You might remember three or four years ago when I blogged about the our trip to the Pioneer Woman Mercantile as I was coming straight out of a Whole30 round.
My sister-in-law and I discovered the book It Starts with Food by Dallas Hartwig and Melissa Urban several years ago.
The basic premise of this book is that we really should be fueling our bodies with clean & natural foods -- lean meats, fruits, veggies, and nuts -- nothing processed.
In the past, every Whole30 round I have done has been beneficial to me.
I have had a huge reduction in joint pain.
I've lost weight.
My face has been clearer.
I've had more energy.
With all of these benefits, it's hard to believe why anyone would ever go off of the Whole30 plan.
However, lack-of-planning, stress-eating, and sheer convenience has often taken me off track.
In September 2020, I tested positive for COVID-19.
I spent 10 days in my bedroom in isolation, away from Mr. Farmhouse and the girls.
Thankfully, I really didn't get very ill. I had some congestion and a few days of feeling achy, and I tired out quickly.
Other than that, the main lingering symptom I had was digestive issues.
I would have random stomach pains, no matter what I ate.
When my taste finally returned, it was different (it's still different, to be quite honest -- almost five months later).
Sidenote: Reeses Peanut Butter Cups taste like dirt to me now. Actually, all peanut butter products. It. Is. So. Sad.
I had other digestive issues following COVID that caused me to lose 13 pounds there in the first month. I won't give details of that, but let's just say it wasn't good.
And then these issues continued.
Finally, over Christmas break, I decided something had to change.
My brother, sister-in-law, my two older girls, and myself decided to embark upon another Whole30.
With my word of the year this year being "discipline", I figured a Whole30 would a great way to start practicing putting that word into action.
We started on Sunday, January 3rd.
Day 1 was awful.
My digestive issues got worse, not better, as I detoxed from the processed food and sugar that I had eaten over Christmas break.
Day 2 was awful.
The digestive issues continued, plus I was absolutely exhausted.
On Day 3, I woke up a new person...NO DIGESTIVE ISSUES.
Zero, Zilch, Nada.
Day 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28...
I. Feel. Amazing.
The Whole30 is an elimination program where you slowly introduce things back into your diet after the 30 days is up.
You might start with some sort of processed flour item, to see how it affects you. Maybe something with some sort of certain sauce. Or maybe a dairy item.
The whole idea is that you carefully and intentionally begin to add one thing at a time back into your body and become really in-tuned with how it affects you physically, emotionally, and mentally.
I can't even imagine wanting to add anything back in.
I think COVID caused me to develop some sort of gluten or dairy sensitivity and I would rather not find out which one it is.
My Whole30 might just turn into a WholeForever.
Feeling hopeful here at the farmhouse tonight, friends,
I am sitting here in my quiet kitchen, reflecting on 2020 and looking ahead to 2021.
Wasn't 2020 just absolutely insane?
There is no way that I can sum up our experiences this year in one simple blog post.
Our family spent 6 weeks in quarantine, due to COVID-19. Harlee and Matthew spent 8 weeks, I contracted the virus in September and am still fighting some of the symptoms right now...four months later.
So many friends of our lost family members to this terrible virus and we are still praying for them every day.
A tornado blew our barn away and caused some damage to our house and several other buildings on our property. However, this unfortunate circumstance truly jumpstarted some pretty big property improvements.
We rebuilt the barn, fenced in our property, built the Rustic Rooster (a loft playhouse for the girls), and are almost finished with our detached garage...complete with a kitchen, workout space, and bathroom.
When school started in August, I totally fell off of the blogging wagon (again), but learned a lot about leading a school during a global pandemic.
It's been a year to remember and I would be lying if I said I wasn't ready to forget most of 2020 and move forward.
One of my 2021 goals is to blog every week, so look for a post soon about my word-of-the-year.
Love, grace, and peace from the farmhouse tonight, friends,
Over the last few years, I have tried to focus on building habits, so I don't have to make decisions throughout every single day of my life.
I've worked on building habits in all areas of life: home, health, physical wellness, career, and spiritual growth.
Admittedly, my prayer habit has really changed over the years.
After reading the book Fervent by Priscilla Shirer and watching The War Room, I began to be more intentional in my prayer life, thinking about my prayers as a strategy against the enemy. At that time, I began to write out prayers about specific subjects -- our marriage, our children, our siblings, the rest of our family, our church, our minister & his family, our careers, health needs, struggling friends, and so many other topics. When something came up that someone needed prayer for, I wrote out a prayer for them and began praying it out loud.
This method was very effective. However, it also became difficult to manage when I had hundreds of notecards with prayers written out on them. I wanted to have an effective prayer strategy, but I felt like I was missing important topics and I felt like I was missing out on some of the "relationship" part of my prayer time.
I started to research what other people were doing in their prayer lives.
I talked to friends, surfed the internet, and of course, prayed.
I have learned a few things about myself over the years:
I'm going to be brutally honest here, this month has been extremely overwhelming for me. As a school administrator, dealing with the end of the school year amid COVID-19 concerns and regulations has brought on unprecedented decision-making requirements for school districts. On May 4th, like I talked about in my last blog post, we had straight-line winds that destroyed our barn and damaged our roof & two other buildings. We've been cooped up (like the rest of our country) with almost no outside contact for the girls with friends and family.
So many of my prayers during May have been spontaneous whispers for peace and calm and protection.
I have no doubt that these prayers were effective and heard and appreciated, but I feel like this time we have spent in the valley has been "survival mode".
As the school year has come to an end, I'm ready to get back to growing and thriving in my prayer life, not just surviving alongside Jesus.
So for June, I've created a prayer template for each day of the month. This will hopefully keep me grounded and focused, as well as help me to rebuild my morning prayer habit.
I have created this two-page template for every day of June.
I'm going to take this weekend to add in daily scriptures for each day and to write down my "specific daily prayers" that I pray about each morning.
I've outlined these prayer topics below, if you're interested in doing something similar.
Specific Daily Prayers
Each day, I have specific topics that I cover. This is something I started a few years ago when I was trying to come up with an effective method of covering all of the "regular" topics I wanted to be in prayer about.
Here is my schedule for my daily prayer topics.
So that's what I'm going to do to strengthen my prayer habit this next month.
This might not be the right prayer method for you, and that's okay.
I would encourage you, however, to find a method that works for you. Schedule in some prayer time and be intentional with how you use that time.
Making prayer a priority here at the farmhouse,