Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

Friday, April 30, 2010

Some things I've been working on ...

I have many hobbies and I have projects in each of these hobbies that are ongoing - they just take a long time to complete. That's partly due to my inability to do repetitive things for long periods of time, but mostly due to the fact that my lovely boys get in the way of doing them, but I want to enjoy them (the boys) now, because when they are older and are off doing their own thing, I will have plenty of time to work on the hobbies then.

So confession time ...

I have been working on this knitted dishcloth since Christmas break for instance.

I did complete this "quilt blanket" for my youngest son after I set up my sewing machine in our dining room which rarely gets used (the dining room that is - though the sewing machine is now at a close second again). Just noticed - as I'm looking at the picture - not when I laid out the blanket - that I didn't fringe all the tabs - better get that done eventually.

Of course when my older son saw the blanket and at the prodding encouragement of my younger son they decided that I should in fact complete a Spider-man quilt for my older son. I have only had the fabric for a couple of years now - and he has not yet outgrown the superhero phase so ... really boys ... lets not get hasty... here's the fabric in pieces hopefully I can show at least a completed top soon.

OK now I'm inspired. It is supposed to rain some this weekend anyway. I am going to work on that quilt, and clean out the pantry, and clean out my closet, and remove wallpaper....

... then paint the kitchen walls - seriously. From flowers to "Mustang" - sounds powerful!

I'll let you know how all that works out Sunday night or Monday morning ... if my husband doesn't have me committed first ... Happy Weekend Everyone!

Based on the list above, any callings will be taken by the voicemail and will be handled in the order in which they were received ... thank you for your patience ...

Thursday, April 29, 2010


I have a women's bible study this evening and a hungry family. So to get dinner done quick I made Mixed Grill.

Here's the quick recipe.

In a lidded casserole combine 1 cup rice ( the sack kind from Sam's club), one pat of butter, two cups of water and a pinch of salt. Microwave for 10 minutes.

Coarsely chop 1/2 a large red onion, 1/2 a red pepper (save the other half sliced in a baggie for lunch tomorrow - don't worry there will be other stuff with lunch ;-) )

Heat tbsp or so of olive oil in a skillet.

Slice chuck steaks in to thin strips. Add to heated oil and sprinkle with whatever steak grilling seasoning mix you have in the pantry (I use Montreal steak seasoning or Kansas steak seasoning). Cook until browned on all sides.

Add the chopped onion and peppers and sprinkle a bit of salt over top to help sweat the vegetables.

Continue cooking the mixture on medium to medium low until beef is done to your liking.

Take rice out of microwave, spoon (or in my case dump) the skillet mix over the rice and serve.

Done start to finish in about 15 minutes - even with interruptions from the kids.

My boys both liked the dinner.

Hope this helps on a night that you need a quick meal.

My calling is coming from bible study - I'm off ....

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Magic Letters in the Alphabet

Did you know that there are magic letters in the alphabet that, when combined, provide immense power and unbelievable stress relief? I've discovered them this past year when my work schedule changed drastically and I had very very little time for basic living let alone relaxing.

After having worked from home for two years (where I had ample time to take care of family, house and work) I received an assignment which included a 2 hour, if traffic was decent, commute across town everyday. Guess how often traffic was decent ... I had to take stock one day and determine how much time I actually had in a day for "life".

I allowed 8 hours for sleep each day (I need at least that or I get really really grumpy - even with coffee). I also had to allocate 11 hours to work and commuting. So, 24-8 = 16 hours ... 16 - 11 = 5 hours. Figure of that 5 hours ... 1.5 hours for meal prep, eating and clean up, 0.5 hours for shower and makeup, 1.5 hours for helping my oldest with homework / studying and reading with my younger one ... what are we down to 1.5 hours left. 0.5 hours for bedtime and bath. That's maybe - if everything goes smoothly - 1 hour for me to brush teeth, read my bible, workout, do a little TV watching - oh yeah, I forgot laundry, darn.

So when I saw how little time I had left I decided that I had to stay sane somehow. I'm very efficient and driven when I'm doing things, however I don't like to be overloaded. So I realized that when other requests for my time were threatening my time with my family I had to get creative.

This is when I found the magic letters ... n and o ... I realized that it really is ok to say no to requests when it threatens your family life and family time. I also say no to things that I may want to do but realize don't fit in with my life in it's current season. Saying no is ok and people do understand - particularly those who have been through or are going through similar seasons in life. By saying no to salon haircut time (who am I kidding - Supercuts) for example allows me to instead spend time making a puzzle with my kids. That time is so much more worth it and fulfilling. I've said no to job opportunities that would require me to travel and be away from home. I've suspended, for a time, my and my sons time in karate class to prioritize his studying during the school year.

I find that I have to be very selective of what I say ok or yes to. I have to balance and prioritize ... and my husband and kids are first priority. Not their activities, not what others ask me to do, and definitely not the dust bunnies. After all I know that my boys will remember me sitting on the floor playing a game with them right among the dust bunnies, not that the dust bunnies were there. And that's just the way I'd want it.

Awaiting my next calling - which when from God - I never say no to...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Our dear sweet Heinz 57 doggie recently had some surgery and I'm very grateful to share that she is recovered and has returned home to reclaim her position as "Queen". She's - how shall I say - very mature in years so the surgery was a risky event. Thankfully our vet and surgeon were extremely sensitive and careful and most importantly God was with them and her during the surgery.

She had a bit of nip and tuck done - indirectly. Without going into gory details ... she had some fatty deposits and one of them on her leg got out of hand. So it had to be removed. The funny part is that through the very skilled hand of the surgeon he not only removed the problem nodule, he made that leg look so slim and sleek and "young". It's funny in a way because she is somewhat unbalanced in appearance. The rest of her is still a bit bumpy and saggy but her one leg and bun is so firm and young.

It got me thinking that under all the bumps and sags of our "Motherly" bodies is still that young firm woman of youth. And how perception of appearance can be so deceiving. The young naive inexperienced lady is still there, but I have the extra layers of wife, mom, experiences of life, and maybe a few to many pieces of chocolate and potato chips as well. We add those layers day by day and always carry them with us. It's kind of a tribute to where we've been and what we've done. Our accomplishments in life.

While at times vanity sneaks in and I work out to "get back" the younger version of me ... I wouldn't for a minute truly give up the layers of life that have happened and made me who I am now ... with all my lumps, bumps, scars and sags.

Awaiting my next calling ... I think I just heard those chips calling ...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

One way to clean your floors

Our laundry room has been in a state of disarray for way to long. We try to organize then end up using the space as a dumping ground for things that are headed to the garage, to the garbage, to the donation places etc. It's a transient world - kind of like an airport terminal with some passengers who's flights have been delayed way too long.

Well, God decided it was time to clean up. We'd cleaned the bedroom areas last night which resulted in mounds - no mountains - of clothes being sorted in the laundry room. One stray shirt, unbeknownst to us, managed to slip through baggage check-in and landed in the laundry tub / utility sink. So of course Niagara Falls resulted all over the floor (us happily munching on "bedtime bed snack" right upstairs from one of the seven wonders of the world. It flowed and flowed right through all those other unwanted passengers.

The mess and ruined items are now awaiting the Sunday garbage pickup, the room is organized, and the floor is oh so clean!! What a blessing in disguise - sometimes I just need that extra kick in the butt to get a job done - even though I may not be super grateful for it at the onset. Thank you Lord for a clean laundry room, Please help us to keep it that way, Amen.

Patiently awaiting my next calling ...

Monday, April 19, 2010

The only part of the cat left in the bag is the tail ....

For those of you who lived through this experience, I apologize for the repeat - but frankly I just can't keep it all to myself...

My wonderful husband recently celebrated a "relatively" milestone birthday so in an effort to be the loving wife I decided to get him a super special birthday cake. He's currently working on getting his pilots license and also wants to scratch build an airplane - yeah I was wondering about raiding those boy scout can collections for aluminum too - but I digress. I've got a really incredible source for custom cakes ... like Ace of Cakes - cakes. So I ordered a cake in the shape of the plane he wants to build - sent them the website with photos, really got things rolling.

In a moment of Mommy Insanity I decided that it would be prudent to include the kids in picking up and "hiding" the cake at a friends house. Bad idea when they are less than 1/2 and 1/4 a dozen years, respectively.

So one evening we (me and the kids) stealthily exit the house with the pretense of running to the bank. Well, this will take longer than a bank trip so I text dear husband "taking the kids to the park" - response text "which park" - shoot - he's thinking of taking a motorcycle ride and meeting us - what to do - just don't respond seems reasonable at the time.

We make the long trip to the pick up the cake - it's more than I could ever imagine - lots of fuss from me and the store owner about " it's a special surprise for Daddy - we can't tell Daddy - forget you saw the cake ...." and we make the long ride home - stopping first at our friends house at a way-to-late-hour-for-anyone-with-kids - to hide the cake in her fridge - Thank You AGAIN!!!

Upon exiting our friends driveway - literally 0.035 minutes from our home, my sweet husband calls "Where ARE you?" Not in a yelling mad way - in a what are you up to and oh yeah are you all still alive way. I am the fast thinking Engineer mind at work woman and say - ok fine, I actually took the kids to get your birthday present (not really a lie) and it took way longer than I thought and I'm so bad at this ... he and I are both laughing I finish by saying I'm pulling in the driveway now and need help transporting sleeping kids. He says, ok I'll wait until you hide my HUGE present call up when you need me * great so now I have to FAKE hiding a big present that I didn't get him. * Ok can do, well shoot once you start the downward spiral of "just a little lie - sin" it really starts swirling. Note to self - you're terrible at lying and sin is really bad. We make it through a relatively quiet evening and following day until dinner...

So we’re at dinner and I could have killed (OK not really) husband – he’s (intentionally or not) making comments and asking questions about his birthday. I explicitly tell him to stop – so the later punch he receives is well deserved. OK another sin - shouldn't punch husband - so much for the christian part of this blog ;-)

Our older son starts reviewing what his day on Friday will be like for us – I’ll go to school, do Standardized Achievement Tests, blah blah blah – ending with and then we go to my friends house for a party.

Hubs: Oh a party – but how are we going to celebrate my birthday without a cake?

Older son: Oh don’t worry the cake’s already at the Family Name’s house (gets that look as soon as he says it and quickly looks at me with the “did I do something wrong” look)

Quickly followed by younger son who just has to add his two cents ….

Younger Son: Yeah the airplane cake. (pride just radiating)

At which point I wasn’t mad at the boys but at Hubby and told him so and did he know how much work that had been that he just ruined and why couldn’t he just keep his mouth shut and let the surprise happen – and then I punched him - I still feel bad about that - Sorry Sweetie. God quickly intervened and told me in my heart that it wasn't that big of a deal and that some day I'd be laughing about it so I might as well laugh now.

Besides Hubby still didn’t know how cool it was until the REAL surprise ...

and he knows that he’s never ever going to get another surprise in his life. Later he told me he probably subconsciously doesn't like surprises - ya think? At least now I know.

So Here It Is ...

Well, it only took several hours and a bowl of chips to decide on a title. The suggestions from my friends - thank you all - were really good to get the creative juices flowing. To bad so many were already taken!

So the meaning behind what I chose - God is calling all the time and He's guiding me through all the daily paths and roles. Calling me to be a better, more patient mother, a more loving wife, a better engineer, a listening friend, a counseling friend, a courteous driver, a nonabrasive person on the street that you pass that may, through a smile, brighten your day. Whatever the role -- He's there.

So this blog will be about what life brings (no what God allows) in the life of: a Servant of Him, a Wife, a Mommy, an Engineer - in that order. May it all glorify Him.

Ready for the Journey?