Monday, June 20, 2011

Home Brew: Take One

D and I decided to try home brewing. He ordered a kit online and our first batch of beer is "Old School IPA" from Austin Homebrew Supply.

D setting up the supplies... assembly line fashion...

HOPS! (Adds that bitter flavor we love.)


Heating water to 155 degrees...

D adding the grains...

Soaking the grains.

D pouring in the malt extract...

Hops. Yummy hops!

(Hops are the tasty flowers that add flavor to beer.)

Asher peeks in at the process after asking, "What's that smell?"

At this point, we're hoping our home brew is going to taste something like these taste...

Drinking and brewing.

D calls for more advice from his buddy.

The yeast.

Watching the timer...

Taking my turn bottling our brew!

Four weeks to wait... hope it's delicious!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Who's your daddy?

My Daddy has always been there for me. In a quiet and unassuming way...

Anyone who knows my dad knows he is a man of few words. He gave me one consistent word of advice growing up... marry in the Lord. Our family read the Bible almost every evening while I was young. It was during this time Daddy would give us life advice.

He not only spoke words of advice to us... he lived the words he spoke. My dad was an accountant. I heard him complain a few times about some of the people he worked with and it was usually about their smoking habits. (Remember, people used to smoke at their desk.) Dad had signs on his door and in his office regarding smoking. I remember his "Smoke Free Zone" sign on his office door. I remember Dad always going to work... he was never out of a job. He never complained about providing for his family.

Dad was also faithful to my mother. He spoke like a "male chauvinist" at times but his actions told a different story. (I now realize he was picking at us. It was his way of having fun in a female-dominated household.) Dad and Mom were always working on some project around our house and 20 acres. My mother would ride on the tractor with my dad while he cultivated the garden or bush-hogged the field. She didn't have to be there... but she knew he liked it. I now realize these were "dates." They were always hugging and kissing each other (at my mother's insistence)... even in front of our friends. I found it embarrassing at the time but now I realize the importance of their displays of affection. It was showing me a healthy and happy marriage.

Dad was always a "wanna be" farmer. He grew a huge garden every summer. We even had a cantaloupe patch for a few years. Our work in planting, picking, and selling the cantaloupes resulted in a swimming pool. I remember complaining about the "dumb cantaloupes" when I was a kid, but now I see what Dad was teaching us. He was showing us how to work and reach a goal. He was showing me the rewards of labor.

My dad is a man of many talents yet he is not proud or boasting about them. He never played softball while I was growing up. His last season was the summer before I was born. He began playing softball again a few years ago. (I think it was after my youngest sister was married.) I see now how much he loves it. It must have been a sacrifice for him not to play for 30+ years. His softball team won the "65 and Older" National Softball Championship last summer and he was named MVP.

Daddy not only "talked the talk" but he "walked the walk" of a Christ-centered life. He showed me the benefits of a quiet and unassuming life. Peace. Enduring love. And, honor. The honor of his children, his wife, and his friends. The honor of a life well-lived.

I love you, Dad. Happy Father's Day!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Summertime is...

I have seriously been considering getting back into speech pathology lately. Nothing full time... just enough hours a week to feel like I'm "working." 
My doubts about getting a "real job" are always my children. I will only work during school hours... but, what if one of them gets sick? Or wants me to go on a field trip with them?
In photography, weddings are a great source of income. I dabbled last summer and the feedback from my clients told me I could pursue this genre of photography. When I considered this type of work, I always came back to my children. How many soccer games, recitals, or swim meets would I miss? How many beautiful weekends with my family would I give up for some quick cash? 
I am blessed beyond measure. My husband has a great job and I am able to "stay home" with no worries about money. Could we have more stuff if I worked (for money)? Yes! Could we be more "financially secure?" Possibly. 
I have discussed this feeling of wanting to be employed again with my husband. When I asked D what he thought about me getting a job as a speech pathologist, he really surprised me with his answer. 
He said it was his honor and privilege to be so blessed in his work that his wife could stay home. He told me he loves that I am home to take care of the children and to enjoy the freedom of a few hours each day to reach my fitness goals, read, write, volunteer, and dabble in whatever hobby I am interested in at the moment. 
In that statement, he expressed my value. He didn't see dollar signs. He didn't see meals cooked, clothes washed, and house cleaned. He saw me. He knows what I accomplish during a day. And, he knows what I dream of accomplishing during a lifetime. 
I am so blessed. I am so loved. I am so valued. I am so grateful.
Who knows what I will decide...
I am just taking this summer to enjoy my children... to revel in what summertime is...

And, sometimes... it's pancakes for lunch!