Words & Bread

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I like bread. All kinds. Any kind. I like it a lot. In college, my roommate Mandy’s mom would make us her own version of Friendship Bread when we made the long drive to Wyoming for a visit. It was hands down the best bread I have ever ate. I have dreams about that bread. If I close my eyes right now I can almost taste it. SO GOOD.

One college summer, Chris and I spent about 8 weeks in Kazakhstan. As the afternoon sun began sinking, the heavenly aroma of bread filled the streets. We would watch the locals knock on what seemed like random windows, the window would open, money was exchanged for bread. It didn’t take us long to figure out which random window had our favorite bread. Bread is one of those few things that transcends generations and cultures.

There was a short period of time that I made bread. Nothing fancy, but I enjoyed the process. Then life got busy and I stopped. About 7 years ago my grandma got me a really nice bread machine. I used it a handful of times, but all I knew to do was follow the recipes that came with it. I never seemed to have the right ingredients on hand, but I kept trying. Then one day in a conversation, an acquaintance began raving about her homemade bread. She went on and on about how superior her bread was…and not just her bread, but any bread that is made by hands. She basically made me feel like a terrible mother if I served anything but bread made with my hands to my family. I put my bread machine up on a shelf..thinking I would begin making my own homemade bread. I never did.  I gave her words power.

Then about a month ago I saw a bread machine mix at the store. They’ve probably been around for a decade, but I had never seen them.

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Pour in a cup of water, add mix, add yeast, press “Start”.
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And all of the sudden, my family began enjoying hot bread…fresh out of the bread machine…butter melts the instant it touches it. I can do all the steps in less than a minute. It bakes over 3 hours and fills my home with the best smell.

WARNING: Germ freaks close your eyes. Little boy with really dirty hands eating bread below. Sometimes I forget to remind them to wash their hands. It’s life.

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Butter + dash of sugar + dash of brown sugar + dash of cinnamon = happy campbells.
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My family eats an entire loaf with dinner. Not every night, but just enough. It is a happy little addition to our days.
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I know some moms make bread with their hands nearly everyday for their families. Maybe one day I’ll be there. Maybe I won’t. I do know that for the last several years, my family has not been enjoying a simple pleasure because I allowed someone else’s words to negatively influence me. Words are powerful, but often we are the ones that give them power. I gave her words power. I allowed her words to sink in enough to cause me to give up on something I enjoy. My bread is from a bread machine. Big deal. My family gets to gather around the table, laughing, smiling, enjoying….and eating hot bread that took me less than a minute to bake. It works for us now. It REALLY works for us now.

Words are powerful. Knowing how easily I can be influenced by the words of others makes me even more grateful for the incredible women I live the ins and outs of life with….friends are powerful. I think I need to have all my girlfriends over for hot bread (and apple cider!).

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  • Frankie - Words can be so powerful. This was a nice reminder that we all have the ability to take words to heart or to ignore them. Words have power, but we have more. Thank you. This was a nice lesson wrapped up into a lovely post.

  • Stephanie Catlett (Mom's Happy Place) - THREE CHEERS FOR BREAD MACHINE BREAD!

    HIP HIP HOORAY!
    HIP HIP HOORAY!
    HIP HIP HOORAY!

  • Bri Schaaf - Oh your bread looks amazing! You go girl…I still like to get mine from an isle in the market!!

  • Irene - Dear Ashley, I love this post. I am not a mother just yet, but I know what it’s like to hear such comments. Recently I have given power to other ppl’s opinion and made me sulky for a while. Then I thought everyone’s entitled to give an opinion but its just how we take it in our heart.. You and ur family is such a joy and inspiration to me! Have a beautiful day :)) Irene NZ

  • Kari - The statement, “I gave her words power” just drilled a hole right through my head. It isn’t even about other people–it’s the power that I give them and their influence.
    Thank you for saying it so plainly. Am typing that out today and posting in front of my face in my office. What is it that I’m giving power to? What deserves it? What isn’t getting it?

  • Ashley - what kind of bread machine do you have? I have been wanting one for a long time!:)

  • amy - i just started making bread…well ihaven’t made a loaf yet but dinner rolls, tried bagels…didn’t really turn out. i love doing it. but it’s a lot of work and a big mess. i just told my family yesterday i would love a bread machine for christmas!!!

  • Amy - Good for you. I heard one time…”If you’re busy being someone else, who is going to be you?” It stuck with me. I bet your family loves it when you’re…you. :) Thanks for writing your blog. It’s like a little dessert every day.

  • Ingrid - ‘doing is better than perfection’… i have to remind myself that one so love this post – always love your honestly & openness ashley ann :)

  • Mercedes - I totally needed to hear this today… thanks!

  • Jennifer T. - My papa use to make homemade bread from a bread machine for us on the holidays. It is what I looked forward to every year. He past away two years ago & haven’t had any homemade bread since! After reading this post, I now am going to purchase a bread machine and start making bread for my family. I am happy that you rose above the negative words because this post was truly inspiring to me!!!v

  • Harriet - Oh my goodness. I love bread! I am seriously sitting here ready to drool over that goodness that you are serving! AH. Doesn’t help that I haven’t had my lunch yet. Love this post! Not just because of the bread although that does play a big part. Thank you for writing from your heart. I just love your blog and look forward to reading it and getting a little encouragement for the day! You are a blessing! …ok, I need to go and buy some bread now!!!!

  • Tara A. - Ashley, awesome post. I love how you said that. I gave her words power. So true. I love all your post but this one really stuck with me. Thanks for this. TARA

  • Julie - Thanks for the reminder about our words, especially to other moms living the life of little ones. I needed that kick in the pants.

  • Carmen - *beautiful* -thanks

  • mindy t - Ok I am dying to know where you got that lovely measuring cup. And now i need some fresh bread too!

  • Christy - Hi, came from the Pinterest post on Christmas tree photog & stayed to look around. I loved this post – I had a bread machine on my shelf for 8 years because I thought it would be better to make it with my own hands (to be like someone in my life I give too much power to)and last year I took it down and it has changed everything!! A little tip (not that you asked:))once I found a recipe I liked, I bought containers that fit well in my freezer and started making my own mixes – all the dry ingredients ready to dump in. All I have to measure is the wet. There were days I found it hard to get the “work” of the recipe done, but now I have no excuse. Beautiful post.

  • Kristin S - I seriously think you just inspired me to pull my bread machine out of the attic. I put mine away under pressure to “make it with my own hands” too.

    My mouth thanks you.
    My rear end now so much.

    :-)

  • Lacey - I just made pizza dough from my bread machine tonight! So easy and So good!

  • Jeannette - Yum, I can taste it! I used to love making bread with my bread machine until it died :( I have NEVER made bread with my hands for my family and they turned out ok! I do insist on bread made without preservatives, whole grain, all that jazz, but I don’t have to make it.

  • Jenni Goodlin - ummm I totally want fresh bread now, and a bread machine. I just told my husband to ask his dad to get me one for Christmas. Who knows, maybe it will happen.

  • Amanda Keeys - Mmm nothing like fresh hot bread whether traditionally made by hand, or whether made by hand with the help of a breadmaker! I need to dig mine out of the cupboard again.

  • Michelle - I miss bread! I can’t eat it anymore because it seems to just twist up my tummy. Who cares if it’s from a bread machine or not…it looks divine!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Thank you so much for sharing this. it is so very true. words are so powerful and so often it is us that gives us those words the power.

    I would LOVE to join you for hot bread and apple cider. That sounds absolutely amazing!

  • jennie otanicar - Ashley,
    So powerful! I love the thought of not letting words get power over you! Thanks for sharing that story.

  • Lisa - Thank you so much for sharing this. There is so much that I have been struggling with lately and my feelings of inadequacy as a Mom. Your words of encouragement have given me confidence to listen to my instincts and not past judgements. And to be the mom that the Lord has given me strength for today.

  • Maria - I think I need to dig out our bread machine…I can’t remember the last time we used it…perfect time of the year for it!

  • CharlaL - yummy! ?

  • Shelly - Thank you so much for the reminder. Not only should we remember that the words others speak only have power if we let them, we should remember that our words can have power over others. I don’t know if that acquaintance meant to belittle you or not, but her words did have power. Sometimes I say things sarcastically or out of insecurity. I try to be funny and glib and let everyone know how confident I am (ha!). Your story reminds me that all of my words should be spoken out of love and their purpose should be to build others up. Thank you!

  • Amy D - thanks for this post! i have been thinking of the people whose words I have given power in my life… Probably all too much! Good to recognize that!

  • tracy a - ashley, you know what i love about your blog? it is something that you and chris taught me in hawaii…the gospel needs to be spoken in the language people need to hear it. you speak gospel truths in a language that everyone can speak, even if they don’t know what they are receiving. i smile when i read your words and i think God does too. bless you friend.

  • Windy - What a wonderful lesson to learn and share! Thank you.

  • Lisa Catania - Hot Bread & Apple Cider, Yum!

  • Sarah - Awesome post Ashley…about the words, about the bread and about the dirt :-) especially love the dirt. Boys and dirt are just meant to go together :-) We are a million miles away (almost) here in NZ but yours is the only blog I read. Every one, faithfully and i love them all. Thanks so much for sharing your world with us :-)

  • Heldine - I ate the best homemade breads in NZ. My friends made bread by hand and by the machine and both were equally delicious. So I think either works. :) Homemade pizza is really good too.

  • Liene - Beautiful post.

  • Suzan - Did you and your husband happen to be serving with FOCUS while you were in Kazakhstan?

  • Jolie - Ashley, you’re gorgeous. And I hate how we give power to other peoples’ words that they truly don’t merit! I’m sure 50 years ago some sanctimonious housewife poo-poohed another’s sponge cake because she’d *gasp* used a mixer, lol! Thank you reminding me yet again to remember not to get caught up in someone else’s nonsense!

    Does your bread machine have a dough option? I have an awesome (easy! no weird ingredients!)recipe for pizza dough that we love around here…and there’s nothing like pizza making to get the kids truly involved in the kitchen! Let me know if you;d like it!

    ps. we have dirty hand eating sessions around here too…I just try to remind myself I’m raising children, not veal!

  • charla lane - I got a bread machine for Christmas and searched for this article!! I have been making bread by hand and I am.out of time! Super excited for hot bread at dinner! Have any great recipies to share?

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