Tattletale

Tattling is a very common problem among children, especially when you put thirty children together all day.  They start annoying one another and next thing you know they’re in a fight, dragging their caretakers into the middle of it.  Generally tattling goes something like this, “So-and-so said such-and-such to me” or “So-and-so won’t stop such-and-such!”  Tattling isn’t even limited to the “naughty” children.  Nearly every child tries to tattle, even the ones who normally don’t give anyone any hassle.

Working in a daycare adds another layer to the problem.  Since many of these children spend more waking hours with their daycare classmates than their actual siblings, they have a tendency to start acting like brothers and sisters.  This leads to even more tattling.  Unfortunately, parents don’t always understand this relationship.  They see their children coming to the teacher with a serious complaint and having that complaint ignored.  Therefore, daycare providers have to at least listen to what the child is saying even though most of the time the child has not tried to solve the problem without adult intervention.  Therefore, the conversation after hearing the tattler’s tale is, “Did you ask them to stop?”  “Um, no.”  “Why don’t you go do that?”  “Okay. . .”  It gets rather exhausting after saying that twenty times every hour.

One example of tattling happened the other day when a boy came up to me at lunch.  I could tell by his walk that he was coming to tattle:  the glances back to another boy, the sullen look, the pointing finger.  Taking a deep breath, I prepared to hear the latest bout of tattling.  The boy stops in front of me and states, “That boy is looking at my apple while I eat it!”  I began to think about my usual speech for tattlers about asking the person to stop and seeing if anyone is really being hurt, but stop.

I stared at the boy and asked, “Did you just say he was looking at your apple?”

“YES!  He’s looking at it and won’t stop!”  A giggle bubbled up in my throat.  Don’t laugh, don’t laugh, he’ll be offended, I thought to myself.  But it’s too late; the giggle burst out and I started to laugh out loud.  The boy just stared at me.

“So he’s only looking at your apple, not actually touching it?” I asked through the laughter.  He nodded and I told him, “He’s not hurting your apple.  Go sit down.”  I was still laughing as he walked away.

In hindsight, I guess I ignored this child’s “serious complaint.”  My bad.


Hundreds of Books

T. and I will move in just over a month.  Fortunately for us, we’re moving to a house about 10 minutes from our current address, so it’s a fairly relaxed move.  Unfortunately for us, we still have to pack up all of our things and transport them to the new house.  Our current apartment is fairly small and has kept us at the basic level of furniture during our first year of marriage–a table, a couple of chairs, a small couch, a bed, a dresser set, etc.  T. doesn’t even have a nightstand but instead uses two storage tubs stacked on top of each other (we didn’t have anywhere else to put the stupid things).  It’s a pretty spartan existence until taking into account the books.

By my count, we have twenty-one shelves and four boxes filled with books.  There are probably thousands of dollars of books in our apartment.  Sometimes it feels like the children’s story, Millions of Cats, except with books instead of cats.  Hundreds of books, thousands of books, millions and billions and trillions of books.  We have theology books (of course), children’s chapter books, history books, linguistic books, sociology books, and novels galore.

Admittedly, it’s rather impractical to have such a huge personal library when we know that we will move constantly the next three years.  Books are heavy and bookshelves are a pain to move.  Some of the most given moving advice is to cut down on the books by selling the books you know you will be able to find at the library–it saves time and money.  Despite the practicality of this idea, I have yet to par down my library.  Actually, I can’t bring myself to even start.

Perhaps it’s materialistic of me but the books mean more than stories and information.  The book’s physical presence tell a story beyond the words on the page.  Some books I’ve had since elementary school and to get rid of them would be like getting rid of my baby blanket.  Other books I acquired in college and to sell them would be like selling bits of my education.  Most of all, the stories are unchanging.  Elizabeth will always marry Mr. Darcy, Ender will always unknowingly and sadly lead his troops to victory against the buggers, Lady Audley’s dark secret will always be revealed, and so on.  And at this point in my life when constant and drastic change is guaranteed–moving, changing jobs, figuring out this marriage thing–something consistent is needed.  So I will haul my books around the United States if needed but I will not take away my piece of consistency.

So excuse me, I need to start thinking about how to pack the hundreds of books, thousands of books, millions and billions and trillions of books.

 


Field Work

*Warning:  This post is rather melancholy and I apologize for that.

The first Sunday my husband returned to his field work church after we got married, his field work pastor took me aside to talk before the service.  After asking the usual questions about how married life was going and how was I adjusting to the town, he started to say something that surprised me.  He explained to me how the field work experience is often difficult for a seminarian’s wife and often wives struggle to find their role within the their husbands’ field work churches.  A little startled by this comment, I admittedly didn’t entirely believe him.  After all, I had been attending church since my infancy.  Being active in a church community had always been part of who I was; to not be active in a church seemed unfathomable.

To be clear, the members of my husband’s field work church are very kind and the pastor is very caring; they have certainly done nothing to ostracize me.  However, the pastor proved right in his thoughts about wives at field work churches–I couldn’t find my niche within the congregation.  Perhaps it had to do with my new role as a working adult or perhaps it had to do with the distance.  It most certainly had to do with my tendency to be introverted around unfamiliar people.  Whatever the reasons, the fact remains that I’m still lost in church.

Fortunately, God’s work within the service isn’t limited to human failings, especially my own.  I still attend church willing (more or less) every week to hear God’s word, receive the Lord’s Supper, and study the Bible.  My husband has made it clear that church attendance is not part of my wifely obligations and if I am ever dreading church so much that I don’t want to go, I do not have to go.

Yet it is still difficult to attend church feeling like an intruder in this lovely little congregation.  It is difficult to sit by myself week after week as my husband helps with the service, realizing that I don’t share my “assigned pew” with anyone.  It is difficult to quietly sit through Bible study week after week as my husband teaches children’s Sunday school, refraining from saying anything in fears of offending someone.  It is difficult to come to church a half hour early week after week so my husband can get ready for the service, awkwardly standing in the Narthex without anything to do.

Most of all, it is difficult to realize that this is my future as a pastor’s wife.  My husband will not be able to sit with me in church, he will have to teach Bible study, and he will always have to be at church early.  The confusion and loneliness I feel now may not always be there but the struggle to find a place within the church will, at least for the next several years.  I know everybody’s field work experience is different and I know not all wives feel this way about their husband’s field work church, but this is one of my biggest difficulties as a seminarian’s wife.  

        


How To Make A Budget As A Seminarian’s Wife

1.  Attend Financial Peace University and learn how to set up a zero based budget.  Merrily try to implement this system to better control your monthly spending.

2.  Realize that because of your poor choice in college majors and your inability to commit years to an organization or business so that you can get promotions and whatnot, the only job you could find does not pay enough to make ends meet despite the fact that because your husband is a full-time student you are the bread winner for the family.

3.  Start thinking of ways to live more frugally and better the cash-flow situation.  Some solutions are as follows:
-Implement a day of fasting to cut back on the grocery bill.
-Start looking around your home for things to sell and realize that you don’t really have anything valuable.
-Try to strike a deal with the landlord to see if you could get a cheaper rent if you moved out of the apartment for the summer and lived in a tent.
-Decide to return to school in order to study a major that would teach you how to develop a teleportation device in order to cut back on fuel purchases.  Of course, you can’t afford to return to school, so you first must develop a time machine in order to do over your undergrad studies with the aforementioned major.  TARDIS, anyone?

4.  Realize that despite your best efforts and all the unnecessary dollars cut out, you are still short cash this month.*  Go into a fit of despair in which there is much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

5.  Receive an unexpected check from a supporting congregation two days later with a happy note saying, “Hope this helps!”  Breath a sigh of relief that the budget crisis is over. . . for this month.

*Just a note so you don’t completely pity our household’s financial situation, my husband and I have never been completely out of money.  We’re trying to learn how to spend within our monthly income to form good practices for the future but do have a little money set aside to fill in the holes in any given month.


From Being Much More Than Gay to Only Gay

A CNN article popped up on my Facebook news feed yesterday about a gay soldier who recently died in combat.  Usually I ignore such articles but the headline, “Solider leaves legacy much larger than ‘he was gay'” intrigued me. The headline caught my attention because I thought the article would deviate from the usual story line about how a gay or lesbian becomes a credit to their sexuality by doing something wonderful and therefore citizens of the United States should give up their anti-gay tendencies and embrace this population.  I thought the article might be interesting because it wouldn’t take one part of a man’s being and make it into a cause for the nation.  I was wrong and I was disappointed.

To be clear, I didn’t read it in order to feel all fuzzy about the “progress” this country is supposedly making.  I read it to perhaps find someone out there who doesn’t see homosexuality as a platform and gay rights as a cause but could instead tell a story about a man who was more than gay.  Instead, they make this soldier into a cause that he was never particularly outspoken about in his life.  The article states, “But with his death, his parents have taken up the cause of gay rights.”  This is about the cause his parents are fighting, not his own personal cause.  It is infuriating that this journalist twisted the meaning of the article from focusing on a soldier who died to focusing on gay rights that is somehow supported by a gay soldier’s death.  As far as I’m concern, the article made the soldier’s legacy from being much more than gay to only gay.  Thank you, CNN, for making the memory of a good soldier into a political movement.   

To read this article, go to:
http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/07/02/gay.soldier.andrew.wilfahrt/index.html

P.S.–Just as an aside, I don’t think I would ask Lady Gaga to be a spokesperson for anything that I wanted taken seriously.  I don’t think she is going to convince me to change my mind about much of anything.  *rolls eyes*