impromptu fast

Yes, you read that right.  The girl who once balked at the idea of giving up a couple Dove chocolates about a year ago (right, Emily?!) just gave up lunch today.

On a whim, essentially.

(I think I’m on a roll, folks.  First dessert for Lent and now skipping meals? What has gotten into this girl?!)

A deep, from-almost-out-of-nowhere desire to please God through my eating habits is what.

So, this morning as I sat at 6 a.m. with my coffee and a granola bar while doing my devotion, today’s particular reading focused on distractions.

Distractions, like ‘incessant thoughts of food,‘ for example.

Lysa challenged her readers to ‘fast’ from whatever it is that distracts us from putting our full attention on God, whether it be food, or an addiction or just something that takes up our time and energy.  And she offered that the fast needn’t be all day; even one to two hours would be fine.

The first thought that popped into my head was, ‘I could fast for lunch.’  And then I panicked.  Today, my friends, was no ordinary day.  Today was the day of my first interview to get into the coordinated program at school.  (It went well, by the way.)  That being said, I’d already planned my day down to the minute, and my packed gym bag was by the door, my swimsuit laying out and both my breakfast and lunch were packed and in the fridge.  I knew how today was going to go.

So, the sudden thought of skipping lunch struck fear in my heart and these thoughts and questions ran through my mind, almost instantaneously:

-‘Well, I guess all that time I spent packing my lunch last night was a waste.’

-‘What about that tuna salad I just made–it won’t last for than a day or two.  If I don’t eat it today, when will I eat it?’

-‘Tomorrow is my weigh-in day, skipping a meal would certainly help that…’

-‘It would be nice to NOT have to carry much lunch bag around all day at school.’

-‘How in the world am I going to go seven hours without lunch–without coffee?!?!

So, as you can see, highly virtuous thoughts from me this morning.  Or not.

Despite all those doubts and thoughts I wasn’t proud of, I couldn’t shake the thought that if I DIDN’T honor my first inclination, it would be due to a fear of…well, I don’t even know.

So, long story short–I quickly exchanged my packed lunch for a smaller snack (for approx. 3:30 p.m. after my lab) and beefed up my packed breakfast, then headed off to the gym for swim practice.  I texted and called by two besties (I don’t think I’ve EVER said that in my life) to ask for their prayers during the day.

I didn’t eat anything after my post-swim breakfast, and after my interview ended at 10:30, all I wanted was a coffee.  Yes, I was a bit tired, but it was more of a ‘comfort’ than anything.  I wanted to relax for a few moments, enjoying warm sips of a yummy beverage, and blow off some steam after the interview.  But, I pushed through and headed to the library for studying.  I did, at some point around lunchtime, text my friends whining about an impending caffeine headache (yes, I admit, I did), but they motivated me to keep going.

Miraculously, I made it until 1:40 when sweet distraction came: biochem lab.  I was much less hungry than I thought I’d be; in fact, I really wasn’t hungry at all!  And I DEFINITELY got more studying done than I would have had I fit my lunch in there, too.  (Not that I’ll be giving up lunch regularly, but it’s food for thought.  Ha!  I’m so punny.)

Anyway, by the time I was driving home at 3:30 I didn’t even want the snack I’d packed.  It just felt wrong to wolf food down in the car after a fast.  Once home and settled, I had a sensible snack of applesauce, crackers, ham and cheese–and said a prayer of thanks beforehand.  Every time I had a thought of food, I asked God to push it from my mind, and he did.  My prayer today–all morning and all afternoon–was that he would sustain me.  And he did.

on what I’m giving up for Lent


Yes, Lent.  Never observed it before in my life.  (And, actually, I’ve always kind-of regarded it with a bit of a ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude as if to say, “Don’t you know giving up soda doesn’t get you anywhere with God?” Confession #1 of the evening right there.)

Anyway.  I am, in fact, giving something up for Lent this year.


Six days a week.

I realize that giving up sweets/dessert entirely would have been so much more, well, climactic, but it would also be setting myself up for almost immediate failure.  Setting realistic goals is a no-brainer, and this three-times-a-day sweets girl going cold-turkey would have disastrous ramifications.  And I also realize that for some of you out there, giving up dessert 6 days a week is nothing.  (My husband included.)

But let’s get to the heart of the matter.  (Because that’s really where it all starts.)

I’m halfway through week three in my Made to Crave devotional, and have been sensing that I need a change.  I’ve been so dedicated to waking up early, putting my devotional time first, yet the scale isn’t going in the right direction.  I realize it isn’t about the number on the scale, but it is an outward reflection of my inner obedience to God.  High scale numbers = mindless munching and emotional eating I’m not supposed to be doing.

So, when I realized that Ash Wednesday was a matter of days away, I figured sacrificing something I hold near and dear (and have always been so hesitant to give up, right Emily!?) like dessert was just what this girl’s heart needed.  I’ve been indulging in too many sweets all over the place, and it needed to stop.  However, the thought of giving up EVERYT SWEET THING FOR SIX WEEKS terrified me.  Like, seriously.  It wasn’t until my friend, Regina, and I discussed over coffee (and, OK, some treats) and came up with our plan:

-Limit dessert (TRUE dessert) to ONCE a week–this turns dessert into what it should be: an occasional indulgence, not an every-night-because-I-want-it thing.  And it will give me something to look forward to each week, perhaps even a dessert date with Andrew

-Bring back the measuring cups! Regina said her mom always told her to introduce something new while giving something up during Lent.  We’re getting back to portion control as a way to be obedient to God in our eating habits.  It’s hard to mindlessly munch if you have to measure it all out ahead of time.

-Stick to structured meals and snacks.  This isn’t exactly something we put on paper, but it’s a good rule of thumb: If it isn’t part of a regular meal or pre-planned snack, avoid it.  It’s fine (good, even) to snack on an apple and cheese stick on the way home from school, but really, Holly, do you need the extra Wheat Thins while prepping dinner, too?

So, that’s the plan.  Six weeks of putting God first over our cravings for sweets, comfort foods and boredom eating.

What do I hope to gain?

-A deeper relationship with my God, who I’ve been seeking half-heartedly for awhile now.  Despite my diligence with Made to Crave, I feel like it’s going in one ear and out the other.  These ‘checks’ are a way for me to demonstrate his power in my life.

-Control over my diet.  I talk a big talk about healthy eating, but I have some deep-seated eating issues I need to deal with before it’s ever going to be under control.  If I want to one day help others be healthy, I need to be healthy, too–and that includes my head and heart.

-Perhaps I’d like to LOSE a few things, too….  I’d be lying if I didn’t hope this six-week sacrifice also helped me lighten up a little.  Again, the number on the scale is a reflection of how much I’ve let God fill me and not food; shedding a few pounds is an indication that I’ve sacrificed.  KEEPING THEM OFF IS AN INDICATION I’VE CHANGED.

I appreciate your prayers (and I’m sure Regina would, too!) as I embark on a journey that could truly be difficult for me.  I’ll keep you posted every once in awhile 🙂


family visit

Mom and Josh are here visiting!

(So happy to have them here, but I swear!  I can’t catch a break this summer…it’s just one crazy day after another!  When am I supposed to have that ‘down time’ I’ve been waiting for?)

We picked them up at the airport at 9:30 and went straight to church, where we heard Jim and Jill Kelly talk about her new book and their struggles and faith–very neat to see them and loved hearing their testimonies.

Then we headed to Elmwood to get some Saigon Cafe Thai for lunch before walking around and popping into different shops.  Scored a major find at reimagine, a trendy consignment home-goods place–some small retro Pyrex/Corning saucers that match the teal-rimmed ones I found at Goodwill in Ohio!  We also started eyeing this amazing black-and-wood two-tone long table for our new house…

We (well, more like Josh and I) wanted some ice cream and after seeing the wait at Watson’s, Andrew announced that he was taking us to Condrell’s, a local long-established ice cream and chocolate shop.  We enjoyed sundaes and sodas before heading home to rescue the puppy (who’d been cooped up for 7 hours–thank you to Mom and Dad Layer for giving him a comfort break once during that time!) and start marinating dinner.

After a walk and a quick female-only trip to Target, we all settled in to watch This Means War (cute, but super predictable and a bit more risque than I anticipated), before turning in after midnight…

Andrew’s already off to work, I’ve been up since 5:30 working on an article and doing my morning thing, and our two visitors are still asleep!  Although Josh did open his eyes and speak coherently for a bit while I was up putzing in the kitchen.

We’re off to the gym later this morning, then meeting Andrew for lunch at the Bar Bill for wings, then seeing our new house (!), followed by an afternoon in East Aurora.  Sigh…I’m happy.