Lady GaWhoa!

I have to admit – I’ve been sucked in. I never really listened to Lady Gaga first because of her name  – I thought that was utterly stupid – second I saw her and figured there was something gimmicky about her, and I’m not a fan of gimmicks to get yourself heard. However. . .

Bad Romance was catchy – I sort of dug it, but didn’t really want to – because, well, it was this gimmicky chick singing it. That and it was all “auto tuned” sounding which I think is cheap and cheating. I saw interviews with her and thought she was still gimmicky, but at least the things she had to say were not altogether stupid.

Anyway, I know it’s all weird and old lady like, but I watched her on GMA this morning – drinking my coffee and eating my eggs and toast – I heard her speak, and perhaps for the first time, heard a quality broadcast of her performing. What a voice! This girl is incredibly talented.

She said Edge of Glory was written for her grandfather, so I listened to it with new ears, and though I originally thought the song was nice, I had a heart for it listening to it this time. Her toned down performance (no phallic heels or simulated sex acts on morning television) was actually enjoyable to watch. As opposed to the spectacle she created on SNL or even Idol, the GMA performances were more about the music and being a voice for her fans.

Perhaps most surprising to me was how much I loved the acoustic version (just Gaga on piano) of Hair. On the album, it’s another upbeat song that sounds a bit trite, but when she performed on GMA, it was easy to hear how Hair (I want to be as free as my hair) is a diary entry of sorts about hiding behind hair, changing hair to become a different character, and the desire to be able to freely express who she is as a person.

I’m not saying I’m an all-out fan; I just have an appreciation for the heart behind what she does. I also have a respect for her incredible musical ability – she is a musician, unlike the women who are big names (e.g. Ke$ha) but have no apparent talent apart from their auto-tuned voices. When Gaga sits at the piano and is just Stefani, she is profoundly engaging. I don’t necessarily agree with all her methods, nor do I fully buy into her messages, but I guess I’m done writing her off as just a gimmicky version of other talentless music industry productions in high heels and slutty outfits.

Glad God Uses Knuckleheads

Goodbye, Portland, hello Manchester-by-the-Sea!

I got to spend some marvelous time with people I dearly love, though not all the people I dearly love – those people I did not get to see, I will intentionally plan to make time for next trip! I saw my dear friend, Cindy, graduate at long last! I saw professors from Multnomah that I admire and love and whose lessons still shape my daily life. I saw my aunt and Mark who are such beautiful examples of so many things that I love. I saw my church family that loves me and supports me with wide open arms. And I saw Diane and Amanda who are the best of what I loved about being at work in Stevenson.  It was a wild, hurried, whirlwind of a trip, but it was wonderful.

Now I’m home and beginning to pack. Our move to Framingham is coming up really fast! Andrew begins preaching there this Sunday, and we will plan to take a few things that will fit in the car over with us each week until our move on June 10 (give or take).

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Welcome to Framingham Church of the Nazarene!

Oh dear, how time gets away. Now it’s Sunday and Andrew just finished preaching his first weekend at Framingham. These people – how welcoming they are! Since they know we are part of their family now, they just welcomed us with warm, huggy arms and made us feel incredibly loved and appreciated. It was a marvelous day.

Today I felt pride for Andrew that I haven’t experienced before. It was like a quiet, humbled reflection of what an incredible man he has become over the years. Not that he hasn’t always been a good man, but honestly, we got married when he was 22, and no one is the man they will become when they are 22. The man before me today is one of great integrity and intelligence. He is full of humor and wisdom; passion and sensibility. I am sort of blown away by his ability to preach and the authority with which he does it. Who knew the guy with all the hair and the rock star dreams would go shiny bald and become a pastor?? Maybe his parents, but certainly not his wife. I get it now; I’m on board.

We had no idea that coming to Boston for graduate school would result in finding a church to pastor. But God’s plans are – well, God’s – and we just try to keep up with him. Chad and Andrew always had a saying at The Bridge among the leadership in that church plant – “God is using a bunch of knuckleheads to accomplish his plans here.” I feel like we are still those knuckleheads, just in New England instead of the Northwest. I guess the same is true way out here. So, we’ll continue holding on tight, attempting to be brave enough to open our eyes to see where we’re going from time to time. Here we go on this wild ride!

Pastor Andrew Marshall - Framingham Church of the Nazarene

 

Portlandia

The beautiful view of Portland’s West Hills around OHSU from my aunt’s deck.

My beloved Aunt Cynthia – a perfect example of the “Keep Portland Weird” movement.

Today Cynthia and I were talking about the series on some cable station called Portlandia. In one episode she was telling me about was a very Portland-ish scene that takes place in a restaurant that I picture in my head as Farm or something similar. The man asks the waitress about the chicken – “is it local?” “Of course!” answers the waitress. “Is it free range?” “Indeed,” she responds. “How free range is it?” “The chickens have 5 acres to roam,” the waitress replies. “Very good. And what are the chickens fed?” “Organic feed, of course, with no hormones or additives.” “Great.” The waitress produces a picture from her waitress pouch, “this is Colin; he will be your chicken today.”  “Thank you. We still need to think about our options.” The waitress provides them time to review the menu before she returns to take their orders. “Have you decided?” “We may decide to go a different direction. What can you tell me about your salmon?”  The funny thing is, unless you know Portland, this is probably not remotely funny to you. If you are a Portlander, you know that it is so very close to reality that it is hysterical.

Ah, my beloved Portland – there is none other like you!

Mother’s Day musings

I called my Mom to wish her a happy Mother’s Day. My brother and sister-in-law were there with my sweet nieces, Mara and Decklyn. The phone was passed all around so I got to talk to everyone for a few minutes. I love every one of my family members – my Poppa, Mom, Marion, Shelly, and the girls, but there is just something about those little girls that makes my heart well up with some other kind of love. It’s a love that takes joy in the little tinkling sound of Decklyn’s sweet little child voice, in the maturity and humor in Mara’s too-old-for-her-britches little girl voice. When I hear them say, “Hi Aunt Daylene!” and “I love you, Aunt Daylene,” I just go all squishy inside and want to hug them right through the phone.

I love the development of Skype -it really has changed how my family talks to each other. We all live in different cities – my parents in Topeka, Marion, Shelly and the girls in Columbia, Mo., and of course Andrew and me in Boston. I have lived away from home for about 22 years now and in all those years, I don’t recall Poppa calling me once. However, now that he can Skype me, I hear from him at least a couple of times each month. It’s fantastic! Also, when I talk to the girls, I get to see their faces, and they love to show me their new dance moves and gymnastic ability in the form of cartwheels and such. It has helped me a lot since they are growing up out of my sight so much of the time.

If I were to ever return to the mid-west, it would be in order to be around my nieces. I love them simply, and fully – it’s a weird sensation. I’m not a fan of kids, generally, but these kids are something altogether different. I adore them. My heart feels full and satisfied after I’ve talked to them or spent time with them. It must be just a glimmer of the love that moms have for their children. I see how Shelly loves her girls and I think, that is so far beyond what I have experienced, and yet, I feel like my love for my nieces sometimes could overtake my whole being. I feel ferociously protective of them, and unwaveringly dedicated to seeing them become all they want to be.

A mother’s love – I get what people mean when they say there is nothing like it. If an aunt’s love is only a taste of it, a mother’s love is all-consuming and incredibly powerful. I love the image the Bible gives us of a mother’s love. When a mother is a good mother, she cares for her child adoringly, and yet disciplines him so that he grows to respect her and honors her. God uses the image of a mother’s love to demonstrate how great His concern and love for His people is in Isaiah:

Isa 49:13-16 Shout for joy, O heavens; rejoice, O earth; burst into song, O mountains! For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones. But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.” “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.

God loves us so much that even if a mother, the ultimate picture of a nurturing parent, could forget the infant she is nursing, God could never forget us. He is so committed to us that He has engraved us on His palms – a permanent reminder of the children he created and adores. If my love for Mara and Decklyn is just a taste of the love Shelly has for them, then Shelly’s love for her daughters is only a taste of the love God has for them.

Happy Mother’s Day to you. I hope it can serve as a reminder of God’s perfect love for you.

Do you think I could teach college microbiology?

No? Sweet Andrew. He’s scanning job openings in the teaching field. So far we’ve been able to eliminate School Administrator and college level microbiology professor. Whew, what a load off! 

Seriously, the job hunt for a high school teaching position continues with fervor now that we know where we’ll be in a few weeks. I personally would love for him to get the chapel/Bible teacher at Covenant Christian in Lynn – that seems right up his alley. It’s a bit of a haul from Framingham, but not as far as I have to commute for a year.

We’re going full throttle right now – trying to hunt down cheap furniture, figuring out moving essentials, (like letting all the accounts know our new address AGAIN (sigh)), and boxing stuff up AGAIN (that’s me). Andrew is working on job applications (all of which seems to be online now which has its plusses and minuses), teaching plans for the rest of the school year (he is filling in as a contracted teacher for the rest of the school year for a teacher who had to leave for medical reasons), sermon prep, as well mapping out the first sermon series leading up to Pentecost. Busy busy. It’s a frenetic whirligig of excitement and constant confusion. How fun!

Add to that the fact that I fly to Portland next Tuesday for Cindy’s graduation, which cuts out a week of prep and work at the house that I could definitely use right now, and life is just about as crazy as we can manage. Crazy is how we roll, so it’s not new or unfamiliar, just a little more jam-packed than usual.

Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!

Measuring it all out

We drove to Framingham last night to get measurements on all the rooms we will be populating with furniture. It is funny that after our many years of downsizing, we are moving to a house that is far too large for us – certainly for the amount of furniture we have retained.

We have a dining room! It is the first actual dining room we have had since, well, hmmm…ever, I guess. Wow. That’s interesting. I have been tasked with finding a dining room table and 6 chairs as well as lamps for every room. Oddly, not a single bedroom has an overhead light – nor does one have a light switch. That is completely foreign to me. If I’ve had a room with no overhead light, there has always been a light switch that connects to an outlet so you can at least flip on a light when you enter the room. Whoa to the person who arrives late to sleep at our house! I’m thinking an investment of night lights will be a good choice!!! Just to guide the person to the lamp, if nothing else. As we were doing the final measurements it was getting dark enough that we had to strain to see the tape measure. No stinkin’ overhead lights!

Although we TOOK the camera last night, we neglected to use it. Of course. Such is our standard. Next time we visit, we’ll snap some photos, but the house is adorable! And it has so much room, I can’t wait to begin having people over for dinner parties and Bible studies, and just general togetherness. Maybe the only thing I’m looking forward to more than having people over is getting to know our new church family. It’s pretty astounding to think that we have a new church family to get to know. Just as we love our previous church family, these people love their previous pastor, so I think we’re all coming to the table with similarly sad hearts and joyful expectation. That will make the transition bittersweet for both of us and will help us identify with each other, I think.

God has opened this avenue for us to be in ministry. That is super exciting to me. Now that we are shifting our gaze to Framingham, we focusing on where ministry can happen – where we can engage otherwise disengaged individuals – in the area. Fortunately we have a great leadership team that has a vision for that as much as we do. We are still constantly praying for Andrew’s teaching opportunity – he needs a full-time job so we can pay bills. However, our lives are in God’s hands, as we have been made aware over and over again in our marriage, and He has us in His perfect plan. We never thought we would get through an entire school year without full-time employment, but God has provided. Now perhaps we can see that His plan was for us to relocate to Framingham, so having a job on the North Shore would not have been wisest. I guess we’ll see, as usual.

Meanwhile. . . it’s off to school for me then I get to meet my friend, Amber at Panera. I love Panera. I love Amber too, but Panera is, well, delicious. 🙂

And here we are. . . !

Our little beach in Manchester

bye bye Singing Beach - we'll miss you!

I wake to find myself in a new, stirring, exhilarating, and overwhelming state. Today is the day that I wake to find that I am the wife of a pastor. We’ve been in ministry for years, but today, Andrew officially appointed as the pastor of his own church. He is not the youth pastor, or the worship pastor, or the associate pastor – those realities we have experienced and loved – but he is now THE pastor of a church. It is marvelous and fearful at the same time.

Always in the past we have had another person with whom the buck ultimately stopped. If we needed guidance or just wanted to be unorthodox in our maneuvers (the bright orange paint covering our walls in the windowless youth room, and raucous music during Sunday morning worship come to mind), having the approval of The Pastor always gave us a sense of security and the ability to say, “If you don’t approve, go talk to Pastor, he already gave us the go ahead.”

Today I also wake to the reality that in a very short time we are moving again. We are leaving our little town by the Atlantic in order to reside on the west side of Boston – a far cry from the tranquil, sleepy little town we have in Manchester, Framingham will be more of a suburb of the city, has the Mass Pike running through it, and has a beautiful complexity of people that we sorely miss.

I know we’ll miss Manchester and our near-perfect living situation. I know we’ll miss being able to walk to the ocean and stroll along Singing Beach anytime we want. I know we’ll miss the friends we have made here. But I am also certain that we will find new places and people to love and fill our lives with. A new church family who will love us and we will love them. New grocery stores and gas stations and all that stuff. I’m a little sad – I’m a lot excited. I know we are being led by a loving Guide who has placed us in new circumstances for His glory. That makes all the unknowns less frightening and all the responsibility less daunting. He is faithful in all things, and I’m just trying to follow His lead.