Sunday, January 27, 2013


I am a pastor's kid, and pastor's kids are sometimes referred to as "PK"s.  I have to admit I didn't always like being a PK.  Many times people expected pastor's kids to be perfect kids.  I may have accomplished that until about the age of 10.  And then there are times that my parents would probably say that I did everything I could to prove that I wasn't a perfect kid.

When I was a teen, most of my friends had a Catholic upbringing or no religious upbringing at all. They assumed that pastors, like priests, weren't allowed to have children, so the first hurdle in saying that my dad was a pastor was explaining that no, he didn't sin a whole bunch of times and have 8 children, but that he was allowed to have children because he was a pastor and not a priest. Then came the inevitable question "So you have to go to confession to your dad?"  I would then explain that we didn't do confession, because we believed that you confessed your sins directly to God in your prayers and didn't necessarily have to go through a priest or pastor.

But,in listening to people pay tribute to my dad this afternoon at his celebration service of 41 years of ministry, I have to tell you that living with dad was a lot like living with God.  It seemed like he knew EVERYTHING, and what he didn't know, my sisters told him.  We didn't just get punished or a speaking to for our wrongdoings, we got sermons and Bible verses to read and learn and figure out how they could be applied to our particular transgression.  Parents always say that there is no textbook on how to be a parent, but my Dad used the Bible as his textbook for life: how to be a good Christian, how to be a good husband, how to be a good father, etc.  I still haven't found in the Bible where it said "Thou shalt not wear make-up until you are 16" or "Thou shalt not get your ears pierced until you are 18", but it must be in there in some form.

We also were not allowed to date anyone who wasn't a Christian, so I'd like to apologize to any boy in the general vicinity of my age who walked through the doors of our small churches over the years.  Sorry that you immediately became dating material and were perhaps ogled throughout the service.  We were always in churches with small congregations, so Christian boys were slim pickings, and I have to admit that I sometimes saw a church service as a "singles club".

As I became older, I know that I fell off my PK pedestal some times, and stumbled off of it more often than that.  I know that sometimes my actions, my words, and my way of expressing myself embarrassed or disappointed my dad.  I also know even more that my dad always loved me, even when I was clinging to my pedestal by my fingertips.

Today I was a PK again, but this time I was a Proud Kid.  I was so proud to look around the church and see almost 300 people who came to pay tribute to my Dad and to honor him and thank him for his 41 years of ministry, a/k/a working for God.  Those who read my blog know that I have struggled with positivity relative to my Dad having cancer, and the human in me still wants to hold onto him and not let him go.  But the Christian in me knows he is ready to go, ready to go meet his Boss, the Boss he has never seen in all these years, but the One he has worked for so faithfully and the One he has introduced to so many others directly or indirectly.  And this Proud Kid was reminded of that today, sitting there, listening to the kind words spoken, the letters that were read, and hearing about the difference my Dad has made in so many lives.  It was like the feeling I get watching my children in their concerts, their hockey games, and other times they've been recognized.  It was seeing my Dad's name at the top of the list of jobs well done, and I am so excited for him to hear those words from his Boss "Thank you for a job well done, my son."  You done good Dad!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Planning a Plan

Long commutes suck!  They make you think too much, analyze things and worry.  This week I've been thinking about death and funerals and what happens on earth after people die.  When you die, you go to Heaven or Hell, but what happens to the people left here, and particularly a spouse?  Does he or she downsize their house? Does he or she move in with an adult child so he or she won't be alone?  What is best for the person left behind?  

Estate planning isn't something people want to think about. As separate words, they are:  "Estate" seems to imply some big beautiful mansion-type house with beautifully landscaping and flowery gardens while "planning" involves preparation, many times an exciting preparation, for events to come.  However, when the two words are put together they have a whole different meaning: planning for what you'd like done after you are no longer in this world to express it yourself.

I am the oldest of 8 children, and as a child, I remember that my parents let us know that should something happen to the both of them, we were going to go live with their friends. The friends had been asked, and they had agreed to this responsibility should the need arise.  In my eyes, all in all, this family was a good choice.  And when you weighed the pros against the cons, the pros won out.  This family lived on a farm, and then later on moved to a house on a lake (pros).  They had a daughter who was fun to hang out with and sons who were fun to look at (pros).  But these handsome boys did like to hunt and were successful enough that we had to try venison once, and that was most definitely a con.

Then when I became an adult I was told that I would inherit my siblings if something happened to my parents.  I have to admit my first thought was disappointment that I wouldn't be going to the house with the boys... I mean the house with the venison.  Who am I kidding...beef trumps venison any day of the week.  Ok, back on track.  Then I felt honored that my parents would entrust their children to me. Wait, they were willing to entrust all SEVEN of their children to me. And how would I take care of them?  For starters, the house we lived in at the time was owned by the church, and since I wasn't going to be the pastor, I was pretty sure we would need a place to live.  And at that time, I could barely cook so how would I feed all these children?  And how would my part-time job support us all?  While I am so thankful we never had to find answers to these questions, I also know that we would have, and we would have been fine.

Every so often TV shows will spark the "estate planning" discussion with me and Brian.  We have had the discussion of who would take care of our children if we no longer could, and we have tabled that discussion as we decided no one could replace us as some were too strict, some too lenient, some didn't share our beliefs, some were too old, some too young, so we just didn't decide on anyone.  

I can remember having a favorite dress when I was in my late teens/early twenties. It was royal blue and beautiful.  I told my Mom at the time that if I died, I wanted to be buried in it.  Well, it doesn't fit anymore.  So part of my estate planning is to make it known that my new chosen burial outfit is the jeans that make my butt look good (Heidi and Lara know which ones), and either a purple or black top, preferably long or 3/4 length sleeves unless my arms are finally toned by the time I die.  Let's be real, they won't be, stick with the long sleeves.  And I don't know if you wear shoes in there or not, but if so, I want stiletto heels.  Since I won't have to stand or walk, I will finally be able to wear them.  Hailyn knows the ones I like.  And have Allie do my make-up, she watches me all the time so she knows how I like it.  And people should cry at my funeral, they don't have to bawl, but a few tears would be appreciated so I'll feel missed.  And then they can laugh and smile and share funny stories.

So I don't know who will care for my children if I can't do it.  I don't know who will get my estate which will consist of clothes ranging about four sizes (clothes I hope to fit back into and fat clothes kept for comfort), shoes, almost brand new unused exercise equipment, cookbooks and recipes, a cool party bus (aka minivan) and bills.  I don't know where I want to be buried or where I want my funeral held.  And I don't really want to think about it.

These Dreams

Mucinex should really list as one of its side effects: crazy, bizarre dreams.

I have been suffering from a cold all week and have been faithfully taking Mucinex.  I take it in the morning, again late afternoon and then before bed.  So I am not abusing it, and I'm not even reaching the daily maximum intake.

But during the day, I have a short fuse and at night bizarre, really bizarre dreams.  I have never taken much stock in dream interpretation, and there have been some dreams that I wouldn't want interpreted for me.  Some dreams I can justify as happening because I thought about a person that day or an event, and then it manifested itself into my dream.  But Mucinex dreams are a far stretch of reality.

The first dream had me driving in a less desirable neighborhood of Worcester and then getting lost there.  It seemed I was driving around in circles until my car died.  As soon as the car stopped, I noticed scary people coming out of dilapidated and rundown buildings all around me.  We'll call these people gangsters.  They surrounded my car, and without ever speaking a word to me or to each other, they removed the door off of my car and pulled me out.  I was brought to a room where I was made to sit in a chair while they formed a circle around me.  Everyone just stared, and no one spoke. Well, except for me, who kept asking what was going on and why I was there.  Then I woke up.  (This dream could possibly be explained by a story I had heard at work that day.)

In the second dream I was in a tree, way up high, by myself.  I wasn't playing with any other children, I wasn't a child in the dream, and there was no other scenery around.  I was just in a tree.  Then I heard a siren, and a firetruck appeared, and a ladder started to be extended toward me.  Firemen got off the truck, and I couldn't make out their faces because I was so high up in the tree.  One fireman began climbing the ladder, and as he reached me, I realized it was a fireman from my town. He instructed me to climb down the ladder, and I did.  (This dream could be explained by my new favorite show Chicago Fire or by my sister's FB posts of firemen; however, the town fireman was no Kelly Severide.)

The third dream had me riding on a sleek black panther with beautiful blue eyes that looked like glass, and we were racing across a big open field.  (This dream may have been an interpretation of my jealousy the day before watching snowmobilers crossing a field in town, or it may have been something else.)

And in last night's dream I was a breadstick...not the lame boring Stella Dora breadstick but the buttery, garlic Olive Garden breadstick. I was in the Olive Garden to go breadstick bag with 3 other breadsticks.  While my head was on top of my breadstick, the other 3 just had those beady eyes that you use with kids for crafts and glue onto things and then shake them to watch the eyes move.  (This dream is a sign of what I should have for lunch today, I'm sure of it.)