Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Never Say Never...

Yesterday I did something I said I never would do...cooked a whole chicken!

I know, of all the things I could swear against for my whole life, I picked preparing, cooking, and disassembling an entire chicken. Hear me out... it's gross! I don't really like touch raw meat, but add to it removing that unnatural sack from the "cavity," separating the skin from the meat, and rubbing the thing down with spices. DISGUSTING!

But, I found this recipe and it looked too good to not try (especially with this whole 7 thing). I was going to wait until later this month to give it a try considering I'm fearful of getting bored and needing some new, exciting recipes in my life. But, Courtney wisely spoke up and said "but what if you really like it?!" That plus the fact that I was at the grocery store, brought this creation to fruition a tad earlier than I had planned. Am I ever sure it did!

It's so crazy easy.

Buy a chicken (make sure it's small enough to fit in your crock pot)
Rinse it
Remove that weird thingy from the cavity
Jam peeled whole garlic cloves in between under the skin
Rub on desired spices
Place in crock pot on top of three balls of foil
Remove 8 hours later

Seriously... it's that crazy easy!!

This will happen again. And, probably become a go to to take to friends who just had a baby or after funeral.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Weekend

This weekend was going to prove difficult to stay on task with 7. My parents came to town Saturday to celebrate my 30th and Monday was memorial day. By God's grace, it wasn't so bad.

As my parents walked in my apartment I noticed my mom was carrying some food and I got nervous. I hadn't told them about 7 so they had no clue the crazy they were walking into. We didn't mention anything and got straight to work doing some random apartment projects I needed help with. After awhile we headed to the Bottleworks. I made the mistake of saying billy goat chips are really good so my mom ordered an appetizer of them. While we waited for our food, I told them about 7 with a lack luster response. The billy goat chips came and I moved them over to my parents so they were out of reach and I managed to not have a single chip... and not really miss them either! Our food came; I got a chicken sandwich (minus the bread and cheese) with a side of sauteed spinach. It was okay. Not what I would have ordered normally. But, it was okay. When we sat down, my mom mentioned we were celebrating my birthday so the waiter said there would be something special for me. He must have noticed my eating habits because when he took my plate he asked if I wanted my dessert. I said I wouldn't eat it, but that my parents would. Once again, what came wasn't that tempting... 

I mean... it looked better than in the picture and if I wasn't doing 7 I  would have gobbled down 1/3 of it at least! My parents ate it and said it was really, really sweet. They kept saying how they'd just have one more bite, if they could get one without sauce. It was nearly gone when we left the table. 

We headed back to my apartment for a couple more little projects. My mom brought stuff to make DIY hand lotion and her apple peeler so I could make apple sause. Turns out this apple sauce was amazing!

Simply peel and slice 12 or so apples add 1/2 cup of water and spices (I only had cinnamon and nutmeg, but the recipe also called for honey, ginger and cloves) into your crock pot. Leave it on low for 4-6 hours; then mash and let cool (if you can wait that long). I kept thinking how good the pre-mashed apples would taste over a scoop of vanilla ice cream! She left the apple peeler so this will happen again very soon!!

Then it was time for birthday cake! She baked me a birthday cake and how do you pass up on a cake someone has personally made for your special day. Actually, it's kind of easy "thanks, unfortunately, I can't eat any." Of course, that brought on other comments "surely you can have a piece of your own birthday cake!" "I did... on my birthday." "Well, if you aren't going to have a piece, at least you could have a little icing." "no, I'm good." Seriously...icing?!

These comments kind of got me thinking. My food sin seems to be a generational sin in my family. I learned how to misuse food while growing up. While often the shame and hiding of food is from my past also my thoughts and actions are from the same source. If I've learned these behaviors, the good news is, I can learn other behaviors! Getting to see and hear these excuses and thought patterns is extremely helpful in overcoming and repenting of this sin!

My parents left and soon came Memorial Day. After going back and forth on what to do, I ended up with my old roommate just hanging out. We grilled out, which was crazy easy to do and still be 7 proof. But, man did I want one of her blue cheese stuffed burgers. I did eat my chicken on a bun with BBQ sauce. I checked the ingredients of the buns and all the flour was whole wheat so I declared it 7 worthy... and BBQ sauce... it's a condiment people... allowable!

But, sitting there I just wanted to eat more. Again, I didn't know what I wanted; maybe it was Memorial Day, maybe it was watching episode after episode of trashy reality tv. We both laughed when I grabbed a cold grilled chicken breast out of the fridge and ate it. Luckily, she declared the same thing... we just wanted to eat. What is with that?! Why is my default to just eat?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Yesterday... the day that sucked

Oh man! Yesterday was rough! I have no clue what happened, but I was angry at the choices I had for food. I just wanted to eat... anything!

After opening my refrigerator about 5 million times I finally stopped and thought about what I actually wanted. Come to find out... I had no clue. Nothing in or outside the list sounded like something I was craving, but I just wanted it all. Finally I decided I wanted something crunchy. Crunchy is a little hard to come by. I mean, sure an apple is crispy, but just not close enough to crunchy as I was looking. Inspiration hit and I found my saving grace...

Yea... I'm pretty sure baked whole wheat tortillas and make-due guacamole will be my saving grace throughout the next 20 or so days. True, I need to work on my baking skills, but man did that hit the spot.

Trouble was... I still wanted something more. I ate an apple as I considered my other options. First option, text one of my lovely, super supportive friends with a "this sucks" message. Sure enough, she was feeling it too. That got me through till it was time to meet my other lovely, super supportive friends for our weekly walk. We walked and talked about 7 and about life. After the walk I ended up back at home and baking a chicken breast before an impromptu walk with my texting friend from above.

I've dealt with food issues for a long time my whole life and I finally see how much shame I hold towards myself. Come to find out, shame is an overarching theme for me. Once I realized this I had no clue how to address it; specifically how to have accountability. See, anytime I would publicly say, I'm "on a diet" or "I'm watching what I eat" all of a sudden I'm 12 years old again in my parents kitchen knowing/thinking all eyes were on my plate and what I was eating. It sets off an almost panic in me of shame and self-conscienceness. And, not the good 'I'm conscience of what I eat,' but a 'I have to run and hide' mentality.

Seven has been different so far. Probably because it's not about simply "watching what I'm eating" or losing weight. It's about simplifying, being grateful for all that God has given me, being aware of the wealth I have. It's all these things, but so much more. It delves into the spiritual side where words are hard to explain (or at least for a different post).

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Day 4

I'm four days into 7 and each day gets easier and easier. Seriously... Sunday was kind of miserable. I went to a birthday party where they had tons of food and an oh-so-delicious cake (or so I was told). After the birthday party I went to a friends house where they ordered pizza and made margaritas. I had thought ahead and packed my own dinner, but it was still sad to eat a plain chicken breast and feel like the odd ball, weirdo. Luckily I have the absolute best community around me who love, support and are excited for me! But, then came the margaritas! Not only can I not have them because of 7, but also because of marathon training. They offered ice chips and a smashed banana over ice chips, but that didn't seem to appetizing.

side note: Sunday we played what was the most hysterical game of catch phrase I have ever played in my entire life!! Guesses included: "If you want to know something you..." "ask an old person!" "NO! You want to find an answer so you ask a..." "TEACHER!" As I gave these fabulous clues the opposite team laughed hysterically at my teams ignorance. Or this one... "it eats carrots..." "rabbit" "yes, but bigger" "Umm....." times up... answer: horse. "True a horse does eat carrots, but it wouldn't ever be the first thing I think of when I think of what eats carrots!"

After Sunday I didn't have high hopes for enjoying the rest of the 29 days of this challenge. Especially considering Monday morning I walked into the office and saw these...

Oh man... if you've never had The Cakery cookie cake, go and repent right now! They are fabulous!! Normally I would have immediately partook in the yumminess of these fabulous sugary treats. But, cookies didn't exactly make the 7 list (I'd really like to have a word with Jen Hatmaker about that actually). So I passed and actually was able to still work at the office with them right next door without too much of a problem.

Every day since then has gotten a tad easier. I'm slightly enjoying the simplicity and ease of it all. There's no worrying about what's for dinner, meal planning, debating if I should eat this or that, etc. Also, it's springs up creativity and ingenuity... what can I do with these few ingredients. How can I make plain chicken exciting? Let's actually not be afraid of cooking a whole chicken!

We'll see how day 7 goes as I head out to eat for the first time and have to explain to my parent what the heck I'm doing!

Also, on day 4 I pinched a nerve in my neck. It hurts very much badly and I'm trying to determine if running 3 miles would be a good or bad decision. Maybe a compromise and a walk is in order...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Always before me...

I have a feeling this Chicago Marathon thing is going to take over my life in much the same way the Disney Princess Half Marathon did. For example, my chalk board wall in my living room is now sporting my training schedule. I'm excited to watch as I mark through each run and make my way to the 26.2.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Starting Line

Today marks the beginning of several different challenges for me all loosely wrapped around the fact that today I cross the start line for the Chicago Marathon. Hopefully on October 17 around 2 pm I'll be crossing the finish line. But, the race officially begins today.

Let me go on the record and say, I'm completely unsure I'm able to do this. 26.2 miles is a freaking long ways!! Most St. Louisans refuse to drive that far... to prove my point:

point... proven.

Not only am I starting the Chicago Marathon today, but another challenge...Seven.

Recently I read this book. ---------->

It's a good, yet quick read on excess. I'll spare you a full review and just say it's convicting and a little over the top. I don't believe I live a life of crazy excess; however, that's all very relative considering I live among the richest people in the world.

The first chapter of Jen Hatmaker's book deals with the excess of food. I have major sin issues with food. I sin with food probably more than in any other area of my life. It's evident in my waist size.

I had already decided to cut out all sweets (excluding fruit's natural sweetness) and alcohol during marathon training. But, after reading this book I kicked the challenge up a notch and added 7 to the challenge list (still debating the other areas outside of food). I'm never one to back down from a challenge; however, I am one to con my friends into doing it with me and spend a week completely indulging sinning in preparation for a fast.

Starting today, my friend Laura and I start 7 and my lovely friend Courtney sacrifices sweets and alcohol in support of my training.

Here is the basic principles behind 7. We live in a culture where it is completely and totally acceptable, rather praised, to accumulate stuff. Whatever it is, we want more. Yet, through the entire Bible, we are told this world is temporary, do not store up earthly things, etc. etc. Naturally, if we are following these commands, our closets (and refrigerators) should look significantly different than our yet-believing friends next door. Therefore, 7 reorients our lives to that end. For food this means we will pick 7 items for 30 days to eat. Nothing more.

Here's the list:

Okay... Okay... I know... there are actually 8 items there. And, yes, in a lesson on excess, I added an item. Hear me out. I NEED bananas when I run. It might be a comfort thing, but really I hate getting charlie horses and they stop those from happening. And, really the heart of 7 is to reduce excess and discipline our bodies to live simply in order to glorify God. I think I can still do that with 8 items.

Jen Hatmaker (the author of 7) did a bunch of research and found that these 7 items (chicken, eggs, apples, avocados, spinach, sweet potatoes, and whole wheat bread) packed the most and necessary nutrients our bodies need so we're going off of her research and list.

However, she also limited herself to only a very small amount of olive oil, salt, and pepper. That seemed a bit over the top for us so we are allowing spices and some condiments (lemon and limes). I am also holding a loose definition of "whole wheat bread" to "whole wheat bread like substances." It would be extremely abnormal for me to buy a loaf of bread, rather my diet consists of whole wheat tortillas and whole wheat english muffins. Laura is out doing me here and only eating Ezekiel bread... overachiever!

I'm prepared for this to be extremely challenging specifically during social events and eating out. Already wondering how I'll navigate this afternoon's child's birthday party, next weekend's parents visit, community group meetings/outings, staff meeting/event, and a day trip with friends... I'm up for the challenge!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Today I turn 30!

According to the world (and my brother), I should be absolutely freaking out about getting older. Honestly,  I've always viewed myself as older than I really am. For the last year when someone asked how old I was, I would automatically answer 30; then do an awkward stumbling thing and reply... "I'm really just 29, I shouldn't add that extra year should I?!"

When I think about where I thought my life would be at 30, I am no where close to where I thought I'd be. Under no circumstances did I think I would be single, living in a small, one bedroom apartment in the city, and working paycheck to paycheck. At the same time, my plan for my life wasn't all that great though. During my 29th year of life I did some pretty awesome things...

1. Got yelled at for lying about my age while my great friend prayed over me. "Everyone says they are 29!" "But, one year in your life you are actually 29 and that year happens to be this one for me!"

2. Exhausted myself while serving in Joplin, making amazing lifelong friends in the process.

3. Saw U2 live in Chicago

4. Moved back to the city

5. Joined what turned out to be the best Community Group I've every lead/been a part of.

6. Ran the Mo' Cowbell, Abraham Lincoln, and Indy Mini Half Marathons. Registered for the Chicago Marathon.

7. Traveled to Austin, KC, Joplin, Chicago (multiple times), and Memphis.

8. Became an aunt for the first time.

9. Started sewing and crocheting again.

10. Learned sewing was a lot more fun when Grandma did half of it.

It's been a good year!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Indy Mini

Who ever came up with the term "mini" to describe a half marathon has no clue what he's talking about! There is absolutely nothing "mini" about the Indy mini-marathon.

I get obsessed about the weather for half marathons about a week before they actually occur. And, it wasn't looking good for Indy this weekend. Luckily, the storms didn't come to fruition and with this forecast the day before I thought it was going to be perfect...

...I was wrong! It was blistering hot!!

After slowly making our way to the start line (30 minutes after the race started). We were on our way...slowly. This was my 8th half marathon and by far the hardest! I knew going into it it was the largest half marathon in the country, but I wasn't prepared for the massive amount of people on the streets. I literally couldn't run. I couldn't get focused. I couldn't get into a rhythm. Finally around mile 6 or so I just gave up. I wasn't going to PR and I was going to walk the rest. Actually, for some strange reason I was okay with this.

About half way through the speedway or so, my friend caught up with me. I figured this would happen and was really happy about it. Especially considering this meant I got this picture!!

Apparently kissing the bricks is an Indy tradition for all winners... and shoot... we are all winners!!

Around this time is when a guy literally passed out right beside us. It was well in the 80s at this point and we'd been out there for over 2 hours. After him there were people all over getting attention from medics. We pushed through and walked our way to the end.

We decided to never do half marathons over 20,000 registrants and only in March/April and Sept/Oct/Dec.

I really have no clue what I'm going to do during the Chicago full! Is it as bad as this?!