Last weekend I spoke at a conference at Grace Community Church in Newton, Kansas (outside Wichita). After the conference was over, we went out to eat with some of the staff members and they mentioned a unique potluck dinner they had had. No one was specifically assigned what to bring except whatever it was had to start with the first letter of their first name.

So, Kris brings key lime pie and Dave brings Delicious Doritos, Sue brings salad and Bob brings barbeque.

Sounds like a fun thing to try.



A constant in a pastor’s life are hospital visits. I know Ken had been to the hospital so many times, he could even tell you all about the doctors – which ones were good and which ones weren’t so good. 

If a person was having an operation, Ken would try to get to the hospital before he/she went into the operating room. He would pray with the patient and often wait with the family, especially if the operation were serious or the family member didn’t have anyone to wait with him.

So what do you say at a hospital visit?

1. Learn the rules of the hospital. Many allow “clergy” in at all times, but not “clergy” wives. However, if it’s a friend or someone you’re close to (and you know your visit would be welcomed by the patient), you might be able to walk in with your husband without being questioned.

2. Make your visit brief (yes, there might be exceptions, but that’s the rule.)

3. (As Kristy commented) If the patient is on a special diet, don’t talk about the steak you’re having after you leave.

4. Don’t tell the patient about your Great Uncle Fred who had the same disease the patient had and died! Or Cousin Ethel who had the same operation and the doctor left the scalpel INSIDE of her. Just be quiet with your horror stories.

5. Don’t pass on information about some alternative cure you’ve heard about – the patient is under the doctor’s care and doesn’t need your advice. (Unless you personally know five people who were instantly cured using it.)

6. Take a notepad and pen (or help your husband get in the habit of taking one), so if the patient is sleeping or out of the room for tests – you can leave a note saying you were there and sorry you missed him.

7. Share a verse and pray.

8. If appropriate, say “hello” to the person in the other bed. They may not have many visitors and your friendliness can mean a lot.

9. Don’t make comments about the hospital food – even if it’s being left to wilt on the tray. (The doctor may be encouraging the patient to eat – don’t discourage her.)

10. Don’t announce at church what is wrong with the patient (unless the patient asks you to). There are some extremely strict rules now about breaking confidences.

Seriously, do not write down a person’s diagnosis on a prayer sheet. The laws are called HIPAA(Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and protect a patient’s privacy. (Check out the link, but don’t worry about reading the whole thing – just know you can’t talk.)


One more post (for now) for those times you’re with someone who is facing a tough time.

Sometimes you get in a situation when you visit a family after they’ve received news of a death or a relative’s been diagnosed with a serious illness. 

You’re sitting on the sofa, wondering what to say.

I have found that asking questions helps. Many times the family wants to talk about what happened, so questions help them stay focused on the facts and not break down emotionally. (Although, allow the person to cry if that happens.)

Questions can be things such as:

*How long was he in the hospital?

*What hospital?

*Where will the funeral be?

*Will your family all be able to come?


*When did you start attending our church?

*How did you meet? (If a married couple.)

*Where did he/she work? What was his job?

*Is there anything I can do for you? Can I notify anyone at church or any of your friends? 


Remember, we’re to weep with those who weep. So, sincerely care and you’ll do OK, no matter what you say.


Maybe this hasn’t been the greatest week for you. Maybe a family has left the church (deciding to go to the mega-church down the street), or four people told you they’ve changed their minds about working in children’s ministry this fall or a young girl in youth group has been diagnosed with leukemia. Whatever it is, you’re not feeling particulaly peaceful right now.

Here’s a great verse:Isaiah 26:3 – You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.

I like that verse – but a thought went through my mind. What is perfect peace? Can you really have imperfect peace? I mean would you really have peace if peace isn’t perfect?

I got out the Hebrew interlinear Bible and looked up the word peace. My discovery was surprising. The word translated “perfect” is the exact same Hebrew word as the one translated “peace.”  The verse literally says ” You will keep him in peace peace him whose mind is steadfast …”

Now I was curious, what did “steadfast” mean?” The Hebrew concept in that verse is “propped up.” 

Remember back when people actually hung their clothes on a line in the backyard? Moms would put a “prop” pole in the middle of the line to hold it up. Steel beams built into the foundations of buildings prop up the floors above. I physically prop up my head by leaning my chin on my hand.

Think about it. So often when we’re discouraged or sad or overwhelmed, we put our head down. But God is there and we can lean on Him. He is literally propping up our minds. He is spiritually propping up our heads. It’s almost as if God is saying, “Chin up.”

So, if you’re feeling the day-after-Sunday, Monday-morning-blues, remember that God promises to prop up your mind and give you peace.

Rest in Him.


Here’s something that will happen to every pastor’s wife at one time or another and probably a whole billion amount of times. Someone will ask you a question about someone else and YOU WILL KNOW THE ANSWER, but the information is confidential.

For instance, Church Lady Ida comes up to you after church and asks, “Is Young Church Lady Megan pregnant?”

OK, you KNOW that YCLM IS pregnant because she TOLD you she was, but she also told you to keep it a secret. (Pastor’s wives get to know lots of secrets.)

If you say, “I don’t know,” you aren’t telling the truth.

If you say, “no,” you also aren’t telling the truth.

If you say “I can’t tell you,” you’re admitting that she is because if she wasn’t, you’d just say “no” or “I don’t know.”

Once again, questions can be your friend. Put your innocent pastor’s wife face on and say, “Why are you asking? Did you hear that she was?”  Hopefully Church Lady Ida will go off on why she thinks YCLM IS pregnant and you haven’t said a word.

Or if Church Lady Ida asks you if Mr. Davis lost his job (and you know that he did), ask “Oh, did you hear that from someone?” 

Of if Church Lady Ida asks you if the Jones are moving (and you know that they are) ask, “Why do you think that?”

In other words, you are taking the focus off your answer and asking them to answer YOUR question.

So, HAVE any of you been asked those kinds of questions?



Today's guest blogger is my daughter-in-law (who is 
also a pastor's wife) Cindy.  She's right - this is the appliance 
every pastor's wife must have - a crepe maker. 
Over the years I've made crepes with a staid women's group, high school kids and any time
we had company who
didn't know each other well. (Oh, and sometimes just to have fun!) Making crepes 
always, always gets people talking and laughing.  
Thanks to Cindy and the Northern Munchkin Cooking Show Crew.


Due to having a pastor's wife for a mother-in-law, I got a lot of good ideas for fun entertaining.  One of my favorites is having people over to make crepes. 
(And for a bonus, Linda bought me a crepe maker and cookbook for Christmas!)
Whether you invite a few people or 30 people, making crepes is an informal way
to have a gathering at your house.  Each person makes his or her own crepe, and
you can even ask everyone to bring a favorite dessert topping, creating quite a
variety of choices.  

Here's how to make a basic dessert crepe:

2 large eggs
1 cup milk
1/3 cup water
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbs sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbs butter, melted, plus 2 to 3 tsps for coating the pan

Toppings:  chocolate or strawberry sauce, candy (like M&M's, whoppers, peanut
butter cups, Andes candies, etc), fruit (strawberries, blueberries, bananas,
etc), maple syrup, jams, honey, nuts, whipped creme. . . .

Mix the ingrediants together, whisking until smooth.  Cover and refrigerate for 
at least 2 hours.  When you are ready to cook the crepes, thoroughly stir the
batter again.  Heat the crepe maker, butter the top, and then dip the crepe
maker into the batter. Set it back down on the counter, and wait about 1 minute,
or until the edges are turning brown.  With a spatula, slide the crepe onto a

 Now comes the fun part.  Fill the crepe with ice cream and roll it up. (My kids
didn't take the time to roll the crepe--they just wanted to eat it.) Top the
crepe off with whatever kind of toppings you like.  

Even though only one person can make a crepe at a time, eveybody else is
talking, playing games, or watching the crepe making.  It's fun, easy on the
hostess, and everybody gets to make a great dessert.



Ken often went to funeral homes with grieving families. Sometimes because the people didn’t know anything about arranging a funeral. Sometimes simply because they wanted someone with them. 

I NEVER had to go with him when he went to the funeral home with a family, but knowing some things may come in handy for you.  (You could find yourself in a situation where a lady loses her husband and has no other relatives. Your husband may want you to come along if he’s helping her.)

Anyhow – FYI

1. All deaths must go through a funeral home whether the person is cremated, the service is at the home or at your church or if, (like Ken) you have a memorial service. 

2. Sometimes people (in their grief) spend more money than they can afford on expensive caskets and other “trimmings.” Some funeral directors will help the person chose the right one. Unfortunately, others “play” on people’s sorrow and encourage overspending. You probably can’t do much about this, but be aware, in case the person does look to you for guidance.

3. Death certificates are provided by the funeral home. I can’t remember – I think I got five free and then had to pay for the rest. The family will need a lot more than they think they do. (I think my cellphone company ended up with a whole file of them before they finally were convinced Ken no longer needed a cellphone.)

4. Here’s something many people don’t know. Obituaries are classified ads. That means that you pay for them – every line just like you would for any classified ad. (Many people think they’re news articles and free.) Obituaries often end up costing several hundred dollars.

5. Because obituaries are classified ads, you can say anything you want. You do not have to follow the template supplied by the funeral home. 

6. If the person isn’t old enough for social security, she won’t get social security. (Again, some people think that just because a spouse died, you receive social security. Not true.) However, you do need to contact the social security office because you will get a $225 death benefit. (That might not be the exact amount, but it’s close.) This will be enough to pay for the obituaries!!!

7. Encourage the person to call the mortgage company or the car loan company and ask what she needs to do. They’ll be glad to explain the process – and that’s a lot easier than showing up at the bank without the necessary paperwork, having to go home again and come back.

So – just some thoughts …

And – tomorrow – a little lighter as we do another Munchkin Cooking Show for FUN FRIDAY


You’re at the funeral – and you’re standing in line to greet the family – and dreading it because WHAT DO YOU SAY?

Once upon a time someone told me that a wise thing to do is relate a good memory about the person. This not only gives you something to say and eliminates the awkward what-do-I-say moment, but is meaningful to the family member.

“I’ll always remember your husband for working at the soup kitchen.”

“Remember that time your mother decorated for the spring banquet? EVERYTHING was yellow – even the food.”

“Did you know your dad sent me an encouraging note that night I messed up on my piano solo? That meant so much to me.”

I have done this many times and the family members always seem to appreciate it.

But sometimes you don’t know the person who died well enough to relate a memory. Sometimes I will just squeeze someone’s hand or give them a hug.  Or simply say, “I am praying for you and your family.”

When Ken died, a lot of people said to me, “Linda, I don’t know what to say.”  I didn’t mind that at all. That was a lot better than ignoring me (as some people did).

Sometimes I responded, “I don’t know what to say either,” because I often didn’t.

I remember a friend telling me that her mother had died and no one in her church said anything to her – not even the pastor – and that hurt.  So say something.

Let me just say that some people who talked to me at Ken’s memorial service kind of stammered over their words or what they said came out wrong. I didn’t mind. I understand that it’s hard. I’ve been on the other side of those kind of conversations often enough. So, don’t feel bad that you might have said something slightly goofy – just say something.

The worse thing I ever heard anyone say at a funeral?

An elderly looked at a young girl in an open casket and said to the mom, “Oh, she looks so healthy.”


Sometimes our focus is on the person who is sick and we forget about the caregiver. Often the caregiver is as housebound as the one who is sick and is also in the agonizing position of taking care of someone he or she loves. (And not sleeping as much as the patient.) Emotions get frazzeled as he or she desires to be the best caregiver possible.

How about a card for the caregiver or a bouquet of flowers or, if the patient can be by him or herself, a quick breakfast or lunch out.

Even a phone call to the caregiver can help.

When Ken got sick – everything in our life stopped! No longer did we go out to dinner or participate in many of our normal activities. He often would go to bed early (7:00) and didn’t want noise – so our house was dark and quiet. Because I was already emotionally edgy and dealing with the coming death of my husband, the dark and quiet house added to my despair.

Yes, I knew that the Lord is sovereign and in control and I was resting in that.  Sometimes all I wanted was to chat with someone for a little while. Yet, when people did call, they would quickly hang up saying, “I’m so sorry to bother you. I know you have so much to do.” Sometimes I wanted to scream, “STAY ON THE LINE.”

Probably the lowest moment was the night Ken wanted a foam-rubber mattress. I wanted to do what I could for him, to make him comfortable – so I rushed to Linen and Things. The night was misty and there wasn’t any music or background noise at the store. In fact, not too many people were there – and the combination of the empty store, the fogginess, the darkness and the quiet combined to make everything seem eerie.

I got home. I put the mattress on the bed and Ken immediately laid down and went to sleep. (The time was about 6:30.) The house was quiet and still and outside the fog floated against the window, isolating us. I let the dog out and instantly heard a strange bark. 

I opened the door – the silly dog had been sprayed by a skunk.Then I dumped a bunch of every kind of soap and cleanser I could find on him.  I sat on the floor and cried. I went upstairs and turned on the computer. A friend had just e-mailed me and when I e-mailed her back – she was still there. As were her husband and some other people I knew. Back and forth we e-mailed each other. Not about anything important – but that human contact was a lifesaver that night. Exactly what I needed.

So, don’t be afraid to give a call to the caregiver. Ask if it’s a good time to talk. Bring her up on the news she might’ve missed because she’s spending more time at home. Let her know you’re praying for her.

Let her know you care.