Mother’s Day Gifts, or Why I Never Get What I Want

My kids all have “Gift Giving” as their language of love. I do not. They love birthday gifts and Christmas gifts, special treats during the week, little surprises on a shopping trip.  And as they’ve gotten older, they also like giving gifts.  So as my birthday and Mother’s Day came 2 weeks apart, “What do you want?” became an ongoing refrain. “Obedience.” Many eye rolls.  “No!  What do you really want?” “I really want obedience.” More huffs, puffs … [Read more...]

Chocolate=Lies, Sex=Truth

What does it mean when you desire a hot fudge sundae more than sex with your loving, gorgeous, faithful, and servant-hearted husband? When I was still nursing my 2nd child, I attended a women’s conference with the goal of talking to friends about nurturing my marriage while having zero sex drive.  One friend, a former missionary in Africa, said, “That’s why polygamy always made sense to me.  If one wife is nursing and has no sex drive, the husband can go to another!” I attended … [Read more...]

Best Advice I Ever Got

“Please don’t have her ask me to start a college ministry,” I prayed as I met with my pastor Meli to talk about what I’d be doing for my senior year practicum 25 years ago. Meli outlined the internship involving visiting the sick and dying, co-teaching two Sunday school classes, attending staff meetings and retreats and shadowing her through her day. And I kept praying she wouldn’t ask me to start a college ministry.  I had already watched 3 attempts crash and burn, including … [Read more...]

Conquering Math One Video at a Time

Math has been my enemy.  You wouldn't think so because Baba’s a physicist with a Ph.D. in applied mathematics and Mama was a physics major and computer programmer way back in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s.  But he did physics to please his father when he would have rather studied politics.  She was a Chinese immigrant who could speak the language of math and science when English was difficult. Mama often intoned, “Math and science is the way to make it in the world!  All my … [Read more...]

3 Reasons I Work for Money

I'm joining the Patheos posts on the Mommy wars, including Rebecca Cusey's Beyond the Mommy-Wars Bumper Sticker, “Can you cut your trip short and come home?” came the woeful voice over the phone on the first day of my 3rd business trip this spring. “No, I can’t,” I said, “I’m sorry.” “But I NEED you,” said the child. “You’ve got to come home and discipline (sibling’s name)!” Enter a gazillion opportunities to feel guilty with even more judgments. Tina … [Read more...]

Washing Fungus Feet: A Maunday Thursday Reflection

I knew Scott was going to wash my feet when he proposed because his good friend had done the same.  So I brought along 3 bars of LL Bean soap, the first presents Scott ever gave me (for Christmas when we weren’t even dating—I had that horrible “I didn’t get you a present because I didn’t want to presume our relationship is actually going to happen” reaction).  We washed each other’s feet with LL Bean lily-of-the-valley scented soap as a symbol of how we wanted to serve one … [Read more...]

What Did YOU Give Up for Lent?

“What did YOU give up for Lent?” school friends would ask in the month before Easter.  As their resident Jesus freak, I surely would have given up something big—like all food and water. “Nothing.”  I would say,   “My church doesn’t do that.” In fact, growing up in my PC-USA church, I somehow missed out on Lent.  Instead, we had “One Great Hour of Sharing” where I took home a plastic bread shaped bank in which I was supposed to put small change every night.  Of … [Read more...]

Some Reflections on Raising Hapa-Haole kids

“Would I be considered an Asian-American actor?” asked my stage-struck 11 year-old thespian son after we listened to an NPR story about a Filipino play—notable because of the scarcity of Asian-American plays (and roles) out there. “Probably. . . do you consider yourself Asian-American?” “No, not really.” “Do you consider yourself White?” “No.” “What do you consider yourself?” He smiled a little sheepishly, “Hapa-Haole.” In Hawaii, folks of … [Read more...]

Who Owns This House?

I lied. I said I finished my series on race, but I’m not done—and I worry it makes folks uncomfortable out there. Because talking about race in America almost always feels uncomfortable. I spent last week at InterVarsity’s Multiethnic Conference.   350 campus staff of almost every stripe showed up—we had Blacks, Whites, Latinos, Asians, Natives, and Middle Easterners.  The Asian group alone included focus groups of East Asians, South Asians, Southeast Asians and … [Read more...]

Risking Foot in the Mouth Disease

This is the last in my series of blogs on race.  The previous ones are Why Aren't People Talking to Me?, Do you Think Chinese Girls are Pretty?, and Why Louisiana Hot Sauce Didn't Go With Chinese Stir Fry. 25 years ago, on a summer urban missions project, I put my foot in my mouth. “You look like Aunt Jemima,” I said to an African-American friend wearing a bandana over her head. She looked at me without a smile, “Kathy, it’s because I love you that I will forgive you, but … [Read more...]