I was just thinking about Dan’s Grandma Sorensen yesterday … That is her in the picture above at her 90th birthday celebration a few years ago … and yes, her cake is a Scrabble board because she WAS the Scrabble Queen … and she was also the Queen of Feeding People. One time after Dan only ate like 3 helpings of her Iowa-farmer’s dinner, she commented to him, “You don’t eat much like a man, do you?” … Apparently, he should have had a 4th helping. She forgot that he had not just come in from the fields after plowing and just wasn’t as hungry as a field hand!
Dan’s grandmother was Norwegian-Iowan, and he thought the world of her and his grandfather (a Danish Iowan) who died while Dan was in Iraq in May 2003. I think one of the hardest things for him to go through was not being able to come back for the funeral to have that closure with a man who had been such a big influence in his life and whom he is actually very much like: calm, kind, and thoughtful.
But back to Grandma … She died in May of 2009 – and because we had just found out we were expecting, Dan told her if we had a girl, we’d like to use her name for our baby. And thus is how Miriam has the unique middle name of Inez – not my first choice; however, very meaningful and I wouldn’t change it for the world! Now, Dan’s other grandma was still alive at the time, and she stated that no one ever named a child after her; and while Inez was hard to fit into a name, Wilma would have been even harder … Somehow it conjures up too many thoughts of Fred Flintstone … but anyway …
Grandma Sorensen: When I first met her, she asked me if I sewed, and I had to admit that no, despite a year of Home Ec in high school, I really didn’t sew or even own a sewing machine (I do now – as of a few years ago – hope Grandma can see that from heaven; she’d be proud!). She patted my arm and then asked if I played the piano – and again, no, I had to admit, after 5 years of futile lessons, I really didn’t play the piano very well at all (or as Elizabeth Bennett of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE said, “I play quite ill.”) … Grandma probably sighed about this point and asked if I liked to cook – and while I could bake fairly well, at the time, I was a novice cook who used a lot of processed foods (again, hope Grandma sees how far I’ve come now in following recipes and teaching myself how to prepare more home made meals for my family!). There might have been more questions – but I’m sure I answered all negatively and was a dismal disappointment to this dear lady who was accomplished at the piano, sewed her daughter’s clothes, and cooked enough to feed armies …
I have always felt like I was pretty ordinary … and even when I chose my blog title, I chose the words ORDINARY Hausfrau. It is who I am – and I really say it quite happily. It suits me to be ordinary, to fade into the background, to not do many things well. Like yesterday: I was supposed to bring 2 cakes to my church’s conference dinner – and my first cake (with Anna’s help!) turned out great – but it was a Pampered Chef recipe and you really can’t go wrong there. The other was a German apple cake recipe that is written out in German on a card from my mother – and one must have that touch, that feeling for the consistency of the dough … and to my credit, I can say I knew my cake wasn’t quite right when I put it in the oven – and sure enough, it turned out all wrong and I had to run out and buy a second cake from the store. I think God knows that if I do things very well all the time, I wouldn’t be very humble.
While being ordinary can get frustrating at time – because sometimes I think I’d like to be able to open my mouth and sing well – or I’d like to sit down at a piano and play without having to count out where each note is in my head – or to whip up terrific meals with no effort, I know that I need to be ordinary. God made me that way. When people think of who is going to decorate for the next church banquet, they don’t automatically think of me as that isn’t my talent; when it comes time to ask for help with cooking, I’m not called up; I am never considered when someone is seeking a motivational speaker for an event.
But being ordinary has its advantages, hiding in the background, that suits my personality of being introverted. When someone wants someone who is reliable and will complete a job well, I do think I can be called on and relied on. When someone needs to do something that isn’t a job that many others want to do, I do get asked to help … and while I sometimes feel a little overlooked or taken for granted, I am ultimately thankful to just keep out of the spotlight. I don’t handle it well – and the few times I have been given an opportunity to speak publicly or do something bigger, I’ve bumbled it or turned into a nervous wreck or worse, just rambled and looked silly. I’m not meant to be out there as an example of a good singer or lauded as a great cook, I am just the ordinary hausfrau that is a homebody and loves my family fiercely and does what I can within my limited means and very hoarded resources. I don’t have the energy to be more than ordinary.
Best of all, God sees the ordinary – and as is often quoted, He can use the ordinary for something extraordinary in the light of His kingdom. And so, I remind myself to be content in the ordinary. When we stop to reflect or be thankful, we can see how each ordinary day is truly something very special – a gift directly from God! Simple things like seeing your child learn something new or having a recipe actually turn out palatable or knowing your husband can trust you to support him.
Some people are supposedly born for greatness, as they say, but I am thankful to be an ordinary Hausfrau.