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Posts from the ‘memories’ Category

Redeeming love.


Moving up and down California (born north, moved south for college, moved back home post-college, moved south post-marriage and two kids), I feel like I leave bits of my story every place I go and every place I leave.

San Jose is full of babyhood, childhood, high school.  San Diego and parts of the OC have slices of college tucked away in them.  Santa Clara and Campbell echo with both the sweet and painful memories of my single years — teaching, finishing grad school, church planting, and falling in love as my family was falling apart.  Oakland and Castro Valley have all the first scenes of marriage and motherhood.

But a line from a hymn comes to mind and drowns out all the sounds of transition and struggle: Redeeming love has been my theme and shall be ’til I die.

God’s redeeming love has been the chorus of every bit of my story.

We aren’t settled yet.  The narrative of OC life is just starting.  I have no idea what to expect.  But I have no doubt that God’s redeeming love — His ongoing gospel work in our hearts and lives, and pouring out to those around us — will continue to be the theme … to His glory.



I forget exactly how it started, but sometime during the transition, I would cuddle Pup and call him my “baby.”  Cub, too, but Pup especially loved this.

So now he’ll ask me several times a day for “baby.”  When he’s tired, when he’s sad, when he just needs an extra dose of love.  He’ll throw his blankie on my shoulder and lay his head on my chest and snuggle for a few minutes.

And when I ask him, “Are you my baby?” he’ll nod his head vigorously.



If transition is like an ocean voyage, I’d say we’ve made it past shore (packing, moving, unpacking), past the breakers (the first month here), and are now adrift at sea.  How long ’til we reach sight of land?  ‘Til we have some semi-permanent home, routine, community?  I don’t know.  But I’m just grateful that we get some repose, even if it’s only for today.

Evidences of grace.

This is a rather rambling post, just some things I want to write down before I forget —

It’s felt non-stop since we moved down to SoCal a little less than a month ago.  I’m realizing that my ability to actually care for Mama and Papa Kim is limited by my need to care for my own littles.  And since Mama Kim has been going through an aggressive period in her disease, part of my care for my kids has meant keeping them home and out of the path of danger.  Very sad about this.  So most of my participation has been in the way of researching, making phone calls, putting options before Papa Kim, helping with meals as I can, and — probably the hardest of all — freeing JE to serve them without complaining, without adding to his burden.  The many phone calls throughout the day, the afternoons and evenings and weekends when his dad needs him.  We’ve agreed this is a transitional period.  We’re trying to find a new normal not only for us but for his parents.  God give us strength during this period.

Some evidences of His strength-giving grace lately:

Last week, I was at cracking point, but we were able to visit my parents and our church in NorCal for a whirlwind trip (less than two days).  We almost canceled the trip because of the complications with Mama Kim, but JE delayed the trip only by a day so we could help his parents figure out a solution while we were gone and said, “Let’s go.”  We packed in an hour and went.  It was worth it to go, even if just to see the reunion between my parents and the kids.  They missed each other so much.  And seeing dear friends at church, friends I could cry to and share with and be encouraged by … God knew.

I also developed a stress-related infection shortly before leaving for NorCal.  I didn’t realize how severe it was until we came back.  So I went to urgent care and had some medicine prescribed to me.  I worried about the cost since I’d be paying sans insurance (insurance for JE’s new job doesn’t kick in ’til March 1), but the pharmacist at Vons was extraordinarily kind to me.  She noticed my driver’s license had a different address than my medical records, so that launched us into a conversation about my move to SoCal.  She signed me up for a discount program for my medication.  So my total for the medication was $7.  She also gave me a $25 Vons gift card as a welcome to SoCal/urgent care referral bonus.  And then — this was the part that tipped me over the edge and made me want to cry — she spent about five minutes tenderly telling me to take care of myself.  This sounds so silly, but being in a season where it feels like we are helping everyone but have no one to ask for help (I’m sure this is an exaggeration, but it’s one that my wavering emotions tempt me to believe sometimes), having a complete stranger see my burden and care for me was so moving.  It was clearly God using this woman to remind me that He sees, He hears, He knows.  And His arms never fail to hold us up.

I’m so grateful.

“The eternal God is a dwelling place and underneath are the everlasting arms.” (Deuteronomy 33:27a)

Missing loved ones.

Last night on the way home from visiting with his cousins, Cub asked me out of the blue, “Umma, can we go to CV?”

I asked him, “Awww, why, Cub?”

“I miss my friends.  William and Elise and Landon.”

Of course he’d miss them.  Friends from the womb.  We saw each other at least twice a week almost from the time they were born between book study, play dates, and church.

And then Pup started calling to me, “Umma! Umma! Umma!”



“Pup, you miss Harabuji?”

“Mm.” (How he’s been saying yes lately.)

He’s been waking up asking for Halmuni and Harabuji (my parents) and saying their names throughout his play times.

Makes my heart ache, though I know God has us down here for a very good reason.


But He loves me.

I was fuming at Cub in the car on the way home from homeschool co-op because of some bad decisions he made there.  Is that how we treat our friends?  Is that how we respond?!

And in the midst of my rant about how he would get a meh-meh when we got home, he asked tearfully from the backseat, “But God still loves me?”



“I am a wayward, foolish child. But He loves me! I have disobeyed and grieved Him ten thousand times. But He loves me! I have lost faith in some of my dearest friends and am very desolate. But He loves me! I do not love Him, I am even angry with Him! But He loves me!”

(Elisabeth Prentiss)



I know Cub has prayed out loud with JE, but I’d never heard him pray on his own before.

Until today.

“Thank You, God, that umma cooked pasta.  Ayyyy-men.”

The week before Christmas.

This may be one of the most eventful weeks before Christmas (and month before moving) I’ve ever had.

Our dishwasher overflowed (a clog).  Our washer overflowed (it broke) and flooded the closet where the washer sits.  A car hit my car (I was driving my mom’s car) while I was waiting for a parking spot at Trader Joe’s.  Minor accident, slight whiplash, the lady thankfully accepted full responsibility.

And then today, while we were at a family get-together at JE’s grandma’s house, I accidentally dislocated Pup’s elbow while playing with him and tossing him in the air.  He was crying so frantically and we couldn’t figure out what happened.  I was in a cold sweat between worry for him and major mama guilt.  He kept touching his wrist, so I thought it was broken.  We put a splint on it and took him to the hospital.  The first hospital was a small one and the wait would have been very, very long.  So we left and went to a larger hospital.  I’m grateful they were able to see him right away.  His elbow had self-corrected sometime between Grandma’s and the second hospital, so we were able to just give him pain medications and go back to Grandma’s.

Whew!  Week before Christmas 2016, I’m done with you!


Pup’s first word to me every morning is, “Twuck!”

And when I get him from his nap. “Twuck!”

The rest of his waking hours are spent looking for trucks, reading about trucks, and playing with trucks.  There’s almost always something truck-related in his hands.

I just hope … that he loves Jesus like this one day.  Haha.


I was reading and heard a loud thud! as Cub fell down.

“Are you okay??”

“I’m okay.  I just hit myself.”

“You mean you fell down?”

“I just hit myself with the ground.  I’m okay.”