Friday, September 9, 2011


I beheld one of the most beautiful things I had dreamed of seeing since birthing Ti today.  I popped in a dvd called "Classical Baby: The Art Show" (which is an awesome video in my opinion) this afternoon for the kids.  While Ari sat quietly totally engaged in the visual and auditory art getting comfortable on the floor Ti had crawled up behind her and got quite fascinated with her hair.  For a few minutes, she let him play with her hair like that and had the look on her face of such enjoyment, contentment, sibling affection, ease...while Ti giggled touching, gently pulling her hair.  I just sat and watched.  I just loved the moments.

The three of us enjoyed our simple quesadilla and sweet potato fries dinner while Daddy was at the ministry.  Ti LOVES food... and REFUSES to be fed.  If you try to feed him anything, you will see what I mean very clearly. :)  You quickly learn that he WILL eat if you just put it in front of him.  He might look a baby but he won't let you treat him as one.  My "easy" baby is only a week short of turning 10 month old...he will be one in just a couple of months.  CRAZY.  In fact, we hit birthdays like boom, boom, boom! beginning next month with Daniel, then Titus, Arielle, and finishing up with me in January.  The question is...will we be celebrating them in our own home?  I hope so.

At bedtime, Ari and I read a couple of books as usual and prayed through the Lord's prayer together (something I've started doing recently).  As I was about to kiss her goodnight, she somewhat bashfully asked me if she could have some "eeee," that is, mother's milk. :)  She's lately been pretty sensitive about Daniel or I calling her a "baby."  In fact, she's been pretty consistent in correcting us by saying, "I'm not a baby anymore!  I'm a big girl!"  So I was surprised by her request so I responded, "Are you sure?"  She said yes.  She curled up on my lap and made me cradle her like a baby.  As I began pulling up my shirt, she said, "No, Mom!  Just pretend!"  I said, "You can have the real thing if you want."  She just wanted to pretend. :)  (Actually, I'm glad she only wanted to pretend. :))  When we finished our pretend nursing session, she said she needed to nurse her babies before she went to sleep.  She's such a good mother, I tell her a lot these days because most of the time that's what she does when playing pretend.  She's such a darling, my daughter! 

On a totally different and somewhat random note, I have to record this because it changing me and I feel it is an important issue.  That sex is communication in and of itself.  It is not just a result of or a means to better or stronger communication in marriage.  There is love spoken in its mystical and mysterious sense that is not possible in any other ways (borrowing from my husband's words).  That is how God designed it...even in this fallen state we're in, His grace enables that important, independent communication to take place between the husband and the wife.
(Don't let your imaginations run too wild now!) :)

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
(Saint Francis of Assisi)
Honestly, I want so much to be understood, heard, loved, forgiven, and comforted... 
When I was going through a dark time in college, when I was also so completely consumed with the desire to be understood, etc., a good friend of mine gently confronted me along the same lines as this prayer. 
My mother-in-law said that I need to "learn to ride the waves" as a mother and not try to "master" it.  Reminded me of the imagery in Isaiah 40 of the eagle soaring--"riding the wind."  For many different reasons I always tend to try and "master" or "perfect" everything.  I end up with so little joy or none because I am never really satisfied.  I can't truly enjoy the here and now of what God has given me. 
Lately, I have dwelt on the "ugly past" and the "uncertain future" so much.  I really need to take one day at a time.  
Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God”? Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:27-31)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Motherless mother

I have been in “hiding.” That’s because I don’t want anyone to know the real me these days more than ever. Yet if I keep on trying to go on that path, I fear that my soul will turn so bitter that if it were an edible thing, I myself would spit it out and walk away forever. Big life changes, which are all good and are gifts (in the complete, pure sense of the word) from God, fill the past few years. Stresses sky-rocketed while we were in Korea last year--close to my family, to the few left, unerased memories and impact of my childhood. I tried to move on but I keep getting hit on the head and stabbed in my heart somewhere along the way. It’s like every time I get back up with a bleeding heart, I get stabbed deeper, bleeding even more. I have slowly been getting stripped and bare, raw inside. Patch work is not doing the job anymore. I don’t know where to go from here. (To God...yes, I know and yes, I do.) I am like a stick about to break, or maybe I am already broken and my splinters are hurting or scarying away anyone who would dare come near.

I feel so sad. I feel angry. I even feel nothing sometimes, or so I say. (Is that an oxymoron—to feel nothing?) I feel overwhelmed. I shut down. But it still hurts somehow.

Before I had my children, I thought that the mothering comes naturally. I thought that all this mother’s love would just naturally ooze out of me. I don’t mean a shallow kind of love—I mean the kind of strong love that teaches what is true and good, coushions the falls, and is simply there when things get rough or go wrong. Even though I never experienced that from a mother, I still had the God-given notions and longings deep in my heart and no one, not one evil circumstance, person, or thing has plucked those longings from my heart. Yes, God must have been there. He must have loved me in the midst of the sins, abuse, neglect, choas, confusion, and pain. But I was not born an adult...I was born a baby, a child who was dependent on its mother (and father, which is a whole other story of its own) to take care of and teach. It never really hit me, until after I gave birth, that I myself would try to kick these longings out in the end with the look on my face of long and hard disappointment, of rage.

Arielle did not have any protests at bedtime tonight. Ti was so tired that he fell asleep nursing. I came out of the bedroom (of our yet another friends’ house where we were graciously given permission to stay while they’re away) totally spent...the longest afternoon. I felt awful because I was mean to Ari all afternoon... being harsh, yelling, grabbing, getting frustrated and angry with her (sounds like a neglected child’s behavior now that I list them here), abusive with words, tones, and looks... ugly and down right wrong. I feel like and I know I am a bad mom (just let me say it once) and I can’t help being mean...but sometimes she is just too much and I am at the end of my rope, constantly. I know its all my bad modeling and my fault. (Just hear me.)

When I was nursing Ti in the dark I was looking on at Ari laying down quietly in her bed. I couldn’t tell if she was asleep or awake but it didn’t matter. All the yelling, screaming, and crying had finally ended. Silence,...only my heart was still screaming. I felt this sudden anger, more like rage and disappointment and I was telling myself, ‘I never knew (and I probably will never know) my mother’s love.’ And I wallowed in my own self pity mixed with anger at God who allowed this lot. I was weeping, silently. I never knew a mom who would show me day in and day out what it means to be patient, kind, physically and emotionally available and affectionate, strong, safe, and dependable...who would show me, even in her own tainted ways, her unwavering love and belief in me when no one else, not even myself, would believe in me—affirming who I am. I never had that constant voice of my mother. And it hurts to be alone...confused, terrified. With no guidance, no hand to hold, no one, no relationship. I feel lost in this vast, cold, scary world.

My husband listens to all of this and tells me that he will never leave me. And what is sadder is that instead of taking comfort in his promise, I don’t think I would even care if he left, because I have this deep seated notion, not just notion but belief, that I probably deserved it—that there is everything wrong with me, and that’s how I would have to explain.

Divorce hurts children. It shreds the hearts, and everything about them into pieces. But actually, it’s not the divorce. It’s the root of all sin. The relentless pursuit of selfish desires divorced from its Creator—rebellion, idolatry. Generations suffer the consequences and the pain of sin committed carelessly today by one person. Sin becomes the way of life, the norm. It’s sad when someone doesn’t know any better. Sometimes that’s me.

Batter my heart, three-person'd God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp'd town to another due,
Labor to admit you, but oh, to no end;
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captiv'd, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be lov'd fain,
But am betroth'd unto your enemy;
Divorce me, untie or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.
(John Donne 1572-1631)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Day One

So we did not make it to church this morning.

We did finally make it out the house around 11 to go meet a new little guy named Zion Tamen Baney.  He was born exactly one week ago to our friends Justin and YJ.  On our way to Pyeongtaek, which is about an hour and a half from where we are, we decided to introduce our friend Steve, who is visiting from my husband's hometown growing up, to a decent "Shabu-Shabu" meal.  You get a communal hot pot of boiling broth (which tastes awesome) at the center of the table in which you throw some paper-thinly sliced beef with lots of veggies for a few seconds and scoop out and eat them.  We found this restaurant on the top floor of a Shinsegae department store at the express bus terminal.  We waited half an hour to get seats but it was worth it.  Steve liked it.  We all enjoyed it.

Ti enjoyed the "teething bling" I had around my neck. :P

(Just for personal record, I ran into one of my relatives there.)  Promptly, after this excellent lunch, we got on a bus to our destination Pyeongtaek.

After about an hour ride on the bus we finally arrived in Pyeongtaek.  We squeezed ourselves into Justin's car with the humongous stroller in the back when we got off the bus, and finally arrived at their place.  Baby Zion and mommy YJ looked great!  I got to hold him and started fantasizing....for a few know, of another one...just for a few seconds!  I think he looks more "Western" than either of my babies did.  Anyway, he is BEAUTIFUL.  I just love his long, full, dark, curly hair!  :)

Zion Tamen Baney

Ari said, "The baby popped out!"  :)  Ti was busy crawling around on the floor.  We'll probably all be in Chicago the next time we get together...

Kiddos did great considering having no real naps in the afternoon obviously.
playing at the park outside of the Baney's

We got home around 9.  Put the tired kiddos straight to bed...and it's our turn--Good night!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

thinking random, like this digital age...

I had a spontaneous brunch date with just Ari this morning at Paris Baguette at Suseo station.  This was the second time we've done it.  We walk down the hill (yes, we live on the top of a hill again--not as steep as the last one though), cross the big street and catch a number 2412 bus to Suseo subway station about 10 minutes away.  The bakery is right there when we get off the bus.  Life seems so much simpler with one child.  (Those of you with one child might disagree...I used to too until we had two.)  She loves croissants. She always picks one of those for herself.  I ordered an actual brunch meal with an egg and made sure she ate that egg for her protein. :)  We shared a potbingsoo (a shaved/crushed flavored ice with fruits, red beans, and a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top) for our special treat.

When the kids were napping this afternoon, I laid down on the couch and resumed listening to an audio book I began listening to recently, called, The Next Story.  I woke up to Ti clanging his toys on the floor and my husband picking up in the kitchen.  The book was still being read to me and all I remembered was something about speaking, "truthing"??  Well, I will need to go back to where I left off before, AGAIN. :P

So I came across a couple of parenting articles this evening and one of them talked about parents not being playmates to their children--that children are to play on their own and parents should do parent-things.  (like the idea of pararelle play)  Well, I am the one who feels guilty if I don't play WITH my children and often can't get much done and feel exhausted...  I am not sure if this is why but Ari has always been my "shadow."  I tried.  I tried to begin doing something with her--encourage her to continue what we'd started and leave to get some things done... She stops immediately and follows me around.  Of course I let her "help" sometimes but there are times when I really cannot get things done if she's "helping," and it's healthy to have some "breaks"/ alone time/ just doing our own things in the same space... sometimes.  This just does not happen much around here... So some days I just give up and spend all the time and energy I have to try to entertain and interact with both my kids and end up with a mess both outside and inside of myself... It doesn't help that I don't have regular/frequent playdates with other moms...  Anyway, Ari just wants to do everything I try to do even when I encourage her to play with her things on her own for just a few minutes...   This is something I need to learn to do more.  I look forward to Ari going to preschool soon and learning this herself too soon.

Kids are asleep and Daniel's picking up our friend from the States at the airport tonight.  We plan on some fun times exploring a bit of Korea we have not yet seen!