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.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Lovely Weekend

I had a lovely weekend last weekend!  I took a few days off work which is a first for me since I started 1 1/2 years ago except for emergency situations like several births, an emergency trip to the NICU, 2nd and 3rd degree burns on a boy, and 2 days of food poisioning.  It was getting a little discouraging that the only reason that I had ever been paid to take off work was for an involuntary reason!
On Friday, I toured "Sentimental Journey", a restored B17 bomber from WW2.  I crawled around taking photos for my Dad who had seen the outside but was too frail to get into the plane.  I also saw several WW2 vets who are now old as dirt standing around the outside of the plane with tears glistening in their eyes as old memories passed through their remembrance.  What a generation they were and are! My Dad and I spent some time looking over the photos and sharing the information we had gleaned from our studies of WW2.
On Saturday I fired up our truck and headed south to MD to visit with my dad and my sister whom I rarely see.  This year's visit was especially exciting because I got to see her for more than a few hours and we went to church together for the first time since she was saved! That was a real thrill for me since the rest of my immediate family has rejected any opportunity for personal relationship with Christ and is satisfied with a mere thought, or no thought of God and are satisfied with just an occasional religious practice, a proverbial wink in God's direction. It greatly saddens me that they do not know the indescribable blessings of knowing Christ in a personal way and having a daily relationship and fellowship with the One who created them and planned their lives. 
Saturday we spend just chatting, going to buy peaches at the orchard (because quite frankly, they do not know how to grow good peaches in my part of PA and it's worth the almost 3 hour trip to buy them in MD), and going out to dinner together. 
Sunday we my sister and I traveled half an hour north to my brother-in-law's church.  It was as close to the husband I was missing as I could get although my husband is much more handsome in the pulpit, so it wasn't quite the same.  Of course, that's not the reason I go to church but some days it can be a particular distraction! It felt good to just go to church and sit and enjoy the service, or at least it should have.  Halfway through the prayer time my sister bumped me to let me know that my sister-in-law who was on the platform wanted my attention.  She kept pointing to the wall and appeared to be saying "back wall".  I finally turned and saw the words to a chorus on the back wall.  "Do you know it?" she asked?  I had heard my BIL mention that they were going to sing a new chorus even though they didn't know it very well.  When I nodded "yes" to my SIL, she called me up to the platform and had me play and sing the chorus to help teach the congregation.  Good thing I remembered what key it was in and what chords go with that key or it could have been interesting!  Sigh.....a Pastor's wife's work is never done evidently-not even when you are on vacation! LOL!
After lunch we headed even further north to my humble abode where my sister slept in the 4th strange bed she had occupied in a week.  What a trooper she is! We really didn't do anything earth shattering while we were together and that is what made her visit so enjoyable.  We just hung out, as sisters ought to do when they are together. It all ended too soon and on Tuesday we headed south again to my Dad's home stopping on the way to visit my 3rd grade teacher who is now 88 years old.  We had started corresponding over a year ago.  She had lost her husband and home in a fire.  When they brought her what was left of her belongings, she found a note I had sent her after my third grade year.  She called my father and got my address and sent it back to me which had opened the door for correspondence. I was very excited to stop and see her in person. She had 35 kids in her class that year and she still remembered all their names! I didn't even remember all their names.  It had been 46 years, after all! I wasn't at all surprised that she was just as wonderful as I remember her being in 3rd grade and I hated to leave.
Back at home I dropped my Sis off and headed back home.  I was tired....of driving that is... and full of ice cream because there is a summer roadside ice cream stand that we just had to stop at several times as we passed by in our travels. It's tradition! My only regret is that I was so busy making memories that I forgot to take photos! 
Maybe it wasn't the kind of vacation that some would appreciate, but for me it couldn't have been any more perfect unless my hubby could have come along-but someone had to work to finance it after all! :-)  He gets his vacation this weekend, and I get to go along!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Relax, this is not the Mainland!

Someone was on vacation on an island and saw a bumper sticker that said "Relax, this is not the mainland."  It immediately set me to thinking! The Bible calls us "aliens" and "foreigners." We truly are not of this world if we have been born into the Kingdom of God. Yet, we get so tied up in the cares, pressures and alluring influences of this world.  We work hard to fit into this world, to go with the flow, to be acceptable in our culture.  Why?  We are not of this world! It is not our home! This is not the mainland! We are not stuck here forever!

Abraham lived in the "land of promise" that God had led him to, yet he did not establish himself there.  He lived in a tent.  Tents are a temporary dwelling place that can be packed and moved quickly.  Abraham died knowing that even though God had led him to that place, it was not the main land.  He died looking for a city whose builder and maker was God.  

The Israelites lived in tents until they reached the promised land because they were not citizens of the dessert. It was not their permanent residence.  They were just passing through on their way to a better place.

It's a good reminder to us everyday. When life gets stressful, when riches come or go, when times are good or times are hard, when we are on the mountaintop or in the valley we need to relax because this world is temporary.  It is not our home! It is not the mainland! One day, we will leave this place and compared to eternity it will be as nothing more than the blink of eye. As eternity moves on, it will become but a distant memory that fades, except for the part of it that was filled with Christ. That is eternal because He is eternal.

So wherever we are, whatever our circumstances we can RELAX! This is not the mainland!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Un-List

I have be be honest.  Some list people bother me.  I make lists.  I use them but they don't use me.  Lists should be something that are subject to change-quickly, drastically, and at any time.  I make grocery lists, errand lists, and stuff to do today lists. These are necessary, especially at my age.  I know people however who plan out every second of every day and if they don't accomplish what's on their list they have a meltdown, or at least a hot flash.  May I say.....THAT'S RIDICULOUS!  Lists, just like facebook, blogs, entirely too smart phones, computers, and all the other modern conveniences we say "save us time" are meant to be our tools, not our task masters!  

I have things that I want to accomplish on a daily, weekly, monthly and life level. I don't need a list to tell me to do laundry.  It's sitting in the basket in the corner of my bedroom screaming "wash me, wash me."  I don't need a list to remind me to read my Bible and pray.  That's my habit.  My Bible resides within arms reach of my bed and sits under my cell phone/alarm clock.  As soon as I turn off my alarm, I reach for my Bible.  And I don't "schedule" God into my day.  If He wants all of my morning before I leave for work, He gets it.  The other stuff can wait.  I don't need a list to remind me to vacuum my bedroom.  The dog hair stuck to the bottom of my shoe reminds me that it's time to brush the dog and vacuum the carpet. My stomach reminds me, a little too often, that it's time to fix and eat dinner. I do write myself reminders like "bring goodies to work tomorrow" or "get the neighbors mail after work" because that is out of the realm of the normal.  

Some people tell me when I bang on list dictators that it's their personality to make lists.  Maybe, but I have to say that they are usually control freak type people who rarely smile or have time to enjoy the spontaneous moments that God brings to their lives.  What's even more sad is that they rarely have time to help people unless those people have scheduled in their services for that day. Helping people in need is never convenient, but for a list slave it is excruciatingly painful because something on their list has to suffer.  They cannot easily drop everything and go do something else without that list nagging at them from afar the whole time.

So I've come up with a solution.  I call it the un-list.

At the beginning of every day, I think about what I'd like to get accomplished that day. I then pray a prayer that I have prayed for most of my Christian life every day that goes like this "Lord, order my day." Yep, that's it.  Simple, heartfelt, and sincere. Then I go about my day.  When I complete a task, I write it down...on a list! (See I told you that I'm not totally anti-list!) At the end of the day, I sit down and take a look at all that I did and I think to myself, wow, you got a lot done today!  Do you see how free-ing this could be? And most of the time, it's not full of wood, hay and stubble stuff.  Who gives a flip if the hall closet is not entirely neat and tidy? The only time I get in there is to get a towel because I have shower water dripping in my face and I forgot to grab the towels from the dryer, or someone (daughter #2-you know who you are) used the last of the roll and didn't replace the toilet paper, or someone is bleeding to death and needs first aid at which point, I don't even notice the state of the closet. 

Who cares if the grass grows one more day? Eventually it will be letting me know, "hey, it's time to cut me!" and I will, but not because some list dictated to me that it has been exactly 7 days since I cut it the last time. 

The most beautiful part of my un-list is that it is always filled with spontaneous events that God placed in my path that I wasn't planning on or anticipating.  When my hubby, who is exceptionally spontaneous and organized at the same time, (I wish I knew how he does that!) says "hey, lets go do this", I don't have to look at my list and schedule him in or try to rearrange his schedule so that he gets to do what he wants to do with me without disrupting my schedule. How selfish is that?

My list may say that I took extra time at the grocery store to chat with an old friend or encourage someone.  It may say that I wrote a journal entry about something that God spoke to me that morning when I spent extra time reading His Word. 

It may say that I took time to sit and listen to someone who is hurting or to text riddles to my friends to make them giggle. 

It may say that I spent an hour chatting about recipes with a budding cook or perusing the latest Target flyer with one of my kids.

It may say that I walked to the top of the hill at the park to sit and watch a particularly beautiful sunset and wondered at the beauty of God's creation.  That will put your soul at rest! 

It may say that I did 3 loads of laundry, took one more bag of unwanted things from the overstuffed garage to the curb, shaved my legs (believe me, with my inseam length, that is no small task!), got groceries, or organized my closet. 

I'm not anti-structure.  That's important. But when structure becomes rigidity or is fueled by the need to control, that is sad, dangerous, stressful and unhealthy. I honestly doubt that the Apostle Paul, Peter or even Jesus for that matter had a list. They just went with it and look how much they got accomplished!  I don't care if my epitaph says that my house was clean, my clothes were wrinkle free, and that every part of my life (except my spiritual life of course), was immaculate.

Scripture explicitly commands us to live one day at a time. That doesn't mean that we have no goals or plans to reach those goals. It just means that we don't know what a day holds and we have to be able and willing to adjust to the demands and surprises of each day, using the grace provided for them and delighting in the goodness of them without getting our panties in a wad. We are all smart enough to know what really HAS to get done on a certain day and if you're not, God is.  Why not let him do the organizing? The rest of it....well, it can wait!