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.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

My first outing with the girls (also known as the post with all the run-on sentences)

Today was a good day.

It had the potential to be scary awful because today was the day that I decided to take both girls off the premises... by myself.

Chloe Jane has officially passed the "potty training" stage and moved into the "she-knows-what-she's-doing-but-still-may-have-an-accident" phase. So today, in addition to being the day that we would all go out for the first time sans daddy, we also ventured out into the world without a diaper. Now, she has been to the playground and to church without a diaper, but, you know, that's like a 30 second walk from my home. Today, we actually took a taxi... to a mall. Can I confess I was just a LEEEETLE bit nervous that she would be too distracted to remember her diaper-free attire and that I would be stuck, alone, with two little girls, inthemall, inaforeigncountry, withmyhusbandmilesawayonsomefarmwithoutcellphoneservice...?

LEEEETLE bit nervous.

But my fears were laid to rest when, within the first 30 minutes, we made no less than three fruitless trips to the bathroom because she thought she "might" need to go. She's a cautious one, that one.

(Note to self: buy more hand sanitizer.)

All in all, it proved to be a wonderful outing for us girls. I purchased some much-needed do-dad items for my home from the oh-so-wonderful dollar store that should be called a magic store because of how cheap all the fabulous stuff is including but not limited to dishes, rugs, and cutsie aprons.

Where was I?

Oh yes. We went to the dollar store then spent a ridiculous amount of time in the kids section of the book store. Oh! One thing about book stores here: people treat them like libraries. It's so weird for me to walk into the store and see bookoos of Korean folk sitting on benches, chairs, and the floor reading their novels and magazines. Then, when they are finished reading, they just put the book back where they found it. As a result, some of the books have crinkled covers and dog-eared pages. Crazy, right?

So what did I do while Chloe Jane was playing/reading/terrorizing the children's book section? I plopped myself right down with a copy of Confessions of a Shopaholic, which is one of those books I would never actually spend money on because I'd be too afraid of what the salesclerk might think of me but which I would cower in the corner of the kids section and read while feigning interest in whatever book my child is thumbing through.

And since I'm a firm believer in the "when in Rome" principle, I put the book back... and doggy-eared the page I was on... because we might need to make a trip back to the bookstore tomorrow, you know, so Chloe can have another outing.

So after the oh-so-fabulous dollar store, and the bookstore/library, we headed to Mickie D's for some home cooking. And when I say home, I mean greasy American restaurant. And when I say cooking, I mean fried frozen patty covered with processed cheese and smothered in onions.

Only the classiest joints for my little girl.

After spending three point two minutes trying to open a toy that broke in one point six minutes, we scarfed down our french fries. At least, I scarfed. Chloe nibbled. On that note, can I just say that, while I have spent most of my adult life trying to convince myself that a french fry is, in fact, potato and therefore should qualify as a vegetable and therefore I should be able to eat as many as I want, I find it ironic that I spent most of our meal telling my two-year-old that they were not vegetables in an attempt to convince her to eat them. Surreouslay.

So... oh-so-fab dollar store, library/bookstore, McD's.

Oh! So then. Then! We're heading out of Mickie D's, broken toy in hand, when Chloe begins her first and only breakdown of the night.

After offering several guesses as to what had offended her, I finally informed her that I simply could not understand her when she, you know, acted like a heathen, and that she had to use her big-girl words if she wanted me to help her.

Then she said...

Wait for it...


You want me to leave your sister at McDonald's?


Um, no?

We have to take her home so she can see daddy tomorrow, just like Chloe.

Tears stopped. Hands clapped. Cheers rang out. Crisis averted.

And you thought I was kidding when I said she was bipolar...

So, that's pretty much it.

Dollar store, book store, McD's, home, Peter Pan, in the bed, sleepy head.

It was a good day.

'bout time.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The least of these....

I want to shout about this from the rooftops. But my blog is as close as I can get.

Let's up the cuteness factor in here....

Chloe Jane has hit a definitively bipolar stage right now. One minute, she says and does the cutest things! I just want to eat her up! The next minute, well, lets just say she's a little too much like her mother in that minute.

But since her cuteness is what I would like to remember about this stage, here are some of my favorite cute moments. Cute.

1. We hung a pink mosquito net above her bed (which was more necessary than I care to think about. Dang monster mosquitoes.) Her response when she saw it: "Oh mommy! It's a mountain! I wish I could wear it!" Well, sure. What princess doesn't want to wear a mountain of pink tulle?

2. She has a stuffy nose most days, effectively transforming my name from mommy to "bobby." This is especially dear to my heart because my younger brother had the same nasal issues at this age; so my mom's permanent name (and the name we still call her to this day) became "Bob" or "Bobby." I can only hope to be a "Bobby" like her...

3. It has been months since she first said "I love you" as an echo to when her daddy or I said it. But in recent weeks, she has been saying it of her own initiative. I cherish those moments in my mommy's heart. Yesterday, she crawled up in my lap, held my face in both of her sweet, sticky hands and sighed, "Bobby, I lub you berry buch."

4. When I am distracted and don't answer her the first time, she flashes her dark chocolate eyes at me and says, "Bobby, aren't you listening to beee?"

5. Right now, her favorite toys are a medicine cup (the kind that come on top of the children's tylenol bottles) and a blue rubber bouncy ball that fits inside it. I'm not sure why she's so attached to these two items, and I can't tell you how many times a day I am sent in search of the blue ball that has, once again, escaped from the cup and rolled under a piece of furniture.

6. According to Chloe, the best part of "getting better" is that she can play with Maple again. I will say, "Are you feeling better?" Her response: "Yes! Now I can touch Maple!"

7. When Maple wakes up to eat, Chloe always strokes her face and said, "Hi baby Maple! How was your nap?"

8. Her favorite books are the Curious George books that Grandma and Grandpa sent her. She especially loves the one about the toy store and the hula-hoops. She calls it "the one with the hoo-hoos."

9. She has a little blow-up pool where she "swims" on really hot days. She calls it a "sphimming pub."

10. Her daddy is her favorite person in the world right now. He woke her up this morning and brought her to our bed to tell her that he was leaving for a few days (to go on another mission trip... I'll tell you about that later) and that he would be sleeping at a farm, but he would come back in a few days. I love the picture of him sitting there, eating is breakfast apple, and her sitting across from him, with her hand on his knee, looking very concerned. After he finished telling her everything, she was quiet and contemplative for a moment, and then finally said: "Is that your apple?" After a good chuckle, daddy gave her his apple and headed out the door. I laid in bed for a little while just watching her eat her apple and listening to her smack and talk about her daddy. "Daddy is going to a farm. (smack, smack, smack) He's gonna see pigs and horses. (crunch, smack, smack) But he cannot read bee a book when I go night-night. (smack, slurp) I don't want to go night-night! But bobby can read to bee. Then daddy will come home!! Yay!!! (smack, smack)" It was such a sweet moment.

So there it is: the cuteness of Chloe Jane. May I remember these moments as the trials of potty-training continue...

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Are you ready for another rant? I know I am.

You may or may not know that I was a Political Science / International Affairs major in college. Though I don’t write much about it here, I have a loving, long-standing relationship with my soap box. And I tell you what, my soap box is getting worn out these days. I'm in the market for another one, if you know of a slightly used one for a good price.

Today's rant is about this bee that's been buzzing in my political bonnet since the beginning of last year. I know I'm a little late jumping on the Political Blogging Bandwagon, but I have intentionally withheld my opinions on these matters until WAY after the election because, quite frankly, this isn't that kind of political rant. I'm not promoting or rebuffing any political party, and I don't want it to be read that way.

No donkeys or elephants here, folks. I take issue with a horse of a different color. My problem is with a certain mindset that seems to permeate our church (particularly in the South, I think) And that mindset is this:

Good Christians vote Republican.

Now wait! WAIT! Don't leave me just yet. Here me out, and then feel free to leave and lambaste me to your friends and family should the desire remain.

It's not that I think good Christians vote Democrat, and it may be that after hearing all that I have to say, absolutely nothing about your core belief system will change.

But there is a serious problem with this mindset:

It hurts people. Often, when individuals make that statement - either through direct or implied methods - they are essentially saying, "If you voted for any other party or - heaven forbid - didn't vote at all, you did not do your Christian duty and, in some cases, sinned." I guess I don't have to say that this mindset might alienate some of our brothers and sisters in Christ. And while we are called to hold our spiritual siblings accountable, it should always be with the end goal of bringing them closer to the Lord and leading them away from sin.

If you can show me where voting non-republican is a sin, I'll eat my hats... all 12 of them.

Of course, there are issues where the Republican Party lines up with God’s Word, but that does not mean that those who don't vote the conservative way must not believe in the Bible. It may just mean that they see things a bit differently.

Let’s take, for example, the issue of abortion.

Obviously, this is an important issue to those Die-Hard-All-Christians-Are-Republican folks (henceforth referred to as DHACARs) because, you know, Republicans are pro-life. So, suppose there is this non-DHACAR (henceforth referred to as ND) who is unashamedly an anti-abortion, pro-life, "a person's a person, no matter how small" kind of individual. Suppose that the DHACAR and the ND agreed 100% on this point.

But suppose this Spirit-filled, God-loving, Bible-reading, Church-going, Tithe-giving, ND Christian saw things differently than the DHACAR. Suppose she says: in the last 28 years, Republicans have held the Presidential power for 20 of them, yet abortion still remains legal. So despite the talk they're talking, the Republican Party isn't doing the walking when it comes to abortion (at least, in this particular ND's opinion). So, for this ND, the issue of abortion is a draw: Neither party will do anything extreme regarding abortion and risk alienating their on-the-fence voters. This may be an over-simplification, but I'm writing a blog here, not a book.

Your welcome.

So, if abortion is a draw at present, suppose this ND considers other Biblical directives - like stewardship of the earth and caring for the poor, the orphan, the widow, and the alien. Suppose this particular ND believes just as strongly as the DHACAR that we must follow Biblical directives, but suppose this ND also believes that the Republican Party will not do this as well as another party.

Does that make the ND less Christian than the DHACAR? Don't they both believe in the God-breathed infallibility of Scriptural directives? Of course! Their opinions only differ regarding who will best fulfill those directives within their government.

If this is true, then do you see why I take issue with the DHACAR mindset? It does not edify the church. It does not bring people closer to Christ. It does not promote unity within the body. It alienates. And confuses. And hurts.

Once again, I’m not promoting or rebuffing any particular political party. This isn’t about party politics. This is about love. About us, as Christians, loving on and encouraging our brothers and sisters. About recognizing that there is a difference between political opinions and Biblical directives.

So talk about your thoughts on taxes and welfare all you want. Rant. Rave. Huff. And Puff.

But do it in love. And remember, just because you sit next to someone in church, don't assume they believe exactly as you do about the Israeli/Palestinian crisis. Or illegal aliens. Or food stamps.

‘Cause you know what happens when you assume…

*image courtesy of

Friday, July 10, 2009

Well, this is new....

I have never been a person to stay in the same place for long. I love to travel, to meet people, to experience new things.

In high school, I spent two summers in a row traveling around the southeast with a Christian drama company that I met for the first time two weeks before I left with them.

For my college choice, I wanted anything outside of Georgia, but close enough to where I could see Brandon once month or so. I ended up in Cleveland, Tennessee.

And, you know, there's the whole move-my-family-to-the-other-side-of-the-world thing that happened this year.

And through all my travels, though there were certain things and people that I missed while I was gone, I have never, not one time, never, ever felt truly homesick...

...until now.

I'm ready to go home, y'all.

Nothing in particular has happened. And I still feel a complete peace that where we are right now is where we are supposed to be.

But that doesn't change the fact that I miss being home in the U.S.

I miss English conversations in person.
I miss Publix.
More than that, I miss DRIVING to Publix.
Even more than that, I miss DRIVING through the Jittery Joe's drive-through on my way to Publix.
I miss going to a church where I can lift my hands and worship in freedom.
I miss clothes shopping. Seriously, all my clothes are looking a bit... frumpy.
I miss TLC and Food Network.
I miss the privacy of living in my own home.
I miss getting in the car and seeing family whenever I like.
I miss yard sales.
More than that, I miss going to yard sales with my mom.
I miss visiting with my grandparents.
I miss hamburgers.

This is a weird phenomenon for me. I have never felt this way before, and it has been an interesting journey this week as I have walked my way through all these emotions.

What is even more interesting to me is that Brandon has been feeling the exact same way (although, I'm sure he misses different things than I do). Still, we're both missing home.

The last couple days have been particularly difficult, perhaps because I was expecting a little much-needed reprieve from our routine, only to have it swiped from within my grasp at the last minute.

Like yesterday. I had planned a child-free lunch (to Outback Steakhouse!) with my good friend Eun-Young. I have not had an adults-only outing in over 10 weeks (since before Maple was born); so I was REALLY looking forward to leaving the little ones at home for a couple hours while I enjoyed a nice lunch. But alas! At yesterday's morning meeting, my the free babysitter (a.k.a. daddy) was "invited" to join a couple of the pastors on an outing, which I will discuss later because I'm not the least bit salty over the fact that he got to do this really cool adults-only thing while I was stuck wiping peanut butter off the back of the couch for the fourth time.

Not the least bit salty.

So, rather than cancel the lunch, I packed up the two little girls and headed out for a taxi. We did end up having a great time, despite the fact that I spent more than half of my lunch time entertaining Chloe or holding Maple.

*le sigh*

And then there's this morning. This morning I awoke quite excited about all the goings-ons outside my window. Ladies, gentlemen, and children alike were blowing up balloons, hanging banners, putting tarp on the playground and chattering happily while setting up for (wait for it...) Kids Camp! This camp has been going on for a couple days now, but we haven't attended because TODAY was focused only on Chloe's age group. They turned a corner of the playground into a swimming pool slash water slide. They had games and food set up inside their classroom. Balloons bounced around in the breeze. The weather was overcast and warm with a slight breeze. This was going to be a FU-HUN day. But alas! Chloe woke up with a temperature of 100.3. She's sick. A.GAIN. So, when at 8:45am my friend the Samonim called to remind me camp started at 9:00am, I was very VERY sad to inform her that we would watch from our window because Chloe was sick. A.GAIN. And that's what we have done this morning. We watched children from the window, skyped with the grandparents, enjoyed a peanut butter sandwich, and took a fitful two-hour nap. Because Chloe is sick. A.GAIN.

Not the least bit salty, I tell you.

So. Yeah. It has been a difficult week.

I wish I had some great spiritual revelation about how longing for home has reminded me about how we Christians long for heaven. Or about how feeling disappointment reminds me that God is my only constant. Or about how smelling like spit-up reminds me of how sin taints all our senses. Or about how making lemonade is the thing to do when life gives you lemons.

But Alas! I have no such tidy metaphorical wrap-up.

I'm just sayin' it's hard this week. Next week will be better, I'm sure.

Until then, I will try not to post any more entries like this. Because, although misery loves company, the company might be bored by misery.

Yeah. That's my deep thought for the day.

For Women Only...

This is an amazing word from Graham Cook. I have heard it before, but my friend Starr posted the video on her facebook. So good.

Still, it's for women only because some of the pictures would be too immodest for men. Enjoy, ladies!

It's that time again....

at To Know Him

1. I am assuming mostly women will be participating...What is one item, or article of clothing that you don't mind spending a little extra money on (shoes, purse, etc)? Why?

Jeans. Do I really need to explain why? The right pair of jeans can lift the buttocks, take an inch off the thighs, manage that belly pooch, and make a person look 10 years younger. Ok, so maybe those are only magic jeans that I dream about, but I think you get the general idea. The wrong pair of jeans can make a person look 10 pounds heavier and turn even the trendiest girl into a sporter of the mom jean. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, google "Amy Poehler mom jeans" for one of the greatest SNL skits ever. I would post it here, but NBC won't allow me to open it in Korea due to loose copyright regulations here. Go figure.)
ANYwho, I wear jeans almost every day; so I rationalize spending a pretty penny on my magic jeans like this: if I divide how much I spend on the jeans over the number of days I will wear them, it usually comes out to, like, $0.02/day. If you ask me, that's a whole lot cheaper than a surgical buttocks lift.

2. Are you married? If so, how long? Give the short version of how you met your spouse?
I have been married five years as of June 5 this year. My husband and I have known each other since kindergarten because our parents attended the same church. But we really got to know each other when he fell in "like" with my seventh-grade best friend and, in true middle school fashion, I was the official "note delivery girl" between the two of them. You know, check "yes" or "no" and all that... From that point on, we were pretty inseparable (at church, at least). We started "officially" dating the spring after I turned 16, and we never looked back.

3. Do you find that you have a level of authenticity (being real...the good, bad and very ugly) in your circle of friends? In your Christian circles and Church? If yes, why do you think that is? If no, why do you think that is?
Back home in the states, I have a small group of girlfriends that know more about me than they probably ever wanted to know. They know when things are going well. They know when life is the pits. They know the desires of my heart for ministry. And they know the areas in which I struggle. I miss those ladies very much. Honestly, that has been one of the most difficult parts of coming here. I have a couple friends here with whom I can be very honest; but they don't live close enough to have a whole ton of interaction. Among my acquaintances and fellow Samonims at the church, I try to be as authentic as I can while staying within the cultural norms. "Face" is very important here, and it would reflect badly upon my husband for me to be too "authentic." So, striving to find that balance between being authentic and being respectable is a daily struggle. Still, I love my girls back home, and I try to stay in contact with them via email throughout our time here.

The End.

Monday, July 6, 2009

July 4th Celebration

We had a good ol' American celebration on Saturday. Except, it wasn't in America. It was on a rooftop in Cheonan, South Korea.

We were able to hang out with another American couple, Victor and Katie, whom we met through the Nazarene Church's English service that we attend once a month.

And yes, I realize what an awkwardly long sentence that is.

Brandon and I brought watermelon which, um, yummy! Seriously, Korean fruit is grown locally and is only available throughout the growing season. Therefore, I am adding "most delicious fruit in the world" to the list of things I will miss when we go back home.

I also cooked a batch of fried apple pies because, well, what says "American Holiday" more than greasy, battered fruit?

Victor and Katie provided hamburger meat, hotdogs, sausages, corn on the cobb, and a yummy spicy slaw for which I will definitely be getting the recipe. We learned a couple things at this, our first Korean cookout.

1. Something to remember about making hamburger patties: when the internet says "make them larger to compensate for shrinking," it means the patties will shrink in circumference, not in height. As a matter of fact, they will grow in height. Do not make 2-inch-thick patties, thinking they will shrink to 1/2-inch-thick patties. You will only end up with 3-inch-thick patties.

2. Do not allow a two-year-old to eat said 3-inch-thick patties, smothered with ketchup, on her own. At least, not without a nearby hose pipe to use for the cleanup.

3. Hotdogs are delicious. Even if they do roll off the grill and onto the rooftop a time or ten.

After the mucho delisioso meal, we took a stroll down to the local store and bought some fireworks. Once it was finally dark, we headed back outside, and many adventures ensued.

Everyone had fun shooting roman candles off the rooftop. (Well, everyone except me because I might be slightly terrified of loud sticks that shoot fire which could potentially poke someone's eye out.)

And, of course, sparklers.

But, by far, the best part of the night was wrapped up in pink plastic petals. This was a "firework" (read: fancy candle) that we got for Chloe because we weren't sure how she would respond to the louder ones.

Theoretically, this "candle" was supposed to "bloom," spin around, and sing a "Happy Birthday" song while the wicks were lit. Apparently, we didn't follow directions (seeing as how they were written in Korean). Because this...

Turned into this...

Which lead to this...

Yeah. I think we all found our inner pyromaniacs that night. Great fun.

All in all, it may be one of the most memorable July 4th's I've ever had... second only to the one where I got a gushing bloody nose in the middle of a picnic, on my first "real" date with my middle school boyfriend. I was so cool, I wonder why that relationship never worked out...

Happy Belated 4th, everyone!!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Just received this message from my mom on facebook....

I'll take credit (blame) for the pickle songs. When changing her diaper, and she got the wiggles, I'd tell her stupid stories or sing little diddies about pickles...I even played with a real pickle with her over skype.

"This mystery is history!"

(My mom's on facebook. Yeah, she's pretty great.)

(You get 10 mommy points if you know where the mystery quote is from.)

Friday, July 3, 2009

Fun Facts about the girls...

Things to know about Chloe Jane these days:

1. She is all about writing her own songs these days. Her favorite word to use in said songs: Pickle. Go figure.

2. Turns out, her recent outbursts are not a result of the suspected terrible twos. Thanks to Missy, I discovered that she is, in fact, cutting her two-year molars. (Just call me "Mother of the Year" for missing all the signs.) After a couple rounds of children's tylenol/ibuprofen, she's back to her happy, albeit slightly dramatic self.

3. She is potty training. Oh, yes. So far, it has gone as well as can be expected. Yesterday, we left the house for the first time sans diaper, and we made it through the entire 90-minute playground run without incident. Things are looking up, people.

4. We are pushing the potty training right now because it looks like she will be attending preschool in the fall. She watches from our balcony window as the children load the bus each morning, and she's quite excited to be joining their ranks in a few short weeks.

5. Barbie still rules! Although Little Einsteins is giving her a run for her money.

Things to know about Maple Anne these days:

1. The girl represents the very definition of a "people person." She smiles, like, all the time, and she LUH-HUVS to be held (much to the chagrin of her mommy when dinner-cooking time rolls around).

2. She hasn't "found her thumb" yet, but she sure is trying.

3. Her eyes are now the exact same shade as her big sister's: dark, chocolate brown.

4. She loves bath time like Pooh loves honey, and she is not. very. happy. when she has to get out.

5. Her hair is still there; though it has changed from black to a dark auburn (red in the sun).

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Inquiring minds want to know...

So, I'm getting ready to write a guest blog, and I need some inspiration. For all you THREE faithful readers our there, if you could ask anything about our life here in Korea, what would you want to know?

The Quote That Started It All...

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