Posted in Decorating, My Interests, Uncategorized

A Summer of Weddings Part II




Ok, so it’s been a year – yes a full year since my summer of weddings. That summer turned into a year and six weddings later with a 7th on the way. I’m not sure how this all came about, but for now I’m going with it. For memory’s sake though, I’d like to look at wedding number two from last summer. My second wedding happened to be the wedding of our Pastor’s second son. This was the day of  Sam Waterloo and Sarah Graham.

Back when 2nd man and I first came to OK, I taught 5th/6th grades at the local Christian school. That’s when I first experienced Sam Waterloo. The quirky, ultra-polite, pleaser son in the Waterloo clan. He was a treasure for sure. The school shut down as he was going into 6th grade and I was soon to have our first child, so I home schooled Sam that next year. I’m pretty sure it was the most excruciating year for this people pleasing kid who had to sit through the hormonal pitfalls that accompany new moms. I remember someone coming to the door one day and I had to put Katie down somewhere. “Here Sam, can you hold her a minute?” I asked quickly. His response went something like, “uh, uh, ooh, oh, um…” “nevermind Sam.” I put the crying child in her bassinet and went on with business.313212_3960445883519_1717640416_n

Well, long gone are the days of hesitation. I like to think I maybe pushed him to a brink that brought out some boldness. Oh, it was many years later until he finally achieved manly boldness, but I played a small part and that makes me smile. Sam went through highschool and college being one of those guys that everyone likes. You really can’t not like him. He’s just sweet, kind and genuinely loves the Lord. Right after highschool he decided to pursue Sarah Graham. She was a beautiful, smart and sophisticated young woman who also went through our youth department. (I don’t excel in any of those qualities, so all the credit there must go to her parents – wish I could’ve been a better influence.) Anyway, they were going to separate colleges and the pressure of long distance accompanied by other factors put a stall on the relationship, so they called it off almost as quickly as it had begun, much to the chagrin of Sam’s mother. Through those years she didn’t give up hope though both of them seemed to be moving on with life. She was almost as in love with Sarah as Sam had been in a weird mother-picking her daughter-in-law kinda way. Well, her praying payed off and they found themselves reuniting after college. It’s more their story to tell, but lets just say that this friendly, unassuming youth pastor has a bold, “I wanna marry you” “you gotta be mine” side. Gives me chills really.

So, again, I found myself honored to be a part of their wedding. This one was a vintage wedding filled with nostalgic memories and literary nods. They chose to do the “first sight” picture before the wedding. The wedding party and I were all bawling at the back of the sanctuary windows as she handed him a box of letters she had written throughout her teen years to her future husband. Many in which she had pictured Sam as their receiver.
In the ceremony they had taken a large photo of the two of them and made it into a puzzle. They had asked several people (2nd man and I included) to place a piece of the puzzle on an easle while Pastor read a letter they had written about how each person or couple represented inluences in their lives be it friendship, spiritual leadership, etc. It was truly moving. Then Sarah walked down the aisle to the music played in Jane Austin’s Sense and Sensibility (which is so cool since that whole story includes the love story of a friendly unassuming clergyman and a young woman who tries to handle things right and it looks like they won’t make it and then they do…((breathe)) ok I’ll stop walking you through it now.)

Anyway, I had so much fun with this one. We rented chairs, set up lacy tablecloths, and made the church gym into a retro picnic feel with an ice cream bar and glass bottles of pop. It was a sweet affair all the way around including the extra hundred people we weren’t quite prepared for (but that’s a memory we won’t delve into here).


The work was hard, the pressure high, but the honor was out of this world!527207_4056126074567_1105078114_n

Posted in Decorating, My Interests

A Summer of Weddings Part 1: Jonno and Esther

     So, finally, here is the explanation of where I’ve been all summer.  Well, actually it’s going to take a couple of posts (so bear with me).  I was honored last January to be asked by the lovely Esther Welbourne to help plan her wedding to Jonathan Waterloo.  Jonathan (or Jonno as we call him) is our pastor’s oldest son and went clear through our youth department since the first year we came to Oklahoma.  Phlegmatic to the bone with a sense of humor that makes everyone smile when he walks in the room, Jonno is very dear to our hearts.  When he brought Esther into our lives we were thrilled and quite frankly unbelieving that he would find such a beautiful girl who is absolutely perfect for him.  Always one to enjoy decorating AND spending other peoples’ money, I jumped at the chance!  We had so much fun with planning, shopping trips to Tulsa and work nights putting flowers together.  Esther loves purple Calla lilies, so there was our inspiration from which everything else fell into place.  I’d love to tell you that I personally assembled all beauties in this post, but, I’d be a liar.  Thankfully, there were a host of ladies and friends who were willing and honored to jump in and help, without whom none of this would have actually become reality.   Below, I’d like to just comment and go through my thoughts on various aspects of wedding planning…a job I won’t be doing full time anytime soon. 

My first surprising heart change came with the concept of the “first sight” photos that are gaining in popularity as a modern tradition.  I’ve always been a firm believer in the groom no seeing the bride until she walks down the aisle.  Not that I’m superstitious, I’ve just always enjoyed seeing the reaction of the groom!  However, it is true that in all practicality, this creates a time issue for picture taking between ceremony and reception.  Yet, the romantic in me just has never been able to give up the dream…until I see pictures like this

1st sight, Esther coming up behind.  Don’t you love all of the “peekers” out in the foyer?

     Now, how isn’t that one of the best reactions of a groom turning around to see his bride!  Oh, Jonno I love when you get all sappy.   This was truly a sweet semi-private moment for the two of them and still didn’t seem to take anything away from the ceremony.  As a matter of fact, I wonder if he felt more comfortable giving the full reaction than if he knew all eyes were on him.          

They chose to show a video before the ceremony and then came the moment of truth.  Now look at that picture.  Tulle and lights sigh…..Who wouldn’t want to walk down that aisle?

So this picture is purely for selfish reasons.  Can you say “best looking groomsman ever?!!”  Yes, 2nd man was a groomsman in his second “former teen” wedding.  That’s not me as a bridesmaid, but I like her and she’s another pastor’s wife so it’s OK.

Next, lets talk aisle runners.  My thoughts?  Ditch the whole idea….NIGHTMARE!  Ever see an usher sweat?  Well, this will drive him to it. 

The ceremony was precious.  I’ll admit I missed most of it, because I had to run down and get the reception ready.  However, when pastor (father of the groom remember)cried during this reading the whole wedding became an instant success in the eyes of every guest there. 

     Esther is nicknamed princess, because she’s beautiful and sweet and into the bling, hence the gorgeous tiara!  We tried to bling up the unity candle display for her as much as possible.  We glued purple and black ribbon with borders of diamond mesh.  We then wove purple ribbon through some tulle to make a cloud like surround.

         The beauty of this wedding was found in the detail.  Esther has a great eye for detail and thus wanted to make sure special attention was paid to every aspect of her wedding day from the moment guests entered the church.   We had fun making some special features for the lobby.  My personal favorite were the trees.  I’m planning to post a separate explanation of the making of these trees in a blog post to come.  However, for now suffice it to say they were stunning!  Four tree branches about six foot high concreted into coffee cans, were painted and glittered.  We strung beads and glued purple hydrangea blossoms for a sweet effect, and put two on each side of the foyer where guests entered. This made a path to the guest book area that was decorated with tulle, lights, calla lilies and a large portrait of the couple.

On the hallway wall leading to the reception area I had my flower lady, Betty, create a heart with an arrow out of purple mini carnations and foam core board.  I think it turned out absolutely lovely.

     One of the unfortunate results of Baptist weddings that do not include dancing or drinking alcohol is that people rarely hang out for very long.  Esther really desired to have her guests relaxed and mingling.  She totally wanted to enjoy everyone and wanted to create a relaxing atmosphere.  We chose to do this through both the lighting and by playing music in the background.  Guess what…it worked!  It was by far the longest reception I’ve ever attended at a wedding at our church.  The whole room seemed to be buzzing with guests eating and mingling. Wahoo!

    We set up a table of family pictures and an engagement album for guests to enjoy as they arrived.  The food tables and the head table were adorned with flowing tulle and lights with mirrors for a reflected glow.  (I’ll take a moment to say here that from a wedding planner’s standpoint I’m disappointed that I didn’t get more pictures than this, but oh well).

Our round tables had white tablecloths with black tops.  The centerpieces were simple with mirrors and lots of candles.  We used white calla lilies and turned water and wine glasses upside down for candle holders with purple carnations inside.  Inside the vases were water beads and submersible LED lights.

     Our piece-De-resistance was the cake table with the balloon backdrop. Ahhhh sigh.
cake by A Sweet Success Ponca City, OK
And what do you do with all of those balloons after the wedding?  Well, set them off at the exit of course!
And this?  Well, this was getting my J-Lo on with the wedding planning bit at the rehearsal.  My only
regret?  I didn’t have the head piece to cue all my “people” hee hee

Posted in Daily Musings

June Check In

So here’s what has happened in the past week:

·       2nd man had a birthday – Yea!

·       2nd man had to do an unexpected funeral – boo

·       The wedding I’ve been planning for 6 months for our Pastor’s son and fiancée took place this weekend – Yea!

·       2nd mans family arrived the night of rehearsal dinner (12 people!) – yea they are here, boo, I was a distracted hostess due to wedding.

·       Father’s day came –yea! 2nd man preached an amazing sermon – boo, I didn’t get a chance to call my own daddy due to company (I did make up for this though)

·       And today is our 2nd child’s birthday…our Megan Grace is 10 years old –yea, no wait boo hoo! 

Still having fun with the family.  Will post individual stories soon…especially wedding details!
Posted in Daily Musings, Decorating

Pantry Remodel

 So, in the midst of a busy time of year for me, I decided to take on a project this past weekend.  I tend to do this to myself.  I think it’s some kind of coping strategy or something; my own little pause button.  Anyway, I was pleased with the results and feel refreshed and ready to take on the summer now.  Here’s a look at my little weekend mania:

It all started with cleaning windows.  I don’t do this very often.  Here in Oklahoma, it proves to be futile with the wind rushing down the plain and all of the dust it brings.  However, once in a while when I can no longer see across the street out my front window I get an urge and decide to clean them.  It’s either that or I’m angry and need to wash something, but that’s another story.  So, it took all day, but these babies were sparkling. Then the “one thing leads to another” law kicked in and as the sparkling morning sun shone through my newly cleaned kitchen windows the next morning, I noticed how dirty my pantry shelves were looking.  “Hmm” I thought, “maybe I should change that shelf liner and just straighten things up a bit…” 

 I had the kids clear everything out of the pantry.

No, I am not a hoarder…. or maybe I am?!
While it was all out I decided to call 2nd man and ask if he minded my painting the pantry since everything was out anyway.  He hesitated (something he’s learned to do through the years with me) then gave me the go ahead telling me to pace myself.  Then he brought up a conversation my mother had with him before we were married warning him that I overdid it sometimes.  Wah!??  Yea, go ahead and throw my mother in my face like that.  I thought it was a low blow.  Of course, in his defense he tends to remember the infamous time I asked him if I could take ugly wall paneling out of the bathroom of our first house.  It turned into a four-month project – for him.  Hey, he learned how to patch tape and mud wallboard, how to texture, how to cut and put up crown molding and a plethora of other useful handyman information.  Really, I think he should have thanked me, but I digress. 


 I decided on gray and yellow as the color scheme as it’s been piquing my interest for a couple of years now.  I chose Granite Dust from Val spar paints at my local Lowes store with a trim that was a beautiful shade of yellow, (but the sticker wasn’t put on the can so I forget the name) also from Val spar.

After a lot of taping and painting I was pleased, but not satisfied.  It still needed an extra kick.  So, off I went to Hobby Lobby for a stencil.

I’m not the greatest stencil artist, but I figured the pantry wouldn’t be too scrutinized, except maybe by 2nd man, who seemed to be laughing at me as I reached the point of exhaustion and frustration.  Time was running out, my kitchen was a mess and I had  paint all in my hair.  I do this every time I paint.  I could wear a swim cap and I’d still get it in my hair!

Thankfully, my kids were awed by my masterpiece and the girls wanted to help put things back together.  Especially my oldest, who loves things to be organized.  With their help, it wasn’t so bad.  Even our little man, Jarod said, “Wow Mom!  That looks beautiful!”

 However, the true sense of satisfaction came around 10:00 pm Saturday night, when 2nd man looked into the pantry and said the words I had been longing to hear, “Honey, I think it was worth it.  It really does look nice.”   Ahhhh sweet success.

Posted in Life Lessons

The Loss of a Baby

Today I was praying for some friends of ours who are going in to be induced to deliver their baby who has already passed in the womb.  The death of an unborn child; it is something that happens to many of us, but seems to be this unnoticed, unsympathized loss.  2nd man and I have been through this three times.  I know everyone’s experience is different, so I don’t try to speak for anyone else, but here are my thoughts and observations about the losses that we’ve been through.

 Our first loss, consequently, was our first pregnancy.  I had discovered in this tiny, scary, gross bathroom at senior camp that I was pregnant.  I remember the joy and excitement as my dear friend, Dalene was with me and I shared this moment with her before anyone else even knew.  We were like two schoolgirls giddy and giggly with a secret.  When I told 2nd man we immediately started calling the family from the camp payphone.  I was eager and excited like most first time moms.  Then just weeks later while at about two to three months along, we lost the baby.  Our pastor’s wife was so precious as she came into the house while I was put on bed rest and cleaned and spruced.  I’m not sure if she did it for me or for her as I could sense she was so sad for us and didn’t know what to say or do.  Then I had to go through doing blood work, but the nurse couldn’t seem to find the vain.  After about 8-10 pokes she sent me up to the hospital lab to get poked with a child’s needle…in the hand! 

     I didn’t know how common miscarriage was at that time.  All I knew and 2nd man knew was that we had lost our baby and we were devastated.  I say that to show how even more devastated I was at the response of others.  Many people came and gave us hugs, but I was astonished at how many people, even women, said things like “you’ll have more.”  Excuse me?  I’ll have more?  Is that supposed to be comforting? My arms were empty, my baby gone, and I was mourning.  This response made me feel ignorant and patronized, As if I wasn’t supposed to mourn this loss simply because it is a common occurrence.

            After a while and some heartache at watching teenagers get pregnant, we finally were able to have our Katie.  About a year and a half later our sweet Megan came along and we were overjoyed.  We desired more, but were ecstatic at our sweet little girls.  We felt blessed.

            After Megan, came another pregnancy we were excited about in the fall of 2003. We were preparing for our annual teen retreat called Spiritual Boot camp that 2nd man put on every year for about 400-500 teenagers.  We held it in Tulsa, which is about an hour and a half from where we live.  The night before leaving to set up we went out to eat and I discovered to my dismay signs that I might be miscarrying.  We decided to have 2nd man go on down and I would see the Dr. the next day before heading for Tulsa.  The Dr. alleviated my fears saying that something looked a little off and my progesterone was a little bit low but that it didn’t look like it was a miscarriage.  He suggested rest and taking it easy as well as taking some progesterone.   I went to the retreat, but didn’t really do much.    However, after multiple trips to the dr. about a month and a half later we ended up in the E.R. delivering our baby.  I was only about 18 weeks along.

            This one, I’ll admit, was a bit rougher.  People don’t recognize the loss as a legitimate death of a child unless you’re 20 weeks along or more.   There was no ceremony, no naming of the baby.  We went in contracting in pain, delivered a baby and went home empty handed two hours later; nothing, but a phone call a few days later from a nurse who was confirming that I delivered tissue that was my child.  Tissue! 

A few weeks later a dear couple to us also delivered their baby early.  She was further along than me and the baby much more developed.  There was naming and a funeral for this sweet dear child.  I’m not proud of this, but I lost it at the graveside.  Here I was again empty handed and an unnoticed loss of a child.  More people were sympathetic this time, but the comments didn’t get any better.  This time it was things like, “well you have two sweet healthy ones at home.”  I am so thankful that even 2nd man didn’t like this comment.  His response was, “that doesn’t take away the loss and heartache of this one.” 

     I had my moments and got through the mourning stages and discovered just a few short months later that I was pregnant again.  This time I was warned that the progesterone was again low.  Immediately, my Dr. put me on progesterone supplements and tried all he could to save the baby.  We lost this one too. 

     It was a week after this miscarriage that I went to Jr. camp with our church group.  Knowing that I had to move on.  While there, though, my pain got unbearable.  I called my Dr.’s office back home and was told by the nurse that, “sometimes we just have to suck it up.”  WHAT!?  I explained that I had been through two losses already and had never experienced this pain. 2nd man took me to the ER. there in the town where our camp was located.  After being forgotten in the room for 5hours!  They determined through ultrasound that my body was just building up fluid in my womb area in response to the loss and everything would be ok.  They put me on Loratab and sent me on my way. 

     The Loratab was great.  It knocked me out for a couple of days and then it just really eased the pain both physically and emotionally.  I’m not saying I was addicted, but I ended up throwing away the bottle before finishing because it kind of scared me.  I loved the feeling of not feeling for a while.  After throwing it away though, the depression really set in.  I loved the girls I had, but mourned the children in heaven.  I sunk deeper and deeper in a spiral of negativity that I felt like I was drowning and couldn’t get out. 

     On our vacation back to my parents that year 2nd man got me a hotel room by myself for two days.  Those two days meant the world to me.  I don’t know if anyone other than he and I really understood just how important they were.  I holed up and hashed things out with God.  No kids or husband to distract or take care of, just God and me alone.   It was then, in that quietness, that He spoke to me and comforted me and even chided me too.  I was brought to the realization that it was I who was not excepting the comfort he had been sending my way through his word and the words of my own husband.  I hadn’t wanted to listen; I wanted to be mad a while I guess.  I remember before those two days the Psalms didn’t seem applicable to me and I couldn’t even sing hymns as I had a sarcastic thought to argue almost all of them.  I had allowed myself to be blinded to God’s goodness.  I relinquished all my rights and even my children back to God.  Knowing that I was blessed to have the two at home and blessed that I had three who were being taken care of perfectly in heaven.  I found Grace and contentment in those moments. 

     As time passed and I did become fully content with our family the size that it was, of course, I became pregnant again.  This time it was the son for whom 2nd man had specifically prayed. 

            I do feel blessed and contented now.  However, I have some thoughts about losing a baby or babies.  It’s ok to mourn those children.  Feel it, express it, take it to God and trust Him.  We Christians are so vehemently fighting these days for the rights of the child in the womb, and trying to convince mothers to have their babies.  Yet, we lack in the area of comforting those who’ve lost their unborn babies through natural causes.  We over look it like the mother just went through a common flu or something and is now “over it.”  This is a shame.  The commonality of miscarriage does not negate the precious life that was created and now lives in heaven.   Nor does it negate the feelings of the parents who already love that child.  Why do we judge the level of pain upon whether or not we got to hold our baby?  As if those who have lost children already born are more qualified to mourn?  I am not trying to lesson those situations, only reason with the thought process.  I understand and have witnessed the trauma of losing a baby only a few months old.   But, I challenge us to also remember those who’ve been unseen and not forget those mourning parents as well.

     I am thankful for the deeper perspective I have through these losses.  I am thankful for being able to realize just what a miracle birth actually is.  My strong feelings for mourning parents parallels, our often lasez faire attitude, with the miracle of a healthy birth. 

      For those related to, or friends with, someone going through this kind of loss, please don’t ignore the loss.  One of the best comforts for parents who’ve miscarried is the acknowledging of their loss and their love as real.  Let them know you are sorry and for goodness sake don’t try to lessen the pain.  Just try to sympathize with it.  Pray for them and let them know you are praying.  Those friends who cried with me and prayed for me are the ones who helped me the most in this world. 
Posted in Daily Musings

Will Somebody Hit the Pause Button?

      Ok, somebody please hit the pause button!  As spring progresses, it seems the time keeps speeding up.  Or am I the only one this is happening to?  I’m so excited for the changes coming as well as a plethora of other events that are happening in May and June, but whoa, it feels like it’s all coming fast! 

    We wrapped up the last “point night” of our Wednesday All-Stars program last night.  So today I’ve been updating all of the kids’ points to see whom the top 7 winners are.  We are planning on taking the top seven to L.A. this summer in July.  However, the top ten were so close in points I decided to go through the books and re-add the sheets from this past year to make sure there were no errors. After an hour of tallying I did find a few errors and the points have been tallied, but my lips are sealed on who the winners are until next Wednesday night and the big reveal. 

     So, with that done, I now need to finish up counting this endless bucket of dollar bills and coins for the candy bar fundraiser for camp, and get the teen account all in order to hand over to the new Youth Pastor.  Have I ever mentioned how I’m looking forward to handing that one over?  Oh, I have?  Well, here it is again. Yip, yip, yippee!

     The big wedding meeting of my helpers is coming up this Sunday, so I can show them the board of inspiration for Jonno and Esther’s wedding.  I’m so excited to see this all come together, and also nervous about it at the same time.  I truly want this day perfect for them. 

     Add on to that I have family coming in the same weekend of the wedding…Lots of family.  Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m so excited for them to come I can hardly contain myself, but I also know it’s going to take some planning on my part to be ready.  Does that get me a free end school early card?  I wish.  My kids are doing fine, It is I who desperately want this school year done already. 

     In the midst of all of this, I’m going to take the kids and stow-away on the church bus to camp.  From there my folks are going to come get us for a week.  Crazy, I know.  But somehow in the center of all of this swirling chaos of scheduling, I really need a break away and I think this is just the thing to do it.  When the going gets tough, the tough run to their mommy right?  Well, it should at least gets me out of the office for a few days, (the office being my house). 

      To top it all off, I must share this very weird moment I had recently.  I felt sheepish yet hopeful after watching Hoarders the other night on television.  Every now and then I put it on so I can get motivated to clean. (I’m not sure how I feel about this show since it seems a little circus sideshowish, in a pitiful kind of way)  However, on this episode, I noticed the psychologist talking this man through a panic attack as everyone was toting his stuff out to the dumpster.  As she talked him through it, his anxiety lessened and she was able to share that a panic attack only lasts an average of 25 minutes. “ Great googly moogly!” I thought to myself. “ I think that’s what I’ve been doing for like a month now.”  Not in regards to hoarding.  If anything I’m the opposite of a hoarder as I tend throw things out willy-nilly. However, I have these little episodes of looking at everything that needs done and going overboard with panic and negativism.  I am able to come out of it with prayer and scripture and a little 2nd man intervention, but um yea.  Did I just totally get help from a Hoarders show?  Sigh. 

       So today with a renewed spirit and mind, I’m tackling one little thing at a time.  This is our life.  We don’t plan things logically or spread out over time.  We like to jam it all into one month, maybe two.  It’s always been this way and we always have a good time.  So to that I say, BRING IT! But, to my friends and family I say hold on; a “little hoarder episode” may be coming on.  But never fear it will pass in 25 minutes or less…
Posted in Daily Musings, My Interests

Groupie Stalking…again

My girls and me with Ree Drummond.  She doesn’t look too scared does she?

     So my girls and I went groupie stalking the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, again.  Really, she was asking for it.  After all she puts out this great new cookbook and comes right into town to have a book signing.  I was one of the first at the bookstore that morning waiting to get my ticket.  Only problem was, there was no “official” line formed until about a dozen or so people started milling around.  Then, when the manager comes out and says “form a line!”  I got pushed around like I was in a pinball machine.  Ok, maybe that’s an exaggeration, it really wasn’t that bad.  I was actually surrounded by other crazy people like myself and we were all enjoying it.  I ended up with line ticket number 9, not too bad I think.  I like to do this so I can get up to her while she’s still fresh and not sick of all the people and giving out the obligatory answers to all of our silly questions. 

 Actually I had a purpose in going this time, it was also to drop a couple of names and ideas by her.  Is that tacky?  Duh, you don’t really have to answer…I already know.  Anyway, I reminded her of how we church ladies were gawking at her husband at the fireworks stand last summer and forgot to put their sparklers in the bag.  (By gawking I simply mean we were awestruck at his famousness, nothing lusty I promise)  I think I even stated that last line to her.  So I proposed that she come on back and bring the Food Network with her this time and we’ll set her up well if she’d give us a second chance.  I even offered to deliver.  She responded graciously and took my husbands card.  Which makes me wonder where that card will end up?   Probably at the bottom of her purse and she’ll find it and read the crazy note on the back and call the police and give them my husbands name or something telling them to keep us away from her.


 My second motive was to get my sis-in-laws recipe in her thoughts.  You see, Jessica is making up this fantastic recipe to enter into PW’s grilling contest.  The winner gets to take a friend and spend a day at the ranch and get on the show.  Jess and I don’t get to see each other very often and we’re both Food Network junkies so this is perfect! She is definitely the better cook and more creative of the two of us so I turned it over to her to do all of the work; I’d just tag along and gawk.   Now  if only I could get PW to see the beauty in all of this.  I explained this whole plan in 30 seconds or less feeling the pressure of the eyes of 200 other waiting fans behind me.  I’m not sure what she thought…probably back to the whole calling the police idea.
    At the end of our two minute or less conversation she was sweet to include hellos to my girls and have a quick home school- lots of things in common- kind of talk.  Maybe they won her over for me.  I guess I’ll find out come May 17th when the contest is over and winners announced! 

     Hey, before you click away thinking I’m too brash or goofy you don’t even know what I didn’t say.  Like how I was going to sneak in a contract for use of her lodge when family comes in this summer.  Do you think that would’ve been too pushy. ..?

Posted in Associate/Youth Pastor's Wife

FINALLY! After Nine long months…..

Well, finally after nine long months…you thought I was gonna say I had a baby or something didn’t you?  Not so much.  However, there is a big change that has finally been announced publicly at church and in our family about which 2nd man and I are extremely excited. I’m gonna backtrack about nine or ten months to when it all began (at least for us).

     Last June of 2011 2nd man and I found ourselves having a heart to heart on the back porch of the chow hall at Indian Creek Baptist Camp.  It was at this time that we both started to realize that God seemed to be working something in the both of us to move us out of youth ministry.  This may seem negative having happened at a youth camp, but it truly wasn’t.  We weren’t having a complaint fest or anything like that.  We were actually having a great week at camp and enjoying the kids tremendously.   There was just yhis urging that had been placed in both of our hearts that seemed to be letting us know this was the time. 

I can’t speak for him, but I was full of butterflies and all sorts of thoughts and plans immediately after our talk.  As a woman, wife and mom, I was already trying to figure out “how do we do this?”  Sorting through thoughts like, “How does one sell a house in this economy?” and “where will God lead us?”  Also thoughts of, “I love my church and will anyone else love us like this?”   “What about the kids?” was another biggie.  2nd man still didn’t feel called to a senior pastorate, but he was feeling called out of the youth ministry aspect, so it also made me wonder about our ages and so forth.  Knowing God had it all sorted out was a relief in my heart and mind, but a woman still likes to know the plan ya know. 

      When we arrived back at the church, and I mean immediately when we arrived, Pastor met 2nd man and I in 2nd man’s office.  He had just found out while we were away, that the Outreach minister and his family were moving to Texas!   We were totally blown away as this was not on our radar at all.   2nd man jokingly said something like, “maybe I’ll take that job.”  To which Pastor didn’t laugh but responded seriously with, “actually I was going to talk to you about that.  If you at all feel like it’s time to move out of youth ministry, I would like you to consider stepping into this role of adult ministries and outreach.”  2nd man told him we’d pray about it, but I knew immediately that God had orchestrated this timing perfectly.  Imagine my sigh of relief when I (as a wife and mom) realized that we weren’t going to be uprooted physically.  

    What I didn’t plan for was the timeframe in which all of this would take place.  I now look back and see God working it all out perfectly.  Unfortunately (or so we thought at the time), the timing of the Kelsey family leaving wasn’t the best.  College graduation had already taken place, and most all of the newly graduated youth ministers were already taken or involved in internships.  We hoped the pastor’s son, who was interning in Chicago, would end up taking the position. However, Pastor wisely wanted to see what God’s will was with the opportunity there before he approached his son with the position at Central Baptist.  His son ended up being called to the church there in Chicago, which, by the way, has turned out to be a wonderful situation for him.  So, now here we were, looking at least at another school year before we could find someone.

That’s where the beauty of God’s timing and planning came into play.  In those months instead of just “checking out”, 2nd man and I totally embraced the “lasts” knowing that we wouldn’t be doing this anymore.  Nobody else knew about the changes except pastor,  his wife and the leadership.  It made it a sweet time for us though.

      I liken it to pregnancy (at least my own personal experiences with being pregnant).  I’ve always thought it brilliant of God to give women those nine months to prepare both physically and emotionally.  He leads women through thoughts of fear and apprehension to excitement and expectation.  Then, towards the end of the pregnancy you’re just ready to accept it and embrace the change that is coming.  Then on the day of delivery you go back to through all of those emotions in a matter of hours.  By the end of the day you have this new baby and are ready to take on the challenge.  That’s how this change has been for us.  We’ve run the gamut of emotion from apprehension, to excitement of walking down memory lane.  Now, we’re ready to embrace this new baby!  What’s totally cool is that we don’t have to move and can still see the teens we’re leaving.

      Some may notice that I say we a lot here.  Those in ministry may understand this more than others.  I know we’re talking about 2nd man’s job here, but ministry is so different.  Yes, he is definitely the one laboring here and the spiritual giant that God is using.  But, we do look at ourselves as a team in all areas.  He asked me to write out exactly what all I did for him as a youth pastor’s wife so that he can pass on some of those duties to the new man. It was a pretty long list of stuff.  Nothing showy or out front, but a ton of behind the scenes, secretarial, assistant kind of things that have been extremely time and mind consuming.  Will I continue to do this?  Yes, of course.  However, I anticipate the time and stress consumption being far less in adult ministries.  No more dress code cop for me, and… no more fundraising or youth account, and no more all nighters -Woo hoo! 

    Oh, I will definitely miss some things too.  In youth ministry there are a lot of camps and retreats where you’re exposed to lots of different preaching and fun bonding times with the teens.  I may be weird here, but I’m really gonna miss camp.  I love camp!  It was at camp that I first got to know 2nd man. It was at camp where my life was turned to God, and it was at camp that 2nd man and I felt the leading to move to a different ministry.  Yes, camp is going to be greatly missed.  (except for the bugs and bunks of course). 

       This past Sunday, Pastor finally announced that the church has hired a new Youth pastor.  I am so glad the cat is out of the bag.  Some think it will be hard for 2nd man and me to give it over, but I really don’t anticipate that.  Because of that whole nine months we’ve really been able to process through the whole change, and are ready to move on.  When Bro. Russell and his wife came to teach in front of the youth, I was listening not only as a youth pastor’s wife, but also as a mom.   Our oldest daughter will be in the youth department in just another year.  We’ve had a vested interest in making sure we bring on the right guy.  As I sat in Sunday school that morning, I was convinced that this was the man who I could trust my children to as they move into this important ministry as well.  I’m excited to see how Bro. Tim and his wife Heather take on the ministry and even, yes, change some things.  We’re not so fooled as to think we did it the only or best way.  2nd man ran it the best way he knew God would have him to do, but we know Bro. Tim will want to make some changes, and we’re good with that.  We just hope and pray that the teens will be good and accepting of it.  We told the youth workers that we wanted to hear that it is all going well.  But, I did add that I didn’t want to hear that it was horribly different or that it was way better either.  Hey, let’s be realistic here…I’m a melancholy personality.  I need a little tenderness. 

So now, here I am still a 2nd mans wife, but embarking on a new adventure.  Can’t wait to see what God has in store!
Posted in Parenting

Love that boy!

Jarod Reece in all of his glory

 Today’s post is primarily for the sake of the grandparents, so please bear with the adorableness of these pictures.  I don’t really have anything very profound to say today except….LOVE THAT BOY!  Does anyone else’s boy ever do this kind of thing?  I mean, we gave him the talk about not wasting the time of the Olan Mills guy or our money, and how these aren’t pictures on our camera, and how we really want some good pictures of our kids and this is what we get. 

It’s like he oozes personality and can’t keep it in.  It’s some kind of third child comedian thing going on.

In his defense the photographer was being rather silly and probably instigated it, but really?  Seriously?

Thankfully, we got some good shots as well.  Again…LOVE THAT BOY!

You break this heart -I break your thumbs.  Love, Momma
Posted in Uncategorized

Momma Metamorphosis

We recently had pictures taken for our church directory.  I must vainly admit, I was kind of excited this time.  I recently lost some weight and was finally up to getting a family picture that included myself (not just me taking the picture of everyone else because I didn’t want to be seen).   However, when we went in to view the pictures what I saw wasn’t what I expected.  Don’t get me wrong by that last sentence, it’s not that what I saw was bad…just unexpected.  It was then that I had my final step of my momma metamorphosis.  Yes, others can relate I’m sure.  That moment in time when you realize (and accept) that you have turned into your mother. 

    I was trying to relay this to my mom and I’m not sure she took it as well as I would have liked her too.  I think she thought I was complaining.  But, this isn’t like stage 1 of the momma metamorphosis.  That takes place when you’re a teenage girl.  Highly critical of your own mother, usually without any sound arguments, but told by everyone around that you look just like her.   I got over that one a long time ago. 

It’s a funny thing, the whole mother/daughter dynamic.  I was thinking about it recently while teaching the teen girls in our youth department.  I was talking about looks and where they should be on the priority scale of our lives.  I told them to look at their own mothers and realize that was most likely their genetic future.  Again, this sounds like I’m saying it in some doom and gloom negative way, but I’m really not.  I think it’s a step toward growing up.  I’m 38 now; don’t ya think it’s time?  As a teenager and even into our twenties, we think and are told that we’re like a special snowflake that is the prettiest snowflake around and there are no other snowflakes like us (some days it’s the ugliest too depending on the mood we’re in.)  But, it seems were never just a snowflake in a long line of snowflakes with similar genetic dispositions.  So as our snowflakeness ages we go through this whole argument of not wanting to be like anyone else but just bask in the glow of our special flakeness thinking the world revolves around us. 

            Then somewhere in our mid to upper twenties we find ourselves in a bookstore trying to check out.  As we dig through the messy abyss full of receipts and gum wrappers searching for a wallet that we know is in there the thought hits us like the Mac daddy of all de ja vu moments…”I am my mother! I’ve seen this purse before. I’ve criticized this purse before wondering who in their right mind would let their purse get this way!” Oh wait…maybe that was just me.  It’s still a little hard to take it then, the whole momma metamorphosis.  One still hasn’t admitted that they look like her and is hoping that this “bookstore moment” is just a quick one-time thing. 

            Onward into the thirties the truth starts setting in.  As we start saying things to our children that we swore we’d never say.  You know those things when we got in trouble and sat awaiting punishment on our bed and making deals with our future selves about never treating our kids that way. Well, then you catch yourself and think, “Hmmm maybe mom was onto something then.”  Or when you find yourself riding your kids when company is coming over.  I remember thinking; “this woman rides us like a Chinese sweatshop whenever anyone comes over.  What’s the big deal?”  Then, as I crack the whip on my own little sweatshop workers I catch myself for a moment and think “am I her?”

            It was in these past few years that I started appreciating this more and more.  I even set about trying to hone in on my momma’s best qualities (at least how I saw them as best).  This is a woman who can meet someone and have his or her life story 15 minutes later and walk away having made him or her feel like the most special and interesting person in the world.  Somehow, people just feel comfortable around her.  They open up and just spill their guts.  That’s a good thing though.  I’d love it if I could make those around me feel special and comfortable the way she does.  I’m still hoping I get that one.

She and I took a trip to New York City once, while I was in college.  Everyone told us not to look anyone in the eye.  As if all New Yorkers had a Medusa quality that would turn us to stone or that they’re all waiting to steal our wallet but this will only happen if we look at them.   However, in their defense, this seems to be the only advice small town folk know to give to other small town folk going to the big city.  Well, before we left the airport to get our first cab momma had to make a pit stop.  I told her I’d wait with the luggage.  After a while I started to get worried.  Maybe a New Yorker got her in the bathroom!  Was she turned to stone…or worse…mugged!  No, she was talking to some diabetic woman who was giving herself a blood sugar check.  Momma had a full health screening done within a 5-minute trip to the bathroom.  This proved helpful later in the trip.  Fearless momma had tips from the locals that saved us a bundle!  Why, as emotionally moving as the ferry ride to the Statue of Liberty is, I remember it more for how much valuable information Momma was able to obtain about getting around town from a local lady taking a friend out to see Lady Liberty. 

Just this week I found myself doing the bold kind of things that she does.  2nd man had thrown out my branches!  After chopping down a huge tree in our front yard this year, I saved back some branches to make wedding trees for a bride I’m helping.  I’ve been saving them for months and one day last week I stepped outside to work on them and noticed they were gone.  He had been trying to help me by cleaning up the yard.  I panicked for a few moments and then set about to get new branches.  As it turned out a family not far from us had also chopped down a tree and had a familiar pile of branches in their side yard.  So I made like momma and piled the kids in the car and knocked on a complete strangers door.  A girl that looked like Snooki answered the door and I introduced myself and told her my predicament.  As my kids sat crouching down and hiding in the truck, she laughed and told me I could have whatever I wanted.  See that wasn’t so hard was it?  But I remember crouching down in the car a few times myself as a kid.  As I backed out of her driveway, I had another momma metamorphosis moment.

So, it wasn’t with regret that I noticed myself looking like my momma in those pictures.  I think (and I believe others do to) that she’s quite beautiful.  It was more of an acceptance moment for who I am and where I came from. 

I wonder if my daughters will take it as well?