Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Clearing the Paths

We live near a small woods where we hike daily if time and weather allows. The winding trails can intertwine so much that we can hike up to two hours within a deceptively small space. We have done this for few years now. We are creating memories for ourselves when we can no longer hike. Then we will reminisce ... those good old days when we were able to spend so much time together daily in the woods, breathing in the wonderful fresh air and loving the beauty of it all.

This year the river that flows within the woods flooded due to melting snow and lots of rain. Much of our trails have been under water for a week or more. As our paths have dried out, we have been able to use more and more of them, after clearing away the branches and fallen trees carried by the flood blocking the paths.

This flood also left an abundance of litter: pop cans, alcohol bottles, candy and gum wrappers, etc. The first day back on our trails, we collected five grocery bags of garbage. Subsequent days were much less. One week will clear the woods for another year!

It is rather interesting that we have learned to enjoy the whole process of maintaining these trails by trimming the thorn bushes that would snag us, collecting litter, and clearing fallen branches and trees as we're on our daily walks.

We have all the wonders of nature, many giant logs that have fallen, the uphill climb, wetlands, river, countless trees that create such interesting patterns with the blue sky, small and large animals that make home here, and all the birds and their songs.  And we have our little haven in which we take daily mini vacations of hiking in nature as if these woods belonged to us.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Goals, dreams, and an open door

Earlier today, as we were walking in the woods after the flood, even though our boots were getting muddy, I was moved to see the beauty of my surroundings. My thoughts were roaming. What is it that is important for me? How do I want to finish my life.

I thought of my history. As a little girl growing up in post-war Korea, I determined that I wanted to fulfill all the aspirations that my parents had, that were taken away by the war. I wanted to fulfill my grandfather's aspiration also taken away by the war. It was a huge task to fulfill their dreams.
In that endeavor, I tried so hard to achieve the unachievable. Those around me noticed me as someone  accomplished, but I was always a huge disappointment to myself for failing my parents' and grand-father's dreams. I could not enjoy my present life. 

Here I am, 62 years old. Because of what I believe was a providential pathway, I resigned from my lifelong career. Then another career path opened up, which I believe was also providential. That step alone was empowering. I actually chose my desire in studies, something that I am passionate about.

 The thought of fulfilling that path also scared me. Why would I want to be a functional medicine practitioner when I don't have... a million reasons pop into my mind contrary to pressing on.

Providence has opened the door for me. I will pursue it. At the same time, I realize that what is important is relationship with those whom I love and care about and those whom I will meet in my path. My dream is not a successful career but a successful life. I dream of making an impact on the people whose lives I hope to touch with love for God by serving humanity in the healing arts.

I realized that there are lots of things that need to be cleaned up within me. With God's help I am allowing forgiveness for myself. I can let go of my past, when I was so intensely focused on fulfilling my seniors' dreams that I often did not enjoy, relish, and pour myself into my own children as they were growing up. My regrets only tie me down. Only when I am free from that weight of guilt can I love my grown children to the utmost and love my grandchildren to the fullest. I shall also let go of any bitterness that has come along my path one by one so that I can fully be released to live in life, in God, and in love.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Visiting my blog again

Life has a funny way of marching on. Who would have thought a year ago that so much would have changed in my life. I was able to leave the pharmacy world in September, then embark on totally new studies as I pursue another field. As most peers my age are looking forward to retirement, I have decided to tackle new studies for new goals. And I am dreaming of living a full life and loving my new career as I age.

I graduated from college in 1980, 38 years ago. It has been a long time since I was an active student. Back then, it was normal to dedicate a full day every day to studies. Fast forwarding 38 years, I was not ready to experience headaches and eye aches after just two hours of studying.

Four years ago, I stopped blogging, except during vacations. My full-time job as a pharmacy manager had consumed my body and my soul. This very dissatisfaction with my career screamed out to me, and I felt I must do what I wanted to do before I die. So now I spend most of my days studying functional medicine. No excitement. Just plugging along daily in my studies with the dream of becoming a passionate healing practitioner.

Just two days ago, I made a decision to join #standupandshinechallenge. This was something the young me, as a college student, would have joined. Lizy, my youngest daughter, had joined and in her excitement, I followed suit. Joining was a difficult decision for me. These thoughts were filling my head: "I am too old for these kinds of challenges. My daughter will be embarrassed with her mother doing the same projects. My peers will laugh at me." On and on the thoughts came into my head. Not only that, I was filled with, "What a crazy venture I am starting. I like to study. After I am done studying, I will quit. I do not have the oomph to press on to become an effective practitioner, to fight through what it takes to get there."

Oh my goodness! All those thoughts passed through my head. I just pushed and forced myself to signed up on my Instagram account (@noni_jaehi) and tagged Lizy (@elizab_anne). If I become a laughing stock, well let me see if I will survive.

My daughter Lizy responded:
  • elizbeth_anneGo mama!! You’re amazing and I love you so much!!!
  • elizbeth_anneYou inspire me ❤️

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Ranch Tres Palomas

The ranch we stayed at was on this dirt road. It is plowed from time to time because the wind causes the sand to accumulate.

The Neill men on the Ranch
Me and my two boys

This is some of the food we ate. Tom and I made breakfast every morning, and our sons and Danielle made dinner every evening. We had wonderful meals. Here are some samples.

All in all, in spite of challenges in our health, we had a wonderful week together!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Joshua Tree: Day 6

Today is the last day of our vacation. Seth said he felt so comfortable being here together that it seemed we could just go on living like this for who knows how long. I like that sentiment.

We had a lazy breakfast and left for our last day of excursion. We wanted to do so much but so limited in time.

We headed for the Fortynine Palms Oasis in Joshua Tree National Park, one of the final destinations of our trip.

Seth told us about Noah Purifoy's Outdoor Desert Art Museum of Assemblage Sculpture. Although it would be closed and it was getting dark, we decided to go. I have never seen anything like this. Each piece is so large that it needed to be displayed outdoor rather than indoor.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Joshua Tree: Day 5

This morning Christian came down with a virus. So Danielle is the only healthy one. Tom opted out of today's outing to get some more rest, and Seth decided to work at home.

So today it will be me, Christian, and Danielle. I cannot miss out on the sun and the beauty that awaits me even if I am still under the weather.

Funny, we all thought we would be having outings in other areas besides Joshua Tree. There are bends and turns that one could not anticipate. Yet I am loving every moment here with Tom, my sons, and Danielle.

Christian and Danielle really wanted to climb Ryan Mountain, which I did yesterday. The second visit was just as impressive. I still needed several stops to rest! I loved this hike just as much as yesterday's.

The sides of the mountain at this point looked like the boulders had stopped in the midst of the momentum of rolling down the hill and froze in time.
So glad that Danielle took so many great photos.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Joshua Tree: Day 4

It is ironic that Tom, myself, and Seth were the ones to go for an outing today, since we are the three who have been sick. We were feeling somewhat better but still sick. Christian and Danielle were deeply engrossed in prep for their project due tomorrow and decided to spend another day working.

We climbed Ryan Mountain, which is 5457 feet high. The trail to the summit was 1.5 miles long. I have never experienced such exhaustion on a hike of that length. I had to rest at least four times before I reaching the top.

The stone steps sometimes were so steep, just trying to climb several left me breathless. This was a stark contrast to hiking five miles in the woods in Goshen, Indiana, which makes me feel fully satisfied with my exercise for the day.

This is how the trail started. It seemed like the gentle slope of a garden.

Who would have thought that growing old together could be so much fun!

A view of way below us as we climb higher—those little bumps in the back are mountains as large as this one we are hiking.

Seth, my younger son, whom I see only once or twice a year.

The path is getting steeper, and rocks on the trail are more part of the mountain itself, sharper and harder.

Almost to the top...

Come on, you can do it...

Tom helped me up the last leg of the journey.

We made it!

A little mound to show you reached the summit.

Vegetation at the top.

Just to make it official...5457 feet high!

Here's Seth's description of today's hike up the mountain: "After spending some time exploring the huge granite boulders at the foot of Mt. Ryan, we started up the trail to the peak. It wound around the mountain so that at first we got an increasingly grand view of the enormous boulder piles that clumped into a boulder mountain to our north. The higher we got, the more snow we saw. We passed around bends that would expose totally new views across the plains to more rows of tan, pink, and blue mountains. Only at the very top did we leave the shade of the highest peak. Half the horizon came into view for the first time, a massive mountain range in the western distance emerging from clouds, and flowing ranges and plains of different elevations across the southern horizon (including the low Colorado desert we visited yesterday). From the very top, we could see in every direction, and the low sun only exaggerated the enormity of the view. The joshua trees and cactii disappeared at that height, showing all the land."