I Throw Like a Girl

Many years ago, when I was 24 years

Posted by Carol on June 1, 2013

Many years ago, when I was 24 years old, God used an orange Volkswagen Rabbit, a sporty red Audi, and a toll-taker to teach me a valuable lesson that I’ve carried with me to this day.

My husband and I had been married a few years and, like many newly married couples, we had no money.  I was driving the ugliest car on earth, an orange Volkswagen Rabbit.

There are several reasons why this car was the ugliest car on earth. Reason one – it was orange, my least favorite color. Not just my least favorite, but the color I detest the most.  The color orange offends my eyes. 

Secondly, it was ugly because it was old, and rusting and falling apart. So much so, that when it rained, water collected in the hatchback. And I don’t remember the interior being much to look at either.

But it was transportation. And it got me back and forth to work each day.  At that time, I was working with my mother and step-father at their medical practice. Every day when I drove to work, I had to pay a toll to cross the Charter Oak Bridge in E. Hartford, CT. Every day, as I approached the toll, I would pull all the way over to the toll booth at the far right.  The center ones always had the longest lines and I wanted to avoid all that.  Every day, I would give my pre-paid toll ticket to the same ticket taker in the booth all the way to the right. And every day it was me in my ugly-as-sin old beat up orange Volkswagen Rabbit. And every day, the toll taker would not say a word to me or even look my way. He would just take my ticket.

That is until one day, my ugly orange Volkswagen Rabbit stopped working and had to go to the shop. Since my husband and I had very little money, we couldn’t afford for me to miss work on top of having a car repair bill.  Also, my mother and step-father liked having me in the office to get things done. They liked being able to go to lunch together while I was in the office, answering phones and being there in case any afternoon patients showed up early. 

So, it was a win-win scenario for my mother and step-father to let me drive one of their cars until my ugly orange car got fixed. I don’t know why, but the car they chose to let me borrow was a sporty, not orange, but cherry-red newer model Audi.  It definitely was a giant step up from my ugly old car.

The next day, I got ready for work as usual, got in the cherry-red Audi and headed to the office.  And as usual, I pulled all the way to the toll booth to the right to give the toll taker my ticket. But, not as usual, the toll taker didn’t ignore me. That day, he decided to say, “Well, hellloooooo!”

The exchange literally took seconds. I handed him my ticket and he said hello. But that exchange taught me a valuable lesson. Because his greeting that day made me very angry.

It made me angry because suddenly , I was worthy of his hello. It was still me driving through the toll booth, handing him my ticket. The only difference was that day, I was driving a cherry-red Audi instead of an ugly orange Rabbit. The drastic change in my vehicle somehow had increased my value in his eyes.

But my value, and yours, is not derived from the kind of car we drive, the house we live in, or the price of the clothes we wear. Our value is derived from who we are in the eyes of God. We are His creation and He is crazy in love with His children. Brennan Manning put it this way, “Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. This is the true self. Every other identity is illusion.”

I’m not sure why anger was the emotion that “hello” stirred in me that day. It just felt so wrong to me that the car I was in somehow made me better in the toll taker’s eyes. I still bristle inside to this day when I feel pressure to “be” or “do” something because it might make someone think better of me.

I know of a couple who once owned a financial planning business. When they first started out, they decorated their office as best they could. And knowing this couple the way I do, I’m sure the office looked just fine.

 One day, a well-dressed man walked into the office. The wife, who was the receptionist, asked, “May I help you?”

“No, thanks,” said the gentleman, “I’m just looking around.” 

And after he examined every piece of furniture and picture on the wall, he walked out. The couple assumed that because their office wasn’t decorated grandly enough, he didn’t think they were successful enough to handle his finances.

(That was a big assumption; he could have just been a weirdo.)

So, trying to make the “right” impression on future potential clients, the couple spent thousands and thousands of dollars redecorating their office.

That story makes me cringe.

I am a real estate agent. I have to prospect for new clients all the time. If I had to spend thousands of dollars to impress someone with my “success”, then that person just isn’t meant to be my client.

Gary Keller (co-founder of Keller Williams real estate) put it perfectly at our last convention when he was encouraging agents not to go into debt to build their businesses. He was talking about buying a sensible car for our real estate business. Gary said that many agents feel they have to drive an expensive or fancy car to impress their clients. He hit a home run with me when he said, “If a client is judging your ability as a real estate agent based on the car you drive, you have an idiot for a client.”

Ouch!

“Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. This is the true self. Every other identity is illusion.”

So it is an illusion when we think we are more, or better, or successful because of “things” – things we wear or drive or own. Our value, our only value, comes from the value God places on us. This goes totally against what society tells us. The world tells us to amass “stuff” and the more stuff we get will make us happy and important.

Dave Ramsey says in his Financial Peace class, “We buy cars we can’t afford to impress people we’ll never see again at red lights.”

Hmmm…

“Define yourself radically as one beloved by God…”

Now that my husband and I have been married for nearly 27 years and have had job promotions and salary increases – and yes, have amassed more “stuff”, I ask God to always help me remember to be defined by who I am in His eyes and not by anything else that doesn’t really matter anyway.

 

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No Worry Zone

Posted by Carol on January 19, 2013

This past summer, I had a breast biopsy.

And I know when doctors want to do biopsies, they are usually looking for something, and that something usually means more surgeries, possible chemotherapy, radiation, pain, and, in worse case scenarios, death.

So, when my doctor wanted to do a biopsy (after 6 months prior telling me everything was fine) a chord of fear ran through me. For a few days, I was shaken and I could feel worry beginning to set into my heart.

I have a confession to make here.  I’m a glass half full type person. I usually have a very positive, optimistic outlook on life. So this uneasiness and worry in my heart wasn’t setting well with me. I didn’t like it at all and I could tell that worry was not going to be my friend.

It’s at times like this that we have a decision to make. Are we going to give in to fear and worry, or are we going to trust God and obey His command to Fear Not? Matthew 10:28 “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul”.

I firmly believe to not fear and worry is a choice. Sometimes a choice we have to make hour by hour or even minute to minute. But the choice is ours and it is a matter of the will.

So this summer when I found out I needed a breast biopsy, after a few days of feeling sorry for myself, I made a choice. I chose that by God’s grace, I would not worry.  Yes, I would pray (a lot) and try to make wise decisions about my health care, but I would choose not to fear.

Worry is a waste of time. It doesn’t help and as a matter of fact, it can hurt. There are numerous studies that show the negative impact stress has on our health and life. So, it’s safe to say that God has our best interests in mind when He tells us not to worry.

Here’s how I tried to look at it.

By the time the doctor decided she wanted to do a biopsy, I either had breast cancer or I didn’t and worrying was not going to change that. But praying could, so whenever I felt fear creeping in to my heart, I used it as a reminder to pray about the situation.  Here’s what I prayed, “Lord, if it is Your will, please let this be nothing. But, if You choose to allow me to have cancer, please give me the grace and faith to handle it in a way that brings glory to You”.

So, in the days between the doctor ordering the biopsy and the procedure itself, I figured that if I don’t have cancer, I will be kicking myself for worrying for nothing and ruining perfectly good days with worry. So I didn’t worry.

And if I did have cancer, I would be wasting my last few days of ignorant bliss by worrying. So I didn’t worry. There would be plenty of time after the biopsy to figure out treatment courses, schedule surgeries and chemo if need be.

Another thing I do when I feel fear creeping in about any situation I may be facing is to think about what the worse case scenario might be and make peace with it.

In this case, the worst possible outcome might be death. But here’s the kicker – for a Christian, that’s not such a bad outcome. When I die, I will be in Heaven. No more pain, no more tears, no taxes, stress or heartbreak. I will be with Jesus, and eventually my family will join me there for all eternity. Yes, I would hate to leave my husband and children early, and I would not want them to suffer the loss of a wife and mother. But as for me, I would be getting a pretty good deal.

I have found in my 48 years here on earth, that 95% of things I worry about never happen. And of the 5% that do happen, it’s not as bad as I anticipated. And that was the case with my breast biopsy. I did not have breast cancer, just “complicated breasts”. LOL

I don’t know why God chose to spare me from the challenge of breast cancer, but I am thankful He did and thankful that He used it as an opportunity to teach me how to battle worry.

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A Peek at The Peak

Posted by Carol on April 4, 2011

Every day when I leave my neighborhood, I see this gorgeous view of Pikes Peak:

Pikes Peak

And every time I see it, I am amazed at its beauty.

One day as I was being amazed at the beauty of Pikes Peak, I thought to myself, “I should take a picture of this every day and post it on my blog so everyone can enjoy it as much as I do”.

So the next day, I took this picture:

Pikes Peak (again)

And the day after that, I took this picture:

Pikes Peak (yet again)

And I realized that Pikes Peak pretty much looks the same everyday, give or take some snow. And clouds. And sunshine. Which I guess is what makes it look so amazing every time I see it.

It’s something I’ll never get tired of looking at.

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Door To Door Organics

Posted by Carol on January 12, 2011

I have always heard that organic fruits and veggies were better for you than conventional produce. The pesticides and chemical fertilizers used were cancer hazards. And then add GMO’s to the mix, and eating produce was a potential mine field for your health.

Yeah, I had heard all that, but didn’t pay much attention. The whole thing was very overwhelming to me and once in a while I would stumble across an article that would say it didn’t really make that much of a difference.  That would calm my worries for a time.

But every so often, I’d get a nagging feeling that there really was something to the idea that organic fruits and veggies were better for my family. You could say I had just enough information to be dangerous. I didn’t really know what I was looking for, yet didn’t know what I didn’t know.

One day, I drove past an organic farm not too far from our house in New Jersey. I saw that the farmer had set up a stand and was selling ears of organic corn.  Organic or not, farm stand corn is one of the joys of summer. I slammed on my brakes, tires squealing, and did a u-turn Miami Vice-style and pulled up to the stand.  I bought a dozen ears of the organic farm stand corn, feeling very proud of myself for my healthy, yet delicious find.

You can imagine my disappointment when I grabbed the first ear to husk for dinner and discovered a little tiny worm had helped himself to some of the corn. I tried the second, third, fourth ear and sure enough, each had its own little visitor. All twelve of my organic ears of corn had worms still aboard when I brought them home.

I am not scared of spiders or most other insects. However, the ONE creepy crawly that gives me the heebie geebies is the lowly worm. I HATE worms and caterpillars. I’m not too fond of butterflies, either,  because they used to be caterpillars.

I’ll pass on the organic worms and take an extra helping of chemicals, please.

That experience killed any interest I had in organic produce. If eating organic meant I had to deal with bugs in my food, I’ll take my chances.  Thankyouverymuch.

While I felt organic veggies were dead to me, I still had an interest in healthy eating and I recently read two books that have changed the way I think about food.  They are “Real Food” by Nina Planck and “In Defense of Food” by Michael Pollan. I don’t want to get into the books here, but the gist of both of them is that organic is the bare minimum standard for our fruits, veggies, and meat to maintain our health.

So, I’ve bitten the worm bullet and given organic fruits and vegetables another chance.

And, as luck would have it, I recently discovered a cool company to help me in my organic pursuits.  It is Door To Door Organics. Every week, they deliver a box full of organic produce right to my front door. I get to choose the size of the box as well as the contents. I haven’t done a head to head comparision between Door To Door and my local grocery store or Whole Foods, but someone else did.  The results were that the same produce bought at Whole Foods were more expensive and the variety was better through Door To Door.  Since my local King Soopers has a miniscule organic section, Door To Door is the clear winner there, too.

And, so far, no insects.  Bonus!

Door to Door Organics did not ask me to write this post. I use them and enjoy their service and I wanted to share it with you here for Works For Me Wednesday.

Door to Door Organics is available in several locations around the country. Check the website to see if they will deliver to you!

Posted in fyi, wfmw | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

And They’re Off!

Posted by Carol on January 5, 2011

Alternate title:  Bye, Bye, Love!

I think I am beauty-product challenged. Let me explain.

We had two weddings, two weekends in a row back at the end of September. I conveniently used the excuse of having to be all fancy for the weddings to justify getting acrylic nails.

Then I used the excuse of looking professional to keep them.

See -

Before

Although I never realized that my pointer finger nail was so crooked, I loved my acrylic nails. I loved everything about them. I loved how they look, I loved how they felt, I loved how strong they were.

But, I’ve had to say goodbye to my new love.

It turns out I am allergic to the acrylic.  Everytime I would go for a fill, my fingers would itch from the bottom of the nail to my first knuckle for 2-3 days. I mentioned this to the nail tech and she compassionately said, “You’ll get used to it.”

Well, I never “got used to it”.

I posted my plight on Facebook, and one of my friends (who owns her own salon in Indiana) diagnosed my condition as contact dematitis. She also told me that I should go with either silk or gel nails.

That is a really great plan, however, my husband and I have also decided that 2011 is the “year of no spending”.  Our goal is to pay down our mortgage as much as possible. So, we are cutting back on everything but the essentials.

Unfortunately, acrylic nails are a non-essential.

However, God knew what He was doing by striking me with contact dermatitis. He knew I was being sorely tempted to keep my nails (that I loved SOOO much) as a businiess expense. It would have been so easy to just keep on going every two weeks for my fills at a cost of about $25 per visit.

But when I actually had to make the decision to get the acrylics off and put silks or gels on, I knew what the right thing to do was.

And off my beloved nails went.

After

Sigh.

And to add insult to injury, I also had a reaction to my new lip stain.

A few weeks ago, my beautiful sister-in-law and I were Christmas shopping for our daughters at Ulta. And as women often do in beauty supply stores, we each bought ourselves a new lip stain.

Although I loved my acrylic nails more, I was growing fond of the new lip stain, too. Then one day I woke up and my lips were hurting. Hurting like they were severely chapped. Which would make sense living in a dry climate such as Colorado.  But it didn’t make sense because when you live in a dry climate like Colorado, you quickly learn that lip balm is your best friend 24/7.  There was no way that my lips were simply chapped.

Over the course of the next few days, the entire top layer of my lips peeled off and were very sensitive to spicy food. Because of all the peeling, I didn’t use much of anything but lip balm on my lips.

I was puzzled over the mystery of the peeling lips.

Once all the peeling was done, which left my lips incredibly soft, BTW, I started using my new lip stain again.

And the peeling started all over again. At this rate I will be completely lip-less for the new year. So, bye, bye, Lip Stain.

I know all this is not exactly earth-shattering or life-changing news, but the older I get, the more I need to rely on beauty products to hold myself together. At 46, this is not a great time in my life to become beauty product challenged.

I think the safest way for me to go is to become Amish.

You can see more of what doesn’t work well today at We are THAT Family.

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Pumpkin Roll Recipe

Posted by Carol on December 18, 2010

Since I have only written four posts in all of 2010, when Kristen at We Are THAT Family asked us to re-post our favorite for Works for Me Wednesday, I didn’t have a whole lot to choose from. So, as I attempt to resurrect my blog writing, I thought it would be nice to share a recipe with the rest of the blogosphere.  Enjoy!!
 

Pumpkin Roll

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin (canned is fine)
  • 1 8oz package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter (I use unsalted)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • extra powdered sugar to sprinkle on the towel (I’ll explain later) and for on top of the finished roll
  1. Preheat oven to 375. Line a 15×10-inch jelly roll pan, line with wax paper. Spray the wax paper with Pam.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt in a small bowl.  In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar until thick. Beat in pumkin. Stir in flour mixture. Spread evenly in prepared jelly roll pan.
  3. Bake for 13-15 minutes until the top of the cake springs back when touched. Immediately turn cake onto prepared towel (a kitchen towel sprinkled generously with powdered sugar). Carefully peel off wax paper. Roll up cake and towel together started with the narrow end. Cool on wire rack.
  4. Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla in a small bowl until smooth. Carefully, unroll cake; remove towel. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Reroll cake. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze. Defrost a few hours before serving. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired. Cut into 1/2-1-inch slices and serve.

The Cast of Characters

Mix the dry ingredients together

Mix the granulated sugar and 3 large eggs

Egg and sugar mixture

Meaure the pumpkin with one of these do-hickeys - great for measuring peanut butter, too!

Add the pumpkin to the egg and sugar mixture

Mix in the dry ingredients

Line your pan with wax paper and spray with Pam

Spread batter evenly in wax paper lined pan

Bake 12-15 minutes at 375 degrees

Meanwhile, prepare a kitchen towel by sprinkling generously with powdered sugar

Immediately after removing from oven, turn cake onto prepared towel and carefully remove wax paper

This is what happens if you forget to spray the wax paper with Pam. So don't do that!

Roll up in towel, starting at narrow end. Allow to cool completely. Trust me on this. Don't rush it.

While roll is cooling, beat together cream cheese, butter and vanilla until smooth

When COMPLETELY cool, carefully unroll from towel

Spread cream cheesy goodness evenly on roll

Roll back up again, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze. Defrost before serving.

Ok, I’m off to make at least five more of these puppies to give to neighbors and co-workers for Christmas!  Enjoy!

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Here’s What I’ve Been Up to For the Past Year

Posted by Carol on December 8, 2010

Obviously, it hasn’t been writing.

My last serious (by serious, I mean more than a few words) blog post was around this time last year. I have found that the busier I am, the harder it is for me to write even though it seems the opposite would be true. If I’m busier, it would be logical to think that I have more to write about.

However, I have found that when my brain is full of  “stuff I need to do” the creative section takes a back seat to the busy section. If I don’t have much going on in my life, the creative stuff has room in my brain to grow and develop into ideas and a story or blog post.  Is it like that for you, too?  Or am I just weird?

Wait, I think I already know the answer.

My lack of writing would mean that my life has been very busy and full since moving to Colorado in July of 2009. And that’s a good thing, but I miss writing and I miss you. So, it is my intention to start writing this blog again. Here’s hoping anyway.

Ok, back on topic – what have I been up to?  Hmmm, let’s see…

In the fall of ’09 I got my Colorado Real Estate Broker license. You can read about that here and here.  I loved it when I first started and I still love it. All in all, I am very happy with how my first year in the business has gone. I have a fantastic mentor who is generous, honest and wise. She is teaching me so much more that I would have learned on my own this year. I am happy to be working with Keller Williams Realty. It is a real estate company whose founder, CEO, and president are Christians and run the company on Christian principles.  I am working on getting a couple of professional designations to keep up my education and help me serve my clients better. And I even have a few transactions under my belt!

On the family front, Darling Daughter left for her freshman year of college this past August making Dear Hubby and I empty nesters. I was a mess when College Son left in the fall of ’07 – so much so that Hubby was very worried about what my mental state would be when my baby left. After all, she was just in kindergarten last year.

But I surprised both of us by mostly being ok with the whole empty nest situation. I think it is easier the second time around, but I attribute it to the fact that Hubby and I are in a much better place in our marriage than we were in 2007. And that is a very good thing!

As hard as it was to leave our friends, church, and home in New Jersey after we had lived there for 10 years, I am loving life in Colorado. We live very close to my husband’s brother and his family. They have become our dearest friends here. I just love their kids (it helps with the empty nest thing) and my sister-in-law is the absolute best! My mother-in-law lives nearby, too. This is the closest we have ever lived to family our entire married life of almost 25 years. And to be completely honest, while it does have its challenges, I have to say that living near family is better than living far away. 

 Also, jumping right into real estate almost as soon as our last box was unpacked, forced me out of my comfort zone and opened the door for me to meet many, many wonderful people both in and out of the real estate world. I tried (unsuccessfully) to start a business networking group, and even though it didn’t take off the way I’d hoped, I am very thankful for the contacts and friends I made through that attempt.

So that’s really it. That’s what I’ve been up to. Nothing really earth shattering or super exciting, but I am thankful and happy and look forward to our second full year in Colorado.

And I look forward to a new year of blog posts ;)

Posted in College Son, Darling Daughter, Dear Husband, family | 1 Comment »

But Other Than That, Colorado is Just Like New Jersey

Posted by Carol on December 2, 2010

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I’ve learned there is something good about every where we’ve lived!

Posted in just for fun, pictures, The Big Move | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Happy Mother’s Day ~ Love Never Fails by Brandon Heath

Posted by Carol on May 8, 2010

Posted in Uncategorized, Worship Song Sunday | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

All I Want For Christmas is a Big Can of Mace

Posted by Carol on December 21, 2009

Really, that’s all I want. And it doesn’t have to be THAT big. The only reason I want some mace or pepper spray is for my real estate business.

One of the teachers in my licensing class had me scared silly. She warned us about being alone in empty houses with strangers. And I thought, duh, isn’t that pretty much what real estate people do every day? And she told us about random attacks on real estate agents.  By the time she was done, I was ready to sign up for a martial arts class. I’m not a person who is scared very easily, but I do believe in being prepared.

So, Santa, just a can of mace or pepper spray in my stocking would make my day.

And seriously, other than that, I don’t really need or want anything else. I have been blessed beyond measure.

We have a home to live in, food on the table, clothes to wear (although if anyone wants to nominate me for “What Not to Wear” – I’m game :) ), jobs, health, and family close by.

I have two friends that have each lost a child this December (Pray for Hope and Melanie). I have a friend whose husband just got laid off right before Christmas (Pray for MaryBeth). I have a friend whose wife has left him and just filed for divorce before Thanksgiving. Please pray for their family.

So, no. I don’t need anything for Christmas. I have all I need in the gift of Jesus Christ and all He provides. Any thing more than that is icing on the cake.
Merry Christmas!

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