On Going Live Every Day

“But… you hate live videos. Remember?”

Yes. I remember. I even made a couple of them a few years ago for the sake of mocking them. True story. Funny thing was, when I did those, a few people told me, “You should do this all the time!” Granted, those people are crazy. But still… It did get me thinking.

Why do I hate live videos? Oh, lots of reasons. I’m a content snob. Live videos are unedited. I say things without thinking. Live videos are unedited. Oh, did I say that already? I think you get the point. Anything can, and sometimes does, happen. Live, for anyone to see. And I’m just not okay with that. I also don’t like wiggling cameras, bad angles, videos filmed in portrait mode, videos without captions, people who prattle on with no plan for what they’re saying, and videos of some narcissist just out there showing off on the internet. I did say there were lots of reasons.

So the first time someone suggested I go live with my Cha Cha Plank Challenge in February, my first reaction was something along the lines of, “Hahahaha… no.” Then I immediately started thinking. Don’t you hate it when that happens? I do. It gets me into all sorts of strange unanticipated situations.

I thought, why not? Other than the obvious reason, which is that I hate live videos. I thought it might get a few more people to join my challenge, and it might get a few more people to stick out my challenge. I thought it might be fun to get together with some of my local friends who were also doing the challenge and go live together. I love bringing people along with me to share my experiences. It occurred to me that going live was one way to do that. So, I did it. I did the Cha Cha Plank Challenge (if you don’t know what that is, Google it. It’s entertaining), starting with 20 seconds and going up to four minutes, live in my Facebook group in the month of February. It was mostly fun. It was sometimes entertaining. I learned a few things about video, about my friends, and about myself. Here are some of them:

  1. I still hate live videos. There were so many times I thought, “Why am I doing this? This is stupid. I hate this.” And I still don’t like watching them.
  2. Going live takes awhile to set up. Especially when you’re using music. Although you do just press record and go, if you want a stable camera shot with a good angle you have to set that up. Find the music. Type the description. Think about what you’re supposed to do. A four minute live video can easily be a 15 minute process, sometimes longer.
  3. People don’t like to watch long videos. One friend told me, “I thought about watching your video and then I saw how long it was, and I knew I didn’t have time for that.” Less than ten minutes is good, and less than five minutes is better.
  4. Embarrassing myself on camera did happen, it’s not as bad as I thought it would be, and it didn’t kill me. I didn’t say as many stupid things as I thought I would, but I said plenty of them, and regretted some of them.
  5. Wardrobe choices are important and some mistakes will haunt you and disturb your viewers. Let’s just say I’ve learned which of my workout outfits are video appropriate and which ones… aren’t.
  6. Mistakes can be entertaining so just let them happen, and then let them go. Several times I warned people, “You might not want to watch today’s video!” and when they did, they loved it. They laughed. I’m past the point in life where I’m worried about people laughing at my expense, as long as they laugh. Most people need to laugh more. If I can help with that, fine.
  7. I’m not bad on camera. There are moments when I’m actually good on camera, actually. Sometimes I give good advice. Sometimes I’m kind of funny. Sometimes I’m downright hilarious. Most of the time, I actually enjoy it.
  8. Watching myself exercise on video has taught me some very useful lessons about how I exercise. I really worked on my plank form during February. Not an easy task while also doing the cha cha slide! If you don’t have access to a mirror while you exercise, I recommend videoing yourself occasionally. It can be very revealing.
  9. Knowing I had committed to post a live video every day of the challenge kept me more consistent than I had ever been before. I have always finished my monthly challenges, but some days I have skipped days or forgotten to post. Not in February. I was on every day, doing that cha cha, whether I felt like it or not.
  10. Planks are effective, whether you’re holding a stationary plank or adding some silly dance moves. My abs and shoulders looked different at the end of the challenge than they did at the beginning.

I don’t know if going live is really something I want to make a habit of doing, at least publicly. I am doing another month of live videos in March. This time the challenge is squats, pushups, and jumping jacks. See the calendars below if you want to try it. If you’re on Facebook you can join the group, see the videos, and hopefully complete the challenge, here.

On Reflection and Resolution

It’s January 15th. The perfect day for a New Year blog. Right?

I like to start out my year sometime in the first week of January. Why? Because January 1 is a holiday. It’s a day for sleeping in, watching football, eating appetizers all day, and wishing people the best in their hopes and dreams for the new year. I had really good intentions about getting to work on January 2. I got some coffee and did some reflecting, hit the gym, and wrote down some goals. A week went by. I got sick and went back to work. Another week was full of plans and preparations for my son’s 6th birthday. Now it’s the 15th and I still have some work to do in the areas of reflection and goal setting. Part of me feels really bad about that. Maybe I’m too late. Maybe the new year ship has sailed already. Maybe I should just give up on change and resolutions and just settle for a year very similar to last year. But another part of me says no. That’s ridiculous. Am I a little late to the New Year’s game? Yeah. Can I still win it? Yep. Because you don’t have to start perfectly to finish well.

A couple weeks ago, when I first started this post, I was seeing a lot of people post summaries of what 2018 was like for them, and if I had to sum it up in one word, that word would be…

Struggle

It was not an easy year. For most, it seems it was not a good year. For me, it was one of the most difficult years of my life. I made a lot of progress in some areas. I can look back on my health and physical fitness and be really pleased with what I accomplished. I lost 15 pounds. I cut a lot of sugar and carbs out of my diet (not all of them! I’m not that crazy!) and added more water and vegetables, and it made a real difference. I was very intentional about exercise all year, and increased my workouts, especially cardio, when I felt like I needed to. I joined a gym, which was something I said I’d never do. I started running, another thing I said I’d never do, and finished three 5Ks. I hiked the Manitou Incline. I tried snowboarding and did better than I thought I would.

I made some progress in other areas, too. I challenged myself to say yes to things I’ve always said no to in the past. In addition to 5Ks and snowboarding, I tried sushi. It was a spicy salmon roll and I didn’t like it, but I ate it. I started a business. I wrote non-fiction. I even read some non-fiction. I got a job at an elementary school library. I embraced the truth that success lies outside of our comfort zones. I challenged myself and I learned that when you do that, it truly is a challenge. It isn’t necessarily easy, it’s rarely comfortable, sometimes it isn’t fun, and it can be downright painful.

2018 was a learning year. A year of struggle and trial and failure and baby steps in the right direction. I do not want 2019 to be like last year. I want it to be something different.

New Year’s Resolutions have become such a worn out cliché that some people refuse to make them, and those who do often expect to break them. I think that’s a shame, but I understand the reasoning. Most resolutions are unrealistic. Often they’re things we think we should do, but that we really don’t want to do. Many times they are things so far outside our usual habits or lifestyles that we are terrified to even attempt them. So we might try them for a day or two, or say we really need to get to that, or make excuses why we can’t do them after all, and go back to living our lives the same ways, following the same patterns, year after year.

The key is, in order to change something you have to . . . actually CHANGE something. Change a routine. Change a habit. Change a relationship. Change your diet. Whatever. You change the way you do something and you stick to it until things change. And that requires this remarkable force: Resolution.

The problem with most New Year’s Resolutions is that they aren’t resolutions at all. There is nothing resolute about them, or about our attitude toward them. They should really be called New Year’s Aspirations, although for some reason that doesn’t sound very good. If you want to make a goal stick, try making it an actual resolution. Say to yourself “I resolve that I will _______ this year.” Or this week. Or this month. Find something that you want to change and that you CAN change, resolve to do what it takes to make that thing happen, and then DO IT. No excuses. No worries if it’s two weeks into 2019 and you haven’t done it yet. It’s still January. We’ve got nearly 12 months until December. Let’s make 2019 a year of realistic goals with practical action steps that we can take consistently in order to attain those goals. For the sake of accountability, here are some of my goals:

  1. I will start making money from home. I registered a business last year but I haven’t yet been brave enough to get myself out there, market it, and earn some income. I think I can do this. I want to try it and see what happens.
  2. I will complete a novel. Approximately 80,000 words, outlined, written, edited, and ready to submit to potential agents and publishers.
  3. I want to look like Wonder Woman. Only fun size. And kinda pale. And different hair, preferably purple. I say “I want to” on this one because I realize I will never look exactly like Wonder Woman but I’m going to get as close to that as I can. And I’d like a really authentic looking costume to go with it.
  4. I will be more intentional in the way I approach relationships with my family and friends. Sometimes I get too distracted, too driven, and I’m not present enough in the moment, and my relationships suffer. I want to change that.

I do have some action steps to go along with these goals, and I will probably think of some more. I might even think of a few other goals. I’m always thinking. I need to make sure I take action on those thoughts in order to improve other areas of my life as much as I improved my fitness and my mindset last year. Even though it’s already January 15th, I’m still looking forward to making 2019 different, and better, than 2018.

How about you? What are some of your goals for 2019? How is it going at this point, two weeks in?

More On Time

Time is a concrete absolute. Minutes pass, the sun changes position in the sky, seasons change and time marches on. Lately I’ve noticed how fluid and subjective our perception of time is. We’re so familiar with this concept that it’s built into our language. Time flies when you’re having fun. That line took forever to move. I lost track of time.

Read moreMore On Time

On Film Scores

I like to listen to film scores while I write. I’m sure I’m not alone in this. They’re dramatic and usually instrumental so they inspire dramatic thoughts without a lot of distraction from lyrics. I mean, I love lots of music and lots of artists, including Adele and Josh Groban and Pentatonix and Rend Collective, but there’s a time and a place for those. (Adele: Sad love stories. Josh Groban: Angsty love stories. Pentatonic: Fun. Rend: Spiritual thoughts. You get the idea?) Film scores are good general writing music to block out the silence of home or whatever annoying stuff they’re playing at Starbucks.

Read moreOn Film Scores

On Exercise

One decision really can change your life.

Notice I said it can, not that it will. I’ve made lots of decisions, only to fail in the follow through. Last year, however, I made a decision that I stuck to with commitment and determination, and it really has changed my life. I decided to start exercising.

Let me be clear: I hated exercise. It was hard, it hurt for days later, and I’m really clutzy and uncoordinated, so just figuring out how to do exercises the right way is a real challenge. But I didn’t like the fact that it was hard to carry my 18-month-old son up and down the stairs in our house, and that I couldn’t walk around the block without huffing and puffing. I also hated my jeans size and my arms. Most of all I hated my arms. My arms were the breaking point. Maybe no one else noticed, but to me they looked like unsightly blobs just sort of hanging off my shoulders. Not pretty.

Toward the end of May, I saw one of those 30-day challenge things in my Facebook newsfeed. You were supposed to join this event and do three exercises (squats, push-ups, and leg lifts) every day and BOOM, you’d have toned arms, abs, and legs for a summer of shorts, tank tops, and swimsuits. So here’s the one decision I made: I decided I hated my arms more than I hated exercise. I didn’t do anything drastic. I didn’t join a gym, or even that event. There was an image that had a calendar and three exercises for every day. So I stole the image (yep. I did) and committed to it. I’d heard it takes 21 days to form a habit so I thought if I exercised every day for a month maybe I’d just keep exercising for the rest of my life and create a healthier existence for myself.

It started off easy enough, something like 10 squats, 10 leg lifts, and a couple pushups. To be clear, at that point in my life I couldn’t do one pushup. I tried. Not even one. I could do a few of the girly modified ones from my knees, so that’s where I started. And oh my, I hated it. I hated it every day for a month. I remember thinking that 21 days is not long enough for me to form a habit, because I did it for 21 days straight and still hated it and would have happily given it up. But I was starting to see results. My arms didn’t look so bad. My waist was coming back. I don’t wear shorts, but I could have and not been totally self-conscious. I thought it might be worth it to keep going and see if I could maybe get back into my smaller jeans. The challenge was to get up to 100 squats, 100 leg lifts, and 40 pushups by the end of June, and I didn’t do that. I leveled off at 50, 50, and 20. I was motivated, but not that motivated! After a couple months I started getting bored so I added in some videos a couple days a week, and a few more exercises. Like burpees. I don’t know why I started doing burpees, and I still hate them, but I can do them and they seemed like a decent challenge so I kept doing them.

After about three months, I woke up one morning and realized I don’t hate exercising anymore. It’s been a year now, and I think I kind of like it. I exercise in the morning, before my kids wake up, because I just can’t do it when they’re around. I’ve tried and it’s impossible. And I never exercise for more than half an hour because that seems excessive. I have friends who do the gym thing and that’s cool. I don’t want to see other people working out and I don’t want them to see me, and I don’t like equipment or monthly fees, and occasionally I can be highly self-motivated, so I just keep doing the home thing. I mix it up, talk to friends or look on the internet to find ways to change my routine when I get bored. I have a yoga app (FitStar Yoga) that I really like and use a few times a week, and I just started a new app (the 7 Minute Workout Challenge) that is going well so far. Just this morning I did 10 real pushups and I felt like a rock star. And although I’ve slacked off here and there during the holidays or when I had the flu, for the most part I continue to get up and do my morning exercise routine about 3-5 times a week. A year later, I can carry my kids around and lift cases of water in the grocery store, I’m wearing smaller jeans, I’ve lost maybe five pounds, and I don’t hate my arms. Success!

Sometimes all it takes is one decision, with commitment and follow-through, to change your life. What are some decisions you have made? Or need to make?

On Being the Master of My Domain

As I’m sure you all know, I’m naturally a humble, unassuming person, even quiet and shy at times. (And if you really know me, you’ll know there is some sarcasm in that statement, too. But it’s mostly true. Or partially true. Sometimes) But there are times in life when it becomes necessary to say, Hey look at me! I’m awesome! For me, this is one of those moments. Because I have registered a domain name. See it there at the top of the page? www.allisonduke.com. See it? Awesome, right? Now all I need is an awesome website to go with it. And maybe something to sell. Like a book, or editing services, or something like that. Oh and maybe I should blog more often. Yeah. That would be good.

So there you go. Tell all your friends. And if anyone wants to volunteer to help me figure out the awesome website part, please email me or comment below. 🙂

On Christmas Music

So far this year, nothing makes me feel more grinchy than Christmas music on the radio. I love Christmas, and I love Christmas music. Well, most of it. There are a few songs that I just don’t like, and most of them would fall into the category of “Christmas classics.” The worst of these offenders is that old-timey hit from Burl Ives, Holly Jolly Christmas. Every time the fuzzy-vinyl recording starts up (which is every time I have the radio on in the car, even if I’m just driving ten minutes to the grocery store) I have to turn it off. Even my four-year-old daughter knows I hate that song. She asked me about it the other day.

This is not a rant against the secularization or commercialization of Christmas. It’s nothing as anti-cultural or sanctimonious as that. This is all about my personal preference. One of the Christian radio stations I listen to starts playing non-stop Christmas music at the beginning of November, and the other one I listen to started it last weekend. And when it comes to Christian contemporary music, these stations have a good thirty years of songs to pick from. There are always several new Christmas albums from Christian artists that come out every year. So why is it that just because it’s Christmas, they feel the need to suddenly start playing these seasonal classics that have nothing to do with Christ? If I wanted to listen to mainstream Christmas music, including those awful vinyl recordings of Silver Bells and White Christmas as well as stupid newer songs like All I Want For Christmas Is You, I could listen to a mainstream station. They’re playing all those songs, too.

Holly Jolly Christmas isn’t the only song I turn off every time I hear it. There are “Christian” Christmas songs that I hate, too. Christmas Shoes and Happy Birthday Jesus come to mind. Like I said, it’s not really about the content of the lyrics, it’s just about what I like and what I don’t. I know, I should just make a Christmas mix CD for my car (yeah, it doesn’t have an MP3 player option) and make my own playlist to listen to at home and just stop whining. But hey, I have a blog, and that’s what blogs are for, right? And sometimes I get bored with my own music selections, too.

Who’s with me? Who else wants to turn on a Christian radio station and just hear Christmas music, no matter what time of year it is? Any other musical grinches out there?

On Reading the Bible in a Year

July 1st is an important day for me. Long ago I gave up making resolutions to start the new year, because sometimes, to be honest, just surviving the new year is an accomplishment enough. I mean, the holiday season is a thrill ride and I love it, but when it’s over I just want to sleep. So then in July, I wake up and realize that half the year is over and if I want to get something done I’d better get it started. That’s what July 1st is for.

Several years ago, I was making my July 1st goals and I asked myself, “By this time next year, what is something that I really want to accomplish?” As is often the case halfway through the year, I was feeling a little down and I really needed something I could commit to and that I would really feel good about finishing. It occurred to me that I had never actually read all the way through the Bible. I had started several times, always at the beginning of the year, but had always given up on it at some point. Usually it was in Leviticus or 1 Chronicles, although once I persevered through the One Year Bible for about a year and a half when I got hit with Ezekiel and Revelation at the same time, and I just couldn’t finish. Anyway, I had just gone through a study by George Guthrie called Read the Bible for Life and one of the things we were encouraged to do was to actually read the Bible. I know, crazy, right? So I printed out the chronological plan he suggests in his book, stuck it in my Bible, and committed to it. I don’t know if it was because of that particular plan, because I really needed a “win” in my life, or because I fell in love with the Word of God, or perhaps because of all of that, but I finished it on June 30th of the next year. By then I had an iPhone and the YouVersion app which has all kinds of plan options that make it easy to read and check off every day, so I just picked a plan and started again. Today starts my fourth year of reading through the Bible from July 1st-June 30th.

It’s not hard to read through the Bible in a year. It only takes 3-4 chapters a day, which for me means about 10-20 minutes, six or seven days a week. I’m not talking about intense study or anything, I’m just talking about reading it. Study is important too, but it’s amazing what God has done in my life and my relationship with Him when I simply take the time every day (or almost every day – I do miss some days) to read His word. I have a new appreciation for the way the Bible is written, for the truth it contains, and for the way it all points to God’s amazing work of salvation.

You don’t have to believe the Bible is true in order to read it, but it helps if you do. And if you do believe the Bible is true but you haven’t read it, and I mean all of it, then why not? You don’t have to have an app or a special Bible or even a checklist or any other excuse. Get out your Bible and start reading. You can start at Genesis 1:1 and read straight through, three or four chapters a day. You can start in the New Testament, Matthew 1:1, and then read the Old Testament. You can get fancy, pull out three bookmarks or index cards or random slips of paper, and read two chapters in the Old Testament, one Psalm or Proverb, and one chapter in the New Testament. Just read the Bible. Start today. And then next July 1st, we can start over together.

On the Zombie Apocalypse

An important lesson to remember in life is this: Follow-up is key.  My last post, On Being a Pastor’s Wife, was my most-read post so far this year. So it only makes sense that I would follow up that post with a topic I’m equally passionate and expressive about: the supposedly inevitable zombie apocalypse. Yes, there is some sarcasm there. I give you permission to groan.

I’ve never understood our culture’s obsession with zombies, vampires, ghosts, and various other paranormal undead/immortal creatures. I like to keep my fiction and reality very clearly separated, for the sake of my own sanity. It drives me crazy when people bring up this zombie apocalypse thing like it’s something that will actually happen, as though we need real strategies for how to survive it and conquer the walking dead that are out to eat our brains or whatever it is that zombies supposedly do. The images are horrible, the very thought makes my stomach turn, and I generally like to point out Hebrews 9:27, “…it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment” (ESV). So there. Clearly, zombies are completely fictional, made up by some crazy people for some sort of sick entertainment or to horrify children and women with appallingly vivid imaginations. The “inevitable” zombie apocalypse will never, ever happen, as I have frequently and emphatically declared in conversations and on social media.

Then, as part of my daily Bible reading, I came across this fascinating description in Zechariah 14:12, “And the Lord will send a plague on all the nations that fought against Jerusalem. Their people will become like walking corpses, their flesh rotting away. Their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths” (NLT). Eek. I don’t know about you, but to me, that sounds a lot like zombies. I should probably note that when I pointed this verse out to my husband, a pastor and Bible scholar, he rolled his eyes and shook his head. However, that verse has forced me to rethink my dogmatic belief that the zombie apocalypse will never, ever, happen.

And now for a word on biblical interpretation. It is possible to take any singular verse of Scripture, or an isolated passage, or a few scattered verses that seem to deal with the same topic, and make them say just about anything. In support of zombies, one could also point to the passage in Ezekiel 37, where the prophet records his vision of a pile of bones becoming a great army, or the brief, strange account of graves being opened and many bodies coming out and appearing to people immediately after Jesus’ death in Matthew 27:52-53. I think it’s important to point out that none of these passages (or any others you might know about that I’ve missed) are actually about zombies. I believe Ezekiel is painting a dramatic visual of the fact that when it comes to restoration, God is capable of anything. The passage in Matthew shows some of the immediate, powerful, literally earth-shaking effects of Jesus’ death on the cross. And Zechariah is pronouncing judgment on the nations and restoration of the nation of Israel. Of course, that passage is actually apocalyptic, so the zombie plague is, in my opinion, a possibility. It could be suggesting something like biological warfare or nuclear fallout, which Zechariah obviously would not have understood, but he could have described the effects. Or maybe it’s symbolic, a picture of something that won’t actually happen, but which warns of the seriousness of opposing the people of God. Zionists could read the passage and declare, “See! Don’t mess with Israel!” The fact is, the Bible talks about a lot of things, but it’s not about zombies. So to build an entire zombie doctrine on this one verse would be foolish. This is why my husband rolled his eyes. It’s important to be very careful when interpreting Scripture.

That said, the Bible does provide abundant fodder for a fertile imagination. I’ve also caught references to what I believe are dragons and unicorns (prompting additional eye-rolls from Greg). It’s amazing what you catch when you actually read it. I’m just a few days from finishing my latest year-long read-through of God’s Word, and it’s always interesting when I find things I don’t remember ever reading before. The book of Zechariah has some fascinating parts to it. Even if you don’t have time for careful analysis and and study, reading through the whole Bible every year is a worthwhile endeavor, and I highly recommend it. I’m going to start a new plan on July 1st. I’ll post the link if anyone is interested in joining me.

So, I have to admit that a zombie apocalypse might actually happen someday. Does it matter? Probably not. Do I care? Definitely not. Am I going to start stockpiling weapons and planning how to defend my family and my brain? No. If it does happen, or if something similar happens, from what I read in Zechariah it will be part of God’s judgment on his enemies, so I’m safe. Whew.

On Being a Pastor’s Wife

Every once in awhile something will come out in a magazine or on the Internet about all the things pastor’s wives deal with, and when that happens, I’m always tempted to write a blog post. Today I’m succumbing to the temptation. So here goes.

I suppose I could call this post “5 Simple Truths About Pastor’s Wives…and Everyone Else” and it would maybe go viral or something. People seem intrigued by this special and rare creature often called “The Pastor’s Wife” as if that is the sum total of her identity. I’ve been described as “not your typical pastor’s wife,” whatever that means. I’ve heard people say, “I forget you’re a pastor’s wife! You’re so normal!” And I’ve also been asked, “So you’re a pastor’s wife? Wow! What’s that like?” And I want to ask, “What’s it like being an engineer’s wife? Or a computer guy’s wife? Or a doctor’s wife?” Because being a pastor’s wife can’t be very different from any of those. Let me clear up some of the mystery: Being a pastor’s wife means being married to a man whose life is defined by his calling. Does that mean my life is also defined by his calling? I don’t know. I’ve never thought of it that way. The way I see it, my life is defined by my calling. Not so different from anyone else, really. It’s just that my calling is to be married to a man in ministry, specifically, to Greg Duke. Right now that calling means I’m a pastor’s wife. It’s that simple. Really.

Please hear my heart: My intent is not to belittle the struggles and hardships that pastor’s wives face. All those things you read in articles and on blogs are true. Life as a pastor’s wife can be difficult and sometimes it’s not very rewarding. But isn’t that just life? Life is hard. In many ways life as a Christian is even harder, like we’re struggling to stay afloat while we swim against the current of the culture. Seeking to be a Christ-following, God-honoring, Kingdom-growing wife and mother brings a new set of challenges every day. Some days I look back over the day and think of all the things I could have done better, things I shouldn’t have said, or things that I should have said but didn’t, ways that I think I failed, and all I can do is thank God that He got me through it and we’re all still alive and mostly unharmed. I am always thankful that I have the resurrection power of Christ working through me, giving me the strength for that swim upstream. And I’m thankful for the roles He’s given me in this life, one of which is the role of a pastor’s wife.

Did I always feel comfortable with the idea of being a pastor’s wife? To be honest, no. I struggled with the idea when Greg first brought it up. But it’s not like he came home one day and said, “God is calling me to be a pastor,” and I groaned and said, “Great. This is not what I signed up for.” I know that happens to some women, but that’s not my story. I always knew I was called to marry a minister, and Greg has been in ministry the whole time we’ve been married. I just thought he’d be a music guy, or a college campus minister, or a church planter. The journey to his calling as Senior Pastor (and currently the only pastor) at Aberdeen Baptist Church is a long story, maybe for another post. But it’s a journey that we took together, and we knew that God was leading us every step of the way. I believe with all my heart that we’re where we’re supposed to be, doing what we’re supposed to be doing.

I am so incredibly blessed. I have deep connections in my community of friends. I have the privilege of investing in the lives of many people around me through prayer, through conversations about God and His Word, through just hanging out and enjoying life. The wonderful people in our church take really good care of us. They’ve watched our kids, taken us out to eat, given us generous gifts when we needed them most – whether they knew that or not. My husband is a treasure and I thank God for him constantly. Sure he’s busy, but he does good work, and although he sometimes has meetings or has to visit with people at times that might be inconvenient for me, and yeah, those middle-of-the-night calls happen and they’re not fun, his flexible schedule allows him time to spend with his family that many men don’t have. Our family doesn’t suffer because Greg is a pastor; we’re blessed because he’s a pastor. And that’s the truth.

So I’m a pastor’s wife. I really think the most important part of that “title” is “wife.” Just like every Christian wife, I’m called to support, respect, and help my husband in any way I can, submitting to his authority over me just as we both submit to Christ’s authority over us. I have struggles, and I have victories. Sometimes I control my temper, my tongue, my thoughts, and sometimes I don’t. I try to be open and honest, but I do have things I don’t tell certain people, and even some things that I won’t tell anyone. I love and adore my kids, but there are moments when I don’t like them very much. I have lots of friends but sometimes I’m lonely. Sometimes I just long for a few minutes of adult conversation. Sometimes I wish I could get away. But most of the time, I’m happy with who I am, where I am, what I’m doing, and who I’m with. This is who I am. If that makes me a unique, strange creature known as a “pastor’s wife,” I guess I’m okay with that. I just have this feeling that I’m really not so different from anyone else.