Behind These Walls

     In the stillness of the night I shuffled to my bathroom not feeling well. I could not understand this  feeling taking over my body. I was shivering with a cold that seemed to penetrate my core, and yet my flesh was drenched in sweat. My stomach churned from the encircling fear, panic, anticipation, and then fear again. The sleepy haze began to lift and the familiarity of the situation began to reawaken lost senses, I knew what was coming, this was not entirely new. Suddenly a small trickle made its way down my legs…my water had begun to break. A small trickle yes, but enough to notify me as to what was to come. Alone in the still of the night I shivered in anticipation of the coming life. A son? A daughter? Who would this tiny person be? While the world lay sleeping I sat alone in the bathroom too tired to move, too excited to sleep. My belly began to tighten more noticeably. 

I made my way back to bed and tapped my husband’s arm, “I’m in labour, “ I whispered. From somewhere between a dream and reality my husband mumbled back, “Do you need anything?” One hand on his arm and one hand on my belly getting tighter by the minute I assured him I would be find and to get some sleep. My labours were long, I knew the day ahead would feel like a century, and that at least one of us should rest. I lay back down in bed and huddled in my blanket trying to feel a glimmer of warmth. It was April and the night air in the house was still to cool to feel comfortable outside a blanket. There in the quiet, away from anyone’s eyes, and out of the spotlight my body worked hard to bring new life into the world. Sixteen hours later I would find myself in a dark and quiet room yet again. Surrounded by a small team of encouragers and a midwife, I would give one last push and meet our second daughter. 

It is no surprise that the very moment that gives us the title of “mom” is hidden away from the eyes of a noisy world. Our babies, though full of life and felt by us mothers, also hidden away for months. A life lived in the hidden marks both the celebratory reasoning behind labour, and the definition of motherhood itself. 

As I drive down the streets in the evening the glow of light illuminates each window. Inside, hidden away from public, is life unfolding. A mother’s hand has guided, crafted, built up, and knit together the people inside. It was her tireless work in the hidden that brought about life to these homes. And if she is wise, she will know that the life given was only because she gained strength from the one and only Life-Giver. 

A mother’s labour of love is not recognized by the public eye. She does not win awards for her problem-solving skills. She is a not a Michelin Star chef, though her best critics adore her food. She will not win a Nobel Peace Prize for breaking apart the war in her living room She fixes boo-boos, and mends souls. She kisses the rejected, and props up the hopeless. Her tender compassion known only by those who know her best.  
     It is here in the hidden that a mother will fight her biggest battles against her own fears for her family, for battered relationships to be mended among her people, and against her own desire to be known. Behind these walls it can be ever so rewarding, and yet oh so painfully lonely it almost seems to lock her in. 

A glance in the mirror fresh out of the shower tells me I am not who I once was. I am full of scars and stories, and glistening in the kisses of my children and husband long rubbed into my cheeks. My dreams have changed, by identity redefined. To rise each morning to complete the task at hand I have to know deeply in my soul, before my feet touch down, that though I am hidden away from the watching world, I too am loved, adored, desired, and prayed for. Like my daily labour of love given to my family it is my precious Jesus who also works in the hidden. He sees me. He loves me. He adores me. He prays for me. All his work done in the hidden places of Heaven. But to the eyes of my God my life has never been hidden. I am not alone. Like an expectant mother, He knew my life before the world could see. He wrote my days, He knew my world, He knew my character. He thought of me…in the hidden. 

  We are mothers in the hidden. A secret privilege not paid attention to by the world. Though abundantly more challenging than we ever imagined possible, we can find rest in knowing we are known by a King.

For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
    I awake, and I am still with you. (Ps 139:13-18)

All my love,
Like Grandma Did

Like Grandma Did

Tangy Avocado Dressing

     I always vowed that if I had a recipes on my blog I wouldn't give you an epic tale of how I invented my creation. Now, here I am, so I promise to keep it short! Last year I was diagnosed with an autoimmune and needed to clean up my diet in a hurry (read: unbearable amounts of joint pain that were keeping me in bed and away from my family- not cool!). Initially it left me eating what we now so lovingly call it as "Sarah's Joyless Diet"...I'm totally selling you on this recipe, right?! Here's where I wrap it up- I've ended up on a strict paleo diet (It's working to clear off my symptoms if you're curious, but that's another post), and I have become creative in the kitchen to make sure my tastebuds don't decide to go on strike from my former delightful palette of tasteless cardboard.
     Without further adieu, here's a super simple, and ultra "clean" recipe that I often use when I want creamy, tangy goodness. (Oh- and I promise it won't be joyless!)

Tangy Avocado Dressing


- 1 avocado
- juice from one lemon
- 2 cloves of garlic
- salt and pepper to taste
- avocado oil- start with 1/2 cup and add until you reach desired consistency. I like mine runny, but if you leave it thicker it's more like dip...and dip is yummy.


Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix with an immersion blender, adding the oil as you go.

See? I told you I'd keep it short. One more thing...

I'm leaving you an index card size printable below! Now go get some food in your belly!!

All my love,

Like Grandma Did

Protecting Childhood

Like Grandma Did Old fashioned homemaking

    I spent a good part of yesterday staring at a photo that has gone viral. Maybe you’ve seen it yourself. It is one of tiny preschoolers playing quietly by themselves outside on the playground tarmac. Each child alone and contained to a box drawn by chalk. School has resumed in France, and this image gives us a glance into life post-covid. More than just gazing though, I have wept over this image since I laid eyes on it unable to articulate the ache I felt in my heart. Perhaps I can try my best to explain...
     Though I have never travelled to war torn countries, I have seen images of kids trapped in the walls of conflict. I have stared into the eyes of small children through a screen and witnessed how the loss of their innocence age their tiny faces. These little ones have known loss. They have known hurt. They have learned too much too soon. They also know there is an enemy. They know there are “good guys” and “bad guys”. There are even sometimes physical boundaries in which they should not pass through in order to protect them. I look at the babies in this “back to school” image and see a similar battle. I don’t dare downplay the severity of poverty, pain, and mental anguish the children of a violent war experience, but there appears to be an overlap nonetheless. What breaks my heart most is that the boundaries for these preschoolers are drawn by chalk, a boundary destroyed by the smallest drop of rain. And yet, there they sit being shaped to fear the box next to them as a potential “enemy”, a person who may bring harm to either them or their families.
     This is a battle without weapons, nor a clear cut enemy. It has drawn imaginary lines of safety and caused these children to see the world in a way that we have never had to see it within the privilege of a first world. But I fear more deeply for these children...they are learning that boundaries, literal lines drawn in the sand, are to be respected and are not to be challenged, not to be pushed past. They are learning their enemy is not a “bad guy”, but rather a sickness lurking in the ones they call friends. We have given them reason to fear friendships, to fear learning together, to fear free play and imagination. We have given them a reason to stand in a hand drawn box and feel trapped without a physical boundary to hold them there. This illness, the fear we brought to the table with it, has robbed their innocence like any war would, and for that my heart grieves.
     It is through the innocence of a child that I see genuine joy as they discover the world around them. I see genuine hope as they know not the cynicism of an adult heart. I see genuine love as everyone is a potential friend regardless of any category we place on those around us. I see their faith as they walk out day by day trusting that it will be ok. It is the children who teach us adults to wonder at the world around us. It is the children who renew our passion and hope in God as we slow down long enough to see as they see. Without the innocence of childhood around us how will us adults be inspired? Surely the loss of childhood will ripple through our communities.
      Sadly I don’t have a solution, only a deep nagging feeling that this will not be ok regardless of how temporary these boundaries may be. The thread on the tapestry of childhood has been pulled and each passing event only unravels their innocence one strand after another. You only lose your childhood once, it is a sacred season that must be held in high regard for the sake of them, for the sake of us

Lost in Thought,

Like Grandma Did
[name=Sarah Slanzi] [description=Old-fashioned homemaking steeped in God's grace] (facebook= (instagram= (pinterest=