Saturday, February 28, 2015

28 and feeling great

I did it! I went 28 days without sugar, and perhaps more significantly, 73 days without a mighty-o donut. I feel really good. Now that my illness has run itself out, I'm back to the high energy sleeping great loving life vibe.

I'm going to get a donut (or maybe two!) tomorrow, and I have a free drink at starbucks (venti coconut milk tiramisu latte anyone?) that expires this week, but I do want to continue to minimize sugar beyond those things.

Tomorrow is also significant because it will be my first coffee since February 1st. Can't wait. Coconut oil coffee...mmmm

Oh! And I FINALLY fixed my bike. Elizabeth helped but only a little so I still feel accomplished there. Spring is practically already here so this bike has to be ready to move.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Cakies for Katie

Today I made sugar/gluten/soy/dairy/egg free cakies! (This is what I call the baked good that happens when you substitute out the vegan butter and use applesauce instead). They were yummy! Totally hit the spot for a sweet chocolatey nutty treat. For the sugar, I just blended up some dates and hot water. Delicious!

Also delicious - Angela Liddon's creamy avocado pesto. Oh my head. It was sooooo good. I also haven't eaten pasta in so long, but ya know. Also, made a strawberry basil smoothie for tomorrow and I sampled it and let's just say breakfast is a winner tomorrow.

I have been absolutely loving further exploration with diet. Oh and tea! Yerba mate today was awesome.

On this 27th day without sugar, I feel amazing. I did the TRX/cyclefit back to back again and I just felt so strong. I remember when cyclefit felt like the hardest thing in the world and now it feels like it's just getting started when it's over. Really thankful for these positive changes right now.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Sugar sugar

I tried a chocolate bar today made with malitol! It was actually really good. I could dig it.

Also, Jordan saved my life by changing my tire today when we were out and about and informed of a flat. So thankful for the guy who told us about it while we were driving, thankful for her skills, thankful that I did have a spare and everything we needed in my car. You can bless God or curse God, and gratitude always chooses the former. It's a slow process, but I feel the Lord softening my heart, and changing it, and helping me choose to be more in love with Him than I am with any food or with my schedule or with my grudges or my own plan.

I feel so blessed to have been able to clean out so much junk and see Jesus that much more clearly. I swear I should a Christian health and nutrition advisor or something. Is that a thing?

Day 26 of fruit-sugar only.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

#pray703

If you've been following me on twitter, you've seen my use of the hashtag, pray703. This is an international commitment to pray 1 Samuel 7:3 every morning at 7:03 from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday. It's a verse of repentance, and hope for revival. We are to remember the persecuted church, and to pray for restoration in our own hearts.

When I talk about praying for the persecuted church, I'm talking general, but also very specific: the martyrs beheaded by ISIS last week. Can you imagine what it's like to be one who was left behind? To be that guy's sibling, spouse, parent, cousin, uncle, aunt, neighbor, coworker or pastor? How many of them saw their loved one die for believing the same things they believe?

I've been immersed in Luke, and have been praying its promises for those people; I never noticed how often it talks about persecution.

Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets. Luke 6:22-23

I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows. And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God, but the one who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God. And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgive.  And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say. 
 Luke 12:4-12 

But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prison, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name's sake. This will be your opportunity to bear witness. Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer, for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death. You will be hated by all for my name's sake. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your lives. Luke 21:12-18 

This morning, I prayed in remembrance of Malak Ibrahim Sinweet, leaning heavily on Hebrews 12:1-2 to guide my prayers.

Jesus, I can't imagine what it must be like for Malak's and other martyrs' families. They know for a fact that persecution is real, and that by trusting and worshiping You, they could be the next to lose their lives. They saw this man beheaded for his faith and now that faith is what they have to live by. Keep them, close, Jesus. Help them run this race with the endurance by which they will gain their lives. 

And Lord, I pray that I would take this testimony by so great a cloud of witnesses seriously, and by Your grace and the power of the Holy Spirit, lay aside every weight and sin which clings and run with endurance the race You've set before me. Let me look to You, Jesus, as the founder and perfecter of my faith, who for the joy that was set before You endured the cross, despising the shame and is seated at the right hand of the house of God. Rip me from my idols, Jesus and let me see You more clearly. Amen. 

When you start your day with a prayer like that, you never know what might happen.

Today at work, while I was supervising our indoor playground, I started to think about the men in black behind the martyrs in orange. I started to think about what it's like to be those guys, to have killed men who would rather die for their God than live in opposition to Him. I think about the centurion from Mark 15:39 who assisted in Christ's death and as he watched Jesus died, proclaimed His deity. So church, yes, we need to pray for the martyrs' families, for their churches, for their communities, for our world. But we need to pray our guts our for their killers. They saw a fierce testimony that Jesus is better than anything this world has to offer. They can be saved to life as much as anyone else.

So, dear friends, if you would, think about it: be up and on your knees at 7:03 every morning until Easter. And pour out your soul like water before the Lord.

And Samuel said to all the house of Israel, "If you are returning to the LORD with all your heart, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct your heart to the Lord and serve him only, and he will deliver you" 1 Samuel 7:3 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

I can't remember

There was something about sugar that I thought I should post but I forgot it. Oops.

There was a delicious looking homemade gluten free cake tonight at community group just staring me in the face for a good two hours. That was a little tough. I wasn't going to eat it, but it looked so pretty!

Otherwise, I'm still kicking it. I realized it's no longer so painful to go by Mighty-O's and not drop in for a donut. I haven't had coffee yet. Or gluten. I did have unsweetened chocolate though (in a larabar). So a little caffeine.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Sugar free fun

I don't have anything to say about sugar really, so here's a recipe for the best baked oatmeal I've ever had - and the sweetness comes exclusively from fruit. 


I made a double batch so I used 1/4 each of dates and raisins. And the peanut butter on top is a must! Yum. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

In conclusion

The last supper: rawesome tacos 

Tonight, the cleanse ends. I'm not sure if this post will really add anything new, but here it goes anyway. 

Overall, I will say this cleanse has been a positive experience. I got an energy boost, slept better (besides the cold, and my skin looks nice. I discovered some new recipes and learned even more about food and my body. That middle part was rough but week 1 and a half and today and yesterday were so good that I think it's ok to call that part of the process, accept it and move on. I do feel refreshed and "rebooted" so to speak. 

What am I taking with me? I've felt so good that I'd have to be silly not to keep some of these positive changes around. Here goes some goals. 

Caffeine: I am going to stick with mostly herbal teas, however I do plan on enjoying a weekly cup of coffee with coconut oil and the occasional bit of dark chocolate. Dandelion root tea rocked my world. 

Sugar: Donuts are going to be out during Lent, and then aiming to make them occasional treats. I like Elizabeth's idea of trying to stick to mainly unrefined sugars. It's so fun to see what you can do with sucanat/coconut sugar/maple syrup/molasses etc. 

Gluten: I learned I can live without toast. I'm going to be experimenting more with gluten free baking and not defaulting to bread. 

Herbs: I want to eat these more regularly! Basil, cilantro, parsley - so easy to add to smoothies and pretty much any kind of meal, and so delicious and beneficial

Citrus: I am still not completely sold out to citrus in everything, but I can see their point. 

Smoothies: I made a smoothie for tomorrow! I'm going to get back on the smoothie train I think. I don't hate making them with water, and in a house with various schedules, it's convenient to make them the night before. 

Meals: I can be more creative here. I'm definitely keeping some of the cleanse recipes close. I also learned it's not that hard to be consistent and just prep and get things ready. I was sort of already doing this with my greens book, but I like making a meal plan, a grocery list and knocking the prep work out. 

Snacks: I'm probably going to do peanut butter again. I've loved making my own larabars. Can't wait to eat hummus again. Hooray for pumpkin seeds. Back on the avocado life. Green apples are not as good as honey crisp. Chia pudding is the bomb. Coconut is super useful to keep on hand. And berries. Yum yum. Granola tastes better with maple syrup (1 more week!) Basically, there are a lot of great snack options out there, even for low sugar vegans :) 

Treats: Elizabeth had a good thought on treats - that they don't have to be sugar or dessert - they can be a nice larabar or a thrive smoothie or a jujubeet juice or a power yoga session or a walk in the sun or a sparkling/infused water or a bunch of rainbow carrots or a cookbook meal made just for fun. 

Example: sliced apples with cinnamon and almond butter. 



Rhythms: I liked the pattern to the day, of thinking about what I would eat when, based on my schedule for the day, how often/intensely I was exercising, what I was feeling. Mostly just listening to my body more and more. 

Jesus: I love Him more. I love seeing Him more clearly. I love seeing how God has made me and has provided all I need to be happy, healthy, holy and fully His. I definitely think Christians should be good stewards of the bodies The Lord has given us, to make us more fit for His service and more ready to see Him and glorify Him in our lives and in our world. 
 
So, I think that's it. I'm hoping I can stay more or less to the guidelines I've set out. Theoretically, it will mean I'm not going to want to do another cleanse. I've done the experiment, and I don't have a desire to compare and contrast. However, if I ever feel like I need another kick start, I'll know how to get there. 


My soul magnifies The Lord

This post might be long and rambling, but at least there are pictures. 

The change your mind reading plan is totally living up to its name. It is awakening me to God's presence in every moment. I can't even express how spectacularly beautiful Jesus is to me right now. This is the Bible I've been using for the last 14 months or so. 


It's not special; I spent just a few dollars on it, and it's by no means anything fancy. The edges are frayed and the binding is coming loose. I could lose pages at any time (the Gospel of John is hanging on by a thread). But this book, it's bread, it's life to me. The pages are full of Ebenezers, of prayers asked and answered. 
It's a record of my sanctification, of God's grace touching my life and touching the life of the family He's given me. I wish you could all hold it. It is power and truth and joy and peace in a $4 paperback. When my heart is still, it's enough to hold it, to flip its pages and remember - remember the preaching I heard through Micah and Hebrews, the early morning Bible studies in James, 1 John, Habakkuk, Nahum, Hosea, Zechariah, the texts memorized in the Psalms, in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, in Ephesians and Romans and 2 Timothy and Luke. 

This morning, you would have found this page tucked into Genesis 24, because I have the sincere privilege of teaching Anchor Church's kids every three weeks or so. 

And while there are some mornings that I wake up and would rather not be serving or leading, every time I see those kids and how hungry they are to hear more about Jesus, to talk about Him, to sing to him, to say His name, it reminds me that God's Word isn't just for me, it's for everyone. 
 Hear O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise. Deuteronomy 6:4-7 

And so I cut cards and set out stickers and crayons and tell the kids they can make a reminder for themselves, or for someone else, that God is faithful and listens to our prayers. And sweet seven year old Ava hands this one to me and tells me God hears my prayers and it's beautiful.

And when we're talking about times when God has helped us, and the kids ask me how Jesus has answered my prayers, I get unexpectedly emotional. I tell them that when I was moving to Seattle over a year and a half ago, I prayed for a church that loved Jesus and cherished the Bible and would let me teach their kids, and I look into their eyes and say, "And look how God answered that prayer! I'm here right now telling all of you that you can trust Jesus because He loves you" 

I've read the entire book of Luke twice today. It's riveting. I feel filled just opening up to it and turning the pages. Every word is water to my thirsty soul and bread to my hungry heart. I look outside at the sun and the mountains and see the God who made them and commands them to this day. I sing with Mary, 

My soul magnifies that Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. 
Luke 1:46-53 

The soul that magnifies the Lord sees Him and His grace and mercy and lovingkindness in everything. It's living a life as a pointer - pointing away from yourself and to Jesus. This is what it is to know Him and to receive Him and grow up into Him.

Lord, may my soul magnify You more and more. Amen.


Saturday, February 21, 2015

A reflection on the death of saints

From my journal this afternoon -

This morning I was singing Tis So Sweet and couldn't get the image of those Egyptian martyrs on that beach out of my head. Oh how dearly they trusted Jesus! Remembering a Brennan Manning quote - "You have not said in your heart, 'God exists' until you've said, 'I trust You'". Also bringing to mind 
I'm Good, especially the line, 'death is just a doorway to take me to my faithful lover'" Remembering Tina's dad who laid dying and knew he'd be living forever. It gives me goosebumps to think of all these men who so trusted in Jesus for life that death wasn't even a concern. 

Jesus, I believe. Lord, help my unbelief. 

I'm so fancy


This is red thai curry over brown rice, red and white quinoa. Elizabeth said it looked fancy. 

After my bout of illness/ennui, I woke up this morning alive and kicking. I don't know if it was the soup or rest or natural detox processing, but it felt so good to sleep through the night and wake up feeling GOOD and able to breathe (still a few residual sniffles, but no complaints). 

E said a lot of people experienced colds during the same time. Also, I was on my period, which according to Jordan, can also make you run a fever. Further, your period is naturally detoxifying so when you're on a cleanse and all the toxins are leaving your body...anyway...it all makes sense and now I'm back in a place to be pro cleanse again. Only one day left! But no sugar for a full more week. 

Leviticus haiku

Leviticus was an awesome read. It is strangely one of my favorite books of the Bible, so I was not surprised at the riches that came from dwelling on this text. Over and over, I saw how God saves us for Himself and that His discipline is for those whom He loves. 

Yahweh has rescued 
He gives His law, to make us 
Happy. Holy. His. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

I'm not just a whiner


I was being pretty whiny complainy today and kept apologizing to J for my bad mood and low spirits. Yoga didn't even help that much. I was dreading a night of babysitting. 

Then I went to the chiropractor and he touched me and said, "wow, you have quite the fever" I called the babes dad and told him and he said to go home and rest. 

Now I'm making a synthesis of two of Angela's healing soups. I would just love to feel better. 


At least now I feel like my complaints were kind of legitimate. I always feel like a baby when I whine about a cold or pms but a fever is a real thing. 


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Cleanse, cleanse, go away

I have clearly lost all enthusiasm for the cleanse. I've had a cold I can't shake, my period and I can't have anything I want. It is really hard to coach psychotic children while you have cramps and can't breathe and can't talk over them and also can't go home and have a glass of wine or chocolate or even be empowered by a nice hot cup of green tea. 

I am sorry to be such a Debbie downer here. I guess it's honest at least? It's just lame that the first 10 or so days were so awesome and the second half really has been a lot less awesome. I had high expectations when the first week went so well and now it seems like that's as good as it will get. 

Meow 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Bleh

4. More. Days. 

I can't even tell you how much I wanted a cup of coffee today. 

I think this week has been the longest one ever. 

I'm officially over it, guys. 

Edit: the cyclefit instructor told me my skin looked like a doll's. At least there's that. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Is it over yet?

Y'all. I'm not going to lie: the past couple days have been kind of struggle. With Saturday's nausea and head pressure, and fatigue Sunday, and then last night I got E's inability to breathe and just a touch of sore throat. I've managed to stay above water though, and have still been pretty ok at work and life. I did need a little (20 minute) nap today though, which I haven't done in a LONG time. But I couldn't breathe while laying horizontally last night so sleep was rough. Basically, I think I should have just done week 1 three times and called it good. 

The upsides: 

I didn't have preschool today 
I hit about the same levels at cyclefit as last Tuesdays
I was reunited with my beloved spinach pancakes (with blueberries!) 
I was the only one at yoga so the instructor just tried a bunch of different things with me. 
It was super nice out and I had time to enjoy it! 


I think I'm still glad I did the cleanse, but I don't think I'll do it again. I got a lot of benefits from it, several of which I'm carrying forward to some extent, so I think that was helpful. But why give up grains? That basically eliminates baking, which is one of my most favorite things. And two weeks without hummus? I'll pass. Oh, and almond butter is SOOOO delicious, but also severely more expensive than peanut butter. 

5. more. days. 

They loved not their lives unto death

This weekend, twenty one Egyptian Christians were beheaded by ISIS (The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria). If you have no idea what I'm talking about, please take a look at this article.

It's been weighing heavily on me. In fact, I'm going to amend my Lenten resolutions: instead of praying for UPGs, I'm going to take the list of the names of these martyrs and pray for them daily - for their families, for their church, for those who killed them, for the world of whom they were not worthy (Hebrews 11:38).
These are real people, real brothers who lost their lives and are now at the throne of Christ.

They are

Milad Makeen Zaky
Abanub Ayad Atiya
Maged Solaiman Shehata
Yusuf Shukry Yunan
Kirollos Shokry Fawzy
Bishoy Astafanus Kamel
Somaily Astafanus Kamel
Malak Ibrahim Sinweet
Tawadros Yusu Tawadros
Girgis Milad Sinweet
Mina Fayez Aziz
Hany Abdelmesih Salib
Bishoy Adel Khalaf
Samuel Alham Wilson
Worker from Awr village
Ezat Bishri Naseef
loqa Nagaty
Gaber Munir Adly
Esam Badir Samir
Malak Farag Abram
Sameh Salah Faruq

There has been a lot of poignant writing being done on this execution, and on these men who are the "they" in Revelation 12:11

And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives unto death 

I read Ann Voskamp's reflection, and it really stirred my soul and is helping my get my head around this and what it means for the church right now. How will the church respond? This article is long, but so worth the read.

For my final word, my dear friend Addie sent me a CD long ago, with many words I don't know, put together by missionaries. The CD is called Even in Sorrow, and there's a song on it called Worthy of our Lives. That song has been coursing through me and I'd like to share its words here:

Harken to the anthem glorious
Of the martyrs robed in white
They like Christ in death victorious
Dwell forever in the light

Living they proclaimed salvation
Ne'er in doubt with grace and power
And they died in imitation
Of their Savior's final hour

Jesus, You are Lord of the nations
Savior, You are mercy and might
Lord God, You are worthy of our praise
And our lives

Christ for who were traitors pleading
Triumphed in His parting breath
All the miracles preceding
Gains are ransomed by His death

Lord God, You are Lord of all nations
Jesus, You are mercy and might
Holy, and You're worthy of our praise
And our lives

Take from Him what you will give Him
Of His fullness grace for grace
Strive to think Him, speak Him, live Him
Til you find Him face to face

Jesus, You are Lord of the nations
Savior, You are mercy and might
Lord God, You are worthy of our praise
And our lives

Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated - of whom the world was not worthy - wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. Hebrews 11:35b-38

Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. Revelation 20:4

Monday, February 16, 2015

Happy President's Day

Today was a great day. It feels like spring here, I'm telling you. 

Since there was no preschool, I didn't have to go to work until 2! Instead of going to bootcamp, I went for a run (and made it about an hour and a half) and did post run recovery yoga. 



This is my new yoga mat. I love it. This is a frog, aka Manduka's logo. 

I also made some of those super healing muffins again, and naturally changed the recipe. 

Recipe: 
1 egg
1 banana 
2 tsp olive oil 
1/4 cup brown sugar 
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour 
1/2 cup ground flax 
1/2 cup oats 
1 tsp baking soda 

My version (for a double batch): 
4 tbsp chia plus 4 tbsp water
1 banana and a half cup of applesauce (I only had one banana!) 
4 tsp olive oil 
3 chopped dates and maybe a 1/4 cup raisins? 
1/2 cup brown rice flour 
slightly less than 1 cup flax, filled to the top with ground hemp seeds (I ran out of flax)
1 cup oats 
2 tsp baking soda 
dash of vanilla
dash of arrowroot powder
a few shakes of baking spice 
a little salt 

And they still work, ok? They taste especially good with the three ingredient blackberry chia seeds jam (the third ingredient was vanilla) I made. 

Walked to work, caught up on some replenishing of bulk goods at the store (things like flax, and cumin. Important things). Work felt so chill today. I loved it. And Jordan, Elizabeth and I led uptown abs multiple times. One of the parents commented how fit the coaches are. 

I'm mostly really happy to be eating grains again. Really happy. It makes my life so much easier. 


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Lent, Sacrifice and Idols

About a year ago, the little sister asked if she was supposed to give something up for Lent. This was my answer: 

"If you want to, and if you understand that fasting is meant to bring us closer to Jesus. Fasting isn't about what we do or don't do; it's not about us at all. It's about the reality that Christ has already given us everything so we don't need anything else. 

So it's helpful to fast from something that takes you away from Him, or is an idol in your life. Like if you are more excited about a new facebook notification than reading the Word, it can be beneficial to take a break for a season and re-assign that time to prayer, worship and Bible study. If you turn to food, or a certain kind of food, for comfort you might be blessed by giving it up for awhile in order to help turn your heart to the One who is called the Comforter." 

I was discussing the subject of Lent with both Elizabeth and Jordan. Since Lent begins on Wednesday, I will still be on the cleanse and the no sugar deal (literally every food I've ever considered fasting from is already off limits). Add in my New Years resolutions about coffee shops, treats and tv watching, and there's not an easy answer here. Not only does it seem like cheating to give up something I can't have anyway, but I've already been working through so much of my complicated thoughts about food and idolatry, which is one component of what Lent is for. 

The other component is sacrifice. It should be noticeable. When you notice it, it should encourage you to think about Jesus. Jesus is the point of Lent. 

And so, I've decided a few things: 

1) I will only drink coffee on Sundays, and not on Sundays when I'm rushing for any reason. Post-cleanse and Lent, I am thinking of relaxing this standard to permit coffee on Fridays as well. 

2) I will eat a donut once to get it out of my system and then continue on in this donut fast. I think everyone knows how much of a sacrifice this is. 

3) I will pray for a different unreached people group each day (The Joshua Project is an amazing resource). 

So that's me. 


Good Riddance, Week 2

At first, I didn't think week two was so bad; the cleanse guide warns about it and Elizabeth and I had talked quite a bit about it. Then, the end of week two came. I guess it started Friday - just have a little harder time at the workout. Then there was yesterday...I still don't know what that was. And there was today - tired at my workout, and after a busy morning, I felt tired too, which I hadn't really felt since giving up refined sugar last month. I didn't take a nap, though. I went on a walk to U-Village and found denim shorts in my size on sale for less than $4! Wahooo. It's been so warm already, that we're all getting apprehensive about summer. Anyway, today's the end of the anti-legume, anti-grain life, and  I'm glad to be moving on.

Last night and this morning I was harboring some resentment. I've had it for awhile, actually; I've just been counting this small injustices done against me and holding onto my hurts. I prayed about it seriously for the first time this week - we like holding onto these things, it turns out. I saw how ugly it really is, and prayed for Jesus to help me. This morning, as we prayed over our communion time, I felt Jesus asking me to leave my bitterness at His table and find healing. I did that, and I took the bread and the wine and gave thanks for this freedom. I came home and served my heart out, set free indeed.

Also last night, I had a stress dream (I had 4 million things to do and found out tricycle was starting 4am classes so obviously I needed to go) and woke up on fire. By 2:30pm I had cleaned my room, bathroom and hallway (including vacuuming, doing and folding my laundry, scrubbing the sink, shower and toilet), worked out, done more than one load of dishes, gone to church and made morning tonic ice cubes and lunch/dinners for two people for the week. Elizabeth came home when I was finishing up the third recipe and asked what else we had on our to - do list, and she was stuck with dishes :) I think I will be glad to return to my more normal routine post cleanse. It was fun shopping and cooking with Elizabeth, but we have very different approaches to getting things done and I just don't think it would work very well long term.

Oh, and I forgot to say this at the beginning of the cleanse, but I weighed myself day 1, and then again just Saturday. I wasn't trying to lose weight, like a lot of cleanse people are, so I'm glad to report I'm only down a couple pounds, which could very well be normal fluctuation. Cheers.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Proving I'm Human

The cleanse was just going too well, right? Elizabeth says today proves I'm human.

I woke up bright and early as usual, feeling just a little bit off. I couldn't place it though, so I read Leviticus, drank some morning tonic, and then went for a challenging full length flow video that included some inversions.

Afterwards, I was feeling quite nauseous but I blew it off, thinking it was because I had done some weird moves before I'd eaten. I drank some cold season tea, started my smoothie (complete with a half inch of ginger) and ate a ginger chew and I figured I'd be good.

Unfortunately, none of that helped. I couldn't even finish my smoothie until well after noon, when I was driving home from work. My head started feeling heavy and fuzzy and the nausea just kept coming. After my last class, Jordan asked if I was ok because I didn't look ok - she said I looked flushed and my eyes looked puffy and watery. I went home and changed, and later she said I looked better. My feelings of being hot went away, but the nausea and head tension stuck. I ate some of our carrot ginger soup with toasted pumpkin seeds, and a ginger larabar and some almond butter later on, but I was so uncomfortable pretty much all day.

We went to thrive and were tempted by their beautiful raw, vegan desserts (2 more weeks!) but enjoyed our smoothies nonetheless (I can't wait to get the celestial sea with the cacao - E tried it without and it was good, so imagine how wonderful it could be with it!).

I cooked a potato back at home and ate it successfully, even enjoyably, but my head still feels ow (I'm weirdly not sensitive to light - it hurts about the same when I'm under a blanket as when I'm out in the open) and nausea is still almost a constant.

I don't know what's wrong with me, but it's making me very uncomfortable. I'm just miserable enough that doing things is less fun but not so miserable that I don't want to do anything.

Definitely my worst day physically in awhile.

Friday, February 13, 2015

"You look fresh!" (Updated)

This morning, roommate Rachel and I were chilling awaiting our packages (my manduka prolite mat came today and I am 4,000 kinds of in love) and she said, "you look good. Like your hair is all shiny and your skin is clear"

I thought this was perhaps because I showered last night and washed my hair and slept on it fairly wet (my hair does very well with this for whatever reason). 

Then, I was hanging out with an old coworker and she said "you look fresh!" 

So maybe this means the cleanse is working? 

Stay tuned for the cyclefit comparison class.

I had a really great relaxing day, even though it was technically "busy"once I hit noon - yoga, chiropractor, avocado smoothie date, cycle fit. I still felt springy when it was time for cycle fit.

I didn't have quite the crazy performance I had on Tuesday morning. I was hitting the more challenging gears and watt increases the instructor (David) offered, but I wasn't really going beyond that, and it felt like more of an effort to get there. If I felt tired, I didn't look it I guess, because the instructor kept pushing me. For the floor work, we were in two groups of there: one group of newer folks, one group made up of the instructor's fiance, Lane (longtime fan of David), and myself. The group I was in is the stronger group, who always takes the challenges, even if only for a round or two. During our last round, planks with feet on bosu, I noticed Lane and Nick on either side of me fading, while I was on one leg pulling my other knee in and then to the outside of my elbow and still feeling good. David noticed, too, so he came over and told me to put my hands on a medicine ball! That made it super hard. If you're having trouble getting the idea, try doing a plank with your hands on a wobbly surface. Then do it with your feet unstable. Then make it both. It's tough!

So I think the lack of grains and legumes may have caught up to me a little bit on the bike, but my core was still firing and ready to go. 

The Weight of Glory

I am very aware of the work by C.S. Lewis of this title, but it is also the only phrase that can capture my heart towards the book of Leviticus.

To those who live ignorant of a covenant relationship with Jesus, Leviticus is a crazy book, full of rules, regulations and instructions. But for the redeemed, for the blood bought sinners who know the Man who tore the temple's curtain in two, this is a book of gratitude, a book of hope, a book that reveals Jesus as the great high priest who gives us full and unfettered access to God, 24/7. Whereas once a year, Aaron would purify himself, offer atoning sacrifices, and enter into the holy of holies, the Christian today enters into God's presence anytime, any place. That's a weight of glory if I've ever heard one.

Or consider this: all these rules aren't an instruction manual for earning salvation or becoming worthy of the love of God, they're a response to the fact that God has already loved us and a reflection of our status as His people. This is something seen again and again: God rescues, He gives life, and He tells us how to live that life for His glory and our joy in Him.

performing what the Lord has charged, so that you do not die! 8.35

For I am the Lord your God who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy. 11.45

Do not turn to idols or make for yourselves any Gods of cast metal: I am the Lord your God. 19.4

Keep my statutes and do them; I am the Lord who sanctifies you. 20.8 

So you shall keep my commandments and do them: I am the Lord. And you shall not profane my holy name, that I may be sanctified among the people of Israel. I am the Lord who sanctifies you, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God: I am the Lord. 22.31-33

Among those who are near me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified. 10.3 

I am the Lord your God. You shall therefore keep my statutes and my rules; if a person, he shall live by them. 18.4-5 

Therefore you shall do my statutes and keep my rules and perform them, and then you will dwell in the land securely. The land will yield its fruit, and you will eat your fill and dwell in it securely. 25:18-19 

For I am the Lord who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy. 11.45 

Reading the law really helps me see how God uses all things for our good, and His discipline of those whom He loves. He points us along the paths of righteousness to show the world who He is. It's not about us. It's about Jesus. This book is a reflection of Himself. We are to be a reflection of Himself. Everything He tells us is to make us like Him and to see His glory and be changed by it. Reading this book is, to me, drinking deeply from the fountain of God's grace. I mean, look at this promise:

I will give peace in the land and you shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid 26.6 

I memorized these verses this week:

I will make my dwelling among you, and my soul shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you and will be your God and you shall be my people. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that you should not be their slaves. And I have broken the bars of your yoke and made you walk erect. 26.11-13

There's a lot here. There's the fact that we get the presence of our holy God and that His wrath turns away from us. There's the fact that He stays with us and gives us Himself and makes us His own. And He rescued us from slavery in order to do all these things. But what's been driving me wild is the fact that it doesn't say "their yoke". It says "your yoke". We were "their slaves" but it's our yoke. And it's like what I talked about with Exodus - you don't have to be someone's slave in order to to have a yoke around your neck. God literally set the Israelites free from slavery. But by making them His people and Himself their God, He also set them free from themselves. From idol worship. And this is the same work He's doing in His people today, the work that will continue on until we reach glory, until we see him fact to face.

I pray that every Christian could approach the book of Leviticus with a soft heart and an awareness of who God is and what He has already done in the person of Jesus Christ. I pray that we would see His discipline, His sanctification and the beautiful means of grace that it is. I pray that we would read this book and feel the weight of glory.

“To please God… to be a real ingredient in the divine happiness… to be loved by God, not merely pitied, but delighted in as an artist delights in his work or a father in a son- it seems impossible, a weight or burden of glory which our thoughts can hardly sustain. But so it is.”  C.S. Lewis 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Oh Coach Kate

Today at a preschool Valentine's Day party a child kept offering me things from the food table. The only one I accepted was grapes. But I did bring home a piece of freshly baked bread for Jordan. It was still warm! I was maybe a little jealous.

But on the plus, I still have infinitely more energy than my children. In the last two days, I've had entire classes of kids ranging in age from 2 - 10 lay down during class and just close their eyes. Even my rec team needed a minute to rest. And I'm just like, "Let's goooooo!" I even got the chance to wear out the boys team, and their coach, with the help of this video.

I have been working through some more back pain - it was pretty bad yesterday, so I didn't go to Stretch and Sculpt, and I was planning on toughing it out through Cycle Fit, but it was canceled. God must have been telling me something there ( I used the extra time to tidy up the kitchen while listening to a sermon on rest. I think it worked). The pain was still pretty noticeable today, but I had found some relief with yoga. Even though I'm new to this dealio, I've been paying attention to what really helps me out. So I did a lot of yoga this afternoon while Jordan did abs and squats, and my back feels so good now! I've struggled in and out of back pain ever since the great cheerleading incident of my early high school days, so it's been so wonderful to find something that brings comfort. 

Speaking of yoga, when my kids and I were talking about what we did today, one said, "Coach Kate, why do you always do yoga before our class?" and another replied, "Yoga relaxes your body and calms your mind. She needs that before she comes to deal with our crazy"

And I came home and E had made our smoothie. Beautiful.

I'm kind of bored of the cleanse, though. I just don't really care that much and the novelty has worn off. Plus, could it get any better? I don't really think so. So now I'm back to the probably won't do this again column.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Another interview with Elizabeth

I don't have anything interesting to say to I'm going to interview Elizabeth instead.

Q: What is your favorite smoothie so far?
E: Brain fuel - mango, pear, spinach, coconut water and hemp hearts?

Q: What is your favorite cleanse friendly snack or "treat"?
E: Treat/snack would be apple with delicious almond butter (that I've made obviously)

Q: What is your favorite cleanse meal?
E: That we've eaten or in general? (In general). I don't know I can't do that; I'll do what we've eaten  so far...maybe the carrot soup. It was good.

Q: What is the best part of the cleanse?
E: The best part is...it gives me rules to follow so I don't have to think about what I'm going to eat, I just know what my options are.

Q: What is the worst part?
E: Mmmm The worst part is when I feel like eating snack-y foods and I can't or like if I see something fun that's actually pretty healthy at a store and I can't give it because of one little tiny ingredient.
I can't eat anything my mom sent me for valentine's day, even the carrot relish 

Q: How do you feel?
E: Ummm...I think I feel better than before the cleanse started...I was having issues , but today my legs were super tired, not in general,  just when I tried to run. I did feel extra tired today even though I slept nine hours.

Q: How does this compare to previous cleanses?
E: This one is way easier because Kate makes half my food for me. Other than that it's pretty much the same. Talk to me next week.

Q: What kind of goals will you have for after the cleanse?
E: I'm gonna try to keep sugar to a minimum and be a real vegan.

Q: Would you do the cleanse again?
E: Yes, I will do it, four times a year. MAYBE - this is the fifth time I've done it - this will be the first time I finish all three weeks.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Cleanse Crazy

The point of keeping tabs on this cleanse is document the good, the bad and the weird, right?
Here comes a few observations.

During the second week of the cleanse, athletes and intense exercisers are advised to slow down or repeat another week instead, because of the week's intensity (If I listed the things we can't have, it would be too long; I'll say instead that we are eating fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds and drinking water, nut milks and herbal tea). I have mostly ignored this advice. Today I did TRX at 6, and then cycle fit at 8:30. During cyclefit, I worked in much higher gears than usual (usually my easy is a 10, moderate a 13, race a 16 and then I might get up to 20 when it's a hill. today it was more like 12, 14, 17-18, and I hung on to a 22). My RPMs (number of revolutions) was much higher which is why I added gear ( in a seated race pace, we try to work between 95 and 105, and I was finding myself around 115), and my watts (the power you're generating) were one hundred higher than I can usually get to. AND on top of all this, it felt easier. No joke. I was still able to accept most of the instructor's floor work challenges and even come up with some of my own. Elizabeth and I are interested to see what will happen on Friday when I do the same class more at the end of week 2.

Next up, creativity. This is part of the weird, ok? I don't know what it is, but I'm finding myself thinking a lot differently about a lot of things lately. It might be cleanse clarity. It might be the fact that I'm turning every book of the Bible into a haiku. It might be the yoga. Or a combination. But it's tripping me out. I've never been one of those artsy creative types so it feels bizarre to me. I've been writing a lot more prose, playing more with music, coming up with new ideas at the gym...maybe others have had a similar experience? I don't know. I might try to see what I can dig up online (aka dear Elizabeth: any ideas?)

Last week, on any given day, if you'd asked me if I was going to do the cleanse again, I would have said no. Yes, I felt (and still feel) awesome. Yes, there are some changes that I would like to keep or at least keep the spirit of. But did I want to do this again? mmm no thanks. Today, the thought that I might be able to do this again crept in. I thought about a next time that may or may not ever happen. But. It's no longer a never. This is weird because last week was the easier week, and now with the harder week I'm thinking I could do it again.

I guess I'm just a weirdo.


Beautiful Surrender

A journal excerpt 

In yoga, when we hold poses for five or more breaths, I always have a moment where I feel a release and finally surrender. It makes me think about the humility in coming to God and saying "I need You", in surrendering to His will and discipline, and the freedom in moving forward. It's a beautiful thing. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Cake attack


This cake was at work today. 

I had a really stressful class tonight an the other coaches offered to buy me a drink but I'm on the cleanse. There's zero stress eating food available to me, which is probably good because then I have to take my cares to The Lord instead of eating them. So battling idolatry and staying healthy in one fell swoop. 

But that cake looked good after class tonight. 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Not a foodie


Today I babysat. Since the kids were a little crazy, I sent us outside to burn off some energy. Then I had to make dinner, so I lured them back in with apple cider. I of course drank the tea because of the whole sugar thing. 

We also played hungry hungry hippos. Which hippo was I? 


Veggie potamos of course! 

The mom called me a foodie because I read cookbooks and food blogs and make interesting things but I think I'm more of just a healthie because I just like avoiding the latest poison. 

This week of the cleanse will be the biggest deviation from my norm so we'll see what it brings. 

Mark

I finished my 20th read of Mark this weekend. I was struck by the sense of urgency - the word "immediately" makes a frequent appearance. Mark's gospel urges us to see that Jesus is God's Son, and how we are to respond to that knowledge. With that, a haiku. 

Jesus is God's Son 
When we gain this knowledge, we 
Respond in worship 

Next up: Leviticus! 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Food prep

One key to the cleanse is preparation. Because of our different schedules, Saturdays work nicely for shopping and prep, even if trader Joe's is a nightmare and a half on Saturdays (side note: we ran into one of my former gymnasts who has been recovering from an eating disorder there and she looks so good! And her and her mom invited me over to catch up). 

I took some pictures of today for your enjoyment 


Elizabeth posted a pic of a plate of cookies on her blog. Today this plate held carrots for carrot ginger soup. 
This is Elizabeth making almond butter. Walnuts are soaking and sweet potatoes are roasting. 


Seeds that were eventually burned, the beginnings of soup, and the remnants of cauliflower popcorn. 


This cutting board cut so many things. Tonic ice cubes were also prepped here. 

After all our labor, we went to a cleanse friendly restaurant, Thrive. It's walking distance from our house and a great place for people with a lot of allergies or who care a lot about what they eat. I had the special - raw collard burritos with sprouts, avocados, hummus and a bunch of other good stuff - and Elizabeth had the famous Buddha Bowl. I've loved everything I've eaten there. It's a little pricy, but you definitely get what you pay for. And the food is filling and satisfying so we both got two meals out of it. 

So that's a prep day in the life of cleansers. 

Friday, February 6, 2015

Identity and Change

For my cleanse notes of the day, let me say that I was bouncing off the walls today. Usually on my day off, I'm sleepy and honestly kind of lethargic, always looking for a reason not to get up. But today I looked for reasons not to sit down (errands with Jordan, the rain stopping and the bonus TRX class being good ones). 



Now onto the stuff. 

I wanted this picture to show my herbal tea (cleanser), my Bible (pursuer of Jesus), my journal (thinker and writer), my computer (blogger), guitar (worshiper), and yoga mat (yoga practicer) because of all the identities these things capture. 

I love my pastor and think pretty much everything he preaches is inspired, but I have two sermons that I've been mulling over lately. 

The first, Remember Jesus Christ, is one I have listened to well over a dozen times, sometimes more than once in a week. For a girl who has this Scripture memorized - not to mention wrote for 31 days on the subject and has the words "Remember Jesus" tattooed on her - that I love this sermon is no surprise. If you listen to one Anchor Church sermon ever, make it this one. Please. It is so basic, and that's what makes it so important and vital to the Christian life. In the beginning, Pastor Andrew shares a story from when he was listening to Bruce Springsteen and he heard the boss say "I want to change my hair my clothes and my face". And Andrew realized that you can change all those things - you can move, you can change your job, you can eat paleo or vegan or whatever - but at the end of the day, you're still you. And Jesus is the only one who can make a dead heart come alive. He transforms your whole mind by renewing it day by day. It doesn't matter how good or bad you are, what matters is that He's chosen you and He's going to bring His work to completion no matter what, because Jesus Christ has made you His and He is faithful because He cannot deny Himself. 

The second, God's Program for Change: Jesus was actually preached the week before I first attended Anchor. I've only listened to it once, but I would like to again soon, because of how poignant it was to me. I listened to it right before we started the cleanse in order to center myself. We live in such a strange dichotomy because we are to be in the world and not of it. We are in the flesh, but the Holy Spirit dwells inside of us. We are already saved and not yet redeemed fully. We are in the present and look to the future. The point of the message is that if we rely on anything but God to save us, it's futile. It's dust in the wind, a mist that vanishes at dawn. But for our hope to be built on nothing less but Jesus' blood at righteousness, this is the power that saves, that renews, that transforms. 

Which brings me to the constant checks I'm asking myself as I continue to make earthly changes and feel great about them. The biggest question I bring to God in prayer every day has to do with asking Him to check my heart. Is what I'm doing help me see Him and know Him and trust Him and love Him more? So far, I have been so moved by God as Creator in a way that I hadn't been prior to the last year or so. I pour over the creation account and the Lord's directions for Adam and Eve. I see how God has made our bodies so wisely, so profoundly beautifully, so full, so complete. And yes, we bear the effects of the fall, but I also see how creation, while it groans together, it also heals together. I love seeing how treating my body well helps it function better, just one more simple thing that God knew and we rejected, thinking we knew better. 

The second that my life as an athlete, as a vegan, as a cleanser, as a lover of natural remedies starts pulling me away from Jesus so that I forget Him like Israel as described in Hosea 2, is the second I need to come back. I want my identity to be so wrapped up in Jesus that everything else is just a side dish that I could give up joyfully if He showed me it was hurting my relationship with Him. I want to be soft to Jesus, so that worship can come naturally and Bible reading can be a joy and talking to Him can be a conversation that never stops. 

This afternoon I felt so led to play a song I hadn't played in...months? I didn't even know where the chords were, and yet, my fingers just started playing them. My voice found the words, and I just played. I want this to continue - to be so in step with Jesus, so ready to sing His praise, that it just flows out. I want this always to be my song - 

My faith has found a resting place 
Not in device or creed
I trust the Everliving One 
His wounds for me shall plead

Refrain: I need no other argument/I need no other plea/It is enough that Jesus died/And that He died for me 

Enough for me that Jesus saves
This ends my fear and doubt
A sinful soul I come to Him
He'll never cast me out. 

Refrain 

My heart is leaning on the Word
The written Word of God 
Salvation by my Savior's name 
Salvation thru His blood 

Refrain 

My great Physician heals the sick 
The lost He came to save 
For me His precious blood He shed 
For me His life He gave 

Refrain 

And I want to lean into this promise - I want to breathe it and trust it and live it - 

Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and teach his brother, saying 'Know the Lord', for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. Jeremiah 31:31-34 

Coconutty balls


So dried fruit is a "limited" but still permissible item on the cleanse. I decided to take advantage of this an make some between workout treats. I will do my best to estimate what I used, but no promises. 

1 date 
1 heaping tablespoon sliced almonds
1 heaping tablespoon pecan pieces
1 heaping tablespoon raw cashews 
1 tablespoon coconut oil 
1 dash cinnamon 
1 pinch ginger 

Combine in a food processor, form into balls and refrigerate. Makes approximately 7 balls (the picture shows 5 because I ate two because of how delicious they are). Yum. 

Answering the cleanse crisis

This is my response to yesterday's questions. I will probably disregard the last one, as it was not actually serious and was included mainly for dramatic effect.


Why am I doing this?
Does it even matter? 
What are recipes? 
What is my life?

1) The main reason I'm doing the cleanse is because Elizabeth asked/suggested that I do it. However, I don't think that's a good enough reason, because if there hadn't been something else, I wouldn't have said yes. I just don't think I'm that supportive. I will admit, having watched E do the cleanse 3? 4? times, I was a little cleanse curious. I don't have a goal to lose weight or anything like that, but I just wanted to see what could happen. I also enjoy structure (hence the veganism) and challenges (hello no sugar). So maybe I can frame it as an experiment? 

2) Maybe. Maybe not. I realized the other day that I hadn't felt tired in quite some time. That's a great side effect to have, however I don't think it could be the lack of caffeine already and definitely not some of the other changes. However, I do think the cut back on sugar and tv watching and establishing a routine of slowing down (through yoga, tea, and the change your mind Bible reading) has greatly improved the quality of my rest. I'm already having this dilemma thinking about what happens in 2 1/2 weeks - I feel so great right now, that it would be truly stupid, even arrogant, to return to how I was eating and living. Now that I know better, can I really go back? I'm thinking I might try doing donuts once or twice a month, and coffee at most four times a week and see if that's an ok compromise. Making refined sugar an occasional instead of a given. Things like that. It's supposed to take 28 days or whatever to get used to big changes? Coincidence that that's how long the sugar stays off limits? I think not. 

3) Although I like structure, I really don't like being told what to do. The meal plan to me feels stifling, and I prefer following the cleanse rules but mostly doing my own thing. I like using the meal plan as suggestions rather than rules. I do think I will use some of the recipes post cleanse, though. Further, I also mostly eat the same thing for weeks on end until I get bored and change it, so trying new things can be good for me. For a little bit. Then I just want to go back into my food hole and eat whatever I want (which is quinoa or brown rice, black beans or red lentils, something green, some other vegetable and hemp or chia seeds with olive oil, salt and pepper. I habitually eat this for lunch every day. True story). 

4) Like I said, I feel good right now. Any other questions or observations are welcome. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Smoothies and stuff


Please note the description of the smoothie we're drinking for breakfast tomorrow. Can't wait, right? 

Today I made vegan hash cakes. I liked them more raw than cooked, but I'm a weirdo so whatever. So far I'm still feeling good about the cleanse but I am starting to have kind of an existential crisis about it - 

Why am I doing this?
Does it even matter? 
What are recipes? 
What is my life? 

Maybe I will use some of my day off tomorrow to try to tackle some of these questions. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

I'm Not Tired

Although the title phrase is most known for being said by children who crash about five minutes later, I realized it's me right now! I wake up, usually before my alarm, feeling totally awake (even when my alarm goes off, I still feel refreshed). I also don't feel tired in the afternoon, and even after work in the evenings, I don't feel totally exhausted. I feel comfortably relaxed, and after my evening routine I fall right asleep.

I don't know if it's the sugar or what but I love not feeling tired! It's also handy because of the whole no caffeine thing I'm working with right now.

So far so good.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Dandy Tea's Alright by Me

Day 2 of the cleanse brought my most intense day of exercise. I planned ahead and made chia pudding for after my first workout, and prepped mine and Elizabeth's smoothies to enjoy after workout #2 - before yoga, and after. I ate a delicious off menu but cleanse-friendly lunch of chickpeas, sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts and hummus, had apples and almond butter as snack, made the "blueberry mint cooler", and yes, had, my first cup of dandelion root tea.

I was skeptical when Elizabeth told me the guidelines suggested replacing coffee with dandelion root tea. No way that could be similar! I kid you not, it smells just like my old go-to drink: coffee with espresso and two pumps of toffee nut. I can say, I'm a fan. Although, I do plan on continuing to drink coffee after the cleanse. Maybe less, though. Maybe.

I was most nervous about what would happen when the cleanse went social - mostly, community group. We share a meal, with everyone contributing. Now, they know I avoid animal products and am not eating meat, so they do things like cook the meat separately, and I usually volunteer to bring a big salad, roasted veggies, or a vegan soup, so that I know I can eat. Tonight, I lucked out: beans and rice. I brought salsa and avocados, someone else brought cilantro and green onions, and there were salad greens. Score! I did have to turn down the beer, though, which was kind of lame. But no big deal. It was easy, and super fun to enjoy time together. I also got to spend some quality time with 11 month old Grey. I definitely teared up while he was on my lap during prayer and we were thanking Jesus for making us all family in Christ. I wouldn't know his momma, and thus, him, if it weren't for Jesus. It was just such a sweet and tender time. Between that, and 4 year old Zoe grabbing my hand and her grandpa's as he prayed to bless the food, I was so blessed to see how wonderful and big and beautiful God's family really is.

Feeling soft and thankful and bright.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Morning tonic, smoothies, and bathroom breaks

This is morning tonic. Lemon water, ginger and cayenne. I drank it instead of coffee and I didn't hate it. Welcome to the cleanse. 

This smoothie was delicious! And filling. Also pictured: herbal tea and water. Drink up! And my yoga mat. I'm super into the yin yoga lately. It makes time fly by. 

You do eat real food on this cleanse - I also had almonds, quinoa, sweet potato, kale, an apple and almond butter in addition to this breakfast array. I have had to pee a lot, which E says is normal. 

So far, I'm pro cleanse. Wahooo 20 days to go. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Blog Blog Blog

Writing so much about food and whatnot and writing every day in general has the side effect of me either not writing quality posts or me just not sharing more of my observations on a slightly wider variety of subjects. Sorry. After February, I will hopefully return to a more typical blogging schedule.

To catch you up on things I'm reading, thinking, etc, I have this post. It's not going to be very well put together, but we will hit the basics.

First off, I went quite a stretch even after the holidays where I didn't pick up my guitar much at all. Then one day I was reading the Bible and maybe something else, and I didn't have any other response but to worship Jesus. Since then, I've re-incorporated regular personal worship into my daily life. I've played my own worship sets every day for over a week now. It really is important to me, and I'm thankful for the grace to practice it.

Next. I believe I mentioned I'm re-reading Confessions. Here's a quote and an observation -

Thou are at hand, and deliverest us from our wretched wanderings, and placest us unto Thy way and dost comfort us, and say, 'Run; I will carry you; I will bring you through'; there also, 'I will carry you'"

Augustine's relationship with God had such incredible depth. He had immense understanding of self, and of the Lord. It's just so incredible to read of. So thankful for the saints like him, and the Jesus who rescued them.

I've also been reading a daily prayer book by Scotty Smith. Here's a quote from prayer I want to live.

I don't want to keep a record of annoying things done around me or to me. I don't want to put every intentional or unintentional slight or passive-aggressive comment on my iPod and then push the replay button. No good can come from that. In fact, Jesus, I ask you to keep me far more aware of when I'm the one being unnecessarily annoying or irritating to others. Convict me when my sense of humor leads to someone else's harm. Help me to steward my words, body language, and 'freedoms'. Jesus, hep me give others fewer reasons to need this prayer when they're around me. I pray in your loving and kind name. Amen. 

That's exactly the kind of prayer God is faithful to answer. Convicted yet?

Moving on. I've put together 17 consecutive days of yoga. Today I did it twice, spending two hours of my day practicing. I guess now's a good time to talk about resolutions too. I've basically replaced my usual tv time with yoga and/or extra readings of whatever book of the Bible I'm currently in. I've gone out way less, sometimes 0 times in the week. And I think we know how sugar's going. I've also had a lot of times where I've felt the Holy Spirit's prodding to live that life laid down, but I also know I have a LONG ways to go. My yoga teacher shared this quote - "The pose begins when you want to get out of it" - and I think the same idea can be applied to pressing deeply into Jesus, conviction of sin, and sanctification. I think the real hesed will start when I really want to avoid it.

In this next season, I'm going to be serving at church fewer times, but more intensively when I do serve. I used to volunteer in kids every other week - once teaching, once assisting. Now, I serve every three weeks, but when I do serve, I'm leading. It feels like kind of a big step, but I do love it. It has its own challenges, but the kids are mostly very good and getting them to enjoy learning the Bible, singing and praying together, and even savoring their friends as family in Christ, that is such a joy and reward.

Now that we're more or less caught up, I'll leave you with this brief thought I wrote a few days ago in my journal

I feel like God is meeting me in continuously new ways. I'm coming alive, and alive to Him. It's a beautiful, indescribable thing. 


1!

Today I had savory oatmeal for breakfast and  my last cup of coffee for the next three weeks. Then E and I made the green smoothie pancakes without sugar. I added a couple dates for fun, but they still tasted awesome! We ate them with blueberries or almond butter and yum! So they don't need the sugar. 

Tomorrow starts the cleanse, so we prepped some food for that. 

The Seahawks lost the Super Bowl. I am secretly happy but don't tell anyone around here because my life would be in danger. The city is very sad. Jordan is incredibly upset. But that's all.