It’s my birthday! Yay! I am so thankful for another birthday and for this new year of so much change.
Honestly, my birthday always gets here so quickly after the new year! I always feel like the whole first half of January flies by in my anticipation.
There are some holidays that I don’t get too worked up about, but birthdays are a big deal to me. I always try and make sure everyone feels extra special on their birthdays. It drives me crazy when my husband insists he doesn’t want to do anything for his birthday, but it just isn’t a big deal for him.
Last year I turned 30, and it was pretty rough for me. As my birthday approached, I was dreeaaading my birthday. I wasn’t ready to leave my 20’s behind me! Thirty felt SO OLD. But it has grown on me. I am still not a fan of the gray hairs (that I promise just randomly sprouted from my head the day I turned 30), but I am thankful to be here and thankful to celebrate another year with my sweet little family.
This year, instead of a regular present, I offered my husband a birthday getaway for his birthday. It would be just us two, and we would go wherever he wanted. I originally planned on just going to Houston for a weekend, but I figured it would be more fun to just let him pick. He was up for an adventure so he chose New York (which he had been to previously but knew I had never visited before). After we started planning, I decided that since we were going on an official trip (that was a little more expensive) we would go ahead and make it a “birthday trip” for both of our birthdays since they are 2 months apart.
The trip wasn’t relaxing by any stretch of the imagination, but it was an adventure and we made some unforgettable memories. On our way home we decided we should try and do this every year!
21 Days of Prayer + Fasting
For 2019, my family and I have joined our church for “21 Days of Prayer and Fasting”. We have only made it two weeks in, but it has truly been an adventure so far! The goal is to start the new year with a focus on the Lord and not on the world. We are to spend time in prayer, and then fast alongside that.
Fasting: We decided to stick to the Daniel Fast for 21 days, but since we have younger kids, we are a bit more flexible with them and just let them commit to no sugar for 21 days. They have actually been really good with the fast so far!
At first, it seemed like the Daniel Fast was very similar to our mostly vegan diet, but after a few days it became very obvious that it was going to take some work to stick to it! I am used to quick cooking (which isn’t super healthy most of the time) since we usually only have brief windows of time to eat. However, with the Daniel Fast, my husband and I gave up processed food and that means – no quick meals!
For the first few days we got by mostly on veggies + hummus, fruit, nuts, and Fab4 Smoothies for me (you gotta hear about this!) But then we realized we were going to have to start cooking real meals. So we started cooking our favorite vegan meals that stick to the Daniel Fast diet: black bean chili with brown rice (my kids FAVORITE), a tomato bisque recipe (from the Minimalist Baker cookbook), red beans and rice, and vegetable soup. We have tried a few new meals too – a lentil and potato soup and some “Nourish Bowls” from Walmart/Sams (quick and yummy). Most of all, Leroy just likes having me cook healthy meals each day.
Distractions: On top of fasting from food, we were encouraged by our church to fast from daily distractions. The goal of this part is to focus our time and attention on God, and not on the worldly distractions we let capture our attention each day. Leroy decided to fast from watching tv shows that aren’t educational (so he has been watching documentaries -mostly biblical ones). The kids decided to fast from playing electronics outside of the house, and stick to only 1 hour of electronics when they are at home. And I chose to fast from social media. This has honestly been so great for me! (I wrote a whole blog post on it!)
Now, I have to stop all this gushing and fun stuff to let you know that a few days ago I had a complete hissy fit when I realized that my birthday would fall during the 21 days fast. Not only this year, but EVERY year. I would basically never have birthday cake again. I wouldn’t get to go out to eat for my birthday, because we are eating an even stricter diet and where would we even go eat? I wouldn’t get to see the Happy Birthday posts from my friends on Facebook. Then, on top of that, I wasn’t getting a birthday present because we already went on a birthday getaway last month. So the lady who loves birthdays…yea she doesn’t have one anymore.
When I mentioned the birthday cake thing to my husband he offered a cheat day. But when I said it out loud a few days later it just sounded wrong. How can I cheat during a fast for the Lord? That is when I realized how ridiculous I was being. I realized that I was forgetting the whole point of the fast – to sacrifice and divert my focus to the One who is greater than birthday cake, and Facebook, and presents. He is giving me another year to share His love and Word with my kids…an amazing husband…my health….a job…a purpose…life. I wasn’t missing out. I was getting more time with my God. I was getting a gift of health and distraction free time with the people I love.
So that’s where I am now! I am thankful for all that I am learning during these 21 days, and I am thankful for year 31. I hope”Year 31″ ends up as great as it has started!