sadness, beauty and joy on the same bench + baked apple recipe

It's amazing to me how deep deep sadness can sit right alongside beauty and joy. Next to each other on the same bench, like old friends. 

We lost my mother-in-law on September 18th. She was one of my favorite people in the world and was an amazing heart + hands-on Na to my three kids. It's a deep loss that maybe you've felt in your life. There were moments during her last few days where the sadness felt like a much-too-heavy blanket that I wanted off of me.  And there was this beauty of having the gift of spending two full days with this woman who left life with as much grace and faith and gratitude with which she lived each day. And she brought joy to us as she shared memories and stories and made us laugh, all the while knowing she was dying. 

It's been just a few weeks and sadness and beauty and joy are still sitting together. Sometimes one taking up more space on the bench than the others. 

Had I not been careful I might have only noticed the sadness and not the beauty of feeling so completely supported by friends and by family who called, messaged, sent cards and emails and showed up at the hospital and the funeral home.

By my mother and brothers showing up as we all still sit with sadness and gratitude and memories at the 4-year anniversary this month of my father's death.

By Jill, who had to juggle a lot because the day my mother-in-law died was the first day of our 14-Day Fall Cleanse and we had 98 beautiful women who said yes to joining us and she had lost her beloved grandmother only a week and a half earlier.

By the women in our cleanse, most of whom I've not met personally, who held space for me in our private group, sent light and love and prayers for a week as I spent time with my mother-in-law and our family in her last few days and then with family afterward.

By my sisters in my Mentor Masterclass, women from around the world who have invested in themselves through this amazing life coaching program and didn't let the physical miles of separation separate our hearts as they shared love and compassion with me during this time.

By my daughter's teammates who showed up at the funeral home and donated money to buy spring bulbs that one of the moms helped me plant in our gardens so that after a long winter we'd have a beautiful reminder of Na and how she loved her flowers.

By my family - my father-in-law, sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, nieces and nephews - as we all all spent endless hours together over these days, allowing for each other to grieve in our own individual ways and staying connected through this intense time.

By my husband and my children as we all five sat on the coach with our arms around each other, crying a primal cry that came from so deep within each of us because of the way we've all been loved by one woman.

Such fierce and gentle beauty. Sitting right alongside sadness and joy. And of course gratitude. 

My mother-in-law was an beautiful baker of pies. She made the most amazing pies. I used to eat more than my fair share and there's a bit of a joke in our family because in one video, as the camera spanned the room for about 15 minutes, each time I was in the frame I was eating one of her pies. Non-stop. In more recent years I didn't eat them the way I used to because of going gluten-free and cutting back on sugar. A part of me wonders if I should have lightened up on that so I could have enjoyed her pies which were more filled with love than with any other ingredient.

In honor of my mother-in-law I want to share a recipe that fulfills a longing for apple pie that I tend to have around this time of the year. It's a more subtle sweet and I don't often eat it in a crust but you certainly could put this right into a gluten-free crust and enjoy it. It's also a much loved optional breakfast recipe in our 14-Day Fall Cleanse so it's very versatile! 

Baked Apples

•    2 apples (honeycrisp are great) organic, chopped, skin on (Colorful Carbs)
•    1-2 Tbsp. coconut oil, ghee or butter (Friendly Fat) 
•    1-2 tsp. cinnamon
•    1-2 Tbsp. nuts & seeds (Friendly Fat)

Preheat oven to 325°. 
Put chopped fruit in a baking dish. 
Top with coconut oil, ghee or butter. Don't skimp on this! It adds flavor + nutrition!
Sprinkle with cinnamon. 
Bake for 20-30 minutes or until fruit is as soft as desired. Stir once after oil is melted to coat fruit. (Alternatively you can melt oil ahead of time and stir in before baking.) 
Top with nuts and seeds and enjoy warm or chilled.

Serves 1-2 people. 

Enjoy the apples and enjoy your people. 

xo Angelle