Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Recently, DH was relating to the staff some of the details from the fall of Ted Haggard into immorality. It rocked the world of an associate pastor who was on staff with DH. John* came into the office the next morning, and without any form of perfunctory greeting, he asked: "Well, who's next? Me, or you?" DH was so taken aback that he couldn't find his voice. After a moment, he sputtered, "Neither! It doesn't have to be either one of us, John, by the grace of God!"
We had the paradoxical privilege of being honored for "Pastor Appreciation" on the same day that Pastor Ted Haggard was being dishonored and defrocked. It was a very emotional weekend, and many were reeling worldwide from the scandal at New Life Church in Colorado Springs. The higher the pedestal, the harder the fall.
Unfortunately, the ripple effect or aftershock of such a hard fall is felt by many pastors far and away. The devil likes to taunt them: he whispers words that cause fears, doubts, and worries to escalate. "What if I fall?" He tears marriages apart, one thread at a time, ripping away at years of trusted foundations, by whispering to the pastor's wife, "What if he falls?" "What if he's hiding something? What if everyone else knows, but me?"
Sitting in the church service on the morning of November 5th, I knew that many people had questions in their minds about how we were handling this scandal. Perhaps the devil was even tempting them to wonder if we would be "next" to fall. Appropriately, DH's sermon was on the "Battle for the Mind" and he cautioned about allowing such thoughts to formulate. In his series on the armor of God (Eph. 6) He used the illustration of how the helmet was the last article to put on, but the most important one to wear to war. He said that soldiers would often carry battle-axes to swing in hopes of knocking off the opponent's head. Somehow, he got his words mixed up in the point of his illustration, and he ended up putting his huge foot into his big mouth. (It's really quite a feat, but he seems to have the knack for it.) This time, his blunder was putting me in a bad light, somehow implying that I was an "old battle-axe". So I could feel the eyes of many in the audience, wondering how I would react to such an insult.
The idea that I should speak to the congregation had been birthed sometime in the wee hours of the morning; and kept growing with stronger conviction throughout the service. I hate public speaking, and especially extemporaneous speeches! I struggled with the sense of conviction that God wanted me to say something, arguing that it would be much smoother if He would only give me a week to write it all out! By the end of the service, though, I could hardly stand the thumping in my chest, and I gave in to the Holy Spirit's prompting, just so I could breathe.
Here is the transcript from our podcast: with all of the glaring grammatical errors.
I trust that the message was received with forgiveness for my emotional state.
"I am by nature a very shy person and I hate to be up in front of people but I feel very compelled this morning. Would you pray for me as I speak that I would be used of God and say the right words? I want--on this day of Pastor Appreciation--to express my profound and deep appreciation for my husband, my pastor. I love him, and more than LOVE, I deeply admire and respect him. And I am so thankful that I can say that today, especially in light of all of this situation going on with Ted Haggard. But, what I want to share with you, is yes, there are vast differences between our Pastor and Pastor Ted. But really there’s only two things that separate them, and one is humbleness: his humbleness, and the other is the grace of God; but for the grace of God, he too could fall. And in Ted’s statement that was read this morning to the congregation, he said his own pride kept him from going for help; he did try at first, but then his own pride kept him, and started him down the path of deception to his own family and his own congregation. And I am so thankful: even his name means “little or humble” and I am so thankful for the gift of humility that God gives to him. Now does he always operate in that humbleness? NO! And, does he have faults? YES! I believe he called me a “battle-axe” this morning. Ha Ha Ha! That was an example of an illustration gone very awry. But I love him in spite of his faults, and I appreciate him because I can deeply respect him for the man of God that he is, That he is as authentic behind the pulpit as he is in front of us: his family and his children. So thank you, … my Pastor!"
(* John is a pseudonym)
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
It's been hard for the whole family to have me working full-time. Quite frankly, we simply aren't making it financially and haven't been for a few years. Working full-time has helped, but the expenses still are greater than the income. We seriously need to downsize, but if we move... it's too difficult to fathom–whether it would be across town or across the continent, it would be a huge endeavor.
I forgot to mention that it's a seasonal pattern for DH (and thousands or even millions of people) to experience depression in the fall. It's called Seasonal Affective Disorder, and it's especially prevalent in northern regions, like ALASKA! So, we have tried to take all the necessary precautions and treatments available; light therapy, medications, vitamins, exercise, etc.. Just looking out the window, knowing that the darkness and the cold are encroaching upon us, is depressing!
We didn't do very much to celebrate DH's birthday. No cake, no balloons, no party. But, he did have a birthday lunch with his staff, (I was able to take an extended lunch break to attend) and he did get presents and cards, and a fruit pie.
I'm always pretty lame in the gift-giving department, but I gave him a card and a candy bar, and I cleaned the house for him (probably the most appreciated effort, since his "love language" is acts of service and domestic support.) The kids and I ordered a gift for him on-line, but it hasn't arrived yet, unfortunately.
He got to go moose-hunting with a couple of guys from church; a medic and a wilderness guide, so I wasn't too worried! He had fun, but they didn't get a moose. (Too bad, it would have helped to get a freezer-full of moose meat; it tastes great mixed with ground beef in meals like spaghetti and tacos.)
We had a very nice evening together on the night before his birthday. He took me up to Murphy Dome, where the elevation is above tree level, and we watched the sunset together, holding hands. We took lots of pictures, too. We also had a great time in bed, later that night. I would normally not mention that, but it is a very important aspect of a relationship and this is all about meeting each other's needs: and sex is a big one for most men! (DH is convinced that it helps to raise my seratonin levels also; I won't argue with him, but I've heard that chocolate does as well. :-) )
Another year, another birthday, another day to be thankful that we have each other. I really do love you, Honey–I hope your birthday was happy, and I pray that all your days will be happier!
Sunday, August 13, 2006
The wedding was simply elegant: even the decorations were sparse, but beautiful. The ceremony was so simple it could have bordered on "boring" (especially since there was no music besides the prelude, processional, and recessional). DH did a fine job, even though he would have liked to add a little more "flair" to the message.
Quoted below is "A Marriage Prayer":
O God of love, you have established marriage for the welfare and happiness of mankind. Yours was the plan, and only with you can we work it out with joy. You have said, “it is not good for a man to live alone . . . I will make a helper suitable for him.” Now our joys are doubled, since the happiness of one is the happiness of the other; our burdens are halved, since, when we share them, we divide the load. Bless this husband. Bless him as provider for the needs of those he loves. Sustain him in all his struggles in the contest of life. May his strength be her protection, his character be her joy and assurance. May he so live that she may find in him the haven for which the heart of a woman truly longs. Bless this loving wife. Give her a tenderness that makes her great . . . a deep sense of understanding and a great faith in You. Give her that inner beauty of soul that never fades, eternal youth that is found in holding fast to the things that never age. May she so live that he may be pleased always to reverence and adore her.
May they never make the mistake of merely living for each other. Teach them that marriage is not living for each other. It is two uniting and joining hands to serve You, the living God. Give them a great spiritual purpose in life. May they seek first the kingdom that is yours, and its righteousness, so that all other things may be added unto them. Loving you best, they shall love each other all the more. And faithful unto You, faithful unto each other they will remain.
May they not expect that perfection of each other that belongs alone to You. May they minimize each other’s weaknesses, be swift to praise and magnify each other’s strengths and beauty, and see each other through a lover’s kind and patient eyes. Give them a little something to forgive each day, that they may grow in the grace of long-suffering and love. And may they be forbearing with each other’s omissions and commissions as You are with theirs. Make such assignments to them according to Your will as will bless them and develop their character as they walk together. Give them enough tears to keep them tender, enough hurts to keep them humane, enough of failure to keep their hands clenched tightly in Yours, and enough success to make them sure they belong to You. May they never take each other’s love for granted, but always experience that breathless wonder that exclaims: “Out of all this world, you have chosen me!” Then when life is done, and the sun is setting, may they be found, then as now, still hand in hand, still so proud, thanking you so very much for each other. May they serve You happily, faithfully, together, until at last one shall lay the other in Your arms. This we ask through Jesus Christ, great lover of souls. Amen.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
The kids have been having a blast riding the four-wheelers with DH. I went twice, and the last time I went it was just DH and me, so I drove. It was a beautiful day, and the trails were in good condition. I didn't get to enjoy the scenery very much, though. Between dodging branches and bugs, working to avoid deep ruts and rocks, and trying to keep up with DH at breakneck speeds, I had enough to focus on. Around every treacherous corner, I was afraid I would meet up with a bear or oncoming vehicle. All I could think about was the question, "Are we there, yet?"
I began to consider the analogy of a shopping excursion, a road trip, and an ATV outing. We all know that some people like to "conquer the trip" when it comes to taking a road trip. Those are the types that have an agenda, and a strict schedule. With military precision, they keep both hands on the wheel, and one eye on the clock. All bathroom breaks are coordinated and executed like a pitstop at a racetrack. Other people like to take road trips like a "Sunday Drive" -- ambling along, at leisure, meandering through country paths -- just out enjoying the scenery.
There are two ways to approach a shopping excursion, as well. One person (stereotypically, it's the man) goes shopping like he's a caveman out hunting in the wild. He stalks his "prey" and pounces on it, bags it and carries it out of the store. Another person likes to play on all of the senses (sight=colors; touch=textures, hearing=store music; smell=perfume; taste=samples???) for the total "shopping experience." Recent studies suggest that shopping IS theraputic, after all.
One person's relaxation and therapy can be another person's nightmare and torture! I guess that was the lesson I learned on that four-wheeling adventure. For DH, it was a rejuvenating ride out into the sunset; for me, it was a grinding-teeth, clenched-fist ordeal. All for the sake of FUN! Ah, the things we do for love!
Monday, July 03, 2006
DH told me AFTER they came home that a man had nearly died the previous week at the same spot they fished. The man wore a life preserver, and was tied to shore with a safety rope, but the 47 degree water turned him into a "popsicle" quickly after he fell in, and it took rescuers over thirty minutes to pull him to shore. He was paralyzed from hypothermia, and suffered cuts and bruises from being dashed into the rocks, but he was alive!
The guys had fun, even though it was a lot of work, and the fish weren't as plentiful as they had hoped. They ended up staying the night on Tuesday, so that they could go back out for more the next day, after the rain and winds died down. They did not make it back in town for Wednesday evening mid-week service at church, which really surprised me.
Then, Saturday, DH went on another fishing adventure, ALL DAY! This time, they fished for greyling in a lake. It was raining and windy again, and they all got wet, but they got some fish, and we promptly fried it up and ate it, at the home of one of the fishermen. That meant that DH was gone all day and into the evening on Saturday, which is just unheard of. Saturdays are one of DH's favorite days to work in the office, because there is less traffic and distraction from people stopping by to see him, and all the staff members have Saturdays off.
As we crawled in to bed, DH weakly confessed, "I don't have my sermon finished or my Sunday School lesson." So, bright and early, Sunday morning, DH rose to face the day at 5:00am. He finished putting the "meat" to his outline of his sermon, and had to make a Powerpoint presentation, but the bulletin notes were already done and inserted into the bulletin.
"Change My Attitude" is the name of the sermon series that DH is preaching, and it deals with the Old Testament stories of Moses and Joshua. This time the subject was "Rebellion" and it was a powerful message. DH preached about how the Israelites grumbled and complained against their leaders, and the ground opened up and swallowed them, and fire zapped them, and plagues destroyed them. He remarked that it sounds like something out of a "sci-fi" movie, but that "this is serious stuff, folks!" Rebellion needs to be dealt with fully and completely.
Even though he didn't spend the usual obsessive amount of time at the office last week, DH did do a lot of fishing, both literally and figuratively. The culmination of the week was when he presented the message that God loves each one of us, and wants us to surrender our lives to His control, because He is a Good, Loving God. There are parts of our lives that we want to retain control over, and we try to rule our own destiny, but it is only out of rebellion.
As DH made his final comments, the conviction was so heavy it could almost be felt in the air, and the sound of crying could be heard throughout the sanctuary. Then, he masterfully "reeled in" the wayward hearts and led them to the altar of repentance. He had been practicing that technique all week in the natural realm; things of the spirit often mirror the physical.
The "fisherman" was also a "fisher of men".
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Summer Solstice is a big deal here in Fairbanks, Alaska. On June 21, every year, we have a "Midnight Sun Festival" and the Goldpanners Midnight Sun Baseball game. We celebrate the fact that this game begins at 10:30pm, and goes right on through midnight, without any artificial lighting. It's usually broad daylight right up until midnight or so, and then the sun slips under the horizon and peeks back up within a two-hour period. Even if the sky is overcast, there is enough light to read a book or play a ball game all night long. It's great for weekend campouts, but not so great for ordinary weekday worknights, because the light can make you sleep-deprived.
DH bought a couple of tickets to the game, from the coordinator of our "forty's group" at church. He didn't think the kids would be interested in going along, as they vetoed the game last year. When our son, Ben, said he wanted to go, I volunteered my ticket, and said that would be a nice "father-son" outing. DH apparently didn't HEAR that information, because on the day of the game, he came home with another ticket, and informed me that I was going by saying, "I'll see you at the game after church."
When I protested, DH made a hurtful, manipulative comment about not liking people, and quoted from a book by Mike Mason, "Practicing the Presence of People." Needless to say, I went to the ball game. After an hour and a half of sitting on a cold bench, enduring cold winds and mosquitoes, and having virtually no conversation with people, (DH sat in the row ahead of me, to save seats for others in the group), I left. And I cried the whole way home. DH had brought along a staff member, and they both sat next to a single, lonely man, from our church. He was engaged in conversation the whole time; ignoring his son, and ignoring his wife. It felt just like church to me, sitting alone on a crowded pew/bench.
Oh, the games we play!
Saturday, June 17, 2006
Family Man asked a few women out there: What about your husband/partner do you especially like about his role as a father?
These are their responses...
Recently I heard Harry Chapin's "Cat's in the Cradle” -- the tearjerker where the detached, indifferent father raises a son "just like him." This time, it made me smile because I knew that the role model for my three sons was my husband, Jonathan. As a father, he teaches them respect, sensitivity, good sportsmanship, and a love of family and learning. He has even taught them that men wash dishes. I couldn't be prouder than to say that my boys, "Grow up just like him."
-- Laurie B.
He's always there to catch our daughters when they fall, wipe their noses when they're oozing, and ease their worries when they are crying in the middle of the night. The point is, he's a dad (and husband) first and everything else is next.
-- Edye U.
I could go on and on, but here are the TOP 10 things I love about my husband being a dad:
1. He is always ready to play--even if the kids aren't!
2. He always knows the “right” thing to say -- he’s reasonable.
3. He is always cool, calm, and collected.
4. He is always giving 110 percent.
5. He is always up for a trip to Disneyland.
6. He is always positive (well, about 99.5 percent of the time).
7. He is always up for pancakes at Bob's Big Boy.
8. He is always willing to do the dirty work -- diapers, cleaning the grill for a party, doing the laundry, etc.
9. He is handy (he can put together toys).
10. He is SWEEEEEEEET!
-- Jackie F.
My husband is very handy around the house. It is a great comfort to me to know that he can fix just about anything that breaks. Growing up in a house without a dad, I really appreciate the worry that he takes off my shoulders whenever the washing machine overflows, birds make a nest in the eaves, or the pool lining rips. For the same reason, I appreciate him at night, as I am still a bit "afraid of the dark." After four kids and 11 years of marriage, I am confident that he will always be here for us. While it may sound old fashioned, he is a great provider and protector. Plus, he makes me laugh, makes a mean pancake, and still tells me I look good. I wish everyone were as lucky.
-- Elizabeth D.
When we first began talking about having kids it absolutely made me melt to have him whisper, "let's have a baby" and know that he truly meant it. When our son falls down, he runs to pick him up and wipe him off. When he's eating something, Daddy constantly worries that Joshua is going to choke. Bath time is daddy time, he changes every other diaper or pull-up and never complains. He encourages our son to take risks but never stands too far away. The thing I admire most about my husband is his commitment. His commitment to being the best daddy ever, to always be there for the important things, to always encourage and never discourage, to always love and protect his precious angels (even in the womb). It's nice to take stock every once in a while and remember what a blessing he is in our lives.
-- Amy J.
I love to see my husband, Harvey, with our daughters Jessica and Pamela enjoying themselves together. Even at the tender ages of 4 and 18 months, they enjoy listening to dad play the saxophone as they sing and dance along to familiar tunes. It is sheer joy watching them enjoy music together. My husband shows the girls that dads can really be fun.
-- Rosalind K.
Herman (daddy to Kenya and Kayla) devotes so much time and effort to his girls, from teaching them how to ride a bike to giving them baths every night. I am expecting another baby any day now and Herman ensures that the girls have dinner, baths and nightly stories, and most important, prayer time every single night. He is always up to date on what’s happening in my 7-year-old’s personal life (like she should have one). She talks to him all the time about things going on at school and in her life when she wouldn’t dare tell them to me. Where most men cannot be left with the kids for more than 2 hours, I have been able to leave my children with Daddy for 2 to 3 days at a time. I am truly grateful for a husband and father like Herman Lee.
-- Bobbie L.
Our children are our life. They have brought such joy into it. I know, especially with Easton, that life has been put into another perspective. The children look a lot like him, and act like him too. He is an amazing father and I see such pride and happiness in his eyes when they give him hugs and kisses, when they call for him. Especially when they run to him and throw their arms around his neck. He has sacrificed a lot for our children and me. Anyone can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a Daddy. Jason is truly a Daddy.
-- Stormy K.
Monday, May 15, 2006
This morning, I "hollered" out to DH, who was in the kitchen, "Hey, bring me one of those muffins, would you?" and he did. A few minutes later, I piped up again from my perch in bed, and said, "Um, Honey, a cold glass of milk would sure be nice." And he brought me a glass of milk. I guess that counts, doesn't it?
I didn't get breakfast in bed for Mother's Day; thus, I was pretty well convinced I wouldn't get it this morning, or any other morning, unless I took matters into my own hands. I had a rough day, yesterday, mostly due to my unrealistic expectations and unhealthy self-esteem. Today, I woke up to a new morning, a new mind-set, and new mercies. ("Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each day." Lamentations 3:23 NLT)
Don't get me wrong--DH was wonderful about giving me a beautiful card for Mother's Day, and gifts from the kids, too. My emotional slump was not caused by anything DH did or did not do. Rather, it was about who I am, and who I really want to be or wish I was.
A man tends to rate all of life's experiences on a performance scale: do I measure up? do I have what it takes to perform? A woman, on the other hand, asks only one question, through a myriad of lenses: am I worthwhile? do I have any value or beauty?
A word of advice to all of you dear husbands: don't wait for your wives to ask you for breakfast in bed. And to all the ladies, don't expect your husbands to read your minds--if you want a muffin and some milk, you'd better ask for it, or you'll get old and grey, waiting for it.
Thursday, May 11, 2006
DH did such a wonderful job! He made his speech into an object lesson, pulling "tools of the trade" out of his briefcase, just like a child's version of "Show and Tell!" He interacted with the children from the first "Good Morning!" telling them that they were more responsive than his own congregation when they cheerily shouted back a greeting.
The first "tool" he pulled from his briefcase was a huge red heart, cut out of construction paper. This was the most important tool of ministry, he said, because without a heart you cannot love God and love people. He recommended not going into the ministry without a real love for people.
The second tool was like the first, a construction-paper-cut-out ear. As with his first object, he asked the children for responses: "Why do you think you would need an ear in ministry?" The students answered well: "to hear what God is saying to you, so you can tell the people"; and, "to listen to people who are hurting and have problems."
DH's third tool was a clock. "Now, clocks don't mean anything to a pastor when he is preaching," he quipped, but he explained that a clock represented time, schedules, and priorities. "No, pastors don't work only on Sundays," he laughingly retorted to a kindergartner in the front row. "I put in about 50 - 60 hours a week, but I like to work, so I could live at the church and be happy."
Reaching back into his briefcase, DH pulled out a white towel. "What do you think I would need this for?" he quizzed the crowd. "Wiping the sweat off your face," one very astute little girl volunteered. "Drying off the ones who got baptized," said another clever little boy. "Yes, those are right answers," DH agreed, "But, does anyone remember a story in the Bible, where Jesus might have used a towel like this to wash something? In the Book of John, chapter 13, Jesus washed the feet of all his disciples to show them that being like Jesus meant being a servant. A minister must always be willing to serve people."
"Two more tools and then I'm done," DH said, for his concluding remarks. He pulled out a thick black Bible, and held it up high. "This is your textbook," he said. "If you want to be a pastor, and show people the ways of God, you have to know the ways of God. Learn to love the Word of God, and study the Bible as hard as you would study for one of Mr. Smith's tests." (Mr. Smith is the high school teacher.)
Finally, DH pulled out a telephone from his briefcase, and held it up. "In the ministry, you have to always be available, always "on call" for people in crisis. This phone rings a lot in our house. That's something our family has become accustomed to, and they know that I have to answer the telephone when someone calls for me. Another thing that this telephone represents is the calling of God. I don't recommend going into the ministry if you are not 100% sure that you are called to be a pastor. You have to know that you know He has called you, and God will confirm his calling to you in many ways."
Short and sweet, his presentation lasted about fifteen minutes--and then the school principal came up to ask for questions from the audience. He answered a few questions, and thanked the principal for inviting him, and then it was the mechanic's turn for "Show and Tell". Conversely, the mechanic did not bring any tools of his trade, so he had to just talk about them.
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
He played catcher on the church team for years, but it was fifteen years ago! Tonight, he played a catcher again. He went two for three--hitting two doubles--and he caught two foul balls, and tagged one out at home. Most of the team members acted impressed with his performance. One of the onlookers commented, "He's a pretty competitive player, isn't he?" I heard one guy say, "Wow! He did good!" after DH made solid contact with the bat and sank it into a hole deep in left field, paving the way for a double. On his second time at bat, DH hit another double, and one team member shouted, "Take two! Full steam ahead!" DH hustled, and made it to second base, but he told me later, "I didn't have the heart to tell him I was already running full steam ahead!" He got some good comments from the coach, and lots of good-natured ribbing about being the oldest guy on the team.
One thing is sure, DH is gonna be sore tomorrow! He called my cell phone while I was picking up a few groceries after work, and asked me to bring him home some "icy hot"--planning ahead for the pain. Those leg muscles got a work-out tonight; all that squatting at the batter's box!
I think it will be a good experience for DH to get back out and play a little ... as long as he doesn't hurt himself! It's fun to cheer for our team, and for him, and show the world that I'm his biggest fan!
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
We had a funeral on Saturday that included FIVE ministers, one Bible college student, and various family members participating in the program. It took a well-organized, diplomatic person to plan and direct that ceremony.
Even if each minister took only five minutes (that would be a miracle!) it would take twenty-five minutes to complete the ceremony. Add to that a poem, two video presentations, three hymns, and several comments from the congregation--it could take up to three hours!
The memorial service started out well, beginning (on time!) with a slide presentation. Each pastor spoke briefly, sharing a scripture or two, and eulogizing the beloved departed one. Interspersed with the speakers, a congregational hymn was sung, and a poem was read. The service was flowing smoothly along, until ... a dear elderly lady was invited to the microphone to share memories of her time as a Bible student under the discipleship of the memorialized professor. As she began to share her memories, more memories surfaced, and more stories were shared. Five minutes passed, then ten, then twenty. It became more about her own life story than about the history of the one who had passed away.
Surely you have been subjected to a similar discomfort as a tortured member of a captive audience, when the speaker went on endlessly, oblivious to the anguished body language of the "bored-to-tears" listeners. You could probably identify with those who suffered in silence, stifling yawns, and suppressing the urge to get up and leave. So, too, you would relate to the shock and relief that passed through the crowd, when my DH sprang into action!
DH had prepared for this very "snag" in the program, by coming down from the platform, and sitting on the front row, very near the place where the microphone stood. He offered the dear lady that microphone to speak from, rather than allowing her to "take the pulpit" and hoped that would assure brevity to her remarks. When it became apparent that nothing was going to work, he very tactfully and lovingly intervened. A cell phone rang in the audience, catching the speaker off guard, and taking advantage of the brief lull, my DH rose from the pew, grabbed the woman in a half-hug, and addressed the audience with the words: "Aren't you thankful for what God has done in this woman's life?" (He used her name, of course, but I shan't.) "Let's all give the Lord praise for what He has done." And the crowd clapped, a little too enthusiastically but nonetheless, with praise!
Escorting her to the front pew, he sat her down, and then took his place back up on the platform. Immediately, in unison, three of the other ministers whispered, "Good job!" as he sat down, and one of them said, "I could never have done that!" in tones of wonderment and awe.
A second slide presentation was shown, another minister spoke, and then DH offered some closing comments. Before he gave the benediction, he announced that a microphone would be set up in the fellowship hall for those who wished to add their comments, and a video recorder would permanently memorialize their tributes.
I think my DH met the expectations of the scripture verse: Let all things be done decently and in order. (1 Corinthians 14:40 KJV) I also think he exceeded the expectations of the family and friends, in paying tribute to their loved one, by honoring him with a truly wonderful memorial service.
--And that's just one of the many reasons why I love my husband!
Thursday, April 27, 2006
There is a radio program called "Nightsounds" hosted by Bill Pierce, that "offers excitingly beautiful and mellow music and verbal support, to meet the spiritual, emotional and ... physical needs of ... listeners who need a touch of quiet, soul satisfying inspiration and hope...". This is the kind of program that DH could easily step into, as a radio host.
I played a portion of the program over the internet, and DH instantly recognized the voice, and named the program! It's been years since we both heard that program; after all, it's only on in the "wee hours" of the morning; but with internet access, and the time difference, we can listen to it now at early evening hours!
I've often said that DH should "moonlight" as a radio host for a religious program, on a local radio station. He truly has a pleasant voice.
Monday, April 17, 2006
Since we both recently participated in our church Easter Musical presentation, I have to say that I am proud of my DH. He can sing! He was a valuable asset to the bass section, and I hope I helped to contribute to the soprano section.
DH was a late bloomer, in regards to vocal accomplishment. He went away to college, took a few voice lessons, and surprised everyone who knew him when he came home and sang a solo in church.
Of course, it's no surprise to me that he can sing. That was one of the requirements on my list for a future mate! We sang together during long romantic walks on our college campus. We sang together in Revivaltime Choir, a famous traveling college choir and radio broadcast program. We sang together in churches and nursing homes.
DH hasn't done a whole lot of singing, though. He sang "It is Well With My Soul" at his grandmother's funeral about four years ago. I think that's the last time he sang a solo.
A voice is like an instrument. If it gets out of practice, the voice gets a little "rusty" and crackly. DH said he had a bit of trouble with his voice, during the rehearsals and even the actual presentation. But, I'm sure no one else would have noticed.
I hope that DH continues to sing, exercising his instrument for God's glory!
Saturday, April 01, 2006
|Do I love my husband?|
|by Susan Quilliam |
Seriously, if you can relate to this article, I pray that you will find someone to offer counsel and spiritual guidance for your relationship.
Thursday, March 23, 2006
(Author Unknown) (Click on the title above for original website)
Discuss this list with your husband. Ask him to check the ones most meaningful to him and then arrange them in order of importance to him. Use this list as a basis for learning his views. Your relationship can be greatly strengthened as you use these suggestions.
- Communicate with him respectfully.
- Regard him as important and let him know he's important to you.
- Do everything you can to at least understand his feelings—even when you disagree with him.
- Be interested in his friends and occasionally give him time with them (if they are trust-worthy men).
- Ask for his opinion and let him know you value what he says.
- Tell him you both love him AND like him.
- Let him feel your approval and affections.
- Protect his dignity on a daily basis.
- Be tender with him realizing he has feelings also.
- Foster an atmosphere of laughter in your home. Look for ways to laugh together.
- Avoid sudden major changes without discussion giving him time to adjust.
- When you go out on a date together don't bring up problems—reserve that time to one of having fun together.
- Focus on what he's doing right, instead of focusing so often on the negatives.
- Show interest in what he feels is important in life.
- Correct him gently and in private.
- Recognize that the first few minutes after a spouse comes home often sets the stage for the way the rest of the evening will go. So try to make the first few minutes of seeing each other a more positive experience if possible. (And then ease into the negative if it's necessary.)
- Make special time available to him apart from the children.
- Don't allow any family member to treat him disrespectfully. You should be the one to defend him to any family member that dishonors his place as your husband.
- Compliment him often.
- Be creative when you express your love, both in words and in actions.
- Talk with him about having specific family goals for each year to work on to achieve together so you will both feel closer to each other as a marital team.
- Don't over commit yourself. Leave time for him.
- Be forgiving when he offends you.
- Find ways to show him you need him.
- Encourage alone time for him when it's possible. (This energizes him to reconnect with you at other times.)
- Admit your mistakes; don't be afraid to be humble. Peel away your pride.
- Defend him to anyone who is being disrespectful in their talk about him, remembering that love protects (1 Corinthians 13:7).
- Respect his desire to do well—not his performance.
- Rub his feet or neck, or scratch his back after a hard day.
- Take time for the two of you to sit and talk calmly (schedule it when necessary).
- Initiate going out on romantic outings (when he's not tired).
- Write him a letter occasionally, telling him how much you love him.
- Surprise him with a fun gift of some kind.
- Express how much you appreciate him for working so hard to support the family.
- Tell him how proud you are of him.
- Give advice in a loving way — not in a nagging or belittling way.
- Help your husband to be the Spiritual head of the home (without "lording" it over him that you're helping).
- Look for ways to reserve some of your energies for him so you're not so tired when he wants and needs you sexually.
- Don't expect him to do projects beyond his capabilities. All men aren't born equal in this area of expertise.
- Pray for him to enjoy God's best in life.
- Take the time to notice what he has done for you and the family.
- Brag about him to other people both in front of him and even when he's not there.
- Share your thoughts and feelings with him (but keep it brief when he's tired—sometimes men can feel "flooded" by too many words).
- Tell him 3 things you specifically appreciate about him.
- Honor him in front of the children (and differ respectfully in private when it's necessary).
- Give him time to unwind for a few minutes after coming home from work, and then take your "time out", giving him a few minutes with the children.
- Get up with him, even when he gets up earlier than you want to and pray with him. (Hopefully you can go back to sleep afterwards. If not, it's a sacrifice worth making.)
- Be his "help-mate" in whatever ways you sense he needs it.
- Do some shoulder-to-shoulder activities with him (like watching a movie or driving quietly in a car) without talking. Sometimes men just like to BE with you and not talk.
- Be a student of your husband's ways so you can show your love for him in ways he'll better comprehend it.
- When your husband is in a bad mood—give him quiet time to recover.
- Help him to finish his goals, hobbies, or education when he needs your help.
- Treat him as if God has stamped on his forehead: "Handle With Care".
- Work to get rid of habits that annoy him.
- Be kind & thoughtful to his relatives. Don't make him choose between you & them.
- Don't compare his relatives with yours in a negative way.
- Thank him for things he's done around the house. (It means a lot to men).
- Don't expect credit for all you do for him and the household. Do it as "unto the Lord".
- Make sure he understands everything important that you're planning to do.
- Do little things for him—an unexpected kiss, coffee in bed, etc.
- Don't belittle his intelligence or be cynical in your words with him.
- Initiate sex periodically. And respond more often.
- Sometimes let him enjoy his day off work without having to "work" at home.
- Get to the point in your discussions with him. Spare him details unless he wants them.
- Discover his sexual needs.
- Surprise him with a 15 second kiss when he gets home from work.
- Wink at him from across the room when you're out at a group function.
- Give him the benefit of the doubt when he says things in a wrong way. Think, "What's he really trying to say?"
- Don't quarrel over words.
- Don't forget to use common courtesies with your husband. (Too often we're kinder to strangers than we are to our own spouse.)
- When something goes wrong, instead of assessing blame, focus on how to do better.
- Never say, "I told you so."
- Don't argue over money. Peacefully discuss future expenditures instead.
- Take him out on dates—pre-planning all of the details ahead of time.
- Hold his hand in public. Snuggle up close to him at times both at home and in public.
- Praise his good decisions; minimize the bad ones. (And if you need to discuss the bad ones do so respectfully, looking for ways to make better decisions in the future.)
- Tell him you love him often.
- Put love notes in his pockets and brief case.
- Sit with him while he's watching television—even if the program doesn't interest you.
- Don't ask of him to read your mind. (Family's are spared the grief when a husband isn't required to read their wife's mind despite the fact that the woman thinks he should.)
- Periodically, give him time with his family alone.
- Check with him before you throw away his junky looking papers. (He may view them as more important than you realize.)
- Work to keep yourself in shape in every way.
- Let him express himself freely, without fear of being called stupid or illogical.
- Carefully choose your words, especially when angry—remembering, as the Bible says, to "speak the truth in LOVE".
- Don't criticize him in front of others—keeping his dignity in tact.
- Visit his childhood home with him.
- When you're angry with him, express it in ways that are respectful. Don't give him the silent treatment.
- Pray for him.
- Make him homemade soup when he's sick.
- Look your best—dress to honor him and make him proud to be seen with you.
- Support him when someone tries to put him down. Be his best cheer leader.
- Don't disagree with him in front of the children.
- Take him for a weekend get-away without the children.
- Cheer his successes whether in business or in other areas of everyday living.
- Be gracious in teaching him how to show you ways that will demonstrate his love for you.
- Give him coupons to redeem—maybe for a back scratch or a shoulder rub.
- Buy him a gift certificate to his favorite lunch spot and put it in his wallet.
- Hide notes for him around the house where only he will find them.
- Thank him for just being himself.
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
DH's father had a heart attack last weekend. (He turned 83 years old in February.) DH wasn't sure if he needed to fly down to be with them or not, but his dad is fine, though recovering from two separate procedures to place stints in two of his arteries (one was 80% blocked, the other one was 100% blocked). He has friends and family there to support them.
My step-dad is celebrating his 60th birthday this Friday night, with a big party. If it were not for the marriage retreat, I would have probably taken a flight to visit him and my mom. He'll be fine, though; there will be many friends and family there to honor his birthday.
I'm almost holding my breath in anticipation of this "Weekend to Remember" marriage retreat! I've waited so long ... I've been asking DH to take me to some sort of marriage retreat for twenty years. In that twenty years, we have hosted several retreats, taught at some retreats, and counseled many couples to go to marriage retreats. But, DH always had some excuse or another for not going with me to a retreat just for our marriage. Pastors have free registration, so that's not a good excuse--and the one about him being "too busy" is not a very good excuse, either.
As we approach our twentieth anniversary (20 years!!!) this coming May, DH has graciously granted me the opportunity of a lifetime, and signed us up for "A Weekend to Remember" for a lifetime!
All things considered, this is probably the best time ever to go to a retreat. I've heard DH muttering to himself about not wanting to attend a marriage retreat now that things are going pretty well in our relationship, for fear that some issues will come up that will "muck it all up."
Truly, we have been doing quite well relationally, and I think it is a wonderful time to build upon a healthy foundation and strengthen it with intimacy-building exercises. If we had gone last year, when I was in the throes of a terrible depression, it might not have been so edifying!
Thank you, Lord, for healing me of depression, and for allowing our relationship to improve so much that we can look forward to "A Weekend to Remember".
Thank you, DH, for being brave enough to schedule it! I can't wait!!!
Monday, March 20, 2006
They both made comments about how nice it was that I had that kind of a relationship with my husband, but one of them wryly commented that I still had eyes that could be used. I think they found it rather hard to believe that I wouldn't even notice if a cute guy walked by.
I'd rather have a boring Monday at work, and miss all the cute guys walking by, because I know I have a "hottie" to come home to. How sad I was for the husbands on the Dr. Phil show tonight, whose wives were out partying, doing drugs, and flashing private parts. Those marriages are headed for a train-wreck!
Dear DH (Dear "Hottie"),
Like the words of the song sung by the famous crooner, Frank Sinatra, "I only have eyes for you."
Sunday, March 05, 2006
She also has inherited his obsessive-compulsive personality, as exhibited in a strong need to have the details of the day planned out in advance, a strong dislike of being late for anything, and a workaholic nature. She seems to have a slight bit of dyslexia, like her father. She also is gifted with his powers of observation, and creativity.
Mia celebrated her fifteenth birthday, recently. Daddy's little girl is growing up! Their relationship has never been better than it is at this moment. There is a lasting, special bond--though at times it has been somewhat of a "love-hate" display of emotion, especially through the turbulence of pre-pubescence.
We couldn't be any more proud of the way she is developing into a mature young lady. She has a 4.0 in school; she is well-liked and sociable (15 girls were invited to her birthday party from her class, and they all came!); she is responsible and careful with finances, even tithing on her babysitting income; and most of all, she is tender-hearted for spiritual things, and a faithful worker for God.
I know that part of the reason their relationship has improved is the investment of more of daddy's time in his daughter's life. They have gone on trips together, and out on dates, and have daily connection time on the morning rides to school. I must admit, I have pushed hard for DH to do more things with both our children. (He was not naturally a nurturer; I have always suspected he had some sort of a dissociative attachment disorder due to his adoption.) I am thrilled with the changes that I see in both father and daughter.
I know he loves his "little" girl, and I know she knows and feels his love, too. He was just saying something the other night about "flowers in her hair" (referring to the song, "Butterfly Kisses") and it was so sweetly sentimental I was almost shocked!
Lord, thank you for the special bond between a daddy and his first-born daughter! She will always be... "Daddy's little girl."
There's two things I know for sure.
She was sent here from heaven,
and she's daddy's little girl.
As I drop to my knees by her bed at night,
she talks to Jesus, and I close my eyes.
And I thank God for all of the joy in
my life, But most of all, for...
Butterfly kisses after bedtime prayer.
Stickin' little white flowers all up in her hair.
"Walk beside the pony
daddy, it's my first ride."
"I know the cake looks funny,
daddy, but I sure tried."
Oh, with all that I've done wrong,
I must have done something right
To deserve a hug every morning,
And butterfly kisses at night.
Sweet sixteen today,
She's looking like her momma
a little more everyday.
One part woman, the other part girl.
To perfume and makeup,
from ribbons and curls.
Trying her wings out in a great
big world. But I remember...
Butterfly kisses after bedtime prayer.
Stickin' little white flowers all up in her hair.
"You know how much I love you daddy,
But if you don't mind,
I'm only going to kiss you on
the cheek this time."
With all that I've done wrong
I must have done something right.
To deserve her love every morning,
And butterfly kisses at night.
Friday, February 24, 2006
My idea of a perfectly delightful day off is to sleep in until noon! Well, after all, it is supposed to be a day of REST, is it not? So, when DH would come bouncing boldly back into the bedroom after his morning run to carpool the kiddos, and announce with gusto that he was hungry and we should go eat breakfast at Country Kitchen, I would tend to greet his idea with something less than enthusiasm. My favorite Scripture verse is Proverbs 27: 14 "If a man loudly blesses his neighbor early in the morning, it will be taken as a curse."
or, as The Message Bible paraphrases,
14 If you wake your friend in the early morning
by shouting "Rise and shine!"
It will sound to him
more like a curse than a blessing.
Nevertheless, not having to cook breakfast and clean the kitchen did sound better and better the more awake I became, so I would often take him up on his offer. DH was willing to patiently wait for me to dress for the day, and soon we would be off to the restaurant. Three hours later, and thirty bucks poorer, we would finally get home again. It seemed like a long list of errands would suddenly be remembered, and I sometimes felt like a captive passenger.
Someone might be in the hospital, and DH would explain as he drove, "It would be so convenient to drop in for a quick visit on our way." Worse still, DH sometimes felt the need to sneak back into the office "just for a minute" on the pretense of retrieving a book or piece of mail, and I would have to come along for the ride, and pray that he wouldn't get side-lined by several members of the congregation who also might have just "stopped by for a minute."
I do appreciate DH's help with domestic chores, and I readily admit to being organizationally challenged. (Okay, okay--I'm lazy, there I said it! However, I prefer to think of it as being more "laid back".) ;-) My DH has a bit of compulsive-obsessive traits in his personality, and he has helped me to learn over the years that he cannot relax until his world is in order. (He's the kind of guy that makes the bed in a hotel room, go figure!) Unfortunately, DH is perfectly willing to help me with the chores, right when I am reluctant to be helped. It's not that I don't see the need to get it done, it's just the timing and priority of what needs to be done.
Another frustration is that when DH starts any home repair or home maintenance project, it automatically becomes the "family" project. This was directly learned from his dad, a truck driver/cattle farmer, who practically ruined every family holiday gathering by forcing the entire family to go out and herd cattle, or some other unpleasant task. I remember one Thanksgiving when he started to dismantle the entire refrigerator, trying to fix the ice-maker, while all the women were getting dinner. What an awful pain that was, tripping over him, reaching around him to get the items we needed in the fridge!
If DH (and his dad) had a "mantra" it would probably be something like, "the family that works together, stays together." So, when Dad shovels the snow, we all shovel snow. When Dad picks up the "poop" we all get to share the joy. (Are we having fun, yet?!)
On top of every other frustration, the pinnacle of every marriage "discussion", is the matter of finances. It is not fun to hang around the house on bill-paying days. It's never fun to pay bills. It's especially not fun when there isn't enough money to pay all the bills. No fun; 'nuff said.
Being a firm believer in the restorative power of play therapy--and just wanting to have some fun on my days off--I had to seriously ponder the pros and cons of spending my days off with DH. On the one hand, I love him, and want to be with him: on the other hand, it's kind of nice doing my own thing, which may actually involve not doing much besides sleeping!!!
Then came a Monday morning, not long ago. Totally out of the blue, DH rolled over when the alarm went off, and said, "I think I'm going to stay home today. Wanna take the day off with me?" Totally out of character, at first I thought maybe he was talking in his sleep. Then, I thought he was sick or depressed! "What's wrong?" I asked, waking more quickly than usual.
He assured me nothing was wrong; he was just tired. We had had a very busy weekend, with back-to-back commitments.
It didn't take too much persuasion to talk me into calling my boss and asking to re-schedule my day off. (Have I mentioned that I love the flexibility of my job?) We each took one kid to school (they go to private schools in opposite directions), then met in the parking lot of Country Kitchen. After enjoying a nice leisurely breakfast, we came home and went to bed. Now, that's my idea of a day off!
A couple of hours later, we rose, rested and satisfied, ready to face the daunting tasks ahead. I made coffee, and we both had our computer/devotional time. After a while, we looked at the finances together, cut up a few credit cards, paid a few bills, and then it was done! Since I've put many bills on auto-pay, and others are paid online, it actually wasn't as painful a process as it had been in the past.
Later on, we took the dog for a walk. The kids came home, did their homework, helped with the dinner dishes, and did a few other little chores. After dinner, we all watched TV together.
That night, as I lay in bed, reflecting on our perfectly delightful day off, I was amazed at how much things have changed for the better in my relationship with DH. He actually wants to spend time with me--and I actually want to be with him! In my Valentine's Day card from DH, he thanked me for my intense love for him over the past few months. It struck me that my love has grown more intense, almost without realizing it, over a time period that correlates with the creation of this blog!
I'm a witness to the "power of positive thinking" and loving!
Monday, February 20, 2006
It was years before DH ever consistently took a regular day off from work. He worked seven days a week! If and when my Dear Hubby ever decided to stay home from the office, it was usually due to extreme physical fatigue or near emotional breakdown, and the mood of the whole day was predictable. Picture the shades drawn, the house quiet, and the poor pastor in bed all day, nursing a monster headache. Fun for the whole family? I think not!
Mondays are the usual choice for busy pastors to be away from the office. Our staff used to take Mondays off together, so they could have more days to stay connected through the week. But I grew to despise Mondays, and finally banished him back to the office. I decided that if he was going to be sick, miserable, and depressed every Monday, he could just as well take it out on those who dished it to him at church, and not punish his family.
Oh, the arguments that surrounded the awful subject of "A Day OFF"--the hurts that were embedded into my heart from his rejection of me! What devastating patterns developed through the years of forming a codependent relationship with a "workaholic" husband!
Unobtrusively, an amazing change transpired, so slowly it was almost inperceptible. DH began to consistently take Thursdays off. It offered a nice mid-week break, far enough away from last Sunday for him to be in a better mood, yet not too close to next Sunday for him to be stressed out.
Without actually intending it, DH began to develop a "day off" routine. Thursdays just happened to be "trash pick-up day" in our neighborhood, so every Thursday morning DH obediently gathered all the garbage, enlisting the help of the kids, and set it out by the curb, on his way to take one or both of the kids to school. (Some mornings, he would give me a break, and drive them both; other days, I took them both, so he could sleep in.)
If I had the day off from work, he would take me out for breakfast, and we would stop by Sam's Club for groceries or run other errands after breakfast. If I worked, he would do the Sam's run himself, and maybe dawdle a bit longer in the books section or the electronics department. Then it was home to make coffee and read the Word. The rest of the day was generally divided into home maintenance projects, bill-paying, web-surfing, and naps.
I was so proud of him: it took a long time, but he finally figured out how to take a day off, and what that looked like to normal people. We even did family things together at night, like walk the dog, ride bikes, or (most often) watch TV together.
Trouble is: it took so long, it almost ruined my desire to be with him on his day off! I actually came to that sad realization very recently.
After a few Thursdays off without me, DH asked out of curiosity, why I had been taking Wednesdays off instead of Thursdays. I told him truthfully that I hadn't even thought about it; it was just how the schedule had been made up, and coincidentally had fallen into that pattern. I told him I would look into getting it changed.
Secretly, I had to spend some serious consideration on whether or not I wanted to make the change to spend my day off from work with him! Reading between the lines of the blissful "day off routine" described above, I realized there were many "slip-ups" on his road to recovery, and my DH quite frankly was not always "fun" to be with!
...To Be Continued...
(Would it be considered "cheating" if I carried over this topic into Reason #22?)
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
I was "Grandma," and I must say I didn't do too bad myself. It was my third time playing a grandma in a church play, so I must be doing something right. (Or, do I just have that "matronly figure"?!)
DH bought a pair of denim overalls and a plaid flannel shirt, and he wore his gray fleece slippers. I dyed his hair and whiskers gray, and poured baby powder over his head to cover the bald spot. He put his glasses down on the edge of his nose, and pretended to be hard of hearing.
I wore a granny dress, and an embroidered apron, with my blue fuzzy slippers, and a cuddly cardigan sweater. I had my hair in a bun (I added a hair piece, since my hair is so short) and poured powder all over it, and I had a pair of "granny" glasses around my neck. (I made the glasses holder myself, from an old pearl necklace.) For the finishing touch, I pulled out a real lace hankerchief, for the dramatic tear-jerker scene.
We really "hammed it up" since we were the only adults participating in the play. The teens did a good job, but they didn't know how to project their voices very well. Thankfully, they were able to use microphones. DH and I had the main character parts, and we had to use "cheat sheets" to keep our lines flowing. We sat at a table for almost the whole play, so we could hide our lines under our napkins.
Everyone commented afterward at how well we both did. I think they loved the juxtaposition of his character, from a preacher to a farmer, from his usual suit and tie, to flannel shirt and overalls. I know they were surprised that I could "act" and put my whole self into the part of a doting granny.
I was so proud of DH. It was fun, and it was strangely "bonding" to be in a play like that together. It was almost like pretending to be ourselves in forty years!
Sunday, January 29, 2006
You may be tempted to offer an opinion on her new hairdo; you may be coaxed into giving suggestions on how to change her coiffure; you may even be tempted to tease her about her tresses. Don't do it! Those five little words seem innocent enough, but it's a trap!
There is only one RIGHT answer to the question, every time. Offer a simple, sincere-sounding "Yes!" then, change the subject or run out of the room!
My DH knows the right answer. We've had many conversations over the years on how to answer the question, "Do you like my hair?". But, today, in a moment of fatigue and hunger, in-between bites of beef stew, my DH got caught in the trap!
As I let those five little words slip from my mouth with a good-natured tone, DH looked up and casually commented, "Well, yes, I guess so--but it looks kind of like an 'old-lady' style, doesn't it?"
"Oh, so you think I look like an old lady, do you?" Sparks flew, smoke blew from my nostrils.
"NO! I didn't say that, I should have just said, yes!" He ran in terror from the room, and I heard him mutter to himself under his breath, "Idiot!"
I have to admit, it's so much fun to catch him off-guard.
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
"Lord, help me to love _____ the way you love _____."
I, on the other hand, struggle greatly with holding on to offenses that really were not even directed toward me, but toward my husband. I need to stop reading his "hate-mail" because it really is hard for me to look at people in church on Sunday knowing what they wrote on Thursday in an e-mail to my husband!
Sunday, January 22, 2006
We had a guest speaker today. He was a missionary--a very young, newly-married missionary. He was given a "window," which means a 10-minute presentation, instead of preaching a whole sermon. He did a fine job. But he did the "preacher-thang" that I despise:
"Who died for you?" (cupping his hand to his ear)After the service, the comment was made that this preacher was really "anointed". What exactly does that mean? Is "anointed" another word for LOUD?
JESUS! (the audience dutifully responds)
"Who forgives all your sins?" (raising his voice slightly)
JESUS! "Who is your Savior?" (working up a frenzy)
JESUS! "Who loves you?" (shouting)
JESUS! (by now, the audience is exhausted)
In contrast, my DH began his sermon with an unusual introduction. He gave a bit of an explanation about why he was going to preach on something completely different than the bulletin notes. That in itself was not unusual, because he occasionally is prompted by God to change his sermon at the last minute. What made it so unusual was how he began to talk to the audience in such a low-key manner, it was like he was just sitting across the table from you.
"This morning, I woke up at 3:30am. I've been having trouble sleeping for the past six months or so, I don't really know why. Sometimes it's because I'm stressed or worried about things, and sometimes it's just because I'm hungry. Well, this morning, I woke up because I was hungry, and I just had to get something to eat. I had a craving for yogurt. So, I was standing in my kitchen, in front of the open refrigerator, looking for the yogurt, and I began to think about today's sermon."
He went on to give a powerful treatise on Psalm 139:14, "Fearfully and Wonderfully Made"--in honor of "Sanctity-Of-Life" Sunday. His sermon was riveting, convicting, and deeply moving. A man sitting up in the balcony bowed and cried with his head in his hands; two women raised their hands to answer the altar call for salvation; five people responded for prayer for forgiveness of sins, several came to the altar and poured out their hearts to God. And he didn't have to SHOUT!
At the restaurant, sitting across the table from me, DH commented on the young missionary's shouting match. He reminisced about a pastor-friend from a little country church in Iowa who was known to preach an entire sermon to his wife and children and one man in the back pew, shouting every word with a loud voice. One day, the pastor's nine-year-old son told my DH that his dad preached, but DH just "talked".
Perhaps it's just a matter of personal taste, a difference of "style". Maybe it's just what you grew up with, hearing someone shouting at you from behind a pulpit every Sunday morning. There certainly seems to be a wide variance of opinion as to what "anointed preaching" looks and sounds like.
If preaching equals shouting, I'd prefer talking over preaching any day, especially on Sundays!
PS: this post only applies to preaching; not cell-phone usage. Every time my DH answers the cell phone in a public place I have to scold him for shouting instead of talking!
Friday, January 06, 2006
Back in our college days, we were poor young students. Correction--he was a young student, and I was a POOR young student. My first impressions of DH were his flashing gold pen, leather briefcase, and three!piece suits. Across the crowded classroom, I watched as he scribbled furiously, looking for all the world like a pre-med or pre-law student, not a student of theology.
He was one of few privileged students who had his own vehicle. Granted, it was a pitiful excuse for a car, but it provided transportation. DH had been handed down a Ford Pinto, from two older sisters who had wrecked it several times apiece. It was a precious sight to see him driving down the street with one hand on the steering wheel, and the other on the driver's side door so that it would not fly open.
Before I digress too far down memory lane, I will simply say that he came from a well-to-do family, but he was not a spoiled rich kid. His parents had earned every penny the hard way, through the Depression years, and they were not about to dole it out frivolously. Dh had his tuition paid, but he kept a part-time job the entire four years while attending college, so that he could afford to support me!
I was poor! I came from a ne'er-do-well family. My father was a poor preacher, pastoring at little country churches with funny names like "Hammersly Fork." We were very familiar with food stamps, free meal tickets, and food banks.
So off I went to Bridal College--I mean Bible College--to find me a man! (I mean a ministry!) Seriously, the greatest gift my father gave to me was the promise to pay half my tuition costs, and to help me to subsidize the rest with grants and scholarships.
I needed a coat; a good coat that could withstand the midwestern winter winds, but not be too warm for the southern sun. DH bought me one for my birthday. I needed new clothes, and some shoes. DH got me some outfits for Christmas, and his mom bought me a pair of shoes. I needed a watch. DH bought me one. I needed a wallet. DH bought me one. And so on, and so forth, all throughout our college days.
DH spent sleepless weeknights as a front desk clerk in a hotel, so that he could treat me like a queen on weekends, taking me to the finest restaurants. He proposed to me on my birthday, hiding the ring in a bouquet presented by the waiter, and led me out for a victory ride around the city, when I said, "Yes!" No, we didn't ride in the Pinto: it was in a limousine!!!
Fast forward ten or twenty years: DH still treats me like a queen, but not every weekend! DH bought me a purse for my birthday (I needed one! really!) and a watch for Christmas. And my son bought me a wallet! My daughter bought me a make-up brush set and some other more feminine, but practical gifts, like fuzzy socks.
Like every man, DH had to learn the hard way that strictly practical gifts are completely unacceptable: like the toaster that he gave me for our anniversary. (But it was a four-slice one!)
In order to be appreciated, a gift for a woman must be not only practical, but luxurious!
To translate that concept into "male-speak" it isn't a "gift" for a woman if it only benefits the house. That would be considered a useful tool, like a vacuum cleaner or blender. A lot of men understand what a "tool" is, but they get tools as "gifts", so it confuses them greatly. To make matters worse, they totally understand the concept of "practical", but hardly ever agree on the term, "luxurious".
Teach your man what "luxurious" means to you, and you will both be satisfied when he chooses to give you something practical--but luxurious!
Thank you, Lord, for my dear husband. I'm very appreciative of his good gifts. I could go on and on about all the good gifts he has given me, but he would appreciate me giving him the gift of a good night's sleep!