Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Hence, the title of my blog

Thanks to Mary Welchel from The Christian Working Woman for a great transcript today on finding biblical balance. It is her topic all week, if you care to check it out - but this one really spoke to me, and my Multiple Hat-edness. Thanks for the insight, Mary!

As written and presented by
Mary Whelchel

Finding Biblical Balance for Our Lives

Think about your grandmother or great-grandmother. Did she have a job outside of her home? Probably not. She worked harder than you do, but she had a much more limited role than you do. I seriously doubt that she ever listened to a message on balancing her life. That would have been puzzling to her.

But today, we have many modern conveniences that make housework easier, things she never dreamed of, and as a result, we have accumulated many different roles and our lives are far more fragmented than hers was. For example, consider all the hats you are wearing—or trying to wear. Here are some of the more common ones for women today:

Wife * Mother * Grandmother *Daughter * Sister * Aunt * Employee * Employer * Manager * Care Giver * SS Teacher * Church Worker * House Cleaner * Friend * Cook *Chauffeur * Counselor

The world approves of us based on how many hats we wear and how successfully we juggle them. Our society honors and recognizes people who are busy. We judge people's worth and value by the length of their "to do" list. We brag about our long hours and wear our burnout as the badge of credibility.

So, in trying to wear all these hats, you and I are challenged to make better and better decisions about our activities and how we spend our limited time. I want to get to the end of my life and hear Jesus say, "Well, done, good and faithful servant," and I'm certain you do, too. We will be good stewards of our time and our “hats” as we continually grow in our ability to make better and better choices, based on God's Word, not on our culture, not on other's expectations, not on our own mindsets and prejudices.

My Mom just passed away earlier this year at the age of 95. She led a very simple life as a wife and mom. She was never a soccer mom, never had a career, traveled very little, spent her days in her home—and in the Word of God. At her memorial service, her children and grandchildren called her blessed because she left us such a great legacy as a godly woman who kept her simple life in balance by staying grounded in the Word of God—reading it, memorizing it, teaching it, and loving it.

I know we live in a different time than our grandmothers did, but we still need to keep our lives grounded in the truth of God’s Word.

Monday, April 21, 2008

What the . . .????

So, Matt's title for this post was - Hey, Al Gore, don't know what globe you're living on, but I don't think the one I'm on is warming too much.

Mine was - Hello, it's APRIL, what the heck are You thinking????

I went ahead with a shortened version of mine.

We had a snowball fight yesterday after church. On April 20th.

Here's Matt with the proof - what an afternoon!

Beekeeping, and other dangerous boy exploits

Those are my boys.
Notice the box - FULL of a new hive of bees.
Notice, if you can, the bees from the existing hive swarming around them.
Okay, maybe they are no swarming, but there are a LOT of bees flying around.
And my boys, they are not screaming, shrieking, or running like their sissy mom would.
They are learning.
And I think this is so cool.
And, lest you think I am a mean mom - Colton and Chance switch off who gets to wear the youth-sized bee suit and who gets to be the geek with their socks outside their sweats. I know, you are worried that the one who gets the bee suit will be insanely jealous of the one wearing the geeky socks - and it's true - but they handle it so well.
Youth bee suits are about $100, and I am afraid the novelty may wear off before I get my money's worth out of two of them.
Even though some grandparents would argue that with these pictures, I probably have already gotten my money's worth.
Notice Matt's exposed neck.
A good wife would have abandoned her picture taking post (thank you zoom lens) and gotten the Epi-pen ready.
Unfortunately, I am more of a scrapbook wife than a good wife - I decided if he wasn't going to wear his suit, he could be responsible for any possibly life-threatening stings.
Compassionate, aren't I??
I gotta admit, I can't watch them work the bees without thinking of My Girl.
Then I have to immediately stop, because I do have a great imagination, and we are halfway to town in the ambulance (in my head) before Matt can convince me the boys are laughing and playing, not screaming in pain because they were stung by an angry swarm of African killer bees.
And, I put such thought out of my mind because I love honey. Especially honey that my boys "manufactured".
Hopefully, now that there are two hives, we'll have lots of honey.
Because last time we harvested . . . .
. . . we only got 9 gallons.

Good Mail - What a GOOD thing!

Okay, so I got some good mail last week - I think last week - I haven't blogged in so long, days and weeks have run together. Let's just call it last week, okay??

But, there is some background that goes with this.

My Good Mail came from my good friend, Annette. She is an extra-sweet gal, that works for the same company I do, just different office. I have enjoyed getting to know her over the past few years. One thing I have come to know well about Annette is her all-consuming preparedness, combined with her propensity to, well, let's call it brag about such preparedness.

Round about October, Darla and I will start getting e-mails about her Christmas present plans. By early November, we've received several taunting e-mails that she's got our gift done, it's the coolest (and probably really is), and that she can't wait to taunt us with it for the next 8 weeks or so!

A few months ago, Annette was apparently reading some blogs (we've got her hooked), and called to ask me about this Good Mail phenomenon. Having never received any intentional Good Mail, my best guess was that it was just anything in your mailbox besides bills and normal correspondence - could be an encouraging card, could be a small gift, etc.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago. I receive a package in the mail from a fun scrapbook catalog. My first e-mail was to Annette - I got your Secretary's Day present, and boooooyyyyy are you going to like it!! Let me tell ya - Annette likes being on the other side of these types of conversations, for sure. She wasn't too keen on being the recipient of the bragger e-mail :-) Now, before anyone reads too much into this - Annette is so much more than a Secretary - and to add to that, she is not my Secretary, or anything of the like. At our company, we milk this thing, now politically correctly called Administrative Professionals Day, alllllll week! To my count, we have 3 lunches scheduled this week, and because I stumbled upon something cool, thought I'd add to Darla and Annette's loot they will haul away from this thing. My gift will in no way compare to other things given, but it's the thought that counts, right? Or, at least from my vantage point, it's the taunting time that counts!!

Anyway, about 3 days after my e-mail, in comes the FedEx guy. He's all smiles with packages for both Darla and I. Asks if we want to check the contents, because they sure are rattling! Our curiosity is aroused, and we check the return address. We let the FedEx man go, unharmed, already suspecting the joy that might await us inside that package. We were not disappointed.

Behold . . .

Now, believe me, my first thought was that she was trying to one-up my taunting e-mail. After seeing that these little packages took much more time than 3 days to order and prepare, she is off the hook for that :-)
Thank you so much, Annette - for my first Good Mail package. I am already ready to pass on the love, and I'm thankful that you started something fun for us! You're the chick!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Gus, are you there? What time is it? Is there a duck with you?

Last night, on our way home from town, the conversation was pretty interesting - at least for a 4-year-old!

Colton - Mama, what time is it?

Me - About 7:00.

Colton - Is the sun still out?

Me - Yep.

Colton - Well, when's it going to be gus, or duck, or whatever you call it?

Me - (you'll think I'm so smart and perceptive) Do you mean dusk?

Colton - Yeah, that's it! You know, the time when the sun is gone, but the stars haven't showed up yet, and it's not actually dark. That's what I meant.

Me - You've still got about a half-hour, buddy.

Colton - Oh, man! Can you remind me when it is - I want to look at it tonight.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Favorite Ingredient Friday - Hummbingbird Cake

Oh, the dessert edition - Overwhelmed, I love you! This cake is one that my mom requested for her birthday this year. I hadn't heard of it before then, and frankly, my thighs are thankful. I could eat the whole thing, every time. In the searches that I did, I found out it is Southern Living's most requested recipe ever. You'll soon find out why!

Hummingbird Cake

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained
1 cup chopped pecans
2 cups chopped bananas (I mashed mine)

Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; add eggs and oil, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened. (Do not beat.) Stir in vanilla, pineapple, 1 cup pecans, and bananas.
Pour batter into three greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.
Spread Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake; sprinkle 1/2 cup chopped pecans on top. Store in refrigerator.
16 servings
I have now made this substituting apple sauce for 1/2 the oil, and using whole wheat flour - it still turns out fantastic.
Head on over to Overwhelmed with Joy to be overwhelmed by a slew of new dessert recipes!

What do you know, friends?

Okay, I have been contemplating a blog post, but there's just not much there. Surprised? I'm not ;-) Baseball has started, and the family is officially in full baseball swing. Our 2008 calendar is rapidly filling up. I'm pretty sure there are only 6 blank days in May--and most of them are work days, so they aren't really that blank at all! That just means I get to go home after work and cook dinner, instead of pull a sandwich out of the cooler for the boys. I keep reminding myself - You're Gonna Miss This - thanks, Trace, sometimes I really need that!

Anyway, my mind is full of schedules and sandwich recipes, and so void of blog entries. Thankfully, Darla came to my rescue! She posted a challenge of getting to know your friends. I was actually the one to send this to her, via e-mail, so mine's already done. We are but a COPY and PASTE away from an actual blog post. Thanks Darla!

Our camping trip got cancelled last weekend, due to heavy accumulation of SNOW - in April! Hello! It's supposed to be spring! Anyway, my heart is still yearning, so you may sense a bit of a "camping vein" in my answers of this little quiz. I guess I'm ready to hit the great outdoors!

1. What is your occupation? I don’t really know – Know It All, maybe? Or, possibly just something clerical . . .
2. What color are your socks right now? Blue, and they match my shirt perfectly (please tell me you’re proud, Annette!)
3. What are you listening to right now? XM Radio – Channel 16
4. What was the last thing that you ate? Salad, Vegetables, 6 oz. of Turkey
5. Can you drive a stick shift? Yes
6. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Red
7. Last person you spoke to on the phone? Annette
8. Do you like the person who sent this to you? She’s the coolest . . .
9. How old are you today? 33 goin’ on 50
10. Favorite drink? Iced Tea
11. What is your favorite sport to watch? Anything my kids are playing, so baseball right now. If my kid aren’t playing – Basketball.
12. Have you ever dyed your hair? Two days ago
13. Pets? When we bought him, they said he was a puppy, but I think he’s a camel.
14. Favorite food? Anything my mom makes
15. Last movie you watched? Technically – Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang (but I fell asleep), so really – Bourne Ultimatum
16. Favorite Day of the year? First day of camping
17. What do you do to vent anger? Complain to Darla, or keep it all inside and get a headache
18. What was your favorite toy as a child? Tonka Trucks
19. What is your favorite season? Camping season
20. Hugs or kisses? I think I’m becoming a hugger.
21. Cherry or Blueberry? Triple Berry Blend
22. Do you want your friends to email you back? Of Course. Bloggers - let's hear it!
23. Who is most likely to respond? All are equally likely.
24. Who is least likely to respond? All are equally unlikely.
26. When was the last time you cried? It’s been awhile – unless you count during the Star Spangled Banner or Extreme Home Makeover.
27. What is on the floor of your closet? Shoes – and with that said, what else would fit?
28. Who is the friend you have had the longest that you are sending this to? My mom
29. Who is the friend you have had the shortest that you are sending this to? Donna
30. Favorite smells? Oatmeal cake
31. Who inspires you? Right now, David – a man after God’s own heart.
32. What are you afraid of? Mostly, talking to people. I so suck at that.
33. Plain, cheese or spicy hamburgers? Cheese
34. Favorite car? One that’s paid for.
35. Favorite cat breed? Not really a cat person.
36. Number of keys on your key ring? 3
37. How many years at your current job? 5
38. Favorite day of the week? Sunday on a regular week – or any day that we’re vacating or camping.
39. How many states have you lived in? 1 – extra exciting, I know.
40. Do you think you're funny? No. I like to try, though – maybe that’s funny enough.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Keep Playing

Another busy day, so I'll entertain you (and me) with an inspirational e-mail.

The Concert

When the house lights dimmed and the concert was about to begin, the mother returned to her seat and discovered that the child was missing.

Suddenly, the curtains parted and spotlights focused on the impressive Steinway on stage.

To her horror, the mother saw her little boy sitting at the keyboard, innocently picking out 'Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.'

At that moment, the great piano master made his entrance, quickly moved to the piano, and whispered in the boy's ear, 'Don't quit . . . keep playing.'

Then, leaning over , Paderewski reached down with his left hand and began filling in a bass part. Soon his right arm reached around to the other side of the child, and he added a running obbligato.

Together, the old master and the young novice transformed what could have been a frightening situation into a wonderfully creative experience.

The audience was so mesmerized that they couldn't recall what else the great master played.

Only the classic, 'Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.'

Perhaps that's the way it is with God.

What we can accomplish on our own is hardly noteworthy.

We try our best, but the results aren't always graceful flowing music. However, with the hand of the Master, our life's work can truly be beautiful.

The next time you set out to accomplish great feats, listen carefully. You may hear the voice of the Master, whispering in your ear,

'Don't quit . . . Keep playing.'

May you feel His arms around you and know that His hands are there, helping you turn your feeble attempts into true masterpieces.

Remember, God doesn't seem to call the equipped, rather, He equips the 'called.'

May God bless you and be with you always!

and remember,

'Don't quit . . . Keep playing.'
Thanks, Tina!