Intermittent Fasting For Women – results & tips

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Intermittent Fasting For Women (while Breastfeeding) – results & tips

 

Well I thought I would give an update. It’s been about three weeks since I began intermittent fasting. So far I’ve lost about eight or 9 pounds. The weight-loss has been rather effortless.

I’ve begun jogging in the evenings. But only about two or 3 miles. Sometimes I run hills/intervals & sometimes I just barely jog. (Some nights I only feel like walking and do that.) I do this after I’ve eaten (after my eating window has closed). I do this for two reasons:

1. To supress my appetite in the evenings when I’m more likely to snack (outside of my eating window)

2. To burn through my glycogen stores so that I will be burning fat sooner/longer.

 

Wanna read my other posts on intermittent fasting for women/while breastfeeding?

http://runholy.com/intermittent-fasting-breastfeeding-round-2/

http://runholy.com/intermittent-fasting-while-breastfeeding/

http://runholy.com/intermittent-fasting-while-breastfeeding-2/

A Typical Day Fasting as a Breastfeeding Mom

9 AM wake up & nurse Kate

9:10 AM change Sofia and begin making her breakfast

9:20 AM make my coffee (Americano with 1/2 tbs coconut oil)

have “breakfast” with Sofia

do activities with girls, clean house, read

11AM nap time for girls

stay busy while they nap usually reading, listening to teaching, or cleaning, journaling

12:30 nurse Kate

wake up sofia

make lunch for sofia

make lunch for me

1PM EEEEEEEAAT

activities with Girls: long stroller walk, play outside, run errands, playground, etc

*dessert chai tea break

4PM nurse Kate & Sofia quiet time

make dinner

7PM eat dinner

bathtime & put girls to bed

8PM have a dessert or candy

nurse Kate

9PM jog/run/walk

shower, relax

11PM bed

 

10 Tips for Intermittent Fasting for Women

I’ve had the most success with the following tips & strategies:

1.  Try not to eat a ton after lunch. 2. Eat a nice sized, high protein lunch

3. When it’s time to not eat whether you are trying to not overeat during eating window or during fasting, have lots of different gums. (I’ve found wrigleys winterfresh to be the best at suppressing cravings.)

4. Get a fun cup with a straw & drink ice cold water all the time and especially when you are feeling hungry.

5. Tea, coffee, repeat! Savor it.

6. Stay busy. The extra time and energy fasting gives you can be used to do so much. (I started taking an online class.)

7. Don’t deny yourself during eating times.  You are really working the self-control/self-denial muscle during fasting times. Go ahead and give in to cravings during eating window within reason. One day, I had 3 cookies & half a pint of ice cream. I still lost weight that day. You won’t want that all the time or everyday. But if you do, it probably won’t hurt you.

8. Pay attention to healthy cravings. On that same note, if you are craving a veggie stir fry with coconut milk, couscous, and garbanzo beans -have THAT. Craving brocolli? Mangoes? Eat that. Fasting makes you much more in tune with what your body needs.

9. The power of later. If you are really wanting something at night pr when you wake up. Just tell yourself you will have it later.  You’re not telling yourself no just “not now”. That is so powerful.

10. Weigh every day or every other day. The scale will probably be going down every day. This is very encouraging & really empowers you through fasts.  If it stops going down, shorten your eating window until it starts again. Also, take before & after pics. They are really the best for measuring change.

 

 

 

 

 

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Intermittent Fasting and Breastfeeding: Round 2

Intermittent Fasting and Breastfeeding

Okay so here I go again.  I’m about 3 months postpartum and ready to actually make this pregnancy fat vacate the premises.  I battle between being okay with it and miserable.  But in the end, it’s my gluttony that wants it to be okay (and I can’t buy a new wardrobe anyway just to serve my love of poke cakes).

I began intermittent fasting once again about 12 days ago.  In that time I have lost nearly 4 lbs.  You can say this is water weight, but this “water weight” was not moving through days of clean eating and high intensity interval training workouts like Insanity.  I have been stuck at a weight that I’d rather not say.  Every time it would get below aforementioned unmentionable number it would bounce right back up.  With this way of eating, I feel I have gained control of the scale AND my eating/cravings/gluttony/etc.

Okay so you can follow really any diet

My results after first baby.

My results after first baby.

.  If you like to eat low carb, eat low carb.  If you like to eat clean, do that. If you like donuts every “morning” for breakfast, you can do that (sort of- more on that later).  I choose to eat a fairly large meal most days as my first meal and it usually consist of eggs. That’s really my only consistency.

This way of eating does not say what to eat.  It says when to eat.  You have a window of eating.  In this time you eat nearly the same amount of calories that you normally would.  It’s just that the amount of time that those calories are spread across is smaller so your meals are larger (and more satisfying).  I also find that denying myself during those mini-fasts each day strengthens my self-control muscle.  And shrinks my appetite.  So, that when I have the option to “feast” I usually just eat normally.  (This happened for me around day 7.)

I will add also that my chosen method of intermittent fasting is lean gains or 16/8. I don’t follow this strictly.  In the beginning, I continue to shorten my eating window until I get the desired effects & weight loss. My sweet spot is about a 6 hour eating window. I usually eat between 1:30 and 7:30 or 8:00.

The Reason IF is a Good Diet for Postpartum Breastfeeding Moms

You are strengthening that will-power, self-control muscle.  This is a muscle that along with your own physical muscles atrophies during pregnancy.

Intermittent fasting breastfeeding

Day before delivery (baby 2) and day after.

The reason I think this diet works great for losing postpartum weight is because like I said: You are strengthening that will-power, self-control muscle.  This is a muscle that along with your own physical muscles atrophies during pregnancy (for most of us mortal women).  After months of never telling yourself “no” (understandably), it can be a real challenge to get back to the reality of some self-denial.  Feeling hunger and saying no for many hours strengthens this ability. It’s much easier to tell yourself no when “yes” is just around the corner like pushing yourself running up a hill is easier when you know there is a downhill coming.

Feeling hunger and saying no for many hours strengthens this ability. It’s much easier to tell yourself no when “yes” is just around the corner…

Also, and along these same lines, you are able to eat more satisfying meals including dessert if you want.  It’s difficult to eat 1500-1800 calories (the recommended caloric restriction recommended for breastfeeding moms that want to lose weight) if you spread those calories over 18 hours, 3 meals and 3 snacks.  But if you are eating two large meals or one large meal, then we are talking 800-1000 calorie meals.  That is a ton of food if it’s clean food!  And a good-sized portion even if it’s not.

So you are sort of hitting it from both angles.  But then there is another thing that happens.  Because of the biological effects of fasting each day, your appetite and cravings change.  You suddenly find that even though your eating window opens, you’re not really feeling that much urgency to eat.   And you’re craving mango-topped tilapia and rice! Yesterday, for example, I was craving oatmeal with brown sugar and butter.  So I had a big bowl for my first meal.

Another reason this works great for breastfeeding moms is the rate of weight loss.  It is between 1 & 2 lbs per week which is completely healthy for baby.

Intermittent Fasting, Breastfeeding, and Hunger Hormones

And lastly… Intermittent Fasting helps you take charge of those dang hunger hormones!!! 

And lastly… Intermittent Fasting helps you take charge of those dang hunger hormones!!!  In pregnancy and breastfeeding there is an increase in the hunger hormone called ghrelin. There is also an increase in insulin-resistance (or lowering of insulin sensitivity).  And although Human Growth Hormone is elevated by pregnancy and breastfeeding, there is evidence that the effect is compounded with fasting.

Ghrelin. This little devil is what makes you STARVING after a breastfeeding session.  It definitely works against any fat loss goals during the first 6 months of breastfeeding.  Usually ghrelin levels begin normalizing at around 6 months post partum, and this is why breastfeeding moms tend to lose the most weight between months 6-12 versus formula-feeding moms that tend to lose it sooner.

During the last half of pregnancy, your insulin sensitivity begins to plummet so that your body can beginning building up those lovely fat stores that will feed and nourish the coming baby.  This causes you to crave sweets and simple carbs and at the same time causes your body to turn those simple carbs to fat faster. IF (intermittent fasting) will normalize your insulin sensitivity hence why your craving change.  This will also affect how your body utilizes the simple carbs that you DO eat.  (By the way, speaking of delicious carbohydrates…IF suggest eating these carbs at the end of your eating window, later at night which is when I normally crave them.  It allows more time for the fasted stated to eat through those.)

And lastly, HGH or human growth hormone.  Remember when people used to inject or ingest this and then starve themselves aka fasting to lose a massive amount of weight quickly.  (Are people still doing that?)  Well, I confess I actually haven’t studied the science on this one. It’s something about survival of the baby making the body release fat stores more readily.  But I know that these levels are already elevated in pregnant and breastfeeding women.  So, IF would only heighten these levels causing an even greater fat burning effect.  Also, you are fasting every day so those hours would be optimized for fat burning.

Links on Hormones and Intermittent Fasting

Modern science has confirmed there are many good reasons for fasting, including:

  • Normalizing your insulin sensitivity, which is key for optimal health as insulin resistance (which is what you get when your insulin sensitivity plummets) is a primary contributing factor to nearly all chronic disease, from diabetes to heart disease and even cancer
  • Normalizing ghrelin levels, also known as “the hunger hormone”
  • Promoting human growth hormone (HGH) production, which plays an important part in health, fitness and slowing the aging process

http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2012/05/04/fasting-effects-on-human-growth-hormone.aspx

 

The entrainment of ghrelin is part of what makes the 16 hour fast so easy after a few days adaptation. ..”If you eat all the time, ghrelin secretion will not be well controlled,” said Silver, the paper’s lead author and the principal investigator of the study.”

http://www.leangains.com/2009/08/ghrelin-and-entrained-meal-patterns.html

Energy & Intermittent Fasting: Something all Breastfeeding Moms Need!

Right now I’m typing  with one hand, rocking Kate with the other.  Sofia is rustling from her nap. I need energy to keep up with these two!  I guess every body needs extra energy, but breastfeeding moms especially whether you’re a new mom or two under two or mom of four.   The times of fasting, you don’t have to devote to putting together a meal.  One less meal every day really adds up to quite a bit more free time.  Plus, don’t ask me why but there is an increase in natural energy, creativity, and heightened mood & awareness.   These are very valuable weapons to add to your mom arsenal any mom will tell you.  I usually break my fast after nap time and after I have prepared lunch and fed it to my toddler. It works out great.

 

Links to my previous posts on Intermittent Fasting and Breastfeeding

And another post on intermittent fasting and breastfeeding

 

Stay tuned.

I’m entirely too embarrassed to post my before and afters until my after gets a little back to pre-baby/normal.  But in a couple weeks, I will most likely post an update which includes progress photos.    I also plan to post some very necessary tips for success that I didn’t have time to post here now.  I’ve got two babies screaming.  Gotta go!

 

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And Keep My Eyes Above the waves – Baby Kate’s Birth Story

And keep my eyes above the waves…

(Baby Kate’s Birth Story)

 

During my labor my water was broken early. The doctor said based on my last labor that we could probably expect a baby by two or 4 PM.

It was 9 AM.

So the contractions, pitocin-induced, began. They grew in intensity and duration. I watched them on the monitor. They had placed in me a microchip that allowed them to monitor with complete accuracy the contractions as they came and went.

So I watched them: rising to a peak my tightness growing, discomfort and pain increasing slightly with each hour. I watch the monitor– those peaks and valleys, those electronic waves. I watched waiting for the crest that would tell me my pain would begin to diminish in a few seconds.

And the nurse checked me again and again hour after hour. The boredom turned anxiety as progress became slowed to a halt.

I asked her, “since you broke my waters what happens if I don’t dilate?”

She looked at me with the same concern that she had looked at me after my last two “checks”. “We’ll just wait and cross that bridge when we get there.”

Something in her eyes told me she thought we would get there.

A flood of self-doubt, guilt,  condemnation, and fear overtook me. Had I induced too soon? Should I have waited for her to come naturally? Was I less far along than I thought?

Did I tell them the wrong date of last cycle on purpose at the beginning? I couldn’t remember clearly now.

Was my selfishness with wanting pregnancy to be over going to harm my baby?

“Don’t rush the seasons.” … God had said to me only days before. Were the consequences of my impatience crashing in upon me? Had I “awakened love before it’s time”, before my time, Kate’s time had come?

My mind was a storm amidst this electric ocean. I watched praying that God would forgive me. Praying that he would save me. Praying that he would deliver me and my baby girl.

I played the song Oceans over and over. I tried to imagine the scene of Jesus on the water and me stepping off the boat, waves of contractions of pain and fear all around. I tried to keep my eyes on his mercy and love. Tried to keep my eyes on his faithfulness even when we are unfaithful. The lyrics washed over me.

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders. Let me walk upon the waters wherever you would call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander. And my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my savior.

And so I stayed in his presence. I asked for prayer from friends and family. I had my husband and mom my hands on me and pray.

Again I listened.

You call me out upon the waters were feet may fail.

I saw myself as in a vision, I was clothed in an almost translucent pale dress. The pieces of the skirt blown behind me by the winds all around. My hair was long and red, blowing behind also. My arm is outstretched as I took slow confident steps toward where I reached.

Forward. Forward. Onward. Losing sight of the storm all around with each step, and then my hand fell into His.

“His right hand embraced me (SOS 2:6)” and we began dancing on a sea of glass (Re 15:2) as I gazed into his eyes – steady, passionate fire.

And I thought to myself, even from this moment – hours before she’s born, motherhood is a storm of fear and uncertainty at times.

“Your sovereign hand will be my guide.”

Only gazing at his face. Only reaching for his grace turned the stormy waters into a sea of glass. The steps of mothering into a beautiful dance.

“You’ve never failed. And You won’t start now.”

A memory of how he had let me this Shepherd and overseer of my soul (1 Pet 2:25). I always think back to that moment in the jail cell where I would spend a year of my life. That moment on a gym mat in the tent made by a single scratchy blanket pulled over my head to shield all the onlookers from seeing my uncontrollable sobs.

He was there. He came into that makeshift tabernacle. He had never left. And he never would. From then to now, he has led me.

And now he has blessed me with the greatest gift. He has poured out his unmerited faith in me. His faith that I would lean. Faith that in all of the difficult moments of wilderness, I would come out leaning on my beloved.

And so I leaned as the waves of contractions grew in strength I called to this Faithful One. In a short time after i had recruited prayer, after I had begun to pray, worship, and meditate on Him, my body began to react swiftly.

Strong nausea overtook me suddenly. The pain grew to such strength that I felt like my Baby Kateeyes are going to burst. The nurse updated me with my quick progress moment by moment. Now six. Now 7 1/2. Now nine. And then the miracle of this crescendo happened at 8:04 PM with fewer than five pushes.

 

She was here! And it was okay because He was here too. The waves on the monitor had stopped, but the storm on the waters of life wouldn’t. The waves would rise and fall, pain and peace, heartache and joy.  But always, we must keep our eyes above the waves.

Though my sorrow be taken from me, yet will I sing, yet will I praise you. Though the joy taken from me.  Yet will I laugh.  Yet will I shout unto You. Though the light be hidden from me, yet will I walk, yet will I run after you. THough my heart be slain within me, yet will I trust, yet will I follow You. -Audra Lynn, Yet Will I Sing

I will call upon your name. Keep my eyes above the waves. My soul will rest in your embrace. I am yours and you are mine.

I am my beloved and he is mine.

 

 

 

 

 

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Daughters of Healing Beauty

imageEvery day she grows more beautiful. And I care less & less about my own beauty. She is my beauty. She has become my beauty. My love for her is my beauty.

I was terrified when I found out I was going to have a girl. “Why would God do this to me?” I thought. But now… She is my healing. She washes me daily. If I have all daughters, 5 of them, and no matter what they do or do to me, I would never wish it any other way. I thank God for His wisdom and sovereignty.

I’ve let go of a beauty fleeting and I’m grabbing hold of a beauty eternal. I feel it: a shift inside. Like when the winds change directions at the end of the season. It’s like I’m letting go of one rope I’ve been tugging on for years and laying hold of another that instead longs to pull me.

My daughters, my balm of Gilead. Like an ocean of healing wave after wave, day after day, my Lord and my God uses you to make me whole, perfect…beauty. And may he always. Come what may.

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Psalms 45 – Grace is Poured Upon His Lips Meditation

Grace is Poured Upon His Lips – Spontaneous Sung Prayer from Psalms 45:2

You are fairer than the sons of men;
Grace is poured upon Your lips;
Therefore God has blessed You forever. Ps45:2

 

It’s when I gaze on him, who is beautiful, the fairest one that I find out who I am.  It’s then that I can see my own beauty. Grace is poured upon his lips and He holds the words of my life.  His words give me life.

I began envisioning the woman at the well after beginning the prayer in Psalms 45.  My heart just naturally went there.  And I saw Christ through her eyes.  Christ looking at her.  She had the same revelation as Hagar:  He is the God who sees.  He is the only One who really sees us.  He looks on us, through us with eyes of purity, passion, and fire.  And we feel no shame.  It’s when He sees us and speaks to our deepest places that our deepest thirsts and desires are satisfied. We are all the woman at the well.

Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, “Have I also here seen Him who sees me?” Gen16:13

When He sees us, he sees us in our perfected state.  In our life, He has promised to take us from glory to glory.  He promises to not only be the author but also the FINISHER of our faith.  He always finishes what he starts.  So, when He looks on us and sees our weakness, immaturity, and darkness, He declares that we are lovely.  We are clothed in His righteousness from the very start.  And when the Father looks on us, he is overwhelmed with love as if looking on his perfect son.

“There is no flaw in you, my love.”

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Slow Down Pregancy Weight Gain by Changing Only One Habit

slow pregnancy weight gain

Slow Down Pregnancy Weight Gain by Changing Only One Habit

I needed to slow down pregnancy weight gain.  I started this one habit when I had been gaining weight too quickly during my current pregnancy. I had slow pregnancy weight gaingotten a “talking to” about gaining too fast and the dangers of that. The result? After a month, my doctor gave me an “A” at my next visit for weight gain, baby growth, and all other aspects. I only started doing one thing: Eating two apples a day, at night. Here’s why I think it slowed down my weight gain.

1.  Apples are hydrating. Hunger and cravings are sometimes confused for thirst.  Especially during pregnancy, we get extra thirsty.  Eating those juicy apples really satisfied this possibly misplaced craving.

 

2. Apples are low in calories- between 50 and 75 calories in a whole apple. I was watching my caloric intake and substituting apples instead of other nighttime snacks really reduced the number of calories I ate each day.  I might still have a couple chocolates but not near as many.

 

3. Apples are full of fiber, aka filling. Foods high in fibre will fill you up without costing you too many calories.”  This has many other benefits that are helpful during pregnancy such as keeping you regular.

 

4. Apples take time.  At night, I will slice the apple into thin slices.  This way, I can  still mindlessly nibble while watching television, but my snacking is beneficial rather than adding to pregnancy weight gain.  Not only does it take time to wash and cut the apples, eating them can also be a time-consuming process with them sliced this way.

The benefits of eating apples are well documented and include things like detox, boosting immune system, and improving heart health.  That’s great. But I’m especially thankful that they saved me anymore “talks” from the doc.

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Stay Fit During Pregnancy: 2 Tools

Stay Fit During Pregnancy: 2 Tools

fit pregnancySo I’ve added a couple tools to my arsenal in this fight for a fit pregnancy despite this awful inguinal hernia and not being able to work out like I used to. One is super-geeky and one is super-easy.

I blogged before about my fit pregnancy struggle.  My Fitness Pal has been a great tool to get in the habit of tracking what I am eating.  I’m not working too much on improving the quality of what I’m eating.  I’m really just trying to get in the habit of tracking period.  This will make it easier to lose the weight post partum.   Well I got something for my birthday and wanted to share because if you are looking for a way to not gain weight too quickly while pregnant or just need some motivation to be active, this item is great.

Okay.  I’m really geeky and sort of addicted to my Iphone.  So, this worked for me awesome.  It’s called a FitBit.  Here’s what it looks like: 
Well this is what the one I got looks like.  You wear it on you all the time.  It’s basically just a fancy pedometer.  You can also use it to track how well you are sleeping. (I’ve done this a few nights, and it’s fascinating.)  I was hoping it would be a heart rate monitor too, but nope.  It’s just a pedometer.  The thing is – I’ve used it on distances that I’ve measured before and I’ve used it on the treadmill and the distance that it measures is VERY accurate.   Also, I’ve used my heart rate monitor. This is the one I have:  along with an app called DigiFit to see how it compares.  The calories burned that the FitBit measures is also very accurate.

Monitoring using the FitBit is easy.  You can either press a button on the FitBit itself, look on your phone on their FitBit app.  Or look at your progress online.  Okay here is the really cool part:  you can hook up MyFitnessPal (and DigiFit) to the FitBit.  so it will adjust your calories burned in the MyFitnessPal app and adjust calories eaten in the FitBit app.  Here’s a screen shot so you can see what it looks like in both apps:

fitbit my fitness pal

 

FitBit for Fit Pregnancy:

Okay so here is why this tech tool is especially helpful for staying fit during pregnancy.  As you reach the uncomfortable stage like I’m approaching now at 31 weeks, you do NOT feel like working out.  But this little thing motivates you to just be active in your daily normal activity.  If a place is close, I walk there. I take Sofia on short little outdoor walks.  Or I get up off the couch and do something at night just to get a few steps in.  You see, this gadget will congratulate you if you reach 10,000 steps.  Since wearing it, most days I reach this goal.

It’s made me feel better to meet a goal each day.  My sense of accomplishment used to come from a really challenging workout.  Now it comes from these steps.  It has been great in making me feel better psychologically and physically.

Plus, by monitoring my activity AND my eating I can see when I am over-doing it on the snacking and cravings.  This way I don’t feel so out of control.  I can’t wait to put the FitBit to use when I can get back to my hard workouts, but for now I’m satisfied with the way I’m using it.

The Second and Super-easy Tool for Staying Fit During Pregnancy (& anytime)

This is totally not cool, but I’m going to blog about this one later.  I’ll come back and post a link in this entry later.  I want to devote an entire post to it.  So, be checking back to Runholy.com later.

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C.S. Lewis on Selfies

C.S. Lewis on Selfies

Selfie was named as the word of 2013 and it’s frequency of use has increased by 17,000%. Of course, I can’t think of selfies without thinking of C.S. Lewis and Perelandra.  c.s. lewis on selfiesThis is my second post on the book Perelandra, a science fiction work by C.S. Lewis.  If you missed the first one it was on Good Versus Best.  The selfie has become very common in our society.  Everyone from the pope to the president.  And everywhere-from restaurants to funerals.  If we took a step back, we might realize how outrageous this practice really is, but it has become an accepted norm.  Self-gazing.

This gazing on self was the topic in part of Lewis’ book.  It struck a sensitive chord as I am also fond of selfies.  Well dang it! There’s never anyone around to photograph my most gorgeous moments!  Anyway, in this chapter the Enemy (also referred to as Un-man) is trying different strategies to cause the innocent “Lady” to fall.  It’s basically giving a glimpse into the second Eden where Satan is using strategies to deceive Eve into sin. At this point the Enemy has been filling her head with stories of heroines and also made her a coat of beautiful feathers (from birds he had cruelly slaughtered).  Ransom (whom the lady also refers to as Piebald) is the main character who is sent to try to deflect the enemy’s many schemes and to keep this Fall from occurring. This chapter escalates with a mirror as the enemy gives the Lady her first glimpse at her own appearance.

“But if you do not look you will never know how beautiful you are.”
It comes into my mind, Stranger,” she answered, “that a fruit does not eat itself, and a man cannt be together with himself.”
A fruit cannot do that because it is only a fruit,”said the Un-man.  “But we can do it.  We call this thing a mirror.  A man can love himself, and be together with himself.  That is what it means to be a man or a woman–to walk alongside oneself as if one were a second person and to delight in one’s own beauty.  Mirrors were made to teach this art.”
“Is it a good?” said the Lady.
“No,” said Ransom.
“If you try it and it is not good,”said Ransom, “how do you know whether you will be able to stop doing it?”
“I am walking alongside myself already,”said the Lady. “But I do not yet know what I look like. If I have become two I had better know what the other is.  As for you, Piebald, one look will show me this woman’s face and why should I look more than once?”
She took the mirror, timidly but firmly, from the Un-man and looked into it in silence for the better part of a minute.  Then she let it sink and stood holding it at her side…
(The Un-man speaking)I would give you this mirror to keep…But you have reminded me there can be no gifts, no keeping, no foresight while you live as you do–from day to day, like the beasts.”
But the Lady did not appear to be listening to him.  She stood like one almost dazed with the richness of a day-dream.  She did not look in the least like a woman who is thinking about a new dress.  The expression of her face was noble. It was a great deal too noble.  Greatness, tragedy, high sentiment–these were obviously what occupied her thoughts.  Ransom perceived that the affair of the robes and the mirror had been only superficially concerned with what is commonly called female vanity.  The image of her beautiful body had been offered to her only as a means to awake the far more perilous image of her great soul.  The external and, as it were, dramatic conception of the self was the enemy’s true aim.  He was making her mind a theatre in which that phantom self should hold the stage.  He had already written the play.  (Perelandra, Lewis, pp137-139)

We have fallen in love with ourselves, with our own image, our own beauty. And worse, we have become the center of everything.  Self is the center of the great saga of life.  But this is so untrue.  In fact, we are barely supporting characters.  Jesus is the lead actor in this play that has spanned thousands of years.  Our existence is only here to support his own glory.

And I believe as long as we are at center, our souls and lives will feel misaligned, maligned with an innate sense that something is “off”. Just as physically When something is out of balance, we feel sick; so there are symptoms of sickness of soul. This sickness ails us each individually and is obviously affecting our modern society. And the root of our disease is self-gazing, self-focus. Maybe we should remove our mirrors & cameras.

There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance,
nothing to attract us to him. Isaiah 53:2

imageHow little does outward beauty matter to God? How much could it matter if His own son, God in flesh had zero beauty.  Man looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart. What if we took a selfie of our hearts, our inner person?  Would we want to send that out to the world?

Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty…You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. 1 Pet 3:3-4

 

Too many selfies.  Too much time thinking about self. Guilty.  Since reading this chapter, I haven’t stopped taking selfies, but I definitely take less and stop to think every time. Am I the star of this story (and also my own paparazzi)?  How can I put Christ at the center instead? Take my eyes off the mirror (or rear-facing camera) and back on Christ who’s beauty is beyond description.

Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror. James 1:23

 

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My Birthday Prayer Wish List

birthday prayer peace

My Birthday Prayer Wishlist

So many people showering me with love today. It blesses me that God has allowed me to have such amazing friends. I thought I would selfishly take advantage of this day. So here’s my birthday wish: take 10 seconds right now & pray one of these prayers for me for this next year. (Or take 30 seconds & pray 3!)

This year give Lauren:

Grace to pray in spirit more.
Boldness
Insight & wisdom
Power to forgive quickly
Revival in my own heart
Revival in my family
Revival in my town.
Revival in my church
Perseverance in trials
Peace that passes understanding
Discernment
Increase thankfulness/gratitude
Let love abound in my marriage
fascinationFascination
Wisdom in mothering
Grace & strength to mother two
Overflowing love for others
A pure heart
Discipline to fast
Discipline to pray
Discipline to obey
Hunger for the word
Increase the spirit of prophecy
Protection from plots of enemy
Vision
Grace to give generously
Financial blessings
Servants spirit
Humility
Anointing to carry the presence of The Lord
Self-control in eating
Grace to eat healthy
Strong friendships
Grace to put others before myself
Grace to love God first

 

Thank you all! I love you.

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Death and Birthdays

We live across from a graveyard.  Today, as I was walking down our driveway pulling Sofiadeath birthdays runholy behind in her wagon, I overheard “Taps” being played at a funeral. Such a haunting melody.  It stirs in your heart. I felt the poetry of the moment. New life in my belly. A toddler just beginning.  A funeral…And it’s my birthday tomorrow.

Yes, you have been with me from birth;
from my mother’s womb you have cared for me.
No wonder I am always praising you! Psalms71:6

death and birthdays runholyWith each year passing so quickly and watching how fast my daughter and nieces are growing, the brevity of life is more apparent. But this is a comfort to me. Even walking through the graveyard (which I often do) is comforting. This is just a short internship on this earth and then the real life begins. With each birthday, I’m closer to the real celebration day. One day closer to Him. One day closer to really being with him.

Oh… I’m with him now too.  This I know.  The times surrounding my birthday seem to often lead to reflection.  I’ve had such sweet moments with God. Some of them were my darkest moments, but in those moments Christ love shines so brightly.  I can see how He has cared for me and watched over me all the days of my life.  One meaning of my name, Lauren, is “guarded of God”.  Truly, He has protected me and blessed me with His undeserved love. Completely undeserved.  I am one who has been forgiven much and therefore loves much.

Many of my friends can look at my life from the outside and see the radical change that has taken place because of God’s love and guidance. He has transformed me and displayed my life as a trophy of His grace and mercy.

My life is an example to many,
because you have been my strength and protection. Psalms71:7

The other night, I was telling my husband, Paul, an observation about pregnancy and life. At the end of pregnancy, you are so uncomfortable that you are completely ready to move on to D-day (delivery).  Even though it is painful and scary, you can’t take one more day of that misery.  I feel like life sort of ends the same way.  Even if you aren’t sick, your body has begun to break down.  Maybe it’s the same as the end of pregnancy, where you are ready to face D-day (death), to move on to the next season.

And now, in my old age, don’t set me aside.

Don’t abandon me when my strength is failingPsalms71:9

Another birthday, another year, another milestone, another season of life.  And one thing remains the same.  God is still with me.  Every moment.  He was with me in the womb and He’ll be with me in the final moments.  And beyond.  So thankful.

Now that I am old and gray,

do not abandon me, O God.
Let me proclaim your power to this new generation,
your mighty miracles to all who come after me. Psalms71:18

 

a-wise-woman-builds-her-home

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