Work in progress…

As I sit here tonight struggling through another frustrating lupus flare – it’s like rolling the dice, you never know what combination its’s going to land on- extremely dehydrated, swollen, exhausted from iron deficiency, AND might as well throw in the feeling of a small ice pick stabbing me in the neck. That one’s always super fun. 😁  It never ceases to surprise me how quickly we can become conditioned or adapt to certain struggles or pain; it’s like the body’s way of coping and surviving. Usually when this happens we are actually getting stronger with each trial. It’s the same methodology used when working out. No pain no gain. It hurts now but you’ll thank me later when you have abs of steel. I wish I could say that’s what happens with chronic illness but unfortunately, body-wise, that has not been the case for me. My body feels beaten up, tired and worn down most days. Not to mention my abs are softer, my muscles are definitely less defined, and my time at the gym has diminished greatly. But that’s a totally other blog post. Don’t get me wrong, I am very grateful for my daily walks with Chachi, monthly hikes and an occasional spin class. These are all major blessings considering there are days I am just fighting to be up and dressed. I really didn’t set out to talk about physical fitness woes or abs of steal (I’ve let that dream go for now).

What was really pressing in on me tonight was this immenseΒ feeling of hurt- and no I don’t mean the mini ice pick in my neck- It’s the kind of hurt that doesn’t even feel localized to your heart, it feels like its running through your veins. At first I thought it was because of my recent trek into the dating world (totally painful but in a more boohoo heartache kind of way) but now I’m starting to realize that pulsing, rushing pain is actually…supreme disspoinment. I always had this idea in my mind for so long of the woman I wanted to be and the life I needed to live to be that woman. I must be extremely successful and do something worthwhile with my life or else I am a dismal failure. And of course failure is beyond earth-shattering so that just can’t happen. Somehow this grand idea that pain and suffering is actually being beneficial and making me a better person was getting me through the last 5 years or so. Truth be told… I’m totally over that now. Β I can’t pretend I’m sitting here cultivating this extreme depth of character when really anything good or of worth that has ever been or will ever exist in me is solely reliant on Jesus. As much as I would like to take credit for some wisdom gained over the years, I truly know better. Sometimes I catch myself thinking and I’m just astounded at the ridiculousness of my ruminating thoughts and don’t even get me started on making decisions. That’s a whole other mess. At least I did decide to finally go back to school and get my degree. But still, I can’t quite get over myself…. How am I going to turn this into my grand, life-alrtering, successful adventure… I guess I’ll have to get back to you on that one.

It seems, quite possibly, that life may be about the day-to-day, moment- by-moment experiences, as opposedΒ to the 5 year plan I always employed. I will be totally up front with you, I love planning and I love lists and I hate flying by the seat of my pants, but somehow along the way I ended up here; never knowing how I’m going to feel or what I am going to be able to do each day. I have recently decided to look at my daily life as adventurous and unpredictable rather than scary and unreliable. It’s amazing how powerful our words are, especially what we say to ourselves. The Bible does remind us..”life and death is in the power of the tongue.”- Proverbs 18:12

So speak things that encourage life, not those negative things that break it down. I’m still very much a ‘work in progress’. As I’m sure is abundantly clear from this post and all my previous blatherings. The good thing is, there are two really good words in that phrase; Work and Progress. If you are feeling worn down, disappointed or even like a house ripped down to the studs, I encourage you to focus on those words. It may not make sense to you now but the One with the blueprints knows what He is doing; trust the True Builder. He specializes in full restorations. I’m counting on it.

“Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.”- Psalm 127:1

Love always,

Kristin

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Feelings are stupid….

I was just having a conversation yesterday with my mom about the difference between loving someone and being ‘In Love’. Β Is it just the element of romance or is it more than that? I’m not sure we came to a conclusion but one thing I do know, it’s impossible to have love without pain. I find it ironic that I specifically named my blog Love Always Kristin as a reminder to myself to not shut my feelings off but be more open to the element of love. I am really rethinking that right now. 😁
Then I thought, I should write a blog post about all of this, considering I do have some specific thoughts on it, but my heart is pretty tender right now and all I could think is, it would hurt way too much to go there. Not only do I not want to be feeling all these feelings that I’m feeling but do I really want to analyze them even more by writing about them?….I suppose since I’m willing to listen to the new Adele album on repeat (track 6 at the moment being my drug of choice) then I might as well admit it, I’m just a glutton for punishment….so let’s do this….
While I appreciate everyone’s thoughts on the matter of love, I think it boils down to this main thing: We’ve all been hurt by love and yet, we all need it. Most times this need out-ways the risk of pain associated with love and vulnerability. Eventually we will all give in. So that being said; there will always be the highs and lows of love, the butterflies and heartbreak, the ‘real thing’ and the ‘not-so real thing’. The worst part of it all in my opinion is, navigating through all of these unknown seas. What may look to be like safe waters can turn out to be the Bermuda Triangle. Once you’re there in the middle of it, it’s too late to turn back and you just have to hope to make it out alive. I guess that’s a little dramatic but I happen be in the middle of some pretty rough waters right now and most days I’m unsure if I’ll make it to the other side in tact or will I just wash up on shore in pieces.
Maybe not all love has that effect but for me, in this place, I feel completely broken apart; and the idea of being put back together seems insurmountable.

I’m sure there are plenty of good sailing days ahead for the majority of us but the truth is, there’s always going to be a storm and uncharted seas to go through at some point. Does that mean we should jump ship, find an island to be deserted on and give up on the whole love and feeling thing? Well, yes you could actually. I’ve known plenty of people who have. I even tried it for 14 years or so…it wasn’t as lonely as you might think. But, herein lies the problem….Inevitably someone will stumble upon your perfectly secluded island and then all of sudden you’re forced to feel, care, communicate, and love. Why? because thats what people do and that’s what we were meant to do.

Summed up: We weren’t meant to be alone. Yes, in some respects it is easier but is it really better? Can struggle produce strength? Can longing produce faith? Can pain produce joy? Is love really worth it?
My hope is that it is. Is there anything better than being fully known and fully loved for who you really are? No, nothing better.
My prayer is that one day we will all be made complete in this kind of love. And then, all the rest of this mess will just be history.

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Feel Good Brownies (Paleo, Egg-Free)

There is just nothing on earth in food form that compares to chocolate. And while we’re at it, no treat that quite hits the spot like a brownie. It’s been a rough few weeks for me – well in all honesty it’s been a rough few years, but that’s a story for another time – if there’s one thing I crave when struggling through the hard days it’s got to be chocolate. I’ve actually been known to eat unsweetened baking chocolate in times of desperation…hey, there’s no sugar in it so it’s medicinal, right? πŸ˜‰

I try my best to adhere to a Paleolithic way of eating. Simply put; Eat Real Food. No grains or processed foods. Since being diagnosed with Lupus in 2010 I have tried every modified diet under the sun. I can’t say that my diet has taken all my symptoms away but I am certain I would feel much worse if I wasn’t mindful of what I put in my body. Listening and becoming attuned to our bodies is so important. Some foods that agree with other people’s bodies may not agree with yours. So listen and be willing to makes changes as you go. Now on to this awesome recipe!Β 

These brownies are adapted from a totally amazing blog calledΒ The Paleo Partridge. Martine Partridge is incredibly gifted at coming up with some of the best Paleo, AIP (autoimmune protocol) recipes around! Β She is a Crohn’s fighter herself so she really knows how important it is to have good recipes on hand that don’t cause our bodies inflamation.

After going through a Whole 30 and re-entry process, I have found that I can have chocolate, coffee and nuts in moderate amounts. So I went all out on this recipe….or, I suppose a better phrase would be, All In! Β πŸ˜‰

Ingredients
  • β…“ c coconut flour
  • ΒΌ c arrowroot flour
  • 3 tbsps. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Β½ tsp baking soda
  • ΒΌ tsp salt
  • ΒΌ tsp cinnamon
  • Β½ c apple sauce
  • β…“ c coconut oil, melted
  • ΒΌ c honey or maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp maple sugar (optional)
  • 4 tbsp chocolate chips (optional)
  • 1 tsp espresso powder (optional)
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar*
  • 1 tsp vanilla

1 tbsp. gelatin plus ΒΌ c water (for gelatin egg) *

Frosting ingredients:

  • 4 squares unsweetened baking chocolate or 1/3 cup chocolate chips. ( if using sweetened chocolate omit honey/maple syrup)
  • 1/2 tbsp cashew butterΒ 
  • 1/2 tbsp almond butter
  • 2 tsp coconut butter (optional)
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup or honeyΒ 
  • Splash of vanillaΒ 
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8×8 baking dish.
  2. In a bowl sift dry ingredients; coconut flour, arrowroot flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  3. In a separate bown with a mixer, combine the apple sauce, oil, honey, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla.
  4. In saucepan add gelatin to ΒΌ c water and let it desolve. Turn the heat to medium low to melt the gelatin. Wish quickly until the gelatin egg is frothy. Then combine this to the brownie mixture until fully incorporate. Add chocolate chips.Β 
  5. Pour the mixture into greased baking pan and use rubber spatulas to even out mixture.Β 
  6. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15-20 minutes before cutting.
  7. While the brownies are cooking prepare frosting.Β 
  8. Melt chocolate in a small sauce pan on low with coconut oil, coconut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, (or use double boiler method).
  9. After everything is melted add maple syrup or honey and splash vanilla.
  10. Pour evenly over brownies and let cool or chill in refrigerator. Cut into squares and enjoy!

*You can replace the gelatin egg with a real egg. This works fine as well! If you do use a real egg, you can omit the vinegar in the recipe.