new space

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A few years ago, when I was a Forge student, we didn’t have easy access to internet or TV. In fact, we’d committed together as a group that we wouldn’t watch TV or movies at all. We adopted the habit of “bouncing our eyes,” when in the same room as a television, quickly moving our eyes away from the screen and keeping mindful to not get distracted by whatever was playing. Months after we’d graduated the program, I still caught myself involuntarily avoiding TV screens. Eventually, the habit wore off once media consumption became a regular pattern and routine in my life.

Do you want to now what’s strange? In the last two months, I’ve started “bouncing my eyes” from TV again. Not by choice. Something in my mind has all of the sudden flipped a switch and gone back into “Forge-mode.” Last week, I caught myself quickly adverting my eyes when I glanced at a TV in a restaurant. Um… hello? I can watch all the TV I want now, and it was now YEARS ago that I was in the habit of glancing away. What is going on?

I figured it out, though. The trigger is empty space. Lately, my lifestyle has been a lot less noisy. You see, our newlywed lifestyle doesn’t include internet or TV yet and we’re left with a lot of space and a lot less noise. 

I didn’t feel the weight of that space, though, until Jesse left for his first trip out of town for work. I’ve lived with roommates or family members my entire life. In most recent years, I’ve lived with up to EIGHT girls sharing an apartment. A life filled with people has been my norm. But now… its different. There’s a lot more margin for space. When my husband comes home later from work than usual or has worship team practice, or goes on a week-long trip, I don’t have three other roommates to distract me. Instead, there’s space.

I wish I could tell you that I’m really great at using the space for deep, spiritual reflection and contemplation about how the Lord is sufficient, but that would be far from the truth. Instead, last time Jesse left, I filled my evenings with so much activity that by the time it reached Thursday, I was absolutely exhausted from staying so busy and really just wanted to crash at home. But home was way too intimidating. It’s not that I was afraid to be in house by myself (EXCEPT for the night when BEAVERS came and ate the pumpkins off my porch. #countrylife). I was afraid of the space.

In this new space I’m beginning to see how full and distracted I’ve crafted my life to be.

Ginger wrote about “Limiting Distractions,” the other day and she really put into words everything I’ve been mulling over. I’ve reached pro-status at distracting myself, and didn’t even realize it. From the time at a stoplight waiting for the light to turn green, to the few moments while I wait for my work computer to boot up, I can fill every bit of space in my day with something distracting. But what happens when we don’t have cell service, internet or TV to fill the emptiness? What’s left?

Jess and I have been given the gift of space, at least in regards to our media consumption. The scary question I have to tackle is, when Jesse isn’t here, what does my time look like? If I don’t fill up my time and stay distracted, where does my heart and mind land?

What would empty space look like for you? If you didn’t have your phone, TV or internet and were given four free hours a day, for six days, would it scare you or empower you?

I’m looking forward to exploring this new space. It might be quieter and more revealing, but I’m sure there will be a lot to learn.

The Proposal- Part 1

A bit over two years ago I marched into Mel’s room at the Forge apartments and demanded,

“What do you know about Jesse Garner? Tell me everything because I could marry that man.”

Guys. I’m GOING to marry that man.

That’s right! We are getting MARRIED!

Suspension Bridge

disclaimer: I apologize now for the amount of all CAPS and exclamation points that will decorate this post. I’ve been informed that on a scale of 1-10 I’m functioning at about at 15 right now. If you’re feeling kind of grumpy cat, then this blog is not for you. 

Okay. Everyone ready? Let’s do this.

Friday afternoon we drove to Waco to see Sing at Baylor. I was a part of Sing all four years when I was a student and going back for a performance is always a highlight of my Spring. If you want a taste of Sing, check out a few of my favorite Sing acts on YouTube. Last year Jesse came with me and we had a great time, so we made plans early to go again this year. It happened to fall nicely right after Valentine’s day, so we decided to make it our Valentine’s date. The perfect cover for us to get all dressed up. We got to Waco in time to grab dinner at BJ’s (one of our favs) and get to Waco Hall with enough time to find our great seats and settle in for the long haul. I was already loving life.

Sing is SO long you guys. I mean, I love it… but we didn’t leave Waco Hall until 10:50. I can’t imagine what the drive to the bridge was like for Jesse. I’m clueless, remember, so I’m just prattling on and on and ON about the acts that I liked and asking Jesse who he thinks will make Pigskin and getting his opinion on all of the acts. I’m sure he was trying to get his thoughts together and really wanting some quiet. No such luck, Garner, you’re marrying a talker.

We’d already planned on going to the suspension bridge in Downtown Waco after Sing, so even that… I’m totally rolling with it, no suspicions. A year ago-ish when we went to Waco and did this same date we went to the bridge after Sing because I was trying to teach him how it’s Saturday night, it’s WACO, there’s not much to do… so, Baylor students toss tortillas from the suspension bridge aiming to land them on old bridge foundations. IT’S SUPER FUN YOU GUYS, I PROMISE. Instead of tortilla tossing, he KISSED ME for the first time. His first kiss EVER. Yes, you read that right, folks. Needless to say, that night is one of our favorite memories and I was excited to go back.

So, we headed out to the bridge and I noticed that, again, there is no one there. It was chilly, though, so I wasn’t suspicious. I still don’t know if Jesse had the guys shoo-ing away people or if it was just coincidence that the bridge was deserted. I wish you could’ve seen it, you guys. The bridge is really pretty at night, all lit up with big spotlights and lights strung along the suspension. We walked out to the side, stood there for a moment to take in the moment and then things changed. Jesse turned me to face him and started to talk about the last year and our relationship. My head started spinning thinking, “Oh my gosh. He’s acting so strange and he’s not really making sense. Is THIS HAPPENING? No way. No. Don’t go there.”

Then Jesse says,

“but I don’t think we should date anymore…”

I’m sorry. What?

“I think we should get married.”

Before I knew it, he was down on one knee, smiling his big handsome smile.

“Lacey Melinder, will you marry me?”

On one knee

I was speechless. I remember thinking, “This is it. This is happening right now. I’m going to tell this story for the rest of my life. This is happening.” And then I lost my mind. All that came out of my mouth was, “Are you KIDDING? Are you SURE?” Jesse looked at me like I was crazy and assured me that he was NOT kidding and was sure. Then normal Lacey finally arrived on the scene and I screamed “Yes!” a zillion times.

Wright_Garner_015

Jesse then showed me my ring which was in a box, all lit up. He put it on my left ring finger (after asking where it goes. precious) and explained a little bit about the ring he picked out for me. I love it for so many reasons.

Ring

  1. The diamond is from Israel. We’ve both traveled to Israel with the Pine Cove Forge (separately) and it has significance to both of us individually. At dinner that night (before I knew a proposal was coming) we talked about Israel and how we wanted to go back. Inside I was thinking, “Yeah. I want to go back… with you.” But I sure wasn’t going to say that.
    yet. 
  2. The wheat design on the band signifies what will be my new last name (WHOA). Garner means “to gather together,” and usually refers to crops, like wheat. Jesse and I have talked often that we both want to invite others into our lives and love gathering people together, so the wheat is a great reminder of that.
  3. When Jesse began looking at rings he got some help from my dear friends Rebecca and Hunter. I’ve always loved Hunter’s ring and its really special to me that Jesse used her ring as a jumping off point for mine, and that Rebecca knew me well enough to be able to give Jesse the deets. My Forge sisters continue to be a treasure, long after the Forge is over.

Back to the tale…

Praying

After the ring was on my hand, Jesse prayed for us. This was so significant to me. I don’t remember many details about our first date, but I do remember that when he prayed before our meal I was stunned by how personally and intentionally he prayed. Over the last year, I’ve heard Jesse pray a number of times and have looked forward to the day when he would pray for us. It was only fitting that within the first few minutes of being engaged, Jesse would acknowledge that power of the Gospel and thank God for the gift of this relationship. I can’t wait to follow Jesse as he seeks after the Lord and follows him as a man of steadfast character.

Bridge shot

After a few moments to ourselves, Jesse called for our friend Austin to come out of hiding. But Austin wasn’t the only one in the shadows… I began to scream when I saw my brother (dressed in a handsome grey suit) come running towards me. He had been filming the whole thing and was so excited with us. Austin Wright snapped a few more pictures for us on the bridge to capture the moment and I tried to stay standing up straight. Poor Austin tried to get an artistic serious picture from us and I just couldn’t do it. I could barely stand still, much less, not smile.

screaming

We wrapped up and Jesse said that we should head to Common Grounds. At this point, I was happy to follow and not ask questions. Because my brother was there, I assumed that our parents would likely be at Common Grounds to celebrate with Jesse and I.

Getting into the car

My parents weren’t the only ones there. As we rounded the corner to walk into the patio at Common Grounds, I was stunned to see the patio filled with our closest friends and family. From my Pine Cove Towers friends, Forge family, Baylor besties (both in person and via skype) and the men of the Log Cabin, I was surrounded by the people who have been a part of my life for years. We’ve all celebrated every kind of life event together, and they were there to joyfully rejoice with us.

ALL the friends

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Becks

the girls

I’m not usually lost for words, but I was right then. Its a miracle that I didn’t shatter my phone, because I threw down my clutch as hard as I possibly could. Why? I have no idea. I didn’t know what to do with my hands. We spent the next hour or so sharing our story with friends, taking pictures, thanking people for coming and occasionally beaming at each other from across the room. I kept thinking, “I’m going to marry Jesse Garner. I will be his wife. This is really happening.”

CG

Wright_Garner_119

The setting could not have been more perfect. Common Grounds is more than just a coffee shop to me, so many pivotal life conversations happened over a Cowboy Coffee in that backyard while I was in college. Our friend, Blake, now owns Common Grounds and allowed our wonderful set-up crew to take over the patio to decorate the ceiling with paper airplanes and pictures of Jesse and I. It was a dream come true.

Melinders

Melinders2

Garners

Things died down eventually and it was just me, Jesse, Micah and Chris. We were about to head out but then Jesse pulled out a computer and noted that there was one thing we really needed to do.

Change our Facebook status. Of course.

Facebook official: we’re getting married.

posing

That’s just Friday night. WAIT until you hear about Saturday…

mission accomplished

Last year on January 1, I made one single, solitary goal for 2012:

finish a half-marathon

Even now I laugh a little bit thinking about what a ridiculous goal it was for me to make then. At that point, I’d never even run a 5K… much less 13.1 miles. The idea was daunting to me and I didn’t even know where to begin.

However, I didn’t begin training then. The story begins further back in 2010 when I was a Forge student. As a class we spent time every morning training together in a variety of ways. Sometimes it was strength training, sometimes long runs, sometimes seemingly endless repetitions of lunges. I hated every minute. I never grew to love it and always felt weak. Those workouts ended in tears for me more often than not. As an over-achiever I struggled through the shame of feeling like a failure every single day. In my mind I heard,

“Lacey. You will not be the best at this, no matter how hard you try. Even at your best, you’ll probably be last. So why keep trying?”

The thing is… I didn’t have a choice. Those group workouts were going to happen every single day, whether I liked it or not. I learned that discipline has everything to do with obedience and very little do with how we feel. In a culture that puts ultimate value on happiness and how we emotionally respond to our circumstances, obedience isn’t very appealing.

Let’s fast forward a bit.

In 2011 I moved to Tyler to work at a local church and became friends with Jenny. She encouraged me to try a Body Combat class at a local gym. I hesitantly went to that first class fearful that every person there would know I was a poser, a fitness failure and would be roundhouse kicked right out of there. To my surprise, I loved the class and couldn’t wait to go back. I wasn’t very good at it… but the instructors were so fun and the other women were so nice, I was hooked.

As I started to go to classes consistently, I saw myself getting stronger bit by bit. My endurance grew and I began to enjoy (GASP!) the adrenaline rush of pushing through a tough set at Body Pump. That’s when the half marathon goal became less of a dreamy fog and more of a reality. I could train… if I decided to.

In April, Jenny ran an Olympic-length Triathlon (I KNOW… she’s a beast) and I offered to run the 10K leg at the end with her. I needed a goal and needed to prove to myself that I could train to run, even though I never really had in the past. Training for a 10K wasn’t awful at all. When I felt myself lag I could hear my Matt (my Forge director), in my head saying, “You can always push yourself a little bit further than you think you can… you’ll be surprised at what you are really capable of if you work harder.” I didn’t really listen when I was a Forge student, but those words kept me going a year later when I felt like I couldn’t run any further. It always surprised me that if I pushed a little further, untapped bursts of energy were sure to follow.

10K with Jenny

With the 10K under my belt, I knew that the half was possible. Now I needed to choose a race. I waited and waited and WAITED thinking that I would want to do the White Rock half, but all the while hoping that a fun group would decide to run a half together. In September, my friend Chelsea posted on her blog asking others to join in the fun for the BCS half marathon in December. I knew this was it. The other girls who were training are all so joyful, encouraging and FUN to be around, I couldn’t ask for a better circumstance for my first half marathon.

Training was difficult for a number of reasons. I chose to do a 21 day sugar detox in October, which zapped a lot of my energy at the start. Also, I strained a muscle and did some physical therapy through Airrosti, which made me nervous to keep running. However, Airrosti’s goal is for you to keep training while healing, so I didn’t slow down much. If you’re struggling with a sports injury, I’d highly recommend an Airrosti clinic!

Airrosti

hooray for Airrosti! You too can look like you belong in Tron!

December 9 was approaching so quickly and every time I thought about it I was sick to my stomach. I just didn’t feel ready. All sorts of “should’ves” were rolling around in my head. I should’ve trained harder. I should be running faster. I should be eating Paleo. I should… WAIT STOP STOP STOP. Should is probably my least favorite word ever. I thought back to the lessons I learned during the Forge. I was not going to be the fastest. I probably would finish last in our group. I wasn’t going to be the best… but that shouldn’t stop me from choosing to run anyway. Finishing last wasn’t a failure. Choosing to succumb to my fear would be, though.

crazy eyes = "WHAT AM I THINKING???"

crazy eyes = “WHAT AM I THINKING???”

Race weekend came and I was super excited/nervous/stressed/ready to GET THIS OVER WITH. Our group caravanned down to College Station, ate an excellent dinner, watched Johnny Football win the Heisman (while in C-Stat, cray), then got ready for  an early morning while our incredible friends made posters to inspire us along the route.

nothing says friendship quite like glitter posters of encouragement

nothing says friendship quite like glitter posters of encouragement

I couldn’t fall asleep until about 3 am that night and woke up at 5:30 am to get ready for the race. Nerves + excitement mean sleepless nights for me. Ate a banana and a bagel, loaded up the car and headed to the race! As we walked closer and closer to the starting line I got more excited. There were so many PEOPLE! It was like a party… for running. Never did I ever think I’d be there, with a number on my tank about to run for a few hours. NERVOUS NERVOUS NERVOUS. We got all our gear together, a quick good luck kiss from my man, gun fired and we were off!

We're off!

totes official… right?!

I run alone. Always. I just don’t like running with people… right now. That will probably change as I train better and get more comfortable running. However, that day was different. My friend Kyndell didn’t train for the race but decided to run a good bit of it with me. For the first four miles Kyndell and I pounded pavement alongside each other in silence and IT WAS AWESOME. I really don’t know if I would’ve enjoyed the race as much as I did if Kyndell hadn’t been with me. We didn’t talk, but it was so nice just to have a buddy there. KK, you were a huge part of my success that day. Thanks for coming alongside me.

Kyndell

Kyndell gave me the expert tip to make sure and smile at every camera along the way. The important things, you know?

Eventually I got bored with the race environment and cranked up the running playlist. Lately I’ve been obsessed with When Can I See You Again? by Owl City. It has a great pulse and just makes me happy. The playlist kept me going for the last half of the race, no repeats and LOTS of singing along.. out loud. It’s funny how anything feels socially acceptable when you’re struggling to just keep going.

As I rounded the corner for the finish I got really emotional. It was done. I didn’t walk throughout the race and I was about to finish. Everyone said that you get a rush of strength right at the end and boy… did I ever. Those last 50 yards or so were the fastest I’ve ever run. A full out sprint to the finish and it felt so good.

feet away from the finish... smile gone, only determination left.

feet away from the finish… headphones in hand. I wanted to take in every bit of that moment without Rihanna singing in my ears.

We did it!

We did it!

We were all pretty relieved to be done. I really couldn’t have asked for a more fun group of girls to do this race with. I’m also pretty glad that they share the same medal philosophy as I do. How often in life do you get to wear a medal? NEVER. Except for race day. That day, you wear your medal to breakfast and Starbucks and even while napping on the car ride home. It’s medal day.

I learned a lot about coming alongside while training for this race. Thinking even as far back as the Forge, this journey hasn’t been one that I did alone, really ever. While at the Forge I had brothers and sisters urging me to the top of mountains (literally). My dear friend Jenny coming alongside me to sweat it out in Body Combat and then to share the end of the tri together. I had Kyndell run the first third of the half with me. And of course, this guy:

jesse

Jesse taught me a lot about coming alongside, without ever running a mile with me. He traveled to Marble Falls for the 10K, and gave up an entire weekend to hang with a LOT of girls, make signs and cheer for me at the half. I mean, he even chased me down to hand off my inhaler at mile 4 (I’M SO COOL I KNOW). He drove me all the way back home after the race because I was seriously crashing. When I got bored of training and wanted to skip workouts he would gently remind me that the half was coming, whether I trained for it or not. THAT was exactly what I needed. Far too often I can excuse my way out of anything, but he was there to remind me of truth. The race was going to happen, it was up to me to decide how I was going to do it.

Someone who comes alongside doesn’t stay in one place. There’s forward motion. My Forge class, Jenny, Kyndell and Jesse all urged me to keep moving forward. Sometimes at a comfortable pace, other times at a pace that stretched me and frustrated me… but always with someone beside me.

It’s January 1 again and I’m sure that you are thinking of the year ahead. Maybe you have list of formal goals with benchmarks and strategies to accomplish them, or like me last year, you have a single, solitary goal in mind. Whatever the case, I wonder, who is coming alongside you? Who will urge you to move forward and speak truth, even when it’s frustrating? Look around, in whatever area you are moving forward, I bet there’s someone who will walk, sprint, jog or simply cheer beside you.

Looking ahead to 2013:

conditioning- to train or accustom (someone or something) to behave in a certain way or to accept certain circumstances.

but more on that later… 

Day 24: Detox complete. The real work begins now.

I could pick no better place to cap off the 21 Day Sugar Detox than at a wedding. If you’ve been following my blog over the last few months, you know that I’ve been a guest at MANY weddings this summer. Sunday night was the last one on the calendar this year and I was excited about getting to celebrate with some good friends at a beautiful venue.

They couldn’t have planned better weather for an outdoor ceremony and barn reception.

I planned to eat detox friendly at the wedding if possible, but knew going into it that it might not be possible. When I looked at the buffet line and realized the only thing I could eat were carrots and cheese I decided right then… detox over. It’s celebration time! That whole night was really fun. I had a delicious cupcake and coffee (with creamer! The angels sing!) AND a root beer. That was probably a bad idea, but it sounded so delicious in the moment.

I was a bit excited…

We danced the cupid shuffle for the eleventy billionth time this year and I recalled YET AGAIN that I always feel ridiculous doing the wobble (real version, not Pine Cove version). My handsome date loves to dance and is a great reminder to just laugh and not take myself so seriously… a wonderful thing to remember from time to time. Sometimes you should just wobble.

I felt totally fine that night but woke up CRAVING sugar since my blood sugar had spiked so violently the night before. What did I do? GO FOR IT. That’s what I did.

Let me tell you, this girl loves some kolaches. Shipley’s donuts will forever and always make me think of Saturday mornings after a sleepover when my daddy would get up early and pick up those heavenly boxes of donuts for everyone. It’s a nostalgia thing… not a “I WANT THOSE CARBS IN MY BELLY” thing… right?
The donut festival sent me into a downward spiral for the day. Sugar hit after sugar hit to keep me going, and BOY could I tell that my body was freaking out. I woke up several times throughout the night and felt horrible the next morning. Sugar hangover, baby.

Yesterday I ate sugar-free for most of the day without even trying. It just sounded better. When I got home I didn’t have a plan for dinner (I should probably take advice from my own blog and plan better), so I indulged in some fast food and Reese’s pumpkins for dinner. Another sugar spike that didn’t feel so great about an hour later.

While I was on the detox I remember thinking multiple times, “If I could just have A BITE of cake, I really think that would satisfy my craving” or “A tiny bit of cream and sugar in my coffee would make ALL the difference in this day.” However, now that I don’t have a strict restriction and clear YES/NO list of what I absolutely should not eat… a bite or two simply doesn’t seem like enough. Last night I was going to eat one Reese’s pumpkin. It turned into many more than that. Really, one would’ve been fine… but because I could,did. 

This is the lesson I’m going to walk through now. I’ve learned so much in the last 24 days. I’ve learned about my personal discipline, lack of personal discipline, what motivates me and discourages me, what my body actually needs to function and how quickly temptation can consume you. Now, I choose whether or not to take the things I’ve learned and put them into practice.

Here’s where I’m at:

  • I love morning coffee. I absolutely don’t have to have it. I thought I was addicted, but it turns out I’m not. More often than not, I chose to just NOT drink coffee rather than drink it black. I missed coffee with cream and sugar more than any other thing while on the detox. You know what? I’m okay with that. Coffee is a fun thing to look forward to every morning. I just now also need to be mindful that because of that early morning sugar spike, I’m going to want a diet coke or candy around 10am every day. I now know that I can choose to tell my sugar spikes, “Sorry buddy… you’re just going to have to chill out” and not satiate them with more sugar.
  • I do need to eat dense carbs while training for the half. While my body didn’t feel awesome after “cheats,” my long runs were SO much easier. I wasn’t super careful about making sure to supplement with butternut squash and sweet potatoes on the detox since I was an “athlete in training,” (HA!) so when I was completely sugar-free for two weeks it made running really REALLY difficult. By the second mile I was wiped out and had to walk a lot. As I’m training I need to plan out my carb sources carefully.
  • I really didn’t miss rice, bread, pasta or grains at all. That SHOCKED me. I thought it would be so hard to say no but really… it was just inconvenient. This morning it’s nice to munch on some Crispix while I type and drink my coffee, but it’s not really necessary or even that filling. At restaurants I had to be a little creative and say no to tortilla chips (!!!!) but overall, that wasn’t very difficult. Again, just inconvenient. I think this will be an element of the detox that will stick around. There will be exceptions (like TACOS and PIZZA, occasionally) but for my day-to-day typical eating, cutting out those carbs really wasn’t that difficult. If the thought of going full-fledged detox seems a little crazy to you, then I’d recommend cutting refined carbs for 21 days instead! It’s a challenge, but really do-able.
  • Snacking is my biggest challenge and struggle. Meals are easy to plan for and decide exactly what I’m eating. It’s when I get home and have all the pantry at my fingertips that I get into trouble. My biggest temptations were candy, chips and soda… it’s like I’m a seventh grader. Having snack backups like nuts, cheese and a green apple on standby were my lifeline. Even though nuts are expensive, they are a worthwhile snack investment that I’ll continue to make.
  • Fruit is fine but shouldn’t be my go-to. Pre detox I would grab and apple or banana as my mid-morning snack almost every day. Fruit is great, but I have to know that it is going to spike my blood sugar and I WILL crave another sugar hit within an hour or two. If I know where those cravings are coming from it helps me to know what to do with them. AND LACEY THE ANSWER IS NOT COKE ZERO. Sometimes it can be Coke Zero. But not three in one day… okay?
  • I would absolutely do this again. I probably will. I’m already psyched about next time I do it because I will feel so much better prepared. I saw great results and my body felt better than it ever has (even with a few cheats). Next time I will plan it again in a season when I’m not traveling a lot and don’t have many events… that was a blessing. However, I think I would avoid a training season. Running was just too hard and protein shakes too devastating to eliminate.
  • Moving forward I plan to eat detox-friendly most of the time, but add back in fruit and my morning coffee. I’ll allow for a cheat meal occasionally, but not EVERY time I go out to eat (if you see me at Chuy’s tomorrow, you should know that is a PLANNED cheat meal that we’ve been looking forward to… okay?!).
  • Feel free to ask me how this is going. I need the accountability and Lord KNOWS I like to talk. I’m going to check-in after a week or two to let you know how things are going truly post-detox.
  • Many have asked, so I’ll just say it. Overall, I lost 7 lbs. Initially I lost a lot of weight really quickly, but then it balanced out a bit (and I cheated at the end). After three weeks, I’m pretty okay with that! I didn’t do this to lose weight, but to get my blood sugar in check. More than anything I noticed a HUGE difference in the way I felt and my clothes fit. I know that when I add back in fruit some of the weight is going to come back and I’m fine with that. Fruit isn’t bad.

Being a rules follower, lover and embracer, I liked how strict the 21 day sugar detox was. It was easy for me to know what was YES and NO very clearly. This is what is going to make moving forward difficult. Now, I don’t have a clear YES and NO. Now, it’s up to me to define what is good for me and not. Now, it will be really easy to justify with “it’s been a really long day… I just need a pick-me-up” or “I’ve been so good lately. I can definitely eat that dessert.”

“I need…” pops out of my mouth with the greatest of ease. But is that always true? I’m painfully learning to redefine what my needs really are when it comes to food, but I do the same thing in regards to my relationships, job and emotional security. Often I say, “well… I need for so-and-so to ______” but really, do I need that? Will it change who I am and what I’ve been called to? If it does, then WHOA it’s time to redefine where I’m getting my identity and security. There’s only one person I can go to who will actually meet my needs, because He knows them. I’m grateful to rest in that. Am I good at it? Heck no.

I’m still learning to put down the Pringles.

Day 19: Confession Booth

Well friends… I hate to admit it. I cheated.

not bigtime.
at first.

but you know how when I let something slide just a little bit, it’s THAT much easier to excuse other things?
yep.

I’m learning so much about myself though this whole thing, you guys. It’s like starting straight into a mirror that’s pointing out some of the scary sin patterns in my life

(uh oh, things just got real).

But really. Let’s talk about that for a second. The cheats started out really tiny. I accidentally ate two bananas one day. An honest mistake. Still a cheat, but an unknowing one. Then I took a bite of a roll when some friends came over. Felt pretty guilty about it. Next day, I had a few sips of a “no list” drink. THAT is when I really started to get into trouble. That cheat didn’t feel bad at all. No sting there and I just wanted more. Next day I went out to eat and said “yes” to a few things I shouldn’t have. And I was done after that. Nothing that night was a huge cheat and I ate SO much healthier than I did before starting the detox, but THAT is exactly how I justified it.

“One night of eating mashed potatoes and a few bites of creme brûlée isn’t going to be the end of you, Lacey. You can jump back on the band wagon tomorrow. And let’s be real, if you were REALLY jumping off here then you would eat an entire plate of pasta and a whole dessert to yourself. You’re doing a LOT better than you were.”

Um. Gross. Cheating is cheating, Lace.

After that meal (and really all I cheated with was a serving of mashed potatoes and three bites of dessert) I could IMMEDIATELY tell a difference. A sugar rush like I’ve never experienced in my life. It didn’t really hit until about an hour and a half later… but when it did, WHOA. I woke up that next morning with one thing on my mind: coffee. Specifically coffee laced with cream and sugar. My now-typical black was NOT going to cut it that morning. Or at least that’s what my brain was saying. I was slipping fast and needed to let my community know RIGHT THEN so they could stop me. Did I though? Nope. I was a little bit embarrassed that I had so easily given in and I didn’t want to tell them.

Isn’t that how it happens though? I can’t help but see the parallels to the ugliness in my life. Things that I KNOW shouldn’t be there, KNOW that I don’t need, KNOW are hurting me… yet I still come back to them like a child desperately longing for another cookie. I have trusted friends and mentors around me who know my weaknesses, my old sin patterns and the things about me that just aren’t Christ-like at all. I’m grateful for these people, but if I hide from them when I feel ashamed of ways I’ve failed… I give life to the lies and blind myself to truth.

The little things hurt a tiny bit when you begin, but its truly terrifying how easy it is to justify a big “cheat” to yourself when those little things go unseen, unheard and unaddressed by those who know you well. I wish I would’ve let my Detox buddies know what I was craving coffee that morning. Really, I wish I would’ve told them about the bite of a roll on Saturday.

If I had chosen courage to admit my shortcomings (no matter how little they seemed to me), then I have no doubt that my friends would been able to prevent the fallout that ensued the other night.

No one wins in BBQ Pringle Binge 2012.
No one.

Ten days ago I would’ve NEVER thought I would cheat for BBQ Pringles. Please. I’m so much stronger than that. Pringles are total trash, delicious trash that I LOVE… but still trash. Totally not on my radar for cheating. But “worthwhile” cheats cheapen things until eventually there you are, sitting on the couch with your second handful of Pringles and two Reese’s pumpkins waiting in the wings, audibly saying “I should NOT be doing this!” yet still popping another chip.

once you pop… the fun don’t stop, people. Crack-laden “potato” crisps.

A bummer of a lesson to learn, but I’m glad to stare it down right now.
What about you? Are you like me, hiding the “little” cheats from people who know you too well? Friend. Let me tell you, get that junk out of there right now and tell someone you trust that you need a buddy to help you recover from Pringle Binge 2012. I’m not talking just healthy eating here, folks. What in your life is hidden away, so that no one can see? It might be time to bring it to the light, in a place you can trust.

The good news is: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hilll cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:14 ESV.
For those who trust in Christ, there is no condemnation. We have been given new identities as a new creations. In Matthew it says that we are the light of the world. Not “when you do the right thing you are the light of the world.” No. We are light. Just like salt can’t lose it’s saltiness, a light can’t be less of a light, intrinsically. It IS light. 

For believers in Christ, you are light. That won’t change. Don’t hide anymore… there is no condemnation, just forgiveness and grace. Gather your community around you and expose those tiny cheats that will bring you down.

Maybe you’re reading this and you been making it quite fine on your own without faith. Maybe the things you’d rather keep hidden are bigger than you think anyone could ever redeem. The truth is, if you are exhausted of hefting around things that are too big for you to carry anymore, there is perfect love available that will cast out fear and free you from the things that seem to trap you.

Perfect love. It casts out fear and can’t be found anywhere other than through Christ.
Today, I’m grateful for the reminder of this good news for my Pringle-lovin’ soul.

 

highlight: jumping back on the bandwagon tonight with a really yummy, detox-friendly dinner
lowpoint: diet coke yesterday. The sugar cravings took over. 

Day 9: baby carrots and the discipline of planning

You know that kid on Charlie Brown who carries around his security blanket all the time?

I have become this child.

My security blanket is not fluffy and nice for napping though. Everywhere I go lately, a bag of baby carrots and a sack of almonds is sure to be close at hand. I found two snack bags in my car this morning and another one in my purse. Got to work and there’s another on my desk.

That’s right folks, it’s day NINE and I’m still chugging along. It has NOT been easy, let me tell you. Although the logistical timing of this 21 day detox worked out nicely, I did not factor in FALL TREATS. The wide variety of delicious things to eat during the month of October is going to make this really difficult. Between Halloween candy, pumpkin deliciousness and the fact that it’s cool now and I just want to drink coffee all day long… temptations abound. The first week was really hard. I learned the hard way one day that you shouldn’t allow yourself to get even close to hungry while on this plan. Once I realized I was hungry, before I could even get to some food my energy was zapped. I feel like I’m eating all day, everyday. Except, I’m eating whole red pepper instead of the delicious muffins that seems to ALWAYS be at the church.

Biggest lesson I’ve learned so far: discipline takes planning. I do not consider myself a disciplined person at all. EVER. I so wish I was the girl that could wake up every morning at 5:30, ready to run three miles and then enjoy a delicious egg white omelet. I wish budgeting every month came naturally. I REALLY wish I only spent a few minutes browsing Pinterest rather than perusing for hours. Unfortunately I am human and don’t get to control my natural discipline factor. HOWEVER. We can train ourselves and put things in practice to be more disciplined. A huge part of that is planning. If I don’t have something pre-packed for lunch while on this detox, I’m in serious trouble. My fast food options are really limited. If I don’t look ahead on my calendar and realize that I will be at two fall parties with lots of delicious treats and make sure to grab my carrots/almonds security blanket… then I’m going down. If I’m going to actually eat enough in the day to not get super hungry, it takes a LOT more groceries and a LOT LOT LOT more produce chopping than before. For some reason, I’ve become super determined to not give up. I’m almost halfway through and I’m more than willing to do that planning necessary.

What else in my life is lacking discipline that could use a little planning? Simple things might make the biggest difference. I try to get to the gym consistently but with half marathon training, my schedule is a little thrown. What if I made a plan for the week rather than doing my usual, “well, I’ll see how I feel after work.” FALSE. WRONG-O. DON’T EVEN KID YOURSELF LACEY. I never FEEL like going to the gym, but if it’s planned out and the gym bag is in my car, then I have no excuse. I’d love to get up early so I have time to make my bed, read my bible and see my roommates. Know what that means? I should probably plan a bedtime ahead of time rather than just falling into bed when I get bored of Pinterest and Friends reruns.

What about you? What do you pre-plan in your life that leads to more disciplined habits?

lowpoint: saying no to ALL THE PUMPKIN THINGS at a fun fall party this weekend. I hid in another room the whole time.
highlight: I’m almost 10 lbs. lighter already. HOLLA. 

Day 2: shlumpy

heeeyyooooo.

let’s chat.

Sugar gives you energy. Welllll… like, fake energy. It makes you feel awesome and all “I can conquer the world!!”
then it rejects you an hour later and is all “ha, ha SUCKER. Now you just want me more.”
I’m feeling the rough reality of this today.

Usually I’m all like:

 

thanks to hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com for being hilarious

but today I’m all:

also hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com, y’all she’s far funnier than me

for real.
I’m feeling a little shlumpy. Shlumpy? You know… kind of… SHLUMPY.
That’s all there is to it. Not bad. Just “bleeh.”

I LOATHE bananas. LOATHING. You can ask roomie Emily. They are for sure on my T5 “things I will NOT be snacking on today” list. However, today I looked forward to my banana snack with such glittery, shiny hope you would’ve thought that someone had promised me a really big cookie.
I’m already excited about tomorrow’s banana snack. I’m going for the fake-out soft serve by freezing a banana and then sticking it in the food processor. I can’t wait.

Let’s talk day one. It really wasn’t too bad…

Until 3 o’clock. HOLY COW. It was like someone took all of my pizazz and put it in a box and then put that box inside of another box… and mailed it to Yzma, who smashed it with a hammer (Emperor’s New Groove, hello?!).
Then I grabbed a green apple (we’re allowed a green apple OR a banana everyday) with some almond butter and went for a run. Boom baby. Back in action.

So far, it hasn’t been too difficult to find things that I can eat that fit within the constraints, the trouble is finding things that I WANT to eat.

Today’s win was: Spaghetti Squash Casserole from RealSimple.com
It wins because it was covered in cheese. DUH. Everything is better covered in cheese. That part doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, but I’m not going to abuse the cheese thing. Gross.

Last night I went to bed completely EXHAUSTED. Today is not nearly as bad. Probably because I didn’t run today.
Tomorrow. Day 3.
1/7 of the way there.

highlight: how incredibly delightful the spaghetti squash cheese masterpiece smelled coming out of the oven.
lowpoint: seeing that International Delight has now released their Pumpkin Spice flavored creamer into the world for the fall. I may or may not have thrown a personal pity party in the middle of Wal-Mart. 

 

Day 1: Coffee with no sugar

I’m sitting next to a cup of coffee with no cream and no sugar. This is madness.
Why, you ask?

Today I’m starting an adventure with two of my dearest friends… but we aren’t going anywhere. No, today we are beginning the 21 Day Sugar Detox. I know, I KNOW… detoxes are ever-so-trendy right now and don’t produce a lot of results usually. This one doesn’t require me to drink only juice for the next 90 days, or eat weird combinations of cinnamon and cayenne pepper. We’re just cutting out all sugar for the next 21 days.

“Um. Lacey. Are you sure that’s going to be a great idea? Brownies and Andy’s Frozen Custard are your two major food groups.”

BINGO. I have a sneaking suspicion that if I cut out my sugar cravings altogether, then what I eat will begin to balance out.

I’m feeling a little bit nervous today, but excited for my body to feel a lot better soon. Here’s the deal. I’m going to blog a little bit about this as I go along for two reasons:

  1. If I’m writing about this publicly, then it will be much harder for me to tap out when I get bored/frustrated/DESPERATE FOR PUMPKIN PIE CONCRETES
  2. Maybe you’ve thought of jump starting into better eating habits too. If I can do this and it helps… I think anyone can do it. I’m the sugar queen, y’all.

SO. Here we go.

Want to find out more about the program we are following? Check out: 21 Day Sugar Detox