A Flavorful Fall: Recipes for Recovery and Resilience

Life often throws us unexpected curves, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when things don’t go as planned. Recently, I was all set for a much-anticipated culinary cruise with a good friend, packed and ready for adventure and relaxation. The stage was set for a perfect getaway, but fate had other plans.

Enjoying the sunset from the deck of the Norwegian pearl with my traveling partner. The sling did not slow us down.

The Unexpected Fall

As I navigated through the bustling airport, excited about the days ahead, I experienced a sudden and painful fall. The result? A broken shoulder. Lying on the cold airport floor, my initial thoughts swirled around frustration and disappointment. The perfect vacation I had imagined was slipping through my fingers. However, what followed taught me a profound lesson in gratitude, even when it feels like everything is falling apart.

Embracing the Change of Plans

After the fall, my first instinct was to cancel everything. However, after a visit to the emergency room, I was given permission to continue my journey, albeit with caution. With a sling and a hearty dose of painkillers, I made the decision to push through. This wasn’t the vacation I had planned, but it was the one I was given.

The Power of Connection

The physical discomfort and inability to engage in many planned activities could have soured the entire experience. Instead, it opened up new avenues that I hadn’t anticipated. The slower pace meant deeper, more meaningful conversations with my friend who I was visiting. Her support not only helped me navigate physically through this challenging time but also uplifted my spirits.

Life Lessons in Unexpected Places

One of the highlights of this trip was that it was a culinary cruise called Chefs Making Waves produced by Sixthman. I was provided the opportunity to participate in my friend Christine Sykes-Lowe’s podcast, Feast + Harmony. Each interview with Andrew Zimmern, Maneet Chauhan, Ana Quincoces, Gabriel Urrutia, Lauren Noblitt & Gio Gutierrez was a lesson in passion and perseverance, reminding me that creativity thrives, regardless of circumstances.

Andrew Zimmern

In Episode 7 of the Feast + Harmony podcast, Andrew Zimmern teaches an incredible lesson in finding your purpose and living your legacy. He goes into the roots of his culinary journey, how his past struggles with addiction lead to self-discovery and finding his purpose of giving back and being of service to others. 

Maneet Chauhan

In Episode 10 of the @Feast + Harmony podcast, Maneet Chauhan’s vision and mission are clear. She speaks on being empowered to branch out and willing to experiment with recipes, and how she’s on a mission to make Indian cuisine accessible and approachable to American palettes.

Ana Quincoces

In Episode 8 of the @Feast + Harmony podcast, Ana Quincoces educates on the values of lifting up women to feel empowered and take control of their own enterprise. She dives into breaking the mold (spoiler alert: she’s more than just a Housewife) and challenging yourself to evolve.

Gabriel Urrutia, Lauren Noblitt & Gio Gutierrez

In Episode 9 of the Feast + Harmony podcast, Gabriel Urrutia, Lauren Noblitt & Gio Gutierrez enlighten us on how having all of the right pieces in place will build the roadmap to culinary success. They discuss how beverage pairings elevate your dining experience through complimentary flavors, using surprising ingredients to elevate your cocktails, and why confidently taking ownership in your own mixology practices allows you to create liquid magic.

Lessons in Gratitude

This experience taught me several valuable lessons about gratitude:

  1. Flexibility: Being flexible with our expectations allows us to embrace the beauty of the present moment, even if it looks different from what we envisioned.
  2. Connection: Difficult times can deepen connections with others. My friend’s presence and friendship provided comfort and inspiration when I needed it most.
  3. Resilience: Physical limitations often test our mental and emotional strength. Choosing to focus on what I could do, rather than what I couldn’t, helped me maintain a positive outlook.


In wrapping up the reflections on my unexpected journey, it’s clear that the painful fall was merely the beginning of an extraordinary adventure, not just geographically, but also emotionally and spiritually. While the incident initially seemed like a cruel twist of fate, it unfolded into a narrative of resilience, gratitude, and profound human connection.

The lessons learned from this experience have been manifold. Each interaction, each moment of discomfort, and every unexpected turn presented an opportunity to grow and appreciate life from a new perspective. The chefs and experts I met on the culinary cruise imparted wisdom that went beyond food, echoing the importance of passion and perseverance in every aspect of life.

Linda Ruffenach

Founder / Chief Strategic Officer at Execuity. Linda is an experienced entrepreneur, skilled facilitator, and bourbon badass. Her 20+ years of C-level experience enables her to relate to the challenges business owners face every day. As the former CEO of a $100 million international enterprise, she has been through almost every stage a company can experience from fast growth, rapid decline, to complete transformation. In addition to running multiple businesses, Linda is Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of Louisville's School of Business, leading and mentoring undergrad and graduate students on their path to business ownership Linda’s superpower is turning strategy into results.