I’m a woman.
Let’s start with that. I’m on a journey to figure out who I am and my place in the world, aside from the typical labels and conventions that define so many like myself. I love the way Rachel Held Evans(2) explains God’s name for the first woman: God called the first woman ezer, a name he embraces for himself throughout the Old Testament. Ezer Kenegdo actually means man’s perfect match. It is help that opposes, two parts of equal weight leaning against one another. In the Old Testament, the word ezer appears twenty-one times in three different contexts: the creation of woman, when Israel applied for military aid, and in reference to God as Israel’s helper for military purposes (16)….by naming his daughters after this aspect of his character, God did not name woman as secondary helpmate assistants. Women, as Rachel explains, were created and called out as warriors. #lovethat
I love God.
I am completely, head-over-heals in love with Jesus. That said, I often sympathize with Mahatma Gandhi, who was quoted as saying, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” Amen to that. My church has a phrase, Love God, Love People and Serve the World. That pretty much sums it up for me. Lord knows, I’m FAR from perfect. But, I think too many Christians have gone around beating people up (figuratively) with the Bible, rather than opening it up and trying practice the teachings of love, grace, justice, forgiveness, humility, peace-making, etc. So, to know me is to know that my faith is my #1 love. However, don’t expect this to be your typical ‘Christian’ blog. #christianleft
I love my family.
I’m married to the coolest Singaporean on the planet. He’s my rock and BFF. I’ve got three kids who are AMAZING (except, when they’re not). One is just starting middle school (hello, adolescence!), one is just starting kindergarten (goodbye, baby years!) and the one in the middle is entering 3rd grade. They keep me busy!
I love the world.
I’ve been blessed to live and travel across Europe and Asia. My husband was born and grew up in Singapore. Now, we live in the San Francisco Bay Area, which we love – it’s a good blend of our East/West family.
I love books.
When I can’t physically escape, the next best thing is to get lost in a book. History has always been my ‘go to’ genre, though lately, I’ve been gravitating towards books on racism, feminism and poverty.
I love coffee and wine.
As I explain it to my kids, ‘mommy needs coffee to wake up in the morning and wine to unwind at night’. I have no qualms owning my own chemical dependency. However, in so doing I must also confess my own snobbery. No Folgers for me, thank you very much. Give me a cappuccino with whole milk – none of this skim milk business. Do it right. And, at night, I love sitting with my husband and reviewing our day with a Howell Mountain Cab in hand. I guess that makes me a wine snob too. I have my husband to blame for that. When he gave up golf (that’s what happens when your family keeps growing), he took up wine tasting…..and, I get to be the beneficiary of his efforts to learn about and enjoy one of the industries native to our part of the country.
Coffee and Wine…..
My first experience with real friendship in my adult years came when I was living in Taiwan. I was an expat and I discovered a group of other expat women from across the globe. We met weekly, and we called our gatherings, Coffee Mornings. The friendships I made have lasted long since we left Taiwan. These days, I still love to meet friends at the Coupa Cafe at the Stanford Golf Course or Mademoiselle Colette in downtown Menlo Park. We talk about our kids. We talk about the world. We talk about life. A lot can happen over a cup of coffee.
In addition to the conversations with my husband over a glass of wine, I’ve been been grateful for the women who gather for what we’ve often called, ‘intellectually sweaty’ conversations. We read books. We try to learn and grow. We drink wine. We hope that at the end of it all, we move the needle forward. In something. In anything.
We live in Silicon Valley, in the shadows of Stanford University, Google and Facebook. Living in this area, you need coffee to keep up. To be fair, there’s a lot of cool stuff that is born out of the start-ups and labs scattered from San Francisco to San Jose. But, there’s a certain discontent that comes from always searching for the next great technology or idea. Sometimes, it seems that life moves too fast…that we’re everywhere but the place we physically occupy. That’s not okay. I want to be present. I want to stop, pour a glass of wine, and watch the sun set. I want to savor life.
There is a very real tension between activism and surrender. I want to be part of the solution. I want to make a difference. I also want soul-level peace. I want to be still.
Coffee and Wine.
Wake up, smell the coffee, get moving, change the world. Slow down, smell the aroma, take a slow sip, savor and relax.
This is me. This is my journey. And, looks like that journey includes a blog.
UPDATE – March 27, 2018
Coffee and Wine Forever….
There’s still coffee. There’s still wine. But, in my last post I shared that our family had decided to go Vegan, which means my beloved coffee now has a non-dairy creamer or foam. Howell Mountain Cabs have not gone away (Praise the Lord). How I take my coffee, though, is really the most unimportant detail ever. What IS important is the way life changes, in ways big and small.
Community Equity Collaborative…
When this blog began, I never knew where it would take me – but I knew that doing nothing was not an option. Fast-toward roughly 18 months and it’s not just my coffee or diet that’s changed. The biggest decision has been to create a non-profit (Community Equity Collaborative) that promotes equity in education. I am so excited with the ways God has met us in this journey and opened doors, one after the other.
But, this is not the end of the story. I am daily discovering more layers to my privilege or places I must make tough changes if I am to truly call myself an ‘ally’…. And, that’s just me! The mission was not only to pursue a Micah 6:8 life for myself, but for my entire family! One day, my son is telling me he wants to join a protest against gun violence. A few days later, he’s groaning when I ask him which community service project he wants to do with our church. I guess what I’m trying to say is, it’s messy.
Finding Jesus in the Messy Margins is I think part of what God’s trying to teach me, a recovering Type-A Control Freak. One of the most dangerous but powerful prayers in this journey has been just a simple, ‘Here I am….Use me’ prayers of surrender. To be fair, I’ve uttered similar words in the past – though, I’m not sure I always meant them. These days, He’s not only leading me to the places where I can serve and help others, He’s taking me to the places where I can learn more about Him. Without a doubt, I am a #WorkInProgress.
He’s not done….
But, I am learning! Today, I met an incredible lady at Philz Coffee in San Mateo. She’s leading and supporting all kinds of initiatives that promote inclusion and encourage activism. In fact, she just published a book for young girls called, Be the Change. Last night, I was with my life group. We’d all read Jen Hatmaker’s book Interrupted. One gal shared the moment God *interrupted* her cozy Christian life. She was working at a tech company and found a nearby school where she could help by teaching an after-school cooking class. Tears welled as she told of the moment she realized WHY this class was so popular: these kids were hungry. Very hungry. And, in cooking class, they got to eat what they made. As one child told her, ‘I’m so glad you teach this class for us on Thursdays, because Thursdays are our Skip Night’.
If we’re not drinking coffee or wine, we’re drinking something! What matters is not so much what we’re drinking, but what whether we’re letting God interrupt our lives in ways big and small. When we meet our friends at Starbucks, do we ever talk about poverty or privilege? Does our pastor know what ‘red-lining’ is or have we challenged faith leaders in our communities to tackle tough topics like racism or gun violence? Do we talk to our kids about diversity in a way that elevates and celebrates all children? Be honest, do we actually care?
I intended for this to be *just* an update to my About page…not a blog post. (As you can see, I slide easily onto my soapbox.). The important thing is that God’s not done. He’s not done bringing ‘Up there down here.’ He’s not done tearing down kingdoms of this world in order to raise up His own. And, He’s definitely not done with me! I guess that means I’m STILL blogging.