Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Explaining How An Introverted Extrovert Works...

I'm having a total me-fest this week. I know that I'm not going to be blogging once we move and the fact that I am in a major state of limbo since we're not quit packing as we don't exactly know what home we're moving to... well, I have some time on my hands that I haven't had in quite some time. And the time has of course has given me a chance to think about life and myself a lot more than I usually do. I normally am totally fried mid-week as I've worked 3 days in a row as a waitress (an extrovert's job!) and all I want to do is catch up on cleaning the house and laundry. This week has been different. I'm not behind on anything. It's weird to have spare time. I mean, really. Weird. I almost don't know what to do with it.

I'm on my second baby blanket and it feels so nice to not have to cram handmade gifts in to my schedule to the point where they actually make me resentful my friends ever decided to get pregnant. I am actually enjoying the process of quilting again.

And my kids are cracking me up too. I took Birdie, my little potty-trainer to swim today and she announced mid-lesson she had to go to the bathroom, so I took her... and then upon returning to the pool she announced loudly, "I peed in the POTT-IE everyone!" When the entire pool didn't applaud and throw candy at her she looked at me like, "What's up with this crowd, Mom?" I mean, my kids are funny as heck... and honestly, sometimes I am just too tired to notice their hilarity. But not this week!

Recently I got to talking with the ol' husband about hanging out with this person and that person before we leave... and as I was making excuses for mainly only wanting to hang out with myself... I came up with the term: The Introverted Extrovert. I tried explaining it to him and he wasn't impressed. Well too bad! It's an awesome term! Has someone else already coined it? Say it isn't so. I haven't even googled it yet but I'm pretty sure I am a genius with the discovery that such a person exists... Because I AM THAT PERSON. And so here, I will go in to detail on what exactly an Introverted Extrovert is... because, I know... you care.

Everyone who knows me knows I'm an extrovert. It takes all of 5 seconds to figure this out. Okay 2 seconds. I am kind of loud, excited and blunt... all rolled in to one. I love telling stories, like- a lot. If Shawn tries to cut me off or change a detail I pretty much flip out- I hate story hi-jackers. I love parties (duh)... I love to dance and have no problem getting a dance floor started. I love people...unless I hate them, and then well I hate them... But I mostly love people. I will totally talk to the person in the grocery store line... I am that girl. Anyway, trust me- all signs point to EXTROVERT.

Except... except for that one little thing about preferring to hang out at home... by myself. You see, while I may love people and being social- and my amazing story-telling ways... I also LOVE my me-time. I am in love with it. I would marry it if I didn't think it would be unfaithful. I love to sew, I love to craft, I love to plug in the hot glue gun and see where it takes me... I love reading magazines and the occasional book... and I love blogging! All of these things are SOLO work people! Please don't ask if you can come over and "hang" while I blog... Noooo, that's weird! Confession: if I had the choice between going out for a GNO or crafting alone (the thought of a crafting party sounds like hell on earth by the way) I would most likely prefer staying home and make something... for someone else... as a gift...

And then giving it to them at a party- because I love parties! But I hate games. No charades, no Cranium, no other normal extrovert-y type games.

I mean... this can't be normal right?! According to the life of an extrovert: I am refueled by people! And I am, kind of... like when I want to be? So here I am once again... an anomaly to all... including myself, my introverted extrovert self...

I guess I'll go hole up in my Craft Cave... no wonder I gave it that name... Introverts love caves, don't they?
xo Party or Die xo


Monday, November 18, 2013

The Burnt-Out Pastor's Wife.

Last week was a kind of a crazy week for me. In summary I left my waitress job at the restaurant and we also announced that my husband got a new job and that we're moving, news we've been waiting to share. With some of my new-found free time I've had a chance to think... which always leads to a blog. Usually a vulnerable one.

I'm not proud of the blog's title. I already know the words "burnt-out" and "pastor" should never be in the same sentence.

I learned a lot of things quickly upon talking on the roll of "pastor's wife". I am not saying my church forced these learnings upon me... I am saying that somewhere along the way to becoming the wife of a pastor I learned that there were expectations.

+ One of them is to always be happy.
+ Lots of smiling and nodding will help you win over the masses.
+ If you don't cook- try taking cooking lessons, so that you can cook great meals for those in the church who need them. Real Woman Cook.
+ Try and lead a bible study at least once a year and preferably invite other pastor wives to join you- showing a united front.
+ You MUST volunteer in Children's Ministry, because you're a woman and every woman has the gift of volunteering with children.
+ Also, try to never stir-the-pot. Instead, be positive, always, even if you don't agree... just pretend you do. If you cannot always be positive then try to at least be positive 99.9% of the time.

These are just a few of the ways in which I failed the church upon taking on my prized title of Youth Pastor's Wife (YPW). I failed all together 6 months in to being a YPW (okay maybe one month). But by 6 months it was obvious. I publicly said our worship needed updating... in a forum about whether or not our worship needed updating. It did. I stand behind that statement, still- 5 years later. I was taken aside and quickly told that pastor's wives have a lot to think about before speaking publicly, like our husband's reputations and essentially that I should probably go back to smiling and nodding. Which is crazy because I have never been a smiler or a nodder.

I knew early on it wasn't going to be an easy role for me to fill but like the President this job is based on approval ratings and so I forged ahead trying to remain positive- the golden rule- in order to have high ratings for my husband and our soon-to-be family.

I reminded myself that I had the whole innocent-baby-growing-inside-my-belly thing going for me and that soon enough that baby would be my connector to all those I'd offended. My baby wouldn't have offensive opinions or a worship style. He would just want to cuddle and rock out to universal well-loved lullabies...preferably ones about God. And who can resist a Pastor Baby cuddle... I mean you're practically cuddling with an angel! I convinced myself my baby would help me better fill my role as YPW. Moms always fit in better in church, known fact. Ask any mom-aged church goer who's not a mom.

And the whole mom thing did work. For a time it did. My red-headed cherub Pastor Baby won over the hearts of many and made my lack of knowledge on the best way to marinate a chicken almost invisible. (Almost.)

Here we are 5 years later and we're leaving this first real-job for my husband. When we made this decision part of me wanted for Shawn to have a complete change of heart and make a career change, not just a church-change. In my heart I know that his calling is to lead youth in to a relationship with Christ, but in my mind I was/am sick of being a pastor's wife. I just want to be a normal God-fearing woman who's married to an insurance agent or a teacher and can go to church and be on committees and have an opinion without affecting reputations and being fearful I'm not fitting the mold. Or that my kid (my grown-up Pastor Baby) is now saying, "poop head" and should know better. PK's should never ever say the word poop.

This 5 years has been full of exciting moments, life-changing moments, happy tears, sad tears, anger and bitterness... It's been full of feeling excited and feeling depleted. I have lost sight of Jesus in the process many times because I have let my annoyance at humans (Christians) become more important than Jesus himself. I have gone from leading a ministry to completely stepping away from everything except Sunday service as a way to guard myself from my hardened heart... that ever growing hardened heart. The heart that remembers every complaint, every criticism... every disapproving note mailed to our personal mailbox. Where I collect bills and wedding invitations and do not want to read about how much you hated my husband's church directory picture. Guess what, I choose it.

While we're leaving our church, I know our church is still a sweet place of worship where many people seek God's will. I have some of the best friends I've ever made in my life from our church. Families who have treated me like family and my kids like their own grandkids. And I am grateful to our church for every lesson learned whether through happy tears or sad tears. I know that every church has issues... because every church is made up of people, imperfect people. And I know that sometimes church gets ugly... just like sometimes family gets ugly, because the church is a family.

We're headed to a new church, 1 hour south, where my husband will take on another Youth Pastor position. We will be moved down to Santa Barbara in less than a month, leaving behind everything our kids have known- from preschool to friendships to Sunday school. While there's excitement and hope, there's also the very real fact that things will not always be perfect there. I will probably still say something that will offend someone and I might still come to resent my role as the imperfect YPW. I know at some point Shawn will tell me something I do not want to hear and I will again wish that he'd become an insurance agent. (Preferably for Progressive, I just love Flo.)

Until that point I will pack the house and stay positive... because I am still a YPW and that is still the golden rule, now isn't it?

This Youth Pastor's Wife,

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Party Planning: Profit vs. Sanity... What's More Important?

Well let's get the obvious out of the way... You've missed me.

I've missed my blog and my readers and the comments that make my day and that's the real truth. It's been a crazy month for me to try and run a blog. First off, my laptop got a bunch of virus'. Wow those are a annoying! After taking it in to be fixed 4 times and paying enough money that I could have gotten a nice tablet it's finally back to normal. If my laptop wasn't less than a year old I've have said screw it... So here's to really hoping we're virus free!

If there were ever a time to not have a computer- I'd say Halloween would be a great month for that. In case you didn't know it previously... I'm kind of a Halloweener. I love the holiday and like every year- I spent a lot of time getting every detail of our Famous Duos costumes just right.

Aside from literally not having a computer to blog with- our family has also set some really big changes in to place this last month and it's not only taken up time- but it's hard to blog about life when you're unsure of how it will all play out and you don't want to be vague... like I am being right now... I mean vagueness makes for terrible blogging- can't you tell? {Oh- and no, I'm not pregnant. Are you nuts?} I will hopefully be making an exciting non-vague announcement very soon... but it wouldn't be very nice of me to do it on the blog when a lot of close friends and family don't know yet- now would it? Intriguing... and a reason to come back....

Which brings me to the title of this blog... (not really) Profit vs. Sanity. What's More Important?

As I mentioned in my last personal post on running a business, I have kind of figured out the formula to making a profit- thanks to the book But Are You Making Any Money? by Marley Majcher. I would still say I have a lot of work to do in this department but making a decent amount of money on my parties was the goal I set out to accomplish in 2013 and in September I can finally say I did just that on two parties in a row.

Now, no sooner than I accomplished said goal I started to really think a lot about this big and important word: profit. Questions started arising like, what really makes the profit worth it? Is it the actual money? Because I made great money at one point in my life and it didn't matter because it didn't feed my soul. So no, it can't be for the money. I feel like I have a dual personality because in one post I wrote recently all I wanted to do was plan parties... as long as I was profiting! And now after a good run with parties... quite honestly- I just need a break. But back to that question- what makes the profit really worth it? Initially I'd have said being hired to do a party brings me creative fulfillment, setting out to do something I love and succeeding not only my exceptions but my clients as well. For sure- that is a wonderful feeling. But my question the last month has been... AT WHAT EXPENSE DOES THIS PROFIT COME? And I'm not talking expense meaning money. Remember the title of the post... I'm talking sanity. Straight up: what is loosing my mind worth and CAN I place a price tag on that?

No one other than a party planner is really truly going to understand what I'm about to say. Ok, I'll throw a bone to the graphic designer and the bakers out there as well. These occupations might understand me when I say this: Right now I am un-hirable. Uh-huh, you read that right- money currently cannot buy me (slight exaggeration). OK, the price that I currently charge for my work cannot buy me. That's right- I do not want to plan your party this November, December or January. {Side note- I do have one party this month but it was booked ages ago and I've had a lot of time to put in to it as to avoid tons of last minute stress.}

The reason I know I am un-hirable is because I've tested my theory. In the last two weeks I have had two potential clients contact me about parties. And seriously, up until now this has been my dream- to have people trying to employ me. Both were willing to pay my going rate- no nickel and diming me... another dream come true. I will go so far as to say if I wanted to tack a rush fee for booking within the same month- I am sure either client would have been fine with that- I mean who doesn't understand a good rush fee?

So what is my problem??

In really thinking about these parties and whether or not I should take them on, the thought of a few things flooded in to my brain (I've gone more in-depth on these a long time ago here!) Things the client would never think about (things they quite honestly shouldn't have to)- but these things are the reasons WHY I said no.

- The House of Chaos.
I am not one of those lucky planners with a detached office in my backyard. I have one of the most unorganized and small party rooms known to party-planning woman. Over flow in to the house is inevitable. Tension within the house due to overflow from the party room is inevitable. It stresses me out, it stresses the kids out and yes- of course when the husband is digging for clean underwear- that stresses him out.

On top of the cleanliness issue is the food issue. I mean, milk- these people want me to remember to buy milk?? WTH.

- 30 Days of Bad Hair Days.
Another month of me looking less than presentable- it wares on a woman's self esteem to see herself makeup free with frizzed out hair because that hour spent getting ready every morning is now replaced with pinning fun backdrop ideas and making follow-up caterer calls. Up until the party that is- when you magically transform in to a swan-like party planner in a theme-appropriate dress you found while surfing the internet for wooden spoons.

- Do I Have Any Friends?
I mean I know they were there pre-party... but where have they gone post party? They're referring to me as Miss Party Mom... this can't be good.

- The Party Brain.
You know how when you're pregnant you have those weird forgetful "mommy brain" moments for 9 months? Well I have "party brain" for the course of planning a party. I can only concentrate on the party and keeping my children alive. Everything else I leave to the gods.

So here it is- until we're settled in on our big life change and I'm ready to be back to my normal workaholic ways- please, do not call me for a party UNLESS you can offer up the following Life Package on top of my Party Package price.

- A full-time maid who also is an amazing cook (preferably Mexican food).
I really like her happiness level, especially considering she'll be scrubbing my floors.
- A full-time nanny who will sit and work on lettering with my son while I watch, smile and clap from my kitchen counter, hot gluing rosettes to paper straws... And don't forget about my daughter- you will need to run in and out to push her on the swings in between the letters C and D.

- A book keeper who can keep me on track with my expenses so I can do what I really love- design your party and not hover over a calculator confused by simple math for hours on end.

- A holiday coordinator who will start my Christmas shopping and keep me on track for the impending holidays.

Christmas List from The Frog Prince Paperie

I say all of this with a bit of facetiousness (who, me?) because what I'm getting at is currently I can not find a price tag to replace all of the things that my day to day life is requiring of me right now. I still love planning parties and it is still my dream job but every day I'm getting to know my limits and I'm reminding myself that my 2 and 4 year old will soon be 5 and 7 year olds who are in school- and then- THEN I will have time to do party after party after party...

So I've set aside weekly blogging. I'm breaking from parties. I might as well home school. HA. ha. ha.

And because I don't ever want to discourage anyone in my industry from booking parties... I have one idea that maybe other party planners are already doing- I'm not sure so I'm throwing it out there: A HOLIDAY FEE. Like the rush fee, the only way I could see doing a party from now until January is by placing a nice sized fee for taking a party during this crazy season. Trust me when I say after last year's December 15th party- a holiday fee is VERY appropriate. I let a mid-December birthday party completely steal my Christmas joy... Lesson learned: Never. Again. Think about it- what is your holiday season worth?

xo Party or Die xo

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