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 Fey writes in Bossy Pants, “T … [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 another in our marriage … [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 course, I never did because I ha … [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 mixed ancestry are called “Hapa. … [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 Filipinos.I suspect i … [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 don’t EVER say … [Read more...]

Why Louisiana Hot Sauce Didn’t Go with Chinese Stir Fry

During graduate school, I spent summers doing inner city urban ministry with a multi-racial bunch of students in the African-American community of Austin on the West Side of Chicago.  When you live in multi-racial community with several folks of each color and stripe, quickly the simplest issues have racial overtones.One night TC, a Chinese from Malaysia, made stir fry for dinner.  Two African-American women, Shunelle and Niecy, promptly drowned their dinner with gobs of Louisiana hot s … [Read more...]

Do You Think Chinese Girls are Pretty?

Last week I joined the challenge to talk about race by wondering Why Aren’t People Talking to Me? This week I write about seeing (and hearing).Long ago in college, I talked about ethnicity with Duncan, a tall skinny White guy with a large Adam’s apple and black rimmed glasses, and George, a tall skinny Chinese guy with a large Adam’s apple and silver rimmed glasses. Duncan said he considered me to be Chinese-American, and George to be Chinese.Since George and I were both American citiz … [Read more...]