Saturday, February 27, 2010

Let's do that again!

I thought your comments and the poll results from this post were so fun that I'm thinking of featuring a new poll every weekend! Or at least until I get bored with the idea or run out of questions.

John and I are approaching our 20th wedding anniversary. We're planning a celebration trip and the destination has changed a gazillion times lately, but I think we both know where we want to go and are going to try to book it very soon! Y-A-Y!!! I'd tell you where we're going, but then I'd have to kill you.

So, my poll question is this: If you were planning a week-long getaway with your spouse, what would your ideal destination be? For the sake of the question, let's assume that time and money are not obstacles.

If you're reading this post in a reader, you'll have to click over to see the poll. Go!

Don't know why the poll disappeared! Strange. The site is down so maybe it will magically reappear when things are working again!?!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Another Amelia

Yesterday was "Famous Americans" day for all the second graders at Abbey's school. Each student had to do biographical research on a famous American, make a presentation poster, write a biographical speech and deliver that speech while dressed as their character.

My little sweetie chose to be Amelia Earhart.

She read books about Amelia, did some web research on Amelia (thank you, Wikipedia), and last weekend our family watched the movie Amelia.

[The movie was pretty good, but we had to fast forward through a few parts that were "inappropriate" for kids. Inappropriate is Abbey's favorite word of late and she's found many ways to insert it into conversation which completely cracks me up. She told me the other day that my jeans were inappropriate without a belt.]

Back to the project...

It involved a costume. I know you're not keeping count, but I sure am and this was the FOURTH costume that was required of my second grader this year. One, two, three, four.

I believe I've shared with y'all (ad nauseum) that I'm challenged in the costume department.

I hate stress more than I hate coming up with costumes though so I started looking for some Amelia Earhart garb almost as soon as I got the teacher memo. I had no luck at the thrift stores (though I did find something else that I'm excited share with you soon!) so I started searching online.

I bought the aviator hat, scarf, and goggles for $8.99 on Amazon and that was the best $8.99 I've spent in a long time.

We had a last minute crisis with the leather jacket I'd arranged to borrow, but John found this one (at Goodwill) and saved the day.

So, meet our little Amelia Earhart.

Whew, am I glad that project is over! I asked her teacher (begged her, really) to assure me we were finished with second grade projects for awhile. She sorta laughed. Hopefully we ARE finished with costumes though.

BTW, I did have a brilliant costume plan at the beginning of second grade. I wanted Abbey to be an Indian (I should probably be politically correct and say "Native American") for Halloween. She could then re-use the costume for the Thanksgiving play. And she could keep re-using it and be Tiger Lilly from Peter Pan for Fairy Tale day, and Sacajawea for Famous American Day. Brilliant, eh? Except she looked at the Indian costume I wanted to make for Halloween and burst into tears saying it wasn't "pretty enough". Shot my plan to pieces. Sigh.

I promise I have two other children that I take pictures of. Seems all I've posted lately are pics of Abbey. I need to remedy that soon (because I have a middle child who keeps count of stuff like that!)

Oh, and one more thing. Marie Curie was granted honorary citizenship yesterday (I guess) because she was one of the presenters at Famous Americans Day. Maybe it's just me, but I sure thought she was Polish.

Happy Thursday to you!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wedded Wednesday: Dry Toast

Gina wrote: I love the line in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" where Costa is comparing the Millers to dry toast. I love it because sometimes (a lot lately) I feel like my husband and I are just two pieces of dry toast rubbing against each other. How do you guys combat that feeling?

(This is Meredith)
You know, I think that sometimes dry toast is the reality. I think back over the course of our marriage and there have definitely been times when that would describe us. But dry toast is just dry and boring and gets really old after awhile. Who doesn't love a little cinnamon and sugar, jelly or jam, or even a layer of Nutella?

John once told me about a husband-wife band (Over the Rhine) that purposed during a "dry toast" season of their marriage to sit down at their kitchen table each night with a bottle of wine and talk until they'd finished the bottle. Now I know some of you (mostly my Southern Baptist friends) cringe a little at the thought of a bottle of wine sitting on your kitchen table. That's really not an important detail. What is important is that they set aside some time for each other each evening. They talked. And they lingered.

I love that idea, and I love the word linger. It means to: stay in a place longer than necessary, typically because of a reluctance to leave. You can linger over a pot of coffee or a glass of iced water. Again, the details aren't as important as the verb.

Lingering isn't easy. It's much easier for us to sit on the couch each night with our laptops and get lost in the world wide web. We may be side-by-side, but we're really miles apart. But what if we... Turned off the computer. Turned off the television. Brewed a pot of coffee. Shared a dessert. Talked. And lingered.

I think sometimes as couples we forget how to really talk to each other. Our conversations revolve around our days, our kids, and our calendars. Sometimes when John and I go out, we make it a rule to not talk about our kids. It's hard because so much of our lives revolve around them and we love them to pieces, but it forces us to find other stuff to share. Not too long ago, we went to dinner and we each prepared a list of 2-3 questions to ask each other while we ate. We ended up affirming each other's strengths, and sharing some goals and hopes and dreams for our future. It was really, really good!

Talking. Lingering. Laughing. Cooking. Dating. There are so many things you can do together. You just need to find what works for you and your spouse. One friend of mine surprised her husband with an indoor rock-climbing date because it was a connecting point for them--something they both loved doing. She told me after their date that she'd forgotten how much she loved doing adventurous/athletic things with him.

The great thing is that YOU get to choose your toast topping!

BTW, My Big Fat Greek Wedding is a great movie. I'm adding it to my queue right now!

(This is John, the husband)
Dry toast?

We’re all dry toast from time to time, that’s a given, it just is. You can try and avoid dry toast days or weeks or months, but doing so is avoiding life, and that’s never a good thing. The goal here is perseverance, endurance. And there is a beauty there you only know after you’ve persevered, endured.

But, if you are, from time to time dry toast, how can dry toast become palatable, even enjoyable? Jelly it up…in other words, what little thing can you add to a moment or the day to make it sweeter? Being sweet has fallen on hard times; that makes me sad. Sweet can be saccharine, but it need not be. Those old couples you see and say my, my, aren’t they sweet? I believe we all want that, all of us.

I want to mention my two favorite books on marriage.There is a sweetness to these books. They are not highbrow moral, christian superstar marriage books built on appearances. No, these are stories of earthy men and women, struggling, failing, and forgiving…seeing what for better and for worse can actually mean and because they endure, well, you can read for yourself. One is by a male author, one by a female -
Wallace Stegner – Crossing To Safety
Annie Dillard – The Maytrees
Stegner’s book is my hands down favorite, but I read Dillard’s last year and she runs a close second. Don’t look for Love & Respect tips; these books are fiction. And why do we write fiction? Stegner said, ‘To tell the truth.’

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Random Observations

(Emphasis on random)

We have exactly 18 school days until Spring Break. I think I can, I think I can.

February is a busy school month. I can't wait to flip my calendar over to March on Monday. In fact, I might just rebel and flip it over on Friday. Take that, February.

There is really no use in mopping the floors when there is snow on the ground. No use whatsoever. I cannot keep our kitchen floor clean these days anditmakesmecrazy.

Black Sharpies make me happy. Black Sharpies with a chisel tip make me extraordinarily happy. They're perfect for crossing things off my lists with a big, bold mark. Accomplishment. Ahhhh.

The Olympics make me cry. The human story is peppered with such agony and such triumph.

School projects (aka homework for parents) make me cry too. Make me cry...and curse.

Roasted brussel sprouts are delicious, but I still can't entice my family to eat them, much less like them. More for me!!!

Evidently the re-make of the 1978 movie, Ice Castles, is pretty good. I haven't been able to find it (to rent) on dvd, but I've heard the story line and the music are pretty much the same! 1978? Really? Repeat after me: We're not old. We're not old. We're not old.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Husband Names

I often laugh when I hear friends refer to their husbands as "my hubby" or "the hubs" or "my hubster". I don't think I could ever bring myself to call John ANY of those things, and if I did, he would probably ask me to never call him that again, thankyouverymuch. Kinda like the time early in our marriage when he called me "shug" as in "sugar". Ick!

Anyway, here's a little poll I created because I'm really curious. I hope this works! (If you're reading this in a reader, you'll have to click over to view the poll.)

Several of you have asked so I'll clarify the question. How do you fill in the blank when you're talking about your husband on your blog or with friends or on a status update. Example: Sitting on the couch with __________ watching a movie.

Books and Movies

I'm on a reading kick again. It's not like I never read, it's just that sometimes I enjoy it much more than others. I'm in one of my "enjoying it immensely" phases.

Here's some of what I've read/am reading/want to jump into lately.

Have read:
The Road by Cormac McCarthy. This was a book club selection which we discussed last week (over bagels and coffee at Panera--yay!) I really liked it which came as a surprise, even to me! One of the things I like about this particular book club is that they push me to read things outside of my norm, and this book was no exception.

Habits of a Child's Heart: Raising Your Kids with the Spiritual Disciplines by Valerie Hess and Marti Garlett A friend suggested this book when I asked her about some Lent resources for kids and I remembered that another friend had given it to us a few years ago. It's based on Richard Foster's Celebration of Discipline and honestly, I can't say enough good things about it. The authors include ideas (for children as young as four) on disciplines such as Prayer, Simplicity, Solitude, and Service. Y'all, this is an excellent, excellent book.

Everyday Food, March 2010. I pretty much devour this magazine the day it arrives in my mailbox. Every issue has easy and delicious recipes--like roast pork with squash and onions. One of my favorites. EverdayFood has an awesome website too!

Am Reading:
Photoshop Elements for Dummies This program is awesome, but the learning curve is steep. This book makes it feel a little more manageable for me. In retrospect, I probably should have bought this book which is more along the lines of what I hope to use Elements for. My friend spent four hours with me at Starbucks one day this week giving me a private tutorial. It took me four hours to make this one page but I think I'm off to a great start!!!

The Message Remix by Eugene Peterson I'm still on track with my read thru the Bible in a year plan. Started Leviticus this week and that makes me even more thankful for The Message translation. There is a group of us doing this together, and if you're super motivated to catch up on almost two months of readings, you can join us! I'm using this plan.

Going Rogue by Sarah Palin This isn't included in my photo because I haven't bought it yet, but it's the selection for next month's book club. Have any of y'all read it? [I'm really asking you, Lisa!]

Want to jump into:
Patched Together by Brennan Manning This book released earlier this month and my husband helped the author work on it, so it's top on my list right now.

The Family Cloister by David Robinson When I was looking for that Valerie Hess book last weekend I stumbled upon this one on John's bookshelf. Looks interesting. Same with Keeping the Sabbath Wholly by Marva J. Dawn. If they're worth the read, I'll let you know.

Secrets of Eden by Chris Bohjalian I've never read anything by this author but I've heard he's great. John brought this one home to read for himself, but as soon as he's finished, I'm next in line. Bonus: I think my other book club might choose this selection for next month.

And movies? I love movies. Period.

I watch an episode of Glee pretty much every day. Not sure what that says about me. It's not a movie, but that's what makes it even better. I can barely stay awake for an entire movie after my kids go to bed, but I CAN stay awake for a 45 minutes television show. Win-win.

Bruce Almighty. Seriously one of my favorite movies EVER. I've been searching for it on the $5 rack at Walmart for two years (not even kidding) and when I was in Walmart last week I caught sight of it while walking past. I literally stopped my buggy/cart and said out loud: NO WAY!" I backed my buggy up and tossed that dvd in my cart faster than you could say "Alrighty then", smiling the entire time. My kids aren't allowed to watch it but I may or may not have watched it twice this week while doing things around the house. LOVE it.

The dvd teetering on top of Bruce Almighty in my stack of books/movies is The Brady Bunch. My kids are working their way through Season 4 and they love it. Last night we ate pizza and watched the episode where Marsha gets hit with the football --"Oh, my nose"--and hunky Doug breaks their date because "Something suddenly came up". I can pretty much quote The Brady Bunch line for line. If you're my age, I bet you can too!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

This Just Makes Me Laugh!

Just walked past some folded laundry that I need to put away and noticed this.

My aunt gave Will this t-shirt for Christmas.

Makes me laugh every time I see it.

Evidently, the guy who created The South Butt is being sued by The North Face. Gee, I can't imagine why?

Anyway, maybe this logo makes you smile today too.

By the way, thanks, J, for helping me catch up on laundry this week! I love you!

AND if you want to buy a t-shirt like this one you can click The South Butt link above and it will take you to the online store. You're welcome.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wedded Wednesday: To Tell or Not to Tell?

Our post this week is on my husband's blog.

(Brevity becomes me, doesn't it?)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Our family observes the season of Lent. In short, Lent is the forty day period that precedes Easter. [It's actually slightly more than 40 days if you sit down with the calendar and count. That's because Sundays aren't included.]

I've said before that denominationally speaking, our family has been all over the place. I'm not sure if that's good or bad, but personally, I love how it has broadened and enriched my faith and understanding. One of the things I love the most about the liturgical churches we've been a part of is that Easter and Christmas each have a season of focus, preparation, and anticipation (Lent|Advent) leading up to the big day. That season allows me to think, reflect, pray, and take in the fullness of the holy day we're anticipating.

I want my kids to experience that fullness as well. And that means that we do lots of talking and teaching at home.

I collected a few Lenten ideas over the weekend, and you know what? My friends are my BEST resource! One friend, Julie, made a salt dough crown of thorns for her family last year and she shared the recipe with me. The kids and I made one this afternoon and it turned out beautifully. See?

Julie used this with her family last year as a centerpiece on her table and said it was a terrific discussion piece! Anytime she caught her kids doing something thoughtful or kind for someone, she had them pull out one of the toothpicks. You could also remove a toothpick for every day that you honored your Lenten fast (giving something up for Lent is a common practice). The goal is to remove all the toothpicks. The night before Easter, Julie and her family painted their crown and added jewels, transforming it from the crown of thorns to the crown of a triumphant King. The transformed crown became their Easter centerpiece! I L-O-V-E that.

Here's the recipe:
4 cups flour
1 cup salt
Warm water

Mix flour and salt. Add enough warm water to form a stiff dough. Knead until smooth. Divede dough into thirds, and roll into three long ropes. Loosely braid the ropes and form into a circle. Stick toothpicks into the dough throughout the entire crown. Be careful not to embed them too deeply or they can't be pulled out intact. Bake for one hour at 350 or until lightly browned.

[Notes: My "crown" never got quite brown enough on top, so I mixed a little soy sauce and water and brushed it all over it and stuck it back in the oven for a few minutes. I was going for aesthetics! Ha! Julie suggests using one toothpick per kid per day of Lent (you can do the math). She didn't embed enough last year and had to keep filling holes. You can always do that if you need to, and she also suggests wiggling the toothpicks around a bit before baking so that they aren't too difficult to remove once baked.]

I can't tell you how much I LOVE our centerpiece. I might even love it more than our Advent wreath.

I'm not sure what else we'll do as a family during Lent. I'm still thinking through it all.

However, here are some links I want to pass on.

A friend from college is a contributor to this website: Modern Sacred Family. There's some good stuff there!

Janna also has some good thoughts/ideas/books. I love what she says from her "soapbox" because I completely agree with her! She did a MOPS talk about Lent and posted an audio link. I haven't listened to it (yet) but I hope to this week!

Wendy wrote some Lenten devotions for families (you may have to do a search) and has some creative ideas on her blog. I especially want to remember this idea for Good Friday.

Edie (a blogger that I stalk) explains Lent beautifully in this post. If you're curious or unsure about Lent, this post is a great place to start!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Weekend Life

A birthday celebration | Olympics | More Olympics | Reading in Bed | Snow | Coffee | Movies | More Olympics | Church | A double Valentine Date | Coffee | Cherry Pie | Togetherness | Laundry | Laughter | A special Dinner | More Olympics | One more day of weekend | I love my Family | I love my Life!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Happy! Happy! Happy!

Boy, am I glad it's Friday. I knew this week was going to be brutal and it WAS. I don't do so well when I'm away from home most of the day and every day this week was like that! Blech.

But today begins our four-day weekend. I slept in a little--7am is late for this mama! And I drank my coffee in bed! John has today and Monday off as well and I don't know who's more excited--me, the kids, or John!

In a little while, John is going to pick up five of Will's friends and take them all out for lunch at FiveGuys. It's a belated birthday celebration. Will has such a great group of friends. They've all been buds since about third grade. They go to different middle schools now, but they reunite several times a year to celebrate birthdays. Should be fun!!! The girls and I are going to meet them for lunch and then we're heading home while the boys all go see The Lightning Thief. Will (and Sarah) loved that book series and have been looking forward to the movie for such a long time. I know they'll enjoy it!

We're also pretty jazzed about the Olympics beginning tonight. The Winter Olympics are my fave. I'm sure I'll be getting less sleep these next two weeks because I usually stay up and watch all the late night coverage! I'll just have to manage on less sleep.

I'm also excited about Valentine's Day! John and I planned a weekend date over coffee this morning. SO happy about that! It's nothing big, but any time to ourselves is exciting.

Abbey's class had a fun Valentine party at school yesterday. Valentine's is my favorite school party! I love seeing all the fun cards that they all give each other. We bought Abbey's Valentine cards this year (she's obsessed with Wizards of Waverly Place) but I was pleasantly surprised that almost half the class made their own. We played a fun version of Tic-Tac-Toe and she's already begging to repeat it here at home. I taped a giant tic-tac-toe grid on the classroom floor and let them toss Beanie Babies (dogs vs cats) to try to score. You just need some masking tape and five of each stuffed animal. SO fun. I told them we'd play while the boys are at the movies.

I complain sometimes about being busy, but most of the time I'm really not. When I am busy, it's because I'm doing stuff for my kids. This week I found myself feeling thankful for my busyness. Thankful that my husband works hard so I'm free to volunteer in their classrooms and be at their class parties. Thankful that I'm the one who drops them off in the morning and picks them in the afternoon and gets to hear all about their days. So yeah I had a busy week, but I was busy investing in the people who call me "Mom". John gave me a custom card for Christmas that had an old photo of me with my dad and this quote on it:

Nothing you do for children is ever wasted. --Garrison Keillor

It's so true, isn't it?

I'd love to say and chat (still working on that brevity thing) but gotta get showered and ready for lunch with the boys!

I hope you have a fabulous weekend!

Oh wait, I wanted to ask if any of you have any fabulos-o ideas for celebrating Lent with your kids. Ash Wednesday kicks things off next week and I haven't put much thought into it. Please share if you have some ideas. I need some fresh ones.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Lucky 13!

I really wish I could give lots and lots of books away, but I can't. Sigh. The winner of You Can Still Wear Cute Shoes is Chris.

Chris wrote: Our church just was blessed with a new senior pastor in December. His wife and children are still in OK waiting to sell their home, so the challenging days have already started for her. This will be her first time being the wife of a senior pastor, and I'm sure she will love reading the book.I am a wife of an elder, on the women's ministry leadership team, Bible study coordinator and co-leader of a women's minstry to hurting women called Lifelines. If that qualifies me for a second entry...I'll take it!!!

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:
Timestamp: 2010-02-11 18:39:15 UTC

Hey Chris, will you leave me a way to contact you in the comments? I know you're local, but I need to get an address from you because I'm going to have your book shipped from Amazon. Thanks and congrats!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wedded Wednesday: Devotions

Katrina asked: Do you guys do daily devotions together? If so, what do you do? Daily readings? From a book?

(This is John, the husband)
That’s easy – nope. But let me explain. We have relations together, laugh together, cook together, read books together, et cetera, et cetera, all things we do together because we are devoted to one another. So, in a broad figurative sense, yes, we have devotions together. But my gut tells me the question in question is really do you read the Bible together? Nope, we don’t.

Now I’m sure this is because we’re really not a spiritual couple or truly saved or I’m not leading like a good promise-keeper should or some such hogsnot; we’ve heard at least as much from speakers at the mike and authors on the page, as if reading the Bible together is an imperative for a marriage God smiles upon. We’ve tried it, but it would always peter out because it just wasn’t natural. Now if you and your spouse have devotions/read the Bible together, please hear me say that’s great! But as for me and my spouse, it has always felt forced, like David trying to wear Saul’s armor. You can do it, but I’m not sure how much is accomplished. We will share things with one another or our kids that we’ve heard or sensed in our individual wrestling matches with the Word, but as to sitting down together, with a Bible between us and two Bic pins all poised and ready, and the Point of Grace cd playing in the background? No.

(This is Meredith)
Um, yeah, I agree with everything John said. Having devotions together feels like just another box to check in the "righteous living" column, and I threw legalism and checking boxes out the window years ago. Some of you might be wondering if we pray together? Do mealtimes count? Yeah, we do, but not with any regularity. It's more of an "as a situation arises" kind of thing.

If you're clueless about this Wedded Wednesday stuff, or if you want to throw a question in the hat, click here.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

10 on the 10th!

Since February 10 is my son's birthday AND since this is his THIRTEENTH birthday, I thought I'd make my 10 on the 10th about Will. Here are 10 things I love about that kid!

1. He loves to laugh and has a great sense of humor! I love watching AFV and Wipeout with Will because once he gets started, he can't quit laughing. Potty humor is still a favorite. Sigh.

2. He is sweet to his sisters. Very sweet. He's just what you want a big brother to be. Don't get me wrong, they have their moments, but he really does look out for them and enjoys their company.

3. He talks to me. About lots of stuff--including girls. I try to do more listening than talking when he opens up like that because I'm just so thankful he's willing to let me in on details. There is so much I wanna tell ya'll about our "girl" conversations but it doesn't feel right to share.

4. He loves all things electronic. Forget the comics from the Sunday paper, he goes straight for the Best Buy ad.

5. He's a homebody. Just like me. We asked Sunday after church if he wanted to go do some birthday shopping and he said, "Can we please just stay home?" The first words out of his mouth every Saturday morning are: "Do we have to go anywhere today?" and he groans if we say yes. Makes me so happy that home is a place he loves!

6. He does most things I ask him to without complaining. Seriously.

7. He is detail oriented. It's not 8pm, it's 7:57pm with him. He's super punctual and is always ready 10 minutes before it's time to go anywhere because he'd rather DIE than be late. (Mom...shhhhh...I know you're laughing because he's just like me!) He's detailed about his clothes, hair, room, backpack, notebooks, etc. He is my child.

8. He's smart as a whip. He gets that from his dad.

9. He's confident in who he is. I'm pretty sure I was not that way when I was in middle school.

10. He still thinks his parents are cool. Aren't we?

HAPPY 13th BIRTHDAY, WILL!!! I love you, buddy!

So, if you want to link up with your own 10 on the 10th post, please do. I'd love it!

Oh, and before I forget, Jackie made my new button! Thank you again, Jackie! I love it!!!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Short and Sweet!

The weekend was short, but sweet, and that's my goal for this post as well!

The girls and I spent part of Saturday working on our Valentine's stuff. Abbey is bringing the treat bags for her class party on Thursday, so we set up an assembly line and knocked these out in no time!

Can't for the life of me figure out how to save the rotated image in iPhoto and wasted time I don't really have to waste while trying.

Then we made our stripey pretzels for the girls' teachers.

Sarah has seven teachers and Abbey wants to make treats for half of the school staff so I took the easy way out this time. We made 15 pretzel bags for $8--which made me happy! (I had the bags and the ribbon already. That price was for pretzels and red/white melting chips).

We made these cute paper boxes a few years ago and while they are super cute and inexpensive, they are slightly more involved. I didn't have time to knock 15 of 'em out this year. But if YOU want to knock yourself out, here's a link with directions.
We also watched the Super Bowl. While eating delicious, fattening food.

I'm working on brevity (not my strong suit) so will close with the reminder that 10 on the 10th is this week. I'll try to have my post up tomorrow night for those of you who feel inspired to link up.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Married to the pastor (and a giveaway!)

I'm answering some more questions from this post today. Jeanie asked me three things about being a pastor's wife. For those of you who might not know, my husband was a pastor for many, many years. And that made me a pastor's wife.

Jeanie asked:
Was it hard to be a pastor's wife?
Yes, absolutely. Our very first church offered us nothing but love, understanding, and grace. John was fresh out of seminary and we were very green. I'm incredibly thankful that our first experience was such a good one because the subsequent churches he pastored proved to be much more difficult.

I probably made things hard on myself most of the time by trying to be all things to all people, but I was young and stupid and hadn't really figured out who I was. I know that I would handle so many things differently today.

There were definitely some challenges along the way, and definitely some hurtful stuff, but there were also so many wonderful things about being the pastor/pastor's wife. We are richly blessed today because our lives have overlapped with the lives of so many amazing, faithful people.

Neither of us feel that God has closed the door on pastoral ministry for our family, and to be honest, that scares the heck out of me. I take comfort in the fact that we both know and believe if God calls us into something new, it will probably be different than anything we've ever done before.

Did it mean you had to be friends with everyone and couldn't just have best friends in your church?
In every church we served, I've had best friends. There is some debate about whether having best friends in your church is healthy. I don't know if it is or isn't; I just knew that I needed a few people I could go deep with.

That's not to say that I didn't have lots of friends. I did. Good grief, I still do. But I do remember feeling overwhelmed at times by the number of people who felt much closer to me than I did to them. I still feel that way sometimes. Even though I had/have a lot of friends, I'm not willing to invest 100% in every one of them. That might sound selfish, but it's honest. I think we all have levels of friendship...and I can only have two or three at a time in my inner circle.

I loved having friends outside of my church too. They were the ones who seemed to like me for who I was...not because of who I was married to, or for who I was connected to, etc. Church was such a big part of our lives that it felt great to have a circle of friends outside of it.

Did you feel like people expected you to be super spiritual and have it all together? (Of course maybe you which case disregard this question).
I've never been superANYTHING (smart, funny, thin, cool, etc), so no, I didn't feel like I had to be super spiritual. And I wasn't. I'm still not. In fact, I find people who are super-spiritual to be annoying, and I often wonder what they're trying to hide with that mask. Maybe that's just me, and if so, that's fine, but I'm attracted to people who are real, and that's what I've always desired to be.

There were times that I did feel like I had to "have it all together" though. It was very humbling to realize I didn't. Which was often. Still is. I've said and done many things that weren't appropriate for "the pastor's wife" to say and do. I've apologized more times than I can remember, and there are probably still some people I should apologize to. I've held grudges, I've done things with a crappy attitude, and I've broken confidences, and the list goes on and on. BUT, I'm human, I'm forgiven, and I'm walking the same road most of you are--making mistakes and learning right alongside you. I'm not perfect, not by a long shot. But I try really hard to be honest with myself and real with others.

I could write a book about some of the things I've learned in/about ministry. But I'm not going to because Lisa (aka The Preacher's Wife) already has!

John brought a copy home for me a couple of weeks ago (one perk of having a husband who works in publishing!) It was a GREAT read. Lisa is funny and wise, and her writing makes you feel like you're chatting over a cup of coffee. If you're a pastor's wife (or a ministry wife)(or in ministry yourself) I think you'd enjoy reading it.

That's why I'm giving a copy away.

If you're NOT in ministry, you can still enter. Just tell me who'd you'd like to give the book to should you win. And it's totally okay if you want to read it yourself before you pass it along.

If you ARE in ministry, then you get TWO chances to win. Just leave me two comments! Be sure to tell me what kind of ministry you're in. It's not limited to pastoral ministry y'all.

I'll leave the giveaway open until Wednesday night and post a winner on Thursday AM.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, February 05, 2010

stream of consciousness friday recap...

i am so glad it's friday.

because i'm super tired.

this week was busy.

next week will be even busier, and i'm dreading it.

but next week is only a four-day week.

and next weekend is a four-day weekend.

for all five of us.

so there's light at the end of the tunnel...hallelujah!

i love friday nights at home.

i also love my husband.

i had an issue with a clerk at the grocery store today when i tried to talk to her about an error on my receipt.

she was rude.

she made me cry.

i was angry.

i called john.

and cried. and ranted.

john called her boss and told him her behavior was uncalled for (it was).


the manager apologized. and offered to fix the mistake that the lady wouldn't even acknowledge.

i was going to watch my friend's son for her son for her over lunch today.

she ended up not needing me but he still wanted to come over (he's adorable) so i invited them both to come eat lunch with me.

she said she'd bring subway.

i didn't argue.

her son fell asleep before they got here so they didn't stay. but she brought me a yummy sandwich and it made the mean grocery store lady incident better. (thank you, heather!)

we're having chicken pot pie for dinner.

john is really the only one who likes chicken pot pie.

but i'm tired of pizza which is our usual friday night meal. we've had way too much pizza lately.

i got the kids a movie.

i'd be willing to bet that i'll be asleep within 15 minutes of starting it.


is this the most boring post EVER?

our weekend is feeling full to me. i don't like that very much. not this weekend anyway.

but, if i can make it until next thursday afternoon then i'll be in for a relaxing four-day weekend. have i mentioned that i'm excited about that?

y'all have a good weekend.

if i can get my act together, i'll be back with a unique giveaway. intrigued? stay tuned...

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Recycled Thanks

I was downloading some pics from my camera last week and noticed a photo I intended to share here on the blog. You know how I'm always talking about Reduce/Reuse/Recycling? Yeah, well I found a way to scratch my consumer itch and recycle the speakers from our old ancient PC.

I'm dying to buy one of these iPod docks, but with upcoming birthdays and camp registration fees and a family that needs clothes and food I can't justify the price tag. I've started a savings fund for one, but until that fund grows a little more, THIS is my iPod dock.

Classy, huh?

I don't even care. I was able to pull the speakers out of the e-waste pile in the basement and put them to good use. Totally works for me! Y'all probably already know all about this little trick. If so, don't tell me. Let me believe that I'm incredibly resourceful. Thanks.

I also just want to thank you guys for leaving me fun comments all the time. I am a terrible commenter on your blogs and it blows me away that you continue to comment here when I don't always return the love.

So thank you.

My google reader currently shows 457 unread posts. I'm determined to read every single one of them even if it takes me until June. Let's hope not. Because then I'd be reading 4570 posts. Sheesh.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Wedded Wednesday: Time Together

Ali wants to know: Do you go on regular dates?

(This is Meredith, the wife):

I don't know that we date with regularity, but yes, we do go out on dates and we love them! We're inching closer to the day that we can leave our kids at home without a sitter, but we're not comfortable with that just yet so finances are definitely something we have to consider. By the time you pay a sitter, go out to eat, and see a movie, you can easily spend $100. I believe it's important to put time and money into your relationship, but sometimes we have to get creative with our options.

John worked at home for a few years and we used to take our kids to school/preschool and go to Starbucks for a couple of hours. He always told me I was a cheap date. Sometimes we'd wander around the library (free!) or drive around and look at old houses downtown or go on a hike. These days it works well for us to meet for lunch while the kids are in school. Those lunch dates are my favorites. I especially love it when John calls and says, "Hey, wanna meet me at Chipotle in a little while?"

When our kids were really small, we did lots of "at home" dates. We'd make dinner or get take-out and eat together after the kids were in bed. Sometimes we'd eat while we watched a tv show or a movie. It was fun because we planned it and looked forward to it all day.

As for overnight dates, they're wonderful but we don't get very many of them. Probably because we live far away from family and we only have one or two families that we're comfortable leaving our kids with.

We are very protective of our family time on weekends. We spend a lot of quality time with our kiddos; we enjoy hanging out with them and I think they enjoy hanging out with us too. I believe that it's good for them to see us step away on a date every so often, and realize that dad and mom need some alone time.

How do you make time for each other, plus make time for your 3 kids?

(this is John, the husband)

Verily, verily, there is a way that seemeth right unto a husband and father who seeketh to make equal time for those he loveth, but yea he walketh through the valley of the shadow and somebody is always sure that everyone else got the goldmine whilst they got the shaft.

But I say unto thee, above all things, seek ye first your spouse that your days may be long upon the earth and forget not all her benefits. At the same time, forget not that for every child, turn, turn, turn, there is a season and sometimes thy middle daughter’s weeping lasteth beyond the night and no joy cometh in the morning and she needeth reassurance that her father will never leave or forsake her. Or thy firstborn son, thy strength, who once was blind but now has been granted sight to see nothing but perky middleschool girls with perfect 20/20 and he needeth both thy counsel and wisdom. Fathers, do not exasperate your children, nor look down upon their youth, for you shall need them one day to feed you pudding and change the channel.

But always be quick to return to the wife of thy youth, slow to make excuses for there are no righteous excuses, no not one, and even slower to believe that even though thou hast the desire to do better next time, thou are a prisoner to thy nature: namely, there are four of them and one of thee, and thou art a wretched one at that bound by time and space. What I want to do I do not do and what I don’t want to do I do. What shall we say then? We find these truths to be self-evident – 1. Gird up thy loins, my brother and 2. a little wine is good for the stomach.


How do you celebrate anniversaries?

(this is Mer, the wife)
I think it all depends on our budget and our babysitting options. The last two years we've gone out for dinner and a movie. Two years ago, our kids were in Arkansas with their grandparents so we were able to spend a few days at a beautiful cabin in the mountains. This summer we'll celebrate our twentieth so we're planning a special trip!!!

Our Anniversary Box is something I created several years ago and no matter what we do to celebrate, it's always a special part of our day!

Monday, February 01, 2010

Monday Mash-Up

My morning didn't start off very well. I considered going back to bed but decided to put my courage on and face the day head on. I'll let you know how that goes. Tomorrow.

For now, I'm giving myself 10 minutes to sit here and blog. About whatever comes to mind.

We had a fabulous weekend. Saturday we went to the wedding of one of our favorite friends. She waited a very long time for "the one" to come along, and come he did! Their day was beautiful and glorious and John and I felt honored to be a part of it.

Sunday was a true Sabbath for us. We rested well. Yesterday was the fourth Sunday we've intentionally unplugged (from the computer). It really is a nice change for us and I find myself looking forward to it. Never thought I'd say that either.

This week is shaping up to be busy, but next week is going to EAT MY LUNCH. I flipped my calendar over today and wanted to cry. I've been pretty non-busy since my dad died. I let go of most of my volunteer commitments and responsibilities and have been able to focus on self-care (and it's been wonderful). I haven't jumped back into all that but everything I do have going on seems to be hitting this week and next. Wow. Deep breaths.

I'm feeling ill-equipped as a mom these days. Our son turns 13 next week. THIRTEEN. Just not possible. This is unchartered territory for us and we've already had a glimpse of some of the challenges that lie ahead, and to be honest, it scares me. It scares me a lot. Especially since John and I aren't always on the same page about how we should handle things. Yowza. Trying not to let fear overwhelm...

My ten minutes is up (even though I've been interrupted twice by the yapping beagle and his antics--he's not on my good side today.)

Did you fellow "Gleeks" catch my attempt at alliteration in my post title? Let me add that on this particular morning, I'm really feeling like "My Life Would Suck Without You". My kids have never seen an episode but they know almost every word to every song on the soundtrack including that one. (Mother of the Year?) Do ya'll have a favorite Glee song? It would cheer me up to know what yours is!