Day 749: I Start a 7 Fast

Clothes
Spending
Waste
Food
Possessions
Media
Stress

All the areas that Jen Hatmaker decided she had in excess and wanted to go against them. Just looking at the front of the book and seeing that list, I knew she and I were probably two peas in a pod.

7 - Jen Hatmaker

I recently got into a little book club that is reading the book 7 by Jen Hatmaker and I immediately knew that I was going to love/hate the book because I knew that it was going to enrich my life… by ruining it. {Ha!} But I’ve just finished another of her bible studies and I’d heard such great things about this one, so when my friend Mandy asked me if I wanted to read it with her and a couple of friends, I jumped on it. We’re only reading one chapter a month and then doing the “experiment” that follows to attack a specific area of excess.

Cause there is no question that I struggle with excess in my life.

I mean, heck, one area of excess, food, is the entire topic of this blog!

You really, really, really need to read the book to get the full understanding of what is going on here (and trust me, it is totally worth the read and very quick and easy, especially if you only read a chapter a month)! Basically, Hatmaker chose 7 foods to eat for a month:

  1. spinach
  2. avocado
  3. egg
  4. chicken
  5. wheat bread
  6. apples
  7. sweet potatoes

Oh, and water only to drink! I’ll be adding doTerra lemon oil to my water, but that’s medicinal.

I’m doing pretty much the same thing but with these variations:

  1. I’ll be eating rice instead of wheat bread because, well, honestly I’d eat nothing but bread. Rice isn’t as “enticing” to me so I’ll only eat it when I need it.
  2. I’ve added popcorn to the list. I know, I know… why popcorn!?!? It’s a light, slightly filling snack for me. I might get rid of it later or I might just ignore it as an option, but for now it’s on there.
  3. When I eat out (which is not very frequently at all), I’m going to try to get as close to the 7 foods as possible, but, for example, if I go to Jason’s Deli and they don’t have avocado out then I’ll eat a close replacement of fresh veggies.
  4. I’m going to allow balsamic vinegar into the mix. Now, this might seem like a decadence to you, but I’m a Ranch and Blue Cheese kind of girl, so this is still a major sacrifice for me to only use balsamic and oil on my spinach.

I wanted to record what I ate, but I’m not going to post that every day in an individual blog post, so I’m just going to come back to this post and update it every few days with what I ate but actually more importantly HOW I ate it. Just in case you feel like doing a 7 Fast “Hatmaker Style”!

Sunday – Day 1

  • Breakfast: 2 eggs, scrambled and then “fried” into a roll up burrito (imagine the egg part of an omelette without any of the “stuffings”), apple
  • Lunch: Went to Jason’s Deli with my parents: spinach, red bell peppers, carrots, balsamic
  • Annnnnnnnnd then there is no point in recording anymore today because I got a massive migraine (possibly from withdrawaling from coffee which gives me terrible headaches and exaustion) and then it got so bad that I (sorry to be gross) puked my guts out mid afternoon. So I pretty much ate toast and bananas the rest of the day.

Monday – Day 1, for reals

  • Breakfast: 1/2 apple, sliced into spears using one of these, 1/2 avocado, cubed (For breakfast? Yep! When you’re hungry, you’ll eat anything!)
  • Snack: handful of air-popped popcorn, plain (Uhhhhh, that’s not on the list. I know, but I think I’m putting it on my list. So, yeah, I’m doing an “8 Fast” I guess. Hehe)
  • Lunch: 1 cup of cooked basmati rice, and then an hour later: 1 cup of cooked basmati rice mixed with 1/2 avocado cubed small
  • Dinner: Chicken Noodle Soup at Chick-fil-A. Well, I thought that I didn’t eat out a lot. It really is very rare (it really only happened two days in a row because my husband is out of town).
  • Snack: handful of air-popped popcorn

Tuesday – Day 2

  • Breakfast: 1/3 sliced fuji apple, 1 scrambled egg
  • Snack: 1 grilled chicken strip
  • Lunch: 1/2 cup basmati rice mixed with 1/2 cubed avocado and 1 small baked sweet potato, skin removed, cubed (much better than I expected!)

That’s all so far, but I’ll keep coming back to update. I’m not sure yet if I’ll go for 4 weeks like she does or just go through until the end of February even though I started earlier. Either way, there will eventually be at least 28 days of “what-I-ate” and then I’ll post a blog at the end of the month with my thoughts!

Praying that God would reveal Himself to me through this experience… through this “experiment”!

Day: 315 Hunger Is Hard

I have been becoming more and more aware that I had fallen back into a trap of eating, eating, eating. Eating too much at meals, eating too much for snacks, eating when I wasn’t hungry, eating.

And I’m afraid that I cannot deny that it was a mild case of emotional eating. You see, I’m a beach bum at heart… nice warm weather is the ticket for me. Sooooo, winter is tough on me. And yes, I live in Texas… and some might say that we don’t even have winter, but it’s cold. And that’s all I need to be a little party pooper. I mean… look at this:

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40°?!?! And it’s only just the beginning!!! {I’d better watch out or all this cold weather talk is gonna make me want a Snicker’s bar! Ha!}

So, since we are inside an awful lot more that also means that I am in the same room as my kitchen and pantry a lot more. So, I just… eat.

I have really noticed it because the last few days the weather has been decent (actually pretty close to idyllic today) and so I have spent much more time outside. And eating has been sort of an after thought.

I have also been trying to be more aware of what is going in my body. I put on my size 8 jeans on Sunday to wear to church and had to make sure I was wearing a lose-fitting top because I had me a little muffin-top going on there. Like I said on Day 306, not fitting into clothes was simply a “Dangeometer” that indicates that something is off.

Sure enough something has been “off”. And it’s interesting… I just need to be aware… consciously aware, that is… that something is wrong and then sometimes I have the power to fix it. Now, let me be clear that if “I” have any power, it is only because Christ’s power is still in me and the residual effects of having to rely solely and completely on Him for the past… wow, essentially for the past year… are still there.

    To those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. 1 Corinthians 1:24

But anyway, what with eating meals again (trying to stop the snacky-meals and actually cooking), the weather being nice, and not fitting into my “skinny” jeans acting as an indicator/reminder for me… I have had a pretty good few days. (Hopefully this post doesn’t put a Murphy’s Law curse on me for having said that!)

Day 290: Making Myself Beautiful

I have taken a bit of a break from my “Read Through The Bible In One Year” plan. It was just bringing me down.

Yeah, I said it… the Bible was bringing me down. No wait. It wasn’t so much The Bible was bringing me down as it was my reading plan was bringing me down. It had gotten to the point where it had become a chore. And I was reading through all of these doomsday prophets and… I just did not want to read anymore.

Until my Transforming Prayer bible study leader pointed out the concept that I wrote about on Day 269 that says, “The antidote for spiritual lethargy and heaviness is to put on a garment of praise.” And I decided to take a run through the Psalms… very refreshing.

So yesterday, I decided to look on YouVersion and see if there were any reading plans focusing on the Psalms, and when I opened up the “plans” section, my old reading plan was on Day 333. It’s a bit of a back story, but God has shown up in our lives several times in conjunction with the number 333. It became my husband’s fav number after Psalm 33:3 was the inspiration verse for his product and then it was like God would use those numbers to remind us that He loves us and cares for us… like having all 25,000 of the dice for his product delivered at 3:33pm. Yeah, we totalllllly kept that confirmation slip from FedEx!

Anyway, so I thought- I should probably pay attention to today’s reading just because that number is there, and well, whadda know…

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My heart kind of caught in my chest… especially after Day 288 being entirely about getting a bunch of clothes from my friends.

But the words are too pointed and too clear to be mistaken.

Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful. 1 Peter 3:3-5

And as beautiful as I feel with all these beautiful clothes, and as beautiful as it was for my friends to help me with these clothes, and as beautiful as it is to be skinnier, all of that beauty will fade. And God will look solely at my spirit… and I so want Him to say, “Oh, January’s spirit… gentle and quiet. This spirit is so precious to me.”

And I thought of this verse too that deals with our spiritual clothes:
Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Colosians 3:12

And I was thinking that there are four basic things I put on every day that I could use to remind me to pray for those words. Feel free to laugh at my associations but I’ll probably remember them!!!

Under garments: Humility (cause I am humiliated if someone accidentally sees them)
Shirt: Tenderhearted mercy (cause it covers up my heart)
Gentleness: Pants (cause I gotta wash those suckers on gentle cycle lest they shrink!)
Shoes: Kindness (cause sometimes I wanna kick people to the curb… and that’s not very kind)

And what a great way to pray for those things every day? I get dressed every day… and I could pray for God to help me be humble. full of tenderhearted mercy. gentle. and kind.

And then I won’t have to worry about my outfits as much… cause it will be God making me beautiful.

Day 288: Faith-Filled Fashion

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In July, my husband quit his “real job” (hehe) to work out of our house on his own company and invention (shout out: ChordDice.com) and so we are in MAJOR budgeting mode.

Have I already talked about this? I feel like I have already talked about this. Oh… yes, I did… and it actually has the same topic today as I did on Day 221: CLOTHES!

Cause, in essence, I don’t have many clothes that I can wear out of the house that fit me anymore. (Yes, a blessed blessing!) But I just decided to not worry about it. Aside from asking for a pair of boots for my birthday, and spending about $15 of my birthday money on some super sale shirts at Target… I have just been wearing the same outfits over and over again. I was getting a little intrigued though as to how I was going to do that come winter when I had, like, one or two long sleeve shirts to wear out of the house. In the house I knew that I could rely upon t-shirts and sweatshirts (love that uniform anyway), but when I go to church I was going to have to rotate through about four outfits.

Until.

God provided.

And He provided in a way that I wasn’t expecting. I always thought that provision for clothes had to be in the form of money to go buy some. And He did WAY better than that!

I texted a friend of mine before my birthday and asked her if jeggings were cute? hideous? And she told me that she had a pair that she never wore in her closet and would bring them to me. But then she went through her closet and brought me a whole BAG of leggings, those jeggings, and several beautiful shirts (which pretty much immediately became my favorites). It was totally unexpected and so. very. nice. (And she was gorgeous taste… in fact, I spoke about her earlier on Day 136… although I thought she was wearing Gap stuff but none of the things she gave me were Gap… she just buys my kids clothes from the Gap! Haha!)

And then, the same week, a friend of mine that owns a clothing store just… GAVE me several ADORABLE dresses, some jewelry, and a few shirts of their leftover inventory. I would LOVE to give them some props but I’m not sure if that is something that I’d be allowed to share. I’ll have to check first! But I mean… uh.dor.able. stuff.

Update: I just got “permission” to let y’all know about the store that donated to the “January Got Skinny And Poor” Clothes Closet (hehe, I think I’m so clever!). They are called the Brassy Blueberries and their website is www.BrassyBlueberries.com! Their stuff is SO. CUTE. and they are obviously SO. NICE. If you live in Texas they have a booth at Canton!

And I was just overwhelmed with CUTENESS and I was IN FASHION for the first time in, like, well… ever. And I was clothed. And warm. And blessed by the giving spirit of these two ladies.

Well, then Friend-Who-Doesn’t-Wear-Gap-Afterall-But-Way-Cuter-Stuff texts me yesterday and says that she went through her closet again, and she brings me FOUR BAGS of beautiful clothes… dresses, tops, workout shorts, sweaters, t-shirts, etc. etc. etc. I spent almost AN HOUR playing dress up last night just wading in the clothes. It was like flipping Christmas. I kept going in and showing my husband and telling him that he’d have to take me on a date in this outfit, or that I looked really cute in that outfit. And, of course, today was bible study so I wore one of the suuuuuuuper cute shirts!

ANYWAY, what hit me about half-way through my dress-up session last night was this verse:

“And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” Matt 6:28-33

And He did… He gave me GOBS more clothes than I could ever afford had He provided me with money to go buy clothes. He totally gave me everything I needed… and more.

But I also have to say that those two women… whether they were just being kind or whatever… they were used of God in my life. They were the feet of God… coming to me and clothing me.

Oh God, may those two women receive abundant blessing for their generosity. May you look at them in Heaven and say “Thank you… thank you for taking care of my January.” And God, my thanks to you is neverending. May I remember YOU every time I put on a cute top or a fun dress. May I remember the garment of sorrow that YOU wore on the cross for my sins. May I remember the blood stained fabric that was left in the tomb. May I remember YOU and your care for me. I love you God, and thank You for loving me. Amen.

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Day 136: A Fast Shopping Trip

Today was a “me” day.

And ohhhhhhh how nice those “me” days are! My parents watched the boys for me so that I could go get a hair cut and, well, just not be in constant “mom mode” all day. As much as I adore my boys, I also adore… me. And I like to spend time with just… me.

So I dropped them off at my parents house this morning, and went and got my hair cut. I was kind of craving a parfait but didn’t have time to snag one before hand (which I was glad about later).

After that I had decided already that I was going to try to find some shoes and a few shirts and tops down at the outlet shops near us.

I went into GAP cause it was near where I parked and I have a friend that wears GAP stuff and I always think she looks classy… and I grabbed a few things that I thought looked cute… both size 10 and 12 in shorts and a few medium tops.

Nervously, I went into the changing room and looked at my options. I was nervous for two reasons:

a. I had not been shopping anywhere but Ross in ages and each store has its own “protocols”… and for some reason not knowing how many outfits I can take in, if I have to wait for an attendant, should I knock on the door or not, etc. all makes me nervous.

b. I had a pair of size 10 shorts. I was about to find out if my size 10 “moment” the other day was just a one-dress deal or if I would be able to wear more size 10s.

Instead of trying on the 12s first to see if they were too big I just went for it with the 10s. And… they. fit. perfectly.

I grinned at myself in the mirror and said a quiet “Thank you Jesus”… and then like all good iPhone users, took a pic of myself!

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And then I tried on another pair of 10s and they fit (but looked hideous). But I got a couple of other shirts and totally thought to myself, GAP is gonna be a good place for me: good clearance rack, trendy but classy clothes options, good “cut” for my body type.

But I’ll admit that I was grinning as I walked out of the changing room.

And still grinning (and a bit giddy) as I checked out.

Still grinning as I walked around the outlet stores.

Annnnnnnd, yep, grinning… as I walked into American Eagle, J.Crew, Tommy Hilfiger, and Puma.

And everywhere I walked I thanked God for the restrictions that had brought me so much freedom. I thanked Him over and over again for that freedom.

On my way to Old Navy on the other side of the highway, I decided that I would stop by Paradise Bakery (which I love) after getting a few things. But as I walked out of Old Navy (with several more size 10s and some medium tops), I was just so overwhelmingly thankful to God. Like I wanted to show Him how thankful I was.

And for some reason, I thought, “I should fast for the rest of my ‘me’ day.”

We tend to fast out of obligation, or heartbreak, or concern. In fact in looking for a verse or a time that someone in the bible fasted because they were blessed, I kept coming up with people fasting because they had messed up and wanted God to forgive them or because they were in mourning for one thing or another. But I can never think of a time that I have thought- wow, having such a great time right now… I should fast. Fasting because I’m blessed instead of fasting in order to be blessed. It was just such a new thought for me. But it was great! I thought even more and more about His blessings every time my stomach growled. I was so glad that I had missed breakfast and then passed by Paradise Bakery, so that I could have those fasting moments with Him.

And it helped me keep my focus on the One that made that size 10 possible. I didn’t once look at myself and think, “Wow January. Good work.” Because I know that it was only by His strength that I was able to lose weight. And that’s why I was so pleased with doing that little “blessing-fast”… giving Him my thanks through a sacrifice… makes me think of the One that did the same.

Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High. Psalm 50:14

Day 134: Back To School

I’m just gonna say it… I have been realllllly wanting to weigh myself the past few days.

I know… I know… I KNOW! It’s so utterly ridiculous that I should want to! I mean… when I really sit down and write that down it forces me to remember not so long ago when I was so beat down by the scale that my husband and I straight up threw. it. away.

Yesterday I was even trying to convince myself that it would be okay to weigh, like, just once because I never really explicitly said that I was going to add not-weighing to the covenant… you know, that I wouldn’t weigh for the rest of the year. My mind was like, “Oh you know, you just said you wanted to just not weigh all the time. You never really said ‘I’m covenanting with God to not weigh.’”

Sooooo, to make it clear to myself that there is no room for negotiation here…

God. I covenant with You to not weigh myself for the rest of the year. If I go to the doctor, I will request that they not tell me my weight. And while I’m at it God… thank you for keeping me from weighing myself the past couple of days when I was really tempted to do so. And thank you even more for helping me to see what a detriment weighing has been for me through this process and for freeing me from the “measurement” of the world, so that I can focus on your measurement of me.

Alright. There ya have it. Sealed the deal.

And here’s the cool part… I think that I have wanted to weigh because my size 12s have been… just sorta loose lately. Like, my Old Navy jeans that were my “skinny-girl jeans” are now having to be rolled on top (I sorta have this passionate dislike for belts) to keep them on me. So, I thought… “I bet that I have lost a little more weight! Oh I wish that I could know for sure… just one little weigh-in and that would be it!” Again, thank God that He kept me from it… what if I had actually gained according to the scale? The emotional fall out from that would have not been good, I’m sure.

But after deciding that this post was going to be about be explicit with God about adding the no-weigh to my covenant agreement, I thought… ya know, I do have one dress that is a size 10. I guess I could try that on to see.

It is my college graduation dress… and it’s just so classy and kind of timeless (I think… I have noooooooo clue about fashion), and the cut of it was pretty flattering for me.

And it fit!!!!

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I mean… sure it fit better in college when I was a “big 8/little 10″ instead of a “big 10/little 12″ but that’s not the point. It fit. Now why going through that process doesn’t emotionally bother me while weighing myself can send me spiraling into an abyss of depression… I. don’t. know. (Although I do think that the same process of trying on clothes in the store might not be as “emotionally easy”… even when I was skinny that process would sort of get me “down” since I don’t have a toothpick figure even when I am a size 8, but a lot of “trendy” clothes are aimed at toothpicks.)

But I do know that if trying on clothes in my closet to see if they fit ever does make me depressed then I’ll slap that on the covenant as well! I’d much rather be a happy and content person that finds my identity in Christ than a person who knows if she wears a 10 or a 12.

All the same… it sure was nice to fit into that dress. Even if just for nostalgia cause I have no idea when I will ever actually wear that dress! But it sorta… ya know… took me back to that day in school… or well, the end of the school for me. When Hope was capitalized in my soul. When Dreams were still possible. When nothing from the world could weigh me down.

And after I had taken the dress off (which, I got a little worried that I might have to go and pick my son up in the dress because it has that kind of fabric and one of those “hidden” zippers that get trapped in between seams and I was getting afraid that I would not be able to get it off!) and I had quickly put back on my t-shirt and Nike shorts (and I say quickly because the mowers came right to mow right as I was changing and even though they don’t ever peek it made me feel oogie)… I looked at myself in the mirror, and I smiled. Because at that moment…

Hope was capitalized in my soul.
My Dreams suddenly seemed all too possible.
And nothing in the world could weigh me down.

Day Eight: Imma Be

Before we get started, my title is from a Black Eyed Peas song called Imma Be which translated into real English is “I’m Gonna Be”.

Now, down to business. Week one is over. I stuck with my covenant. I lost 5 pounds. And now I’m starting to feel that excitement… that hope of being skinny. Pretty. Sexy.

Yeah. I said it. Sexy. Cause deep in my heart I want to be sexy. It’s left over from years in junior high and high school where I wasn’t sexy and all the “cool” girls were. I know that now I don’t really want to be sexy but it’s still left in there.
And now a little January history: I lost about 40 pounds between my Freshmen and Sophomore years of college doing the Atkins diet. Only diet that has ever worked for me (probably because sugar becomes the enemy… sugar IS my enemy). Anyway, I immediately went into junior high girl mode trying to catch up on all those boys I had missed out on annnnnnd dressing on the edge of inappropriate.

Now, everyone ignored that in a college girl, but in a 33 year old mom of two boys. Nope- that would not go ignored. Nor do I want to be that girl anymore.

So, I have to decide who “Imma Be”. And so I’m gonna be stalking ladies at church trying to “choose” my look. I’m not going to shop where teens shop. Imma be a lady. Imma be classy. Imma be a woman that would make my Covenant God proud.

Imma be.