Welcome I have recently seen this funny meme going around social media. It’s a picture of Forrest Gump sitting on the bench, from the popular 1994 movie, with the line, “Everyone’s posting their vacation pictures. And I’m like, I went to Wal-Mart.” It’s funny-sad, because it’s sadly true. Except I haven’t even been to Wal-Mart since March! For me, it would be more like, “And I went to Aldi.” Or, “I went to Dollar General.” You can laugh…just remember, it’s “funny-sad.”
People keep coming up to me asking, “So, do you have any fun plans for the summer?” It’s tempting to show them our bank statement and stack of bills and say, “Does it LOOK like I have fun plans for the summer?” But instead, I politely say, “No, we’re just going to have kind of a relaxing, low-stress summer.” For all of you who do not know, that is CODE for “Hey, we’re too broke to do anything fun this summer!” And while I don’t want to be rude, I can’t help but get just a little bit, okay, “a lotta bit,” jealous of all those great summer vacation pictures filling my social media newsfeed. Those very same pictures the meme is referring to, the same pictures that other people must be tired of seeing as well, since the meme seems to be so popular.
Food For Thought Everyone has their weak areas, the sins they battle most, the vice that Satan uses to get us to falter on our walk with God. For me, it is most often jealousy. I am not saying this because I’m proud of it and no, it’s not funny. But in this real thing we call life, we’re going to have areas where we need to work extra hard to keep from falling short. And I do have to work hard with this. It’s so easy to find ways to be jealous. All it takes is the push of a button and a swipe of my phone screen.
Every time I tap the Facebook or Instagram button, there is a continuous procession of images that make me want something else, something “better.” Yes, I want those things…that trip to the mountains, that cruise, that beach trip, that spur-of-the-moment lake or camping trip. I want summers by the pool or adventuring with friends and family. I want them badly. But just because I struggle with wanting these things, and this is very important, it doesn’t mean I don’t want my friends to have these things. When I’m mopey and pouty and avoiding looking at everyone’s great vacation and summer pics, it doesn’t mean I’m not happy for them, but I may just have to turn the button OFF so I can get my mind in the right place.
Sometimes the only way to avoid a stumble, is to get off the bumpy path. My bumpy path is obviously social media, well, media of any kind really. Television can lead to the same thoughts as scrolling through my phone or computer. I want to keep up with distant friends and family to see what’s going on in their lives. But there’s a time to put it all away. I can know in my brain there are people having good times all over the world, without letting myself get sucked into a pity-party or a jealousy game. Maybe I just need a break from it all, stop scrolling and swiping. Then there are days when I need to look and read, so I can strengthen my spirit, my resolve, my commitment to NOT be jealous of others. I CAN look at others being happy, experiencing the perfect summer, like those wonderful vacations, without feeling jealous or pouty. I think that’s probably the RIGHT thing to do.
On Monday, I’m going to share some verses that address this topic and what I’ve been doing to build up my scriptural tool chest.
Suggested Reading Why Her? by Nicki Koziaraz, published by B&H Publishing Group, 2018.
Today’s Recipes You may or may not know that I have a serious tomato allergy. That would be why you rarely, if ever, see recipes containing tomato on this site. Sorry folks! This obviously limits my pasta and pizza choices, but it also impacts my ability to partake in traditional summer barbecue. Any tomato-based barbecue sauce is out of the question, along with traditional baked beans. I’ll admit there’s no substitute for these classics, but I’ve had almost ten years to figure out how to enjoy these yummies without the tomatoes. When it comes to grilling meats, dry rubs are my best friend! I’ve also grown quite fond of the tangy Carolina-style sauces. Just a word of warning to those that may also have this tomato allergy: be sure to check labels of store-bought Carolina sauces. Carolina barbecue sauce has recently made its way to Midwest grocery stores, but as I checked every label in our local supermarket, I couldn’t find a single product that was free of tomatoes. So I make my own. The Carolina sauce I found at Noble Pig became my go-to. I make a big batch of it and store it in Mason jars in the fridge. I grab a jar whenever we have pulled pork or some other sauce-worthy meat. I tweaked the recipe slightly and decided to try it as a base for baked beans. I missed baked beans with my barbecue! But this was a dandy substitution. I made it for the second time this week, making some adjustments. My family has decided they like this just as well as traditional baked beans.
Carolina-Sauced Baked Beans
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1 TBS dry mustard
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 TBS Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 TBS corn starch
- 1 TBS cold water
- 2 15.5-oz cans pinto beans, undrained
- 2 15.5-oz cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 lb bacon
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups Carolina-style sauce, depending if you want your beans saucy or thick
Prepare Carolina-style sauce. In medium saucepan combine vinegar, molasses, and next five ingredients. Bring to a boil. In small bowl combine corn starch and water. Reduce heat to medium low and slowly whisk in corn starch mixture. Continue to whisk over low heat for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to thicken slightly.
Prepare beans. Set oven to 350 degrees. Dice bacon into small pieces and cook until crisp in a large skillet. Remove bacon pieces to paper towels to drain. Add onion to bacon drippings in skillet, cooking over medium heat until brown. Add all the beans to the skillet with the onion, along with desired amount of Carolina sauce, and stir. Add bacon pieces and stir. Pour bean mixture into 9×13 pan. Bake uncovered 45 minutes to an hour.