Wrangler Dani

Writer, editor, marketer and communication strategist. I'm also a wife, mama, hiker, cowgirl and experimental cook living in beautiful Central Oregon.
October 15th, 2014 by Dani

Crazy Blessed

Two weeks ago, I found out that I have Celiac disease. I’m not going to spend a bunch of time telling you what that means – you are reading this on the internet, after all. I have spent the last couple of weeks mourning gluten, and, more than that, a lifestyle that is going away. Because despite Diabetes, I’ve always been a pretty low-maintenance eater, and Adam and I have had some of our best times over pizza and beer. It made me sad to think of the place where we had our first date (an old-school Italian joint, complete with frosty Heinekens and twinkle lights) or our favorite breweries here, which lean decidedly away from “dietary restriction friendly” territory.

I’m sure I will get teary-eyed again over this. Life has hard places, after all, and my body’s unwillingness to be the casual, vivacious plaything I want is mine, and I don’t want to pretend that it’s not ridiculously frustrating and emotional sometimes. But in the midst of the sadness, as I realize that some things I thought were traditions might need to stay memories, I am so crazy blessed and grateful.

When my blood tests came back positive for Celiac, I came home, scared and shaking. Food is life and love, I cried to Adam, how do I host people, cook dinner, enjoy a night out? What does this mean for my body, and what new scary diagnoses does this carry with it? That husband of mine just folded me up and held me close. He helped me throw away pancake mixes and pastas, he went on a routine errand to the hardware store and came home with four bags of gluten-free beers, groceries and wonder of wonders! blueberry muffins. He has promised me wine and cocktails (what a spoiled girl I am!), assured me that we’ll navigate the brewery scene together, that we’ll make substitutions or avoid places that don’t work, that he’s happy to help. My beer-loving, never-read-an-ingredient-label-in-his-life husband is selflessly standing strong for me, and gosh I am grateful. Because the thing I didn’t want to lose was our easy laughter over a plate of nachos and a couple beers, our snarky people-watching at brew fests, the easy-going let-me-taste-that-try-this date nights that we’ve perfected over the years. The food and drinks may change, but the relationship has not. Actually, Adam has amazed me again with his kindness, support, love, strength and stamina, and boy howdy, y’all, I’m a lucky girl.

HIking by Sparks Lake this summer.  "Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same."

Hiking by Sparks Lake this summer. “Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.”

I actually didn’t intend to write this much about Celiac – I really wanted to tell you about my kitchen today but all these other thoughts got in the way. But I guess that’s OK, because life is going to be messy. One day you’re a tough wrangler with a horse and a truck and a steady diet of Cheez-Its and Diet Coke and the next you’re a professional with a desk job who’s worried about bloodsugar and a gluten-free diet. The carefree girl I want to be just doesn’t exist anymore, and I can’t get that back. But in the midst of the toughness of life, there’s a fair bit of beauty, too, isn’t there? Because we’re raising cows of our own in our little country house, and just the sight of them makes me happy. We are remodeling our kitchen because we are “adoption-pregnant” and if I was “bio-pregnant” we would most definitely be ripping out cabinets in a hurry. (Have you ever hung out with a preggo girl? Noses like wolves, I tell you, and this 1974 kitchen left much to be desired in the “clean-smell” department, even after days of scrubbing).

This truth crystallized for me last night. We’d just spent several hours removing our water heater to make room for tile. There was cat urine in the walls and dust demons (not bunnies, not cute) behind the water heater. We were cold and hungry and it started to rain, we were taking out our water heater so we couldn’t even look forward to a shower (please note that at one point in my life I lived without running water of any kind for several months, and now 24 hours without hot water seems like a true crisis. The wussification is astounding…) Anyway, after we ripped out the smelly, rotting drywall and removed the water heater and gagged multiple times and praised Jesus that we were replacing the nastiness, I went inside to heat up some soup in the microwave for dinner. Paper bowls are small and we don’t have hot water and I was trying not to step on the fresh tile and so I spilled some soup and promptly cried.

That’s when I realized – I am crying because I don’t want to get soup on our new carpet, because I’m trying not to mess up our new tile. I’m heating up gluten-free soup that I was able to buy at Costco (my favorite place) and eat with my husband in our little farm house that we are making into a home. The world is a big scary place, and I worry about the future just like any red-blooded American girl, but now is not the time to cry or fear. Challenges are sad and scary, but they aren’t nearly as big as I let them be.

Adoption is long and expensive, our old house is drafty and needs work, my health is frustrating – OR – adoption is a grand adventure, an expedition worthy only of brave souls and burning hearts, a privilege to embark on, our old house is OUR HOUSE, that we got to buy, we get to repair and remodel, that we are blessed to grow our family in, my health is not as bad as I think it is at 2 a.m., I am so blessed to live in a country with a free-market system that allows for medical technology and certified gluten-free foods, because somebody somewhere saw a need and decided to formulate insulin and gluten-free flour for people like me.

Friends we are crazy blessed. Crazy because life is crazy and seldom what we expect – blessed because God is good. Life is crazy, God is good. I’m going to need that on my bumper.


4 Responses to “Crazy Blessed”
  1. Funny how your thoughts so often reflect mine – except I hadn’t QUITE pulled into the “Life is crazy, God is good, I AM BLESSED” driveway yet. Until reading this, that is.

    And you’re right. *Sigh*

    Thanks for sharing your genius in stringing words together that both flow creativity AND make sense, and for steering others on the right track even while you’re still getting there yourself. I’m a Wrangler Dani fan!

  2. Chelsea says

    I’m so sorry about our CD diagnosis but also so impressed by your approach to, well, pretty much the whole situation.

    It sounds like your kitchen is so-very-close to completion. We can’t wait to come visit and check out all our new and awesome improvements!

  3. Jenelle. M says

    I appreciate your honest emotions here. And more so, how joyful you are about the blessings in your life. You are inspiring in such a real way! I’m pumped to see your kitchen 🙂

  4. You make me so happy! I love your authentic and real perspective on life. You are right, we are blessed! 🙂

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