Saturday, November 26, 2011


We spent Thanksgiving Day at my parents' house. We ate way to much food. Natalie & I had made 6 pies (4 with regular crusts & 2 gluten free), pecan tassies, gluten free green bean casserole & gluten free dressing. So nice to have a young lady who likes to help in the kitchen! It was such fun having my nephew Nils & his lovely wife Katie with their 2 year old Emery, my niece Becky & husband Chris with 1 year old Karis, my brother Greg & Sis-in-law Robin, my parents, Phil's mom & step-dad and our little family of 4. Watching the little girls run around was the highlight, I do believe!

Today the girls & I went back and took along our friend Sara. They worked with Becky to set up & decorate Mammaw's Christmas tree. It looked beautiful when they were all done with it. Mom also taught us how to play a domino game called Mexican Train.

Before we left their house we took showers. No, it's not some weird family tradition. Our hot water heater is out. Phil has lived with lukewarm showers, but I really like hot water when I bathe! Thankfully the dishwasher heats its own water so we can wash most dishes. AND the landlord (our friend) should be back in town by tomorrow to fix it.

This weekend will be a landmark for our family. As of Sunday we will have 2 teenagers in the house! It's hard to believe Natalie will be turning 13. We'll have a family day Sunday to celebrate her (and church).

What did you do for Thanksgiving? Hope it was wonderful for you!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Hinds' Feet on High Places

Though the fig tree does not bud
   and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
   and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
   and no cattle in the stalls,
 yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
   I will be joyful in God my Savior.

The Sovereign LORD is my strength;
   he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
   he enables me to go on the heights. 
Habakkuk 3:17-19

During my college years I read a book called "Hinds' Feet on High Places." I do not honestly remember much of the context other than the main character, Much Afraid, having to go to the top of a mountain. I do remember I cried a lot as I read it. I also remember that it was based on the last verse in the passage above. In the KJV it says, "The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places." 

After we were married I was in a Bible Study using the Precepts method of pulling passages apart precept by precept in the book of Habakkuk. This last passage stayed with me. Though the fig tree does not bud, I will be joyful. I WILL rejoice in God my Savior.

Tonight I thought of that as I was driving our van and hearing the brakes grinding. This was after getting it started with 3 cranks. Earlier today my car, a hand me down from my parents, which now has nearly 200,000 miles on it, overheated and had to be towed home. This is the car I had a small wreck in a few weeks ago causing nothing but a few scratches to the Suburban in front of me, but a knocked out grill, bent hood which we can't open, messed up headlights, and a bent, now broken, radiator. 

The passage sounded a bit different in my head than in the Bible. It went more like this:
Though the Buick has no grill or hood,
though its headlights cannot be adjusted and it needs a new radiator,
Though the van needs new brakes and had to have the wrong fuel injector put in because of cost,
Though my glasses are nearly 3 years old and my eyes have changed but I can't afford new ultra-light glasses to avoid headaches,
Though our home is just a rental and does not have central heat or air,
Though I have medical bills piled up from trips to the ER and the insurance company says it won't pay for tests my doctor ordered, the same tests they paid for months earlier, 
Though we aren't sure how we can afford to put gas in the van,
Though the only other form of transportation is a motorcycle that needs a new tire,
Though our daughter's 13th birthday is coming up and Christmas soon after,
Though there are so many more bills I can't even think about it,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
   I will be joyful in God my Savior.

The Sovereign LORD is my strength;
   he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
   he enables me to go on the heights. 

In light of eternity, these are but vapors. They will soon pass. Does that make me FEEL happy? No. Who WANTS to have piles of bills, live on a special diet, have cars that break down, and not be able to own a home? But happiness isn't what God promised. He promises joy, contentment, and peace in the midst of unhappy circumstances as well as the happy times. I may complain again as soon as I'm done typing this. I may be short with my kids over things that shouldn't get to me. Ultimately, though, I need to CHOOSE to have an attitude of joy. I need to rejoice in God, my Savior. 

And I will rejoice that we have food to eat, clothes to wear, a roof over our heads, window unit air conditioners, and portable heaters. I will be thankful for one running vehicle and friends to transport us when needed. I will take joy in knowing my husband has a job and I will be making money being a Pampered Chef consultant again. Mostly, I will praise God that even if I had none of this, He is still worthy to be praised and He has saved me when I am unworthy to be saved. 

All that and I have peppermint ice cream and hot fudge down stairs. Life isn't so bad! : )

Chef Mama is Cookin' Again!

Have you heard the news? Okay, so it isn't BIG news, like the kind that makes the TV station or newspaper (remember those? LOL!). It's the kind of news that you see on Facebook or e-mails. Chef Mama is back. Back to being a CHEF again.

After a nearly 2 year hiatus, I have rejoined The Pampered Chef as a consultant. We need to earn more money. I will be posting about some of those reasons soon. I am a homeschooling mom. I tend to have health issues pop up now & then. I am on a restricted diet which makes being gone to an 8-5 job more challenging (though thousands deal with that daily). And I really want to keep my craft business going. My husband asked me about working retail at a store I would enjoy, like Hobby Lobby. While an employee discount there would be wonderful, my guess is you start at minimum wage. I just looked it up. That's $7.25 an hour. Now, for my teenage daughters, that may seem like a lot since we pay one of them $5 to mow the front yard. For an adult who has to buy gas to drive to said workplace and home again, as well as for work worthy clothes and shoes, it doesn't add up to enough to pay medical bills. Plus, the hours would be set by the employer, not me.

I thought of other direct sales companies, but none of them seemed the right "fit." With some I'd have to make deliveries. With others, I'd still have the party plan and have to go out. My tax deductions would be for business supplies alone. With Pampered Chef I am doing the party plan, but no deliveries (unless I have a show shipped to me). I can deduct some food costs if I am trying new recipes. And dish detergent for washing PC dishes. Besides, I already know the basics of PC. I really don't want to have to learn too much new right now!

The products are the main thing I KNOW about Pampered Chef. I'm not just flippantly saying, "It slices! It dices! It will AMAZE you!" then going home to my own kitchen tools. These ARE my kitchen tools. My utensils, my pans, my baking stones, my Simple Additions pieces are what I use in my kitchen. I use them every day. Even if all we do is make eggs, we use a mini-whipper. More often, though, I end up with a pile of baking stones or pots and pans to be hand washed. That restricted diet for both my daughter and me means I cook a lot from scratch. I LOVE my Kitchen Aid (which we bought years ago with money I earned from the Pampered Chef) and use it weekly, but I use my PC items daily. People love these products, not because they are the latest, greatest fad, but because they work, are quality products, and really do help you spend less time cooking and more time at the table.

The other selling point (no pun intended, but it's a good one---ha, ha!), and probably the biggest, was the amount of money I could earn. I knew that the LEAST I could make for a show was $30. The LEAST. I knew that on average a consultant makes about $100 per show. I knew that in my head, but was thinking, "Well, even if I make $75 per show, it's better than Hobby Lobby." For that matter, $30 is better than Hobby Lobby, especially considering I get paid the same for a catalog show where I sit at home in my pj's and enter orders.

As I started packing for my first live show, I found an old binder that had flyers in it with old specials listed. I pulled those out but my eye caught a page before I threw it out. It was an old commission statement from September of 2007. First, the grand total popped out at me: $693.  I looked to see how many shows I had done: Four. I was a director at the time, so some of that was director "overrides" from my sales and my team. When I looked at the actual commission I just smiled. $405. For 4 shows. Now I'm thinking, "I can make AT LEAST $100 per show." I did not get back into PC to go "gung ho." I got back in to do one show a week and maybe some catalog shows alongside that. But seeing those numbers, I realized I need to tell people that they CAN make money doing this. You won't get rich quick and, unless you do a show a day, you probably don't want to quit your day job. But if you want to earn AT LEAST $100 for 3 hours total of work, then it is a great job.

Hopefully I can share more tips & tricks with you. I'll be setting up a facebook page and a website as soon as I am able.