Friday, April 25, 2008

Tag, you're it!

This is one of those surveys for people like me who love to read about other people's lives, no matter how random the questions. My friend April tagged me, so I've tagged a few of you at the end. Come on, play along!

What was I doing 10 years ago?
Ten years ago, I was getting ready to go to the Elba High School junior/senior prom with my dear friend Bucky Carlile. I was finishing up my freshman year and was about a month away from getting my driver's permit.

5 things on my to-do list today:
This does not represent my typical day, but here they are:
1. Balance my checkbook -- A task I loathe and fear, because it never quite works out. Dave Ramsey (I'll blog about him later) says I should balance my checkbook to the penny every month, but I just can't do it! (Sorry, Mom, I know you tried to teach me when I was at home, but I am just not able.)
2. Go to staff meeting at 3 p.m.
3. Clean my office and turn on my out-of-office assistant
4. Leave for the beach!!! (I'll blog about this later, also.)
5. Call Benjamin and sing, "Happy Birthday"

5 snacks I enjoy:
1. Baked Lays potato chips, plain
2. Boiled peanuts (not TOO salty, please)
3. Chocolate pudding (really, anything chocolate)
4. French fries
5. Fruit

5 things I would do if I were a billionaire:
1. Give to the church and worthy causes (THANK YOU for the billion dollars, Lord!)
2. Travel, travel, travel
3. Let all our parents retire immediately, if they so chose
4. Pay off others' debts
5. Build several dream houses and invite people to visit

5 bad habits:
1. Wasting time/procrastinating
2. Running late (usually due to bad habit #1)
3. Reading too much into things
4. Collecting clutter
5. Putting my foot in my mouth

5 places I have lived:
1. Dothan, Alabama -- Until I was 3 or 4 maybe?
2. Donalsonville, Georgia -- Through kindergarten
3. Cottonwood, Alabama -- First and second grades
4. Elba, Alabama -- From 3rd grade until I went to college, then moved back in with Mom and Dad for 11 months until Gunter and I got married
5. Troy, Alabama -- Ah, the good ol' college days! I lived on the first floor of Shackelford Hall, right beside the front door for all four years.

5 jobs I've had or have:
1. Swimming lessons teacher -- I started my first job the summer after my 7th grade year and taught with Mrs. Pearlie every summer until my sophomore year in college. Those were good times and hard work! I bet plenty of kids have nightmares about me to this day.
2. Elba Nursing Home Activities Department -- Gunter, Benjamin and I worked this job for a summer or two and one Christmas holiday. I wish I could still wear scrubs to work. We entertained the residents and had plenty of adventures.
3. Intern for The Greenville Advocate -- This was the summer I cut my journalism teeth. I learned about interviewing, writing, photography and layout. I thoroughly enjoyed myself but had my first car accident on the way to work one morning.
4. Troy State University (back then) Writing Center tutor -- I loved being in the writing center, and I loved Mrs. Bassett. I also liked helping students with their writing, but I didn't enjoy the citing and style stuff.
5. Editor of the Tropolitan, official student newspaper of Troy State University -- One of the most fun and challenging jobs ever. The biggest perks were the people and pizza on Wednesday nights (thank you, Mr. Warden!), besides all that learning and maturing. I won't mention the tough parts of the notice that I didn't go to work for a newspaper after college.

5 people I want to know more about (you're tagged!):
Let me just go ahead and tag everyone who reads my blog and the people whose blogs you'll find under "Links" on the right side of the screen -- that means you, Gunter, Melissa, Penny and Lisa!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Love & marriage

Yesterday was our second wedding anniversary! Actually, it feels closer to 10 years than two (not in a bad way, of course). I admire you people who have been married 20, 40, 60 years.

An awful lot has changed in two years -- all for the better in my opinion. We have learned so much. I never could have imagined marriage being so wonderful and so much fun, and thus far, it seems to get better and better. Gunter surpasses every one of my wishes for an ideal husband and defines new ones all the time.

I'm sure it won't all be easy, but I look forward to living many more wonderful years with Gunter Akridge, my favorite person.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Spiritual gifts

Today I responded to a thought-provoking, passion-stirring question on "The Preacher's Wife" blog. She's writing a book about ministers' wives, so of course, I'm interested. One of these days, I'll have to post my (tongue-in-cheek) top 10 most important lessons to be a good minister's of these days I don't shy away from offending folks. :-)

Anyway, The Preacher's Wife asked if we felt called with our husbands into ministry. Have we ever been reluctant, and if so, how did that affect our husband's ministry? Have we ever observed other ministers' wives who didn't feel "called"?

Growing up as a preacher's kid, there were definitely times I wished my dad was not in the ministry. When we lived at pastoriums, we got plenty of surprise knocks at the door at all hours...I remember times Mom and I would elbow each other and wince during church, dreading the reaction to what Daddy had just said...moving now and then...being seen as goody-goody not because I was a Christian, but because my dad was a preacher....especially being hurt and seeing my dad suffer as he was hurt by those he tried to pour his life into. No, I definitely didn't want to marry a minister.

Yet, here I am today, married to a what? A minister.

Actually, I didn't marry the title, "minister," I married Gunter. All Christians are called by God to minister where we are, but Gunter just so happens to have a strong calling on his life to minister in churches right now. Even before we started dating, I watched Gunter's passions grow, and I knew they would lead him to something special. I saw God shaping him and getting rid of some rough spots, just like He was doing to me. At some point, I realized I couldn't be satisfied with merely filling a pew every Sunday.

We've only been married for two years, and we don't have children yet. Our church has absolutely spoiled us, so ministry has been a fun adventure so far. I know it won't always be roses, but I pray I'll hang in there through the good and the not-so-good as a useful helper for my amazing, admirable man.

So finally, I get to the part about spiritual gifts. In youth Sunday school, we took a quiz to help identify our spiritual gifts. The youth guessed my primary before we even took the quiz -- administration, then exhortation and (surprise!) mercy. I really think I developed mercy during chemo. It used to be my lowest. Gunter's main gifts were teaching, service then a tie among several.

It got me thinking -- how can I use my spiritual gifts to complement his, and vice versa? It's a good question for any married couple, not just a minister's wife seeking to refine her role with each new stage. What are your spiritual gifts, and how do you use them to benefit others, including family members or spouses?

Family, fun, but no fishing

Gunter and I spent the day Saturday at Lake Eufaula, not really on the lake, just at the lake. Mom and Dad have spent their last two spring breaks there, both of them cold, windy and rainy. Benjamin drove from Troy and spent the day, and PawPaw and Granny came all the way from Dothan. Despite the not-quite-perfect weather, we had so much fun! Gunter and I haven't seen PawPaw and Granny since Christmas, so it meant a lot to us for them to come and spend the day (especially since PawPaw is not too fond of getting out of town). Highlights of the day included watching part of the weigh-in for a fishing tournament and eating supper at an out-of-the way place called the Anchor Inn. Dee-licious!

Check out the boat in the middle. It's actually a camper on a pontoon boat bottom.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Rainy Saturday

Ah, Saturday morning...sitting in the recliner, listening to the rain. What could be better? Maybe sitting in the recliner on a weekday, listening to the rain.

I got a new car yesterday! It's a silver 2006 Ford Fusion. We bought it from some friends at church, and we traded them my car. So yes, after being together since before my 16th birthday, the Contour and I have parted ways. She was a good car, and we took many great trips together. She's in good hands, and I pray she'll be a good car for our friends.

One exciting feature of my new car (besides the fact that it's really cute and has windows that roll up and down) is the remote. I've never had a remote before, and this one is built into the key. In my world, it's pretty high-tech. Maybe one day I'll have one of those that can remotely start the car.

I'll try to post a picture soon.

In other news, my boss is now on maternity leave, so I'm sort of on my own. The first day was a little stressful because I got hit with several unexpected projects, but the last couple of days haven't been bad at all. Soon, I'll have to tackle our magazine layout and finish Annual Report, and that's when things will get interesting.

We spent a few hours at Mellow Mushroom last night hanging out with Ellis and Becky B., our college ministers and marriage counselors. It's always so much fun to catch up with them! They set a great example for connecting with the people they minister to -- their home and their lives are so open, and so welcoming. We want to be more like that with youth and with adults, too.

When we got back to Opp, we caught the last 30 minutes - hour of a John Barry Roberts concert at the famous Opp Rattlesnake Rodeo. The reason we were really there was to hang out with Glennie and Shelia, which we did. I was surprised at how much JB has changed since high school (we went to Washington together on Youth Tour). He's grown his hair long, and his music has a whole lot more rock to it than it used to. I introduced myself afterwards, but I'm not sure if he had a clue who I was. I've changed quite a bit in the last 8 years, too.

One final note -- today is Gunter's and my third dating anniversary! Three years ago today, Gunter sat me down at Murphree Park in Troy and told me he just had to take a chance. He wanted me to pray about dating with the intention of marriage. It was a dream come true. That day or the next, he left for symphony band tour, and the following Sunday, at the Elba Subway, he got my parents' blessing. One version of that story is that Mama couldn't participate in the conversation much for crying.

So there's your dose of sappy for the day.