I never dreamed I wouldn't have a career. Surely, I thought I would be forever involved in graphic design or some sort of arts with a stable, weekly paycheck. It has taken me the last 20 years to realize this simply isn't the case ... I ... just ... don't ... have ... a career.
I've picked up and put down many things ... graphic design, working in a library — co-op — gallery — gift store, landscaping, but for whatever reason none of these things stuck.
Do I work? Absolutely! I work supporting my husband and our company (canisgear.com and 6dollarcollars.com). I bag our products in a pinch. I work on customer relations. I design new patterns for our leashes and collars. I take and/or touch up our product photos. I am the catch all for whatever odd, necessary jobs there are in maintaining a business. I allow my husband to streamline. I facilitate his day however and whenever I can. I cook, I clean, I maintain.
I used to work at worrying how little monetary contribution I make to our empire, but I now accept my role. It's humble but it is also quite important and frankly, we work well together. We've been through a LOT of ups and downs but have persevered through all. I have a new peace within and I'm trying to be still and listen to what plans God has for me.
JEREMIAH 29:11 NLT
"For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord, "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope."
I have an Etsy store and I paint, sure, and will always paint. But with a $30 sale maybe every three months, or a $200 sale once or twice per year, I am certainly not bringing home the dough.
That's okay. As I said before ... peace.
However, meet my latest creative endeavor ... sourdough bread baking — now THAT is dough, baby! This is the kinda dough I'm bringing to the table.
This is a garlic dill pickle loaf I just baked this morning.
Mmmmelt some butter on that!
Did my loaves always look this way? Oh no! There were many trials and errors. Errors make for excellent croutons. Crackers are good. Sourdough pancakes are even better ... The point is, it took me a long time to find my way in sourdough baking. It took me a long time to accept that I don't have a career. It took me a long time to embrace the process of watercolor and creating. It took me a long time to get over the Catholic church and find my way back to God. It took me a long time to settle down. It took me a long time to have some semblance of a tropical garden. I just kept on trying and keeping on. The difference now, is that I listen for guidance from the Holy Spirit.
I began with a starter. (I wish all things could begin with a starter — a little magic formula to start the process.) In this case, sprouted whole wheat flour, all purpose non-bleached white flour, and water. You mix these things together and expose them to the air — the magic of the universe — God. With a little time and feeding, you birth a living culture in a jar. Only then, can you start making dough.
The dough? A mixture of flour, water, and salt, or any other flavors I have a hankering for ... Sometimes olives and rosemary. Other ideas: jalapeño and cheesy nutritional yeast; dried cranberry and walnuts; orange zest and chocolate.
The dough has to be stretched and folded multiple times. I stretch and fold seven times because seven is a very symbolic number in the Bible. Then I let the dough rise and ferment for about two hours before I shape it. The shaped dough then proofs either another few hours, or overnight in the fridge, depending on my schedule.
Olive & Rosemary
When it's finally time to bake, I score the bread with a lame (or razor, or very sharp knife). I usually create a spiral because of the symbolism of the circle of life. This is because when the dough is shaped properly, it has a very taut surface and the gases need to escape during the baking process, so why not have them escape where you want them to instead of a potential blow out.
Sourdough bread baking is a humbling, spiritual process. There are so many correlations one can draw from this process that pertain to life.
We are stretched and folded through the days of our lives. We must be patient in our process. We rise and ferment given time. We proof, we bake, we become crusty. We have deep scores from our experiences and try to escape at times. We become many different loaves with many different flavors. We become a routine, a ritual. We may burn, we may not rise as high as we'd like, but hopefully we always nourish.
EXODUS 16: 11-15 NLT
Then the Lord said to Moses, "I have heard the Israelite's complaints. Now tell them, 'In the evening you will have meat to eat, and in the morning you will have all the bread you want. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.'"
That evening vast numbers of quail flew in and covered the camp. And the next morning the area around the camp was wet with dew. When the dew evaporated, a flaky substance as fine as frost blanketed the ground.
The Israelites were puzzled when they saw it. "What is it?" they asked each other. They had no idea what it was And Moses told them, "It is the food the Lord has given you to eat.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 NLT
Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end.
All quoted verse is from the Bible I am currently studying: The New Living Translation Life Application Study Bible, Third Edition