Thursday, March 21, 2013

Are You a Good Cooker?

One night as I was making dinner, my 4 1/2-year-old son wandered in the kitchen and began a lovely little conversation.

"Mom, you're not a good cooker."

Wait...what?  Did I hear that right?  Was I really having my culinary skills critiqued by someone who used the word "cooker"?  I remained silent as I tried not to laugh, scold, question or tell him that he was more than welcome to start making his own stinkin' meals. Fighting all these urges, I just stood there and listened.  

"Mom, you're not a good cooker.  You try to make good food for us, but you just don't.  Let me explain.  Like 11 days you are a good cooker, but 50 days you are not a good cooker."

Yup, apparently I did hear that right.  Thank you, Bobby Flay, Jr.

I am the first to admit I am no expert in the kitchen.  I'm not one of those people who love to cook.  I don't have well-defined taste buds or wonderful instincts when it comes to foods and flavors.  I am, however, learning as I cook more and more.  I do prepare dinner just about every night of the week for my family, and no one has died or gotten food poisoning yet, so I'm feeling pretty good about that.  

Needless to say, cooking is neither a gift or talent of mine.

You Are a Good Cooker
Contrast that with a good friend of mine who was telling me just the other day about broccoli cheddar soup she had made.  My mouth was watering just listening to her describe it.  And then came the big jaw-dropper for me...she made it from scratch.  Like "scratch" scratch.  Like didn't have a recipe.  I was in total and utter shock and amazement.  No recipe?  She could have told me she rescued someone's life by performing CPR and I would have been equally as amazed.  The best part was this detail was just a part of the story, and only came out as I was asking her questions.  She wasn't bragging; she wasn't boasting.  She was so very humble.

This was one of her gifts and talents.  Here I am, working away in my little kitchen, following each and every recipe to the letter, and hoping it turns into something edible.  There she is, in her kitchen, whipping up a culinary masterpiece without so much as a single measurement to go by!  Did she even know the true awesomeness of her soup-making skills?  I was in awe.

You Are a Good Ice Skater
Within a few days, a similar scenario presented itself.  My uncle had generously given us tickets to take our family and another family to Disney on Ice.  It just so happened that the other Mom (and dear friend), that was with us was an ice skater herself.  At the end of the show, we all kept talking about how great the skating was and asking her how in the world a skater can spin and twirl and balance and jump...and do it all on ice!

Very simply, she said "How do you guys shoot a basketball?  That's just as amazing to me."

And there is was again.  This was her gift, her talent.  She was so very humble about this special, unique, amazing talent she had.

You Are a Good...
Each and every one of you reading this can complete that sentence in a million different ways.  When I think of my friends and family, so many different gifts and talents come to mind...

...You have such incredible fashion sense.  You can whip together a few things out of your closet and voila! Amazing!
...You are an incredible listener.  You let me go on and on and on about whatever is on my heart, no matter how big or how small.
...You can quote movie line after movie line and apply it to any situation.  You always seem to know who "that guy" that was in "that one movie" whenever I can't remember.
...You are loyal beyond words.  You are genuine and real and I know I can always just be me when I am with you.  You remind me life isn't perfect, and I don't have to be either.
...You run...and run...and run!  You keep putting one foot in front of the other and you run miles and miles and miles.  And no one is even chasing you!
...You are hilarious.  Whenever you open your mouth, you make me laugh.  Sometimes, you don't even have to open your can do it with just a look on your face.
...You do hair like nobody's business.  Your own hair.  Your kids' hair.  You can give your son an adorable haircut, and you can whip your little girl's hair into a french braid in no time flat.
...You have twins.  Enough said.
...You can take an empty room, and know just what paint color goes with what fabric color goes with what window treatments goes with what throw pillows and make it look like a million bucks.
...You are the coupon queen.  You always know where the very best deals are, and have a coupon on hand at a moment's notice for whatever random item I'm shopping for.
...You can parallel park without breaking a sweat...even when there are people watching you do it.

Just a Little Warning
Please, please, please don't misunderstand where I'm coming from by talking about gifts and talents.  My worst fear is that someone reading this would see the strengths of others as weaknesses in themselves, or use the talents of someone else as some sort of "measuring stick" for themselves.  (What's that I hear?  A can of worms being opened?  I think this topic may require a post all its own...stay tuned.)

Y'all know where I stand on the whole "You're a Good Mom" bit and lifting each other up, not tearing each other -- or yourself -- down.  I'm not a whiz in the kitchen or on the ice.  My strengths lie in other areas, and I am OK with that.  It makes me appreciate each of those qualities in each of those friends that much more. 

This isn't about comparison.  This isn't about competition.  This isn't about guilt.  

This is about seeing yourself for the amazing person you are.  

This is about taking time to think -- really think -- and acknowledge your own strengths.  So often, we don't think of the things we are good at as "strengths."  It's just "what we do."   We don't realize what a gift, a talent, it is until someone else points it out.  Even then, we tend to shrug our shoulders, brush it off, and downplay it as "not a big deal." 

It is sometimes too easy for us to see the things we don't do as well as we'd like; the things we wish we could do; the things we have tried and not yet accomplished.  

It can be more difficult to see the things we do well; the things we can do; the things we have worked hard at and achieved.

Now It's Your Turn
What are your gifts and talents?  What are your strengths?  I'm asking you to go out on a limb here, gather up your courage, and post a comment below about a gift, talent or strength you possess.  For these few minutes, recognize it, celebrate it, take pride in it.

You can leave the comment anonymously if you'd like.  You can even use the comment to honor a gift or talent you recognize in someone else -- a sister, a friend, a co-worker, a mom.  Then, if you're really feeling courageous, pass this post on to them, or send them a quick email, text or give them a phone call and let them know what amazing talent you see in them.  Chances are, they may not have recognized it as anything special in themselves until you pointed it out.  

My hope would be that when others read the gifts and talents listed, they wouldn't read it and think of their shortcomings.  Rather, that they may begin to recognize some of those gifts and talents in themselves, or begin thinking about other areas of strength in their own lives they hadn't recognized before.  

All too often, we tear ourselves down with the things we can't do.  Let's take just a moment to build ourselves up, to build each other up, and acknowledge the things we can do.

[And yes...changing a diaper without getting peed on is totally a talent!  So is finishing a phone call while there is a toddler in the room, actually arriving to a location on time when you have children in tow, and eating a meal while it is still hot when there is a baby at the table.  You think I am kidding.  I am not.  Don't forget these skills you have honed!]

When you recognize the unique gifts and talents God has given you, You Are a Good Mom.  

When you acknowledge and celebrate the unique gifts and talents God has given others, You Are a Good Mom.

When you make macaroni and cheese right out of the blue box, You Are a Good Cooker and You Are a Good Mom.  (Yeah, my same little stinker food critic told me I was a "good cooker" when I was making macaroni and cheese for him and his sister for lunch about a week after the first critique.  I am obviously grooming very refined palettes in this house!)  


  1. What a great post !~!

    I am Baby Whisperer and I do it really well; my little group of moms are magnificent teachers, city managers, doctoral students, artists in leather and fabric and wood and they are so talented at what they do that I am in as much awe of them as they are of me when I comfort their distressed or jubilant child.

    We are Good Moms whatever we are best at and I tell them that all the time. Thank you for reminding ME !~!

    I love your blog.

    1. Baby Whisperer! Such an incredible talent to possess!! Those babies (and their mommas...) must love you.

      Thanks so much for your kind words, too.

  2. At least you get to make the original. I have to make the Three Cheese (the kind with the shells.) He refuses to eat any other kind. Re-fuses.

    Still thinking about my talent....

    1. Kellie, you have such a wide array of talents to choose from!! Storytelling of all your crazy adventures that only happen to you, golfer extraordinaire, funny girl beyond words...and just in case you're not feeling those today, please know I was actually thinking of you when I wrote item #3 in the list above. Go re-read it and tell me you can disagree with that...

      Three cheese with shells...guess what your kid is getting in his Easter basket this year... :)

  3. I am really good at keeping a clean & well organized home. I LOVE putting order to our chaos. I have even had family & friends ask me to come help them clean & organize their homes.
    LOVE your blog & how real you are with everything!

    ~Julie Groggel

    1. Now that I think about it, you did always keep Kool Kone spic and span. It was in your DNA even then! :) That is an AWESOME talent to have!! You may have some requests from people here to come on over to there houses, too, you organizing queen. :)

      Thanks so much for your kind words, reading my blog, and taking time to leave a comment. It is truly appreciated! Have a great weekend.

  4. Carrie, your sweet boy is cracking me up! I wonder what mine would say I'm not good at... Hmmm, I'm afraid I'd be scared to know the answer!

    I am good at making my English 101 students feel comfortable talking to me and feel confident in their writing.

    1. You're students are so very, very lucky to have you!! Providing comfort and confidence are incredible, invaluable gifts to share with anyone.


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