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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.

From the Pen of Mary Z.

From the pen of Mary Zigan,

My thoughts especially turn toward the sacrifice of Christ on my behalf during this Easter season, and I am grateful for life! It is so wonderful to be relieved of the terrible curse, for me namely, the curse and self-abuse of food addiction. I had to over eat; I didn’t know there was anything in the world that could be done about it. After some 40 years of persevering by taking the strong hand of God, I am not only at right weight for my body, I am emotionally happy and content and above all is the freedom I have found in Christ…the Deliverer.

A gentleman once said to me in Al-anon, I spend a great deal of time passing on what I learned to others who want and need recovery from their addiction. I do it for four reasons:

  • Sense of duty
  • It is a pleasure
  • Because in so doing I am paying my debt to the man who took time to pass it on to me
  • Because every time I do it I take out a little more insurance for myself against a possible slip

What is this but a miracle of healing? Just like me, this gentleman’s circumstances made him willing to believe. He humbly offered himself to his Maker. For this man, the revelation was sudden. For others like myself, I grew into this freedom more slowly. If you are grappling with an addiction take heart.  Make the phone call, others, like possibly millions, are going through the bondage that you feel. You will not be sorry you surrendered. Just a few of the benefits to those of us in recovery are experiencing:

  • We can look the world in the eye
  • We can be alone and at perfect peace
  • Our fears fall from us
  • We begin to feel the nearness of our Creator
  • We may have had certain spiritual beliefs, but now we begin to have a spiritual experience

If you feel so inclined to want more information about recovery I can be reached by email:

Hope and Peace be with you!


Abundant Life: Possibility? or Pipe Dream?

Abundant Life: Possibility? or Pipe Dream?   By Sharon Sheppard

Probably most people yearn for the Good Life. And for each of us, this might mean something different. Some long for popularity and acceptance. For others, “Success” is the ultimate goal. Many aspire to wealth, while a homeless person might settle for just a roof over his head.

Finding the “right” life partner is high on the list of many—maybe most. We dream of being adored, swept off our feet, and ultimately marrying that one “perfect” person.

Still others thrive on adventure—new and different experiences, preferably in exotic locations—without ever giving a thought to “settling down.”

The Bible has some interesting things to say about The Good Life.  I call this passage in the Book of Philippians The Secret to Happiness:

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! . . .Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

A similar passage in 1 Thessalonians (5:16-18) urges us to “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

By the sound of these verses, we can choose to rejoice and be thankful (even when things might not be going so well). We can choose to keep in close touch with the God who created us, and He has invited us to “draw near to Him.” He longs to have fellowship with us, and He has promised that if we draw near to him (by thanking Him, confiding in Him, asking Him for what we need) He will draw near to us.

If we don’t feel close to God, we can be pretty sure that He isn’t the one who moved. Jesus said, “I have come that you might have life, and that you might have it to the full.” (John 10:10)

Talk about a Good Life! It’s available to us for the asking, and it doesn’t get much better than that!

Easter Meditation

GUEST BLOG: The following is an Easter column originally published in the St. Cloud Times by the late Duane Sheppard, an award-winning op-ed writer from St. Cloud, Minnesota

An Easter Meditation: Why Did Jesus Christ Suffer? And Why Does He Allow Us to Suffer?

It was one of those magic nights when the moon was so bright it was like daylight as I watched the landscape of the former Soviet Union rush past the window of an overnight train. I was joined by a Russian journalist on his way home from a London assignment who, like no one else I had met that day, spoke perfect English.

“Isn’t it beautiful!” he exclaimed.

We chatted for a bit, and when he learned that I was a Christian, he said, “I’m an atheist. Give me your best argument for Christianity.”

“Okay,” I replied, “I will if you’ll give me your best argument for atheism.”

With that bargain in place, I explained that I started with two premises: that there is a creator God and the Bible is his Word. It seemed logical that, if there is a creation of this spectacular magnitude, there must be a designer, a creator. Otherwise, we’re faced with putting our faith in a non-god explanation that everything in this complex, well-ordained universe came about by chance.

My belief that the Bible is God’s Word is based, in part, on the fact that it predicts future events, scores of which have happened precisely as they were prophesied. I told him of an atheist from the University of Chicago a number of years ago who said that if it could be proven that the Old Testament book of Daniel was written before the fall of the Roman Empire—which it predicted—he would become a believer. Subsequently, the Dead Sea Scrolls, which pre-dated the fall of Rome, were discovered, dramatically validating that the prediction had long preceded the fulfillment.

Hundreds of years before the birth of Christ, it was predicted that he would be born of a virgin in Bethlehem; that he would be a descendant of King David; that he would heal the lame, the sick, and the blind; that he would be betrayed by a friend for 30 pieces of silver; that he would be mocked and beaten; that his hands and feet would be pierced but that none of his bones would be broken; that his garments would be gambled for; that his death would be voluntary, like the sacrificial lamb of the Passover observance that was to atone for the sins of others.

In the New Testament, I pointed out to my atheist friend, Jesus predicted his own ignominious death and his resurrection three days later. From Genesis through Revelation, God’s plan for restoring fellowship with humankind has challenged the minds of the most intelligent, and yet it is so simple a child can understand it. God loved…gave his Son…and whoever believes has life everlasting. This priceless gift is not dependent on intelligence, wealth, political power, physical attributes, age, national heritage, or bargaining chips.

Because the Bible’s predictions, including the coming of the Messiah, have come true, I argued, it is not illogical to believer that it is divinely inspired and provides a credible account of God’s plan for our redemption through Jesus Christ.

My new friend countered with his best argument. As a Russian raised under Communism, he’d been provided with a university education. Because this same privilege had been denied to Christians under this regime, all of his teachers had been atheists. His science training had instilled in him naturalistic (non-god) explanations for the evolution of plants, animals, and humankind, and, other than questions of first causes, he had no problems with science.

He was a formidable debater, and his atheistic argument went like this: If there is a creator God who is all-powerful, who is fair, loving, and in charge, then why is there pain, disease, suffering, and inequality here on Earth? Why are innocent babies born deformed and consigned to pain and early death? If he is a God of equal opportunity, why do some die, never having heard his message?

Quite frankly, I was caught off-guard. I started to relate an idea I’d heard espoused by Dr. Paul Brand, a visiting lecturer on the campus of St. Cloud State University, who had talked about the benefits of pain. My friend stopped me short and said he was not talking about the discomfort of sitting on a tack or the minor aches and pains that send us to the doctor.

I had to admit that I had no really good answer for why God would allow terrible suffering, except to refer him to C.S. Lewis’s The Problem of Pain. Lewis said that pain “is a training ground. A time for great struggle and growth. God is slowly, but with great care and intention, changing you into the person God has created you to be. The process will hurt at times, and hurt deeply. But the person it is changing you into in the end—strong, wise, and able to face more than you ever imagined—THAT is exactly the person God wants for you to be.”

While recently watching Mel Gibson’s extraordinary film, The Passion of Christ, I was struck with the magnitude of God’s sacrificial suffering. It’s stunning to realize that the creator of the universe chose to come and live among us humbly—in diapers. That he lived a sinless life, was betrayed and denied, and took upon himself the punishment for our sins, was pronounced innocent, then humiliated, beaten beyond recognition and nailed to a cross to die a slow, agonizing death as a condemned criminal. He became a sacrifice to atone for our sins so that “Whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

During this holiest week of the year for Christians, the most significant questions any of us can ask ourselves are these: Is this story true? And if so, then what?

C.T. Studd, a missionary to China, India, and Africa in the 1800s said this: “If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.”

What’s in a Name?

What’s in a Name?    by Sharon Sheppard

When City Cousin Mary Zigan and Country Cousin, aka, yours truly, first put our heads together to talk about co-authoring a blog, we considered a number of possible blog names. Some were clever but already taken, some were copyrighted and thus out of the running, some were original but lame, and the others—well, you don’t want to know about those.

When we finally opted for thewisejourney, we knew that it could possibly be misconstrued to give readers the mistaken idea that we think we have all the answers to life, and we want to pass along our vast wisdom to you, our readers.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Each one of us is on an individual journey. And as flawed humans, all of us face thousands of decisions throughout a lifetime. All of us bungle badly at times. But sometimes we make choices we feel really good about. And all of us learn from many other people along the way.

In keeping with our blog name, we glean wisdom to share with you from many sources: things we’ve read or studied; life experiences—our own and those of lots of other people; experiences of our wise and wonderful guest bloggers; and insights from a host of other resources.

Mary and I cherish the one true Source of Wisdom: God’s Word, which is the ultimate guideline for the journey all of us travel. Over the next three months, as we develop the theme of Living Wisely, we begin by exploring the problem of pain. (See next week’s double whammy essay: which deals with such issues as Why Did Jesus Have to Suffer and Die? and Why Does God Allow Us to Suffer?)

During the month of May we will include tips for physical fitness and healthy eating, and in June we will be looking at emotional health.

Stay tuned . . .

And, as always, if you would like to comment on anything you read in our blog, or would like to read here, please email us at  

Ah… Spring!

Ah . . . Spring!

A kind word is like a spring day.   Russian proverb

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.   Margaret Atwood

Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.    Martin Luther

The Apostle Paul never seemed to exhaust the topic of grace—what makes us think we can? He just keeps coming at it and coming at it from another angle. That’s the thing about grace. It’s like springtime. You can’t put it in a single sentence definition, and you can’t exhaust it.   Max Lucado

Despite the forecast, live like it’s spring.   Lilly Pulitzer

Chinese Chicken Salad

March seems to be an unpredictable month in Minnesota. We could have the winter blizzard of the century, or we could have a spring thaw, or both. It’s a teaser month, a month that feels like, “I’m ready for spring, which translated means, I’m ready to shed winter clothes. I’m ready to get to the lake…up North, or today as I write, I’m ready for a crunchy salad recipe.”  I think you will love this one. It is quick and easy, crunchy and comforting.

Crunchy Chinese Chicken Salad

2 large chicken breasts cooked, cooled, and cubed

2 cups of cooked rice

About one cup celery, sliced thin

Mandarin oranges (small can) drained well…reserve the juice

Chow Mein noodles, a couple handfuls

Mayo dressing and French dressing

½ teas. Curry powder

Mix the above 3 ingredients together. In another dish take a large scoop of Mayo and about 2 Tbsp. of French dressing and stir together. Add the Curry powder. Thin this mixture all down with a small amount of Mandarin juice…..maybe one Tbsp. Stir this dressing mixture into the first 3 ingredients. When you feel the consistency is right, gently add the drained oranges and Chow Mein noodles. There should be enough noodles to add crunch, color and consistency. If you are not eating the salad immediately, wait until you are ready to eat, then add the noodles. You may also add some Cashews for garnish just before eating.

~ Enjoy!  

A Look at Lent

Lent . . . should it be a time of fasting or feasting?

Lent is a 40-day period of time (not counting Sundays) leading up to Easter, the day more accurately known among Christians as Resurrection Sunday.

A reflection on Lent, by Sharon Sheppard

Though the word lent is not found in the Bible, observance of this period of time leading up to Easter/Resurrection Sunday can take many different forms. Christians from a broad spectrum of denominations, ranging from Catholic and Orthodox to mainline and evangelical denominations.

For some, it is a somber time of fasting and self-denial. A time of introspection and repentance.

Some use it as a time to meditate on the sufferings of Jesus Christ when He went to the cross to sacrifice Himself to pay for our sins. This can bring a new appreciation for what

Others make light of it, and it becomes a joke. A non-golfer might say he is giving up golf for lent. Or a college student might say she is giving up studying for lent.

For still others, it may be marked by an emphasis on doing good deeds, hoping to earn points they hope will help them make it to heaven.

Since Lent isn’t mentioned in the Bible, it would seem we can’t go wrong by choosing one of God’s principles and devoting 40 days to cultivating one of those that we might not be practicing on a regular basis:

Love one another. Jn 13:34 or James 4:8  (Is there someone you’re having trouble loving that you need to show kindness to?)

Draw near to me and I will draw near to you. James 4:8 (Are you spending at least as much time daily time in fellowship with God as you do online?)

Godliness with contentment is great gain. Heb 13:5(Do you catch yourself complaining: about the weather, politics, the high cost of living?)

Give to the poor. Prov 22:9 (Is there someone you know who is deeply hurting financially that you could help?)

But in any case, it is probably best observed by