Friday, December 21, 2012

Chewy Molasses Spice Cookies

We had a cookie exchange at our homeschool co-op. I was really excited to see what kind of cookies everyone would make. These kinds of things make me really excited. It's the type of person Moni is. The day that I baked, I kept repeating that I had to make three dozen cookies. I know myself too well to not do that. I had A2 count and recount the cookies. There were a little over three dozen cookies.

When my husband came home, I looked him in the eyes and told him not to eat the cookies because I had to take them to the cookie exchange. I didn't want to take any chances. I could picture myself going to the bathroom and coming back to six less cookies. I fed him a cookie and told him not to touch anymore because I needed to take three dozen cookies.

My children had so much fun scooping out the dough. (Side note: if you make cookies, you need a small ice cream scooper! I learned that very late in my cookie making.) They couldn't wait to taste the cookies! My house smelled so good as we waited! When they were done, we each tried one. All my kids gave their thumbs up for the recipe.

The next day I went to the co-op with my three dozen cookies. I took my cookies to the area that everyone else had set up their cookie trays. I started talking to another mom and then learned... that I was supposed to make four dozen cookies! They had even sent an email. This is my life. This is me. I pulled a moni! All that counting. All that repeating. This is why I need a personal assistant.

I had also forgotten that I was supposed to bake cookies for A1's science class. A double moni! So what did I do? I went to a local grocery store and bought some cookies from the bakery section. They were freshly baked, but not by me!

This was the first time that I had used this recipe. I really like the taste of molasses, but I wasn't sure how the kids would react. In the end, we all really liked this cookie recipe. The cookie is chewy and the sugar coating gives it a little crunch.

Chewy Molasses-Spice Cookies
adapted from


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses


1.   Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.   Whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in medium sized bowl.

3.   Set aside 1/2 cup of sugar in a small bowl.
4.   With a mixer (stand or handheld), beat butter and remaining 1 cup of sugar until combined.
5.   Beat in egg and then molasses. Mixing well after each one.

6.   Put one third of the dry ingredients into the mixer.

7.   Mix.
8.   Do the same with the next third, and then the last third.
9.   Mix until well combined.
10. Place in refrigerator for 10-15 minutes (to make it easier to handle).
11. Use a small ice cream scooper (approximately 1 tablespoon of dough) to scoop into reserved sugar.
12. Roll balls in sugar.

13. Optional (what I like to do): Cut parchment paper to fit baking sheets. This makes it easier to clean and reuse the pans.
14. Arrange balls on baking sheet. Three inches apart.

15. Bake one sheet at a time, until edges are firm. (10-15 minutes)
16. After taking out of oven, cool on the baking sheets for one minute.

17. Transfer to cookie rack (another must if you are going to bake cookies) to cool.
18. Store in airtight container.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Too Many Needles

The new CT stuff that I had to drink was amazing. It had no taste! I drank it with water, and it tasted like water. It was so good to drink something that didn't have a "I want to forget you" taste, but it made me wonder what chemicals made the stuff have no taste? Then, right before the CT scan, they made me drink another cup of the old CT stuff. Why, oh, why? It left a bad taste in my mouth. Literally.

There was a bit of drama at the nuclear medicine side (where I get my bone scan). I went in at 8:30 am to get the IV port set up on my arm. The tech that I had was someone that I had never seen before. He told me that he had 6 years experience. I've never had a tech tell me that before. Then, he stuck the needle in my arm and tried to wiggle around for a vein. It hurt. It didn't work. He ended up blowing the vein, making it unusable. So what did he do next? He looked at me and told me that he had to find a vein on my hand. Doesn't sound pleasant. It wasn't. I ended up saying, "Ouch." He was wiggling the needle again, trying to find another vein.

After he finished, I went back to the waiting area to be called for the CT scan. When they brought me to the CT scan area, the nurse was mad. She asked me why they had put the port on my hand. She said that they couldn't use that port for the CT scan. She would have to find ANOTHER vein. She wasn't mad at me. She was mad that they had made such a painful (for me) mistake. She put a warm blanket around my arm (it helps them find a vein) and proceeded to go to the nuclear medicine side to tell the tech that he had messed up. When she came back, she found a vein on my arm. 

I was so thankful for that nurse. I am always thankful for nurses who are gentle and know how to set up a port on your arm.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Scheduled Scans and Stomach Flips

It's that time again! Time for my quarterly CT and bone scans. It was perfectly timed so that I could get my scans, go to the Kona DTS, come back, and get my scans again.

Today, I will be getting my bone scan injection at 8:30 am. Getting my CT scan at 9:00 am. And then getting my bone scan at 10:30 am.

The CT liquid that I have to drink is going to be a bit different this time. I guess they switched to another type of liquid "stuff." This one is called Omnipaque. Sound appetizing? The nurse who explained this new "CT stuff" to me told me that this was supposed to be easier to drink than the past "CT stuff."

I can start drinking it the morning of the scan. I will have to drink 48 oz of this stuff within 3 hours. The past "CT stuff" used to clear my system. As I waited for my bone scan, I would have to go to the bathroom - repeatedly. I was always worried that I might have to go to the bathroom during the scan. Thank the Lord that that never happened. We have to wait and see about this stuff.

When I went to pick up the Omnipaque, I had to wait for a nurse to explain the new "CT stuff" to me. As I was waiting, I saw her - the nurse who made me afraid of getting stabbed by needles at my last CT/bone scan. Seeing her made my stomach do a back flip. She did some serious psychological damage.

Please pray that all the scans will go well and that the scans/radioactive injection/CT contrasts won't cause further damage to my body. Also pray that that nurse won't be in the building.

Over the past few weeks, I have felt an increasing pain in my lower, right back. Please pray that the cancer hasn't spread and that all is well.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Words That Make You Go "Hmm"

A few months back, another mom made a comment to me. I know her enough to say that she wasn't trying to hurt me. It was her genuine, very straight forward thought. She just didn't filter it. Basically, she said something like this to me, "You're lucky because of your (fatal) illness because you can live each day as if it's your last day."

Don't get mad. I didn't. Like I said, I know her enough that I know that she didn't intend any malice.

To be quite honest, it made me think.

After I had recuperated from my surgeries, I got caught up with life again. Teaching the kids, taking care of things around the house, driving the kids to different activities, serving at church, getting mad at little things that are so frivolous that it's embarrassing, thinking about my thinning hair... life.

I started to forget. To forget that I really don't know about tomorrow. That I need to live each day purposefully. That I need to invest in the things that really matter: my relationship with God, my family, those that I love...

Maybe I needed that kick in the behind to remind me?

by JD366312

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

BPPV, Still

At the end of November, I went to my monthly oncologist visit. I was a bit scared to go. The reason was that Dr. K had given me a referral for my vertigo, but I had not even called the office to make an appointment. I know, I know. And yes, she was very frustrated when I went to see her. But, I had heard a story of someone with vertigo going for physical therapy and throwing up and not being able to leave the office because of the nausea. It scared me dizzy!

I have had benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) since October 9th. I am so thankful that it has gotten so much better, but it is still with me. There are three semi-circular canals in your inner ear which contain little crystals. When you get bopped on the head or move your head in a funny way, those crystals can come out. Then, your world begins to spin, you can't keep your balance, and you feel so much nausea. Physical therapy is the only treatment for BPPV. There is no medicine that will drive those crystals back where they belong.

BPPV is so common that they have physical therapists that specialize in this.  I went to one of these BPPV physical therapists. I had to wear these special glasses so she could see my eye movements. She made me lay down, wait a little, moved my head to the opposite side, wait a little, made me get up, and put my chin down against my body.

They can tell which canal the crystals came out of by watching your eye movements. During a dizzy spell, your eyes will move in specific directions that will show the therapist which canal the crystals came out of. Once they figure out which canal it is, they do specific exercises to get the crystals back into that specific canal.

During my session, I only had a very mild dizzy spell. I closed my eyes when I shouldn't have so she couldn't see which canal it might have been. She kind of got an idea and proceeded with the exercises. Funny how you have a problem and when you get to the doctor, the symptoms don't appear. When I got home, I lay down on my bed and I got another dizzy spell.

One thing that came to light was that my hearing isn't so sharp on the right side. I had been noticing that  when talking to someone, I kept tilting my right ear towards the person. When the PT did a slight hearing test, I had a hard time hearing with my right ear.

Please pray that I will be back to normal soon and that they will figure out what is going on with my right ear.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Pray More

We started the Kona DTS application process late. I am sure that there were some people who applied at the beginning of 2012 and throughout the summer. But, we had no choice. We had to wait for the church to approve my husband's sabbatical. We didn't even know that he would have a sabbatical. We knew that we had to do what we could, and that God would take care of the rest.

My husband and I had a small window of time to get things ready (one month before the program began). We got all the paperwork and medical forms ready. We called the Korean DTS office to see what we would need to do. (They have a Korean DTS office and Korean translation at the DTS because there are so many Korean speakers that attend).

My husband called our airline credit card company to see if we could use our points to go to Hawaii. He asked about January and was told that we had just enough for round trip tickets for all of us. Ten plus years of using that airline credit card had finally paid off! He also looked into taking money out of his life insurance policy, and tried to figure out when we could get our tax refund check. Unfortunately, both would be after the program started. I believe that God wanted us to depend on Him, not those checks.

I wrote someone who had gone to the Kona DTS. They are also in ministry. They also have a family of five. She told me that they were penniless before they went (sounds very familiar). She told me that if God wanted us to go, He would provide. He had provided all the funds for their family. Her words encouraged me so much.

Our whole married/ministry life, we have seen God provide for all of our needs and even some of our wants. Our home, our cars, the furniture in our house, a dream refrigerator, dream washer/dryer, the children's clothes... and so much more. He had provided all of those things for us. He showed us that as long as we trusted Him and served Him, HE would provide. He has shown us time and time again that HE is Jehovah Jireh, our Provider!

But, then... we were told

  • that the DTS children's school was filled
  • that they didn't have any more on-campus housing
  • that the time that we had to go in January was peak season and that we would have to use double our airline points
  • that we hadn't been accepted, but actually wait-listed, and second on that list

But my husband said, "God is just telling us to pray more." So, we did. 

On Sunday, everything was approved for us to go on sabbatical. We used our airline points to purchase one way tickets to Kona before the points were raised even more. We left the way back to God. I know that sounds crazy, but we know that He will take care of it.

On Monday, I had this thought that we should check to see if our application status had changed. I asked my husband to check, and he told me that we would get an email if we had been accepted. I checked my email, and there it was! The letter stating that we had been accepted!

We are still praying about the funds, but we know He knows.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Time of Rest

There is some exciting news that I can finally share with all of you. The elder board, deacons, and congregation have passed something very exciting for our family. My husband has been given a three month sabbatical!!!!! It will be from January until March.

We have been at our current church for the past ten years. Those ten years have been filled with so many blessings but also many hardships. My husband is at the point where he can't function any more - which isn't like him. He's burnt out. He needs some time to be recharged and refocused.

Everything has come on quite suddenly so my husband and I had to pray about where we could go during that time. Staying here wasn't an option because we live three minutes from the church. My husband would be too tempted to check up on things. The purpose of a sabbatical is to take a break.

If you know my husband, you will also know that he is not the type to sit around doing nothing. He did not want this precious time given to us to just be about sitting around resting. He wanted the time to have purpose. To study. To draw closer to God.

As we prayed, something kept coming up in my husband's mind: Hawaii. Hey, when I heard that word, I was on board! Who wouldn't be? But his reasons were twofold. The first reason was the YWAM Kona DTS. It is a program that trains Christians to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to all nations. There can be 600+ people on campus per session. We would be involved in the three month program that is focused on NE Asia (China, North Korea, and Japan). We could learn, be refreshed, be renewed, and use our time purposefully for Jesus.

When I heard that it was focused on NE Asia, I cried. Specifically, when I heard North Korea. My heart has been there since my childhood. It is where my mother was born. Where I still might have family. Where there has been so much spiritual oppression and physical suffering. My dream had been to adopt a child... from North Korea. But with my health being what it is, I had to give that dream to Him. He knows.

The second reason my husband wanted to go to the DTS in Hawaii was because of my health. My husband thought that being in a warm, relaxing climate could be good for me. Really. He knows how cold I have been since October. He felt that being in that type of climate and environment could help my health physically and spiritually.

We have always talked about DTS in the past. It has been one of those things on our bucket lists. We know many people who have gone to that program and have been so abundantly blessed! We want to be blessed also! And renewed! And refreshed! And refocused!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Les Miz

My sister introduced me to musicals when I was in high school. She bought tickets to the Les Miserables show in Urbana, Illinois. I think that we had just missed the Chicago show. My brother was attending school there, so my sister and I drove down to watch it all together. I remember her purchasing really good seats for us (she had just gotten her first job as a CPA). After that, I was hooked on musicals. I saw The Phantom of the Opera, Miss Saigon, Aspects of Love... but the undertones of God in Les Miz moved me greatly.

I ended up seeing that musical 3 more times. I saw it with some church friends in Chicago. Also saw it in Korea - in Korean. I was a bit disappointed because I couldn't sing along in English, but I still was amazed. Then, I saw in New York City with my husband. AND, he fell asleep. He says that he won't fall asleep if he sees it again. Too high of a price to pay for a chronic movie/musical sleeper...

My youth pastor even used the story in his sermon. He spoke about grace. One of the characters was shown grace by a priest. He couldn't understand why, but he used the grace he was shown to live his life uprightly, doing good. Another character was shown grace and he couldn't take it. He didn't understand why, so he decided that he had to kill himself.

Pastor Paul tried to teach us that we needed to open our eyes to the grace that God was trying to extend to us - even though we didn't deserve it. He wanted us to realize this truth and to run with it. Run with it to do good. To share God's love with others. To live our lives in a manner worthy of the grace given to us.

This past summer, I discovered that Youtube has the 25th anniversary show of Les Miserables - the London production. I watched it all. So many familiar faces came out to sing. It made me cry as I heard the songs. One of my favorite lines from one of those songs has always been: To love another person is to see the face of God.

I will warn that this musical isn't for young children. There are some raunchy scenes, which show some of the harsh realities of this world. I chose to pick out the good. Every time I hear the songs from this musical, I am reminded of God's grace. I find myself asking, "Why have you shown me so much grace?" But then I come to realize that it is not because of me. It is because of who God is.

by t3hfiasc0

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Have you heard of either of these?


Both of these organizations offer Bible studies for women and men across this country and around the world. There are Bible studies during the day, but also at night. Both groups are interdenominational, so people of different denominations can come to study God's Word together. You don't talk about your denomination. Simply and purely, you study God's Word.

I had heard about these Bible study organizations from quite a few people. Very good things. I just never got around to attending one. I was too busy with the young'uns, homeschooling, church, or just didn't think that I had the time (or energy) to go to one. They even have a wonderful children's program, but I still didn't think that I had the time to join.

This past Fall, I finally set it in my heart to join for me. I had been teaching and running around driving my children to different activities but not doing anything for my own refreshment. I am still reading through the Bible (in a year), but I thought that I needed to be in a Bible study with others. What made this Bible study even better was that they had a children's program for homeschoolers. My children could go and study the same book of the Bible as me.

I must confess that I was a bit skeptical when I heard that we were studying the book of Mark. Not only is it one of the gospels (which I have read and studied many times), but it is also the shortest of the gospels. I wondered how much I could get out of the study. Pride is never good. But God was patient with me.

Each week, I was amazed at the different facets that were being revealed to me. Different facets of Jesus and different facets of familiar stories. I was humbled week after week after week. Yesterday was the last class for 2012, and I was amazed at how blessed I had been this past semester. There is power in studying God's Word alone and together.

The format of these groups is very similar:

Large group starter
Small group Bible study
Large group teaching and wrap up

You get a Bible study book. You complete the study during the week. You go over it with your small group. Finally, the large group leader teaches/wraps up the passage. Then, you go home and read the commentary pages that are given to you to reflect on the passage once again.

Bible study.
What more can you ask for?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Go to Sleep!

I have this very bad habit of staying up late. I am more of a night owl rather than an early bird. During college, you have no choice but to stay up studying. When I was single and teaching, it was my time to spend talking with friends, exercising, or reading. When I had children, it was "my" time. I justified staying up because it was the only quiet time I had to myself. It was my veg out time. Don't all moms experience this?

Unfortunately, those stay up late habits stuck with me. My husband constantly nags tells me, to go to sleep. You see, he is an early bird. He goes to the early morning prayer service at our church every day. At 5:30 AM. Don't freak out. This is one of the strengths of the Korean church. They start the day in His Word and prayer.

On Monday, I read an article about the connection between aggressive breast cancer and lack of sleep. It was a bit eye opening. Apparently, there is a connection between lack of sleep and more aggressive breast cancer tumors. Breast cancer patients NEED to be well rested. I need to follow this. Unni, you need to post this article on your walls!

If we don't take care of the physical bodies that God has given us, who will? Don't wait until you are sick!