Thursday, May 10, 2018

Born Identity

Whenever I talk to women, I find that most of them are battling an issue that I believe has been trying to beat women down for a long time. I find that most of us are confused about who we really are, what our role in society is supposed to be, and how our lives can have significance. I think the women of America are in an Identity Crisis.

Starting at a very early age, we are inundated with messages about what it means to be a girl. At first these messages seem simple and clear – girls wear pink, girls play with dolls, girls cry, girls wear dresses, girls are pretty, girls will be moms someday. I know when my granddaughters were pre-school age, they had a simple answer to the question of how boys and girls are different. They would simply say, “Boys are stinky!”

 Once we start school, however, that picture starts to blur a little. The lines become less defined. The rules seem to bend a little more. We become a little less sure exactly what our role in life is supposed to be, but we are pretty sure what we want it to be. I have 7 granddaughters and although they are all more grown-up now than I’d like them to be, there was a time when everyone of them would get all starry-eyed when the princess in the movie got married to the prince and they embraced in a kiss.

Then adolescence hits. The hormones are telling us one thing; society is telling us another thing; our parents’ voices are ringing in our heads, as well as the voices of our friends. Who should we listen to? Who has the truth? From this point on, the confusion of who we are as females, what is expected of us and why we are here becomes almost overwhelming. I pray for my granddaughters in this stage of life, because I remember how difficult my own life was in those years.

As we pass through each season of life, we can all find reasons to be angry. As we focus on ourselves, it will always seem that someone else has the life we want, or the body we want, or the job we want, or the family we want, or the spouse we want. We will be filled with discontent. We will no longer know who we are outside the context of all the roles that define us.

We live out this lack of identity in great insecurity, feeling that around each corner disaster awaits because we are unable to be what others need us to be. We will surely fail because we are not pretty enough, not smart enough, not good enough. We feel a growing sense of fear about what the future holds for us, knowing that we are only growing older, weaker and less pretty. Each day we have less to offer to our families and to society. What if we completely lose our usefulness?

We also live out our lack of identity in an overwhelming sense of inadequacy. We feel unable to measure up to those around us. As we compare the beauty or the skills of others to our own, we feel inferior. As we witness the accomplishments of others, we feel insignificant in the big picture of life. As our sense of worth deteriorates, we fear we will be rejected.

As our insecurity and inadequacy threaten to drive us to despair, we find that there is one way to survive. We become insensitive. We pretend it doesn’t matter. We become driven to learn new skills that will help us stay competitive. We do whatever we have to do to preserve an appearance of youth. We become overly-focused on self improvement, which serves to further highlight our inadequacies and insecurities, and the whole process feeds off itself, as we sink deeper and deeper into the question of “Who am I really, and why am I here?”

We can all relate to at least some part of this downward spiral. Women seem to have a universal bent for seeing the worst in themselves and dwelling on their weaknesses. Unfortunately we tend to compensate for those feelings by also noticing and pointing out the weaknesses of others.

Women are losing their grip on who they were created to be. I think this is greatly due to the changing perception of who Mom really is and what she should look like. Over the years of my life I have watched a steady stream of motherhood role models march across my TV screen. Thinking back on my childhood, I grew up in a time when most people believed that moms should be home with their kids and not out in the marketplace. We saw this perceived role portrayed on “Leave it to Beaver”. Hopefully there are at least a few people out there who are old enough to remember the Cleaver family. Each day when Wally and Beaver came home from school, June Cleaver would be waiting in the kitchen, ready to greet them with an after school snack, and hear about their day.  Women of that era found some identity with what they saw in June Cleaver, and yet, I don’t think it answered all their questions about their role in society.

Another TV Mom that came into our living rooms, shaping our ideas of motherhood, was Marion Cunningham. How many people remember Mrs C from the TV show “Happy Days?” Mrs. C wasn’t quite as serious a mom as June Cleaver. She gave us the feeling that moms should be fun and maybe just a little crazy – after all, what normal mom would allow a hoodlum like “The Fonz” to live over the family garage? This mom made us laugh at times, but she also gave us the feeling that most of the time she was somewhat clueless about what was really going on with Richie and Joanie. She was entertaining, but I don’t think most women really identified with Mrs. C as a role model for motherhood.

Then before long we had “The Brady Bunch.” Carole Brady seemed ready to solve any problem the kids might be facing, but, of course, she had help. Alice, the faithful housekeeper, was also there to pick up where mom left off. Watching Carole and Alice in their sort of “tag-team mothering” must have given some women the subconscious thought that moms deserve hired help. It was almost as if there were two moms in the house.

Then a new TV mom appeared on the scene and looking back at that time in our society, it seems to me that a shift in our perception of motherhood began to take place. We began to get messages that moms can have it all. Being a mom didn’t necessarily mean you had to give up being something else. It was possible to be a mom and still have a successful career. This was played out perfectly in front of our eyes on “The Bill Cosby Show” as Clair Huxtable skillfully directed her household, nurtured her children, built a successful law practice, and met the needs of her doctor husband. She was perfect --perhaps a little too perfect. She opened up a whole new world. The question is: was it a real world or a TV fantasy world?

Today we see magazines filled with stories and photos of celebrity moms and our confusion about the role of a mom grows even greater. Our country is facing an identity crisis among women. Where can we find our true identity?  Of course, we are intelligent enough to know that what we see played out in television sit-coms is not reality, and yet, often those shows contain just enough reality to make us wonder. What if? What if I had a husband who made lots of money? What if my children always listened to my good advice? What if I had a home with a spacious kitchen and a housekeeper to keep it spotless? But then we compare the what-if’s to the reality of life and we tend to lose hope that we will ever have the kind of success we expect to have.

Perhaps this is why we are so fascinated with the so-called reality shows that seem to dominate our TV screens today. We watch the “real life” scenarios on the tube and somehow find some sense of relief in knowing that we aren’t the only messed up people in the world.

So how do we climb out of this abyss of insecurity, inadequacy and insensitivity? How do we gain a healthy perspective of what a successful woman really is? Where are we to find our true identity?
We have to start with reality. Not the kind of reality we see on reality TV, but the kind of reality that’s real. The reality that teaches us that our value comes from being created in God’s image. The reality that our significance is evident in the fact that when we separated ourselves from Him in sin, He was willing to sacrifice His Son, a part of Himself, to make it possible for us to be reconciled to Him . The reality that we leave behind a legacy as we use the life He’s given us to serve His purpose, and that purpose has no dependency on whether we are a mother, a career woman, or some combination of both. He created us to serve Him by making a difference in the lives of other people.

What does all that really mean? How can we, as women, live lives that have value and significance and also leave a legacy beyond our lifetime -- because isn’t that really what gives us identity? Isn’t that what helps us define who we are and what our purpose is?

 I think God gave us the perfect formula for answering these questions by including in His Word a letter from a mother to her son. Some woman are intimidated by Proverbs 31, but what we have to keep in mind is that this is not a description of an actual woman, but rather a list of attributes that the mother of King Lemuel wanted him to refer to in his search for a wife of noble character. These verses are a formula this mother gave her son to help him move past his hormones and his chemistry to look for a woman with true value. I believe it is God’s intent that as we become women of noble character as outlined in these verses, we will also display our true identity in Him! Below is the Sue Wilson paraphrased version of the Proverbs 31 woman:

 A woman of value is trustworthy, generous and kind. She looks out for the best interests of others. She is a woman who makes the best use she can of the talents God has given her. She works hard at whatever task she’s been given. She wants to make her home a place that welcomes others. She reaches out to those in need. She does all she can to prepare for the future. She ages gracefully, not in bitterness. She speaks with kindness and wisdom. She lives in a way that earns respect. She is humble.

I think we would all agree that a woman like this is one we could admire and appreciate. A woman like this has no reason to feel insecure, inadequate or be insensitive. A woman who displays these characteristics is a woman of value, who has significance and who will leave a legacy for future generations. But you may be thinking, “Yeah, right! I could never be all that!” Well --me neither, which is why we are going to try and simplify the whole thing a little more.

Look at Titus 2. This passage is part of a letter from Paul to Titus outlining his leadership role in the church. I think it also speaks to us as it begins in verse 3 by saying , “Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that honors God. They must not slander others or be heavy drinkers. Instead, they should teach others what is good. These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.”

Although this verse refers to “older women,” keep in mind that no matter what your age, you are older than someone. What you have to ask yourself is whether or not younger women can look at you and see the attributes it talks about here. Is the church body respected because of what they see in you, or do you give Christianity a bad name?

I have always been fascinated, but also dismayed at the ability of women to smile at someone in their presence and then rip them to shreds behind their back. I love being a woman, but I hate this part of us. This type of behavior does not display the identity of Christ. As we scrutinize our behavior, we find so many clues that we are still searching for significance in the eyes of the world instead of recognizing that we already have significance simply in being daughters of the Creator of the Universe. The way we look, the things we do, the places we go – everything about us should be a reflection of who we are in Christ, not who the world thinks we should be.

Look at 1 Peter 3, starting with verse 4: “Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in.”  Then let’s skip down to verses 10-11, “Whoever wants to embrace life and see the day fill up with good, here’s what you do: Say nothing evil or hurtful; snub evil and cultivate good; run after peace for all you’re worth.”

Isn’t that truly what we want – to embrace life and see the day fill up with good? We can have that by cultivating good instead of evil. We can have that by following the example of the life of Jesus. We can have that by finding our true identity in Him.

Once we have accepted the reality that our true identity comes from living in the humility of being simple, genuine and unpretentious, we can find freedom from insecurity. As we live out God’s purpose for our lives by making a difference in the lives of others, we will be filled with a sense of worth. We will know that we are valued by the Creator of the Universe and that no matter what anyone else thinks of us, His opinion is all that matters.

We will also find that, in this true source of identity, we will be completely adequate to meet whatever may come our way, because the Bible tells us that when we are weak, He is strong. His strength is sufficient for all that we will face. He will be our wisdom when we don’t know what to do. He will help us take the next step when we feel paralyzed to move ahead. 

As each of us learns to embrace the uniqueness of who we are in Christ, we will no longer find ourselves insensitive to those around us, but we will instead be filled with a desire to reach out to them; to share the love of God with them and to embrace the many ways He will show Himself in them; to rejoice with them in victory and to weep with them in times of trouble. But even more than that, we will recognize that this IS our identity; this is what we were created to do — love others with the love of Jesus and share with them the Good News of our forever life in Him.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Sue's Saga of the Day

Well, I was going to make a Facebook post, but I decided this was more of a saga and would be more appropriately presented in a blog, so here goes:

I decided I needed to convert a dress into a long top and was halfway into that project when I realized I didn't like where my sewing machine was located. So I stopped the Dress Conversion Project to move my sewing machine to a different wall in the same room.

This, of course, also meant the relocation of where some things were plugged into the wall. 

As I assessed that issue, I determined that all my electronics, which are located in the same room as my sewing machine, would be much more aesthetically pleasing if they were inside of my desk drawer, so as to hide all the cords a little better. So I began making those changes, which is no easy task -- it requires a fair amount of rolling around on the floor with my head under the desk.(And then, of course, there is the issue of getting back up off the floor...) 

In the middle of that task, there was a knock on the door, and I was elated to see that the new wheels for my small carry-on bag had arrived from Amazon. I had spent some time a couple days ago figuring out how to replace them and what to order. Normally, these parts would be ordered from the luggage manufacturer, but my bag is an older model and they no longer sell the parts, which is not just the wheels, but the wheel housing as well. I knew, after researching online, that I could replace just the wheels, but it would require drilling out the wheel axle, which was riveted into the wheel housing. I had spent a few hours trying to do that and was close to getting one wheel done, when my friend, Mike Pape, stopped by to deliver a table he made for us.(He is a master with word, by the way!) I noticed He actually had a manly drill, unlike my little girly one, which prompted me to ask him if he would be so kind as to help me with the Drilling Out of the Riveted Axle Project. He graciously agreed and was able to complete the drilling in no time. Of course, I am now fraught with drill envy..... Anyway, that all happened a couple days ago and I was anxiously awaiting the arrival of my new wheels so that I could reassemble the wheel housing with the new wheels and axle. Let me just say here, that in case you have ever wondered, like I have, why your luggage lining has all kinds of zippers and velcro in it, I now know the answer to that question. You have to get under the lining to remove important screws when you replace things like wheels. Okay, that's just a side note for those inquiring minds out there. 

When the wheels arrived at my door, I completely forgot that I was ever doing anything else and went right to work on the Install New Wheels Project. That turned out to be a bigger job that I expected because the new axle had a bigger head than would fit into the recessed hole it needed to go into. I knew ahead of time that this might be a possibility, and that if necessary, I may need to drill out the hole a little bigger to accommodate the axle head. So I promptly began to do just that. Again with the drill envy (maybe Santa will take note...) ! Anyway, it took a long time to get the hole big enough, but eventually I was able to drill out the hole, insert the new axle and wheel into the wheel housing and reattach the housing to the suitcase, reinserting all the screws I had removed. Yay! It worked and the suitcase rolls like a new bag! I am beaming with pride!

Then as I walked back to my office, I noticed the Dress Conversion Project that was still waiting on my new table in the living room where I left it when I decided to move my sewing machine.

And then I remembered that I was also in the middle of moving all the plugs for the electronics as well. That's when I started to laugh. I had actually had three projects going at the same time! 

And of course before I could finish either the Plug Moving Project or the Dress Conversion Project, I was now compelled to tell someone about it, which as everyone knows, is best done in a blog. So, there you have it. Sue's Saga of the Day is born, and you are lucky enough to get to read all about it!

Saturday, December 16, 2017

The Wart Family's 2017 Christmas Saga

The Wart family have moved to a new home, so they are still getting used to the place. Today when Grandma Sue started putting up Christmas lights, Angelina got so excited she began to run around and around until she became hopelessly entangled in little strings of lights! Mama Wart was concerned that little Angelina might fall and hurt herself and tried her best to untangle her daughter, 
but unfortunately, it was not so easy, and soon Mama found herself just as tangled up as Angelina. By this time the boys, Hiram and Harold, had noticed that being tangled up in light strings actually looked like a lot of fun, so they started rooting through the lights and rolled around on them until they were both tangled together in lights. They were snorting and laughing so loudly that Papa Wart woke up from his nap and came to see what all the noise was about. "What's going on here?" Papa snorted as he took in the sight of his entire family wrapped up in little white lights. "For heaven's sake, what is the matter with all of you? Hold still and let me get you out of this mess!" To Papa's dismay, the more he tried to untangle his wife and children, the more the light strings worked their way around him as well, and soon he stood there, staring at what had happened. Mama was about to cry, because she was just sure that Papa was going to be angry and snort loudly at them all. Little Angelina began to inch her way a little closer to Mama, and the boys were eerily quiet, which almost never happened. But then, the strangest thing happened! Papa did begin to snort, but they were laughing snorts! Quiet and slowly at first, but then working up into full-blown hog-sized laugh snorts that could be heard all over the neighborhood. His family stared at him in shock, as he was able to squeeze out a few words, "You should see yourselves! You look ridiculous! I have never seen anything so funny in my life! And look at me! I look as ridiculous as you do!" The boys began to giggle and soon they were snorting kid-sized laughs to match Papa's. The next thing they knew, the whole family was heard laugh-snorting by everyone within ear-shot, and as people stopped to listen, they could hear Papa Wart shouting, "Merry Christmas to all and to all a de-LIGHT-ful night!"

Monday, October 30, 2017

Lead On!

I have to preface what I'm about to say by assuring you that I am not a theologian. I don't know Greek and cannot tell you the detailed history of what was happening when the pages that became The Holy Bible were written. But I am a reader of the Bible and a believer that it is the inspired Word of God. I believe that The Bible is one of the ways that God communicates with us and reveals to us who He is.

As hard as it is for our finite minds to fathom, I think the Bible is pretty clear that God is God -- but Jesus is also God; and the Holy Spirit is also God. God is three in one, and yet, when I arrive in Heaven, I don't expect to see a three-headed creature sitting on a throne. I believe that God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit will each be there entirely individual, and yet entirely one. Don't ask me to explain how that is possible, because I can't. I just know that the book I believe to be the Word of God says that is nothing is impossible for God.

So when the Bible says, "In the beginning was God," then surely in the beginning were also Jesus and the Holy Spirit. As I said, I am not a theologian, but my simple logic tells me this must be so. I can imagine that Jesus was happy in Heaven. He was one with His Father, He had community with beings who adored and praised Him. But there came a time when the Father knew He must make a difficult choice. He must ask His Son to sacrifice all that He was and all that He knew for the sake of beings who were unworthy of that very sacrifice. The beings the Father had created on earth to love and adore Him would be lost to Him for all time unless the Son was willing to make this sacrifice.

Of course, the love of the Father was also in the Son, so that love compelled the Son to be the sacrifice that would build a bridge between God and man -- the bridge that man had broken in the very infancy of his existence. But it was not just love that compelled the Son to descend from His rightful place beside the Father, it was also obedience. He was obedient because He trusted His Father.

So here I go: What is it in my life that seems unfair or is hard, or that I don't understand, or that I don't want to do because it hurts? Why do I often find myself face to face with the confusion of pain and sorrow? If God is the God of the impossible, then why doesn't He take this away from me? Why doesn't He put me where I want to be, or do what makes me happy, or remove whatever is causing my pain? Doesn't He care about me? Perhaps we should also ask, "Did He, does He, care about Jesus? Couldn't He have found another way for His plan to be accomplished without the pain that Jesus was forced to suffer?" I don't know the answer to that. All I know is that He did what He did because it served His Plan. Therefore, I choose to assume that He also does what He does in my life because it serves His Plan. He sometimes allows me to suffer and He sometimes gives me victory. It doesn't matter which way I go because I trust Him. I know He loves me. I know that whatever path I find myself on, whether or not I chose that path willingly, I am there because God has allowed it. If God has allowed it, He has a reason for it. In His time that reason will be revealed to me. Until then I am compelled to walk on in faith and believe He will give me the same victory that He gave to Jesus. Until then I must find a way to love even those who would do evil to me. I must see the world and the people in the world through His eyes and recognize that even in their imperfection, they are reflections of the same God that is reflected through me, in spite of my own imperfection.

The Bible compels me to strive for a life that reflects Christ; a life that is sometimes filled with pain and confusion and a lack of understanding. But it also compels me to live a life of faith. Faith that God is, was, and always will be in control, and that I can trust the promises of His Word to be true when they tell me He loves me, He will use all things for my good, and that He was willing to let His Son suffer to prove it to me. So when there are times I must walk through where I am to get to where He wants me to be, then so be it. Lead on. I know a victory awaits at the other end.

Friday, October 27, 2017

The Beauty of Community

Recently I had the humbling experience of receiving a ceremonial footwashing by more than 100 women. As each one knelt in front of me and offered words of love and encouragement, they handed me a single long-stemmed rose. I was overwhelmed and moved to tears by this outpouring of their hearts. I was also left with a beautiful arrangement of roses in varied colors! When I got to my home and began to sort and arrange the roses in a huge vase that had been provided, I found that in the process of transporting them, a few stems had broken. I was determined that no matter what the condition, each rose would be proudly displayed in my home, so I carefully cut a few more stems to the length of the broken ones and gave these shorter stems their very own vase, where they could be a thing of beauty on their own.

As I often do, I saw God showing me a lesson in something as simple as a bouquet of roses. I began to think how like those roses women are. Each of us beautiful as individuals, but gathered together, we are a sight to behold! Some of us are strong and healthy, standing boldly for what we believe in and supporting one another. Some of us are broken and feeling lonely and worthless. But that is when the miracle of love is strongest, as a few of the strong reach down to the broken, surround them, and once again make them strong in the beauty of community.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Sue's Blog

Sue's Blog
As we approach mid-October, I am reminded that the days between October 1 and Christmas Day always seem to pass by like the blink of an eye. Below is an article that I wrote a few years ago to remind myself not to let the stress of the holiday season blind me to the joy of what it is really all about.

Why Bother With Christmas?

“What night are we going to get together with the kids to have our family Christmas?” My husband asked as he walked through the room, barely stopping to hear my reply. Staring at the ink-filled squares representing my life for the coming month, I tried to formulate a reply, which came out more like a desperate plea for help. “From the looks of the calendar, I think we’ll be waiting until New Year’s. We have something going on every night in December. There are all the church group parties, our friend’s parties, our small group caroling, the ladies’ cookie exchange, the elders’ and wives party, the staff party, and then of course, the 12 Christmas Eve services. I don’t see any way we can get together with the kids in the middle of all this. For one thing, I haven’t had time to do any shopping, and after I find time to do that, I have to wrap everything. Somehow I have to get the decorations up before the pastors’ wives party, which reminds me – when can you put the lights on the outside of the house? And I need you to assemble the tree so I can decorate it!”

For families in ministry, this conversation may ring a familiar bell. For most people Christmas is a time for family, perhaps attending a Christmas Eve service together before gathering around the Christmas tree. For a pastor’s family, celebrating Christmas can hold a unique challenge as family time must compete with a myriad of church obligations. Our family has celebrated Christmas on Thanksgiving, on New Year’s, or anywhere in-between, but rarely do we have the time – or the energy – to celebrate on Christmas Eve.

As our church has grown, so have the number of Christmas Eve services. In our household, Christmas Eve has come to be synonymous with multiple services and spending Christmas at the church building. A few years ago, my husband discovered that many people were torn between attending Christmas Eve service and being with family. In an effort to allow them to do both, he began to offer Christmas Eve services on December 23rd, as well as December 24th. This addition has been surprisingly well-received and it seems every year the services for both evenings are packed with those who feel a special need to reconnect with the Christmas story and still have time to be with family. For us, it’s a time of great blessing to see so many people gather, knowing that many only have this one chance to hear of God’s amazing love. But finding time – and energy -- for a family celebration in the midst of all this has become an annual challenge, especially now that all three of our grown children are also in ministry, with families of their own -- and in-laws to factor in! Each year we juggle our schedules to try and find time to make it happen.

In spite of what could easily be termed “a hassle” by some, our family has found that the joy of Christmas is always there, waiting for us, no matter when we celebrate it. It may not be on Christmas Eve, or Christmas morning, or even on Christmas evening, as it is for many families. But the moment we gather together we are reminded why we make the effort as the real meaning of Christmas finds its way into our hearts.

I’ll never forget one special Christmas, as our family carved out some time to share in the Christmas celebration. We decided to dig out some costumes from the church props closet and prevail upon the children to perform a reenactment of the first Christmas. As you can probably imagine, a gathering of our three children, their spouses, and our 11 grandchildren is often accompanied by what borders on chaos, and this night was no different. It was an effort to corral squirming kids to decide which costume best fit whom, and referee arguments over who would play which part. When at last we found ourselves ready for the big event, my husband read the Christmas story from the Bible. As parents and grandparents we gathered around, watching the transformation of rowdy little boys into regal wise men and a dignified Joseph. Excited and giggly little girls suddenly became curious shepherds, glorious angels, and an extremely maternal Mary. One wiggly little baby was surprisingly willing to be still long enough to be the baby that brought the purest of all love into the world.

Amidst much flashing of cameras and parental pride, we were all struck by the importance of what really took place, not just on this make-shift stage, but on that long ago night. A night when another Father watched as His Son was cradled by humanity. These children whom we love were acting out a love of another kind, a love that brings us to our knees as we try to grasp the meaning of the words of the angel, “For unto us a Son is born.” As we watched our children in their rag-tag costumes posed before us, we were reminded once again that Christmas is not about a day on the calendar – it’s about a living God and a love that transcends our understanding.

This was the Christmas card we sent out in 2005. That little baby "Jesus" is now 11 years old and nearly every one of these children are taller than me! But this image will always be one of my all time favorites and hopefully these children, many of whom are already young adults, will never forget the time they were transformed into a living reminder that Jesus is the Reason for the Season!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Why I Decided Not to Host My Own Cooking Show

Today, as I was trying to make several different recipes at once for a special celebration of our family, I began to get frustrated because things just weren't going well. Then I thought about how I came to the decision to give up cooking (obviously, I was having second thoughts about that decision, because here I was, frantically trying to chop, stir, and layer, all at the same time). I remembered that when my children left home I needed to make a decision about cooking and considered the pros of cooking in a home with no children:
  1. I would get to lick all the bowls and spoons myself.
  2. I wouldn't have to share any of the finished foods if I didn't want to.
  3. I wouldn't have to listen to complaints about how it doesn't taste like so and so's mom makes it.
But then I had also weighed the cons:
  1. I would gain a lot of weight.
  2. I wouldn't have anyone I could force into cleaning up my mess (and I am a really messy cooker -- see photo).
  3. Most of the time I mess up the recipe and it doesn't taste like I used to make it.
So then I thought about my options. My first option would be to have my own TV cooking show -- this would allow me to:
  1. cook whatever I wanted, plus the ingredients would all be pre-measured and ready to pour into the bowl or pot or whatever..
  2. be as messy as I want because someone else would get paid to clean up my mess.
  3. not be stressed out about gaining weight because other people could eat part of whatever it was so that I wouldn't eat it all myself.
It didn't take long to rule out this first option on the mere fact that I am not that great a cook and probably even if someone agreed to let me go on the air, no one would actually watch the show.

So that left me with option #2 which was to give up cooking in any formal sort of way (hotdogs and grilled cheese sandwiches don't really count.). This would mean that:
  1. I could spend more time making reservations at restaurants around town.
  2. Someone else would get paid to clean up my mess.
  3. I could invite someone to dinner and they can eat whatever they want.
This is obviously the choice I made -- it's a no-brainer! Why, oh why, do I keep second -guessing myself like I did today? It always ends up with me being really tired, the food being mostly so-so, and nobody really caring that I made it myself! Sigh. 

(And then there's that thing about gaining weight, which seems to be a factor no matter which choice you make....)