on the prairie


We’ve seen the sun a little more over the past several days. Winter is typically cloudier here, but it seems like it’s been a cloudier winter this year. Between our daily school work during the weekdays, occasional trips into town, legos, local library books and movies, and a warm shelter with plenty of food, cabin fever thankfully hasn’t harried us too much. I have though quietly missed the sun, and enjoyed the time we had together during his latest brief visit. The boys were happy also to bundle up and play outside.


Here’s something I just realized–the boys got dressed for the snow by themselves. What a ridiculous way to say it, but I believe it’s true that God recycles. He takes something that seems so inefficient and not worth all the puddles and effort, like putting boots, hats, and gloves on little boys when they want to go outside and play in the snow, and turns it into boys finding and putting on their own boots, hats, and gloves. It’s a miracle, friends.


The geese have started flying back

and even through wind, rain, sleet, and snow

the oak trees never lost their leaves.


Whatever kind of tree you are

I’m hoping, friends, your days are blessed.


on ending Whole30

Among other things, something’s gone weird with the way people talk about food in this country. The other morning I wrote an update about whole30 week four and ended up deleting it. Not that I’m wanting to make a habit of critiquing something I wrote and then fleshing it out more in a following post, but I didn’t like some of the things I said. 

The things you do with your body are personal, and not necessarily meant to be shared with acquaintances, strangers, and people you don’t even know on the internet. On the other hand, there are a lot of people out there searching for answers, experiencing their own version of hoping for change, of wanting to solve whatever it is that isn’t right. 

Whole30 was fine, but it wasn’t a dramatic life-changer for me. It did not cure my aversion and natural resistance to meal planning. The part of my body that I’ve been dissatisfied with since I was thirteen years old still looks the way it has always looked. My “relationship with food” is an element of adulthood that will always require work. 

I have been able to significantly cut out my caffeine intake. I basically quit coffee cold turkey after Thanksgiving, and didn’t drink it again until Christmas morning, at which time I had about a three-hour long panic-attack reaction that had me outside on my hands and knees picking grass in the yard trying to calm my nerves with the increased use and sensation of the hands. Whole30 requires you to cut out dairy, and since I will only drink coffee with either half and half or heavy cream, it made it easy for me to leave the stuff alone for while. I did recently try decaf coffee with cream, and I did not experience any negative reactions. I feel like an occasional cup of hot coffee with cream is still nice to have around on occasion, but it isn’t something I drink everyday anymore.

The sister who also did Whole30 last month is the one recently diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. In the long term, she is hoping to get off her Lithium medication. In the short term, she is simply wanting to make changes that will help her feel better overall. She reports (and said I could share) noticing positive effects during the past month including looser fitting clothes and reduced social anxiety. She’s started seeing a counselor she feels comfortable with, and though they are tapering off now, she’s had regular appointments with her psychiatrist to monitor the medication. Those appointments have sometimes been frustrating for her, because the doctor is not always able to give an answer to her more specific questions like, “How long do I need to be on this med?” 

All that to say, she is planning to continue Whole30 , with some additions, for the next two months. I originally said I was joining her in that, but I’m not wanting to say that anymore. I actually seem to feel the best and most normal when I’m not getting wrapped up in thinking about food. That doesn’t mean eating whatever I want, it just means going about my day-to-day life with my family. I do find that exercise is helpful in fulfilling some kind of bodily need that bending down to plug in my Christmas tree, carrying laundry up the stairs, and transferring forks, spoons, and knives can’t accomplish. I like walking and being outside the most, but other than you simply do the best you can. 





having those conversations

Something in my last post bothered me a little, or at least made me think. I wrote, “I still need the occasional reminder to step away from the table work and embrace the freedom we’ve been given to simultaneously get to know and remember the world.”

That isn’t a directly Biblical thought.

Ecclesiastes 12:1 says, “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of adversity come, and the years approach of which you will say, ‘I find no pleasure in them…'”

I’ve noticed I have a tendency to assume people know what I’m talking about, or because I’ve known something for a while, then I assume and act as if they, too, know that something. What inspired our “science day” in the first place was a recent experience in our co-op where the other set of parents were holding up a globe and demonstrating how the earth revolves around the sun. One of my boys looked at me with that wide-eyed and satisfied surprise that comes with learning and said, “Huh. I didn’t now that.”

(This reminds me of the time I excitedly started off with, “Okay everybody, lets get in a circle!” while teaching summer VBS 3-year olds.)

It seems like such a basic thing, but I guess we hadn’t ever talked about it. So our science day focused not only on getting out in nature and experiencing some very obvious effects of the seasons such as cold, cloudy skies, frozen lakes, and crunchy snow, but we also went back in and watched an episode of Bill Nye the Science Guy talking about seasons. Back at the table, I put a grapefruit out to stand in place of the sun, and a tiny round bead for the earth to give some kind of visual idea of the differences in size. Because part of learning is being able to speak out loud what you have learned for yourself, they drew pictures of the sun and the tilted earth in their journals, and then everybody took turns sharing with their audience and explaining what they had drawn.

“Remember your Creator…”

As great as all of that is, it isn’t even the main point, and it’s the main point that I don’t ever want to forget. Nature walking is a religious and a spiritual experience for me. Nature nourishes my soul and body. It’s how I feel connected with both the spiritual and physical world, get pulled back into the awe and majesty of God’s presence. My kids have no clue that I feel that way, and they have no way of knowing how enhances and fortifies my belief in the Christian God of the Bible unless I open my mouth and tell them.

They probably don’t even need to know all that.

My main point here is that the Christian faith is not passed down by osmosis. I don’t think I need to become a street evangelist from my kitchen with the kids, but I have been convicted of assuming too much, and probably saying too little.

Today’s a new day, friends.


all this time


The kids and I went for a walk yesterday. We took the day off from regular schooling, and I told the kids we were having a science day. I used to do this much more often when we first started homeschooling, and while I miss it, I haven’t had as much pull to get outside. I’m enjoying the days of more focused book learning, but that being said, I still need the occasional reminder to step away from the table work and embrace the freedom we’ve been given to simultaneously get to know and remember the world.


I used to feel like summers were the special times to cherish. The end of the school year brought a sense of relief and anticipation of three summer months of open schedules and having my kids home and under one roof. I feel this way about winters now.





whole30 week three

I’ve been listening to a lot of Youtube videos at night. Back in November, one of my friends told me she’d been on a strictly carnivore diet for several months, and that it seemed to be slowly working to heal gut health issues she’s struggled with for years. With the exception of hearing about Jordan Peterson’s daughter, Mikailia, I’d never heard of anyone following a carnivore diet, but it seems to be gaining in popularity.

The carnivore diet consists of animal foods. Any animal that you can kill and eat for meat would be considered acceptable, although red meat seems to be the most popular and sought out choice. Along with the muscle meats, some carnivores regularly incorporate organ meats, consuming animal organs like the heart, liver, and kidneys.

When I was pregnant with my youngest, I craved canned salmon in the first trimester. I can remember sitting in our kitchen, in a Sesame Street kiddie chair, eating salmon straight from the can. Obviously I was needing fatty acids or something. I don’t find myself craving salmon anymore, but when we do eat it the best part to me is the skin.

All this to say, it makes sense to me how this diet could be healing.  I can’t go back and change it now, but looking back on how I’ve fed myself over the past fifteen years, red meat has been nowhere near the top of the list. Of course there were the general health recommendations against it, but I also didn’t like red meat because it was bloody.

I haven’t gone full-blown carnivore or anything, but for most of this Whole30 I’ve eaten red meat everyday, multiple times a day, mostly in the form of hamburger patties. It feels like my body is basically absorbing it, and I’m actually starting to crave hamburger now. I have no idea what the insides of my intestines or arteries look like right now, but I’m feeling good with the increased meat, which I’ll also eat with eggs, avocado, or squash.