unclutching to hold on

>> January 29, 2010

It wasn't that long ago that Sarah and I, via instant message, started brainstorming ideas for a blog for pastor's wives under 40. It was exciting and the creative exchange we were having was exhilarating. And still, I never anticipated all that it has become. It's something I'm proud of.

It's been a thrill and a blessing to connect with pastor's wives all over the country with whom I would have never crossed paths -- even getting to meet some in person.

But now it's my time to let it go. In the year or so that I've been building Clutch with Sarah, my son turned 2, I birthed 2 daughters and my husband's workload has increased tremendously due to the death of our senior pastor. Even with all that, I was still dreaming and planning for cool things to do with Clutch...and then reality set in. I have my hands full. I need to let go (unclutch) and clutch a little tighter to home.

Anyway, I know God has awesome plans for me, for Clutch, for Sarah and the ladies who will be pitching in. It's truly been a blast. I thank you for being a part of it.

Here's who I'll be holding on to a little tighter as I let go of the blog. :)
IMG_9186 IMG_6789 IMG_6481

© CLUTCH, 2010 unless otherwise sourced.
Use allowed by express written permission only.
Tweets, trackbacks, and link sharing encouraged.



>> January 27, 2010

I saw this graphic on Anne Jackson's Permission to Speak Freely site (go check it out), and immediately I wondered how applicable this notion would be to us, young pastor's wives. What if it read, "I've tried so hard not to be the stereotypical Pastor's Wife,..."

I can't tell you how many times I've met a woman who IS the stereotypical PW! She works with the children's ministry *and* plays the piano *and* cooks for the potluck *and* gets to church on time. Inevitably, we talk about pastorswifering and she tells me how she's "so-not the typical pastor's wife. I've experienced this from PWs of all ages. Which begs the question, What is the typical pastor's wife, anyway... but that's not the point of this post! Back to the original thought...

Do you find yourself retaliating from the pressure to be what church member's expect?

In order to assert your independence from expectations and showcase your individuality, have you ever ended up straying away from the woman God designed you to be?

In what ways have you gone out of your way to prove or convey that you do not live in the PW box? Has that ever led you to sin or to glorify the sin in your life?

Talk to me.

© CLUTCH, 2010 unless otherwise sourced.
Use allowed by express written permission only.
Tweets, trackbacks, and link sharing encouraged.


the flip side of the research

>> January 25, 2010

I recently came across this fascinating research on Ed Stetzer's blog. It described how much time Protestant pastors spend in a typical week on various aspects of life, including work and family life. I wonder what you think of it. Where does your PH fall in the spectrum? Is the bulk of his time really spent with his family? Is there something missing? Online time, maybe?

Just last night, I was making an ... observation... to my PH that even though he's here (@ home) in bodily form, he's not necessarily HERE. The phone is always ringing, or he's attending to church business via email or his mind is on all of the church things that need to get done. I wasn't complaining, really. I understand. But I wonder how many of these pastors, who say they're with family, are really working from home.

But that wasn't really the point of the study, really... Here's what they say:
Protestant pastors in America are working long hours, sometimes at the expense of relationships with church members, prospects, family and even the Lord.

A telephone survey of more than 1,000 senior pastors indicated a full 65 percent of them work 50 or more hours a week – with 8 percent saying they work 70 or more hours. Meetings and electronic correspondence consume large amounts of time for many ministers, while counseling, visitation, family time, prayer and personal devotions suffer in too many cases.


I would love to hear your thoughts. What would your PHs graph look like?

© CLUTCH, 2010 unless otherwise sourced.
Use allowed by express written permission only.
Tweets, trackbacks, and link sharing encouraged.


traditions and rituals...

>> January 21, 2010

Like any other category of the population, we pastor families have a rich variety in tradition and customs. Each of us does things differently.

In our family, I always tell the children's story when my husband preaches. That way I can match the teaching time for the kids to the theme of his sermon. Other than that, I don't do anything or accept any jobs in a new church for at least the first 6 months - so I can have time to get settled at home and get to know people at church before taking responsibilities of any kind.

And when we move to a new district, we usually try to host an come-and-go open house as soon as we get moved in. That way we can get acquainted with people in a comfortable, casual environment and let them know where we live and that our home is a place of welcome.

Everyone has a different way of doing things - and we can all benefit from hearing how things are done in other PW homes.

Do you have a tradition for when you move to a new church? How about a family night tradition that your children love?
Do you have a ritual that you do the night before church? Or in the afternoon after church?

What do you do as a pastor family that makes you unique?


new places, new faces...

>> January 20, 2010

I got this bouquet last weekend.

It was the first weekend at our new church. The congregation was warm, friendly, and the church seemed to thrum with vibrancy. It felt like it was nearly bursting at the seams.

I've never been welcomed in a new district like that before. In one previous district on our first weekend, no one seemed to know or care that we were the new pastors. Granted, it was a large church and we weren't the only pastoral family. But still... after my husband's first sermon we waited for lunch plans. A welcome potluck? No. An invitation home? Huh uh.

Not last weekend - in this district it was like meeting a new family. Of course, there were little things. Like the woman who came up and commented that "your baby was really fussy during church!"

(And I swallowed back the retort that would have sounded something like: "Lady, my kid is 11 weeks old. He sat quietly on his daddy's lap during a 15-minute children's story, and fussed for LITERALLY NINETY SECONDS at the beginning of the sermon before conking out for a nap. I got up at 5:30 this morning so I could make it to church on time with my hair fixed and in a church dress. Yesterday I cooked all afternoon so I could bring a dish to my own welcome potluck. And right now my whole body is screaming 'cause I'm carrying a diaper bag in one hand and a 14-pound baby in the other, wearing a girdle and standing in 4-inch heels because I want to make a good impression on our first weekend here. You are NOT seriously going to stand here and try to tell me that my baby was too fussy!")

But if I'd blurted all that I might as well have just come in my pajamas, 'cause it would have obliterated any good impression I was trying to make.

And honestly, in this new place - where my husband is the senior pastor and I'm the only pastor's wife - I really did want to make a good impression. I want them to like me. I long to make new girlfriends. I very much DO NOT want to tick anyone off on the first day!

I don't think most people have any idea just how much the pastor's wife wants to be liked. Or how desperately we hope to find friends. Or how we cringe when other women our age look intimidated just by walking past us.

So that's my latest first-weekend-in-a-new-church story. How about you?

How do you feel the first time your husband preaches in a new church? Do you do anything special to get off on the right foot?



most embarassing PW moments...

>> January 18, 2010

I'll get the ball rolling and you run with it.

Two weekends ago, I was sitting in the children's class in our new church. It's the little kids' class, where babies and toddlers try their best to pay attention, and where there are almost as many parents as there are munchkins.

The lady beside me seemed very quiet. She had a beautiful little girl that kept leaving her little kid seat and coming to the mommy seats along the back for reassurance. Then she'd go back to the front rows for a little while before checking in again with mommy.

Huge round chocolate brown eyes. A little ponytail with kinky dark brown curls around her face. Rosy pink chubby cheeks and perfect rosebud lips. She was the kind of little girl you want to stare at - she was so pretty.

I half-noticed that she was also wearing tan corduroy pants and a little striped button-down sweater. But I didn't think much of it. Not very feminine attire for a little girl at church, when most of the other little girls were wearing fluffy dresses, but I'm not one to judge.

When the class was over, I said hello to the little girl's mom, made small talk, and waxed eloquent about how beautiful her daughter was. "Such a sweet and pretty little girl!"

"Ummm, I do have a daughter," the woman said. "But she's in the older class. This is my son."

Hence the tan corduroy pants and striped button-down sweater instead of a fluffy dress.
Got it.

You go, girl. Way to win friends and influence people on your first weekend as the new pastor's wife!

That's my most recent embarrassing PW moment. You got one?


what can we do?

>> January 15, 2010

Like many of you, I've followed the news about Haiti this week. I've gasped at photos of the devastation.

This morning, my PH came to breakfast shaking his head in sadness about the 50,000 deaths there.

And my mental wheels started spinning.

I bet there are pastoral families in Haiti that are deeply suffering right now. If they're like many of us, they are probably doing their best to take care of the people in their churches, in their neighborhoods, in their communities.

But who is taking care of them?

What could we, as a network of PWs, do to help? I've got some Haitian friends who have connections back home. I'm going to call them today and see how they think we could meet some needs.

CLUTCH hasn't ever done anything like this before. But isn't that what CLUTCH is all about? Networking together to help each other as PWs? So why not take it beyond ourselves? Let's help some PWs where it really hurts.

I'd like to see us find several pastoral families and adopt them. I'm calling around my network of acquaintances in the NGO field - some of them are already on the ground in Haiti - to see how we can best make a difference.

I don't know how we'll make it happen. I'm not sure what the best thing is to do yet. But I want to hear your ideas. Do any of you know pastor's wives in Haiti? Let me know if you do - either leave a comment, or email directly to clutchtalk (at) blogspot (dot) com.

Who's with me?

© CLUTCH, 2010 unless otherwise sourced.
Use allowed by express written permission only.
Tweets, trackbacks, and link sharing encouraged.


new year = new look

>> January 14, 2010




With the new year, new subjects, and new guest bloggers to be revealed - it was time for CLUTCH to get a facelift.

We hope the new look does a little better job of illustrating the three nuances of CLUTCH: clinging (grasping and holding on tightly), with class (you know, like those hot little clutch purses we like to carry around), us chicks (like a clutch of eggs in the same nest).

As always, we welcome your feedback and comments. We want CLUTCH to be your go-to place for interaction, inspiration and ideas - so please let us know how we can make that happen.

the CLUTCH chicks

© CLUTCH, 2010 unless otherwise sourced.
Use allowed by express written permission only.
Tweets, trackbacks, and link sharing encouraged.



>> January 13, 2010

Click any columnist to read their posts.

CLUTCH is currently welcoming new PW column writers. We especially need columnists to write about:
  • how to's
  • funny stories
  • devotional/inspiration
  • young PW profiles
  • a word from the wise (interviews with older PWs for advice & mentorship)
Got a topic you'd like to see in a column?
Got a topic you'd like to be a columnist for?

Email: clutchtalk (at) gmail (dot) com!


on the subject of spam...

Some of you may have noticed that we've been getting a lot of spam comments on CLUTCH lately.

We don't like spam any more than the next gal, so we've had to make a few changes in comment settings to try and make it go away.

We've added a captcha (that's the little set of letters you have to type in to prove you're a live human being) to the comment fields. For now, we're leaving the ability to post Anonymous comments, because we know that sometimes you want to share something personal without the whole world knowing it was you. And some of you don't have Google or Blogger accounts with which to sign in.

If the captcha filters out the spam, then we're good to go. Please don't let it discourage you from making great comments and leaving your thoughts with us!


motherhood and all that...

>> January 12, 2010

I'm baaaaaaack...!

After a (seemingly endless) hiatus from blogging here on CLUTCH, I'm back on the wagon, girls. Tristan is almost 3 months old now, and I feel like I'm getting my breath back. It's been a whirlwind though. About 4 weeks after he was born, we received a call to pastor a new district on the opposite side of the Atlanta area. So I spent weeks 5-9 of "recovery" packing house, hunting for a new home, and moving in.

Just in case any of you are considering it, I don't particularly recommend moving your household with a 7 week old baby... But you know how it goes - when God calls, we pastoral families jump and run!

I've definitely missed you all! So I'm giving Delina a break to work on some upcoming surprises for CLUTCH, and looking forward to reconnecting with all of you.

And because I'm a proud mommy, here's the little goober (at 6 weeks old) that's kept me busy since I dropped off the blogosphere.


a new and improved PW

>> January 1, 2010

Happy New Year Ladies,

The decade has closed. A new one is only hours old. You've probably been thinking about new year's resolutions and goals for your family, spirituality, finances, health....but have you thought about how you'd like to improve in your role as pastor's wife? What old thoughts and attitudes are worth leaving in 2009? What new and exciting Kingdom-building things are on the horizon for you?

Whether you believe it or not, God made you to partner with your husband in ministry. He made you and has equipped you for this moment. How will you walk in that truth in 2010?

C'mon, tell me. I wanna know. Do your resolutions/goals/plans (whatever you want to call them) include improvements in your PW role? How?

I'll put my PW-related resolution in the comments.

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