About the Author

Angie is the proud wife of Todd Smith of Selah, and the blessed mommy to Abby, Ellie, Kate, Charlotte, and Audrey Caroline, who passed away the day she was born, April 7th, 2008. Angie was inspired to write Audrey's story, and began the blog www.audreycaroline.blogspot.com in honor of her. You...

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  1. I’m a terrible cook too! Your “throwing in” comment really resonates with me as well. So far I really like soups and casseroles, anything I can assemble, begin to cook, and then walk away from while I attempt to accomplish some other household task.
    To answer your question, I shy away from just about anything and everything because of my ability perceptions. It’s awful. And exhausting.

  2. Good gravy, there are so many things I don’t feel “very good at.” Right now, however, I guess water sports are at the forefront of my mind. Normally, a lack of talent at water sports isn’t a big deal. In this season, however, we live in Hawaii, and I really want to jump in and learn and do all those activities that are synonymous with Hawaii. I don’t want my fear of failure or of looking “stupid” to stop me from just doin’ the thing(s).
    Anyway, I will remember your encouragement to leave the perfection to Him and just participate out of love for life AND for my husband who LOVES, LOVES, LOVES water sports!
    Thanks for writing this, Angie!

  3. I can cook. Pretty well. So, um, I promise not to let that come between us, if you do too.
    However.
    Like you, I either do things “perfectly” or not at all. And for me, this mannifests itself in…
    Cleaning the house.
    I either do it perfectly… in order (I start in the same room, in the same corner, every single time) and I MUST be able to get it ALL done in the time I have, or…. I won’t. So, more often than not, the house looks kinda sorta (but not quite so bad) as those houses on those shows we watch with horrified eyes. (I watch them to make myself feel better)
    Tell you what. You cook at least 4 nights a week, and I’ll clean for as many?

  4. Pearls? OK. Hairnets? Maybe not.
    Like Jen mine is also cleaning the house. Wow. I’m not alone. I guess I perceive it as being too much to get done so I avoid it until it HAS to be done. And that makes me a nervous wreck. Vicious cycle. Thanks for sharing.

  5. i am a mom of a 6 year old and when i was pregnant i also wanted to cook good food for my baby and be a brilliant mom with a clean house and awesome food that martha steward blush – but our ideas don’t always match reality 🙂 but it is good to dream 🙂 i do try and some times it pays off 🙂 plse check out my blog for some inspiration on cooking ideas – and plse note i don’t always get it right but the good stuff is on the blog and the failures are in the bin 😉
    Betty Bake
    http://bettybakeblog.blogspot.com/

  6. Hi, I procrastinate b/c I can’t do things “perfectly” the first time, but when I get my to do list checked off, it always makes me feel good, and i always think that was easy and why didn’t i do that sonner”

  7. I totally don’t know what you’re talking about. Totally can’t relate. Okay, okay, truth is, you are smack dab right on! My perfectionism and fear has kept me from…well, everything from starting Christmas early to writing letters. I fumble it all in the end anyway. Sometimes I wish I could rewind the past 15 years of my life, order pizza and takeout, and spend time laughing with my children. Just laughing.

  8. Wow – this is so me. I put off doing all sorts of things because I’m afraid I won’t do them perfectly. I struggle with that at home, at work, pretty much in every aspect of my life. Being a mother has taken that to a whole other level, because you can’t put things off with your kids – they don’t give you time to think and procrastinate. That has been good for me, but very, very trying at times. I’m so glad to know that I’m not the only one who struggles with this. May we all find a way to be OK with our best, whether it is “perfect” or not.

  9. Great post! I can totally relate. I often struggle with “if I can’t do it perfect I won’t do it all”. I have lots of areas in the domestic arena where that thinking has caused me much grief.
    I have gotten a handle on the cooking and grocery shopping but not on the coupons! I started by learning ten easy and mostly healthy dinners that I can make and that my family will eat. I rotate them and basically know all the ingredients so making a menu and grocery list is fairly easy now. you will find what works for you!
    Thanks for sharing!

  10. I can totally relate. I cook because I have to, but rarely because I actually want to. Simple to put together works for me. Now baking, on the other hand, I absolutely love. I think it goes back to that everything perfectly measured Type A personality thing. As for the all or nothing attituide, I understand it all to well. Great post!

  11. Here’s the thing, Angie: cooking done incorrectly still blesses your family. Housework done incorrectly still blesses your family. Decorating done incorrectly still blesses your family – but gets looks of pity from your friends (ask me how I know this!).
    I can cook up a storm & love it – and stuff tastes good. I can sew a dress and it looks good. But, but, BUT, if you looked on the inside of the dress, you’d see some crooked seams or random threads. If you watched me cook, you’d see just how random I am with my measurements & spice selection. The process doesn’t matter – it’s the end product.
    And me? I can’t do a counted cross stitch to save my life. I’m still struggling (at 51) to have to perfect voice so I can sing out in praise team. My house is usually dusty. But my husband, kids, dogs, cats, and fish are loved and they know it!
    P. S. I’ve got some extra pearls I can lend you – I strung them myself 🙂

  12. Wow, so many things I could put but the one that really is like WHAM is the CPA exam. And I think I take it to a whole new level because it’s not the fear of not being perfect it’s rather the fear of failing MISERABLY and being a CPA exam failure to my family and friends. But I guess I do shy away from taking it because I have a perception that my ability is inferior to the friends that I graduated college with who have passed it. Those same friends that I made the same exam grades as, that struggled with Advanced Accounting just like I did…yet they still passed the Exam.
    I think this post helped me realize I may have an inferiority complex. Yowsa. I should probably give that to God! Thanks for posting Angie! Your writing always makes me feel encouraged 🙂

  13. I used to love cooking, even wrote three books with LOTS of recipes, then I hug up my frying pan and declared, “Cereal is the new dinner.” I feel happier now.
    Blessings, Lucy

  14. I don’t do loss…I can’t even fathom it. When my grandfather was diagnosed with cancer, I was there but I checked out when he died. Didn’t want to talk about it, watch old videos, look at pictures. I am ashamed of such a terrible flaw…it is like my body shuts down and I can’t function. I admire a woman like you who has faced loss made an enormous difference in the world through your pain. You touch people who don’t even know you. You are amazing. So if you can’t cook…well there are solutions…and I am glad there is at least one tiny little thing that makes you human:)

  15. Those “type A personalities” in the kitchen end up becoming the best patisseries – baking is a science and you have to be exact .. . . . you have much potential 🙂

  16. Thank you, Lord that I am not the only one who does not do well in the grocery store. I also can’t plan my trip well either. Sad, but true. I can make a list and check it twice(or ten times times ten;)) and still miss something. I am so thankful for God’s sweet GRACE. Thankful for His perfection and His desire to work in my heart:) Thankful for your “realness!”

  17. Well, I have to say…..almost 12 years ago, when I first got married, I wasn’t a good cook at all! My poor husband, he put up with alot of disasters, but hey, he stuck around. Anywho, like you Angie, this year I did not make New Year’s resolutions (on purpose). There has been so much going on in my life lately, that I felt as though I needed to focus my TRUST in God, I had lost sight of how amazing he is to me, and felt that for now, I’m better off being a good listener, and just being more of the “silent” type (which naturally, I am not). As for what I shy away from, I would have to say, going back to school. I’m 30, and thinking about stepping onto a campus with all those young hip kids just terrifies me!

  18. Oh Angie…you are such a blessing! Your honesty, laughter, and love truly inspire and encourage me. Thank you for your words…especially about leaving perfection to the Lord alone and just living life!!!

  19. As of late, I have realized that I have spent almost my whole life shying away from things because of my perception of ability. I have not only let this apply to small things in my life, but to big things as well. My fear of failure is crippling and it has somehow managed to take over my life. I seems like I struggle daily to just give up the dream of perfection and learn to just jump in and do things the best I can in the moment.
    I, like some of the other commenters live in “messy” house, because I feel like the task is just to great for me to be able to do it well. My husband cooks, because I have never really tried to. As sad as it may be, I think that I am a stay at home mom because I was scared I would be a failure in a career. After graduating college with my teaching degree, I was terrified of actually getting a job.
    I am so thankful for your transparency. It really helps to know that everyone isn’t as perfect and put together as they seem. You are an encouragement to me!

  20. I think you hit home on this post for a lot of us gals, myself most definitely included! The Lord’s helped me a lot with my perfection throughout the past 10 years, and I think the grace my hubby shows me has been vital. I think comparison feeds it as I see other people who do things I’d like to do, and then I measure myself by what I see them doing in some of the following areas: cooking, writing, being fit, speaking. But this is the year, I know this is the time that the Lord will help me find my significance in Him and handing Him my fear of failure! 🙂

  21. Ummm….yeah. So I know how to cook pretty well. It just come naturally for me. But what doesn’t…housecleaning. blech! I can’t seem to ever do it well! I try and try and I just seem to make more of a mess. So, what do you say I come cook for you and you come clean for me? :-)Just kidding.

  22. What don’t I need to work on. Sheesh. I don’t know why it’s so hard for me to believe that I don’t have to do everything right. I encourage everyone else around me and understand that they need to be accepted for who they are. I desparately want others to know just how much God loves them and what an absolute sweetheart He is. I guess I don’t think I get it from those around me. I know I do, from my husband, my children, well most of the time but from me? Not so much. Aha!! Soooo, looking up is what I need to do. Towards God who is love, truth, true reality, the giver of mercy and grace, not myself (I tend to be judgemental of me). I have His love and acceptance for who I am through His Son. The disconnect is that I keep letting my “old me” trip the connection. It’s a start!

  23. Perfectionism stunts the house keeping here in my world. I have 4 littles who help the mom and dad make a big mess even bigger. So, I can reeeeeeeealy relate!

  24. I want to say thanks! I’m not much of a cook either, but my husband is and he loves to cook! I can blame my pleasingly plump figure on him!! Oh dear there are so many things I feel like I don’t do well so I fearfully put them off, like speaking in front of a group, it terrifies me, I pray about it nd ask God for help but my guess is I’m looking in the wrong places for the answers. I try too hard.

  25. *laughs* This is why I love you Angie, I can relate *so* easily. The hard part is I let this need to be perfect keep me from so much… I know God has things he wants me to do, to share, but I’m so afraid it won’t get good enough, it won’t be ‘just right’.
    “I’ll never measure up to *insert great photographer/writer/etc. here* so why embarrass myself?”
    It doesn’t really matter if I’m as ‘good’ as them… if God’s asking me to do it… maybe that’s all I need to do. Do it, with all I am, to the best of my ability and let it be enough.
    That scares the spit out of me :-/

  26. ummm… everything i do!! yeah, i’m afraid of failure as well. afraid of making the wrong choice, afraid of stepping out of my box. in fact, you just incouraged me to write a blog post about it…. thank you.

  27. I can totally relate. (not to the cooking thing because I am a-okay in that way…not to rub it in) but, to the part about not having TONS of follow through on the things that I REALLY want changed and bettered.(year after year) I am really striving to be a better me tomorrow than I am today …I realize that I will never get there if that is the goal. I need to keep remembering it is HE that I am trying to be more like (not new and improved me). That takes some of the pressure off 🙂 Pearls? heals? hairnets? I am GAME..that would make my husband happy I think!

  28. my pastor (and boss) recently pointed out to me that I can get stuck pursuing things because I don’t want to start something until I know all the steps and how it’s going to go until the end. It’s my perfectionism…
    it can even effect reaching out to others. Boo.

  29. Definitely in that same boat. It’s amazing how often I find myself thinking, “Well, if I can’t do it perfectly, I won’t do it at all” even (and especially) if it’s an “it” with a deadline!
    Thank you for the encouragement, Angie 🙂

  30. I totally understand where you’re coming from. There are so many things I avoid doing, just because I might be less than perfect at them.
    Teaching and writing are two of these things. I feel like they’re a great part of who I am, but just the same I’m afraid of being rejected and criticized about them.

  31. I am a pretty sorry homemaker, truth be told. I don’t like cleaning and I don’t mind if things are a bit on the messy side…OK, more than a bit.
    One thing I’m coming to realize is that as much as I wish I could be better at this, it isn’t something I personally value. I’m OK with a certain amount of ‘comfortable clutter’ as long as its liveable.
    My issue is “What will (fill in the blank) think if my home isn’t spotless??”
    Letting go of the expectations of others is a process. And I’m VERY early in this process!! But I want to be free to be who God made me to be, not who I think I should be. Little by little, I’m beliving I’ll get there!

  32. I am so with you on this, and it comes out in hospitality for me. I was a mom of 3 who used to have a place for everything and everything in its place…the house was so clean you could eat off of the floor and it smelled like cookies baking (allspice sprinkled on the carpet before vacuuming), friends always came over and stayed long…then we moved, and a new church, four more kids, homeschooling, not homeschooling, homeschooling again, not homeschooling…I don’t have everything in its place, we are living in construction mess, and since it can’t be June Clever perfect, I don’t invite people over as quickly. My plan is to just focus on Him this year and keep plugging away at the blessings he’s given me and see what He can do, because I just can’t “pull it all together”!
    Anyways, with you sister!
    Lovies,DJ

  33. I too strive for perfection but I lack it in so many ways that I often give up in a sense as it feels too overwhelming.
    I can so relate.
    Thanks for posting.

  34. I have sufficiently encouraged myself by reading other people’s candor on this, but I will throw my two cents into the pool to hope to God to slightly life someone else’s day. (HOPE is the key word there.)
    I am reading this article in my husbands shorts and t-shirt, trying to get my two and 4 year old to eat their cream of wheat as I drink my tea and gobble my stack of homemade chocolate chip cookies…..AND keep running into the other room to give my 7 month old toys so I can read longer. (Cheshire cat grin) Yeah. Need a little help in the “Helpmeet” depo. Oh and FYI my mascara and eyeliner have run so much that my kids actually had to look twice to see if it was indeed me…Mom.
    I ne-ver learned to cook and my first meal 10+ years ago consisted of chicken that was thawed in the microwave, boiled and then cooked in butter in a pan, with almost done egg noodles and no way are they done broccoli. (I see some of you are spontaneously praying out loud for my Husband and children….thank you.)
    Ok I have blown the whistle on myself enough for the moment. Be blessed. We are all works in progress. God love you all.

  35. Love this! I avoid calling people back if I dont have the perfect answer for them! When all they need is a CALL and to talk. Ugh. I hear ya’ loud and clear. And, for the record, I DID throw some “pascetti” on the table last night and they all ate it. So that will work, sister. That will work!

  36. I am so guilty of giving up and not trying when I can’t do something well. When I see that I’m starting fail at something, my initial reaction is to say “I quit”. I hate that, but it’s the truth. Unfortunately, in recent times that has been revealed most with anything having to with exercise: running, pilates, yoga, weights. Getting back into any of these after having kids has been tough. I tend to do it with my house too though. And work. I’ll just stop there. 😉

  37. Try the Kraft website. It has a lot of great healthy recipies that are really easy and healthy. And a lot of them only use a few ingredients. Even my picky eater likes most of them.

  38. Hmmm, sounds like me. However we came up with the PERFECT solution, one you may wish you had arrived at too!
    My husband, rather than starve or spend his hard earned money eating out, does the cooking and that has included packing lunches for our kids.
    I am telling you, this has been a life saver, marriage saver and our sons are being taught that they are capable in the kitchen, so hopefully someday I will have daughters-in-law who will think we are parents extrordinaire because their husbands can whip up dinner and pack school lunches.
    Also, with his help, patience and understanding, I have slowly ventured back into the kitchen, knowing disaster awaits, sandwiches will explode, sauce will end up on the ceiling, batter will spray and spackle the walls, but I have actually had some successes along with the gravity defying messes.
    So there, you have my kitchen confession.

  39. Cooking doesn’t happen to be where I get stuck. I feel getting food on the table, whatever shape or form is a triumph – considering it’s the last push at the end of a long day! My place of perfection confession is the laundry and the housework. I am very hard on how things look around here. Thanks, Andrea.

  40. While I can’t say that I am a terrible cook–I CAN say that I have a HUGE problem with perfectionism. And that problem with perfectionism is…….ME. I have to do it better, say it smarter, make it cleaner, and pretty much top any ones elses idea/recipe/child rearing and show and prove that I am better. Am I better? Maybe sometimes. Am I doing it for the wrong reasons sometimes? Absolutely. What good is baking 15 dozen cookies for Christmas if no one eats them, or if the kids are neglected and yelled at and shushed while I try to perfect 15 new cookie recipes this year?
    Awesome writing Angie. May it help me to remember to do it for the right reasons.

  41. Yep I struggle with perfectionism. It’s actually the topic of my blog. I’m doing my best to overcome those issues, but it is indeed the most difficult part of me. Strangely cooking is one of the things that I feel free in. I just start throwing things in and anticipate the results. However, if something turns out wrong…well let’s just say that I’m kicking myself for a while. I’m way too hard on myself. I realize that my family could usually care less, but it’s the “me trap” that I have to overcome. My desire to be perfect has (in the past) kept me from chasing my dreams. Those dreams have varied over the years. A couple years ago I left my day job so I could chase after some of those dreams. So I’m working on it.

  42. I keep purchasing more Pampered Chef items in hopes that, with enough over priced stoneware, I will become THE Pioneer Woman of Tri-Cities, WA. But it all just sits there, mocking me. I have my “go-to” receipes and a husband who lovingly encourages me when I want to experiment, and never judges me when I give up and phone in take out Dominos. (P.S. the NEW original receipe is DELISH) But I long to have a fresh veggie garden from which I create homemade marinara and heirloom receipes on instant memory recall. But alas, I’m just a can opener/microwave/take-out abuser. Help us, Ree!

  43. That is exactly how I am… ALL or nothing. and cooking is usually nothing because I am just really bad at it… plus i am the type of person who could eat a bowl of cereal every night and be good to go… my hubby, not so much! so i try and try… for him. I think I will just have to accept that I will never be Rachel Ray (or my mother).
    =) Lily

  44. Loved this post… I too have given up cooking simply because I couldn’t do it perfectly. And every time I make a grocery list or even attempt to have a “plan” I forget the list on the table, am rushing through the store, and buy frozen skillit meals and mac n cheese…
    Oh… and working out.. I’ll do great for um… like a week.. then skip a few days and just trash the entire routine because I couldn’t do it perfectly.
    Thank you, dear Angie, for relating to those of us who hate the fact that we can’t be perfect. I too have about a million lists lying around of things I want to get better at.
    But the Lord is right… love and intention and the motives of our hearts are so much more important than getting it perfect.

  45. I totally have the cooking resolution going this year, too. I have cycles where I love it or hate it.
    I shy away from arts and crafts because I don’t think I’m any good at hands-on artsy stuff; however, I posted my first ever arts and crafts tutorial on my blog yesterday!

  46. I tend to overdo (nice dinner with dessert) be wiped out, and go with totally boring dinners for a while. It is hard while you’re pregnant… I didn’t have much energy at all! Here is my hot tip: make friends with your crockpot. 🙂 You can do a roast in it, lasagna, almost anything!

  47. My Dear Angie,
    I want Gwen Stefani’s abs! However, being the Type A perfectionist that I am combined with my intense dislike of perspiration, I think it’s along shot. I LOVE to cook and bake which makes my need to perspire even greater because I am beginning to take on elephant proportions. The other thing I struggle with is cleaning. I truly dislike cleaning more than I do perspiring…yeah THAT much! I have found that if I put on some great music I might possibly be happier trying to clean. One room at a time, one day at a time.
    Blessing and grace my friend…

  48. I was such a perfectionist when I started cooking (eight years ago when I got married). I measured everything perfectly! I just want to encourage you that after doing it for a while, you get more comfortable and can start throwing things in. Most of the time it works and every once in a while it doesn’t. But it is so worth it and so much fun! I hope you are able to have fun with it and let go of the perfectionism 🙂
    I am the same way when I start new things. I don’t want to start unless everything is in perfect order and I know I can do a good job. I have to remind myself to just GET STARTED ALREADY! I hope you remember to do that too!