The Help was so good–why can’t I remember it?

2 weekends ago, all 3 kids went on a church retreat which meant Scott and I were alone [raucous cheering and whooping].  I enjoyed many blissful activities including several hours each day to read.  I dug into Ling's banned books (click here to read about that). All day Sunday I re-read The Help, which I had read a couple years ago.  It's just my kind of book--chronicling the stories of Black maids in Mississippi in the 1960s.  Even though there's been … [Read more...]

The Pleasure of a Banned Book

A week ago, I took away Ling's library books, banning her from reading them.Growing up, I read whatever I wanted.  Mama, believing that nothing led to academic success more than avid reading, censored nothing.  So I read everything, including junk. I read literary junk--Harlequin and Regency romances, soon learning that reading the last chapter of each book while standing by the rack at the library gave me everything I needed to know including the satisfying romantic conclusion. I read … [Read more...]

What’s so bad about FUGGs?

"Today was a good day," Kai-Kai said when I picked her up from play rehearsal, "Today was a gold medal day!""Wonderful!" said I, imagining a 100% on a test, an A+ on an essay, or maybe even a lab project with a big gold star plastered on the "good work" board, "What made it so great?""Today I had my brand new Uggs, my Northface jacket and my LL Bean backpack.  Finally the exact right pieces for school."Hmmm. For those of you who either live in sunny Hawaii/CA or under a rock so are unaware … [Read more...]

Kicked out of Trick-or-Treating

Last night I was excluded from trick-or-treating. As has been our tradition for many years, we had folks over for chili (click here for my world-famous recipe), sweet potato cake and ginger molasses cookies.  My goal?  Shove healthy food into kids before they dive into their candy bonanza.  It hasn't worked for the 12 years we've been doing this, but I'm always one to keep trying strategies that are proven failures.  As Scott loves to quote to me in so much of our parenting, … [Read more...]

The Way to my Heart is Through my Feet

A couple nights ago, Kai-Kai came into our bedroom after Scott and I had both settled in for pre-bedtime reading.  She took one look at me ensconced on my pillows with Entertainment Weekly (my favorite guilty read thanks to expiring airline miles), and knew I would be in no mood to chat."Hi Mom," she said with a smile, "Do you want me to rub your feet?"I looked at her, disbelieving, but sat up a little and said, "Sure!"She grabbed the Peppermint Cooling Foot Rescue Treatment off my … [Read more...]

Why am I the bad cop?

It was a rough weekend.At one point, after a day of bickering and wrangling with 2 out of 3 kids, one of them went up to Scott, hugged him, and said, "Good night Dad, I love you!" and stalked off ignoring me."Why do I get to be the bad parent?" I demanded. Meanwhile, the other kid kept referring to me as "she," as in "SHE is making my life miserable.""Don't call your mother 'she,' that's disrespectful," said my dear husband."Well SHE deserves it."He spoke strongly with that child who finally … [Read more...]

Glad to know SOMEONE felt better

2 days ago, as I chit-chatted with a friend before our faculty leaders meeting, he said, "On Sunday I saw Scott picking up your girls from youth group.  They raced to the car, pushing and shoving, competing for the front seat.  Then the one who lost punched the winner."He laughed heartily."Wow, great. . ." I said.He chuckled, "It just made me feel so good!  We're not the only parents with kids who act like that."As the father of 4 girls, he should know.  He added, "Of course, … [Read more...]

The Blessing (and Curse) of Chinese Hospitality

2 summers ago, when we spent a month in China working with a house church, the leaders showered us with hospitality.  They took us to the famous pearl market, treated us to lavish Chinese banquets, took us to see pandas at the zoo, and our last night, hosted us in their home for yet another sumptuous Chinese meal.As the house church pastor said, "In China, we show hospitality by taking our friends to the very best Chinese restaurants.  In America, you show hospitality by having people … [Read more...]