Thursday, July 30, 2009

The journey of the 40-Day Vegan begins

So far, so good. It's really not bad. Yesterday was day one and here's what I ate:

Handful of cashews
Handful of dried cranberries
Bowl of Shredded Wheat with Almond Drink
Coffee with cinnamon and Almond Drink

Couple bites of a big banana

2 TBS All Natural Peanut Butter (I tried to find another kind of nut butter at Wal-Mart, but I'll have to look elsewhere for that)
1 TBS all-fruit spread
1 Tortilla (realized my whole wheat bread had milk products in it...again, will have to look for an alternative)
1 serving plain Sun Chips
2 TBS Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
Fresh Veggies
3/4 of a Peach

The rest of that banana
1 serving raisins
1 serving almonds
Vanilla/Caramel Tea

Veggie Lover's pre-packaged salad topped with sunflower seeds, blueberries, and a raspberry vinaigrette
1 smallish baked potato topped with Salsa
A few Kashi garlic crackers (kind of like Triscuits)
Water and a little bit of Alyssa's organic low-sugar berry lemonade she wanted me to try

A bag of simply salted all-natural microwave with no butter or milk products that I sprinkled with Old Bay Seasoning

Struggles so far: Called to RSVP for my cousin's wedding and they had no vegetarian option for dinner.
Solution: I ordered the roast beef. I'll give my beef to Jeremy and hopefully there will be a baked potato or something else that I can eat. Also, I'm hoping Jeremy will let me eat his salad as well as my salad and maybe there will some whole grain bread or something.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Watch out Bob and Larry!

OK, I've started something new today and I need for you not to laugh at me hysterically. I'm going to try a vegan diet for 40 days (and 40 nights as Alyssa said when I was talking about it with her Daddy). Basically I'm cutting out all milk, egg, and meat products during this time. This also means most sugars and goodies since so many of them are made with at least one of these products. Jeremy thinks I'm a little on the loopy side for doing this but I'm curious. How much of a difference will it make in the way I feel? I'm not just talking about weight loss - although I am hoping that will come into play here. I'm wondering about my struggle with allergies and sinus headaches, energy levels, and dealing with pain due to Fibromylagia, etc. Will I be better able to keep up with my 3 1/2 year old? Will I just have a healthier me in the long run if I stick to mostly raw fruits and veggies and whole grain foods? So, today's the day! And, I'm making it really hard on myself by blogging about it. For the next 40 days I'm going to try to blog at least a small blurb about what I ate that day simply for accountability. And, other days I may also include the struggles I'm facing in keeping to this plan or, hopefully, the benefits I'm realizing as a result! So, please pray for me. Granted, today is day one far so good. I can only do this with God's help and strength, though, so there's some direction for prayer if you feel so inclined! Thanks! Jill <><

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Some things just DON'T make sense!

Tomorrow Jeremy and Alyssa and I will catch a flight to Charlotte, NC to be with the family of a very close friend who passed from this life into the arms of Jesus last Saturday at 9:11 pm ET. Tara Rinehart (second from left in the photo above or my current Facebook profile picture) was only 35; the mother of two adorable kiddos that she was completely devoted to; the supportive, loving wife to John; friend to thousands.

Jeremy and I first met the Rineharts when we joined a married couples' Sunday School class at Central Church of God in Charlotte about 7 years ago. We were struck right away by the natural, real, and openly vulnerable style of this big guy and small woman who'd soon become two of the closest friends we've had in our married life together. They obviously loved Jesus but there was no stuffy, churchy language in this class. There was no spiritual pretense. This class was like nothing we'd experienced before. It was a Married Couples class that was actually a Biblically based challenge to work on our marriages week after week. It forced us to take a real, honest look at our relationship that was sometimes funny and sometimes painful...but always necessary.

In John and Tara we found friends we could completely be ourselves with. Friends who'd experienced a little more life than most people and lived through it, so they weren't surprised by much. Friends who made Jesus their number one priority without ever coming across as pious, judgmental, or condescending. We were so excited to be able to continue our friendship when Jeremy and I moved to Peoria in 2004.

Then we got the email in 2006...Tara had found a lump under her arm. Surely it was nothing. wasn't nothing. It was cancer. For the next three years through the struggles and the victories a story of faith unfolded that I'd never personally encountered. Tara and John showed strength in ways I can't even begin to explain. And, yet, they were still there for others...heading up missions trips, reaching out, helping out, loving. All of this on top of raising a family. And then, things took a turn for the worse. Surely God would heal her right? Her whole life was service to Him. She breathed obedience to the One who had created her and saved her. She would be healed and He would get the credit...right?

Well, her healing wasn't the kind we were all praying for. She and John will never celebrate a 20th, 25th, or 50th wedding anniversary. Tara won't get to raise her beautiful 8 year old daughter and super smart 7 year old son. She'll never tease me again about an insecurity I'm struggling with in that gently sarcastic but loving way that helps me look at things more objectively. She'll never serve us Cheese Pie or any of her yummy recipes again or take us on in Boggle, Scene It, or that game where you see which couple knows each other best. She'll never co-lead another short term missions trip or finish the photo project she was working feverishly on just two short weeks ago.

BUT...she is with the one she did all those things for! She is WITH JESUS! That's where the hope is, isn't it? And in the fact that in the big picture...HIS big picture...there's a reason for this. No one knows what will happen on Friday when the so many who loved Tara will gather to remember and honor this unique woman. No one knows how God will use this seemingly senseless death to bring life to others.

Does that make it easier for her husband and kids right now? No. Does it fill the hole in our lives that she filled? Of course not. But, there IS hope! There IS JESUS! Thank you, God, for Tara Rinehart. Thank you for the time we had with her on earth and the time we'll spend with her, and YOU, in eternity! And, please help me not to be mad at You! Help me in my time of doubt and hurting. And thank You for being able to handle my questions, fears, and anger!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Things you DON'T say to a three-year-old!

The other day Alyssa and I were in the car where we tend to have some pretty deep Mommy/Daughter conversations. Is it like that for you and your kiddos? Anyway, Alyssa wanted to know if Mommies and Daddies sometimes have time-outs too. I told her that no, grown-ups don't usually get time-outs for bad choices but that there are other consequences we face for doing something we shouldn't or for not doing something we should. This of course prompted a VERY CUTE "like what, Mommy?" So, the first thing that came to mind was showing up for work. I told her, "Well, if Mommy decided not to go to work when she was supposed to she could lose her job, you know...I could get fired." Yeah, I totally wasn't thinking when I said the word fired! But without missing a beat Alyssa came right back with, "But I would save you from the fire, Mommy!" Does it get any cuter than that? :) Of course I then had to explain for the rest of the ride home why being fired doesn't mean actually being SET on fire. But, that initial response kept me glowing the rest of the day!