Monday, October 31, 2011


Nine years ago today, I called off my engagement.

He was a Kansas City Chiefs fan but that isn't why I broke up with him.

Still, when my Chargers play at Arrowhead, my skin crawls a little and I feel nauseous. When I hear their noisy fans and watch that sea of red, I can't help but cringe.

It might be my longest running grudge.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

The little one keeps tabs on the bigger one. One thousand times a day he asks about him. "Where brudder go?" "Brudder ah schoo?" "Brudder home!" "Brudder dowstair?"
And "Brudder" loves Matthew right back.

Oh sure, they have their moments. Sibling rivalry on an hourly basis. Garrett is a rule follower. Matthew thinks they were made to be broken. Garrett is bossy. Matthew is sensitive. Both spend their days vying for the alpha dog position. Even still, it's pretty much a coin toss.
I can't believe I lived more than two decades without evening knowing that these brothers would one day exist. Now I cannot imagine a day without them.

These are a few of my favorite things...

Friday, October 28, 2011

Obsessed with the Chest

Official diagnosis: Intraductal papilloma.

The bad news: Increased chance of breast cancer in the future.

The good news: The removed mass was totally benign.

On Saturday morning, when I woke up, there was still no visible bruising. On Saturday afternoon, when I took a shower, the whole entire...thing was an enormous bruise. The whole shebang. Black and blue and bright yellow. It looked like I'd been mauled by an angry wolf. That was six days ago. Today it's still bruised but hardly worth mentioning. When I went in for my post op this morning, the doctor said, "Oh, you have quite a bit of bruising."

I replied with, "You should have seen it on Saturday!" She apologized. It may have had something to do with the internal tissue exam she performed last Tuesday. Ya think?

We've decided that I am going to continue to be seen by her. Apparently, intraductal papillomas in thirty-year-olds are rare. Abnormal, she said. My tissue is compromised. Or something medical and scary sounding like that. It's enough to kind of freak a girl out.

But she didn't say the word carcinoma and she didn't say the word malignant. Instead I heard the reiterated words benign and papilloma and you're fine. And so I choose to focus on that.

I had a mammogram--at my request and for no good reason other than peace of mind--earlier in the year. I've had four exams, two ultrasounds and a biopsy in the past nine months. The doctor told me that it's great that I am so diligent about my breasts at my age. It was a strange accolade. I imagined a trophy inscribed with Most Attentive. The imaginary statue atop the trophy was inappropriate and made me laugh.

But we all need to be diligent. It doesn't matter if we're seventy or twenty-five. Apparently, I am going to live the rest of my life obsessed with my chest but maybe we all should be.

I can't stand breast cancer slogans like, Save the TaTas. That particular one literally makes me cringe. To me, to refer to them as tatas is disturbing at best and absolutely degrading and chauvinistic at worst. Save the Boobies is only slightly better. Marginally better. Hardly better at all, really.

Obsessed with the Chest--it could work.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

For the Birds

Imagine The Rock Star's delight when we received a package today from my inlaws. We opened it and pulled out sticker books, sticker crafts, cookies, Halloween candy and a decorative scarecrow. He was thrilled.

He wanted me to put the scarecrow outside.

It's clearly not an outside decoration.

I explained this.

"How will it scare away the crows?" He asked.

"It won't. Which is fine. We don't really have an abundance of crows," I reminded him.

But it got me thinking. Maybe if I did put it outside it would scare the misguided seagulls back to California where they belong. I only recently learned that the Utah state bird is actually the California Gull. I feel so sorry for those stupid birds. It's totally like the Israelites being stuck in Egypt. There they were, slaving away, trapped under Pharoah's rule--unaware of just how great the Promised Land really was. A land flowing with milk and honey, it was. They'd all been born in Egypt and that was that.

They're not called the Utah Gull. No. They're from California. They just don't know it because they were born here. Whenever I see them, I try to nicely explain that it doesn't get cold where they come from. The water--it just keeps going. Granted, the Salt Lake is bigger than one bird could ever hope for but it rather pales in comparison to the Pacific Ocean. And waves. Oh, those poor birds are missing out on tides! Abundant fish, too. I don't actually know what lives in the lake but the whole things smells funky so I wouldn't recommend eating anything that comes out of it. Poor gulls, fly back to your home.

But they never will. Even in California, gulls are totally stupid. And aggressive. They'll snatch an entire sandwich right out of your hand. Oh. Yes. They. Will.

So if I thought that putting the scarecrow outside would do any good, I would. But it makes for a super cute indoor decoration. And as for the gulls, well, on a warm summer day when I look up and see a bunch of them flying around I close my eyes and pretend I'm at the beach. They're like a little piece of home.

Interestingly, when I'm in California, I can't stand sea gulls.

This is not a metaphorical post about how California is the promised land and Utah is Egypt and I'm enslaved here. God led us here and I love our ministry. I don't want to leave right now for anything. It really is just a post about the birds.

Thanks Gary and DeDe for the package!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Power Of...

My husband is modest.

Much more modest than I am.

So he isn't overly enthusiastic when my boys run through the house shaking their naked tooshies and yelling, "Naked dance!"

He tolerates it for a few seconds, shakes his head and says, "Go put some clothes on!"

Last night Troy had a meeting at the church. When my boys were finished with their bath they both burst into their bedroom screaming, "Naked dance." I laughed. Then, Garrett struck a victory position.

He thrust one foot forward, pumped his hand in the air and shrieked, "The power of naked!"


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Revelation & Belly Laughs

Have you ever played Telestrations? 
Have you ever played it at a women's retreat? If you haven't, you have no idea what you're missing. Unless you're a man. Then you really have no business being at a women's retreat. None. Whatsoever.

I was first introduced to this hysterical game at our retreat 13 months ago. Our speaker, who has since become one of my closest confidants, brought it with her. I was skeptical. Telestrations is like the love child of Pictionary and Telephone. I've never been good at Pictionary.

But we played. I laughed. I called my mom up and insisted she buy it for her own women's retreat which was approaching. I asked for it last Christmas. You cannot, simply cannot, play this game without laughing so hard you cry. Or injure a stomach muscle. Or both.

Yesterday, during our retreat free time, we played. One person gets a word. She writes it on page one of her dry erase booklet. She passes it. The next person looks at the word and then attempts to draw it. The next woman looks at the picture and writes the word or phrase she thinks it is. The next one draws it. And so on and so forth.

My friend, Christy, wrote the words "spin doctor" and passed it on. By the time it got to me, I read the words "surgical saw" and drew a guy on a table. Standing over him with an enormous saw was a stick figure with a surgical mask on. I drew an arrow to the saw. I also added a tray table at the end of the bed and intended to put smaller surgical tools on it but the tip of the pen was too fat. I passed my booklet on. 

"Vasectomy" is what my friend wrote before passing it on to another woman in our church.

She then drew a very, ahem, well endowed fellow and a giant pair of scissors. The next woman got it and guessed correctly (based, of course, on the most recent picture). Christy got it back, opened it up to the last page and began laughing hysterically. As she showed us each page, we were already giggling. By the time we saw the first "vasectomy" we were all laughing so hard we were crying. Then we saw the drawing. Kleenex had to get involved.

If this doesn't sound funny to you, I encourage you to play the game. I promise you'll laugh so hard you'll cry.

We do other stuff at retreat too.

We hear from the Lord. We fellowship. We eat way too much chocolate. We pray. We have quiet time with our Savior.

God's been rocking my world lately with the realization that I don't really know how to pray. I present my requests. "God, heal this person. God, heal that person. God, help with this. God, help with that. Amen." For several weeks now the Lord has been revealing to me that my requests need to come last. First, and foremost, my prayer life is about worshiping Him. Of course, our speaker spoke on this very subject last night. And I was impacted. Anything that brings us nearer to the Lord is good and worthy of praise. Even the bad stuff. We need to pray accordingly.

There is time for food and fellowship and chocolate and sleeping and snugly pajamas and conversation and making new friends and keeping old friends and there is, indeed, time to learn about our God. After all, He's the reason we do this every year.

But we also laugh. Deep, belly laughs with fellow believers, who endeavor to walk, every day, with the perfect and Triune God. I can't tell you how refreshing a weekend characterized by revelation and belly laughs is.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


I sat in the chair, soft pink gown tied loosely in the front. The significance of the color wasn't lost on me. As I waited for the doctor to come in I contemplated my surroundings. Enormous bright light, jars of liquid, liberal amounts of gauze, needles, scalpels and a plethora of other stomach turning paraphernalia. I'd already sat in the waiting room for a good half hour past my appointment time. Now I was sitting in the office. Waiting.

When I'd pulled up in front of the surgical center I was doing alright. I'd prayed the entire way over that God would remove from me a spirit of fear and grant me courage in its place. It was courage I'd had as I boldly rode the elevator up to the third floor. It was courage I'd lost as I flipped through magazine after magazine and allowed the Father of Lies to use fear to permeate my thoughts. I'd finally been called back and my blood pressure was the highest I'd ever seen it. Thankfully, it was still well within normal. The nurse left and I waited.

I called my mommy. "Remember the Flu Shot Experience?" I was six. The nurse came in with the vaccination. I snapped. Berserk. Completely. I ran around the office and out the door, shrieking at the top of my lungs. It ended with my mother and the pediatrician holding me down so that the nurse could administer the vaccine. I had to write a note of apology. It wasn't my finest moment. 

I proceeded to tell my mom that I was seriously contemplating a repeat performance. I mean, it's been 24 years. I figured that maybe my time had come once again. She asked me if I could feel her hugging me. I didn't answer for a long time. She probably thought I was mute on account of the fact that I was wondering how I could feel a hug from 800 miles away. In actuality, I wasn't speaking because the lump in my throat was swollen with fear and tears. I knew if I spoke it would all come flooding out.

I'm just not a huge fan of needles. Or scalpels. Especially if they're going to be used on me. Especially if they're going to be used on my breast.

It all started back in April when I noticed a tiny lump just under the skin. After waiting a few weeks to see if it would change, disappear, or grow, I went to see my doctor. Based on its location, she suspected that it was a blocked duct and had me put hot compresses on it. I went back to see her a week later. The bump had not changed. Again, because of its place of residence, she sent me to a specialist. I saw her in June. After an ultrasound, the plan was to keep an eye on it for the summer and come back to see her three months later.

So last Monday I saw her again. She opted to remove it. 

Eight days later I found myself sitting in the procedure room waiting for her to enter the scene. My mom was 800 miles away but, thanks to technology, pressed directly to my ear. She talked me off my ledge. Or, at least, she talked me out of running around the doctor's office screaming like a total ninny. After all, it really wasn't even appropriate when I was six. I don't remember what she said to me but I loudly declared, "I know I'm not going to die!" And just as the second half of the sentence came out, the doctor walked in. All she heard was the declaration, "...going to die!" 

She quickly turned her head in my direction and said, "Are you talking to me?" I explained that, no, my mother was on the phone. I quickly hung up. She had me get on the table. Then she couldn't find a marker. So she left for another five minutes.

I hadn't been afraid of the procedure until two different people, on the same day, told me that the numbing needle was quite painful. I stared up at the giant light and pictured a torture prison where people routinely came at my breasts with enormous needles of death. She came back in. She told me that the first part was the worst part. So I've heard. I told her that I'd once run around the doctor's office in an attempt to avoid a flu shot. I'm nothing if not chatty when nervous. "It's just like having dental work done," she explained.

"I've never had a cavity," I replied.

"Get me the small needle," she said to the nurse. Oh good, I thought. I'm getting away with the small needle. I don't think her or her pregnant nurse had any intentions of holding down a full grown woman with a sudden and irrational fear of biopsies. The nurse handed her the biggest needle I've ever seen used on me and that's when I realized that it probably had something to do with width and not a lot to do with length. She plunged it mercilessly into my...self. Okay. She totally didn't. In fact, I barely felt anything. Really. It hurt less than a flu shot to be sure. Just after the initial poke I did feel a slightly uncomfortable push as, I assume, she went into tissue. "Is it horrible?" she asked. 

"No!" I almost shouted, annoyed that I'd lost nearly an hour of my life freaking out about this. I should have listened to my mom who kept telling me that it couldn't possibly be that bad. Note to self: Mother knows best.

Then she performed an excisional biopsy which I've come to realize is the same thing as a lumpectomy. I felt nothing except for weird tugs and pulls. The worst part was listening to the snip snip snip of the scissors and realizing that she was inside of my body cutting things out. It was just a little disconcerting. She pulled out a pea sized mass. Just as she began to sew me up my stomach began to growl. I started pushing on it with my available hand--the other one was secured under my head--and hoping that if I sort of massaged it, the protest might stop. In the middle of a stitch she asked, "Are you feeling this? Is this hurting you?" 

"No," I said. "My stomach won't stop growling." She then shared with me that her stomach often has dialogue as well. This prompted my sharing of the time my stomach distracted an entire group of students from the SAT at hand. She assured me it wasn't distracting her. "Good. I'd rather ruin 100 SAT scores than distract my surgeon," I answered. She laughed. 

She finished sewing me back together and put medical glue on the incision. And then I waited and waited. The nurse was standing there. The doctor was sitting there. I was lying there. Nothing was happening. Am I supposed to jump up and be on my merry way? I wondered.

She pulled the light closer. "The warmth from the light helps the glue dry. I want to to make sure it's dry before I put a bandage on," she said. "Otherwise you'd have to come back so that I could remove the bandage. Or live with it forever. Your choice."

I laughed. "I'd probably rather not have a bandage stuck to my chest for the rest of my life."

"Oh! The worst was when I did a rectal surgery. A few hours later the poor woman called me up and told me that I'd glued her, uh, cheeks together." Let me tell you, nothing makes you love your surgeon more than finding out she once glued a patient's butt together. "Thankfully she was a really good sport about it," she finished.

I'm really private about certain things. My health is one of them. I just didn't want to tell anyone, or for goodness sake blog about it, until I had an answer. I could barely stand the waiting myself and I didn't want to wait knowing that everyone else was sitting on pins and needles right along with me. So I came home and I kept quiet. Turns out, if you want to keep quiet, you need to tell your five-year-old the plan. He knew something was up so I explained to him that mommy had a bump taken out of her. I showed him my bandage. That night, Troy took the boys to the softball field. A man from our church asked Troy if he was on Daddy Duty. "Yeah, Lori's not feeling well," he answered. 

"Mommy has a band-aid on her nipple!" Garrett screamed. And if you think I didn't just try to figure out a more appropriate synonym for nipple to use in its place you'd be wrong. Because I totally did. But that's what he said. To a man my father's age. About that man's pastor's wife. Good times. The best of times, really. So much for keeping things quiet. One must have first birthed a quiet child, I suppose.

While that fun episode was occurring, I was at home, recovering. Oddly, I was completely at peace with whatever news the results would bring. I kept praying that God would use this to glorify Him. If breast cancer--at thirty of all things--would bring Him glory, so be it. If a clear reading would bring Him glory--bring it. If I've learned one thing through the trials of bringing children into my family, I've learned that God's way is Plan A. Every. Single. Time. 

"If I have cancer, God, so be it. May your name be lifted high!"

As it turns out, I don't.

The doctor called this afternoon. It was benign. 

To God alone be the glory!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Hey Batter

The Rock Star just finished playing t-ball. He was on the Phillies. His little brother wanted to play.

In twenty years, when he's playing for the Phillies, should this be the photo they put up on the jumbotron when he's up to bat?

Oh, I think it should be.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Growing Up

In some ways, I think he still looks exactly like this...
Minus, maybe, the super chubby cheeks.

But I recognize the shirt he's wearing.

And I know it's in his brother's drawer now.

I love my little men.

But I think I might just always miss my babies.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Wieners. Yep. I Went There.

"Mom," The Rock Star said from the backseat, "what's a wiener?"

I waited a good five seconds before responding. I thought about asking him to use it in context but then I would have had to explain context. Instead, I asked him to use in a sentence.

He raised his voice. "WHAT'S A WIENER?"

And I began to giggle, somewhat hysterically. He's smart, that one. I could just hear his internal monologue, That is a sentence!

"Okay. Well, it depends on how you're using it. There are different kinds of wieners." At this point I was speaking intermittently, whenever I stopped choking on my own laughter. "There are wiener dogs. Those are the ones that have long bodies and really short legs. They're called that because they look like a hot dog. Hot dogs used to be called wieners all the time. Sometimes they're still called wieners."

"Oh," he said. "So a wiener is a hot dog?"

"Yes," I declared. Then I asked, "Did you hear someone say the word wiener?"


"Okay. Who?"

"My friend Bob*," Garrett replied. Bob is seven. He lives up the street.

"What was he talking about?" I asked. A hot dog. Make it be about a hot dog. I thought.

"The spot right here." He pointed.

I sighed. And then I got to explain that different people use different words for their private places. In our family, we call them by their medical terms. We always have. We always will. Because I don't want my kid walking in to the doctor's office and saying something about his wiener.

*His name isn't really Bob. If that wasn't already clear. Names have been changed to protect, in this case, the not so innocent.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

What's The Difference?

By way of setting the scene, it's important to know that I'm participating in a Sunday school class on the book of Ephesians and a Bible study by Kay Arthur on Covenant. Each day I spend time in prayer and work on a section of one book or the other. Well, except for Sunday. On Sunday I generally ignore both books and, I don't know, read a Psalm or something.

So. Yesterday. I decided to work on my Covenant study. Garrett was playing in the backyard with a friend and Matthew was sleeping. I carried my book, Bible, and colored pencils (it's an inductive study which led to Garrett's friend asking, "Are you coloring?" with a tone that clearly expressed, Wow, lady, you are way too old be coloring.) up from the basement and sat down at the kitchen table.

But when I went downstairs to get the book I thought about what the study would be on that day. We'd already explored both the covenants between David and Jonathan. I thought, perhaps, Jonathan's son might grace the pages of my study.

"Oh," I said aloud, "maybe today will be about Methuselah." I descended the stairs. Wait. That doesn't sound right. "What's his name? Johnathan's son name is..." I know it. I know it. It's..."Mephibosheth." Now, because I talk to myself incessantly, I continued the one-sided conversation. "Who the heck is Methuselah? Oh yeah. She's the evil witch from Sleeping Beauty."

At that point I was standing in the middle of our office, completely confused. I picked up my work book. "Wait. No."

I began ascending the stairs. "Mephibosheth is Jonathan's son. Methuselah is the really old guy in Genesis. Maleficent is the creepy woman from Sleeping Beauty."

Can anyone else understand my confusion? Mephibosheth, Methuselah, Maleficent. What's the difference?

Friday, October 14, 2011

How To Be A Preacher's Wife And Like It: Part Three

"Be it ever so humble, your parsonage can be clean. A broom, mop, pail and box of detergent, plus an ample supply of elbow grease, can transform any dingy parsonage into a sparkling set of rooms. Keeping the woodwork and windows clean, the furniture in order and the toys picked up is a matter of bodily exercise, which the Apostle Paul says is profitable.

The habitual appearance of dirty dishes in the midst of an unkept kitchen is inexcusable. Parish duties should never come ahead of parsonage obligations. Your first responsibility is to provide a clean, well-ordered home for your pastor-husband and your family." Lora Lee Parrott

Oh. My. Goodness. I'm so far off the mark it just isn't even funny. I mean, there isn't anything generationally hilarious about this particular passage. Well, except for maybe the bit about dirty dishes being inexcusable. You don't want to see my kitchen on Sunday mornings.

On Sunday mornings I really believe that Satan sends his minions to thwart all of our plans to get out the door. Dishes are thrown in the sink to be tended to later--usually I'm just glad that the children have eaten anything at all. Cups, jackets, hair gel, Christmas play scripts, and tooth brushes are here, there and everywhere. Troy throws the kids in the car. I pat myself down to make sure I'm not missing any vital piece of clothing and run back in to grab somethingorother important thing that I totally need but darn near forgot. As Troy slowly drives down the street, Garrett yells, "Hurry mom!" and I dive in before my pastor-husband gets up to 25 mph. Okay, so that last part is an exaggeration...but not by much.

I would have failed miserably as a 1950's pastor's wife. I doubt I'm having much success as a 21st century pastor's wife but I have to believe I'm better than I would have been 60 years ago.

And, keeping the toys picked up, well, that task is simply futile.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

My Toddler

When I got Matthew out of the car at the church this morning he grinned at me and said, "I so cute."

"And so humble," I replied, laughing. I guess if enough people tell a toddler he's cute, he just starts repeating it.

He's been doing this adorable thing lately. We'll be riding in the car and he'll say, "Mommy, yook at me!" If I'm in the passenger seat I will turn to watch him. If I'm driving I will glance quickly in the rear view mirror. He will, inevitably, be sitting in his car seat pretending to mouth the words to whatever song is on the radio. Really, he's just wagging his head from side to side and opening and closing his mouth dramatically.

He did that the entire way to Troy's softball game last night. When we were almost there, Blessed Be Your Name came on. From the backseat, the tiniest voice in our family sang, "Bessed be name of da Yord. Bessed be name. Bessed be name of da Yord. Bessed be name."

And my heart melted into a puddle of goo.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

How To Be A Preacher's Wife And Like It: Part Two

Under the section titled, Causes for Conflict, Mrs. Parrott writes, "Difference in I.Q. must be considered. Theoretically, the husband and wife have the same native intelligence. However, in actual cases this is not true. Marriage counselors say that greater happiness is often achieved in homes where the husband has a slightly higher I.Q. than his wife."

I read this part to my husband and, with a twisted grin, he said, "That's why we work so well." I shot him a dirty look and he laughed.

It continues, "However, in numerous parsonages, the wife is smarter than her husband. Unless a proper adjustment is made by both the husband and the wife, this can cause serious conflict in the parsonage."

"Oh," I said, "that explains any conflict we have. I'm actually smarter than you."

Later, in the same section, I read, "There are differences in learning. Obviously, there is a vast difference between the serious-minded young man who took advanced training to prepare himself for the ministry, and his young wife whose main interests in college were social."

Oh. Obviously.

Obviously my husband was a serious-minded young man. Obviously my main interests in college were social. Now you're all making snarky comments about how I majored in Theatre and my husband has a Master's in Exegetical Theology, aren't you.

What strikes me about this particular passage is the fact that my research revealed that Mrs. Parrott had, herself, a Master's in Religion. Maybe she went to graduate school for purely social reasons.

Don't think I'm going to leave you without a wise gem. "Even if the pastor is not able to be gone week ends it is good for his family to be away from the parsonage for at least four consecutive weeks once each year. The new perspective, the complete rest, the change of environment can make an appreciable impact for good on the parsonage household. However, I only suggest this an an ideal, for as yet I have never been away from the parsonage for more than two weeks at a time."

This is very wise advice! I sincerely hope that, as time went by, Mrs. Parrott was blessed with the opportunity to be away for a four week stint. I hope Hawaii was involved. Or the Bahamas. I, myself, would be perfectly okay with four weeks of new perspective, complete rest, and a change of environment involving tropical sand, trade winds, and pineapple. Wait, did she not include that last bit in her original paragraph? Huh. Must have been an oversight.

Monday, October 10, 2011

How To Be A Preacher's Wife And Like It

Before I got married, my friend came across a bunch of books being removed from the PLNU library. She gave several of them to me. Among the gems was my personal favorite, How To Be A Preacher's Wife and Like It, by Lora Lee Parrott. Recent research has revealed that Mrs. Parrott died earlier this year, at age 87. She was an author and a pastor's wife. Her husband also served as the President of Olivet Nazarene University and Eastern Nazarene University.

The book that I have in my possession was published in 1956. Mrs. Parrott was 33! At 33 she knew how to be a preacher's wife? Emphasis on the question mark. Thank this time three years from now the mystery will be revealed!

My copy was a gift to a Vivian Kirby. I don't know if Mrs. Kirby donated it to the Point Loma Nazarene University library or if it belonged to someone else in between but more than eight years ago it landed in my hands. The inscription on the first page is written in blue ink and dated six months before my own father was even born.

"Best wishes to Vivian Kirby--and remembering a lovely evening with the Parsonettes. Sincerely, Lora Lee Parrott. Apr. 24-58.

Remembering a lovely evening with the Parsonettes. Oh to be a fly on the wall on that lovely evening. Oh to be a Parsonette. They sound like a lively bunch of pastor's wives. I mean, they had to be the life of the party. Am I right? But the pastorate has changed. The "preacher" has evolved with media, Internet, networking, and the disappearance, in most cases, of the parsonage. I say in most cases because four and a half years ago we were contacted by a tiny church in a tiny town in Arizona that still had a parsonage so I know they exist but they're hardly the norm these days.

The book opens with a forward by Ruth Graham that reads, "If you are like I am you will be tickled to death to discover a book that is both inspirational and very, very practical as a sort of guide book for us preacher's wives. All of us get to the place where we feel the job is just too big for us. That's a good way to feel, I know, but we need something practical to help us to be better wives and mothers. This little book will do just that. It has helped me and I know it will help you too." Well. There are certainly nuggets of wisdom flowing throughout Mrs. Parrott's book but they are bathed in the hilarity that results when a thirty-year-old pastor's wife is reading something in 2011 that was written for the women of five decades ago.

The first chapter is titled, Marry the Right Preacher. Not, marry the right guy, no. Apparently this book was written specifically for pastoral predators. "To marry a successful preacher has been the secret ambition of many fine Christian young ladies," is the very first sentence of the book. What women are these? Perhaps in the 50's many fine Christian young ladies were trolling for a man who, in passing, mentioned a call to ministry but I don't think this translates to the 21st century. I think these days most young women dream of marrying doctors, lawyers, and software engineers.

Later in the first chapter, Mrs. Parrott writes, "Perhaps no one in the congregation is subjected to more stringent criticism than the pastor's wife. She may be criticized for what she has done, or what she has not done, or what she could have done. Not only is she criticized for what she does but for what her husband does, or her children. She will be criticized if she assists her husband too much in the parish work, or criticized if she does not do enough. But if God be for us, this criticism doesn't matter too much." Hmmm...I do think this particular paragraph transcends time. Of course it does go on to say that the pastor is recognized by his, "shaven face, combed hair and conservative suit and necktie..." Yikes. My husband only wears a suit if someone has died. Or is getting married. Or it's Easter.

This book is just so awesome in so many ways. And I haven't even gotten to the part about how it's important, when a girl marries a pastor, that he have a higher I.Q. than her. Oh yeah. It's in there.

I've been saying for quite some time that there needs to be a handbook for pastor's wives. I'm not thinking that this is it. But I think Lora Lee Parrott was on to something. I think she knew that we pastor's wives need to support one another. I think she knew that having your husband also be your pastor is a position that few are called to. I think she knew that dedicating your life to the Church is not without pain but it is also not without reward. Because when one person comes into a saving relationship with the Lord, the ministry is so worth it.

Stay tuned. I plan to share more of Lora Lee's gems with you. Particularly the part where breakfast should include: fresh orange juice, crisp bacon, eggs scrambled in butter, steaming coffee, fresh berries or melon, coffee cake or sweet rolls, and hot biscuits with butter, cherry jam and orange marmalade. Is it just me or is that a lot of carbs?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Cake Pops

The Rock Star saw an infomercial for a pan that makes cake pops. "Mommy, can you make those?" he questioned as he started to run into the kitchen to assemble the ingredients.

"No, Honey, I can't," I replied.


"No. I really can't. I don't have the pan."

"What pan?" he asked as though I was making this part up.

I pointed to the television. "That pan. The one they're selling."

His shoulders sagged. "Uh oh!" He's been saying that lately. Every time I tell him to do something he doesn't want to do or that we can't do something he does want to do or that it's bedtime or that his battle needs to be picked up or, or, or...the list is endless, really.

Minutes later I found him in the kitchen. He was standing on the stool. On the counter in front of him was a loaf of bread, a melon baller, chili powder, garlic salt and cream of tartar.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

He held up the melon baller. "I'm gonna make cake pops!"

Thursday, October 6, 2011

And It's Snowing

Really, Utah?


When I spoke at the retreat last weekend I could not go outside in my dress pants, short sleeve shirt and thin jacket (buttoned at the elbow) without melting in the heat. The high that day was 86. But allow me to explain that I was not complaining about the heat. Not me. I like the heat. I love the sunshine. It's good for the heart.

That was five days ago. Five.

Today it is snowing! Yes, southern California, you heard me. Here, where I live, in the frozen tundra that exists between the Wasatch and the Oquirrh mountain ranges, it is snowing on October 6th. It is currently 40 degrees outside. That's a 46 degree swing in five days. Unacceptable.

For the record, I do not find this amusing.

I'm going to make Utah go to couples therapy with me as I do not feel that my needs are being met by this ridiculous display.

Batten down the hatches, Utahns, you'll feel warm again at the end of May.

Does anyone in Florida, southern California, Arizona or Hawaii need a speaker for any winter conferences? (Other states where winter temperatures stay above 55 degrees may also qualify). I figure if I can travel somewhere warm at least once a month I might be able to endure my fifth season (and by that I mean October-May) of being cold deep down in my bones.

Not cool, Utah. Not cool.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sick Boy

Sick toddlers are no fun. I'm sure it's even less fun if you're him.

Last night, at Troy's softball game, Matthew produced a diaper to rival all icky diapers. Ever. It coated his shirt, his shorts, and his legs. He ended up in just a hoodie which did have poop on it but significantly less than the rest of his clothes. He proceeded to sit in my lap and complain that his tummy hurt.

I thought we were in for a long night.

But then he slept for eleven hours straight, woke up, and puked.

Well, really, he woke up and barfed about a half hour later. This prompted Troy and I to rearrange our day so that we could take turns at home with him while still making most of our commitments. I am thankful for my husband's job. When I have Bible study he can come home for a couple hours to be with a sick kid.
Matthew laid around the house most of the day looking sad.

But even when he doesn't feel well, he holds the secrets of the world in his eyes.

If I was old and senile and blind I think I would still remember the vast chocolaty deliciousness of my son's eyes.

He's a little better now. He's resumed pointing his finger at me and bossing me around. Earlier in the day he didn't have energy even for that.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Secret Ambition

In high school, I was on a mission trip. I don't remember why I ended up on a small stage in a tiny church in Mexico doing a sound check but I did. I don't remember why I suddenly did a bad rendition of Michael W. Smith's "Secret Ambition" but I'm sure it had something to do with my flair for the dramatics.

The other day, out of the middle of nowhere, from some dark recess of my mind, "Secret Ambition" began flowing from my vocal chords.

I still really like the song. I love the awesome 80's sound. I appreciate the lyrics. So I looked for it on YouTube. I've seen the video before but it's been years, more than a decade I'm sure. Passing time and a degree in Theatre might be what makes the video so humorous to me.

0:12- Oh, Smitty. That outfit was not timeless. That hair was not timeless. That hair toss, however, just might have been. Nice vest.
0:27- That man is way too Caucasian to be Jesus. Did no one on this production realize that Jesus was Jewish?
0:31- Entire Caucasian cast. With mullets.
0:35- Smitty doing his best "Young, Brooding, Christian Recording Artist" smolder.
0:43- I think we have those exact costume head pieces in the the storage room at church.
0:58- Is it just me or does that woman have a subtle French manicure?
0:59- More of the bad costume head pieces. I can't handle them. Make them go away.
1:08- Is this supposed to be Israel? It looks like Sedona.
1:36- Smitty really has this brooding thing down.
1:44- Random symbolic birds.
1:50- Wait. That's the temple? It looks like cardboard boxes spray painted white.
2:01- Oh. Bad. Purple. Head. Piece.
2:21- Adorable little girl. American. Or French. Or Canadian, possibly. Not Jewish though. No.
2:30- Passionate Smitty attempting to dislocate a shoulder.
2:46- Those head pieces were a really bad idea. The bushy red beards may be a worse one.
3:16- Violent fist pump from Smitty.
3:19- Is that Pilate? With an 80's mustache?
4:02- Smitty croons at the sky, his thumbs firmly planted in his spectacular 80's denim.
4:08- We actually had those exact Roman officer costumes at our former church. Really.
4:10-4:30--The best part of the entire video. I mean, a video can't capture the awesome sadness and glory of Christ's crucifixion but there's nothing 80's about those twenty seconds.
4:41- Smitty spins in circles. It is somewhat reminiscent of children that spin around until they fall over. Except Smitty stops short of actually falling over.
5:25- Caucasian actor's head appears to float in a pond.
5:32- Smitty is, apparently, a narcoleptic.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Bring It

It's the same every time.

I'm digging deep into the Word. I have a Strong's concordance opened next to me, a notepad, and supplemental books spread around me. I'm so terrified that I'll quote something wrong or misinterpret a verse. So I study. I study the heck out of whatever the Lord has impressed upon me to talk about. I get an adequate grasp on the material, compile it into some kind of a cohesive presentation, and I get really excited.

I go over the material. And over it. And over it. At first I chuckle at my own jokes. Eventually they stop being funny and I wonder if anyone at the conference or retreat will laugh. I'm still excited. Out of my mind thrilled, really, that the Lord has given me an opportunity to share my deepest passion, Him, with a group of women.

Then, about 48 hours before the event, I start to feel an impending sense of dread. Why did I agree to do this? What was I thinking? I am ill equipped. I'm convinced that God sends this uneasiness so I remember that no amount of preparation makes a bit of difference if I'm trying to do it on my own. I beseech Him, "May you speak through me!"

This morning my eyes flew open at 5:28, forty minutes before I needed to get up. I couldn't fall back asleep. I rolled over and woke up my husband. "Will you go speak for me?"

"No." He mumbled.

"You can wear the heels," I replied.

He laughed groggily, "Then definitely not."

"I'm going to text Christina*. 'Can't make it today.'"

"I think that'll be the end of your speaking career," he said, the sleep lifting from his voice.

I laughed, "I think that would be the end of my friendship with Christina!"

I don't know why, but I was particularly nervous this time. There wasn't really an explanation for it. I packed deodorant because I was sweating profusely before I even left the house.

It's the same every time. I listen to several powerful worship songs. The songs vary but one thing remains the same, they have to be songs where I am thrown before the throne. I pray. I go over my opening in my head. I contemplate throwing up but decide against it because bits of regurgitated breakfast in the speaker's teeth is just never good. In the end, someone says my name and I walk forward. Usually I have the thought that suddenly I have no idea what I'm going to say. I think, "Oh God," and I'm not taking the Lord's name in vain. "Use me."

After my first session today I had the thought, "This afternoon I am going to bring it." Immediately I felt the Lord impress upon me, You are not going to do anything. You are going be quiet and let me move.

As I was telling my mom about the first session and the fact that God rebuked me when I said that I needed to bring it she said, "You need to pray that you would get out of God's way."

So that's exactly what I did. My mother is wise.

It's the same every time. I'm bouncing off the walls excited to bring God's word. Then I'm nervous as anything. Then the event actually happens and I get to tell people about my Jesus and what He's done. Then I am almost euphorically happy and I wish like mad that it wasn't over.

Heaven. Man. Eternal praising of the Lord. Eternal worshiping of the Savior who extends the free gift of grace to us. In heaven it will be all euphoria and no nerves. In heaven it will be Revelation 4:8 " and night they never cease to say, 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!'"

Bring it, Lord Jesus. May your kingdom come.

*My friend who also happened to get me this particular speaking engagement.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Heard Around Here

If you've been here for longer than a month, you know that my youngest son has a problem with cussing. He really likes to make the words fork and frog sound like the mother of all curse words. Well, you can add ass to the list of words he likes to say.

I needed to get gas after I picked Garrett up from preschool. "Okay," I said. "Let's go get some gas!" Matthew is at that stage where he repeats everything. Garrett was so proficient at repeating that it earned him the nickname "Echo" and I remember those days well. From the backseat, I heard Matthew's tiny voice say, "Yet's go git suh gas." Except that gas was distinctly missing its g.

Yeah. That is not a sentence I want to hear coming out of the mouth of my two-year-old.

Garrett asks a lot of questions. We've always been very determined to answer his questions with age appropriate responses but not to lie to him or say that we'll tell him when he's older. He started asking questions about childbirth at a very young age.

He always wants to know the details of his birth. Why did I have an oxygen mask on at one point? What, exactly, did I say to daddy while I was giving birth? How long did I stay in the hospital? Yesterday, over lunch and after another round of twenty questions, I fired one at him. "When you get married, do you think you'll have kids?"

"Yes," he replied, "everyone has kids."

"Well, not everyone."

"Some people can have as many kids as they want!" He informed me since he knows that mommy and daddy probably would have more if it was really that easy.

"Yes, that's true," I said. "I really hope that you can have as many kids as you want."

"Yeah. I think I'll have, maybe, fourteen," he smiled. I almost said something about how that's insane but I kept my mouth shut. After a moment or two his eyes got big.

"If I had fourteen kids I would need a huge table!" He exclaimed.