Thursday, July 17, 2008


cravings come in all shapes and sizes. they are also very relative to your circumstances as well as your mental and physical state of being. like sometimes i crave sugar, sometimes starch, sometimes a nap, other times to sit on the couch & do nothing, sometimes water, other times attention... you get the point.

well, i'm in the middle of a lovely thing called the "Daniel Fast" and if i was really savvy, i'd put the link on here, but look it up - it's legit. it's not a "fast" in the way people tend to think of fasting (no food, just water, etc.), but instead it's a fast from things that our body doesn't deem necessary, but yet we consume them because we as Americans are just that - consumers. now i'm 2 weeks into a 3 week fast and am eating only fruit, vegetables & whole grains and man am i ever learning things.

the biggest things i've learned are 1) you get headaches when you deny yourself sugar 2) you are cranky when you detox from sugar & starch, 3) you are WAY more in touch with yourself and your body when you are not always grabbing food to go, or shoving energy down your throat. 4) your body is a whole being that we often times tend to compartmentalize.

allow me to explain that last sentence. in the last 2 weeks, i have learned more about myself than i ever wanted to know. when you are only eating fruits, vegetables & whole grains (and that is not your normal diet), you go bananas and you eat lot of bananas. but it has made me so much more self-aware because i'm conscious of what i'm putting in my body, but my body is physically reacting to the withdrawals of certain foods and i'm having to constantly pay attention to what my body is telling me. for instance, when i do an hour long spin class with no sugar or white flour or meat in my body, i feel like i'm going to pass out about 25 minutes in, so i've learned to compensate for that by eating more for breakfast on those days. or everyday around 3pm, when i usually pump a little sugar into the bloodstream to keep me alive & kickin, i get a headache & get super cranky, so i'm learning how to curb that with sweet fruit for a snack, or with a desperate prayer. my spiritual, psychological and physical being have never been more interconnected than they have the last 2 weeks and i think there is great value in learning how to live as a more whole human being.

i'm grateful for this "fast" because it's teaching me that it's really not about me. it's teaching me that we are a selfish people who do what we want and eat what we want when we want it, and this is teaching me to deprive myself of things that i may be more self-aware and more aware of and dependent on Christ to meet my needs throughout the day. i'm also grateful because it is instilling healthier eating habits into my life that i hope to infuse more regularly following this time period...

...but today, for the first time in 2 weeks, i craved a glass of red wine in a way that i haven't craved anything in a long, long time. and today, i had to deny myself that craving and live with the tension until the craving subsided and that was worth way more than the guilt of satisfying the craving would have been. today's craving built character - self control, dependence, sacrifice and discipline. i'm grateful for cravings and i'm grateful for a God who sustains.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


in honor of my twenty-fifth post, i decide to post twenty five things that define me for whatever reason...

1) my niece because she is a part of me in a way i've never experienced before and because she teaches me how to love unconditionally.
2) lab puppies because their ears and paws are too big for their little bodies and they make me melt

3) texas because it's "home"
4) california because it's where i'm putting down my "first roots"
5) the color yellow, i have no good reason why, it just makes me happy
6) grace because too often i fall and need His grace to right me again
7) my parents because they raised me to love Jesus and to respect my elders, yet gave me the freedom to become who I need to be - they are generosity and faithfulness
8) babies because of their sheer innocence and peace, they are irresistible to me
9) volleyball because hours on the court on multiple teams through my adolescence shaped much of who i am and gave me the love of the game
10) writing and photography because they are my creative outlets
11) my grandpa because the way he loves Jesus is unmatched by anyone i know this side of heaven, and he's really funny
12) the beach because it reminds me of how big God is and calms my soul
13) butter popcorn jelly bellies because they're the underdog
14) traveling because it allows me to go outside of myself and experience life
15) ministering to teenagers because it's clearly God-given :) and it makes my soul come alive
16) my younger brother because he has the greatest sense of humor and the most tender heart - he is pure joy and humility
17) my older brother because he speaks truth and he loves people well, he is authenticity and consistency
18) san diego because it is a place of childhood happiness for me and is still my favorite yearly retreat
19) cheese because my dad is a dairy farmer and it's just yummy goodness

20) young life because working for them for 5 years has changed me in ways i could never have imagined and has given me a passion that feeds my soul
21) my heritage because it helps me understand me, it gives me pride and purpose to know that my grandparents immigrated to give us a better life
22) my dad's mom because she is wisdom and strength in the midst of physical ailments and her fair share of difficulty in life
23) my running shoes because they signify that my body is healthy enough to exercise and they are a symbol of my physical outlet
24) my friends because they accept me and love me - the good and the bad, and they give me the opportunity to truly live in community and learn what it means to love wholly and unselfishly. i would not be where i am without the durable, consistent friends i have in my life and i'm grateful

25) Jesus defines me like nothing else ever could because without Him, my soul is empty, my life is incomplete. He is everything. He is the reason I choose to love others, He is why I am in seminary and why I want to be in ministry the rest of my life, He is ridiculously forgiving, He loves everything about me, which I cannot fathom. He never fails.

Friday, July 11, 2008

.the flag still stands for freedom.

...and they can't take that away. famous words from the old lee greenwood song rang true this fourth of july in plainview, texas.

two of my favorite people - one eighty years old and one three years old - both proudly waved the flag while the older taught the younger how to sing God Bless America.

a weekend surrounded by family reminded me of what's important in life - loving God and loving people. it also reminded me that we are a blessed people whose freedom has come at a price. people sacrifice their lives so that we can get groceries without fear of being caught in a cross fire, and we can get on our public transportation without a bomb threat, and we can speak freely of our faith in Jesus without being put to death or scrutinized, and we can fall peacefully asleep at 10pm and wake up at 7am without fearing for our lives during those hours.

on the 8th of july, i crossed the border from el paso into mexico with my dad for the afternoon and was immediately reminded of how grateful I am that our country is clean and safe, as mexico is in the midst of a daunting drug battle. we are so privileged. i am proud to be an American and i salute those who have served and are serving to ensure our freedom. The challenge now is to go to those places where people do not have freedom and peace and to impart what we know to be true of a life with Jesus, so that they too may have the opportunity to live with blessed assurance.