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?

Posted in Daily Musings, Life Lessons

Blessings in Disguise

Yesterday 2nd man was at the helm while Pastor was speaking in Tulsa.   So, today, I decided to give a synopsis of the message that he preached.  For those who were there, well, here’s “the rest of the story” as Andy Rooney used to say.  For starters I’ll go ahead and let you know he could have entitled the message “My Wife Needed This.”   However, being the sensitive man that he is, he entitled it instead, “Blessings in Disguise.”  You can hear the entire sermon from our church website www.cbcponca.org  

The gist of the sermon was to take notice that the blessings in our lives don’t always come in material, family, financial, or even enjoyable form (i.e. in obvious ways).  Sometimes it is the working through the tough times that can bring the greatest blessings in our Christian lives.  It is during those times that we grow the most and are tested and tried by the fire of the world to prove that wonderful Lord that reigns within us. 

 2nd man used Psalm 66, which is a Psalm of praise for the great works of God.  It starts like many Psalms and praises in the Old Testament with listing the great and mighty demonstrations of the power of God.  Yet, in verse 10 it takes an unexpected turn.  Praising God for trying them (the Israelites) as silver and laying affliction upon them.  2nd man also used Hebrews 11 as an example of this same kind of working of God.  Most of us are familiar with Hebrews 11 as the “Hall of Faith” listing some very popular and famous people from the Old Testament and how God worked mightily through them.  However, in verses 33-40 there are some pretty horrible things that happened to some who are unnamed to us, but blessed and honored by God nevertheless.

He even used some examples of famous people from American history as a great illustration (I think).  For instance, why do we know George Washington or Abraham Lincoln?  Well, of course, because they were presidents of our United States.  However, there are many presidents that I know nothing about except for maybe their name.  Yet, these two men were propelled to greatness because of the challenges they had to overcome during their presidencies. 

With this concept I am in total agreement theoretically, theologically, and philosophically.   I mean we’ve had hard times before.  Looking back over our nearly fifteen years of marriage, I can see how God has used some pretty hard times to strengthen both 2nd man and I in our Christianity and in our marriage.  The loss of three babies all at different stages and ages was pretty tough.  I remember crying out to God knowing full well that he had the power to save those babies, but he didn’t.  I remember walking down some dark paths after some of those experiences only to learn so much about how our God works.  I still don’t have a corner on Him, but I know He’s been so merciful to me.  I saw how God could use my husband as a source of encouragement and grow him by leaps and bounds as well, as he dealt with a difficult wife and sorrowful loss.  I also grew in compassion for those who are hurting around me in similar ways.  So much good came out of those losses that now, years later, I can say I wouldn’t trade them at all. 

2nd man mentioned at one point that we had experienced a bit of an overwhelming 2011.  I’ve listed a few of the items in previous blog posts but here are our unexpected financial woes of 2011 in list form (so you don’t really have to pay attention…just look at the length of the list)

  • Feb.- Medical test for 2nd man – $1200.00
  •  March – dental work for myself $1,600.00

                   Dental work for daughter #1 $350.00

Broken finger for daughter #2 $200.00+ (required a specialist because of the          growth plate)

  • April – Dishwasher broken –no fix = no $, but No fix = dishwashing by hand L

  • May –family in town J replacement of broken borrowed boat motor – $250.00 L
  • June – broken water pump or something like that on the “good car”  $120.00

                Car broken again L fixed by friend $28.00 J

  • July – orthodontics started for daughter #2  $1200.00

Gauges are out on “good car”

My car –well the fact that it still exists is really a miracle, no left turn signal, crack in windshield, leaky radiator, homeless man broke seat when he slept in it.  Funky smell emanating from the carpet (I think)…Cost = 0 we just live with it.

  • August – glasses needed for daughter #1 $200.00+
  • Nov. Quakenado damage!  Front tree had to be chopped (huge tree) – $400.00
  • Nov. washing machine broken

      Replacement of washing machine and dishwasher $780.00

  • Then the Piece de resistance (said with French accent), a bizarre, unexpected charge of $35,000.00!  I’m not able to give details on this one right now as we’re trying to appeal it.

 

So when the year of the worm (aka 2011) was upon us, I wasn’t scared.  I mean, we were just dealing with money right? This wasn’t moral ruin or a tragedy of some sort.   After a while it even became comical.  My post from June 2, 2011 entitled  “Best of Times Worst of Times” kind of shows you where I was in my mindset.  Of course, keep in mind that the year wasn’t quite over yet when that was written.  However, with each financial blow, 2nd man and I tried to respond with our heads bowed down and our confidence pointed up.  It meant we couldn’t have a vacation to Ohio that year.  A heartbreak for me, as I miss my family and enjoy those trips to see them.  I had to miss the adoption day of my new nephew and the funeral of my grandmother. We even had to cancel a family trip to Disney World for which we had been saving for two years and planning on taking in 2012.   That money had to be broken into to pay for the ever – multiplying crises that kept popping up. 

We’ve spent most of this past year encouraging each other in the Lord and trying to praise Him in these storms.  I can honestly say we’ve had confidence in his ever- present care and sovereign power.  But, (you knew this was coming didn’t you?) I finally had a little bit of a meltdown last week.  Yes, I know I’m not required to post these confessions, but I want to log it for myself to look back on when things have calmed.  Last week 2nd man and I went on a little date.  After dinner, with no money to spend, I suggested we just take a dream trip to Lowe’s.  I may be weird here, but my family knows that Lowe’s is my favorite store in town.  I enjoy just looking and dreaming. Usually 2nd man is good at entering into this with me.  That night he wasn’t.  It all came to a sudden end while looking at the countertops.  You see, the wonderful new dishwasher he bought me in November can’t be installed because the countertops in my house are ¾ inch shorter than normal.  That means we need to raise the countertops, which means we have to do something with the backsplash as well.  Mind you I wasn’t thinking granite…just the prefabricated granite looking laminate ones.  (We don’t live in a granite neighborhoodJ).    I’m not sure what spurred it but at some point 2nd man gave me a reality check of the fact that these dreams aren’t even on our radar right now.  To which I responded in full Proverbs 31 graciousness…NOT!  No, I regretfully bristled.  We got in the car and I let it all out.  The tears and fears that I had been letting creep into my thoughts came to full blows.  Oh, I wasn’t questioning God.  But I sure was on a slippery slope of wavering in my trust.  I lamented over all things money related down to why I ever even went to college since I’m now staying home but still paying for it.  When I was all done there was some silence.  I’m pretty sure 2nd man was considering which path to take; talk her off the ledge or just go hock the farm and buy those countertops.  As usual he was loving, responsive, and encouraging helping me rebuild my trust in the Lord and realize that we’re not through this storm yet.  We don’t know how it’s going to end, but whatever God asks of us we’re willing to do it for him.  He is right.  I mean there are some people who live their life on this earth with no countertop at all.  I’m stressing over the little junk that I usually don’t stress over. 

So as he left us in the sermon yesterday with a challenging question, I leave my blog today.  Am I willing for God to skip these blessings and forfeit any growth he has for me?  Or am I willing to go through it with Him and For His glory.  Honestly, the question did cause me some pause at first.  But truly, I don’t want to forfeit the growth and blessing He has in store for my family or for me…how about you?

Posted in Associate/Youth Pastor's Wife, Parenting

Question for Mothers of daughters

 I’m supposed to be putting the finishing touches on my lesson for tonight, but I got a little sidetracked with a thought that I just had to get written.  One of my last points for this evening’s lesson is to challenge the girls to include their parents in their love life.  Sounds kind of weird and hokey huh?  However, this really got me pondering my own motherhood and wondering what some other moms thought about this.

  It’s a little late in the day to get the feedback I suppose, but if you have a minute please do give me a comment or email me, or FB me, or something.  If you find yourself reading this later than today Feb. 29, then I’d still love, love, love to hear your thoughts.

So, here’s my question for Moms of daughters; What would you say would be your response if your teenage or college age daughter came to you confessing that she had messed up morally?

Ok, I know what the pat answer would be, but I challenge you to actually put yourself in that position for a minute or two and really ponder this.  Not just what you hope you’d do or what you picture yourself doing…what do you really think your response would be?  I ask because I’m quite sure from the past fourteen plus years of working with teen girls, that many of them don’t know or worse, they expect a terrible response.

Thankfully, this doesn’t include all of the girls I’ve ever worked with, or even really a majority of them.  I praise God for having come across some very engaged parents that keep an open line of communication in this area.  Some parents who are able to reassure their kids that God loves them unconditionally and so do they as parents.  Of course there would be disappointment to deal with and heartbreak involved as well.  We all (I’m taking liberties here I know) want what is best for our children.  We desire their happiness, and I’m hoping we desire their holiness just as much. 

“So, why are you even asking this question then?” you may want to know.   Well, I’ve also talked with many girls through the years that simply won’t talk to their mom’s about such thing.  This includes of course girls that have gone through our youth department, as well as girls I’ve met while volunteering at a crisis pregnancy center.   When I do encourage these girls to go to their mothers, they look at me as if they’d rather take an ad out in a newspaper confessing their faults than to actually talk to their mom!

 As a mom, of two daughters, this leaves me absolutely confounded.  My girls are only just now on the brink of “teenagedom” and I’m feverishly working to open new lines of communication, as well as keep old ones clear.  I’m constantly asking myself if I’ve shut them down in some way and how can I correct that if I have.  My oldest and I have had a few talks so far about the changes coming her way.  So far she doesn’t seem too traumatized by it.  However, when her Doctor asked if I’d given her any “talks” yet; I responded with, “yes, well, some talks just prepping her.”  He then proceeded to encourage her to save sex for marriage.  “I guess I should have been more specific with him,” I thought to myself as my wide-eyed 11year old sat staring at him without blinking.  Needless to say, we had an impromptu talk on the way home from that appointment.  Don’t get me wrong; I’m so very appreciative to have a Christian doctor who would care enough to talk to her as both a doctor and a daddy himself.  However, we hadn’t gotten to the part of the talk about WHY the changes would be happening. 

Anyway, this morning I came across a book we’ve had for a while called “Stay in the Castle” and decided to use it in place of Bible time for school.  It led to good discussion on how their dad and I pray that they would trust us to help guide them through their single years to find not just a good guy, or even a great guy, but the right guy for them. (if any, as my middle daughter is still declaring her vow to singleness so as to be just like Amy Carmichael).

Truthfully I’m full of thoughts and apprehensions of how these two very different personalities could go astray.  I’m a perfectionist, so at the first sign of bad attitude – I have a tendency to picture my sweet, beautiful, innocent daughter in a gutter somewhere having thrown her life away.  I try not to let this show through, but the tendency itself frightens me because I don’t want them to sense any fears that might creep into my unguarded mind.  I want them to see me as confident that God will take them and do something wonderful and beautiful with them.  I know this is true, if they will stay under Gods guidance and ours.  However, I also want to be prepared to handle any missteps in a godly way.  I want them to feel confident in coming to me with confessions or questions.  I want them to be confident that I’m not going to totally flip out on them (even if I’m flipping out in my head).   So I’m striving now to build the bridges and to keep my responses appropriate to the “little” things.  Who knew that raising kids would mean so much work on ME!?  I rest in the assurance that as long as I follow God and strive to honor and please him in my parenting; he will help take up the slack of my blind spots and reveal them to me as needed.  It’s a humbling position in which to be. 

I’m positive that those reading this, who are part of our church, have already seen holes in my parenting and/or flaws in each of my children.  You’ll never hear me claim to be doing it flawlessly.  However, my aim is to do it humbly and godly with sprinkles of praise and blessing along the way. (I love sprinkles!) 

So, there’s my challenging question for the day; any thoughts or advice on the matter?
Posted in Associate/Youth Pastor's Wife

Wednesday Night Girl Lessons


            For the first time in the fourteen years we’ve been at this church 2nd man is allowing me to teach the young ladies in our Wednesday night class.  I’m all, “boy oh boy oh boy oh boy.” (In hyper panting tones with hands rubbing together.)  I think they’re all “boy oh boy oh boy oh boy,” (in long drawn out tones with hands rubbing down face as heads shake back and forth).   What’s funny is that with all this info. I’ve been waiting to share; I’m having such a hard time pairing things down into single lesson formats without cramming everything I know into one 30-minute lesson. 

            I thought I’d include some general highlights of what I’ve been teaching in my blog for any curious parents or even other youth pastor wives who would like to compare notes or share critiques.  Whatever category you may fall into, feel free to share what you think.  I’d love to hear about it…well, I think I’d love to hear about it.  I’ve been using two books primarily:  Secrets About Guys that shouldn’t be secrets by Grace Dove and For Young Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn and Lisa A. Rice.

The first week I simply started by sharing my testimony.  Many of the girls had heard the story of how 2nd man and I got together as he’s told it like a bazillion times.  However, not many have ever gotten to hear it from my point of view, or about my teen years. I remember as a teen meeting people in ministry thinking that they had no clue what real humans went through and therefore were rendered useless as informants for life.  My desire with week one was to let the girls see and hear about the “real” me baggage and all.   I want them to realize that I’m real, I’ve messed up, and I’ve straightened up (only by God’s grace) and that choosing God’s path is far more worth it than any paths of regret that may present themselves as fun along the way. 

I might add here that I have a little teacher’s wonderland thing going on in my head that pictures me giving lessons and young women on the edge of their seats waiting for more and wondering what more I can tell them to get them on the right path.  Lives being changed and repentant young women getting right with the Lord like a curling ribbon spool coming unraveled…uncontainable revival…unstoppable excitement….

     Well, in reality it’s more like an unlikely event.  Instead, I had one table of girls on night one who were giggling at one point, but so nicely informed me that they weren’t laughing at me, just having their own conversation.  To my side I can feel the eyeballs of one girl who keeps rolling them up into her head at my comments every week.  I think they might get stuck there.  It kind of gives me a headache right behind my own eyes just imagining it.  Then there are the others who don’t put their phones down.  To this my thoughts are…”really? I mean I can see you ya know.”  I know teens today are able to multi-task and hear me too, but I’m much too simple minded to be undistracted.

 Anyway, I know some are listening and as I told another youth pastor’s wife recently, my hope is to haunt them.  I remember not wanting to hear what my own youth pastor’s wife had to say (who I am now related to and love dearly…ah the irony. be careful who you don’t want to listen to chuckle chuckle) however, her words did sink in somehow and someway and haunted me all through my rebellious years of high school.  I know, of course, this was the Holy Spirit using her to haunt me, but nevertheless she was an ever-present presence.  So, this is my hope.  If you can’t win them – haunt them.  🙂 

Week two, I taught on how guys love mystery, which spilled into weeks three and four entailing modesty and beauty.  Sometimes I wish the moms were in the class too, just so I could hear what their thoughts on the matters are.  I would just love it in a perfect world if they could be there and we could all be backing each other up in the Lord so to speak.   You see, here in Oklahoma it’s not ladylikeness isn’t really encouraged much.  I’m considered quite the fuddy duddy since I’m anti burping contests in the presence of guys.  I was personally delighted to find out from our own teen guys, while interviewing them, that they actually don’t like that all that much and though they laugh, they’re not attracted.  Woo hoo!  That’s one for Miss Jenny!  (Said with all the modesty and humbleness I could muster of course.)  

We’ve covered points such as how mystery is created through concealing not revealing our bodies and our thoughts.  How it isn’t necessary to say everything we think no show everything naturally possess.  We also discussed how it is important to fix ourselves up a bit as guys really appreciate this.  The whole “wal mart in your pajamas” scene is no a pretty one and I find it my own personal mission to put a stop to it with any young girls under my influence.

It is my prayer that the girls will have listened as I covered many more points as well.  If you are one of my moms reading this post, feel free to get the notes from me if you’re curious.  2nd man and I always try to steer teens back home in our counsel and teaching, so I’m hoping that I’m on the same page with the moms of our teens as I’ve told them to go home and discuss it. 

I’m now coming up on week five and wondering what to teach on this week.  I’m praying that the Lord reveals in a real and distinct way which lesson he’d have me to teach on so that it would be beneficial to these young ladies.  I’m impressed on their desire to do right.  Now we just need them to act on those good desires, always remembering “They’re not yet who they’re going to be.”
Posted in Decorating, My Interests

Valentine Banquet

            Just finished decorating for our latest event at church last week.  I figure event-planning goes really well with my personality.  It is something I can plan and dream about for weeks, prepare for days and spend literally 10+ hours setting up.  Usually something goes wrong or a plan doesn’t work, so I have to spend a senseless number of hours trying to figure it out with the rest of the team get it worked out, ooh and ahh over the results and tear it down in about 20 minutes.  Now, three days later, I still am not finished washing the tablecloths!  Yes, it’s definitely a fitting area for a melancholy perfectionist to work.  As a matter of fact, our head decorator and my dear friend, Stacy and I have a motto that goes something like this, “we take a good plan and make it harder.”

            However, I really do get a joy out of seeing a plan come together.  I especially get a joy out of seeing others enjoy themselves in an atmosphere our team was able to create.  This last one was a true sense of accomplishment, because we tackled the ever-present dreaded gym lighting.  Yes, that lighting has been the bane of the decorating teams existence since moving into our new building…you know, the fluorescent kind that takes ten minutes to “warm” up.  It’s great when using a family life center for volleyball, but events? Well…not so much.  At our team meeting in January the ladies were discussing this issue.  We were considering our options for investing in up lights or something.  We’ve even tried to come up with ideas to cover the gigantic ceiling with draped fabric. 

However, we came up with something even better (at least that’s what the men of the church should think since they now do not have to set up scaffolding to drape fabric at every event).  Actually Stacy came up with it.  While walking through our teen classroom a few weeks ago she spotted a lamp we have in there.  It’s a simple Wal-Mart column lamp with a rice paper shade.  She brought it downstairs and tried it out and wa-la!  It gave off a beautiful dim glow in the family life center. 

So, a plan was born and we set out to hit every Wal-Mart in Oklahoma to collect our lamps.  (It was going to take too long to order online, if you were wondering).  We hit up about seven or so stores in three or four different cities.  Then we hit the dollar store for plastic tablecloths.  Yes, you read it right $1.00 plastic tablecloths in pink to cover our shade and we had instant mood lighting for our Valentine Banquet.  I was so excited over it that I just wanted to sit in there for as long as possible basking in the pink glow.  This was one of our greatest decorating successes as it landed in the category of cheap and easy…something in which we do not excel.

The centerpieces were a different story.  We were just as pleased at the results, but since they were my Pinterest idea I’ll take full responsibility for how complicated they were.  It started out looking so cute on pinterest.  Just a few cupcake liners pinned into a foam ball and placed on a candlestick…how hard could it be?  
Well, considering that only four of us showed up to put them together and the pins didn’t exactly do the trick it wasn’t the greatest feet.  I’ve got the glue gun burns to show for it.  I was happy with the result, but no event can go by without some complicated mountain to climb.  Thanks to the dim lights any imperfections were hidden and I think everyone who came had a good time. 
Posted in Daily Musings, Parenting

Daddy’s Magic

We try to have “family night” at our house periodically.  Our schedule is so very busy (just like most people these days).  Evenings where we have nothing planned come few and far between, so we try to make these evening memorable for our kiddos.  Some are more memorable than others by either watching a movie together, to playing putt putt golf or going fishing.  However, last night Daddy (a.k.a. 2nd Man) made it really memorable for the kids by making it a magic night.

            Years ago, before we even had kids, 2nd man had included some magic tricks into his repertoire for teens and Bible schools.  For those who are sensitive to the topic you can also use the term “illusions”  (disclaimer: no dark magic or satanic technique was used in performing any of these tricks.)     He hasn’t used them in quite some time as you don’t want to overdue the tricks or perform them more than once for an audience, especially an audience of kids trying to figure out the trick. 

            So, last night I suggested that 2nd man do some of his old tricks for our kids. He decided to do three of his favorites.  For Mr. Jarod man he started with a table trick.  He began by telling Jarod that he was going to actually use the saltshaker to pound some money through the table.   Our daughter, Megan provided the coins in question, which was a concern for Jarod.  Before anything was done he had to express to dad, “Dad, will you promise to pay Megan back for the money she provided?” 

Then he began to ask for “magic words” to make the trick work.

None of them seemed to work.

Then he “remembered” that it was the saltshaker that was supposed to go through the table.  He pounded on the napkin covered saltshaker and it went through the table!

Jarod was impressed…

…And intrigued.

Next, Daddy poured some salt into his fist

And it disappeared….

…No wait…it reappeared!

Then came the piece de resistance…the floating money

2nd man started by working up the static on Megan’s hair

Then he worked it…

…and worked it…

and wala!  Floating money!

 

The kids were duly impressed.  As were we when we first learned this trick. 2nd man actually learned it off of an old college friend whose spirituality we questioned when he performed this one for us.  Thankfully he appeased our fears and now it has worked wonders with our children.   Perhaps we’ll keep them wondering about Daddy for a while and use this power for good in obedience enforcement tactics. 

Or maybe we’ll just enjoy their expressions of awe for a while.