|a hero is someone who is noted for courageous acts or nobility of character; someone who has special abilities, achievements, or personal qualities. my everyday heroes are the ones that live faithfully, beautifully, and often quietly. this is where I acknowledge the extraordinary and remarkable attributes of the every-person in our midst.|
She was this girl I saw here and there, we ran in some of the same circles. She and her husband came to our wedding, and their card to us said this:
“Leave and cleave. Bump the haters.”
I knew then and there that I wanted to be friends.
A few months after our wedding, we ended up buying their house…and they ended up moving next door. About a year has passed and I can say in that time that Kayla has become one of my best friends and favorite neighbor ever. It helps that our husbands (Walter and Nick) were good friends and roommates in college and owned a business together; we all have fun together – and we bump the haters.
While life is fun, there are also hard times that bring about seasons of change. Last April, Walter’s brother passed away and three of their nephews came to join our neighborhood. They are amazing kids and as we’ve gotten to know them, we can’t imagine not having them around. They each have such a unique personality – and I know more about Toy Story and Pokemon than I ever thought possible.
Kayla and Walter made the decision that she would leave her job as a case manager at a children’s home to take care of the boys. There were preparations of the house, changes in schedules, doctor’s visits, registration at new schools and learning new routines; things are ever shifting and settling as this new family grows together.
In each celebration and challenge that comes and goes I get to see more of who Kayla is. Her loyalty, her tender heart, her sense of justice. The hilarity and fun, the laid back generosity. The lack of fuss with which she accomplishes difficult tasks. There is determination and grit driven by her commitment to God, her family, and the people she loves. Because of all these things I count her as one of my everyday heroes.
As we’ve done life together, things are regularly shuttled between our two homes. Random visits, books, workout sessions, text messages galore, heartfelt conversations, parties and playtime, and food. Definitely food. Cups of sugar, mayonnaise for a recipe, a sandwich here and a bowl of soup there, the best no-bake cookies, and…(pause of hushed reverence) – Kayla’s magical muffins.
When I wander over and see those muffins sitting quietly under the glass dome of her cake stand I mentally rub my hands together in glee and try not to eat a million.
They’re soft, delicately sweet, and dotted with the perfect amount of melty chocolate chips. The recipe is surprisingly flexible, doesn’t have refined sugar, and the muffins only take 10-15 minutes to bake. Yes, yes, yes.
The recipe is posted below for you – if you’ve been thinking about saying hey to your neighbor, make a double batch and take it next door. It could be the beginning of something great.
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- ¼ cup ground flax or chia seed
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ¾ cup sucanat, coconut palm sugar, honey, or maple syrup
- ½ cup chocolate chips (Kayla definitely added more)
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 1 egg
- ½ cup olive oil, melted coconut oil, or melted butter
- Preheat oven to 350.
- In large mixing bowl, mix flour, salt, baking soda, sucanat, and chocolate chips. In another bowl mix yogurt, egg, and oil or melted butter. Mix wet ingredients gently with dry ingredients until just combined.
- Divvy up batter evenly into greased muffin tins.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes then let cool slightly - they are extra super delicious when they are right-out-of-the-oven warm!!
Sub coconut palm sugar or brown sugar for sucanat