Picture Sundays: White Sage - White sage (Salvia apiana) with Vitis californica in the background. Our white sage plant is probably my favorite plant in the garden. I started to write a...
06 September 2012
Today I'm linking up with my friend Ashley, author of Domestic Fashionista, who had this wonderful idea to practice thankfulness in order to be more thankful and happy. It's happening every Thursday until Thanksgiving, so get in on it! What are you thankful for? Plenty, I'm sure, so add your voice.
A few weeks ago, I posted that I was taking a little break from blogging in order to be less tempted at every turn to buy more stuff, which is an occupational hazard of writing a home blog (and a lot of you agreed with me!). While it's certainly true that I've been feeling the need for a break from the home blog part of things, that's only part of the story. After all, this is also a food blog, an entertaining blog and a DIY/crafts blog.
The truth is that I needed a break from having a public self. (Now, having actually typed that out, it feels a bit dramatic, but it's true.)
I wrote a few months ago about the discovery that I have to be gluten-free for the rest of my life. I'm generally a pretty matter-of-fact person, and tend to meet challenges head-on. So at first I thought, "No problem. I'll just figure this out." But soon I realized that giving up such a fundamental part of the American diet is fraught with complex emotions. And I think I've been in a type of mourning.
I love food, and food is certainly important to me. But it's really not just that. It's not just knowing that I'll never again get to treat myself with a Dunkin Donuts Boston creme donut, or that cookies and creme ice cream is permanently off the menu. It's not giving up daily sandwiches since I was never much of a sandwich person anyway.
Food is social, food is tradition, and I've never been more aware of that fact than I am now.
If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know that Thanksgiving is my favorite time of year. I love the planning, the cooking, the hosting, the tradition. All of it revolves around food, around doing things a certain way, and all of that has to change now. We also used to love going out to eat, but now I'm so hesitant to even set foot in a restaurant after having learned the hard way how sick I can get from mere cross-contamination in a restaurant kitchen. We're talking about something as small as toasting gluten-free bread in the same toaster as regular bread. There are still times when I have to eat restaurant food, especially when traveling, but a major part of the joy is gone for me, at least for now.
On one hand, yeah, whatever. I have to eat different foods. Big deal. On the other hand, it's a major life shake-up, and one that's forcing me to rethink things every day and constantly mourn the traditions, family recipes and ways of entertaining that are no longer a part of my existence.
But here's the thing: I'm still super grateful. (I knew I'd get back around to thankfulness at some point here...)
Despite how tough the transition has been for me, even when I haven't wanted to admit it, I still wake up every day so thankful that I've finally figured it out. After 20 years of mysterious, seemingly disconnected symptoms, many of which doctors refused to acknowledge, I finally have the answer that I've been seeking. And I can't even express how grateful I am that my solution is truly a solution, not just treating the symptoms. And it's drug-free! Amazing.
My health still isn't perfect, but I feel a thousand times better than I used to, and I'm on my way to total healing. I will tell you, though, that going gluten-free is not a great weight loss plan.
Recently a woman I know was diagnosed with breast cancer. A tiny stage 1 lump that had shown up in several mammograms and didn't appear to be growing, but her doctor decided it warranted a biopsy, and it turned out to be malignant. Her reaction was, "Why me?" I wonder what my reaction in the same circumstance would be. With total sympathy for her, and how tough it must be to get that diagnosis, I can't help but think that I'd feel really fortunate to have caught it that early, and to know that it's completely treatable.
We don't often get clear answers when it comes to our health, and we don't always get them quickly. But when we do get them, it's worth being thankful. Real answers -- not just bandaids and drugs to mask the symptoms -- are few and far between in life, and when we have them, the real healing begins.
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