Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fall is fading...



We are trying to make the most of it...













I hope

you are

doing the same!

Happy Fall!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"Whatever..." Wednesday

Wow! Wednesdays seem to come around fast! It is already time to do another "Whatever Wednesday" post! So, for those of you who may not know what I am talking about, I have chosen to take some time on Wednesdays to focus on the many blessings I have in my life. I am following the advice of a verse found in Philippians 4:8, " Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things.".

It isn't very hard to think of good things as I sit in my warm house on a cold, wet day drinking a hot french vanilla cappuccino. I can think of many small, ordinary things that happened this week that were good and true, and lovely even. Today, though, I want to focus on something that is excellent and praiseworthy! How often do those types of things happen to us? Not enough - so when a miracle shows up it is only right to sit back and fully appreciate the God who made it happen.

I had the honor to spend some time with Michael's mom today. Michael and his parents started to attend our church very shortly after we moved here. They had been to our church just twice when he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Michael is just two years old. They were told, at first, that the brain tumor was benign and we were all so excited and relieved. After two months he started to display some more symptoms and more tests were done. It was not good news this time. The tumor was aggressive and malignant. His parents were told that the tumor was inoperable and resistant to chemotherapy. He was given a 10% chance to survive. They were told that he may not make it to the second round of chemo. It did not look good.

Michael has undergone two rounds of chemo now and just went in for an MRI yesterday. His parents are to go in tomorrow for a report on the tumor and he will start his third round of chemo. Stephanie and I met for lunch today and as we were waiting for our table her phone rang. It was one of those moments when time seemed to stand still as I watched her scream "NO!" into the phone and crumple into tears. I stood there thinking the worst and trying to figure out what I should do when she turned to smile and say, "The tumor is shrinking!"! We stood in the lobby of Eat-n-Park and hugged and cried as people stopped to stare and some even cried along with us. It was an excellent and praiseworthy moment! And Stephanie did praise God. Right there in front of everyone with no shame.

We did go into the restaurant and eat then. We sat and talked about life. We laughed. We shared our fears and our mistakes. We shared our stories. We shared ourselves. I was able to tell her how proud I am of how she is handling this crisis and how I can see her growing through it all. I look at her and I see myself. I was just two years older than her when our Emma was born and I was faced with loss head on. I realize how young I was. How young she is. So much for a young person to handle and she is doing it with grace and beauty. We sat and listened to each other. A difference in age, maybe, but equals. Friends.

As we sat there, I experienced another one of those miraculous moments that only come every so often. One of those moments to savor. I had a moment when I knew, without one doubt, that I am exactly where I am supposed to be doing exactly what I am supposed to do. So many times I question myself, my decisions, my purpose. But, in that moment, I felt clarity. I saw the big picture.

Like the pieces of a puzzle, the pieces of my life were coming together to form a picture! A God-given, excellent, and praiseworthy picture!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Have you hugged your pastor (and his wife) today?

This month is officially Pastor Appreciation month which was started by Focus on the Family. It is a time set apart when we are supposed to honor our pastors and let them know that we appreciate all they do throughout the year. I think it is a great concept and I can tell you as the wife of a pastor that it is well deserved. No matter if you agree with everything your pastor says or does I am pretty sure that he is working hard doing the things that need to be done to keep your church moving in some sort of direction. There are so many things that he does that you are probably totally unaware of and will never know. You may personally disagree with some things that are being done in your church or the way they are being done but I am pretty sure that he is not taking those decisions lightly. If he is at all like the pastor I am married to he is praying, agonizing, searching, and seeking to listen to God's voice as he leads you. He is trying to let go of his agenda and follow God and he is, above all, praying that you will follow. It is a job that doesn't allow you to relax or leave at the office. There are always people who need your help, your prayers, your counsel. It is truly all consuming. So please take some time this month to tell your pastor that you care. Give him some slack, some benefit of the doubt that he is a good guy who wants the best for you and your whole church.

That actually isn't what I wanted to write about today. I started this post thinking about several friends, former pastors, acquaintances that I have heard about lately. They all have two things in common, they are pastors and they are getting divorced or have already. It just seems like it is happening so much more often and to people you would never expect. People I grew up looking up to or people my age who seemed to have it all together. On the outside it appeared that they had this ministry thing all figured out. The divorce rate for pastors is now the same as the general population, over 50%. This epidemic doesn't seem to favor any type of pastor. They come from all different types and sizes of churches. I have been thinking about it alot. Why is this happening?

One recurring theme I am hearing is that it isn't necessarily infidelity or some major crisis that causes the marriage to fall apart. It is stress that builds over time and is never dealt with in the right way. In many of the situations I have heard of recently it is the wife who just decides she can't do it anymore. She is tired of the whole thing and just decides that she wants out. Several of the situations I am thinking of are ones where the children have grown and are on their own and the wife just decides it is time to leave. Before you start throwing your stones at these women, take a moment and listen to one share her heart. Listen to me as I let you know my side of the story.

No, I haven't left my husband and I'm not planning on it. I would be lying, though, if I told you I never thought about it. I would be lying if I told you I never fantasized about a life with a husband who went to work, did his job, and came home ready to just be with his family. A husband who has the weekends off and no meetings or hospital visits in the evenings. A husband who doesn't receive those phone calls right in the middle of a family event. I'm not talking about true emergencies or needs, but the ones where someone wants to be heard loud and clear. A husband whose job doesn't require his wife to be a silent partner. Just smile and do what we want from you but, by all means, don't have an opinion or feelings.

I'm not trying to whine and complain about being a pastor's wife. I love our church and appreciate the people. I try my best to see the good in everyone and to believe they want the best for my family. After fifteen years of being married to a pastor I am still trying to figure it out. Trying to be myself and use my gifts, not because I am the pastor's wife, but because I am a follower of Jesus Christ. Trying to seek God's best for me and my family without allowing the expectations of others to cloud my vision. It is a hard journey. And sometimes I am just tired and I want to quit. I don't want to try anymore. I look at all of the odds that are against us and I feel overwhelmed. Having a special needs child and facing the loss of a child put us in a category of people who face a divorce rate of 90%. It is a tough battle with that alone.

I can hear what you are thinking. I have heard it so many times when I pour my heart out to someone. They say with all sincerity and good intentions, "You knew Dean was going to be a pastor when you married him. You chose to be a pastor's wife." And to that I say; Yes, I knew Dean was going to be a pastor when I married him but did I know what that meant? Was I called to be a pastor? No, not at all! Was I called to love my husband and serve God? Yes, and that is what I try to do everyday. I love my husband. I will love him no matter what occupation he has now or in the future. I serve God, not because I am married to a pastor, but because I am His servant.

So, I say all of that to say this, Have you let your pastor and his wife know that you are praying for them, loving them, pulling for them? They are pulling for you and they need your support. They are fighting against the odds and many are losing.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

"Whatever..." Wednesday

Well, I have not been good about doing my "Whatever... Wednesdays" every week but I am not going to give up! In case you do not know what I am talking about here is what a "Whatever...Wednesday" is...

I am trying to take some time on Wednesdays to focus on all of the good things going on in my life. I got the idea from the verse found in Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." In our world today we need all of the whatevers we can find!! So here are a few of mine: (with a few random pictures thrown in)

I am so very grateful for a wonderful church family who honored us for Pastor Appreciation Month with so many cards and gifts! We will be enjoying many meals out as well as some Meadows custard and Sheetz coffee for many months to come!

I was so amazed at the thoughtfulness God showed when He sat me beside just the right person at MOPS last week. As we talked we found that we have both experienced the loss of a child as well as international adoption. I am looking forward to getting to know her better!

I am beyond thankful that Anna is sleeping better though we still have far to go IMO!!

Wow!! The fall colors are amazing this year! I have been looking forward to this for so long and it has been prettier than any of my memories!

I am relieved and thankful that a health scare Dean had turned out to be okay.

Allie has been working so hard at school and she has straight A's right now so we are so very proud of her!

God has blessed me with many friends, new and old, who I can laugh with, cry with, and just be me with and I have been reminded this week that this is a gift I should appreciate and treat with care. So, you know who you are ,friends, and I love and appreciate each of you. You are definitely "Whatevers" to me!!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Fall is in the Air!! Campfire smoke in my Hair!

"Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns." - George Eliot

"Everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn."- Elizabeth Lawrence

"Once more the liberal year laughs out O'er richer stores than gems or gold: Once more with harvest song and shout Is nature's boldest triumph told."- John Greenleaf Whittier

"Leaf falling on leaf,on mounds of leaves, rain splashing in pools of rain ..."- Gyodai

"A few days ago I walked along the edge of the lake and was treated to the crunch and rustle of leaves with each step I made. The acoustics of this season are different and all sounds, no matter how hushed, are as crisp as autumn air."- Eric Sloane

"Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all."- Stanley Horowitz

"A solitary maple on a woodside flames in single scarlet, recalls nothing so much as the daughter of a noble house dressed for a fancy ball, with the whole family gathered around to admire her before she goes."- Henry James

"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower."- Albert Camus

"The winds will blow their own freshness into you,and the storms their energy,while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn."- John Muir

"Change is a measure of time and, in the autumn, time seems speeded up. What was is not and never again will be; what is is change."- Edwin Teale

"I am rich today with autumn's gold, All that my covetous hands can hold; Frost-painted leaves and goldenrod, A goldfinch on a milkweed pod, Huge golden pumpkins in the field With heaps of corn from a bounteous yield, Golden apples heavy on the trees Rivaling those of Hesperides, Golden rays of balmy sunshine spread Over all like butter on warm bread; And the harvest moon will this night unfold The streams running full of molten gold. Oh, who could find a dearth of bliss With autumn glory such as this!"- Gladys Harp

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Once Upon a Potty

That is the title of a book we have been reading often in our home lately. I am not going to push her to be potty-trained but I did go out and buy a potty so she could start becoming familiar with the concept. As you can see, this might take a while!

She loved the Elmo underwear we bought and had to take each pair out of the package and name all of the characters, "Elbo, Abby, Bir (Big Bird), Oie (Zoe), E (Ernie), and HaHa (count)". It was very exciting!

After establishing that they were not hats, she had to put each pair on. All eight of them at once!!

Now, off to try the potty! Let's start with a good attitude!

Should I stand in it or on top of it?
That doesn't seem to work! What should I try next?
Let's see if Bee can fit in there!
Maybe he should sit on top of it!
Good job Bee!
This should make you more comfortable!
Maybe we both could sit on this thing!
Or maybe not...
It's okay, we'll try again tomorrow!