Saturday, March 23, 2013

My Get Up and Go Has Got Up and Went

Tom has a song in his collection called “My Get Up and Go Has Got Up and Went.” I probably heard it twenty years ago. I listened to it with human interest then. Yet now I am experiencing a sad ring of truth in it. It is not necessarily for my health, because I have always been weak and delicate—sickly really—even as a youth. Then and now, my health is about the same.

I am looking at Tom who had so much energy, so much endurance. It was only nine years ago he would work twelve-hour days to renovate our Chicago home to sell. This went on and off for a whole year. He was fifty years old then. In our earlier years, he would work all day, come home, and work on never-ending old house projects, play with the kids and still carry so much responsibility for the church.

I look at him and my heart aches. He still should have decades left. He still works a long day for church-related literature work. Yet he is not able to do much. His back pains him. Standing hurts. Then I feel so sorry for myself. Everything I want to do is very much tied to his health. Like simple things such as going for a walk on a beautiful day, going shopping, traveling, visiting... For so long I was the limiting factor, and I have always been. That was okay because I had Tom, who was my energy and my cheerleader.

I only remembered the title to the song, but Tom gave me the words to the whole song:

                            by Pete Seeger

     How do I know my youth is all spent?
     My get up and go has got up and went
     In spite of it all, I'm able to grin
     When I think of the places my get up has been

Old age is golden, I think I've heard said
But sometimes I wonder as I crawl into bed
My ears in a drawer, my teeth in a cup
My eyes on the table until I wake up

As sleep dims my vision, I say to myself
Is there anything else I should lay on the shelf?
But nations are warring and business is vexed
So I'll stick around to see what happens next


When I was younger, my slippers were red
I could kick up my heels right over my head
When I was older my slippers were blue
But still I could dance the whole night thru

Now I am old, my slippers are black
I huff to the store and I puff my way back
But never you laugh, I don't mind at all
I'd rather be huffing than not puff at all


I get up each morning and dust off my wits
Open the paper and read the obits
If I'm not there, I know I'm not dead
So I eat a good breakfast and go back to bed

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Oh to Sleep...

Sunday evenings we have a gathering with seven couples and a half (who is actively seeking his other half) from four different churches. It is a Bible study, discussion group, a place to pour out your anguish, joy, sadness, prayer request...and we have jelled as a group.

I’ve been having trouble sleeping for years. More specifically, I have trouble sleeping when I have to get up early, like between 5–6 am. In such times I do not sleep at all or I sleep in such manner I wake up exhausted. So our Sunday group prayed for me. I went home, took 20 mg of melatonin (sleeping supplement) and really hoped that this time I would go to sleep. The next day was a big day. I had to have my rest.

My alarm went off at 5:30 am, and I had not rested all night. Exhaustion filled my bones even before the day started. So my conversation with the Lord went something like this: “Lord, I need Your alertness, Your keen ability to function as a pharmacist, Your stamina, and Your speaking through me” ...because I slur and do not make any sense when I am exhausted. And a good portion of my work is talking to patients, nurses, and insurance people.... “Most of all please make the workload manageable during my thirteen hour shift. It is snowing now..I pray my three hour round trip commute will be safe.”

As I was driving home at 10 pm that night, I realized I truly experienced Him as my upholder in every aspect. I also heard within that my inability to sleep will not last.

I remembered when I was agonizing about not being able to sell our Chicago home, the Lord told me it will be sold. I still agonized for three more years until it sold.

I remembered when I spent most of my waking hours in bed because of severe CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome). I wanted to die rather than live like a vegetable. God told me I would get well. It was three more years before my recovery.

So this time I will praise my God who sustains me and wait for His complete restoration of my sleeping ability. Meanwhile He is my strength.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Children’s Prayers

In 1993, Christian was eight years old and Seth was three. Christian had been coming to Tom asking how a person becomes a Christian. He also came to me to ask that question. We each answered him and showed him some Bible verses.

It was Tom’s habit to tuck our kids in every night. They wouldn’t go to sleep until their dad tucked them in snug and tight. They loved this nightly tradition.

One evening as Tom neared the boy’s bedroom, he heard Christian mumbling something. When he got closer, he realized Christian was praying. He stopped to listen: “Dear God, I want to be a Christian, and I want to be saved. Please come into my heart.” Little Seth was listening from the lower bunk and wanted to join in, so he prayed, “Dear Lord, thank You for the food.”

Mother's Days

I have been telling my mother, you must exercise to remember good days, memorable days, and joyful days. Those days may be far and few in life. It takes an effort because they do not surface by themselves.

This morning at breakfast Tom brought up another buried treasure.

Do you remember when our children were young? Every mother's day we would come and pick up your mother and father. We would go to Chicago Botanic Garden and spend a day.

Oh I remember how our kids would run. Henna would pull her daddy's hand. She always had a claim on her dad. Later Lizy would do the same. The boys would run ahead and sometimes tumbling down the hill in laughter. My mother, father and I would walk behind all of them talking, just talking... When lunch time came we stopped somewhere for gimbop (Korean Sushi) and a sandwich for Tom.

I must tell my mother of this pearl, our yearly outing every mother's day!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Two Persons within Me

The hardest thing about returning home from sunny Florida after slight flu is my winter health has returned in full force. This was the very thing I wanted to shake off. I had imagined myself coming home so strong and healthy after all that sunshine. I hate this feeling of not being well. Last three days at work has been difficult and all my confidence with work was slipping quickly. Ability to concentrate and stamina to endure a demanding job were less than desirable.

During such a time I am so aware of the two persons within me. I am so aware of the delicate person who needs to rest. I look at my peers whose life is in the realm of social roles and I wish I were of busy leisure...

I am also aware of a person who was excited about taking on the challenge of a full time job in a manager role. At age nearing sixty, I will enter into a serious career. My brain is/will be in active gear to improve interrelationship of my staff, to streamline work process, and to have regular staff meetings to face challenges of the business. Daily I am taking mental notes. All this is to start in June of 2013.

I am hoping that I can build up my health to encompass both JaeHi

Friday, March 1, 2013

Memories: When we were buffalo

Fall 1991

Three-year-old Seth had told his Sunday School teacher (Shelly) something ... her stomach hurt from laughing so hard. Their conversation went something like this:

“One day mommy and I were crossing the street. All the cars stopped for us because we were buffalo.”

“But why would all the cars think you and your mommy were buffalo?” He looked at her as if to say, “Why can’t you understand something so obvious?”

I told Shelly of our trip out West. When we were driving through Yellowstone National Park, we had to stop along with the rest of the traffic to allow a herd of buffalo to cross the highway. So our three-year-old Seth took it all in and told his teacher his interpretation.

Memories: Cat Hat Moomie

March 1996

The boys talked me into taking them to Blockbuster at about 9:30 pm. They were off from school for Pulaski day. (Who in the world is that?)

Elizabeth, who was about eighteen months at this time, came along. I had to be careful not to go to the Winnie-the-Pooh section because she couldn’t get enough of Pooh. But when Elizabeth saw a Cat-in-the-Hat video, she latched onto it and would not let go for all the world. I ended up buying the video, but I had to set Elizabeth on the counter so the cashier could scan it. That was her video, and nobody was going to mess with it!

When we walked in the house, she ran to her daddy holding out the tape...“My moomie” (aka movie). “Cat Hat moomie!” Tom played it for her. When the Cat-in-the-Hat came on the screen, she was ecstatic, dancing around, pointing and saying, “Cat Hat....My moomie!”

Memories: A river runs through it

Upper Michigan, Summer 1988

So our first day in the drizzling rain was quite fun for the kids. Even getting wet through and through was fun for them. They got new sweat pants and jackets. Each child also got a new raincoat. Soon they were playing in the rain in their raincoats. I held tight to my baby Seth, who did not walk yet.

That night we settled in our little tents with our young children; Tom, baby, me and older kids on each side of us. I listened to the gentle pattering of the rain against our tent. I’ve always loved the sound of rain as I fall into deep sleep. When I woke up refreshed, I saw that Tom had hardly slept at all. Our tent lets water in when anything touches its sides, so Tom spent a restless night guarding against this. He also was very busy pulling the children to the center so their sleeping bags would not get wet.

Paul and Mary’s tent had other challenges. A steady stream of water was actually flowing through it.  They started out sleeping on an inflated mattress with the two little boys in sleeping bags next to them. When Paul realized they had a river going through their tent, he picked up the boys, and the whole family slept on one little inflated mattress.

Whatever Paul and Tom did to our tents, we never experienced that again, even though it rained regularly.

Memories: Grilled socks

In one of our early camping adventures, we were going to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It was the summer of 1988, and the Chicago area had just experienced an extreme heat wave. We couldn’t fathom wearing anything other than tank tops and shorts. Tom & I with our three little children (ages five, four, and six months) and Paul & Mary (Tom’s sister) with their two boys (ages three and one-and-a-half) were all going on a two week camping trip together. Imagine five children age five and under.

We packed for hot weather and were shocked when it turned cold the very day we reached our destination. To make matters worse, a cold drizzling rain continued for days. We had brought only one pair of long pants and one long sleeve shirt for each child.

One evening as Tom was building a campfire, the kids were romping around having so much fun. Christian didn’t want to slosh around in his wet socks anymore and handed them to his daddy. Tom placed the socks on a grill over the low flame of the campfire. Later, when Christian came and picked up his socks, they had the lines of the grill branded into them and fell apart in his hands.