In the spirit of full disclosure, I first have to admit that it feels a bit strange to be back. Don't get me wrong... I've seriously missed the blogosphere and all of the amazing people that I've come to think of as my cyber family. So... Why have I been gone for so long?? Well, it comes down to the fact that life has been quite a roller-coaster ride these last few months. I'll do my best to fill you in without writing a novel.
OK.... Without going into the long list of diagnosis' that have been thrown at me over the years, I've been living with a myriad of health issues for over a decade now. Let's just say from a medical standpoint that I'm a hot mess and this past year has been, by far, one of the most challenging I've had so far. Sadly, it's been equally as hard on my family and friends. I can't even begin to express how unbelieveably grateful I am for the people in my life and the sacrifices that they lovingly and selflessly make, day in and day out, in the process of adapting to and putting up with my ever changing and not always pleasant state of being.
When pain mercilessly inserts itself into your daily existence, it eventually changes who you are at your very core. (and not necessarily in a good way) Chronic pain is generally accompanied by periods of anger, frustration, depression and anxiety. It doesn't matter how long you've been living with it. Imagine the worst headache you've ever had... Now, imagine that no matter how much rest or medication or positive thinking or prayer that you throw at it, it refuses to go away. Sure, there are tools that can help to manage chronic pain, but 90% of the time any break that you get is minimal and temporary. More often than not, these tools (especially medications) come with their own equally nasty side effects, including the stigma attached to narcotic pain medication. Believe me, I have a whole lot to say about that little issue, but I'll spare you all that rant til another day.
In a nutshell, my health suffered some major blows over the last year, and that caused me to have to stop and take several steps back so that I could make some serious changes. With God's Grace and a lot of love and patience from the amazing people in my life, I feel that I might finally be on a path back to some sense of "normal" and it's going to take baby steps. If there's one major lesson that I've learned during the last several months, it's how important it is to try to make the best of the good days and to push through the bad days in the best way that I can. None of us can predict when life might rise up and knock us into next week, but I plan to continue to fight back with all that I've got when it does.
All that being said, I hope you'll stick with me as I find my way back and that you'll forgive the lack of original recipes that I usually post. Unfortunately, one of the things that this pain robs me of is the ability to prepare a meal more than say, once every week or two. (The Hubbs and I have been eating a lot of sandwiches, salads and take-out lately! LOL ) Luckily there's a plethora of great recipes and videos to accompany them out in cyberspace, so I'll compensate by posting some of my favorites here and there. (I do have a recipe and photos of some incredible Baby Back Ribs that Hubby and I collaberated on a couple of weeks ago, but I have to upload the pics from my camera)
I have a few other things that have happened, like the blogoversary that passed while I was gone. (I'm working on some surprises in that regard, so stay tuned!) I also celebrated my 50th birthday in September, and I have new garden/floral photos from the Summer as well as pics and video from our yearly trip to Maine. As I mentioned above.... baby steps. ;~)
Thank you all for hanging in there with me. I hope to be spending more time with you as the days and weeks pass. If I haven't stopped by to visit you yet, I promise that I'll do my best to pop in and say hello soon.
Anyway, I'll start today with a video from Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa) and her recipe for Grilled Tuscan Lemon Chicken. It's easy and can be done just as beautifully and deliciously in the oven if the weather isn't conducive to using an outdoor grill. Enjoy!