Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Do you Juice or Blend?

Good Morning!  Today I am thankful for an early morning work out and some Seattle sunshine to help jumpstart my day.

My love for smoothies started back in high school when I was working at Emerald City Smoothie.  I loved that they were a quick and tasty way to add good nutrition into your daily diet.

A few years ago, I started blending green smoothies after learning about the many health benefits that both spinach and kale provided.  I chose these two as my "greens" because they blend perfectly and the taste can be masked easily.  As time went on, I started adding new ingredients such as Coconut Oil and Apple Cider Vinegar to help aide in stomach digestion.  I also like to experiment with other great fixings that can help boost the overall nutritional value.

Another reason I chose to blend is attributed my diet restrictions with Crohn's Disease.  Did you know that fibrous vegetables and leafy greens are difficult for your body to digest

Here is what my "typical smoothie" looks like...

- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 2 tbsp. Trader Joe's "Very Green" supplement
- Raw Honey or Agave
- 2 small handfuls of frozen fruit (I like strawberries the best!)
- 1 tspn. Chia Seeds 
- 1 tspn. Apple Cider Vinegar (not pictured, oops!)
- Protein Powder or Almond Butter
- Big handful of Spinach
- Big handful of Kale

Blend and enjoy!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

My Bridesmaids

I have 8 beautiful bridesmaids and one adorable flower girl!  Thank you ladies for saying yes, I could not have asked for a better group :).

(via my Wedding page)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Does Your Mind Wander When you Pray?

A few weeks ago I was talking with my good friends Georgia and Michael about prayer.  I asked them if they ever had a hard time staying focused while praying.  I shared with them that sometimes I start to pray at night and then next thing I know my mind has wandered off and I start thinking about something completely different. When I was telling them about my problem they both laughed and admitted that they BOTH struggle with that as well.  Phew!  Glad to know that it is not just me.  Does anyone else struggle with this?  If so, any advice to keeping your mind focused?

Moving on . . .

Yesterday was tough.  I had a really depressing time at my mom's house and the cold, dreary weather just did not help my mood.  I missed my "normal" weekend time chatting with my mom, eating snacks and watching movies.  Some weekends, she simply doesn't feel up to doing those things and it really just sucks.  Before I left her on Sunday, I sat with her as she ate breakfast.  It was hard for her to stay awake and focused during that time.  So when I finally left her house I just wasn't feeling like my usual self.  
Would give everything to see my mom this healthy and happy again!
Once I left my mom's house, I went to pick up Dustin to go shopping at Costco before our first premarital counseling session with Pastor Chris.  Pastor Chris was my youth pastor in Junior High and High School and few years ago he was called as lead pastor at our home church, St. Luke's.  He is a very "relatable" pastor and I was looking forward to meeting with him.  After Costco, we met Chris at Chipotle enjoyed chatting (and eating) for about 2 hours.  

The first session of premarital counseling was for Chris to learn about us as a couple.  It was great for to sit down and remind myself how lucky I am to have Dustin in my life through the good and the bad!  My favorite part of our meeting was telling Chris what we loved about one another.  I forget to tell Dustin why I love him.  I want to make sure I do that more, especially since he is my life partner!

Once we got home, we were excited to relax!  I used my Groupon and ordered a woodfired pizza from a small pizzeria up the street from us called Credo.  We were very impressed by the incredibly nice staff!  The pizza tasted fresh and was packed with flavor.  Needless to say, we will definitely be returning there soon!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

A Day at my Mom's House

Good Afternoon!

Last night after work I drove down to Dustin's parents new home in Auburn.  Dustin's sweet Grandma Muz and Aunt Char were in town.  I love being around these two ladies.  They are so vibrant and full of life, they have always make me feel like family.  We made tacos which seems to be a staple whenever his Aunt comes into town.  After dinner, we finished off a cheesecake, my favorite!  Dustin and I are excited because his Grandma just signed a lease to be closer to Seattle area.  She has been living on Lopez Island and we are all excited for her to be close to us.

I made it over to my mom's house just before a new episode of Shark Tank came on.  So I laid in bed and watched a full episode with her before heading to sleep myself.

This morning was beautiful and the blue skies were calling my name for a run.  But first I needed a cup of coffee.  I sipped on my coffee while I made an egg white sandwich, my favorite breakfast! My Aunt Becky was reading the morning paper so I borrowed the home section and browsed through all of the amazing homes for sale!

Someone was waiting very patiently for me to finish because she knew I was taking her on a run!  After coffee and breakfast, Mya and I ran our usual 3.5 miles loop and it felt fantastic!
Running feet and paws!
Since my mom was still asleep and Aunt Becky was home, I decided to go to Trader Joe's and pick up some new products I have been wanting to try. I decided to get Coconut Oil (which I currently use as a body lotion and make up remover), Chia Seeds, Designer Whey Protein (I read about this via Dashing Dish) and Raw Honey to spruce up my green smoothie recipe.  Stay tuned to see how it turns out! 
Chia seeds, raw honey and protein!
My mom is pretty sleepy today so I have not had much time to hang out with her.  Usually my days down here are quiet and I am happy just sitting next to her in case she needs me for anything.  I am hoping she feels a bit better before I head back up to West Seattle.

Friday, November 15, 2013

I Said Yes to the Dress!

A few weeks ago, my cousin Brynn, sister Megan and best friend Thayer all came into town to celebrate their Birthday's in Seattle!  Megan is my Matron of Honor and Thayer is my Maid of Honor.

Brynn and Megan.  Running runs in our family!
I knew it would be a great girls weekend and even made a festive chalkboard to welcome them.  Thayer had not been to my new apartment since I moved to West Seattle from Ballard.  I was excited to show her around my new neighborhood!

Happy Birthday Thayer and Megan!
Once I found out the girls were coming into town, I wanted to ask them if they would go shopping for a wedding dress with me, especially since my mom is unable to attend.  They all agreed so Thayer made two dress appointments for Saturday morning they were in town.  Thank you, Thayer!

The girls arrived on Friday night and we all went down to my mom's in Federal Way (about 30 minutes south of Seattle) and met up with Dustin and Craig, my brother-in-law.  We had a good time eating, catching up and swapping stories.  Eventually, we all gathered in my mom's bedroom and watched Undercover Boss: Menchies with her!  After that, Thayer, Dustin and I headed back to West Seattle to grab drinks to celebrate Thayer's Birthday before heading back to our apartment.

Craig, Megan, Brynn, Me, Dustin and Thayer.  #Thayerisland
As we learn in life, nothing ever goes as planned.  That morning my mom had gotten sick and my aunt, sister and cousin were all running late for the first dress appointment of the day. The appointment is only one hour long, so I was not only sad but stressed!  Since Thayer stayed with me that night, we were able to get to the store a little early.  Luckily, the bridal consultants were wonderful and did not make me feel pressured about the one hour time frame.  Thayer and I were able to get a head start and look around the store.  By the time the rest of our group arrived, we already had our top picks ready for me to try on!

We had a fabulous time and my bridal consultant did a phenomenal job at picking out dresses that we all loved and that actually fit my 5'0 tall frame.  I narrowed the selection down to just two gowns and really had my eye on one of them.  I ended up saying "Yes to the Dress"!  It was love at first sight and it was amazing that I KNEW it was the one after trying it on the first time!

Me and my Matron of Honor, Megan!
After our appointment, I ended up canceling my other dress appointment because I knew I had found the one!  We ended up meeting with Craig's mom, Aunt Sue, Uncle Greg, Dustin, my cousin Ben and his girlfriend Libby for a Mexican Fiesta for more Birthday celebrations!

Me, Brynn and Thayer celebrating finding a dress and Birthdays!
As hard as it is to go through life events like these without my mom, I am forever grateful to have my wonderful family and friends around to offer their everlasting love and support!  Thank you ladies for a wonderful weekend!

A Cloud of Bad News

Do you ever feel like a cloud of bad news is constantly hovering over you?  Every time I find a patch of sunshine, that same cloud finds me again.  To be honest, I know there is a lot of "good" in my life and I am not one to overlook the blessings in my life.  But as of late it seems that the past few years have just been a deck of cards of bad news waiting to be dealt into my life.

This past year has been the toughest and we have are in need of GOOD news because lately this is the kind of news we have received:
  • Mom found out she has stage 4 liver cancer  
  • Chemotherapy was not successful 
  • Virginia Mason doctor was confident there was no other way he could treat her
  • Seattle Cancer Care Alliance was confident that she was a candidate for Radioactive Bead Therapy
  • University of Washington rejected her as a candidate for Radioactive Bead Therapy
  • TACE Treatment was possible if my mom could make it to Ohio, but she was too sick to fly over
  • Virginia Mason suggests she begin her Hospice Care
  • University of Washington performs Bland Embolization to one side of her liver which compromised my mom's strength and her ability to walk by herself.
Mom's last doctor appointment on Wednesday (11/13/2013), led us all to believe we would find out if the Bland Embolization treatment worked or not by a CT scan results.  My aunt and uncle flew in from Kentucky to be there as a support for my mom and aunt.  They came back only to tell us there was no news, no scan or blood work.  Another let down.  We are praying that when a scan is ordered for my mom we will finally receive some GOOD news.

Romans 8:28 - And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Mom and I hanging out before her latest doctor appt.

Monday, November 11, 2013

First Blog Post!

Hello and welcome to my blog! Here's the story on how this blog got started. . .

5 years ago my eating habits changed drastically.  After months of stomach pain, high fevers and significant weight loss I eventually learned that I was suffering from crohn's disease.  I was so happy to have a diagnosis, but was nervous since this disease is not curable.  Thankfully, I was able to stay home during my spring semester of my junior year of college to get healthy again and start a steroid treatment called remicade to help treat this disease.  During this time I tried to continue to live a "normal" life and started a marketing internship at World Vision Headquarters.

After 3 months, I found out my remicade treatments were not working and my pain was continuing to burden my everyday life. I decided to undergo surgery so that I could return to Gonzaga University for my senior year!  The goal of the surgery was to remove all of the inflamed areas of both my large and small intestines.  Success!  It took me a few months to fully recover, but I was able to make it back to Spokane, Washington to resume summer classes and be a student again.

The next year, I worked hard to figure out what triggered my stomach pains ("flare ups") and learned to manage my stress levels through running and gym workouts with my sister and college roommate.  Through a well-balanced diet, healthier choices and exercise I have been (mostly) pain free!  To this day I still am required to undergo lab work every 3 months and see my specialty doctor every 4 months.  As a part of my daily routine I take Azathioprine to help reduce any inflammation.  I am so thankful to be in remission!

I also started to run (a lot) senior year!  It was so empowering.  No, I was not the fastest nor did I go as far as the cross country runners.  But I was running for me and that was the best part.  Eventually, I signed up for a 10 K, then a sprint triathlon and even a half marathon!

"C'mon mom let's go running, woof!"  
Dustin and I before running our first Bloomsday 10K run.
Marissa (my roommate) and I at our first spring triathlon.
Later that year, I received a message from Stephanie Wilson with Runners Feed.  Stephanie heard about my story through her sister and my good friend, Lynn.  Lynn is a long-time runner and was diagnosed with Colitis during her senior year.  Stephanie asked me if she could interview me about my struggles and how I used running to cope with crohns, of course I agreed!

I feel blessed that I have found a solution that helps me feel better AND keep my stress level down so that I can remain pain free.  Through life's ups and downs, family struggles and sickness, I will remain constant in my eating, faith and exercise.

Romans 12:12 - Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer.