In case my post about cleaning the bathroom wasn’t clue enough (check it out here), timing is kind of import to me. This is actually something I’m just starting to realize, specifically since I’ve started writing this blog. Perhaps it is because I’m taking more time to reflect on my day, my comings and goings, interactions or lack there of, etc., and trying to see where and how God fits into it all. I think that it has been an excellent exercise.
I was recently making some sugar cookies from a recipe that a friend gave me. She made these amazing, and I truly do mean amazing, bunny rabbit sugar cookies for Easter. They were decorated and thick, just like you would buy in a specialty bakery. She even individually wrapped them. So cute, I wish I had a picture to show you.
Anyway, she graciously let me have her recipe as well as the icing recipe. She included some of her tips and tricks for making these cookies. One of them has completely revolutionized how I make sugar cookies.
I should preface this with some information about sugar cookies for those of you who don’t make them or haven’t made them before. They can be hugely labor intensive. After mixing the dough, you have to let it chill for at least an hour, usually more depending on how big a batch you’ve gotten yourself into. Most cookies you can mix, plop on a cookie sheet and a few minutes later be dunking some hot but deliciously gooey cookies into your cup of milk. Not sugar cookies. Once the dough has chilled, you have to roll it out in sections with lots of flour sprinkled everywhere to keep your rolling pin from sticking. Then you cut out your cookie shapes with your cookie cutter, ball up the left overs, and roll it out again. Repeat until all your dough is gone.
Now you can cook them. Unfortunately for me, when I say “cook” them I actually mean burn 80% of them. But, I think I’ve figured out the trick to my oven which I will explain in a minute.
Ok, so that’s the sugar cookie tutorial. Now, how did my friend revolutionize my sugar cookie experience? It’s all about the timing. She suggests that instead of chilling the dough in a big ball, I should go immediately from mixing to rolling, but between two pieces of wax paper. No major flour mess that envelops the whole kitchen. Now, you can chill the dough pre-rolled out. Once it is chilled, pull it out one sheet at a time, cut and re-roll between the wax paper. Amazing!
Doesn’t sound super amazing to you? Sounds like all I did was change the timing of one step, not a huge deal. But it is, it so is, at least for me. Not having to roll out the dough after chilling has always felt like so much work and effort. I can pinpoint this step as the one that keeps me from making sugar cookies most of the time. However, rolling out the dough immediately after mixing is much less intimidating, and the following steps feel like I’m going downhill instead of up. It’s all about the timing.
I am starting to understand that the timing of when I accomplish things matters almost as much as how I accomplish them. I am more productive when it comes to housework in the morning than in the afternoon. I am also much more willing to run errands and be out and about in the morning. Ask me to go shopping with the kids after naps and you may as well be asking me to pick up after the dog. I’ll do it, because I know I have to, but I won’t be overly excited about it either. But, I am more creative in the afternoon and evening. As I write this post it’s 3pm in the afternoon and I’m 600 words in after only 20 minutes. I’ve been starting to pick up my guitar again and I’m finding that I enjoy playing it more in the afternoons and evenings.
Something I’ve noticed in my musings about timing and how I choose to spend my time is that I don’t have a steady time for God. I pray throughout the day, but I struggle with carving out a time for God. Our parish has started a prayer ministry and gives a group of us monthly prayers to pray for our parish. When I first started, I did such a good job, but after a few months I’ve fizzled out and I am struggling to get back into the habit.
In our homily at Mass today, our priest talked about how important it is to “waste time with God.” This phrase struck me. Wasting time, what do I waste time on? Who do I waste time with? Wasting time isn’t always a bad thing. When Ben and I were dating, we wasted so much time together while we got to know each other. We should have been studying for tests or doing homework (we met in college), but instead we were wasting time going for walks, eating ice cream, and growing in our relationship. We all know that there are lots of ways to waste time that are not as promising. Wasting time watching TV when there is work to be done, wasting time on our phone when we could be interacting with our children or other people, wasting time on side projects or hobbies while neglecting our responsibilities that should take priority.
When our priest talked about wasting time with God, he was talking about spending quality time with God, getting to know Him, allowing Him to help us get to know ourselves. Spending time in prayer, adoration, wonder, thanks, sorrow, despair, hope, anticipation, pick an emotion and spend time with it and God.
If timing is something that appears to be part of my subconscious make-up, I need to seriously consider how to better incorporate God into my timing routines.