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Category: Life

Observing a Daniel Fast

Daniel was a prophet of God during the 6th century B.C.  I once heard it preached that Daniel is the only man, other than Christ, that the Bible has nothing bad to say about.  I have enjoyed any and all of the studies I’ve done in the book of Daniel.

He was among some Israelite children who were taken captive by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar during a siege of Jerusalem. Daniel and his friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, were among a select group who were chosen based on:

Then the king instructed Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, to bring some of the children of Israel and some of the king’s descendants and some of the nobles, young men in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had ability to serve in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the language and literature of the Chaldeans.  Daniel 1:3-4

Based on how they did things, the king fed them delicacies and wine and gave them intense training for 3 years, after which they would be able to serve the king.  The problem with the food was that the Babylonians did not follow a Levitical diet, and they offered their food to their idols before they consumed it.  Despite their circumstances and the fact that this could have resulted in severe punishment for them, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, refused to eat the food and to drink the wine.  The eunuch in charge of them said:

“I fear my lord the king, who has appointed your food and drink. For why should he see your faces looking worse than the young men who are your age? Then you would endanger my head before the king.”   Daniel 1:10

Daniel offered a challenge to him.

“Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink.  Then let our appearance be examined before you, and the appearance of the young men who eat the portion of the king’s delicacies; and as you see fit, so deal with your servants.”  Daniel 1:13-14

So, the eunuch consented and at the end of ten days, Daniel and his friends looked healthier and stronger than the other captives who partook of the delicacies and wine of the king.  So they were allowed to continue with their diet for the three years training time.

Now at the end of the days, when the king had said that they should be brought in, the chief of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar.  Then the king interviewed them, and among them all none was found like Daniel, Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach), and Azariah (Abed-Nego); therefore they served before the king.  And in all matters of wisdom and understanding about which the king examined them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers who were in all his realm.  Thus Daniel continued until the first year of King Cyrus. Daniel 1:18-21

That is the first time such a diet is mentioned in the book of Daniel.  The next time is in Daniel 10.

In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks.  I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.  Daniel 10:2-3

Daniel had received a message from God, and he fasted for 21 days so that he would fully understand this vision.  At the end of his fast, he was able to interpret the vision from God (which is understood to have been a vision of the risen Christ) and give a prophecy about his vision.

So, there are two instances in the book of Daniel where he fasts from anything but vegetables (and according to everything I’ve studied, the term for vegetables includes fruits and seeds) and water.  Once was to make his body healthy, to improve his appearance, to “buff up” so to speak.  Another time was to strengthen himself spiritually for God to speak to him.

Starting January 2, my husband and I will begin a 21-day observance of “The Daniel Fast”.  I want to detox my body and focus on God.  I’m using the fast to strengthen both my body and my spirit.

If you Google Daniel Fast, you will get a wealth of resources that do all sorts of talking and explaining about the fast.  Some allow tofu, some explain away drinking herbal tea, some spend page after page trying to explain just how to do it.  I’m going to keep it simple.

In observing the diet we will eat only vegetables, fruits, and unleavened bread that does not contain any ingredient that is not made directly from a vegetable or fruit.  For instance, I am going to make tortillas out of fresh ground flour and olive oil (instead of shortening or beef tallow).  When I make a salad, I’ll flavor it with olive oil (cold pressed) and lemon juice.  We will eat only whole grains (brown rice vs. white rice). We will only drink water.  We call it “vegan extreme”.

We aren’t looking for shortcuts. We’re not going to consume a “to-furkey” because it’s a vegan turkey. We’re just looking to simply eat straightup fruits and veggies and drink only water.

We do this fast annually, and it is so rejuvenating to both my body and spirit that I start looking forward to it weeks in advance. This year, I feel led to share with you my menus for the fast as well as recipes, hints, tricks, and insights I receive as I fast and pray.  I will be posting daily in my Hallee the Homemaker facebook group about it. If you want to join in, check back on this blog through the Daniel Fast tag at this link, or join that group (I promise I won’t try to sell you anything.)

Other than that specific group, I’ll also be on a social media fast. So, that’s about the only place you’ll be able to find me other than this website.


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Rejoicing Always, Praying Without Ceasing, Being Thankful in Everything

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says:

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

As I write this, I’m sitting in my office in my home. My children are home from school because we had an ice storm last night and school was closed. It is dry and warm in our house and I have bread rising in the kitchen. My husband has a good job.

It’s easy to read that verse today. Rejoice ALWAYS. Pray WITHOUT CEASING. IN EVERYTHING give thanks.

But the fact is, there are times in life when this verse is impossible to comprehend. Some of you are reading this now thinking, “No way.”

I understand. I’ve been there.

My dear friend’s parents lost their entire town to a terrible fire this week. Flooding has killed dozens and destroyed communities in Italy. School shootings, house of worship shootings, bar shootings are becoming normal words. We’ve been at war for 17 years.

I don’t think this passage is intended to admonish those who don’t always rejoice, who don’t always pray, and who aren’t thankful in everything. In fact, Solomon, the man whom 1 Kings tells us that God gave him “wisdom and exceedingly great understanding, and largeness of heart like the sand on the seashore”, who was “wiser than all men”, (1 Kings 4:29-30) tells us in Ecclesiastes 3 that there’s a time to hate, a time to mourn, a time to weep, a time to break down — that there is a time for everything under the sun (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8).

I think this passage of verses in the letter to the church in Thessalonica is intended to encourage us, to give us the smallest glimpse into what life will be like in our perfected bodies. It’s something to which we’re to strive to achieve and to know that one day we won’t even have to try.

When things are dim and scary, when life is hard and feels impossible, I say these verses out loud. The Bible tells us that the word of God is our weapon – our sword – to use to battle the enemies of God (Ephesians 6:7). Speaking the words out loud even in the midst of grief, pain, and fear, reminds me of the fruit of the Spirit that dwells inside of me. That no weapon formed against me shall prosper (Isaiah 54:7), and that I am not alone (Deuteronomy 31:6).

It gives my heart and mind peace to know that I have the power of the Holy Spirit inside of me to draw upon and then find that I can start rejoicing, despite the circumstances. That I can pray through good times and bad, and keep a constant line of communication open. That I can be thankful in all circumstances because I know the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6).

Be encouraged during this time of Thanksgiving. As you ponder that which you can easily give thanks, remember that even if your time is to weep, or your time is to mourn, you can draw upon that same power.


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Monday Morning Coffee and Chat 11/5/18 – Talking About Rosie the Riveter and Being Brave

  Hello! Welcome to Monday morning coffee and chat! I really appreciate all of the questions that I get from my readers. Today I’m talking about Rosie the Riveter and speaking on the topic of BRAVE at the Ohio Christian Writers Conference. I hope you learn more about me through my response:



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Thank You to My Community

For the last two weeks, Gregg and I have been battling Type A flu and pneumonia. He started feeling bad on a Monday night, and I started feeling bad on a Wednesday morning. By Friday, I nagged us both to urgent care. Come to find out, we not only had flu, we had pneumonia, and he had bronchitis as well.

We were totally flattened by this. Fevers, aches, coughs, no sleep, headaches. Early this week, I developed a sinus infection and added more medicine to my daily arsenal. It’s been a rough ride.

I posted about it on social media, and within an hour, I had a friend text me and ask if she could bring us dinner. I was a little overwhelmed by the request. Why, you ask?

I’ve had three babies, two of whom were in the NICU for a combined 38 days, two pregnancies that required bed rest, a husband who was in Afghanistan for 2 1/2 years when the boys were toddlers, lots of life happening in those years, and through everything, Gregg and I have never had a meal brought to us.

I’ve been actively involved in churches, delivered countless meals to new moms, new residents,  people recovering from surgery, for funerals — and with all of those meals delivered, I’ve never received one.

I have to tell you – not having to think about what to make for dinner, having everything just show up — I have a hard time creating the words to explain how much stress was relieved for me. It may seem like a small thing. It’s not. It’s a big deal.

Topping that off, every single day, I’ve received a text or phone call asking if I need anything or need any errands run. Here’s a character flaw of mine: I don’t ever ask for help. I’ve needed help lots of times, but I don’t ask. Part of it is a fear of rejection (I’m not kidding). If I don’t ask, I don’t have to deal with the emotions of not receiving help. Part of it is a stubbornness. I can do it. I’d rather be the helper than be the one helped.

But, when I got the first text asking if I needed anything, I thought about the empty milk carton in the recycle bin and knew that going out with Type A flu and pneumonia would likely be frowned upon. Assuming I’d even make it to the store without passing out. So, I asked for milk. An hour later, I got a text saying it was on the front porch.

I sent friends for bananas, to pick up Jeb, to bring more milk. I made myself consider every offer and forced myself to accept the help because I needed i

Gregg and I have regularly proclaimed how much we love living here at Fort Knox. We have good friends. We have a great chapel. I have an amazing women’s Bible study group. But I don’t think we totally understood the level of community we have here. Until it was there for us.

Now we understand.

A friend texted me about it and I told her that I’ve never really felt loved and accepted in a community before. I know I have friends, I have had good friends wherever I’ve lived. But I’ve never had a true community. She replied with, “You are treasured here.”


It’s us who treasure this community. I am so very thankful for all the help we’ve received, for all the prayers given up for us, and for the support we have.

My plan today, other than trying to get a grip on a household that has received only cursory cleaning for two weeks, is to write thank-you notes. I feel blessed to have so many to write.

If the opportunity is available for you to bring a meal to someone, to send a text to check on them, to write a card, to run an errand — understand that you will be doing so much more for them than you can ever comprehend. Seriously.

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Monday Morning Coffee and Chat 10/15/18 – Writing a Character with an Autistic Child

Hello! Welcome to Monday morning coffee and chat! I really appreciate all of the questions that I get from my readers.

Today I’m talking answering the question, “Since you have an autistic son, will you ever write a book with a character with an autistic child?”

I hope you learn more about me through my response:

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A Family Reunion of Sorts

There’s something special about family reunions. You see people you haven’t seen in years. You connect on a level of shared genetics, lines in a family tree, shared memories and traditions.

Attending the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference is much like a family reunion for me. I have been actively involved in the Christian fiction publishing world for 6.5 years. In that time period, I’ve made so many amazing and wonderful friends who are my brothers and sisters in Christ — they’re part of my family.

Every year, I go to the conference and reconnect. I hug necks, I kiss cheeks, I sit and share coffees and meals, I teach, I learn, I encourage, I am encouraged. I find corners and talk for hours with authors I haven’t seen in three or four years.

It is a homecoming, a family reunion, with shared mission statements, disappointments, memories. These are my people – people who understand how my brain works, who get the struggles of juggling the roles of wife and mother with a full-time writing career, and people who know what it’s like to get that letter from a reader that affirms that words that you wrote affected someone’s spiritual walk in a positive way.

Most of the time, conferences exhaust me, and the idea of going exhausts me. I’m an introvert through and through. I don’t want to “people”. I want to stay in my little, contained world and control my outside interaction through the computer. But when it comes to ACFW, I get exhausted from interaction, sure, but I also get energized with the experience of being around so many people just like me, who like me and respect me and the business I’ve built.

It’s like a dichotomy: my husband was explaining it to someone at our Bible study last Sunday night. I get home energized and ready to get back to work, but totally exhausted so that I need to sleep for two days before starting.

ACFW people are my family and I’m absolutely beyond blessed to call them that.

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