I’m not going to lie. This past week has been very difficult.
Like so many of us do, I tried to be the woman who could do it all; maintain a fairly clean home, keep the laundry pile at a level that wouldn’t swallow up one of the children if they happen to fall in it, be helpful to a very busy husband, play happily with my children and provide meals that consisted of more than just leftover Halloween candy.
Most days I do this job joyfully. I adore my family and love being a wife and mother. I also know myself enough to know that I need a break. Even if it’s an hour or two in the middle of the week to get away, pray, breathe and create something that doesn’t require Elmer’s glue and kid’s scissors. I need that. For me to continue to be the woman that God has called me to be I need that time away.
Many weeks I just try to power through. I convince myself that I can do it. Life is so busy and demanding that often it is that hour or two that is the only flexible item on our calendar. I let it slide and rely on my own strength to keep it together and I always fail.
I reach a breaking point. Which is where I found myself this week. Too many days without a moment taken to step away, re-evaluate and appreciate. Throw in some postpartum hormone craziness and I found myself in a dark place.
Let me take a moment to explain why I want to share this with you. Usually this blog is my happy place. A place for me focus on all that is good in my life and for me to share with you my passion and joy. I am so blessed, but I’m also human, imperfect and I struggle. I want this to be a place of vulnerability and honesty because through that we can learn from and inspire one another.
Postpartum depression is very real and I hope and pray that my vulnerability and willingness to share this part of my journey will give words to the emotions and feelings that so many mothers have. I’m speaking to myself when I say it’s not something to push aside and try to deal with alone.
I let myself sink deeper into a dark pit of self-doubt, insecurity and feelings of inadequacy. I felt as if I was a hollow shell of a human, going through the motions with no feelings of hope or creativity that usually ignite me. I had nothing to give, no words to speak and no sense of purpose.
This isn’t the first time I have felt this way. It’s never easy but I always walk away stronger and more knowledgeable as to how to deal with it.
The path out of this pit looks different for everyone and is different for every circumstance. I’m still on that road but there have been a few steps taken that have really helped bring me back from the edge.
As hard as it was I admitted this feelings and made them a reality by becoming vulnerable to a couple people who love me very much. This has helped me to feel understood and to see that I’m not alone, I’m surrounded by love and now I have some accountability.
Most important for me on this journey is that I love and serve a God who loves me. I know that it is not by my strength but through His that I can do my job and do it well to His glory. Even in that, I know that depression is so often not a battle of the spirit but an actual chemical imbalance that benefits from modern medicine. I’m not belittling that one bit as I have in the past used such medication. I am merely speaking to the path that I am on right now and how I am finding my hope again.
I know that I am emerging from that dark place when I feel tinges of inspiration. I look at a photo, a painting or a recipe and my heart leaps with excitement. I live for these bursts of creativity and the joy I get from seeing others create from their passion and doing the same myself.
By God’s grace I have been inundated with a bountiful collection of stunning cookbooks lately. Some I’ve purchased myself and some have been gifted to me from publishers with the hope that I would share them with you. I don’t often do recommendations on my site but I just can’t let you spend one more day without these books in your life.
For me they have been a source of joy as I flip through their pages and immediately begin to create grocery lists to recreate the recipes. The author’s words have refueled my passion and have inspired me to both pick up the spoon to stir the pot and the pen to write.
It is so important for us to continually refresh ourselves with the works of other artists and creators. Taking time to dream, refresh and to remember what it is that ignites us.
I am so thankful for these fellow artists. Through their joy they are helping me to rediscover mine.
Excuse me while I gush like a teenage girl that just met Justin Bieber. Recently I had the great pleasure of meeting Dorie Greenspan. After meeting Dorie I decided that I wanted to be like her when I grow up. Not only is she a baking and cooking genius but she is gracious, inspiring and just so darn cute in her uber modern glasses. Her passion is infectious.
The recipes in her latest book are accessible, inventive and suitable for both weekday meals and weekend entertaining. I’ve already tried her recipes for Waffles and Cream, Vietnamese Chicken Soup and Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good. The book is filled with creased corners of future recipes I am eager to try.
I had heard so much wonderful praise for David Tanis’ first book, A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes, but I have yet to get it. It’s back in the #1 position on my wish list after pouring through his latest book, Heart of the Artichoke. This book is stunning. The images, the page layouts, the font, the feel of the pages – everything about it, visually, makes me weak in the knees.
I can’t speak of the recipes yet, as I just received this book and have yet to cook from it but pages have been tagged and meals are being planned. Trust me, you will hear of this book again on this blog.
I have been so excited for this book to come out. Shauna and Danny are incredibly passionate, joyful, loving and talented. I am so honored to be able to call them friends.
In the past week I have spent several evenings immersed in Shauna’s poetic words as she intimately describes her and Danny’s story. She writes with such grace and beauty that she manages to make even a proposal that was quickly followed by a fart seem like a perfectly romantic moment fit for any movie screen.
These essays tie together 100 recipes that create a delicious love story. I’m very excited to try the smoked-salt caramel ice cream and the blue cheese cheesecake with fig crust – among many others.
The book was beautifully photographed by Lara Ferroni.
It’s quite obvious that I have a thing for salt. So of course I’m in love with a book that is solely dedicated to this essential ingredient. Most everything you could ever want and need to know about salt and all it’s various forms is in this gorgeous book.
It is written and photographed by the owners of The Meadow, a delightful store in Portland (now New York as well) that sells salt, wine, chocolate and flowers.
I am now convinced more than ever that I need to own a salt block – I mean come on, who doesn’t?! Or how about a Himalayan salt bowl to serve chocolate fondue out of? Yes, please.
These books have been such a gift to me recently. They’ve led me back into the kitchen, inspired me to take beautiful images and have me dreaming of the book(s) I hope to create some day.
I appreciate you taking the time to read this. Being so vulnerable in this space has been a challenge for me but I trust that this is a subject that needs to be out in the open and you kind folks have supported and encouraged me through so many of my life’s ups and downs, I feel safe.
I’d love to hear what inspires you and pulls you out from your dark days.