Pistol Packin' Presbytera

Presbytera, in the Greek culture, is the wife of the Father, or parish priest.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

On Being a Chaplain's Wife

Sometimes being a Chaplain's wife, I am bursting with pride as my dear husband receives an award from the local community organization. He volunteers many, many hours and it was quite nice to see him get some recognition. He would do it without recognition (and actually prefers that) but I was happy to clap so loudly that my hands hurt.

Sometimes being a Chaplain's wife means getting all dolled up and going out with my honey to a fancy-schmancy dinner. This picture is from several years ago. We recently attend the 50th anniversary dinner for Blue Coats, a Cleveland (Cuyahoga County) organization devoted to the well-being of families of Cuyahoga County safety forces who have lost their lives in the line of duty. He often quips that he stands by the side of the road with a sign which says "
Will pray for food" He prayed the dinner prayer and we enjoyed a wonderful meal. It was noted that we had not had a line-of-duty death with the Cleveland Safety Forces since Patrolman Wayne Leon was killed in 2000.

Sometimes being a Chaplain's wife means riding with my husband on the way home from church on a Sunday morning and taking a detour. The detour was to the local hospital where he ministered to a another family who lost a loved one. Sometimes it means being driven home by a stranger because your husband is praying and can't take you home right now.

Sometimes being a Chaplain's wife means that I sit in the evenings and knit while he rides with members of the Safety Forces. I watch as he dons his bullet-resistant vest, gathers the other items he needs and heads out. I sometimes think how it would be to be the wife of someone who does this day after day. He asked me when he started going on ride alongs how much information I wanted to know about what he does out on the streets. I said "Anything you do as long as it doesn't involve you being in danger. I would rather not hear about that."

Sometimes being a Chaplain's wife means carrying a book in the car just in case he gets called and needs to be there right away. One time we were on our way to a birthday party and had to have friends take me home. I need to be like a boy scout -- always prepared.

But always I do these things willingly because this is my vocation. This is how I can serve God, my husband and others at this point in my life.

Sometimes being a Chaplain's wife means waking up at 12:25 in the morning and seeing my husband put on his clerical at the same time he is talking on the phone. That's what happened this morning. "What happened?" I ask. "It's bad" he replies. "An officer has been killed." He leaves and I pray for him and the officers he will speak with. In fact, I fall asleep praying (could you not wait with me for one hour?). I am awakened at 6:15 by my dear husband who has remembered that I needed him to watch our grandchildren who were here for an overnight. He assures me that he will be home by 7:15 a.m. so I can go exercise. How did he remember? I guess that's love and his vocation.

Sometimes being a Chaplain's wife is listening quietly while he explains what happened. Sometimes it means shedding tears.

Here is the prayer that he prayed with the police officers who went on duty this morning, knowing that one of their own will not be at the next roll call and perhaps.....it could happen to them.


Heavenly Father as I begin my duty again to keep the peace and defend Your people from evil, I pray that You would watch over me and guide me. Keep me safe, I pray, from all harm and danger and grant me the wisdom to make worthy decisions. Watch over my fellow officers and all citizens, especially the weak and the helpless, and bless the vocation which You have given me. Help me to conduct myself as rendering service unto You. By Your protection grant that I may conquer in any kind of danger. Give me the courage to defend myself and others from evil. Bestow upon me, through Your Holy Spirit, the capacity to avoid the temptations of the evil one, and grant the same unto all men. Give me peace of mind in the knowledge that Your Son has paid the price for my sins and freed me from the bonds of death by His death and resurrection on my behalf. Into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul and all things. Amen.

Psalm 144:1-2 Praise be to the LORD my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle. He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me.


O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God Most High, I know Your greatness and my weakness, Your majesty and my unworthiness. O Lord, I am helpless and need Your protection. In Your mercy abide with me. Do not test me beyond my strength in this fearful hour of danger. Protect my home and my dear ones, especially those who are weak and helpless. Give me faith to cast all my anxieties and cares on You, who stills the storms and guides the souls of men through every danger. Amen.

Mark 4:35-41 35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, "Let us go across to the other side." 36 And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?" 39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, "Peace! Be still!" And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, "Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?" 41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, "Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey him?"

Monday, August 28, 2006

Wunnerful Weekend

This past Friday, after exercising (good girl, good girl), my husband and I went out to play at Cedar Point. We joined our Evil Genius Friend Barb and family for homeschool day. It was a wunnerful, wunnerful time. I am not a fan of bumpy, fast, adrenaline-rushing rides but I've been known to enjoy a carousel or two : ) Dean, of course, was on every speed ride and had a great time going fast, high and freefalling. I cannot for the life of me understand how someone could enjoy rollercoasters but it must be so.....there are actual lines of people waiting for the experience.

On Saturday, we decided a visit to Shooter's restaurant which is located on the Cuyahoga River in downtown Cleveland was in order! We got our chores done for the day and headed for the Flats. We were seated right by an opening where we could watch the river and yet be protected from the LOUD band which was playing. Next time, we will bring earplugs. Our lunch was wunnerful, wunnerful and this was the view from the patio.

This bridge remains in a raised postion to allow boats of all sizes to enter and exit the Cuyahoga River flowing into Lake Erie. When we arrived the bridge looked like this. After our meal, we strolled along the deck and our attention was caught by the loud horn announcing the lowering of the bridge. Boats and skidoos quickly completed their journey under the bridge.

We waited several minutes and eventually the train came across the bridge. I waited patiently for the plane to join the trains and boats but to no avail.

Sunday was a terrific morning of catechesis and receiving the gifts of Grace at Christ Lutheran Church. We also had a luncheon honoring the Ladies Aid which for many, many years was of service to the church. The aging of the ladies plus their reduction in number forced them to disband their organization. It was interesting to hear of their "glory days" and imagine a group of 75 women working together at dinners.

We then were treated to a wunnerful, wunnerful meal at my friend Ruth's house -- Kansas City style brisket. We gathered with friends from her congregation and also her pastor Jack Kozak . We had such great conversation and food -- a perfect ending to a perfectly wunnerful weekend!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Memories of My Mom and Dad

I am very practical. I give practical gifts. I look for ways to use things so that they are just not put away never to be used. I have placemats and napkins which I use everyday -- not just for when company comes. I burn my smelly candles just for us at home. Here is my dilemma. These cute little guys were my mom's knicknacks. They serve no practical purpose. They aren't purple or cats (both of which I have a collection). I hate to let them go because they tug at my heartstrings with memories. What should I do with them? I am above all practical. Maybe bring them out on October 26th, my mom's birthday and on August 2nd, my dad's birthday?

My Mom and Dad had a salt and pepper shaker collection, hundreds of them which they displayed on shelves in a bookcase in the dining room. When my mother died, they got packed up and my brother stored them for 25 years. About 15 years ago I divided them among the grandchildren (of my Mom and Dad) and put them in boxes. Some would be very valuable on EBay right now. That's why I haven't given them out just yet. I figure I'll wait until the grandkids are old enough to appreciate something from their grandparents. These bears are a set that I kept for myself. The little one is pepper and the big bear is salt. Being practical, I will use them as salt and pepper shakers but what to do about the other ones.....

Monday, August 21, 2006

First Birthdays

Recently I had the privilege of attending 2 First birthdays in one weekend. What a treat!! To be able to share in the joy of the parents in reaching this milestone is something I am so happy to do. It's also a lot of fun to see the wee ones squishing, smashing and eating their cakes. Maime did a fair job of attacking her cake....once she got a taste of it. Of course, she demolished it daintily.

Joshua had no such daintiness in mind on his first birthday. He has potential as a demolition expert, I think!

Here is a picture of my youngest son Nick on his first birthday. Notice how he is reaching for the candle? For many. many years he wanted to be a firefighter. Maybe this experience imprinted the excitement of being near flames for him.

This is my oldest son Theo on his first birthday. Do you notice something missing in the pictures of my 2 boys? If you guessed the mess, you are right. I was a lazy mother and had no desire to clean up a mess so for Theo's I sprinkled the top with powder sugar and let him eat plain cake. He is now in therapy for being deprived of a frosting frenzy on his first birthday. Also notice that I loosened up for Nick's birthday 6 years later; there is frosting but I didn't allow him to touch it.

No cake in this photo -- just a cute picture of my dear husband on his first birthday. He and I have celebrated many birthdays together...but not this one : ) Although we lived within walking distance of each other, we did not meet until after his 19th birthday had been celebrated.

Friday, August 04, 2006

A Walk Around the Block

This summer, we have talked about going to downtown Cleveland and eating lunch outside...soak up some sun, sniff the unique smell of the city and enjoy some time together amid many people. Today was the day! It was not too hot, too rainy, too cloudy and I was not traveling.

We purchased our lunch at the Mideast Bakery -- a lamb/beef gyro and a chicken gyro without the pita bread. We then started our walk around the block. We began at the corner of Lakeside and Ontario.
We looked up and saw City Hall where our entire family gathered in March to see our son Nick graduate from EMS academy for the City of Cleveland. We then traveled along Lakeside to a mall where they were playing some reggae music (Meet me at the Mall free summer concerts). We looked out over Lake Erie and saw an Amtrak station, the Browns stadium, boats on the lake and the track where my dh and friend Jim used to jog.

Our next part of the walk around the block was heading south through another mall. It was here in the 60's that dh and I use to come with guitar, bible and our voices and witness to people passing by. As we neared St Clair, we looked across the street and saw another mall where many years ago we attended a peace rally (which ended up not being so peaceful). A right turn brought us to the Vulcan building where I worked for Ohio Bell. It was there in the lobby that we got engaged.

We then turned right once more and as we completed our walk around the block, we reminisced about places we used to go to on our lunch hour when we both worked downtown.

A perfect lunch on a perfect day with my perfectly wonderful husband.