Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Peter Principle

There's a concept in the business world known as the Peter Principle, which basically says that if a person is doing well in his current position, he will be given more responsibilities. And as those responsibilities increase, along with the corresponding promotions, he will eventually reach a point at which he has maxed out and has reached a level that he can no longer effectively handle. (This could explain why so many leaders of corporations are incompetent.... but that is a different topic for another day.)

What I've been thinking about is how the Peter Principle might relate to the lives of families. I imagine there are some couples out there who think "Married life isn't so hard.... let's try having a baby!" And the extra responsibilities begin. And for some couples, such as for Pete and me, having that one child was enough to send us around the bend and try very hard to not do THAT again for at least a few more years. But then eventually a rhythm to life settles in and the couple looks at each other and says something to the effect of "Well, this isn't SO bad... I bet we could handle another one." And so on, and so on.

Of course in our case, we didn't so much plan these last couple children as be shocked, but then happy they were going to arrive. However, we have pursued adopting more children a couple of different times, so we had apparently reached that point where we were ready to accept some new responsibilities... or so we thought. And there are still a few days here and there where life at our house might not be exactly humming along, but it's not jolting and careening enough for us to panic either. And there are many days where we are very, very thankful, and just want MORE of whatever we have.

But then there are those other days which DO make me panic and think, "How in the world are we going to handle 33.3% MORE child in this house? We can't even manage the 3 we already have!" And I've been having several of those days lately, which is not good timing.

Entropy happens everywhere, I know, but I feel like I have 6 little extra hands here helping it move along in fast-forward. I've had several melt-downs to this effect lately... For instance, I spend a lot of time and precious energy cleaning the wood floors (finally) and then approximately 20 minutes later walk in to find smears of peanut butter and crumbles of rice cake all over! Or, I feel like I'm finally being productive downstairs in our school room helping Rayna with her reading.... and then realize that the peaceful atmosphere is solely due to the fact that Colsen has occupied himself with destroying all my makeup upstairs. It all gets to be a little much sometimes, as I'm sure every mother can attest to.

So what if that Peter Principle were true, and welcoming this 4th child will push us over the ledge of barely functioning in a positive direction, to a complete state of incompetence?? How can I possibly win against 8 little hands assisting Team Entropy??

Yet I know there are other Truths at work in this world. In fact, there are other "Peter Principles" that can be gleaned from a book far superior to this business tome -- from the Book that is divinely written. The New Testament Peter reminds us that our weaknesses are not the final word. There is power available to us that can enable us to walk on water. There is a calling for each of us to be part of something bigger than what we alone could do. And above all, there is great forgiveness given to us, even when we totally blow it -- which in my case is happening all too often lately.

So, it is good to know that God has ordained purposes for both Simon Peter and the Peter Frank family, and despite our levels of incompetence, He has victory and abundant life in store for us!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Parties last week

As it turned out, last week was a lot of fun, full of gatherings and celebrations. Since I know that our social engagements are going to come to a grinding halt for awhile, probably in the next few weeks, I am soaking up as much time with other people as possible right now!

On Tuesday, some women from church very graciously had a little shower for me, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Some of the girls had planned a few fun games which kept it lively, and I was very thankful for the time of prayer/blessings -- as well as all the diapers, wipes, and other gifts! One very cool gift was a whole theme about "almonds" because they knew that's how I felt about this baby (see here).

Then on Saturday we celebrated Kai's birthday!

And in between, we've had a few fun evenings with friends... one couple came over and taught us how to play "Dutch Blitz", and another night we had a rousing game of 3-13 with a few Wingate students (current and former). And, to cap it all off, I was able to spend several hours on Saturday with a couple very good girlfriends who I don't see often enough (partly because one lives a few hours away). We ate lunch for 3 hours, walked for about a half-hour, and then went and had dinner!

Pretty soon my parties are going to be more of the "one-on-one at 3 am" variety, so for now I'm loving all these opportunities with other adults, families, etc. If anyone else wants to get together in the next week or 2, give me a call! :)

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Yesterday Pete came home with this book! This has been a project that he, his friend Gordon, and his former professor/advisor Roger, have been working on for a few years now -- and it has finally come to fruition!

If you want to read more about it, check it out on Amazon here. With that super-low price, I'm sure everyone will want to rush right out and buy a copy. As Pete says, they're really pricing it to move. Hey -- at least it's eligible for free shipping!

Apparently the publisher is targeting mainly university libraries, etc.... so we're anticipating huge numbers of sales. (yeah, right) And since Pete and his co-editors get somewhere between 1 and 2% of the profits, we're anticipating getting very rich off of this. (yeah, right)
But still, it's very exciting to see one's husband's name in print! And on a hardback even! I'm very proud of him.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Snow day, snow day!

This morning I was awoken by the same words moms all across the neighborhood likely were... "Can I go out and play in the snow???" So, after breakfast and the morning routines, by 8:15, here was the scene:
And by 8:30, here were some more scenes:

Alas, by 3:30 this afternoon, this was the new scene:
Snow days are short here in NC!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Some business lessons learned

After our recent Boxing Day Auction that we had as a family, Strider has been contemplating some of the results. He was very eager to spend his own money that day and pick out the items he bid on, but now I think he has experienced some buyers' remorse, (or as we say in my marketing classes, "cognitive dissonance"). To try and turn that around, though, he recently announced that he had a new business idea:

S: Mom, I know what I'm going to do. I'm going to start selling my stuff to other people for more than I paid for it. Then I'll make a lot of money.
Me: Well, honey, I don't know if people will be willing to pay extra for an item that they could just go to the store and get for cheaper.
S: Yeah, but they won't know how much it costs at the store.
Me: Hmmm.... I think people generally have a good handle on what things cost.
S: Well, maybe if they're economists or something, but not regular people!

So.... I guess the business lessons we're imparting here at the Frank house, unknowingly but perhaps not in error, are:
1.) Buy low and sell high
2.) Economists are really, really smart -- at least when it comes to market dealings.

Pete is pleased. :)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Dinner quiz

Tonight we ended up having a quiz at dinner, prompted by the question, "Whose placemat is not the same as everyone else's?" (It was Rayna's).

Seeing an opportunity to quiz Strider and Rayna on some of the things that they've been learning in school, I started asking some questions. Then the kids started chiming in with their own.... Here's how it evolved. See if you can get all the right answers.

1. Which one is different? (author of question = me)
a.) Rockefeller
b.) Carnegie
c.) Washington

2. Which one is different? (author of question = me)
a.) silver
b.) atom
c.) platinum

3. Which one is different? (author of question = Strider)
a.) A Big Mac
b.) A Whopper
c.) Usain Bolt

4. Which one is different? (author of question = Strider)
a.) Wade Phillips
b.) Jerry Jones
c.) Jason Garrett

5. Which one is different? (author of question = Peter)
a.) Chevrolet
b.) Mazda
c.) Taurus

6. Which one is different? (author of question = Rayna)
a.) eee
b.) me
c.) clee

7. Which one is different (author of question = Colsen)
a.) steaks
b.) trees
c.) California

1. c: As Strider and Rayna learned this week, the other 2 were "tycoons that spurred the Industrial Age of America"
2. b: The other 2 are elements
3. a: "Usain Bolt is the best, and the Whopper is the best, so the Big Mac is different." Strider has apparently fallen hook, line and sinker for Burger King's newest ad campaign.
4. b. Apparently he is the owner of the Cowboys and the other 2 work for him or something.
5. c. The other 2 are car makers, the Taurus is a model. An alternative answer offered by another member of the family is "b" since the other 2 are American but Mazda is Japanese.
6. c. No clear explanation here, other than one Strider offers, which is "the other 2 are words." ???
7. b. No explanation whatsoever.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A Math lesson

When I stand next to my bro-in-law James, it reminds me of an old math lesson from elementary school in which the teacher would ask us students which container was bigger: the tall skinny one, or the short square one. And, just like the lesson in volume from school, it is sad for me to realize my current weight is now the same as his 6'2" frame!

This picture probably makes it obvious why!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Epiphany, further revealed

For the last few years when we've celebrated Epiphany, we've had family members in from out of town to participate with us. But this year, having no company in the house, we decided to celebrate with our good friends, the Cole Clan. In typical Howard-Cole-fashion, he jumped right into his inaugural Epiphany celebration with both feet, and learned all kinds of cool things to share with us that we had never known about! He told us all about Ignatius writing 100 years after Christ about the magi, giving them names and descriptions, and about some interesting traditions that the Church has followed for centuries concerning this holiday.

Steve and Paige also contributed to the merriment by creating some fun games for the kids.... Steve led each child through a very dark house with his flashlight, as they "followed the star" to find a treasure. And Paige put together a collection of mysterious items in a large sock of Howard's (which we all hoped was washed!) that we had to take turns trying to decipher by feeling. Then later the treasures were "revealed" in the spirit of an epiphany and the most discerning and observant among us won. :) Howard had us all compete in tongue twister contest with some sort of convoluted statement involving a star and sages... the Coles dominated in that game!

Then we all participated in a new tradition that I can't wait to do again next year: chalking the house. This is something people have done for centuries and centuries and has several layers of meaning to it... the primary idea being that we ask God to bless the house, and use the inhabitants to bless any visitors this year.

And, finally, we broke into the traditional (at least in our house) Treasure Box Cake.... although finding the toothpick hidden in it was somewhat anticlimactic since it fell out during the cutting. But Alleyn, the winner-designate, still led us in a rousing rendition of "We 3 Kings."

We love having these holidays -- not only to continue building family traditions -- but also to have more opportunities to celebrate with good friends! Thanks, H, A, T, S, P, C and S for making it such a fun evening for us!

Monday, January 5, 2009

A little payback, finally

A recent conversation...

Colsen: That's Tony Romo? [Pointing at the football game on TV]
Strider: No, that's Matt Ryan.
Colsen: Why?
Strider: Because this is the Atlanta Falcons. The Cowboys aren't on right now.
Colsen: Why?
Strider: Because they are all done -- they didn't make the playoffs.
Colsen: Why?
Strider [turning to us]: Man! Answering all these "Why" questions is HARD!
Pete and I share a knowing look, and a chuckle.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Our annual face -- er, Year Box -- painting

To commemorate the closing of 2008 and the beginning of 2009, we once again spent some time with our Year Boxes. After looking through all the items we had collected from 2008, talking about various memories, we moved on to creating the design for our 2009 box. What the kids ended up getting the most joy from, however, was seeing how much paint they could get on themselves, and ultimately each other. Oh well... Should I really be surprised by that at this point?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Reliving the ol' student days-- for a few hours anyway

One of my Christmas gifts to Pete was a pair of tickets to a Wake Forest basketball game -- in a box labeled "Date Night" so he would know he was supposed to take ME and not Strider or someone else. So it was a gift also (mostly) for me -- and thanks to a friend of a friend, the tickets were FREE. Can a gift get better than that?

Anyway, off we went to Winston-Salem Tuesday night to watch the currently ranked #6 team in the nation (!!!) -- who is undefeated, by the way -- take on Radford. As Strider said beforehand, if Wake didn't beat them, that would be a disaster for their ranking. But, true to form, the ol' Demon Deacs did keep the game... interesting, letting Radford keep the score very close, and even take the lead, for much of the game. It was exciting to watch, and the only drawback was a highly annoying and extremely critical redneck-sounding man sitting behind us who yelled throughout the game at the players with his make-your toes-curl Southern twang. Every time one of the Wake players made a mistake, he would yell stuff like, "C'mon Chase! [as if he was on a first-name basis with each player] You can't let them get inside like that!"

Other than that minor irritation, though, the game was a thrilling experience -- especially when Wake finally pulled out the big win at the end. We had great seats and the stadium was filled with pumped-up fans. The best part for me was the opportunity to feel like a student again -- I rarely missed a game when I was at Wake years ago. Pete and I even went to our favorite Winston restaurant (Village Tavern) before the game -- one that we had gone to many times back in the day.

It can be argued that Wake hasn't had a consistently excellent team since the years I was there -- also known as the Duncan Years -- so I'm hoping my attendance at a game this season will give them the boost they need this year to regain the superiority they once knew. :)
Go Deacs!