What can you give?

With my sister and her three children moving out, it has set me about the house picking up a few loose ends. This is primarily in the kitchen. Upon moving in, there were several boxes of food that came with her. Stuff from her pantry and cabinets. We have over the past 11 months managed to chew through a good chunk of it, but not all of it.

Ann’s new husband, Dan, evidently has been living the true bachelor lifestyle the past several years and upon discussion with my sister has a pantry that contains “not much” down to “nothing.” That made me really think that this is going to be a rough transition for my sister and her new husband to go from not really doing the grocery shopping to suddenly doing the grocery shopping for 5-6 people on a regular basis. That can cause some serious culture shock at the grocery store. It can leave a person unprepared or the very least reeling from the expense especially from what it takes to build a “well stocked” pantry from scratch.

As I was going through my pantry pulling out all the cans and jars and boxes that were in this original batch of goods she brought with her, I was amazed. Yes, I had enough foresight then to mark each of the items that went into my pantry and cupboards with something to indicate that it was from her stock. The same mark was made on things that came from my friend Mindy Johnson when she cleared out her pantry and cupboards before leaving for a long construction job with her husband in Colorado. So I knew what I was looking for. But it hit me that I had ample. I also had the skills that were adequate and needed to quickly and painlessly rebuild what we already had. It would not be without effort, of course, but I have spent time preparing and knew that I could easily restock our pantry and cupboards in a fairly short amount of time and within my weekly grocery budget. I knew that I would not have to worry. I had an overwhelming sense of peace come over me that this was something that I could do and needed to do for them.

So I set about collecting the things in the pantry that I had ample supply of from the months of shopping and stocking up on things. Months that prepared us for the weeks where I would not feel well enough to do the grocery shopping with the same stamina that I had been previously before my surgery in January or even the weeks leading up to my surgery. For this I am grateful. It is this that kept the cabinets fairly full with 9 people residing in the house for the last 11 months in spite of my health keeping my stamina below what it used to be.

I was amazed at the sheer amount of food I was able to easily pull out of the cabinets and pantry. Some of it came from the original stock she brought with her. Some of it came from the stuff that my friend so willingly shared with us a few months ago. The rest of it came from the ample supply that careful and dutiful grocery shopping has stocked the shelves with. I knew that I could give and feel no sorrow about giving.

It raised the thought in my mind, if we came across someone who can use the help can we give without worry? How much of the contents of our pantries and cupboards can we willingly give up without worry? How much can we live without? The answer for me over the course of a couple of days was resoundingly “a lot” because I knew without a doubt that we would be OK within a few short weeks if I remained dutiful enough to stay on top of the grocery shopping for a few weeks. So I packed the equivalent of about eight 12″x12″x12″ boxes full of foodstuffs to go to stock my sister and her new family’s pantry. We would not be going without. We have plenty. We will be fine.

I then set about and started reorganizing the cabinets and making mental notes of the things that we need to stock more of, what we did not to stock as much of, and what else we needed to add to the supply. I am now looking forward to the challenge of filling the part empty cabinets and pantry with the items that we will eat and rotate regularly to build up our one year food supply…slowly but surely. It has been a great opportunity for me to take pause and simply evaluate…

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