So, I survived the first week of The 7 Experiement. Survived is the key word. It was tough, y’all. To fast like this requires a certain resolve in your heart. It requires discipline, steadfastness, consistency, order, faithfulness. Generally,
meaning, never those words are not used to describe me. Like, never. I am fun at parties, though.
Before I even tell you about my first week of this delightful event, I must preface with a little scene setting. When Thing One made me do this,
today is opposite day she didn’t tell me I didn’t realize the first week of our Food fast would be during Spring Break. Noooooo!!! (Insert this grown-up whining) “But, that’s no faaaair. We are going on vacation for Spring Break!” In case you didn’t know, I haven’t done a lot of vacating over the last few years. And this was a big one! My Dad and Step-mom planned the trip and invited us and our three little rascals to tag along. This was a h-u-g-e trip, because we were headed to…wait for it…Spring Training with the Texas Rangers!! Our family are HUGE Rangers fans. This is entire theme of the boy’s room. I guarantee sister friend can name more Rangers than most adults. The boys know all the players, stats, positions, jersey numbers…all of it! In fact, Ryan can say, “Hey guys, who am I?” and then he’ll position himself in a batting stance, to see which boy will shout “That’s David Murphy!” or “Oh, easy Dad, that’s Josh Hamilton!” We will miss you, Josh! just by seeing their stance.
So, needless to say, they were pumped! And so were we! We planned to see Carlsbad Caverns on the way there and Petrified Forest, Painted Desert, and the piece de resistance – The Grand Canyon on the way home. We’d agreed to give Dad some money for gas but other than that, they were fitting the entire bill. I know, we are blessed!
This trip was gonna be epic.
Until I remembered the Fast.
I committed to only eating healthy, whole foods and no treats for the first week
on stinking vacation. If God grew it or made the animal and it was made into something healthy from that animal meaning: no bacon I could eat it. No chips. No cereal. No treats. Here we are, a family who never, and I mean never, eats out, because it doesn’t fit in with Mr. Budget – and now we had a week FULL of lunches and dinners paid for, and I couldn’t have fun with that?! Darn you Jen Hatmaker.
So, without further adieu, here are some snip-its from my journal:
Week One – Food.
By the way, it ain’t pretty.
So, I’ve spent days doing laundry, making lists, organizing our belongings for the eight day road trip. My husband got all of his stuff together himself
congratustinkinglations so all I had to do ha! was get everything ready for me and the three children under eight years old. Nice. Nana and I had planned well, with the ‘things to do in a car for a zillion hours’ area covered with the God-given invention of Kindles and Nintedno DS devices. Add to that coloring books, markers, puzzles, etc and we were set. For like two hours.
So, here we are, Friday afternoon, and the rental suburban was packed to. the. brim. Kids were going potty one last time, again, and all of a sudden Jacob starts screaming. Like, screaming. He is eight years old, and only screams
like a girl when he is hurt, like, bad hurt.
He is clutching his ear and crying out “It hurts so bad, Mama! Heeelp Meeee!!” So, I did what I do…I gave him Ibuprofen. Then, I looked at the clock. 5:11pm, on a Friday. Awesome. Hello, Urgent care.
Goodbye souvenir money.
Two hours later, I called my parents, who had taken the stuffed rental SUV to Wendy’s to feed kids #2 and #3 dinner. Before I could order a double cheeseburger and fries with a chocolate milkshake, I stopped. Fast. “I’ll have a baked potato and a salad.”
When they arrived to pick us up from our 2 1/2 hour detour from the road trip, they only had the salad. “They were out of baked potatoes, but we got you fries!” Ugh. Fast.
Who doesn’t love being in a car for ten
stinking hours with three small kids? Pick me! Pick me!
Let’s all take a moment and thank our grandparents and great grandparents for not killing our lineage off on their first road trip. My Dad told me about his road trips each year to California to see family –
Dad: “We rode in a ol’ two-seater (I acted like I knew what that was. Regardless, it sounds small) for hours and hours. My Mom, Dad, me, my three older sisters and my little brother. We found room where we could, taking turns lying on the floorboard and back dashboard. (Isn’t it hilarious that kids are in booster seats until they’re like 13 now!?) If Dad got tired, we stopped. Otherwise we didn’t stop. When it was bedtime, we’d pull off onto the side of the road and lie on the ground on a blanket. If we fought, we pulled over for a different reason. You didn’t want that to happen.”
Oh Grandma Owens, thank you for not killing your five children.
If that had been me and my kids, our vacations would have consisted of a tour of the local post office, a scenic walk to the railroad tracks and back. Vacation, done.
But, here we are with 1-2 electronic devices per child, and an assortment of movies to watch on the, not one, but two TV screens in the rental. And books. And coloring books. And
seven thousand games of I Spy, and Guess the Animal, and The Alphabet Game, and of course my favorite, The Quiet Game. I rocked that one.
Carlsbad Caverns was unreal. The kids had a blast, I took a bunch o’ pictures and all was well. But, after ten hours in the car and a lovely five mile walk 750 feet underground, we had whiney kids. The next kid who fusses only gets seven foods for the next week! Ok, maybe we had grumpy grown-ups too. Then we found an oasis. A lovely flashing red , green ,and yellow hole-in-the-wall authentic Mexican food place. (aka heaven on earth) I personally believe you must eat Mexican food at least once a week in order to get into heaven. Ok, maybe not, but better safe than sorry.
(Sounds of weeping and gnashing of teeth) “No tortillas? No chips and queso? No margartia?” Boooooo. But I deserve it. This has been a looooong day. Fast.
Fine, I’m going to bed. Goodbye Day Two – you are not my best friend.
Take me out to the ballgame…take me out with the crowd…buy me some peanuts and…oh, wait. Nevermind.
Don’t buy me no peanuts. Or Crackers Jacks. Fast.
Have you ever tried to eat healthy whole foods at a baseball game? It is impossible. At a baseball concession stand there are three basic food groups. 1) Salty snacks 2) Sausages and other meat-like products 3) Straight up sugar
I came prepared with cheese, oranges, and apples. That lasted an hour. It was hot. I was hungry. I wanted a Lemon-Chill. It’s made from lemons, right? Wrong.
Fine. I’ll just be hungry.
But, friend, it was H.O.T. Like, Arizona-people-grow-cactus-in-their-stinking-front-yeards-here, kind of H.O.T.
I stood in the ice cream line happily. I had resolved (after a whopping three days) that I had to have this. I needed it. I deserved it, even. After all, God doesn’t want me to be like the legalistic Pharisees and live by the letter of the law, right? As I was thinking this through
read: convincing myself I noticed Scripture on the back of the shirt, the lady in front of me was wearing. Psalm 25:5 “Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”The catch phrase was “All Day Long, Sista!” Gee, God, thanks. I tapped her on the back and struck up a conversation, because that’s what I do. The more we chatted, the more of the presence of God I felt. We were instant friends. She told me about her awesome church, which, by the way, is roughly 19 miles from my house. Uh, ya, that’s God showing off. I told her a bit of my testimony. She told me hers. We laughed, praised, and chatted it up. It was a very long ice cream line. I found out she is a writer and wants to speak. Gee, sound familiar? Oh, and her friend just gave her a new book to read…wanna guess? Yep, that’s right, 7 by Jen Hatmaker. Ok, God we got it! So, here I am 1,100 miles from home, and God uses my weakness to encourage me, further His work through me, and bless my stinking socks off. And give me a new friend who lives 19 miles away.
He is just too much sometimes.
For the record, I took two bites of the ice cream and gave it to my kids. Almost with a pure heart, too.
Baseball game #2 = Hungry Me Day #2
I half expected to meet another friend in the ice cream line. But, I didn’t try it. Instead, I got a whack! No, not a foul ball, thankfully. Instead it was the Holy Spirit’s loving 2×4 to my head.
Gee, daughter of mine, can you even remember the last time you went hungry? Like, really hungry? Millions of my children live this way every day. Millions of them die. Needless to say, I didn’t crave the Lemon-Chill anymore. Or ice cream.
My body feels better! Crazy how junk food wrecks us up, isn’t it? You don’t realize it until you get rid of it. Don’t believe me? Try it. Go two full weeks eating only whole foods. Nothing processed. Nothing fake. Nothing fried up and battered. Nothing with 18 ingredients that you can’t pronounce. Drink a ton of water and not much else. You literally WILL NOT believe how good you feel. It almost, almost makes me excited about next week.
Day Six, Seven, Eight
I am tired of apples. I am tired of oranges. I am tired of the hotel’s version of “scrambled eggs”. I also am tired of sitting. Lord, your Grand Canyon was beyond words. How in the world you made that and still care about me, is simply beyond me. Like, way beyond me. But, thank you. Thank you for giving me something so very huge to look at to remind me you are even bigger. Better. More awe-filled. And you love me! You chose my body to dwell in. Unfathomable.
Ps. After 2,500 miles in eight days, I never want to get in a vehicle again. Ever.
Ahhh, home again. Praise Jesus. And now…
WEEK TWO – Food
Ok, this time, since I am home and back to “normal” again, I want to truly experience this Fast life. So, I did it. I picked Seven foods ONLY to eat this week. Here I go: Chicken, Eggs, Cheese, Sweet potatoes, Broccoli, Strawberries, Apples. The end. Done.
I began the week totally pumped. If Jen Hatmaker can do this for a month, I can do it for a week.
Well, I did it.
But, it wasn’t easy. Like, at all. We live in a fast world. Team Holzberger purposely tries its best to dial it down
a few hundred notches by not signing up our kids for a zillion things, by me staying home as a homemaker, and by scheduling times of nothingness except family-home time. But, there are still times when you have to hurry out the door. And in those times, it is way easier to grab junk that is pre-packaged and processed, than to scramble up a few eggs. I won’t eat eggs for a few months now fyi.
But, isn’t it amazing how our busy lives dictate our health? I found it fascinating and depressing when Jen Hatmaker wrote (p.31) “As we enter this week of fasting from food, dear reader, may I gently suggest that when it comes to food, more is not always more? That position netted us in an unprecedented national health epidemic. No country has ever been this sick, fat, and this deceased based on toxic food supply and bad choices.”
It is crazy to acknowledge that we are the first generation is history to have a shorter life-span that our parents before us. What is that!?!
Junk food. Period.
Can I tell you how hard this was? I mean, it was just for a week, and it was just me, so it wasn’t too bad. My husband (who already eats like he is on a fast) and kids still ate like normal people. I consider us pretty healthy people. Our kids don’t eat a lot of candy. They eat fruit and vegetables and meat and drink milk. We don’t do sugar-filled juices or sodas. But, my pantry still has goldfish, Cheez-its, and Fruit Loops. They eat processed stuff. They eat that junk, honestly because it is cheaper. I have a coupon and the store puts it on sale, so I buy it. I can’t afford to eat organic. I can’t pay $6 for a gallon of milk when we go through six gallons a week. That’s $36, friend. That’s a third of my weekly grocery budget, and I haven’t fed them any food yet.
Poor people are fat because junk food is cheap. Eating healthy and organic is trendy now so a lot of wealthy people do it. For us middle of the road families, we are just that; a somewhere-in-the-middle type of group. We buy some healthy stuff when it’s on sale. But, we buy some junk type stuff when it’s on sale too. We are doing the best we can with what we have. I know those who are in finacial trouble are doing the best the can too, but oh, how sad to know they can’t even think about trying to buy healthy. It just isn’t an option.
Isn’t there something grossly wrong about this?
I scrambled eggs.
I baked sweet potatoes.
I grilled chicken.
I steamed broccoli.
I liquified strawberries and made frozen smoothies.
And, I ate apple after apple after
And, I feel better. I lost four pounds.
But, mainly what I learned this week is how even though it is doable, it is hard. You must prepare ahead of time. Your mind must be focused. You must have resolve. And, you must have money. The real world will begin again. I gotta be able to find a way to mesh these worlds together. Lord, help me to remember that I am the vessel carrying the very presence of the Great I AM. God chose me to be here. He chose this body for me. Could it be skinnier? Yes. Could it be healthier? Yes. But, most importantly, could it honor Him more? Absolutely, yes!
May we all remember what Jen Hatmaker said on page 34 as we leave this Food week and move onto Clothes week –
“God told His people all throughout the Old Testament that their fasting moved him not one iota because their hearts were far from Him.”
Keep my heart close to you. Keep the heart of my dear friend reading close too, Great God.
Friend – has any of this struck a chord. Do your food choices bring you joy or shame? Does your body honor Him? Did you take part in this Fast with us? What did you experience?
Talk to me.