Proverbs 31:13- “She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.”
When I read about the life of the early American woman, and all that was entailed in feeding and clothing her family, I am very thankful for the industrial and technological progress that has been made since then. Our modern world offers such convenience! There is really no need any longer to milk the cows, gather the eggs, weed the garden, harvest the produce, can the vegetables, make the bread… in order to put food on the table. We can just go to the grocery store and buy what we need, much of it already prepared. In some instances, I am thankful for the convenience of grocery stores, but I also am concerned that for many, this blessing is more of a curse.
In other articles, I have touched on the fact that the foods sitting on grocery shelves- foods marketed purposefully to make life quick and easy for us- actually are full of additives, and stripped of most of the nutrients. I also see another area of our lives that is affected by these conveniences in a negative way, which I wish to address in this article.
Less time in meal preparation can free up some time for other things. This seems like a good thing, right? But, what are we needing free time for? Maybe it is to watch a favorite show, or talk on the phone with a friend, or maybe even to check out what everyone is doing on Facebook. While for the most part these things are not “bad” in and of themselves, they surely can lead to idleness. Ecclesiastes 10:18 says, “By much slothfulness the building decayeth; and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through.” Have you ever heard it said of a woman who is not keeping up with her responsibilities, she is “letting her house go to pot?” We may think that serving quick and easy meals helps us to keep up with all our other responsibilities, by giving us more time throughout the day. My own experience would lead me to conclude this is faulty thinking. Let me explain. (Please be assured that there is no intentional boasting in the following paragraph. I am only stating these things to prove a point).
When I still had all four children living at home and was homeschooling, my days were full. I already was determined to feed my family healthy food, so I bought very little prepared foods from the stores. I made our bread, tortillas, muffins, biscuits, and cookies with milled flour. I bought raw milk and made our kefir and buttermilk. Our soups were almost never from a can, and macaroni and cheese did not come out of a box. My homeschooling days were run on a strict time schedule, due to the fact that all our children also took music lessons in one or more musical instruments. Besides this, I needed time to grade school papers and prepare lessons for the following day. Yes, my days were full, but I still found time to sew dresses, jumpers, and culottes for the girls, and to make the kids quilts for their beds. I enjoyed making gifts for the family and for relatives. At one time I crafted items that were sold in homes by a businesswoman who had several representatives doing home parties. Because my days were full, there was no time for television or “me time,” but my work as a wife and mother was very fulfilling.
Jumping ahead several years, now my four children are on their own, and I am a grandmother. I still am very busy in the kitchen with meal preparation, as I choose to continue to cook the same as I did before. But, I will confess that because my schedule does not mandate that “every minute counts,” I struggle more now, than I used to, with getting everything I would like to get done in a day. Even though, for the most part, my days are full and I keep busy, there are times when I have to fight slothfulness. I sometimes catch myself leaning towards laziness or having a negative attitude about having to do something. I have to remind myself about the virtuous woman, and how she works willingly with her hands, and I pray and ask the Lord to help me have the right attitude. Sometimes, I long for the days of rigid schedules, when it wasn’t as hard for me to accomplish all that was needed to be done. But during this time of my life, I find myself relying on the Lord more in an area where I once was very capable.
May we all, as women, whether single, married, mothers, or grandmothers, strive to be like the virtuous woman and willingly work, and unselfishly accomplish the things the Lord has for us to do every day.
Thanksgiving is next month, and I share with you a recipe for stuffing. Mmmm, so much better than stuffing from a box.
Old-fashioned Bread Stuffing
1 cup finely chopped celery
½ cup finely chopped onion
1 stick butter
1 tsp sage
½ tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
8 cups soft cubed bread crumbs
¾ to 1 cup chicken broth
Sauté onion and celery in melted butter. Remove from heat and stir in sage, salt, and pepper. Place bread crumbs in a large bowl and stir in onion and celery. Toss with enough broth to moisten bread. Use to stuff a 10-pound turkey.
Tip: Whenever you have stale bread or unused heels from bread, cube and place in a bag to store in the freezer. Use these cubes to make your stuffing, or any time for making bread pudding or breakfast casseroles.