me forever;
I will betroth you in righteousness and justice,
in love and compassion.

I will betroth you in faithfulness,
and you will acknowledge the LORD.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

2005-2009 in one super-dee-duper long post.

It's 12:14am in Memphis, Tennessee. So many things have happened over the past three weeks that I can hardly decide what to write first. I have a list of things I want to tell you all about: the highs and oh-so-lows of our plane ride to the states, Thanksgiving week in Athens, my first Target run since December of 2008, our cozy little apartment in Memphis, the first two weeks at my new job, the anticipation of Christmas and seeing my sweet hubby for the first time in over a month. So many thoughts swimming around in my head and aching to make their way onto my computer screen.

But, as I said, it's 12:14am, and my littlest one will be awake and hungry in mere hours.

So instead I'll just skip to the thing that has really been consuming my thoughts over these past few days: 2010.

I know, I know. Christmas isn't even here yet. There's still a lot of shopping for presents and stuffing stockings and reading cards and drinking egg nog and singing carols to get done before we start making New Years resolutions.

But I feel that 2010 is will be a special year for me and for our little family.

This is going to sound weird, but I feel as though my years have themes. As I look back, in particular, over the past 5 years, I see a series of lessons and themes that weave their way throughout the weeks and months. I have spent much time this past week thinking and praying over what those years have taught me, and what I can expect for the next one. If I could sum up the past five years in a few (or a lot of) sentences, it would look somthing like this:

2005 was The Year of Intimacy. Spiritually and emotionally speaking, this year was the pits. In the first quarter of the year, we were in an accident that totalled our car and left me in a lot of pain. In the summer, we obediently moved to where the Lord was calling us. For me personally, it was the most difficult move I have ever made. Though I understand now why that move was so significant, at the time, it felt like a very cruel and hurtful trick. In December of that year, I was told in no uncertain terms that I would probably never have children. So why is 2005 called "The Year of Intimacy"? Because that was the year, more than any other year, when I learned to hear God's voice - and feel His peace - in the midst of the raging storm. Never before had I experienced such a difficult year. Never before had I needed so desperately to know God's grace and peace. Never before had I felt His peace and presence in my life, despite my circumstances.

2006 was The Year of Manna. If you don't know, the Hebrew word for Manna literally means "What is it?" You could also call this year The Year of Big Change. That title may surprise some of you, considering how many changes our family has gone through since 2006, but this was the year that set all the other changes into motion. Exactly one month after I sat across from a doctor as she told me my "chocolate chip" ovaries would probably prevent me from ever coneiving, I sat across from another doctor as she confirmed what I had been suspecting for a few days - I was pregnant. I was in school, working full-time, and still trying to recover from 2005. And everything changed. Before I knew it, I had quit school, cut my work hours in half, purchased a second home, took out a loan on a "family car," and - somewhere along the way - grew a baby (plus 49 pounds or so). Changes were happening faster than my little brain could wrap around them, and I had to trust that, though I couldn't see the big picture or know our future plans, God could see and did know. In 2006, I learned to just be obedient TODAY. Be where I'm supposed to be, do what I'm supposed to do, trust the Lord to provide our needs... Today. "Because tomorrow can worry about itself..."

2007 was The Year of the Bad Attitude. Who, me? A bad attitude? Whateverdude. *rolling my eyes* So, a lot happened in 2007. I was totally stoked about spiritual things. Went to this really awesome all-day prayer thingy called "The Call." Got some pretty cool prophetic words about great things the Lord will do in us in the distant future. Heard some great sermons. Traveled long distances to participate in some great worship... I say these things sarcastically, not because they aren't important, but because I was a little bit (or a lot bit) like Joseph with his dreams. I looked wholly and completely at the dreams and visions God had given us for the future... while completely disengaging the here and now. I hated my job. I hated cleaning my house. I hated school. I wasn't a fan of the responsibility that came along with being a wife and mother. I just wanted to, you know, preach and pray and praise and talk about super-spiritual things. All the while, laundry and dishes and dust piled up. As my dad would say, I was "Too Heavenly minded to be any Earthly good." That might offend some folk' out there, but I'm just tellin' it like it is, y'all. And to be honest, there was no great lesson this year. Except, maybe, dreams don't bring home the bacon, amen?

2008 The Year of "Ah-ha!" Pardon the Oprah-esque nominclature, but if I had a penny for every time I learned something new that year, I'd have, like 100 pennies. Don't laugh, dude, that's a double cheeseburger at Mickey D's, yo. January of 2008 was weird. It was like somebody woke me up from a dream and said, "Hey, your life is falling apart. Shouldn't you, like, fix it or something?" Honestly, I think the Lord opened my eyes to some patterns that had emerged (or grown stronger?) in 2007 in my home, my marriage, my spiritual walk, my family. I went to Dr.Z and found out that there was a "disease" in my body that affected the way I functioned. I went to a counselor and realized that there was a "disease" in the way I viewed marriage that affected the way I related to my husband, my home, and even my children. If I could sum up the lessons of 2008 into one phrase it would be, "You got alllllll wrong, guhl." By the end of that year, one thing was very clear to me: My life, our family, our home, it all had some changes that needed to be made. But how?

Enter 2009: The Year of the Reset Button. (I won't repost all that stuff, since this post is already 2 days long and since I just wrote about 2009, like, a month ago.)

So here we are... 2010... and what's in store for next year, God willing? Stay tuned to find out...

Seriously though... come back soon... I'll tell you about 2010 goals, like, soon...



You're coming back, right?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My Christmas Reminder...

Yesterday I had a discouraging doctor's appointment.

Almost seven months after Maple's birth, my body is still striving to make itself whole. It looks like we still have a way to go.

In the midst of my discouragement and (I'll just say it) self-pity, I clicked over onto one of my most favorite blogs ever, and read THIS.

I am so grateful today that my God loves me this much.

Friday, December 11, 2009

I'll Be Home for Christmas....or thereafter...

Yes, we're alive.

Yes, we're doing fine.

No, we do not have internet access at our house yet.

Yes, I will post some decent updates as soon as I have both internet access and a home computer.

No, that will not be before Christmas.

No, it probably won't be before the New Year.

Yes, I am quite upset too.

See you soon, loves.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Highlight of the trip...

Would you like to know the most exciting part of our 22-hour trip back to the states?

It wasn't when they almost wouldn't let us leave the country due to a micommunication regarding our green cards.

It wasn't when Maple's airplane bassinet fell off the wall to which it was attached.

It wasn't when I realized I had only ONE pacifier for the entire trip because I had left the rest sitting at our back door.

It wasn't when Maple grabbed my salad and dumped it in my lap, dressing and all.

Would you really like to know the most exciting part?

Let's play a game. I'll give you a few words, and you tell me what they have in common.

Airplane seat.
Carry-on luggage.

Any guesses? Anyone? You, there in the back? No?

Ok. I thought it was obvious.

This is a list of items that belonged to the man sitting across the aisle from me.

This is also a list of items, belonging to that man, which were covered in baby spit up after Maple projectile vomitted across that aisle.

And in case you were wondering...

...inside the shoe.
...laptop completely crashed.





Saturday, November 14, 2009


I mentioned in my last post that I was a little stressed last night while packing. My husband happened to catch my little breakdown on video. So, my dear readers, for your viewing pleasure...

I Don't Need Anything. -

(Shout out to Jessi C. for this inspiration!)

Now is the time...

It's early Sunday morning here in Korea. The snow has been falling since about 10:30 last night but only sticking to the cars and bushes. It's only 7:05am, and the parking lot is already filling up with cars and older women with umbrellas. Our clothes are all laid out. Chloe will wear a denim skirt, two or three layers of sweaters, and her new rainbow sweater stockings. Maple is wearing a fuzzy warm pants set over her panda bear pajamas. I'm wearing what I have worn every Sunday morning for the past ten months: black pants, modest solid shirt, low ponytail, ballet flats. In just a few minutes, Brandon's alarm will go off, and he will stumble out of the bedroom with his crazy hair. Chloe will crack her door and peer out to see if "the sunshine is awake." Our day will be busy, yet somehow peaceful, routine, cathartic.

This is my last Sunday in Korea.

Last night, after the girls were in bed, I sat in the living room stuffing and cramming and packing every single little bit of space in my 4.2 suitcases. And I was stressed. Like, burst into tears kind of stress. I didn't give into it, but I felt it creeping up the back of my throat - that lump that comes around when I try to swallow some threatening emotion.

I'm very excited to go back home. To the states.

I'm very excited about the turn our life has taken here in Korea and about seeing where this new road will lead.

I'm very excited about Memphis and all that that entails.

But this week is going to be hard. I have really come to love our home, and the people, here in Cheonan, and the thought of leaving all makes that lump start to creep up again.

I know we're doing the right thing, and I know it's ultimately what we need and want. But I think it's okay for me to have a season of sadness over what will be left behind...

Ecclesiastes 3

1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Blogging like woah!

So, the other day my long-distance long-time long-lovin' friend Olivia sent me a message on Ye Olde Facebook entitled, "Blogging like woah!" Which, can we all just nod in agreement that "Blogging like woah!" is a great message title? Well, the author of said title has laid claim to her own little corner of the bloggosphere over at Clearly Mysterious. Now, let me tell you, this girl has some writing skills, and if you give her a New York minute to find her groove, I can guarantee this blog will be... like... woah! Seriously.

So, in this cleverly titled facebook message, Olivia told me that she wanted some blogging advice from the most creative, talented, fearless, inspirational - not to mention drop-dead gorgeous - blogger she knows.

And since she wasn't available, Olivia asked me.

Oh, I slay myself.

As I crafted my response to her, I began to realize that while I could give a quick synopsis on how I blog, I really have no idea why I blog. The problem, of course, is that often the how and the why are so intertwined, it's difficult to tell where one stops and the other starts. Thus began my week-long attempt to define my blog.

While I still don't believe I have an exhaustive definition or explanation of my12hats, here is what I have discovered so far... In list format, no less...

How I blog...
1. First of all, I get a lot of inspiration from other bloggers. I have thirty (34!) blogs in my google reader, which I check every day. Some days, I read each and every one of them. Most days, I hit the top five or so. These blogging gals (and a couple guys) really challenge and inspire me. If it weren't for their influence, y'all would probably be reading about my cleaning list each week.

2. I have developed what has been affectionately termed "blogger's brain." I can't tell you how many times in a day some random, seemingly innocuous event happens and I think "this would make a great blog post!" This "ability" has proven quite useful and is the source of many of my posts. Of course, the problem naturally occurs wherein I live my life through the lens of entertainment, where any event that isn't worth blogging about isn't worth living. Perhaps that is an over exaggeration, but the truth is that there are times when I have to set it all aside for a while and remind myself that this blog is not the most important thing in my life and there are things about which I may never blog - like the feel of my daughter's hand on my face, or the sight of my husband hunched over his Bible - but which are moments that are totally worth living and remembering.

3. Write as if a stranger you love is reading. I know this sounds weird, but it's honestly what I think as I write many of my posts. "Someday my great, great grandchildren might read these little stories. What do I want them to know about me and my life?" This filter has given me the boldness to write about things which I might never have dared to discuss in public before. It has also helped me to tone down any drama, language, or questionable material I might consider putting on here from time to time.

4. Editing is for newspapers and authors. I know, I KNOW, there are some hard-core bloggers out there that would heartily disagree with me on this point, but if I try to triple proof-read every word and super analyze every sentence, well, lets just say my12hats would be one big empty pot o' nuthin right about now. Folks have sense enough to know you meant "there" when you wrote "their," and the ones that get their panties in a bunch about it... well... they're free to write all about it in their own little bloggo.

Now for the why...

1. I write for me. That's it. I would love to tell you that I write so my girls will have wonderful little stories to read about their childhood. I would love to say that I just do it for the love of blogging. I would love to say that I hope to minister to some lost soul through my writing.

But here's the honest truth: I like to write. I like to go back and re-read the stuff that I have written in the past. I like the way words sound when read aloud, and I love the way they look on a page. When I go back to those old journal entries from that 18-year-old version of me so many years ago, I feel like I am meeting with old friends... remembering the past with rose-colored glasses... laughing at my old dramatic flair... seeing how far the Lord has brought me from there...

2. I blog for the comments. I like comments. How's that for honesty? I wish I didn't like them. I wish I could write those words without coming across as needy. But sometimes I write about some gut-wrenching, soul-searching, paradigm-shifting stuff on this little blog. Every now and then, it's cathartic to put myself completely out there, completely exposed, completely vulnerable... and for someone to say "I understand and I approve." I know it's needy. I know I shouldn't want man's approval and blah blah blah... but comments tell me that someone in the world is feeling what I'm feeling... understanding where I'm coming from... identifying with my emotions. And I need that connection, especially with other women, every once in a while.

So, yeah, those are pretty selfish reasons to blog, and the answer to the "why" question was a difficult one, no doubt. But, well, there it is...

So, my dear Olivia, I am fairly certain that nothing I have written in this post will even remotely begin to help you find inspiration for your new blog. But, I have to tell you: your facebook message has provided me with ample brain food and blogging material this week. Thank you kindly. I'm much obliged.

And to those of you who are just reading my blog for the heck of it... scoot on over to Olivia's bloggy and give her some comment love. It's hard to start this whole blogging thing, and we blogger babes gotta stick together, yo.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


This is a long post. Ye be warned.

Back in the beginning of the summer, our air conditioner in the living room kept going out. These Korean A/C units are basically one big remote-controlled cold-air-pushing vent in the middle of the ceiling, and for some reason, ours would work for a few hours and then cut out... for days... while we waited on the repairman to make his way back to our house. In the meantime, it was sweltering sticky nasty hot in our house, even with the windows open and 2.5 kajillion fans blowing.

Since we couldn't speak Korea, we had no idea why our unit kept going out, except that maybe we were pushing the wrong button on the remote. So when it would start blowing out hot air, I just started pushing buttons until the cold air came back... or didn't... which would lead to another 3 days of heat while waiting for the repairman. It was a vicious cycle.

Then one magical day, while my hubby and I were watching a movie, we kept hearing a soft clicking sound somewhere in the house. Eventually, we realized that the soft clicking sound coincided with the volume control on our TV remote. Volume up... click. click. click. Volume down... click. click. click. Then the A/C broke.

Perhaps you see where I'm going with this. Brandon is the one who finally made the discovery. Our air conditioner is a certain name brand that we shall call Taxmemore because that's the song that Uncle Sam. Sung. So our A/C unit was Taxmemore, and our TV was Taxmemore, which means the TV remote was Taxmemore. All this meant that, in an attempt to regulate the volume on our Telly, we were repeatedly telling our air conditioner to reverse, spit out hot air, or completely shut down.

While it was my husband who made this harrowing discovery, it was I who discovered how to fix it. One particularly tropical day, I, in my 9-month-pregnant glory, stood in the middle of the living room and shouted at the rebellious unit for a good five minutes before my eye caught a glimmer of silver in the corner of the unit. There was a tiny hole which contained a little silver button. All this time, I had assumed it was simply a screw. But upon further inspection, I realized that beside the little hole, there was a teeny tiny word - in English, no less - RESET.

I scrounged around for a pin, stuck it in the little hole, pushed the silver button, and, Voila!, cold air.


A couple weeks ago, my friend Easter the Samonim asked me a question: "What has this year meant to you?" I can't really remember what I answered, but I think I mumbled something about family and good friends and new experiences.

But you know what? I think this 2009 has been the little silver button in the hole in the corner of my broken down life. A Reset.

You see, life has been cuh-razy over the past 6 years. In the last six years I...

...started a new job.
...dealt with a traumatic event. engaged.
...started a new school. married.
...moved to another state.
...went back to old school.
...started working in a new ministry.
...lived jobless for three months.
...started a new job.
...changed majors. in a car accident with a semi.
...bought a car.
...moved back to Georgia.
...bought a duplex.
...went back to old job.
...went back to new school. in another accident.
...bought another car. pregnant.
...bought another duplex. broke down beyond repair.
...bought another car.
...attempted to rent first duplex (x 1,357,937)
...had a baby. broke down beyond repair.
...bought another car.
...attempted school, work, and baby.
...quit job. a new job.
...changed majors. pregnant.
...attempted to rent all four duplex units (still hasn't happened).
...moved to Korea.

In six years, y'all. Want to see the numbers?

We moved four times.
We drove seven cars.
I had five job changes.
We had two babies.

In. Six. Years.

The thing is, I never...never... stopped to think about what was going on. We just kept jumping from one thing to the next, trying to do what was best for our finances, our family, our careers, our marriage. But I'm not sure we ever really knew what we wanted... or what God wanted for us.

As I look back over the past six years, is it any wonder that we were mentally, emotionally, financially, and spiritually exhausted when we walked off that plane in Seoul, South Korea?

But this year, God in all His goodness, has given us a Reset button. I have had no choice but to stay in my quiet home every day, to reevaluate our life and my priorities, to really hash out what we want from life, and to fall in love with my family once again.

While we still have a lot of work to do and long road to walk, and while I still haven't gotten everything figured out, here are a few of the things I have learned from this year:

1. Whether I become a stay-at-home mom again, or I work a nine-to-fiver for the rest of my life, I don't ever want to be in the position where someone else tells me how to put my child down for a nap or what her favorite food is. That's my job.

2. I am a much much MUCH better mom, wife, housekeeper and all-around person when I go to bed at a decent hour.

3. Waking up before my kids wake up, and spending a few minutes with my coffee and my Jesus, makes the whole day go more smoothly.

4. Even when I am stressed to the max, I have no right to lose my temper.

5. If I am stressed to the max, it's probably a result of my own poor planning and procrastination.

6. My children don't have to be perfect.

7. I don't have to be perfect.

8. Our parenting style works best for our family, and things go a lot better when we do it our way.

9. It's okay to ask for help from my husband. He is at his best when his girls need him.

10. God is gracious, and His mercies are new every morning. And the mistakes I made yesterday do not have to be repeated today.

But perhaps the biggest lesson I have learned this year is one that came from my "little" brother, Nick. He heard and preached a sermon to his youth group that went something like this: Each decision we make, each action we take, it does not represent a single point in time; rather, it represents a step in the direction of our lives.

When I lose my patience, when I choose a movie over playtime, when I eat a doughnut instead of an apple... with each of these little decisions, I think, "It's just this once."

But this new revelation has changed the way I see those little decisions. Because "just this once" means: this is just one step closer to the life that I don't want and one step further away from the life I desire for me and my family.

So as my days left in Korea become fewer and fewer, I find myself becoming more and more grateful for what this year has meant to me and my family. There aren't many people who are given a Reset button when their wires get crossed.

There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor [Troubles] a door of hope. There she will sing as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt.
Hosea 2:15

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

11/14/2002: Where Normals Dare Not Tread

This is continuing on with the archived journal theme...

I would like to begin by saying that I am not a rebel. I like rules. I like following the rules. I like structure. I don't generally challenge the powers that be when they lay down the law. No problems here.

Allow me to offer an example:

I always walk on the right side of the sidewalk. When I say "right" side, I literally mean "right" side (as in opposite of "left.") This side, as everyone knows, it also the "right" side (as in "correct" side) to walk on. Think about it. If you drive your car down the wrong side of the road, what happens? A head-on collision with an oncoming semi, correct? Yes. While walking on the left side of the sidewalk may not be life threatening, one can certainly avoid the embarrassing waltz-like shuffle with an oncoming pedestrian if he or she walks on the "right" side of the road... in every sense of the word "right."

I must admit, however, that on occasion I have found myself walking on the left side... but only in rare cases when attempting to avoid an uneducated pedestrian who appears to enjoy meandering along my side of the walkway.

So, however the case may be, right side or (occasionally) left side... I always follow the "rules" by walking in the "correct" way along the sidewalks.

However, today... ahhh today... what a glorious fall day... today I made a decision. This choice changed my outlook on all my problems... and possibly my entire life. It left me feeling guilty and free at the same time. My life gained a more colorful shade as this decision poured forth in my actions. I made the daring, challenging, slightly rebellious decision in the spur of the moment as destiny saw fit to challenge me to take fate into my own hands. Would you like to know what that decision was?

Are you ready for this? I WALKED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SIDEWALK. Yes, I did it, and I'm proud of it. I didn't walk on the "right" side or even the ever-so-mischievous left side. No, I walked right in the middle. I didn't care who saw it, and I don't care who knows it now. I walked in the middle. Granted, as I first began walking in the middle, I anxiously glanced around to see if anyone noticed my rebellious trod. I constantly checked in front and behind to make sure I wasn't blocking any well-meaning rule follower on his or her way to class... no doubt to arrive five minutes early with two #2 pencils sharpened and an extra eraser. But then, as I left class a second time, I grew a bit more bold. I decided to walk in the middle and only glance behind me once in a while (just to make sure campus security wasn't coming after me for my outward display of utmost rebellion). However, by the time I reached my dorm, I found my self plowing forward, full stride, unafraid, and feeling more freedom than I can ever remember.

My name is Brandy Dalton and I am not ashamed to say, "I WALKED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SIDEWALK."

Perhaps this deed of mine seems a bit trifle to you. Maybe you walk wherever you want, whenever you want, and however you want with no thought about it whatsoever. I feel sorry for you. You will never experience the sheer liberty I felt in the core of my soul today. You will never know the joy of stepping out of your comfort zone, shoving off convention, and living your life. But for those of you out there who always walk on the "right" side of the sidewalk, I ask you to consider the following thoughts... Is the right side always "right"? As in correct? Search your soul; search your purpose; search down deep to your true reasons for following the "rules." Now tell me: Do you follow them because it's all you've ever done? Or do you follow them because you know in your heart of hearts that the "right" side is the way for you? These are the questions that struck me today as I marched down my path to unconventiality.

Ultimately, I will probably continue to follow the rules. In the end, I'm sure you'll find me on the "right" side of the sidewalk every time our paths cross. But today... on this cool autumn day... for one time in my life... I felt the exhilaration of walking on a "different" path and knowing that, for that moment in time, I was truly free.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Santa? To be or not to be?

I am not one of those people who gets disgusted when Christmas decorations come out in August. As a matter of fact, I kind of think about Christmas all year... and not in that "Lets-make-peace-and-pretend-that-we-love-each-other-because-it's-Christmastime-all-year" kind of way. I just love holidays where it's okay to go crazy creative and fun... and then add some super-fattening holiday desserts on top.

I feel the same way about my daughter's birthday parties. (I already have a theme and the basic food items planned for Chloe's birthday in September 2010.)


So the time has come. Chloe is three this Christmas and in the throws of pretend play. You know what that means? Santa Claus. What's that all about?

I grew up on Santa Claus, as did my husband. But I have spent the last several Christmases debating whether or not we would raise our children with him.

I've heard all the arguments, I think... at least, all the arguments against Santa Claus. The people who "do" Santa Claus tend to do it for tradition's sake. (If anyone has a great argument on why Santa Claus is necessary to the well-being of my children, I would LOVE to hear it.)

Most of the arguments fall into one of two categories, and sometimes are combined:

1.) No, we don't want to lie to our children.

2.) No, we don't want to take the focus off of Jesus.

So, for years, I have been at odds with myself, dreading this very Christmas - the one where I would have to decide.

Tell Chloe the real story of Santa, and forfeit the childhood magic that I remember? Like Aunt Martha Dale rushing the children outside to see Rudolph in the sky and hear the jingle of Santa's sleigh. (Airplane, Martha Dale's holiday hair bow.) Like waking up on Christmas morning to find the Santa cookies gone. Like receiving a phone call from Santa a few days before Christmas. (My granddaddy has the BEST Santa voice.) Like lying in bed on Christmas Eve and fighting sleep so maybe I could get a peek at Santa.

Or tell Chloe that Santa is real? And risk the possibility that she will feel jaded, duped, and deceived in 6-8 years when the truth comes out. Or that she will think Santa is like Jesus, nice bedtime stories from her childhood. Or that she will never trust a human being because her parents lied to her for her entire life.

It's a tough decision, my friends.

But, here's where it's at. My hubby, he likes Santa. He's not worried that introducing Santa into our home will be the decline of civilization as we know it. His argument: "We were raised with Santa, and we turned out fine."

To which I reply, "Fine is a relative term that may have been used too liberally in that statement."

But I get his point.

And since I can't decide whether Santa is an amazing and necessary part of an American child's Christmas... or if he is the very foundation of the materialistic fast-food demands of this holiday... I have decided to leave this decision up to my calm, cool, collected (mentally and emotionally stable) husband.

So, yes friends, we're doing Santa.

And since, you know, I LOVE this holiday, I don't want to do anything half-hearted.

Enter, Elf on the Shelf.

The basic premise is that Santa sends an elf to our house to "observe" whether the girls are naughty or nice. Then at night, when they are asleep, the elf goes to the North Pole and tells Santa which list to put the children on. So each morning, when Chloe wakes up, the elf will be in a different location... and she must find her. Fun, right?

We're ordering one of these little babies next week, and I am SO EXCITED! We haven't decided on a name, but I am leaning towards "Candy Cane." Not very original, eh? Yeah... I'm still working on it.

If anyone out there in bloggerland has a great Elf name (for a girl elf) then I'm open to it.

So, there it is folks. I have gone from "Santa may or may not be evil" to "Lets invite an elf into our home" in 2.3 seconds flat.

Good thing my husband is so sane, seriously.

Anywho... I started this whole post to say this: WOOOOO HOOOOOO CHRISTMAAAAAAAAAAAAAS!!!!!!!!!!

Good times. Good times.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I have a plan to make a plan.

I have so many things flying around in my head these days, it's difficult to sit down and write a cohesive, thoughtful post. So, instead, allow me to present (in list format, no less) Stream of Consciousness in E Flat.

1. This has been a really good, productive week. Nobody is sick. The weather is cool enough for a scarf but warm enough to keep the heavy coats in the closet a little longer. I have three suitcases packed for America. Life is pretty sweet right now.

2. Speaking of the sweet life. I am LOVING this song right now.

3. I plan to really focus on the whole Stay-At-Home-Mom thing this last month because, frankly folks, it may never happen again. Hmm... that would be a good post... "Things I've Learned About Being a SAHM." Yeah... I might save that topic for a post all by itself. Good stuff.

4. I think I need to post a video. That might make this blog a little more fun. What do you think? Sometimes "vlogs" can be a little annoying. Sometimes they can be great. Hmmm...

5. Chloe's latest fun words:
- When draining the bath water: "Be careful, mommy! Cinderella might go down the dream!"
- Looking at tire tracks in the parking lot: "Oooo.... Tiger tracks."
- When watching Daddy lead worship with his guitar: "Look! Look Mommy! Daddy's playing my con-tar!"
- Last night, while walking around the church, we pretended to sneak past the sleeping giant from Jack and the Beanstalk. The train woke him up, and we had to run "fasterly before he snatches us!"

6. Maple won't stay on the pallet anymore. She rolls everywhere and puts everything in her mouth. Hello, baby proofing fun, it's been a while.

7. Did you know it is impossible to baby proof for a three-year-old? A kitchen chair and/or a broomstick, and everything she wants is within reach. Sheesh. She's just so smart sometimes.

8. Did I mention how excited I am about coming home? And moving to Memphis? Allow me to mention it now. YIPPEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!

9. This post is boring.

10. Yeah, I'm gonna do a video. I always say that and then never do it. I'm really gonna do it this time. Really. No, really.

The End.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


One of the things that excites me the most about Memphis is having an awesome church to go to.

This year in Korea has forced us to grow leaps and bounds in the spiritual sense. I feel like we are completely different today than we were when we first stepped off the plane eleven months ago. We have been forced to trust the Lord: for relationships, for finances, for direction, for favor.

There is a line in Francis Chan's book Crazy Love that says, "Lukewarm people do not live by faith; their lives are structured so they never have to.... They don't genuinely seek out what life God would have them live - they have life figured and mapped out.... The truth is, their lives wouldn't look much different if they suddenly stopped believing in God."

I am ashamed to say that this quote almost perfectly defines our life before Korea.

If we were short on finances, we worked more hours or got help through other methods. We rarely prayed over decisions or difficulties because we had friends to whom we could vent. Who needs to spend tons of time doing personal Bible studies when there's a perfectly good church with an educated pastor who will tell me everything I need to know?

But in Korea, spiritually speaking, we have had no provision from the outside. Although we attend church several times a week and listen to sermon after sermon, everything is in Korean. We don't have weekly prayer meetings or social Bible studies. We can't visit a friend to "ask for prayer" about our problems.

We have been forced to rely completely on God. Speaking for myself, I have read more books, spent more time in the Word, prayed more desperate prayers than ever before. Not because I'm a "good Christian" who is extremely disciplined, but because I have been absolutely starving for it.

While this year has made me more desperate for personal, intimate time with Jesus, I am now THRILLED at the thought of going to an ENGLISH church with "real" worship and good teaching! I am even more thrilled at the prospect of making new Christian friends - married couples, with children - that attend this church. Thrilled, I tell ya!

I hope and pray that we will continue to rely on God as much in the states as we have in Korea, but I'm also very very very very very excited about having some support in that area. Thrilled. That's just the best word for it.

So, yup. There's no real point to this post except to say, yeah, I'm pretty thrilled about the upcoming changes.

Seacrest, out!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

11/12/2002: My Life as Umbrellas and Coffee Mugs

I was walking to class today with my coffee mug in one hand and my umbrella in the other... and I realized what a weird metaphor those two objects pose. I mean, they literally define my college experience. Not only because it rains all the time here and I always seem to be hyped up on caffeine... but also because of a deeper, more emotional/spiritual truth.

In college, things have happened to me... and seem to continually happen to me... that seem to "wet" my life. Everything from having problems at home, to working through confusing times with Brandon, to pulling an all-nighter and then falling asleep during the test, to fighting with my roomie, to getting really sick, to simply being tired of the rain, literally. Yet, in each of these times, there seems to be an umbrella to keep me from becoming completely drenched. I can't explain what it is. I mean, it's always the Lord... but not overtly, obviously the Lord. For instance, when I have problems at home, Brandon will be so supportive and caring. When Brandon and I struggle, my roomie is so kind and understanding. When I get upset with her, the tests and quizzes seem to slack off. Do you see where I'm going? It's like when one thing happens to discourage me (the rain), God uses something or someone else (the umbrella) to keep me from being completely swept away by the storm. Wow! I have just never thought about all those little things as God's way to shelter me. How amazing the Lord is!

Okay... so I bet you're wondering about the coffee mug, eh? Here goes...

It's not enough for the Lord to use all these things to shelter me on the outside. Oh, no! He's far to good a God for that! He also sends things to warm me inside... an encouraging word, an unexpected hug... or even a smile from a stranger. I see God in all those things. Just like the coffee keeps me warm and comforted on the inside... and just like it helps me get through the day without completely collapsing... God sends things and people to be my "inner strength."

I have so many people tell me how "strong" they think I am! Ha! It's not me! Praise the Lord! It's my umbrellas and coffees that keep me going! What a revelation!

So... maybe the metaphor is a stretch... and maybe you can't see it as well as I can. But I know today, probably better than I have ever known before, that "God shall provide all my needs, according to His riches in glory".... physically, emotionally, spiritually. Praise the Lord for UMBRELLAS AND COFFEE!

Monday, October 19, 2009

11/02/2002: Van Gogh and My Heart

Continuing with the past journal entries...

Van Gogh and My Heart

"Please remember. Please remember. Our time together. I was yours and I was wild and free. Please remember. Please remember... me." -- Leann Rhimes

Do you ever wonder if anybody will remember you when you are gone? I don't mean dead... no... I mean simply gone... on a trip... moving away... anywhere... for however long... Do you think anybody will remember to miss you?

I don't know why this struck me. I know that people miss me when I am away... at least that is what they tell me. I don't know... maybe this doesn't make sense. I just want to know that somebody is waiting at home for my return.

I can't wait 'till next weekend! I'm going home to see my love... Brandon. He doesn't know that I am coming... that will make it all the better! I want to run out and give him a big hug and a long kiss. I want him to know that he was missed. It's a terrible feeling... the feeling that nobody really even notices that you are gone... I don't want him to ever feel that way.

I decided a few weeks ago that my life is like a Van Gogh. You see... most of his pieces are at night... dark... mysterious... lonely... cold. However, all of this darkness is contrasted often by bright oranges and yellows and exciting swirls and splashes of light! When a passer-by looks at the painting, he doesn't see the dark and despair. No, he sees the light... the excitement... the energy of the painter. That's my life. Often it is dark, scary, lonely, chilly.... but... then there is the light. Those bright splashes of color that draw the attention of the casual watcher. I live from one yellow swirl to the next. Often in the dark... but not for very long.

Brandon is one of those swirls. At the same time, he is often the darkness too. Love is funny that way I suppose. He makes me laugh so hard that I cry. And he makes me cry so hard that I laugh. And that's how I know that I can spend the rest of my life with him... because he's not just a part of my life... like just the dark, or just the light... but he's pieces from all of my life... part dark, part light. He's probably the only person that I feel knows me.

He still doesn't know all of me. I don't know if anybody can ever know all of me. That scares me a little bit. I mean, I've never been completely open or honest with anybody. I guess there will always be that fear of being left because of a discovery of my true self. I don't know if absolute trust is ever possible in this life. I guess that's only something I will know on my death bed.

Well... that's all my rambling for the night. I have nothing more to say. If I were a shoe... I would be a flip-flop.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

10/22/2002: A Forgotten Friend

I've been working my way through some old journal entries that go back as far as my freshman year in college. As difficult as it is for me to believe, that was actually seven years ago. At some point in life, I would like to unify and condense my journal/diary/blog entries into one neat little book for my kids and grandkids. In order to make this something actually worth the reading, I am re-reading and sometimes editing those entries, not for content, but for grammar, spelling, etc.

So, since I might not have too much creative energy over the coming weeks due to a certain move that is coming this way fast, I will post old journal entries from time to time a.) so I won't lose more readers than I already have, and b.) so I can continue on with my goal to get this stuff printed at some point in life.

So... here it is... my first journal entry as a freshmen at Lee University... (Oh, for those melodramatic days...)

A Forgotten Friend
Dated: 10/22/2002

I had the most odd occurrence today. I came out of class to find myself walking behind a guy that looked exactly like a former high school classmate. While it took less than a second for my brain to register the impossibility of his presence here, that split second was all I needed to feel a sudden sense of warmth and comfort. Now, don't get me wrong; it's not that I would want to see this guy on campus. I didn't even particularly like him in high school. No, the comfort was not in who he was, but rather in who I knew. The fact that, during that millisecond, I was walking behind a person that I had known longer than half of a semester brought unimaginable peace. I knew him. I had a history with him... good and bad. I had a connection with him... even if it was simply from saying "hi" during home room. I can't explain why this happened, and I can't explain why my heart sank during the second after I realized it could not be him. All I know is that the whole incident has brought me a sense of homesickness that I have never felt before. No... not homesicknes... that's the wrong word. It's more of a history sickness. I wish to go back 3 or so years ago when things seemed so complicated but were oh-so-simple, where everybody I talked to was a person from my past and future, where meeting a new face was an adventure - not a chore, where even my enemies were beloved characters in my novel of life. Still, here I sit. Alone, with complications that are real, with acquaintances I barely know, with faces I dare to forget, with enemies - not characters. How did I get here? Is this a natural progression to independence? I suppose so... I suppose... I suppose someday I will find comfort in a stranger, not in a forgotten friend. Maybe... some day... all this new will become a part of my history... and my future... and me. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Survey Friday?

Borrowed this from The Crouch Family blog.

Something great as of late: I have really been enjoying the past few weeks (before we got sick) here in Korea. Their fall is so lovely, with blue skies, warm sun, and cool breezes. I think knowing that our time here is limited has made me appreciate the beauty and wonder of this place. I love looking any direction and seeing mountains. I love the sound of a foreign language tossed about outside my window. I love the mixture of farmland and city thrown into the same area. I really have come to love this place. And so, as our time here draws to a close, I find myself striving to suck every last bit of beauty out of this experience.

Something hard as of late: Aside from the whole Swine Flu thing, the hardest part of our life right now is our finances. I don't usually discuss this topic here on the blog because, frankly, it's not fun to talk about. This year, we have essentially been a one-income household, and it has been a sacrifice, to say the least. Since Brandon and I started dating, I have made it very clear to him that I am willing to sacrifice most "comforts" in order to stay home with my children. After a year of doing just that, I no longer feel so adamant about it. First of all, I'm not a great stay at home mom. More on that later. Secondly, I'm not a good wife or mom when finances are really tight. I get stressed. I pray about it. I try not to worry. But I still get this little sore spot on my lip where I chew it every time I pay for groceries. So, yeah, that's the thing that has been especially hard as of late.

Something about your family
: I'm not sure if I've mentioned it before, but my younger brother and his wife are expecting a baby! Their first! I'm so excited, I tell everyone I see (you know, at least everyone who speaks English). Preliminary indicators say that perhaps it's a boy... but they will know for sure soon! Yay!

Something about your friends
: I have been party to some amazing friendships here in Korea, with one Samonim in particular. I'm really going to miss my friends here.

And the beat goes on...

Not too much going on around these parts. Maple is still in quarantine until her symptoms are gone; so we're doing a lot of sitting around the house watching the paint peel.

Except it's wallpaper.

And it's not peeling.

I did spend a good portion of yesterday going through Chloe's toys and sorting into piles of takers, tossers, and giver away-ers. I did manage to get all her toys into her little Barbie suitcase. I'm still not sure what will happen with the books and stuffed animals, but I figure we'll stuff that suitcase when we get to it.

In addition to packing, we're busy filling out form after form to things in the states: Apartment applications, health insurance forms, Preschool apps, driver's license apps... and the beat goes on.

So, that's pretty much my life right now: Taking care of a sick baby, packing (slowly, but surely), and filling out forms.

At least, that's my we're-going-to-America life.

There is still that part of me that says: "Hey! You're still in Korea! Enjoy! Enjoy! Enjoy!"

And so I am trying. I'm trying not to focus all my energy on what is to come and budget a portion of my energy for what is happening right now. Only five short weeks until I will leave this beautiful country with its lovely people, and I am determined to make the most of every moment here.

So, that's it. Nothing too creative right now. Just to-do lists and mental notes. I know you can't wait for more...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Oink, Oink, Oink

So, the last few days have been tiring, to say the least. My little Maple has had an on-again off-again cough for about a week now. Three nights ago, she awoke with a fever around midnight and was having difficulty breathing while lying down. I checked for all the warning signs. She wasn't blue or even bluish, but she did sound like she had just run a marathon. When I picked her up, the wheezing and grunting seemed to subside a bit. So for the next six hours, I sat up on the couch holding her upright so that she could breathe. Needless to say, we spent a good portion of the next day at the children's hospital where they ran a series of tests, the last of which was the routine H1N1 - swine flu - test. The doctor said he thought it was just a cold with the beginning stages of bronchiolitis (baby bronchitis), and so he loaded us down with four different medicines.

Now, let me stop right there and say: I do not like to over-medicate my children. One of my favorite things about our pediatrician back in the states was that I could call her, rattle off a list of symptoms, and find out in about 3 minutes whether or not Chloe needed antibiotics. For the two and a half years that we went to this doctor, Chloe took antibiotics once for an ear infection.

But y'all, when my 5-month-old baby can't breathe at night, I'd give her every drug in the book to make her better!

Anyways... he gave her four different medicines and sent us home to wait for the test results to come back.

Yesterday morning, Maple awoke with no fever, after 10 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Seemed to me she was already getting better.

But then at 11:30am, the call came in: she has Swine Flu.

So, off I went to collect the prescription and medicine for baby TamiFlu. Eight hours later, after much work and effort by Easter the Samonim, I gave my little one her first dose.

She still seems a bit lethargic this morning, and she'll only eat a couple ounces at a time. But she can breathe and there is no fever.

So. That's our story this morning. We're quarantined for a few days, but I'm ok with that.

At least I'll have some time to pack for the move....

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Extra! Extra! Read all About It!

Ok. So the thing is this: The thing is that we have been in decision-making mode for about six weeks now. We've been in the trenches of choices, and we have spent much time in prayer, godly counsel, and a sea of pros & cons lists. And the thing is, well, we couldn't talk about most of those decisions until after they were made. So the thing is that this here little bloggy just got abandoned for a bit because I couldn't think of anything else to write about besides our decisions but I wasn't allowed to write about decisions so I had to choose between filling out a million surveys to post here which I didn't think you would like or just not write anything at all.

How's THAT for a run-on sentence.

What I'm trying to say is this: The decisions are made, first steps are being taken, and this here little bloggy is up and running again.

As always, to the 15 readers that Google Reader tells me I still have, thank you for sticking with me through thick and thin... and absence.

So what are these decisions we've been batting back and forth? Well, in a word: our future. Oops. Two words.

We knew that the time would soon come when we would have to decide whether or not to stay in Korea another year. Honestly, in the last few weeks, we have seriously been considering signing another yearly contract. The English service just started this week. Classes are FABULOUS. We are finally starting to feel like we fit in. We're building friendships that, I'm sure, will last a lifetime. And while there is still much for us to learn, we are finally starting to grasp some of the basic cultural intricacies of South Korea.

On the other hand, if we stayed, we would not be able to afford to send Chloe to English school. It has become very apparent to us that throwing her in relationships with children who do not understand her and cannot talk to her has been, to say the least, a frustration for her. She needs very badly to interact with children her age who speak her language, and this is something we simply couldn't afford to do in Korea. Obviously, there were other considerations thrown in for good measure, including finances, education, and forgivable student loans, but this one was at the forefront of this mommy's heart.

So, the decision was finally made last week.

We are moving back to the States, and we will be taking up residence near Memphis, TN. Why Memphis? Well, because we really want to. And why do we want to? Well friends, there are a couple reasons.

Firstly,Brandon and I have both been offered amazing jobs there. We will work for the same company, in the same building. Our children will come to work with us and chillax in the daycare with other children very close to their age. At lunch and on breaks, I'll get to hang out with my chil'rens. And for this mommy who loves to work but also loves to be with her kids, well, I just couldn't imagine a better setup.

Secondly, well, Elvis.

Thirdly, it's a fun word to say. Memphis. Memphis. MEMPHISMEMPHISMEMPHIS.

It seems as if I'm forgetting something...

OH YES! Allow me to mention a few names to you: Christan, Joey, Cadence, Jordan.

Don't mean anything to you? Well, that's just 'cause you don't know them.

They happen to be some of the most amazing people on the PLANET. And, you guessed it, they live in Memphis!

Christan was my roommate freshmen year and has continued to be my friend and confidant through marriage, first home, first baby, second baby, move to Korea... all that jazz.

She and Joey were married one year before Brandon and I were. Their daughter Cadence was born four months before Chloe, and their son Jordan was born six months before Maple.

Yeah, I'm kind of a copy cat. Thinking about dying my hair red before going to Memphis...

Did I mention that Christan has BEAUTIFUL red hair?


I guess I don't have to tell you how excited we are about the move.

There are certainly things we will miss about Korea. We were talking the other day, and we decided that, yes, Korea has been the best decision we have made thus far in our marriage (besides, you know, loving each other, loving God, birthing babies... all that jazz). Seriously though, being here has been like being in a spiritual and emotional pressure cooker. We were isolated and put under a lot of pressure, but dang if we haven't come out of this thing with new flavors and aromas and chock-full of spiritual nutrients!

I'm hungry.

Anyways, I'm sure there will be lots more to write about over the coming weeks. Five, to be exact. The girls and I are leaving in five weeks. On a plane. Without daddy. On a plane. Without daddy. Thought that last part might need to be repeated. Perhaps I'll save that story for another post. Don't worry, he's coming... just a little later.

So... that's our news... and my reason for not posting updates.

Any questions?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A little Chloe quiz....

The following phrases are the top seven "Chloe-isms" (among many) that I will never correct. They are just too darn cute. Please read the following and try to guess what she is attempting to say. Answers are at the bottom. No cheating!

7. "Hello, little fellup."

6. "Cin.der.ella-ella-ella-ella-ella. Really-Really-Really. Cin.der.ella-ella-ella-ella. If you wanna be my rover...If you wanna be my rover... if you wannna be my rover. I'm on the phone!"

5. "Awww, cute little puffy."

4. "More lemolade, please!"

3. "Don't forget my pandy!"

2. "Daddy, do you know where my canda stickers are?"

1. This one comes with a story (my new favorite). Today on the playground, Chloe and a little boy entered into a "scuffle" over a certain yellow slide. Chloe struck the first blow, and I promptly removed her from the situation, applied a little discipline, and insisted that she say, "I'm sorry" to the offended party. At first, she attempted a measly, "imseree..." from across the playground, but I insisted that she say it to his face and very loudly. To my shy little one, this was the worst punishment she could endure until I offered that we could leave the playground. After deliberations that make the health care reform look like the "paper or plastic?" dilemma at the grocery store, she finally decided that, nay, leaving the playground would be far worse punishment. So she mustered up the courage to say "I'm sorry." She marched over to the little boy, huffed and puffed a minute, whispered to herself (I kid you not) "one, two three..." then yelled at the top of her little lungs.... "THANK YOOUUUUUUUUUUU!"

aaaaand the answers...

7. This is said almost daily to her little sister when she wakes up from a nap. Chloe gently caresses Maple's cheek, softens her eyes and intends to say, "Hello, little fellow."

6. In order for this one to make sense, you must watch this clip:

5. No, my daughter does not see a great green dragon with pink wings. "Puffy" is, in fact, "puppy."

4. Lemonade. Her new favorite drink.

3. After she goes potty, she subtly reminds us, "Don't forget my candy!"

2. Panda. As in Panda bear. Those "p's" and "c's" are confusing sometimes.

1. In this case, I think "Thank you" should be interpreted as, "I'm terribly terribly terribly sorry that I even thought about hitting you, and had I known that my actions would have led to this kind of humiliation, I would have let you have the darn slide. And by the way, after this display of stage fright, I am fairly certain that my dream of being a Broadway star has been dashed to pieces. I blame you, thankyouverymuch."

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Saturday Survey

A meme from Amy Beth

Three names I go by:

1. Mommy

2. Honey

3. Tudda

Three jobs I’ve had in my life:

1. Cookie baker

2. Pretzel maker

3. Insurance Agent

Three places I’ve lived:

1. Georgia

2. Tennessee

3. South Korea

Three favorite drinks:

1. Coffee

2. Coffee

3. Coffee

Three television shows I watch:

1. Prison Break


3. ... that's it, since we don't have TV.

Three of my favorite foods:

1. Chocolate Cake

2. Macaroni and Cheese

3. Watermelon

Three of my favorite restaurants:

1. Marti's at Midday (in Athens)

2. Panera (in Cleveland)

3. Mr.Pizza (in Korea)

Three things I couldn’t live without:

1. Jesus

2. Jesus

3. Jesus

Three things I can’t stand:

1. Wet, cold feet

2. Anything cream-filled

3. The THX sound at the beginning of movies in the theater

Three things I’m decent at:

1. Writing

2. Cooking (when I have an oven)

3. Singing

Three things I’m looking forward to this weekend:

1. Going to Yung-Deong Church

2. A yummy meal in Seoul

3. Maybe seeing Ansley???

Three things I’m addicted to:

1. Reading blogs

2. Coffee

3. Planning

Friday, August 21, 2009

Remember that scene in E.T. when all the men in white suits came running through the big plastic tubes to take E.T. away? Yeah, that was awesome.

One week and one day ago, we arrived home from English camp. Seriously, y'all, those two weeks of camp were, like, the best weeks EVER! Eighteen (18!) American friends of ours flew all the way from Georgia to be counselors, singers, actors, dancers, targets, and candy givers. I basically did not see Chloe Jane for those two weeks, except at meal time and bed time, because she was totally into hanging out with the American kiddos (and the Korean ones who spoke English). All in all, it was a great two weeks that ended in... well, the worst sickness I've ever had. Seriously. (Anyone else noticed that's the third time I've used that word so far? Seriously.)

Yup, good ol' tonsillitis took hold. A bad case. How do I know it was bad? Well, for starters, I couldn't swallow my own spit. And also, when the doc looked in my mouth, he gasped. Yes, friends, a medical professional who sees sick people all the time actually gasped when he saw my tonsils. I'm pretty sure I should get an award for something like that.

ANYwho. By this past Wednesday (a full week, two shots, and two rounds of antibiotics after this thing started) I was able to take my first bite of solid food. Today, I'm still a little sore in the tonsil area, but I finally have some energy... just in time for Chloe to get a nice little cold.

Funny story... took Chloe to the doctor. He brushed it off as a cold and gave her some fever medicine (read: Tylenol). As we were walking out, my friend mentioned to him that we had been hanging out with Americans for the past couple weeks. That doctor looked at us like we had aliens popping out of our armpits, and then sent us to the Korean version of the CDC because everyone from the United States must have swine flu and therefore a two-year-old's head cold will quite potentially wipe out the entire Korean population. Everyone was dressed in white, snapping gloves, breathing through uber-fancy face masks, sticking Q-tips down little kids throats. Sheesh. Ultimately it was decided that, yes, she probably has a cold. But until the H1N1 virus tests come back, we are quarantined (QUARANTINED!) for the next 2-3 days. Lands sakes alive, our life feels so dramatic sometimes.

So, all that to say, I have quite the to-do list up in my noggin'. So, even though "blogging" falls somewhere alongside "breathing" in my list of priorities, I may have to set it aside for a few more days until that list is a little smaller.

A note to certain family members who seem overly-concerned about the status of our picture taking: We DO have tons of pictures and a few videos from camp. I AM planning to post them as soon as possible. But as having clean underwear takes precedence over the two-hour process of sorting and posting pictures, it may be a few more days. So sorry, dearies. So sorry.

Ok. I guess that's it. Time to start unpacking...

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Saturday Survey

Because no one procrastinates like I do...

As always, participating in Amy Beth's meme.

1. What time did you get up this morning? 7am, can you believe it?? I felt like I was on vacation.

2. How do you like your steak? Medium. But I'll take a veggie burger over a steak any day.

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? Star Trek - hubby's choice and one of the few showing in English.

4. What is your favorite TV show? Don't watch TV. Bummer dude.

5. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? Memphis, TN

6. What did you have for breakfast? Fried eggs and toast.

7. What’s your favorite cuisine? Does chocolate count?

8. What foods do you dislike? Korean. :) Nah... I don't reckon there's any food I won't eat.

9. Where is your favorite place to eat? Starbucks. Have you had their oatmeal with fruit and granola... or brown sugar and cinnamon? I mean, pair that with a Pumpkin Spice Latte, and there you have my favorite meal ever.

10. What is your favorite salad dressing? Balsamic Vinaigrette in the winter, Homemade Strawberry Vinaigrette in the summer. I'm a bit of a dressing snob.

11. What kind of vehicle do you drive? I don't drive these days. It's probably the thing I miss most over here.

12. What are your favorite clothes? My white peasant skirt, red v-neck t-shirt, and white flats. Comfortable, feminine, and oh-so-Korean. :)

13. Where would you visit if you had the chance? Israel.

14. Is the cup half empty or half full? I never understood that question. Can't it just be half a glass of liquid? Why can't we all just get along?

15. Where would you want to retire? In a Winnebago, on the road.

16. What is your favorite time of the day? Nap time.

17. Where were you born? Northeast Georgia

18. What is your favorite sport to watch? Boxing. Seriously.

19. Are you a bird watcher? I have a hate/hate relationship with all manner of bird.

20. Are you a morning person or a night person? Used to be a night person. These days, I'm neither.

21. What did you want to be when you were little? The President - the idea of bossing people around has always thrilled me.

22. What’s your best childhood memory? Playing on the trampoline with Nick, Rodney, and Cassidy

23. Do you always wear your seat belt? Depends on how long the taxi ride is, but yes, I usually do.

24. Do you have any pet peeves? My number one, absolute, I-really-hate-it pet peeve is when I can't get in touch with the person who has my child.

25. Favorite type of pizza? Pizza Hut, thin crust, beef'n'bacon

26. Favorite flower? Buttercup (Dandelion, but isn't Buttercup a much cuter name?)

27. Favorite ice cream? Cookies'n'Cream.

28. Have you done anything spontaneous lately? Nope. I should plan to do that soon. Wait.

29. Do you like your job? Best job I've ever had. *wink*

30. Do you like broccoli? I LOVE raw broccoli with Ranch Dressing, but I'm allergic to most raw veggies. I know, right? I tolerate cooked broccoli.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Three days...

Only three days, y'all. Three days until 18 lovely Americans land in my country and come to my city. Three days until my girls and I will board their bus and head to two weeks of kids camp. Three days until I can spend every waking moment speaking slurred, southern, Georgia-style English, knowing that I will be understood every time. Three days until Chloe has English-speaking children to play with. Three days until I hug my very bestest friend in the whole wide world whom I haven't seen in over a year. Three days, y'all. THREE DAYS!

But that also means...

Three days to pack up four people. Three days to prepare my home for the visitors who will be staying here when the camp is finished. Three days to wash every article of dirty clothing in my house... plus sheets and comforters... without a dryer. It will take a miracle with sunshine on top. Three days, y'all. THREE DAYS!

So... things may be a bit sparse around this here little bloggy over the next three days. Lots to look forward to, but lots to do beforehand.

Happy Weekend, y'all!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Pray for Trey

I'd like to introduce you to a beautiful family in Tennessee:
the Winderweedle's.

I went to school with Bud Winderweedle from the sixth grade until graduation and then for a couple years in college. My fondest memory of Bud is from our first day as freshmen at Lee University. My parents had driven me up to campus, helped me settle in my dorm, and then sat with me through freshmen orientation. They were then planning to take me to lunch at Cracker Barrel before leaving me all by my lonesome at this "huge" school for six weeks. I remember forcing down the lump in my throat as I finally began to grasp the fact that I was no longer a mediocre fish in the 33-student pond from which I had graduated. I was now the algae the fish ate in the much larger lake, or ocean, or whatever. Coming out of orientation, as the lump in my throat threatened to push tears over the brim, we rounded a corner and ran smack dab into Bud and his family. I was so relieved to see somebody I knew, even if he did look different than I remembered. At our Christian high school, the male students had to wear collared shirts and keep a "good Christian" appearance (meaning, short hair). When we ran into Bud, his hair was flapping over his ears (gasp!), his shirt was un-tucked, and he was in sandals. When my parents asked him about his college plans, his response was, "I wanna be a rock star." No joke. I walked away from that brief conversation with a small sense of relief in knowing that I was not alone on that big campus. As it turns out, he wasn't too far off with the whole rock star thing. He became a big worship leader on campus at Lee University where he met his beautiful wife Melody.

I am sad to admit that I haven't had many opportunities to get to know Melody, us living in separate states and all. What I can say is that she was one of the most beautiful brides I have ever seen. (I can't find pictures to prove it to you; so you'll just have to take my word for it.) Their wedding was in a lovely historic farmhouse in North Georgia, and - get this - their reception? In a barn! I know, right? I was so very beautiful - like something from Martha Stewart Weddings - and I felt so blessed to be there to witness the beginning their life together.

So, first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes TREY in the baby carriage.

Isn't he just the cutest little bundle o' all-boy you've ever seen?! Trey was born last fall, a strapping little boy who won the hearts of parents and grandparents alike. His full name is "Howell Edward III," which means "Remarkable Protector of the Inheritance," an amazingly prophetic name, considering all this little trooper and his family have endured since his birth.

You see, Trey was born with two holes in his heart. As if that weren't enough, a week after he was born, a virus attacked his little heart and sent him and his family on this long prayerful journey which has landed them at Vanderbilt hospital today.

This Wednesday, little Trey will have open heart surgery.

If all goes well, Trey will gain weight and grow into the normal tree-climbing, worm-catching, summer-smelling, girl-hating, mommy-loving little boy he's designed to be.

So if you get a minute or ten, please stop and pray for this beautiful family. They deserve the best, and our Lord is big enough to do it.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28

For more information about Trey and his family, go to:

* Trey just got finished with his very successful surgery. He is expected to make a full recovery! Praise the Lord!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Some points worth mentioning....

a.) Expect new videos up at A Quiver Full within the next few hours. (They're taking a while to load.)

2.) In the subway yesterday, a sweet elderly lady sat next to me and made Maple smile. She smelled like my grandmother. I wanted to snuggle with her. I settled for sniffing her.

iii.) Today is the first Sunday we have been to Korean church in three weeks. I'm a wee bit ready to get back to it.

in summary.) Chloe's requested breakfast this morning: jelly on a spoon.

That is all.

Pointless Post about Shopping....

Maple and I spent the afternoon out and about all by our lonesome today. While Chloe and Daddy headed off to go swimming with the children's church, the little one and I headed to HomePlus - the mother of all home good stores here in Korea. Several American friends of ours will be flying into Seoul in about 10 days for an English summer camp (more on that later), and I was in desperate need of some household pick-me-ups. A new shower curtain since $10 is totally worth saving me the effort of cleaning mine. A new tea kettle since my el-cheapo one has been used several times a day, everyday, since February. A pint of ice cream since... well... since mommies deserve a little treat every now and then too.

I am beginning to find that with each trip I take out and about I am met with several contrasting emotions.

For instance, on our trip this afternoon, I was overwhelmed with how comfortable I have become in this town. HomePlus is on the other side of the city from us. So, I walked 2 miles to the bank to get some cash then flagged down a taxi to take me the rest of the way to the store. When we were finished shopping, I walked 5 blocks to the station, took the subway to our local station, grabbed a taxi there and rode home. All with relative ease. As I sat waiting for the subway train, I remembered our first outing without a Korean guide back in January. We went to the local grocery store and home again in a taxi. I was so proud of us for making it back in one piece! So, it was exciting today to see how far I have come in being able to negotiate my way around this foreign countryside (even without Brandon there to guide me!).

But then there are other emotions that come with outings like this. I rarely go anywhere without feeling the curious eyes of strangers watching my every move. In the beginning, I tried to be polite. Smile. Nod. "Anyonghaseo." But I found myself spending more time bowing than actually shopping. So I just started to ignore them. This seems to prove fairly effective most of the time. But occasionally, there are those people who make themselves very difficult to ignore. They gasp. They point. They snicker. They stare. On days when I am feeling particularly witty, to those people I say, "No autographs, please." or "Take a picture; it will last longer." or "Wow! look at that Korean!" But on days like today, when I just want some "me time" to shop in peace, it's all I can do not to cry... or cuss... at the very rude, very nosy, very obnoxious people who insist on invading my bubble and sticking their fingers in my baby's face. Grrr.

I don't have a point to this post except to say that, in a foreign country, even things that should be simple - like getting a new shower curtain - are fraught with emotion.

Tomorrow is Sunday. I'm glad. I like Sundays.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Busy, Busy week

Sorry for the lack of updates, dear readers. This has been quite the busy week, you see.

Saturday morning, Chloe woke up in an uber-grumpy mood which I attributed to... well... the fact that she's two. But by noon, it was clear that there were darker forces at work. She refused to eat her peanut butter and jelly sandwich, wanted nothing to do with talking to Grandma and Grandpa on video chat, and asked if she could go to bed. I knew then that she was seriously ill. I was right. Her temperature spiked to 103. So off we went for yet another doctor's visit. (FYI: 2pm on a Saturday, no appointment, in and out in 20 minutes, spent $5 including antibiotics and fever medicine.) She had inflamed tonsils.

So, the following two or three days were spent nursing an already-moody toddler whose sickness seemed to compound her moodiness.

Seriously though, I am having a love/hate relationship with the toddler phase. One minute, she says and does the cutest things. Like when she looks at my coffee and says, "Look out, mommy! It has steamers!" or when I'm trying to be funny and she just says, "Are you kidding me?" or when I turn her light on in the morning and she says, "It's too bright! I can't see my eyes!" or when she chastises her daddy for saying the blessing along with her... and then starts over from the beginning... three times. It's all so adorable!

But then there are those moments when she lies in the floor and kicks her feet and wails like a waaaambulance, those moments when I look at her and think, "I thought only kids in the movies acted like this... or the kids on Super Nanny."

But I digress... so we spent Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday completely cooped up in the house. Wednesday, we went to church... twice. We were desperate for playtime, y'all, and the mommy/baby room suited just perfectly.

Thursday, my friend Easter the Samonim and I took Maple to her two-month checkup. (She weighs 13lbs - wowza! - and appears to be in good health.) She received two shots and, I kid you not, did. not. cry. With the first shot, I honestly thought the nurse missed Maple's leg because she didn't react at all. With the second shot, I wished I had a camera because she stuck her bottom lip out so far I thought it would detach itself from her face. Then I immediately reminded myself that only an awful mother laughs and wishes for a camera when her baby is getting a shot.

On our way home from the doctor, I began thinking about all the ways that Easter the Samonim has helped me. She really reached out to me right from the beginning: showing me around town, teaching me some basic Korean, offering to watch Chloe for me. And as I was thinking these things, I asked, "Easter, when is your birthday?"

Her response: "Tomorrow! How did you know?"

Well, I didn't.

She went on to explain that, since all her close friends are in Seoul and her husband is very busy, she didn't have any special plans for her birthday and could she please come visit me at my house. A little embarrassed that I hadn't already offered that, I said of course she could come and then settled in my mind to get her a cake in the morning. It's the least I can do, I thought. But, as the day wore on, that thought continued to haunt me. Because, it really was that: the least I could do. So, by dinner time, I made up my mind to throw her a party. I went to the Samonim who speaks the most English and invited her, then asked her to call and invite all the other Samonims.

After arriving home from my little invitational jaunt upstairs, I suddenly realized what I had done: I invited all the Samonims to. my. house.

Yikes! So, the next several hours were spent in a blind panic: steaming floors, dusting shelves, scrubbing tiles. I mean, in all honestly, my house wasn't that bad. An hour of straightening up could have sufficed, but hello! all. the. Samonims... at. my. house.

So. Once the house was all clean, I headed out to the store to buy a cake and some party food. I arrived at the store, pulled out my debit card and realized (yikes, again!) I brought the wrong card! Ahh, good thing I have cash! One... two... uh oh... roughly $24 in my wallet. Minus $4 or so for the taxi ride home. Luckily, I was able to get a cake for $15 and a basket of peaches for $4. And since I had some kiwi and coffee at home, I ended up with a nice sized fruit platter (a must-serve at any Korean gathering), cake, and coffee. It certainly wasn't a feast, but it was enough to not feel embarrassed about.

I have been working on my Rosetta Stone software (a very generous gift from my friend Christan), and so I was able to understand a little bit of the conversation. I couldn't contribute much, but at least I knew when to laugh and/or nod appropriately. That's much better than the goofy deer-in-the-headlights look I usually sport at such gatherings.

All in all, it was a lot of fun. Seriously! Easter the Samonim seemed happy when she left, and I took yet another step in building relationships here in my building.

So, all that to say, it has been a busy week. Hence, the lack of updates on this here little bloggy. But now things should return to normal.

Brandon and Chloe are going swimming today, leaving me home alone with just Maple. I believe a trip to McD's and HomePlus may be in store. Freeeeeeedommmmmm!

Happy Saturday, all.

The Quote That Started It All...

I myself have twelve hats, each one representing a different personality. Why be just yourself? - Margaret Atwood