Monthly Archives: June 2013

In Honor of our most recent Karen BBQ, here’s a blog from 2010


Yesterday John and I hosted a BBQ for our Karen friends.  That’s Ka RIN- not Karen or Korean.  Google KarenKonnection and you’ll get the full story.

The first guests to arrive were new to the states-only having been here a month, poor guys.  I greeted them with my newly practiced “Tha coo la tee bah na” (“It is good to meet/see you”).  No response.

So I tried again with a broader smile, “Na ah may wee lee ah” (Have you eaten?) No response-only blank stares.  “Oh no” I think, “My Karen is soo bad!”  Just when I’m chiding myself over my ineptness, in walks the Karen Pastor who is staying at our house for a few days. He says a few things I don’t understand to our guests and gets the same response (none).  Then someone speaks to him and he turns to me and says, “these people only speak Karenni, a separate dialect.”  I was so relieved, I could have kissed them all, but was quickly reminded how difficult things must be for them.  It’s hard enough speaking only Karen in an English speaking coun2004-12-10 Roof making 2 redtry, but to be part of a lesser dialect is beyond challenging.

John and I never know exactly how many will show up at these barbeques.  Anywhere between 20 and 200.  This time we prepare for 200.  So early in the day, John drives to Costco and gets 264 chicken thighs.  Meanwhile, I’m trying to figure out what container I have for marinading it all.  John picks up a coffin-size ice chest from the church and we dump the chicken in that.  Well, I wish we could’ve just dumped it in, but I had to cut each chicken part out of a sealed plastic security wrap.  UGH!  It took me longer than buying live chickens and slaughtering them myself. The plastic was wrapped as close to the thighs as some girls wear their jeans.  I did cut myself easily enough and, because I hate band-aids (those curling edges that turn dark gray), I used my favorite first-aid item:  mailing tape.  I can watch myself bleed, pinching if necessary, yet keep it all contained in a little marine-life museum.

I left the big chest of chicken in the kitchen and went outside to set up tables and chairs.  An hour later, I step into the kitchen and slip in a puddle of pink chicken juice.  The ice chest has a leak.

After driving back to the church for a leak-free ice chest, getting the chicken nicely settled in their soy-ginger bath, John fires up the grill.  When I say “fires up” I mean flames licking the roof of our house.  We decide based on the quantity of chicken on the grill, the skin is just too flammable.  Right about now, my attitude turns about as sallow as the pile of skins I’m yanking off this jerk chicken.  John and I are both at the very end of our energy and we haven’t even started.  We pause to say a quick prayer, “Lord, HELP”.  And return to our prep.

In the end, the night was a huge success.  Everyone (about 100 including us) had an awesome time, especially John and I as we always love the worship-fest at every Karen gathering.  I even had enough energy to  disinfect the chicken floor (thanks to friends, I didn’t have pots and pans to wash).  I mean kitchen floor.

Last night we drained our ice maker of every chip.  But today, I held my glass up and it filled to the brim with crushed ice and I thought, our lives should be like this ice-maker:  Filled to overflowing, poured out for the refreshment of others,  then overnight our emptiness is refilled and ready for the next thirsty souls.   “He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed”.  Thank you, Lord for all those who refresh me.  Thank you for being the Pause that Refreshes.


All We Had


I wrote this over a year ago and am reposting in honor of our 40th anniversary.

The Write Stuff

“Laura, you look like you’ve lost weight, you have a beautiful smile and you smell good.”  Said John.

Really??!!  Thank you so much for saying so,  my love.”  Said I.

“Yeah, I read somewhere that those three things are what a girl wants to hear.”

I burst out laughing at this honest man.  A man with no guile, my husband.  He rescued himself by explaining, “Well, I read that article and thought, you really are those things.  So there you have it.”

I just love this guy.

Today is our 466th wedding month-a-versary, as we call it.  I greeted him with this news today.  He looked a bit crestfallen that he hadn’t said it first.  I thought I’d one-upped him, but then he left the room and came back with an envelope (see card above).

How did we get so blessed?

Well, I know for sure it’s not…

View original post 855 more words

Fifty-nine and Counting



It’s hard enough turning 60 this year without receiving cheerful fliers entitled, “Assisted Living Facilities Near You!” Like, that’s a good thing?  Sigh.  Not to say there aren’t real blessings that come with age, which I’d recount to you right now if my thoughts hadn’t just disappeared into thin hair, along with all the important documents I remember for sure putting in a very safe place.  I imagine the moment I leave the prison of this body, and walk the corridor to freedom, a smirking demon in a guard hat will hand me my misplaced car keys and mock, “Here…and good luck remembering where you parked your car.”  

Jerk.  What satisfaction I’ll have when I say, “Keep it.  I BMW (Be Meetin’ ya-Weh) now.   

Until then, I’m gonna chuck- or at least file in my very safe place- the ads to join AARP (the answer is still NO), the fliers advertising discounted funeral services (what does discounted mean?  I get rolled in bubble wrap and laid in a brown box marked Amazon?).  I might dabble in miracle cures for horrid age spots, body-part firmers (sung to the tune, “Do your ears hang low, do they wobble to and fro…”) and plantar fasciitis arch supports, But I’m sorry- I draw the line on some things: I have no intention of visiting Viagra Falls. 

Maybe I’m looking at this all wrong.  Perhaps these are memos from heaven, sent to help me consider this verse:

“Teach me to number my days aright, that I may gain a heart of wisdom.”    Ps. 90:12

Obviously, I haven’t arrived, but my days are numbered.  I’m counting on it.