Tuesday, August 11, 2009


As I am wondering how are we going to keep two boys in college, I am thinking of many things.

When I was young I told my self that when my kids are college age, they will be able to go anywhere they want to because we will have the means. We are two income parents and that it was inevitable that college was one thing our kids could pick & choose.

It is rather funny how far we are from there. I had never imagined that Tom would quit his job to pursue his calling. ( Wings to Fly) That in itself would throw me into journey that I never expected to enter. Then we moved to Goshen due to political situations related to serving in the church in Chicago. Our home is still unsold in Chicago.

As I am making phone calls to Wesleyan University, probably the most expensive private university in US, on Seth's behalf, I feel helpless on one hand yet peaceful on other. Who would have thought that his funding from Wesleyan would dry up due to economic downturn.

I am battling this fight within; the desire to make it possible for Seth to go back to Wesleyan and the thought this will be good for Seth to fight his own battle. Oh how I hate to be backed against the brick wall of being in this circumstance where it is not feasible to do anything....I remember thinking when Wesleyan gave him so much money the first 2 years, I was afraid that one day they will not.

Christian has one semester left. I will be so relieved when he graduates.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Wissmann Family

Last night we went to see the Wissmann family—a family of fifteen—perform at a Mennonite church. As we drove to the church in Shipshewana, half hour away, it never ceased to amaze me that these beautiful and serene country roads are just minutes away from my home. I rebooked our tickets to "Oklahoma" at Amish Acres so that we could see this performance. I love family groups (well, I am thinking of the Von Trapp family...from Sound of Music)

When 6:30 came around, thirteen of fifteen family members sat in the front row, just in front of us. My first thought was, How is it possible that every one of these kids and young adults are so attractive. The girls each wore a very modest blouse and long multicolored country skirt. The performance began, and I was taken aback by how gifted this family is. Especially the oldest young lady, age 27, who sang beautifully, wrote music, and played several instruments. How is it possible that so many in one family could play so many different instruments and sing so well?

I was expecting to be entertained. I was not prepared to be touched by God by their testimony and moved to the core. Their purpose was to bring God to their listeners. Loren, the dad, gave a brief story of following God, wrestling with God, and being subdued by God, only to be awed by God's wisdom and love. How is it possible that one couple produced such a wonderful testimony that extended beyond their home. They touched so many as they traveled.

I was brought to how many years I have wasted by pursuing my own interest. I told the Lord, I am sorry that I cannot reverse my history, yet I can present my heart to You now. After the performance I spoke with one of the girls. She loved this life she had with her family, and we talked about some of the travels that she was involved in. How can one couple bring up so many to love the Lord?

Published: July 22, 2009 11:23 a m

Family of 15 to perform at Townline Mennonite

The Loren Wissmann family, a family from Seward, Neb., will perform a concert at Townline Mennonite Church, Shipshewana, Saturday at 6:30 p.m. The public is welcome.

They have performed in more than 35 states, Canada and Mexico.

Loren and Gloria were married in 1980.

Over the years they started an industrial business, home schooled their children and experienced country living.

They travel in a 45-foot bus with their 13 children in tow: Rachel, Ruth, Josiah, Bethany, Andrew, Elizabeth, Matthias, Stephen, Hannah, Susanna, Alaythia, Nathanael and little Charissa.

With a wide variety of instruments featured in each performance, including guitar, bass guitar, banjo, mandolin, dobro, fiddle, hammered dulcimer, harmonica, piano and flute, accompanied by harmonized vocals, the Wissmanns present gospel and bluegrass music.

They typically travel more than 35,000 miles annually, performing at churches, Christian schools, prisons, banquets, county fairs, city festivals, state and local conferences, in Branson, Mo., and even at a few unique venues, including a cattle sale and campground gatherings.

Family Life seminars have also been added to their repertoire.

“Our primary goal is to proclaim the eternal hope and promise found only in salvation though Jesus Christ,” Loren said. “We also have a great passion to share the joy found in God’s design and purpose for the family.”

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Family Reunion 2009

As we waved good bye to the last of our guests, I felt as light as a feather. This event had not wiped me out physically or mentally. The only thing left was the laundry and that seemed easy enough. We had hosted a Neill family reunion and I could see us doing it again. It was actually FUN.

Two weeks before the big weekend, July 4th, 2009, our family reunion, it hit me that we could have 30 or more people looking to us to host a good time. The thought of meals to plan, house to get ready, grocery to shop, .... it all overwhelmed me. What scared me was ....to keep some sort of order that a crowd creates after eating a meal, and the clean up that followed. I feared of being overworked, overtired, and drained of any human emotions other than "used up." I would be responsible for all upkeep.

Mary (Stevens) gave me an advise that had worked for her. Think thoroughly of every thing that needed to be done, especially meal preparation and clean up. Assign two persons for each activities, such as preparation of meals, clean up, etc. Keep the hosts OUT of the schedule. The hosts have more than enough duties before, after, and during.... Although I did not think through everything, I did create a schedule for meals and clean up. It worked beautifully. It was like magic, watching the young people doing their chores willingly and dutifully.

One time, I found myself cleaning up...maybe because I scheduled two of my brothers in law for duty. Mary called me out to living room. " JaeHi get out of the kitchen."

It was a memorable several days. All the activities that we did are like a big fun blur. The drive in the Amish country, the stops at by gone-era stores...buying hand churned butter, home made bread and jams, buying samples of candies of past... visits of memorable sites, watching everyone play freesby, soccer, taking stroll with aunts, cousins, just talking, laughing...the whole family squeezed on our large front porch and enjoying the fair weather...and what else were there?

What I remember most is, I enjoyed the event. I participated in RESTING and FUN. I went to work the day after every one left. My coworkers asked me how my "Family Reunion" was. I told them it was wonderful. They looked at me again. Did they expect me to be wiped out and exhausted?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Art Workshop

Today was the first day of the three day workshop sponsored by Goshen Painters’ Guild. Steve Blackburn, an artist from the South Bend area, is giving us instruction on his unusual technique: watercolor pouring method. Today I spent from 9am to 6pm at our art studio. I have not done this much artwork since I don’t know when, possibly my high school years.

For most of the day, it was a struggle. We were not sure where Steve was leading, which meant we did not know what we were creating. Time progressed and at the eleventh hour something sparked from within me. I was able to follow him, and my brush strokes came alive.

Sometimes art is like a puzzle with the final picture not yet seen. We fit pieces together. Then at one point you see a picture unfolding .... and everything makes sense as you put all the pieces together.


I never thought that I would like retail pharmacy, yet I do. I never thought that I would like a floating schedule, working at a different pharmacy each day, yet I do. I work with different people daily. I love the change in human dynamics.

I work with technicians who are struggling financially, especially now with so many husbands and other members in the family losing their jobs. It’s not uncommon for them to strive to survive on one income (making less than $10 an hour). Goshen is filled with those who can barely keep afloat. I have many customers who have lost jobs and wonder how they will survive. I love the relationship that I am developing with these people.

Then I go to Goshen Painters’ Guild. This guild is mostly made up of older ladies (50 and up) who travel often. In conversation, I learned that one has just come back from Hawaii, & the others are comparing notes. They often talk of their next destination—California, Florida, Europe, and other places ... Many of these ladies are retired and fill their days with activities. During winters, two of the ladies go to their summer homes in Florida, where their husbands golf all winter and they paint. One of the ladies owns a beautiful and successful nursing home. We all enjoy painting together and developing such keen friendship.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Clean Bill of Health

I went to see a doctor today. An insurance company had turned me down due to the presence of RBC in my urine. Well, another testing came out negative (meaning NO RBC or any unwanted things). Dr. Bhagat said one test often does not prove much. Based on the second test and previous tests, I am fine. So much for the scare!!! I did have a good imagination...of dying early. I did cry for the sake of my kids and Tom, yet what I found out was I was not scared for myself. Life is interesting.


I actually spent the whole day doing nothing. We made breakfast together and had a sweet time. Tom played with Sammy and Lizy. I watched. I took a nap and read Tess of the D’Urbervilles. I made dinner. Gifford came for dinner. We ate and played a game. That was the whole day. I think Tom spent most of yesterday reading Harry Potter to Lizy. And she loves all the attention she gets from dad.

I would normally have nervous energy and my mind would be filled with, “You must use your time wisely. Do not waste your life. Learn. Use time...” How long have I not allowed myself to be in the moment just enjoying the precious things of life, my family, and friends...or just give myself to rest in God.

I remember doing so many things with the older children. Everything had to go through the filter of “not wasting time.” I would get puzzles only after I found out that puzzles developed their brain. Any kind of play thing was “waste of time.” I wanted them to read history and science. When I went to work, I gave them a pack of “educational” things only to find out they played all day (they were ages 5 & 3).

I remember taking them regularly to soccer games, ballet lessons, skating rink. I would be watching them, so keenly aware that I was wasting time while the kids were doing things that were “good” for them. I always carried around a big bag of things that I could do. Reading a novel, or crocheting would be considered waste of time if I was at home, but it was time well spent if I was just waiting for my children’s activities to end. At home, I would spend as little time as possible in cooking and cleaning because that was a waste of time. The only thing that was NOT wasting my time was to study, to work towards something, to develop a business or work at a job.

Dear mother, in your suffering, in your longing for a life you could not have, you have instilled value in me that would rule for decades. Dear Grandfather, in your longing for the destiny of the Kim family, you have sealed in me the program that would control me. Yet this is human tendency.

It is too bad that we don’t have the wisdom when children are young, when they are a blank page, just to love them and allow them to blossom in God. This would empower them to be the best God has created them.... rather than what we need them to be or who we want them to be.

I would raise my kids differently. Three are young adults now. God has to carry them on just as who they are with all the idiosyncrasies they have received from me. I am learning with age that my wisdom is nothing, my ways are nothing...it is God’s wisdom that will last. His wisdom has substance and will fulfill the meaning of life.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


It is very difficult for me when I have time. Not a second can be wasted. When it is beautiful out, I am thinking, “Oh, how to capture this beauty,” and then there is a struggle within. I need to capture time—study, work on books, learn something, read, write, paint, just something that would make me grow. What would it be like just to rest... Yet to rest is to be lazy, my mind tells me. (You would have to read my memoir to understand.)

The other day, in the women’s Bible study gathering, Doris said, “I waste too much time. I could be doing something useful, but I end up doing nothing...” The others followed suit, describing how they waste time. My problem is I try to squeeze too many things in time. Then almost always my health breaks, and I am in bed all my spare time. When I cannot do anything but rest, I may pick up a book and read. This is also a time when I can reflect, and I often converse with my God. I am forced to rest and no nagging from within occurs.

Long Drive

Yesterday I went to Wabash. My job at times takes me on a 60-miles-each-way commute. It was a bright sunny day. I love to drive long stretches of country road. It’s my time to just talk to the Lord. As I am enjoying the vastness of the Midwest, farms, hills,...oh just the stretch of land, I am so glad to have a time solely devoted to God. This is the time when I like to bring up who I am, and all my fears of what if's of life. This is also the time when I bring up the programming in my being that I cannot seem to shake. Sometimes our interaction moves me to tears. Sometimes I am filled with reassurance. And sometimes just peace to accept life as it is. And at times as I am taken into the depth of my memories, to the source of my stronghold of a false belief system, and as I interact with God, the stronghold is broken and I am released.

As I was driving home loving the scenery, I was considering how I have changed. To be constantly pursuing what I should attain, like a carrot ahead of me that I cannot quite grab, is forever exhausting. As a single person, it was acceptable and almost noble to be in a constant pursuit. As a married person, I was not prepared to live doing mundane things...like housework. I remember when my children were young, I always felt to stay at home was to waste time. My children needed a mom that was somebody and it was for their sake. Tom watched me in bewilderment because I was forever pursuing accomplishments.

Yet there was me, a person so fragile emotionally and so insecure. I was easily stepped on, used, and spat out. Recognizing the love Tom had for me, I would cling on to him for love and reassurance. Yet at times I would hate him that he did not have the constant need to pursue. To me, life was like a report card. You must forever pursue an A. To rest is to give up. I still don't know how to rest, yet I am learning to accept life. In pursuing accomplishments, I could not see the beauty of my children and my husband...of my life and God’s multifarious wisdom. All I could see was I am not there yet. I don’t have an A yet.

I love these long drives. I get so much accomplished. The Lord is able to show me so much...all while I am mesmerized by the beauty of nature...And through it all I have not wasted time.

Oh, I do love this Jesus who is so real.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Wilderness so near

Oh, the bright sun, cool breeze, and the delicious serenity as we take a walk! Or is it a hike in the woods? It seems like we are still discovering trails. As the trail leads us to the Elkhart River, I am in bliss. I love nature. I love sunshine. Tom is ahead followed by Lizy and her little frolicking dog, Sammy. This is a narrow, single-file trail. He is already covered in mud. He loves to jump into muddy water. Amazing to think this is only about a mile from my home in a neighborhood of century-old homes. I wish that one of us were into photography!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Scare

I signed up for long-term disability insurance through my job. To my amazement, I was turned down. The reason: high red blood cell count. I started to look into it. High RBC means too many red cells without enough oxygen...that it can happen to anyone...that cardiac disfunction, diabetes, cancer, and many other illnesses can cause high RBC or polycythemia.

I was overwhelmed....I thought of the movie, “Love Story,” of 70s. Jenny, after a perfect marriage, discovered she had leukemia (too high white cell count)...and she dies, a young woman with so much life ahead of her. I thought, “What if I was to die now...” Tears flowed....my kids are not yet fully grown. Tom loves me so much...no matter what happens, it would be OK.

I always had delicate health. So maybe this was the reason, but why was this never detected before when I was tested many times before?

I looked at the lab report once again. What? The norm is 0 to 4. How can norm be 0 (zero) red blood cells? Oh, it is under the heading of urinalysis. There is supposed to be no red blood cells in the urine. That changes the whole picture. It could be an infection or tumor. That is different than polycythemia (sluggish blood due to too many red blood cells in the arteries & veins.) I will make an appointment with a doctor. I have had many urinalyses with good results.

Friday, April 24, 2009

A moment

This morning I woke up to prepare a special breakfast. Seth is in town and I work later this afternoon. I wanted a special time this morning with Seth. I was clearing up the counter, gathering eggs, and following instructions in the recipe. The sense of doom filled me. So I have failed in life. At age of fifty four, I have not yet been able to get someone to serve me.

My memory flashed back to a little girl. My mother was working so hard. Her hands blistered in winters from cold water. For one hundredth time she told me, "This will not be your lot. You will not cook and clean. That is for servants." She always wanted me to study. "I don't want you to do anything but study. Become some one who is served." At those times it was "that is mom." And I continued to read or do something with books. Although I didn't remember her slaving for others, I heard about it so often that I knew what word was going to come from my mother. "I was a young girl of 18. I thought I was marrying into a noble family....only to find out that I would be a servant to my husband's family, parents, six siblings..." Each time as I heard this same story, I knew that I was not to repeat her life, that I must have servants cook and clean for me, that my job was to study... Oh how she must have longed her past life and determined that her daughter will not serve. There were dozens of servants in her home. There were dining room just for servants to be served by cooks and there were dining room for the master's family.

Tom came by. He gave me a hug from behind and turned me around. "Are you OK? Oh I see that you are not OK" He went back upstairs to his office. I was crying now. Yes. Logically I could give all my reasons why the way I feel is crazy. Yet I was filled with the sense of agony with my failure in life. This has haunted me for the last twenty five years of our marriage. Our marriage has been turbulant because I had blamed Tom for myself not reaching my mother's dream. I was too busy trying to reach the success myself. I could not give my all to my children because I was not a proper mother if I was cooking and cleaning. To live a life where everything in you cried "NOOOO" was not easy. I am supposed to be spending my time taking my children to museums, travel, and....

Tom realized that he needed to come down and help. Soon we were cooking for our special breakfast with our son Seth. I was fine now. As long as someone was working with me I was not a slave. It ended up being a wonderful and delicious breakfast and special time for us.

(wings to fly....for my story)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Moment in March of 1997

I am creating a blog consisting of letters Tom has written to friends during 1994 to 1998 about our kids. Time captured that I did not know existed. With approval of our children that blog will be available to the audience of their choice.

(March of 1997)
Last night the boys talked Jae Hi into taking them to Blockbuster at
about 9:30 pm (they have off from school today for Pulaski day). She
took Elizabeth (age 2) also. Jae Hi was careful to keep Elizabeth away from
the Winnie-the-Pooh video section (she can't get enough Pooh nowadays),
but when Elizabeth saw a Cat-in-the-Hat video, she latched onto it and
wouldn't let go for all the world. Jae Hi ended up buying the video,
but she had to set Elizabeth up on the counter so the cashier could
scan the video--there was no way Elizabeth was going to let go of it!
When they got home, Elizabeth came running to me holding out the tape
for me to see, saying, "My moomie (aka movie)! Cat Hat moomie!"
I played it for her. When the Cat-in-the-Hat came onto the screen,
she was ecstatic, dancing around, pointing, and saying, "Cat Hat!"

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Ten Things About Dad by Elizabeth

written in 2007

1. Dad is tall with big hands and big feet.
(Lizy must have over heard that I loved his big hands and big feet)

2. Dad is gentle.

3. Dad loves Mom
(I must be very blessed.)

4. Dad is thorough and detailed.
(You can say that again.)

5. Dad tickles and teases Mom.
(To the point I become breathless with laughter.)

6. Dad loves his children.

7. Dad knows how to unravel mom's anxiety attacks.
(I don't know how he does it. After his hugs and soothing words, the world is calmer place.)

8. Dad knows how to make mom feel loved.
(like no one else can!)

9. Dad has good judgement of value.
(You can say that again.)

10. What If's don't scare dad.
(What If's always scare me.)

Ten thing about Mom by Elizabeth

Elizabeth wrote this in 2007

Ten Things About Mom by Elizabeth (with my comments)

1. Mom is dad's Gimchi girl and Dooboo darling.
(Tom wrote me a song before we were married, My Gimchi girl and Doboo darling. My Korean taste and
Tom's very American taste buds adds spice to our marriage. Gimchi or Kimchi & DooBoo or Tofu are my all time favorite.)

2. Mom talks funny when she is tired.
( I become slurry in speech and become very funny according to those around me.)

3. Mom loves daddy's massages.
(nothing soothes me more than Tom's magic touch when I am thoroughly tired)

4. Mom likes to have the whole family together.
(yes, yes, YES!!!)

5. Mom is a hard worker
(To the point of detriment. I don't know how to rest unless I am actually sick.)

6. Mom loves daddy

7. Mom looks forever young.
(My mother, Elizabeth's grandma Kim looks very young. Must be in the genes)

8. Mom is always older than she is.
(I love to see surprise in people's eyes. When I was past 35, I would tell people that I was near 40.
At age 45, I told my friend's mom who was 55 that we were practically same age. Ten year difference
was almost none at all. She was soooo pleased even though she looked old enough to be my mother. )

Mom makes every penny count.
(This is the poor immigrant in me.)

10. Mom is Daddy's beauty queen.
(I love the fact that Tom thinks I am beautiful. I grew up thinking that I was so ugly.)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

What a Week

I just spent a week in Chicago with my family. Sunday (4/5) we arrived at mother's house and spent a night. Monday we went to see Jae-Ha and family to see Kyle, their new addition...what a cutie pie. He is so adorable.

The adventure began with spending the next 3 days with Henna and Andrija and their move to their first home. Henna is soooo happy with her life, with her husband, and with their new condo. We loved being part of their new beginning. Of course Seth and Chrisitan and Cora were with us good part of the time admiring the new home and the incredible view from their 19th floor.

How long was it that I was a newly wed, that of all the woman on earth that I would be so lucky to have Tom as my husband. It has been a long journey and long adventure in life, yet after all these years I have to say I am still in love and still so loved. I was looking at my beautiful daughter. All of sudden I felt like I was my mother and watching the young me. I was my mother to the point that I was the odd immigrant. I flinched every time Henna wanted to thow away a perfectly good dishes or glasses. I was my mother, old immigrant who could not get rid of anything. Funny how life turned around. My mother would give me all of her old things because she could not bring herself to waste anything and here I was, being who she is.

I looked at Andrija, a young Tom. Andrija is so totally in love with my precious. Henna told me that he has never experienced the joy of life as he is experiencing since he met her. I loved Andrija when Henna first told me that he was learning Spanish because one day she wanted to live in Spain. He thanked us for helping them move. I thought I would not miss this opportunity to be a part of their start on life.

So funny to think that when we were leaving to come back to Goshen Lizy wanted to stay longer. She loved being with Henna and Andrija. We spent 3 days working out totally involved with their move, yet to Lizy we were cutting our vacation short by coming home.

I love my family.