Well, here I am. Two weeks into school and my life is busy and exciting. I have not felt so alive in a long time. I struggled for quite some time to justify my decision of returning to school and pursuing my education. I was taught that my job was in the home. I have supported my family and husband and watched with elation as they have met their goals, dreamed their dreams, and obtained their educational degrees as well. I played the part of supporting actress, high spirited cheerleader and motivational speaker for some time. I have been a stay at home mom for 21 years. This role has brought me great joy, and yet recently, I have felt empty.
Something inside of me was not right. I struggled to place my finger on exactly what was causing me to drop into depression, suffer from anxiety, doubt myself, and, I was aware that I was slowing drifting away from my life. The island, that is my family, was slowly drifting further from the raft that I was floating in. I felt the embrace of being pulled under or away.
It wasn't until things came to a head this summer after moving into our home that I realized I needed a direction. I needed to do something for me. My unhappiness with myself was affecting my family, my relationship with my husband, and with my life. I needed a life line.
Facing the strange fear of possibly losing it all--I made a decision. Cory has never ever once told me to not go to school. It's the opposite. He never wanted me to quit and has pushed me onto this course for some time. I finally took the bait and did what I thought was impossible, I enrolled in school. Knee shaking, heart pulsing--I was accepted. I told my family and they have supported me 100%.
This one decision will affect our family. Cory is still working from home but he still needs to work so I have been able to adjust my schedule so that he can work and then take care of Finnley while I am away a few hours each day. Isabella is back in school for this school year. Rye is working and her schedule allows her to help while I am at class too. This whole process is teaching us to work as a team. I am learning that I can let go of the steering wheel for a while and someone else in my family can drive the "home" ship just fine without me. I needed to learn this lesson.
Cory and Rye are so cute because the other day they reassured me that I did not need to do all of the cooking. They were capable of making a variety of dishes and they had my blog to fall back on. I can't tell you how happy this makes me feel. I still cook a lot but the responsibilities are being shared.
As for me, I feel good. My spirits are high. I am like a kid in a toy shop. I never knew how addicting learning could be. I am like a sponge. I don't want school to end. My goals are hefty and I am looking at 6 years of college but I can do this.
Our meals have become easier and more fresh. This kale salad is delightful. The kale and swiss chard work well together to create the base for this winter salad. I have added a few crunch elements that my family likes but you can always exchange those for things you like more.
Our favorite part about this salad is the Maple Syrup Dijon Salad Dressing. Twang meets sweet. Together the flavor is "moorish" in the fact that I want more and more and more.
I hope you can appreciate Finnley as my photo assistant. I have come a long ways since the first few years of taking pictures. I had this idea that they needed to look perfect. Those days are long gone. The pictures you see are my life. A busy Mom trying to blog, cook, photograph, write, go to school, clean house, help with homework, do homework, be a partner for my husband and still find time to pursue the things I like to do. Finnley is my life right now and for now on you may see her foot, finger, hand, head, or shoulder in a picture or two. I wouldn't have it any other way either. I love those little glimpses of her still small frame.
Too soon, I will have an empty home and my life will slow down. I am trying so hard to find the balance and help my whole family achieve their goals, dreams, and personal educational needs.
It's challenging but so worth it.
Kale Salad with Maple Dijon Salad Dressing
4 large winter kale leaves, center vein removed
4 large swiss kale leaves, center vein removed
1/3 cup parsley, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
1/2 cup dried pomegranates
1/2 cup sesame seed covered cashews
1 lemon, juice only
1/4 cup sunflower oil
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
REAL maple syrup, to taste
salt if needed
pepper to taste
dash of garlic powder
1. Cut the kale and swiss chards into bite size pieces or narrow strips. I like the strips personally. Add the remaining ingredients; toss to combine. Squeeze the whole lemon over the salad and massage into the kale and swiss chard. This should be done before adding the salad dressing. Let sit for 15 minutes.
2. In a small bowl, combine salad dressing ingredients. Taste you product. Add more mustard or syrup depending on how you think it taste. Add salt if you think it needs it. Pour all of the dressing over the salad.
3. Store left over salad in air tight container and refrigerate.