I did it!!!
Wow! I DID IT!!!! I cannot believe it has been a whole year!! To tell you the truth, I have a mix of emotions ranging from excitement to satisfaction to a bit of a letdown now that it’s over. Most of all, I am proud of myself that I did not quit….and let me tell you, that was something I reminded myself of over and over throughout this journey–especially the last few months!!!!
I learned several things over the course of the last year. I will attempt to share them with you all, not only to share knowledge, but to remind myself of what I can do when I put my mind to it.
First, I learned about preparation. In all things in life, you must be prepared. This was one of the lessons I learned early on when cooking, because a few times I missed a few ingredients and I had to make a last minute run to the store, or dinner was very late. I found that if I had my recipes together and lists made, it was much easier at the store and it was much faster when I got off work and began to make dinner. This makes a happy family! This preparation mentality actually spread to other areas of my life…in work and in church ministry to name a couple. This is a big win!
I also learned about failure. I found that failure is not necessary a bad thing. It shows cracks in your character that give you an opportunity to grow as a person. A few times during this journey I forgot an ingredient, or the recipe I was hoping was going to be a success turned out to be awful, or I burned something I should have been watching more carefully. I was really hard on myself in the beginning, even wanting to give up! But you know what? None of that mattered. Lessons were learned, and I developed patience and knowledge.! When times got really busy and I took a break from actually blogging about the recipe, I first saw that as a failure. However, when I think about it, the blog really doesn’t matter. We still had a new recipe every night, whether or not I wrote about it! I forgave myself and moved on after prioritizing my life. That is not a bad thing. I look back and I don’t see the times where I failed…I see a whole year where I tried and accomplished something!
And accomplish I did….and learned something about the unknown. This was a big deal for me! If you know me well, you know I tend to stick to the same things all the time. I hate change. But…this journey forced me to do something different, and try a lot of new things. I am SO GLAD I did!! Last year, when my family ate out at a Mexican restaurant, I would order the same thing, usually plain cheese quesadillas. Now that I have actually tried Salsa Verde, or Chorizo, or Carne Asada, or a dozen other things–I have more freedom and choices in life. I learned that I cannot be afraid of what I do not understand or know–I need to face things head on and investigate further….and maybe I will like what I find out!
Next, I learned about perseverance. I cannot tell you how many times I threw my hands up in the air and wondered out loud why I had gotten myself into this mess. A lot of people asked where I got this idea, if it was from a website or a movie or whatever. My answer was always the same: it was an idea that popped into my head that I acted on–no rules except the ones I made for myself. So, it was my own doing that got me here, and I wanted so badly to finish what I started!! Each time I had those thoughts of quitting, I reminded myself of my goal, of what the finish line would look like. And let me tell you, so many friends helped me through this. Your words of encouragement, your comments on the blog, your hugs and smiles and questions about what I was cooking next. I owe a lot of you a big thanks!!! You guys helped me persevere… and that leads me to the next thing I learned:
Family. This is actually the reason why I started this journey, because I wanted to do something for my family. In the process, I learned that everyone has different tastes. I mean really different! There were times where one person gave a dish one star, while another gave the same dish five stars! We are all different, but that fact did not make a difference in the fact that we love and supported each other over all these meals. Each time we sat down to dinner, we had the opportunity to talk about the day, about what we liked and did not like, about the future. THIS is what makes mealtime special…not the fact that we had something different for dinner every night!! And when I needed a break (having the flu, going out of town for work or vacation, or to a funeral) my family was quick to step in. Everyone–Todd, Chris, Emily and Jacob were all guest chefs when I was down or out. They didn’t complain, they saw a need and stepped in. I love them for it.
And so my food journey ends. Thank you for sharing it with me. Thank you for encouraging me. I hope I have blessed you all just as much as you blessed me. My life is richer not because of new food, but because of the people in it.