daniel fast reflections

We recently participated in the Daniel Fast with our church. It is a challenging diet…In times of hunger and naught, you are encouraged to spend that time in prayer and the Bible. It’s basically being vegan without any sweeteners or leaveners.

Let me tell you how this actually went down:

Thinking about food I can eat.

Thinking about food I can’t eat.

Thinking about food I’m going to eat when it’s over.

We spend a lot of time in food, because of the blog, and because I love it. Reading about it, cooking it, eating it. I’ve heard that whatever you spend the most time thinking about is where your heart is. I started to worry that food was becoming an idol. It’s probably the most common thing I think about every day. I still planned what we were going to eat on the fast, but I ceased blogging. At first I had started with blogging the Daniel Fast, as a resource for others. but then I decided against it. I will pick up where I left off and blog about my favorite fast meals, but it was a nice break.

I realized that all the time and effort I was placing into the blog was not worth what I was putting in. I came to a crossroads where I could either abandon the blog altogether or choose to make something of it.

Then this week at church, Alex talked about satisfying work. Although I love my job, I believe an incredible passion lies in food. For this reason, I plan on pursuing the rebranding and monetizing the blog in upcoming months.

It will take more work and time than i ever have spent before, but if I treat it as a job and seek to excel in it, I believe it will be worth the time I put in.

We’ll see.

happy 22nd gotcha day to me!

Today is the first day of the 22nd year I’ve spent in good ‘ol ‘Merica.

22 years ago, I arrived in LAX and put into my parents’ arms.

IMG_2465

Me and my leeetle Mama at the airport!

It’s been a wonderful ride so far, and I can’t wait to see what the years ahead will have in store.

Of course I found this post rejecting the term “Gotcha Day” on the eve of my day:
http://redthreadbroken.wordpress.com/2013/11/08/whats-wrong-with-gotcha-day/
http://redthreadbroken.wordpress.com/about/this-site/

And it made me sad. I understand that everyone who is adopted comes from a different place in livelihoods, situations and adoptive families. But at least for me, I have never experienced feelings of “loss” surrounding my adoption, or other feelings that people often tie to their experience of “relocation.” I don’t invalidate those feelings, though, and my non-feelings should not be invalidated either. But it rips my heart out to think that people neglect the divine intervention of God based on the fact that one party had to suffer to get to where they are, and that miracles don’t exist.

As a Christian, I often forget that people don’t think about the adoption rhetoric in the story of humanity’s redemption. When we were “adopted as sons” (Romans 8:15), Jesus had to do his work here on Earth to allow us to have a relationship with His father. God doesn’t wish bad things onto people, but worldly circumstances render many people hopeless, and the fact that they were rescued from their emptiness, loneliness, depression, and other vices is often the greatest part of the story.

You can’t discount a miracle because someone’s initial life decisions were made for them as a result of policies and social stigmas. That child’s future is still a source or joy and love for both the child and their adoptive family. I might not have had the chance to choose the family I got, but now I’ve “got” ’em, and they’ve “got” me!

I was raised about as normally as possible. And sure, I dealt with the adoption-related issues (family trees, ugh, which we will be discussing this week with my preteens), but I kind of cross those bridges when we got to them. I grew up with my entire family embracing my home culture and supporting me as I explored it in whatever capacity I wished.

Besides the fact of the literal etymology of the word “Gotcha,” I think the right, positive sentiment is still there. It’s the day my parents finally “got” the opportunity to be parents, and I “got” the opportunity to grow up in a loving home. My Gotcha Day never neglects the pains and selfless love of my birthmother, whose birthday is earlier in the month. It is a celebration of the creation of my family, but not without a reminder of her every year. My story would not be complete without mentioning her in the very beginning. I think that it’s less about what you CALL it and more about what you DO for it.

Needless to say, I sent my mama those two links, and she wrote back with this:

I still like a red thread tattoo… it’s a symbol of two very hard situations that hopefully became an answer to prayer for each.  That’s how I look at it.  In the end I’ll always be thankful for the scars…for 6 miscarriages, 2 domestic adoptions that didn’t pan out, because in the end they led me to you.  That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t have loved those 8 other babies, or that I’m glad they didn’t get born/placed, but it was life and that’s how it happened.  I’m thankful for the pain looking back, because otherwise, I would never have known such joy and gratefulness.  So I think [that writer] may not understand that yet, but someday probably will.  I know [friend] always said she didn’t believe in destiny, but now, if you ask her, I can guarantee that she believes in it… Maybe it’s not “destiny” but we make it “destiny” because we all live on the broken road in one way or another.  I don’t spend too much time wishing it weren’t broken because it’s turned out to be my favorite one.

Man, do I love her!

We love Gotcha Days in our house so much, that we’ve even assigned days to everyone that isn’t even adopted. For example, my step-brothers’ Gotcha Day is the day my mom and stepdad got married. And my stepbrothers’ wives each have a Gotcha Day that corresponds with the day they got married into the family. We’re just a big, happy family, excited that we “got” who we’ve “got!”

the foundation of self-image

This week, social media and life have conveniently collided into a culmination of information regarding body image. We celebrated Fat Talk Free Week at my school, sponsored by Tri Delta. I also attended a session with a woman who works at Laureate, a hospital that is known across the country as a leader for recovering people with eating disorders. For the past two days, I’ve viewed many things on my Facebook news feed regarding these issues as well, so I just thought I’d weigh in (ha no pun intended, but found it upon editing) on some of the things I’ve witnessed over the past few days.

Fat Talk Free Week (FTFW) is an initiative promoted by Tri Delta as a week to promote having healthy body images. Fat Talk is considered anything (positive or negative) that would have something to do with physical features regarding weight. Things such as:

  • “I look fat in these pants.”
  • “Man, that dress makes your waist look tiny!”
  • “Did you see her? She’s gained so much weight.”
  • “I need to go on a diet.”

I love FTFW, because you don’t notice how often things like this are said in daily conversation, until you’re reminded of those little quips. The slogan is “Change the Conversation.” Focusing on qualities that are lasting about personalities and character are far more beneficial (less gossip) and also promote healthy habits in yourself and others!

I think that one of the things that is often neglected when looking at body image is that it is not only a weight issue. Although I can be considered thin or even underweight for my size and age, it doesn’t necessarily mean there aren’t other aspects of myself that I don’t like, or wish I could change. Because of the constant association with the thin-ideal and beauty, people forget that just being skinny won’t automatically make you feel beautiful. I came across this article, Hey, Not All Real Women Have Curves, which I appreciated as a smaller woman never experiencing an eating disorder. We are all women who, no matter our size, do not need to be validated by our size, large or small. Along those same lines, a couple of my Facebook friends shared this article: Sophia Bush Declares War on Urban Outfitters. After UO released a shirt with the words “eat less” on the front, which I agree is completely wrong, she released a shirt that read “0 is not a size.” The message is clear: a size should not be a goal, especially when that number that signifies the size also has the definition of “nothing.” But the reality is, I have to wear these sizes, sometimes smaller than a zero (Aeropostale’s new sizing scheme has me in a 000, wat.), but it shouldn’t make me feel like any less of a woman. Because weighing “nothing” and being in a size 0 is different than feeling like you are “nothing,” because you’re in a size 0… this shirt statement doesn’t exactly make the skinnies feel very good about themselves, either. The sizing system is a mess, but numbers have to start somewhere.

I LOVE it when women take their self-confidence into their own hands. This video embedded on this article has a woman tap dancing in her underwear, and pulling off words like “fat,” “big,” and “cellulite” off of her body as she does. It is empowering to feel comfortable in your own skin, and I love when people express themselves for this purpose.

All in all, body image comes from something much deeper than whether your peers think you’re fat. If they tell you you’re fat, and you’re letting them define exactly what you are, that is where the evil of doubt and self-depreciation enters in. Self-confidence comes from self-worth. It not only defines the way you treat your body, but also encompasses how you treat others, and your heart.

This is why I love the new body image initiative from Tri Delta called “BodyImage 3D.” It encompasses having healthy mind, body and spirit – to build you into the three-dimensional person you were made to be, because you were not born to be flat, or to be a copy of any other person that already exists. You are unique and wonderful in your own ways!

I find my self-worth in the Lord, who made me and loves me with an unending love. He calls me His child and his friend, that I might spend eternity with Him. Following Jesus doesn’t mean there aren’t hard days, it means that He is there to hold you when things get tough!

This was a smattering of things. I’d love to hear any input on you feel about various articles and initiatives that I talked about. I’m sorry it doesn’t flow or make sense. For some reason, I have found myself to be extremely passionate for self-worth and body image advocacy, and I don’t really want to stop!

Psalm 139:13-14

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

7QT: Things I am grateful for

Linking up with Jen this week from Conversion Diary, as per! I know it’s not Thanksgiving, but there’s always time to be thankful. Here are my 7 for the week:

1.
Job: Today was my last day of my “summer” internship, but I will be continuing work throughout the semester with my work. They also made it rather clear that they anticipate me coming back post-graduation, which means thank you, Jesus, I do not have anything to worry about for the next year.

2.
Laughter: Tonight, J and my cousin Connor came over for dinner. After dinner, we watched Accepted, which is one of my all-time favorite movies. It makes no sense, is super silly and super low budget. I made this reference


during dinner and Connor didn’t understand. And Emily was watching it somewhere else in the world tonight, coincidentally. So I made him watch it. All of my good friends have…
UNSTABLE ERRRRRBS! I hope he got a good laugh because I love this movie.

3.
Justin:
IMG_0067My dearest one. He is so wonderful in so many ways! But today especially he came over and helped give my house a deep clean, which resulted in him chipping away at calcified hair in the shower drain. He’s such a stud! We also started a reading plan together, which is wonderful. He motivates and encourages me every day to seek after Jesus with all of my heart. He’s the bomb.

4.
A new baby!!!: My brother and his wife delivered their baby (after 41 looong weeks) today! After all that, he’s a brand new daddy and everyone is so excited. 🙂 Yay I’m Auntie Hillary now! Also: just….babies in general make me grateful. Like this one:

HAPPINESS.

5.
Safety: I went on a business trip (fancy, I know…) to the Texas panhandle (not so fancy now…) this past week. Even though they gave us a crossover vehicle instead of an SUV and we maaaaybe returned the car in worse shape than we got it, and luckily none of the landowners carried guns or felt the need to point them at us, and the emergency exit doors on the way home looked like they had been used and reattached, I’m grateful that we all ended up back at home in one piece.

6.
God’s love: Was overwhelmed by my devotional post today at SheReadsTruth. Accepting His love, even though I am so undeserving and His administration of grace is all just astounding that either is possible.

7.
Sleep: Yep, I’m out.

Fresh Start!

Today, Catherine and I are beginning a daily devotional together at SheReadsTruth. We have started the New Year one, because it’s most applicable to where we’re at right now.

We are discussing through email our reflections, but I just want to share this with all of you:

“There is one Author and there is one Story. And the all-knowing Author knew how the story would end, even as he penned the seas and swarmed them with living creatures, and as He breathed life into the man whose sin would one day nail Him to a tree.

And knowing all of that – knowing that He was creating the plants and yielding the seeds that would one day be his cross, that the beasts of the fields would need to be used as sacrifices for His people – knowing this then, the Author and Creator saw it all and called it good.

But why? It may seem trite to say, but the answer is love. He made the world perfect knowing that it would become imperfect and that He would make it new again. And hard as it may be to believe, He did it for the process. God had the power to skip right to the end, or to never create the world to begin with. But he did create it, and he did it to show Himself to us, that we might know Him. That we might know the breadth and length and height and depth of his love for us (Eph 3:18); that we might experience His grace.”

The beauty is in the process, friends. We’re not perfect, and the struggles in our lives make us recognize our need for the One who saves.

Embrace the journey, for this world is not our home, and this is not the end!