Jodi Hills

So this is who I am – a writer that paints, a painter that writes…

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To rise above.

I began mixing up the bread dough this morning. The first thing I have to do is to proof the yeast (to make sure that it actually does what it claims it can). If it’s good, with a little sugar and warm water, it will show you exactly what it is capable of. And when it works, rises up to meet you, you’re good to continue. 

Maya Angelou said, “When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.” People will often say, after doing something wrong, “Oh that’s not who I am…” Or after being mistreated by someone, say, “It’s ok, that’s not who they are…” I’m sure I have been guilty of both. I’m sure we all have. But Maya was right. People will show you who they are, again and again. Some good. Some very bad. And the key is to believe them. To stop asking for proof when someone is kind to you. To stop aking for proof when they are not. 

Last week, when making bread, for the first time in a long while, the yeast didn’t work. I threw it away and started with some new yeast. It never would have occured to me to try and proof it again — it told me right from the start — “I’m not going work.”  Maybe it’s a bit harder to see in humans, but it’s still there, usually right in front of us. We just have to be willing to see it. Embrace the good. Walk away from the bad. 

I want to be better at this — be who I claim to be — who I want to be. And see others for the truth that they offer. What if we all did that? Offered the world proof that we truly can rise up!

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The patience of croissant.

The patience of croissants.

I eased into baking.  Perhaps I had been waiting for permission, or an invitation into the kitchen, and both finally came when I moved to France.  

I started slowly, a few cookies.  And I always searched for the kind of recipe that didn’t have to be chilled.  I couldn’t possibly wait an hour. I’m not sure what I was in a hurry for, but I was – once started, it had to be done!  I slowly branched out into those that needed to be chilled.  I must admit, at first I didn’t chill the dough for the minimum of one hour, but tried putting the dough in the freezer for 30 minutes.  Oh, patience.  Or was it control?  Either way, I slowly loosened the reins and as the dough chilled, so too did I.  

I started making bread.  This took more patience, half a day.  Then brioche, a full day.  Then croissant, two days.  Two days!  I wasn’t in a hurry. I wasn’t in control. And I was fine.  The dough was in control. It knew what needed to be done and I went along with it.  Rolled with it. Let it chill in between. And rolled with it again.  The first time our home had the scent of a boulangerie, I knew it was worth it! This was the reward. A fresh buttery croissant, that came from hands, both in the work, and the letting go. 
I often have to tell myself to breathe. To do the work, and then let go.  The work has always come more easily to me, but I’m learning each day how to trust the process, trust the time given, trust the “dough.” With that, the process has too become the reward, not the punishment. And the result, each day becomes, well, just a little more delicious!  

Here comes the sun!  Bon appétit!