You didn’t have to, but I am glad you did

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I’ve been meaning to write this post since before I moved…oops.

While the movers were at my house, I had a lot of downtime. I felt bad just sitting there while they were packing up my house. But when I tried to help, I was really in the way. So I spent a few hours on my couch as strangers packed. I had a few hours to peruse facebook and stumbled upon this blog post. It was the first day of Lent, and while I am not Catholic, I have definitely given up things for Lent before. But this was different. The thought of doing something for someone else everyday in Lent was intriguing.

I knew that it would be difficult to do during a move. So I didn’t commit to it everyday, but wanted to make more of an effort to serve others. In this process, I have come to think about some ways that others have blessed me in the past couple of months.

When I was a kid, one doctor thought that I might be allergic to penicillin. So I have just avoided it since I was ten. But I wanted to know for sure since I was going to a country where my doctors might not speak English. I have been gluten free and mostly dairy free for about nine and a half years. During the past year, I felt like my allergies were getting worse and I kept adding to the list of things I was avoiding in my diet. I decided to bite the bullet and go to an allergist before we moved.

When I started talking to the doctor, he looked at me and said, “I’ll test you, but I’m pretty sure you have grown out of all of those allergies by now.” So he tested me for a number of things and I’m not allergic to ANYTHING. We didn’t do seasonal allergies, because we’re moving and I figured there would be different allergens anyway.

Sometimes I can be a skeptic, so I decided to test this out. I have eaten plenty gluten and dairy without getting sick in the past two months! I don’t know if the doctor is right and I “just grew out of” these allergies or if God healed me to make life easier for my move to South Korea. Since arriving it has been difficult to find gluten free foods. The first time in the commissary, I didn’t see anything. But I looked closer the second time and found gluten free bread and pretzels. I don’t speak or read Korean yet, so reading labels in the Korean grocery store has been tricky.

God didn’t have make me able to eat those foods, but I’m really glad that He did. I have enjoyed trying new foods without fear of being sick because I don’t know what is in them. On a side note, I do think that my mood is more even keel when I eat gluten free. So I will probably eat that way most of the time. But it is nice to know that I can try new things once in a while.

Another blessing has come from my parents. They spent a lot of time watching Clarissa as we prepared to move (and during her life in general so that I could work or go on a date with my husband). It was such a blessing to be able to clean, pack, and paint without a toddler underfoot. I know that while she was with them she was having a great time and being loved on.

We had a great time visiting Tim’s parents for Christmas. We said goodbye then as we knew that we were probably going to move soon. But they did make it down for a short visit before we left. They got to spend a day out with Clarissa while new doors were being installed at the house. They bought me flowers for Valentine’s Day. They got Clarissa out of her crib before I heard her on Saturday morning so that I was able to sleep an extra three hours that day! Lisa even baked us a few different kinds of cookies for hotel life!

My sister washed and stripped the cloth diapers so that they would be ready to travel to South Korea.

My best friend Shannon spent her Saturday with me cleaning my house. She cleaned the bathroom and kitchen while I painted. And then when our flight was delayed a day and we didn’t have a car, she came to pick us up at the hotel after work and took the three of us out to dinner.

When we landed in Daegu, Tim’s boss and sponsor came to the airport to pick us up. They delivered us to the hotel. Tim’s sponsor spent most of the weekend giving us a walking tour of downtown Daegu, where we were staying. He also drove us to base a few times to get our IDs and pick up things we needed. He and Tim’s boss also helped us move our things from the hotel to our new apartment.

Or even when I think about our apartment. Most families are lucky to move into an apartment four to six weeks after arriving in Korea. We moved in to our apartment exactly two weeks after arriving in South Korea!

Those are just a few examples of ways that I have been blessed in 2015. They are all things that people didn’t have to do, but I am so glad that they did. I need to think about what I can do to bless others too.

 

 

Clarissa’s dedication and first birthday party

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I was already in love with my church. Clarissa’s dedication made me appreciate the leadership even more.

We had been waiting to dedicate Clarissa until both sets of grandparents were in town. My parents live here so that wasn’t a problem. Tim’s parents live in Pennsylvania and were planning to come for Clarissa’s first birthday. That was when I found out that Forefront usually does one baby dedication service per year in October. But, because they are awesome, the lead pastor and family pastor were willing to come to the house to do a private ceremony as part of Clarissa’s birthday party!

The week before, the family pastor emailed me three mp3s of parent talks. The talks were about thirty minutes total. Each one was well worth listening to. Each talk was different, but important. One talked about who you wanted your child to become. Not about what what profession you thought they should choose, but about character traits and who you think God created them to be. Another was about family life and the third was about our marriage. I am thankful that our church does a really good job of equipping parents to disciple their children.

We dedicated Clarissa outside on the deck. There was a nice breeze. It was beautiful. The family pastor talked about the significance of dedicating your child to the Lord and how a baby dedication is really more about the parents than the child. Then, I got to speak about Clarissa. What Tim and I see in her. Our goal for her is really just to be who God created her to be. Even if that looks different from what all of the other families are doing. We know that Clarissa was created for a purpose and that God has a huge calling on her life. After that, everyone laid hands on Tim and I and the lead pastor prayed over us. That we would seek God and raise Clarissa well. I really enjoyed it.

SONY DSCAfter the dedication, we had a cookout. Clarissa opened her presents. Or rather, I opened Clarissa’s presents and she played with the wrapping paper. We are so blessed with family who love us well and want to give Clarissa things she needs as well as fun things to play with.

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Then, Clarissa ate her first cupcake. The cupcake fell apart really easily. She had a great time playing with it and making a mess. She didn’t realize at first that she was supposed to eat it! Once I put a small piece in her mouth, she got the biggest smile on her face and started shoving pieces into her mouth. She loved it!

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