How do you even start to describe December? This year, December seemed to be synonymous for the words tears, temper, sickness, exhaustion, frustration, dread, sadness and agony; some for a moment, many all at once. The month started off wrong and seemed to keep going that way. And, when it improved in once facet it only got worse in another. Rejoice? Ha, not in December.
Work was absolutely nuts, there is no other way of putting it. “Getting ready for Christmas” is absolutely exhausting. What with all of the decorating, party planning, play rehearsing, present making and people pleasing. Stress, stress, stress, get it done, do it fast, then do more. Believe in yourself, believe in others, and believe in the Christmas spirit. Donate to the less fortunate, pump yourself up and feel really good about how well you do charity. Tell children about Santa, feed them candy; feed them poison, feed those lies. And make sure to give yourself a headache by riling up the children for the holidays. Have you seen Santa yet? What is Santa bringing you for Christmas? What do you want for Christmas? What are you getting? What is inside those presents underneath your Christmas tree? Christmas cards, Christmas gifts, to from, to from, spend, spend, spend. ‘Tis the season to be jolly – smile, laugh, have energy, be lively. Give everything to make you look good. Spend money you don’t have and give gifts you don’t mean while pretending your hastily written Christmas cards carry more value than you actually intend. Spread the Christmas spirit but make sure to do it quickly before time runs out.
Nothing is simple. Nothing is sacred. Nothing is calm. No wonder why everyone is burnt out and tired.
Near the beginning of the month I had a lovely conversation with a good friend. We talked about frustrations at work and how she was not in the mood at all to celebrate Christmas. The realisation had already started to come to me that we, as Christians do not celebrate the same holiday. Christ. Christ is the holiday, not Santa, not gifts, not family, Christ. Christ, then everything else. As hard as it is to avoid the commercialism and try not to get sucked into the mindset, if we deliberately shift our focus and attitude then Christmas can be something completely different. It was hard to step back and watch rather than participate. At times I did find myself wrapped up in the false front but when I actually let that all go and thought of him, that joy started to sneak in and cover up the sickness of my heart.
Sick in the heart, sick in the body. Sick definitely was I. December was a dreadful month for my body. Starting with a terrible allergic reaction to a jacket, ending with a never-ending cold (still not fully ended), and impelled on from a cake-pop contamination before winter break. One thing after another has left me weak, tired, and quite honestly, with little hope of being better. Lies, obviously, but I have felt so physically ill and emotionally exhausted that it has been hard for me to rejoice in progress. It has been exactly 1 year (well, 1 year minus 2 days) since my journey began. 1 year since I actually began to experience life like it was intended. 1 year of incredible healing and knowledge. 1 year of growth and excitement. 1 year of strength! I have begun to run, to bike, to work out and to enjoy movement for the first time in my life. And have the energy to sustain myself through it all. All of that was taken away this December. Some days it was all I could to do to get out of bed and go to work. No running, no work out videos, no energy for the kids. No energy to clean, little energy to cook. It is hard, really hard actually, to take steps back and be stuck in the past. To get up early to work out only to go back to bed after the warm up is one of the biggest disappointments I have thus experienced. In Christ alone my hope is found; he is my light, my strength, my song.
He does not leave me alone, ever. I have so many people supporting me. From my mom to Ben to friends, Lynn and random people at the grocery store, I am always surrounded by people who have wisdom, knowledge and love to share with me. I am surrounded by people here to heal my body and people to reconcile my heart. Sometimes I am blind to my surroundings, oblivious to the encouragement that is within my reach but he always gives me a reason to look out. Just this past week, I was delighted to discover that a cousin-in-law has also been on a health journey of her own. We have some key differences but I was delighted mostly by the knowledge that I am not alone. There are other people eating for health and healing and doing it in a way that counterculture to the norm. I am not alone! Though there are people who try to understand, I think you can never fully grasp the frustration and discouragement until you actually live through. To know that I am not the only one being called cracked, crazy and dumb. It is such a relief and encouragement! Truly it is hard for most to understand how difficult it can be to live / eat this way. Awareness is different from experiencing and it seems that most cannot look at the way I eat without questioning or judging me to some extent. And I know that because one year ago I was one of the worst. But through it all, Jesus has brought me joy, peace and understanding through people like Kerry and countless others who have supported and encouraged me along the way.
Joy. Even with everything that December brought, through all my tears and exhaustion and sickness there was an unquenchable joy. In himself Jesus has given me life abundant that I may live in peace and joy free from guilt, or shame or worthlessness. He was born a child and then a king, born to set his people free!
He hasn’t left me on my own. He has blessed me beyond belief with friends and family who are all here to support me no matter what. He has given me the most incredible gift, a fiancé! On December 15, 2012 I caught a cold and I caught a fiancé. I’ll be you can guess about which I was most pleased. I am so excited to marry my best friend. Horray!! This might be my shortest paragraph but these words hold the most love and the most excitement for the future J This summer I get to be a wifey to the most amazing man I could have ever imagined being blessed to fall in love with. Blah. I love him J And miss him right now from here in the land of cold while he is at home.
Yikes, it’s getting late and time to get this wrapped up so that I can go to bed! Although aren’t we allowed to stay up as long as we want while on vacation? I realized on the 23 that a Christmas feast just isn’t a real Christmas feast unless there is a chocolate pie to accompany dinner. And assuming (rightly) that I wouldn’t be able to eat any other desert items I decided that it was high time to make a chocolate pie. A dairy free, sugar free, coconut milk chocolate pudding pie to be exact. It didn’t turn out quite like I wanted it to, but I’m quite sure I know where I went wrong and next time (which there will be) I’ll give it a couple of nicks. I started out trying to force people to eat the pies (I made 2) but gave up when nobody seemed interested, however by the end of the night all but a piece or two were left and many compliments were given. Thanks everyone! The recipe I followed was a hodgepodge of many and have lost my sources. My recipe will be normal with my desired modifications (for next time) bolded.
2 cup Almond flour (1 ¼ cup)
¾ cup coconut flour
3 tablespoons tapioca starch (no tapioca)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup coconut oil
¼ cup honey
1 egg (no egg)
1 teaspoon vanilla
- Mix wet
- Mix dry
- Pour wet into dry and mix
- Pat into pie tin – mixture will be very stick but harden as it cooks
- Bake 15 minutes at 350 in a pie tin.
2 cans coconut milk (1 whole can + 2 cans no liquid)
2 teaspoons vanilla
½ cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons tapioca starch
¼ cup coconut oil (1/3 cup)
¾ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cup cocoa powder
1 pinch cinnamon (no cinnamon – some liked the flavour but I did not)
(Gelatin – I saw some recipes that called for a bit)
1. Heat coconut milk and vanilla on stove until warm
2. Temper the eggs (Honestly, I don’t know how important this is but I followed directions for at least one of these steps :P)
3. Add cocoa powder and tapioca starch
4. Whisk continuously on medium-low until pudding starts to bubble
5. Pour into freshly baked pie tins and cool
In the end I found the filling very soft, when it cooled it was a very soft pudding rather than a thicker pie. I suppose the addition of gelatin is perhaps what makes it hold shape. Other than texture though, the taste was delicious.
Time for bed, Merry (dayafter) Christmas everybody!