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Courage, Hideaways, and Homemade Sun-dried Tomatoes with Capers

My courage failed me this week. Hard and scary news from my surgeon crumpled me for a while, but I’m standing tall again.

Sometimes life holds a lot of scary and uncertain things, and I’m learning that it’s OK to be terrified, to bawl your eyes out through a doctor visit, and to hide away for a bit to face your fears so you can emerge into the world again with renewed courage and more fervent hope.

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence
by every experience in which you really
stop to look fear in the face.
You are able to say to yourself,
‘I lived through this horror.
I can take the next thing that comes along.'”
Eleanor Roosevelt

I love that quote. It helps me breathe a little deeper, stand a little straighter, and know that this next hard thing, whatever it is, I’ll be able to handle it.

Today I’m so grateful for my little hideaway here in Australia with Bear. Our lovely little farm that has so many spots of peace and stillness and beauty.

This morning I went for a wander in the sunshine, capturing a few of the sun-drenched Autumn things I love.

The sunshine feels so good in Autumn. It doesn’t have that searing heat of Summer, but more of a cuddling warmth that makes me want to stay outside all day long and take naps in the hammock.

Sometimes it’s hard for me to get started looking for beauty. I get distracted by the piles of stuff to be sorted, the shed begging to be cleaned out, and the fence that needs to be mended. But once I put my mind to it, I start spotting things everywhere, and with each discovery my heart says, “See! I TOLD you!” And I grin and feel my world get bigger than the painful/scary/awful thing weighing me down.

I like that.

I also like working with my hands during times like this. Fear loses its strength when we take our attention away from it and focus on making good things.

My favorite good things today areΒ  homemade sun-dried tomatoes with capers. Mmm, they’re so lovely and so easy to make.

Since I have an abundance of flies around the farm (thanks, goats, dogs, and birds!), actually drying the tomatoes in the sunshine is not possible, so I use my oven. Simply wash, core, and halve the tomatoes, make a single layer on cookie sheets, and stick them in a cool oven (about 200-250 F) for 8-12 hours. Check them every few hours and rotate if necessary. Once they’re dry (I like mine pliable rather than crispy), layer them in a sterile glass jar with plump capers, then fill in all the cracks with a hearty drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Make sure you keep a film of oil over the top of the tomatoes to keep them from spoiling. Leave them for a few weeks to mature and then fish them out to use in whatever you like. Don’t chuck the olive oil out! Use the richly tomato-flavored oil to fry onions and garlic or drizzle over veggies before roasting. Delicious.

What do you do to restore your courage after a scary situation? I’d love to hear your ideas.


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Ayelet - All Colores - I can relate to health challenges, so very sorry to hear you’re dealing with scary health challenges. I’m sending lots of positive thoughts and energies your way. Each time I come here, I get a bundle of those πŸ™‚ You make me want to live on a farm! I hear you about being distracted by the to-do list, and then when you finally go exploring despite it – it’s pure joy. Wishing you more joy and less health scares. Sending big hugs!

Kitchen Butterfly - Dearest Krista – I am so sorry, but thinking and praying for you. Keep heart and let your spirits stay up. Love you loads.

Joanne (eats well with others) - Ah girlie I hope you’re okay! Bad visits to surgeons do sound pretty scary but you have so much strength in you that I know you’ll pull through!!

El - I’m sorry to hear about your surgery. Glad you’re safe and sound. The sun dried tomatoes look lovely.

Krista - Thank you so much for your wonderful Canadian love, dear @Jacqueline_at_Bliss:disqus πŸ™‚ Thank you for helping me step back and see how lucky I am to be surrounded by so much love, by kindness and care and thoughtfulness. I really needed your words on Establishing Trust with Myself. Thank you. XOXO

Krista - Your words are more than adequate, @a1d00aea3bb8ff7d8a85322c6ff171a6:disqus , and are just what I need to hear. Thank you. Your words brought me to tears and brought me a deeper measure of peace. Thank you. XO

Krista - No, you didn’t miss anything, dear @facebook-500212569:disqus , I’ve just been keeping quiet about this, waiting until I was ready to talk about it. I’m not OK but I have hopes that I will be. I just need to find the right surgeon who can help me through this. XO

Krista - That is such a good thought, @ac22749bc751621058dc01db9db49ffb:disqus I really appreciate you sharing it with me. It’s something I’ve been mulling over too, and you took my scattered thoughts and feelings and put them into words. Thank you. πŸ™‚

Krista - Thank you so much, dear @SevenGreySweaters:disqus It’s such a comfort knowing you’re there and that you understand. XO

Krista - Thank you so much for writing, @christywoodrow:disqus Your words meant a lot to me. πŸ™‚

Krista - You helped me so much, Andrea, thank you. It is a comfort to know I’m not the only one who goes over everything ad nauseum. πŸ™‚ Thank you for your hugs and support. XO

Krista - It was a hard thing to hear and go through, @google-76b7f5617f998f38e3daf83409eb82fb:disqus , but you’re right, Bear is my rock and we are getting through this. I feel so much more peaceful today, ready to face this. XO

Krista - A big pot of gold at the end of all this sounds marvelous, @budgetjan:disqus πŸ™‚ I love that we both find such comfort and pleasure in our walks, our animals, and our cameras. πŸ™‚ XO

Krista - Thank you so much, dear @google-d58b26e263bfdbd99d844b965c5cbbfb:disqus . You never fail to comfort and strengthen me. Thank you for reminding me to count all the ways I’m SO lucky. XO

Krista - I love your thoughts on using your imagination, @wanderingsheila:disqus That is brilliant and wonderful. I will definitely try that. πŸ™‚ Thank you. XO

Krista - Your words and support are huge, @OrgasmicChef:disqus , and just what I needed. Thank you. XO

Krista - Thank you so much, @google-01bbdd9fc7f53cd54265810538a0c5c5:disqus That means a great deal to me. πŸ™‚

jacquie - i wish i knew what to say but sometimes words or at least mine are just not adequate for the task at hand. mostly i wanted to let you know that your voice was heard and admired for it’s strength, courage and simple dignity. life is hard and frankly just sometimes sucks and is not fair. it most certainly is ok to cry at the doctors office. i so wish i could tell you it would be ok (whatever that is) but i don’t know if it will be. it is a testimony to your inner being that you recieved the news you did and yet went outside with your beloved bear and took in the beauty around you. continue to stand tall and be who you are. peace to you and yours.

Andi Perullo de Ledesma - Your surgeon??? Did I miss something? OMG I hope you’re okay babe?

Amy @ Seven Grey Sweaters - Aw, Krista. I’m so sorry about your bad news. Hang in there — you are going to make it through all of this!

Kathy - Sorry to hear you got bad news from the doctor, but I admire the way you’re coping with it. It made me think of the concept that I’ve been mulling over lately: a happy life is not composed exclusively of “happy” events. We can still be fundamentally happy while we realize that not everything that happens to us will seem “good” and that we make ourselves unhappy by expecting that to be so.

Lovely photos, and hang in there.

Ordinary Traveler - I feel so inspired every time I read your blog. There is so much honesty. I hope your scary news gets better and thank you for reminding me to take time to find the beauty in the world instead of checking one more item off my to do list. πŸ™‚

Andrea and John - Your world is so beautiful! I do not cope with scary or stressful times well at all. I constantly think of the worst and go over and over in my mind how I would deal with that scenario and get myself ok with it. I think it is good if the worst case scenario did come, but it rarely does and so I end up working myself up into a fervor and can’t get out of my own head. I hope that whatever you are facing turns out to be okay – I know you are strong and will get through it!! Hugs!

Jeanne Horak - Oh no – I am sorry to hear that you have had bad medical news πŸ™ I hope that between Bear and your love of the farm, you will find the strength you need to face what you have to. I love the sun-dried tomatoes and capers – such a tasty combination πŸ™‚

budgetjan - Krista, You are having such a bad run of luck. There must be a big pot of gold waiting for you somewhere. I am like you in that I can be feeling a little down and I go for a walk with my dog and camera. As I walk the same route most days I have to look at everything closely – up into the trees to find flowers or looking at something old from a different angle. I am so intrigued with all the beauty that suddenly I realize I am content. Watching the antics of the goats would be a lovely distraction. Keep finding the beauty πŸ™‚

Bellini Valli - My heart was heavy when I read of your impending surgery Krista. I think that Jacqueline said it well and you are surrounded by good friends and incredibly supportive people. You truly live in a beautiful place and I know you see the beauty in even the small every day things. Reminding ourselves of how lucky we are and how deserving we are of true happiness gets us through.

Maureen | OrgasmicChef - You are incredibly strong in the face of what’s going on with your health. We’re all behind you, cheering you on. All that peaceful meditative time on the farm must help. Anything we can do?

I love your tomatoes. I have an evaporator thingy but I do mine much like yours.

Cathy - I’m sorry to hear that you had bad news Krista, but in the same sentence you turn it around that you are standing tall again. It’s OK to crumble a bit and then build yourself up and you have great ideas in place on how to take time to just be and then restore yourself. You’ve asked a tough question about what we do to restore our courage. I guess it depends. I personally need time to process and move on. I try to block out what I can mentally. I also use my imagination (to make me feel stronger and more courageous than I might really be) – it’s my saviour πŸ™‚

Ken Powell - Think positive, know you can beat it, trust your support network and look forward to the next great adventure. Know that our thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of need XO.

Jacqueline_at_Bliss - I’m so sorry that you’re facing scary news at a time when you’re coping with pain. I know that you have a wonderfully supportive partner and being surrounded by such beauty must bring huge comfort. A few years back I went through a frightening surgery. As a way of confronting that, I chose to draw inspiration and beauty close by starting my photo blog and eventually included some writing. I have a feeling that writing brings you a sense of peace as well. And it’s heartwarming to see the incredible response from your readers! You are surrounded by love, Krista. Know that, and draw from it the comfort you so deserve. I find that in order to restore my courage when The Big Fear strikes, I need to establish trust. Trust in myself that it’s okay to fall apart. Trust in those who love me to allow them to hold me in that love. And trust that the pieces can always be put back together in a new but equally beautiful pattern. I’m sending you the best kind of loveβ€”Canadian love. (haha!) xxx

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