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  • Writer's pictureMeg Grimm

Shaping & Waiting: What Soapmaking is Teaching Me About Taking My Time

Even with the quarantine, progress is still as slow as molasses.

(I used molasses for the first-time during quarantine, by the way. I made my great-great-grandmother’s gingerbread cookies when we ran out of things to eat for breakfast!)

I’m not complaining though. I’ve learned a lot.

Lately, the lesson that keeps resurfacing for me is this: I am usually better off than I think I am.

I learned this when I published my book. I learned it when I started my LLC (to publish my books). I learned it when I designed my websites and social media accounts to advertise my book. I had doubted myself so much, but it was all for nothing. And I’m learning this again with soapmaking.

In fact, I recently joined the, and even as I’m asking questions, I am realizing that I already know the answers. It just doesn’t always FEEL like it. In other words, there I go doubting myself again!

But finally, at 34 years old, I’m recognizing and fighting this tendency. All it really does is waste precious time. After all, I should only be looking at myself the way God looks at me.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I don’t need others. I am ALL about mentors and teamwork and two-heads-are-better-than-one. I wish more so-called experts in various fields wanted to treat me like an equal and help me grow. But that’s not the response I often receive.

However, when I do ask for help and either get a response or nothing, it’s usually enough to show me that I am better off than I thought. I know more than I think I know. I'm okay.

Nowadays when I feel the doubts rising up, I simply focus my attention on Jesus. Then I know in my knower that if the Lord wants any of my endeavors to succeed, they will. If something is not part of His plan for my life, He will redirect my path. This has really given me freedom to relax. Jesus will take care of opening and closing the doors that need it. Sometimes, success according to me is not the same as success according to Him anyway.

What does this have to do with soapmaking and Castle Gardens?

Well, Castle Gardens has recently evolved into what it’s meant to be. In the next few months, I’ll be doing a post explaining that and introducing the kind of posts that will be on this blog from now on.

But when it comes to soapmaking, for me, my experience has been a little different than most.

For me, I’ve not just wanted to make soap. It has long been a dream of mine to sell it. I’ve always been drawn to the handmade soap booths at farmer’s markets and fairs. If it were up to me, I would purchase at least one bar of handmade soap every time I come across it. I think it’s enchanting and beautiful, and I want to be part of producing it.

Unlike most other soapers, who started out making soap and later turned the hobby into a business, the reason why I learned how to make soap in the first place was to make it into a business. It means that every single batch of soap I’ve ever made was with the future in mind.

From day one, I’ve thought about what I want in my soap, what I want it do, what I want it to be called, how it should be packaged and presented and sold and shipped. I’ve examined other artisan brands. I’ve researched and experimented. The details involved for this project are just as many as were there for the publishing company, and each one deserves just as much careful thought. And I’m close! Agonizingly close!

But, that molasses…

The biggest thing holding me back with soapmaking has always been the curing time. Until I know my recipe and method produces a nice, hard bar of soap in the end, I don’t want to keep using up ingredients. So, for the most part, I have to wait a long time in between soapmaking days.

While I’ve waited, I can tell you that my plans for my end product have changed dramatically over the course of time. The soap I will put on the market is nowhere near the same soap I had envisioned earlier. As the vision becomes clearer in my mind, it is even more beautiful to me.

The same recipe - different methods.
The same recipe - different methods.

In addition, when I first started researching soapmaking, I was intimidated by the science and the online soaper language. Now when I read questions and answers on the soapmaking forum, everything is familiar to me. Math and science are not my strong suits, but I keep it simple. I have learned so much. I just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Miraculously, the pieces are falling in place.

For those who need to hear this today: NEVER GIVE UP ON A DREAM! (Unless God wants you to give it up. Then definitely give it up. Don’t worry, He has another dream for you!) God molds and shapes our desires as we submit to Him. You have these ideas in your heart for a reason! The process may seem impossible or at least daunting, or agonizingly slow. But God is working on a spectacular end product, too. I don’t know if anything will truly happen with my soap business, but I’m grateful for the journey. To God, that's what it's about.

Now I know that when my ideas have had a chance to evolve over time, they pleasantly surprise me. Shock me even. Since God is shaping me, my ideas are also being shaped into far better versions of themselves. Much better than I could have imagined myself.

My point is that there are going to be times when I would do better to let my creativity unfold over time. And I would do well to discern when those times are and to diligently wait for all God is going to reveal.

Soapmaking has been a good teacher for that.

Blessings to you on your journey.

Meg Grimm is a writer and historian who loves Jesus, tea time, folklore and fairy tales. In the real world, she works in a castle - at least some people call it that. She is married to Max, and they have a cat-dog named Bill. One day, you'll find her living in a cottage deep in the woods writing your next favorite book.

#soapmaking #soap #goatsmilksoap #chandlery #dreams #waiting

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