Pack 88

Disneyland, California, U.S.A.

In my twenties, I feared having children. I never had that strong maternal instinct to be “motherly.” Babies cried in my presence and small children ran away. I couldn’t fathom being a mom. Amazing how three kids in eight years can change a person.

Tonight, I attended a Boy Scouts of America Cub Scout meeting at the kids’ school for new Cub Scouts. Despite notices and phone calls, none of the four hundred parents wanted to be Den Leader for the Bears. The Cub Scout Master mentioned the unfortunate possibility of disbanding the new den and redistributing 28 eight-year-old boys into two dens. As they pleaded for volunteers, I looked around the room and most of the Chinese parents looked like deer in headlights.

Thankfully, I’ve been a Mormon mom for the last eight years, which meant some occasional exposure to Scouts, vicariously through friends or The Hubs’ church calling. Well, guess what. Say hello to the newest Bears Den Leader for BSA Shanghai Cub Scouts Pack 88.

Mama Bear would do anything for this boy. Even wear an ugly khaki shirt.

Not Lot’s Wife

Gate near Yanlord Town Apartments. Pudong, Shanghai.

Every day I stare into the horizon and battle the yearning to go back. But I am not Lot’s wife.

When we first moved to Shanghai, my sister emailed me this talk about Lot’s wife. At the time, I was bombarded, constantly, with waves of homesickness, for people, places, conveniences, culture. Being treated as a second-class citizen did not endear China to me. (Neither did the public nose picking or loogie hawking.) Six weeks spent in the U.S. was a soul-reviving refuge and I didn’t want to get on that plane. But I returned, bound by the commitment to my husband and for the love of my children. Temptation beckoned me and The Circus to stay behind. And it would have been so easy…

Life here is different and difficult. It’s hard to get around. People are rude, unless your skin is white. It’s crowded and often times smelly and filthy. (Much worse than the urine/Orange Glo smells of L.A. parking lot stairwells.) I miss the conveniences and luxuries of the United States. I miss the friendliness. And the cleanliness. I fight natural feelings of depression, bitterness and resentment. Especially when The Hubs travels, which is frequent, and which he rather enjoys. Despite all of this, I feel gratitude for my blessings and try to count them each day. I have a home, I have my children who can attend an amazing school and a hard working husband who has employment and provides for us; I have food on my table, and clothes on my back, I have health and happiness. And I have Skype.

Back to Lot’s wife. Her sin lay not merely in the act of looking back, but in her heart’s yearning to go back. As Jeffrey Holland clarifies, “So a more theological way to talk about Lot’s wife is to say that she did not have faith. She doubted the Lord’s ability to give her something better than she already had. Apparently, she thought that nothing that lay ahead could possibly be as good as what she was leaving behind.” Hmmmm…

So I strive to have courage and face my trials with dignity and grace, as I diligently press on, one foot in front of the other, sidestepping the loogies and progressing forward with faith that God has a purpose for me here in China.

Because, I am not Lot’s wife.

{Here’s to the new adventures headed our way. Although, I am mourning Target all over again. What can I say. Sometimes, I am still a pillar of salt.}

Magical Numbers Redux

Wow, what happened to my blog? I’m back…but not really. We returned to Shanghai on Friday, right in time for Typhoon Muifa. Fortunately, it changed course and skipped Shanghai, leaving us with only torrential downpour and an extremely wet Saturday and Sunday.

I am tired. PS has been bright-eyed and awake at:
Saturday: 3:00 a.m.
Sunday: 12:40 a.m. (Seriously. Until 10 a.m. while we were sitting in Church.)
Monday: 3:00 a.m.
Tuesday: 3:49 a.m.

Curse those “magical numbers“!
I owe you the rest of my Gratitude list. Come back in a few days when I’m awake…zzzzzzz.