Today was my second day cooking for my new client Bella. The contrast between cooking for a client who could potentially be dissatisfied or demanding if something is not quite right and cooking for a family who is fighting for the life of their precious daughter and appreciates every little thing is staggering. Now I have to say that the pressures of cooking for my clients and their dissatisfaction comes more from my own standards of perfection than from theirs. For the most part I have been blessed with amazing clients to cook for and it is a wonderful way to make a living; doing something that I love that also nourishes others. What I am getting at is that the experience of cooking for Bella and her family is one of pure joy for me, completely unencumbered by perfectionism and my critical mind.This is not because refuse to be paid for cooking this food, it is because not only am I hopefully contributing something that may improve Bella’s health and well-being; but mainly because the Rodriguez family have bigger things to worry about than whether they like the kale salad or not (p.s. everybody should like the kale salad!!!) or if their food is packaged correctly. This family has seen the inside of enough hospitals in the last 5 years to last all the people I know a lifetime. Through pain, sickness and stress they have their priorities in line…their priories are to love and appreciation of one another and to do what they can to support each other. They have not told me this, I can just see it on their faces and in their warm smiles. Appreciation for every minute. Hard to come by and not an easy road to get there but ultimately this is where we all need to be. Ideally without the need of a life threatening disease to remind us how freakin’ lucky we are to be here…must remember…gratitude…gratitude…gratitude (I am talking to myself here…).

Although this new experience has not completely cured me of my irritations and my ability to be an ass sometimes (it’s true and Anthony can attest to this), it has put many things into perspective and given me the opportunity to practice what I preach…FOOD HEALS and I will try my hardest to help. I am grateful for this little angel and I pray for her strength and healing. I am also grateful that I have some guinea pigs to try out some of my new recipes that are healthy, delicious and a bit alternative. They were inspired for Bella but have a mass appeal I think. Among my favorites are the Pumpkin Oatmeal Pancakes and the Coconut Quinoa Cookies. These recipes and Bella’s Story are inspiring and reminding¬† me to take a healthier and more loving and aware approach to life…I hope that they do the same for you.

This is the prayer blanket that was made for Bella and blessed on the grave of Mother Theresa.

Ironically my new little kitty and Bella share the same name...not suprisingly they were fast friends! Both of the Bellas are sweet and beautiful!

Bella was way more interested in the kitty than me but can't really blame her, we did mange a quick pic though!

PLEASE send ALL the love and light that you have in your heart to Bella and her family…and remember to be grateful for each moment…even the crappy ones cause someday we will have used all of out moments up and we will wish that we were more diligent and appreciative of the ones we squandered. Life is precious and wonderful and we all have an amazing and wonderful story to tell. As I sit here on the couch with Anthony wishing that I was just a little bit more interesting than football, I remember that it could always be worse and I will appreciate this moment.