Living Life in a Fish Bowl!

Gloria’s take on life.

mother’s day done different

This year we did a couple of things different at church. First, we changed our Mother/Daughter Banquet to Daughters of the King luncheon.  Not having daughters, the death of my own mother (a little over a year ago,) and losing my daughter-in-law this past year, I just personally couldn’t do one more Mother/Daughter anything.

cake

Daughters of the King

ChristyJoanPatWhat I didn’t know when we changed the name was that my mother-in-law would go to be with Jesus a couple of weeks ago.  Considering that I was in charge of the food for this event, God knew how important a name change would be to my heart.

Our speakers were fantastic.  God took each one and weaved a beautiful theme of value and love.

Mother’s Day Sunday – we did another new thing!

flowers ready for first service!

flowers ready for first service!

We acknowledged all women.   It is kind of long, but here it is if you want to read it.

To those who are in the trenches with little ones every day and wear the badge of food stains – we appreciate you
To those who experienced loss through miscarriage, failed adoptions, or running away—we mourn with you
To those who walk the hard path of infertility, – we walk with you. Forgive us when we say foolish things. We don’t mean to make this harder than it is.
To those who are foster moms, mentor moms, and spiritual moms – we need you
To those who have warm and close relationships with your children – we celebrate with you
To those who have disappointment, heart ache, and distance with your children – we sit with you
To those who lost their mothers – we grieve with you
To those who have lost a child – we mourn with you
To those who experienced abuse at the hands of your own mother – we acknowledge your experience
To those who lived through driving tests, medical tests, and the overall testing of motherhood – we are better for having you in our midst
To those who are single and long to be married and mothering your own children – we mourn that life has not turned out the way you longed for it to be
To those who step-parent – we walk with you on these complex paths
To those who envisioned lavishing love on grandchildren -yet that dream is not to be, we grieve with you
To those who will have emptier nests in the upcoming year – we grieve and rejoice with you
To those who placed children up for adoption — we commend you for your selflessness and remember how you hold that child in your heart
To those of you who are single moms – we come along side you recognizing that you are both mom and dad to your child. You are not alone. We are here for you.
And to those who are pregnant with new life, both expected and surprising –we anticipate with you
This Mother’s Day, we walk with you. Mothering is not for the faint of heart and we have real warriors in our midst. We remember you.
To those who serve as role models to young girls, remember that little eyes are watching. We encourage you to live for Christ and set a good example.
We would invite all women, ages 16 and up, to come forward, select a flower and candy as a small token of our appreciation for you.
(This letter was originally written by Amy Young (messymiddle.com) but has been tweaked just a bit.)

So to all the women out there, know that you are valued.

God rejoices over you with singing.  (Zep 3:17)

As for the men in my life.  They rocked the whole mother’s day thing for me.  Last year was rough.  God does turn our ashes into beauty. (Isaiah 61:3)  We have so many things to be thankful for.

We learn from the past, we live in the present, and we have hope for the future.  Our life is in God’s hands.  Our hearts are in His keeping.  He is for us!!!

from hubby - no I am not his mother, but I am the mother of his children.

from hubby – no I am not his mother, but I am the mother of his children.

corsages take me back to my childhood and my own mother.  Such wonderful memories!

A corsage take me back to my childhood and my own mother. Such wonderful memories! Thanks Babe for remembering.

waiting for me from Andrew - he had to work after first service

waiting for me from Andrew – he had to work after first service

from Chris - venison steak - mmmm the best!  And a beautiful card.

venison steak – from Chris.  mmmm the best!  And a beautiful card.  A new tradition has been started.  Thank you Chris!

To all my women friends out there, please know that you are valued.  God loves you.  He is an ever-present help in trouble.  (Psalm 46:1)

 She is clothed with strength and dignity;  she can laugh at the days to come.”  Proverbs 31:25

til next time,

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May 10, 2015 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, living in a fish bowl, ministry, Pastor's wife, relationships, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

how do you define life?

Life – it is that thing that happens while one is making other plans. 

Life – I’ve heard some refer to it as “Same thing – different day.”

As I was  walking on the treadmill this morning (yes it is more than a clothes hamper) I was reflecting on my life.  10 years ago when there was all the hupla about Y2K (which was something neither Curt nor I got all jazzed up about – as whatever was to happen God was still going to be God – and fear was not from God) I remember thinking ‘what will this next 10 years look like?  How will it play out in my life?’ 

Always be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle.  Plato  

2009 was a year of learning.  Learning how to deal with death, learning how to deal with my mother’s diagnosis, learning how to deal with empty nesting (my head and my heart have finally come to an amiable understanding) learning how to adjust to financial issues,  learning how to die to self, learning how to do more than just survive.  (Truth be told, most of that was re-learning at a deeper level)

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you;  Take your everyday, ordinary life- your sleeping, eating, going -to-work, and walking-around life-and place it before God as an offering.  Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him.  Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.   Instead, fix your attention on God.  You’ll be changed from the inside out.  Readily recognize what He wants for you, and quickly respond to it.  Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well formed maturity in you. ( Romans 12:1-2 The Message)

Life – here’s my definition for 2010.  Living Intentionally, Fully Enjoying!!

Living Intentionally– embracing life — each day seeing the Hand of God.

Fully Enjoying – starting each new day with the intent to enjoy.  Sure there will be unpleasant things, situations that will require effort on my part to remain positive, and there will be people bent on making everyone around them miserable.  Yet, I have a choice.  There is always a choice.

God’s kingdom isn’t a matter of what you put in your stomach, for goodness’ sake.  It’s what God does with your life as He sets it right, puts it together, and completes it with joy.  Your task is to single-mindedly serve Christ.  Do that and you’ll kill two birds with one stone; pleasing the God above you and proving your worth to the people around you.  So let’s agree to use all our energy in getting along with each other.  Help others with encouraging words; don’t drag them down by finding fault.       ( 1 Cor. 1:27-31 The Message)

til next time

January 9, 2010 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, Pastor's wife, relationships, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

i.i.w.i.i.

Empty nesting is all I thought it would be and so much more.  If  I stopped right there …  maybe I should just stop right there? 

My mother keeps telling me every time I talk to her, “You wouldn’t want them lying around all day doing nothing.”    She is right, but there is a difference between moving out — say to an apartment in the next town — and moving 6 hours (Chris) or 8 hours (Andrew) away. 

We had the opportunity to take some of Andrew’s things (motorcycle, car, food, etc) up to him this past week.  I have decided that I am NOT driving through Minneapolis, during anything remotely close to rush hour traffic, ever again. 

andrew's cabin 064

What I can’t ignore is the biggest grin on my son’s face.  Here he is in his element. 

Yes, this is the latest addition to our family.  I am now a ‘grandma’ 🙂   Jasmine is just a little over 9 weeks old.

  andrew's cabin 013

andrew's cabin 012

The view is just gorgeous -even though it rained most of the time we were there.   I certainly can see the attraction of a cabin on a lake.

andrew's cabin 037

Chris and Galina were able to come up for the week-end.  I am blessed to have her as my daughter.  Ok the wedding isn’t until May but as far as I am concerned she is my daughter.  🙂

Having us all together was great!  

This is the beginning of a new season of life.   i.i.w.i.i is my new slogan.  It is what it is.  A big part of frustration is not accepting truth or trying to make it be something it isn’t.   i.i.w.i.i. brings me back to reality.  It stops me from spinning around in the circles.  It reminds me that God is in control.

Many people have hinted at our moving to MN now that our kids are both there.   While I would love to be close to them, I really have no desire to live in MN.  It is cold too much of the year and way more snow than I like.

Chris and Galina are talking about Florida in a couple years. Andrew has not abandoned the possibility of border patrol.   Only God knows what the future holds.  As for Curt and I, when God is ready to move us He will let us know.  

So for all of you that are wondering — Yes, my heart aches.   I miss my boys. I miss being a part of their daily lives.   This is uncharted territory for me.  Some days I handle it better than others.    Yet I do know that one day my heart and my head will be on the same page.  In the meantime God’s grace is sufficient as our fish bowl changes.

til next time

November 6, 2009 Posted by | living in a fish bowl, relationships, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

moving day

saying goodbye 015

Moving day — excitement and sadness all mixed up together. 

It was harder than I imagined and I had expected it to be quite difficult. 

I am so grateful that I didn’t face this alone.  I thought of my mother and how she had to face my move by herself  (my father had died just 3 short months before my move.) 

breakfast

The morning of Andrew’s move we met for breakfast with our long time family friends.  Our kids have grown up together and are pretty much like siblings.  Megan is the closest thing to a sister the boys have. 

When we moved to Iowa, I met Julie at my first job.  It was one of those God moments.  Some people walk into our lives and we are forever changed.  I told Megan the other day that everyone should have a ‘Julie’ in their life. 

saying goodbye 019When we all got together before Chris moved Andrew had to work and so he couldn’t be there.  This time Chris couldn’t be there.   Times are changing.

So many memories – so many different things to laugh about and all the inside jokes. 

cave 12  Here is one of my favorite photos of the four of them.  It was at Meg’s graduation. 

I miss those days.  I still find myself forgetting to turn the kitchen light off when I go to bed.  (Last one in shut the kitchen light off and turned the night light on – usually that ended up being Andrew.)

I’ve been given much grief over the years about my apron strings.   Truth is that our boys had a lot of freedom growing up.   Apron strings — not so much.  Involved and taking an active role in their lives as they grew up — yes very much guilty of that.

It could have been harder.  Since they are twins they both could have left at the same time.  I am grateful that did not happen.  God does know what we can handle.

I know that it is a good thing and this is the way it is meant to be.  I know that this is part of life.  Yet what I know and what I feel just can’t seem to get on the same page. 

 til next time

October 15, 2009 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, living in a fish bowl, twins | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

letting go

How a church treats a minister’s children speaks so very loudly to the minister.   Surrounded by friends I made it through this day.    I am so grateful for the love and support that was evident this moring.   Curt and I are blessed. 

When I woke up this morning a part of me certainly wanted to just stay in bed.  Another part of me wanted to capture every moment.  Today was the church’s send off party for Andrew.  By this time next week he will be in Minnesota and our lives will have turned a corner.     

There are so many emotions that I struggle with and am not doing a good job of  dealing with.  Talk about emotional overload.  In less than a week we will be empty nesters.  We haven’t heard about Curt’s ct test.  Then add to this  that I haven’t fully dealt with the realization of my mom’s health issues.  Furthermore, my body can’t decide if it is menopausal or just worn out. 

 There were times during worship this morning where I just stood there with my eyes closed listening to my son sing.  I can’t imagine what next week will be like when he is not there.  Oh, I am trying to get a grip and maintain some semblance of sanity.  My head and my heart are just not in tune with each other. 

It was a full Sunday.    Rangers

There was an award’s ceremony for the Rangers.  

Andrew was given a plaque for his years of service as commander. 

 

susan and Hannah singingSusan and Hannah sang “Find Your Wings” by Mark Harris.   

Susan, I know that this was not an easy thing for you to do but it meant more than words can say.  

Hannah I am so glad that you sang with her.  I may have cried through the whole thing but I will always remember it.  curt preaching

Curt preached a powerful message on “Having Enough – enough time, resources, energy etc to accomplish God’s plan for our lives.   

The problem comes in when we attempt to do things in our own strength, when we step out of the will of God, when we are trying to do more than what God intends for us to do, when we aren’t content with what we have,  when better, bigger, more is our focus and not God…..

Need vs want was addressed.  This is a key element to living within your means.    Great message honey.  Don’t always want to hear it but am so grateful to not be drowning in debt.

DAd and AW 

Two peas in a pod.

Like father like son. 

 

 

 

humoring me

 

Here is Andrew humoring me.  I love pics 🙂 

cookie

 

 

 

 

harley cake

 

Andrew told us that if we bought him a Harley he would not move.  So we did just that.  Here is his Harley!   While  he does acknowledge that it is a very detailed model, the answer was still no.  LOL

 

“How am I doing?”  I’m trying to stay positive.   I am holding on tightly to my trust in God that He will guide my children and see Curt and I through this household change. 

til next time

October 4, 2009 Posted by | dementia, living in a fish bowl, relationships | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

empty nest

The water is stirring in my fishbowl again.

When the count down was 80 something I didn’t let it faze me.  When the count was 50 something I was still in denial.  30 something started to get my attention, yet I still managed to push the thoughts to the far corner of my mind.

The count is now less than two weeks – 12 days to be exact.  We have started the “what do you want to do before you move”  list.  We have crossed off Pizza Ranch, Golden Coral, Pizza and a movie night at home, and going out to a movie.  We still have Dynasty buffet, 2nd degree black belt presentation, grocery shopping (of course I am sending food with him and food for his brother) and I’m sure there is more on his list that I am forgetting. 

Hmm, kind of funny how much revolves around food.

This is the next step in Andrew’s journey.  He is beyond ready for it, me not so much.  However, God helped me through Chris’ first apartment   (by the way Chris has not been home since May) and I know He will see me through this. 

It is a bit daunting though.  Just what is it I am going to be when I ‘grow up’?  What are Curt and I going to do with that big house?  We’ve spent the last 3 years working around Andrew’s schedule so that we could carve out time for the three of us.  What will we do now?   God knows that I am going to miss that boy terribly!  Yet another part of me is so very excited for him and the whole world that is out there.  The possibilities are endless. 

I do wonder at the timing though.  Maybe that is why some call it the mid-life crisis – kids move out, body changing, and parents ailing all at the same time.  Yet the key factor to not forget is that God is still on the throne and He is very much a present help in trouble.  I am grateful for the peace that comes in trusting Him.  I am grateful that I know my kids are in the palm of His hand.

til next time

September 28, 2009 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, living in a fish bowl | , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

:) first apartment :(

Bitter /sweet

sadness/joy

my baby/grown man

holding on/letting go

momma’s little boy/Galina’s boyfriend

Some people are sooo ready for their kids to get out from under their feet.  Some parents couldn’t wait for kindergarten to start.  Some parents dream of the day when their kids are grown and on their own.  Some parents — I am not ‘some parents’.

A new milestone has taken place in our household.  The first apartment.  🙂 this is Chris!!!  😦 this is mom.  Now truthfully I am excited for him.  I do remember how thrilled I was when I moved into my first apartment.  I remember thinking – it just can’t get any better than this!!!

I refuse to be one of those controlling parents. I remember coming home and sensing my mother’s disappointment when I wanted  to go see my friends.  In time, I pretty much caved to that pressure and my ‘old’ friends drifted out of my life.   I know now that my mom didn’t intentionally set out to do that.   She didn’t even realize she was doing it.  She just missed me so much. 

A big part of allowing our kids to grow up is letting go.  The big joke has always been ‘my apron strings”.  Oh, my friends like to give me grief, but my boys are well aware of the freedoms they have had.  Truth is my ‘apron strings’ were much more about involvement than they ever were about control.    So I take the guff that is dished out and sometimes wonder if I really should have held a tighter rein.   Yet, letting go is part of preparing them for life. 

Chris was home for a few short hours (ok 2 1/2 days) but it seemed like hours.   This is when the reality of the first apartment hit me in the heart.  Andrew is still in classes so the fact that last year at this time Chris had already moved home hadn’t really sunk in. 

In those few short hours that Chris and Galina (by the way, the more I am around Galina the more I see what drew Christopher to her – it is a pleasure getting to know her) were here I dug out the extras – silverware, pans, bowls, ect.  We went shopping for food, any utensils I didn’t have two of, more pots and pans, ect. 

As I am heading back to work (really regretting that I have to go back to work) Chris says to me, “Mom I am going to try to be home sometime in July.”    July??  over a month away July?? I give him a big hug  and tell him that would be great. 

I know that God will help me in adjusting to this next phase of my life.  The fishbowl is changing.  The water has been all stirred up.   I know that given time God will calm the waters and restore balance again.  It is all a part of growing up.

Oh this first apartment is bitter/sweet.  I miss him terribly and yet I am so very proud of him and the man he is becoming.

 til next time

May 14, 2009 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, living in a fish bowl, relationships | , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

simple pleasures

When I was a kid I could ride my bike for hours or go horse back riding for an entire afternoon.  As I entered college I remember heading to the beach after class and spending the rest of the afternoon lounging around with my friends.  Simple pleasures were just a part of my life.  Ah, it was good!

Then I had twins and was blessed to be (for the most part) a stay at home mom.  There were still afternoons of bike riding or going to the pool.  Exploring an outdoor playground or spending the afternoon playing games was a common occurrence.  Money was tight and simple pleasures were abundant and didn’t cost much.  Ah, it was good!

Now my boys are grown and in college, I’ve added a second job,  there is more to do then time to do it, and I am getting older.  I had a friend  ask me what I did with all my time now that the boys are grown.  What???  Time?????   What time???  Ah, this is not good!

So I’m thinking that maybe I need to have a baby.  Yes, you read that right.   It was raining today and I miss splashing in the puddles.  I miss being a stay at home wife and mom.  Seriously though I think I have grown up too much.  When did it become ok to be so busy that I don’t take time to reconnect with old friends?  I am thinking more and more that ministry leaders wear their busy schedules as a badge of ‘honor’.   Like if my schedule is complicated and extremely full then surely I must be doing things right.  100 years from now will it matter?  5 years from now will it matter?  Tomorrow will it matter?

A  big thing now is all different ways of saying  ‘simple pleasures’ – ‘simplify’  – ‘relax’ – ‘enjoy’  there is even signs reminding you to ‘laugh’ etc.  I have a piece of wood that says ‘simple pleasures‘  that’s it just ‘simple pleasures’.  My friend gave it to me awhile ago.  It is one of my favorite knick knacks.  Why?  It is because the message is so strong.  

I’ve decided that since a baby is out of the question (right Curt??) that I am going to make it a point each day to schedule (if I have to) simple pleasures into my life.  Sounds pretty lame but in the same way that some ministers need to pencil in their family, I am at a point where I need to pencil in simple pleasures.

The first thing to be added to my schedule (yup I am adding something) is tea time.  I mentioned to Galina the other day that I think I must only love the  idea of tea.  I buy tea all the time but hardly ever drink it.  So therefore I must just love the idea of tea.  😦 You know relaxing with a cup of hot tea.   It is time to make that idea a reality.  It’s a start or I could see about that baby.  🙂

til next time

March 8, 2009 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, Pastor's wife, relationships, spiritual reflections, twins | , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

life can get complicated

Life right now is a bit complicated.  I much prefer when things are running smoothly.  Who doesn’t??  I am not one that needs drama in her life to know that she is alive.  I have met people like that.  No thank you.  Ah but at times life does get complicated.

Parenting can be overwhelming.  So my twins are 20 now and whoever said that it gets easier as they get older was wrong.  Wait a minute.  I am one of those who said that.  I stand corrected.

Now in the beginning having twins was work.  I don’t remember much of that first year.  There wasn’t much that was what I expected.  Oh, but it was an adventure that I embraced.  I have tons of pictures and information galore.  Yes, they each have a baby book and it is filled.  I wanted to capture each development.  

As they got older, it did get easier.  They had a ready made playmate.  Their growing up years were for the most part wonderful.  There are of course things that I wish I could do over.  Things that if I had another child I would do differently.  However, kids grow up in spite of our mistakes. 

They have always been pk’s.  (pastor’s kids)  They have had to live with that pressure.  From the beginning Curt and I did what we could to stop others from placing expectations on them.   More importantly, we did our best to let them know that they were/are more important to us. 

As they entered the teen years (that would be 16 and a license to drive) the rules changed.  Freedom came with responsibilities and they rose to the occasion.   I remember over hearing Chris tell Andrew that they were going to get home earlier than curfew because then Mom and Dad would see how responsible they were.  It worked.  Curfew was extended.  It soon became apparent to me that indeed they were growing into great young men. 

Cell phones truly helped me to adapt to these new found freedoms.  Just knowing that I could call if I felt the need was nice.  (note to other parents – don’t abuse that) Prayer also played a huge role.  Leaving them in God’s hands helped me relax. 

We’ve turned a corner now that has me scratching my head.  They are 20.  Can I really be that old to have 20 year olds?  Denial has at times been my friend. LOL  Yet living in the truth really is one of my goals that I strive for.

So life has gotten complictated.  Parenting doesn’t end when they turn 18 or 19 or 20.  It just changes.   More and more decisions have to be made that just maybe I don’t like.  Learning when to open my mouth and when to just pray — oh life gets complicated. 

In my heart I know that they are smart, responsible, dependable, great young men.  Yet also in my heart they are my baby boys.  I want to shelter them from pain.  I still want to be the one to say “Watch out, don’t touch that. It’s hot!!”  Now that worked for a little boy and a hot pain on the stove.   Most parents know though that as children get older, it isn’t the stove that is going to burn them. 

Sigh, life gets complicated.  Yet God is still God.  He loves them more than I do.  Yes, it comes back to leaving them in His care and praying for wisdom to know when to speak.  I may still scratch my head – in fact I am sure I will.  I may even have to bite my tongue.  Oh I am sure there will be times that I will not be able to silence my opinions/advice.   I just pray that I can hold out until it is asked for. 

til next time

December 29, 2008 Posted by | living in a fish bowl, Pastor's wife, twins | , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

school time

It’s that time of year already.  Friday found us loading up all of Chris’ stuff and heading for Minnesota.  As you can see by the picture, we encountered a bit of a problem.

Never had a blowout before and from what I’ve been told this was quite unusual.  We are driving through Cedar Rapids and I ask Curt, “What is that noise?”  He looks out his side mirror (the van is loaded to the top) and then proceeds to pull over.  He couldn’t see the tires from that vantage point, however the trailer was leaning to the wrong side.  Sure enough we were riding on the rim.  — that was the noise I was hearing.  No sign of the tire.  Yikes!!

As we were sitting there some friends of ours drove by.  I had talked with Julie earlier, but sure didn’t think we’d see each other so soon.  Curt had even told them they would probably pass us on the road. 😉 Yeah, this was not what he was talking about.  He was not speaking something into existence either. LOL   He just figured that since they were heading up to their son’s college and not pulling a trailer that they would eventually pass us. 

A motorcyclist stopped also.  Once again showing that there is this unspoken thing that I call the ‘brotherhood of the bikers’.  He even mentioned as he was leaving that he had to stop, “couldn’t drive by a bike on the side of the road”.  I wish that I would have taken a picture of that guy, Curt and David all on the ground looking under the trailer.  The condition of the tire was quite fascinating to them.   The motorcycle guy did tell us where to go to get another tire.  Curt bought two!

While this was certainly not in our plans, we recognize that it could have been so much worse.  Right before this we were commenting on how unusually busy the roads were.  

God doesn’t promise us that bad things won’t happen.  He does promise us that He will be with us and will help.  Finally we are loading back up.  We did arrive at our destination safe and sound.

We were able to spend some time with my mom, sister and family.  It was too short but very much needed.  I miss them.

On Sunday we said our good-byes to Chris.  Not sure when he will get to come home next.  I wanted to not cry, but that wasn’t a possibility.  Truth is that it doesn’t get easier.  I’ve been through it now 3 times, I know what to expect and I know I will adjust –  BUT it still rips at my heart.

I am so grateful that Andrew is going to a local college – at least for one more year.  How does one begin to prepare for the empty nest thing?   I just can’t imagine — I know they must take wings and fly, but just the thought of that — oh my.

til next time

August 25, 2008 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, motorcycle | , , | 4 Comments