Maybe the Elf Will Make My                        Video Announcement

Technically, I’m a moron.  And by that I mean that beyond occasionally writing on this website I have no computer-audio-visual skills whatsoever as evidenced by the fact I have spent the last two entire days trying to film a short 10 minute video with some BIG NEWS and post it to to the blog.  What video you ask?  Precisely. (Please read through to the end.  I’ll get back to the point in a bit.)

I finally gave up and went to town to find Sydney an Elf on the Shelf.  I’ve heard about them over the past few years but none of the kids expressed much interest until lately.  Some of Sydney’s friends have them and have had the best time telling about the havoc their elves wreaked during the night.  I didn’t realize how much she wanted in on the fun until she showed me that she had drawn one on notebook paper in hopes that if she wished hard enough it would come to life.

She might as well drawn my heart on that paper and ripped it to shreds.

I temporarily appeased her by fixing her school snack and putting the paper elf inside the bag.  And then I lied – because aren’t all non-Jesus Christmas traditions based on big fat whopping webs of deceit? – and told her I didn’t make it and that maybe..just maybe..her elf was coming to life!!  (Lord forgive me)  She was absolutely delighted to the uttermost and so after I dropped her at school the search was on to get a real one.  My Facebook friends came to the rescue and gave me the names of local shops that carried them.  I found one on the first try and therefore, may I introduce you to Bartholomew.

 

I left him on the kitchen counter and when Sydney came in from school she said, “Oh man, this is just getting creepier all the time.”  We read the book and Bart is now hanging out until dark when he will have to get creative and attempt to outdo all the other elf mischief going on amongst her friends’ houses.  Or that sentence can also be read: I would love to hear some good ideas on what to do with this thing so Syd doesn’t have the lamest elf on the block.  I’m personally hoping he will edit my video and get it posted but just in case, I’d better give you the condensed, written version of the content.

 

I am very excited to announce a new affiliation that will be of great benefit to ministry wives.  For quite some time I’ve been troubled in heart because as one girl in a remote corner of Alabama, I feel very inadequate to provide the resources that I know you girls need based on the emails I receive from you.  You deserve so much more than what I alone can give.  I’ve been praying about that issue for several months with the hopes of there being an opportunity for me to join forces with some of the larger ministries that are doing a great work.  I didn’t want to be presumptive that anyone needed or wanted me so I just watched and waited and wondered if desiring such a thing was of God or simply a product of my own warped discernment.  And then God – being faithful as always – crossed my path with Diane Nix through a mutual friend.  Diane just happens to be the creator of a wonderful site for ministry wives called Contagious Joy.

 

Diane and I had an email exchange some months back about ministry related things and during the course of it, I felt compelled to pitch out my desire to join forces with a site larger than my own.  Not coincidentally, the Lord had also been nudging her in my direction.  After some phone conversation and a lot of prayer, she has graciously permitted me to hitch on to her well-built wagon.  I do not presume to call this a partnership because Diane has done all the work on CJ and already has a fabulous team in place.  It is more of an affiliation whereby the ministry wife related material that I produce will be hosted there and CJ will link back here to the M2M Blogroll, etc.  Honestly, we aren’t altogether certain how this will unfold but we are both excited at the possibilities.

Here are some things I love about Contagious Joy that lead me to believe this is a great move for me and for you:

1. The Security:  Registration is required in order to have full access to the site forums and the member requests are screened to ensure the applicants are indeed servants in ministry.  No clandestine attempts to see what’s going on with you behind the scenes shall prosper! This is a huge comfort to ministry wives who need a safe place to vent, to seek encouragement, and/or wise counsel.

2.  The Forums:  I have loved the interaction between you girls on The Preacher’s Wife Facebook group page.  I’ve not converted it to a “Like/Fan” page because I’ve been afraid we’ll lose many of the members in transition and there is no longer and option to message all the members to alert to the move.  That page will remain intact but I want to encourage you to also register with CJ and use the forums in the same way you are using the Facebook page.  There are discussion starter topics and you are free to begin your own topic as well.  CJ also has a Facebook page here and again, I encourage you to “Like” that page to keep up to date on current happenings.

3.  The Credentials:  Among the team Diane has formed is a licensed counselor who is available in the forums for those facing heavy issues.  You can read the bio’s of the entire leadership team here.

4.  The Fun Stuff:  CJ has recently given away anything from iPads to Girls’ Getaway Cruises.  As much I would love to, I can’t give y’all electronics and vacations. See what I mean about how great it is to work with someone who has actual resources?

And lastly:

THE EVENTS!

This is where it gets even better.  On January 14th, 2012, CJ will be hosting a virtual conference for ministry wives called More inJoy.  Registration is now open and is a mere $10.  Couple the low price with the fact you can watch from the comforts of your own home and there is absolutely no reason not to join in!  I’m thrilled to be one of the speakers.  Rachel Lovingood (co-author of the Bible Study for ministry wives, “In Our Shoes”…what’s the deal with ministry wives and shoes? *grin*) will also speak.  The details are still coming together so please register now and visit CJ between now and then to get more information on the conference.

 

And one more lastly:

I want to be certain that I properly express how grateful I remain for the friendships and encouragement you girls have blessed me with over the past years.  I do not want this change to be perceived that I am shoving you out of here to another site.  Very little will change here other than there being times when I will point you to CJ forums for counsel, etc. that will be readily available there versus your waiting on me to answer your precious emails.  I also look forward to writing articles there that I hope will offer wholesale encouragement to issues you may be facing.  Again, it is my desire that you are served well and I know I have failed miserably especially as of late.  You deserve better!

Okay, so I would love to hear your thoughts.  About the elf and the ministry.

Now there’s a sentence I never thought I’d find myself writing.

 

Help Wanted

UPDATE:  Thank you all so much for the wonderful response!  I’ve received many private emails as well as the comments here and I’m just overwhelmed at the number of you who are willing to contribute. 

So what now?  I will be in contact over the next few days with those of you who were interested in working with the blogroll.  I never dreamed I would have to choose just one because I didn’t know if I’d get any interest.  Most likely I will be asking a couple of you to work together so that the job doesn’t become too overwhelming.  As for the article submissions, I’m working on creating submission guidelines.  Those will be posted very soon so you can begin sending in your pieces. 

Again, I’m floored.  Thank you girls so much. 

***********

You wouldn’t know it from the superfluous content but this little website is important to me.  It’s the delight of connecting with this wonderfully organic, eclectic, flat-out interesting community of women (lay people and ministry wives alike) I’ve met here as well as the outlet for thoughts that no one in my house cares about that keeps me from turning out the lights and declaring the party over.

With that said, I have big dreams about expanding the types of resources this site could provide.  In case you haven’t figured it out, I love God’s Church.  Large or small, city or country, traditional or transitioning – the Bride is beautiful to me.  If I had to pinpoint my particular calling it would be in strengthening her female leaders and membership.  I also feel God has confirmed in many ways that I am an unglamorous, trench PW.  I connect best with ministry wives who are still running their husbands bulletins on Sunday morning and re-arranging the tables and chairs in the fellowship hall for whatever class might be meeting there next because they’ve not yet raised enough money to build a Life Center.  (Can you tell we just did that today?) 

There are two areas for which I am particularly burdened at this point:  Community and Encouragement.  I’m going to pitch a couple of ideas out here and if I hear nothing but crickets chirping, then I’ll know that I’ve asked too much of you. 

1.  The Married to the Ministry Blogroll:   This thing has gotten huge.  There are broken links.  There are lots of new requests that I’ve not been able to add for lack of time.  There are blogs that no longer exist that need purging.  But most importantly there are many women who email me regularly to tell me how much they love this resource and how they’ve connected with other PW’s at just the right time to meet their need for cameraderie.  You girls know how important that is.   

What do I need?:  Someone who would consider this a ministry to become the administrator of that blog roll, keep it updated, welcome new members and  come up with creative ways to feature blogs so we can pull you girls off that list and get your site seen. 

2.  Encouragement:   Once upon a time there was a girl who wrote ministry/church-related articles.  That girl was me.  That girl is operating at stroke level but consistently worries that she should be doing more to encourage the many women who visit here looking for assurance that God wasn’t ticked off at them when He called their hubbies to serve the Body or those who are jaded with Christianity because church people disappointed them by being human. 

What do I need?  Article submissions that address relevant issues to life in ministry or church in general.  I would particularly love to hear from you girls on the other side of the pulpit.  I’m a strong advocate of building relationships between ministers and lay people so I would love to see writings relevant to both audiences.

The other day I made my boys help me clean out the flower beds.  Sam said, “Let me guess, my reward will be the satisfaction of knowing I helped make our house look nice.”  Smart kid.  I told you that because I can offer no other reward than the satisfaction of knowing you are making The House look nice.  Not my house though – His.  So, I’d love to hear your thoughts.  I’d love even more to hear if you are interested.  You can email me privately at thepreacherswife1 AT gmail DOT com to learn more.   

Thanks for listening!

Clergy Appreciation Awareness – A PSA

There are lots of reasons to love October – the cooler temperatures, the beautiful trees, and high school/SEC football. (Now that my Dawgs beat the Vols I can say that with more gusto.)  For the minister’s family, October also means Clergy Appreciation Month and in the words of my friend Fran, I’m praising the high heavens for whomever thought of such a wonderful concept.

The church we serve hands down sets the gold standard for Pastor Appreciation.  I have to preface this by saying that Luke and I have always been very uncomfortable having attention or flattery showered on us.  We are grateful, and I mean GRATEFUL, for all the expressions of love our people give our family, but we feel awkward at the same time.  Our worst fear EVER would be that anyone would think we are expecting to be appreciated. 

But on the flip side of that, you have no idea what it means to us when someone takes the time to organize a month’s calendar of meals in addition to a grocery day (a.k.a. a ‘pounding’ in the South.  I have enough toilet paper to last 6 months. WIN.), a housewarming shower day (I got a mezzuzah! Luke thinks I’m weird for wanting one), a visiting preacher giving Luke the service off followed by a church-wide dinner day, and then a friends and family day.  I”m exhausted just typing it all.  Thankfully it doesn’t matter if I’m tired because did you hear what I just said?  I don’t have to cook for a month!   

Now I’m not telling you all this to brag.  Rather it is because many ministry wives have written to me in the past and said their churches do absolutely nothing for them for Clergy Appreciation.  Nada.  As in it is is never even mentioned.  I can hear the discouragement in the precious e-mails – it’s not that you girls expect to be appreciated just like we don’t, but it sure stings a little when you aren’t.  That’s not to say your churches are unkind, but it’s like a birthday – everyone deserves at least one day per year to be made much over. 

The reasons I am writing these things are several.  First, I want to publicly brag on our congregation and thank each and every one of you for being so extravagant with us.  You have never lacked in zeal but your expressions in these days have reached a pitch we didn’t know possible.  I can confidently say our Love Tanks are full and that we serve the best church EVER.  Secondly, if you are a layperson consider this a friendly PSA to make certain you do something special for your ministers and their spouses this month.  The benefits to you both will far outweigh the investment.  And if you already have, how about telling us how you’ve celebrated their families to give ideas to others?  And lastly ministry wives:  Has your church acknowledged Clergy Appreciation?  What are some of the things they have done for you and what effect does it have on your family?      

One last quick note:   October 12th’s Chris Fabry Live at 3 p.m. CST will be talking about Clergy Appreciation.  I’m thrilled out of my mind to be a guest along with Karen Waddles.  I hope you girls will call in and join the discussion!

(Another shameless p.s.  If you are looking for a little something to gift your PW, she may enjoy this or even better, send them both here :)

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