Tag Archives: Perfectionism

Love in a Basket

If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch you must first invent the universe.  -Carl Sagan

pie basket

I have the pie basket.

I rescued it the night before the garage sale, horrified that my mother and her sisters would discard such a sacred family object.

“We couldn’t agree on who should get it so we thought it would be better to just sell it.”

“What?” I wanted to scream in all capitals, in bold, and really, really BIG.

“That’s not happening,” is what I really said.

Every Thanksgiving of my memory (except for the last two years of her nineties) my grandmother would make the pies—pumpkin, apple, and the occasional mincemeat, and transport them to our house safely nestled in towels inside the pie basket. We would gather around as she unhooked the tiny latch and lifted the top, to behold the first glimpse and get the first mouth-watering whiff of the beauty of them.

Perfection, that’s what her apple pie was, and we anticipated it more than any other Thanksgiving treat (Although her cranberry and pumpkin breads were a close second).

She would start with homemade pie crust, rolled thin, which always turned out golden and flaky–never burnt, never tough, never soggy, never blah. She tried many times to teach me how to replicate her crust, but impatience was always my downfall. For her, it was an act of artistry and love to gently mold it to the perfect shape to fit the pie tin. For me, it was just a ball of obstinate dough that refused to become what I willed.

Much like the obstinate blob I must be in the Master’s hands, impatient in my suffering as I’m shaped by His love and molded by His artistry:

 Jesus leads us into a place of radical grace where we are able to celebrate the hope of experiencing God’s glory. And that’s not all. We also celebrate in seasons of suffering because we know that when we suffer we develop endurance, which shapes our characters. When our characters are refined, we learn what it means to hope and anticipate God’s goodness.  Romans 5:2-4 VOICE

Refined, that’s what Gramma’s pie was. Macintosh apples, fresh from the orchard, were the only kind she would use. Hand peeling and coring each one, she would ever so carefully slice them into thin slivers.  This part alone would take her at least an hour, perhaps two. These seemingly hundreds of paper-thin slices would then be meticulously layered in the crust, dotted with butter, and sprinkled with a touch of flour, sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice and then the second crust would be finger-crimped to the first, in wavy ruffles of equal size and shape.

Oh how we loved that pie. And oh how that pie loved us. The pie basket brought us the perfect LOVE pie every Thanksgiving.

It’s been empty of pie for many years, but it will never be empty of my Grandmother’s love—warm, sweet, bubbly, a little tart, and so satisfyingly wonderful and delicious.

This Thanksgiving I’m pulling the pie basket off the shelf and giving thanks for all the apple pies of my Gramma’s love.

They feed me still.

Linda Crawford

Why Don’t I Laugh More?

Beauty is whatever gives joy.  -Edna St. Vincent Millay

I want to be funny.

Not ridiculous. I don’t want people to roll their eyes behind my back.

Well, maybe I do.

It’s just that I’ve been so darn serious all my life, devoting myself to striving for perfection standards in everything I do, and everything I’ve thought I should become.

Good girl. Good Christian. Good wife. Good mother. Good Christian older wife and mother. Good this and good that.

I’ve become adept at drawing confinement lines around my behavior because it takes a lot of serious thinking to work toward perfection. And a lot more serious thinking when I inevitably fail to meet my own expectations. Orderly steps, measured words, tempered thoughts, logical actions…

Confined life.

Except when I can’t stand myself anymore and I break into dance, song, or write silly words. Or travel. Out of my comfort zone, away from my “should life” I allow my diaphragm to relax and inhale and exhale fun.

I laugh. Full belly.

I want to be funny, because life isn’t funny if I’m not. I’m a jaw-clencher, and laughter comes hard, like rigid muscles that have forgotten how to move. Even confessing my serious nature barely initiates my moving closer to funny. Yet, from beyond the confined lines, from the infinite undefined space of thought, comes this:

Beauty isn’t beauty without joy.

Joy in me = joy in the beauty of life.

Beauty isn't beauty without Joy

On your feet now—applaud God! Bring a gift of laughter, sing yourselves into his presence.  Psalm 100:1-3 MSG

And so I pray, help me Lord, to forget the confines of the lines and the “shoulds” so I may color life beautiful today with laughter. With you.

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