The smell of warm bread drifted through our cozy hundred year old home the entire day. Kentucky finally had its' first snow, at least in our region, and the snowflakes softly fell. We were all staying warm, wearing comfy clothes and me in my fuzzy socks. All Sunday afternoon, I read the recipe 100 times, watched the yeast rise and fall, molded the dough into a ball and finally- finally, it was done.
Doesn't it look beautiful? Like it would taste delicious, fresh and hot from the oven?
It wasn't. At all. It was a baking project that took me several long hours, one that required so much patience, and it had our taste buds anticipating the first bite ALL day long. I grabbed a large chunk with my eager fingers and as soon as it was in my mouth I exclaimed, "Oh NO! Yuck, no, NO!" My husband tried to be sweet about it- "Oh let's wait a while longer and see what happens (as if it would change). Maybe it'll become more dense and taste more like.... bread." It didn't.
Isn't this kind of like life? We plan for things and wish for certain events to happen. We work hard and pray for a beautiful result and then--it's nothing at all like we hoped for. My husband and I plan rigorously to provide healthy, well rounded meals for our family. Sitting around the table with one another to talk about our day is something that of course, is ideal. But after long work days, it is more of a reality that Frozen is playing for the umpteenth time and chicken nuggets is the glorious meal being served.
Perfectly imperfect. When I think that painting with two toddlers is a good idea and five seconds later am pulling my hair out at the red and blue sloshing all over the table. But they made their own masterpiece and cheered each other on the entire time.
Or the suggestion for them to get creative using Play-doh and moments later I am scraping the bits and pieces out of the cracks in our ancient floors. But their little fingers worked so hard and I watched their glowing faces each time they made another snake, or horse or human.
I can even relate this to my current teaching career: I plan what I expect to be a freeking awesome lesson; surely the boys (I have eight), will all be engaged and thrilled to discuss the inspiring explorers Lewis and Clark. Right?! OR they'll instead get caught up on the fact that Sacajawea had a baby at seventeen ("It's not even possible to have a baby at seventeen, that's way too young," says one. "Well that was back in the day, like a LONG time ago, so it used to happen but it can't anymore," another replies). Okay sooooooooo not what I thought would be ten minutes spent in Social Studies. BUT, it did lead us to an awesome conversation about how brave and strong the female Native American was who helped Lewis and Clark reach the Pacific Ocean. The boys were awed by her courage and strength as she braved mountains and crossed waterways, all with a baby on her back. Not how I expected the lesson to go, but it turned out better.
God gifted me with the art of photography and I was blessed to discover it several years ago. But just because I am talented at snapping a good quality photo, does not mean that our life is all sunshine and roses. From the moment our kids were born, I made a very conscious decision to post what I post. I personally don't think crying photos of them are cute, that's a preference. There are a lot of other things that I would rather document. And when I spent all day making my first attempt at homemade bread, I took a lot of time and effort to take the photos that I did. When we took our first bite out of this very pretty loaf, I felt myself frown, my chest tighten up and for a second I thought, "What a waste."
The truth is, it wasn't a waste at all. Pies may be more up my alley but I've always wanted to try baking bread. Everyone says it is such hard work (PREACH!), like an art in itself; and although I longed for it to be a delicious masterpiece, the end result was a big loaf of perfect imperfections. The old floors in our house creak, 90% of the time there are toddlers running, screaming, arguing and laughing. Favorite movies are played on repeat, the corners are crowded with an abundance of toys and some days, despite how hard you try, how well you plan, you have to accept that your life is a masterpiece.