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Sometimes when I have a recipe to share it’s almost like going through the motions; I know exactly what I want to say about the recipe, how the flavors are balanced and the recipe’s ingredients shine and the like. But this morning when I sat down to write it was life, more than anything, that felt right to be writing about.

A few people over the last couple weeks have asked how we are doing, a very loaded, complicated and thoughtful question to ask 6 weeks after the fact. It’s a question for which I don’t really have a good answer. We’re moving forward, thinking about the future in all of its uncertainty. There are some days that the sadness and uncertainty hit me like a ton of bricks and just when I think I’m doing really well, I find myself crying on the kitchen floor out of nowhere. We’re celebrating milestones of our yet-to-be-born nephew and niece. And, quite honestly, it’s strange and difficult and hard to navigate juggling feelings of loss and sadness that co-mingle with happiness and anticipation for those around us.

On vacation I re-read Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist and it spoke to me even more than when I read it the first time. If you’ve never read it, I would urge you to run to the bookstore or the e-store and buy/download it today. I’ve been coming back to this quite time and time again:

“…sometimes the happiest ending isn’t the one you keep longing for, but something you absolutely cannot see from where you are.” 

It’s hard for someone like me, who is all about answers and research and knowing the next steps, to do blood test after blood test only to get absolutely zero conclusive answers. Hearing you are absolutely healthy as can be is both a relief and a frustration. Um, have you read my medical record? It doesn’t seem like it to me.

I realize now more than ever that this experience has changed me in the best and deepest of ways. I’ve become more empathetic and noticed people hurting that I never would have noticed before. Instead of feeling like “those are your problems,” my heart genuinely hurts for others in a way I didn’t think possible before. I like this new side of me, even if the journey has not been what I had imagined thus far.

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And now I’ve totally gotten away from the point, haven’t I? Well, our neighbors are the kindest older couple we could have asked for and they regularly bring us little treats, like maple syrup from their trees up north at their cabin and rhubarb from their garden. I’ve never really had a taste for rhubarb personally, but my husband loves rhubarb more than anyone I’ve ever met.

He was so excited when a bag of rhubarb was waiting for us after work one day that I couldn’t resist throwing it into a crisp that very evening. This recipe is inspired by a recipe from The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook**still a favorite in my house and has been one of my go-to books since childhood. The crisp is perfect in all sorts of ways, sweet and tart at once and just the right amount of crunchiness. Joe raved about this dessert when he sat down with a giant bowl of it this week, and I have a feeling if you love rhubarb you’ll feel the same.

Easy Rhubarb Crisp
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
 
This rhubarb crisp is easy to throw together at a moment's notice and tastes delicious when served with vanilla ice cream.
Ingredients
  • 6 cups chopped rhubarb
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • Topping
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 5 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, toss together the rhubarb, 1 cup granulated sugar and the corn starch. Toss to coat evenly. Transfer to a 9-inch pie plate or an 8x8-inch square baking pan.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the oats, flour, sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon. Stir until well-combined. Use a pastry blender to cut in the butter until the mixture resembles a fine meal. Sprinkle over the rhubarb mixture.
  4. Bake 45 to 55 minutes or until golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool 1 hour before serving.

**I noticed you can buy it for less than $1 online. You guys! Go and do so immediately. I promise you won’t regret it! It can be found HERE.

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  • Kristin

    I have a rhubarb crisp recipe that I keep on hand to make it for my husband and parents because I just don’t have the taste for rhubarb. Also, I’m going through a similar struggle (though, not exact) and it’s difficult to wait for answers when you’re not sure what the outcome may be. Uncertainty is hard. I read Bittersweet a few months ago too. I really enjoyed the sentiment, but I think Bread and Wine (with the recipes) is my favorite of hers!

  • Katie Hall

    We have a huge rhubarb plant and I am always scrambling to use it all up, this recipe is definitely going to be made soon!! Also, I totally get how frustrating it can be to have test after test come back normal when you are definitely not experiencing something normal. 7 years of my chronic GI illness and I still have no real answers, it is the most frustrating thing. Just know that I think of you and Joe daily and am constantly hopeful for the two of you :)

  • Michellanne Deutsch

    Madison, you forgot to post the rest of the recipe! :)

    • MadisonMayberry

      My goodness I did! Fixed now. Thanks for the heads-up! :)

      • Michellanne Deutsch

        Wow, you responded quickly! I was just thinking it was the perfect recipe to make this weekend, so I really wanted to see the rest of it. Thank you!

  • Rebekah Netten

    I read “Bittersweet” awhile back and loved it! I’ve been thinking about reading it again too. :) The quote you mentioned is one that stuck in my head from when I read it…as a planner myself, it is hard to not know what is coming. Prayers for you guys as you discover what God has in store!

  • Jana Antil

    The more posts of yours I read, the more my heart grows for you. We both have similar personalities and are going through similar experiences. Although mine aren’t the exact same, I would love to share them with you in hopes we can support and encourage one another. Look for an email soon :) Praying for you to feel peace in your heart!

  • Lauren Santay

    I read bittersweet on your recommendation and loved it. That quote is so very fitting. My husband and I have been trying to get pregnant for a year and a half now. We have been tested, I go to acupuncture, I’m on herbs and vitamins but there is nothing “wrong” with either of us either. I hate the lack of answers available. I just want to know what I can do to “fix” the situation.
    I was at work the other day and found out that one co-worker is going through some testing, anothers mom is going through testing, and a third had to undergo surgery. It was at that moment that I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself. I may not be pregnant but I am healthy and we have options to pursue. I try to remind myself of that whenever I start to feel the self pity creep in.
    It’s hard because there will always be people around celebrating healthy pregnancies but another quote from bittersweet is something to the effect of “I share in others joy because I know they will mourn with me.” Be strong when you can be and lean on those around you when you can’t. I’m sure there are a lot of people in your life that would love to help you but don’t know how, so let them be the comforting shoulder you cry on.

  • http://www.raiseyourgarden.com Tom Sproull

    Tom @ Raise Your Garden
    We have grown rhubarb in our garden but have only eaten in raw or baked a pie with it. This looks great and we’ll give it a try.

  • anonymous

    It says something very significant about you that you can reflect on your personal sorrow and be grateful that it has made you more empathetic towards others. You’re a special person.

  • http://www.keepitsweetdesserts.com/ Lauren at Keep It Sweet

    I honestly can’t imagine all of the emotions you must go through over time. It really can not be easy, especially when there are no clear cut answers. Sending so much hope your way!