Well, it’s a lovely 67 degrees here this morning. I mean – right here – right in my office. It’s up to 48 degrees outside, and may possibly get up to 67 by 5pm. My brother in Texas is hoping they will get down to a low of 72 by this evening. Hence, the temperature separation that occurs as fall and then winter rushes in. Still, as we move into double digit dates for September, to look outside as beautiful green grass, and flowers that survived the frost of Tuesday, and the sun shining and barely a breeze – well, it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, to be sure.
I share the weather forecast because it has to do with our diet. That may sound silly, but even with the recent purchase of a gas grill, and the setting aside of the building of a fire in the old Weber charcoal grill, the weather still becomes a factor when it requires the cook of the house to stand outside and grill in 40 degree weather with a stiff 25mph wind, and the promise of some light rain. There is nothing heroic about that – it’s just plain uncomfortable, when hamburgers and steaks are involved, which require the cook not to run in and out checking on the food, but actually having to stand there, just getting cold. That stinks, and in my retirement, I am fully committed to no longer being uncomfortable. A man has to stand for something.
So, it’s been an interesting number of days in food preparation. I pulled out the prime rib roast, which became ribeyes as they thawed. I had planned to grill them early in the week, but… weather… I also purchased some ground chuck to make hamburgers out of last week, but then… weather… so I froze the packages, and then we decided to have hamburgers, so I pulled them out to thaw, and then we changed our minds, so they went back in the freezer. I did take the steaks and vacuum sealed them – my newest toy, and left them to age in the refrigerator. Yesterday, however, I decided to grill the hamburgers, and so I pulled them once again out of the freezer. Yes, I am aware this is not the optimal way to treat beef, or any such meat. It’s just the way it happened.
When supper time came, the gale force winds of September also came, and I once again looked at the ground chuck with a sense of disappointment. Cheri then came up with a brilliant plan. She said, “Why not just cook the hamburgers inside?” I would like to say that I had earlier considered that option, but I’m afraid I was just a little too caught up in grilling the things outside. The audible was called, the skillet was pulled down, and fried up the hamburgers for supper.
They were unbelievably good. I mean, better than any burger I have cooked in the past year, to be sure, and the judgment may be able to be extended back a couple of years or more. I’ve mixed hamburger with pork, I’ve put in all sorts of different ingredients, but the key, I believe, and one that I will adopt as a permanent change – was the ground chuck. Oh my goodness. They were juicy and tasty, almost like one of those you have eaten from time to time at a restaurant. Even more shocking – all four of the members of the household were in agreement that they were some of the best burgers in recent memory. You probably don’t understand what that means. At best, we may have agreement with three of the four, but someone ALWAYS is unenthused about the meal laid out before them – the individual rotates from person to person, but it’s like we have a Russian judge in our American Olympics, who always knocks points off, either for content or presentation. These burgers avoided that heartbreak. I felt renewed, and victorious! Well, not that carried away, but it was nice to hear, especially since I make menu, buy the food, cook the food, and their sole burden comes in having to eat it.
From now on, I think I’ll avoid the extra lean hamburger, and stock up on the ground chuck. At 63 ½ years, this old dog learned a new trick. How exciting.
I know I continually come back to intentional living, but no one has convinced me it is a wrong path to take. Instead, I am proven right in my conviction that even when we step out in a new direction (even with something as silly as ground chuck over ground beef), when we act intentionally, there is a far greater opportunity for something successful to occur. Granted, on occasion, the intentional path ends up full of gravel and ruts, and we have to back up and take a different route, but when we only act accidentally, we can be guaranteed a path that we have no control over, and one that most likely will lead us off a cliff.
To choose to live by accident is not to choose at all. It is rather to allow anything else to have control and direction for our lives. Again, put the blindfold on and start driving. Walk in the dark wood on a moonless night with no flashlight or shoes. What you are best assured, with that path, are stubbed toes, and bruised knees, not to mention a knot on your head as you hit a low-hanging branch.
Live differently. Knowing that forces may still come against you from time to time, use your own common sense, and commitment to living on purpose to guide you. Believe me – you can taste the difference.
Word for the Day: bruxism. Again, perhaps a word you have heard, or even used before. Pronounced BRUCK-siz-em, it comes from the Greek almost directly, since the Greek word, bryko, means “to have the habit of grinding or gnashing teeth.” It reflects the hard-edged chewing without anything in your mouth – it’s biting and devouring the spirit of something or the feelings that arise out of anger or frustration. It’s as if you are devouring yourself.
What’s also unusual is that we would use the word “gnash” as part of bruxism’s definition. Gnash comes from the English gnasten, which has a silent “g”, but simply means “to grind one’s teeth together.” It’s gnashing when it is done in rage, or in menace. It’s a word that sounds like what it does, with power and not the happiest of feelings. Another word that is like what it sounds like is “smack,” as one eats and can’t help having one’s lips get involved in the process. When I hear someone smack, it makes me want to gnash my teeth. Quite the ensemble at the dinner table…
After 43 years of ministry, Randy Cross lived his "fourth life" and shared about retirement, living boldly and intentionally in our world. To be sure, there was some North Dakota thrown in.