(Please hit the jump to recipe button above to be taken directly to the Vegan Maple Granola recipe!)
I would say that, on average, it takes me about three days to compose a blog post. The first day is really just spent furiously typing; a release of those thoughts banging around up there. The ideas are still jumbled, the whole story hasn’t been formed, and it’s just a pressing matter of getting the words down on paper. Recently, I added a blog tool that helps me with SEO (search engine optimization) so that when you type something into your search bar, somehow (some day) you end up with Follow Us Home as an option. In addition to SEO tips, this nifty little plug-in also gives me a “readability” status on each post. The first day (and currently) I’ve got a red, frowning face with a stern needs improvement. It’s true–right now things are just a messy mess, but I’m not done yet…
The second day is spent deleting half of the garbage I typed the day before, adding in any new ideas, and actively cleaning things up. Paragraph by paragraph I read it through, over and over, until things start to settle and resemble something cohesive and intelligent. I’ve usually earned an orange dissatisfied face by this point, with a grudging okay status report. Things are looking better, but it’s still not fit for any eyes but my own.
Day three is a final clean-up. Nit-picky tweaking, adding in any new and “highly relevant” thoughts, inserting pictures and working on SEO. By this day I should have a smiling green face with a good approval rating. Personally, I think the pat on the back should be more exuberant than a wishy-washy good, but maybe that’s just me. Seeking approval from a robot. I know, it seems stupid, but what I’d really like to see is something a little bit more enthusiastic. Like a great job! or well done! or wow, this’ll blow them away! But still, I settle for the good smile every time.
So while it’s not a steadfast rule, a post is usually a several-day affair. Yet here I am, on a Sunday morning, typing furiously and trying not to think about the fact that this post is due to go up this afternoon. Because I’m trying really, really hard to maintain a regular posting schedule. But Life doesn’t seem to care too much about that. She doesn’t care that I wake up each morning and firmly set my intentions. She doesn’t care about my mental to-do lists. She doesn’t care that I like (and thrive on) structure and routine. What She apparently does care about is making a whole lot of plans for me…and then forgetting to tell me about them. And what She’s watching is how I handle the turbulence.
Obviously, life is much easier when I stay flexible. If I go with the flow and don’t worry (too much) about my plans. But one of the reasons I really like my plans is because at the end of the day I’ve accomplished a lot. Sometimes a lot lot, and honestly, it’s a pretty great feeling. Great enough that it even keeps me motivated during those mid-day slumps when I’d much rather take a nap in the sun than tackle the next big project.
Because there’s a certain (high) degree of satisfaction that comes with climbing into bed at the end of a long day and feeling like I did something worthwhile. Something with a purpose. Something that helps move me towards my goal. Maybe it’s one of the reasons why I sleep so soundly, probably with a cat-that-ate-the-canary grin on my face. In a world that sometimes leaves me feeling powerless, control over my own life has always brought some measure of relief. Even if it is a completely superficial control, it brings a little bit of order into this chaotic world.
Short & Sweet?
And a lot of the time when Life (and we all really know I’m talking about God here, right?) messes with my carefully chosen plans, I accomplish far less–visually, at least. Some days, you could even say my accomplishments feel only as great as the degree to which I stayed flexible. Honestly, even this lengthy blog post wasn’t part of my plan. My intentions were to apologize for what was going to be a short and sweet post, but let you know that I’ll be back later this week with a more thoughtful one that I’ve been working on.
And then I was going to say that if at any time in the past you’ve left me a comment on this blog, I realize that you probably didn’t get my reply. (Because I always reply. Comment conversations are one of my favorite things.) And then I was going to say that I’ve got a new comment system in place now that should hopefully make things easier. And that maybe you want to leave me a note so we can “test” it. (Insert smirky face. I really miss my excessive use of Instagram emojis.)
And lastly, I was going to share an easy and delicious vegan maple granola recipe, wish you a very happy Sunday, and be on my way.
Start Typing. Don’t Stop.
And then what do I do? I sit down, start typing, and don’t stop. These keys are like magic; they help me put so much in order. I’m not sure if I’m writing these posts for you or for myself, but by the end I always feel like something is just a little bit clearer. And I understand my ways just a little bit more. And I release some of that tight-fisted control and remember that God knows exactly where I want to go. And She always knows the best way to get there. Stay flexible, She says. Because sometimes your plans stink. She’s right. Sometimes they do.
But now we’ve reached Sunday afternoon. I still don’t have my photos yet and my readability analysis is at a half-hearted orange. So maybe this post won’t be my very best, but it’s where I was led. And I’m okay with that. Stay flexible.
(My final update before hitting publish: I now have two green, smiling faces. And a good pat on the back from each. Looks like this might happen after all…
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup raisins
- 3/4 cup buckwheat raw
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds raw
- 1/2 cup almonds raw, chopped
- 1/4 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds) raw
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup coconut oil melted
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 300°
Add the rolled oats, buckwheat, sunflower seeds, almonds, pepitas and cinnamon to a mixing bowl and stir until well combined. Add in the melted oil, maple syrup and vanilla and stir thoroughly until the mixture is well coated.
Spread the granola on 1 or 2 large and ungreased baking sheets and bake for 20 minutes. Stir and bake for another 20 minutes. Stir and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until the granola is browned and crunchy.
Let the granola cool and then stir in the raisins. Store in an airtight container.
Have a happy Monday, friends. xoxo