July 5, 2011
I hope ya'll had a wonderful 4th of July. Ours was quiet and restful. My Beloved Redneck put a brisket in the smoker early Saturday mornin', and he let it slow cook until around 1 p.m. of the 4th. Talk about some good eatin'--my Baby can do up briskets! He used hickory from our trees, and oh good grief.....nummy!
I kept things simple for the rest of the meal. I bought potato salad instead of my home made dish, plus I opened a couple of cans of baked beans and canned corn. I did make bread from scratch in the bread machine, however.
Now, after all the yammerin' I do about cookin' from scratch, why would I use processed foods?
Look, there are some times when all that is required is a simple meal, not a major production. I've done a lot of those in my day, and I tell ya--it would sometimes turn into a nightmare.
I recently read in one of Joyce Meyer's books about how she used to do the exact same thing I once did. She would invite a couple or two over for hotdogs, chips and visitin'. However, that simple event always got turned into a much more complex hullabaloo. She would end up decidin' to have steaks instead, she invited more folks, she cooked a lot more complicated food, she had to clean like a fiend, buy new lawn furniture, on and on and on.
She would get so crazed about the 'simple' meal that she would be stuck in the kitchen and resentin' the very folks she asked over!
Oh, heavenly Father--I been there, done that!
I used to make home made potato salad, baked beans, a mixed salad, home made bread(NOT from the machine, no sirree--it had to be by HAND), home made BBQ sauce--TWO kinds, hot and regular, at least two desserts that were specialties of mine, corn on the cob, raw veggies to snack on, sweet tea, lemonade(home made with a sugar syrup and fresh lemons). All this to go with the brisket the Redneck had made.
Now, of course, I had to make certain we had a nice area to eat in--so we had built a 'cantina' in our yard. And we always had music playin'. One of our friends once commented that we didn't just have meals--we had EVENTS.
I ended up, just like Joyce Meyer, doin' all the prep work, all the servin' and all the clean up. By the time I got to sit down and just relax and visit with our friends--everyone else had already visited, eaten, and was ready to go home.
Now--what did I get out of all that work? Gee, I got to be known as a great cook, hostess, all that stuff--but I never got to just BE at my own party!
Oh, don't misunderstand me--I still enjoy goin' all out at times for my family and guests. The difference is, I am more focused on the PEOPLE I am havin' in my home than in the 'pride and prestige' of bein' an overworked, resentful hostess who wonders just why the heck I EVER wanted to learn to cook in the first place!
There is a story in the book of Luke, chapter 10:38-42, in which two sisters, Mary and Martha, welcomed Jesus into their home. Now Martha was a lot like me and Joyce--she wanted to put on a good feed for her guest, so she was zippin' around, doin' everything she could to be a good hostess.
Her sister Mary, however, was sittin' at the feet of the Messiah, listenin' to every word He had to say, and just worshipin' Him.
Well, Martha got hacked off, and decided to give the Lord an earful about how her sister wasn't doin' her part, and how He should shame Mary into helpin' Martha in the kitchen.
Boy, did SHE get a surprise.
Jesus looked up and said, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her."
Basically I think He was sayin', "Martha--sweetie, ya gotta stop and think here about what is more important. Is it that you work yourself to death tryin' to impress Me (which doesn't work, by the way), or is it more important to hear what I have to teach you about God and your relationship with Him? Now come on, just slide that pan of biscuits across the table, and RELAX!"
I think that we as women often get so caught up in wantin' to do the 'good' stuff--makin' a good impression on folks, makin' our hubbies proud, etc--that we miss the 'Best Stuff'--ministerin' through hospitality.
Yes, I do still see to it that the cantina area is clean and that Lynyrd Skynyrd is playin' on the stereo, and I may just make up some kind of special dessert. However, I make certain that I am focused on the FOLKS I have at my home, and that I am ministerin' hospitality to them--not hopin' for praise about my hard work. Ya know what? I still get compliments for my efforts, and folks enjoy my company a lot more when I am present. I am not rushed and exhausted at the end of the evenin', and my husband gets a happy companion after everyone else goes home--and THAT is more important than anything else I may get out of hostessin'. When he says, 'good job, Baby." well, it don't get no better than that!
Look, simple livin' just means you get quality results for your efforts. And to me, those results include peace of mind--not anxiety.
Well, I got chores. Later ya'll.
© 2011 by Evelyn Edgett