It’s been two years—two solid years since I came over here to this little space, logged into my WordPress dashboard and made the Big Announcement. I told you I would be managing Web and magazine freelance writing for a living. We talked about it alongside a recipe for cherry chocolate ice cream.
Today, I stand two years away from the last time I clocked into an office, had coworkers nearby or got steady paychecks. I am two years into a much lower income (and a much simpler life); two solid years away from doing the thing I most wanted to do and about which I was most afraid, two years a veteran of making online and magazine freelance writing my steady job.
What I remember most about that hot and hopeful June of two summers ago, along with feeling free and like the future was wide open before me, is curiosity. From the moment I approached my old boss about becoming a contractor to the day I got into my car and drove away, for good, I remember wondering what would happen. I wondered where I would find work, if freelancing could possibly sustain me and for how long. Would I end up moving? Would I switch careers? I wondered if I would like it, this new lifestyle of casual workdays and variable pay.
Going freelance is scary. You don’t know what to expect, and, in the same way that now Tim and I look at our future together, wondering about our lease ending in August and if we’ll have children and when, in the same way we hope for things, like a house and a garden and fruit trees, there’s something about knowing you don’t know that is humbling and exciting and terrifying and good.
I mean, don’t get me wrong: this isn’t the same thing as saying I like uncertainty. Most days, I just want a blueprint, a ready-made map that directs me from point A to point B and says why. I like direction. It’d be great if life were like that: Take three steps forward into a new job opportunity. Be at that coffee shop at 10 AM and you’ll meet a lifelong friend. Jump into the unknown, just you and your laptop and a lot of hopes and dreams, and you’ll make it, don’t worry, and two years from now you’ll have steady magazine freelance writing clients. You’ll be writing another blog post. It’d be nice to have a guarantee that you’d be thankful and happy and surprised.
But the thing I realize most when I look back, knowing that it’s so much easier to see the truth when you’re two years removed from it, is that even when I felt unsure, even when everything seemed unknown, I was never abandoned or alone. I never really needed to fear. These whole two years, with their ups and downs and maybes, I’ve always been OK, always provided for, and so I have every reason to trust.
Maybe that’s the whole point of the not knowing—because if you could see everything that’s coming in front of you, even all the good things, you’d never get the gift of learning faith.
Cherry Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream
Adapted from Sprouted Kitchen’s roasted strawberry version
Makes right around a quart
In honor of that cherry chocolate ice cream of two Junes ago, we’ve made this new version that has a base of coconut milk and a taste that’s so addictive, sweet and tart and plump with homemade chocolate chunks, once we put some in the freezer, you can count on me to keep returning to it until it’s gone.
2 egg yolks
1/3 cup Sucanat (natural cane sugar)
1 (13.5-ounce) can coconut milk
1 1/3 cup pitted cherries
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup chopped chocolate (recipe for our homemade version below)
In a blender or food processor, puree the cherries until they’re a chunky liquid. Set aside.
While heating in a double boiler, mix two egg yolks with 1/3 cup of Sucanat (if you like your ice cream sweet! then add more, but we liked it this way). As it’s mixing, add a tablespoon of the coconut milk to help it blend. After it starts to thicken slightly, add the rest of the coconut milk and cherry mixture, and keep stirring until it thickens more, about five minutes. Next, place the bowl in the fridge to cool.
When ready to blend ice cream, pour mixture into ice cream maker. Add chocolate just before ice cream is fully set.
Makes about 1/3 cup chopped chocolate
From Tim: We like to make our own chocolate so that we can use natural sweeteners like honey, as well as raw cacao that hasn’t been overheated; also, using coconut oil allows us to make the chocolate softer, which is better for a mix-in consistency (not to mention, these ingredients are all great for your health!).
4 tablespoons raw cacao powder
3 tablespoons raw honey
2 tablespoons organic extra-virgin coconut oil
Combine ingredients in a slightly warm double boiler (try not to get it too hot in order to preserve as much of the raw properties as possible) and stir until well blended and the consistency of thick paste. Spread into a parchment-lined freezer-safe container. Stick in the freezer to chill for about 20 minutes. When ready to use, remove to a cutting board and chop right on the parchment paper.