Thursday, June 13, 2013

My Jam Epiphany

Amber and I live on opposite sides of the country and we have been trying to talk at least once a week. This morning we were talking and I had an epiphany almost as soon as I hung up the phone. I've had a few epiphanies lately and in my desire to blog more, I thought I would share them. Who knows, someone just might learn something from me.

1) Growing up when you're already a grown-up is so much harder than you think.

There were days before I made the choice to go back to school when I thought that nothing could be harder than having kids in potty training,  pre-school, then kindergarten, making friends, moving, working with kids, Matt's medical problems and so on. Then when I was in school, there were days when I longed for the simplicity that was my life before being a mom and a student.

Now? School? Kids? Wanting to move? Worrying about all the what-ifs when we do? Hah! Talk about minor worries. Now I have dread about bills looming, worry about jobs not being there, worry about never ever getting out of this inky dinky apartment and into a real home... the list goes on. And all the thinking about growing up and getting a job and joining what I cal the adult world has led me to another epiphany.

2) I (as in me and myself) am the one who makes my stumbling blocks that Satan uses to trip me up.

Here's a little known fact... someone told me before I started college right after high school that they thought paying for my education was a waste of money on my parents' part and time and effort on the college I would attend's part. And I made that a stumbling block so many years ago. Then when I was leaving, someone told me that if I left I would never go back and I would never earn a degree. For 14 years, I made that a stumbling block. Then I let finances stop me, creating another one. Now I'm letting fear and doubt become more stumbling blocks.

Coming to that realization led to the discovery of another epiphany.

3) God knows what His plans for me are and even though I worked hard to get a degree in a specific field, He may use that to set me up for something else He has in store for me.

In the past three or four years I have discovered a couple things about myself and they are totally opposite of my degree- I love being a stay-at-home mom and that one of my spiritual gifts is writing, even though I have only recently acknowledged it as one. I love to write, I'm fairly good at it, and other people seem to enjoy it. (Yes, I know that isn't as confident as some of you are telling me I need to be, but it's a step. :D) I want to do more writing and I would love to continue being a stay-at-home mom.

I know that writing full time, especially to make enough money to pay the bills I am claiming responsibility for (I'm paying my student loans back, not Matt), isn't going to be easy, but I know I really want to. If I could combine what I learned in school (even if it is just research skills) than I'd be even happier.

That realization made another epiphany surface.

4) I should really take a camera into the kitchen when I go to figure out if something really is as easy as people claim.

I know you're probably scratching your head right about now and thinking "What has that got to do with everything?!" Let me try to explain...

I loved ice tea, but my mom never made it the traditional way, she always used that instant stuff. I love red beans and rice, but I'm not a fan of the boxed stuff. Matt wanted Car-Bomb cupcakes, but the whole concept of making cupcakes that had beer in them from scratch intimidated me. I love carrot cake, but I hate boxed cake mixes. I love homemade jam but I have never made it.

Then I realized that just like with the whole stumbling block thing, I was doing it again. I was putting things in my own path to stop me from achieving greatness. Well, OK maybe greatness is a strong word, but you get what I mean. So I realized a few things.

When I was living with my sisterchick, Tara, her mom taught me how to make iced tea complete with simple syrup for the sweetener. I saw on Paula Dean how to make red beans and rice and went into my kitchen and voila! I had red beans and rice and when I made it for my nieces and nephew last summer, they told me I did a bang up job. (Seeing as they had spent the last couple years in New Orleans, I decided to believe them!) I searched and found a recipe for car bomb cupcakes and now I make them three or four times a year because they're Matt's FAVORITE! Because of those cupcakes, I haven't used a boxed cake mix for anything other than Pineapple Dump cake in more than 6 years. So when I saw Ree Drummond making carrot cake on Pioneer woman a couple weeks ago, I went into my kitchen and produced a pretty darn good carrot cake.

So now we get to what I meant by taking a camera into the kitchen. I live in a valley surrounded by farms that specialize in a lot of different areas. I can listen to the cows at one of the many dairy farms and the flowers that you find in Pike Place Market are grown right here in some of our leased fields, some of the best horse ranches can be found in our foothills and there are You Pick Berry farms everywhere. The other day a friend of mine made a suggestion that the kids and I pick berries as one of our Summer Bucket List ideas. AWESOME IDEA!!!

Well, we haven't gone yet, but Eli and I went to the Farmer's Market here in town on Tuesday and we got some strawberries. And I decided I wanted to make jam. But I not only don't have the supplies, I really don't have the space. But then while I was researching about making jam, I remembered Hilary said she makes freezer jam, and I started looking into that.

Ya'll... It really is that easy!!!! Not only are there special jars you can get, but they have also taken the cooking part out because there are now different pectin options for freezer preserving. Yesterday, Matt took me to the grocery store and we got the freezer pectin, some freezer jars, and some extra strawberries (I didn't get a lot at the market and the strawberries at this grocery store looked beautiful!). And today, I made freezer jam. I forgot to take my camera in the kitchen to take pictures of the process and I'm not sure how the jam will turn out because it's still in the recipe's 30 minute sitting period, but I can't wait to try some on the scones I plan on making tomorrow.

The point I was thinking about is that I need to take my camera in there more often because as a stay-at-home mom of older kids, I'm learning more about myself when I'm in the kitchen and I realize how easy it is to make something and how life can be connected in the unexpected areas.



Hilary said...

I hope you already know that I'm on the list of people that enjoy your writing :)

And I'm so glad you had fun with the freezer jam! I've never made the actual cooked, canned kind before, but I don't feel like I have to because the freezer stuff is so easy! I'm eating some right now, even! :)

Daisy said...

Thank you so much, Hilary!

My jam turned out pretty good if I do say so myself... And Matt loved it on his PB&J today. :D It was pretty good on my toast this morning. And I decided to save the scones for tomorrow, but I'm guessing that it will taste just fine! :D