fostering a grateful spirit

"If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams, and you will always look lovely." -Roald Dahl

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healthy {day 233} (late)

This week has been a doozy. It started, as you may remember, with a call from my mom early last Sunday saying that my dad had been taken to the hospital by ambulance because of bad pain in his chest and left shoulder. I know you don’t all know my dad, but he’s pretty tough/stubborn about pain, and does not really ever complain. This made it unbelievably alarming to hear him continue to say his pain was rising from a 5 to a 6 to an 8. Thankfully by midday Monday they had identified and diagnosed pericarditis. My dad had an infection in the lining of his heart, but they had caught it early and he was going to be fine. Finally, we could breathe again.
And then Wednesday came. I got a text from my friend Jamie. Hoping it was news about my sweet friend Harlow ‘s Kindergarten, I eagerly opened the message. I started shaking as I read the words I never wanted to hear and that no parent should ever have to say about their child: “They did an ultrasound yesterday and they think they saw a mass. They think Harlow’s cancer is back.” Devastating, heart-breaking words. I’ve struggled to process this since then-both big and little things…will she get to go to kindergarten? how does a just-5-year-old understand that she has cancer? again. how do you comfort her when she feels fine, but is going to have to get sick to get better? how do you comfort a young family facing the worst news a parent could ever imagine, and for the second time? so many hard questions. so few answers. On Thursday Harlow had a ct scan which confirmed the feared-there is a mass in her abdomen. She will have a cystoscopy and a biopsy on Wednesday and they will place a port for chemo in case she needs it. The last few days I’ve struggled to come to some kind of peace with God about all if this, but it just feels so wrong. I don’t know that I’ll ever get it, so I have to learn to just trust what I know- God is good. Even in the darkest moments when it feels the least true, there is something in me that cannot and will not stop knowing this. I am thankful that the Holy Spirit reminds me of this when my head and my heart can’t quite reconcile the world to that truth. I also know that God made Harlow and Jamie and Ben and that He loves them more than I ever could. I know that He is with and goes before Harlow every single day. I also believe that prayer is powerful and that God does not ignore the cries of His children.
That being said, will you please join me in praying for my precious friend Harlow? Pray for healing, for peace for her family, that God would somehow give Ben and Jamie the impossible words to give their sweet girl, for wisdom and skill for the doctors, that they found this mass early and that it is treatable, that Harlow would be treated and healed quickly and effectively so that she can experience normal 5-year-old things like first days of kindergarten.

Yesterday my mom and I went to visit my aunt in a rehabilitation program. She’s doing great, and after just three weeks she looks the healthiest I have ever seen. I am grateful for this, both for her and for the reminder to me that what seems impossible (she has struggled with addiction longer than I’ve been alive) is not impossible to God.
He saves. He defeats death. He heals hard hearts and infected hearts and recurrences of terrifying cancer
Thank you, Jesus.

much less important, but something I was also grateful for yesterday, was spring temperatures and sunshine. It’s refreshing to my body and soul to breathe in some warm(er) fresh air and soak up a few rays. I am thankful that winter does not last forever.

healthy pumpkin dark chocolate muffins

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okay, I found this recipe on pinterest (where else!?!), which led me to this blog.
I adapted it a little to match my tastes/what I had in my kitchen/making it even a little bit healthier. According to myfitnesspal, these muffins have 154.2 calories and only 3.9 grams of fat (I did 12 large muffins), so eat to your pumpkin-loving-heart’s content.

1.5 c whole wheat flour (I used King Arthur’s unbleached white whole wheat flour. I am not advocating for them, just sharing info)
1/8 c chia seeds
2 t baking powder
1/2 t cinnamon (I probably actually used a little more. I really like cinnamon.)
1/4 t salt
dash (shake or two) of nutmeg
dash of ground clove
1 c canned pumpkin puree
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1/2 c skim milk
1/3 c unsweetened applesauce
1 t vanilla
1/2 c dark chocolate (the stuff I had was in chunks, so I took the food processor to it)

Preheat your oven to 350.

Mix all dry items in a large bowl (flour, chia seeds, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, clove).
In a medium bowl, mix eggs, brown sugar, pumpkin, milk, applesauce, and vanilla.
When well mixed, add the wet ingredient mix in with the dry ingredients. Mix together until moistened. Stir in chocolate chips.

I used silicone baking cups, and probably could have ended up with closer to 14 or 15 muffins, but I had already figured out the nutrition information and I didn’t feel like re-doing it. If you’re not using liners, I’d recommend lightly spraying your muffin pan. You can do 24-ish mini muffins, and bake 15-18 minutes (I haven’t tried that size yet), or make 12-15 regular sized muffins for 20-22 minutes. 20 was about perfect in our oven.

I love baking with applesauce, and it helps keep the calories very low, but, in my experience, things do spoil a little bit quicker than when I bake with oil. These aren’t going to last long enough for that to be a concern for me (the hubs is a big fan too), but I did want to caution you if you won’t go through them quickly. The oil/applesauce conversion is 1 for 1, so if you prefer oil, it’d be 1/3 cup canola oil instead of the applesauce.


bonus post

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I know I just posted like 2 hours ago, but it’s been a great night. 🙂 after a rough fibro day, I’ve been feeling pretty good tonight, and even got to make some delicious and healthy pumpkin dark chocolate muffins. I’ll try to post the recipe tomorrow.

also, my sweet hubs fell asleep on the couch waiting for them to bake. perhaps I should start earlier next time.
oh, also grateful for the hubs cleaning the kitchen up after dinner, and for the energy to put those dishes away and wash the new ones while the muffins baked. there is something relaxing about having a clean kitchen.
I swear, those are not words I ever thought I’d say.
Also, Mumford serenaded my baking experience–LOVING the new album.