Stop Before the Thumb
How do you peel or slice things? In a cooking class I took in college, we were told to peel away from ourselves, and to always use a cutting board to slice things. Unfortunately for my teacher, my family had already taught me otherwise.
The picture above reminds me of my Grandma, although she wouldn't have used a knife to peel an orange, necessarily. But she did use a knife to peel many other things, from potatoes and carrots to peaches and apples. If I remember correctly her, her peeler was rather old and rusty and hardly ever used. She just did things the way her mama had taught her. My mama taught me to use a peeler, but we still pull it towards ourselves instead of pushing it away. It just seems to work easier that way.
After things were peeled, Grandma would take the knife and quickly slice up the vegetable or fruit, hardly ever using a cutting board for more than catching pieces. No need. She'd just pull that knife through and drop the slice in whatever pan or bowl she wanted it in.
My uncle asked her one time how she kept from slicing her thumb. "I stop before I get to it." I don't think he appreciated her saucy reply, but it makes me smile because I can imagine it in her voice, as if it were common sense. If you don't want to cut your thumb, don't let the knife touch it.
The tip of my thumb can attest to the fact that I'm not quite as adept at stopping as my Grandma was. The peach I was cutting for my children the other day was too slick and that knife just jumped right up and nicked the tip of me. And it got me thinking.
Sometimes, we're like that in other parts of our life, too. We go along, saying we're going to stop before we get to the dangerous part, but then things get more slippery than we anticipated and, "ouch!" Time for a bandaide. You know what I'm talking about. We say, "Oh, I'm not going to cross THAT line." But if you get close enough to something, often it's hard to stop in time. Just some thoughts from my kitchen.
What about you? Do you feel safe enough to peel or slice a potato with the knife coming towards you? Do you feel secure enough in your life choices that you won't cross any lines? Do you ever have a mishap in your kitchen that reminds you of something God wants you to know?
One at a Time
I have a helper. He stands about three feet tall and thinks it's great fun to help Mommy unload the dishwasher. Of course, he really wants to help put everything away, but I limit him to things that he can reach their destinations, like plates and bowls and silverware. You'd think this would be so nice for me, right? I mean, doesn't every mom want someone to help her with chores? So, what's the problem?
He puts everything away one piece at a time. One. Piece. At. A. Time.
This is good because it means he's less likely to break something.
This is also really annoying because it means it takes at least twice as long (sometimes three times) to unload the dishwasher.
So, what do I do?
I encourage him to keep helping. Yes, it takes longer and runs a higher risk of having broken dishes, but let's be honest. I break dishes, too.
And, by allowing him to come help, he's learning. He learns where things go. He learns that it's good to help. He learns to ask for help if he can't reach something. He learns his limits (sort of).
And, it also serves as a reminder to me. To slow down. To remember that taking five extra minutes isn't that big of a deal in the long run. And that sometimes, I would do better to take things one at a time, too, instead of trying to pile everything on my shoulders at once.
Do you have helpers like mine? Do they force you to slow down and remember important things, too?
Celebrating the Successes
If you're a mom or dad, you can probably guess what this chart is for. That's right. We're trying to potty train my son. He's not really into it, but sometimes the thought of putting another sticker on the chart to earn a new toy car helps. Obviously.
What this chart doesn't show is how many times he didn't make it to the potty in time. And that's as it should be. If we marked those, they would far outweigh the times he did, and that would be discouraging.
I got rejected a month or so ago from a contest I had entered to try and get my story published by a bigger company. There were just a few things they didn't feel fit their model. So, I can either dwell on the rejection, or I can celebrate the fact that two other times, my manuscript was accepted and published. If I let that one rejection (I've had others in the past, but we don't need to talk about them right now) hold me back from moving forward, I'll never have another story published. Instead, I can remember that my stories did fit with these other companies, and celebrate those successes and keep trying to get more out there.
It's all in where you focus. Do you sometimes let how many times you've failed at something hold you back? Or do you keep your mind on the times it went right? Especially in writing and potty training, we've got to keep focusing on the successes!
RLR: Fifteen Years
My Real Life Romance slot happens to fall on the week of my anniversary this year, so bear with me. I'm going to get a little sentimental.
Fifteen years ago on the 11th. We were such babies, had no idea what would be ahead of us. Yet here we are, still together.
My mom made my dress. I wore my Aunt's veil, although it's not in this picture because it was unbearably hot that day and the AC had quit working in the church auditorium. I arranged all the flowers. We found my shoes on clearance at Dillard's, I think--I was so sad when those wore out. His suit and the groomsmen's pants were rented, and almost didn't make it in time. The girls wore dresses the colors of the sunset with the boys having coordinating vests. And it was a terribly happy day.
But you know what? It was only the first day. So many people put such a focus on the wedding, trying to get all the details just perfect, wanting to spend money they don't have. And, I admit, I had a lot of fun planning all those details. But in the long run, if we had just thrown on some shorts and shirts, run down to the Justice of the Peace, and exchanged rings, we would have still been married, despite the simplicity. The important part is realizing that the wedding is only the beginning. All the days after that are what we should be more focused on.
In the last fifteen years, we've lived in two states, four towns, three apartments, one townhouse, and four houses. We've had seven different vehicles, although only two at a time. Between the two of us, we've held about twelve different jobs at various times. We've gone through money struggles. We've gone through infertility treatments. We've disagreed a few times (or more). We've had two babies. And I would say "I do" all over again if he asked me to.
Marriage isn't just the dressing up and getting fancy to be the center of attention for one day. It's the growing closer to each other through all the chaos life throws at you. Not to mention the helping each other grow through it all, too. Basically, marriage is signing up for a best friend for life. And I love mine.
So, I'm curious. What's one thing you wish you knew before you got married? Would you do it all again if your spouse asked you?
This is a place for me to share thoughts and ideas not just related to writing. Thoughts about what's going on in my life, about an idea I got that I thought shareworthy, or just a funny anecdote.