Monday, January 31, 2011

Seeking Him

Today is the last day in January.  Wow!  I hope the next year keeps on moving. 

While we are trying to enjoy our two year tour here in Korea, we are also struggling.  I have encouraged women in the past that the Army may cut the orders, but it’s God who ordains our steps….but at this moment in my life, I am struggling to believe that statement.

Except for the little ones who really don’t know better, the rest of us are having a hard time.  I must say that I feel God is stretching us in ways that we have not been stretched before.  As my husband and I laid in bed last night talking about our struggles here in Korea, I was reminded that we are on a journey in life.  Sometime we are on the top of the mountain, while other times we are in the valley.  Right now, I feel like I am in the valley.

Things here are so very different than at our last duty station.  I think that if we had come to Korea first, I would have been inclined to tell Angel that we made a bad decision to join the Army.  In Texas, we had a strong Chaplain Spouse support group.  The women in my “coffee group” were my encouragement and strength, especially in the midst of a deployment.   Here, I finally received an invite to a coffee after being here for 7 months and couldn’t attend because of the location.

Our previous units were strong with FRG, making sure the information went out and Officer’s wives coffee groups.  Here the FRG is a baby, information is hard to get and there are only 50 families in our unit that are here in Korea.  The rest of the soldiers are single or have been assigned to a one year tour without their families.

I am learning that sometimes I need to learn to depend on God alone…not my coffee group, or spouses’ group or FRG.  Christ needs to be the constant in my life.  The first one I turn to when I am struggling or having a bad day.  I need to focus on the positive things instead of all the negatives ones that seem to overwhelm me here.  I need to show an attitude of gratitude, especially around my children.  If they continually see me complaining, they will follow suit.

 I need to surrender it all to the Lord.  To draw my strength from Him.  To allow Him to work in and through me.  And yes, change me, if need be.  That’s a hard thing to say.  Change me Lord.  So many times we want to change our circumstances or other people, but sometimes it’s us that needs to be changed.

So if you are struggling with life.  Feeling like you are in the valley.  That your prayers are bouncing off of the heavens.  Let this be a time to reflect, to trust Him even more, to let Him change you.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Counting Down

I'm so excited.  

In just 49 days, my mom is coming to Korea to visit us.  Did I say how excited I am?  It's been over 7 months since I have seen my parents and I miss them.  My mom will be here for almost a month.  My dad will be joining us a little bit later, as he has to work and can only be here for two weeks.

I am planning things for us to do while they are here.  We are going to visit Yoido Full Gospel Church (which has approximately 1 million members), see some palaces and temples and do some sightseeing around the city of Seoul.  We also hope to take a hop over to Beijing, China to be able to see The Great Wall.

We have about 14 months left of our tour and there is much to see and do in this beautiful country.  While some days it is hard living in a country that does not speak English, we have a unique opportunity that many will never get.

We want to take advantage of our time in Korea and especially having family join us for a few weeks.

Our next countdown will be for a visit to the states after the school year ends, so we have much to look forward to in the next 6 months.

Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in the monotony of the day, week or even month.  We need to stop and find something to look forward to, to be grateful for or to celebrate.

Take sometime today to reflect on the good things that are in your life.  If they are people, let them know what they mean to you.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Extreme Frugality: Meet the Carters - Gourmet Magazine

While visiting a fellow blogger, I came across this video and I just had to share it.  I lean very much to the frugal end of the spectrum.  I want to be able to sustain our family off of our land.  I love some of the changes they have made and one day hope to have a garden to support our family.  

I guess with our current living arrangements, in an apartment in South Korea, it won't be happening anytime soon.  But I can always dream and plan for the future. I need to check out youtube again and see if this family has posted any newer updates on their families quest to Extreme Frugality.

Monday, January 24, 2011

2011 Book List

I know …I’m a bit behind in posting this.  I should have had my list done weeks ago but
alas I have waited until now.  My minimum goal is to read at least one book a month. If I can do more, than I will add to this list at a later point.  While some of these books have been recommended to me by friends or family, the others one are authors that I have
read previously but just haven’t gotten around to reading this particular book
on the list.
  1. Crazy Love by Francis Chan
  2. The Hole in our Gospel by  Richard Stearns
  3. Am I Messing Up My Kids? By Lysa TerKeurst
  4. Fight Like a Girl by Lisa Bevere
  5. The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace
  6. She’s Gonna Blow by Julie Ann Barnhill
  7. Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends by  Sarah Mally, Stephen Mally, Grace Mally, and Harold Mally
  8. Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer
  9. Have a New Husband by Friday by Dr. Kevin Leman
  10. Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
  11. The Reluctant Entertainer by Sandy Coughlin  ( I won this one on a blog giveaway last year)
  12. Love & Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
  13. Redemption by Karen Kingsbury

Do you have a book list put together yet?   What are you reading this year?   

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; 
courage to change the things I can;and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; 

Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;That I may be reasonably happy in this life 
and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next. Amen.
                      --Reinhold Niebuhr

Monday, January 10, 2011

Shrimp with Feta

My mom had a good friend who came to live with our family for awhile when I was growing  up.  She was a very special person to our family.  She made this recipe for us and I just loved it.  I added it to my hope chest, as I was not married at the time.  Over the years, I will make this recipe for special occasions. 

 I have modified the original recipe a bit and do it entirely on the stove instead of putting it in the oven.  At times I will also use white cooking wine when I don't have any vermouth on hand.  It is still by far one of our families favorites and whenever shrimp are on sale, this is our go to recipe.  I just had to share it with you and hope you love it as much as we do.  

Thank you Ms. Andye for sharing with me.

Shrimp with Feta

6 Tbs. unsalted butter
3 cloves of minced garlic
3/4 tsp of dried oregano
1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes
pinch of salt.
2 lbs. of shrimp, peeled and deveined
3/4 c. dry vermouth
12 oz chopped plum tomatoes
3 oz feta cheese
1/4 c. fresh parsley

Melt butter in a heavy skillet.  Add garlic, shrimp, oregano, pepper, and salt.  Cook until shrimp are pink, turning once every 2 1/2 minutes.  Transfer shrimp to another dish.  Add vermouth to the skillet and boil until reduce by half (about 3 minutes).  Add tomatoes and stir until heated through  Return shrimp to the skillet and crumble feta on the top.  Cover and cook for about 8 more minutes.  Sprinkle with parsley and serve over pasta.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Ken and Barbie

Thanks to the US Postal Service, we are still receiving Christmas gifts into January. While a package normally takes about 5 to 7 days to get to us from the states, the holidays seemed to have extended that time to around 17 - 20 days.

Today another package came in the mail.  The girls were excited to see what their cousins had sent to them.  I already knew what they were getting, since it was one of the things on their "wishlist".  When the two little girls opened their gifts, they jumped for joy.  It was a boy Barbie.

They were happy because now the boy Barbie could marry the girl Barbie.  I thought that was so cute but what I heard next was even funnier.  Breanna (4) said to her sister...."Do you think he looks young?"   LOL

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Tae Kwon Do

Tae Kwon Do is Korean martial arts and is also the national sport of Korea.  There are so many different places that one can take Tae Kwon Do.  In the summer, when the windows are open, I can hear students practicing.

This year, Katelyn decided she wanted to try Tae Kwon Do, so we signed her up for a month to see how she would like it.  In Korea, extra curricular sports, music and learning beyond school are very important.  Music schools, English schools and Tae Kwon Do Academies pick up students from their school or even homes and transport them to and from their classes.

Katelyn's Tae Kwon Do class meets every weekday for one hour.  The bus picks her up in the apartment complex and brings her home after class.  I am not sure what a class like this would cost in the states, but here we are paying about $80.00 a month.  I thought that was a bit high but other friends think that is a good deal.

I'm not sure if this will be something Katelyn wants to continue after the first month or not, I guess we'll have to wait and see how she does.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Making Our Family Effective

I am not one for New Year's Resolutions because ultimately I know that they end up being good intentions that are never followed through.  I do see the beginning of a month and especially the beginning of a new year to be a  time to start something fresh.  

When you look at a calendar for a new year, it's open....blank....ready to be filled up, but not too much, we don't want to be over committed now.

One of the things that my husband and I plan to do is to have a family night(s).  Those nights might be for playing board games or the Wii, talking about issues that affect our family or simply getting out instruments and having a time of worship.

Since my husband recently received training on the 8 Habits of Successful Marriages and some of Covey's other materials, we have been looking at how to make our family more effective.  We decided to go over some of the materials of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Military Families with the kids.  We had our first meeting the other night and talked about Values, Views and Habits.

The outcome of that meeting was that the top three things that were important to our family were:

Our relationship with God

Spending time with our family

Encouraging each other / Me Time   (these were tied)

We plan to have weekly meetings to go over the rest of the materials as a family.  But we don't want it to be all business.  Tonight Angel and the girls played a card game called Blink.  Since he was playing with a 4 year old and almost 6 year old, they took the game a little bit slow, but they all had fun.

I hope that as this new year is beginning, we can pick up with our plans and good intentions and make them into a reality.  

What activities have you wanted to do with your family that seemed to have been pushed aside due to busy schedules or changes in life?  Make a decision today to make your marriage and family a priority.  Make a date to get together and follow through with it.  

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Chick Fil A

I recently came across this on the internet and just had to share it with you.  Last week I was really craving an Original Sandwich with a large lemonade.  Alas, I will have to wait until I'm back the good ole USA, as there is no Chick Fil A here in Korea.

Monday, January 3, 2011

90 Day Challenge

I have recently read on a number of blogs about a 90 Day Challenge to read the Bible in its entirety.  While I have read the entire Bible numerous times,  I have never read it in only 90 days.  So, I decided to take on this challenge beginning today. 

If you go here, at the bottom right hand side of the page under FAMILY RESOURCE, you can find reading schedules for everyone in your family.  I printed them off for me and the older girls.  I am trying to find the younger girls’ story Bible to read through it with them also. 

There is just something about a new year that makes me want to do new and exciting things.  It’s a great time of year to jump start all those good intentions that I keep talking about doing.

I don’t think you can go wrong by committing to do something that will increase your knowledge of God’s Word and strengthen your relationship with Him. 

I was actually surprised at how quick I was able to read the first 16 chapters of Genesis today.  I know everyday won’t be like today, but I am hoping to keep pressing on, even when I feel like the day in pressing in around me.

So when is the last time you have read the Bible in its entirety?  Maybe you’re not quite ready for a 90 Day Challenge, but how about reading the Bible in a year.  That’s doable…right.    Click here to go to the One Year Bible Reading plan.  Whichever one you decide is best for you, start at it and don’t stop until your done.  You can do it!  I know you can.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A Year in Review

I can’t believe that 2010 is a thing of the past already.  At times it seemed liked it would never end .  This last year was full of changes….some good ones…some not so good ones.

In January, we were celebrating having Angel back with us after a year long deployment to Iraq.  He was on a month of leave and we were doing all sorts of things together to reintegrate our family.  We took a Caribbean cruise and as we turned on our phones after arriving back to Tampa we got some news… Angel’s next assignment.  South Korea.  Since it was the last place on earth I wanted to go, the news was not what we were hoping to hear.  BUT in this life we live, we trust that it is the Army who cuts the orders but it is God who determines our steps.

February became busy with all the preparations of an overseas move…that would take place in less than 90 days.  Passports had to be applied for….screening appointments to be made….briefings to attend.  At that point we also realized that moving overseas might mean that we don’t get back to the United States for two years, so we began making plans for the girls and I to visit family before our move.  In February we also found out that we were expecting baby #5.

March was full of sorting and purging. Since we could only bring 50% of our allowance of HHG (stuff) to Korea, we had to decide what was important enough to make the move.  This was also the month that the packers came.  Three shipments later the house was empty and ready to be cleaned.  During the week of packing, I began bleeding and ended up in the clinic. I received the news that I was not expecting to hear.  I was in the middle of a miscarriage. I was numb.  Besides there was too much to do to stop and mourn.  I had to clean the apartment and drive from Texas to my parent’s house in PA.

April was spent in Pennsylvania at my parent’s house.  Angel remained in Texas for another 3 weeks to out process and then flew in to join us for two weeks before he left for Korea.  We drove to NYC to see his family for a few days and the remaining time we enjoyed as a family before we would be separated again.

In May, Angel left for Korea.  We were informed that since there was no post housing where we were assigned, he would have to find and rent and apartment before the girls and I could join him.  By the end of the month, the task had been accomplished and plane tickets were in our hands.

The girls and I left the states in June for our new home in Korea.  It took about a week of jet leg to get orientated to our new home and time zone (13 hours ahead of EST).  It was so exciting….living in a foreign country.  I was optimistic at this time.  We also met another military family in our apartment complex, the Rawlins.

During July, we did some sightseeing and tried to get into a routine in our new country.  It was a bit hard considering we still didn’t have our stuff, but our van arrived from the states and that helped out tremendously.

In August, our belongings finally arrived and it was like Christmas for us.  We also decided to let the older two girls try the DODDs school here in Korea.  There were not a lot of families in our apartment complex with girls who were the same age as ours and they were hoping to meet some friends.

September, we celebrated Katelyn’s 10th Birthday.  I also began homeschooling Victoria and Breanna for Kindergarten.  We began to have some issues with the school but hoped that things would end up being good in the end.

October brought another big celebration…Marissa turned 13 year old.  Wow, I’m the parent of a teenager!  I also pulled Katelyn out of the public school, at her request.  The bullying there is not good but to Marissa it is her life line, so even though she was picked on, the friends she had made going to school her reason to go.  October was also the time of my due date, which in the midst of celebration, brought some sadness to our home.  Victoria is quick to say that she had a baby brother (we did not know the gender) who died in mommy’s belly and Katelyn struggled with “why did God take our baby?”

Wow, we have been in Korea for 5 months now and November brings the beginning of the holiday season.  We had also met more families in our complex over the last few month, some with children around the same age as our girls.  At the beginning of the month,  we reflected back on a year ago when we were in lock down in our home at Fort Hood as an unknown shooter, at the time, had begun taking the lives of the at the SRP center just over a mile from our home.  We also had another birthday to celebrate this month….Breanna, our baby, turned 4 years old.  She had been waiting so long...according to her…for her birthday to finally arrive.  We spent Thanksgiving at a neighbor’s home with more than 7 other military families.  It was a great way to spend the holiday away from family.

December marked the last month of the year.  We put up our tree and pulled out the Christmas movies.  Angel had to go to Hawaii for a week of Strong Bonds training and unfortunately, the girls and I could not join him.  This month happened to be the time where we passed colds, fevers and sickness around to each other.  The only ones who did not get sick were me and Angel.  Christmas was celebrated with Angel’s assistants and two neighbors.  It was a quiet day, which was nice.  New Years was spent at home…in bed.  I must say I am not the partying type and saw no reason to stay up so late.

We are now in a new year, trying to embrace all that is before us.  Some days life in a foreign country is difficult.  We all miss family, friends and being able to communicate when we go out of the house.  We shall see what this year brings our way.  May the Lord continue to lead us and give us strength to face whatever we may go through. Blessings to you and your family this New Year.  May you see God's hand in your lives and trust Him for your future.