The experience of the past 3 weeks has brought new perspective into my life. No one prepares you for this time because, well, it’s impossible to prepare for. I cannot tell you how many stories I have read or heard of from those who have lost their parents and I have felt gut-wrenching pain of empathy but it doesn’t even compare to the actual experience. They tell you what to expect and how it alters your perspective of living but I tell you, once you walk through it, every cliche becomes a reality, leaving you to believe that cliches are cliches for a reason.
There are three lessons that speak the loudest in my heart during this time of watching my mother transition from this life to the next. It’s a humbling experience that has made me rethink life and inevitably has changed my perspective.
Lesson #1: Just be kind, dammit. You never know what kind of day someone is having.
There is a story here at the hospital that my mother worked at that I feel fortunate to now know because it speaks to the bright light this human being was on this earth. She used to work as a finance counselor and would be the person hounding down those who hadn’t yet pay their hospital bills. There was one older gentleman in particular who butted heads with my mother about his payment and who expressed his deep dissatisfaction with her to her face. But the woman that she was, sent this man a birthday card for YEARS, even after the bill was paid for. When he heard of the condition of my mother, his heart broke and he had a card for her. My mother’s kindness is what he will always remember about her because she had a way to making you like a person, even if you didn’t agree with her. So just be nice. Besides, you never know when that grumpy person you bumped into at the store just got back from watching his or her mother in the hospital.
Kindness always wins. Always.
Lesson #2: Live your damn life how you want.
I’ve noticed myself shy away from a lot of things in fear of what others would think but if there is one thing for certain that my mother did, she lived her life as she wanted and she didn’t care if you disapproved. If she was happy that was enough reason for her to do what she did. She, of course, wasn’t hurting puppies or anything like that, but the gist of it is that the only voice she listened to was her own. So do you want to hear how I did my first brave thing in light of this lesson? I know this will sound silly so don’t laugh at me but I actually posted a photo of myself on Instagram after having made table side guacamole in my mother’s hospice room. I know this seems like such a seemingly dumb thing to bring up but I’ve always shied away from it because I would think, “Nobody wants to see photos of me.” Or even talking about personal matters over here. I stopped doing that because I thought how tedious it must have been for everyone to listen to me. Now, as I learn from that strong, brave woman that is lying on that hospital bed, I shall forever take her pair of cojones on loan and stand proud while I timidly say, “This is my life. It’s not about anyone else’s approval but about what *I* want to do.” Isn’t that how you live authentically anyway? So here’s to more IG photos and more self reflections over here. Thanks, mom.Print
Mint Chip Brownies
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 20 mins
- Total Time: 35 mins
- Yield: 8 Brownies 1x
- 1 box Enjoy Life Foods brownie mix (follow the instructions on the box)
For the frosting:
- 1/3 c. vegetable shortening
- 1/3 c. nondairy butter, softened
- 3 c. powdered sugar
- 1 Tbsp. nondairy milk
- couple drops mint extract
- couple drops green all natural food coloring
- 1 c. Enjoy Life chocolate chips
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a muffin pan or line with muffin liners.
- Follow the instructions for the brownies according to the box. I used nondairy milk instead of water but just be sure to understand that if you do this, you might need to increase the amount of liquid a little depending on the thickness.
- Pour into the muffin tin, filling 8 cavities 3/4 of the way full and bake for 15-18 min or until the tops of the brownies spring back up when gently pushed down.
- Allow to cool.
- With an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the shortening and nondairy butter together. You can use all shortening or all butter, depending on your food allergies.
- Add the nondairy milk, food coloring, and powdered sugar, 1/2 c. at a time until nice and fluffy. Add the extract in. Fold in the chocolate chips.
- Scoop frosting onto each brownie cupcake.
This recipe is made with Enjoy Life Food’s brownie mix that is free of all Top 8 food allergies
Because these brownies are made in a muffin tin, they are almost more like cupcakes, especially once they get a nice rise while baking.
You are free to keep the frosting amount the same or half it. I’m not a fan of too much frosting so to each their own.
Lesson #3: Just enjoy your damn life, okay?
Don’t sweat the small stuff and carpe diem. How’s that for cliche? But for reals, let the dumb, little things go and make the most out of your life and love the heck out of those in your circle who deserve it. Eat the freakin’ mint chip brownies and don’t forget to enjoy every bite of it! But the trick is, said my mother, don’t eat more than one (maybe all you need is a bite or even half) and just eat enough to the point before you stop enjoying it. I always loved her philosophy on life and if you knew her, you’d know she enjoyed every last minute. Even the crumbs. Seriously. She would lick her finger and eat the crumbs.
And how perfectly fitting it is to say to enjoy your life with an Enjoy Life recipe using their brownie mix and chocolate chip. I wasn’t even sure how this would all fit in but I love how it comes full circle, just as life does. You already know how much I adore Enjoy Life (you can see it in these recipes here, here, and here) and how much they have opened up new ways of loving the kitchen again despite having food allergies. If you haven’t see their latest baking mixes, please check them out. They take the guesswork out of allergen free baking. And these mint chip brownies make a fun St. Patrick’s Day treat.
My mom would say to buy Enjoy Life, so do it for mom.
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I always believe life is beautiful. The way you explain about life is just wonderful. I definitely try this mint chip brownies.
We lost my husband’s mother this last summer. While she was feeling poorly, she didn’t have anything wrong that would kill her. But evidently, the strain was too much for her heart. She never had heart problems before so it was a shock to us all when she suddenly died. We were so blessed by the people that provided meals and sleeping space for our large family of 50+ people. Kindness always matters. Always. I’m so sorry for your loss….we know how it feels.
Im warching my mom fight a losing battle w cancer. Your story is so touching, our bravest heros.are fone from our lives the soonest…leaving holes in our hearts, and emptiness in our sould. God bless your family and prayers for your mother.
Sounds like I would have loved to have known your mum. Do keep telling stories about her, it helps us to feel like we kinda knew her, too.
Much love and my thoughts are with you all. x
I just read this quote by some guy about Elizabeth Taylor. Here it goes. “She had her own style of dressing and getting made up and whether people found it stylish ornate, she didn’t give a damn.” Don’t you just love that? And then to read your post today showing that your mom agrees, well, girl, I’m about to go dye my hair blue. No. Maybe not. But I’m gonna do something weird. Someday.
Seriously, your post made me smile and I love the inspiration coming through you from your mom. I wish I could hug you both right now!
Thank you for having your blog!!!! I am gluten free, egg free, dairy free, chocolate free and soy free. This brownie post made me sad but after many, many years of avoiding these foods I have basically just numbed myself to the images. Your pictures are beautiful. I eat meat and vegetables and have fallen in love with coconut oil ?. Bless your family. I agree with being nice. My mother taught me that you don’t know what is happening in that persons life.
I loved seeing your face on Instagram. 🙂 think about you lots. And I like these 3 lessons.
Sending you much love during this difficult time. I loved this post and the lessons you shared – so meaningful and relatable. Oh, and thank you for the fabulous recipe (as usual). I think you are great. Hang in there.
You’re like the little engine that could; facing life bravely, head on, compassionate, giving and loving. You are one amazingly strong spirit and I know how hard it is having been through it.
You and your sibs remain the best gifts a mother could ever wish for.
All my love, as always,
Your strength is beyond admirable! I’m sure your mom is smiling from ear-to-ear reading these posts, looking at your beautiful pictures and hearing all of your heartfelt thoughts and words. May peace be with you, Cara. I bawled my eyes out reading your last post about your mom, as I am reminded of the days I spent in the hospital at my mother-in-law’s bedside (she was placed in a medically induced coma due to a rare strain of pneumonia). It wasn’t easy, as you already know, but like your mother, we granted her her last wish of passing away in dignity and peace. I enjoyed seeing your smile on your IG pic, as I am sure your mom did, too. Please know that we are all here for you – pulling for you, your mom and your family. Much strength and love to you! xoxo
Oh my! this is incredible!!!!!!! TOTALLY make this over the weekend!
I just wanted to thank you for this post. I don’t know what I’d do if I lost my mom, but I nearly lost my husband a month or so back. Tomorrow morning he leaves for a treatment facility that will hopefully be what is needed to figure out how he can grow old with me. This post was really helpful and just what I needed. Thanks again, your mother sounds amazing and I’m happy she’s continuing to do good through you after she’s gone.
I love this post so much. #1 fills my heart with so much happiness. We often do not realize how our actions, both positive and negative, effect others. I’m sending you hugs from afar. Thank you for sharing this time in your life with us.
Let Thy food
Sending so much love, Cara.
you’ve got it all right, girl. and yes, we just don’t get it until we go through it, unfortunately (I lost my dad when I was 12). your mom is so proud of you! remember to “forever take her pair of cojones on loan and stand proud”, in everything <3
Anjali @ Vegetarian Gastronomy
You’re right Cara…it really doesn’t compare to reality when you’re actually going through it. But it’s probably the only way to get through it after it happens…PERSPECTIVE…it’s the only way to come to peace and terms with what has happened and try to move forward. Love reading your lessons…the constant reminder is always needed to just live your life, be kind, and try to let little things go…so simple right? yet sometimes so difficult to do when u get caught up in life until something hard hits and makes you think about everything. Well how fitting…love Enjoy Life, and great note to remember =) I still have yet to try their baking mixes…need to order them online. I’m addicted to their chocolate chips ha. I love mint, and i love chocolate. This recipe sounds delicious…hoping to make them with the kids sometime this month! Loved seeing a pix of you on instagram today btw!
I’m really sorry for your heartache right now. Thank you for sharing a bit of yourself along with these absolutely delicious-looking treats.
I’m a longtime lurker on your blog. I’m sorry to hear of your mother’s death. You’re in this Internet stranger’s thoughts. 🙂
On a lighthearted note, and this recipe sounds freaking amazing. I can’t wait to make it for my nephews and nieces. They’re going to love it!