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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Practice Makes Perfect...Sense

Photo Credit:  Alvimann from
Our priest, Father Bentil, had a great take-home message after Mass last week.  He said, “God wants us to trust, have faith, and be patient.”  I think it really touched a lot of folks because I noticed that several friends referred to that short message over the next few days that followed.  Of course, when we ask the Lord for more patience, He doesn’t just zap us with a magic wand of serenity.  Instead, He gives us ample opportunity to practice.  Right?!  And, practice makes perfect…sense.  How else will we ever learn?

So, in addition to my regular child-induced practice moments, my internet went out over the weekend.  Well, it wasn’t really a big deal at first.  The weather was beautiful so we spent some family time outside and we also had my hubby’s twenty-year high school reunion to attend (which, oh by the way, was such fun!  Go Big Blue!).  Plus, my husband and I actually turned in at a decent time on the second night since there were no computer distractions.  We were well rested and all was a-okay.

Then, on the third day, I began to get a little antsy.  Since I don’t text (WHAT?!) or have a smart phone (DOUBLE WHAT?!), a phone call or e-mail is pretty much the only way to catch me.  A couple of friends eventually called and asked, “Did you get my e-mail?”  Nope, sure didn’t.  Most importantly, I wanted to get my weekly Sips of Sunshine done.  I write as therapy for myself and as a ministry, so I was certain to have withdrawals if I didn’t write something.

Finally, this not-so-tech-savvy-girl decided it was time to use the “help wizard” for my router to see if she (I called her Wizzie) and I could figure it out.  The first thing that came up on the screen was the revolving circle that just went round and round and round.  So, at least I felt like something was happening in there.  But, how long can you stare at that circle without losing a bit of sanity?

Then, just about the time I started to lose hope, these witty little messages began to pop up from Wizzie.  Here is what her humor included:

“This is a tough one!  I’m attempting to get the modem and the router on the same page.  (Welcome to my world, Wizzie!)  Hang in there for just a few more minutes.  Some modems are tougher to wake-up than others.  (Ooh - I hear ya!  That’s me every morning!)  I’m trying to reason with your modem.  (Me too, girl, me too!)  This is quite a work-out.  (I’m sweatin’ with ya.)  Feel free to grab a cup of coffee.  (Really.  I ain’t got time for that, Wizzie.)  Still performing connection kung-fu and I appreciate your patience.”  (Thanks, Wizzie.  Thanks a whole bunch.)

Wizzie never figured it out.  We aren’t on speaking terms.  Before next week, I hope to have internet.  In the meantime, I decided to head over to my parents to write a quick Sips…on their laptop.  The keyboard is all squished together and I’ve pushed every button but the ones I intend to and all sorts of strange things have popped up.  I am nowhere close to being used to Windows 8.  My Microsoft Word at home is from 2003 if that tells you my style.  Again, another perfect opportunity to practice my patience.

Instead of crying about the ins and outs of technology, I’d rather laugh instead.  So, it was very appropriate that Aunt Irene sent this little joke as I was writing this Sips:  “We had a power outage last week and my PC, TV, iPad, smart phone, and game console shut down immediately.  It was raining so I couldn’t fish or play golf, so I talked to my wife for a few hours.  She seems like a really nice person.”  Gotta love it!  Communication…sometimes a lost art in the world of, er, tons of ways to communicate.  Strange.

Another thing that made me giggle while trying to be patient with my internet was a story that my friend, Jamie, shared with me.  She said that she recently filled out some paperwork to be a substitute teacher and while waiting for them to review her papers, she read one of my Sips.  She said it happened to be one that left her laughing ridiculously loud in the beginning and then crying at the end.  She said she isn’t sure why they haven’t called her to be a sub, but we agreed that it had absolutely NOTHING to do with the outburst in the waiting room.  Be patient, Jamie.  They’ll call.  They’ll call, honey.  (hee hee!)

On the flip-side, my kids and I could not be patient in the kitchen recently and it actually paid off deliciously.  My son had a craving for some homemade soft pretzels.  We had never made them before so I googled (before the internet crash).  Most of the recipes called for yeast and hours of waiting.  Nope.  Not us.  We wanted them now.  So, I found one without yeast.  Then, I had to modify it further for the ingredients we actually had on hand.  Strangely enough, they still turned out to be pretzels.  The final product was truly delish, so I will share our decadent modified recipe for big, soft pretzels.  Here goes:

2 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp. salted butter
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/3 to ½ cup 2% milk
¼ tsp. sea salt
Cinnamon & sugar mixture

Mix the butter and flour together until it’s crumbly.  Add sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Mix.  Add milk slowly.  Dough should not be too sticky or too dry.  Once the dough is “just right,” divide into 3 equal amounts.  Roll each ball into a long snake.  Let the kiddos each make their own shape…a heart, pretzel, twist, circle, etc.  Place on baking stone and cook approx. 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  We didn’t have egg to brush on top, so they were light in color when baked.  After we pulled the pretzels out of the oven, we brushed them with melted butter and (uhem, ever so generously) sprinkled the cinnamon/sugar mixture on top.  Eat while warm.  Heavenly.

Back to the computer stuff…if you get an automatic e-mail response from Wizzie (or someone like her) that states:  “Thank you for your message.  It has been added to a queuing system. You are currently in 352nd place.  Expect to receive a reply in approximately 19 weeks,” don’t lose heart.  That allows plenty of time to practice your patience skills, visit with friends and family, make homemade pretzels, as well as get a healthy dose of laugh therapy in at the expense of possibly losing a substitute teaching job.  (They’ll call, Jamie…surely they’ll call.)

But, hey, practice makes perfect…sense.  The more opportunities we have to practice patience, trust, and faith…the better we will be at it!  Right?  At least, that’s what I tell myself…
Have a great week, Sunshines!

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