November 21, 2019

Keep baking

Monday morning I was making breakfast and talking with Kaleeya and Tytus as they sat very chatty at the bar. In between flipping crepes I was trying to get all the clean Sunday dinner pots and pans put away so we could see the rest of the counter top. In mid sentence Tytus stopped, pointed and half laughing joked, “Hey Mom...maybe just buy a new pan that doesn’t have your life history on it.” I looked down to the oldest cookie sheet man has ever known...with two last names scribbled out and one more written boldly. We all burst into hysterics—I haven’t laughed that hard in such a long time. These kids are so witty. 

Since Dateline first told about Emmett’s affairs and shooting 6 years ago, and many other murder mystery shows have since, I always know when an episode about our story—or Dr. Phil—has aired again. I gain a lot of new friends, but I also find enemies—messages of hate trying to make me feel as if I should be ashamed of myself. This week has been one of those weeks. Yesterday as I read a message from a very passionate soul, I sat stunned at the gumption of her direct words about who she believes I am. In a moment of being human, I let her words enter my heart. Weirdly enough they came in the form of my own fears...”Wow. Your relationship with a cookie sheet has lasted longer than any marriage you have had”. 

It’s true. This cookie sheet has literally stood by my side longer than these five kids got to see their father and longer than I got to be Jordyn’s mom. I remember the exact moment we started out—me and this cookie sheet. We thought we had the world at our fingertips. We dreamed of one day cooking Christmas ornaments with tiny baby hands. We dreamed of the cookies we would bake on their first day of school. Birthday cakes and card game trays on road trips. Brand new and shinny it glistened with promises of years to come. We both couldn’t wait to get started. 

As I stare at this old cookie sheet, I have begun to realize how different real life has been from the one we imagined...but...most of our dreams have come true. We are both a little stained and burned in some spots...but we have lived our dreams—just in a whole different way than we had planned. Well guess what? I made cookies on that tattered little pan and they cooked just as they always have. They were delicious and toasty brown—just as they were 15 years ago—and everyone loved them. 

I used to spend a lot of time feeling ashamed that life has handed me so many struggles—and just as many last names. I used to think that happiness was never having to change—living without loss and failure. I used to think that what others thought of me was important. Now I know...this was always the plan. We get to keep finding our worth even when others can’t see it. 

Kind of like my little “life history” cookie sheet...we all find ourselves in different circumstances. Some might be ideal, others might be a season of maturing and growth. We might get burned. Some days we might do the burning. We might get lost for a while when we get dropped behind a broken drawer. We will make mistakes, forget to set timers, forget to prepare for the heat, or forget to dust ourselves off...but we are still worthy of making greatness. Capable of bringing smiles simply by doing what we were created to do. Bake cookies. Live life. 

You aren’t alone. You have been burned and sometimes forgotten. You have felt broken and have looked back and wished you could shine like you used to. Just keep baking anyway. You  have so much to offer, and if no one can see it right now...just know your worth simply by all you can do for others. Know your worth doesn’t come from another person—but from within. Truths about who you are will never be replaced by what another believes you to be. Truths about who you really are don’t come from years of searching...they come by moments of remembering. You were born for greatness. Keep baking. 


Cori Adams said...

I. Needed. This. Today. I will shine, I will keep baking, in part because of you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Anonymous said...

I have been healing from infidelity in my marriage for the last 2 years, and in the last few weeks found out that through the counseling, the books, the courses, the renewed attention to our relationship, that my husband never fully ended the affair. I was hurt, but felt a sense of peace and joy wash over me when I made the decision to let him go. I never thought I would give up the fight, but I felt a sense of direction finally for the first time in years. Today, however was tough as the process of figuring everything out has commenced. I felt anger that I had to be in this position, shame at the thought of telling family members who still have no idea, and hopelessness towards feeling like I'll ever get back on my feet. I knelt in prayer to ask for some comfort, and immediately after, I saw this posted on Facebook. You spoke my heart, but gave me the perspective of the hope and happiness ahead. Thank you for pioneering this journey for those of us dealing with broken hearts after you. It truly means the world.

Carrie said...

Ashlee, your heart is incredible. If your critics honestly knew you,they could see just how pure your intentions are. There seems to be a common thread among those that continually hurt others, especially those that deliberately seek out individuals to inflict hurt; they are unhappy themselves. You, my friend, are not ranked among them. You seek light and you give light. Thanks so much for your gift. I love you.

Sheri said...

As I read this after some heartbreaking life changes this past year, the line that jumped out to me was “ I used to think that happiness was never having to change”. Is t that the truth!? Gosh, if we could only go back to the way things used to be! With my limited vision, I would do it in a heartbeat, but It is so reassuring that God can see everything that lies ahead. And that is where I have to keep my hope and my faith and my focus.

Thank you for sharing ❤️ said...

Reading this made me feel known and validated for the first time in years. Thank you. I will keep on baking. ❤

Sunnysue2u said...

I am much older than you but with some similarities. I divorced twice, married 3 times, the 3rd for 43 yrs. Had 4 children, the first 2 14 months apart, 3rd 4 yrs later & the 4th 4 yrs after him so almost 10 yrs to the day between 1st & last. Lots of struggles, moves, love and laughter. Lost my 2nd to AIDS in 95, got to the point I couldn't work any more at 52 & just 5 months later started my husband's slide to a major heart after multiple strokes in less than a yr. Lost our home, permanently crippled, lost his dad, my mom & 1yr later my dad in less than 10 yrs and yet, here we still are, together. God put us in each place for as long as we were meant to be and every day we are together is another day to rejoice. My husband tells me I'm beautiful and he loves me every day and every day I tell him thank you. We need walkers to move around, I am the only driver, we have more doctors than family, which is going some since I have all my brothers and sisters are still living, 3 of my children, 4 grandchildren, 14 nieces & nephews and 10 of their children so far, but we have a roof over our head, food in our kitchen, a reliable vehicle and joy in every day even when we're not our best. Keep finding the joy or strength in the little things, it will get you through the big ones.

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