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Saturday, April 27, 2019

My 100 Daughters of India - Intermittent Fasting and Prayer Day 3

As of 2016, 2-3 million people in the world are living with leprosy. 19,000 are children. Did you know there are as many as 50 children diagnosed with leprosy every single day? Two-thirds of the world’s leprosy is diagnosed in India

Image found here.

Leprosy is mostly spread in crowded spaces, where people have limited resources and little access to health care. The disease affects the nerve endings and the infected part of the body no longer feels pain. Fingers and toes, hands are feet are lost because people with leprosy injury themselves repeatedly, almost nudging away body parts because they cannot feel pain in that area. Deep cuts, burns and infections may go unnoticed until too much damage has been done. Eyelids, the end of the nose and other facial features are affected. 

Image found here.

What if a mother gets leprosy? Her husband may leave and she will be homeless with little to no food for her children. Because of her body deformities, no one will hire her for work. She and her children are discriminated against and shunned from society, but leprosy can be cured with antibiotic treatment. Many of those affected do not know this. 

The World Health Organization provides free antibiotics to those with leprosy, but because of the stigma, many do not seek treatment as early as they should. Rising Star Outreach is breaking down so many social, cultural and religious barriers by providing food, healthcare and education to families and children living in the leprosy colonies. Rising Star integrates children from the communities with children from the leprosy colonies, creating bonds and friendships where they may not otherwise coincide. Leprosy is hard to catch and most people have a strong enough immunity to fight of the disease is they are exposed to it. You cannot contract leprosy through casual contact such as shaking hands or sitting next to someone. For $1.00 a day, you can help sponsor a child. 

Please purchase our coloring book My 100 Daughters of India and 50% of the proceeds will go to Rising Star Outreach. Available on Amazon.

Intermittent fasting fact: During a 16-hour fast, human growth hormone rises, helping to slow aging. Intermittent fasting may help you live longer because waste material is removed from the cells, a process called autophagy.

Friday, April 26, 2019

My 100 Daughters of India - Intermittent Fasting and Prayer Day 2

To help the girls of India has been a goal of mine for years. 
In fall 2017, our family spent October break in Telluride. 

The beauty of this place is amazing and inspires us in so many ways. 

We usually visit Telluride in October, after the long hot summer months of Arizona

By a warm fire, we catch up on much needed rest and snuggles.

My sister Becky and her family came to spend time with us.

She's the best!

Mesa is hot, brown and dry while Telluride is cool, lush and green. We literally bask in its beauty.

I was intensely working on additional artwork for the My 100 Daughters of India coloring book and would draw for hours at a time. 

On our daily walk to the library.

The library in Telluride is amazing, with tons of activities.

While my kids played, I looked at children’s book illustrations for inspiration, scrolled through the many photos Rising Star Outreach provided me and illustrated at a little table next to the kid’s section. 

Children are curious and many of them would stop to ask what I was working on. The librarian printed of my artwork and gave copies to those who wanted to color.

This little girl became fascinated with what I was working on, asked lots of questions and drew her own sister of India.  I've noticed when kids learn about these girls, they're instantly drawn to them, want to learn more and help in anyway possible.

At the Telluride library, you can rent almost anything – karaoke machines, strollers, back packs, go-pros, even bicycles. 
One day, Derek and I (without any kids!!) were able to take a bike ride on a dirt trail through mountains. The air was crisp, there were pockets of freshly-fallen snow under the trees and I was so in LOVE with Derek I felt like I was flying. 

It was like the world was mine. My blessings were incredible.
What more could I ever want? I knew! My heart was full and I was completely lost in thought – could Eden and I really sponsor 100 girls? My 100 daughters are always in my mind and heart. Derek and I had a long talk about my goals and on the ride back, at the very end of the trail, there on the ground right as I got of my bike was this sign – INDIA

I started laughing and crying at the same time.
I knew exactly what it meant. Yes, the universe was telling me my path would lead to India. I was on the right trail, just keep going and eventually you’ll get there.
To order my coloring book My 100 Daughters of India on Amazon, click here.

Intermittent Fasting fact: The energy it takes to digest food can be a very demanding process on your body.  When you fast, the energy usually used to digest food can be utilized to do other things in your body like increase blood flow, reduce inflammation and fight illness. When you’re sick, your body needs extra energy to heal. Have you ever noticed when you’re sick you lose your appetite? This is you bodies natural way of stopping food consumption so it can focus on improving your health.

Read the full article here.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

A Fasting Campaign to Sponsor 100 Daughters of India

I have a huge goal that's been swirling around in my mind. I've been dwelling on it, considering how I'll make it happen, feeling thrilled, overwhelmed, and I'm totally committed. 
I'm starting a 30-day fasting campaign to help sponsor 100 girls of India through Rising Star Outreach.

April 24-May 23 2019
My 100 Daughters Intermittent Fasting Campaign

To sponsor one girl is $1.00 per day
100 girls is $100 per day. 
It will cost approximately $3,000 per month/$36,000 per year.
This is huge!

Friends, I really believe we can do this.
Here's how.

Share the campaign with friends, family, at church, on social media, pretty much anywhere you can.
Pray for inspiration on how you can help
Fast if you desire
Learn about the girls of India
Donate to Rising Star Outreach
Fast for a day and give the money you save to Rising Star
Buy the coloring book My 100 Daughters of India on Amazon
Buy more coloring books and give them away

The last few months of my life have been absolutely amazing, challenging, overwhelming and miraculous. I believe there are times in our lives where we experience huge contrast and by this I mean we go through trials so big and powerful that they push us to look closer at ourselves, our children and our relationship with God.  These experiences might drop us to our knees with pain and uncertainty, yet they bring in mighty miracles and eternal perspective we could gain no other way.

Easter Sunday
Those closest to me have been very worried about the “trials” our family has been facing. From Canyon's almost deadly seizures, to Chandler’s health issues that brought him home from his mission, to sleepless nights with our new baby Ruby, to our entire home needing all new plumbing.

A plumber cut through old cast-iron pipes, ruined the plumbing in our home and then abandoned the job, but with some amazing miracles, we are getting close to our home getting back to normal, even better then ever. 

Things have been turned upside down and shifted, only to resettle into some amazing miracles, desperate cries for help, much needed clarity, increased momentum to be better and a desire to live out the dreams that are burning in our hearts  I mean, we've only got one shot at this thing called life. Why not go in big?

I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Matthew 28:20.

Big Daddy Weave concert this weekend.

One thing that has physically, mentally and spiritually pulled me through some dark days is fasting. Trust me, I would be the first to be like “Fasting, What? Weird!” But yes, fasting, It’s a powerful tool that helps me like nothing else.

I cannot think of any law, any commandment . . .  which provides greater blessing than the law of the fast.
Dean M. Davies

Intermittent fasting (a daily 16-hour fast) has become increasingly popular in the last few years and is backed with tons of medical research, even winning the noble prize. People who practice intermittent fasting love it for the health benefits, specifically weight loss. I’ve had many of these benefits including reduced inflammation in my veracious veins, better sleep, neuropathy in my feet healed, improved mental health, back pain relief, weight loss and more.

I changed a lot on the outside, but more importantly, I changed on the inside.

I grew up with fasting. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we are encouraged to participate in a 2-meal fast on the first Sunday of each month. Honestly, I used to hate fast Sunday because it required a self-control I didn’t possess and a mind-over-matter mentality I felt I could never acquire. Plus, I loved food. I was chubby throughout my childhood, at times teased and put down, so I would hide and overeat. I craved sugar and hoarded food. Most of my babysitting money was used on junk food and Barbie clothes. As a teenager, I was sexually abused by my boss, and then other men and even had a pregnancy scare. I’ve had a food addiction that at times ruled my life. As a 43 year-old woman, I converted to the Sunday fast because I finally wanted to break the addiction, to over come all the ways I'd misused food. I hated it! I had to go deep, but I found the commitment, forgiveness and humility to FAST. To surrender, give in and trust God knew what He was doing when he said:

Saith the Lord, Turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping and with mourning.

Joel 2:12

On January 3, 2016 I learned if my mind was focused on others, and I truly believed (had faith) God used my sacrifice for His good, I could do it. It only took one day in this state of mind for me to learn undoubtedly that fasting is God’s law and He does what He says He will. I cried because I was hungry and felt sorry for myself.

Before intermittent fasting.
After intermittent fasting.

I cried because I'd been so greedy with food and other possessions. I cried because it felt horrible being hungry. Finally, I cried because I realized there are so many people in the world who go hungry. How did I not know? I did know, but I'd been so blind? My own insecurities about food and my weight had overpowered me. Gently, God began to influence me with His love and grace. From somewhere this feeling of empowerment, victory and love came over me. I wanted to feel this way all the time.

I feel like there are two parts of me – the part of me that’s flesh and weak, but there’s another part of me that’s eternal. Some might call it a conscious, a soul or compare it to that good angel/bad angel sitting on our shoulder's trying to convince us which side to pick. It seems there’s an inner part of us that’s divine, but there’s also a part of us seeking self-destruction. I wrote about this experience in my book Starving Girl - My 30-Day Experience with the Power of Intermittent Fasting and Prayer. I loved letting the negative part of me go and the positive part of me take over with little interruption. 

When I started practicing daily intermittent fasting in 2016, I wanted to do it the same way as my Sunday fast with a specific prayer in mind and to focus on others. While fasting, I have seen huge changes in my ability to handle what I’m going through. Fasting literally lifts me up.

I’ll fast for a couple of days or weeks, even months here and there and then step off. It’s not always easy to jump back on because self-doubt and lack of discipline is never far away, but when I feel like I’m drifting and off-focus, just daily struggles, I dig deep and start fasting again. Many times I have “lost” myself while thinking and praying for others. Losing myself is what stops the negative talk in my mind and opens up positive thought. Losing myself is one of the greatest things I've experienced.

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. Mahatma Gandhi

When this happens, I feel humbled and extremely close to Heavenly Father because He knows what I need more then I do.

Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to let the oppressed go free and to break every yoke. Isaiah 58:6

I’ve thought a lot about this Bible verse. In my understanding, fasting can lift the burdens of the world, release those in captivity, free those enslaved in war, poverty and hunger, even prevent the wicked from having power over others. With the law of the fast, God is saying, Here am I. Isiah 58:9.
Can you imagine the God of the universe saying to you, to me "Here am I?" Is that the most humbling thought ever? This truly makes me cry.

When we fast, we feel hunger. And for a short time, we literally put ourselves in the position of the hungry and the needy. As we do so, we have greater understanding of the deprivations they might feel. When we give to the poor, we retain a remission of our sins from day to day.
Joseph B. Worthlin

I believe fasting is meant to empower us, even change the world. For over a year, now, my daughter Eden and I have been wanting to sponsor 100 girls of India. Why? I'll try to express the love I have for these girls.
In 2012, when my daughter Eden was 2 years old I watched a documentary called It’s A Girl on the poverty and injustices of many girls and women in India. 

My daughter means the world to me.

At the time, I was the mother of four boys and Eden, my baby, was my only girl. 

Boy, did my heart feel the pain of a culture that devalued baby girls, so what did I do? I came home and researched everything I could on the girls of India. I learned about abortion rates of baby girls, infanticide (the intentionally killing of a baby shortly after birth), lack of education, dowries and more. Did you know in India, there is a custom for mother’s to be blessed with 100 sons. Boys are valued, but what value is seen in the girl? What if my daughter was born in India

Would she even survive her own birth? In my mind, every little girl was Eden. What would I do for my her? Anything and everything! I would never give up. In God's eyes, these girls are my daughters in spirit. 

Beautiful mother, grandmother with daughter. 

I had a dream about a little girl from India. You can imagine my surprise when one day Eden told me about a little girl in her dreams, with brown skin and black hair. "She's my sister," Eden said. Where we dreaming about the same girl?

When Eden was three years old, I tucked her into bed one night and she asked "Mommy, will I ever have a sister?"

With four older brothers, I knew the odds were against her.  "I want 100 sisters," she said and suddenly my mind was filled with the images of 100 girls from India. We talked about all the things we would do, all the fun we'd have. We sponsored several little girls from India and I told Rising Star Outreach about Eden's idea, how we'd written a poem called My 100 Daughters and wanted to make it into a book with beautiful illustrations. Rising Star sent me incredible photos from their school and the leprosy colonies with all these little girls.

I was able to look into their eyes and feel that love a mother has for her own daughter. It was transformative.

This is how I drew these little girls.

I had never traveled to India, but I felt like I was there. As I illustrated them, I cried, I felt their goodness, I desired with every part of my being for them to have a better life.

This is Jennifer. She is one of my heroes. 
This illustration is part of her story.
This is Jennifer as a baby with the early signs of leprosy.
Here she is in the book. I didn't want to draw leprosy on her nose, but her story needs to be told. Rising Star was able to give Jennifer the medication she needed to heal and she was cured.
You can read about her story here

I moved forward with illustrations for the children’s book, but because Eden wanted to “color” each girl I drew, I realized it would need to be a coloring book so people first hand could get to know each of our 100 sisters too.

This illustration is interesting because I was drawing this woman who was living in the streets.
I wanted to draw her hands and feet perfect, but later erased those perfect hands and feet and drew them as they were, deformed and injured. This was not an easy task for many different reasons. I drew a praying mantis and chipmunk near her praying, symbolizing she should be surrounded with people praying for her, helping her and lifting her up. The lotus flower above her head represents beauty, purity, spirituality, health and love. I wanted the kindle wood she would need for her fire right next to her, so she wouldn't have to struggle to get it.

Rising Star helps these beautiful people in so many ways.

I continued with more artwork and was in awe at how my mind and hands were instructed to draw these girls – like princesses, angels, mermaids and fairies.

This illustration represents sharing food. 

There are lots of birds throughout the coloring book because 
they represent the strength of the female spirit.

My little girl loves to dance.

So do her 100 sisters.

Dancing is a beautiful tradition in India.

Here's this little girl.

Do my 100 daughters have birthday parties? I drew them one.

Catching fish with a butterfly net. A mother dolphin watches over her little girl, like all mothers do. 
They are painted with henna, a tradition in India.

True treasures of the world adorned with flowers, birds fluttering near and magnificent animals attending their every need. I loved the strength and power this tiger gives her.

Isn't she adorable.

Here she is in the coloring book. 

I looked at vintage children's illustrations 
and made them new with the girls of India.

It was challenging drawing the clothing they wear and different hair styles, but very rewarding. I knew so little about their culture, but wanted to get it just right.
Six months later the artwork was done and 50% of the proceeds from the sale of the coloring book went to Rising Star Outreach. 
Here is my original idea for the cover. Gold is very powerful in India and woman wear it to show their worth. I purchased gold paint and made sure the girls I painted were covered in gold. When I finished, their gold-covered skin and hair shimmered in the sunlight, demonstrating their infinite value.
Here's how the final cover ended up.

It launched on Amazon and we were ready to change the world.

Sharing the artwork with Becky Douglas, founder of Rising Star. I love her.

I'd love to say Eden and I accomplished our goal of sponsoring 100 daughters, but it barely trickled in.
Look at my daughter. 

I caught her sleeping with her hands in the shape of a heart!! 
This girl has so much love. For her, I have to accomplish this goal and help her 100 sisters. 
She told me "Our goal is the best goal ever. I love what we are doing together."

I had the idea of a fasting campaign a few weeks ago and it spoke truth to me. I've been sitting on it, some moments feeling overwhelmed, others exuberant. I have to try.
What if this was Eden? In spirit, every girl is our daughter.

I've been fasting a day or two here and there, getting a feel for what the project holds, the emotions I'm having, the hunger I'm experiencing, living a bit in the reality that hunger is awful, all consuming and it F E E L S horrible, that without sponsorship these little kids feel this E V E R Y  D A Y of their L I V E S

These are some hungry little girls in India who are picking up the broken pieces of a coconut that's been run over on the street.
Here they are in the book.

When I'm in the now, feeling this, praying for them, seeing their faces, knowing the hunger I feel from intermittent fasting doesn't hold a candle to what they're going through, it's incredibly emotional and rips at my heart. The contrast is I also feel empowered and full of hope. This is the contrast I'm talking about. This is a big undertaking with huge potential.

I have so much food I'm overweight!! Food can be so complicated, but if it's not to nourish our children, what's it even for. 

Intermittent fasting reminds me food is for joy, health and nourishment. Food is to share. Food is a gift, but in this twisted world it can be for better or for worse. I want to do better than that.

Please support My 100 Daughters and Rising Star during this fasting campaign. 
For 30 days, I will be fasting for the 100 girls of India.
Please help these girls by purchasing a coloring book (available on Amazon by clicking here) or donating to the 100 daughters fund at Rising Star Outreach.

If you feel that Heavenly Father is not listening to your petitions, ask yourself if you are listening to the cries of the poor, the sick, the hungry and the afflicted all around you.
Joseph B. Worthlin

In my church, after our fast we are asked to give money to the poor that is equivalent to what we’ve saved from not eating those two meals of fast Sunday. There is a specific fund called FastOffering. Isn't that beautiful!

Here are some images I pulled of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints website.

The money donated from a once-a-month 2-meal Sunday fast is put into this fund, given to the poor and truly blesses so many people throughout the world.

Is not this the fast that I have chosen?  Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry?
Isiah 58: 6-7

As Christians, we are asked to give generously to the poor, and then God will bless us with joy, health, abundance and most importantly, spiritual strength.

One of the greatest admonitions the Lord has given to his children on earth is that we have the responsibility and obligation of caring for those in need.
L. Tom Perry

Intermittent fasting has become increasing popular for weight loss, but there’s another side of it that can include prayer/meditation and giving to the poor. Fasting can heal. It can save.

Fasting to lose weight.

Fasting to help those in need.

Did you know fasting is a beautiful tradition in India. This concept is ancient in religion, culture and humanity. The fasting experience can be incredibly powerful. The dieting industry is a multi-billion dollar business, but intermittent fasting is free. There is a spiritual element that if tapped into, can help the poor in mighty ways. Rising Star Outreach helps children and families in the leprosy colonies. Intermittent fasting can be a tool to help the poor. It takes discipline to budget that money and give it away, but the blessings our real. 

Fasting helps to teach us self-mastery. It helps us to gain the discipline we need to have control over ourselves.
L. Tom Perry

I now have two daughters. 

Fasting and praying to have my daughter Ruby was a truly spiritual experience. 

She's already 7 months old.

For the next 30 days, I will be praying and fasting to earn the money to sponsor 100 girls through Rising Star Outreach. Last year, Eden and I published My 100 Daughters of India coloring book and we hope to sell enough to reach this goal. The coloring book, for adults and children is available on Amazon for $9.95.

Over the last few weeks, I have added new, beautiful artwork. 50% of the proceeds will go to Rising Star Outreach. There is also a My 100 Daughters fund and sponsorship program. To donate call Rising Star at (801)820-0466.

“What would happen if the principles of the fast day and the fast offering were observed throughout the world. The hungry would be fed, the naked clothed, the homeless sheltered, A new measure of concern and unselfishness would grow in the hearts of people everywhere.” President Gordon B. Hinckley

I will be sharing updates of my fasting experience on my blog and facebook page. I also have an instagram account at lalalofgreen. 

When I fast, I feel incredible empathy for those who go hungry. At times, I feel like I'm living in an altered state, almost experiencing life above the normal day-to-day tasks. Life becomes so much bigger, even nature seems to come alive in ways that are new and enlightening. Some days I'm invigorated, while others I spend time reflecting. It's a very personal experience, but I want to share it so together, we can change the world.
Thanks for your support.

Click here to watch on youtube.