Monday, October 20, 2008
I was out walking this afternoon. I had to get out of the house for a little break. I had spent the morning proof-reading the sale catalog, answering the phone, calling the vet about importing and exporting bulls, washing the laundry (which takes no brain power, but it sounds busy!) and answering a few questions from my students. I needed to walk away and soak in a little sunshine. I decided to take the road to the Old Shearing Pens. I thought it might not be quite so windy walking down that way since it's a little bit "downhill." There are no trees, just prairie, but somehow, it seems the easier road to walk. My usual walking path is to the mailbox and more "uphill" in nature. As I was walking downhill with a strong wind to my side, instead of head-on, I was thinking about so many things. First of all, we're right in the middle of planning for our Annual Bull Sale. It's something like planning a wedding, year after year. I never thought of it like that before until I actually helped plan my daughter's wedding this spring.
The bull sale is an EVENT that has many of the same elements:
~Reserving the time and place
~The "guest" list -- we call it the mailing list
~The invitations --catalogs and ads
~Photos --for the catalog and advertising and video too!
~Attendants --the bulls
~The preacher -- the auctioneer
~The noon meal
~Getting a head count of guests who will attend
~The vows -- "I DO...take this bull to be mine. I will love him and take care of him for as long as he lives. And I promise to pay for him in full."
~The bills at the end of the Big Day.
~The sigh of relief when it's over.
~But wait!!!! We need to get them to their new homes. U-HAUL? Penske? Cattle Drive?
See what I mean? I guess these life-experiences really do cause us to see things in a whole different light, don't they? Which brings me to another thought. Change. Now you're gonna think I'm Way Out There, but do you remember coffee cans? You know, Folgers in a 3 lb. can? What's it in now? Plastic container jug thingy? You can't even get a plain old coffee can anymore. My parents used coffee cans for everything -- freezing cookies, storing pesticides, as protection for young tomato plants, as nail storage, toilet paper containers for the outdoor toilet, and on and on the list goes. Now, when you need a coffee can, what do you say? "Go out to the garage and get me a coffee ca___, container, thingy....?" Coffee has changed.
I'm probably just like you, I buy my coffee in bean-form and grind them fresh for my morning pot of java. We've changed, haven't we? What used to be commonplace is now A Thing of the Past. Could you even imagine your grandparents driving into Starbucks and ordering a grande' latte or cappuccino for $3? Back then, it was coffee -- black with sugar or cream. But again, once upon a time, folks had to used those old crank grinders to grind their coffee and percolator pots on the stove to boil it in, and they were more than thrilled when Ground Coffee came into existence and they could do away with that little time consuming job of grinding. Now we've come full circle, back to grinding our own beans, but I'll keep my electric grinder.
Oh, and remember mayonnaise jars? (the one pictured is a 1984 antique model) We don't have those anymore either. I used to save mayo jars for canning tomatoes and peaches and for other odds 'n' ends around the house. Would you even save a mayonnaise....um....container...plastic jar nowadays? I don't.
Could it be that I'm getting old? Don't old people talk about the way things used to be? I don't feel very old. I'm 46. But I remember when I used to think "All Grown Up" was 21. I had my first baby when I was 21! It's a pretty grown-up-thing-to-do to be married at 19 and have a baby at 21. Sheesh, that seems like a long time ago.
I was thinking about change as it applies to the US Election. Both candidates are proclaiming that they are all about "Change" and yet, I wonder if we will be able to see anything different when it's all said and done. One thing is certain, we're in for a change. Economically, change is upon us -- drastic stock market dips, global market drops, failed mortgages, failed financial institutions, plummeting home prices, banks being bailed out by government, Rescue Plans, Stimulus Packages, and now gas prices falling (now, that's a good change!). The other day my UPS man told me he's not going to retire as he had planned. When consulting his financial adviser recently, she told him to keep his job. So it's likely we're going to see less folks retiring and more of them holding onto their current jobs in hopes that their retirement plans will recover and that they can continue to work a little longer. But what about young people and their need for good jobs? How will a young graduate be accepted into the workforce?
Do you ever think about why you live in the place and time that you are? I've often wondered why I am so blessed to live in America, in a nice warm house, electricity, clean water, working on a ranch with my family, having plenty to eat and then some. Why me? Then I start thinking about how God made people to withstand the troubled times they've lived through. I think about people who have been persecuted for their faith or who live in conditions where they don't know whether they'll have food to eat tomorrow, or about people who lived through the Great Depression, seeing their livelihoods swept away in the dust. How did they do it? And then I wonder... am I made of the same metal that those people were? Only God knows, and only God can give me the strength and wisdom to live out His purposes here and now. But I wonder about these things.
Lastly, I am always thinking about my kids. I'm getting close to being all done raising them. Three of five are on their own. I wonder how they are going to do in this life and in these unstable times. What will their relationships will be like? How will they make a living? How are their relationship with God? Today, a friend shared these tidbits of wisdom from Ruth Bell Graham:
We mothers must take care of the possible and trust God for the impossible. We are to love, affirm, encourage, teach, listen and care for the physical needs of the family. We cannot convict of sin, create hunger and thirst after God, or convert. These are miracles, and miracles are not in our department. My Part (the possible): love -- love expressed to pray intelligently, logically, urgently without ceasing, and in faith. To enjoy being a mother, provide a warm, happy home, and minister to their physical and emotional needs as I am able. God's Part (the impossible): conviction of sin, creating a hunger and thirst for righteousness, conversion, bringing to the place of total commitment, showing us ourselves as we really are (without discouraging us!), and continually filling us with His Holy Spirit for our sanctification and His service.
I think this is good advice for anyone, in any situation, in any time, in any place. When everything around me changes, I am glad that with God, there is no variation or shifting shadow. He never changes. When the talking heads speak despair and trouble, He says to me, "Be still and know that I am God."
For Top Kitchen Tips for Austere Times, go see Dulce Domum at Bread and Roses.