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October 2008
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December 2008

November 2008

How I "feels"

Here are some silly signs of South Korea.  Sometimes they make some cute mistakes in spelling and usage here in this country.  I think it makes the English Language a bit more interesting.  As you look at these pictures please know that I post them with the "rought" attitude, with all "sincerity" and in hopes that you will have a "hearty" laugh.
Rought flour
Sincerity Hearty gift

Christmas Thoughts

The commercialized Christmas Season looks a bit different here in South Korea.  At least it did two years ago.  There is very little hype leading up to Christmas.  There are few decorations adorning the city and if and when they do appear it is well into the month of December (except in Costco and Starbucks--they already have stuff up).

Things are already changing...

As I walked into Homeplus the other day I saw a flashing Christmas tree illuminating my entrance into the store.  Mounted on the tree was a styrofoam cutout of the words, "Merry Christmas,"... actually, it said "Merry hristmas" because the "C" was missing from "Christmas," no doubt broken off by a shopping crazed Westerner running into the store to get in on the first Christmas sale of the season.

I have found that being removed for the last few years from the commercialized Christmas of the USA has left me wanting...wanting for nothing.  What do I really need this Christmas?  Nothing.  What do I really want this Christmas?  I want to savor the moments that I have with family and friends and I want more of Jesus--"The Reason for the Season."

Oh, wait...I do need something this Christmas.  I need to give myself away.  How about you?  Take a look at this video, maybe it will get your season started off in the right direction.


Moon over tcis Many of my miscellaneous pictures from the week revolve around the season of Fall and harvest time.  After a late evening at school I found myself pausing to enjoy the amazing harvest moon on my walk home.  As it hung over the top of the TCIS dormitory I had to try and capture its glow with my camera.  It followed me all the way home and I enjoyed its light. Leaves

Giant red, yellow and brown leaves blanket the streets, gutters and sidewalks of the city.  They crunch under our feet and serve to hide the litter and grime that is so prevalent on the Korean roadways.  It is very common to see elderly men and women up early, sweeping clean the area in front of their local shops and apartments.  The Truck of cabbage leaves of the city are everyone's responsibility.  I don't miss raking and bagging leaves in Idaho.

 Throughout the city there are signs of harvest and preparation for winter.  It seems like on nearly every corner one can find a truck loaded down with cabbages, beets and other produce.  Every load of cabbage is destined to become pots and pots of kimchi.  The beets will be pickledKimchi and transformed into various types of side dishes.  The bags of dried red peppers will be ground into power and rubbed into the cabbage leaves as a part of their transformation into kimchi.  The leaves of various plants will be dried and ground up and will serve as a base for various soups.

Truck of lettuce In the midst of all this--the city, the leaves, the cabbage and the red pepper--are the amazing people of South Korea--doing life.  All of my observations, that are so unique to me, are the things that make up the ordinary, every day aspects of life  for the Korean people.  The patience and persistence of the little elderly Korean ladies (azumas) as they sit/squat for hours pruning and preparing produce for market and domestic use is nothing short of amazing--more amazing than a glowing harvest moon.


Fall photo The Sacrament of Waiting
by Macrina Wiederkehr

she celebrated the sacrament of letting go.
First she surrendered her green,
then the orange, yellow, and red
finally she let go of her brown.
Shedding her last leaf
she stood empty and silent, stripped bare.
Leaning against the winter sky
she began her vigil of trust.
Shedding her last leaf
she watched its journey to the ground.
She stood in silence
wearing the color of emptiness,
her branches wondering;
How do you give shade with so much gone?
DSCF6281 And then,
the sacrament of waiting began.
The sunrise and sunset watched with tenderness.
Clothing her with silhouettes
they kept her hope alive.
They helped her understand that
her vulnerability,
her dependence and need,
her emptiness,
her readiness to receive
were giving her a new kind of beauty.
Every morning and every evening they stood in silence
and celebrated together
the sacrament of waiting.

Formed and Molded


By Clark Mollenhoff


You are the molders of their dreams.

The gods who build or crush their

young beliefs of right or wrong.


You are the spark that sets aflame the

poet’s hand or lights the flame

in some great singer’s song.


You are the gods of the young—the very young.

You are the guardian of a million dreams.

Your every smile or frown can heal or pierce a heart.


Yours are one hundreds lives—one thousand lives.

Yours is the pride of loving them, the sorrow too.


Your patient work, your touch, make you the god of hope

That fills their souls with dreams,

and make those dreams come true.



I love this poem.  I first heard this poem twenty years ago and its message continues to have a profound affect upon my life adventure of teaching students, working with adults, pastoring the church, interacting with others and even in the raising of my own two daughters.  The older I get, the more I am convinced that the message of this poem is not just reserved for teachers and children.  All of us are a work in progress.  Each of us are moldable and being formed by our interactions with one another and with God.


Peppers We are so powerful.  What a difference a patient, loving touch can make in the life of another.  The value of a smile and a word of encouragement is immeasurable.  What a privilege it is to fan into flame the embers of faith that God has sparked into existence through the cross, His Spirit and love.


Chances are, you and I have made a lasting impression on those formative souls that have brushed up against us today.  All of us are a work in progress.  We are either becoming more gracious or more grouchy—more caring or more critical.  It is all too likely that we have made our mark on someone today.  Did we create or crush?  Did we inflict harm or inspire hope?


Is it possible that the God of the Universe has in some mysterious way made us the gods of the young…and the old?  I think so.



Our Father, you are the potter and we are the clay.  It is a dream come true for us to have your formative hands of love and mercy in our lives.  Lord, please help us to take that precious gift of grace and go into the world as molders of dreams in the lives of others.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.

She Never Gave Up

Karmen's focus:

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

16 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

Karmen is now with Jesus.  God was truly glorified through her life.  She will be greatly missed by the Roberts family.  We cherish the laughter, the love and the friendship that we shared with her.  It is hard to think about not having Karmen around, but we are comforted by the fact that it will only be for a little while.