Just Keep Whisking: Encouragement for Doers of Hard Things

A few weeks ago, in honor of my love for eleven of my favorite friends, I made a gluten free buttercream, lemon curd, pancake layer cake. Jamie Oliver makes a mean pancake cake (his is covered in chocolate and dusted with nuts—Yum!) and having seen it, I was inspired.


So, as I have an insanely good gluten free pancake batter and as I have dessert-loving gluten free friends, I decided I simply had to make a pancake cake. And I simply had to make homemade lemon curd. 

So I made lemon curd like I’ve made a thousand times (okay, maybe twice). The recipe I used, instead of letting the curd sit overnight to thicken, had me whisking the lemon juice, butter, egg, and sugar mixture in a saucepan on the stove for 10 straight minutes.

I whisked with fervor.

Ten minutes into whisking my curd, I had no results, but I kept whisking. I’d stop every so often and switch hands.

Twenty minutes into whisking I pulled out my phone and read the recipe reviews. Every third reviewer said the whisking would take longer than the recipe suggested. One lady said thirty minutes. So I whisked for thirty minutes.

And nothing.

Have you ever whisked by hand for thirty minutes? You should know, it’s unpleasant.

Worn out, I decided to try the fridge. I positioned the saran wrap just so and slid the bowl of too-liquidy lemon into the cold. Fifteen minutes later my friend Jodi noticed that not only had it not thickened at all, it was starting to get funky.

She suggested I move on to plan C.

Plan C was plan A but at a slightly higher temperature.

I whisked.

Ten minutes into the second round of whisking I knew two things:

1. I was not going to stop until my curd thickened.

2. This was going to be a blog post. 

And here we are.

I whisked for another thirty minutes that night. We’re talking a grand total of an hour and ten minutes of frantic whisking.

For an hour and eight minutes I had no indication that my whisking would amount to anything.

In the final two minutes I watched a magical transformation, milky lemon juice into a thick and supremely delicious lemon curd. 

My friends licked plates and my daughter, overjoyed at the deliciousness, said, “Praise the Lawd!” For real. It was that good.

Here’s the lesson I couldn’t help but get from the night o’ whisking:

Sometimes, we will try and try and see no results, but if we stop trying we’ll never know how close we were to the end. 

Last year I lost a decent amount of weight. I ate well and exercised. But in the beginning, I didn’t lose much. It took two months before I’d lost even five pounds. I’d almost decided to give up—maybe this was just the weight I was made to be—but I didn’t give up and at month three the pounds started melting off. 

I didn’t do anything differently. I just persevered in the same hard, boring (but good) behavior. 

Do I even need to list the million ways this plays out in life? 

I think of the first time my daughter said “thank you” without being prompted. How many times had I drilled that into her little head?

I think of the first of my blog posts to really take off after months and months of every day posting. 

I think of that day somewhere around day 15 or 16 of a decision to drink only water when I start only wanting water. 

I think of the times I’ve caught myself being really and truly humble, after years and years of a monumental struggle with pride. 

Y’all, everybody’s doing something hard. Maybe you’re trying to teach your kids to be generous. Maybe you’re trying to make something beautiful. Maybe you’re beating a nasty addiction. Maybe you’re just trying to pay the bills.

Today, I want to encourage you to keep whisking. Because you never know when you’re two minutes away from lemon curd.

And lemon curd is so amazingly delicious.