Friday, February 15, 2013

The Daniel Fast and Valentine's Day

On Tuesday night, the hubby and I went to Bible Study at church to learn about this Daniel Fast that our pastor had mentioned.  After thinking about it and praying in church, I felt a whisper telling me that I may find the answers and direction that I was seeking if I participated.  Keep in mind that I have NEVER done a church-directed fast before.  Ever...  I was always one of those folks who insisted that I could never not ever be that disciplined, that I didn't really have anything that I needed to beseech the Lord for that bad.  Hmmm...
I made a hundred thousand excuses and as a result, I am now 37 years old and this is my first time ever going into a fasting and prayer time with just me and the Lord.  Crazy, huh?

So obviously, the hubby and I are in the process of adopting.  We are now officially home study certified (yaay!).  However, unless there is a money tree that my loving husband has been secretly growing somewhere, there is absolutely no way that we could ever come up with the $30,000 that our adoption agency says we need by the time we are matched with a potential birth family.  Daryl has even tried to get approved at a credit union for an adoption loan and we were turned down.  Before we were officially turned down at the credit union, we thought about adopting through DHS, however we were told that the particular program we were looking into rarely has infants that are available for adoption and that if we would consider fostering first, we might have a better chance. As it is, they currently had one couple who were going the straight adoption route and they had been on the waiting list for five years.  Yes, you read correctly, five years!  So yeah, things have been looking pretty hopeless for us lately.  I have been struggling to not be depressed by what was going on, to remain faithful, and to stay prayerful, but honestly, it has really been hard for me to do that.  It seemed like every way we turn, we keep hitting dead ends but I know what that angel told me in my dream.  I. Know...
Have you ever been so sure of something that you know it is going to come true but you have no earthly idea what the Lord has up His sleeve or how He will bring it to pass?  I don't know what He is doing right now or how He is going to do it, but I know that it will be done.  I have to believe that. And in the meantime, I will continue to pray.

So anyway, we decided to do the Daniel Fast with our church.  The fast lasts from Ash Wednesday (02/13/13) through Easter Sunday (03/31/13) but it does allow you to exclude Sundays if you want to.  It will be 40 days of fasting and praying.  For myself, I felt that I needed to participate in this event in order to receive some clarification about things and some direction for my life.  I'm looking for a miracle and a light in the darkness right now and if I have to sacrifice to at least see what our next step is going to be then I think it will be worth it.

Information about the Daniel Fast can be found on many places online such as here at Daniel-Fast or here at 3 Ways to do a Daniel Fast.  Our church's web page dedicated to the fast is here at Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church.  It is basically a plant-based diet focused on fruits, vegetables and nuts, allowing only water as a beverage.  There's a long list of foods to avoid and for me personally, the meat loss isn't that big of a deprivation.  For me, the hardest part will be no sweets and no dairy products.  Our first day's menu (Ash Wednesday) went as follows:

Protein shake: Made with plant protein powder, unsweetened almond milk, strawberries, mango, and pineapple, 1/2 Tbsp ground chia seeds and 1/2 Tbsp ground flax seeds
(I used PlantFusion protein powder - found at Whole Foods)
1/4 cup raw almonds

Mixed vegetables with seasoned tomato sauce
small red potato

med. banana

Black bean burger patty (from Whole Foods)
Sweet potato fries
Romaine lettuce salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing

Air-popped popcorn

WATER: 80 ounces

It was surprising that I didn't feel too hungry throughout the day.  I was absolutely certain that I would be starving, but I really wasn't.  The thing about it is that as long as you are eating veggies, there isn't a set limit on the amount.  So I didn't have to measure out 1/2 cup of pineapples and 1/2 cup of strawberries, etc.  I did because I am just that anal, I am still strictly counting my calories on SparkPeople and I still track my steps with my Fitbit pedometer, but it's good to know that I didn't have to if I didn't want to.  By dinner, I had stopped measuring everything so crazily and just enjoyed my baked fries and salad.

Valentine's Day was pretty much the same.  I had oatmeal with raisins in it for breakfast, more raw almonds for my mid-day snack, vegetable soup and a banana for lunch, and carrots for snack #2.  On the church's website, there are a list of restaurants in the Philadelphia area that have a Daniel Fast menu so we decided to go to Relish.  It is a modern southern soul-food restaurant here in Philly that we love for the good food and the live music.  Since they were participating with the menu, we decided to go there for Valentine's Day.  We were early for the live music. She was supposed to have started her second set at 8:00 pm, but we were finished eating by then.  We actually waited 20 minutes for the act to come on stage, but since she didn't, we left and decided to come home to watch a movie. (Side note: If you have not rented Taken 2 yet, please do so immediately! Yes, it was just that good! LOL)

For dinner, the hubby and I had the whole wheat penne pasta entree.  It was really tasty with olive tapenade, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, spinach, and olive oil.  I didn't expect for it to taste as good as it did, but it was actually pretty good.  My only complaint was that there was quite a bit of olive oil in it so it was a little greasy but other than that, it was delicious.  Of course I had them to add sauteed onions to my dish because in my world, anything with garlic in it deserves to dance with onions. (LOL)  I think it rounded the flavors out and I absolutely loved it.

So if you are in the Philadelphia area and you like to hear live jazz or blues music while you eat a really good meal reminiscent of some little old ladies in the south cooking for the church picnic, then stop by Relish.  And if you are thinking about doing the Daniel Fast and would still like to go out on a date with your honey bunny, then their Daniel Fast menu is small but really good.  Hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend!


~Peace and Love~

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