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?