Posted in Associate/Youth Pastor's Wife, Teens

2nd Man Preaches in Kansas City!

This past Friday my favorite preacher, the 2nd Man, was the special speaker at a youth rally up near Kansas City, KS.   Whenever he speaks out at other churches he really likes the family to come.  So we all piled into the truck and we drove almost five hours.  Oh the sights we saw! 
It looked like this in some areas.
Then it looked kind of like this. 
Also looked like this a little.
 Ah Kansas!  The beauty of the plains
The mean home school mommy in me made my kids do schoolwork in the car.  Sounds harsh, but I didn’t want to sacrifice a day just being in the car.  The schedule rules!  Ha ha just kidding.  They did do some work, but we’re actually pretty flexible.  There was also plenty of Nintendo DS playing and movie player watching too. 
 When we finally got there, it was worth it.  The youth pastor that asked him to come is quite a bit younger than us and we actually used to know him when he was a camper at the same summer camp that our churches went to.  Their church also used to come to a major 3-day rally called Spiritual Boot camp that 2nd man used to put together in Tulsa.   I bring this up because it was really quite flattering that this youth pastor used the same kind of theme for this particular fellowship rally. 
            The theme was “Hold the Line.”  They had funny skits and games like “Let’s make a Jill”
            There was also the sledgehammer challenge.
            He also did some messy games with youth pastors, balloons and shave cream.
After that – the best part… 2nd man spoke.  
Now, I know I’m biased, I’ll admit it.  But he did a great job! (Praise the Lord of course!)   I had heard parts of this particular message before on Ephesians 6 and the armor of God.  However, his focus was on the part where Paul encourages that after having all to stand after putting on the armor of God, to stand (hold the line if you will).  He preached with a vigor and passion that was contagious and encouraging. 
            One of the things I like about when he’s asked to speak out is that it is an encouragement to him.  Other 2nd man and pastor’s wives would understand this.  Our own kids don’t always appreciate him or the work he puts into the messages.  However, speak the same message elsewhere and two dozen or more people come forward to the alter.  It’s not so much a pride issue as it is an encouragement issue to keep going and striving to make a difference.  This is one of the things I find most attractive about 2nd man is that he desperately wants to make a difference in lives for the Lord.  One of the things I find attractive in the Lord is when he sends 2nd man encouragement to keep going and Hold that Line. 
2nd man came back with a renewed passion and vivaciousness in his speaking during Sunday school with our own teens.  I just love that.  I also love that our kids get the privilege of going and hearing their daddy speak.  It raises their respect for him and hopefully for ministry as well.  We really want our kids to experience the enjoyments that ministry can bring.  We want them to know that although ministry can be tough, it can also come with some fun experiences.  This weekend they especially enjoyed the hotel.  We also got to go walk around an outdoor shopping center that was really cool.  At this particular shopping center was a cool restaurant that was all about dinosaurs.  The kids just loved this place.  Overall, a great weekend was had by all.

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


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 Associate/Youth Pastor's Wife, Teens

Summer Break and a 2nd Man’s Wife

I had a great summer break this week, but alas it is over.  Yes, the “summer break” for some 2nd man wives only lasts for one or maybe two beautiful peaceful weeks and then come activities.  I actually like most of them, so this isn’t a whine.  Tomorrow we leave for senior camp.  I’ve had people through the years give me mixed reactions about this.  Most are sympathetic that I have to be with teenagers for a whole week.  However, this isn’t really all that bad.  It’s more the 14-hour overnight bus ride that really kills me. Once we’re there, I’m golden.  I mean really I look at it this way, I get a week away from normal chores, like cooking, cleaning and Wal-Mart.  I get to hear great preaching that convicts and inspires even us adults.  I get to be around a totally Christian environment without the distractions of the world and I get to be there when teenagers get moved and convicted and want to talk about it.  Also, in my case, my children get to go visit their Granny and Grandpa who are normally a 17-hour drive down 3hrs. to pick them up for the week. 
            Of course it has its downers as well.  Some people think I’m taking vacation.  Well, to that I say, “not exactly.”  For all of the perks, it is still no vacation. Did I mention the 14-hour bus ride?   I also don’t choose to spend vacation outside in 90-degree weather sweating it out to play field games.  Nor do I choose to spend vacation sleeping in a creaky bunk and sharing icky shower rooms and bathroom counters with 19 teenage girls.  I usually pull rank in the bathroom area as I can “paint my barn” a lot faster than these girls.  Nor do I spend my vacations checking hem lengths and cleavage exposure and I do wish that mom’s would do this before they send their girls to camp…grrr…sniff…argh (but I digress).  So, no, it’s not exactly vacation either. 
            After camp, we’re looking at a 3-week stint of running a fireworks stand. Which is the most time consuming of all our summer activities, but provides our teens with a lot of money in their teen accounts to be able to attend most of their activities throughout the year.  During that time we send our two daughters to Jr. camp (which, thankfully, I got out of going to this year).  Then there’s the trip to Chicago with our top 7 winners of our Wednesday night program.  After that a 3-day youth conference before school starts.
            Yes, summer is the busiest time of year for a youth pastor’s family not to mention the poor youth pastor.  However, it can be the most rewarding time as the teens are full of energy and excitement.  I’m curious as to what others experience during this time and what their perspective is. 
So here’s the challenge:  While I’m away this week (I’ll try to post, but am not sure as to the WiFi access or time constraints) I would ask that if you are a 2nd mans wife or any kind of ministers wife or even a youth worker, or even were ever a teen that went to camp, that you’d post a comment or send me an email to  I want to hear about your summer experiences.  Do they just plain wear you out?  How do you prepare?  What are your thoughts on camps?  What’s the best or worst camp experience you’ve had?  Tell me tell me tell me.  I want to hear.  Do you have any great ideas that you’ve learned in your experiences?  Dish it out sister!  So there you go the assignment has been given, please share and I’ll look forward to hearing from ya!  But for now, I’ve got to go pack.
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, Teens

Will I be in the Ghetto in Heaven Someday?

      If  Heaven has a ghetto, I think I’ll be living there.  There seems to be plenty of evidence of reward and responsibility when we get to Heaven, based upon our service and devotion to Christ here in this life.  Yet, whenever I ponder my Christianity I seem to come up so short, that it’s shameful and pitiful view.  I see how I try to love and serve Gene (our semi-homeless friend).  Yet, he seems to push my buttons sometimes.  Then there’s Larry (our “special teen” –changed name) who does the same to me. 
     Gene left socks for me to launder for him.  This isn’t the problem exactly.  I offered to him long ago that I’d be willing to wash his clothes for him.  Hoping it would be all of his clothes.   However, he only brings me socks.  And it’s only like once every three months or so.  Well, he left some last week for me to clean.  I hung them right inside my front door as I was in a hurry that morning.  When I got home that afternoon, the girls were going to have a friend come over.  We were doing a quick clean up before she arrived when I passed through my front hallway.  “What died!” I exclaimed.  Then I realized it was Genes socks.  I quickly threw the bag out on the front porch and tried to detox my entryway.  Still don’t know if the mom of the girl smelled it or not.   So, I finally got them laundered and had to run some extra cycles with vinegar to clean out my machine.  I decided then, that I was just going to stock up on socks, so whenever he brings them, I’ll just give him new ones.  Anyway, I told him they were ready and I’d just stick them in his front door so he wouldn’t have to carry them around town all day.  He made sure I would put them inside the storm door so nobody would steal them….blink…blink.  Everything in me wanted to say, “Gene, there isn’t a rat in town that would want these babies.”  But I refrained. 
      Then there’s Larry.  We were to pick him up for the teen activity Monday.  Instead, he did his usual of just showing up at the house right during crunch time.  He and Gene, both, were on my front porch wanting coffee and to talk.  I, meanwhile still had wet hair, girls who were having wardrobe crisis, and a 4 year old boy who still wasn’t dressed, all with 15 minutes until departure.  I looked at Larry and said, “we’ll pick you up soon.” And to Gene, “here’s your coffee, but I can’t chat this morning.”  To which he said ok, but continued to tell me what was on his mind. 
     Poor Larry, we did pick him up, but the teens were ruthless to him that day.  It’s a hard thing with people like him.  I totally understand how the teens can get frustrated, because he talks incessantly.  Big, bold talk that cannot possibly be true sometimes.  As much as he can be annoying, 2nd man and I still love him and appreciate the spice he adds to life, but the kids can’t seem to balance that.  They unscrewed the cap on the crushed peppers at the pizza place.  When he went to get some the whole jar ended up on his pizza.  Oh, he was not happy at all…who could blame him?   Even I got a little impatient in the car while we were waiting back at the church to go home.  He was telling me that he remembered a time when he was 3 years old when their car slipped on an icy bridge into the guardrail.  I could work with this story, but he lost me when he spoke of how they all jumped out of the car just in time for the car to fall off the bridge into the icy waters below. Uh huh.  It was then I excused myself to get 2nd man hurried along and into the car. 
     I get so disappointed with the teens and how impatient they are, but I wonder how bad I behave as well.  I want to love these guys like the Lord would.  Then, I get put in these situations where I wonder how the Lord could?  Then I wonder how he could love me too?  I read on a friend’s facebook today a quote that I love: “Everyone has wisdom enough to manage the affairs of his neighbors.” -Benjamin Franklin.  Isn’t it true that we can see other’s faults so much easier than our own?  Ahhh, will I ever please the Lord?  Or will I just be put in the corner ghetto of Heaven someday? 
Posted in Associate/Youth Pastor's Wife, Daily Musings, Teens

Back to the Grind

     So, I’m two cups of coffee into the day, and trying to rally myself back into the grind.  I usually welcome the return to routine after long breaks, but I’m having trouble this time.  I think it’s a sinus infection that I’ve been feeling coming on the past couple of days.  Guess I’ll have to interrupt the first day back with a little trip to the urgent care office for some meds.  Honestly, I think it’s my rebellious body’s way of putting off getting back into the workouts and clean eating.  My sweet tooth has been in overdrive the past couple of weeks and I’m gonna have to tame it again.  Think I’ll be visiting my favorite healthy websites like and to get re-motivated. 2nd man got me a dutch oven for Christmas this year.  It was exactly what I wanted.  It’s even green like the Pioneer Woman’s on the front cover of her cookbook.  I often walk around with it posing and asking if I look like her…yea I wish.  She doesn’t have maybe the healthiest recipes, but they sure are good and your family thanks you after attempting her stuff from .  Boy, I sure am plugging a lot of websites here huh?
 I’m hoping my mom reads this post because I wanted to show her the church sanctuary.  Saturday, Stacy (the head decorator) and I and some men of the church hung the new curtains for the baptistery and the banners our pastor ordered.  Our church building is only two years old and we’ve been staring at blank walls all that time.  The building is beautiful and we’re so excited to be in it.  However, when you really enjoy decorating, the blank slate can almost be overwhelming.  Stacy sewed like 24 hours straight or something on the curtains.  She’s this wonderfully confident woman.  We had a good laugh together, knowing that not everyone will like the new look.  If it were me that had done all that sewing, I would burst into tears at the first little criticism just from shear exhaustion.  That’s why she’s the head of the decorating committee, as she says it, “People don’t share their opinions with me.”  I, on the other hand, you may remember, wear the sign on my head that says, “Please criticize me.”  So, it’s all hung and decorated and I just love it.  It finally feels like home. 
     I was considering quitting this committee for a while, but just can’t.  I really do enjoy decorating at church.  I know it’s not the most spiritual of jobs, but I feel like it helps set a mood for people when they enter the church.  Just like any home, you want people to feel comfortable, welcome, and calm so they’ll stay and sit a while.  I think it’s even more important for the house of God.  So, I’m gonna stick with it.
     We had our monthly GAP (Games And Pizza) night last night after the teen service.  I love teen service nights.  We usually have one of the young men who are called into ministry do the preaching.  That or we invite a college student who is a ministerial major to come preach.  The other young men sing or usher and the young ladies sing and greet people in the foyer.  I wish I had been so bold as a teen or even encouraged to take part in the services.  It’s great training for them to take part this way.  We’ve been blessed with some really talented teens all these years either in singing or instruments.
     I think I’m getting a little bit rambling here with my topics so I’d better wrap it up.  The coffee is kicking in.  Guess that’s my cue to get back to the grind.

Posted in Associate/Youth Pastor's Wife, Teens

Back from the Youth Conference

     Well, we’re back from the youth conference and, hopefully, rested.  It went very well this year.  We took a smaller than usual group of only 19 kids which was actually kind of nice.  The group was, mostly, comprised of 7th-8th graders as well…also kind of nice.  The only drawback to this age group is that they behave as if they’ve never been to a nice hotel and that they’ve never seen a phone in a hotel room.  After about 20 prank calls for Chinese takeout between the boys and girls rooms, they finally seemed to get adjusted.
     The preaching was top notch.  Hopefully all the kids (and adults) walked out with something to work on in their lives.  I know I did.  He had a whole message on loving the Word of God.  Can you believe it?  The very thing I’ve been trying so hard to work on in my own life.  So much for just the youth getting anything out of these conferences. 
            2nd man did a fantastic job in his session to the Youth Pastors.  I know I’m biased, but he was looking pretty tired that morning before the session.  I was wondering if he was going to have it in him.  But the Holy Spirit seemed to take over and energize him.  The timing was perfect and the delivery superb.  Here’s a little synopsis on what he said to encourage the others in youth ministry:
Title: Finding Grace to Stay in the Race!”
Hebrews 12:1-2
I.                    We will need the right Purpose.
a.      John 4:34  our purpose is to serve God, not ourselves,or the teens.  This should be our purpose for any ministry…not just youth ministry.
II.                 We will need the proper Perspective
III.               We will need the correct Plan
IV.              We must have the right Pursuit
a.      Don’t compare with other ministries: “if only we had a gym or a better building, or a bigger town etc.”
     Ok, so my notes aren’t the greatest.  However, he shared testimony of how he had a hard time in those first few years of ministry.  However, when he was just about at his end and taking it to the Lord it was as if God said, “look at how Jesus did with the disciples.” They were 12 grown men who were in the very presence of the savior and they still had lumps and bumps.  We (in youth) are dealing with immature teens who aren’t in the direct physical presence of God.  Why do we think we’re going to have it easier?   
     Even as I write this I know I’m doing 2nd man a bit of a disservice by trying to relay his message.  But I hope you can get the gist of his message.  I think it was received well and encouraged some out in the crowd.  It was really neat to have the Harris’s there who were in our youth department at that beginning time.  They are now married and serving in youth ministry.  It’s was nice to be able to point them out as an example of how we don’t always know how God is working through our ministries. 
On a funny note, 2nd man gave three girls permission to join us for one day of the conference, because they weren’t able to come to the entire event.  They were going to just hang out with us for the day instead of getting a hotel room etc.  One of them was my greatest critic who I’ve mentioned in previous posts.  She seems to really hate me.  I’m not guessing or assuming, no, she’s made it clear.  Anyway, that morning my girls had gone down to breakfast and I was finishing up getting ready in the hotel room.  I went over to open the curtains and there they were just pulling up into the parking lot.  I thanked God for the heads up and said a quick prayer asking for grace and patience to show her love.  Awkward as it was, the day went pretty well.  Though we didn’t exactly carry on a one on one conversation, we were able to be in the same room and converse as a group.  They made my room (of all rooms!) their home base for the day because of one of the girls with whom I was rooming.  It was all going well, though they overtook the room and spent forever getting ready for the evening service.  I needed to get into the bathroom and get myself ready, but I chose to try and be patient for their sakes.  That’s when the toothbrush conversation occurred.  Yes, a silly time filler of a conversation in which she shared some meaningless info. About some of her toothbrush habits.  I simply responded with a “Huh.” When it came out…yes, my least favorite comment of all time, “Don’t judge me I don’t like to be judged.”  Really?  I know God was trying to grow me in the area of patience and who knows what else, but I reached my limit, asked if they were done with the bathroom and shooed them all downstairs.  I didn’t rush to get ready.  Though I was late to service, I just had to take the time to chuckle with the Lord.  Sometimes I think he has such a sense of humor, just wanting to see how I’m going to respond.  Or maybe it’s not humorous at all to him, and if that’s the case, I should be ashamed.  I gave myself high points for putting up with her, but I wonder if he gave me any at all.     
     Anyway, it’s all over now, and time to get back to the grind.  2nd man is playing video games at the church with all of the boys while I try to recover my house from all the events of the last week and a half.  I love these days when you can accomplish so much without even getting dressed.  I’ll enjoy it today and be on with the ministry move on tomorrow.  Have a great day everyone!
Posted in Associate/Youth Pastor's Wife, Daily Musings, Homeschooling, Teens

What do you do all day?

         Boy, I haven’t even had time to sit and do much writing this week.  Been getting the house ready for Momma and Dad to come visit for Christmas.  It’s not that my house is a total wreck.  However, the last time they visited was when our oldest daughter was in the hospital with a massive infection after having had her appendix removed.  Let’s just say the house was not exactly a priority at that time. I know they didn’t mind, but there’s something in a daughter that has to somehow prove to her mother that the hard work was worth it and, yes, I got the lessons in cleaning down. 
            Anyway, this little introduction leads me to some recent statements that crack me up and irk me at the same time.  You see, we’re in the middle of a crisis in the staff at church.  Our song leader has accepted a job in another state.  This is bad enough, but the fact that he’s married to the church secretary multiplies this crisis by a hundred.  I don’t think she even knows how significant a role she plays in the office.  Not only does she do the unending secretarial work, she also represents our church to outsiders, and has to stop what she’s doing about fifty times a day to talk to people who seem to treat her like she’s the eyes and ears of the church, only there to listen to us little people who need to talk while pastor is studying.  I include myself in this, because I have come to realize how much she pauses her day just to give me a phone number or address or put me through to my own husband. 
            Pastor, semi-jokingly, asked 2nd man and me to pray about my taking the job and putting my kids in school or doing video school.  My first thought was flattered and excited.  I’d love to do that job!  Then reality set in.
            What was I thinking?  What do I do all day?  I mean, I just had a meltdown two weeks ago about the amount of papers I had to grade and planning to do.  Do I really think I want to add a full time job on top of that?  These were some of the thoughts with which I played around for a while.  2nd man and I both realized that our very first priority as a family is to honor God.  By that we feel very strongly that it is necessary that I give these precious kids the very best foundation that we can think of.   The girls are further down the road than our little guy, and we don’t want to cheat him.  It really made me stop and take stock of our goals and where God would have me to be… an important fact that I’ve taken for granted.  So, while I was sooooo tempted to get a “real” job, I think that God would not like me there.  Just think how awful that would be for the whole church!
            Anyway, this leads me to the part that irks me.  Through all of this, I’ve had several comments come from young people that just make me shake my head.   The first came from a young man that we took home from our teen Christmas party.  He told us that he wasn’t sure if he’d be able to make it to church the next day since it was so late, (9:30 pm), and he was so tired.  I replied quickly (and admittedly in the flesh) that when he had three kids and a spouse to help get ready and feed in the morning, that I’d listen to his excuses.  Um yea, not the best response I know. 
            This comment was followed by another from a young woman at our Wednesday night teen program.  She was trying to let me know that there was no way she could do memorization or reading because she was so busy.   I suggested she read the homework sections to the little boy she babysits. Or practice memorizing while practicing basketball.  “You just don’t understand how busy and tired I am.”  She responded.  I held my tongue on this one.  I’m not so sure I was able to hide my facial expression though.  I’m sure I looked something like a roll of the eyes or and attitude of “really?” 
            What do people think I do all day?  Why is it that a teacher in a classroom is working a real job, while a mother in the bedroom teaching is just wasting time?  Do other homeschoolers not grade their children or have to read their work?  Am I the only 2nd mans wife who helps counsel teen girls, or be the “unofficial” teen secretary? Do they realize that the people in my family like to eat?  Where does everyone else’s food come from?  Was I left out of a meeting that told me how to get through life without doing laundry or having to clean a bathroom?  Do other people not have to pay bills? Or listen to excrutiatingly long stories about a dream someone had last night?  When do other people make their bank deposits or get their groceries done?  Who tends their gardens, kitchens, living rooms, growing children, husbands?  I’ve been jipped!  When was this information given out?  Arghhhhhh! Snort! Humph!
            So, anyway, I’m not taking the job.  Those shoes are too big and I already have trouble fitting into my own.  I’m certain God will provide the perfect person eventually.  Until then, I guess it’s back to my soaps and bon bons.
Posted in Associate/Youth Pastor's Wife, Teens

Christmas Party Survival

     Well, I survived the Christmas party weekend.  Of course, I had to let my hands recover from all of the dishwater pruning before I could attempt to write about it.  The weekend started with an epiphany of sorts.  For the last thirteen years of our ministry here in Oklahoma, I’ve baked sweetbreads for the teens to give to the widows that we carol to at our annual party.  This was an inherited and expected tradition when we arrived here, so I felt it necessary to keep it up.  I thought I was sooo smart by buying multiple bread pans and baking the boxed kinds of breads.  I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to realize that I should organize a night before the party for the teens to help in all of this.  It was wonderful and saved so much time!  Besides, it gave them extra time to be with each other and a more vested interest in the giving out of the bread.  I’m not always the fastest car on the track.
     The survival part I referred to earlier, lies in that at the same time I scheduled these teens to help me, I was supposed to be helping decorate for the Adult Christmas party our church annually hosts.  It was a night of a lot of running back and forth.  I have loved being part of the decorating committee.  However, I think my days are numbered here.  I get so excited about putting together centerpieces and seeing the looks on people’s faces when they enter the transformed gym at various events.  Yet, I have to admit it wears me out.  Not to mention the days of school that are ruined because Mommy is supposed to be decorating and my poor kids have to entertain themselves quietly in a Sunday school room somewhere.  Anyway, just something I’m praying about.  Seems some of the other women without kids in the house all day may enjoy the chance at it for a while.
     The adult Christmas party did go well.  The teens served dinner to all of the adults, which was a nice switch up from the buffet style.  However, 2nd man recruited my help for a game just before the party started.  I was supposed to hold up an applause sign as he hosted a version of “Family Feud” with couples from the audience.  The problem came when, just before the party, we realized I had a hole in the armpit of my sweater.  Do these things happen to other people?  Let’s just say the applause sign waving turned into a one handed job that wasn’t executed very well. 
      After getting home around 11:00pm I turned around Saturday morning and started preparing for the teen party that night.  2nd man took the kids out caroling to the widows of the church while I stayed back and cooked up all of the party food.  Took me longer to do the dishes than cook the food, so I was in the kitchen most of the evening.  Sounded like the kids had fun though.  This doesn’t really bother me much.  Sometimes I’m not up for the loud boisterous games, so I slip into my Martha mode and clean.  Tickled me when one of the teens earlier in the evening asked, “So who does the dishes for the church?” to which I replied, “You’re looking at her.” 
            I was only sad that I missed the caroling when 2nd man shared with me their visit with one of our ladies who is passing with cancer.  I had called her family to make sure she would be up for the visit.  They insisted that she’d love it.  2nd man said he gave her a hug after they all sang and she and he just held each other and cried a little.  (Makes me tear up thinking about it).  What a treat to be the opening act for what she’ll hear soon. 
      I always love the Christmas parties at church and seeing all the smiling faces.  But, boy it’s so relaxing when it’s over.  Now, I can prepare for the family and focus on the REASON FOR THE SEASON.
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…