{bio} Momma Cuisine Contributor: Trixie Taleon, Saved by Grace

When GRACE is brought up, the name Trixie Taleon comes to the minds of those who know her. At 35, a wife, a mother of 3, she has beat incredible odds that people will not believe had they not seen it with their own eyes.

Trixie’s journey as a mother started at 20 years old when she had her son, Nicholas.  As she and her husband planned for their second baby, the next few years would take a drastic turn in their young lives. Her second child, Abigail was diagnosed with autism at 2 years old weeks after she herself had been diagnosed with Lupus. “I will not lie and pretend I was strong at that time,”she says, recalling those years.” I’ve wept and questioned everything I believed in and more. I felt lost.”

The lupus she was struck with was  not as simple as she thought it would be. It had snowballed into Multiple Connective Tissue Disease ,to PAH, Anemia (to name a few). At 27 , she had heart failure. “As I laid in the ER hearing my prognosis, something snapped within me. I can choose to be depressed and overwhelmed or I can shake it off  and take it one day at a time. Never had a prayer for a second chance meant so much to me.”

And she was given that chance. Twice. Three, four, five,six…we have all lost count at this point. Doctors gave her six weeks, five years, no chance; two comas, violent reactions to drugs only one in 2 million people get…its been 11 years since that diagnosis. Now a mother of 3, the struggle for  life still continues but it is battled with passion, drive,humor and most of all, faith in God.

“You try to do it on your own. You say you are strong, you can do it—but without the grace of God and your will to survive, it will come crashing down.God had to take me to a place where I had to be empty before her could fill me. He had to put me through refiner’s fire  so that he could mold me into what he meant me to be.”

Passion for life. For her children and family and friends. Passion for God.  “these are the things I stay alive for,” she winks. “and of course, food.”

The kitchen has always been a huge part in Trixie’s survival. When she’s happy she cooks. When she is frustrated, she still cooks. “ I am always the host, not because I’m some social butterfly but I am like always wanting to feed and take care of people. Sometimes it bites me, there has to be a balance.”  Her kitchen is the haven in the house where her 3 kids come home to freshly baked cookies after school or when serious discussion about family, events over coffee are made. “people don’t realize how much a kitchen brings a family together. You share love, teach culture,receive God’s providence in this room. It is where you feed the hungry, bake a cake on birthdays. It’s a sacred room.”

Fast forward to now. Abigail is a happy thriving 11 year old who presents challenges to the family but is deeply loved and cared for . “Little victories in life like watching your 11 year old making the bed with her tutors or saying our name or talking about feelings don’t go unnoticed. Every little thing that Abby accomplishes is like a special surprise.” Her siblings, Nico and Emma also have learned early in life not to take things for granted. “ When  you call 911 on a regular basis as a 7 year old and get left behind as dad rushes home and are being taken cared of by the firemen, it does something to you. And when mom is gone for weeks in the hospital as a child, it matures you.”

Baking is a passion not only by Trixie but by her whole family. “It’s a family activity. From my husband George,  to Nicholas (who she claims to make unbelievable pies from scratch), to Abigail putting chocolate chips on the cookie dough and Emma wolfing down all the chocolate, it’s a family affair. My father and mother are both great cooks. I even used being in the ICU once to get a secret recipe from my father. Witholding from someone who just came out of a coma would be evil. He had no choice! Even at that worst possible time, my mind was on food! “ she laughs. “You just have to laugh at the face of adversity. I am a frustrated stand up commediane. My audience is usually my doctors and nurses and we are usually the noisiest bunch in the ICU.”

Tapped by her cousin Johanna Cook to become the first Momma Cuisine contributor, she is a little intimidated but game with it. “Johanna and I have been cooking as kids. Our summer jobs were I would run a brownie business and she was 8 years old so she was my peanut crusher back in Manila. We would even cook the leaves of our Grandma’s plants and pretend it was BBQ, something she did not appreciate.”

Now, she and her husband of 16 years, George, are starting a small pastry buisness, Sweet Picks Pastries. What started out as a hobby and an outlet of joy and frustration is now a start up success story. “I would bake a lot and send it to family and friends to enhance and ‘excersice’ my memory because all the meds I’ve taken over the years are taking its toll on my memory bank. Baking is such a precise art, you miss one teaspoon of something, you cant go back and redo so it pushes your brain to focus… until one day my mother suggested why not start selling? I tried it and it was greatly received so I am claiming this. Just like I had claimed my daughter , my sickness, my life. I claim this passion as well by the grace of God. Two things I am passionate about. Baking…now its Sweet Picks Pastries. And writing…now a contributor for Momma Cuisine! Talk about being blessed!!”

“Live your life day by day. Concentrate on doing your best today. If it’s a good day because you tried your best, chances are, the next will be a good one too. “


Trixie Taleon is also the author of Work In Progress Mom blog where she shares her journey through life as a mom with a special needs child, her battle with lupus and raising her family.

She will begin her contributions for Momma Cuisine in November 2012 contributing baking recipes, lifestyle articles and cover food events in the West Coast.

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