Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Learning to Adapt and Make It Work

Larry and I are spending a few days in our camper doing some updates and modifications to it in anticipation of a camping trip next month with our son, Brian, and his family.   We have not taken the kids out in this camper so we are working on making things as comfortable and cozy as you can make a 32' RV with 4 bunk beds in the back and a bedroom up front.    The kids are going to love it and we're working on things that will make it fun for the grown ups! 

Life in a camper for those of you who have never experienced living in one  is, shall we say, interesting and challenging.     For one thing, it's pretty small and there is not much space to store things.   That will be one of the things we work on during this week--storage.  The small part is pretty much a done deal.  ;-)    A second characteristic of  most campers is that they are not equipped like a brick and stick home.   A primary reason for that can be answered by reviewing the first thing I mentioned.    You just can't have all the gadgets and household items that you have back at your residence.  There simply is not enough space for such luxuries like a full set of pots and pans or all the kitchen paraphernalia most of us have acquired.     The stoves in campers also tend to be on the miniature side and many only have three burners, so cooking a full meal takes planning and patience.   

See?  I wasn't kidding about the kitchen being small!

Tonight when I was preparing our evening meal I faced the usual challenges that are part and parcel of the camper experience.    I had to figure out what items to cook first, on which burner and in the proper order to get it all done at approximately the same time.    I was handling it all nicely and had not hit a snag until I realized that I had a boiler of bow tie pasta going full blast on the stove and it dawned on me that I didn't have a colander.    Without missing a beat, I remembered the pot with tiny holes in the bottom---a steamer pot---that was in the lower cabinet.    It would work perfectly to let the boiling water go down the drain while the pasta was securely held in the little pot.   Problem solved!   

How many times in our lives are we faced with this kind of problem?     Sometimes we are quick on our feet and come to a solution without too much angst.   Other times we struggle to figure it out and waste precious time fretting over the WHY OH WHY of it all.    We get so wedded to the idea that there is one way---and one way only---to get something done that we can't even imagine that there may be another solution.   

There is a story/joke that goes something like this:   A young bride is attempting to cook her first ham.    She gets out the ham, a sharp knife and proceeds to cut off the end of the ham and then puts it in the roasting pan.    She goes to her mother and says, "Mom, why do we cut the end off of the ham before we cook it."    Her mother says, "I don't know, but it's the way we've always done it.   Go ask your grandmother."    Grandmother tells her the same thing.  "It's the way we've always done it. Go ask your great grandmother.   Maybe she knows."    Great grandmother patiently tells the bride, "My child, the reason I started cutting the end off of the ham is because it was too big for the pan I had, so I cut it to make it fit."     

So for years and years all the brides in that family had dutifully cut the end off of the ham without realizing that the only reason it was done the first time was to make it fit the pan.   Nothing else.   So what are you doing in your life because it's the way you've always done it?     And what do you do when you can't do it the way you've always done it?   Do you panic, get angry or upset?     Or do you set about trying to figure out another way?   

Life is pretty good about throwing us some curves.    We all need to get into the habit of adapting to change and challenge in our life because you can be sure that changes and challenges are inevitable.    Once you know that----really know it and accept it---figuring out what to do next will be pretty easy.     You can adapt and you can make it work.   Try it some time and see how good it makes you feel to find the answer for yourself.     

Happy Trails,

Just another farm hand---figuring it out as I go!


  1. That's so true!! And we are so much happier if we adapt instead of railing against the things life throws us. Thanks for a good reminder!

  2. We are all looking forward to camping :) Thanks for the reminder to be flexible & adaptable. It's something I have to work on every single day of our homeschool!


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