Thursday, September 30, 2010

Inception

G & I headed out to the movies on Monday night for a treat and saw Inception.

I was a little cautious, I had agreed to see it but was not sure I would like it.

However, it was excellent. It's based on a very clever idea. I do like movies with an interesting premise and ones that make you think. It has been compared to the Matrix and I can see why. I think I liked it better.

I'm not going to say what is was about because I liked going it knowing nothing. However, I can say that there was no swearing, no nudity, and while there was violence it was pretty much bloodless and wasn't graphic. Unusual in itself these days!

So, if you feel like a night of escapism you might well enjoy this.

Reasons for a support network (3)

This series was originally posted on In Tandem, a blog for ministry wives

Our first two reasons to be part of a support network are:
1. For mentoring and modelling
2. For understanding

Our third is:

3. For encouragement & accountability

(I do realise all these three reasons are interrelated in a number of ways!)

There are time when we all need to be encouraged (or we need to be the encourager) – to persevere when times are tough. To keep being faithful. To keep trusting in God.

Accountability is a crucial aspect of a support group and should not be ignored. Very few will have the courage to ask the minister’s wife how her personal bible reading is going, whether she is honouring God with her speech, whether she is being godly as she parents her children, what her struggles are and where her sinful tendencies lie. They are probably even less likely to ask the missionary’s wife or their lecturer’s wife!

Yet we need to be asked. Sometimes we long for someone to ask, so that we can be honest. But at the same time, we also choose not to share sometimes don’t we? We don’t open up in our bible study group, because it doesn’t seem completely appropriate. We are very careful who we share with, and to what depth.* The ability to be open and honest with someone, in a way that includes accountability, is a great thing.


Next few posts: Our various support networks



* It’s worth asking the question though – do we hold back appropriately or do we use it as an excuse not to disclose? A friend of mine commented “I do wonder whether this should be challenged, and whether we should try to open up more than we actually do. After all, we are called to share our lives with one another within the body of Christ, and to be an example to one another in how we work through issues of sin. I do wonder whether sometimes we inappropriately use 'being a ministry wife' as a way of getting out of being appropriately open with others...”. I’d love to know what you think!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Reasons for a support network (2)

This series was originally posted on In Tandem, a blog for ministry wives

The first reason to be part of a support network is for mentoring and modelling.

The second is:

2. For understanding.

If you are a ministry wife, other ministry wives are likely to understand certain parts of your life in a way others will not. The same applies for missionary wives, theological lecturer’s wives, student minister wives, ministry trainee wives, etc.

It can be incredibly heartening to have someone understand what you are going through. Whether it’s a joy or a struggle – having someone who has done it already or is also doing it now means you are not alone – others understand.

Part of this can also help us to keep our perspective. Your husband may be out most nights, but perhaps he can be home for dinner, bathtime & bedtime, the way other husbands cannot. He can usually be pretty flexible with his work hours, meaning if you need him home, he can often make it happen. You do have a public role and you may feel like you are in a fishbowl, but chances are you are also prayed for and loved by your community. The understanding and perspective provided by others in similar circumstances can help us to find the positives when we need to, but also acknowledge the struggles when that is helpful. Someone who understands can also remind us of what we already know or what we have forgotten.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Reasons for a support network (1)

This series was originally posted on In Tandem, a blog for ministry wives

Why be part of a support network?

In some ways the answer seems obvious – you either want to get support or you want to provide support (and hopefully both!)

There are three reasons I think we should want to be involved in supporting one another in ministry:

Here is the first:

1. For mentoring and modelling.

Titus 2 tells us that Titus was to teach:
...the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. (Titus 2:3-5).
We have to learn & be taught these things – they do not come naturally!

1 Tim 3:11 speaks more specifically of the wives of leaders:
In the same way, their wives* are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.
(*wives of deacons, but could be applied to all church leaders, and probably even more broadly)

When we read passages about wives, or about leaders and their wives, we know that it matters how we live. Yet at various times we all struggle with how we are to live the Christian life, let alone the ‘full-time ministry life’ (however it looks!). We need women to model ourselves on, women who can teach us and who we can learn from. Likewise, we know that other women are likely modelling themselves on us (scary thought that is!). Rather than fear such a thing, we can acknowledge it and use it helpfully.


A support network, whether made of 2 individuals or a group of people provides an opportunity to:
  • model yourself on someone (older &/or wiser) as they live their life of ministry;
  • mentor those who are younger &/or less experienced than you; and
  • to do both of these with peers.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Operation Christmas Child

Just like last year, we have decided to contribute boxes to the Operation Christmas Child appeal, run by Samaritan's Purse. What has been great is that our women's bible study groups have got behind it this year, helpfully encouraged by one of our members who volunteers at the processing warehouse every October and November. She has given us great direction as how to pack boxes and as a result I found it even easier this year.*

As usual we did all the shopping over a couple of weeks and had the boxes saved from shoe purchases over the year.


The best tip I got this year was to cover the boxes with contact after covering with wrapping paper, it makes them sturdy, the paper no longer rips, you can contact the label on top so it doesn't get lost & it looks really good.

The other thing I never really understood was why you have to remove all the packaging off everything, but as our volunteer pointed out, a) it takes up precious space in the box and b) there is no rubbish collection in rural Cambodian villages so plastic packaging floating around just makes more mess. So it's worth popping in a fold up bag of some type so the child can store all the things in their box once they open it.


If you are interested in supporting Operation Christmas Child, go to their website to find out the details. Consider getting on board:
  • it teaches generosity to your children (and to you!)
  • it's fun shopping for kids who you know have very little (much more fun than shopping for kids with everything)
  • if you like Christmas, it makes it feel that little bit closer
  • if you don't like Christmas, you at least help a child like it!
You have until the end of October to get boxes packed and delivered to a collection point.

*If you would like a copy of my friend's suggestion list, send me an email and I'll send you back a copy.

A new series - Support Networks

This series was originally on In Tandem, a ministry wives blog.

Support Networks

Being married to a man in full-time ministry has many privileges and many opportunities. We have the unique chance to be very involved in people’s lives, to be asked for advice, to be a sounding-board, to support those in hard times and to encourage people to persevere. We can share the bible with unbelievers, support our husbands in their roles, and raise our children to know and love Jesus.

At the same time, because so much is often asked of us, we can start to wonder:
  • What about me?
  • What about when I need help?
  • Who do I talk to about my concerns, my questions of doubt, my struggles with sin, my marriage?

And, we can look at other wives in ministry around us and think:
  • How is she really going?
  • What struggles does she have which she can’t or doesn’t share with others?
  • Is anyone asking her how she is loving & serving God at the moment?

This new series is about Support Networks. It’s going to be relevant for all of us, whether we have support around us or not, and whether we feel we need them or not.

As we go through this series, I hope that we can keep in mind 2 aspects:
  1. Ourselves – what kind of support we need to sustain our ministry
  2. Others – very few of us operate in a ministry vacuum, separated from any other people in ministry. If you feel well-supported, think about those around you who might not be. If you wish you had been better supported in your first years of ministry, consider finding someone who is in that position now and help them.


Next few posts: Reasons for a Support Network

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fun Run

Some may recall that I have started running this year.

A dear friend in Sydney and I decided to commit ourselves to the City to Bay 6km run, which was on Sunday.

It was only part of what turned out to be a lovely weekend. She came for one night (having left a husband at home with 4 kids). She spend some lovely time with our kids especially A (her goddaughter). We went out for dinner on the Saturday night for a proper catch-up, and then headed off on Sunday morning to do the run.

My goal was to run it non-stop and to do it in under 40mins. I met one goal. Sadly I had to slow to walking a few times, but still managed to finish with an official time of 38:18. I was very pleased. My friend steamed ahead finishing in 34mins.

I don't think I'm going to become a serious 'fun-runner', however I did realise a few things:
  • It's hard running with lots of people around - quite hard to get your rhythm
  • I found running in one direction (not a loop) much harder, there was no sense of getting halfway and heading home again.
  • It's a fun atmosphere to be a part of
  • There is much more sense of achievement when it's part of a major event, rather than you just going out for the same run on your own
  • Every fun-run I can find is on a Sunday (grrrr...) so it's very hard to commit to more than one event a year and justify missing church for it (in my mind anyway). However the Mother's Day Classic is timed well and I could still make both...

The triumphant pair...


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Subscribe?

I have finally got around to adding a "subscribe in a reader" link and a "subscribe via email" link on musings. So, if you haven't already set up such a thing yourself - hopefully this will make it a bit easier. I just tried it and it seems to work, but if you have any problems let me know.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Mother hen

We have decided to branch into a different type of parenting and I am now officially a mother-hen, carer to 3 chickens. I have been watching friends in Adelaide over the last 6.5 years with some envy as so many people here have chooks (compared to the zero I knew in Sydney!)

It a taken a while to get clearance for such an endeavour, but we are now away. We (mainly Husband) assembled the pen (very generously loaned by friends), and then got the chickens last week. I am still experimenting with what they eat, where they like to sleep and where & when they might consider laying, however so far so good.

The kids were allowed to name one each - so now we have Spotty, Barbie and Whitey. At the moment no-one can tell Barbie and Whitey apart, but we are trying to find a 'spot the difference' that works.

What I found interesting is that I immediately started calling them 'my girls'. Disturbing somewhat as I already have 2 girls who are 'my girls'. So having resisted the urge to have 2 sets of girls which would be confusing for all, we are calling them "chook, chook, chookies" when we feed them, which may mean eventually they will come to such a call - time will tell!

I am excited to report that the first egg arrived yesterday. I was very excited to find it - nowhere near the nesting box mind you, but who cares!

Free-range eggs, here we come.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Modern Family


We have been watching this show on Channel 10 since it started a few months ago. It's great. It's a very funny look at modern family life. The patriarch of the family, Jay, has 2 adult children - Claire (married to Phil) with 3 kids; and Mitchell, who is gay and with his partner Cameron has adopted a baby girl from Vietnam. Jay has remarried the younger Colombian Gloria and now has a 11-year old step-son Manny.

While is sounds a little convoluted, it isn't. The characters are funny, but also very likeable. Every episode also has something positive to say about family - how much they love each other, care for each other, look out for each other, etc.

It doesn't have the same negative aspects of a show like Everybody Loves Raymond, where Raymond in the end was a pretty useless husband and father who couldn't stand up to his parents. This has much more positive relationships, while also being realistic.

Every episode I laugh out loud. Husband also enjoys it and has decided it is one of the few TV shows he would be willing to watch more than once (high praise indeed!)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What makes me happy: a meme

I have been tagged by Nicole to do a meme: 10 things that make me happy. It's taken a while to get back to it, mainly because I had such a good time away over the weekend.

So, here they are:

1. Time with my husband

2. Sleeping through the night

3. Putting time aside to read God's word & then feeling that I have learnt something new

4. Realising how God has answered a prayer

5. Watching my son learn to be a kind older brother

6. Watching my daughter learn to read

7. Reading good, fun books to my children

8. Going for a run

9. Having an honest & open conversation with a friend

10. The process of blogging, which makes me think


I'm not going to tag anyone, but if you are out there with a blog and you want to write a list too - consider yourself tagged and let me know!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The wives go away

Last weekend was one of the highlights of my year. Every year a group of women go away for 2 nights and 3 very full days. Who are we? How are we united?

We are all women, we are all wives, we are all Christians and we are all married to full-time preaching staff at our church. We are the 'Preachers Wives'. And once a year, we leave our husbands and families behind and head out of town for a time of refreshment, encouragement and fun.

After almost 7 years here, this group has become my main support network. I look forward to our fortnightly times of prayer, and I really look forward to our times away. I have said some of this before, but I'll update it for this year.

We are a diverse bunch. We currently number 12 women and are spread over 10 congregations at 5 locations. We age from 20s to 50s, for those with children they range from babies to adults. We serve in different ways: some teach publicly, some lead bible studies, some lead singing or play music, some encourage other women and meet with them privately, some lead children's ministries, some have wonderful hospitality. We look after our households in different ways: some work, others do not; some love to cook, others prefer take-away; some love craft, others can't stand it. But all of us love our husbands, love our ministries and are united by the gospel.

This year we spent time looking at 1 Timothy 3 and thinking about the characteristics of leaders and their wives. It was encouraging and challenging, and it was great to discuss it together.

We also ate lots of good food, chatted, watched DVDs, slept in, went for walks/runs and watched the rain pour down. It was great.

I thank God for these women.*


The Preachers Wives (minus 1)



* And I also thank God for all the husbands who manage the households for 3 days to enable us to go away!