Feeding People

I was feeling a little stressed and overwhelmed yesterday, having taken on too much (as usual), and felt for a few minutes like I’m no good at anything I try to do. The house was a mess, K was fussy, it’s like slogging through mud to finish my work projects, I sent my birthday invites wicked late… Contrast that with this morning, when, as I loaded boxes of food into the car, I felt peaceful and calm and thought, “I am really good at feeding people!”

A couple years ago, Matthew and I led a Vision Seminar for the college and career group at our church, challenging them to find what it is God has planned for them to do with the gifts He’s given them and then do it. That process begins with considering your talents. We used the excellent series of questions in the book More Than You and Me by Kevin and Karen Miller (who might just happen to be related to us). The book is out of print, but you can get used copies on half.com. (It’s the best marriage book we’ve ever read, and I’m not just saying that because Matthew’s aunt and uncle wrote it. If you’re married or planning to be married, read it! It’ll change your marriage and your life.)The questions help you examine how God might have uniquely gifted you for serving other people. (Questions like: what can you do for long periods of time without getting tired? What can you fail at and then, instead of getting discouraged, try it again?)

I looked over my answers when I was done and realized that in some form or another, “cooking” was involved in every single one. I took the hint and joined the meal team at church.

I’ve also found other ways to serve people through food, starting with my own family. I love cooking for my husband and packing tasty lunches for him (and it works out really well – he enjoys EATING!), and I feel very blessed to be still almost-exclusively-breastfeeding my seven-month-old (which gives “feeding people” a whole new and much more personal meaning!).

Just this week, I’ve been able to contribute to our grocery bill by cooking for our upstairs neighbor, a young bachelor friend of Matthew. Boomer was spending exorbitant amounts of money eating out every day, so Matthew worked a deal where I pack a lunch and dinner for Boomer to take to work every day, and he pays … well, now that I think about it, pretty much half our weekly grocery bill. (He eats a LOT…he’s a big guy, and he does manual labor.) It saves him money and helps us out a ton.

This morning I was able to bring a meal to a couple in our Centering Group (couples in our midwifery practice who had babies in October – we get together once a month); the husband had a major accident at work and is recuperating. I also got to bring a meal to a couple in our newlyweds Sunday School class; the wife has mono. This weekend, we’re having a couple families over for pizza Friday night, our pastor is coming over on Saturday morning for brunch to talk about where we’re at in our preparation for joining Wycliffe and how our church can help, and on Saturday afternoon I’m hostessing a table at the annual Women’s Tea.

There are many things I struggle with doing, feel overwhelmed by, or fail at. Feeding people is not usually one of them. I like having something I can do that’s a tangible way to bless people, to connect with people, to facilitate relationships and communication.I don’t say all this to toot my own horn. I mention these anecdotes to spark your thinking…what are YOU really good at, and how could you use it to serve people in a way that comes naturally to you, rather than struggling to do things you’re not gifted to do?

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  • http://www.xanga.com/Badcat926 Badcat926

    Ok…now I’m really hungry and I really should figure out what we’re doing for dinner tonight. Especially since it’s 7. So far, Gwyneth is the only one I know of who couldn’t actually see my posts for awhile, but I’m not sure why and I wasn’t sure who else was affected when I upgraded to premium.

    I’m curious to know what types of meals/food to you cook for delivering? The biggest thing for me is trying to figure out what to make that’s family friendly, will stay warm or reheat easily, and is broccoli free for nursing moms. Typically it takes 30-45 minutes to deliver a meal anywhere here. I think someone should write a book on hospitality and meals made to travel. Maybe you could…in your free time. :o )

     Cat

  • http://www.xanga.com/simply_nikki simply_nikki

    Good idea, Cat! Maybe you, Becky, could make a few blog posts into chapters. :)

    Gosh, I feel overwhelmed just THINKING of this question. All I can think about now is what I’m NOT good at. Wait. Questions formulating. You wouldn’t know it by the looks of things sometimes but I think I am good at cleaning. Of all the things I’ve ever done, I think that applies most. In high school/college, I would stay up late not just doing homework but cleaning and organizing my room. I can do it all day or night and not realize I’m tired until I sit down. And wherever I work, I usually get a role of responsibility because I show I care by cleaning and organizing. Once I get familiar with the place, that’s what I do. Sometimes it’s detrimental, though. The people I live with/work with can get frustrated when I re-arrange. :P Or I can put important things off to do it.

    I got to help out with that once. ;) But I think most people are too self-conscious or they like things comfortable and familiar. So I’m not really sure of the ways I can use it besides what I do now. I tell people I like to stay home and clean and they look at me like I’m crazy. Sometimes I am seriously annoyed when I have to go to work because I could be doing something else at home!

  • http://www.xanga.com/miller_schloss miller_schloss

    I would concur that your are really good at cleaning, Nikki! The way you organized my bookshelves is amazing.

  • http://www.xanga.com/simply_nikki simply_nikki

    Lol. So funny you mention that; I just organized MY bookshelf the other day! I didn’t realize you were so impressed.

    Cooking and cleaning. You know what? We’d make a pretty good team. We should do a reality tv show.

  • http://www.xanga.com/miller_schloss miller_schloss

    Cat – I made a triple batch of lasagna. One for us, and two to deliver. I did’t worry about delivering it warm. I actually refrigerated it overnight. I figure they can put it in the fridge or freezer till they want it then reheat it. I put the layers together but it was unbaked, so they could cook it whenever and it wouldn’t get over-cooked. One thing I learned from the meal team was to use disposable containers so people don’t have to worry about bringing your dishes back to you. I put the lasagna in disposable aluminum cake pans, buttered and garlicked some bread and wrapped that in foil, and put together a salad in a big ziplock bag so they could just dump it in a bowl, and put croutons in a small ziplock.

  • http://www.xanga.com/simply_nikki simply_nikki

    Lol, good point! I can only imagine it — we’re being very SUBTLE about everything.

    Anyway, thanks for the verification/compliment!

  • http://www.xanga.com/Badcat926 Badcat926

    Now see…if I had MY bookshelf organized, I could FIND that book for Nikki. (See her post!) I’ve been a great Mother’s helper through the years because I really enjoy cleaning and doing laundry. People with lotsa kids love me. So there are places you can use the gift of cleaning and organizing. As comfortable as people like to be in their own element, a tired busy mom will usually welcome an extra set of hands for a few hours. Oh, people moving tend to welcome that kind of help too.

    Good ideas, Becky. Any other casserole recipes you have that aren’t pastas and don’t have broccoli? I have a good soup recipe that reheats in the crockpot and pulled pork BBQ. When we had Riley people brought us a lot of frozen boxed foods so I didn’t so much get ideas from that.

    I think you two would be fun to watch on tv.

    ~ Cat

  • http://www.xanga.com/katie385 katie385

    I agree with everyone else. You should write a book about hospitality and include in it a chapter on good meals to take to people. I would also like to see a chapter about theme parties, especially Lord of the Rings parties. Perhaps you could write about an Anne of Green Gables themed party also. :)  

  • http://www.xanga.com/Atira Atira

    Do you like Gilmore Girls? I am thinking of joining Netflix just so I can rent them and watch them while nursing. I’ve never seen one but I heard they are great.

  • http://www.xanga.com/Falconschloss Falconschloss

    I’m good at buying things.  And now that I think about it, Zach and Dad share that talent as well.

  • http://www.xanga.com/whomhavei whomhavei

    I’m good at World of Warcraft. It hasn’t helped anyone yet, though.

  • http://www.xanga.com/gwyneth gwyneth

    i am good at sleeping.
    and eating popcorn.
    and…
    surfing the internet.

    i’ll have to get back to you on any others, though.

  • http://www.xanga.com/gwyneth gwyneth

    yeah, i think they’re just guest snapshots. i would die from drowning in a puddle of my own drool if i ever got a couple like that!

  • http://www.xanga.com/arohanui24 arohanui24

    Well said.  I’ve also been thinking about this lately…what has God gifted me to do, what comes naturally and doesn’t seem like a chore and doesn’t take away and make me worn out, but that gives me energy and fulfillment.  It’s quite interesting getting to really know myself as an adult.

  • http://www.xanga.com/hannahbarton hannahbarton

    You do feed people! It’s wonderful! I love going to your house because I know there will always be hobbit food of some kind, and we will have a great chat over cheese and crackers or bacon or hot tea or ice cream or cheesecake or all of the above. In fact, I think one of the best times ever was when you flew down to surprise me for my graduation and we spent that last frantic morning before commencement in the bathroom over curling irons and such with dried mangoes (“better than mangoes, even”) and cheese and crackers and… okay, I don’t remember what else. I’m stuck on the whole mangoes thing again. Sorry.

    I am a good substitute brain.

  • http://www.xanga.com/airborneschloss airborneschloss

    I’m with Nikki–I like to clean and organize. I generally am a hard worker and can learn to do most things. I like to help people.

  • http://www.xanga.com/twentysixcats twentysixcats

    This was a great post!

    Feeding people is about at the bottom of things I do well. That’s why I never have anyone over – I don’t want to have to feed them! :-p I’m glad there are people like you in this world.

    Hmmm… I don’t know what I’m good at. Cleaning is probably up there… although probably not as good as Nikki. I like being helpful but I can be SOO lazy. I can talk a lot. Ugh thinking about this is depressing me because I feel like I contribute nothing positive. *sigh*

  • http://www.xanga.com/daniellehanley daniellehanley

    I’m good at taking tests, but doing that for other people is generally frowned upon.

    I’ve always been kind of stumped by how I can be of service to others, but I don’t think that now is the time to think about it. The only thing I can do without getting tired right now is rest.

  • http://www.xanga.com/karlitacat karlitacat

    It was nice to see you at CCF this afternoon - I didn’t realize you were hosting a table.  I’d been to a similar event years earlier – I think it was a Mother Daughter Tea, or something like that – but haven’t been to anything in ages.  Your table was gorgeous, and I kept telling my mom we should go over and fill up some of the seats!  I really just wanted to enjoy your set-up and taste the food!  Actually, I wanted to go around and try all the desserts. :)   I told my mom that I think I would really like to do something like that – set up a table and make some delicious food, but that the only drawback would be the social aspect. *sigh*

    I think you’re great at what you do, and it’s especially rewarding when you’re able to help others like that.  I love doing stuff like that for people, but there comes a time when they begin to expect it from me, and if I’m seen without a tray of cookies, something’s wrong with me – what gives?  Makes it hard to think positively about it, you know?  

    Thanks for the perspective – it helps to realize you don’t have to be good at everything!   

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