Won Young Man

The phone bleeped and displayed an unfamiliar number. I answered and heard a halting, accented "Hi, this is Won Young. Do you know me?"

Yes, Won, I know you. I remember you were thrust on us by a local exchange student organization at the last minute. Not once, but twice. The first time, we were excited to host a Korean 16-year old for winter break. There were these soft questions wafting in the back of our heads, - where was the host family? But HH and I let them waft away, trusting.

I tried to do my very best, cooking my shorthand version of Korean food, going Korean grocery shopping an hour away, taking him to restaurants, trying to make conversation. He ate with near disgust on his face, answered our questions with grunts or "I don't know."

"Oh, he's shy. Oh, he's awkward," we said.

He'd come up for meals, then leave before we were done. Sometimes a thanks, sometimes not. He spent every minute down in his room.

A few months later, another last-minute call to host him for Spring Break. Maybe he's changed, we said. Maybe he'll be more open, we said.

It was worse. I'd come home to find him sitting in our small family room, parked in the one armchair, having found wireless for his laptop. No hellos. Not even a grunt. Well into the night, he monopolized our family room. We were glad to see him go at the end of the week. When his host family came to pick him up, it was obvious they were not glad to have him back.

"Hi, this is Won Young. Do you know me?" the voice said. I did the best I could to sound pleasant, just this side of cool. He wanted to tell me that he had become a Christian; that he'd like to come visit.

After that call, I thought. Did I ever pray for this lost, spoiled boy? or was I too busy being insulted? After all these years, I had not learned to be more forgiving. That quickly lead to another line of thinking: Will having been won to Christ make him polite, friendly, thoughtful?

Not likely. After 16 years of being allowed to behave that way - spoiled, coddled - he will not magically unlearn all the rudeness, nor instantly attain Emily Postdom. But I know this. I know his heart has changed. From a heart of stone, it has been turned to living flesh. Where it was turned only onto himself, it is able to look out and care about someone else. I doubt he'll be a scintillating conversationalist. And he will, after all, still be a teenager: young. And I wonder, when he is 40, will he be able to overcome his poor beginning? Will others look at him and say, "Oh he calls himself a Christian! How can he ----," just as someone might be saying about me. Maybe you see someone in your circles who claims to be a Christian. Maybe they really aren't. Or maybe they are but don't meet your standards.

God - infinite, timeless, omniscient - works with me, a poor slob who is so very limited, bound by time and filled with ignorance. But through His grace, He leads me down a road, as each day passes, I learn something new, I act a bit kinder, hope a bit more. If I were not a Christian, what would I be like now? I'd rather not know. I may not seem like a masterpiece to you, but by His grace, I am here: better and farther down that road than were I not.

So be patient with me, as I'll need to be patient with this one young man.


Folding Shirts Can be Fun

This is so cool. Tell me if you take up the new method!
(I'd edit the heck outta this video if I knew how. But here it is - raw.)



Would you know my name,
If I saw you in Heaven?

We will be new and different, but I will know you and you will know me. We slog through this earth, heaving our loads, looking Homeward. We cry for but a little while. Then we will see glory.

The Holy Spirit indwells me, carrying me on the path of sanctification. You, you are my covenant child. I missed out some those early years. But I will meet you at Home. I will know your name And we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.



His baby teeth are going.

I see for the first time
he is getting too big for the slides.
His hugs are gangly
no longer fitting on my lap
Stride Rite soles leave chalk marks on my legs

Almost seven
I didn't have you for seven + 9
I thought six-and-a-half would be enough.
"I grew you in my heart"
I feel ripped-off
those years I didn't really have you
screaming and stimming
Alternating from
fighting like a caged animal,
to clinging like a frightened animal.

When did you turn into my baby?

I turn with wind-blown hair
to look
and find
you are leaving already.



Note: The title of my post is a play on two phrases: "Sleven" is the slang for the quick-mart 7/11. Blink and he's 7, blink again and he'll be 11. And he'sleavin'.


Blackbelt in Black

One of those wrinkle-free, throw in the washer, shake it and wear it dresses from GAP: $3.50.

happy happy!



"Oma, did my tummy-mommy love me?"

Boo hasn't asked me. Yet. I don't look forward to it. I've thought about my answer, "I don't know. But I know I love you. Forever." But now I wonder.

Oh yes, there is what God intended. Then what happened in the Garden - that Eve will bear her children in pain. Then the quick descent - the twisting and distorting of what was meant to be: The bond of mother and child, reflecting the bond of the Father and the Son. Rent apart. A friend of mine said she felt like an alien was growing in her body. I've seen and heard other moms cry as their bodies decieved them - bloated, dysfunctional, their lovely legs growing purple webs.

Did she love her son? my son? Did she look into his eyes? Did she hold him at her side? Was she resentful knowing that keeping him would be too difficult to bear? She gave him to me - unknown me. Was she willing? anguished? relieved? She didn't name him. Why not? Was it too hard? Did she try not to care? Did she, in fact, not care?

Is it possible that a woman can grow a baby inside of her, see his shriveled little face and red clenched hands and not love him? If she were indifferent, did that brittle indifference get birthed from an anguished bitter heart, choked out by human weeds but still rooted in Eden?

Do I need to change my answer?



Hello, my name is Grace. I am addicted to craigslist. I am NOT addicted to farm life. But can you possibly not think this is stinkin' cute??


Still Together

Boo wants to marry little McKenna in his class. She doesn't want to and told him they were divorced. So. I had to explain divorce. Never heard of the concept. Scared the crap outta him. Had a mental melt-down. HH and I had to reassure him over and over that mommy & daddy were never getting divorced.

Next scene: in the car, several weeks later.

Boo: Mommy I wisht you were divorced.

*ALARM BELL! ALARM BELL!* Whoo-whoo-hee-hee- breathe breathe. Caaaalm down. Act nonchalantly.*
Me: Oh? Why is that?

Boo: So I can marry you. And daddy can be our son.



Why It Matters, III

Part III of my little series:
Let's take a little quiz. The winner will get a prize. I'll have to think of one.

Premise: It is 1971. You are a little girl growing up in the United States. Your heritage is East Asian. Which of these prominent East Asian female role model will you choose to emulate?

A. Nancy Kwan, above left, playing a hussy. I'll give you a hint here. Watch this clip - if you know me at all, you'll know this is just the kind of role model I was looking for.

B. A Housekeeper - notthattheresanythingwrongwiththat. (Do you think Mr. Eddie's Father will propose to Mrs. Livingston like The Nanny? Oh. Was that still illegal back then?)
C. A Laundress, above right, pigtails required.

D. Woman at the Well (picture above left.) Scrubs stinky American GI's backs. Then lays on back.

E. Same as D above, picture above right. What? you ask? But, but that good, strong American GI will rescue her! But she is shunned. How do you know that? Was that in the episode? Well, no. You see, that grubby little boy is hers. But she's wearing long braids. Which means she's not married. Which means that's a bastard boy. Which means he's persona-non-grata. And she's shunned. Which means she'll have to earn a living laying on her back. See D, above.

or. . . . . . . . . . . the final choice:

6. Connie Chung, newscaster, journalist.
Then along comes Connie (Connie, Connie)
And does she want to set them free
and let them see reality . . .

dumdee dumdee dumda da . . . if I only had a brain...

The correct answer will be in the next post in this series.