21 Days: Day 7

The first week is almost over, and as far as the Daniel fast goes, I feel bloated, defeated, dissatisfied and tired of cooking. As far as the 21 days of gratitude challenge goes, I feel encouraged, satisfied, inspired and well, grateful. I've also enjoyed the consistent writing. Anne Lamott, my idol and secret soul sister (it's a secret because she doesn't know we're soul sisters) says that if you want to be a writer you have to show up at the same time every day and write. So, this has been a great exercise in showing up and writing--not necessarily at the same time, but in the same place. I'm a work in progress.

1. I love Sunday mornings, so it is super easy to be grateful for: sweet sleeping children, a warm safe home, a wonderful husband who will bring me a cup of coffee in bed as soon as he hears me roll over. I cherish these quiet minutes of gratitude in the morning.

2. Again, I feel as if paying closer attention and trying to be present has made every interaction more special and meaningful. Right now, I'm surrounded by 3 of my 4 people, and our house is filled with the amazing aroma of sweet potato and black bean soup. We spent a fun-filled evening surrounded by great friends, and I came home to a sweet surprise gift from another lovely friend. My whole day was sprinkled with the most endearing little interactions. This morning, at church, we served in Mini Movement (little ones up to 4), and usually this wears me out, tries my patience and gives me a headache, but this morning, each little one seemed to offer some sweet blessing. From my friend's tiny towhead who leaped into my arms repeatedly giggling, "Tickle, tickle, tickle," to another little peanut who shyly climbed into my lap and sweetly whispered, "I really want my daddy," these tinies touched my heart. Honestly, even the little boy whom I had to wrestle to keep him from crawling under the divider into the other side of the room made me smile later as he drove a matchbox car up and down my arm. Then his little brother took the same matchbox car and junk punched Brad Bell, and I might have rolled around laughing on the floor. He was fine, you guys, it was just a little boy, and I think boys/men instinctively flinch and protect that area if they sense something is headed that way. Besides, we're from Warren; the baby thugs are our people.

3. I don't know why I always forget to do this. Max Lucado says in a webcast promoting his latest book, Before Amen, that we could avoid so much worry and anguish if we would just remember to take our problems to God before our problems get to us. So I'm praying for God to bring me a person to thank. Amen.

With one week almost done, I feel a renewed commitment to see this through. I have seen small miracles taking place all around me, and I'm not sure if it's due to the prayer and fasting or simply the increased mindfulness and attention to grace and goodness. It doesn't matter either way. It just matters that there is good, so much good, so many people to love and so many people who love you back. So many opportunities to offer kindness, compassion and love. I'm grateful for the ever-increasing awareness.

Thank you so much for your comments, texts, emails and calls. You guys have encouraged me so much. This is just a 21 day journey, but isn't this really what our every day journey is about? Sharing with others, reaching out to offer a kind word, a helping hand or just to pat a fellow traveler on the arm and say, "Me too."

What are you cooking this week? I gotta get off the rice and quinoa, or my ass is gonna have its own zip code. For. Real.



  1. Mary Bell, you make me laugh out loud literally. You are the sweetest and kindest woman, and I am really enjoying reading about your fast. It makes my heart happy :)

    1. Thanks, Julie, I love and miss you! Come to Warren ;)! Are you fasting too!

    2. I love and miss you too! We need to visit, it's been too long... I am fasting but am still drinking coffee. I usually only have a cup in the morning so I didn't think god would mind lol.

    3. I am sure He does not :) Yes, let's please get together!


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