“Enjoy things for what they are instead of what you thought they should be”—Mandy Hale

This week I gave a ride to the Sister Missionaries from our church. As we were pulling out of the garage, one of them asked sweetly “Is your life everything you thought it would be?” I think I responded a little too quickly with “Hah! No!” because the face of this sweet bright-eyed young woman fell almost as quick. Clearly I hadn’t given her the answer she was anticipating. Maybe “all I hoped for and more” was what she wanted to hear; Or “It’s different but Oh so much better. ” When I saw her disappointment I tried to recover with “well, you know, I envisioned myself living in a house with an automatic garage door…”

As we drove we talked a little more about it- about the boy I dated in high school and the life I saw for myself then and how different my life would have turned out had that relationship not ended the way most first loves do. And how it’s so easy when you’re young to create a timeline for yourself but that life rarely follows the plans made by teenagers or 20 year old girls. Of course life changes you and I’m different in so many ways than the girl I was when I made those plans…

I keep coming back to that conversation. What did I imagine my life would be? I can’t actually think of what”everything I imagined” is but most days, in the trenches I’m sure this isn’t it.

Recently Buster did a small presentation in German about his family.

Das ist mein mama. Sie bleibt zu hause. Sie mag Schlaf.

This is my mom. She stays home. She likes sleep.

Except it isn’t. Not Really.

I’m sure my vision included beautiful kids, happy husband, a lovely home, being active in my community, volunteering at the school, having a beautiful yard… I would be loving and patient and my children’s greatest cheerleader, inspiring them to greatness. Of course I would have time for developing my own talents and interests and nights out with friends. And muffins. Good Moms always have home-made muffins.

Maybe you imagined sticky floors and bad hair days and to-do lists undone. I’m sure I must have. But I didn’t imagine how it would feel to have those things every single day. When I imagined craft time with the Lady, I didn’t imagine my already less than steady glitter glue hand being bumped over and over as I try to juggle 2 babies at the same time. I thought of myself doing my little girl’s hair in the morning, but didn’t envision her tender head or her yelling at me like I am trying to murder kindly assist her whenever I attempt a braid. And I didn’t think of the afternoons spent rocking and jostling and fighting crying babies to sleep only to wake them up to take Buster to the pool. I never thought I’d feel so housebound or what it  is to evaluate how tired I am not by how much I’d like a nap ,but in terms of my ability to form complete sentences versus the level of tired that causes double vision.

I know I imagined 4 children. But I didn’t (and how could I?) have known they would come after and between years of infertility. It’s because I know just how blessed I am to have them all, when I am frustrated or angry or at the end of my fuse rope, I feel so much guilt; guilt because with all I have, shouldn’t I be walking around in a state of constant blissful gratitude All. The. Time?

And I know I can’t be the only one. There are so many online posts of things they never tell you about pregnancy or childbirth or staying at home with kids or your first ten years of marriage. Because it really isn’t what anyone imagined. And when people ask how things are going, they really only want half the story so we share the best half and feel like everyone else’s whole lives are made up of all the best halves and why not ours? But then I have these glimpses.

  • At lunch when I am actually on time to pick up the Lady from kindergarten and I have a baby snuggled happily on my front and one sleeping on my back. We walk home holding hands in the sun until Buster runs to catch up behind us and we can all walk together.
  • Saturday afternoon when Squidge and Squdge were both napping at the same time, the Lady was at a tea party and when I suggested to Buster he IMG_5266do something creative, he chose painting, and we had time to practice our water colours together.
  • And how The lady cannot walk by Squdge in the exersauser without hitting it’s music button and dancing a crazy little jig, every single time.
  • Or whenever we develop a system for doing something right- like all 6 of us going swimming together and getting everyone showered and changed without it ending in a mess of forgotten goggles, broken jars of baby lotion and tears. 

It’s important to have vision. To hope. To see things, good things that can come. To remind ourselves that it won’t always be this way. Sometimes that’s all we have to get us through. But there are times, seasons, whole years maybe, when thinking about what you wanted for your life gets in the way of wanting your life.

“When you release expectations you are free to enjoy things for what they are instead of what you thought they should be”   —Mandy Hale

I have so much to enjoy.

But I still wish I lived in a house with an automatic garage door. IMG_5257

I love cookies. I would rather eat a cookie than cake or pie any day. I love how satisfying it is to bite into the perfectly chewy and sweet with just a little crunch of a cookie. I like them hot out of the oven, frozen, with milk, with peanut butter spread on like icing…I had someone ask me once if I even ate carbs because my lunch was all meat and veggies and fruit. I replied that I do, I just prefer to get my carbs from cookies. Its a bit of a problem.

To add variety and speed up our mornings a little bit, I decided to try my hand at breakfast cookies. Of course “healthy” is relative. These aren’t as healthy as a lot of breakfast choices, but since my kids love to eat pancakes and eggs drowning in maple flavored corn syrup, or french toast with icing sugar and chocolate sauce, when put on the scale of fun breakfasts, they are pretty healthy.

These breakfast cookies are no joke. They have the joy of a cookie while still giving you a bit of that “stick to your ribs” feeling that a bowl of oatmeal would leave you with. They are kind of like a really dense muffin, or a soft, not so sticky granola bar. They aren’t too sweet but the dates add that little bit of chewiness and well, the chocolate chips…

Incidentally, on Friday I made this recipe: http://www.amittenfullofsavings.com/easy-breakfast-recipe-omelet-breakfast-bites/

Buster took one bite and shouted “First breakfast cookies and now breakfast cupcakes?! I love my life!”

Ginny’s Breakfast Cookies

  • 1/2 Cup Milk
  • 3 Tbsp Chia seeds
  • 1 large ripe banana mashed
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup nut butter **I used natural peanut butter. If you chose peanut butter with added sugar, you might want to decrease the sugar in the recipe
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 cups oatmeal
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • **1/2 tsp salt if using unsalted nut butter
  • 1 cup pitted dates chopped fine **For a little more tartness try 1/2 cup dates and 1/2 cup craisins.
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the milk and chia. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes so the chia can soften and gel.

Stir in the mashed banana, apple sauce, egg, peanut butter and sugar. Mix until smooth.

Add the oatmeal, coconut, chopped dates and chocolate chips. Stir to combine. The consistency will be like a thick batter.

Drop about 2 tbsp each onto a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper or greased. With a spoon flatten and shape into cookie rounds. Bake for 20 minutes.

—Makes about 18 cookies




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Mama to 2 plus twin babies, Wife, Triathlete, Experimental baker, Viking Princess and Renaissance woman

7 thoughts on ““Enjoy things for what they are instead of what you thought they should be”—Mandy Hale”

  1. SO true. I sure had a different plan for my life. Some of it involved discovering I was actually the lost child of European royalty. But alas, I am pretty much a North American peasant…..one of the masses. Our RS lesson was on finding happiness in every stage of life. I figure I might as well be happy! The alternative to choosing to be happy is just too……sad.

  2. This is a MUCH more enjoyable and edifying read than my usual choices when I’m procrastinating getting out of bed in the morning to get on with my life that hasn’t turned out like I expected.

    p.s. I also had/have the European royalty dream

  3. I love Buster’s enthusiasm! Thank you for the cookie recipe. I can’t wait to try it since the sample you gave me was delish. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard Russ talk about when he was in school in Montreal and we were at the bottom of the furniture food chain. We new this because single students gave us a futon. At the time we had no living room furniture and no money to buy any. I splurged and for Russ’ birthday bought a neon green plastic blow up chair so that we would have something to sit on, only one of us at a time mind you (that was pre futon donation). All things in time – including garage door openers. In the mean time keep looking for those priceless moments of realized pure joy, like the Lady’s crazy dance moves.

  4. Another great post!! Buster’s comment melted my heart!! Recognizing the little things sure helps me love my life too.

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