Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The food and water challenge

Some of my take aways from the food and water challenge around the halfway mark:
-I don't eat for the right reasons.  I really want to eat sugary crap when I'm stressed out.  I want to eat food because it tastes good and to satisfy an immediate desire, not because I am hungry.  Instant gratification my friends
-As I write this post my stomach is growling and I've decided that rice and beans make oneself exceptionally gassy.  T.M.I., yes, but I think about all the munchkins and their bloated bellies because of how hungry they are. It stinks a little to feel like this and they feel like this All.The.Time
-I keep wanting to cheat while I'm at work, using the excuse that I am not on my game and therefore not the best nurse I can be due to my growling belly.  Truth is, when its super busy I don't eat anyways and I am definitely on my game.  But I've thought about it and there are women all over the world giving birth and eating less that what I have eaten this week.  That sucks.
-I no longer look forward to eating.  I kind of dread it.  Instead I look forward to sleeping...again wanting to immediately satisfy my body.
-It is easier to do things when they are done in community.  If I was doing this challenge on my own, I would have cheated a long time ago.  However, I have a meal planned for the first time I can eat other food with a bunch of friends who are also doing the challenge.  I don't want to be "the cheater friend".  We can savor that first bite together.
-Hunger is a feeling and I am bigger than my body.  God can sustain me and I will be just fine.

I am honestly looking forward to eating some real food, not so much to make the hunger go away, but because they bland diet makes me want to ralph a little bit almost every time I eat.  I'm glad I'm doing it and grateful to have made it this far on God's strength.

Monday, April 11, 2011

I'm Starving

Not Really.  I often use this phrase when I am really hungry, but it is a load of crap.  If I was starving my belly would be bloated and I wouldn't have the energy to do my job or live my life.  So I'm not starving.  I'm uncomfortable and spoiled to the core.

This week our church is doing the 5 day food and water challenge. It sounds nice, but I have a love hate relationship with it.  For five days I will eat solely a sustenance diet, and I will do it for less than a dollar a day.  I will eat like the people who are truly on the verge of starvation, only I have the fat stores and Saturday to make up for it.  So my meals will be oatmeal for breakfast and rice and beans for lunch and dinner.  I can also drink tap water.

Thats it.

In years past I struggled more with lack of choices and the food "not sounding good" more so than being hungry.  By Friday last year I don't think I even wanted to eat because if I ate one more bean I would surely puke it up.  I find that I need the constant reminder of how good I have it because of where I was born.  Is there poverty in America, you bet, but there are also drinking fountains. I can go to my faucet and drink water without worrying if I will get sick from it.  I can open my cabinets and have multiple choices about what to make for dinner, and amazingly I usually don't want anything that I have (I usually want a hot fudge sundae from McDonalds for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but that is an addiction that I can talk about another day)...Now I really want that sundae.  Dang it.

I'm salivating for fun.

So this week I will stand in solidarity with those who don't have a choice of meal.  Who eat to survive and because they are truly hungry.  I will get over myself this week and I will try to not get excited if I drop a few pounds doing it.  When I eat that sundae Friday at midnight, it might not taste so sweet anymore because I will remember that there are people out there who don't eat like this as a challenge, but rather because it is their life.  I hope and pray that God breaks my heart this week because His breaks on a daily basis for those who are truly starving. (Side note, whenever I type His I get that stupid Lady Gaga song in my head.  I'm glad she could ruin writing about God for me just like this challenge can ruin my love of hot fudge sundaes.)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Ode to Craigslist

Quick post about why I love craigslist.
-I've mastered the system.  You want to sell something?  I'll tell you how much you can get.  I can also find the best bargains for purchasing (i.e. my $100 massive cute brown couch).
-We don't need more crap in the world.  I'm becoming more and more fond of buying used and recycling my own stuff.  As a society we are so wasteful.  Now if only I could get my used stuff to come with a warranty  and I would be totally set.
-I've met nice people. Andy who bought all the extra furniture in my basement today was a little off beat, but I'm excited for him and his wife and their new house in Portage Park.  I hope they enjoy my bookshelf, coffee table, tv stand, and side table all for the awesome price of $95 dollars.  What I didn't tell him was that I bought all of that stuff on craigslist for $100 a year ago.  It was like paying a $5 rental fee for furniture for a six months.  Pretty sweet deal to me.
-Speaking of nice people, the dresser that I repainted and sold on craigslist went to this really sweet couple who were using it in their nursery when their baby was born.  They delivered at my hospital and I was their nurse.  Small world, and the pictures of the nursery were super cute.
-I can get nicer stuff that I normally couldn't afford from a store.
-Because I didn't spend much on the front end I'm not terribly upset if something breaks.  I also can turn around and sell it if our furniture needs change.
-The ikea crap is already assembled!
Here's a little run down on my craigslist purchases and sales because it will make me feel accomplished and toot my craigslist master horn:
When we moved into our old apartment I bought the large Ikea expedit shelving unit along with a grey pull-out couch.  The couch was the one thing I've bought on craigslist and didn't really love (the girl was moving accross the country that day and I felt to bad saying no to her.  I'm a sucker).  Total $100  Sold the couch to our friends for $50 and am still using the bookshelf

Cherry kitchen table still in use: $125
Tall cherry kitchen cabinet still in use:  $100

Butcher block: Bought for $50 Sold for $40
Sold a set of shelves that were a hand me down: $30
Sold two couches and a chair that were originally free hand me downs for a total of $120...hellllloooo profit
Dresser hand me down that I refinished and sold for $40
Bought my desk from $10, sold it for $20
Johnnys desk was a free hand me down, sold it for $20
And now I sold the furniture I bought for when we moved in here that ended up not really working in the space for $5 less than what I bought it for 6 months ago.

Not to mention we have found our two really great old apartments on craigslist.
I love craigslist almost as much as Johnny and bargains make me happy.

Being true to my crafty self

Confession: I like to craft, decorate, and create things for significantly cheaper than I could buy them for... and I don't think I realized how much joy I took away from the projects I worked on. It seems generic in this Etsy filled world and I am pretty sure almost anyone could replicate my crafts.  I also want to dabble more in photography like everyone else and their mother (and I think that wish comes from wanting to have awesome pictures of my kids one day and not having to pay anyone else to take them).
When we moved into the tiny-built-by-monkeys apartment I got rid of my desk and boxed up all of my lovely crafting goodies.  Over the past few weeks we have been trying to make the apartment feel more like home and feel more livable so I have sold some of our furniture on craigslist and we have decided to turn basement into our office.  Johnny and I struck a deal that I could spend money on a desk at ikea that I have been wanting if I could make enough selling our furniture first.
On a side note...I am totally a craigslist master.  I may have missed my calling.  Nursing is a nice profession, but Craigslist master sounds pretty tempting.  Plan B I guess.
So I am starting to rearrange down in the depths of my apartment and I am feeling hopeful.  I'm excited to break out all of my crafty crap and figure out some projects to work on, many of which I will probably never finish.
On a side note, I think my takeaway from this experience is to live in the here and now.  I've left my apartment all packed up thinking that it would only be a year and wasn't worth my time and energy to really get settled.  I was wrong.  Where ever we move next, I want to get settled right away, and be true to the fact that I need a place that feels like home.  I want to put picture on the wall and break out the sequins and the sewing machine.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Seed Pack Attack

Tonight for Celebration of Hope I met up with my mom and sister to help pack seeds to make garden packs for families in Zimbabwe.  In all honesty I didn't want to go.  I didn't want to take the time to drive in traffic and do a serving event that sounded boring.  I'm pretty much a terrible person.  So I took time in the car to try to and refocus.  To get beyond my wants and my needs.  The event wasn't about me.  It wasn't about having fun.  It was about giving up my time and using the hands God has given me to simply run packages of seeds from table to table, so that they could be boxed up and shipped across the ocean and change lives. I think that in many areas of my life I need channel some more selflessness.  I want my heart to break for the things that break God's.  I want my life to be about more than me and my accomplishments.
So here are a couple pictures from the seed pack, an event that is much bigger than me.

Celebration of Hope

I am lucky to live close to an amazing church.  We go to Willow Creek in the Chicagoland area and we have attended at a couple of their different campuses.  The caliber of teaching is unmatchable, the band is amazing, they offer ministries for people of all ages and in all stages of life.  While all those things are necessary, what keeps me passionate about my church is their outreach to serve and love those who others have forgotten.
For the past couple of years they have done a month long series called "Celebration of Hope," where we focus our time, money, thoughts, prayers, etc on those in need.  In past years we have focused on global poverty and for a good month I have my world turned upside down, and my perspective realigned.  This year we are focusing on global, as well as local poverty, and again I can feel my heart begin to soften.
When they first talked about giving money towards local poverty, I was a bit put off.  In my head there wasn't as much of a need in the Chicagoland least in my head.  While many people are not living on less than a dollar a day, the pastor pointed out the people that sleep in their cars in the back of the church parking lot because they have no where to sleep.  People are hurting and struggling all around me and I keep one eye closed towards it.  I hate the way it makes me feel... that mixture of hopelessness and guilt.
So for the next month I will let my heart be broken by the things that break God's.  I will sit in the discomfort and remind myself that I serve a God of hope.  I will spend some time eating like those who live on less than a dollar a day eat.  I will pack seeds to be able to send to Africa to help families.  I will realize and remember how much I am blessed with and try to figure out what God wants me to do with this one and only life.