Saturday, June 30, 2007

Our Town

One of the things I like about living in a small town, and being committed to living in that small town for a long while, is that local politics are easy to follow--not to mention amusing. When NPR cut its talk radio station in our town a few months ago (which I still haven't forgiven them for) I began occasionally listening to the local talk radio station. I get to keep up with the constant complaints against the school board for their incompetence (I haven't decided whether I think that's true or not), the ongoing debate about whether or not the local baseball club's recent affiliation with the Seattle Mariners is a step in the right direction, and whether or not Mary Winkler should fry.

Most recently the call-in shows have centered the newest hot topic here in town: the elimination of fourth-block athletic practice.

Let's start with what little background I have, having only been here for a year. First, it seems that our public school system has a little issue with No Child Left Behind. Despite the fact that I think NCLB is a big bunch of baloney, it is important to the issue at hand to know that the local schools are performing below NCLB standards. Second, from what I can tell, sometime in the recent past the school board voted to cut the number of high school class periods each day from six to four. Again, I'm not sure if that means that students really only take four classes each semester (which seems a little on the low side) or if they somehow rotate class periods so that they can actually take more than four classes. Third, up until recently varsity sports teams were allowed to use the fourth block of the school day for athletic practice. That's 25% of the school day.

So it seems that in the last week or so the school board voted to eliminate "fourth-block athletic practice." And (GASP) they voted without getting the input of the community! The horror!

Here's what they might have heard had they decided to let the members of the community speak out. I know because these are the comments I've heard on the radio and read in the newspaper:
  • Now student-athletes might have to choose between athletics and their after-school jobs! (Oh no! A high school student having to make a difficult choice? Then they might have to grow up!)
  • The role of the coach is necessary for young men who don't have a father figure at home. If you take that away, these boys are going to be left without role models (When did it become the job of the public school to provide parents for students? And since when are classroom teachers insufficient role models?)
  • We have to have practice to keep these boys lean! We don't want our boys to be no fatties! (Yes, I'm as concerned about obesity as the next person, but if it's really that important, make physical education mandatory! And yes "We don't want our boys to be no fatties" is, in fact, a direct quote.)
  • If the students have to stay after school to practice, how are they going to get home? (It's called a carpool, people. Remember? My mom will drop off if yours will pick up?)
  • If you eliminate fourth-block athletic practice then the student-athletes have to find another elective to take! (What a horrible idea! Wait--what if they took an academic class in that block? Oh, never mind, that's just silly.)
And my all-time favorite:
  • If our athletes can't practice during the school day (note: they get a PE credit for practice) then we should eliminate band and chorus as electives as well.
Oh, my little small-town comrades, there's a reason why you elect members to the school board--because you believe that they are able to make the best decisions for the students. Let them do their job!

And on an unrelated note: Our local AA baseball team is having an afternoon game. Kids who bring a church bulletin with them get in free. On how many levels is that just wrong?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Friday, June 22, 2007

Friday Four

I have shamelessly stolen this from dear, beautiful, precious orangeblossoms because she dared to say that she didn't know her readers well enough to tag them. Hah! So here goes...

Four Jobs I've Had
  • Director of a nursing-home based geropsychiatric rehabilitation program (this also qualifies as the worst job I've ever had. Not because of the residents, but because of the politics, backstabbing on the upper-management level, and lack of respect for the integrity of the residents and employees on the part of management. Can you tell I still have some issues with that job?)
  • United Methodist Pastor (I still am, actually, just currently fulfilling my appointment to Family Leave)
  • Mom!
  • Copyeditor at for a Bed and Breakfast directory at Rutledge Hill Press
Four Movies I Can Watch Over and Over
  • Dodgeball (I am not ashamed)
  • So I Married an Ax Murderer
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail
  • Napoleon Dynamite
Four Places I've Lived
  • Nashville
  • Lancaster, California
  • Boston
  • Greencastle, Indiana (now there's fun, I tell ya)
Four Places I've Vacationed
Four of My Favorite Dishes
  • Just about any roll prepared at Tokyo Sushi in Palmdale, California
  • Erika's Enchiladas and Rice
  • My grandmother's stuffed eggplant
  • Sea Bass from the Sai Cafe in Chicago
Four Sites I Visit Daily
  • My Bloglines page (It's my home page. I have to)
  • Pastor Mom
  • My Babycenter Birth Board (November 2005)
  • My SAHM group webpage
Four Places I Would Rather Be Right Now
  • In bed (That is actually where I'd rather be anytime. Except when I'm already there. Then I'm cool).
  • In a house with a weeded flowerbed and decorate nursery
  • That' s about it.
Four people I'm tagging:
  • Kat E (Stuff I Love to Hate)
  • Erika (Endangered Species: Church)
  • Kelly (You Make Me Wanna Shoop)
  • Amy (This Worrell-Wind of a Life)

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The "Pastor" Part

I noticed several months ago that, although my tag line states that I'm "trying to honor it all" I haven't posted much about the pastoring part of my life. I suppose that makes sense since I'm doing a heckuva lot more mothering than pastoring, but I still feel the need to try and honor the pastor part.

So several months ago, as I eagerly anticipated the end of Jay's school year, I contacted my District Superintendent to offer myself up for pulpit supply during the summer. I guess there were a lot of reasons why I did it. I really wanted to be back in the pulpit and work on my preaching chops. I wanted to connect with other pastors and congregations in the district. And most of all, I think, I wanted to contribute something to the household coffers. One of the hardest things about staying home for me has been trying to accept the transition from "moneymaker" to "completely dependent on husband's income." Jay had pretty sweet fellowships when he was at Northwestern, but my income made it possible for us to live in a totally fabulous condo in Chicago. And my appointment at the church where I pastored provided free housing, insurance, utilities, etc. Going from all that to no income at all hasn't been the easiest transition psychologically.

The DS sent an e-mail to all the churches on my district and one of the neighboring districts. Strangely enough, the first offer I got was from my own church, which I gladly accepted. The second offer was from a local pastor who has a two-point charge (she pastors two churches) several miles west of here. There have been no more offers and for that I am eternally grateful.

I have discovered that pastoring and momming in combination is not my forte.

As tough as it sometimes is (and I hesitate to say that since a blogger that I read regularly and enjoy has just vented about SAHMs who "bellyache" about how difficult the job is) I feel like the during-the-day care of Joshua is my responsibility. Everytime I packed up my books and went over to church to study or write, I felt unbelievably guilty about asking Jay to do my job. He doesn't ask me to grade problem sets or prepare his lectures, right? So why should I ask him to do my job. And yes, the logical part of me knows that Jay is a parent, too, and that Jay doesn't think twice about hanging out with Joshua when I need some time to myself. But the totally irrational part of me says that I'm not being fair leaving Jay with my responsibilities when he has things that he'd like to do, too. (Yes, I know how unbelievably stupid that sounds. No need to point it out).

So it wasn't the greatest experience ever. I was really glad for the opportunity to study and write and preach and feel like I was, in part, doing what I've been called to do. But I'm not sure the trade-off in guilt was totally worth it. I guess it doesn't help that I'm merely weeks from giving birth and exhaustion and hormones are at an all-time high.

Maybe I'll try again next summer. Maybe not. We'll see.

There's the "pastor" part.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Monday, June 11, 2007

Guilty or Stupid?

Craigslist has been my favorite website of late. We're trying to get nursery #2 put together, and in the process realized that we only really need big-ticket items like a crib (Joshua isn't even close to being ready to sleep in a big-boy bed) and a gliding rocking chair. There are a few other things but we haven't quite decided that we really need them yet. Anyway, we decided that new items weren't really part of our budget, and that's when I began my affair with craigslist. In the past two weeks we have procured a might-as-well-be-new crib for $60 and a gorgeous, looks-like-it-just-came-from-the-store gliding rocker for $100, thanks to my parents who were willing to call perfect strangers on my behalf, go to their homes to look at the items, fork over the cash, and then drive them here for us.

The only drawback is the guilt. I was talking to my friend Jason about it the other night.

Me: "I think I'm having second-time mom guilt. All of Joshua's stuff was brand new, and now that we're seven weeks out from BGB I'm snatching up used stuff on craigslist left and right."

Jason: "You shouldn't feel guilty about that. You should feel stupid that you spent that much money on new stuff in the first place."

Point taken.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Gotta Stack Cheese

Because there's nothing more fabulous about being a SAHM than the amount of guilt one can feel in the course of the day over seemingly contradictory issues, I decided to try to make a few bucks this summer before BGB arrives. I have a few preaching gigs lined up, so my blogging may be a little sparse since I'm spending all my writing energy on sermons. I'll be back soon!