Black and White and Read All Over

You know the old riddle, don't you? I think it's for 3rd graders plus or minus.

What's black and white and read all over?
A nun falling down the stairs.
A zebra with diaper rash.
A newspaper.

A few days ago, I was waiting to get my feet x-rayed.
X-ray. Doesn't that sound really retro? Like x-ray glasses. X-ray gun! At one time the epitome of high tech. Now when you look at those clunky metal film cartridges and the cross beam, it all seems so Dr. Who-ish.
I was contemplating what socially redeeming book to take with me but remembered there would be tattered, Pig Flued copies of People and Sports Illustrated in the waiting area. It's amazing how immersed I can get in the gossip about celebrities.
And there are fewer and fewer that are familiar to me. Because most of them are young enough to be my kids. Hey you - Kleinblower and McAuldy - it'll happen to you too, so don't sit there all young and cute with a puzzled puppy look on your face.
So I get there and it's a choice between golf, housekeeping and - angel choir voices and bright lights - EBONY.

I have never picked up a copy of Ebony. In fact, I looked in the racks at my local grocery today and didn't find a copy of Ebony. Or Essence. Not even O. So why the angels and lights? Because I read it. And liked it. Then an interesting thing happend. I'm lost in the articles and and there's this little tinging in the back of my consciousness that everyone. Everyone. In this magazine is black. Except for the one white man contributor. And some women in a tampon ad. And I thought.

Everybody should read Ebony.
If you're not black, do you ever think to pick up Ebony? And yet, blacks are expected to read Glamour or Cosmo or Good Housekeeping like it's "normal."
Pick one up somewhere.

Get immersed. . . .

Get a glimpse of the world from another side.

I now realize how ture it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts people from every nation who fear Him and do what is right. - Acts 10: 34,35

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" - Revelations 7:9-10


Who's In Charge?

Remember being a kid? You're at home. Your dad calls you. You answer. You do! Or if you're a sullen teen, you decide deliberately to NOT answer. Which in itself shows your lack of control.

You're at work. Your boss calls you into his office. How long do you think about it? Not long, I'd venture to guess. You go. Yeah, you could walk out. This is a free country 'n all. But you go.

Your parents. Your boss. Maybe even your friends. They have power over you. Even though you have free will - and you may not think of it this way - but you cannot not answer them.

Now get this. God Almighty. Maker of Heaven and Earth. With a glimmer of a thought, His will is accomplished.
God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day. - Genesis 1:5
Let's say He calls you.
And those whom He predestined He also called, and those whom He called He also justified, and those whom He justified He also glorified. - Romans 8:30
Do you picture an impotent, Love & Peace God of No Intentions or Plans holding out The Gift, waiting for you to come take it if you want it? Do you think He's hanging out at the street corner, waiting for you to walk up to GOD ALMIGHTY and take The Gift - like some celestial pamphlet?

That is not the God of the Bible. His word is His will. His command IS. He is the I AM. He calls you? You're going to answer. You have the free will to pick out your outfit, but there's no free will whether you're going to answer God Almighty.


Wise Guy


". . . LORD God, let your promise to my father David be confirmed, for you have
made me king over a people who are as numerous as the dust of the earth. Give me
wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern
this great people of yours?"

God said to Solomon, "Since this is your
heart's desire and you have not asked for wealth, riches or honor, nor for the
death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for
wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king,
therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you.

And I will also give you wealth, riches and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have."

2 Chronicles 1: 9-12 (NIV)

Do you wish you were more wise? That you knew more? That, in itself is wisdom and knowledge. To me, there's nothing more foolish than thinking you know everything.

I need to remind myself to look on Solomon's prayer and act on it:

". . let your promise to my father David be confirmed . . "

I am to call upon His promise, because His promises are sure and true.

". . You have made me king . . "

I must acknowlege that He has control over all things. King. Wife. Mom. Clothes picker-upper. Child picker-upper. Disciplinarian. Bible study leader.

"Give me wisdom and knowledge . . "

I need to pray for wisdom and knowledge, not just patience!

". . this great people of yours?"

Do it for Him. Do it with love so as not to be a noisy gong. If the sacrifice you present is without love, He will not be pleased. It is for Him.

"And I will also give you wealth . ."

God doesn't say "Because of your prayer" or anything that relates to what Solomon has done or said. Giving wealth is at His discretion and not a result of Solomon's actions or words. Don't believe those people who say good deeds and prayers and giving will result in riches. It is at His discretion and nothing you do will make you "deserve" it.

Enjoy! Rest! on this day that the Lord gave us!

Coming Out

Come out, come out, wherever you are!

You know who you are! I see you on my live feed but you don't leave any tracks! Prrrrr - please leave me a comment! We bloggers live for comments. The respectful kind.


P r r r r r r r r

I love animal print.

In the right proportions to the garment and to my body.
In a good colorway - meaning subtle variations of tone and nothing in garish colors.
In the right amounts - one item at a time.

Animal print seems to come and go. These days, it seems to have come back. It's a "go."

I like prints that are relatively small. I mostly have leopard-like prints, but I'd go for a zebra if I could find one at the right scale. I don't want a shirt or pants (gag!) that are life-size stripes! As for the leopard prints, I prefer a color palette that has browns and black. That gives me the flexibility to pair it with either browns, tans or black.

Necklace made especially for me by artist Jessica Buchtel. Velvet scarf (and gloves) by Ann Taylor.
I think animal print shoes should be very conservative in style. That avoids the Laverne (by Cher) trap. I mean unless you're going for the Gwen Stefani look. My flats are by Steve Madden. Mine, I love. The current versions I think are tacky.

This great tunic top is by Newport News. This is not a brand I go to but I love the multi-scale print and the subtleties of the tans, browns and black. It creates an illusion that is thinning on me. I was surprised by the selection of really great animal prints on their website: a coat, a towering wedge, flats, a denim jacket! even a beach cover-up.

At this small scale, this print fits my criteria. This is my most causal piece that I throw on with jeans at home or to the grocery store.

The black & gray sweater is my current fave. I already wrote about it here. It is actually not a sweater at all but a cotton knit. By Rafaella.

I like to keep to one animal print per outfit. I don't combine my ballet flats with a scarf. Or even an animal print necklace with an animal print earring.

It's a simple way to add pizzazz!


On Identity Beyond our Sexuality

I'm glad somebody so clearly and lovingly stated what I exactly believe:

The Village Church feels compelled to apologize, on behalf of the Church at large, for the demonization of homosexuality and the shunning or rejecting of any individuals for their same-sex desires. We affirm, in the strongest possible way, that those of us who are heterosexual in desire are not more righteous or more entitled to the grace of Jesus Christ than those of us who are homosexual. Nor are heterosexuals in less need of that grace.

The Village Church stands against any form of evil, including prejudice, bigotry and violence. We believe that moral disagreement is not a license for slander or harassment of any contrary group.

The Village Church also highly esteems the marriage covenant. This gift from God has been given to us to learn of God’s love for us, for our enjoyment and for procreating His image-bearers to fill the earth. Along with the clear teaching in the Sacred Scriptures, we affirm that this gift, which pertains to our lives’ most intimate relationships, is to be expressed through a union that is life-long, monogamous, and across the genders. The importance of gender in defining the marriage covenant is affirmed throughout the Bible, including the specific teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ himself (Matthew 19:4-6). In short, Christian marriage is given to be between one man and one woman.

Among the manifold blessings of marriage is sexual intimacy. Sexual activity outside of this sacred covenant, otherwise known as fornication, is sinful (Mark 7:21-23, Galatians 5:19). Hence, Jesus’ alternative to heterosexual marriage is celibacy (Matthew 19:10-12). Though we repent of any needless pain caused by the Church to those who struggle with same-sex desires, and though same-sex unions may supply some of the benefits, such as pleasure and companionship, which God, in His common grace, bestows on us through relationships, we cannot affirm same-sex unions as God’s will for followers of Christ. Homosexual acts are not more deserving of condemnation than any other sexual acts that disrupt this covenant design.

Furthermore, the Village Church is committed to celebrating gender, the deeply Biblical reality of our identities. We believe that it is dehumanizing to compel anyone to found his or her identity on sexual desires. So we resist efforts to coerce people into labeling themselves as “gay” or “lesbian” just because they have same-sex attractions. We harm people when we make the nature of their sexual attraction their identifying characteristic. Rather, all of us can find healing and direction through more deeply understanding and affirming our genders as women and men.

Finally, the Village Church vehemently resists the denial of choice to those seeking change. The process of change takes different forms for different people, but we pledge to walk beside those with unwanted same-sex desires, who wish to take the Scriptures, and the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit, seriously. God always makes a way for us, wherever we are in our life experience. So we invite all to find the freedom of obedience to Christ here alongside fellow sinners made new. The church is here to provide an environment of grace that allows failure alongside the challenge to growth, whether in this area of behavior or in any other."


For Sandy, Who I Never Knew

She was 42.

She leaves behind a husband. They were married 12 years. She leaves behind twin girls. They are 8. Her blood poisoned while the poison flowed in her to kill the errant cells.

How sad. How tragic.

Is it more of a tragedy for a young person to die than an old person? Of an old person, she's lived a full life, I say. She saw her grandchildren grow.

Aaah, but what if you were meant to live eternally? And now, after the Serpent tricked us, we only live 80? Not only that, we were meant to live eternally in a lush garden, filled with beautiful fruit, animals in coexistence keeping us company, you and your husband in complete unity. And your completely loving, completely just, completely all knowing and powerful Father, residing with you? Not the one that didn't play with you, or the one who drank too much. Not the one that hit you or your mother or much worse. You know what a good father is, even if you never had one.

Instead, you only get to live 80 paltry years, full of joys, full of growth. Thank God. But also full of tears. Wrinkles. Aches. Petty grievances.

And watching your 42-year old only child writhe in pain, but never complaining. Unrecognizable in her hospital bed.

Return to the Garden, through Jesus the Son. He is the way back to the Garden. No more tears, no more pain. And no wrinkles.


Body Parts

If you're a teacher of 7 and 8 year olds, and you have a choice, why would you insist on saying Your Anus intead of Yurunnice??


Name Meme

I'm playing with incognito mom and musings mom today.

1. Do you have any cultural or religious naming traditions?

My husband's family does the mother's last name as the middle name or first name WASPy thing. My bifurcate monosyllabic family name wouldn't have made a good middle name and certainly not a first name. Johns Hopkins would have had nothing on us.

Koreans generally have two-syllable (first) names. One of the syllables is what is called the "doll-lim," the generational character that is shared by all the boy cousins on the father's side. So I'm the daughter but we kept that tradition anyway have another way to tie our Boo into our family. It falls in a certain order that has something to do with a Confucian poem. So my dad gave us Boo's name, which means "Bright Metal." The Metal is like tin, or solder, and I like that concept of someone who is humble and binds things together.

His first name is Biblical. I wanted one that represented an obedient man that stood up against the ridicule of his neighbors. HH wanted the warrior that fit the battle. I gave in.

But he goes by his middle (Korean) name. Heh.

2. Did you or your partner come to the marriage with pre-selected names?

I came into the marriage not even wanting a kid, let alone a name.

3. Did you consider the sound of the first and middle and last names together? Did this make any sad eliminations?

HH's Mennonite last name, sadly, sounds like an aluminum can being crushed. Combine that with a Korean name and it wasn't going to be pretty. We concentrated on the first and middle names sounding okay.

4. Did you have veto powers?

Of course. We both did.

5. Did the baby naming cause arguments?

In our own way. Which is to maintain our opinions and be conspicuously quiet about it. As I said, I gave in. Wives, submit and all that.

6. Do you think it is easier to name boys or girls?

It depends. I like unusual names but HH wasn't having that for a boy. Girls, we would have had more flexibility, but then too many options!!

7. Did you eliminate names because of people from your past or present who you don’t like or because a certain image comes to mind?

I love the name Sophia but it's associated with a goddess movement.

8. Did you / would you survey your children to get their thoughts on the name?

We have an only. Future perfect tense.

9. Did you tell people the name or possible names before the baby was born or were they “in the vault”?

Hmm, I don't remember! It was sort of a blurry time!

10. Did you use baby name books?

Yes, but seeing the different definitions for the same names I decided they were mostly bogus.

Drumroll please … What did you name your kid?

Those of you who are allowed to know, know. And if you know how to read this, you can know too!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Play along! Let me know so I can read your kid’s naming story.


Potent Thoughts

I was reading my own post about what it took to become a mom. I was so overwhelmed with emotion, I wanted to take the opportunity for some luvvin. I went to Boo, held him in my arms and said, "Boo, I love you so, so much. I know it was sad for your tummy mommy to lose you. . ."

"Mom? I have to poo."


Labor Pains

A new friend asked me to tell her about adoption. I share it with you, with only a few minor changes:

I'm not sure where to start or how much to tell you. I wish I had had an open heart and an open mind when I went into this. I think I still would have adopted, but it would have been less painful had I been prepared - emotionally and mentally.

Here is where I see the beauty of adoption. For me, it has enriched my understanding of God. My faith in Jesus has deepened and widened. You can take religion out of it if you want, but I have to share it within that context:

Take a young woman, in our case a 19 year old who worked at a gas station, had no college in her future, and an 18 year old son of a divorced mom. In Korea, a child born out of wedlock has no identity or place in society because they cannot have family registration. The woman would be shunned at every turn.

I believe the oneness we experience as husband and wife is a glimpse into the mystery of the Trinity. How can you be 3 distinct Persons in One? I also believe the mother and child bond is another way God shows us the mystery of the Trinity. Totally separate and complete individuals that are bound so fundamentally that the baby does not exist without his mother. He knows nothing of the world but her. Then take that baby, rip him from every sensation he knows. Hand him to a stranger who doesn't rock the same, walk the same - doesn't sound the same feel the same smell the same. A month later, just as he's settling down with this stranger, hand him to another stranger in another city. Raise him to a stage in his development where he recognizes faces and consciously knows his new "mom." Then give him to total strangers. Again. Who, on top of not rocking, smelling looking, smelling the same, don't SPEAK the same. What baby would handle these traumatic changes blandly??

Then look at the couple - me and HH. We try the infertility treatments, think about the more invasive ones, count the candles on our cake and realize not only are our chances of success minuscule, but the process smells distinctly immoral.

Take the sad choices those two young people made, the sad result, the unfairness of the societal structure. Then take this baby who is ripped from everything he knows. Then add the frustrations and failures of the couple. Shake it all up - sadness upon sadness upon sadness. Bring out of that a Beauty. No, not everything is happy, but there is a beauty to what happens. And I believe only God can bring Beauty out of so much pain.

As a Christian, I have heard the notioni that I am an "adopted heir" to the Kingdom. (Romans 8, Romans 9, Ephesians 1, Galatians 3) By adopting Boo, I have seen more clearly the significance. This child was a stranger to me, forsaken on this earth, destined to a pitiable life. By adopting him, this stranger has become mine (ours.) He is exactly as if I had borne him and is our heir. And we are strangers! yet God adopted us as heirs to His Kingdom just as much as Jesus His Son!!

I want to tell you adoption is not for the faint of heart. The process is long and rife with uncertainty, humiliations and potential hazards. My process was relatively smooth and I was in total denial about the humiliations of the whole process, because I had a goal: getting a baby.

If you adopt domestically, it can be quick and inexpensive but very uncertain. You can go the private route with an attorney but I really don't know about that except again, it is very uncertain whether the mother will actually relinquish the child. Overseas? there are accusations of baby selling (Guatamala) and baby stealing. You can be lied to and 'taken." It can cost more than $20,000 with multiple trips to the country. I have one friend adopting from Haiti and it has been 4 years. I have another friend who adopted from China and that little girl was so sick they almost lost her. I know someone else who had to give "gifts" to the foreign workers.

You know any 16-year old can do it behind the bushes and have a baby. She can even take the baby home. Take a mature, respectable, educated couple like us? We have to prove our financial capability, show them the medical and social resources available to us, show pictures of our house, have a social worker deem us worthy, write a biography of our family, list family members names and addresses, get child abuse clearances, get a criminal check, fill out umteen forms, be herded around like cattle, and swear you won't spank.

They will ask you what level of disability you're willing to accept. So, you and your husband sit there, like you're picking features on a car and check off boxes: missing digits yes no; missing limbs yes no; mental disability yes no; cystic fibrosis yes no; cleft lip yes no; mental illness yes no. It's painful.

Korea has a very well established adoption process. Actually no bragging on my part but it is considered the best. Their medical system is very advanced (established by American missionaries.) There was some concern about Boo's head, so they did a CT scan. That won't be happening in places like China or Haiti, believe me! They tend to be generally honest, and even overly cautious of the medical condition and physical development of the child. At one point, they thought Boo was hypotonic. Well, you're on the other side of the earth and what the heck does that mean?? Do we continue or do we abandon?? Abandon HIM??

Your child finally arrives. You have been dreaming of those misty pictures of a mom snuggling a baby, tinkly nursery music, revolving moon and stars behind them. Instead? The baby screams and screams and screams. He won't sleep for more than two hours at a time. He won't nap for more that 20 minutes at a time. Every tiny noise startles him awake and it's more screaming. He doesn't lay in y our arms or want to be held. Instead, he's stiff as a board, and "stands" in your arms always looking - hypervigilent - over your shoulder, looking for his "mom."

Or. . . some kids don't care whether you come or go. He'll go in anyone's arms. When you return, he doesn't even look up. He's listless.

And the spectrum is anywhere in between. Sure, lots of babies do OK. But they get older and they talk late. They have learning disabilities. They're autistic. They're overly charming and/or extremely temperamental. Most parents chalk that up to the child's "personality." They'll even be racist and say it's "kimchee temper." Yeah, and blacks dance well.

IF I HAD KNOWN, I would have been prepared and parented him differently. I would have used attachment parenting. I would have read books on attachment. I would have understood FROM THE CHILD'S PERSPECTIVE what was happening. I wouldn't have been selfish and only seen it from MY point of view. I wouldn't have sunken into a deeeep depression wondering WHAT in the world I had done. WHY was God punishing me for becoming a mom??? Planning escapes...change my identity...leave Boo with my husband to deal with.

When Boo was 3, God saved me (and him!) by bringing another adoptive mom who told me all about the devastation to attachment and bonding that EVERY adopted child goes through. (Although I know not every child will be traumatized, depending on their innate personality.) She shared with me what she had gone through with TWO adopted children. And she introduced me to mom after mom after mom who recognized their adopted child needed to be raised differently than a birthed child.

Now, I do not exaggerate when I tell you how much I love Boo. Labor pains? You bet.


Bed time is our special time. When all my wrangling and warning and advising and holding back and counting to 3 are over. It's just mommy-and-boy-time.

I've babied him for the babying he missed. Those months . . .years . . . when the world was uncertain and scary. Oh, he still has to say please and thank you and share his toys and chew with his mouth closed. The few times he still wants to be fed, I do. When he wants to be cradled, I do. He won't want it for long. He still needs to be filled up cuz he ran on empty for too long.

Shouldn't every baby be filled to over-running? As in "my cup runneth over," the stone cup should be filled to the brim and the stone saturated.

I used to sing to him every night. Childhood Korean songs: Children's Band. Kiss Kiss Kiss. And then Jesus Loves Me. Seek Ye First. He's Got the Whole World. Then one night he decided he didn't want songs anymore. [Must have understood "bad voice."] Last night he wanted me to sing. Not to him, but to his tigers. Big cats, his latest obsession.

Tiger tiger tiger all in a row
Daddy tiger, mommy tiger too
Baby tiger follows very slow
Tiger tiger tiger all in a row

Silly silly tigers they like shoes
Mommy tiger likes pink, Daddy tiger black
Baby tiger likes blue
and that is that

He giggled and smiled, thumb in his mouth. Pure delight of a child. No manipulation, no criticism, no rejection. So normal. Oh what a great world normal is, when your child isn't.

I've been pushing him to be more of a big boy. Set the table. Dry himself after a bath instead of curling him up on my lap. I mean, he's already 7.

Already? Is it too much for me to try to make up for what he lost? Am I simply tired of playing baby doll? Sometimes my heart just knows. Sometimes it flounders.


Listen But Have Not Heard

I realized that conservatives & liberals will never be at peace with each other as long as we have different definitions for the same words.

Unless we really listen to each other, leaving the pundits & baggage outside, we'll never be civil with each other.



900,000 people can't access their Comcast email. I wonder how the other 899,999 people are doing.


The Way of the Boo

The thoughts of a 7 year-old boy:

Hmmm, I think I'll take that stretchy blanket, hang it on that flimsy hook on the ceiling, slide down it to pretend it's a steel fire pole.
Of course, he will land hard on the basement floor and make his mom and dad take him to the ER at 10 o'clock at night.



I've kept my promise of packing Boo's lunches. Today though, we all overslept and scrambled out the door late.

After school, driving home, I usually ask how his lunch was. He told me bacon-burgers were on the menu. Lovely. Boo got two, just for good measure.

"Mom, there are bits of bacon on it. . .
and cow."