Restart with Whole30

Sunday January 3rd. Day 2 of our restart.

Not bad. A little confession. I still have some of my coffee creamer (Bliss) left over. But I’m only putting a tablespoon in a 12 ounce cup. Two cups in the morning. And when it’s gone I’m switching to coconut milk. After the holidays, that’s a minuscule amount of sugar.

It has been a challenge not reaching for those Christmas chocolates. Or eating Christmas cookies. But my dislike of needles makes me want to get that sugar beast under control.

When I start feeling deprived, I remind myself I am not. I still get to eat a full plate of food at meal time. I can still have snacks. I’m just changing the choices I make. One thing’s for sure, I’m not going hungry.

We got this. But I’ll get back with you when carb fever sets in.

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Revisiting Whole 30: Needing a Restart

Six years ago, Jon and I tried the Whole30 program. If you’d like to read about that initial experience, you can start the series here.

Whole30 is more than just a weight loss program (although it did wonders for both of us). It aims to eliminate problematic foods from the diet for 21 days (to give the body opportunity to cleanse from their effects) and then slowly reintroduce the different food types to identify any issues one’s body might have with them.

Since our first round of Whole30, we’ve done a few versions of it. The problem is we never stick with it. Somehow too many carbs, too much cheese, too many sweets, work their way back into our regular diet.

Wanting a reset from the insanity of 2020, we’ve decided this would be a good way to restart. From our experiences in the past, we knew we’d need to go big or go home. So. Here we go.

While we don’t have any serious issues with food (other than liking it too much), the program provides a means for us to be serious about seriously eating healthy. What I love about Whole30 is that encourages vegetables. The more nutrient-dense, the better.

In my youth, I wouldn’t have been able to survive this. Because I was a picky eater. My don’t like list was miles long. But having married an incredible cook, my don’t like list is dwindled down to about half a page. Even brussels sprouts can be delish when prepared the right way!

The Whole30 book provides a bunch of great recipes so we don’t get bored. And if we need more, a quick google or search on Pinterest provides more than enough for the month ahead.

I wrote down a list of various minor ailments that bother me and I’m expecting to see some improvement in them. Things like occasional joint pain, restless legs, heartburn, bloatedness. I’ve suspected starches to be a culprit for heartburn for me. And sugar, of course, causes inflammation. I really hope I discover the cause of the restless legs.

The first week will be tough. Giving up my diet DP and then pushing through the carb fever that lasts for days. What’s carb fever, you ask? Check out the book, It Starts with Food. It’ll explain it.

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Christmas Creations

This Christmas has been a difficult one for so many. We can’t celebrate with the many parties, events, and festivities we usually participate in. Our gatherings are smaller, if at all.   And we look ahead to the new year with a wary eye, not trusting what it holds.

My Christmas season held many blessings but it has been filled with much wrestling. A beautiful, artsy friend has taught me the practice of creating while listening. (If you’d like to learn more about her and her art ministry, please visit Created) While my creating isn’t quite on the level of hers (I’m more of a crafter than an artist), the practice provides the same result: letting one’s heart and mind explore outside the confines of boxes and explanations.

My daughter had purchased some simple round wood ornaments that we were supposed to decorate with my granddaughters. Time eluded us and we didn’t have a chance, but I snagged a pile of them.

Confession: I’ve always been reluctant to throw away all the beautiful Christmas cards I receive (yes, there are people who still send them and I am one of them). I have a stack from over the years, including the ones my dad received the Christmas before he passed away.

So, combining the wood ornaments, the Christmas cards, and a bottle of modge podge and I created:

They can be used as ornaments or as gift tags. And along with that thought, I still had plenty of Christmas cards that didn’t quite fit on the size of the ornaments. Going with the theme of gift tags, I created:

And I still have a pile to finish and a handful more cards to use, not including the new ones I received this year:

When my mom was alive and in and out of the hospital, I crafted a binder to keep all the get well cards she received, which I still have. I also have many of the sympathy cards dad received after she passed away as well as the ones my sister and I received after he passed away. (While you might think I have a card hoarding problem, I like to think of them as art waiting to happen).  My thought is that they might make some beautiful book marks to include with the encouragement cards I’ve been sending to those who have been isolated because of the pandemic. A little something to brighten someone’s day.

Did creating help me in the wrestling and the listening? Many of the questions and frustrations are still there and clear answers have not appeared, but I have found my head and my heart to be better spaces to deal with them. So, in that sense, yes.

Still have that stack of Christmas cards? Don’t throw them away. Get creative and clear out your head and heart space. And be sure to drop me a note or a picture on what you created.

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Conversations with a Writing Coach by Susan May Warren

I heard about Susan May Warren at the 2019 American Fiction Christian Writers (ACFW) conference in San Antonio, Texas. The ACFW Colorado Springs chapter was planning a two-day workshop with Warren as the speaker. And it was to be held at Glen Eyrie, which I’ve been wanting to visit forever. As soon as registration opened, I signed up. Then I downloaded two of her writing books, Conversations with a Writing Coach and The Story Equation.

As the country responded to COVID-19 and slow-rolled into shutting, closing and canceling just about everything, I received the disappointing email that the workshop was also canceled, with hopes to reschedule it in the future.

While I hope to attend the workshop when it gets rescheduled, I decided to use my “social distancing” time (as an introvert, I suddenly have the freedom to do what I always prefer to do – work in the quiet) by doubling down on Conversations and my work in progress.

The book is packed with practical writing information packaged as a conversation between Warren and her mentee. Each one wraps up with “dares,” practical steps to apply in writing. Interspersed are “quick skills” sections that break down Warren’s information into acronyms and steps.

I just finished her conversation on NaNoWriMo, which is perfect timing, because April is another NaNoWriMo. So if April turns out to be canceled like March has been, grab a copy of Conversations (available on Amazon), sign up for NaNoWriMo and start working on that novel you’ve always thought about.

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If You Create the Space, God will Fill It

If my last post, Accept Whatever Shows up, felt incomplete, it’s because I planned to finish the thought this week. Which I will. But with some additional thoughts. Because the world can change drastically in two weeks. And it did.

The book launch party for Explore turned out different than what I expected. Which is sort of what I expected. Despite my limited advertising (Facebook event and invites, announced on the Created website, and a handful of fliers hanging in businesses and libraries around the area), only a few people showed up.

But it was good.

Because Jon had time to talk to a long time friend about the books we published and his photographs. Because I had time to get to know a new writer friend and chat with a friend’s daughter who also loves writing and photography. Because we had sweet, uninterrupted time to encourage our friend and owner of Created.

Different than what I expected. But so good.

Which brings me to the title of this blog. Jon and I have been listening to an amazing podcast called Bema Discipleship which is going through the entire Bible. He started in the Old Testament; I started in the New Testament. But when he heard episode 26, Creating a Space, he had me listen to it. I highly recommend it. In it, Marty Solomon makes the statement, “If you create the space, God will fill it.”

That’s what I feel like happened at the book launch party. I created a space. And God filled it.

Which brings us to today. The news, social media and everyone’s conversations are filled with the COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus. Everything that could be said, has probably been said. Some, like government officials, medical personnel, first responders, grocery stores and their suppliers, and others in critical positions/agencies are busy beyond belief as they react to the ever-changing situation. However, many suddenly find themselves with too much time on their hands as schools, entertainment institutions, and numerous businesses temporarily close.

Suddenly we’re forced off the hamster wheel. Told to stay home. Travel is suspended. Meetings and events are canceled. Calendars are suddenly clear. No rushing here and there.

So what do we do with this time?

Social media is filled with all kinds of suggestions. I won’t go into them here. But I will suggest the idea of creating space and allowing God to fill it. Create it physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually.

I know what it looks like for me. But it will be different for everyone. What will it look like for you? Please join this conversation and tell me how you’re using this time to create space in a way that God can fill it.

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