Oklahoma has never, in recorded history, had temperatures below freezing for eleven days in a row. We have weird weather, and we are used to changing conditions. This Arctic blast brought us a layer of ice and about eight inches of snow. All classes were online. All meetings were online. We’ve been stuck mostly inside and mostly together more than usual because even long walks were difficult. We got on each other’s nerves. In my house, I think the man and mancubs would all award me a medal for being the Crankiest. Aside from having our routine disrupted, I’m not sure I had anything to be cranky about. Between all the other craziness in the world and a project list longer than my arm, I was suddenly overwhelmed.
I usually manage overwhelm by taking a walk in the sunshine. But it was too cold and slick to walk for long, and the sun was absent. Sometimes I can beat overwhelm by picking a couple of short and simple tasks from my list and doing them to build some momentum for the next thing. But I just couldn’t wrap my head around any of the small things that needed doing.
Then, a young friend called me to say that she had offended someone accidentally and though she had apologized and received forgiveness from God and from the offended, she was having trouble forgiving herself and moving past it. Umm… I know that feeling, and I understand that one even though I didn’t understand my own stuck-ness. I could tell her that she’d have to take her thoughts and turn them in the way she wanted them to go – to take the lesson from the situation but stop replaying it; to do something different – walk, run, clean, sing, whatever would help her to be physically active and to literally move on; and to be intentional about gratitude.
Choosing Gratitude helps us to not focus on the things that we don’t like. Instead, we can focus on the things that we are grateful for. In the recent weird weather, we were blessed to never lose power, and we haven’t had any broken pipes so far, though things are still thawing. We have plenty of food and water. We are so thankful that even our biggest problems caused by the storms were small: trash couldn’t be picked up, the mail couldn’t always get through, and some packages were late, and produce delivery was delayed. As I focused on these things, my crankiness improved.
Friday afternoon, I went to pick up groceries from Sprouts and Aldi. I came home and was putting things away when I discovered that I didn’t have the pasta and such I’d ordered for dinner, but I did have one and a half pounds of scallops and some other things I hadn’t asked for. I messaged the store, and they refunded my account for the things I was missing and said to keep the mistakes. I ordered my necessary items again and worked until time to drive back to pick them up. I came home with my own groceries.
I fought the urge to be cranky about having to go back and get the things that should have been right in the first place. In reality, someone had stuck my name on the wrong grocery bags. It was an accident. Also, while I did have things to do, none of them were timed commitments or emergent problems. I could easily go back and try again. There was no reason to be angry, and extending kindness helped out everyone involved and got the problem fixed quickly.
I best nourish attitudes around here when I am in control of my own. Whether I like it or not, I set the atmosphere in this house. Other people’s attitudes will follow mine. Reflecting on things I can be grateful for and taking my thoughts captive makes my home happier for everyone who walks in the door, not just for me.
THIS WEEK IN THE kitchen
The unexpected pound-and-a-half of scallops sent me looking for a new recipe, since I don’t usually buy scallops at all, and I wasn’t sure that everyone would eat them. HalfBakedHarvest didn’t fail me. I found this recipe for Browned Butter Scallops and Burst Tomato Pasta that was delicious.
This week in the library
I didn’t read all of each of these books this week. I read FROM all of them. I finished one (noted below). *
- Vishal Mangalwadi’s The Book that Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization (Such an intriguing work. Completely worth the time. Highly recommend.) (finished)
- Schweikart & Dougherty’s A Patriot’s History of the Modern World, volume 1 (finished)
- Madeleine L’Engle’s A Circle of Quiet (beautiful; I’m savoring it, but I’ll finish this month.)
- Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace (via audio, but I have a pretty copy, and I’m on page 251/1358)
*All links are Amazon affiliate links.