Sunday, February 26, 2012

7 at 7

I have a sweet friend who began thinking about doing the half marathon around the same time as me, so we made plans last week to run together this morning. She, apparently, is an early riser, so she wanted to hit the pavement at 7AM. I fought hard for 7:30, because it's a more psychologically soothing number. (And also because I wasn't sure that God was even up and moving at 7AM.)

The plan was simple: 7 miles (from one end of the greenway and then back again) 4 minutes running, 1 walking. We could totally do this. A brilliant plan!

We met at the greenway in town, I popped my ear buds in and threw a piece of tangerine gum into my mouth. But immediately I found myself in a mental downward spiral. My ipod wasn't working, to which my mind responded, "there's no way I can do 7 miles if I don't have music." Her timer wasn't working to which I thought, "we're going to get all messed up if we don't have a timer." Poor pitiful me. We decided to run a half a mile and then walk to try and fix our technical difficulties. It took me this long to get my mind out of the dead zone and into a positive place. "You CAN do this. You WILL do this. There is NO other option."

My music magically fixed itself at the half mile mark, and Lydia remembered she had a timer on her ipod, so all was well when it was time to run again. I found my stride, and we were making great time. I was in love with the timer! What a fabulous way to run! Just make it happen for 4 minutes, and then that glorious timer would grant me a one minute walking break. This structure was easy to run with, and I found myself falling into a nice little committed relationship with the 4:1 ratio and the timer that whispered," take a breather, you've earned it." He SO gets me.

That is, until that selfish, unaffectionate little bugger demanded that we jog up BOTH of the insane hills on this route. He didn't care that it was hard. He didn't care that we were out of breath. He just laughed and demanded that we keep going, "because he said so." Traitor.

As we rounded the last curve of that final hill, though, I knew we had it beat. I could smell the accomplishment. It smelled like sweat and tangerine gum. A minute or two later, I could see my car practically waving at me in the parking lot, and I mentally added "run 7 miles" onto my list of accomplishments.

I'm not sure I can properly explain what an accomplishment this is though. I've tried to relate to you how out of shape I was and how incapable I felt to be fit. I don't want to sound like I have a big head. I don't. But seriously, in November, I couldn't run a mile without needing a break. This morning (before God got up) I ran 7 of them.

Who am I?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Last Mile

I've been keeping up with my running. My first long (long to me) distance run is planned for this weekend. I'm pushing for 7 miles. Seven hilly miles. Not quite sure how I feel about that just yet.

The process of learning to be a runner is challenging for me. It doesn't come naturally. I have to focus on my breathing. I have to focus on my posture. I have to have ridiculous arguments with my legs. "Just put on your big girl panties and KEEP GOING." All of this jumbled together means that, should I actually make it to the last mile of the half marathon, I will feel more accomplished than I ever have. I've had other accomplishments. I finished grad school. But to be perfectly honest, other than the duration of that process, it wasn't that hard. The actual content was not challenging. I know it sounds crazy, but running is harder for me than graduate school. (However, it's cheaper. Thank God.)

God has been working big time in the past couple of months, and He's doing a work in my spirit that feels a little like running that last mile and crossing the finish line. I got to be a part of something tonight that circumstance could have easily robbed from me. I witnessed a family bring their newly adopted daughter home from the other side of the world. I got to stand in the airport and watch their sweet reunion. I got to watch the Biggest Sister kneel down on the carpet of the airport floor, waiting for her mama to round the corner. I got to watch the Big Sister (different kid) ask over and over if her new sister was ever going to get off that plane. I got to stand on the sidelines and take it all in, because their new daughter is my niece....kind of. She's Ex's new niece. But since we're not married anymore, she's sort of my "not my niece." But I love her like she was a niece of the regular variety. Divorce could easily have robbed that from me.

But the really cool thing about all of it is that Ex's family decided a long time ago to do divorce differently. As a result of that, Ex and I, when faced with the same challenges, committed to doing divorce differently. It hasn't always come naturally. There have been so many times when it was just like trying to run. Focus on your breathing. Monitor your posture. And then put on your big girl panties and JUST KEEP GOING. There have been a lot of things over the last handful of years that have been hurtful on both sides of the fence. There were lots of opportunities to quit and decide it wasn't worth it. But both of us, (all of us) knew that E WAS WORTH IT, so we kept going. (And praise Jesus for The Champ, because he's so incredibly supportive of this concept, a trait that I found out the hard way is not easy to come by. Gosh, I love him.)

God has been bringing major things together lately that feel like the last mile. Like maybe, we're coming up on the finish line and it's all REALLY going to be okay. Like maybe, just maybe, God really did know what he was doing the entire time. I imagine this is what that guy was feeling when he wrote, "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see." That guy had gotten divorced.

There's this thing I've started telling myself when I run. Whenever it gets hard, and the "I can't's" creep into my thoughts, I say this phrase, mostly in my head, but sometimes out loud. "I am, because He is. I can, because He did." To me, it means "I am capable, because He is the I AM. I can run this mile for Him, because He carried the cross for me." It's always enough to keep me going.

God has just confirmed to me, through divorce, through adoption, through unexpected conversations, that He is enough. He heals ALL things. There is no exception to that rule. Ever.

This realization has been soaking into my soul for a few days now, but tonight I crossed the finish line.

I am, because He is. I can, because He did.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Champ and Me

I'm on vacation with my husband. This makes me happy.

Have you ever watched The Office? We're kind of like Jim and Pam.

He's tall and slightly awkward while, at the same time, pulling off adorably charming. He's good looking. Kind. Easygoing. Likable. And so in love with me. :)

I'm sort of like Pam. I tend to be kind of dorky, but a little bit precious at the same time. I'm funniest when I don't mean to be, and I come up with crazy ideas and then expect those around me to support them without question. They usually fail. Also, my hair is kind of frizzy. Just like Pam, it took me several seasons to discover frizz cream and a flat iron.

Together, we're adorable. We have an easy relationship 99% of the time. We're friends before anything else. We pick on each other, but know the other always has our back. It's good. If we had our own sitcom, people would have tivo'd our wedding. Since we don't, we got married in our living room and then went and ate fried rice.

But every now and then, we turn into these two: Leonard and Penny from Big Bang Theory.

My husband is brilliant. He has a masters degree in something that is related to biology, but I couldn't even begin to describe it. He spent a lot of time writing research papers and collecting specimens to support that research. (I spent the first 3 years of college learning how to teach kids to make stained glass windows out of construction paper.) He's honestly one of the smartest people I know. But the thing I love about him is that, while he has all of this brain power, he blends in nicely with us normal people. He makes people feel comfortable. He can have regular conversations. He's able to dumb it down for the rest of us without it being obvious that that is what he is doing.

But every now and then he's a total Leonard.

While driving through the mountains today, we found ourselves beside a flowing stream. It was beautiful. Then, this happened.

The Champ: (looking at the stream and making an inquisitive face) "I bet there are a ton of nutrients in that stream! It would make an interesting research project to study the effects of variable allochthonous detritus inputs on benthic invertebrate community composition in preserved versus urbanized stream reaches in this region."

Me: (eyes wide, obviously) "That's great, babe. Did you know there is an entire tutorial available on Pinterest on how to make a lamp out of nothing but mason jars?!"

See? Adorable.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Four Things

There's definitely a right way and a wrong way to go off a fast. You can ease yourself back in, using the healthy tools and information you consumed when you weren't consuming anything else, or you can be glad it's over and go eat Mexican. One of these sets you up for success, the other for defeat.

I know without a shadow of a doubt that at any other time in my life, I would have fallen into the latter. I would have just been glad it was over and went back to my old ways. I would have plunged myself, head first, into a big basket of chips and queso. No question about it. But something about this phase of my life was different. Something about this fast is sticking with me.

It's actually sticking with me a little too well. The other day I ate a roasted veggie lunch, and I felt guilty. I felt guilty for chewing something, guilty for filling my belly full, guilty for consuming calories. I'm convinced that it's single moments of uncensored thought like this one that lead to anorexia. I had to quickly remind myself that God designed my body to eat. It was a strange conversation between my rational mind and the crazy girl that rents a room in my frontal lobe.

That incident aside, this process is actually working this time. I've been able to stay off sugar. I've been able to eat small portions of healthy foods. I was trying to pinpoint what the difference has been. And then I came across this:

It's nothing earth shattering. Everyone knows that eating healthy and working out are good for you. I've known it for years. But the difference between knowing and it making it your lifestyle is a vast ocean of frustration and confusion. It takes a long time and a serious amount of will power to swim across it.

It appears that my transition happened in roughly 40 days due to the inventing prowess of Jack Lalanne and the poverty of a few Uganda street kids. But in all honesty my transformation has been in the making for a couple of years. I tried several times to eat right and work out, I just never really did them at the same time because it felt overwhelming. And throughout all of it, the room next door to the crazy girl in my frontal lobe was rented by "self defeat." I looked at pictures of healthy people, but I never really believed they could be me.

Well, somewhere here recently, "self defeat" was kicked out on his rear, and I did the four things that picture talks about. I started exercising. I thought out a plan. I learned to eat right.

But the single most telling sign of whether or not you will be successful is not any of those things. Success depends on your ability to kick all things negative to the curb and believe in yourself to make it happen. It didn't happen to me overnight. It came in spurts. I began to believe I was worth more. Then I began to demand more for myself. Then I began to expect more of myself. And finally, I looked up one day and I was running that fourth mile, and I knew I could do anything.

But the crazy girl is still renting a room.

I'm okay with it. She runs faster than me.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Post Fast: No Other Option

I've been eating solid food for 2 days now. It's really nothing all that exciting. I can't begin to tell you how amazing that little bit of information is. I was a food ADDICT. I was that girl who would be painfully full from breakfast yet still wondering when and what lunch would look like. I planned my entire day around food, because for some strange reason that I'm going to chalk up to my own insanity, I used food as my security blanket. It made me feel better.

Or so I thought.

Now, I can eat anything I want, and I'm sitting here typing this and drinking a Shakeology shake with a spoonful of natural peanut butter mixed in. It satisfies me, gives me energy, and makes me feel like I'm being an advocate for myself. Suddenly, all of those things are more important than a big meal.

Since ending the fast, I've had some pineapple, banana, sweet potato, broccoli, a Cliff bar, a few bites of sushi (YUM) and last night I had a spinach wrap with turkey and veggies. My stomach is doing great! It gurgles a bit when I eat, and things work their way through my system quickly, but I'm not sick like I was afraid I would be. Although I do get bloated and feel full quickly. But the best part is I really don't think about food much during the day! (I spent all that time fasting and pinning pictures of food, and now I really don't even care about them!)

I knocked out 4 miles yesterday, and decided that I can't wait until it warms up a little. Thirty degree weather is no fun to run in, but I'd rather do that than hit the terrible, awful dreadmill. Heading out soon for 3 more! (Who am I?!?!)

I've had this talk with several people this week, so I thought I'd share here. I've come to the conclusion that you make things happen in your life because there are really no other options. I survived a painful divorce because I HAD TO. If there had been an easy way out, I would have taken it. But there wasn't. There was just picking up the pieces and moving forward. I finished grad school, because I had paid thousands of dollars for a future that I knew would be better, so there was NO OTHER OPTION but to graduate. Never, for a split second, did I let my mind go to a place where "quitting" was a choice I could make.

Fitness is no different. People will lose weight and get in shape when they decide there is NO OTHER OPTION for them. It's not about your body. It's not about what you eat. It's first about getting your mind to the place where the only choice you have is to make it happen. That includes knowing it will suck, knowing it will be hard, knowing that you will want to give up, knowing that you might not do it perfectly, but KNOWING that success is the only end result.

This process changed me, and my only choice now is to be healthy and fit. I want my best ME all the time.

There is no other option.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Day 36: Wagon Jumping

I think I'm officially ready to jump off the fasting wagon. I started reintroducing foods today, and that last little white knuckle hold I had on the wagon is gone. In fact, the wagon came pretty close to running me over.

So far, I've mixed a banana in with my protein shake, and I had some broccoli and sweet potato for lunch. My stomach is doing okay, although after the banana, I looked about 4 months pregnant for 30 minutes and wasn't sure whether I was going to poop or throw up. Everything worked itself out though. No worries.

I would love to say that I'll continue with just fruits and veggies until Thursday, but in all honesty, I think I'm ready to call it a day. I've been sick since yesterday, and while I could try and rationalize all the reasons that it's okay for me to quit early, the truth is, I just want to be done. Forty would be better. But on this particular journey, 36 feels like it has accomplished what it needed to, and I feel good about the experience.

I filled up on a very small amount of food, which I'm happy about, and I intend to keep doing meal replacement with Shakeology and fresh juice. I still plan to eat clean, and I'm set on a good training schedule for my running. On the whole, this fast has changed my life. I even won the Biggest Loser competition at church this morning, which got me a free full year membership to the gym!

I have lost 16-18 lbs depending on which scale I'm on. I've lost a total of 15 inches across my bust, waist, hips, arm, and leg. I've fit back into all of the "skinny" clothes in my closet, and some of those are almost too big. I've continued my workout routine and successfully run the 5k route in town twice now with only one walking break up that giant (horrible!) hill. I couldn't run a mile without stopping prior to this fast, so if I can do this, anyone can.

And most importantly, we've successfully raised a good chunk of money for those boys in Uganda, which was some awesome motivation. I hope they are blessed. I sure have been.

Next week, I'm taking my birthday money to go buy some hot mama running shoes so I can conquer my next goal-the half marathon. I've never in my life been excited about the concept of paying good money to run 13.1 miles. I totally am now.

If anyone is considering doing a fast, I hope you will go for it. It has changed me. I believe in myself in way that I never before have. I want to do things that will push me and challenge me. I want to live my very best life, because I finally believe that I'm worth that. I had no idea when I started on this journey that I would get all of this out of the process.

It feels amazing. I feel amazing. And I'm so thankful for all of the support and encouragement along the way. Some amazing people have had my back this whole time, and I can't thank you all enough.

I'm letting go of the wagon, but I'm holding onto the lessons. And I'm ready to run a new race.

"And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith." Hebrews 12:1b-2a

My life is better than it was 36 days ago, because I am better.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Day 34: I think I can, I think I can

Y'all know the little engine that could right? That's so me right now. I have to keep reminding myself that I'm ALMOST THERE. At this point, it's incredibly tempting to shrug my shoulders and say, "Eh, 34 is enough."

But 34 is not 40.

However, in an effort to be totally honest, I should tell you that I'm planning to introduce solid fruits and veggies into my diet on the last couple of days. I hadn't really intended on this, but in doing reading on how to break a fast, I actually got a little scared. There are stories out there of people ending up in the hospital by doing it wrong. (Of course, I think these people probably bailed on their fast and gorged themselves on mexican and cheeseburgers. I have zero intention of doing that.) And if circumstances were slightly different, I would wait the full 40 days before introducing.

But the day after my fast ends, we are leaving for the Smoky Mountains for a few days. It's sort of a mini honeymoon for us, and 1.) I don't want to end up having serious digestive complications while I'm away from home (definitely don't want to go to the hospital!) and 2.) I haven't been on vacation since 2008. I don't want to spend these few days eating nothing but fruits and vegetables and missing out on rare opportunities to have a nice dinner with my Champ.

So I will likely blend a banana in with my juice or protein shake on Day 38, and maybe actually eat some broccoli in there also. I had a long conversation with myself about whether or not that was cheating. You may think it is.

But the reply that pops into my head if you do is simply, "You go 38 days without food and we'll discuss it then."

Ultimately, my goal was to raise money and awareness for those boys in Uganda. Done. My goal was to lose weight and detox my body. Done. And done. My goal was to create a health plan that would change my nutrition post fast. Done. And I've also managed to become a runner, and cultivate some serious self esteem, neither of which I intended, but am seriously excited about.

Tomorrow there will be only 5 days left. Just one hand.

I think I can, I think I can.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Day 33: The Birthday Blog

Today, I am officially in my thirties. Thirty itself seemed like a comforting age. It was sort of a new horizon for me. Now that I'm 31 I'm stoked. I know a lot of people have a hard time being in their thirties. It's sort of like waving goodbye to your youth for a lot of people. But I'm excited!

My twenties were terrible. They were full of heartbreak and confusion, stops and starts, and a lot of feeling like I had things figured out only to realize I was making life harder. If this gives you any indication of how tough those years were, I spent my 25th birthday in the hospital having a miscarriage. I remember thinking "at least I know next year will be better.

The next year I was separated from my husband. It was a long time after this that life began to finally calm down and even out.

But at this point, it has traveled so far up hill that it's hard to even recognize the life I used to live. (Was that even real? It feels so long ago and so far away.) When I was 28 I wrote a post on my old blog about things I had learned. (In so many of those instances I should have actually listened to myself!) I thought it might be fun to revisit that concept. But when I sat down to write I couldn't really think of "lessons" as much as "blessings." Maybe it's juicing euphoria. Or maybe it's because I'm just (finally!) in such a peaceful place.

I thought about writing about 31 blessings in my life, because there is so much to be thankful for. But I got through the first 3 and realized that there are so many people who are not in as good of a place as I am. Those street kids, for example. Everyone has commented on how I don't get cake on my birthday. So sad. But those kids have probably never had a birthday cake at all. I think about how I am so happy with my spouse, and then I remember at least 3 people I know right now who are not. It's so easy for me to get lost in being in my happy place, but I can't take for granted what a blessing it is to be here. So my heart is burdened for the people who are in a far more challenging time in their life. I have been there. I will likely find myself there again at some point (Lord, be merciful), and if and when that happens, I would hope someone would be praying for me.

So here is my 31st birthday prayer for any of you that might be reading this and need to feel that someone has your back.

I pray for your broken heart, that God will stitch you back together.
I pray for your fear, that a safe path will be laid before you.
I pray for your anguish, that relief will find your spirit.
I pray for your loss, that your memories will be pleasant and plentiful.
I pray for your confusion, that you will be empowered by your choices.
I pray for your hardened heart, that forgiveness will be freeing.
I pray for your loneliness, that you will experience new, fulfilling connections.
I pray for your anxiety, that you will breathe easier.
I pray for your insecurity, that you will know that you are enough.
I pray for your health, that you will be restored.
I pray for your marriage, that there will be an abundance of love and friendship.
I pray for your bondage, that you will experience breaking free.
I pray for your future, that you will have hope and peace.

I remember birthdays when I needed someone praying these prayers for me, and this year, I am blessed to be in a happy place, where I can think of nothing I really need. Happy birthday to me.

So whoever you are that needs these prayers, please know that it gets better. If I could blow out candles on a cake this year, my wish would be for you- that next year will be different,

And perhaps you'll say these prayers for someone else, because you'll be in a place where you can think of absolutely nothing you need.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Day 32: Just to Clarify...

A large handful of years ago, I had a Sunday school teacher who changed my life. She has since passed away from cancer, but the things I learned from her are locked away for safe keeping within the most precious corners of my heart. One of those lessons was a story. It was about a group of women who were studying the Bible when they came across a verse about being refined like silver. Curious, one of the ladies made an appointment to talk to a real silversmith about the process.

Once there she asked a bunch of questions. "How does it work?" He answered, "I hold the piece of metal in the hottest part of the fire."

"What does that do?"

"It melts away all of the impurities."

She was almost done with her interview when she asked one final question. "How do you know when it's done being refined?"

"Oh that's easy," he replied. "It's done when I can see my image in it."


Something was brought to my attention today that warrants some much needed clarification. In my post on Day 29, I referred to leaving a horribly abusive marriage. It was pointed out to me that that could easily be misunderstood. I want to make it very clear that I WAS NOT REFERRING TO E'S FATHER. There were many different working parts that went into the equation of our marriage, but in no way (EVER!) was one of those abuse. He is a great father who loves his kids, and he's a wonderful person. We have spent the many years since our divorce working to build a solid co parenting relationship. During those years we've had about a hundred different conversations about what the parts of the equation actually were, and have adopted a mutual understanding of how and where we went horribly wrong. The result of that is something that about 99.2% of the time looks a lot like peace. And I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that those years are held in high regard by us both because of this little guy. The joy he brings into both of our worlds was worth a few years of confusion.

I take it for granted that most people know my story, but in case you don't there was a very brief marriage mistake that took place in which the safety of myself and my child was compromised. That is what I was referring to in Day 29. All clear? Moving on.

Which brings me back to the silversmith. For the past few years of my life, I have been in a serious refinement process. It started a long time ago, and I'm sure it's not over yet. I have made a lot of mistakes, some small, some not so much. I have carried a lot of heartbreak and a lot of regret along the way. I will never shamefully beat around the bush. I own the fact that, at times, I have contributed a lot of muck to my life. A lot of sludge. A lot of tiny bits and pieces just begging to be stripped from my life. But in the past year or so, after being held in the hottest part of the fire, I can feel the impurities dripping away. God is refining me. He is holding up His end of the bargain, and has pulled me out of the muck and mire and set my feet on solid ground.

I don't pretend for a second that I'm done. I know, without question, that God will likely never look into my heart and see His image. He will probably always be able to find some impurity that He wishes to melt off of me. And I'm so thankful.

I am nothing more than a flesh and blood bit of God's grace, just wandering around this earth in yoga pants. I probably never deserved a second chance. I know I never deserved a third. But He gave it to me anyway, and it looks like joy.

I think my Sunday school teacher's story leaves out an important detail, and through the events of my life I have come to know it intimately.

Even when all there are to see are impurities, even when the precious metal is in the most intense heat of the hottest flame, the Silversmith is still holding on tightly with His full intentions on never letting go.

Thank you, Sweet Jesus.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Only 9 days left!!!!! The countdown is on.

Still totally sick of juicing. So ready to be done.

Also, ran a 5k. :)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Day 30: Countdown begins NOW

Starting tomorrow, I'm officially in single digits. I feel like a giddy kid. I might make a paper chain when I'm done with this post, so I can rip off a link every night before I go to bed. It's that exciting.

Another exciting bit of news is that sponsorship checks have been rolling in, which means we'll be able to send a good little chunk of $$$ to some very sassy street kids in Uganda this week. That makes me all kinds of happy. Honestly, the personal rewards of this process would have been worth it to me without the bigger picture, but the bigger picture is pretty special, and I'm excited to have been a part of something so awesome. THANK YOU TO ALL OUR SPONSORS!!!

AND...I ran again today. I decided that although I'm not super competitive with other people, I get a major high from kicking my own tail. When I ran yesterday, I didn't have an official way to keep my time. I just know that I sent a text right before I got out of the car, and when I got back in the car and looked at the phone it was 32 minutes later. So today, I ran by Walmart and bought a cheap stopwatch to see if I could beat myself.

In all honesty, the distance I'm running is probably just shy of 3 miles. It's probably more like 2.8....maybe 2.85. Tomorrow I plan to start at the stadium ticket booth which is the 5k route in town. So that will put me over 3 miles. But today, I did the 2.85 (because I'm generous) and YAY ME!!!!

A few years back I was dating a guy that ran 3 miles every day. I remember thinking, "how does he make time to do that every day? Doesn't that take like hours? I had no concept of how long it took to run a mile, because I had previously convinced myself that I just couldn't do it. So I never did.

I seriously never knew I was capable of anything like this. And now, I'm so proud of myself that I might never stop.

Who would have thought that by emptying out my stomach that I would feel so full?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Day 29: FITspiration!

I've been fasting for 29 days. There are only 11 days left on this particular journey, and I have some very strange mixed feelings about that. Obviously I want to be done. I want to eat food. I miss it like it was my most favorite pet dog and someone came along and kidnapped it right out of my backyard.

But I'm a little nervous about eating again. I have made significant progress in the past month. I'm not as skinny as I'd like to be, but I haven't weighed this little since before E was born. I can wear all of the pairs of pants that I have held onto for years just in case I could ever fit into them again. I can! And I don't want that to go away. I just don't.

See, here's the deal. I have been unhappy (not miserable, but definitely sort of "ugh") about my body for years. I complained about it. And while I would eat right at times, or work out at times, I never did both of them together. I chalked it up to being "built to be big." I have broad shoulders, thick arms, and am stronger than a lot of women. But I've secretly wanted to push myself for years to see what my limits really were. Could I ever be really fit? Could I ever really be a runner? What about having toned arms or tight abs? Could I even do that? But I answered my questions quickly. No I couldn't. And then went about my day.

But here's what I've learned over the past few years of my life. There's the life you have. And there's the life you want. And there is only one person on the planet who has the power to make them look the same.
For me that meant many different things. It meant going back to school to become a therapist. It meant coming up with the courage to leave a
horribly abusive marriage. It meant looking God in the face and asking for another
chance without deserving it at all. It meant choosing to fall in love again, even when it was the scariest emotion to let myself feel.

I did all of those things. And life was so good. But I had never conquered the physical. I still had those "can I do this" questions dancing through my mind. So in November, I made a decision to begin working out regularly. Some days I didn't want to. It was hard. But I stuck with it, and started to feel better. I started to take charge of my mind, and began to realize that I had a real choice to make for my physical life.

And then this fast started. And on Day 7, I thought I would never make it. It was my hardest day. But there was a reason I was called to do this. God was using this process to do something big...for other people...and for me. I didn't know what it was going to be. I just knew I wanted whatever He was ready for me to have. So I kept going. And all of a sudden, I woke up and it was Day 29.

I thought the fast would be about the spiritual. I expected God to turn me inside out. I even feared it. But instead, He has used this process to challenge the mental and the physical. He has shown me how to dig deep, deeper than I've ever tried to dig before. He is teaching me how to take my negative thought processes hostage before they rob the progress from my life. He is showing me that through HIM, anything really is possible, and that anything doesn't have to look like a miracle. It can look like challenge. It can look like perseverance. It can look like the mundane, unremarkable things that other people have already done, but I have never let myself dream of. He is changing me.

I'm committing myself to a half marathon. There is one in Nashville in late April, which gives me plenty of time to train and get in shape. It's something I've always wanted to do. I'm a dreamer. I am forever dreaming up scenarios in my mind, usually where I am doing something awe inspiring with a seriously upbeat "she's like Rocky only prettier" soundtrack in the background. I will be 31 in a few days, and it's way beyond time for me to seize my moment.

Today I ran 3 miles in 32 minutes. I told myself when I started that I could have 3 walking breaks during the run. I took one. I still had the negative thoughts galloping through my mind. "I can't do this. I'm going to die. I need a break."

A month ago, I would have listened to them.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Day 28: Keeping busy

I had a roommate in college who would randomly decide she had had enough of herself and would blurt out, "Do you ever just get on your own nerves?!" I have kind of felt that lately. I'm sure you are all (if anyone is still reading this thing) pretty tired of hearing about fasting. I'm certainly tired of doing it. I'm tired of juicing. I'm tired of talking about juicing. I'm tired of washing the juicer. And I'm tired of planning meals I can't eat for 12 more days. (Really?!?! That's it?! I am kicking this fast's tail!)

So today I busied myself with other projects. I made bread again. It looks like a brick. I haven't given up the hope of baking the perfect, healthy loaf of bread, but it certainly didn't happen today. And I finally got around to a furniture project that I've been planning to do since we moved (in October. Ahem.).

We recently painted our living room a light yellow, which I was much happier with than the ugly gray color that was on the walls when we moved in. But since we painted it, the pieces of furniture in the room, which were black, seemed much too stark with the softer colors in the room. So today I took care of one of them. Still a few left to go, but seeing as I have 12 more days of not eating, I bet I can find the time to tackle them.

We got this table at goodwill for $10. We painted it black, and I covered the middle glass part with wrapping paper to create this little number.

I didn't love it, but didn't hate it either. But it just didn't really work with the yellow. Too much. So I softened it with some cream paint and scrapbook paper from walmart.

It looks much better in the room now, but I can't seem to settle on a particular style. This table suggests that the living room is going the direction of a quaint cottage, while my kitchen demands that it is bordering on sophisticated. I seem to recall a similar battle within myself when I was about 16.

As I recall, the solution then was to make out with a trumpet player on the back of the band bus on the way back from Georgia.

I hope my living room doesn't have to sink that low to find itself.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Day 27: Over It

A lot of the days of fasting are full of intense spiritual revelations and inspirational personal development. Today is not one of those days. I'm sort of over it.

I haven't felt that great in the past two days. I think I'm trying to get the funk that is going around, and while I'm not sick really, I just sort of want to lay around in my pajamas. E and his little sister were both coughing all day yesterday, and both of my parents have some kind of junk, so the odds were against me dodging this particular bullet.

Plus, I'm kind of sick of juicing. It's not the juice itself that I'm over. It's the process of juicing and the cleaning of the juicer. There are a lot of pieces to clean, and pardon the whining, but I don't wanna!

So lately I've been avoiding juicing by drinking more bottled juices (which defeats the purpose) and adding in a Shakeology protein drink made with water. It's supposed to have all of the nutrition of a ton of fruits and veggies plus all of the vitamins and minerals. I need to get back to juicing as my primary source of nutrition as bottled juices just aren't that good for you (even if they are 100% juice).


Plus, The Champ is revisiting his 10 day fast since he had to jump ship early on in the game. He's on day 3 and currently fighting hunger, fatigue, crankiness, and general unpleasantness. At this moment he is trying to find things to do around the house to distract him from the aforementioned misery, which means I guess our laundry and dishes are getting done with a sort of crazed ferocity???

This weekend should be fun.

Day 26: Not the Aunt!

I wanted to post last night, but by 8pm my brain had waved the white flag. Normally, on Thursdays, I just hang out at home with E. We lay around, run errands, cook, watch movies, and go on fun outings. But yesterday we had some visitors!

There are some exciting events happening in E's extended family (on his daddy's side). His aunt and uncle (Ex's sister) are currently in eastern Europe to adopt their adorable baby girl, which means their other three kids are shifting between the homes of the grandparents. Normally, they have this covered without issue (or at least, without anyone defecting to another family.) But yesterday the stars aligned so that there were several hours in need of coverage. In comes "Not the Aunt Sara!" And not only was I watching "Not My Niece" and (only for a few minutes, because then he was off to school) "Not My Nephew," the grandparents also had Ex's two baby girls with them. So I ended up watching "Not My Stepdaughters" as well. My life is weird.

When they got here, the kids commenced getting every toy E owns out of his room, and I attached the baby to my hip to feed my baby fever. Everything was great. I was giving her a bottle, rocking her to sleep, and loving every second. But not having a baby in my home regularly means there is no baby stuff around. No toys, no crib, no snacks, nada. As she got sleepy, I tried to figure out the best place to lay her down and decided to pull her car seat into my bedroom. I snuck in there away from the chaos to try and rock her to sleep. She was ALMOST OUT, when the two year old came in the room pulled on my shirt and sweetly said, "I go potty now." Seriously? Right this second? The baby's eyes were fluttering, but I knew if I set her down she would wake up. But there is no asking a two year old to wait. She had already peeled off her pull up and was launching herself face first onto the toilet bowl. I had to quickly educate myself on how to hold an armful of sleepy baby while simultaneously wiping an unsteady toddler. Success!

I played referee for the other kids for the next few hours. They all wanted to play with the same toys and they all got insanely upset when they couldn't have them all to themselves. There were some ugly moments, and at one point I designated spots on the kitchen floor where they all had to stand still in a makeshift timeout after world war three broke out over who got rights to the purple plate. But for the most part, things went well. Then the baby woke up. Again, I have no safe baby places, and by this time there was a landmine of choking hazards scattered across my house. While I'm all about annoying the tar out of the Ex, allowing his youngest child to choke on a squinkie isn't high on the list of ways I want to do that. So I attached her again to my side, which she loved for about 30 minutes and then loathed for the rest of her visit. She wanted to ROAM! I think she was fighting off another nap by the time the grandmother came to get her.

There were some sweet moments. The kids all worked together to build a giant lego castle, and at one point, while holding the baby, E crawled up next to me wanting me to read, and his two year old sister proclaimed loudly, "I want to sit by you too!" It felt nice.

All in all, the visit went well. But I may or may not have hugged E after everyone left and thanked him for being an only child.

Then I packed him up and we were off to Extreme Sculpt where my insane instructor told us to grab 10 lb weights and then proceeded to send us through hell for 45 minutes. I don't know if I'm getting sick, or my stamina is waning, or if the kids had just kicked my tail, but I was wrung out by the end of it.

By the time E was in bed, I was a heap on the couch, pouring over my new clean eating cookbook. Just a few days left before I turn into the Martha Stewart of Clean Eating!

Wife. Mom. Daughter. Therapist. Sister. Runner? Clean Eater. Not the Aunt. Not the Stepmother.

My life is weird. I am thankful for it.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Day 25: Do It Anyway

It was drizzly this morning when I woke up, but I had already planned to go for a jog. So I got dressed, laced up my shoes, and walked to the front door. I opened it and listened to the rain hitting the pavement and the wind rustling the tree branches. And for about 60 seconds I stood there and argued with myself.

"Just go back to bed. You could sleep another hour."

"No. Half marathon. You HAVE to. Go."

"But it's raining. It can't be good for you to jog in the rain. Pneumonia and stuff."

"But you said you would. Do it."


"I don't care. Do it anyway."

And then I walked out of the front door, drove to the greenway, and logged a couple of more miles on my sneakers. The rain picked up a bit while I was jogging (okay, jogging/walking), and I didn't do the whole 3 mile stretch like I did the other times. And my pants that I got for Christmas kept sliding down, so I had to jog part of the trail holding the ipod in one hand and my waistband in the other. But I did it. And I was glad.

I've spent years talking about the things I'm going to do. I've made a ton of plans. I have put together lists and done a lot of research. But I've been terrible at making things happen. I was stuck on repeat, doing the same old thing the same old way, and being irrationally disappointed when I got the same old results.

I can't pinpoint what it is about this fast that has triggered so much passion in me, but I've never felt more capable of accomplishing things. I've never felt more empowered or inspired to change my life. I expected this process to clean me out. But I feel like God has refurbished me. He's taken out the defective thinking, the self defeat, the "stuckness" and replaced them with fully functional parts and a divinely driven purpose.

Twenty -five days ago when I looked out of my front door and saw the rain I would have gotten back in the bed.

But that was 25 days ago.