Tag Archives: blueberry muffins

Blueberry Muffins: Update

Last night my iPhone alerted me that there was an iOS update. I set my phone to update during the night. This morning as I was preparing to make blueberry muffins my phone alerted me that it did not process the update because the phone was not connected to a power source.

I started to think about that alert message as I got out the mixing bowls, muffin mix and other ingredients for our Sunday breakfast. Could not update because it wasn’t connected to a power source.

As so often happens I started to think about life. Maybe it was the early hour of the morning or that I had not had my coffee yet, but that alert message got me thinking on a deep level.

Could not update because it wasn’t connected to a power source.

Isn’t that true for us?

Let me explain.

First, updating or improving ourselves. Whatever we want to improve; our health, attitude, the way we treat people. It is an act of updating. Updating ourselves to a new level. As coaches and teachers, we ask our students and athletes to do that, to become the best version of themselves.

Second, a power source. This is where my thoughts got deep… Because isn’t this the truth? That we can’t truly update ourselves unless we are connected to a power source. What that power source is, is up to the individual. It can be God, Love (as I have blogged about in my Love series), personal standards, goals, or other sources that provide a WHY for our lives.

Be honest, think of the times you tried to change something in your life… why did you succeed? Why did you fail? I bet the difference was because of your power source, your why. As I thought about my own kids, my past students, and athletes, I succeed at helping them be their best when I could articulate for them why it was important or tapped into their power source. Change takes time, it is difficult.

We can try all we want to do things better, but without a power source we will always get the alert that the update could not be completed.

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Follow the Directions

15 years.

52 Sundays in a year.

That is 780 Sunday mornings.

Let’s round that down to 750 (we have missed a few Sundays over the years).

12 muffins a box. (I won’t worry about any times I made more.)

9,000 muffins I have made as a dad!

And I still read the instructions on the box…(I do use milk instead of water, though.)

Instructions for blueberry muffins

Why?

Good question, and one I found myself answering Sunday morning as I measured out the milk, then oil, and then crack two eggs.

Why read the directions after 9,000 muffins? Because it matters. As many of you know, blueberry muffins are a tradition for my family. And I want to make sure the muffins are done right. So, I read and follow the directions, every time.

But isn’t that the key to success? Be it relationships, business, or sports? Doing the important things, sometimes the smallest things, right – every time.

I know that life can get crazy, distracting us from the small important things we need to do. Even our goals can draw us away from focusing on the foundational steps we should be working on to achieve that same goal. If you are feeling like life has gotten out of hand, or that you’re taking steps backwards from your goals, I suggest getting back to reading the instructions. Focusing on doing things right – every time. Soon you will look back and be amazed at how much you have accomplished. Even if it is just having breakfast every Sunday morning with your family.  9,000 muffins and counting.

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Blueberry Muffin Success

It is Sunday morning. I am making blueberry muffins for the family. Big mixing bowl, muffin mix, two eggs, ¾ cup of milk (not water), and ¼ cup of oil. Blueberries are drained and waiting. It is a familiar routine. It is a foundation of our family. A simple thing that helps keep the family and me from getting lost in the turmoil of life.

This morning I am still reeling from the feelings of doubt and uncertainty. I had a number of opportunities that I felt qualified for, but wasn’t even given a chance to prove myself. No interviews, sessions not accepted for conferences. I know that there are so many factors involved in the process of selecting candidates for a position, but, honestly, rejection hurts. You wonder why. You wonder what didn’t they see in you.

These questions fill my head as I get all the ingredients mixed and fill the muffin cups. The oven beeps that it is heated to 410 degrees. I place the pan in the oven and set the timer for 18 minutes. I grab my coffee cup (I make my coffee before the muffins) and sit at the table thinking.

Success is a tricky concept. It can be measured by money, titles, or objects if that is your definition. But what if you just want to do your best, to help people be better, to raise a strong family? What if your idea of success is happiness? How is that measured?

Part of the way we measure that type of success is from our jobs, from the impact we make in our field of expertise. Those are hard to measure and sometimes the most challenging aspect of success because of change. A new boss, chasing a goal, or a decision made by administration. Things change and sometimes we don’t know why. Life doesn’t always go our way and we don’t know why. That is why doubt can bring you down, you can’t argue against it when there is no easy measurement to counter its voice.

6294522979_685f90e4bc_zThe timer goes off. The muffins have a golden hue mixed with dots of blue. They smell warm and tasty. The family gathers around the table. Glasses are filled with orange juice and milk. Butter is applied to the muffins for those who want it. There is chatter, request for more drink, and even laughter.

Sometimes success is measured not by money or a job, but by a dozen blueberry muffins every Sunday morning.

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Blueberry Muffins 2015

The last time I talked about blueberry muffins was 2013. A lot has changed since then. This morning I made the muffins while the rest of the family was still asleep. It has been a rough couple of years, for many different reasons. As I reflected on different aspects of life, fatherhood kept coming to the forefront of my mind.Muffin Mix

The teenage years are hard. I know all about the chemical changes my sons are going through. I know they are facing peer pressure. I know they face issues with people calling them names, or asking them to compromise their values (I do think this generation is meaner and angrier then when I grew up, but that is for another post).

Then throw in social media, girls, and just discovering their own path in this world to create a confusing time for them and for me and my wife. I don’t know when they will be silently moody or sit and talk to me for half an hour about their frustrations (as highlighted by my second son who didn’t speak a word to me when he first got up this morning).

But it is Sunday morning and I am making blueberry muffins.

Like many parents, we have dealt with dishonesty, the heavy sighs when we ask them to clean their room, the issues all parents have dealt with. But as I mixed in the blueberries in the batter, I thought about how I cannot actually control my children. I cannot make them think, or feel, or believe anything. As teenagers they are in the hard process of deciding who they are. What they stand for. What future they will create. This is knowledge that is hard for me to deal with. Some lessons do not need to be learned the hard way.

As I put the muffins in the oven I understood one thing. What I could do is make blueberry muffins every Sunday morning. As a family we will sit around the table and talk, or at least nod our heads in agreement if we didn’t feel like talking. What I can control is the example I set for my family. The lessons they learn about life come from our home; this is their foundation. I know there will be rough spots to come. I know my heart will ache with the decisions they make, but my wife and I will be here to love them and to show them the right way.

Got to go, the timer just went off. The blueberry muffins are done. Time to gather the family.

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Blueberry Muffins: The Next Generation

Ready to bakeFor those who have not read much of my blogs, blueberry muffins are a Sunday morning tradition in our home.  They represent the change that any family goes through, but also shows the strength of tradition that binds a family together.  And now the next generation is in on the making of blueberry muffins.

Lately, I have been the one making the blueberry muffins on Sunday morning (teenagers do sleep in).  For the last couple of weeks I have had two little helpers.  My four and three year-old daughters have been helping me make the muffins.

I set the girls on the kitchen island with the ingredients and bowls between them.

“I’ll break the eggs. You put them in the bowl. OK, dad?”

And each daughter gets to break an egg for the muffins, and they get to break a couple for the scrambled eggs we have added to our Sunday breakfast.  The girls giggle as a little bit of the egg gets on their hands.  They rush to the bathroom to wash.  I have to wait for them.  They don’t want to miss helping at any point.

“Alright, keep the spoon in the bowl,” I say as I hold the glass bowl for my three year-old to mix the batter.

She smiles as she speeds up the spoon, creeping up the edge.  I tilt the bowl as best I can to her frantic motions.

“Very nice. Time for the blueberries.”

“Do we need that net thing?”

I reply that we do. The girls marvel at how the water turns purple.

The three of us get Sunday morning breakfast ready for the family.  At such a busy time in life, I know this routine is a way to be a dad.  We make a small mess and it takes twice as long to get breakfast done, but for 20 minutes nothing matters except us.  Every morning this week my two daughters have asked if we were having blueberry muffins.  I tell them no, but on Sunday we will.  Like we do every Sunday.

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