Friday, November 29, 2013

Cookie Season Has Arrived

Can you feel it? I do. It’s winter! Yes, soon it will be time to say good-bye to fall and hello to the chilly months ruled by Jack Frost. It will be here before you know it (December 21st to be exact). The transformation is taking place before our eyes, especially with Thanksgiving becoming an all but distant memory.

There are many signs to behold of my favorite time of year: naked trees, intermittent days of temperatures below 50, people wrapped in layers (which includes coats, gloves and scarves), the pungent and nose-pleasing aromas of pine cones, fresh cut evergreens and the burning of firewood. (How I love taking cold wintry walks, alone or with a friend, bundled-up, drinking hot cocoa, watching smoke bellowing out of chimneys, and bantering endlessly about the mundane.)

However, my big love of the season is comfort food. Would it be yours too? The most important is sweets, especially cookies (the greatest tummy pleaser of them all).

I am guessing December is the number one month for cookies. I make this assumption based on careful observation. No matter where I go I see them being baked, swapped, shipped, shared, gifted, hanging on Christmas trees, etc. It truly is an endless parade of these small tasty morsels of heavenly delight. They are hard to escape and miss with their different sizes, shapes, decoration and smells.

I was beginning to feel a bit blue about the season of cookies because of my nemesis, gluten. I don’t have the luxury anymore of going into a store and picking up what my eyes and taste buds demand. No, I must explore each container with accurate consideration, reading the ingredient label once, twice and sometimes thrice. It truly is a careful expedition of the most important kind.

I remember an instance when a woman approached me at the market while I was checking out various cookies, and she said, “I know, it’s hard to make up one's mind which of those wonderful treats to buy.” A part of me wanted to lash out because while making her comment she picked up several different containers of cookies and put them in her shopping cart (the nerve of her). Needless to say, I was aghast. However, an awkward moment for me, and 'a no clue' one for her turned into the perfect conversation of education and understanding.

I loved that this woman was curious and concerned, had questions and was genuinely interested in my struggle as a Celiac.  How would she learn about my misery if I didn’t speak up and tell my story? Times like this require us to engage others in conversation, thus sharing and giving the gift of knowledge. We can’t change perception and eradicate fear without words, sentences and stories of truth.

I was feeling gloomy when the Girl Scouts were selling their cookies and I couldn’t indulge in my favorites, the Samoas and Thin Mints. I used to love eating them frozen with hot tea – sigh.  Now it appears that feeling is hovering over me once more like a mean cold that just won’t go away, an even bigger – sigh.  I am bereft of the enjoyment of a large quantity and variety of Christmas cookies. I shared my distress with a friend, and her remarks were just what I needed to hear. She said, in no uncertain terms, “I don’t feel sorry for you. So what you can’t have those cookies (referring to those containing gluten). We’ll just have to bake together something yummier and better tasting.” How great was her one-woman show of intervention of purpose?

She hosts a holiday baking party each year, with cookies receiving most of the attention. She supplies the kitchen, cooking utensils and holiday drinks of cheer, and everyone else brings the ingredients to make the magic happen. There is also a cookie swap and taste testing.  There’s wine too (forget the cookies, I’ll take the wine).

What’s also great is when she in her remarkable way said, “You can bring a bottle of wine, but don’t bring ingredients unless you feel compelled to, because I’ve been collecting non-gluten flour for you for this occasion.”  Again, how great is that?!  How fortunate am I to have such a friend? This is a loving gesture, which will keep my spirits high during the season.

Cookies, with or without gluten, small or large, salty or sweet, gooey or crunchy, chocolate or vanilla, with icing or sprinkles, have a way of spreading cheer in the most simple of ways. A cookie has the power to reconnect friends.

Make love happen this season by baking cookies, by yourself to get the holiday ball rolling, or with friends to nurture togetherness, and just maybe you’ll think about baking cookies to give away – to the homeless man/woman you pass each day on your way to work, the bus driver who transports you safely to and from home, for your postal carrier, etc. Give a little holiday sweetness to show faith, fortune, love, and understanding and maybe to say, “I’m sorry.”

They’re almost ready. Can you smell them? They're cookies, and I baked them just for you. I wish all who read this post a sweet holiday season, and for my Celiacs a sweeter one because we know the true meaning of living life one meal at a time.  Cheers! – paerki

What would life be like without memories? It’s fair to say, there would be no life at all. Memory is our communication, reason, coherence, our action and more importantly, our feeling. Memories create our path in life, developing our psychology and leading us emotionally.

One of the best ways to create and store memories is with video. These simple effortless little snippets of time create diaries and become perpetual time capsules, which justify our walk on earth, telling all with great enthusiasm… I was here! I mattered! I lived! Please, don’t forget me.

Share your views, thoughts and opinions in the written word. Snap photographs so that your eyes can travel back in time, remembering the happy and sad moments that made you the person you were, are and became in life. But, whenever possible, capture video to enhance the memories you leave behind, so that others may pass the essence of your life on to future generations.


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My large collection of images are a testament to a life lived. Life happens all around us so it’s important to collect special memories, and what better way than with a photograph.

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There are many people in the world affected by disease. I never thought I would be one of the many. However, at any given time life can change. Mine did! There were many twists and turns, but I made it through and you can too. I am a Celiac on the move living life one meal at a time. Learn more about my life as a Celiac. Celiac Disease is a lifelong, digestive disorder affecting children and adults. In short, I have an allergy to gluten, and the treatment is a lifelong scrupulous avoidance of it.

No matter what, know this: You are never alone. There are people out there who’ve struggled, endured, made it through and are sharing their message of survival. No, they might not be at your side, but their spirit is out there in words, attempting to help others on their journey. Let’s all unite by sharing our individual stories, remedies for healthy living, food and recipes to keep us strong, and let’s find the laughter too because it can be some of the best medicine. Always remember, there is power in numbers. Check me out: A Celiac On The Move

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"I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires." - Susan B. Anthony

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