July 5, 2011

Life Gets Fuller

The clock said 4:59 and I started to panic.

I raced down the stairs, knocking my kneecap against the door jamb on the way down. And then hobbled on in to the kitchen. Where I took a second to size up the situation. The crabs weren’t caked. The watermelons weren’t wedged. And the corn had most certainly not been breaded. And our annual fourth of July party was beginning in exactly one minute.

So I did the only thing I could do. I rushed to the sink and started filling milk bottles with bunches of flowers. When in doubt, distract them with pretty things.

I broke stems of carnations with my bare hands. I may or may not have even torn into a few with my two front teeth. And then I jammed them into the bottles with no rhyme or reason. Just the design of a crazy person. I flipped the water faucet on to its highest pressure and shoved the first bottle under the spout. Where clinging by a final thread, I realized to my horror that the faster the water was coming out, the less was actually making it into the bottle. Ninety percent of it was running down the sides, and the little bit that was making it in was causing twice as much to splash back out.

So I took a deep breath, and slowed everything down. And just like that, sure and steady, that bottle started to fill up. I could see it with my own two eyes.

But with each arriving guest, panic would set in all over again. And being a person who never seems to learn from her mistakes the first time, I’d crank that faucet all the way up again in the hopes that this time would be different. That this time more and faster would win out. Because in my world, more and faster are king.

But as you might have guessed by now, every time I tried to rush it- every time I tried to get more in less time, I ended up getting nowhere and having to start back over at square one. To slow down and try again.

And all that slowing down gave me some time to think.

I think life is a lot like that bottle. You can only take in so much at time. And when you try to go too fast, you’ll probably end up missing most of it. So when it feels like you need to rush to get to where you want to be, that you need to take on more and more to make it happen, just take a step back and see if it’s actually working.

Because trust me on this, sure and steady wins the race.

And life, just like those milk bottles, gets so much fuller if you’ll just slow down.

  1. Sergey

    Thanks for an awesome time, guys! Everything was beautiful and delicious, as always!

  2. Linda Kuo

    I tell myself that ALL the time Mary. I often have to think of that quote from "Ferris Buller’s day off" "Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss something" We get so caught up in "doing" we miss the experience. Like photographing fireworks. I’ll take a shot or two and then stop and absorb the next one rocketing up into the night sky, and then bursting into song, and concentrate on every little dot of glitter before it fades. Your annual party was flawless. Beautiful presented, natural but elegant. Just like you!

  3. Katie Jordan

    I love your parties!

  4. Lisa

    Love! And not just the photos of food, although that greatly helps. Needed to read this today. Sure and steady wins the race. Baby steps.

  5. Graham

    Can Samantha and I be invited next year?!?!?! :)

  6. Caitlin

    Feeling thankful that we were able to join you in slowing down. It was a beautiful night, thank you for everything!

  7. MM

    @Graham: You know it! Put it in your calendars now!!

  8. ChristyB

    Looks like an amazing party. I’m planning my husband’s 40th birthday party and I’m going to steal your watermelon wedges with skewers idea.

  9. Stephen

    Wonderful way to wind down the holiday. Thanks again! I’ll leave you with one word, "rematch". Badmitton training has officially begun. :)

  10. Kristin H.

    Your bottle spilling over made all of our cups runneth over… life has gotten fuller for sure :) amazing time, amazing food, and amazing people!

  11. Dana

    Thank you so much for stopping by my blog today!!! I have been checking out you guys’ images & I’m totally a new fan!!! ;) xo

  12. Stacey Magee

    We had such a great time! Thanks again for having us!!!
    PS – I’m glad to see my dessert made the blog… :)

  13. Lara

    what a wonderful evening! thank you! and…you know my brother loves that he’s in one of the photos above.

  14. Jessica K. Sullivan

    What a wonderful post! I need to be reminded of this every day. I know that because God keeps reminding me every day, lol! Lovely pictures. I am not one to entertain but you are inspiring me Mary:) I may just give it a try soon.

  15. Kristin Nicole

    All that fruit looks delicious…love the berries in the mason jar and the watermelon on sticks…so cute.

  16. maggieb

    oh Mary! oh Justin! – just "fill" me up with all this goodness….and, best of all, keep sharing and preserving all of life’s treasured fleeting moments in your gifted words and beautiful photographs.

  17. Kare

    Slow and steady…

  18. MM

    @Kare: yea it usually is slow & steady, but I tweaked it a bit to put the emphasis on "slow" where I used it. :)

  19. Kare

    lol @MM, that wasn’t meant as a correction, just a whole-hearted agreement! :-)

  20. Kristen McClurken

    Stephen and I had the best time ever! If you were in a panic, you never showed it. You must have let it all go during badminton :)

  21. darren from CkMetroPhotos

    WOW – you can prepare this for me anyday LOL!

  22. Shannon Rosan

    Your party looked absolutely charming :) And your words hit home – hard. Thank you for sharing!

  23. Kellee

    I can’t possibly believe that this was started just as people were arriving. Everything looks perfect!!

  24. Noa

    Mary, what a beautiful party! Your post really hit home. I just posted in my blog about my birthday weekend, and how I realized I need to slow down and spend more time on ME, because I tend to rush through life taking care of everything else…. Its so good to remember to slow down and realize what is REALLY important in life. Thanks for sharing!!

  25. ashley barnett

    Love this Mary! I too had to sit myself down and give myself permission to enjoy this past weekend without worry. I even banned myself from bringing my laptop with me, and luckily for me, the friend’s house we were staying at barely got data service. And it was exactly what I needed. Real conversations, real friends, real fun, without having my nose buried in a laptop screen. I let the water run slowly this weekend and I feel more full than ever :)

  26. Karen Stott

    This is beautiful and you my friend are absolutely amazing and quite the party planner!!!

    Hmmmm…. Slow down… meaningful words for me right now. love ya!!! THANKS!

  27. Brooke

    That looks like an amazing party! I wonder if life will ever slow down for me right now… but I’m trying. :)

  28. Ray

    Slow and steady sure does it. What a beautiful Fourth of July spread! I LOVE IT! And what a wonderful time you had. =o)

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