A Lenten Challenge

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Ok, I know, Lent is longer than 30 days…but as part of this Lent season, I am doing my very best to give up Soda…for me that means straight up, full sugar, Coca-Cola classic (or, a Dr. Pepper, if Coke isn’t available).

To be honest, for me, a lot of it is the caffeine in it – I don’t do coffee or tea. So, it’s my old reliable.
But, it’s also the comfort. It’s what I turn to when I should be relying on Him, so it’s out.

Only, this year, as opposed to previous years, I hope not to return to reliance on it.

So, I’ve decided (beginning last friday, March 17) to track the next 30 days…because apart from strictly spiritual reasons, we hear so much what Soda does to our bodies – the amount of sugar and the empty calories. I want to know if that’s true.

Changing nothing else in my life, just cutting out soda, what will the difference be in 30 days?

I’ve replaced soda with water (and once a day: Lemon/Peppermint water (or just Lemon, or just Peppermint, or Lime/Peppermint) using my lovely Young Living oils):

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This is an example – love my lemon/peppermint mix. Typically, I use a metal cup. If using citrus continually, don’t use a plastic cup like this, as the citrus will corrode plastic over time (I poured the water from the bottle into my cup).

So, no extra exercise (which, for me pretty much is only whatever happens for work & house keeping, and, recently, downsizing/packing…), no change in diet. Just eliminating soda.

Now, I am not doing this to look better or live a healthier lifestyle, though, I do plan to continue moving that direction once I get this no soda thing down.

It’s one thing to be able to look down and love the body you have (which is where I am); it’s another thing entirely to be treating that body with respect & care (which is what I am working towards).

So, there is no end “goal” for me in this, except to cut out soda. No final weight or measurements, though I have taken starting weight and measurements (which I am not comfortable sharing, but will share the differences at the end).
I simply want to be able to eliminate my reliance on something that threatens God’s place in my life, and be at a healthier place than when I started.

Two caveat’s to this:

  1. Last september, I was diagnosed gluten free…since then, I have already made some changes to diet, namely: no wheat products. However, I still don’t eat the healthiest…I eat a lot of snack foods for meals, eat processed food, and a lot of dairy. So, though gluten is out, it hasn’t changed my weight much – being sick often has left me several pounds lighter over the past several months, but that has leveled off in the past month.
  2. Recently (for the past month or so) I have been drinking Zeal by Zurvita once a day to get my vitamins, as I am unable to take multi-vitamins. I will continue this as I go forward. Once a day, a serving of Zeal, which does give a natural caffeine boost & may skew results slightly:
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Zeal is actually a great addition to my life, since I cannot process most multi-vitamins…I don’t think any skew it may have will be enough to be much difference.

 

A Psalm of Brokenness

I have never shied away from the hard stuff – and right now, my family is going through a hard time.

My heart is left broken and bare; so, tonight, I have a new poem to share:

A Psalm of Brokenness

GOD,
I feel like I’m drowning.
Financially. Family. 
Emotionally.
Life circumstances.
My choices.
Surrounded by brokenness
and hopelessness.
Jesus, you never promised
an easy life;
A life without troubles.
So, I pray
Peace in the storm.
Take my worries and cares.
Don’t let me fall.
Don’t let me drown.
Keep me afloat,
Ready for what’s next.
May each of these
Messy, sticky situations
find their way to 
Bring Glory to your name.
Lord, be my strength.
Forever I will praise your
Wonderful, powerful
Beautiful name.

©Candice Jenee’ 2017

 

 

I Carry It All

In the back of my Bible are 2 very special pages; my war-room.

Actually, I got the idea from The Sacred Echo by Margaret Feinberg.  It’s two facing pages that I keep prayer requests & prayer prompts on. Many just names, or names & ways to pray for them.  Scrawled in the middle of one of those pages, a verse that resembles my heart, and centers my prayers:

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This is why I do what I do every day.

And, on these two pages, I let out the hard stuff so I don’t have to carry it around all the time. Because, I am not meant to carry it alone.

But, my call is to be there with people in their brokenness, then turning it over to God.

It is why my heart is so pulled toward ministry (read more about my tiny house ministry dreams by clicking that link).

The fact is, though, in my career, I carry it with me. It becomes a part of shaping who I am and how I interact with the world.

Tonight, it was a lot, so I wrote a poem about it, and I really felt the need to share it for others in similar places:

I Carry It All

I carry it all;
Though it’s not mine to bear.
At least, not mine alone.
But, I carry it all.
Every story,
Every broken heart.
Every thread-bare home,
Every scarred body and soul.
I carry it all;
Though it’s not mine to bear.
At least, not mine alone.
It’s a passion in my heart;
A stirring in my spirit;
Divinely driven.
I carry it all;
Though it’s not mine to bear.
At least, not mine alone.
He is my Joy and Strength.
He is the reason I don’t buckle
under the weight.
Because, I carry it all.
It’s in my heart;
It’s in my mind.
The weight in heavy
on my Spirit.
I carry it all;
Though it’s not mine to bear.
At least, not mine alone.
This is my life;
The path I’ve chosen.
It makes my heart alive,
And breaks me all the same.
This will always be my call;
And, I carry it all;
Though it’s not mine to bear.
At least not mine alone.
So, I pass it on to Him,
Casting it all on His heart.
Because, I carry it all;
Though it’s not mine to bear.
At least, not mine alone.

©CandiceJenee2017

 

Find Rest My Soul

I didn’t realize until earlier this evening, but:
I’m tired.

Not just long day tired.

Exhausted of resources tired.

Emotionally. Spiritually. Physically.

Tired.

A year and five months ago, I packed up my car & moved my life 1300 miles away, in answer to God’s call – a move I knew from the start was temporary.

For the last few weeks, I’ve felt this desperate pull to rush it. Get out of here. On to the next thing.

Because I am tired.

I have not been faithful to myself & providing self-care.

In my chosen field, it’s no wonder my Clinical Supervisor emphasizes self-care as part of our evaluation of ability to do the job.

And, I’ve been neglecting the biggest area of self-care in my life.

My greatest source of self-care is my spirituality. I cannot let that go.

After all, my soul, the deepest parts of me, finds the greatest rest in God alone:

“Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from Him.”
-Psalm 62:5

I say kudos to anyone who can do this job without any kind of self-care routine.
Because, I absolutely cannot.
I will run out of life.
Run out of resources.

I get restless.
Get ahead of myself and my plan.
Get ahead of God’s plan.

I suffer in the areas where it matters most…this likely makes me less effective, less affective, with clients.

So, tonight, I put away the studying for the biggest test of my life in order to take a little time to re-focus & care for my soul.

If you have been neglecting self-care, or have no idea what works for you to recharge your soul & your life force, let me offer some of my favorite ideas below (you can also check out my self-care pinterest board):

  • Spiritual activities
  • Music
  • Painting/sketching
  • Writing
  • Reading
  • Drinking Water
  • Chocolate
  • Walking
  • Cleaning/organizing
  • Therapy, when needed (yes, even mental health professionals need someone from time to time)

So, it’s time to take my soul seriously. Finding my center once again.

Resting in the arms of my Abba.

I’ll leave you with the song that always kick-starts the process:

Still – Hillsong Worship – their live video is here.


What are some ways you make sure to take care of yourself & your soul? Share below.