A Typical or Atypical Pastor's Wife-whichever one you come to believe

Welcome to the barnyard. Watch your step! The things written here are raw and unedited. Just my thoughts thrown on a page as they flow from my heart.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Suppose an Unholy Man Went to Heaven

Suppose an unholy man went to heaven
by J. C. Ryle

"Every man who has his hope in Christ, purifies himself." 1 John 3:3

Suppose for a moment, that you were allowed to enter heaven without holiness. What would you do? What possible enjoyment could you feel there? To which of all the saints would you join yourself—and by whose side would you sit? Their pleasures are not your pleasures, their tastes are not your tastes, their character not your character. How could you possibly be happy in heaven—if you had not been holy on earth?

Now you love the company of the frivolous and careless, the worldly-minded and the covetous, the reveler and the pleasure-seeker, the ungodly and the profane. There will be none such in heaven! Now you think that the people of God are too strict and particular and serious. You rather avoid them. You have no delight in their society. But remember, there will be no other company in heaven. Now you think that praying and Scripture reading, and hymn singing, are dull and melancholy and stupid work. But remember, the inhabitants of heaven rest not day and night, saying, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty!" and singing the praise of the Lamb! How could an unholy man find pleasure in such an environment as this?

An unholy man would feel like a stranger in a land he knew not, a black sheep amid Christ's pure flock. The song of angels and archangels, and all the company of heaven—would be a language he could not understand! The very air would seem an air he could not breathe! I know not what others may think, but to me it does seem clear—that heaven would be a miserable place to an unholy man! It cannot be otherwise. People may say, in a vague way—that they "hope to go to heaven after they die." But surely, they do not consider what they say. We must be heavenly-minded, and have heavenly tastes, in the present life—or else we shall never find ourselves in heaven, in the life to come.

Are you holy? I do not ask whether you attend your church regularly, whether you have been baptized, or whether you profess to be a Christian. Are you yourself holy this very day—or are you not? Why do I ask so straightly, and press the question so strongly? I do it because the Scripture says, "Without holiness no man shall see the Lord." It is written—it is not my imagination; it is the Bible—not my private opinion; it is the Word of God—not of man: "Without holiness no man shall see the Lord." (Heb. 12:14). Alas, what searching, sifting words are these! I look at the world—and see the greater part of it lying in wickedness. I look at professing Christians—and see the vast majority having nothing of Christianity, but the mere name. I turn to the Bible and I hear the Spirit saying, "Without holiness no man shall see the Lord." Surely it is a text which ought to make us solemnly consider our ways, and search our heart. You may say, that "if you were so holy—you would be unlike other people." I answer, "I know it well. It is just what you ought to be. Christ's true servants were always unlike the world around them—a holy nation, a separate people—and you must be so too, if you would be saved!" You may say, "at this rate very few will be saved!" I answer, "I know it. It is precisely what Jesus told us in His sermon on the mount—Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads unto life, and few there are who find it!" Few will be saved, because few will take the trouble to seek salvation--men will not deny themselves the pleasures of sin for a little season.You may say, "these are hard sayings; the way is very narrow!" I know it is. The Lord Jesus said so eighteen hundred years ago. He always said that men must take up the cross daily, and that they must be ready to cut off hand or foot, if they would be His disciples. That religion which costs nothing—is worth nothing!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Monday, June 9, 2008

Why Worry?

Worrying is sooooo easy to do, especially in the world we live in! Between the 24 hour news networks, the articles that pop up on your home page concerning an in depth article on every danger known to man, and our own "stinkin thinkin" born from years of dysfunction, it's hard work not to worry! Thus said, I do believe worry was, is and always will be sin!

Worry disobeys the Word in that it does not "take every thought captive unto the obedience of Christ".

Worry says that the Lord is not really "my shepherd, I have lack of nothing".

Worry says that while he may be our shepherd, he really isn't leading us in the paths of righteousness, beside still waters, he really isn't restoring our souls.

Worry says that God really isn't who and what He says He will be to those who believe and trust in Him. He really doesn't have every hair on my head numbered.

Worry says that our lives in Him really are not "righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost!"

Worry says that He is not big enough, strong enough, wise enough, or present enough to meet our every need exactly when we need it! He is not foreknowing enough to know what card life will deal us next and therefore cannot be Jehovah Jireh, and leave provision there so when we get there, we will have all that we need to face it!

Worry is really doubt and unbelief disguised as common sense, compassion, and reality! Our reality is not in what we see, hear, touch, taste and smell. Reality is in heaven and has been "forever settled".

Worry keeps the will of God in heaven from becoming our reality on earth! It's a blocker of the blessing, protection, and power of God in our lives. It says, I know I say I trust you with my mouth, but I really don't trust you with my life, because if I did, I wouldn't be worried!

After living through some pretty devastating things, I can also say that it is a waste of time worrying about something that hasn't even happened! Doesn't the Bible tell us to "not be anxious for tomorrow for tomorrow holds it's own set of problems?" (I paraphrased) But to "seek first the kingdom of God and ALL these things will be added unto you"? Isn't true faith just believing God for your now and your future and "resting" in His sovereign power to "accomplish what concerns you"? Isn't it just throwing your everything in his lap and saying "here, God, take it. Your plans for it are higher and better than my own? I'll just let you drive and I'll enjoy the scenery!

"We are not guaranteed tomorrow, so why spend today worrying about it! When I feel the need to worry, I go directly to my Bible and start reading the Lord's report about my life and my relationship to Him. If you truly believe in the Word of God, it will comfort you and really convince you that worry is completely contrary to everything Jesus died to give you! We cannot base our theology on our own experiences or the experiences of others. We must buffet our bodies and minds into making our theology line up with what the Word of God says. That means He stays the same and WE change! There is nothing more peace giving than making our thoughts line up with His Word!

Worry is fear! Fear is of and from the devil! "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind!""

What Boys Do in the Bathroom

The Men's Room is not a place familiar to me. Oh, I've been in a few, but only because I didn't read the signs correctly and ended up walking into a line of bare bottoms facing a wall, which was my first clue that I was on forbidden ground! However, I saw enough to dread the day when my two boys matured enough to balk at going into the ladies room with Mom.

Well, my day came. We were at a local restaurant and my boys, who are 14 months apart, had "to go". So after making it very clear that they were to follow the rules of pottying without Mommy--
1. go in together, come out together
2. flush, wash and dry your hands
3. if someone bothers you, yell "FIRE" as loud and as long as you can until someone rescues you
4. if someone grabs a hold of you, kick, scream, bite, scratch, do whatever you have to do in order to get away
5. NO extra flushing of paper, clothing or pocket contents.

"Are you sure you want to go by yourselves?", I asked. --I let them go.

I kept my eye on the hallway, noticing men going in and coming out. After about 10 minutes, my boys were still no where to be found, so I went and stood outside the bathroom door, just in case. Still no boys!

Well, little did I know that the restaurant had just installed automatic faucets and towel holders, and my boys were enthralled by them, so instead of coming out when they had finished they were joyfully being helpful by turning the faucets on for everyone and helping them work the towel holders.

After 15 minutes, and seeing people go in AND come out, and still no boys of mine, I began to get really nervous. I completely forgot where I was and walked up to the door of the men's room in a public restaurant, knocked loudly on the door and yelled, "boys, what are you doing in there?"Ever so slowly and carefully the door opened and out peeked a balding, middle aged man who asked, "do you really want to know?"

Must Men Wear Pink?

I recently responded to an online question, "does your hubby wear pink? Now I realize that this is not up to my usually superior intellecutal subjects, HA!, but I was surprised at the responses that I saw to this question. I for one am for stopping the feminization of America!

I choose to argue that some things are just sacred to a man, like what colors define masculinity, although most men are color blind anyway! You would never catch my hubby wearing a shirt that says "Manly men wear pink!" No sir! I believe my response was that my hubby would rather go naked than wear pink! In fact, when I asked him about it his response was, "the only pink you will ever see me in is the pink......well maybe I had better not give his response!

Come on girls, there have to be some differences between us! We already refuse to consider that men may be stronger, or smarter, or more capable in certain areas. Some will only begrudgingly concede that we have different hormonal structures. There are differences between men and women, as vast as the expanse of the sea, at least for a few years because let's face it, even that won't last forever!

Did you ever see two old people who have lived together for a very long time? They just look alike! They think alike, they talk alike! They eat the same foods, they think the same things are funny, even when they're not.I think that is proof that time and age does a number on us! There may be differences now, but just wait, that will change! In a few years, as we grow older, we will all end up gender neutral! In the end, the playing field will be level!

In a few years we will both have facial hair--trust me, it happens!
In a few years we will both be shriveled and sag in the same places!
In a few years we will have the same shakey voices, shakey hands, and orthopedic shoes.
In a few years we will both be eating the same diet--bran, fiber, and soft!In a few years we will be taking the same pills, and yes, some of them may be pink! GASP!
In a few years we won't even be able to tell our teeth apart unless we know which jar we put them in!

So for the sake of variety let's let the guys have their season of being bold, brave and blue, green and gray! Let's reserve something that is still thought of as purely feminine or masculine. No one will ever remember us because we wore pink or didn't wear pink, (except for my little friend Raylene who believes that the whole world should be pink, including school busses)! It has no bearing on eternity or history! Because really, will it make any difference in eternity if they went their whole lives without wearing pink? What will they miss by not wearing pink? What will they experience because they wear pink? (Nothing wholesome that I can think of there!) Let's preserve the idea of being able to tell that they are male, both when they are babies and when they are old men! Who dresses their boy baby in pink? And come to think of it, I've never seen a man in a coffin lined with pink either! That, in itself says something! So the next time you see a man in pink, slap him silly, so at least part of him will be black and blue and will distiguish that he is indeed a MAN!


A seemingly odd subject for a Pastor's Wife to ponder. No, I'm not having flashbacks from my BC days (before Christ). No, I'm not thinking about being naked, or thinking of someone else I might have seen naked! But the fact remains that I had to spend a lot of my week thinking about nudity!

The school, who sends home a permission slip for 13 years old to watch a PG rated movie, decided to take my son on a field trip to an art museum to view R rated art without my knowledge or permission! Fortunately, someone reminded me what kind of art hangs in museums and I was able to withdraw my son before he went after asking the art teacher about what they would be seeing! It caused quite a ruckus at the school, mostly because I wrote the Ass. Principal a letter protesting their decision to take our children to an art museum full of yesteryear's pornography which is now today's art--now that's a scary proposition, isn't it?

My letter was civil, even friendly, because I trust the Vice Principal at our school. So really no ruckus needed to be caused. I was simply taking my son out of school for the day, requesting a refund and giving a reason why.
My points being:
1. If we have to give permission for PG rated "art"--yes, cinema is considered art--then why weren't we informed about what hangs in that museum and the fact that our children would be viewing it!
2. In a day when we try to approach things of a sexual nature in way that informs, but does not promote, why would we take a group of hormonal teens in a mixed group to view nude statues with exaggerated sex organs and nude paintings of very well endowed woman and expect that they would all stand in awe and wonder of its artistic values. Maybe they would even join hands and sing Kum By Yah! That is more than a bit naive! In fact, if they thought that, they are bigger loons than I could ever imagine they could be!
3. We live in a multicultural community where the feelings and beliefs of others are always respected and tolerated so why would you take Muslim children and Asian children visiting this country to view something that they would find highly offensive without informing their parents? Can't we teach art to Middle school students without nudity? They do in Muslim Universities and Christian Universities all the time!
4. If nudity is art, then why not have nudie magazines in class or better yet, nude models for the children to draw! It's "art" isn't it? Oh, yea, maybe it would violate that dress code that they spend thousands of dollars to mail out every year but NEVER enforce!!!
5. God found it necessary to clothe us and give us laws concerning modesty which are also reflected in our civil laws and the school district dress code--which they NEVER enforce--so who are we to tamper with that all in name of "art". Does "art" supersede decency??

Of course, as I outlined what I was going to say to the principal, I thought of some of the responses that I would receive like, "the human body is a thing of beauty and wonder", which I agree with, so what is it that now makes it pornography. And the word "prude" by those who are into name calling also crossed my mind, although I just intrinsically know that my boys should not be viewing nude ladies if I want them to remain sexually pure as adolescents!
5. What about those who are genetically or socially predisposed to struggle with sexual things? As a counselor in a vocational rehab program and dealing with many hooked on sexual perversions of every kind, I know that something as seemingly innocent as a trip to a museum can trigger things! If they had to deal with all the perverts out there like we have, they would be more careful!
6. And why do some public school teachers have such an inferiority complex that they have to pick on our kids when the parents disagree or question anything they do? Why should our kids be made to look foolish or brought to tears because they stood up for their Christian beliefs? They wouldn't dare do that to a Jew or Muslim. Aren't we to "tolerate" others. Aren't we to respect and "celebrate" our differences? Aren't we to embrace diversity in others??? Why did they try to intimidate my son by telling him that by staying home from school that day, he would be doing something illegal? (I'm so glad he shrugged that off at my suggestion). We're allowed two illegal absences each year and I make sure my kids take them both. I call them "personal days"! :-)

The principal wrote telling me that he would write, but it's been over a week and I haven't heard a word back from him! Hopefully he is thinking about some of points I made and making some changes.

The Holy Spirit Speaks

A question was posed. What characteristic of the Holy Ghost are you most thankful for?

My answer: The Holy Spirit speaks!

He spoke to me the day I had a whole bottle of valium in one hand and some booze in the other and He said "remember that nothing is going to happen to you today that you and I can't handle together." My life was spared that day and the Word of God became my valium.

He spoke to me in a pew one Sunday morning and told me that no matter if anyone on earth loved me and thought I was of value, HE wanted to have a love relationship with me. My life was saved that day as I literally ran to the altar to take Him up on His offer, so love starved that I didn't even wait on the altar call.

When I was having trouble getting pregnant and it was really a question if I could have children, He spoke "he makes the woman to be the joyful mother of children", and two weeks later, I was pregnant.

He spoke when we had been done ruthlessly wrong by an employer and ended up homeless without a dime to our name "pray for those who persecute you", and taught me the greatest lesson on forgiveness that I have ever learned! It has kept me from bitterness, offense, jealousy, and unforgiveness throughout my Christian life.

He spoke one foggy night, late, "put on your seatbelt", and when I went off the road in the middle of a country field and turned the car over, surrounded by woods, he kept me safe, (even from the big King James Bible that flew directly in front of my face), and he spoke through the neighbor's dog barking so that I could find my way home.

He spoke one evening at 10PM, "go to the laundromat and do your laundry", even though you have to be at work at 8am and it's a half hour drive to the laundromat, and a life was changed for eternity.

He spoke in the middle of my prayer time loudly and said, "take some tea bags and visit your neighbor". I didn't know the neighbor, just knew she was sick, and another life was changed for eternity.

He spoke on the side of a road, filled with emergency vehicles and paramedics yelling, and a doctor proclaiming no signs of life in two of my four children, "I have done all that you asked me to", and my heart was at peace, my children were spared and healed! Praise the Lord.

He spoke when I asked why I wasn't more effective as a Christian and He said, "my child, you are terribly proud!" And then he took me on a three year and still continuing journey to true Biblical humility.

He spoke "I am Jehovah Jireh", and food appeared literally in my cupboard.He spoke to me each week, "Give", and I gave and when I had to choose between sending my kids to a youth retreat or buying groceries, He graciously provided groceries so that we had the money for the retreat.

When our church kids traveled to Oklahoma for kid's camp, He spoke, "Do not send your oldest son". I don't know what He spared us from, but I'm thankful!

When I was the victim of spiritual abuse from a church leader, and I was in prayer praying because everything that God had ever used me in was being sighted as a weakness in my life by this leader and I was confused, He spoke and said "Child, this person is not right, but while I have you here, there are a few weaknesses I would like to address", and I was changed forever!

He spoke after 32 hours of labor while they were asking me to stand up, bend at the waist and jump up and down during pitocin induced contractions. "I can't, I can't", I said and He said, "You can all things because I will strengthen you!" And He did!

When I allowed fear into my life and was having anxiety attacks, claustrphobia, and insomnia, and I had fallen into old sin patterns, He spoke as I repented and said, "I have already won the victory, rejoice", and I laughed and laughed and I never had problems like that again.

He spoke "SURELY I have borne your pain and your sickness" to me about His plan for childbirth, and I had two 10 lb. babies without pain.

The day before I found out that I was pregnant with my second child, after having 3 miscarriages, He spoke and said "this day I have rewarded you, according to your righteousness, according to the cleanness of you hands", and when, several months later I told a doctor who was telling me that I was no longer pregnant, "I don't care what you say, I'm having this baby when it's due", he soon discovered that I was indeed still pregnant and my daughter was born on her due date!

When my kids are having challenges in character, in school, or in life, I don't go to Dr. Dobson, Dr. Spock, or any other Christian expert, I fall on my knees in prayer, and He speaks something specifically for me to do to help them. Most often, he points out the behavior, attitudes, and language I use that is causing this in my children, and when I adjust myself, my children adjust automatically without me having to point their weaknesses out to them.

In Genesis we learn that God created us with the intention of having fellowship with us. He wired us to hear His voice, yet for so many that I know, they don't hear and think that they can't hear His voice---what a lie from the enemy!I pray that His voice would become more my reality than what I see, touch, taste, smell, or hear because I'm wired that way!! I want to work the way God created me to work, be what He created me to be, and live as He designed for me to live!Thank you Holy Spirit that you speak!

What's the Use?

A few years ago, my husband decided that I needed to be more organized. This came after having three babies in three years, making it through the toddler years with minimal trips to the emergency room, with only one visit by a plumber to fish a brass candlestick holder from the bottom of the toilet, without any major pieces of furniture being destroyed and only one small wall mural (done in the then popular art medium of crayon).

I was in Mommy mode, big time, so what in the world did I need a day planner for? I got up fixed breakfast, lunch and dinner, did laundry around the clock, and spent the rest of the time picking up toys, fixing "owies", and monitoring nap times.

I also had an older child who was school age. After we moved, I had to drive to the school twice a day which meant taking 30 minutes to get three babies in coats, hats, shoes or boots, hats and mittens if necessary, and buckled in their car seats--for the 5 minute drive to the school. If I was lucky, I managed to get a shower and go potty at least once a day unaccompanied by someone in a diaper. All in all, I think I managed the whole thing fairly well, so I really didn't see the need for a day planner at all.

Problem was, he bought me a Franklin, probably the most extensive, and expensive planner on the market. He used one, and liked it, so he just assumed that it would benefit me as well! The thing he didn't realize was that his planner was big enough for the both of us. Many of the items on his daily to do list had a "d" beside them, which stands for delegate. Guess who the object of his delegation was? I guess he figured that I needed a planner to keep track of all the things that I was delegated to do!!!

Well, the kids are grown, I still have my planner, but even today, I ask, "what's the use?" I use it and plan my day and in a short time, my plans are whooshing down the toilet along with the candlesticks. Like today for instance. I am having 4 guests for a big dinner, so I have many things to think about! So, utilizing my planner, I sat down and planned out my week. I had to take into account that the kids would all be off school for the whole week, which is like throwing a wrench into even the best laid out plans.Well, the day started out well. I got my potatoes peeled, my house vacuumed, my eggs boiled, the turkey thawing, the bread for stuffing thawing, and found my pumpkin roll recipe.

Oh no! Is that the phone I hear! Yes, it's my cell phone (or my husband's pager as I like to call it!) And yes, it's the boss. "Honey, he said, I forgot the secretary was leaving on vacation. Could you please do the advertising flyers for the conference coming up? The handbills need to be done by today, a copy needs to be taken to the newspaper office, and copies to each of the radio stations. And oh, the microphones need to be picked up at the music store. And, we'll need about 100 of those hand bills copied for distribution tonight. Oh, and did you notice that I left some billing for you to do and some check information that needs posted?? And, could you and the kids meet me at such and such an address at 1pm? There is about a 1/2 hour job (which in hubby lingo means 2 hours), that you and the kids needs to do for me because I have to be at the garage by 1pm.

"So I ask? What's the use?? I'd be better off just throwing this stinkin day planner in the air like a clay pigeon and using it for target practice. (I am in the mood to shoot something!) I guess when it's all said and done, it is more important that I helped my husband than that I got everything done that I wanted to do. Dinner may be a little later than I had originally planned and the menu may be somewhat skimmed down. I just hope the dinner guests understand!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

"A typical" or "Atypical"?

More people than I can name have said to me, "You're not a typical Pastor's wife."   At first, I didn't know how to take that. I certainly knew I was not typical as I envisioned typical.   To me the typical pastor's wife:
~is always dressed neatly with hair combed and a smile on her face
~has a clean, organized house, and life
~can play the piano like Dino and sing like Dion
~can teach or preach without any preparation
~always says and does the right thing, no matter what the situation might be
~is attractive, small, petite, or not so attractive, fat, and old
~os never boisterous, loud, or obnoxious, and does not laugh loudly
~always has perfect timing, perfect answers, and perfect wisdom

Those things disqualified me from the beginning.  I was horrified when I came to believe that I had a whole lot of chaning to do to "fit" into the Pastor's wife mold.   I had settled it in my heart that I was going to be miserable just like most pastor's wives I'd met!

In fact, I felt so unfit to be a pastor's wife, I honestly expected God to kill me off and bring the right woman into my husband's life.

You see, we weren't saved when we got married.  We met in a bar, and I certainly was not "the one" his pentecostal holiness parents were praying for. He married me in his disobedience, so I expected that now he was back on track, God would have to put me out of the race so that the right woman could be by his side.

Finally, God bailed me out. One day He just literally screamed at me "I made you the way you are because that is the way that I will use you!!" Whew! What a relief. My child would grow up with her mother!

After several years of these comments I began to think about the term "typical" pastor's wife. What in the world was that anyway? I found it to be something different to every person I asked different to every Pastor's wife I met! So if there really wasn't anything "typical" in ministry, how could I be "atypical"?   

I decided that instead of being "a typical pastors wife", I would be an "atypical pastors wife", and enjoy it! Yep! I just decided to be myself, just the way God created me to be and I'm nothing like the woman I described above.

~I'm unorganized to the hilt, even my Franklin day planner doesn't do me that much good! I guess it would be if I actually read it every day, but that's something I just don't do.
~I did learn to play the piano, but I torture the ivories more than I tickle them.
~I don't sing like Dion.  I'm a firm believer in making a joyful noise unto the Lord!"
~I can talk at the drop of a hat, but that's not preaching or teaching. 
~my house could be called anything but neat! For heaven's sake, I have three teens and a golden retriever stuffed into a 3 bedroom house. My boys are typical.  They shoot competively but can't hit the toilet, they are impressive on the basketball court but can't shoot their dirty clothes into a laundry basket, they can't fill an ice cube tray, wash a dirty dish much less get it from the table to the sink! (Truly, I raised them better than that! But when they became teenagers, the hormones must have erased all their former training!).
~I sometimes engage my mouth before my brain. My husband just holds his breath when people ask me a question! I'm a say what you think and think what you say kind of person. You will always know what I think and how I feel about whatever subject you ask me about. In fact, I've been told by our congregation members that I am the only person that can "cut them off at the knees and they feel good about it!" Believe me, THAT is God!
~Very few of my clothes fit because I'm so tall, my hair grows any direction it wants and wouldn't lay down even if greased with shortening.
~I am the life of the party--loud, boisterous, and irritating at times. (I wasn't dubbed "the agitator" as a child for no reason!) You know it's bad when the worship team buys you a stuffed toy for your birthday that plays "Wild Thing" when you squeeze it's paw!

In spite of all of this, I've learned to enjoy my life and to enjoy who God has made me to be. I don't mind living in the proverbial fishbowl because I enjoy life.  I wish more people would stand and stare because they might just get some good ideas about how to be happy even when the whole world is crashing in around you or you find yourself swimming in a lot of poop! I'm not perfect, but that is what makes life fun!

There've been a lot of books, conferences, and teaching on "being uniquely you". Well, I saw a t-shirt that summed it all up for me. It said "You're unique! Just like everyone else!" My identity is in Christ. My self esteem and my self worth are in Christ. All I have to be is what He's created me to be.  I can be a "typical" and an "atypical" pastor's wife all at the same time. All that matters is that God is pleased!

So when people say to me "you're a Pastor's wife?" or "you sure broke the mold" or "you're not a typical pastor's wife", I smile and say "thank you for that compliment!" They look at me strange sometimes, especially those who think that I should act more "pastoral", but at least I'm not walking around with my panties all in a wad!

Once I put a message on our answering machine that went like this:
I'm sorry we can't answer the phone
We may be sleeping or on the throne
We may be outside.......

Well, some mother of Israel from our church called and informed me that it wasn't very "pastoral"to be talking about toilets in my answering machine message, so I changed it.
Now it says "I'm sorry we can't answer your call, we may be alseep or at the mall, we may be outside or at a convention, or in a room of the house that I'd.....better not mention. So leave us a message and oh, by the way, take care, God bless and have a great day!!!!

On Being Tall

I'm tall! Not very, very, tall, but tall.

Tall enough that:
~I can leap high baby gates in a single bound
~I can jog faster than a short person my age doing his best!
~I can reach things on the highest shelf at the grocery store while shorter people just stand there and gawk at them
~I occasionally bring people back into reality as they stand looking up at me and say "Wow, you're tall!"
~I can look at my husband eye to eye and look up to him at the same time!
~I can see over a crowd at the parade, at church, at the mall, and at sporting events, even when the crowd is on it's feet!
~I have more surface area to spread those extra pounds around on.
~People who would try to bully me think twice about it when they have to strain their neck to look into my face
~I’m the favorite attraction at the park. I can throw kids up in the air much higher than most Moms and crying babies often enjoy me holding them because they get a better view of the world!
~If I'm out of shirts or undies, I can wear my hubby's and no one notices!
~I don't have to stand and wonder what I'm going to wear today, because I don't have that many clothes that actually fit right, so my choices are very limited. It’s a real time saver!
~If I'm walking toward someone and we are occupying the same space, chances are they will step aside and get out my way. (I wasn't called "Steamroller" on the college basketball team for nuthin'!)
~I can jog at night in sweats and a hoodie and people think I'm a man and leave me alone
~I can get places faster with less energy because I have a big stride
~I can get my arms around all four of my kids at once in a group hug.
~I can jump up and touch the rim of the basketball hoop and impress my boys and their friends. (My dunking days are over, or at least until I get rid of those extra pounds that no one notices!)
~I can be pregnant and still actually breathe!
~If I'm in a wedding as a bridesmaid, my dress is so long I can make my husband a whole week’s worth of satin boxers after the wedding is over.
~I can spike a volleyball. I mean I can ram it right down your throat!
~I can reach all my children at the table without getting up in case they need a "flicking" for bad manners during dinner
~I can still lift my sleeping son all the way up to the top bunk without waking him.
~I'm a little closer to heaven than most people
~I know it's raining before all of my friends do
~I can change a light bulb and a smoke alarm battery without a ladder or a chair
~I can actually utilize those cupboards that go all the way to the ceiling
~I can dust for cobwebs without jumping
~I can wash the top of the car without climbing on the top of the tire
~I can breathe better when I visit high altitude locales because I'm already used to the thin air
~People don't have to lean down to cry on my shoulders
~My lap is still big enough to rock my teenagers and I do every chance they give me!
~I don't have to worry about beating the rush at clothing sales because nothing ever fits anyway, so why bother going? My hubby likes that I'm easy on the checkbook!
~Shopping for clothes is easy. Just plop down on the couch and peruse all the tall clothing magazines. No crowds, not parking dilemmas, no grouchy sales people.
~I can sew just about anything--it was either learn or go naked!
~I can be the same height as my husband and shorter at the same time. He's 6 feet and I'm 5 feet 12! It helps his ego!

So, with all these advantages, who can complain about being tall?

What Teenagers Do At The Mall

Anyone with teenagers has done it. You've dropped your kids at the doors of a mall and said "I'll pick you up here at such and such a time." With that they are engulfed by the double doors as you whisper a prayer that they won't get arrested, molested, or kidnapped!

Well, one weekend I had the opportunity to find out what teenagers really do at the mall all day without their parents. I discovered several things.
-they chew a lot of gum, eat a lot of beef jerky, and overload on caffeine at Starbucks.
-they play tag on the escalators until the security guard kicks them off.
-they call their parents from every store to inform them of what's in stock, what's on sale and what's not in their wallet.
-they talk to every stranger that is brave enough to stop and talk to them
-they make purchases, and when they find something else they want more, they return the iitem they just bought and purchase it.
-they generally walk around like a herd of cattle looking for a good grazing spot
-they decide what stores to go into by bumping into one another like electric bumper cars at the amusement park. If you bump someone hard enough to knock them into a store, they will all eventually wander in.
-they laugh about everything, whether it's funny or not
-they revert back in age about 2-3 years for half the time, and act way beyond their years the rest of the time.
-they drain their pockets and their friend's pockets until none of them have two coins that they could rub together
-they take those footies provided by shoe stores and wear them on their heads as hats, or over their shoes as impromtu heelies so that they can skate through the mall.
-But the biggest thing that they do is, they have tons and tons of fun!

Of course, not all teenagers would do these things, but this is what the coolest teens in the country are doing! Considering I would rather have an internal exam than shop from 10am-6pm, especially with 11 hormonal teenagers, I really had a good time and I learned a lot, and maybe in some small way, I was able to revert back in time a bit and be young again--it's good for the soul! Of course, later that evening reality set in--it's bad for the feet!

It was a good experience for me though. I will worry less the next time I drop my kids at the mall, and I can look at them and honestly say, "Have fun", because I know that they will, without breaking every rule they have learned up until now-- except maybe the no running or riding the escalators one!

Tomato Soup Kisses

A Mom's night out!

As mothers, we dream of it, talk of it, and become adamant about needing it! We imagine adult conversation and good food, all without the distractions of crying babies, flying food, and waterfalls of falling glasses! As I made my way to the kitchen for the obligatory good bye, where the family dinner was already in progress, I smelled the aroma of tomato soup, cheese quesadillas and apples with cinnamon. I heard the giggles and the random conversation so common to our family dinner table. But I was on to greener, quieter, more sane pastures. As I went to the end of the table to start getting goodbye kisses all around, my son planted a big wet one on my newly showered cheek and said, "I gave you a tomato soup kiss, Mom!" Soon the other two were chiming in with "We want to give you a tomato soup kiss too!" So I very patiently endured as each one of them planted a big, wet, red kiss on my cheek, hoping that none of that soup would get on my shirt! It's one thing to come home from dinner with a stain on your shirt, but a whole other thing indeed to arrive at dinner with one!

Dinner was good. We laughed and had fun, but as I sat there, I kept remembering the feeling of those tomato soup kisses on my cheeks and those little arms wrapped around my neck. As good as it was to "get away" for awhile (without having to be naked and chanting the Calgon slogan), to laugh with friends, to eat a meal I didn’t prepare and didn’t have to clean up, in the back of my mind were the memory of three wet kisses whose residue was probably still on my cheeks.

As the evening rolled on and dinner broke up, some were off to do other things. Why not make the night complete with dinner AND shopping? But for some strange reason, I declined. I was in a hurry to get home. I wanted to see if there was any tomato soup left!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Boobs or a Bob?

I was born into a family who all have hair-----------lots of it! Thick, wavy hair! My Mom died with a full, thick head of hair at age 80. My Dad, who is 78 still has a thick, wavy head of hair. My brother and sister and I all have the thickest heads of hair that most hairdresser's have ever seen. Now some of you are druelling, I know, and wondering what in the world could be so terrible about having thick, wonderful hair. Well, I'll tell you!

My hair looks best short----real short! So for years, I wore it that way. I have a bright personality and short hair just "fit" me, in every way. I'm also 6 ft. tall and, after having 3 babies in three years, a little overweight. So, of course, I, like every other woman I know, would like to look lean, mean, and buff, but yet remain feminine. But considering the facts, that is not the case. Now most people know me as one who doesn't care much about self image. I am who I am and for the most part, I'm fine with it. But lately, I'd say over the last 5 years, I've noticed a trend, and quite frankly, it has thrown me for a loop. In fact, it has at times, left me feeling not much like a female at all. People always think I'm a man!

I'm not one to be worried about looks. I believe life is about who you are inside and what you give of yourself to the world and others. I've never considered myself "pretty" or attractive, I don't wear much makeup, I figure God knew what He was doing when He made me, so I don't need to "fix it" every morning before it's safe to go out in public, but this is something that, when I let it, can bother me a lot.

I thought maybe a wardrobe adjustment might help, although I do have to wear a variety of men's clothing if I want long sleeves. (I only borrow DH underwear when mine are all dirty!)

It first started at Christmas time. I would be out shopping for gifts, get to the cashier, carry on a conversation, and then they would hand me my change and packages and say "thank you sir". At first I just ignored it thinking that they were probably so swamped that they didn't look up, and if they did all they took in was tall with short hair-must be a guy. But over the last two years, this has greatly increased and I find myself saying to them, "I'm not a sir!!!!" and looking in the mirror thinking "do I look like a guy?"

What is it that causes them to mistake me for a man??? It could be my 36 inch inseam. It could be that I still, even after 4 children, wear a traning bra. It most certainly can't be my voice because on the very first day of speech class my speech teacher, in an effort to relieve my terror of public speaking, informed me that my voice was too high for the size of my body, and I weighed 60 lbs. less then than I do now!!!! So what is it????

My friends and husband swear that I look like a girl, unless I have just worked outside for the last 8 hours and I'm sweating like a pig....ooops! pigs don't sweat.......sweating like a horse! Then I just look like a corpse.

So in trying to determine what I could do about this, I weighed many options. I came up with two possible solutions that I was sure would both work. The first, get a boob job, was out of the question right away. I can't afford breast augmentation! Furthermore, whenever I was pregnant and they grew by 4 cup sizes, I couldn't even go through a doorway sideways without bumping them! Plus who wants them hitting you in the face when you jog! I've seen that at the gym and believe me it doesn't look comfortable! And then there is the issue of wardrobe...........I'd have to replace the whole top half! So pretty much, that was out of the question right away, although I was sure that it would make a significant difference AND my hubby could figure out what he has missed all these 25 years of marriage! (He didn't figure it out when I was pregnant because they were so doggone sore, he couldn't even hug me!).

My other option was letting my hair grow longer. I used to sit on my hair when I was a teenager. My hair grows like a weed, so I figured in 12 months it would be down past my shoulders and I could do anything I wanted with it. Well, I was right. It grew like a weed, but even I wondered how many trims it would take until I was out of that inbetween stage. And when it did grow all one length, it was so thick, I couldn't even get a ball cap over top of it! It stuck out in all directions! It defeated the whole purpose of making me look smaller and thinner! Instead I looked more like a linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

I also discovered that I have two cow licks that cause it to grow up my head in the back instead of down my neck--what ever happened to gravity??? But I put up with it for nearly a year. I about went broke trying to wash and rinse it! I spent enough money to retire on buying ponytail holders, headbands, clips, and "girly" hair decorations. I used three times the shampoo and conditioner. Even the water company called and asked if we had a leak, but I just had to tell them "no, I've just been washing my hair." I tried it every way you could think of, layered, all one length, bi-level, thinned, pulled back off my face, with bangs, hanging in my face, over my ears, behind my ears.......you get the picture. I just couldn't get it to look right! But, I did notice that not as many people were calling me "sir"!

Well, I guess I have come full circle because a few weeks ago, I went in and had a haircut and I cut it short! I've had mixed reviews but it sure does feel good AND I feel like myself again! Things are finally pretty much back to normal. How do I know this? Because tonight on the way home my son yelled from the back of van, "Dad,......I mean Mom, can we go to McDonalds for dinner?" Yep! Everything is back to normal!!!!!!!"

Amish Bondage Bread

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGHHH! There is a slimy muck slowly taking over my kitchen, reproducing at an alarming rate. It’s called Amish Friendship Bread sour dough starter! These bags of sour dough starter are everywhere! You know what I’m talking about , those bags of sourdough starter that one of your “former” friends who was desperate to be rid of her bags of sourdough starter pawned off on you in an attempt to "not break the chain and let the recipe secret be lost forever!!

"If you’re going to grow this stuff in your kitchen, you might as well have another baby or puppies or rabbits. You spend 10 days massaging it and adding valuable ingredients like milk, flour, and sugar! Problem is, after 10 days, you have 5 more bags of it, 4 to give away and one to continue to care for. Now maybe the Amish have that many friends, but I don't! I was out of friends by the end of the month, and now my friends are trying to give me bags made from the starter that I gave to them!What’s a girl to do?? These bags are taking over my kitchen-literally!!!

One even got so brazen as to explode! It oozed out like living slime, coating everything in it’s path and worked its way over the counter and slowly down the dishwasher leaving a 1/2 inch thick layer of stinky, disgusting curdles in it's wake! At least it's one less bag I have to get rid of! Maybe I should do what Barney Fife did when Aunt Bee made those kerosene cucumbers! I’ll stand on the county line and award a bag of starter to anyone foolish enough to let me flag them down as they head out of the county!

I had a bright idea! I dumped two bags of starter into my bowl, added 3 cups of flour, 3 cups of sugar and 3 cups of milk thinking that it would use up an extra bag that I wouldn’t have to get rid of. Duh??????????? What was I thinking? Do you know how much starter that is?????? Now what am I going to do? Go to the store and buy extra flour, milk and sugar because now we’re talking 3 cups of each instead of 1 ½. With no friends, and a family who is absolutely ape over this bread, what can I do????? Hmmmmmmmmm....let's see, each cup of starter makes 2 loaves of bread. Each 2 loaves takes milk, applesauce, baking soda, baking powder, mile, eggs-3 of them, cinnamon, vanilla, salt, and a large box of vanilla pudding! So, let's see at 2 loaves per cup, I'll only have to bake.........12 loaves of bread!!! No wonder this is an Amish recipe! They each have a dozen kids!!!! And probably a dozen baking pans!! That's one loaf per kid per 10 days. That's do able!The frustrating part is that according to the recipe, "only the Amish have this starter recipe", so if you give it all away or, heaven forbid, you flush it down the garbage disposal--shhhh, the recipe will lost forever, or at least until you find some desperate person that is looking to escape from the curse of the ziploc bags as I am!

What will I do when my kids ask for the bread and I have no starter to make more?? Will I have to drive to Amish country and beg at each farm for some more of the “secret” Amish goop? This bread is not blessing friendships, this is cursed bread! This bread should be called Amish bondage bread! And if it’s not distributed properly, it can quickly develop into Amish enemy maker bread! Most people I know don't appreciate coming home from work and finding a bag of this stuff haning on their front door! There has to be something else you can do with this stuff!!!

I wonder if it’s good for the skin. The hair??? Hmmmmmmmmmm. How about sourdough starter smoothies, or sour dough pudding! Sour dough pancakes or biscuits. We must find other ways to use this stuff before it grows into a citywide dilemma and becomes a blockbuster movie!! One of my friends used them for Amish biscuits. Maybe we should just find recipes that start with the word “Amish” and assume that we can use it . Surely even the Amish don’t know what to do with all this stuff! I mean, it says right on the instructions that this recipe could be lost—forever! Surely they don’t want this to be lost so someone has to be be designated to grow this stuff in their kitchen! The question is, how would you find them!!! They don’t even have telephones!

This may explain their bizarre behavior after a snow storm! They’re not really plowing the snow under, they are secretly spreading sour dough starter! Surely someone along the way has paid off an Amish person and gotten this recipe and posted it on the internet!!!……...........BRB Yep!! I am right!!!

So today marks the end of my bondage to Amish Friendship bread. I am going to mix my last bowl of starter, put it in the Ziploc bags, and put it in my freezer! Then I can bake this delicious bread when I feel like it! And when my bags have all been frozen and baked, I’ll just make some more of that “secret” starter and start all over again!! I’m free! I’m free!!

Cows and People Are Not So Different!

I married a shy dairy farmer, or so I thought! He looked like a farmer, he smelled like a farmer. Everyday, he went to the barn and milked cows, drove tractors, stacked hay, and cultivated the fields. He had plans, big plans of being the best dairy farmer the state, and I had plans to help him do it!

But one day he came in from the barn and informed me that he wanted to be a preacher. Much to my shame, I laughed. I could picture him doing almost anything, but not preaching! The guy could hardly carry on a conversation with people he knew much less stand up and preach! But as fate would have it, he was serious which meant that I would inherit the dubious position of "pastor's wife".

Now when I got saved, I told the Lord I was willing to do anything, but in my eyes this was stretch, even for God! I was anything but typical Pastor's wife material! I knew cows, yes, and dogs, and was learning about babies, but this pastor's wife gig was downright scary and uncharted territory for me! How would I make the jump from cows--those stinky, cud chewing, sedate but neurotic at times, four legged bovines whose udders would sway like a ship at sea in a storm as they walked from the barn to the field every night-- to those diverse, two legged, multi-faceted, but also neruotic at times human beings? Sure I had a lot of psychology in college, enough to know that I knew absolutely nothing about dealing with people.

But as I got into this thing I came to realize that cows and people are not very different after all. The good Lord knew what He was doing transplanting me from the farm to the flock!

There are so many ways which cows and people are alike! Cows have a menstral cycle of 28 days, just like humans. They act really strange once a month during their hormonal cycle, just like humans. They have a 9 month pregancy, just like humans. They even have invetro fertilization programs for them, just like humans. They have multiple chins and multiple stomachs when they are older, just like some humans. They get mastitis when they are nursing and blocked milk ducts, just like humans. They adopt other cows calves if the calve's mother dies, just like humans. They have a nesting ritual right before giving birth, just like humans. You can tell when they're sick or when something is wrong by looking at their eyes, just like humans. They eat probably a better balanced diet than humans, but they eat well, just like most humans. When they are sick, you call the doctor, just like humans. If they are on medication, you don't put that milk into the tank or into a calf, just like humans. They function best when their routine is not disturbed or changed, just like humans. And although they prefer a routine, they are the most unpredictable animal on the planet--very unreliable, just like humans. They are always looking over the fence at the weeds in the next pasture, longing, yearning and trying to reach them even though they are standing in field of expensive grasses, planted just for them--so, so much like humans. When their babies are taken away from them, they bawl and bawl, just like humans. They are very often knee deep in poop, just like humans. They have to deal with others in the herd mistreating them, peeing and pooping on them, trying to bump them out of the way, just like humans. When one of them becomes scared or exceptionally daring, they all follow suit like lemmings to the edge of a cliff--mass hyteria, just like humans. They are creatures of habit with that inner biological clock--they know when it's milking time, feeding time and resting time, just like humans. When they get new bedding or a new stall, they go about busying themselves to get everything arranged and perfect for them, just like humans. Cows are notoriously stubborn and dumb, just like humans. (Hey, don't bash me! Even God says "all men, meaning humans, are stupid!")

Of course, there are some differences. People are much harder to get to know, much harder to develop a relationship with, and much harder to communicate with. You can't just lure them in with a special snack! Cows are cautious and insecure, but yet forgiving. People are generally just cautious, insecure, and unforgiving. Cows can be "headed", which means that if you need them to turn, you simply get in front of them, wave an arm and give a little whistle and they will turn on a cow patty (shaped like a dime) and go the right direction. People will just run right over you on their way down the path of destruction yelling that you're full of cow patties and being mad at you for jumping in front of them trying to help! Cows do not bite, but humans sure do--or maybe that's the proverbial knife in the back I feel!!! When I'm sick of the cows, I can just turn off the barn lights and leave them behind. When I'm sick of people, I still have to be a light and always endeavor to take them with me! When a cow does not perform as needed, or she is sick with an incurable disease, or she has behavioral problems that cannot be solved, you just sell her to McDonald's to become next week's Big Mac. Unfortunately, it's not that easy with people. Hmmmmm......there sure are days that I miss the farm!

Where He leads Me I Will Follow, What He Feeds Me I Will Swallow

When at age 23 I became a Christian, I told the Lord I would do anything for Him..... except:

1. Go to Africa as a missionary-it's just too hot down there. It reminds me of hell.
2. Be a Pastor's wife. I was pretty convinced that this would not be an issue. I was married to a dairy farmer. (Of course, then I didn't know God's methods very well. If I had I would have kept my mouth shut!).

Well, to make a long story short, my husband got saved right after I did and that call to ministry that he had felt as a child, before we had ever met, returned with a vengance.

Nothing could have looked so impossible as the two of us in the ministry. First of all, my husband was the shyest person I had ever met. In fact, he almost didn't graduate from college because he couldn't pass speech class. When he stood in front of the class or had to speak in a group, in a matter of seconds he would be soaked with sweat and everything in front of him would turn black. The idea of him preaching in a pulpit was laughable but I guess God got the last laugh because here I am. Pastor's wife extradordinaire!

I am nothing even comparable to Pastor's wives I have met. ( By the way, I don't consider this fact a badge of honor.) I am not particulary careful about my appearance, I open my mouth before switching on my brain, I was raised pretty much a heathen and knew nothing of the Bible except John 3:16, which might be enough to get me to heaven but it certainly doesn't qualify me for ministry.

It's been over 20 years since God removed me from the dairy herd and placed me in His flock and I have settled into the role of Pastor's wife. Frankly, I don't see it as an official position because I can't find it portrayed as that in scripture, but it is the place where I have had to learn to function in order to fulfill my role as helpmate to my husband.

I blog for several reasons.
~I've always aspired to be a great writer of spiritual truth and substance. I honestly can't picture my name on the Publitzer Prize Winner list, so this will have to suffice. I always tell the truth, but I'm not making any predictions on the substance part.
~My sense of humor gets in the way of writing any serious prose over an extended period of time. I always see the humor in every situation--almost to the point that my friends worry about me from time to time. You think I'm being funny? Nope, this is just my lot in life.

~Blogging helps my sister keep up with me. She's the only family member who reads it.
~ This will probably be the only part of me that I can acutally pass on to my kids. (Boy are they getting ripped off!) I sold anything of value I owned to get my hubby to seminary. What I have acquired since then has been meager at best and has probably already been broken by the 3 rambunctious teenagers that live in my barn....I mean my house. What's left is currently stored in my mother-in-law's attic under a fine layer of deteriorating bat bombs. I think I'll let her keep it.

So, welcome to my barn! Hold your nose, put on your hip boots and proceed with caution.