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Unexpected Gifts. . .

* Kiara- 5 years ago, German shepherd puppy, not part of the plan

* Buying the house- December 5, 2018- not part of the plan

* Starting a business- during a pandemic- not part of the plan

* Teaching in my shed- not part of the plan

* Surgeries for my daughter- not part of the plan

* Switching job placements and schools- not part of the plan

* Renting a home for 7 years- not part of the plan

Iler Woods believes that Plan B can offer many gifts.

But what I have come to realize, is that it is part of the master plan. I sometimes can’t explain why something good or bad happens, why I have been late countless times to appointments, why my children are struggling, why the wait time seems like forever time, but all of those “not part of the plan” moments have led me to meeting new people, finding out something about myself, hidden talents that I didn’t know I had, and unexpected friendships.

When Scott and I met 17 years ago, I jokingly said “I am a recovering Type A personality.” He said, “I am an aspiring Type A personality.” We both have personalities somewhere in the middle. I used to have a plan for everything when I was in college. My whole life was mapped out for me and by the age of 22, I had graduated from college, had my teaching credential, and I landed my first teaching gig. But, I had also missed a lot of little moments along the way because I was so focused on the end goal.

The next 20 years of my life have been a lot of the “not part of the plan” living. To be honest, I love it more than what “Plan A” had in store for me. There is something to be said about being flexible, to allow yourself the time to grow as an individual, to have brain elasticity and look at a situation through a different lens. It takes courage to try something new. It takes patience to wait for something that might seem far out of reach, and it takes bravery to have strength even in the most difficult of times. I think we all recount these times when we have had to rely on these virtues. Courage. . .Patience. . .Strength. . .Bravery.

And I bet those virtues came out when Plan A was not working. . . So, life moments. Whether it’s potty training your toddler, launching a new business venture, waiting to find the right home, caring for an ailing loved one, the unexpected gifts are being unwrapped as you work through these bends in the road.

After all, It’s about how you look at something. Perspective. That puppy that ate up 3 pairs of shoes, gnawed on the legs of my coffee table, and had accidents all over the hardwood floors? Well, she snuggles up each night at the foot of my side of the bed and is the first one to say good morning to me each day. I wouldn’t trade her in or change the plan at all.

The unexpected gift has turned into a family treasure.

Day 11: Recipe

My unexpected friendship from Maine. This recipe comes from a dear friend that I have had the privilege to get to know in the past couple of years.

Hot chocolate (Vegan) From Maine

⅔ cups of raw cacao powder

⅔ cups of coconut sugar

1 ½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp of nutmeg

1-2 tbsp cocoa mix

8 oz of your favorite non-dairy milk

1-2 tbsp of coconut milk

Splash of vanilla extract

Whisk the cacao powder, coconut sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg together in a bowl until combined and clump free. To make hot cocoa, heat 8-10 ounces of your favorite non-dairy milk on the stove top. Add 1-2 tbsp of cocoa mix into a mug with a splash of vanilla. Add warmed milk and mix until combined. For extra decadence add marshmallows.

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