Posted in Life Lessons, My Interests, Parenting

Voice of the Martyrs and Meeting Gracia Burnham

A-mazing!!   That’s what Saturday was.  One of the things I was looking forward to (as mentioned in a previous post About the 4Ts of aniticipation Feb. 16, 2011) happened this weekend.  2nd man, our two daughters and I went to the headquarters of Voice of the Martyrs for a national conference.  I knew it would be a good day and would probably be a blessing.  But, I was so moved beyond tears that I’ve had a hard time even settling down enough to try and describe it.  Seriously, this is my third attempt at trying to put it into words.
I was a little taken aback by the fact that you couldn’t have cameras.  It drove home the reality that some of these people have to be careful because of the dangerous persecution that they could be under or could put others from their own countries under by association with them.  I would try to describe to you all of the wonderful, moving and heart wrenching stories these people shared, but it would take all day, and it did while we were there. 
We were impressed and amazed by a young, beautiful woman who goes into the dangerous jungles of Columbia with her father to spread the gospel.  She was fearless and full of faithful confidence in her Lord.  Wow, to have that boldness.  Then there was the gentleman from China who shared story after story of persecution of the Chinese.  Not stories from the past, but stories that are going on today, now in our world as we are going about our day.
Our children had quite a treat too.  The staff at Voice of the Martyrs had created a whole underground church for them out of boxes that were painted.  There was a secret tunnel to get inside there and even a prison cell.  Several of the speakers talked to them as well.  My girls were so impressed by Gracia Burnham, Tom White and the Columbian missionary’s daughter.  They got to make parachutes for the Columbians to drop over the jungle delivering radios set to Christian stations and Bible tracts.  They told me later that it was great and almost better than Bible School, which is a lot in my girls’ opinions. I was truly impressed with the level of excellence that the children’s program delivered.
Then of course there was Gracia Burnham.  The one who drew me to the conference in the first place.  Meeting the Pioneer woman a few weeks back was fantastic and exciting.  However, meeting Gracia was humbling, convicting, inspiring and just flat out awesome.  Not because of her alone, but because of what she has done through Christ.   I most certainly don’t ever wish to have the schooling of faith that she has been through, but I yearn so greatly to be so usable for Christ in such an amazing way.  Her ongoing prayer for those who were her captives is admirable as is her testimony of the entire event and how God has worked in her life since.  2nd man was impressed that even after all this time and multiple chances to share her testimony and so forth, she still gets moved by talking about her late husband and his testimony.  She challenged us to pray more and do more.
  2nd man and I had to go out to the car at the break that followed and just debrief a little.  Are we doing enough?  Does God really want us here? Or does he want us to go?  Where?  Japan?  Africa? Philippines? South America?  We’ve always tried to pray that we’d be willing to go wherever he leads.  But are we really meaning it?  Do we need a supernatural sign or a swift kick out of the plane to go?  Or does God just expect us to do it? 
One thing we know for sure is that wherever we are we need to be doing more no matter if we’re being called away or made to stay.  Honestly, it sometimes feels like we’re spending our time trying to convince Christian teens to act like Christians.  Not to mention ourselves, and all the adults around us too.  We are such a spoiled people here that we can get caught up and passionate, but it feels like it’s usually about our own selves instead of the souls of others. 
I found myself today praying so passionately for those Christian brothers and sisters in Christ who are in prisons or captivity around the world today and truly being able to enter into their needs.  What sweet time I was able to spend with the Lord and feeling like I was doing something, fighting for something in a real way not just routine.  How freeing it feels to be able to truly commune with God and have a real sense that he is there, listening and responding.  It’s almost like a part of my faith had been missing, lost in my utter selfishness.  For all of the complaints I have about life and little worries from day to day, I hope God will forgive and still use me or at least my family in some way to further his kingdom.  Across the world Christians are facing death of body by some terrorist or evil government, while we here in America are only asked to face death of self and so many (myself included) are unwilling to face that kind of death.
Gracia Burnahm and me after I’d been crying most of the day .

On a lighter note I have to give you my impression of meeting Gracia Burnham and her daughter too.  Can you say gracious?  Just like her name suggests.  I found myself just melting into her arms at first.  Here was my big chance to say all these wonderful thoughts about her and I was like a blubbering idiot.  Really, I’m so embarrassed by it.  I wanted to explain how I’d heard about her book from a missionary’s wife that was going into a persecuted nation and how it had touched me so deeply.  How I had left off all that I was supposed to do that day and just read through the entire book in one sitting etc.  But, there I stood feeling so overwhelmed by inadequacy that thankfully 2nd man stepped in and saved the day.  He started talking with her and they were like old friends.  She was so engaging and didn’t act like she was in a hurry to get away or anything.  She signed both of my books and hugged me again.  Wow!!  Sometimes you meet people like this and they want to be that way, but they’re just time constrained and too many people are around all wanting a piece of them so they are almost forced to act standoffish.  But she didn’t I was so honored to have bent her ear and to have my children meet her too!  Oh, I pray the impression will be burnt in their minds and memories. 

Posted in Associate/Youth Pastor's Wife, Parenting, Teens

Teen Outreach

            My oldest daughter asked me this morning, “Momma, why is it that we have to take two full touring busses to camp, but only the little shuttle bus on teen outreach?”  A poignant thought coming from a 10 year old, I think.  My only response could be what I gave.  “Honey, outreach means reaching outside of yourself, giving time, and attention to others, whereas camp is about getting.  You get good preaching and lots of fun.  Unfortunately most of the teens…and adults too, are more interested in the getting than the giving.”    Sounds like a negative tone for the start of a blog post doesn’t it?  However, it’s not all bad, and her question got me to really thinking about outreach.
            When I was younger and growing up in church, I didn’t really know what outreach was all about.  I heard the term church visitation, but my family didn’t really go and it all sounded so intimidating.  My inner impression was,  “They expect me, a 7th grader, to randomly knock on someone’s door and be invited in with open arms, show this random person who was awakened from their Saturday morning sleeping-in, how to get to heaven?  Does that really work?  What if they totally yell and chase me off with a shotgun or something?”  I know these were the thoughts of a stretched imagination, but nothing in me wanted to go.
            Fast-forward about 10 years when I find myself in Oklahoma, married to a youth pastor who wants to take kids on visitation.  The first few years of our marriage, I had the attitude that this was his thing and ministry and Saturday was my only real day off, so I would have to stay home and do some housekeeping.  Later, after the kids came along, I was able to use all my babies as excuses.  Then, one day the Lord got a hold of my heart.  No. That’s to gentle of a term.  It’s more like he yanked it up toward his chin and inserted major conviction.  If all these teens come faithfully, certainly, I could give it a try.  I was convicted as a mother as well.  I didn’t want my kids to grow up witnessing fear in their mother to invite someone to church or tell them about the Lord!
            So, one Saturday I packed up the kids and surprised 2nd man by announcing that I would start coming to outreach, even if I had to push a stroller.  You know what? It was easy!   I should have trusted my 2nd man, well, and my Lord, the whole time.  He didn’t throw teens to the wolves and expect miracles.  Teen outreach is simply about easing them into the idea of reaching out and passing out tracts or invitations to our church.  We walk neighborhoods and put the tracts on doors without disturbing anyone.  If someone does happen to be outside or open the door we talk to them and either engage a witnessing opportunity or simply invite them to our church.  Some may think it’s not “real” outreach, but I think it’s giving the teens an opportunity to serve God and, hopefully, giving God an opportunity to stretch and use them.  Lets face it, people don’t just open their doors very prevalently anymore, it can be dangerous.  Not that we don’t do it at all, there are times when 2nd man will choose someone to go along with him and actually knock on the doors looking for opportunity to share the gospel.  However, by training them as a group this way, we’re hoping it will build their boldness and drive. 
            2nd man even makes it kind of fun.  He drives us all around and lets us off in groups of at least 3 or four and gives us a few blocks at a time.  The other youth worker ladies and I usually end up with the “kids” group.  Between us, we have about 6 of our own kids that aren’t in the youth department yet.  These kids spread like mercury out of one of those old glass thermometers.  They can cover a neighborhood in no time flat.  After a few pranks of 2nd man driving by our awaiting group and pretending like he’s forgotten us, we usually go out to lunch to wrap up the morning. 
            I know it’s still intimidating for many of the kids.  That’s why I try not to be too harsh on those who don’t come, at least, the new ones who’ve never tried it.  Our goal is to have 20 kids come.  We don’t always reach that goal, but it’s the goal nonetheless.  I actually find myself more in awe of the ones who do choose to come.  I’m impressed with the teens in our youth department who choose to serve the Lord at such young age even if it isn’t “cool.”  I wish I had been that way and I’m excited for them at the possibilities this could open up in their lives as they grow and serve the Lord.  What blessings they will get to experience that those kids now that don’t come, and I, won’t ever get.  I’m excited, also, for my own children who will think of it as normal and not such a scary deal as they grow older.  It’s good training and especially exciting when we’re able to share with them that someone came to church because of their reaching out. 
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, Life Lessons, Parenting

Woman of the Year

     Well, it’s confession time…I did it…the unthinkable…well…that thing we, as women, mothers and wives don’t ever want to admit…are you ready for it?   I took a nap last Friday.  Oh glorious 30 minutes that were worth every frantic huff my kids could muster.  As one wondered what on earth she should do because her video teacher told her to take a quiz that I didn’t have torn out for her yet.  I’ll admit, I heard her wondering…but I didn’t budge.  Mean you say?  Well, no, I don’t think so. She survived and took the quiz later.  I considered it a lesson in flexibility, a characteristic she will need to acquire to survive.  My little guy, kept wanting to stroke my face, thinking I was sick or something.  I just pretended to unknowingly roll over.  It’s not that I was tricking the kids.  I simply had no energy to muster up to respond to them at 3:00 that afternoon.  The good news is, everyone survived, and I was a much better mommy for it. 
     Why do we have to hide things like this?  I wish we were one of those cultures that shut down at 3:00 everyday and starts back up around 5:00.  Wouldn’t we all be better off for it?  Just think how rested and congenial all moms would be if that happened?  Not to mention kids and husbands and…well…everyone. 
     Instead, ours is a culture where we women must vie for the woman of the year award by putting on airs that we sleep 4 hours a night, sew our children’s clothing, run the PTA, work for our local elections, show up to every town hall meeting and volunteer for every committee the church has.  While in reality we sleep in too late most days making us have to rush around.  We spend too much clothing our children and usually say things we may regret at PTA meetings (yes, I home school, but when I taught school I noticed a lot of this “saying things they should regret” stuff).  We do show up to vote, but don’t even understand what they’re talking about at the town hall meetings ( I mean who cares about the traffic light at main and 3rd?  the real question is “What on earth am I going to make/buy for dinner?)   Well I say patooy to that! 
     I have a sneaking suspician that if one would ask my family what woman of the year meant they’d say something like, “Oh, that means a mom who is happy and rested and enjoys her family…all of them.” Also, “a momma that can cook well and feed us stuff that tastes good and is good for us.” You know the basic stuff like one who doesn’t yell, doesn’t get tired a lot and makes home a haven blah blah blah. 
    Well, they’re the only ones I need to impress, and in order to do that I need a nap.  So, go ahead, ladies vie for the titles, bowl the world over with your impressiveness.  I’ve got a nap to take so I can keep this home happy and sane.  I haven’t won the any awards yet, even by my family’s standards so I guess I’d better get busy.  See ya’ll in an hour yawwwwwwn!
Posted in Homeschooling, Life Lessons, Parenting

Appreciatin’ My Kids

    I really love the ages of my kiddos right now.  Currently they are 10, 8 and 4.  I just need to pause and reflect on this a little bit.  I’ll be the first to admit I didn’t do infancy very well.  Oh, I bonded and adored each child.  However, I never fully embraced the lack of sleep and, yes, I must confess, baby formula was my friend, (I know I know the horror!  My children will all be doomed to poor health or something like that). 
     Truly, it’s a wonder I’ve come this far.  I never really enjoyed babysitting while I was growing up.  The money was great, but I’d rather wait tables.  I just never got into it.  I marvel at the girls in our youth department who enjoy babysitting and being around kids.  I do wish I had been more like this.  God did a work in me after we got married.  It’s not that I never wanted kids.  I just wasn’t sure when I would actually want them. 
     Now, here I am thirteen and half years later and adoring my kids, even though I sound like the worst mom ever.  Oh, I’m no “Nineteen Kids and Counting” kind of mom, if you’ve ever seen that show.  I wish I could smile that much and be that calm. That woman never seems gets her feathers ruffled.  However, the Lord does continue working in me to appreciate the blessings he’s given.  
      This is currently on my mind because I’m stuck in the chair sick this week.  Went to the doctor yesterday with a double ear infection and throat infection.  2nd man came home for lunch after my appointment and told the kids to take care of me and call him if I got out of the chair to do any work.  (He knows the mess of the kitchen can sometimes overpower the sickness in me).  Anyway, they did a great job.  I was hoping to start school yesterday, but have chosen to call in Home Ec. Day.  The two older girls played with their brother and took care of his needs most of the afternoon.  Then, about 4:30 they cleaned up the kitchen and made dinner…a good one to.  Goulash, garlic bread and salad were on the menu.  Little brother set the table.   I was so thankful for that.  2nd man was willing to come home and do all of this, but he didn’t have to…what a blessing! 
     It’s nice to have them this age for more than just the chores and cooking too.  We are now at a place where we all enjoy the same humor (for the most part).  I enjoy hearing their thoughts on friends, spiritual matters, and everyday happenings. I’m also relieved that we’ve turned a corner with our little guy.  Last year I was worried sick that he’d never go to church without getting in trouble in class or something.  Yet, the past five or six months have been so much more pleasant.  He seems to have gotten the rules down finally.   Of course they aren’t perfect and I worry incessantly about weaknesses I see.  However, I enjoy watching them grow into people of their own.  I don’t look forward to them totally growing up and leaving.  Just wish we could freeze things here…well, maybe with a few more recipes in their repertoire.
Posted in Life Lessons, My Interests, Parenting

Merry Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas everyone!  I have been so over blessed this year.  Haven’t had much time to post any new blogs this week because my folks came to town, from Ohio, for the week.  I was so excited about this since Thanksgiving was such a quiet and uneventful time for us.  We’ve truly enjoyed having them visit.  The kids have just loved every minute.
      We decided to make Christmas Eve very special this year.  We had our big dinner this evening with our “homeless” friend joining us.  We then had gift time at Nana’s.  However, we really celebrated the evening after that by watching “The Nativity”.  I fully realize that this movie isn’t necessarily spot on in the details.  Let’s face it we can’t get our facts from Hollywood.  However, it does provide a visual illustration that gives us an idea of what it could have been like for Mary and Joseph and the Baby Jesus.  The solemnity of that still night portrayed brought us all to tears.  How precious to sit and dwell on the humble birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  My heart was swollen with gratitude for what he did and the provisions he made even for his coming.  From awing and inspiring the wise men, to reaching out with special attention to the shepherds.  Even the sweet time for Mary to have the camaraderie of Elizabeth. 
       We’ll spend tomorrow having more family time and opening gifts, and of course reading the actual Biblical account of Christ’s birth.  But I pray that we’ll take the opportunity to be a blessing to God on His special day.  Better yet, may we be that blessing everyday. 
     This may seem like a rambling blog, it’s late and I”m tired, but I couldn’t resist publicly taking the opportunity to thank God for his sacrifice for me.

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

Trying to Get Deep

            I wonder sometimes if anyone else ever struggles with their devotions?  Boy, I can go in spurts that can be awful.  Here I’ll already feel guilty with the Lord about my lack of depth or insight and then I’m inclined to share with a teen girl or lady from the church they really need to get into the Word.  I think I just complicate it in my mind.  I’ll read a book by someone else and think “Wow! They got some real insight from the Lord!”  and then I’ll sit down to read and I get a geneology or something similar.  I’ll try to read as deep into as I can… but the…I get nothing.
            Oh, don’t get me wrong, it’s not always like that, I was just wondering if anyone else ever struggles.  It’s like a feeling of inferiority.  I think the teacher in me wants to find some new insight or wow moment to share with everyone.  I’ve struggled with it recently because I’m supposed to teach the pastor’s wife’s ladies class this Sunday. I think I tend to overcomplicate things. So, I’ve decided to do something I’ve never done before.  I’m stealing 2nd mans stuff.  Not really, I asked him for it first.  He actually taught his Sunday School lesson to the teens last week on this kind of thing.  How we should be meditating on the Word of God and how to make it more meaningful and gather all we can out of it.  He didn’t even know my struggle when he prepared the lesson, but it was pointed right at me.
            (I might add here one of my beefs about older teens who say they don’t get anything out of the youth classes anymore.  BALONEY!  I’ve been in the youth class for the 13 years we’ve been married and then some.  I get stuff out of it regularly.  That’s an excuse for feeling too big in their britches or just wanting out. Parents beware of this excuse.)  Ok, I’m off the soapbox.
            Anyway, my pastor’s wife says that she likes to give me, and the outreach minister’s wife these opportunities to share what God has done in our lives lately.  Well, this is what he’s been working on…getting deeper.  Deeper with Him and deeper into His Word.  I’ve used other people’s books before as outline guides for a class so why not my own husband’s stuff. (with girlier application and illustration of course). 
Sweet Mom Moment:  Driving to church Sunday night, my kids noticed the big, lighted angel in the local park was turned on that night.  They were all oohing and aahing at it.  My daughters decided to quiz our little guy about it.  “Whose birthday is it that we decorate for?”  to which he replied, “Jesus, it’s Jesus’ birthday.”  They were praising him for getting it right when he went on, “I hope it makes him happy.”   My thought to that is “me too”  I hope it makes Him happy too.
Posted in Parenting


            Well, it’s hard to believe another Thanksgiving has come and gone already.  Ours was pretty quiet around here.  Oh, not for lack of trying.  I all but begged my folks to come out here from Ohio, but circumstances just didn’t work out.  2nd man’s mom lives in a cottage behind our home, but was only able to eat and run since she works at a nursing home.  The rest of the staff left town to be with family.  The real kicker was when our homeless friend (who isn’t homeless anymore) didn’t even want to come.  I invited him over coffee on the front porch, but he said he preferred to eat at a local church that was putting on a dinner for the public.  Well isn’t that a real how-de-do!  I can’t even do a good deed. 
            It all turned out nice anyway.  We enjoyed the non-stress day and even got in a good long afternoon of monopoly with our girls.  (This was to make up for messing with their dinner.)  I decided to give our little “eat clean” experiment a try with some new recipes.  Some were ok.  The kids didn’t even notice that the pumpkin pie was different.  However, the sweet potato casserole…well….it left something to be desired.  There are some things that just seem kind of untouchable when it comes to a feast like Thanksgiving. 
            2nd man and I were able to have one of our spontaneous talks while the kids were out visiting Nana in the cottage Thanksgiving morning.  Sometimes, on a non-hurried day we end up in these conversations that I just love…and sometimes hate.  This one was a mixture namely, because we were discussing the kids.  We like to kind of update each other on where we think our kids are spiritually, socially, mentally etc.  We both are concerned about how much technology they are getting lately.  Our little guy (only 4 yrs old) seems obsessed with playing some sort of video game either on daddy’s phone or the girls’ Nintendo DS.  The girls seem just as enthused.  I, for one, am not a big video game enthusiast, so I know my viewpoint is a bit prejudiced.  However, I really want my kids to be able to have conversations about something other than make-believe.  They aren’t totally gone on all of this, but we hashed out some of our concerns and have decided to tighten the reins a little bit.  I knew this was a good idea when, in the car today, my oldest daughter asked if she could unplug herself while daddy was in the store.  What she meant to say was unbuckle…sigh…great moments in motherhood.  Little did she know how prophetic she was actually being.  On the way home we noticed two sets of stop- lights that were out.   When we arrived to our house the whole neighborhood was out of power.  We had to all get unplugged anyway.  
Posted in Associate/Youth Pastor's Wife, Parenting, Teens

Some things the Youth Pastor’s Wife Wishes she Could Tell Parents to Teach Their Daughters Intro:

Some things the youth pastors wife wishes she could tell parents to teach their  daughters:
1.      How to act ladylike.  A good burp or bodily function can be funny at certain times, but really….it’s not that enjoyable to the rest of us.  The boys may laugh, but they aren’t sincerely impressed.  Who wants a wife that can out noise them?
2.      You aren’t the center of the universe.  I know this is the lifelong plight of all parents to teach their children.  However, of recent it would seem that some parents promote this thinking.  Perhaps training them to look outside of themselves and see a bigger world would help them and the world.
3.      You don’t need a boyfriend.  Here’s the biggie.  Yes, I want my daughters to like boys, but I don’t want them to need boys.  I witness so many girls sacrifice personality and character all for the sake of flirting.
4.      You do need God.  My mom used to tell me that there was nothing more attractive than a godly man…she was right.  I would surmise that the opposite is true coming from the boys’ side.  I’m sure that a godly girl must seem quite attractive and even challenging.  I would love to ingrain this in all teen girls I meet.  It would so improve and fulfill their entire lives if they could have their full confidence in God.  Any man that he brings into their lives from there would be icing on the cake
5.      Be thankful.  So many young women aren’t thankful…for anything.  This leads into adult women who aren’t thankful.  Thankfulness is a godly character that should never be underestimated (read Psalms).  And remember: Silent gratitude is of no use to anyone.
6.      Teach them to be keepers of their homes and not women’s libbers.  My mother’s generation was so focused on teaching my generation to think only of myself and get a career and make money and be like a man.  Now my generation is stuck trying to teach ourselves how to take care of our homes.  Careers and money are great, but the family still needs fed and the toilets still get dirty.
7.      Dress modestly.  Oh yes, the cry of youth pastors wives nationwide.  The girls seem to think this is only for church or to please their youth leaders.  Why?  Because it seems we’re having trouble getting moms on board with this.  This will always be a challenge in a woman’s life in this modern world, however, it is possible to be fashionable and modest.  Why would you want to show yours or your daughter’s goods to the world?  I’m especially astonished at what people allow their daughters to wear even to church.  The ability to blush has become a lost character trait.  Please moms, don’t sacrifice your daughters to the world this way. Oh, and btw this is one of those battles we should choose to fight.
8.      Communication.  I am always so surprised and impressed when I come across teens who can talk with adults.  Oh, not about boring stuff to them like decorating or grocery bills.  But conversations about matters like God, and the world and challenges in life.  We must, as parents, teach our kids to communicate, so that as they grow they will continue to communicate.  They are facing so many tough challenges in the teen years that if they don’t know how to keep talking to parents and teachers and God,  they are left to navigate these years alone.  Many seem to shut down and adults take this as a natural stage.  There is nothing natural about shut down.
9.      Be respectful.  Life is not fair.  The teachers can be subjective, the pastors and youth pastors can make mistakes, not to mention parents can mess up too.  However, this does not give teens the right to be disrespectful.  I don’t always agree with who is in the office of the president, but if I ever met the president you can bet I’d give him respect for the sake of the position.  It is vital to teach kids to be respectful of authority even if they disagree with that authority.  You can bet we, in the ministry, know who is having disrespectful conversations about the ministers at home.  It shows in their kids behavior and attitudes. 
10.  Finally, please use the youth pastor’s wife.  It is not an official position that’s for sure.  But, I never feel more fulfilled than when God allows me to be of use for him and my husband by talking or praying with a young lady.  Even godly parents could use the reinforcement of another person giving their daughter godly advice.  It’s not that I want to know all their junk.  It’s that they are allowing me to be a part in their circle of influence.  This is wise on their behalf. 
Hmmm, this is quite the list.  I’m thinking I might have to expand on some of these points in days to come…
Posted in Associate/Youth Pastor's Wife, Daily Musings, Parenting

All by Myself

     I had the most wonderful day today.  One of those that people like me dream about, but rarely get to see.
            2nd man took the teenagers paint balling.  No, this is not where I went.  I learned long ago that this was not the activity for me.  I went two times in our first couple of years here in Oklahoma.  The first time was exhilarating as I won one of the games by capturing the flag.  However, the second time I went, I was shot to pieces.  I was sure it was 2nd man doing the shooting.  The referee was squatting down behind where I was trapped.  As the paintballs kept hitting me they wouldn’t break.  The referee was getting a kick out of this as he kept chuckling and informing me “you’re still alive ha ha.”  2nd man could hear me writhing and kept yelling over through the trees, “check yourself!  See if they’re breaking!”  to which I replied, “Stop shooting and I will.”  By now I was in tears, not for the pain, but for the anger welling up in me.  I just couldn’t understand why he kept shooting me without pause. He was so asking to sleep on the sofa.  Finally, one of the paintballs broke and I was declared officially “dead” for that game.  It was later that I found out it wasn’t 2nd man shooting me at all.  It was one of the deacons of the church.  One of the sweetest, meekest, and mildest men in our church tried to kill me from the rush of the game…arghhhh….men.
            Anyway, instead of putting myself through torture, I farmed out the kids to a friend and went to Tulsa for the day.  Yes, all by myself, with money to spend and an agenda to be had.  I planned the whole day beforehand.  Had coupons in hand and a car to myself.  I left early in the morning, and the most exciting part, I had no reason to rush there and back as usually happens.  This was good since I did end up taking a wrong turn and wandering around for about 30 minutes before getting my bearings again.  I kind of enjoyed the wandering jaunt through unknown parts of Tulsa without the pressure of getting to where I was going.  I had a classical station on the radio and found some most beautiful mansions in neighborhoods I’d never known.
            I had discovered, online, that Tulsa had a Whole Foods Store.  Boy, was that fun!  I could have spent half the day there discovering all the fun health foods and feeling so trendy and healthy.  However, the money ran out before the time.   I think I’ll have to return on a less busy day when I can wander around some more.
            I’ve now returned to real life and must now go get ready for Sunday morning.  Thankfully, 2nd man returned unscathed from his battles and even bathed the children for me.  Boy, what a day!