Hello out there…
Last week my friend, Tessa, from Tessa the Domestic Diva, contacted me to check-in. A jolt of happiness shot through me when I saw her email pop up on my personal account. And then the reality of time hit me…the fact that it has been 6 months since my last blog post! I’ve been purposely avoiding my blog email and comments, thinking, “When I have a good chunk of time, I will get going again and sift through everything.” And if you blog, you know what a few months of neglect will do to your inbox. So I’ve been waiting for the time. Tessa’s email inspired me to log on and just MAKE the time. I have the weekend off, which is so nice and although it has already been packed full of home projects, gardening, birthday parties, play dates, and schoolwork, I logged in to my oh-so-familiar cyber space that is like a little home that’s been boarded up for months, and got to reading. I am sitting here cozy in my bed on this chilly fall morning revisiting my beloved blog. I’ve been reading through the comments and remembering how lovely it is to read notes from complete strangers that have something so nice to say about a recipe, or tip, or homemade lotion.
It started out as a modest break last summer. My health was not well (severe Crohn’s flare) and a slew of other things were happening. Luckily, by early July the flare subsided and my health has been pretty steady since. In July I landed my dream job (in the town in which I live). I work as a mental health clinician three days during the week. I work in several different schools in town – meeting with children and teens for therapy sessions. I have a big bulk of the summers off which is a HUGE perk. The job required me to go back to school and commit to a year-long PPSC credential program, which translates to a long drive to a 3- hour class once a week with a lot of busy school work, papers, and projects. About a week after I accepted this job, Kaiser Permanente called for an interview for an on-call medical social worker position (a weekend position). Kaiser has been high on my preferred job list since I worked there in graduate school 12 years ago. So I went on the interview and was offered the position! I did about a month of back to back training in September, but ultimately, it was just too much training and too crazy starting two jobs at once. So I decided to wait and try again at Kaiser during the summer. My weekends are pretty busy with my other job at the psychiatric hospital (a job which I really love). I try to get 4 to 5 weekend days in each month. So between these two jobs, school, and spending as much time as possible in my kid’s school volunteering and running the yearly auction, blogging literally fell of my list.
I started The Tasty Alternative 3 1/2 years ago. At that time, my daughter was 4 1/2 and my son was 18 months. I stayed home full time during the week for 8 years to be present for my children, and during that time I immersed myself in the kitchen. Blogging became a way to connect with others, share recipes, and learn more about healing from auto-immune disease. I think back on that time with such fond memories. My life feels very different now. For example, I have found it nearly impossible to keep up with my previous level of cooking and baking. And I desperately miss it. I still manage to make my kids homemade snacks during the week and I manage to throw together an admittedly uninspired dinner each night. This lifestyle change has provided me with a valuable perspective. I’m trying to navigate working outside the home with keeping up with the home and meal planning. Luckily, I live just a few blocks from my local natural foods co-op, so I usually run to the store after work and after I get the kiddos, grab something for dinner, and manage to have it ready by 6:00 pm. Eating dinner together as a family is a must! So I make this happen. On the weekends while I work at the psych hospital, my husband makes dinner and he has been making some incredible recipes from the Living Without magazine and from Paleo magazines. He is becoming quite the cook (and that’s super sexy when your man knows how to cook)!!
These last 6 months have been an incredible journey with many learning opportunities and personal growth. I’ve learned the power of saying “No.” When Kaiser asked me to dedicate more time to training, I felt empowered to say “no” and found a time later in the year that worked better in my schedule. I’m taking care of myself and my health. I am working on my stress and focusing on stress management and letting go of the things I can’t control (self proclaimed control freak right here). I’m going to bed earlier and thus sleeping better now that I have a my weekday work commitment. I’m reading books before bed rather than watching shows on my laptop. I’m in a book club with my daughter, which is super fun. I am going out with friends more and nurturing the special relationships with the amazing women in my life. I’ve given myself permission to just do what I can in the kitchen and take it easy. I can’t do it all. I’m spending valuable time with my husband in the evenings and trying to make the most of each weekend day I do have off work and have fun with my family.
I have several blog post ideas swimming around in my brain and I had several in progress before the break in June that I plan on publishing soon. I enjoy blogging. It’s one of my favorite hobbies. It’s a special way to stay connected to my health.
I plan a return in January. I have carved out some much needed *me* time next year and blogging will once again return to my life. I miss my readers and my dear blogging friends. Thank you, thank you Tessa, for tracking me down and inspiring me to post an update.
I wish everyone a wonderful Holiday season full of love and laughter and I will see you in 2015.
Big Hugs, –Amber xoxo