Saturday, May 9, 2009

A Little of This, A Lot Of That

First of all, if you haven't read the comments in the previous post, Gym Thoughts, you really need to do so. There were some very entertaining entries about "interesting" gifts you all have received through the years. I guarantee the stories will make you laugh. Or at least chortle. And if you want to add your very own chortle-worthy entry? Well, that would be great!

Now moving along into the future, I want to mention a few noteworthy dates coming up this week.

Sunday, May 10 Mother's Day

I will never forget when Nathan was about six years old and began to more completely understand the idea of honoring Moms and doing nice things for them on their day. He pondered the whole concept for a few minutes (pondering must be hereditary) and then asked me with great earnestness, "Do you think they'll ever have Boy Day?"

Boy Day. I love it.

Wednesday, May 13 Steve's Birthday

Is it possible that I could be married to a man who is in his fifties? Surely not! I met him when I was only seventeen and he was twenty-two; how could he possibly be fifty-two already? I must say though, that he is one of the youngest 52-year olds I've ever met--in his appearance, his sense of adventure, and his outlook on life. I think Steve is one of those guys who will NEVER be old!

Which is just one of the many reasons I love him! He keeps me young! (Well, youngish.)

Saturday, May 16 Six Month "Anniversary" of Being Between Pastorates

I haven't written a lot about this subject but I'm sure you all have read between the lines of the things I DO write about. You no doubt already realize that six months without a paycheck, six months without a place to belong, six months without nearby friends, six months of not knowing where we're headed, six months of not knowing where we're going to live or where Sarah will go to school, etc. all take their toll.

And a toll has been taken. A toll is being taken.

We have important deadlines looming, like getting Nathan re-enrolled for his sophomore year by a certain (soon coming) date. Can't do that without money. We have no house buyers on the horizon, which is just a tad worrisome. We frankly feel like a "family with no country" and six months is a long time to be in such complete and total limbo. We're lonely and displaced and sometimes even feel a bit misplaced.

Some of you might even be wondering by this point, "Well, is there some sort of Big Black Blot on Steve's resume'? Is that why he can't find a new church?"

Well, let me explain it this way. Steve is ordained with the Assemblies of God; in that denomination, the overseers of each state are called District Superintendents. Steve's resume' contains glowing recommendations from not just one District Superintendent (which would be an honor in itself) but THREE! It also contains recommendations from well known pastors in North and South Carolina. (Which is where we're hoping to stay.) So nope, no Big Black Blots anywhere! Just a long, slow, and sometimes very discouraging process.

So would you mind if I asked you a favor? Since this week contains some important Smith dates, can we make this a "pray for the Smiths" week? Maybe each time you pray over a meal, or right before you go to sleep, or when you're sitting at a stoplight, will you just say a quick prayer for us? We can't remain where we are indefinitely and we desperately need to experience God's direction very soon. If you'll pray, would you sign the guest book and let us know? That would be so encouraging for us. Thanks in advance.

And the LAST event of the week?

Sunday, May 17 Sarah Celebrates Seven Years of Being a Cancer Survivor!

There will be lots more about that later.

In closing, since Mother's Day will arrive in just a few hours, I'll sign off with a picture of the only two people on the planet who call me Mom. And I love them both more than words can say.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Gym Thoughts

I was at the gym yesterday, busily huffing (not to mention puffing) on one of their lovely and delightsome torture machines. Since I'm a compulsive reader from way back, I was looking around the room for some sort of something to read that would distract me from my pain-n-agony.

And then what to my wondering eyes should appear but . . . something to read! O happiest of happy days! My "something to read" turned out to be a nicely laid out advertisement in a clear frame, set on the counter right in front of me. I was exceedingly thrilled to have my very own personal distraction.

I started at the top of the advertisement (as I am wont to do) and as I read along, I discovered that the gym was offering a special Mother's Day package. I thought, "How nice!"

Reading a little further, I saw that the package included an hour long massage.

I thought, "How even nicer!"

Continuing to read, I discovered that this fabulous Mother's Day gift also included three sessions with a personal trainer.

Hmmmm. I pondered that for just a moment before reading further and finding out that the final item in the package was a private consultation with a registered dietitian.

Okay people. I'm just trying to think how I would feel (especially if I had a little extra weight to lose) if Steve were to present me with a Mother's Day package including sessions with a trainer and a dietitian. I mean, WHAT exactly is that saying? "I love you, honey. Lose some weight."

Is it just me, or is that not a smart idea?

Now I can understand the logic of purchasing this package if a man has been told by his wife that she would LOVE to go to the gym and meet with trainers and dietitians. Then I say, "Go for it!"

But fellas, if you just appear out of the blue with a Gift Certificate like this in your hand, when your wife has never expressed any interest in a gym? Then my advice to you is to be prepared for a few nights on the couch. Or in the dog house. (Literally and figuratively.)

And don't even THINK about getting her a Thigh Master. In fact, if you give your wife any exercise-based item without her request, she will use said exercise weapon to wop you upside the head.

And you will deserve it.

Now if you'll humor me for just a moment, I have one more Gym Thought I'd like to write about. Actually it has to do with gyms AND the whole weight losing process. A year ago when I had thirty pounds--and a bunch of inches--to lose, I am so grateful that my hubby never, ever made me feel less than loved or less than attractive. He never stopped complimenting me and telling me I was beautiful and he never once inferred that I would be more appealing to him without all my extra "fluffiness."

Unconditional love is a wonderful thing and it's one of the best gifts my husband has ever given me.

Okay. That's all for the mushiness.

Before I close, let me just say how much I would love to hear any stories you all may have of previous Mother's Days (or birthdays) when you received some "interesting" gifts. Do tell! It will give us all something to chortle over.

And it's a proven fact that chortling burns calories. I think one of those gym dietitians figured that out.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Our Other Blog

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, it's time to run over to our other blog for todays update.

And that's all I'm sayin'!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Spider Brothers


Last week while Steve was out of town, I had the unhappy privilege of making the acquaintance of two spider brothers; one took over the front porch while the other commandeered the back deck. (I say they were brothers because they looked exactly the same.)

Now these were not friendly, cute, Disney-esque spider brothers—no, these guys were huge and fat and hairy and they scared me to no end. Every time I got the courage to brush one away with a broom (they both built webs on or near the doors) they would be back in a matter of hours. It got to the point where I was paranoid about opening either of the doors to let Snowy out to “do his business” because I was afraid I would run into one of them. So I not only had spider brothers lurking on the outside, I also had a miserable dog lurking on the inside.

Two harrowing days of spider dodging passed. Very early on the third morning, I dragged out of bed and immediately began to dread the pending Spider Brother Brouhaha. However, I couldn't put it off very long because as soon as Snowy heard me rattling around he immediately came to inform me that he had to go outside—NOW!

I thought, “Okay, I am a brave, strong, mature woman who is not going to be an intimated by a relatively petite arachnid. I am not going to cower any longer. I am going to march myself downstairs and I am going to open the front door and I am going to show those spiders WHO. IS. BOSS!"

Snowy accompanied me down the stairs and over to the door—he was one desperate doggie and I’m sure he was eager to assist me in any way possible. Sidling to the door, I took a deep, (hyperventilating) breath, flipped on the porch light and eased the door open about half way. Right there in front of me, dangling two inches from my horrified face was a spider brother.

Oh brother.

I SLAMMED the door shut just as Snowy was getting a fleeting glimpse of the promised land. What his little doggie brain wasn’t able to comprehend, though, was that I would have to walk THROUGH that spider’s web in order to get to his leash so basically, we were trapped. A full-bladdered doggie and I were being held hostage by a dastardly spider in the front of the house and his even more dastardly brother in the back.

By this time, I was starting to get mad. I started to mutter to myself, “Well, enough is ENOUGH! I have HAD it! I am going to declare WAR!

I strode toward the laundry room and snatched the cap off the top of the bug spray with a vengeance. This spider was about come to face to face with a mad momma who was going to defend her little homestead to the death.

I then went into the kitchen and snatched up our broom; with Snowy staying close by my side (and looking more desperate by the minute) I stalked back over to the door. I stood there for a moment and tried to psyche myself up like a professional wrestler might do. I was saying all sorts of mean things about the spider and how I had HAD it, and was not going to TAKE it any more and that spider had better WATCH OUT! Snowy, in the meantime, was eying a corner of our new carpet with some longing which confirmed to me that the time had definitely come to act.

This time around, I didn’t ease the door. No sirree. I FLUNG it open with the most aggressive, spider-fighting gesture I could muster and directed a few bursts of spray in the general direction of the spider. Unfortunately, he and his web were floating around so much that it was next to impossible to zero in on him. After futilely flailing around with the spray a few more moments, I grabbed the broom and began to brandish it wildly in a frantic attempt to knock Brother Spider down to the porch.

I finally succeeded in getting him down only to discover that he was not only moving fast but he was also moving toward the INSIDE of the house! I screeched, “Oh no you don’t!” and chased him around the front porch, yelling and whacking and swinging my trusty kitchen broom like a wild, suburban, Schwarzenegger-type assassin.

It took about ten whacks before I accomplished my goal. Let me just say that Brother Spider had a very severe headache and wasn’t moving very much by the time I swept him off the porch and sprayed around the area with my trusty can of bug spray. FINALLY I was able to hook poor little Snowy out in the yard where his look of desperation morphed into pure bliss. I knew exactly what he was thinking by the look on his face: “Ahhh!”

As I headed triumphantly back into the house, it suddenly occurred to me that any other early risers in our neighborhood would have just witnessed a few very rich moments of unparalleled entertainment. I tried to picture the whole spider incident from their viewpoint: Door bursts open, woman with wild hair and fuzzy, tattered pink sweater (worn over pajamas) appears with broom and spray can. Suddenly, with no warning whatsoever, she begins to behave in a maniacal fashion, swinging her arms like a dysfunctional helicopter trying to get airborne and leaping around madly, whacking the porch repeatedly with a long broom, face contorted, snorting and muttering about spider invasions.

NOT a pretty picture. My triumphant entry back into the house suddenly morphed into a slow slink as I realized how goofy the whole thing must have appeared.

Oh well. All that really mattered was that The Spider was totally, completely, and unequivocally DEAD!

Spider: 0
Maniacal Housewife in Pink Sweater: 1

Tomorrow I take out his brother.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Two Rows Back

One of the nice things about our sabbatical has been the fact that the four of us have been able to go to church at the same time and sit together in the same pew. That very rarely happened when Steve was a pastor since he and I always went to church early on Sundays and then we were both on the platform during the services. So it's been really cool to enjoy the simple pleasure of just worshipping together as a family.

Yesterday I was ready for church a little early so I went down to the kitchen and puttered around doing some prep for lunch. For the purpose of puttering and prepping, I kicked off my lovely high heel Sunday shoes and slid my feet into my scruffy, ugly (comfy) sandals that I just wear around the house. The sandals are about ten years old and are not really fit for public view.

After a few minutes, I finished up my puttering, everyone else came downstairs and the four of us left for church. We'd been driving about ten minutes (it's a twenty minute trip) when I looked down and saw something horrible. I saw that I was still wearing my scruffy, ugly sandals! Along with my nice blouse. And skirt. And earrings. And everything.

Steve gallantly offered to turn around and get my church shoes but after recovering from my momentary moment of horror I said, "No, that's okay. No one's going to be looking at my feet anyway."

I do sincerely hope that all you ladies are exceedingly proud of me for wearing such unattractive shoes to church and not having a hissy fit over them! I guess at age 47, I've started to realize what's really important in life and wearing perfect shoes to church is not one of those things.

But just so you ladies can "feel my pain," I thought I would share a few photos of the aforementioned shoes. (Please also note the lovely skirt that I got for a dollar at a thrift store.)

Here are the "puttering around the house, walking out to the mailbox" sandals. (You can double click on pictures to make them larger.)

As compared to the lovely, gold heels I got on clearance two years ago and have worn a bazillion times since.

And another angle, just so you can get a full view of the shoes' loveliness.

After we had arrived at church (and I had recovered from my minor shoe crisis), I was glancing around at the other members of the congregation and happened to notice two rows in front of us a man and wife who were probably in their eighties. The reason I noticed them at all was because they were actually singing along and looking interested and involved.

And why was that so noteworthy?

Well, it was noteworthy because Whitley Church is very contemporary in its music and worship styles. There is stage lighting, video screens, a live band and a bunch of singers. While the music isn't overly loud, it's definitely high energy.

I got to thinking that when this elderly couple went to church in the early years of their life together, there was no doubt an organ and an hymnal. And that's it. The only "lighting effect" they had was the sun shining in through the stained glass window and the only singers on the platform were wearing choir robes.

And yet, fifty years later, this couple was in a loud and lively church singing along and worshipping. And I was inspired by that.

I was inspired because I've met some people who are twenty years old and they are already old. They are stuck in the mud, and stuck in their ways and woe be to the person who tries to bring any change into their lives. And then I've met people who are ninety years old and there is still a sparkle in their eye and they're always excited about discovering what's around the next bend in life.

Those people will never be old.

I left church yesterday thinking, "I want Steve and I to be like that couple when we're eighty years old. I want us to always be willing to branch out and discover new things."

And even though I might wander into church when I'm eighty years old wearing the wrong shoes, it'll be no biggie because I've already been there, done that. (smile) I'll just say, "Well, no one's looking at my shoes anyway," and I'll file into the pew with Steve and start to sing.

And maybe, just maybe, we'll inspire someone two rows back.