Saturday, May 28, 2016

Workplace Musings (05/28/16)

There was a situation at work lately that remided me of God's infinite wisdom and my lack of proper qualifications to run the universe (hard as I may try).

There was an open management position at work, and I was told that it was being filled internally but the information of who was filling it was not yet public knowledge. I made several guesses in my mind and came up with the likely choices (as I saw it). A day or two later I found out who was taking the position. My guesses were not even close (and not as good as the reality). As usual, God did a much better job filling that position than my imagination did.

Trying to predict the future (not to mention rule the world) is a work in futility. That is much better left to God. He is the qualified One; I am not.

"Great is our Lord, and abundanct in power; his understanding is beyond measure." Psalm 147:5

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Tip of the Day (How to pit a cherry)

I'm creating a new blog post category. Let's call it tip of the day. Here's the first one.

Here's how to remove the pit from a cherry if you don't own one of those fancy cherry pitters (which I've been meaning to get but this method has been working for several years now, so why rush it?)

Materials needed: 1. Large straw (at our house we call them "smoothie straws"). 2. A cherry (complete with pit).

Place one end of straw over the stem of the cherry.

Push the straw through the cherry.

Squeeze the end of the straw to remove the cherry stem, core, and pit. 
Repeat process.

This method works very well. It doesn't take long to work through a bowl of cherries. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Katrina's Musings- Resource Musings (05/25/16)

In this "Resource Musings" post I'll share with you my current favorite podcasts. No more iPod for me, now it's all on my smart phone. Makes things very handy.

Here's my current podcast list: 

The Christian Worldview - a weekly podcast with host David Wheaton

Revive Our Hearts- a daily podcast (5 days a week) with host Nancy DeMoss Wogelmuth-from the Revive our Hearts daily radio program

Wretched Radio-a daily podcast (5 days a week) with host Todd Friel

Bible Baptist Church-a thrice a week podcast of my church's Sunday School hour, worship service, and Wednesday evening service. 

The Village Church-A weekly podcast from the ministry of The Village Church in the Dallas/Fortworth Texas area.

Truth in Love-A weekly podcast with host Heath Lambert, president of The Association of Certified Biblical Counselors. 

VOM Radio-A biweekly podcast from the Voice of the Martyrs ministry.

The Art and Business of Public Speaking a weekly podcast with host Ken Davis.

The Daren Streblow Comedy Show mini-cast-a weekly podcast with host Daren Streblow. 

That's my list. I'll share more about what I like about each podcast in future "Resource Musings" posts.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Book Musings (Do More Better) Part 6

Do More BetterT.

To see all my posts on this particular book go to the "Labels" section of this blog on the sidebar menu and click on "Do More Better".

In my review of Do More Better by Tim Challies, so far, I've worked through the book chapter by chapter and given my thoughts and shared some of my examples. Chapters 5-8 are about the tools you can use to carry out the foundation you set in chapters 1-4. Truthfully, the author lost me a bit in these chapters. It's not that I lost interest, I had a hard time following the information.
All of the tools that he recommended are electronic tools that required set up. The concepts were also new to me. He recommended a tool to manage your tasks, a tool to manage your calendar, and a tool to manage your information.

The tool recommended for task management is Todoist.
The tool recommended for information management is Evernote.
The tool recommended for calendar management is Google Calendar.

All the above-mentioned tools are free tools, and they are useful tools. The author walks the reader through his own personal system for each tool. I had to go very slowly through this section. I eventually mastered the setup as proposed by the author and later was able to make it my own. This part of the productivity plan is still a work in progress for me. The tool I have enjoyed the most, to my surprise, has been Google Calendar. I've found that having an app on my phone that allows me to manage my calendar is very useful. I'm remembering more appointments and birthdays now.

Chapters 9 and 10 walk the reader through living the productivity system you set up and maintaining it. This section is very well thought out.

All in all, I'm more productive for having read the book, and I definitely have a better idea of why I want to be productive in the first place. I didn't connect with all of the information in the book, however. I feel the "tools" section is geared specifically toward a man in his 40's who is math-minded, results driven, and very technologically savvy, and none of those qualifications do I possess (okay, except the 40's part). That being said, this book is well worth the read, and I hope you will do so.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Book Musings (Do More Better) Mission Statements (Employment)

I'm continuing to work through my experience with reading Do More Better by Tim Challies. To see the rest of the posts on this subject, go to the Labels section on the side bar men of this blog and click on the label "Do More Better". Currently, I'm working through chapter 4 and posting my mission statements for each area of life.

5. Area of Responsibility: Employment

Mission Statement: To bring glory to God while serving Him at MCN. I will seek to accomplish this through earnest prayer, diligent preparation, and dying to my own selfishness. 

Explanation: I wrote this mission statement for work a few years ago. I have it framed and displayed on my desk. I read it often to remind myself of my purpose at work; it's about so much more than a paycheck. 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Book Musings (Do More Better) Mission Statements (Church)

I'm continuing to work through my experience with reading Do More Better by Tim Challies. To see the rest of the posts on this subject, go to the Labels section on the side bar men of this blog and click on the label "Do More Better". Currently, I'm working through chapter 4 and posting my mission statements for each area of life.

4. Area of Responsibility: Church

Mission Statement: To love and serve the people of  Bible Baptist Church as we walk side by side in our Christian walk. To glorify God in my opportunities to lead and teach the women and young people of the church.

Explanation: I think the first part of the statement explains itself. As to the second part of the statement, I believe God has given me many formal and informal opportunities to lead and teach the women and young people of our church (from friendships to assisting with women's leadership to teaching classes to mentoring and discipling others), and I believe it brings glory to God to take these roles seriously and do them well. 

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Book Musings (Do More Better) Mission Statements (Relationships)

I'm continuing to work through my experience with reading Do More Better by Tim Challies. To see the rest of the posts on this subject, go to the Labels section on the side bar menu of this blog and click on the label "Do More Better". Currently, I'm working through chapter 4 and posting my mission statements for each area of life.

3. Area of Responsibility: Relationships

Mission Statement: To view every relationship in my life (whether temporary or permanent) as God-given entities and to maintain those relationships as a way to glorify God and do good to others. 

Explanation: It might seem like a contradiction to say "whether temporary or permanent" and then to say "to maintain those relationships". Let me explain. I once heard this statement said about relationships and have found it to be true in life: "Some relationships in life are for a reason, some are for a season, and some are for a lifetime." Sometimes you meet people and they are in your life for a very specific reason (example: a doctor who cares for you during a medical experience, the boss at your job during your time of employment, etc.). Sometimes you meet people and they are in your life during a specific season of time (while you lived in that state, while you attended that conference, while took that class, etc.), Sometimes you meet people and they are in your life for a lifetime (relatives, good friends, church members, etc). All meeting of people forms a relationship. It might be a 5-minute relationship or it might be a 40-year relationship or somewhere in between. No relationship is accidental. All relationships are brought into our lives by God. All relationships have purpose and function, whether permanent or temporary. I want to view all relationships God brings into my life as worthy of spending time on them, as a way to make God known and glorify Him, and as an opportunity to do good to others.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Book Musings (Do More Better) Mission Statements (Household Management)

I'm continuing to work through my experience with reading Do More Better by Tim Challies. To see the rest of the posts on this subject, go to the Labels section on the side bar men of this blog and click on the label "Do More Better". Currently, I'm working through chapter 4 and posting my mission statements for each area of life.

2. Area of Responsibility: Household Management

Mission Statement: To maintain a household that glorifies God both in purpo se and function. 

Explanation: Glorify God in purpose: My goal here is to have my public self match my home self. My aim is to honor God in the words spoken in my home and in the actions taken toward others who live in that home with me and those who enter it. Glorify God in function: My goal here is to maintain a house that prepares my family to enter the outside world, one where our minds can focus on God and not clutter (working on this one), one where more time is spent thinking about who God is than thinking about "Where are my car keys?", one where more time is spent preparing for an eternity of praising God with others than time is spent maintaining our earthly possessions.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Book Musings (Do More Better) Mission Statements (Personal)

In this post, I'm continuing to work through my experience with reading Do More Better by Tim Challies. This is a book on the subject of productivity done to the glory of God. To see the rest of the posts on this subject, go to the Labels section on the side bar men of this blog and click on the label "Do More Better". In chapter 3, the author calls the reader to define your roles and responsibilities in life. Click here to see what I came up with. In chapter 4, the author calls the reader to "state your mission" for each area, complete with a written mission statement for each. Mission statements can be scary and daunting, but Tim Challies did give some guidelines and some examples, so do show that this is a doable assignment and a useful one, I'll spend the next several posts going through the mission statements I came up with for each area and explaining them a bit.

1. Area of Responsibility: Personal

Mission Statement: To love God with my heart, soul, mind, and strength, to bring Him glory and make Him known in all that I do. 

Explanation: I made this statement short and succinct because I know exactly what it means when I read it, but if I were going to write it in a way that would explain it, it would go like this:

To love God with my heart (the seat of my emotions, the core of who I am), with my soul (in the power of the Holy Spirit), with my mind (with my intellect, in a thoughtful and knowledgeable way and with continual study of God's Word), and with my strength (with my physical body and all that it takes to keep this body physically fit and capable of serving God full speed ahead until the day I die). To make bring Him glory and make Him known (to be evangelistic in my daily pursuits, sharing the gospel message with others and bringing glory to God--spreading His fame and giving Him credit) in all that I do.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Book Musings (Do More Better) Part 5

Do More Better
This post will cover chapter 4 of Tim Challies' book Do More Better on the subject of productivity. To see the previous posts on this subject check out the Labels section on the side bar menu of this blog, and click on the "Do More Better" label.

Chapter 4 is titled "State Your Mission", and this chapter walks the reader through defining a mission statement for each previously identified area of responsibility. The mission statements are not meant to be "fixed and unchanging" but rather "living" statements that can grow and change over time as life takes its course. I understand this concept because I have had a personal mission statement for my job for several years now, and I have tweaked it over time as I have grown and my job has grown.

In this chapter, Tim Challies gives a few examples of his personal mission statements for some of his areas of responsibility and then gives explanation for them. I'll share one example with you from the book, and over the next few posts, I'll share my own mission statements for each area of responsibility and some of my reasoning behind them.

Here's one of Tim Challies' examples from Chapter 4, "State Your Mission":

Area of Responsibility: Personal

Mission Statement: "Delight in God to the glory of God for the good of all people."

Explanation: "I believe that if I am delighting in God, my delight brings glory to God and overflows into doing good for other people. I am a better father, a better husband, a better pastor, and a better neighbor when I am finding my delight in the Lord. In short, I am at my most productive when I am most delighting in God." --Tim Challies

Stay tuned in the days ahead for my own mission statements for each area of responsibility.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Cookie Baking Night

Tonight was Cookie Baking Night. In attendance this evening: Emily, Alli, and Rylar. Tonight we made strawberry-rhubarb crisp.

First, we had to pick the rhubarb, so we headed to the backyard. Rhubarb grows best in an area where it's shady and wet. We've had a lot of cloudy, rainy days lately, so the rhubarb is perfect for the picking.

This is the first time the youngest ones have picked the rhubarb. Rylar was a little skeptical about it. When I told him we were going to use it in our dessert, he said, "That doesn't look like something you can eat." He sure did enjoy the process of picking it though. 

We brought it in the house and cut it and cleaned it up.

Then we added a few strawberries and some sugar and added a topping and it was ready to bake. 

We spent most of our time tonight picking rhubarb and preparing the dessert, but we did have enough time for our Bible time. Tonight we read lesson 30 from Leading Little Ones to God by Marian Schoolland. It was titled "God's Angels Watch Over Us" which brought us through the story of Daniel in the Lion's Den.And we also read the lesson from Daniel 6:16-23 in the Bible. We talked about how much Daniel trusted God and how he refused to bow down to anyone else even if it meant he would be thrown into a den of hungry lions. God sent His angels to protect him. God is trustworthy and worthy of praise. 

Another Cookie Baking Night has come and gone,. As usual, a fun time was had by all. 

Here's my standard strawberry-rhubarb crisp recipe

3 cups chopped rhubarb
3 cups strawberries (frozen or fresh)
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla (or flavored liqueur or flavor extract of choice)

Place fruit, sugar, and extract in 9x13 inch pain and toss together until coated.

1 pkg oatmeal cookie mix (dry)
 1 stick (1/2 cup) softened butter

Mix together topping until crumbly and sprinkle generously over fruit mixture until it is completely covered. 
Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until topping is golden brown and fruit mixture bubbles up on the sides. 

Serve warm with vanilla or strawberry ice cream on top


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Book Musings (Do More Better) Part 4

Do More Better

I'm continuing with my feedback on Do More Better by Tim Challies. You can read part 3 by clicking here. In this post I'll discuss chapter 3 titled "Define Your Responsibilities". I felt this chapter was particularly helpful. The author calls the reader to define your areas of responsibility in life by asking yourself these questions:

  1. What is it that the Lord has entrusted to you?
  2. What has He made you responsible for?
  3. If the master gave talents to his servants and demanded an accounting (Matthew 25:19-26), what has God given to you, and where will he demand an accounting?
He encourages the reader to "have every one of life's responsibilities encompassed by a category, yet with as few categories as possible'". He recommends limiting the categories to five or six (with no more than nine). 

He gave this example of how he structured his own categories:
  • Personal 
  • Family
  • Church
  • Social 
  • Business
I divided my categories this way:
  • Personal
  • Relationships
  • Household Management
  • Church
  • Employment

The author then asks the reader to "bring greater definition" to each area of responsibility by listing the roles, tasks, or projects that fall under each with the encouragement to write down all that comes to mind but not to be concerned if you miss some because you can add to the list later on. Here are some examples I came up with:

  • Spiritual Health
  • Personal Fitness
  • Reading
Household Management
  • Meal Planning
  • Grocery Shopping
  • Calendar Keeping
  • Care Giving
  • Cooking
  • Housecleaning
  • Organizing
  • Wife
  • Daughter (Care Giver)
  • Sister
  • Aunt (Cookie Baking Nights)
  • Friend
  • Mentor
  • Coworker
  • MCN Employee
  • Training Coordinator
  • Transcription Coordinator
  • Church family member/friend/mentor
  • Counting Assistant
  • Women's Ministry Assistant Leader. 
  • Nursery Worker
  • Church Cleaner
I found this exercise very helpful to have my responsibilities and roles defined in black and white rather than continually guessing in my mind what I have to do and always feeling like I'm missing something. Tim Challies did a great job of giving examples from his own life and even providing a productivity worksheet on his website Do More Better. If you're interested in doing this for yourself, I highly recommend reading chapters 1-3 in this book and working through the process systematically. It's definitely worth the effort. 

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Book Musings (Do More Better) Pt 3

Do More Better
I'm continuing on with sharing what I've learned from the book Do More Better by Tim Challies. You can read part 1 here and part 2 here.

Chapter 2 discusses three productivity thieves: 1. laziness 2. busyness 3. Thorns and thistles.

Both laziness and busyness are okay and even revered in our society today. We no longer feel ashamed about being lazy. We say without apology:"I knew I should do it but I was just too lazy." or "I just had a lazy day today." Even Christians adopt these phrases knowing that the Bible repeatedly warns us to guard against laziness. And busyness is the catchall justifier for why we're not getting anything done. Everyone is  busy, and it's okay. Tim Challies says this about busyness in chapter 2: "our society often judges us and ranks us according to our busyness. Although we complain about being busy, we also find it validates us, as if we have only two choices before us: doing far too little or far too much. We somehow assume that our value is connected to our busyness." I could relate to both laziness and busyness being thieves of productivity and could identify it in my own life.

The author describes both busyness and laziness as "issues that arise from within. They are deficiencies in character that then work themselves out in our lives." He describes the third productivity thief, thorns and thistles, as "challenges that come for outside ourselves" such as traffic delays, appointment delays, illness, etc. Thorns and thistles may be those obstacles in our lives that we cannot control, and they impede productivity, but they are also the moments when our true character shows. I'll close this post with a quote from the author that ties up that thought in a neat little bow.

"God calls you to productivity, but he calls you to the right kind of productivity. He calls you to be productive for his sake, not your own. While this book will emphasize tools and systems and other elements of productivity, nothing is more important than your own holiness and your own godliness. No amount of organization and time management will compensate for a lack of Christian character, not when it comes to this great calling of glory through good--bringing glory to God by doing good to others."

Friday, May 13, 2016

Book Musings (Do More Better) Part 2

Do More Better
I'm checking in again about the book Do More Better by Tim Challies. You can read my last post about it here.

Here's my analysis so far. I really enjoyed chapters 1-4, got lost during chapters 5-8, and found my way again in chapters 9-10 and the two bonus chapters at the end.

The first four chapters are about knowing your purpose, defining your responsibilities, answering the call, and stating your mission. I'll spend the next few posts working through this information.

The first chapter starts with defining your purpose and laying a foundation for why we would want to be productive. The author says this: "Productivity is not what will bring purpose to your life, but what will enable you to excel in living out your existing purpose." He then works through a brief chatechism of productivity, asking and answering questions.

"Q: Why did God create you?"

"A: God created me to bring glory to him."

"Q2: How can you glorify God in your everyday life."

"A: I can glorify God in my day-to-day life by doing good works."

"Q3: What are good works?"

"A: Good works are deeds done for the glory of God and the benefit of other people."

"Q4: But you are a sinful person. Can you actually do good works?"

"A: Yes. Christians are able to do good works because of the finished work of Christ."

"Q5: In what areas of life should you emphasize good works?"

"A: I ought to emphasize good works at all times and in all areas of life."

"Q6: What is productivity?"

"A: Productivity is effectively stewarding my gifts, talents, time, energy, and enthusiasm for the good of others and the glory of God."

So the mantra of the book then becomes: "Remember your purpose. Your purpose is to glorify God and do good to others."

I could not think of a better way to open this book. With theology in place, we get to work in the chapters ahead.

Stay tuned ...

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Happy Birthday Blog!

Today this blog turns 7 years old. It's seen daily posting. It's seen weekly posting. And it's seen bi-monthly posting (especially lately). There have been evangelism posts, Bible reading posts, book review posts, family posts, church posts, Cookie Baking posts and more. The topics and the volume have varied but the theme has remained the same. This blog has always been about glorifying God and making Him known, and I think a great canvas for showcasing that is blogging through the ordinariness of everyday life.

To celebrate these 7 years of blogging, I will return to daily blogging for the next year (as long as the Lord allows it). Much has happened around here in the last year and little has been written about it. It's time to write and process and give thanks to the Lord for His goodness and mercy.

Stay tuned friends, there is much blogging ahead.

For now I say, Happy Birthday, little blog. I'm glad to know you.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Cookie Baking Night 05/02/16

Tonight was Cookie Baking Night. In attendance this evening: Emily, Ethan, Carissa, Alli, and Rylar.

Tonight, the action started right away. For supper, we had french bread pizza (sliced french bread, pizza sauce, toppings, bake at 350 degrees about 10 minutes, until cheese is melted). Everyone had the opportunity to make their own and choose their own toppings. It was a hit. 

For our cookie tonight, we made M&M cookies with white chocolate chips. 

The secret to M&M cookies is to skip putting any M&Ms in the batter. Put all the M&Ms on the outside of the cookie. That way they remain visible and they don't bake into the batter. My secret recipe for M&M cookie dough, a package of sugar cookie mix. 

After a lively Bible time (Leading Little Ones to God), we went for a walk. It was a beautiful night and we had some energy to burn off. 

As usual, a fun time was had by all. 

Cookie Baking Night 06/25/18

Tonight was Cookie Baking Night. In attendance this evening: Ethan, Carissa, and Enzo (Allison and Rylar were attending a birthday party els...