Saturday, March 8, 2014

Tater Tots, Waffle Irons, Pumpkin Bread, Internet Outage and One Serious Reflection

My original plan for this blog post was to be inspired while cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg wafted throughout the household from the two loaves of pumpkin bread with dates I baked this morning.

The Internet wasn't available, so instead, the scentspiration of the spices involved in the wafting was used while I was on elbows and knees under my desk, trying to see the brand of the modem while talking to a computer I reached when I telephoned Mediacom.  I'm going to guess the computer is a woman of a certain age plus a decade or two as she was a tad hard of hearing. 

I'm thankful no one was around to photo-document me with my bottom in the air yelling, "Continue!"  Couldn't she be more attentive and listen the first time?

Anyway, at nine months past my fifth decade, I should be giving thanks I can crawl under a desk and yell.  While I was in that ridiculous posture, this was happening in the oven:

Your eyes aren't fooling you.  One loaf is shorter than the other because Mr. A and I had to determine already if the efforts to make pumpkin bread with dates were worthwhile.  Indeed they were!  

This was where the action really was this morning, island adorned with mise en place, to use a little high school French, or in other words, covered with bowls, spices, measuring cups and ingredients needed to make this baking dream come true.

Whether it was the rainy day or the expiration date on the pumpkin, the end of this month, this is how I spent the better part of the morning, certified amateur computer technician duties aside.   

My morning started on a dare, seeing if tater tots could successfully be transformed into hash browns with a little coercion from a waffle iron.  Be dog, they could!  It took a little woman-handling to get the iron to close around the still frozen potatoes, but it made four adorable little hash browns. I did not photo-document that either, so I hope you'll take my word for it.  

I was a little dubious about the outcome as I have tried other things on the Internet which ended in a mess, like melting soap slivers in the microwave. Mr. Bubble can't bubble up as high as the Ivory soap slivers which didn't melt and I wondered if a little gremlin inside my computer was laughing its dastardly little face off.  I'll beat those gremlins yet as I've read of other ways to reduce those soap slivers into re-purposed compliance--maybe on another rainy day.

This rainy day started with as much sunshine as I could muster.  Mr. A didn't have to be called to the breakfast table and when he arrived I pointed to his orange juice with extra pulp and said that was all the sunshine he'd be getting today.  Good-natured thing he is, he said I was his sunshine, then we broke into song instead of the blessing, and sang "You Are My Sunshine" all the way through.  

I then said, "Amen," but Mr. A found this prayer insufficient, so he went ahead with, "Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts, which we are about to receive, from Thy bounty, through Christ our Lord, Amen."  Neither of us address the Lord with "Thy" other than blessing time, but it's one of those old ways that gets inside a person and stays.  Thy it will be prior to mealtime, from here until we eat at the Lord's table in heaven.  Maybe it'll still be Thy then, but I won't try to figure that out right now.

My figuring out presently is largely in the category of what to do with the rest of my life.  I recently wrote out a list of twenty-five things I wish for, categorized in do/be/have.  It was an exercise from a book entitled "Becoming the Woman I Want to Be" and one was supposed to list quickly without thinking long on it twenty-five things to do/be/have.  

Part of me thinks that sounds silly at my age, but the part of me that didn't plan this far ahead, past the time the children were raised and launched and all the parents cared for until Jesus took over that job, has work yet to do. Raising children was my career, and when that is done correctly, one works herself out of a job.  The good Lord knows I miss them, but I wouldn't have it any other way.  I cannot imagine the pride they must feel having completed college and found jobs in which they can support themselves.

But now, what to do with myself?  I forewent the framework of a 9 - 5 and worked as a freelance writer most of those years.  In another book by the same author who suggested the do/be/have list, I just noticed that spells "do behave", she had her readers to write a personal vision statement.  Since my previous mission was accomplished, I did her bidding and wrote another:

"My primary purpose is to be a godly woman, wife, mother, mother-in-love, and in God's timing, grandmother.  I am to love the Lord Jesus with all of my being, and to be a willing vessel to write inspirational books, stories, articles and poetry that direct people to God, encourages and makes them laugh, and most importantly reflects God's redemption and restoration."

This blog is one of the time fillers and it has brought me a creative outlet for a passion which never dies in a writer.  I enjoy photography, so I can pitch that in here as well.  My do/be/have list, which is an outline for what remains, surprised me pleasantly.  

There were only four things on my have list.  One of them was a tiller.  Really. There was a time in my life I'm certain I could have used all twenty-five counts for haves.  I've had so much in my life, even without being a wealthy person, I realize the material things don't satisfy for long and in time they are discarded, obsolete or gathering dust before they're en route to Goodwill.  

One of the be's is to be a more disciplined cook.  Pumpkin expiring this month, pumpkin cooked, check.  A do was to consume far less Internet. Before the Internet was imagined, my late mother often called me scatterbrains.  If you know me aside from my writing, you know there is a ring of truth to that at times.  The Internet doesn't help that condition.

In my handwritten journal, I expounded a little on that theory.

December 1, 2013

"The antithesis of social media and Internet surfing is meditation on God's Word.  In the former, unrelated pieces of information are randomly consumed; the latter brings deep thought, understanding, even a meeting of the mind with the Lord.  Choose this day whom you will serve.  

One captures and enslaves; the other creates a deep, heartfelt desire to willingly, happily, serve and obey the God of this universe.  One can easily divert one's worship to the gods of intellect and consumerism, jealousy, competition and evoke feelings of inferiority.

The other brings about appropriate worship and an inner knowing that sufficiency is found in Christ alone.  Each has the awesome capability to guide and govern one's approach to the entirety of life.  Do we desire an orderly structure that leads to peace or incohesive absorption of material maladaptive to a productive life?"  

I get upset with myself when I fall to random media consumption, which I suspect does not help a soul with attention deficit disorder, and then there is that feeling of loss, time which can never be regained, spent without a mission online.

It's a conundrum I'm addressing this Lenten season, hoping to sacrifice some of the time spent online to more productive time spent with the Lord.  I don't expect to emerge a super-saint, but hope to be more engaged in my own life, in the lives of those I love, while not tethered to a keyboard and computer monitor.

As my late mother-in-law used to say, "Time will tell."  
P.S.  This rainy day entry is actually being published on a sunny day due to the Internet outage.

Mrs. A