Not My Best Speghetti

Feelin' fit - 2 weeks ago

Feelin’ fit – 2 weeks ago

Dear friends, 

I would like to thank all of you reading this for sticking with me on this journey.  I know it hasn’t always been easy, there have been several posts that raised an eyebrow, or illicited concerned emails…and I just can’t believe how much you care!  Thank you for your prayers, your patience, and your compassion.  Ed and I are so thankful for this community that shares life with us.  I always welcome your feedback, your own stories, and your questions.  We all learn to do life better together after all!

Here is what I learned today: (see, isn’t this nice?  I’m jumping right to the moral)  Today I was reminded that sometimes, not my best is better – than not me at all.  I’ll elaborate….

For those who follow me on Facebook, you know that 2 weeks ago I was hit with some kind of food poisoning or 24-hour bug that give my Crohn’s a nice little upset, and it hasn’t settled down since.  Right before that hit, I was doing great! Biking, hiking, back to a work-schedule…I felt like ME!  Praise the Lord.  Well, yesterday, I was so fed up and frustrated to be back in the “sick place” that I sobbed to God to “get the devil out of me”, and then tried drinking less, eating more, and changed up my supplements.  It seems to be helping, and today I feel a little bit better.

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Personal Best for Morning Afro

My husband – who likes to pretend that I’m always healthier than I look – had delegated me the task of making a post-work-out snack for his future soldiers today.  He said the snack should be spaghetti, and that I should make it for 10.  Ok, well, I said I would do my best thinking, even if I wasn’t feeling great, that wouldn’t be too hard.  Spaghetti is hard to screw up right?  I put out the meat to thaw in the morning, then did some work, ate lunch, and cautiously began the process.  Would my stomach hold out?  In general, for me, the hard part about cooking when I’ve been ill is just standing on my feet in one spot like that.  Even walking is easier because then you’ve got some momentum to keep you going.

As I boiled the water my husband called.  “Hi honey, hows it going…are you getting started?  Great!  Yeah, it’s going to be about 18 kids.”  WHAT!  I do not have a commercial kitchen with giant stock pot. And there wasn’t enough meat thawed!  Well, I had no choice but to “Be all that I could Be”, and put another pot on the stove.  3 pots, 4 pasta boxes, 3 marinara jars, and several pounds of turkey later, I looked at the finished product.  My dear sweet husband – who seems to think that food magically transforms with the help of the kitchen fairies – had bought the “angel hair” pasta rather than the spaghetti noodles, and even with olive oil and ice it was sticking together.  The marinara didn’t quite cover it as thoroughly as I would like, and the meat seemed sparse – although it tasted good.  The whole thing looked like a clumpy-mushy mess – if I had a casserole dish big enough and a little more sauce and cheese, I could have prettied it up, but it was time and the best I could do was give them one last stir and throw them in the oven to heat back up before Ed came to get them.

Sunsets always bring me to center

Sunsets always bring me to center

After he picked up the pots, I felt the desperate need to be out of that stuffy house and into the fresh air.  I hit the bathroom one last time, suited up, and climbed aboard my lovely new bike.  I might regret it later, but some exercise was needed for my mental sanity.  I was so angry thinking that the kids would probably pick at it, (I’d seen them turn down my organic cooking before), and my pride welled up at the thought that they would all assume “Sergeant Szall’s wife can’t even cook spaghetti”.  I had told Ed not to mention where it was from, just let them eat or reject it on it’s own merits.  However, I’m sure he told them he was “running home” to pick up the food.  Grrrr.  If only it wasn’t angle hair, if only I was feeling better, or my house was clean enough to ask another wife over to help, or if only I didn’t let myself get volunteered for stuff like this!  These kids were starting to cost us a lot of time and money as the months ad up, and I don’t even get to spend any time with them, so there isn’t even the benefit of the relationship in it for me.  It is purely out of Christian/wifely duty that I do this.

All these thoughts churned in my head as I turned the corner and rode towards the sinking sun.  I looked above me and took a deep breath, smelling the leaves and smoke from a grill.  With Pandora on my head phones I began to relax, and I couldn’t help it, I decided to pedal over to the park on say hi.  I’m just too social not to – and I was having a good hair day.

He usually trains them here, not in our neighborhood

He usually trains them here, not in our neighborhood

I swung into the park, and there was my husband, holding court with a group of youngsters sitting in the grass, half of them gnawing our organic green apples, the others scraping bowls.  I looked, and sure enough, on the ground were two empty pots and a pile of marinara-stained bowls.  I smiled to myself as Ed carried on talking with them. I thought about how important food is to community.  We talk about it in leadership all the time.  If you want people to listen to each other, to learn and share ideas, give them food.  The bible talks about feeding the hungry often.  Didn’t Jesus feed the 5000 so they would hang out with each other and listen to him preach?  Couldn’t I feed 18 hungry youngsters?

The most famous verse about food rose to my mind, “Jesus took some bread, and gave thanks for it, and broke it apart for them saying, this is like my body, I’m going to be broken, so you don’t have to. Please accept it, and eat…and whenever you come together to break bread, do so in remembrance of me.”  Huh.  My Savior gave up a lot for me, all he’s asking me to do is cook some spaghetti.  In the end, I didn’t think it was my best, but if I hadn’t tried, they would have gone hungry.  And you know they’d be cranky if they didn’t eat!

Sometimes, it's just what they need. And you know people get cranky if they don't eat!

Sometimes, it’s just what they need.

So I actually think, my friends, although some people may be quick to judge and some may not understand where we’re coming from, giving ANY of ourselves, is truly better than giving none at all. Therefore, ladies and gents, the next time you are given an opportunity, I will hope and pray that you will give whatever you can give.  After all, in the hands of Jesus, it may feed many.

Much love ~ Morgen

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Leading Ladies

Boys are over-seas?  Don't worry, I got this...

Boys are over-seas? Don’t worry, I got this…

 I’d like to start this post by all getting on the same page at the heart of the issue.  Being a lady, and being a leader, is hard stuff.  Can we all agree on this point?  Choosing to take leadership responsibilities, regardless of gender, is a difficult road fraught with challenge, loneliness, and turmoil.  Successful leaders spend time in self-reflection, strategic planning, and courageous execution.  Now if you’re a woman, there seems to be an added layer of complexity…and here I believe is why.

I truly believe that woman were created to be Adored by all men.

Princess Kate pretty much has the Leading Lady role down.  And she worked 8 years for this promotion.

Princess Kate pretty much has the Leading Lady role down. And she worked 8 years for this promotion.

Protected as mothers and keepers of the house. Bringers of Beauty – be that our own appearance when we enter a room, or when we decorate it, or by our persona.  We tend to be relationally astute – and make great hosts – because we take time to acquire the grace and manners to make others feel special, cared for, and welcome.   This is one reason why most often social calenders fall to us, (I sometimes fear if were up to husbands that we would never see our friends), we are fantastic organizers, and excel in the strategy of relationships.

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This is where “Desperate Housewives” gets its start…

All of these traits are wonderful qualities that enhance our society, and give our men-folk reason to dote on us.  Unfortunately, several TV shows in the 50’s managed to paint a picture of a woman doing all these things without an opinion or a purpose, and now it’s been demonized for the next generation.

But wait!  Is it possible?  Can we be educated, successful leaders in the world, AND good wives?  I say, YES!

 

My way, or no way!

My way, or no way!

But what if we get married, and we feel like someone else is making way too many of the decisions?  What if we’ve been so used to being “top-dog” in our former life, that we find it very hard to let someone else hold the leash…even if they do it with love?

 

 

"My Lord, what..." "It's cool Bro, I'm just here to serve."

“My Lord! What…”
“It’s cool Bro, I’m just here to serve.”

What has softened my heart is the realization that when Jesus made me, he made me to be like him – a Servant Leader.  (pause, yes, read that again).  Think about the work-place environment.  If you are managing people, and expect them to be successful, you need to be serving them.  You inspire them with pep-talks, you make sure they have resources, you fight their battles with the dreaded “higher-ups”, you fill out their paper work…why?  All so that they can do their jobs more effectively.  Oh, and usually, the managers just get blamed for being busy and making more money, and taking an occasional day off.  Sound familiar?

 

I feel my job as a wife is to be a “servant-leader” to my husband.  Not the angry boss who throws dishes when we screws up, (wait, that never happens…), but the #1 team-mate who creates an environment for him to thrive.

 

Woman with a Plan

Woman with a Plan

For example… I have learned that the “honey-do” list gets tackled much more quickly when The Man has had a good night’s sleep, and a full stomach after work.  Therefore, I “serve him” by helping him relax and hit the sack early, or by whipping up a quick dinner or snack whenever he walks in the door.  Now really, (shhhh, don’t tell!), I’m not just serving him like a servant, I’m leading him to be at his best, SO THAT our family can be at it’s best. (i.e., that back door will get fixed.)*

Are you picking up what I’m throwing down here friends?  Leading isn’t actually about giving orders and having them followed.  It’s about creating the environment for greatness, and praying it into fruition.  So whether you are a single dame, married woman, or mom-extraordinaire, you ARE a leader in your life.  Let’s start acting like it, and with a little strategic planning, we can lead our horses to water…AND make them drink!

*Caveat – since I’ve been ill so much lately, my hubby does take on a lot more of the domestic tasks.  Division of labor is key, that’s why you’re partners, so keep communicating about what works best for you both!