‘Tis the Season

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I used tracing paper. Super cool. Felt like cheating as I drew, but then I realized I was able to draw at a level of detail I’m not used to. We’ve found four scorpions in the house and one in the pool thus far.

Dr. Sei-Jong Chung

My father was a very private man. He passed away on July 11, 2019, and we did not have a service for him in Georgia, where he lived. Instead, we will have it at my house on September 12. Here is his obituary:

Dr. Sei-Jong Chung, passed away in the early evening hours of Thursday, July 11, 2019 at his home in Lawrenceville, GA. He left this world peacefully, with his loving wife, our mother Jung-Yoon Chung, by his side. As he waged a short, but courageous battle against lung cancer, he discovered a peace and joy with his family and friends he had never previously known. For this, we are eternally grateful.

Born in South Korea, he was the fifth of eight children and displayed an exceptionally inquisitive and academic mind. As a young immigrant and college student, Sei-Jong performed many odd jobs, including serving at restaurants and shoveling coal so college students could enjoy hot water. As he worked to earn his advanced college degrees, he also mentored students and Korean immigrants. On several occasions, he exchanged his skills as a technical English reader and writer for other services. It is because he possessed such expertise that we, his three offspring, were able to take Tae Kwon Do lessons and attain black belts.

After earning his PhD in Operations Research, Sei-Jong was a professor at St. Ambrose College and Northern Illinois University. As a father, he favored the “tough love” style with intentions of preparing us for a tough world. He never allowed us to believe we were victims of any circumstance or person. We were raised to believe we were the captains of our ships and that is an invaluable lesson.

During his final months, he shared with all of us the memories of the life he lived so purposefully, the people who made his journey worthwhile, and the many lessons he learned along the way.

He remains an inspiration to his family, friends and former students, and his intellect, quick wit and generosity will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

 

 

The Hexagon

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Von Appen

I’m taking a podcast class. Seth Godin’s first lesson: start small. Your sister is your first guest…and then a neighbor…maybe a friend of a friend. But not until your sixth guest do you invite someone who has something “better to do.”

You’ll get more “yeses” once you’ve built your hexagon.

You need to develop your skills.

I love Seth’s closing: “Go make a ruckus.” I am thinking of my own…

 

The Antidote

She told me she wakes up anxious. I recommended writing five things she is grateful for first thing in the morning – every morning – before she does anything. Just two weeks in, she said she feels happier each day.

Gratitude can replace worry.

Catharsis

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Daily art prompts. Today’s: “Dream a Little Dream.” I just drew and wrote what came to mind. It became instantly cathartic. Since March, I have lost a friend to a heart attack, my father to lung cancer and discovered a loved one is a severe alcoholic. This has brought to the fore some unsavory childhood memories. The spate of mass shootings in the past couple of days is also disturbing.

But art and writing are centering me.

 

 

It’s How You do What You do

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Plush Design Studio

I asked my 12-year-old niece, “Who is your favorite teacher?”  Although math comes most easily to her, she didn’t hesitate to tell me her English teacher is her favorite instructor of all time, because “She is so enthusiastic about everything! She loves to act stories out.”

Here’s to enthusiasm!

Korean Mom Quotes

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Jakob Kapusnak

My mom moved in with us 11 days ago after dad passed away. My parents immigrated from Korea in the 60s. You can take mom out of  Korea, but you can’t take Korea out of mom. She has no filter and even though she always has the best intentions and is the most loving person you could ever meet, her comments can sound strange, random and even hurtful. But she’s just doing her, you know?

This morning, I was driving her to church when she shared this gem:

“You know, when I look at my children, I realize I am very old. Because they look so old.”

 

 

 

So Emotional (art prompt)*

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This prompt brought me to the source of our strongest emotions of late: grieving. My father was diagnosed with lung cancer on April 1st and passed away on July 11th. In that short span of time, I stayed with my parents a lot in Georgia, away from my desert home in Arizona. The colors of the lush foliage surrounded me as I took walks as breaks from caregiving.  Friendly neighbors smiled and waved and I felt welcome and an unexpected sense of peace.

 

*creativebug.com (Sokol)

Immortal

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Old bean pod, you dried up thing

no longer vibrant in our eyes

who’d want your monochrome self

bent, cracking and dull

beans spill out and

get buried in the earth

the sky cries

and a new life begins

 

It’s Not Political

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I used to read Highlights Magazine from cover to cover as a kid. I loved the stories, the nature articles, the riddles and, of course, Goofus and Gallant. I was heartened to read the CEO’s plea of humanity in his letter to the public lately. Indeed, we need to separate politics from “human decency”:

“As a company that helps children become their best selves—curious, creative, caring, and confident—we want kids to understand the importance of having moral courage. Moral courage means standing up for what we believe is right, honest, and ethical—even when it is hard.

Our company’s core belief, stated each month in Highlights magazine, is that ‘Children are the world’s most important people.’ This is a belief about ALL children.

With this core belief in our minds and hearts, we denounce the practice of separating immigrant children from their families and urge our government to cease this activity, which is unconscionable and causes irreparable damage to young lives.

This is not a political statement about immigration policy. This is a statement about human decency, plain and simple. This is a plea for recognition that these are not simply the children of strangers for whom others are accountable. This is an appeal to elevate the inalienable right of all children to feel safe and to have the opportunity to become their best selves.

We invite you—regardless of your political leanings—to join us in speaking out against family separation and to call for more humane treatment of immigrant children currently being held in detention facilities. Write, call, or email your government representatives.

Let our children draw strength and inspiration from our collective display of moral courage. They are watching.”

Kent Johnson, CEO

Highlights Magazine