Sunday, August 03, 2014

A Sunday Evening Wrapup from the Minister's Wife

Somehow, I have missed God’s will for my life.  It is Sunday evening and I am not rested.

This morning I got up early and made tea, studied for Sunday school, put potatoes in one crock pot and a beef roast in another, got ready for church, and hollered upstairs at slow people.

By the time we got to church, Jenny had a headache and felt like throwing up.  I took her into the rec room, found the first aid kit, took her temperature, and found Emily in the foyer and told her to take Jenny home again.

At church I taught Sunday school and then listened to a missions talk and thought we should go to a certain Southeast Asian country, because the language isn’t tonal, and the team that’s going is all young, and they need someone our age to parent all the high-energy young missionaries.  That was my take on it.  They were not there to recruit someone like us.

After church I hustled over to the school where we met with the concerned parents of a boy who doesn’t pick up on reading as fast as some.  The older I get, the more my advice shifts toward: 1. Chill out. 2. Read to him every day.  3. Let him play outside all day except for meals and chores. 4. Wait until he’s 8 to talk about reading. Or even 9.

No one wants to hear that advice, it seems.

Then I came home and brought Paul’s mom along and put the ice cream goop in the maker and turned it on, and got in Ben and Steven’s way while we all got dinner ready, which was roast beef, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, tossed salad, blueberry cobbler, ice cream, and tea.

I also tried to make connections with my brother Phil, who had Dad for the weekend.  Paul left to go meet them along the freeway and everyone miscommunicated horribly and sent texts to the wrong people and didn’t read the ones they got, but they finally came home, just in time to go to Dan and Martha’s reception, out in the lovely gardens that Dan’s mom creates and sculpts, and where we younger moms looked around with jealousy, because we are doing good if we keep our plants sort of watered and kind of alive in this hot summer.

Then we galloped off to the evening service at church, where Paul preached to a slim crowd on Revelation and the beast with seven heads and ten horns, and the vacation Bible school teachers [Paul, Emily, and a bunch more] got prayed for and started setting up their classrooms, and I talked with Pauline about the picnic meal at the end of VBS next Saturday and tried to find willing people to make baked beans for 30 people each.

Steven drove us home and I typed a few more numbers into my new phone while Emily found flaws in the Companions story from years ago that someone gave her.

The boys unloaded the dishwasher and Ben talked about the Mongol empire, which was one of the biggest, longest ever, which his dad had failed to mention in the sermon as a possibility for one of the heads on the beast.

I checked on Jenny who is better but not well.

Now it is the end of Sunday and I do not feel rested, and the week ahead is about to hit like a tsunami.  I don’t think this was God’s idea for a day of rest.  Or is Sunday more about “keep it holy” than about “in it thou shalt not do any work”??

Or maybe there’s a verse in Hezekiah that says, “And the wives and mothers among you, especially those of the preacher’s household, shall not rest on the Sabbath, neither by day or night, or on the afternoon thereof.  And verily they shall feed at their table the flesh of cattle at midday, the fruit of the vine, and pottage, to all the inhabitants thereof.  And on the scroll shall they write the prayer requests of the congregation, yea, all the infirmities thereof, even unto the embarrassing personal ones, and if they by the hearing of the ears are told secrets such as would tingle the ears of the hearers from Dan to Beersheba, yet shall they remain silent, though the tales burn within them.  And even into old age shall the wives remember who didst attend at the worship of the Lord in the morning and evening assembly, and who didst absent themselves, and shall telephone them in the days to come, to enquire therein, whether they be ill, or whether a root of bitterness at another member or the pastor’s sermons troubleth them, or whether they remained in their dwelling to make merry in the company of their fellows, and to roast the meat of cattle on the coal that burneth with fire in the grill of iron."

[“At least it’s in King James,” says Jenny.]
{Actually I do NOT call people up to see why they weren't at church.  But I feel like a good minister's wife should at least notice they're gone, which I don't usually do.}

The longer Dad is here, the more I believe in multi-generational households, and the more I wish we could have had an arrangement like this 5 or 10 years ago, for Mom and Dad, with their own space close by, and me making sure they were clean and fed, and them teaching Jenny Pa. Dutch, and both of them going out to talk to the cats and keep the calves watered.

The other day I said, “When we’re old, please have us live in a dawdi haus*.”
The children immediately kicked into Clever mode.
“Actually we’ll have a Nawdi haus!”
“Cuz Mom’s gonna be naughty!”  [ha ha ha ha ha!!]

“Yeah, she’ll make Trim Healthy Mama food and try to fool us with it.”
“And she’ll give us tons of secondhand baby clothes and we’ll be like, put it on the baby, take a picture, send it to mom, give the clothes to Goodwill,”

*dawdi haus: a little house for the grandparents, on the same property as the main family dwelling.


The kids are talking about getting me a t-shirt with a platypus on it, which I guess is the official cross of a beaver and a duck.
Ben will be the resident Beaver, since he just got accepted into Oregon State’s engineering school.
Emily will be the local Duck, since she’s going to the University of Oregon, hoping to get into the school of journalism winter term.
Both Ben and Emily completed their first two years at Linn-Benton Community College, where they both got astonishing GPA’s. [bragged Mother.]
They would also come home and discuss, with great hoots and mockery, the older students on campus who carried their books in ROLLING backpacks.
Yes, I am serious.  There were actually college students who were so old that they cared more about their aching backs than the screaming un-cool-ness of backpacks that—gales of laughter—rolled!

Me: You do realize that if I went back to college I would use a rolling case for my books.
Em and Ben: Yes, Mom.  We know.   It’s ok if it’s someone your age.  What looks so ridiculous is when a younger person does it.
SIGH again.

Since I am utterly frozen with fear at writing a novel, plus I don’t have time, I try to write a one-sentence story a day, just to start thawing.
It’s fun.
“The crowded marigolds made Frances feel understood.”

“Charles drove a stacker and wished he could drive a truck.”

“Darlene knew why Edwin always avoided Cartney Drive.”


I have a title for my 5th collection of newspaper columns:


Someone suggest this, but they commented anonymously, so I don’t know who it was.

Quote of the Day”

“I just suddenly got curious—at what temperature would the human body melt?”

--Emily, who has the unfortunate combination of college knowledge plus hours alone on the combine


  1. I enjoyed the post. Some of the days here are like that. I think sometimes the Pastor and/or his wife may have to designate another day for a sabbath, and continue to "work" like crazy on Sunday!

    Were you thinking of coming here to replace us, or was it farther East to a country I can't mention!

  2. I enjoyed the post. Some of the days here are like that. I think sometimes the Pastor and/or his wife may have to designate another day for a sabbath, and continue to "work" like crazy on Sunday!

    Were you thinking of coming here to replace us, or was it farther East to a country I can't mention!

  3. I am not surprised that you do not feel rested I dont think you stopped all day , I quite often wish that my life was a little fuller and that I had more contact with people , I am sure I could not cope with even one of your days .
    Best wishes from a very rural corner of Brittany France

  4. Interesting observations! I've also found the Sabbath to be anything but restful. In fact, with the extra effort of preparing a family to attend church plus making sure we have food to eat afterwards, plus sometimes feeding extra people, it can get downright busy. I like to think of it as serving others. If others are blessed by our efforts, that is what counts.

  5. Marland--there is no way we would try to replace you! I was referring to a project starting up soon...not sure that anyone is actually on the ground there yet. But I think three young families and nannies are going.
    To anonymous--thank you for stopping in from Brittany France which sounds like a fascinating place to go and rest...
    thanks for the insights, Janice.

  6. I hope you actually gave your good advice to the parents of that child who struggles with reading. One of the best fruits of that approach is that the child is spared a sense of failure from the get-go of his experience with academics.

    I really don't like Sundays devoid of rest either, but it helps me survive that kind of Sunday by remembering that worship, sacrifice, and fellowship were/are legitimate parts of Sabbath observances in Scripture. Maybe there's a way of finding rest in those things.

  7. The Baritone8/04/2014 8:51 AM

    Rolling backpacks? When I was in college, I had a rolling TOOLBOX. :-)

  8. This made me smile. Maybe because I could relate a bit....

  9. Thank you for the advice on boys who learn how to read slower. You were a lifeline to me today! Chilling.......

  10. my son, the paid to work at the church and no other paid job, has Friday and Saturday off. Friday is family day and He gives Saturday to his wife. he gives her the day to do what ever she desires and he takes full responsibility for the 4 children between the ages of 2 & 7. Not sure when his rest time is, but I know he gets up early to read and commune with God.
    Your idea on reading is spot on. As a trained teacher I know kids learn at different speeds and times. My husband (who is at the University of Oregon after retirement) didn't learn to read until the 3rd grade-he tells me. Now he is an avid reader and has taught himself many things through reading. So I agree with Mrs. I in hoping you voiced your good advice.
    I love your tongue-in-cheek verses about the job of ministers wife!
    AND what a great title!

  11. Love the book title!

    It reminds me though, that I have a footprint on my living room ceiling. No one claims it or admits knowledge of how it came to be there.

    I'm tempted to buy a fingerprinting kit, and do some sleuthing.

  12. Miriam--I tried. Thanks for the reminder of other benefits of Sunday.
    Baritone--you made me laugh.
    Anonymous--I'm so glad.

  13. 2nd anonymous--that's funny that you have a for-real footprint on the ceiling!

  14. Great post!

    So help me out. Are you really working toward a novel?

  15. Shari--I don't know.
    Good intentions, yes.
    A constant nudge in that direction.
    But such fear and ignorance.
    And other projects.
    Lots of notes.
    But this terrible wall of Beginning It that i can't scale.
    So I write single sentences, hoping.
    I suspect Elizabeth Bennet would accuse me of being ". . . unwilling to speak, unless [I] expect to say something that will amaze the whole room, and be handed down to posterity with all the éclat of a proverb.”
    Does that answer your question at all??

  16. When the children were little Sunday was anything but a day of rest. So "taking off" Monday worked well for me. As a pastor's wife I did the same and still do today as a Senior. Louise