Posted in Associate/Youth Pastor's Wife, Daily Musings, Life Lessons

Time-Out: Germany Intro.

Ready or not here we go!!

 Time – it’s always such a fleeting commodity in this life, especially when it isn’t managed well.  Now, that mine is slowing down for a short time, I can look back and see that more clearly.  Excuses are always abounding, I started working as the Pastoral Secretary at our church, it just kind of happened one day while I was filling in while our staff went through some changes.  Then, after a while it became a permanent thing.  It’s a blessing, and the timing was right, but being the part time secretary is a bit of an oxymoron at a bustling church like ours.  We have one of the busiest calendars in the land.  With that comes the people work, which usually is the heap of the time spent.  Paired with continuing to home school my kids and those same kids getting older and busier themselves, can lead to a full-on anxiety attack on any given day.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the work, I mean, love it!  I get to sit in an office across from my husband’s office every day.  We have five ministers on staff, and I love every one of them!  I love their wives and the other part time staffers as well.  I mean, we have THE best staff in the land.  I would vacation with them all!  We work well together and even get frustrated well with each other.  The humor is never lacking in our office.  Even when I have a bad day, these guys know how to make me smile.  However, I still fall prey to mismanaging my time – often.  It’s a gift, or maybe a curse that I have.  My personality is bent towards spontaneity, which can be good when fun is to be had or I get a creative spurt that needs to be followed.  But day to day, it can get out of hand and that’s exactly where I’ve been this past year.  Anxiety city.  And then God….

He knows what we need, and he knows what we want, and he cares about them both!  Oh I’m not saying that we always get those things that we want, nor should we, but like any good parent (even better!) he allows for those wants when it works within his will.  That is exactly what he’s done for this family. 

Our time-out started back in July 2018.  Pastor walked in one day and stopped by at my desk.  “What do you think your husband would say if I asked your family to go to Germany for several months to fill in for our missionaries who need a furlough?” he asked.  “Yes! We’re there!” was my immediate response.  Of course I thought he was only joking at the time until he assured me, he was serious.  He went on to explain that the Clark family needed to come back to the states for several months.  They have one daughter graduating from Bible College over here, another who is ready to graduate her home school and is preparing to start college next year and he also needs to visit some supporting churches and new churches too while he’s here. However, he doesn’t have anyone who can take over the work he is in while he is gone.  Being the wanderlust side of this family I kind of figured that my spontaneous response would be met with a more practical view by my husband and there would probably be some reason why this would not be a good idea.  Not that he is a downer, it just seemed like a possibility that was far too awesome to actually happen.  Imagine how pleasantly surprised I was when his initial reaction was an excited “Yes!” as well!  Of course, we still took time to pray about it, and there were plenty of excuses that would prevent this from happening, but here are the awesome reasons why both Lynn and I were on board so quickly:

  1.  Friends in Need:    We came to Central 21 years ago when the Clark family was just starting their internship.  We were both young couples excited about new ministry.  This led to a friendship that would span continents and time.  Dalene and I became fast friends.  They already had two girls, but we were pregnant at the same time with my now oldest, Katie and their third, Kyndall, (who are both going off to college this next year! Sniff sniff).  I still remember us with our babies at the airport seeing them off when they initially left for Germany.  We’ve always picked up where we left off, whenever they’ve been able to come back on furloughs.  Now, there was a legitimate need at this work they are in and we would be able, as friends and colleagues to be a help to them.  How awesome is that?!
  2. Answer to prayer for our son:  Just last summer, while our girls were away at camp and we had only our son at home, we had an emotional discussion with him about his sisters.  He was feeling a pressure and desire to be closer to our oldest but felt like he just didn’t connect with her due to the age difference among other things.  He was in tears just thinking about her going off to college in only one year and not getting that chance.  Just as we, as parents, were absorbing the idea that our family was on the brink of change with our kids growing up and leaving, Jarod, too, was rolling around these thoughts.  We encouraged him to pray about opportunity over this next year to grow closer as a family while we had the time.   Then, along comes an offer of just the 5 of us in Germany for three months!  What better way to grow closer as a family than through stepping out of all of our comfort zones together with no peers along for the ride or crazy work, school, youth group schedules to contend with?
  3. Opportunity for life decisions:  Our middle daughter, Megan, has wanted to be a missionary since she was a little girl.  Her hero as a child was Amy Carmichael, she even dressed like her one year for our fall festival.  However, last year, she read a book.  It was a good book, that was challenging teens to consider their futures.  Sounds good doesn’t it?  However, she seemed burdened by a statement by the author who challenged readers to reconsider their own desires and make sure it was God’s will – also, a good thing to do.  She seemed to be confused and burdened by this, though, wondering if she was just in love with the romantic idea of going to far off places as a missionary or if it was really God’s will for her.  Again, what better way to get a taste than to actually go on a mission trip, not for a week but for three months.  Getting to feel what it is like to be away from home, comfort zones, and all things familiar.  Yet, she gets a chance to do this with, at least, the comfort of her family with her and the knowledge that this is just a short-term commitment.  We’re praying that God will show her His desire for her during this time.
  4. Time with our oldest:  Just as our son was wrestling with the fact that our family dynamic is about to change, we have been wrestling too.  I absolutely love where we are right now with the ages of our kiddos.  We embarked on this parenting adventure knowing that we were raising them to send them out.  However, the fact of that time coming soon, weighs heavy on this momma’s heart.  I’m a bundle of conflicted emotions.  Excited to see where God will lead her and how He will use her and also heartbroken at the thought of missing her.  Not seeing her face daily, hearing her laughter, seeing what cool pictures she has drawn recently sitting on her bed listening to music, or even just enjoying a movie together or dinner time conversations.  It’s natural, it’s good…it’s heart achingly coming too soon!  I treasure the thought of 12 weeks to just huddle in close with my babies and absolutely absorbing each moment with them.
  5. My desires:  I have long wanted to be able to take my kids to see things in this world!  We’ve done the Disneyworld fun trips, but I have expressed multiple times how I’ve wanted to take them on a mission trip so that their eyes may affect their hearts.  We just haven’t had the opportunity.  The trips that Second Man and I have been blessed to go on were when it just wouldn’t be feasible to take our little ones along.   Not only missions work, but also, seeing some of the wonderful things in this great big world that God has created, has been my desire for my kids.  Well, here it is just plopped in our laps.  It isn’t the sole reason for accepting the call, but it sure was a fabulous extra!  What a blessing the leadership of our church has been as well.  When Pastor first posed this to the deacons of our church, one of the first questions was, “Will they get to do some traveling?”  This is so important.  Second Man is an extraordinarily hard worker and even hard on himself to be busy about God’s work.  He’s not a workaholic, but he is exceptionally careful with the stewardship of the ministry in which God has put him.  The assurance of our deacons and Pastor being behind the idea of us getting to use some time to travel while in Europe freed up his conscience to be able to do so.
  6. Reward:   This is a personal matter and small on the whole scale, but special to us, nonetheless.  We truly are hoping that we can consider it a reward for something personal to us, that I don’t even want to give detail about here.  However, we, as a family gave something up recently that was both enjoyable and a desire of ours.  We felt led out of conviction to give it up and it hasn’t been easy, both socially and personally.  I don’t give details, because it truly isn’t something that I would want others to think I am imposing on them or judging them about.  But I do believe in a God of rewards and can’t help but consider that maybe that would play a part in this.  I won’t truly know that until I reach Heaven and get to ask Him about it, but for now, I know that this is a blessing in our lives!
  7. Time:  The mere logistics of this trip lend a look at time.  Though Second Man will be preaching each week, leading a Bible study and discipling an individual who is a shut in, his schedule and mine are both extremely lightened while we are in Germany.  We need this.  We both need it physically, as stress due to schedules, extended family issues, and other life pressures has taken a small toll on the both of us.  I was diagnosed this past year with Rheumatoid Arthritis and am still trying to navigate my way in this new journey.  He has suffered from heart palpitations among other physical ailments that all tend to come from stress and…well…getting older.  We can’t deny that little tidbit, now can we?  We both plan to use this time to work on our physical, spiritual and mental health.  This is such a luxury that everyday normal life doesn’t always give us.  How blessed we are! 
  8. Opportunity to be used:  How honoring the thought that God can use us to help a missionary and to get minister to people in a foreign land.  How honoring the thought to do that even at home!  I never want to miss the opportunity to be used by God!  There is no great feeling in this world!

God’s just so good!  I can’t wait to see what He’s gonna do!

Posted in Daily Musings, Life Lessons, Parenting

No Sarcasm Saturday

I’ve found it!    What, you ask? The secret to building up your savings account? The cure for cancer?  The gumption to train and complete a marathon? Oh no my dear friends that’s all cupcakes and fluff.  I’m talking about THE most difficult self-imposed discipline outside of diet and exercise…No Sarcasm Saturday.   I know, I know this raises many more questions like “what on earth would motivate you to do such a thing?” or “Why?” or even “How long did you make it?”  All in good time my dear friends.  First let me give you a little background.   It all started way backlast week sometime.  I was trying to watch one of my favorite HGTV shows called “ Love it or List it”.  However, during the show one of my children (who shall remain nameless for her, his, ahem it’s protection) was just deriding these poor people on the show.  I found myself getting more irritated by the moment.  This child sounded so mean, so hateful, so judgmental and uh…so much like me!  Sarcasm is one of our main sources of humor in this family.  2nd man and I love watching Food Network, HGTV or even ESPN shows and totally deriding the logic behind which most of the decisions are made.  Truly, this is just a coping strategy for our own lusty jealousy.  Hmmm do I want the brand new house with five bathrooms and all new appliances that is $100,000 over budget or do I want to stay in my mid-century “bungalow” with it’s outdated electrical system, bowing floors and cracked foundation without a dishwasher?  Ah the decisions people must face.  It’s sad really.  We watch and shoot out scathing remarks about how materialistic our society is and how there are people starving in other countries living on floating shacks along rivers (funny though, they still have smartphones and reception –true story I saw it on TV too).  Anyway, where was I?  Oh yes, the degradation of our American society.  Like I said, I’m basically just jealous and get a kick out of the whole process. However, listening to my own kid doing the same thing sounded so harsh and critical.  I went from being irritated to being strongly convicted.  She/he sounded like a bully on a playground.  If I had caught him/her doing this to someone face-to-face I would be mortified and then I’d lay into him or her about apologizing and how we don’t treat others this way.  I’d probably go into how that person is one of God’s creations and therefore we have no right to be so critical.  All of this is true.  However, somehow people don’t seem as real to us if they’re on TV so a freedom of expression gets exercised regularly. We’re sarcastic with each other as well.  I’d say 95% of it is truly meant in good fun and humor.  However, there are those days when someone gets their feelings hurt.  But, mostly it’s how we relate to each other in a humor filled way.  2nd man and I often find ourselves even having the same sarcastic thoughts about different situations.  But, as a friend of mine explained to me, it can all be taken and given in different spirits depending on the people involved, so sarcasm must be handled delicately.  For instance she is a choleric personality and tends to go from humorous to critical in a quickly falling landslide; whereas her husband, who is very sanguine, keeps it on the light and humorous quite easily.   This made a lot of sense to me.  I know there’s a lot of debate about the validity of the whole personality thing, but I’m a believer in how it plays out in people’s lives.  My choleric child sounded scathing and harsh, but my own sanguine/melancholy personality keeps it on the humorous or sometimes overly-sensitive side.   So, with all of that said, I approached 2nd Man and told him I thought we should have a “no sarcasm day.”  He thought it was a good idea, but didn’t do anything about it immediately.  Then, Friday evening at the dinner table I made some kind of sarcastic remark and he pounced.  “Your mother and I have been talking about something lately, kids.”  He said.  To which thy replied, “are we in trouble?”  “No,” he said, “but we’re going to try to have a No Sarcasm Saturday tomorrow.”  Our oldest was instantly worried. “But it’s outreach day at church and, well, we teens speak in sarcasm.”  “I understand that.”  Replied 2nd Man, “but we’ll have to make do the best we can.”  We determined that everyone would start out with 100 points and the person with the most points left will get a dessert treat of their choice at a special place on our vacation in a month. I have to be honest here.  It was hard.  I woke up with much trepidation, scared to enter public with my family, wondering how ashamed I might be.  But, overall it was a good experience.  I caught myself having sarcastic thoughts all day long.  The hardest part of the day was going to Wal-Mart (did I mention we did this on a Saturday?)  I was never so thankful to go to the grocery store ALONE.  Even in the parking lot where Honey Boo boo’s mother’s look-alike about rammed my car to get a space she thought I was going to get to first. (You must understand how hard it was to even write that last sentence.  I had to wait a day so as not to get docked points.)  We had one daughter who tried hard, but was honest when caught.  Daughter number two kept docking herself and was about out of points when we confirmed that you had to be caught by someone else, and then our youngest son didn’t quite ever get the concept of what sarcasm even is.   However, it was a good exercise in discipline and learning to be kind.  We really didn’t have a winner at the end of the day.   We’ve actually decided to do it again perhaps next week.  I’ll confess I’m not willing to give up this form of humor for a lifetime – I don’t think that’s possible.  However, temperance is never a bad thing, so I’ll take it one challenging Saturday at a time for now.  

Posted in Daily Musings

June Check In

So here’s what has happened in the past week:

·       2nd man had a birthday – Yea!

·       2nd man had to do an unexpected funeral – boo

·       The wedding I’ve been planning for 6 months for our Pastor’s son and fiancée took place this weekend – Yea!

·       2nd mans family arrived the night of rehearsal dinner (12 people!) – yea they are here, boo, I was a distracted hostess due to wedding.

·       Father’s day came –yea! 2nd man preached an amazing sermon – boo, I didn’t get a chance to call my own daddy due to company (I did make up for this though)

·       And today is our 2nd child’s birthday…our Megan Grace is 10 years old –yea, no wait boo hoo! 

Still having fun with the family.  Will post individual stories soon…especially wedding details!
Posted in Daily Musings, Decorating

Pantry Remodel

 So, in the midst of a busy time of year for me, I decided to take on a project this past weekend.  I tend to do this to myself.  I think it’s some kind of coping strategy or something; my own little pause button.  Anyway, I was pleased with the results and feel refreshed and ready to take on the summer now.  Here’s a look at my little weekend mania:

It all started with cleaning windows.  I don’t do this very often.  Here in Oklahoma, it proves to be futile with the wind rushing down the plain and all of the dust it brings.  However, once in a while when I can no longer see across the street out my front window I get an urge and decide to clean them.  It’s either that or I’m angry and need to wash something, but that’s another story.  So, it took all day, but these babies were sparkling. Then the “one thing leads to another” law kicked in and as the sparkling morning sun shone through my newly cleaned kitchen windows the next morning, I noticed how dirty my pantry shelves were looking.  “Hmm” I thought, “maybe I should change that shelf liner and just straighten things up a bit…” 

 I had the kids clear everything out of the pantry.

No, I am not a hoarder…. or maybe I am?!
While it was all out I decided to call 2nd man and ask if he minded my painting the pantry since everything was out anyway.  He hesitated (something he’s learned to do through the years with me) then gave me the go ahead telling me to pace myself.  Then he brought up a conversation my mother had with him before we were married warning him that I overdid it sometimes.  Wah!??  Yea, go ahead and throw my mother in my face like that.  I thought it was a low blow.  Of course, in his defense he tends to remember the infamous time I asked him if I could take ugly wall paneling out of the bathroom of our first house.  It turned into a four-month project – for him.  Hey, he learned how to patch tape and mud wallboard, how to texture, how to cut and put up crown molding and a plethora of other useful handyman information.  Really, I think he should have thanked me, but I digress. 

 

 I decided on gray and yellow as the color scheme as it’s been piquing my interest for a couple of years now.  I chose Granite Dust from Val spar paints at my local Lowes store with a trim that was a beautiful shade of yellow, (but the sticker wasn’t put on the can so I forget the name) also from Val spar.

After a lot of taping and painting I was pleased, but not satisfied.  It still needed an extra kick.  So, off I went to Hobby Lobby for a stencil.

I’m not the greatest stencil artist, but I figured the pantry wouldn’t be too scrutinized, except maybe by 2nd man, who seemed to be laughing at me as I reached the point of exhaustion and frustration.  Time was running out, my kitchen was a mess and I had  paint all in my hair.  I do this every time I paint.  I could wear a swim cap and I’d still get it in my hair!

Thankfully, my kids were awed by my masterpiece and the girls wanted to help put things back together.  Especially my oldest, who loves things to be organized.  With their help, it wasn’t so bad.  Even our little man, Jarod said, “Wow Mom!  That looks beautiful!”

    
 However, the true sense of satisfaction came around 10:00 pm Saturday night, when 2nd man looked into the pantry and said the words I had been longing to hear, “Honey, I think it was worth it.  It really does look nice.”   Ahhhh sweet success.

Posted in Daily Musings

Will Somebody Hit the Pause Button?

      Ok, somebody please hit the pause button!  As spring progresses, it seems the time keeps speeding up.  Or am I the only one this is happening to?  I’m so excited for the changes coming as well as a plethora of other events that are happening in May and June, but whoa, it feels like it’s all coming fast! 

    We wrapped up the last “point night” of our Wednesday All-Stars program last night.  So today I’ve been updating all of the kids’ points to see whom the top 7 winners are.  We are planning on taking the top seven to L.A. this summer in July.  However, the top ten were so close in points I decided to go through the books and re-add the sheets from this past year to make sure there were no errors. After an hour of tallying I did find a few errors and the points have been tallied, but my lips are sealed on who the winners are until next Wednesday night and the big reveal. 

     So, with that done, I now need to finish up counting this endless bucket of dollar bills and coins for the candy bar fundraiser for camp, and get the teen account all in order to hand over to the new Youth Pastor.  Have I ever mentioned how I’m looking forward to handing that one over?  Oh, I have?  Well, here it is again. Yip, yip, yippee!

     The big wedding meeting of my helpers is coming up this Sunday, so I can show them the board of inspiration for Jonno and Esther’s wedding.  I’m so excited to see this all come together, and also nervous about it at the same time.  I truly want this day perfect for them. 

     Add on to that I have family coming in the same weekend of the wedding…Lots of family.  Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m so excited for them to come I can hardly contain myself, but I also know it’s going to take some planning on my part to be ready.  Does that get me a free end school early card?  I wish.  My kids are doing fine, It is I who desperately want this school year done already. 

     In the midst of all of this, I’m going to take the kids and stow-away on the church bus to camp.  From there my folks are going to come get us for a week.  Crazy, I know.  But somehow in the center of all of this swirling chaos of scheduling, I really need a break away and I think this is just the thing to do it.  When the going gets tough, the tough run to their mommy right?  Well, it should at least gets me out of the office for a few days, (the office being my house). 

      To top it all off, I must share this very weird moment I had recently.  I felt sheepish yet hopeful after watching Hoarders the other night on television.  Every now and then I put it on so I can get motivated to clean. (I’m not sure how I feel about this show since it seems a little circus sideshowish, in a pitiful kind of way)  However, on this episode, I noticed the psychologist talking this man through a panic attack as everyone was toting his stuff out to the dumpster.  As she talked him through it, his anxiety lessened and she was able to share that a panic attack only lasts an average of 25 minutes. “ Great googly moogly!” I thought to myself. “ I think that’s what I’ve been doing for like a month now.”  Not in regards to hoarding.  If anything I’m the opposite of a hoarder as I tend throw things out willy-nilly. However, I have these little episodes of looking at everything that needs done and going overboard with panic and negativism.  I am able to come out of it with prayer and scripture and a little 2nd man intervention, but um yea.  Did I just totally get help from a Hoarders show?  Sigh. 

       So today with a renewed spirit and mind, I’m tackling one little thing at a time.  This is our life.  We don’t plan things logically or spread out over time.  We like to jam it all into one month, maybe two.  It’s always been this way and we always have a good time.  So to that I say, BRING IT! But, to my friends and family I say hold on; a “little hoarder episode” may be coming on.  But never fear it will pass in 25 minutes or less…
Posted in Daily Musings, My Interests

Groupie Stalking…again

My girls and me with Ree Drummond.  She doesn’t look too scared does she?

     So my girls and I went groupie stalking the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, again.  Really, she was asking for it.  After all she puts out this great new cookbook and comes right into town to have a book signing.  I was one of the first at the bookstore that morning waiting to get my ticket.  Only problem was, there was no “official” line formed until about a dozen or so people started milling around.  Then, when the manager comes out and says “form a line!”  I got pushed around like I was in a pinball machine.  Ok, maybe that’s an exaggeration, it really wasn’t that bad.  I was actually surrounded by other crazy people like myself and we were all enjoying it.  I ended up with line ticket number 9, not too bad I think.  I like to do this so I can get up to her while she’s still fresh and not sick of all the people and giving out the obligatory answers to all of our silly questions. 

 Actually I had a purpose in going this time, it was also to drop a couple of names and ideas by her.  Is that tacky?  Duh, you don’t really have to answer…I already know.  Anyway, I reminded her of how we church ladies were gawking at her husband at the fireworks stand last summer and forgot to put their sparklers in the bag.  (By gawking I simply mean we were awestruck at his famousness, nothing lusty I promise)  I think I even stated that last line to her.  So I proposed that she come on back and bring the Food Network with her this time and we’ll set her up well if she’d give us a second chance.  I even offered to deliver.  She responded graciously and took my husbands card.  Which makes me wonder where that card will end up?   Probably at the bottom of her purse and she’ll find it and read the crazy note on the back and call the police and give them my husbands name or something telling them to keep us away from her.

 

 My second motive was to get my sis-in-laws recipe in her thoughts.  You see, Jessica is making up this fantastic recipe to enter into PW’s grilling contest.  The winner gets to take a friend and spend a day at the ranch and get on the show.  Jess and I don’t get to see each other very often and we’re both Food Network junkies so this is perfect! She is definitely the better cook and more creative of the two of us so I turned it over to her to do all of the work; I’d just tag along and gawk.   Now  if only I could get PW to see the beauty in all of this.  I explained this whole plan in 30 seconds or less feeling the pressure of the eyes of 200 other waiting fans behind me.  I’m not sure what she thought…probably back to the whole calling the police idea.
    At the end of our two minute or less conversation she was sweet to include hellos to my girls and have a quick home school- lots of things in common- kind of talk.  Maybe they won her over for me.  I guess I’ll find out come May 17th when the contest is over and winners announced! 

     Hey, before you click away thinking I’m too brash or goofy you don’t even know what I didn’t say.  Like how I was going to sneak in a contract for use of her lodge when family comes in this summer.  Do you think that would’ve been too pushy. ..?

Posted in Daily Musings, Life Lessons

Blessings in Disguise

Yesterday 2nd man was at the helm while Pastor was speaking in Tulsa.   So, today, I decided to give a synopsis of the message that he preached.  For those who were there, well, here’s “the rest of the story” as Andy Rooney used to say.  For starters I’ll go ahead and let you know he could have entitled the message “My Wife Needed This.”   However, being the sensitive man that he is, he entitled it instead, “Blessings in Disguise.”  You can hear the entire sermon from our church website www.cbcponca.org  

The gist of the sermon was to take notice that the blessings in our lives don’t always come in material, family, financial, or even enjoyable form (i.e. in obvious ways).  Sometimes it is the working through the tough times that can bring the greatest blessings in our Christian lives.  It is during those times that we grow the most and are tested and tried by the fire of the world to prove that wonderful Lord that reigns within us. 

 2nd man used Psalm 66, which is a Psalm of praise for the great works of God.  It starts like many Psalms and praises in the Old Testament with listing the great and mighty demonstrations of the power of God.  Yet, in verse 10 it takes an unexpected turn.  Praising God for trying them (the Israelites) as silver and laying affliction upon them.  2nd man also used Hebrews 11 as an example of this same kind of working of God.  Most of us are familiar with Hebrews 11 as the “Hall of Faith” listing some very popular and famous people from the Old Testament and how God worked mightily through them.  However, in verses 33-40 there are some pretty horrible things that happened to some who are unnamed to us, but blessed and honored by God nevertheless.

He even used some examples of famous people from American history as a great illustration (I think).  For instance, why do we know George Washington or Abraham Lincoln?  Well, of course, because they were presidents of our United States.  However, there are many presidents that I know nothing about except for maybe their name.  Yet, these two men were propelled to greatness because of the challenges they had to overcome during their presidencies. 

With this concept I am in total agreement theoretically, theologically, and philosophically.   I mean we’ve had hard times before.  Looking back over our nearly fifteen years of marriage, I can see how God has used some pretty hard times to strengthen both 2nd man and I in our Christianity and in our marriage.  The loss of three babies all at different stages and ages was pretty tough.  I remember crying out to God knowing full well that he had the power to save those babies, but he didn’t.  I remember walking down some dark paths after some of those experiences only to learn so much about how our God works.  I still don’t have a corner on Him, but I know He’s been so merciful to me.  I saw how God could use my husband as a source of encouragement and grow him by leaps and bounds as well, as he dealt with a difficult wife and sorrowful loss.  I also grew in compassion for those who are hurting around me in similar ways.  So much good came out of those losses that now, years later, I can say I wouldn’t trade them at all. 

2nd man mentioned at one point that we had experienced a bit of an overwhelming 2011.  I’ve listed a few of the items in previous blog posts but here are our unexpected financial woes of 2011 in list form (so you don’t really have to pay attention…just look at the length of the list)

  • Feb.- Medical test for 2nd man – $1200.00
  •  March – dental work for myself $1,600.00

                   Dental work for daughter #1 $350.00

Broken finger for daughter #2 $200.00+ (required a specialist because of the          growth plate)

  • April – Dishwasher broken –no fix = no $, but No fix = dishwashing by hand L

  • May –family in town J replacement of broken borrowed boat motor – $250.00 L
  • June – broken water pump or something like that on the “good car”  $120.00

                Car broken again L fixed by friend $28.00 J

  • July – orthodontics started for daughter #2  $1200.00

Gauges are out on “good car”

My car –well the fact that it still exists is really a miracle, no left turn signal, crack in windshield, leaky radiator, homeless man broke seat when he slept in it.  Funky smell emanating from the carpet (I think)…Cost = 0 we just live with it.

  • August – glasses needed for daughter #1 $200.00+
  • Nov. Quakenado damage!  Front tree had to be chopped (huge tree) – $400.00
  • Nov. washing machine broken

      Replacement of washing machine and dishwasher $780.00

  • Then the Piece de resistance (said with French accent), a bizarre, unexpected charge of $35,000.00!  I’m not able to give details on this one right now as we’re trying to appeal it.

 

So when the year of the worm (aka 2011) was upon us, I wasn’t scared.  I mean, we were just dealing with money right? This wasn’t moral ruin or a tragedy of some sort.   After a while it even became comical.  My post from June 2, 2011 entitled  “Best of Times Worst of Times” kind of shows you where I was in my mindset.  Of course, keep in mind that the year wasn’t quite over yet when that was written.  However, with each financial blow, 2nd man and I tried to respond with our heads bowed down and our confidence pointed up.  It meant we couldn’t have a vacation to Ohio that year.  A heartbreak for me, as I miss my family and enjoy those trips to see them.  I had to miss the adoption day of my new nephew and the funeral of my grandmother. We even had to cancel a family trip to Disney World for which we had been saving for two years and planning on taking in 2012.   That money had to be broken into to pay for the ever – multiplying crises that kept popping up. 

We’ve spent most of this past year encouraging each other in the Lord and trying to praise Him in these storms.  I can honestly say we’ve had confidence in his ever- present care and sovereign power.  But, (you knew this was coming didn’t you?) I finally had a little bit of a meltdown last week.  Yes, I know I’m not required to post these confessions, but I want to log it for myself to look back on when things have calmed.  Last week 2nd man and I went on a little date.  After dinner, with no money to spend, I suggested we just take a dream trip to Lowe’s.  I may be weird here, but my family knows that Lowe’s is my favorite store in town.  I enjoy just looking and dreaming. Usually 2nd man is good at entering into this with me.  That night he wasn’t.  It all came to a sudden end while looking at the countertops.  You see, the wonderful new dishwasher he bought me in November can’t be installed because the countertops in my house are ¾ inch shorter than normal.  That means we need to raise the countertops, which means we have to do something with the backsplash as well.  Mind you I wasn’t thinking granite…just the prefabricated granite looking laminate ones.  (We don’t live in a granite neighborhoodJ).    I’m not sure what spurred it but at some point 2nd man gave me a reality check of the fact that these dreams aren’t even on our radar right now.  To which I responded in full Proverbs 31 graciousness…NOT!  No, I regretfully bristled.  We got in the car and I let it all out.  The tears and fears that I had been letting creep into my thoughts came to full blows.  Oh, I wasn’t questioning God.  But I sure was on a slippery slope of wavering in my trust.  I lamented over all things money related down to why I ever even went to college since I’m now staying home but still paying for it.  When I was all done there was some silence.  I’m pretty sure 2nd man was considering which path to take; talk her off the ledge or just go hock the farm and buy those countertops.  As usual he was loving, responsive, and encouraging helping me rebuild my trust in the Lord and realize that we’re not through this storm yet.  We don’t know how it’s going to end, but whatever God asks of us we’re willing to do it for him.  He is right.  I mean there are some people who live their life on this earth with no countertop at all.  I’m stressing over the little junk that I usually don’t stress over. 

So as he left us in the sermon yesterday with a challenging question, I leave my blog today.  Am I willing for God to skip these blessings and forfeit any growth he has for me?  Or am I willing to go through it with Him and For His glory.  Honestly, the question did cause me some pause at first.  But truly, I don’t want to forfeit the growth and blessing He has in store for my family or for me…how about you?

Posted in Daily Musings, Parenting

Daddy’s Magic

We try to have “family night” at our house periodically.  Our schedule is so very busy (just like most people these days).  Evenings where we have nothing planned come few and far between, so we try to make these evening memorable for our kiddos.  Some are more memorable than others by either watching a movie together, to playing putt putt golf or going fishing.  However, last night Daddy (a.k.a. 2nd Man) made it really memorable for the kids by making it a magic night.

            Years ago, before we even had kids, 2nd man had included some magic tricks into his repertoire for teens and Bible schools.  For those who are sensitive to the topic you can also use the term “illusions”  (disclaimer: no dark magic or satanic technique was used in performing any of these tricks.)     He hasn’t used them in quite some time as you don’t want to overdue the tricks or perform them more than once for an audience, especially an audience of kids trying to figure out the trick. 

            So, last night I suggested that 2nd man do some of his old tricks for our kids. He decided to do three of his favorites.  For Mr. Jarod man he started with a table trick.  He began by telling Jarod that he was going to actually use the saltshaker to pound some money through the table.   Our daughter, Megan provided the coins in question, which was a concern for Jarod.  Before anything was done he had to express to dad, “Dad, will you promise to pay Megan back for the money she provided?” 

Then he began to ask for “magic words” to make the trick work.

None of them seemed to work.

Then he “remembered” that it was the saltshaker that was supposed to go through the table.  He pounded on the napkin covered saltshaker and it went through the table!

Jarod was impressed…

…And intrigued.

Next, Daddy poured some salt into his fist

And it disappeared….

…No wait…it reappeared!

Then came the piece de resistance…the floating money

2nd man started by working up the static on Megan’s hair

Then he worked it…

…and worked it…

and wala!  Floating money!

 

The kids were duly impressed.  As were we when we first learned this trick. 2nd man actually learned it off of an old college friend whose spirituality we questioned when he performed this one for us.  Thankfully he appeased our fears and now it has worked wonders with our children.   Perhaps we’ll keep them wondering about Daddy for a while and use this power for good in obedience enforcement tactics. 

Or maybe we’ll just enjoy their expressions of awe for a while.

Posted in Daily Musings, My Interests

Scoopin The Poo

            What a delightful interruption we had Monday evening at our house!  A mysterious ring at the doorbell about 7:45 brought two daughters of a friend of mine announcing they had “poop for Miss Jenny.”   I was so excited as my family stared at me in a strange dumbfounded way.  On the curb of our driveway they left me four yard bags filled with chicken droppings for my garden!  Yea me!  No seriously…Yea me!  What you’re not feelin the love here either? 

            To their defense, I had asked for the poo a few weeks before.  We had such a terrible gardening year last year and this time of year always gets me eager to start again.  I had heard from another friend of mine that chicken poo is great fertilizer in the vegetable garden, so I thought I’d give it a try. (2nd man still hasn’t caved on the issue of building me a chicken coop and buying chickens…but I’m still working on him. Look at the one I found on pinterest.) 
picture via www.HeatherBullard.typepad.com

        To my eager surprise as well, yesterday turned out to be in the 60s outside!   I put my kids to work on their schoolwork, and gave the older two assignements to work on with their brother and I put on my scrubbies and headed out to the back forty (forty feet in my case).  

I haven’t had tremendous success with the whole composting thing yet.  Mostly, it’s my fault.  With all the dryness and the type of compost bin we have, I haven’t been vigilant in watering and turning.  Last year, though we did, surprisingly get a good wheelbarrow full of the black gold.  This was a surprise since we had to fight the city over it.  In late fall the year before I had moved the bin back behind my mother-in-law’s cottage to the ally side hoping to get more sunlight in the winter.  It wasn’t near my trash area, however the trash men took it anyway.  Even more perplexing, they took all of the compost inside!  I was amazed.  I’m pretty sure that if I had asked them to scoop my compost by hand they would have abruptly refused.  Yet there it was, the empty spot where I had put my compost bin.  I called the department of waste management.  They sent two guys out to tell me that I had placed it on an easement and it was fair game, but they did yell at the trash truck guys about it.  What?!  I didn’t want heads on a platter; I just wanted my compost bin back.  After a series of phone calls 2nd man took over and called saying that he’d like the city to at least pay half for the new bin. We’d admit our mistake if maybe they could admit theirs too.  We’ll the guy finally caved and said it was easier for them to just buy us a new one so a new one I got.

Anyway, my mom had warned me that the nitrogen in chicken poo can burn the plants already in the ground so I thought I’d empty the compost bin and restack it with layers of poo. 

So, out came the pitchfork, glasses and gloves and mask (yes, chicken poo can be toxic to lungs nasal passages and eyes.

I was giddy with domestic bliss!

 

Wasn’t this poo beautiful?  My friend was nice enough to give me some that had been partially composted already…bless her!

So now, I’m going to be diligent about turning it and making sure it’s moist and hot. I might add here that never…ever in my growing up years did I think I’d say something like that previous line about chicken poo.  Amazing what comes with age isn’t it?  But I digress…Bring on spring!
Posted in Associate/Youth Pastor's Wife, Daily Musings, Life Lessons

While the Pastor’s Away…

            While our Pastor and his wife were away (no I didn’t get to play) I got the honor and privilege of teaching the ladies Sunday school class.  Originally, she asked me to cover the two weeks while they were out of town.  However, in some moment of madness I offered to her that I’d teach for the whole month if she’d like.  That way she gets a little bit of a sabbatical like he does.  Which led me, after this first week, to ask…. what was I thinking?  I was all, “ yeah, I can take the whole month, cuz I got this book that I’ve been wanting to share.”  (Said in a high confident kind of voice).  Now, I’m like “Whaaa?”

            You see, the plain fact of the matter is…I’m a thief.   I’m on the decorating committee, not because I’m creative, but it somehow rationalizes my time spent on www.pinterest.com looking at all of the creative things other people have come up with.  I teach, not because I’m a great discerner of biblical messages, but I get excited when I read what others have discerned and I want to share it with people.  This gets me into trouble, as my relating capabilities are hindered by my excitement sometimes.  That’s what happened this morning.

            The book I chose to outline through this month was, Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets them free by Nancy Leigh Demoss.  Frankly, I’m sure the ladies class questions my groupiness with Ms. Demoss. I use her books practically every time I get a chance to fill in for this class.  I don’t apologize; I really think she has a knack for discerning the word of God in practical ways for ladies.  Anyway, I’ve had this book for almost 10 years, but it’s a hard one to go over in just one class, so I honestly thought it was a good time to use it since I have four classes to stretch it into.  Looks like I’m still gonna be in trouble

            The first week I walked in all ready to go. I was workin my high heal boots and denim jacket; I even painted my nails to feel really put together.  (That’s right; start out with the vanity a really godly way to start the day huh?) Actually, the reason I pay attention to this goes back to when I was student teaching high school and it took until third period for any of my students to let me know my shirt was unbuttoned!  Since then, I try to make sure I don’t have anything too distracting going on.  My motto is look nice, don’t be self-conscious and don’t distract.  That’s about the best that lesson got.

            I don’t sing anymore in front of this class after a time of severe embarrassment in relation to singing.  I once was teaching a lesson on the Holy Spirit.  I had spent the entire week excited and revived and was soooo looking forward to sharing what I’d learned.  I thought it would be the perfect time to sing “There’s a sweet sweet spirit in this place…” I warned the ladies that I wasn’t a good singer so that they’d join in all the more.  Unfortunately just the opposite happened.  It was more like a solo rendition on my part which quite frankly quenched the Holy Spirit before I even got into the lesson.  So, now when I fill in it’s right to the lesson we go.

            Well, I tried to cram too much into one lesson.  I had already cut a lot out, due to time constraints, but realized I’d have to do more in the future.  The ladies class meets in the sanctuary so I knew I’d have to cut it short so people could file in for main service. When I finally got near the end and to my two favorite points, I was in rush mode.  At one point I looked back to see what seemed like a sea of faces smashed up against the glass that flanks the back of the sanctuary doors.  It kind of made me giggle to see all of the noses pressed up against the glass.  I guess they were hinting that I was going too long.  I wrapped it up and dismissed with an awkward, “well…you’re dismissed” no prayer or anything.  The usher at the back door let me know the protocol for looking at the back window and knowing that he would give me a 5-minute warning. I was glad he filled me in.

            The next two weeks were ok, but being out of practice with teaching, I left out a lot of things that I had wished I was able to say better.  Today I am putting the finishing touches on tomorrow’s lesson, the last lesson of the month.  I have already typed out my outline, but I’m sure praying that I’m able to put on the personal touches and illustrations that might make it meaningful or at the very least, understandable to the ladies.  The fact is, I’m a little bit glad it’s over.  Oh, I actually enjoy the teaching aspect, it’s the learning that goes along with it I don’t like.  Here I am trying to teach about Satan and his deceptive lies and I’ve had nothing but a month in full out battle with him over lies he’s been whispering to me.  Ughhh!  Of course the end of teaching a series doesn’t exactly mean he’ll let up, but I’m so exhausted from it all right now. 

            To top it off my personal devotions have been in Ezekiel lately.  I mean, have you ever really read that book and thought about Ezekiel the man?  The things the Lord had him do were outrageous (in my meager opinion)! Cook bread over a fire made from poo!  Lay on his side every day for like 300+ days!  The Lord even let him know that He was going to take his wife’s life as an example to the Israelites and Ezekiel was no allowed to openly mourn her!  Doesn’t exactly sell ya on the desire to be a prophet does it?  Of course I’m not trying to say I’m anywhere near to being a prophet or anything, but I do take sharing even a ladies Sunday school lesson important, because I’m trying to represent the Lord and His message.  I haven’t experienced near the outlandish requirements of Ezekiel and I’m exhausted.  Let’s just say my respect for these prophets of old went up a hundred fold as well as my respect for our pastor and my own husband.  2nd man loves these times.  Oh, he doesn’t like to see me struggle, but he does appreciate the fresh perspective it gives me for the men of God and what they go through.  And hey, the ladies that teach ladies too!  Welcome back Miss Brenda!