Just keep swimming

I wrote a draft of this post last year, when I was reflecting on my grief journey, and the hardness of life. The thoughts below still apply, and I am again reminded of where I have been, how far I have come, and what I have yet to learn.

Every day is a gift from God, and I intend to use every minute of the time he has given me with intention, living on purpose, for a purpose.

Even when life gets me down, when circumstances would try to dictate that life is too hard to keep moving forward, I will remember these words from Proverbs 4:25, “Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.” 

Sometimes it takes everything in me (what little I may have left) to not let my gaze look to the left or to the right, at the things that burden me down. However, if I keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, in his strength I can keep moving forward despite the heaviness of what is going on around me.

Sometimes, taking the advice of an animated fish is also in order.

March 30, 2016

So much has changed since this time last year. I remember coming back from our trip to Missouri thinking that we could never move away and leave my mother.

Instead, she left us.

And my heart still aches for her every. single. day.

In exactly two weeks, on April 13, it will have been 1 year since the day my mother was intubated and life-flighted to St. Luke’s, where the doctors told us she had terminal lung cancer.

In exactly 11 days, it will have been 13 years since my dad was killed in a car accident.

Life can change so suddenly that it takes your breath away.

Hold your babies. Kiss your mamas. Love your kids and put your arms around your daddies, husbands, wives.

Don’t be afraid to live life and make mistakes. Live, laugh, love, get angry, be sad, make memories.

Only, don’t let life pass you by.

There are no regrets. Only lessons. Lessons in the school of life and hard knocks. Brush your knees off, and get up and try again.

And while you’re at it, give yourself a break to be human.

When my mother’s last days were done, there were no more lessons to learn, no more memories to be made. No more silly antics, stories, or late night calls.

Her life was far from perfect, but it was full. She brushed off her knees plenty of times and got back up to try again.

I loved that about my mother. She was a tough cookie.

I am learning that–I am too.

In the words of Dory….

Dory: “Hey Mr. Grumpy Gills… When life gets you down do you wanna know what you gotta do?”

Marlin: “I don’t wanna know what you gotta do.”

Dory: “Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. What do we do? We swim, swim.”

Just. Keep. Swimming.


“This porridge is just right.”

Whenever I hear the word, “porridge” I always think of the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. I remember as a little girl begging my dad over and over to tell me that story. This morning the kids reheated porridge for breakfast, and my sensory, picky eater deemed it to be, “delicious!” So I thought I would share the recipe here. While this is totally Paleo, it is definitely not AIP.



I modified the recipe from http://www.againstallgrain.com for Banana Nut Porridge, because I didn’t have the same type of nuts on hand. Here is what I used:

1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup pepitas (or millet, but that wouldn’t be Paleo)
2 bananas
2 cups hemp milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon

I put all the nuts in my food processor just long enough for the nuts to be minced. Then I added the rest of the ingredients and processed it until it was the desired consistency. At this point you could either cook it on the stove top, stirring constantly until heated through, or you could pop it in the microwave for 1 to 3 minutes depending on your microwave. It looks kind of like baby food at this point, but it tastes delicious. It was excellent after it had been toasted in the toaster oven as left-overs the next day.

Add toppings of your choice such as raisins, fruit, berries, dates, dried cherries, coconut, mini chocolate chips, more nuts, chopped apples, etc. You could also vary any of the ingredients to make it to your own liking.


What’s for dinner?

Eek! I’m going to go crazy trying to find something that everyone can eat that we aren’t bored with, that I actually have most of the ingredients on hand for! Although I have not yet figured out what is for dinner tonight (and it’s 5:26 pm where I am), I do know what is for dinner tomorrow! I don’t have the apples on hand for the recipe below so I will pick some up before dinner tomorrow. Plus, my ground chicken is still frozen! This is what I get for doing school work! Blah!

I apologize for not having pictures this time around. Next time I will plan in advance. When I update this tomorrow, I will add the pics from our dinner!

These Bacon Apple Chicken Burgers with Maple Cranberry Sauce from The Paleo Mom look delicious and easy!

AND this recipe from the Rising Spoon for Turmeric Roasted Potatoes looks great for a side (not AIP, but I could use cauliflower instead, or sweet potatoes).


Top with asparagus or a fresh salad, and voila! Dinner!

Can’t wait until tomorrow!


Now, what’s for dinner?

Jack Frost Lives


I have always been fascinated by the stars, I have found unrivaled beauty in sunsets and sunrises, and I have marveled at the way that God reveals Himself in nature. However, at times, it is just hard to sense His presence. I know that He is there, but I can’t feel that He is there. I am not able to see His beauty as clearly at these times as I have at other times.

And that hurts.

It hurts because when I can’t sense His presence, I feel alone. I feel like darkness will swallow me up, and I will drown. I feel as if I am being pushed down, back under the waters that I have fought so hard to escape. Sometimes, I fear that I will remain this person, that I will remain unchanged by what God brings into my life, and I will keep falling short of what He wants me to be.

What I have come to realize is that, feelings lie. If His Word is true, then it doesn’t matter if I can feel His presence or not. He is there, to be sure. Not just there, but ever present. God with us, Immanuel. It isn’t as if He is just watching us go about our day and approving or disapproving each circumstance that comes into our lives. He lives it with us, as if it were His own, because it is! According to Deuteronomy 31:6, “…the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” If that is true, then what I feel must be a lie.

A lie that I may have just wasted a lot of time believing, instead of believing the Words of our One True King. Silly me. What was I thinking? If I had faith even as small as a mustard seed….

I always thought faith was believing without seeing. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Is this where we got the definition of faith as believing in something even though we cannot see it? Assurance is having confidence or certainty about something or someone. Well, I have never really needed to see to believe. However, I have always had a strong sense of God’s presence, so I never needed to “see” anything. It seemed easy to have faith even when going through great trials and suffering, because I could feel His presence comforting me. Now, I am not saying that the trials were easy. It hurt just as much, but having faith in our Creator seemed easy because I could feel Him.

But what about when, for whatever reason, He withdraws His presence, and we cannot be comforted? Does He cease to exist? The scripture in Hebrews doesn’t exactly say that faith is simply believing without seeing. It says also that “faith is confidence in what we hope for.” Does the confidence in what we hope for disappear just because our feelings betray us?

Google’s definition of faith is this and Webster’s dictionary is similarly worded: “complete trust or confidence in someone or something.”

We see that this is fairly accurate when we read the rest of Hebrews 11, which recounts the faith of our Biblical ancestors. Abel’s offering, and Enoch’s earnest in seeking God and subsequently being taken from this world without having experienced death. Abraham’s leaving his home to go to the place that God called him to go, and Sarah bearing children in her old age, followed by Abraham’s near sacrifice of his son Isaac. Then the faith of Isaac, Jacob, Esau, and Joseph. Moses, and all the people of Israel. The battle at Jericho, and Rahab the prostitute. The list goes on and on. Verses 32 through 38 tell all about the other faithful ones, the miracles they experienced, and also the persecution, torture, and mistreatment they received for their faith. What was it about these people that was so important regarding faith? How come Moses and the people of Israel could step out into the Red Sea onto dry land, but as soon as the Egyptians did, they were covered with water and drowned?

We can have faith in God, whether we can see His power or not, because we give our lives to Him with our whole hearts. It was said of Enoch in verses 5-6:

“For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

The Egyptians saw God’s power, and yet they were drowned in the Red Sea. Having faith also means that we earnestly seek Him, not just that we believe He exists without having seen that He does.

These people trusted God completely with their lives, and had the confidence that what they hoped for in God’s will would come to fruition. They didn’t just believe without seeing. For one thing, God did some amazing things in their lives that showed His power. Even more importantly, they gave their lives to Him, even when it hurt. They sought Him, earnestly.

But get this:

“These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.”

At the end of Hebrews we find that these people were still seen as having great faith, even though in this life they never came to experience what was promised to them.

God is still alive and well, and we can trust that he does exist even though at times we cannot see Him or feel Him. What if I get that, but I still ask myself: Does He still care about us? Does He still work out His best for us, even though it doesn’t feel like it?

It’s right there in black and white, people. “…since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” He does care about us, and He does still work out what is best for us, even though we don’t always feel like that is true.

Feelings lie. But God’s Word is true. We just need to make the choice of which to believe: the lie, or the truth?

Today, I choose truth, even though I can’t always “see.” Mustard seeds. I pray for faith even that small.

Now, you might be asking yourself, “What does all this have to do with Jack Frost?”

Well, nothing, really. Except that sometimes, when your night is so long and all you have been able to see is darkness, it doesn’t hurt to notice the beauty of the light shining through the cold frost on your window.

Praying that you may see beauty in the little things,


Beauty in the “little” things.

So, here is a glimpse at some of those not so little things in my life….


Is this little boy being led down a slippery slope? Or is he being held by his stubborn little hand as he insists on trudging down this treacherous path?

This little boy is my son, and the man is my husband. The beauty comes in the safety of the man holding the hand of the boy tightly, guiding him down that slippery, rocky path.  Really, he IS being led down a slippery slope. But he is safe with his daddy, and he knows it. The beauty is that in this moment, even if it is just for a moment, all is well.

The First Snow


“Why are you taking a picture of the mailbox?”

This from my oldest son. As if he thinks I am a little weird or something. It is perfectly normal to take a picture of your mailbox, isn’t it?

Well, in northern Minnesota, in the middle of October, when there are several inches of snow on top of it, maybe it is. It did turn out to be kind of a neat picture…and this was even taken after I had already taken the mail out of the box.

One cool thing about all the snow (Ha! Other than the temperature…pardon the pun!) is that my seven year old son actually requested to go out and play in it. Often he has trouble finding things to keep himself busy and is bored easily, but he was so entertained by the snow that he played in it for hours! Everyone loved it. Even the pet Flemish Giant rabbit got to play in the snow….the same person who indirectly accused me of being weird enough to take a picture of a mailbox….made a snow fort for his rabbit friend. ;-p