The First Awkward Drop-by

Almost every pastor’s wife has a story about when a member dropped by unexpectedly at a really bad time.  We’ve only been here a month and I’ve already created my first awkward drop-by situation.

During the week, I’ve been trying really hard to make myself presentable by 9:00.  This is to give me some semblance of routine and save me the embarrassment of getting caught in my jammies at 3 in the afternoon.  Saturday mornings are a different story.  It doesn’t matter that I don’t have a job so Saturday isn’t really a day off, it doesn’t matter that my husband goes into work on Saturday morning.  I still haven’t lost the schedule that was ingrained in me since grade-school.  Saturday means relax day.  That means I don’t get dressed.

This past Saturday was no different.  It was 9:30, my husband had already left for work and I was merrily surfing the internet while still in my PJs.

To be clear, I was 30 weeks pregnant, so pajamas at this point means a pair of sweatpants that stretch over my ever-expanding belly and one of my husband’s t-shirts.  To be extra clear, my husband is over a foot taller than me, so his t-shirts are still enormous on me despite my pregnancy.  It’s not flattering, but it’s comfy.

prego pjs

The doorbell rang.  I glanced down at myself.  Not presentable at all–I wasn’t even wearing proper undergarments.  However, my husband had left the regular door open when he left for work, so pretending that no one was home wasn’t an option.  Next tactic: Put on a sweatshirt to better cover myself up.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have a sweatshirt in the living room, but my husband did.  I put it on.  It looked more ridiculous than the t-shirt.  Add on my unkempt hair and glasses and I was a tousled mess.

Truth be told, I was hoping that the doorbell signaled the arrival of a package despite the fact it was Saturday.  At least then the delivery person would have dropped off the package and wouldn’t see me.  My hopes were crushed when I approached the door and realized that I congregation member was standing at the door.  Feeling like a sloppy fool, I answered the door in my pregnant, pajama-clad glory.

It turns out that the congregation member was dropping off some sweet corn for us, which was nice.  He also didn’t linger, which was also nice because  I was feeling quite flustered by that point.  I imagine it was awkward for him as well to have me answer the door while still in my PJs.

At any rate, the truth is now in the open:  Sometimes the pastor’s wife lounges around in her pajamas.  But it’s better to lower expectations sooner rather than later, right?

What is your awkward drop-by story?  

 

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Introvert Monday: So It Returns and Overview

Well, it’s been in a year since I’ve consistently posted on Introvert Monday.  Apparently working full time took more out of me than I expected!

At any rate, I’m hoping to restart this series and find exciting facts and stories about introversion.  Yay!  But since I haven’t written much about this topic in the last year, I thought I would spend today doing a brief overview of what introversion is.

1. Definition

There are many definitions of introversion floating around, but the general gist of introversion is this: “What constitutes an introvert is quite simple.  We are a vastly diverse group of people who prefer to look at life from the inside out.  We gain energy and power through inner reflection, and get more excited by ideas than by external activities.  When we converse, we listen well and expect others to do the same.  We think first and talk later,” (Laurie Helgoe, Introvert Power, pg. 13).

2. Introverts need alone time

Introverts regain energy by having time to themselves to think, dream, ponder, etc.  This is compared to extroverts who get their energy from interacting with others.

3.  Introversion and extroversion are traits that are found on a spectrum

I’ve had many people comment that they thought they were introverted, but they enjoy so-and-so activity.  This is partly because no one is 100% introverted or extroverted.  You’ll meet introverts who work in fields that require a lot of social interaction and you’ll meet extroverts who occasionally retreat from the world.  In fact, even introverts need social interaction and even extroverts need alone time.  The key is how much an introvert or extrovert need.

In fact, some people may fall close to the middle of the introvert-extrovert spectrum.  They’re called ambiverts.

4.  Introverts aren’t necessarily shy!

This is a mix up that happens a lot.  Just because a person is introverted doesn’t mean they struggle with severe shyness.  Many introverts have no problem talking to strangers or public speaking, they just have to find time alone to regain their energy.  Likewise, extroverts can be shy.  This can be extremely difficult for them because they desire more social interaction but may have problems finding it.

5.  Introversion/extroversion is only one aspect of personality

People are complex.  To try to define them by one personality trait is ridiculously simplistic.  However, I’ve chosen to write about introversion because it is an often misunderstood aspect of personality.

If you would like to know more about introversion, check out my “Resources for Introverts” page.  I would love to hear if you have any suggestions for further reading!

If you aren’t sure where you fall on the introvert/extrovert spectrum, you can take a quiz here.


Box Hoarders Anonymous

0725141128

 

Look at these boxes.  They are new, they are sturdy.  They have such good packing potential.

For the past three years, boxes like these would have immediately been stowed away for future use.  But I don’t need to do that anymore because there are no more moves in our known future.  They should go in the recycling pile (which is currently full of our other moving boxes).  And that should be a freeing thought.

Still, they are such lovely boxes.  It seems like a shame to just toss them away. . .

I think I have a box hoarding problem.


Pregnancy Brain

One of the supposed side effects of pregnancy and is forgetfulness (a.k.a.–pregnancy brain).  I say “supposed” because while almost every mother I talk to will say that pregnancy brain is a real and powerful thing, many books and websites explain that there isn’t a whole lot of evidence that proves that pregnancy brain actually exists.

Consequently, I’ve been hesitant to blame memory hiccups on my pregnancy.  Okay, so I’ve forgotten my debit pin number a few times, confused my phone number a couple of times, and even gave my husband the wrong Social Security Number when he was filling out insurance forms. . .twice.  But I’ve done all those things pre-pregnancy as well.  Not to mention it was hard to tell if the memory lapses were pregnancy related or simply common distraction that occurs during stressful times.

However, this past week my memory has taken a turn for the worse.  On Tuesday morning, not only did I show up to my midwife appointment at the wrong time (thankfully I was early and not late), I also forgot to bring the grocery money for shopping afterwards.  While each incident by itself wouldn’t be surprising, having both in one morning is very unlike me.  I started to think maybe the dreaded pregnancy brain was indeed striking.  I made a mental note to tell my husband, mostly because I had also told him before that pregnancy brain may not be a real thing.

Then on Friday, my husband and  I were driving to the small town next to us and something small ticked me off.  The following conversation ensued:

hormones

pregnancy brain

forgot

Yup, pregnancy brain just might be real after all.

*Update 7/26/2014–I don’t know if you ever noticed, but most of my drawings have my blog title printed on them.  Today I realized that I put the wrong title on these drawings.  😦  Another point in pregnancy brain’s favor?


The First Sunday: Technology Glitches and Surprised Coping

My Husband’s First Sunday as Pastor

This past Sunday was the first time my husband led a service as Pastor.  He was naturally a bit nervous when leaving for church Sunday morning but was also excited.  However, the start of the service set off a dazzling sound system failure.

First, he couldn’t get his microphone to turn on.  He had to awkwardly stand in front of the congregation as he fiddled with the pack.  When he finally got it on, the sound wasn’t balanced correctly.  Have you ever listened to an old speech in front of a large crowd?  It echos across the masses, almost repeating the words of the speech.  Now think about how that would sound in a small sanctuary.  That’s how my husband sounded.

I’m fairly certain that there were some members frantically trying to fix the problem throughout the first half of the service.  However, the strange auditorium echo remained when my husband started preaching.  About 5 minutes into the sermon, the sound system gave up and created an eardrum splitting round of feedback.  My husband asked to have the sound turned off at the point.  On the bright side, everyone was quite awake for at least part of the sermon.

The worst part of all this was that several of the same problems occurred at the ordination service, so some members of the congregation worked on fixing the problem this past week.  They thought they had everything sorted out, so to have the same issues occur again was frustrating for everybody.

Naturally, the glitches on Sunday didn’t fall completely on the sound system.  There were the usual hiccups that occur when a new pastor does a service with a congregation for the first time.  My husband forgot to tell the organist about using a seasonal antiphon.  The congregation (myself included) got confused about what we were supposed to respond with during the prayer of the church.  Overall, it wasn’t the smoothest service.  When he got home, my husband shook his head and said, “I was just waiting for a dog to walk in.”

The good news is that Bible study seemed to go much better.  Despite my husband using a Power Point presentation, there wasn’t any technological snafus.  Nobody stormed out of the study deeply offended.  That’s not saying much seeing how we’re Midwestern Lutherans and such a public display of emotion would be unsightly.

My First Sunday as Pastor’s Wife

I had been dreading this first Sunday in a new congregation ever since we returned from vicarage.  Since attending services the first few months of vicarage was a horrible, anxiety-inducing struggle, I was concerned that I would wind up in the bathroom stall with a panic attack at our new church.

However, Sunday turned out to be surprisingly peaceful.  Well, at least it was only uncomfortably awkward and not panic-inducing.  I believe part of this relates to how sound carries inside the church.  Our vicarage church’s fellowship hall was loud and often had 60-80 people milling around between service and Bible study.  The noise overstimulated me, leaving me confused and anxious.   Our new church’s fellowship hall isn’t nearly as loud; it is also a smaller congregation than our vicarage church.

Leave it to me to feel relieved that there are less people attending church.  :/

Another helpful factor was that two members from our vicarage congregation surprised us by attending service (they were vacationing in the area).  It was a comfort to see a pair of familiar faces.

Overall, I left Bible study feeling like maybe, just maybe, I could swing this pastor’s wife thing after all.

First Sunday

Don’t worry, I haven’t lost my mind. I didn’t actually sit in the front pew on Sunday.


Training Cats

Some people assume that while dogs can be trained, cats cannot.  However, this isn’t true.  While most cats may not be willing to learn tricks like “Roll over” or “Play dead”, they can be taught good behaviors.  It just takes some time, consistency, and a spray bottle.

Despite utilizing the aforementioned 3 things, our cats are still proving difficult to train not to sit on the table.  To be clear, we adopted these cats when they were two months old.  They have never been allowed on the table.  When we catch them jumping up, we squirt them with water.  And they certainly don’t like the water.

Regardless, a scene like  the following plays out multiple times a day in our house.  It’s been especially bad this week because they are fascinated with the beautiful bouquet of roses we were able to bring home after my husband’s ordination service:

 

cat on table

cat caught

busted

what

Every time they get caught, every time they act like they weren’t doing anything wrong.  I’m beginning to think that we’re only practicing an exercise in futility rather than training our cats.


Ordination

Until a few years ago, I had never attended an ordination or installation service.  That’s not surprising because many people have never had the chance to attend those services.  So what is an ordination service like?

It’s a church service.  Typically (at least in my experience), the ordination is set in a regular church service.  Several of the ordinations I’ve attended were vesper services.  My husband had Communion at his ordination, so the service was set to Divine Service III in the Lutheran Service Book (LSB).  The rite of ordination is generally placed after the sermon but before the Prayer of the Church.  That way a newly ordained pastor’s first action is to lead the prayer.

There are a lot of pastors.  Pastors in the area of an ordination typically try to attend the service.  They come as a source of support, as well as to lay hands on the newly ordained pastor.  Sometimes pastors travel a bit further to attend an ordination.  My husband was able to have his brother, his home pastor, and our college pastor come to his ordination–That was quite special!

Since the liturgical color for an ordination is red, all the pastors wear their red stoles.  At one point in the ordination rite, all the pastors lay hands on the new pastor at the same time.  Consequently, there is a sea of men wearing red and white surrounding one man.  If they all started saying, “Braaaaaaiiiiiiiins“, it would be like a scene from a zombie movie.  Wait, no, that’s not very dignified. . .oops.

The congregation is very excited.  Since they are getting new pastor, members are typically excited on ordination day.  They are also trying to make the service special, so they are very busy prepping.  Our congregation made a fantastic meal following the service.  I hope the cook like that often!

There is a difference between an ordination and an installation.  This can be confusing, especially since a lot of ordinations are combined with installations.  A pastor is only ordained once.  This is when he officially becomes a pastor.

A pastor can be installed several times throughout his life.  Every time he accepts a new call, there will be an installation.  This is also typically done in a service.

For a new pastor, he has a couple of choices of how he can be ordained and installed.  Some pastors opt to get ordained at one church and then get installed later at the church they were called to.  A pastor may choose to do this for several reasons.  Perhaps there was a church that was particularly influential in his life (i.e.–a home church where he grew up).  Sometimes this is done because the new pastor’s call is too far for most family members to attend.

Other pastors choose to have the ordination and installation rites done at one service.  This can be a nice way for the congregation to welcome their new pastor into the ministry.  It also means only having to prepare one service.  You know, kill two birds with one stone.

That’s about it

So there’s a brief rundown of what an ordination service is like.  My husband walked into the sanctuary on Sunday as Pastor-Elect and walked out as Pastor, with all the responsibilities that comes with the title.


The Forced Fourth of July

forced of July

 

My husband and I made it safely to Iowa a week ago today.  We’re still trying to make the adjustment to our new life.  There’s been issues with a wet basement, lots of phone calls and texts for my husband as he starts entering his role as Pastor (of course, he isn’t officially a pastor until ordination on Sunday), and just plain exhaustion.

There are some good things that have come with the move as well.  Some of our family were able to make a daytrip to our new home to help with unpacking–something that wouldn’t have been possible while at seminary.  We’re enjoying have central A.C. and a dishwasher.  I met my new midwife a few days ago and I think I will be fairly comfortable under her care.

Overall, there’s nothing unexpected about this move.  That is, until you take into account a congregation and the giant Fourth of July celebration.

Normally I would consider Independence Day one of my favorite holidays.  Since kids aren’t in school, it hasn’t gotten ridiculously commercialized.  It’s one of the few major holidays that celebrating with friends or family is acceptable.  It’s laid back and fun.

However, this year it’s a bit of a bummer.  We’re new in town, so we don’t have any friends to celebrate with (*sniff* Woe is me).  Plus, our new town has an enormous 4th of July festival that draws people from all the area’s small towns.  There are games, there is a parade, there are fireworks, and who knows what else.  Being in a small town, it also means that the congregation members are involved with the festival.  The church even has a float in the parade.

Consequently, my husband and I are in a bit of a bind.  On one hand, we were told numerous times at the seminary that a good pastor (and by default, his family) is part of the community.  That means doing things like attending the 4th of July celebration.  On the other hand, we’ve been here a week and I’ve meet less than a dozen people in town.  All I want to do today is hang our decorations while eating chocolate, not go out and mingle.

Consequently, I’ve started using the dreaded “O” word.  I feel obligated to attend the festival because of my husband’s position.  We went to a benefit dance last night because I felt obligated to go since someone had purchased us tickets (the dance was a dismal social failure on our part–I’ll probably write about it in the near future).  I feel obligated to watch the parade since so many congregation members will be in it.  Never mind that I don’t know them.  People will ask if we attended and if we enjoyed it.

I know next year will probably be better.  Next year we might even be excited about the 4th of July festival.  But for right now, it’s tough to know how to balance unspoken (and, admittedly, perhaps imagined) expectations with our emotional health.

I hope you all are having a great Independence Day despite my melancholy post.  Just to let you know, I’ll be rolling out some changes to my blog soon.  I hope you enjoy them!