I have been reflecting on my life lately and the many hats we wear as women and especially mothers. I am a mumma to two beautiful, energetic boys, Jesus follower and small business owner. Life can get a little crazy sometimes but somehow we survive and smile through the storms and even have a joke or a dance.
My boys are 7 and 9 years old (nearly 10). It has just been the three of us for the last 5½ years (that's another story), but I am a single mum that has fought through the blood, sweat and tears to provide a home and community for my boys where they don't feel like a minority and they can still follow their hearts and dreams. Just because they don't have a dad in their lives, doesn't mean they can't achieve all they were created to be.
When I first became a single mum, I also discovered Jesus. Well he reached me when I was at the lowest point in my life. I had nothing and was barely able to look after my then 3 year old and 9 month old baby. As my faith grew, God began His restoring work in me. To say God saved my life is an understatement, He gave me life and a renewed hope.
So began the long journey as a small family of 3, in a new town and community. How was I going to fulfil my dream of being a stay at home mum and support my little people? I began a little cake business from home. I am a trained chef with over 10 years experience in the hospitality Industry through many sectors including top restaurants, small luxury hotels of the world and oil and gas. Instead of getting a job at a local winery or restaurant, I chose to stay at home with my 2 children and wait until they wee in school to really work. They still did go to day care for a day or two. However my youngest never really settled in daycare, so I pulled him before he started kindy and just managed with him at home whilst I was baking.
After a couple of years of selling a range of cakes, slices and macarons to the local cafes, restaurants and wineries I began to show symptoms of an illness. I battled through, hoping and really expecting it to just go away. In hindsight all of these years later as I look back, I realise I was finally relaxing. The stress of a relationship break up, moving towns and raising 2 little boys on my own had just caught up with me.
We ate very well, no additives or colours and I made almost everything. But we did still eat gluten and dairy. I was back on my health food journey. I started reading and learning about raw food. This is when I created my raspberry cacao granola. We ate this as a snack or breakfast cereal with almond milk. I was devouring cook books, blogs and signing up to any newsletter that talked about eating for health.
However my health was still declining. Eventually I was so sick I could no longer work. I couldn't even look after my children on my own. I moved in with my mum, who cared for my 95 year old (now 98) grandfather and brother who also lived on the farm. We had four generations under one roof in my mum's childhood home. Apart from my illness, it was a blessed time for everyone.
It was great for my Grandad to be around his great grandchildren. Often after bath time, my youngest would climb into his great Grandfathers lap and snuggle waiting for dinner. There were many adults to help me train my boys, they didn't get away with much. Not to mention the beautiful green open spaces. The farm has always been a place of healing for me and this time in my life was no exception.
Finally in late 2012, I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease, an inflammatory bowel disease. My brother has also suffered with this disease for over 10 years, which is why the doctors initially ruled it out. Citing that is uncommon for siblings to have Crohn's Disease. Well I had a diagnosis, a label for why I was so unwell. The next hard part soon began, how and what do I eat? I had lost a lot of weight and now the doctor was giving me all of these medications, I really wasn't sure which ones to take.
In the end I decided to take all but one, a chemotherapy drug. They had to test my blood every week to make sure they weren't poisoning me! WHAT!!! Crazy! My reading and learning about food began in earnest now, my large intestine was still inflamed and that needed to be reduced.
Around this time, I started to make milk kefir, I had been to a fermenting workshop and was also making water kefir. I was also playing around with sourdough and starters. I was making my own yoghurt and had just started creating organic raw chocolate.
I was devouring any information I could about making everything from scratch at home. I was lucky, I was healing, I was being restored and I didn't have the pressure of paying rent. I was surrounded by family supporting me and an absolutely amazing mother doing everything she could for her daughter and grandsons.
As I reflect on those days more than 3 years ago, I don't remember any of the family disputes, grumblings and disagreements. There were six individuals living in a small farmhouse ranging from 95 down to 4 years of age. Not to mention adult siblings. I hadn't lived with my brother since I was 18. So yes we had a few disagreements, however they aren't the memories that I remember or hold on to. I remember family pulling together during a crisis, I remember being provided for in every way and I remember peace. At a time in my life where I was so impatient. All I wanted to do is get back into life and support my little family. But God had other plans. He was trying to speak to me, He was trying to be my provider and I kept saying to Him, I've got this.
God asked me to be still. Be still in my presence, listen to me, I've got this. I was jammed into a corner, I felt trapped, I had no way out and so what else do you do in those life moments. I surrendered. I stopped, I listened and I felt peace. His peace. My oldest boy was catching the bus to school every day, a 1 hour trip there and 1 hour home. It was a long day for him, but my little independant 6 year old was well and truly up to the task. Even my little 4 year old was catching the bus a few days a week to kindy. Through my weakness God was teaching me how to raise resilient children and at the same time refining my character to be even more resilient.
I have learnt all of these years later with or without a faith in God, if you have been through tough times in your life, the chances are you have developed reislience, it allows you to bear the next hurdle all that easier and learn to just roll with it, sit and be still.
I hope that this has brought encouragement to you and that you can learn to sit and be still, even during the turbulent storm.
Helping busy people create change in their health through food.