A Heapin’ Helpin’ of Hygge: My Month of May in Food and Books

The little Danish hygge trend? I got on board with it this month too. I cooked a recipe for Boller i Karry — a.k.a. meatballs in a curry sauce — from The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wikihyggeng. What intrigued me about the recipe is that the meatballs are simmered in broth so that they are really moist instead of being baked. In the past, my meatballs tended to be more dry on one side or even fall apart. This recipe really was perfect. My husband raved about it. You can Google Boller i Karry if you’re curious. The recipe is going to become a regular part of our family meals, but I will probably cut back on the heavy cream to make it a little healthier. I know the hygge trend might sound a little cheesy and obvious on social media, but I think it’s because hygge is something that cannot be fully translated; it is something that is felt. The book did give me some good ideas for cozy practices to incorporate into my family’s life.

Books, Books, Books: 

athome-smI finished reading At Home in the World by Tsh Oxenreider. She mentioned my blog post on her podcast site, which I really appreciated. The book definitely captured my imagination and allowed me to vicariously experience family travel around the world. I pictured what it would be like to walk down the sidewalk in Hong Kong or snorkel around the Great Barrier Reef with my guys. I will probably re-read this book every once in a while because there is something about armchair travel that is just so enjoyable, especially when the writing is so vivid and insightful.

 

51wyozuq5ol-_aa300_The book that really surprised me in a good way this month was An Outlaw and a Lady: A Memoir of Music, Life with Waylon, and the Faith that Brought Me Home by Jessi Colter. The writing in this book is vivid and lyrical, which makes sense for the voice of a singer-songwriter. I grew up on country music; my heroes were Crystal Gayle (I wanted to grow my hair as long as hers) and Ricky Skaggs (I got out a wooden spoon for a microphone and had “concerts” along with him). Nothing gets me like a record of Kenny Rodgers or Buck Owens. I used to listen to Country Gold on the radio every Saturday night, and in my college years I kept a good rotation of Johnny Cash, Merle, and Waylon in my CD player, along with Britney Spears, Christina, and Eminem. I got to see Merle, who was part of the “outlaw country” movement twice in concert, which was amazing. Anyway, all of this preface is to say that any background story that I can get about the classic country singers — especially told in such a beautiful format as this book — is something I will give two thumbs up to any day. I remember hearing Jessi Colter’s song “I’m Not Lisa” on the radio, and I knew she was married to Waylon, but I never knew her story of faith. I was really drawn in as she told her story, starting with her mother, a Pentecostal faith healer, and her father, the mining race car driver. Colter writes of how she drifted from faith and then returned to it to sustain her. This book was provided by Book Look Bloggers in return for my honest review.

773507I finally finished the third book of L.M. Montgomery’s Emily series. I did a slow trudge on this one because I could tell by the foreshadowing that Emily was going to get engaged to Dean, and I kept wanting to tell her don’t-do-it! On one hand, Dean could offer Emily good conversation and access to travel that she did not have before, but on the other hand, he lied and told her that her writing was not good because he thought she loved her writing more than she loved him (she did). Unfortunately, she believed that her writing was not good and stopped creating completely. The Emily series is about the making of a writer, so having a season when Emily does not write is almost like having the life stolen from the book. Fortunately, Emily does eventually find her way, with the help of her family; a family member submits her book to a publisher, and Emily finally achieves the “Alpine Path” that she has been dreaming about, just as she finds out that her best friend is engaged to Teddy, the man that she has truly loved since she was young. It drove me nuts how passive Emily was about expressing her love for Teddy after his wedding to Ilse fell apart (because Ilse really loved their other childhood friend). I thought she would tell Teddy how she felt since she realized they both loved each other and had only misinterpreted each other’s actions. Emily’s passivity frustrated me, but I was glad that she ended up getting the happy ending that she deserved after a lot of uncertainty. Mostly, I wondered, what if LM Montgomery had allowed the Emily character to go to New York after all? Certainly the story would have been more fun to read, but it might not have achieved the message that Montgomery was trying to communicate about how home and sense of place shapes a writer. Here are my posts about the first two books: Emily of New Moon and Emily Climbs.

9780804189842After reading Tsh Oxenreider’s At Home in the World, the next logical move seemed like picking up another armchair travel book. My book of choice was The New York Times: Footsteps, a curated collection of the New York Times travel column, “Footsteps,” exploring iconic authors’ relationships to landmarks and cities around the world. I was especially curious to read the excerpt about the “dangerous, dirty and seductive” streets of Naples, the setting for Elena Ferrante’s famous Neapolitan novels, because I think Ferrante is the best novelist of our times (seriously, My Brilliant Friend is a skillful weaving of character, setting, and plot). Place is such an influence for writers; take L.M. Montgomery as a prime example. I like to find out “the story behind the story,” and this collection delivers something that a fan of literature like myself can savor. This book was provided by Blogging for Books in return for my honest review.

Have a fantastic month! Hope you get the chance to open a good book and cook something that makes you feel cozy too. If you’ve read any of these books, I would love to talk about them with you in the comments.

xoxo Teresa

Marriage Encounter Weekend

ME

My husband and I have had a lot happen in our lives over the past several years: the birth of our son, the death of my husband’s father, a new career for me, some hard times and good times. We have both been busy with the day-to-day demands of life, so we decided to take a weekend to focus solely on each other. To do that, we drove six hours to a Marriage Encounter Weekend at Virginia Beach in April. Overall, it was wonderful. The weekend is for people who want to strengthen their marriages; my husband and I are already happy in our marriage, but we liked the idea of taking our marriage from good to great.

The weekend consisted of listening to three couples talk about their ups and downs as they responded to various prompts. The couples had been through some very tough things in their lives that Larry and I were thankful we had never experienced, and they were very up front about what they had gone through. After each session, the spouses attending the conference were given a prompt to write about separately in their notebooks, and then the couples came together in their hotel room to read what each other wrote and talk about it. After some time, we would get a call on the room phone to come back down for the next session.

What I liked the most was hearing Larry say the things that I do that he appreciates (that I didn’t even realize he noticed, and that I don’t even think much about, like saying “hey dear!” when he walks in the door each evening). We both told each other what initially drew us to each other; it brought back lots of memories. I thought a lot about how we have changed and grown positively as a couple. We both get along really well, but we don’t necessarily tell each other those things we’re thinking all the time.

Spending time together, writing each other love letters, and the romance were the best parts of the weekend. We renewed our vows to each other at a beautiful candlelight ceremony. The hardest part of the conference was that sharing so many thoughts over the course of a weekend begins to feel draining sometimes — even when you have positive things to say.

The workshop started on a Friday evening, went from early on Saturday morning to late Saturday evening, and then right back at it from early Sunday morning to late that afternoon. By about 11 a.m. on Sunday, we both started to feel really cooped up and ready to get out of the hotel. We knew the beach was so close, and we were inside a hotel. We wanted some fresh air. We ended up leaving a couple of hours early because we had pretty much reached our limit of being inside, knowing that we would go to work the next morning.

We felt kind of bad about leaving early because we did not want to disappoint the workshop leaders; we wanted them to know we were really thankful for everything they had shared. I feel like that weekend was the best thing that could have possibly happened for us — or could happen for any married couple who wants to really dig into what it takes to emotionally support one another. There are different types of Marriage Encounter Weekends, but the one we went to was excellent — no role playing, no group sharing or general cheesiness. The weekend did have a spiritual component, but I think people of various denominations (we are independent) and those who are not Christians still could have felt comfortable.

I highly recommend Marriage Encounter!

Teresa

 

 

What I wish I’d known when I did online shopping last week: Groupon Coupons

With glorious thoughts of summer fast approaching, I did some online shopping last week. I bought a hammock, a huge castle-shaped sandbox for my son, and a fire pit to toast some marshmallows over on a starry evening. I’ve already been enjoying cuddling on the hammock with my son in the evenings, looking up at the beautiful forest trees in our backyard. Ah, how did I not have a hammock sooner?

What I didn’t know about was Groupon Coupons. I could have saved a lot of money on those items. Hindsight, right? Groupon Coupons are a free section of the Groupon site. Just this morning, the site had over 80,000 coupons for nearly 12,000 stores, including ones that I shop at regularly like Target, Starbucks, and Kate Spade.

One coupon listing that caught my eye was for 1-800-Flowers. This morning there was a deal for 40 percent off flowers and gifts. The coupon is good until July, so this would be a great idea for Mother’s Day.

The other listing that caught my eye was for Hotels.com. We are thinking about what we’re going to do for vacation this summer. If you scroll down a little on the site, one coupon is for 50 percent off.

You can see all of the coupons at https://www.groupon.com/coupons. I hope this will help your family save a little money this summer. I know I will be checking the site when I shop.

Groupon

Disclosure: These thoughts are entirely my own. My post was written in collaboration with Groupon.

A Place I Felt At Home in the World

athome-smIn celebration of the release of her new book, At Home in the World, about a year spent traveling around the world with her family of five, Tsh Oxenreider is challenging readers to share where they have felt most at home in the world. Before I tell you my place, let me share how much I have been looking forward to reading this book. I went to the travel section of Barnes and Noble the day her book was released this week and immediately bought a copy. I want to support her work because I believe in her message of simplicity, a global perspective, and Christianity that is rooted in Christ’s teachings — not skewed by a political view, not superficial. I listen to her podcast regularly and consider her to be a great influence toward a life lived with intention and reflection.

My travels have taken me abroad to the high-energy sidewalks of London, to a misty fjord of Tadoussac to see whales, to the mountains of Alberta to slide down a waterfall, and to the Caribbean, where the snorkeling was a stunning show of colors and sea life. One trip closer to home that really stands out to me was Asheville, NC, because our week was filled with wonderful live music, food, friendly people, and an evening spent at an outdoor spa hot tub. I’ve only ever had one bad travel experience — on our honeymoon — when our travel agent sent us to St. Thomas, in a spot that ended up being over-priced and sketchy, but we made the best of that.

When I think of where I feel most at home in the world, I would probably pick my cozy red living room chair, curled up with a book and a cup of hot tea, with my Sheltie at my side and my son playing with his Thomas trains on the floor. That would be closely followed by a walk on my family’s farm where I grew up or a hike in the beautiful forest trails near the house where we live now. Hiking with my Sheltie and breathing the fresh air as the trees stretch high above brings such a connection to the land, to God’s creative hand, and to myself. With this view of the world, valuing simplicity and nature, is it any wonder that my husband and I are great admirers of Henry David Thoreau?

I wrote the following post on my blog a few years ago, but the theme of feeling at home in the world brought it to mind again. It connects two of my favorite writers — Lucy Maud Montgomery and Henry David Thoreau — with my travel experience of being engaged at Walden Pond.

“It gave a strange reality to the books 
of theirs which I have read 
to see those places where they 
once lived and labored.– L.M. Montgomery

440px-lmm_signed_photoI saw something in a blog recently that gave me a feeling of awe. The writer probably didn’t realize what she wrote would touch someone else so deeply – but she told me that one of my childhood dreams had partially come true five years ago.

I didn’t even realize it back then.

My dream reveals an early level of literary geekdom: I wanted to visit Prince Edward Island to walk in the steps of author L.M. Montgomery, who wrote the Anne of Green Gables stories, to make the stories come alive for me even more than they already had in the past.

When I was young, I loved Anne’s imagination, her dramatic way of speaking, how she had a best friend as true and loyal as Diana, how she yearned for stylish puffed sleeves, and how she was so oblivious to Gilbert’s love at first. As I grew older and kept returning to the books and movies, I saw the character of Anne as someone who was a role model — a writer, a teacher, a friend, someone whose love ran deep. Anne and Diana were real to me.

The blog said L.M. Montgomery made a literary pilgrimage in 1910 to Concord, Massachusetts — the spot where American greats including Thoreau, Emerson, and Louisa May Alcott once lived and wrote.

Montgomery wrote: “[Concord] is a most charming spot and I shall never forget the delightful drive we had around it. We saw the ‘Old Manse’ where Hawthorne lived during his honeymoon and where he wrote ‘Mosses from an Old Manse,’ the ‘Wayside’ where he also lived, the ‘Orchard House’ where Louisa Alcott wrote, and Emerson’s house.”

My mind immediately connected: L.M. Montgomery had been to Concord to visit literary spots; my husband and I were engaged there five years ago and visited those same spots after a very long drive from our hometown. My husband got down on one knee at the site of Thoreau’s cabin at Walden Pond, and later that day, we visited the Old Manse that L.M. Montgomery had also written about visiting. We ended up seeing the Alcott house and spending a lot of time in Boston, not too far from Concord.

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It was a romantic engagement that created lifelong memories way before I realized the new connection.

As I read the blog, the realization hit: I had probably walked in L.M. Montgomery’s footsteps without even realizing it. It wasn’t how I imagined it happening, but seeing my memories in this new light is inspiring.

I still want to visit Prince Edward Island someday. In the meantime, I think it’s amazing that my own feet have already travelled a little closer to the steps of L.M. Montgomery than I had realized. As a person of faith, I believe we can never fully know all of the connections that life has in store for us. I’m thankful for the sweet surprises that are revealed along the way, and I’m also thankful for the parts of the story that are yet to be known.

 

 

 

 

I hope life surprises you this week.

With love and blessings,

Teresa from Mama Muse Me

 

A Movie I’m Taking My Son to See Soon (and ticket giveaway!)

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To enter my giveaway, sponsored by FlyBy Promotions, click the Rafflecopter link here.

Smurfs: The Lost Village is coming to theaters soon. I’m taking my son to see it when it does! Looking back at old Polaroid pictures, my very first Halloween costume was a Smurf outfit. I was definitely a fan, so I am hoping my son will like it too. If you want to find out more about the movie, visit the official site here. The site has recipes, coloring pages, and character profiles that will engage children of many ages.

In The Lost Village, Smurfette (Demi Lovato), Brainy, Clumsy, and Hefty use a special map that guides them through the Forbidden Forest, leading them on a course to discover the biggest secret in Smurf history. They must race against time and evil wizard Gargamel (the hilarious Rainn Wilson) to find the mysterious village.  

To enter my giveaway, sponsored by FlyBy Promotions, click the Rafflecopter link here.

Check out the trailer here.

Continue reading

Slice of Life

Almost April already? It is hard to believe! This is what I’ve been into lately.

WENT: My family rode the metro to D.C. to see Paw Patrol Live at the National Theater. It was awesome for my little guy and his best buddy! The show was definitely worth the price. We ended up sitting just three rows from the front. My son cheered, clapped, and got very serious about the action at times. It was a memory that I was so glad to give him. Paw Patrol Live still has some dates open around the country if you are interested in going with your family.

READ: I read the second book of L.M. Montgomery’s Emily series. Several bloggers are reading the series together, and I decided to join them. Here is what I thought about last month’s book, Emily of New Moon (that post will also give you a little background on the Emily series if you have not read it). This month’s book was Emily Climbs. In this book, I love how L.M. Montgomery continues the supernatural element from the first book . In the first book, Emily has an illness-induced vision that allows her to clear the name of a woman who has died; in the second, Emily produces a drawing, seemingly in her sleep, that tells her where a 18704927boy is trapped. Everyone thought the boy was dead, but Emily’s vision was accurate again. I really like how L.M. Montgomery just hints at something uncanny, but she does not go over the top with the supernatural elements. Emily’s “second sight” frightens her, so she prefers not to think about it. Meanwhile, the funniest scene in the second book is when Emily has a misunderstanding about a dog. Emily thinks the badly-behaved dog belongs to a woman she had hoped to impress, and the woman thinks the dog belongs to Emily. Both of them start out having a horrible impression of each other because of the mutt — but it does not belong to either of them! Seeing Emily become published in magazines multiple times in the second book is very gratifying for the reader, who is rooting for Emily despite the oppression of very conservative family members and the expectations of society in general at that time. The second book seems to have some commentary on the negative impact of gossip and jealousy in society, something that L.M. Montgomery was dealing with in her own life at that time, according to this post. At the end of Emily Climbs, I was feeling a little sad — but not surprised — that Emily turned down a career opportunity in New York to stay at home in Canada because the people and landscape mean so much to her. I also hoped that Teddy would return her love so that Dean would not end up holding her back in life. When I have a little free time this summer, I want to skim back through the book and look at the different novels that Emily mentioned as influences to her as a writer. I figure those books were probably influences for L.M. Montgomery as well.

GIVEAWAY: I’m giving away two tickets to see the new Smurfs movie via Fandango, courtesy of FlyBy Promotions. You can enter by clicking here.

BOUGHT: I splurged on my first ever pair of nice sunglasses from Coach. Woot! Now, let’s just see if I can make it through the summer without scratching them or losing them altogether.

LISTENED TO: The La La Land Movie Soundtrack. Repeatedly. So good! La La Land is going on my list of favorite movies.

WATCHED: The new Beauty and the Beast movie is wonderful. I went to see it with a friend, and the entire theater applauded afterward. I sat down with my husband last night and watched the first episode of This Is Us, and I think that’s going to be my go-to show for awhile. Other ones I like are New GirlJane the Virgin, and American Housewife.

COOKED: I tried out a free subscription to Blue Apron that my friend gave me. It was so nice to not think about planning meals that week, but I decided not to continue the subscription because it’s a little pricey for what is offered. I also did not like all of the separate vegetable prep. If I ever did it again, I would probably read through the recipes and prep the vegetables for all of the meals at once. The ingredients are high quality, but the portion sizes do not make leftovers. When I cook, I personally like leftovers because that makes a little less work for me throughout the week.

What are you loving lately? Any good recommendations?

Have a great week!

Teresa

 

 

My Latest Round of Book Reviews

Reclaiming the Lost Art of Biblical Meditation Find True Peace in Jesus

By Robert Morgan

I already had a decent understanding of what biblical meditation is before I picked up this book. It explains a lot of what biblical meditation is and why people should do it — but I was already convinced of that before I opened the book. What I found helpful was the prompts for biblical meditation near the back of the book, which offer Bible verses to think about and carry in your mind throughout the day.

Radical Spirit by Joan Chittister

I read and review a lot of faith books, and most of the time I connect right away. For some reason, this one did not really inspire me as much as I thought it would. The author makes a good point about the need for more humility in our world today, and she makes the case for how humility is tied to a radical faith. She speaks the truth, but the tone was dry for me, and I had trouble connecting with the writer’s voice.

61nsfootjfl-_sx258_bo1204203200_One Pan & Done: Hassle-Free Meals from the Oven to Your Table by Molly Gilbert

I decided to request a copy of this book because one pan and done is exactly how I cook now. My favorite recipes take one pan – usually a dutch oven, cast iron skillet, or the trusty red crockpot. I figured I would get more ideas that already fit my way of cooking. So far, I have tried the recipe for broccoli soup. Honestly, I thought it was just okay, and the parmesan cheese was almost too strong for my personal taste. I would make it again and put cheddar cheese in the soup. Obviously, the recipe tastes a lot better than broccoli and cheese092560 soup from a can. Browsing through the book, I see many recipes that I want to try, and I think they will taste great. Just because I was a little disappointed in the soup, I still think this book will have a lot of winners.

Really Woolly Easter Blessings by Bonnie Rickner Jensen

I wanted this board book specifically to read with my son leading up to Easter. The illustrations are adorable, and he has enjoyed sitting down with me to read it a few times already. This book has rhymes, Bible verses, and prayer starters. My son liked the illustrations. It is neat when these books have Bible verses in them because the book has something for the adult looking at it too. Of course, my son’s go-to books will always have cars, trains, or trucks in them – but this did hold his attention.

I received Radical Spirit and One Pan & Done: Hassle-Free Meals from the Oven to Your Table from Blogging for Books and Biblical Meditation and Really Woolly Easter Blessings from Book Look Bloggers in return for my honest review.

 

Reading L.M. Montgomery’s Emily Series

L.M. Montgomery is one of my favorite writers. I wrote this post back when I first started blogging about my admiration for her that came from reading the Anne of Green Gables books when I was young. The Anne books bring me a feeling of nostalgia for when I was a girl, walking on my family’s farm and writing little stories in my spare time. My pap used to pay me for the stories that I would write when I walked over to his house.

Anyway, when I saw that several bloggers are reading L.M. Montgomery’s Emily series, I decided to join in with them. I just finished last weekend, so I’m a little behind others who might be participating (hey, it’s never too late to read a good book, right?).

Emily could be described as the dark-haired, more introspective counterpart of Anne. She is a budding poet with pointed ears that remind whimsical thinkers of a forest elf. When her father, a former journalist, passes away, Emily is sent to live with her mother’s extended family, which had been estranged from her because they thought they were too good for Emily’s father.

The first book, Emily of New Moon, is about a young girl discovering new parts of her identity — finding out about the life of her mother who died when she was young, and also finding herself as a writer despite the negative opinions of those around her. Writing poetry and reading novels is frowned upon by Emily’s aunt, who wants to raise her “properly,” and her first school teacher uses Emily’s poetry as a means of mocking her. The teacher purposefully reads the poems in a sing-song voice and critiques them harshly to show her control of the students.

Considering the times that Emily lived in and her status as an orphan and a female, she must continually hide her writing and her thoughts. She finds freedom in going to the attic to write or in playing with her few close friends that she meets at New Moon. She manages to stay an independent and creative thinker despite the efforts to control her. By today’s standards, it seems silly to consider reading novels and writing poetry out-of-bounds for a young woman, but that was the reality in those times. Emily’s father never tried to oppress her gift because he recognized it and understood it.

Throughout the book, Emily gets “the flash” when she sees something of beauty or has a moment that goes beyond the ordinary. I think “the flash” is something beyond creative inspiration. It is probably what some writers have described as the sublime or transcendence; since L.M. Montgomery was familiar with Thoreau’s writings, that’s my theory. One of my favorite parts of the book is when something supernatural happens; Emily sees something in an illness-induced dream that ends up redeeming the tainted memory of her best friend’s mother, who had been accused of running off to sea and abandoning her young baby and husband. In life, so much is beyond explanation. L.M. Montgomery captures that idea so well with Emily’s dream.

So far, I am enjoying the Emily series. L.M. Montgomery identified with Emily the most out of all her heroines. As a dark-haired, creative, introspective type, I identify with her more than Anne too. Stay tuned next month for my thoughts on the second book in the series, Emily Climbs.

Have you read the Emily books?

 

— Teresa

Books for a Positive Mindset

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51xl9fypayl-_sy346_Both books that I am reviewing this month are great for a positive Christian mindset. The first one is Talk Yourself Happy by Kristi Watts. She explains how you can transform your heart and mindset by speaking God’s scriptural promises as you go through challenges in your life. Watts does not sugar-coat the truth as she shares her own trials and testimony. She writes of betrayal by her ex-husband, raising her son as a single mother, going from a high-profile job to unemployed, going from a put-together persona to feeling less than beautiful, and how God gave her the strength to forgive and make peace with her ex as he lost the battle to cancer. As Christians, many of us walk through trials; they come in different forms, but the way Watts writes of her experiences is so true to the realities of life itself. I could relate to how she struggled with her identity as she went from a high-profile broadcast journalism job to unemployed because I used to work in the print journalism field, and I personally experienced what it was like to have to switch career fields because newspapers have taken such a hit over the past eight years. It was heartbreaking at first, but — like Watts — I am reminded that my identity in Christ will always remain, no matter how my job title may change. My story is not finished, but God has brought me through things I never could have imagined. Growth tends not to happen in comfortable times. I highly encourage you to visit her website.

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159052456xThe second book I am reviewing is Andy Stanley’s Visioneering. I have been a huge fan of Andy Stanley’s preaching for the past seven years. I first discovered his work when a small group I was attending used to watch his videos and discuss them. He gives a lot of practical advice about how to set up a wise life that is effective and pleasing to God. He talks about relationships, finances, and other practical aspects of life. His book is great for someone who wants to discover and maintain a personal vision. As I wrote earlier in this post, changes in the job market meant I had to shift the life direction that I took in my twenties. My early thirties were spent as a full time mom, and now I am in the education field. Having a vision, and not just floating through life, is so vital for having a life that is well-lived. If you have never heard Andy Stanley preach, I encourage you to check out Your Move with Andy Stanley. The videos are free to watch and will definitely provide a paradigm shift.

Both books from my reviews today were provided for free in return for my honest review — but I do highly recommend both. Even if you can’t afford them, please check out the websites for both ministries because the free videos are excellent. Talk Yourself Happy was provided by Book Look Bloggers, and Visioneering was provided by Blogging for Books.

Have a wonderful week!

xoxo Teresa

 

Final Thoughts on the Daniel Fast

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It’s very early on Sunday morning. I’ve got laundry going while I sit at my laptop, sipping some Matcha tea and catching up on a few blogs that I like to read. The house is quiet while my husband and son are still fast asleep. This morning is different because my Daniel Fast is over today. For the past three weeks, I ate the most healthy diet that I have ever eaten in my life. Generally, I don’t do a lot of processed foods or soda anyway, but the Daniel Fast definitely steps up the healthy game. Looking back, I am glad that I took on the challenge for the whole three weeks that my church committed to it. The first week was the hardest, especially not having coffee every morning. Three weeks with no coffee and creamer. Three weeks with no processed foods. Three weeks full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and unsweetened almond milk. For me, unsweetened freeze-dried fruits were a lifesaver some days when I was on the go and needed something just a little snacky.

As I said in my last post, I was not perfect a couple of days. Those days, I prayed and thanked God that his grace can cover my weaknesses — during my time of fasting, and in the daily journey of life itself. I believe I gave God my very best during these three weeks. The most surprising thing for me is that I do not feel like I need a cup of coffee this morning. My energy level went up without it. I also lost five pounds. Honestly, I was hoping to lose more than that — but hey, it’s better than gaining five pounds in the middle of winter!

Throughout my fast, my One Word for the year — JOY — kept showing up almost daily in ways that were so blatant that they had to be from God. Keep going, my child. Another way that God spoke to me was by reminding me that the fast is also about trust. I started out pre-planning so much, exerting my own control over the endeavor, and God told me to relax and not try to do this whole thing in my own strength. Amen to that.

Have a beautiful Sunday!

xoxo Teresa

 

P.S. If you missed my other Daniel Fast posts, check out Why I Started the Fast, along with reflections on Week One and Week Two.