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?

Posted in Daily Musings, Life Lessons

Refuge from the Storms

“Where could I go?  Oh where could I go?  Seeking a refuge from the storm.  Needing a friend to help me in the end, where could I go but to the Lord?”  That’s the song I’ve been singing lately.  I really like the words and the catchy tune too.  Don’t ask me to sing the tune though…you’ll regret it I promise.
            That’s what this spring has been like for many others and us too I suppose.  I know my last few posts have been whiney in nature and that’s not my intention for this blog.  However, I think the Lord is just really really trying to teach me something lately.  Since February, I’ve had a specific financial prayer asking the Lord to pay off something this spring that would be such a great blessing.  However, he hasn’t chosen to do that, at least not yet.  That’s ok, He’s still good and I’m not shaken by it.  I knew going in that his answer could be no.  Yet, instead of answering the way I desired, it seems like the opposite has happened and we’ve had so many outgoing expenses that our heads are spinning.  Just as we are all hearing of strange unexpected tornados hitting down every week around the country, we (personally) are having financial tornado hit down every week.  It’s a good time to seek refuge In the Lord.
            As a matter of fact, one of the reasons I haven’t blogged lately was because of one of these little tornados of ours.  Just last week, in the midst of finishing school, planning a housewarming for someone, getting ready to sign people up for camp and preparing a house for guests, I developed an abscessed tooth.  It was under a recent crown I had to have.  Now, people who know me well know I’d rather have another child than have dental work done.  The crown itself was a feat of bravery in my life on which I was standing tall and waving a flag.  Not long after getting it there seemed to be some pain.  So after working up my blood pressure and driving to the dentist while shaking all the way the dentist simply grinded it down to fit better and it didn’t hurt at all.  I just about passed out in the lobby from coming off of my own adrenaline though.  But, when this abscess started, I had to have 2nd man step in and take over.  I spent two days in utter pain.  By Tuesday evening I was in tears from the excruciating spikes of pain running through the side of my face and head.  He drove me up Thursday morning and they said the dreaded words…Root canal!  I’m ashamed to admit I broke down and cried right there in front of the whole dental staff.  Then when it was finally over I broke down again at the price!  2nd man was not pleased.  Oh, he wasn’t mad at me, but he wanted desperately to find some way for this to be the dentist’s fault so we could get a discount.  Sadly, this didn’t happen. 
            Thankfully, I was able to push through the recovery to get my house in order for our family from Pennsylvania to come visit.  We’ve had such a fantastic time.  The last time they were here, Jessica and I were both pregnant with our now four-year-old daughter and son.  It was June and 103degrees outside.  Needless to say we were both quite miserable.  So, I’ve been praying for good weather this time.  The Lord has been so gracious in this area.  Where we live, you can see storm fronts that are 20, maybe even 50 miles away.  Each evening we’ve been seeing these massive storms that never hit us.  Monday we had a great time outdoors picnicking and fishing and the rain didn’t come until right when we got home. 
            Some of this I am hesitant to be humorous about because one of these storms was the same front that hit Joplin, MO and leveled the town.  We take our Jr. campers to that same area for camp each year and I am just devastated for these people.  The very Wal-Mart and other stores that we’re familiar with are just demolished.  The hospital where I’ve been treated myself a few times…decimated.  It makes me shiver in the awe of what massive destruction weather can bring. And my prayers are with those affected by it.
            However, yesterday, we decided to take our families to Tulsa to The Incredible Pizza Company.  2nd man and Jessica have another cousin that lives down there and they are about our age with a young family as well.  We grazed our way through the pizza buffet and games all day and then decided to go across the street to the mall.  While there we realized, via the age of the smart phone, that there was a significant storm traveling across Oklahoma.  Realizing we shouldn’t drive into it we decided to wait it out at the mall with, apparently the rest of Tulsa.  I mean really, I was shocked at the amount of people at the mall until a lady explained to me that Tulsa doesn’t have storm shelters except the mall, so people go there when there is a storm.  Eventually they herded us all into the shelter/hallway/stairwell.  During our little family reunion in the stairwell, Brett (Jessica’s husband) decided that he wanted to see an Oklahoma storm, so he went to the doorways with about 50 other people.  Let’s just say he gained his second wind (no pun intended) after that.  With sirens blaring and wind blowing he finally was able to be coaxed back inside to calm his worried family, but he had to take some time to calm down himself.  When we finally got home at 11:00 that night he thanked 2nd man for a great day from beginning to end.  We were pleased to be able to give him a true Okie day. 
            Blessing number 2 for that day was the road condition.  We desperately need new tires on our truck.  When we went to get them replaced, the store didn’t have the ones we wanted or could afford in stock.  So traveling out of town came with some trepidation.  However, because the wind was so strong that night the roads were completely dry all the way home, even though it rained torrentially just moments beforehand.  God is soooo good and gracious in his provisions.  We may be spinning from the rotating door of our bank account, but God has provided so much more than we can count: safety, rest, the blessing of family, the blessing of family that we enjoy J healthy children in my arms, food on my table… I could literally go on and on.  I truly feel safe under His wings right now and no rush to run out. 
Posted in Associate/Youth Pastor's Wife, Daily Musings, Homeschooling, My Interests

Minutia

        I vaguely remember when my momma learned the word minutia (pronounced mi noo sha, sorry, I don’t know how to make those little upside down e thingies).  It has to do with small trivial matters.  I don’t remember the exact time, but I remember her using the word over and over again for weeks.  It’s one of those words that seem kind of pretentious, but that’s weird since the word itself is about unpretentious trivial things in life. However, it’s fun to say and it makes all of those trivial little monster chores seem more important somehow.
As a matter of fact that’s what this post is about.  For the past two weeks my life has been totally consumed with minutia.  I mean it’s been a whirlwind of minutia, so much so that I almost had a panic attack over it the other day.  That’s one of the dangers of being a stay at home, home schooling mom.  It sounds like a boring job, but there are so many details to attend to that the word boring never gets a chanced to even be vocalized. 
Really, I tend to dig these holes myself and then jump in with eyes closed and breathing paused.  When I first married 2nd man and we were candidating at churches, they’d always ask me, “Do you sing or play the piano?”  To which I’d reply, “Well, no, but I do have other talents.”  I’ve often felt silly about that since my only other talents are that I can navigate myself around a strange city unusually well (which has helped on many youth trips so far I might add.)  And, I can over extend myself faster than you can say…well…minutia.  
Anyway, I began this little whirlwind a couple of weeks ago when I realized that I had been stowing away junk in our garage all winter in hopes of having a garage sale sometime.  It seemed like a logical task to take on since the past month has been a spending frenzy for our household.  Our girls’ bedroom furniture kept breaking.  I finally had it when I caught them simply reaching into the broken drawer front of their dresser to get underwear out of a scrunched mess that had been shoved into the designated drawer and kept falling out onto the floor.  Thus we bought them new furniture.  Then came the broken finger of my little soccer goalie and the various trips to the doctors that ensued due to the location of the fracture near a growth plate.  Did you know that putting a splint on a broken finger is considered a surgery worth over $800.00!!  Of course there was also the one-month of free shipping for the home school supplies I will need next year.  Last year I was miffed after paying nearly $100.00 in shipping alone because none of the home school displays or conventions are anywhere near where we live.  So I felt pressured to buy now.   So…. that’s what led to the great idea of a garage sale.
Garage sales really are never convenient, but I looked at our calendar and realized that last weekend was the only weekend I’d have to put this little ditty on until possibly next fall.  You see, in the youth pastors home summer is not a break time.  We will have two camps to attend, a 3-week fireworks stand to run, a trip to Chicago with a few students and an end of summer 3 day youth rally in Oklahoma City.  So, the pressure was on to get this thing done and generate a little cash.  Didn’t matter that it was the week of our church revival.
 Don’t get me wrong I love revival.  I really do enjoy getting to go to church each night of the week, hearing the word preached and fellowshipping with our church family.  However, as all moms know, revivals can sink your whole schedule.  Dinners must be ready early, children must be cleaned daily (Yes, I admit it, I flub on this one sometimes).  2nd man’s shirts must be ironed and I have the great task of making it all look effortless…ahem cough cough.  Anyway, something must give on these kinds of weeks and mine had to be my house.  I fell behind on laundry, vacuuming, dusting and somehow I managed to unscientifically make papers reproduce themselves right there on the dining room table.  I’d turn around for two minutes and a new pile would appear.  Problem was, I didn’t have time to call the Discovery Channel over this phenomenon, I was too busy looking effortless. 
I was thankful when 2nd man took Thursday off to help me get the garage sale in order.  On Friday morning I was all ready to go and everything was set up without a hitch, except I hadn’t watched the weather.  Oh the sun was out and the temperature mild, but I had picked the windiest day of the year to hold a garage sale!  I did nothing but chase items down the block all day long.  My kids joined in too.  We’d take turns getting to go inside the house for a small reprieve.  I’m thinking of sending bills to all of the neighbors who may have items in their yards still.  Imagine my horror when one young mother with two little ones asked if her daughter could use our bathroom.  Oh the embarrassment as she walked in and I, with my nervous laugh, made excuses for the way my house looked.  We’d gotten the call that the new furniture would arrive right as the garage sale ended on Saturday.  So my girl’s stuff was in boxes lining my hallway. There were stray colorful garage sale sticker dots on every thing that stood still in the house and,  I’m not sure, but I think her poor daughter was exposed to all sorts of varying dirty laundry strung all over my bathroom.  It was one of those times when you wonder, why doesn’t anyone just pop in when my house is clean?  They only seem to do it when things are a wreck.  I’d be much more prone towards this hospitality stuff it they would time themselves around my cleaning schedule. 
After a very tiring day, 2nd man took us all out to dinner with some of the proceeds of the day.  I was trying to keep my face from planting into the dinner plate at the restaurant, but the exhaustion hit my kids differently.  They were wound up like little hurricanes.  After supper they asked if we could stop for ice cream.  Are you kidding?!  2nd man and I just looked at each other.  I had the passing thought of just handing around cups full of Benadryl, but of course I wouldn’t do that.  Let’s just say bedtime couldn’t come soon enough for me. 
The next day was fast and furious as well.  The wind died down, but the schedule didn’t.  Garage sale, furniture delivery, soccer game and making dinner for friends who just moved, were just some of the items on the minutia list. Top it all off with the “Saturday, getting ready for Sunday” duties.  I hardly need to mention the Sunday schedule.  Anyone in ministry knows it is the best and busiest day of the week on any normal week.  Add to that we had a GAP (Games and Pizza) night that night with the teens.
When I finally sat down at the computer Monday morning to do some bills and other minutia, I was literally shaking.  The money, cleaning and planning was piled so high I didn’t know where to start.  Praise the Lord for his patience and understanding, a double praise for him extending some of that understanding to my family.  The minutia is still mountainous, but I’m hacking away at it little by little.  Funny how such trivial things can grow so big in our minds.  Well, I’m going to abruptly end here now, because the minutia monster calls and I must feed it.  Hope you all have a great day!
Posted in Associate/Youth Pastor's Wife, Daily Musings, Marriage

The Rest of Our PA Trip

So, I’ve already written about our trip to the wedding of one of our former youth.  Now, I thought I’d share the rest of the trip.
 I just want to say upfront, that after taking this trip sans kids, I’m convinced at the necessity of couples to get away with each other if they can, preferably on an annual basis.  I remember when I taught school, I met some parents who went on an annual cruise together without the kids.  I didn’t think it sounded very practical then (before I had kids), but now I can see that it was probably a very healthy decision. 
Don’t get me wrong.  I adore my kids and we have a great time on vacations…well now we do.  Admittedly, I thought the word vacation to be an oxymoron for the longest time.  In the dictionary it has the connotation of suspending work and resting.  As a mother of three kids all under 6 at the time I really had a problem with that.  Somehow diapers, potty breaks, and feedings didn’t ever get suspended for me.  Thankfully, I can now say to those mothers of very young children, there is a light at the end of that tunnel and it’s not as far away as it seems. 
Of course, money is an issue.  However, even if it’s not a long trip, maybe even just a weekend get away, I’d highly advise it.  Get that husband alone and go have some fun. 
Now, where was I?  Oh yes, the rest of the trip.  2nd man has a cousin who lives in Pennsylvania and is like a sister to him.  She, and one of his best friends from college, were both in our wedding and had their first date the night we got married.  They have since married and we all have kids of similar ages.  When we started planning the trip we knew that if we were that close to Jessica and Brett we had to stop and visit.  That was such a great decision.  I just love them both so dearly.  Jessica is like a sister to me now too.  She’s one of those people who are drop dead gorgeous even at the crack of dawn. Then, when they get all dressed up with their bling, you just want to crawl under a rock rather than stand next to them.  You want to hate them and think they are snotty and all about themselves, but instead she’s anything but that.  She’s one of the most real and sincere people I’ve ever met.  She’s a great mom and wife and loves the Lord.  
Brett and I got to know each other by default.  While all of us were newly married we were on a trip visiting family.  2nd man, Jessica and the rest of the siblings went into the bedroom of aunt Alice and Uncle Dan to gather around the bed and have a family heart to heart.  Apparently this was normal for all of them while growing up.  Being new to the family Brett and I weren’t going to invite ourselves into such a sanctuary and neither Jessica nor my 2nd man thought to invite us.  So we found ourselves in the living room getting to know each other.  That happened about 10 or more years ago and we still laugh about it today.  Now, though, we, (the four of us) find ourselves visiting late into the nights whenever we see each other.  It’s such a comfort to have such close friends and family that are sharing the same stages of life with you, raising kids, church issues, growing marriages. 
            Although is was a little weird to only have one set of kids running around instead of all of ours too.  We relished the time with them and their great kids.  Can’t wait until they come out to visit us next month!
            After spending the entire weekend with Brett and Jessica, 2nd man took me to Philadelphia to sight see.  I never really had a great desire to build an entire vacation around Philadelphia, but I do love historical sights and since we were there anyway, I wanted to at least spend a day there.  Oh my, was it a great time!  It was a much prettier city than I expected.  We went to see Liberty Hall and the Liberty Bell.  We even ate a Philly cheese steak right there on the lawn in front of them both.  I was intrigued as we sat there, to notice that about 75% of the tourists there were foreign, mostly Chinese.  I guess this surprised me a little.  I wouldn’t be much interested in another country’s governmental beginnings, but somehow they were.  Maybe they were immigrants and very thankful, who knows?  Or maybe it would be like me going to see Buckingham palace if I went to England.  I don’t know, it just seemed weird to me.  I didn’t appreciate history much as a kid, but now I carry a mixture of guilt and newfound interest in just what people had to sacrifice for us to have the freedoms we have today and are currently throwing away little by little. 
            After getting our car out of the scary parking garage, we drove through China town, which was pretty cool and on to see other parts of the city.
One stop was at the Philadelphia Museum of Art where 2nd man ran the steps from the movie “Rocky”  [DISCLAIMER:  although neither of us condone the full movie, 2nd man saw it as a child and has always loved the theme of the underdog getting a chance to win the title] so, this was a really neat moment for him.  I got out our daughter’s camera that we took with us and started to video tape his running.  Then, I went pale…I didn’t push the button!  2nd man had to do it again!  Thankfully, he was feeling spry and did it for me without too much hassle J 
It really was a great day and ended with us getting to stay at a very fancy hotel with a suite.  Doesn’t get much better than that.  However, thus ended the good parts of the trip. 
On Tuesday we flew back home.  Oh, it’s not that I didn’t want to go, but the getting there was somewhat of a disappointment.  The airline we flew, (which will remain unnamed, because I do like their prices and general treatment), has a unique way of boarding their passengers on a first come first serve basis.  If, you don’t pay the extra money to get on first, you may not get to sit with your party.  Well, that’s what happened to us.  Can you believe on a huge jetliner, nobody was willing to move seats so we could sit together?  I ended up in the middle of two very large people for four hours.  But, that’s not really the worst of it.  The gentleman to the right of me apparently ate something the day before that didn’t agree with him.  I don’t generally like talking about such things, but let me just say for four hours in five minute intervals, this poor man was relieving his discomfort for the rest of us to breath.  I mean truly, what is a person to do?  I wanted so desperately to look at him and yell, “Dude, take a pill or something!”  but, of course I’d never do that.  So I tried leaning forward on my tray table to read my book and plug my nose.  My eyes were burning and my stomach was weak.  Ironically, I was reading my Gracia Burnham book, To Fly Again: Surviving the Tailspins of Life.  An excellent book, I wish I had read it in a better frame of mind.  As she was describing some of her experiences being held hostage in the jungle I was desperately trying to imagine myself in a jungle, breathing fresh air!  Reading through chapters like: “Anger doesn’t help” or “Rising Above Impatience,” I was trying to convince myself that my current circumstances weren’t included.  
Then, about three fourths of the way through the flight, the woman next to me started having some sort of fit.  She was probably in her sixties and was reading some sort of romance novel.  Suddenly she started making noises of “Woo!” or “Oh oh oh”  I wasn’t  sure if she was just in a really heated scene of the book or was she feeling alright?  What if she was having a heart attack?  Was this going to be one of those circumstances where she dies right next to me on the plane and I say something stupid like, “I didn’t know!”  Thankfully she calmed back down in about five minutes and continued taking up the whole armrest. 
When the flight was over I was almost in tears.  2nd man was wondering what in the world was wrong with me?  When I explained it all he was roaring with laughter and promised me some Starbucks to pacify my angst.  I promised him that our next flight was not taking off until I was sitting next to him.  Thankfully, I didn’t have to cause any scenes on the next flight and we even go an entire row to ourselves.  I had calmed down and we were able to laugh the rest of the way home.  Like 2nd man says, “we won’t ever be short on laughter in our home.” 
It’s good to be home and back to the kiddos, but I am so thankful for being able to take the trip.  2nd man and I haven’t really had many chances like this.  Usually when we’re leaving our own kids we’re with someone else’s kids.  It was a refreshing and happy time.  I’m one blessed woman to have my 2nd man!

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

David and Joy’s Wedding

Shhhh can you hear that?  That’s right you hear nothing.  Here I am sitting in a hotel room all by myself.  It’s so quiet I can hardly get comfortable.  I was contemplating just basking in the silence of it all, but figured I should probably post something on this poor neglected blog of mine.
     The reason I’m here alone is that 2nd man is over at a church getting ready for a wedding.  Mm mmm mm 2nd man in a tuxedo….but I digress. 
            We’re here in Pennsylvania for the wedding of evangelist David Corn (a former member of our youth department) and his beautiful bride, Joy.  I wrote about this previously in my four T’s of anticipation post back in February.  When he first asked 2nd man to be a 40 year old groomsman we chuckled at the cuteness of it.  However, I figured it was a must for him.  Last fall we were honored with one of our former teen girls having a daughter of ours in her wedding.  Well, now it was 2nd man’s turn for the experience. 
If any reading this are married to a 2nd man or even a first man for that matter I’d highly recommend trying to attend such functions if you can.  I know I know I’ve said it before, but it is so true, these kinds of things just fuel longevity.  2nd man and I were talking about it last night after the rehearsal dinner.  He’s (well actually we’re) in the ministry to serve the Lord.  It is our hope that what we do with this time given will be rewardable in heaven some day.  However, it is times like these that come from the Lord as encouragement.
David was so very gracious.  He, and Joy, gave out the customary gifts to the wedding party at the rehearsal dinner.   However, they both gave a little speech about every person that was very sincere and well done.  His speech about the 2nd man was humbling and so very gracious.  Yes, I know I’m sounding like I’m bragging.  It’s not my intent to be prideful…ever.  For it’s the Lord’s work being done.  However, this is my blog of thoughts so please bear with me in my pleasure of being the 2nd man’s wife. 
He mentioned that although he’s traveled all over the country and beyond in the past year or two that he’s never encountered a better youth pastor than my 2nd man.  That’s a pretty big statement and of course we don’t believe it to be true, but coming from a biased viewpoint.  However, what a sweet gesture it was.  Even more complimentary was the statement that he still remembered some of the messages preached by 2nd man while he was in our youth department…wow!  Now that’s a compliment! 
(Pause for wedding)
Ok, I’m back now.  My time alone didn’t last as long as I would have liked, but it was refreshing nonetheless.  I met up with 2nd man and went to the wedding in during the last pause.  It was, of course beautiful, the bride looked like a brunette Barbie.  I was most impressed by seeing 2nd man in a tux, but the wedding was nice too (wink wink). It was a long one, but God honoring and full of sweetness.  I’m so grateful to have been able to attend. 
    The bride handed her father the purity ring given to her when she was 13 years old.  How cool is that!?  He father was able to look at David and say “we’ve done our part.”  I’m so stashing that one away for future reference and ideas for our own daughters.  I will say though the bride and groom made up for lost time after the ceremony and during the reception.  Every few minutes they’d come up for air from all of the kissing to greet people.  Made me want to start kissing too. J  
            We just had such a relaxing and enjoyable time altogether, visiting with good friends and reminiscing.  It was a tonic for the soul and very refreshing.  Thank you Lord for times like these.
Posted in Daily Musings, My Interests

Meeting the Pioneer Woman

Oh boy oh boy oh boy, I finally met her…The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond.  I wrote in an earlier post about my excitement to attend her book signing.  Well, here went the day.  I woke up earlier than everyone (not unusual) then stocked myself on coffee and hurried everyone awake and ready.  I rushed 2nd man out the door so I could take off soon after him.  Been trying hard lately to get in treadmill time, but this day…it didn’t matter.  I had to get to the bookstore early because they were actually passing out line numbers to meet her in the afternoon.  (Oh, I should mention that my mother-in-law came to be with the kiddos while I did this.)
     Don’t you know that every stoplight lasted extra long that day?  I had been prayerful that morning about it, asking the Lord to allow me this little fun excursion of a day.  So, I had it in my head that if there was a crazy long line that I’d just have to leave my books with the bookstore manager and have them signed without meeting her.  I was worried, because it fell on a Wednesday and I was pretty sure that 2nd man and the Lord wouldn’t appreciate me skipping church for this.  Anyway, as the Lord would have it there was hardly anybody there yet.  The bookstore was to open at 9:00 am to start handing out tickets and I arrived at 8:38 am.  I kind of felt like one of those crazy people you see who camp out on sidewalks to get tickets to a concert or event.  Oh well, at least I wasn’t alone.
            There were five others there before me.  So yes, if you do the math that made me #6!!! I bragged about it all day on facebook and to pretty much anyone I met at the store or wherever.  The lady directly in front of me had come from a few hours away and had to get up at 3:00 am to get here, but I wasn’t about to call her crazy.  I was also relieved to see the pastor’s daughter of another church of like faith in our town.  Since I hadn’t and sadly still haven’t had the chance to read this new book I was worried that I was lining up to get a book signed that could be dirty.  I’m not usually this trusting of an author, but I do know that she doesn’t believe in discussing hanky panky on her blog, so I’m trusting she didn’t write about it in her book.  Ha…ha…he (that’s the sound of nervous laughter and a twitching eye).
            Now, some of my facebook friends took the liberty to call me crazy for lining up to get a book and a cookbook signed.  To them I say thphhhhht!  It’s not often that I can enjoy the wit and humor of a secular author.  Let alone wit and humor when it comes to cooking.  But, this lady has a knack for it that I enjoy, and it’s even inspired me to try out new cooking techniques.  It is also what inspired me to start blogging.  Mine isn’t nearly as fancy or sophisticated a blog as hers, but she inspired it nonetheless.
            At some point in the early afternoon I jumped my girls because they weren’t getting their schoolwork done fast enough.  I’m not proud of this, but I’m thankful for daughters that simply understand that their momma is a little crazy sometimes.  I think they were a little awestruck by my excitement of this whole deal.  They even knew I was going to shamelessly use them for their new cameras (Christmas gifts from Nana) so I could have pictures of proof for this whole event.  Then, somewhere around 3:00 I started getting nervous.  Why was I doing this?  What is one supposed to say at these things?  Do I go into spiels about how wonderful she is?  Or do I act cool and just walk on through as she signs?  This is my one chance to meet her, is it even polite to take pictures?  As you can see I’m not a very well versed devotee.
            About 3:30 or so I piled my girls in the car and left little guy with his Nana.  We went up to the bookstore and I was amazed at the crowd that had already gathered.  The newspaper people were there and just about every woman in this town.  We found our spot near the front of the line and the girls found books and sat on the floor reading to pass the time.  As it got closer my palms started sweating.  Good grief!  I felt like one of those silly Michael Jackson fans or something.  The Pioneer Woman was running a little bit late getting there and the lady standing behind me started huffing, “I just wanted to get a signature and go already.”  She was getting very impatient.  Her line number was actually before me, which made me wonder, “if it wasn’t such a big deal to her and she was in such a hurry, why did she get up so early to get a line number?”  I just smiled and enjoyed watching all of the conversations going on around me. 
            When she finally made it, the applause took over.  She answered a few questions at the beginning before signing any books.  Someone asked her what her day was like and I loved her answer.  It went something like this, “We did school, and some more school and a little more school.  Around 1:00 I washed some dirty pans in the sink from last night and about 1:30 I took a shower.”  A 1:30 shower!  I love it.  Can you believe she’s like… human?
            When I was nearly to the front of the line 2nd man called me.  Again, I’m ashamed to say I answered something like, “I’m about to meet the Pioneer Woman, can I help you right now?”  Thankfully I have a gracious and humorous husband.  He knew I was excited.  I told my girls to take lots of pictures.  I figured between the two of them at least one good picture should come of it.  (Actually they’re both better photographers than me.)  I felt silly when I asked her to sign my books “to the 2nd mans wife” She cocked an eyebrow and I quickly explained the title and that I was inspired to blog because of her.  However, I didn’t exactly tell a lot of local people about my blog because it’s sometimes about people in the church, but not bad stuff.  Anyway, I rambled something like this.  She was gracious.  I’m pretty sure she probably didn’t understand a word I said.  She’s nice like that.  I asked her if I could have a picture taken with her.  Then I asked if I could put it on my blog.  She laughed at me and said, “of course!”  Was that a stupid question?  Anyway, the two newspaper ladies asked the girls if they wanted to come around and get in a picture too.  We were holding up the line of like, well…several hundred people.  Ah who cares!  This was my big chance.  Thank you Lord for big chances. 
            Afterwards, I was on a bit of a high.  I called 2nd man back, after we left and he started explaining why he called, but then said he’d talk to me later, because I seemed a little high and excited.  I guess I was talking fast.  I told my girls, “Just think, if that was so exciting, just to meet a lady who writes books.  Imagine how exciting it will be to meet Jesus some day!”  I know it may sound cheesy, like I’m trying to spiritualize it, but it’s true, just think about it!  Anyway, I’m thankful the Lord allowed me to have this little bit of excitement in my week.  It made a very special memory and I’m sure my girls will talk about the day their momma acted like a swooning fan.
Posted in Daily Musings, My Interests

4Ts of Anticipation

            Here it is midway through February and I find myself with this eager feeling of anticipation.  I love anticipation.  I find it both motivating and invigorating.  It’s no wonder, after two weeks of being stuck in the house with record-breaking snow and low temperatures.  I know those who live north of here think me a whiny wimp, but hey, I’m a whiny wimp.  Here are my four T’s of anticipation that I’m dwelling on today:
My baby Crabtree, hoping for big things from her this spring.

Turning Seasons  

Today is projected to be about 73 degrees.  Wow!  With temperatures like this it brings on the anticipation of spring.  I keep finding myself staring out our living room window to our backyard.  I have plans and can hardly wait to get out there.  I know that there will still be some cold days ahead, so I must restrain this feeling.  However, it is motivating for plan making.  There’s to be a vegetable garden between our house and my mother in law’s cottage.  I am excited to see our Crabapple trees we bought last year burst into full bloom, along with our redbud tree.  I’m itching to get out into the flowerbeds and clean them out.  Oh the dreams I’m having.  2nd man will be getting scared pretty soon if this nice weather lingers long.  The dollar signs and honey-dos keep adding up in his eyes when I get this way.

A Tribute

            The next thing I’m anticipating is a book signing by the Pioneer Woman, a local celebrity, because of her cookbook and blog www.thepioneerwoman.com next week at our local bookstore.  She has a new book out about how she met her husband.  Honestly I don’t really know much about the new book, but I have her best-selling cookbook and love it.  I’m hoping it isn’t rude to bring an older book to a book signing.  I just love her wit and humor…really…the cookbook is a good read.   I even got an apple green Dutch oven for Christmas from the 2nd man.  I imagine myself posing like her on the cover of her book, wishing I were a good cook.  Anyway, I’m taking my daughters to this book signing so that they can snap pictures of me meeting the Pioneer Woman.  I’m not usually a fan of people like this.  I don’t get moved much by movie stars or singers, but someone who can help me do better at something I already have to do and make it fun too…well, that’s someone I admire.

A Talk     

In March I’m anticipating something so exciting.  2nd man, our kids, and I are going to the headquarters of The Voice of the Martyrs in Bartlesville, OK to a regional conference.  I’ve been so caught up in reading books about martyred or tortured missionaries this year and can hardly wait to go.  The first book along these lines that I read was several years ago, when I read the book In the Presence of My Enemies, by Gracia Burnham.  She and her husband were missionaries to the Philippines and were taken captive by Muslim terrorists.  Her husband was killed on the day of their rescue.  I remember just throwing a whole afternoon away; because I couldn’t put her book down to do anything else.  Anyway, she’s going to be one of the speakers at this conference and I can hardly wait to see and hear her along with three other speakers.  They’re having a kids program as well.  This is something about which I feel burdened to have my kids learn about.  So that they can see beyond themselves a little and realize what others are doing in the world for Christ. You can read more about the organization at http://www.voiceofthemartyrs.com/
           

A Trip



Now, finally the piece de resistance of my anticipation is a trip the 2nd man and I will be taking a trip in April.  I wrote in a previous blog post, http://www.2ndmanswife.com/2010/11/longevity-moment.html about a young evangelist, David Corn, who used to be in our youth department. Soon after seeing him in December, we heard that he and his girlfriend, Joy, had gotten engaged.  Just a couple of weeks ago he called and asked the 2nd man to be a groomsman in his wedding!  The catch is that the wedding is in Pennsylvania.  2nd man and I discussed this and agreed that he couldn’t say no, both for himself, and for David.  Not only is it an honor, but a privilege and one of those memories that need to be made for longevity’s  sake.  When our Megan had been asked to be a flower girl in another of our previous teens weddings, I was on a high for weeks feeling honored and realizing that some do listen.  I believe 2nd man needs this for a shot in the arm of usability. 



Megan and I at Amy and Ryan’s wedding



I’m excited, for the wedding, the time with 2nd man and the airplane trip.  It’s not my first time on a plane by any means, but anyone who knows me, knows I love to fly. 2nd man is also going to take me around Philadelphia, since I’ve never been there too. I can’t wait for this trip and to blog about it afterwards. 



           


Amy and my Megan



 
       

Yes, I’m full of anticipation like a kid at Christmas.  I feel fresh and motivated and…hey…with alliteration like this I could almost preach it!  Just kidding (fundamental Baptist remember J )  Anyway, wishing everyone a happy week full of anticipation like daffodil bulbs poking their noses up to see if it’s time to sprout out. 








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

Give Me Some Routine

            I thrive with routine.  Oh, I enjoy spontaneity, but I need routine.  The past two weeks have made me come to appreciate that.  With sickness, snowstorms, health tests and a birthday, I’m finding myself in need of a week without interruption. 
            A week and a half ago, during our first snowstorm the sprinkler system at our church burst and left 2 inches of water in our foyer and all of the staff offices.  Thankfully an emergency crew of members showed up to move all of the furniture out of the offices and into our Family Life Center.  This meant that, even though 2nd man was feeling better, he had to work from home.  Now, we get along terrifically, however, it still threw me off of routine having him here all day everyday.  It was a challenge for him as well.
     2nd man also had to have some medical tests done this past week due to some abdominal pains he’s dealt with for some time now.  It wasn’t necessarily anything major or life threatening, however, as I was in the waiting room I decided to finish a book I had started several weeks prior.  Evidence Not Seen  is the name of the book and one that I’d highly recommend…just not while your husband is undergoing medical testing.  I found myself reading a part of the book where this woman, in a Japanese prison camp during WW II finds out about the death of her husband in another prison camp.  Her faith and strength from the Lord is simply outstanding and convicting.  She even found herself witnessing to the cruel camp commander when he brought her into his office to discuss the situation.    I found myself sitting there bawling my eyes out as I read and praying, “Lord, why am I reading this now?  Please don’t let this be some sort of preparation.”  Sounds kind of silly and emotional huh?  But, it was a powerful feeling nonetheless.
     Later in the week 2nd man took me out for the evening for my birthday.  Dinner out is always a good gift for the stay at home mom.  No cooking, no dishes, nuff said.  After dinner and a little shopping we did my favorite new thing (if only it could be habit).  We went to Panera Bread Co. for coffee and scones.  I just love the atmosphere of calm music and trendy sandwiches, baked goods and coffee.  I wish so badly we had a Panera Bread Co. in our town.  I’d probably set up some sort of office from there.  I could just see myself recruiting for counseling appointments so that I could have coffee and scones.  We’d probably go broke in a year or less.  Or maybe I could get the church to provide a Panera fund? Hmmm? (pause typing for a far off thought wandering moment). 
            The kicker for the week is when we got a call this morning (3:30am) that an alarm was going off at the church.  2nd man went out to take care of it.  However, I find myself awake now with no hope of going back to sleep.  I started the coffee and watched a few DVR’d decorating shows.  Then I realized, I haven’t even had a chance to blog all week.  Somehow, with no routine, and family underfoot at all waking hours, I never found enough quiet time to put together some thoughts.  Such is life, so here I am doing it at 5am.  Just another hour and a half and the family will start waking.  Hopefully, I’ll be ready for them. 
     I’m so ready to get back to routine.  We’ll start this week off with church today.  Regular church.  No snow closings, or sprinkler rearranging.  Regular, routine, wonderful church services.  Then tomorrow I’ll send 2nd man off to the office and start school at a regular routine hour.  I may even find myself getting the house clean and dinner cooked.  I may be dreaming here, for I know that each day brings with it any number of variables.  I pray for plan A, but prepare to be flexible enough for plan B.  I’m just hoping the Lord agrees with my sense of needing plan A for a little while, for my own sanity’s sake.
Posted in Daily Musings

Snowed In

Making snow ice cream!
     Ok, enough already with the blizzard!  Being in the southwest is much different than being up north.  This stuff closes everything down around here.  Not to mention 2nd man and out middle daughter have both had the flu all week.  My oldest daughter and I were the only ones that had any fun with this.  Our little man doesn’t tolerate the snow…at all…like 3 minutes and he was done.  So, Katie and I played outside and had a good time.  Then, we made snow icecream.  Really, it’s not that good to eat, but it was a fun experiment anyway. 



Even the dog and cat are trying to keep warm!



     Once that was over and we had our roasted hotdogs by the fireplace, I was ready to move on with the week.  But, noooooo, this stuff won’t go away!  What’s up with that?  It’s supposed to warm up and melt already. 
     Yesterday I finally cracked.  I had to get out of the house and pronto.  No more movies to watch and  and  I’d rather have a root canal than watch anymore Wii games being played.  So, I thought I was doing pretty well getting around town.  Then, suddenly out of nowhere in Wal-Mart my sugar dropped.  Everything became a fog and I needed to get home quick and get some lunch.  Though the main roads in our town weren’t too horrible, the side roads are…well…like going off road.  As I rammed our truck up and over the mounds to get onto our street I thought I was in the clear until I turned into our driveway, only to get stuck!  Ughhh.  This meant more shoveling.  I just stopped the car and figured I’d do it after lunch.  So, I went around the back of the car to get my groceries out.  I don’t know how I did it, but I shut the tailgate, hard, right onto my cheek!  Ouch!!  Normally, I’d shriek and then laugh at myself.  Not this day!  I stood in the boot high snow and cried like my four year old.  I don’t know what came over me, exhaustion from all of the nurse duties, and meal duties, and housecleaning duties and an overall need for lunch. 
     After I got myself nutrified, and was able to laugh at myself, and my shiner, things looked a little brighter.  I’m still sick of this snow, and mostly the cold weather, but it should build my appreciation for spring.
·                                        On that note I thought I’d include a little diddy I’ve seen on a couple of my friends’ facebook posts to the tune of “Oklahoma”:  SNOW…klahoma Where the cold front’s sweepin’ down the plain And the piles of sleet, beneath your feet follow right behind the freezing rain!  We know we belong to the land…But it sure could use more salt and sand….That’s why we say….WHOA!  We’re sliding the other way…YIKES!  We’re only sayin’ you’re slick as snot SNOWklaho…ma SNOWklahoma -SNOW-K-L-A-H-O-M-A SNOWlahoma, SNOW-K!



Some poor little birdie didn’t stay long.