Our Love Story

As part of my Next Chapters, I wanted to share the following chapter from my book, My Heroes Ask Wallflowers to Dance (December 2012), and how a chronic disease (cystic fibrosis) and subsequent lung and kidney transplants, has allowed Patrick and I to cherish each other every single day and love with an eternal perspective – in hopes that it will remind us all how precious the gifts of  time, love and life truly are:

“I just had this feeling wash over me that I really needed to get to know her,” my husband, Patrick, remembers about the first time he saw me at church. Although no words were exchanged between us, that very same day, I followed promptings I felt to end the serious relationship I was in with a different suitor. Less than two weeks later, both Patrick and I embarked on independent trips to Mexico: he on a surf trip, and me vacationing with friends. While driving, while talking and while in between waves, Patrick asked his friends all about me, one of which happened to be my old roommate.

As he and his friends stood outside a taco shop on the dusty streets of Puerto Nuevo, Patrick was the first to spot me strolling down the street, hitting his brother and exclaiming, “Dude, Ryan! Is that that girl? No way…!”  Seconds later, my friend who was standing with Patrick, exclaimed, “Jen, Jen Sabin!”  As I met Patrick, I immediately noticed his smiley eyes, sparkling with warmth and kindness.  A very macho, “Hey” was all he could muster in his nervous excitement.

A short time later, I helped Patrick move to Carlsbad, California from Murrieta, California, and a small group of us became inseparable, laughing until our stomachs ached almost every night. Within the next three months, I was hospitalized twice, quite out of the ordinary compared to the previous three years of no hospitalizations and the years that would follow.  I believe these hospitalizations served as a crash course for Patrick and the hard questions associated with my life.  As I waited for test results in the ER, Patrick and my roommate, Andrea, brought me my favorite Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream, “Chubby Hubby,” which we ate with hospital tongue depressors, the only utensils we could find.

February 2006

After I was admitted to the hospital, and in between IV doses, Patrick and I made a “jail break,” sneaking past the nurses’ station, to a local Japanese restaurant for our very memorable second date. I had never known if I was going to get married but I had always known I wasn’t going to settle for anything less than my soul mate. The joy of finding sweet, fun Patrick, in addition to my own happiness, was incomprehensible.

Patrick and I spent so much time talking that I knew I wanted to marry him before we ever even held hands.  He knew too. When I brought up my health concerns to him: that I didn’t know if I should have children, that I would eventually need a kidney transplant and that the future is all uncharted territory, he didn’t even flinch. He simply responded, “Everyone has challenges. We’ll know what’s right, everything will work out how it’s supposed to….I’ve been searching for this for so long, I’m just sorry it took me so long to find you.”

When my dad visited with Patrick privately before we were married, he asked him how much he knew of the high risk situation he was facing and if he was prepared to have his heart broken. Patrick reiterated that it did not matter how long we had in this life as long as he had me for forever.  Such is the comfort that comes from the beliefs we possess in temple marriage and such is the character and depth of my soul mate.

May 26, 2006
May 26, 2006

As I giddily entered the exquisitely beautiful, exquisitely white room where we were to be married in the San Diego Latter-Day Saint Temple, I beheld a sea of loving smiles and twinkling eyes of family, friends and my remarkable lung donors. I struggled to keep my composure…and eventually lost the battle. The miracles in my life had already been profound and the gift of Patrick was the best miracle of all!

Patrick, my dear sweetheart, and I have now been married for over six years [at the time this was published, now over 15!], and there isn’t a day that goes by that he doesn’t make me laugh or feel loved. As I contemplate my future, I’d like to share a very special journal entry about my sweetheart with the hope that it will cause you to cherish your own spouse and/or your own loved ones more, asking them to dance, and if need be, carrying them onto the dance floor:

May 26, 2009, our third year anniversary: I told Patrick that at times I feel so selfish for him marrying me and then me leaving him [in death]. He assured me that he wanted to be with me forever. He said he does think about me dying but if anything it is a great motivating factor for him to be a better person because I was “perfect.” He said he “will cross that bridge when he gets there …”

Blowing in the wind on a Caribbean Cruise
Blowing in the wind on a Caribbean Cruise

I never used to think about death so much because I knew I was supposed to survive my transplant. Now, after researching for my book and seeing how few people live past ten years, I realize I could go anytime. I am glad I am more aware but often I wish I could just turn my brain off and stop worrying for my sweetie. It’s so fascinating, I used to not care about dying because it was a way to escape this life’s challenges, now I just pray to prolong it as long as possible so Patrick won’t be alone very long. Then my mind wanders to everyone else…all my dear family members and all my dear friends…and my heart breaks for each one of them. I know we will all be reunited again, but I also know how hard and long the mourning of this life can be.  I think about how if Patrick was to die, how crushed, devastated and paralyzed I would be, he is my life, my joy, my everything. I marvel at how perfect we are for each other: he makes me laugh every second and is so sweet, patient, fun and pure. We just “get each other” and “need each other.” We love to be silly; often Patrick we’ll be like, “We’re such idiots,” because of the silly fun we’re having together, glad no one else can hear.

He is a very special man to willingly endure this trial, as well as not having children and to see past this life and its frailty to the eternities beyond. I feel like I have to be much more “amazing” to make up for everything.

Brooke [(his sister)] told me once he had said, “I’d rather have Jen for a few years in this life and then for the rest of eternity than nothing at all. ”


I am so blessed to have Patrick in my life, from “bourbon burgers” [(a Carl’s Jr. special)] to the beach, to cuddling during movies, to cooking together, talking together, laughing together. I am the luckiest girl in the world to have been brought together with my soul mate. We get to celebrate eternity together… and have tons of fun FOREVER! I love you Patrick with all of my heart. You are the joy in my life and I am so privileged to be married to you. You teach me so much and I couldn’t love you any more. Thank you for loving me, thank you for your faith, thank you for being my best friend and the best husband in the whole wide world. I love you forever!!!

My Heroes Ask Wallflowers To Dance, Jennifer Sabin Sattley, December 2012

Photo courtesy of Look-It Photography

Read more about my life saving living donor double lung transplant HERE.

Read more about my story, eternal perspectives and “life lessons,”   HERE (A Perfect Brightness of Hope“)

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  1. Brooke says

    Jen! I found myself wishing your post would be 10x longer!!! You have such a gift with words. You two are so meant for each other. We are so lucky and blessed to have you in our family. You shine! 😉 b

    • Jen says

      You are so sweet Brooke! I feel the same about you, blessed everyday to be part of your family!!!

    • Ella says

      Oh dear I never post on here anywhere so hope I am doing it right. I just wanted to say, I stopped by for the recipe and then read your story. Your are a blessing and what a great love story. You have something beautiful that we all strive to find. Enjoy every minute as none of us are promised a single day whether healthy or not. God bless you both

      • Jen says

        Yes Ella, you absolutely did it right! Sorry for the delayed response as we are moving and things are crazy but THANK YOU so much for your comment and for taking time to read my story! I am grateful everyday for all I have and for wonderful people like you who bring sunshine into my life! May God bless you and yours!

  2. Lauren says

    Never were there two sweeter soulmates. The way you love and cherish each other on a daily basis is so inspiring. Best real-life love story

    • Jen says

      Thanks Lauren! Our life is even better because of friends like you!

  3. Jennifer Ortiz says

    happened upon you and this story quite by accident, God bless you, your hubby and your family. What an amazing story- and what a beautiful bride you were! Wow.
    Thanks for sharing =)

    • Jen says

      I am so happy you did stumble upon my site and story! You are so sweet to take the time to comment, I really appreciate you and your kind words!!!

  4. Rheney Williams says

    Yes, I also stumbled upon you but nothing’s ever really by accident, is it? Jen was meant to find you, as was I!
    And I will confess this is a first for me: Brought to tears by someone I found while searching Pinterest for something fun to eat tonight: Check!
    May the Lord bless and keep you and your family. May His face continue to shine upon you. And be gracious and give you peace!

    • Jen says

      You are the kindest person Rheney! You made my day! No, I don’t think there is much in life that is accident – I am so found you stumbled upon my blog! I am continually in awe how everything has a way of working out and unfolding in our lives. May the lord bless you and your family as well!

    • brenda says

      Hi Jen as Reheny says I was looking for some nice meal to make on pinterest and found you and your story which encourages everyone and people like me to live every day happy and laughing .Sometimes I find myself complaining for trivial or stupid things . I send you all my love and greetings from this part of the world. Patagonia Argentina.

      • Jen says

        Hi Brenda, greetings from California to Argentina! Thank you so much for visiting my blog and for taking the time to comment. I am grateful you found my story uplifting, that brings a big smile to my face! Sending you back all my love as well! Thank you!

  5. suzanne b says

    Oh my……what a story………you are both so blessed……….may you have many more happy days ahead. I must get kleenix now. 🙂

    • Jen says

      You are so sweet, thank you Suzanne! We feel blessed every day :)!

  6. Wendy says

    I too just stumbled across your story when looking for yummy dinner ideas on Pintrest. First, I found your delicious recipe for General Tso’s Chicken ( which by the way was AMAZING ), then I was able to read your story. You have such a special story, I hope you both much joy and happiness.. It is such a wonderful feeling to find someone who truly “gets” you.. Thank you for sharing 🙂

    • Jen says

      Hi Wendy! I am so happy you loved my General Tso’s Chicken and I so appreciate you taking the time to not only read my story but to comment! Life is truly precious and I am grateful everyday for people who fill my life with love and kindness like you have today! Thanks for visiting and bringing a smile to my face! Happy Sunday!

  7. Bron says

    I came for Beef & Broccoli but am leaving with so much more… thank you for sharing your story, I too am in tears. Thank you for reminding me of just how much I have to be grateful for – easy to forget sometimes in the hustle bustle of everyday life, I will be giving my family lots of extra kisses tonight!! Best wishes to you and your hubby for many, MANY beautiful years together… and many more yummy recipes!!

    • Jen says

      Thank you Bron! Sometimes I wonder if having my story so public is too personal, but when I get comments like yours today, I am so happy that I have shared! I completely agree that sometimes the hustle and bustle of life can seem to take over – its always good to have reminders of what’s really important. As one of my favorite quotes says, “If you want something to last forever, you cherish it.” Thank you again for commenting and for your best wishes! Best wishes to you and your family as well!

  8. Kristie says

    Your story is especially touching to me as I am a mom to two CF kids. My daughter is 15 and is in the hospital more then she is home and is in fact getting referred to Stanford to see if she qualifies to get on the lung transplant list. My kids and my ex are also LDS. It makes. Me so happy to see how there are wonderful men who will look past the health issues and let themselves love when the future is so uncertain. There is a smile on ,my face and tears in my eyes. I’m so grateful I came across your blog!!! Thank you!!!

    • Jen says

      Oh Kristie, your comment has so touched my heart as I know so much of what your family is going through. I am sorry to hear your daughter’s health has been such a struggle lately. I can’t even imagine the strain your children’s ups and downs are on you and your family (I always thought it was harder on the parents). No doubt you are an earthly angel who they are so blessed to call their mother! My friend received her lung transplant (actually a heart/lung transplant) from Stanford almost 2 years ago and has had nothing to say but wonderful things about the Stanford team. I know the prospect of getting a transplant can be so much easier when you have someone to talk to who has already been through it. If you or your daughter have any questions or ever want to talk about anything, I am here!

  9. nancy mitchell says

    I’m praying for you and your family. Keep smiling.

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much Nancy, you are such a sweetheart! Thank you for your prayers, they are very much appreciated!

  10. Jaynie says

    You are a sweet girl! Your husband; a truly nice and selfless man! I LOVE your spirit in what must be VERY trying times. Read your BIBLE everyday and pray for Holy Spirit to highlight scriptures that apply to you. Jehovah God will guide you, he will direct you, he will ‘hold you with his right hand of righteousness’. I feel stupid saying how much I enjoy your recipes when I am so taken by your story, but it’s obviously a source of joy for you and for everyone who reads your blog, so………KEEP WRITING GIRL!

    • Jen says

      Yes, Patrick is truly selfless! What a sweetheart you are Jaynie to share your love and uplifting words -thank you! I definitely have a testimony in scriptures and prayer – they give me peace and hope through Christ everyday for which I am SO grateful! Thank you also for saying you love my recipes! I feel like I give a piece of myself to each one of them – they become like my dear friends – so it does mean a lot that you like them as well 🙂 Thank you for your encouragement in my life and my recipes – made my day, week, month… :)!

    • Jen says

      Thanks Delphine! I’m always happy to get personal if it will help someone 🙂

  11. Vicki says

    Don’t even remember how I got to your website what a beautiful story my sister was Mormon aways said she had a direct line to God just because she was so pure of heart. Sounds like you and the hubs are too wishing you both the best I know i misty eyed over your story. Best wishes for you both 😉

    • Jen says

      Hi Vicki, I am so happy you found my site – one way or another 🙂 Thank you so much for reaching out with your kind words and warming my heart. I wish you and your family the very best as well!

  12. Suzanna Graf says

    Like many others, I too stumbled on your story while looking for a chicken recipe on printer net.
    Through my tears I’m trying to type a response to you, how your life story has touched me,
    What an amazing love you both have together! And what an amazing girl you are!
    I’m waiting here in Australia for my results, hoping all is well.
    Having read your story I know whatever the outcome all will be well!
    Thank you for sharing and I wish you a wonderful and fantastic future!!,

  13. Michelle says

    I also stumbled across your blog. I read A LOT of food blogs and don’t comment very often, but your story was very touching and your pictures and recipes look amazing. Loved your and Patrick’s story, best wishes for the future to you both. I’m going to hug my husband a little tighter tonight and try out some of your recipes on him too!

    You have a new fan in Houston, TX!

    • Jen says

      Hi Michelle, welcome to Carlsbad Cravings! I am so glad you “stumbled” upon and my story 🙂 Thank you for your best wishes! Since my kidney transplant last year, I feel the best I have in years so we are definitely living it up! I love that you said you would hug your husband a little tighter tonight – so precious and the reason I shared such a personal part of my life – thank you for making it worth it! I bet he would love it if you tried some of my recipes on him 🙂 Food is the way to a man’s heart! And you get to eat it too, so its a win -win 🙂 Thanks again Michelle, I wish the very best to you and your family as well in Houston!

  14. Amy says

    Jen – just found your blog and can relate to so much of it. My son had a liver transplant when he was 8 and he is now 18. We’ve been riding the roller coaster of transplant since then. Happily today is a good day! Plus I have stage 4 breast cancer and worry about leaving my husband of 25 years. Thanks so much for your honesty and sharing about both subjects! Hope today is a good day for you!

    • Jen says

      Hi Amy, thank you so much for taking the time to reach out. My heart aches for all your family has been through. A liver transplant at 8?! And now breast cancer?! You must be a very, strong, special woman. I don’t know if you’d be interested, but I wrote a talk called, “A Perfect Brightness of Hope” under my Soul Food. It might bring you some comfort. It is how I am able to live my life with hope and happiness. Life is can still be painful, but it gives me perspective. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family! God bless! xoxo, Jen

  15. Tanya says


    I too was just looking for an idea for dinner and got completely drawn to your story. My husband had a kidney transplant in 2005 just after we got married. I knew he was sick and was going to have to get one eventually. Luckily, he received a kidney from a living donor and he is still doing very well with it. We now have a 3 year old son, Noah who is the light of our life. Hang in there! You never know what life will bring you. It was definately a tough journey and of course we still think about what the future holds for us. We are coming up on his 9 year kidney anniversary this August, and it is both a happy and a scary thing to celebrate. However his kidney is doing so well, we can only hope that it will last many more years! I wilsh you and yours all the best!!!

    • Jen says

      Hi Tanya, I am sorry for the delay in responding to you as I am in the hospital with pneumonia and just starting to play catchup but I am so happy you took the time to comment and reach out. What a wonderful blessing your husband was able to receive a kidney from a living donor and is doing so well- Happy 9 years to him (and really happy 9 years to both of you!) in August! Transplants are such a blessing! I am constantly in awe and grateful for modern medicine! I couldn’t believe the difference I felt after my lung transplant and then I couldn’t believe the difference again after my kidney transplant! I am grateful too, that although significant, kidneys aren’t as much a “life or death” organ. I know someone who has had 3 kidney transplants over his life! I wish nothing but health and blessings to you and your family. I am sure your Noah is one lucky boy to be blessed with parents who value him, each other, health and life!

  16. Sapna Kakkar says


    I happened to come across your site when I was looking for Thai Peanut tacos taco recipes (YUM) and while I was reading the story of you cutting Patrick’s Hair, I thought to myself what a happy person. She sounds amazing.

    I stumbled upon your love story soon after, and that just confirmed my thought.

    You are blessed to have such a wonderful Husband, as is he to have you!

    You have a new fan here in New Delhi, India

    Blessed be!!


    • Jen says

      Ah, thank you so much Sapna! I truly am blessed to to have Patrick in my life. He brings me joy every single day! You sound like such a sweetheart and I am so happy you connected all the way from India! And I agree with you, Kiwi is adorable, almost as adorable as Patrick – almost 🙂 I wish you the very best!

      PS. My parents have visited India quite a bit. They helped with some drop in centers there. I was fortunate to gather some of the pictures for the site – what beautiful children! http://www.sabinchildrensfoundation.org/projects/new_delhi.html

  17. Reba says

    I came across your sight when getting the recipe for the toffee pecan caramel pound cake. I can’t wait to try it. We are pecan growers in NM so pecans are a staple in our house.
    What a blessing your sight is. I truly believe that God puts people in our lives for a reason. What a beautiful couple you two are. I will pray for you on this journey. Your trust in God is amazing and so glad you are able and willing to share it with others.

    • Jen says

      Hi Reba, I have never met a pecan grower, happy to meet you! If I were you I would be adding pecans to everything, they are so yummy 🙂 Thank you so much for your kind words about my site and about Patrick and I. This site has been a wonderful opportunity to share not only my recipes but more of my journey, hope and trust as well so I am happy to hear when someone gets something out of it :). Thank you so much for your prayers, I know they make a difference and I am so grateful for your support. God bless you and your family as well!

  18. Ev says

    I too stumbled across your site. My situation was similar as I was to be married 2 weeks before receiving a deadly diagnosis. My Fiancé changed, went from day to night, fear gripped him so strong he was paralyzed. God told me to release him. I fought the good fight of faith and won! To God be the Glory. Today, I’m as healthy as ever. He on the other hand married someone else, I’m told he’s miserable. Nothing to rejoice about, I’m too thankful for God’s Faithfulness, I stood on the word of God when everything around me was caving in and God performed the miracle I needed through his WORD. Do not compare your situation with others who have gone before you or even to the statics given by the doctors. Continue to trust God and LIVE. He’s not through using your Testimony, it tells of his compassion, his faithfulness, his will to do good unto us…despite current situations. You shall live all to days the Lord God has promised (70 plus yrs. according to his promise). Nothing will happen that you and God can’t handle. So, continue to dream, plan, live… PEACE

    • Jen says

      Hi Ev, I am so sorry about your experience with your fiance but happy you followed God’s spirit to let him go and even HAPPIER you are healthy! Thank you so much for your absolutely beautiful words of faith, trust, hope and peace in God. I trust God’s will and timing wholeheartedly which has blessed me with complete peace with my current situation. I am so grateful for God in my life every single day and grateful for beautiful people like you whose faith, strength and testimony uplift and inspire others! God bless!

  19. Amy says

    What a beautiful love story. I came cause your jalepeno burger buns looked right up my alley, and I’m glad I stayed! Xo from San Francisco!

    • Jen says

      Hi Amy, thank you so much! I feel very blessed every day 🙂 I am so happy you stayed too and I hope you have a chance to try the burgers soon! Hugs to you!

  20. Colleen says

    Jen~ I also stumbled upon your story while looking at recipes! You and Patrick have a beautiful story, and your outlook on life is VERY inspiring! I wish you both of lifetime full of happiness!!! God Bless You!

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much Colleen! God bless you and yours as well!!!

  21. Dana @ 3boysunprocessed says

    Wow! What an amazing story! Thank you so much for sharing. I don’t know how it would feel to be living with something like that, but I’m praying for your strength! I just found out this week how quickly someone can be taken by the Lord and how much it hurts, and this was another great reminder. Thanks again for sharing!

    • Jen says

      You are so kind, thank you so much Diana! I am so sorry someone you loved passed on so recently. The mourning process can be very difficult, but it helps to know we will see them again. I pray for your strength and comfort as well! xoxoxo!

  22. Jamie Hoehn says

    I happened upon your lovely story looking for recipes, and as I sat sipping my coffee, the tears started flowing…..
    I know a love like this, I live it and I know what it feels like to experience a beautiful life with your soul mate.
    The way you described your husband is how I describe mine. I too am sick, I have been for almost 20 years, my husband has taken care of me, loved me through all the hard times, and celebrated the good with so much enthusiasm.
    I now realize if I passed away tomorrow, my 41 yrs on this earth has been a beautiful journey and one I would never want to change, but like you, I’m not ready to go so easily anymore, because life here with my family is too beautiful to let go of so easily. Thank you for sharing and for reminding me we are never alone on our journey. God bless and take care.

    • Jen says

      Oh Jamie, I am so happy you found my blog! I feel as though we are soul mates as well as it is so rare for someone to understand completely what it is like to have such a love that can be gone any day. But I know this life is just a spec in the eternities and we will all be reunited with our loved ones forever. I am so happy you have found your soul mate and have been able to enjoy life together for 20 years going strong! Congratulations on your beautiful life together and a beautiful forever together! God bless you and your family! Wishing you many years of happiness and love together! xxoxoxo!

  23. Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet says

    This is such a beautiful post, Jen! Those of us who get to find their soul mate and marry should always remember how precious life is. And how lucky we are. My Hubby is my best friend, my soul mate, my everything and I often meet people who don’t understand this kind of relationship. It’s so good to see that there are couples out there that know what they have and appreciate it. Lots of love to you guys! xoxo

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much Anna! I am so happy that you and your husband found each other – It is truly one of the greatest blessings of life to be brought together with your soul mate. It can make everyday wonderful just by remembering this gift! Much love to both and your beautiful family!

  24. Hannah Davison says

    What a beautiful connection you two were given. God bless you both. You’ve touched my heart.

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much Hannah! I am grateful everyday for our love and friendship. God bless you and yours!

  25. Paula Jones says

    Wow! I need help finding the words to say that would describe how your story made me feel. I’m happy for you and your husband.

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much Paula. Patrick is truly one of the miracles in my life for which I am most grateful. God bless!

  26. Sharon LeBlanc says

    I happened upon your site today totally by accident… while i was looking for a recipe while talking on the phone to my son Justin who also happens to have Cystic Fibrosis…. He is 30…I never thought he would make it to 30 because when he was diagnosed @ 6 months they told us children with CF lived till their early 20s…. I just want you to know how very strange I thought this was and also to read later that you had a brother named Justin who was second born to your Mom and Dad just as our Justin is second born to my husband and I ….. I believe that Family & God plays a Special role in Our lives ….We are so Thankful for Our Son Justin…. And I Thank You for writing about You and Your AMAZING Family!!!! God Bless You & Your Family

    • Jen says

      Hi Sharon, I got goose bumps when I read your comment. I feel so connected to you and your Justin without even knowing you! My Justin would be 36 this March but I know I will see him again. I totally agree that family and God plays a special role in our lives – and is all that matters in our lives. I am so happy for you and your sweet Justin’s health, and for all the advancements that have been made in CF research that make our lives possible. We are surrounded by miracles. I pray the Lord’s choicest blessings upon you and your family, and for continued health and happiness for years to come!

  27. Rosy says

    I landed on your site looking for chicken stir fry recipe and came across this beautiful love story.

    You are one lucky lady to have such a man to stand by your side despite all those trials you’ve both been through, knowing that the future is uncertain. I have tears swelling in my eyes and I can feel the love between you despite being miles and miles away (I’m from Mauritius).

    I wish you both all the best and that this love flourish even more over the many many many many many years to come! I believe in God and I believe in His miracles! Have faith!

    On a side note, your recipes are amazing 🙂

    • Jen says

      Hi Rosy, greetings all the way to Mauritius! I feel your love, faith and strong spirit coming through my screen. I feel so blessed every single day to have such a man by my side. He truly is one of the greatest miracles of my life. Thank you so much for taking the time to reach out. Thank you for your thoughtful well wishes. Thank you for your faith. God is great. God bless you and yours!

  28. Janet says

    First of all your recipes are amazing. I have saved so many to cook over the easter break (i’m from London) and most of all your story is so amazing. May God bless and keep the both of you. Your story is so amazing x

    • Jen says

      I am so happy you are loving my recipes Janet and I am excited for you to try many of them this Easter! Thank you so much for your kind words about my story. I am constantly humbled by all the blessings in my life including kind people like you! I hope you have a joyous Easter!

  29. Chris says

    Wonderful story! May you both live long, loving lives in love. Thanks for sharing the recipes. They look great.

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much Chris. Best to you and yous as well!

  30. Christie McCready says

    My son would have been 31 years old this Friday, April 24, 2015. He died in a tragic accident on May 19, 2015. My son Matthew was an organ donor. Matt was my best friend as well as my beloved son. We catered over a thousand weddings together. He was a devout Christian and I know he is my own personal angel watching over me now. My friends and catering staff are going to meet on his birthday at his grave and toast him, then return to our catering shop to have a potluck dinner and share memories of Matt.

    April is National Organ Donation Month and last week, organ donor families met at our governor’s office and received the highest civilian award in the state of Washington. It was a moving ceremony and lovely honor to those families.
    21 people in Washington die every day waiting for a donation. Washington state is third in organ donation.

    My life has been shattered and it is hard to go on. But I know one day in heaven I will be with him again. Do check out my website. I just catered in November for the food channel!



    • Jen says

      Hi Christie, my heat hurts for your loss. I am so deeply sorry. I can only relate in a small way as I lost my brother to CF at age 19. I am so grateful for the knowledge, as you said, that we well all be reunited again someday and you will get to embrace your Matt. Still, the mourning of this life can be so long and painful – I don’t know how people do it without the knowledge of a glorious forever reunion. Your Matt sounds like a wonderful young man to be very proud of. His decision to be a donor speaks volumes and no doubt he change and saved many lives. He is truly a hero. I love that Washington honored organ donor families with the highest civilian honor – well deserved! I pray your heart can be lifted and comforted. HUGS!!! Jen

  31. Marie says

    I love your story and I wish you the very very best. I’ve had a lung disease for 20 years and I’m having the lobe removed where the disease is this week. You really do just make each day the very best you can and rely upon the Lord and His guiding hand. In the end, it will all be okay. I’m excited to start trying your recipes. They look amazing!

    • Jen says

      Hi Marie, I hope your surgery went well! Modern medicine is amazing! and I completely agree, it is all about trusting the Lord. May God bless you and yours!! xoxo

  32. Tammy Southall says

    Just came across your website. Very touched by your story. I hope that all is well with you. May God continue to touch your body and heal you completely.

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much Tammy, your hopes and prayers are so appreciated! I am doing really well and grateful for everyday and for people like you! My God bless you and yours!

  33. Rebecca Bell says

    I saw your roll recipe on Pinterest which lead me to your website. I am so happy that you found your true love and I will keep you in my prayers that you live a LONG LONG happy life with Patrick. God Bless both of you.

    • Jen says

      Welcome to my site! I am so happy you found me through pinterest and SO grateful for your prayers – they really do make a difference!! xoxoxo

  34. Brenda says

    Dear Jen and Patrick, I like nothing more than romance, love stories, but yours, real life love story is the best ever. God Bless you both with health and happiness for many many years more. I would’ve preferred five happy years instead of forty-five where all the loving and caring was just in my head, took me too long to realize it was all lies. It’s not quantity but quality that counts. All my love, Brenda

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much Brenda! I completely agree- quality over quantity in love, life and everything! I am sorry that your love wasn’t what you thought it was but I pray your life can be filled with love forever more! Sending you my LOVE!! xoxox

  35. Trina says

    Jen, I just stumbled across you on Pinterest. Your story is amazing, we all need to live with the love our lives like our time here is limited, because it really is, for everyone! I love the way you talk about treasuring each moment in time with each other, my husband nor I have any life threatening problems, other than age, we’ve been married almost 24 years, and like you we try to enjoy all our time together! One thing that we do together is worship God, that is something that we feel brings us closer together as well as closer to Him, and ensures us that the honeymoon will go on forever!

  36. Trina says

    Jen, I just stumbled across you on Pinterest. Your story is amazing, we all need to live with the love our lives like our time here is limited, because it really is, for everyone! I love the way you talk about treasuring each moment in time with each other, my husband nor I have any life threatening problems, other than age, we’ve been married almost 24 years, and like you we try to enjoy all our time together! One thing that we do together is worship God, that is something that we feel brings us closer together as well as closer to Him, and ensures us that the honeymoon will go on forever! I wish for you good health and lots of love and fun for the rest of your lives!

    • Jen says

      Hi Trina, welcome to Carlsbad Cravings! I am so happy you found my blog through pinterest! Congratulations on 24 years of marriage – that is wonderful! I love how you talked about worshiping God together and how that helps the honeymoon go on forever – I couldn’t agree more! We strive to put God at the center of our relationship which ensures a strong, solid, forever foundation. Much love to you and your husband and wishing you many more years of honeymoon bliss 🙂

  37. Kim McIntosh says

    The two of you look perfect together. Such a cute couple. Quality over quantity is definitely it. I was married for 14 years to someone I pretty much could not stand after about 3 years of marriage. I stuck in it for my kids and now totally regret it. Since then I have met a man and have been with him for over 4 years. These have been the best 4 years of my life. He treats me like no other ever has.
    I wish for you and your husband a lifetime of happiness and may God bless you both.

    P.S. Love the puppy in your picture. What kind is it?

    • Jen says

      Hi Kim, thank you for your kind words and I totally agree with you on quality vs. quantity! I am SO HAPPY for you and your new love of 4 years – you deserve it! God bless you and your family as well! (My dog is a French Bulldog – my favorite breed ever and I’ve had 5 in my life 🙂 )

  38. Susy says

    Beautiful and exciting story!
    Congratulations and long life to you and your husband.

    • Jen says

      Oh, thank you so much Susy! God bless you and yours as well! xo

  39. Momzcuisine says

    You are very lucky to have Patrick in your life and you are experiencing what every woman looks for genuine love. I wish you a life time of happiness : ) I loved your story !!

    • Jen says

      Yes, very lucky indeed! Thank you for taking time to read my story and for the well wishes! I wish you all the best as well!!

  40. Cindy says

    Thank you so much for the beautiful reminder that I needed to cherish my eternal companion. Having been married and sealed together in the Salt Lake Temple for 13 years now I needed to remember my own love story and reading yours made me all that much more grateful for mine. Mine started as a divorced mom of 3 children when two missionaries (one being much older 27) knocked on my door. How grateful I am for the knowledge that families can be together forever, that we have a Father in Heaven who loves us so much he gave his only begotten Son, and that through the miracle of forgiveness we can return to live with him and with our families if we but live worthily. Thank you for your wonderful blogging and many happy wishes for you and your husband in the new year.

    • Jen says

      Hi Cindy, thank you so much for your beautiful comment and testimony! I loved reading just a glimpse of your own love story and I am so happy you and your sweetheart found each other – and the gospel! Prayers for you and your family this New Year and all of God’s richest blessings! xo

  41. Brittany Marie says

    Hi, Jen! I came here through a link on Pinterest for your Mini Chocolate Peanut Butter pies, and while that recipe and the photos look amazing, your love story is so much sweeter! I’m so glad I clicked the “Our Love Story” link. I’m so touched that you have the love that so many of us hope for, and I hope that you will be around for a long, long time to enjoy it. xoxo

    • Jen says

      Hi Brittany, I am so honored you stumbled upon my site and Our Love Story. Thank you for not only reading it but for reaching out with your kind, warm comment. Thank you so much and I wish for you all the best and nothing but true love! xo

  42. Peter L says

    Stumbled upon your story from one of your Pinterest recipes. Your recipes rock btw ..
    It’s a really touching story and I wish you and your soulmate all the best in life, you look so cute together. Thanks for sharing.

    • Jen says

      Hi Peter, you are such a sweetheart, thank you so much for your kind words! I am so grateful every day for my soulmate and for wonderful people like you that bring joy to life! I wish you and yours all the best as well!

  43. Lisa says

    I was looking for a soup recipe on Pinterest but ended up stumbling upon something WAY better. This is a beautiful story of life and love. Thank you so much for sharing it. May God bless you with more for being faithful with the little. And may others be blessed by your example as well.

    • Jen says

      You are so kind, thank you Lisa! I am so glad you stumbled upon my blog and my story. Thank you so much for taking the time to read it and for your encouraging words. May God bless you and yours as well!

  44. Suzanne says

    What a beautiful blog…..came for food for dinner…left with my soul nourished! I’m a member of the LDS church also and am so grateful how you are sharing the beautify of the gospel through your faith and love. You are beautiful!!!!

    • Jen says

      Hi Suzanne, THANK YOU for your kind, thoughtful comment! I feel so blessed every day to be doing what I love and honored that part of that includes sharing my story and faith. Thank you for taking time to read my story and for reaching out and making my day brighter! xo

  45. Kathy M. says

    Like so many others I came upon your site by accident. Big Oven posted your recipe for Chicken Tortilla Soup made in a crockpot. Your story is awe-inspiring and inspirational! My husband and I were high school sweethearts and had been married for almost 53 years when he passed away. I miss him daily, but I too have Faith that we will reunited in Heaven. God bless you and Patrick. Continue to treasure every minute together.

    • Jen says

      Hi Kathy, thank you so much for taking the time to read our story and for your blessing! Your story also touched my heart, there is something so magical about high school sweethearts! I am so sorry for your loss and heartache but grateful for your life together and for your faith in a happy reunion – what a happy, blessed day that will be! God be with you till you meet again! xo

  46. Gail says


    Thank you for your story, My son (27 yrs old) has CF, and is currently doing all the testing to get onto the lung transplant list. Your story has helped us cope with the many mental challenges we are currently going through. It has given us hope and it will help us maintain a positive outlook for the future. Marshal has so much yet to offer to others in his life and we are grateful that we have this opportunity and technology so that he can continue to make life better for him and everyone he associates with. He has already made a big difference in many people’s lives with his outlook on life and his helping soul.

    • Jen says

      Hi Gail, big hugs to you, Marshal and your whole family! I am so humbled to hear my story has helped you through this difficult time. If you or Marshal want to email or talk directly, I would be happy to answer any questions you might have. It has been almost 17 years since my double lung transplant and am so grateful every day for the technology, donors and second chance at life. Marshal sounds like a strong, giving man and I have no doubt he will be able to bless even more peoples lives with his new found energy after his transplant! All my love and prayers to you and your family!

  47. Donna @ The Culinary Artist says

    I’m not quite sure how I stumbled upon your site several weeks ago, quite possibly from Pinterest whilst looking for dinner inspiration. I’ve loved the recipes and photos on your site since finding them, having made numerous entrees and salads with much satisfaction. Today I happened upon this post – a post about your Love Story. It touched me how you shared so vulnerably the love that you share with Patrick. A love despite what may have been or what may present itself in the future. I’m lucky to have a companion made of the same golden heart. Indeed we must take life one day at a time and be mindful of our blessings. I blog about my journey (and share my love of gluten free cooking) at http://theculinaryartist.com. The journey that changed my life can be found specifically here:http://theculinaryartist.com/discovering-my-new-normal/
    I certainly look forward to more of your yummy creations. I wish you good health and happiness.

    • Jen says

      Hi Donna, so nice to meet you! I am so honored you have tried and enjoyed many of my recipes and above all that you would take the time to read Our Love Story. I just finished reading your story – oh my goodness, what a journey you have been on! Your writing and more importantly your perspective are beautiful. One of my favorite lines was, “…One blessing from this journey is that I no longer measure my self worth by my job title (for I have lost that), or my professional accomplishments (for those opportunities are gone for now). Now I just try to show up. Just me – and my heart – for that’s all I have to bring. That’s all that I need to have. I am enough.” What profound words to live by! I am so grateful for your supportive family and pray for your continued health and happiness! xo

  48. Sheila says

    Jen, your story was beautifully written, from the heart, and brought me to tears. I lost a childhood friend to CF. Medicine has come a long way since then and continues to advance every day. Every year that you enjoy your life to the fullest is a win against this horrible disease. And you sound like a girl who will keep fighting. Fight. Survive. Enjoy every moment that life has to offer. God has blessed you with a beautiful love story. I sense you have MANY years to see how that story unfolds and all the wonderful adventures that will come with it for you and Patrick. Very grateful that I happened upon your site. And your awesome recipes. Keep creating girl! That’s the kind of creative passion that feeds the soul. Cheers!

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much Sheila for your beautiful, loving comment. I am so sorry for the loss of your childhood friend to CF – far too many young lives have been taken by the terrible disease. I too lost my brother when he was 19. But you are so right, there has never been a more hopeful time for individuals and their families with CF – a cure is so close! Thank you also for your encouraging words! I know I won’t leave this earth until my time is done and I am grateful every day to be here and to be surrounded by kind people like you xo Thank you for lifting my soul today! May God bless you and yours!

  49. Pam LaVeille says

    Amazing love story! And delicious Teriyaki Chicken Tacos with Pineapple Salsa!! 🙂 Thank you!!

    • Jen says

      Thank you Pam, you are so thoughtful! So happy you enjoyed the tacos and thank you for reading my story! xo

  50. kim says

    Dear Jen, you are such a beautiful person inside and out. All you have endured and continue to go thru and still maintain such a positive and joyful spirit. You are a blessing to all those who come in contact with you. I really appreciate your writings and wonderful recipes and am anxious to try quite a few and will comment when i do. I wish you and your husband all the health and happiness there is to give. I will mention you in my prayers . All my best. Kim

    • Jen says

      Hi Kim, THANK YOU for your warm, thoughtful words! Your comment truly has touched my heart and I am so humbled and grateful to be mentioned in your prayers. I look forward to replying when you try some of my recipes – I hope you love them 🙂 May God bless you and yours as well!! xo

  51. Peggy Brennan-Jordan says

    Your story has blessed my life!! I appreciate my husband 1000x more because I realize he will be there for me the same way! And your recipes will be blessing my family!!!

    • Jen says

      Hi Peggy, what a thoughtful comment, thank you! I love hearing you appreciate your husband more – that just makes life happier! God bless you and yours!!

  52. Lorena says

    I looked up this website because of a chicken fajitas recipe. Never thought I would end up shedding all these tears reading one of the most wonderful love stories out there! Thank you for sharing this on your website! May you continue to be blessed and may you continue to touch people’s hearts the way you touched mine.

    • Jen says

      Oh Lorena, you are so kind and lovely! I’m so happy you stumbled upon my blog and thank you for taking time to read Our Love Story – even if it made you cry 🙂 My God bless you and yours as well!! xo

  53. Lisa says

    Jen I just found your blog and read your story; I like your recipes too! You and Patrick are such an inspiration! I ordered your book and can’t wait to read it. Both of your amazing attitudes blow me away. I always try to be positive, kind, caring, loving, and not whine about my problems–but YOU take the cake! Your story and words are so beautiful it brought tears. I wish you the best in your life and freedom from health woes–you are so courageous with everything you’ve been through!

    • Jen says

      Thank you Lisa for such a kind, thoughtful, beautiful comment! You sound absolutely lovely and I have no doubt that you uplift so many with your kind, positive attitude! Thank you so much for ordering my book – you are going to learn more about me and my family than you ever wanted to know but I hope it uplifts you through the sometimes ugly tears 🙂 Thank you again! May God bless you and yours!

      • Lisa says

        Jen I couldn’t put your beautiful book down! I was so inspired by your positive and loving attitude and your spiritual beliefs. I loved reading about your wonderful and supportive family and the way they handled the difficulty of having children with CF, trying always to make the best of everything and creating a happy family life. You are all so very blessed!

        • Jen says

          oh Lisa, your comment made my day!!! I know it is an emotional commitment to power through that book, so I am especially honored that you took the time and energy to share in my family’s journey, thank you! I am indeed very blessed not only by my faith, family and miracles but by kind and supportive people like you that brighten my day! Thank you again! My God bless you and yours!

  54. Jacqueline says

    God Bless You my sweet dear. What a heartwarming L❤️VE ST❤️RY! Sounds to me like you’re gonna beat this! Hang in there & know that your wonderful recipes will live on in our family cookbooks forever saying “Recipe by Jen”
    All the best my love…xoxo Jacqueline

    • Jen says

      Dearest Jacqueline, my eyes fill with tears knowing that your family cookbook is filled with “Recipes by Jen” – what a beautiful, happy thought! Thank you for your loving, uplifting words! All the best to you and your family as well! xo

  55. Laurie says

    What a beautiful love story! Thank you for sharing it. And thank you for sharing all your amazing recipes! I can’t wait to try a whole bunch of them :)! Be well and may God bless you always.

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much for taking time to read our Love Story Laurie! We feel truly blessed every day and I am thankful for kind people like you! I hope you have fun trying my recipes and hopefully finding some new favorites! May God bless you and yours as well! xo

  56. Anneliese says

    What a sweet, faith-filled story! Thank you for sharing it so honestly. I arrived at your blog when I saw your cranberry wild rice pilaf on Pinterest (which I can’t wait to taste!!). While it’s simmering on the stove I’ve been poking around and was so bittersweetly happy to find your story. I am also LDS and have a childhood friend who has lived for 46 years with CF. Such miracles! I wish you continued peace and happiness.

    • Jen says

      Hi Anneliese, so nice to “meet” you! It is an honor to share my story and I am always so touched at the outpouring of love from readers like you, thank you! That is miraculous your friend with CF is 46! Unfortunately you don’t hear that everyday but the CF Foundation continues to make progress towards a cure- hopefully your friend will be able to take advantage of it someday. I pray for God’s choicest blessings upon you, your family and your dear friend!

  57. Heather says

    Dear Jen, Thanks for sharing your contagious joy, your story and delicious recipes. I’m looking forward to trying your recipes and hoping to start with the yummy lasagna soup! God blesses you!

    • Jen says

      You are are so lovely Heather, thank you so much for your kind comment! I hope you enjoy exploring my site and trying my recipes – that Lasagna Soup is a good one to start with 🙂 May God bless you and yours as well! xo

  58. Brandi says

    What a beautiful story, thanks so much for sharing your happiness with others. I too have found my soul mate, we started dating when I was a senior in high school, and we have been married now for 23 years. Your post has reminded me that every day we have together is precious.

    Out of a desire for your message to be fully appreciated, I wanted to let you know that you should probably change the word “anymore” to the words “any more” as in, “I couldn’t love you any more than I already to do” instead of “I couldn’t love you any longer.”

    I hope you are doing well and continue to enjoy they time you have together, in this life and in the eternities. Families are forever.

    With love,

    • Jen says

      Hi Brandi, Thank you so much for reading my story and taking the time to comment! I am so happy you found your soul mate and as early as high school – what a blessing! Thank you for the note about “any more” – I have made the correction 🙂 God bless you and your family!

  59. Rochelle Rupp Prentice says

    I found your story while searching dinner recipes. Having lost 2 children in our extended family to CF I understand your concern about the heartbreak it could cause later. I applaud your decision to not let a future possibility rob you of a current happiness. That takes a lot of bravery on both you and your husbands part.

    BTW I loved your wedding dress, can you tell me anything about it?

    Wishing you many days on this earth in happiness.

    • Jen says

      Hi Rochelle, sorry for the delay, I have been swamped with everything Thanksgiving but thank you so much for reading our Love Story and for taking the time to comment. I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your family members to CF, it really is such a devastating disease with far too many dying far too young. They are making progress every day though in CF research and prolonging lives, definitely something to be grateful for. As far as my dress goes, I bought it 11 years ago at a store in Provo UT, but I have no idea what the name was – sorry! It was the second dress I tried on and just meant to be 🙂

      Thank you so so much for you sweet well wishes. I wish happiness and long days for you and yours as well! xo

  60. Leah Garton says

    Hi Jen! I found your site while searching for something yummy to make for dinner. I’m a California girl–born and raised–now living in the deep south and married to a native southerner. Needless to say, our food tastes differ quite a bit, so “California food”–aka “sticks-and-leaves” as per my husband–has to be really, really good to pass as tasty to a true southern boy. Your recipes fit the bill perfectly! While looking through your recipes today, I found “Our Love Story,” the story of you and your husband. What a touching and hopeful piece! My husband’s brother lost his battle with CF about 15 years ago, so we know what a heartbreaking disease CF can be. It’s wonderful to hear how far you have come to overcome CF. You are truly an inspirational and gifted young woman. I wish you and your husband all the best and many, many happy years yet to celebrate together. Love and hugs to you both!

    • Jen says

      Hi Leah, so nice to “meet” you! Sorry for the delayed response as I’ve had family in town for the holidays, but I SO appreciate your comment! I laughed out loud at your husband’s description of California food as “sticks and leaves” – love it! Thankfully I like lot of flavorful, cheesy sticks and leaves so I’m glad my recipes are a good compromise:) I am so sorry to hear your husband lost his brother to CF. I lost my brother to CF 19 years ago as well. It is such a devastating disease that takes far too many young lives but thankfully they continue to make great strides towards a cure. Thank you for taking the time to read Our Love Story. I feel blessed everyday to be given a second chance at life and to spend the time with my loved ones, doing what I love, and able to meet so many wonderful people like you! All my love to you and your family as well and the most blessed New Year!

  61. Peggy F says

    HI Jen,

    How you holding up. Found your love story while browsing for a crook pot rib recipe. You are truly an inspiration to me I have always wanted to write and the way you write reminds me of my own. Anyway as they say it is no accident that I came across your beautiful love story. I myself have found my soul mate, under totally different difficult circumstances but the point is that we finally found each other I am blessed and so very grateful. Thank you for sharing and for reminding me.

    • Jen says

      Hi Peggy, I am going through old comments and just read yours again, meaning my response never posted – so sorry! Thank you so much for taking the time to write! I am so grateful you have found your soul mate – there is nothing like going through this life’s ups and downs with your trustworthy best friend at your side. All the best to you and yours! xo

  62. Laura says

    Hi! I love your recipes and was thinking how great so many of them are for people with cystic fibrosis. I couldn’t believe it when I saw that you have CF! It’s such a small world sometimes! My daughter also has CF (double DF508) and I really struggle to find good food that isn’t too bad for the rest of the family. I’m so happy to learn that you are doing well post transplant and loving life! Thank you for sharing your story!

    • Jen says

      Hi Laura, sorry for the delay as I had minor surgery this week, but thank you so much for your comment – it is so nice to “meet” you! It really is such an incredibly small world! Your comment bring me back to the days when my mom would always add extra butter, cream, etc. to my brothers and my food and regular versions for the rest of the family. You CF mothers really are angels! One day your daughter will realize at least some of all that you do for her and you will be her hero – if she doesn’t already :). I know my parents and all their efforts are a huge reason why I am alive today. Sending love and prayers for your daughters continued good health! God bless!

  63. Elizabeth says

    I was so touched by your story, Jen! Everyone deserves to find his or her soulmate and the two of you certainly have done so. I was married only six months when I had a spinal cord injury. My husband was suddenly stuck with a heavily medicated wife and three teenage boys. But when I asked if he wanted to leave and said I’d understand if he did, he just laughed and asked if I’d forgotten the “in sickness and in health” part of the vows.
    Patrick is clearly a wonderful man and you’re a remarkable woman! I came to read about the Slow Cooker Honey Buffalo Meatballs but I’m thrilled to have read your love story.

    • Jen says

      Hi Elizabeth, I am going through approved comments but see that I never responded, I’m so sorry. First of all, thank you so much for taking time to read my story and second, thank YOU for taking time to share your incredibly touching story! I am sorry for your spinal cord injury but so happy you have a husband who is such an unselfish champion. I have no doubt he feels blessed to to have you as his sweetheart as well. Love really does conquer all!

  64. bambi says

    Jen your story is beautiful Having the loving support from your husband and family makes a world of difference. I worked with people who had CF for many years. It is a tough road for many. I’m glad my daughter has a great supportive husband and he to loves her to pieces. She will have a tough road ahead at some point (PKD) I hope she has the strength. I will try your wonderful recipes that are meatless for her and friends. We to are Southern Californians (La Mesa)

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much Bambi and so so true – loving support is everything. I don’t know what I would do without the support of my husband and family – it makes everything so much easier mentally – which in turn makes it all easier! I am so glad your daughter has such a supportive husband! Knowing there are tough times ahead no doubt makes their relationship that much stronger and more precious. I know she is also super blessed to have you as such an angel mother as well. Supportive mothers like you make all the difference! My prayer are with you all!

  65. Tasha says

    I stumbled across your recipes and continued on to read your story. I myself will be a living donor in the near future for my 2 year old son who requires a kidney transplant. This is a whole new world for me and I have met the most amazing people along our journey so far. I absolutely love hearing success stories!! Thank you for sharing <3

    • Jen says

      Oh my goodness Tasha, that is incredible! I am so glad you are a match fr your sweet 2 your old son! What a blessing you are as his angel mother! My thoughts and prayers will be with you! xo

  66. Trudy says

    Your eternal perspective is such a beautiful thing to read about. Thank you for sharing this with us. As I was going through some of your recipes…I’m going to be a permanent stalker, by the way…I ran across a comment about Patrick having lived in Italy for two years and your desire to make Italian food as authentic as possible. Two years? Hmmm…I had to wonder. That’s such a specific period of time, just as specific as, say, the time an LDS male missionary would spend in the field. I was curious, then saw the “Our Love Story” link off to the left and had to check it out. You quickly confirmed my suspicion. I couldn’t help but notice you’ve touched many people of varied faiths with your warmth and humor. Blessings to you and Patrick.

    • Jen says

      Hi Trudy, yes absolutely LDS 🙂 My eternal perspective is one of the greatest blessings in my life and I am honored to share it in hopes it can give others more hope and happiness. Thank you so much for your kind words and for well wishes. I wish you and your family all the best as well! And stalk away 🙂

  67. Christie Ward says

    I’m not usually one to make comments, but your recipes and your story have inspired me to do so. I came across one of your recipes on Facebook just now, Honey Garlic Roasted Carrots, and they sounded so delicious I had to get the recipe off of your page. Of course, after I printed the recipe, I proceeded to click on the adorable photo of you in the hospital with your husband by your side.

    I read your wonderful story and I am just so in awe of you! What an amazing and uplifting story of what you have been through and how fortunate you are to have met someone who loves you so unconditionally and completely. I love that you have this blog (is that what it’s called?!). It reminds me of the movie Julie and Julia, one of my favorites. I just wanted to thank you for sharing your story and for all the yummy recipes that I will soon try out!

    • Jen says

      Hi Christie, thank you so much for visiting my site and for reading Our Love Story, and for such a kind comment! I am truly blessed to have such an amazing, supportive eternal partner, it makes all the difference. I hope you love the carrots and everything else you try! All the best to you and yours!

  68. Nancy says

    Happened upon your site while looking for a strawberry syrup recipe and have been glued to it instead of grading papers which I should be doing. Your recipes look yummy and will try the syrup tonight with waffles for Lenten friends as we don’t eat meat on Fridays. Photos are fab. I grew up in So. Calif and love the Carlsbad area. Your love story is heartwarming and I was almost afraid to look for 2017 posts as I worried for your health. You and your husband are a brave pair and I wish you hundreds of more recipes and pray you have thousands of more days.

    • Jen says

      You are such a sweetheart Nancy! I am actually typing this comment from the hospital with pneumonia but I am feeling great and should be out on home IVs tomorrow – so no need to fear for 2017 – it going to be a good year 🙂 Thank you so much for taking time to read Our Love Story and for browsing my site. I love sharing my life and love of cooking with wonderful people like you! It is such a small world that you grew up in southern California! I grew up in Poway and have lived in Carlsbad for 11 years and love it. Thanks again for your kind words and well wishes. I hope you and your friends enjoyed the syrup!

  69. Dennis says

    >I am actually typing this comment from the hospital with pneumonia but I am feeling great and should be out on home IVs tomorrow

    I applaud and admire both your weblog and your spirit.

    Peace and be well.

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much Dennis! I am out of the hospital on IVs and feeling great. Wonderful people like you always lift my spirits! All the best to you and yours!

  70. Chloe says

    This is so beautiful and moving. Thank you for sharing and I’m blessed to have read such a heart-warming story. I love your website, I’m new to it and I’m still just reading all of your recipes but I’m anticipating making something soon!

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much Chloe for reading our story! I am truly blessed to have such wonderful readers like you! I hope you enjoy trying my recipes and find some new family favorites along the way 🙂 Best!

  71. Bernard Doddema Jr says

    What a wonderful story and to think…there’s so much more to tell!

    My wife and I have been married for 23 years. We hadn’t even hit our 10th year when I became disabled. My wife and I switched roles overnight. The one thing that got us through everything was our loving relationship. We still make people gag when they’re around us. LOL. As I deal with the constant pain, my wife is an everpresent calming influence-constantly reminding me of Heavenly Father’s love.

    Continue to build your relationship! Hold fast. Always stay in love!

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much Berenard and I love your line “and there’s so much more to tell.” So true, every day an adventure, every day a blessing! You and your wife sound like an epic love story – so inspiring! I love that you make others around you “gag” – LOL! What an angel your wife is and I have no doubt you are the light of hers as well. God bless you!!!

  72. June says

    You’re so amazing! God bless you:) Thanks for sharing your story.

    • Jen says

      You are so sweet, thank you so much June! May God bless you and yours as well!

  73. Brian says

    I came here for the Fish Tacos, but really enjoyed your story!

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much Brian! I so appreciate you taking the time to read our story and comment! We just celebrated our 11 year anniversary 🙂 All the best to you and yours!

  74. Carma says

    Your story brought me to tears. I love your spirit, your enthusiasm for life and good food, and your eternal perspective – they’re the same things that brought me to my own dear spouse. Thanks for sharing all these wonderful recipes. I can’t wait to try them all. Wishing you lots of happiness!! 🙂

    • Jen says

      Hi Carma, I am so sorry at my delayed response as I was in the hospital when I received it and have been so behind ever since but I SO appreciate you taking the time to read our story! I am so happy you have found your eternal sweetheart as well – nothing makes life so dear. All the happiness to you and yours as well! xo

  75. Judy says

    Again as expressed by so many on here, I saw your story just by accident. As I read your words and noticed the mention of eternity, I realized that we are both of the same faith. I’m so happy that you found Patrick, you both seem like very special people! I too have experienced many challenges in this life, and I’m so grateful to know that this life isn’t the be all end all of our existence, but just a stepping stone. Nothing on this earth can hurt us in the eternal scheme of things unless we let it. God bless you both!

    • Jen says

      Hi Judy, thank you for reading our story and thank you for your beautiful words! I just love your comment, “Nothing on this earth can hurt us in the eternal scheme of things unless we let it.” It always comes down to perspective, doesn’t it? Its no wonder the word “remember” is used over 350 times in the scriptures. Remembering what really matters and that all will be made permanently right through Christ in the eternities makes all other worries fade away. May God bless you and yours as well! xo

  76. Lori says

    I was browsing Pinterest and came across your sheet pan recipes for Shrimp and Asparagus since I just happened to have bought some yesterday at the store, it is going to be dinner tonite.

    I read your story and am very glad you are doing so well with your transplant and CF. I lost my son 4 years ago from CF after 1 1/2 years after his transplant from chronic rejection. He was back on the list for a second transplant, but didn’t find a donor soon enough. I know first hand the difference being able to “just breathe” can be as he lived his life after the transplant with such gusto! I hope you continue to have good health and happiness in everything you do.

    • Jen says

      Hi Lori, I am so deeply sorry for your loss. What a heartbreaking roller coaster of emotions to have him receive a transplant then to have him die on the waiting list. I can relate in some small way after losing my brother from CF. It is the most devastating heartache. I pray for your hope and happiness and peace knowing you can see him again someday:) Much love! xo

  77. Penney Nile says

    Such a sweet story you and Patrick have, Jen.I know what it’s like to want to live every day to its fullest because you have a life threatening disease.Last year, I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, one of the worst forms of cancer you can have, but I was lucky and blessed that when my docs opened me up to find that all the cells in the tumor were precancerous, and they were able to clean everything up. I was pronounced ‘cured’, required no chemo or radiation, something I was thrilled about because my worst fear was losing all my hair; kind of silly when you think about the alternatives — and I lost a lot of it anyway because I had undergone an emergency gall bladder removal just a year earlier, and the back to back surgeries and the anesthesia did a number on my hair anyway… it went to waist length to shoulder length when i had to cut it because it had gotten so thin and wispy… but I AM 69 years old, after all, with 70 coming up next month. I had a lot of cancer in my family, and I halfway expected it to happen to me sooner or later. I was glad to have made it to 69 without having to deal with it. Anyway, you’re always left wondering if at some point in time that you will find out that the cancer you thought you were free of would come back to haunt you in the same form or another, so my doctor keeps a close watch on my bloodwork. In the meanwhile, you live with the possibilities as best you can, which you seem to be doing, and I applaud you for doing that. You’re young and still have a life ahead of you, so make every second of it count, my sister! I’ll be rooting for you!

    • Jen says

      Hi Penney, Thank you so so much for taking the time to write and for your beautiful response. I am so sorry to hear you were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer – so scary – but what a relief and blessing the cells were precancerous! It sounds like you still had to go through quite a bit with the gall bladder and the continuous threat of cancer. You are so right though, you live with the possibilities in front of you and try not to think of the not-so-fun other outcomes! I am glad your doctor is keeping a close eye on you, that’s all you can do – I hope that frees you to live life and makes living life even more of a priority! I’ll be rooting for YOU too! xoxo

  78. Karen says

    Like so many others I too was looking for a recipe and stumbled across your story. It is such a triumph of how love conquers all, no matter the circumstances. I too found my soulmate and we have shared more than 37 years together. A few years ago he was diagnosed with a lung disease of which there is no cure, to say we were devastated is an understatement. Looking back, I am so thankful and blessed by how gracious God has been to us. Reading your story and all of the sweet comments sent to you, it restores my belief in mankind and the human spirit. Life truly is a gift from God and His love is meant to be shared. Thank you for sharing your story. You are such an inspiration to so many. May God continue to bless you with many more happy years.

    • Jen says

      Hi Karen, I am so happy you have been able to live a beautiful life with your soulmate but so sorry he was diagnosed with an uncurable lung disease- how devastating. Nothing can prepare you for something like that. You have a beautiful perspective of gratitude and love. I pray for your husband’s continued health and many more happy years together now and for eternity!

  79. Dixie says

    HI Jen…love your positive attitude and smile!! Everyone should read your story to appreciate life!

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much for your kind comment Dixie! I am blessed with positivity because of people like you! Merry Christmas!

  80. Simona says

    Now this is just amazing. I stepped into your cooking recipes by chance, and I carry home a way more important “life recipe” from you. I wish you and your husband all the best for many years to come, as you clearly are a couple of bright, loving, deserving souls (forgive my peculiar English, it is not my native language and I am also sooooo tired right now).

    • Jen says

      What a kind comment, thank you so so much Simona! I’m so glad you stumbled upon my site and your soul was enriched 🙂 I wish you and yours all the very best as well! xo

  81. Mar says

    Jen <3
    I saw your recipe for pineapple Kabobs on pinterest and had to look, who cannot love
    pineapple and chicken together – they were meant to be!!! Just as it 100% sounds like you
    and Patrick were meant to be, really living in CA, but meeting in Mexico on vacation when
    P had already seen you and wanted to know you.
    I am so thankful to God for people like you who share their lives, hardships and love. And for those who are live organ donors and those who make the decision to donate when they are gone from this earth. I wish more
    people would sign up to be organ donors for lovely people like you, and families at the most
    difficult time would make the choice to donate a loved ones organs who had not made the
    decision in time. Our souls live on, the rest of us can help someone else live on.

    So Thankful for you sharing your story (I could not resist, and am glad I stopped to read it)
    Wishing you bountiful blessings, love, joy, health and happiness always


    • Jen says

      Hi Mar! I’m sorry for my delay in responding to you but THANK YOU so much for taking the time to read our story and for your beautiful comment and well wishes! You are so wonderfully thoughtful with a generous spirit! I wish you and your family nothing but the best! xo

  82. Migdalia Figueroa says

    I has a cousin whom lost her battle against that terrible illness. The difference between her and you, her doctors never offered her the option of having a lung transplant done. The time passed, she became very ill and weak. Latter, she passed away. I guess we will never know the reason why she did not get a transplant. But, this illness happened to her at an older age. After she was a mother of three, and a grandmother of three. After I read your story about meeting and marrying your husband I wondered why you have not had any children. If you cannot carry a baby, there is always the option of using a surrogate mother. I am sure there would be plenty of women in your family or friends who know you well that would be good candidates and volunteers to help you to become a mother. I feel you will have plenty of time to enjoy motherhood. You are a good soul. I know this is none of my business, but I think you would truly be a wonderful mother. Think abou t it, but act quickly while you are still young. . God bless you and husband always!

    • Jen says

      I am so sorry for you cousin and for you loss – that is devastating she didn’t get the opportunity of the transplant. Maybe she died on the waiting list? You are sweet to say I’d be a wonderful mother!

  83. Amber says

    Jen, you have such an incredible story. I can tell that you, your husband, and your loved ones are wonderful people. I commend you and your husband for the choice to not birth children, as you would not want to pass on such a dangerous disease. But, if you and your husband want children, I would recommend adoption. There are so, so many wonderful children in this world in need of a loving home. Congratulations on your surgery and finding your soul mate!!
    Also, girl you got it going on in the kitchen!! These recipes look absolutely awesome!! I started a list of your recipes to try and had to stop because there were too many to write down that I want to eat!!

    • Jen says

      Hi Amber, I hope you absolutely love my recipes! Thank you so much for reading our story and for your kind words! My decision not to have children is based on my unknown life expectancy (only 17% transplant individuals live past 10 years) and that I’m not supposed to be around anyone sick even if it’s just a cold, otherwise adoption would definitely be an option. I just feel blessed to be alive one day at a time 🙂

  84. Corey Anderson says

    Wow. I unexpectedly got a lot more this morning than just your fabulous looking Steak Fajita recipe, thank you very much Pinterest. Your story is so inspiring and a miracle. I’m a Pediatric Cardiac ICU RN in Atlanta, where we do not perform Lung Transplants, and I care for many children with Pulmonary Hypertension (different disease process, same outcome). Reading how you have thrived against the odds is so encouraging and salve for the soul. I’m keeping you in my thoughts and prayers, take care, and God Bless!

    • Jen says

      Hi Corey, I was on a cruise without internet for over a week and I am all sorts of behind but thank you so much for your comment! Thank you so much for taking the time to read my story and thank YOU for all your work as a Pediatric Cardiac ICU nurse. I can’t imagine how emotionally draining that must be but on behalf of all the children whose lives you have touched, a huge hug and thank you. I know what a difference a kind, caring nurse can make! Thank you also for the thoughts and prayers. Sending prayers of gratitude and for your health and happiness as well! xo

  85. Jo-Ann says

    I have a seven year old grandson with CF. I saw him born into this world and it was such an amazingly happy day. The next day he was in ICU because he couldn’t poop. When they told us it could be CF none of us believed it because no one in either family had ever had CF. It wasn’t long before our world came crashing down and we were told indeed he had it. It has been 7 years now and the diagnosis is a huge lump in my heart . I pray every day that they find a cure for this deadly disease before it is too late for Keenan. My prayer for him and you is for a long,healthy, happy life. I hope one day Keenan will find a girl with your husband’s heart who will love him despite the unknowns. I know God watches over him and has given us this amazing little boy to love wholeheartedly. He has already taught us many lessons about living each day as the precious moment it is.

    May you continue to live a long and blessed life. I will keep you in my prayers
    Keenan’s very proud Nana

    P.S. I will be making the sweet,fiery Chinese chicken for supper tomorrow.

    • Jen says

      Hi Jo-Ann, thank you so much for your kind words and prayers – I know they make a difference! I hope your sweet Keenan is doing well! The doctors/researchers have made great strides in research and new medications and are SO close to a cure! I hope your sweet Keenan can take advantage of it soon. I have no doubt there is a special woman on this earth just for him! xo

  86. Faye says

    Jen, as a dialysis patient who elected not to go the transplant route (I’m 73 so the surgery is a big risk) I want you to stop thinking about “how long” you have to live! I have known dialysis patients who had transplanted kidneys that lasted 18 yrs before they had to go back on dialysis so there is the chance that both your lungs & kidney transplants can last much longer than 10 yrs.

    You just take care of your body, keep it healthy and spend your time loving that wonderful husband of yours, instead of worrying yourself. You are truly blessed to have found him so enjoy him ! May God lovingly hold you in his arms & protect you.

    PS looking forward to making your bacon ranch cheese ball for Thanksgiving!

    • Jen says

      Hi Faye, thank you so much for your comment! I don’t let me mind wander there to often, it’s just a great reminder to live life to the fullest and keep everything in perspective 🙂 I hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving and a delicious one with that Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball!

  87. Lindsey says

    That is the sweetest story! My husbands family carries the cystic fibrosis gene and his uncle has it. He had a lung transplant in 1997 and is a 21 year transplant survivor and is still going strong! Good luck to you and your husband and enjoy your many wonderful years to come!♥️

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much Lindsey! That is amazing to hear about your husband’s uncle – I’m so happy for him and his family! Thank you so much for your kind words. May God bless you and yours! xo

  88. Karen says

    My mother-in-law shared your Baja Fish Taco recipe with me. She told me to read the story of how Rubio’s got started because she knew I loved those fish tacos. I am from southern California and now live in Lexington, KY. No Rubio’s here, but now I can make my own. Well, your blog about the fish tacos mentioned you met your husband in Ensenada. I had to read your story because I too met my husband in Ensenada in 1990! We have been married almost 28 years. Blessings to you and your husband. I pray for many, many more years together. God is so good to us! By the way…all your other recipes sound amazing too. Glad I found ya!

    • Jen says

      Hi Karen, what a small world! Congrats on your beautiful marriage of 28 years and counting! I so appreciate you taking the time to read my story and for the prayers. I agree, God is good and I am reminded of that every day! Sending hugs and prayers your way! xo

  89. Rea says

    What a sweet story, I didn’t expect to read this while searching for recipes… You are truly an inspiration. I hope you have many, many more happy years ahead of you. Patrick and you sound like a wonderful couple xxx

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much for your kind words Rea! All the love to you and yours! xo

  90. Mang says

    I came here after a web search for a recipe and got much more! It’s always a blessing to hear of love stories from people who want to act in obedience to God. Thanks very much for sharing your story, Jen.

    May I bless you with something in return? You’ve lived an extraordinary life, and you’re so young! I’m in awe of the love you and your husband have for each other. Please draw on the resurrected Jesus Christ, the Lord, for peace and comfort in all things related to this life, including death that we inevitably will face. In the meantime, please read this article called Save Yourself Some Pain: https://www.livingwaters.com/save-yourself-some-pain/

    Praying for you and your family, Jen.

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much for your super thoughtful comment Mang and for your prayers xoxo. I turn to Christ everyday and am so grateful Him. Thank you for sharing the article – I look forward to reading it! My God’s choicest blessings attend you and your family.

  91. Mel Hatta says

    Dear Jen, In order to get more info for my new menu (bolognese) to sell online for my cafe, I choose to click your page link. Not only I’ve got the recipe, but the life experience and true love between you and Patrick. I Pray for your eternal love and cherish every moment in your life.

    Love from Malaysia,
    Mel Hatta

    • Jen says

      Hi Mel, welcome to my site all the way from Malaysia! I’m honored you took the time to read our story and for your kind words and wishes. I wish you all the love and happiness in this world! xo

  92. Andrea says

    I’ve followed you on IG for a while now and this is the first time I came to your blog and read your story. (I’m so ashamed. It’s definitely my loss.) But I’m glad I finally did. What a remarkable couple you are. I like both of you so much even though I only know you through your words and recipes. Best to you both!

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much Andrea for taking the time to read our story Andrea! I’m sure 99% of my IG followers haven’t read my story so no shame there ;)! I appreciate your kind words and wish all the best to you and your family as well! xo

  93. Brian Elliot Cordray says

    Thanks for your amazing example of faith and positivity. Love your recipes but your testimony is all the more remarkable. Please keep sharing both with us all—you make the world so much brighter!

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much for your message Brian, I appreciate your kindness and positivity as well!

  94. Princess says

    Hi, Jen!

    What an amazing story! I think we went to school together and were in the same first grade class, but I had no idea that you’d faced so many challenges since then! Awesome to see you blogging, since I remember when you were still learning to read! Lol. May you have many happy, healthy years of joy with your husband and loved ones, and props to you for choosing not to have kids!

    • Jen says

      That is amazing we were in first grade together, what a small world! Mrs. Kramer was one of my favorite teaches ever! Thank you so much for your thoughtful message and well wishes. I pray for health and happiness for you and yours as well! xo

  95. Paul Caldwell says

    Just found your website by way of the Monte Cristo recipe. I LOVE your site and immediately want to send you money. Why not have a “donate” button somewhere? Looking forward to trying many of the recipes.

    • Jen says

      You are so thoughtful Paul, welcome and thank you! I earn money through the ads on my site so I’m all set, but you are the sweetest to even think about it! Thanks for visiting and I hope you love the Monte Cristo Sandwiches!

  96. Suzanne Spivak says

    What an incredible story. Thank you for sharing your journey and your mouth watering recipes.
    Wishing you all the love in world

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read my story Suzanne. Wishing you all good things! xo

  97. winston gotte says

    OMG, thank you so much for sharing your story, i have recently met my girl through tragedy, dancing and the love for cooking at home. and thank you for sharing your gift of food building, 🙂 i was looking for a chicken taco recipe for this rainy so cal monday. i work in a hospital, and my girl is a teacher. and during the pandemic i learned to cook at home real quick LOL. (besides my famous bbq cooking) i love hearing about solid loving couples, and will share you story and website with my forever lady.

    • Jen says

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment Winston. It warms my heart that you have found your forever lady; you sound like a very special couple. I love the tender way you talk about her! Wishing you all the best as you cook together!

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