Archives for February 2021

Why You Might Knead to Make Some Bread

One of the things that alot of people are doing since the start of the pandemic is making sourdough bread.  I came across it quite belatedly and I was puzzled.  Bread making really?

Not that I don’t like homemade bread.  I do. Until recently I actually had two bread makers (don’t ask) and there is nothing better than walking inside from the cold and  having the aroma of  fresh bread  envelope me. It immediately makes me happy and fills the air with warmth, love and togetherness.

My grandmother used to bake bread all the time.  She sent me the recipe when I was first married and it was just recently that I decided to try it.  I have baked many loaves of bread but never with her recipe.  It made me smile as I read the recipe in her very distinctive and familiar handwriting.  I saw her fussing about the kitchen with every spare spot on the counter covered with a bowl, an ingredient or a spoon.  She was famous for using EVERY flat surface and we loved her for it.

Why now though?  I had a very good theory until I read a recipe on sourdough bread and realized that it is considered an artisan bread therefore no kneading necessary.

I still think my theory holds water or bread.  You choose.   So here goes.

Since this whole crazy pandemic started we have been socially distancing, not hugging, not seeing loved ones  (especially the elderly) not shaking hands.  In other words we were suddenly thrust into a world of touch deprivation.

If you are a hugger like me it is sooo hard.  Not only do I love hugs, but I love giving them and I’m really good at it.  We humans need touch.  Babies that don’t get touch will actually die from what is called Failure to Thrive.  Human touch is essential to their well being.

It is for us grown adults as well!

So bread making is a form of touch..maybe not sourdough but it is an act of creating with your hands.  As much as I love my bread maker that has the dough cycle and does all the kneading for me, I found myself letting the bread maker gather dust as I rolled and folded the soft, warm dough.  Not only could I pound on it to relieve anxiety but the constant kneading and folding it over  and over again  was very soothing.  I imagined  my grandmother doing this daily, shooing my grandfather out of the kitchen.

Hubby’s first attempt at Artisan Bread

Much like running gets those endorphins rising so does bread making or cooking a favorite family  recipe.  I believe it is the act of creating.  The warmth, the fragrance, the memories of family gatherings and the hopes of having a house filled with laughter and our families again (even the annoying ones 🙂 brings us a level of peace.

Despite the fact that bread can add to our pandemic pudge it is worth doing. Even if you get a mix and just dump it in the bowl and follow the directions..it still counts.  It gives a texture to touch, something active to do, and then we get to share it with those in our households.

It also gives our pets a rest, although my elderly golden retriever  will take all the cuddles and pets he can get.  I do believe the big rate of new pet ownership is companionship and unconditional love and a real live being to touch.  Added bonus..pets won’t add to our pandemic pudge although they may make your wallet skinnier.

So I am challenging you to rise to the occasion..pun intended.  Grab some yeast. Funny story..last time I bought some I could not find it.  The young employee who helped me find it had no idea what it was…so bread making can be accidentally educational as well.

Enjoy the process….take your time.

What else can you do to add texture to your life?

Let me know if you want some coaching on moving forward and  making today YOUR day ,

Now go make your someday..today…you knead to do it now!   Jennifer

Why This Word Can Be a Game Changer for You

One word?  Yes one word is all it takes to make even the smallest of changes in your life.  For Shondra Rhimes, her word was Yes.  She stopped saying no to things and starting saying Yes for an entire year!  It worked so well she even wrote a book about it.

Believe me I was the original skeptic about this but it turns out it works.  I know this because I have been using it for probably 10 years now and it has made a huge difference in my life.

So what’s your word?  I cannot tell you because that is for you to decide.  Wait don’t stop reading…it seriously is not that hard and I am here to get you started.

First let me tell what works for me…it may or may not work for you and that is more than okay.  It is ,however, a jumping off point.

Every year I choose one word that I am going to use, lean on, question, stomp on and ultimately come to know that truly IS my word.

I am always surprised  how the word I chose 352 days prior turns out to be the best word for me.  Every year I wonder if it will work and every year it does.

Last year my word was Grace.  Little did I know how much Grace I would need in 2020, not only for the pandemic but for my whole life.  My elderly mother had a stroke that left her in the throes of dementia with one foot in the present and the rest of her in the past.   Add Covid quarantine into the mix and I needed all the Grace I could muster.  Even though 2020 is over and we are well into 2021 I keep Grace in my back pocket to pair it with my current word to help me along.

So how do you find your word.? Well sometimes you choose and sometimes it chooses you . Actually I must admit most of the time the word chooses me.  Let me explain. A dear friend has  “faith” for her word this year.  She noticed how much it kept showing up for her in every part of her life.  Faith that it was the right decision, faith that things will work out, faith that she would find the right job.  It was like the word was just sitting in front of her saying “Pick Me, Pick me” as it waved it hands frantically trying to be noticed.

source: giphy.com

For me it wasn’t so much the word as the action.  I like to run.  It keeps me centered.  I noticed on my runs there were times when I would struggle and other runs it would seem like I could go on forever.  It was all in the rhythm and coordination of my pace, my breath and my thoughts.  Thoughts?  Yes..it is almost impossible for me to run while thinking negative things.  “Stinking thinking” and running do not mix well.  Then I noticed the different rhythms of my day..the ups and downs, the ever changing cadence of daily living.  It soon became obvious late last year that rhythm was meant to be my word of the year.  As we entered 2021 I embraced the word ” Rhythm ” with Grace as a back up to be my best guide in 2021.

Is February too late to have a word of the year? Absolutely not.  Actually it is the best time as things aren’t as crazy as they are in late December.  The shorter, chillier days lend to slowing down and a little more time to do things for ourselves.

Here are few tips:

  •  It doesn’t have to be “perfect” .  There is no such thing.
  • It can be something you want to achieve as in a goal but sometimes that gets to be a little cumbersome.
  • Often it is more about an essence. Something you want more of in your life.
  • It can be a theme for your year
  • It can be something that motivates you, makes you smile or grounds you.

To help you along here are a few examples of past words of the year..some are mine, some I borrowed from friends.

     Wonder:  remembering to have that spirit of wonder at all that is around you

    Inspire:  finding inspriration in the big and small things

     Flow:   finding a peaceful flow to each day, to your life

    Celebrate:  This friend wanted to remember the phrase:

” Until Further Notice Celebrate  Everything”!

    Joy: Finding joy right where you are in the present moment.

A few other have been  inspire, spark, momentum, bloom, and sparkle.  The list is endless.

So are you ready to jump in and have a word of the year?  It truly is a gift you can give yourself that doesn’t cost anything.  All you have to do is get quiet and it will come to you.  Or just keep the idea in mind and see what pops up for you.

It always surprises me when I focus on something how many times it appears to me.  When we were looking for a new front door suddenly I noticed EVERYONE’s front door.  The same can happen here and yet…do not stress if  it doesn’t happen right away.  It will happen when you least expect..like most things.

Need help?  I’m only an email away at Jennifer@healthcoachingforwomen.com

As always, today is YOUR day!  Jennifer