Lessons from a Lakeside Getaway...

Fourche LaFave River at Y City

We were blessed with the opportunity to make a quick trip to Hot Springs/Lake Catherine this past weekend.  We spent some time with Billy's parents, had an Easter egg hunt with our niece and nephew (and a cute little "neighbor" boy...:)), and mostly just relaxed and enjoyed fun family time and soaking in God's beautiful creation.  I'll be posting (I hope!) more about the trip throughout the next week or so, but thought I would share a few random "lessons" I learned (or perhaps more appropriately, realizations to which I came) along the way...

Cabin kitchen at Lake Catherine

I no longer care for non-stick cookware.   {Insert shocked-faced smiley here. :-O}

I was a diehard Teflon lover up until just a few years ago.  I really didn't think I could cook without it.  Then my favorite nonstick chicken fryer (huge skillet essential for a family of six or more :)) got a big nasty gouge.  I couldn't bring myself to replace it for a couple of reasons....(1) Good ones were expensive, and I had a perfectly good stainless steel one hiding in the back of the cabinet.  Frugality demanded I get the stainless one out and try to make it work, and (2) I had read way too much about the dangers of Teflon (and other non-stick coatings) by then, and while it was one thing to "use what I had", I couldn't really justify going out and *buying* the stuff.  

So...with much trepidation, I chunked my trusty old scarred nonstick chicken fryer, and pulled out the stainless one from under the counter.  It took a few attempts before I became comfortable with it, but, wonder of wonders, I decided I actually *enjoyed* cooking in it...and LOVED the fact that I didn't have to worry all the time about scratching the surface and poisoning us all!  

From there, I gradually transitioned to all non-nonstick.  The only nonstick item I still use on a regular basis is my electric skillet.  Someday I'm going to splurge on a stainless electric skillet...but for now, I'm using what I have there. :)

But back to the trip...

One of the {many} things we love about the cabins at Lake Catherine is the fact that they all have fully outfitted kitchens.  We cooked more this trip than we have any other.  Almost all of the cookware in the cabins...maybe all of it, come to think of it...is nonstick.  I was about 2 minutes into cooking a "big breakfast" of bacon, eggs, and biscuits (but sadly, no gravy...:-( )  when I realized..."this nonstick stuff is driving me crazy!" 

I had to laugh at myself a bit at that point, remembering how long I put off the transition (before finally being "pushed" into it :)), and how much I dreaded the thought of the change.  It made me wonder what other things I am avoiding that could turn out being so much better in the end.  What other things cause me to react with an "I could never do that!", when in reality, I just need to bite the bullet, step out of my comfort zone, and make the transition?  

"The one I almost got."

The "perfect photo op" almost always arrives the moment you put your camera down.

I took about 1000 pictures on this trip. I'm really working on learning my camera and building my photography skills right now...and pushing myself to stay off auto.  As a result, I have a handful of fairly good photos, quite a few serious mistakes, and a whole lot of "okay" pictures from this trip.  I also have a whole file in my mind of "the ones I missed"...the cute little bird hanging off the roof a few feet above me, several huge hawks that flew off the perfect perch just as I managed to get my camera out, my oldest daughter falling in the lake :), numerous ducks/geese taking off and landing on the water, etc., etc., etc.  That "file" is a good reminder to take to heart the old scout motto, "Be prepared."  Once a moment is gone, it's gone forever, and can't be recaptured.  I need to remember that not only in photography, but in LIFE.  Those missed moments are easy to see in photography...sometimes I don't realize as clearly the "moments" I'm missing (or squandering) in everyday life...

And one I caught, just barely. :)

Having only one plate (or bowl, or fork, or spoon, or cup) per person motivates you to keep up with the dishes. 

The cabin we stayed in has a maximum capacity of six, which happens to be the number of people in our family.  The kitchen contains exactly six plates, six bowls, six cups, and six place settings of silverware.  If someone gets a snack between meals, their dish(es) must be washed before the family eats again.  I realized that having a very limited amount of dishes really kept me on my toes...and made "doing the dishes" much less of a burden than it seems to be at home.  Apparently less really can be more in this situation...and while I'm not sure we could practically manage in everyday life with just one place setting apiece, I think we could purge quite a bit and streamline our kitchen somewhat.  With six people and no automatic dishwasher, every little bit helps!  I'm working on deciding what we really *need* in the kitchen, and then plan to take a big box (or two or three) to Goodwill soon.  Then we're going to move on from the kitchen to our closets/dressers (eek!), and then (double-eek!!) to the bookshelves and even my craft stash.  We were already on a mission to declutter, but I have extra motivation now. 

TV commercials are way more annoying than they used to be (and the majority of programs even moreso!)

We have been without any kind of TV reception for many years.  We have Netflix, and watch other things occasionally online, but our exposure to the majority of network/cable television and the accompanying commercials is pretty limited.  

The cabins at the Lake have satellite, and it's always a treat for the kids to get to watch a few favorite shows while we're there...and for Billy and I to catch up with a bit of Food Network, among other things.  This certainly wasn't the first time I had noticed it, but it seemed to irritate me more than usual this time....there are just a whole lot of very annoying commercials these days, and even more annoying TV shows.  As we surfed through the channels, I was amazed (and sometimes quite appalled) at several things I couldn't IMAGINE anyone watching (including things targeting children), even as I realized that obviously people *are* watching, or the shows wouldn't be on the air.  And supposedly these were the "family friendly" channels...

But even leaving out the obviously "bad" stuff...there is just so much out there now that is just flat out *annoying*....*junk* that has no real redeeming value other than for {seriously debatable} entertainment purposes.  Ick!

There is really and truly a bond between Believers that time and distance cannot break.

It sounds cheesy and trite, I know.  And I'm cheating a bit on this one.  It's not by any means a new realization, and it didn't occur at the Lake, but on our way home Sunday as we spent Easter at my "home" church in Conway and then had lunch with some long-time family friends.  But it's nonetheless true.  What a blessing it was to walk into an auditorium that hadn't even been built yet when I was there, with hundreds of new faces everywhere, and still be able to feel "at home".  And what a joy to be able to worship with my husband and children alongside dearly-loved friends who invested much in me through the years, and see them loving on my family just as they loved on me!  

And last but not least, I have the best husband in the whole world...

Another thing I already knew, but he proved it over and over again on this trip. :)  I am spoiled.  I am blessed.  I am thankful for a husband who does lots of things he'd rather not do, just because he knows they would make me happy.  


Kecia said...

Oh, Jennifer, I love the pictures! I wish we'd been there the week you were! :)

Jennifer said...

I wish you had been, too!! We are hoping to start getting down there more often...now that we are a bit more "mobile" than we used to be. :) Someday we'll have to try to coordinate trips!