Life in the End Times

Shin's gift to Annie on their One Year Anniversary

DTR with the MIL

Filed under: In-Laws & Outlaws — Annie at 10:59 pm on Monday, July 28, 2008

Just finished a 2 hour conversation with Shin and the in-laws.

Here’s a tip for the American daughters-in-law about relating to your Korean mother-in-law. They told me not to try to develop relationship by bringing up topics of conversation for the purpose of sharing thoughts and plans. It will cause conflict because she will most certainly try to fix your problem while at the same time being unable to relate. Instead, just bring up questions that you don’t have answers to.

Relationship with your in-laws is built by their correcting you, by discomforts that you both feel while bumping into each other, by eating and sleeping in the same house day after day, and by fulfilling your role as the helper in the house. But she made an amendment to that. She decided that she’s not going to treat me with politeness as normally occurs towards a daughter-in-law. Instead she plans to correct me if I don’t do things to her standards of taking care of her son, and soon, her grandchild as well.

She thinks that over the years we will become closer because of this hazing. I think it’s just the opposite. I will increasingly resent her. You can’t apply Korean paradigm to an American and think that it will work. Nor can I ever expect her to understand American paradigms.

Baby Thoughts

Filed under: Baby — Annie at 11:24 pm on Sunday, July 27, 2008

This Wednesday I’m 22 weeks. I’m more than halfway through. I have another appointment this Tuesday which I’m excited about. I’m meeting a new doctor for the first time and hoping he has a woman centered paradigm of birth and labor and low c-section rates.

It was amazing what kind of details I found when I called around some of the ob/gyn offices last week asking for c-section statistics. One receptionist told me almost reassuringly, “He does them ALL the time.” Another girl said, “He does them about 50/50” Still another said that in about 30 births that month the doctor had performed 10 c-sections. The last girl refused to give me even a ballpark saying she would have to look through every month’s statistics to be able to give me an average. That reveals a saavy doctor who keeps his staff informed on protecting their image and bringing in unsuspecting clients who are about to have their birth plans sabotaged on the day of delivery.

I realize by and by how it’s only God who can help me to have a successful birth. He can avoid a breeched baby, umbilical cord entanglements, and any other accompanying difficulty. I do trust God and acknowledge that He coordinates it all regardless of all my preparation or methods.

The other day I was commenting to Shin how with the first two pregnancies we had that miscarried, I could have done everything right and I couldn’t have caused them to be born. But when a baby is intended to be born a mom can overexert herself, eat the wrong foods or be living in war time and that baby will most certainly be born and likely healthy! I have to trust that God really does know each and every being that enters the world.

Shin said something that was profound last night. He had just read the baby a Psalm (91) and afterwards said he thinks the baby is actually getting more Word in there (the womb). I knew exactly what he meant. The Word of God that creates life and knows his/her inmost parts. It was a beautiful sentiment and also scary to question if my spiritual life affects the baby? Or is it just the opposite- do I have a special grace over me even in my mood swings because of the baby? Questions to ponder for another day.

Currently reading:
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
inamay.jpg

Bienvenidos Bebita Sofia!!

Filed under: Extraordinary Days — Annie at 12:22 pm on Saturday, July 26, 2008

My friend Monica is having a baby today!! She’s having a c-section which makes her really anxious. She didn’t tell me why but today is her big day and I’m so happy for her! Monica was one of my closest friends in Paraguay. She’s my age and is married and has a son. They had their official wedding ceremony the year we were there and I designed her wedding invites. We were both wanting to have a baby around the same time when we used to hang out. We went through part of our pregnancy together and she asked me to email her a belly shot! Now we’re going to deliver in the same year. I’m so excited. When we go back to see her that will really be something.

FILS BDAY JULY 26

Filed under: In-Laws & Outlaws — Annie at 12:02 pm on Saturday, July 26, 2008

Today is my FIL’s “real” birthday. The birthday on his drivers license is around Father’s day because I don’t know why. A lot of Koreans have two birthdays because of immigration or leap year or I don’t know. So my MIL told Shin and I to pick up a cake to show him we remembered this birthday, although we celebrated by giving him a gift in June. So I was asking Shin, “So should we celebrate his birthday twice a year?” And Shin was like, “Just ask when it comes up” And I was like, “That’s why I’m asking because it came up” And he’s like, “They just want you to watch and learn.” What? I’m asking for the purpose of storing the information and the customs in my head and I was getting some vague answer that discouraged me from getting involved. That just makes me think I should shut up and just do as I’m told. That’s what I’ve watched and learned.

God’s Temple

Filed under: Creative Reflection — Annie at 11:07 am on Thursday, July 17, 2008

Yesterday morning I read something that totally gripped me. But I didn’t know why it was so powerful. It was a passage from Ezra 3:11-13
With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord: “He is good; his love to Israel endures forever.” And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.
But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy.
No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise. And the sound was heard far away.

It is just powerful scene in itself when considering all the hardships the Israelites had already been through. After being exiled this amazing Persian, King Cyrus receives an appointment from the God of Israel to build a temple for him in Jerusalem. This is the rebuilding of the temple that King Solomon had built so splendidly around 1450bc. (http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/egyptexodus.htm)

Cyrus began this building in the first year of his reign which looks like was in 546bc when he assumed the title, “King of Persia”. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyrus_the_Great). I don’t know how many years the temple had been in ruins before rebuilding. But it couldn’t have been more than a lifetime because some of the older Israelites had seen the first temple.

So last night I was telling Shin about this passage and he said he had read it not too long ago himself so we pondered what was the emotion behind their tears. Coincidentally over dinner last night we talked with my in-laws about the word, “Han” in Hangook or Korea. And how that word “Han” entails so much history and emotion that has been passed down.

“The minjung theologian, Suh Nam-dong describes han as a “feeling of unresolved resentment against injustices suffered, a sense of helplessness because of the overwhelming odds against one, a feeling of acute pain in one’s guts and bowels, making the whole body writhe and squirm, and an obstinate urge to take revenge and to right the wrong — all these combined.”[1]” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Han_%28cultural%29)

I couldn’t help but project a “Han” like psychology onto the Israelites. They had been oppressed numerous times and carried away. Their temple had been ravaged of it’s treasures and destroyed. They had suffered slavery, persecution, bloodshed of their innocent babies, exile.

But unlike Korea’s lament, the Israelites had a written history of covenant relationship with God that prescribed blessings or curses. When King Solomon dedicated the original temple to God, God appeared to him and made a covenant in 1 Kings 8. He said, “I have consecrated this temple, which you have built, by putting my Name there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.” (1 Kings 9:3)

But God had also said in verses 9:6-9:
“But if you or your sons turn away from me and do not observe the commands and decrees I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, then I will cut off Israel from the land I have given them and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. Israel will then become a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. And though this temple is now imposing, all who pass by will be appalled and will scoff and say, ‘Why has the Lord done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’ People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the Lord their God, who brought their fathers out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them–that is why the Lord brought all this disaster on them.'”

Although both will be extremely painful, the pain of the remorseful will be different than the pain of being mistreated. First because, in the former the person would take responsibility for his actions so it involves mind and heart and action. But the latter, they are coping with an externally imposed injustice. Secondly, because of the quality of the person oppressing. The military strategist who disregards human life can never equal the omnipotent Being who has patiently outstretched His hands in forgiveness and yearning.

So God’s supernatural favor upon the Israelites – through the greatest empire of the day, was truly merciful. Perhaps the weeping was the remorse of God’s people and the response of unworthiness in the face of God’s loving-kindness.

What I had to ponder further was, Why was this temple destroyed and rebuilt

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