Tuesday, September 1, 2015

A tired mom.

I do not feel like 'blogging'. I am tired, I am drained, I feel blue. I do not feel like having deep thoughts about life. I am more inclined to turn the TV on and slowly tidy things up, so less is waiting for me in the morning. 

Today I rather talk about being a full-time mom/homemaker/whatever else fits here, because that is what I am. A mom. I understand that this position is a choice, just like being a work outside the home parent and having daycare. Neither is better than the other. That is not what this is about. This is more about how today, or the last few days really, my role has been challenging. Everyone has challenges, right? Even if you are not a parent, there are challenging days in your life.

I am an extrovert, meaning I feel more energized after spending time with people. I can energize with quiet time, alone, but it is not the same. Being home full-time means that I have to be intentional about looking for ways to spend with people big enough to talk. And I really prefer to do it outside of our home. I am there all day and I see the chores or projects that need to be done. Given the option, I rather go out of these walls. If the day is nice, please let me meet people outside!

These last few days have been challenging because our youngest has not been feeling great so we have needed to be home as much as possible. And we have been, except to go to the doctor or get medicine. Having a young sick child that cannot say "hey, this hurts" or "I am uncomfortable here" rather they just scream is draining to any caring adult. So' how I feel makes sense, right? Others have been here, I know they have. And have made it through. Things are getting better for out little one today. For that I am thankful.

Life is going on wit plenty to do and I have chosen to write/blog. I am doing this because it is the evening that I have said I would do it. I am working on starting a pattern. Life has a lot of patterns. Bet everyone has a pattern or a routine in which they get ready, do chores, pay bills, pack for a trip. Adding something to a pattern or routine can be a challenge. There will be times when it is easy to say "Well, I don't have to do that." or "I am too tired". But the problem is that when you are trying to set a new pattern and you stop doing it, starting it back up is even more difficult.

There are plenty of patterns in the Bible. One that easily comes to mind is having a day of rest. (Ha! As a mom of a young child, there is not a day I would describe as that! It might happen in a few years.) God created for the first six days then on the seventh he rested and it was good. That doesn't mean He never worked again. He rested and then the Bible talks about other days and ways God worked throughout the whole Bible. Setting and having a pattern of working and resting sounds great. But how many of us do it? What can it look like? Will it always happen when, where and how we want it to?

I missed worship time this week because of our little one's illness. (A understandable reason.) My weekly pattern is thrown off and I feel it. I need worship time, just as much as I need rest time, work time, workout time and lunch time.  So I am going to keep the pattern and write tonight, even if I do not feel like it. The pattern may be good for me.  If nothing else, typing is a bit like talking, I can ramble in either medium.


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

What should a pastor's wife be like? Can she have friends?

What should a pastor's wife be like?

There is a stereotype of a super happy lady that always looks well kept, but not too extravagantly dressed or to racy, and is musically gifted with at least one instrument along with the ability to sing solos. Well.  She can quote the Bible and knows what is best to say in any social situation.  (Are these the same things that we expect of first ladies, royalty or other dignitaries too?)  I honestly can not think of any real person that meets all these expectations. Can you?

I remember in my adolescent years my dad told me that I needed to use a fork to open the English muffins that have the label on the package stating that they are "fork split" English muffins. And by doing this my future in-laws will be able to tell that I was a good kind of lady (or something to that affect). Well, my in-laws have never supervised me on how I open the English muffins (I use a knife, since I am such a rebel!). They have enjoyed what food I have made them over the years as far as I know. Who cares as long as the utensils are clean, right?

There are several other areas of life that we seem to assume things about the person. Not all lawyer are sleazy or in it for the money. Not every celebrity blows all their money on drugs and designer everything.  Extroverts do need some alone time while introverts can do well with large groups. You get the idea. There is more to a person than what we might expect.

As soon as people learn that I do not like singing solos and cannot read music, or I put my foot in my mouth or dislike my outfit, they seem disappointed in me. It is written on their face and sometimes is even clear in their words and actions. "Really!? You do play the piano or sing? That is just strange." Or they just stop talking to me entirely and I am not sure why. It could be something I said, did, or didn't do. Or it could have to do nothing me with and the other party just wants to be quiet at church or doesn't feel like saying 'hi' in the grocery store because it has been a day that they just want to get things done and go home and veg. I get it.

Between the expectations and me being human friendships can be a bit difficult. Add in the fact that we move from time to time, good friends are hard to find.  I bet that there are many others out there that would love to make good friends and have challenges like moving often, job title, or whatever the barrier could be. Finding and making good friends is hard.  I do have some very good friends, they just mainly live rather far away.

There is another expectation(s) on the pastor wife (as well as the pastor and the rest of the family) and it usually is one extreme or another. The pastor and wife should either be (1) friends with the whole congregation or (2) friends with no one in the congregation.

Tackling the first thought, the pastor and  friends with everyone. I want to know if this is your view, are you friends with everyone in the congregation? What does that look like? Are you finding that you are equally fond of each and every person? Do you feel equally close with everyone? Do you feel it is a good idea to share everything about yourself with everyone?  I do not anyone who really does that.

The second school of thought, the pastor and wife should not friends in the congregation. If that is your thought, would you want to go to the same church week after week where you do not feel connected to anyone? Where you are not sure who to ask for prayer when you are having a struggle or do not feel that you can even admit that you are having a struggle in life? Do you want to work/worship along side people that really have not clue who you are?

Both of this thoughts seem to be extremes to me. I like to look at Jesus and his life for a good guideline. Yes, Jesus is 100% God and so he is perfect. But he is also is 100% man. Human. I am human. So, Jesus had friends, right? The 12 disciples. They ate and traveled together often. In the group of the 12, doesn't it seem like Jesus was closer with 3 of them, Peter, James and John, than he was with the other? What about the 72 that seemed to meet with them often? That sounds similar to the same amount of people in a small congregation We know some names, but not all. I believe Jesus knew their names, being God, but did not invest in them the same way he did with the 12 or the close 3. We can summarize that Jesus trained those close to him to be disciples and then they were told to "go and make disciples of all nations".

So following Jesus, as we are all called to do, and his example, I do have some folks I would consider as friends at each place my husband has been called to serve. Yes, there are things that happen that it are not okay share with even those you feel close to. (Those things are burdens as part of the ministry and are not fair for others to know.) But it is nice to have people to meet up with that have children the same as yours or have the same interests outside of worship, or just are positive sort of people that just are great at spreading the joy of the Lord.  (Not that they have to be happy all the time, I know how hard that expectation is!) Is that similar to how you make friends? I also love having friends that do not go to the church my husband serves. Other Christians make nice friends. So do people who are not Christians but can respect that you two have different views of the world. Those are fun people to get into deep discussions with, they usually see things so differently, but we can find way to agree on something!

In addition to a hand full of friends at the church, there are folks that I do get to know a bit because they are involved. Often they have been involved at that church for decades and they have their friend group already and are content to where God has them. I enjoy the people that are invested in the congregation and their faith. We may not be BFF's but we often have short pleasant conversations. They are busy people on Sunday mornings, much like our family is too.

Some folks I see from time to time, I am terrible at remembering their names, (I seriously fall short of the glory of God) though I am glad they can make it to worship. (There are individual situations in this example and I do not know them all but I can respect them.) I am not very close to them, but that would not be reasonable. Often they are well connected with other church members. (Fits the discipleship model.)

There are always people who feel that we should be closer to them and are mad at us for not being closer. I don't know who they are. I only hear about it through some sort of grapevine. That makes it gossip right?  So maybe it is not the case and just idol gossip. No need to take stock in that, right?

After all that is thought through, the expectations that people have are really not going to be met. Whether you feel I should have any friends in the congregation or not, or to be best friends forever with everyone, we can at least talk about these ideas.  None of our expectations, yours or mine, will likely be the true outcome of this life. In the end the answer seems to always be Jesus, doesn't it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Everyone has Expectations

Everyone has expectations. They have expectations of getting decent food at a restaurant. Expectations of actually receiving what they ordered online at their home or office. We expect others to text us or call us back after we call them. We expect facebook friends to say ‘happy birthday’ on our walls on that special day of the year. We all have expectations; anyone who says they do not is either clueless about something or lying. 

I am certain I cannot state this enough, ever. I am not perfect. I would not even claim to be nearly perfect. 
This year we were blessed with our second child. We are thrilled to have her in our family. I did have some serious expectations. This is not my first child, and I have worked with babies and young children for years. I expect that I know what I am doing. And I do know what the books, websites, doctors and blogs say. Knowing and acting upon the knowledge are two different things.

Having a newborn, the expectation is that sleep is rare and uncommon.  It is a time in life that sleep is more precious than a flawless jewel. That expectation was definitely met with our sweet little second blessing.  My dear husband was able to adjust and was dearly helpful during all hours of the night. I did need and appreciate his help greatly. 

There is an expectation that babies sleep through the night consistently around 6 months. That expectation is still waiting to be met with our 7 month old. We are finally doing the heart wrenching method of letting the baby cry it out. It is helping but is very challenging so many reasons.  

During these months of sleep depravity I have had struggles as a pastor’s wife.
There are expectations for a pastor’s wife to be warm and friendly to all, always. People like to count on the pastor’s wife to take care of things, to a high quality of standard.  They expect the pastor’s wife to be cheery and have things in life going well.  As my mom would, have everything be “just peachy-keen”.  

To these expectations, I have failed these 7 months.  I know that this is to be very true. Let’s say I have reliable sources.  These last 7 months I have done a less than satisfactory job by some expectations as a pastor’s wife. I honestly hate letting people down or acting in a way that they perceive that I am ‘upset’ with them. The truth is that I am just tired, and doing the best that I can. I am glad to say that I know that there is grace and forgiveness for me with Christ. 

 But I have not failed at what you might expect from a mother with a young one at home.  I have been exhausted, with some days afraid I might fall asleep while driving to the grocery store or church, (these seem to be the only places I went to for months) only a few short miles away.  I have not been able to keep up with all the cleaning and organizing that I would love to be able to get done as a full-time stay at home parent.  I have not been great about being a friend that checks up on the people in my life have had some challenging situations. (Thankfully, some of my dear friends have given me the benefit of the doubt and know I still do care. They have learned I might text them back at 3am.)

As the wife, I spoke with my husband recently about we are doing as a couple. You know the conversation that couples have from time to time about how things are going, asking only when you are prepared for the worse but praying for the best case response. To be honest, I may not always ask for this in a very direct way. I usually ask a more general question hoping he will know what I mean. We have been married for twelve years, and he has not been very good at reading my mind just yet. (A girl can hope, right? Might be an unrealistic expectation though…) So the conversation went sort of like this:

Me: Are you happy?
Him: I am stressed about this work thing and concerned about that other thing.
Me: Oh, yes. I remember you saying those things before. I meant more are you happy with us?
Him: Yes, I am.

The words may not be exactly what were said, but you get the idea. That is what matters to me, that my husband is still glad to have me as his wife. He knows very well my imperfections, and he still loves me.   I do not meet all the expectations people have of their ‘pastor’s wife’, or other expectations they may have on me regardless what role they view me as and that is the way life just goes.  I am back in the time of life where there a little one that needs me often, while the rest of our sweet family still needs me for what I have been doing to support them.  Being a wife and mom are vocations that take a higher seat than pastor’s wife.

This is not about excuses; it is about having realistic expectations. And the expectations are the most unrealistic from myself. I am going to work on that.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Cat + Vacuuming = thoughts on God

Living in a new state, there is always somethings that are a bit different that I have to get used to and deal with. Living in Tennessee is no different. Here there thing that gets to me the most are Japanese Beetles. These are little beetles that look very much lady bugs.  For some reason these bugs have been coming into own apartment since the fall. Most folks had the massive swarms show up for a few days, then they seemed to move on.   We did have some cover our balcony door and sneak in during those days in the fall. Since the fall though, I have been vacuuming live beetles all winter long. On cooler days I might only find a few and yet on warmer days like today I got 28. I have no idea where they are coming in at or hiding. I just go into one room in the apartment and there they are. So I vacuum them up. Just about daily.

With the vacuum running all the time these days in our home, I would have thought that our cat 'Squirrel' would have become accustomed to hearing the vacuum and less afraid of it. Yet, every time I turn on the vacuum the cat runs and hides. All I am doing is vacuuming up bugs that are poisonous  when eaten by small animals. So the vacuuming of these bugs is probably saving Squirrel from a few stomach aches.

While vacuuming and watching the cat run away, I had a thought "What if this is the way I am with God? What if when things are going on in my life that I am unsure of or I worry about are just things God is using to clean up my life so I have a better life? What if God is just running him plan that is good for me and I react to his care by running away and hiding?" 

Looking back on my life, hind sight always 20/20, I can see where I struggled and how the struggle was used to improve me. Maybe thinking of this while I vacuum will help to do better in the next new struggle... what ever that may be.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

December 2013

It is a challenge to try to keep up on a blog with all that I need and want to do with each day. It is except the blog end up being last on the list. The problem lies in when I do make or have time to blog, there is just to much to share!  Lucky for us all, I took pictures and pictures are worth a thousand words, right?

So I think that I last shared that I was working on a project that paired with my husbands sermons during Sunday in Advent.  I will let you see all those, finished.  The pictures I did for worship services, I have been working on for months. I thought it might be fun to share some of the sketches and practices that got me to the finished picture.  Also some other paintings that I have done recently, mainly for gifts this Christmas and some projects we have done as a family. It has been a fun and busy few weeks!

I was so anxious with the first picture. I am thankful to the folks up at Faith in Thompson Station that let us visit them on  Saturday evenings to get a practice run in!
Week 1: Psalm 122
Week 2: Psalm 72
Week 3: Psalm 146
This was a challenge for me. I worked for hours on just trying to draw a chair! I have my favorite sketch of the chairs that I did further down the page.
  I very much enjoyed weeks 3 and 4 because I like the pieces the most and I was finally becoming more comfortable to be doing my art in front of a group of folks. (Thankful that they were all so kind to me!)

Week 4: Psalm 96

The sketch that the throne in week 2 was based off of.

A practice painting for week 2, before the decision was made to do the pictures as oil pastels instead of all acrylic paints. And of course before the throne was added in place of the cross.                                

Paintings that were given as gifts
This was also given as a gift this year.

We had a blast making gingerbread buildings as a family. This our daughter did, it is a school!

My husband worked on this gingerbread home and made it quite inviting.

I made this to be a church similar to the one my husband is currently serving at. I hope it is not a prophetic gingerbread, since the sides did collapse in!  

I just liked this picture of our cat... and yes, we had our windows open this past month! It is a very mild winter here in Tennessee!

We had a great time making jar lanterns!

Christmas Eve Service

 We pray that you all had a blessed Christmas and that you remember to keep "Christ" in Christian all year through!


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Just me, learning and trying the best I can

I keep getting comment about how neat it is that I married a pastor. And I must say, yes I think that my husband is a neat guy and blessed to get to use his gifts to serve God and the Church (aka the body of Christ).   Yes, I would agree that the office of the ministry is pretty special too. And I am blessed to have the husband I have, for many more reasons than his role in the body of Christ.

I have to be honest, I do think that I am some what of a neat person (I would have to, to be able to blog about myself and thoughts) BUT I do not think that I am any more neat, or interesting or important than anyone else in this world.

We are each God's favorites.

I bet that each person who reads this (mostly likely just folks that I know, so I know this is true) have very wonderful qualities that they (or you, really) can use for serving God and others. And you may not even "work" a paid job in a church building.

Ever said or sent an encouraging word to another person? That is a wonderful gift ad serving God. Or held a door open for the next person. Yep, that is a gift.

Some have told me that I down play my role in a church... I might go with I like to point out that I am a sinner and that I need grace and love just like the next person.

I think that I am concerned about people that might try to place unrealistic expectations on me because I am married to a pastor (who is human too!). I have disappointed folks in the past and have seen the hurt in their eyes that I couldn't do anything to change. I have to be me, the way God made me.  And I am learning and growing each day.

Learning can be quite messy.

Good thing that we are God's favorites (each person in the world is his favorite that person, in my understanding) and He loves us so much, ...not just enough, the Bible says "so much", that He gave just the gift of his presence in Jesus and hope that we have because all of the work Jesus did for us.

I just hope folks can forgive me when I am human and make mistakes. I will make them, I always do.

Have a good one, God's favorite you! ;-)

Friday, December 6, 2013

Advent Week 1.5

*Ad·vent -noun \ˈad-ˌvent, chiefly British -vənt\

Definition of ADVENT

1:  the period beginning four Sundays before Christmas and observed by some Christians as a season of prayer and fasting
a :  the coming of Christ at the Incarnation
b :  second coming 

It is the season of Advent. I thought it might be good to just start with Merrian-Webster's definition just so everyone would know what I am talking about. Sometimes there are "churchy" terms that "churchy" people may assume everyone knows the meaning of... when it is quite possible that most of us don't. (There are terms and things like come up in the church that I do not know and I google it or honestly ask my hubby when I get a chance!) 
So, this advent season, my husband is doing a sermon series on the Psalms that are part of the readings for us this year. Last Sunday was the first Sunday in advent and the Psalms that was focused on was Psalm 122. (If you would like to read it, here is an easy link: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%20122&version=ESV ). While these sermons are happening, he has asked me to do art that fits the Psalm. I thought that it might be interesting to share last week's art.  I do want to let you know that I am not used to doing art in such a public manner with a time limit. This is a tad out of my normal comfort zone, but it is fun... once I did it a few times (I am doing art in three different services).

This coming weekend's picture has been a challenge for me. Hopefully it will be to God's glory when it is finish. I pray that you all have a wonderful Advent season!
 Oh! Side note for those who have prayed for me in the past, I am currently working part-time for the holiday season. It's a great job and I am very thankful for it! 

 "Advent." Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 6 Dec. 2013. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Advent>.