Quick Update: We Made It

My husband and I safely made it back to the seminary on Friday afternoon.  So did both cars and our silverware (which technically isn’t silverware, I just refer to any sort of eating utensils as “silverware”).  We are currently sans internet at home and I go back to work tomorrow, so posts may be a little sparse for the time being.

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Oh, yes, we’re also busy unpacking!


Boxes, Boxes Everywhere. . . Again

I’m so tired of seeing boxes and totes.  They are everywhere.

They are in the storage room.


The are in the hallway.


They are in the side room.


They are in the living room.


See, they are EVERYWHERE.  Now you’ll have to excuse the short post because I have boxes to pack before I sleep, boxes to pack before I sleep.

The Worry Always Comes Out

On Wednesday we will be loading up yet another moving truck to make what is now becoming our annual move.  There’s a lot to be done before load up time:  Boxes to be packed, floors to be scrubbed, a location to recycle light bulbs to be found.  It’s a stressful time.  In the past, the stress of moving often reduced me to a crying pile of anxiety, but not so much with this move.  Don’t get me wrong, there have been nights when I tell my husband that I feel overwhelmed by everything, but this move hasn’t triggered any panic attacks and meltdowns.  It could be the drugs at work, it could be the fact that we’re returning to a familiar town, or it could be the fact that after three moves in three summers I’m finally getting adept at coping with these transitions.  Whatever the reasons, I’m happy to report that I feel somewhat emotionally stable for Moving 2013.

Well, emotionally stable as long as I’m conscious.  Sleeping has been a different story.

I’ve never been one to ponder the meaning of my dreams because they have always been fairly straightforward–I dream about whatever stressors are in my life.  In college I would dream about missing tests and forgetting papers.  While I worked at the daycare I would dream about loosing children.  The last couple of years I have dreamed about my nanny children when weeks have been particularly chaotic.  Since the beginning of July I have dreamed about moving.  And as irrational as my imagination can be during my waking hours, my unconscious mind can create some of the most unlikely scenarios:

The Not Packed Dream:  The moving truck had arrived and nothing in the house was boxed up.  I was frantically trying to shove things into boxes.  For some reason, one of my nanny children was with me so I was trying to teach him how to fold clothes to pack into boxes.  Since he was only 5 in my dream, it wasn’t going well.

not packed

The Search for Permanent Markers Dream, Part A:  I was searching Walmart (which looked oddly like Target) for permanent markers so I could label our moving boxes.  I searched and searched the aisles but couldn’t find them.  Oh, and I was on rollerblades and kept falling down.


The Search for Permanent Markers Dream, Part B:  I was again searching Walmart (which looked like Walmart this time) for permanent markers and still couldn’t find any.  This time I had a cranky child in tow, so I was literally dragging him through the store because he was on a harness.  I’m not sure whose child he was.


The Dual Parish Dream:  Somehow we had skipped fourth year completely and were trying to settle in at my husband’s first call, which was for a dual parish.  However, it wasn’t just that he had two churches, we also had two parsonages.  I was frantically trying to figure out how to split our belongings between two homes, frustrated because church members kept calling on my husband while we where trying to unpack, and devastated because we forgot our utensils at our farmhouse (and our utensils aren’t even that nice!).  Oh, and my sister was living with us for some reason.

dual parsonage

So there you have it, proof that the worry always comes out in some form or another.  The most stressful dream by far was the dual parish dream–I think my concern about the first call started showing in that one.  The dream that just makes me laugh is the thought of rollerblading through Walmart–I mean, really?  That’s just crazy.  At any rate, here’s hoping that a week from today the moving dreams will be gone. . . at least until next summer!

Do you have dreams about the stressors in your life?  How do you handle those dreams?  What has been your most amusing dream?  

When Life Doesn’t Seem Fair

Yesterday I was perusing Facebook when I saw an article about a missing two-year-old.  I studied the picture a moment and realized that I recognized the little boy–he was our mechanic’s youngest son.  Apparently the child went missing on Tuesday night and a massive search was underway.  While my husband and I aren’t close friends with our mechanic, he’s been very good to our vehicles this year and I always enjoyed watching his little boy play while he worked on our cars.

Despite the search efforts of hundreds of people and fervent prayers for the child’s safe return, the boy’s body was found last night.  I was brokenhearted when I found out this morning–the energetic two-year-old I saw running around just last week is now dead.  I cannot even begin to fathom the pain his parents and brother are feeling.

When something this tragic happens to someone so young, it’s difficult not to demand that God explain His actions.  Why did it have to be a toddler who died?  Why did it have to happen to this nice man’s son?  Why couldn’t the boy just come home safely?  I know the theological answers to these questions–that we live in a fallen, sinful world where death is prevalent, that we are all born in sin so even the seemingly innocent suffer and die, and that God’s plans aren’t always our plans.  Still, it’s hard not to feel anger that all of this wasn’t fair.

But when a calamity like this occurs, I always think of Job’s response after he lost all his property and all of his children.  The man lost everything, but as he mourned he stated, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return.  The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord,” (Job 1:21).  Job kept his trust in God despite his suffering.  Likewise, we can find comfort in Christ’s resurrection as told in 1 Corinthians 15:51-56,

“Behold!  I tell you a mystery.  We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.  For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.  For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.  When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:  ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’  ‘O death, where is your victory?  O death, where is your sting?’  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

This little boy was part of a Christian family.  I put my trust in God’s mercy that while we feel the terrible sting of death here on earth, this child is now living victorious with Jesus in Heaven.  I pray that the boy’s family finds comfort in this as they mourn his death.

Kyrie Eleison

Marriage Means You Have Someone to Take Your Crazy-Person Requests

Being married definitely has its perks–I have someone to split household chores with, I never have to go on awkward first date, and I no longer have to worry about finding roommates.  One of the best things about being married, aside from all that mushy stuff like loving each other and whatnot, is that I have someone to take my crazy-person requests.

Now, you may wonder what a crazy-person request is.  It’s actually fairly self-explanatory:  A crazy-person request is a request that is so ridiculous that you would never ask another person besides your spouse to do it.  My crazy-person requests have included going for an evening walk in 10 degree weather, limiting paper towel use, and refusing to get the mail when there are wasps around the mailbox.  With any other person I would let these things go.  With my husband I ask sweetly or demand loudly that my request be heard.

Nothing brings up the crazy-person requests more than preparing to move.  At this point, my husband knows that it’s better for him to just go along with these requests rather than try to reason through my stress.  The only times he refuses my crazy-person requests is when they make absolutely no sense, like the time I tried insisting we start deep cleaning our house when we didn’t have any electricity:

completely insane

At the time, deep cleaning seemed to make perfect sense when we had guests coming in 3 days.

This move has proven the consistency of my crazy-person requests.  Last Sunday I began to start seriously packing.  After carefully wrapping and boxing our decorations, I realized that I didn’t have anywhere on the main floor to stash the full boxes.  I then looked into on of the side rooms and decided that if we moved the guest bed upstairs, I could  stack packed boxes in that room.  The only downside was that my husband and I had moved the bed once before when making sleeping arrangements for our post-Christmas visitors and I had told him that we probably wouldn’t need to move the bed back upstairs.  But clearly the bed had to leave the room so I could fulfill my vision of neatly organized boxes in one room.  I went to my husband to tell him my plan:


Stack the boxes on the bed?  STACK THE BOXES ON THE BED?!  Admittedly, that would work but it wouldn’t be as organized.  Didn’t he see how wonderful a pile of carefully stacked boxes would be on moving day?  I decided to make my viewpoint clear:


He gave me a look that said, “Are you serious?!”  I gave him a look that said, “I’m not budging on this.”

stare down

And that’s why we moved the guest bed back upstairs 2.5 weeks before we move.

moving matress

In my defense, we aren’t taking the bed with us when we move.  Also, see how neat the pile of boxes are!

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I suppose I should also acknowledge that I have an awesome husband who takes my crazy-person requests.

Do you make crazy-person requests to your spouse?  What are they?  If you are single, do you have someone to make crazy person requests to?

Planning Conversations

Tomorrow my husband and I go to his other vicarage church to say goodbye.  I’m fully expecting this to be a highly uncomfortable experience for me since I haven’t actually been to this church since my husband was installed as their vicar last August.  There were some legitimate reasons for my lack of participation with this church–it’s 45 minutes away from our full vicarage congregation and transportation didn’t work out when my husband was preaching consistently there during Lent (he would go straight to the church from his confirmation class that was 30 minutes away from our house).  My not-so-legitimate reason for not going to this church was the fact that I could barely handle the congregation I worshiped with weekly; adding another church to attend occasionally created more stress in the balance of the it’s-only-a-year relationships.

One of the coping mechanisms I’m supposed to use when anticipating a stressful social situation is to think about possible conversations before the event.  This way I’ll have some sort of reasonable explanation prepared and won’t wind up looking like a small animal about to get hit by a car.  After being accosted by a pastor’s wife a few weeks ago for never attending the Winkels, I’m expecting some member tomorrow to comment on my lack of attention to their church this year.  Consequently, this is how I’ve thought out my response to this possible inquiry:

actual convoIt’s a reasonable answer to the comment about my attendance:  It doesn’t go into all the details about how this year went for me but it’s truthful about one aspect of the problems.

However, I told my husband that if I had the courage to do so, I would make the conversation go like this:

imaginary convoThis answer would be the full truth–I didn’t come because I was struggling and I couldn’t cope with another congregation this year.  Of course, perhaps my goal shouldn’t be to make congregation members uncomfortable by declaring my insanity–even if they make me uncomfortable by making comments with no “good” responses.



Baby or Car?

car or babyThere’s a joke around the seminary that couples return from vicarage with either a new baby or a new-to-them car.  So far, my husband and I have not been visited by the stork during our stay in the North.  With only two weeks left on vicarage, it seems highly improbable that we will have a baby in tow when we head back to the seminary.  That leaves coming back with a new car.

While neither one of our cars seem like they are going to break down at any moment, I’m keeping a careful eye on my husband’s car.  Two and a half years ago, I had a serious discussion with it after having 3 costly repairs in a five month period.  I told the car we were going to get rid of it if it misbehaved anymore.  I know it sounds crazy, but I think it understood me.  Since that discussion, we have put very little money into that car besides the usual upkeep payments.

I suppose I should be thankful that the car has caused us so little problems, especially since my old car unexpectedly died on me.  However, it caused us so many problems two and a half years ago that I’m suspicious of it.  Really, I think the car is biding its time until it can break down at a really inconvenient moment.

husband car

I’m envisioning the car breaking down as we try to drive it onto the car carrier on the morning that we begin our move.  Of course, that would mean we technically wouldn’t come back from vicarage with a new car; we would just have one less car. Still, it would be annoying.

Did you come back from vicarage with a new car, baby, or neither one?

Introvert Monday: Social Encounters for the Socially Awkward

Let’s face it:  We all have our awkward social moments.  Even the most outgoing of us can put our foot in our mouths or commit a faux pas in an unfamiliar social situation.  However, some of us have a tendency to create awkward situations more often than others in everyday interactions.  While not all introverts are socially inept, I definitely have problems navigating basic social situations.  Here are some of my most common awkward social encounters:

1.  Seeing a non-socially awkward friend while running errands.

Non socially awkward friend

There’s something about running into a friend unexpectedly that triggers a social etiquette mind blank.  How do I react to seeing them?  Do I smile at them and continue my errand because we’re both busy people?  Do I stop and chitchat?  How long should chitchat go on?  Do I yell really loudly, “HEY, I KNOW YOU!!!!!”?  For me, it’s much easier to wait for them to make the first move.

2.  Crossing paths with an acquaintance you only see occasionally.

an aquaintance occasionally see

There are a couple of things that go wrong in this scenario.  First, there is a good chance that I mistook a stranger for an acquaintance.  To greet that person with a bright, “Hello, how are you?” can lead to accidental social embarrassment for both parties. Secondly, there is a chance that the acquaintance won’t remember me.  While technically I’m socially correct to greet this person, it still leads to accidental social embarrassment.  Of course, by waiting for the other person to make the first acknowledgment of acquaintanceship, that leaves the chance of social embarrassment by ignoring a person I know.

3.  Happening upon another socially awkward acquaintance.  

social awkward duo

Have you ever watched two socially awkward people try to create small talk?  It’s incredibly uncomfortable.  I wish we could just have the above conversation and be done with it!

What types of awkward social encounters do you have?

The Irony of Coming Home This Time

Today I head back to the North after visiting my family for a week.  Since my husband has been in San Antonio while I’ve been vacationing in Iowa, I’m ready to go home and see him.  However, I feel a sense of irony as I make my way home.  Our move is rapidly approaching and I can no longer put off packing.  Consequently, I’m going home to take our home apart.

ironic homecoming

Happy Independence Day!


God bless our native land; 
Firm may she ever stand
Through storm and night. 
When the wild tempests rave,
Ruler of wind and wave,
Do Thou our country save
By Thy great might.

So shall our prayers arise
To God above the skies;
On Him we wait.
Thou who art ever nigh,
Guarding with watchful eye,
To Thee aloud we cry:
God save the state!

God Bless Our Native Land LSB 965