Monday, August 24, 2009

What a guy!

Happy birthday to my sweet fella! He might be that much closer to 30, and terrified of it, but I sure do love my groom! He is a godly husband and father, he has the BEST sense of humor, and I fall more in love with him everyday. Thank you for working hard so Kate and I can be home together everyday. She adores you and I do too...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Another job that doesn't pay...monetarily.

In my previous life, I was a 10th grade English teacher at my former high school. That paid me fairly well. In April, I embarked on a most precious journey. My new occupation is Kate's mom. I'm no longer rewarded with a paycheck, but that's definitely okay by me. There remains yet another job that I claim as mine, that also does not come with a paycheck! I am a pastor's wife and have held this position for 5 years now. And that, my friend, is a job in itself! I love being married to a pastor. And most days I love this job. But other days, it can be really tough. I've been working on this post for days (I've been a little distracted), but here are some of the harder things that I have wrestled with this summer:
  • Beyond Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights: MUCH time is spent between services. Pastors don't just show up on Sunday morning and Wednesday night! Hours aren't typically constant because every week looks different. Meetings with staff, meetings with students or other members of the congregation, and planning time consume time during the week. Pastors are on call 24/7... literally. If one of the youth is having a rough night or needs some help, a phone call at an obscene hour is not uncommon!
  • Long hours: It's a beautiful thing when my dear hubby doesn't have to go to work until noon. But, he's going to work at noon because he won't be coming home until 8 or 9 that evening. Sometimes, though, he leaves for work at 9 to make it in time for staff meeting. Then Bible study is that evening. Before I know it, he's been gone for 12 hours and we miss spending any time with him. Or, meetings last well into the evening (he arrived home at 10:30 one evening last week). For two weeks in a row, two separate nights held the 12 hour work days. Baby (kids, for some) is in bed and Mom is ready to crash too. It's not easy.
  • Watch your mouth, young lady: As a pastor's wife, I represent my husband and my family. Of course, I represent the Most High as well and I'm very aware of this. But church life is not perfect. If I disagree with something going on in the church, I have to be extremely careful when/if I open my mouth. Unfortunately, what you say at church can and will be used against you at some point in time. And people talk. Oh, how they talk. You have to know how to play the game. And it can be pretty exhausting at times.
  • People are watching... and talking: Sometimes it feels as though I have to be "on" all the time. Feeling the need to appear perfect will wear you down! And rumors often run rampant. I try to remember that people need to see an example of a healthy marriage. So, I aim to keep my actions and words about (and to!) my hubby as encouraging as possible.
  • Scheduling: By the time we pencil in church events, deacon's meetings/budget meetings/quarterly meetings/youth team meetings, we don't have many evenings left in the week. Throw in a date night (super important) and getting together with a friend, and we're down to one night at home. Not quite as terrible when it's just two of you, but add a child to the mix and it's hard to NOT be home.
  • Did the church hire me, too??: This is a hard concept for some churches (especially in regard to the youth pastor). I am extremely blessed at our current church because no one EXPECTS me to do anything in relation to his job. They are certainly grateful when I do, but no one assumes that my calling is exclusively to the youth. I adore my high school girls and cherish my time with them, and I'm thankful that I was able to choose that for myself! Although it's not in my current plan, my role may change as Kate grows, and as I grow in my relationship with Jesus.
  • Taking it personally: If anyone has anything negative to say about my man or his ministry, LOOK OUT! Just kidding. Well, kinda. If anyone knows the faults of my fella, it's me. I know them better than anyone. (Yes, it does go both ways... He has lots of dirt on me and knows all the ugly things about me!!) But anyway, it's really hard to hear someone talk negatively about your husband. As a woman, my feelings are pretty sensitive. And it hurts my feelings when someone is harsh- even if it's not toward me!!
  • Friends: This one is really tough for me. Unless you are starting a new church (and pretty much chose the staff members with whom you'll be working), it can be difficult to make friends. Especially when going to a new church. For some reason, people aren't jumping at the chance to be friends with a pastor and his wife! ;) It can be hard to be transparent (and I'm all about some honesty and deep conversations) with church members. You have to be guarded in the things you say (for example, prayer requests have to be very vague when related to hubby's job). Plus, people already have their own circles of friends. When your life is engulfed in the church, how can you find solid fellowship with those who don't necessarily GO to your church??
  • Contentment: I'm reading a book with a dear friend right now entitled, "Calm my Anxious Heart." The book starts out addressing contentment, so I've really been focusing on Philippians 4:11-13 lately. Life in ministry is not life in luxury. And I don't think that it should be. It's not about the love of my life being appreciated (although it sure is nice when it happens!). It's not about owning all the things that people around me own (I really have to check myself when I wish for bigger and better). And I will eventually have to learn that it's not about Kate being happy all the time. We live our lives for Jesus and not for ourselves or anyone else.
Being content isn't always easy. But He is the most important aspect of our lives and when we are solely focused on Him, "... the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace." What a joy it is to develop relationships with teenagers and to encourage them and challenge them in their walks with the Lord. How precious it is to stumble through the rocky teenage life alongside our awesome youth. And what a sheer honor and privilege it is to serve them, pray for them, laugh with them, cry with them, and grow closer to our heavenly Father with them!!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Urgent Care and the beach

Yes. That is how our trip to Emerald Isle began this year. Here are the events of Friday night and yesterday:
-Around midnight on Friday night, Kate woke up and started screaming like a she was in severe pain... and NOTHING could console her.
-2 am, Jon put her in the car and drove around the neighborhood.
-Once she was asleep, they came home and he put her in her bed.
-Totally fine in the morning.
-Jon, Daniel, Kate, and I left for the beach yesterday morning. Mom, Dad, and Gretchen came late last night after a wedding.
-On the road to NC. Kate slept like a champ until we stopped for lunch and I tried to feed her.
-Howling commenced.
-Kate refused to eat anything and would not stop shrieking.
-We shoved our food down our throats, calmed her down, and got back on the road.
-Arrived in Emerald Isle, Kate finally ate at 5 pm (had not eaten since 9:30 am).
-Conveniently, urgent care places around here are closed on the weekends.
-Head to Morehead City to BEACH CARE.
-Cute little place with a sweet receptionist (big hair and lots of makeup- who also gave us directions on the phone, "It's across the street from Hooters.").
-They don't take our insurance. Sweet southern receptionist tells me that the ER is the only place open that can't turn us away.
-Don't even really have any symptoms to tell them, so we decide to stay.
-Receptionist says that doctor is the "fairest" person she knows. He probably won't charge us too much out of pocket- between $98-$138
-In and out of BEACH CARE within 40 minutes.
-Diagnosis: She looks fine! Cost: $98.

So, I had my maternal instincts challenged yesterday for $98. The doctor was very kind, and it turned out that he really did charge as little as possible. Mom knows best, though. And something was not right with my sweet girl. No clue what it was, but I KNOW that something was off. She was not herself. But how do you tell the doctor, "She's crying a lot."?? That's what babies do! But mine doesn't. And he made me feel like an idiot. Like I couldn't handle a little crying. Like I don't know my own daughter. Whatever. Anyone who heard it would tell you that it wasn't just "a little crying." He did tell me that if nothing changed, that I could bring her back today for no charge.

Our first full day at the beach is halfway over. And we have yet to set foot on the sand! Dad, Daniel, and Jon set up the cabana this morning to stake our territory. But storms have threatened the rest of the day. We got all set to head down just a few minutes ago... despite the wind, clouds, and rough waves. As soon as we set foot on the walkway to the beach, I got nailed with a raindrop on my forehead. So, we turned around and came back up! I was not trying to run up stairs in the pouring rain with this chica!

Kate and I were in our pajamas until about 2o minutes ago (2:30 pm!!), we ate tomato and bacon sandwiches for lunch, and we're meeting up with Dad's college roommate and his family for dinner (2:30 pm!!). I love vacation...

Here is what the 3 month old beach babe looks like. It's a picture from the pool the other week, but she has the same gear on here at the beach! Anyone can look cool with sunglasses on top of her head! Once we get on the beach, we'll snap some more!