Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Thoughts Before Christmas and Health

As we move into Christmas, I have had to reconcile myself to the fact that I will be working all of it.  This is a fact of life for a nurse, especially when in a new job (next year I will have a better chance of having at least some of Christmas off).  It is hard for me: no singing with the choir on Christmas Eve, no family dinner Christmas Day, watching Tyler open presents on Christmas morning in a blur after coming off a night shift.  Our dinner will be postponed to the weekend.

My health has been a challenge starting back at the beginning of fall.  I am working with a new doctor and am improving, but my energy is so sapped.  A simple walk to the pharmacy today in beautiful weather was tiring.  I feel extremely old, but I am only 56!  I must have faith that the interventions the doctor has prescribed for me will continue to improve my health.

So I am a little melancholy this season.  What I am telling myself is that there is hope for health improvement, and that I am performing an invaluable task this Christmas: caring for tiny preemies that I love, giving of myself and providing aid to the sick, as Christ asks of us.

"The care of the sick is to be placed above and before every other duty, as if indeed Christ were being directly served by waiting on them."

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Saint Perpetua

Today at Mass, an excerpt from the diary of Saint Perpetua was read during Scripture reading.  She was a young mother, martyred for refusing to renounce her Christian faith.

 "Perpetua, unwilling to renounce Christianity, comforted her father in his grief over her decision, 'It shall happen as God shall choose, for assuredly we depend not on our own power but on the power of God.'"

Monday, December 8, 2014

English Country Dancing

Last week Paul and I, along with our friend and her daughter (the daughter is in the process of choreographing a Regency dance for her school's production of Pride and Prejudice) went to St. Mark's Church in Evanston for their biweekly English Country Dancing.  I spontaneously decided to dress up.  My recent weight loss enabled me to fit back into my Regency stays, and a gown I made several years back.  I even found enough time to do a Regency hairstyle.

The dancing was fun.  We were all a bit confused, but the more experienced people helped guide us into the proper places.  I would like to do this again soon.  Below are some photos of me in my gown, and my hairstyle.  (Please excuse my wrinkled appearance; although I had ironed my dress prior to dressing, it got very wrinkled in the car ride to pick up our friends and drive to the church.)


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Saint Nicholas Day

Yesterday was Saint Nicholas Day.  Tyler found a surprise in his shoe:

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Two Gluten-Free Dessert Ideas

I have tried going gluten-free previously on health cleanses I have done, and I have always felt great during these times.  This time, however, my doctor has placed me on a gluten-free diet due to lab results showing an auto-immune problem (nothing super-serious, but requiring medication and lifestyle changes).  This has not been too bad (three weeks so far), but I was concerned with Christmastime and treats.  I recently tried two gluten-free desserts.  Both were very easy (one requiring no real baking skills at all!).

First I tried gluten-free amaretti cookies.  These were very good, and especially important, as our go-to meal for any holiday is a butternut squash lasagna that calls for three amaretti cookies to be crushed into the squash mixture (Obviously, we would need to make two pans of the lasagna - one with regular noodles, the other with gluten-free noodles).

Some of the amaretti cookies.  I made a few plain ones for the squash recipe.

Next I wanted to try a gluten-free pie.  I was completely lazy on this one, but what can I say, I have been working a lot lately.  I ordered pie crusts and some all-natural pie filling.

These pie crusts were pretty good, but ever-so-small.  
I will try to find a larger crust for next time.

I loved this filling.  Not too sweet, and no corn syrup, gluten, or other undesirable ingredients.  You can find it on amazon.  Caution, these are large jars - more than enough for one pie each, and the link is for a four-pack.  It might be best to buy a single jar to try.  But I was glad I ordered four, because I will definitely use this again.