Can you make change?

Today, I participated in a yard sale at our church. For several hours, folks looked over tables of treasures, chatted about the hot weather, and several asked me,

“Can you make change?”

I could make change because I’d remembered to get dollar bills and quarters yesterday at the bank. I had plenty of time at the yard sale to think about that question some more. (Though I’m surprised my brain did not totally fry in the incredible Georgia heat. H.O.T.)

Can you make change? Not the money kind. Change. Can you change things? Or people? Or stuff? Or your destiny? Heavy questions for a pie lady.

Tonight, I baked Strawberry Pie. Tomorrow, there’s a covered dish supper for a wonderful lady who’s retiring from our staff. A BIG change for her. Now, she’ll be retired. She’ll change the way she spends her time. I’m so happy for her and glad that she’ll have more time to enjoy her children and grandchildren.

The strawberries changed a bit. They were excellent just way they came. They were perfectly tasty and sweet and juicy. Then they changed. Change happened to them. Things happened to change their flavor and shape.

The older I get, the more I believe that people don’t always “make change.”

Sometimes, change makes people.

The way people are is wonderful. People are excellent, just the way they start out. Take my son and daughter, for example. Excellent from the start, in my unbiased opinion. 🙂

Since they were babies, change has happened to them. Moving, growing, learning, school, knowing people, loving people, learning about themselves, wondering about the world. So much change.  When they were little, I sometimes wanted them to stay the same forever. They were so precious to me. So perfect and wonderful. Change happened anyway, whether I wanted it or not. Always does.

But let me tell you, I like what change did for those little people. I’m so proud of who they’ve become. My husband and I couldn’t be happier with the third grader and the eighth grader that will start another school year Monday morning. (Yes! Monday morning, July 30! We start early in Georgia.)

One can consider change as something difficult or scary. Sometimes, we feel like we can change things ourselves.Sometimes, we just wish we could change things.

I guess we do “make change.”

 Really, though, I think change makes us.

Even if we don’t understand it when it’s happening, change makes our lives beautiful. Even if it can take years to understand why change happens, it fills us with an inevitable wonder that shapes us. All in all, I’m in favor of change.

Just look what it did for those strawberries!

All Buttoned Up

Today, I baked a Granny Smith Apple Pie for a friend. She ordered it for her daughter’s birthday, and she needed the pie to have some very interesting crust accents–buttons! Apparently, the birthday party has a sort of buttony theme with cool sock puppets, etc. I love creative people. So my challenge was to create some buttons for the top of the pie. I think it turned out sufficiently buttony. I had to resist snatching one of those crust buttons off the top and tasting it once the pie was baked. 

It was nice to make ONE pie today.

Over the last month or so, I’ve baked quite a few pies to sell at the market with some special request pies baked in there. It’s been fun, and I’ve made a little bit of money, but one thing’s for sure–I have been BUSY. Especially considering this is supposed to be summer break. My kids have been delightfully busy with Drama Camp, sleepovers, and other fun summer stuff. I feel thankful for both the fun and the laziness they’re having. Summer break’s short here–barely 8 weeks, so it really flies by. They’ll start school in only NINE days.

As much as I hate to say goodbye to summer (which we don’t really get to do until October in Georgia), I’m looking forward to a schedule. I’m no the sort of gal who functions well in such an “unbuttoned” environment. Without deadlines, I don’t get a lot of stuff finished. Oh, I have great ideas, but my follow-through really suffers without schedules and time limits.

For example, between pie-making, I’ve been painting my daughter’s room. It’s not a big room, and she actually chose a simple color–white. I’ve been working on it for over a week now. Still not done. I keep seeing something else that I need/want to do. Like cleaning out a closet. Or watching “Clue” with my husband (really funny movie if you get a chance). Or NOTHING. So there’s a lot of stuff that needs to be buttoned up, if you will.

I love a to-do list, especially when I get to check stuff off. But it can be daunting if it just keeps getting longer and nothing gets checked off. A person might just get overwhelmed enough to take a nap. I’ve considered just adding “Take nap” to my list so that I can check something off.

Instead, I’m reminding myself of some wise advice I heard from my husband’s sweet great-grandmother. She lived to be 101 years old. Once, when I asked her how she lived so long, she said that she pretty much just did “one good thing every day–then I rested.”

Do one good thing every day. Then rest.

Makes sense. If you (and by you, I mean me–or I…whatever) spend your days running from one busting button (POP!) to another, nothing will ever get properly buttoned up. It seems wiser to do one thing well and then move on to another. Sorry multi-taskers. Sorry me. Slow down and focus!

It really is something to consider in today’s fast-paced world. One thing every day. Rest.

Rest.

Maybe I’ll rest first…Nah, better get back to painting. Or maybe the dishes. Or the laundry. Hmmmm….POP!

What You Can

I was inspired by this artwork that I saw online. Sorry that I can’t give the artist credit (no name was shown), but I am thankful for the colorful and powerful sentiment this week.

Do what you can.

In a time where a lot of people feel the power of CAN’T, I think the statement above is a crucial one to live by.

This week, there was sort of a crazy, sudden thunderstorm in our area. It blew through just quickly enough to steal power and knock down a bunch of trees. Luckily, no one was hurt, but it was loud, windy, and some friends of ours got a tree on their truck. No fun.

Now, lemme tell you what I can’t do:

–fix trucks

–operate a chain saw

–lift heavy stuff

They really needed folks to do that stuff, and thankfully, their church and some other friends helped out. They did what they could do and I did what I CAN do. I baked pie. I sent my friend a message letting her know that I was having a free-chocolate-chess-pie-for-anyone-who-had-a-tree-on-their-truck special. Lucky for her it was this week! 🙂

I had to test it out, so I baked one for us, too. Choco-licious. You can see the remains of ours and also a Lemon Cream Pie that another regular pie customer ordered. That Lemon Pie is pretty tasty. I made a test pie of it on the Fourth of July, and it was OK, but I declared then that it needed more lemon flavor. So I squeezed fresh lemons for more juice and I zested for more zest. It worked, I think. And, since life gave me leftover lemons, I did this:

I put them in a pot with a little water and some spices and turned the stove on low. It smelled great in the kitchen. It’s a good thing to do with fruit (especially citrus) that’s on the way out. I love using stuff up. And that’s how the rest of the afternoon was inspired.

My dear husband is so thoughtful. He downloaded a series of stories from NPR’s Pie Week about baking pie and put them on my iPhone. I listened to them intently this afternoon as a baked. All the while,I was thinking about how pies got started. People used what they had and put dough around it.

Sweet or savory,

they did what they could.

So that’s what I did today. I used up some stuff. I had a couple of rough-looking bananas, so I baked Chocolate Chip Banana Bread.

I had some marshmallows and a little cereal, so I made Fruit Loop Marshmallow Treats. Yum.

Now, baked goods and leftover ingredients won’t save the world, but I’ll tell you what might.

What if people started to follow this way of living?

Do what you can

with what you have

where you are.

It sure does speak to me. Stop trying to do what you CAN’T and focus gratefully on what you CAN do. Stop striving to get something MORE. Stop planning to be somewhere ELSE.

When life gives you lemons, or bananas, or fruit loops, or trees on your truck, do what you can.

Do what you can.