The Professor Helps!Professor Jennifer Haston- Author, Speaker, Activist- Accomplice to the Oppressed- helping people live their best lives. Inspiring one person daily!
Every year, my dear friend Jessi makes Christmas cookies from scratch and provides an assortment and (keeping in mind which person like which cookie) its just as labor-intensive as it sounds. I have “helped” her do this exactly one time and that help pretty much consisted of tasting batter and entertaining her with stories and occasionally moving one dish from the table to the sink. Her love language is Quality Time so it works.
Lo these many years, bemoaning my lack of ability to cook I allowed myself the use of premade cookie dough and occasionally would spoon it on to a cookie sheet (instead of my mouth) to “make cookies” for people I cared about. But over the last few years as I learned how to make cakeballs (to great compliment) so I can no longer say that I don’t know how to cook, I did attempt to find out how to make my Aunt Nancy’s cookies which is are known all over St Louis for being amazing. I watched her once and despaired I would ever figure it out. It is not that difficult, it simply takes effort which I recently learned is well worth the time to expend. Let me explain.
On Tuesday night, I hung out with my friend Meredith and amidst lots of time spent and grocery shopping we made over 100 cookies, some for the church, some for my team, some for the checker at the grocery store who took notice of us and said, “I want some cookies” so we brought him some. He was happy and surprised that we did.
I was struck by how easy it is to take the shortcut and buy the premade dough and if you do this, I want to be clear, I am NOT judging you, as there is definitely something to be said for the sacrifice of time for convenience. The difference between the prepackaged cookie dough cookies and the homemade cookies you mix the flour, sugar, butter and chocolate chips is like night and technicolor morning! I had no idea the difference was so stark. The richness of the flavor, the sweetness of the chocolate chips each one melting in your mouth, absolute heaven! How does this relate to love you ask?
Simple, we can love everyone the same, cookie-cutter emotions, words and ideas or we can choose to take the time, the effort, and the energy to find out exactly what the other person wants, needs, and desires. Yes, it takes time. Yes, it takes effort. However, the result you get is much like the difference between pre-packaged cookie dough and the cookies we painstakingly mixed, scooped, and baked the other night with the most important ingredient, LOVE.
My cake balls are important. I don’t make them often, and especially now that we are doing paleo 95.4% (yep I did the math) of the time cake balls are usually not on the menu. So it is special when I make them and my husband is always telling me how good they are. I love that man.
This is what I hope my kid will say one day because I will make cakeballs and he or she will bring them to school for the bake sale or some other such moment. For now, I can make them for my nieces and nephews when they ask and that makes me smile. I hope they will ask (but in case they don’t) I will post it here–
Future Son or Daughter:”How did you learn to make such great cake balls, Mom?”
I will smile wistfully and say, “Your Aunt Alexandra taught me”
I may or may not choose to tell them that I didn’t know how to cook until I turned 32 and this was the start of that…. (will depend on my mood) You can’t really plan these things.. but I digress.. back to the present day–
I made some for my team today and I could feel a real lift in the general “mood” of the day.. I mean who doesn’t like cake.. which got me thinking……
If I feel that good about making something for my team, how much better is it going to be to do it for my own flesh and blood? So this is sort of a nod to the future me, no, I am not pregnant, thanks for asking! but I did send a copy of this post to http://futureme.org/ (which lets you send an email to your future self one month or many years into the future which I think is awesome..) Think how vastly changed your perspective changes in just one year, and then five and so on… How valuable will that email be ? I think that it is very easy to get short-sighted and just focus on what things look like RIGHT NOW and get tunnel vision but if you look carefully and shift that kaleidoscope a little, you get a different view and sometimes that makes all the difference.
Think about it…
The following statement seems like a cop-out or an excuse but it’s the pure unvarnished truth.
You do not fail in life. You experiment and try things and sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. I tried being a sales person for a computer company and that experiment did not go well. I understand computers but not how best to sell them, took me almost a year to admit that was a failed experiment. I experimented with running and found it not for me. I prefer walking. I experimented with spicy foods and despite being a native of New Orleans, failed to find my appreciation for them. I experimented with cooking and found I prefer my husband do it. (he is better at it and I really don’t enjoy it).
But you know what, if I hadn’t tried running, I wouldn’t have discovered that I love to walk for exercise. If I hadn’t tried to sell, I would not have discovered that I prefer customer service to sales. and so on and so forth. So the next time you start to tell yourself you are a failure.. Stop and say, “Back off man, I am a scientist” instead! All movie quotes aside, there is a lot of power in the words we use. So say, I am experimenting and I can’t wait to see what happens next!
As a wise friend said to me many times. What do you want? What are you doing to get it? How is that working for you?
My hope is that when reading my blog you are able to get a sense of who I am, but for those wondering here are the Cliff notes.
I am a 36 year old woman who is actively seeking opportunities to help people follow their dreams. It is a lofty goal but I have always aimed high. My heritage is Irish-French which means that I have a hot temper and a romantic heart. I am from New Orleans but do not like spicy foods. I love all kinds of music from ABBA to ZZ Top and will listen to anything once to try it out. I especially love 1980’s rock, and care not who knows it.
I have lived in Austin, Texas for over 15 years and while I don’t consider myself a Texan, its definitely home to me and my husband. I do not own a pair of boots, but have several hats.
I am a wife.
I am a friend, aunt, and cousin,
I am a personal coach and a motivational speaker.
I am a singer, actor and director.
In the last year, my husband and I have been on the paleo diet and lost over 100 pounds, (him 65, me 55) (if interested in more information on that) see this website http://www.thepaleomom.com/
I have been starting to help my husband cook some of those recipes but not full time cooking as yet. In truth, he is better at it than I am and I am humble enough to admit it.
I believe in God but won’t beat you over the head with my spiritual self. I was raised Catholic and my current denomination like my life, is “in process”. I like to read, talk, and watch movies. I like having coffee or tea to socialize. I love my phone but I abhor the text messaging that is rampant in our culture. I honestly think it is ending the art of conversation as we know it. As I highly prize conversation, this troubles me.
My politics, well that is still developing. I am ashamed to admit I still have a lot to learn before I can comment or more specifically write about the political climate in which we live. I always say when learning, “be a sponge” and that is what I am actively engaged in at the moment.
My husband is the love of my life and we work very hard at our marriage and I value it highly.
I am opinionated and passionate and have no patience for people who settle for less than the best of what life has to offer.
It is my hope to inspire at least one person per day to stretch beyond their comfort zone.
My goal is to inspire millions to do that, but one step at a time. 🙂
Maybe I can help YOU, reach out to me here if I can: email@example.com
My cakeballs are important. I don’t make them often, and especially now that we are doing paleo 95.4% of the time cake balls are usually not on the menu. So it is special when I make them and my husband is always telling me how good they are. I love that man.
I was reminiscing about when I was taught how to make them. I was a newly engaged lady and in preparing to be a wife I thought, well I am 34 and probably should learn to cook. I did learn a few things about roasting a chicken and cooking some casseroles but the one that stuck the most was the cake balls. For those who don’t know, they are little drops of heaven covered in icing and sprinkles. Utterly decadent and sweet, my favourite thing about them is that you can eat just one and feel satisfied. Unlike a slice of cake or pie, you don’t feel guilty after just one.. however after 6 or 7, well you are on your own.
I remember thinking at the time, I am not creative so this is going to be hard. You know what I discovered? That I, through my own thoughtless words had perpetuated my lack of creativity and it was just recently that I discovered this. I am in fact very creative, its something that makes me a good storyteller, speaker and coach. No one has ever told me that I was not creative, I decided that on my own and continued to believe this falsehood. No more. Just the other day, someone asked me, “Are you creative?” and my knee jerk response was to say, No. but I stopped myself and said,
“Yes, I am very creative”
What lie have you told yourself over and over? What truth do you need to embrace?
This is a question I have asked myself and others since reading Jon Acuff’s book START. This book is all about questioning the beliefs you have about yourself over which cause you to get in the way of your own success.
What truth do you need to embrace about yourself? It’s time to START
I heard someone say recently, “I will be so much better when I have been in school longer, and know more and have read more” and it really made me stop and think. How many of us have stopped ourselves doing something because we are “not an expert”? I read recently it takes 10,000 hours to get to be an expert at something. That’s a really big number, and not a little overwhelming. Not being a math major, I decided to break it down- For instance, it would take 10 years of practicing 3 hours a day to become a master in your subject. It would take approximately 5 years of full-time employment to become proficient in your field. Simply work out how many hours you have already achieved and calculate how many more you need to clock up before you reach 10000.
But what if its not your job you want to have mastery at? Maybe you want to learn to cook, or change a tire or just become more proficient in something you are already well schooled in.
Don’t despair, you don’t have to spend 10,000 hours to be Awesome. What you need to do is decide right now to do your absolute best at whatever you decide to do and commit to learning along the way, be open to the mistakes you are going to make. Read that again, I said the mistakes you are going to make. You have permission to fail. It’s a natural progression to greatness to fail. Or to put it another way, “Failure is the Grandfather of Success”
Once your mindset changes, everything on
the outside will change along with it.
You are all you need to be right now. Don’t wish to be something you are not. Strive to be all you can be and more, but don’t compare Your apple to someone else’s orange or your beginning to someone else’s middle.
The next time you are inclined to say I can’t or I don’t know how, think about a time when you didn’t know how to ride a bicycle, or how to change a tire, or how to cook a chicken. I got in touch with people who knew how to do it, and asked for help, or watched them do it, and then figured out the best way for me to do it. Maybe not the fastest, maybe not the “expert” way but how I felt comfortable. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to try new things, some of the most important learning experiences I have had come from someone saying, “Do this” and not giving instruction but trusting I knew how to do it.
I use these examples because for me there was a time, I didn’t know how to do all of those things, but now through the help of my husband and my friends, now I know. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or admit that there is something you do not know, for there is power in not knowing that allows for knowledge to come to you.
What can you learn today?