About the Author

Dorina is an author, speaker, teacher, foodie, and trail runner. She helps people chase God's glory down unexpected trails and flourish in their callings. Her most recent books are Breathing Through Grief and Chasing God's Glory. Dorina and her hubby Shawn are raising three courageous daughters in Central California.

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things we love
& you will too!
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Reader Interactions


  1. Well written & such a beautiful reminder of God’s “wild redemption” story and making beauty out of ashes! Thanks for sharing your story because it touched my heart 🙂

    • AMEN!!! Meg – this past June my husband of over twenty years married very unexpectedly died and this year is going to be very different for me as well. So thank you Lord for Dorina sharing these beautiful words with us this day to bring me some comfort.

  2. Dorina’s sharing is needed by many this Thanksgiving. While there may be pain, there is always gratitude and giving thanks. Spiritual tears and smiles this morning.

    Psalm 100
    Psalm 147:7
    Ephesians 5:20
    Revelation 7:12

  3. Dorina, I find myself repeating your father-in-law’s response: “A miracle!”
    Thanks for sharing this story to remind all of us that no matter where we are right now for this Thanksgiving celebration, we are not stuck, and God has plans of hope and redemption for His daughters that would take our breath away if we knew His thoughts.

  4. Thank you, I needed to read this. I am still struggling with the loss of my mother, who died from ALS in July 2015. Gratitude is not something I have even thought of through this painful experience. I will now try to focus more on the things God has blessed me with, rather than what I have lost. God bless you and your family.

    • Tami, I’m so sorry for the loss of your mother. My prayer for you is that you might give yourself permission to grieve but also to find a pathway into gratitude that would draw you closer to God in this season.

  5. This is beautiful, and what a raw sharing of your heart, dear friend! <3 Thank you for the reminder as we're planning to be away from our immediate family for Thanksgiving this year, there is a sense of grief and longing in my heart. Thank you for the challenge to look for the blessings in this season and be Thankful!!

  6. This touched my heart. My husband and I have been on a painful infertility journey for 17 months and in both July and November, we lost two of our IVF babies in utero. The holidays have been a huge mountain looming in the distance. I’m terrified of this year’s family gatherings and performing joyful traditions when I’m missing a massive piece of my heart. No matter the overwhelming pain, we still have so much to treasure and be grateful for. Thank you for your encouraging story.

    • Amanda, thank you for relating your story. I do not know that kind of grief personally but I’ve walked alongside several friends who have journeyed through infertility. My heart is with you during this season. I pray that you will find glimpses of true joy and grace even in the delicate dance of grief.

  7. Thanks for this glimpse into your life! I lost a dear friend last January and I know that her husband and daughter will be feeling some of what you felt that first Thanksgiving as they gather for the holidays this year. And I find it helpful to be reminded that joy and grief always intermingle since the holidays often remind me of the imperfectness of family relationships.

    • Thank YOU, Heather! I’m sorry to hear about your loss. Let me encourage you that being present for her husband and daughter in any way you can, however awkward, is so important. God has used so many in my community to show me He is Emmanuel through the ministry of presence.

  8. Dorina,
    I was saddened at first while reading your story, but by the end I thought it to be remarkable, not only by your gratitude but by the acceptance of you all, (thank-you for sharing it with us all).
    Blessings to you all,

  9. Thank you for sharing your story. Today, is my mom’s birthday. She would have been eighty. Her 14-month journey of decline in health, surgeries, rehabs, and more recently, cancer, ended October 8, 2017 in peaceful transition into Heaven. I’m unsure how my Thanksgiving will turn out, but I am thankful I know JESUS and trust that all will work for good and His Name will be praised.

    • I am so sorry to hear of your loss, but like you, grateful for the hope of Heaven. Give yourself grace and space this Thanksgiving. It’s ok to start new traditions and give yourself permission to both grieve and celebrate.

  10. What a beautiful picture of Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit..grief and gratitude blended to give us Salvation and Hope! We lose loved ones, but only for a time, until that glorious reunion at the Lord’s Table in Heaven! Grief and Gratitude.
    Thank you Dorina, for sharing your story!

  11. Cheering and praising God with you for his faithfulness! (I’m so excited to see your story here!!!!)

  12. What a wonderful testimony of love. I’m sure your husband would be proud. I too, have dreams of being a children’s author, and I love to try that soup. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. God bless you.

  13. Oh my soul! My eyes were brimming with tears reading your testimony of grief, gladness and blessings. It was beautiful to see that your mother-in-law was accepting a new son-in-law and your parents and children as well, especially in such a short time span. Thank you for sharing this!

  14. Oh, Dorina! I, too, needed this. My eyes were tear-filled as I read of your journey from pain to gratitude. Like Orphaned Daughter, my mom also went home to be with Jesus in October. It was quite unexpected, but it turned out to be such a blessing, because we found out about four hours before she went home, that she had pancreatic cancer. She will never have to suffer from that horrendous cancer. Jesus took her home. I praise His name for that…and give Him thanks and praise for allowing me to have such a wonderful mom for almost 56 years of my life. “When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be! When we all see Jesus, we’ll sing and shout the victory!!” (Love that song!!) I’m not sure what Thanksgiving this year will hold for my 6 siblings and me and all our families, but we have many blessings that we can count. Thank you for that reminder, and for sharing your heart in such a poignantly beautiful way.

  15. What a precious restoration for your family! And always present the empty spot of a loved one gone on too soon.

    This Thanksgiving I’m so thankful that my husband is with us and recuperating from bypass surgery (five bypasses?). He went to the doctor with complaints of mild symptoms, was tested and sent to hospital for a stint (or two?), and was kept in and transferred instead to another hospital for bypass surgery when they looked and found that this would be the necessary and preferred procedure.

    It all happened so fast. I won’t lie and say it wasn’t scary. But God’s hand was in it in so many ways. No heart attack and resulting heart damage. No death. A painful and difficult procedure and recovery…..but a better and more healthy outcome.

    Thanks for sharing your story. This is ours for Thanksgiving 2017.

  16. Dorina,

    Thank you for sharing your story!! It is a testimony about God’s redemptive love. It reminds me of Psalm 30:5 “weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning”. You have shown the world that “What matters is not what we serve up on our plates, but what we serve up in our hearts.” Our hearts have to be tuned into the love of Christ, & the many blessings He has bestowed upon us. It never ceases to amaze me how God’s plans work out. I pray your family will have a wonderful Thanksgiving this year! Enjoy the company of many people!!

    Blessings 🙂

  17. What inspiration flows from your story. To know that it’s ok to grieve and be grateful. Just this morning I wrote about the intermingling (seriously, used that word! Great minds!!) of joy and sorrow and how I have to look to Jesus because he alone knows how to do it well. “The joy and the pain are always intermingling. And we must lean in. We must gather back at the table and look for the new story unfolding. We must believe that He is always making things new. And we must give thanks for the feast.”

  18. Indeed, what a miracle God performed to turn the ashes of your grief into the beauty of peace, contentment, and even a new relationship. Your experience IS a glorious redemptive story! Thank you for sharing it with us, Dorina. Thank you, too, for sharing your insights: 1) We must remember, grief and glory, joy and pain can be intertwined, 2) We must lean in toward the Father who is always making things new. And 3) “We must give thanks for the feast.” Beautiful, Dorina!

  19. Dorina, I’m a widow as well as your words “I have learned that every holiday will hold a tinge of grief and a taste of God’s glory. The joy and the pain are always intermingling” is spot on. Thank Goodness for the feast in the midst of pain. I’m so sorry for your loss.