School may be throwing me an evil grin from just around the corner, cackling about how my mornings spent in superfluous baking and Wodehouse novels are a mere blink away from being over, but the perfect watermelons live on (ha, neener-neener and so there). And thus, the Beloved has been requesting Ritz crackers.
This culinary secret actually came from my dad, wise man that he is. He grew apples and pears when I was a kid and I have fond memories of summer evenings during harvest, him having worked long, hard days and coming inside with the sort fatigue you can only achieve through honest, physical labor. My mom (known to my sister and I as Marme, so you may as well start calling her that too) always made sure to have a large watermelon chilling for him in the refrigerator, which he cut into thick rounds that filled the entire plate. Ritz crackers alongside bring out the flavor, did you know that? And now that I have my own hardworking man to feed, I am striving to imitate the great farm wives of old who have gone before me and keep my kitchen stocked.
However, my adventures in extreme budgeting have definitely addled my brain by this point (don’t know what I’m talking about? Coming to class unprepared, are we? You know, it is a full time job to follow my train of thought. You cannot just jump into my stream of consciousness without first putting your waders on. Click the subscribe button, handcrafted for you by my Superior Nephew, and then –as much as this hurts my feelings– go to spam and smack around your email server for thinking my words are garbage). So when my husband brought home a beautiful Sugar Baby melon and started dropping not-so-subtle hints about needing his yearly Ritz stash replenished, scrawling “RITZ” all across my grocery lists and the like, I decided to be resourceful. Heh. You see where this is going, yes?
Yeah, I tried to make my own Ritz crackers. Fake Ritz. (F)Ritz, as it were.
If there is a phrase that consistently shoots me in the foot, it is, “How hard can it be?” That and, “We don’t need a map… Seattle can’t be that big.” But that is a different story for a different time. I had already been digging in to try and replace all of the kids’ store bought snacks with homemade goodies — when you have already gone so far round the bend that you make your own graham crackers, it is a pretty short step to the madness of homemade Ritz.
Don’t get me wrong — they were fine. They had little scalloped edges and holes, they were buttery and salty, but there is a necessary flavor missing. I suspect it is either preservatives or crack cocaine. I am accepting the failure rather than seek out either of these (seeing as I got rejected as a plasma donor –see lecture above– I don’t really hang out where those ingredients live anymore) and I bought the Ritz.
Since I said the “school” word without too much twitching and shuddering, it is probably time to pull it back into this discussion, because there is a distinct temptation that lurks for me when it comes to homeschooling to bring my own sufficiency to the venture — in a word, I bake a fake Ritz. How often do I behave as if the success of my parenting, my marriage, my service in the church (go ahead, keep filling in blanks…) is something that with enough hyperspiritualized willpower, I can do all my by myself? In the blinding light of day, am I actually saying that my salvation was entirely God, but everything else, He has left on my shoulders? I am like the toddler “helping” Daddy to lift heavy boxes… I can stand here with my grubby little fingers wedged beneath the edge of the huge load, face scrunched in concentration, making all the right grunts and groans as if I was actually doing the lifting, but until my Heavenly Father comes behind me reaches His hands under mine, my burden is not going anywhere.
You have a load. There are duties God is calling you to today, mountains to climb, people to serve, sin to repent of, songs to sing. Wait on the Lord and His strength. Seek His face this day and every day, for that load will not scootch an iota no matter how well you plan, no matter how resourceful and innovative and strong you are, apart from the grace of your Lord.
Anything less than the perfect, ongoing work of Christ in you is worthless. Do not settle for fake Ritz.