Small Wins Wednesday: Conquering Fears and Making a Difference

Published by Lori Pickert on March 26, 2014 at 08:20 AM

Alma working

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Every Wednesday we share a small win from the forumTwitter, the Facebook page, or (with the writer’s permission) from the mail bag.


Alma has been working on a baking project for several months.

Recently we had a dilemma. She would love to bake every day. But it costs money. And if we eat it all we would grow very fat. She didn’t feel confident enough to sell to strangers, and she didn’t want to talk about prices to people. Baking once a week wasn’t enough for her. I suggested baking very small things, but that doesn't work for every recipe.

She likes to bring things to family for parties, as a gift. But she doesn't want to think about how much money people should pay, and she’s very concerned that they are satisfied with the product. She has made some cakes for my friends, and they were happy with them, but Alma almost couldn't sleep because it made her very anxious.

After brainstorming with friends in the PBH forum, we decided that she would bake for charity, and for friends and family. We set a budget apart for it, and friends/family can pay what they think is fair. The same for gatherings like homeschool outings. This way she can get used to baking for others and working with her insecurity about what people think of it.

This has led to a series of great wins…

She baked for friends and the woman was so astonished by her cookies that she asked for baking lessons. Alma will bake at her house on Saturday, a basic cake for starters. Our friend will pay for the ingredients and Alma will teach her how to bake. Her husband has a sweet tooth so he was very happy about this arrangement. They are both professional artists and in return will teach her about sculpting and printmaking. Yay!

We instituted her budget and immediately she had a plan — she wanted to make her own fondant. It was an awful mess and the kitchen smelled like you were inside a marshmallow, but she went through with it. Now she has three pounds of pink fondant. She cleaned the kitchen and she is so proud. She wants to bake pink decorated small cakes for her visit to the Toon Hermanshuis on Friday.

Toon Hermanshuis is a place where people with cancer can meet and talk. Alma baked for them as a volunteer. They loved it. She made it a commitment to bake a cake every week. She was very proud of her work. And she went on her bike, by herself, with a big box full of lemon cake through the rain. I didn’t have to drive her — she said she is not made of sugar and it is her project. And it is a five-mile ride. She came back wet and proud and she made me proud too. — Josh


Why do we share small wins? Because we put on our attention on what we want to grow. We support each other, celebrate each other’s successes, and we make more of the good stuff!

Have you had a small win this week? Whether it’s related to PBH or not, please share in the comments!

A cake for a friend

Contributing to a bookstore event

Cake for her aunt

Making fondant

Fondant dragon

Cake for the cat club

Cake for Toon Hermanshuis


Comment by Angie on March 26, 2014 at 08:41 AM

Well this post touched my heart profoundly. I love what Alma is doing with her passion and I love the support she's receiving and I wish we could bake together! A budget seems to have done so much to boost this passion! I'm inspired to build creative plans into our budget now! Thank you!

Comment by Lori Pickert on March 26, 2014 at 09:33 AM

thank you, angie — alma’s project and her determination to find a way to share her work is so inspirational to me. <3

Comment by amy21 on March 26, 2014 at 08:59 AM

Oh Alma, this is great! I have the same anxieties. Every time I make a sale I have a ping of worry that the person won't be happy with their purchase. It is a Very Big Thing to set a price on one's hard work and passion and let it out into the world.

I think the bartering with the artist friends is FANTASTIC. I love the mutual respect and acknowledgment of skills. Age doesn't matter (nor should it).

Comment by Lori Pickert on March 26, 2014 at 09:34 AM

and sometimes we have no idea how much someone will think of our work until we share it. <3

Comment by Sarah M on March 26, 2014 at 09:34 AM

This is such a beautiful story! Bartering for skills is such a great experience for everyone. Such a win-win. Alma, the cakes and fondant creatures look wonderful. I especially love the mice eating the cheese. How very clever!
Sarah M

Comment by Lori Pickert on March 26, 2014 at 10:24 AM

thank you sarah! <3

Comment by charmaine on March 26, 2014 at 10:03 AM

Oh, wow! What an inspiration, Alma! I love the bartering and baking for charity - aweswome!

Comment by Lori Pickert on March 26, 2014 at 10:25 AM

thank you, charmaine! :)

Comment by amyiannone on March 26, 2014 at 10:05 AM

I'm going to go out on a limb and call this a big win! Such an awesome story.

My small win this week is taking out a book about scanners, those who have multiple interests. I see my 8 year old as someone who is interested in everything, but is sticking to nothing (not unlike her mother), so we're going to figure out how best to honor this trait instead of seeing it as something "superficial."

Comment by Lori Pickert on March 26, 2014 at 10:25 AM

awesome! we can talk about it in the forum when you’re finished — it’s VERY pbh. :)

Comment by Josh on March 26, 2014 at 11:55 AM

Thanks! I loved the scanner book, it was a revelation for me!

Comment by expansiveworld on March 26, 2014 at 10:10 PM

I would be interested to see a thread about this if you've started one!

Comment by Lori Pickert on March 27, 2014 at 08:20 AM
Comment by expansiveworld on March 29, 2014 at 12:14 AM

Thank you for linking this!

Comment by Lori Pickert on March 29, 2014 at 08:14 AM

you’re welcome! :)

Comment by kirstenf on March 26, 2014 at 11:01 AM

Wow - I think Alma is just great!

Comment by P Schacht on March 26, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Thanks for sharing. Great problem solving and her cakes are amazing!

Comment by Jennifer on March 26, 2014 at 01:40 PM

Lovely story -- and lovely cakes!!!

I have heard that you tend to get more when selling cakes etc for charity if you don't put a price on it -- so donations might be a wise financial move as well!!

Comment by Emily on March 26, 2014 at 01:54 PM

I'm a homeschooling mom to two young girls, ages 6 and 4, and these "Small Wins" stories are endlessly inspiring to me. I love that they provide ideas on how we parents can support children's interests, passions, and skill-building in way that is uplifting to the children and still reasonable for the parents. I am taking notes over here, so thank you!

And the cakes are absolutely beautiful. Well done!

Comment by Wendy M on March 26, 2014 at 02:19 PM

I love this "small win." I think that a large part of the win includes the statement Josh made that, "Baking once a week wasn't enough for her." This acknowledgement of that as a need that was not being filled is an encouragement to me to look around with clearer eyes and scout out those needs that I may have put into a different category; the you don't need to do that category of my knee jerk NO. Thanks for the encouragement.

Comment by Kerry on March 26, 2014 at 03:40 PM

This is so great! What beautiful treats! Great job Alma.

Comment by Katie | The Sur... on March 26, 2014 at 04:10 PM

What an inspiring post :) I love motivated kids like this. And what a talent she is!! Thank you so much for sharing!

Comment by Cara on March 26, 2014 at 04:12 PM

What a fantastic story. I love the fact she wanted to do that bike ride at the end, commenting 'I'm not made of sugar' - as a baker, she'd know! I love the problem-solving in this story, it is great.

Comment by Michellereflects on March 26, 2014 at 07:38 PM

This is a wonderful, inspiring post! I love the resourcefulness and problem-solving involved in overcoming obstacles. My favorite part was the 5 mile bike ride! Her treats may be made of sugar, but clearly she is not!

I have one child who loves to bake and I always tell my kids that they are welcome to make any mess in the kitchen they like, just as long as they are willing to clean it up!:)

Thank you for sharing!

Comment by Tricia Little on March 26, 2014 at 09:43 PM

DS age 5 wanted a bow tie. He googled "how to make a bow tie," decided tie-them-yourself ties were too difficult to master, asked if clip on bow ties existed, googled "how to make a clip on bow tie," and selected a tutorial for me to follow. He didn't want to make it himself, but he did all of the work besides that. I didn't freak out about making him do the whole project. I'd say a solid small win for both of us.

Comment by Lori Pickert on March 27, 2014 at 08:21 AM

that is fantastic, tricia! bow ties are cool. ;o)

Comment by expansiveworld on March 26, 2014 at 10:13 PM

Wow! Her cakes are absolutely incredible! I love that you found a way to help her share at her own comfort level.

Comment by ThimbleNest on March 26, 2014 at 10:44 PM

Just lovely--you can see her pride and confidence in the photo where she is carrying the tray. I love how her family committed to overcome the obstacles ($, health) that might have drawn this project up short, and look at all of the beautiful, community-building results that have come about because of it--not to mention what it's done for Alma!

Comment by tmorgan on March 27, 2014 at 01:17 PM

This is so awesome, Alma! I'm so impressed and inspired. The cakes look amazing. The hard work you are doing to hone your skills and conquer obstacles and help others - it's all super fantastic!

Small wins at our house: the baby naps now, the university student is applying for an exchange in France, and I am journalling.

Comment by Lori Pickert on March 27, 2014 at 01:39 PM

yay! :)

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