Day 360: Pit Stop

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I really debated about rolling over my day “count” (ie… Day 364… Day 365… Year Two:Day 1) or sticking with the count that I already have going (ie Day 364… Day 365… Day 366).

I think that I have decided to stick with a rolling number instead of starting at 1 again. First of all, and this is my highly spiritual reason, I don’t really want to write out “Year Two” every single time I post. Ha! But also, I really do have a spiritual reason… I started to think about “the journey” and I have keenly realized over the past few days how it has not “started over” as I referred to it before, but it is merely another leg of the journey.

Kind of like a road trip (since we are going along the analogy of a journey). Let’s say that I’m driving from Dallas to Denver.

I can look on Google maps and know that the entire journey is going to be about 880 miles. (Gosh, if that isn’t motivation in and of itself to fly there then I don’t know what is.) But, I also know that there are going to be “pit stops” along the way… to eat, refuel, de-fuel (if you get my meaning… har har har… I know, I’m a nerd).

For example, I’d probably stop every two-hundred miles or so. In Oklahoma City, Oklahoma… then on to Salina, Kansas… and a final pit stop in Colby, Kansas before driving on to Denver.

But when it comes down to it, if someone were to ask… “Oh wow, you drove from Dallas to Denver? How far is that?” I probably wouldn’t answer:

Oh it was 205 miles to Oklahoma City, then 247 miles to Salina, another 203 miles to Colby, and then we finished the last 234 miles into the heart of Denver.

No… I’d just say, “Oh, it was 880 miles!

And I guess that’s how I feel about this whole experience… the “turn over” from year to year is kind of like my “pit stop”. I really did take a bit of a break at the end of the year and reevaluate if things were still issues or not.

In my case, I totally assumed last year that I’d be “done” at the end… it was like I thought I’d get to Denver driving only 205 miles! Haha! It’s like the end of the year was coming closer and I was realizing reallllll quick: “This is not Denver. Toto… we’re not even in Kansas yet!”

I never IMAGINED that I would re-start the covenant by choice and ADD two restrictions (bread and chips)! But I’m already sooooo glad that I did! Just the past few days have shown me how much bread, mainly, I was relying upon. I see so clearly how my journey is NOT complete. And I’m so, so, sooooo very glad that I didn’t just up and stop my covenant when I was finished. Even just the past few days have already made the second leg of my journey worth it!

And I know that I have said this so much recently, but I’m still just kind of in awe at the way I thought (you know what they say… hindsight is 20/20). So, I guess a bit of the lesson I have learned is two-fold:

1. Don’t Rush God. He has the map. He knows exactly how long it would take. Sureeeeee, plan a few pit stops here and there to make sure you and He are on the same part of the map, but He’ll let you know when you arrive. And it just might take wayyyyy longer than you thought. And it just might take wayyyyyy less time than you thought, too.

This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently,for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed. Habakkuk 2:3

2. Don’t Be Married To Your Plan. Sometimes I think I have missed out on things because I was trying so desperately to stick to my plan that I didn’t see that God was leading me a way I had not planned. Oftentimes then I miss things while He has to turn me around. I mean… think about it, have you ever MISSED an exit or a turn because you were LOOKING at your map?!?! I do that with God… I’m so busy focusing on MY PLAN that I miss HIS PLAN… I miss THE RIGHT WAY. If I would just follow Him and, essentially, ignore my own map… then I can never be lost.

God says, “If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.Jeremiah 29:13

Day 355: Cray Cray

This Diet Is Cray Cray

{Cray = crazy… Kanye and Jay-Z rap it in a song. And I’ll fully admit that I have not even heard the song that this is from (at least I don’t think I have) but my husband and I say “That’s cray cray” all the time… so, I guess there’s the influence of him having taught 8th graders! And yes, I made my first ecard for it, too. Haha! Okay… on to more important things…}

It’s almost time for the new year.

Which means resolutions for some…

…covenant for me.

I’ve reallllly been doing some thinking and praying about this year and the covenant that I am to make with God. I think that I’ve known for the past couple of months that things were going to have to change.

Last year when I started my current covenant, it was so easy to pick the things that I would “fast” from… sugar and meat. No brainer. Those were my big gluttonous areas. Doing a Daniel Fast really brought that to light for me. And wow, that was it… untilllll about October and the nasty gluttony eating jumped off The Sugar Ship and climbed aboard The Bread Boat and The Chip Cruise. (Hehe… like my little boat analogies?!?!)

And honestly, I have thought about all different kinds of variations of the covenant for 2013. Knowing that gluttony is still an issue for me… mind you it is far, far, far less of an issue, but it is an issue all the same… I knew that some kind of restrictions were in order.

  • The Detour Covenant: Originally, I just thought that I’d stay the course with a few “detours”… same covenant but with birthday parties, national holidays, and full moon days as “no-covenant” days. They would still have to be glutton-free, but the actual food restrictions would be lifted on those days.
  • The Flip It Covenant: But, really, over the past few days (and especially on this day) I have realized that bread and chips have wedged their way into a borderline addiction… I started thinking along those lines. Soooo, maybe flip it? Make sugar “okay” and bread “off-limits”?
  • The Detour Flip-It Covenant: Okay, but honestly… not sure that I’m ready to wander out into the word of refined sugars again. Not quite yet. Sooooo, I would need to stick with the Detour Covenant for that, but I know that I need for bread and chips to be defeated as well. And that’s sort of the Flip-It Covenant. So, it’s not really either of those… it’s a Detour Flip-It Covenant.

And yes, I know that these names are in no-way “cool” or “religious” sounding… but I like to give things nicknames to help me remember, annnnnd well, those names help me remember.

But essentially, I am thinking about doing the same covenant as last year (no sugar, no meat) with the detours that I mentioned above, but this time also doing no-bread, no chips…

WHAT?!?!?

Come on, January… that’s cray cray.

No sugar. No meat. No bread. No chips.

… … …

Cray.

Cray.

I know. I know.

But you know what else is crazy? Living a life of gluttony and bondage and sadness and insecurity and failure WHEN there is a God that offers moderation and freedom and joy and confidence and victory. It is things like this that I think truly match up with what He meant…

If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.” (Luke 9:23-24)

I just don’t want to hold on to too much of this world. This gluttony is a thorn in my side and I have seen God work miracles in my life in regards to sugar like I mentioned yesterday… and I know that He can do more. that He wants to do more. that He is willing to do more. that He is WAITING to do more.

So.

What IS my new covenant going to be?

  • The Cray Cray Covenant: I can eat fruits, vegetables, nuts, cheese, pasta, and rice. No sugar, no meat, no bread, no chips. I will have “Celebration Days” (birthday parties, national holidays, and full moon days) when I do not have to follow these restrictions. Gluttony is NEVER acceptable: it is a sin.

So, yeah… crazy. I know. But I am learning a crazy faith. a crazy belief. a crazy confidence. My God will save me.

This is what the Lord God says: I, myself, will search for my sheep and take care of them. As a shepherd takes care of his scattered flock when it is found, I will take care of my sheep. I will save them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day. Ezekiel 34:11-12

Day 345: Choice Foods

Ya know, it’s one thing for me to say “I’m only gonna eat fruit for snacks from now on.” But it’s another thing entirely for me to actually eat only fruit for snacks.

Cause when it comes down to it- I have to choose fruit instead of a Doritos. I even have to choose fruit over “healthy” things like granola. (Cause even granola isn’t healthy if I’m eating it when I’m not hungry, or eating too much of it.)

And the choice part is where I tend to make-it or break-it. I can hear the rationalizations in my head (well, I can hear them after the fact, at least):

• Ohhhhh, it’s just one.
• I’m in too much of a hurry.
• These taste so much better than fruit.
• This isn’t really a snack, per se, it is sorta like part of my lunch since I only ate, like, 30 minutes ago.

So I was looking into choice-making in scripture and here are a few that I found.

Here’s one that is ever-important to read, but it certainly cuts right to the point…

There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.Proverbs 14:12

And those Doritos… well, they sure do seeeeeem right. But, well, they will end in death. They will. As much as I hate to admit that to myself… they are bad for my body. bad for my temple. and bad for my relationship with God.

Then there’s the tried and true “fork in the road” verses…

“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.Matthew 7:13

And I know these verses are not “about” dieting per se, but the concept is similar. It is sooooo muchhhhh easier to eat Doritos instead of a clementine. But, I want to go through the gateway to LIFE… but it is difficult sometimes. But… I read that again… the. gateway. to. life. What is a Doritos chip compared with that?!?!

And I love/hate these verses. Another in-yo’-face scripture about choosing right.

Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.Galatians 6:7-9

And then my favorite to end with… about choosing what to think about…

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.Philippians 4:8

Day 333: Sing A New Song

The number 333 is one of our family’s favorite numbers… it’s because of Psalm 33:3…

Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.Psalm 33:3

That’s the verse that helped inspire my husband to invent Chord Dice (which helps people to write a new song). And then God started to just… use those numbers to communicate His Love to us.

I know I referenced it earlier in another post about how He made that be the time that our dice were delivered for Chord Dice. That night my husband and I sat at Rick’s Chophouse having a date night and we cried with joy… not because the hope of this investment. not because of my husband’s dream. we cried because of the raw knowledge that God. loves. us.

He, in all His Greatness, reached out and arranged the cosmos so that those dice were delivered and scanned exactly at 3:33. For us. Little, puny, relatively insignificant… us. It was overwhelming to be “spoken to” so directly.

And now every time I see the time 3:33 or the number 33 or 333 anywhere it serves to automatically remind me that God loves me. And sometimes that reminder can be the thing to support me and redirect me and encourage me.

When I know that Someone loves me so purely. so perfectly. so completely. and so wholly. Well, it empowers me to do… right.

When I want to eat some chips, I can know that God loves me. And they lose their pull (at least a bit)! And when I give-in and eat the dadgum chips, I can know then too that God loves me. And I can hope that the next time those chips call my name that I will tap into that love.

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.” )

No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:35-39

Recipe: Enchilada Bean And Chips Crock Pot “Bake”

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This is one of the first recipes that I have ever made-up on my own, so I’ll admit that I had my fingers crossed hoping all day that it would be good! And it wassssssssss!!!

With this one, remember… just because it’s “vegetarian” (if you use two cream of celerys) that doesn’t mean we should super-chow on it. Eat when you’re hungry… until you are satisfied. Then stop. I’d even recommend serving yourself a bowl/plate of it and then immediately putting the rest of it in tupperware and in the fridge. Maybe make yourself a fruit salad to go with it… eat half of the fruit salad ahead of time and then the other half, if you are still hungry, after you finish the enchilada bake. Not trying to be preachy… more so just reminding myself of this for the next time I pull up this recipe to make! It’s always a good reminder for me of how to move away from gluttony!

Enchilada Bean And Chips Crock Pot “Bake”

Ingredients

  • 1 can (10 3/4 oz) cream of chicken soup*
  • 1 can (10 3/4 oz) cream of celery soup
  • 1 can (4 oz) chopped green chiles
  • 10 oz reduced-fat sour cream
  • 3-4 Tablespoons Frank’s Red Hot Cayenne Pepper Sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 bag of white corn (or similar) tortilla chips
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 can (16 oz) red kidney beans, rinsed
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed
  • 2 cups finely shredded colby jack cheese (or similar)

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl combine: cream of chicken, cream of celery, green chiles, sour cream, hot sauce, and cumin.
  2. Crush a few handfuls of tortilla chips and spread over the bottom of the crock pot.
  3. Grab a handful of the verrrrry cold corn and “sprinkle” it on top of the crushed chips.
  4. Place a layer of black beans and kidney beans.
  5. Spread a layer of the soup mixture.
  6. Over the soup mixture, place a layer of shredded cheese.
  7. Repeat the layers again. (I repeated them twice… it might vary based on the size of your crock pot)
  8. End with a layer of chips.
  9. Cooking options: Low for 4-5 hours or on high for 2-3 hours (but you run a bit of a risk of your sour cream separating if you do this)

*Here you have the “easy/convenient” version, but you could totally make your own cream of chicken/celery, make your own tortilla chips, use fresh chopped green chiles, fresh corn, and cook your own black beans and kidney beans. Honestly, I hope to be able to do that someday but I’m not much of a cook, I don’t really enjoy cooking as some do, and I’m not good enough of a time manager to do all that with my toddler and preschooler with me!

And a quick shout out to this flavor combo… Frank’s Red Hot Sauce with ground cumin is uh.maz.ing. I use it in our black bean soup (which is double uh.maz.ing.) and now I use it in anything Mexicanish.

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Day 307: Hunger Games

Yesterday I realized that I was hungry. Like, really… really hungry.

And nothin we had was cuttin it.

I ate like 10 clementines and 3 bananas and a big ol salad and some oatmeal with raisins and several scoops of peanut butter… and then things got messy.

“A few chips won’t hurt anything.”

Phrases like that are dangerous. Danger. Danger. Danger.

Cause a few chips almost always turns into a lotta chips. Which turns into a tortilla. Which turns into four tortillas. Which turns into a bowl of cereal.

And stillI went to bed with a little bit of hunger.

Hellllllo January. God designed your body to communicate with you through hunger. We have discussed this before! Why do you play games with your hunger like this? It never ends well!

Yeah, yeah, well…

I have to plan. I know I need to plan. I even came across a blog post yesterday and there were some tips to remember and, well, whadda know… planning meals was on there.

Cause all weekend I ate, like, fruit and snack-like meals. And, even if my husband is out of town at a trade show, I still need to cook. Cause I’m gonna need “real” food. So I need to plan again and grocery shop. Breakfasts, lunches, dinners. All of them need a plan.

Day 305: God Vision Goggles

I was thinking about yesterday’s post and as I tried to embrace the verseGod doesn’t see things the way you see them” I had this moment where it moved away from being all about my fauxfat and more about food…

Like, I was hungry this morning and was looking through my pantry for something and thought, “Oooooo, look… chips… yummay!” And then I thought to myself: Okay, this is when I need to come up with a verse to help me… and the verse that I focused on yesterday was God doesn’t see things the way you see them, but that doesn’t really apply to food… that was about appearance. But, well, really God probably doesn’t look at these chips the same way that I look at them. And God probably doesn’t look at a banana the same way that I look at it.

And then I really started to think about looking at my food options the way God might see them. I mean, remember Luke 16:15? “The things that most people think are important are worthless as far as God is concerned.” Like, I see Nacho Cheese Doritos and think “yummmmm” and He probably sees them as black gunk and tar. I see a bag of my mom’s famous chocolate chip chunk cookies and think “delishhhhhhh” and He… well, actually, bad example. I’m pretty sure even GOD knows how amazing those things are. So, let me try something else… I see an ad for a supreme chaulpa from Taco Bell and think “soooooooooo goooooooood” and he thinks “gonna suck your life away”.

And on the flip side, I see a banana and think… “{insert sarcastic tone} wow. a banana. that’s just so… healthy. woo hoo.” And He sees His creation, His gift of easier days for me physically, His blessing of a longer life.

(Okay, yes, this is me being heinously overdramatic… but go with it), what if God looks at the world and everything in it, like, in infrared like that picture of my fridge up there??? And all of the things going on that are pleasing to Him are in red and all of the stuff that is temporary and just eternally lame is in that green and blue color??? Wouldn’t that be RAD to be able to see the world that way!?!? To see the world His way?!?!

Cause here’s the deal… I spend so many of my days looking at the world and longing for those areas that are green and blue… areas of life that separate me from Him. Food. Popularity. Gossip. Fashion. Entertainment. Etc.

But His thoughts are not my thoughts… His ways are not like my ways. (Isaiah 55:8)

So, this week one of the things I’m going to do is to put on my God Vision Goggles and try to seek out those eternal things that are glowing red hot with holiness. I’m going to look at my fridge and pantry with that vision and I’m going to reach out for those things that please Him. I’m going to look around at the people I see, and do as Jesus would do… I’m going to aim for those people that are blue and green on that infrared scan and I’m gonna let the blinding red of Jesus’s life and goodness shine through me… and maybe they’ll want to join in with the red crew.

And maybe, after I’ve worn those God Vision Goggles for a while… maybe they’ll just become, like, part of me. And maybe I’ll start to see like that all the time. And maybe I’ll love God all the more for the way He sees this world.

Hmmmmmm, probably not “maybe” on that last one… pretty sure that one will be a “definitely”.

Day 122: Eat His Words

My husband brought home a surprise Olive Garden dinner for us last night. It was my fav OG meal: shrimp fettucini alfredo, OG salad, stuffed mushrooms, and… breadsticks.

Dern those things. I mean… don’t get me wrong. They are uh.maz.ing. Like truly one of the foods that was delish before I went on my Lent fast and was still delish after my Lent fast.

But I think as good as they are, I need a “break” from them… from bread and chips.

I have really been praying on what I should do and time and time again I feel pulled to stop eating them. My only reluctance comes from how it can limit some of my fav meals like enchiladas or this “chips n chicken” recipe both my husband and I love (I use mushrooms in my half).

So I’m going to try a “balance” for this one. I’m going to modify my covenant from “avoiding” breads and chips unless they are in a recipe to refraining from eating breads and chips unless they are an ingredient for a recipe.

Cause really, it’s just not worth it. Both breads and chips have become an issue that is slowly, stealthily creeping towards being “bigger” than Jesus in my mind.

If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away! It is much better for you to lose one of your limbs than to have your whole body go off to hell. Matthew 5:30

Of course, I’m not talking about cutting off a limb but it is a similar principle. There is something in my life that is taking my focus off of Christ… just like the chocolate and sugar was (although that was more severe for me which is why I know that I can afford myself no leniency with it)… so I am going to chop it off and rid that distraction.

Now for how long? For a month? Three months? The duration of the covenant?

Yeah… I think bread and chips are a big enough of an issue that they need to go for the rest of the year.

My mind was just teetering on writing this: {sigh} but then I thought, “Wait, think about how you really feel……” and there it was. Not disappointment. Not fear. Not regret.

Peace.
Relief.
Joy.

Truly… People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. Matthew 4:4

Day Eighty-Eight: Cat Call

I’m not even entirely sure how to breach such a subject, but again, my blog is an avenue for me to work through issues that arise from a food addict losing a food addiction.

Like I mentioned yesterday, I have lost quite a bit of weight… would my body be featured in a magazine? Ummmmm, no. Would I want it to be? Ummmmm, no. But it does look a bit more like what this world praises as “fit”. According to whatever people invented the BMI, I have moved off of the obese range and am now “just” overweight.

But enough of that talk… what is my point?

Well, I got my first “cat call” in years the other day from some random guys down the street. And I mention it here because… well, because it felt good. It felt good to be found attractive by someone other than a family member that HAS to think that I’m beautiful (or at least has to SAY it whether they think it or not). But these were just random people that I have never seen before and will never see again.

Immediately, I was bursting with… well, I’m not even sure I know what I was bursting with. First there was a bit of surprise along with a look around to see who they were talking about. Upon realizing that it was me, I guess it was just regular ol’ pride I was feeling.

Okay, so a surge of pride, then the moment was gone, right?

Nope. I wish that had been the case but it wasn’t. I allowed my thoughts to linger on that “compliment” for hours. I had craved that kind of feedback for so long before meeting my husband (who compliments me all the time, by the way)… and I guess my mind just sort of falls back on that.

But I also began to hear that voice in my head that I was chasing after something wrong. Something dangerous. Oh how I wanted to ignore that voice and continue to bask in their words a while longer. But I kept hearing “THAT is not The Way… THAT is not why I have freed you.”

I have been freed from chocolate but do not want to simply pick up another habit of overeating chips and bread. Same thing here… I don’t want to lose an obsession with food simply to replace it with an obsession based on how mankind views my body. I’m afraid the latter would be a far more dangerous addiction than chocolate, bread, or chips.

Don’t judge by appearance or height… The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

Day Eighty-Four: Part II “Bad” Food Begets “Bad” Food

I was thinking of my post from yesterday about good food leading into more good food, and I think that it is the same for bad food. Now, I don’t like to really look at most food as “bad”, because I think that the gluttony is more of what makes foods “bad”. Like wine, for example… a glass of wine has little to no effect on me but I love the flavor of it. But, three glasses of wine… well, three glasses of wine will get me drunk. And, as much as a lot of people would like to ignore it, the Bible is clear about not getting drunk. So, the gluttony is what makes that particular food “bad” for some people.

Same thing with me and chocolate… I don’t think that chocolate is “bad” in and of itself… on the contrary, it is goooooooooood! Haha! But because it causes me to sin by leading me into gluttony, then, yes, by all means… it is bad. Bad, bad, bad. Because oftentimes when I eat a lot of chocolate, then I kind of get into this spiral where I eat (gluttonously) a whole bunch of other processed… stuff.

For someone else it might be chips… a lot of people can pass up a bag of m&m’s, but you stick a tube of Pringles out on the counter and they are done for. In that case, the Pringles are “bad” for them.

Again, it’s not about the particular food… but about the heart. It’s about making choices that please God. Whether it be covenanting from chocolate, sugar, coffee, wine, salt, chips, whatever.

And if your hand—even your stronger hand—causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. Matthew 5:30

And like I like to do, here it is in the “me” version…

And if your food—even amazing tasting food—causes you to sin, pull it out of the pantry or fridge and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one thing in your pantry than for your whole body to become involved in the sin of gluttony.

Well, when I put it that way, I might need to schedule a pantry cleaning out around the time my covenant runs out!