Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Bend in the Road

I have so much to tell you, but I'm so busy these days it's virtually impossible to find time for blogging. Even now, the kitchen is scandalously dirty, but I've decided to let it be so I can tell the story that's been burning in my heart.

I'm doing much better, in better spirits each week. I think I really turned the corner on Easter Sunday. Allyson and I attended church with my parents and my sisters Amy and Emily, and we participated in their annual tradition of "blooming the cross." They start with a plain wooden cross covered in chicken wire and slowly transform it into a giant bouquet as each person tucks a flower into the wire.

As we waited, the pastor encouraged us to lay our problems at the foot of the cross and trust that God would make something beautiful from our pain. Hand in hand with Allyson, I pondered his words. "Lord, I'm giving you all my hurts," I prayed silently, my lips barely moving and tears seeping from the corners of my eyes. "I'm tired of feeling sorry for myself. This isn't the life I wanted, but I trust that you are making something beautiful from this mess."

When I saw that finished cross, a wild mass of flowers of all different shapes and colors, something happened to my heart. What I saw was... hope. For the first time in about 10 months, I looked into my future and saw joy instead of disappointment. Oh, before I had known intellectually that God's plan for me and my family was better than what I had planned for myself, but I couldn't honestly say I looked forward to that future.

Emily's Family

A few days later, I went for my first morning walk of the spring. I drank in all the brilliant shades of green, soaking myself in bird songs. "Quiet me with your love," I whispered. As I turned the second to last corner on my way back home, I suddenly remembered a sweet experience I'd had with Allyson a few weeks earlier, when we finished reading Anne of Green Gables together. 

Reading these lines, I'd fought to keep the tears out of my voice:
When I left Queen's my future seemed to stretch out before me like a straight road. I thought I could see along it for many a milestone. Now there is a bend in it. I don't know what lies around the bend, but I'm going to believe that the best does. It has a fascination of its own, that bend, Marilla. 

Allyson interjected, "That's like our life, Mommy!"

Amazed at her perceptiveness, I smiled through my tears. "Yes, it is, baby." I read on in a trembly voice while she watched with a sheepish smile.

I wonder how the road beyond it goes--what there is of green glory and soft, checkered light and shadows--what new landscapes--what new beauties--what curves and hills and valleys further on.

Allyson brushed the tears off my cheeks with gentle hands and then gave me a fierce hug. 

"I wish I could be like Anne," I said when we'd finished the book. "I know we can trust God with whatever's around the bend, but I can't say I'm excited about it."

"Everything will be okay," Allyson said, resting her head on my chest. 

As I thought back on that precious time, a grin spread across my cheeks. "I am excited, God," I said, hearing the wonder in my own voice. "I don't know what you have planned for me, but I know it's going to be good."

I literally felt lighter, as if a physical weight had lifted. But that was just the beginning. It might have been a week later when I suddenly realized that I don't have to wait to get around that bend to find happiness. There's so much to be happy about now!

Here are just a few things that have brought me joy recently...

  • Watching Allyson score seven goals at her last soccer game. 

She's Spelling "WOW" With Her Hands and Mouth

  • Trying dozens of new vegetarian recipes as part of my 28-day vegan challenge and discovering that I don't miss the meat at all (though I do miss the cheese). And then seeing my cholesterol drop nearly 40 points after 10 days on the diet!

Cholesterol Readings When I Donated Blood (Non-Fasting)

  • Making almond milk (sweetened with Medjool dates) and cashew cream and hummus and applesauce in my brand-new Blendtec blender, an industrial-power machine that I've used approximately 30 times in the first two weeks if the electronic counter is accurate. 

Move over Zojirushi bread machine! I've got a new favorite gadget.
See that frothy almond milk? 

  • Experimenting with healthy swaps, like flax seeds for eggs, applesauce for butter, and almond flour (made from dehydrated almond pulp leftover from my almond milk) for wheat flour.

Virtually Vegan Almond Flour Brownies - Incredibly Delicious

Almond Flour Pancakes with Flax Seed "eggs". Um, no. 

  • And then there are the late-night talks with Ethan. Priceless. 
Life is so good. I'm going to treasure every minute of it. 

P.S. Ethan helped me with the dishes, so my kitchen is presentable again. 


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