It started with a mug brownie.
You know. One of those fad cooking things that sprouted, bloomed, and faded after a few months in the fickle soil of the interwebs.
Take a few things. Chocolate, mostly. Mix them in a coffee mug. Microwave. Bada bing, bada boom. Single serving mug brownie.
Somehow, I missed this craze. (Or just I always wanted more than one brownie.) Either way, I’d never tried the mug method before, until last week.
The opportunity arose. I had a little extra pumpkin bar batter. And since it was a new recipe that I was sending out the door with my husband for a community event, I wanted to make sure the product was edible. So I poured the leftover batter in the mug, put it in the microwave, and closed the door.
At this juncture, a reasonable person would have googled an actual mug brownie recipe to get an idea of how long you’re supposed to microwave this magic.
Apparently, I’m not reasonable. And I also lack a little common sense. Somehow, in the mess and muddle of my day, my pointer finger beeped out FOUR MINUTES, and hit start. I realized this was a little long, but I figured I’d check it after a minute or two and see what was happening.
Somehow, one thing led to another and I left sight of the microwave because my two year old announced she had to go potty, and this announcement/action chain goes much better when supervised.
Which means I forgot about the mug.
This is how it goes, right? We find ourselves with what seems like a really good idea, and we even manage the wherewithal to start acting on it.
Somehow, we get sidetracked. The great blog series we planned/exercise regiment we started/DIY project we bought supplies for/committee we volunteered on gets swallowed by this thing called NEED – which usually belongs to someone else – and all the good things we hoped to accomplish start to smolder and gather coats of ash.
We are left with two choices. We can blow on the coals of those ideas and intentions and watch the flames come back to life, or we can do nothing and watch the ash slowly turn grayish white as the heat dissipates.
For the last month, I’ve been a little out of breath. Maybe you have too. Maybe the kids are still in the after-shock of daylight savings time. Maybe work is going all crazytown before the end of the year. Maybe the looming HOLIDAY season sends you less into hot cocoa land and more into snarl zone.
Whatever it may be that’s taking your breath away, please don’t let go without a fight. You NEED to foster the things that give you life. They are what make you unique, joyful, and fulfilled.
Which is why today I’m blowing on my coals, sitting at my desk, watching words fall off my fingertips and onto the screen.
I didn’t have an epiphany. I didn’t get a day all to myself to rest and recharge. I simply remembered something. Writing gives me energy.
Doing the things I love to do wakes me up, shakes me out, and resettles me a little more happily into my life.
Meanwhile, in case you’re wondering, four minutes is WAYYYYY too long to microwave a mug brownie, or a pumpkin bar, or really much of anything.
I finished helping my daughter in the bathroom only to return to the kitchen and find noxious clouds of billowing green smoke emanating from my microwave. The timer dinged before I could race over and open the door, but it didn’t matter.
The stench. The smoke. I gagged and coughed as I opened the door and waves of burnt cake smog assaulted my eyeballs. What remained in the bottom of the mug resembled charcoal and smelled like acrid darth vader death breath.
The next hour would have made a comical video. My daughters and I waved vinegar-spritzed rags like helicopters all around the kitchen. We concocted vinegar and lemon oil “soup” to boil on the stove top and the wood stove. We opened the doors, turned on the fans, turned up the music and shiver-danced to move the air around.
The stench didn’t completely leave, but we at least found a way to get our breath back. And so I leave you with this.
Moral of the story: Don’t cook a mug brownie/pumpkin bar for four minutes.
Other moral of the story: Don’t let what has sidetracked you permanently* keep you there, on the sidelines. Take a deep breath. Find the thing you love that’s been set aside, and fan it back to life.
I’m rooting for you.
Comment below and tell me about the things you love that always take a back burner (or a four minute death ride in the microwave).
*My house feels like it’s permanently going to be clinging to this reek, so if anyone has any good smell-busting ideas, I’m all ears!