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?

The Quote That Started It All...

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