Are You Tired Too?

Since the election I have felt at a loss for words. Despite what you may see or read from any of my social media or even in person, I have felt a loss of words…a loss of energy…a dimming of…something…which has impeded my ability to emote in the ways which typically come easier to me. The 2016 election, the new presidency, Black Lives Matter, Standing Rock, PULSE, and now this…Charlottesville…high profile snapshots indicating and peeling back just the thin skim of the broader festering in our American values. And unfortunately those examples are only a sampling of what has come (will come) so far.

So I’ve retreated. Or it feels that I’ve retreated. To try and regroup, re-center, orientate anew in this season unknown.
*
We recently had the pleasure of visiting family in South Dakota and my kids spent their days to the hilt with their cousins; their differences and similarities quite obvious, sometimes comically so to their parents. We were there for a week and pictures were taken, the obligatory cousin picture of course taken a few million times to get at least five out of six of the cousins present looking somewhere near the camera. It’s these cousin pictures that I keep coming back to during and post Charlottesville.

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It’s a picture like this one that I keep returning to, mulling over the faces that I so dearly love and desperately want to protect. These smart, funny, imaginative, and compassionate little people who have little knowledge of what’s “out there.” Hopes and dreams largely untainted (though Nellie now knows she does not indeed have super powers—she’s still holding out for her owl), their aspirations set high bolstered by the love and support received from our family. They are different and unique in the best and most annoying ways that only parents will tolerate.

And when I look at this picture, my heart swells a thousand times over…and breaks in a bittersweet *han that only parents of color will ever fully understand. Because when I look at this beautiful picture of my family I also am reminded in times such as these that the precious people here will not be seen for the family that they are. They will not be treated as the family that they are. They will not experience life for the family that they are. They won’t be treated for their unique preferences or personalities. They won’t be treated for who they are. They’ll be treated for who someone else thinks they are. Who someone else thinks they should be. And for my kids who are both equally parts of their mother and father, who have already felt the stinging smack of racism towards themselves and others…it’s just too much for this parent who has also walked this pot-holed road of race in America. Of race in the Midwest. Of race in small-town, apple-as-pie, nice MN/ND.

It’s too many feels.

And I am tempted to continue retreating. To continue insulating and consciously hedging my life experiences in order to avoid finding myself on the blunt end of those humiliating, demoralizing, and de-basing moments that the out right hateful and the blissfully ignorant would inflict. And truly it’s those blissfully ignorant, willfully ignorant comments that burn the longest. That feel the deepest. And I have the right to retreat, don’t I? To retreat to protect myself and my family?

No.
No, I don’t.

I’m mostly told and sometimes asked over and over that it is my job to educate others. To give them opportunities for learning and growth. …How can I judge them if I’m not willing to speak with them? Teach them? …Be their target? Be their mea culpa? Be their “safe” space? Use my experiences for the greater good they say. And while I try, and I offer myself up for that scrutiny day in and day out in real life conversations, in relationships, in organizations, marches, and through my keyboard…what work is being done by others who do not live this burden? Those who continue to ask me, demand from me “How can I help?” “What can I read to learn?” “I don’t hear about that stuff, how did x, y, and z affect you? (And while you’re at it, convince me to believe differently otherwise it’s your (my) fault for being a reverse-racist, liberal, snowflake-y bitch who thinks they’re better. Because what’s an insult without a little misogyny thrown in?)”

How can I fight this fight for my children who deserve so much more? For my family and other families and a community of beautiful people who deserve so much more?

I am tired.

But I will press on.

I will continue to fight through my loss of words. I will wrestle with my table-turning-in-the-temple anger and wretched despair. I will put up with the lazy questions and some (I’m only human) blatantly ignorant statements and I will continue engaging them in conversation. I will continue to speak and will not retreat.

I will push through this battle because I don’t want Charlottesville to be a legacy for my children to bear. Or yours. I don’t want this hate, this bubbling, festering, virulent wake to pour over. Charlottesville cannot be a rallying call for white supremacists, bigots, and Nazis, to be emboldened in their hate. Take note that it is not a rallying cry for those opposed to the white supremacists agenda either. The rallying call for equity has been ongoing and continuous with each deep, unjust loss felt by the communities delegated to the back of the proverbial bus. But don’t allow being late to the party assuage you of the importance of showing up now. Do not bow out saying that your contribution is so small it wouldn’t matter. Start your work now. If you choose to sit on the sidelines, understand that the movement for equitable treatment will carry on with or without you but that you have then made a conscious decision to be complicit with those who carried out the torch-carrying riots in Charlottesville and their message.

So all of these “no words” to say that–I’m tired. And I don’t always have the right words, hell, most days I don’t even have words. And certainly I don’t always know where to go or even where to start from. But I do know that all people deserve to live in a community in which they have equitable rights, treatment, and opportunity regardless of their skin color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability, or political affiliation. My children believe it. And I will work into the grave so they might be able to live it.

*Han: Han is a difficult concept to describe and the context in which it’s used must be understood in order to really “know” it. I borrow from Wikipedia (yes, I know, I hear the eye rolls) to explain what I can’t but know to be true here: “Han is frequently translated as sorrow, spite, rancor, regret, resentment or grief, among many other attempts to explain a concept that has no English equivalent. Han is an inherent characteristic of the Korean character and as such finds expression, implied or explicit, in nearly every aspect of Korean life and culture.” [Though I believe that han, even without an English equivalent or having Korean ancestry, many people of color or largely marginalized groups will be able to understand in their own unique way.] “Han is sorrow caused by heavy suffering, injustice or persecution, a dull lingering ache in the soul. It is a blend of lifelong sorrow and resentment, neither more powerful than the other. Han is imbued with resignation, bitter acceptance and a grim determination.”

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What’s Old is New

It’s been one baby more.

It’s been two years since the last post.

It’s been three years since we became a part of the homeless Church.

It’s been a new house, new jobs, new growth.

It’s been (what feels) a lifetime of change.

I am #2599

I am #2599.

I am a mother of two daughters.

I am a woman and a wife.

I am a daughter and a sister.

I am an aunt and a niece.

I am a grand daughter and a daughter-in-law.

I am adopted.

I am a sister-in-law, a mentor, a friend, a cousin, an ex-girlfriend, a woman of color.

I am a woman saved by Grace.

I am a bad poet, a jaded idealist, an adventurer, a writer, a musician, a dreamer, a baker, a cook, an artist, a reader, a lover of fashion, a crusader, a supervisor, a change maker, a change yearner, a decorator, a believer of prayer, a searching soul.

I am passionate, loud, stubborn, sensitive, brash, compassionate, competitive, loving, annoying, zealous, animated, joy-seeking, inquisitive, independent, dependent, pessimistic with a twist of sunshine, goal-oriented, achieving, path making, privileged, and humbled daily.

And yet it feels that the church only focuses on one thing.

My vagina.

I am so much more than my lady parts. My vagina. My uterus. My birth control. My reproductive rights. My fertility. My pregnancies. My miscarriage. My sexual history. My purity. My impurity. My female-ness. 

Christ knows I am more.

He knows women are more.

I am a daughter of His.

I am a follower.

I am a player in humanity.

And because of this,

I am #2599.

NOTE: I am stealing and reposting Rachel Held Evans’ comment policy concerning the positional content of this post. It reads as follows: Please stay positive with your comments. If your comment is rude, it gets deleted. If it is critical, please make it constructive. If you are constantly negative or a general ass, troll, or hater, you will get banned. The definition of terms is left solely up to us.

Pondering an anniversary

2 Loves

2 Loves…how I miss those chubby chins.

My Facebook feed was blown up yesterday due to a 40th anniversary. I read an article from Eugene Cho: To whom it may concern: Imagine the possibilities. Imagine the life that could be lived out. because of it. I’ve read many articles about it, on it, the whys and why nots for and against it. And I have to be honest with you.

I’m a fence rider.

Not because I don’t believe in the sanctity of life. Not because I don’t believe women shouldn’t have a right to determine what happens to their bodies. Not because I don’t believe that God intended humanity to be filled with beauty and life. Not because I believe that church and state are mostly and should be separated.

Not because I am sinful…or maybe because I am.

But truthfully, where is the argument or at least the point, when at the end of the day both sides are hurting? Woman, baby, families, broken in two by the loss of love? The loss of compassion? The loss of grace?

I’ve been reading a book that my sister-in-law gave me for Christmas, Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are. It’s focus on grace, on thanksgiving…I think is a genius answer to the hatred and pain that is felt throughout this argument. It’s exploration of the basis of sin and evil in the world being rooted in our ungrateful hearts, in a lack of thanksgiving. Through these reflections on faith and practice she connects the pieces together a little bit more for me on my own beliefs. Grace. What is grace?

I’m not looking for a debate or a fight or really anything, mostly I’m just shifting through my thoughts. I realize this won’t make sense to some and maybe will to others. As a mother, as a daughter, as an adoptee who doesn’t know her birth parents, as a child of God, and more simply as a player in humanity…I don’t dare to profess I have all the answers. I long for the goodness, the gratefulness that we once had as perfectly created and perfectly seeing, and in that longing I attempt to make a life and a belief that emulates what could have been. What is if we humble ourselves to embrace grace.

Pinteresting

Have you heard of Pinterest? I might be a bit addicted. Not in the, “spend-millions-of-hours-pouring-over-crafts-recipes-expensive-things-I-cannot-afford-home-improvement-kind” (although that may be false) but rather in the “expand-my-horizons-and-keep-my-diligently-xbox-playing-studying-husband-company-kind.” Can you see the difference? No? Never mind then.

I’m addicted to trying new things lately. Maybe it’s my “next step” in the grief process or maybe it’s because I’m simply feeling antsy, ready for something new. I can’t be the only one that gets that wanderlust feeling? Unfortunately and fortunately, I don’t have the resources for such large adventures so I’m content to keep my changes small and continuous for the time being. Enter Pinterest! So many little and new changes that I can implement in my cooking/baking repertoire and on my kids and in my house! Okay, I totally lied about being that kind of pinterester.

Any way. I wanted to share with you a few of my recent successes and also failures from my adventures. I’ll try and get better at documenting said projects but until then, I’ll just “repin” from my arranged boards and  (<= insert lots of Pinterest jargon that no one really cares about). In fact, I’m digging this change and new adventures thing so much that “Pinteresting” is going to become a regular (by that I mean once a month–I do still have somewhat of a life) feature at Kimchi Sauerkraut.

THUS, here are my top 5 Pin Wins of late October/early November:

I used a vinegar/baking soda method to get the weird funk out of my bath towels and so far, so good.

Okay, so I’m combining the two cleaning pins as one since they’re about deep-cleaning appliances. And this one totally took the stench of standing water away from mine. If you want deets, leave a comment and I’ll fill you in.

And my top 5 Pin Fails:

ANNND, next up for me and the girlies’ breakfast tomorrow:

This concludes the Oct/early November Pinteresting round up…for the time being. I’m looking forward to sharing more of my “Pin Wins” and “Pin Fails” on upcoming installments of Pinteresting. Let me know if there’s something in particular that you found through Pinterest that you think I should try or would make my life easier (isn’t that the lie intrigue that it sells us?).

Day Twenty-Eight: Someone That Changed Your Life

Since the blog has been an homage to daughters and husband as of late, I’ve decided to pick a different character that has heavily influenced (read =changed) my life.

This comes up again and again but I truly don’t see that changing anytime soon (or ever).
I would choose four people as one unit that cohesively, and regardless of each other, shaped my life dramatically.
My birth mother.
My birth father.
My Dad.
My Mom.

I don’t really feel like getting into it right now. I feel like there’s more than I could ever say. Maybe someday I’ll expand more.

What I know now about parenthood–motherhood–is that I cannot fathom the decisions that were made and how they came about. And yet, I am so grateful that it has turned out the way it did.

I have three beautiful reasons for that, among a million other blessings.

Day Eighteen: The Person You Wish You Could Be

Life by the Spirit

“(13) You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. (14) For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (15) If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. 


“(16) So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. (17) For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. (18) But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 

“(19) The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; (20) idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions (21) and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. 

“(22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (23) gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (24) Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (25) Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. (26) Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”
NIV, Galations 5: 13-26

Day Two: Your Vices


My vices. Hm….

Well this pregnancy has certainly brought on a sweet tooth like no other…but then again, I’ve always loved sweet. Now I just have (or feel) a better excuse to indulge it more often than not.
Procrastination probably merits high on the list as well. Because um, well, I’ll tell you later.
Rumination and the need for control are probably the biggest, realest and most debilitating vices in my life. Thankfully they rarely ever get to the point of stopping the ongoings of the day to day, but they certainly don’t make it any simpler. I think it’s a personality thing–I’m moody–I’ll admit it and artsy (I’ve been told that these tend to go hand in hand) and a bit impulsive. I’m learning to trim and tame these aspects of my personality. And that’s certainly not to discredit the fact that I view them as gifts (well, maybe not the moodiness). God gave me this personality for a reason and I intend to use it to live a fulfilling and purposeful life.
I’m learning. If anything, that’ll probably be a theme throughout this 30 day challenge. Learning to let go.

A New Child

RELAX.

We promise we’re not pregnant.
Nope. Nada. Nil.
Definitely.Not.In.Any.Way.
(Knock on wood.)

What we mean by “a new child” is that we have decided to sponsor another child through Compassion International. We already have a little girl whose name is Dayana. She is almost eight years old and lives in Ecuador with her family. She likes to play with her dolls, go for bike rides, run around and play games with her friends. We were given the opportunity to sponsor her two and a half years ago and have enjoyed corresponding and getting to know her since. What prompted our hearts to re-evaluate our financial situation and to make this decision was after attending our Pastor’s presentation on his Compassion International visit to his family’s sponsored child in Ethiopia. While we had already been considering it for some time, this was the final tug on our hearts and we knew that we couldn’t put it off any longer.

No, we are not rich by any means. Yes, we do get more support from our family than we probably deserve and we are blessed everyday by their generosity and love. But, with that said, we also are not so poor that we cannot share. C.S. Lewis once said “Nothing that you have not given away will truly be yours.” This applies to so many things in life, friendship, love, respect…and certainly it does not seclude whatever monetary wealth we may have. Christ called us to love one another, to reach out to the poor and to love the unlovable in whatever way we could. For those of us blessed to be living in such a country of luxury (whatever your thoughts on recession might be), there are always a few things that can be forgone.

For us it’s cutting back on entertainment (eating out once costs just as much as our support a month for Dayana; thus not eating out twice in one month will pay for two children to receive adequate food, education and love). It’s something easy for us to cut back on, we like to cook and ultimately believe that by establishing a routine of cooking in and dining together, we will build a strong family.

There are so many things that we do not need but seem to “have to have.” “It’s the greatest poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish,” lamented Mother Teresa. And nothing could be more true.

This is not a post to brag about how “righteous” and “selfless” we are. It’s not to guilt anyone into sponsoring a child, that is a personal decision one that we hope would be made with thorough deliberation and deep commitment. This isn’t a paid for plug for Compassion International (it’s entirely free). What it is is just a reflection of how God is working in our lives.

Thus, without further ado…our new child is five-year-old Jose, also from Ecuador. We will be receiving a packet in the mail sometime in the near future containing more information about him and we are eager to get to know him in the same manner as Dayana.

“When a person dies of hunger, it has not happened because God did not take care of him or her. It has happened because neither you nor I wanted to give that person what he or she needed.”
Mother Teresa

 

Ada’s Dedication and Such

Last Sunday we not only celebrated Katie’s first Mother’s Day but also Ada’s dedication at church. We really enjoyed spending time with our family and friends that day and also appreciated the support that was shown by them being there. There is nothing that we want more than to raise Ada in a secure, loving home lead by deep faith. We want to raise her to know that she can make her own decisions and choose her own path, but ultimately we will always pray that she will choose the one that is specifically laid out for her by God. And we are thankful everyday that both of us were blessed to be raised in atmospheres that allowed us to become who we are and to develop the kind of faith that we prescribe to.