Years ago (before I got sick) I always said that I would rather clean than cook. Things sure have changed. Given my own kitchen for a week, I'm thrilled to be using a convection oven and gas range. I'm picking out new recipes to try from The Joy of Cooking and following them exactly. Yesterday, for instance, I learned how to make a poaching paper that lays neatly on top of a simmering pot of fish fillets, lemon, onion, carrot, and celery. My biggest mistake with that dish was leaving out the salt. (Today I refurbished the fish and vegetables with a brown butter sauce.) I bought portobello mushrooms for the first time. I've learned how to dress a salad, not just slosh the vinaigrette on top. I've discovered that cheese, no matter how luscious, always tastes better with fruit.
Now, part of the reason for all this is that almost all processed foods make me sick, and I'm not yet wealthy enough to hire a cook, so I've had to learn to make everything from scratch. It's sheer necessity. And as they say, when life hands you lemons . . .
Another part of the reason that I now enjoy cooking is that as I've purged all processed foods from my diet, my sense of taste has changed. I eat hardly any refined sugar or additives. Believe it or not, because my tastebuds are no longer trained to look for the flavors of sugar and MSG in everything I eat, I can actually taste layers of flavor. My sense of smell is more sensitive now, too.
Another thing I'm doing with my time is writing - some of it for pay. My health taking a dive has been an odd blessing, in that I now work from home. But I happen to love meaningful work, which means that in addition to my paying jobs, I also have a bunch of projects I'm working on. I just love the fact that even on a day when I'm not feeling well, I can pop open my laptop and put in an hour or two of work. So while I've wanted to be a writer since I was about seven, what's amazing to me is that God actually made it happen. That's what I do now. I'm a writer.
The final thing I'm doing with my time is . . . nothing. This too is a new direction. Because for most of my life, I've put unbearable pressure on myself to produce, to accomplish, to do. And for most of my life I've been tired, go figure. Now I take things slowly . . . not only for my physical health, but for my spirit. I'm trying to learn to listen to God. As I go through the day, I'm listening for these moments: time to take a break and follow a train of thought. I need to pause and ask God about this. I'm worried - let me read a chapter out of that book. I'm tired, and I'm forcing myself to keep busy because I'm afraid that if I stop, I'll feel lonely and out of control - so stop! Now is the perfect time. Now is when I need to rest, to express my trust in Him.