A Peek into the Pastor’s Life: Interview by Rachael Colby

Christian blogger Rachael Colby writes to minister and encourage others in the Lord. I met her on Twitter and she is a pleasure to know!

Starting this past October, Rachael began a blog series interviewing a variety of pastors and wives to get an inside peek into ministry life. It’s been encouraging to read about what God is doing in congregations across the world and to find out how God has moved in the lives of his followers impressing upon them the call to serve Him in a pastoral role.

There is the powerful story of Pastor Catala who went from Dope Dealer to Hope Dealer. Read to find out the miraculous way God saved him and his wife and what their ministry is like today.

There is a group chat with a number of pastor’s wives answering questions about pastor’s wife life. I especially loved the answers to “what was the funniest situation that ever happened to you as a pastor’s wife?”

There is also A Preacher’s Kid Speaks about what it is like to be or raise a pastor’s kid.

This week Rachael interviewed my husband, Tim Schmoyer, and I. Rachael asked about how God called Tim into ministry, what it was like for us to go right from our honeymoon to our first church, and what gave me the idea to write about the hard parts of Scripture. She also asked about the hard parts of being a pastor and a pastor’s wife and whether or not Tim ever feels like quitting.

Read the answers to all these questions and more at Tattoo It on Your Heart.

Are you a pastor or a pastor’s wife? Or a pastor’s kid? What would you like people to know about ministry life? What are its ups and downs? How has it affected you? Comment below. I’d love to know!

A Poppy in Remembrance: A World War I Veteran and a Book Review

Every Memorial Day when I was young, my mother and I would attend a service at the local cemetery. The Boy Scouts were there to raise the flag. Local veterans were there in uniform. And a woman was there selling small, red poppies for us to pin to our shirts in memory of those who lost their lives while fighting for our country, a tradition that began during World War I.

Among the familiar faces at the event was an older man, older than my grandparents, who was always perched in a front row seat in his lawn chair. He dressed in a suit and tie with a collection of ribbons pinned to his lapel. On his head, he wore a tan colored pith helmet fashioned with a chin strap.

He was a World War I veteran.

Arlie Oppenheim

My mother recalls the day Arlie Oppenheim was given a turn to share his experiences with war. While other veterans in their speeches gave a rousing call to support the military, this man had a different message.

“War is hell!” he said.

And he is right.

I recently read A Poppy in Remembrance by Michelle Ule. This historical fiction book is set in World War I and spans the length of the war. A young journalist named Claire is ready to make her way in the world as a woman newspaper writer. She is anxious to break free from beneath her father’s shadow and she is struggling with questions of faith.

Claire is an American who along with her father and mother is sent by a Boston newspaper to Europe and Egypt to cover the war for the American people. Along the way, Claire falls in love…she thinks.

Michelle Ule did a fantastic job conveying the horrors of World War I without being graphic. There are no details in the book that will keep you up at night, but it will impress upon you that World War I was an awful war where many men lost their lives for all sorts of reasons.

a poppy in remembrance

In A Poppy in Remembrance, Claire also meets Oswald Chambers, the author of My Utmost for His Highest, who during World War I was a Bible teacher and a chaplain who was popular with many young adults. He spent time answering their questions and challenging them to figure out what they believe about God. He patiently does the same for Claire.

I so admire Michelle Ule as an author. Last year her biography, Mrs. Oswald Chambers, was published. I enjoyed that book immensely so I was delighted that for her next book she chose to imagine what it would have been like to be one of those young people who meets Oswald Chambers and his family. Michelle is so clever to have found a way to imagine within the time and space of history that she researched for her last book.

I would highly recommend that you read both books. It might be helpful to read Mrs. Oswald Chambers first, so you have a good picture of the Chambers family in your head while you read A Poppy in Remembrance. Or if fiction is more of a draw for you, A Poppy in Remembrance could be read first. I’m sure the book will pique your curiosity about the Chambers family and you will want to read the biography, too.

If you want to find out more about A Poppy in Remembrance or Oswald Chambers, I highly recommend you check out Michelle Ule’s blog. Here are some posts to explore:

Themes from My Utmost for His Highest in Poppy

The World War I Charge of the Light Brigade

What’s the Significance of Poppies and World War I?

You can even hear the author read the first chapter aloud!

The First Chapter of A Poppy in Remembrance


Here is some additional information about Arlie Oppenheim:


Affiliate Disclosure: Some of the above links are part of the Amazon Affiliate Program. If you purchase after clicking the link, I will receive a very small fee. All opinions in this blog post are my own honest opinions and are not influenced by participation in this program. 

What I Read in June

vintage yellow hardback book cover of I Chose a Parson

I Chose a Parson

by Phyllis Stark

This 1956 vintage book I picked up merely for its cover. It wasn’t until I really flipped through it that I found out it was a pastor’s wife autobiography. Awesome! Being a pastor’s wife, I love reading books by other pastor’s wives. I Chose a Parson was by an Episcopal pastor’s wife and it was so funny! I was literally laughing out loud during it although she is so verbose that it takes some work to get to the punchline. There was almost nothing spiritual in the book until the very end when she talks about the importance of praying together daily as a husband and wife. The habit forces you to settle arguments since how can you pray with someone that you are mad at?

the great gatsby

The Great Gatsby

by F. Scott Fitzgerald

I listened to this book last year now I listened to it again. Why am I so intrigued by The Great Gatsby? My goal for the summer is to find a used copy with an inspiring cover and then next year I will read it slowly and find out why I’m captivated. I am still wondering whether Gatsby is a good guy or a bad guy. Maybe that is the point.


Marching Orders for the End Battle

by Corrie Ten Boom

This was my pursebook this month. There were a lot of great insights and quotes to use while I write my devotional book on Revelation. Corrie Ten Boom felt it keenly that we were living in the end times. Between living through the two World Wars and the rise of Communism, who could blame her?

I found a great tip in Marching Orders for the End Battle for when you come across a hard part of Scripture in the Bible. She says you can hang it on a hook. You can read more about that here.

I feel bad about my neck

I Feel Bad About My Neck & Other Thoughts About Being a Woman

by Nora Ephron

You probably know Nora Ephron’s movies When Harry Met Sally, You’ve Got Mail, and Sleepless in Seattle. Earlier this year I read (listened to) her novel Heartburn which is autobiographical and very bitter about marriage which prevented me from loving the book. I Feel Bad About My Neck was hilarious without the bitterness. It’s a short story collection which is something I’ve been reading more of lately. I especially identified with the Three Stages of Parenting short story. I say “short story” loosely. They are more like autobiographical essays.

The Outsiders

The Outsiders

by S. E. Hinton

I loved this book as a teen. I read The Outsiders and S.E. Hinton’s other books over and over again. I decided to revisit it since there is a teen at church reading it now. Unfortunately, I did not love it this time. It was very YA with the theme of figuring out where you belong. Plus, it was kind of dated. The dated-ness of it did not stand out to me as a teen though. Written in 1967, the library copy I read was from 1995. (Do you dig it?) I’m still glad I read it. It was nostalgic to remember how much I loved the book back then.

Lou Hoover

Lou Henry Hoover: Essays on a Busy Life

edited by Dale C. Mayer

I’m reading through one biography of each First Lady of the United States. With Lou Hoover, I hit the Great Depression for the first time. That’s one of the great things about reading through American history with people’s stories. You hear the same time period over and over from different perspectives. I read about the Civil War 17 times from Julia Tyler whose husband, former president John Tyler, fought for the Confederacy but did not live to see the end of the war to Edith Roosevelt who, as a preschooler, watched Lincoln’s funeral train from the window of her New York home.

This was the first time I read a book of essays instead of a formal biography. I enjoyed the format of Lou Henry Hoover: Essays on a Busy Life and I hope that other First Ladies have similar books about them. Lou Hoover was busy! She had a geology degree from Stanford. She lived all around the world with her husband, Herbert Hoover, while he did his work as a mining engineer. Lou was the active president of the Girl Scouts and was active outdoors person from the time she was little and would go on camping trips with her dad. She gets overshadowed by Eleanor Roosevelt, but Lou did a great job as First Lady.


What did you read this month? Would you recommend any of the books?

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Birthing Hope by Processing Fear

When author Rachel Marie Stone said she was on her way to Mali, Africa to live with her husband and her two sons, I was thrilled for her and her family and was looking forward to hearing how God would use them in that place. I didn’t hear much through social media about their experiences, so when I heard she was writing a book that in part shared about her time there, I was eager to read it.

I had already read Rachel Stone’s reflective book Eat With Joy which talked about Rachel’s journey from an unhealthy view of food to a celebratory view of food. I appreciate Rachel’s writing which is a mix of sharing her life experiences and sharing the facts and the thoughts that lead to her shift of mindset.

Birthing Hope was written with the same reflective voice with beautiful words that draw you into the scene. You are there with her in Africa, in the birthing room, when she helps a woman give birth only to find out later that the woman is HIV positive. Rachel had not worn gloves. You travel with her through the fear of that realization and through her contemplations of how much fear has gripped her life in general. She shares the thoughts that have brought her through fear and given her hope.

birthing hope

If you liked Katie Davis Majors’ books, you would love Birthing Hope, especially if, like me, you were disappointed in her latest book, Daring to Hope. This is not a reflection on Katie Davis Majors herself. I admire her courage and her obedience to the Lord. However, I was hoping the book would have much more detail about her continued ministry. Instead, Daring to Hope was an emotional roller coaster with some Scripture along the way. In contrast, Birthing Hope is deep. Rachel uses her head as well as her heart and invites the reader to do the same. I appreciated the variety of books Rachel quoted from to develop her reflections.

My favorite quote from the book is related to how Rachel changed how she looked at the people she was interacting with in her new overseas home.

Rachel said:

“Watch and learn. Suspend judgment and the impulse to intervene; meet people as people, as subjects of their own sovereign lives, not as objects and bit players in the drama of mine.

Convicting. Meet people as people. This is what Jesus did. This is what God wants whether we are in Mali or in the United States.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Should You Take Your Kids to a Funeral?

Since my husband is a pastor, my children have been to a lot of weddings and a lot of funerals.

My 8-year-old has already been to eight funerals in her short life.

Some of those people who we gathered to remember have been family members and some have been part of our church family. They haven’t all been close to my children, but some of the people were.

Should I take my kids to the funeral_

Just last weekend my husband’s grandmother passed away and my children knew her well. Last year a dear older man from church passed away. This man was like a grandparent to my children and my 8-year-old especially enjoyed sitting with him every Sunday at church. She didn’t sit with him so much as she snuggled with him before the service started and before she was dismissed to go to children’s church.

For our family, it has been valuable to include my children when we attend a funeral.

Why did we decide to bring our children along to funerals?

I shared in the Family Life Column at Pandora’s Box Gazette the advantages of taking your children to funerals so you can decide whether or not it is right for your family. Hope it’s helpful!



A Tom Hanks Themed Dinner Party

Instead of going out for Valentine’s Day, my husband and I like to create a fun meal at home. Last year we created a Hamilton themed dinner.

This year we decided to create a Tom Hanks themed dinner. For the past two years or so we have been watching Tom Hank’s movies in chronological order. It’s been a fun ride! I peaked in the 90s when we got to watch Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail, and A League of Their Own. My husband has already gotten me to watch more adventure movies than I care to watch in a lifetime because of the DaVinci Code series books and others. We only have about 8 more movies of his to go before we have watched them all! Continue reading

Book Review of Mrs. Oswald Chambers: The Woman Behind the World’s Best Selling Devotional

Ordinary skills can be used for the kingdom. It’s not just the big name teachers and preachers who impact the world for the LORD. When ordinary people use the skills God has given them in faithfulness and prayerfulness, people’s lives are impacted.

Gertrude Chambers impacted the world through her ordinary, day-job skill. Before she married the preacher/teacher Oswald Chambers, Gertrude (whom Oswald nicknamed Biddy) was a stenographer who used shorthand to take rapid notes while someone was speaking. She excelled in this skill. The average person speaks 100-125 words per minute. Biddy could write in shorthand at 250 words per minute.

After Oswald and Biddy were married, Biddy used her shorthand skills to take notes when Oswald was preaching and teaching. Later, she used her notes to publish what Oswald Chambers had spoken.  Continue reading