Monday, August 29, 2011

When words fail, there are always pictures of Shepherd

After a weekend with a lot of tears and goodbyes, I'm not going to say a lot on here. Instead, I'm going to put up a cute picture of Shepherd. I'll write more when I have words to express the past few days of goodbyes.
And for good measure, here is one more cute picture. I feel better now.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The past week has been a week of goodbyes, and the coming week will be no different. August 31st will be BJ's last day as the minister for Farmington Church of Christ, and we will leave town September 3rd.

Last Tuesday, we had the youth group over for a last get together at our house. The other nights of the past week were filled with dinners and parties with friends who have been deeply gracious in their goodbyes. Shepherd and I, who frequently go with BJ when he visits shut-ins, made a final trip with him Friday afternoon. All of these times of fellowship have been blessings, simply blessings.

Of course, this month has not been only pleasant goodbyes. With the time spent dwelling on good memories, it is only natural that some of the rougher memories creep in on me and BJ. I can't help but wonder why this didn't work, why us and Farmington didn't work. There is obviously a lot of love in this relationship, and BJ and I really wanted this to be home. But I've spent the past two weeks packing up boxes.

I am a person who has always taken constructive criticism very seriously. It is why I succeeded in school in the fields of writing and studio arts, because I valued the opinions of others and acted upon those opinions. The most difficult part of being a preacher's wife these past three years was that I didn't know how to filter the constructive criticism from the plain old criticism, and believe me, preachers are a constant recipient of both. Perhaps what complicates this situation for the spouse of any minister is that he or she is powerless to do much of anything in the face of the criticism and yet feels it's sting so acutely because it is directed at someone you have specifically learned to love and appreciate both despite and because of their flaws.

On the first Sunday of this year, BJ was told that it was the general consensus of the congregation that he wasn't meeting their expectations in the areas of preaching and people skills. We chose to put in a resignation because we felt these particular things were too fundamental to who he was for him to change them. I was sitting at home with my brother who was up for a visit when BJ first called after this meeting. I remember very well what I said to my brother after I got off the phone: "I actually like him the way he is." (Since then, a significant portion of the congregation has voiced similar sentiments.) Despite being shocked and very emotional, it was a moment of clarity I will not soon forget. After two and a half years of trying to decipher what BJ and I needed to change to make us work, I remembered that if BJ changed a lot, he might not be the same guy I've been in love with for the past seven years.

I say all that to say that the goodbyes are really hard, but I am proud of the man I'll be driving out of town with. I pray that Farmington finds a preacher who fits them really well. Despite being blue over leaving this home, I am insanely excited and very hopeful about our future in Oklahoma. BJ and I are constantly talking about our ideas and hopes for the First Christian Church of Ardmore, and we are ready to get down there and start working. As is always the case, God is working in this situation in a big way. I can't wait to see what he does.

Monday, August 15, 2011

10 months

Today, Shepherd is 10 months old. I can't say how wonderful the past 10 months have been, so instead I'm going to post some photos we had taken a couple of weeks ago. We had never had professional photos done of Shepherd, so we were really excited when a friend of BJ's mother offered to do pictures for us. The photographer is Amber Keller, and she did a wonderful job with Shepherd. Here is a sampling:

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

A Very Important Announcement

In less than two months, BJ, Shepherd, Gus, and I will be Okies. BJ has accepted an offer for the pulpit minister position at a church in Ardmore, Oklahoma. Our trip to OK two weeks ago was wonderful. We got to know some magnificently kind and loving people who we are looking forward to getting to know better. Of course, we only got the job because of Shepherd's cuteness, but we aren't above riding on our son's coat tails.

In other news, we had a delightful visit from my brother and his girl-friend, Stephanie. Shepherd is being a little difficult this week after basking in non-stop attention from his uncle and Stephanie. We took a whole slew of pictures their last day here to document their visit, but between BJ hating pictures, Bro somehow never looking in the correct place, Shepherd moving non-stop, and Stephanie and I distracted by the chaos, very few our presentable. But you know me. I'll put them up anyways.

This was supposed to be a picture of us. Instead, it was a picture of Uncle Bro's shoulder.

This is our first attempt at a picture of the five of us in which you can see more than one person's shoulder.
This is our second attempt. I call it: "Where's BJ?"
This is the picture after which we gave up.
Thankfully, I got one good picture of Shepherd with Bro and Stephanie. Cute, isn't it?

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Where I've Been

I am running late on this blog post. I week and a half ago, Shepherd and I went up to Alton to spend some time with my in-laws. Wednesday, BJ joined me, and we headed to Ardmore, Oklahoma for BJ to interview at a church. Monday, my brother and his girlfriend, Stephanie, flew into St. Louis where we picked them up and brought them back to Farmington. Since then, we've been having a wonderful week just hanging out. Unfortunately, in the midst of all this busy-ness, I haven't had time to sit at a computer.

Ardmore turned out to be a beautiful place. The people were wonderful, and the town just felt home-like. As things develop there, I will keep you all posted. Suffice it to say, I might be an Okie by the end of this year, and I'm definitely fine with that possibility.