Monday, January 23, 2012

Yes, I did give myself a year and a half. "20" just sounded better.

Letters mean something to me. You know this. If you follow Pillow Book much at all, you've probably read this more times than you care to mention. I've talked about how much joy cards from my grandmother give me. I've shown you pictures of letters that I, at one time, wished to be love letters. I've encouraged you to write more, whether that be in letter, blogpost, poem, or short story format. I'm pretty sure at some point in the past few months I've even suggested you write a letter to yourself, something I had never actually done...Until yesterday.

Last week I mentioned Jeanne Oliver's (if you haven't checked out her blog yet, you really should; somehow reading about - and seeing pictures of - her fulfilled life will give you a renewed appreciation of your own), "Creatively Made" e-course. One of our journal prompts in yesterday's "class" was to "Write a letter to a ten years younger version of yourself." I include mine below, not because it's beautifully written - because it definitely is not -, but because I want to encourage you to take the time to do it for yourself. Just write whatever you're thinking, even if the thoughts and phrases seem disjointed even as you write them. Give yourself a time limit. Don't put pressure on yourself to be eloquent. Just start writing.

Dear 20-year-old-Liza,
First lesson you need to keep in mind is that only the foolish say "I'll never." Truth is, there's a reason the "walk a mile in another's shoes" cliche is a cliche. Over the next ten years, there will be moments where you think the future is clear, that you have it "all figured out." Guess what? You won't. You know what else though? These moments and these decisions don't define you. They don't put you on an irrevocable path of misdirection. They are what they are. They are decisions that you know you put thought or your heart into. They are moments when you had to make a decision and you made one. They are moments that you will question, despite knowing you cannot change them. They are moments that will bring heartache, and doubt, and frustration, but they exist alongside those that make you laugh and make you feel like you're really living. You will want answers and want to feel that the cumulative experience was "destined," was "meant to be." Deep down you won't believe this. Don't let that make you feel like a bad person. It's okay to see randomness.

You won't really feel like the person you know you can be until much later in your 20s and it may take a certain person or personality to really draw it out of you. That person may not be a forever fixture in your life, but your acceptance of your gifts, your acceptance of yourself, will be. Until you get there, really live your life. Explore job opportunities and if you don't get the one you want - or into the school you want - remember that you can always do something else. A good portion of the time, our realities are what we choose to make of them. Try to "be" in each day. Try not to see these "Plan B" moments as inferior; see them as alternatives. Commit yourself to whatever you're in, but always keep in mind that you are never "stuck." You are smart and resourceful and willing to take chances. Trust that. Have the confidence to explore "could be"s and find inspiration in something everyday. Keep lists of short-term and long-term goals, goals that exist outside of daily obligations. Make these goals solely for yourself; don't dream for others or with others in mind. Be willing to put things on credit cards if need be, but if the bill reaches $1000, cut them up. Know that exercise will seem more and more like a burden as you get older, but that pies and brownies will seem more and more like a good idea. You will start to really like coffee. You will wish you didn't have to work. You will have a high standard and have a hard time accepting anything less. You will move home and you will be grateful for mundane moments with your family. You will always remember funny things your Dad said even if you never write them down. You will really be "in" your life.
A little project I'm super excited about...

I'm a huge fan of most anything that has a bunch of carbohydrates...particularly for breakfast. I decided yesterday that I needed a little additional sugar to throw on top of my weekly bread choices.

Slow-Cooker Pear & Apple Butter
2 1/2 pounds Bartlett or Anjou pears (about 5) - I used the two not-quite-ripe ones I bought at Houchens the previous day

2 1/2 pounds McIntosh or Gala apples (about 5)- I used whatever kind I stole from Mom's refrigerator

1 cup packed dark-brown sugar - I used light

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1 cinnamon stick - I used ground cinnamon. How much, you ask? About that much.

Peel, quarter, and core pears and apples. In a food processor, finely grate fruit (in batches if necessary), then transfer to a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Stir in dark-brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon stick. Cover and cook on high, 4 hours.
Remove cinnamon stick and reserve. Transfer mixture to processor (in batches if necessary) and process until smooth. Return to slow cooker, along with cinnamon stick, and cook on high, uncovered, until mixture is thick and browned, 4 hours. Discard cinnamon stick and let mixture cool. Transfer to airtight containers and refrigerate, up to 3 weeks, or freeze, up to 3 months.
What would you say to your 20-year-old self?


  1. Liza, I decided to use your newest post as my morning devotional and hey it worked. You said so much to your younger 20 that we all need to think about everyday and realize. Only one disapointment for me, still can not eat the pies and cookies like I would like. Thank you for being you and giving thoughts and ideas I would like to say also. Love you, Aunt Carolyn

  2. I agree with mom, well said Aunt Carolyn.
    Much love to 20 and "30" year old Liza! :)

  3. Carolyn and Lindsey, thank you both so much for reading. I'm glad you found the exercise useful, Aunt Carolyn. I was hesitant to do it, but once I just sat down and put pen to paper, stuff just started flowing out. I think it's really neat that you do daily devotionals. I'd love to hear about how you come up with prompts or what you choose to write about.
    Much love to you both.