A good idea has a life of its own.

Can you imagine making a recipe from every country in the world? Sasha Martin did it. Over the course of a few years, she made a meal from every country in the world. She did 52 countries in a year, took each week to research the food, recipe, ingredients, and customs and make the selected meal and then published a blog post about the experience. Her husband did not really start out as a fan. A picky eater from the start. I would say she changed his life. Eventually her blog turned into her memoir: “Life From Scratch: A Memoir of Food, Family, and Forgiveness” by Sasha Martin. She did not give up. Even at times when she was completely burnt out, she was relentless in her priorities and effort to complete the project.

It is a book about food, family, and how to balance life. I love the idea she shares on page 335 as it is often the way I approach things in life:

“’When I don’t know what you do about something,” she tells me, ‘I just leave the idea alone for a while. A good idea will feed itself and grow. A bad one will disappear—as it should.”

It happens all the time at work. A project surfaces and the solution that presents itself looks to make sense, and then sometimes it just does not happen or work right. Whenever that happens, I do not look at that as a failure, I see it as a product that is developed and it not ready. Maybe it just needs to go back on the shelf for a while. Sometimes it gets taken off the shelf months to a year later, and then it is ready, it makes sense, and is timed just right. Other times that product never leaves the shelf, its time was not meant to be.

It might be in your personal life. It happens for me sometimes when we plan a trip. There are times when we know immediately that we should buy tickets. The timing, cost, and event all make sense, and it all works out. Other times, when a decision is not easily made, and you let it alone, you might find that a new idea pops up, or maybe a fare sale happens, or you learn that plans have changed at your destination. Then you are grateful you gave it a bit of air and delayed your decision.

Martin’s quote is such a good reminder to let it go, leave it alone, and see if it finds it way off the shelf. A good idea has a life of its own.

Full of love, never alone

I was talking with a colleague yesterday during lunch and the topic of giving back came up. How often do we sit in our own world and think about how hard our life is each day? What if we took time each week to help out another individual? I do not mean just to sit and listen. I mean something that we do with our entire body. We help out in a soup kitchen, donate our time in a homeless shelter, adopt a family, be a big brother or sister.

I spent many hours each week doing community service in college. There was a part of me that related to those in need. Obviously I did not relate to the incarcerated youth I worked with each week. I related to their need and desire to matter. I related to their desire to be cared for, loved, and respected. I taught a writing course one evening a week, and while there were times where I was absolutely out of my element (not on the writing portion) but on relating to teenage boys who did something in their life to be incarcerated. How did I have a clue what they needed? How do we ever really know what another individual needs?

Back to my lunch conversation. We discussed that many of us in our own ways want to support and give to others in our community.  At times when we might feel most alone in our life and might not know how to give to others is when our world has been turned upside down. Yet, maybe that is the time when we need to give the most. When giving pulls us out of our own mucky world and shows us all that we truly have each day. How do we do it though? How do we get out of our comfort zone and take the leap to get out of our own world and make the difference in someone else’s life?

I have always told Chris that whatever child/children we might have, community service, taking care of our neighbors, and giving back is something that will be integral to how we raise them. I want them to see the difference between the have and have-nots. I want them to know that the world is full of people who are very different. We should never take for granted where we come from and all that we have in the world. Sometimes our gratitude comes from seeing all that we have through the lens of another person. If we are full of love to give to others how can we ever feel alone?