Monday, May 12, 2008


HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to all the mothers out there who sacrifice for their families. "The hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world!" WE LOVE YOU MOM! *Below is a fascinating article about OBAMA'S MAMA... a truly amazing woman.
Mom and Dad when they were dating. My dad grew up in Shanghai. He passed away in 1977 and is buried in Leiden, Holland. We lived in The Hague at the time.

My mother has had her share of tragedy. She lost her son Paul (my precious brother) her husband (our wonderful dad), her father (our sweet Poppy/Grandpa); her brother Gerald, her favorite cousin Sonny, and her dear sister Dorothy this past December.

Here's my mom (and sis Kath) today.

Mothers – YOU have one of the most powerful jobs on earth. You can influence your children to become world leaders, talented inventors, creative musicians, great athletes, passionate writers & artists, devoted school teachers, and committed physicians.

If, per chance, you think the job of a mother isn't important, then take a look at a recent survey that asked 5.4 million stay-at-home moms to list their job titles and daily duties: On the average, a stay-at-home mom would earn $131,000 a year. Total up the costs of being an animal caretaker, financial manager, food/beverage service worker, general office clerk, childcare worker, housekeeper, psychologist, bus driver, dietitian, property manager, social worker and recreation worker – and you'll see that $131,000 is a good deal!

Kevin and Jack

Our hearts and prayers go out to Katherine Wolf, the beautiful 26-year old mother from our church who suffered a major brain hemorrhage on April 21st, and her faithful family has been at the hospital round the clock ever since. Katherine has made some great strides, but it's still going to be some time before she goes home... God Bless Katherine, Jay and their baby.

Also, please hole Kristin's mom Muriel in your prayers -- at 85, she fell after an aerobics class and broke her arm. She had surgery Friday night and will have a long recovery process. God Bless her.

By Ellen Goodman
May 9, 2008
FROM time to time during this primary, I've wondered about Obama's mama. In a race that was so much about biography, about beliefs rooted in her son's "DNA," she's made only cameo appearances.

She was the "mother from Kansas" balanced alliteratively with the "father from Kenya." Or she was the white parent whose genes combined with the black parent. Or she was the woman dying of cancer "more worried about paying her medical bills than getting well." And on Tuesday night when her son all but sewed up the nomination, she appeared again as the "single parent who had to go on food stamps at one point."

I have been thinking of her not just because it's nearly Mother's Day but because Obama will soon have to reach out to Hillary Clinton's supporters, especially to women of a certain age who attached their hopes to having a woman in the White House. Obama has not yet had a "gender conversation" with those women.

What better link does he have than his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, the girl whose own father expected and wanted a boy child? Ann Dunham, a nonconformist, a woman of the world who traveled a trajectory of change so associated with Hillary's generation?

Last week, my eye lit on an odd correction in The New York Times. It read: "The assertion that Mr. Obama had 'never known' his Kenyan father should have been that he had 'barely known' him." Surely it was a distinction without a difference.

It's no surprise that Obama wrote an entire memoir dedicated to his "barely known" parent: "Dreams from My Father." It was only after his mother's death that he wrote in a new preface, "I think sometimes that had I known she would not survive her illness, I might have written a different book - less a meditation on the absent parent, more a celebration of the one who was the single constant in my life." He added that "she was the kindest, most generous spirit I have ever known, and that what is best in me I owe to her."

From all accounts, this daughter of a family that kept traveling west in restless pursuit of the American dream took no part in Eisenhower-era conformity. She was a teenager in Hawaii when she fell for the charismatic Kenyan in her Russian class and married him six months before her son was born. This was a time when interracial marriage was still illegal in parts of the country.

The rest of the story is known: a divorce, a marriage to an Indonesian, a second divorce. She was a mother who kept her children focused as well as fed. But what's less known is the woman in her own right, the one who became an anthropologist, the woman who spent years as the respected head of research for Women's World Banking, bringing micro-financing to poor people in Indonesia.

Nancy Barry, who was the head of Women's World Banking and knew Ann well, has been bewildered by the way she's been reduced to a stick figure. "She was stubborn, hard core, decisive, convincing, deep-thinking, rigorous in her analysis," says Barry. "When I hear Barack talking about how we are not red states, blue states, but the United States, I think he gets that from his mother. The other core capability he gets from her is the desire for healing."

Indeed, the Obama we see may be the offspring of "Dreams from My Mother."

If Ann were alive today she would be the age of Hillary Clinton's most devoted demographic. She would be among those women who have gone through enormous transitions, making and remaking the female script. Dreaming big.

I am not suggesting Obama drag out his mama as a prop. But he's staked his case for the presidency on his ability to bridge racial, cultural, party divides, to lead a post-partisan America. Now he's faced with another divide: women who identified their success with Hillary's and who are unsure they will vote for him.

What better way to begin reaching out, holding the 'gender conversation,' showing women he "gets it" than by sharing the dreams he inherited and the dreams he understands. The dreams from his mother. A girl named Stanley.

Ellen Goodman's e-mail address is

Let's face it - mothers do so much for us: They cook good food for us to eat, turn a house into a home, mend our wounds, console us when we're disappointed, and cheer for us when we've done something well.

Mothers not only have great value to their families, they are also in a unique position to positively influence their families. Our moms are the ones to instill in us a sense of values, beliefs, and morality. Some experts say that by the age of four or five, most children have already formed a basic set of beliefs and values that shape their world view. To me, the best values are kindness, charity, empathy, compassion, honesty and integrity.

If America would stop valuing money and competition, we'd all be happier and more wealthy.

Nothing is set in stone. We are all redeemable, even the "bad guys" in government and politics, even our leaders. I heard a humble young Israeli at a recovery meeting day say that he 'to become humble' is everything. It's the only way to attain peace. He made a list of his character defects and then made a list of each of their "opposites." To overcome selfishness you must become more giving. To overcome arrogance, you must become humble.

Humility is the greatest virtue. When I think of how I can "give" instead of "get" the whole day goes better. When I think of how to "understand" rather than be "understood" or force my will and my opinions on others, I attract love.

Love is circular. Let's all be thinking of how we can help others. Human kindness is really all that matters.

Labels: , ,