For JEL, HKL, SH - who have all been training me to say NO.
I think that when God designed me, He left me with a huge gap where the word "NO" should have been. I have no problem saying the word NO to my children. "No more sugar" or "No more books" or "No more play time" or "No more snacks" but the word NO when someone asks me for help is something that I still struggle with as a 40 year old (almost 41, gulp) woman.
If a friend, family member, or even an acquaintance asks me to do something - I find it extremely hard to say no. This is in light of the fact that I'm raising three kids, work part time, write a food blog and serve at my church. Requests for things come flying in and I cannot squeeze the word "NO" out. This is a flaw that a great number of my friends and family have been berating me for for a long, long, long time, and one friend even went as far as writing me scripts so that I could practice telling someone "no."
But I HATE disappointing people. I hate the look of "OH NO" on their faces when I tell them that I can't do something that they need me to do. I don't like feeling that I'm incapable of doing something that people are asking me to do. I like feeling super capable, extra energetic, and extremely hardworking that I can handle it all.
On top of it all, I also cannot do anything halfway. If you ask me to do something, I go all out. As my friend SH says, "When you want something done, give it to a busy person" which is always her comment when she sees me taking on the next huge thing, whether it be offering to grade papers for a teacher or making a ton of food for a school event. I keep saying yes, I keep going all out, and I just can't stop it.
It's pretty pathetic. I exhausted myself this past May and June with the sheer number of commitments I took on and was determined to finish. I even found myself offering to do EXTRA things (WHY JOANNE WHY) just to prove that I could. And the end result was that Husband and Children suffered immensely. My own inability to take a stand, to set boundaries, to build walls to protect my sanity meant that Family suffered. I yelled, I screeched, I demanded, and I was generally an extremely awful person to be around. There wasn't enough of anything to keep me calm, and I took it out on Family.
These days I've been put in more than a number of awkward positions with requests. But I learned my lesson in May and June that it isn't my job to do everything for everyone. I do have a commitment and an obligation to Family first, before I take on the rest of the world. It's not that I don't want to be helpful, because I want to be helpful. It's not that I don't want to be giving either, but I want to have a sense of space in my life that is whole and not constantly being chopped into little pieces because of the demands of the outside world.
So here's to a few awkward moments as I learn to set boundaries. Here's to having space that is not invaded by my incessant need to please others. Here's to learning to say "No" and not feeling bad about it. In a toast to my new hopefully found independence from saying "Yes" -I give you Pretzel Toffee Cookie. It's pretty hard for me to say "NO" to this cookie, but I think it's okay in this context. The cookie doesn't take time from my family, nor does it threaten to put a storm cloud over my head. It does threaten to put a few pounds on my hips, so maybe I should learn to say no to this as well.
Okay - maybe just one more.
Pretzel Toffee Cookies
Makes 5 dozen
2 sticks of butter, room temperature
1 ⅔ cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
¾ cups toffee chips (like Heath or Skor)
½ cup old-fashioned oats
2 cups mini pretzel twists, left whole
Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl (either in a stand mixer or in a bowl where you can use a hand mixer) and cream on medium high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg and vanilla and beat until all ingredients are mixed together, another 3 to 4 minutes.
Reduce speed to low, and add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Beat until just mixed, about 1 minute.
Add chocolate chips, toffee chips and oats, and mix until just blended. Finally, add pretzels and allow them to be mixed in. Do not over mix, or you will completely crush the pretzels. (A few large chunks are rather nice.)
Now the dough needs to rest. Take cookie dough, wrap it in saran wrap, place it in a sealed plastic bag and refrigerate. You can rest it for 8 hours, but 24 hours is usually better. You want the dough firm and cold.
When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 375. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop tablespoon scoops and lay them about 2 inches apart on your baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until cookies are golden and firmed up.
Allow cookies to cool in pan for 5 minutes, before removing them to a cooling rack. Enjoy. These do make fabulous ice cream sandwiches for the record.
No, no, no. I just can't. I can't eat these entire stack in one bite.