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Boundaries

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Something I have been working towards is accepting when friendships don’t work especially when they were difficult to begin with.  For some reason, I have a hard time with this because part of me feels like a failure when relationships don’t work out.  Last weekend, I went with Wil to the Episcopal Church in South Carolina’s General Convention.  I go to these things when I can (Thank You Kei Kei and Pepaw!) for three reasons:  1.) I would have no idea what is going on in the church if I didn’t  2.)To support and be with Wil and 3.) To hang out with other clergy spouse and non-priest participants.  The whole event was relatively smooth with just a few boring parts and a couple of hiccups.  The thing I came away with was how much love this group has for each other.  Bishop vonRosenberg is just about as special as they come and he had me in tears when he thanked Annie, his wife, for all that she does.  This woman has a story to tell and with smiles and a light heart, she informs me of the who’s who and the back stories that I am totally oblivious to.  In some ways, I feel very much so under her wing but it is a wing that is as light as one feather and  invisible unless you really look for it.  After coming away from the weekend with so much in my mind and in my heart, I reflected on my relationship with her and a few other people in my past that stand out as true gems, people that God truly talks through.  With a long car ride home, Wil and I discussed the boundaries we have with people and how sometimes we think the folks that we have no boundaries with are the easiest friendships but boundaries can lead to a lot of respect and a lot love.  As a clergy family, friendships without boundaries are almost unheard of so it is nice to think it has a silver lining.

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Instead of “actually” Willow says “nasacally” and sings the Pippi Longstocking song on repeat and loudly.  Lilly is back in dance class (much to my happiness) and really into reading simple books.  I love watching her be so proud of herself.  They are both excited about the upcoming holidays.

 

Wil has been working a lot.  That’s advent around here.  He did manage to get himself assigned as the Chaplin for the Midway Fire Department.  We now listen to calls on the scanner and he has gotten to ride in the truck.  I have to admit the hat looks good on him. 🙂

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I’ve been subbing a lot for the preschool which has been great but really gets in the way of my ME time. 😉

I’ve also been struggling with whether to put Lilly in Montessori school next year.  There are good arguments going on in my head for both sides.  So, as I reflect on all the boundaries I have set up in my life, from being a parent to my kids and not a friend and being an example of an Episcopalian to my friends, I realize that it isn’t always easy but the benefits are many.

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Empty Cart = Joy

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Fall is here and the cord grass has changed colors.  The sand feels different and it actually has been cold enough for jackets and boots.  In true holiday fashion, our calendar has been crowded with great things.  We had the best Halloween since moving here thanks to our friends.  We made spooky snacks for church, had school parties, and trick or treated until we just didn’t want to anymore.  It felt good to be involved with all the school things and even better to have a firepit and friends to share a great day.  The only scary thing that happened was trying to put kids to bed after all that.

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Now we are gearing up for Thanksgiving and as much as I like hearing what everyone is thankful for, I found myself wanting more recently.  I was doing regular errand shopping with a few treats for stockings and my first peppermint mocha coffee in hand when I was getting frustrated at not being able to get more. Prices were too high and my cart was already too full.  What was supposed to be a nice morning out for me alone (ALONE!) was becoming  a game of mental budgeting and excess.  Then, I was reminded at the abundance I have.  I was given the chance to be reminded that some people have virtually nothing.  Not even the basics like a safe home to live in.  My heart became full at my opportunity to learn and even give.  I put back a few things I knew we didn’t need so I could get the satisfaction of a worthy sacrifice.  What was turning into an empty space became filled with hope and love.

 

This morning as I had a cavity filled, I tried to remember how wonderful it is that I can even go to the dentist but people, it was tough because I HATE it.  I almost cried I hate it so much. So, I’m trying to remember not to discuss how awful it is with Lilly so she won’t be terrified when she has to go through it one day.  In other news, Wil is growing out his facial hair for no shave November to bring awareness to men’s health at Holy Cross.  The holiday clergy schedule looms and I try not to complain. Insert big fake smile here but with only half of my face because the other half is still numb.

Priest Wife Ramblings

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I heard it again today: “It must be really difficult being a clergy spouse.”  This is followed up by an eye witness account of a clergy spouse friend of theirs and what they go through.  I shake my head with a knowing yes and a sigh but the truth is that it isn’t really all that difficult.

There are some things that have become my Priest Wife pet peeves like being expected to have nothing and give all the time.  Or people conversing with me and by the end of the conversation that usually involves, “Let me be honest with you..” having a wave of guilt that they unloaded their gripes onto me.  Or being scolded for asking someone why I haven’t seen them at church lately or worse, being scolded because I did ask where they’d been lately.   Or having to go to events because I’m obligated whilst missing out on events I would rather be at.  Or pretty much having to go to church every Sunday because if I don’t, it looks bad.  Or having your husband under a moral and ethical magnifying glass 24/7.  It’s an unusual life when church is your bread and butter.

All those things (and I could add more) are also MY pet peeves and don’t hold true for all clergy spouses.  They also all have silver linings and are truly not all that bad.  So let me be honest with you, it is a great time to be Episcopalian and it’s a great time to be the wife of a Priest here in Pawleys Island.  It seems to be the land of “Where do you go to church?” and then the answer meaning so much more then a buildings location.  If I need someone, I have 100’s of people I can call and they will be here for me for whatever I might need.  I get to care about some amazing people that in my everyday world, I’d never even know.  Those same people are the village that help me care for my little girls who will make your heart burst singing Jesus Loves Me.  Yes, Wil has days that he is gone for 14 hours and yes, we very rarely have whole days free from church meetings or phone calls.  There’s stress, lots of stress because spirituality is heavy and it goes hand in hand with health and happiness.  There’s also guilt.  Guilt I’m not knowledgeable in the realms of philosophy and religion.  Guilt that I didn’t ask how someone was doing.  Guilt because I really did want to send that “Thinking of You” card.  The heaviest guilt I can feel is when I start to really doubt God and then I feel so undeserving of all the wonderfulness I reap from my church life.

That guilt? Standard and because I experience it often I have really made it work for me and it’s becoming less of a negative and more of a motivator.  I am in love with Holy Cross Faith Memorial and I am in love with Father Wil.  I’m not always in love with the feast or famine work schedule and I’m not always in love with the expectations but this life is such a good life and I can literally count my blessings.

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Weddings and Funerals

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Ebola.  If you are breathing and connected to media, this is the headlines.  It’s the thought in the back of your head when you sanitize your shopping cart or blow your kids nose.  It is scary.  There’s the guilt knowing that unlike Africa, America might be able to contain it and treat it.  There’s the ability to prepare, ration and save.  So, I have decided to stop worrying.  I have decided to have the mindset that I might just get Ebola and see how that changes my day.  Instead of the worry, I feel this need to savor my cup of coffee.  I feel this need to run in the rain.  I feel this need to kiss what little bit of baby fat Willow has left.  I feel the need to play my favorite music and dance around the room while my children laugh at me.  People who are already sick with something else know this.  I consider myself somewhat of a hot mess and therefore need to give myself these pep talks.

Lucky for me I don’t have Ebola and I can flip and flop in my head to what’s important and those trivial things that make up our day to day.  God knows that us humans are like this and that is why there is beauty if we want it.  God also knows that we are going to dwell and knit pick and has planned to be our backup for strength and understanding.  Thanks God.

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Weddings and funerals.  They both remind us of so much and give us a chance to reflect or plan.  I attended my cousin Samantha’s wedding at The Grove Park Inn in Asheville.  Good. ness.  It was gorgeous!  She was gorgeous!  My family got to be together in leisurely pleasure, dressed in our best during one of the best seasons.  It was such a good time.

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On the flipside, Wil is in Asheville attending the funeral of a dear family friend: Keith.  He traveled in rain and watched the  temperature drop.  His heart is heavy.  Keith will be missed and we will have his family in our thoughts for many weeks to come.

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Lilly read me most of the words in a book we have for basic readers.  She was sooooo proud of herself.  It made my heart swell.  Then, I would go to turn off her light and she was still looking at books.

Willow is living into the “do it myself” segment of life.  When Lilly does something for her, she gets so frustrated!  She also wore her first ponytail to school today.  She was adorable!

Carrots from her tree house

Carrots from her tree house

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When Willow cries because she wants a band aid for nothing at all or Lilly fake laughs in a manic fashion, I want them to know that I love them through each emotion.  I’m happy for today and the chance to live it.

Respect Your Neighbor

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I’m sick.  Just a little head cold but I’m feeling it.  It has been a long while since I’ve been under the weather.  There are days I would give an appendage to just laze around the house and watch TV but Lilly and Willow usually have a different plan.  Today, when the alarm went off for me to start the morning routine, Wil touched my shoulder and he got out of bed while I fell back asleep.  I would wake up periodically worried that he’d forget something or not be outside when Lilly’s carpool ride came but she went to school fully clothed, teeth brushed and with a healthy lunch.  If that wasn’t enough, he got Willow ready for school too as I went in and out of sleeping.  As the day progressed and as I got tired of reading and napping, I was ready to get up and do stuff.  With a dull throbbing in my head, the cold would remind me that I needed to sit down .  I realized that I didn’t want to just sit all day.  I wanted to run and clean the house and go to the beach.  I had to force myself to just sit.  I’m hoping all this sitting I did today will make for a healthy beginning tomorrow.  I am so thankful for Wil today and little girls who can lead him in their daily lives.

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Willow and Lilly have been taking swim lessons at the Georgetown YMCA.  Lilly is doing a great job but Willow is a bit more reluctant.  I remembered that Lilly didn’t really get comfortable with the water until her 4 year old summer.  I’m thinking this time with a life guard will help Willow along her way.

We had to wait three days before using our computer because Willow beat the mouse so hard against a table out of fury that it broke.  That girl has got a temper so I’m thinking after swim lessons, we try boxing. 🙂  Boxing with snuggles because she is really good at that too.

Lilly has been at her big sister awesomeness once again.  She is extremely patient with Willow when she wants to be and likes to show her the ropes when it comes to stuff she has done before.  The other day, she was teaching Willow her letters from a book she had brought home from school.  It was a sweet moment.

Last Sunday, the message I heard was “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  It’s a classic and it resonated with me.

I don’t always treat myself very kind.  I have some major things I would like to change about myself and some days I am trying to be better and some days I’m not.  I can be very hard on myself and as a result I try to stay away from those “mom guilt” articles or too many nutrition based articles because I just end up thinking I’m not good enough or I don’t do enough.  To love my neighbor as myself means for me to know that they are flawed and they don’t always do the right thing but each day brings a new chance.  It’s okay to question your neighbor if you think they might be headed down the wrong road and it’s even okay to not want to be friends with your neighbor because it just isn’t working out.  If we all love ourselves more then loving our neighbors more might just fall into place.  Love can mean not agreeing but still respecting.  So, I make some bad choices one day, I have to own it and do better the next and I expect nothing less from my neighbor.

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It’s fall here and the air is a little cooler and the sky is a little bluer.  The mountains whisper to me on the wind and they make me miss them.  I still put out fall leaf decorations even if they do seem out of place. I guess roasted pumpkin seeds and pumpkin muffins will have to do for now.

want want want want want

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“What you don’t have you don’t need it now.”  – U2

I have been wanting lately.  I look around me and I see so much but I still want.  Of course it is totally normal to want.  We want good things as much as we want too many good things and a few bad.  I hear from Lilly more during my own times of want, “Can I have ____?”  anything from more paper to going to the arcade.  As I want less and become satisfied with what I have, my children seem to do the same. Fall is yet another season of change.  We get to reinvent who we are as we label our lives with new goals and new wants.

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Recently, we spent the week at a beach house with our folks.  It went from sunny, to cloudy, to rainy, to windy and then a little bit more sun.  The great thing about being right at the beach was that we could experience it through all types of weather.  Sharing the house with everyone was special, even cousin Kylie joined us!

Lilly and Willow have been so busy with school and all the after school activities we are part of.  Willow takes tumble class and swim lessons.  Lilly is just doing the swim lessons right now but the combination keeps us moving around.  In her pink school folder, Lilly brought home her first report card.  She got all “checks” and a nice note from the teacher about how happy she is at school.  That girl knows how to make us proud.

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The aired cool off today and we made cookies which we promptly ate way too many of.

Here’s to wanting only the things that make us better, wanting only the things we can afford, and wanting to share our good things with others.  (I’m holding up a Oktoberfest Yuengling beer because gosh darn it, I just wanted one.)

 

The Man in the Moon

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One of the Priest perks that we have been lucky enough to be given are weeks at a parishioners beach house. Granny’s Beach House is right near the pier on Pawleys and provides us with a home not far from our own.  It is so nice to be close enough to run back home to get things but far enough to let the daily house chores be forgotten.  Wil and I would watch the sun set and Lilly and I would watch the sun rise.

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Willow and I would hangout in between preschool and getting Lilly from kindergarten.  This has become a special time for us when it’s just me and her.

 

Last night, as Wil and I sat on the porch under the stars, it felt like we could actually see the curve of the Earth.  The man in the moon was very clear and we both commented on it at the exact same time.  I entertained the idea of getting Lilly up to see it but decided that sleep was a better idea for her because she has been SOOOOOO tired after school.  She loves the fact that I hate touching live fish.  She tried to convince me to touch the eye ball on some of Wil’s bait.  That’s a big no……

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Once the sun came out, the weather was just about perfect and I’m a little sad to leave the beach house.  There’s no place like home but we are so thankful for our time near the big waters.  It reminds us how truly small we are and how very big the universe is.  As we remember 9/11 and are continually affected by news of war and violence, I can look to mother nature and know that beauty will always be there to soothe my soul.

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