Early morning. Like, way early. Only a few seagulls peck at the shore. The ocean, a flat, pearly surface. Like marble. The colors of the earth and sky are only just beginning to share their worth. The waves start creeping up to greet the sand, lapping at the shore in gentle hello. The sun, the sleepy sun, begins its ascent into this side of the world. It shines its brilliance. Purples, deep blues, pinks, fiery orange help lift the sun into its fullness. The foamy waves start hitting the shore with greater force, for they cannot deny gravity’s pull. Our sun, now full and round, is a saffron gem in the sky. The water, glittery. The waves are crashing, pulling more from the middle of the ocean. Big, huge, violent waves; hurling, slamming, lashing out at the innocent sand and surf. Sprays of salt, like fireworks.
It’s nighttime now. The sun is in peaceful slumber. His sister, the moon, is up now. Spilling into the inky darkness. The sea is calm, once more.
The darkness has worth too. It hides the ugly. It also gives space to consider what you’re feeling. To accept. Or not. It’s a safe place. To hide. To rest. A soft place to land, when the light gets too heavy. But there’s hope in the light. The ugly is exposed in the harshness of the day. New hope. New dreams. An opportunity to see the light as not so harsh, demanding; but as a soft, warm, amber glow. There to help highlight that you are worthy, heaviness and all.
Dark. Light. Crashing waves. Calm sea.
I feel too much.
Anxiety and depression. Like crashing waves and calm sea.
You may have noticed (or not, and that’s okay) that I have been gone for awhile. Almost a year and a half, now.
It wasn’t planned, but it was filled with purpose, intentional change, health issues, ups and downs, and a big adjustment to life. With my chronic illness (migraines) and corresponding anxiety and depression, it’s been a rough year, health wise. I’ve felt defeated. I’ve felt a deep darkness and sadness, a mourning for a life without pain. A mourning for the Mom and Wife, Daughter, and Friend I should be. While I’ve suffered from all of these things for many many years, it had reached a peak. A really awful peak. Sure, it ebbs and flows (not so much the chronic pain, which is most always present), but, I am starting to see the up. Praying it so. I’ve seen some real darkness in my life. A place where I am not even sure how I got there. Or how I’d climb and claw my way out. I’ve questioned God’s presence in my life, because how can I suffer so much and have Him still love me and have this as His plan for me? I’ve questioned my own existence. How can I be made for this Earth, this life, with such heavy burdens, both physical and mental. It’s taken its tolls on all aspects of my life. Anxiety and depression (along with my ever-present body pain) are monsters, but ones I’m both familiar and comfortable with, as they are my constant companions. I both hate them and respect them, as they are a part of me. Will we be lifelong friends? Maybe. Probably. But I am changing things. This is my year. Okay, maybe it wasn’t a good first three months, but we’ve still got time. Getting control of my “things” and my many hangups is priority. Changing up medications, expectations, and healthy living have been monumental these last few months. I’ve started yoga, daily workouts (save for those awful migraine-filled mornings), gluten free diet, less dairy, no cheese (it’s a trigger, among many others), and a more positive outlook, and it’s been so helpful. Do I allow myself to feel when I’m sad or upset? YES. Shoving down my hurt only hurts me more. And more deeply. Some days, I may not be ready to tap into my hurt, but when I am, I am here for myself. SELF CARE. Caring for myself. Not in a selfish way, but in a necessary way. I want to be the best me I can be for my boys, family, friends, students, co-workers, and this Earth. Because I AM FOR THIS EARTH, temporarily at least. Despite my questioning of my God, He’s never left my side. He’s been faithful, although I haven’t. He’s there. He’s here. I am His, and He is mine. This is especially poignant to me this Easter weekend. The greatest love story ever told. I am redeemed in Him. I will rise. I will rise. As Christ was raised to life. Now in Him, I live. I might not rise today, or tomorrow, but I’m getting there.
And I’m quite thankful for those who have supported me on this sometimes ugly journey. It has not been pretty or packaged up in a cute little box, as I’d have preferred, but in really messy, torn open, pieces missing, package kind-of-way.
But this is who I am. Perfectly created imperfectly in His image.
Talk about what hurts. That’s been ringing in my ears for some time. I’m ready.
So in all of that, my vision for my blog has changed drastically. I have adopted a more raw, vulnerable way of writing. I have also changed the way I eat, so my recipes will reflect that. More organic, more natural, like I aspire to be in my everyday life. You’ll also see a lot more dairy free (sometimes) and gluten free recipes.
Please keep me company on this new, refreshed, redeemed journey? I’d love to have you along.
I am segueing into food now. Because this is a food blog, afterall. No clever segue, however.
I know that Hot Cross Buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday (yesterday). According to some random website on The Interwebs, “The buns mark the end of Lent and different parts of the hot cross bun have a certain meaning, including the cross representing the crucifixion of Jesus, and the spices inside signifying the spices used to embalm him at his burial.” In my typical blogging fashion, I made something Hot Cross Bun-ish a day after Good Friday. Side note, Good Friday is called such because, in my humble opinion, what Jesus did was GOOD. It was a horribly, hard time, but how he died for ME, for YOU, for US, was good. How do I deserve such great love? I don’t. And He loves me still.
So, I made Hot Cross Bun Muffins and Hot Cross Bun Donut Holes. An updated version of the amazing and delicious Hot Cross Bun. Gluten and almost dairy free.
So, please tuck this recipe away for next year. Or when you need a reminder of God’s overwhelming, incredible love, or of how far you’ve come in your journey, all while eating a treat. 😀
Big love and blessings,
Gluten Free Hot Cross Bun Muffins and Donut Holes
These muffins and donut holes are gluten free and mimic the flavors of a traditional Hot Cross Bun. These can be made dairy free with DF butter.
12 muffins, 12 donut holes
4Tbutter, softened(can use vegan butter, but I can't seem to give up real butter)
Preheat the oven to 325F. Grease the bottoms and tops of your silicone donut hole baking pan and put cupcake liners in your muffin tin. Cream butter, oil, and sugars in a mixing bowl. Add the eggs and continue beating. Add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice, raisins, and chocolate chips and mix well. Add the flour and milk, alternating, and end with the flour.
Spoon into silicone mold, filling only the bottoms. Fill the muffin tins.
Bake for 17 minutes. Remove the donut holes. Bake the muffins for an additional 7 minutes.
To add the "cross", I mixed together powdered sugar, LorAnn Oils Butter Vanilla Bakery Emulsion, vanilla, and coconut milk, until I reached the desired consistency. You can use orange juice and powdered sugar. Or just vanilla. Get creative! I then spooned it into a ziploc bag and piped the cross on the "buns".
I get headaches. Quite often. And migraines. And they can be debilitating. I get nauseous. I can’t eat. I can’t do much of anything. Any noise is too loud; I can literally feel each noise throbbing in my head, neck, and shoulders. Being in pitch black is still too bright. I am working with a Neurologist to get them under control, but it’s a long process, of trial and error. For people who don’t get them, it’s really hard to understand their magnitude, much like anxiety and depression, of which I also suffer.
[I’m a bag of fun 😀 ]
So, when I have a good day, I am SO very thankful. For the little things, things that I shy away from, on a bad day – the beautiful warming sunshine, the gentle breeze, the [loud] sounds of my boys. I relish in my energy, baking cookies, painting my boys’ bathroom, cleaning the house, running errands. I am grateful. Today, I am grateful. I know that ALL of this is in God’s plan, even if I don’t understand why. I don’t believe that God gives us only what we can handle; God gives us what He gives us, and then we lean on Him.
Day by day. Sometimes, minute by minute.
For tomorrow’s lunch, I packed a cream cheese and raspberry jam heart-shaped sandwich, pita chips, dried cranberries, mandarin oranges, blueberries, and a homemade gluten free chocolate brownie cookie. Love themed. Because I am thankful.