I love making pumpkin bread. I’ve done it every year for over 20 years now. I love it. My friends say they love it. And I think my family loves it too.
But, it’s kinda surprising I have kept at it all these years when you know how it all started…
It was 1992. I was a newly-wed and living in the Married Student Housing Apartments at my University. Feeling all domestic, I got the bright idea to make Pumpkin Bread Muffins as a gift for a couple friends. I gathered my ingredients, mixed them up, set the kitchen timer and put the muffins in the oven to bake.
And then I left.
To go visit some other friends.
Forty-five minutes away.
I realized my awful mistake about TWO HOURS later.
I called the university operator in a panic and by the time the housing manager got to our apartment and let herself in, the entire place was filled with smoke, the smoke alarm was going off, and the pumpkin muffins looked like little hockey pucks. They were completely black and only about an inch and a half tall. I’m surprised I didn’t catch the entire complex on fire!
By this point, you are probably wondering what would make me EVER choose to do that again! But I did. And I have. Every year since then. Fast forward 20+ years to Tuesday…
So, it was a beautiful morning. I had the house all to myself and I mixed up the Pumpkin Goodness. I put 4 mini-loaves in the oven and got on a conference call. (Why do all the crazy things happen when you’re on a conference call???) Right about the time I thought the loaves should be done, I smelled something. And it wasn’t that wonderful Pumpkin Bread aroma. It was more like…burning oven.
And then it happened.
Right in the middle of my conference call, the smoke alarm started going off!
I burned the Pumpkin Bread.
What is the point of this story, you may ask? It’s this:
See, if I had decided to quit after that first burnt bread experience, I would have never had the opportunity to know the joy of cooking for my friends and family. And they would have missed years and years of yummy-goodness. And I would have missed the joys (and challenges) of the process each year.
And this is how it is with our personal practices. When we decide to quit after one bad experience, we miss the joys (and challenges) that come with the continued practice. Anyone relate to this? Meditation, perhaps? Trying yoga or a new exercise program? How about making changes to your diet? Yep. We’ve all had experiences when we “burned” it. Whatever it was, was a miserable failure. And so we quit.
But what if…
What if we gave it another try?
What if we committed to working on it (whatever it is)?
For the next week – or month – or year?
I’d love to hear from you. Let me know what it is you want to commit to practice.
And, in case making Pumpkin Bread isn’t your thing, check out these other meaningful gift ideas:
This is my second year using this workbook and planner bundle and it is a game-changer! Especially if you would like to make some things HAPPEN in 2016!
These beautiful workbooks lead you through letting go of 2015 and planning ahead for a beautiful 2016 complete with goals and steps to reach them.
I had the awesome privilege of getting to work with Lindsey on this great yoga resource for parents and teachers. A thoughtful gift for little ones and the ones who love them!
“Readers will appreciate the simplicity of the bold, colorful illustrations that manage to be both eye-catching and soothing at the same time. Each character demonstrates the correct yoga positions. This book is a great tool for parents who want to help their children learn about relaxation through yoga. As an added bonus, the book includes an album of songs that are set to familiar tunes that will have the whole family singing along.” ~Debbie Sellers
This little travel kit of oils goes with me everywhere. From yoga class, to trainings across the country, I use them pretty much every day for something. This kit also comes with a beautiful meditation card and reference guide for additional uses for each oil. 10 oils (1 for each chakra, 2 to prep for meditation, and 1 to cleanse).
I have a friend who has a really intriguing response to getting gifts. She doesn’t use them. Like ever. I’ve seen her set a candle on her shelf for DECADES and never burn it OR take the wrapper off. I’ve watched her get a Gift Card to her favorite restaurant and then NEVER GO. She once received a candy bouquet, and yep, you guessed it – never ate ONE SINGLE PIECE of the candy. She got a beautiful set of towels as a gift and thought they were so nice (too nice for her) that she GAVE THEM TO SOMEONE ELSE!
I think this is a problem.
For some reason that I don’t quite understand, she is not able (or willing) to RECEIVE gifts.
Just imagine, if you had gone to the time and effort and expense to GIVE someone a gift and they literally never used it. I don’t know about you, but I would be really sad about that. I would feel like they didn’t really appreciate it. It might make me not want to GIVE them gifts anymore. It might even make me feel like they don’t love me.
This makes me wonder: Do I ever do this same thing???
For the last few months I have been working on a book and an e-course about self-love. It’s all about changing our inner dialogue. You know, getting rid of all those negative things we say to ourselves all day long and replacing them with loving and supportive thoughts. I’m super excited about it and can hardly wait until it’s time to officially invite you to join me for the journey (here’s a sneak peek).
Anyway – as I’ve been writing the book and course, I have been immersed in the world of love, self-love, giving love, and creating an environment of love. You know, all the loving things! This is not a bad way to spend a summer, I must say. : )
During this time I have been thinking of all the ways to change negative inner dialogue into positive inner dialogue, how to demonstrate love to ourselves, how to create space for love and how to build an environment of love all the way around. It has all been about how to GIVE love to ourselves.
But then I was remembered my friend that I love who has a hard time receiving and I had a whole new string of thoughts.
What’s equally as important as GIVING love?
What happens when you GIVE love to someone who doesn’t RECEIVE it?
What happens when WE choose not to RECEIVE the love someone GIVES us?
Not much, right? You can GIVE and GIVE and GIVE, but if the person you are giving to isn’t RECEIVING, then nothing is going to happen. The relationship will go nowhere.
Now perhaps this is all blatantly obvious and you are wondering why I’m even bringing it up. But just in case this is as intriguing of a thought to you as it is to me, I will continue…
I can spend all kinds of time and money to alter and change the way I talk to myself, the way I treat myself, and the environment I create for myself. BUT, if I choose not to RECEIVE the loving encouragement I GIVE myself, or if I choose not to fully RECEIVE the kind acts of service or care I GIVE myself, then have I truly done anything?
This has softened me. Not only am I GIVING myself love and compassion, I am choosing to RECEIVE it as well.
I am now humbly RECEIVING the love I am GIVING myself. I am saying, “thank you” to myself for all the efforts I have gone to to create loving thoughts and activities. I feel a kindness and fondness towards myself that hasn’t been there before, or at least in a really long time. I appreciate the love I have GIVEN myself. And as a result, my self has enjoyed GIVING me even more love!
As a sneak peek, I’d like to give you an Affirmation Guide and Meditation for the course!
I’d love to hear your thoughts below!
How do you shine your iridescent, full-color amazingness to the world? Are you a rock star and live your life bigger than big with an audience of millions? Or are you a baby-whisperer, influencing one child at a time? Or something in between? Do you engage in life-altering conversations multiple times each day? Yeah, me neither. At least, not that I know of. More likely, I’m discussing the latest great deals at the grocery store. Which brings me to this (it’s kind of a stretch, but stay with me): I’d like to suggest that as we do the things that we KNOW shine our light, there are probably even MORE ways we shine your light everyday and have no idea that our sparkle-dust is getting all over someone! Let me illustrate:
I had an experience a few weeks ago that let me know that sometimes my words really do affect people in ways that go well-beyond any intention I may have had. I have a friend that I see pretty often. Every couple weeks we get together and chat about life and love and books we’ve read and of course, great deals at the grocery store (See? There’s connection!). You know how it goes, we have lunch or coffee or something and just chat. My point is, we’re simply getting together. It’s not like an appointment we make to enrich each others’ lives or a coaching session or anything. Just two friends, enjoying the company.
One particular day as we talked, she told me that she was upset because she had been betrayed by someone she had previously considered to be a true friend; you know, the type of person you would drop anything for. She was completely blindsided by this betrayal. But it was true and she was feeling the loss.
She said, “You know, I’ve realized I’m not really sad about it. I know now that I shouldn’t have trusted her with so much information, but after thinking about it, I realized I want to spend my time with people that encourage me and bring positivity to my life.” Then she said something that floored me…
Wow. I was honored to have had this impact. Her comment made me take a step back and think. She wanted more time together because I see her iridescent amazingness and reflect it back to her. This makes her feel good about herself and helps her to see it too! This in turn, encourages her to shine her bright light even more brightly! Then everyone she encounters every day gets her sparkle-dust all over them! It’s a great thing!
This interaction really made me pause. It helped me to realize that:
What impact do we want to have in the lives of the people we encounter today? How can we both shine our iridescent amazingness AND reflect back other people’s iridescent amazingness back to them all at the same time? What do you think?