My Story

Hello! My name is Jerilyn and I have had some major life changes. A few years ago I never would have seen myself taking the initiative to write anything. So, here I am, a person eager to share my healthy and creative lifestyle ideas with you.

Life took some drastic turns for me. For seven years I struggled with chronic digestive conditions. My physical issues got worse over time especially when I couldn’t find a diagnosis. Doctors, specialists, ER, none could give me the answer to my million dollar question. I lost over 30 pounds, was weak and frail. The hardest part was I knew in that small, honest place in my gut (no pun intended) that I needed to rest……badly. I avoided the obvious in hopes that my problems would dissipate. I worried that what my body was experiencing would require my undivided attention, and interrupt the busy years of my twenties. One day I realized I couldn’t go anymore (literally I couldn’t). The burden was too heavy for my now, little body to carry. So, what did I do? I stopped…. everything.

It happened gradually, yet suddenly all at the same time. As the world kept moving I felt like I was standing still, watching others lives progress and move on. Sorrow filled my veins. I couldn’t work, eat much, go many places, or had enough energy to do anything. Days consisted of sleeping, reading, listening and feeling miserable.

Some days I look back and wonder how I survived. I know I wasn’t living, so it had to have been surviving. Day after day, the isolation and physical burdens started to affect my mind. Questions constantly reeled through my head. Between being stuck on the couch, on handfuls of special diets and medications, and going to multiple doctor visits in search of diagnosis, I started drifting into the valley hopelessness. It felt like I was treading water alone, out in a deep ocean where no one could hear me yelling for help.

Pain filled my body and soul more deep than I ever thought possible. How could life be allowed this miserable? Trying to hang on would have been easier, had I known how long I needed to hang on for.

One thankful day, I found myself at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. Upon arriving I was desperate for answers. Seeing the towers at Mayo was like my oasis in the dry desert. Oh, how I longed to feel well. Mayo diagnosed me immediately (after lots of testing of course). I was thankful for answers but couldn’t help thinking, why not earlier? The waiting had only further complicated my situation. Why did this go on so long? Then I found out the trials and questions were just beginning, or continuing.

What I suffered with was not easily curable. Over and over I heard, it will take time and healing was going to be a process. Not a solution you want to hear in an enduring medical crisis. After many treatments and life style changes I have seen improvement, inside and out. I still have to be very mindful of my body, but ready to live life again. To live it more fully than I ever have! To walk, be and show the world the new person I am and becoming. Thus the name of my blog, repurposed life. My health trials have taught me valuable truths going deeper, beyond my physical status. I do believe I had to “lose” my life completely, to gain it back again, more abundant than before.

Enduring illnesses and trials have transformed my journey through life. I believe people’s lives can be “repurposed” through many different methods, in a variety of ways. You may be going through the process yourself as result of a job, career change, weight or health issues, family, children, food allergies, addiction recovery, loss, etc. Whatever you are currently experiencing I hope my blog can help you persevere through the valleys of life, or to enjoy the mountain tops more fully.

I’m inspired by many things in life and love creating (a dangerous combination). Fashion, decorating, nature, food, music, my faith, experiences, books, and fitness are just a few. May my blog inspire and encourage you in your journey, to be uniquely you.

I am also a nutritional consultant and have worked with various clients in the past. For several years in college and after, I struggled with eating disordered thinking, so I understand the battle. Uniquely, that very bondage redeemed, has become my gifting, igniting excitement for healthy cooking, and proper love for food.

My colliding passions for cooking and health will be the main content in my blog. Eating well to fuel your body, and have a healthy relationship with food are a large part of living fully, in my opinion. Here are my thoughts on life, food, creative projects and health. Please feel free to ask any questions or post comments. Thanks for taking a look ~ Enjoy!


28 thoughts on “My Story”

  1. Jerilyn, I love this! What an amazing story that God is writing through you!

  2. Love your story and your blog! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Jerilyn!! You are still such an inspiration to me! I look forward to following your blog!!

  4. Hi Jerlilyn – I just found your blog. Your story is beautiful and you are such a great writer! I am also excited to try some of your recipes – they look amazing!! Blessings to you!!

  5. Kim Brenizer said:

    Hi Jerilyn,

    Would you be willing to send me your email address to We’re wondering if you’d like to come share healthy eating and cooking wisdom with our small group sometime! (If your email is on here, I’m not finding it! I don’t think it is?)

    Thank you!
    Kim Brenizer

  6. Whitney Westphal said:

    Hi Jerilyn!
    So excited that Facebook suggested you as a “friend” one day and now I’ve found your blog! You are doing a great job with this and I am already inspired (both spiritually and creatively!) and blessed by your words. I will be following along! Love and blessings to you,

  7. Jerilyn,
    This is an awesome blog and glad you are sharing your experiences with others. Miss you guys!

  8. My sister sent me this just this morning: 20 million people in the U.S. who have sensitivity to/intolerance of gluten and only 1% know about it.

    I’ve had terrible digestive problems, pain (all over), exhaustion, etc. for 11 years. The doctors called it depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia. My cousin the realtor said last July, “You can test negative for celiacs (I had) and still be terribly intolerant of gluten.”

    I looked it up on the internet. There were ALL my symptoms. I’ve been gluten free since July 7, 2011. I even took a walk this morning, without collapsing in bed afterwards!

    Your Black Bean and Mango Salsa is gluten free. I can hardly wait to try it!

    • Thanks for the info Joy – yes I am on an allergen free diet as well…I’ve tried many but currently no wheat/gluten or dairy. A few of my recipes follow those guidelines like the california spring rolls, the salsa you saw and a few others. Thanks again for your thoughts!

  9. Just saw your video on Pioneer Woman and wanted to look up your blog. May the Lord bless you in your repurposed life! Congratulations on your recipe win!!!!

  10. Dana B. said:

    Today I finally got around to watching the videos on Pioneer Woman’s blog of the Bush’s Grillin’ Beans reipe winners. That’s where I saw you and your beautiful mom and heard you mention you blog. (And I can hardly wait to try your salmon recipe!) You were able to convey such heartfelt and sincere passion and gratefulness for life and cooking that I knew after seeing your video and listening to your very brief story, I wanted to learn more about you. I believe it takes great courage and confidence to reveal one’s daily struggles as you have done. I look forward to perusing your blog. My best to you in your continued quest for good health!

  11. Yea, I finally found your blog!! I saw the video of you on the Pioneer Woman’s website and have been searching ever since. I am so happy for you to have won the Grillin’ contest. You so deserve it. You did a fabulous job. My mom raised me eating a lot of health food, and I can really relate to the content on your blog. While I was never diagnosed with any kind of allergies, I feel so much better avoiding dairy and keeping my gluten intake in check. I look forward to sharing this repurposed life journey with you! God bless you in all your endeavors.

  12. Jennifer Sullivan said:

    Jerilyn~ fun to “find” you on here…quite by accident, but very thankful! I’ve often wondered where you guys are living now and how you are doing! ๐Ÿ™‚ Looks like well. I’d love to hear more about what God has been/is doing in your life. Your blog is beautiful and I hope to get a chance to try some of your wonderful recipes! Have a wonderful weekend friend!

  13. Anne Miller said:

    Hi Jerilyn-A friend shared your blog on her Facebook page. Your story reminded me of Jordin Rubin’s, founder of Garden of Life. He wrote of his account with a mysterious digestive disorder in his book “The Maker’s Diet.” I hope you get to read it at some point to see if there are any similarities to your issues!

  14. I have nominated you for The Liebster Award! (I feel like I should really say โ€œTag, youโ€™re it!โ€) Itโ€™s silly, but nevertheless, I really enjoy reading your blog. Please click here to accept it/participate! ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Jerilyn, we sound like we have the same story only I am still in the middle of my illness. So that sucks! Haha.

    It’s lovely to find you here and follow your blog!

    Thanks for sharing your story!! xx

  16. Jan Erickson said:

    Thanks for sharing your story, truly our redeemed bondage becomes our gifting and purpose! Beauty from ashes!

  17. Jerilyn your blog looks fantastic!! I look forward to following you ๐Ÿ™‚

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