Tag: baking

Weekly update: “I had a cunning plan…”

“I’ve got a plan so cunning you could put a tail on it and call it a weasel….” (Blackadder, in Blackadder Series 3, written by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton)

As ever, I had great plans for getting my revamped blog up and running, but things did not go accordingly. The week before last I was knocked flat by very painful endometriosis symptoms. Then last week was extremely busy with two wonderful occasions celebrating my goddaughter and godson’s First Holy Communions.

rosary

The travel involved meant that my chronic pain flared badly, though I am absolutely delighted and thankful we could go and celebrate with them. Their families have become dear friends. I realised I have known my goddaughter’s mum for 17 years. That’s incredible. Looking back it’s quite scary how the time has passed. I’m deeply thankful for her friendship and how she has made my husband and I part of her family, through so many ups and downs and so many times that I have not been able to be the friend I’d want to be and have not been easy to be around.

Here is some baking I did last week for tea with my godson’s family. It’s the first time I have baked since Christmas. It’s therapeutic for me as well as a good way to make a gift. These cakes and tea bread were all gluten free.

baking

Today, we got some more unexpected bad news about my husband’s health, including the fact he needs yet another surgery. A problem we had thought to be relatively minor could be or could become very serious. Coming as it does, clashing with what had been elation at his getting through his previous surgery, this is a shock for him. We are both somewhat stunned. I feel a certainty we can walk through this whatever it leads to, because we have each other, the sacrament of our marriage strengthening us, the unchanging love of God, and good and quick medical care here. I will say more in future posts but it’s another case of “thank goodness it was caught early”.

On the positive side, the doctors are still permitting us to go on our holiday to Greece next week. This will be a very important rest and please God, time of happiness, for my husband before he faces his next surgery. We are going to take things slowly in Greece and take plenty of time to appreciate the little beauties in each day. We will be by the sea for much of the time and I think that itself is healing, through God’s grace.

As you can see, this means I have not been able to do with my blog what I wanted to. I am sorry not to fulfil the schedule I had set out. I don’t want to let you down. I am going to postpone making any major changes until we come back from holiday and I can dedicate particular time each week to this blog. In the meantime I will update when I can and share some of the joy of our travels.

Ginny xxx

 

The peculiar significance of treacle

Every year I forget how evocative certain Christmas smells are. Not just the more obvious things like candles and oranges and mincemeat and brandy, but certain specifics. It was black treacle and spices the other day, as I was making gingerbread dough. Suddenly as I counted out the syrupy spoonfuls I was taken back to being stood in front of another cooker, aged maybe 7, stirring the pan dissolving the sugars, with my mother watching. Chain smoking, of course. A knot of emotions expanded inside me as they did then. Excitement for Christmas. Some kind of enjoyment of doing a grown up thing. Delight at wanting to make pretty biscuits. Wanting to get it right and please my mother…. well, the desperate need to get it right, impeccably following the process she had shown me. That meant tenterhooks and anxiety and churning emotions, too often teetering on the edge of me ruining everything again (I thought). One mistake, one deviation from her instructions, her watching would explode into anger, ridicule, accusations and threats. Hours of shouting and violence would follow. And everything, I had made her do, and each time I’d have that sick terror inside that this time it was over and the threats were being fulfilled. Looking back and seeing how little was needed to tip us into that disaster, it’s bizarre. Laying a biscuit onto the baking tray in the “wrong” way (ie not the precise arrangement she required), not getting the bow on a package right fast enough, touching the wrong switch on the oven – even simply letting any of my anxiety show. It sounds almost as if it should be funny. But it isn’t funny when someone has you isolated, under their power and in fear; not in fear of them but in fear of yourself. Because one sure thing to me at the time was that it was my fault.

So, standing there measuring the treacle it all came back. As I’ve been making the biscuits over the last day or so, I keep being catapulted into so many emotions and suddenly reliving snatches of good and bad … And to tell the truth I’ve been pulled into the bad too much. Exhausted.

I’m fighting it, because there’s no way my abuser’s having this Christmas. This Christmas is for God and the present and my fianc√© and it’s about all the good we can do and are thankful for today. I speak briefly, quietly to God as I roll the dough, cut, bake , ice, package these cookies. I’m pushing through the dissociation to do all I can to hope for this Christmas and for every flashback find twice as much I’m thankful for today.

Ginny xxx

An evening of baking

What a week it’s been. I feel frazzled. Every day my anxiety has been hitting hard and every challenge exhausting, needing rest and feeling every chance for it is snatched away by the next problem. Therapy was really hard today and I’m very worried for someone else in my group. I told the PD Service and I don’t think they heard or recognise the danger I can see so clear and imminent for the person.

It’s Advent. It’s a precious time. It’s slipping away from me so fast. I really need stillness, to acknowledge what I’m feeling and to draw close to God in prayer. Every day passes and I have the same weaknesses and struggles.

Tonight part of me wants to curl up and escape – but I’m baking because some friends from my old job are coming for coffee tomorrow morning. I put some Christmas carols on and feel a little bit of peace creeping into my heart in the simple repetitive tasks.

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Ginny xxx

 

A visit to my goddaughters

A visit to my goddaughters

This Palm Sunday weekend has been a special one. The last couple of days, I have been staying with my goddaughters’ family. They are several hours away by coach so I do not get to visit as often as we might all like, partly as I am very anxious about travelling and my physical pain exacerbated makes the journey tiring too. Visits have always been a blessed time. My goddaughters’ mum L. is my closest friend and when I was at college, I lived with her and her family in holidays when I was unable to live with my own.¬†Though a long while may go between times we see each other at the moment, we stay close in friendship and prayer for each other and don’t seem to lose the closeness despite the geographical distance.

L. is a very non-judgemental person, extremely compassionate and reflective, talented especially in work, study and music, selfless and giving, gentle and sensitive to others and extremely accepting. I am so thankful, in recent years especially, that she accepts me however I am, whatever I cannot do, whatever I’m feeling, however rubbish I feel. She makes it okay. I dare to tell her more than any other friend how I really feel.

My goddaughters bring abounding energy and a lot of happiness. Everything is exciting and new. They ask questions that make me smile and open my eyes to notice and be mindful. They find purpose and feeling in every moment.

We made cookies and iced them. This took several stages through the day and a lot of floury stickiness along the way – mixing, forming the dough, kneading in dried fruits and peel, waiting, rolling out the dough, cutting shapes, building new ones, then finally icing. We coloured. We went to the soft play centre. We read books. We played with the inevitable Peppa Pig Princess Palace. We went to Mass for Palm Sunday of Our Lord’s Passion. I got to watch my eldest goddaughter in her very first ballet show where she danced as a twinkling star.

I’m thankful. My heart melted to see happy eyes, smiling faces, hands outstretched to me for a hug, genuinely and fully pleased to see me, which astounded me. Their trust and unreserved enjoyment found me deeper within and for once I did not feel as though I was only watching from the outside and for a while, the real was stronger and louder than the voices and the noise in my head. I truly am blessed by my wonderful friends in this family.

Tomorrow morning I go home. This weekend is a gift I will carry with me. I am so thankful and so fortunate to be cared about and welcomed and loved in this way.

Ginny xxx