Celebrate small victories

It’s usually about this time of the summer that I begin to feel overwhelmed. The garden is in full swing, and the fruit in the orchards is ripening. I always want to capture all those flavours – with preserves and pickles, fruit pies and vegetable galettes, and meals with fresh ingredients. But there never seem to be enough hours in the day to get it all done.

This year the summer started with extra frustration when the heat wave hit, and the gardens suffered. The vegetable garden I was already slow to plant had to go into survival mode and shut down its growth. Our gooseberries roasted on the bush and the cherries ripened before they became full size.

I cannot imagine how farmers felt having to deal with these extremes. For me, while I was saddened to lose our fruit bounty, it was not our livelihood. I took heart in knowing that this would mean we could support some of those farmers and do more local shopping for fruit that did survive. I also realized I now had fewer things to take care of on my garden harvest “to-do” list.

Even regular life can be overwhelming. In an Okanagan summer, we are fortunate to have so much to enjoy. There is the bounty of fresh food and local wine, beer, cider. There is the lake to enjoy, both at the shore and in the water. Many of us have company to spend time with, too – especially after our isolation last year.

When we are overwhelmed, we miss out on so much. It can paralyze us – the number of possibilities is too many, and we don’t know where to start or how to see our way to the end.

The worst part of all this is we can end up feeling ungrateful for, even resentful of, all the abundance we are supposed to be enjoying. That’s a dark hole in which to find oneself.

The good news is, I have found a way out of that hole!

It might sound silly, but in this age of social media I suppose it’s only normal that my inspiration came from a Facebook post.

A long-standing friend of mine recently posted about celebrating small victories, and it struck me as an important reminder. He, like me, is an optimist (although very pragmatic), and he recounted his small victory: a dry bank near their house was made useful when relatives built a retaining wall, and he converted it to a beautiful wildflower garden.

His reason for celebrating was the incremental effects of his regular efforts; he hauled water from a nearby creek for a few months to fill an 800-gallon cistern so the garden can be watered all summer. As he so eloquently put it:

“A small step each day leads to completion of a journey.”

Thank you, Murray, for reminding me to stop and smell the flowers. If we just stop and breathe, our minds stop whirring around. Then we can choose one small step each day to make the most of this glorious season and the wonderful place where we are.

Our small steps will allow us to stack all kinds of moments into the foundation of our lives, building memories that will make us smile, and probably others too.

As a final note, I offer one last suggestion. If you are a dedicated cook and baker like me and want some moments in the kitchen, here are some of my favourite summer recipes to share:

Apricot Pie

Peach & Arugula Salad

Chocolate Zucchini Loaf

More Happy Gourmand articles

About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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