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Bright Autumn Sun » Bright Autumn Sun | South FL & North GA Lifestyle Blog | Photography | Lifestyle | Motherhood

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13 years.

I wrote this on Facebook on January 28th – the 30th anniversary since the Challenger disaster and NASA’s official Day of Remembrance for the three tragedies that occurred at the end of January and beginning of February. However, today, February 1st, is the 13th anniversary of the loss of the shuttle Columbia and I wanted to make sure this was posted to my blog, too. Please take a moment to read it.

Everyone is sharing pictures of the Challenger explosion today. It’s hard to believe that 30 years have passed since this horrible tragedy in our space program’s history.

I found this article on Ars Technica that commemorates all three of NASA’s worst disasters: Apollo 1, Challenger, and Columbia, which are clustered together during a five-day period at the end of January and beginning of February. Today, January 28th is NASA’s official Day of Remembrance for these terrible incidents.

While I was not alive for Apollo, and was too young to remember the Challenger tragedy, Columbia is the one that hits home for me. I dread February 1st a little every year when I remember what’s coming, and might not post anything that day… So I’m going to make my post now.

I will always remember going to see the shuttle launch on a truly beautiful, cool morning on January 16, 2003 with Adrian. It was a nice drive from Gainesville to our favorite Titusville viewing spot behind the McDonalds next to the apartment buildings up on the water. We went inside to get milkshakes and took our spot on the little dock. You locals will know exactly where I’m referring to…

We were so excited about the mission and the international crew, which included Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon. It was a beautiful and successful launch. Seeing a space shuttle launch was always one of the most exhilarating things ever. I am incredibly lucky to have seen several launches, and the magnitude of it fills you with indescribable emotion.

The image below is probably the only image I have of when I saw the launch of the Space Shuttle Columbia. I don’t have a clear one without the text – which I probably added to stick on my LiveJournal or blog back in 2003 after I got the film developed.

In Memory of Space Shuttle Columbia

Imagine our shock to wake up 2 weeks later on the morning of February 1st to hear that Columbia had broken up upon entering Earth’s atmosphere. Adrian & I were heartbroken and horrified.

Today, honor the memory of the Challenger astronauts, those lost in the Apollo 1 accident, and the astronauts who were aboard Columbia. These astronauts sacrificed their lives in the name of scientific discovery, exploration, and the hope that maybe we aren’t the only ones out here floating in the middle of space on a “pale blue dot.”

“Mankind is led into the darkness beyond our world by the inspiration of discovery and the longing to understand. Our journey into space will go on.” George W. Bush

A screenshot from my computer on February 1st 2003:

Screen Shot from February 1, 2003 - Shuttle Columbia disaster



Recipe: Chocolate-chip Banana Protein Muffins

For a while now, I’ve been wanting to make some protein muffins that I can eat before I workout, or have later in the day as a yummy snack when I want something sweet but not really bad for me. I usually don’t have a huge appetite in the morning, especially when I’m getting up for those crack-of-dawn sessions, but I would like to get something relatively healthy in me that will give me some energy to not fade out by the time I finish my cardio and hit the weight room.

This recipe is simple and very easy. The muffins come out perfect, moist, and delicious, and they definitely do not taste like cardboard. No, they’re not paleo, because I’m a girl who likes her carbs and definitely don’t mind having some extra carbs to keep me going in the morning when I’m heading into a tough workout.

Chocolate Chip Banana Protein Muffins © BrightAutumnSun.com


  • 4 small ripe bananas mashed
  • 1/3 cup virgin coconut oil (room temperature and packed, like butter, not melted)
  • 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar (found this at Target, it is darker and gives a richer taste to your baked goods)
  • 1.5 heaping scoops protein powder (vanilla is probably best, but I used pumpkin spice protein by Max Muscle, since that’s what I have. You don’t taste it much.)
  • 1 egg
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1.5 cups flour (I used organic all-purpose, but you could easily substitute with oat flour or whatever you want)
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (basically, one Chobani Greek yogurt single serving cup)
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix mashed banana with coconut oil, egg, sugar, and vanilla.
  • Add protein powder and mix until fully combined.
  • Next, sprinkle on a dash of salt and add baking soda and flour. Stir until combined.
  • Then, stir in the Greek yogurt.
  • Finally, add and gently fold in the chocolate chips.
  • Bake at 350F for 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. (it was about 17.5 minutes for me)

This makes about 18 muffins. Personally, I did 12 more-than-half-filled muffins and 3 mini-loaves.

If you don’t like chocolate chips (you crazy person), you could easily add nuts, or blueberries, or probably anything you want. Please don’t add raisins, because raisins are disgusting – LOL. This recipe is really adaptable. I am going to try making it with pumpkin purée, too, since I love pumpkin, but I had the bananas on-hand. The Greek yogurt really helps to make the muffins moist, and definitely adds some more protein. No, I didn’t use the low-fat kind because all they had was fat-free or full-fat, and I figured it was only half a cup, so I went for the good stuff.

Here is some more eye candy… If you make these, please tell me how you like them and if you made any changes and how that went! ENJOY!

Chocolate Chip Banana Protein Muffins © BrightAutumnSun.com

JudyJanuary 2, 2016 - 2:18 pm


AmyJanuary 28, 2016 - 10:46 pm

Looks good, except I would sub raisins for the chocolate chips, lol!! Ha ha!

karen lisaJanuary 30, 2016 - 5:31 pm

Raisins are DISGUSTING!

Happy New Year! My 2016 Resolutions & Our New Year Card

For 2016, I only have a few resolutions. I’m keeping things simple this year. In the past, I’ve struggled with tons of goals, but I wanted to write up a list of things to do this year that were important to me that I could actually, maybe, quite possibly achieve. Here they are:

1. Restart my photography business and enjoy the opportunity to be creative again.
2. Continue my fitness/healthy eating routine – and keep working until I see in the mirror what I see in my head. Then maintain!
3. Spend more time being outdoors, riding my awesome bike and having adventures. Live in the sun!
4. Further develop the friendships I’ve made in GA, and spend more time with family.
5. Try not to get any more sports related injuries. LOL. Stay healthy!
6. Do at least one family “adventure” each month.
7. Be happy. :)

I found this “quote” on Pinterest a while back and it really stuck in my head as something I would like to focus on this year. Better. Faster. Stronger. Happier.

Better. Faster. Stronger. Happier.

Finally, yesterday, I shared the outtakes of the photo shoot I did with the kids for our annual family card. Today, I’m sharing the card itself. I think it came out so cute! This is the first year that I only used professional photos of the kids – Adrian and I had to be in there somehow, so I decided to cover the back with many of my favorite iPhone/Instagram photos that I’ve taken throughout the year from our adventures and life here in Georgia. I think it came out fabulously! If you haven’t gotten our card yet (I’m hoping everyone has) and don’t want to be spoiled, don’t read any further!







New Year Card © Karen Lisa Creative LLC


New Year Card © Karen Lisa Creative LLC