Sunday, December 10, 2017

Lessons From Abe

Lessons From Abe

One of my favorite things about homeschooling is that I get a 2nd chance at my education.  I actually know all the capitals now! This is not a hit on my first education, I just value learning more than I did back then. 

This summer the kids and I wanted to dig deep into the Civil War, and since then I have developed an intense love for President Abraham Lincoln.  I can't stop reading about him and I dream about his stories at night...I know that is weird, but sadly true; not every night though! And if my hubby got my Christmas list, I will be sporting an Abe shirt very shortly! 

Right now I am reading this incredible book called "Abraham Lincoln: Civil War Stories," by Joe Wheeler.  It literally puts me into tears.  I was trying to sort out in my mind why I was so deeply drawn to Abe and I came to the conclusion that when I read about him I feel like I get a glimpse of God.  You can't say that about too many people...but there was something so special and mesmerizing about this man and his life.  They called him the kindest man in the nation. #lifegoal

The war began, north versus south.  All assumed that it would be over in no time.  The North anticipated a quick victory because they were of course fighting for a good cause and God would go before them and grant them victories. But the war dragged on and the North kept facing defeat after defeat. President Lincoln couldn't figure it out and he wrestled with God. 

"By 1862, Lincoln became convicted that a key reason why northern armies continued to lose battle after battle was that the North had failed to address the cancer of slavery: if war continued to be fought just to preserve the status quo-which included slavery-then there was no moral high ground for the North at all! (Wheeler, pg 62)" On January 1, 1863 Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation as he promised God he would. And the destiny of the war began to change. 

See, when the war began, President Lincoln carefully framed the conflict as concerning a preservation of Union rather than the abolition of slavery.  To sum it up in "Jen" terms, he didn't know what he was fighting for at first.  But when he declared war on human freedom and made a proclamation to the United States that all slaves shall be free the direction of the war changed. 

This hit home to me. I have gone into battle so many times, worthy battles, but little victory.  I've wrestled with God knowing my fights were justified. Sometimes, years of battles, but no war was being won.   But then it hit me, my heart was not right.  It was prideful and arrogant.  It wanted to win out of sheer principal and not restoration. In many of the battles I wanted to be proven right and for my frustrations to be known! It was all about me. God started changing my heart. My prayers began to change from a place of vindication to a longing for restoration.  My goals changed, my heart changed and God went before me, because now we were on the same page! I drug out the war because I failed to address my heart, which is mostly where our battles lie. "Search me God and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting." Psalm 139:23-24. Praise God for His grace and mercy and for never giving up on me when I am slow to understand. Now, I pray that every time I go into battle that I would seek God and ask Him to search my heart before a word is said or an action is taken.

So be encouraged.  God cares and He wants to fight your battles, but first ask Him to search your heart, that there may be no offensive way in it.  God is always more concerned about the well being of our souls than our longing for victory.

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Click for link to book referenced

Monday, November 27, 2017


Insane in the membrane!!! That is what sums up today..It is one of those days when I wish I was a super talented business woman or an incredible artist that was in her art studio creating masterpieces and sipping a latte.  However, today I am mom...I am trapping myself in my office while the kids destroy the house that I have attempted to clean twenty times since this morning.  I am mom..the lady who at the moment wants to pull my hair out because my 2 year old is freaking me out with all his crying....what a baby! (sarcasm intended).

I am one gets to see my victories, my hardships, my joys.  But they are many! God is teaching me in all these little moments, the good, the bad and the ugly!! Today I just wanted to cry, I wanted to be someone important (according to world standards) and wanted to be anywhere but in the walls of my home.  And thats okay! This day will come and go, faster than I realize and tomorrow will be a new day. It's okay to have these moments, these days but to dwell in the emotion of them is dangerous and pointless. It is what it is... A day, a tough day, an emotional day!! Pick yourself up by the boot straps, Jen!  Praise the Lord in the midst of it and carry on.  God is teaching me tenacity in this season.  I am a very emotionally based person, in the sense that I want the enviroment to be just right; I want the feelings and emotions to be there..Basically, I want the coffee house setting 24/7.  Which is far from reality and really got me down in my earlier adulting days!  

What I see God growing and stretching me in is what I do with "these" days! Do I continue to give Him praise or do I pick up the phone and find someone to complain to. Do I push forward with the eye on prize and conquer what I was called to conquer, even if its changing diapers, cooking and cleaning.  I don't want my thoughts to settle in the danger zone, where they are negative and anxious.  I've been there and its not pretty and nothing good and beneficial comes from hanging out there.  

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworty-think of such things (Philipians 4:8)

We are what we think about!! Let that sink in...I know we have heard that a million times, but truly stop yourself throughout the day and capture your thoughts and interiagte them...Do they line up with God's word.  Are they bringing life or death to your bones?  
Lets face matter what we do, whether we work or stay at home, we all have those days...So be encouraged to face them with a boldness and determination to be the bigger man or woman.  Let's run this race well!!  And if gets really bad there are always lattes and cake pops!! (and PINK!!)

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014


This past May on mothers day, God showed himself to me.  Not in blessings and answered prayer but in the midst of pain and failure.  Macy was up stairs on the coach sick with pneumonia and I got the call from my momma that my precious grandma went to be with Jesus. I was so grateful to have been given so much time with her, yet so frustrated and sad at the thought of  having to live life without her.  She represented so much to me-peace, comfort, tradition, saftey (when mom or dad were mad), love, godliness, contentment and so much more.  This was the pain in which God comforted me in.
The failure came the next day when I took June to the dentist to find out that she had 8 cavities and needed 2 root canals. How could this be!  I nursed her, and when she refused, I pumped for 5 months, and when I had nothing left,  I drove 30 minutes one way every week to get the best goat milk I could find to make her homemade formula. I brushed her teeth, I fed her great food.  Yet I felt like I failed my little girl.
Things continued to get a little tricky that week...the following day we sold our house, which was with such mixed emotion, and they buyers wanted us out in 2 1/2 weeks.  Wow, okay, we can do this, but first we need to head to South Dakota to a funeral, get Macy back on his feet and fix Junes teeth. Oh, and we found out that the little getaway to Florida we had planned for just the two of us that coming weekend would have to be canceled due to the funeral and we would not be able to get a refund.
In the midst of it all, God showed Himself to me in such a big way.  Peace and Joy gave us the strength we needed and friends came along side us in such a big way.  Our neighbor worked after hours on Junes worst teeth so we could make the funeral and fix the rest when we got home, my in laws took the kids for us so we could have a quite drive and quality time with my family.  Macy was not 100% but there was rest waiting for him in South Dakota despite a funeral. The vacation was lost, but replaced with some of the most amazing family time I have ever experienced.  My grandmas funeral was the most beautiful funeral; she had planned it all, exactly how she wanted, in true grandma fashion, and it felt like she was giving us all such a big hug and kiss goodbye.  I will treasure that forever.
So I tell you this story to tell you another story..yesterday I was sitting in the dentists office again, looking at Junes face covered in broken blood vessels from screaming so much (we have been to the dentist 8 times since may...she's traumatized to say the least), listening to the Dentist tell me June needed about $800 dollars more of dental work done.  I couldn't stand the thought of putting June through more and I selfishly didn't want to pay $800 to put her through more...the tears began to well up but His still small voice said "I've got you Jennifer, trust me, stand firm in me." Then I recalled my week in May, a week in which my trust in the Lord was strengthened and my eyes were opened a little more to God's intense love for us, even in the midst of the chaos and the struggle.  He was telling me to "stand firm" yesterday and trust Him. We certainly wish we would have gotten a great check up yesterday and walked out of those doors praising God for the blessings, but we didn't.  Now we stand firm in His love and mercy and grace knowing that He works all things together for good for those who love Him, and who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).

So sit back, close your eyes, take this song in and be refreshed! 


Friday, November 7, 2014


Meal Planning Part 2

Okay, so we talked about setting the mood and making meal planning as fun as possible….but you might be sitting there with your weekly planner and pen in hand, a hot cup of tea and chocolate (most important detail) and still feeling like a lost puppy.  What in the world are you going to feed your family or yourself?  I let you in on where I begin my list and that may give ya some ideas and a place to start.
So we try to focus on 80% paleo based diet (grain-free) and then let the other 20% fall where it may.  So if you were to come to our home on a Monday night you would more than likely find us eating roasted chicken and sweet potatoes with green beans and salad. This meal gets me off to a great start for the week, cause with that one little chicky I can do a whole lot of magic (until the kids eat more…then it may take two chickys)! Then, the left over roasted sweet potatoes and green beans will be part of breakfast and lunch for the next couple of days.
So once the belly’s are full, I de-bone the chicken and put all the meat in a tupperware for my next meal.  I then take the chicken bones and everything from the roaster pan and through it in the crock pot with some water and apple cider vinegar and make one of the most healing foods on the planet…homemade chicken broth.
So, then when looking at the rest of the week, I find a recipe that will use my leftover chicken and a soup for my chicken broth.  But let’s start with the roasted chicken and sweet potatoes recipe and in following weeks I will send recipes your way that I use a lot for the leftovers. 

Roasted Whole Chicken
There are a lot of ways to do a roasted chicken, but usually I keep it short and sweet! When I am really in a hurry or just feeling a little lazy….I simply sprinkle some salt, pepper and garlic powder on that bad boy, top with some butter and call it a day.   
1 whole chicken
Sea Salt and pepper
1/2 yellow onion chopped
2 Garlic cloves
1 chopped carrot
3 tablespoons butter

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Remove the chicken giblets. Rinse the chicken inside and out. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the onion, garlic and carrots. Sprinkle the outside again with salt and pepper and cut the butter into 3-1 TBSP slabs and place onto on chicken. Tie the legs together with kitchen string (don’t stress if you do not have any…it will still be great!).
Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Remove the chicken and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes. Slice the chicken onto a platter and serve.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes
Coconut oil
Sea salt and pepper

Oven 425 Degrees
The chicken should already be cooking so just set the pan in with the chicken (bottom rack is fine)
Cut up the sweet potatoes into cubes (I use about 4-6 potatoes, so I can have extra for breakfast and other meals throughout week) and place in large 15x11 baking pan. Put about 1 TBSP coconut oil on the sweet potatoes. (I just put it right on top of the potatoes, put in oven and after about ten minutes in oven, it is melted and then I toss the sweet potatoes with it.)
Bake for about 45 mins…..if like crispy, place on top rack for about 10 minutes at 475 degrees.  Once they are cooked to how you like them, take them out and toss with sea salt, pepper and a whole lot of cinnamon! Play around with different seasonings….you really cant go wrong…I just love cinnamon J

Next week we will tackle chicken broth! Also will throw some recipe ideas at you that will help you use that chicken for all its worth!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Meal Planning Part 1

Most Sunday nights after I have conquered the feat of putting the babes down you will find me on the couch with my weekly planner, cookbooks and some hot tea and chocolate close by.  I have learned that my mind does not function in chaos, so I have had to discipline myself to plan ahead and take control of taking care of my family.  This did not come natural for me of coarse…but I love how Paul writes, “Therefore, I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.  No I beat my body and make it a slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.  1 Corinithians 9:26-27”
Once we sign the dotted line confirming we are an adult we are saying that 90 percent of the things I am required to do today probably wouldn't be my first choice, but I can choose to do them well and with joy.  That is why I work hard to make everything fun…cause life is short and there is a lot of stress out there.  So if meal planning feels like a beast and you don’t know where to start, start by making it enjoyable.  Find a place in the house to retreat…get a special drink ready and some good dark chocolate close by.  Turn on your favorite CD and create an environment that makes the chore fun and relaxing. 

And don’t freak out if you have an off week! Life does not fit in a box… adapt and just get back on track. Once you get in the groove it will be like second hand nature and you will find that your week is less stressful because you spent an hour preparing for it. 


Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Nothings screams fall like football, crisp, cool nights, and PUMPKIN everything.  So to get in the fall spirit we headed to the Republic Tigers football game to go cheer on our home town boys.  We did not go emptied handed of course! I was armed with my paleo chocolate chip cookies and hot chocolate and my friend April brought the most amazing paleo pumpkin muffins.  It was an instant love connection with the first bite of that muffin.  So I had to share this recipe with you all to help get you in the fall spirit.
Grain-Free Coconut Flour Pumpkin Muffins
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Makes 12 muffins

1/2 cup coconut flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice
pinch of salt
4 eggs
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
6 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Grease or line a muffin pan.
In a medium bowl whisk together coconut flour, baking powder and soda and spices. In a large bowl whisk together remaining (wet) ingredients except for the pecans until smooth and combined.
Add the flour mix to the wet mixture and stir until all lumps are gone.
Divide batter into 12 muffin cavities and top each with chopped nuts. Bake for 23 - 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
(recipe by

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


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I love chocolate chip cookies…they just do it for me. Although there is a time and place for the good ole fashioned white flour and white sugar chocolate chip cookie (CHEAT DAY!) you may decide that this almond flour version is all you want. 

So light your yankee candle, put some Priscilla Ahn on your Pandora station and get cooking!

½ cup butter, softened

¼ cup coconut oil, softened

¾ cup coconut palm sugar  

2 tsp. vanilla

2 large eggs

½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp salt

3 cups blanched almond flour

1 ¼ cups chocolate chips of choice

2/3 c walnuts (optional)


1.      Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line baking sheet with wax paper
2.    Cream together butter, coconut oil and sugar.  Add the vanilla and eggs and mix.
3.    Mix in Baking soda and salt.  Add the almond flour, 1 cup at a time. Fold in chocolate chips and walnuts.
4.    Place about 1 TBSP on baking sheet.  Bake for 11-13 minutes or until golden brown

*You can refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes to firm the dough and create chewier cookie