Four-Day Daniel Fast: Thank You

20130803-065851.jpg

I really want to say “Thank you” for the past four days.

Of course, to God. Okay, really, only to God… because through Him it’s all possible. Through Him I knew what a Daniel Fast was. Through Him, I was able to keep my focus and resist things that have been haunting me for months, for years, heck… for my entire life. Through Him I have been brought to a point of knowing that I needed to eat better, that I needed to take care of my body, that I needed to honor Him through EVERY part of my life.

But really, I also want to say thank you… to you guys. For doing the four-day fast with me.

You see, I needed to remember that it was possible… possible to resist. And I knew that two things needed to happen:

1) I needed to start small. Very small. A typical Daniel Fast is 21 days and I just knew that was not where I needed to start. Four days just seemed so feasible this time.

2) I needed some major accountability. That’s mainly why I asked you guys on my facebook and twitter to do one with me.

And when I said that I’d offer up menus and recipes… yeah, I really originally meant it for you guys, but it helped me A TON! Having a plan for every meal took all of the guessing game out of it. When I was knocking against those pangs of hunger, I didn’t have to think what I was going to eat – I already knew! And I was like, well, my friends said they were going to do it so I want to stick by it with them, so I went to the store to make sure I had supplies.

For the first time in months I have been able to eat “right” for four days in a row. Sugar and chocolate were again not temptations for me. I felt so… free. And I see why Daniel chose to not eat rich or eat meat for those three weeks while he prayed… he wanted to be free of the distractions. He knew too from when He was captured: he knew the power of food over the body. And he saw what it could do for a person when coupled with the guidance and power of God.

So, I am doing another four days… still praying to God, still eating wonderful food, still be blessed, and best of all…

still feeling free!

.

Photo cred: Andrea Howey on instagram (she is the best instagram account to follow, by the way!)

Recipe: Mexican Baked Potato (Vegan)

20130731-143754.jpg

I actually sorta discovered this one on accident!

Typically, I eat vegetarian, but I use stuff like butter, sour cream, and shredded cheese on my baked potatoes…. cause, ya know… that’s how I’ve always done it. Well, since I’m on a four-day Daniel Fast right now, I couldn’t.  So I was planning on making a Mexican baked potato… and that’s what I did, but I made it extra good!

I used the leftovers from my Black Bean Soup from last night, threw some frozen corn in while I reheated it, poured it on the baked potato along with some southwestern style salsa and a sprinkling of salsa… and heck to the yeah, it was GOOD! No butter. No sour cream. No cheese.

Mexican (Vegan) Baked Potato

  • 1 Tbsp olive or coconut oil
  • kosher salt
  • 1russet baking potato, rinsed and poked with a fork
  • 1/2 cup of leftover Black Bean Soup
  • 1/4 cup of frozen corn
  • 1/4 cup southwestern style salsa
  • cilantro, to taste

Instructions

Before we get started here with this crazy easy recipe, I do need to point out that I’m sorta finicky about my baked potatoes. No microwave for me… and not because of the health reasons but because they are so. much. better. when they are really baked in the oven (or crock pot). So, that’s why I’m giving some slightly specific instructions for how to bake a baked potato!

  1. Lay out a sheet of aluminum foil, place the potato in the middle and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt.
  2. Wrap up and bake at 375° for 60-90 minutes. (Crock pot instructions at the bottom)
  3. Once baked to where you can simply “smush” down on the foil wrapped potato and it “caves” in, then it’s ready to embellish!
  4. Take the baked potato out of the foil and cut it up to your liking. I eat the skins and they are SO YUMMY when you prepare them with the salt and oil like we did above. (Shout out to my mom for teaching me that little trick!)
  5. Pour the corn into the the leftover black bean soup and heat for two to three minutes on high. Pour the mixture over the baked potato.
  6. Add the salsa and mix around with the beans.
  7. Top with cilantro, if desired (and, honestly, you should so desire to top with it… makes the dish so much better!)
  8. And eat your worry-free meal… no butter. no sour cream. no cheese. But SO DELICIOUS!

Baked Potatoes in the Crock Pot

I like to bake my potatoes in the crock pot a lot in the spring and summer when I don’t want to heat up the house the with oven but still want an oven-baked taste. It’s also nice to not have to worry about babysitting the oven… this way I can leave and pick up my kids or run to the store while my baked potato is a cookin away at home!

  1. Wash and poke the potato.
  2. Place it in the bottom of the crock pot and pour in 1/4 cup of water or vegetable broth.
  3. Drizzle oil over potato and sprinkle with kosher salt.
  4. Cook on HIGH for 2-3 hours.

(You can cook more than one potato, just increase the time a bit)

Four Day Daniel Fast, Day 1

Daniel Fast Quote

So hopefully you’ve jumped on the ban wagon with us and started a four day Daniel Fast. Yesterday, I wrote a post with a four-day menu and some links to recipes to help you start. Also, I’m really active on facebook, twitter, and google+ with verses, funnies, and encouragements throughout this process. Plus, there are some others fasting this week that you could get encouragement and advice from if this is your first time.

Today I just wanted to go over a couple things about the fast… a couple of encouragements, if you will.

1) A Daniel Fast is about communicating with God. Sure, it’s also about super healthy foods, but really, you are eating with restrictions in order to clear your mind of this “distraction” of the world: food. By eating super healthy, you are feeding the body just what it needs while allowing your mind to revert away from the lure of chips, candy, cokes, breads, steaks and the like and refocusing that attention to God.

2) Because of number 1, I encourage you to not get swept away by all of the rules, or you’ll end up missing God because you are so focused on the food and on the rules about the food. Keep it simple: Is it a veggie? Is it a fruit? Is it a nut? Is it water? If it answers “yes” to any of those things, then eat it. If it answers “no”… then don’t. And spend the time you would spend worrying… spend it on prayer. spend it in reading the Word. spend it in service to Him.

Okay, and just a focus on spiritual side of the fast. I wanted to cover the “origins” of this fast…

Daniel (also known as Belteshazzar) had another vision. He understood that the vision concerned events certain to happen in the future—times of war and great hardship. When this vision came to me, I, Daniel, had been in mourning for three whole weeks. All that time I had eaten no rich food. No meat or wine crossed my lips, and I used no fragrant lotions until those three weeks had passed. Daniel 10:1-3

You see, Daniel did this fast because he’d had a vision of the future that was horrible. So, he went into mourning and prayer. He didn’t eat rich food, meat, or drink wine… he also didn’t lotion up with his most recent Bath and Body Works selection. Ha! So, I think over the next four days, it would be good if you sorta came up with a theme of what to pray about with God.

It can be something you are mourning: a broken family relationship, a friend in difficult times, the state of our country, hunger in Africa, the human traffiking issue, your own sin or struggle with gluttony. Whatever it is… during those times of hunger or during that moment when you have to resist “rich food” with a bit of self-denial… use those times to pray to God about your issue.

Allow God to use hunger to break you down a little bit, so that He can build you up.

Four-Day Daniel Fast

four day daniel fast

I posted last week on twitter and facebook asking if anyone wanted to do a Daniel Fast with me this week… and then I said I’d post some menus. So sorry I’m just posting them!!! Like I said a while back on Day 524, I’ll start posting regularly this fall when both of my boys will be in school two days a week.

I am going to give you these menus though and maybe you can make it happen still! If you can’t go to the store tonight to make it happen, then maybe join us on Wednesday and go through Saturday or do a three-day fast. If you are still more curious about a Daniel Fast, here is a website that I used the first couple of times I did one. And danielplan.com is also a great resource if you click on Food and go to recipes! Now, I will say this: I think that there are different “levels” of Daniel Fasting.

- Daniel Fast: veggies, fruits, nuts, and water (I’m doing this one this week…. Oh, and I consider beans as veggies)
- Organic Daniel Fast: all of the above using organic produce
- Flexible Daniel Fast: all of the above and then add any or all of these items: breads, pastas, beans, rice, coffee, tea, cheese, eggs, fish (this is the one that I do usually)
- Specific Fast: if you are aware of your area of weakness (aka: addiction) then you can fast from only that, e.g. fast from sugar or fast from snackies like chips

But here is the menu I’m thinking of following. It is a doable menu that enables me to Daniel Fast and still feed my family. Now one note: I don’t worry about salad dressings or sauces… I just include them and don’t worry about their ingredients. It’s already a big sacrifice for me to cut out rice, pasta, bread, cheese, and fish that I’m getting the spiritual message here without leaving out the sauces. Plus, like I said, I can still feed my family this way!

Oh, and you might think the lunches are kinda sparse… I don’t eat a lot of lunch but I do have snacks at 10:00am and 3:00pm with my kids, so I don’t need to eat a huge lunch because of that.

Okay! Here goes!

Day One

  • Breakfast: fruit smoothie: take any fruit you want and blend it using water as the liquifier. I usually combine a handful of frozen blueberries, six or seven strawberries, a frozen banana that’s already been sliced, four or five inch frozen mango slices, and four or five inch frozen pineapple slices. I use a Ninja… and it makes a yummy smoothie. If you don’t have frozen, then just incorporate some ice!
  • Lunch: salad with carrots, celery, tomatoes, red bell pepper, cashews, peanuts, sunflower seeds and dressing
  • Dinner: Caribbean Black Beans , fruit bowl, side salad
    • you can have these with rice if you are choosing to do a fast that includes grains
    • If you have someone in your family that is not fasting with you, then you can throw in some ham at the end after you’ve pulled out the ham-less version for yourself

Day Two

  • Breakfast: oatmeal with strawberry bits or banana slices
  • Lunch: Mexican Baked Potato with chopped green onions, sauteed or roasted corn, cilantro, and salsa
  • Dinner: Vegetable Feta Foil Packet (minus the feta, of course) over mashed potatoes and a side salad
    • Serve with over baked chicken if you have a meat-eater with ya!

Day Three

Day Four

  • Breakfast: Just found these! Almond Butter Bites (it’s on the first page of the link)
  • Lunch: Veggie Lettuce Wrap: Large “sheets” of romaine with avocado, shredded carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, diced red bell pepper, sunflower seeds,
  • Dinner: Black Bean Soup (this is, by far, one of my favorite recipes of all time!) We don’t eat anything else with it, but I’m sure any side that would be good with enchiladas would be great with this too!

A few other notes:

  • Snacks: I enjoy carrots and hummus, CLEMENTINES!, grapes, cashews… pretty much any easily edible fruit or nuts are good with me! Just remember… this is not entirely about just WHAT foods you are eating but also about not eating past being full. Then that sorta defeats the purpose if we are gluttonizing on “godly” foods.
  • If you typically drink a lot of coffee in the mornings, I wouldn’t stop that for just these four days. Coming off of coffee can have some serious side-effects, that… coming from experience… only distract from the fast. I’d just do this fast with your coffee and then try to just get off of coffee entirely. I know, I know… but really, anything that can have such a negative effect on you when you “detox” from it… well, that’s just plain. not. good.

Day 562: The Two Of Me

I talk to myself sometimes.
Full on conversations.
And I almost always fight with myself when it comes to food.

One side of me: motherly and wise.
The other side: a teenager… brash, selfish, and thinks she’s untouchable.

Out of all those qualities, the one I mostly want to be is WISE. And be wise about food.

Like, when I went out to dinner with some girlfriends of mine, I got a shrimp chimichanga (AFTER I had already eaten the equivalent of a bag of chips).

shrimp chimichanga el tapatio the culprit

About halfway through it I thought “If I were a skinny girl, I’d stop right here.” But teenager me: “Well, you’re NOT a skinny girl, you never get to go out to eat, and you don’t want to take a shrimp chimichanga home with you, so just finish it! Just this one time…”

Yeah, I was crazy uncomfortable the rest of the night. Geez! I just want to hear and listen and obey that motherly voice in my mind! And you know, I think it all goes back to prayer. Cause ya see… who am I NOT talking to in that scenario?

GOD.

The ONE who can actually free me and empower me to hear and listen and obey.

So, it looks like I need to invite God into this little fight in my mind… cause I’m pretty sure that He can put the smack down on both of those voices.

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21

Day 559: Freckles

Freckles freckle frenzy game spoonful

I came across this pic accidentally and it made me smile way more than the pic I took of my arm freckles! Plus, the little game looks fun – actually the entire website looks fun!
http://spoonful.com/family-fun/freckle-frenzy

My son called me “Freckles” the other day.

We were at the pool and whenever one of us would jump in we’d say: 1-2-3-BulletBoy! or 1-2-3-SuperMan or for me it was

1-2-3-… Freckles.

{Dramatic pause where I don’t actually jump in but instead look at him confused.}

I was like, “Freckles? Why… Freckles???”

He replied, “Cause you have a lot. Ya know, a lot of freckles.”

And ya know what? I kinda do. I mean, kinda. On my shoulders and then spotted around me. And as I looked and found these freckles scattered here and there on my arms, I started to imagine God, sitting up in the great expanse of creation, brush in hand, tongue out (because all truly great artists work with their tongue out), dotting me here and there…

with freckles.

Freckles that Vogue or Abercrombie would probably photoshop right over.

But He put those freckles there, on purpose.
He made my pinky toe slightly gimpy, on purpose.
He designed my left eyelid a tad bit droopy, on purpose.

I was designed, on purpose.

So now it’s time to live, on purpose.

Day 556: Remember That Time

Remember that time when I had a blog?
And I, like, wrote… posts?

Wasn’t that fun?

Hehe!

Sorry that I “went dark” there for a little while (“went dark”… can you tell that I’m in the same room as my husband while he watches reruns of 24 on Netflix?) We went on a trip to Colorado for a couple of weeks and I thought that I’d have time to write but alas, I did not. But if it makes you feel better… we were having a great time with family!

Okay, enough of that…

Yesterday, I came across a post by Proverbs 31 Ministries on their facebook page that was a game changer for me. No secret that I’ve been struggling through the past few months… but when I saw this quote by Billy Graham today, it was like a light bulb went off in my mind.

20130719-073147.jpg

Prayer.

I mean, I talk about it, I type a prayer out on here every once in a while, but we are talking that this prayer thing needs to be CONSTANT.

Hmmmmm, isn’t that, like, a verse or something?

Never. stop. praying. 1 Thessalonians 5:17

And yesterday for the first time in a while, I made it a more constant thing. I prayed throughout most of the day. And it WAS great! I felt connected to God in a new way. Sure, I was using the Covenant Diet’s twitter and Facebook pages as my prayer medium, but it kept me focused throughout the day. I sorta lost it though during the second half of the day (our friends from Germany are in town and they came over to visit… I got a little derailed with that. (Not much of a hostess/blog-author multitasker, I guess)

It helped me to have a time set aside for a quick prayer. A “twitter” prayer, if you will… 140 characters. Kept me from babbling and forced me to really focus in on what I wanted to REALLY say to Him. It was a neat exercise.

So today, I’m not going to write out a little prayer. Because I need it to be more than just a “when writing a blog post” and “before dinner” prayer thing for me. I need to be communicating with God more often. I need to stop my day… no matter what is going on, and pray. I need… to never. stop. praying.

{P.S. You can also follow Proverbs 31 Ministries on twitter and on instagram along with their website}

Day 545: Lookie Look (Again)

Sorry I’ve been out of pocket for a bit- it’s been a full week so far with birthdays, holidays, spending time with family, sorting through old boxes, etc. (And sorry if you got this post in your email and then it wouldn’t open… I was trying to post via my app and I think it glitched up or something!)

Which brings me to today’s post. The other day I posted on twitter and Facebook a picture of an old school bookmark that I found in a pile of my “memories” that I left for yearrrrrrrrs at my parents house.

Remember back in the day when it was SO COOL to have stuff with your name on it and what your name meant or something. All my friends with “normal” names had things like “angel of mercy” or “beautiful one” as the meanings for their names, but I pretty much never had anything for my name. I mean, they aren’t gonna make a set of coffee mugs with the name “January” on it for the one girl in a hundred mile radius with that name.

Anyway, I’m not entirely sure where this bookmark came from but I probably kept it just because it had my name on it…

Look I am making everything all things new

But I’ll admit that my breath caught in my throat a little bit when I read the verse with it.

Almost as if… almost as if it said:

January,
I make everything new.
Love,
God

Like, that’s how I read it.

And even though I have already used this one, I’m gonna use it again. Because God reminded me.

With a bookmark.

That I got when I was, like, eight.

Now, THAT is some serious planning ahead on His part! Ha!

POSITIVITY: I am new.

Look! I am making everything new! Revelation 21:5

PRAYER:

God, thank you for the sweet reminder today of who I belong to and for reminding me that You are making me new.

Help me to look for the newness in me. Help me to remember in my dark moments that there is a light for me in your newness.

Thank you for Your Hope.

Amen

Day 539: Saved By The Bell

Saved by the Bell

Ohhhhhhh, Zack.

Okay, I’m gonna admit that I spent an embarrassing amount of time searching through Google images for a picture because I just sorta got lost back in my childhood of watching this show.

That, and there were A LOT of current fashion trends that I’m pretttttty sure were inspired by Kelly’s outfits. Case in point…

kelly saved by the bell outfit

I am almost positive that I saw those pants (in a legging form) at Target, those shoes are everywhere and that top would totally be at Forever21. And I’m not sure if I think it’s cool that “kids these days” are wearing clothes like this or if it is utterly frightening and mortifying.

And the best part… the title of this post has very little to do with the actual content (other than the word “saved”) and the show Saved By The Bell Has… nothing… to do with the content of the post.

So, that little trip down memory lane. Yeah… that was a freebie.

You can thank me later when you have a flashback dream tonight of Jessie’s “I’m so excited” scene.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bflYjF90t7c&w=420&h=315]

POSITIVITY: I am saved.

I will call on God, and the Lord will rescue me. Morning, noon, and night I cry out in my distress, and the Lord hears my voice.  He ransoms me and keeps me safe from the battle waged against me. Psalm 55:16-18

I just went through and highlighted that verse and it just really. really. hit me.

There is a battle being waged against me.

I know it. I feel it. I fight it day after day.

Just today I thought to myself, “Why is it that I broke so many habits, changed my lifestyle, lost all that weight, and then it’s like… I forgot it all? Like, the old me just snapped back awake and took over again.”

And there it was in the verse.

There is a battle being waged against me.

Cause I know… had things kept going along swimmingly I would have just gone crazy powerhouse about God’s life-giving freedom. So Satan had to pony-up and come and get me.

Cause let me tell you… that freedom. It’s the most wonderful thing you’ll ever taste.

And I miss it.

I long to have it back.

But right now… right now, there is a battle being waged against me.

{I just started silently smiling to myself.}

But I. am. safe.

I know that God wins the battle.
I know that God hears my voice.
I know that God will rescue me.

So I’m just gonna keep on keeping on. Fighting my fight. Even though so many days of the week it seems as if I’m losing. as if I’m being pushed back. as if I’m just about to be taken captive.

I’m remembering Psalm 55:16-18 up there.

And I’m remembering that I am safe.

PRAYER:

God, I come to you a bit raw today. I can’t help but feel a little defeated at the moment. I want to be over this. Honestly, I just want you to touch me with your magic wand and say “HEALED!” I want to feel Your power coursing through my blood. That same Power that healed the bleeding woman, Lazarus, the lepers, the blind, the sick, the possessed.

Heal me as well God. Please. Heal me. I reach out and touch your garment. Heal me.

But as I wait for that, I will remember that you are keeping me safe from this battle waged against me. I will remember that you hear my voice. I will remember that you. will. rescue. me.

Give me wisdom God. Give me wisdom to know what to do with myself. to know what to pray. to know what to avoid. Give me wisdom God to know how to fight this enemy of mine! I feel him trying his best to put a rift between us… he has pulled out the big guns, man. But I’m trying to hold on God. I’m trying to hold on to You.

Keep me safe God. Keep me close.

I trust You, God.

Amen.

Day 536: God Takes Care Of My Laundry

20130628-221649.jpg

Today, I want to start with the verse cause it is… great.

It was one of those verses where I had written down the reference several weeks back next to the word “helped” but didn’t really know much about it aside from that, but then I pulled it up today on my phone and took in a deep, sharp breath and said, “Oh yeah. THAT is good stuff.”

POSITIVITY: I am helped.

The Lord helps the fallen and lifts those bent beneath their loads. Psalms 145:14 NLT

God gives a hand to those down on their luck, gives a fresh start to those ready to quit. Psalms 145:14 MSG

I read it originally in the NLT cause that’s my favorite “light reading” version of the bible and I just snapped back from the words.

Fallen.

So often I feel… fallen. imperfect. not good enough. And this verse tells me… God helps those kinds of people. This kind of person.

Then when I kept reading that “He lifts those bent beneath their loads”… wow. I immediately was like, “Uhhhhhhhh, that’s me.” Instantly it was like I could feel Him pulling my soul a bit more out of the pit. Just from reading those words.

Loads of guilt.
Loads of worry.
Loads of insecurities.

And well, let’s not forget…

Loads of laundry.

Loads and loads and loads of laundry.

I even showed you a picture of my laundry above (and honestly, that doesn’t include the two hampers that are full right now, too) to prove how much of a load I’m under and so I could stop any (slim, slim, slim) changes of you having “instagram envy“.

So when I came to write this post I thought that I’d hop on over to the Message translation just for giggles and I loved it too, especially the last: “gives a fresh start to those ready to quit.”

I think time and time again I have been ready to quit, and even though I often muddle on, I don’t think that I think of it as a “fresh start”, but that’s what it is. He allows me to start over again and again and again.

AND He helps through all of my stumbles.

Wow.

That’s one rad God, if I do say so myself.

Now, if I went in to my utility room after posting this and I find that all of my loads and loads and loads of laundry have been done for me by my Heavenly Father? Well, let’s just say I’ll be purty dern convinced that Jesus has returned cause that would be nothing short of Heaven on Earth.

PRAYER:

God. When I just THINK of all of the times I’ve been down in the pit. that I’ve fallen. that I’ve willingly gone down into the pit. that I’ve been out of luck. weighed down. ready to quit. and THEN I think of all those times that you’ve lifted me up? Wow. Why would I do anything but follow you? Why would I ever end up in a pit again?

I dunno.

But I know that right now I am just relishing in how good and faithful you are to me.

Thank you for the many times you have lifted me up. thank you for the many times you will lift me up in the future. You are… just so amazing. Keep me remembering that You lift me up. hold me. care for me. adore me.

Amen.