Saturday, January 05, 2008

Day 10

still 237... which is fine.

I'm still confused about this whole thing. I mean, I'm not tempted to stop it because I'm hungry (surprisingly, I'm not), but I still just struggle with whether this is getting me anywhere spiritually. I guess I still just feel numb, like the little communications line between me and God has a big crimp in it and I can't figure out where it is. 

I feel though that I told people about this in the first place so that I'd lose face if I ended extremely early for some reason, so I'll continue on. I mean, the food thing at this point seems to be fairly easy... so what harm can it do if I keep trying to dig in. 

That said, I just read something in yesterdays My Utmost For His Highest reading that really spoke to me. 

There are times when you can’t understand why you cannot do what you want to do. When God brings a time of waiting, and appears to be unresponsive, don’t fill it with busyness, just wait. The time of waiting may come to teach you the meaning of sanctification— to be set apart from sin and made holy— or it may come after the process of sanctification has begun to teach you what service means. Never run before God gives you His direction. If you have the slightest doubt, then He is not guiding. Whenever there is doubt— wait.

At first you may see clearly what God’s will is— the severance of a friendship, the breaking off of a business relationship, or something else you feel is distinctly God’s will for you to do. But never act on the impulse of that feeling. If you do, you will cause difficult situations to arise which will take years to untangle. Wait for God’s timing and He will do it without any heartache or disappointment. When it is a question of the providential will of God, wait for God to move.

Peter did not wait for God. He predicted in his own mind where the test would come, and it came where he did not expect it. "I will lay down my life for Your sake." Peter’s statement was honest but ignorant. "Jesus answered him, ’ . . . the rooster shall not crow till you have denied Me three times’ " (John 13:38). This was said with a deeper knowledge of Peter than Peter had of himself. He could not follow Jesus because he did not know himself or his own capabilities well enough. Natural devotion may be enough to attract us to Jesus, to make us feel His irresistible charm, but it will never make us disciples. Natural devotion will deny Jesus, always falling short of what it means to truly follow Him.

So, I'm going to wait. I'm taking that as a word. It will have to do for now. 

Friday, January 04, 2008

Day 9 - An Evening Prayer

I was going to post this last night. This is what was on my iPod as I walked back to the apartment from the workout room. It's a song that I stumbled on via my friend Jeff Holland. He had had a link to Andrew Osenga's  page a few months ago where I stumbled on this album. 

It's from a six song acoustic EP created with ideas from his fans... a scrap of lyric, a song title, etc... anyway, the last song on the disc has really spoken to me the last few months. It's been the first song in a LONG time that I've sometimes listened to on repeat for a while, just thinking about it. I hope I haven't hyped it up too much. It's called Swing Wide the Glimmering Gates

here are the lyrics...

I caught myself
Looking in the mirror
Wishing I was someone else
Cause I was born
With a bleeding heart
And veins of loneliness

And I know it, I’ve seen it,
I’ve held it in my arms
But love can’t seem to break me down

And I’ve pleaded, I’ve begged
And I’ve bloodied my eyes
Just to feel it
To believe it will stick around

Swing wide the glimmering gates

I told myself
The habits and secrets
Were just to get me through
To get me through the nights
But I got lost
In a world of angles
In a city of greys and lies

And I feel it, I taste it
This longing to be free
Oh, the joy of believing like a child

So you, you there listening
Will you send up a prayer
For me
To help me find the light

Swing wide the glimmering gates
Leave your pride and pain
Swing wide the glimmering gates
And be innocent again

One day I believe
I will open up my eyes
To see the good work that was begun
And I’ll be the only thing I’ve ever wanted to be
And I’ll know that I belong

Swing wide the glimmering gates
Leave your pride and pain
Swing wide the glimmering gates
And be innocent again

heading off to a friends house with Angela to watch Blade Runner in his really cool theater room (the type of theater room I lust after, honestly). WALKED 2.34 miles in 35 minutes for 389.2 calories tonight. I was much better. I was also however more tired before i started, so that probably played into it. See you tomorrow. 

Day 9 pt 1

ok. this is the third attempt I've made at writing this. I've been trying to figure out how to post audio files from Previewing it, it looks like it's working now. huzzah.

As I was driving to work this morning to put out a little fire, I was listening to a Dave Ramsey Show podcast I started yesterday and didn't finish. He came back from a break with a quote of the day from Stephen King. King wrote, "Talent is worth as much as table salt." Dave expounded on it and talked about how, while it didn't hurt to have talent, discipline and work were more important. He gave an equation, "Diligence = Discipline + Excellence over an extended period of time".

That's my mediation. How do I get to that point in my spiritual, physical and work life. I've got the referenced piece of audio below.

Weight this morning was 237. That means that I'm now at what I was at when I started working the current job. It's just kind of interesting. Had some apple juice with my multivitamin this morning and some pineapple juice on the way back from work. It's probably about time for some sort of liquid (in addition to water).

I'm really hoping that the gastrointestinal issues I've been experiencing go away, but I'm guessing that because of the fruit juice in my diet they won't until this fast ends.

I've got more to write, but Ang and I have some things to take care of in the apartment. More later... including my initial breakdown between what I've experienced and what I initially read from the detox sites. Call it a smack down if you must. heh.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Day 8 evening

today was kind of a hard day... not because I was hungry or anything like that. It was just the dawning realization as I was driving home with Angela that I've still got almost 5 weeks to go. Thinking about five weeks just kind of got me depressed. Got home and spent some time fixing the stat tracker on the blog and forced myself to go walk.

Who am I kidding? I can't walk. I admit it. It's hard for me to just walk. Inevitably I just want to go faster than that and I end up jogging. 2.51 miles, 35 minutes, 401.1 calories.

I've got a lot more that I want to write but it might have to wait for tomorrow. We've been working our way through Carnivale and there are a couple of episodes to watch tonight. It's an interesting show, if you haven't watched it. Who would have thought to frame a battle between God and the Devil in the confines of a traveling carnival in the 1930s.

Day 8 midday

I noticed that XXXChurch put up the entire Starving Jesus documentary online. If you'd like to watch the video I talked about the other day, there it is below...

Day 8 pt1

have to head to work in a second. 238 this morning. headache seems to be gone, could just be morning, could be more blood sugar. We'll see what happens today. I'm back to thinking the body fat calculator is jacked. After the 30.6 reading yesterday, we were back to 31.3 today. I'm guessing that it has to do with some level of hydration... but who knows. 

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Day 7 pt4

just got back from my walk. I wasn't perfect about keeping to a walk, but I did much better than I did the last time. 35 minutes, 2.44 miles, 399 calories. I will incorporate some walking that's not on the treadmill so that I can try and focus on prayer and meditation, but that wasn't tonight. 

I had a slight headache this afternoon. It's hard to tell if it's still there. Had a little grape juice when I got home from work before the workout. I'm going to have some more juice in a minute. 

For some reason on the treadmill my emotions started flowing. There was this aggressiveness that came out... thinking about running and beating a friend that's shown me up in the past while cycling. I'm not sure where it came from but it was pretty caustic. Towards the end of the walk/jog, I put on Peter Gabriel's In Your Eyes and went in a completely different emotional direction. Is this fasting male PMS? 

I meant to post this section from a book on fasting I read the other day called The Sacred Art of Fasting. It's from Charles Cummings, a Cistercian Monk.
The more I try to make Christ the center of my life and thoughts and actions, the more I feel every pull and tug that draws me back from the radical, loving surrender of myself. I am not totally free to run toward the one I love. Instead, I feel enchained, entangled by a thousand little threads that together form a strong rope binding me to myself. Detaching myself from the bonds is largely a matter of self discipline and asceticism. Paradoxically, self-discipline sets me free for God. Self-discipline is a training in freedom. I am free to take something comfortable and pleasurable, or to eat and drink more, or to sleep longer, but I am also free to refrain from these things and not let myself be held bound by them. True Christian freedom is the freedom of those who live no longer for themselves, the freedom of being a new creation in Christ (2 Cor. 5:15, 17). The movement of self-discipline leads out of bondage to the self into an experience of newness and freedom, then back again to a liberated use and appreciation and enjoyment of material goods, in moderation, without becoming entangled again by a thousand little threads...

I hope that that's the case. I'm holding on to that and praying that that's true. More tomorrow. 

A helpful link

I need to add Charles to my blogroll, but I wanted to point you to his Man Word Blog. Charles, in addition to being a pretty great boss writes three insightful little devotions each week at his blog. I'd encourage you to follow along with them and maybe post some comments. I'm not sure what kind of readership he has, but it's not as many as he deserves.

I'd also like to mention that my friend Nate, another one of the guys I'm doing this fast with is blogging about it at his new blog, Too Easily Pleased.

Day 7 part 2 - or: Can I Chew Gum While On A Fast?

It's lunch time and I haven't accomplished as much as I'd like to, but I figure that I should post instead of trying to dive back into work.

Yesterday night after getting done with a movie Ang and I were watching, I got up and walked towards our dining room. Ang asked where I was going and I didn't say anything at first. I mostly just stared at the object of my desire...


yes, it came to that. I was getting past food, but I still REALLY wanted to chew something.

Earlier in the month we were at a film festival in Austin, TX called Butt Numb A Thon. As part of the event this year, they held a costume contest. Saying that there would be cool prizes, Angela and I decided that it would be worthwhile to try and find something to wear. Angela and her mom had sewn a Wonder Woman costume when her mom visited earlier this fall so she wore that, but I couldn't figure out what I was going to do. Thinking about what I had on hand, I remembered a party I had thrown a few years before... a Lebowski party.

I love The Big Lebowski. I think it might be my favorite Coen Brothers movie. To this day, I'm sad that I wasn't one of the people that went and saw it in the theater. I was still upset at the Coens for their portrayal of residents of the Twin Cities in Fargo. To this day when I say I'm from Minneapolis/St. Paul, people go "yaaaaaaah. you betcha." or "uff da". I was bitter.

I discovered Lebowski on video though, and upon finding it, proceeded to show it to just about everyone I know. Some got it, some didn't.

Seemingly every weekend, back when I was living in the Twin Cities, I organized some social gathering for our little group of people. Running out of ideas, I decided that it was time for the Lebowski-fest. People were encouraged to show up as any of the characters in the film. We had a nihilist, we had a Maude, there was a Jesus Quintana and there I was, still with my gotee as the Dude.

We watched the film and went off to the bowling alley... me still in my pajama pants and big wool zip up 70s sweater; head encased in the most glorious mullet wig I've ever owned (I know it's not especially Lebowski-esque, but it worked).

Anyway, back to the present.

I still had most of the Lebowski stuff around, and it's a fairly easy costume anyways, so that was the plan. I went to Zeezo's, a local Colorado Springs costume shop and picked up a fake mustache and beard, along with the glue to attach it. A new less mullet-ey wig crowned the deal. Stashing everything in a bowling bag (an easy way to haul the costume into the Alamo Drafthouse) the plan was in place.

Earlier we had heard that the costume contest was going to be held close to midnight. Midnight came and went during BNAT and no costume contest appeared. Before the final film of the night, they announced that it was time to change. Quickly spreading the adhesive on my face to attach my freshly mussed up gotee pieces I got quite a few odd stares in the Drafthouse bathroom. With a certain poise (as one needs when one is traipsing around a movie theater with a mullet wig, fake gotee, bath robe, pajama pants and bowling bag) I made my way back into the theater.
Bringing everyone on the stage, they had the seven of us introduce ourselves. Surprisingly, there weren't more people in the competition. I imagine people mostly just didn't want to haul stuff with them to the theater. Seussian Thing One and Thing Two introduced themselves, Barbarella introduced herself, Angela twirled around in her Wonder Woman costume, and then the microphone got handed to me.

"C'mon man, YOOOOU'RE MR. LEBOWSKI. I'm the Dude! Or El Duderino or His Dudeness." A Cheer erupted from the crowd. Some guy in the back shouted "The Dude Abides!" and another cheer erupted. I lifted my bowling bag up high. It was pretty cinematic.

Michael Dougherty, the director of Trick 'R Treat, the film we were about to watch judged that we were all winners and gave us all a pretty cool art book from the film. While he was handing out the books, the wait staff of the drafthouse had distributed little bags of halloween candy to everyone in the audience. Sitting in that bag was the gumball that I now was eyeing with an appreciation that one should NEVER have for a gumball.

Back to the present...

What was left of Ang and my combined bags of candy travelled back to Colorado and had been sitting on our dining room table amidst all of the pieces of paper detritus that inevitably converge there (another one of my 2008 resolutions, I'm afraid). Each day of this fast, I've looked at the couple of remaining gumballs and almost lusted after them, anxious for something to chew. Ang, seeing that I was eyeing the gumball and steered me away from it.

"If you're going to chew something, at least let it be sugar free."

She grabbed a package of Trident and a package of Green Tea gum I had bought her on clearance at Target and thrust them into my hand. I took the trident from her, took a piece, and chewed on that. Surprisingly, it wasn't as good as I thought it would be. Chewing it for a few minutes before spitting it out, it felt good to get it out of my system. The nerds gumballs still sit on my dining room table, I can't bring myself to throw the candy out. Maybe at some point I will. But for the moment....

the gum obsession has passed.

Day 7

Has it been a week already? I guess it has... tomorrow I'll be 20% done. Weight this morning, still 239. There was an interesting number on the body fat portion of the scale though, 30.6. So, taking yesterdays number as an anomaly, the previous days number was 31. I think a change of .4% is pretty realistic. We'll continue to track numbers and see what happens. 

Not much hunger this morning. Feel pretty good, actually. I'm going to go have a little juice and my multivitamin in a minute. I'm curious to see how much easier the fast is at work today. Last week wasn't much fun, but it was day 1 and 2 of the fast. This week Day 7 and 8 will fall into the work week. 

I didn't work out yesterday. I felt a little bit of pain in my right quadricep and decided to rest it. I'll walk tonight while Angela makes dinner for herself. 

More later.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Day 6

I've had temptations to eat over these first few days, but being at a party yesterday night was one of the tougher things I've done. I really wanted to reach in and grab a potato chip or make a chili dog. Instead, I was sipping on my vitamin water and then regular water refills. 

My legs are a LITTLE sore from yesterday, but nothing so great that I shouldn't be able to WALK on the treadmill today. Emphasis on the walk. I'm going to try really hard not to jog. 

This morning's weight. 239. I was curious to see what would happen this morning since I drank MUCH more water yesterday than I had in the past days. Mostly because I felt a little scratch in my throat that I wasn't sure was dehydration or a cold. I'm still not sure what it was, but it was gone by yesterday night and hasn't appeared this morning. 

I'm not sure that I trust the body fat percentage thing on the scale. Today, it said 26. Although, I think that might be closer to the mark. I guess we'll keep looking at the number and see what happens to it. 

I'm going to finish my book on fasting in a few minutes and start on Francis Schaeffer's The God Who Isn't There. A friend also recommended reciting the Psalms to myself as well during this fast. I think that's probably worth doing. 

Monday, December 31, 2007

Day 5 pt 3

I have a bad habit of overdoing things. I went for my half hour walk on the treadmill, but that turned into 45 minutes. 3.11 miles, 1% grade, 511 calories. I hope I don't feel too bad tomorrow. 

Day 5 part 2

I'm going to go do my walk in a few minutes, but I wanted to post a link to this sermon I just listened to. One of the reasons I'm doing this fast is because of Craig Gross. I don't know Craig Gross, I've never even MET Craig Gross (I've been in proximity to him), but Craig makes his presence known pretty visibly through his organization XXX Church
I don't know where I was first introduced to XXX Church, but they've always had a presence at Cornerstone, the music festival I volunteer at as a photographer and general web wrangler. In fact, here's a photo of the XXX Church Porn Bunny I shot this past year at a Family Force Five concert. (you can't see that there's a big stage in front of him with the band) 

(and my friend Jerry happened to take a photo of me at the same show)

anyway, enough about me, back to Craig. Pulpit Rock Church, the people that run the Real Men of Genius group I belong to, also do something called We Do Things. A few months ago, they decided to bring in Craig Gross and Ron Jeremy for their "Great Porn Debate" as one of the We Do Things events. So, being morbidly curious, and also knowing they didn't have anyone shooting publicity photos, Ang and I dragged some friends. 

There wasn't anything life changing about the event. You can see video clips over at You Tube... and I thought that Craig was a little bit too "Rock Star Pastor-ish", but it was an interesting event. 
Anyway, back to the point. Sorry. 

We've been talking about this fast for a couple of months now and I wasn't really sure that I could do it. I spent a lot of time thinking and praying trying to figure out if this was something that I could or should do. Two weeks ago at Real Men of Genius, we watched a documentary about Craig and one of the other XXX Church pastors going around the country on their Starving Jesus tour. Basically, the got in an RV and went around the country on a 40 Day Fast, petitioning the church to get out of the pew and into the world. That we're starving Jesus by hiding inside the church and refusing to change the world. It wasn't the greatest film but it was both inspiring from what their goal was and from being able to watch them go through this fast. 
Today, wandering around Facebook, I noticed my friend Nate had joined a XXX Church group on facebook. I took a look at it and their message boards and noticed a link to the Starving Jesus site. Their was a sermon linked there that summed up one of the major reasons I'm doing this. I'm not as fat as I could be. (Here's a particularly depressing photo from earlier this summer) 

In the sermon, which I'd encourage you to listen to, he talks about a pastor in Georgia that he'd been communicating with named Ollie. Ollie's doctor told him that if he didn't lose any weight he'd die. He also told Ollie that he was much too high a risk to qualify for gastric bypass surgery. One night, he stumbled on an mp3 of Craig preaching at Mars Hill Church in Grand Rapids, MI (Rob Bell's church) about fasting. Kind of inspired, he decided that he was going to fast. He didn't do it for weight loss, and he didn't lose much wait, but he found that it connected him to God and taught him self control in ways that he'd never been able to learn before. 

I'm still working on the connecting to God part... I think I'll be working on that for the rest of my life, but I feel like over the past year, I've finally been able to build some better self control. I'm hoping that this fast will continue to help me with growing my self control. 

Take a listen to the sermon. If you want to know more about Starving Jesus visit the site

BTW, the end of Ollie's story finds him starting to walk for a mile a day at the end of his fast. That leads to walking five miles. That leads to him speed walking five miles. Eventually he runs his first 5k. He ends up dropping from over 430 to 250 pounds. None of that was part of the fast, but the fast showed him that he could do things he didn't think he could do. 

I've done an ironman. I've cycled 200 miles in a day. I know there are a lot of things that I CAN do. But there are still things that I need to know that I can do, and I'm hoping that this season will be training as I head towards that. 

More later.

Day 5

The rest of yesterday went fairly well, although I didn't manage to squeeze in my walk. I developed a scratchy throat mid-afternoon and after getting home from the library and work, read a while before heading to bed early.

Slept from around 10pm to just before 8 this morning when Ang had to get up and go to work.

Weight this morning? 240. I realized the body fat scale we use still had my information stored in it so I had to it calculate that as well. Current bodyfat percentage 31.5. I don't know that that's completely accurate, but I guess we'll see where it goes the next few days.

In response to a question in the comments yesterday, the fast shouldn't have any effect on my work performance. I work in communications (graphic and web design and some video work) and a good deal of what I have to do involves my brain and not physical labor.

Picked up a decent book on fasting at the library yesterday. I feel like I have a better concept of why i'm doing what I'm doing. (Not that it makes it that much easier).

I was talking to a coworker yesterday who starts his tomorrow and I brought up the idea of being in the zone. Whenever I've done long cycling sessions (Ironman Wisconsin 02, my first cycling double century, etc) there were chunks where I'd fall out of the zone and start thinking about every rotation of my pedal crank. It would almost seem like time slowed. I feel like that's where I am in this. I feel like I haven't been able to find the zone where I'm so busy thinking about life (work, prayer, etc) that the time goes faster. I'm hoping that I can get there.

I'm going to try to finish that book on fasting today and dive into Francis Schaefer's The God Who Is There. I've admired Schaefer for a long time but I've never gotten beyond How Should We Then Live which itself was a great book. It's been a while since I've dug into high level theology. 

More later.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Day 4 part 1

Starting weight 241.

Feel pretty good this morning. Have to head to work in a minute. Had some intestinal distress start yesterday. It's still there this morning. Hopefully it will go away.

Legs feel good after walking two miles each of the past two days. Feel like that might be something I might be able to continue.

Got my first bouts of stand up wooziness yesterday in the hot tub and this morning on my way to the bathroom. I'll need to start being more careful. Other than that, things seem to be going well.

More later.