Happy, Thanks, Giving


“Aqui, aqui!!,” yelled my filthy, smiling son as he sprinted across the playground, urging his new Mexican friends to pass him the soccer ball. Our family had just traveled across the country for a service trip in Mexico.  The day was a scorcher and dust rose from the dilapidated elementary schoolyard where mangy dogs roamed, crossing a foul stream of sewage.  Without complaint, however, our four kids captured the spirit of our first “service trip,” and cleaned floors, collected … [Read more...]

The Day I Grew Up

My "little" brother Paul and me at a friend's wedding in 2008.

My mom was 29 weeks pregnant, and I was a spunky six-year-old.  It was a Sunday, so my mom and I were in the morning church service (typical).  My dad was out of town on business (also typical).  It was November 11, 1990. The kind ushers had just taken up the offering, and that day I had emptied my piggy bank of all my coins.  Just a few moments after the offering plate passed by, I looked down and my mom was sitting in a pool of blood… it was all over her, the pew and the floor.  I … [Read more...]

Chinese Thanksgiving, Hawaiian Style

29 years ago Mama burst into tears at our dinner table. “This is our last Thanksgiving together as a family.” I rolled my eyes as only mature 17 year old seniors can, “Oh Mom. . .” But she was right. I haven't spent Thanksgiving with my parents since then. . . until now.  My parents flew in from Honolulu this morning. So much has changed. Growing up, Mama called us orphans because we had no extended family in Hawaii.  So my parents invited all the “orphans” they … [Read more...]

Do you review?

I was intrigued by this post by fellow memorist Theo Pauline Nestor, where she describes how she completes an annual review to get a better idea of how she's spent her time over the course of the year and how much she has (or hasn't) accomplished.  Yesterday morning, I decided to give it a try... ...and it changed my ENTIRE PERSPECTIVE on 2011.  I know, I know...sounds like an exaggeration. I promise, it's not.  Here's why: Steve and I have had a...well, adventurous year.  The … [Read more...]

Q’s for an Annual Review

Here are some questions to get you started on an annual review.  I've adapted them fromTheo Pauline Nestor, and tried to word them in a way that is flexible enough to apply to different life stages.  One suggestion: Once you start, push yourself to keep going all the way through.  This can be overwhelming, even when it's encouraging.  It's worth the effort to soldier on! 1.  What have you worked on this year for project/job/role #1? 2. If you have a second project/job/role, what have … [Read more...]

I Can Read with My Eyes Shut

The unpublished Facebook photo! (before the fight)

My youngest brother swears that he did not discover the joys of reading until college—all because I supposedly marched him legalistically through a series of boring early readers when he turned five (and I was the ripe old age of 12).  The experience must have scarred us both, because once the magic of putting sounds together to make words passes and my children are left painstakingly plodding through See Dick Run, I run for the hills. You can imagine my delight when my serious … [Read more...]

Of Grandmothers and Daughters


In my basement was a box. In that box was a sweater belonging to my grandmother, gone these nine years. In the pocket of that sweater was this list. And for a moment, she was standing right next to me. More than anything, it was the handwriting that brought Nonny back to me, but also the very her-ness of the list. Bacon bits. Vodka. Tonic. She and my grandfather were very Mad Men, drinking a cocktail or several each night. I can hear her quiet giggles still, as she laughed at my … [Read more...]

Head Case

Picture of fabulous, fit, well-rested, woman who looks nothing like I do.

I've gained exactly 19.5 pounds since we started homeschooling last year.  Which is why I very nearly turned down the offer to write for this site. It wasn't because I have nothing to say.  I nearly always have something to say - just ask me.  And it wasn't because I'm too busy to write. Writing is an important discipline for me.  I need to write. Instead, I almost said no because of the head shot.  You see, each contributor needs to submit a glam shot of her head for her profile … [Read more...]

Mom Guilt

Children who appear happy although they do not eat enough vegetables.

Motherhood comes with a lot of guilt. My kids don’t eat enough vegetables. I don’t do enough crafts with them. I don’t have them make their beds daily. Well, ever. I don’t greet them fully dressed and with act together in the mornings. I don’t give satisfactory answers to my six-yr-old’s why-does-God-allow-pain questions. I can’t take organic cupcakes secretly laced with nutritional hummus to every church and school occasion. Sometimes I’m too exhausted to make the most of … [Read more...]

Jesus and the Helicopter Mom

On Monday, I led our church’s Mom-to-Mom group through a Bible study on the helicopter mom of the Bible.  Guess who? No, not Rebekah, the mother of Esau and Jacob—she sure helicoptered, but she also was so dysfunctional with her strong preference for one son and scheming against the other that I didn’t think she was very helpful. IMHO, the helicopter mom of the Bible is (drum roll please. . .) Salome, the mother of the disciples James and John, the wife of a prosperous fisherman, … [Read more...]