What’s Nourishing Me this Month

1. Ever have a recipe that is so decadent you hoard it just for the oooohs and ahhhs? This is mine. The kids adore it at home but I call it Adult Mac and Cheese when I bring it to parties. It’s always licked clean when I bring it home. Gloriously creamy. Sinfully buttery. Add crumbled bacon and peas and suddenly it’s a one-dish gift brought steaming from the oven.

This is Giada de Laurentiis’ Baked rigatoni with Béchamel Sauce.  I’m guessing from her figure that she doesn’t serve this too often but I’m sure glad she was inspired to grate all that fontina. The recipe can be found on the food channel here.

baked rigatoni2. You know those toxic thoughts that are like a ditch you keep falling into? A trigger pounces and all of a sudden, you’re a ditch dweller for a few days. Sometimes they are lies that were proclaimed over you as a child…sometimes they are steams of thought you barely recognized were holding you captive.  You just like you were living in a cloud of negativity, serving up side-helpings of anxiety.


Yup, I’ve got some of those too.


A month ago, I was sitting at Panera when the spiritual director I had gone to see looked at me asked me what dreams I had in a particular area of my life. He smiled when he said it, “What could you imagine God’s dream for this could be?…like in five years.” It was in an area where I felt I was over my head. I hyperventilated. I fidgeted in my wooden seat. I couldn’t dream. I couldn’t ask God what His dream was.  The anxiety felt thick and I know I looked back at him with wild eyes.

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I was being held captive by the toxic thought that I couldn’t accomplish hard things (hard as in stretching or connected to being in the spotlight). That weekend I joined my mom who has had huge transformations this last couple months overcoming toxic thoughts and signed up for this: Dr. Caroline Leaf’s 21 Day Brain Detox. I spent 21…though with sick days and busy days it was more like 30…days with Dr. Leaf’s easy to follow process and began isolating this one particular thought pattern.


Do I sound like an infomercial? Do forgive me. I’m just so dang thankful to be getting free.

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Dr. Leaf is a neuroscientist and I’m absolutely fascinated with the way the brain works. She has had articles published in scientific journals but now brings her studies to a Christian audience where she couples it with working with the Holy Spirit and with Scripture. It frankly works much better than my usual process of journaling obsessively for a week and then burning out.  This is the process I always wished I had while working with my beautiful friends in inner healing prayer.  It will not replace the hard work of inner healing but I believe it works hand in hand to extend and bring full healing to the mind.


Her work completely jives with the brain science I’ve been learning with Dr. Terry Wardle at Ashland Seminary and Dr. Daniel Siegel, a psych professor and writer from UCLA. And with Scripture.  You know those verses about taking every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5b) and about continually renewing your mind (Romans 12:2)? Who really knows how to do that? Sometimes a thought will get out of control and completely run me over. This has taught me a slow process for interrupting the power of a toxic thought.  No more thinking that the ditch you find yourself in will be your home forever.  With Scripture, with the Holy Spirit’s leading and with Dr. Leaf’s program, you can live ditch-free.


I know…infomercial again. Enter swelling movie music and pictures of little girls dancing.


Here is a short 2 minute video from her blog:



This is a much longer (but fascinating) video you can watch while doing dishes or folding clothes (and yes, I know the outfit of the fifty year old woman introducing her came off the rack from an insane rocker chic store…but this is Texas and she completely forgot to contextualize for us.)



As for my story? God used this process to walk me through a lie I’d held onto for twenty-five years, the “I can’t” lie.


I’m learning to live in the wide open land of: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).



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