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I used to have such an incredible memory. If you asked me what I wore last week, the meals I ate or what the conversation was about that we had last Tuesday, I could tell you every detail right down to the last vegetable on my plate. You think I am kidding? I had a steel trap for a brain! It was a gift really. I loved being able to be the one to give you the meaningless details of things or answer a question that no one else could remember. Then I heard this crazy story… that when you started having kids you start to get “the mommy brain.” What? I couldn’t help but laugh and think that it was the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard, mommy brain, that’s hilarious! I went on about my life. A little while later I had my son, still not considering this crazy story as a reality. Well I have a little secret for you… it’s for real! All you moms out there are probably laughing because you were waiting for that confession, if you aren’t laughing it’s because you haven’t experienced it yet!

Here’s the thing, I don’t think that it is a 24-hour kind of deal. It’s more like this…we have so much on our minds as we worry about everyone else in the family that we start to forget where our sunglasses are… and then magically they turn up PB&Jon top of our head. I  look at it as the tiny details are blurred in the picture and eventually they come into focus, but it may take a while. My most recent encounter with this was just the other day. I was having a lovely lunch with my friend from work. This particular day I had packed a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and used my sons spider-man sandwich container (that’s right spider-man). We finished our lunch and went on about our day. That is until about 11:00 pm that night when my eyes popped open and I realized that I had thrown away the spider-man container! Agh! Let me tell you I was so frustrated with myself! It took me forever to go back to sleep. The next morning I told my friend what happened and so we went pilfering through the trash can with kitchen tongs (I know it’s kinda gross, but it was a tiny trash can so we had to see if it was there!). And guess what… there it was!

Don’t worry it has been washed…several times!

I honestly have to say that this was something I never expected as a mom. I figured my steel trap would be with me forever. I guess that I was wrong about that, but I am okay with it because the blessing of my son is well worth it! There is something to say about moms, we are constantly serving our families, and sometimes we just don’t think about the small details of a sandwich container. The good thing is we can laugh about these little moments!

How is your mommy brain treating you today?

 

This article I wrote for a guest blog on EpicParent.tv. Head on over and check them out! 

Photo Credit: Shawn Carpenter
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I would be just fine if I didn’t eat another sweet potato until Thanksgiving, I’m just saying.

There are only so many ways that you can make a sweet potato… baked, french fries, hash-browns, and that pretty much sums it up. Think about it, what else can you really do with it (besides making it into a pie). Well the past couple weeks I was fasting by only eating seven different foods and sweet potato was one of my items. Everything was going smoothly and I had no complaints until about four days into the fast. Between the items that I had picked for the month I didn’t really have much option of sugars, besides an apple, as well as the drastic decrease of calorie intake I began to have some issues. My blood sugar dropped and I wasn’t eating enough calories in the day to even get me enough energy. So I made the executive decision to swap some items out for bread and strawberries to meet the needs that my body was lacking. But with all the switching of ingredients the sweet potato stayed. Ugh! I have a love/hate relationship with that vegetable! You see I have always enjoyed a good slice of sweet potato pie, or give me a big scoop topped with marshmallows and brown sugar for Thanksgiving! However, when I am eating them every other day without the delicious marshmallows I began to realize that I just do not care for them as much as I had thought.

I would love to say that this month I used each repetitive meal as an opportunity to be more grateful. I’ll be honest with you, that was not the case. I found myself complaining about my meals- the texture, I am so sick of the mushy texture! It would be so nice to eat something that doesn’t need so much effort to make. UGH, I am so SICK of sweet potatoes! I even found myself wanting to end the fast because I “never” learn from food fasts. All I wanted was to prove this thought so that I could eat something for dinner other than the same thing I had eaten for breakfast and lunch. Then it hit me- WOW, I have a terrible attitude! Within one week God brought it to my attention that I needed to work on my attitude, more specifically He told me to be more positive in my current circumstance. I don’t know about you, but when I hear the same thing from God three different times within a matter of five days I assume it safe to believe that this is a lesson God is really wanting me to learn!

Confession: when I learned that God wanted me to be more positive I still had about a week left of the fast. I tried to reason that since I had learned what God was showing me I was now able to end the fast early.

Not my finest hour.

Then I was humbled by my husbands response. “Maybe you learned the lesson a week early so you could spend the next seven days of the fast implementing the positive attitude.”

Wow!

So that is what I did, I spent the next week eating my fast friendly foods and praying constantly for God to transform my attitude. And He did! I have to say that it was an amazing week, I could actually feel God’s presence as he helped me change the way I thought and how I looked at the rest of my fast. It has even carried over since the fast has ended. Now when I am in a frustrating situation my mind has started looking for the positive.

Truthfully I love this lesson that God gave me because who couldn’t use an extra dose of positive some days!

Photo Credit: Marie Kare

It’s time for my third month of fasting, and that means I am going to be having withdrawals from coffee, ice cream and chocolate. Yes that’s right, you guessed it, I am going to be doing a food fast. There are so many ways to do this month but since I was inspired by Jen Hatmaker’s book 7, to even do these seven months of fasting I plan to do a similar fast as hers. What this will look like is only have seven different items that I am allowed to eat. No that does not mean that I only get to eat seven times. What it means is just that I am picking seven ingredients (excluding salt/pepper and extra virgin olive oil) and those are the things that I will have to make my meals with. So what are my choices?

  1. Baby spinach

    My favorite chocolate bar we will meet again soon!

    My favorite chocolate bar we will meet again soon!

  2. Sweet potato
  3. Broccoli
  4. Eggs
  5. Apple
  6. Avocado
  7. Pinto beans

Sounds yummy, right? I will go ahead and answer the lurking question, no I will not be using all ingredients for every meal. That would be a disaster! Could you imagine what kind of meal that would be with pinto beans and apples mixed together, along with eggs… bluh! I don’t know what each meal will look like, probably not very exciting and a lot of the same thing. I have no doubt that this will be a challenging month for me. You see I love the three items I listed in my first sentence… coffee, ice cream and chocolate! Oh do I love those three things and I will certainly miss them! But, that is not what this is about. The point in all these fasts is to grow closer to God, learn to appreciate all that I have, fasting from all the excess and open my eyes to what I don’t need to be happy (and that means coffee, ice cream and chocolate this month!) So while I know that this next month will have its own set of challenges I am also looking forward to all that it will bring!

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Just a few of my daily alarms

Month two is coming to a close and I am about to wrap up my stress fast. For the past four weeks I have had my alarm set for seven different times during the day/night reminding me it was time to pray. I will be completely honest as I say that the 6 AM and midnight prayers were not exactly on schedule. I attempted to do these but after I realized that I was just repeating myself for about half an hour because I continued to fall asleep I decided to change the times a little. My 6 AM prayer was done after I was up and dressed and moving around so that my mind had some time to wake up. The midnight prayer was just when I was getting ready for bed. I decided that it didn’t really matter what times the prayers were just so long as I took those seven pauses in the day to pray.

Here is what I realized during this month. First, it is way easier to actually do all seven pauses when you are home! When you are out and about it doesn’t matter if you try to find a quiet place, somehow they always seemed to be interrupted. Second, I realized how little time I actually spend before God talking to him about something other than a request. The seven prayers each had something different to pray about, so yes there were times when I would make a “request.” However, looking at the themes of the prayers: thankfulness, love toward others, servant’s heart, praying for my husband, praying for my son, praying for protection and praying for healing (for those I do and do not know) I began to spend more time praying for these things and less time being selfish. It is so easy to fall into a routine with our prayer life, and so easy to become selfish in our prayers. Once I began to recognize this I started to focus a little less on the things that I wanted God to answer and more on what else I could pray for during these seven pauses.

Now the question you might be asking yourself is how well did this fast carry out my original goal of tackling stress? Rather beautifully! I can’t tell you how many times I would begin to get stressed out and then guess what would happen? My alarm would go off. Oh, it’s time to pray! So I would take the time to pause and pray and by the time I was done praying my stress level had lowered AND I wasn’t even praying about what was stressing me out! Taking those few moments to pray about a non-related subject was all it took! It’s all because I took the time to be in God’s presence, and wow does that make a difference when you come back to whatever was previously stressing you out!

So will I keep this up now that the month is coming to an end? Probably not to the same extent, I mean I wasn’t even perfect during this month. Yes, I messed up and missed a few prayers during the day. But, my view is forever changed. There is something to be said about being intentional about how we handle stress, our prayer lives and not always coming to God with the “I want” kind of attitude. I will definitely take what I have learned from this fast to heart!