Passion. Joy. Fulfillment. Those words mean different things to us throughout our lives. When I was young, dressing up and being outside gave me joy. What is it about what you do for a living that gives you joy? What keeps you going when the world around you feels like a tornado? Is there something that keeps you grounded and centered? If you had pixie dust, what is the one thought that makes you happy enough to fly? Sharing a part of yourself, celebrating family and friends- that’s what motivates me and brings me joy.
Growing up, one way we would share joy with others is to share our food and time with others. Pot luck dinners, bringing freshly baked cookies to neighbors or friends “just because” or perhaps as a way to bring cheer during a rough patch of life. Celebrations were always the exciting times to share homemade treats. Every June I’d practice my cake baking skills for one of my favorite teachers/friends, Dorann Salvaggio. Christmas time meant cookie decorating, cookie exchanges, and cookie gift baskets. I remember helping a family friend, Cathy Wright, with their cookie baskets one year. I learned how to make Anise Biscotti from another family friend, Angela Zale. My mom always had something to share with someone, whether it was flowers from the yard, a meal, baked goods, or her famous “Zagata Mix” (my mom’s version of Chex Mix).
One baked good I always liked to share with others was chocolate chip cookies. I’ve practiced and modified that recipe over the years, but the motive behind sharing the cookies remained the same. Love. One family I was close to growing up was with the Hinman family. Mr. and Mrs. Hinman were our youth group leaders, Mrs. Hinman was my teacher and mentor, and the Hinman kids were our close friends. Mr. Hinman had MS, and at one point, was unable to leave home. I loved visiting him, and those visits would include freshly baked chocolate chip cookies and a six pack of Dr. Pepper. Chocolate chip cookies were also sent to friends in college, although at that time, I’m sure they arrived in crumbs. Glenn Cointot was my “older brother from another mother,” and he received his fair share of chocolate chip cookie crumbs disguised as a care package. Glenn shared his cookie crumbs with a friend, Aaron Skelton, which in turn opened the door for me to go to England for a couple of years. While in England, I learned the joy of cooking & baking for large groups of people from Tony Andrea and his family.
My husband, Joseph, encouraged me to share my passion with others by starting up Paula’s Zzerts. I love spending Saturday mornings at the market, meeting new people, connecting with families, and seeing children grow up. This is our sixth season of farmers markets, and I’ve enjoyed the honor of being a part of your lives. It is so humbling when a child comes to my booth to decorate a cookie or purchase something using their own money. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your lives, and we look forward to continuing our relationships with you.
Find your joy, find your passion- your pixie dust- and share it with others. You never know what a simple act of kindness can do to help others out and impact their life.