The Type of Pastor’s Wife I Am

I’ve been dealing with a troll for the last couple of weeks who has been using a proxy server and Fake Mail Generator to get past my domain block of them. I’d link them and call them out except that doing so would drive traffic to their site and I’m against being used for free publicity like that. Besides, I really don’t have time to engage their desire to be persecuted by others and to feed their martyr complex.

Anyway, they started leaving me nasty comments several weeks ago (which got altered per my comment policy) and this was among them:

… You, on the other hand, appear to never be able to accept criticism or hear another’s perspective. Gawd – how do you ever manage to survive as a pastor’s wife… or is that why you have to move every couple of years?

Then there was:

Really? Because it seems to me as if you go out of your way to call people names, talk about them behind their back and then twist their words to mean other things. I’m guessing they ride you and your poor hubby out on a rail every couple of years. If there was ever a good example of why priests should remain celibate, you would be exhibit A!

Given that people are pretty surprised that I’m a pastor’s wife when they meet me in person, I thought I’d turn these comments on their head and answer as to what kind of pastor’s wife I am.

A quiet one.

One thing that surprises people who know me online when they meet me in person is how quiet I am. Part of it is that I’m pretty shy, part of it is that I’m a strong introvert, and part of it is that I tend to be pretty irenic as a rule. I have enough of a front row seat to conflict and dysfunction by virtue of being married to someone whose job is to sort it out and thus I really don’t desire to seek it out on my own. I’m also quite aware that I need to keep on peoples’ good sides because they pay my husband’s salary and provide our housing. Not pointing out hypocrisy means that I tend to stay out of trouble.

An invisible one.

The best thing I ever did was get a job 60 miles from home because it meant that I had an excuse not to be at every single church event. Now that I have Daniel, I really can’t go to everything or stay after a certain point because of him on the occasions when I do make it to a special church dinner or service. I’ve been asked frequently what I do as a pastor’s wife and the answer is: “be married to the pastor”. That’s it. There are some things I *like* doing and some areas which fit my gifts but I’m not a hugely visible presence these days.

A secret keeper.

I’m privy to a large amount of information because I’m married to Jon. Without trying, I hear from people about all the dirt happening in the parish because people either tell me or I overhear phone calls. I’ve had a number of people try to get me to spill on what I’ve heard about someone and my answer is usually that I know nothing about that and that I don’t want to know. Anything I hear stays with me unless it falls under the mandatory reporting category, at which point the proper authorities will be notified. (Jon is a mandatory reporter and I am by extension.)

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go pop some popcorn to eat while sitting back and watching my troll self-destruct. Later days, y’all!

Five Favorites: Things I Love About My Mother-in-Law

Five Favorites

One

The cupcakes. I came home from church one Sunday to find a rack of vegan chocolate-peppermint cupcakes that she had baked for me. (They’re vegan because I’m allergic to eggs.) They are better than any commercially-prepared cupcake I’ve ever tasted and I appreciate the love she put into baking them as well as her thinking of me.

Two

Her faith. When I need someone to pray for something for me, she’s one of the first (or sometimes the only one) I call because I know she’ll do it. She also has a sense of humor about her faith which is awesome and completely indispensable for a pastor’s wife.

Three

Her ability to clean. This woman can clean just about everything on the planet and she has shared a lot of her wisdom on the subject with me. Given my germphobic tendencies, she is a lovely person with whom to live because the house is immaculate. (Granted, I do *try* to help with that.)

Four

Her hospitality. She is welcoming to everyone regardless of who they are. She and my brother’s wife have bonded really well and my brother has come down for family events here even though he’s only related to her by marriage. I’m grateful that she has included them in the family.

Most of all, I’m grateful that she adopted me as her other daughter when I met her 14 years ago even though I’ve only been her daughter-in-law legally for 12 years. With her and my father-in-law, they’ve always been my second set of parents and I can’t imagine better ones.

Five

Her ability to make just about anything work. She’s running a house with 5 people and keeping track of our schedules, making sure that we all get fed, covering for me with Daniel when I need to do errands/sit in a dark room/do whatever to recharge, helping me school Daniel this summer, and manages to do all this with a sense of humor.

She is also totally willing to do a selfie with me at 9 p.m. just before both of us go to bed.

My mother-in-law and I.

Go love up Heather and the others.

The Simple Woman’s Daybook: July 27, 2014

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY July 27, 2014

Outside my window… sunny and bright. According to Weather.Com, it’s 96F here right now. Ugh.

I am thinking… about my upcoming trip this weekend and what I’ll need to pack for it.

I am thankful… for my mother-in-law who is watching Daniel so I can take a breather and blog.

In the kitchen… nothing as of yet though my mother-in-law did make some stuffed peppers yesterday that looked pretty good.

I am wearing… green v-neck shirt and khaki shorts that I’ll have to replace this week as they’ve gotten a few small holes from being washed and worn so much.

I am praying for… my trip this weekend. It will be the longest I’ve been away from Daniel since his birth five years ago.

I am going… to Kohl’s in a bit to go shopping for shorts.

I am wondering… about what will be unfolding in the next few weeks.

I am reading… Light from Heaven by Jan Karon. It’s the last of the books in her series “The Mitford Years”. Next on my agenda are the first two in her “Father Tim” series in preparation for the book that will be coming out later this year. After that, I’ll read Sugar and Iced by Jenn McKinlay.

I am hoping… we get more consistent results with potty-training this week.

I am looking forward to… seeing what God may be calling us to.

I am hearing the A/C and my mother-in-law cleaning in the kitchen.

Around the house… it is now 5 hours after I started writing this, night has fallen, and people are heading to bed.

From the learning rooms… potty-training, reviewing shapes/numbers/letters/colors, learning to write letters and numbers, reading books, and working on life skills.

A favorite quote for today… “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” — C.S. Lewis

One of my favorite things… Daniel’s laugh when we play “Ring Around the Rosy” with my in-laws.

A few plans for the rest of the week: A peds appointment at some point for Daniel to get his cough checked out (and establish care here), various errands, and a flight out to my undisclosed location with Jon on Friday.

A peek into my day… Here’s one of the pictures of the sanctuary of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels that I took last week after the Mass for Immigrants that I attended. It’s an amazing space and all of it is tastefully designed. Some of these tapestries were used for the cover of My Life with the Saints by Fr. James Martin, S.J.

A shot of the tapestries on one side of the sanctuary of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown LA

Hosted by The Simple Woman’s Daybook

7 Quick Takes: Autism Boot Camp, My House Panther, and the Giants Are #1

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

News on Brett. Brett’s family is overseas meeting him and Randall (the other child they’ll be adopting) right now. Pray for good travel mercies for them.

— 2 —

Amusing cat news. My mother-in-law has a nickname for Edda (my black cat): Bellatrix after Bellatrix Lestrange in the Harry Potter books. The reason: Bellatrix’s maiden name was Black. (She was a cousin of Sirius Black.) It fits Edda to a T. My little black cat has also become a little black bully and is antagonizing one of my in-laws’ tabbies who is living outside. I’ve been trying to tell her that she needs to be nice as she is a guest in their home. CATS!

— 3 —

Daniel news. My mother-in-law and I have embarked on a project to catch Daniel up as much as we can before he starts school for the fall. We went to Lakeshore Learning last Saturday and got some posters and books and are working with him throughout the day. We’re also working on life skills and adaptive learning so my little munchkin is dealing with potty-training boot camp and also things like learning how to drink out of a regular cup. So far, we’ve got the drinking from a cup memorized and we’ve managed to teach him days of the week/months of the year/how to use a calendar without any of the insipid songs/videos that his home teacher from the school district used.

— 4 —

Thoughts on Homeschooling. As I’m “homeschooling” right now, I’m kind of looking suspiciously at some homeschooling moms who talk about how they don’t want to send their kids to public school because they’ll miss out on all the stuff like reading Beatrix Potter with them and reading all the great literary classics in high school. Guess what? My mom worked full-time, sent us to private school (K-5) and public school (6-college)… and still did all of that with us. It’s called “being an involved parent”. Seriously, if you want to be a housewife, be a housewife and own that decision. Just please don’t try to rationalize your life decisions by using your kids as a pawn.

And for those who might surf on here and start a flame war about how I hate homeschoolers, my mother-in-law homeschooled my husband and sister-in-law from K-12. The woman has an “anything-they-can-do-I-can-do-better” attitude toward the public school system… and she *did* do it better. Both of them graduated high school at age 15, graduated college at 20, and have Master’s degrees in their fields. Believe me, I know a pretty decent spectrum of homeschoolers and homeschooling parents; but there are some parents who I just don’t respect because they’re living vicariously through their kids.

— 5 —

Baseball. My boys are #1 in their division and are 1.5 games ahead of the Dodgers. (They’re like 11.5 games ahead of the other teams in the NL West.) *sticks her tongue out at her husband* I’m hoping my boys keep doing well. Another World Series title would be lovely this October.

— 6 —

Summer in the desert. It was 104F today. *sighs* I hate heat. It’s why I never went to the state fair when I was living up north — it was always over 90F and I had no desire to walk around when it was that hot. I love four distinct seasons and am kind of hoping that we’re called to a place that has them for Jon’s next parish.

— 7 —

Speaking of such things… The circumstances around my “special intention” are heating up so please pray that things keep moving in a positive direction. Thanks!

For more Quick Takes, visit Carolyn at Svellerella who is guest-hosting this week while Edel is going on.

The Simple Woman’s Daybook: Mass for Immigration Edition

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY July 21, 2014

Outside my window… dark. It’s almost 1 a.m. It was a long day and I’m finally getting to blog this.

I am thinking… about what I’ll be doing with Daniel in a few hours when I have to get up.

I am thankful… that I got to go to the Mass in Recognition of All Immigrants at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.

In the kitchen… nothing at the moment but I’m pretty sure there will be something cooking/baking tomorrow.

I am wearing… my Momcat shirt and running shorts.

I am praying for… the children being deported after being separated from their families and sent north to cross the border to escape the poverty and violence of their home countries.

I am going… to Target tomorrow for some things.

I am wondering… some things about the call processes we’re currently in at the moment.

I am reading… In This Mountain by Jan Karon. It’s a hard read for me because Fr. Tim is dealing with serious depression and I know it all too well.

I am hoping… I sleep restfully tonight.

I am hearing my “Bach and Chant” playlist on iTunes. Currently, it’s the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles.

Around the house… it’s silent as everyone else is asleep including the kitties.

I am pondering… too many things in my heart which is why I’m up blogging.

A favorite quote for today… “If you are interested enough to have read thus far you are probably interested enough to make a shot at saying your prayers: and, whatever else you say, you will probably say the Lord’s Prayer. Its very first words are Our Father. Do you now see what those words mean? They mean quite frankly, that you are putting yourself in the place of a son of God. To put it bluntly, you are dressing up as Christ. If you like, you are pretending. Because, of course, the moment you realise what the words mean, you realise that you are not a son of God. You are not being like The Son of God, whose will and interests are at one with those of the Father: you are a bundle of self-centred fears, hopes, greeds, jealousies, and self-conceit, all doomed to death. So that, in a way, this dressing up as Christ is a piece of outrageous cheek. But the odd thing is that He has ordered us to do it.” — C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

One of my favorite things… quiet. It’s a rarity with a five year old boy.

A few plans for the rest of the week: working with Daniel on school stuff as well as whatever errands are thrown into the mix.

A peek into my day… *cues the “What I Wore on Sunday” script*

I got permission to join Jon and his dad for the Mass at the cathedral on Sunday afternoon and his dad pulled some strings to get me into the “reserved” seating. I knew that receiving the Eucharist at Mass would be off-limits to me as a non-Catholic so I made plans to go to a normal worship service where I could commune this morning wearing my outfit from last week (which has been washed since).

My Sunday morning worship attire.

Dress and camisole: Kohl’s
Shoes: Naturalizer

When my father-in-law told me that I’d be sitting in the reserved section, I thought that it meant that I’d be able to get a seat in the sanctuary instead of being in the overflow outside on the plaza. (I’m on Cipro at the moment so direct sunlight is no bueno until Wednesday.) Little did I know that I’d be up on the raised part of the altar platform in the front row of one of the sections with the “ecumenical guests”. Even more surprising to me was when I was introduced with the “ecumenical guests” by name and people were applauding for me as well as flashbulbs going off. (I joke about marrying into the “Lutheran mafia” because Jon is a 4th generation pastor; but my father-in-law *IS* a big deal in the ecumenical community and this was a rare look for me into his world.) I leaned over to the diocese’s ecumenical officer who was sitting next to me and told him that I was so NOT worthy of this. His answer: “Yes you are.”

Me outside the cathedral with the cornerstone.

Shirt: Kohl’s
Slacks: Kohl’s
Shoes: Naturalizer
Sunglasses: Nike (they’re prescription ones — one of the best investments I’ve ever made)

The Mass was amazing. It was half in English and half in Spanish and I was thankful to be familiar with Catholic liturgy because I’m probably the only native Californian who doesn’t speak Spanish. (I can read it passably but I can’t understand it when it’s spoken.) It was definitely “smells and bells” worship with a very zealous thurifer (the person swinging the thurible with the incense). The priest proclaiming the Gospel was so clouded in incense that he looked hazy from probably 10 feet away where I was sitting. The archbishop preached half in English and half in Spanish and it was an excellent sermon. There were also the relics of St. Toribio Romo González who was martyred in the Cristero War with some ranking Knights of Columbus guarding the statue with the relics in it. (They did not have their swords but they still looked pretty impressive.)

The tapestries from where I was sitting.

At the end of the Mass, the archbishop came to greet all of the “ecumenical guests” and speak with us individually. I’m glad I asked how to address him before that point (answer: “Your Grace”) and I was flattered that I was able to meet him. The picture above was taken afterwards once people were leaving — it would have been offensive to take pictures during Mass.

My necklace.

The story of my necklace: A family friend and her family were missionaries in Afghanistan in the 1980′s and the beads are the famous blue glass of Herat. She doesn’t have any daughters or daughter-in-laws so she made me the necklace from the beads for my 30th birthday in 2010. It’s the equivalent of receiving the family jewels and given my heart for the Afghan people (and for their food), I was honored to receive it.

Now go see Holly and the other pretties at Fine Linen and Purple.

Hosted by The Simple Woman’s Daybook

7 Quick Takes: Answered Prayers, Cat Drama, and Science Geekery

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

Answered Prayers. Do you see the precious child on my sidebar? Yep… Brett. His adoption is fully funded now and his prospective parents are ecstatic. They head overseas later this month to meet him. I’ve been praying for this for two years now. My deepest thanks go to Becki who has loved him so incredibly much for these last two years, partnered her prayers with mine, and convened a panel of a bunch of us to find him a mama about two months ago. Girlfriend brought his FSP from $7612 to $14000 with her advocating for him and her networking. I’m grateful that she could succeed where I couldn’t.

— 2 —

Happy birthday, Nicholas! Dwija at House Unseen blogged about the first anniversary of her son Nicholas being born into Heaven. I unfortunately have at least a few blogging friends who have lost children and many of them never cease to surprise me in their joy, even on really painful days for them. This is one of those occasions.

— 3 —

Prerequisite baseball take. The Giants are one game behind the Dodgers and it popped up on my Twitter tonight that Lincecum was about to “no hit” the Padres again. I started obsessively refreshing Twitter and found nothing. It turns out that they weren’t playing tonight and the tweet was just letting people know that the specific game from this year was on CSN. Oh well… it was worth a shot. Hopefully, the Giants will flatten Miami and the Dodgers will start cellar-dwelling again so Jon can stop gloating.

— 4 —

Congratulations Marie and Brian! Mi amiga Marie of Catholic Coffee Talk is getting married this weekend in Ohio. Go leave her comments to congratulate her. Do it now!

— 5 —

Cat drama. On Tuesday night, I came in after sitting on the porch and talking to my mom on my cell phone to find out from my mother-in-law that Edda had sat at the door and meowed for me for a good 15 minutes. (Someone is a bit of a mama’s panther.) Last night, we had one cat fight after another with FOUL language uttered. Today, Freya went out and refused to come back in. We eventually ascertained that she was hiding under the water tanks and mother-in-law dispatched Jon with cat treats to go get her. No luck. She crawled under my car and after I got something to poke her out, she ran under the fence into the backyard. Eventually, I sat down 5 feet from her on the back steps and the little monster surrendered but it was unnerving, especially after she vanished for a day or two a few weeks ago.

I just went to go see if my in-laws’ orange tabby patch male cat Arthur (referred to by me as “the citrus cat”) was ready to come in and the Birman that adopted my in-laws decided to waltz into the house. He saw Edda and hissed at her but I informed him that proper Birmans do not use such language. (It’s a very strange cat-centric household.) He jumped up on one of the tables in the living room and allowed himself to be petted and cajoled into staying. (There is no doubt as to who the superior creature is here.)

**UPDATE** Arthur is in and the Birman went back outside after sitting and howling at the door for 5 minutes straight. (He’s an in/out cat and has so far escaped being eaten by something so I’m hedging my bets.)

— 6 —

Geekdom. In one of the black cat groups on Facebook, someone asked if our cats like boxes. Someone replied, “My cat is called Schrodinger!! OF COURSE SHE LIKES BOXES!!!”

I think my brain just exploded. #sciencegeek #catlover

— 7 —

Prayer request. If you’re following along with the whole “special intention” thing at home, keep praying and add on that I need help praying to forgive someone. Please and thank you. :)

For more Quick Takes, visit Jen at ConversionDiary.Com.

Five Favorites: Miscellanea (XXI)

Five Favorites

One

My mother-in-law. I’m not saying this just because she watches my kid on Saturday mornings so I can sleep in. (OK… it’s more than just Saturday mornings.) The woman is freaking brilliant, generous with her time and energy, spoils my two cats, and bakes me the best chocolate-peppermint vegan cupcakes on the planet. She also has yet to whack me upside the head with a pillow to get me up in the mornings and I appreciate her restraint.

Two

OPI Nail Polish. The stuff on my toes right now is “Princesses Rule!” and it’s a nice light pink color with glitter. I’m also a fan of “Pedal Faster Suzi!” which is usually what I end up with if I get gel on my hands and lacquer on my toes. (For the record, I had never had my nails done ever until I turned 29 and was down in southern California on a call interview for Jon. My 16 year old self is rolling her eyes.)

Three

“Tacky” by Weird Al. It’s awesome as all of Weird Al’s music is. (It’s a parody of Pharrell’s “Happy”.

Four

“Hedge of Protection” by Tim Hawkins. I quote this one at least daily. I also have to make sure I’m not drinking anything when certain friends of mine are praying for me because I *will* spit out whatever I’m drinking when they pray for a “hedge of protection” around me. (This would be the source of the chai on my dashboard.)

Five

“Just, Just, Father, Father” by Tim Hawkins. I am totally guilty of using the word “just” too often in prayer.

Go love up Heather and the others.