When do you celebrate a new job? 

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Tim has been applying for jobs since our first trip to Japan in December 2015. He was aiming for Japan mostly. 

In November 2016, the ladies of PWOC (Protestant Women of the Chapel) were invited to attend a special meeting of KWOC (Korean Women of the Chapel). During the worship portion of our service, I felt like God said that we were going to stay in Korea. I assumed that meant that we were staying in Daegu and continued life as normal. 

Tim applied for a job shortly after that with six locations, three in Europe and three in Asia. We chose the three Asia locations. While we were in Hawaii in January, Tim received an email asking for an interview. Tim was working crazy hours that week so we asked for an interview the following week when we returned home. 

Tim interviewed at 11pm Tuesday, our time. We woke up to a tentative job offer for the Seoul location that Saturday. Two days later, President Trump signed the hiring freeze. 

Crickets. Nothing for two months. 

We were very surprised when we woke up Saturday, March 25 because Tim received the official job offer for Seoul. All three of us really like Seoul so we were very excited with this offer. 

They asked if Tim could start April 15 since we were already in Korea. We told them no because our lease says that we have to give the landlord 30 days notice in order to break the lease. We gave our landlord notice when they suggested April 30 as a start date. 

That Thursday we found out that the location was actually Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek. The headquarters for USFK is in the process of moving from Yongsan to Humphreys so we figured they would eventually move us anyway. It makes sense to send all new hires to Camp Humphreys so that they only have to move once. 

Saturday Tim had to sign a revised offer with the new location. Then they said “oh by the way, your start date may be delayed because travel funding expires April 28.” Since we had already given notice to the landlord, Human Resources said we could move April 27 instead. 

Then we waited. In the military (or overseas moves for government civilians), in order to move from one place to another, you need a document called travel orders. This document allows you to schedule movers and have funding for hotels and transportation during the move. You can’t actually outprocess in one place to go to the next without orders. 

We decided to go to Camp Humphreys on Sunday just to see the base. It is about 30 minutes away from Osan Air Base where Tim lived ten years ago. He is somewhat familiar with the general area. But Clarissa and I had never been to Pyeongtaek. It was nice. The base is huge and they are building all kinds of things to prepare for USFK Headquarters and all of the soldiers who will be stationed there. 

When do you celebrate a new job? When you receive orders… Tim woke up this morning to orders in his email. Now we can officially move in two weeks. 

Random Daegu Adventures

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There are a few places that I have been wanting to check out. Clarissa and I have actually done a lot of exploring with friends in the past two weeks. 

Our first adventure was Racoona Matata, a racoon cafe in downtown Daegu. I honestly don’t recommend it for small children. A friend went to check it out with some adults so we thought it would be fine to bring the kids there. It cost 4,000 won ($4) per person to enter the cafe. The racoons were cute. One was friendly but another was very aggressive and swiped at Clarissa’s face when she got close. The worker gave us what looked like dog food to feed them. I did pet them. Their fur was a little sticky. Clarissa was excited at first, but that only lasted five minutes and then was afraid of the racoons. Her friend liked it though. 

Our next adventure was the Daegu City Tour. For the first year and a half or so in Daegu, Clarissa really enjoyed Tayo. One of the grown up busses on the show is Cito, whose face is on the Daegu City Tour busses. Clarissa would often point and say, “Look! It’s Cito!” 

There are 14 stops on the bus and a full loop takes an hour and 45 minutes. But you can hop on and off the bus as much as you like in one day. It only costs 5,000 won ($5 usd) for an adult. Elementary school students cost 3,000 won and younger children ride for free. We got on at the beginning, Dongdaegu. But I think you can pay and get on at any stop. 

It didn’t matter to me how long we were on the bus, as long as we could say that we rode the Cito bus. It was a rainy day so we just decided on one place to go. I was surprised that there was not a toilet on this double decker bus. The kids needed to use the restroom at stop 10, the Apsan Observatory. Thankfully we found a toilet right near the stop and were able to hop back on before the bus left to continue to our intended destination. We got off on stop 12, Children’s Hall. 

I have not been to Children’s Hall in almost two years. It is a children’s museum. The kids had a great time. I was a little disappointed in that the exhibits that were broken on my last visit were still broken. In addition to the tour bus, there is a subway stop for Children’s Hall on the yellow line. 

Museum entrance is free. There is a “game room” where you can pay to ride mechanical figures. It costs 100 won (about 10 cents). You can also pay that price for the shooting range game. There are things to climb on and ride outside as well. 

We had lunch at Ricco Papa, a chain restaurant in Daegu. They have pasta, pizza, and random other things for decent prices. The best part is that there is a special room for families to eat that is attached to a play place for the kids where they can climb, slide, and jump on a trampoline. 

Our latest adventure was Dalseong Park. There is paid parking available on the street. But Dalseong Park is also a stop on the yellow line. 

The park itself is pretty with trees and rocks. The kids had plenty of space to run, jump, and climb. There is a bathroom facility and a free zoo. But it was a typical Korean zoo so the cages were small and the animals look sad. 

Parenting the Wholehearted Child 

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blogger that I follow recommended Parenting the Wholehearted Child. It sat on my bookshelf for about a year before I started it. It has taken several vacation travel days to finish, but I did enjoy it.  

The author, Jeannie Cunnion basically talks about a parenting shift. My goal is not to create an obedient child to make my life easier. Instead, my goal should be to parent Clarissa in a way that points her to Jesus. That the grace I give to her will help her to understand how much God loves her. 

Some of my favorite thoughts and ideas from the book:

  • The “where did you experience God’s presence today?” game P.73
  • Life verses for each child p.89
  • “Jesus loved me so much that He was more interested in the work He wanted to do in me and with me than He was concerned with giving me exactly what I thought I wanted at the very moment I thought I wanted it. ” p. 92
  • Thankfulness is learned P. 161
  • I really liked how she asks her kids “are you being a peacemaker or are you trying to get your brother in trouble?” p. 171 
  • Focus on what you want your child to start doing instead of what you want them to stop P. 222

She does a lot of correction by asking questions. What was your motivation for that behavior? What could you do instead? I think that also helps to get to know your child better. Sometimes when I ask Clarissa why she did something, her logic seems reasonable and I am able to guide her in making a better choice next time. 

Lifegiving Home: March 

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Three months into The Lifegiving Home and I really enjoy thinking about small changes that I can make to our home or schedule to make life easier or more enjoyable. 

Last month, I committed to letting Clarissa interrupt my housework to enjoy what she is doing. I have not done this very well. But I am at least making an effort to play more and let the dishes wait a little while. There is a quote I really like that I need to hang on my wall as a reminder. Dr John Trainer said, “Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work.” 

March is written by the daughter and focuses on finding the beauty in everyday life. 

One thing it mentions is introducing children to beauty through art and books. “With each new name children learn, with each description they hear of the world, language is teaching them what to pay attention to, how to perceive it, and what value to place upon it… As you fill your bookshelves and pick the images that fill your walls, consider the habits of thought and desire they will kindle in those who behold them.”

Clarissa loves to read. I can really see her imagination and creativity growing each day. She is one of the most imaginative three year olds that I have ever met. 

Another focus of this chapter was a family ritual. We do eat a family dinner at the kitchen table every night. We have a pancake breakfast most weekends. We enjoy spending time together. I imagine that these rituals will change as Clarissa grows. 

“The journey of ministry and Homemaking to which I have been called is a long one, and if I am to make it to the end with resilience, I need to plan for adequate rest along the way.” We need to be intentional about a family rest day. Clarissa and I need more time at home during the week as well. I like to be busy, but I find that our family does function better if we have some quiet time at home to rest. 

The book talks about family walking rituals. Now that the weather is nice, we can get outside more. We have done long walks both days on the weekend the past two weeks. Clarissa usually sits in her stroller for most of it, until we get to our designated playground for the day. Tim and I enjoy walking and talking. 

We especially like exploring new places. Clarissa likes our adventures. As she gets older, I imagine she will ditch the stroller and join more of the conversations. I would also like to attend a few festivals while we are here to learn more Korean culture. 

A regular date night with Tim should also be sacred. Clarissa can have her own fun with a babysitter now that she is older. 

A Life Giving Home Discussion and Link-up

Pennsylvania visit

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Apparently I acquired many things in Virginia because when I tried to check in my suitcase, it was 20 pounds over the weight limit. Oops. Mom is going to mail some to me instead. 

Clarissa did well on the flight to Philadelphia. She was again disappointed at the lack of TV. But I gave her a new activity book so she was fine. 

After the flight, a lady stopped me to ask how old Clarissa was and then asked me how to keep a toddler happy on a long flight. I wrote a post on that once so I need to go back and update it. 

On Wednesday, Clarissa, Omi, and I went to the Bloomsburg Children’s Museum. It only cost $6.50 per person for admission and it was excellent. We stayed two hours, but we would have stayed longer if it wasn’t closing time. 

There were two floors of interactive exhibits. The top floor was more geared toward preschool and lower elementary aged kids. There were life size dioramas of animals that live in Pennsylvania. There were even models of the animal homes. Some animals had crafts as well.  They had several matching games, a huge bird’s nest with bird costumes to wear, an Eastern Woodlands Indian longhouse, live turtles, giant teeth, cars with a race track, a boat, and a play house. 

The bottom floor was geared toward elementary and middle school kids. They had some dress up clothes, food pyramid activities, ancient Egypt, a one room school house, a coal mine, and dinosaurs. 

On Thursday we had lunch at the park where Tim and I were engaged. We didn’t get all the way to the marina because Clarissa was distracted by the playground. 

We went to the thrift store in the afternoon to get Clarissa some snow boots and snow pants. I was excited because we found both as well as black boots, brown boots, and some skirts for me. On the way home we spent some time with uncle Matt and aunt Anne. 

On Friday, we woke up to snow. Clarissa was so excited that she really wouldn’t eat her breakfast. Once outside, we tried to make a snowman and taught Clarissa how to have a snowball fight. 

We even went sledding which I had never done before. 

It was fun to walk around the yard and see how different things look in the snow. 

We spent the evening at Aunt Anne’s for a family dinner and a play date with her granddaughters. When it was time to say goodbye Clarissa went from “but I like it here” to “I want to go back to my homeland for Daddy to hold me for real (instead of Skype).” 

Saturday was one of my favorite days. Omi put in an old Sunday school music cassette tape and Clarissa loved it! She spent at least an hour dancing around the room. Then she spent a few hours playing Legos with Pop before making some jewelry with Omi. 

After dinner we went to Aunt Anne’s for a Jordan Essentials party and a play date for Clarissa. 

Sunday morning, Omi opened her birthday presents. Then we headed south to meet Tim’s kindergarten teacher who always sends Clarissa presents for holidays. We headed to Philadelphia to meet up with some other aunts and uncles before we headed to the airport. 

When we moved to Korea, we flew through JFK and had to change terminals and go through security again. I assumed it was because we switched airlines… We had to do that again this round. I was so glad we had a long layover because the trek between terminals and security took over two hours. 

We were able to Skype Tim before our flight. The flight wasn’t full so they changed our seats to give us our own row of 4. Clarissa fell asleep within 20 minutes and slept about 8 hours. Due to the increased space, I actually slept 4 hours on the plane, which never happens. 

We are on our train to Daegu now. Clarissa and I are so excited to see Tim. 

Visiting the homeland 

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Last summer, Tim and I were watching DVDs from Devoted and I knew that I wanted to come home and go to the conference in person for 2017. Two years is a long time to keep Clarissa away from the grandparents anyway. 

The obstacle was paying for the flights. But I got around that by signing up for two airline credit cards. The sign on bonuses gave us enough points to pay for my and Clarissa’s flights. While we definitely saved money this way, I don’t necessarily recommend this method. The flight times were not what I would have chosen. 

We took the train from Daegu to Incheon Airport in Seoul. Thankfully we made a new friend on the train which made getting on and off the train with a stroller, suitcase, and 3 year old so much easier. Plus we had a friend to eat dinner with at the airport. They had a cool play area to teach about an emergency water landing. 

We had an overnight layover in Dallas so we booked a hotel. Jet lag is always interesting and Clarissa slept about 6 hours on the flight so we only slept from about 9pm – 1245 am. 

We had chickfila at the Dallas airport and then flew to Philadelphia. Clarissa was disappointed that there wasn’t a TV on the plane but she did very well. 

She fell asleep on the next flight before we got to the runway. We were second in line to take off when they closed the Philadelphia airport. I was glad that Clarissa slept because the plane shook a lot during the storm. I think she would have been scared. Plus it was fun to have her snuggle/sleep on me. She is so tall now that she doesn’t really fit easily anymore. 

By the time we arrived in Norfolk, she had been asleep 5.5 hours so she was ready to play. That made for some fun playtime with Grammy and Pappy before bed. She eventually kicked me out of the bed at 4am because she wanted Grammy instead. 

Sunday was fun. My sister and her husband came over to celebrate my dad’s birthday. Clarissa was so tired that she fell asleep sitting up while playing behind the couch at 4pm and slept until 6am the next morning. 

On Monday we headed to the Virginia Aquarium. It was pretty cool in that most of the plant and animal life is indigenous to Virginia. There are two buildings with a pretty cool nature walk in between. Clarissa loved it. Then we checked some things off my bucket list with trips to the Full Cup, chickfila, and Target. Clarissa tried to play in a fountain outside and was very confused when we explained that in America, you are not allowed to play in fountains like in Korea. 

On Tuesday, we headed to the Virginia Zoo. Apparently there is a storytime every Tuesday at 11am called Zoo Tales. It was pretty cool. They read two books and Clarissa was able to touch a leopard gecko. I think if we still lived in Norfolk, we would attend regularly. 

After the zoo, we went to the Book Exchange for some free books and then headed back to my parents’ house to see my two aunts that came to town. Clarissa took a little nap so she lasted until 5pm that day. 

Wednesday one of my girlfriends drove up from Raleigh. We went to Mt Trashmore for a walk and then had a girls group reunion with some other friends at Plaza Azteca and Starbucks. I randomly ran into one of my Kentucky girls and then had dinner with another family from KPC. 

By Thursday Clarissa started asking when we would return to her homeland (Korea) to see Daddy for real (instead of Skype). She asked that question every day for the rest of the trip. 

On Thursday morning, we had a visit from another friend before we went swimming with Pappy. Clarissa really enjoyed the pool. Bow Creek Rec Center has a great kiddy pool with fountains and floats. It is also wheelchair accessible. You can pay for a day pass if you are not a member of the rec center. 

Thursday night was the first time I drove this trip. It took me a few minutes to realize that I was not in Korea and therefore reasonably safe while driving before I enjoyed driving by myself while listening to the radio. I really enjoyed hearing Darlene Zschech speak for the first night of Devoted

Friday was a full day of the the conference. As always worship was amazing and the teaching was great. In person is way better than just watching on DVDs. 

During the break on Friday afternoon, I came home to see my brother in law’s sister and meet her baby. Clarissa had a great time playing with her. 

Friday Clarissa also had a party with my parents. We have been in Korea for her last two birthdays so they wanted to have a Clarissa celebration. 

Saturday was the last day of Devoted and I was able to visit Josie during the break. I think she remembered me and she let me sit next to her and pet her. 

Saturday night we visited with an aunt and uncle that had come to see us. We also watched Hidden Figures which was an excellent movie. 

Sunday morning we went to church with my parents. Clarissa looked sad during worship and when I asked her about it she said, “I want to dance.” She danced for a few songs before she got tired and fell asleep. 

Then we had lunch with my family. Mom and I watched the latest Anne of Green Gables movie. It had different actors so we didn’t like it as much. 

On Monday, Clarissa was invited to try a gymnastics class at the Little Gym. She absolutely loved it. She did a decent job of following directions too. The parents were even invited to participate in the last ten minutes of the class. 

After class we headed to Norfolk to have lunch with Joe’s mom and grandma. Then I had a fun visit with another of my Kentucky girls and had dinner at Bangkok Garden with Shannon. 

Tuesday morning we started the trek to see Tim’s parents in Pennsylvania.

Lifegiving Home: February 

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Last month, I decided to try something new and blog through The Lifegiving Home each month for a year. 

In January’s post, I shared that I wanted to start an afternoon reading hour and make sure to read a Bible story with Clarissa every night. We have been reading, but still have not established a consistent reading hour.  We have been better about reading Bible stories. Clarissa looks forward to Bible stories now. She told my parents this week, “I like Jesus. He heals people.” 

Month two of The Lifegiving Home focused on how you treat people, or how to show love. Clarkson says, “All our life accomplishments, from God’s point of view, will be summed up by how much we loved God and how much we loved other people.” 

She talks about how we often get caught up in the practical things like cleaning a house instead of focusing on the relationships in our home. I am definitely guilty of telling Clarissa I can’t play with her because I need to do the dishes or some other chore that can wait. Clarissa will only be small for a short time and I don’t want to miss out on playing and witnessing her creativity because I was so busy with housework. 

I think my main goal this month is to make time for interruptions. I want to be able to really play and enjoy my three year old. The dishes can wait. Clarissa never wants me the entire day anyway. 

Clarkson says, “the narrative we tell ourselves as adults often grows out of the messages we received as children.” I want the message that Clarissa hears to be that she is loved and valued. That her parents cared enough about her to stop what they were doing to spend quality time with her. 

In this chapter, another focus is on traditions. Tim and I need to think about what birthday traditions we want to establish. 

A Life Giving Home Discussion and Link-up