So it’s been a while since we last chatted. It feels like years since we sat down, sipped on osome pumpkin spice lattes, and caught each other up on what our lives have become. What is my excuse? Higher education. I recently survived midterm week and I couldn't be more excited that it's over with. The weight of textbooks and grownup responsibility pulls my tired body downward. I find it harder and harder to get up in the morning and out the door before my 8 am microbiology class. In the midst of late night study sessions and early morning practicals, I rather sleep my worries away than take another step out into the chilly cornfield jungle that is the Midwest. If I'm being honest with you, I’ve just been in an emotional lump.
Classes this semester have been far more intensive and stressful than I emotionally anticipated. From weekly exams, important projects, extracurricular activities, and work (plus, don’t forget about that social life!), I’ve been a tad overwhelmed. When life gets like this, my stuttering says to me “Oh, I see you’re getting pretty stressed. Got a lot on your plate, huh? Let me help by making it almost impossible to say anything without stuttering. Good luck.” *insert winking face emoji* For the past two weeks, I’ve experienced a lot of disfluency and self-negativity when it comes to my stuttering. When it comes to stuttering, a common theory is that nervousness or anxiety are the causes of stuttering. That’s quite far from the truth. The presence of nervousness or anxiety are factors that affect the fluency (or disfluency) of speech, but they are not the root causes of stuttering. Does that make sense?
Anyways, I found myself in a rather melancholy hole for the past few weeks. I felt as if my stuttering was taking over, and I couldn’t say anything without sputtering over each and every phrase I spoke. I felt defeated. I felt weak. I kept thinking to myself how it was my fault I wasn’t as fluent as I wanted to be, and it was MY fault that I wasn’t happy with my performance as a communicator. I got to the point where I wanted to apologize for my amount of stuttering to my friends and family. I wanted to hide away and never speak again. I contemplated pursuing a life as a professional mime.
Soon as the stress of midterms came, they went. The dust settled, and I was able to drive home for the weekend and go out to dinner with the family for Momma’s birthday. Plus, that Sunday I got to spend some time walking and photographing in the woods with some friends. So, what did I learn through all of this? Had I learned anything? I did. Or at least, I think I did. Negativity is a mindset no one wants or needs to be buried in. It hurts us. It brings only sorrow and suffering. We don’t need negative thoughts.
I honestly believe that if I had focused my energy on positive thoughts and viewed my stuttering in forwarded thinking mindset, instead in negative one, I would have been less anxious about how fluent I was, and I wouldn’t have buried myself in such a deep hole of negativity. For me personally, I have to keep reminding myself daily that my fluency DOES NOT determine my happiness. How fluent I say a word or phrase should have no control over my emotional state. Fluent or not, stutter-free or cluttered-in-a-stutter, what I have to say is important, even if other people think it is or isn’t. Because what I have to say is worth repeating.
So let’s talk peaches, shall we? When on my vacation to the Great Smokey Mountains, I picked up a beautiful cast iron grill skillet at the Lodge Cast Iron store in Sevierville, TN. My new true love. Back home, the grocery store had peaches on sale, so I knew I couldn’t pass them up. I saw a photo from Eva's (Adventures in Cooking) Instagram of grilled peaches with a maple mascarpone, and I was obsessed. I wanted to make a homemade maple mascarpone myself, but something went wrong in the process of making the substitute mascarpone, and it ended up turning into a maple crème instead. I also decided to combine the grilling and roasting process into one process. I started with getting beautiful grill marks on the peaches before throwing them into the oven to roast until warm and tender. A perfectly sweet way to celebrate autumn.
Yields 2 peaches, halved
- ½ stick of butter
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
- Pinch of nutmeg
- Pinch of salt
- 2 peaches, halved and pitted
- Canola oil
- 1 (8oz) package cream cheese
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- ½ cup powdered sugar (optional)
- 3 teaspoons maple syrup
- For the spiced butter: In a small bowl, add the butter and stir until smooth. Add the cinnamon, sugar, salt, nutmeg, and cardamom and mix until well combined. Set aside.
- For the maple crème: In a medium bowl, mix together the cream cheese, heavy cream, and butter until well blended. Sift in the powdered sugar and add the maple syrup. Stir to incorporate. Set aside.
- For the peaches: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Heat grill or grill skillet to high. Brush the peaches with oil. Cook, cut side down, on the grill or skillet until the fruit has grill markets, 3 to 4 minutes. Take off the heat and turn the peaches over. Brush on spiced butter. Cover and bake in the oven until peaches are soft and tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
- If grilling outside, move the peaches to indirect heat and cook for 10 to 15 minutes.