Monday, January 31, 2011

Train Station

Noelle (an English teacher at the school across from our apartment who also goes to our church and lives close to us) recently introduced Caleb and I to the train.  It is pretty similar to the light rail in the Twin Cities (for those Minnesotans reading) or any other public transportation train, I would imagine.  Except, of course in Korean which always makes everything more interesting. 

Below is a picture of Caleb and Noelle waiting for the train to come.  Caleb was pointing at all the other people...he loves people, quite the little social bug.

We road the train to AK Plaza, a very expensive shopping mall about 20  minutes from the Songtan station (we live in Songtan, about a 15 minute walk from the Songtan station). 

We road up and down the glass elevators at the mall and it was fun to see the view.  In the summertime there is a park (or so I'm told) on top of the shopping center and you can ride to the top, get out and have a picnic or enjoy the scenery from up top.  Since Korea is highly populated and a small peninsula, they are great at maximizing space and not wasting anything!  For instance, all their shopping centers are tall (instead of sprawled out like most of ours are) and each section/department is on a different floor....Like in Home Plus or E-Mart, you'll have grocery on one floor, home goods on one floor, clothing on one floor etc instead of having it all spread out on one or two floors like in the states (very efficient use of space) and you'll see things like parks on top of buildings, I guess.  I'm looking forward to this summer and checking it out!

Women's Tea

Right now at SCBC there isn't a strong Women's Ministry but Michelle (Pastor Nelson's wife) has started working on coordinating more times for the women to get together and start getting to know each other more.  We had our first get-together last Saturday for a tea, Michelle shared her testimony, and we spent some time starting to get to know each other more.  We hosted it at our house (although Michelle did most of the planning/preparations) and it was a really fun time.  We hope to start meeting about once a month.

Flower Tea!

This really is, really cool. 
Michelle brought it to the women's tea the other day (oh yea, I need to blog about that still) and she brought it again this morning to the Monday morning women's Bible study that she leads (and that I have started going to and am really enjoying).

You start with a glass tea pot like this:

And something that looks like this:

You add hot water:

And you sit patiently and wait (or take pictures if you plan to blog about it later):

It starts to unfurl


And blossom.

And you have a beautiful, edible, delicious tea to enjoy!

Thanks, Michelle!

Sunday, January 30, 2011


I am happy to update you that we now have a functioning washing machine!  I may some day complain about doing laundry but for now I am LOVING it. Wow, it is so easy and convenient to throw a load in the washer, push a button and come back 30 minutes later to clean clothes!  I'm such a happy mama and we have clean sheets, clean clothes, socks, clean towels and clean diapers! YAY!!!

But, for your reading and viewing pleasure I'm still going to post 2 clips from two weeks ago when we were still bath-tubbing-it-up for laundry.  This is what happens when you have 2 overtired adults+30 dirty diapers+0 washing machines+1 video camera. 

This production made possible by our dear friends Dan and Tara Schmidt (Charlie's parents) and their kind and thoughtful gift of home made cloth diaper detergent.  Thanks, Friends!

some recent clips of Caleb

For those of you who miss seeing Caleb on a regular basis, here are some recent clips.

Steve gave me a hard time because they are so long but if you miss Sunny C, you might enjoy some longer "time" watching him....I figure if you want to watch you can and if not that's fine too.  PS If you do watch them, you can ignore my annoying mama commentary...or better yet feel free to put me on mute!

This one is especially for you, Great -Grandma B!

And now, dear Readers, Friends, Grandmas and Grandpas and Great Grandmas and Aunties and Uncles and those just stopping by, NOW you have had your Caleb fix for the day.  I hope he brought a smile to your face, as he does to ours and I hope you know you are loved, missed, and often talked about over in this little corner of the world!

Friday, January 28, 2011

still pregnant!

As I watch the calendar countdown to Caleb's first birthday, I can not believe that I was still pregnant at this time last year....It felt like forever between my "due dates" and Caleb's birth day last year and this year it seems just as long.  Looking back, I really can't believe how overdue he really was!  I'm thankful we were able to go as long as we did, that he got the "growing time" he needed and that the Lord kept him safely those extra weeks in my womb and brought him safely into the world. 

As I was reading my bible this morning, I came across a note tucked inside that I haven't seen in a year.  It was from Steve on January 22, 2010.  It was a note of encouragement to me as I struggled those last weeks of pregnancy.  He was encouraging me that "God's mercy is brand new every morning", he was encouraging me to "rest in God's perfect timing" and he wrote thanking me "from the bottom of my heart for carrying our child as long as you have...let's not give up now, stay strong and know that I love you.  Love, Steve (your very thankful husband)."  He also wrote for me to read Lam. 3:21-32.  I re-read it this morning and was again encouraged by the words.  May they encourage you this morning (or evening) too:

"But this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:  The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I will hope in him.  The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.  It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord....For the Lord will not cast off forever, but though he cause grief he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love."

We look forward to celebrating God's faithfulness in Caleb's birth and his faithfulness to us and to Caleb this first year.  As we look back over this year, we are overwhelmed by a sense of God's Faithfulness.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Band practice

Dear Charlie,

Let's start a band.

I've been practicing my beats.

I figure with your mad ukulele skills and my beats we should be pretty good. 

We'll make Jude sing...since he's the youngest he'll have to listen to us.

Maybe if I learn to use my feet we could have an extra "cool" factor...?

I'm starting to grow out my hair, whatdoya think? 

Your daddy knows all about long hair and bands so maybe you can get some pointers from him.

Let me know what you think, bro.

Love, Caleb

Monday, January 24, 2011


My mom shared these with me this morning.  Gianna Jessen was aborted and survived to talk about it.  Here is a short, 2 part clip (about 12 minutes) of her sharing her's worth checking out.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Well Loved

Have I told you recently how well this man loves me? 

 I can not be grateful enough for the blessing from the Lord that Steve is to me and the daily impact he has on my life.  Thank you to many of you who prayed my whole life for a Godly, loving husband for me!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

check it out

Check out this link to one of our favorite blogs and the short clip that was posted.

This Is Abortion

Friday, January 21, 2011

Date night!

Steve and I went on our first date in a really, really long time last night.  Longer than we care to admit.  Longer than it should have been.  But hopefully it is the first of many (more regular!) ones to come.  It was great to get out and spend some time together without the little guy (a huge thanks to the Nelsons who came over to play with him and keep him out of trouble)!

Our friends Gail and Jason told us about a thai message place close to our house that they had been to and enjoyed so Steve took us there for our first night out in way too long.  I was a little nervous/skeptical but it was great.  Think full body message meets aromatherapy meets chiropractic meets stretching/sports message all in one. AHHHHH. Here we are sportin' our message outfits....Steve said zebra suits me, I'm not convinced.

So I guess I can say I'm an African-born, American citizen who got a Thai message in South Korea.
How's that for multi-cultural?

Eating Dirt - Really?

I'm learning a lot of new things about Steve these past months.  Undertaking huge changes, shifting roles, new jobs, and moving cross culturally are great ways to get to know your spouse in new ways and learn a lot of things you never knew about them.  For instance, Steve has proved much more organized than I ever knew him to be before, he has risen to the occasion to lead our family and provide for our family in ways he would have never had the opportunity to do if we had continued living life as we were living it, he has a world of great ideas for planning Wednesday night for the youth, although I don't think preaching is a natural gift to him, teaching and one-on-one discipleship is something he is amazing at and I wouldn't have seen that surface if he had continued in his job in Retirement Services, he is picking up Korean really well (who knew?!), he has a love for adventure etc.  This ginormous life change has also lead to numerous conversations we probably would have never had if we had stayed Stateside.  There have been a lot of hard things and when we first moved here our marriage went through one of the hardest times we had been through and we are still struggle to adjust to less time together BUT it has also been sweet to see Steve unfold and blossom in so many ways and to have these conversations and learn things about him that I never knew before.

All seriousness aside, though, I do have to share this recent coversation.

We recently ate out at a restaurant with another couple from the church and they offered Steve something new to try - they said it was acorn (but it was like jello acorn or something square and jiggly and cold).  Anyway he politely tried it.  Later I was curious and asked him about it.

Me:  "Hey what was that acorn thing like?  Did you like it?"
Steve: "It was okay. I don't really like acorns.  They kinda reminded me of dirt."
Me:  "Have you had acrons before?  And why do they remind you of dirt?"
Steve (nonchalantly, as if it is totally normal):  "I used to eat acorns all the time.  They were under the trees and always had dirt on them because they were sitting on the ground.  I figured the squirrels ate them so I would try them too.  It's not like I was going to go inside and wash them so they always had some dirt on them." 
Learning something new every day.  Wow.

Playin' catch & first steps

I think boys and their daddy's were just made to do things like this.

Another walking clip below.  I would say he walks more than he crawls these days.  At least he starts out walking most places...when he falls though he will often start crawling to get to the final destination.  He is getting pretty good at it and pretty speedy too.

He still isn't talking a whole lot but he is a boy afterall, right? 

To his "mama" "dada" and "num num" he has added "buh buh" (bye bye) and "ba" (bath - he loves bathtime).  He signs "more" and "all done."  We can tell though that he is getting increasingly frustrated at not being able to talk.  He wants things but can't tell us and it frustrates him.  I do think that is part of his whine problem (although there are times when he is just plain whining because he is a whiner too) but I think some of it stems from frustration at not being able to tell us what it is that he wants or doesn't want. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Good byes already? We just got here!

Today Caleb and I kept at our new routine at home.  I haven't been great at keeping consistant, daily routine around here and I think it will be helpful to have more structure than we've we continued to work on that today.  That and not whining. It seems we have a whiner on our hands these days. Steve went to Suwon again to work on getting his driver's license, which has proved to be a harder process than we were expecting.  It is hard not being able to drive and we are looking forward to Steve getting licensed.  Actually he did pass his regular license test to be able to drive a car here but he hasn't passed the van license and since that is what we have to drive, that is what he needs. 

Then this evening Steve went and taught English and Caleb and I went to a going away party for a couple from church (Todd and Charlotte and their two kids Grace and William).  We haven't known them long but in even just this short time they have blessed us so much.  I felt teary thinking about them leaving, even though I haven't known them long!  They are just the kind of people who bless your socks off, even if they hardly know you.  We've met a lot of people like that over here. So many people who show such big kindness and generosity and love to us and they hardly even know us.  That is the Gospel at work and the Holy Spirit in people.  Anyway, they leave in less than two weeks and will be missed by many people here. 

Here are a few pictures from today.

Lately, we've been seeing a lot of this around our apartment....Caleb clinging to my legs or following after me whining....If you have any tips for this, feel free to let me know!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

horrifying, disgusting, revolting

Check out this adorable baby boy

He is funny, smart, active, social and precious. 

He grew inside me for 9 months.

Legally, during that time I had the "right" to end his life.

Can you imagine?

I could have stopped him from being born, stopped him from enjoying his laughter, brightening our lives with his smile, never given him the chance to learn to walk.

I could have robbed you of the joy of knowing him or reading about him.

He could have never been.

No Caleb Russell.  No first birthday.  No first steps.  No first words.

There are millions who weren't given a name, who didn't get the chance to smile, to walk, to laugh, to talk.
Millions who missed their Birth Day and their first birthdays.
Millions who were silenced, never to speak their first words or breathe even their first breath....or maybe many who did in fact breathe their first breath, just to be cut off without a chance.

This article caught my attention this morning:

Please read it. 
 It is horrifying.  It is disgusting.  It is revoting and it is sickening.

It is hard to read.  But we need to read, we need to know, we need to keep the fight for the unborn alive. We need to fuel our prayer and our resolve. To borrow a prayer from our pastor:  Lord, may abortion be one day (soon!) seen as being as heinous, ugly and unthinkable as slavery.  May it be unacceptable, illegal, and unimagineable.

As a nation we should be sickened and grieved.  We should grieve for the murdered unborn.  We should be repulsed by their deaths as much as we are repulsed by the deaths described in the article above.  Killing and dismembering in the womb or out is no different.  A life is a life.

Can you imagine ours without Caleb?  Can you imagine yours without the little ones you love?  Can you imagine how many countless precious ones as these have been murdered and may yet be murdered? 
Please be disgusted with me and please pray with me for the unborn.