Day 459: more. More! MORE!!!

I recently had a facebook message “conversation” with an old friend about my covenant. And well, there were just some parts of the message that I felt would be beneficial to share.

He is growing me so much through helping me overcome… such a journey. His message through me has so little to do with weight and food and so much more to do with me becoming less (in the spiritual) while He becomes more in my life.

It’s hard to understand often the horrible oppression I have felt from “just food” over the span of my life. A terrible, heavy burden… unconquerable. I have so often identified with the bleeding woman… nothing could release me from it save the touching of His garment, but up until the past year I had not the courage to reach out and touch.

But during the time I have been on my covenant journey with Him, I have found such a sweet freedom as I have never known in my life: freedom from that suffocating and all-encompassing burden. So, as simple as it might sound to just give up coffee or food, know that, for me, it is not just something neat, or fun, or even spiritually trendy… it is a battle. And for now, this is where I find myself on the journey.

Perhaps a lot of these words I’ve already said over the course of these 459 days, but I found it so… cathartic to say them yet again. To remind myself of the crushing feeling of despair. To remember the hopelessness each time I failed to be stronger than the pull of food. To refresh the pain of accepting that I was simply just “one of those people” that would struggle with food my whole life.

And cathartic to bring to light again the freedom that I have felt. the hopefulness. the salve over my aching and wounded heart. and the new identity that He has infused within me.

Because, here’s what’s cool… “we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). And don’t just discount that phrase. For years, nay… for my. entire. life. I have read that word for word but my mind and heart have HEARD this:

“We are more than conquerors…”

Yeah. I just like knocked out two words of the verse mentally. “We are conquerors.” I mean… I was okay with that and all. Being a conqueror… that’d be, ya know, cool. I’d sorta picture myself on a mountain wearing Roman armor with a flag or something blowing the wind while I looked off at the horizon. Annnnnnd, that was about the end of that little (yes, weird) daydream. But look at it again the real way…

“We are more than conquerors…”

Think about that… more. we are MORE than just a conqueror! I mean, being a conqueror is pretty dang awesome, but yo… we are MORE. We don’t just win the battle… we go beyond that! I’m so encouraged by knowing that simple thing. Even if tomorrow He healed me permanently of this sin of gluttony… if tomorrow I was officially a conqueror over gluttony… that’s not the end-all be-all. I am MORE than just a conqueror!

I… I… I don’t even know what that would make me… I don’t even know what is “more than conqueror”, but hey… the thought of being simply a conqueror is so enticing, I can only imagine how amazing it will be to find out what the job is on the next rung of the old spiritual career ladder!

Which leads me to paste in the very end of my conversation with my friend:

I know, so much more keenly now, that God has called me to much more than just salvation… that was just a pinpoint in my life. Now I am to find my purpose in His Kingdom so that I might be a blessing to the world.

And THAT. that is what it means to be more. Because THAT is really and truly THE call of a follower of God. That through us, through the promise to Abraham, that through us all families on earth with be blessed (Genesis 12:3).

Ya know. That makes me want to be over and done with this gluttony stuff. It makes me ready to move on to being a conqueror. It makes me ready to be MORE.

{This was the closest thing that I could think of to a time in my life
where I felt like my dream of being a conqueror…
I had hiked (in flip flops, mind you)
through this dense rainforest in Costa Rica
when on my Spanish immersion summer,
and we ended up at this natural waterfall. It was… uh.maz.ing.}

Costa Rica Waterfall

Recipe: Easy & Light Tortellini Toss

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I really wanted to call this Found It In My Fridge Tortellini Toss because that was my inspiration… stuff in my fridge. I knew that tonight was cheese tortellini night, but lately the tortellini bake that I make has been too… heavy and greasy. So, I wanted to make something a little bit lighter and this one just sort of… happened!

What I love about it: tastes restauranty and it only took me 15 minutes, start to finish!

Easy & Light Tortellini Toss

  • 1 lb cheese tortellini (I like the tri-color kind from Sam’s)
  • 3 Tbsp butter (or olive oil if you prefer)
  • 1/4 chopped onion (frozen is okay)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1-2 tsp Ana’s Herbs (or other Italian seasoning), to taste
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 orange (yellow, or red) bell pepper, sliced thin
  • 20ish cherry (salad) tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1/4 cup white wine or white grape juice
  • 1 tsp parsley OR basil, chopped fine

You could veganize this by using another kind of tortellini and using oil each time instead of butter.

  1. Cook the cheese tortellini according to package directions, drain, and lightly coat with olive oil to prevent sticking.
  2. Melt the butter over medium-high heat in a large skillet and saute the onions and garlic. Add the Ana’s Herbs, and allow to soak up the oil for about a minute or two, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add in the olive oil and then toss in the bell peppers for a minute or so, then add the tomatoes, wine, and parsley and allow to cook, stirring frequently for 3-5 minutes depending upon how firm you want the veggies.
  4. Add the cooked tortellini to the skillet and mix everything together. Serve, and enjoy!

{I wanted to show you this picture of my cut tomatoes because,
yes, there is a Nerf gun partially on my cutting board.
When you have two boys, you just never know when you might get attacked!}

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{Such an easy starter to a light pasta sauce… right here: oil, onions, garlic, and Ana’s Herbs/Italian Seasoning}

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{I knew these were gonna be pretty in the mix!}

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{This is how I finely chop the parsley… with kitchen shears! Very culinary of me, right?}

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{Look how beautiful these are in the pan sauteing!}

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{The final product… even the hubs said it looked “fancy”!}

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Day 457: Work With Me Here

Pros and Cons.

I love those little lists. I make tons of decisions off of pro and con lists. Have for years.

In fact, I could probably still find several of the pro/con lists that my best friend and I made in junior high. And, yes. They were typically about boys…

But as I got older they fused into more weighty topics. Choosing my major. Places to work in the summer. Auditioning for Julliard. Going to Costa Rica for Spanish immersion. Moving to a new school district. Picking out my first home to buy. Becoming a stay at home mom.

They help me to get all of the rambling thoughts and worries on to paper so that I can more logically make a decision. I mean, sometimes they are great because it’s almost like you can “blame” the decision on the pro and con list in the end… “Well, there were more cons than pros, so I decided to not to that.”

But there is one kind of pro and con list that doesn’t work.

The kind where it comes out totally, smack dab even.

Ugh! Those are so frustrating.

And even worse… it’s even AND both of your options are GOOD.

Double frustrating.

I mean… it’s an awesome place to be in: to have to choose between two good options. But in the land of pros and cons, it’s tough.

And that’s what I found myself facing. Two good options.

One: go to work part-time at an awesome job with awesome people with awesome pay.
or
Two: continue being a stay-at-home mom with awesome kids in my awesome house making awesome memories.

I was genuinely torn. And, for once in my life, I really started to pray about it. Because this wasn’t just a decision based on what we needed. We need money to pay bills and invest in my husband’s product, Chord Dice (which recently became an official Guitar Center product!!! Here’s the link just in case you want to buy a set and help me pay the electric bill! Ha!). And the decision wasn’t just based on what we wanted. I want to just stay home and be a mom.

And the more and more that I prayed, the more and more he whittled down that pro and con list until it boiled down to, not what was “right” or “wrong”, but what did God want me to do.

At this point, as much as I’ve seen Him work, and as beautiful as His Hand has been working in our lives, I really, truly wanted to do what He wanted me to do. I really, truly wanted to see Him receive glory. So, I changed my prayer a bit: God. Show me what you want me to do that would bring you the most glory.

No. answer.

For weeks, no answer. Not even a hint of an answer. And believe me, I was looking everywhere. I was trying to read into everything. I, literally… and I mean, literally, thought about getting an actual fleece (no, not the Old Navy kind… the Judges 6 kind) and trying out that method. But He was being completely, totally, and utterly silent about this.

So, I decided that when I went on my MomsAway retreat that He was going to show up.

Ha! Did you catch that? I decided… that HE was going to show up.

What a laugh. When will I learn!?!?!

Well, like I mentioned on Day 441: The Post Where I Don’t Tell You What God Said, He showed up all right. But He showed up and wouldn’t talk about work. All He would talk about was sugar.

Yeah, that put me in my place pretty quick.

So, we worked through my sugar issues (again), got that resolved a bit, and then on the last morning after I had my little sit in the big comfy leather chair, and after I drank what was going to be my last cup of coffee, I decided to make a little walk down to the lake to see if maybe Jesus was down there walking on the water or something.

Right before I walked out, my friend who had talked through all my sugar issues with me (Day 443: The Post Where I Sorta Tell You What God Said), came in from outside and I said I was going down there. She said, “Go for it. Jesus is down there.” I thought, Whoo hoo! Now I’m really going down there!

{Here I am… about to go see Jesus!}

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Turns out: it was freeeeeeeeeeeeeeezing.

And the wind was, like, hurricane DEFCON Level 1 type winds.

And yeahhhhhh, I don’t really “do” the whole cold weather thing. Like, I pretty much don’t go outside if it’s lower than 80°.

But she said that Jesus was down there… so I was going, hurricane or not!

I hoofed it down the 8,000 stairs, stood out on the dock for a bit and faced into that freeeeeeeeeeeeezing hurricane wind. I was just standing there…

waiting.

Then that got to be too much. I was literally afraid that I was going to get blown OFF of the dock into the water. Looking around, I spotted a little crevice in the rock where I could snuggle in and get some relief from the “hurricane”. So, I “hiked” over there in my cute little workout pants and Puma shoes and nestled into that little crevice that provided a bit of a respite. I looked out at the lake and asked again, God. Show me what you want me to do that would bring you the most glory.

And He answered. Through all of that roaring wind and rushing water. He answered. Pure and true and unmistakable.

Stay home. and write. and watch how I provide for you.

It was so beautiful. Even just writing those words brings tears to my eyes. Because… friends, let me tell you… when you HEAR the voice of God in your soul, it’s… beautiful. and awesome. and… and… beautiful.

And exciting. Because God has some kind of cool plan in store for us this next year that will call for His Provision. And that’s the part I think that got me the most excited. Not the answer: stay home. Not the directive: and write. (More on that in another post) But the rest of it: and watch how I provide for you. That was almost a “just you wait” kind of response… “just you wait and see what I do, how I work, and how amazing it’s gonna be.”

So, here I go… on another journey of faith, harder than the first, I think… cause now we are going back UP the hill. Because now I have to do a little bit of faith-waiting while I watch… just watch… how He provides.

{About to head back up… and yes, there were 8,000 steps}

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{See? But isn’t it kinda cool looking?}

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Day 454: I Will CUT You

I taught middle and high school English for about ten years before I became a stay-at-home-mom when my second kid was born. And part of being around teenagers all day means that you are frequently around YouTube videos.

Some are ridiculous. Some are gross. Some are awesome.

Well, there was this one video back in the day from MAD tv that some of the kids showed me and I thought it was hysterical. This “character” named Bon Qui Qui works at King Burger and she’s always calling security on people who make complicated orders and at one point a girl gets sassy with her and she says “Oh, I will CUT you.” My friends and I still joke around saying that… and, yes, we all try to say it just the way Bon Qui Qui said it. And yes, we probably look more like fools than cool. And yes, we don’t care because it’s too fun!

(If you are into MAD tv kind of stuff, here is the YouTube link if you’ve never seen it. It’s totally clean but stop at 3:15 if you don’t want to watch a little dance between the two.)

Anyway, lately I have really, really been thinking more about my portions. This is a cycle that I go through. I do really well eating just until I’m full for a month or so and then it’s like overnight I lose all ability to use self-control and I eat WAY too much stuff. My bloggy friend, finneyfer, recently commented on an older post (Day 365: My Portion) that I wrote about portion control and re-reading my OWN journey really helped to get me back on track with my thinking. {I love that God led me to do this blog for soooooo many reasons, but being able to go back and minister to myself is definitely one of my favorite reasons!} This part in particular has been a good reminder:

When I started thinking about “portion control” I remembered a commonly said phrase “The Lord is my portion”. I was pretty sure that it was a verse but didn’t know where it was in the bible or what context it was written in, so I looked into it. And I came across this:

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26

And I don’t know Greek or Hebrew, but from what I could read about it, “portion” most often means “inheritance”. So, how can God be my “inheritance”? Well, I guess I was thinking that the inheritance was what your parents passed on to you to support you, to maintain your life, to give you a boost financially, to help you.

And well, God is all of those things for me. He supports me, maintains my life, boosts me, helps me.

God is my portion. He is my portion control.

So, when that huge bowl of soup, or second-serving of pasta bake, or fifty-third cashew is calling my name, I can remember… God is my portion… I don’t need this extra stuff. I have the portion that will last forever.

I have the portion that will last forever… just that one thing gives me goosebumps just to think about even!

And another thing that got my attention was a friend of mine from high school who recently posted this:

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In one of the comments she answered someone’s question, “How did you do it?” to which she replied, “It wasn’t as hard as I thought… it just took actually wanting to do it. No sodas for 2 years, cut my food portions in half and walked. That’s it… NO tricks… NO gimmicks!”

I really thought about that for a while… like, wow. She just cut her food portions in half and walked (for some reason I never really got into big soda drinking) and got into a size 4. What if I could do that? The walking and half-portions part of it… not so much the size four part, which is why my comment on her status said this:

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Anyway, and then the other day after all that I had baked a potato for lunch and I looked at that thing and went all Bon Qui Qui on it and said, “I will CUT you.”

And I did.

And I ate half of it.

And I was totally satisfied.

See? All of those hours teenagers waste watching pointless YouTube videos just might eventually lead to a really deep, spiritual insight that will help someone out of their gluttony. You just never. know. Haha!

Try as I might, there was simply just no way to get a baked potato cut in half to look photographically “cool”. But, anyway, here… is my baked potato. cut in half. Ha!

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Day 452: God’s Little P.S.

coffeeless coffee pot

I promised in my post the other day that I would tell you about the other thing that God called me to give up over the next five years.

Honestly… I did NOT expect for Him to call me out on this one, buuuuuuuut, He did.

Coffee.

Oh yes, you heard me right… c.o.f.f.e.e.

I mean… how many times have I said that I couldn’t give up coffee? wouldn’t give up coffee? (Day 94: Oh! My! God! is a great example of that)

But there I was sitting in that comfy arm chair on my women’s retreat, looking out at the lake, praying to God, hearing from God. And, well, actually… there was more to the conversation than I said on Day 444: So. Worth. It. THIS was the entire conversation:

So, as I prayed, I distinctly heard: No sugar for 5 years… until your 40th Birthday. On your 40th Birthday, you can have cake.

Yes, God, Yes… I will do this… I will follow You.

… and coffee.

Uhhhhhhhhh, say what? Come again? Did you just say “And coffee?”

… and no coffee for five years.

{Lengthy Pause} Yes. God. If you say so.

Oooooo, I’m just gonna admit right now that my last response was, well, a little begrudging.

But, looking back (and being able to look back so easily is one of the big perks of this blog) I can see how he has been prepping me for this.

And, well, I’m back in agreement with myself again. Coffee… ain’t… all that and a bag of chips. or, a bag of grounds. or whatever.

But here’s what is interesting – I have only experienced POSITIVE things from being off of coffee. I have only missed it, like, a couple of times and it was only because there was no tea there when I wanted some (like at church on Wednesday morning and at Nanny’s house). Tea actually tastes better. I drink less tea than I did coffee because I am so satisfied by the taste from the beginning. I drink more water because I’m not dumping gallons of coffee down my gullet. I am not “addicted” to caffeine anymore. I actually eat a good breakfast because I’m not filling up on coffee and almond milk.

Let me praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for me. For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. Psalm 107:8-9

Hold on to what is good. 1 Thessalonians 5:21

Recipe: Easy And Fast Rice And Beans (Vegan)

Easy Beans And Rice - a rainy day meal

Truth be told, I only wanted rice for dinner (I won’t get into the gory details as to why), but my husband was going to require something a bit more substantial. So, I figured it was the perfect time for him to have rice and beans. I could just eat my rice and then load on a bunch of beans for him. No clue where to start, I looked through several recipes but didn’t have all of the ingredients for any of them, but I felt like I got the overall “feel” for the recipes, soooooo I took a plunge and made up my own, and he LOVED it! {Whew!}

But one thing I’m not sure of… is it “Beans and Rice” or “Rice and Beans”???

Easy And Fast Rice and Beans (Vegan)

  • 2 cups of cooked rice
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion (frozen is fine)
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 can RO-TEL (here is a recipe if you want to make your own from scratch)
  • 1 (15 oz) can of black beans (undrained)
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 4 to 5 “squirts” of hot pepper sauce (y’all know Frank’s is my fav)
  • 1/8 tsp ground cumin
  • lime or avocado wedge (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Heat large skillet on the stove at medium-high and heat the olive oil.
  2. Saute the onion and garlic for a few minutes until crisp tender and then stir in RO-TEL and thyme. Let it cook for about three to five minutes while the juices cook out.
  3. Stir in beans, hot pepper sauce, and cumin. Lower heat to medium and let simmer for 7-8 minutes, stirring once.
  4. Serve over rice and top with lime or avocado!

Oooooo, I was so happy to see all the bright red tomatoes! I bet this would be even more beautiful with the homemade RO-TEL!

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Yummy, yum, yum said the hubs!

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Day 449: Blame It On Beth Moore

Beth Moore Patriarchs Best Verses Ever

No sugar for five years.

Really, January? Really???

Hey. That’s what God said… don’t look at ME.

One year is cute… five years is getting wayyyyyyy closer to real sacrifice.

What can I say? Blame it on Beth Moore.

She was the one who wrote The Patriarchs. She was the one that was open and honest on page 62. She was the one that put those three, little, almost insignificant verses in between those little, almost insignificant parenthesis.

You know. The kind of verses that you read at just the right time. when you are in just the right attitude. when you have just the right heart to receive them. The kind of verses that you have read a gazillion times before, but this time… this time you are seeking God so fervently. you want to meet with Him so much. you need a word from Him. a vision. a Hope. And then someone like Beth Moore goes and throws them all together…

I was done for.

Here are the three verse chunks… first I’ll put the plain on scripture and then I’m going to do some verse interrupting because I think it’s just as important to know what was simultaneously going through my mind as I read them.

Give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:1-2

 Give your bodies to God {Let go of the need to control this experience with your body… give your body’s control over to Him} because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice {Hmmmmm, he’s repeating this whole “give up” mentality} —the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world {Like diets, balance, gluttony, doing things my way}, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then {Give up and THEN He’ll show you the way to do it} you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect {That’s what I want… the PERFECT diet that’s not a diet!}. Romans 12:1-2

Honestly, after these verses, I was already feeling His pull. I knew that I had tried to do it “my way” with the slackened covenant, and I knew that it wasn’t going to work unless I did things His way… which might not look normal to the outside world. But after reading those, I was so terribly curious about the other two verses. I mean, could they say anything more???

We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. {Oh and this fight with food is a battle, a war!} We use God’s mighty weapons {the Word, faith, truth, His righteousness, prayer}, not worldly weapons {like typical diets}, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments {My OWN arguments}. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. {This obstacle of food drains so much of my thoughts and life that it does keep me from spending that time focused on God, so it must be destroyed! Mwah ha ha ha!} 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

And even though the next verses only called for verse 23, I was struck by a few more verses.

They (the Gentiles) live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity. But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. Ephesians 4:19-24

They (the Gentiles) live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity. {I hate to say it, as miserable as I was, I was EAGERLY eating that chocolate.} But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, {that. right there. that did me in. throw off your former way of life. stop eating sugar.} which is corrupted by lust and deception. {Yep. Those would be the two words I’d use to describe me with sugar.} Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. {Let GOD do this. Go back to the new you that God formed you into.} Ephesians 4:19-24

And well, yeah… I can’t really blame Beth Moore. God put those verses there. For me. For that moment. And, truth be told, I was really far behind in my study, but now I’m actually glad… I needed those verses at just that moment. He really does work all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to his purpose!!! (Romans 8:28)

So, there ya have it. That’s partially how I came to the conclusion to go back to a sugarless life that I referred to on Day 444.

Oh, and next time I’ll talk about how God told me to give up something else for those five years. It’s almost as shocking as me giving up chocolate!