Posted in Daily Musings, Life Lessons, Marriage


     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 Associate/Youth Pastor's Wife, Marriage

Why 2nd Man is the Greatest Man I Know

My 2nd man is the greatest man I know.  I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately and I honestly feel this way. I suppose really every wife should feel this way about her husband.  Here are my thoughts on why I feel this way about mine. 
First and foremost, we (his family) come before ministry.  Some may argue or debate this point and its validity, but I feel passionately that this makes him a great man.  Not for selfish or needy reasons either, but even for his testimony’s sake.  I’ve always struggled with respect of men who are workaholics, even to ministry, but let their family falter.  This includes some really great men of God.   I realize, I may be treading on shaky ground here, however it’s been my impression that a man who goes out to save the world but loses his family, loses part of his testimony.  None of the men I’m thinking about meant for this to happen in their families, I’m confident of this, but, nonetheless, it did happen.
I guess some of my thoughts started recently when we watched a movie about John Adams. (Disclaimer: we watched it on our Clear Play machine, which edits out language and any bad scenes).  Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful for how he pioneered our nation through the revolution and beyond in its earlier years, however, I’m not so impressed on how his wife had to run the family while he was away and his children floundered, even rebelled against what he would have had for them.  That got me thinking about missionary David Livingston.  Again, he did wonderful things for the cause of Christ on the continent of Africa.  However, in my womanly perspective I finished his biography with mixed feelings about him.  His wife and children were left back in England and even were homeless on the streets for a while.  Of course much of it was due to oversights and the fact that he was so far from home and couldn’t take care of the situation.  Then there is the great Billy Sunday, who did mighty things for preaching revivals across the nation, but his own sons rebelled against what he preached.
I don’t have these feelings in a prideful or arrogant way. On the contrary, it humbles me as a wife of a great man. It leaves me to wonder if the above situations were due to the fact that these husbands and fathers were not home to do the job as a husband and father.  I’m torn with the thoughts that they were called out to do a special work, but I struggle with respect of their being married fathers.  It builds my respect and admiration for my 2nd man who is being used of God, but is also fulfilling his duty at home.   Maybe that’s what God called these other men (and their wives) to do, but I’m so thankful that he provided me with a man in whom I can respect.
So, with this in mind, it makes me so thankful that my 2nd man struggles hard to put his family before his ministry, no, not before God, but yes, before ministry.  I am humbled by this and try to make it possible for him to tend to his ministry as needed.  Sometimes for a 2nd man that can be hard, depending on the staff in which he serves.  Sometimes the senior pastor is in a different stage of life and may forget what it was like to have children at home.  Or maybe the pastor is in the same stage, but has a different viewpoint of priorities.  I know my 2nd man struggles with hoping our senior pastor understands his limitations, but ultimately he has to trust God to go before him with his testimony and reputation. Thankfully, when we were hired (years and years ago) our pastor made it a point to let 2nd man know that his family should come before ministry.
Another couple of reasons that I think my 2nd man is the greatest man I know is that there are two things he always works hard on being able to do and say.  They are, “I’m sorry” and “Thank you.”  He has taught me a lot during our marriage about saying these two things and we strive to teach our children as well.   I’ll admit he’s even spoiled me in this area.  I know we aren’t to do things in order to get thanks, but he’s so good at giving it that it has become a source of motivation for me. Just recently I found myself doing some extra work for someone else and was left feeling…well…unfinished, or out of favor because they didn’t even say thank you for all of the work I did.  This made me all the more thankful for 2nd man and his example.  I’ve never gotten paid to teach his kids, or do his secretarial work, or keep his home, but the thanks keeps me motivated to want to please him. 
I don’t deserve the wonderful 2nd man that I have.  Maybe I’ll discuss that someday…maybe not.  But, I’m so thankful for him.  I’m humbled that God allowed me to marry such a man that Loves the Lord so passionately and loves his family with no less fervor.  I’m saddened when I talk to other wives or teens that don’t have the same thing in their homes.  Yes, marriage takes work, without a doubt.  However, the work is worth it and isn’t labor intensive, if kept up with.  Kind of like tending a garden, the weeds come and the sun can beat hard and there can be drought to deal with, but if you keep up with these things the reward can be a beautiful display of God’s handiwork.
My mom used to tell me that there was nothing more attractive than a godly man.  Seems she was right.  One of the greatest things about my 2nd man is that he loves the Lord and so desperately wants to please him.  Even in his seasons of struggle when he’s having dry devotions or he’s feeling a lack of zeal or questioning his usefulness, I still admire him because his turmoil is due to the fact that ultimately he desires to please God.  If that ever changes, so will my admiration.  So, by God’s grace I’ll remember to always lift my 2nd man up in prayer to be humble, able and usable.  Keeping his family as a priority and his testimony strong. 
Posted in Associate/Youth Pastor's Wife, Marriage

What exactly is a 2nd Man’s Wife?

   So, I went to a Pastor’s Wives Retreat last week.  Yes, I left the very same day, actually the very same hour after all of our houseguests left, leaving 2nd man with the children and the mess.  This was a great strategy as it gave me a couple of days to breath and unwind while 2nd man cleaned up.  I really must remember this in the future, hee hee chuckle chuckle.  It wasn’t my intention to leave him like this,  but I really like these retreats and always glean greatly from them, so 2nd man didn’t mind my getting away.  The only complaint I had was that all of these other pastor/associate pastor/youth pastor wives kept checking their text messages for two days.  Always looking at their phones awaiting those important messages that affirm that they are important people.  I, on the other hand, got…well…nothing.  2nd man assured me that was because all of their husbands had to keep asking things like, “where are the diapers?”  or “how do you do dishes?” or “what’s there to eat?”  While he, was taking charge and caring for house, home and family for me as a competent husband.  Well, I guess I’ll let him off the hook on that one.  He did do a pretty good job and I did come home to a cleaner house than what I left along with dinner made and dishes done.  Yes, I’m spoiled nah nah nah nah nah.
            Anyway, back to my thoughts here.  I’ve mentioned this before, oh somewhere in this blog, that this is where I first learned that I’m not really a pastor’s wife.  Funny, I would have gone on blissfully naïve had I never attended one of these retreats.  However, I actually vehemently disagree with this viewpoint and go to the retreats anyway.  You may think it odd that I’d even want to go, but despite the narrow views of some people attending these conferences, I still always, without fail, get a huge blessing from the ladies chosen to speak.  I was pleased to see that my stubbornness and my pastor’s wife’s insistence had paid off.  This year there were many other associate and youth pastor’s wives in attendance.  Maybe we started something like a small revolution in honor of our husbands or something…well…maybe we’re not quite that important. J   However, in talking with one of the ladies I’d never met before, I naturally (or so I thought) asked her what “they” did at their church.  To which she responded rather taken aback “this is the only place where I’m identified with what my husband does.”   “Wow,” I thought, “Isn’t that our role and even a privilege?”  I guess I sound very backward and unfeminist-like, but I find perfect peace in being my 2nd man’s wife.  I’m perfectly comfortable being his help meet.  But, then I wonder, “am I a weirdo?”  well, probably yes, but also it’s a battle for most women.  If I were a doctors wife I’d have a different set of circumstances and sacrifices.  However, I’d still have those things in my life because of who my husband is and what he does.  If you’re married, there’s really no getting around it.   You are one with another person.  Though you have your own thoughts and feelings and even career sometimes, you are still laying aside your individualism when you marry…but I digress.
            This stigma, however, does get me thinking about exactly what my role is in the church.  I mean, my husband isn’t the senior pastor and I’m, well, kind of stuck in a no womans land.  Oh, I strongly believe that those in ministry are as responsible as those not full time in ministry to carry out the calling of God in their life wherever he puts them.  It’s a Christian duty and discipline that is universal to all God’s children.  However, there is a little more to it than that when your husband is in full time ministry.  There are still circumstances and people that you deal with that the average lay worker does not deal with day to day.  Here I am even wondering what is the role of any pastor’s wife?  So here are some beginning thoughts on the subject that I’ve started delving into.  This is not the end all on the subject, but this is a blog and I’m sharing my thoughts, not teaching on authority here.  
First, I was thinking about what exactly 2nd mans role entailed:
2nd Man’s Role:
I Timothy 3:1-7  This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.  2 A bishop then must be blameless the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; 4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) 6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
Though he is not senior pastor, his title includes the name pastor and his education and ordination qualify him.  Therefore, he is still required to hold to these standards.  Rather than a lesser man, he is more appropriately considered a type of specialist.  That’s what 2nd men do, they specialize in youth or music, maybe counseling, outreach etc. 
Titus 1:6-9  If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. 7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God;  not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; 8 but a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; 9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.
Several of the above qualifications are directly related to the family:
·        ruling well his own house
·        husband of one wife
·        having faithful children
·        given to hospitality
All four of the qualifications are indirectly related to me as a wife.  He could not accomplish them as well without me.  That’s not a prideful statement; just a statement of realization of what God has called me to do.  Though 2nd man is ultimately responsible for overseeing this, and of course fully engaged in execution of it, I am also a part of this and helper in these areas.  He could be hospitable without me, but it sure is easier if I can have the home ready, the kids under control and a meal available.  He is responsible and engaged in the rearing of our children and the running of our household, but I’m usually the day -to-day manager of the training of our children.  It’s kind of like I get to be the 2nd woman to the 2nd man.
My role as a wife (any ole wife)
Proverbs 18:22 Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favor of the Lord.
Proverbs 19: 14 House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the Lord
I want to be a gift from God to my 2nd man
Titus 2:4-5 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To b e discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
We often look at this scripture in light of the job of an older woman.  But take a look at what she is supposed to be teaching.  Those are the qualities we are to obtain. Notice these verses aren’t just for a “pastor’s wife,” but for wives in general.  We just tend to get held to the standard more.  I’m going to look further into this area in another post.  As we all know there are scores of verses and books written about how to be a good wife.  The point is that, as a 2nd man’s wife, I, first and foremost need to be a diligent Christian and secondly a godly wife.  From there the priorities start to vary based upon if there are children or an outside job or if I help to assist my husband in his ministry.  More thoughts to come, but until then ladies, realize that your role is important.
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 Associate/Youth Pastor's Wife, Life Lessons, Marriage, Parenting

A Crown of Selfishness

            I’m so glad that God’s love covers our sins.  I shudder to think of what a deep hole I’d have dug myself by now if I didn’t have his patient, sin-covering, love guiding and directing me.  It’s shameful enough, how long it’s taken me to even follow that guidance. And shameful, still, how often I still fight it.  I think if we all had crowns that depicted our character traits to the world I’d probably be wearing the crown of selfishness.
            There are a few moments, or events rather, in my life that have given me glimpses of just how selfish I can be.  I don’t really like to dwell on these things, but they have had a bearing on my role as a 2nd man’s wife.  I even secretly wonder if they’ve played a role in holding back my 2nd man from having a better ministry or being who he could be had I submitted better to the Lord in my life.  Some may even be humanly justifiable, however, I don’t want to be a person who has to rationalize why I didn’t respond in a godly manner to something or someone.
            A couple of these events are those that I believe most people experience.  Those were marriage and childbirth.  No two events greater reveal the selfishness of a person.  In getting married, the expectations are the real kicker.  When the wedding is over, and the details of daily life become reality, it’s hard to get over those expectations.  I remember being so frustrated at the 2nd man for not being able to read my mind.  I would think to myself, “how could he not know that I’d want him to take out the trash?”  or, “How could he not know what I wanted for my birthday?”  Thankfully, I have been able to grow in this area, and though I still battle selfishness in marriage, hopefully, I’ve grown just through maturity.
            Childbirth was the other big reveal.  I’ve never met another mom who doesn’t relate to this.  Even from the day I first went into labor, the battle of the will had begun.  When the pain set in and the reality struck I looked at 2nd man and said, “I don’t want to do this, I want to go home.”  We laugh now, but at that moment it seemed perfectly logical in my head.  Then the nurse came in and told me the baby would have to be fed every 2 hours! Whaaaat!!! I thought I’d scoured every inch of that baby book, but somehow I missed that 2 hour number.  Oh, that really threw me for a loop.  Ever since then and every child since then has revealed how selfish I am and chipped away at that luxurious selfishness.  All in all, I’ve gladly given it up.
            However, there is one area of my life that has been a struggle for me and I’m glad to say that it gets better with age.  That is the area of being a 2nd man’s wife in relation to acknowledgement.  Just this past week I had a birthday and it was one of the best ever.  One may wonder why, it wasn’t a big one (37), there was no large party, it was a quiet day that ended with a fun date with my husband.  That’s just it, though, I wasn’t hung up on needing any acknowledgement.
            When we were young in the ministry (and young in age) I had kind of expected people to acknowledge my big days like they did our pastor’s wife.  I was so impressed, when we first came here, to see how many of the women were concerned over what would be done for the pastor’s wife for her birthday.  Every year I’d have some of them approach me about helping them with a plan.  When my birthday came around I was excited to see what might be done.  Oh, I didn’t expect all the women of the church, but I was sure that the moms of teens or even the teens might do something or at least acknowledge.  The day would come and go, year after year without any grandeur.  Really, the same happened for 2nd man.  But we won’t go there, (he’s always handled things better than me.)
            I got really excited one year when a family in our church had let the staff know that the Lord had laid on their hearts to do something really special for the staff members.  Not, for any birthdays or holidays, but just as a way to express thanks, I guess.  Anyway, they took the pastor and his wife, and the outreach minister and his wife to Colorado to a nice cabin retreat.  They provided all the meals and even made them very special for everyone.  They took them on hikes and let them have an all around time of pampering and rest.  We weren’t invited, because I had just had our third child a few months earlier and of course nobody wants a newborn on a relaxing trip.  This, I understood.  To make up for not being able to take us they did something different.  For 2nd man it was front row seating to a Dallas Cowboys football game!  2nd man is a die-hard fan of the Dallas cowboys so this was like winning the lottery for him.  They sent him with our song leader.  They told me that I was to be treated to a queen for a day spa treatment in Tulsa with the man’s wife. I was really excited.  It sounded like a great gift for a new mom especially.  Time came and went and nothing more happened or was said.  Finally, at Christmas the man handed me a card for a half hour massage at the local small town spa next door to the church offices. 
            Normally, I’d be ecstatic for a half hour massage.  I mean, it’s not exactly a luxury I spend on myself, and I can appreciate the relaxation.  I guess it was all the build up that got me.  I had to really hide my disappointment at that one.  But, really, that was a selfish response.  I mean, they really did spoil 2nd man and he’s the actual one that’s on staff.  However, that mean ugly selfish bug started to take root in my heart.  When my birthday came around just a couple of months later, I found myself  wondering if any of my gifts were even thought out, or just thrown at me out of obligation from the few friends who did acknowledge it.  I shamefully admit it took me months to let go.  Yet, I think it was a good thing for me.  It was a release of thinking more highly of myself than I ought to.  It forced me to come face to face with my selfishness and see that these birthdays and such aren’t really even a big deal.
            This year, I was able to read all my little Facebook birthday wishes and truly appreciate them.  The wonderful quiet time with my husband was fantastic since we don’t get away alone very often.  Even my kids wowed me with homemade cards, (that I didn’t ask for) and a homemade chocolate cake, (that I did ask for).  It was special and heartening.  I pray that the Lord would not give up on me, and my selfish desires.  It makes me want to sing that song, “He’s still working on me…” I only wish I had let him perform some of this work years ago, so I wouldn’t be so far behind the curve.
Posted in Daily Musings, Healthy Living, Marriage

Eating clean and getting lean

            It’s been a good weekend so far.  Started with 2nd man canceling our workout yesterday morning (whew!).  I’m not happy that it was because he was feeling under the weather, however, I was thinking we were going to have to install handicap railing in our bathroom if my legs didn’t recover soon.  Just having a small child brush up against them was excruciating.  I’m thinking it’s a good thing to ease into this workout thing.  Not to mention that he now has me on a clean eating plan I need time to learn about..  This is the idea that we should eat foods that are as close to their natural state as possible.  That’s right…I have to break off my evil friendship with Little Debbie.  She’s a chemical filled nightmare that will outlive a nuclear war apparently.  So far, she’s been working underground and hiding out around my midsection….and lower section….oh, and upper section too.
            I’m actually on board with the 2nd man on this idea, but admittedly it was with some arm twisting reluctance.  I cried in his office when he first informed me that he wanted us to try to go this direction.  “you mean I have to go back to school to learn how to feed my family again?”  It’s not that I’m unwilling to help my family be as nutritious as possible, but it does take a substantial amount of time to learn how to cook everything….again….in a healthy way. 
After the initial tears I took a deep breath and said, “ok, I’m willing to try.”  Three reasons why. 1. I’m bummed because nobody’s coming for the holidays this year, and we have nowhere to go.  Guess it’s the perfect time to try to get healthy and learn to cook since there’s not much reason to cook up all of the junk food I was so looking forward to.  2.  I spotted a horrendous picture of myself on the photo wall at church….lets just say I could use some change. And 3. I really do want to be healthy and it kind of gives me a sense of Proverbs 31 (if you know what I mean).  In a nutshell….couldn’t hurt, might help. 
This should be interesting trying to be all “clean” in the youth ministry.  Already, this weekend, we’ve been to a youth rally that served Frito chili pie and brownies.  Not sure there was anything clean about any of that.  Tonight we have a teen service at church and GAP night afterwards.  GAP meaning “Games And Pizza”.  Guess I’d better eat my clean tuna and veggies before we leave for church.  I’m hoping the satisfaction of being healthy will outweigh the smell of that pizza in my car when I go to pick it up.  Ooooh I may need some prayer on this one. 
Posted in Associate/Youth Pastor's Wife, Marriage

God can use me?

I got to lead someone to Christ last night!!  What a privilege.  These are the moments that make everything worthwhile.  I am in awe that God would allow me this privilege.  I just about blew it too by yammering on without much clarity…I think.  Anyway, the young woman came up to me after the service and wanted to make sure she was saved after we had talked a long while before service.  It’s amazing how God can take someone’s yammering and make it something that someone else understands. 
     Then again, why should I doubt Him?  Bro. Davison was preaching out of Jonah last night at revival services.  I wanted to reread the whole book again this morning and dwell on it a little.  You know what stands out to me?  We know Jonah’s heart wasn’t in it.  I mean the man totally tried to run from God and was then traumatically and miraculously saved from the fish’s belly.    But, we know he wasn’t necessarily a changed man because of his attitude in the last chapter.  So how could God take this half-hearted, prejudice ridden, preaching and change the hearts of an entire city!  A humongous city at that! Wow!…I never tire of the illogical ways (it would seem to us) that God works in the hearts of man.
            On a lighter note, it’s nice to have 2nd man home with us today.  He’s taking his day off today (Thursday) instead of his regular Tuesday, because of revival.  Turns out it’s working well for him too.  It’s raining out today, a much needed rain.  Looks like the honey-do list won’t happen today, so 2nd man gets to rest a little. 
            Not so good for me.  I was hoping to distract him with outdoor chores as to get a day off of working out.  We used to workout regularly together and we’ve started again.  Honestly, I’m about to die.  My body is so sore, I don’t think I’ll be able to get off of this sofa to do anything today.  I was so tired yesterday morning when we began our workout, but the way 2nd man looks at me makes me keep going.  He gets this look on his face that is so wonderful.  It’s like he just loves when we do this together.  I’ll do anything to get that look out of him.  Hmmm…wish I could get it with my cooking