Friday, March 30, 2012

Ortho - Prayers

Last Friday, I went to my monthly appointment with my oncologist. It was a bit surprising to see this doctor I had never seen before come in. Dr. K was on spring vacation with her kids. I'm glad she took that time to spend with her family. The other oncologist was very nice and he gave me the name of another orthopedic surgeon. I called as soon as I got home, but I was rejected again.

I had called many offices, looked online, had written emails to practices... I didn't know what else I could do. I just wanted someone who would be able to deal with my cancer and my medications. I didn't want to bother others, but I had to resort to asking a friend (whose husband is a doctor) if he had any connections at U of C Hospital. Unfortunately, those connections were in another department.

At this point, I felt a bit discouraged. What else could I do? And, in the meantime, my shoulder had been hurting more because someone had enthusiastically bear hugged me, with a lot of love, the night before. On top of that, my left arm/shoulder has been hurting more often because I have been using it more.

On Wednesday, my friend called me and told me that she had a friend who was an orthopedic hand surgeon. To make a long story short, the surgeon gave my friend the name of an orthopedic shoulder surgeon. I called the office but the doctor is on vacation. I am going to call him on Friday.

Please pray that I will be able to see this doctor.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Matcha Rice Flour Cupcakes

If you are Asian, this is a recipe that you will want to keep. Unlike the usual flour cupcakes, these cupcakes are chewy and not overly sweet. Your parents will like it. Your grandparents will like it. Your in-laws will like it. You will too. I have made these numerous times, and each time it has been a big hit.

BTW, matcha is green tea powder. You can find it at a Japanese grocery store, online, or even a larger Korean grocery store. It is a bit on the pricey side, but the taste is so good! My sister-in-law helped to make these. I forgot to take pictures but she took a picture of the finished product with her cool phone.

*Sungai Unni, you need to make these! Go to the market today!

Matcha Rice Flour Cupcakes
adapted from
Makes 24 cupcakes

1 lb. sweet rice flour or 1 box of Mochiko
1 cup of honey powder
1 tspn. baking powder
3 tspn. matcha
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups of milk
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 can of sweetened red bean paste
large cupcake tins
small ice cream/cookie dough scooper

  • Mix honey powder, beaten eggs, milk, and oil in a bowl. 
  • Mix and sift rice flour, baking powder, and matcha in a separate bowl.
  • Add half of the dry mixture into the wet and mix.
  • Add the last half of the dry mixture into the wet and mix.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Using a small ice cream scooper, place one scoop of mixture into each cupcake tin.
  • After you have filled 24 cupcake tins, go back and place a small spoonful of the red bean paste in the middle of each tin.
  • When you have placed the red bean in the center of each cupcake tin, go back and place one more scoop of the batter over the red bean paste.
  • Bake for 30 - 40 minutes.
  • The tops of the cupcakes should be slightly golden brown when done.
  • Let cool on a cookie rack.
  • Eat when completely cool.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


There was a time in my life when I could shop all day. I would go with my sister and spend the whole day at the shopping mall. I don't know how we did it. We would just go from store to store looking at different things. We would try stuff on. We would get each other's opinions on things. If she was wearing something that was mine, my sister would usually get some permanent stain on it. We didn't get tired.

After having children, shopping took on a new dimension. When we had A1, I would force my husband to walk around the mall. We needed the exercise... We didn't have much money but we would just walk around with the masses. He dreaded those days. One time, he was walking around... asleep. Try to explain that one. He was literally walking, pushing the stroller, and asleep. This was before the days of those "sitting areas" for guys who are there with the women they love.

Then we had A2 and then A3. After that, I tried to avoid the mall. Too busy. Too many people. Too long of a distance for little feet to walk. Too tired. But, I did know where all the bathrooms were. (Helpful tip: Nordstrom's has the best bathrooms).

Yesterday, I went to an outlet mall with my sister-in-laws (just realized that) (my brother's wife and my husband's sister). We went to a few stores that my sister-in-law from Korea wanted to go to. We were thankful that she got some good deals on her purchases. She was actually shocked at how "cheap" some of the things were (compared to how much they would be in Korea). We only went to four stores, but by the end of our time, I was completely exhausted - no energy. I couldn't walk anymore. The limitations of my body surfaced once again. Kind of annoys me. Kind of makes me sad.

On a side note, my brother's wife tricked me into going to a store that sold knives. She said that I should just look at the knives at the outlet to compare with the prices at other stores. We went in and looked at the knives. I didn't want to purchase one without my husband so I casually looked around. The salesperson let us cut some carrots while answering some of my s-i-l's questions.

Well, to make a long story short. My Korean s-i-l said that she had wanted to purchase a knife for us. I told her that my husband was going to get one. Then, after asking many questions about the knives, my brother's wife said that she was going to purchase it. She said that she couldn't go home if she didn't get one for me. A fight to pay for it occurred. I didn't even have a chance. Imagine the salesperson seeing these three Asian women fighting to pay for this knife.

I am blessed...

Friday, March 23, 2012


Usually, when you have guests, you get tired from all the cooking and entertaining. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law are here as our guests, but they are doing everything. They cook, clean, and do the laundry. They won't let me do anything. I have to just sit, lay down, rest, and eat. Yet, I am tired? Maybe I am getting too spoiled?

This is my sister-in-laws first time to the U.S. She is loving it, even though, she is doing most of the work in this house. Her and my mother-in-law even cleared out my kids' winter clothes for the summer clothes. No, I didn't make them do it. I was going to do it after they left, but my husband has been making lists of things that they should do before they leave. It is a bit embarrassing for me, but they have been happily helping. My husband told me that my sister-in-law said that she feels really comfortable at our house. That made me glad.

Another good thing is that my sister-in-law told my husband that we should purchase a good knife. She said that ours was really dull, even though, we had sharpened it. We have had that $20 knife since we got married. I have asked my husband, many times, if I could purchase a better knife but he said that we should do with what we already have. Well, now that his sister said it, he said that we should get a good knife. He also confessed that after having to do most of the cooking in this house, he realized how important a good knife was. He wants to go to Bed, Bath, and Beyond right away. I said, "Bed, Bath, and Beyond?"

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Just Repeating

I just want to repeat something that someone told me her pastor said:

When you choose to sin,
you choose to suffer.

Another thing that I want to repeat from another pastor:

After a victory,
expect a battle.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Lotion That Looks Like Soap

A few weeks ago, I was trying out different lotion recipes when I came across hard lotion. Basically, it looks like a bar of soap. You rub it between your hands and your body temperature melts enough to coat your hands. You can even buy kits to make it.

This is a lotion for children/adults with eczema or really dry skin. You can use it on your hands or for your body. The key is to hold it in your hands a bit and then rub. The lotion coats your hands and doesn't make it feel greasy. Your hands do feel "coated," but in a good way. I found that it moisturized my dry hands and helped to keep the moisture in. I gave some to two different "dry hand" friends. One of them got back to me and told me that her husband loves it. She wants the recipe.

Since I was sampling this type of lotion, I made what seemed like a small batch. It turned out to be quite a lot (6-7 regular size cupcake tins filled 1/3 of the way). My mistake was using cupcake tins for my molds. Do not use cupcake tins for molds. The hard lotion looks cute, but when you rub it between your hands the crinkly edges come off. I would recommend that you use a mold that has smooth edges.

You can also use it on your lips. I did. I actually put it on my lips and the surrounding area of my mouth before going to sleep. I need to make some more because my daughter's eczema is acting up. She can carry this around in her little bag and use it whenever she needs itch control.

Lotion That Looks Like Soap
adapted from

1 oz. shea butter
1 oz. coconut oil
1 oz. beeswax pastilles

Melt all three ingredients in a double boiler. It will take a while longer for the beeswax to melt. Be patient. Use a wooden skewer to stir the contents. Once completely melted, pour into molds (quickly). Let cool.

I don't know what happened to the picture of the lotion in the molds. Sorry. Just a picture of the melting shea butter, coconut oil, and beeswax.

Monday, March 19, 2012

This and That

I am still looking for an orthopedic surgeon. Got rejected again. I am getting a bit concerned of how high  I will be able to lift my right arm.

My mother-in-law and sister-in-law are coming from Korea on Tuesday. Please pray that they will have a safe trip and that they won't get stuck in Customs. Such a hassle when that happens. I can't cook for them. Can't cut any fruit for them. Can't do much. But, pray that all will go well and that they will have a blessed time.

The ants are also back. I really, really, really, really, really dislike bugs in my home. I have my theories of how they got in. But, I don't want to use commercial sprays. I am using ant traps and natural ways to get rid of those pesky things. Maybe I can use ants as an illustration for a future children's sermon? Either way, I am praying that they will march right out of our house.

Did you know that grilled tuna smells nothing like the canned stuff? Pretty hard to believe! But true! Just thought you'd like to know!

This song makes me happy...

by justrun7

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Prayer and Praise

Can't find an orthopedic surgeon. Called several offices. Nothing is working out. Please pray that God will lead me to good doctor... and that I won't need another surgery.

I have a huge praise!!! Yesterday, I found out that Kevin is cancer free! Remember, I asked you to pray for him. Kevin had a second thyroid surgery and a second radiation treatment. His mother called me to tell me that he has been declared cancer-free after having a PET scan! God is so good! Please also pray that God will help him with his studies. He has missed a lot of school due to his surgery and treatment, and it's his junior year.

by panphyuphyu

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Just Grace

Grace Church is my home church. My family was there when it first started. My parents and my brother's family still attend that church. It is always good to go there and see many of the faces that I grew up with.

Sunday, we went there for an ordination service. One of the ordained pastors used to serve at our church. The other, was a former Sunday school student of mine. I taught him when he was in 4th grade! Wow, did I feel old!

One thing that stood out from that ordination service: hot flashes. I was cold and then sweating hot. It seems that as the weather gets warmer, my hot flashes get hotter. I had a scarf around my neck to cover up my thyroidectomy scar, but I had to yank it off because I was sweating up a storm. Then, I put it back on. And then, I yanked it off again. My face felt hot and oily. I was talking to some people and I got really hot again. So, the person sitting across from me handed me a file folder to use as a fan. It felt so good but I felt a bit embarrassed at myself. When I got home, the armpits of my dress were soaking wet. One word: Menopause. Enough said.

The second thing that stood out for me was a short sermon given by a Korean American EM (English Ministry) pastor. Basically, he said that there would be times when it would feel like the KM (Korean Ministry) side was looking down on them, but to persevere in love. This is a very touchy subject for all Korean Americans. There have been many EMs in Korean churches that have broken off and decided to become "independent" for this reason. I don't want to get into the whys or hows, but I do want to say that my heart was so sad when he said this. I grew up attending EMs that were in KM churches. I knew exactly what he was talking about. I think that all Korean Americans do.

I used to be completely on the EM side and then I became a KM pastor's wife. I learned a lot of the strengths of the Korean (first generation) Church, but I also saw the weaknesses. I also saw the strengths of the EMs, but I also saw the weaknesses. There have been times when I have seen both sides and wondered, "Why can't we work this out? We can really complement each other." But, I know, that things aren't as simple as they might seem. So many factors. So many hurts. So many issues.

But my heart still yearns for a reconciliation of both sides. My husband and I have talked about this extensively. He knows the Korean American side - he's married to me! He also knows the Korean first generation side. He sees both sides and also wonders about what can be done to close the gap between the generations. Things may seem impossible, but we know that all things are possible with God. We have been praying and waiting...

On a lighter note, I was so glad that I could say "thank you" to so many of the women at the Grace EM. I need to tell you what this group has been doing. Since last year, they have been sending meals to our family almost every week! It has been over 12 years since I attended that church! But they are sending meals to us! I cannot tell you how much this has helped and blessed our family. Our family is forever grateful for the grace that these women have shown us.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Chubby Bubbies

These two have been keeping me smiling for the past year. I have their picture hanging in a place that I can see them every time I sit down to eat. I look at their picture and just smile. It makes me so happy. They were able to come over last Saturday. Can I tell you how excited I was? Can I tell you how excited my children were? We were counting down the time until their arrival.

I wanted to hug them and kiss them and smell them! I miss that baby smell. I even miss that funky smell that babies have between their fingers and toes! I need some more babies around me. Can you, please, pass some babies to me!

One of these guys was even doing push ups! And he's only one! Blurry but true. Then, he got tired and lay on his daddy's lap. He might have needed a nap. I don't know how his momma does it. Two boys. She is amazing!

They were so squishy and so soft and so, so huggable. By the time they left, I had to take a nap. It actually made me really sad. Sad because they left. Sad because I couldn't hold them the way I used to hold babies. Sad because my body wasn't the same.

But then I realized that He still has plans for me. They are good plans. They are plans to give me hope and a future. They are plans to draw me closer to Him. They are plans to bring glory to His name.

"Not to us, O Lord, not to us. But to Your name be the glory, 
because of Your love and faithfulness."
Psalm 115:1

Monday, March 12, 2012

One More Time

It is estimated that pink slime is in 70% of ALL the ground beef in the United States! Read this article to find out what pink slime is (if you don't know already), and who does not sell it.

Behold He Comes

Two years ago, someone gave my husband a documentary about Christians living in Israel. Very eye opening. But, towards the end of the documentary, they showed this group of young people singing this song and doing motions. I didn't even know the name of the song. I just remember this melody going through my mind and making me feel really joyful. I kept picturing those young people doing the motions and singing this song for Jesus... in Israel.

Fast forward a year. Got my cancer diagnosis. Life turned upside down. Reading God's Word brought encouragement and assurance. He reminded me that salvation comes from Him alone. He was the only one who could save me and help me. The melody of this song kept going through my mind but I still didn't know what the song was.

Then, I heard it and saw the words. Quite honestly, I think that I had heard this song many times before, but it hadn't come alive to me. It is almost, as if, God was waiting for this perfect moment. It brought joy again and many tears. Some songs really move me like that...

Yesterday, I came home from church and had to lay down... and sleep. When I got up, I turned on Moody Radio and this song came on. It made me cry again. Tears of joy. Tears of longing. I can't wait until He comes riding on the clouds, shining like the sun. I can't wait until I can lift my voice because it is the year of jubilee. I can't wait until His salvation comes.

Youtube: by namhokim

Friday, March 9, 2012

Doctors, Awkward Moments, and Pink Slime... Again

Apparently, trying to find an orthopedic surgeon is not so easy. There aren't any associated with the hospital that I go to. There are a few in Chicago that will take our insurance. That is when I thought that if I have to go to the city, I might as well go to the University of Chicago Hospital. I talked to my husband about it and he thought the same thing. With my situation being a little more complicated than others, I would feel better about a doctor that has all the bases covered. Please pray that the group at the U of C Hospital will take our insurance and that God will lead us to the best doctor for my situation. I will be calling them tomorrow. Really. I just want this pain in my shoulder to be taken care of.

My endocrinologist called last night... at 9 pm. He works too hard. I had had a blood test on Monday to check my calcium levels again. Unfortunately, they are a bit high and my parathyroid glands are more sluggish than before. We had increased my calcium because of my numb lips. If my calcium levels are too high, I could get kidney stones. But, my body does need extra calcium because of my monthly Xgeva shot which takes the calcium in my blood and brings it to my bones. Dr. W is wondering if it is something else because I have been taking 3 calcium pills a day, but my lips still feel a bit numb. I have been waiting for it to kick in...

I wanted to tell you about a funny moment I had this week. My friend took me to a salon by her house to get a haircut after hearing about my hair loss issues. The guy (hair stylist? hair cutter? can't think of the word) came highly recommended. When the guy asked me how I wanted my hair cut, I told him about my major hair loss. That is when he asked me when I had had my baby. Uh.... I had my last child 6 years ago. Awkward. And, of course, this conversation was all in Korean. He also pulled my hair on the top of my head and tapped a brush on the top of my head to show me how to get blood flowing in my scalp again. Good tips but if a person had walked in and seen him do this, they might have run out of there.

Pink slime has made it into the news again. This time, it is about the government buying the stuff for school lunches. Remember when you were a child and wondering what type of meat was in the school lunch? Didn't we all call it mystery meat? Well, it ain't meat really. Read this article and be warned if your children buy lunch at school.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

MRI Results

Today, my oncologist called me about my MRI results. Dr. K told me that there is a lot of stuff going on in my right shoulder. Thankfully, it is not because of the cancer. She said that there is a lot of inflammation in that area. It might be tendonitis, and she said that they saw what might be a partial tear in a ligament. They also found fluid build up in that area.

She gave me the number of another specialist: an orthopedic surgeon. Hopefully, it can be resolved with a shot and not through surgery. Oh please, pray that I won't have to have another surgery!

I am very thankful that it is not the cancer having spread to my shoulder. Thankful that I can go to the doctor. Thankful for the daily prayers that people lift up for our family. Thankful that we found out the reason for the pain in my right shoulder.

MRIs and Things

Monday's MRI was one of the hardest that I have had so far. Okay, there was the one where my head was tilted back and I had a neck ache for a week, but this one was a bit more difficult. Before I even got to the room for the MRI, I had to get the port set up so that they could inject the contrast towards the end of the MRI. As soon as the nurse swabbed me with alcohol, I felt the nausea coming. Then, they usually flush the tube with saline to get the blood out of the tube. As soon as they flush it, you get this metallic taste in your mouth. More nausea.

When I was taken to the room for the MRI, the tech told me that I had to stick my right shoulder into this plastic, shoulder thing. She kept asking me to move my right shoulder closer to that plastic thingy. Then I had to hold still. Perfectly still. The side that aches if I stay in one position too long. The side that feels like blood isn't flowing into it. The side that feels like I imagine "restless leg syndrome" to feel like, only on your arm. Oh yeah, and I had to do this for one hour. With nausea. And maybe feeling like I wanted to throw up.

I was placed in this long tube and the MRI began. Thankfully, I am not claustrophobic. After five minutes of the loud, banging sounds of the MRI, the tech stopped it and told me that she was seeing slight movement. She told me not to breathe so heavily. Of course, this made me take deeper breathes and made me feel like I was going to suffocate.

After a minute or so, I went to that happy place of talking it out with God. I talked to Him about the results of the MRI. I talked to Him about what He wanted me to do. I talked to Him about healing other people who were a lot sicker than I. I asked Him to guide the person who was going to give me a haircut later on that day. I know, I know. I've just been having issues with my receding, thinning hair. Maybe a bit of hormones also. Anyways, it is always helpful to talk it out with God.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Shoulder MRI and Pizza

This morning, I will be getting an MRI of my right shoulder. It has been increasingly difficult to do things with my right arm. I don't know if it is because it has only been 3 weeks since my surgery, but I cannot lift my right arm very high. I also cannot twist it, stretch it, or put pressure on it. Last night we went out to eat with some people from church and my husband had to cut my pizza for me. I was having a difficult time cutting through the crust. Of course, it was deep dish (Lou Malnati's to be exact), but the crust was hard to cut through. Don't blame the crust. I really, really like the crust exactly the way it is. I just don't have strength in my arm.

Hopefully, this MRI will help my oncologist determine what is going on with my arm. I can't even scratch my own back anymore. I have tried with both arms, but I just can't seem to itch those itchy spots on my back anymore. Maybe I need one of those Korean back scratchers? Also, one wrong twist of my arm and I am on the floor writhing in pain. It is impossible to get dressed without twisting your arm in some way.

Please appreciate: itching the itchy spots on your back, cutting your own pizza, and getting dressed without being in pain or needing assistance.

So many simple things to be thankful for!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Homeschool Odyssey, Part 3

My Homeschool Odyssey, Part 1
My Homeschool Odyssey, Part 2

When my husband told me to read up on homeschooling, I read A LOT of books. I researched the types of books I should read. I asked people for recommendations. I also went to the homeschool section at the library and picked up any book that could help me. Some books eased my mind. Some books made me more nervous. Being the personality that I am, I just wanted someone to give me the structure and curriculum to follow, but there wasn't one to follow.

The book that influenced me the most was written by an unlikely person: Blair from The Facts of Life! If you are my age or older, you will remember that show with Tootie, Jo, Natalie, and Mrs. Garrett. Well, Lisa Welchel played Blair. She is now a pastor's wife and homeschooler. She wrote the book So You're Thinking About Homeschooling.

Each chapter was written by different homeschooling families. They shared their style of homeschooling. One was even written by a homeschooled student who was now an adult. I loved it. This book showed me that homeschooling didn't fit into this one size fits all mold. It could be tailored to fit each child in your family.

I had had many conversations with my friend, Gloria, about homeschooling, and she had also lent me many books to read. She had started homeschooling while living in Texas. Seeing that I was interested, Gloria took me to her homeschool co-op. Basically, this was a group of homeschooling moms that got together every two weeks. They divided the children by age groups and taught different classes. Different moms taught different classes for different age groups. The children would all meet together for devotions and then go to their different music, art, science, cooking, math, language, or ______ class. All age groups also had a physical education class.

A1 was still in school at the time but happened to have the day off on the day that we went. He loved the classes. I loved the classes. It was so encouraging to see a homeschooling community. It gave me more of a picture of what could happen if I homeschooled.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Life is so different after a cancer diagnosis. With my cancer being in my spine, I am limited in what I can do. For example, I can't ride roller coasters anymore. I know, right! I loved riding in the front car with my hands in the air. My husband will testify. He might not testify that I had to pry his fingers off the bars to get him to put his hands up also. Now, roller coasters are not good for my back. Very sad. Not that I've had the chance to ride one. After having children, I was usually in the kiddie area. No time to wait 3 hours for a ride. But, still. I would like to have the option of riding a roller coaster again.

Not being able to do things makes you appreciate things more. I am still working my way to doing simple household chores after my surgery. There are so many things that I want to be able to do. Some, I need more time and I will be able to do. Others, just aren't good for my body.

Appreciate these things while you can still do them:
  • washing the dishes
  • doing the laundry
  • swiffering the dust from under the couches
  • cleaning the floors
  • reaching for things high up on the shelf 
  • scrubbing things that need scrubbing
  • baking your family's favorite cream cheese poundcake
  • walking around for more than an hour without having to lay down to rest
  • picking your children up (except when you have a boy who weighs more than you)
  • standing on your head (even though it might freak my your husband out)
  • baking 4 cream cheese pound cakes and 4 apple cakes for church functions
  • running
  • standing for an extended period of time while cooking a meal
  • changing the sheets on your bed
  • competing in a triathlon (who doesn't dream of being able to do this?)
  • lifting anything over 10 pounds
  •  spinning your child around
People, appreciate!