Posted in Daily Musings, Life Lessons, Marriage

Progress

     Isn’t nice to see progress? I was recently talking with a friend who is getting married. She was feeling the pressure of wedding plans and jitters of getting married. One of the things she said that struck me as interesting and poignant was that she wants to be a great wife. No not a learning wife, but a great wife…right out of the starting blocks…no lessons learned…just great. My first reaction was laughter (inside of course) with the memories of all the mess-ups I’ve had in the past fourteen years of marriage. But then, I thought to myself, “what was I thinking when I first got married?” Probably pretty close to the same thing. I understand her thinking really. She doesn’t want to be the cause of problems that they may/will have to work through.
Don’t we all feel that way about various aspects of our life? I know I have visions of what I want to be, you know, Proverbs 31ish and all. I’d like to be a great bargain grocery shopper, a great gardener who cans her veggies and has a yard that is magazine worthy, a baker who bakes homemade bread, a super teacher to my children, an energetic and upbeat wife for my husband, a frugal furniture refinisher, decorator who has a Pottery Barn look to her house.
Instead, reality keeps slapping me. We all know about my grotesque tree mess in the front yard that I wrote about in a recent post called Timber!!!
Then, there’s the bread machine I bought on Ebay. I’ve been making bread for over a week now trying to come up with a healthy and yummy recipe so I can stop buying so much bread. Oh, yes the whole garden thing was a wash this past year due to the horrible drought and 100 degree temps we had all summer. And lately my house seems to be a pit every time I turn around. I started dishes at 8am yesterday and finished at 4:30 if that tells you anything. Yes, then there’s the fact that daughter #2 had a meltdown last night because she didn’t get all of her schoolwork finished yesterday due to goofing off while I had to be out running errands. And finally, (but I’m sure not the last) there’s the little problem of our son, who keeps getting scared and coming into our room…every night for the past 4 months!
Well, obviously I didn’t share all of these precious tidbits with my soon to be married friend. However, I have been mulling them over and have come to the conclusion that I need to focus on the progress. I may not be wife, mother, friend, and teacher of the year anytime soon, but I have accomplished some little things along the way: like the bread I made today was pretty yummy. Doesn’t yet qualify for super healthy yet, but…its progress. I sat down last night and created an excel schedule for my children, so they can be sure to get their necessities done, even while I’m away. (I’ve always struggled with this one myself, because I’m a spontaneous kind of person –schedules stress me out.)
The dishes did get done…yesterday. There’s more in there now, but hey –progress right? Not too bad until I get a new dishwasher.

I grabbed some branches out of our huge pile out front yesterday…gonna make wedding branches with glitter paint and crystals.

Then there’s this. What a beautiful sight.

Little man slept all night in his room.
Ah progress

I tried to give my friend words of encouragement about her impending nuptials and new life. I don’t know if I convinced her, but I at least convinced myself that progress is the way to go…not accomplishment. After all, I’ll end with a bad cliché, but “A woman’s work is never done.” Even the Proverbs 31 woman.

Posted in Daily Musings

Pinterest Interest

Are these not the cutest things ever?!
Ok, it’s confession time.  I have an addiction…Oh yea it’s www.pinterest.com .  I just can’t stop looking at it.  I log on and think, “Oh just five minutes while the kids get ready for bed.”  Sixty minutes later my children are begging, “Mom, are you coming to kiss us?  We need to have bedtime devotions.  Dad, can you get her off of there?”   Then, I wonder, what cool thing I’ll miss if I walk away. Maybe the ship I’ve been waiting for is just another scroll down.  I’m pretty sure I’m gonna need an intervention.
 But the cupcakes were just too cute to pass up
and look at this cool hurricane lamp I made from the lady that stole an idea from Williams Sonoma and remade it from dollar store items. 
 I made two for $12.00 total! 
Admittedly, not everything I pin is feasable.  I’m still trying to convince 2nd man to build me the chicken house I saw and make the garden path I pinned.  The problem is the rest of my friends are just as addicted as I am.  We had a yearly planning meeting for our church decorating committee.  Instead of bringing magazine cutouts or legal pads to write on, we all brought laptops and pulled up our pinterest boards. 
It’s a virtual playground for me.  I’m a chief thief for crafty things like this.  I, unfortunately am not creative in and of myself, but I can steal ideas like no other.  Somebody stop me!  No wait; just give me five more minutes…
Posted in Associate/Youth Pastor's Wife, Daily Musings, Life Lessons

Edmond Ladies Retreat 2011

My beautiful pastor’s wife Brenda

Went to a ladies’ retreat this past weekend with our church in Oklahoma City.  Quite honestly, it was the last thing I wanted to do this weekend.  I usually have a pretty good time on these retreats, but life is busy right now, and I just didn’t want to go.  It’s been so busy, that my time with God has suffered greatly.  It’s been either rushed or pushed off altogether, which then results in the rest of the areas of my life suffering like my patience, my efficiency, my compassion and my ability to just be nice.  Knowing all of this, I wasn’t looking forward to having to be nice to a bunch of ladies who either think I have answers to their questions or they have fun picking on me.  I also didn’t want to hear from speakers who would tell me what I already know is wrong with me and make me feel even worse.  How’s that for a good attitude?  Sounds like I need a little cheese to go with that whine. 
            I went anyway.  After all, our own pastor’s wife was one of the keynote speakers and I needed to support her. (Actually, I really love to hear her speak so that part wasn’t hard.)  Of course I got just what I needed.  God’s so good about that.  He even used all the speakers to tie in and make his point.  And it wasn’t even really the theme of the event that he was speaking to me about. 
            I might as well be transparent here, it’s not like this blog is one of those “how to” kind of blogs.  It’s more like a “why can’t I…?”  kind of blog.  One of my biggest head battles is that of worth, but not necessarily in the usual way.  I’m not like suicidal, nobody loves me or anything.  It’s more like I wear so many hats (as do all women).  But I don’t have a specialty hat.  I want so desperately to be used of God with my life…I mean desperately.  I don’t need it in a famous kind of way.  Just a way that I can hang my own private hat on knowing I’m doing exactly what God wants me to do in a manner in which is should be done.  But, when I examine the hats I wear, I struggle to find even one that I’m good at for Him.  I get food on the table for my family, but I’m not a very good cook.  I clean my house everyday, but I struggle constantly with keeping it clean and organized.  I home school my kids, but (chuckle chuckle) I’m far from starting a “how to blog” on that one.  I’m a youth pastor’s wife…really struggle with being any good there.  Don’t sing, don’t play piano..blah blah blah, I could go on.  Quite frankly if I ever did write a book I think I’d call it The Art of Self Deprication.
            So, with all of that said you can now understand the mind frame I was in as I went to the retreat.  First up was our own Pastor’s wife.  She really did a great job.  Sharing her passion for wanting to really know God.  Something I also desperately want.  In my life it looks like this.  I push through a crowd of life junk to try to catch a glimpse of him.  Sometimes I even push forward and catch a tug of the hem of is robe.  I have a time of awe and thanks. Then, when I’m just expecting him to turn to me and tell me what he wants of me…he walks on.  Anyway, she shared some alarming trials in her life that have brought her closer to God.  Then, at the end of speaking she sang a song in honor of her mother (also a pastor’s wife and a speaker at this event) for the godly example she provided.  It was precious.  My pastor’s wife can do this amazing thing of crying and singing at the same time that just pierces your heart.  I wondered as she sang if either of my daughters could or would ever be able to sing such a song to me.  Oh we “do right” in our house.  But would my grumpy failing side be more of what they remember or the times of living victoriously?   What kind of memories am I building?  I mean, here I was at a retreat on my oldest daughter’s birthday!  (I did celebrate with her earlier in the week, but still…)
My pastor’s wife’s sister – a.k.a. Theresa
            The next morning, our pastor’s wife’s sister spoke (follow that?)  She too was married to a pastor who just suddenly and unexpectedly passed away last year.  She has a testimony of handling the whole thing just beautifully, leaning into God and his comfort through scriptures the whole time.  I had heard her give this testimony a few months ago, but I was so enthralled with her encouragement to find encouragement through the scriptures.  That’s what I wanted.  Scripture to tell me I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing.  To give me the affirmation that I’m not just somehow touching everything and making it rot for the cause of Christ.
 Wouldn’t ya know that he gave me that in the very last speaker of the day’s message.   The theme of the whole event was “The making of an instrument” which is ironic, because I’m not a musician at all.  Of all the speakers tying this theme in, this one really did.  Showing how we as Christians can be just like an instrument made by and worthy of being used by God.  It was only in one little point of her whole message though that I found the hope I was looking for.  She shared how we are all unique instruments.  That even in an orchestra you can have multiple violins, but each violin is different..there are no two alike.  I know very elementary stuff huh?  But it was the scripture she used that really caught my attention:
The ladies God used last weekend

1 Corinthians 15:10a  But by the Grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain;   Wow, it his problem not mine!  Don’t get me wrong here.  All I mean by that is that it was He who sought me out and graciously chose to save my soul. He has a purpose and He knows who and what I am.  So it is He that worketh in Me.  No matter how dismal my abilities look in my own sight.  I can do all things through Christ…  I realize this is no new revelation or anything, but it sure jumped out at me just when I needed it.  
Posted in Daily Musings, Healthy Living, Life Lessons

Finishing the Race

Surprise!  I’m still alive!  Yes, I haven’t written in a very long while. What, you want excuses?  Hmmmm.  I don’t think I have any good ones, just melancholy head cloudiness going on.  It seemed to set in right after finishing the big 5K race.  Yep, 2nd man and I with the extra gracious help of the Lord ran and finished our first 5K race.  Upon finishing I felt, exhilaration, a great sense of accomplishment, humbleness, all on top of pain and gasping.  Here’s how the whole thing went down.
            I’ll begin with the fact that for over a month now I’ve been suffering from insomnia something terrible.  I don’t know why, I don’t have any unusual stress (outside of training) going on and I’m not depressed so I don’t know…hormones or something maybe.  Anyway, mistake #1 was that 2nd man and I got a run in on Friday before the race. Found out on race day that that wasn’t such a good idea.  Mistake #2 was that I went to bed early Friday night in the same room as 2nd man.  Of course I do this every night, but 2nd man harbors a deep dark secret…well not really, but he does occasionally sleepwalk.  Of course he did that night, of all nights, which awoke my insomniac self with adrenaline rushing through my system.  Arghhhh!  So off to the living room I went to try and bore myself to sleep via late night infomercials.  That’s not a good idea either.  I almost bought a steam mop, a bra, and an “everything” tool for 2nd man.  Thankfully the pocketbook is empty.
            Saturday came and I found out why it’s probably a good idea to run those races that take place in the morning.  I was so jacked up on adrenaline from nerves that my teeth were chattering.  I hadn’t had that happen since I gave birth to my last child.  2nd man likes to call it my Katherine Hepburn look when she shakingly says’, “you’re my knight in shining armor.”  (Not sure what movie that’s from just heard it somewhere.).   Anyway, I was just a bundle of nerves.  I wasn’t sure what a race would be like.  Would everyone be a pro at this?  Would there only be like 12 people even in the race or would I be able to blend in with the masses?  Then of course my worst case scenario thoughts kept plaguing me like coming in so far last that the police would be like, “lady are you coming soon?  We need to open the road back up.”  I wasn’t in it to win of course, but I didn’t want to be totally last either.  My mother-in-law (who is normally a fantastic and wonderfully godly woman) cheered me up by pointing out that these thoughts were prideful…sigh.  Now I was full of nerves and guilt! 
            Thankfully, I had booked a few things into the schedule that day like lunch with friends who were in from out of town and a baby shower too.  I had to inform my kids that they’d have to get themselves prepped for Sunday on their own.  I normally walk them through picking out their clothing and getting their stuff all together like offering, Bibles and Sunday school homework on Saturday.  However, I was useless in any area of practicality for the day.  I even went to the local grocery store to take my blood pressure because of a fantastic headache I was harboring.  Sure enough it was pretty high.  So with all of these conditions and the fact that I’m used to running in the crisp morning air, I learned that the next race will be a morning one.
            However, we did make it to the race.  We had our pastor and his wife come to sit with our kids and watch.  Thankfully, there were a lot of people there and they were all very friendly.  I had read several places that runners have a friendly camaraderie about them, but I just wasn’t sure about our town.  Thankfully it was true.  The vibe in the parking lot was so much fun to be around.  There were all levels of people there.  We were specifically impressed with three lanky young men who were practicing in the field next to us, running like gazelles to warm up. I run very hard, heavy and frenetic.  These guys looked like feathers floating across the horizon…amazing.  There were those in their gear that looked like the ads for athletic footwear, there were chunky ones like me and then there was a pregnant woman.  I figured I could at least beat her.  She looked like an avid runner who was maybe 8 months pregnant or so. 
            When we lined up in the roadway, the organizers announced that people running for best time should move to the front, 2nd man and I sheepishly and slowly started backing up.  Then, in true Oklahoma fashion they started the race, not with a pistol, but a shotgun.  After all of our hearts started beating again, the race began.  I put my I pod on and focused in.  I was pretty amped and feeling good until about three minutes in, the pregnant lady passed us never to be seen again until after we crossed the finish line…way behind her.  Oh well.
            2nd man was great through the whole thing encouraging me along the way.  A few minutes in, people sort of separated into packs of like fitness levels.  2nd man would shout out to me over his headphones, “your looking great babe! We’ve got this!” to which a lady running near us shouted back, “thanks!” 
Although we’ve run together dozens of times in the mornings, for some reason all of the excitement must have worn me out.  That was the toughest run yet.  Even 2nd man said it was tough.  I wasn’t sure I’d finish until I actually did.  I mean, even like 20 yards away, I was actually unsure I would make it.  You know how people have pictures of crossing the finish lines with big smiles and hands held high?  Not mine, nope, I looked like I had just been tortured.  And Nope, I’m not posting that picture online for anything.  I couldn’t even hold the water bottle someone handed out to me.  I threw my I pod and sunglasses on the grass and took a good 5 minutes to catch my breath.  Then I felt like crying.  I don’t know why, I was happy, but also I was so thankful that God helped me finish…and not last, I might add.  We were somewhere in the last half, but not last.  We finished in just over 37 minutes, which was really good for me, having not ever been a runner until 10 weeks before this race.  I’m sure 2nd man could have blown that time out of the water, but he was my coach and encourager and stayed with me the whole way. 
            The whole thing was a very spiritual moment for me.  I don’t mean that in a hokey kind of way.  But finishing this race wasn’t going to be any world changing event, but God cared enough about me that even in my simple small requests, he took the time to listen and acknowledge me.  I appreciate and am humbled by that thought.  I’ve felt throughout the whole training process that it was just full of spiritual symbolism with our Christian race.  The times when your body is shouting at you just quit, it doesn’t matter, but you have to push through anyway.  Then there’s the whole idea of finishing whether it affects anyone else’s life or not.  Even down to the lady at the end of the race who was in our little “pack” that said, “you two encouraged me the whole way.” And we didn’t even realize it.  I can only hope I would live my Christian walk the same way…no…even better and stronger.
            In the days since the race, the perfectionist melancholy in me has been down in the valley.  The high I got from that race didn’t last very long and I still struggle when 2nd man and I go out for a run.  I haven’t lost weight through this whole process and wonder if I’ll ever really feel like a runner.  The mountaintop didn’t last long, but it was enough encouragement to help me push through this valley and keep going.  Part of that is truly why I haven’t been able to even sit and write about it.  God is good all the time, on the mountain and in the valley he’s there with me just like 2nd man encouraging me and saying, “Keep going, we’ve got this!”  Even though he could move on without slow learning me.  So, a grunting onward I go.
Posted in Daily Musings, Life Lessons

All Hat and No Cowboy

            2nd man preached last night at our church.  His topic was “Being Authentic” or as we say around these part, “keeping it real.”  This topic haunts and plagues me.  I’ve said it before, but people have accused me in the past of not being “real.”  Which totally sends me into a panic of thoughts like, “this is all there is. If this version of real isn’t pleasing you I’m sorry, but that’s all I’ve got.”  The other argument I’ve had (in my head) about this is that sometimes the “real” me is so ugly that I ought not to say those thoughts out loud.  To which 2nd man argued back in his sermon that the goal is for me to get my thought life in line with that which is on the outward so that outward and inward match up (preferably both to the Bible) ala the real Christian.   The whole sermon made me wonder if he was in my head the other day listening in as I was pondering this very topic while I was out weeding the garden?
            Anyway, while he was preaching he used this phrase that just cracked me up and has just stayed with me ever since.  He asked the question, “Are you all hat and no cowboy?”  Pretty catchy isn’t it?  So that led me to thinking about this 5k race coming up Saturday. (Lets face it I haven’t thought about much else lately…at least I’m focused.)  Which lead me to thinking about how I had to run by myself this past Saturday, and, well, it wasn’t that great of a run.
            2nd man was out of town at a men’s retreat and I wanted to impress him, so I headed down to the local YMCA to run their path. (This path is the one where the little rude worker girl told me the race would take place after questioning that I was going to try to run it, to which I just today found out that it’s the wrong path anyway and the race is held on the streets around the area.  But I digress snort snort arghhh.)  Well, I didn’t do very well.  My leg went numb a couple of times and I had to stop and walk.  Then, with only a quarter of a mile left, I came upon a spider the size of my hand (granted I have little hands).  That sent me into some kind of funky dancing and screaming.  It totally spun me out of energy and I had to walk the final part of the lap.  Thankfully, nobody saw me…I hope.
            I’ll be honest; it kind of crushed my confidence.  I’m now scared to death to run this race. Scared of coming in last, or not coming in at all.  Wondering if I’m all hat and no cowboy.  2nd man took me to lunch today to our favorite sandwich shop downtown.  This is how pent up and nervous I’ve become.  After we ordered our sandwiches we were walking to find a booth and I suddenly had a panicked feeling come over me that I’d forgotten to change from my house socks to shoes!  Here I was walking all confidently and suddenly wanted to hide.  I sheepishly looked down to my feet and to my relief; there were my brown sandals.  Whew! 
            After lunch we went to the Y and picked up a brochure showing us the exact route of the run.  2nd man is going to run the route with me tomorrow so I can get this stinkin thinkin out of my head. 
            As for the rest of the “real” me, well, I’m still working on that.  I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to be completely and unapologetically authentic.  If I can silence the critical spirit inside and work on my love, perhaps I can lovingly speak freely.  Until then, I’ll be guarding my words as I work on my heart. There’s definitely room for more cowgirl under this hat.  
Posted in Daily Musings, Healthy Living, Life Lessons Disciplines of the Faith, My Interests

I’m a Runner not a Singer

            The woman in this photo is not me.  Oh I wish I were that cute.  The man isn’t 2nd man either.  I like 2nd man the way he is though…I don’t want this guy.  Anyway, I just had to find a picture for today’s post.  It’s about running –in case you didn’t guess. 
Yes, in my never-ending quest to get healthy and look kinda cute too, we’ve taken up running.  We’re now in week 6 of the 9 week Couch potato to 5K running plan.  (I mentioned it in a previous post last week sometime.)   Anyway, I’m starting to get past the “What am I doing out here?” stage and moving into the excited, “I think I can” stage.  It feels good to be accomplishing something.  Especially since my running partner is a foot taller than I am and running brings on all sorts of heat rashes that they just don’t talk about on those biggest loser shows. 
I’ve been trying, unsuccessfully, for about 10 years now to lose weight.  Everyone in my family is unhealthy and quite frankly, I’m scared to death to end up that way.  However, I’m beginning to wonder what my body’s deal is anyway.  The more I try – the unhealthier I get.  Since starting P90X and incorporating clean eating, I’ve now gained 10 lbs in the past year and my cholesterol has gone up.  So you might understand that I need to set goals that lead to other things than health and weight loss.  We’re on our way to doing this 5K in just four short weeks.  Then I can go around saying things like, “yeah, I’m a runner.”  Or “In my last 5k…”  I’ll let ya know if I make it.
This is not me either.  It’s my beautiful first born, Katie.  She can sing, so can my other daughter too.  I’m not sure where they got it, certainly not me.   However, I almost got my big chance last night.  Our new song leader, Jose approached me to inquire if I was a singer.  (Jose is an exciting new addition to the church staff.  I first heard him sing last winter at a youth retreat.  I could listen to him all day, such a beautiful and soothing voice.  He hails from West Coast Baptist Bible College and Lancaster Baptist church in Lancaster, CA.  I never thought he’d come to the middle of, well, here to be a song leader, But God is good and we got him!  And I just love to say his name, don’t know why, it just has such and exotic and fun feel to it.) Anyway, I hesitated for a few awkward moments trying to figure out how to answer him.    I finally went with the honest answer and told him no.  Our last song leader always said he’d save me a spot to sing on Thursdays of revival weeks.  That would be great except our revivals generally run Sunday through Wednesday.  Instead, I call myself an appreciator.  Society needs artists, singers and creative minds.  Those great minds need an audience, someone to appreciate them.  That’s where I fall in, as an appreciator.  It’s a non-glamorous job, but I try to do my part. 
Posted in Daily Musings

On the Hunt

I can’t talk long today; I’m on the hunt.  Somehow, I’ve managed to lose three, somewhat, important items in one week’s time.  I lost my daughter’s camera (which I borrowed on our last youth retreat), one disc from my husband’s book on CD from the library and a Netflix video still in its envelope.  I decided after a night of restless sleep that the hunt took precedence over school today, so the kids are on their own.  I know that we’re told in Philippians to be anxious for nothing.  But, I wonder what the true meaning of anxious is and how is that supposed to play out.  I mean, none of these items is life or death, however, my brain just would not shut off last night, wondering where they could possibly be.  I was praying so hard about it, I was certain that the Lord wanted me to stop already. 
However, I just love how he spoils me and reassures me that he does care, even about the little frustrations in life.  Upon waking this morning, I went and scoured through my car in my pajamas.  Sure enough, I found my daughters camera.  Still not sure whose fault that one was.  I was pretty certain I had returned it to her after we got back home, but at this point…who cares!  It’s found, it’s safe, catastrophe averted.
The rest of this morning, I’ve been turning our bedroom upside down.  Boy, it got dusty in there over the summer..ack, cough, gag!   It was sure nice to find a check that was given to the 2nd man last summer as a gift – and never cashed.  Yes, that’s right the summer of 2010! arghhhhh!  Oh well, the hunt must continue. No diversions, no quitting.
Stay focused girl.
            Finally, I decided to check out our dvd player for any misplaced discs, since my hunt had also led me to organizing all of our movies and music cds.  (I declare we are the worst family with taking care of discs!  I mean all five of us.  There’s not a one of us that puts a disc back in the right place after using it.)  When, all of a sudden, Land-O-Goshen!!! I found the missing library book disc!! Woo hoo!! Two items down and one to go.
            Now, I’m going to quit this rant and get the rest of my lunch down so I can continue the hunt.  Last disc on the list…. the Netflix movie.  It must be here somewhere. Hmmmm. If I can’t find it we may be purchasing the disc.  On the bright side, we will now have one very clean house and car…and I may get some sleep tonight.
Posted in Associate/Youth Pastor's Wife, Daily Musings, Teens

Fireworks

All I can say to the fact that I spent three 16-hour days selling fireworks this weekend is…. OUCH!  Who knew a body could hurt this much!  I think I aged like 40 years or something.  Yes, another one of 2nd mans projects strikes again.  Actually, this is one of the best fundraisers to fall into our lap in all the years we’ve been here with this youth department.  I remember, early on in our ministry we ran a concession stand at various events.  Simply said, it was the bane of our existence.  2nd man and I both had worked in the food industry as teens and didn’t particularly like working in it as adults; the planning and prepping, the heat, the crowds and kids, the heat.  Oh my soul, I remember one year being pregnant and working that dumb stand in 100 degree temperatures at a motor cross and a county fair.  I wished for death to come quickly, but alas it never came.   
We actually don’t know who Jake is.  I don’t think there is a Jake, other than a neighborhood dog who kept hanging out around the building.  We felt it only appropriate to name him Jake.
            After that we sold candy bars and all that other fundraising “fun” stuff.  Then a few years ago a fireworks company contacted 2nd man and offered our group first dibs at running their business near our new church building.  The numbers they threw at us were unbelievable and 2nd man was hesitant to jump into another hot, under a tent, kind of fundraiser.  So we had our pastor’s son run it for us the first year.  Since then I’m amazed every year at the amount of money people spend on the 4th of July.  The tent thing went so well that the company built an air-conditioned warehouse just down the street from our church and now, that is what we do for 2-3 weeks every June/July. 
            Honestly, I’m soooo thankful for the air conditioning, this year especially. We’re in extreme drought out here and the temps haven’t been less than 100 degrees in several weeks.  I feel so horrible every time I drive by the poor groups that are running fireworks stands in the little wooden box huts or the tents.  I know they hate us, and probably don’t believe me, but I really do feel bad for them.  It’s no easy task to run the biggest fireworks place in town though and 2nd man just makes it first class all the way.  Scheduling teenagers and what parents would step up is a bit of a logistical nightmare.  2nd man made a plea to our parents and the rest of the church for help, but I think they read that as “if you’d like to help us we will use you.” Instead of  “Help!! Help!! Help!! And please more Help!”  Oh well, the kids did a great job and the parents who did step up were blessings beyond belief.  
This is 2nd man and some other volunteers setting up the giant dragon out front. Or was he driving him???
This was the calm before the storm
I think everyone in town came to our place at least once in the past couple of weeks.   Why, even the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond’s husband came in on Monday morning.  Not sure if I want to address this or not.  I, well, I, Ok as 2nd man would put it, I locked up.  I knew he looked familiar and his kids looked familiar too.  Then when one of the other ladies turned and mentioned who he was, well…I locked up.  The gawking had to be noticeable.  Then 10 minutes after he left we realized that he left (ok we forgot to put it in his box) a couple packages of giant sparklers.  I immediately went into “how can I meet her” mode.  I jumped on the Internet and sent out an email to the Pioneer Woman offering ways to get these items out to her.  I was willing to drive the 45 minutes out into the country to deliver these $2.00 items if she really wanted me to.  Well, no response came.  Alas, my dreams were dashed and instead I spent the next ten hours running a cash register. 
2nd man does make it fun though.  He puts on fun patriotic type music (ok it’s fun the first five times through the cd) he has the kids all giving one on one attention to the customers and about 10:00pm we all go out into the parking lot to watch the city fireworks show and set some off some of our own.  Our own children, who aren’t even in the youth department yet, enjoy it too.  They either help customers or I find them up in the warehouse shelving.  Simply said a good time is had by all.  So good in fact that 2nd man and I couldn’t move yesterday.  And I’m not certain there will be any moving going on today either.  Recovery is certain, but it may take some time.  Hope everyone else had a great 4th of July out there!   
                
Posted in Daily Musings, Life Lessons

Best of Times / Worst of Times

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times…has that line been used yet?  I was trying really hard to get away from negativity in my blog posts, but I simply have to share some of our current woes with you. However, don’t take it as negative, no it truly is positive.  As a matter of fact, things are starting to get down right comical.  When it all gets too much we tend to laugh around this house…yes, we’re weird that way. 

            It all sort of continued when I came home the other day with smoke billowing out of our “good” car.  I’ve written about the other car, but really?  The good car now?  2nd man opened the hood, I’m not sure why, neither of us is mechanical.  But, somehow that’s what your instincts tell you to do when there’s smoke billowing.  He wanted to make sure it wasn’t something obvious.  I had called him on my way home because a dinging sound kept going off and a light that said, “Check gages.”  Now, you may be saying, “Duh!  Check your gages,” however; we’ve been prone to ignore our gages because of a non-recalled quirk in our vehicle.  The speedometer sometimes gets stuck and the gas gage can never be trusted.  So, I called home asking what the dinging was, but I was just around the corner anyway, so I kept going.  When he opened the hood he realized that the coolant was bone dry.  Then, yesterday a knocking sound started and 2nd man had to take the ol girl into the shop.   As it turns out it was a water pump.  This is good because a few hundred dollars sounded much better to him than a few thousand.
            This of course was the same day my middle daughter had an orthodontist appointment and we were told she’d be ready in a month.  The Orthodontist seemed to pick up on my nervous laugh and twitching eye and neck.  “We cooouuuuld possibly wait if there’s a financial problem.” he graciously proposed.  I kind of filled him in on the highlights of our spring so far: 2nd man’s medical tests, my crown/root canal, the dishwasher, the start of orthodontics for daughter #1, the broken boat motor that needed replacing, the broken finger on daughter #2, the shed door that broke off and of course the smoking truck.  He was convinced and said we could put it off a few months and didn’t even charge for that visit.  Whew!
            Last night our pastor offered to lend us his car while ours was in the shop.  He is going to be out of town anyway for a few days and wouldn’t need his own car.  As 2nd man and I drove my car over to pick it up we were laughing that I had to hold up the rearview mirror that came detached and was swinging by a wire.  When we got to Pastor’s house, he began to show us how we could start his car remotely so we wouldn’t have to get into a hot car when we went out and about.  To this we started chiding him for rubbing it in.  We all stood in his driveway laughing at the contrast of his car to my car that won’t die!  She’s falling apart all around, but her engine hums like a choir.   Funny the things that keep ya humble.  2nd man and I keep quoting Dolly Levi from “Hello Dolly” when she says, “money is like manure; it’s of no use unless it’s spread around.” 
My Lily of the Nile, unrelated to this post, but it makes me smile
            You may think all of this has us upset and forlorn, but the contrary is actually true.  Both 2nd man and I realize that it puts us in a position where we have to trust God.  Can that really be a bad place?  Oh, it’s uncomfortable when you look at the bank account and the well is dry.  But my God has worked many wonders greater than this and I know he’s not going to let us starve. (Although, a little starving probably wouldn’t hurt me right now J).  I fully trust God to help us through this tight spot and am actually looking forward to seeing how he works.  This should be quite interesting.  Of course I’m not going forth in my own confidence and I have been in much prayer seeking guidance and wisdom for the 2nd man and me, contemplating if I need to start cleaning houses or something.   I’ve also sought his face in asking if we have done anything wrong and to please let us know so we can get it right.  I really believe it’s the worst of times in a financial realm, but it’s the best of times in that we’re in a perfect position to see and witness God working.  Who can ask for anything better?