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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Starving Girl - My 30 day experience with the miracle of intermittent fasting

On Sunday January 3, 2016 I did something I hadn’t done in nearly 20 years.  

I fasted.  

This may seem like a small task but for me it felt almost impossible.  In my church I’d been encouraged to fast once a month which involved skipping two meals.  I started my fast after dinner on Saturday night and I was to skip breakfast and lunch and could resume eating dinner on Sunday night.  Easy, right, but for most my life I’d had a horrible relationship with food.  I resented food and blamed it for many of my problems.  Since having my 6th baby, I was almost 80 pounds overweight, but that didn’t matter.  Food was my reward.  Food was my master and there was nothing I could do about it.  It controlled me on so many levels; emotionally, physically and without my ability to participate in a monthly religious fast, it controlled me spiritually.

Religious fasting is full of purpose and prayer.  My sister and brother were at perilous times in their lives and their health was of the upmost concern, so while fasting that Sunday, when I hungered, I would turn to God in prayer and ask for His blessing on them.  An amazing thing happened to me.  I forgot about my problems and focused on others.  I felt God’s love flow through me and decided having His influence in my life in such abundance was something I wanted again. So, I fasted the next day, skipping breakfast and lunch, only to have dinner that night.  I did this day after day, seeking out God’s love and purpose.  I had plenty of people in my life to fast for including my children and husband, my parents and siblings, even my enemies, so I did this again and again and again until I'd fasted for 30 days.

About 10 days into my fast, I was reading a PEOPLE magazine article called “Half Their Size” about a girl who'd lost over 100 pounds.  She contributed her success to healthy eating, exercise and intermittent fasting.  What was that?  I got busy and forgot all about it, but on day 14 of my fast, I decided to look up what intermittent fasting was.  I was blown away.  Cells healed, hormones balanced, brain creativity was higher and on and on when I read the best part; rapid weight-loss.  The research suggested a 16 hour fast with an 8 hour eating window (click here and here).  To my surprise, this was how I'd been fasting.  The only thing I didn't find from my study of intermittent fasting was how to incorporate prayer.  

It seemed the spiritual part of the fast was ignored while the practice of fasting was purely for the physical benefits.  

Funny thing was I'd continued fasting because the spiritual rewards were much more significant.  I was changing my life, healing my emotional wounds and felt inspired to be the person I knew God wanted me to be.

For 30 days, I wrote about my experience and now am currently seeking a publisher for my memoir: 

Starving Girl - My 30 day experience with the miracle of intermittent fasting.

I had gone through many titles while working on my memoir of fasting.  Because my ultimate journey was through Jesus Christ, I wanted a title that would honor Him. Christ-centered Eating quickly became the working title.  Through His example of fasting, my own mediocre attempt to fast was one of the greatest paths to finding true love for self, God and humanity. I felt impressed to fast on Sunday January 3, 2016, thinking it would be a one day thing. When I felt God wanted me to fast for 30 more days (going all day without food, only eating dinner at night), it seemed an impossible task.  He told me if I prayed every day I would be successful.  Day by day, I checked in with my self.  Was I really doing this?  Why was I putting myself through such torture? On day twelve I became so hungry I questioned what God was asking of me.  Hungry waves of anger hit like an emotional tsunami.  Oh, I was beyond hungry and without food to work as my emotional crutch, I had to feel everything.  Like dye to a blood test, anger crept into my body and colored me red.  I had spent years of life full of food; eating, consuming, rewarding, pitying, indulging, resenting and failing all through food.  I was fed up and considered titling the book Stuffed.  How many years had I been stuffed but unfulfilled?  On day 15 of my fast, the anger turned to determination and forced me to face my demons.  Like a raging boxer at the end of his match, I emotionally collapsed.  I had another round to fight and needed to mature.  Food couldn’t be my crutch anymore.  It was difficult but again, I knew fasting was what God wanted me to do so I forced myself open.  No longer could food be a shield to hide behind.   The hunger kept me present and motivated.  I was starving for more than food.  I was starving to love myself.  Boom, my new title became Starving.  Days and days of hunger; unfiltered and exposed hunger pulsed through me and I discovered food could never fill me up.  My strength had to come purely from God.  No more excuses, no more “I can’t do this,” or “I’ll start tomorrow.”  I had to live the laws of the universe that I knew to be true and when the God of the universe told me to pray everyday to Him, I prayed.  When He told me to fast, I fasted.  I’d been so stubborn; certain God would understand my inability to keep up with all He demanded of me.  I had been blessed with more than I ever noticed.  My life was stuffed with the richness of happiness and meaningful relationships, but with all the dysfunction of food addiction I couldn’t see it.  While fasting, my beating heart and growling stomach reminded me I was alive through Christ.  God had bestowed upon me gifts and without a daily relationship with Him, I couldn’t tap into them.  For 30 days the spiritual channel between heaven and earth opened in a way I never knew possible.  God knew I would find myself and He knew without food I would be desperate enough to turn to Him every single moment.  

Yes, God knew I would suffer and cry and fall apart.  He knew I would doubt and kick and scream, but He also knew I would search and hope and love.  I would feel His love.  He knew as He picked me up and put me back together, I would see Him and through Him find my greatest self.  

I’m still practicing intermittent fasting, but no longer am I starving for food, I’m starving to fulfill His purpose.  A starving girl in a house full of food is a strange phenomenon but I’m hoping fasting takes hold and changes the life of another starving person.  If you’re stuffed but unfulfilled I promise, you can be full without food.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

So, you want to raise a boy. . . Christmas Edition!

We’ve had a flurry of activities this Christmas.  Cousins are in town and activities are morning, noon and night. 

I was fine when we missed the bracelet-making activity.  I was told only girls allowed, the older girls - so my five sons and my one little girl stayed home and made the best out of the afternoon trying to clean the house up a bit after Christmas morning from five days ago. 

I was fine when instead of making gingerbread houses with the frosting and graham crackers, the red and green m&m’s color-coordinated to make a spectacular roof, the front windows made out of half-ed Oreo's and the frosting flowers built up along the side of the house covered in sprinkles all my boys wanted to play basketball outside in the frigid 32-degree night air. 

I was fine when none of my boys wanted to help wrap Christmas presents (a task I loved helping my mom with every year when I was a kid), even when I threatened there might not be presents if I didn’t get any help.   It was Addison, my neighbor’s 11-year old daughter who stopped by to pick up her brother playing with my boys who asked:
“Do you need some help?” I stared at her, blind-sided and juggled a baby on my hip; a baby boy mind you.
“Really, Addi,” I said amazed a little human being could stop running, jumping and wrestling long enough to notice me.
“Sure, I’d love to help,” she said so I took her into my room/santa cave and with a bit instruction on what gift was for whom she started wrapping presents.  She didn’t stop once, she didn’t complain, she didn’t get distracted.  She just wrapped presents.  Actually, she seemed to be having a pretty good time with the different patterns of paper, the bows and ribbon, the gift tags and boxes.  An hour later, she walked out of the room and thanked me “because it was so much fun.”

Hmmm!  What was I missing here?

It wasn’t even the family talent show where the girls shouted out a made-up Christmas cheers “Hooray S-A-N-T-A” or dressed up in cute little Christmas dresses and twirled and spinned.  When my mom gathered all the girls to sing a Christmas carol it was darling.  My five-year old daughter Eden loved it and looked so cute.

And when the girls gathered to do nails and make up, it was great the boys were indisposed – my five boys and 5 nephews all, all jumping on the trampoline (maximum limit 200 pounds) having a slam-dunk contest in the darkness of night.

So, what was it?  What finally got me thinking about boys and why/how/when/ did I have so many boys!




So, at Krazy Air I watched as my niece Natalie patiently taught Eden how do a front flip.  She methodically taught her a somersault, then helped her jump into it a bit more.  It was so sweet while my boys where caught up in the most intense game of dodge ball I’d ever seen.  
I can’t believe someone didn’t lose and eye or an arm or a head.  I think someone might have lost an ego. 

It became so clear this Christmas.  I have a lot of boys.  Like, so many.
And so much of my life is crowd-control, referee-ing and cafeteria-style meals.
What is going on?

Why I had to repaint the boy’s bathroom . . . again, why the lock to my bedroom door is broken . . . again, why I refuse to buy any more socks . . . like ever!!!  I do have a few friends who have only boys or all boys and one girl. When we see each other we give each other this sort of pity-sighed “hang in there” look; 

our straggly hair hanging in a sort of half-pony tail/half-noose.
Most mothers of five or more boys have a look of bravery and fear, 
but they really fell like this.  

It’s a funny game face; screaming for mercy yet shouting “WAR!”

What I really want to be doing is this.
I shout "I'm the princess!"

Why did God give me five boys? 
I didn’t realize I was in a sort of reality check funk.  I just knew I was struggling a bit to fit into the world of girl’s night out, matching outfits and trips to the mall that did not involve the entire time at the Nike store.

It wasn’t until we were at lunch and my boys were arguing over a tray of submarine sandwiches.  The just-made sandwiches were wrapped in white deli-paper, making it impossible to tell which was the ham and cheese and which was the turkey.  Which had lettuce and which did not.  I was fed up!  Seriously boys!  More elbow-shoving, more name-calling, more indignant eye-rolling and I couldn’t take it anymore!!!  I could lose it.  I could seriously go the mental breakdown route, but I was too tired.  I had no more gut-ruling lecture, no serious consequence or gospel-inspired parable in me.

I surrendered. 

I surrendered at the deli!

Instead of calling out my boys ruthless behavior, instead of labeling this son that and the other son this, I patiently (while juggling a darling drooling baby under my arm) helped distribute what sandwich went where and suddenly, God spoke to me.

He said to me “I know you can do this.” 
He seemed to say “I trust you.”
I felt a wave of strength fill me with an interesting confidence.  I sat down and enjoyed lunch and on the drive home, while the boys talked about how much fun they’d had and what they wanted to do when they got home I felt God say in my heart “I wouldn’t give this opportunity to just anybody.”
I felt warm and good and happy.

I spent the rest of my day as an observer.  Who are these boys?  These beautiful boys some day to be men!  
I have one son who is so kind and attentive to me.  Another son acts just like Jim Carrey.  He’s funny and the life of the party (also a total flirt).  I have a sensitive son who needs a lot of reassurance but he’s finding his way.  I have a son who’s an all-American kid, like he just stepped out of a Norman Rockwell painting.  He loves everything and every one.  My baby boy, who up until now would go to just about anybody only wants mommy.  He bounces in his stand-up chair and watches me pick up toys and start on dishes.  He’s not happy until he’s back in my arms.

My boys are going to be men someday - fathers and husbands. 

I dare you, look at a man.  Would you want to raise him?  It would be like swallowing an acorn seed from a giant oak tree and wondering what it will do to your heart. Crazy!  Men are amazing necessary incredible people, but how does that happen.  It’s like holding an ice cube only to watch it grow into a giant glacier that changes the coarse of the ocean current. Raising a boy to a man has no pattern yet has every pattern.  It has to have all the necessary ingredients or it will spontaneously combust.  Love, nurturing, discipline, consequences and dinner on the table every night at 6:00.  Seriously, it’s torture!  Seriously, it’s the most meaningful purpose of my life!

I might miss out on the chic flicks, for now.  Eden patiently waits for me to make cupcakes with her.  I haven’t curled my hair since high school.  All the boy toys I’ve given away, I’m on the look out for again.  The fire trucks, Bob the Builder and Thomas the Train are back, Eden’s barbies are in her room and Canyon’s toys have taken over the living room. I have boys on every range of the scale -teenager to infant!  

I want to be understood but I’m also ok being different.  I know where I stand, not longer in platform heels but old tennis shoes because only my boys get the new shoes around here.  I know where I’m firmly planted, until one of the boys rummages into me and knocks me over.  

So, this new year I’m taking my boys under my wing and seeing them for the privilege they are.  I’m standing out as a mom who doesn’t know anything but will take on everything for them.  I stand hand in hand with my husband who takes this battle as seriously as I do.  Another thing the spirit has whispered in my heart is they will all turn out fine.  They have a daddy and a Heavenly Father  and a mother who loves them fiercely! 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Patterns, Stencils and Chevron - Oh my!

As an artist I find I only need a paint brush.  It doesn't matter if I'm painting on a canvas or a dresser. I'm having so much fun!

Here are a few of my favorites.

Patterned book shelf
Chevron TV cabinet
Stenciled desk
Pretty in pink

Scrap wood turned chevron art with metal swordfish

Mid century credenza gone wild
Gorgeous antique chest of drawers

Two-toned mid century cabinet
Sage high boy

Gray ombre with arrows

I've also strengthened my arms because I'm sanding and stripping plenty of dresser tops.

Behold, the butcher block top!




I loved working on this vintage bar.
A two-toned armoire.

And my favorite . . . (drum roll please)!
This is a vintage French radio cabinet.

It was huge!

I took out the speakers and added a little barnwood.
The finished piece literally took my breath away.
The metal and glass door handles I purchased at Hobby Lobby.

This starving artist is happy!

Linking up to:

Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Pasture Vintage Event - December 5th 2015- Mesa AZ

Do you love vintage, shabby chic, repurposed, industrial, antique home furnishings? 

Are you looking for that perfect vintage dresser or shabby chic frame? 

Chalk boards, handmade stars made out of vintage rulers, dream catchers, a one-of-a-kind book shelf, old doors and windows, metal lockers and more. 

So much cute stuff going on here it's ridiculous.  Photos shown are products we've sold in the past, but plenty of new stuff will be available for your pleasure. 

Over 50 vendors, food trucks, music and festive atmosphere.  Think of it as art festival meets vintage finds.  Plus, for you longtime My Dear Trash followers Kelly will be there.  Come say hello.

Come see us at The PASTURE; over an acre of beautiful urban barnyard turned vintage market boutique fair.  There's even a cow, really!!!

When:  December 5th - One Day ONLY
Where:  2156 E. Hackamore St. Mesa AZ 85213
Time:  8:00 to 2:00
Why:  Because it's awesome!

Many of the photos shown are examples of PREVIOUS work.  Not all items pictured will be available for sale, but many "like" pieces will be available.  In other words, there will be tons of new stuff we haven’t had time to photograph yet because we’re working to hard creating it for you!
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