Beach Trip

‘Twas the night before the beach trip and all through the house
No one was sleeping, excepting my spouse.
The children were bouncing on beds full of glee,
“I can’t sleep, I need water, Mom, I have to pee!”
Yes visions of sugar sand danced through their heads,
And great rolling waves knocked them out of their beds
To roll on to the floor and go swimming in sheets,
Mom, I’m gunna surf- swim way out- buy sweet treats!
But up on the island, early the next day,
They stepped off the bus and looked round in dismay
When not a white grain or a wave met their eye
Just miles of mud and a matching grey sky.

042Everything in Korea is just a little bit different, from the taste of a Coke to the mindset about toilet paper in public restrooms, and Korea’s beaches are no exception. When I took my children to a nearby island for a day at the shore, they expected white sand for castles and burying each other alive.  They got rocks, from tiny pebbles mixed with broken shell all the way up to boulders the size of castle ruins.  Where my children expected waves crashing over them, they got a mile of slick, grey mud flat, under an inch of ocean- just enough to tease our toes.  It wasn’t a beach where the ocean crashes up against the shore, this was where the ocean came to nap.  Where grey sky and grey mud gave it camouflage to silently slide up to the shore and rest, breathing only the tiniest, rippling breaths, hidden from the world that expected it to roar,behind a curving wall of black green mountain.  The only thing that crashed down on us was my children’s expectations.  Clearly, I had ruined their lives by depriving them of salty foam and every child’s inherent right to a bathing suit full of sand.  This beach was not what they had wanted.  051

And it was perfect. We only made it about half way through the mile long trek across the mud flat before my children discovered crabs.  Real live, tiny crabs, all the way up to crabs bigger than my hand with blue claws, and eye stalks that really swiveled to look at you.  We were seeing and holding things we had only read about.  Soon after we were visited by garden eels, a baby octopus, and an entire civilization of strange, membranous things we have yet to identify.  We ran our fingers through a tiny sea anemone, and dug up clams and shrimp.  I climbed twenty feet up a cliff, in my sundress, with my camera tied to my bathing suit strap and got completely caught up in our discovery of caves, a crab trap, and real tide pools.  David went on a mission to rid the world of barnacles because “They’re just too creepy, Mom!”  This beach was filled with amazing things way beyond what had even thought to imagine.

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And, then… my children jumped.  I can’t even put into words what I was thinking but when four minors, with not yet fully developed risk assessment skills, asked if they could climb a swaying, rusty metal tower 50 feet into the air then put their lives into the hands of a middle aged man who didn’t speak any English I said “sure,” and my children, all the way from 16 and immortal to 6 and unsure each conquered their knocking knees and fluttering stomachs and soared.  When I caught up to them back down on the stony sand they were the happiest I’ve ever seen them. 

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Our beach trip wasn’t what we expected.  Honestly, my life isn’t what I expected, not when I think about all the things I should be.  But it turned out our beach trip was better than what we thought we wanted and my life is that too- its great and unimaginable.  God plans all the best for us.  He has been on our side sense He created us, but sometimes we miss it all because we get caught up in our expectations for our lives and for ourselves.  God asks that we abandon our expectations.  That we leave them like my children left solid ground and safety railings and that we trust only in our identity as His redeemed to carry us along.  If being His is enough then He can carry you into adventures better than you could ever ask or imagine. I hope this day of exceeded expectations and of practicing courage prepared my children for the lives God has planned for them.  I hope when He calls them to something as terrifying as giving up themselves and trusting in Him alone they will jump with eyes wide open remembering that He always has better planned for them then they could ever imagine for themselves. 

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Contentment

Kids are a delight.

They have the sweetest, most excited generosity.

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They wear cute clothes.

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They know how to delight in everything from cats to fountains to roof tops.

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They have adventures in their heads, and look beautiful no matter what they are doing.

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Kids are a delight- but most days I am miserable.  I can see how awesome my life is, but I can’t convince my heart to stop generating overwhelming waves of frusteration, disastisfaction, and self pity.  I don’t think I’m unusual in this.

God created us women to serve.  Look in Genesis and 1 Peter and you will see that God created us so that our beauty shows up most in serving, gently and quietly.

So if we were created with the ability to be God’s hands and love towards others it makes sense that Satan would much rather we focus on ourselves.  God made us women to serve others, but Satan has robbed us of the joy and peace and beauty that God built into this purpose by convincing us we must also ensure that our needs are met.

I can write a long list of things I should have that I don’t.  I could give that list to any christian woman and I bet they would agree with it and tell me I needed to “fill my emotional tank.”  I even saw an awesome movie recently that told moms they needed to put on their own oxygen masks first, but I have to stop and think- what is there on that list that can fill me?

Can girl time make me stop feeling like no one cares?  Could a run or an adequate wardrobe make me feel beautiful?  Could a romantic date with my husband make me not care when my kids won’t listen?  I think I could get every good thing a girl could have and still be miserable.  I think my list is just an excuse to not fight the battle in my mind.

God calls all humanity to joy.  Philipians 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS, and again I say rejoice.”  And the gospel- Christ dieing so my stupidity isn’t my definition- is reason enough to rejoice.  Psalm 118:29 says “Give thanks to the Lord, He is good; For his lovingkindness is everlasting.” Psalm 118 says God has opened the gates of righteousness and thanks to God we can go through them.  God has saved us.  Not only has God removed every mistake you’ve ever made- and for me that is the only way I can hold my head up- but He has taken charge of the future and will spin it to your advantage.  Finally, He has crafted this very minute to give you a taste of Himself.  All that means freedom from guilt, from fear, from stress, from all my excuses for misery.

As women, Satan knows He can block us from this joy if he can just get us to focus on ourselves.  Our emotions make his job easy.  The Bible says to take every thought captive, and I think that also means every feeling.  Daily I am overwhelmed by my feelings, but God is calling me to contentment- to spending my energy on the purpose He has given me rather than my feelings.  To trusting that He will meet my needs and I need only to live the life He unfolds before me.  To call on Him in my stress and act on the answers He gives me.  God made me for a beautiful job, and He is waiting to train to me to perfect joy in it, if I will choose to be ruled by the gospel instead of my feelings.   So, I am making a commitment to contentment- to say “This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it- no excuses.”

(Psalm 118:24)

 

Awesome Ideas

I have been told there is a certain amount of predictability to my blog posts- as a friend’s husband said “Oh, I bet she’s going to tell us how awesome her husband is.” Ok, I’ll admit it- my husband is awesome, so much so that it is impossible for me to tell you about my life without his sheer awesomeness bleeding through. Case and point- our Fourth of July celebration:

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Sometime before the holiday Kenny came to me:
“I’ve got an idea,” he said, with the same look he uses when he wants to turn the boys’ bunk bed into a playground, or is considering the possibility of installing a zip line from the balcony of our 6th story apartment.
“Ok…” I replied.
“You know my work site up on Namsaan Mountain, by Seoul Tower? For the Fourth of July we should have a cook out up there and invite some of the soldiers. We could actually look down from above at the fireworks as they are launched from Yong San and afterwards we could camp out.”
“That’s a great idea! I would love that!”
“That’s not all. There’s all this unused space up there that is really over grown. Some of the weeds are chest high. What if I took some lawn equipment up there and mowed out a path- like a maze- and we armed the kids with water balloons and turned them loose on each other?!”
So on the morning of July Fourth my husband, our two daughters and two hapless soldiers who volunteered from Kenny’s platoon, set off up the mountain with mowers and weed eaters. The work was intense. They spent more than three hours in clearing weeds, raking picnic areas, and weed eating through chest high brush to create a water-battle course the size of a soccer field. Oh, and some of them also sat in the air conditioned car with the bucket seats fully reclined and watched “Leroy and Stitch.” I leave the task allocation to you. Eventually they came back down the mountain, we stuffed the car full of sleeping bags, pillows, backpacks and cook out food, and Kenny drove the whole family up a shady park road to… a chain link fence topped with barbed wire… behind which… was hiding…
MY OWN PRIVATE SECRET GARDEN!

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When Kenny told me the weeds were chest high he didn’t tell me that they were also covered with millions of tiny daisies, or that the place he was taking us was a no longer used military compound that had been completely over taken by wild raspberries, pheasant, cuckoo birds, and the most glorious weeds! Ok, I can understand how the glory of this revelation might be lost on those who are not living my life, but let me explain, this was a fenced-in totally safe military compound with no other people on it full of flowers and trees that the kids could pick and climb without causing an international incident. This was- a break, freedom, a very rare chance to let my children run wild! So we…
caught bugs

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picked wild flowers

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read spy thrillers in the shadow of a 14th century wall

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did yoga of roof tops

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grilled

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ate

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played with fire

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caught moths

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watched fireworks, and played with glow sticks on roof tops.

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Then we tried to sleep.

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The next day we passed out water balloons. (These balloons were both biodegradable and shaped like hand grenades, does anyone else find that ironic?)

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Then we commanded the children to battle!

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Kenny stood on a roof and oversaw the fracas until he couldn’t resist any more, then he and I confiscated all the water balloons and forced our children to run through the course while we reigned down a barrage of balloons from above.

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You should have seen them diving under the daisies for cover. It was classic family bonding.
All in all, my husband has awesome ideas, which makes sense because… my husband is awesome.

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Girl Scout Camp

I think one of the hardest things I have ever had to do as a parent was sending my own daughter home from Girl Scout camp.We had only been at camp two hours, and had just managed to get the tents set up. The scouts were all putting on sunscreen and gathering water bottles preparatory to hiking up Namsan Mountain for a day of Korean cultural activities before hiking back to camp for a friendship ceremony and smores. My daughter had been looking forward to this all year and I had spent an entire year figuring out badges and journeys and leading a troop of a dozen elementary school girls so that she could benefit from all the enriching activities of girl scouts, but now, with camp barely begun, she was on the grass crying for the third time. As her mom, I knew she was out of control. She wasn’t listening to anything I was saying, even ignoring directions when the rest of the troop complied. She was arguing and throwing fits. Her dad would say she needed to be “reset,” but here at camp there weren’t the options for me to get her back in line. She had to function on her own or she had to go home, and so, the third time she expressed fury at the injustice of having to listen to me, I called Dad. Every second that it took for him to drive the two or so miles from our apartment to camp I second guessed myself. “This is over reacting. I should be able to correct her here. I’m not one of those moms who shuffles the kids off to dad when they act up. I should be able to manage this. I should have just given her some more time.” My girl acted like her heart was breaking when her dad actually pulled up and I lead her into the van. I could hear her crying as they pulled away. I had to stay at camp. I had other scouts in the troop I lead for her, so I had to stay even though she couldn’t, even though I felt like I was going to throw up. I wanted to go home. I felt like I was being the meanest, most ridiculous parent ever, but then I took the other scouts on the hike. They climbed two steep miles in a blazing heat- before lunch! I ended up practically pulling a line of hungry, tired girls. It turned out the other girls Elliana’s age had gotten a ride in a van instead of having to hike. By the time we reached the top my inner turmoil was gone. There was no doubt in my mind that my kindergartener, who was about year younger than everyone else in her troop, would never have made it through that hike. It was clear to me that God had helped me out by allowing me to send her home- He had saved me from what would have been a really stressful disaster. As it turned out Elliana fell asleep as soon as the van turned the corner- thus revealing the cause of her bad behavior- and after napping at home with daddy she joined us on the mountain top and walked out the rest of camp without a hitch. I do not have all the answers as a parent. I don’t have the wisdom to handle even five minutes of our day. In fact, as I have typed this I have had to banish two of my children to their beds because I do not have a solution for their internal bickering, but my experience at Girl Scout camp taught me what Psalm 127 says, that unless the Lord builds the house the laborers build in vain. It’s God, not me, who is going to do eternal work in my kid’s lives, so rather than trying to get everything under control, or have a solution for everything, I am just trying to stay close to Him, to know Him better and pray that He will use me for His will because He is the one who knows what mountains lie ahead and what my kids need to get up them.

 

 

She's the T

She’s the T

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Mother’s Day

My family did so much to honor me this Mother’s Day weekend.

On Saturday Kenny gave up his entire day to help with my Girl Scout troop’s field trip. He drove a 12 passenger van full of giddy girls and chaperoned them for seven hours at a packed amusement park.

Dallas cleaned the bathroom- took all the laundry to the laundry room, organized the cupboards, scrubbed the counter and mopped- just because he saw the bathroom was dirty.

Cody and David picked me bouquets of wild (and some not-so-wild,) flowers.

Sunday, the actual Mother’s Day, started with Elliana lying in bed between Kenny and I and singing “Mommy, Poppy,” while she gave hugs back and forth to each of us.  Then the kids dressed themselves for church while Kenny made breakfast smoothies and I dressed at my leisure. No one fought on the ride to church.

Then we got to church, hopped out of the car and noticed an enormous bucket of red roses being brought into the church. “What are those for?” Cody asked, and that is when my kids figured out that it was Mother’s Day.

After church there were gifts- time alone (every introverted mom’s greatest gift,) a cold and delicious drink with a green straw, and a new travel mug which I had very much wanted ever since the one I got for Christmas was dashed off the coffee table by a passing pillow, but the greatest gifts of my Mother’s Day are the ones my family gave me before they knew it was Mother’s Day.

At Mother’s Day many people focus on the great effort and work involved in being a mom. I’ve read the articles about how many job titles a mom can claim, and the enormous salary she deserves, and all the sacrifices and the long hours and being a giving tree, but I think everyone knows the real truth- being a mom is an honor, being trusted and loved by an innocent child is a gift no one could earn no matter what the hours.

The second greatest honor of my life is that my children and husband give me their hearts and this weekend I am reminded of the constant and complete ways they make every day Mother’s Day.

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Pictures

Last week I got a new camera for my birthday. Last week the cherry trees bloomed.  So, last week I took 300 pictures- literally.  In between pushing buttons on my new, shiny, blue, WATERPROOF (how perfect is that for our family,) camera I was so drop-dead tired that I once had to call Kenny at work because I couldn’t remember which cupboard held mugs for the coffee I took thirty minutes to find in the pantry.  I am experiencing a kind of mental EXHAUSTION (yes, it must be written in all caps,) that I think only stay-at-home moms can understand.  The rest of the world has enough perspective that they can’t see how not-yet-fully-developed humans can become mind control masters telepathically siphoning off all sanity and rational thought turning their mothers into emotional puppets and intellectual zombies.  I think this confusing clutter of metaphors clearly illustrates my point.  If I was judging on my own scale I would write this week off- happily allow everyone to forget it- but I’m not the judge, or the boss, or even the main character in this show, and out of the whirlwind that keps me off balance and disoriented God always plants a few clear, beautiful memories.  I’m glad that this life isn’t about what I make it.  It’s so much nicer to just follow the Tour Guide.

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Kenny knew how much I hated missing the cherry blossoms last year.  Here in Korea the blossoming of the cherry trees is an annual event celebrated with nation-wide picnics and festivals, but it only lasts a few days before the wind blows the petals off in blizzards.  When the wind starting blowing while I was still consumed with work and the trees were surrendering to green before I ever got a picture I thought I was going to have to give up my wish.  I tried not to pout, but Kenny knew it was important to me, and he had been watching the petals since the first day they opened.  So, one day on our ride home he pulled off to the side of the road and told me to get out of the car.  He pointed down the street and it was still lined with the snow white blossoms on both sides 15 feet high. “Take as many pictures as you want.  The kids and I will meet you at the end of the street.  I may even send a girl out to join you.”  I walked, ran, walked backwards, laid on the petal strewn grown and generally looked ridiculous to all passing traffic but it felt so good to be doing something just for fun, not because it had to be done.  I felt free and it made me wish I could share that part of me more. 

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The presence of barbed wire everywhere amongst the young and growing things seems like such an irresistible visual irony.

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I’m so thankful for the presence of God’s glory, no matter how I feel, or how well I’m functioning.  I hope where ever you are or however your week is going this passion week is filled with snapshots of God’s greatness, glory and grace!

 

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Gift

I have been given such a huge gift in my husband.  When many men want to pursue their own hobbies or recharge away from their families, Kenny wants me and the kids to be with him.  He brings us along on company functions.  He spends his Saturdays at home.  He actually wants to spend time with us, even though I often feel like we just surround him with drama and strife.  He’s quite a man, my husband and I hope I am learning to appreciate him.  Instead of asking, “Will there be other families there,” or trying to be sure every aspect of an event is “kid-friendly,” I am learning to just go along because the details don’t matter next to the fact that he wants us there, and while we are there, I’m learning to lighten up on managing the kids- follow Kenny’s lead instead of micromanaging, because perfect kid behavior doesn’t matter next to the fact that Dad wants them there.  I could be an awesome mom, train my kids perfectly, manage their world seamlessly, cover it all- and in doing so, leave no room for their Dad’s delight.  I know it isn’t a very popular stance.  Most moms spend more time with their kids, understand them better, have read more parenting books than dad, etc, etc, but I still believe that when it comes down to it, I’m just support staff- Kenny is the boss.  He’s the one who provides our kids with a picture of their Heavonly Father.  He may not ever realise just what a gift it is that he wants our kids, but I do.  I can see how a Dad who shares his life with his kids, opens their hearts to Someone Else who wants to share His life with them, and for that I thank God EVERY SINGLE DAY for my husband.

Kenny brought the kids and I along with his company on a tour of the National Museum of Korea.

Kenny brought the kids and I along with his company on a tour of the National Museum of Korea.

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He also brought us on a company hike and barbeque.  (Where we all walked backwards up the mountain like Koreans.)

He also brought us on a company hike and barbeque. (Where we all walked backwards up the mountain like Koreans.)

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Felt like spring back in the states when the boys found a mess of frog eggs.

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Dallas drinks straight from the mountain spring.

Adventure

Adventure was my biggest concern that Saturday.  I had read in a book by the Duggars how they surprise their children with adventures- just tell them “We’re going somewhere fun,” then stick them in the van and make a memory!  So, one Saturday, I wanted to give my kids an adventure.  “Kids,” I called, “Go put on warm clothes over those bathing suits!”  (They were decked out with bathing suits and squirt guns facing off behind pool toys barricades on our glassed-in balcony.  This is what country kids do when you stick them in the city.)  “Pajama pants are fine.  Just put something warm on over your bathing suits, grab shoes and coats and wait at the door!”

Saturday in Korea is Friday in the states.  Two days before we were rushing about (or wandering aimlessly having forgotten Mom’s instructions,) for our adventure, another family far away in our home town was doing the same thing.  As I pointed my camera to record my kid’s hodge-podge of flannel pants, cardigans and cowboy boots, a far away acquaintance, a sister who studied the Bible beside me while both our kids were babies, steadied her camera to frame her little girl sitting up in a hospital bed opening gifts brought by family who needed to say “I love you” before their adventure began. The video camera records as the little girl, with her name in purple on her crown, quotes Psalm 23 to the doll on the pillow beside her.

In Korea I hop behind the wheel for the first time armed with my orange international driver’s license.  I lean intently over the wheel watching side to side for those deadly Korean taxis.  Wheels on the car and wheels on a hospital bed, two families roll off on our adventures.

While my kids jump into the warm water of an indoor pool, screaming and splashing over the joy of swimming in the middle of a city winter, a six year old girl named Katherine undergoes surgery to remove a golf ball sized tumor from her brain.

When we tire of swimming we sit with our feet in the hot tub, talking.  Far away they use words like ‘pain management, physical therapy, intensive care,” and the last, the loudest- “malignant.” 

We head home, sleepy in towels, thinking what great memories our adventure had made for our kids and in the states the bravest mother in the world sits by a bed side and speaks to the camera- using the same faithful voice she had used in Bible study.   She strokes her daughter’s hair and speaks with calm faith and trust, memories for her daughter and the four siblings whose hearts are with her on this adventure. 

I blogged a while ago about how our family packed up and moved in five days flat.  Six year-old Katherine went from MRI, to diagnosis, to brain surgery in three!  Adventure – it takes on a different meaning when it comes in the form of fear and pain, but this family is willing to trust God through both- to trust God for their beautiful daughter and for her brothers and her sister- to give their children a memory of God’s faithfulness.  When I read about Katherine before church on Sunday I sobbed tears I didn’t deserve to cry.  I’m not close enough to claim heart ache, but I have kids, and I claim to trust God and I can feel all the way from Korea how those two things can conflict enough to tear a heart apart, so I ask you, my reader, please- please! – follow the links to read this family’s story!  They are hanging their hearts, their subsistence, their children’s future memories, on their faith in God.  Please visit http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/karing-for-katheryn-brezina/147203 to read what has happen to Katheryn in the past ten days and find a way that you can be a part of God’s glory as it shines in this situation. 

Villa Mansion

I was sorely tempted to wait until the house was clean, or at least unpacked before I posted pictures of our new apartment, but I think you can see just how much God has blessed us, despite the clutter!  So welcome to Villa Mansion!

Elliana carves our left over boxes in the entryway.

Elliana is carving our extra boxes in our entryway.  To the left are the closets with nice little shelves for our shoes.

Elliana loves to use her room to climb out onto the laundry porch and then knock on the kitchen door pretending to be a neighbor.

Elliana’s room has one closet for each of our four younger kids.  The kids keep all their clothes, toys and books here.  Having their stuff outside of their room is really helping the boys keep their mess under control and be more responsible with their laundry.

So this winter we spent a lot of time stuck in the apartment- enough time for David to literally jump his bed into pieces, so, he's sleeping on the floor untill we can get to the wood shop.

 

Dallas and David’s room looks out over the river.

 

Our livingroom

Our living room also looks out over the Han.  The porch serves as a place for the boys to sit and whittle and for Elliana to care for her Daisy garden.

Dining room

The dining room is also our school room.  We can see Seoul Tower out the window.

Our kitchen has two walk in pantries- one for food and kitchen apliances and another for my teaching/art/sewing stuff.

Our kitchen is so big- we literally have empty cabinets!

The laundry porch

The laundry porch has this awesome drying rack that the kids love to raise and lower.

 

Our room- open the Korean glass doors to look out onto the han while you stand under the flower shaped chandelierOh my room- I have already spent so much time resting here, looking out on the Han, and thanking God for our place of peace.

Cody's room- yeah he's a teenager. My room looked like this ten years ago too.  Cody’s room is back from the rest of the room giving him a little peace and privacy from his younger siblings.

The view out our window.

Our windows look out on Hangang park and the Han river.

We have to walk down a block to the nearest highway crossing, but essentially this is our backyard.

So, we spend most of our time here.

I hope it doesn’t seem like I am boasting in our new house.  I keep telling Kenny “Thank you for this awesome apartment!” and he keeps saying “It wasn’t me!”  Everyone who reads the paperwork on our apartment, from realtors to the army guys who process our housing requests, can’t believe the low rent we are paying for all this square footage, in fact, and when we moved in the owner knocked another 500,000 Won-  equal to $500- off the rent because we didn’t want cable.  Add all that up and it is pretty unavoidable that this apartment is another in a long line of God’s gifts to us!  So who wants to come visit?

Be Still and Know

The day before our third Valentine’s Day our family moved into our third house, putting an end to the year we lived in a military high rise community called Hannam Village.  If I had to pick one thing I have learned in my time living in Hannam Village it would be Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God.  I will be exalted in all the nations, I will be exalted in all the earth.”  In everything from loneliness, to culture shock, to doing big jobs like homeschooling with six kids, God taught me to rest and trust instead of getting upset.  Perhaps the best example of how He did this is the final exam of our moving week, and yes- it was a moving week.  The entire time from finding a new apartment to moving in was a total of six days!  Here’s how it went:

Wednesday- Kenny starts the apartment search.

Thursday- We find this amazing apartment.

Friday- A housing inspector shows up at our current residence wanting to inspect it for move out and informs me we will be out within a week.  I have a minor freak out.

Monday- A man from the moving company comes to look things over and tells me he will be back Wednesday, as in the day after tomorrow, because that’s the only day they can move us.  Kenny looks at me a little warily (will she blow?)  I hesitate a minute, then shrug and laugh.

Wednesday- The movers arrive.  Kenny has to spend the day attending briefings and filing paperwork, all of part of a military move.  So, I stay with the movers- me and up to six kids.  While the movers pack we camp in a corner of the living room and the kids create an elaborate game using pieces they drew on notebook paper.  Paper, markers and scissors turn into an entire world.  The movers dash about and I- I practice being still- literally.  I sit through the entire move in a lawn chair with my feet on a back pack and my nose in a book, or a kid on my lap holding their nose in a book while I read.  It was the most I have sat still all year.  I love moving.

Thursday- We just manage a night’s sleep in the new apartment.  I’m glad I packed sleeping bags and pillows in our overnight bags because there is not a moment to open a single box.  Up early in the morning we dash back to the old apartment.  We  have to have the apartment clean and ready for inspection soon after lunch.  We get our supplies arranged, grab magic erasers, pass out assignments and dive into the work- for about thirty minutes.  Then, David is trying to look through a window that Cody just washed, but clean and David have never gone well together, and so he slips.  Face first he crashes into the edge of a heater.  What teeth he doesn’t knock loose he puts straight through his lower lip.  There is blood everywhere.  One look is enough to tell us a trip to the hospital is needed, so with only hours till deadline I leave Kenny and Cody to clean the entire apartment and I take the younger children to the hospital.  Holding David as pain and motion sickness battle it out in the back seat of the taxi  he asks me to sing him his favorite song, Silent Night.  So, I am still and sing quietly and I realize what a treat it is to hold the boy who rarely wants to be held as we ride through city traffic.  The taxi driver keeps glancing in the rear view mirror and you can imagine he must have kids himself from the sympathy in his glance toward David, either that or he just is worried we are going to get blood on his upholstery.   We spend four hours in the hospital.  We play more paper games and I read aloud.  Hospital beds can actually be quite comfortable even with four people in them.  We are all just being still.  One of David’s teeth has already fallen out and is now in the coin pouch of my wallet.  Doctors examine, rinse, poke, prod, send us across the hospital for antibiotics, then across the post to find a pediatric dentist.  She examines again, then finally says “One more x-ray, then we get the stitches done.”  We are almost done, but as David tilts his head back for his last x-ray he takes the practice of being still a little too far and actually falls asleep.  By the time they are ready for stitches David is sound asleep on the examination table.  The doctor decides to go ahead with the stitches anyways.  Half way through David wakes up and finds scissors and needles literally sticking out of his mouth and he does what any of us would do, he flips out!  Blood is everywhere again.  Any stitches put in come out and I just grab up my boy and hold him very very still.  When, at last we leave I have teeth in my purse, a brown paper bag with a bottle of antibiotics and pain killers, David looks like a boxer, and we are all exhausted, but then we are picked up by our victorious men folk. They have, all on their own, passed the move out inspection and gained the sympathy of the moving inspector through the tale of David’s plight.  So, as we head home to our new apartment it seems like a lot went wrong, but not once do I freak out (although I did almost deck a nurse who tried to take David’s temperature orally while he was still spitting teeth,) and at the end of the day all we feel is proud to have managed so well as a family.  Be still and know that God will be exalted.

Its a week later and I still have not unpacked.  In fact, we all decided to celebrate moving in by getting sick- again.  As I write a man with a jack hammer has been camped out in my skull for two days.  If he doesn’t move out by tomorrow we will go back the the hospital and have them fix my sinus infection, (and I will be careful not to fall asleep on the exam table.)  Our year in Hannam Village was sometimes very hard.  A lot happened that was physically and emotionally exhausting, yet, through it all God was teaching me to be still.  Our new apartment is amazing- every morning I feel like I’m waking up in a luxury hotel or spa.  The river runs by the windows and I think of the 23rd Psalm every day, “He leads me by still waters for His namesake.”  I hope that is what our time here will be- a time of being still- no matter what happens!

The kids and I try to stay out of the way while supervsing the movers. A picnic Lunch in one of the rooms the movers have already emptied.  The movers brought things into our new apartment using a lift which they attached to our sixth floor porch.