Thursday, January 28, 2010

Tooth Fairy

Jack lost his other front tooth yesterday at school.   His teacher pulled it for him (thank you, Mrs. Pitts!), and he brought it home in a ziploc bag.  He said, "I can show you exactly when it happened," and opened his lunch box to show a partially-eaten sandwich. 

Last night as we were getting ready for bed, he started looking for the tooth to leave for the tooth fairy.  He said, "You and Daddy are the tooth fairy, right?"  His sister had told him that,  and Jack is the type of man who is glad to know that there are not really fairies, however benevolent they may be, creeping around his room and looking under his pillow at night.  So I said yes, and we finally found the plastic bag with his tooth in it.  He said, "I want to leave it in a cup again."  A cup?  I didn't remember, but apparently the last tooth to come out was left in a cup in the living room.  Even though he knew it would only be his precious mama slipping a quarter under his pillow, the idea of anyone "sneaking into his room," as he said, was a little unnerving.  And since the tooth fairy has gone five or six days in a row forgetting to retrieve the tooth and leave some cash with his siblings, she thought the visual reminder of a cup in the middle of the coffee table was an excellent idea.

Jack checked the cup this morning and said, "I got seventy dollars!"  Will and I both went to see; maybe there really was a tooth fairy!  If seventy dollars was the going rate, I'm sure Will would have taken some pliers to his molars this afternoon.  But Jack corrected himself and said seventy cents, which was all the loose change the tooth fairy could come up with.  And now Jack has that cute snaggle-tooth smile which I, the tooth fairy, will thoroughly enjoy until the new tooth shows up.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Great Expectations

I have spent most of my day in bed, calling in sick from laundry and cleanliness.  My husband left yesterday for a Church Planter Training Conference in Orlando, and apparently he took with him my exceptionally long streak of not-catching-a-cold.  But, there is also a stomach bug traveling around our little circle of life, so I'm just thankful to be not hugging a toilet and functioning, albeit slowly and with many hacking noises.  I also stayed up later than usual last night trying my hand at graphic design because my heart's desire is a cool logo for our little church plant.  Not my giftedness apparently.

One of the blogs I visit fairly regularly is girltalk, a collaborative effort by the daughters and wife of C J Mahaney.  Today's entry was about their challenge starting Feb. 1st to join the 5 o'clock club.  Ideally, there would be time in our day for leisurely Bible reading, meditation, hymn singing, lengthy prayer journaling, but as we know, somehow it just doesn't work that way.  And while life can get in the way, I am convicted about the priorities that show up in my day.  Sure, I get up and read my Bible in the morning, then fire off a quick "bless this day" as I trudge down the hall to wake the sleeping beasties, but where's my daily emphasis and focus?  Often, not on my Savior and King.  Sometimes I wonder (and it's possible there's some messed-up theology in here) if I am so disorganized because I make organizing my life my priority.  Does that sound crazy?  I guess I'm saying that in a way, getting "my act together" can often become the #1 priority in my life.  While it is certainly a goal worthy of pursuing, it cannot become my ultimate purpose, because it cannot fix my heart. It can't redeem me from my sin!  I often tell the contestants on the Biggest Loser this very thing as I eat skittles and watch them sweat, but they never seem to listen.  Weight loss! A noble goal, one that I (inconsistently) pursue myself! Though you will feel and look better, ultimately your confidence and worth cannot come from your physical appearance.  It will fail you!

Anyway, about the club - the idea is that you get up at 5:00 each morning and spend that time when the house is still quiet (I hope) in conversation with God and Scripture-reading.  Right now I get up at 6 and have about 25 minutes before everyone gets up.  And sometimes I spend that time with Southern Living and some yogurt instead of the Lord.  Sometimes I spend it frantically putting together three lunches.  I would like to spend my time well.  Look, here's the deal: it's hard to be consistent...with anything!  But, God's mercies are new every morning, and I know that just because I mess up, I cannot give up.  So, do you want to join the club with me?  I'll call you around 4:45 Monday morning :).

P.S. A great song to go along with this is Sara Groves' First Song that I Sing (you can read the lyrics here). Set your alarms!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

More Thoughts on Thoughts

I have to make this quick because unfortunately, I have more going on in my life than introspective pecking at the keyboard.  I was thinking today about my post yesterday.  I talked about having to continually battle negative thoughts about myself, and I wanted to offer a tool when you have your own struggles, be it in your thought life or in some habitual action which is not good or healthy.  When I was in high school, I was very anxious and worried, about what I can no longer remember.  What could it have been?  If I had enough product in to keep my bangs really fluffy all day?  If I would have to move up from a size 4 to a 6 because of the Doritos I was pounding?  If I would be invited to be a Key Club Sweetheart?  If my toe-touch was as good as Jennifer Whitley's?  Anyway, I actually showed some wisdom because I went after that worry/anxiety by searching the Bible for verses that address that topic and then praying through those on a regular basis.  While I would love to tell you that since age 18, I have never felt undue anxiety about anything, that would not be true.  What is true, however, is that I now had weapons to fight my battle instead of just floundering about.  The Bible is full of God's truth; it IS God's truth.  God's truth brings freedom.  And those worries or fears or habitual harmful actions in our lives are, in their purest form, lies: lies that God is not faithful, lies that something or someone else can bring about the joy and fulfillment that only God can bring.

I went through the Bible by myself and found passages I felt could help me.  You could also use a book like Praying God's Word: Breaking Free from Spiritual Strongholds by Beth Moore.  She just arranges the book by topics, like breaking free from pride, idols, guilt, loss, etc. and turns the Bible verses into prayers, giving references if you would like to see them for yourself.  Another great book in this same vein is Valley of Vision: A collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions which leads you through prayer based on topics, but not arranged by Bible verses.  And a third book which is not quite the same but has been so helpful for me in how I view prayer is A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World by Paul Miller.  Awesome, awesome book which I would buy in mass quantities and hand to everyone I see if I could. 

Well, it's time to go pick up Emma from Honors Choir and then off to Chick fil A for Spirit Night!  Hope this helps!

Monday, January 25, 2010

I Need You Every Hour

The wind is blowing (I find wind gusts unnerving and have flashbacks to living in the mountains, waiting for all of the trees to come crashing into my house) and my kids are about to get home from school, so I might be a little bit distracted, but I just wanted to get thoughts down before they fly out of my head.  I have always thought blogging is a bit narcissistic (does anyone really want to know this much information about my family's obsession with Marcus Lattimore?) and I'm sure that thought did not originate with me. I have to say, though,  that it has been really helpful to me personally, cathartic I guess you would say, in wading through my thought life and pouncing on a few strays and turning them into online journaling.  I have also noticed that it is different for me from a traditional private journal in that I have to be cognizant of the fact that someone might actually be reading what I am writing (thanks, Mom!).  And while I try to be completely honest in what I write because my husband also reads the blog and acts as a censor (otherwise I'm a bit given to exaggeration),  I notice a trend in what I think about writing and this is it:  it is a whine.  Everytime!  And not a whine about external circumstances - I wish we lived on the beach, I wish Justin would buy me a big honkin' SUV to compensate for my shortness, I wish I had cuter clothes (though all of those would be nice...hmmm).  No, it is a whine about me - narcissism of a different flavor:  I'm such a slacker, I waste too much time, I should be doing something right now, I'm such a horrible mom, wife, daughter, fill in the blank.  That is the stuff that would fill my own personal private journal, if I opted to spend even more time writing about myself.

Well, what's so bad about that?  At least I am not always tooting my own horn about how great I am, right?  The problem is, this constant drone between my ears about how bad I am is still a complete focus on myself.  Whether the voice in my head tells me, "You are so awesome!" or "You are a loser!", it is still all about me, me, ME!

Who will deliver me from me?  I'll give you a hint:  it isn't me.  Anytime I feel powerless against some thought or held captive in my sin, I know I have taken my eyes off of "the author and perfecter of my faith" (Heb. 12:2), namely Jesus.  The only way to lay aside my chains is to ask Him to take them off of me.  And every day it is a struggle not to put them back on again!

So, fellow worms scrunching around in our collective horribleness,  take heart!  You were not left alone in your badness, but Jesus came down to you and to me and said, "I can handle all of your shortcomings and failures, just put it all on me."  Fix your thoughts on his goodness instead of your badness and see what happens.  And the thoughts won't stay fixed, I can assure you, so prayers and Bible promises taped on the dash and the front of your refrigerator and possibly on your children and the dog's collar will be helpful in your fight to stay focused on sweet Jesus.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Joke of the Day

Busy errand-running day.  House in shambles.  Laundry overtaking guest bed (good thing no guests!).  It growls at me when I come in the room.  Ran 5.5 miles today!  Yippee!  On a treadmill.  Does that still count?  Probably not.

OK Here is one of my favorite jokes (and I only have about three I can remember and two are knock-knock jokes) ever:

There once was a monk with no arms who lived in a monastery far, far away.  His job every day was to ring the bell in the bell tower, but since he had no arms, he would get a running start and bang! the bell with his head.  It was painful, but he was so glad to be of use to his monkish brotherhood that he didn't mind.  Then one day there was a terrible ice storm, and the bell tower floor was coated in a sheet of ice.  The armless monk began his first run of the day toward the bell, but he lost his footing and fell out of the tower and onto the ground, dead as a doorknob.  A little while later two monks walked by and saw him lying on the ground.  One monk asked, "Who is that?" and the other responded, "I don't know his name, but his face sure rings a bell!"

Share with your immature friends (like myself).  Have a good day!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Lattimore Scoop

In the Kendrick household, we take sports very seriously.  We like to particularize our passion according to the season (currently we love the Boston Celtics and are rooting for the Minnesota Vikings to go...all...the...way!).  But regardless of the time of year, we always hold dear to our hearts one institution:  the Auburn University football team.  Just last night, Justin (the husband) and Will (the 8-year-old son) were throwing the football in the kitchen (a practice I do not condone, but I did not want to pick a fight with my husband since I thrashed him in our 1st annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Kendrick Family Bowling Tournament at Paradise Lanes earlier this day and he was still a little sensitive) and mulling over the new recruits of various SEC teams.  Apparently Georgia will be better next season, but we (Auburn) are going to kick their little bulldog fannies - that seemed to be the jist of the conversational snippet I overheard.

 The impetus behind the recruit conversation was a little tidbit of news that Emma (our 10-year-old who has absolutely no use for sports unless she is playing) saw on the GoUpstate website:  Marcus Lattimore is favoring Auburn over South Carolina but has not committed to either school.  Who, you may ask, is Marcus Lattimore?  Well, if you asked, you do not live in Spartanburg County or you live here but never read the Sports page (horrors!).  Lattimore is one of the top recruits coming out of the storied Byrnes High School football program and he likes Auburn but (reading between the lines) it looks like his mama likes South Carolina.  We will find out in the coming weeks how much of a mama's boy Marcus really is.  Anyway, the fact that Emma scooped Will on this athletic revelation was awesome, because Will is known to be the walking sports encyclopedia.  I don't think he believed her at first.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Our weekend guest

This is what happens when you come for an overnight visit to the Kendrick house. You think you are going to relax, watch the NFL football playoffs, but instead three little people dogpile you and try to suffocate you with blankets. You can tell that Karen is traumatized.

Karen is one of our former App. State students when Justin was a campus minister.  It is amazing to think my goofy 20-year-old friend is now 26, has a 14-month old son, has been married for six years, 
has been deployed to Iraq with
 the army and her husband is now over in Afghanistan on his second deployment in their marriage.  She said they have been together for one wedding anniversary and have spent about two of their six years in the same living space.

Can you believe that?

We talked a lot about what being in the military has meant for her, and she says she knew when she got in that deployments were a part of life.  However, when the powers that be talk about sending her and her husband over to the Middle East at the same time...that just doesn't seem right.    But so far it hasn't happened, and she hopes it will stay that way.  They are "working with her", she says, half-laughing.

Jason (Karen's 14-month-old son) was in bed when we broke out the camera, which is a shame because he is a super-cutie.  He liked Justin more than me at first, and I was so mad because all of the babies like him.  Maybe they relate to his goofy grin and delight in having his mom feed him, I don't know.

Thanks for the visit, Karen! We're praying that your man stays safe overseas and comes back home to you soon.  And if you ever need some more quality time with a fuzzy blanket wrapped around your head by a seven-year-old, you know where we live.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Planting Churches

My kids love the term "church planter."  Daddy is like the farmer, and they are the seeds.  So they yell at each other in the van, "You have a plant growing out of your head!" and laugh, laugh. 

We had a great first meeting last Sunday.  It was exciting to meet folks who said, "We have been praying for a PCA church in downtown Spartanburg."  And we have friends who are fans on facebook, so that makes it official, right?  We might as well particularize right now!  But it feels more like church childbirth then church plant right now.  It is easy to become consumed in the particulars: child care, fellowship, are we doing enough outreach, what should we be doing right now?  This is a litany that wakes us up and puts us to bed, and you begin to think, "Can we really do this?"  We don't fit the profile of dynamic, charismatic church planter and model wife.  He is laid-back, easygoing, birkenstock-wearing pastor dude, and I am probably a little too fond of hip-hop and reality TV to qualify as "model wife." 

So I must say, there is a bit of a knot in my stomach as I think about tomorrow, new church Bible study part deux.  Will everyone have fled to the land of wingtips and Michael W. Smith?  (No offense, Mike.)    Here is where the rubber hits the road, today and everyday afterward:  do I believe that God is who He says He is, that His glory is where I find my delight and my raison d'etre?  If so, then I can glorify Him whether 1 or 100 weary souls show up tomorrow. 

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Wii Tennis

The other night, my Mii and I decided we would play tennis.  The kids were at basketball practice, the supper dishes were cleaned up, and I needed to get my Serena Williams on.  So as I fired up the TV, my husband passed through the living room and asked, "What are you playing?"  "Tennis," I said.  "Oh, can I play too?"  he asked.

Now this all sounds charming, doesn't it?  Cute little couple, playing video games when their kids are precious!  Except, it's not.  Because Justin's little Mii (Daddio is his name) is a professional at tennis.  Every time you win at Wii Tennis, your Mii gets a higher ranking.  And his was quite high by now.  My Mii...not so much.   I play Wii Tennis like I play real tennis, and it's embarrassing to say that this works to my disadvantage.  For one thing, I nearly took a lamp out early on in my Wii Tennis career, and for another, I swing so hard that my shoulder aches for days afterward.  Embarrassing, like I said, but true.  Justin just flicks his wrist, hardly moving his Wii remote, and his balls go exactly where he wants them to at a very high velocity.

Back to his request to play: I knew, if he played, that I would just be a little grease spot on the court after he was finished, but it seemed rude to exclude him, so I said he could.  The match begins (best of five games) and it's over in about two minutes.  So sad to watch my little Mii, cheerful and happy to be let out of her room and into the playing arena, just crumple and hang her head.  She didn't understand why the balls kept whizzing by her and her partner (also me).  But I did.  "That was not alot of fun," I said.  He looked chagrined and yet curiously upbeat about pulverizing his wife in a virtual game of tennis.  I said, "Maybe you should go back to whatever you were doing before." He left, trying to hide his smile.

And the moral of this story is...just say no! to husbands or friends with higher Wii sports skill levels when they try to barge in on your "me time" (or Mii time, as the case may be - I'm so funny!).   Just keep playing Julio or Kasper or whomever the system dishes up for you, because kids, winning by yourself is more fun than losing to a real person.  Life lesson, free of charge.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

School Lunch

I had lunch with Will (our eight-year-old) at school today.  Here's the conversation with the other kids at his table, as he eats his sandwich and jello:

"Mrs. Kendrick, Mrs. Kendrick, guess what?  I got a girlfriend!  Her name's Desiree.  Do you see her?  She's right over there!"

"I can't eat this hotdog.  My lips are all cracked and bleeding and the ketchup makes them sting."

"My hotdog's bun is all hardened."

"Are you going to eat your cheese stick?"

"The only reason I got this (pointing to boxed salad) is for the Trix yogurt.  And the cheese stick."

"Mrs. Kendrick, guess what?  My aunt was supposed to have a baby next month and she had him yesterday.  He has red hair, just like me!  My mama's birthday is just a few days away, so they'll have birthdays in the same month.  Wanna know what I'm getting her? New makeup! She reeeeally needs it." I am not making this up, I promise.

"Mrs. Kendrick, did you know that President Obama is the first African president?"

I correct, "African American."

Next boy over, "Yeah, and he's the first black president, too."

"I'm going to eat this gross stuff.  What is it?"

I peer into the plastic cup and say, "I think it's spinach."

Next boy over, "It looks like leaves."

"Well, spinach leaves, then."

First boy, "OK, here goes the first leaf.  (He chews thoughtfully.) It's not too bad.  But I don't think I can eat all ten leaves!"

Next boy says to Will, "Will, listen!  Obama, Obama, Obama, Obama, mama, mama, mama, mama."  He makes a little rhythm with his words.

I throw in, "Llama, comma, drama."

He stays with his original song, adding only llama every now and then for kicks.

Will says, "We just went to music.  And recess.  I made a PowerPoint about barn owls.  And now I'm working on one about college football."

I ask, "At recess?"

He says, "No," and laughs.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

real estate

We drove around with a realtor in downtown/east Spartanburg this morning.  Exciting!  I love to house hunt.  I think.  Or do I?  We looked at Hampton Heights, Converse Heights, Fernwood and Hillbrook.  Where to land?  I don't know if we found our perfect place today, but I loved walking around in houses and envisioning us living our lives there, having friends over, where would overnight guests sleep.  What I never thought would become a major factor is THE YARD.  Our boys spend so much time outside playing that a small lot is not an option.  Well, I hate to say that...let's just say, not a desirable option.

We're in kind of a weird place because we'd like to see if the downtown church is really a go before we actually buy a house, but we can't wait until April and suddenly say, ok, this little plant's going to make it, time to start looking!  So right now we are in an information gathering phase of the housing process.   Look, a pool!  How much fun would it be to own a house with a pool!  This same house had a bar in the downstairs living area.  No disco ball, though.  Bummer!  I wonder how much it would cost to install one of those?  The big yellow one at the beautiful.  But the yard...we'd have to tear up rose bushes and level the boxwoods to install the astroturf.  What would the neighbors think?  I hear stadium lights can be pricey, but thankfully we already have our own goalposts.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Suddenly I See

Isn't it amazing to think that every morning we get up, get dressed and ready for the work to be done that day and all around us life is being played out on a grander scale than we realize?  While we brush our teeth, someone's first baby is born.  As we look for matching socks, a wife wakes up to an empty bed because her husband just packed his bags and moved in with someone else.  When we make the grocery list, a high school freshman is crying quietly in the bathroom because no one likes her, and her parents are too busy to notice her loneliness.  Despair and joy, laughter and tears...around us every day, and we are often unaware.

I turned 37 a few weeks ago, and birthdays can cause us to re-evaluate life.  And a trend that I've noticed in my own life is that I don't really care about other people.  I mean, I want them to do well, and I wish everyone much success and happiness, but at my own expense?  I don't think so. 

Our pastor preached yesterday on Jesus healing a blind man, and he asked the question, "If you were blind, how would you know?"

How do you explain sight to a person who has been blind all of their life?  I had never really thought about that before.  And everyone's vision is impaired to varying degrees, isn't it?  II Corinthians 13:12 says, "Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face."  Then refers to a day in the future when our time on earth is up, but I am praying to see more and more of God's goodness and glory now.  Because I am finally learning, or God is continually bringing home to me, that until He is beautiful to me, serving Him is duty and not choice.  Isn't it funny how God has to bring that same thought into your head about 48 times in the same day before you realize, "Hmmm...I think this must be the Holy Spirit talking here."

I must say, I think John Piper (read Desiring God and see what you think) got it right.  Why would anyone want to be a Christian if all they get is, "STOP doing all of the fun things that have made life worth living all these years and START being good! Now!"  That is duty.  But "Let me tell you about One who healed my disease, who fills every void in my life with goodness, who knows me and delights in me and is every day making me more into the person I am supposed to be..." That is choice.

I am tired of being afraid to fully engage with other people, to make their problems my own, to love them like they are my mother, brother, child even though they may be complete strangers.  I feel like for 37 years I have lived on the fringes of life, unwilling to say hard things because someone might not like me, unsure of how to reach out to someone so just not reaching out at all.  I pray that I might see, really see the people around me every day, get a glimpse of their struggles and hear God tell me, "You see what I've shown you here Susan? There's someone who needs my love, and you can give it to them.  I'm going to help you, but you've got to go to them.  I'll be with you; don't be afraid."  I want to live the life He's given me, and jump right into the middle of it with eyes wide open.  I want to see.

Friday, January 8, 2010


There they are!  Offspring.  My three favorite people under the age of eleven.


Emma is the oldest.  She plays piano with confidence, loves to read and thinks High School Musical is ridiculous.  If there was ever a person who craves independence and responsibility, it is Emma.  She is completely content when you can't see the floor of her bedroom for all of the clothes, Littlest Pet Shop folks, and American Girl hair accessories, which gets on my last nerve.

Will. Willy, Will the Thrill, Will. I. Am, Wilhelm.  Eight years old, going on seventy.  Runs out in the cold dark morning to the mailbox in his pajamas and sneakers so he can be first to read the newspaper everyday of the week, lives for sports, gets so mad when he is not instantly good at something.  Prefers talking to adults over children.

Jack! Jackie-joo, Jackie-loo-poo, the Jack Attack.  Loves MarioKart, gets down on the floor with his Hot Wheels and races everyday, hates school, homework, chores.  Plays football outside rain or shine, usually shoeless, and is his own announcer as he runs down the field Justin lined off with spray paint in the backyard for his birthday ("...he's at the 30...the 20...the 10...Touchdown, Auburn!").  A snuggler and an ice cream aficianado, this one.  Gets incredibly worried about natural disasters and dreads fire drills at school with an intensity that has put him on Pepcid. 

And there on the right - that's the man who helped bring these little folks to reality.  Who wouldn't want to marry that piece of maturity right there?  We were made for each other.

I'd be way too serious without him.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Fellowship Time: The Introvert's Equivalent of a Visit to the Dentist

There comes a time every week in my life that sends me to my knees in prayer: Coffee and Doughnut Time after Worship and before Sunday School.  That portion of Sunday, brief as it is, sends me back to high school, looking for a place to sit in the cafeteria.  "Why so stressful?", you may ask.  Well, if you asked, you're an extrovert.  Because I know there are folks out there who feel my pain and understand the desire for a good book and a comfy corner of an unoccupied room in such instances.

I've often wondered, given my tendencies to hermitdom, why God would allow me to marry a man whom He called to be a minister.  Because it's hard to run and hide when you're a pastor's wife.  Hyperventilating when entering large rooms of really-not-scary people is frowned upon.  And so, I will now share with you, my coping mechanisms during fellowship time, the good and the cowardly:

1.  First, it is helpful to have children of your own (you can borrow other people's if necessary).  They might need help pouring juice, getting a doughnut, cleaning their sticky little hands afterwards, etc.  If you are helping them, you minimize your interaction with other, less familiar people.  Be creative in this!  If they are school-age and largely independent, as mine are, you may have to create scenarios in which you are needed.  Jostle their elbow as they lift the chocolate milk to their lips, and then frown disapprovingly while smiling inside.  No time for chit-chat!  There's a mess to clean up!

2.  Spend long times in the bathroom.  Blow your nose, carefully touch up your makeup, wash your hands and sing happy birthday to yourself four or five times, check for little pieces of raisin bran in your teeth.  If other people come in to the bathroom, (and they will, believe me) smile and say, "How are you?" while busying yourself with one of the above tasks.  Blowing your nose is probably your best option.  Very hard to converse while doing this.

3.  Help in the kitchen!  Or just pretend you are.  Furrow your brow as you concentrate on getting more sugar packets out for the coffee.  Take your time finding additional napkins, cups, plates, etc. to place on the serving table.  Linger in the storage room, and say, "Aha!" and grab the nearest object if someone looks in curiously.

Alright, so while some of these actions may truly be necessary, usually they are not.  Face your fears, Christian introverts!  Remember that God has set you free from worry and anxiety.  Whisper a prayer to Him for courage, strength, and interesting conversational subject matter this Sunday as you go boldly into the fellowship hall and get to know someone!

Some actually helpful tips that I've gathered over the years:

1.  Ask questions.  And (here's the kicker) listen to their answers!  This works with friends and strangers!  People love to discover that you are interested in their lives!  This technique (ok so it's not a technique, it's called conversing) has really helped me over the years.  I have to make myself listen (this is true) because I can get so nervous talking to people that all I do is try to think of more questions.

2. Remember we are all the same.  In the broad, general humanity sense.  We all have fears, insecurities, struggles.  And we are all glad to know someone cares.  So care for somebody besides yourself!

3. Remember to whom you belong.  I recently read Max Lucado's book Fearless and in it he asks (I'm paraphrasing), "What would you do differently if you were not afraid?"  If I wasn't afraid of rejection, or saying something dumb, or running out of conversation, if I really knew that I lived and moved and had my being in God, my Savior and my Friend, how would that change how I approach my interaction with other people? 

We're about to plant a church.  That is like coffee and doughnut time taken to a whole new level, and if I think about it too long, my hands get sweaty.  But as long as I take my own advice (the last three tips, not the first), I will be fine.  Better than fine!

And if you find me in a corner somewhere with a library book during fellowship time, remind me of what I said.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Should Pastor's Wives Have Multiple Piercings?

Alright, discuss amongst yourselves:  what would you think if you met a woman at a social gathering and she had a nose ring or an eyebrow ring or one of those little ball studs sticking through her tongue (seems like that would get infected often, but to each her own)?  You've already pegged her, haven't you?  Maybe not in a bad way, maybe just as an artist or a person who is really into wheat grass and spelt, who listens to indie music and drives a beat up Subaru.  Right?  Well, what if in the course of your conversation you discover she has three kids and a minivan and her husband is a pastor?  Wow!  Wouldn't that rock your world?  Can you love Jesus and have a little silver ball sticking out of your tongue?

I have a friend whom I met when he was a freshman in college and my husband was a campus minister at Appalachian State.  When I met him, and quite before he was my friend, he had blue hair, a ratty old t-shirt, and possibly no shoes on, I can't remember.  This was at church on the stairs, and I remember thinking, "I bet I never see this guy again."  He was too radically different from the people at my church and in our campus fellowship, and would they even accept him if he continued to hang around?  I was skeptical, and it turns out, very wrong.  This guy Isaac, as quirky as he looked, was probably the most up front, open, and loving person I have ever met.  And I would have missed getting to know him because I was hung up on his blue hair.  And the fact that he washed plastic utensils and carried them in his shirt pocket for a week at the beach (but he was my friend by then).  As you can see, his hair is no longer blue, but maybe this post will inspire him to break out the hair dye for old times' sake.

So while I will probably never have one of those tongue piercings, or a tattoo, or blue hair, I don't believe Jesus would care if I did.  And as we start this church plant and look forward to meeting all sorts of new people, I hope it is full to the brim with Isaacs of all different hair colors and piercings, or lack thereof.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Well, friends, just when you thought I was gone for good...I'm back.  Fired up about sharing my life with you, because I know I always feel better when I hear about someone else being more of a slacker than I am.  (This does not happen often, so the effect is magnified for me more than for most people.)  But, as disorganized and best-intentioned but oft-not-doing as I am, Jesus loves me!  And He knows me better than any of you, even my (usually) sweet, (80% of the time) patient husband.  So as His mercies are new every morning, I am able to get up every day and ask, "Well, what about today, Lord?"  Being a stay-at-home mom with no children with whom to stay at home can be perplexing.  You start your day (or at least I do) like you're sitting on the pole for the Daytona 500  (boogity, boogity, boogity, let's go racing, kids!) and rush everyone to the school and come home and bam! Silence.  And a bunch of laundry and dust balls staring you down with their beady little eyes.

So I took a picture this morning of my laundry room just to be totally honest with you here...this is my life.  But a messy laundry room for me means boys who play football outside regardless of the weather, and a husband who goes outside to play with them when he comes home from work, and a daughter who gets ravioli on her shirt because she's always reading and never looking at what she's doing, and a dog who thinks a pile of dirty clothes on the floor make a better dog bed than anything I could buy her at the store.  Not so bad, maybe even a blessing, when you think of it that way.  Which I will try to do.