Happy “Whatever-Day-You-May-Be-Reading-This” and Welcome Back!
A friend stopped by to visit yesterday. That in itself is not so unusual given the ‘usually’ cordial fella that I am. But as so often happens, caught up in the moment and merriment as I was, my unstoppable sense of hospitality outpaced my brain. Not thinking, I invited my friend to stay for dinner.
Normally, that would not be an issue at all, but right now my cupboard and supply of readily-at-hand food items with which to prepare a bonafide dinner are very low, having not grocery shopped in quite a while.
A Chicken Little-Esque and embarrassing feeling of panic set in when my rational thinking left brain caught up with what my good-intentioned right brain had proffered, the dinner invitation still hanging in the air as it was. I had painted myself into the proverbial corner, as the old saying goes. Now, what to do? I was suddenly caught up in a crisis (admittedly a small one) of my own making.
But, not to fear, however, for in a moment my unquenchable spirit of adventure and determination to rise to any challenge kicked in. I began to look about and survey those items which were on hand, determined to rise to the occasion.
Spying a baguette sitting on the counter, I went in search of ingredients to whip up some French Bread Pizza halves on the spot. Knowing my friend as I do, I also knew that pizza of any kind would be received as an acceptable offering at any time of day.
I also knew for a fact though, that I did not have any true pizza sauce or ingredients with which to make a real pizza, but did find a jar of Prego Sausage & Garlic pasta sauce to use in place of a traditional pizza sauce. The pasta sauce was not exactly hiding in the back of a mostly empty cupboard and was easy to spot.
In the refrigerator, I spied what was left of an open bag of Shredded Italian Six Cheese Blend, and then found the remains of a length of Hickory Smoked Summer Sausage. Fetching a Red Onion, Butter, Garlic Powder, Oregano, Red Pepper Flakes, and Parmesan, I formulated a plan.
I set to work simmering the pasta sauce for a few minutes in order to reduce it just a bit. Slicing the baguettes in half lengthwise, I proceeded to slice the onion into thin slices and then separate into individual rings. Taking the summer sausage in hand next, I was able to slice a dozen thin rounds from the bit that was left and set them aside. I then spread butter on each of the four opened baguette halves. Sprinkling each half with a good dash of garlic powder and just a smidgeon of kosher salt for flavor, I placed them in the toaster oven for 2 ½ minutes to give the baguette halves a head start, firming and crisping them up a bit before spreading the sauce over them so they would not be so “bready”.
Removing the lightly-toasted baguette halves from the toaster oven, I covered each with the reduced pasta sauce and a layer of sprinkled parmesan cheese, followed in turn with the shredded cheese, onions, sausage slices, and a dash of sprinkled oregano and red pepper flakes. Back into the toaster oven they went. The smell of baking onions mixed with the sausage and spices filled my apartment.
What emerged from the oven five minutes later was so amazing I was unable to snap any photos before they disappeared. “Hold on for a minute while I snap a few photos,” I asked. My friend would have none of that and dove right in. An impromptu Pizza Party dinner success!
Admittedly, the combination of ingredients on the pizza loaf halves would not be attractive to everyone. In truth, I was fortunate my friend also liked onions and summer sausage, the items I did have on hand. But that’s not really the point.
Oftentimes in life, we are presented with challenges or situations for which we do not feel prepared. Small and large. The outcome and what happens next is in good part determined by how we then proceed – whether we choose to react in a negative manner, feeling depressed, fearful, bitter, or angry; or to respond with confidence and a sense of self-reliance in a positive way.
Do we crumble under the sudden pressure like an empty soda can underfoot, or do we rise to the challenge and do the best we can with it? Whatever “it” might be.
In my case, it was simply a premature dinner invitation offered without anything on hand with which to prepare a real dinner. Not a real “biggie” in terms of many of the challenges we face in life, but still somewhat of a “react, panic, and risk embarrassment” or a “respond and figure it out” type situation. For me, I live in what I refer to as the “Magical Land of Make Do, Figure It Out, and Get By.”
What challenges might you be faced with today? Situations occur for which we feel we are unprepared or not yet ready in the moment. Certainly, not everything always goes according to plan or as we have scripted it. That’s just part of life, isn’t it?
Last week I learned of yet another, unexpected surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in my dominant right shoulder in a few weeks. Torn just about clear-thru the MRI said. Surgery number “Eleven” for those who keep count. To borrow a trite expression – “It is what it is.”
My feeling anxious or bitter about going thru yet another surgery and extended one-handed rehab period following recent surgery on both hands this past June would do nothing to change the fact that I have a severe, perforated rotator cuff tear in my dominant right arm and shoulder, and that I may need a complete left shoulder replacement at some point in the future, as well. I am looking at this as more motivation to finish getting my new apartment in order beforehand, followed by an opportunity for a few weeks of quiet reading, study, and research while rehabbing to benefit my writing and work both here on my Writing Pages and in my Little Red Bear adventure stories.
The next time you may feel caught off-guard or confronted with an unexpected challenge, I urge you to set fear, doubts, and worries to the wayside, and instead gather your courage and respond in a positive way. Look at it as a challenge. Maybe take a cue from the approach of Mr. Hyde –
“Trouble? I call it sport.”
– Mr. Hyde, “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”
Do not give in to anger, bitterness, worries, doubts, and fears. However bothersome or distressing, try to view the situation as an opportunity to be creative, stretch your abilities, and grow. Have fun with it if you can.
However the issue may resolve in the end, you will have emerged stronger and more confident on the other side for having done so, and more prepared to deal with the next surprise life may have in store. Have faith in yourself and you will be surprised just how much you can do and accomplish when you set worries to the side, put your mind to it, take action, and put your best, positive foot forward.
You may even tap into some inner, previously undiscovered Super Powers you weren’t even aware of in the process. I have faith in you. Do you?
Along the same lines, if you see a friend perhaps suddenly confronted with an unexpected challenge or calamity in their life, what words of encouragement or support could you offer to help them thru it?
Perhaps, just maybe, what your friend is going thru could also be a call and another opportunity for you to step up. Putting your hands on a friend’s problems can remove the focus on yours for a while. At those times when we reach out to help another with their problems, it seems that our own issues and challenges frequently diminish in size. When we help another, we end up helping ourselves, as well.
We are all in this together, and none of us are prepared or has all of the answers all of the time. Everyone can benefit from a friendly helping hand and words of encouragement now and then. The beastly thing that may loom very large and intimidating when finding oneself standing all alone in front of it, is not quite so menacing when standing side by side with a friend.
Sometimes we all could use a helping hand and are in need of a friend. Sometimes, we ourselves can be that helping hand and friend for another.
Thanks always for stopping by to visit. A smile and kind words have the power to better someone’s day and maybe even turn a whole life around. Will you share your smile and a kind word or gesture with someone today?
Until next time — Best Wishes and Blessings! – Jim (and Red!)
If you enjoyed this piece, you may also like — “I Will Greet This Day With Love In My Heart” and Wishing You Deep Peace, Love, Happiness, and Joy – And A Very Good Day!
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“You open your hand, and satisfy the desire of every living thing.” — Psalm 145:16
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Meet Little Red Bear & His Friends — “Once Upon A Time In A Very Special Woods . . . .”
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