Week 44, Day 2
Heart: Happy Mother’s Day a few days late! We made flower crosses for moms/grandmas this year. The boys helped come up with the idea and with some of the gluing. They turned out beautiful! We had a very busy Mother’s Day, running around delivering flowers to moms and grandmas. But, the evening was set aside for a relaxing bubble bath while Tim and the kids made dinner. At least, that was the plan… God has a wonderful sense of humor and decided to use Mother’s Day this year to remind me of just what it means to be a Mommy. So, instead of a relaxing evening, we had the usual “Mommy, I need help wiping!” and I got the added bonus of changing sheets twice and cleaning up messes resulting from both vomit and blood. Gag…
Being a mom is seldom relaxing, rarely quiet, bubble baths are almost never solo, but it’s still the best adventure I’ve ever been on! As much as my instinct was to be upset that I didn’t get to have the relaxing, pampering Mother’s Day that others had, there was utter joy in being reminded what it means to be Mommy. I absolutely adore my kiddos and wouldn’t change a single thing about my life. Not the poop, vomit, blood, none of it! Because, at the end of the day, I’ve never met three people with more joy, love, and hope than my kids. So, after a crazy, comical Mother’s Day, I sent those precious little ones off to bed as they hollered back, “Mom! I love you more than a hundred kisses!”
Soul: We’re reading through the four gospels at church right now. By that I mean that I get a text reminder every day to read another couple of chapters. It’s not just our pastor speaking on the gospels, but the congregation reading them also. It’s been so interesting! I’ve read through the individual gospels a few times, but never back to back in 6 weeks. I can’t believe how similar some of them are (e.g. Mark and Matthew). But, it’s also been interesting to look at the slight differences in them. I still have one book left (John, my favorite!) and then I hope to look back and compare all of them.
Strength: I keep pinching myself… I feel like I should be sick of my new eating plan, but I’m not! I’m still trying new recipes, but we’ve also settled on several “go-to” recipes when we’re stuck. I’ve also pretty much figured out our grocery shopping, which is awesome! We buy mostly the same things every time and usually one or two “special ingredients” for a specific, new meal we plan on trying. I’ve found that it’s gotten a lot simpler now that we have “usual” foods in the house to snack on. We always have hard-boiled eggs, cheese, plain yogurt, pickles, various nuts and seeds, fresh veggies, and fruit. I think having options that are easy, familiar, and always available has made an enormous difference! It’s like I’m forming a habit.
Week 43, Day 4 (-20 pounds)
Heart: Oh my word, since starting this new ‘3 things per day’ with the kiddos to encourage productivity, creativity and reading, I haven’t had time to write! It’s a fabulous, crazy, productive whirlwind around here and I love it! Well, minus the whole not having time to write thing! Bubby, who’s 3, has been practicing his reading (he retells stories he knows), writing his letters, and doing all kinds of various creative activities! He absolutely loves it! Plus, this morning he was joyfully begging to help with the dishes as he tried to figure out a good ‘chore’ for the day! Baby girl has even joined in on the fun as she’s starting to learn to put away toys as she takes them out. Which makes my heart happy since the toys she most loves to spread around the kitchen are the myriad of plastic plates, bowls, and cups from the ‘kid drawer’. It’s been so great and I can’t wait for Banayner to be home for the summer so he can join in on the fun, too! We’re going to go ahead and chalk this one up as a Momma win!
Soul: Well, the house we were trying to sell finally sold! Praise the Lord! I realized that we bought the house around the same time of year several years back, so I looked up the info from when we bought it. It turned out we signed and the house closed exactly ten years from the day it closed when we bought it! And for the exact same amount! How crazy is that?! Crazy enough to know that God has a fabulous sense of humor! Here I sit as He reminds me again of just how faithful He is!
Strength: I got on the scale today and saw 20 pounds… 20 pounds! That is so exciting! But what’s more exciting is how much I love the way I’m eating!!! I never thought I could enjoy eating like this, but I genuinely do! My husband had an onion bagel last week that smelled unbelievable, so I went ahead and tried a bite… and to be honest, it was pretty dry! Not gross, but certainly didn’t live up to my expectations, which just settled my resolve even more. I like the way I’m eating, I love the way I feel, and that is reason enough to keep it up. But then I got on the scale and I was reminded that, in addition to feeling great, my body is beginning to function properly and getting back to where it’s supposed to be! It’s amazing how much more motivating weight loss is when it’s accompanied by a genuine change in your body and not just a lack of calories!
Week 42, Day 4 (-18 pounds)
Heart: It occurred to me the other day that Banayner is almost done with school! How did the year go by so quickly?! Everyone always said “It goes by so quickly!” But, good Lord, they were right! I started to worry because I want to make sure he gets lots of reading in this summer and I’m definitely the type to look back in August like, “Crap! Bud, you have to read 3 hours every day for the rest of the summer!” Definitely not ideal so I came up with a plan! A routine, if you will. Every day, I make a list of 3 things to accomplish- it’s enough to feel productive, but not so much that I feel overwhelmed. So, I took that theory and applied it to the kids.
Every day they’ll have 3 tasks to accomplish. Reading for 15-20 minutes, something creative (art, science, baking, puzzles, etc), and a chore of some type (clean up their room, wipe down the bathrooms, laundry, etc). Not only will this ensure that they are reading every day, it will also ensure that we do some fun and creative activities this summer, as well as teach them some basic every day skills around the house. Their spouses will thank me someday.
I started a test run of it with Bubby at home while Banayner is at school and he loves it! The first day as I was tucking him into bed he said, “Mom, this was a great day! I had so much fun reading!” Plus, it builds in some special us time. We’ve read together (it’s mostly me reading to Bubby, but let me tell you, that kid reads the sweetest “Are You My Mother?”), done puzzles, made torn paper art for the kids’ frames, done all kinds of laundry and dishes. In fact, his chore the other day was to pick up his bedroom and at first, he didn’t really want to, so I offered to help. About 4 minutes into picking up he asked, “Mom, can I have some space please so I can clean up by myself?” He totally took ownership over his chore once we got going and couldn’t wait to show me his beautifully cleaned room when he was all done! I figure that if we can get settled into the routine while Banayner is still in school, it should make for an easier transition once summer starts.
Soul: Lately, I’ve been feeling unsettled in the most wonderful way! It’s a mix of anxiety and excitement, like I know something big is going to happen, but I have no idea what. I’m ready for some change spiritually. I’m tired of feeling stagnate. I have no idea what’s coming, I’m just getting myself ready for whatever it may be!
Strength: I went to a women’s tea at church last weekend. It was so fun! Hats, dresses, flowers, the works. I even spent days, days convincing myself that it would be okay to have something special, out of my eating plan… a chocolate chip orange scone made by one of my closest friends! As I made my way through the buffet line and approached her tray, I realized they were gone… Are you kidding me?! After all the arguing with myself and finally deciding to allow myself this “treat”, they were gone! I was so sad at first, I started looking around the buffet table thinking I could find something else… but as I looked around nothing really called out to me. The candies, cookies, scones, muffins, none of them seemed worth it.
That’s when I was overcome with excitement! None of them seemed worth it! I wasn’t drooling over any of them, wishing I could have just one, I really truly didn’t want them! As properly as I could (I was at a ladies’ tea, after all) I did a little happy dance at this amazing moment in my life! I was going to happily walk past all of the desserts to the cucumber avocado bites I’d made, fruit, veggies, and a grain-free blueberry muffin I was super excited about! I’ve never been on a restrictive diet in which I truly didn’t want the things I’m not supposed to have. But, then, I’ve never restricted my diet for the sake of my health before, either. I guess there really is more to dieting than losing weight!
Week 41, Day 1 (-16 pounds)
Heart: This weekend was one of the most amazing moments I’ve experienced as a mom! Tim, Banayner and I went on a trip so they could compete in Spartan races! It was Tim’s second (he did one last October) and Banayner’s first! Tim completed the Spartan Super (9.5 miles, 28 obstacles) and it was brutal! The obstacles were far worse than last year- so much more intense and disgusting. But he did an amazing job! I’m so proud! He’s got another Spartan race in two weeks, followed by his first triathlon two weeks after that! He’s such an inspiration to the kids and I!
Banayner’s race was a Spartan kids’ race. Half a mile and about 10 obstacles. They had to jump walls, do low crawls, climb nets, trudge through water, it was awesome! As he was getting ready, they announced that parents could run with kids if they wanted. Banayner looked at his dad, who had just finished his race 15 minutes earlier, realized that Daddy wasn’t going to do it with him, took a deep breath, and put on his game face! When they said “Go!” he took off like he’d been doing it for years! I figured he’d get to the first “icky” or “hard” obstacle and look back at us to decide if it was really worth doing, but the kid didn’t so much as flinch! He just did it! In fact, as he passed us in a few different spots, he didn’t even notice we were there cheering him on because he was so focused! As soon as he finished, he got his medal, ran over to me and said, “Even when they were hard, Mom, I just did ‘em!” He’s already planning his next one!
I can’t even begin to describe the pride and emotion I felt watching him rise to this challenge. He was so brave, so confident, such a big kid! I watched my little boy head out there and come back a Spartan! I am one proud Momma!
Soul: Last week, at my class the professor said something that really stuck with me. He said, “Sometimes God calls us to things that are unexpected and even unwanted.” We’d just begun the gospel of Luke and were going through the birth of Jesus. As we read about Mary, he said that she neither expected nor wanted what God asked of her. It occurred to me that sometimes I think that the only things God will call me to are things I’m good at, things I enjoy, and things I’m gifted in. That the trick is to find the special gifts God’s given me, and that’s where I’ll find His call for my life. But the thing God called Mary to- bearing and raising His son, that was not convenient for her. I doubt she would have chosen that calling, I doubt she enjoyed the judgement that followed her through her entire life. And, as a mom, I can’t even imagine the pain and anguish she experienced watching Him die. God’s call on her life was certainly not enjoyable, convenient, or desired. Yet, she heard the call and she obeyed. Maybe I need to do less searching and more listening?
Strength: This morning was rough. I woke up wanting pancakes. I thought through my breakfast options: protein shake, scramble, omelet, fruit and nut parfait… but I really wanted pancakes. So, in an effort to prevent myself from just grabbing eggo waffles, I went ahead and found an almond meal pancake recipe. Every recipe I’ve found so far has been a flop, so I was a little nervous. But I wanted them that bad. These pancakes were delicious!!! They use almond meal, eggs, and applesauce for the base. I topped them with blueberries and honey- it was perfect! So yummy and so easy!
Whisk together 2 eggs. Mix in 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce and ½ Tbsp honey. Finally, stir in ½ tsp baking powder and ¼ cup almond meal. Pour approx. 3 Tbsp for each pancake on griddle (on LOW/MED heat) and let cook for 5 minutes. Carefully flip over and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes.
Week 40, Day 1 (-15 pounds)
Heart: I haven’t had much time for sewing or gift-making lately. Our schedule is crazy right now, and will be for a couple of months. But, I’m finding myself surprisingly at peace with the chaos. I think that being home with my kiddos is one of the biggest factors! I don’t feel like I’m missing out on time with them, so I’m alright. I can get my laundry and housekeeping done during the day and our crazy evenings and weekends are free to be crazy! I hope we don’t have to keep this up long-term, but for now, we’re definitely making it work!
Soul: The Good Friday service at our church this year was awesome! It was so emotional for me, but also extremely profound! I’ve heard the Easter story over and over for years, but this year our Pastor spoke on Barabbas. I know about Barabbas. He’s the murderer the crowds chose to have released instead of Jesus. I feel like the general feel about that situation is that the people were idiots. Had they just made the wise choice, had they not been swayed by the religious elite, had they just chosen to free Jesus, He wouldn’t have had to suffer. But that perspective almost implies that it was all based on chance, and I don’t believe that it was. I believe that God knew exactly what would happen. In fact, our Pastor suggested that more than just knowing, perhaps God wanted it to happen that way.
Maybe God wanted us to see a man who deserved to be crucified, a man who deserved what was coming to him, walk free. Maybe God wanted us to see Jesus literally take the place of a man who was rightfully to be beaten, mocked, and hung on a cross. We don’t see Jesus trying to argue for His own defense. Maybe because He loved Barabbas enough to let him walk away, to literally take his place. Maybe rather than imagine that I was simply some random person on God’s list of “Who I love”, I need to realize that I am a Barabbas. I deserve to pay the penalty for the mistakes that I’ve made. And Jesus steps in, without so much as a word, and they unlock my chains and haul Him off to pay my penalty.
How often do we describe the mercy of Jesus using financial examples? “Imagine you had a great debt to pay and Jesus just showed up and paid it.” That’s how we try to explain the love of our God!? That doesn’t even begin to touch the depth of the sacrifice He made for us! Imagine you’re standing on a stage, convicted of and sentenced for the stupid things you’ve done in your life. Imagine they pull Jesus up on stage next you, a man who’s done nothing but love and heal people. Imagine they walk over, unlock your chains and put them on Him. They strip Him of His clothes, they mock Him, they beat Him… all the things that are supposed to be happening to you, and you just stand there and watch this man take it for you. He doesn’t say stop, He doesn’t ask you to make it right, He just loves you so much He’s taking it all for you. Wouldn’t you want to make it stop?! Wouldn’t you be screaming, chasing after Him, trying to convince them that He doesn’t deserve it?! Wouldn’t you be humiliated in shame and fear as the crowd watched this man pay your penalty?! But He just wants you to let Him take it. He just wants you to live your life. When it was over, and He had paid your debt, wouldn’t you spend the rest of your life telling everyone who would listen?! Wouldn’t that become your life mission?! To make sure that everyone knew exactly what this man did for you, so that you could be free?!
If you have a few minutes, you should check out this video. It’s absolutely incredible!
Strength: Well, I’m down 15 pounds and I feel great! I love this new eating plan! It’s getting easier the longer I do it as I’m getting more familiar with my options for meals and snacks. I even made it through Easter dinner! Holidays are one of the first places I drop a diet because I have this inner voice that begins to panic. “What if I never celebrate another Easter?! Do I really want to spend this one without a dinner roll?” “Do I really want my kids to remember our holidays as yucky because Mom was on another diet?” But, I was surprised to find that I actually quite enjoyed our Easter dinner, I didn’t even mind the lack of a roll on my plate. And, because I brought several of the dishes, my plate was loaded with food! Turkey, roasted veggies, deviled eggs, fruit, raw veggies, etc. No one even noticed that I didn’t take a roll! The kiddos loved the meal, they weren’t even fazed! I even made dessert (a raw earl grey lemon cheesecake) so we could all have dessert together! It’s amazing how silly our fears can be once we face them, but how scary they can be if let them have control.
Week 39, Day 4 (-14 pounds)
Heart: It’s Easter week! We had a service at church on Tuesday during which we did a lectio divina (Divine Reading) of the Easter story. Our Pastor read through the Scripture a total of 8 times, during which we tried to place ourselves in the shoes of various people and perspectives in an attempt to feel what they felt. I think the goal was to experience an emotional connection with the story and it was absolutely unreal! It was an incredible experience!
We’ve got a Good Friday service tomorrow and then an Easter service on Sunday. As we’ve been preparing to celebrate this week: planning the dinner and talking about egg hunts, the image of Easter has been heavy on my heart. I don’t want my kids to think of eggs and the Easter Bunny at Easter. I want them to think of the resurrection of Christ, the most incredible gift they will ever receive. So, I borrowed another idea from my friend over at Bitty Bits Blog and made our Easter egg hunt a reminder of the resurrection story. They will have eggs with candy and such, but mixed in will be eggs containing little items and Scripture that tells the story of Easter. They’ll put up with it for a few years since they’re young, roll their eyes in years to come as they get older, and God-willing, it’ll be stored in their heart as adults.
Soul: In my reading this morning, I was reading about Paul and Silas’ journey to Thessalonica, Berea, and Athens. As I was reading, I came across Acts 17:11 “And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth.” I’ve read this verse many time over the years, but today one sentence really stood out to me. “They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth.” Whoa! In a world that inundates us with so much information, it can be hard to determine what is truth. This was a clear and necessary reminder for me that Scripture is the lens through which I view the world. When I receive new information, I can search the Scriptures to determine its validity. What a wonderful, powerful too we have been given!
Strength: We’re two weeks into this new eating plan and I still love it! For the first week or so, I was trying to find replacement recipes for my favorite foods. Pancakes, brownies, cookies, etc. You get the idea- how can I use alternative flours (coconut, almond, etc.) to make the foods I shouldn’t eat? But, this week I’ve begun to realize that maybe the better approach is to get used to life without those foods. Maybe instead of trying to force them into my life with alternative ingredients, I should look for healthier, whole food options. For instance, if I’m craving something sweet, I could grill a peach and put a tiny bit of honey and cinnamon on top. Super sweet, yummy, and not a “fake” brownie that ultimately leaves me craving a brownie.
It’s not that I’m never going to make sweets again. I love the 4-ingredient fudge I posted about last week and I’ll keep some of it in the freezer as a quick sweet treat. In fact, I’m even going to make a special cheesecake for Easter this weekend. But that’s just it, I’ll try to save those “special” recipes for the occasional holiday or party night! I don’t need to make things confusing with special breads, rolls, and desserts. I need to keep it simple. At least for now.
Week 38, Day 5
Heart: I want to share a quick adaptation of an amazing Coconut Oil Fudge recipe that has been a life-saver with this new eating plan! It takes 4 ingredients, warming in the microwave, and cooling in the fridge! So fast, easy, and unbelievably delicious!
What you need:
½ cup natural peanut butter (we use Adams)
½ cup organic coconut oil
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3-4 Tbsp honey to your liking, we used closer to 3
What to do:
Combine all ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat on half-power for a minute or so, until heated through. Whisk until smooth. Pour into small loaf pan lined with wax paper. Cool in fridge for several hours.
*Note: this fudge should be stored in the fridge or freezer as it loses its consistency or “melts” quickly at room temperature.
Soul: A couple of nights ago, during dinner, Banayner looked up from his meal and asked, “Why doesn’t God stop things like tornadoes, tsunamis, and volcanoes? He’s powerful enough to stop them, so no one gets hurt, why doesn’t He?” Wham! Talk about a big question for a little kid! It was scary, but awesome to talk with him about this… we got to tell them all of the things we know about how God works and how, ultimately, we don’t know why God does the things He does. We talked about the need for things like fires to get rid of old, rotting trees and make room for new growth and new life. We talked about the ‘physics’ (as much as a 6-year-old could handle) behind things like tsunamis. We talked about the importance of taking care of this world and that our choices have consequences. He seemed to really enjoy talking about it! In fact, it sparked other questions over the course of the past couple of days, including “So, I know that the rivers flow into the ocean. But, where do the rivers get their water?” and “How long did it take God to make the world? And how long ago did He do it?” It’s such a joy to see his little brain trying to process the world around him, trying to make sense of reality. It’s even more of a joy that e comes to us when he has questions, that he feels safe and secure enough to ask the hard questions. It gives me hope that as he gets older, he’ll feel comfortable coming to us with big, important questions. What more can a parent ask for?
Strength: Well, I’m over a week into this new way of eating and I still love it! I’m anticipating the challenge that will arise in the next couple of weeks, when I move out of the ‘honeymoon’ phase and my body starts to crave the foods it’s used to having. If I can anticipate it, though, I can get through that phase and hopefully make this my new normal. At least, that’s my goal! We’re going to Olive Garden for a date this weekend… yeah, Olive Garden. Can you imagine eating there without breadsticks and pasta?! Do they even serve anything else? Well, as a matter of fact… I know myself well enough to know that if I don’t walk through the doors with a plan, I’m liable to get suckered into breadsticks and pasta. Thus, I’ve already gotten online, looked at their menu and selected a grain-free entrée that sounds fabulous (chicken piccata with zucchini… yum!). With a salad before, I’ll be perfectly satisfied and feed my body the type of food it needs! Now, I just need to remember the reason I’m choosing not to eat breadsticks. It’s not because they’re inherently bad, it’s not “no” for the sake of no, but rather because I truly want my body to function properly.