Saturday, February 08, 2014

Seeking Inspiration, Not Excuses

“It's not the load that breaks you down, it's the way you carry it.”
Lou Holtz

I've been married 35 years and do you know what that means?

It means I've prepared at least 28,000 meals.

Oh. My. Goodness.

If anyone deserves to be downright tired of cooking, it's me and anybody else who's been married/alive/around as long as I have. And hey, I'm the first to confess that putting thought and energy into making meals got old for me years ago.

Perhaps you can't understand that--maybe you're 70 and still adore a busy stove top. Well Honey, most likely God, Himself, gave you the gift of cooking/baking and the joy which comes with using our talents. But I didn't get that gift.

So, does that mean it's fine with God if I now throw my pans away, then announce to Tom, "After 28,000 meals, I quit! Cook for yourself or take us out to eat for every  meal."? Uh, no.

But yes, it is ok for me to seek healthy short-cuts and ideas and recipes and if I'm wise, I'll search for inspiration rather than excuses. I'll read fun cookbooks or view your Facebook and blog photos of your meals, but I'll stay away from articles with titles like, "You're Too Good For Your Stove." "Cooking Is For Bores." "Smart People Eat All of Their Meals From Restaurants."

Er hem.

And yes, it sounds silly that I'd read those, but oh, it's too easy to seek our excuses that way. Especially today, online, we can find custom-made reasons to not ... 

cook another meal,
help strangers,
have compassion for politicians,
speak well of evangelists,
use a kind tongue,
dust, clean, vacuum,
stop complaining,
protect our conscience ...

... and more. But inspiration to be excellent rather than sloppy--that's what I'm seeking, even though the search turns frustrating at times. But excellence matters to God so really, it should matter to me in all ways, even 'cooking ways', even after having prepared those eternal 28,000 (and still counting) meals. Whew.


The photos? They're from the book, The Home, from 1924, a major source of homekeeping inspiration for me this past decade (even with its occasional cut-up pages from the long-ago owner's child, most likely for scrapbooking, the original type).

I wish more copies could be found online, but hey! Tons of such books are out there which will inspire anyone on all things home when they run low. Just seek and you will find ... and hey! If you'd like to share titles of similar, easier-found books in your collection, I'm sure we'd all be grateful.

My copy of The Home contains inspiration and help in these areas (and more) ...

Arranging furniture
Cleaning all things in the home
Efficiency in all rooms, especially the kitchen
How to mix colors in decor
Small houses which can be added onto later
Floor plans of at least ten houses (I adore floor plans!)
Music in the home
Porch relaxation/décor
Sewing rooms, children's rooms, sleeping porches
Yard design, birdhouses
Building a basement workshop

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”
Maya Angelou


Anonymous said...

I have a few such books. Love to own one like the one shown but so far have not found it. Aren't they such fun to read and get ideas from? You feel a connection to women who loved keeping home. Years ago they used to have so many magazines too mainly about housekeeping. What joy to see them! I own a few but would love to have more. No excuse as I could if I looked for more I suppose. It is a joy too to use old bowls and such thinking that other women too used them to cook family meals in. That l older linens we use were lovingly embroidered years ago by others and used in and used for their families. that the cast iron pots we use daily will outlast us as they may have outlasted the last person who owned them. Thank you much for including many pictures and information twice now about this book . Isn't it lovely!! Really it is a beauty! Sarah

Anonymous said...

If I could cook as I really wanted to, and we did not have the dietary restrictions, I would love it more...don't hate it, am in fact always hunting for new ides in cooking. But I do admit after 40+ years of marriage I enjoy eating out too...and I have times I refuse to eat out, preferring to fix our own. I seem to remember it was not as hard when I was growing up to find truly yummy places to eat. Now one needs to be more picky. But it sounds to me as if you do get to eat out some of the time...and the break is good!!
Elizabeth in NC