And I can’t fight this feeling anymore…

…I’ve forgotten what I started fighting for.”

There are times when it’s easy to see the humor of any situation. I’ve gone through a lot of struggles in life (as we all do as humans) with death in the family, chronic pain, children with special needs, and tough times in ministry but there are usually things I can find to laugh at. You can bet that people in ministry have a warped sense of humor as they deal with many and difficult scenarios and survive by snickering at something that went wrong or just finding that silver lining of humor to smile at. I know that many other professions such as funeral directors, first responders, Police officers and hospital workers all have their own brand of humor that they have in common and regularly share a laugh over. You may find this offensive but it’s true. People survive difficult or even horrible things by being able to laugh about the things that happen in those lines of work or situations. It’s a coping mechanism that God has given to us. Now, I don’t necessarily share my funny take on so and so’s funeral with the bereaved family, but The Reverend and I can chuckle about it later. Laughter is good medicine. It says so in the Bible…so there!

In the past half of a year, the Reverend and I have had a hard time finding things to laugh about. Sure, our kids antics have sometimes filled a spot, but life has been just too painful to chuckle much and that’s been tough. I’ve wanted to write but I just can’t get past the serious heart-rending things that we’ve gone through. I don’t want to be depressing. We hold fast to our God and our faith, but the funny side of both of us is a shallow pool and life is not as funny as usual.

It is a weird place for me. I come from a long line of people who think potty humor is where it’s at. I laugh at the ridiculous and find that, for all the chronic pain in my body, laughter truly has been my good medicine.

That’s not to say that the joy inside of me isn’t there. It’s there alright. Joy is a different thing altogether. I know that the joy that is within me comes from the Holy Spirit and that HE is my strong tower. The joy in my soul is not dependent on the circumstances around me. In fact, I have sensed an even deeper shade of grace that has enveloped me in peace. I finally see what it is all about. I know that these situations aren’t about ME, though the talk “around town” is about us, it’s not really about us. It’s about the spiritual war going on around us. that’s fairly serious business and it’s got me on my knees a lot more often. These difficult times often cause a deeper well of God’s strength to open up and a faith that we hadn’t had before is now settling in.

This struggle has been one of the most difficult in recent memory. The Reverend and I are clinging to God and to each other. We enjoy our moments of mirth with a deeper richness. Together it is filling a place in our marriage and lives that need to be filled.

In my mind’s eye, I see the sun ( joy) rising in my belly with the rays of hope radiating throughout my body giving and pouring out my eyes as I look toward Jesus and see him afresh.

I can’t fight this feeling and I don’t want to. Laughter is fleeting (and amazing) but joy is long-lasting.

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Quirky family

animal_muppetI’ve known about it for a long time. I’ve known that I have a quirky family. Let’s be honest, you don’t want to know the quirks of your Spiritual Leaders do you? The Reverend and his family have quirks. Some. Yes, we have embraced our inner weird. We’ve accepted it long ago. Do you want to know and put a face to someone who cleans out their nose a certain way? No? Well, then this post is not for you.

My family will remain nameless, but extended family is welcome to take credit for some of the quirks, if they feel so bold as to do so.

I have outed some of my more mundane quirks. Today I out the Reverend’s Family and those in the extended sides. I think I’ve probably terrified a few by that little statement. Well, I couldn’t be alone now, could I? You can rebuke me later…I won’t name names if that helps.

In no particular order with no particular gender assumption I give you the weird side of the Reverend’s much-loved, mostly acceptable bunch.

1. Someone just can’t help sniffing every single candy before it is ingested. Can. NOT. Help. It.

2. Prays with a conversational voice while walking around so we never know if they are actually talking to us or Him. Scheduled events have gone unwritten on the calendar because of this inside voice. Sometimes they are talking to us.

3. Has to touch and possibly move every item in the house. If I left something in one place it likely will have moved to a place only known to one person…and that person ain’t talkin’.

4. Thinks we all chew/swallow too loud. Apparently, it is annoying.

5. Cannot watch a sports game without loud volume and then complains when we try to communicate (talk) whilst the loud crowd cheers over something.

6. Thinks her cat bowl is prey and must play with it. In her mind it is acceptable to bat it all around the kitchen and slop the water all over while she decides whether to eat it or not.155

7. Hates water on the floor, because when it gets cold, and she steps on this cold water it makes her loo loo. Crazy cakes!  Said water on the floor is thanks to the one who hunts her cat food.

8. Thinks child noise is wonderful yet feels like it’s tearing her ears out at the loudest of times.

9. Thinks smelling farts is a must. Inhale deeply to get it all.

10. Saying “Fart” is funny EVERY time. Has pet names for farts like “tart” or “park”…tries to hide the word fart in normal conversation.

11. Has to adjust themselves (you guys know what I mean) ALL the time. Do you need that much adjustment? I’m thinking new underwear.

12. Loud scraping of a knife on a plate can send one into an internal (or external) shiver and a loud “Ahhhh!!”

13. Hates it when someone is reading over his shoulder. He can’t read while someone is lurking. Can’t do it.

14. Types so loud the neighbors can hear it. I don’t know why the letters must be pounded with such enthusiasm but they are. They must be writing something terribly exciting all the time!

15. LOVES to be tickled. I think it’s crazy but what can you do? Just tickle.

16. HATES to be tickled. Tickle me and DIE. Not really, but to come out of it severely injured, is a possibility.

17. Is the most patient and loving person until you make her plan something and time is running out. Getting in the vehicle with you can be a lesson in hysteria as she lurches from one stop sign to the next. RRrrreeeev. ERCH. RRRrrrrev. ERCH. Fun times!

18. Needs to end on an even number…I don’t know why…but that would be ME.

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I love my family. I love that they love me as I am and I love them as they are. Let’s face it, we all have our “things” that people either get irritated about or get over it and accept who we are.

Around here we call some things “Doing a Marcy”.

Why we braved the scary weather

2BKQ_pulled_back_view_of_Kitchen-_Living_rm-_bedrooms_Feb_2013790feb

A few weeks back the Reverend and I decided that  our 20 years of marriage may need a little tweaking here and there, So, we decided to take advantage of a Marriage Retreat that was being held for Pastor’s and wives. It happens right before the Pastor’s and Spouse Retreat in Lake Louise. I am spending some time confessing to God that I am a little jealous that some pastors will be spending  the much of the whole week in the mountains. We chose that this year, and that’s OK. I hope they all have a fabulous time recharging and reconnecting.

We’ve had challenges in the past for finding childcare for the four days of the Pastor’s Retreat, which is held during the week. So, we figured that a 2 day Marriage Retreat in the mountains was a much more doable feat, child care included, than the four days. We were right we found excellent options for the children when we split them up into pairs. That way, while we were gone, we knew the chances of their weekends also going well were higher than if they were all together. The set of boys came to Calgary to stay with relatives and the girls hopped from place to place back home. Both were eager for their mini-vacations from each other.

Our travel destination was lovely Canmore, Alberta. I may start thinking of this place as home. We’ve been here a few times in the last few years, thanks to our family that owns a place here, and lets us use it now and again. We are thankful for a church division who sees marriages of their pastoral staff as important and that our church made a way to make our marriage a priority as well.

Speaking of travel…it was supposed to only take us a few short hours but I had chest pain in serious amounts as we hit the mid-way part. I thought I was having a heart attack! I had been reading a book, all quiet and relaxed (mostly) when chest pain and tingling hit. It was freaky. We ended up calling 911 from the roadside. Thankfully, it was probably just a reaction of the gluten that I’d had just a bit before.  You can barely find adequate solutions in fast food places when eating GF.  Officially, it was a “panic attack” that I’ve not had the like of since the early 90’s. I have had a smaller scale reaction to gluten happen before but never that kind of chest pain/sensation. The Dr. sent me away with a “Go to your Dr. at home because you must get a few things checked out.” and off we were. Back on the icy roads of Alberta weather (Storm watch kind of stuff). We were all so thankful it wasn’t my heart!!

When we got to the hotel and saw our room, we were about to go check to make sure they put us in the right room. It was so incredible. Clean kitchen! I had a clean kitchen without working for it! Delightful. The Living area had a fireplace, right beside a window that could give us a spectacular site of the mountains if we weren’t socked in with clouds and a snowstorm for part of the time. We had a bedroom with a TV! The bathroom…oy vey! Such a beautiful place. A glass shower plus a separate large bathtub. Then, THEN I opened a door and there was a laundry machine with soap. “They expect us to do our laundry…what?” I thought to myself. Like I was going to! Who stays at these places anyways? It was a beautiful hotel. The hot tubs outside looked incredibly inviting when we looked off from our balcony. The snow was drifting down and the steam was rising up. It was an ideal time for a frigid walk to a warm delightful piece of relaxation.. I looked forward to my foray into the heated water…except I forgot my bathing suit. Darn!!  I didn’t think the other patrons would appreciate a chubby skinny dipper dive bombing their hot tub….it’s a high-class place and all.

Second thing we did was take off all of our clothes…and this is where you should turn away…just kidding!  Our travel clothes seemed much to formal to order pizza and watch movies in our room so we entered into hibernate mode and put pj’s on.

I am nervously excited that we get to spend this time together. We are blessed to have a church that values our marriage, a District who provides the retreat for the pastors and excellent caregivers for our children, who we trust will have a great time.

Oh, and I’ll make sure to buy a  bathing suit, just in case you were nervous about the whirlpool thing…

Happy Birthday, Mrs. Fix It!

Starbucks Salted Caramel Mocha

Starbucks Salted Caramel Mocha (Photo credit: Calgary Reviews)

The day started out unlike any other. My dear Reverend was not poking me in the shoulder to wake me up at 7am. In fact, the only reason I woke up at all at 8am was that someone made someone else cry. I lit up like a lightning bolt on the prairies and reminded myself of my previous evening’s promise to myself. I was going to say “yes” as much as possible, yell as little as possible and take a little Jamaica with me into the day. My “Hey Mon” attitude kicked in and I calmly tried to cram an hour and a half of before-school prep into a half-of-an-hour.

“Mom, we wanted to let you sleep in today, so we didn’t wake you.” Said someone I couldn’t quite make out. Blinking the sleep from my eyes I saw that they all looked at me with angelic faces. Aw…

“That is, until So and So started crying.” Accusing looks backed a guilty-looking child into a figurative corner.

“That’s ok guys…it’s a school day.” I said, giving them each a hug and a push toward the breakfast table. I was quite thankful for whoever made the kid cry. It was my alarm clock. I’m certain I would have remained in an almost-dead state of sleep if a Wake-the-Dead scream hadn’t pierced my ears.

I had plans to be somewhere else as well, this morning, so I kissed the idea of a hot shower good-bye and stuck on my usual bad-hair-day cap. I have one. It’s sparkly.

So far, the Reverend would have been so proud **snort** of me! He only tried to call me 2 times and the kids had not answered because they were being all awesome by letting me sleep.

My plans today were filled with a lot of people. Most had no idea that it was my birthday, but I didn’t care. I was so excited to have a day filled with friends that I was getting to know and friends that I know and love.

In between all the busyness, I took a moment to have a Salted Caramel Mocha. Did you know that it tastes way better with the plastic cap OFF? I did not know that!! The whipped cream gets all mixed with the coffee and the caramel and the salt…OH MY! Heaven. I sat in my car, soaking in the few moments of peace and looked into the clouds to lift my cup to the One who made it possible. I told my sweet Savior that I was so thankful for all he had given me and for this moment with this coffee with him. It sounds weird, but it was a beautiful birthday moment that I will probably remember even when my mind dims. The quiet bliss of the day with the sun shining on my face and having (astoundingly amazing) coffee with my Best Friend.

My plan for the “Hey Mon” attitude mostly went according to plan. I only raised my voice to call the kids in for supper…and maybe one other time.

A few hours, and a left-over supper later, I sat down with all my sweet little darlings and watched our favorite show. I snuggled, and tried to keep the thought of what I had to do before the day ended, out of my mind.

That’s right. The day isn’t over yet. This birthday still has some time left in it. I have procrastinated for 24 hours now and I better not test my luck. The garage door latch whatcha-ma-hoo-sit broke yesterday and it’s stuck open. Now, that is not permission for any nefarious town-dwelling folk to come on over and help yourself to all our cheap junk…though, if you don’t mind, would you come over and take it all out? Thanks!

No, I must go and climb a ladder in the cold and use a screwdriver (I’ve used one a few times for battery replacement and such) to get the thing shut. If I wait long enough I’ll be afraid of the dark and…Oh wait. It gets dark at 6pm these days. Rats! No excuses for me!

…I waited long enough that the Reverend called. Yeah, that’s right. He was checking in on me. He was making sure I hadn’t maimed myself trying to crawl up the ladder in the semi-darkness. Sweet thang! No, I am almost certain that he knew I hadn’t done it yet, so he offered to stay on speaker phone while I did the job. I am sure I purposefully made a few suspicious “Ahhh I’m falling! Ow! How do you work a screwdriver?” noises just to see if he was still awake. I’m still not sure. He knows me too well…sigh!

I did get the door shut though, so those suspicious characters won’t get in my freezer this time. I guess procrastination does pay off. And my suspicious husband was proven right…again. Sheesh!

All in all, this day was a very happy one.

Basketball in Pajamas

Basketball Planet

(Photo credit: J.Gabás Esteban)

I get the kiddos all to myself for a few days **insert Muppet-type laughter**. Yes, the Reverend is gone for a few days while I whittle away the hours with nothing to do but knit **more laughter** Hold me.

I get to turn another year older tomorrow. That’s fun! And while we’re talking about birthdays, let’s talk about the fact that I was keeping myself up at nights for the last week trying to will myself to remember to renew my Driver’s License before this birthday. I don’t like to write notes to myself in bed because in the morning I will either forget that I wrote myself a note, or I will forget where I put the note, or how to decipher the hieroglyphics that I wrote in the dark. Too bad my best memory is while I am trying to sleep. I must have reminded myself often enough the last few nights, because I did it yesterday! Whew. That would have been awkward with the husband gone. Then we’d have to walk everywhere or drive illegally…and I wouldn’t do that. Ever. So we’d be walking. For a day.

You might as well know now, that I get distracted like a dog with a new scent.

Our small town has done major renovations in the hub of the “downtown” this year. I’ve not been downtown for months. I’ve seen it from a block away or edged close to it while walking the kids somewhere, but I’ve not taken a drive through and parked in its whole new street design. I did yesterday. I probably should have been aware that they haven’t finished the last phase of topping the road but that little fact escaped me. Now where DID I put that town newsletter **looking under STACKS of  paperwork** That little piece of information could have been useful to me. While I was exiting the vehicle and telling the girls to wait for me, I got distracted by my phone. The exposed curb came over and kicked me and, instead of rolling into it, I grasped at air as if it were a flailing rope and came up with nothing. SPLAT! Like a messy exclamation mark. The good thing is that we don’t live in a tourist trap where people’s phones are out and ready to record. In fact, I’m not sure there was another living soul on that street to see my fantastic leap of death into the air. Small towns are great like that. I was pretty sure my body would hurt for a few weeks.

Surprisingly, I woke up feeling a tad less like I was an elderly woman and more like I’d been rear-ended in a slow moving car.

Tonight I had the pleasure of taking our crew to Basketball practice. By that time in the day, I usually yearn to be comfy and warm. My body had begun hurting a little more and my PJ’s were calling to me. I didn’t care if I’d become “that mom” who wore PJ pants to public places. It’s a small town and I have little dignity left anymore. I’ve gone to Kid’s Club in slippers. If people are going to talk about my gigantic black slippers and fluffy pink pj’s then they really need some new material for town gossip! When you deal with arthritis and Fibromyalgia this long you start to think about survival in ways that make you happy. When flare-ups happen, Flannel PJ’s make my body all sorts of happy. So, out I went in my bright pink PJ bottoms with hearts all over (and a top, in case you were wondering) and I was ready to go.

After practice, my daughter said “Why did you go to practice in your PJ’s?” and I asked “Why? Did it embarrass you?” **a little dramatic eyebrow waggling** She replied ‘YUP!” I said “Well, I could have danced around like this.” Giving my best rendition of a shaking cha-cha with a little awkward belly dance move. I said “Now that would have been embarrassing.” Piping up calmly. “No mom, your PJ’s were more embarrassing.”

That’s when she offered that I should do the waltz with her in our small livingroom. Like I know how. Waltzing with me is a dangerous venture, as she found out, when we fell over the armchair and onto the floor. Well played, my girl. Well played. Fits of giggles later we had more requests for Mommy’s peculiar style of dance and once again the crowd was cheering.

I think there are definite possibilities for this time without The Reverend, like breaking all the rules. The Rev and I don’t waltz…at least, not yet.

For my birthday tomorrow, I have covert plans to drop consequences and current grounding. I will be nixing any groundings that have been in effect. I take life to seriously sometimes and I think my birthday is a perfect time to let my hair down (I may have fallen on my head). I want them to know how much of a pleasure it is to be their parent. Happy birthday to me! I have a plan to give them candy too. In their lunches. Teachers can thank me later. It’s organic candy.

I may even wear pants…well, not PJ pants. Normal pants. If I can get the laundry done on time.

You mean you laugh TOO?

I’m going to be telling some secrets…some of you find them quite amusing…others may find it quite shocking news to hear from THE Reverend’s family.

The Reverend’s family has been known to be, well, human….yes, your minister’s family could be human too. It comes out at the oddest times though.

As all good minister’s kids are taught (and maybe some aren’t) that certain words are swear words or at least words that should never be uttered in public. It’s hard though for kids that go through public school because they hear every foul language known to man and then some. Also, everyone probably assumes that the pastor’s kids should be immune to them, after all shouldn’t they be perfect? Um, no. I’m here to tell you that we’ve learned to laugh over our lack of perfection and that we are OK with it.

One of my children let a major foul streak go in a very public place which left everyone shocked and scratching their heads. We knew this meant that something at the core of his being was bothering him. Perhaps no one even noticed. It’s all good. We noticed, and have had a good long talk about what was bothering that child to the point of using language that he never has used. He had some valid reasons to feel frustrated but we tried to tell him that the language that he used could be taken offensively by many.

This evening, we went out for my birthday supper. During the conversation one of our children was using the word “freakin'” like it was going out of style. Everything was “freaking good.” or “Freakin’ funny.”  Lay off it a bit child! It’s not a terrible word, but you can say it too many times…oh the BALANCE of these things!

Then we drove to Wal-Mart where I said something about the store with the word “Crap” in it, and then said in a conspiratorial whisper, “Not that I should use that word.”

Piped up from the most unlikely source in the backseat  we hear the words yelled “Crap, freaking….FREAKING CRAP, freaky crap…”

Which of course set my other children, and perhaps their parents, into choking fits of laughter. It was one of those moments that we could laugh in the safety of our own vehicle about the complete humanity of our family.

Four muchuchos

Not completely sure they’ve caught the fact that we are urged to ” in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, 8 sound in speech which is beyond reproach,” Titus 2:7 and the lessons we are always teaching them in this area, but tonight…tonight  was a night where we were ok to laugh and find humor in our humanity and realize that we all have a little ways to go.

Not only that, but Mother in particular, has a potty mouth. I mean, REALLY!

 

 

Doing time in the nursery

This time it's green tea.

This time it’s green tea. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As an active volunteer and member of our small church, I do time  in the Nursery Program we run for the little ones during the sermon part of the service. I love me some toddlers and preschoolers and yet feel that sometimes I come across as scary and slightly crazy as “Animal” from the Muppets does. I can act a mite nutty  so it actually works for me in the Nursery Program we have in the church. They think I’m nuts and they are crawling all over me…except the shy girl with the soother. Poor thing. Think I may have scared her.

It was my turn today, and I must admit my arthritic pain was making me feel more like a grandma. Stiff, old and a little snarly, If I am going to be totally honest.

There was an absolute darling amount of children in that Nursery and I pulled some of my kids in just to help with keeping some of them entertained. I also did not want my children having a brawl out front while The Reverend was preaching and I would not be there to stop it. They were big helps! I’m glad I “recruited” them.

In the meantime, I was having a particularly silly pretend tea party with a young lady (3) who usually doesn’t really like me. Today she was hugging me, and telling me she “really liked” me. She would NOT let me go! So we had a good time scarfing down pretend food and tea and kept party going while the silly faces and sounds abounded. She handed me a “pot of tea” right to my face like here drink it “NOW”. I almost tossed it back until I saw there was something moving in the “tea pot”. This something startled me so I ….

a) Screamed and ran out of the room crying, upsetting The Reverend so much during his sermon that he had to stop

b) Drank the definitely alive spider in one terrific gulp and belched loudly afterward, like a good pirate. I was pretending to be a pirate at the “Tea Party”.

c) Screamed, threw the spider onto the floor and crushed it in front of 10 toddler/preschool witnesses.

Tell me which one you think it was and win the reward of being the smarty pants.

I’m still trembling a little it whilst singing in my head, “There was an old lady who swallowed a spider, it wiggled and jiggled and tickled inside her…perhaps she’ll die.”

English: Unknown spider

For the record, the little hostess did not tell me she was serving live food to the guests…