Monday, February 13, 2017

_The Hancock News_ Column--February 8, 2017

The view from our front porch is a million dollar view. I’ve often bragged that of all the parsonages in all of America, we’re blessed to live in the one with the best view.

But it’s not just me. When people visit our home for the first time, they stop, look around, and enjoy their view of layers of hills and mountains. Sometimes people take pictures. They always comment about how lucky we are to be surrounded by such beauty, and they are right. We are lucky.

So it might surprise you to know that none of those breath-taking views are my favorite. For more than a decade, my rocking chairs (I’ve gone through more than one) have faced our living room window. For hours and hours, I’ve rocked my babies, held them while they slept, and stared out that window into our tree-surrounded backyard. I’ve memorized the green leaves and grass of summer and the brightly-colored and blowing leaves in fall. The bare tree trunks bend in the winter winds and green up again in spring.

Occasionally, in my window I see a flower bloom or a bird swoop. Deer, stray dogs, and even a bear have wandered into my view. Often children quickly pass back and forth across my field of vision, chasing, throwing, jumping, or wrestling.

That view is not exactly the stunning one I’d see if I stepped out the front door, but it’s my companion. It’s my comfort zone. It’s my normal.

And sometimes, after holidays and trips to see family, after meetings and general chaos, I crave normal and quiet. That is where my mind is now-- savoring the routine, enjoying the plain, rejoicing in the mundane.

The time will come again when I seek out a little more excitement, but for now I’ll sit a spell and enjoy the view out my back window.


I feed my kids “mule slop,” and they love it. “Mule slop” is only what the kids like to call it; it’s really called muesli, and it’s a quick and healthy make-ahead breakfast for when you’re so busy you have no time to enjoy any view.

This is one of those recipes you can make your own. Add whatever you like, take out whatever you don’t. I usually add in whatever fruit we have on hand. We also like to add coconut, chopped nuts, or pumpkin or chia seeds. If you don’t like honey, try maple syrup or sugar. If you can’t have dairy, use almond or coconut milk. If you don’t have the yogurt, substitute more milk. This recipe is forgiving!

Muesli (aka, Mule Slop)

2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup milk
1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup or more dried, fresh, or frozen fruit (chopped apples, raisins, blueberries, etc.)
1 cup or more seeds or chopped nuts, optional
2 Tbsp. honey (more or less, to taste)

Mix all ingredients together. Cover and refrigerate overnight. If you’d like, you can serve with additional toppings.

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