Sep 29, 2011

Confessions of a Youth Minister’s Wife

     Marcus and I got in our first argument in the parking lot of Old Dominion University’s higher education center in Virginia Beach. I had the pleasure of taking a Friday night class from 7 to 10. Not exactly the class that every college senior clamors to get into, but I needed the credit & it was the only time available. Marcus, a relatively new boyfriend at the time, would sometimes come pick me up and we would get a milkshake from Chik-fil-A{ddictive} and drive around for an hour or so, talking the evening away. He was a lumberjack, a man’s man job & he loved it. He wore flannel, used a chainsaw with one hand, and learned lessons in trees & faith from a very godly, talented arborist. So, why the argument? New or not, Marcus & I were already praying and discerning marriage and what God was calling us to do now in order to make vocation a reality. At the time I was finishing up my degree in elementary education and clearly very prideful of my plans to enter graduate school the following summer. {By the way, this is absolutely HILARIOUS to me now, as I sit typing in mid-morning, with coffee in hand, collegiate ambitions down the drain} But that was before God laughed at my plans, and I was still under the impression that I was oh-so-responsible with my upcoming career. I knew Marcus loved his job, but had many other interests including starting his own tree care business, firefighting, music, music production & youth ministry. So, I pushed. I kind of pushed a lot and we fought right there in the parking lot, the windows to his beloved black Dodge Dakota down to cool our tempers. The milkshake melted & I cried, feeling guilty for instigating. 

     But he did want to do something, he assured me the next morning on the phone, the argument still weighing heavily on both of us. We prayed about it, being very grateful for his current job all the while, and began to ask God for a way to provide for a future vocation. We didn’t have to wait long. It was then that he applied for a volunteer firefighting position and began that academy & eventually volunteering. It would be a long while before volunteering would turn into something else though. In the meantime, Fr. Parke {his longtime Priest & family friend} called him and started hinting that he would really like to hire him as a youth minister. Marcus, who once resisted this job when Fr. Parke asked him in college, enthusiastically interviewed and was promptly hired. “God works fast!” my Renaissance Man marveled at the change in jobs. While so proud of Marcus, I had my back up. Yes, we did meet when we were both helping out at a youth retreat, but I wasn’t exactly the teenage whisperer. In fact, I am the opposite of the teenage whisperer. I would be a teenage yeller if my better judgment & God’s grace didn’t have a firm grip on me. Maybe it was the fact that I was the most obnoxious teenager known to catholic youth groups, or a shortage in the patience department, or the summers I spent managing a waterpark of disrespectful, lazy, unreliable adolescent lifeguards..whatever it was.. I just plain didn’t like teenagers. Not my ministry, I swore up and down. 

     I’m ashamed to say that Marcus’ new job didn’t bring out the best in my attitude. I grumbled about the late nights teaching confirmation or youth group nights. I complained about his 7 work days a week schedule, the constant youth retreats, the summers of traveling, mission trips where he could barely sneak in an exhausted phone call at midnight before he went to bed himself. A blackberry that constantly buzzed with texts from his kids during our date nights, the complete lack of any structure in a schedule, and I could go on and on. And I did go on and on in my complaints. To Marcus & to anybody who would listen. So ashamed even to type this right now. I had a negative, ungrateful, fearful attitude towards his job. It should be noted at this point that Marcus dealt with me with the utmost patience {& prayers, I am sure} Moreover, in all our engagement & newlywed bliss, Marcus was able to convince me to accompany him, and his teens, to their annual domestic mission trip.

     That mission trip nearly killed me, y’all.  We had been married for one month when we drove off, and I was to help a saintly lady with all the kitchen duties. Packing lunches for the kid’s mission fixing up houses, and feeding them for meals. Sounded simple enough. Physically, it was simple enough. It was hard work to be sure, but I spent my days with the most amazing example of service and love, Mrs. Laufer. Dedicated would be an understatement, since Mrs. Laufer has pretty much laid down in her life for the youth group for the past several years. When I was ready to call it quits, snap at kid, walk away from the sheer volume of noise, she was still loving. Loving the kids that criticized the dinner she slaved over, hugging the teens that drudged mud through a kitchen we had just cleaned, praying with them after a hard day. She would smile at me and empathize when my patience ran out, full of encouragement. Her kindness nearly undid me, as I would cry hot tears of shame at my own coldness into the air mattress every night of that week. It was that grating week that God finally showed me the resentment in my heart towards Marcus’ job.

     I competed with youth ministry for Marcus’ time. I was completely conquered by my insecurity, feeling threatened by any thing else my husband had interest in or invested time in.  I resented his talents that I felt I couldn’t share in. I felt less of girlfriend/fiancĂ©/wife since I didn’t take part in his youth events. I worried that people would perceive that as a lack of support. I felt like the only thing I had ever been able to offer in ways of support for his job was prayers. As we tried to get comfortable on the air mattress in the cramped sacristy where we stayed during the mission trip, I confessed. As I confessed, Marcus smiled knowingly. I was blubbering my revelations to a man who already understood them and where I was coming from. It was  that meltdown & God’s quiet voice that finally helped me to finally be a good youth minister’s wife. A wife that gives grace and prayers without clenched teeth. That has peace with her lack of talent with teenagers and knows that is okay with her husband, or more importantly, with God.  And it’s a good thing I finally got my act together because..oh wait, he just got a new job. Darn it, I won’t even be able to show off my new skills for much longer. It’s like my mom says, As soon as you have something figured out, it will change. I guess that is God’s way of keeping us on our toes.

    Ever the nostalgic, I know I am going to miss Marcus’ youth ministry days. Lazy mornings, days off in the middle of the week, religious resources at our fingertips, flexible schedule, the love of a great parish. In a couple of weeks, our lives will change and we’ll be trying to set a new rhythm in our household. Chances are it won’t be long until I’ll be back with Confessions of a Firefighter’s Wife. That’s the thing friends…it’s easy to be dissatisfied with our lives, completely blind to the abundant grace & blessings of our present situation.  But please, I won’t pretend I’ve got this lesson down pat. Just pray that I won’t get so jealous for Marcus’ time while he is in fire academy that I start fires on purpose while cooking in the kitchen. Just kidding!!! I’m more mature than that. But I wouldn’t put it past my culinary abilities.

Sep 28, 2011

What I learned in Second Grade

     Acrostic Poems were the common denominator across all academic subjects in Mrs. Crawford’s second grade class. It started simply with a lesson on different types of poetry but we soon were writing acrostic poems for everything from social study topics to fractions. {reason # 32455 that I will be homeschooling any future Crofts} I discovered soon enough that the dreaded acrostic poems were a result of our teacher’s poor lesson planning. Whenever she under planned or ran out of time or had no clue what to do, she would announce, “Okay boys & girls, let’s go ahead and turn this lesson into an acrostic poem so I can see what you’ve learned. Everybody write the word PRESIDENT vertically on your paper and do your best to describe the word” Even at 7 years old, I had perfected eye-rolling and reserved such behavior for juvenile assignments I thought beneath me. Well, Mrs. Crawford. I think I’ve come to understand you. Call it poor planning, lack of inspiration or writer’s block, but today’s post is brought to you by an acrostic poem

Laundry, laundry, laundry {mostly Marcus’, but only because he works out more than me.}

Autumn decorating. Orange, brown & red silk flowers, Goodbye sunshiney yellow tablecloth & seashell placemats. Hello rusty blues & creams. Smelling that Autumn Wreath candle now..

Spontaneous dinner date with my sister-in-law & her husband. They wanted to take us out to dinner to celebrate Marcus’ firefighting achievements {!!} but the fireman was wiped out from his day at work {still youth ministering} so they came over to our house instead, where we enjoyed homemade nachos, leftover enchiladas, and ice cream, youtube videos and the like. It was awesome.

Trash taking out. Sunday was St. Matthew’s feast day & parish picnic. I don’t go to St. Matt’s, but I do use their church for my young adult group so me & some friends lent some time to the clean-up effort. Trash can juice all down my arms was the end of that reminded me of my restaurant -working days.

Water. A couple hours on Sunday were dedicated to a staff in-service. Chlorine, spinal scenarios, backboards, passive victim rescues, and a lil’ CPR.

Enchilada’s on Saturday night. Make that enchilada’s & The Rhodes Family. Throw some Guacamole in that mix. And apple crisp, we were celebrating fall after all. Can’t forget the Sam Adam’s Harvest Collection.  And amazing fellowship. A really chubbly, smiley baby playing banangrams with us on the middle of the dining room table didn’t hurt either.

Equidistant. Or something like that. Marcus hung more floating shelves & pictures & hooks. I begged him to make sure the said decorations were equally spaced. And chased after him with a level. Don’t worry, he did good! Math peeps, don’t call me out for the incorrect use of this word. I was reaching

Kollege football. Really reaching

Eucharist. Highest point of the weekend. Sleeping in, St. Stephens & Jesus.

Nostalgia. duh. My mom and I spent Friday evening {see below} reminiscing about naval base days & neighbors.

Dough! Pizza dough, that is. On Friday night, Marcus & I went over to my parents for a make-your-own pizza contest. I made the dough in my bread machine {Thanks Elizabeth!} guessed on how to make red sauce & then topped it with spinach, garlic & feta cheese. It was good, but my little sister’s margarita pizza was better. No surprise there.

There you have it…last weekend!!!

Sep 24, 2011

Saturday Morning

     It is one of those rainy-deep clean the whole house kind of days. Much to Marcus’ surprise that means-remove everything from the room..dust, vacuum, mop- top to bottom, wash every single towel, linen, sheet in sight. Organize cabinets & closets.  Move to next room & repeat. Don’t be too impressed though, we only have two rooms, people. He was working in the bedroom while I was doing laundry and working in the hallway/living room/ dining room/kitchen/ entry way room. I went in to check on him {I promise I am not a slave driver} and I found this..

20312030    2032 203420352037   

Oh, the dedication.

I’m keeping him.

Sep 21, 2011

This guy

     The Renaissance Man


AKA Marcus

honeymoon 224 - Copyhoneymoon 327 - Copy

AKA my husband

Brock and Emily's wedding 001

AKA extremely good looking

LundyPhoto_L&M_engagement_62Lily 225

honeymoon 908              honeymoon 708   

is now a Virginia Beach Firefighter.


And, I’m so very happy for him!  And, if he forgives me for posting shirtless pictures of him on the internets, I’ll be back to share more of the story. But for tonight we are celebrating :)

Sep 20, 2011

A little humble home tour

     I’ve been putting off doing my home tour simply because I wanted to finish some more projects and get more things hung up on the walls, but it is just too cute not to share. I am getting ready to decorate for fall so I wanted to capture my yellow-summertime feel before it changes. We are renting from a couple who built a studio{ish} apartment for their aging mother. She eventually needed to go to a nursing home for around the clock medical care so they decided to rent it out. We absolutely love it- It has vaulted ceilings, two light blue walls {we picked out the color-our landlord painted before we moved in}, lots of cabinets in the kitchen, and a very spacious bathroom with a walk in shower with two shower-heads. The best part for me is all the beautiful, natural streaming light. Also being able to see so much green outside our windows and not being in an apartment complex.  It is just a one bedroom so we are thankful for the walk in closet and very large linen closet. Check it out!

The lil’ baby entryway..

our home 003our home 006

Love our blue wall & the shelves

our home 005

Here is our living room..

our home 004our home 012       

Love our crates, generously donated from the Crofts. People ask me if we got them at Pottery Barn, haha!

our home 010our home 008  

more of the shelving

our home 014    our home 019

The dining area..

our home 021 our home 022


our home 026our home 027

More storage & cupboards. hooray! Please notice the fire extinguisher. Safety first y’all. There have been a couple close calls here.

our home 033     our home 032 our home 031

Bedroom. Poor bare walls :( Furniture courtesy of the most generous in-laws ever. So thankful!

our home 034   our home 040our home 038 our home 039 

Finally, Marcus’ favorite room in our home

our home 050 our home 047   our home 046  our home 049

Now imagine the two shower streams from opposite sides. Sigh. No, we don’t have two bedrooms but we have an amazing shower. Marcus would like to live in here.

our home 048 

To Do-

Hang up floating corner shelf above our bed. Put wedding photo canvas on it

Frame maps and hang in bedroom

Hang up the rest of our engagement & Wedding photos

Find awesome old huge frame and have Marcus cut a mirror for it to put in entryway

Light sheer for window treatments for the windows in living room

Paint entertainment center white. And get rid of the T.V. then install shelves.  We want to do other things in our evenings.

Big fuzzy white rug for our bedroom

Possibly put desk in the attic

Full size couch

Declutter kitchen counters

Finish decorating ceiling shelf that runs along the living room & dining room-with either birdhouses/cages or mirrors or something. Still brainstorming

Make cushion for good seating on top of hope chest

Sep 17, 2011

On school buses & lasting friendships..

     We bonded over school buses and the lack of older brothers to drive us to high school. She was standing on the corner of Dale Avenue and Powhatan Street, seething, as her mom told her riding the bus builds character & wished her a good first day at school. “My parent’s say the same thing to me,” I consoled as a fellow victim of recently graduated older brothers who used to drive us to school. I was pretty humbled to be forced onto the big cheese as a junior in high school. Angst towards your parents is a perfect foundation for a high school friendship, and for Mary Whitney & I it was no different. The school bus rides and chats were a springboard to a lasting connection. And while our schoolmates were discovering alcohol on the weekends, we were content with our sleepovers, learning to drive stick shift around our neighborhood, terrorizing our math teacher when we stayed after for tutoring and trying to straighten our naturally frizzy hair. I did my best to distract Mary Whit from her mandatory soccer practices with various teams around town, but mostly just accompanied her during her runs, drills in the backyard with her brothers, and high school games. Despite my constant companionship, she still went on to play for Gonzaga University.

   I spent the following summer working at our neighborhood pool. Though Whit had a grueling soccer training schedule to keep her from a regular job, she spent as much free time at the pool as possible and soon became an honorary employee. She spent her time well there, earning the affection of my male co-workers, all the while trying to set me up with her older brother. Summer romances ensued and quickly faded with the smell of no.2 pencils in the fall as we all headed back to school. By the time the summer was over we were inseparable.

     My senior year meant I could finally drive to school. Adventures followed. Adventures like skipping last period to go to Wendy’s every single day {No wonder I had my chunky years in high school..}, high school basketball games, later curfews, many movies & Applebees nights, my graduation and the golden summer after high school before college.  Mary Whitney’s senior year sent her to North Carolina where her dad was transferred. No matter though, I spent Thanksgiving with her and she made frequent treks to Norfolk that summer. I was really excited  when she called and told me they were moving back to Norfolk in 2006. Even though she was headed to Washington State on a ROTC scholarship to Gonzaga University, it meant we would be together all school breaks.

     And so it continued…all through college. AOL instant messenger, cell phones, email, Christmas & Spring Break. Our friendship endured the cross country distance, bad boyfriends & break-ups, our own fights & disagreements, ROTC & school challenges. I remember many, many fun spring breaks when she would come to stay with me in my bachelorette pad, eating ice cream & popcorn for dinner, and spending our days at the beach or just like old times-tagging along to work with me. We lifeguarded together for two summers during college, and those were the good old days. But those years went my fast and after college she’s been very busy serving in the Army. It’s been good to be on the same coast again though! Most recently, she stood beside me on June 3rd, as a bridesmaid, as I married my best friend. She came in on the Thursday before the wedding, bringing her quick-fire temper, hilarious outlooks and devoted support with her. I loved every minute of it.

     Today is Mary Whitney’s wedding. As I write this she is probably applying her lipstick as she prepares to walk down the aisle. Marcus and I were unable to go to San Antonio, Texas for her wedding which is why she is being celebrated on my blog today.  Whit and I are as different as black and white and our lives have gone in startling opposite directions-yet we remain. Some things never change-especially her ability to hop on a plane and come for an impromptu visit or my knack to call her when she most needed it. Our hour long phone calls always pick up right were we left off.

     Every time I pass a school bus, I thank God for meddlesome mom’s who make their kids ride the big cheese. You never know where you might meet your best friend.  

grad and fam reunion 022me and whit!

 wide assortment 028friends 020  summer 06 015   2494891550063482045eqGfya_ph 2560505580063482045iMjCBA_ph summer 2008! 017 ohio 2006 013 079  DSC_0019 DSC_0016 DSC_0018 summer 2008! 014 summer 2008! 015  Mitchell's 196 LundyPhoto_L&M_150 LundyPhoto_L&M_147


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