Category: a day in the crazy life

Ready to run

I resumed my ‘running’ as exercise this morning.

As a previous and somewhat infamous FB status of mine described, my version of running is something like: Run until I nearly puke, walk.

I choose running because it is logistically convenient. I want to lose weight efficiently and still eat the things I like. I don’t have a lot of time to work out, so I need to fit it in before Rod leaves for work in the morning.

I hate running.

When I started this last summer, it really helped me clear my head and I was starting to tone up/slim down. But alas. We left for National Quartet Convention and that was the end of it. My feet didn’t recover for a month, and by then, it was too cold for me.

So here I am again.

This morning’s effort was dismal. Though I went a mile, I walked for 80% of it due to a wardrobe malfunction. (Stupid Walmart low-riding jogging shorts. Why do jogging shorts have to be low-rise waist? Why can’t they just be cute & comfy?). Also, I tried out my new iPod arm holster and kind of hated it. It either felt tight like a blood pressure cuff or too loose to stay secure. Grr.

I was, however, happy with the shuffle-mix that my iPod produced. Along with Kenny Loggins’ ‘Footloose’ and Bing Crosby’s ‘Don’t Fence Me In,’ I had a who’s who of unhappy female country singers: Martina McBride’s ‘When God Fearin’ Women Get the Blues,’ Sara Evans’ ‘I Keep Lookin’, ‘ Miranda Lambert’s ‘Kerosene,’ and Dixie Chicks ‘Goodbye Earl.’ I so miss the Dixie Chicks. And that Martina song? One of the most underated songs EVER. I mean, she nailed the whole Easter-cantata-culture of the Pentescostal church. ‘We’re sorry you’re hurting, but can you still _____ for us?’ Fantastic song, smokin’ video.

I guess I will try again tomorrow, especially since I ate the hummus tonight. (It wasn’t the hummus that was bad; it was the half box of Artisan Colby Wheat Thins…)

Yesterday’s meetings

It was Moms & More day… always chaotic, rushed, exhilarating, and wonderful.

Yesterday, it was also poignant, because I met Cheryl, who lost her daughter last month in a horrible accident that sort of changed my life (in the spiritual sense).

It was so touching for me to meet her. She was still standing. I don’t know what I expected. I guess in light of the depth of my own grief for her and several others who have experienced this loss lately, I expect a shadow of a human, a empty shell. But she wasn’t. She was dressed normally. Her hair was done. She smiled. She talked about scrapbooking. She ate & drank.  She joked & laughed. And she cried.

I have heard from her friends about her incredible faith and strength. I am grateful to have had the chance to see it for myself, to hug her, to share a snippet in a life so marked. I hope I gave her a little something. I wish I could give her more.

It was a really stressful week. Exhausting. The convention is taking up every extra minute, but the rest of life goes on, and I am always running behind and always feeling guilty about what I don’t give or accomplish. So I am trying to make things simple whereever I can. Yesterday, after Moms & More, I got the girls a Happy Meal for lunch and didn’t fret when they only ate the fries. I entertained some sunny-afternoon visitors, one planned/two random. The planned one refilled my salsa bowl and let me sit on the couch for 50 minutes (thank you, Jen!). The random ones were just nice to see.

After naptime, the Burton babes went outside to ‘ride bikes.’ Yay for spring, just when we were about to lose our minds! Then we headed with Daddy to the casa de Paris, where we BBQ’d meat, ate yummy treats, and just played and talked and spilled and planned our trip to WDW the whole night.

When we came home, we carried the tired ones to bed, then my husband wet-jetted the kitchen while I cleaned out the diaper bag. THEN, we slept for 8.5 hours.

I got no work done whatsoever.

Yesterday rocked.

Job Titles

Adventures in the Life of a Southern Gospel Wife ~ This was originally published in February 2009 on It’s laughable a bit how much my job title and Rod’s have evolved since then! Picture: January 6, 2009, with 3 of my favorite colleagues.

When I was but a pre-adolescent, my dad, who had been a meat-cutter (not a butcher: a meat-cutter) for 20 years, ended a particularly long layoff period by taking a part-time, minimum-wage, no-benefits maintenance job at a hospital.

I will digress for just a moment here to point out – in this time of so much talk about “the economic crisis” – how much I admire my dad for completely and unabashedly stepping outside his comfort zone and doing what he needed to do to take care of his young family. His work ethic moved him swiftly into a better, full-time position, and he retired from that hospital just last year.

Anyway, we joked and chided a lot about the title my dad was given at the hospital. He was cleaning everything from floors to toilets; he was a janitor, perhaps a custodian. But his name badge referred to him as an Environmental Service Technician. It barely fit on the badge, and though it might have been technically accurate, to my dad it seemed a bit silly.

I’ve had some amusement over my own job titles as an adult. My first real job – managing accounts and general office stuff at a tire business – didn’t really have a title at all. I usually changed it depending on what I was doing and to whom I was speaking on any particular day. My next two jobs were in telecommunications, in which the titles are usually so obnoxious people sum up their roles up by saying, “I work with computers,” and mine ranged from “Service Order Provisioning Team Leader” to “Technical Service Support Supervisor.” You can’t tell by either what I actually had to do, and looking back, perhaps that was the point. (Rod still works in this business and his last job title took two lines on his business card! We don’t know what he does either…)

I went through a brief stint with an equally brief and clear title: teacher. And then, I had my first baby and thankfully, was able to resign my position to stay home with her (and the baby sister that would follow her 15 months later). This was an answer to many prayers and an all-around wonderful life change. However, when it came time to fill out the first form that required my job title, I was stuck. Yes, it’s a pride thing, it’s a feminist thing, it’s a Kelly thing, but it was very difficult for me to simply write “stay-at-home mom” or even worse, “housewife.” What would people think of me? (The tendency to ask that question is another column entirely…)

I remember an episode of Wheel of Fortune back in the mid-‘80s that featured a contestant who referred to herself as a “Domestic Engineer,” a term I was then hearing for the first time. I also remember my mom, who was able to stay home with us until I entered junior high, rolling her eyes at the title.
Today it’s a pretty mainstream term, and from my two years of experience, pretty accurate. I estimate that on a random day, I do/“engineer” more before 9 a.m. than even the Marines do. (There are no Marines reading this, right?). But I am fortunate (I think… maybe I am unfortunate), in that I don’t need to beef up my primary job title – another has been added on top of it thanks to the probable reason you are reading this: southern gospel.

It was around the time I became a mommy that I also became a southern gospel wife. Miranda was just three months old when we took her to Nashville for the first time (incidentally, it was my first time, too) and only a month older when she visited her first recording studio (also a first for me). Rod recorded his first solo CD and his first project in many years while I was learning to be a stay-at-home mom, and suddenly, as we began visiting church after church, I was something else I never predicted being: a minister’s wife.

See, I joke about the SG wife thing, and believe me, there is a lot of humor in it. But being a minister’s wife is no laughing matter. I realize it’s different from being a pastor’s wife per se – those dear ladies have one of the most thankless jobs in the world and I am not sure I could do it if I tried! However, being married to someone in ministry means I have to set higher standards for myself (no more Italian swear words or pants on Sunday mornings), means that I am taken from my comfort zone in ways I don’t anticipate (two words: bathroomless church), and means that I need to be prepared to minister myself when the time comes.

Oh, thank you Jesus for that last one. He knows better than even I do how I have fallen short and been rescued over and over again by His sweet grace. And yet, He knew when He made me that I’d have something to give to that woman in Michigan who lost her son, that woman at NQC who is trying to get pregnant, that woman in Ohio who just needed to hold a baby. What a promise it is that He not only loves us but uses us as we are! And just as amazing, He sends people my way to help me in that task, people who are also so beautifully unexpected. Just recently I adopted a singer from a “charting group,” one who I’ve met so briefly in person she probably doesn’t even remember it, to be my prayer and accountability partner for a particular situation (more on that next time…) Again, I have to sit down and shake my head sometimes at where I am: that people with their pictures in magazines are praying for me, and that my husband, whom I still have to remind to change the toilet paper roll, gets on national radio and much more importantly, gets on stages and wins hearts to the Kingdom. The surreality of it will wear off some, I suppose, but the depth of it will not, and if it means I have to wear pantyhose at that Alabama church when it’s 90 degrees or occasionally let strangers kiss my babies’ hands (yes, my fellow-suburban-organic-antibacterial-mommies, it happens), then so be it. It’s not just a job title: it’s a calling, right?