June 30, 2013

bothering to date

Dating is trouble.  It's trouble when you're a teenager, it's trouble in college, and even in this age of eHarmony and the like, it's trouble for adults.  It's trouble for the parents of teenagers, trouble for dorm-mothers, trouble for the dumped and trouble for the dumpers.  In fact, the owners of Sonic drive-thru restaurants, and the founders of eHarmony, might be the only ones on the planet who looooove dating.

But I'm not actually talking about dating in that sense.  I'm talking about dating after the wedding; the importance of wives dating their husbands.

The thing is, dating in this sense is still trouble.  There's the trouble of arranging a sitter, for one thing.  The trouble of getting her to the house, making sure there is kid-friendly/sitter-friendly food on the table, and making sure the hand-towel in the guest bath isn't soaking wet because Heaven forbid the sitter goes home and tells her parents that we are slobs. 

And then there's the trouble of primping for the date.  Sure, we could just throw on our sneakers and head out the door, peanut butter stains on our shirt and all, but our husbands are worth more than that.  They married a cute thing in capris in the early years of the new millennium, and they deserve now to date a semi-cute thing in a maxi skirt who has bothered to shave her legs and wash behind her ears.  There are just some things men will always need, and a pleasant-smelling date is one of them.

But that's not all.  Husbands need their wives to be present on the date.  That means putting that load of laundry (the one you forgot to load into the dryer) out of your mind.  Smile, listen, and ask him about work.  Ask him what he had for lunch (you can bet his female co-workers know the answer to this one).  You might even learn something new about him, or you might get a glimpse of what he hopes for in the coming decade.  You might remember what color his eyes are, or you might notice that he still laughs the way he did when you met.

In my eleven years as a wife, I've learned that there's a phrase more important than, "Stop and smell the flowers."  And that is, "Stop and date your husband."

It's worth the trouble!

June 29, 2013


Our options are 1.) run away from it all 2.) stay

All of the time, in all things, these are our only two options.

Let's face it, option one is out.  If we've learned anything in life, we (like Forrest Gump) have learned there is nowhere to run. All manner of heartache lies out there the same as here.   

Which only leaves one option. 


Stay the course.  Stay married, stay involved, stay true, stay soft, stay humble, stay hopeful, stay strong.

Because one day we will get tapped out of this fight.  The Champion will re-enter the ring and we won't have to hold the line any longer.  Until then, we've been asked to stay.  And like Samwise Gamgee would say, I intend to.

June 27, 2013

Apparently, French toast will suffice.


BRIGHT: I'm glad that someone in this house knows how to cook. (takes a bite of casserole)
DANIEL:  Me, too!  (thoughtful pause)  You know, boys, that is something to consider when you are choosing a wife some day.  I think it is important that she be able to cook, or is willing to learn.  (takes a sip of sweet tea)


(one week later) 
BRIGHT:  No, Kayleigh, I think we should have our wedding in America.  
KAYLEIGH:  (nods her consent)
BRIGHT:  Oh, and there's one more thing.  Can you cook?
KAYLEIGH:  (caught off-guard)  I...can...make French toast??
BRIGHT:  Okay.  

embracing idiocy

While helping Daniel put the kids to bed each Wednesday, before beginning my weekly "writing night," I fight the feeling that all of this writing is idiocy.  I fight the feeling that I should snap out of it, delete the whole manuscript, come back down out of the clouds, and clean the kitchen floor.

But then Daniel reminds me that many - or perhaps most - people my age are watching TV on Wednesday evenings and feel no less connected to reality, nor any less productive, for it.  I might be engrossed in a fantasy land while writing fiction, but as least I will have a finished product in the end.

So I continue to embrace the idiocy of novel-writing.  I am now at over 74,000 words, with only a chapter and a half left to compose.  The end is so near I can smell it. 

(Just don't mention the submission/rejection stage that waits for me downstream like a raging waterfall promising to dash me against the rocks.  If you mention it, I'll cry).
Rooftop novel-writing in East Asia.

June 20, 2013

The last convert

The day has come.  All six of us are believers!

It happened (like important moments often do) totally out of the blue.  We put down our breakfast forks on June 18, 2013, and bowed our heads while Brave prayed, all of his own accord and in his own words, and I quote:

"Jesus, I am a sinner.  Will you live inside me, please?"

We applauded, and then finished our breakfasts.  It has been a happy week in our home!  With Brave's name written in the book of life, we are sure to be a complete family someday in paradise. 

"How does it feel to have baked your last Book of Life cake?" Daniel asked.

"Oh, surely this is not my last," I said with a smile.  "I hope to be baking these precious cakes for generations of new believers; grandkids, neighbors, friends, you name it!"

Praise the L0RD and pass the dessert plates!

June 19, 2013

a homemade life

I could use a cake mix.  I could, and no one would blame me.  I have four kids.  I live in Asia where butter costs more than putting gas in the car (well, not quite, but almost).  I have every excuse in the world to use a cake mix.

But I won't.

I could have settled for a B-average in high school.  I could have, and my life would have probably turned out exactly as it has.  But I didn't settle, and I'm glad I didn't.  On really hard days as a wife and mom, when I've failed all five of them miserably, the fact that I got A's in high school - the fact that I knocked it out of the park, so the speak - helps me feel better about myself.

It really kinda does.

I could have chosen a different life.  I could have stayed single (which would have been easier), and I could have stayed childless (which would have been MUCH easier), and I could have stayed in America (which would have been a WHOLE LOT easier).  I could be living there now, successful and rich, obsessing over my wardrobe and my figure, decorating and redecorating my one-person house.

But how sad that kind of life would be!  No fudgy, homemade cakes gobbled up by loved-ones around my (rather scratched and crayon-marked) table.  No Lego towers on display in the guest bath vanity.  No love letters from Jubilee taped to my bedroom door.  No handsome, Godly man to love me all the days of my life, passing gas in the bed and making me laugh.  No flowing purple dress to wear on date nights with my husband (a dress purchased for next-to-nothing from a brown, wrinkled street vendor in the din of grimy Bangkok). 

No thanks.

I don't want a life void of these things.  I want to live; and to live means to bump up against people, get dirty, get heartbroken, and make a mess of the kitchen.  It means adopting when it would be a heck of a lot easier not to.  It means forgetting about money and status and ease; and living, instead, for love, for honor, and for the glory of G0D.

Because in the end, when my life is over, I want to look back and know that I knocked it out of the park.  A B-average life just won't do.  And even if it doesn't matter to anybody else whether or not I used a cake mix, it matters to me.

And that is reason enough.
Cooking out on our roof.  In my purple dress.

June 16, 2013

The best!

Every construction paper Father's Day card uploaded to Facebook today, and every Father's Day card made in Sunday School classrooms around the world this morning, communicated (if not directly quoted) the following:

Happy Father's Day to the best dad in the world!

But how can every dad out there be the best dad in the world?  The answer is: each kid's own dad is the best to him, simply because he's his.

I like what our friend Lance used to say, "I'm G0D'S favorite...and you're G0D'S favorite, too!"  But how can that be?  We can't all be G0D'S favorite, can we?  Oh yes, we can, because we're all his.

All that to say that Bright, Zion, Brave, and Jubilee think their dad is the best dad in the world.  Of course.

Happy Father's Day!

June 13, 2013

Brave for four years

B rave
R esilient
A bounding
V ast
E ager

R eceptive
A miable
N oisy
S wift
O vert
M acho

Happy 4th Birthday to our handsome Brave Ransom!

June 11, 2013

The underwear drawer system

My mother may have forgotten to teach me how to fry an egg over-easy (don't worry Mom, I figured it out on my own), but she taught me many other useful things:  good posture goes a long way, garlic breath is offensive, make your bed and you'll feel better,  a white shirt goes with everything, there are two sides to every coin, if you smile no one will notice the big zit on your forehead, etc., etc.

But perhaps the most useful bit of wisdom my mom imparted to me was the importance of filing away all important things...in your underwear drawer.

A receipt you need to hang on to?  Put it in your underwear drawer.  A trinket someone gifted you that is too ugly to put out in the house?  In the underwear drawer.  Expensive imported chocolate you want to eat without having to share it with the kids?  You guessed it.

And now I am passing the underwear drawer system on to the next generation.  Six people under one roof doesn't leave much private space for any of us.  The one space we each get to call our own is our underwear drawer.

What do I do when one of the kids insists on keeping a large, gray rock?  I point them in the direction of their underwear drawer.  What does a Rupp kid do when he finds a feather?  He can't leave it sitting around the house.  He knows if I find it I'll throw it away, and if one of his siblings finds it, he'll never see it again.  So he puts it in his underwear drawer.

Bright's underwear drawer is full of paper airplanes and cardboard rocket ships.  Zion's if full of snail shells and sketch books, and Brave's is full of dried chunks of who-knows-what (which he has found outside, and for which I keep a small box in the corner of his drawer).  Jubilee keeps notes and cards from her grandparents in her underwear drawer, of course.

But then there are those days when Daniel gets rabbit urine all over his legs and threatens to take the bunny out back and shoot it, and I find a mystery stain on my favorite white layering tank from Forever 21, and then I drop my phone in the neighborhood swimming pool and I think it would be nice...

it would be really, really nice...

if I could fit my whole self into my underwear drawer. 
This coloring page, had she wanted to keep it, would have ended up in her underwear drawer.

June 07, 2013

sentenced to home school

Before we had kids - or before we had school age kids - Daniel and I were terrified of home school.  It not only looked like an unnecessary amount of work on our part, but it seemed unnatural for kids to stay with their mothers all day, every day.

But then we moved here, where international school is astoundingly expensive, and local school (for our kids) would be too far of a cultural stretch.  It would be like telling my dad to do the splits.  While juggling.

Home school started to look like our only option.  It felt like a prison sentence at first, I admit.  Ordering materials, and then trying to make sense of them, literally started me to panicking.  I cried so hard I almost threw up.  No joke.

But now I've been a home school mom for three years running, and Daniel and I no longer fear it.  In fact, we LOVE it.  Being together all day, every day is the most natural thing in the world.  The amount of work is arguably less than moms who manage the education, schedules, and extra-curricular activities of their kids who go to school outside the home.  Truthfully, I'm grateful that I am in a position to choose home school.  I know many moms who would like to do it, but for financial reasons or otherwise, they simply cannot. 

And so this afternoon, we wrapped up another great year!  I am so proud of my handsome grads, and  I love my job. 

June 05, 2013

Brave and Lily

Brave has chosen a wife:  our beautiful neighbor and dear friend, Lily (adopted from Guangdong Province the same as Brave's sister, Jubilee).  Brave and Lily hit it off at the village last weekend.  Lily's mama snapped a few adorable pictures. 

Just before Brave went to bed on the day that these pictures were taken, he declared, "I am going to marry Lily."

We would be pleased, son, if you did exactly that.

June 02, 2013


June 1 is National Children's Day in this country.  Children throughout the country dress up in their finest duds and are paraded around by their parents, in and out of various shopping malls and parks, to be entertained, fed, and celebrated.

Our kids were dressed in their oldest clothes and loaded into our second-hand minivan to be driven to the mountaintop village home of our good friend, Mr. Li.  Many other "foreigner" kids and adults were there, and we spent the day eating barbequed meat and stir-fried vegetables, picking ripe peaches from the village orchards, watching the pigs and chickens, going on long walks on mountain paths, and climbing the little rock-face that our kids have grown to love.

Here is the rock we climbed, and there are Daniel and Zion at the top!

Now in these next pictures, note the fact that Jubilee did NOT know how to use chopsticks when she came to us in August of '11.  She had only ever used a spoon on account of her age.  This skill just came to her a few months ago, totally naturally.  (Just for a point of reference on this, Bright is 8 and has been proficient with chopsticks for only about a year; whereas the other two boys have been fumbling with them their entire food-eating lives).  Is proficiency with chopsticks, therefore, passed down in the blood?  Logic would say not, but the proof is here in the pudding...or rather, in the green beans.

And here is a picture of Bright after scaling the mountain.  His shirt bears a suitable logo, I think.

This is the house we were visiting.  Jubilee is in a lot of these pictures because she was the only one of my kids who stayed with me all day.  The boys were off running around the mountain - catching toads, chucking peaches, wielding long bamboo rods, and flirting with the pretty little girls.  Oh my.

Here we are feasting in the courtyard of the house.  If you come visit us, we'll bring you here, and you can taste the organically grown, fresh-picked, hot fried food and you will never be the same.

This next picture was taken of our hosts' kitchen.  Those are two giant woks, under which a huge fire is kept stoked.  Amazing.

And this is where we wash our hands.  Talk about efficient water usage! 
If I didn't have kids (because kids need things like baths; and kids complain about things like bug bites) I could totally live in a village.  Village life would suit me, I think.  Sure, there's dirt everywhere, but it's clean dirt (oxymoron??)  Neighbors share food with each other.  Pigs grunt happily.  Roosters crow, grapes grow beside the gates, squash plants climb every pole, yams are stored in deep holes in the ground, corn is hung upside down to dry, and everything just feels...natural. 

Happy Children's Day to you all, young and old!