What Cheerios and Kids Can Teach Us About Race

Our family in our White, Chinese and biracial glory

When I was in junior high, Mama threatened to disown me if I married non-Chinese.  Baba bemoaned that we lived in China for his sabbatical at the wrong time--at 14 I was too young to marry off to a nice Chinese boy.  I didn't know whether they had changed their minds until the week before my sister's wedding--to a White guy.  But the wedding seemed to be progressing, and neither parent had threatened any major action."How're you guys feeling about this?" I asked.  "What happened to I'll dis … [Read more...]

50 Years and Counting: What I’ve Learned from My Parents’ Marriage

24 Cutting cake 1

My parents met on a blind date in 1963 and married 9 months later.  Mama was a little “over-the-hill” at 26.  Baba had been on a bride-hunt for 2 years—as he says, “After you get your Ph.d. it’s time to get married.”  He spent all his excess salary as a post-doc and assistant professor flying across the country to meet various eligible Chinese ladies.When he walked in the door of Mama’s NYC apartment, her father took one look and said, “Are you Mao-Lan Tuan’s son?”  Sure enough he was.  My 2 … [Read more...]

Decluttering: 2014’s New Year’s Resolution


Years ago, I pulled an all-nighter with Mama, going through all her rebate offers and throwing away expired ones.  By 4 a.m. we had managed to “earn” about 50 bucks.  Because neither of us had very high income potential, rather than seeing $50 for 20 hours of work as pretty poor pay, even back in the ‘80s, we both thought, “Wow, that’s a lot of money!”Mama looked at me and said, “See?  Isn’t it worth all my junk and papers to make $50?”I’ve finally come to see that there was something wro … [Read more...]

Welcoming Advent–and Win the Chance for a Free Advent Book!

Tomorrow marks the 2nd Sunday in Advent.  With 2 high schoolers and an 8th grader, rather than celebrating 6 times in the past 6 days, we've hit it 1 1/2.  (Yesterday I was so grumpy that no one had cleaned the kitchen and that despite leaving out the rice hinting for someone to store it in the fridge, it was just put back in the rice cooker--6 days ago. . . I didn't even sing).I'm re-posting my blog about Advent from 2 years ago because our traditions remain the same.  The good change is tha … [Read more...]

I lost My Pedometer and Stopped Walking

The infamous Statue of Liberty Fitbit day--we put in 30K steps that day!

Several weeks ago I lost my Fitbit pedometer somewhere between BJs, the Party Store, Michael’s, CVS and Marshalls—it was quite the day of shopping.   And I felt a sense of desolation that doesn’t seem appropriate for a thumb sized plastic object.  That I’m blogging yet again about a pedometer also seems not quite right—but there’s no device other than my laptop that’s affected my life more!Ever since Scott brought home that first Fitbit, we’ve had a friendly step competition with a variety of … [Read more...]

Evil Brings Me Closer to God?

Sky, Sea, Beach, Beauty, Family, Friends--all my best spiritual temperaments in one!

Last week I went on spiritual retreat with my ministry team and our spiritual director focused on the concept of spiritual temperaments, especially as outlined by Myra Perrine in her book What’s Your God Language?  She posits that God has created us with different spiritual preferences for receiving God’s love and presence.  Knowing our spiritual temperament can help us know and receive God better.Even better, to tickle my personality test driven soul, there were two whole tests we could take … [Read more...]

Halloween No More (And a Recipe for Sweet Potato Cake)

In 2004 the theme was Harry Potter

Tomorrow, for the first time in 14 years, I will not host Halloween, nor will my kids go trick-or-treating.  They’ve decided they’re tooold.  Wah!There are some from my faith tradition who believe it’s sinful to celebrate Halloween.  I actually didn’t know that until I innocently suggested to NYU student leaders that our fellowship host a Halloween party 24 years ago.“What???” the 3 students almost shouted, looking at me in horror.  “You celebrate the devil’s day?”Oops.  Talk … [Read more...]

Why My Kids and I Hate “Chinese Food”

“Do you want to see the latest really wrong Youtube hit?” my daughter asked.  “It’s really disturbing.”“Why would I want to see something like that?” I asked, but watched anyway:“So what’s so bad about this?” I asked her, curious to see what she would say.  “Apart from all the artistic reasons, I mean.”“It’s so racist!”“What makes it racist?”“Well it’s parodying Chinese culture.  She sings out that she loves chop suey and fortune cookies and they’re not even real Chinese f … [Read more...]