Friday, February 5, 2010
Count your burdens, not your blessings.
Haven't I said that before? Why do I need to say it again?...And so often?
Because for whatever, and various reasons, it's not always easy to remember for me. I apologize in advance here, because I don't mean to complain, but hey, everyone needs to vent sometimes, right?
So my Husband is almost through with his first week at his new job. He's really happy there, I can tell, and that makes me happy, it makes me feel like we really did make the right choice in relocating here to Norway now that he's found a good job with some longevity behind it to take care of us.
Then why do I feel so guilty that my principal thought after him starting work being: So how long will it be before we can start househunting?
I know I'm entitled to my own opinions at this point in life, and that everyone has them. But I also feel really guilty about my attitude lately and the fact that no matter what my in-laws do, it just grates on my nerves, and I think about the opposite manner in which I would have done it if it was my house.
Now they've generously opened their home to us in our time of need, and indefinitely, which will make me grateful forever to them, it really will. But it doesn't mean I don't want to scoot on out of here asap and start living with my own little family how I need and want to live!
Ok, little, seemingly stupid example? The food.
Now I would never dub myself a picky eater, despite my veganism, I'm really down for eating anything, and I'll always try something at least once if it meets my dietary standards. Because guess what, where I was raised it was a huge sign of disrespect to snub someone's meal they made you, and don't even think about pitching a fit because it wasn't exactly what you wanted. No. Way. And I don't think that's harsh, I think it's polite, and the way to go. I remember my Mother's theories pertaining to meals and picky eaters, and how she managed to raise three children who are in no way picky, nor would have dared to be:
Rule 1. I am not a short order cook, and this is not a restaurant.
Rule 2. If you don't like the meal I've made, you can leave the table and join us for the next one.
I like and support these rules so much, I fully intend on making them law in my own home and with my own children someday.
Here however, and in my MIL's house, these are absolutely not the rule. Now again, God love her, she's a sweet woman, and has been nothing but kind to me since the day I met her...
but her children, walk all over her, always have, she admits that she lets them, and it is totally wigs me out.
One of the many ways in which this is reflected, is during meal times. If my siblings-in-law do not like the dinner she (or I, for that matter, since I've been making the majority of our dinners lately!) has made, she will put down her fork, stop eating and make them whatever they want. She admits she's always done this for them, and usually makes what she knows they will like instead of what she and her husband would prefer to eat. Many times since I've been here and making or assisting in making dinner I've been told things like;
"Oh no, we have to make something else then too, because they won't eat this."
"Yes but we'll this food too, for the kids."
Now, I should mention that my Husband is the oldest of the "kids" at 26, and my sister-in-law is the youngest at 12. I understand the general concept of being hard to let go, but they. are. not. kids.
All three of them (my Husband excluded, thank God, since dating me has dropped his pickiness...I don't allow that in my kitchen!) have this insane pickiness by which they govern all their meals, and what they like to eat...or only will eat...
is total crap.
I'm really passionate about the quality of food that I put in my body. In the states, living on my own, I prided myself on making sacrifices in other areas of my life so that Harald and I (and once upon a time, just me!) could eat organic, healthy food that was good for us, and not buy all that pre-made, "just add water", bagged crap.
And that is all my MIL buys/cooks.
Now I don't have much of a comparison to go by, as far as other Norwegian families and how they prepare their meals, so maybe this is totally normal for this culture...but I can't handle it! And I know, once we're properly on our feet, as in in our first home, grocery shopping for ourselves and all that, I will not be buying these products. Even if I have to spend more, in a notoriously expensive country, and spend more time making something from scratch instead of using an instant kit, I will be doing that. For my family, and myself.
Because it's important to me. I love my in-laws, but I will never in a million years allow my own future children to be picky eaters that are raised on, and hooked on junky, processed food that comes out of thousands of layers of plastic and paper waste. I won't do it.
I'm not saying I'm perfect with my food choices. I know I have a long way to go to be at my idea quality level of food consumption. But no one's perfect: I enjoy junky stuff like pizza or burgers (vegan, of course!) once in a while, and I know that's ok.
But for now, I feel so trapped by the food I have to cook for all of us, the food I have to eat and feed to my family. I feel like I'm short-changing them. And picky eaters or no, however much I might want to scream at them to try something new, and be respectful and thankful of the food they're given, to eat some freaking vegetables!...I won't.
My personal resolve is to try and eat as healthy and whole as I possibly can while we're here. That's all and the most I can do right now, and what I will do. Make side dishes like I did last night, that are secretly all for my own enjoyment, despite the large portion sizes and my willingness to share with everyone; garlic sauteed carrots, red bell peppers, chilis, and onions.
And fresh, not frozen, not dehydrated, just fresh vegetables. Granted, the only fresh vegetables that were in the fridge, so a bit of a weird mix, but still fresh vegetables nonetheless!
But that's not the point...the point is, I have food. I will not go hungry in this house, none of us will.
When you break it down to that, what exactly is the problem?
That's what I keep asking myself, and why I have to keep telling myself too.
It's time to be thankful. It's time to work with what you're given, and praise God that your plate will be full and your family members are all alive and well. It's time to use all the patience, grace, and love you have in your body for your family and community too, because even though they might not be perfect, they might not be just like you, with your standards, they are yours. and they deserve that from you. It's time to stop crying about a few blemishes on your body, and see His image manifested in the grace of your form.
God knows we're not perfect, but loves us anyway. It's time to get with the program and praise Him for what we have in front of us, instead of concentrating on what is out of reach!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.
So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be disheartened, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.
- "Count your blessings" a hymn by Johnson Oatman Jr. 1897
Guess who needs to practice what she preaches?
p.s. - Sorry for all the bitching, preaching, and most of all the fact that this entry is not cohesive at all, and totally random...it was just something I needed to get off my chest, for me. Who knows? Maybe I was guided to write this entry because I'm not the only one who is thinking it, or needs to read it, then it might not be all together pointless afterall...