Tag Archives: pastor’s wife

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

My typical blog post is between 750 and 1000 words.  I think this one will be much shorter than usual due to the picture being worth so much.  My stylist attends my church and looks at the back of my head; she does a great job of making my hair look awesome.  My children are concerned with my facial hair.  So I do a two-for-one moment when I see Michelle.

The best moment of this specific hair-cutting-facial hair-removing event was when Michelle’s son came in to the salon area…just as I was covered in hot wax.  Michelle and I agree that her son’s impression of a pastor’s wife will vary greatly from that of other church-going kids.

How many of them get to see their pastor’s wife getting her face waxed?

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I’m Italian…You Know You Want to Be…

Yesterday, a friend left the following quote on my Facebook wall: “You know, there are two kinds of people; Italians and those that want to be Italians.” ~ Mario Batali

Thanks to my awesome family lineage, I have the heritage of the conquered European continent.  I am one half “kitchen soup mix of all European countries” including German, Welsh, Scotch-Irish, and more from my mother’s side of the family, one quarter “British Isles” with quite a bit of proper English thrown in there from my Nana, and one quarter Italian from my grandfather.  When Nana and Gramps married, WWII ended.  Ok – that’s a joke.  In fact, both of my grandfathers were American soldiers during WWII.

I rarely think of my lineage except for the fact that I’m Italian.  Consider the possible adjectives and nouns that come to mind when someone mentions the word “Italian,” and then think about me.

Passionate – check.  Talks with her hands – check.  Has a temper – check.  Loves good (Italian) food – check.  Talks loudly – check.  Laughs louder – check.  Screams and yells and storms around the house when she is angry – check (not so much anymore…I am a pastor’s wife!!!!).  Crazy – yep, without a doubt! Spontaneous – check.  Disruptive – you know it!

Stereotypes tend to come from somewhere even if they are exaggerated.  When it comes to Italian stereotypes, my family fits many of them.  My nana, who learned how to cook Italian food before she married into the Italian family, cooks some of the best food ever.  Chicken cutlet and lasagna are two of my favorite dishes.  Her meatballs and gravy (it’s not sauce if it has meat in it!) with some penne pasta really hit the spot.  Her lasagna has little meatballs in it – because they taste better, of course.  We love our food!  Nana knows which bakery has the best bread, and she knows where and on what day to buy the fresh ravioli – Venda, of course, “on the hill” in Providence, Rhode Island.

I have an Uncle Vin and a Great-Uncle Vin.  My great grandfather went by several names.  Let your imagination run wild with that one!  If I looked hard enough, I am sure that I would find some questionable history, but that is only fun until you realize that those people are your relatives.  That’s when you stop looking.  We fight hard, we play hard, and we love hard.

I would say that having a quarter Italian blood in me is just about enough.  It seems that having a quarter pretty much dominates the rest of my lineage, so any more would just be a waste.  My first psychiatrist told me that Italian is a definite ingredient in many a bipolar diagnosis.  “We should medicate the whole lot,” I believe were his exact words.

Growing up in North Dakota as an Italian was quite fun, so is living in Minneapolis now and having an Italian colleague (from Jersey, no less!).  Midwesterners are a much more reserved people.  There is a lot of quiet and caution.  That is not so with Italian personalities – we are a loud people who throw caution to the wind.  And I think that some around me are a little jealous of that.

Honestly – if I were at a wedding with all of my cousins and had no idea what was going on, I would jealous of all the fun we have.  A tradition started at my wedding that has continued into a few other weddings.  To be fair, the tradition was started by my Auntie Ann.  And to be true to the story, I was not super thrilled about it at the time.  I have gotten over that, though, since it became cool.  The tradition (pictured below at sister Meg and cousin Karissa’s wedding) is that Nana let all of her grandchildren put olives on their fingers at the dinner table … to keep us from being naughty.  We now have pictures of us at weddings…all grown up…with olives on all ten fingers.  What memories!

And our response to the onlookers who question us?

We’re Italian.

You know you want to be…

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Love Those Pastors’ Wives!

On Monday night, Kerry and I attended the 2011 version of what has become an annual event: Pastors and Wives Appreciation Dinner.  Held in August for the past four years, this event is hosted and provided for by the Minnesota Association Executive Board members who treat the pastors (and wives if they have them…in Minnesota’s case all of the pastors at the moment are men – with wives) to a beautiful spread of food that includes yummies from the grill.  My personal favorite this year happened to be the mushrooms.  Is that weird?

As usually is the case at these events, the men migrated to one another and started talking shop while their wives migrated to each other and asked about updates in life.  Although the pastors get together once a month for prayer and support, we wives rarely do.  Our schedules do not tend to mesh well.  Two of us work in public education, one is the church secretary and recently started working a bunch of hours at a flower shop, and yet another is a daycare provider.  None of our time off seems to overlap, we are spread out from one another, and our jobs do not give us release time to get together like our husbands’ jobs do.

Being the wife of a pastor is different than being the wife of just about any other man with an occupation.  While every other job has its own family “requirements,” few people understand the exceptionally unique elements of the pastors’ family.  I find that being in the company of other pastors’ wives relaxes me.  They understand our strange rituals, odd hours, and secret handshakes.  Ok – that one might not be true!  What is true is that we do not have to explain much.  A knowing look communicates so much when we are together.  Needless to say then, it was great to chat with these fabulous ladies.

Typically at these dinners, we sit as couples for the main course; this time was different.  As ladies, we had been sitting in sort of a semi-circle in close proximity to a table.  When the “servers” (they are wonderful people!!) announced that it was time to gather around the tables, the wives sat at one table.  After some jabbing from the pastors (I am not sure if they were jealous that we were laughing so much or what), they sat at their own table as well.  The hosts gave us a bit of a hard time, but the women would not budge.  Some might say that I was a ring leader in this whole thing; I do not know where that idea comes from!

I cannot recount every conversation in this blog post – in part because of protection of my dear friends and in part because some of it may have only been entertaining in the moment.  Our conversation covered a grand pendulum swing from updates on our children’s lives to a performance of “The Wiggles” live to the costs of weddings and funerals and the various ways that they could go badly.  One of the most entertaining conversations recounted the strange unwillingness of a wedding caterer to serve decaffeinated coffee at a reception.  Yet another spoke of inconsiderate, though well-intentioned, actions of funeral attenders.  “The Wiggles” conversation had me laughing so hard that I wiped tears from my eyes.

These encounters, though infrequent, are precious to me.  My fellow Minnesota pastors’ wives are not cut from a specific mold.  Our approach to how we support our husbands differs in each of our lives.  They represent, though, a strong back-bone to each of their husbands ministries.  Everyone present last night has lived longer than I, has been married longer than I, and has been in ministry longer than I.  They have seen their struggles and their joys in their marriages, in the raising of their children, and in their churches’ ministries.  They march in front me and encourage me to keep marching.

I love our church; I would not trade it for another at this point in my life.  However, being in ministry, no matter how much one loves her church, can stretch us out of our comfort zone.  Few of us thought “pastor’s wife” would be one of the many hats we wear.  But we do.  And those women sitting around the table with me last night model for me what I can become and, at times, offer their guidance and support as I stumble along the path of the pastor’s wife.

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