Measuring rods and Gourmet burgers

If you don’t think you’re measuring up, you need to look at what you’re using as your measuring rod.

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The day had been going so well. We had started the day with breakfast together, a trip to the YMCA, birthday party outside and drive through the beautiful country as the kids napped.

Then 4pm hit.

We were home and Ian was cleaning the garage and I was watching the kids play outside. I knew I was tired. A few nights of restless sleep had robbed me of the energy to make it through the day without a nap. But it was the weekend, I didn’t want to take a rest and besides, it was almost time to start thinking about dinner. For some reason, I could not settle on what I was going to make. Something with hamburgers, I knew that. I had homemade rolls in my kitchen just waiting to have a delicious and juicy burger partnered with them. I also had some peaches ready to be enjoyed and corn on the cob, a recent favorite of Seth’s.

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So what was the issue, why was dinner stressing me out? Forget it, I reasoned, just keep moving and make some dinner that we can enjoy outside together. Ian loves picnic food and I wanted to “wow” him with my ability to make a burger worthy of a Food Network review.

As I began to prepare this epic picnic meal, my stress level rose. Ian could sense this (well, I believe anyone within a few feet of me could have, I was not being to subtle).

“Why don’t we just go out tonight if you’re tired and we’ll do the cookout tomorrow for dinner.” He suggested.

Go out. What? No way. I was going to make this meal and we were going to take pictures and post them on Facebook showing everyone how great of a time we have as a family.

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So I continued to prepare. I put the corn on the grill and made up the hamburger patties. When the time was just right, I laid the burgers on the grill. The sizzle that was suppose to reach my ears was no where to be heard. What was wrong? Sigh. How could I get a perfect sear on these masterpieces without a sizzle? The grill was not working right. I adjusted the heat. But now my already precarious mood became more like a angry volcano. The burgers crumbled as I tried to flip them. The hot dogs rolled around as though they had minds of their own. In my mind, my picture perfect cookout was turning into a complete failure.

That when it happened, the melt down. Temper tantrum from a mommy. I stormed into the house and ordered (that puts it mildly) Ian to move all of our picnic setup inside. I did not want to eat outside. As I cried over my “failed” cookout dinner, Ian moved the plates, cups, condiments, napkins, and food into the house. So much for a picnic outside, so much for a Facebook picture post, so much for a Food Network worthy cookout.

How can something dissolve so quickly? Why do I get so stressed? I am still embarrassed when I think about my lack of self control this past Saturday.

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As Ian and I talked about the “incident” later that night, he helped me realize I was aiming for some level of perfection that just added unneeded stress to myself and my family. I could not be content with simple hamburgers on the grill, they had to be the BEST burgers. Pinterest burgers. I knew Ian loves cookouts, so even though I was tired, I insisted we eat outside, brought out all the stuff to do so and added more work for myself. Instead of letting Ian give me a night off by going out, I tried to be “super mom” and cook another dinner. I knew I was tired, had not slept well, but I couldn’t stand the thought of “failing” by going out for dinner.

Why is going out for dinner failing? Why is a simple burger failing? Why is eating inside failing? These are questions I needed to ask myself. These were all pressure I put on myself. They did not come from anyone else. They were my own. I needed to identify them and then let them go. There is a time for gourmet burgers, there is a time for eating outside and there is a time for recognizing when going out and “taking the easy way out” is okay too.

We moms have got to really look at what measuring rod we are using when we don’t feel like were measuring up. God’s measuring rod is a lot different then the one I often find myself holding. He does not care as much about my cooking abilities and picture perfect dinners as He does about me love and kindness to my family. He would rather have us eat cheap takeout and act loving, than a spread of food that was cook amidst tears and anger.

Maybe I’ll try this burger thing again this week, but instead of focusing on the perfection I think I need to reach, I’ll just make a meal seasoned with love, because that’s the best ingredient I can add to any of my cooking.

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These flowers are a special treat. Ian bought me lilies last year and I never had the motivation to plant them in the ground (we’re renting and sometimes it discourages me). So I let them bloom and thought die. However I never threw away the pots they can in, and to my delight both plants came back and bloomed beautifully this year.  

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