Several years ago, I decided to learn how to make "old fashioned" homemade biscuits like my grandma's did. The thing is -- both of my grandma's made them different, so I asked my momma's mother to show me how she did it. It didn't take me long to realize where I get my baking skills. I got out all the ingredients I thought she would use, and I was sure to provide every sort of measuring cup, spoon, and tool that I had for baking. I even brought a pencil, paper, and a camera to document it all for eternity. Well, I did use the camera and I got an eternally-treasured photo of four generations of our family that included my 6-month old daughter sitting on the counter like she was learning too. BUT, the pen, paper, and all the measuring tools just sat there gathering dust as my grandma very calmly (and a little apologetically) put "some flour" in a bowl with "some" other ingredients until it all "looked" good, and then she rolled out, cut, and baked some classic biscuits. It was a great time spent, and some wonderful memories made, but I was almost more frustrated because at the end of that day the only thing I learned was that I am pretty sure I inherited my propensity to NEVER follow a recipe, from both of my grandmas. I remember my daddy's momma making biscuits using different techniques but the same measuring skills.
I thought making biscuits would be as easy as making cornbread. The difference is that I learned how to make cornbread when I was young, and I had just now attempted biscuits. Fast forward almost 10 years and now I'm a very confident biscuit maker. They come out fluffy, crispy, buttery, and are homemade from the most basic ingredients (unless I decide to start making my own flour); I even make my own baking powder. Somehow I got a heart for making things from scratch. The closer to fully unprocessed I can get a recipe, the more proud I am to make it. That makes some of my friends chuckle as they remind me how easy bread machines are, but for some reason those hands-on processes just appeal to me.
Since that day in Georgia, when my grandma showed me what it "looks" like to make the perfect biscuit, I have figured out how to eyeball it myself (and really should right it down for my kids). But that wasn't good enough for me, and I had to move on to making bread. I have learned so much in the last ten years, about making sourdough (my absolute favorite because the yeast is natural and not processed), sandwich loaves, french baguettes, yeast rolls, and even english muffins. Now I have to keep moving on and my next bread endeavor is donuts!
Right now, you're reading this and thinking, "Wow! Vanessa is so great. She's always doing something fun and new. I wish I was like Vanessa!" But slow down a minute. You might can just laugh through this chance to compare yourselves to me. Instead of going straight into feeling guilty because you haven't spent frivolous days with your kiddos, making donuts and precious memories in a Martha-Stewart-kitchen, while consistently knocking out your culinary goals one by one, listen to the story behind how I came to chose my next endeavor; AND what God reminded me of.
My choice to chase down doughnut skills came DIRECTLY after I had JUST told myself that I am going to get serious about losing weight. That's right! My internal conversation (that my counselor friend Amy will analyze and appreciate) began like this ... "My shoulder and my knees are really hurting and they get worse each week; if I could take off some weight, my knees would be under a little less pressure; if I would practice my karate each morning I'd be more limber and my shoulder would probably get better; I need to get groceries tomorrow so I'll only buy veggies and fruits; I need some water; oh, there's my laptop that I can use to look up some fruit salad recipes; it's sitting by my sourdough starter that needs to be fed; what can I make with my starter; you know what.... I've NEVER made donuts; I bet sourdough donuts would be phenomenal; I could bake them instead of frying so they'll be healthier; I should do that as soon as possible; Ellie needs to learn how to make donuts too; that'll be a great thing to do tomorrow; I'm so excited because I have yet again chosen a new recipe to get under my belt and write in my personal recipe book; I feel so successful; wait a minute, what did I first sit down to do again??"
That's right -- I have once again avoided a physical fitness goal by creating a much more palatable (pun intended) one. Jesus taught (Luke 6:45 KJV) "...of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh." Do you think that applies to thoughts too? Maybe my thoughts went straight from "getting fit" to "making donuts", so quickly, because even though I say (nearly daily) that I want to lose weight and get fit, I don't really mean it. How often do we find ourselves led to do things and be things that we ourselves do not truly want to do/be? I have one of those annoying personalities that finds it hard to not do everything, be everything, and fix everything, but sometimes I don't want to do the work. I want to wake up tomorrow and be fit, polished, and have shaved legs - but that never happens because it's not really my priority. It weighs on my heart but as Jesus said, it's not in "the abundance of my heart", even though I wish it was. That is my prayer today -- for God to put it on my heart to WANT to be physically fit. I feel like that is what He wants for my body (not to be beautiful by the worlds' standard but to be healthy, vibrant, and energetic), but I keep putting Him off. I tell Him that I'll start tomorrow or next week.
And it just occurred to me that putting God off is about as ignorant a thing to do, as is thinking I can lose weight by learning to bake donuts. "God, give me focus. Give me tunnel vision for the things you put on my heart. Bring me people to bring with me while I figure out how to do this for you. In Jesus' precious name, Amen!"