I’ve Learned some Lessons Well

Today I had the privilege of spending time with one of the women I admire most--my Sunday School teacher Nan.Nan started teaching the junior high class when I was in 8th grade.  I was pretty jaded on church youth programs, having just endured a Big Island youth group trip where I felt like I had been thrown to barracudas, and had learned to swear in defense (a habit, unfortunately, I've never broken). Nan announced that we would study the book of Revelation, humbly protesting that she was a … [Read more...]

My Mother is an Elk

She became one about 3-4 years ago when she realized that joining the Elks meant she could get relatively free parking at the beach with a shady place to sit and sip iced coffee while grandchildren played in the pool and waves crashed against the sea wall. "Do you have to wear funny hats with antlers?" asked my husband."No!""Do you have to do secret ceremonies and give your allegiance to Satan?""No!  You have to believe in God to join.""What is the mission of the Elks then?" I asked. … [Read more...]

Termite Night in Hawaii

"Termite night!  Termite night!" Mama has just announced to the whole family."The kids don't know what that means," I told her.When flying termites swarm on hot muggy nights like tonight, our family turns off all the lights and spends the rest of the evening in the dark.  That's because termites are attracted to light, and if they see our lights, they might bore their way into our wooden house and make it fall down in the night. termite fumigationPeriodically, houses across Honolulu … [Read more...]

A Seattle Whirlwind Adventure

As I write, I'm sitting on the floor of the Seattle airport at the only free outlet I can find, recharging my computer.  The kids and I are on our way to Hawaii! We have a 6 hour layover here in Seattle, so I had the crazy idea of renting a car, driving to Seattle and having an adventure. I think this idea came to me because I once took a personality test that asked what I would do if I had a 5 hour layover.  The options were something like:a.  Find a seat and a good book and wait … [Read more...]

An Affair not to Remember

Last week, I finally used a gift certificate for a massage that expired the next day.  Scott had come home from work so I snuck out and refused to tell the kids where I was going—I just didn’t want anything to interfere with my enjoyment, especially their accusations that I was self-indulgent.  When I got back, a daughter immediately began sniffing me all over, my neck, my arms, my back—it was like having a tall thin and beautiful beagle greet me.  “What are you doing?” I asked.“I’ … [Read more...]

Sex! Now that I’ve got your attention. . .

(Those were the signs advertising game booths and malasadas and Korean plate lunch plastered all over telephone poles and tents at Punahou Carnival, the largest carnival in the state of Hawaii that my school put on every year)This morning Scott and I will be giving the “Sex Talk” at the Cana Marriage Retreat.  We gave it 2 years ago, and surprise surprise, no matter how I recruited others to give it this year, everyone politely declined.  Since Friday, our family’s been serving at Cana— … [Read more...]


Two days ago I competed in the first ever Boston Grad/Faculty Ministries Guac-off at our annual summer team meeting/pool/jerk chicken BBQ party.The competition was stiff.  Jeff, who hails from Southern California, hence has the most authentic experience with guacamole, brought the best avocados—large, creamy and in perfect condition (although his wife apparently told him he shouldn’t even compete—such is the strength of my culinary reputation!).  As always, not my guac--but mine looks l … [Read more...]

The Little Way

For someone with a significance/achievement addiction, it’s hard to work in campus ministry.  The vast majority of my peers have high powered, respected jobs that pay quite well.  While I, to put it bluntly, don’t.  A bunch of years ago, several of us on the Harvard ministry team found ourselves struggling with this conundrum.  It’s hard to earn a prestigious degree or two and then raise your own salary for a job that no one seems to understand.  As we prayed and proce … [Read more...]