Several weeks ago Ashley gave birth to Man Cub within 24 hours of our friend Ashli giving birth to a sweet daughter. They were next-door-neighbors in the hospital and everything. 😉 Our friend Sandy always organizes our Young Professionals class at church to take food to class families with new babies, so the rest of us scrambled to pair up and pick dates to take food, as we always do. Somehow I had this fabulous idea that I would take chicken pot pie to Ashli and her family on the Wednesday evening that Keli, Kevin, and EJ were staying with us. “Kevin and Keli looove that chicken pot pie as much as we do, so that’ll be perfect! It won’t be any problem to have it ready before 7:00 service. I can make a double batch and everyone should even have enough for leftovers.” It all sounded so good in my head…and I could already taste that chicken pot pie and hear the raving compliments.
You can probably already guess it didn’t go as smoothly as I was hoping. You know that thing about pride going before a fall? Bless my heart. My pride was dumped onto the concrete and it splattered everywhere. Pride is pretty messy when it takes a nosedive.
So there I was, chopping up rotisserie chickens and potatoes (pot pies are just not as good with only the mixed frozen vegetables). I steamed the vegetables, which took longer than I thought because I didn’t chop up the potatoes into cubes as small as I usually do. (Ah, hindsight…you really are 20/20.) I stirred things, I mixed up the topping, I divided it all into several containers: one big aluminum panful to take to Ashli and fam – and two medium pans to stick in the oven immediately so they would cook a bit faster for us. In my planning several weeks ago, I hadn’t realized that Keli and Kevin would have a meeting with the missions committee at 6:00pm. And Jeremy and I also had found out a few days before that we had a 6:30 Bible Bowl coach meeting before service. It was Crunch Time. I was starting to get worried. If everything happened “just so,” it would all be fine. But I didn’t have much time for wiggle room.
I called Ashli about 4:30ish and made sure it was O.K. to go ahead and bring the uncooked pot pie to them then. Then I applied Press ‘n Seal tightly around the edges of the big aluminum pan and headed out. Right after I turned out of our driveway, I noticed the pan sliding off the cardboard platform covered with a towel that I had quickly rigged up…so that if a “little bit” spilled, nothing would get on the floor mat. Usually I have a paper box lid that serves as a stabilizer/shield, but in my hurry, I had been unable to find one.
There was nowhere to pull over and I started to panic when I realized the Press ‘n Seal wasn’t sealing nearly as well as I thought it should…pot pie liquid was starting to escape. I made a quick right hand turn to head back to the house, which probably sealed the fate of this particular pot pie, as it was up a slight hill. Now the uncooked pot pie was positively gushing over the side of the pan. All over the floor board of the car. “No, no, no, no, noooooo!!!!!!!” I wailed. “You’ve got to be kidding me!!”
I pulled back into the driveway, got out and forcefully slammed my car door. This was unbelievable and I was incredibly frustrated.
I burst into the house, where Kevin, Keli, and EJ were taken aback to see me return so soon. And so very dramatically. Kevin immediately offered to help, so I got him started hosing off the rubber floor mat. Cubed potatoes, green beans, peas, corn, and carrots tumbled down the driveway.
I had to think fast. There was only about one-fourth of pot pie mixture still in the aluminum pan. Surely there was still enough food to feed everyone supper. So I pulled one of our pans out of the oven, added the extra to it, and covered it. I broke down a box and threw it over the rest of the mess in the floorboard and set the new pan on top, squeezing my purse down beside it. It wasn’t filled as full as the first pan, so I felt this setup was less risky.
I set off again, kicking myself all the way out to my friends’ house.
I was usually better at this sort of thing. My dad and Jeremy have trained me in their packing/stabilizing ways…even though I’m obviously not nearly as good at it as they are. What was I thinking to have that overly full pan in such a precarious position?? Huge, heavy sigh!! Press ‘n Seal, you are dead to me, I thought.
When I was waiting for a traffic light to turn green, I noticed that I was jumpy and annoyed at every other driver around me. I’m pretty sure I was scowling. Then I realized that nobody around me knew why I was in such a foul mood. Maybe some of them were in bad moods, too…I had no idea what kinds of “chicken pot pie catastrophes” these other drivers might find themselves in today also. So I told myself that this was a good reminder to extend grace to others in the future. (But I still wasn’t extending grace to myself at this point.)
Fortunately, the pot pie made it fine on the second trip. I apologized to Ashli that I was running late and explained what had happened. Honestly, I wish I could stop myself from being flustered in these kinds of situations because I didn’t want her to feel guilty at all. And she was worried about my car getting messed up and that I also had houseguests…and I should have just shut my mouth. You know? Let’s just bless my heart again right here. 😉
I headed home, hoping that our chicken pot pies were cooking quickly so that we could all have time to eat before church service. I arrived home, slammed the car door again, checked the pot pies, which were, thankfully, browning nicely and starting to bubble. “I think they’re about ready!” I called to Keli as I headed back out out the door. It was 5:30.
I knew that some of the liquid was already starting to dry on the floorboard, so I ran back out to the car and pulled out the other floor mat and decided to hose it off, too. Maybe it was a bad idea…I wasn’t sure…all I knew was that I was really going to regret it if that milky mixture stayed in the hot car any longer. On Jeremy’s suggestion, I also used a wet towel to blot up the spillage around the edges of where the mat had been. When I came back in, it was almost 5:40 – I immediately washed my hands and started dishing up pot pie so it wouldn’t burn the roofs of our mouths. Jeremy had just arrived home from work (“You need a hug,” he said) and I told him to call down the stairs that supper was ready.
But I was too late – they needed to leave for their meeting. I felt terrible. What kind of hostess was I?? Kevin assured me that it was totally fine and they would eat later. “But that’s, like, over 2 hours from now!” I exclaimed. Then I jumped into mom mode and wanted to package up their supper so they could take it with them. (Somebody stop me.) They convinced me that they had a BIG sushi lunch earlier and weren’t even hungry yet. I felt a bit better. But still like a loser. Just not a total loser.
Sigh. As they were leaving, I said, “I might need to go forward tonight…I’ve had a BAD attitude about this whole thing.” We all laughed, but we all knew it was kinda the truth. My frustrations had caused me to be short-tempered and unpleasant. I had made others around me feel uncomfortable and guilty. Keli told me later, “I’m not gonna lie, Mad Kristen was kinda scary. I didn’t want to live in a world where you’re upset like that.” Yep, exactly. Me, either.
The rest of the evening went much better – what was left of supper was delicious (even though I mourned the loss of leftovers), our Bible Bowl coaches meeting went well, we had singing night at church, and we got to relax with Kevin, Keli, and EJ at home afterwards. The boys even went and got us some Dairy Queen Blizzards to top it off. (Um, the Salted Caramel Truffle one is fantastic!! Best Blizzard ever!)
But I’ve learned several things in this less-than-optimal experience…
Remember to extend grace to others (see Ashley’s post from yesterday) – but also yourself. You are going to make mistakes. Sometimes they’re big and messy and other people will witness them. Fess up, but don’t dwell on it. Just make notes so you’ll do better next time.
Soooo, next time: plan ahead. Give yourself grace ahead of time. If you suspect that a situation will not go smoothly because of other circumstances – and that you may not react well to that – go ahead and adjust those circumstances. For instance, when I was looking at the food list, maybe I should have said, “I’ll need to take them a meal after these two weeks of scheduled meals.” Or I could have bought the rotisserie chickens the day before and started the prep earlier. There are several things I could have done to avoid Mad Kristen. 😉
Also, don’t let the devil convince you that you’re not able – or don’t have time – to do good things. I thew a pity-party for myself that afternoon, but deep down I knew not to play right into the devil’s hands. He wanted me to be frustrated and mad and just give up – he wanted me to remember this event and pull back on good ways I can serve. NO. Not gonna happen. Get behind me, Satan!
And lastly, I’m blessed to be surrounded by people who offered me grace when I didn’t want to offer it to myself. They knew I was trying my hardest and they commiserated with me, helped me, and encouraged me. That was invaluable. I was thankful.
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. ~Galatians 6:9-10