Thursday, February 23, 2017

We interrupt this life to bring you....Grief.

Or, why I haven't written in months.

Back in August we were preparing for a visit from my Brother and Sister-in-law.  Tom and Julie had to cancel their trip because Tom's health took a turn for the worse. With that call a shadow came over our family that still hasn't completely lifted. Tom and Mike are brothers separated by 18 years, their parents passed in 2001 and 2002. Since then the bond has only strengthened between brothers and sisters-in-law. Since Tom and Julie's children are grown they had already left that busy stage of parenthood that we are fully immersed in. You know the stage, the one that keeps you busy running to sports, clubs, lessons and seems to leave little time for anyone else unless it's a holiday. Add to that our life as a military family, and it was a formula for even greater separation. However, we were all determined not to allow that. By the grace of God we remained in Kentucky for 3 duty stations, and then spent 4 years in the commonwealth of VA. An easy distance for a family that enjoys road trips and spending time together. We made frequent trips to Louisville, monthly when at Fort Campbell and weekly it seemed when we were at Knox. Living in Virginia slowed our visits back, but Tom and Julie were willing and able to come our way too. This allowed us time to spend with one another and they were as bonded to our children as if they'd been their grandparents.

Tom had been diagnosed with cancer before we made the big move and had already beaten a brain surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible before we left.  However, cancer of his kind, usually gets the final word. We received a red cross message requesting our presence and by the Grace of God and the kindness of my husband's unit, our entire family was sent home for a two week visit.  This visit was an amazing gift both to us and to Tom and Julie. We stayed in their home and had two weeks of memory making and yummy food, trying to eat at all our favorite places together. We had a Hieb family reunion, visits with Murphy cousins, a daytrip to the Ark, and a trip to Lake Wawasee in Indiana. This is a location that the Hieb family had vacationed annually for over 100 years. Mike and his parents even lived and worked there one summer when Mike was a teenager. To get to visit and relive memories there was a gift we'll cherish for the rest of our lives. Our last night in town Tom had a seizure in a local restaurant. He proceeded to have several more through that night. We stepped onto our flights the next morning, knowing we would not see one another again outside of a video call. Tom's health continued to decline and on December 2 he saw his Savior face to face and was reunited with loved ones.

Mike was able to blessedly return home again to be present for his only sibling's memorial and be there with Julie, Erin and Dan. He brought home tokens of Tom's life for our children to keep with them.  Encouraged by the cold and dreariness that is winter in Daegu (yet still milder that what we were warned of) Mike and I have wrapped ourselves in something of a cocoon these last few months. But God is gracious and has sent new friends and activities that prevent us from withdrawing completely or wallowing as I sometimes want to do. Now He has told me it's time to write about these experiences again, and so I will.
Incheon International Airport, we were much earlier than we needed to be.

Japan has one of the best airports!

Later than expected, but we made it to Louisville! With all our luggage.

Bonus! We got to attend my brother's wedding!

We got to see Mike and Tom's cousin and his wife with two of their grandkids.

This is more like it.

Lunch stop on our way to the Ark!

Well worth the visit, but that's a post for another day :).
Lake Wawasee!
Road Trip to Lake Wawassee! All 8 in one van!


Love

The Hulk and his panda crew.

Trying out our Korean facemasks (they are awesome)
Boating has long been a part of this families life.


Trying a new to us Seafood place at Wawasee

A trip to Wawasee isn't complete without Schopoff's
Another yummy meal :)


Big Family reunion. Almost all the Hieb children, grandchildren and a few greats.

Last night in Louisville.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Perseverence and the making of a football mom

We home school our children, so I'd secretly delighted that my husband's dream of having high school football players wasn't going to happen. While I enjoy watching the occasional college football game, I never delighted in the idea of my boys being on the field, with all those other boys trying to hurt my precious children.

I remember sitting in a little waiting room while my youngest two boys were in their weekly speech therapy session at our local elementary school. On the wall was one of those motivational posters that list positive character traits. I only remember one of the traits, because I thought, there is no way that a school can instill that trait. It was perseverance. I always remember how to spell perseverance, well persevere, because it contains the word severe. And that's how you gain perseverance, you have to go through something severe to get there. And I laughed at that little sign in a public elementary school, thinking there is no way our society will intentionally allow children to go through severe circumstances in order to instill a quality character trait.

My favorite scripture regarding this is found in Romans 5:  3Not only so, but wec also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

I love it, and I don't. Because I personally kind of avoid hard things, although I've done them, and generally I find that in the end, it didn't seem that hard, because God was right there carrying me through it.

The reason I'm talking about this, is because I'm watching my son right now, learn this lesson. And I could not be more proud of him. And I told him, regardless of how this ends, I will forever be proud of him, because he is overcoming obstacles others have never dealt with. Around the age of  9 we noticed that he was gaining weight pretty rapidly, it took a bit before we finally learned that his thyroid was out of wack. And while we got his numbers under control, and he grew to an amazing 6'2" and still going. His weight never quite stabilized like we hoped.  Kids teased him and he was definitely aware of his size as being the biggest in the room. When we moved here to Korea he decided to make some changes. He gave up soda, and started hitting the gym 3 days a week with his dad, and then revealed he planned to join the Football team.

He hasn't played football since he was 8 and won the regular season flag football championship. Yesterday was the very first practice. He lasted 15 minutes before becoming overcome with heat and puked in a trash can. He tried to go back out, but seeing spots sent him back to the sidelines.

Lesser men, would have quit, and decided football wasn't for him.  On the way home he said, "Do you think S would want to play with me?" Not only was he going back, he wanted his brother on the team with him.  He realized he hadn't drank enough water, and determined that he would drink water for the rest of the day and make sure to drink enough before practice today.

At 3:30 he and his brother headed out the door for today's practice. My husband and I arrived to watch the last 30 minutes of practice and they were both going strong.  The last 20 minutes were for running. I watched as he went across the field in 10 yard increments, having to drop and do push ups for false starts, without quitting. His teammates encouraging him as the recognized how hard it was getting. Then as they reached the other side, he realized his body was done. So not only did he push himself farther than he thought he could go, he had the maturity to know the signs of when he needed to stop. He only missed the last sprint of practice.

As a parent, I wanted to see the road easy before my children, that life would always treat them kindly. But, that isn't the way it works. But more importantly, I want them to be people of Godly character. And if this is how God is going turn my son into a Man of Character, then give me the Green and White pompoms and "Go Warriors!!"

Saturday, August 6, 2016

The Dresser :)

I had posted on facebook soon after we arrived asking for help choosing a color for a dresser we shipped over to use as our entertainment center. Normally my husband would pitch a fit anytime I talk about painting wood furniture, but this got so scratched up, that even he agreed it needed a paint job. Unfortunately, I thought I had good before shots when I started painting and it turns out this is the only one I have:



The dresser can be seen to the right. I had three colors in mind, all from Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint. Either a deep green (boxwood), navy (artissimo), or white (farmhouse white). The vote was pretty evenly split though between navy and green. I loved the green and had used it to paint my grandmother's dining table.



However, in the end I felt maybe something new was needed...navy it was.

When I painted my grandmother's table I used an additive to keep the milkpaint from flaking. I decided to take my chances this time and see what happened. I also chose to keep the top wood color and sanded it to take the edge off some of the boy's carvings, and to remove a few water rings before using hemp oil to revive the wood. Over all I love the final product. What do you think?

The first coat looked more slate than navy.
The painting is finished, and it's still not the Navy I was looking for.
Oooh, and it's getting chippy :).

hemp oil to the rescue!
I covered the entire piece with hemp oil,
which seals, and deepens the paint color. Perfect!
What a difference the hemp oil makes!
One drawer chipped very heavily,
after living with it a bit, I love it!



The finished product!
Even my husband approved (although he isn't as fond of the chippy)


This is a very forgiving product it has a nice matte finish and is SO forgiving.  Check out
Miss Mustard Seed for even more great ideas and makeovers.



Monday, August 1, 2016

Nesting: Part 1: the generic army apartment





I'm a nester. I love to make our home personal, cozy, warm, inviting, comfortable, and all those other phrases the shelter mags use. I follow blogs, read magazines and even buy books about the topic. So now, it's time to share with you some of our home away from home! First off are some pictures of our home after we received our Unaccompanied baggage. meaning we had a few comforts, but not much.
Our entry hall. We actually have two of these.

 
View from entry hall. This is all government loaner furniture that we kept.
This is actually one of my favorite features of our home,
because we are high, we have an amazing view of the mountains.
We purchased plants and plant stands in our first week here. Stateside we always keep a garden and put flowers out.

From the balcony, it's a very generously sized room.






Two views of the kitchen. The right side originally had two tall cabinets, but we swapped one tall out for a counter height cabinet from the laundry room. Who knew that cabinetry could be so easily reaaranged. I've heard of some folks doing a full on switch of the kitchen and laundry.






Kitchen left side, yes it's small as it looks and
o your eyes aren't deceiving you, there is only one drawer in the entire kitchen.


This is the VERY long hall that runs the length of our apartment.
From this angle, you are looking at the dining room we just left. The main bathroom and four of the bedrooms open off of this hallway, with the 5th bedroom door frame being visible on the right of the picture. The double doors on the left are one of two large closets located on the hall. Which are very nice for storage.



These are views of the master bedroom, with the government issue queen size bed. 







 Child bedroom 1, no A/C in this room.




Child room number 2




Child room number 3
(I did warn him that I was taking pictures for the blog the day I took these.)




 
And Child room #4, it's the smallest, but he's so happy to have his own room, he doesn't mind.








And finally the last living area. We didn't keep any of the furniture in this room. We also didn't put a TV in our unaccompanied baggage, so the couch was arranged to face the computer screen :).
There is an area to the right that goes back about 4-5 feet, which is where an arm chair is placed.
And we have a second balcony. Off of this room is also a laundry room, which was formally a kitchen, it has a nice sized pantry that we use as the army closet. Unfortunately, I forgot a before picture, but it's pretty much like the other kitchen just with a washer and dryer instead of refrigerator and stove.






I also forgot to get pictures of the bathrooms, so I'll include those in the next blog of how it's no longer generic. But, here are some quirky little features that wouldn't otherwise get featured.


Flower shaped light covers in both large living areas.

The curtain tracks, over every window


The triple level windows: a screen, a clear glass sliding panel,
and a frosted glass sliding panel. These are in every bedroom.