Tuesday, January 15, 2013


For supper tonight we had tamale pie. I like tamale pie. It’s not a beauty of a dish, but it tastes good. It’s a nice surprise to have something that looks unappetizing taste good.

However, tonight’s tamale pie was half-baked.

That’s how a lot of my projects seemed this last week – half baked. With a little more planning and better execution they would have been beautiful, but instead they have been half-baked.

For example:

A half-baked Thirteen on Thirteen.

Ty, Michelle, Afton, Abe, Grace, Cali, and Ande all faithfully got their pictures in for 13 pictures on the 13 of January of 2013.  But I didn't.

 Ray - My wife likes to scrub them out.
Cali - I hosted bookclub this week and the book I chose to discuss was Macbeth.
I drew this on the chalkboard above our mantel.

Afton - playing instead of sleeping in my crib

Michelle -  (Ty wrote:  Praying at the end of the day at 8!  She has to go to bed early for Insanity tomorrow.
I took the picture since we didn't have anything else for her and it was the end of the day.)

Ty - A picture I used during a very long text conversation between all of the Payne kids and spouses this afternoon.

Ande - Today all of us kids have been on a texting chain spree.
Our topics have been widely ranged (as has our participation...
we are still waiting for Cali and Ray to join in).
Hope everyone has unlimited texting!

Abe - Best part of my Sunday was the text messages
I had going on during Elders Quorum with Grace, Cali, Ray, Ty, Michelle,
Ande, and Joe (although I was disappointed by the lack of participation
on the part of Cali and Ray).

Grace - enjoying her favorite Christmas present

A half-baked attempt to be helpful: 

I offered some eggs to a friend and said I’d take them to her at church on Sunday. She said she didn’t think she’d be there, but I took them just in case.

Sunday morning Calvin and I walked across the church parking lot with a family and I offered them the eggs I’d brought. They acted so excited I thought they had maybe misunderstood me and thought I was offering something better than eggs.

I walked in the chapel and there was the friend. She’d come to church so that she could pick up the eggs.

I sat there on the pew for an hour hoping one or the other would forget about eggs.

But they didn’t. They both came up after the meeting waiting for eggs. Calvin gave them to the family while I told the other friend that I had forgotten to bring the cookies that went with the eggs (true, I had planned to bring her cookies but didn’t). I told her I’d come back to town later in the day with the eggs and cookies.

When we got home after church I went out to the chicken coop and gathered more eggs (thank heavens the chickens know to completely follow through). I put the eggs in a bucket and the cookies on a tray. The tray looked half-empty. I had eaten too many cookies after church and now didn’t have enough for a good sharing. I made a batch of no-bakes to add to them, and then just for good measure I grabbed some leftover chili to add to the cookies and eggs as I walked out the door.

Argh. It was attempt after attempt to cover over-zealousness and made everything inconvenient for everybody.  And then I wondered why Calvin got cranky as the day wore on.

A half-baked attempt to start a great goal:

I want to keep a little different journal this year. Perhaps it is because I am writing too many essays. Perhaps it is because I write a too-long family letter each week. Perhaps it’s because I blog. Perhaps it is because I have started to keep an on-line scripture journal. All I know is I am sick, sick, sick of so many words with my thoughts behind them. I decided to keep a simple journal this year entitled “See.”  My goal is to be more aware of the little miracles in life, take a picture of them, and then write ONE LINE as the entry - you know, let the pictures do the talking.

I got the photo book, the page protectors, and the paper, but here it is January 15th with nary a page completed. And already I want to bend the rule and include this.  But there's no picture:

Last Wednesday night I stopped at Wal-Mart for some things for Young Women’s. I stood in the check-out line behind a happy, disheveled man. I felt a distinct, “Pay for his groceries.”

I argued, “I think he has enough money. Just because his clothes are way too big and he is kind of messy doesn’t mean he doesn’t have enough money.”

I felt it again, “Pay for his groceries.”

I was still arguing if what I had felt was legitimate when the cashier showed him his total. He was reaching in his pockets and patting his coat trying to find his wallet, money, a card – anything. Finally he told the cashier he would have to go back out to the parking lot to his truck. Again I felt, “Pay for his groceries." But I only had $40 and I wasn’t sure that would cover his total let alone his and mine.

He left and I stepped up to the register. His total was still up: $30.28. I looked at my pile of groceries and quickly added them up. It was going to be about $9.00. There was a chance I was going to have enough for both of us.

I did.

While the man was gone, I paid the cashier for his groceries and mine. I hoped to leave before he got back, but he came in just as the transaction was ending. He was surprised and looked at me and smiled. He had very kind eyes and said, “Thank you. Thank you very much.” I felt good all the way through.  I said, "You are so welcome. I hope you have had a good day.”

As I walked to the car I wondered why that man needed his groceries purchased for him. Was the Lord answering a prayer of his? Was he feeling all alone and needed to feel like someone cared? Was he on his last $40? Was I full of baloney?

I don’t have any idea why I felt so strongly that I should pay for his groceries.  It was more than a now-that-would-be-a-nice-thing-to-do idea. What I do know is that as I walked out of the grocery store the words from Hebrews 13:2 came to my mind: “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."  I thought I was doing him the big favor - that was a half-baked thought if I've ever had one.

Back to the half-baked tamale pie:

I put the tamale pie back in the oven after supper.  (I optimistically told Calvin the goo must be melted cheese when we spooned into it.)  It's all cooked now and ready for left-overs tomorrow.  

And that is what would probably be best to do with my other good intentions:  bake them again tomorrow.  


Jill said...

It's a relief to know that even you are half-baked sometimes!

Puhlman said...

OHH I almost cried reading about paying for that mans groceries. I am so glad you followed the spirit. We may never know WHY we are asked to do things. But following through with those feelings is...in my opinion....what it is all about.

“God does notice us, and He watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs.” – Spencer W. Kimball.

You totally made me day today. Thank you for your example. OH and by the way....that was NOT half baked. If you ask me...all those other things that were half baked just got completely done by this act of kindness.

Marie said...

I had the same Kimball quote in my head, but I see someone has already shared it. But it is just so JANE to have paid for his groceries. No wonder you are loved.

I loved what happened with the eggs. Ha! Once I forgot that I had offered to bring a meal to a family, and just before dinner my friend phoned to say she was just nursing her baby and wouldn't be able to answer then door when I came, so just come on in. AHHH! So I quickly packaged up my own family's dinner and brought it over. I think we opened a can of soup for ourselves that night. HA!
Your egg story made me thing of that.

Lucy said...

I love all your words. Never too wordy for me. never ever.

I appreciate this post a lot. I feel like most of my life is half-baked. I'll try putting a few things back in the oven rather than just tossing it all out and calling it a failure.

Becky said...

I had a half-baked kind of day today and I'm so grateful I decided to take a moment and read this post. It helped me put things into perspective...Love you Jane!

Peggy Dee said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who argues with the Spirit. You are so amazing. Thanks for sharing!

melanie said...

Oh Jane, I love this post. Your chickens love to give service too, don't they? They're great hens.

Can you take a picture of a Wal-mart bag? I think that counts. You inspire me, thank you.

Rachel said...

These are my 1 line comments:
1- Afton is cute.
2- So is Grace.
3- Ty is ridiculous.
4- You should still share your experience in your journal.
5- Elder Bednar once said the Lord does not provide explainations, He only provides outcomes.
6- He also said, "Any thought, if it is a good thought, comes from the Spirit, because all good things come from God."
7- I love and miss you!!

Melinda said...

I truly love your blog. I love this post. I relate so much.