Growing up, it’s safe to say I was the quiet girl.  Not necessarily funny or clever, (except for maybe in my head) a true behind the scenes girl.  As a natural redhead, with a lower rating on the confidence scale, I learned quickly not to intentionally draw too much attention to myself.  The hair and freckles did enough of that on their own.  The only folks that might disagree with that statement would be my parents.  In the comfort of my home, I was a bit more lively.  I do believe ‘spunky’ is the word my mom has used to describe it.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bar

My comfort zone has always been in creating and observing.  This lead to much time spent in the art department during high school both drawing and painting, people watching during the wee hours in my college library, and finally behind the camera. I found no fault in being this person, up until a few years ago.  I’m not sure if motherhood tripped the trigger, or just the benefit of getting older, but somewhere along the line whispers of more began.

More of what?  I was up to my eyeballs in little boys and their needs. Being a mother is simultaneously over and underwhelming.  While my heart would swell as my babes wrapped their chubby arms around my neck, in their exuberant style of love, my mind kept whispering.

I needed my own identity.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bar

To be the best mother I could be, for the boys I am raising, I first needed to know who I was.  What made me tick?  While it seems this self discovery should have happened before I had children, somewhere along the line, it just didn’t.  As the whispers in my mind were turning into full fledged, prayerful conversations with my husband, I began to see possibilities.  As I literally ran from my house each evening after dinner, my miles were fueled by inspired thoughts and energy.  It was as if the flood gates had opened simply by acknowledging that I needed more.  The quiet girl, and her nicely created comfort zone, was ready for more.

More of what?  Well, honestly, a lot.  I made a list.  A list of the most far out there things I wanted to learn and accomplish.  I’m still working on that list, and it’s still growing.  That’s the great thing about taking chances.  It’s a bit addictive.

At this point, you might be wondering if guilt ever entered the equation?  Nope.  If it had, I would have just as quickly booted it to the curb. Deep in my gut, I knew that I would be better for taking these chances.  For stretching myself in front of my beautiful boys.  Showing them that moms can help with homework and encourage their children, but they can also be published in magazines, run marathons and go after their own big, crazy dreams.  It felt as if finding myself, led me to the mother they needed most.  No one has been more surprised by everything that has come from all this than me.  And the men in my house?  Well, they seem to be the least surprised, as if they knew I had it in me all along.

I realize this is a little more long winded than my usual short and sweet post. It’s been brewing for awhile, and I’ve finally found the words to convey what I hope to say…and that’s this…if you’re hearing those whispers, embrace them, they are there for a reason.   Pray about it.  Make your own list.  Pray again.  Start small, but dream big.  While I’ll always be a bit of the quiet girl, there’s nothing that could make me cheer louder than to see another woman come into her own.  I’ll even bring treats to celebrate.

Peanut Butter Cookie Bar

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Bars


  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup old fashion oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1 cup semisweet or milk chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the butter, sugars and peanut butter until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in egg and vanilla extract.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the flour, oats, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into creamed mixture and mix well.
  5. Add chocolate chips.
  6. Spread into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Batter is very thick, like cookie dough.
  7. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned.


Adapted from Taste of Home




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5 Responses to Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Bars

  1. These look so yummy! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Amber says:

    Oh Alison – This post speaks to my heart so much right now. Thank you. For your honesty. And vulnerability. And passion.

  3. Thank you for writing this. I’ve been sick with worry over the book tour and spending time away from my family for the first time in six years. I love your big heart. Beautiful post. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  4. Clair says:

    This is beautiful, Alison. Thanks for sharing. I’ve been feeling a pull that I need to discover and do… something that is just right for me and my growth. Reading your post shed light on why I’m feeling stuck. I realize that I have to be brave enough to be open to the guidance that will come when I pray. I’ve only been searching half-heartedly, afraid that I might not be up to whatever my answers are. Thanks for encouraging me to be brave. ❤️

  5. Deborah says:

    I was that mother too! And I will never rue the day I stepped out of that identity to claim my own. My second one was one and my oldest four, both girls. I always knew in my heart it was important to become the person I was to become, not simply a person born to reproduce. Seeking success in my own life I believe is the reason both of my daughters grew up to be strong, intelligent and committed to their communities. I am convinced seeing both their parents accommodate and encourage each other taught valuable life lessons. They saw the sacrifices and they saw a lot of love being expressed in the encouragement we gave each other. I applaud you Alison! (And, the recipe is a winner. But I’ll have to do 10 more laps today!)

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