Friday, June 21, 2013

Daily Detox Debrief: The Other Side

Y'all...I think I'm gonna make it!
Insert my face in the pic above, and that's pretty much how I feel today: Awesome.

If you're just joining me on my processed food detox, you can catch up here and here.

This has been the game changer day. I felt great all day, didn't get hungry once! I even cooked for a dinner party at our place and sat at the table with them sipping my smoothie while they devoured some of my favorites (taco soup and my crack-biscuits) followed by the most beautiful chocolate ganache cake I have ever drooled over. And I didn't eat one. single. bite.

Someone call the national inquirer, because that's a frickin' miracle people. I'm just sayin.

I actually woke up early enough to see the sun rise this morning. (and if you know me, you know that's no small feat) I got up feeling completely energized, even though I only slept for 6 hours. I even got in a little workout for the first time in a while, and it felt good. (more on my fun new fitness tool coming in a later post) I'm down 2.5lbs on the scale and honestly feeling the best my body has felt in a long, long time.

Did I mention that I got up at 6am on my day off? Who am I?!?

Here's the kicker is supposed to be my last day of the detox. Supposed to be. But I feel like my body is just starting to feel the benefits of this purge so much that I have decided to extend it for another week. I know, I know, don't call the looney bin...I haven't lost my mind quite yet. I've never gone this long in my life without sugar, gluten, dairy (cheese, I do miss you so), meat...I just want to see what purging it out of my system really can do for my health.

So hang with me, or better yet...join me! I dare you. What have you got to lose?
(except maybe some sugar and that muffin top) :)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Daily Detox Debrief: Hangry Much?

Well...I can pretty much sum up the first two days of this fast with one word: HANGRY
(no, that's not a typo...I didn't mean to say "hungry" - I meant hangry, as in...I'm so hungry I'm angry.)
To give you the full rundown of the rules for my week-long processed food detox, 
well...there are only two rules really:
1. No solid food (processed or otherwise)...just Fruit and Veggie Smoothies for all three meals.
2. No coffee (but green tea is ok)

Might as well kill me now.  Or at least give me a cookie.

After doing tons of research online and reading smoothie recipe after smoothie recipe, I decided to create my own. (btw, I decided on smoothies vs. juicing because with juicing you lose more nutrients) 

Here's what I came up with:

Jamie's Green Smoothie
1 Handful of ice
2 Cups of water
2 Heaping handfuls of Spinach or Kale (or mixed greens)
3-4 Strawberries
1 Small handful of blueberries/raspberries
1 Banana
1 Apple (sliced, no core)
1 whole carrot (or 5-7 baby carrots)
1 Tablespoon of Almond Butter
1 Tablespoon of Flax Seed Oil (with Omega 3)
5 Prunes (for well, you know...)
1 Cup of Almond Milk
(this makes 64oz - enough for two meals!)

I threw it all in my awesome Ninja blender (that thing can chop!). And to make it easier for me (and eliminate excuses), I went ahead and pre-prepped smoothies for the rest of the week by dividing the ingredients (minus the almond milk, almond butter & flax oil) into ziplock baggies and put them in the freezer.

So here's the lowdown on how it went...

DAY 1:
I was hungry. Real hungry.
So hungry that I did, in fact, sniff the wrapper of a fruit roll-up for five minutes (or more), just so I could pretend I was eating it.  Did I mention I did this in the middle of a meeting in front of my whole team?
[hangs head in shame]
I was so pathetic that I couldn't make it through the entire day, I caved and ate some leftover chicken for dinner...served with a whopping side of guilt. I went to bed determined to do better the next day.

DAY 2:
This day was like sheer torture. Not only was I still hungry, but our staff team had a "team outing" - at the Braves game, of all places. I can't count the number of hot dogs, burgers, fries and nachos that walked by me, wafting their amazing aroma...almost taunting me. Add in a caffeine headache and I was par for the course. It took everything I had to say no to all my ballpark favorites, but I begrudgingly did it.
As if that wasn't tough enough, we had small group that night at my place and I had to make the sweet treat and about torture! You don't know desperate until you see me with Reese's Peanut butter bars in my hands (baking them, of course) and I can't eat a. single. one. Oy.
But I stuck to my guns and went to bed still hungry.

So that brings us to today. 

DAY 3: 
I'm happy to say today was much better. No caffeine headache, and I made it all the way through! I felt fairly content most of the day, and I even found myself salivating over my dinner smoothie and not the food in the pantry. I don't feel nearly as tired as I did the first two days. I think we might be making a little progress! 

Take that, toxic food! It's time for you to get out of my system!

Tomorrow should be another story though, we're hosting a dinner party at our place. 
I'm cooking.
And I can't eat any of it.

Jesus take the queso coated wheel...I swear I can do this!

Gone Crazy.

Photo Credit:

Life is crazy. Crazy I tell ya.

It's crazy that the last time I posted on this blog was almost 2 years ago.
It's crazy that the last post I wrote about then talked about the qualities in a wife that I wanted to one day be able to reflect.
It's crazy that now I am a wife. What?!
It's crazy that all of a sudden I feel like my body is starting to fall apart.

Apparently once you get married your body decides to crap out on you....did you know that? I've already had one cancer scare in the last year, and now i'm facing some thyroid issues and have to have a biopsy on that as well. What the heck body?! What are you doing to me?? I've hardly been sick my entire life (heck the only time I've ever had surgery was to have my wisdom teeth removed), and all of a sudden within a year I'm being attacked left and right. Not to mention that the first 6 months of marriage has brought on the wedded equivalent of the "freshmen 10." Heck. No.

Don't get me wrong, I love married life. Love it. But I have yet to figure out a rhythm. A rhythm of schedule...of exercise...of eating well...of really, well all of it. I'm not sure why I thought that merging two lives wouldn't be this complicated, but I'm realizing it's going to take longer than I thought. (good thing I'm enjoying the challenge!)

So this week I decided I'm done. I'm done with feeling and eating like crap. I'm done with being tired and overloaded. I'm done with making excuses for why I haven't worked out more than one day a week in the last 6 months. It's time for a change.

I've been researching lots of things the last few months...clean eating, juicing, smoothies, detoxing, the effects of processed food on our bodies. The information out there is fascinating. The more I read, the more I realize just how much we poison our bodies with the toxic chemicals in processed being one of the chief consumers of it. Then after watching the documentary "Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead" (see video below) I decided a good healthy "fast" of sorts is what I wanted to try first.

I knew I needed to get all the processed food out of my body, so I'm starting with a five day fruit/veggie smoothie fast. All I'm allowed to have are these smoothies I've made.

No processed junk.
No cheese dip.
No cupcakes.
No coffee.
No way am I going to survive...

So here's your invitation to join me on the journey....if for nothing else, but a good laugh (and some accountability for me). I started this on Monday, so tomorrow I'll give you the rundown of Days 1-3. Join me if you'd like, or maybe just cheer me on...if you know how much I like sugar and despise vegetables, you know i'll need it.

Here goes nothin!

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

30 Days of 30: Day 19 - Best Question Ever

When I was a little kid, I remember being asked over and over and over, what do you want to be when you grow up?

I also remember my answer changing just about as often as I change purses (and if you know me, that's pretty darn often). I wanted to be an astronaut, a rock star, a lawyer, a dancer, an actress, a writer, a teacher, the president. Let's just say I was an ambitious child...maybe even a little bit of a dreamer. :)

I also remember being crushed for a period of time when I realized that I could never be one of the things I dreamed of.

For a while, I had determined that I was going to be an astronaut. I wanted to walk on the moon, fly into space, and of course eat stale, crunchy ice cream. But when I found out that all astronauts must have perfect vision and no asthma (two things I am lacking), my dream was grounded faster than a space shuttle re-entering the earth. As quickly as I had dreamt it up, my future "identity" had been destroyed.

What I learned as I grew older though, is that people should have been asking me who I wanted to become rather than what I wanted to become.

There's a huge difference.

There are careers we can strive for that are unattainable, unsustainable and temporary...but character is always within reach and always boundless. No matter what state our health, our home or our economy is in, we can never be unwillingly stripped of our character. It is defined by the daily choices that we alone choose to make.

So now, the question is...who do I want to be when I grow up?

There are two lists of qualities I refer to when I define who I aspire to be. The first, Proverbs 31, is a great chapter about being a (future) wife and woman of noble character:

"A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life...
...She sets out about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks...
...She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hand to the needy...
...She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue...
...Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised
     -Proverbs 31: 10-30

Talk about a tall order. That's some pretty lofty goals listed there. Inevitably all of us women will fall short of one or more of these qualities in our lifetime, but what a heck of a character to always strive for!

The other list I refer to is something my good friend and former boss, Joel Thomas, suggested that we create annually. It's called a "To Be" List. It's a list of about 5-7 character traits that we would like to be  known for, with accompanying scripture. I keep this list near me and refer to it often as a means to keep myself in check.  Here's my current list:

1. PATIENT: "Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him."  -Psalm 37:7

2. HUMBLE: "He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them His way." -Psalm 25:9

3. COMPASSIONATE: "This is what the Lord Almighty says: administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another."  -Zechariah 7:9

4. DISCIPLINED: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline."  -Proverbs 1:7

5. JOYFUL: "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."  -Psalm 100:2

6. GRATEFUL: "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."  -1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

So who do you want to be when you grow up


30 Days of 30: Day 18 - Unexpected Blessings

"I can't imagine anything more worthwhile than doing what I most love. 
And they pay me for it."
     -Edgar Winter

I'm not gonna lie...there has not been a single day in the last five years that I haven't looked forward to getting up and going to work. (ok, well maybe not the day I had the stomach virus...but that was for different, obvious reasons)

However if you had told me 10 years ago that I would be working in ministry, at a mega-church, mind you, I would have probably laughed in your face and told you to put down whatever crack you were smoking because it was making you say ridiculous things.

Funny how things change, huh?

It turns out, the place I least expected to be is the place I find myself most content. Most at peace in knowing I'm right in the center of God's will for my life right now. Right where I am supposed to be, even if it is not where I planned to be.

If you and I were to sit down for coffee and I were to tell you my story, the list would be about a mile long of the ways that North Point Ministries has affected my life and my faith.  When I found myself walking through the doors for the first time nine years ago, I was a broken, hurting mess. But God met me in a place where I didn't even want to go.

And there I found healing. I found forgiveness. I found restoration. I found what it truly looks like to have a growing relationship with Jesus...not just one where I tell Him what I want and try to do what I think is right. I found community. I found wisdom. I found a place that I wanted to give back to for all that it had given to me.

I found home.

And when the door of invitation opened up to leave the corporate world and step into full time ministry, I found what I believe is my true calling. To love, to serve, to do everything in my power to point people back to Jesus.

Sometimes I have to pinch myself and ask, is this really my life? Do I really get to do this for a living? What an honor. What a responsibility. What a blessing. This has by far been the most challenging job I've ever had, but also the most rewarding. I am grateful every day for our senior pastor, Andy Stanley, and the small team that took a leap of faith years ago to create a church that was unlike any other. And I'm so thankful for our staff leadership team who makes it their goal to invest in us as employees, as followers of Christ and as friends.

I love the fact that I get to serve Jesus for a living.
It kinda gives the term "working for the man" a whole new meaning... :)


Wednesday, August 03, 2011

30 Days of 30: Day 13 - Thumbprints

So clearly I took a mini-hiatus from writing for a few days...sorry about that friends - weekend work retreat calls. But admittedly, it was nice to take a few involuntary days away from connection to any technology.

However I have found a way to catch up for the lost 6 days, and also cover 6 (ok maybe 7) very important people I am thankful for...

Sue Bates

Misty Paige

Elizabeth Pehrson

Heather Pierpont

Patti Brussat (far left) 

Sharon Turner & Lisa Toomey

Who are these women?

They all, at some point in the past few years, have mentored me. They are women who have given of their time and their hearts to pour into my life, to offer wisdom and encouragement. They are women who are a little ahead of me on the path, but who are willing to show me what they've learned along the way. 

They've laughed with me
cried with me
listened to me
encouraged me
challenged me
guided me
prayed for me
inspired me

And most importantly, they loved me...right where I was at. But they've also loved me enough to not let me stay there. They've helped me understand more of the woman I am and the woman I want to be. They've held a mirror to my face and helped shine a light on my path, and for that I am forever grateful.

They have inspired me to do the same invest in the next generation. To pass along unique insights and lessons that the Lord is teaching me along the way...maybe even helping to keep some young girl from making some of the same silly mistakes I made. But inevitably, helping to encourage and raise up a generation of women who seek Jesus, who seek wisdom, and who seek to continue to pass it along to the generation that follows them.

These women are a monumental part of my story and have forever left their thumbprints all over my life.

So here's my challenge for you today: on whose life are you making an impact

"Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction."
     -John Crosby


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

30 Days of 30: Day 6 - The Handbook to Understanding Women

Men, I have a secret tip for you...

Do you want to finally understand women?
Do you want to know how they're wired, how they think and most importantly, what they want?

Well fellas, fear no more...I am here today to tell you that there are only two "handbooks" that you need in your pursuit to understanding the hearts of women: The Taylor Swift music collection and the book, Captivating.

Now after you quit laughing, and before you give up on reading this post, hear me out. Do you know why just about every girl loves a good Taylor Swift song (whether she admits it or not)? Because inside, we're all really still just a 15 year old girl at heart. And because she's not singing anything we're not already thinking...she's just bold enough to say it out loud. But if you can't deal with the chick music, don't lose still have the other book, which is what I am really dedicating this post to. :)

I am a self-proclaimed book nerd, and writing is my there are numerous books that have played a crucial role in my personal growth. One of those books, hands down, is Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul by John & Stasi Eldredge. It's a book that eloquently encapsulates the desires that lie deep within every woman's heart...the desire "to be romanced, to play an irreplaceable role in a great adventure, and to unveil beauty."

Just as every man has certain desires that make him come alive, these three elements are the core desires that make a woman come alive. Most of us women already know that. However, the beauty of this book is the fact that it so perfectly depicts all of the things women are feeling...the hopes, but also the fears. The good, the bad and the ugly parts of who we are and how we are wired. A lot like Taylor, it puts words to countless thoughts and feelings that many women are afraid to say out loud.

It's confirmation that we're not alone. 

And to a woman, that's priceless. To me, it was not only affirmation, but a great reminder of how we're uniquely wired to reflect God within our femininity. And that, is true beauty.

Because whether we're willing to admit it or not every woman, at the core of her being, simply wants to know that she's needed. That' she's worthy. That when it comes to love, yes there are risks....but that she's worth the risk.

She's worth the fight.

She's Captivating.

"Just like God, a woman is not a problem to be solved, but a vast wonder to be enjoyed...As she is sought after, she reveals more of her beauty. As she unveils her beauty, she draws us to know her more deeply. Every woman has a beauty to unveil. Every woman. Because she bears the image of God."
     -From Captivating by John & Stasi Eldredge


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

30 Days of 30: Day 5 - Check Please!

"Map out your future, but do it in pencil."
                                                 -Bon Jovi

I'm a planner.

It's how God has wired me. I LOVE the idea of dreaming up and mapping out an entire plan, then seeing it come to fruition. Whether it be a party, a trip, an event, a goal...I thrive on taking a big picture, breaking it down into a feasible strategy and then making it happen. In fact, if you add up the money i've spent in my lifetime on planners, calendars and notebooks for to-do lists, well you just might be able to hire a personal assistant to track all that for me.

I also make lists. Lots of lists. I sometimes even put things on my lists that i've already done just so I can check them off and feel like i've accomplished more in the day (yes, I know they have support groups for that kind of thing...just call it the overachiever in me).

But even within my well thought out and highly anticipated plans, i've somehow always carried within me the capacity to go with the flow when things change at the last minute. I normally don't mind a little shift on the rarely, if ever, stresses me out or makes me mad. I'm an easy-going type of gal who can usually roll with the punches in a patient and placid demeanor.

...except when God starts messing with my plans.


Can we say hypocrite, party of one?

How in the world is it that I can be patient and flexible with everything and everyone around me except for the God who gave all of it to me in the first place? It's simple...I put my big God in a little bitty box without even realizing it.

In my late teens and early 20's I made a plan for my life. And in my mind, it was a good plan. It was what I thought I of course that had to be what God wanted for me right? So I mapped out my dreams and goals and then set out guns a blazin' on my trail to follow my perfect plan. And what happened?

My plan failed. Miserably.

I found myself completely broken, attempting to pick up the pieces of what was left of my shattered dreams, all the while looking back and wondering what the heck I did wrong? I loved Jesus, I went to church, I talked to Him daily, I tried to be the best person I knew how to be...why didn't my plan work?

And then the light bulb went off...

In a moment of painful desperation I cried out to God asking why He took my perfectly good plan away from me...and it was as if I heard Him whisper "because it was never MY plan for you."


I finally grasped that all along, even though it was, in my mind, a good was just that. MINE. I went along my life doing my own thing, charting my own path all the while kind of asking God to just "check off" on my plan as somewhat of an afterthought. When in reality, I should have been doing it the other way around all along. I should have leaned into the desires of my heart, and then earnestly taken them to God, surrendering them to Him while patiently waiting for His direction and confirmation.

I learned (the hard way) that it's ok to make a plan for my life. It's ok to dream and to lean into those God-given desires of my heart...but I need to be willing to loosen my grip and fully surrender those desires to God, and more importantly, I need to desire HIS plan over mine - no matter what it looks like. And when I begin to get anxious or impatient, I need to remind myself to trust that He knows what's best for me...afterall, He can see much more of the big picture than I will ever be able to.

Do you know what I've realized in doing that? I'm not nearly as creative as I thought I was because my life since then is living proof that God has WAY bigger and cooler dreams for me than I ever had.

...and I'm totally ok with that. :)


Monday, July 25, 2011

30 Days of 30: Day 4 - ForGIVEness

 “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that 
the prisoner was you.”
      -Lewis B. Smedes

Close your eyes with me for a moment and reflect. (ok, maybe wait until after you read this paragraph first, otherwise this exercise is going to be exceedingly difficult to do) I want you to think of someone who has hurt you. I'm not talking about the kid in middle school who called you (and everyone else) brace face, I'm talking about someone who has truly, in every sense of the word, wounded you.

Maybe they lied to you.
Maybe they betrayed you.
Maybe they left you.

But in some form or fashion their actions, in your mind, justified a need for remorse. They've committed an act against you that warrants rectification. There is something that at some point, you feel they have owed you. There is a debt that needs to be paid.

Is your blood boiling yet? Take a deep breath and bear with me.

The irony of this situation is that in this scenario, unless you are willing to fully forgive that person (with or without an apology) YOU are the one enslaved to the offender. YOU are the one that will lie awake at night rehashing the situation, thinking through what you really want to say, if you had the opportunity to set them straight. And guess what? Odds are that they aren't losing any sleep over it. Guess what else? If just thinking about this person and this scenario is causing your blood pressure to even slightly rise, you're nowhere near close to truly forgiving them, no matter how much you think you've let go of what happened.

You see, the easy part is forgiving someone who is genuinely sorry. Someone who acknowledges the error in their ways and begs you for forgiveness. The problematic situation is forgiving someone who is not. Someone who either isn't willing to accept responsibility for their actions, or thinks they weren't in the wrong to begin with. How do you go about forgiving them? Do you forgive them? Is that even possible?

Learning this principle was a major game changer for don't miss this:

There is FREEDOM in unconditional FORGIVENESS.

Forgiveness that is not earned.
Forgiveness that is not solicited.
Forgiveness that is not, in some cases, seemingly necessary.

If you look at the context of "forgiveness" you will see a very crucial word hidden within the text: give. I don't think that's a coincidence. True, unconditional forgiveness is not a feeling. It's a choice we make. It's a gift we have the opportunity to give...on behalf of the One who gave His life for our ultimate forgiveness.

Hidden within the confines of unmerited forgiveness are the offerings of grace, love and truth.

Grace says I will bless you even though you don't necessarily deserve it.
     "...and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus."   -Romans 3:24

Love says I accept you right where you are.
     "Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself."  -Leviticus 19:18

says I will continue to point you back to Jesus in all I do.
     "Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the head, that is, Christ."  -Ephesians 4:15

So how do you know when you've truly forgiven someone?

For me, it was when I was able to sit down to pray for that person who hurt genuinely pray for God to bless them and to know that I really meant it. It didn't happen over night. It wasn't easy all the time. But it was a daily (sometimes hourly) choice to cancel the "debt" I felt was owed to me, and to believe that God has much bigger things in this world for me to carry for Him than a grudge.

Who do you need to truly forgive today


30 Days of 30: Day 3 - My Golden Ticket

"Life begins at the end of your comfort zone."
          -Neale Donald Walsch

I love the airport. I love the whole process of packing a suitcase, going through the ticket line, sitting at the gate and people watching. Taking off on an adventure somewhere outside of your normal 9 to 5 daily grind. Exploring new cities and discovering new places.

But until about 5 years ago, I only enjoyed doing this within the continental United States.


Because it was predictable. Because it was "safe." Because it was comfortable.

When I was younger I made a list of places around the world I would like to see one day. But I never thought much of it because in my mind there were so many variables that were out of my control once I left the comfort of my home country.  In fact, I used to always say that I never felt "called" to go on a mission trip. I fully supported missions and those who ventured out, but that just wasn't what God was telling me to do.

But it just wasn't true.

The reality was that I had felt a gentle nudge from God for a few years about taking a trip...but I chose, for a long time, to ignore it. And then one day, after watching a video in church about several teams who had just come back from trips all around the world, something clicked. I knew it was time to stretch myself and take a step out of my little box.

It was time to apply for my passport.

And when it arrived at my home, two days before my first mission trip, it might as well have been Willy Wonka himself standing at my door with the Golden Ticket. It was beautiful. It's fresh, blank pages just waiting to be stamped with remnants of adventures of a lifetime. It was my ticket to a new perspective. My chance to see the world through the eyes of someone paint the picture of other cultures the way no book could ever do.

It was my opportunity to experience God in a whole new light. To stand with people in another country who are thousands of miles from me, who speak another language, but yet to worship the same great God is absolutely humbling and astounding.  And to carry those friendships with me wherever I go, just makes this great big world that much smaller.

My passport is not just my ticket to's my invitation to serve God in a way I could never serve Him at home in my comfort zone. It's my opportunity to shift my perspective of my reality I've created for myself in my own little corner of the world.

It's my little reminder of just how small we are and how infinitely big He is.