Living the Pinterest-Worthy Life

  • breadpic

So, I almost posted this picture on Facebook this morning. “Fresh bread for breakfast!” and some other junk about what a great idea I had last night to make dough and let it rise in the night, and then get up early and finish making delicious bread.. Yay me… etc etc.

I tried to post it on Facebook, but then I got a fail notice and a message saying that perhaps my Facebook was being impersonated and maybe I should exit this site. Then my phone messed up completely and I had to shut the whole thing down and restart it (apparently the solution to all things technological). Then while I was trying to get my phone restarted, my child asked when we were headed off to their doctors appointment? And I suddenly realized that maybe I should check that appointment time again, maybe I had remembered the wrong time. So my phone finally comes on and I check my calendar again, and yep, I had the time wrong and we actually only had 20 minutes to get to the appointment. I start yelling, quick, put your shoes on, I’m going to go grab my shoes.. I run into the kitchen on the way to my bedroom and see that some impatient child has torn a hunk off the top of my loaf of bread.. AAAACKK!!!! WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT!!!! The guilty party looks at me and says, Can I have a piece now?? Now I’m mad that someone destroyed my beautiful loaves of bread. I run over to the drawer, grab a knife and start hacking the loaf into slices..But wait. This bread isn’t cooked all the way through! How did that happen??? I checked the bread before I took it out!! AAAAARRRGHH! I grab the bread, throw it back into the oven, minus the loaf pans, randomly turn the oven onto a temperature, set the timer…20 minutes? Will that be long enough? Who knows. I’ve got to leave and it’s going to be my kids turning off this oven while I’m gone. I inform the older child, who will be in charge, that they must turn off the oven when the timer goes off and then I run for my bedroom to grab socks and shoes. Child and I run to the van and I yank open my door, try to put my foot up on the step and instead my foot comes in contact with an apple (Why is there an apple on the step????). The apple goes flying into the yard. I retreat and pick it up, toss it back into the car and try to pull myself gracefully into my seat. I miss somehow and thud into the steering wheel. By this time I don’t care that I’m swearing and being a bad example to my child. We finally get on the road.

As I calm down a bit and try to drive carefully to the the doctor’s office, I think about the picture that I had tried to post earlier. What a joke. I’m not sure why, but occasionally I just give in to temptation and I take these glossy pictures of my life that really have no basis in reality. In order to take this picture I had to move all the dirty dishes on the table off to one side so they wouldn’t show up. Then I had to crop the top of the picture so you couldn’t see the pile of junk I have stacked against my kitchen wall. There’s a pretty little teapot which gives the impression that I’m about to sit down to a nice hot cup of tea. Well, that would be nice except that this teapot was used yesterday by my daughter and it never got washed out or put away. It’s just sitting on my table.

Did I also mention that even though I left the dough to rise all night, it didn’t rise very well because our heaters are not working. And I was supposed to keep my wood burning stove going all night, but was too tired to do a good job of it. I pulled myself out of bed around 3:30 am, stumbled into the living room saw that I only had a couple embers left, threw some logs in and hoped for the best. The best didn’t happen. The logs didn’t catch on fire. Which means at 6:30 this morning when I got up, the house was freezing. And let me tell you. I am amazed that house fires ever happen. Especially when I diligently stack paper, and lint and cardboard and wood in a nice neat pile in a nice wood stove, light several matches to it and then they refuse to catch on fire. Who knew that paper was so Not Inflammable.

Here’s the thing. When I took that picture, for that brief moment in time, it was true. I had made bread. It looked beautiful. My teapot looked beautiful. I was feeling peaceful. Life felt calm and pretty…And then all hell broke loose.

It’s the same in life. I was telling someone how I was doing so much better from my depression. Things that had helped me. And everything I said was true. And then that same day turned out to be a horrible day where I was fighting to stay engaged. Fighting to not listen to the voice that gives me detailed lists on how I am failing at everything. Fighting to not be discouraged. That too is true. The hard part is accepting that my life is never going to be picture perfect all the time. I will certainly have moments that are Pinterest-Worthy, and it’s ok to celebrate those moments. But I’m also going to have a lot of moments where I’m throwing bread back into an oven and tripping over apples. And it’s ok to talk about those moments too. It’s what makes us real.

So, if you ever see a beautiful picture on my Facebook pointing out some amazing feat of baking or decorating or whatever that I’ve accomplished. Just keep in mind that I probably had to hide some dirty dishes and maybe kick some trash out of the way so I could take that pic. I’m not brave enough to post pictures of my mess, but maybe I should. Just to keep it real.

No Politics at the Dollar Store

I ran down to the Family Dollar Store, just a block away. We needed tape. My younger kids and I had just spent a happy hour cutting out snowflakes and we were now going to tape them all over our kitchen and their bedrooms. We love decorating for Christmas. Once we get started, it’s hard to stop.

I went into the store, stepping around the puddles that dotted the pavement. It was an unseasonably warm, wet December day. I grabbed a shopping basket and quickly got the tape, plus some treats that I would pass out for our daily advent readings. Some LifeSavers for the day we discussed rings and how Jesus is the Bridegroom of the church. Some candy canes for the day we discussed how Jesus was the Good Shepherd. I also got some candles to keep up the festive atmosphere I love to create during the Christmas Season.

Finally done with filling my basket, I went and got in line. There was only one line open, but only a couple customers in front of me. I started daydreaming as I casually watched the people around me. I found myself a bit curious about the two people in front of me. They were obviously together. Latino. He looked like he was in his early 20s, clean cut, quiet. She had long, thick black hair, maybe 10 or 11 years old. They moved up to the register and he put his purchase on the counter, a big jug of laundry detergent. The girl quickly laid a lollipop next to it. It reminded me of outings with my parents when I was a child, “One piece of candy…please??”

The lady at the register was a friendly girl. Pure country accent, messy blond ponytail, friendly smile. She looked like she’d been working for a while, her eyes tired. She rang up their purchases and then told him how much it was. He hesitated a moment and then pulled out a card and stuck it into the slot of the card machine. Apparently there was an error. He continued to try and stick his card in, nothing changed. I wondered if his card had been denied. It happens. It’s happened to me. I was preparing for an awkward encounter. The clerk leaned over the counter to see what the display was saying. Her face brightened up. “Oh! Look, you have to swipe that one.” The man stared at her blankly. “Swipe it! Swipe it!” She made a movement with her hand and his face showed comprehension. He swiped his card, a visa gift card with the activation sticker still on it, and it worked. Hurray! The screen continued to ask him questions and he hesitated again. The clerk leaned over and read the screen out loud. “Pin, enter your pin.” The man’s companion spoke up in rapid Spanish. The man slightly nodded and started entering in a number. Ah. He didn’t speak English. Obviously none at all since he was struggling even with purchasing something at a store. I had a quick flashback to the first time I went to Chile when I was 20.  I spoke no Spanish. None. Zip. Zero. Not even a high school Spanish class. I remembered the panic of trying to do simple purchases and hoping the person would just take my money, give me correct change and not ask me any questions. Now, watching this man, I felt myself tense up. Maybe I could help if he needed it. I had managed to pick up a little Spanish during my time in Chile. Enough to at least help out with a purchase if necessary. The clerk had picked up on his lack of English by now, and started saying things slowly and repeating herself. Giving encouraging smiles. The little girl interjected a quick comment every once in a while, giving me the impression that she was interpreting for him. Not surprising. Kids always pick up languages faster than the adults. She probably benefited greatly from being in school every day, whereas the grownups could hang out and work with fellow Spanish speakers and not have near as much pressure or opportunity to learn a new language.

Finally the sale was finished successfully. The clerk grinned really big, wishing them a good evening. I smiled, happy that it had all ended well. I paid for my stuff and left the store. I had felt a moment of connection. Strangers in a store, all poised to help the foreigner, wishing him well. And I hoped that maybe this really is the normal for our country. We see a stranger, a foreigner, struggling to make it in a new country. We don’t ask about their immigration status, country of origin, income level. We just step in and see if we can help somehow.

Sure, when we’re on Facebook, we have to raise all the questions. We have to choose our news channels with care. We have to speak up about our views on immigration and foreigners and people who don’t speak English. We have to contact our congressman to tell them our views in hopes that they will align their policy with our wishes. We have to write editorials and engage in online debates. I am not being facetious. Yes. We do need to do all these things. We live in a democracy where our voice is supposed to matter. We are supposed to take a part in our government. But do we let our politics dictate our behavior when we’re down at the store? Or do we let our religion have preference. That religion that says, Love your neighbor as yourself. And when questioned “Who is my neighbor?” the story was told of a foreigner who befriended a stranger, an enemy of sorts, simply because he was in need.

I am an optimist. I like to look for the good in people. I like to presume that my friends who are very concerned about our current illegal alien issues, that they are still ready to help when they meet someone face-to-face. They’re still willing to lend a helping hand. And I sincerely hope that all my friends who are so passionate for open borders, I hope that this passion translates into helping the foreigners in their midst, not just talking about it.

It’s a good way to start the Christmas Season. Let’s be ready to help whoever we see in need. Maybe, we can just leave the politics for social media.