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“Every person is a monument to the decisions they’ve made.”
I’ll bet my kids have heard those words a thousand times.
The first time I heard them, I was in university, I think. They were spoken in a Sunday sermon (by Pastor Bill Mugford if I’m not mistaken, at Toronto’s Stone Church) and the truth of them struck me so forcefully I wrote them down inside the back cover of my Bible to preserve them.
That Bible has long since disintegrated and gone, but the words live on. I hope my kids will speak them to their own kids one day.
They convey, in a line, the deep reality that every decision we make in life – no matter how small – can have far reaching consequences. And that even seemingly small choices often form the foundation on which far more significant choices are made.
Sometimes, we find the courage and strength to do the right thing in tough circumstances only because we’ve had lots of practice; having made countless little determinations to be honest or kind or giving under far less weighty conditions before.
That saying continues to inspire me in middle age; I thought of it again one Sunday morning a couple of weeks ago.
Now, I am by nature an early riser, the “open-my-eyes-jump-out-of-bed” type. But on this particular Sunday morning, the air felt cool, and the bed felt warm, and so I snuggled down under the covers and thought about how delicious it would be to just drift back to sleep for another hour or so.
But I knew it would mean we’d be having cereal for breakfast. And in that moment, I remembered the monuments I was building in my life and in my home.
You see, it’s sort of a tradition in our home to have homemade muffins for Sunday breakfast. It helps to make Sundays special. Add in a pot of brewed coffee, yogurt and fresh fruit, and we all look forward to our time around the table together.
Having one child away at university is an ever present reminder that my other two children won’t be home forever. My time with them is limited. And on that particular Sunday morning, my ‘monumental’ thought was this: ‘When the kids are all grown and gone, I want them to remember waking up on Sunday mornings to the aroma of homemade muffins baking in the oven.’ The thought was enough to get me on my feet.
And within an hour, my husband and kids were coming down the stairs, sleep still in their eyes, to the warm, spicy-sweet aroma of pumpkin muffins.
Classic Pumpkin Muffins
3 cups flour (the original recipe calls for all purpose flour, but I like to make them with at least half whole wheat flour)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. cloves
3 c. sugar
2 c. pure pumpkin puree
2/3 c. milk
2/3 c. oil
METHOD: Preheat oven to 375 F. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Combine wet ingredients in another bowl. Combine wet ingredients and dry ingredients, mixing just until moistened.
Fill paper-lined muffin tins 3/4 full. Bake in pre-heated oven for 20 minutes or until tested done with a toothpick inserted in the centre of the muffin.