Do you have certain comfort foods that bring back good memories, or that you crave when you’re not feeling well? Foods that feel deeply nourishing to your body and your soul? My grandma makes a simple, delicious soup with chicken broth and veggies that our whole family loves. It’s been in my thoughts lately. We call it Two Cup Soup, and it’s the ultimate comfort food for me. Both my mom and grandma have that soup ready and waiting when we fly to visit them, it’s become a tradition. (These pictures are from a visit to my grandma’s in 2017.)
What a good feeling it is to be welcomed by a warm bowl of soup after a long day of travel. The boy sometimes has less of an appetite when we’re traveling, but that magical soup restores his appetite every time and he will ask for seconds and thirds (even when the tiredness sets in.) When we arrive at her house at night, and she asks what we would like for breakfast in the morning, our answer is always the same, “leftover soup!”
I’ve been thinking about healing foods and comfort foods, and focusing on making lots of healing meals around here while Jeff is on the mend. The start to our year began differently than we expected, with a trip to the emergency room. It was scary at the time, when we were trying to figure everything out, but both Jeff and I agreed later that it was a blessing in disguise because it gave us a better insight into what was going on with his body and how to care for him better going forward.
We were all physically and emotionally exhausted afterwards, and ready to clear our schedule for a bit and just be home together as a family, giving Jeff some rest and recovery time. (Our pup, who adores Jeff, stuck to his side from the moment he walked in the door, we were all so glad to be with him.) There have been so many times over the years that Jeff has cared for me when I’ve needed it most, and it’s a good feeling when I am able to give him that care in return. What an honor it is to be of service to those we love, and I believe the feeling of being loved and cared for can be just as healing as the homemade soup or soothing tea we bring.
I had a stretch of days there where I had a pretty hard time keeping up with what I normally do, plus some of what Jeff normally does. I’d be hauling firewood (gotta keep that fire going this time of year), walking the dog twice a day, making meals, homeschooling, laundry, mailing orders and catching up on wholesale orders, washing an endless pile of dishes… and the days just weren’t long enough. I felt exhausted (it’s a challenge to keep up with everything around here when it’s the two of us), and that only made me appreciate everything that Jeff does around here even more. (He’s a really good cook, so with any break he has from cooking, no matter how short, I really miss his meals. We were all very happy when he was cooking again.)
On the phone the other day my sister described Jeff as a doer, and that he absolutely is. He’s without a doubt the hardest worker I’ve ever known, and resting doesn’t come easily to him. I’ve been proud of him, though, for the way he’s handled everything. First, for his sense of humor the entire time we were at the hospital (despite the fear and anxiety he felt at the time), making everyone around him laugh, and lightening the situation again and again. And then for coming home and accepting his limitations, while he heals, more easily than he ever has before (I still play the role of nagging wife from time to time 🙂 but I know how frustrating physical limitations can be so I feel for him) and for learning all he can about what he needs to do to care for himself in the best way possible. Humor is still an important part of his healing process and we seek out things to make us laugh on a daily basis because laughter truly is the best medicine and makes you feel so much better! (And if it sounds like he’s been idle, he has not, count on him to always find ways to get work done.)
I’m grateful that Jeff and I both share a passion for learning everything we can about health and that the well being of our family is such a huge priority for both of us. Because, let’s face it, it’s a lot of work to make healthy meals for your family every day. If we both didn’t care so much we wouldn’t have been making such an effort all these years to eat the very best we can, and share the responsibility of making meals.
We’ve been making lots of bone broth soups these last few weeks because they are so nourishing, comforting, and easy to digest. I make big batches of bone broth in the crock pot, and then I freeze the extra for future soups. We’re all wanting lots of bone broth soups right now. I’ve been thinking about what a valuable use of our time it is to make nourishing meals for our families and loved ones. I don’t usually have as much time to spend in the kitchen each day as I would like to, but over time my cooking skills improve and I get a bit faster too, which helps. I’m not an impressive cook by any means, but I really care about feeding my family well. Some weeks I’m better at prioritizing that than others. Whenever one of us is sick or not feeling well, it brings me back to that commitment in a stronger way. I’ve definitely been feeling the pull back to the kitchen this month.
I was away from the computer for a stretch, and this space has been quiet while I’ve been busy caring of my family. I have readers who worry when I don’t write here for too long, and I didn’t want to worry any of you. A few times I came here to write, but at first I simply didn’t have the time, and then later I was either too exhausted, or just didn’t have the right words yet. I wasn’t ready to jump back into the blog or any social media. I’ve simply wanted to be home with my family. We’re joining our regular activities again and life feels more normal each day as Jeff feels better, but I still feel like I haven’t been ready to fully dive back in just yet.
Whether it’s just a cold, or something more serious, having anyone in our family under the weather or feeling unwell is an opportunity to slow down and be reminded of what is most important. Looking back at the things I was worrying about the days before driving Jeff to the hospital, now they seem like such insignificant things to stress about in the grand scheme of things. I’m grateful that life reminds me again and again of what is most important. Love. Family. The people we hold dear. To those of you reading these words, I encourage you take your opportunities to step away from the screen, to set your phone away, and be present with the people around you- savoring each sacred moment that you are given. My favorite times with my family are not when we’re doing anything particularly special, but just being together. Disruptions in the daily routine make those simple times feel all the more precious, don’t they?