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The Wrong Intention

When I began my fast ten days ago, I did so with the purpose of losing the flab that had accumulated around my midsection and thighs.

Although I am, for the most part, a healthy eater, over the last few months, I’d developed a few bad habits.

Things began when I went to see Chicky play soccer one weekend.  My stomach hadn’t been feeling right that day, so upon the suggestion of my friend, Barb, I’d gotten a soda to soothe things down.

Rather than a semi-harmless Sprite, I’d gotten my favorite, which I hadn’t had in a long time, a Mt. Dew.

I’d opened Pandora’s Box, for Mt. Dew has always been one of my biggest weaknesses.

As my students can tell you, I became addicted; however, I threw off this habit a couple of months ago…only to fall back into it after only a month.

Sigh.

I’d also begun eating candy again.

Considering that I don’t eat much (I really don’t…you can ask my family), putting these empty calories into my body left them nowhere to go but the troublesome places that cause many people angst.

Now, you must also understand that for years, I’ve struggled with a poor self image…especially where it comes to my physique.

I suspect this developed after years of watching my mom worry about hers.  I believe that she had bulimia when I was growing up, although it was hidden from us and probably not even understood by her.  She’d frequently excuse herself to “get sick” because the food bothered her, but looking back, I think it was, in fact, the disease that plagues many women, for there were signs in other places of her life.

Anyhoo…

I finally got fed up with the roll of belly fat that was beginning to hang over my waistline and knew I needed to change something.

The juice fasts I’ve done in the past have resulted in the loss of such flab, so I was eager to begin.

I must pause again here and tell you one more thing.

One or two juice fasts ago, when I was telling Super Sis about what I was doing, she’d asked (loosely remembered), “What is the reason for your fast?  Is there something you are searching for from God?”

I’d blown her off a bit by saying that I didn’t have that kind of reason…that my intention was purely for health benefits.

Keeping all of the above in mind, let me continue.

I began my fast.

I’ve been so blessed this time.  I haven’t experienced headaches or many hunger pangs.  I haven’t had many cravings (except for peanut butter), and I haven’t felt resentful.

But…

The flab wasn’t coming off.

Still, I have persisted.

Meanwhile, I began reading a new devotion plan on my Bible app, YouVersion.  The plan, appropriately enough, was titled “Authentic Fasting.”  It was a seven day devotional series, and boy, did it have a lot to say about fasting!

Day by day, I learned what the Bible has to say about fasting and that, in fact, fasting is not something to be done for health reasons at all!  Fasting is about abstaining from the things that have led us away from God, focusing on His voice to determine His way for our lives.  Any positive body changes are the result of the fast and should never be the cause for one.

Over that seven day period, I can honestly say that God changed my heart.  He showed me how wrong I’d been going into the fast.  Although I was trying to avoid the things that had made me less than perfect (in my eyes), what I was really doing was avoiding deeper truths about myself and my relationship with Him.

Although I think that it’s fairly obvious to most people that I am a Christ follower, and I do love the Lord, I know the inner dealings of my heart and what a rebel I’ve become.

In small ways, I’ve been avoiding God, whether it’s been by not reading and studying His word daily, not praying as faithfully as I should, by harboring bad attitudes about people or situations, or…gasp…by berating myself when my body isn’t exactly as I think it should be.

At first, fasting is a challenge in self discipline.  Once that’s been mastered over the course of the first few days, and the mind becomes clearer…not clogged by the junk that is routinely put in…a real focus develops, as does the ability to hear God and develop good habits to replace the former.

What it boils to, for me this go-round, is becoming more purposeful about spending time with God on a daily basis.

The last day of my fast will be Saturday.

I know that God still has much to teach me during the interim days.

I am so grateful what He has already shown me.

I’m also thankful that He uses everything for His glory, and that my wrong intentions were turned into something positive and life changing in my heart and soul.

Oh, and that flab I spoke of before?  It’s beginning to disappear…the natural result of abstaining from all of those sodas and bags of candy.

To God be the glory for all of the changes, both physical and spiritual.

A Whole Lot of Quiet

Last night marked four days of my endeavor to give up TV during Lent.

I’ve gotta tell you that fasting from a non-food item is just as difficult as giving up something like sugar or junk food.

I never realized how quiet the house is when the TV is turned off.

My daily routine used to encompass working until 3:30, watching DOOL for 45 minutes, and then hunkering down to work on certification assignments WHILE listening to the TV in the background.

This week, I have been going home, visiting with Chicky (home for Spring Break), and then hunkering down to work on lesson plans and my assignments.

There.

Is.

No.

TV.

There.

Are.

No.

Extra.

Sounds.

A couple of days ago, it was so silent that the only thing I heard was the sound of my fingers tapping away at my keyboard and the deep laugh of my sweet Rooster as he played Xbox Live in another room.

That.

Was.

All.

I have been playing music though.  I love listening to Chris Tomlin Radio on Last.fm.

Still, though, the music is not a replacement for the TV.

What has been even stranger than the lack of noise is the depressed feeling I have.

I feel like the house is a little darker without the bright images being emitted from the television.

Time seems to crawl by.  Let’s face it folks.  We live our lives in segments – in blocks predetermined by the length of our activities.  In my case, my evenings were divided into one or two-hour chunks.

Last night, after working all afternoon on assignments, I glanced at the clock, expecting the time to read 8pm.

It was 6:00.

I kid you not.

I’ve been working at my dining room table lately; however, I moved to the couch, which is in front of the TV, later in the evening.

It was a strange feeling.  I looked at my DVR, and I could see that it was recording something (preset, of course)…

I felt like I was being taunted.

The Mr. walked through, and I made a comment about how tired I was.

He told me I should go to bed early.  He also suggested that my body probably thought it was time for bed because usually, when I turn off the TV, my body takes it as a signal that it’s bedtime.

Good observation.

Probably true as well.

People are conditioned to respond to certain stimuli.  Pavlov proved it with his salivating dog experiment.

I think that the television serves as a stimulant to my body.  It keeps me awake.   I guess that’s why child “experts” suggest that children do not watch television a certain length of time before going to bed.

Who knew that the experts might actually know something.  😉

What I am already coming to realize is that television is almost like a drug.  Certain shows lead us to have certain feelings.  We watch advertisements for things we don’t need and think, all of a sudden, that we need those things.

And so we depend on the TV to help us be who we are, so to speak.

God does not want that of us. 

Nothing should define who we are except for HIM.

It’s no wonder that we wander around lost and confused.

We have too many voices playing in the background of our lives when, in reality, we need to be listening to only ONE voice…the voice that won’t make promises He can’t keep (unlike infomercials for anti-wrinkle cream).

I am praying that the quiet time that I will be having over the course of Lent will help me train myself to purposefully tune out the noises around me so that I can hear God’s voice in a very clear, audible way.

AuburnChick is Frustrated

Yep…I’m frustrated. I’m frustrated with a knitting project, and I’m frustrated with the juice fasting.

First, the juice fasting. All is going well. I’m almost done with Day 8, and I’m feeling a little better each day. I blew my nose very few times today, and I’m coughing fairly infrequently as well. I believe the juice is doing its job, albeit slowly. However, I have a feeling that the virus I’ve had has delayed the start of any real detoxification. Of course, the expelling of “stuff” from my nose and mouth might be a sign of detox. These cavities were designed for just such a purpose.

However, I’m finding that this is starting to become an emotional battle. One of the lessons I learned the last time I fasted was that food is an emotional crutch. We really do not need nearly as much food as we think we do. We can be lured simply by the idea of eating something. This is where I’m starting to struggle.

This morning found me completely, unexpectedly, rearranging my weekend plans. Mr. AuburnChick had to work today. Soccer Chick has soccer training in central Florida, and he had planned on driving her. I had planned on working from home to get her to another father who was going to drive her down with the Mr. meeting up with her later tonight. The Mr’s job assignment got pushed later than originally planned, so we decided that I would go instead. This totally made me happy because I got out of work for the day, thanks to a very understanding supervisor.

However, reality quickly set in. With only one hour to plan, shower, and pack, I went nuts. Plus, how in the world was I going to continue my juice fast? No problem, I’ll bring everything with me. Oh, and I couldn’t forget my knitting either. Here’s one pile of stuff that was waiting to be packed…

That’s my clothes, knitting bag (the blue one), laptop bag, and a couple of other things…1/10th of what needed to be put in the car. While my laptop was downloading the newest podcasts from my favorite shows (I figured it would be a good time to catch up during the drive), Soccer Chick grumpily helped me pack my produce in the cooler. I gathered all of my juicing tools. That stuff alone took up almost half of the back of the car.

After eight hours in the car, and having only drank a couple of bottles of water, I started getting grumpy. It didn’t help that we stopped at a Beef O’Brady’s on the way. We have one at home, and it’s one of my favorite places to eat. I absolutely love buffalo chicken wings with Ranch dressing. I ordered my glass of water with a determined look on my face. Fortunately, work interfered to distract me. While the girls were eating (we’re taking another player and was following another gal and her dad), I pulled out the laptop and checked in with work. I discovered a problem there that required a few phone calls. I stepped outside and finished up just as the girls finished eating. Perfect timing. I didn’t have to sit and watch them eat.

We finally got to our hotel, and I realized that I needed a few things from the grocery store. “Mama, please stop at Outback to pick us up something for dinner,” Soccer Chick asks.

Great.

I love blooming onions.

Sigh.

I started thinking about food. I had not had my juice yet, and all I wanted was a basket of chips and salsa from the Chili’s I saw across the street.

As soon as I got back to the room, I made my juice. This is a first for me. Juicing on the road. Fortunately, it went quickly, the girls had some apple/orange/pineapple juice, and I even got two glasses of carrot juice made.

So, I’m really fighting this from a mental standpoint, not a physical one.

Knitting-wise, I’m also frustrated. I received this Oddball Baby Blanket in the mail last week.

It’s called Racecar Alley. I’m working on the red portion at the top. The frustration is that I cannot find a good pattern for my four inches. I’ve tried being creative, but nothing is coming to mind. I found a NASCAR logo on the internet, and I’m trying to knit it, but it’s just not looking right, so I’m going to frog this.

I usually love working on these blankets, but this one has me stumped. I want it to be cute.

Grrr…

I’ll probably just do this in garter stitch and send it on its way.

Meanwhile, I started another chemo cap. This one will be for my daughter’s friend’s mom. She started chemo this week and thought she might fare well…until her second day. She’s been feeling poorly the last few days, and I fear that the next thing to happen will be the loss of her hair. So, I need to get this done quickly. Here’s my progress so far…not much, but at least it’s a start…

One other project I want to get completed soon is another pair of Greenaway Fingerless Gloves. One of my closest friends just found out she has a mass at the base of her brain. She will be heading to UAB for a consultation with the surgeon in charge. A few weeks ago, she saw the other pair of gloves I had made for a gal we work with (we work at the same place), and she had commented how she would love a pair in pink yarn. Well, silly me went right online and ordered more of the Alchemy Sanctuary that I’m so fond of…getting pink for her and Platinum for the other pair. Her appointment is on Wednesday. I want to give them to her beforehand.

Well, that’s it for now…I’m off to drink another glass of carrot juice.

AuburnChick is Under the Weather But Still Knitting

Boy, this has been an interesting week. Work-wise, it’s been fine. Health-wise…not so good. I have developed some sort of upper respiratory ailment that my body is having a hard time fighting. It’s run the gamut from the sore throat to a stuffy nose and wet cough. I’m frustrated. I hate going to the doctor, and I just cannot stand taking antibiotics. The last time I took them, my stomach was so upset.

So, I’m going to fight this like the strange girl I am…with fresh juice. I’ve decided to go on a juice fast. Sounds drastic, I know, but you have no idea how poorly I’ve been feeling.

This will be my second time fasting. I’m aiming for a minimum of ten days

Did I just hear you fall out of your chair? Ten days?? Yep. It’s really not as bad as it seems.

The first two or three days are pretty rotten. You have the non-eating headache, but that passes. Your body starts feeling achy, but that passes too. What happens is that your body, freed from the burden of processing food, can now focus on damage control…something it rarely has the time or energy for. You find yourself needing less sleep, and your energy level grows by leaps and bounds. The longer you fast, the more healing happens. Healing happens from the newest aches and pains to the oldest. I’ve read of people who fasted long enough to feel, temporarily, old knee or back pain return, then go away for good. This is a good site if you’re interested in reading more.

I’m making freshly extracted fruit and vegetable juices. I have a Champion Juicer…purchased several years ago. It’s one of the best juicers you can buy…not available at Target or Walmart but at most true nutrition/health food stores. It masticates the produce (i.e. mashes the juice, invoking very little heat and thus preserving the nutritional value).

I used to be much better with my eating and juicing habits. I made fresh carrot juice every morning for my family, and I watched everything that went into their mouths. Very little sugar and processed food was allowed into their bodies. I’ve slackened a bunch due to laziness and the expense that accompanies healthier eating. I’m getting back on board the Train of Healthy Eating.

Yesterday was the first day, and it wasn’t too bad. I’ve been feeling so poorly that whatever ickiness might have felt from the fast just doesn’t seem so bad. The next couple of days will probably be difficult. I’ll get through them. And I’m not even tempted by the cake I made for youngest chicklet’s birthday (Shout out to the Boy, who turned 14 yesterday). Nor was I tempted by the brownies I made for Soccer Chick and her friend last night. Nope. I’m on a mission.

Despite being sick, I have managed to complete another project. Last night, I cast off my third pair of Greenaway Fingerless Gloves. I used Alchemy Sanctuary, colorway Platinum. Each time I’ve knit these gloves, I’ve done something a little differently. This go-round, I wound up knitting an extra round on one needle, leaving it a bit wop-sided when I cast off. I tried to fix it the best I could, and I didn’t repeat the mistake on the mate. They actually turned out quite well despite my boo-boo.

These are for Knitting_Guy’s mom…the lady I made the cap for (previous post). I think she’ll like them. They are so soft. Smooth as silk, and warm too.

What’s next, you ask? I’m working on two Oddball Baby Blankets. I received them in the mail this week and should be receiving one more next week. I’m going to try to get them done quickly so I can cast on another no-hair chemo cap for my daughter’s friend’s mom. She starts chemotherapy this week.

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