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Sunday, October 31, 2010

What Faith Looks Like


I haven't brought up the adoption on here in quite a while.  It's not that anything has changed, or perhaps it's because nothing has changed that I've been silent.  We're playing a waiting game, and I don't have any new news to share.

Except that I'm getting scared.  Not scared about the adoption, just scared of what happens if it continues to drag out?  What happens if for some reason it doesn't go through?  What then?  We've experienced loss like  that before, and I never want to feel that way again.  But in some way, I already do.  We miss our girls.  We miss sharing experiences with them.  And in my mind (maybe this isn't reality, but it's how I feel) the stakes are so much higher than they were before.  Don't get me wrong, the stakes were high.  We were invested in Elliana's life and we miss her being a part of our family, but as a baby in the US, if she didn't end up in our family there was a family out there who wanted her.  In fact, there were waiting lists of families that wanted her.  Want her.  We were one of many, and I was fine with that because that is the path that God had brought us down.  But with our girls the situation is different.  They have a family and they aren't going to get to go back and live with them.  Their family, for whatever reason, is unwilling and/or unable to care for them.  Their family wants what is best for them, and they support the adoption.  We want what is best for them and are humbled to be afforded the opportunity to be their parents.

Everyone who should have a say supports this.  And yet we wait.

Don't get me wrong, I get it.  I know why there are background checks, notary checks, hundreds of documents, etc.  I just wish it could be faster.  Our girls are in limbo.  We are in limbo.  We want to be together.

And now that I'm in Korea; the farthest away from them I've ever been, I'm really starting to feel fear.  What happens if...

I know this is natural.  Adoption is loss.  And the girls are worth the pain.  They deserve to have people that love them so much and ache to have them close.  So I'm willing to go through it.  I just wish I knew when the waiting would be done.  I wish I knew for sure that the waiting will for sure be done someday. But there are no guarantees and I'm scared to hurt again.

I need a boost of faith.  Because faith drives out fear.  I believe God's brought us to this place and he's working in his time to get us there.  I just need to have faith and stop worrying so much.  And maybe I need to think more about the girls and less about myself.

In order to symbolically step out in fear, I'm casting on 61 stitches in Christmas Red on my size 6 knitting needles.  I've put off working on the girls stockings because if the adoption were to fall through I didn't want to have to face one more reminder at Christmas of our loss.  But I'm casting on in faith.  God will bring me through this.  I just need to have faith.  So, for the time being, knit one pearl one is my form of faith.

Because even if we lose everything else...faith, hope and love will always remain.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Bridges in Seoul=Life

Water fountains off of the bridge at night-they change color!



The bridge at twilight...such a magical hour

Sunset, much more impressive in person.

This post should be titled "Because Pollution Can Be Pretty" or something like that...I'm pretty sure that it's smog that turns the sky those pretty/hazy colors. 

One thing I think Koreans do really well is make bridges.  Their bridges are all aesthetically pleasing, but especially at night.  Seoul is laid out in such a way that the Han River runs through the middle of it, separating Old Seoul (that I love!) on the North, and "New Seoul" (where I live) on the South.  There are several bridges to cross the river, and at night they are just beautiful.  They have colorful lights, water spraying from them-so pretty.  

In a city with a lot of neutrals, I really appreciate the life the bridges bring to the city. 

2010 Craft Goal-Only 5 More!


Project #25
Knit Flower Bud Hats
(3)

I loved the red one when I finished it, but I wasn't thrilled with how hard it was to see the pattern.  I had two skeins of this delicious cream merino wool that my mother in law gave me 8 years ago, and I decided to make one out of that. 

I fell in love.  So I used up the two skeins making them.  Two are 2 years to adult size, and one is child sized.  I'm thrilled with the one in the picture and I am keeping it for myself!  

Only 5 more to go, friends!  I may make it!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Tate Quotes: 2nd Korean Edition



Straight from the mouth of this Cutie!






Tate: Mom, why does Daddy have to go to work?
Me: To make money, Buddy.
Tate: So we can give it all away to people that need it?

I know I already shared this on Facebook, but I want to keep them all here, too.  This was a super proud mom moment!

*******

Setting: The park.  We'd been playing for a while and it was downright cold.

Me: Tate, it's time to go.  It's cold.
Tate:  Mom, when is it going to stop colding so I can go outside play more?

In reality?  Probably not until May.  Thank goodness for long underwear and gloves!

*******

And Britney, I agree.  It's time to come back to Oregon!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Irony much?


I realize you have no clue what I was trying to take a picture of here.  That's OK, I'll explain.  

Here in Korea, it's illegal to talk on phone while you're driving unless you have a bluetooth.  I'm totally in support of this.  I was when the law passed in Washington and Oregon, and I'm totally in support of it here, too (probably because I've encountered some of the worst drivers in my entire career here).  

I amend my former statement.  I was in favor of it, until I learned what is legal here. 

So what exactly is legal here?
  • Not wearing seatbelts (apparently)
  • Not using car seats
  • Children climbing from the front seat to the back over and over
  • Watching TV on your GPS. 

In case you missed that, I'll say it again:

It is permissable to watch TV WHILE DRIVING


Which is what the guy in front of us was doing.  We've seen it all over, and finally had the camera with us to try and catch it.

Quite possibly the dumbest thing to allow EVER. 

Personally, I would rather ride with someone talking on the phone.  I'd feel much safer.  I've tried to rationalize this but have failed.  I've tried to be the devils advocate, but cannot come up with one good reason to allow this.   

Thoughts?



Friday, October 22, 2010

The Glory of the Lord

Sunset on the way home from Dog Mountain
Portland, OR
8/2010


Fall Color
Bukhansan National Park
10/2010


Dog Mountain Hike
Southern Washington
8/2010

View from the Summit, Dog Mountain
8/2010

The Peak
Bukhansan Nat'l Park
10/2010

Snake Island
Philippines
9/2010

Palawan
Philippines
9/2010

Waterfall
Thailiand, 
10/2010




I love LOVE sharing pictures that inspire me, especially pictures of the beautiful world we live in.  I'm not particularly good at picture taking, but I'm getting a bit better.  In honor of the beauty I saw yesterday, and something that LT Wonderful said, I'm going to share some of my favorites on here.

Lately, Tate has been asking what things are saying.  And he's referring to inanimate objects...we never know how to respond, other than to ask him what he thinks they are saying.  Yesterday he asked LT Wonderful what the mountain was saying.  LT Wonderful's response was right on:

 "Buddy, they are declaring the Glory of the Lord!"

And they were.  So in honor of that, I thought I'd share recent Glory moments that we've seen.  Because really, can you ever see enough beauty?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

This really happened

The following is a real conversation I had with LT Wonderful one night after a long day of work and being stuck in traffic [and it's also a really good example of how fun sleepy conversations are].

LT. Wonderful:  Man, it would be so awesome to be married to an elephant...you know, if it were socially acceptable.

Me: ummmmmm...

LT Wonderful: You know, because imagine riding an elephant in traffic.  You could just walk right over the cars and squash them to bits.

Me:  Sweetheart, you do realize that most cars are bigger than elephants, right?  And that squashing the cars would compound the problem of traffic congestion?

LT Wonderful: I guess so.

Me: And, you could have the same benefits from simply owning and elephant, you don't actually have to marry one.

LT Wonderful: Oh, you're sooooooo right!





Oh, Darling, how fun you are!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My Favorite Things

I haven't done one of these in a while, so I've decided to do book edition.  Or, more accurately, an author edition.

Have you heard of Mark Batterson?  He's the pastor of National Community Church in D.C. and the author a few books, two of which I've read and one is on my list.

I read his second book, Wild Goose Chase, first.   I loved it.  It was convicting, thought provoking and easy to read...I didn't feel like I was reading a Christian College text.  The book engaged me and challenged me.

At the urging of my dad I picked up Primal, Batterson's latest release.  I'll be honest, the $17.99 price tag was quite a bit for me to choke down.  But I did it.  And I don't regret it.  Reading it after "The Hole in our Gospel" has been a great pairing.   Mark and I are reading it slowly, trying to let it seep into our souls, knowing that the Holy Spirit is speaking to us.  Basically, Batterson is bringing us back to the lost Soul of Christianity.  He's talking about loving God with our Heart, Soul, Mind and Strength.  It's challenging, it's encouraging.  I think we can all identify one or two areas that we succeed (for me it's heart) and then areas that we really need to work on (umm...mind, anyone?)

I'm going to share a couple of my favorite quotes with you.  I'm only about 60% finished, though, so I'm sure there will be more to add, later.


"Compassion is the Ultimate Apologetic.  There is no defense against it."
Wow.  And it's so true.  This fuels me to be as compassionate as I can because he's right-when we have compassion toward people without an ulterior motive (other than loving them because Christ loves them) we can change the world.

"If you tune out God's convicting voice, you can't hear is comforting voice, either."


Ouch. 

"Sometimes loving God with all your heart simply means listening to your heart instead of your head."
Especially in giving, I try and rationalize sometimes why I should do something I feel deep down that I should.  That's not loving God with my heart or mind.

"In essential things, unity.  In nonessential things, freedom.  In all things, love." Rupertus Meldenius

I could go on and on about this one.  I really believe that as the church this should be a slogan we remember.  I realize we can't and won't agree on every little thing, God made us each different.  But if we graciously allowed freedom in non essential things and loved in all things (rather than judge in all things) I really believe we'd see a revolution.

"Learning glorifies God when it's done for the right reasons-to know God more so you can love him more."


I can honestly admit that my brain sometimes will lay dormant for days on end.  Between wiping noses and butts I sometimes let my mind go numb.  But I shouldn't.  There's too much to learn.  I wrote in my journal after reading this passage:

"I need to learn more about God's creation because he wouldn't call it good if he didn't like it-wasn't proud of it.  And you can learn a lot about a creator [or artist] by studying what they have made."

And it's true.  If you scan through the projects I've done this year you can probably deduce a bit about me.  The same with God.  My seeking out what he has made, I can learn more about him.

So, while I'm here in Korea that's what I'm going to be focusing on.  Learning more about our amazing God through the lens of Korea...even if I think it's kind of skewed.

Now that I have finished my tangent, allow me to say that I really think you should pick up Primal and read it.  It could change your life!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Found me some Soul, Baby!

Finally!


I went here today, to the Underground Market, which isn't quite as romantic as it sounds, but I found kindred spirits here, and that's all that matters.   

Want proof?  Look at all the color!


 Photo from www.mangovine.net

I found several small yarn shops with some awesome weaving capabilities!  There were artists all over.  I was in heaven.  This is where they've all been hiding!  

It was sad to me that there were almost no young Koreans there.  I hope that the arts don't die with the older generation.  

But for the time being, I'm not going to dwell on that.  I'm doing to dwell on the fact that there were several ladies all knitting together, wearing different shades of royal purples, reds and blues.  And, it should be pretty easy to get there by train.  So if I'm feeling lonely I can grab the boys and be there in less than a half hour...without driving!

I've found some peeps!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Excuses



Life has been a bit harried lately.  LT Wonderful was working from home all last week...I love the man more than life but man, our apartment is small.  He went to work today, but will most likely be home for the rest of the week.  I'm looking forward to it, though, because we've got a hike or two planned!

So, the posts were a bit content-lacking the past week, and probably won't be all that great this week.  I'm just a little out of sorts with my routine in shambles.  As much as I'd like to think of myself as a free spirit, the truth is that I love my routine.

In case you're curious how we spent our first day back in our "routine" let me tell you--NOT fun.  Tate's had an upset stomach all day and been laid up on the couch.  Theo thinks Tate is in the perfect position for a little something we call a baby bomb, so I've been playing EOD (Explosive Ordinance Disposal-but perhaps EOR would be better.  R would be "redirection") all day long.

I don't have any solid plans after bed time, but I know that the plans I do have involve yarn, perhaps a TV show on hulu and a glass of wine  water because tomorrow LT Wonderful have our 1 week weigh in for our weight loss deal.  Basically we're both trying to lose a set amount by Thanksgiving.

Now you're up to date on our whole lives.  Seoul is getting a little chilly and stinky because the pollution from China comes over here.  We really enjoy getting out of the city, though, and can't wait for our upcoming hikes!

So, what's up with you?

Oh, and the picture has nothing to do with anything.  It's Theo in Thailand, waiting at the airport for our shuttle.  

Friday, October 15, 2010

2010 Craft Goal Update


Project #24

Lacy Flower Bud Hat

Knit
(The first picture is true to the color of the hat.  I changed it in the second to show detail that wasn't easily seen with bright red). 



I've never done a lacy knit pattern before and I loved this one!  As a bonus, it's a stretch to fit so it fits all sizes, Theo to me!  How cool is that?

I used up a random ball of yarn that I had laying around...it was too small to do anything much with but perfect for this lacy number. 

24 down...6 to go

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Test For Laurie

Examples From Nature


I love mangroves

And I love my man.  

He said, 
"I love the awesome strength that comes from their chaos."

Beautiful. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Thailand Trip Pictures


So normally I would post a hundred pictures looking similar to the one above to make you all jealous share the beauty of Thailand with you.  This time, however, you are spared.  A certain 4 year old took control of my camera and managed to take about 100 pictures of his dad's leg and some random guy's foot (see below) and our batteries died.  

We do have a few good pictures and I'm sure they'll surface eventually but for now...that's all, Folks!

Peace and love, 
Jenni 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Going "Home"

I'll be honest.  Going "home" after a vacation with friends is a sweet, sweet thing.  I love vacation.  And I love going home.  It's a wonderful feeling, going back to the place that you've created for your family to live. 

Our home is a space that I've worked hard to make warm, loving, full of fun, laughter, and music.  A place that inspires creativity, critical thinking and encourages learning.  

Our home isn't perfect, but I like to think that I've gotten better at creating a home.

Anyway, one of the reasons I love our home is because I love what surrounds it.  And to be completely honest, when I boarded the plane, what I was wanting to see when I got off was something along the lines of this:


This is the arboretum in Seattle.  It's beautiful.  The fall colors in the Pacific NW are incredible.  Not to be missed.  Autumn is hands down my favorite time of year.  And I'm missing it. 

But, God knew that I needed to see something beautiful and inspiring, and he gave me this:



Not the same as fall color, but in the midst of the dreary Seoul landscape, it was like a breath of fresh air. 

So, we're "home" and really, really looking forward to getting to visit our real home in about 6 weeks!

Peace and love, 
Jenni 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Unplugged

We're currently taking a break from Mark's 16-18 hour work days and spending some time as a family.  In trying to honor that, I've been unplugged for the last couple of days and plan to stay that way for the next few. 

I'll be honest, I've checked email a couple of times because we've had some house issues to take care of, but that's been it.  It's been nice taking a break.

So, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to continue with said break for a while longer.  Have a great week!  We are too!

Peace and love,
Jenni

Monday, October 4, 2010

2010 Craft Goal Update-AGAIN!

OK, so perhaps I don't do much here in Korea...

Project #23
Screwy Scarf
(that LT Wonderful hates)




The colors don't show up very well so I'll have to take some pictures outside in natural light.  I think then maybe I'll be happier with how they show...they really are five very different shades.  I bought these about 4 years ago and I made one scarf and I had a ball of each left over and I was saving them for another something "inspired".  I knew it'd be a scarf, but I didn't just want to do another version of the same thing I've done a hundred times.

Then I saw this pattern in a book and I loved it!  LT Wonderful does not, though, it's too funky for him.  Oh well.  You win some...blah blah blah.

I've never used this method and I thought it was fun!  I wish it could be a little bit longer, but I only had a  small amount of each.  If I had to make another one, I'd probably use only three strands because it's pretty bulky.  I think the five will be nice this winter while we're in Korea though.  You can see from the top picture that it nicely covers the neck/throat area and is very soft and snuggly.

It's such a relief to have that yarn used!  I feel as though it's been taunting me in the closet, waiting for me to find my inspiration.  Now I feel profound relief knowing it's been put to good use.

7 left my friends...

Sunday, October 3, 2010

2010 Craft Goal Update


Project #22
4 HOPE Hats

This one is a special order for a dear friend

There are two of this one.  They are size 1 year to adult.  It's hard to believe, but it stretches to fit!

And this is a 0-12 months hat. 

I used up the ball of the green/blue yarn!  I'm slowly but surely getting there!

Only 8 projects left to complete my goal!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Hike That Wasn't

On Saturday we decided to go on a hike here in Korea. 

There's a decent amount of national parks here, and I made a list of the ones I wanted to see and planned out each weekend trip.  

LT Wonderful was totally on board, told me he knew how to get there (HA!) and we were off. 

Except, he didn't know how to get there.  So we drove to the coast instead.  If you're wondering, that's 3.5 hours away.  

His big selling point is that now we can say we've been on "both sides of the Pacific Ocean and not many people can say that."

So here are pictures of our "hike":


Mark in the Pacific Ocean


 Theo and I on our way to the water

Tate doing what he does best at the beach...


 Tate loved the fresh fish seafood places

And got a kick out of mocking them


Tate wanted to take a picture, so he took one of us.  I was shocked!  It's the best picture of us I've seen in a long time! (And yes, that's in a coffee shop)

Theo is getting the hang of this coffee shop thing!



All in all, it was a great "hike".  Tate's already asked if we can go on another one again soon.