Archives for : May2019

Free to Be Fit

Free to Be Fit by Mary Zigan

Spring is in the air! Hot weather is on the horizon! That thought can strike terror in the hearts and minds of many woman who don’t want to give up “the cover up.” I know. I have been there. The chill of winter makes it a safer time to cover our fat with layers of clothes. But, if we are honest, we really want to be free of the fat and the delusion and denial that goes with the cover up. Do you like me, look ahead to what feeling thin would be like, and get discouraged before you start. There’s the wedding, the concert, the family reunion all coming up, and they ALL involve food. When we look ahead and project, analyze, scrutinize, nurse and rehearse, we borrow trouble with a capital T.

There is a solution: Today is a good day to ask God for recovery.  Why not believe that today a new life is possible? It takes willingness and belief to turn our lives over to the One who has the power to rescue us from this place of defeat and discouragement. Yes, by God’s grace willingness and belief are the way out of the darkness and a road map to be free and fit. We can open ourselves to accept this gift with gratitude and do our part to stay the course by choosing to walk in His faithfulness just for today.

Lord, I am grateful for the opportunity to be on the journey of recovery from emotional eating and food obsessions.

Mary Z.

May Salad




30 Minutes Easy


Four-Six 45 Minutes


  • 1 cup Quinoa, Uncooked
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 4 Tablespoons Land O Lakes® Salted Butter
  • 1/2 whole Red Onion, Peeled and Cut Into Large Chunks
  • 1/2 whole Butternut Squash, Peeled, Seeded, and Cut Into Large Chunks
  • 2 whole Large Carrots, Peeled, Halved, and Cut Into 1-inch Pieces
  • 2 whole Large Parsnips, Peeled, Halved, and Cut Into 1-inch Pieces
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 4 Tablespoons Pine Nuts
  • 6 ounces, weight Baby Arugula Leaves
  • 1 cup Parmesan Shavings, Divided
  • Lemon


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare quinoa according to directions. Set it aside to cool. 

In a small skillet over medium-low heat, melt the butter with the garlic. Turn off the heat and allow it to sit for 5 minutes.

Arrange the vegetables on a large rimmed baking sheet. Pour over half of the garlic butter, sprinkle on salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Roast the vegetables for 35 to 40 minutes, tossing occasionally, until they’re nice and deep golden brown. Remove them from the oven and set them aside to cool slightly. 

Add the pine nuts to the same skillet over low heat and toast them for 5 to 7 minutes, tossing occasionally, until light golden brown. Set aside. 

Place cooked, cooled quinoa in a large bowl. Toss in the roasted vegetables and half the Parmesan shavings. Squeeze lemon in the remaining melted garlic butter and add to roasted vegetables. Toss in the arugula (it will wilt slightly) and the pine nuts, then sprinkle the rest of the Parmesan on top. Serve hot or cold. ENJOY!

Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, has partnered with Land O’ Lakes for exclusive endorsement of Land O’ Lakes Butter. This blog post is sponsored by Land O’ Lakes.

Remembering the Sacrifices of Our Military

GUEST BLOGGER: Remembering the Sacrifices of Our Military, by the late Duane Sheppard, award-winning OpEd writer. (This article first appeared in The St. Cloud Times, St. Cloud, MN.)

Last Memorial Day weekend, as I saw media images of grieving parents at grave sites holding military photos of sons and daughters lost, I was reminded anew of the high cost of war.

I can only try to imagine what it must have been like for my Grandma Sheppard to receive a telegram from the War Department back in June of 1944. As she opened with trembling fingers the small yellow paper bearing a tersely worded message, her first reaction must have been to wonder which of her three military sons she’d lost.

Sergeant Morris W. Sheppard, a 28-year-old paratrooper from Madison Lake, Minnesota, Grandma was informed, was “missing in action,” a euphemism that generally meant a soldier had been killed in battle but they hadn’t yet found his body.

Several months later, my grandmother received the exhilarating news that he was alive, but unfortunately, he was being held as a prisoner of the Nazis.

How she must have rejoiced that at least he was still alive! Yet the anxiety over what sort of treatment he might be enduring in a German prison camp had to have tempered the celebration. Five months later she received yet another telegram from the Provost Marshal in Washington, D.C., telling her that her son had escaped and was now in Moscow.

For years after my uncle returned, he refused to speak of his seven combat jumps or his multiple escapes from Prisoner of War camps. He brushed off questions about his service with the words, “Those things are best forgotten.”

Wednesday’s St. Cloud Times bore the headline: “Military Stress Cases Rise.” Citing the epidemic of an estimated 40,000 cases of war-related Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder since 2003, the report called to mind poet John Milton’s line, “They also serve who only stand and wait.” The stress borne by loved ones at home should never be underestimated.

I was 10 years old when my father was drafted into the Army during World War II to serve under Dwight Eisenhower at the Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Forces, in France.  Among my vivid wartime memories are red-bordered flags that hung in the windows of families of men and women in the service—a blue star for each living service member, a gold star for those who had died.

During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln sent the following letter to Lydia Bixby, a mother grieving incalculable losses:

“I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts, that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours, to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of Freedom.”

While the wartime loss of sons, daughters, siblings, spouses, and parents is no less tragic in our time, we who are the modern-day beneficiaries of the freedom from terrorism on our own soil owe a huge debt of gratitude to those men and women who serve in the military or who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Let’s not make expressions of thanks and support for military personnel and their families just a once-a-year event.

Last weekend I stood at the grave of my father and reread the bronze military foot plaque. Though he was not killed in service, he came home from the war gravely ill with undulant fever, a disease he had contracted in France. Too sick and demoralized to go through the red tape necessary to get medical care through military channels, my father spent months in the hospital at his own expense after his return to civilian life. He carried the effects of this disease for the rest of his life—a different sort of sacrifice upon the altar of Freedom.

Tomorrow is the 40th anniversary of his death.

My Best Teacher: My Mother

GUEST BLOGGER, Alice Bostrom, a Minneapolis freelance writer, shares this wonderful memory in honor of Mother’s Day – My Best Teacher: My Mother

Over the years the enjoyment of history and literature was woven into the fabric of my life, Mother taught me in a unique way to love history. Each trip to her home town of Philadelphia to visit my grandfather included a visit to Independence Hall, Betsy Ross’s home and Christ Church. Mother had brought her students to these paces when she taught school in Philadelphia. She brought them to the historic church to see the pew rented by President
George Washington. Of course she brought her daughter there. She let me crawl under the ropes to sit in his pew, as she had done with her students.

We lived in Belmont, Massachusetts during my early years.  Mother took Dad and me (and every visiting relative) to the battlefields in Lexington and Concord twenty miles from our home.  I often crossed the “Rude Bridge” to listen for the shot “heard ’round the world.” As a child I did not need a textbook to understand the American Revolution. Mother had taught me how the patriots fought, and she showed me the rock fences where they ducked own to reload their muskets.

From early childhood, Mother loved books and American literature.  Each summer we drove the short distance to visit Orchard House where Louisa May Alcott lived from 1858 to 1877 to see how the author of Little Women lived.  We owned copies of Little Women, Little Men, and most of her other stories.  I believed this was the home where her characters Jo and Beth grew up.

Nearby in Concord, she also enjoyed the Old Manse where Ralph Waldo Emerson resided at various times.  I have never forgotten seeing the bedroom window where Nathaniel Hawthorne’s wife carved her name in the glass with her diamond engagement ring.  I thought she was a rude houseguest.

In Cambridge, near Harvard Yard, we liked to go to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s home.  Mother would quote his poetry there. “Listen my children and you shall hear/ of the midnight ride of Paul Revere.”  For the rest of my life I, too, have loved to visit authors’ homes and the homes and libraries of U.S. Presidents.

Dad took a sabbatical year at MIT the summer I was sixteen. Mother enjoyed perusing antique shops in Boston.  One day we found a shop selling a real Paul Revere silver bowl. We didn’t inspect the price, knowing we couldn’t afford it.

Before I could learn to read my parents taught me through reading. Oh, sure, I heard daily children’s stories and Bible stories.  But I learned first by listening. My parents read to each other. My exposure to Perry Mason came when Mother or Dad read the weekly installment of Earle Stanley Gardner’s fiction from magazines.  As an adult I asked mother, “Why do I know things about the Baptist missionary, Adoniram Judson?”

She smiled.  “Your father and I studied every book we could find about him in the Boston Public Library the summer you were seven.  You must have listened as we read them.”

Mother’s love of reading and of books became my passion, too.  However it did not happen easily. My first-grade teacher used a sight reading program, and a way Mother didn’t approve of.  She took the train to Philadelphia and bought copies of the books she had used as a teacher and spent the summer teaching me.  She said to me, “When you understand phonics, you will have the tools to read anything.”

Reading was one of many skills Mother patiently taught me.  In elementary school, I learned to knit and to crochet. But unfortunately, my crocheting skills remain very elementary.

I broke my elbow at age ten.  I could not write in school, but Mother whipped out yarn and needles so that I could knit ten-inch squares.  She and our neighbor sewed the squares together with squares they and my friends knitted. These squares became afghans for the Army hospital during the war.  Before that time, she had knitted sweaters to match Uncle Donald’s Naval uniform, Uncle Bob’s Merchant Marine uniform, and one for her cousin Sandy to match his Canadian Royal Air Force uniform.  Knitting for the “war effort” was something Mother believed in.

She also loved to teach.  During World War II, working mothers needed a safe place for their children.  She taught Daily Vacation Bible School. Not for a week. Not for two weeks. She taught all summer long.

Mother enjoyed teaching Sunday school.  I believe she must be named, “the best Sunday School teacher I ever had.”  In my sixteenth year, Mother became my teacher. You can believe I was never unprepared.  If she said, “Memorize this scripture during the week,” I did. I might have been the only class member who did, but I learned the scripture and required hymn lyrics.

In her thirties, Mother began to develop her love of painting.  She once painted a mural of sailboats on the plaster wall of our game room.  I also recall her painting place cards for parties and writing an appropriate poem for each guest.

Gradually she studied oil painting and later china painting.  She, of course, taught many others to paint on porcelain. I never had the opportunity to develop this skill, but my life has been completely changed because she taught me to love the Lord Jesus.

From the beginning childish prayers, the early Bible stories, her teaching in VBS and Sunday school, Mother helped me to understand the love of Jesus.  Watching her quiet acceptance of the death of her daughter, her father, and in later years, her husband, I learned how a true Christian should live.