The Good that Lies Ahead
Bittersweet is one of my favorite words. It holds the promise that great good lies beyond the sorrow of the moment.
When a chapter comes to a close it is often bittersweet. Saying goodbye to something or someone you love is most always bittersweet. Bidding farewell to the name of a blog you have poured heart, sweat and tears into definitely qualifies as bittersweet.
Over the past months I have been quietly working on reinventing Lexie’s Kitchen. Today it gives me great joy to share with you a new look, a new name and a new mission.
A Look Back
When I launched Lexie’s Kitchen in 2009, I had a sick little boy. I felt terribly helpless and alone. I needed to learn so much, so fast—and you were there for me.
By 2016, what started as a small recipe blog had blossomed into an award-winning food allergy site and a source of great personal blessing. My work in recipe development and food photography had been picked up, published and seen by millions. It inspired me to author a cookbook that I am immensely proud of. It provided opportunities to work with top health brands, experts and influencers—even First Lady Michelle Obama. But the greatest of these blessings? Connecting with you.
As I stretch beyond food to grow into an online lifestyle magazine for women in their 40’s, 50’s and beyond, my hope is that you will continue with me and that our connection will grow deeper and richer. Rest assured that the recipes are not going away (I love food too much!)—they simply will be complemented with a wider variety of content aimed at nourishing your entire being.
A Life Lesson and a Change of Direction
The decision to move in a new direction didn’t happen overnight, it blossomed over time.
All the while my husband and I worked to heal our son, a huge life lesson was in the making for me. As most caregivers do, I sorely neglected my own health and well-being. A sick child coupled with job loss, deaths in the family and the onset of a no-so-little thing called perimenopause brewed a perfect storm that knocked me flat. Back in the day they would have called it a nervous breakdown. Today we call it adrenal burnout.
For six years my body bore such a load of stress that it finally shut down. I remember the fateful day. I had just turned 42, my father had just died and I was having another bout of stress angina. I woke up one Friday morning and everything about my life, even the thought fixing breakfast for my toddlers, was beyond overwhelming. It was as if a switch had flipped and with my mind in a crippled state, I laid in bed for three days. I did not eat. I did not want to talk to anyone. I just lay there.
Three days later, I pulled myself together and went to see my primary doctor. My head was a bit fuzzy, but clear enough to state my case. I wasn’t sad. I was just really, really tired. Nonetheless, he scribbled out a prescription for an anti-depressant and sent me on my way. Yes, I was in the middle of a freak out breakdown, but I wasn’t out of my mind. Deep down I knew it wasn’t depression and as I left his office I tore up the script and tossed it in the trash.
The next week I went to see a holistic-minded chiropractor in town. He started me on a good dose of adrenal supporting supplements and prescribed a clean diet and lots of rest. Recovery was slow, but in time I began to feel like myself again. Through it all I learned a life lesson I will never forget; I have got to take care of myself.
Little did I know, my break down experience would manifest itself in a deeper way a few years down the road. My 2014 I began running out of steam with Lexie’s Kitchen. Blogging exclusively about food was no longer fulfilling. I wanted to do more and be more than a recipe developer—I just didn’t know what. Coincidentally, I began having some great aha! moments—one in particular provided the answer I desperately sought.
Speaking to a full house of food allergy bloggers in 2015, keynote speaker, mother and the “Erin Brockovich of food,” Robyn O’Brien touched on the stress that only parents of children with chronic illness and life-threatening allergies know. She spoke of the serious toll it takes on the body and mind and pleaded with all the parents and caregivers in the room to take care of themselves.
And there it was again! That was it.
“We have got to take care of ourselves,” I whispered to myself.
Join Me for the Next Chapter
And so it was settled. My calling was to continue helping, but in a new way. I wasn’t the only stressed out, exhausted, and directionless middle-aged woman on the planet. There were millions of us—and we needed to start taking care of ourselves. Our lives depended upon it. And so with that, a new mission was set and Flo & Grace was born. Please join me in this new adventure and thank you for being a part of this new chapter.