Monday, April 30, 2012

Toilet Update

My husband purchased a new toilet. It was 80 pounds and the box was really big. He read up on how to change the toilet, was overwhelmed, and took a nap. After dinner, he drained most of the remaining water in the toilet. Grosses me out a bit. Trying not to think of it. But anyways, he is taking the toilet apart and smashing the larger pieces with a hammer. Very loud. Very, very loud. We are praying that he can install the new toilet... within the next few days. In the meantime, it has been a bit of bummer to have to come downstairs to go to the bathroom when I don't want to go downstairs to go to the bathroom. Please pray that my husband will be able to install the new toilet correctly and that no one (I won't finger point or mention any names) will clog the only working toilet in our house.

Toilet Troubles

Okay, so I knew that we would need to change our upstairs toilet at some point... but this wasn't how I thought it would happen. My husband had to give A3 a quick shower on Sunday night. As my husband moved back to pull A3 out of the bathtub, he fell back onto the toilet (so glad the toilet seat was down). When he fell back, he crashed into the water tank part really hard.

I was washing my face when I heard the loud crash. I couldn't see but my husband said that there was water everywhere. I gave him a bunch of towels to soak up the water. I was SO thankful that it was the clean water tank and not the in-the-toilet water. That would have REALLY freaked me out. I finished rinsing my face, put on my glasses, and saw the damage. He basically made the bottom part of the water tank crack. We laughed a lot. It was pretty funny.

At least we're getting a new toilet upstairs? Unfortunately, I have to run downstairs when I have to go to the bathroom at night. Life is funny like that sometimes...

Friday, April 27, 2012


My husband has been doing visitations. He has been visiting all the church member's homes. He does this once, maybe twice a year. During that time, it is difficult to see him. He visits 2-3 houses a day. Thankfully this year it is not everyday, but a few days a week.

When the kids have multiple homeschool classes/activities, it is a bit more difficult because I have to cook, clean, and drive all day. It is on days like these that my limitations come more to light. In between the dishes and cooking, I get depleted of all energy. I try to rest in between but it is sometimes difficult. Not only that, my shoulder acts up again. But don't tell my husband!

Please pray that God will be present at each visitation. Please also pray that God will give me the strength for those days that my husband isn't at home with us.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

So Much Grace

Serving at a first generation Korean church, I have learned a lot of Korean worship songs. It was a bit hard at times because I wasn't used to singing in Korean. I also didn't understand all the words. But, after hearing some of the songs many times (and my husband translating them for me), some have really touched my heart. Some have moved me to tears... even when just thinking of the words. This is one of those songs.

The chorus really speaks to my heart. The line of not being able to express, with words, all the grace that God has shown me. I really have been shown so much grace. It has been more and more evident these past few days. Who am I that He shows me so much favor?

by poetwhang

(Only Bound to Jesus' Love)
(roughly translated - please tell me if you have a better translation)

Only bound to Jesus' love
My soul sings joyfully to the Lord
On the hill of this hope, the land of joy 
I praise You, O Lord

Only bound to His presence
My soul sings joyfully to the Lord
On the hill of this calling, on holy ground
I give my love to You, O Lord

I can't express all the grace that You have given me
My soul will follow You joyfully
I give my life to You

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Root Canal!

My dentist had wanted to do a root canal before my last surgery. I thought that it was going to be a filling, but then my husband told me that it was a root canal. Complications that could occur with the Xgeva shot and my jaw bone postponed that procedure (plus the fact that I was going to have surgery again). That is, until my tooth started bothering me again. I told this to my oncologist and she canceled my Xgeva shot for last Friday. Dr. K told me to go get my tooth fixed.

Now, my dentist needs approval from my oncologist to get everything started. Written approval. He had gotten it before, but it seems that the time period expired. I am waiting to hear from the dentist.

I don't want a root canal. The word itself brings back bad, bad memories. When I was in high school, I cried when I had a root canal. It hurt. A lot. When the novacaine was wearing out, I told the dentist. He said that it was okay because I didn't listen to my mother. He was still drilling and stuff. Was he transferring his frustration with his kids, on me??  I also remember sitting down and waiting while my mother talked to the dentist's wife after the procedure. The dentist's wife reached over to me with a tissue because I was drooling - without knowing it. Novacaine does that to you.

Pray for me. Please also pray that God will give the dentist the wisdom and skill that he needs to perform the procedure in the least painful way.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Shoulders and Arms

I've been meaning to write an update on my shoulder but haven't gotten to it. Thoughts of what to write would come to my mind, and other times would escape me. Sometimes, my emotions would cloud my thinking. So here I am trying once again.

Okay. I will start with my right shoulder. My appointment with the orthopedic surgeon is at the end of May, so I am continuing to wait. I am trying not to use that shoulder too much. I don't want to make it worse. If I do move it in a way that it shouldn't be moved... I yelp with pain. My arm doesn't want to be lifted very high and the range of motion is very limited. At times, I look a bit awkward when I am trying to reach for something with my right arm. I have to sit up and reach.

There is also this bothersome situation with my left, upper arm. The pain has moved to my left arm also. Thankfully, not the shoulder pain. But, when I twist or reach or stretch, I am doubled over in pain. Pain that needs time to pass (1-2 minutes). Pain that makes you not able to talk when it happens. I stretched my arm in the morning and I almost started crying. The same thing happened when I was on a stool reaching for a box on the shelf. I've been more dependent on my left arm, but the constant use seems to have stressed it.

My fingers have also been feeling stiff and a bit tight. When I write with a pen, I usually bend my thumb. It took me a while to realize that I had been keeping my thumb straight, when writing. It hurt too much to bend my thumb. My fingers also get sore and I can't grip things well.

The shoulder situation seems to be from some type of injury. But, the pain in my fingers and arms seems to be a side effect of the hormone drug that I am taking. I almost started crying when my oncologist suggested taking me off of the hormone drug to see if it was the culprit. The thought of going off of that medicine scared me so much. I would rather deal with this pain than have the cancer spread. I think that I do have to think of that option, but I need some time for it to sink in. Hearing something when you are not ready or don't expect it, is not easy.

My oncologist prescribed oral steroids. She also wants me to take 3 ibuprofen a day. She is hoping that this will alleviate the pain in my arms and bring down any inflammation in that area. Look at all those steroids! Each row is for each day. Six days. Please pray that the side effects will be minimal. I am still fighting within myself because I don't want to take them.

Getting dressed has been a battle. Trying to itch that itchy itch has been impossible. Reaching the back of my head when shampooing has been a challenge. I can't even cross my arms in front of me. I did the dishes last night and my arms started aching. I need to lay down a lot in between doing things. And when I do lay down, I am not comfortable. My body isn't what it used to be.

Please pray that all of this will be temporary and that I will get full movement in my arms again. Please also pray that God will continue to give wisdom to all of my doctors.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Floor Cleaner

Cleaning laminate floors is a daily chore. Unlike carpet, you can see all the dust, crumbs, and hair, on the floor. When we first got laminate flooring, I dusted and cleaned the floors daily. After a year or so, I dusted daily, but waited a few days to clean the floors with a wet cleaner.

Then, I got sick. It all seems to come to that. My turning point. It was at that point that I started to become aware of unnecessary chemicals in our home. My ears would perk up when people would talk about the effects of chemicals in our lives. At that point, someone told me that those wet antibacterial floor wipes weren't so good for you. Makes sense: wet chemicals on floor - bare feet - unnecessary chemical exposure. You get the picture.

Well, I was shown an alternative. The Rubbermaid floor cleaner. I think that I got it for $24 at Target, and I've seen it on sale for $20. You get to fill the container with whatever floor cleaner you want to use and the pad on the bottom is reusable and washable. I fill mine with 1/4 vinegar and 3/4 water.

Yes, it does smell like vinegar when you spray. But, as soon as the solution dries, there is no smell. Ask my children. Ask my husband.

In the past when I had used antibacterial floor wipes, I always felt a slight stickiness to the floors. I tried to get rid of it, but I think that it was just the chemical residue of the floor wipes. When I switched to the vinegar and water solution, my floors were squeaky clean. AND, no chemical smell!

One thing: I don't like to use the Rubbermaid in the bathrooms. I don't like to use what I use to clean the bathroom in other parts of the house. My quirk. I will spray with my handy dandy spray bottle and wipe with paper towels.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Unexpected Call

On Tuesday, I got a call from the occupational therapist that I had seen after my mastectomy. She had called before and had left a message on the answering machine. I had called her back and left a message at her office. We kept missing each other's calls. On Tuesday, we finally were able to talk.

I really appreciated her care and concern. She could have listened to my message and left it at that. I appreciated her extra steps to get in contact with me. I was able to catch her up on all that has been happening with my right shoulder and, now, my left arm.

You can tell when doctors take a genuine interest in you and when you are just another patient. I feel so thankful for all the doctors that I have been able to see. I have been shown so much kindness and concern. God has been so good in connecting me with really good doctors who also care. Thank you Lord!

On Friday, I will be going to my monthly oncologist visit. I have a lot to discuss with her. If you remember, I had to see a different oncologist last month because Dr. K was on vacation. There are a lot of new aches and pains that I need to get her input on. I also have some issues with the tooth that my dentist wanted to do a root canal on. Complications that can occur (disintegration of my jaw bone) because of my monthly shot caused us to cancel that procedure.

Please pray that I will remember all the things that I need to discuss with her. Please also pray that God will give her the wisdom she needs to deal with these complicated issues. Then, there's that ouchy Xgeva shot...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Dinner and Flowers

The other day we were invited to a former church member's house for dinner. It was a bit far away but we were really excited to see them again. When we got there, the wife told me that there were flowers for me. It turns out that one of our current church member's sister goes to the same church as that former church member. That sister is the former church member's small group leader. Are you following me?

Well, that small group leader owns a flower shop. She heard that I was coming and she delivered a bouquet of flowers. A bouquet that is beautiful beyond words. It made me feel so happy and the fragrance was wonderful! Now our house is filled with the lovely fragrance of the flowers.

I kept taking pictures because the flowers looked different at every angle. 

There were flowers in this bouquet that I have only seen in magazines.

Someone came over, saw the bouquet, and asked me the names of some of the different flowers. I couldn't answer. Oh yeah, I did say, "Those pink ones are roses. I think the yellow ones are tulips." I really like those puffy, light purple ones that form a ball, but I don't know what they are called?

We were so thankful for that time with that former church member. She specifically cooked different foods that were good for my health. She is not in the best of health herself, but she took the time to cook for us. Did I mention that she also packed a ton of leftovers for us? Then the flowers! Coincidence? I don't think so. I think... God.

by GloryToFatherGod

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My Trusty Cleaners

These are my trusty friends. I keep one in the bathroom and the other on the kitchen counter. I bought them at the Target dollar section. I chose different colors so that I wouldn't mix them up. The thought of having the bathroom one (orange) in the kitchen grosses me out. I am like that sometimes.

They are both filled with a water and vinegar mixture. I put half of each in the bottles. Then, I spray and wipe. In the bathroom, I spray the mirrors, around the sink, shower curtains, tiles, and in those areas that smell a bit. Vinegar kills mold, kills bacteria, and works as a deodorizer. The best part is that it is all natural!

In the kitchen, I use it to clean the counters after a meal. It takes away smells and stickiness. I also spray down the kitchen table and wipe away all traces of food.

Okay, now I will answer the question that all of you have been waiting to ask, "BUT, doesn't your house smell like vinegar?" The answer: yes, at first. But, as soon as the mixture dries, the smell is gone. REALLY. REALLY. REALLY. Your house ends up smelling really clean. Naturally clean. Not chemically clean.

Monday, April 16, 2012


My brother and sister have been planning an all family vacation this summer. All of our families will gather in one place and spend a week just being together. Ever since I heard of where we would be going, I have been dreaming of smelling the ocean breeze, watching the waves crash on the shore, and listening to the magnificent sound of the water. There is something about the ocean that calms me. It makes me so happy just thinking of it! Now we have to pull out the boogie board from our last all family vacation...

Friday, April 13, 2012

Korea + Gifts

Monday was a bit crazy for us. My husband and I had to split up to get different things for my in-laws to take back to Korea. Here are some key gift ideas for when you go to Korea:

  1. Centrum
  2. Centrum Silver
  3. Omega 3 vitamins
  4. Taster's Choice Coffee (pouches sold at the Korean super market)
  5. Honey Powder (pouches sold at the Korean super market)
  6. Honey (very heavy)
  7. EOS lip balm
  8. New Balance gym shoes. 

Yes, I said, "New Balance." Three out of 5 nephews/niece wanted New Balance gym shoes. It seems that they are really big in Korea right now. And they're really expensive out there! I went to this sporting store at the mall to look for New Balance gym shoes. When I walked in and the sales person asked me if I needed help, I told him, "Do you have New Balance gym shoes." He gave me a funny look. He then took my sister-in-law and I to where the 6 or so pairs of New Balance gym shoes were. The rest of the 100+ shoes on display were either Nike, Puma, or Addidas. We don't understand the rage, but they are the rage that they are.

My sister-in-law couldn't believe how "cheap" things were here. She fell overboard for TJMAXX, Marshall's, Nordstrom Rack, and Off 5th. She couldn't believe the prices compared to Korea. It was so funny because the whole time she was here she kept commenting on how cheap everything was. On the day before she left, she went to a golf store with my husband and she said that the $25 golf hats were too expensive. We all laughed so hard! I think she got used to the sale prices here.

We are so thankful that we got to spend time with family. We hadn't been able to spend a lot of time with my sister-in-law in Korea because she lived further away. This was the opportunity my children needed to bond with her and my mother-in-law again. Thank you, Lord, for that time.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A3 and the ER

There is something about A3 and ERs. I cannot even remember all the times that we have had to visit the ER with A3: allergic reaction, busted lip, allergic reaction, busted chin, allergic reaction... We are very familiar with the ER near our house.

On Easter Sunday, A3 had woken up with a bit of a cold. He felt a bit warm (but no fever) and I told him that he would have to come home with me after lunch. We had finished eating and I was talking to someone when one of the students ran up to me and told me that A3 had thrown up. I ran and found him. Fortunately, my sister-in-law and mother-in-law were there to help me. They helped to clean up while I took care of A3 and gave him Benadryl. I found out that he might have eaten a chocolate that had peanuts in it.

We were going to leave but I realized that I had forgotten something in the main sanctuary. I got stopped here and there by different people and it took a while for me to finally get to the car. When I got to the car, A3 was on the floor laying down. He did finally get the strength to sit in the car seat but there were consequences. He threw up again.

By the time we got home, I was in a bit of a panic. I looked at his lips: not puffy. I asked him to say something to me: his voice was raspy. I asked him how his throat felt: not good. I gave him another Benadryl and frantically searched for the Epipen. I had given it to A2 the day before when they had gone somewhere with my husband. I couldn't find it and I knew that I had to give it to him.

I called my husband and had him bring the emergency one we kept in his office at church. For the second time in his life, I had to give A3 the Epipen shot on his thigh. He later asked me, "Mommy, why did you have to give it so hard?" I had to explain the instructions of administering that shot to him.

Well, we ended up spending 3 hours of Easter Sunday at the ER. A3 got really sleepy and I thought that he would sleep, but one of the workers offered him a movie list. He chose The Empire Strikes Back. His eyes were wide open during the whole movie. After it was done, he fell asleep.

Some of you might be wondering: why aren't you more careful! We are. A3 is. You would be amazed at how careful and self controlled A3 has been concerning food with peanuts. Unfortunately, no matter how careful you are, some things just happen. We are very thankful for Benadryl, the Epipen, and the ER.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Bit Exhausted

I have not been able to blog for a few days because of last minute shopping with my sister-in-law and a mild cold that I seem to have caught. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law left on Tuesday morning. The time with my in-laws was a lot of fun and we ate really well. Unfortunately, it threw our homeschooling and sleeping schedule off. Having guests also keeps you on "guest mode," which is a bit draining. I think that all of those things, and the crazy weather, have taken their toll on my body. I am completely exhausted. I just want to sleep for a few days...

Friday, April 6, 2012

What a Good Friday

He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows,
and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised,
and we esteemed him not.

Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him,
and afflicted.

But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.

Isaiah 53:2-5

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Agobe Update

Remember Gobe or Agobe? Well, this is how I always seem to find him on our bed. His place is between my husband and I. I didn't put him there. A3 or A2 always put him with his head above the covers when we aren't looking, I think. I get freaked out sometimes when I go lay down because this is how I always find Gobe on our bed. I didn't put him there. I know that my husband didn't put him there. BTW, like his little pillow?

A3 makes sure that Gobe has activities for the day and that he eats well. I am usually asked, "What is Gobe going to eat?" or "Where is Gobe?" or "What is Gobe going to do?" or "Don't throw Gobe, Mom!"

That little gopher bear has a special place in our family, even if he has a crooked nose... and a crazy, wild hair out of his ear.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


I confess that I was a couponer. I got started when this random man at the grocery store told me to purchase two more containers of ice cream when he saw that I was purchasing 3. He said that I could get $10 back if I purchased 5 containers versus 3 containers. I asked him how he knew about this and he told me about a couponing website. I ended up behind him at the checkout line and was floored with his really low grocery bill. He was giggling like a little kid. I purchased my 5 containers, got $10 to use at the grocery store, and was hooked.

I would get the Sunday newspaper, cut out coupons, and organize them in my coupon organizer. I would also go to different websites and print out more coupons. It became quite addictive. I would go to stores with my coupons and buy things for ridiculous prices. I would giggle like a little kid. No, I wasn't an extreme couponer. I didn't have 50 boxes of jello in my pantry. But, I might have had 12 or so boxes of Cheerios... As a pastor's wife, you always have to be ready to whip up a sweet snack for church visitations or events. That Cheerios recipe will be coming soon.

Then, I went to Korea, found out I was sick, and the couponing came to an abrupt end. I just couldn't keep up with all the deals. There were too many doctors to visit.

That was when I narrowed down my site seeing. These are some websites to help you get the basics of couponing. I frequent the first website the most because there are online and store deals listed daily. I have gotten magazine subscriptions for under $5 and great online deals that I never thought possible. The other two websites are good for store deals. I hope that this will save you a lot of money.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Appointments and Battles

I am very happy to say that I got an appointment to see that recommended orthopedic shoulder surgeon. Unfortunately, I have to wait until the end of May to see him. I think that I have been a bit spoiled in getting appointments. I usually got to see specialists (in the same hospital system) within a two week period. I forgot that there is usually a long wait to see most specialists. I should have been thankful for just getting the appointment! A friend helped me to realize this and I am very thankful for that.

I also have to get a referral from my primary care doctor. Up to this point, I have not had to do this, but this ortho surgeon is in a different hospital system. So, I need to go to the doctor who misdiagnosed me because I haven't had the energy to try to find another primary care doctor. My oncologist has been like a primary care doctor to me but the office insisted that I needed the referral from the listed primary care doctor. Ugh!

Reading through the book of Joshua, God showed the Israelites that as long as they obeyed and followed His commands, He was with them. Not only that, but He would go ahead of them and fight the battle for them. I am trying to cast this anxiety on Him because I know that He cares for me. I am also trying to obey what He has asked me to do and let the rest go to Him. That means letting go of the emotions tied to that primary care doctor...

Monday, April 2, 2012

Rose Oil to the Rescue

Remember my post about rose oil? Well, I have to tell you a short story. My sister-in-law gets this rash/bumps on her face when she is too tired. It started to occur after her major back surgery two years ago (got metal supports in her spine). She went to the doctor but they prescribed some strong medication. Whenever the rash occurred, she would put some of this medicine on. The problem was that it occurred quite often and she became dependent on that medication.

After being here for a week, my sister-in-law got the rash again. She put some medicine on (she brought the lower dose cream) but it wasn't really working. I suggested some rose oil and she used it on Thursday night. When she woke up on Friday, she told me that it had brought her rash down. She asked me to order five for her to take back to Korea. She also said that the rose oil smell wasn't so bad. It reminded her of the smell of the oil they use for facial massages.