Monday, October 24, 2016

Stovetop Protein Oats

Happy Monday! I hope you had a great weekend and got to enjoy some beautiful fall weather. I ventured out to Grand Rapids to celebrate one of my best friends birthdays and we had a great time hanging out and enjoying the city. As much as I love getting away for a weekend I love coming home to my kitchen and my regular gym. I definitely missed my regular morning oats while I was gone. 

Speaking of oats I tried stovetop oats for the first time and holy smokes they're so good!! I have been missing out on some seriously dreamy, creamy oats for a long time😋 Last week I was not feeling good so I practically lived off oatmeal but I wanted to switch things up so I opted to make stovetop oats. Now I'm in love and knew I had to share because they're so good.

Stovetop Protein Oats

  • 1/2 cup GF oats
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • pinch cinnamon
  • 2 Tablespoons plant based protein (I like Nutiva hemp protein and Bob's Red Mill)

In a medium pot bring almond milk to a boil. 

When almond milk starts boiling stir in oats and cinnamon and turn heat down to medium. 

Stir oats occasionally for 1-2 minutes, or according to directions on oatmeal container.

Just before removing oats from heat stir in 2 Tablespoons of protein powder. 

When everything is fully mixed remove oats from heat, scoop into a bowl and add your favorite toppings. 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Thinking Out Loud

Happy thinking out loud Thursday! I apologize for being absent from the blog this week but I have needed some time away after last Friday's post. I'll share more about that in a minute, but I also have some fun things to share- wine and fall colors🙌 Ready for another bout of randomness? Here we go😁

1. Is anyone else really tired of hearing about politics 24/7? Don't get me wrong I am a closet political junkie but at this point it's pretty much all that the news is talking about and I am really sick of hearing about it. I also don't understand why candidates can't focus on the issues that are actually important instead of wasting a TON of time bashing each other. Apparently they never learned to play nice. I was out running errands the other day when I saw this shirt and I literally laughed out loud and had to get it. The shirt fits me so perfectly and I'll take wine over politics any day🍷 

2. Since the flare started my stomach has been really upset so pretty much the only food I have eaten for the past week has been oatmeal. For the first time ever I made stovetop oats and HOLY SMOKES they're so good!! I have no idea why I waited so long to try stovetop oats because they are made so quickly, just like microwave oats, but they're so creamy😍 I have been making protein stovetop oats to make sure I am getting enough protein and I'm going to try to have that recipe up tomorrow because they are the bomb😋 They are definitely the creamiest oats I have ever made.

3. I would like to say thank you for all the comments, emails, and texts with words of encouragement and support on my last post about my faith struggle. It is always super scary to be so open, honest and vulnerable in a post because I never know what kind of reaction I am going to get. I literally wept over the outpouring of love and support from everyone. I have yet to respond to comments because I need time to figure everything out and work through things, but please know your words mean more to me than you will ever know💜 On the same note, because I mentioned it in the post, I am finally getting some relief from my flare. I don't know if it's temporary relief, but it is MUCH needed. I have been resting a lot this week and taking it easy because I don't want to make things worse. A few days were incredibly rough but yesterday was a pretty good day. 

4. On a very happy note I was able to run yesterday for the first time since the flare began. I didn't go very far or very fast but it felt AMAZING! My heart was bursting with happiness when I left the gym because I have missed running so, so much😭 I know I still have a long road ahead of me to get to where I want to be and get back to a running streak but I am determined to push through. Whoever said running is the best form of therapy was absolutly right. It's also free so it's the cheapest form of therapy.

5. Last weekend I was able to try some of the pumpkin spice rxbar and I was kind of ehh about it. It tasted ok, but it was not great. I'm not a giant pumpkin spice person so maybe those who really like pumpkin spice will like it. I definitely don't hate it but it's not my first choice of flavor- my favorite is chocolate sea salt and the chocolate coconut.

6. Random question but for any dog owners out there I need your advice/tips. Cora is basically a fish and in the water every chance she gets, normally once or twice a day until the lake freezes over (she's crazy I know). She has to get a bath at least every other week because she smells like a lake dog. As soon as she goes in the lake after her bath she starts smelling again. I have tried purchasing doggie deoderizer from the pet store but it's only temporary. Do any of you have advice on how to make the clean dog smell last longer? Keeping her out of the water is just not realistic, no matter how hard I try🙈

7. I'll end on lucky number seven today and leave you with this gorgeous leaf. Fall colors are almost at their peak in MI and it is a gorgeous fall so far. There are so many bright reds, yellows and oranges and when the sun hits the leaves it makes the photography nerd in me geek out😁 Plus the weather has been unusually warm, mid 70's to low 80's and I am not complaining! It has been amazing to walk around in summer clothes and enjoy all the beauty of fall.

How has your week been? 
What is your favorite thing about fall?

Have a great Thursday! 

Friday, October 14, 2016

The Faith Struggle

I have struggled with this post for some time now. It's not an easy topic for me to talk about and it's not a subject that most people openly talk about. That topic is faith, but more specifically struggling with faith.

Since I was born I have gone to Sunday school and church and spent time doing different volunteer projects for the church. My mom was a Sunday school teacher so she made my brother and I memorize a lot of scripture, but I never minded. Never while I was younger did I question God or my belief in him. I was a straight-laced, conservative student who kept my nose in the books and out of trouble. While some kids were out experimenting with substances, relationships, or whatever I was the 'good girl.' I wandered a bit from what I believed at the end of high school but when I wound up totally broken and full of hurt I found forgiveness and grace in the arms of Jesus. 

When I moved away to college I found a church to attend and again stayed away from the typical college lifestyle. I surrounded myself with people who shared my beliefs and supported me. Everything changed when I graduated college and moved back to my hometown. Suddenly the very life I had built for myself ceased to exist and I was struggling to find my way. 

Shortly after moving home I had to have surgery, but the surgery triggered a lupus flare and I wound up in the hospital for a week and spent even more time out of the hospital recovering. The difficulties didn't end there. My dad's fibromyalgia became so severe he was frequently in the ER just so they could give him some strong pain meds that are not commercially available. Doctors didn't (and still don't) have answers or solutions. Someone I loved hurt me in the worst way and I was devastated. I didn't get the dream job, in fact I couldn't get a job at all, or at least one where I could afford to have a place to live and eat regularly. More fibromyalgia flares. An emergency surgery. What started off as an IT band injury but ended up being a lupus flare that left me in bed for a week. My faith began to crumble. 

I tried to remain strong but a person can only take so much before they begin to break. Bible verses I memorized as a child would (and still do) float through my head like Romans 8:28, "And we know God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them." 

Don't misunderstand me I still believe in God. I believe he created the world and is in control, but I have so many questions and for the past couple months doubts. My dad has suffered for years with fibromyalgia and God could heal him, but he doesn't. Why? Why must he continue to suffer? Does God not see the hurt and pain my dad suffers on a daily basis and the pain that my family endures because of his fibromyalgia? God could heal me and lift the burden that lupus is. I can't tell you how many times I have woken up sobbing or laid in bed crying because the pain has been so excruciating. God could heal me but he doesn't. God could have provided a good job for me, but he hasn't. He could have prevented the flare I'm enduring right now. I just don't understand. 

I don't understand how God who is supposedly good can let people suffer. Now do I think that my family or I are better than anyone else and should therefore be healed before others? Absolutely not. I just don't understand how God who professes to be good, loving, all powerful and above all can let people endure such suffering. I'm not asking for a perfect life because there is no such thing as perfect, but some relief would be nice. Last week someone told me that they were praying for me in a specific situation and I told them that their prayers were not working because I was still suffering, to which they replied, 'It's all in God's timing.' I get that life isn't about instant gratification, but a person can only be broken so much before they cannot bear the load anymore. I reached that breaking point awhile ago.

Some of my fundamental beliefs are rooted in God and the bible and those have not changed. Those views and beliefs are too ingrained in the fiber of my being, but there are some things I have begun to question. I still read my bible, I still go to church, I still believe in God, but I feel abandoned by God. Where was he when I was laying on the floor by the toilet for two and a half days straight this week because I couldn't keep food down? Where was he when I cried in the middle of the night for nights on end because the pain was so excruciating? Where was he when I didn't have the strength to get out of bed? I felt no comfort, no peace, nothing. Just pain and loneliness.

These are the things I have been wrestling with lately. I don't know where I will end up. I would like to say there is a light at the end of this very long, very dark tunnel but I don't know that. Maybe something will reignite my love of God and cause those passion flames to burn again but I just don't know that. The hurt and pain run too deep right now. It something that I am going to continue to wrestle with because I want to and need to figure it out for myself. It's not easy to take a step back from everything you have ever believed in and reevaluate it all. 

If you have struggled with your faith please let me know. Comment or email me and share with me what you did and how you got through it, or if you're still struggling share with me what brought you to that place. My only hope is that something good can come of this wandering.