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.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pastor's Appreciation Month

I don't know how it all got started.  I vaguely remember some years ago on Dr. Dobson's radio program something about taking the month of October to tell your Pastor how much you appreciate him.  Pretty soon, every October, I was seeing blurbs about Pastor's Appreciation month. Of course, Hallmark, who never misses an opportunity to make a buck jumped right on the bandwagon and voila!, it's an American tradition.

I've been in churches where we didn't get so much as a card and when we did get a note, it was usually nasty.  I've been in others where you get some token thing for Pastor's Appreciation month like nail clippers or something. 

But the church I'm in now, well, the rest of the country needs to take instruction from them.  They always do something for Pastor's Appreciation month.  It's always been well thought out which tells me that someone is paying attention.  What's truly awesome is that they do things for Pastor's Appreciation even when it's not October.  It makes me think they really do appreciate our ministry and that means a whole lot.

Last year, they re-did our bathroom, which was sorely in need of a makeover.  Each week, someone came in and did a small part of the job until the job was completed.  Now, my bathroom is the prettiest room in the house. 

This year, they gave my husband money to buy a new suit to wear to our daughter's wedding.  After buying 85 full course meals, a wedding dress, 2 tuxedo's, a bridal shower, and a few incidentals--all in a drought year for our "other" job--a new suit was out of the question. This Sunday we received a roasting pan full of whoopie pies made from his mother's recipe, and a full week of dinner/dessert starting today!  Yea!  I like to cook but have come to the conclusion that it always tastes better if I don't have to cook it.  My hubby ended up not buying  a suit, but had two of his favorite suits repaired and cleaned instead.  I don't blame him.  Those two suits fit him like they were tailor made for him and he looks GOOD in them!  Oh, sorry, I'm off focus again!  Have I ever mentioned how handsome my hubby is???

The most precious gifts we receive are those ziploc snack bags that hold a few pennies or some odd amount of money like 37 cents with a ripped piece of paper with child's handwriting that says, "I like you Pastor" or "I'm so glad you're my Pastor".  We've had some funny ones too like "I like you because you're tall", "you're funny, Pastor", or "thanks for the candy".  (My hubby buys the kids candy every Sunday for after church).  He must have 100 of these bags and notes sitting on his desk.  He just can't bear to spend them.

This does help explain our congregations loving gestures to us though.  They must be genuine because they are teaching their children to honor their Pastor as well.  Man, we have a great group of people!  Not just because they give us stuff either.  But because they love the Lord and appreciate the gift the Lord has given them in my husband, they give as well.  And those who give do receive and these people are lookin at a boat load of receivin'!

I may suggest that Dr. Dobson now establish sheep appreciation day.  Let's face it, without the sheep we wouldn't have a job.  Even if all you can say about your congregation is that they help build your character, you still owe them.  (Been there, done that!)  

 I know that our church, which is currently crammed into a small building and sitting on metal chairs, would appreciate a month of shorter sermons!  Just once, we'd like to be first to the restaurants after church and make the Baptists stand in line. LOL!

Yep!  I feel appreciated.  They really out did themselves this year.  They just forgot one thing--a gym membership so that we can run off all the dinners and dessert, especially them whoopie pies! I laughed when the lady who made them was concerned about keeping them in the refrigerator.  They didn't even last two days!  Whoopie!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Wedding Photos

Here are some wedding day photos for you to enjoy.  It was such a sacred day.  The memory of it still warms our hearts.

 The first look photo.  How cute!

 This is so them!

 Such a classic photo!

This is one of my favorites!

 For as long as I remember, my daughter always loved to twirl.  This photo of them both twirling together is almost haunting as I remember her as a little blond girl, just like this flower girl, twirling in her dresses.

 Daugher #2--Maid of Honor

 Daddy and his girl

 He's working hard at not crying even before he got to the altar.

 Lovely Setting

 What a blessing to have your Daddy marry you

 I believe!  This marriage was orchestrated and blessed by God.


 Son #1-who liked his tuxedo so much he wore it to church the next day.

 Son #2-who couldn't wait to get out of the monkey suit he was being forced to wear.

 Flower girls, Future wives and Moms?

My, my, how I love this man!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

My New Revelation--Weddings are a Bittersweet Moment

I've always thought of Christian weddings as a joyous, happy time full of festivity, solemn, holy moments, and family time. I still do. But I've discovered that for some, they are also times of confusing thoughts and feelings.

On October 2nd, my oldest daughter walked down the aisle. She was the first of my children to marry. She has always been a fan of elegance, so the church was elegantly and tastefully decorated with a lighted arch trimmed in greens and white tulle. The reception hall lights were dimmed just enough to enhance the beautiful vases of roses surrounded by candles on tables that had been sprinkled with rose petals and Hershey kisses and the smell of the petals filled the room.

Throughout the room, the sweet sound of classical music, played by a live violinist, added a delightful ambiance to the occasion. Round tables held groups of people and created an intimate atmosphere. My daughter looked lovely in her ivory gown and lace veil decorated with seed beads and embroidered flowers that sparkled when the light hit the opaque sequins attached to each flower. Her hair was swept up and back. Her face glowed in the candlelight. I've never seen her so happy.

I'm not an exceptionally emotional person. I did okay until I thought about my hubby. She has always been and always will be his "little girl." They had always had a great relationship. No rebellious teen years or awkward tween years had ever occurred. She was our only child until she was 8 years old and even after the babies started coming in rapid succession, he always had time to spoil, pamper and cuddle her. Even after she was on her own, she would text or call her Dad often. When she came to visit, the first person she went to was her Daddy. She never outgrew his lap or his arms.

When she was just days old, he would hurry through his work so that he could hold her. He wouldn't even have his coveralls off before he was holding out his arms and saying "give her to me, give her to me."

So as he walked with her on his arm towards a young man who was also saying "give her to me", I could tell his heart was greatly conflicted. I was happy for her, happy that she had found such a wonderful man to marry, but sad that my hubby's heart was breaking as he gave her away.

My husband has performed numerous weddings over the years, but this one was different. He did really well until.....he looked at me. My whole family was in the wedding, so I was sitting on a long row of chairs all by myself. The impact of how her life was changing at that very moment hit me full in the face and the emotion of that realization sent tears (happy and tentative) streaming down my face. It was all I could do to keep from sobbing. I also realized how this moment would impact our lives, especially my husband's, and it was an uncomfortable thought. I must have looked quite pitiful because the moment he saw me, he cried which made my daughter cry and then the groom joined in for good measure.

At the reception, in lieu of a father-daughter dance, (a courtesy to brothers and sisters in Christ whom it might offend), my daughter had prepared a father-daughter slide show of her growing up with Daddy set to a song that that she had long wanted at her wedding. My daughter stood beside her Dad, her arm looped through his, her head on his shoulder, as they watched the show together. Again, the tears came. It seemed like only yesterday that she had been the size of that little girl in the slide show. Admittedly, I don't understand the emphasis on father-daughters, mothers-sons at weddings, but I confess, I felt, just for a brief moment, a bit left out. My heart was breaking too.

Then I realized that I had done a good job. I had raised her right. From the time that she was born, I had taught her that her Dad was the most important man in the world who had the most important job in the world. When he was gone a lot, we never complained. When he was home, we celebrated. From day one, I always told her "make sure you marry a man just like your Dad." She always knew and trusted that Daddy knew best. She always knew how much her Daddy loved her because both he and I would tell her--often. She has always been "Daddy's girl". Because he had been her hero, she had avoided all the pitfalls that so many young women fall into when looking for love and she entered her new marriage just as we had hoped. It blessed me to see her honoring her Dad. He is so deserving of that honor, even though for me and him, the tears were once again for times now passing away forever.

Once everything was cleaned up and put away, I collapsed on my bed physically and mentally exhausted. My daughter and I had been in constant contact for the two weeks before the wedding. I was her "gopher." I would "go for" this and "go for" that. And she lived with us for two months before the wedding and it felt good to have all my children in the house once again. I got used to the feeling. For the last couple of days before the wedding, she had needed and depended on me more than she had for several years and now that was all ending. She left on her honeymoon and didn't even look back. That is how it should have been. For the first time since she was just a newborn babe, we were no longer the ones solely responsible for her. We were no longer the ones she loved primarily. Life with her, as we had known it, would no longer be the same. Once again, the tears came. My husband, who rarely sees me cry laid down on the bed beside me and just wrapped me in his big, strong arms. Soon I felt his body quivering as well and together, we just laid there and cried together. Neither of us knew quite why we were crying. Maybe we will understand later, but it was a very emotional moment.

Perhaps we cried because our child was happy, healthy, and on her way to a lifetime of joy with the man she loved.

Perhaps we cried because some things would never be the same again and for us, a stage of life had come to an end. Yet, still other stages are now on the horizon that will bring us great joy.

Perhaps we cried because we finally had to face that our little girl was not little any more.

Perhaps we cried because we had received a Godly son in the form of our new son-in-law.

Perhaps we cried because all the months of working extremely hard, even in a drought year, had miraculously yielded us the finances we had promised her to help pay for her wedding even though we so wished we could have given her more.

Perhaps it was just a combination of all those things. The only word that I can think of to describe it is bittersweet.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sort of Twisted

A few months ago, I added a blog counter to this blog.  Just for curiosity's sake.

I found out some very interesting facts:

People from every continent in the world read my blog.  Not a lot of people read.  But a lot of different kinds of people read.  I think that's neat!  I like diversity.  I like people.  I like making friends.  I'm a people person.

They never leave comments.  I wish they would.  I like to hear what people have to say.  So I added "reaction buttons".  They don't have to leave a comment, they can just click on a reaction button.  So they can tell me to keep my day job without revealing their identity. 

When they read my blog, they read an average of 12 pages before moving on to the next site.  That tells me that they enjoy what they are reading. That it is speaking to them in some way.  Hopefully, it ministers to them as well.  Or it could mean that they are just nosey.  Come on, you nose boxes know who you are.  Whatever the case, if it's not encouraging to me as a writer, then it's humorous to think that anyone would spend that much time reading things written by the biggest nobody on the planet whose thoughts don't even make sense to me half the time. 

But the most interesting (and distubing) fact I found was that one search tag used to  bring people to my blog was Pastor's wives and nudity--in the same search!  Strange!  I wrote a post concerning nudity that had to do with my sons and the school district which is why these search words in the same box would pull up my blog. 

 Now it is just a little disconcerting to know that anyone would type Pastor's wives and nudity into the same Goggle search box.  I've not done it, nor will I --EVER!  But it is also very comical to imagine that what they think they are going to get and what they see on my blog couldn't be more different.  Instead of getting nude Pastor's wives, (I won't dwell on that thought long), they get the site of a Holy Ghost filled Pentecostal and hopefully see the Gospel message during the average 12 posts that they read while they are here. 

I am a firm believer that God can use anything to save a soul.  Once, God used a school girl crush to bring salvation that affected a large portion of a local high school.  So I guess He could get the salvation message to someone with no-so-pure intentions by bringing them mistakenly to my blog.  I'd like to think so anyway.

But you have to admit, it's a bit twisted and creepy. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Mysteries of Colonoscopies Revealed!

I'm on a mission to dispel all the fallacies concerning the battery of tests that 50 year olds are asked to endure.  I've already exposed the myths concerning the mammogram.  Today, we're more to the end of all things-the colonoscopy.

The first clue that you are in trouble is when they want to do something to your body that you can hardly pronounce.

What is a colonoscopy? Besides being that word that all the sudden pops into your life at age 50 and relentlessly hounds you until you consent, it's also a copy of the inside of your colon.  Yes, that's right folks.  They shove a camera up your tukus and take photos.  And if they find anything they don't like, they crop it and send it off for further review. 

You get to eat a "special" diet for 3 days before the procedure.

Three days before they take away popcorn.  That's like taking water from a fish for me.  I love popcorn. It is the largest part of my daily food triangle.   I'm convinced that the manna from heaven was popcorn and the Israelites feasted on popcorn balls everyday.  So I do too.
Two days before they remove dairy products from your diet.  As a former dairy farmer, just let me say that living without popcorn AND cheese is impossible.
The day before, they just remove ALL solids from your diet and replace it with yellow and orange Gatorade laced with dangerous amounts of laxative.  That might not sound so bad except I HATE yellow and orange Gatorade!  And diarrhea is not that fun either.  The "lax-ing" from Mirolax is NO miracle!

It just so happened that the day before my procedure was Sunday so I got to go to church and watch the whole congregation chomping on doughnuts before Sunday school.  Then after church I watched my family inhale two large pizzas, sour cream and onion potato chips, macaroni and cheese and hot dogs.  I sat idly by sipping my clear chicken broth and the G2 juice which is aptly named because it made me Go #2 ALL DAY LONG! 

After a long day in "the room I'd rather not mention", I was thankful to fall into bed but sleep was fleeting as I laid there awaiting the 4am alarm to tell me that it was time to get up and repeat the G2 experience all over again, hopefully completing the process before 9:00am when I was scheduled for the operating room.  Just thinking about the ramifications of not having expelled all the laxative generated material before they blow air up there is too much to bear.

Unlike other operations, colonoscopies do not totally rob you of your dignity (or your clothing-however you choose to think about it).  You do get to keep your socks on.  Heaven forbid that your toes would be cold while they blow air up your backside and insert a digital camera!  That would be so distracting!  They also provide you with the latest in operation room garb-really fluffy blue socks with tacky, white elastic that comes with a free hat to match.  It's like the retro-garb of the 50's housewife.  Bedroom slippers, ugly bathrobes and hair nets. 

The actual procedure is the most enjoyable and bearable part of the whole process.  That's because they knock you out.  Yep, you are off to la-la land.  You wake up all snugly beneath pre-warmed blankets and feeling absolutely nothing and absolutely wonderful at the same time! 

You get to be chauffeured home.   My hubby took off work just to drive me home.  Did I mention that he also had to steer me from the exit door to the car door as well?  In my drug induced stupor, I found myself wondering why I had "just said no" as a teenager because I felt pretty good.  And because they had inflated my colon with air before the procedure, even my teenage boys would have been impressed at the amount of gas I was able to pass.  Not very lady-like, but a fact I cannot deny.

The good thing was that once it was over, it was over.  No pain, no after effects, except that you're really sleepy and hungry and hungry and hungry.  But the next day, you hardly remember that you had one.  Who would want to??? 

I'm coming to the conclusion that turning 50 really stinks!  PUN INTENDED!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Hubby's October Valentine

For my hubby, today is payday.  It's also time for his October Valentine, a day late. There are so many reasons that I love my hubby, I really couldn't decide what I wanted to write about first.  Then I saw a minister on t.v. who had written a book on manhood.  As he described what Biblical manhood is, I thought to myself, "he must know my husband." 

One thing that he talked about was the responsibility that a Godly man carries in a marriage and in a family.  All the responsibilities of finances, descision making, guiding and direction for the family, protection for the family, and general welfare of the family fall on the man.  When a man does not choose to embrace these things by being lazy, absent, or allowing his wife to shoulder some of these responsibilities, he has walked away from his manhood.  I sort of got the picture of a man as a door leading into the house where his wife and family reside.  No matter what tried to come through the door, the man stood as the first line of defense and protection that didn't allow anything through the door that wouldn't nurture of enhance the quality of his family's life. 

That so perfectly describes my husband.  Some would say we don't have an easy life, but it doesn't seem like that to us.  It's true, we all work hard but that is a virtue.  We have so much that more "well off" families don't have, things that money could never buy.  Our children come home from time to time and tell us of another marriage that is ending, another family that is being destroyed.  I love it when they follow it up with, "we're so glad that will never happen to our family."  Our home is their shelter, a place of stability for them.  This is because their Dad is such a rock.

Occaisionally I get a glimpse into all that my husband shoulders as a husband, a father, and a Pastor and I'm amazed.  I know that I could not walk very long in his shoes before I would buckle, but he remains strong and steady.  I love that our lives have a security about them because we know that he is at the helm.

Of course, he is all these things because of his love for and relationship with Christ.  Christ is his rock so because he stands on Christ, the solid rock, we too have a firm foundation on which to build and live our lives.  Thank God for Godly men!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The 34th Miner

For the last 69 days, some of my heart has been in Chile.  From the first day that I heard about the 33 miners caught in a landslide until last night when the last of the miners was brought to the surface, my thoughts and prayers were with them and their families.  This incident touched me deeply because in a small way, I have experienced what the families of those miners went through and I seemed to re-live all the emotions, the questions, the aching, and the trauma all over again as I thought of what they were experiencing. 

In 1999, our family was in a car accident.  As I was being extracted from the car, I heard a doctor tell the paramedics that two of my four children had no vital signs (signs of life).  At that moment, my children were lost to me, much like those miners were when they were trapped underground for the first 17 days until the probes underground made contact.  To have a loved one lost to you in one split second is a shock that cannot be described.  It is a numbing pain that cannot be relieved.  At a time like that, there is no comfort.

We were taken to a small hospital from the scene of the accident and the emergency room there was having a hard time dealing with my two unresponsive children.  It was then that they informed my husband that they were going to give up trying to save them.  It's at times like this that I am so thankful that I am married to a strong, spiritual man.  He stood up and informed them that he was doing his part (praying and believing), so they needed to get back into the emergency room and do theirs.  He even quoted them a scripture verse just to back up his request.  So they slapped the kids on life support and shipped them to the nearest trauma center one hour away. 

When we arrived at the trauma center, we were taken into a secluded area of the emergency room waiting area and told that our children were still alive, not breathing on their own, but alive.  At that moment, I felt that my kids had been restored to me.  I immediately fell on the floor thanking and praising God and making a general scene, but I didn't care.  All the emotion that had been building in my heart as we drove the one hour to the trauma unit just came flooding out of me.  That hour was the longest of my life.  For one hour we sat in relative silence as we wondered how many were still alive, which ones were still alive, was the oldest daughter who was also injured paralyzed,  were there other life altering injuries, would we have to say goodbye, would we even get to say goodbye? 

Upon learning that for now they were all alive, we were escorted to ICU.  I walked right past their beds because their faces were so swollen and distorted that I didn't recognize them.  They were both in drug induced comas.  When they did awake within the next two weeks, neither one of them had the slightest idea who I was.  I was just some woman that sat by their beds, prayed with them, and met their every need.  The nurses prepared me to expect that they would never be the same people I had once known because that is a common occurrence with brain injuries.  Once again, they were lost to me.  My heart ached and rejoiced at the same time.  In prayer I told the Lord that it felt as if my children had died even though I could clearly see that they were still breathing.  That night my Bible fell open to Jeremiah and my eyes came to rest on Jeremiah 31:15

"Thus the Lord saith, a voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not."

In that moment, I was flooded with the knowledge that the Lord had heard my prayer and that He understood.  It's comforting when you realize that God is right in the middle of your situation.  

And God understood as well when the families of those 33 miners camped on top of the very earth that held their loved ones captive.  It was as physically close as they could get to them.  They knew their loved ones were alive, but they were still lost to them. I'm sure too that at some point some of the questions that went through my mind in that hour long ride probably visited them in it's tormenting fashion as well.  My heart ached for them.
My children were eventually returned to me.  The greatest words I have ever heard in my entire life were heard the day that each of them, when asked by a therapist who I was, looked at me and said with a smile, "Mamma".   I didn't have to wait 69 days to finally be reunited with my children, but even for me, the several weeks I did wait seemed an eternity.  So as I watched those miners embracing their loved ones as they stepped from that rescue capsule, the poignancy of that moment brought tears to my eyes.  Memories flooded my mind.  Gratitude flooded my heart.  And hope for the future and all that it will hold for us to face sprang up as I remembered the faithfulness and the closeness that God promises in times of dire need.  

Scripture tells us that we are to "comfort each other with the comfort that we have been comforted with".  Some times, we wonder why we go through the trial and hurts that we do.  Sometimes we find out why, but more often there is no obvious or immediate explanation.  But when facing trials, we have a choice.  To face them or to face God.  If we choose to face God, looking to Him alone, He meets us with divine comfort, extraordinary strength, and peace that passes all understanding.  When we are through the trial, we then have something to offer to those who are going through trials themselves.  So if we allow God to be God in our trials He will arm us to deal them and equip us to be a blessing in the future.  When we identify with each other's trials we are more effective in our prayer and practical help.   

He is the fourth man in the fire.  He was the 34th man in that mine.  He is the same, yesterday, today and forever.  

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

What You've Missed

I truly am taking a break from blogging.  However, since my blog is a kind of electronic journal that my family also reads, I may throw some things on it from time to time.  Since the time of my last posting, life has continued barrelling down the road like a Nascar driver on the autobahn.   Here are some of the things you missed:

~The microwave exploded.~
There were buzzing sounds accompanied by bright flashes of white light pulsating from the kitchen.  My boys stood mesmerized,  as if frozen in time.  One had eyes as big as the rotating plate in the oven and the other was saying "Cooooooool!"  It reminded me of a scene from a low budget sci-fi movie.  Soon my husband and son-in-law stood by watching as well until my voice of reason screamed into their alternate universe "turn it off and unplug it!"  Meanwhile, I was sure I saw radioactive particles floating through the air and settling on their heads.  That would explain their behavior lately.

~A bladder infection. ~
 Needless to say, things were not running very smoothly around here for awhile.  Who knew a faulty bladder could cause me to miss more consecutive Sunday services than any other event since I started attending church 27 years ago. 

~An appt. with the gynecologist--
set up by my general practitioner--against my will--as punishment for not having an exam since the birth of my youngest child.  That might not sound so bad except for the fact that my youngest child is a freshman in high school.  As a result of this appt. you also missed....

~Several sonograms,
none of which succeeded in finding one of my body parts. I'm pretty sure it's still in there.  If I had lost it, I probably would have noticed.  I asked the technician if she could find the expiration date on my ovaries just cause it would be nice to know when I'm going to hit the big "M", but she couldn't find it.

Speaking of the big "M", I had my first mammogram
which left me feeling a little pinned in and hard pressed to understand what all the fuss is about mammograms!  My friends had convinced me that I would nearly die in the process.  I had even practiced inflicting pain in that area through the week in an effort to prepare.  When I asked the technician when she was going to inflict the life threatening pain, she looked puzzled and said "I'm done!" 

~My daughter took her first test in public school without the aid of a para-professional. 
By law, learning support students are allowed extra time, but she didn't need it.  She was allowed to use her notes, but she chose not to. (Yes, I talked to her about that!).  She got a 72%.  A 72% might not sound like anything to shout about, but take my word for it, IT IS!  WHOPPPEEEEE!

~My oldest daughter's wedding. 
 She was beautiful.  The day was almost magical, except that I don't believe in magic.  I do believe that it was a very spiritual day, a God honoring day, and a milestone for many, my husband and I included.  After the wedding, we just laid on our bed in each other's arms and cried.  We're not sure what that was all about.  Maybe exhaustion, maybe joy, maybe sensing that for the very first time in her short existence, the responsibility for her welfare has shifted off us and on to her new husband (whom we absolutely adore!), or maybe we were just mourning for our checkbook which now needs CPR.

~Our continuing battle to keep eye glasses on two of our children. 
Somehow they both managed to break their frames in an unrepairable fashion within an hour of each other.  And because we're in the ministry, it happened on Sunday morning right before church.  Is there any other time?  To make matters worse, the frame store is not open on Mondays which is the day of the week that I always need them the most.  I almost considered switching to Wal-Mart's eye care store but.....
~considering that my current store guarantees frames for two years instead of one
~considering that my insurance will help pay for new frames every two years
~considering that I have replaced so many lenses in the last 3 months that they feel sorry for me so they only charge me $10.00 per lens
~considering that they don't laugh or roll their eyeballs every time I walk in the front door, I have decided to stick with them.  Getting new frames for free is just the icing on the cake.

Speaking of cake, you also missed my youngest daughter's 17th birthday!  I almost missed it too!  (Note to self: Request that Franklin Covey put digital alarms in every day planner so that those of us who own them will remember to look at them at least once a week!)  The date on the sonogram screen reminded me.  It was because of her that I had endured these kinds of tests before.  (Both types of sonograms, by the way.  Anyone whose had them will now say "Ewwww!" and "poor you!".  The rest of you are better off remaining clueless!  Just pray it never happens to you!)   So I guess I should be happy that I had the sonograms because my daughter would not have been happy if I had forgotten that it was her birthday. 

More info is forthcoming. 
About the birthday. 
Not about the sonograms. 

It's funny what will jolt your memory.