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About Eric’s Wife

Some may say I am a "Stay at home Mom," but that is not even close. I am Eric's Wife. I have exhilarating strokes of genius, followed almost immediately by paralyzing pangs of self doubt and, for whatever reason, here is where I blog about it - warts and all. I serve a merciful God with a clumsy hand and at the end of each day I go to sleep thankful to be His servant and Eric's wife.

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Let’s Talk About Middle Names

May 28, 2020

Something I sometimes forget and then remember with a smile is that my middle name is Michelle. It’s not that I completely forget it, it is just that I have used my maiden name as my middle name on my license and other documents for 20 years now and so it just rarely shows up written out as “Amy Michelle”.

My siblings in Christ recently had a daughter and they gave her the middle name Michelle. She has been named after family and certainly not after me, but hearing it got me to thinking of my journey to owning Michelle as part of my name. And so, I dedicate this post to sweet little <baby girl> Michelle- let me introduce you to our middle name.

When I was in a middle school Bible class at church, the teacher talked about some story or another from the Bible and made a point about the person’s name and the meaning of the name. He made a side note about his own name, its meaning, and how he felt God named us all on purpose.

Naturally, I made it my goal to find out my name meaning like I had just gotten a lead on God approved horoscope reading.

Now, this was 1991, or so. This meant that my search had to wait until I could create a family trip to the mall, where I could get a family trip to B.Dalton’s book store, and then find a baby name book, and then, AND THEN, my destiny. It was just a waiting game.

The day finally rolled around. I made it to the B. Dalton’s, just as I had hoped. The book was remarkably easy to find. I turned easily through the A’s, got to Amy.

Ahem. “Amy: Dearly loved. Beloved.” Huh. Well, that’s nice. It’s good to be loved. What about Michelle?

A-B-C-D-E…H-I-J-K…da da da, M. Let’s see, Mary, Margaret, Melissa, ah. Here it is. “Michelle: Who is like God.” Woah. My name means “Beloved who is like God.” Clearly, what this means for my future is that people will love me because I am like God. I should try to be nicer.

This is what happens when mildly heretical 7th graders are let loose in a B. Dalton’s bookstore with a sloppy grasp on theology, languages, and God’s place in all of it.

In the years after that day I would learn that the actual interpretation is “Who is like God?”. That made no sense to me. Why would you name someone a question instead of a name that could somehow define them, like Sunny or Fancy? I guessed people just like the name Michelle and the meaning was irrelevant.

I have an invading army of white hairs on my head now. I have worn this name for a very long time. I see now that my journey with this name well mirrors my journey of faith.

In my youth, my goal was to be as much like Jesus as possible. I wanted to care like him, love like him, serve like him. I remember days of feeling like I had done a pretty decent job, and other days when I felt like I failed. Without meaning to, I kept a scale in mind, where my good and bad were weighed against each other and I hoped that I weighed more heavily towards Christlike than not.

After decades of trying, here is what I know: I can try all day long, but I will never, and I mean never, sacrifice like Jesus did. Because of his grace and mercy, I’ll never have to.

Who is like God? Nobody.

I hope my life answers the question of my middle name. There is no person or thing like our God. No joy, no sacrifice, no heartache, no win, no loss- nothing , nobody like our God.

Beloved, who is like God?

Good Morning. Welcome to the New Normal.

May 26, 2020

I think I am going to start calling every day “The New Normal” like it is some sort of a shocking new thing. In my personal life and in the life of my community, it seems as though there are constant adjustments being made for a new normal in small and big ways in a constant cycle.

My favorite coffee cup shattered and took with it my go to spot for morning comfort. It was difficult, but after two mornings, I adjusted to the new normal.

After nearly 8 years of remission from a progressive state of MS, I suddenly found myself unable to walk unassisted again. My old cane fit so well in my hand that it comforted me with its normalcy. It felt normal. Okay, even.

Just as I was getting used to it, I recovered and was told to expect to stay better. Well. Alright then. This. This is normal, yes?

I attended church two times after I was released from hospital in February. That was nice. It felt good to be back with my church family. It felt so very normal. And then,

March 2020 happened.

It seemed like every week brought a new normal with the shut down. Do wear masks. Don’t wear masks. Many people will die. Only some might die. Cats can carry it. Cats cannot carry it. Don’t go outside. Do go outside. Cook at home. Support local restaurants.

My “new normal” attitude adjustment tank has run dry. I should have known there was no such thing as “normal” and I’m feeling a little silly for thinking it existed ever.

There is nothing normal about this life. There are things that I get accustomed to and then shocked when things change, but, isn’t it actually change itself that is normal? Isn’t that the reality of normal that we have always lived in? Things change. They always do.

Every day is the new normal and I will never get back to yesterday’s normal. It has always been that way, but I only just this year realized it.

Advice: How to Donate Clothing

May 25, 2020

What a “Duh” article to write, huh? How hard can it be? You bag it up, put it in your car, deliver. Easy, right?

Not so fast, Linda.

Donating clothing is complicated and I think anyone who has ever tried to do it has found it to be a lot more steps than just three. Let’s talk about the real chore of clothing donation, just rip it wide open.

First, you have to really want to clean out your closet. This is a difficult first step and it usually involves 50 micro steps of pants that are snug and thrown to the closet floor, seasons that change, and fashion trends that die. It is not a step that happens all at once.

The actual process of cleaning out the closet are varied. If you are a member of Netflix’s Kondo cult, you will take everything out and have a soothing conversation with each item, recalling good times, bad times, and weighing your mutual commitment to each other; then you give a rose to each item you choose to keep and the rest are burned in a memorial service. I’ve never actually watched Marie Kondo, but that’s the gist of it.

My personal method is a little less dramatic. I like to take everything out of the closet and then I take each item and decide whether or not it fits and whether or not I like it still. If it fits and I still like it, it goes back into the closet. If it does not fit and/or I do not like it, it goes into a bag for donating. Easy. You can repeat this process with all members of your household. It is easiest to do this without the help of the household member whose closet you are cleaning. Just get to it. You’re doing them a favor. Husbands are especially appreciative of your not including them. I know my husband never notices how carefully I have curated what he is allowed to wear. Oh, marriage…

Moving on. Now that you have bagged everything up, you need to start wondering about where to take it all. This will take about a month of thought, so put the bags in an unseen corner of your living room. After a week, it will start to be like another piece of furniture and you’ll forget it’s there. This is good, because you need this time to really think about where to donate these precious items. Didn’t you hear about that one place from that one friend? What was it? Think, think…

Okay. It’s been a month. That’s it. You are going to do it. Good for you, Linda. Now, take the bag and put it in the trunk of your car. What’s that? Oh, Linda. It’s the bag you meant to donate before, but forgot. That’s okay. In fact, it’s brilliant. You are now extra prepared to make your clothing donation.

This next step is key: forget completely about what is in the trunk of your car. I mean, erase every memory you ever had of even owning a trunk to your car. It’s gone. This is about a six month step.

The final step is a careful mix of magic, stars aligning, and right place/right time kind of kismet. Prepare your senses for it and the day will come when you are in that car and a sign for donations will appear at the same time. The fog of your self induced amnesia will lift and you will seamlessly pull your car into the driveway of the donation site, pop your trunk, throw your thumb out the window to a volunteer, and this volunteer will take those bags out of your car and give you a friendly wave.

So, you see? Donating clothing is not quick and easy. It is no small thing that you have done when you donate a bag of clothing and your friend, Eric’s Wife, knows it. Your community thanks you, and I applaud you.

This concludes my advice for donating clothing. I feel certain it is among the most helpful advice I’ve ever offered. I don’t know where I get this stuff. It just comes to me.