I like goals and the New Year is a great time to plan some. Having a goal, then reaching it has a satisfaction all its own. My husband, Daniel, is the same way. He likes knowing what he’s aiming for, and reaching his mark and perhaps even outdoing his last time of tackling the a similar task. Here’s my question: how is it possible to have all these goals to spur us on, yet not become discouraged if they can’t be reached?
Take for example before I was married I relished the times I had the kitchen all to myself and I could tackle baking without any distractions. My adrenaline especially kicked in when Mom was gone for the day and I decided to see what all I could have done to surprise her on her return home.
One day that especially stands out to me was when I tackled pies (something Mom loved to serve to the family, but rarely took the time to make). Besides the pies I made a large batch of granola. Things have shifted quite dramatically, today if I would tackle all that in a day, everyone around me would be miserable and hubby dear would come home to a wife that’s stressed out and falling apart, not being able to even accomplish a forth of what she had “bitten” off.
I don’t know about you, but for me having to transition from one stage in life to the next doesn’t always just fall into place. I can tell myself a hundred times that with another baby added to our family it will change many things in our home including our normal schedules, routines, and such. But you know, once that darling baby arrives I do find myself challenged at times, if my hands are in cookie dough and baby needs me right away or I simply can’t find the time to finish the dress that only needs a couple buttons sewed on before it has reached completion.
There is nothing in the world I’d rather do than be a stay at home mother for these little ones, yet I need to keep looking to God to not become self- centered or overly concerned about things that used to be important to me.
Today I had one of those “million dollar talks” with my husband’s aunt from Danville, Ohio. Even though I don’t get to see her very often she is very dear to me, I admire her way of offering encouragement and sharing what she has learned in her 50 plus years of life. She raised 10 children and also knows what it’s like to have her hands full.
Today I took the liberty of asking her some questions such as, “How did you manage getting everyone ready to go somewhere, meeting appointments and such, yet staying calm amidst it all especially if things weren’t coming together in time?”
She told me how she had to learn to allow plenty of time for these things. By planning an ample amount of time things won’t get so stressed if not everything goes as planned,” she said simply. The next bit of input is something I will hopefully never forget. It clicked. I knew it was what I needed to hear, especially in my stage right now as a busy mother. It was something like this, “By not making goals of what all we want to get done by the end of the day we are creating a flexibility that allows us to relax and have our day flow as it needs to.”
Wow, I certainly felt challenged and inspired. This aunt went on to share about the day before when she and some others traveled to a town where a person from their van load had to do some tests at doctor while the rest of them did some fabric shopping. It turned out that the doctor visit stretched out, taking much longer than expected thus resulting in the rest having to stay at the fabric store for quite some time. She went on to express what a blessing it was to not have any deadlines and just be able to spend time together at the store! Now I can just imagine how my mind would likely have been going to all the things I could be doing at home instead of being stuck with no way to return home as early as planned.
Life seems to be busy and full for all of us. How much of it really has to do with the way we handle it? In the midst of a trying moment it really does seem so unfair that things have to be going backwards, but then who said that life will be easy? Where would I be if life really would always be the way I want for it to be?
It’s 2 in the afternoon, what should my goal be for this afternoon? Daniel will probably return home from work at 3:30, that gives me another hour and a half. How about aiming to make some cookies, nonetheless hold the plan loosely and not allow it to rob my joy if Jesse needs extra attention or other things consume my time this afternoon? Daniel loves fresh homemade cookies. I can just see his eyes widen as he steps into the kitchen taking in the fresh smell and sight of warm cookies, ready to be dipped into a glass of milk.
Julia is always delighted to help me with baking so perhaps the two of us will tackle this project while the little ones hopefully sleep a little longer.
If they do awaken I want to bear in mind that their value is never to be compared with simple cookies! I’ll pass our crispy chews cornflake cookie recipe on for you to try. A friend of ours shared it with us a few years ago, you’ll be sure to enjoy the crispy chew of this unique cookie.
By the way, the support I have had from many of you certainly has been a blessing and motivation to me in many ways, so thanks and God bless you all!
CRISPY CHEWS CORNFLAKE COOKIES
• 1 1/2 cup white sugar
• 2 cups brown sugar
• 2 cups vegetable oil
• 4 egg
• 2 teaspoons vanilla
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 2 teaspoons soda
• 1 1/2 cups oatmeal
• 4 cups cornflakes or frosted flakes cereal
• 4 cups flour
Combine sugars, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Add remaining ingredients. Roll into 1 1/4-inch balls and place on greased baking sheet. Flatten slightly. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Makes 5 dozen.
-- Gloria Yoder is an Amish mom, housewife and writer in rural Illinois. The Amish Cook has been publishing weekly since 1991. The column’s creator and editor is Kevin Williams. To learn more about the column visit www.amish365.com/about.