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

1 comment:

Starr said...

LOVE this post Brandy!! I'm so glad that the Lord makes all things new, and for all He's done and is going to do in the Thixton bunch!! I love you so much and am so excited about you being stateside again!

The Quote That Started It All...

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