11.27.2016

God’s love from the mountains and back

img_7165-2

I caught myself saying one day “If the seasons didn’t change..I don’t think I would change.” Sometimes words just come out of my mouth, but I stopped to think about this for a second. One thing about me…is that I don’t take small steps…I just jump. I like it when one day I wake up and can smell the cold snow and I know the day is going to be very different. I’ll have to take different walks, eat different food, pray different prayers, have different conversations, and so on.

screen-shot-2016-11-27-at-5-59-32-pm

So far it only snowed one day here in Colorado and then it melted a few days later. I guess it snows more in the mountains, but here in Boulder the sun gets pretty warm during the day. As the weeks go by I am finding myself discouraged that the snow will not stay like I am used to. So much has changed since I moved here and sometimes I hold onto consistency and routine, past what is necessary. The priest at my church kindly warned us that if our routine will not eventually lead us to heaven, then it is a dangerous routine.

img_7392

img_6983

I remember the day God spoke to my heart and told me it is going to be ok but things had to change. He reminded me that I got through the first “storm” of my life which was recovering from a neurological health condition back in Minnesota. But there is a new season in my life I will not know anything about until I truly open up and start living it. I have to let go of  fear of not knowing if I want to fully receive the gifts God has in store for me here. I did not end up in Colorado by accident. Only time will show what I am doing here 🙂

img_7218

img_7224

img_7242

img_7275

I typically don’t look forward to surprises (I’m getting better at it though!), but I knew God was going to uphold me through any new storm. I’ll never forget the relief I found the weekend my mom and I went on a trip to the mountains. God knew I needed new faces, new scenery, new smiles and most importantly a renewed  trust in Him and peace in my heat. The amazing mountains were a sign of God’s greatness, and with Him nothing is impossible. I did not realize my peace was slipping away and my routine I had set up in Boulder was not bearing fruit. It was a hard reality to accept, but that is why breaks are necessary in life- to refocus our life so we can get on the right track

img_7240

After this mountain trip, it was time to meet my dad at the airport and show my parents the little area of my town that I have started to call “home”. I am seeing how change can bring so much happiness to a family. Space away hurts, but it is also allowing me to grow into the person I am supposed to be. It is taking 1,000 miles away from everything familiar to mold me and shape me into what God wants.

img_7478

img_6899

img_7504-png

But still, moving across the country and leaving everything I ever knew, was taking a toll even if I did not want to face this reality. It really hit me after family left and I realized that connection is priceless. Getting to share the beauty of the mountains with my mom as we drove up the steep slopes are something I will never forget. There are few people where I can look into their eyes and just simply be myself and be happy. It’s the kind of love we hold onto and will always lean back on when things don’t go right. But for me it was not tangible/reachable anymore, it was only a voice on the phone or a text before bed.

img_7194

img_7334

I realized I had this hole in my heart I could not even face to acknowledge…loneliness. It cut me so deep I had a day my hands and head felt numb and all I longed for was a hug, from anyone. My family was 1,000 miles away. The people and places I knew since I was 5 were not reachable. I had taken a jump out here to Colorado because I truly (and still do) feel like God called me here. I had the courage to follow this voice and I never looked back until the loneness became so real. God knows this hurt very well, but He did not want me to seek out a human hug. He wanted me to search for the love that only God can give when our heart has this giant hole. Yeah a hug will still help fill this hole, but everyday through continuous prayer, surrender to Gods will, listening to those who have no-one, and trying to be the light of God in my community is showing me the gift God has given me. He has given me courage to do His will and following God is worth the loneness I am feeling. So now I have hope.

img_7317

The storm of change started when I was not expecting it to. I thought I had a good plan set up that consisted of nannying, colon hydrotherapy school, and moving into a good location of town . I was biking distance from the colonic school. A bus ride to work. A walk around the road to a good grocery store, coffee shop, bus stop, my chiropractor, a pretty park. It all seemed good.

img_7338

I remember one day I was lying in my bed in my new room. There was a feeling of comfort, of consistency and of safety beneath my head. God had provided so much and I was thankful for this but something inside told me that the “plan” I had was not His. I instantly got unsettled and asked God to show me, if this was not His plan, then what is? I was battling letting go of my plan and it was a tug-a-war with what I wanted and what God wanted.

img_7361

I knew my stubbornness was strong and decided to start adding daily prayer in to my routine. I am not sure why I got out of it, but what matters is the now and that I’m trying again. The day I surrendered and asked God for guidance to follow His Will is when it all changed. One thing after another started unwinding, until the whole train of my plans actually fell through. I knew it was time to start a Novena. I scanned several saints and eventually ended up picking the Novena to out Lady Undoer of Knots. I knew I had knots in my life that only prayer could undo…so I started it. During this time I found that my struggles were only going to be fixed with the help of God and I had to listen to his Will. I took many leaps of faith and found that I had to try things and let go of a lot of pain I was holding onto. I learned to trust in Gods safety.

img_7347

I first got a bad infection that put me in bed for days (still on the weaker side but starting to come back to normal with the help of medicine). Then the family I was nannying decided they don’t need me anymore and I finished my last day with the 2 little girls I absolutely adore. Lastly, after some thought and prayer I decided to change my course of schooling. Something was not looking right about the colon hydrotherapy training and I felt God was intending me to put my effort somewhere else. So yep! My life hit a stand still. Now what? I moved all the way from Minnesota to Colorado to just not know what to do next.

This is where God can work best in our lives.

img_7349

img_6998

The one place I go to when nothing makes sense is church. I still don’t have many close friends here but I do sure know the priests at my church and they know a lot about me too. I got a feeling of relief when I stepped inside the church, I always do :). I told them my plans had changed and I needed guidance. The prayer “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can and the Wisdom to know the difference” was literally staring me in the face when I came home and I knew God directed my eyes to this.

img_7206

So things started to change for the better. My doctor told me my infection needs a month of antibiotics and I started it with no questions. Instead of being very upset and the nanny job ending, I took it as a sign that God has another family in mind for me to care for. It took me longer to get over the change of plans for the colon hydrotherapy school, but I got over the hump. Because of several circumstances, the program was not a good fit anymore. It was not easy to accept that the future I had all lined up was now gone.

Looking back I am thankful God drastically changed my plans, because I am starting to see what He has in store for me instead.  Slowly but surly God is shedding light and giving me wisdom to make new plans according to His will.

img_7448

img_7065

img_7012

img_6937

img_6959

img_7085

Through all of this, I found that my true passion is kids and babies. Everything about being a nanny feels right and it’s where God is clearly leading me. I have decided to start a few extra classes to help with getting certified and informed about babies. CPR, first aid, infant massage, and also classes to becoming a Doula! I have thought about being a Doula for years but never considered it until this open door of what felt like “stand still” and “nothingness” opened. Sometimes its in the “nothingness” that God speaks to our hearts.

1 Kings 19:11-12

And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake:

And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.

 

img_7375

I used to have my whole stack of nutrition books for moms and babies, because ever since high school I found whole foods and nutrition for growing babies and kids to be fascinating. I decided to spend a weekend afternoon at the bookstore looking though the section I once was glued at. It’s funny how life happens and our passions that we once had a young age get buried under everything. For me, I think that having several health conditions stopped me from allowing this dream to be real.

I was a baby that was born at home and grew up with a mom who told stories of my natural childbirth. We shared a love for babies, getting to know pregnant moms, nutrition for kids, and everything in-between. Before I moved out here, I had lined up several meetings with midwives to see if that was something I was interested in. But for some reason, God allowed me to go through this trial to understand that to follow His will, I have to let go of alot inside.

So now I am excited to announce that I am officially training to be a doula! I am still nannying on the side but my focus has changed a bit. I have finally gotten to the point of retaking driving classes (fun times!) because I truly believe I will drive in the near future. Yes my autonomic neuropathy may have caused me to have several health challenges, but I am not longer letting my disease take control of my life. Only God is in control of my life!

Oh, so back to that Novena. On the last day of the Novena (err.. took little longer then 9 days..but thats ok) I remembered God gave me so much hope. Hope of open doors. Confidence that knowing the plans I have in front of me are His plans. Trust in the unknown, the things I can’t grasp or expect will still be good–not only good, but amazing. I am one to be afraid of making wrong mistakes but if I never try, I will never know what lies ahead.

img_7179

img_7165

Even though it still has not snowed, I’m ok with it. The new season came today- Advent. I don’t feel that chill in the air, but I do feel a great love from God. After mass there was a visiting priest I went to go meet. He asked if I was a student and I told him my plans about being a doula and that I am a nanny. He had this huge smile and said “You would be a great missionary-we need people like you-people who love babies and kids.” I still don’t know what to think about this, but he went on to say how abundant Gods love is during advent and its a time of change. It is a time to open our hearts and prepare.

img_7154
I feel like whatever God is shaping me into…He is setting the foundation right now. He is using this time in Boulder to allow me to grow in my faith, gain confidence that I can do anything with Gods strength, and find the gifts He has given me and allow them to bear fruit.

He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. ~John 15:2

 

caroline

disclosure 3
10.31.2016

Stovetop Cinnamon Apples

 

img_6849

When you have apples overflowing in your fruit bowl and some of them are well…too soft eat (because soft apples are never as good as the crunchy ones in my opinion), it’s time to cook something! Stovetop cinnamon apples turn any kind of regular apple into a sweet and healthy treat.

For an easy topping on yogurt or ice-cream its nice to have them cubed up and bite size. I have gone back and fourth cooking whole apples, 1/2 apples, apple slices and now apple “cubes”. It’s fun that apples can be made into a variety of shapes and sizes.

I had my 2 year old helper that I nanny, chop with her plastic knife along side of me. We ended up snacking on the apples that were on the crunchier side because crunchy local apples here in Colorado are amazing!

Stovetop cinnamon apples are a simple recipe for kids to help with too. It is a super easy recipe and can be done in basically 10 min (awesome for short attention spans!). The clean up is minimal but the finished apples are warm and yummy! So here is how you do it.

img_6853

img_6821

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Wash, peel and chop apples into 1/2″ in cubes.
  2. In a saucepan (I use an amber glass one) add water, salt, cinnamon, butter and maple syrup (optional) and stir to combine.
  3. Add chopped apples to the saucepan and turn on med-high heat and cook for 10-15 min with the lid on. (It may bubble up so I always find that cracking the lid to side helps release the pressure so it doesn’t make a mess and overflow.)
  4. Let cool for a few minutes and then serve! Leftovers can be saved in the fridge for a few days too. 🙂

 

caroline

disclosure 3
10.16.2016

Baked Sweet Potato fries

Hi! I have been loving fall here in Boulder Colorado. The smell in the air is crisp and the nights are cooler so sweet potato fries really warm you to the bones (exactly what I need right now after a long walk).

Since I’m a nanny during the week, that means I’m in charge of the kids meals. I get to cook with awesome organic farm fresh foods for the family I am nannying. Sweet potatoes, pumpkins, apples.. yum!

In my last post I mentioned I was a live in nanny, but after giving it a try I felt it was not ideal for me. I am still a nanny in the same area but I have more personal space after work which is nice. The little ones I nanny are awesome eaters and love to help me make things from scratch. They love to peel sweet potatoes, separate the pumpkin seeds, and freeze fruits. It’s a good match because it helps the process go quicker, gets them involved and trying new things.

Baked sweet potato fries are a favorite (and a great filling warming food after a long day!). True story… In 6th grade I ate a sweet potato every day after school and it was such a good recovery food mentally and physically. That got me thinking, there must be something good for the brain in sweet potatoes. Time to flip through to the biggest best food nutrition dictionary or the online version. I found that

In animal studies, reduced inflammation following sweet potato consumption has been shown in brain tissue and nerve tissue throughout the body.

Baked sweet potato fries are yummy and easy and such an appetizing way to cook a vegetable (in my opinion). Alrighty, enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

Supplies:

img_6770

img_6771

img_6775

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.
  2. Use your veggies scrub brush and wash off the potatoes of any dirt under water.
  3. Chop off the tips of the potato to get a flat base.
  4. (If you want to keep the skin skip this step.) Peel potatoes with the veggie peeler.
  5. Cut potatoes into 1/4 in slices.
  6. Cut the slices into 1/4 in strips
  7. If oil or butter is solid quickly melt in a small sauce pan.
  8. Toss sweet potato strips and spices and melted oil in a bowl and coat the fries generously.
  9. (optional) line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  10. Place potato slices on a single layer on a cookie sheet.
  11. Place in oven and bake for 15-18 min on 400 degrees.
  12. Shake the pan or turn the fries 1x during the cooking process so they evenly brown.
  13. Let cool a few minutes before serving!

 

caroline

disclosure 3
09.10.2016

Quinoa Cinnamon Banana layer cake

Hi everyone! It’s Caroline finally and I’m writing from my new home in Colorado!

Like I said in my last update, my health got better and I took a giant leap of faith to drive across the country MN–>CO to become a live in Nanny for a great Catholic German Family. God has blessed me a thousand times, and am so happy here! Since I make healthy meals each day for the family, I may as well write them out for you to make too!

img_6275

Just a heads up, this recipe was made up at the last second because we had a lot of extra cooked quinoa and a bunch of school friends coming over in 1 hour. So we brainstormed a bit and decided on something sweet with premade cooked quinoa, caramel and cinnamon!

This recipe is pretty flexible and you could add some baked apples instead of bananas. Feel free to add more or less quinoa depending on how much you have on hand. You could switch almonds for walnuts too. At the end we had extra caramel sauce so the kids just drizzled it over their pieces.

img_6352-2

 

Ingredients:

 

Directions:

  • Pre-make quinoa and caramel sauce ahead of time.
  • In a large sauce pan combine cooked quinoa, cinnamon, butter, sea salt, and about 1/4 cup of the caramel sauce.
  • Turn the heat on medium and cook until the butter is melted and the quinoa gets coated with cinnamon and caramel and becomes sticky.
  • Line the bottom of a casserole dish with 1 layer of chopped bananas.
  • Spoon on a layer of the gooey quinoa mixture and press with a spatula until flat and even.
  • Layer more sliced bananas and again more of the quinoa mixture.
  • On the top, put on the rest of the sliced bananas.
  • Add walnuts and drizzle the top of the cake with the caramel sauce. (*you will have extra and can save it or drizzle more on later).
  • (aka bottom to top: bananas, quinoa, bananas, quinoa, bananas/walnuts/caramel)
  • Serve with a spoon because it tends to fall apart a bit!

*tip: Enjoy after nap time or else the sugar will keep you up! 🙂

img_6349

img_6352

 

img_6355-1

 

caroline

disclosure 3
08.29.2016

Delicious Peppermint Smoothie

Peppermint is one of my favorite flavors!  I have fond memories of indulging in York peppermint patties, Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies, and those Christmas peppermint nougat candies … and, errr, not being able to stop myself from eating more and more and more.

Obviously those aren’t the most healthy food options out there …

BUT, what if you could combine this wonderful peppermint flavor with healthy eating?!!

Introducing: The Magnificent Peppermint Smoothie!IMG_3121

 

Last week I wrote about all the amazing benefits of the superfood kale.  (Click here to read.)  In this article I detail how the nutrients in kale will work for your body to fight against things like cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, and eye-sight failure, and a myriad of other health conditions.  Today, I want to show you one of the many ways that my family has chosen to incorporate this awesome vegetable into our lives.  Let me share with you our peppermint smoothie!

Ingredients:IMG_2144

  • 1 cup coconut milk (I like full-fat coconut milk because it gives a thickness that resembles ice cream!  Mmmm)
  • 1 Tbsp honey (or more to reach desired sweetness)
  • 1-2 handfuls of kale
  • 30 peppermint leaves or 1-2 drops of Peppermint essential oil
  • Dark chocolate (or carob), chopped or shaved into small piecesIMG_3303
  • A dash or two of salt
  • about 10 ice cubes

 

 

 

 

Directions: 

I love using the Nutri Ninja individual cup for quick and easy blending and cleanup!  (Get yours here.)  You could always use a regular blender as well, but you may want to double the peppermint smoothie recipe to fill the blender a bit higher.

  1. Toss all of your ingredients, except the ice, into the cup and blend for about 10-12 seconds.  This should be enough to incorporate all the ingredients together.
  2. Add in the ice cubes and blend again.  This addition will make the shake nice and thick and ice-creamy!  (You don’t want to add the ice cubes right away, because it can cause the honey to solidify into one big glob, and not distribute the sweetness evenly)IMG_2145
  3. Stir in chocolate pieces or sprinkle on top.
  4. Enjoy this delicious smoothie while delighting in the fact that you’re feeding your body such nutritious food!IMG_3141

 

**Anne Warren is a wife & mother who loves blogging about healthy food (inside & out)!  She has had her own health struggles throughout the years, yet she is thankful that it has brought her to a place of better health.  He health struggles have helped her gain an understanding that the things she puts into her body – both physically and spiritually – will indeed have a huge effect on her overall energy and wellbeing.  She shares with you here today because encouraging others is a great passion!IMG_7579

If you are interested in getting more of her recipes, please check out her blog at www.foodthatsatisfies.com.

disclosure 3