Wednesday, March 11, 2015

In Pursuit of the Perfect Scone


I have been on a quest for years now to find the perfect scone recipe. Every time I stumble across a new recipe, I’m hopeful that this will be the long-awaited best-ever scone to emerge from my kitchen. 

But it never is. It always disappoints in some way. 

Too dense, too tasteless, too quick to become stale. For me, a perfect scone is cake-like, chock-full of fruit or nuts and drizzled with a light glaze over the top. 



It wouldn’t really matter so much except that I like to eat scones every morning for breakfast with my coffee. 

I buy these tiny treats {as the box describes them} from SuperTarget and I don’t think I could ever replicate them.

But it hasn’t stopped me from trying recipe after recipe, hoping to find one I can bake for my breakfast.

This quest even took me to a pastry class at a Manhattan bakery when I traveled to New York two years ago. It promised to help me "find my biscuit hand" and make the perfect scone. 



We made savory scallion and cheddar scones and sweet apple scones, but they were still far from perfect even with an experienced pastry chef guiding my efforts. 

It made me think that it's really the equipment bakeries have with machines that do the mixing for them and big, very hot ovens, that are the secret to good scones.



At the end of the pastry class, we were instructed to pack up what we’d made to take with us while we were invited to gather at the bakery's tables and enjoy the pastry chef’s examples, which were of course, delicious. 

And it made me wonder if they didn’t want us to be disappointed with our imperfect attempts.



In Holley Gerth’s new book, You’re Loved No Matter What, Freeing Your Heart from the Need to Be Perfect, she offers women a long-awaited revelation. 

We don’t need to pursue perfection. In any area of our lives.

I know I’m breathing a huge sigh of relief. {Maybe you are too?}

Holley reveals that trying to achieve perfection actually keeps us from discovering God’s purpose for our lives. 

We figure there must be more we can do, there must be a way we can do it better, and that if we do it all the right way {whatever that way is}, then we’ll feel happy, God will be pleased with us, and we’ll be blessed.  

But it just doesn’t happen that way, and that’s where we start to fall apart. 

And yet that’s exactly where God wants to meet us. 



Holley shows us how our standards of perfection stifle our growth, keeping us from what we want to experience most in our lives -- joy, love, peace and hope. 

She writes that pursuing perfection is really related to things only God can do that were never intended for us to handle -- such as trying to control every aspect of our lives.

For a long time I think I viewed my life more from the sidelines {where it was safe} instead of acting as the main character living out my own story.

I avoided risks, thinking that if I stayed just where I was, I couldn’t possibly do it wrong, be disappointed, or collide with pain. 

Giving up control of my life to God means giving over the outcome — my future days, weeks and years  — to him. 

I discovered my future was more free than I ever thought it could be. And I'm living a story that only God could write.

“It’s in the adventure of faith that we grow closer to him.” - Holley Gerth



So when perfection reminds me not to hope because I'll only be disappointed, I’m going to hope anyway. 

When perfection says I shouldn’t try something because I don't know how to do it right, I’m going to decide to experiment.

When perfection advises me to stay on the sidelines to avoid looking foolish, I'm going anyway {all the way to Italy this summer on a faith & art retreat, even though I'm not an artist}.


I’m not sure that the perfect scone recipe was on Holley’s mind when she wrote about freeing your heart from the need to be perfect, but I just might abandon my quest for pastry perfection. 

I still haven’t baked a scone that I like any better than the scones I buy at SuperTarget. And my grocery store, Publix, has even started making cranberry scones that I'm liking just as much as Target's.

I’ll probably keep trying the occasional scone recipe I come across, just to practice my biscuit hand. 

But I think I'll be satisfied that the store-bought scones are the perfect tiny treat with my morning coffee.



I’m part of Revell publisher’s blogger review tour for You're Loved No Matter What, Freeing Your Heart from the Need to Be Perfect, by Holley Gerth. I received a complimentary copy of the book, but my opinions are completely my own.



I'm linking up with my friends at Holley Gerth's place for Coffee for your Heart. Click the image for more inspiring posts!



19 comments:

  1. This post speaks to my heart! I too have a hard time giving up on perfection, especially when it is unattainable! I can now return to these words when I am trying to relinquish a little bit of my persistence of being in control. :)

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    1. Brittany,
      Somehow we're compelled to reach for the unattainable, aren't we?! But I think perfection is a futile pursuit - - if only I could remember that! :)

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  2. What a bully perfection is!! I have to say I struggle A LOT with exactly this: "When perfection says I shouldn't try something because I don't know how to do it right, I’m going to decide to experiment." But I'm loving your gung-ho attitude about it!! ♥ Next time anyone has anything to say about my not so perfectly clean (dusty!) house I'm totally using this line, "..trying to achieve perfection actually keeps us from discovering God’s purpose for our lives." haha!
    Cheering you on ALL the way to Italy!! And I will keep on saying it: YOU are an ARTIST! ♥

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    1. Heather,
      How I love hearing you say I'm an artist! (Although I think my photos I'm intending to take of me attempting art will prove me right!) And I love you using the reason for a little dust in your house is that you're avoiding perfection -- PERFECT! :)

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  3. Valerie
    I love scones too!! I have a favorite chocolate chip kind I just love too much :) Thanks so much for this- after a long day it was so nice to visit and be reminded that I am ok even though I feel like things are falling apart at the seams- Thank you for reminding me that I am loved as is- I need to hear so badly that all day long- I so appreciate the beauty here in words and pictures- Feels like I just had a scone and some tea :) with much love

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    1. Susie,
      You pour out so much encouragement with your words and I am the one who is blessed to receive them! Scones are the perfect accompaniment for coffee OR tea (I know you're a tea lover!) and I'm so glad you feel refreshed when you visit my online home! :)

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  4. Valerie, you ARE an artist: weaving your words and photos and making your home a beautiful, peaceful work or art! Yep, you're an artist alright! Beautiful post! Joining you today from Coffee for Your Heart!

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    1. Ellen,
      Thank you for your awfully sweet and very kind words! :) Love them!

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  5. I have not yet read Holley's new book, but it is on my wishlist. :) It really touched me how she describes perfection as keeping us from finding our purpose in life and stunting our growth. Definitely something I need to read. Thanks for this review.

    By the way, Valerie, you definitely ARE an artist. You write so beautifully, and I love your creative decorating in your home. :)

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    1. Trudy,
      Holley's books are definitely a must-read since they are always full of encouragement! And your sweet words about me being an artist mean more than you know! :)

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  6. Oh my mouth is watering. I too have been on that perfect scone quest since my aunt took me to high tea at Harrod's. Still haven't found it.....let me know if you do! :)

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    1. Sarah,
      How decadent --Harrod's scones must be unbeatable! I will certainly pass on any superior scone recipe I find! :)

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  7. You are making me hungry. Love you miss you!!

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    1. Diana,
      My very long love-obsession with scones continues! Thanks for stopping by friend, and leaving some encouragement!

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  8. As far as I know, everything you've ever baked was as close to perfect as I can imagine. I love the idea of opening up to the possibility of a less perfect, more rich life. I always love reading your encouraging and wise words!
    Christy

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    1. Thanks Christy -- you just never get to sample my baking efforts that don't make the cut! :)

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  9. I can't wait to read to this book, thank you for sharing your insights from it! Love that you took a class to further your passions as well... so cool!
    Visiting from RaRaLinkup today!

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    1. Rachel,
      So grateful for your visit and I'm glad you stopped by! The pastry class was so much fun and I learned a lot too!

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  10. Thanks for highlighting Holley's book. It is great to hear about how the Lord teaches us in the absence of perfection. Yes, that is a relief. Cheering your words and encouragement from the #RaRalinkup on Purposeful Faith. Some day we have to share a scone!

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