Categories
A Little Lost, A Little Found Shorts Stories

The Cabin

Here is a third short story based on the prompt, “Inheritance”. Comment and let me know if you’ve inherited something that changed your understanding of your family history.

“What am I supposed to do with that?” The lawyer hands me a set of keys and the title to this old, lonely cabin.

“Well, it’s up to you. Keep it. Sell it. The will doesn’t specify what you should do.” The lawyer checks his watch, then his phone, then flips out his own shiny Mercedes key.

“Your grandparents wanted you to have it, that’s all I know.” I’m polite enough to know when to excuse someone who’s ready to leave.

“Okay, then. Thank you very much. I’ll go in and look around.” I offer my hand, he shakes it gratefully and hurries toward his getaway vehicle.

Keys in hand, I inhale and prepare to unlock the front door, then exhale and look around. I had been too distracted by the lawyer’s rushing of papers and signatures that I hadn’t taken in the area.

Nestled in the crook of a mountain’s arm, hills surround the entire property. Pine trees stand tall and proud on the slopes, quaking aspens whisper in delight as a breeze cools the air. I hear a creek minding its own business out behind the cabin. While birds are the only animals I can hear, I’m certain there must be moose and deer nearby as well.

Two hours from the nearest city and 45 minutes from the nearest gas station, this property belongs to nature as much as it did to my grandparents. They lived here for 30 years. After their kids had grown and had kids of their own, my grandparents went “off grid” as they say. Growing up, no one seemed to understand why they’d recoiled from society and nested together in the mountains.

“They don’t even like each other.” I heard from my dad, and my aunt, and my cousins. We tried visiting, but the air dripped with passive-aggressive oil, making each effort at conversation slippery and dangerous. It wasn’t long until the grown kids stopped visiting and the grandkids didn’t think to.

I remember one time as a small girl, I was putting together a puzzle at the handmade kitchen table while my parents went to the gas station for missing charcoal – it was barbecue season, after all. Grandma brought me a cup of chocolate milk, “Here you go, sweetie. Some brain food for your puzzle.” Delighted, I looked up at her and said, “Thank you!”

She replied, “You’re welcome.”

Then, glanced at Grandpa and said, “See, even a little girl knows how to say, ‘Thank you’.”

He rolled his eyes and sat down at the table with me. He smiled and said, “Can I join you?” His gray eyes were the most grandpa-esque you can image, soft and warm. He did that puzzle with me for a solid hour while we waited for the charcoal. He let me gab and talk about little girl things. I remember feeling surprised that he would find me so interesting. When my parents returned, I gave him a hug and we went outside for the barbecue. But he stopped and hollered at Grandma, “See! She likes having me around! I’m not so bad!”

I haven’t thought of that visit in 20 years, but standing on this porch is making me feel 10 years old again. They were always so nice to me, I couldn’t understand why they didn’t like each other. After 9 years of marriage, I’m now starting to understand.

I fill my lungs with mountain air and prepare to step back in time. I test the doorknob; of course, it isn’t locked. A gust of cedar-infused air greets me as the door swings open.

The small sitting room waits for guests on the left-hand side. On the right side, the even smaller kitchen waits to provide a family meal. The wooden staircase divides the two rooms and ascends to a bedroom loft. I step inside and place my left hand on the railing, I absentmindedly trace a notch in the wood before taking another step. Then, I remember. I’m tracing initials in the wood.

I look down and see an S, woven together with an H, set over the year 1980. Sam and Heather, they finished building this cabin in 1980. They must have at least liked each other then. Grandpa thought enough of Grandma to entwine their names together forever. I wonder if she stood in this spot, tracing the letters before climbing to bed every night. I imagine Grandpa’s gray eyes beaming toward Grandma, “Look here Heather. Here’s our initials.” Maybe she smiled and said, “That’s wonderful Sam.” Or, maybe she complained, “Oh, Sam. Who’s going to want our initials there after we die?”

I climb to the loft and looked around the room. At least my “off grid” grandparents didn’t have too many belongings I’d have to sort. They’d taken care of their junk long ago. Antiques were gifted long before the will was needed, photos were sent away to be digitized for anyone who cared. Everything here was essential.

Almost everything.

Under the bed skirt, a small wooden box peeks out at me. Perhaps it straightened its posture and stuck its nose out when I walked in, waiting to be noticed. I walk toward it, bend down and pull it into my arms.

This must be Grandma’s side of the bed. Her silk pillow looks untouched, as if she had made the bed assuming there company would be here soon and heaven forbid they see a mussed bed. I fold my legs and prepare to open the box.

Would it be old jewellery? A diary? There isn’t a lock on it, so perhaps it’s not exactly special. I lift the latch with my thumb and peer inside.

There are little wooden carvings in there, hand-painted and immaculate, so obviously cherished. I pull one out, it looks like my dad. I pull out another, it resembles my aunt. And still another looks like me. Grandpa had carved each and every one of his children and grandchildren, wrote their birth year on the bottom and gave them to my grandmother.

Surely, placing them in a cedar box, also crafted by her husband, meant she loved his handiwork. And, hopefully him as well?

I sit up and glance out the window above the bed. Did the sky bear witness to our comings and goings? Did it know our secrets? While I muse about the nature of nature, another box catches my eye.

This one is sitting out in the open, on Grandpa’s side table. I heave myself up and carry Grandma’s box with me around the bed and over to the side where Grandpa slept for so many years. I assume his will be empty. He might have been kind, but was he the sentimental type? I settle myself down onto the bed and nestle Grandma’s box nearby.

I lift Grandpa’s box up and open the lid. Inside are scraps of papers, maybe 50 of them. The writing isn’t Grandpa’s, it’s hers.

“March 3, 1982 – Thank you for finishing the deck.”

“June 9, 1993 – Dinner was wonderful.”

“January 1, 2006 – Happy New Year.”

I pivot to my knees and dump the box of notes onto the bed. Who knows how long I’ll be here, but I’m reading every last one of them.

I lift the final note, “May 9, 1994 – Happy birthday” and place it in its chronological home on the bed. Her last note was from 16 years ago. But, he kept them. He wanted them. Maybe, he loved her too.

Maybe they forgot how to say it. Maybe they spoke in different languages.

I now know how that feels, when your common language devolves into two foreign tongues.

So, in addition to the cabin, I’ve inherited a love story.

What am I supposed to do with that?

Categories
A Little Lost, A Little Found Shorts Stories

She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not

Here’s another short story. This month the prompt was “flowers” for 1800 words. They say a sad/heavy ending will always get more praise than a happy one. What do you think?

“She loves me. She loves me not.” Caleb chanted the mantra, plucking one petal at a time. If only the final petal would declare, “She loves me!” After three she-loves-me-not’s and two she-loves-me’s, Caleb used all the strength of his eight-year-old arm and threw the last stem back to the ground. The stem sauntered down with the same dignity as if she chose to glide to the ground herself. Caleb scratched his head and wondered if the children’s rhyme was to be trusted.

He looked around the open field for another flower when he heard footsteps and looked over his shoulder to see Pa walking toward him. “What you doin’ son?” he asked.

Caleb glanced toward his pile of disappointing flowers and scuffed his toe into the ground. “I was plucking petals to figure out if Mary May loves me or not.”

Pa’s eyes crinkled when he smiled. “Oh, and what did the flowers tell you?”

Caleb shrugged his shoulders and sighed. “Not much. Sometimes she loves me and sometimes she doesn’t.”

“Well, that can happen from time to time.” Father and son stood side-by-side, looking at the field of wild flowers without seeing it. Caleb wondered how in the world he could figure out if Mary May loved him. Pa wondered when the boy became such a romantic. He knew a girl loved flowers, that’s how he got Ma to go court him. He supposed a little childhood love couldn’t hurt nothing.

Pa lifted his head and snapped his fingers, “Hey! I got an idea. Why don’t you make a bouquet and ask Mary May herself if she loves you? Maybe the flowers don’t know how she feels, but she could tell you.”

Caleb looked up at his pa and grew an inch taller. His eyes widened and he gasped, “Yeah, Pa! Great idea!”

He ran two steps then halted. Caleb turned to his pa, “I better step careful. I can’t be giving Mary May any broken flowers.”

Pa laughed, he’d never heard the word “careful” come from Caleb’s lips. “Okay son, I’ll leave you to it. If you need anything, I’ll be feedin’ the horses.”

Pa turned toward the barn feeling proud that could help his little boy find love.

Caleb tiptoed into the open field. He stopped, folded his arms, and scanned the field the way he’d seen surveyors do, except they had fancy tools to help them divide and map the land.

Plotting his path he whispered, “Yes, I’ll bring her the flowers and ask her myself”. The flowers bowed in reply as a breeze kissed the earth.

With the day stretching out before him, Caleb figured he had all the time in the world. His belly was full of breakfast, the sun decorated herself with a dainty cloud, and baby blue eyes stretched their petals open, embracing the morning warmth. Caleb crept through the field selecting only the choicest of flowers for Mary May. He knelt in the grass, squeezed his left eye and widened his right eye to inspect the next potential member of his bouquet. Any cut, fold or stain meant the little flower would be passed over today. Caleb swept from one end of the field to the other as the bouquet in his hand grew.

The sun removed her cloud and bathed in the blue sky at noon, then began her western descent. Caleb looked at the growing bouquet and smiled with satisfaction. But, wait a darn minute. The first white daisy he had picked was now drooping, and — was that a broken petal? He chided himself to be more careful and he set to finding a replacement.

Caleb backtracked through the field and found a daisy who had escaped his noticed the first time around. He whispered his gratitude to the wilted blossom. With his right hand, he laid her to rest in the shade of her sisters while his left hand held the bouquet high in the air. He didn’t want the poor daisy’s death to scare the rest of his bouquet.

Caleb’s ears perked up and he turned his head. The lunch bell rang out fast and urgent. Ma called, “Caleb, time to eat!”

Yesterday and every day before, Caleb had broken into a sprint toward the house when the lunch bell had clanged. Today, Caleb looked from the house, to his flowered hand, back to the house. His knees wobbled with energy ready to burst through his feet. His legs didn’t understand why they were standing still, the lunch bell was ringing after all. Instead of launching into a sprint, Caleb nestled the bouquet into his arms and walked toward his ma’s voice. As Caleb stepped toward the house, he realized he’d never seen a grown up run. Does love make you walk?

With so much time on his hands between the field and the house, Caleb thought about Mary May. She had the curliest blonde hair in school, and there were a whole 25 kids there now. Caleb never tugged on her pretty ringlets like the other boys. He was too afraid he’d pull one straight and it wouldn’t curl up again, plus she never laughed when the other boys pulled her curls.

Mary May didn’t have the prettiest dresses in school, but she didn’t need them with her smile. Caleb only had to glimpse her upturned mouth and his whole day brightened, even in winter when the snow was so shiny it made his eyes squint. One time, the fourth graders were teasing a first grader, because his shoes were too big. They called him, “Little Duck” and quacked at him all day. Mary May wasn’t scared, she marched up to the fourth graders, pointed her finger and glared into their souls. All she said was, “Stop it.” And, they did. It was a recess miracle. 

Caleb’s hands trembled. What if she didn’t love him? She might stare into his soul and say, “Go away.”

Ma’s voice broke through his fear. “Caleb, come on. What’s taking you so long?”

She leaned out the back door, waving Caleb inside. “What you got cradled there?”

“A bouquet, Ma.” Caleb looked down and caressed the petals with his finger.

“For me?” Ma asked with a teasing grin.

“No, Ma.” Caleb puffed out his chest and said, “I’m gonna give them to Mary May and ask her if she loves me.” He lifted his arms and offered his haul to Ma for approval. She lifted the bouquet out of Caleb’s arms and inspected his work. She hooked her finger around a sprig of sage and brought to her nose.

“Careful, Ma!” Caleb yelped, startling his mother. She nearly dropped the flowers.

Caleb grabbed fistfuls of hair and jumped wildly, “Ma! I spent all morning picking just the very best flowers for Mary May. Not a scratch, not a tear, not a speck.”

Ma tensed at Caleb’s outburst, but she took a deep breath, relaxed, and laughed. “Nothing but the best for the one’s we love, huh?”

Caleb grinned and nodded, Ma understood.

“Let’s put them in water while you eat. I promise to be gentle.”

While he ate lunch, Caleb fixed his eyes on the flowers so they wouldn’t drift away, or disappear, or die. He haphazardly pierced the plate with his fork in search of his food. He glanced down faster than a blink to make sure all the ham was indeed gone. He then used his fingers to search for peas and corn, all the while maintaining eye contact with the bouquet.

When he had eaten the last pea and gulped the last swallow of milk, Caleb pushed the chair back from the table, hopped onto his feet and stepped toward the kitchen counter. The flowers stood in a mason jar soaking up sun and water, not one had wilted under his watch.

“Ma, can I take these to Mary May’s now?”

“Alright. How about we get you a ribbon for those flowers?”

“That’s a great idea Ma! She’ll love it. All her ribbons are pink. Do you have any pink ribbon?”

She walked to the armoire and rummaged through her sewing kit.

“Aha! Here we go, a pink ribbon for my boy.” Ma held the ribbon high and cut it for Caleb.

Caleb lifted the bouquet out of the jar. He stood on tiptoes, grabbed the flowers, and stretched the bouquet high above his head so each stem could clear the lip of the jar. Ma gawked.

Yesterday’s Caleb would have toppled the jar and spilled water all over the counter and floor. Does love make you careful?

He held the bouquet up for Ma while she tied the ribbon around the stems. Then, he settled the flowers into the crook of his arm and set off toward Mary May’s house.“You know where she lives?” Ma asked.“Oh yeah, right behind the schoolhouse.” Caleb said.“Okay then, be back before dark.” Ma kissed him on the top of his head and waved goodbye.

Caleb figured since running to school took not-too-much-time, then walking to Mary May’s might take a-bit-more-time-than-that. But, he failed to consider that running in morning air, crisp from night’s cool breath, was altogether different than walking under the sun’s pride in the heat of the day.

Caleb walked down the dirt road, cradling his treasured blooms. He imagined Mary May’s face when she saw him. How could she not love someone who brought her flowers?

With every step, the sun grew hotter. He felt petals sticking to the inside’s of his elbows, he felt droplets running down his neck, his hair matted down on his forehead. A country mile never felt so long.

The schoolhouse came into view, then Mary May’s house. Caleb’s mouth was dry but his heart pushed him forward. He held the flowers tight to his chest, forgetting their fragile stems.

A few more steps and Mary May would declare her love to him. Panting, eyes fixed on her house, Caleb didn’t see a mangled root reaching out to grab passers-by. His toe caught the root, his arms flailed, the bouquet dropped, and he fell on top of his precious flowers. 

Dirt melded with sweat, tears fought their way out, Caleb coughed. He rose to his knees, picked up the flowers, and assessed the damage. Crushed, wilted, dirty. These would never do. 

His knee cried out in pain, his hand stung with anger, his feet itched to escape. Caleb blinked and streams of tears cleaned tracks down his cheeks.

Caleb threw the remnants of a lovely bouquet to the ground and let his legs do the very thing they’d been wanting to do all day. He ran.

He ran and didn’t stop for a breath until he saw the field of wildflowers stretching out before him. He knelt over his knees and heaved. Then, Caleb fell to the ground and cried. The setting sun saw his pain and whispered a cool breeze to soothe his pain. The flowers Caleb passed over this morning, danced and tickled his skin. His breathing slowed, his tears ran dry.

Does love make you hurt?

Categories
A Little Lost, A Little Found Shorts Stories

Ditch – Flash Fiction

I joined a writing group. I do not consider myself a writer, but I have a good amount of time on my hands and thought this could be fun.

Every month we receive a prompt and a word limit. If this sounds like something you’d enjoy too, check it out here.

As terrifying as it is to share this, I find myself thinking, “Why not put it out there?” This blog page is for fun anyways and you, dear friends, might enjoy a short story now and then.

Since short story writing is now becoming a van life hobby of mine, I figured I might as well start sharing.

Here’s Story #1 – the prompt was Ditch and the word limit was 300 words. I tried to improve it a tad before posting here. If you find the need to give me feedback, please do! But, please phrase it gently and kindly.

Enjoy!

DITCH

He hangs his head and stares into the six-by-six foot chasm. He checks the corners for a perfect 90 degree angle. He assesses the floor, smooth as stone. “Good work, Tony.” Tony, the intern, nods his thanks to the boss.

Locals believe grave plots are finite spaces, but he knows they hold an infinity’s worth of secrets and fears. The one he dug last week cradles the body of a 16 year old. Drowned. A few paces north, there’s a neighborhood of tragedies who died prior to their first birthday. Today’s abyss awaits the body of an elderly man. Cancer. He left behind a wife and children. His family might have loved him, they might even miss him, but they’ll never know his secrets. The grave digger knows.

He can’t count the years he’s been preparing death beds and guiding townsfolk into the afterlife. They say the mail never stops, try taking a break from ditch digging for corpses. He chides himself for such calloused humor. The dead deserve better.

Maybe he needs a vacation.

He could put Tony the intern in charge, his works continues to improve. But, if left alone Tony would likely leave gaps in the dirt for the spirits to escape. Horrified, he imagines the havoc it would wreak if a ghost wandered out of ground and into town. The paperwork.

He could show him the right way to pack the dirt. Again. He sighs. He shouldn’t blame Tony. 

It’s actually that demanding night shift keeping him away from hot sand and endless ocean. He glances at the setting sun, “Gotta go Tony.”

“Bye, Boss.”

He walks into the equipment shed where he stores the night uniform. He glances over his shoulder to be sure Tony has started walking home in the opposite direction. 

One sleeve at a time, he pulls on the black cloak. Then, he lifts the black hood, and grabs his ancient scythe.

Vacation, ha. As if.

Categories
A Little Lost, A Little Found health journey recipes

3 ingredient “honey” roasted almonds

Disclaimer upfront – I don’t use honey in this recipe! I use a honey substitute, Coconut Nectar. That said, you can use either.

How to Make It:

IngredientAmount
Almonds1-2handfuls
Granulated Swerve/Stevia1tbsp
Butter1-2tbsp
Dried Coconut Flakes2tbsp/to taste
Coconut Nectar2tbsp/to taste

Melt the butter and add in your desired amount of almonds. Bake over medium heat and stir occasionally to fully cover them in butter. Let them roast until you start hearing some popping sounds. Keep an eye out, don’t let them burn!

Once you feel they’re adequately roasted, remove from heat. Then, drizzle your almonds with the desired amount of coconut nectar. There’s no right or wrong amount here, just practice and preference. Stir and let sit.

As the batch begins to cool, sprinkle with dried coconut flakes and swerve. Again, these amounts are to taste.

Stir and enjoy hot or let them cool off and set completely!

My latest batch of Coconut Nectar roasted almonds, sprinkled with coconut flakes and swerve sweetener.

Variations:

There is a decent amount of variety when it comes to coconutflakes. The shape and consistency of the brand you use may affect how much you use over the almonds. I’ve been using thinner strips of coconut flakes (almost like long rice), rather than the thick cut.

You can choose to use honey, which will create a stickier final product (equally delicious).

Yum, Yum:

I initially began cooking with Coconut Nectar, because it’s advertised as low glycemic and a healthier option than honey. However, as I was preparing to write up this recipe I found conflicting information about the benefits of Coconut Nectar.

The main attractions are that it’s rich in: amino acids, has good B vitamins and minerals like magnesium, low glycemic levels so blood sugar shouldn’t spike (i.e. diabetic friendly), and it has inulin which promotes good gut health.

However, you can easily find articles that pick apart each of these touted benefits. So, while it appears that coconut nectar is a healthier option than white cane sugar — I’m not fully clear on its benefits in contrast to other natural sweeteners, like honey. It might be that they both have their own pro’s and con’s, just maybe not the same ones.

If you give it a try, comment and let me know!

Until next time!

Hanna

Categories
crafting/creating Just for Fun travels/travel nursing

Chase the Voyage

At first, this might seem – oh, I dunno – cliché? forced? derivative? But, “chase the voyage” isn’t meant to be slouch-y. This phrase is meant to inspire and motivate.

I was working on some products to add to my Etsy Shop and thought, “What do I want to wear? What designs do I like?” This might seem ego-centric to be sure, but the questions came from a podcast called Creative Pep Talk. He suggested that whatever art form you create, you should use/wear/enjoy yourself. Specifically, he said he started wearing the t-shirts he designed. He agreed that it felt selfish and awkward at first, but he now finds immense joy in wearing his own designs — because he likes what he makes! So, I’m taking his advice to heart and designing things I like.

It’s simply too hard for me to guess at what other people will buy and enjoy. There’s a million and one websites encouraging you to “do market research” and “find your niche”. I’m not sure what’s wrong with me, that just feels overwhelming right now. So, I’m starting small. My decision was, “If I like it, there’s got to be someone else out there that will like it too.” And, I like the phrase, “Chase the Voyage”.

Voyage felt appropriate, because it best describes this thing called, “van life”. You might accidentally find yourself on a “journey”, but voyages are taken with forethought. As for “chase” – I wanted to encourage myself (and followers) to chase that voyage with certainty, effort, and passion. Interestingly, the french word for “to hunt” is “chasser” – very similar looking to “chase” and a good reminder that chasing involves intent & destination & hopefully success.

The bottom left corner of the design is a silhouette of the Tetons in Wyoming, the cactus silhouette comes from our voyages into Southern Utah and Nevada, and the night sky was inspired by the vastness of stars we saw in Idaho. These adventures didn’t happen by accident, it took effort (as chasing something does). We chased these voyages and marveled at the wildernesses and beauty of the American West.

So, now I have an adorable tote bag with my own design, which I love. It’s ready to go as a reminder to myself to keep chasing my voyages – because, I have yet to regret any of them.

Want your own tote bag too? Tap the picture to head to Etsy!
Or click here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/951434804/chase-the-voyage-tote-bag-with-original?ref=shop_home_active_2&frs=1

Happy voyaging,

Hanna

Categories
A Little Lost, A Little Found health journey recipes

The “Trick Yourself into Eating an Avocado” Smoothie

Maybe you like avocados, maybe you don’t. Let’s jump into the recipe and I’ll explain the rest later.

How to Make It:

This recipe can make anywhere from 12-20 ounces of smoothie, depending on what you add in. I find myself grabbing handfuls of this or that and tossing it in. I tried to be more precise here for you.

Pour the water into your jar first. If you add the optional ingredients, increase the water to 1 cup. The more water you have, the runnier – so, you can decide the consistency you enjoy most. The splash of stevia just gives it a little sweet bite, like a cherry on top.

Then, toss in the sliced and diced ingredients and blend it up!

This is an easy way to get all the nutrients of an avocado without actually tasting the avocado, which I do not enjoy. The more berries and fruit you add, the less you’ll taste the avocado. Even if you do blueberries alone, they’re tasty enough to cover up the avocado. This treat is a great way to give you tummy a break from it’s hard work digesting, while also getting some good nutrients in your day. Just think, a whole avocado!

Variations:

Smoothies generally taste better when they’re cold. So, you can make the smoothie and put it in the fridge overnight. Or, you can freeze at least 1 of the ingredients, I’d suggest either the avocado or blueberries.

I’ve been learning that smoothies don’t have to be precise like baked goods. Go heavy on the things you really like (i.e. blueberries) and make sure there’s enough water or milk to keep the consistency smooth.

So, this could be a three ingredients smoothie: avocado, blueberries, water. Or, it could become a morning fruit bowl! : avocado, blueberries, raspberries, lemon juice, apple, banana, etc.

Usually, I keep it to the basic recipe. Today, however, I added in a little apple and a little banana, because they were lying around in the van kitchen.

Yum, Yum:

Now for the background. I can’t believe how easy this recipe is. I used to make it everyday for breakfast and would think to myself, “I’m eating a whole avocado. There’s no way I’d be doing that otherwise.” Avocados are gross! I don’t like the flavor or consistency. When I get a little chunk in my smoothie, I grimace and choke it down. However, it seems to absorb all the other flavors around it. So, while the original recipe I found calls for 1/4 cup of berries, I always find myself dumping in a bit more.

On the other hand, avocados are nutritious! I want to consume them, I just struggle finding a tasty way to do so. Here are a few benefits of avocados (which I briefly summarize from Healthline.com):

  • Vitamins B, C, E, & K
  • Small amounts of magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, phosphorous and vitamins A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin) and B3 (niacin)
  • Potassium
  • Soluble Fiber
  • High [healthy] fat, low carb
  • Helps increase the nutrient absorption from other foods your eating it with
  • Antioxidants
  • Some other great things are might be true like fighting cancer and helping you lose weight

This morning, I was fighting a bout of insecurities and feeling brain fog when I felt my body screaming, “Feed me real food!” As opposed to the cheese and crackers I had been eating.

While we should be careful not to use food as a crutch, hero, or reward – sometimes, our hearts and brains are crying out for real nutrients. And this morning, this smoothie hit the spot and made everything seem all better.

So, if you’re an avocado hater – don’t give up yet, just give this smoothie a try and add in extra berries or coconut milk!

Let me know if you give it a try! And if you do, let me know if you like it!

Final Note – The approach I take to my recipes are always with colitis/autoimmune disease in mind. It’s very difficult to find sugar free/grain free recipes, so I’m on the hunt to find and share them here!

Sincerely,

Hanna

PS – Want to keep this recipe and my other treats for yourself? Grab a copy here!

Categories
A Little Lost, A Little Found health journey

Saying goodbye to the med’s

One year ago, I had several thoughts swirling around in my mind:

“I’ve had strep twice just this year, what if I get something worse?”

“I’m stressed out and want to eat everything in sight.”

“What if the Remicade fails? How long do I have with it?”

“What if there really is another way?”

Prior to this particular season in my life, I wasn’t ready to shake off any medications. I had made that mistake once and ended up hospitalized twice. Three years of infusions with zero side effects or symptoms, why would I want to give that up?

My two bouts of strep were awful and I saw for the first time what it meant to have a suppressed immune system. It just clicked: I have this disease no matter what, I’m only treating symptoms. I’m not actually healing. So, not only was I not getting better – I was adding risk that I would contract another serious illness.

My doctor warned me this could happen: people start feeling better, then stop taking their medications. “Don’t do that.”

Obviously, I did.

I wanted to at least try this “natural path” I’d been hearing of the last few years. Either a medication would control my immune system, or maybe I could. Presumptuous? Maybe. Probably.

After looking around online for a local practitioner who looks at the whole body, I settled on a DC (doctor of chiropractic) in Bountiful, UT. With years of experience working with gut related illnesses, I decided to give it a try. After my first round of blood work, he sat down with me for nearly an hour explaining in detail what every line meant and how it related to my body’s overall function.

We looked at thyroid, kidney, adrenals, gut, protein uptake, and other stuff I can’t remember. He also discussed functional ranges: these are the ideal ranges for your body’s optimal functioning. Typically, when you get blood work back and it’s high/low/normal, that’s in comparison to other people getting blood work done at that lab. Since sick people are the ones getting blood work done most often, your high/low/normal ranges are in comparison to that batch of people.

My GI doctor is so intelligent and great at his job. But, my current sentiment is that the hospital is wonderful for acute care. I got in, got in remission, got out. But, there must be another way to whole body, ongoing health – beyond band-aids that suppress symptoms.

When I thought I was “healthy”, my blood work showed that I was not. We had some work to do before I could start skipping infusions. The protocal laid out for me was 3 vitamin infusions for 3-4 weeks, 1-2 UBI’s for 3-4 weeks, NMT, and a whole list of supplements. The target here was to get my body in true recovery: lower inflammation, improve gut lining and nutrient uptake.

The vitamin infusions were amazing. I want to do another round again. This is something readily available. Certain “cocktails” need to be prescribed, but you can get doses to boost your body at local clinics. The infusions bypass your gut and get right into your body. My body wasn’t absorbing my nutrients appropriately, that’s why this was prescribed for me.

UBI’s are pretty neat. It stands for Ultraviolet Blood Irradiation. It was developed prior to vaccines, but when pencillin came around we just didn’t seem to need UBI’s. But, the process is effective. You take out some blood into an IV drip. It can be infused with oxygen. Then, it’s run through ultraviolet light that kills off any bad bacteria/viruses. The blood is returned into your body and shows your immune system what’s healthy and what’s not. It’s kind of like retraining the immune system on what to attack.

NMT – stands for NeuroModulation Technique. I’m not 100% sure on this yet, but I’m not totally critical of it either. It’s based on an understanding of the mind-body connection, that the mind and body are communicating in the background all the time. The is idea that energy is constant throughout time and space, so my energy can communicate with your energy and with that connection a practitioner can learn what is aligned or misaligned in the mind-body connection. Then, the practioner can essentially retrain the patient’s mind-body conection to behave appropriately. I think I’m hitting the main points here, but here’s the website if you’re curious.

We used NMT to help identify what my body felt like it needed to work on. My body indicated I needed help with my immune system, some allergies, the link between mind-gut, and a couple of other things. It’s a tool in the toolbox that goes alongside the infusions, UBI, and supplements.

Finally, I started a whole host of supplements like Omega-CO for important fish oils, vitamin b, vitamin d, a round of K, pre-biotics and pro-biotics, and some digestive support blends. All that in conjuction with cleaning up my diet.

Is it enough? How long can remission last? Then again, how long can a certain medication last?

I don’t know the answers to those questions. I do know that I went to dinner with 4 friends in April and they all got COVID except me.

So, for now, I’ll go celebrate my one year of natural remission! ONE YEAR! I’m cautiously optimistic and still check my stool everyday for signs of the disease.

This one year mark is significant, because it shows that it’s possible. But, it’s also an accountability marker to remind myself that I still have the disease and absolutely cannot relax on my diet or supplements. So, I better get off and go order some more.

If you’re thinking you want to try the natural path, do NOT stop taking your medication yet. Find a provider you like and trust first.

If you’re curious about my experience, go ahead and comment or email me. I’m always happy to talk about it.

And, happy new year!

Hanna

Categories
Amazon Reviews van build

Amazon Product Review

Euhomy Mini Fridge with Freezer, 3.2 Cu.Ft Mini refrigerator with freezer, Dorm fridge with freezer 2 door For Bedroom/Dorm/Apartment/Office – Food Storage or Cooling Drinks(Silver).

This post contains affiliate links – we may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

Welcome back for another Amazon review of the products we used in our van build. Today, I wanted to briefly review the refrigerator we selected for our mini kitchen. Before going over the pro’s and con’s of this specific model, let’s go over a things to consider before buying any fridge for your build. 


Things to Consider Before Buying any Fridge: You’ll want to consider each of these things altogether, like a circle rather than in a line. 


Energy Consumption vs Budget

As you shop different models, you’ll want to keep a close eye on the energy consumption of the fridge. The more expensive models have more efficient compressors, so they’re easier on your electrical needs. One day, we’d like to upgrade to something like this from Dometic or this from Whynter. However, this was an area where we decided to save on the budget for now and consider an upgrade at a later time.
I’m not super knowledgeable about the voltage/consumption/watt hours, but Ivan figured that if we could not recharge our batteries for some reason, we’d last about 3-4 days with the fridge running. So, you’ll want to carefully consider how you plan to recharge your batteries and how much fridge you actually need.
On the one hand, we have a less efficient fridge – but on the other hand, we’re using propane for our heating and cooking so we have a bit more electricity to give to the fridge.


Space

In the midst of determining your budget and energy needs, you’ll have to visualize your space. We built our van from scratch, so we knew we could essentially build around the fridge. We settled on the Euhomy model and basically built a cabinet area for those dimensions. If we ever do an upgrade, we’ll have to reanalyze the space and possibly do a little construction to fit it in. 
We decided to go with the cheaper, simpler option for a fridge. We got the 120volt. You have to take into account how much energy it uses, the cost, size. This is why we are using propane for things like heating and cooking, so we can give more electricity to the fridge. 
There are so many options and a lot will depend on your layout. Do you buy a fridge to fit the layout? Or, build your layout to fit the fridge?

We decided on the Euhomy 3.2 cu foot mini refrigerator with a freezer from Amazon. We purchased it at $199.99, it’s currently available for $189.99. I’ll briefly run through the pro’s and con’s. 

Pro’s:

  • Decent size fridge area and freezer area. This is a major pro for us. The freezer is a separate compartment with it’s own door. I’m surprised how much we’ve actually fit in there. We currently have like 8 pounds of elk meat and 2 (unboxed) Costco pizzas nestled in there. The fridge area is also decent. I do not think it would be enough if we had any kids or extra mouths to feed, but for the 2 of us we are able to keep quite a few ingredients in there. 
  • Slot for cans – we didn’t drink pop, until we discovered Zevia. So, the designated can area in the door is a nice little perk. It holds 6 cans. 
  • Bar on door – there is a swinging bar on the door that allows are bigger items to be stowed like a carton of milk or a jug of orange juice. I’ve been please a few times when I thought something was too big and then realized it would fit in the door.
  • Good size drawer/crisper on bottom and shelf in the middle. 

Con’s

  • You have to get used to the small size – we’ve lived with “dorm” fridges before, so it’s our first time scaling down from a full refrigerator. If this is the first time you’ll be using a tiny fridge, it’ll take some getting used to. Particularly, eating left overs before buying new food.
  • Not as efficient as more expensive models – Without any solar charging, we calculated that we could run the fridge for maybe 3-4 days on the batteries. This isn’t a major con, just something we keep an eye on.

That said, I’m enjoying our little fridge! Hopefully this gives you some helpful information while you’re shopping for your fridge. Questions? Let me know in the comments!


If you click this link to the oven and end up purchasing something from Amazon, we may get a commission at no extra cost to you. It’s a great way to support us on the road!

Sincerely, Hanna

Categories
A Little Lost, A Little Found

The End is Near

We are a few weeks away from “the deadline” of completing the van. This week, we changed our layout dramatically and got to work adding in flooring, cupboards, and a bed design.

I won’t take up too much time writing here today, I’ll just add this quickie video with our update!

While we didn’t show too much of our supplies today, here are a few affiliate links if you see something you like!

Euhomy Fridge – https://amzn.to/3kjDTlp

USB Charger Socket – https://amzn.to/36q1n35

Bunk Window – https://amzn.to/36pxaBk

LED Recessed Lighting – https://amzn.to/35fOCJ5

Fuse Block – https://amzn.to/3kepxTn

Red Battery On/Off Switch – https://amzn.to/2JRvTvf

Renogy 20A DC to DC Battery Charger – https://amzn.to/36lfPcR

Vinyl Flooring from Lowe’s

Heat Mat from Expedition Upfitter

Just by clicking one of these links and shopping at Amazon, you are supporting our journey! Thank you!

Hanna

Categories
A Little Lost, A Little Found

No grains, No sugar, No bake cookies

Wow, can you even believe these are a thing? Life changing, really. So, let’s jump right in!

First of all, this recipe comes from Phase it Up – a truly life changing program that educated me about my body’s needs and how to move toward a healthier physique (which, is still a work in progress, but now I know HOW!).

How to Make It:

Melt the butter and almond butter together over medium. This takes a little practice to avoid burning it, stir quite a bit. Then, turn off heat and add in the shredded coconut (the smaller the chunks, the better in my opinion), the sweetener, and cacao powder.

Stir it all together until the dry ingredients are blended and it looks like a pot of melted chocolate.

Then, scoop and shape however you please. I’ve been using a small cookie dough scoop and plop them onto a plate. They lose shape quickly, but flat or round they taste delicious!

Once everything is scooped out, place into a container and slide it into the freezer for the cookies to cool and set. That’s it! So easy!

Variations:

You can use peanut butter instead of almond. I haven’t tried this yet, because I don’t care for peanut butter in general.

I have found it easier to melt and use unsalted butter over coconut butter, but that’s me personally.

If Swerve doesn’t do it for you – go ahead and experiment with other brands you trust for sugar substitutes. Swerve is made from erythritol, a sugar alcohol, it’s calorie free and unlikely to raise your blood sugar.

Yum, Yum:

Now for the background. I can’t believe how easy this recipe is. Plus, the mixture is delicious raw & warm or cold & hard.

I have ulcerative colitis and small food particles like shredded coconut might be hard on the digestive tract, particularly during a flare. This recipe might be better suited to you in remission, when you know those ulcers have healed. At a quick glance, though, I don’t see anything immediately risky for someone like me who’s in remission and has a happy colon.

Final Note – The approach I take to my recipes are always with colitis/autoimmune disease in mind. It’s very difficult to find sugar free/grain free recipes, so I’m on the hunt to find and share them here!

Until next time!

Hanna

PS – Want to keep this recipe and my other treats for yourself? Grab a copy here!