The story of the recipe that is so easy, it was made in the back seat of a mini van – literally.

Last night, we hosted a cook out for families involved in the Classical Conversations home school program that I direct. In very simplistic layman’s terms, I am basically the “principal” of a one day “private school” for students schooled at home. It was a wonderful time to catch up with friends that I haven’t connected with through out the summer, and welcome new families onto this crazy, yet wonderful journey called homeschooling.
As I looked around the faces of these friends, I realized how my leadership style has really changed over the years. When I stepped into a leadership role with this program eight years ago, our oldest sons were elementary age children who were reading on a high school level. My days were organized, and I had a plan to accomplish. Looking at our children, the decision to homeschool was easily understood when our third grader was reading The Lord of the Rings.
Now, nearly a decade later, my day to day is not quite as orderly. I have an elementary age child still struggling with her Long Vowel rules, and a high school senior still deciding what he wants to do with his “life.”
In terms of my journey, some days I am just a chaotic mess. My prayer now is that my leadership style invites those to share their bedlam. As my group walks this life road with me, they observe my rare strengths that come through in a group situation, but they also walk (literally) in on rooms that look worse than the latest dance with Irene.
And for me, I’m at the place where I can share my bedlam with others and it’s ok.  I love to open our home for others, but if I wait till it’s perfectly organized and all my DIY projects have a place, no one could ever come. If I waited until the multi-tasking of my many responsibilities were settled neatly, I’d become a hermit. If I continually allowed myself so much stress in regards to entertaining because I know all about my stuffed closets or dust bunnies that weren’t attacked, I’d miss out on sharing community. And yet, even though I know these things to be true, and I have learned to relax in who I am, there’s still that pull towards “the perfect front.”
So to avoid any such battle, I’ve learned to share my bedlam – you know those moments, and in turn, I hope those around will open up and feel free to be real with me as well.

Sometimes, when others feel comfortable, there’s a story that is shared that is so good, you just can’t make stuff up like that.
My friend brought a delicious, yet assuredly “horrible for you”, fruit salad – the kind where you take one small helping, yet it draws you back for more, even though you know you shouldn’t indulge.
She told me how easy it was to make, and I responded that those are the recipes I had to have – the easy ones. Then she leaned over and whispered, “Really, it was so easy that we made it in the back seat while we were driving here.”
My mouth kind of dropped open, I smirked, and I told her I had to know the rest of the story. Very softly, she whispered how they had no time to make anything, she didn’t want to come empty handed, so she piled all the ingredients in the van, brought a huge mixing bowl and honestly made it while they were driving – spatula and all.
Clarifying, she shared how she then instructed her ten year old daughter to start making it (not her, since that would have been distracted driving).
Envisioning her daughter thinking her mom had now lost her mind, I started chuckling, and exclaimed,”Susan (names have been changed to protect the innocent), I love you more now. This is my kind of bedlam. You have to tell the other ladies this story.”
After a ten minute rendition of them popping pineapple cans, dumping whip cream, mixing pudding, and adding fruit, we were all laughing so hard. I realized that this is what life is about – sharing these simple moments that too often women are afraid to share. She then stated how she parked further up my drive way so no one would walk past and see it.
In my mind, I related how that instant draw for all of us to put up that “perfectionism guard” doesn’t leave us easily.
“You mean it’s all still in your van,” I inquired?
“Oh yes.”
And so I walked up our long gravel drive to see it, and photograph it, and share with you all because….
The proof is in the pudding. 😉

Ladies – I encourage you to let your guard down and find those people with who you can share your bedlam. At her van, Susan leaned over and said, “You know I have to feel pretty comfortable with someone to share that story.”
I was honored that she felt safe enough, and that we encouraged her to share that crazy story because we almost missed one of the funniest renditions I have heard in a long time. (Trust me, it’s much better with her telling it.)
The bottom line is that we all have those stories to share. They may not come quite as neatly wrapped in the form of a fabulous dessert, but they are there.
By inviting others to join you in your story, free from condemnation or a judgmental attitude, it encourages authenticity and isn’t that something we all want in friendships?
Have you shared your bedlam moments lately?

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