Friday, March 15, 2013

The Fast - Days 5-6

Day 5 was a whirlwind. I did my quiet time standing up and holding Joel. Jamie and I had decided when we started the fast that we would take a 24 hour break beginning today (Day 6 - Friday) due to travel for his job. As first-time fasters, we seriously considered only fasting the first week anyway. We wasted no time filling up on all the crap we love to eat, and tonight, both of us were complaining about how bad we feel. We can't wait to start eating the really good stuff again. Yes, I've started to enjoy being barefoot (but not pregnant) in the kitchen, cooking from scratch.

My prayer life has not been what I had hoped for during this fast. I expected warm fuzzies, God patting me on the back for being so holy and sacrificial. Bah! Instead, I was reminded of something Micah said recently. He got angry and threw his favorite Elmo doll, causing Elmo's eye to break. I explained that I could not repair the broken plastic, and he said, "God can!" Like my 3-year-old son, I want to make decisions on my own and then expect God to remove any unfavorable consequences, to essentially clean up my mess. Jamie and I both feel that we are being called to live into the (somewhat unpleasant) consequences of decisions we have made mostly out of convenience and without responding when we felt God prompting us to choose differently.

Another thing I'm learning is to trust my intuition, those feelings I have sometimes when something seems right on paper but just doesn't "feel" right; when everybody else is doing it or choosing it, but I don't "feel" like it's exactly right for me. Jamie and I together have looked back on some recent situations, and he has said to me, "Remember when you had reservations? Yeah, we should have listened to that..."I believe God has given this sensitivity to women, especially about their families.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Fast - Day 4

Day 4 went well. Even though we are incorporating some additional foods back into our diet, it's become clear to Jamie and me what our stronghold is: sweets! I'm no longer calling it our Daniel fast, since we really aren't following those rules anymore, but we're still fasting. I visited a friend yesterday who is doing the Daniel fast, and she said, "It's hard to spend more time with God right now because I'm always cooking!

Hearing from God has been interesting. I thought most of that would happen during quiet times reading my Bible, but in fact He's speaking most to me by revealing things about myself that I did not realize. When I get angry at God that I can't eat the way I want to, I realize all the things in this life that I treasure over Him. And it's not just food.

I have a vision for different aspects of my family life, but I don't always make decisions that would ever cause that vision to be realized. For instance, I want my children to benefit from having a mom who stays home with them, but do they really if I spend most of the day doing housework and very little time engaging them 1-on-1? I want my children to value experiences and people more than stuff, but how can they when we have so much stuff, and spend so much time taking care of all our stuff...? I realize, in so many ways, that I fall short. I know that's where He desires to bring us, though. He wants us to know that we are nothing apart from Him.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Daniel Fast - Day 3

Tuesday I woke up rejuvenated and ready to fast! I had my "fast food" oatmeal, followed by a blueberry-banana smoothie. By lunchtime, I was crashing. I felt terrible, and nothing seemed to satisfy. I felt more angry at God for "making" me keep these crazy rules instead of desiring more of him. When I made the kids grilled cheese for lunch, I broke down and had one myself. Of course I felt like a failure, and right as I was eating, Jamie walked in. I knew he had eaten at Moe's and had spent a lot of time researching what he could order that was fast friendly. I expected him to be disappointed at me when he saw my half-eaten "common food," but he just laughed.

Later during my quiet time, I read from Daniel 1. Daniel, you super-achiever you! I left that time with God feeling...guilty. I know this was not the purpose of my fast, and yet I couldn't seem to get past it. I was still caught up in the letter of the law - avoiding foods that are in no way 'indulgences' for me just because of certain ingredients. For me, the sacrifice comes from avoiding food I actually enjoy. Jamie and I again discussed modifications. We decided to widen our fast to whole/all natural foods, excluding for us what would be "the king's food" - dessert and red meat. Now we are eating eating dairy, poultry and bread, which has given us back our energy. We are still cooking the fast friendly foods we planned, but now they are more like sides or compliments to our meal instead of the whole course.

Later that evening, a friend posted this to our Daniel Fast facebook group: "I think not breaking it is more important to us than it is to God!!" This was exactly what I needed to hear.

So on we go. I would not want to look back on this experience and think, 'Well, I ate a vegan diet but I stayed pissed off at God the whole time for doing it.' Nor do I want to fail. But He always knew I would...which is why He sent us Jesus.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Daniel Fast Day 2

No great wisdom can be reached without sacrifice. - C.S. Lewis

Ugh. So I woke up feeling unusually refreshed, especially considering that both of my children had woken me during the night. I made banana strawberry tofu smoothies for breakfast - I still have that cold, so mine tasted pretty good.

In terms of my prayer life, it was honestly quite better right before the fast began. I picked three areas of my life to take to God during this fast - along with a trial facing two of my friends - and a lot of that happens during quick prayers I say throughout my day. I decided to follow my church's Bible reading plan for my quiet times during the fast, but the material is sort of boggling my mind right now. Bits and pieces resonate with me, but I know I'm not getting it all.

Lunch was torture. We went to McAllister's and ordered plain baked potatoes with veggie chili. Was the chili 100% "fast friendly"? I do not know or care. I'm following the spirit of the law (instead of the letter), which is sacrificing some of the indulgences that I crave. And trust me, I would NOT have ordered that if I was not fasting.

Later that day, Jamie and I decided to make a change. In hindsight, I feel it was over-zealous to attempt a rigid 3-week fast when we've never fasted before. Perhaps I should have taken one of the modified plans instead of going to gusto. We decided to continue with the Daniel fast for breakfast, lunch and snacks, but dinner can include all natural/whole foods. We tried that for dinner tonight, but then we felt convicted and decided to get back on the wagon full force. The conviction came from the maple syrup we allowed in our dessert. Natural, yes. Sacrificial, not really.

The Daniel Fast - Day 1

Our church is embarking on a 3-week Daniel fast that began this past Sunday, March 10. We break the fast on Easter. A relative joked, "Will doing this get you to Heaven quicker?" Maybe, if I end up starving to death ;-) Seriously, that's a no. But I do hope that it will allow me to experience intimacy with God that I have never felt before. It's also a time to take some heavier things to the Lord, to essentially say, "I'm so desperate to hear from You on these matters that I'm sacrificing something in addition to praying more fervently." Scripture is rich with examples of God meeting intimately with people - and answering their prayers - during a fast. So there are my reasons.

I've also felt God calling me for awhile to healthier eating habits. My family has been moving toward eating more natural, home-made items for several weeks. I'm trying to cook with less sugar and zero white flour. I'm not becoming a nazi about it, though. We still eat out, including Bojangles. When we're not fasting, of course.

Day 1 was much harder than Jamie and I expected. My cravings for sweets, cheese and bread came on strong. The "fast friendly" food I had prepared for us just wasn't good. For once, I did not take it personally when my husband described our dinner as "edible." We had baked oatmeal for breakfast; popcorn and fresh fruits and nuts for snacks; nut butters, all fruit jelly and bananas for lunch; spaghetti with basil walnut cream sauce for dinner and oatmeal raisin cookies for dessert. That dinner sounds really good...and we even had a fast-friendly was all edible and not much more. It was painful pour real maple syrup on my children's pancakes for breakfast, to watch them gobble down chicken for dinner.

God knows I'm not a very diverse eater (read: my vegetables are usually smothered in cheese or sauce) so perhaps it was His plan that I got a cold Saturday night that has prevented me from really being able to taste much. I think He truly does think of everything; and I feel He's really helping this wimp who has really never had to sacrifice much to be successful.

I also got very weak throughout the day. I do not know if this was a result of the fast (no iron except from my multi-vitamin) or of two nights in a row with poor sleep. I decided at the end of the day to reward myself with success by indulging in a bowl of Kashi cereal with real milk. Not exactly an indulgence but not "fast food" either. As a first time faster, I need little rewards to get me through. It's the morning of Day 2 now, and I'm back on the wagon.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Joel HasAMiddleName Orr!

Joel can come now because we have finally chosen a middle name for him. He has almost been Joel Andrew, Joel White, Joel Lynn...all in an effort to find a name that is both a.) a family name and b.) something we actually like. My family had a reunion last weekend, and while there it occurred to me that my grandmother's maiden name was Williams. Jamie's grandfather is also named William even though he goes by his middle name, so we tried Joel William on for size. I shared it with my dad today, and he loved it, so it's a go!

I don't think if I've mentioned this before, but both my parents are convinced that my ultrasound is unclear and that the baby I'm carrying is a girl. My dad "just has a feeling," and my mom attributes it to small differences between this pregnancy and my last one. Jamie and I just call this wishful thinking :-). Two ultrasound techs have confirmed we are having a boy, and I've had an instinct from the beginning of my pregnancy that he is a boy. But either way, if Amelia Lynne should come instead of Joel William, and you are willing to loan me some newborn girl clothes, I would be so appreciative!

Micah is doing so awesome in speech therapy! We can see his vocabulary growing each week, and our speech therapist has been so pleased with his progress. This week she told me that she doubts his original (more serious) diagnosis of apraxia and thinks instead that he has an expressive language delay. This is good news! A lot of words that he says now are words a brand new talker would say (hi, bye, etc.), but for us this is a big deal! He's also really taken to sign language. This is a tricky thing for him because if he had it his way, he would probably just sign and not speak. Now we are working on getting him to say the words that go with his signs in order for us to "understand" him.

I probably won't post again until the baby is here. We have almost 3 weeks to go. I'm trying really hard not to rush it along because I know he will come, and then my "easy" life with just one child will be over. At the same time, I'm so looking forward to meeting him and not being pregnant anymore :-)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Joel's Post

I haven't blogged too much about my pregnancy, so I wanted to devote a post to Joel and how he and I are doing this summer.

I'm very excited about meeting him and having another newborn to cuddle. I wonder about his personality and if he'll look like his brother. I also wonder if he'll be a good sleeper like Micah, and if they'll have similar struggles (ie. speech) or if Joel will be totally different. I also have some anxiety about managing two. Micah is very into asserting his will lately (read: Terrible Twos); he really needs one person on him at all times.

How this pregnancy is different...

- No swelling...yet :-)

- Joel is extremely active, more so than Micah was

- Exhaustion
I went back to read my summer 2009 posts to find out if I felt as tired and worn out then as I do this summer. I didn't, but then again I spent all day behind a desk and not chasing a toddler who wants to be outside 24/7. When I pray at night with Micah, I say, "Thank you Lord for bringing me through another day." I can't even think about July and August.

- Hunger
Up until this week, I could have eaten full meals every couple of hours, preferably pizza or Cocoa Krispies. This week I feel like Joel is finally pushing on my stomach so I feel full (bloated) a lot quicker.

- Exercise
I was much more disciplined about talking walks when I was expecting Micah. At 30 weeks pregnant, I'm just now starting to do that with Joel. Strangely enough, I'm slated to gain the same amount of weight this time. I guess I'm exercising more than I realize chasing after Micah.

Jamie says we're done after two. I'm not so sure anymore. On one hand I know being done makes sense. I like things just so, and I get overwhelmed easily. I'm not sure I could manage more than two kids. On the other hand, I would love to have a daughter, and so I'm not ready to give up on that just yet. To be continued...:-)