Go get your coffee, lets have a little chat. I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about lifestyles. It’s the middle of winter, there’s been an excessive amount of snow everywhere, people’s lives have been thrown into an upheaval because Old Man Winter has spread his icy grip colder and farther than he has in a while. Personally, I find it exhilarating. But then again, I don’t have to go fight the snow to get to work, school, etc. I also understand that most people don’t have a choice about driving in blizzards. You gotta do, what you gotta do. That being said, if you are in the midst of a winter storm and you don’t HAVE to be somewhere (You do not HAVE to go to your friends house, restaurant, gas station, etc. be smart, plan ahead.) Please don’t go. If you do have to go, make sure you leave early enough to drive super slow if need be. There have been way too many videos of pile-ups on slick highways this winter, with cars going waaaaaay to fast for conditions. So while the snow has you trapped, stay inside and practice being still. That’s ends my public service announcement.
You hear a lot these days about how everyone’s always in rush, a hurry, gotta work harder, gotta be more productive, gotta do this, gotta do that, don’t have time for this, don’t have time for that, oh wouldn’t it be nice if I could just have 5 minutes to myself, i need a vacation, gotta go here, gotta do that, gotta stay here, gotta eat there, gotta go to this gotta go to that. The thought of all that exhausts me. Stop what you are doing. Just stop. Stop looking at your phone. Turn off the TV. Close the door. Stop for just 10 minutes and be quiet. Go ahead, I’ll wait…
Wasn’t that nice? We as modern humans are in grave danger of busyness. But is all that stuff really THAT important? Perhaps I’ve got it all wrong, perhaps I’m a “failure” at life. But here’s the way I see it. I savor my free time, I relish it. During the summer months when I’m working 40+ hours a week, my day off is Sacred. That is my day to rest, to do whatever I want. Usually it means Rob and I packing a picnic and going to the beach, or hanging around the house in our underwear all day watching Netflix. There’s been countless days when I didn’t get a single “productive” thing done. The dishes can wait, the shopping can wait, the laundry can wait, the errands can wait, it’s really not the end of the world, I promise. Maybe we’re just procrastinators, maybe we’re just lazy, maybe we lack ambition, maybe, maybe maybe. But to me, it’s not a waste. It is a time to rest, to be still, to stop and enjoy the hours passing by. Does this mean we never do anything? No certainly not. Among all the not-doing, the un-busy, there is plenty of doing. We do wash the dishes, do the laundry, (don’t worry mom) go shopping, clean the house, cook food, I paint and craft and further my personal education. But the doing is not the end-all be-all. And We are happy as clams, there is very little hurry to do anything and results in a very low-stress environment. (At least until we read the comments sections on the Internets.) All this not-doing is making me hungry!
A few weeks ago we made Blue Cheese stuffed Buffalo Meatballs, and they were DEElicious. But now it’s time to take it to the next level. On Valentines Day we will be feasting on Blue Cheese Stuffed Buffalo Meatloaf, with Celery Slaw. So here’s the plan. We’re making a basic turkey meatloaf, and will be filling the inside with blue cheese, either lasagna style a layer at a time, or swiss roll style. Said meatloaf will be baked, cooled slightly then removed from it’s pan, doused liberally in buffalo hot sauce. While the meatloaf is baking you can make a batch of Celery Slaw which is very tasty! Coarsely mince up a bunch of celery. (I did a few quick pulses in the food processor) drain slightly or pat some of the water out with a paper towel. Not too much though! In a bowl, mix Celery with Ranch Dressing, a touch of salt, pepper and shredded parmesan if you have it. Some blue cheese crumbles if you like them would be good in here too. As would a bit of very mild onion. We like having all the meatloaf and slaw with a side of rice. You can make it however hot you want depending on the hot sauce you use. I like Red Hots Buffalo Sauce.
Another thing I’ve been thinking quite a bit about lately is good deeds. I sometimes follow a few different “good news” networks that try to highlight all the good things that are happening out in the world today. A very stark contrast to the usual Doom and Gloom of major news networks. On the one hand it’s wonderful that the good stories are getting out there, it’s nice to see the good in the world. On the other hand, for me personally in my spiritual walk, humbleness is important. You shouldn’t do good works because you want to be recognized for them. You do good works, for the sake of doing them, because it helps whomever your helping. I recently had a conversation with someone who expressed disapproval because their old pastor never acknowledged all the good works this person did. Unlike their current pastor who praises their good works to the rest of the congregation. Now to be fair, this person does a lot of really good work and helps a lot of people. But something in that statement rang out warnings to me. “Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding. When you do something for someone else, don’t call attention to yourself. You’ve seen these people in action treating prayer meeting and street corner alike as a stage. When you help someone out, don’t think about how it looks. Just do it– quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way of your God, working behind the scenes.” (Paraphrased from the Message, Matthew 6.) I’m not saying not to do good works. Please do. If you see someone you can help, help them. Hold the door for the person coming through it, be kind to the cashier, be gracious in traffic, feed someone who’s hungry (even if they’re related to you.) But keep it to yourself, let your actions be your kindness, it’s ok if the whole world doesn’t know about it. But that person you were kind to sure will, and in today’s world a little kindness goes a very, very long way.