I am piled up on the sofa under more than one blanket while the Great Winter Storm of 2014 continues outside. Luke just walked out to measure the snow and howled at the moon because CABIN FEVER. Really, he’s hoping our neighbors heard it and rushed to the window to see what mysterious creature made such a horrifying sound. Calm down, y’all. I know these are frightening times but tonight, it’s just your pastor.
Yesterday was really the better play day because the snow was just the right kind for building. For the kids anyway. It was just right for me to try to get a couple of pictures of them because who knows the next time the South will be in the center of the Polar Vortex?
This is my nephew, Jake. He’s hanging out with us a few months until his sis, Shelby, gets back from St. Jude. His assignment for the day was to back away from the Playstation and build himself something from that cold white stuff on the ground.
He worked and worked. And worked some more. We decided unanimously he had built a seagull. Could it be more awesome? (Dear Children’s Services, at one point I promise he was wearing gloves.)
The other guys weren’t as thrilled that I had a camera lens stuck in their face.
“Mom!” And then he rushed me.
Come at me, bro.
I asked Sam to hug his sister for a picture. Rather, he tackled her. He is no snow angel.
Sydney, in happier times.
We bought her a Snowman Kit for Christmas never dreaming she would have the chance to use it which explains the perfect, though deceptive, carrot nose. It is plastic. Her snowman had a little work done. (Where are your gloves?!)
And lo, there was a snowman out in the field, keeping watch over the house by night.
I’m leaving this guy on guard because I have to admit my Freak Out Level has been elevated with all the apocalyptic weather warnings just on the heels of the interstate icy-road disasters in larger southern cities. Tell me the power may go out and my mind goes straight to anarchy and zombies and how if we were Amish we wouldn’t worry about living with no power and is there really an Amish Mafia? Something tells me Lebanon Levi doesn’t stand a chance in World War Z. (In fact, Luke and I discussed today that even I could probably beat him up.) And then there’s food. How long will my pantry last with a house full of teenagers? Sam can hunt and fish but we only have one box of ammo. We’d be good for a little while but then what? THEN WHAT?
See. Freak Out.
This is why I’m glad to have a husband who howls at the moon.
Pretty sure no zombie would mess with that.
From time to time I will click on a link of someone’s site I used to read to find it in much the same shape as mine – left on a cyber shelf until that day she may or may not pick it up again. I can’t help but wonder what caused the pause. Was it lack of interest? Too much life and not enough time to chronicle it? In one instance it was a blog turned memorial by a family who wanted their mom’s words to remain because she had been taken by an unimaginable tragedy. You just never really know what’s happening on the other side of that screen.
The McKay House has experienced much in 2013. Much of our dailiness is a blur and non-descript. But then there are those days that you will never forget the place you were sitting and the numb that washed over you in a bath of one million tears when it all changed with a phone call. That one word that won’t stop reverberating in your head: Cancer. You will never forget having to go to the store when it’s the last place in the world you want to be and trying to hold it together with (cancer, CANCER) just below the surface of the pleasantries you exchange with the woman shopping alongside you for green beans. Is she trying to hold it together, too, or does she really mean it when she says she’s fine?
Some of you (those who remain in spite of my lackluster blogging) are my Facebook and Twitter friends and are therefore aware that my 17 year-old niece, Shelby, was diagnosed with Stage 3 Lymphoma in October. In a blur that would rival any deep space time warp, she and my sister, Nikki, have been whisked away to St. Jude’s in Memphis, TN where gratefully we have received a good prognosis. She is currently in her third round of treatment and by faith we believe her healing will come and she’ll return home good as new.
In the meantime my 12-year old nephew, Jake (Shelby’s little brother), has come to live with us since Shelby’s particular treatment plan requires her to be in Memphis 3 weeks of every month. Jake is a bonafide McKay at least until the end of the school year. Unless he’s telling a big fat lie, he says he is happy with his Favorite Aunt. Truly, I think he only loves me for my wi-fi. Tori (Shelby’s 16 yr old sis) has moved in with my other sister Christi. (There are lots of us, and we have lots of babies.) Divide and conquer, say we. And a good time was had by all.
So yes, on your side of the screen it has been silent but I promise you there is plenty of noise on my end. More than ever I feel the need to write again if for no other reason than to get out of my own head. In no way am I trying to come across as depressed and dark. I can honestly say our family is hopeful and 2014 is full of promise for many very bright days.
So if you ask how I’m doing, and I say ‘fine’, I mean it. For now.
I hope you are fine, too.
The Cousins, Christmas 2013.
This article is in response to the topic, “BFF’s in the Church Pews.” I’d like to elaborate just a bit. (Please visit the original article link for context.)
I think the majority of you understood the three categories of friends I proposed. One reader shared that her Bible study teacher referred to these as Paul, Timothy, and Barnabas relationships. Another pointed out the fact that Jesus had twelve disciples but three of those comprised His inner circle. Both of these comparisons capture the spirit of how people in our lives fill a certain need where friendships are concerned.
My approach to this subject is from the viewpoint of a ministry wife’s ability to have healthy friendships within her church. While many of our girlfriends can be categorized in the areas I’ve described (with some filling more than one of these roles), there are yet many more women within the pews with whom we’ve not made this type of connection. One email I received said, “I don’t really fit into any of these areas so I guess I’ll just pray for my minister’s wife from afar.” NO, NO, NO! Afar will never do!
When ‘No’ Is Not a Good Thing
Perhaps one of the most disturbing trends I’ve witnessed where ministry wives are concerned is the withdrawing from women’s groups in the interest of protecting family time. I read an article recently by a high-profile pastor’s wife who stated, “I never attend women’s ministry events because they are just too time-consuming.”
Sister, I think I would have kept that to myself.
Bravo for learning to say ‘no’, but I’m not certain isolating one’s self from the masses will achieve the desired end. However, if you are trying to convince the women of your church they are not a priority to you, then blowing off all their gatherings should do the trick. I’m not saying you have to attend every event, but a prayer group here and a dinner there will do much more good than harm. You might even find some BFF’s in the process.
Making the Connection
As a ministry wife I feel it is part of my role to support any effort made from within the body to provide an outlet for belonging. It is extremely hard to bond without spending time with one another outside of the Sunday morning hour. It hurts me to think there are women in our pews who feel friendship within the Body has eluded them. Sometimes, church can be as lonely for parishioners as it is for the pastor’s wife.
Enter women’s ministry.
Many groups meet once a month and/or travel from home to home. In season, our women’s group has done this very thing. In different times of frequency, we eat together, pray together, laugh and cry together. And in the midst of it, we’ve become friends. There is a diversity of age and issues, but underneath is our commonality in Christ – and that’s all we need. Here there is no category, but a group of women standing shoulder-to-shoulder resolving that no one will ever feel alone. Every single one of these women are dear to me. I can’t imagine now how I’ve survived so long without meeting regularly with them.
That, girls, is what friendship is all about. Ministry wives, be open to having many friends within your congregation. Lay people, reach out to your pastor’s wife until she figures out it’s safe to reach back. You will make a connection – one that will transcend the confines of the pew.