Sunday, January 31, 2010

Separation Anxiety

Every time my sister-in-law Jamie leaves the room even for a second, this is what happens to little Khloe. Tears, sobbing, and completely unconsolable. Seriously this girl has got a lot of separation anxiety. And for little kids this is completely normal. You get attached and then you just don't know what to do with yourself. It's irrational, it's pretty sad, and it's normal if you're three or younger...

It is not however, normal for a grown, married, 24 year old to have this. And yet I do. The way Khloe looks is how I feel inside, and quite honestly probably how I look when I have to say goodbyes. I HATE goodbyes, and that is an understatement. I don't handle them well and I'm not ashamed to admit it. I know goodbyes are hard for everyone, but for me it's x20 and I wish it didn't affect me so. The past few weeks of vacation have been filled with a lot of goodbyes. Saying goodbye to family in Alaska, saying goodbye to my parents in MN, saying goodbye to Jon's parents in Korea, and the last goodbye was to Mike and Christina. And it was hard.

We had a FANTASTIC time with Mike and Christina, seriously so great. We just had so much fun hanging out, getting to spend time with each other, and for me getting to know them better as family. And so ... I got attached, and when it was time for goodbyes I was a wreck. I at least held it together until they left, and then Jon got to deal with my irrational anxiety.

The only thing that softens the blow is knowing my brother and his wife will be joining us in 5 days for two weeks. But once it's over...

It'll be this, allllll over again.
Why I have this anxiety, I can't quite pin down. I have some ideas as to why, but it's a little to debbie downer. I do know that when I have children I'm wondering if it'll be me or them crying when I drop them at the church nursery, their first day of school, their first day of college... I'd better start preparing now otherwise they will never leave home... ever. Intervention anyone?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Never Ending War

Even though we are technically in a war in the U.S. I don't think we truly grasp the concept. Especially if you don't have a loved one overseas fighting. For those that do or have... you grasp that something is going on and that there is danger involved, but until it's on your doorstep I don't think we can fully "get it."

The DMZ was quite the reality check. I live in a country that is still technically at war with it's own race, culture, and family. I have never felt so much tension in the air as I did at the DMZ. The soldiers are literally feet away from each other staring at each other with rigid bodies and dark glasses over their eyes so that they don't aggressively look at each other and start an actual fight. These two countries have been at a cease fire for over 60 years, and it doesn't look like it's about to end anytime soon. And it means that fighting could start at any moment.
This is in the conference room half is in the North side and half is in the South. The microphones literally split this table in half and separate the two countries. I stood in North Korea... what a feeling!

After the tour through the JSA the Joint Security Area. This is the area that the U.N. runs. There are about 700 soldiers at this camp and 5% of them American. But technically they are the U.N. not South Korean or American. It was a little trippy to see the U.S. soldiers in such an intense setting.
A propaganda village in North Korea across the Han River.
The lovely man staring at me with his binoculars is North Korea soldier. If you point, wave, or make any gesture towards them they will use that as a way to do something against the tourists... I was sweating up a storm at this point in time. He was literally staring...right...
Random Fact: For the DMZ we had to look nice, no holes in the pants or dirty/grubby things. If we do the N.Koreans will take pictures and use it as propaganda! They'll show the pictures and say look at these Democratic Nations they can't afford to have nice clothes or clothes with no holes. Seriously... crazy.
South Korean soldier facing down his enemy.... and countryman.
prayer ribbons and barbed wire...
A look out post along the border.

The tour was quite the experience and one I won't likely forget anytime soon. I can't imagine the U.S. being completely split and hostile with an actual boundary and border between the two halves. I know it was like that during the Civil War but not for 60 years. Not with a crazy dictator who is basically starving his country to death. I can't imagine the gov't informing me that they found another tunnel made by the enemy to surprise attack us. And I certainly can't imagine having family members on the other side of that fence that I cannot contact and may never see again.

The reality of where I am and the seriousness of the situation of the two Koreas fully hit me today and it gives me a lot of respect for the men in the military here and the respect for the people of S. Korea who hope for unification every single day.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Jon and I have been at home for 3 days in the past 6 weeks.... We've had a blast on this vacation, but it's also been pretty insane.
We colored and learned our ABC's with Ben and Sam
We held baby Henry and gave lots of butterfly kisses and eskimo kisses to Mari
And we went sledding with Grace and Sophia

We power sawed it up with Mac
Cried with Khloe
Laughed with Mason
And tried on some Hanboks with Jordy and Maddy

Ahhh vacation, we are still enjoying vacation in Korea with the Stainbrook Family! We will then have one week at home and then Joel and Miia will be here from Finland! We have a few busy weeks ahead but seeing all this family has been such a blessing! I plan on actually posting about our time at home but for the moment, as I'm writing from a hotel in Seoul I'll just have to post a few tidbits...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

oh macro lens how i love thee

Over Christmas Jon let me get a new macro lens.... I love, love, love, love it.... did I mention it's my favorite!? So over the past few weeks I've been experimenting :) I'm pretty happy with the outcome!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Where I come from...

I absolutely LOVE being home. My parents house is comfortable, cozy, and so welcoming.

Here comes the welcome wagon...errr mules.

Just look at that face. Makes you want to set up camp right there in the stable.
I love the snow covered fences just adds a little more charm
Home Sweet Home

i love the way the sun plays off the snow and adds such a soft glow

Can you feel the peace and serenity from the rising sun? this is my favorite time of day on the farm, everything is quiet and calm. Can you feel every part of your body starting to freeze in the -30 weather? Because let me tell you... I was numb after this little number.

and then you walk in the door and see this little face... and how can you not feel right at home?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Mac at Work

Meet Mac. MacKennan Lee to be exact
Mac is all boy, trucks, cars, and tools are his trade.
He is also my sweetie of a nephew that keeps me laughing at all his antics.
For Christmas Mac got some power tools, and decided to show them off to me today.

Remember Safety First... wouldn't want to operate without goggles.

Gettin' the saw ready for action...

My little model. Showing off the saw in all its glory.

What would work be without a little drool?
Ok Auntie Sara, enough with the pictures... help me with these goggles!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Blast from the Past

High School.
For some it was the glory days, and they relive it each day reminiscing about all they did and the friends they had.
For others it was hellish, a living nightmare if you will, and they do just about everything to forget.

For me... it's not really either. I loved high school and had amazing friends, and a really good time. But I don't think about it everyday or even once a week. I do, however, think about some of the awesome people I was blessed to go to school with, and that I still keep in contact with (semi-regularly). This trip I was actually able to see some of these kindred souls and just chat about life and all the things we'd been up too!

I got to see these two lovely ladies (well actually all three... but the beauty on the far left is Amanda, a college friend... which came a little after high school) Katie and Melissa. I would say my two best gals from high school. We have shared so much over the years and I can't believe to this day that they both chose to befriend me, and still do. The three of us have been in Choir, Spanish, horrid math classes, gone to Spain together, cried over boys together, laughed over boys together, and in general have supported each other in ever way. We may not talk all the time, but when I see these ladies it's like time has stood still, and I LOVE that. I'm also extremely proud of both of them. Katie (the blonde :) ) lives in Seattle and works for St. Jude's. She loves what she does and she is impacting the world in so many ways, I find myself envying her life at times! Melissa is married to her high school sweetheart and has a handsome little boy, who looks so much like his papa it kinda creeps me out:)

I got to see this strapping gentleman, Tony... probably one of my best friends throughout highschool. Whethere it was the school play together, getting in trouble for talking during band practice/ concerts, me coming to his house for pudding, or crusing around on the lake Tony and I have been through a lot, and have come a long way and I'm so thankful that we are still friends and can still joke around like we did back in the day.

And then there's this guy... Brian. Also a fantastic friend! Always had an ear for me to vent to and a shoulder for me to cry on. We share a love of acting, reading (yay Harry Potter), and working at Kavanaughs:) And now he is married with an adorable little girl. Seriously so cute. I almost stole her, then realized getting her back to Korea might prove to have some issues... dang that passport.

All in all, I was really excited to relive some High school days and catch up on life with these lovely folks. It was nice to know that people have grown and changed, but at the heart of it not much has changed at all... except ya know jobs, marriage, and babies... man I'm gettin' old ;)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The New Year...

As I've been watching T.V. back in the states I can't help but notice all of the commercials directed toward weight loss. Whether it's pills, creams, lotions, work out programs, machines, videos, meal plans... and really the list goes on. I realize what an outward appearance based culture we really are. Don't get me wrong I like to be healthy and look good (I may have also purchased Jon and I the P90x workout for Christmas and am fully expecting to have my butt kicked) but really we focus so much on the outside that we forget about changing and doing things for the inside. I usually do this by reflecting on the past year, what's happened what's changed?And this year... was a HUGE year for change:) Jon and I celebrated our 1 year anniversary, we traveled to Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, and Japan. We had 5 wonderful weeks at home with family, started our second year in Korea, and had a fantastic time in Alaska.

But to take this reflection a bit further the pastor at Lakewood this morning handed out a list of questions, just to ponder and look through for the next year. While most of us focus on weight loss, dropping that bad habit, eating better etc. These questions really focus on our relationship with God, and our relationship with each other. And not that these other things are wrong or bad... it's just that when it comes down to it, I've realized in my own life how much I would love to really examine these relationships and work to grow and change in them. So here are some of the 31 questions I really enjoyed the most...

1.What's one thing you could do this year to increase your enjoyment of God?
2.What's the most humanly impossible thing you will ask God to do this year?(Korea to be next to Minnesota :) )
3. What's the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your family life this year?
4. In which spiritual discipline do you most want to make progress this year, and what will you do about it?
5. What is the single biggest time-waster in your life, and what will you do about it this year? (ouch do I really have to give up those time wasters?? they're so fun!)
6.For whose salvation will you pray most fervently this year?
7. What's the most important way you will, by God's grace, try to make this year different from last year?
8. What single thing that you plan to do this year will matter most in ten years? In eternity?
9. Who is the person you would most want to encourage this year?
10.What single blessing from God do you want to seek most earnestly this year?
11. What skill do you most want to learn or improve this year?
12. If those who know you best gave you one piece of advice, what would they say? Would they be right? What will you do about it?
*last one I promise :) *
13. In what area of your life do you most need change, and what will you do about it this year?

So think about them, reflect, and enjoy 2010! Blessings to all of you this year!

*also, I'm not quite sure who reads this, but if you would feel so inclined to comment it'd be swell :) I know it's a bit of pain if you don't already have an account but once you have one you are set for life!