Saturday, October 26, 2013

Seven: Food - Day 18

Welp, we're almost there - 20 days will be here in 48 hours. Before you get excited and think that we did it, I have (yet again) to confess. There were a few days last week - say maybe days 15-16 that I didn't give a rip about the fast we were doing. You may ask me to define "I didn't give a rip," okay - 2 sugar cookies with buttercream frosting (breaking more than one rule, maybe 3), a piece of apple raspberry pie (also multiple rule-breakers), pizza and tortilla chips - all in 2 days. Wow. I mean if you're gonna cheat, go all in, right? That's my philosophy - make it good. And boy I did.

Of course that night, Jarred and I are sitting on the couch talking about our day and he asks, "How you doing with Seven this week?" Why? Why when there's something to confess does someone always ask the hard question?!?!?! Ugh… The ugly truth came spilling out. I told him I'd stopped caring. He asked me if I'd be willing to jump back on the bandwagon for the last few days and pony up. Maybe? was my reply. People, something is wrong with me! I've lost all self-control. So I thought about it and saw how much he didn't want to do it alone and I agreed.

So until Monday, we are back in the saddle - making good choices and doing our dang best to stick with the program. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday - it's birthday celebration time and I don't give a rip - with GREAT reason. No rules on birthdays people.

We will do our best to be really spiritual on Monday and give you some great grand finale to what we've learned this month. Wish us luck :)

A little glimpse of something I've been really convicted about this month is inviting Jesus into my challenges. I have found over and over again this month that I forget to ask for help. I think I can do it on my own so I try and I try and I try and I fail, every stinkin' time. I still haven't quite mastered the art of stopping before I start my day and asking Jesus to give me the strength to fast that day, the strength to do what's best that day, the discipline to say no that day. Maybe I've got 2 days left to practice… sweet Jesus, give me grace.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Seven: Food - Day 10

Here I am again to tell you that we're failing at Food Month ;)

This month is really hard (even after we fell off the bandwagon and changed it up) - it's really, really hard. It's been amazing to me how much our society and our friend groups revolve around food and drinks. I mean, I guess that's been true for hundreds of years in many cultures - food and gathering around the table are a defining piece of the culture. When you deny yourself seven categories of food, you learn much about your dependence on those things. It's so good and so bad all in the same breath.

You know what I want? Lemonade... and wine... and some cookie dough... and a loaf of sourdough bread. The sad part is I can't stop thinking about it. The phrase, "You don't know what you've got 'till it's gone" has been ringing through my head the last 10 days.

But our bodies are truly amazing creations. They are built to survive, built to find an alternative, built to work together with all their oodles of parts and figure out what to tell you to substitute when you can't have lemonade or bread or wine. It's unreal how lemonade has turned into afternoon cantaloupe snacking and cookie dough has found it's supplement in energy balls made of peanut butter, oats, coconut and honey. And wine? Well, let's get real - there's really no substitute for a good glass of wine... It's been awesome to see my body "figure it out" and give my brain the signal to tell me what to substitute.
Some of our not-so-finest moments this month you'll catch us arguing over whether certain cereal has too much sweetness in it to be qualified as consuming sugar or whether or not it's okay to eat bread with mostly wheat flour. But some of our finer moments have been the look across the table when all we want is a bite of homemade pie and we tell each other without words that it's worth it.

My evil temptress college gals tried to convince me to sneak a glass of wine with them after Jarred went to bed... it's those moments where I say "no" and then I feel like I'd pay them $100 to open the wine and pour it in my mouth like I've won the battle. :) But seriously, it's been cool to do this for something bigger than ourselves - to be an example to college students, medical professionals, our friends and family of people who are willing to sacrifice so that we might learn something. We want this to somehow bring us closer to the God who created food as nourishment... and not to be an idol. And somehow I think that's working.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Seven: Food Day 3 (Spoiler Alert: We Fell Off the Bandwagon)

I'm sitting at the table eating some whole wheat pasta with pesto and chicken for lunch. People, we couldn't do it. For a variety of reasons and the season we're in, we just couldn't do a small amount of foods. Our excuses are many and I'll spare them, but the hardest thing is Jarred's 13 hour work days and me starting a new job in 3 days and being gone for that next week. The transition and long days are hard when your options are limited - as is travel.

We didn't fail, we modified. I like to think of it as a Day 2 restart, that works right? :) Instead of only eating seven things, we decided to give up seven things. I know it's no NEAR the sacrifice that Jen made, but we've decided we're not quite up to par with the Hatmaker crew yet. Baby steps. But the things we decided to quit are still a sacrifice.

So here's our confession: we are at this point in time incapable of eating only seven foods for 3 weeks. But here's what you can keep us accountable to giving up...

1) coffee
2) sweets/sugar
3) alcohol
4) white flour (or anything containing it)
5) chips
6) full-fat dairy (we can only eat low fat or fat-free)
7) hummus (SADDDDDD)

We recognize that some of you may not eat these things regularly and BRAVO for you. None of these are bad things to sacrifice, but these are things that we regularly sometimes consume and they're hard things for us to give up.

A few examples of the torture the last few days: at lunch with some friends at a Mexican restaurant - they bring out chips and salsa - BUMMER, a friend has a bowl of Halloween candy and I naturally pull out a mini Hershey's bar and then put it back - BUMMER, we are celebrating some friends' birthdays tonight and I've been nominated to go pick up apple and boysenberry pie (apple pie is my love language) - HUGE BUMMER! See, not as easy as it sounds. I also have a husband suffering from caffeine withdrawal headaches. Now that's a bummer - for both of us.

What are we learning? Nothing yet, just that deprivation makes us both more crabby. We'll keep you posted as the weeks go on. Do we feel like we failed? No, we just feel like this time around, that wasn't the best solution and we're good with that and a teensy bit happier. Thanks for joining us on the journey. If you see us right now, you may encounter some crazies - sorry bout it.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Seven: Food - Day 1

People, we're doing this. This month is scary. Media month seems daunting, but when you mess with my food choices - oh watch the heck out. It's day one at 6:30pm and I am hangry (hungry + angry = hangry). For serious though, this one will mess with me to the core, I can already tell.

I got this text from the hubs at 3pm: "I just ate my last meal I brought to work and I'm still so hungry." On a global scale, we are clearly overfed because with what we've eaten today, any kid in Haiti or Africa would be stuffed to the brim and praising Jesus for so much food... and we're both hungry and can't stop talking/thinking about it. Wow. Reality check #1.

Jen picked seven foods and ate them for the entire month (minus the tortillas she categorized as bread, don't blame her one bit). We are trying 10 foods because 7 seemed mentally insane to us, but trust me - it's very different from what we normally do (tortilla chips, ice cream, wine, cookie dough, etc). All I can say is the amount of chicken, beans avocados and sweet potatoes we're about to consume is intense. Our bodies will be oh-so-clean by October 30 - just in time to ruin all we worked for by celebrating the heck out of my birthday :)

Here's been my epiphany with food month while preparing for it: we have friends that live in other countries, lots of them. They eat differently than us, particularly our friends who live in Haiti. Sweet Kelsea was here visiting us 2 weeks ago and she and I were sitting at the kitchen table over breakfast talking about Seven, about the monthly sacrifices and we got stuck on food. We got stuck because Kelsea started thinking about she and her husband's life in Haiti and told me that she thinks they really truly eat no more than seven foods in their house, give or take a few. She has no running water right now, no electricity and the outdoor market is a 30 minute walk down the hill. Kelsea is American - she's lived in Colorado and California and since her move to Haiti, she's literally paired down her eating to about seven things. Things that can be purchased at a low price and cooked on the stove. That and fruit are really their only options. Holy smokes... But you know what? She may have never put that together had I not mentioned it - she's content, she's satisfied and she's the healthiest I've ever seen her, minus a recent bout with dengue fever.

This was so convicting for me. What makes me think that I can't live on seven(ish) foods for one month if Kelsea, who grew up just as privileged as I did can live on seven foods everyday of her life. Not to mention the kids who live down the street from her who eat three - porridge, beans and rice. And they're all alive, happy and completely satisfied. This want versus need thing is really ripping me apart these days. God is stripping us down to the basics of humanity and we've already learned that we don't need media and we only need a very minimal amount of food. But sweet Jesus, I'd give my right pinky toe for a Chipotle burrito right now. Wish us luck!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Seven: Media Day 28 - We Did It!

Someone asked me recently, “What is God teaching you right now?” My almost-immediate response surprised me as I usually think through answers to those types of questions – maybe wanting to sound pious or mature. My answer exited my mouth before I even had time to think about it: “God has been working on teaching me what is important – loving Him and loving people and not worrying so much about my to-do list.”

I tell you this because I think that media month had EVERYTHING to do with this. Headed into media month, I was coming off some of the worst weeks of my life with intense stroke-like atypical migraines… every 4 days. During the “down days” we’ll call them, I had much time to spend with God. He showed up and reminded me of words that I needed to turn into action – like “be” and “abide,” like “grace” and “rest.” As much as my type A personality pushes against that, it was exactly the season I needed. Enter the inspiration to FINALLY read and do “Seven.” I knew this was what my life needed in this season.

During my “down days” I spent much time on Facebook and allowing movie stars to entertain me while I laid on the couch recovering, most faithful golden retriever by my side. When Jarred and I had to choose which month of “Seven” to begin with, media month was a no brainer for the girl who was so over screen time.

So it began… 28 days ago. It’s been a journey – one of peace, quiet, reconnecting, being, abiding, relating and praying. In so many ways, it’s changed us. We may be more present, more likely to pick up the phone, more apt to want to hang out, more excited about going for walks and more in touch. A $12 book can’t buy you that, but a sacrificial experience in your faith journey can do that. We are so grateful – so much so that we want the remnants media month to be ingrained into the fabric of our home.

We have decided that our family will celebrate Sabbath once a week – probably on Mondays – our Sabbath will be media-free. So no media Mondays will be happening in our house. We will laugh, we will talk, we will cry if we need to, we will be together. One night a week will also be media-free. We don’t like the habit of coming home from work just to open computers and not be present. While we learned that sometimes we need to decompress by reading blogs, news, etc., it does not need to happen every night. So one night a week will be set aside for quiet, for connecting, for family. We want this to be a pattern in our house so that when kids come they know that’s just what “we do” and we want them to value it as well.

Jen says this: “Perhaps this is why Scripture calls us to the practice of fasting – from food, from greed, from selfishness, from luxuries. It isn’t just the experience; it’s the discipline. It changes us. Fasting helps us develop mastery over the competing voices in our heads that urge us toward more, toward indulgence, toward emotional volatility.” - pg. 219

Media month did just that for us –it taught us discipline and it has changed us. We recognized that being unplugged warred against the competing voices in our heads saying, “Go read this blog. You HAVE to see what so and so posted on Instagram today. You have 17 Facebook notifications and 30 emails – they must be attended to immediately, especially the ones about Farmville and Male Enhancement ;).” But seriously, it’s so good for your soul, your marriage, your friendships and your busy mind to shut down and just “be.” God asks that of us a few times and the more you practice it, the easier it gets. Discipline changes us.

We love “Seven” – we want more. We are coming to believe that sacrificial living for the purpose of teaching ourselves what we don’t need and learning to depend on Jesus is important. Not only that; it’s scriptural and it’s transforming. We are stoked for month two, which will be… FOOD MONTH! More details to come with a start date of October 9. Thanks for joining us on the journey.