I got the opportunity to join Josh on one of his business trips to California a few weeks ago. He only had to work for one day and then the next two days were ours.
That meant as soon as we got to the hotel, I was going to be on my own . . . .
I hadn’t really ever been on my own in 12 years. I went from being single to dating to marriage all within basically a year after graduating from high school. But even back then, I didn’t like being on my own. Not to say I didn’t enjoy being alone. It was the doing things alone that struck fear into my heart and mind.
I found myself trying to “get out” and do something on my own. Be adventurous and explore a little in a place I was completely unfamiliar with.
I walked the mile it took to get to the pier. It was windy. My hair was blowing in wild directions, blocking my vision while also sticking to my freshly applied glossed lips. “Why didn’t I keep my hair in the ponytail it was in earlier?” I thought to myself. I walked to the end of the pier, took a few pictures, people watched for a few moments before I quickly decided I had had enough of this alone time thing.
To say I disliked it isn’t a strong enough word to use. Could I go as far as to say I hated it?
Maybe. But I know I didn’t enjoy myself. What was wrong with me? Here I was, with many hours to myself (what mom doesn’t dream of that?) on the California coast, surrounded by a beautiful beach.
I got back to my hotel in time to meet my husband before his next meeting. And as I watched him change for his meeting, I sat there completely frozen in horror as it finally dawned on me the reality of my situation.
I had to eat dinner alone and spend time by myself.
I wrestled with my dinner options out loud to Josh. “I don’t have cash for a tip, so what do I do if I order room service? Aren’t I supposed to tip the guy? And the room service food is so expensive. I don’t think I can rationalize spending that kind of money. But, I don’t want to go down to the restaurant and eat by myself. I can’t do that. It’s awkward and weird and I don’t know what to do. I’m going to starve. That’s right. In order to NOT have to make a decision on my own, I would rather starve. I have a KIND bar in my bag I can eat if I get really hungry.”
Josh stepped out of the bathroom and stared at me in silence for a few moments, probably choosing his words very carefully to not risk offending me in my already vulnerable and emotional state because he could sense I was close to tears.
He sat down on the edge of the bed next to me and held my hands. “I think you should take a book and go eat downstairs in the restaurant. You can certainly order room service if you like, get whatever sounds good, regardless of price. But, I think you will find that if you head down to the restaurant, you will have a better time.”
I hung my head, holding back my tears – the last thing I wanted him to feel like I was doing was making him feel guilty for having to attend a business meeting which was actually an awards dinner. He was getting rewarded and recognized for doing his job well and here I was having some kind of bizarre meltdown.
He continued to say, “The first few times I went out of town by myself and had to eat alone…it was awkward at first. But then I got used to it and actually liked it. It was just me and my kindle and it helped me unwind a bit. I think you need to do this.”
Out of desperate hunger, I finally agreed.
He walked me down to the hotel’s restaurant, kissed me and we parted ways. A waiter asked me where I wanted to sit, and I told him I wasn’t sure (awkward much), so he led me to the outdoor patio, turned a tall outdoor space heater on, left me with the menu and walked away. As I looked around I noticed I had a perfect view of the ocean from where I was sitting.
I ended up having a really nice time . . . by myself.
I ordered probably one of the best burgers I have ever had and read my book. I wasn’t bothered and as far as I know, no one paid much attention to me. I visited the hotel’s fitness center after I ate, knowing that I just needed that rush of endorphins. It always helps put a little pep back into my step. I took a bath to soak my muscles, I did my Bible study, and then I watched the Food Network channel by myself uninterrupted.
It was beautiful.
I mentally gave myself several high-fives for overcoming my fears for something as stupid as eating dinner by myself and before I knew it, Josh was back.
I guess my point in going on about all of this is just…sometimes, we need to be hospitable to ourselves.
Sometimes, we need to focus on us. I was missing my kids like crazy – this was only the third time I had ever left my two year old and I just felt scared. I’m a stay at home mom who also homeschools. Aside from going to the gym or stealing some time away in to shop, I am never on my own. I almost always have someone with me.
The idea of standing alone on my own two feet without anyone to take care of or share something with scared me to death.
I think as moms we get totally focused on doing things for others, which is not a bad thing at all. It’s a great thing. I think it helps keep our focus off of ourselves and on the needs of others (Philippians 2:4), but sometimes our own needs or the needs we have but don’t realize are there can get swept under the rug, and that isn’t good for our kids, our husbands, or anyone else we hope to be able to minister to.
It is important to take a little time for ourselves, and be reassured and encouraged that it’s okay to stretch our wings and do something out of the box. (1 Thessalonians 5:11) To me, it’s a bit like that funny MasterCard commercial about unused vacation days. If you have to work, and you don’t have them, so be it – do everything you do as unto the Lord!
But if you have the opportunity (or if you can make one) to rest and rejuvenate, it’s just as important for your family’s sake – as for your own – that you do so!
With that in mind, I want to share with you my personal favorite muffin, an almond poppyseed muffin.
Our last morning in California, Josh brought me a smoothie and a muffin to eat while I was getting ready and it literally made my morning. He knew exactly what I like. I didn’t have to go through the trouble of deciding what to order, he just chose for me and served me a really beautiful and moist blueberry muffin.
Muffins are one of my favorite breakfast treats and I’ve always felt that muffins are kind of a luxurious breakfast. A little individual serving just for you to enjoy.
Of course, if you make these muffins there is a muffin for you and 11 extra muffins to share with the ones you love.
Healthier Poppyseed Muffins
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup low fat Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup agave nectar
- 1/3 cup applesauce
- 1/4 cup skim milk
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp almond extract
- 2 tbsp poppyseeds
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees and spray and 12 whole muffin pan with non-stick spray.
In a large bowl whisk together yogurt, agave nectar, applesauce, skim milk, and egg. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine flours, salt, and baking soda. Pour the dry mixture into the wet mixture and using a wooden spoon gently stir until just combined. Add poppyseeds and stir just until evenly mixed through.
Fill muffin cups about 1/2 way full and bake for 15-18 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack. Store in an air-tight container. Will keep for 3-4 days.
Chels is a born-again believer who dreams of living with all four seasons in Central Oregon. She’s a wife and stay at home mom to her four vivacious kiddos whom she home schools. When she’s not schooling or chasing after her munchkins, she enjoys reading, bubble baths, and finding clothing/kitchen treasure at thrift stores. But more than all of that, she finds refuge in her kitchen where she and her husband can be found cooking and baking up a storm for their family and friends. You can read more about her culinary endeavors at CatzintheKitchen.com.