Sunday, July 26, 2020

Screen Time

I think 2020 has easily seen the most screen time this world has ever known. With the quarantines and work from home requirements, technology has stepped in to save the day...but has it really saved it? What has been the cost?

I find it interesting that the smart phones, which are the serious time suckers themselves, are the ones with "screen time reminders." They keep track of our usage and limits can be set to monitor the amount. Do you ever stop and look at how many hours a week are spent on your phone? Outside of what work requires of you, how much of your life is being stolen by screens? 

I am not against technology in the least, and am the first to take advantage of it. For one, I would not even have my self-employment if it were not for technology and e-commerce. Yet, do you ever notice the difference when a phone is not present in the room? I think it's good to revaluate how much we make our phones our priority. Sure they are the means to connect us to other people, but do we really want to spend the majority of our lives glued to a screen?

Think of all the amazing things we miss when phones take over. The average person picks up their phone 150 times a day, while on average a person only laughs 15 times a day...why is there such a big difference? Do our phones really make us happier? Another stat claims the average person will spend 5 years of their life on social media...five years...

"All things in moderation." It is good to set limits. Try cutting your screen time by at least 30% and see what your life looks like. You might surprise yourself at how much more is out there.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Peach Pie

Last year I got all of 6 peaches from my peach tree...but this year it was easily over 200! So...besides randomly sharing bags of peaches with friends and family, I attempted peach cobbler, peach kuchen, and peach pie. It was quite the baking extravaganza! Here is a recipe to enjoy, which you really could do with any fruit. I've tried with blueberries or cherries (with a 21 oz can), but this was my first try with fresh fruit.

Peach Pie:

~ 1 1/2 cups of flour
~ 1/2 t salt
~ 1/2 cup butter (softened)
~ 1/4 cup water

Mix ingredients with a fork and roll out two round circles for pie crust (or get creative with a lattice top!)

~ 7-10 large peaches sliced in 8 (I actually used 20 little ones from my tree!)
~ * OR one 21 oz canned fruit *
~ 1/2 cup brown sugar
~ 1/4 t vanilla
~ 1/4 t salt

Coat fruit with sugar, salt, and vanilla and pour on top of bottom layer of crust in a 9" pie pan. Cover the fruit with the second layer of crust and slice a few air holes. Bake at 375 degrees F. With fresh fruit it only took 45 minutes, but with canned it usually takes closer to 60 minutes. Serves eight!

Sunday, July 12, 2020

At the Crossroads

Life is full of them. They stare you down, challenging you to choose. Giving you two perfectly good options to start at, but not telling you where they end up. There are infinite possibilities in either direction and you can't go both ways. You have to give up one chance for the chance at the other. How do you turn?

If I had the answer to this question, I wouldn't be writing this blog post. It is something only God can know. We are presented with countless decisions every day, some more important than others. Oftentimes there are no wrong choices, and others are black and white. I think this is where trust comes in. We pray, we deliberate, we choose, and we hope for the best! I am a firm believer in "gut feelings." Maybe there really is nothing to that. It could just be an old wive's tale. Yet frequently we do have an instinctive reaction to situations that maybe should not be ignored.

It is always the hindsight that reveals the most. When we do take a direction and get to the end and look back, then things have more clarity. Maybe they still don't make sense, but usually there is a lesson we gained from the experience. Life lessons are invaluable. Our experiences show where we've been and who we've become. No matter what the crossroads present to us, it is the person who is walking that road. The value is in the one walking it, whether they are walking a hard or easy road at the time.

When we find ourselves at a major crossroads, I think the question that matters most is which road is drawing me in a peaceful, positive, and happy direction that will serve God and others, which may be challenging, but rewarding at the same time? If it's a road that leads in that direction we cannot choose the wrong path.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Getting Ahead

Mark Twain said, "The secret to getting ahead is getting started." I think what sometimes prevents us from accomplishing things is that we focus too much on the end result or the long road to get there. Anything good that happens started with a small beginning. A brick house with the first brick, a road with the first pour of asphalt, a person from a tiny place in a mother's womb. It is getting started that sometimes requires the most courage, but once it gets going, the grace is there.

It's funny....the things we feared often never happen and the things we expect to go well often go awry. This means, while it is good to plan, we have to be open to life just happening, for those can bring about some of the greatest gifts. Who would want to live in a world with no surprises? That would be extremely boring. Our favorite stories are the ones that we could not predict and that twisted along the road to bring a satisfactory conclusion. The way to get ahead is by taking the first step. 

First steps can be terrifying...but also exhilarating. Life becomes a great adventure and as one friend once told me "life is a canvas to paint on not a tightrope to walk on." I think what we will regret most at the end of our days is not areas where we might have failed, but all the moments that we didn't try or didn't take a leap of faith. You don't want to always wonder what something would have been like if only you had taken the first step. 

If there is something in your life that you have been pushing away, but feel really drawn to do, then muster up courage and go for it. It's the unknown that holds the most opportunity for possibility.