When Everything’s Right, But the Mix is Way Off

Written by Mary Katherine

Some summer Sunday way back when, I decided to be a sweet daughter and cook my momma some pancakes. I was in fifth grade, and prior to this bold undertaking the only thing I had “cooked” was a triple-decker PBandJ. I rolled out of bed, grabbed a cookbook and read the recipe. Something along the lines of: pancake mix, eggs, milk, baking powder, sugar, salt. Beat, pour, mix, whatever. Simple!

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What a beautiful day in my fifth grade life! I’ll make pancakes!

The house looked like a white Christmas when I finally created the first batch of charcoal Frisbees. The mixing bowl was almost empty when I poured the holy grail Mother of all Pancakes. She was golden brown, buttery and perfect. I placed The Glorious Pancake on a plate, doused her in syrup, and went to wake Mom up.

Like a good mother, she savored every bite, dramatizing each mmmmm and aaaaaah until she stabbed the last piece. When that fork disappeared between her teeth, I swear to you a cloud of powder exploded from her mouth. She coughed, dry-heaved and hacked down the offending morsel.

“Delicious.” she smiled, her eyes watering.

Only years later did she confess that dime-sized chunks of baking powder were throughout the whole thing.


15 years later, my cousin Lindsay and I started a band. Songbird was well on the road to infinite fame and in the midst of recording our very first (and very last) album. We had so much fun producing each song. Adding instruments, harmonies, and effects. Singing like total divas with the headphones half on, half off (that’s what Mariah Carey did, right?). 50 hours of studio time later, we were driving back to Birmingham with our very own CD. Let me tell you, there is no better feeling than cruising down the interstate with your very own music blaring in the speakers.

Somewhere near Montgomery, Songbird’s title track began to play. It was bright, chirpy and inspiring It was everything we had envisioned. Then came the  bridge, where we anticipated the planned addition of a snare drum’s driving rhythm.

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Boy. Did that snare drum happen. It blasted through the track like a monster truck crashing a tea party. It was kinda of like that sound of a machine gun firing in a concrete closet. Over the swelling melody all you could hear was CA CA CA POW! CA CA CA POW! and the Songbird siiiiings CA POW! We screamed, reached for the volume and looked at one another in horror. It was that bad. You see, we hadn’t paid for the album to be mastered.

What a bargain that turned out to be.


Sometimes I rant with no purpose, but today isn’t that day. You see, like mama’s pancakes and my band’s hot new album—I have a major problem. Today, in my life, the mix is off. And even when all the right elements are present, when the mix is off, everything suffers.

I’ve been in a funk of sorts, and I don’t even know what’s off. One minute I’ll be rocking and rolling and the next–BAM. A big ole bite of baking powder. Like I wrote last week, I’m out of gas and in need of grace. Which brings me to where I am right now:

When you’re in a funk, you have two options. Stay funky….or fix the problem.

My brain is happy, but my spirit needs attention. My heart is warm, but my physical health could use a tune up. I have to find the right balance of being Mom and being Myself. There is nothing wrong with being any of those things individually, but they are all out of whack, and I need to work on the mix.

So this morning, I got up with the dawn. I said a prayer and went for a walk. I had a hot cup of coffee and finished writing this post to you, my amazing tribe. And now I’m throwing a Bible in my purse and walking across the street toward some much needed fellowship at church.

Do I think I’ll find the answers this morning in a single sermon? No. Do I think that writing my thoughts and hitting “publish” will give my mind instant clarity and peace? Of course not.

But in the overall mix, I know I need Jesus and writing and exercise and quality Nugget time and alone time and music and silence and and and….and what matters is figuring out balance. 

How’s your mix today?

About The Author


Mary Katherine is a southerner, born and raised. Growing up in Alabama, she developed an affinity for lightning bugs, sweet tea, playing guitar, and having strong opinions. She's happily married with a son (Nugget) and two fur babies. Fun facts: MK is a living kidney donor, speaks a little Thai, and has written two novels.

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