A Taste of Summer, Wainright Style

Taste of SummerThe last time I technically wrote on here, it was sub-zero temperatures and my toes were frozen. I had just ordered a new parka so my nose would hopefully no longer have icicles forming on the inside (seriously).

But now–oh now. It’s summer!

There is beauty in every season, but there is something extra special about the flavors that can be found in summer, yes? Peach juice running down your arm, corn silks stuck in your teeth, watermelon seeds flying out of your mouth, and that oh-so-perfect texture of the inner seeds of fresh green beans popping inside of your mouth.

So I’d like to share with you a few new favorites that I’ve discovered in this most wonderful season for food.

First things first–this quesadilla is pretty much life-changing. (It was inspired by leftovers from this amazing new loaded baked potato salad that gets an honorable mention.) Full confession: this past week, I had one for lunch four out of five days because they are easy to prep, quick to make, and do a great job of filling you up!

Taste of Summer Bacon Chive and Cheddar Quesadilla

Bacon, Chive, & Cheddar Quesadilla
You’ll need the following. Just eyeball it all. 
Wheat flour tortillas
Center-cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
Chives, diced
Shredded Cheddar Cheese

I prepare the bacon and chives in advance and keep them in the fridge until I’m ready to make my quesadilla. Then I throw all the ingredients in between two flour tortillas and pop it in the microwave for about 1:30. Fancy, I know. But trust me–it’s delish. 😉

P.S.–If you’ve never made bacon in the oven, you should really do yourself a favor and try it at least once. Just preheat the oven to 400° and lay the bacon on a foil-lined baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Bake on a lower rack for 15-ish minutes, depending on the thickness of your bacon, and use tongs to transfer it to a paper-towel lined plate. Voila–throw the foil away.

Taste of Summer Watermelon Salsa

Watermelon Salsa
Originally from a Kroger advertisement

2 C. seedless watermelon, diced (be kind to yourself and get this already partially cut up)
1 C. cucumber, diced and seeded
2 TBSP. sweet red onion, finely minced
1 TBSP. cilantro, finely chopped
1 TBSP. fresh spearmint, finely chopped
1 TBSP. lime juice
1/4 tsp. hot sauce (our preference = Tabasco)
1/2 tsp. salt

Combine all ingredients, mixing gently to ensure all ingredients are well incorporated. Chill covered for 1 hour.

Makes 3 cups.

Throw that on top of your bacon, chive, & cheddar quesadilla and thank me later. Careful–your tastebuds might explode with happiness. It’s really good with just chips, too.

Taste of Summer Peanut Butter Pie

Peanut Butter Pie
originally found on cincyshopper.com

24 Oreo cookies turned into crumbs via a food processor
4 TBSP butter, melted
1 C. peanut butter (creamy)
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 C. powdered sugar
8 oz. Cool Whip, thawed (+ another tub just to eat or add on top)

Preheat oven to 350°. Place cookies in food processor and pulse until ground into small, fine crumbs. Add melted butter and stir with a fork to combine. Press into a pie pan and bake 7 minutes or until set. Allow to cool completely.

Combine peanut butter and cream cheese and beat until combined. Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Add in whipped topping and blend until completely incorporated. Pour into cooled crust and smooth the top with a spatula. Chill before serving.

Serves…8? If they all want just a bite.

 

So, in between your drum corps shows, VBS’s, pool parties, and late muggy nights with friends this summer, I hope you’ll find time to get your hands a little juicy and make your tastebuds smile.

Sunflower

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The band marches on

“But kids out of uniform is what I remember most. Lots of sweat and odd tans.” -Walter Pickering

I love this! The majority of my memories from marching band are not in uniform, they are from dusty practice fields and trips and buses and dressing rooms. Pickering brilliantly captures some behind-the-scenes moments of the oddity that is marching band. (That flute handshake–yeah, that’s totally me in high school.)

CNN Photos

The flash of metal, the twirl of color, the synchronization of bodies in rhythm to music.

As a tuba player from junior high through college, photographer Walker Pickering was in step with his marching band and a part of the camaraderie the group developed. As a photographer for the last 10 years, he has trained his camera on high school and college marching bands and traveling drum corps to capture that feeling of togetherness.

Pickering, 33, from Austin, Texas, didn’t take photos of the grand designs the bands would form on the field. Instead, he wanted to show band members in and out of uniform, to look beyond the flourish.

“Contemporary marching units tend to wear highly geometric designs. When I marched in high school, we wore what I lovingly refer to as the Sgt. Pepper-style uniform,” he said. “But kids out of uniform is what I remember most. Lots…

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COUNTING + one thousand gifts {#3327-3502}

 I’m one of those people who can push and push and push…but only for so long. I LOVE being involved in a myriad of activities, but there comes a time when I just have to stop to rest and reflect or else I will be absolutely good for nothing. This is the first free weekend I’ve had since Christmas Thanksgiving (I think) and it’s been SO wonderful to catch up on some much needed sleep. And now that I’ve slept most of the weekend, I’m trying to cram in some time for reflection because when I don’t reflect, my life seems as if it is in great disarray.

Much of my time outside of work the past couple of weeks was spent counting–yes, counting (mainly to four), as I was given the privilege of playing for another production of the Wizard of Oz. During our second night of rehearsal while we were on a break, we discussed the importance of counting. (See Gift #3460 below.) This provoked all sorts of interesting thoughts in my little mind about similarities between counting in music and counting grace-gifts, but my brain was too drained to formulate any kind of post.

Ironically, the very next day Ann Voskamp wrote a whole blogpost centered around the importance of counting. “When you are a musician and you stop counting — it’s like running around in the forest in the dark without a flashlight.” This is SO true. (I had just experienced it firsthand!) When you’re playing a song and lose count and have no idea where you are in the piece, you become very unsure of yourself and playing is not at all enjoyable. Playing is most enjoyable when you know right where you are. I’ve found this is true in everyday life as well. Counting gifts helps you keep the rhythm of grace! (It especially helps to keep your eyes on the conductor, particularly when the conductor is gracious enough to help you count along.)

“Without counting, keeping the rhythm of grace,  life gets a bit like smashing into trees in the dark without a flashlight.” In the dark without a flashlight…kind of like the first little bit of the Wizard of Oz. But, never fear! When you count through the cyclone and darkness of Act I, you’ll soon be out of the woods, out of the dark, and out of the night. And you can step into the sun, step into the light. [Wow. Please forgive the cheesiness. I’ve sat through no less than probably 15 performances of the Wizard of Oz the past year alone.] Keep counting His faithfulness and you’ll see His hand was guiding you all the way.

As I muse on what has transpired over the past month or so, it becomes obvious that even through the 70+ hour work-weeks and all the go-go-go, God is the only One who could give me strength. When I see the Lord blessing in the little things, it helps me trust Him in the big things. And through it all, I see Him always looking out for me in His love. Counting His gracious gifts reminds me that He loves me and is always working for my good. In life, as in music, it’s a lot more enjoyable to play when you know right where you are. And I’m right in the blazing center of His love.

“She who re-views her blessings, re-views herself — sees herself as beheld by her Beloved.”
{ann voskamp}

Keep counting, friends.

IMG_9912

3327. having time to put up my little charlie brown tree
Christmas Tree
3328. such grace all over my life today. He continues to prove the wonders of His love
3329. others being thankful. love the quirky traits of people i’m surrounded by
3330. grace in a response
3331. so much done. such tired eyes.
3332. insulin vouchers?! for real?!
3333. just to think that God loves me
3334. gentle, kind doctors
3335. having to work late, meaning it was dark outside, and being able to see that i really do have enough lights on my tree
3336. filet & potato cakes from sal’s and a hilarious precious convo with our waiter (“Lord, please help these idiots”)
3337. sweet far-away friends who popped up tonight saying they were praying for me ♥
3338. an exceptionally rough and challenging day
3339. the privilege of praying at all times
3340. spoken words of affirmation
3341. election training that was entertaining and fun spent talking with anita c.
3342. the Com-Forter (with strength!)
3344. almost cancelling a flute lesson because i was so swamped and running late, but pushing anyway and God affirming His love in a foggy window where my student and her little sister had written, “welcome flute teacher” with their fingers 😀
3345. thankful friends
3346. God ordaining my day and inserting surprises like a laughter-filled lunch with erin & will and getting sent home early to work so i wouldn’t slide around
3347. grace to finish
3348. those lady cats! 4 OTs!
3349. lunch in my favorite room at the glitz with the golden girls
The Glitz 2013
3350. a nonesuch kiss
3351. a lovely post about “my favorite things” provoked by laura’s pork schnitzel recipe link. ha!
3352. ♪ the punishment of God on God has brought me peace ♪ {stuart townend}
3353. three languages still going on in our little service despite the ice
3357. the life, love, and contagious cackle of mrs. cantrell ♥ small words with such an impact.
3358. acoUstiKats on NBC! ahhh.

3359. election day. so thankful for a stress-free day
3360. a houseful of ladies focused on the true meaning of Christmas
3361. tired eyes
3362. a full wednesday night service
3363. breakfast at bob’s with ashley parks. so thankful for friendships God sustains
3364. playing prelude music at Bluegrass’ sweet Christmas program
3365. ross hill’s smoother than josh groban voice. love.

3366. piercing truth. “the sin under all other sins is a lack of joy in Christ.” {tim keller}
3367. a christmas card that made me cry
3368. singing with jane
3369. sarah bartsch’s beautiful wedding. what a sweet couple.
Sarah Bartsch Wedding
3370. remembering what Christ did for me, an unworthy rebel.
3371. ♪ and now i’m loved forevermore because of what You’ve done ♪ {bob kauflin}
3372. {nahum 1:7}
3373. hugging aunt janna on her bday
3374. an angry person who drove me to Christ {psalm 55:22}
3375. lca love all over my phone
3379. the little bellmer boys rescuing me from being “stuck in the muck”
3381. catching up with will sallee–always such an encourager and so aware of  how God is working. ever learning and growing
3382. trying to bless someone and them trying to bless you instead and then the cashier intervenes and decides to really bless and it just becomes one big “God’s so watching out for you” blessing!
3384. crepes with all the cousins
3386. kerry spotting a dci sticker in the culver’s parking lot and then walking in to see the wades and bsip staff. hahaha!
3387. running into ashley parks outside sally beauty supply. love that.
Ashley
3388. dad coming to rescue charla’s dead car
3389. He came. for me.
3390. bob brown christmas dinner. so much appreciation from the residents’ families. love hugging their necks.
BBH Christmas Dinner 2013
3391. alumni band. oh my. so much fun.
3392. candlelight service. a drunk pentecostal. oh goodness.
3393. ♪ ruined sinners to reclaim ♪
3394. a messed up pizza mix-up resulting in a free one
3397. my mema’s chicken salad
3400. driving to the beach in scarves and sweaters to hug my aunt rhonda
Beach Christmas 2013
3402. frogmore stew served with bearded cousin hugs
Clayton Frogmore Stew
3404. giving a gift that was so appreciated and humbly received
3407. getting chosen to play at the u of l game. what a privilege!
Alumni Band
3409. when we uncover our sin, God covers it! grace!
3412. bob’s with aunt janna and nancy
3413. mercies anew for a rough monday morning
3414. faithfulness proved with every breath
3415. kind words and wishes from bro. dunbar
3417. TWO pairs of jeans that fit. what?!
3419. such kind, affirmative words from kerry. “i look up to you even though you’re shorter than me.”
3420. a full house of laughter, love, good food, apples to apples, and catch phrase
NYE 2013
3421. an absolute whirlwind of a year: mostly eaten up by work, but a lot learned about the importance of balancing life and keeping Christ as my constant focus. lots of friends moving far away–some friends moving back. a record number of weddings. transition. friends lost~but experiencing life everlasting…life to the full.
3422. the Lord sustaining me through another year AND another night! He’s so faithful!
3424. starbucks date with lindsey. so uplifting to hear her share her beautiful heart
Lindsey
3425. LOVE {ephesians 5:2}
Love
3427. a lower a1c!
3428. snow drifts dancing in swirls to the rachmaninoff playing in my office
3430. He loves me. unconditionally.
3431. a frigid, frigid morning
3432. surprise lunch with erin
3433. spending the evening with 24 precious band friends
LCA Band Reunion 2013
3434. sweet wishes
3437. another trip around the sun!
3442. the kingdom in my heart…reign supreme, Lord Jesus
3444. getting to know some fellow piccolos at the florida game
3446. running errands all night in frigid temps. 13 hour days
3447. a monday and a half
3448. a dad who brings forgotten office keys
3449. no internet at work, giving me plenty of time to hang out in munchkinland with my headless piccolo
Headless Piccolo in Munchkinland
3450. frost inside my nose and IGLOOS on my weather app
3457. a most beautiful sunrise
Sunrise
3458. practicing piccolo at every stoplight
3460. KEEP COUNTING! just keep counting. every four. keep on
3463. curtain torn in two…
3464. ♪ tomorrow’s freedoms are today’s surrenders ♪ {all sons & daughters}
3468. jitterbug all over the stage

Privileged to play in The Rep's production of The Wizard of Oz!  [pic compliments of their FB page]

Privileged to play in The Rep’s production of The Wizard of Oz!
[pic compliments of their FB page]


3469. knowing confidently that His mercy will endure and preserve me
3470. safety
3471. above and beyond, way past way past
3473. grace in my fingers
3474. counting. (!!!!)
3475. He holds me that i shall not be moved ♪ (and so to Him I leave…it all)
3476. {hard eucharisteo} the growing pains through conflict
3478. gentlemen holding doors
Jeremy Wizard of Oz
3479. silence
3480. that He loves me unconditionally in spite of me and my quackiness
3482. {psalm 27}
3484. secret doors
3485. hazelnut coffee mid-afternoon
3486. {psalm 106:7} He paraded them through dry land 😀
3487. la rosa’s for dinner and going to williamstown to cheer on those harden coaches and their dubtown boys! big win over bellevue and an even bigger shot in the arm spending time with all of them
Olivia
3488. hugs. ones that mean something like a “thank you”
3490. swamped.
3491. hugs from diane aubrey at the dermatologist. makes that getting up early thing worth it!
3492. showing up for a drums only pep band game but getting to spend time with friends
3493. He is mighty to save! {isaiah 63:1}
3494. that God’s promises were meant to be used!
3495. chicken risotto from bella notte
3497. being dressed in birthday love
3498. braving the waffle house for lunch alone because i was craving breakfast something fierce!
Waffle House
3499. snow falling gently outside my office window
3500. {isaiah 41:14}
3501. rest and relaxation. bliss.
3502. symphony for unstrung tongue!

“To see the glory, name the graces.”
Since reading One Thousand Gifts, I started my own journal of grace-gifts God blesses me with every day. I will spare listing all of them here, but I will try to share some of my favorites as I have the opportunity. 

The Measure of a Life

Barlines

Remembering my kindergarten music teacher today, Mrs. Cantrell, who passed away on Thursday. When I was a five year-old kindergartner, I never realized what an impact she would have on me. Though she was only my music teacher for one year, she became a close family friend and was actually the one who inspired me to do marching band.

When I was in 8th grade, I went to an Orff workshop at U of L with my mom. Mrs. Cantrell walked to lunch with me and talked me into trying marching band for just one year. Well, we all see how that turned out.

So, I’m forever grateful to Mrs. Cantrell. Thanks to her, I had some of the most wonderful experiences imaginable throughout high school and college. Without her little pep talk in a stairwell at U of L, I would probably be a loner since most all of my closest friends came through marching band.

You never know the measure of your life. One small conversation can impact the rest of someone else’s life in ways you could never imagine. I wish I would have told her that.

What a lady! I can’t wait to sing loudly in the Heavenly choir with her.

P.S.-She also had a great sense of humor! Whenever she would call for my mom and I’d answer, she’d always ask if I’d gotten married yet (even if I just saw her the previous day) and then she would cackle and tell me a joke about Bach or some random, hilarious music history fact. I’ll miss that.

I don't have a picture with Mrs. Cantrell, but my life is so much richer with all these people because of her!

I don’t have a picture with Mrs. Cantrell, but my life is so much richer with all these people (and so many more) because of her!

♪ Teach us to count our days. Teach us to make our days count. ♪

one thousand gifts {3295-3326}

Multitudes on Mondays @ a holy experience

“Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving Him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan.”
{Luke 17:15-16}

So, I’m not even going to make excuses why I haven’t written down gifts in a few…um…months. The important thing is that I’ve started again. I don’t want to be those “other nine” lepers who neglected to turn back.

Let me just tell you, daily writing down little (and big) ways God has blessed you truly does bring an immeasurable amount of joy. And we all know that the joy of the Lord is our strength. He’s so good. I really encourage you to try writing down even just three things each day to see how He’s working in your life. 

Will I share my list in its entirety every week like I used to? Unfortunately, probably not, but for now…here you go. He’s faithful in EVERYthing.

3295. an overwhelming sense of gratitude for “little” things God blessed me with this weekend~so much so, that i had to start writing them down again
3296. honesty that humbles and also creates an opportunity to give and show love
3297. going to asbury’s concert with will…listening to friends make beautiful music and laughing along the way.
3298. ♪ abide with mearr. by jay dawson
3299. hugs from kerry ♥
3300. waking up to ♪ grace that is greater
3301. feeling so connected to my church family
3302. hearing my hindu friend read from proverbs in sunday school, wanting to follow along, the hopelessness in conversation, and feeling such a heavy burden for her soul
3303. my ate buying me starbucks and the best SKPM so far this season!
3304. being reminded of the holiness, righteousness, and wrath of God that demands full and total obedience
3305. a visitor at church from england who found us via our website. i was nearly moved to tears when i found that out. He knows just how to encourage me right when i need it.
3306. eternal weight of glory {2 corinthians 4:17}
3307. courtney being way too excited about the digits in her phone number. haha!
3308. the fact that He knows no change though my love is ofttimes low
3309. practicing piano for half an hour when i got home from working late, as promised. #terriblestudent #pianolessonsforlife

Practicing Piano
3310. a yummy dinner made by mom and shared over good laughs with aunt janna & barney ♥
3311. the Lord is my helper & upholds my life
3312. lunch with mom at bella notte & a little red cup of joy
3313. dinner with wanda & huge snowflakes and gorgeous dusted benches, bushes, and branches. loved hearing how God is working, too!

Snow Dusted Benches
3314. a new tv that actually and instantly turns on
3315. His constancy
3316. cheery faces at the podiatrist, good news, a blood sugar of an 80 that rendered a smiley face in my chart, and leaving the office 4 minutes before my appointment time
3317. getting to help a customer who was so patient and kind
3318. how being grateful separates you from the world {2 timothy 3:2}
3319. watching the parade on the #DCIcouch
3320. a new recipe for thanksgiving which resulted in jalapeno juice in my eye, but so thankful it didn’t burn too badly
3321. a most beautiful table with an even more beautiful family. turkey by andy and pumpkin pie by savannah. (and savannah praying over dinner: “please help us have a good day…and i’m pretty sure we will.” so cute!)

Thanksgiving Table
3322. ALL His benefits! forget not. that’s a lot to remember.
3323. a lazy day putting up the tree
3324. designing Christmas newsletters and graphics
3325. seeing frozen with erin. classic!
3326. ♪ He, to rescue me from danger, interposed His precious blood ♪

“To see the glory, name the graces.”

Since reading One Thousand Gifts, I started my own journal of grace-gifts God blesses me with every day. I will spare listing all of them here, but I will try to share some of my favorites as I have the opportunity. 

Abide with Me

20131124-230853.jpg

After a long week that ended with a Friday that felt more like a Monday, it was incredibly refreshing to meet up with a friend for dinner and head down to see a former student perform at Asbury University this weekend.

The whole concert was excellent, but my favorite piece was Abide With Me, performed by their concert band. This particular piece was arranged by Jay Dawson, in which he juxtaposed bugle calls of Last Post, the British equivalent of Taps, adding an even greater sense of desperation and gravity to this popular hymn.

The overarching theme of the song is a petition for God’s presence–especially in death. Henry F. Lyte, an Anglican priest, penned these words as he was dying from tuberculosis at age 54, and actually passed into eternity just three weeks after writing this heartfelt plea.

This hymn is commonly associated with funerals. But if we need in Him in death, don’t we also need Him in life? I need Thy presence every passing hour; What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s pow’r? 

We sing a lot of hymns at my church, but I never recall singing this one. I’m committing to learning this one on my own because its lyrics would undoubtedly serve me well as I go about everyday life. I especially like the second verse which reminds me that though things around me are constantly changing, God remains constant.

Abide With Me
[Words by Henry F. Lyte | Music by William Henry Monk]

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide;
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me.

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see—
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

Thou on my head in early youth didst smile;
And, though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,
Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee,
On to the close, O Lord, abide with me.

I need Thy presence every passing hour;
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s pow’r?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness;
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.

Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies;
Heav’n’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” {Hebrews 13:5}
What a comforting promise. He will abide with me. Always. Even on the Fridays that feel like Mondays…and during the long work-weeks that never seem to end…when you get fabulous news…and when you receive devastating news…in all the ups and downs and monotony of everyday life…in the uncharted waters of death…through it all…He’ll be there. Always. Isn’t He good? 

P.S. I wasn’t able to get a video of Asbury playing, but thank God for the YouTube so you can hear a sample of this gorgeous arrangement played by a school band in Qatar. 

[And if you want to read more about the story behind the song, check out Tim Challies’ post on his ever-informative blog.]

Crazy Busy

Crazy BusyWhen people ask me how I am, my default answer has become, “Busy.” I get so sick of giving that answer. It seems like that’s what everyone says (whether they’re really busy or not) because often (and unfortunately) in our society, busy-ness is equated with success and it sometimes feels like we try to one-up each other to be the busiest. It literally starts to make me nauseous if I think about it too long.

This past weekend I was blessed to get away for four days in order to attend my cousin’s wedding in South Carolina. This meant I had 8 hours of free time in the car to fill with whatever I wished (ha! Most of that time was spent fielding emails on my phone). I had been wanting to read Kevin DeYoung’s Crazy Busy since before it came out, so that’s what I did (inbetween the email dings). Several years ago, when I read Just Do Something and The Hole in Our Holiness, I loved the way he wrote so openly, honestly, humorously, and concisely, yet packed in so much truth! Crazy Busy is the same way. He writes as one who hasn’t figured it all out, but wrote to find out.

Yes, I’m one of those people who has been blessed with a full plate, but I’m learning that I need to evaluate what I let get put on my plate and when I eat it. Sometimes I put things on my plate I think are good for me, but actually turn out to be junky foods that profit no one. Sometimes God puts things on my plate I wouldn’t have chosen that stretch me and help me grow. I’m also learning that the less I put on my plate, the more attention I can give to the quality of the metaphorical food I’m facing. Saying “No” is stinking hard, especially for this girl who has a people-pleasing personality and needs to work on choosing the good portion (Luke 10:42).

“We have to believe that the most significant opportunity before us every day is the opportunity to sit at the feet of Jesus. We won’t rearrange our priorities unless we really believe this is the best one” (pg. 115).

Speaking of rearranging priorities, DeYoung also had some great words about prioritizing and pruning activities in chapter 5.

  • “One reason we never tame the busyness beast is because we are unwilling to kill anything.” (pg. 62)
  • “Setting priorities is an expression of love for others and for God.” (pg. 62)
  • “Unless God intends for us to serve only the loudest, neediest, most intimidating people, we need to plan ahead, set priorities, and serve more wisely so that we might serve more effectively.” (pg. 62)
  • “If Jesus is any example, God does expect us to say no to a whole lot of good things so that we can be freed up to say yes to the most important things He has for us.” (pg. 63)

Over time, I have found that when I confine my work to regular working hours and focus fully on relationships, other responsibilities, and rest in the off-time, I actually do better work. Go figure. Isn’t that how God designed it in the first place? “He also offers us a Sabbath as a test; it’s an opportunity to trust God’s work more than our own” (pg. 91). I’m all about taking a Sabbath even though sometimes it’s hard to resist catching up a little bit. But I’ve found that even if I choose not to do it on Sunday, it always ends up getting done. There is undoubtedly something extra wonderful, refreshing, and powerful about the Sunday Afternoon Nap. I’ve learned the hard way that sometimes shutting off the computer and laying down your head is an act of faith, trusting that the Lord will strengthen you for tomorrow’s tasks and shower you with new mercies.

And routine? I love routine, but I have an awful mess of one. That’s something else I’ve been praying about and working on. DeYoung was definitely singing the same song I’ve been trying to find words to for months in the “Ain’t Got No Rhythm” section of chapter 8. 

Many of us are less busy than we think, but life feels constantly overwhelming because our days and weeks and years have no rhythm. …One of the dangers of technology is that work and rest blend together in a confusing mush. We never quite leave work when we’re at home, so the next day we have a hard time getting back to work when we’re at work. We have no routine, no order to our days. We are never completely “on” and never totally “off.” So we dawdle on YouTube for twenty minutes at the office and then catch up on e-mails for forty minutes in front of the TV at home. …Over time most of us work less effectively, whether it’s in the home or out of the home, and find our work less enjoyable when there is no regular, concentrated, deliberate break. … We can’t run incessantly and expect to run very well. (pg. 92-93)

If you are one of those precious friends who has been so kind to ask how you can pray for me, it is highly likely that I have responded asking you to pray that I would keep my life balanced with Christ not only at the center, but permeating through all of it. That has honestly been my biggest struggle for the past year and a half or so, but by God’s grace (and only by God’s grace), it’s getting better. Thank you, THANK YOU, for praying!

I could go on and on with excellent quotes from Crazy Busy that address social media, engaged thumbs, hospitality, parenting, and so much more, but really you should just read it yourself. Its subtitle is true. It truly is a (mercifully) short book about a (really) big problem. Please make time to read it.

I’ll end with a quote from what is perhaps my favorite page of the book, page 108.

For the sake of Christ, we must be content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. And yes, sometimes we must be content with busyness. For when you are weak, then you are strong (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). Paul had pressure. You have pressure too. But God can handle the pressure. Do not be surprised when you face crazy weeks of all kinds. And do not be surprised when God sustains you in the midst of them. 

That just might be the best part of all the busyness, pressure, and ridiculously crazy weeks: realizing that you’re operating only by the immeasurable amount of grace He ends up giving to get through it all.

(And the next time you ask me how I am, if I happen to respond with “Busy,” please~please~please be a true friend and smack me.)