I'm just a wife and mother who earnestly desires to grow in my faith and it's demonstration. DISCLAIMER! I have absolutely no problem with women in the clergy. As a matter of fact, I have several female pastors who I consider friends. In my home, the pastor is a male so the pronouns I use to refer to a pastor tend to be male. This is not a statement of any kind. Just a reflection of my every day life!

Archive for December, 2011

Confession time

I know that Christmas is supposed to be about giving to others.  But I have to admit that I REALLY enjoyed seeing people get the homemade gifts that Hubby and I made for them this year!!  So much so, that I’ve already started on gifts for Christmas 2012!!

Actually, I’ve started gifts for some birthday/anniversary events as well.  And I have a daughter who got engaged over Christmas break so you KNOW there is a cross-stitch something-or-other in the works for her future wedding!

In all seriousness, I found myself spending numerous hours thinking of and praying for those who were going to receive whatever craft item I happened to be working on at the time.  Maybe that’s what is really drawing me back in – the time spent focused on praying for those I lvoe!

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The Home Stretch

I have had an absolute blast this year, handcrafting so many of the gifts I’m giving away!!  And it’s been almost more fun to watch hubby join in!! My two oldest girls were commenting that they both had filled the bookshelves they had and would each love a new set.  Yep, you guessed it.  Set number 1 is painted and just waiting to move into my oldest daughter’s bedroom.  Set number two will be ready by Christmas (or so I’ve heard!).


My own beautiful gift of trestle style dining table and matching chairs (six of them) is just one chair away from being done.  Not gonna lie – I love it!  


As for my own progress, I have one last caddy to finish up for the kids in my life and then those are done (all 8 of them!!).  There is just one cross-stitch gift that I will not be able to get done but there was already talk about a group gift for that particular person so they are still getting something!  And this just gives me a head start on next year!  


Did I just say that?!  Okay – confession time.  I’ve had so much fun putting my own personal touch on gifts this year that I intend to do much the same next year!  


May you and your have a wonderfully blessed holiday this weekend!

Blessed Beyond What we Deserve!

As I sit here typing, it is almost seven p.m.  No big deal for me normally, being the night owl that I am.  But I’m exhausted at the moment.  Could probably fall asleep if I would let myself – and I won’t!  Knowing my luck, I’d fall asleep now, be wide awake at 3 a.m. and get my sleep/awake cycle completely fouled up! 

Why am I exhausted?  So glad you asked!!  Today has been a day of whirlwind activity that had me running from one “event” to the next.  But it was also a day that involved a decision for our church that was a very big deal to my family!

My day started at a little before 7:00 a.m. when I hit the snooze button yet again.  (I’m sure it wasn’t the first time since the alarm had been set for 6:30!)  I finally dragged my not-yet-fully-rested self from bed at about a 7:15.  My shopping trip of the night before (a couple hours on the road to Des Moines, four hours in a busy shopping mall and then home again) had caught up with me as I knew it would.  Don’t get me wrong – didn’t regret going for a moment since I got to spend the evening with some of my FAVORITE young ladies, but working your way through a shopping mall a week before Christmas is tiring work!

There I was, making cheesy potato casserole at 7:15 a.m. for the potluck at church.  The meal would be followed by a business meeting.  Today’s meeting was especially important to my family but more on that later!  Out the door by 8:35, heading to First Baptist; Sunday school and church then the potluck.  I ate a quick lunch then ran my two youngest to the Hawkeye Theatre (for the final performance of a show they were in this weekend) then back to the church for the business meeting.

Meeting was out by about 1 then it was home to finish getting food ready for our annual Open House!!  This is something my mom used to do each year when my dad was a Pastor.  It’s one of my favorite holiday memories from my high school years!  No agenda, lots of yummy finger foods (veggies, crackers and cheese, cookies, summer sausage, etc.) and tons of fellowship!  Open House from 3 – 5 or thereabouts and then clean-up which I finally completed at about 6:30.  Yep, tired.

Now about that business meeting I mentioned.  Remember, the one with the decision that was a big deal?!  Some background information – Since we moved to Fort Dodge almost two years ago, we’ve been renting a home that was, at the time we moved here, up for sale.  About a year and half ago, it was taken off the market.  The landlords have let us know that they intend to put the house back on the market sometime after the first of the year.  While we are grateful to have a place to live, it is not a house we would consider purchasing.  A few weeks ago, our church choir director (who is also a realtor) walked with us through a foreclosed home that is on the market.  It needs some cosmetic work and the kitchen needs a fairly complete overhaul.  But when I walked through it, I knew I was already falling in love with the house.  With the blessing of the realtor/choir director, our church treasurer, and the church moderator, my hubby wrote up a proposal that was presented to the Church Council (our leadership board) at their meeting the first Sunday in December.  Basically, it proposed that withdraw money from an account that was created when they sold the parsonage several years ago and had been used to take care of the Pastor’s housing allowance ever since.  They would then make a loan to us with which we would purchase the house.  All the questions about contract, contingency, etc. were asked and answered and the Council voted unanimously to take the issue to the church at the business meeting which was held today.  The church family was given an explanation of the proposal, they had a chance to ask questions and then hubby and I were excused so they could discuss and vote.  They voted unanimously to do just what we were asking.  Even as I type that last sentence it seems a little surreal.  We signed the paperwork tonight (lucky we’re such good friends with out realtor that he was at the Open House!) and the offer will be made either tomorrow or the day after.  Wow!  There is work to be done before we move in – aka the kitchen! – and absolutely nothing is packed so there’s quite a bit of work ahead of me.  But I’m so grateful that the wait on this end of things is over!

But the result of the vote wasn’t what REALLY blessed me.  It was the reaction of our church family to the whole situation that touched my heart.  One of the ladies in our church came up to hubby and I after the meeting, hugged us both and was “just thrilled” (her words) for us.  Others expressed their enthusiasm and excitement for us when they stopped at the house this afternoon.  A couple of them talked about the more “permanent” solution of home ownership vs. renting.  One even said she felt like we were making a statement about how long we intended to stay!  Rather than see the proposal as burdensome of even pushy on our part, they saw it as a chance to bless our family and were thrilled to have the chance to do so!  I am so grateful for my brothers and sisters at FBC and only wish I could find words to adequately express how I feel.  This has been just the most recent in a long string of incidents that keep proving to hubby and I over and over again that we are right where we are meant to be!

Seeking the "Good"

Old frustrations are coming back to haunt me.  As often happens, this seeps into every other area of life and leaves me frustrated and a bit snappish as well as making it difficult to find the “good”. 

I’m still deeply wishing and praying for a full-time job so that the stress of working two part-time jobs will be lessened.  And in all honestly, if one of the two part-time employers were to offer a full-time position, I would gladly jump at the chance.  Mind you, this is not a “if either one offered” attitude.  Of the two, there is exactly one I desire to continue my employment with.  The money from the other is a nice addition to the family finances but that is really the only good thing I can say about it. 

I’m going to be honest – I’ve been wounded.  No music teacher (or art teacher or p.e. teacher) wants to hear that they are simply there to provide planning time for the “real” teachers.  I chose the music education as my major in college because I believe it has been instrumental in teaching certain lessons and bringing a sense of beauty into my life.  Being denigrated to nothing more than a glorified baby-sitter is disheartening.

The other employer . . . let’s just say that they’ve made huge strides (at least in my experience) in an effort to really include the part-time staff in the life of the institution (and there are LOTS of part-time staff!).  If I got a call tomorrow offering full-time for next semester, I wouldn’t have to think for longer than a second before offering an enthusiastic “yes”.

But I have no reason to believe that such an offer is coming.  So I seek to find the good in a job where my education and experience are not as highly valued as I’d like and I’ve put in numerous unpaid after school hours to get the Christmas program ready without so much as a thank you. 

Looking for the good in that situation- the job is very close to home so I’m not using much gas (in warmer weather I can even walk!) and it is some extra money in the paycheck.  Well, it’s not much but it’s a start.

Looking for the good in a more general fashion?  That’s a little easier – I have the opportunity to work with the Spring musical at Iowa Central Community College in 2012, an opportunity due in large part to my other theatrical involvements in the community and my part-time employment as an adjunct professor.   And I will once again get the chance to work with the students at FDSH on their Spring musical!  My hubby is filling our home with beautiful, handmade pieces – dining room table and chairs, bookshelves for his daughters, gifts for the kids, even a trivet or two – as well as being “commissioned” to do some pieces by friends of the family!  Is it weird that I love seeing the joy that this brings him?!

I will choose to focus on these things while I wait for God to provide.  And I still believe he will.  I’m just getting a little impatient to see how!

Encouragement

My hubby, my two eldest and I were a little late getting to bed last night.  Can’t speak for the other three, but I’m really not the least bit tired!  I think that’s because I was so encouraged by the conversation that kept us all up so late.

It all began with a question from my 18 year old – Is it truly possible for a married woman to be a pastor and still be a submissive wife who responds Biblically to her husband’s leadership in the home?  Now, I know that there are those with strong opinion’s on both sides of the issue of women in the pulpit.  That’s not really what the discussion was about.  I listened to my two oldest discuss this issue with some passion.  The whole issue of submission was discussed with some measure of intensity.

We didn’t stumble across some incredible insight that tied the whole issue up into a neat, easily explained package.  I’m fairly certain it’s an issue that the two of them will still wrestle with from time to time.  But they are wrestling.  They are questioning.  They are working to make sure that the faith they possess is truly theirs, and not just a series of cliches and clever phrases they’ve heard and memorized.  We didn’t all agree with each other.  We didn’t even really solve anything.  But I don’t think that was ever possible.  

I loved hearing my girls discuss the issue so passionately.  I loved discussing the issue with them, not as “my little girls” but as women.  In Philippians 2:12 & 13 we read – “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed – not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence – continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.”  So I cherish these types of conversations with my children.  Yes, they will occasionally take a stance that disagrees with mine or their father’s.  But what matters most to me is that they are thinking and talking and asking questions.  For that, any amount of sleep lost is worth it!

 

Feeling Reflective

Maybe it’s because of the season we are in.  Maybe it’s because I’ve been sick for most of the week so I’m emotionally already a little worked up.  Or maybe it’s just because.  


Sang in the Sonshine Singers Christmas concert tonight.  Great music, great people . . . just wish I’d felt better!  But at least my voice held out till the last note was sung.  Have nothing left, but I’m okay with that!  One of the biggest treats of the whole experience was the two gentlemen I stood between.  They are both basses and anyone who knows me well will tell you that I LOVE hearing a bass sing!  I think it might have something to do with the fact that my daddy is a bass!!  Just standing between these two gentlemen was a special treat for me!  I have had the chance, in my teen years especially, to sing a duet or two with my dad so standing between Z and Marty tonight took me back to those cherished experiences.  Once again, I’m feeling very grateful for the love of music that was nurtured in me and encouraged by my parents!

There’s a song we did that has stuck with me and I thought I’d share some of the lyrics here:

How is it, Lord, we can feel so alone

When we’re standing in the pressing crowd?

And why is it, Lord, we feel overwhelmed

By the sights and sounds all around?

Take us back to the place where we knew your grace;

Help us once again to see

That the manger holds the answer:

Jesus came to bring us peace.

Later, in the second verse:

O lead us, Lord, to the stable again

Give us respite from the pressing crowd

A moment in time when we’re undisturbed 

By the sights and sounds all around.

Take us back to the place where we knew your grace;

Help us once again to see

That the manger holds the answer:

Jesus came to bring us peace.

I can only speak for myself, but I know that peace is definitely something I could use a dose of. I’m not speaking of an end to armed conflict on a national level.  I’m talking about the concept in Philippians 4:7 – “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  It is my wish for all those I come into contact with, whether personally or “virtually”,  that they will find at least a moment of peace in an otherwise hectic season.


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