Tuesday, October 30, 2007


The noisy boys both love balloons. But a strange thing happens when you offer one to Twin B.
“No thanks,” he says.
“But you love balloons!” I prompt.
“I don’t want one,” he explains, “it might fly away.”
And he’s serious. Two years ago he asked me to hold his balloon and I lost my grip and it was gone. Now, to avoid even the chance of experiencing such heartache again, he’s sworn off balloons.
“Isn’t it better to have a balloon and lose it than to never have a balloon at all?”
And so he continues his journey through childhood balloonless.

I do the exact same thing with my writing. I’ve been writing for small-run publications for four years now. I joke that I’ve been published plenty, but in magazines that nobody reads. I write for ten bucks and five copies, and suffer very little rejection. Unlike writers with reams of rejection letters, I have just one. Because if I don’t send the query or pitch the book idea, it can’t be rejected, right? If I don’t ever take a balloon, it can’t fly away. I’ll never be disappointed.

Of course, I’ll never have a balloon either.

Monday, October 29, 2007


“How did you do all of this alone?” my husband rolls over in bed to ask. Good question. The answers roll off the tip of my tongue: “You do what you have to”; “Not very well”; and “I honestly don’t know.”

What I do know is that I wake up happy and excited to get out of bed now. I don’t pull the covers over my head and wish it would all go away anymore. I feel connected to my spouse. I am enjoying our children. And this is a huge change for me.

Since my husband was laid off, we’ve taken some time to think and pray about our next steps. Thankfully, our finances are in good shape and we have this luxury of time. I didn’t realize how desperately we needed this time together until it was here.

And we’re thoroughly enjoying it.

We’re thinking through what it would look like to take a sabbatical. We’re setting some goals individually and as a family. We’re carefully planning and scrutinizing the financial ramifications of such an endeavor. And we’re excited for our future. I daresay I’m more excited for our future today than I was on our wedding day over ten years ago. And that, my friends, is some kind of miracle.

God is good.

Friday, October 26, 2007

I've gotta ask...

Why would a Sunday School teacher give five-year old Kindergarten boys rocks at craft time? Real rocks. Big, heavy rocks.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m thankful for Sunday school teachers the world over. And I’m glad that Twin B. is thankful for Jesus and Twin A., for whatever reason, is thankful for Moses. I really am.

I just don’t understand why they had to write those things on rocks.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

children's clothes - WFMW

When I was pregnant with the twins, nobody warned me of the chaos that was about to enter my house. Oh, they mentioned the craziness of feeding and bathing two babies, and the sleepless nights. But nobody warned me about the children’s clothes.

They’ve taken over my house.

I’ve spent countless hours trying to remedy this. My current solution? Give up. You read that correctly: just give up.

Cram as many clothes as you can into their dresser drawers. It doesn’t matter if they fit or not. You can deal with that day-by-day every time your child gets dressed. Anything that doesn’t fit, just throw on the floor. Schooch the pile close to the edge of the room. (It will be easier to ignore that way.)

Every time you’re at Target, buy a couple of those plastic blue bins. When winter comes, throw all of the shorts and t-shirts into the bins. Put the bins in the basement, but don’t label them. That way you can spend hours going through all of the clothes every time the seasons change or the baby is ready for a bigger size.

Stop thinking about the clothes as a headache; embrace them as a hobby. A way of life, even. Clothes all over the house? Works for me! (It must. I’ve been living this way for five-and-a-half years!)

Now, if you’re looking for REAL ideas, head over to Rocks in My Dryer for more great tips!

Monday, October 22, 2007

words for a friend

When I stepped into the world of blogging, I had no idea what I would find. Honestly, I was just looking for a place to write and exchange ideas with other people who were looking for a place to write and exchange ideas.

And so I met Charity, and was immediately struck by the depth of her insight. I have been encouraged and challenged by her thoughts. I have grown to love her as a sister in Christ.

I wept as I read of her current struggle with cancer, surprised by the depth of my own emotion for this woman I have never met. After all, wasn’t I just saying that blogging cannot take the place of true community? And yet my first instinct had me checking mapquest to find out just how far away she actually lives. Maybe not too far to bring a casserole, which is what I tend to do when there are no words.

And then L.L. Barkat invited us to share our thoughts about Charity, and it got me thinking again about community. If there is a place for casseroles and hugs, is there not also a place for words?

Even when there are no words.

Friends – please pray for Charity.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Several years ago my mother-in-law asked me, “So, what do you do when one boy wants to go to the park and the other one wants to make cookies, but you really don’t want to do either one because it’s almost naptime?”
“Um. I say no.”
She was so busy being Super-Grandma, the thought hadn’t crossed her mind.
She and I still chuckle at this and I often remind her as I drop the kids off for an afternoon, “Remember: you can always say no!”

As parents, we say no. (Or we should.) But we don’t like to hear it ourselves, do we? “No” is simply not the American way.

When my friends and I were in Colorado, we ate at a resteraunt in downtown Estes Park. It was a moderately nice place, and as we placed our orders, my Aussie friend asked for a bowl of soup and an elk patty “with no bun or anything.” (We were all curious to try elk.) “Can I get that?” my friend asked.
The waitress looked her in the eye and said, “No.”
It was hilarious. And yet the American in me wanted to get the manager and insist that my friend get exactly what she wanted. My British and Aussie friends simply moved on. “Oh, okay.”

When is the last time someone told you “no, you can’t have that?” Is it any wonder we walk around with a sense of entitlement, angry with God when He doesn’t do things exactly our way? Angry because we really, really want something, and He seems to be saying “No?”

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


People ask me all the time: are the twins different? Oh my. Yes. Here’s a snippet of conversation from tonight to illustrate. (For anyone living on another planet who doesn’t know about “booing,” someone secretly leaves a bag of candy at the door along with a picture of a goblin with a cute Halloween poem instructing you to “boo” six friends within 24 hours. Because Lord knows we all need more candy in our homes.)

Twin B: I can’t believe we got booed!
Twin A: Yeah. I wonder who did it?
Twin B: It was the HALLOWEEN GOBLIN.
Twin A: No. It was one of our FRIENDS. Goblins aren’t real.
Twin B: Mom! Are goblins real?
Me: No. Goblins aren’t real. This is just a fun thing everyone does for the kids, but the goblin thing just comes from Target.
Twin B: (coming out of the bathroom) There’s a goblin in the toilet.
Me: There’s not a goblin in the toilet. Now, everyone get your clothes in the hamper and put on your pajamas.
Twin A: I can’t. There’s a goblin in there.
Twin B: (dancing) Three little witches riding on a broom…
Me: There are no witches and no goblins. Put your clothes in the hamper.
Twin B: (singing and dancing) Witches! Goblins! Witches! Goblins! Are all real because it’s HALLOWEEN!
Twin A: (looking out the window) Here comes a real goblin, Mom. I’m serious.
Twin B: Boo! Boo! The scary goblin is coming for you!
Twin A: (screaming)
Me: You’re not helping, B.
Twin A: I hate witches and goblins. Can I have another Kit Kat?
Twin B: Can I have another Kit Kat?

At least they can agree on something they both like.

Monday, October 15, 2007


The airport is empty at 1:30 in the morning. It’s strange, walking through O’hare in the middle of the night. I will my body forward; honestly, I just want to lie down. The short nap on the plane left me in a fog that exists somewhere between asleep and awake.

It takes a village to pick me up. Flight delays mucked up the original plan, so my brother-in-law will spend the night at our house. By the time I reach the van, I am so happy to see my husband I almost cry.

I try to chat on the way home, but I just want to close my eyes. To be honest, I am completely out of words. My three girlfriends and I managed to squeeze several weeks worth of conversation into a few days. On Saturday we got up at seven, started talking immediately, and continued to talk all day long while we hiked and ate and drank tea. Until 2 a.m.

At some point we decided we were a traveling mystery to those around us. “People keep asking me where I’m from,” my British friend remarked. “When I say ‘California’ they just look at me like I have two heads.”
“Yeah,” my Aussie friend nodded.
Later my other friend whispered, “I am the only Asian person in this restaurant.”
“Really?” I asked, looking around. “Is that weird?”
“Not really. Except people keep staring at me.” The rest of us hadn’t noticed. My Aussie and British friends were too busy trying to find a proper cup of tea. But she was right. People were staring.

We laughed until our sides hurt. We dove into the deep places of our souls with abandon, knowing our hearts would be completely safe in this company. We challenged and encouraged one another. We almost cried every time we remembered our Aussie friend’s upcoming move back to Australia. But this wasn’t the time for those tears.

I am grateful beyond words for these friends. Which is a good thing, since I have no words left. Really.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

eBay, addiction, and a weekend away

Have you ever sold anything on ebay? I’ve been clearing out my office and just put up my very first listing.

I’m addicted.

I’ve checked the site fifteen times in the last hour, to see if anyone has bid yet. (No one has.) But NINE people have looked at it. I know. There’s help for people like me. I can stop anytime I want to. Really.

In other news, I’m headed to Colorado this weekend for a girl’s weekend away with some friends from California. That is, if I can pull myself away from my eBay listing long enough to pack my bag!

And on a completly unrelated front, I just signed on with "BlogHer." What do you think, friends? Am I selling out?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

quote of the day

"I didn't kiss anybody at school today because I didn't want to give them my germs."
Twin B.

Um. Right. Unlke LAST week...

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


“Do you think you can walk to school with us, or should we take the car?” I ask Twin B., currently crashed on the couch with a bad case of croup.
“I can’t walk,” he responds, rasping with each word.
“We’ll take the car then."
“Why don’t you call Grandma?” He reasoned, doing his best to look even more pathetic than he is.
“Good idea.”
So I did. Grandma happily came over while Twin A. and I walked to school. And because he had a doctor’s appointment scheduled for the afternoon, I asked a neighbor to walk Twin A. home.

Some days are just like this. There’s simply not enough of me to go around. Three boys often need to be in three different places at the same time—with baby b.’s “place” usually being his bed! I am grateful to live in community with family and friends and neighbors. And I wonder, how do people get by without this sort of community?

Recently, LL Barkat wrote a great post on her blog, Seedlings in Stone, about community as it relates to blogging. Can blogging provide true community? I chimed in on Seedlings with my opinion, and I’m sure she’d love to have you join in the conversation!

Saturday, October 6, 2007


My Grandpa is an encourager. Even as a kid, I remember feeling safe and protected in his home. He and Grandma were always on my side, even when I was screwing things up. The other day he sent me a short email, “Great blog post today! Keep looking for similar opportunities to write.”

It made my day. Over the course of my life, these short bursts of encouragement have had a huge impact on me. When the voices in my head tell me I’m no good, the soft, kind words from the encouragers in my life whisper the truth.

Do you build people up with your words, or tear them down? Do you actively look for opportunities to encourage your children? And not just a blanket, “Great job, kid,” but a specific word of truth spoken into the heart of your child?

“I was proud of you today out on the soccer field. You worked really hard and did a great job following your coach’s directions.”

“You have a fantastic sense of humor. I enjoy spending time with you.”

Our words have the power to build our kids up or tear them down. I'm not an advocate of the constant "great job eating those cheerios" pseudo-praise that's so popular today, but truthful, specific words of kindness will build into them a true sense of worth, rooted in the love of Christ shown through us. Speak the truth to your child today, and watch his or her face as you say it. The effect is immediate.

“Thoughtless words cut like a sword. But the tongue of wise people brings healing.” (Proverbs 12:18)

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


I have a friend who moves every few years. She gets antsy if she stays in one place for too long. She craves change.

I’m the opposite. When I was in junior high, my parents announced that we were moving across the country and I was convinced they were trying to ruin my life. (Seriously. I was probably in my twenties before I realized that the move had nothing to do with me. Ya think?)

But change comes whether we like it or not. And this week, it came in the form of a layoff for my husband.

Don’t. Panic. We’re fine.

Actually, we’re more than fine. We’re excited to see what God has in store for us next. In the meantime, we’ve got a long list of household projects to keep us busy. (And, yes, I do use the terms “we” and “us” loosely!)

As much as I hate change, I’m ready for this one.

So is twin A. When I told him that Daddy was going to look for a new job, he cheered, “Yeah!!!”
“What’s the best thing about Daddy not working for Apple?” I asked, curious about his response.
“He won’t always be on vacation!”

As much as I’ve tried to explain that business trips are not vacations, he doesn’t get it. In a five-year old’s world, a plane trip + a hotel with a pool + eating out for every meal = vacation.

Please join me in praying for a more family-friendly work situation! And not too soon. I’d really like to get the garage cleaned out.