I have a song in my head. You know how that goes. You go about your daily routines, working, scanning social media sites, talking to friends, checking the to-list and all the while, it keeps creeping back and won’t loosen its grip. Many times I wonder at my brain and the selection it makes in looped musical torture, but not today.

Today I know exactly why this song is in my subconscious repertoire. “C is for cookie, that’s good enough for me.”

In case you aren’t familiar with the big blue furry monster and his obsession, here are some of the lyrics to that song.

C is for cookie, that’s good enough for me (x3)
Oh, cookie, cookie, cookie starts with C!
Hey you know what, a round cookie with a bite out of it looks like a C.
A round donut with a bite out of it also looks like a C.
But it is not as good as  a cookie.
Oh and the moon sometimes looks like a C but you can’t eat that.

No cookie monster, you can’t eat the moon. And if you could it would probably taste like the tofu cheese I’ve been eating as part of my Daniel fast. Don’t get me wrong, the food that God provides is delicious and nourishing. I’ve had some great meals these last eight days. But the thought of cookies has me really wanting the next two days to go by super fast.

If you were to go without your favorite things for 10 days, what would you want to do on the first day after the fast? Or maybe you don’t care about food—what else would you sacrifice that would make you dream of proverbial cookies?

I’m torn between these items on my first day after the fast:

  • Coke
  • Reese’s peanut butter cup
  • Steak sandwich
  • Wine
  • Cheese (some seriously yummy gourmet stinky variety)
  • Cheeseburger
  • Big piece of yummy bread smothered in butter

Or maybe I’ll just have another salad with water.

What would  you choose?

It’s day three of the 10-day Daniel fast I’m on. In case you don’t know what that is, it’s a fast based on scripture where Daniel eats only choice foods (see below for more information). In this case I can eat fruits and vegetables and food from plants and seeds. No meat, dairy, sugar, yeast (read bread), caffeine, alcohol, tea, etc.

So far it’s been okay but there have been times when only a prayer asking for help will keep me rooted. And that’s the entire point after all. When you sacrifice, you turn to God and get closer to Him and meditate more on what He wants for you.

Here are some of the highlights of my last couple of days.

  • Three reaches into the refrigerator at 8 a.m. for my normal caffeine induced pick-me-up, a diet coke. With a quick snap-back reflex of the arm and a big sigh, I filled up a glass of water to re-hydrate and prayed to God to please keep me awake on my drive in to work.
  • Four or five serious but quick chocolate cravings. As I walk through my office, the remnants of the vendor gifts waft deliciously at me and tease me.
  • Eight ounces of peanuts consumed. A staple that keeps me sane.
  • Soy yogurt for breakfast this morning. The color and consistency are enough to turn you off but as a substitute it’s okay and the taste is alright but not really something I’ll stick with.
  • A body that is so racked with fatigue and cannot be uplifted with any additive, had to fall to sleep last night at 6:30 p.m. I awoke to the one cat who constantly runs away from me begging for some petting. He must have missed me chasing him and wondered what was wrong.

Tonight I must go back to the stove to cook up something edible that will last a few days so I don’t get stuck with nothing to eat and a craving that will send me to Chik-fil-A.

In case you are interested in the background of Daniel and the fast, here is an excerpt from this web site:  http://www.gotquestions.org/Daniel-fast.html

The concept of a Daniel fast comes from Daniel 1:8-14, “But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. Now God had caused the official to show favor and sympathy to Daniel, but the official told Daniel, ‘I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.’

Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, ‘Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.’ So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.”

The background of the Daniel fast is that Daniel and his three friends had been deported to Babylon when Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians conquered Judah (2 Kings 24:13-14). Daniel and his three friends were put into the Babylonian court servant “training program.” Part of the program was learning Babylonian customs, beliefs, laws, and practices. The eating habits of the Babylonians were not in complete agreement with the Mosaic Law. As a result, Daniel asked if he and his three friends could be excused from eating the meat (which was likely sacrificed to Babylonian false gods and idols).

There is a theme to this week here at the Crowe house. Plumbing. Mechanical, physical, and spiritual. I’m practicing that thing the experts say to do—try committing to 15 minutes a day in order to get something done. Well I’ve decided to work on a schedule of 15 minutes of exercise, 15 minutes of bible reading, and 15 minutes of working on other projects I have going on around the house. And now I’m going to segue into the plumbing theme…(too much of a stretch?).

My new friend Julio, a competent, friendly and honest man is at this moment fixing all the leaky old pipes in my house and putting in a new faucet on my big bathtub. You may be saying, so what? Well, smartypants,  a) the tub is why I bought the house and b) do you know how hard it is to find a good, honest plumber who doesn’t charge you an arm and a leg?

I like Julio. It’s a bit strange that he hugs me (we don’t really know each other), but I think he’s a Godly man and he’s got a great smile and a cheerful spirit. But as much as I like him, I can’t wait for him to be done so I can work on the physical plumbing. That 15 minutes a day exercise has put the muscles in my neck and back in a spasm of mighty pain, so I want to heal a bit with some warm water and bubbles.

This weekend I’m also preparing for 10 days of cleaning the spiritual and physical pipes by means of a Daniel Fast. I did it last year and our pastor is encouraging us to do it again as a way to begin the new year firmly grounded with the will of God in our plans. I talked about promises in my last post and before I make any serious ones, I’m going to focus on God and hope that I can calm my mind enough to see His will for me. A good way to do that is through this fast.

So Monday begins the 10 day journey of eating only things from plants and seeds. Veggies, fruits, nuts, whole wheat and only water to drink. Nothing processed, no yeast, no caffeine or tea or dairy or meat. All the things I love and struggle with. I’m going to miss my bread, cheese, and wine—I’ll admit that because anyone who knows me knows I’ll be hankering for those temporary thrills. But, without sacrifice you can’t see the majesty of what God can do in your life.

I want to finish this off with some witty, final metaphor that will explain the title but I think we all have had to deal with that pesky toilet handle problem. Just one of life’s fun quirks that shows us things aren’t always perfect but they can still work.

…A now a minion version of how yummy (not) a fast can be.

This is day 10, the last day of my Daniel fast. I wasn’t sure I would make it past three days but here I am, one day (or less now) from a yummy pizza. I have been free of caffeine, refined sugar, dairy, meat, baked bread, and all things processed for 10 days. I believe I did it without biting anyone’s head off or pacing up and down the hall trying not to cheat and sneak a bite of chocolate. All the glory and all the praise goes to God. It was God that kept me focused and held me back from temptation. With my love of food and diet coke and wine, it was clearly divine intervention that has gotten me through these 10 days.

I was okay for the most part but last night the cravings started to get pretty strong. Maybe it was because I was looking down the slope at the finish line. I’ve been thinking pretty hard about what I want to eat first. I know, obsessing a bit? Yes, because I want to keep up the habit of daily communication with God and self control and all that the fruit of the Spirit bestows upon us. I don’t want to gorge and eat just because I can.

I’m getting a new refrigerator tomorrow. It ‘s perfect timing to throw out a bunch of stuff that’s been lingering too long in the old fridge—along with some bad habits that need to go. I know I won’t conquer them all at once, but this experience has shown me just how strong and amazing God is—He can overcome my biggest obstacles with no effort.

Thanks for all who were praying for me and supporting me during this fast. Thanks to Pastor Mark at NCC who encourages our church to do this every year. He does it for 21 days but I’m a neophyte and this is a huge issue for me so I chose to have a goal I thought was extremely difficult but not seemingly insurmountable. Maybe I should have had more faith in God who of course could get me through another 11 days. But now that I’m fixated on having my glass of wine with some cheese and bread for dinner tomorrow, I don’t think even Moses could part me from that.

So in parting, thinking about getting through today and then celebrating, I’ll give a little nod to my favorite musical, Les Miserables:

One day more!
Another day, another destiny.
This never-ending road to Calvary…

Tomorrow we’ll discover
What our God in Heaven has in store!
One more dawn
One more day
One day more!

I’m taking a poll: If you were coming off a fast, what would you want to eat first?

I find doing something you think is hard is often not that hard. It’s getting to the starting point that’s the hardest part. Whether you’ve hit rock bottom and said okay, I’ll get off my butt and do it, or maybe just reached that point when you actually can let go of the control you think you have and hand it over to God, it takes that hard push to get moving before momentum takes over. It’s not easy—even though we are encouraged over and over again—but it really is awesome when you do and can see how God can get you through.

My attitude and habits needed to change, and I needed God to get me moving. So, now I’m on day six of a 10-day Daniel fast. I honestly didn’t think I’d make it three days but here I am thanking God for getting me through this. The thing that seems to work with God and me is I tell Him I’ll suffer the pain—cravings, hunger, desire, etc., for whatever I am trying to give up—I just need Him to keep me from succumbing to the temptation. “God,” I say, “please keep me from grabbing that bagel or coke, or whatever—just help me to not fall off this path.” And He does. He is so good to me. I am blessed so much and praise Him for family, friends, and a good life.

My friend asked me the other day if this was getting harder. In some ways it is and others not. There are moments, you know? One minute I’ll be dreaming about a cheeseburger and another I’ll be content and full after eating a veggie burger without a bun. Having said that, I did make “pizza” today that I can’t quite say was terrible but it didn’t really hit the spot. I’m not sure what I’ll eat first when I done this, but real pizza just jumped to the top of the list. Having said that, I don’t plan on gorging myself with junk when this is over. I’ve lost 10 pounds so far (yes, I know, lots of water weight, but who cares—I’ll take it). So I’m feeling pretty good and needed this kick start to a new year and a new me.

I had a goal last year that took a back seat due to all the tragedy that happened. But I’m going back to that now. I want to get in shape again so I can run around with the kids and maybe, just maybe I’ll sign up for the four-day trek to Machu Picchu. Now that is a very lofty goal. It will take a lot of veggie burgers to get there but if I keep my focus on God, maybe He’ll help me explore His beautiful world old-school style.

Do you have a dream? Do you need to restart your life? If you aren’t a follower of Jesus, I would encourage you to read the Gospels. Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John. All four are the story of Christ told to different audiences. It could be just the thing to save your life. He saved mine. And He can help you too. And you don’t have to eat like a vegan on steroids to be close to Him.

I’ve learned over the past three days of  this Daniel fast that I have an unhealthy love of condiments. Those sugary, sweet additions to the core of my meals that make them taste good. Oh yes, forget the tofu, give me toppings l can sink my taste buds into.

I’m actually surprised I’ve made it this far without sneaking a bite of something I’ve given up for God during this 10-day from-the-seed-only diet. But then, I guess the entire point is that when you Trust in God and let Him help you, anything is possible.

There are actually a few surprises I’ve come across these last couple of days. Here’s one—Muesli and soy milk are delicious. Who knew? I also have been making some good meals such as whole wheat spaghetti and the tomato sauce I made from spices and other more natural ingredients last night. God provides very well indeed. That’s not to say I don’t miss my chocolate, juice, caffeine, and other assorted snacks.

But then it wouldn’t be a sacrifice if we didn’t miss something, now would it?

Sacrifice is what makes us stop and think about God and beg for His strength. It’s what keeps us close to Him and helps us realize how much He takes care of us. The food I’m allowed to eat on this fast is delicious and filling. It really shouldn’t be a sacrifice. I guess that goes to show just how wonderful He is to us that He gives us such wonderful treats to spice up our life.

Thanks for the ketchup God.

The day started off with a reminder of how easy it is to be stuck in a rut. As I went to reach for my morning diet coke—the one I felt I needed soooooo much to wake me up so I could drive to work— I remembered that this was day one of the Daniel fast and instead of the soda, grabbed my water bottle.  Oh joy.

It really does take constant prayer to help you through the random parts of the day when you are doing something like fasting. In case you don’t read my blog regularly (and why don’t you is what I should be asking), the Daniel fast is a ten day (sometimes 21 days but I’m super weak and this is my first try at it) restriction of a diet. Only things that come from seeds—veggies, fruits, whole grain, nuts can be eaten and only water is a choice for drink. Nothing processed, no sugar, no dairy, no meat. Kill me now.

I asked God a few times today to curse the man who invented carbonated beverages and questioned Him on why I couldn’t have my green tea. It’s good for me God! And I’m sleeping through this Monday morning all-staff meeting because I didn’t sleep last night and really need a pick me up. Ahhhhhh!

Okay, moving on—I just want to give God a huge thank you that I’m allowed to eat peanuts and popcorn on this fast. Man did that save me today! A boring salad at lunch was not going to do it. But the juicy cantaloupe and Clementine at breakfast were fabulous. Nature’s candy!

As I drove home I knew the worst was coming. After cleaning the house and doing some chores I almost went right to bed but decided to read the Bible and have a good meal. It’s very hard to resist temptation when you are tired and hungry and that little microwavable can of Easy Mac is staring you in the face. Time to pray. Okay, got me enough strength to cook up some veggies and brown rice—yum! Actually when I first started to eat it, it was a gift from God and tasted wonderful. As it got colder it tasted less wonderful but it was nutritious and good. Praise God.

I’ve decided to read Isaiah during this fast and it is very appropriate. Tonight’s chapters discussed giving your heart to God, not just going through the motions of empty rituals. It also reminded me to not worship idols. You may be thinking of a big carved figure but idols can be anything—money, cars, fame, food, etc. It’s good to remember that we can easily get caught up placing too much importance on those worldly things. Moderation is good and God is great!

Okay, so the dog and cat are very upset that there were no meat and cheese leftovers tonight and they have gone off to sulk. I am going to partake in what may be labeled an idol—Season three of Downton Abbey. There, I said it. I confess it and will repent once the season premier is over. And I will continue to pray for help resisting temptation tonight as I sit and wish that I could have some chocolate for dessert. Oh day two, here we come.