The Table: A monthly newsletter with stuff for the soul.
September 2021 Edition
I don’t know about you, but September seems like it was one big blur! We had the frenzy of back to school at the beginning of the month, followed by celebrating the date of our daughter’s adoption on the 19th with our annual Family Day (see photo below). As some of you may know, I’ve also been dealing with some tough personal news about my mother.
In July, my mother was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. It has spread, quickly, all throughout her body. Her cancer team has changed their approach from “cure” to “comfort.” Talking about when, not if, is our new language.
At the same time, her body has responded very well to the first round of chemotherapy. So much that they want her to continue it for the next four months. Again, this will not cure her cancer. But it, combined with the post-chemo meds, is expected to give her more time. Much more than we originally were afraid she’d have.
If you know me well, you will know that my mother and I have spent much time estranged from one another. The lines between love and pain in our relationship have often been blurred in my nearly thirty-eight years of being her daughter. It is a strange thing to hold my truths in one hand and in the other, her diagnosis. It is, quite literally, emotional exhaustion. I am also still reeling from the death of my Nana in June.
But instead of being frozen in all the what-ifs, I’m trying to do little things each day that help my footing feel a little more steady, a little more sure. I get dressed. I take my meds. I take the dog for a walk. I do laundry and brush my teeth and work and parent.
Because as my mother and I say to each other whenever we talk on the phone: we take it one day at a time. That’s all any of us can do, after all. So if you’re in a season that feels hard, if you feel stuck or like you don’t know what the next step is, I encourage you to take it slow. Do something little that will ground you. Then do something else. Bit by bit, we build a life that is good, that is strong, that looks in the face of pain and suffering and declares, “You will not win.”
One day at a time. One step at a time.
Onward & always.
5 Things That Are Giving Me Life This Month…
1) The new season of The Great British Baking Show! This is one of our favorite family shows, and we always end up getting inspired to get in the kitchen and make something yummy!
2) Getting thank-you gifts together for the launch team for my book. Birds carry an important symbolism in my life, as well as in the book. That’s why I was so excited to partner with Bird Versus Bird, who made these vegan leather bird coasters* as part of the thank-you gifts for being on the launch team! If you still haven’t signed up for the launch team, you can do so by clicking here.
3) Apple and pumpkin picking! Now that it’s fall, we took a trip to a local orchard to get a few bushels of apples and pumpkins for carving. It’s a fun tradition that we look forward to every year! Do you have any seasonal traditions that you and yours do every year? I’d love to hear about them! They might even make it into a future edition of The Table!
4) I hired a cleaning person to come once a month and help with deep cleaning in the home. This is something that I recognize is a) a huge privilege and b) something I had been putting off for too long because I didn’t want to admit I needed help. But the truth is, with two kids and a dog, going to seminary, working, and often doing it all solo while my husband is at church or doing ministry, I was very overwhelmed by keeping up with all of it. Emily is amazing, her price is very reasonable, and having her come monthly means I can still keep things tidy and organized while trusting the deeper work I may be tempted to overlook will still get done.
5) Cornerstone Campus Ministry at UAlbany. My husband is on the board, and I recently attended the yearly fundraiser with him. We were seated with a lovely young woman (who is originally from Ghana!) who shared with us how important it has been for her mental and spiritual health to be connected with other Christians on campus. Our church recently adopted their Java and Justice program, which hosts conversations about social justice issues from a Christian perspective, and we are so excited to be involved. To learn more or donate, please visit their website.
In Case You Missed It…
I kicked off my month of all things Scotland!
I attempted to make shortbread on the day my mother had chemo, and everything fell apart.
I talked about my journey with intuitive eating
I spoke about Scottish pride that I can wear on my sleeve (or, rather, in my hair!)
On My Plate…
One of the best desserts I made during my month of Scottish cooking is cranachan! It is simple and takes only a few ingredients, but it is absolutely delicious! I used this recipe, and I made individual dishes and served them in martini glasses.
Young Living Oils…
What's in this month’s Young Living box? Soooo many goodies! I keep telling you: Young Living is not just oils!
All the Thieves products! Hand soap, essential oils, hand sanitizer. Thieves essential oil blend was inspired by the legend of four French thieves who formulated and wore a special aromatic combination of clove, rosemary, vinegar, and other botanicals that they believed provided protection while they were robbing the dead during the plague. French authorities recognized that there was such value in this mixture that upon the thieves’ capture, they received a more merciful punishment on condition that they divulge the ingredients in their secret formula.
Seasonal oils like Christmas Spirit, Believe, Peppermint, and Pine
Body wash (I get the unscented gel and make my own scents using oils)
If you're not on Subscribe to Save (STS), why the heck not?? There are so many goodies you can get for FREE! Let me help hook you up!
STS offers you a percentage back for each month you order, plus promos each month and free products along the way! Does your favorite subscription reward program do that? My favorite bulls-eye store only offers 5% (still love you, Tar-jay) & Kyle and I are earning 25% back with YL after more than a year.