The Outdoor To Indoor Wedding

 Saturday night I went to an outdoor wedding that had to be moved indoors. I must add, that at the time of the ceremony, it was not raining. But the venue made that age-old mistake:they put the chairs out too early, and let them sit in the rain too long. Brides-to-be BE WARNED: Many an outdoor wedding has become indoor due to this fools errand, and no, handing out plastic wrap to cover the seats does not compensate.

So we found ourselves, indoor, dry, and toasty, sitting around the dance floor as the ceremony unfolded. And the same thing happened that happens every time I go to a wedding where climate-induced improvisation occurs – everyone forgets that there was an “original plan.” The bride and groom glow, vows, are exchanged, tears are shed, and there is zero commute to the cocktail hour.

The sweetness of this particular wedding though was augmented by watching Travis officiate the marriage of his freshman year college rooommate. There stood two people who, 13 years ago, made no  specifications to William and Mary about roommates, besides “Air Condition Preferred.” Unlike, myself who entered college wtih ready made curtains and coordinating comforter, they had no plan. And no computer system would have matched them apart from the command: Random Sort. But Saturday night got me a little, just because of that. Who on that very hot day in August,  could have fathomed this cool day in April?

I used to operate under a well-researched plan + well-executed plan = joy,peace and satisfaction. Lately, as I face new seasons with new decisions,  my greater desire is to hold things loosely, be ready to improvise, and be surprised by delight. I want to be that Bride who kicks off the heels for the rain boots, and dances like crazy because at the end of the day, she’s married – and she dares to think it was even better than she planned.

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photo credit 

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On Pastor Wifedom, First Ladies, and Lynne Hybels

A few years ago, I had two, two and under, and hadn’t slept through the night in what felt like 200 nights.  There was joy in that season but there was also fog…and, at times, that fog was real dense.

Travis had planned a meeting at our house and asked me to cook for everyone – something he never asks me to do. It was rare, so I went for it. And I cooked and cooked and laid it all out and served it and then sat in the background. Partly because cooking exhausts me. Partly because I was permanently exhausted. But also, partly, because during the course of the event I decided to start playing a role – the role of the cooking, serving, background- sitting Pastor’s Wife. I remembered Stanislavski’s Method from acting classes, and I took that role all. the. way.

Then the group got into a discussion, in which everyone took turns sharing.  When it came time for me to speak, I didn’t have anything to say. Let me repeat that, in case you missed it: I didn’t have anything to say. I sat there, silent, unopinionated, hoping my meal would carry me through.

Afterwards, Travis looked me straight in the eye and said. “What was wrong with you back there? Why didn’t you say anything? That is NOT who you are.”

To which I had two visceral reactions:

1. DO YOU KNOW WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO BE SO TIRED THAT YOU FANTASIZE ABOUT DYING?

and

2. I had married the right person. Because I was forgetting myself. And he could remember for me.

I have come a long way from that summer. But I hold the memory close as a marker. It reminds me of the slippery slope to role-playing, to attempting to be who I’m not because I think that’s what people want, or it’s easier. Or I’m just so tired.

Here’s what’s funny. I have never met a silent, food-serving, unopinionated, background- sitting Pastor’s Wife. I don’t have those models in my childhood or my adult communities. Where does this stuff come from? And this is the first time here, I think, that I’ve even placed the two words Pastor and wife side by side, especially in regards to me -mainly, because I’m holding out for the Southern title of “First Lady.”

But I began thinking about all of this today when I saw Shauna Neiquist was giving away copies of her mother, Lynne Hybels’ book, Nice Girls Don’t Change the World.

I actually haven’t read the book. But years ago, before I was a wife or he was a pastor, I listened to Lynne Hybels give the talk the book was based on.

And it scared me to death.

I think I saw my own potential to play a role and forget – to suppress who I am, how I was created, and what I am supposed to contribute.

I am so grateful for Lynne’s candor and vulnerability. In fact, her name, has become a bit of a battle cry between myself and my other “First Lady” (maybe if I just start it, it will catch on) friends. “Remember Lynne” we whisper to each other when tempted to play a part or be someone we’re not. It’s a warning and an encouragement. Discover your gifts. Chase after your callings. Don’t misread imitation as  obedience. And live lives of sacrifice, not silence.

 (The book was not written to women in ministry, or married to people in ministry. It was written for women.)

Who or what has cautioned you against role-playing? Let the rest of us know (that fog can get dense…)

The Clubhouse

Today I am praying to one day become the mother who upon seeing this

celebrates creativity, imagination and joy experienced in the Great Outdoors.

And does not lament 30 minutes of clean-up and and the absence of answers to complicated questions such as

Where did that lei come from?

(I am also praying that one day I will no longer be the mother who burns meat on the stove while she is outside taking pictures.)

 

Dear Dr. Henry Cloud

I confess…this is “The Book I Reference the Most, that I Actually Haven’t Read.”

And, this next one is “The Book I Most Need to Read If I Would Stop Choosing Memoirs Instead.”

But this next one is ,”The Book We Read a Lot. And I love more each time.”

 “Say Yes to Cleaning Up. Say No to Meanies. Say Yes to Sharing.” Those could keep me occupied for years.

We’ve checked out Sophie and Sam every few months from our church library since Sophia was tiny. This is a GREAT  one for preschoolers- the stories are short and memorable and they rhyme! (What more could any of us be looking for?)

We are headed out on vacation next week so I am thinking of catching up on my Cloud reading, including his newest, Necessary Endings. But it is vacation so I’m collecting (uploading) fiction too. And I’m most excited about this one:

 Chess, Cold War, the search for meaning. I’m saying Yes.

As always, share what you’ve read lately! Don’t make me resort to my Amazon recommendations…we all know that’s a dark place.

Happy Monday

I’m hoping to take on the week with that kind of energy and sass.

And if it doesn’t work for me, I will, as is my habit,  resort to photographing my feet:

Which are not this cute.

Hope your week holds promise. And rest. And sunshine.

 

In 1988, I wanted to marry Tom Hanks

It didn’t work out. I was seven. That year he married Rita Wilson.

 This month, she  released her first album.

I’ve always had a heart, if not stalker facination for Rita. Those feelings became immense gratitude when she discovered a quirky,  little off-Broadway, one-woman show and made it into the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” and then went on to produce the movie version of “Mama Mia.” Love the framework of songs from the 60’s being heard on AM, and ones from the 70’s being heard on FM. And by the way, the emotional connection I feel to her rendition of “Angel of the Morning” combined with the title of this post further support the theory that I was born middle-aged.

Go here to hear samples of AM/FM.

Hear Rita talk about the album here.

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In other links:

Love what Rachel Held Evans says here about her Pre-Pinterest Wedding. I totally get this. My bridesmaids dresses have long since been delegated to the Student Ministries skit closet, but marriage (not to Tom Hanks) gets better and better.

Abby encourages us “unfinished ones” here. Oh how I needed this as I sit here in my dining room/laundry storage/craft/office area.

Jeff Goins gives a different spin on a parable here. I like what he has to say about our life’s work.

Also, FYI, parents of small girls, Meg consigns her daughters clothing once a week on her blog. The clothes are beautiful and I would snatch all of them up if Olivia wore more than one dress per year.

Read anything great this week?  Please share!  And have a wonderful weekend…

When Personal becomes Political (and I cringe)

I normally don’t pay much attention to political pundits,instead choosing to take the stance of the Grinch looking down at Who-ville, sneering NOISE! NOISE! NOISE!

But last week’s Hilary Rosen/Ann Romney clash and ensuing bruhaha caught my ear and put a pit in my stomach. It started personal, and then became political about work, motherhood, women. Back and forth it went and all of Twitter seemed to weigh in as my sinking feeling sunk deeper. Not because I felt attacked…but because my life is not a political statement. And neither is yours. (or is it? if so, please give me your blog address…)

And politics has this way of taking lives that are complicated and nuanced and messy in hundreds of ways, and making them into stances. And stances must appear completely resolved.

But I’m not completely resolved. And I have a hard time believing Ann and Hilary are either.  The decisions I make regarding life, work and motherhood bring answers, but they also bring questions. I struggle with regret, and envy other women’s lives and decisions and  apparent resolved-ness. (And ability to make correct noun forms). And I, like everyone including the Grinch,  sometimes wonder if another, better, right-er life is passing me by.

Yet, this honest, day-by-day unresolvedness, that hobbles along while  praying for grace, does not grow ratings or create bruhahas.

It does build bridges. And isn’t that what politics is supposed to do?