Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Day 43 Work

Today as I ground flour for more good whole wheat bread, I mused over the "just why are you doing this challenge?" My upper body was getting a "nice warm glow" from the steady turning of the handle. I thought this an extra bonus to making bread - I get to sweat a little. Instantly the phrase that states "by the sweat of thy brow shalt thou eat bread" ran through my head. It gave me a little comfort to think I was following directions given by God himself. I also thought that of all the character traits I want my children to develop, learning how to work has to be one of the top. If a man can work, he is honest, he is most often humble, he develops a sense of compassion, he is never bored, he is always in high demand. A hard worker is successful.

Growing up that meant that we learned to "report." Mom would say "We have work to do." and for the next 3-4 hours (occationally and 8 hour day even as a ten year old) we would get an assignment, do it, go back to report "job done," and get another assignment. We were expected to keep coming back until released. Learning to work went beyond doing daily chores. "Work" meant doing more than they everyday dishes and laundry (those are maintenance and real work puts a family ahead). We were taught that as long as anyone in the home was working, we should all work. After I got married, it took a while for me to learn to fold clothes by myself. It seemed that it should be a team effort. I love seeing a pile of sand, river rock or mulch in someones yard. That means I can go help. That is an opportunity for team work. Team work is fun.

We also learned that work means a person gets hot, thirsty, tired, sometimes hurt with smashed toes or blisters. Discomfort is just part of the job, no complaining. Working gives team members a chance to visit and philosophize and solve the world's problems along with our own. I must say that since I have run out of money this month and I decided that rather than buy dishwasher detergent, we would wash dished by hand, I have relished the few minutes to be side by side my young daughters and hear of their dreams and dilemmas. I think we will continue to wash by hand. This morning the 6 year old reported with a glow in her eyes, "I'm drying the dishes." I love that glow! I love being part of a winning team. I love my children to feel part of a winning team.

Living within a budget, cooking from scratch, being self reliant, learning to sacrifice for the whole, are all reasons our family is completing this challenge. It is well worth the effort. I am not just being a frugal nut, I am building character that will serve many people beyond our own family for generations.

Breakfast: oatmeal
Lunch: Navy beans and ham soup with fresh whole wheat bread
Dinner: Cold bread and milk. Break homemade whole wheat into bite size pieces, cover with cold milk, top with a 1/2 tsp sugar. Eat. It is a poor man's cold cereal. It is delicious. It was so hot and I had set chicken to marinate, boiled another five quarters, and cooked the beans. I was tickled to have a cold dinner that required no preparation.


  1. When I was a child we used to beg my parents to have bread and milk for dinner! My dad would drizzle honey over his, but my mom preferred to eat hers with salt and pepper and cold boiled beef on the side. I liked to have a small dollop of strawberry jam on a side dish that I could dip my spoon in and then into the bread and milk (I don't like milk that has been sweetened). Nowdays I just prefer my bread and milk just plain - using either white or wheat.

    My dad told me that EVERY night, as an after dinner snack, my great-grandparents would sit down to a bowl of bread and milk. They would snuggle together with the one bowl, two spoons, and share the time together. That thought still gives me "warm fuzzies"

  2. Bread and milk was a staple at our house. We made bread once or twice a week, eating over a loaf a day. We had fresh milk from the cows. Our 'sides' varied: slice of cheese, fresh onion, fresh radish, peanut butter, jam, etc. It was wonderful!