Sheer Mortification

Last week, I ran into Vivian, a former student, at Grace Chapel’s VBS.  She was helping with snacks.  We chatted, catching up on our lives, when a thin woman approached.  They talked a little and then the woman said, “Kathy, I want to introduce myself—I’m Liz, your neighbor.”I about sunk through the floor because Scott has introduced us about 4 times in the past 7 years.  But it’s almost always as we pass one another running or walking on the street.In my defense, Liz’s house … [Read more...]


“Duh!”“Really. . .” (not said like a question)“Whatever. . .”These words are the new teenage vocabulary of my home.  A couple of days ago, I found myself correcting a teen at least 5 times for various things she said to various siblings.  In each case, she defended herself, so that my critique sunk to the level of word definitions.Case in point:She:  Next year you should help with worship because you’re overly-enthusiastic.Sibling:  Mom!  _____’s being snarky again.She:&n … [Read more...]

The Problem with Celebrating

Several weeks ago, I posted the resolution that I’m not allowed to buy any new clothing until I’ve lost 5 pounds and maintained it for a week.  At the rate I’m going, I’m not buying new clothes any time soon—maybe even for the rest of my life.The problem?  Celebrating.When Scott and I first married, a friend recommended the cookbook Extending the Table:  A World Community Cookbook, a work of the Mennonite Central Committee.  The premise of the cookbook is that most of the worl … [Read more...]


School’s Out—AACK!But I’m not panicking the way I usually do.  The kids are older.  They’re more self-sufficient. I don’t have to lifeguard them when they hang out at the pool.  They’re capable of biking and walking themselves around town.  Plus, this morning all 3 kids are at Grace Chapel’s Vacation Bible School (VBS) with the 2 girls volunteering and Ren attending for the very last year he’s eligible.  This week’s theme is PandaMania, and Ling even brought the stuffed P … [Read more...]


Last night, the whole family watched Ren-Ren "move on" from elementary school.  This is the last time we'll do the Muraco "moving on" ceremony--our whole family is finally "moving on" from elementary school.  Hence, we knew the best part would be the video full of baby pictures, kindergarten pictures, current pictures, and all the years in between.  Here's Ren at 5 months:Here's Ren at 18 months:And here's Ren at his first day of kindergarten:And in his kindergarten portrait:The … [Read more...]

Where I’m From

Yesterday, when I read Ren's poem, it took me 30 minutes before I realized that I too have written a poem inspired by George Ella Lyon's poem "Where I'm from."I wrote the poem as an exercise during an InterVarsity Asian-American Ministries banquet about 5 years ago, but never finished it because we ran out of time.  My sister was sitting next to me and wrote her own--unfortunately, I don't have a copy of hers.  But here's my unfinished draft:Where I'm Fromby Kathy Tuan-MacLeanI am from … [Read more...]

I am From. . .

Maybe because Ren's "graduating" from elementary school, I'm on a roll posting about him. This morning at school, he showed us his accomplishments from this year. Here's the poem he wrote (with his permission) modeled from George Ella Lyon's "Where I'm From":I am FromBy Ren-Ren MacLeanI am from Christmas songs at Christmas     (every note drifting out of a rusty brown piano)I'm from four giant book shelvestowering over me.  Picture books and chapter booksstacked high above … [Read more...]

Chips & Dip–Yet Another Way to Avoid Humiliation

Tonight is Ren's 5th grade picnic--a big deal because Wednesday night he "graduates" from elementary school with a Moving On Ceremony.  Sniff!  After Thursday, we'll be a family of middle schoolers and beyond.Here's an almost verbatim conversation from just now:Me:  I've got to pick up some things at the grocery store today for tonight's picnic.This is exactly what the dip looks likeRen:  What are you bringing?Me:  Chips and DipRen:  What kind of chips and dip? … [Read more...]