Sunday, December 29, 2013

Resolution — Friends!

This post was first published here on FaithGateway.
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Are you a New Year’s Resolution person? Do you start every year with a list of things you’re set on doing, books to read, places to go, goals to accomplish, vices to quit, challenges to conquer, and adventures to start?
Or are you one of those people who hates resolutions and so your New Year’s Resolution list goes like this: “1. No making resolutions. The end.”?
I get why. We start out so gung-ho and positive and by about mid-January… Oh, whatever! Resolution-schmezolution! I’m calling in sick, eating a frozen pizza, a pan of brownies, two bowls of Captain Crunch, and a six-pack of Dr. Pepper, shopping online, and watching a Magnum, P.I. marathon by myself in my room. In pajamas. All day.
And once we fall off the proverbial wagon, we tend to feel like a big old quitting Quitter. LOOO-ZER!
Let’s get this out in the open, people: You’re going to blow it. I’m going to blow it.
But, do we really need to be so terribly hard on ourselves? I don’t know about you, but there’s no one in my life who’s as hard on me as I am! (At least I hope there isn’t!) And, it’s not helpful!
The Daniel Plan humbleness and patience
Once we start banging our heads against a wall, so stinking mad that we blew it again, it’s hard to not quit! But, one of the marks of people who do life well is that they get back up! They keep going! They start again!
I have a confession: On Christmas Day, as my name-twin, my dear friend Laurie said, I was a Cheater Cheater Roast Beast Eater! I ate a slice of my mama’s Christmas Roast Beef and some scrumdiddlyumptious potatoes. And it was deeeelicious! But then the full weight of Catholic guilt fell upon my head. And I’m Protestant!
I blew it. But, this time, I stopped myself at one meal, reminded myself not to freak out and feel like a quitting Quitter, talked with one of my wonderful friends who cheered me on, and started over again! (So, if you’ve blown it, too, I’ve got your back. We can do this!)

What’s on your New Year’s Resolution list?

Does it look something like this?
  • Lose weight
  • Stop eating junk
  • Get to the gym
  • Get out of debt
  • Save money
  • Quit smoking
  • Get a better job
  • Be a better spouse
  • Start a new ministry
  • Read the Bible cover to cover
  • Finally potty-train the youngest
  • Enjoy more adventures with the kids
  • Start a new business
  • Go back to school
  • Volunteer
  • Spend more time with friends and family
  • Spend less time on Facebook
 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. — Philippians 4:13
I’m an all-in person. I’m a front-rower and I buy and wear the t-shirt. I’m die-hard list maker, a chart maker, a graph maker, a Post-It countdown-and-peel-off-the-days notepad maker. Don’t be scared, but along with The Daniel Plan Journal, I have an “Edit” spreadsheet on my computer where I record goals, the date, my weight, foods I ate, exercise, and notes to myself like “18 Days left! Go for it!” and “Get off your computer, lady, and go get sweaty!” I know, slightly obsessive. I can’t help it. It’s my spiritual gift. Did you know that there are actually apps to help you keep your resolutions? You’d better believe I’m all over that!
I am awesome at starting with a bang… not so awesome at finishing… and I hate feeling like a quitting Quitter.
Anytime we get discouraged about how we mess up in life, or fail at something, or really stink it up, we can read about Jesus’ disciples and be so encouraged.
Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Thomas, Matthew, James, Thaddeus, Simon, Judas, and Bartholomew — these disciples were just ordinary guys who messed up all the time. (And, since I homeschooled for 14 years, yes, I did just sing The Disciples Song I taught my kids when they were little. It’s to the tune of Happy Birthday and it’s highly stick-in-your-head-able, so I’m apologize if you’re still humming it at 2 am.)
I love that Jesus chose real, normal, flawed people to be His closest friends and the first leaders of the Church. None were scholars. None were superstars at what they did. They were pretty much a raucous band of hooligans.
There was passionate Peter, his less foot-in-mouth brother Andrew, James and John who were nicknamed the “Sons of Thunder” by Jesus. They had fire in their blood. They were brawlers. When they saw Samaritans rejecting Jesus, they wanted to call downFIRE from Heaven on them! (Luke 9:54). Awesome. I have cousins like that! John was also the intolerant, braggadocious one who I’m sure just drove the others crazy calling himself the one that Jesus loved. Tell me that wouldn’t have gotten on your nerves!
Matthew (Levi), the thieving tax collector, hated by all Jews. Pessimistic Philip. Simon the fanatical Nationalist. Doubting Thomas who was also prone to extremes. These disciples were just guys. They argued. They annoyed each other. They had big dreams of big self-glory. They were accused of partying too much, hanging with the wrong types, and breaking the Torah laws.
And then, of course, there was Judas, one of Jesus’ dear friends, a trusted confidant and compadré. At some point along the way, Judas decided Jesus wasn’t giving him what he deserved. Judas wasn’t going to get the payoff he expected and he became embittered and betrayed his Friend for 30 piece of silver.
Jesus understands what it’s like to be betrayed by someone you love.
But, Peter is my favorite. Pete was passionate! He was all-in. He was emotional, outspoken, impulsive, and exuberant. He’s the guy that jumped out of the boat in the storm to walk on water with Jesus, but then sank once he took his eyes off Him. (I sink when I take my eyes of Jesus, too.) When the God of the Universe stripped down to almost nothing and washed the disciples’ feet as a servant would have done, Peter’s the one that said, “NO! There’s no way you’re washing my feet!” But then when Jesus told him that if He didn’t, he couldn’t have any part of what Jesus was doing?.. “Hello! BATHE ME!
Pete was famous for passionately promising never to reject Jesus no matter if all the others did, and then denying Jesus three times before the sun even rose on a new day. This is a man who knew all about extremes. He was my kind of people.
Peter recovered from his biggest failure, and he became one of the boldest evangelists. He was the ROCK upon which Christ built His Church. And when he was sentenced to die by crucifixion, Mr. Passionate asked to be hung on the cross upside down because he wasn’t worthy of dying the same death as Christ.

“F” for “Friends”

Remember that Jesus’ followers were sent out in TWOs!
After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of Him to every town and place where he was about to go. — Luke 10:1
We’re not meant to do Christian life alone.
Years ago when I was realizing that my marriage was in deep trouble and I was seriously crumbling inside, I also discovered that I didn’t have the friends that I thought I did. 


Join the Conversation
Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Are you hard on yourself, too? Do you feel like a quitting Quitter if you blow it? What do you look for in a friend? 
Please leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Monday, December 23, 2013

REJOICE!

(If you haven't already, buy the book!)

Life is messy and painful.
What an uplifting start, huh? Merry Christmas to all! Life is messy and painful.
But it’s the truth — heartbreak happens. And we have to decide what we choose to do with it. Before I give you my progress report on how I’m doing on The Daniel Plan and the start of my 3rd week on the plan, I want to tell you about one of my favorite Bible warriors: Naomi. She had a heck of a heart-wrenching story.
Naomi didn’t pretend it was fine and paste a churchy smile on. She suffered out loud (like me) and then turned to praise out loud, too.
The story goes like this: During a time of serious famine, Elimelech, his wife Naomi, and their sons Mahlon and Kilion had to leave Bethlehem to settle in Moab, in the mountains on the eastern shore of the Dead Sea. Elimelech died there and the boys married local girls, Orpah and Ruth. Ten years later, Naomi’s sons also died (Their names mean “sickly” and “dying/ending” so that isn’t a huge surprise.) leaving her in a foreign land with two daughters-in-law and no male to provide for and protect them.
So, she picked herself up, and headed back to Judah with the girls. A little way down the road, Naomi blessed her daughters-in-law and told them to go back and find good local boys to settle down with. They argued back and forth but Naomi said “Go, girls. Everybody knows that guys my age don’t marry women my age, and even if they did, I can’t provide sons to be husbands for you again. God has dealt me a hard blow.”
Orpah turned back for home, but Ruth made a solemn vow to stick with Naomi no matter what. When they finally arrived in Bethlehem, the town buzzed with happiness to see Naomi. When she heard them call her name, she said, “Don’t even think about calling me a name that means “pleasant”! God has utterly devastated my life, so from now on I answer to Mara which means “bitter”!”
BUT, Naomi kept going. She pressed on. She didn’t lie down and die even though she was crushed and hopeless. God was about to bless her more than she ever could have imagined!
Later that season, Ruth was gleaning barley (which was sort of like food stamps — farmers didn’t harvest the outside rim of fields leaving the food for the poor to collect and eat) and she met the owner of the field, Boaz, who was a prominent, rich relative. She caught Bo’s eye and he asked around about beautiful, young Ruth, and heard all about how she didn’t leave Naomi when disaster struck, but remained faithful. This impressed him so he instructed his servants to give her the best barley and special treatment.
When Naomi heard about this, she said, “Wow! Maybe God hasn’t quite abandoned us after all!” and told Ruth that Bo was actually what was called a Kinsman Redeemer. That meant that he had the privilege acting in defense of a relative who was in trouble, danger, or who needed to be vindicated. Here comes Bo to save the day!
At the end of the harvest, Naomi helped Ruth pretty-up and told her to go propose to Bo. Long story short, Bo married the beauty. God gave them a baby. And, Naomi was so crazy about this new little man that everyone called baby Obed hers and she devoted her life to grandmothering a boy who would become the grandfather of King David — one of King Jesus’ great-granddads!
The town women said to Naomi, “Blessed be God! He didn’t leave you without family to carry on your life. May this baby grow up to be famous in Israel! He’ll make you young again! He’ll take care of you in old age. And this daughter-in-law who has brought him into the world and loves you so much, why, she’s worth more to you than seven sons!” Naomi took the baby and held him in her arms, cuddling him, cooing over him, waiting on him hand and foot. The neighborhood women started calling him “Naomi’s baby boy!” But his real name was Obed. Obed was the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David. Ruth 4:14-17
Out of His inscrutable love, God saw Naomi determine to press on through pain, suffering, grief, loss, and a bitter mess, and in time He blessed her beyond her wildest dreams!
“God has paid us the intolerable compliment of loving us, in the deepest, most tragic, most inexorable sense.” — C. S. Lewis
Glory to God in the Highest!
Right in the middle of the tangles, the betrayals, the losses, the stunning blows, we are called not to keep going, not to muscle our way through, not to trudge on with a fake smile, but we are called to stand, to continue to run the race set before us with endurance, and to REJOICE in our loving, gracious God who sees, protects, defends, and redeems even the worst of tragedies!
Whaaat??? Naomi didn’t do it perfectly, and that’s what I like about her. She was messy. She complained. She didn’t just dabble in hopelessness, she dove into the deep end. She felt abandoned by God and made no bones about telling people about it. BUT, she kept going and seized the moment when she saw God revealing His awesome plan! She trusted Him in the middle of the worst of it!
Here’s a truth about suffering, rejection, hardship, loss, mistreatment, abuse, and every other manner of terribleness: We get to choose what we do with it.

We Can Throw a Fit… Or Get Fit

We can decide to live in the healthiest, most positive, prepared, way possible and let our mess be used to glorify God and serve others or not. We have the honor and privilege of choosing to live submitted to God, repentant, obedient, armed and ready for battle and service, willing to let Him sharpen and shape our lives and guide our steps, or we can resist, and fight, and freak out, and say the wrong things, and do the wrong things, make big messes and bigger excuses blame-shifting every step of the way and become basically unusable to God except as a shiny illustration of How NOT To Do It.
(By the way, don’t follow my example which was basically to hit devastation and to try to control it, force it, beg, cry, manipulate, wig out, get angry, panic, and then lie down and sob, complain, and yell at God. A lot. Ask anybody in the Western United States. They can testify.)
Finally, like my girl Naomi, I quit flipping out and got up off my keister, and began dusting off the ashes of a burned down life and cried out Jesus, Take The Wheel. Then, I started to realize that I couldn’t exactly run the race ready and fit for whatever God asked me to do while lying at the bottom of the shower in grief, being a couch potato discouraged and lazy, eating and drinking junk and feeling lousy. You simply cannot be fit enough to run any race anywhere parked and pouting.
Right in the middle of the mess and the pain of the Christian life, we can choose to throw a fit… or to get fit for the journey ahead.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. — Hebrews 12:1
Lay aside every weight and clingy sin… That means repent. As I mentioned last week, it means wage war against the asphyxiating bondage of Self.
Run with endurance… Get in the Word every day. Walk with Jesus all day.  Quit bad habits in His Strength.

Hijacking My Body Back

These goals included hijacking my body back:

Read the rest here on FaithGateway!

Join the Conversation

Don’t leave me hangin’… Have you ever handled a season of suffering badly? What did you determine out of it? Do you relate to Naomi as I do? Have you made changes in your personal fitness plan? What’s your favorite way to get moving? Please leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you! Fellow cuh-ray-zees who are with me on The Daniel Plan during The Christmas season, how are you doing? If you haven’t already, join me! Those of you who are starting after the New Year, let me know! I’d love to cheer you on!
Also, don’t forget you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram, where I’m posting daily pics and updates on my meals and progress! Your encouragement helps and I hope I’m an encouragement to you as well!

Get The Free Daniel Plan Detox on FaithGateway!


Sunday, December 15, 2013

My Rebel Yell Against Self


To tell you the truth, when I first agreed to do The Daniel Plan, I was really dreading the detox. I thought it would be like the extreme ones I’ve done before — you know, like only celery root and water chestnuts for ten days or, even worse, lemon juice and water for two weeks or some such torture. (Can we all just agree on “No”?) Or that it would be healthy foods, but in microscopic portions and, I feared, far too “peace, love, and brown rice”.

If you hadn’t already intuited it, I am not very granola bar-y.
“I’m going to have the alfalfa sprouts… and a plate of yeast.” ~ Annie Hall
But, I’m happy to say that The Daniel Plan Detox has been a surprisingly better experience than I had anticipated! (Remember to sign up on FaithGateway to download the free Daniel Plan Detox PDF if you haven't already).

Without a doubt, some of the grocery items were baffled to find themselves in the foreign country called my pantry and fridge. We still stare at each other with polite fascination and slight uncertainty.

Here are some things I have never in my life purchased (or eaten?) until now:

The Daniel Plan Healthy Foods
  • Sesame tahini
  • Coconut oil (I’ve purchased coconut oil before but never eaten it. I drench my Ethiopian daughter’s hair in it and we like to use it as lotion because it makes us smell like Hawaii.)
  • Organic, raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • Unsweetened whey protein powder
  • Almond butter
  • White kidney beans
  • Organic, unsweetened (!) shredded coconut
  • Flaxseed meal
  • Organic tempeh (I don’t even know what that is)
  • Raw, shelled, unsalted pumpkin seeds
  • Brazil nuts
  • Hemp seeds
  • Chia seeds (Back in the ‘80s, I did have a Chia pet, though!)
And yet, almost everything I’ve cooked so far from The Daniel Plan has gotten two thumbs up not just from me, but from my kids, too, which is nearly miraculous! More on that later in the Progress Report.

Editing food choices absolutely does require making a concrete decision. Given that, let’s talk about self-control. (I know. I don’t want to, either.)

The Daniel Plan Fruits of the Spirit

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. — Galatians 5:22-23

I think my biggest leap towards self-control was made when I really, really decided that above all I wanted to please God. Not just slightly more than my self, but — full stop — please Him and Him alone.
I want to serve God in every area of my life. I want to know Him more. I want to see Him, hear Him, and fall in love with Him more and more. I want to give Him reason to sing and dance. I want Him to be proud of His girl!
The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in His love He will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing. — Zephaniah 3:17

But, if that’s you, too, and we want to live our lives completely sold out for Jesus Christ and see those spiritual fruits start growing, including self-control, we have to figure out what things are holding us back and then start doing something to make actual changes.
“Take the junk out. Let the abundance in.” — The Daniel Plan

HEARING GOD

One of the biggest differences between The Daniel Plan and other health programs is the foundation on God. If we’re going to make a lasting change toward good stewardship of our bodies, as I mentioned in my first blog, we have to plug into God’s power to do it! I do not even have power over a single hot, glazed Krispy Kreme without His strength.
 The Daniel Plan Romans 8:26
“Where God guides, He provides. What He calls you to do, He equips you to do.” — The Daniel Plan

“It’s easy to trust God when life is going well and we feel strong. But, faith develops in the valleys. When our dreams shatter and we feel helpless, that’s when we have to believe in God’s power and presence.” — The Daniel Plan

If we’re going to tap into Holy Spirit power, especially during seasons of suffering, trial, loss, grief, and challenge (hello, my last five years!), we have to talk to Him and be able to hear Him in return.

1. The most important way to hear God is by reading Scripture while asking God to inspire/convict your heart.


My number one prayer now is Abba, create in me a convictable and obedient heart.

2. Another way I have relied upon to hear Him, is by submitting to godly, wise, people.


... those people who love me and are willing to both encourage and cheer me on, but are also willing to tell me the hard truths, help me evaluate how I’m doing spiritually, and shine a light on the places I hide, and fake, and lie about even to myself.

Finish reading this post on FaithGateway here!

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Twitter @laurziemcc where I'll be using hashtag #DanielPlan (you can too)

Instagram laurzie

If you’ve started The Daniel Plan, how are you doing? How do you hear God the most clearly? We do not live in a culture or generation that champions self-control (or practices it much), so how do you put the fruit of self-control into practice? Leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Daniel Plan — Day 1 of My 40-Day Journey

This excerpt was first published here on FaithGateway on 12/9/13. Be sure to check out the FREE Session 1 of The Daniel Plan study video by Rick Warren and download the FREE Daniel Plan Detox with a 10-day meal plan and then go buy the book!
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First of all, we need to discuss butter.

Hot, buttered sourdough bread, buttery garlic bread, and crunchy, French baguettes with a generous pat of delicious butter will be served at the Marriage Feast of the Lamb for sure. I can live without pie. I can do without desserts in general (except lemon tart and crème brûlée — because YUM!). I can resist candy. But, butter is pure, unadulterated kryptonite.

Oh, and as a related fact, movie theatre popcorn is teeny bit of a problem, too.

"With enough butter, anything is good." ~ Julia Child
(She also said, “Fat gives things flavor” and I have to agree.)

So, I just want to be 100% honest from the get-go that I’m going to be dying for real butter for the entirety of The Daniel Plan. There’s no substitute. Speaking of dying, Patsy Clairmont once said "Diet has the word ‘DIE’ in it and who wants that?!" She introduced the word “Edit” and I’m sticking with it.

Hi! I’m Laurie McClure Hausam and I’m the slightly unhinged brave lady who willingly signed up to start The Daniel Plan during the month of December.

As in, through Christmas with all its delicious foods, noggy drinks, and pepperminty, fudgy treats. As in, skipping the Christmas Day Roast Beast, creamy, garlic mashed potatoes, and hot, buttery popovers. As in, missing out on my family’s annual New Years’ Day Rose Parade/ Swedish Pancakes BaconFest.

Tell me this is not the cuh-ray-zee-est thing you’ve ever heard in your life. At 40-whatever, I blame peri-menopause. 

I am a Jesus apprentice, a single mama of five (three homegrown, one Kentuckian, and one Ethiopian), a writer, beach lover, and am addicted to radical grace and yoga pants. Perrier is my love language. As a native beach cities Southern Californian where palm trees sway and bikinis are prevalent, I’ve had a hate-hate relationship with the dreaded bathroom scale since the late-‘90s.

But, in the last five years as my marriage went haywire and there was so much upheaval and insecurity, and a lot of grieving to do, I gave laziness and naughty habits carte blanche and gained the weight of a small European car. This did not help in any conceivable way. 

I must report that in my journey this year toward emotional, spiritual, and physical health and wholeness, I have already offloaded 30 lbs. of excess — give me a minute here while I do the Happy Dance — and eliminated a couple of bad habits.

So here's my pre-Daniel Plan photo for you, after I've already lost 30 lbs. One of my goals on The Daniel Plan is to drop 10 more (a realistic goal, I think).
Laurie-McClure-Hausam-Daniel-Plan-Before-Photo
Some things can be accomplished with ordinary willpower — like calmly outlasting a toddler tantrum or maintaining a cheerful, encouraging countenance during your son’s screechy violin practice — but harmful habits, addictions, our go-tos for relief from stress, troubles, discouragement, loneliness, financial frustrations, etc., can’t be broken with mere willpower. They require Holy Spirit intervention.
For me, that’s food.

But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. — 1 Corinthians 9:27

Like many people, I can be extreme. It’s all or nothin', baby. Learning to exercise balanced spiritual stewardship of my body without wild extremes one way or another is not something I can do on my own strength. So, here I am, declaring I need God Almighty to lead me through The Daniel Plan. I can't do it without Him!

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
 — 1 Corinthians 10:31

Secondly, we need to talk about love. What does love have to do with editing food and fitness choices, you ask?.. A lot! If you’re anything like me, you know it's way, way harder (if it’s even possible) to get and stay motivated, to enthusiastically look forward to challenges, and press on towards goals through difficult seasons if you're not standing on a solid foundation of secure love.
It is love — not fear, not guilt, and not peer pressure — that causes us to keep going when we feel like giving up. ~ The Daniel Plan
So, if you’re considering joining me on this 40-day journey (even if you’re not), before we begin let’s remind ourselves of the promise that God’s love for us is unending and unconditional. His covenant is sure.
  • No matter what you look like
  • No matter what size jeans you wear
  • No matter what your messy story is
  • No matter how many times you’ve failed or given up
  • No matter where you are in your faith walk
  • No matter what anyone else thinks
  • No matter what addictions you’ve battled
  • No matter what
Thank You, Abba!

Finish reading this post on FaithGateway here!

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Twitter @laurziemcc where I'll be using hashtag #DanielPlan (you can too)

Instagram laurzie

What is your food kryptonite? What is your favorite form of exercise? Have you joined The Daniel Plan community? I'd love to hear from you! You don't even have to post a "Before" photo, so jump on into the conversation! Please leave me your comments, because you are my missing "F" (Friends) in this Daniel Plan journey!