Challenge Yourself -- Forget About Color

You know when you were in high school and your teacher would post everyone's grades on the wall and secretly you spent more time checking out everyone else's scores instead of your own just because you had some desperate need to know how many people did worse than you so you could appropriately manage your own self-worth in relation to their score instead of valuing yourself on your own merit, skills, and personal achievements?

Life isn't like that.

But it kind of is.

But only because we make it that way. And I'm a little sick of telling myself that every one of you out there is taking a screen shot of my blog posts and holding it up to every other cookie that was ever decorated just so you can peg me in a hole and discount my entire being because 237 people make way better cookies than I do. I don't have the steadiest hand. I'm not fantastic with tiny details. I don't come up with the most ingenious designs and then perfectly execute them on a daily basis. I don't think I've ever made a character cookie in my life. And I'm not altogether sure that I could. Sometimes my flood icing falls over the edge of the cookies. I can barely draw stick people, much less paint a work of art onto an edible canvas.

But as it turns out, I LIKE MAKING COOKIES

And that's all I need. So what I'm going to do is focus on my own Algebra grade and try to make it better. Because, heaven knows I could use some help there. My kindergartener is already taking Spanish. I imagine he will be starting algebra by late fall sometime. And I never learned how to do algebra on my fingers. Do you think they have books on that kind of stuff?

And I was thinking that maybe you are also just a little sick of worrying about where you fit in. And a little tired of thinking about all the people that are "better than you" at making cookies and creating every beautiful craft on Pinterest and getting their oil changed regularly, instead of appreciating how talented YOU are and what wonderful things YOU contribute to the world.

And if you don't at all feel this way, then you are basically the most perfect person on the earth and I would like it if you could be my neighbor, because I bet your house always smells really good too. And I like when houses smell good.

Here's the thing. You don't have to reinvent the entire Valentine's Day holiday just because someone else ALREADY MADE  A HEART COOKIE.

It doesn't matter if someone else uses more colors than you. Or if their circles are a little more perfect than yours. It's totally okay to not take the most fantastic photo of your cookies because you are running about 12 minutes behind schedule, as usual, and are honestly making the choice between wearing actual pants or eating lunch. Or because maybe you just don't want to. I'm not judging. No one else is judging either. Just you. Let it go.

In fact, you know what we should do? As a cookie community, (whether you sit firmly on the cookie EATING side or lean more towards the cookie DECORATING side) we should choose to 

Compare a little less and enjoy a little more. 

Of everything. Cookies. Clothes. Weight. Hair Color. Behavior of children in the ice cream aisle... just sayin' -- I would really appreciate that one.  

I'm a big fan of the idea that it's easier to replace something than it is to simply rid yourself of it. So let's replace that comparison with a challenge. Challenge yourself to be better than.... yourself. Every month this year I am going to post a new challenge. You will have the entire month to CHALLENGE YOURSELF on your own level and link-up your efforts. At the end of the month, I will use to select one participant to win a super-fun prize package. No judging. No comparing. Just doing. And winning. And cookies. And love.

This month's challenge is simple. Get rid of color. Make something (cookies, cake, wall hangings...whatever) using only black, white, and/or any of the shades in between. Focus on form and texture - and how nice it will be not to have to wash 300 different tips, bottles, and bags. And then post it on Flickr, or a blog, or a public Facebook page and link it up here. Email me if you have any questions. At all. I can't promise an answer. Especially if it's algebra, but I'll see what I can do.

PS-- I almost forgot! Do you want to know what the prizes are this month? One lucky participant will win a copy of Bridget Edward's (of Bake at 350) Decorating Cookies book AND a $25 gift certificate to The Cookie Cutter Company. (And in case you didn't know, they also sell Americolor gel colors.) So... you know.... get to challenging yourself!


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