Happier in the Kitchen



The other day, TJ walked in on me being fast and furious in the kitchen, and out of nowhere, he said, "Who's the magician in the kitchen?" I could have been making zoodles for dinner while making water kefir for immunity while making no-bake bars for breakfast while assembling the kids' lunches for school the next day.

This magician in the kitchen phrase wasn't one I've heard anywhere before or since, but to me, it was an unbeatable moment. TJ affirmed my fast and furious in all the right ways and praised me for using my strengths to do my work well. I am so thankful I get to make the kind of magic day after day that brings our family together around the table.

I am also thankful for anything that feeds my heart and mind as I work to feed our bodies. I sometimes call my sister for companionship while chopping. It is fun to talk about what's for dinner with someone who cares what I eat for dinner.

In recent weeks, though, I have remembered more and more often to listen to a podcast while I cook. For a while, I listened mostly to podcasts by Andrew Pudewa (of the Institute for Excellence in Writing) and Sarah MacKenzie (of the Read-Aloud Revival) for homeschooling inspiration and encouragement. But now I've moved on to plain old fun.

Almost nothing currently makes me happier than cooking while listening to "Happier with Gretchen Rubin." I have been a fan of Gretchen's for years, but had no idea I would love her podcasts as much as I love her books. I am only about 100 podcasts behind schedule at the moment. Lovely! That's 100 nights' worth of dinners to be cooked with Gretchen as my happiness guide and guru.

In addition to the weekly Wednesday episodes which run 30-40 minutes each, there are also "A Little Happier" segments, which are 2-3 minute mini-podcasts each week. Somehow Gretchen has figured out what will make people a little happier and she brings it, again and again.

I love that the "Happier" podcasts, both long and short, are intentional, inspiring, and quirky, which are the very things by which I want my writing to be characterized. I come away provoked in thought, uplifted in spirit, and happier in heart. And when it's all said and done, I have something to share with my family at dinner, and not just the meal.

I might be the magician in the kitchen, but with Gretchen at my side, I am one happy magician. Happy to be cooking of course, but also happy to be learning, happy to be growing, happy to be thinking, and happy to be sharing. And without even hearing a single podcast, I can guarantee you that makes TJ and the kids happier too.