A few weeks ago, I was telling you about my adventures with my water heater. Thankfully, my water heater is doing great, but now my oven doesn’t work. The stovetop still works. But the oven doesn’t. Ok, so what does a resourceful Shieldmaiden do? She makes the best of it until the situation can be remedied.
We bake a lot of bread so first thing was to find a replacement for oven baked bread. We looked into stovetop bread, but it looked a bit fussy and needed some finagling with equipment so that was out. Then we hit upon tortillas. Cooks on the stovetop, works on a griddle (which I just got for my birthday – fortuitous present!), and can be used for sandwiches, wraps, morning toast, snacks . . . Great solution and easy to make too.
Next problem is dessert. My family is very fond of their desserts. Desserts are pretty much made in the oven. Puddings and ice cream being some delicious exceptions, but they require lots of milk, and we purchase raw milk from a local dairy where the demand often exceeds the supply. Here again, the situation calls for some shieldmaiden ingenuity.
First, we tried no bake cookies. Not bad, a little sweet but good in small quantities. However, we needed some other options as well. Next, was a chocolate chip cookie recipe cooked on the stove. We followed the recipe, mixed up the ingredients, spread it into the skillet, and placed it on the stove. It smelled great to begin with, but then a faint essence of burning food began to spread through the house. We checked the bottom of the cookie and realized it was beginning to burn. It wasn’t cooked all the way through, but we couldn’t leave it still heating on the burner. I decided to improvise so I turned the burner off and placed a lid over the skillet. The residual heat from the burner and the stored heat from the iron pan in which it had been cooking were enough to finish cooking the cookie all the way through. We did have to scrape off a bit of burned dough, but it still tasted good.
My point behind this little tale is that we need to be able to adjust to whatever situations come our way. The cookie recipe simply said to watch out for it burning but said nothing about what to do if it did burn. I had to figure out what to do when that very thing happened.
I can’t control when an appliance may quit, and I won’t always have the money available to fix it at the moment it stops. Sometimes we just have to roll with whatever life hands us. It is during these times when we find out just how resilient we are, how prepared we are for emergencies or just life’s little annoyances. We can scream and holler, we can sit down and cry, we can blame someone else, we can bemoan how unfair life is . . . or we can take a deep breath and find a way through or around.
That’s what being a shieldmaiden is all about. Taking life one step at a time and making the best of any circumstance. Change what you can if you can, but if you can’t change it, find another way through. There is always another way if you just look hard enough and use a little creativity.
How has your creative ingenuity helped you get through a particular situation? Leave a comment below, I would love to hear from you!
Until next time,
Have a good one!
We have a dog, a German Shepherd, who has her own ideas about what she should or shouldn’t do. She has some . . . entitlement issues. We have no idea how she came to acquire such traits. We, of course, had nothing to do with this. ;) But I digress.
The point being that Sheba has some rather interesting habits. She seems to only know the word come when it pertains to eating or receiving something. She barks and barks at nothing, ceases briefly when we tell her to stop while also staring at us in disbelief, then resumes her barking. We can wander around the yard calling her name, looking for her but not finding her, then realize she has been sitting right beside the barn or under a tree watching us but never responding. She seems to enjoy seeing us make fools of ourselves—not that that would be hard sometimes!
Don’t get me wrong, we love Sheba. She is an awesome companion, a great protector, and, really, a very good dog. Just like our human friends, our dog friends can have their own unique personality quirks.
One of her more irritating quirks just might be when we are in the garage heading inside. We remove our shoes, open the door and walk in. Three of us handle the chores so when we go in we pretty much head in one at a time and leave the door open for the next person, Sheba included. But instead of heading inside, she stands in the garage staring at the open door with a pathetic, “You’re leaving me outside” look on her face. Nothing is stopping her, no one has told her to stay, but she remains in one place seemingly frozen to the floor. Never mind that when the door is only open a crack, she will push her way through and head inside (or outside). Apparently, an open door means stay where you are and a door barely open means walk on through. Only to Sheba does this make sense.
I was watching her do this a few days ago, and I thought, “Do I do that with God?” Do I stand in front of an open door that He has flung wide open for me and say, “Why don’t You let me in? Why am I stuck here in the same place, doing the same stuff when I want to do more?” God has provided a path. He has made the way clear. The door is wide open, but we don’t go through; we don’t even see the door. We just stare blankly straight ahead or our eyes roam aimlessly about seeing nothing.
On the other hand, how many times have we pushed our way through a door that is barely open insisting that that is the way we MUST go whether we really should or not. We don’t ask God if that is correct. We don’t wait for a green light, or in this analogy, an open door. We push it open ourselves and then wonder why we get “yelled at” (metaphorically speaking) by God and nothing works out at all.
Then we just moan and groan against God saying how much He must hate us or why doesn’t He ever see what I am going through. We are the ones who went the wrong way, but we are so quick to blame God for our problems that we don’t see the right way sitting right in front of us.
God is always with His children, but sometimes He simply shakes His head and lets us push through that door and suffer the consequences. He knows what each of us needs. Sometimes we do need to go that way first in order for us to ultimately head back to the correct path, and through the right door. He will keep that door open until we do.
It would be so nice and so much easier on ourselves if we would simply look more closely and notice the doors God has placed in front of us. We need to listen to His coaching, hear His voice, read His word and see what is really there not what we hope to find.
Sheba eventually walks through the door and gets inside where she wants to be. We too will eventually walk through our open doors, but it could take longer than we would like. The process will be much smoother if we just pay more attention to the One in charge. And no matter how important we think we are, the One in charge isn’t really us at all.
Can you think of any time you pushed through a door that wasn’t the right path for you? How did God get you back on track? Or on the flip side, how about a time when you walked through the open door and received so many blessings when you did? Drop me a comment and tell me all about it. I would love to hear from you!
Have a good one!
Hey, guys, I just recently launched my new YouTube channel for Shieldmaidens of Shiloh. The channel is titled Shieldmaiden Chronicles, and is where I will showcase a variety of videos on all kinds of topics. Becoming a shieldmaiden is a life long process and looks different for every woman. This channel is mostly about my journey but will include my team as well. Check out the channel trailer below and visit me on YouTube. If you like what you see let me know by hitting the like button and subscribing to be sure you don't miss a thing.
My hot water heater has been giving me trouble since the beginning of December. We don’t notice how much we rely on warm water until we don’t have any. Especially in December. Especially when the water that comes out of our tap is only 35 degrees Fahrenheit. Pretty chilly. Though it does do a really great job of waking you up in the morning when you splash it on your face!
I chose a local company who has been in business for quite a while to help me with this problem. They ended up making quite a few visits to my home. First, Cody came and found a faulty thermostat which he changed. Problem solved. The water heater worked great . . . for about one month. Then it stopped heating again. Called my local plumbing business again and they were quick to fit me in and send out another technician.
This time Larry came out to assess the situation. He found one of the elements had stopped working. The other element was still working well. He replaced the one that wasn’t working explaining what he was doing and why. Problem solved? We thought so, but 10 days later, it again stopped heating. Larry came back bringing two new thermostats thinking maybe the previously changed ones had been faulty. This visit was a no charge as they were repeating work they had already done. He told me how to kick the heater back on by using the reset button so we would at least have hot water until they could come back, if such a thing were to be necessary again. We all crossed our fingers and hoped the solution had been found. No such luck.
Five days later it stopped again. The company squeezed me in to the day’s schedule, and Larry returned to our aid. He checked everything out and all should have been working, but it wasn’t.
So, we decided to just bite the bullet and have a replacement put in. They reworked Larry’s schedule for Monday and got us set up for a morning appointment. Of course, all of these events took place on a weekend, late on Friday, on a really busy week for the company etc., etc. Silly of me to hope for anything else!
Monday arrived and despite a few setbacks—his first appointment took longer than expected, and he had to drive back to the office (we live a bit of a distance outside of town) and get a piece that was supposed to be on the truck but wasn’t—Larry got the new heater set up quickly and efficiently. As of this moment all is well and, hopefully, will continue to be so.
Through the whole ordeal this company has worked with me, rescheduled technicians when necessary, and done all they could to see that we had hot water. Larry was always professional, always courteous, truly cared about the work he did and cared about the customer he was working with. He stressed out about the fact we didn’t have hot water, and he even worked an entire day with a painful knee because he wanted to be sure he was able to make my appointment and restore our hot water.
People like Larry and the company he works for are the reason I choose to use local businesses and not franchises or large national companies. Local businesses are the life blood of small communities like mine; they should be the life blood of all communities big or small. If we want to restore vitally and health to our own neighborhoods and cities, we need to keep our money and our patronage in the communities in which we live. These people are our neighbors. They are the ones who will be there when we need them, who will make the extra effort to make sure their customers are taken care of properly and compassionately. Local patrons are their bread and butter. It is up to us to be certain they will be able to continue in business and not be overtaken by national companies who really aren’t concerned with our community except for the money that can be made. Money that should stay in our communities, but is instead sent to some corporate headquarters far away.
I like the way my local businesses treat me like a person that matters to them. I am not just an invoice number, but someone they know by name. That matters to me. That’s why local companies will be the ones that get my business unless I have no other option.
We do have a choice about where we shop and which companies we call. At this time, America is still a mostly free country; we still have the right to choose who gets our business. We need to consider how and where our money is spent and make choices that are not only good for us but for our local communities as well.
Do you have any stories about community heroes where you live? Share them in the comments, and give these folks the shout out they deserve.
I never really thought my hands were very attractive. They’re just hands, after all. Working hands, not model hands. They are sturdy hands, hands covered in freckles and not as smooth as they once were – age not being kind to one’s skin. If I only looked at the outside of my hands and judged them solely on their appearance, I would dismiss them at a glance. But the outer appearance isn’t really what is important.
My hands have rocked babies, cooked meals, doctored goats, butchered chickens, cleaned homes, mucked stalls, hugged loved ones, gathered eggs, planted seedlings, harvested ripe produce, held an eager horse in check with rein and bit, bottle fed calves, written pages and pages of heartfelt words, painted pictures, sketched pencil drawings . . . My hands have experienced all I have experienced and have served me well. Does it matter so much what they look like?
Why do we get so caught up in how things look when how they work is so much more important? How can a perceived negative appearance cancel out all the good that has been done in the past? Why are we so quick to dismiss that which, at first glance, doesn’t appeal to our idea of perfection or “beauty”?
What is beauty anyway? Whose standard are we using when we see something as beautiful or not? Do we allow Hollywood, marketing teams, or the latest fads and trends determine our standards? Who do we listen to? Who should we?
“As to what good qualities, there may be in our souls, or who dwells within them, or how precious they are—those are things which are never considered and so we trouble little about carefully preserving the soul’s beauty. All our interest is centered in the rough setting of the diamond and in the outer wall of the castle—that is to say in these bodies of ours.”
Teresa of Avila, Interior Castle, 1577**
Even if our outer beauty is of the utmost perfection at this moment, it will not last, it cannot. Souls last forever, this shell of ours does not. Cultivate what matters while you can, both in yourself and in everyone around you.
Our bodies can serve us well and faithfully all our lives, but not because of our appearance. Don’t worry so much about the outer wall when the inner castle is where the importance lies.
**I read the above quote in the latest edition of Small Farmer’s Journal (smallfarmersjournal.com) This is an awesome magazine for those who love draft horses, old ways of farming, vintage and new horse drawn implements, stories of farm life, ranching . . . One of my favorite magazines! Check it out!
Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds at meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious - the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you have learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into His most excellent harmonies.
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