In my imaginary world, deep inside my head, I am an awesome cook, a perfect housekeeper, and a welcoming hostess who is never frazzled.
As this year’s Homecoming at my church approached, I was super excited to show off my culinary skills with a wonderful recipe a friend had shared via social media. It was a Pinterest-perfect creation guaranteed to delight friends and loved ones. In the post’s picture, frothy pink icing delicately topped the cake, which was crowned with the plumpest and reddest strawberry slices one could imagine. I saw the comments that some naysayers made about runny middles, but knew my efforts would align with those who warned against overcooking the delicate confection.
I measured and chopped, stirred and beat, scraped and smoothed. As it went into the oven, the 100-percent-from-scratch creation looked amazing, and I could picture myself proudly arriving with my triumph at our church’s Homecoming the next day.
I gazed through the window of the oven, excitedly watching the cake rise, keeping a watchful eye on the timer so as not to burn this lovely creation. Finally, the moment of truth arrived, and toothpick-test approved, the cake came from the oven. I cooled it and then turned it over on top of the wire rack for its final cooling. Then I saw the insides begin to ooze underneath the wire. I only burned three fingers trying to upright the pan, completely disappointed to see the pink miracle break right down the middle.
There’s nothing like a strawberry-flavored dose of reality to rain on my imagined culinary talents.
My first instinct was to scrape the whole runny mess into the trash and pretend like I’d never tried. But then I realized, I was the only one who was expecting me to be some amazing cross between Betty Crocker and Martha Stewart.
I was the only one who was measuring my self-worth against some social media-established standard of perfection. Scraping the ooze from my kitchen island, I saw a small chunk of cake fall from the far side. I started to rake it into the bowl, but decided instead to taste it. And you know what? It tasted good!
Admittedly, it took a few tears and a call to my sister for moral support, but the chunks of yummy tasting strawberry cake found their way into my trifle bowl where they combined perfectly with whipped cream and strawberries. Larry carried the dish home for me the next day with only a little of the delectable dessert remaining.
My point? It would have been easy to “destroy all evidence that I tried” or to get really discouraged with my failed cake. But maybe, just maybe, I’m being a little too hard on myself. The runny strawberry cake made a perfect base for a trifle. Those lemons life hands us sometimes might be just what we need to make some lemonade.
It’s all about attitude and perspective. Friends who come to my house for Christmas dinner may be greeted by a smoky smell from a not-cooperating oven (true story!), but they didn’t come because I’m the next Betty Crocker. They came because we are friends, and we genuinely like each other. And that’s something to be thankful for every day of the year.
Don’t Forget: It’s almost time for our Thanksgiving challenge!
To encourage you on your journey of gratitude, Dana and I have decided to challenge our family, friends, and followers to trying a week of gratitude, and Thanksgiving seems like the perfect time!
For the week of Thanksgiving – Monday, November 23 to Friday, November 27 – we challenge you to five days of gratitude.
Each day, we will post what we are thankful for and will look for what you are thankful for in the comment section of each post. Everyone who leaves us a comment on each of the five daily posts will have their name put into a random drawing for a 2016 In the Garden of Happiness Planner! We both have this planner and have already started using it. It is beautifully illustrated with fabulous quotes each week to keep you moving toward a more mindful and happier you!
Please share this contest with your family and friends so we can gather more inspiration and they can have a chance to win!
If you have any questions about the contest, please put them in the comments section below, and we will answer them. We can’t wait to hear what you’ll be giving thanks for this year!