Saturday, March 28, 2009

Drip, drop, drip, drop

The sun has come out, and is beginning to melt some of the snow that has accumulated since yesterday afternoon. The icicles on the sides of the house are releasing, and plummeting to the ground. The weather lately has been crazy--shorts and sandals weather earlier in the week, and turning to blizzard yesterday. We started with rain, and dropping temperatures, which turned to ice pellets yesterday afternoon, then ice pellets and snow, and then snow in the evening, throughout the night and into this morning. We did get dismissed from school at 1:15, so it has been nice to have a bit of extra time at home.

I was supposed to have 2 massage appointments this morning, but both were cancelled (of course only AFTER I had woken up early and gotten ready!). Instead, I've spent the day in my house, bumming around. I did go outside long enough to shovel the driveway (it felt like we had 12 feet of snow, but I'm pretty sure it may only be about 6-8 inches). The only part that isn't cleared now is the very end--and I'm just going to say 'no' to that...the wonderful city guys have created a mountain at the edge of my drive from clearing streets--I'm hopeful that it will melt soon. I also had to make a path to the rabbits this morning, as the back door was frozen shut from the rain, and drifted snow.

I've got a pile of laundry that needs to be folded, but instead I'm planning on sitting on the couch for awhile, posting this blog, and possibly starting a Netflix movie. There is always tomorrow (church has been cancelled), so the laundry can wait until then. Right now I've got a batch of meatballs baking in the oven, so the house is starting to smell really good. I'll include the recipe (maybe Heidi and Tim can make these for the hausgemeinschaft? It makes a BIG recipe!). This is adapted from a friend's recipe...I think I'll throw a potato in the oven too and have that too.

BBQ Meatballs
3 1/2 lbs hamburger
1 (13 oz) can Carnation milk
2 cups oats (Gluten free, please!!! Bob's Red Mill is the brand I used)
2 eggs
2 t. salt
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. pepper
2 chopped onions
2 T. chili powder

Mix the above ingredients and shape into meatball shape (you could also bake as a meatloaf, or individual meat loaves in muffin tins) and put into a 9x13 pan. Bake in 350 degree oven for one hour. While they are baking, make the BBQ sauce. After 20-30 minutes pour off some of the grease in the pan, and then pour the BBQ sauce over. Try to bake them at least 30 minutes with the BBQ sauce on them so that they have good flavor. **These can be made ahead and frozen without the BBQ sauce. Then you'll need to bake them about 1 1/2 hours.

BBQ Sauce
2 cups catsup
1 t. garlic salt
1 onion, chopped
2 TBSP liquid smoke
2 cups brown sugar

Mix the sauce ingredients and bring to a boil. Pour over the meatballs after getting rid of some of the grease.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

...poisoning yourself, and hoping that your enemy will die...

While driving to Omaha last Friday for my cousin Craig’s wedding, I had the chance to dig out some of my CDs that I haven’t listened to lately. It isn’t often that I’m in one place long enough to truly listen to the words of songs, and think about how they relate to my own life. If you’ve read some of my earlier postings, I’m sure that you realize that I love music. The truth is that while it is a large part of my life, it is sometimes relegated to the background. While I need to have the constant music going, I really enjoy the times that I can sit down and LISTEN.

One of the CDs that I brought with me for the car ride was a CD that Jon, my brother-in-law’s brother, made for me. He ran the sound for the John McCutcheon concert at Mem Hall last year, and was kind enough to burn me a copy of the entire concert. John McCutcheon is one of my favorite folk artists—his songs and stories ring true for me. There were some very special moments in the concert, lots of good stories, and a large group of Mennonites singing 606. It was amazing!

One of the stories that he related that night was about his father-in-law and the wonderful relationship they have. Amid stories about all the good things his father-in-law had brought with him when he emigrated from Cuba, McCutcheon told this story.

“…Carlos is one of the wisest men I know, and the best story teller I’ve ever heard. And no matter what you come to him with, he always has some entertaining and often illuminating story to illustrate what he thinks. A few years back I came to him and told him that I’d had a falling out with an old and dear friend, and the parting was so acrimonious I was convinced we would never reconcile...”

In the conversation Carlos says “Hatred is a terrible thing…it is like poisoning yourself, and hoping that your enemy will die. But I understand the struggle that goes on between good and evil, and love and hatred in a man. All my life it is as though I’ve had two wolves inside of me and each of them are fighting for dominance of my spirit. One of the wolves is good, and lives in harmony with all around it…never takes offense when none is intended, and only fights when it is the last possible alternative and even then only in the proper way. Ah, but the other wolf is so consumed with his own anger and hatred that he will fight with anyone, over anything at anytime. And all my life it is as though these two have been warring within me.”

McCutcheon asks, “Carlito, which one wins?”

“Ah…the one I feed…”

At the time of the concert this song and story struck me, and going back this weekend and listening to it brought several incidences to the forefront of my mind. I’ve been struggling to come up with something to write about here (to my sister’s severe protestations!) and tonight as I thought about some things happening at work, the story and song came back to me.

There are times that I become very frustrated with individuals that I work with. Recently there has been one person who repeatedly presents me with times of frustration. This has been going on all year, and affects not only myself, but an entire team. While I’m frustrated with the situation, there is another individual that has been affected even more than me. This person is a good friend of mine, and as I’ve watched the entire thing play out, I have seen her struggle with how to handle the situation. Yesterday, she reached a breaking point, and it was hard for me to watch. She was frustrated, and in her frustration she spent a good amount of time venting. While I understand that this is what she needed (and honestly it is sometimes what I myself need!), I also reached a point where I realized that sitting around the table and hashing it all out was only making us more upset. At some point, the disgruntled comments have to turn into a plan. I am a fixer at heart, and I can’t stand seeing someone so upset about what is going on.

I spent a lot of time yesterday and today thinking and praying about how I might go about fixing the problem. The situation with our team is beyond repair, I feel. We will be able to make it through the rest of the school year (just barely), but a new plan must be made for next year. My question to myself then was what I should do…and the only thing that came to mind was talking to the director about the issue. I struggle with this because it feels like I’m jumping the chain of command and turning into a tattler. We have tried to mediate within the group, and the truth is that the situation has only gotten worse and tenser. Today I spent much of my “free” time gathering my thoughts, and deciding how to phrase things. I’ve written a letter to the director, and tried to be as fair as possible about the whole thing—attempting to present facts, and not just my opinions about what has gone on. I was tempted to send it this afternoon, but I realized that I needed to spend some more time in prayer. My prayer tonight is that when I send the email tomorrow with this letter, that I will be feeding the correct wolf. I am uncomfortable with discord, and in constant pursuit of creating peace for myself and those around me. I worry that this letter will create discomfort for us as individuals, and as a team; but as a friend reminded me tonight, peacemaking includes dialogue and a resolution to the situation. The only way that will happen is if we open the lines of communication, and involve someone other than ourselves in the situation.