Posts Tagged ‘advice’

My poor husband. When we married 32 years ago, he did not know that I could not cook. And I never mentioned it. And I didn’t get much better for a number of years. Oh sure – I could boil water, warm stuff up in the oven, fry a hamburger, make a decent ham and cheese sandwich. I could even follow a recipe, as long as it involved only about five ingredients. Too many steps and I pretty much zoned out. I wasn’t a terrible cook. I was an apathetic one.

I didn’t really care about cooking until I realized I’d better step up my game for a new husband. Thankfully he was a good cook so we didn’t starve (or eat cereal at every meal). We fixed simple meals at first – a meat, a vegetable, a potato. Occasionally we had a pasta dish, spaghetti most frequently.  We ate out if we wanted something fancier – Italian and Chinese were favorites. Don loved to grill so once we got an outdoor grill we branched out into steaks, chicken, hamburgers, brats…you know, meat. After our kids were born, we perfected chicken nuggets and pizza.

The funniest thing changed our whole outlook on preparing food in our home. We started watching the Food Network. We were fascinated by the antics of Chef Emeril Lagasse on “Emeril Live” with his studio audience and live band.  He was so entertaining, he made cooking good food appear to be fun and easy. We added a few more shows from favorites like Rachael Ray (her “30-minute-meals” show is still the best for people wanting to learn how to cook without a lot of fancy or weird ingredients), Ming Tsai, Giada De Laurentis, Alton Brown, Tyler Florence, and Bobby Flay.

We learned some techniques and purchased some tools to make cooking easier and more enjoyable. We found out we liked working together in our little kitchen, putting together meals that tasted good and didn’t take all day to prepare. We tried new dishes, condiments, vegetables, and seasonings. We learned (and tried) new methods of cooking: braising, stir-frying, roasting. We pulled out our Crockpot and put it to use for soups and meats. Sadly, I’m still pretty pathetic at making a decent roast beef, but I’m money with pulled pork.

So – my tidbit of wisdom for today is learn to cook. Start slow – pick an easy dish that sounds delicious, but with few ingredients and steps. Don’t set yourself up to fail by trying Beef Wellington right out of the gate. How about sticking a pork shoulder in Crockpot for 8-10 hours on low with some sliced onions, seasoned salt, black, pepper, garlic powder, a bay leaf or two, and a can of Dr. Pepper? It’ll be “fall-apart-tender.”

Don’t skimp on good tools. It makes all the difference between having fun and being frustrated. Sharp knives, good pans that won’t fall apart, fresh seasonings, proper measuring cups and spoons. Add more as you gain confidence.

Start making stuff for friends and family. Take your cake to work. Have people over to test out your new lasagna recipe. Sign up for a cooking class through your local community college or grocery store.

I get a lot of enjoyment out of trying a new recipe and having it succeed. But I’ve also learned a lot through my failures (remember: celebrate failure) – such as learning that baking powder and baking soda are NOT the same; you can’t substitute sweetened condensed milk for evaporated milk in my fudge recipe; vanilla is necessary in chocolate chip cookies; and just yesterday I found out that putting muffins in the oven and forgetting to turn it on will not help them bake. Always learning.





Read Full Post »

If the meaning of “golden birthday” is turning the age of your birthday (like mine was 16 on the 16th), what is it when you turn the age of your birth year? Couldn’t find it on wikipedia so I’m going to call it my “platinum birthday” – platinum is valuable, precious and matches my hair color. And it’s my next one. One month away.

In the last few years I’ve been fixated on new beginnings. I’m not going to get into details (check out some of my earlier blogs) but I enjoy trying new things, stretching out of some long-held beliefs, and learning different skills.

So, as I enter the last month of my 50s, I’ve decided to blog about a few things I’ve picked up on in the last 6 decades. Some are no-brainers. Some were mind-blowing (to me). Some are very practical, others whimsical. Actually, I compiled my list while on a walk a week or so ago…had Siri jot it down in my notes app. Now that I think about it, I should make that one of my bits of wisdom. Use your smartphone for more than social media, talking, and taking pictures.

On my birthday I’ll publish the complete list, but starting tomorrow, I’ll select one (or five – I can do whatever I want, I guess) and chat a bit about why I find this bit of wisdom or advice important enough to share. If no one reads this, just the exercise of putting my thoughts down in writing is important for me. And there’s another thing to add to my list: Put your thoughts down on paper once in a while.

Just to whet your appetite for this mind-blowing (or mind-numbing) series, here’s what I found while out on my walk today. It was cold outside so most of my 3+ mile walk was inside the Cedar Rapids skywalk system. I’m adding it to my list. Good advice…take it.


Is 60 the new 40? I’m not sure. I’ll let you know in a month.



Read Full Post »


Day 11 – Asking for help and advice makes me stronger

Maybe you can’t see this issue as one of “giving up” anything. But I choose to think of it as giving up my need to control and decide on my own. I’m not giving over my life to anyone but acknowledging that maybe, just maybe, someone else may have insights and wisdom which would benefit me. I’m a big believer in the wisdom of wisdom. Solomon fills the pages of the book of Proverbs with sayings about obtaining wisdom, choosing wisdom, listening to wisdom. For instance, Proverbs 19:20 says “Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise.”

Thankfully I do have wise people around me who I listen to and learn from. My husband is my best friend and one of the wisest men I know. He is my confidante, my go-to guy when I need to vent (sorry about that), and when I need counsel. And he’s not afraid to tell me what he thinks. Most of the time. I do think I can be scary sometimes.

We’ve also got two young men who have learned the same principle. Asking for help and advice isn’t a weakness. Both have people in their lives, including their parents, who they trust to give wisdom, not just spout platitudes. For that we are very grateful.

But maybe you think, “I don’t need anyone – I know what I need to do – I’ve got enough common sense to take care of this on my own.” If that works for you every time, go for it. But I’m pretty sure that’s not the case. At one time or another, you probably have made a decision or chosen a path you wished someone had warned you about. In fact, that wise guy Solomon says “The way of the fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.” (Proverbs 12:15)

Advice from friends is okay but sometimes listening to the wisdom of men can get you into a bind. See 1 Kings 12 where Solomon’s son Rehoboam gets into some serious trouble. Verse 13 says “Rejecting the advice given him by the elders, he followed the advice of the young men…”  This doesn’t work out well for him and only results in the splitting of Israel into two separate kingdoms. Not everyone is capable of giving out wisdom. But I know Someone who knows all, sees all and wants to see you succeed.

Jehoshaphat (godly king) tells the evil king of Israel (in 1 Kings 22:5) to seek the counsel of the Lord before heading into battle. The Psalmist says “I lift my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1) Your greatest source of wisdom will always be in the counsel of the Lord. So when you need help – ask for it. Find godly advisers, mentors and friends who you trust will give you sound counsel but in the end, trust in the wisdom which only comes from God.

Eph. 1:16-17 – I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that you may know him better.

Read Full Post »