Daniel Fast

Today I am starting something called the Daniel Fast. This is a fast I’ve done twice before and just felt led to do it again. The fast traditionally lasts for 21 days and you eat only things from the earth basically- all fruits and vegetables, nuts, and unprocessed grains. You can have spices but not sugar or any sweeteners like honey. The fast is modeled after the one that Daniel (from the Bible) did. Daniel did this fast when he was taken into the Babylonian king’s palace:

“Daniel determined that he would not defile himself by eating the king’s food or drinking his wine, so he asked the head of the palace staff to exempt him from the royal diet. The head of the place staff, by God’s grace, liked Daniel, but he warned him, ‘I’m afraid of what my master the king would do. He is the one who assigned this diet and if he sees that you are not as healthy as the rest, he’ll have my head!’ But Daniel appealed to the steward…’Try us out for ten days on a simple diet of vegetables and water. Then compare us with the young men who eat from the royal menu. Make your decision on the basis of what you see.’ ” And at the end of the 10 days, they were healthier and better nourished than the other men.

It’s a challenging fast to do because it’s a totally different way of eating and it’s hard to do when you’re eating with people not on the fast. I’m the only one in my family doing it but that’s fine with me :) I’m actually excited to experiment with making Daniel Fast meals. So here are my reasons for doing the fast:

1. Spiritual. Fasting has a way of re-focusing you and you can grow closer and more in tune with God. When you stop focusing on food, you have more time to devote to God and you remember to talk to Him.

2. I have a bad relationship with food. Even though it’s gotten better this past year, I still hate how stressed eating can make me feel. Sometimes I eat way too much because I’m upset or I don’t eat because I feel guilty. I don’t feel guilty when I eat on this fast mainly because it’s healthy. Especially since I’ve been back from Haiti, I hate that I have this horrible relationship with food because I am so blessed to have access to basically as much food as I could want. I hope that this fast will help me relax when it comes to eating.

3. It’s healthy. Eating like this is seriously so good for you. Your body detoxes and gets rid of all the chemicals and crap that’s in the food you usually eat. When I’ve done this fast before, I’ve had a ton of energy and felt really good! So I’m looking forward to that.

4. I’m going to see if it helps my migraines at all. I don’t really think it’s going to…but I might as well try!

Here’s another verse I think of when fasting. “And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get.” -Matthew 6:16. I think this verse is so important. Fasting can be a great experience but not if you do it for the wrong reasons. I think to get attention or to be admired are wrong reasons. To fast because other people are doing it is a bad reason. To do it to lose weight is a bad reason. I think your #1 reason for fasting has to be God, to focus on Him and get your strength from Him.

I’ll be updating how the fast is going for the next few weeks :) and posting Daniel fast approved recipes!

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Break my heart for what breaks yours <3

I was part of the Restore retreat at Northwest Haiti Christian Mission. It was pretty cool because we would spend all day serving others, doing VBS, hut to huts, feeding programs, playing with babies at the orphanage, etc. But at night, we would all get together and spend some time in worship. It was a great chance to re-group and process what it was we were experiencing. It is hard to take in everything you’re seeing and it can be really overwhelming so it was a real blessing to be around other teenagers and people who were experiencing the same things you were. We would also have devotional times and were encouraged to pray and journal. One thing we were encouraged to pray was “God, break my heart for what breaks yours.” The prayer was to really see the hurt and pain around us and to be broken hearted for our Haitian brothers and sisters. Because the thing is, the conditions in which most Haitians live are not ok. People should not have to live like they are forced to. We should be appalled that people in the world are living like that. But it’s hard to focus on other people when we’re in our comfortable homes and the hurting people of this world seem so far away…

But I believe we have a responsibility to the people with which we share the earth. We have a responsibility to our Hatian, African, South American, Asian, European, Australian, and American brothers and sisters. We have a responsibility to help others who are hurting. I speak from a Christian point of view but even beyond that I believe everyone has the responsibility to help their fellow humans. We share this earth with 6,905,551,213 people, more than that by the time you read this post. We share in many of the same struggles and hurts and yet we are scared to look around and take in what’s really around us.

I was talking to another person who has been to Haiti before and she said that she found that when she talked to people about her trip, they seemed almost unwilling to hear about it. I think that because we’re all a little scared to hear and see what is really happening around us in this world we live in. Because there is something so wrong about how so many people live and if we knew how they lived, then we’d probably feel uncomfortable about it. So we turn away from the hurt in the world.

It is hard to understand the pain in this world. It’s hard to allow yourself to see it. But I think when you do allow yourself to see it and then do something about it, you’ll never regret that you did.

I got sick when I was in Haiti. I felt lousy and tired. It was a billion degrees outside. It was dirty. The food and water tasted weird. Transportation was unreliable, unsafe, and not enjoyable. I saw malnourished babies and toddlers and broken adults. I saw beaches and streets covered in trash. But I will never regret that I went to Haiti. And now that I’ve seen Haiti, I can’t just stay at home anymore. I hope and pray that I will never be content to just stay at home and live my comfortable life. I hope that I will always allow God to challenge me and push me and take me to different countries and places and experience more of his world and meet more of his children. And I pray that you will feel challenged to go beyond your comfort zone. Not everyone has to leave the country- there are hurting people everywhere. But I hope you do branch out…listen to God and allow him to break your heart for what breaks His. You will never be the same.

Tout Bagay Deja Byen

While I was in Haiti, I was mainly at the mission in St. Louis. But my group spent a couple of days in a small village called Beau Champ which was one of my favorite parts of the trip. It was out in the middle of nowhere- it took us 3 hours to get there by tap-tap cart through rivers and streams and dirt/mud roads. There is a small mission in Beau Champ. It’s surrounded by beautiful mountains and goats and sheep and donkeys. We walked through the market one day and there was a huge space that served as a donkey parking lot!

At the mission, there were a lot of painted signs that said “tout bagay deja byen” which means “everything is already ok.” They sang a song about that too, where the lyrics were basically “everything is already ok because our God sits on the throne.”

Think about what they’re saying: everything is already ok. Not “it’s going to be ok” or “it would be ok if we had x, y, and z” but it is ok right now, as it is. That attitude is almost unfathomable to me. These people who have pretty much nothing are ok with their lives. They don’t have houses, clothes, food, clean water, medical care, and they’re saying that everything is already ok?

Yes. Because they know that God sits on the throne.

And even though things are hard and painful, one day they will go to heaven and join God by that throne.

Tout bagay deja byen.

Things we forget or never really knew

Failure is an event, never a person.- William D. Brown

Forget past mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you’re going to do now, and do it– William Durant

Someone’s opinion of you does not have to become your reality– Les Brown

Never think that you’re not good enough yourself. A man should never think that. People will take you very much at your own reckoning. — Anthony Trollope

Take control of your destiny. Believe in yourself. Ignore those who try to discourage you. Avoid negative sources, people, places, things and habits. Don’t give up and don’t give in. — Wanda Carter

There is more in us than we know. If we can be made to see it, perhaps, for the rest of our lives, we will be unwilling to settle for less. — Kurt Hahn

“Each body has its art” – Gwendolyn Brooks

“I see my body as an instrument, rather than an ornament” – Alanis Morissett

Art is not the application of a canon of beauty but what the instinct and the brain can conceive beyond any canon. When we love a woman we don’t start measuring her limbs.- Picasso

You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.

Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.

I wish I could show you, when you are lonely or in darkness, the astonishing light of your own being. ~Hafiz

To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

You are very powerful, provided you know how powerful you are.
~Yogi Bhajan

Of all the judgments we pass in life, none is more important than the judgment we pass on ourselves. ~Nathaniel Branden

People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within. ~Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid. ~Albert Einstein

Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it or what other people think of it. It’s the greatest instrument you will ever own. ~Mary Schmich

Whatever you are doing, love yourself for doing it. Whatever you are feeling, love yourself for feeling it. ~Thaddeus Golas

You are as amazing as you let yourself be. Let me repeat that. You are as amazing as you let yourself be. ~Elizabeth Alraune

Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.  ~Eleanor Roosevelt

A successful person is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him or her.  ~David Brinkley

It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not.  ~Author Unknown

Aerodynamically the bumblebee shouldn’t be able to fly, but the bumblebee doesn’t know that so it goes on flying anyway.  ~Mary Kay Ash

People are crying up the rich and variegated plumage of the peacock, and he is himself blushing at the sight of his ugly feet.  ~Sa’Di

It’s hard to fight an enemy who has outposts in your head.  ~Sally Kempton

Never dull your shine for somebody else.  ~Tyra Banks

If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.  ~Thomas Alva Edison

A gold medal is a nice thing – but if you’re not enough without it, you’ll never be enough with it.  ~From Cool Runnings

Once you become self-conscious, there is no end to it; once you start to doubt, there is no room for anything else.  ~Mignon McLaughlin

When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.  ~African Proverb

The best way to gain self-confidence is to do what you are afraid to do.  ~Author Unknown

Be proud to wear you.  ~Dodinsky

The way you treat yourself sets the standard for others.  ~Sonya Friedman

Our ordinary mind always tries to persuade us that we are nothing but acorns and that our greatest happiness will be to become bigger, fatter, shinier acorns; but that is of interest only to pigs.  Our faith gives us knowledge of something better: that we can become oak trees.  ~E.F. Schumacher

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.  It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.  We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?  Actually, who are you not to be?  You are a child of God.  Your playing small does not serve the world.  There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.  We are all meant to shine, as children do.  We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.  It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone.  And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.  As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.  ~Marianne Williamson

Trust

I feel like God really uses the summers to teach me things. Well of course He uses every day throughout the year but summer is a time where I don’t have the distractions of school and God really speaks to me and works in that time.

Last summer He taught me how without Him, I am nothing. I was so broken and He spent all this past year building me back up. This whole past year the verse I have remembered and repeated to myself countless times is 1 Peter 3:4 from the Message: Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in.

This summer I feel like God’s message to me has been a little different. He used Haiti to teach me that I am a lot stronger than I thought. This coming year I am facing a lot of uncertainty with high school, college, and life in general. He has given me confidence that I have the strength to get through this year. But He’s really asking me to trust Him. I don’t like not having a plan, feeling uncertain about what’s coming next. It’s hard for me to surrender all of this worry and just trust that He will take care of everything and that I will get through this year just fine, I will end up at the college that I need to, that I won’t have to stress about whether or not to get a job and finances for college. He’s telling me that I need to just pray and trust. This is the verse that I have in my heart right now…and that I anticipate will be on my mind for most of this coming year: Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.