I can’t spend a great amount of time posting tonight.

But it’s been an interesting weekend and one common thought I’ve heard over and over is “Things are not what they seem.” This has been in relation to everything from people to pictures.

As PWs, we know that. We know that many of the people in our churches face difficult circumstances that others know nothing about. I’ve been reminded that we need to be patient with others because we don’t always know what’s below the surface.

I’m not posting from my own computer and I don’t have a Bible handy, but I do know that there are many verses in the Bible that encourage us to be patient with one another.

Let’s remember that this week.


Sometimes it’s difficult to know what to buy as a wedding gift – especially if you have a lot of weddings at your church. You may choose not to buy anything (since pastors often give the gift of many hours of time to counseling, etc.) 

My dad sometimes had two or three weddings in one weekend. My mom taught the senior girls in Sunday school and would buy a gift for those girls who had been through her class because she was especially close to them – but buying for every couple was out of the question.

I knew another pastor who made a wooden shelf for each of the couples he married … and other pastors do something similar.

Being that we lived close to Frankenmuth, Michigan and the well-known Bronners Christmas Store – I am very familiar with the many ornaments they sell.  You can order them on line (they are shipped to your house quickly and safely and with a tract which explains the real meaning of Christmas).

So, we purchased wedding ornaments for many of the couples Ken married. (Our own kids both received one on their wedding day from their first-grade teacher whom we had stayed in contact with.

Do any of you have a good gift suggestion?


Sometime PWs get in strange situations – and sometimes PKs do, too.

When I was a teenager, a young couple we knew planned a huge wedding. Both families were from the church and everyone was invited and looking forward to the huge summer party.

Then something happened – a legal matter came up (nothing bad or underhanded, trust me) and the couple knew it would be in their best interests to be legally married several months before the actually scheduled wedding. But they didn’t want their parents to know because they didn’t want to spoil it for everyone. They planned on the BIG wedding being the one that counted.

So they talked to my dad and he agreed to help them by marrying them at the earlier date – trouble was – he needed two witnesses to sign the marriage license. Mom and I were enlisted.

Being a high school junior and of course, knowing the couple – I considered this privilege to be one of super coolness.

Of course, I was threatened not to breathe a word … and I didn’t. (And at this point, it doesn’t really matter.)

So they got married in our living room and just as dad pronounced them husband and wife, my brother flushed the toilet. Talk about timing.

They wrote me a sweet thank-you note, thanking me for being part of their wedding – a note I kept for many years.

So, weddings do sometimes come with unusual experiences attached.

Next week, I’ll tell you about another unusual wedding happening.


So, exactly what do you say to the bride and groom at a wedding?

Well, my mom always told me that you say “congratulations” to the groom and “best wishes” to the bride.

She said that was proper etiquette.

Funny. I talked to one person about posting this etiquette rule and that lady said, “Hmmm … I never heard that.”

I mentioned it to another lady and she said, “Everyone knows THAT!” 

To back up my mom’s advice, I checked it out on a manners site (actually a manner’s site hosted by a thirty-something man who looks like his day job is being linebacker for a football team or at the least, a security guard.)

Anyhow, the thirty-something man does indeed, agree with me mom. As did all the other etiquette sites I checked. (Supposedly this piece of etiquette dates back to congratulating the groom because the bride accepted his proposal. As in – he got the prize. Maybe that’s outdated, but the rule lingers on.)

So I’ll pass it along to you.

Congratulations to the groom.

Best wishes to the bride (although you can say Best Wishes to the groom, too – but never, ever congratulations to the bride.)

Oh, the things you learn on this site 🙂


Weddings between two young people whom you know well can be a lot of fun – but many weddings involve a lot of strangers – including sometimes the bride’s parents who have a say in what is happening.

Weddings involve a lot of etiquette – or at least perceived etiquette – and as a pastor’s wife, you’ll probably get invited to a lot of ceremonies and may find yourself in some awkward situations. (Some weddings just lend themselves to those kinds of moments.)

Weddings usually start with rehearsals. And although you (the pastor’s wife) may not need to be at the rehearsal itself, most of the time you and your husband will be invited to the rehearsal dinner. Sometimes you’ll receive a formal invitation to the dinner. Other times, you’ll just be asked to “come over to the house” after the rehearsal.  Again, if this is a church family, the rehearsal dinner can be a lot of fun, but even with church families, you may find yourself setting in the midst of out-of-town relatives. General conversation is good and works well.

I remember one time Ken was officiating at a wedding of a young couple who were attending the church. The parents had no idea of or interest in Christianity. The rehearsal dinner was in the backyard of the bride’s parents home and consisted mostly of beer-drinking and loud laughter. No one had any interest in talking to us, so we quickly ate and left because we could tell that everyone felt awkward with the “preacher” around.  (Not that we were exactly in our comfort zone.)

Usually, rehearsal dinners are better than that and it can be enjoyable getting to know out-of-town relatives.

Remember, it is usually the groom’s family who pays for the rehearsal dinner, so thank them for the invitation. 

Thursday – an unusual wedding I actually witnessed.


Saturday I attended a breakfast where I heard a devotional about Naomi.

The speaker made an interesting point. When Naomi arrived back at Bethlehem she told people to no longer call her Naomi (pleasant), but rather to call her Mara (bitterness).

Naomi says the reason for the name change is because when she left she was full, but now that she’s back, she’s empty.

 20 “Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. 21 I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The LORD has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.”

But think about it – Naomi had to leave Bethlehem because of a famine. True, she was together with her husband and her sons, but her sons were obviously struggling with health problems (you can tell by their names). The family traveled many miles to a country where they were immigrants and therefore, it would naturally take some time (if ever) for them to feel welcomed. Her home, her friends, her extended family were all back in Bethlehem. Yet, she looked at those circumstances and said they were good.

Now, she is home again. She is once again with her friends and extended family. And although, her husband and her sons have died, she has a daughter-in-law who loves her and is willing to do what’s necessary to support her mother-in-law. Yet, Naomi cannot find the good in the situation, but rather calls herself empty.

As the speaker told us, Naomi was going through a tough situation and wasn’t thinking straight and saying things that didn’t truly describe the situation.

Sometimes things go wrong in ministry – people say things they shouldn’t say or do things (or don’t do) things they shouldn’t (or should) do. Sometimes it’s easy to react by saying and doing things we shouldn’t be saying or doing. We see things that are good as bad and things that are bad as good. Sometimes people in ministry make quick decisions to leave their position or to lash out in anger at someone who has hurt them (ruining their testimony in the process).

We need to think about Naomi and how her perspective got twisted in the emotional turmoil of the situation. We need to step back and take the time to pray about the situation and look and react to it rationally.

I thought it was a good point.

And it also inspired me to be a good daughter-in-law and call my in-laws.


I asked two munchkins to help me with this — this is one of the ways my mom kept me occupied in church when I was a toddler (she used a cloth handkerchief). So, if you’re sitting next to a wiggly kid – whether your own or someone else’s. Or, you’re making a pastoral visit and your toddler’s getting restless – pull out the handkerchief.


First, you fold your material into a triangle —

Then you roll both ends toward the middle.

Then you pull the longer end, under the rolls and out the other end (OK, I’m not a technical writer for sure!). So the two ends end up opposite each other.

Now, hold both ends and rock the sleeping babies in their cradle.

I’m guessing some of you are saying, “I remember Mom doing that for me!”  Right?


   1. The next time a server does an excellent job at a restaurant or a clerk is extra friendly – talk to his/her manager and tell the manager what a great job the server/clerk did. 

2. Let someone go ahead of you in line – whether it’s the grocery store, bank or wherever. You have a little extra time and the other person is attempting to control three crying kids and steer her shopping cart – let her in.

3. Offer to do someone’s regular job for a week. Does the church secretary come over to the church on Friday afternoons to get the bulletin folded and stuffed? Has that young mom consistently done the nursery laundry for years? Give someone the gift of doing their job her one week. Let the other person choose the week.

4. Is there an older person in your church who is having a special birthday or a couple celebrating an anniversary? Why not send out an e-mail notice to send congratulations to the person – and surprise them with a card shower?

5. Pick a bouquet of flowers, tie them with a ribbon and take them to someone who could use a little cheer.


Since we’re working on inner beauty this week (which I know you all already have), I have another idea.

For “what to say Wednesday,” call a friend who you haven’t talked to for several months and have fun chatting.

Sometimes we need to back off from our churches and enjoy a conversation that isn’t about who’s teaching children’s church, the spring luncheon or when you can visit the Jones’ family.

So, go ahead and punch in that number.


 I planned on writing about something else this week, but after posting about inner beauty yesterday. I found a great article about helping others have a good day.  I had cut it out a couple years ago and put it in a file.  I found it last night and thought it went well with the post. 

I thought we could make this inner beauty week and do some of the things suggested – though I changed them to fit church ministry (well, some aren’t actually church things, but still …)

A. Give a compliment to someone you don’t know all that well. Maybe a new family has been coming and you haven’t gotten to know them. What better way to greet them than to compliment the lady on her sweater or on how well her child listened in Children’s Church. Of course, if you don’t mean it, don’t say it. A compliment doesn’t solve everything. But instead of just “thinking” a compliment, give it!

B. Let a car in. You’re in a hurry. You’re late for whatever it is you’re late for and a car is trying to get on the highway from a driveway or parking lot. Stop. Smile. Let the person in. (Actually people in the Chicago area are good at doing this. You can always find people to let you in. We need to return the favor.)

C. Give a gift of a service. If an elderly person at church is having difficulty keeping up with yardwork or needs someone to help wash windows – pay a couple reliable teens to do the job. Not only will you be helping the elderly person, but the teens will probably appreciate the extra money.

D. Buy someone breakfast. Next time you’re in the fast food line, give the clerk a couple extra dollars to pay for the person behind you. (I’ve also heard of people doing this at tollbooths.)

E. Write a note of appreciation. Who at church that never gets thanked? The person who washes the nursery linens? The person who makes sure there’s a supply of sugar/salt/pepper/plates/cups in the kitchen? The person who mows the lawn? Write a thank-you note telling the person how much you appreciate what he/she does.

Let’s see how many of these we can accomplish. I’ll do more suggestions later in the week. Do you have any others?