Trying to find calm in a world of worry

I worry too much. I worry that I am not there enough for my family; I worry that I have missed something at work; I worry about how others view me. I worry that I am not a good enough wife. I worry that I hover over my children too much. It’s the worry of I woulda…shoulda…coulda…

Surprisingly, I don’t worry about my life after death. I know I am not perfect, but I believe that, even in my imperfections, I am doing what I can to be a good person. My intentions are good and I strive to be better.

My favorite Bible verse is Luke 12:48. I was not as familiar with the first sentence as I was with the last part of the verse. After I had taken in the first sentence, I felt so much better about my past. You see, there were things I did as a younger person that I felt pretty confident when I did them. As I grew older, I was not so sure that my actions would be pleasing in the eyes of God. But this sentence, the first in Luke 12:48 set my heart at ease…”But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows…” It is contrary to the statement “Ignorance of the law is no excuse for breaking the law,” which is a statement I use. What the Bible says is that doing wrong, when you don’t know it is wrong, will not receive the same punishment as someone who is intentional and knows.

The rest of the Bible verse is what I write about now; “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted much, much more will be asked.”mini chocolate chip

There are many things I like to do, and because of that, I have put the time and effort to work towards perfection in those things I like.lemon cupcakes

I enjoy cooking and baking. Growing up, my mom did the cooking of the meals AND the clean up as well. If we wanted to help, we could, but it was not required. I, too, am that way. If you come to my home for dinner, you are not expected to help with the preparation or the washing of dishes after the meal. I will generally clean up as best I can, load the dishwasher and then organize, as best I can, the remainder of the dishes for later care. I will finish up cleaning when my guests have gone home.

Strawberry glazed

Strawberry glazed

prom cupcakes

When I became an adult, I asked my mom why it was we were never expected to clear the table or wash the dishes. What I remember her saying was this, “This is what I can give. Cooking from start, and working and working until the last dish is washed, is an act of love and service.” For me, I work hard to make sure that I do my best when showing love in the kitchen.

I love to capture life in photographs. I don’t like staged shots of people; I like natural shots, of action, of stillness, of love. Some of my favorite photographs are of the skies. The sky can tell so many stories. I think clouds can convey love, joy, fear, anger. There are times I have to pull off to the side of the road and take a photo of a sunrise, or a cloud formation. I believe I have an eye for telling stories through a camera lens. There are times I miss an opportunity for a story because the image is there, and in a second, it is gone.

And I love to write. I do not take the opportunity to write as often as I would like. Maybe I don’t feel inspired, or I am too engrossed in other things, or maybe I am too exhausted and can’t think of doing anything but recovering and re-energizing.masquerade

purple velvetWhat if that recovery or re-energizing is writing, or cooking/baking or quilting? That is what I am trying to figure out now.

Maybe I should work at finishing my quilting projects when I feel tired. There are times when I know I could be productive but instead, I choose to do nothing but catch up on the TV shows on the DVR. I also know there are times when I am so tired that if I tried to accomplish something, it would resort in mistakes and re-do’s. It is finding when I should really relax and when I should work at projects and use my gifts wisely that need to be done.

I truly believe that I have been blessed with talents that need to be shared. I believe that God has given me a voice-words to share on paper and in front of people-verbally. I share that talent as a lay speaker with the United Methodist Church and as a voice for camping ministry with my job at Camp Fontanelle.graduation

It gives me great joy to feed people. While I can’t do it as much as I once could, I love to bake doughnuts for my daughter to share at school. I love to entertain and make food for people that is special, something they may not make for themselves. I have started sharing my love of cooking/baking at a different level. I have started soft selling items. I am not advertising, but how fun would it be if I could make it into a full-time business!

My love of photography will always be my personal joy, to be shared with family and friends.lightning in the night sky

I am so lucky that I am able to share my gifts with others. It is what I am directed to do In Luke 12:48.

I encourage you to find your joys and talents and develop them to share with others. I don’t know whether I am in my position because of my talents, or I have taken my talents and fit them into my life. Either way, I have so much joy in sharing. If you are able to fit your gifts into your career, do so. If you have a love or a talent that does not fit into your career, find time to share your love and talent somehow in your life.whale in the sky

1 Peter 4:10 says, “God has given each of you a gift from His great variety of spiritual gifts. Use then well to serve one another.”

Today, I worry because my brand new cell phone fell in water. Worrying will not get it fixed. Hopefully a bag of rice will take those worries away. If not, there will be another new phone. For now, I WRITE!

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I am Ready for a Storm

There has been a lot of coverage of Hurricane Sandy, and rightfully so. This was a devastating storm for the East Coast. It appears that things are being taken care of and citizens are trying to get back to a life of normalcy. That will take a long time, years in fact but just trying to find some kind of routine is important.

The Today Show, this morning, made me laugh and made me re-think my blogging for the day. Matt Lauer announced that they were going to discuss the things you need in your pantry to be ready for the next storm. The reason I laughed is because my friends know that if there is a storm, they want to be at my home because I have enough food in my pantry to feed an army.

It all began years ago when my husband worked at Lozier Corp. Lozier is a manufacturer of store shelving. If you walk into Walgreens, Auto Zone, Kroger’s/Baker’s, Target or Toys R Us, those are Lozier shelves. Once a year, Lozier would hold a sale for employees. They would sell obsolete, scratch n dent items. My husband over the years purchased many shelving components. Thus, we had sturdy shelving that could hold our “stuff”.

I purchase things on sale and things that my family likes. I always want to make sure that I have enough to feed my family and “drop-ins”, if that happens. Sometimes, in a flight of fancy, I go overboard on purchasing. Thankfully, it is always something that we would eat. I do want to be prepared if I feel like making Thai food or throwing together a Nacho Night.

Now on to the photos and then the explanation.

 

In the first photo, those are the Lozier shelves filled with purchased and homemade goods. There are a lot of soups, vegetables, starches, beans and condiments that were purchased. For the things that I made from the garden, there is salsa, pickled hot peppers, canned meat, and numerous jams and jellies. I also have plenty of sugar and flour for baking.

In moving to the freezer, there are also purchased items, homemade items and game. Yes, I have a family of hunters. I did not grow up in a hunting family but after years of being worried about eating game, I have come to really like food that is provided by my family. I still do not hunt but everyone else does. Everything that is hunted is eaten. I do not condone hunting for the kill. That is wrong, in my opinion. And for those of you who think game meat has a “gamey” taste, for some reason, the venison we eat does not taste gamey. Many cannot tell the difference between our venison and beef. (OK, I will now step down from my soapbox!) The homemade or home-grown items would include soups and vegetables from the garden. There are times that I have make-a-head meals in the freezer but in this photo.

The third photo is the new addition to our family, a wine room. This was my gift to my husband for his birthday. My father constructed it and did a great job. Not only is there wine in the room but as it is temperature controlled, I also have potatoes from our garden stored there. (Maybe some day I will learn how to make vodka). The other thing stored in there are my coffee flavorings. Why a wine room? We like wine and want a variety. It is much cheaper to buy wine in bulk so before the wine room we had cases of wine, wine stored under shelving, wine here, wine there. It was everywhere. This was we know exactly what wine we have on hand.

So you can see why I would laugh about being prepared for a storm. Our home is gas so if we lose electricity, we can start our stove burners with a match. If that is a problem we can use our outdoor grill to cook. Camping is also something that we do so we have a camp stove and a Dutch Oven that we could use. We have a gas fireplace so we can keep warm. We have plenty of food (and drink). We keep plenty of batteries around and we have chargers that can be plugged into cigarette lighters. I would say we are set.

While I did not watch the segment on being prepared for a storm, I can enlighten you on how to be prepared. Here are just a few pointers:

1) Have non-perishable food on hand and make sure you have a hand can opener. If all you have is electric, you are sunk.

2) Have water available. If you know a storm is coming and you can prepare, fill a bathtub with water or use the water from your water heater (make sure to turn off the flame).

3) Make sure you have batteries. Make sure those things that need to be charged, have a full charge.

4) If you do lose electricity, open your refrigerator and freezer sparingly.

5) If you have young children, keep them occupied with games and books. Be strong for them.

6) If you have a land line, make sure one of your phones is corded/doesn’t use electricity. A portable phone will not work when there is no electricity. (Ours is in the laundry room)

AND FINALLY,

6) Don’t panic. Listen to the officials about what to do and DO WHAT THEY SAY!

 

I hope that we never had to take advantage of our ability to be fed and stay safe but I know that we are as prepared as we can be. I know, that without even trying on purpose, I am ready for a storm.

Bless those people who are dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy!