Saturday, September 29, 2012

10-10-10 tip

Trader joes pumpkin rooibus tea...though soothing, does not taste like a pumpkin spice latte nor does it fully eliminate the tummy grumbling of a newbie dieter.  And though I adore most all things TJ's, this tastes cinnamon -y but not so pumpkin-y.  However, kudos to instagram for making afternoon tea look even better than it was (and it was lovely!).

10 pounds in 10 weeks for 10 dollars

The other day, Ryan showed me a video of an old friend of ours - basically, he is a former student in Ryan's youth group who has grown up, and now knows some wealthy and influential people.  To see the video, click here...

His challenge is to lose 80 pounds in 8 months, and if he does so, he will receive 20,000 dollars from one of the band members from Foster the People.  

I watched the video and (semi-self absorbed person that I am) immediately thought "hey, why not me too?"  So, I individualized the plan to be more what I need - 10 pounds should do it...10 weeks should do it (in fact,  check here to see an article on exactly that! ) And for monetary motivation...10 bucks is all I could get out of my dear hubby so 10 bucks is what I've got.  

To further my motivation, I roped a family member into doing this with me - I won't incriminate her and name names - it is a female family member in my direct familial "upline" however who is my biggest cheerleader in life and is a trooper to do this with me!  After exactly one meal into this endeavor I have already called her to commiserate...)  I then had Ryan put an app on my phone that allows me to keep track of exercise and diet and count calories (this is not new to most of the world, just to me).  Then I spent an hour online last night looking up "diet breakfast recipes."  None of them included scones dripping with butter, dripping with jam...bummer.  

So, now it is out there.  Hopefully no one I know will read this post because then they will know (ackh!) that I am on a diet.  And I never diet.  I just work out.  A lot.  Sadly though, that just doesn't seem to cut it these days and my budget does not allow for me to buy a new wardrobe.  So the 10-10-10 challenge it is.  

I already feel challenged.  I don't know how to diet without obsessing about food.  I get impatient and want to be fit after a day, not after several months.  I am really bad at drinking water (ok I am not bad AT drinking water...usually...just bad about drinking it).  And I have already changed my mind about posting this because I don't really want accountability especially in case I quit.  

Okay I will post.  But I will NOT take my husband's suggestion and put a photo of me on here in nothing but bike shorts and a running bra.  NO.WAY.  I told him I would put a photo of him in bike shorts and a running bra though.

But if you read my previous post, I am still getting the details of posting photos down.  So Ryan is off the hook.  For now.  

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Bad Blogger

I just want to put it out there that I am not good at blogging.  I am not Oprah worthy or pinterest worthy or "guest blogger for Cosmo" - worthy.   I do not have a niche except for the oh-so-broad pastor's wife/mother of boys/regular person.  If I ever developed a readership, most likely it would just be people who like me, like my friends, or my mother.

There are some distinct differences between me, and your average "Good Blogger."  Let me name a few...

Good Bloggers (GBs) use really awesome photos of things to pull you in, and often use instagram to transform sort of regular looking things into extraordinary, artsy, magazine-pages worthy, way cool things.  When I search the web, if a blog doesn't have a photo, then my attention span just doesn't get me past the opening line.  I mean, what good is a blog if you cannot "pin it" ?

Bad Bloggers (BBs) like myself, do not have an actual working camera at the moment, use their phone to take photos but lack the ability to zoom in on things, and are digitally challenged and are still in the process of figuring out how to upload photos onto the blog site.

GB's know their niche, and often have a really cool blog site with lots going on visually, and they have put some thought into how the page is designed.

Bad Bloggers use all the free templates for their site, and change it sometimes daily on a whim and just push buttons until something looks okay.  They also do not have a niche, and therefore draw someone in with a really funny story about a 5 year old one day, and then confuse them by writing about some profound spiritual epiphany the next.  And then even possibly talk about a good recipe but do not include photos of that recipe.

GBs are often detail oriented.  If they are going to talk about a craft project they did with their children, they will show step by step instructions (with photos) and if they make a puppet theater, they might actually sew curtains, print up "Ben's Puppet Theater" in a great font and individually cut out the letters and string them across the top.

A Bad Blogger might take an old box, cut out a hole, cut a scarf in half and drape it across a piece of string, with all the torn edged seams hanging, quickly scallop the top with a pair of dull kiddie scissors and then patch up any tears or holes with packing tape.  This is just an example of course.

If being a "crafty mom" were my niche, I would be a bad blogger.  I cut corners, don't yet know how to sew, I don't yet know how to make my own jam or grow my own vegetables, I am impatient with things, and don't know how to use "printables" off my computer.

If I were a "fashion-y 30-something," well, I would be a bad blogger.  I wear the same three outfits pretty much all the time (mostly because that's all I can fit into at the moment) and only brush my hair once every two days before I put it into a short-haired ponytail that sticks out straight from my head, and there my hair stays.  If I stood still, frowning, in front of an old barn or a VW bug, wearing boots and a scarf...well, let's just say even Instagram would not make me look cool.

I don't even have the pastor's wife niche down... a friend sent me a link to another pastor's wife site, and she sort of cusses and is EXTRA mouthy.  She talks about the denim dress wearing, ice tea drinking Pastor's wives.  I am not extra bad and I am not extra good - so is there a niche for someone in the middle?

If consistency is a mark of a GB, well, my one year absence from the blog-o-world should be enough to tell you what kind of blogger I am.

So here's the thing...I am a Bad Blogger.  But I really have fun doing it, since my mediocre skills have set a middle of the road precedent and there is no real pressure to keep Oprah happy (and the masses, of course).  Well I'm off (weak conclusion) and may write tomorrow, or next week, or next year (inconsistency), possibly about homeschooling, or wifing, or San Diego (no niche).  Signing off, yours, BB

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Guilt and Approval

I wish I could say that I have it all together as a pastor's wife. But I am definitely a work in progress, a study in contrasts, as we all are. One example would be how I have such a self-deprecating sense of humor, and honestly feel like my self-esteem is okay, and yet, I care deeply what other people think of me.

Another example is this: I like to advocate for balance in marriage, church, family and "Sara-time," and yet I still feel guilty when I live it out.

 I have a heart for food and hospitality (sometimes), and for discipleship. In ministry, my favorite age group is the young adult crowd. I am not a social butterfly and I do not like schmoozing out on the church lawn after church. I love hearing how people are doing for real, and I love building deep relationships with people, yet that takes time. In women's ministry, I use the motto "I reserve the right to be a participant(and not a pastor's wife!)." In other words, as a pastor's wife, it is easy to get over-worked in lots of really great things. But some of those things may not fall in line with our gifting or passions. If I participated in every good thing, I would have a mental melt-down and possibly end up bitter towards the church or in a "somethings gotta give" situation where my marriage or my kids might be suffering. Therefore, my motto. I participate in bible study and attend the retreats but I try hard to not be on planning committees or go to all the social get togethers, teas and talks. I don't always have to be on the leadership side of things, and I allow myself (in theory) the option of saying no.

I prefer to use my energy and time to invest in those areas that I feel particularly called to and passionate about. The problem with this lies in the faces of the women who I turn down when asked to be a part of said planning committee. The problem with this lies in quiet whispers in the pews when the pastor's wife didn't show up to a much-hyped church event. The problem really, truly, lies in my own heart's desire to be liked by everyone, and that just will never be. That desire fills me with guilt and fear every time I say no to something even though I know I can't do it all. That desire is decidedly not what the bible refers to in Galatians 1:10 when Paul asks himself.."am I now trying to win the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man?"

Though this blog post may not be the most cohesive ever, I hope to raise two challenges by it. The first to those of you in the church who may have been an eye-raiser at one point or another, when someone doesn't serve where you think they should serve or participate when you think they should participate. I fall into this category without question. We cannot judge this and we need to allow people in the church to say no without guilt. Leave it up to the Holy Spirit to get them there if it is God they are running from. But if it is simply a boundary, a choice to focus on one area over another, or just not their is not up to us to judge. And for the pastor's wives (or anyone actually!)out there, and to this category I also fall, the challenge is to ever strive for a life that pleases God and not man. That is a hard, hard thing and a principal I have yet to master.

Tonight as I write this, sitting next to my sleeping 5-year old, many women from my church are at an event together. I could be there, and it could be a really good thing. But I am not there, and hopefully I am right where I need to be.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Mum Factor

Today marks 15 years of marriage to my husband Ryan (the pastor to whom this blog title refers...). I awoke to a sweet note from him sitting next to the best of all gifts, a potted mum. Now this, truly was a grand gesture.

 Here is the back story on the mum plant: 16 years ago or so, Ryan came to my house to pick me up for one of our first dates. We were but babes at the time. Remembering (like a good boyfriend should) that I mentioned a love for fresh flowers, he brought me a lovely potted mum which I thought was wonderful.... Not. (yes, the NOT reference is a nod to the lingo of the time...remember the 90s?).

 He immediately saw the look on my face (I am not subtle) and knew that I was not happy. I then went on to tell him that a potted plant is not romantic but rather something that you give to your grandma when you go for cookies at her house. Honestly, how was this relationship going to work if it could be summed up in a potted MUM??

 The irony, though, is that our marriage can be summed up by that Mum plant. You see, Ryan did not give up on his courtship of me because I rejected his gift and overanalyzed it. He tried again, and again. He learned from that moment and tried something different the next time around. He learned that for me, it is best to just have me write down the make and serial number of what I want. For him to pay attention to that was in itself romantic.

 For him to put up with me when I did not receive his naive (and sweet) gesture with any amount of grace...also romantic. I overanalyze and can be frank (too frank). I have made mistakes and hurt Ryan and he has done the same. 15 years of marriage means many opportunities to screw up. It means many ups and downs and many reminders of our failings in life. But it is not in the Mums of life that we are defined. It is not in the mess-ups, the trip ups, the big fights, the little resentments that build or the days you are just annoyed. It is in how you handle those things that end up defining your relationships. Everyone will fall down, but in picking up again, you grow and you learn.

 Marriage takes some risk. It takes a lot of humility and the ability to forgive and try again. It takes the ability to receive forgiveness and love from someone else. If you can do those things, even those dark moments in your marriage can provide a backdrop to something beautiful - to a story of redemption and restoration.

 15 years and counting. I love that I found that potted mum this morning. No longer representing the mistakes we have made, but rather the strides we have taken all these years to love regardless of those mistakes. Happy Anniversary, Ryan!