Love finds the recipe

By Mir
July 30, 2009

I’ve been thinking a lot about the conversation with my daughter that I wrote about yesterday. I’ve been fixated on this notion of making your own happiness, because—let’s face it—for a lot of years I wasn’t a particularly happy person. It took me a long time to figure it out, and it’s not a linear exercise by any means. I still have setbacks. I still have times when I feel like happiness is something beyond my grasp, and not for lack of trying.

Still, I believe in this. I believe in being agents of our own destiny. I believe I started finding happiness when I stopped looking for A Big Grand Sign. Happiness became palpable, for me, when I figured out how to feel grateful. And I’m not even talking about being grateful for a roof over my head or my family. I mean it started with being grateful for just enough coffee left for my morning cup. Or for a stranger holding the door. And then I started seeing bad-made-into-good all around me.

As much as I hate the “making lemonade out of lemons” saying, that’s really the type of thing I mean. And it starts small.

I returned from my trip happy to be home, happy to be with the people I love best, happy to realize that I’m at a place in my life where I am—for the most part—comfortable being me.

Last night Otto was out, and I puttered amongst my plants while the children swam and splashed in the pool. Upon beholding a giant basket of tomatoes I’d picked, Monkey declared that we’re like “old-time pioneer people!” And Chickadee added that I’m turning all “farm-y.” I looked down at my haul, and my pollen-covered arms and legs, and thought to myself that I could do worse than to be farm-y. (Though, really, to make that declaration from a chlorinated pool was an irony I decided it was fruitless to point out….)

Then they asked what I’ll make from the tomatoes, and I told them I’m not sure. “I’ll think of something,” I said, waving my hand and heading back to pick green beans.

I wonder, sometimes, if they’ll look back and remember the times when everything overwhelmed me and every setback felt like a prison sentence. They were very small. Hopefully what they’ll remember is this; the times when life was mundane, perhaps, but full.

And also that when you’re happy, there’s always good to be found.

Like, turning this…

… into this:

When I tuck those babies into lunch boxes in the coming weeks, I won’t be thinking about gross-looking black bananas. I’ll be thinking about how easy it is, sometimes, to make a little something awesome out of what might look awful to someone else.

Happy Love Thursday, everyone. Make your own happiness. Start small. And with chocolate chips, if you need.


  1. RuthWells


  2. Kath

    Indeed … and believe that this is your happiness, it worked for me too.

    Happy Love Thursday.

  3. dad

    Great photo of egg shells with black banana peels Salvador Dali would be proud.
    I am too.

    Never under estimate the contagious nature of happiness.

  4. Scottsdale Girl

    I was all, are those TRUFFLES? did she grow TRUFFLES and sniff them out and then put them in scrambled eggs? Because OMG would I love to eat that.

    Hmmm…I might be hungry.

    Happy LOVE Thursday Mir.

  5. Katie in MA

    Perfect. :) And, coincidentally, what I blogged about today (with much less finesse). Happy is being thankful that the a/c repair was “only” $300 I don’t have instead of $8,000 for a new system (that will hopefully hold off at least a year). It’s being thankful the tornado missed the house instead of being mad that I was woken up at 4a. It’s appreciating the reappearance of a lawn instead of worrying over four days of rain. Oh, and throwing glitter in the air, because that never hurts.

    Happy Love Thursday!

  6. JennyM

    I needed to hear that, I think. Thanks…

  7. Janice

    My daughter just baked that exact same kind of muffins this afternoon. Now to go test them out.

  8. Dawn

    Yes. Very well said!

  9. Grace

    Even if it hurts the snarky among us to admit it, everything you’ve said here is absolutely true.

  10. Melissa


  11. Cheryl

    Does glitter-throwing help? I know blowing bubbles does it for me sometimes…sometimes just the puppy place…but I never thought of glitter…I MUST give that a try. Cheaper than therapy I suppose…

  12. Monique

    I agree but disagree. I heard once that happiness depends on what happens. What we need to strive for is joy which can’t be moved or shanken from our hearts no matter what.

  13. Jamie AZ

    Great post. A reminder I can use these days as I’m rather stressed out and unhappy at work. We had too many black bananas in our freezer to use up before our move. I was able to turn 6 into 2 loaves of super-yummy bread. Mmmm…

  14. Wendy

    I was GOING to say how lovely this was to read and how I really needed to be reminded of how joy is found in the simple things, but then I read Jamie AZ’s comment and went “WFT?!! You can FREEZE bananas for making banana crap later?? Why did I never get that memo?” so now I am going to go think about how THAT was a little piece of joy right there while I stuff the 6 black bananas on my counter in my freezer.

  15. Gaylin

    Last night as I went to sleep on the floor of my living room in front of the wide open balcony door – NO AC for me (in Vancouver, BC, our really hot days are few), I was grateful that I had a day bed mattress to move, that my neighbourhood is safe enough to do this and that this heat wave won’t last, because they never do. Over 90F today – normal would be in the 70’s. C’est la vie and pass the watermelon.

    Also I am grateful that the World Police and Fire Games start in Vancouver area tomorrow because . . . lots of men in the city!

  16. Burgh Baby

    I’ve been reading a long, long time, and I have to say, I like this happy version of you. I don’t know exactly when she came to be, but I like her.

  17. Sara

    I love happy. Happy is the best. But recognizing the happy? That’s an even better thing!
    Also…the crowns on those muffins are AMAZING!! How did you get those babies to rise up like that?

  18. Jennifer

    I have to agree with you as I also believe that we make our own happiness. I’m working on that very think myself! Great post!

  19. Anna

    On the flip side, I hear myself say last night to my nearly-seven year old that we can’t stop making mistakes. The trick is in letting them shape you into something better.

    I needed to hear that more than she did!! I couldn’t believe those words came out of my mouth, when I haven’t learned that myself.

  20. Crisanne

    Thank you for these wise words, Mir. I’ve felt myself slipping into a bit of a sad slump this week, and I needed this reminder today.

  21. kate

    I love your love thurday entries. For me, happiness came with teh realization that if I wasn’t going to do anything to actively change my situation (which didn’t really need changing anyway), then I might as well be happy with it. Seems like an easy decision to just be happy, but it can be a long and arduous journey. one without a clear destination, until you wake up one morning and realize that you haven’t been miserable in a very long time. And then the sun shines brighter and the air seems clearer because although it is still a struggle, you are through the hardest part. Best of luck on your continuing travels

  22. wilma ham

    No longer dependent on rain or sun on your holidays, you have a good time whatever the weather.
    No longer dependent on whether you can buy that expensive dress you really really liked or wearing an old one you really really liked when you bought that.
    Hmm, this would save me a lot of time fighting and would give me a lot of time enjoying life. Making your own happiness, good recipe.

  23. Sara

    What a beautiful post Mir! I am about building my own happiness. I see so many people, Hello Mother-in-Law, that find misery at every turn because they cannot see how blessed they are.

    Good work Mir!

  24. Heather

    Yum :)

  25. linda sands

    Er. Are you reading my mind? I am having a hard time finding my happy place lately, and have been questioning… everything.
    Somehow this post makes me sad and hopeful at the same time.
    I think we need cocktails, and a happiness chat.

  26. Karen

    Love this post, Mir. Came at just the right time. :-) Happy Love Thursday.

  27. Lylah

    I love it when you post things like this. It’s such an inspiration. Happy Love Thursday!

  28. Dawn

    I’ve gotten a little uncomfortable with stating I’m happy. Every time I do it, it seems the powers that be say, “Oh, you ARE, are you? Well. We’ll see about THAT.” and then my life turns to crap.

    So, I’m positively miserable, thank you very much!

    ‘Spose that’ll fool ’em?

    I’m glad you’re in a happy place. You’ve earned it!

  29. Jomama

    True words. Not easy, though. I am a seeker–constantly working to improve…well, everything! My work, my kids, my husband, my home, my life, etc. All that hard work does pay off…things are pretty good here.

    BUT, all this constant striving and seeking to improve, means I never take time to APPRECIATE. Will add your words to the list of things to do….OK, I hear you, I’m *trying*!

  30. Kristy

    This is all quite lovely and I agree with what you are saying, however I do think one must acknowledge that sometimes in some marriages we match ourselves up with a bad bad lemon and no amount of trying to feel grateful or dumping sugar into the lemon juice makes one happy. I say this because if it were so easy you’da found a way to be “happy” with your ex-husband.

    I also say this because I too am remarried and I could have never made some muffins and be “oh so happy” just by changing my outlook and been this happy with husband #1, so I’m crying a tad smidgen of bullshit on this entry to say “if you’re not happy it’s not necessarily your outlook…it might require some fearless change!”

    I also want to say that I have much grattitude…but I was never grateful to be stuck in a miserable life with husband #1 no matter how hard I tried…so my comment is for all those people who will get it.

  31. Kristy

    p.s. my comment is not because I’m unhappy. I’m so joyfully happy these days that it’s icky sweet and no amount of lemons would tarnish it. Why? Because I’m living the life I was meant to live all along. I’m glad you are happy…happiness is so hard to grasp for so many.

  32. Tracy

    Instead of lemonade out of lemons, it’s banana muffins out of rotten, yucky bananas…I like that!

  33. kim

    Thanks. I really needed to hear this today. I’ve been having a bit of a week long pity party. I’m ready to move on.

  34. Deidre

    Thanks so much Mir. Very Beautiful indeed!

  35. Nicki

    Amazing. It’s like you knew exactly what I needed to be reminded of today. Thank you thank you thank you!

  36. Nancy

    Great post. Just a note, if you freeze the bananas without the peels (put them in a ziplock bag) they don’t turn black but then it’s not as dramatic, either.

  37. pharmgirl

    So timely..
    So right.

    I made banana CAKE. I will probably reach critical mass sometime Sunday afternoon.

  38. Monica

    Not only can you freeze black bananas for later, if you’re desperate for banana bread and don’t want to wait for your bananas to blacken you can freeze yellow bananas and they soften and flavour up just like the overripe ones.

    One word of warning – when you defrost drain off and either measure the liquid to replace some in your recipe or discard it.

  39. Kemi

    I love your blog. I really, truly do.

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