Tuesday, February 26, 2013

I'm no Pioneer Woman!

I've recently started following The Pioneer Woman's blog.  I know, I know!  I'm so behind on this since she became wildly popular a few years ago, but better late than never.  Actually, I'm not going to lie...I became interested in her only because she wrote a small introduction in the book "Sparkly Green Earrings" by blogger Melanie Shankle.  If you're a mom who loves Jesus, you really should read it. I admire Melanie and think her story is just pretty crazy! Melanie is a mom who started a blog years ago, and now she's got her own book...crazy and darn near impossible in today's blog heavy world.  Anyway, back to The Pioneer Woman's blog...

So Renee Drummond evidently lives on a cattle ranch in Oklahoma.  She likes to cook and take photographs.  She blogs these amazing looking recipes in the most maddening way...she takes a photo of every single step.  Now I understand that if you have no idea how to cook or read a recipe this might be helpful.  I, however, have the oh so practical degree in home economics.  That was a joke!  It's maybe practical for my current role as mom and chief executive officer of McKinney Estate, but a home ec degree is less than impressive.  It does mean that I should be able to follow a recipe without pictures.  So even though The Pioneer Woman's photographs are gorgeous, I find myself scrolling quickly to the actual recipe...which is always at the very end.  See, here's the deal:  I can either look at the photos or I can make the dish but I don't have time for both these days.  This maddening realization made me think how funny it could be if I blogged about something with photos of the entire process.

On this snow day I decided to blog about finding time for Bible study.  Bible study is both luxury and necessity to me.  Anyone who knows me knows that I believe I will hear God speak so much more clearly every day if I begin with time in His Word.  I live by Hebrews 4:12 that proclaims that His word is alive and active, sharper than any double edged sword!  I teach women's Bible study and girl's Bible study on a weekly basis.  I LOVE God's word more than anything, but my current season on life makes me have to work for it!  I especially had a tough time today as we were in full on blizzard mode here in Kansas City. The entire family is at home...in one house...sometimes all in one room...no school. Get what I mean???

I sat down about 9:30am to do my Bible study.  I'm in the next to last week of a study called Discerning the Voice of God, written by Priscilla Shirer. It's fantastic and I highly recommend it.  I'm doing it to prepare for hosting Priscilla in KC this Friday!  That's a blog for another day I hope.

Usually I would be studying at 6:45am which is after the boys leave for school but before Sarah awakens.Today was a snow day so honestly I slept in with the rest of the family.

Here's what the scene looked like when I initially sat down to begin. 
Notice something is missing?  Who can do Bible study without the coffee? And here's where it gets crazy!

I went to find my favorite coffee mug, Disney Princesses of course, and noticed that my coffee K cup dispenser was out of my favorite caramel drizzle flavor. That box is stored in the space above the dryer.  Wouldn't you know it but I needed to fold a load of laundry that was in the dryer!  I stopped to fold laundry.
Where was I?  Oh yes, Bible study!  Oh wait, coffee!

 After getting coffee, I sat down to do Bible study again. Does anyone notice that I never actually got the coffee to the table.  Twenty minutes later I realized my coffee was sitting at the Keurig, and it was cold.  I had to microwave it.  Sadly, when I put the cup into the microwave I realized that the microwave desperately needed to be cleaned.  You know what happened next, don't you?

Look how clean it is! But wait, I was doing bible study!  Forget the coffee! 

 After 20 more minutes or so, this adorable little thing came up and asked to play in the snow!
How can you say no to that face?  Jesus Himself would have taken time to play with her, right?? Actually the brothers were already outside so I didn't even have to go out with her.  I sat back down to finish my 
Bible study. Of course she came back in 15 minutes later because she was cold.  I fixed her lunch, which isn't pictured because it was a sad little lunch of leftover spaghetti, a banana, and tortilla chips.  That's how we roll on snow days.  You really should thank me for not taking photos anyway because I was still folding laundry and you didn't want  all to see our underwear.

After lunch I wanted to do just a little more Bible study so I asked Sarah to play quietly in the living room.  Here's what happened 5 minutes later:
I gave up and played Pop the Pig!  I think my Bible study was about how we each have spiritual gifts and are important in the body of Christ.  I'll try again tomorrow.  

So take that Pioneer Woman!  One day I'll have time for fancy recipes and uninterrupted Bible study, but not today.  I'm glad His mercies are new every morning!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Most Romantic McKinney Moments...

My husband wrote on our marriage blog today about how he once gave me a very unromantic Valentine's gift.  While the memory of that one has yet to fade, he's done far more "very romantic" gestures than "unromantic guffaws" I assure you.  I thought I'd spend some time giving him credit for some of my favorites.

10.  Just before Sarah was born, Blake gave me a rocking chair for her nursery.  I'm pretty sure he knew it was a safe purchase not only because it would be wonderful to rock Sarah in, but also because old people sit in rocking chairs...and we were too OLD for a new baby! 

9.  Last year Blake asked me to help him with a sermon on marriage.  I'm not the scholar nor am I particularly the most eloquent public speaker, so it communicated to me that he both trusted and valued my take on the subject.  I almost threw up over the whole ordeal, but it was sweet of him to include me.

8.  Every year on my birthday (December 22nd) Blake finds an overtly romantic restaurant for us to celebrate together amidst the normal holiday hustle and bustle.  He even arranges the baby sitter!  That earns him bonus points in the romance department!

7.  As much as he makes fun of me for watching it, it's romantic to me that he would rather read a book sitting right beside me in bed while I watch Downton Abbey after the kids go to bed.  He could easily go downstairs and watch NCIS on the other television, but he chooses to stay in the same room with me. 

6.  Speaking of reading, early on in our marriage before we had children, we would go shopping together.  Blake HATES to shop, but he would take a book and contently follow me from shop to shop with his book.  He would sit on a bench outside and just wait for me to shop til I dropped.  He never complained one bit! 

5.  He bought me my first IPhone for Valentine's Day a few years back.  Seriously, that was romantic to me because he hates to spend money!

4.  Since he bought my phone for Valentine's Day originally, my upgrades are due around Valentine's Day.  This year Blake upgraded my phone for my birthday...that's 2 months early!!  Love that man!

3.  Years ago, to celebrate my first job, Blake did one of those cutesy scavenger hunts that ended with ice cream.  I've never forgotten that!  We were about 12 back then and newlyweds. We had just moved to seminary, and I was scared to death!  I fell in love with him for the thousandth time that day!

2.  He's planned and executed about a thousand fun couple and family trips!  Our first anniversary he took me to a bed and breakfast on a sheep farm in Kentucky. We spent our 5th anniversary on a cruise!  We spent our 15th anniversary in NYC!  And we spent almost two weeks in a crazy romantic beachside bed and breakfast for our 20th anniversary!  The man can plan a seriously romantic getaway and he spares no expense! 

1.  He picked me!  Seriously, sometimes I still can't believe it!  If you know us then surely you've figured out we are pretty different.  He's brilliant and quiet and calm and content and a city boy.  I'm...well, I'm none of those things!  He deserves someone who has it as together as he does, but chooses me again every day!  He completes me...yes I know I stole that line but it's true!  I adore him!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

What's it like being the mother of the pastor's kids?

I am a pastor's wife.  I've always been a pastor's wife, so I can't honestly compare it to being the wife of anyone else, but in my opinion it can't be that different from being a plumber's wife.  My husband has a full time job that is often way more than full time, but then lot's of jobs are like that.  I'd like to think that my desire to serve people in Jesus' name and study God's Word would be no different if Blake was something other than a minister.  I can assure you my bent toward teaching would be evident even if Blake was a doctor or lawyer or truck driver. (Funny thought!)  Sweet friends often try to empathize and acknowledge that being the spouse of a minister must be hard.  Honestly, it's not.  It's all I know and what I love.  Blake and I often say that even if we wanted out of ministry, we have no other marketable skills!

However, being the mom of minister's children is often hard.  I know what you are thinking.  The stereotypical pastor's kid is rambunctious, breaks all the rules, embarrasses the family, and makes the deacon's kids blush.  We've had moments like that and likely will in the future, but that's not even the hardest part.  The really hard parts are watching my children struggle with pleasing people versus being themselves.  It's also helping them own their relationship with Christ instead of it being the habit of just going to church.  It's watching them leave friends and familiar when we move to a new church.  It's agonizing with them as they search for friends that share their beliefs while also trying to be light to those friends who do not share their beliefs or at least their moral standards. Sometimes it's trying to explain to them why some people say harsh things about Dad when they disagree with his leadership or sermon when the kids know Dad listened very carefully to what God wanted him to do or say.  It's been awhile since they've seen this, but the scars are there from times they've thought people who loved them were actually quite mean to Dad. Hardest of all, I'd say, is trying to help them understand that they are a part of this ministry team.  I want them to believe that God placed them in this ministry family with their own talents and gifts that, if yielded to Him, will minister to those in our spheres of influence.  

For this reason, one could never thrill me more than when they genuinely love and encourage my children.  Want to bless your pastor's family?  Love their children!

I have a dear friend who is a pastor's kid and was my college suite mate.  I remember very few times Robin felt devastated by her father's congregation, but I remember many times she would tell of their sweet and generous acts of compassion toward her and her brother.  As a bridesmaid in her wedding, I watched her church shower her with not only gifts, but service as they joyously helped with all parts of that ceremony.  It has always impressed me that she loved being a pastor's kid so much that she not only married one, but is now raising her own pastor's kids!  In fact, long before I knew Robin I knew her grandfather because he was my pastor growing up.  Now that's a legacy!  Three generations of ministry means not only God's calling was honored in that family, but also that the people they ministered to were kind and encouraging and compassionate enough that the next generation longed to serve Him in full time ministry!  

This morning I watched Justin be the recipient of this sort of encouragement.  A sweet lady in our church sent him a simple thank you card.  She thanked him for playing the drums at church with enthusiasm and commitment.  Honestly, some people would have probably said, "That pastor's kid needs a haircut and should not be playing those drums in church."  We've known times when congregants would have asserted that Blake has no control over his children or has worldly parenting ideas just because Justin is a normal teenager.  But today, Justin saw from someone other than Mom and Dad that his ministry is vital and blessed by God.  We preach to our children that we are all on the same team, but this morning Justin got it from another source that he's much more likely to remember.  Thank you, Marilyn West!  

In our church this is not an isolated incident.  My kids are accepted as normal kids who have their own talents and personalities and quirks.  In fact, at FBCLS, every child seems to be appreciated and urged to use their unique gifts and personalities to lead in worship, service, and study.  I'm blessed beyond measure to be a part of this church.  My kids have their own fan clubs I think.  It reminds me of a time when we were interviewing with a pastor search team in Georgia and my friend Judy asked, "What questions do you have for us, Gayla?"  I replied, "Will someone love my children?"  

That's really all this pastor's wife wants...for someone to love my children.  Want to bless the socks off of your minister's family?  Love their children!