Monday, December 30, 2013

Monday Meals

Here's this weeks menu.  Hope you enjoy!

Split Pea Soup
Oatmeal Bread

New Years Eve Menu
Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken
Kung Pao Tofu
Egg Rolls (my husband makes them and I have no idea how)
Edamame (steam in bag)
Brown Jasmine Rice
Brownies (gf/df box mix)

Orange Pancakes (gf/df box mix)
Turkey Bacon
Fruit Salad

BBQ Tofu Sandwiches
Simply Ore Ida Fries
Kale Salad

Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas
Chips and Salsa

Homemade Pizza- purchased crusts and whatever topping we choose
Tossed Salad

Mom's Midweek Honey & Lemon Chicken (recipe below)
Brown Jasmine Rice
Green Beans (steam in bag)

Mom's Midweek Honey & Lemon Chicken (from Cook on a Shoestring by Sophie Wright)
2 Tbsp honey
3 garlic cloves, grated
Juice of two lemons
1 heaping tsp whole-grain mustard
1 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly grout black pepper
8 chicken thighs, bone in and skin on

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a bowl, combine all ingredients except chicken.  Mix well.
2. Coat chicken in mixture and transfer to a baking dish, reserving remaining sauce.
3. Place dish in oven and cook for 25 minutes.  Halfway through cooking time, pour over rest of sauce.  Chicken should be cooked through and skin will be nice and crispy golden brown.
5. Serve with rice and green beans, and pour over sauce from bottom of baking dish.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Happy Birthday Myles

Happy 4th Birthday to you Myles.  You bring so much joy to our lives with your funny stories, adventurous spirit and many silly facial expressions.  You are one that loves to test the limits and are going to do great things.  Here's hoping that your 4th year is great!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Monday Meals

Here's another round of meals for all of you.  Happy Cooking!

Crockpot Pork Tenderloin with Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Salsa (I had both of these on hand)
Butternut Squash
     Cut in half and scoop out seeds.  Place face down in a 9x13 pan and add 1/4 inch of water.  Baked in 400 degree oven for 40 minutes or until knife inserts easily.
Salad (spinach, tomatoes)

Hawaiian Sloppy Joe's
Fries (Simply Ore Ida or Alexia)
Honey Carrots
     Cut up carrots and place in saucepan over medium heat with some water.  When cooked to your liking add a little honey and stir.

Homemade Pizza
Salad (romaine, carrots and tomatoes)

One Pot Pasta Casserole
Green Beans (steam in bag kind)

Yellow Split Pea & Sweet Potato Soup
Oatmeal Bread

Monday, December 9, 2013

Monday Meals

Over and over again I see friends posting they need dinner ideas on facebook.  So, I thought I would start sharing a week of meals with you on Mondays, with the links to the recipes (when applicable).  Most of the meals I prepare are gluten and dairy free (or they are with substitutions).  Hope you enjoy these!

Balsamic & Honey Chicken Drumsticks in the Crockpot
Roasted Red Potatoes and Green Beans

Turkey Burgers (purchased ready to grill)
Fries (I like the Simply Ore Ida or Alexia brands)
Salad- basic with romaine, spinach, carrots and tomatoes

Chipotle Tofu Tacos
     We had tomatoes, cilantro, peppers, and black beans with them.

Homemade Pizza- purchased crust and whatever toppings we choose
Green Beans (Archer Farms brand is our favorite)

Slow Cooker Chicken & Dumplings

We had a couple of nights that we had leftovers this week.  Hope this helps with you meal planning.


Thursday, December 5, 2013


I love nativity sets.  Like, love LOVE!  Currently I have six sets, but I'm sure there will be many more in my future.  I love to walk around my house during the Christmas season and be reminded of what the true meaning of the season is.

Christ is coming.

My favorite, this was a gift from my parents.  I hope to add more to it.

One of the sets the boys play with.

I love that this one looks like a snow globe.

The other one the boys like to play with.  I find them all over the living room in odd places.  They're usually fighting bad guys.

A little gem that's missing pieces (ears, noses, hands),

The one that hangs in my kitchen window.

Do you have a nativity set, or two, or more?  Do you have a favorite?


Monday, December 2, 2013

Stop and Savor

The busyness of the holiday season is here.  I went to Target last week and it was packed.  I knew that Thanksgiving was just a few days away, but it was just chaotic.  And only to get busier as the holiday season continues.

I have an inner struggle that goes on during this time of the year.  I want to make memories and give gifts and share in the season, but I want to remember what the TRUE meaning of the season is.  The whole reason why I'm here and I'm free... Jesus.

He is the reason for the season.

His birth is what made way for Him dying on the cross so my sins, your sins, could be forgiven.

So friends, can we stop and savor this time?  This time to wait and anticipate what's coming.

He is the ULTIMATE gift.

The gift that continues to give every month.  Every week.  Every day.  Every minute.

Will you accept it and slow down or will you fall into the busyness?

He's waiting...


Thursday, November 28, 2013


Do I remember to give God thanks for my blessings?  How about for my trials?

In 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18 it says to rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

Give thanks in all circumstances.

In everything?

Yes, in all circumstances.

When I'm running late and I get stuck at another red light?
          Thankful for an opportunity to speak to Him.

When I burn dinner?
          Thankful that I have food to eat.

When it feels like everything that could go wrong is going wrong?
          Thankful I have Him to lean on when life is too heavy to bear alone.

It's easier to give thanks when life is going my way.  When it fits in my pretty little box and goes according to my plan.  It's easy to be thankful when my dinners turn out fabulous, my kids aren't whining, my husband gets home from work early, and the puppy is behaving well.

But, am I giving Him thanks for those small things?  Am I taking the time to thank Him for my small blessings.

Today, take some time to thank Him for your blessings and your trials.

Jesus, we thank You.  We thank you for everything in our lives.  The good, the bad.  We lay it all out before you and give thanks.  We know that You will use all things to work together for our good.  And we trust in You, now and forever.  Amen.


Friday, November 22, 2013

Big and Small Prayers

Last week one of Barrett's hearing aids broke.  It started cutting in and out and buzzing.  That means we have to send it in to get fixed.  Unfortunately that usually means he only has one hearing aid for 7-10 days.

Can you imagine not being able to hear out of one ear for a week or more?  I can't.  I tried to wear ear plugs for a weekend once (so I could get a feel for what he hears like without his hearing aids) and I made it an hour and a half.  Ninety minutes friends.  That's all I could do.  It was awful, and I could still hear better than he can without his hearing aids.

So, I prayed over his hearing aids.  I prayed that they would work so we wouldn't have to send the buzzing one in.  I prayed that if we did have to send it in, that it would be faster than usual or we could get a loaner.  I prayed that the transition with the loaner hearing aid would go well.

God answers prayers.  His hearing aid still needed to be sent in to get repaired but, he doesn't have to be without a hearing aid this time.  This time he gets a loaner.  The audiologist had one in the office.  Friends, this is the biggest praise.  I was in tears when I was listening to the voicemail.  He will be able to hear fully while his aid is getting fixed.  He won't have to struggle in school or at home to hear for the next week.

God answers prayers big and small.  Take everything to Him, no matter what.

Praise Jesus!


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Holy Yoga for One

I'm a Holy Yoga instructor and I teach two classes a week.  One morning class and one evening class.  I struggle with numbers though.  Lately my classes have had 3-4 people.  I want my classes to be full. I want to share Jesus with as many people as possible.  So, I started praying that God send those to class who needed to be there.  Last Thursday I had 8 people in my class!  Praise!  It was a Holy class.  It was amazing.  

I prayed all weekend for my class on Monday morning.  

Lord, please let the people that need to be there, be there.  This is Your class, let it be what You want it to be.  Amen.

So, this is who showed up for my class on Monday...

Yep, that's my mat (and one of my kids is in the pile to the left).  

I spent the hour on my mat moving, singing, praising.  All for Him.  And you know what?  It was beautiful. He knew exactly who needed to be at that class on Monday.  He knew that I needed that class so much.  He knew that I wouldn't get an hour in on my mat at home.  He knew.


Monday, November 18, 2013

Oak Trees

I suffer from "hurrying sickness."  I always feel like I need to be going, doing, going, doing.  Over and over again.  My to do list never ends.  I mark one thing off and add two more.  I am constantly moving or doing something.  I feel unproductive if I'm not.  But, that's not what God wants for us.

Listen to the story of Mary and Martha.

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman 
named Martha opened her home to him.  She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the 
Lord's feet listening to what he said.  But Martha, was distracted by all the preparations 
that had to be made.  She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has 
left me to do the work by myself?  Tell her to help me!"

"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but 
few things are needed - or indeed only one.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not 
be taken away from her."
Luke 10:38-42 NIV

Jesus told Martha that what she was doing wasn't important, it wasn't necessary.  That what she needed to do was let go of it and sit down and enjoy the time with Him.  When is the last time you were able to made time to sit down and enjoy His company.  To really spend time with Him.  

Can you do that today?  Can you put everything in your mind aside and spend time with Him?  

Sometimes God calls us to be doing more and sometimes it's less.  Last week I talked about feeling stuck and how there is freedom in letting go and embracing where God has called you to be.  

Since I am always going and doing I think that should be the way my spiritual growth should be.  I do something and it should stick right away, right?  Wrong.  It takes time to solidify our spiritual growth.  We have to put in the time with Him and work.  Then we have to give it time to stick.

Friends, what if the "stuck" times are the times we are solidifying our growth.  When God wants to make a squash He takes six months.  When God wants to make an oak tree He takes one hundred years.  He takes time to make squash and oak trees.  He takes time when it comes to our spiritual growth too.  

In the Book The Good and Beautiful God by James Bryan Smith he states the following.

"Some years we may experience tremendous growth, and some we see very little 
change.  An oak tree has only a couple of months of actual growth each year in terms of 
measurable expansion, says Strong.  The rest of the year, the other ten months, are spend 
solidifying that growth."

So embrace your slower times.  Let them be the times that solidify all of the work He has done in you. 

I'll end with a prayer from The Good and Beautiful God.

Patient and loving God, when you want to make a squash you take six months, when you want to make an oak tree you take one hundred years. You created us, O Lord, to be eternal spiritual beings, more immense than we could ever imagine. Stretch out our arms to embrace the rhythm and pace that you have created the universe to operate at. Through our reading and discussion today and through the on-going practices of our faith may we be healed of hurry sickness. Amen.


Friday, November 15, 2013

Thick Skin and Soft Hearts

Have you ever had one of those conversations where someone says something that just gets under your skin?  Maybe that person meant well, but just chose the wrong words.  I hope I've never been that person, but let's face it... I'm human.  I'm sure I have.  And if it was to you, I'm sorry.

Earlier this week I went to Barrett's school to pick him up.  He rides the bus to school, but I pick him up at the end of the day.  This isn't how we planned for this to go, but after many tears about long days and "missing me" I told him I would pick him up from school every day.  This remedied his sadness during the school day and his teacher made sure she told me that immediately.  He is the first one on the bus in the morning and the last one off in the afternoon.  That makes for a very long day.  I figure if I can shave 30 minutes off of his day by driving 4 minutes round trip, it's worth it.

So, when I was picking him up I ran into his bus driver and she started up a conversation.

Bus Driver: Is he going to be back on the bus in the afternoon?
Me:  I hope so, but it's his decision.  It makes for a very long day.
Bus Driver: Maybe you should have held him back.  We did that with my granddaughter and it was really good.
Me (annoyed): We did.

You know that mama bear that comes out?  Yeah, somehow I kept her under wraps.  Or He kept her under wraps.  There are so many things that I could have said, but wouldn't have made the conversation any better.

He doesn't have issues at school.  He's a good listener.  He's polite.  He doesn't cause problems.  He's always ready to help his friends out.  He's social.  He was READY for Kindergarten, and all day Kindergarten.  He just "misses me" and I miss him when he's gone for that long too.  I like to see the big smile on his face when he sees me standing there waiting for him.      

I try really hard to think and then speak, but it doesn't always happen that way.  So, I'm trying to stop fuming about what Barrett's bus driver said to me today and remember that being a Christian means I need to have "thick skin and a soft heart."  If I let everything that everyone said to me get to me I think I would be a pretty angry person.  Instead, I choose to take a deep breath and vent what she said to Him.

I lay it at His feet.

He takes it.

He's got it.



Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Joy and Sorrow

Back in January 2013 we told some friends that we were expecting, then they told us they were expecting.  Three days later I had a miscarriage.  Our baby was due at the beginning of September, their sweet baby came at the end of September.  He is beautiful.

I held him for the first time last week.  I cried.  They were tears of joy and sorrow.  I am so joyful that he made it into this world.  I am so thankful that they got their baby.  But I would be lying if I said it's not hard.  That I don't understand why I can't be holding my baby right now.  He (yeah, I just think it was a boy) would be 10 weeks old right now.

On Sunday, our friends had their son baptized.  I'm one of those people that always tears up during a baptism.  I think it's beautiful.  Standing in community and declaring your child is His, it's just beautiful.  Watching them on Sunday, standing up there with their three boys I cried again.  And again they were tears of joy and sorrow.

"Others who have lost children have shared the inability to separate the sorrow from 
the joy in life.  I find that they are inextricably woven, never to be pulled fully from 
each other in this life.  I am reminded of this delicate dance as I think upon the Savior 
whose blood mingled with our freedom.  I am an injured dancer, and yet one who 
wants her life to bring glory to the one who allowed sorrow and joy to dance at all."

Whether I got to meet my child in this life or I meet him in heaven, I still grieve for him.  He was a part of me for a reason.  He was not a mistake.  He was knit together in my womb, even for a short time, for a purpose.  For that I am thankful.  I hope that the 10 short weeks I carried him, he felt loved.  He was, and still is, a gift.  

Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing. (2 Corinthians 6:10)


Monday, November 11, 2013

Frozen Chicken and Tears

I wanted to make a nice dinner.  I decided I would make a whole chicken in the crockpot. That should be quick and easy, right?  This is coming from the woman who NEVER defrosts her meat ahead of time.  You know, like the night before.  That requires thinking ahead and I don't tend to do that.  I make a meal plan every week, but I don't decide which days we are going to eat which meals.

Anyways, I went to the deep freezer and grabbed my whole chicken.  My whole frozen solid chicken.  My plan was to cut the wrapper off and throw it and the other ingredients into the crockpot.  Dinner done.  Yeah, that was my plan.

This is what happened.  I cut the wrapper off and threw it away, but there was something stuck to the bottom of the frozen chicken.  You know the thing that thing the manufacturers put in there to catch all the juices, it had become a part of the chicken.  In my infinite wisdom I grabbed my knife and started prying the "chicken juice catcher" (yes, that's my technical term) off of the chicken.  As you can imagine this wasn't working very well.  Parts of the chicken juice catcher were coming off, but some of it was still stuck to the chicken.  So, I did what any sane (using the term loosely here) woman would do an screamed at the chicken.  I'm really hoping that I'm not alone in this.  I hope that I'm not the only one that has screamed at her chicken.  Then, I grabbed the knife and stabbed it.  I'm not proud.  Plus, the screaming and stabbing didn't get that darn chicken juice catcher off of the chicken!

I scream, "I hate cooking!  I hate food!"

Now, I'm in tears.  Frustrated.  Feeling alone.  Overwhelmed.  I cry out to Jesus.  Help me!

Then comes this thought.  This frozen chicken is a metaphor for my life.  I had an idea in my mind about how I wanted making dinner to go.  I had a plan, my plan.  I wanted to do it quickly and get it done.

But, God He wants us to savor life.  He wants us to slow down.  Maybe we even have to stop and lay it all down at his feet.  Maybe that involves screaming and tears. He knows the plans He has for me and he wants good for me, for you. (Jeremiah 29:11).  

Defrost the chicken to get dinner made.

It's genius!  It was outside of my thought process, which seems ridiculous in hind sight.  I tossed the chicken in the microwave to defrost and that chicken juice catcher came right off.  And now, a few hours later my house is starting to smell amazing.  All because I chose to go on a different path and switch gears.

I was just going to toss that stupid chicken in the trash.  Throw it away.  But, I stopped.  I prayed.  I asked for help.  The surrender (even on something as small as making dinner) allows Him to take the weight off of our shoulders.  He stands there waiting for us to allow Him to yoke to us.  His yoke is easy and the burden is light (Matthew 11:30).  We just have to ask.

So, I thought I would share the recipe with you.
Crockpot Chicken Dinner
1 Whole Chicken without innards, defrosted (at least slightly)
Put the chicken in the crockpot and season to taste with salt, pepper and sage.  Or whatever you would like.
celery, I just used what was left in my fridge
carrots, I used 4 large
onion, I used 1/2 of a large white onion
Chop the celery, carrots and onion and add to the crockpot.  I just used what I had.  I'm horrible, I hardly ever measure.  Add 1 cup of water into the crockpot.  Cook on high 6-8 hours.

I'm serving our chicken with butternut squash and a kale salad.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Laying it at His Feet

I was talking with a friend the other day about surrender.  It's such a hard thing to do.  And God doesn't want me to do it unless I want to.  It's my choice.  It's part of that free will thing.  When I decide to surrender, I have to do it in love.  If I'm not surrendering in love, then I might as well not surrender.

I've been reading Angie Smith's book I Will Carry You: The Sacred Dance of Grief and Joy.  This is an amazing book by the way.  Definitely worth the read!  I'm realizing through reading this I am still working through the grief of my two miscarriages.  I'm still working on fully surrendering those to the Lord.

Anyways... I was reading her book at a coffee shop this morning and this is what I read.

"I literally screamed at the sky while I cried over my own hurt and the hurt of a sister 
I had never met.  He never back down, though, and I am grateful for that love.  It is 
the love of a Father who Himself is well acquainted with sorrow.  It is the love of a 
Father who has lost His Son.  He understands the ranting and the door-slamming.  
The emptiness tat wraps around me when I think of my sweet Audrey.

He knows.

And He only has one request.

Bring it right to Me, Angie.

Every time the anger roars in your heart.

Bring it to Me.

Every time you feel like nobody hears you.

Bring it to Me.

When you think it isn't fair.  When you think it isn't true.  When you can't think at all.

Bring it to My feet, and I will make an altar from your suffering." 
- Angie Smith, I Will Carry You

Whether is grief, life or something else that's overwhelming me.  I can take it to His feet.  I can surrender it to Him in love and He will make an altar from my suffering.  He understands everything that I'm going through.  It's all covered in His love.

I lift my eyes to the mountains - where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Stuck and Freedom

Have you ever had one of those days/weeks/months where you just feel stuck?  That's where I am right now.  It's where God has asked me to be, but it's not where I want to be.  He doesn't want me to feel stuck, He wants me to lean into Him for strength.  I want to go off and do great and exciting things, but He wants me here.  And He wants me to find joy here.  I am here to do what He has planned for me, and my life.  I struggle with following His directions when it's so the opposite of what I want to be doing.

But I remind myself of this...
He can see the big picture.  I can't.  He knows what's best for me, I only think I do.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

I've been here for about a month.  Not doing what I want to be doing, but trying my hardest to lean into Him and what He's called me to do: minister to my family.  Fully jump into everything.  And do it with love.  Even the small stuff like cleaning up spilled milk and fixing broken toys.

As a stay at home mom sometimes it doesn't always feel like I'm doing great things.  Sometimes it feels like I'm stuck in the mundane.  I don't always like dealing with the meltdowns, laundry, dishes and arguments.  But then I'm reminded that the most important thing I get to do with my kids is share Jesus with them.  It's a choice I get to make.  It's not something I have to do.  I GET TO share the LOVE of Christ with my kids.  I show His love through all of my actions.  That's wiping tears, helping with homework, packing snacks, making dinner, helping make beds, washing clothes, being patient, everything.  When I do all of those things in love, it shows.  When I do all of those things while leaning into Him, it shows.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28 NIV

I'm not saying it's easy.  By no means is it easy.  It's a daily hourly every minute surrender.  Over and over each and every day.  Sometimes I don't surrender to Him and life gets harder.  The days feel like a constant battle.  Those are the days I feel stuck.  Those are the days I feel out of control.

JJ Heller has a song called Loved.  My favorite lines from the song come from the bridge.
Freedom comes in letting go
Open up the window to your heart
Freedom comes in letting go
Open up your heart

It's so true.  When I let go of my expectations and lean into His will, His Word, His plans I feel free.  I realize that I'm not stuck.  That I am doing great things.  That am I doing one of the greatest things of all... sharing Christ with my family.  And I'm finding joy in doing it.  I feel freedom because I've let go.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

I Have No Words, Just Prayers

One of my friends lost her baby girl a week ago.

Jesus.  I have no words.  Please.  Come.

I have no words.  My heart just aches.  Parents aren't supposed to bury their children.  I want to say the right thing.  I want to do something for them.  There is no right thing to say and there is nothing I can do that can make this ok.

So, what can I do to help?

Right now, all I can do is pray.  All I can do is lean into our Creator, asking Him to give them support.  To give them comfort.  To give them the strength to get through the days, weeks, months and years ahead.

Jesus.  Please.  Come.  Help.  Amen.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Arrowwood in Alexandria

We made another trip to Arrowwood Resort in Alexandria, MN with the Knowlton side of the family again this year.  Thanks again to the generosity of my grandparents.  This has been such a highlight for our boys the last few years and this year didn't disappoint.  This year we were able to spend a lot of time on my aunt and uncles boat.  My boys LOVED it!  Here are a few pics...

Monday, September 9, 2013

Barrett's First Day of School

Barrett started Kindergarten this year.  He's there all day and having fun.  His only complaint is that he doesn't "get to play much at home."  Here are a few pics of his first day.

Myles' First Day of Preschool

Myles started his first day of preschool at the end of August.  Here are a few pics of the morning.  He LOVES school and asks every day if he gets to go.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The End of Summer

Woah!  My last post was in mid-July.  Summer has been so busy and full that I haven't even had a chance to check in with all of you.  We have done most of our summer bucket list.

I don't know if we'll finish it all, Myles starts preschool tomorrow morning.  That's right.  My baby, my youngest, is now heading off to preschool two mornings a week.  I can't believe that.  He was just a "tiny" little newborn weighing 9 pounds!

Don't even get me started on Barrett.  He starts school on Tuesday.  All day kindergarten.  Days full of new adventures and friends.  I pray that he feels my love and Christ's love while he's away.

I'll post some pictures of back to school soon and hopefully I'll check in with you more often.  For now, savor these last days of summer (if you're still on summer break) and have fun with back to school!


Friday, July 12, 2013

Let Me Be Honest

After reading the post at She Breathes Deeply today I wanted to had to write this.

I don't want to be one of those people who come across like I "have it all together."  I don't.  I'm a mess.  I'm a work in progress.  I have to surrender to Him over and over every day.  I make mistakes constantly and I don't ever finish everything I want to get done.

You would think it would be a little easier to get things done around here.  I have two kids that can entertain themselves (and the puppy) for a little while.

I have a kitchen that's a disaster (and waiting for my husband to conquer).

I have clean laundry piled up all around me (dirty too, don't let the clean piles fool you).

I have a puppy that thinks ALL of her toys need to be out (I'm pretty sure the boys help her too).

But.  Yep, there's a BUT.  God didn't call me to be a great housekeeper, clothes washer, dish cleaner.  I'm learning to let those go and try to do what He's called me to do.

He called me to follow Him.  Some days it's easier to get my time in with Him.  Some days, it falls to the side and I have guilt.  It's about surrender, constant surrender.  Over and over each and every day.

He called me to be a wife,

a mom,

a Holy Yoga Instructor.

Most days I still don't feel adequate for what He's called me to do, to be.  But, I'm trusting that He's got my life.  He's got me, my husband, my kids.  He's got everything and I just need to trust.  And breathe.


Monday, July 1, 2013

3 Minutes

Waiting for the Como Zoo shuttle to pick us up.  My two are in the middle.
Picture taken by Kate.

Today the boys and I headed to Como Zoo with some friends.  We were almost done and checking out the orangutans.  Myles was with the two bigger boys and then they came over by us and Myles was standing by himself (like 2 people away... I could see him).  I felt a little nudge that I should have him come over with us, but didn't listen to it because he wasn't that far away.  I should have listened.

We were ready to go and there was NO MYLES!  He wasn't near the orangutans.  He wasn't anywhere within sight.

Have you ever had that moment?  That moment when you can't find one of your kids?  It's terrifying.

Barrett went with my friend and her two boys and I ran the other direction screaming Myles' name at the top of my lungs.  The tears were there.  Where was my little boy?  Someone asked me what he was wearing and I rattled it off and kept running.  Praying.  Please God, let him be ok.  Let me find him.

Then, up ahead there he was.  He turned around.  Tears streaming down his face.  Jumping up and down.  He thought we left him at the orangutan exhibit and he went to find us.

I've never been happier to hug my child.  To know that God kept him safe.  Kept him from any harm.  Praise God!

It was only 3 minutes, but it was the longest 3 minutes of my life.  And 3 minutes that I had no control and had to lean into Him for strength.  Praise.  Jesus.

Enter the Parable of the Lost Sheep (Luke 15:3-6)
Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 

Just as I rejoiced when I found Myles, He rejoices when you come home.


Oh, and listen to that inner voice (Holy Spirit).  It might be telling you something you really need to hear.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Seeking Community

I've been yearning for friends, for community.  I've been feeling like I don't have that and I want it.  I want people around me that just do life with me.  Nothing fancy, just life.

Then this weekend happened.  The Twin Cities were hit pretty hard this past weekend with storms.  I went to a friends house on Friday night for a slumber party.  Just me and two of my girlfriends.  We planned to do some Holy Yoga, play some games, polish our nails, do some facials and drink some margaritas.  God had so much more in store for us.

So. Much. More.

We got to my friends house (which was plan B already due to the power being out at the other home) and 15 minutes later her power went out.  What to do?  We got on our yoga mats.  We worshiped in the dark by candlelight.  It was beautiful.  It was Holy.

We felt moved to pray when we were done.  Sitting together in a circle, knees to knees and holding hands.  You could feel the Lord's presence there.  He was with us in the dark.  He was a light shining among us.  It was peaceful and amazing (even with the gurgles of water coming from the basement).

We went downstairs to check out the gurgles and found her husband and daughter had been transferring water from the overflowing sump basin to the utility sink for the last thirty plus minutes.  Thus began our bucket brigade.  In the basement, in the candlelight, for the next hour.  I have never had more fun doing work like that.  We laughed, we sang, we slipped, we were doing life together.

If we hadn't been there that night, if we had been at the original location, their whole basement probably would have flooded.  God put us right where we needed to be.  And he gave me what I had been longing for.  People who were just happy to be around each other doing life.  Nothing fancy, just life.

I have community here and it spreads wider than the women I was with that night.  We have amazing family and friends that came together this weekend and we did life together.  What I longed for, I already had.  It just took a storm for me to see what was right in front of me.

Do you have community?  Do you long for community?  If you're in the Twin Cities you can find some Holy Yoga community here.  It might change your life.


Friday, June 21, 2013

The Good Life

The Casting Crowns song has been going through my mind all day, all week in fact.  Seek Justice, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly with your God.  Over and over again.  So, I have one verse on my heart today.  That verse is Micah 6:8.

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you?  
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.  (NIV, emphasis mine) 

In the Message the verse reads like this;

But he's already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women.  
It's quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, 
and don't take your self too seriously - take God seriously.

Maybe you know this verse, maybe you don't.  This defines what our walk with the Lord should look like.    So what exactly does it mean to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly?

Act Justly- a commitment to fairness in relationships, do what is right

Love Mercy- a heart response to the needs of others which compels a person to help, love kindness and live with compassion toward others

Walk Humbly- remain responsive to God, submitting gladly to His will

By doing these three things, Micah says, God's followers will please Him and live happy lives.  Simple lives.  God honoring lives.

Friends, the good life is simpler than we think.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength and love your neighbor as yourself. (Mark 12:30-31, NIV).  


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Love That Lasts a Lifetime {MUMC Sermon Series on Marriage}

Well, here it is, the final sermon in the series.  I hope you've enjoyed listening to them as much as I have.

Love That Lasts a Lifetime


Friday, June 14, 2013

One of Those Days

Have you ever had one of those days weeks that just seems like nothing could go right.  I'm having one of those this week.  It's the first full week of summer vacation and I'm glad my kids are home, but it's been raining.  A lot.  We even went to the pool yesterday and it rained while we were there.  So we've been stuck inside. A lot.

This week it feels like nothing is going my way.  I feel like bursting into tears and have several times.  You know at great times like driving to the pediatricians office or to the grocery store.  I'm just emotional.  I'm worn out and I'm tired.

But that right there "nothing is going my way" is probably my biggest problem.  I'm trying to control my life and my situations and when they don't go my way, I pout.  Maybe I even through a fit.  Isaiah 55:8-9 says "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord.  "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."

Yesterday I decided to forced myself to do an audio Holy Yoga practice with Brooke Boon.  It was on my mat where I heard Him say this.  

Why are you trying to do this alone?  Why are you trying to rely on yourself to get you through this?  I'm right here waiting for you to let me help you.

Bam!  How true is that?  Why don't I rely on Him when the going gets tough?  Because I know from experience that it's going to get tough.  Life is one big roller coaster with ups and downs.

Matthew 11:28-30 says "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

He wants to bear the weight of my loads, of your loads.  He wants to help us through the thick of it and get us to the other side.  It won't be easy, it will take work.  But He will give us rest.  He has a plan and it's a good one.  I just don't know what it is.  But, if I take the time to be with Him every chance I can I might start to see little bits and pieces of it.

"For I know the plan I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)

Can you lean into Him with me today?  Can you trust Him enough to let go of your plans?


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


I started my Holy Yoga practice the other morning with the intent of surrender.  A few nights ago Beau gave me some news.  I knew what he told me already, but to hear it spoken out loud is different.  The news could possibly be a big change for us.  I don't do change well.

I also just started reading Hinds Feet On High Places.  It's a book about total surrender to God.  God is with you through the trenches, in the lowest of the low.  If you fully trust in Him, fully surrender, He'll take you to the high places.

I approach everything with caution (aka fear).  I'm afraid of being fully open, too vulnerable.  It's too much for me.  I've spent my entire life building up walls of protection around myself.  This is so I don't have to feel the pain, the hurt of life.

What have my walls done for me?  Nothing!

Have I released the pain from my past?  No!

All of the pain and hurt from my life is stuck inside the walls around my heart.  The walls that I put there.  They are the walls that He wants to tear down.  But, He doesn't want to take a wrecking ball to my walls.  That would be too fast and we (He and I) wouldn't be able to work through each piece.  Some of it would get lost in the rubble.  He wants to take my walls down one brick at a time.


That's going to take a long time.  He wants to put that much work into me.  He would do it for anyone.  I need to feel each and every brick.  To feel the weight of them and let them go.  One at a time.  Releasing them to Him.

(Insert big sigh...)

It won't be easy and I can't do it alone.  I'm glad that He'll be there with me every brick along the way.  I need Him.  I need His strength, because I'm tired just thinking about the work ahead.  I'm still trying to fully surrender to this process.  It's hard.  But, He is on my side.

Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Matthew 11:28-30


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Sexual Intimacy {MUMC Sermon Series on Marriage}

This was so well done.  Watch it and then share it with your kids.  My kids were in the service for this.

Sexual Intimacy


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

More Than A Contract {MUMC Sermon Series on Marriage}

Marriage is hard.  Relationships are hard.  My pastor just started a 6 part sermon series on marriage.  I'm going to share them on here because they're worth sharing.  Take the 20 minutes and listen each week.  You won't regret it... I promise.

More Than A Contract


Monday, May 6, 2013

The Mondays

Today I have a case of the Mondays.  We had this wonderful weekend.  Beau didn't have to work on Saturday and the weather was nice enough yesterday that we spent the whole afternoon outside.  Doing yard work, playing, just being us.  I thank God for the beautiful weekend, but today is Monday.

Monday means that I don't have my husband around to help me with everything; making food, prepping backpacks for school, taking care of the puppy, doctors appointments, nap-time meltdowns.  Then it struck me... at least I have his help when he is home.  I think of the single parents and the parents that don't get help from their spouse.  God has blessed me so much to have this wonderful relationship with Beau where we can rely on each other for help.  He stays patient when I'm not and vice versa.  It's a beautiful thing this relationship that God gave us.

Here's the thing about Monday though.  We're not alone.  We still have someone to lean into.  He was there the whole weekend.  He's there all the time.  He never leaves my side (or yours).  God is always with us there to help us through whatever Monday throws at us.


Why do I allow that but to rear it's ugly face into my day?  Into my life?  Why can't I just lean into Him and accept His grace on this Monday?

Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. 
(Joshua 1:9)

That's right.  He's with me, with you, not matter what.


Friday, May 3, 2013

His Plans {Holy Yoga Message}

You may recognize this picture from this post or from seeing this labyrinth at the Holy Yoga retreat in April at Spirit in the Desert .  

Do you stumble through life trying to keep control, but knowing that if you gave up control to Him it would be so much greater than anything you could imagine?  That's me... join the club.  It's not a club I want to be in, but I'm human.  I make mistakes.  I try to surrender and it's hard.  It give into fear and hold on to control. I'm learning that when I do let go it truly is so much better.  His plans are always better and greater than the plans that I think are good for me.

Jeremiah 29:11-13 (emphasis mine)
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."

Friends He doesn't want to harm us.  He wants to prosper us, give us hope and a future.  What do we have to do?  Call on Him and pray to Him and He will listen.  He will listen to our prayers, the desires of our hearts.  He will show us where He wants us to go.  What path he wants us to take.  Trust Him.

Proverbs 19:21
Many are the plans in a persons heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails.

It is His purpose that will prevail.  Ask Him what His purpose, His plan is for you.

Psalm 119:105
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.

His Word lights our paths.  We need to read it, digest it in our souls.  When we're lost or confused it's what He's given us to look to for answers.

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight.

Trust.  Surrender.  Sacrifice your life to Him.  Daily.  Hourly.  He is there for you and He wants to help you. You have to let Him help you.  He won't help without your permission.  

Our job is to focus on the present, not in the past or the future.  Be here with God in the moment.  He's forgiven our past and He has the future in His hands.  Trust in Him.  We're on His path.


Thursday, May 2, 2013

My Very Special Person - A Guest Post

I am so thrilled to see how God is at work in our lives.  I got an email this morning from my "very special person" from this post.  She wanted to share a little more about her story, how our paths crossed at Holy Yoga retreat, and what God is doing with her since retreat.  So, I introduce LJ.  My sweet friend that God brought me in my time of need.

I feel as though I need to add my story to Megan's, because I am "the very special person...[who] knew exactly what [she] was going through."  Megan's story is moving and my story is moving, but the way our stories connect is amazing and shows just how truly awesome our God is.

Three days before Megan's miscarriage, my husband and I lost our first baby.  God showed me, shortly after it happened, that I would be asked to share my experience with others so that He could love people through me.  This was a hard revelation because it was not something I wanted to discuss, even though I wanted to be used by Him to help people.

Megan was in my small group at the Holy Yoga retreat.  She shared her testimony with us--her struggles with losing her two babies--and I felt God urging me to enter into her grief and walk alongside her.  I refused.  Too vulnerable.  Too scary.  During meditation the next morning, God STRONGLY nudged me (more of a shove, really) to share my story and my pain with Megan.  I wrestled with it for a while, but finally submitted and we began a week-long process of healing together. He turned our mourning into joy and our sorrow into gladness (Jer 31:13)

I came home from Arizona perfectly contented to let the story end there and sing God's praises, for "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds" (Ps 147:3).  But God had bigger plans. My pastor pulled me aside in church and asked if I would speak to a new believer who just lost her baby.  He said he knew that we were keeping it to ourselves, but this woman needs to talk to someone who has been through it and so I came to mind. "I didn't this too soon?"

Not a moment too soon!  A week ago, I would not have been ready, but by God's grace and for His glory, He gave me exactly what I needed when I needed it in order to be equipped to do the work He has for me to do--work that only I can do BECAUSE of my pain here on this earth; my submission to and trust in God's higher plan for my pain; and God's provision, comfort, and love through it all. Isn't that the message of the cross?

I just wanted to share that because Megan was as much a part of my healing process as I was part of hers, and I just think it's incredible how God brought two strangers together who shared the same pain and healed them through the fellowship they share in Christ.  How great is our God!


God is so good people!  Do you see it?  Do you see how He brings us the people we need?  Are you open to it?

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. (John 10:27-28)


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

My Breaking Point

I've been talking about my miscarriage a lot lately.  This was my second miscarriage, my first happened in June of 2011.  I was clinging to my babies not wanting to forget them, which was making me cling to my pain.  I was afraid to give that over to God because I thought it would make me forget them.  Forget their sweet, innocent, too short lives.

This brings me to my breaking point.  You know you've been there.  It's that point where you can't stand anymore.  You crumble to the floor in a messy pile.  People, I don't get there often.  I have been putting up walls around my heart to protect myself for years.  But, it wasn't protecting me at all.  I was just holding on to everything.

The first night at my Holy Yoga Retreat we did a gentle practice.  I was just excited to do some yoga after traveling all day.  I had no idea what God had planned for me that night.  Not long into the practice and I was sobbing, uncontrollably sobbing.  I was mourning the loss of my sweet babies.  Why did their lives have to end before I got to meet them?  I was not mourning alone, my Holy Yoga family was with me.  As soon as I started showing signs of crying someone was there, right next to me, adjusting my pose to go deeper, to help me release.  They were hugging me and comforting me.  No words needed to be spoken.  I don't know who was comforting me, I don't need to know.  They felt led to come to me and love me.  That is the love of Christ.  That is what Holy Yoga is all about.

After that practice I felt great.  What an emotional release sobbing was.  I felt like I had finally handed it over to God.  Then comes the next morning, after yet another sleepless night.  It's never that easy to get over something.  It took time to get me down into my dark place, it was going to take more time to get out of there.  Tuesday was a rough day.  I wanted to climb into bed and not get out all day.  I felt disconnected and discouraged.  Why was I even there?  Then we had small group and were sharing testimonies.  I went first and shared that I have a hard time seeing where God is through all of this.  I felt alone in it and abandoned.  I didn't even realize it, but I was putting myself out there again, opening up my heart a little bit more.  God brought me a very special person that week that knew exactly what I was going through.  That right there is why I was at this retreat and not in Virginia in October.

Then comes Wednesday morning.  I spent time during meditation asking God "Why?".  I spent time during morning practice asking God "Why?".  So, God led me to my small group leader, Kathi (who has a gift for bringing tears and cheers).  I walked up to her and everything spilled out.  All of my hurt, my anger, my fear.  She listened to it all and said we needed Renee (a woman with a beautiful spirit).  God led Kathi to Renee.  He knew who he could use to break down my walls.  I shared my story with Renee and then we prayed.

People, I've never prayed like that before.  I felt that prayer in my heart.  I felt that wall in my heart crumble and I felt Him take my pain.  He took it for me.  So I wouldn't have to bear it anymore.  I am lighter.  Have I forgotten my babies?  Nope, not once have I forgotten them.  But, I left behind the pain of losing my two babies because I know that He has them and He has me.

I share these part of my story with you today because this JJ Heller video spoke to me today.

To purchase this please go here.


Words and Music by Dave and JJ Heller
Do you dream of a home you never had 
An innocence that you cannot get back 
The pain is real
You can’t erase it
Sooner or later you have to face it down 
You have to face it down

You are loved

Do you keep your thoughts inside your head 
Will you regret the things you never said You have a voice
You have to use it
You have a choice
Don’t let them shut you down 
Don’t let them shut you down

You are loved

Do you feel the ache inside your soul
You know you’ll never make it on your own 
Sorrow is too great for you to hold it 
You’re gonna break
Why don’t you lay it down

Freedom comes in letting go
Open up the window to your heart 
Freedom comes in letting go
Open up your heart

This was just the first of many of my walls.  God please help me to let you take more of my walls down.

Can you lay it all down before the Lord and let Him take it?