I'm on a mission

January 28, 2013. January 28, 2013. Yes, I had to write it again. It's been almost exactly 6 months since I posted anything on this page. Shameful? I suppose. But I'm choosing to look at it as "Hey, cool, you're posting again!" I can't get back those 6 months, or write those posts I thought about writing but never did. I can't pretend I wrote them and they got lost in cyberspace. Nope, I just didn't. No excuses, just fact.

What's causing me to write now, though? As I read back through old blog posts, I am struck by how many of the same questions are still running in my brain. Hamster wheel, turning and turning and turning with no end in sight. Is this how we all work? This time last year, I was writing about starting a new business. Surprise! I'm still starting that new business. This time last year, I was writing about missions, and branding, and small moments that we want to zoom in on and make a movie out of. Wow. Missions, branding, small moments? Still relevant.

The difference, though, is that last year I spent a great deal of time apologizing for whatever it was I was doing. Sorry this isn't better. Sorry it wasn't faster, or prettier, or more perfect. And that is indeed the point of this post.

For the past month (almost), I've been doing a wonderful free online goal-setting workshop of sorts put on by Chalene Johnson (http://www.chalenejohnson.com/products-page/product-category/30-day-challenge/) I've come to some hard realizations, yes, but mostly I've come to realize that it is time to stop apologizing. It's time to embrace what I do well. To admit, out loud, that I have some talents and value to add to people.

This is hard to do. Try it. If it's easy for you, great. It's not for me.

My mission, though, that I've been working on apparently since last year, is becoming crystal clear. I want to help people. I want you to experience and OWN the joy that comes with having a fit body. I want you to experience the amazing power you have to create love on a plate with some food for your family. I want to empower YOU with the attitude, the confidence, and the knowledge to take control of your bodies and your kitchens.

Teachers often say, "The only dumb question is the one you don't ask." My riff on that is "the only failure you have is in not trying." Try. If it doesn't work out, then you've learned something not to try again, or not to try in a certain way. Either way, it's a learning experience.

I took a cookbook-writing seminar at WriterHouse a few months ago. Part of our work that day was to write a pitch for our cookbook; once I got over laughing at the idea that I would actually write a cookbook, my pitch came out like this:

By 3 pm, the dough is rising, the tomato sauce on the back burner giving a slow burp every now and then, and the toppings are all prepped and ready, organized by ingredient type on dedicated plates wrapped in plastic wrap in the fridge.

I’d started cooking at 2.  By 6:15, the first of 50 or so people will be streaming in the door, ready to eat as much pizza as I can turn out from my single oven lined with 2 pizza stones. I have three hours to relax, catch up on last week’s episode of Glee, or just take a nap.

Fifty people coming for homemade pizza in three hours and you’re talking about RELAXING?

Entertaining to me means food. Good food, delicious food. Relatively healthy food, too, even given the less-than-healthy-parameters of pizza. And it means food for one person, or for 50, or for more or less.

But food also means relaxing. It means being comfortable with my ingredients and the way they go together. It means that I concentrate on the enjoyment I get out of the process and the general confidence that people will like what’s put in front of them. I tell the kids (and the parents) who grab a ball of dough and start rolling it out that it doesn’t matter what it looks like, because everybody will like it. We celebrate the misshapen blobs, the Floridas and the Californias. And indeed, everyone gobbles it all up.

There’s a lot of worrying about food these days. We worry about where it comes from, what’s in it. The political implications of choosing the wrong apple at the store could be fodder for a presidential debate. Cookbooks tell us how to cook, at what temperature to cook, what to cook when. It’s enough to make a person run screaming from the kitchen.

Really, cooking is about learning what goes well together and how to do it in ways that make sense for your life.  If salads are what you love and work for you, then it’s about finding the ingredients and ways to put them together to make you happy. If you want to make lasagna loaded with cheese and sausage for a Sunday dinner, then it’s that. If you have 5 hours a day to devote to dinner, you ought to have the kinds of choices and options that someone who literally has 15 minutes.

This cookbook, RELAX! How to cook so you and everyone else loves what you do in the kitchen, offers ways to think about food in a “you can do this” attitude. It’s not about what you can’t do, but what you can.

And maybe the last line sums up my mission very nicely. "It's not about what you can't do, but what you can." How can I empower you to believe that?