Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Full Circle - SLINKY style!

I can't believe it...but this journey is drawing to an end...this is the last week of our 11 week Made to Crave Study...and the final Blog Hop...
WOW! When I sat down to write this post, I had an overwhelming sense that everything had come full circle. Not in the traditional sense of "returning to the beginning". More in sensing initial wounds scab over...and feeling the life-giving blood pulse again underneath.
This week, more than any other in this 11 week stretch, brought back memories of where we started...and how far we have come in Christ's gracious strength! When we started Made to Crave on January 19th, I felt stuck...physically, emotionally, and spiritually! So much so that I titled my first blog post "the starting BLOCK".

But as we continued...I read...and prayed...and pondered...AND...

I began to see glimmers of hope despite heartache
Reminders of love despite heartbreak
(The heart-shaped rock Nick gave me when we dating...10 years ago!)

Even Lysa's words in the two videos this week (video 1 - video 2), felt like a walk down memory lane. Her themes of perseverance, joy, and trusting our identity in Christ more than any other "marker-of-success"...that's what God's been speaking directly to me!! Portions of these videos felt like rereading my own posts from 2/12/2014 or (even more) from 2/26/2014! Praise Jesus! He's imprinting #truth deep in my #heart!
If this wasn't revelation enough...check out this conversation from last week. This feels "full circle" indeed...a true #joy marker!


It feels like I'm repassing the starting line...but I'm actually lapping it.
It looks like I'm recircling the mountain...but I'm actually climbing up.
Christ's strength and perseverance are #bridging-the-gap....
(The "Iron Bridge" near my grandparents' home in favorite bridge in the world!)

I'm calling this process....Full Circle - SLINKY style!

I felt like this when we started

In my own power, I was lost. My natural condition promised to pull me down forever...

But we serve a miraculous God! In Him and Him alone...I can defy nature...
I may not like it...but when the S-T-R-E-T-C-H-I-N-G is's always good.

In Him

Thursday, March 27, 2014


Hello!! And welcome to week 3 of my Made to Crave ACTION plan!!! In this week’s video, we learned to #maximize the nutrition of our health plan…and to let GOD #maximize the sanctifying nature of this journey. It’s easy to get trapped in a pity party! To mope and moan that your cross happens to be food. But as Lysa encouraged us this week, we can find purpose in this journey rather than wallowing in our own pity! This health plan is an opportunity for me please God! To move UP instead of letting defeat continue to hold me down!
The challenge this week was to increase our polyphenol consumption. Polyphenols act as antioxidants. Here's a list of some fruits, vegetables, legumes, and other polyphenol-filed foods! In this week’s study, we learned that the lack of polyphenols and other key nutrients in the typical American diet has caused an epidemic of malnutrition. In other words – we are stuffed…but still malnourished.

Since I’ve been focusing on eating more fruits and veggies overall, I was blessed to see that I already eat a TON of polyphenols. Here’s tonight’s supper – which just happened to be packed with Fiber, Omega 3s, and polyphenols.

SALAD: Raw spinach salad with cashews, strawberries, craisins, aged cheddar, and raspberry vinaigrette. 
BURGER: Salmon burger on a multigrain skinny bun; I used this recipe as a starting point. My burger contained onion, red bell pepper, garlic, parsley, basil, capers, and vinegar. Here's a peak at the patties before we pan seared 'em!
DESSERT: As you can tell above, we even treated ourselves to a little dessert – dark chocolate covered dried mango! Nick brought them home from his recent trip to the Philippines. They have so much more flavor than dried mango in the US. Delicious!

It’s hard to believe, but the Made to Crave ACTION plan study is drawing to a close! Can't wait to check out what everyone else made this week. Stop by next Thursday for my final group post!

Until then…in HIM

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Let's get PHYSICAL!

It’s week 3 in our Made to Crave Action Plan!!! As you may have guessed from the cheesy image above, the focus of this week's video was EXERCISE!!

We all know the equation:

But as I confessed in early March, exercise makes me want to cry! As a result, the only “exercise” I’ve completed in the last...well...let’s just say t-o-o l-o-n-g...has been at a snail’s pace with about 50% energy. I’ve know that it burns less calories and settled for activities that are low enough impact to multitask and therefore complete the "exercise" for longer stretches of time. For example, I'd walk for an hour while scrolling Facebook on my phone.

Needless to say, it was eye opening to hear this week’s scientific explanation for the KIND of exercise that I should be doing. In order to induce a physical stress response that will decrease inflammation, increase metabolism, and stabilize overall health, Dr. Chilton stated that I only need to exercise for 30mns (yeah!), but that I should do this 5 days a week (ugg)…and in a vigorous enough manner to hit a target heart rate (double ugg). For me, that is 125-165 beats per minute, with a target of 150 beats per minute. I’ve since tried this…it makes me sweaty. But it also feels empowering!

So…I’m CHOOSING to #EmbraceTheEquation. I’ve completed this recommended exercise every day since watching the video. And while I’m secretly praying for all of it to suddenly becomes fun, I’ve realized that I can walk in faithfulness either way. Like Lysa said - "Lazy is a lie...I am courageous!"

Even if I never transform into an gym junky...purposeful exercise is still a necessary step in my health plan…not to mention a tangible way of putting God’s plan (for health and balance) over my own preference (for gluttony and sloth). In the end, I want to be physically healthy, but I need to be spiritually healthy. And victory in both areas is about intentional sacrifice…about choosing long-term over short-term…about small, sanctifying surrenders that help me #CraveGod more than any thing else in this world! So in the end, if  “eat less, move more” bring me closer to Christ, it will have been more than worth it!

P.S. Anyone else out there LOVE this week’s bonus interview? I was floored by Renee Swope’s insight about seeking significance and satisfaction from completion and connection!! God help me!!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Fish and Fiber!!

This week’s “Made to Crave ACTION Plan” challenge was to #EatSmart by focusing on fish and fiber. In our week’s video, I was quite moved by Dr. Ski Chilton's reflection on John 6, the passage in which Jesus feeds 5,000 with...remember this…5 barley loaves and 2 fish.


Barley loaves and fish!! Jesus fed the masses with barley loves and fish…the very omega-3 and fiber filled foods that we are learning can
  • decrease inflammation
  • prevent heart disease
  • protect against diabetes
  • slow the aging process
  • reduce depression
  • sustain satiation
How interesting to think that the bible supports healthy eating in yet another way! My mind was already blown with my previous reflections on the role food played in the Initial Fall, the Wandering Israelites, theTemptation of Christ, and the Final Revelation. Having further scriptural support of the Made to Crave ACTION's just incredible! What an unbelievable, miraculous God!

So about that fish and fiber! Here’s some foods I stocked up on while prepare for Dr. Chilton's "Fish/Fiber" challenge. There’s tons of omega-3 in the frozen salmon, canned salmon, and ahi tuna (prepared below!!!). I also bought some fiber-filled-funness. Check out the pumpkin flax cereal (5g of fiber per serving), slivered almonds (4g), sandwich skinnys (5g…AND only 100 calories per loaf!), fiber cereal bars (8g for the regular bars and 2g for the low cal version), and lentil soup (2g).

Now for the dinner pick! It was an omega-3 and fiber-filled supper, capitalizing on the asian’s flavors of tuna, sesame, brown rice, avocado, and asparagus. Here's the menu, recipe links, and a picture of the final presentation! 

I gotta tell ya, ladies. Cooking this meal really took me back. Some of you may not know, but I LOVE cooking. Much of my recent dependence on food stemmed from a true passion for cooking and consuming beautiful meals. In 2012, I actually completed a cooking project called the "Year of the Food Rainbow". Each month, I cooked a special 4-5 course meals focused on a single color! There was Floral White February, Jet Black July, Scarlet SeptemberNavy November…and the list goes on!

Cooking this meal tonight…it brought back that joy! The fun of planning, prepping, and presenting a beautiful dish! The pleasure in watching others enjoy their supper and the fellowship fostered by sitting down and eating the meal around a shared table.

But this round...on this Made to Crave "Journey with Jesus"...there was an extra sense of peace. A tranquility that can only come from knowing the thrill of cooking, eating, and sharing food is NOT my primary purpose or pleasure. An assurance that these delights come FROM God but can never REPLACE God. A confidence that...when I keep these priorities aligned...all sources of earthly happiness can serve to glorify God and reflect His own eternal joy. 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

WALK THE TALK - Week 1 of our M2C "ACTION PLAN"!

Even my love language is lazy…

I’m a sucker for words. I love how a powerful lyric can stir emotions and a meaningful story can ignite deep passion. What I DON’T love…is moving!

As Jesus Girls, you’ve probably heard the saying: “If you’re going to talk the talk you’ve gotta walk the walk!” Funny – I’m quick to apply this to sins like gossip and lust. But if taken literally, the cliché directly implies a need for physical exertion. 
Needless to say, this Made to Crave Action Plan study couldn’t have come at a better time. For those who don’t know, the original Proverbs 31 Made to Crave study ended last week. It focused on finding our “want to”. Now Proverbs 31 is hosting the ACTION PLAN version of Made to Crave, which provides practical, research-based tips for tackling “how to” get healthy.  And our blogs this round are supposed to be “picture-centric”. A nice challenge for this word-loving lady!

I’m late on posting this because I’ve spent the last several days browsing Dr. Ski Chilton’s website ( I wanted to know exactly what “ACTION” would be recommended before deciding if I would make any additional lifestyle changes. 
After all (insert super-self-righteous-tone)...
"I lost 10lbs on the ORIGINAL 
Made to Crave study…BY MYELF!!
What more is there to learn?"

Don’t be impressed. Here’s how I “managed” the weight loss so far.
  1. Set rigid limits on my daily food intake
  2. “Consider” exercise
  3. Actual follow through on my calorie cap
  4. Forgo exercise at all costs
So…when this week's Action Plan video talked about simple changes like eating more legalistic flesh screamed:
“HOLD UP!! High fiber foods are like…
REALLY HIGH CAL! If you eat more fiber...
you’ll HAVE to exercise!”

Boy oh boy…that kind of attitude is SO not about craving God. It's just a sneaky way of switching direction...while still holding the reigns. 
There's CLEARLY more to learn!! Even more grateful now that this is a "Grace Place"!!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Sanctifying Sacrifice

I’m not on a diet, I’m on a journey with Jesus to learn the fine art of self-discipline for the purpose of holiness”. 
Lysa Terkheurst, Made to Crave

I have often referred to the bible as a love letter. Christians boldly share that “God so loved the world” and Jesus would have died even if you were the only one to save. Of course, these are true! But somewhere in the church clichés, I forgot that Scripture is not just an archetypal story of universal salvation. The Word addresses EACH of my needs in a unique and powerful way.

Imagine my refreshing surprise when…over the last 6weeks of reading Made to Crave…I have seen a new theme arise across the entire bible. A theme that specifically tackles my issues with food.

At the very beginning of time and humanity,
Eve was tempted by FOOD!

Genesis 3:6 – “When the woman saw the fruit of the tree
 was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also
desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it”.

In the Old Testament under the Old Covenant,
the Israelites’ struggle with food sent them
wandering in the desert for 40 long years!

 Psalms 78:18 – “They willfully put God to the test 
by demanding the food they craved”.

In the New Testament, as Jesus prepares for ministry 
and ushers in the New Law, Christ defeats Satan's
temptation after a redemptive 40 day fast!

John 4:34 – “ ‘My food,’ said Jesus, ‘is to do the 
will of him who sent me and to finish his work.’ ”

In Revelation, God’s shares a vision of His promise and plan;
sure enough, there’s more mention of victory with food!

Revelation 2:7 – “To him who overcomes, 
I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, 
which is the paradise of God”.

After years of calling the bible a “love letter” (and calling myself a Christ-follower), it took joining this Made to Crave journey for me to see how the message of God’s hope addresses EVERY human issue…even my struggles with food.

You see – it’s not really about food anyway. It’s not as simple as replacing donuts with carrots. It’s about ALL the things that have, can, or will consume my heart more than Christ.

When I intimately understand food cravings 
but have to stop and ask if I’ve ever truly yearned for God… 
there is a problem!

When I spend hours chatting with old friends 
but rarely squeeze in a quiet moment of prayer or praise…
there is a problem!

When hours of Facebook-scrolling or Netlflix-marathoning 
are more appealing that time spent in the Word…
there is a problem!

The promise of Revelation 2:7 is for those who overcome. Overcome what...not to mention how? For me…in this season of life…the initial struggle was loosing a child and turning to food rather than Christ. It was only once I reached the end of my own effort that I began to see God’s fingerprints redeeming the loss and drawing me to Him. As Lysa wrote: “it is good for God’s people to be put in a place of longing so they feel slight desperation. Only then can we be empty enough and open enough to discover the holiness we were made for.”
In another season, there will be other trials and temptations. But this Made to Crave experience has reminded me of the bigger process and the deeper plan. Yes – the bible is a letter about love…but remember that His love calls us to purity and then fans the refining flames.

Dear friends, whether your current idol is the call of cake, the lure of lust, or the magnetism of money - - take hope! We are on a life-long journey of redemption...a beautiful transformation from sinner to saint! But chiseling a masterpiece is hard work. Deep cleaning always looks messier in the process. Sometimes it may feel like two step forward and another back. Keep faith! Eyes on the prize! Triumph lies in your very next choice!

“One wise choice can lead to two, can lead to three, can lead to a thousand, can lead to the sweet place of utter dependence on God and lasting discipline”. 
Lysa Terkheurst, Made to Crave

Victory is about intentional sacrifice that chooses long-term gain over short-term loss. Overcoming is really just a series of small sanctifying surrenders. So while our Made To Crave study has drawn to end, our God is just getting started!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Tripped up by triggers - emotional emptiness

“It’s so easy to park our minds in bad spots. To dwell and rehash and wish things were different. But to think on hard things keeps us in hard spots and only serves to deepen our feelings of emotional emptiness”. Lysa Terkeurst, Made to Crave.

If you’re revisiting my blog, you might have picked up by now that I’m a lover of all things WORDS. It’ll be no surprise then that the title “emotional emptiness” immediately peaked my interest. Despite being intrigued, I did not anticipate how deeply this chapter would impact me. Beyond dramatic alliterations, Lysa’s words addressed the core issues surrounding the last two years of my life. 

The loss of our firstborn child and the now 20 laborious months praying for another baby have shaken me in inexpressible ways. It is a heart-wrenching grief that makes you question everything you believe about life and love...about God and goodness. I kept telling myself I had “processed”…kept saying that I was “healing”…but an ever-expanding waist born witness to the high-calorie treats I kept binging to numb the pain of my aching heart.

So as I read Lysa’s witty-but-oh-so-needed chapter about “emotional emptiness”, I felt deeply convicted to STOP sulking...and STOP self-medicating! It is time to reclaim hope! Time to “park my mind” on the promises of Philippians 4:8:

It’s time to pray for Light. Time to reach out of mercy. I am still broken. But I am trying...with the only strength I have be shipwrecked at the shores of Grace. To know the trials of this world neither define me...nor my Jesus. To remember that "good" does not mean "easy" or even "preferred". And to trust...even in this dark, dank pit...that I am never...EVER...alone.