Sunday, November 29, 2015

It's been awhile...

I swear I've been doing so many handstands. And holding them for so long. And making shapes and pressing in and out. But. The pictures. Bless. 

Here's a cool arm balance instead 

Friday, November 27, 2015

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Fireplace handstand


I've probably told everyone in the blogosphere about my love for the word Ebenezer at least a dozen times. It's in one of my favorite classic hymns, and is seen in the Bible in 1 Samuel 7:12 

Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen and called its name Ebenezer; for he said, "Till now the Lord has helped us". 

The same way that stone was a monument to what God has done, so is my Bible. Lately I've been opening my Bible to read it and instead of digging right in, I hold it and I feel still, held, loved and known. God has met me literally thousands of times in this book. The pages are worn, ripped and falling out. There are verses I can barely read because they've been circled, underlined and starred in three or four different colored pens, and then been spilled with water, tears and tea. There are notes from sermons and haikus and comments and cross references and the names of people I love so much. 

I know the Bible brings up a lot of different things for a lot of different people. To some it's a book of rules, to others it's another mark to which they'll never measure up. To some it's the source of the justifications for how they've been abused, excluded or hurt, to others it's just a book, and to others it's another thing they should be doing. Dear friend, I don't know your story. I don't know what your history is with this book. 

But I know mine.

I know the power of this written word in my life. I know that the Lord has made Himself known to me through these words. I know that it breathes life to my soul and allows me to drink deeply from the fountain of living water. I honestly can't remember a time when I thought, "I should really read my Bible more". It's never felt like that to me. The "read the Bible in a year plans" baffle me. A year? How about a month? I don't do rules like that (generally. I am doing the change your mind plan right now. But if I want to read something else, I do. I can read John's gospel if I want even though I'm knee deep in Psalms). I trust that the Holy Spirit is alive and working and drawing me closer into the arms of my dear Savior. 

Sometimes I'm in sin and conviction cuts deep (seriously. try reading Romans and holding onto your sin. I dare you), but I know what God has for me on the other side is so much better and He is faithful to show it to me. Sometimes I am scared, lost, confused, angry, sad, lonely or weary and I have no idea how it's possible that Jesus is the ruling and reigning King over this mess right now. Sometimes the hurt is so deep that it's all I can do to read one verse or passage over and over again. And that is totally fine. Do you really think God cares how many times you read the Bible in your life (and this is coming from someone who reads the Bible several times through a year)? Do you think you'll get a prize for reading 10 chapters every day when you get to Heaven? God doesn't want your reading plans and text notes and the Greek verbs you've parsed. He wants YOU. He wants you so badly that He wrote you 66 beautiful letters to invite you into an intimate relationship with Him. That's a God I am so thankful I get to know. That's why I read my Bible: because I can. I have been gifted the privilege of knowing the Lord of the Universe. I want to read the written word every day until I die and see the Living Word face to face and start to see History (His-story) from the redeemed, resurrected and restored side of things. Then, I will know Him fully, but until that day, I'm going to press in and meet Him as often as I can. 

So, tonight, I'm sitting by the fire. I read the Psalms all the way through for the tenth time tonight. And then I just sat there and savored God's presence, because there is truly nothing more beautiful than the One who has created me to know, enjoy and glorify Him my whole life long. 

Return, O my soul, to your rest, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you. Psalm 116:7 

Until now, the Lord has helped me. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Relaxed approach

I've decided not to be a legalist about the handstand a day. If it happens, it happebs; if not, whatever. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

When the only way out is through

Last night I had my first really terrible yoga practice. I have never felt like that during a class before. I wasn't tired, or tight - physically I was totally fine, but I had so much negativity coming up. I didn't enjoy it at all. I felt I was almost going to cry and laid down early. It's hard for me to even describe...grumpy, dejected, just yucky and not good. I started recited Psalm 23 at the end just to keep my mind still and focused on the greatness and goodness of God.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want 
He makes me lie down in green pastures 
He leads me beside still waters; 
He restores my soul. 

When I'm like this, my reaction is to back away. It's to hide, to shrink. But sometimes the answer is actually to lean in instead of push away. I was in bed all cuddled up, staring at my spare guitar (aka roommate Jordan's that she never plays). I know from Scripture and from experience that God honors obedience. Worshiping when I don't want to, when it hurts like hell and makes no sense to sing, glorifies God. It says that I acknowledge Him as greater than my feelings. My fickle heart is prone to wander but I know that it is restless until it finds rest in Jesus. And so in these moments, when I least feel like it, I crawl out of my hole and I start singing

Blessed be the name of the Lord 
Blessed by Your name 
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name 

Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say 
It is well, it is well with my soul 

Jesus, Jesus how I trust Him 
How I've proved Him o'er and o'er 
Jesus, Jesus precious Jesus
O for grace to trust Him more 

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness! 
Morning by morning new mercies I see 
All I have needed Thy hand has provided 
Great is Thy faithfulness Lord unto me 

Heart of my own heart, whatever befall 
Still be my vision, O Ruler of all

What heights of love, what depths of peace 
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease 
My comforter, my all in all, 
Here in the love of Christ I stand

Thou awakest us to delight in Thy praise; for Thou madest us for Thyself, and our heart is restless, until it repose in Thee. St. Augustine, Confessions 

Lean into the ugly. Whisper thanks to transfigure it to beauty. Give thanks for all things at all times, because He is all good. Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts 

Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy's will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys. C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

From Bound to Beloved

I finished my twentieth read of the book of Philemon. I really enjoyed this book, more than I anticipated. I finally see what so many others around me have talked about before. It's a short book, it's really only a chapter, but there's something so beautiful going on.

Paul is writing to Philemon, who had a slave named Onesimus. Onesimus ran away and became a Christian, taught and mentored by Paul. Paul then writes this letter to Philemon and sends it with Onesimus, asking him to consider him a slave no more, and welcome him as a brother.

My haiku is

Slaves become brothers
The bound are called beloved
By the work of Christ

There's something so powerful about this tangible example of freedom in Christ. I challenge you to read this book a few times and see for yourself.

Rebels become heirs
Slaves become sons
Enemies become friends
Not My People become My People

This is the power of the gospel.

For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and lovingkindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works down by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by hisgrace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:3-7 

no longer as a bondservant but more than a bondservant, as a beloved brother - especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord. Philemon 1:16 

For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God. Ephesians 2:13-19 

And I will have mercy on No Mercy, and I will say to Not My People, You are my people, and he shall say, You are my God. Hosea 2:23 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Monday, November 16, 2015

Aw poop

I'm already done for the night... And I forgot my handstand. 

Here's a sleeping yogi instead 

The Kingdom is Yours and the Power is Yours and the Glory Forever, Amen

This morning I was praying for a friend of mine, for life - abundant life - for salvation, for joy. As I closed my journal, I listened to As it is in Heaven by Matt Maher. It's essentially an interpretation of the Lord's prayer set to music

I was thinking about the repeated stanza

For the kingdom is Yours 
And the power is Yours 
And the glory forever

Everything belongs to the Lord. The world, but today I was mostly focused on the people. Every heart is His to harden or soften. Every breath comes from His hand. He formed every body.  It all belongs to Him. I think that's why Jesus taught us to pray as He did.

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Matthew 6:9-13. 

In the ESV there is a note that says, "some manuscripts add, For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever, Amen" That's the way I learned it, but I'm not sure which translations include it. With or without it, there's still a recognition present: we pray for God's kingdom and for His will. We acknowledge our need for Him to provide for our needs and for Him to sustain us and lead us forward.

 I want to make the Lord's prayer more of my prayer life again.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Real clothes

Look! I'm wearing a skirt. It's hard to a handstand in this skirt. It's rather fitted, you see. 

I had dinner with an old college teammate in town briefly and he said he's trying to learn how to handstand :) He also said it seems like I'm doing my life right for me right now. 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Hiking and yoga and handstands oh my

I went on a winter weather hike in search of snow with Josh. We were not disappointed. 

Then I got back in time to take a yoga class and the hot room felt so good after being out in the rain and snow all day. 

And then I came home and did my handstand for Elizabeth. I almost quit a few days ago but for now I think I can stick it out

Thursday, November 12, 2015

2nd stand. Split style

Also this bra is so pretty 

And I don't like lights apparently 

No butts about it

I totally forgot last night. I fell asleep after 2 poses at nap yoga and then talked to the instructor afterwards. So this morning here's a handstand and I'll try to hit you up later too. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Embracing the Body by Tara Owens

I cannot say enough wonderful things about this book. If you have a body, you need it. I'm actually in the process of figuring out how to order it in bulk so I can give it away (just my luck, it's the publisher with which I have a 40% lifetime discount!), so hang tight because there could be a copy coming your way. Owens speaks to people who have chronic pain, who have been physically or sexually abused, who have body image issues, who fear intimacy, who are afraid to rest. It is a book for everyone. I am going to try to restrain myself from sharing too many quotes because I also have a story about how I applied what I learned from the book.

the body is so powerful, and at its best so very good, that it forms and shapes our views of ourselves, others and God. Our bodies are an integral part of ourselves and tell us what we most deeply believe - even when our minds and hearts are feeling otherwise 

The grace of it all is the same grace that God offers when I'm in my most self-destructive wounded places - the very weakness we feel in our image of ourselves is the place God will meet us most deeply. The way toward a healthy body image isn't by ignoring our desire to be thin or muscular or shapely, but by stepping in closer to them. Every time we think 'fat' when passing by a mirror is an opportunity to notice and attend to our own sense of loneliness and inadequacy, a place that God's love and presence can meet us if we'll open the door. 

When we've trained ourselves to mistrust the desires of our bodies, we've cut ourselves off from some deeply important sources of information about how we're doing - our emotions are primarily, physiological, after all - an we're able to access the reality of what's going on inside our souls. 

Being at home in your own skin means that you're willing to develop a sensitivity to an awareness of the messages of your own body. 

Awareness of our senses helps us to delight in the glory of the world around us and to consciously respond to our place in that world, our place in relationship to God. 

to be physically present, no matter our emotion or spiritual state is to insist on the power of the incarnation to heal us and make us whole 

 And now a story. In the book, Tara talks about how you can use consensual, appropriate physical touch as a means of communicating and transmitting redemptive healing. I am NOT instinctively a toucher, but I decided to be more aware of how my body might relate to other bodies. Last night, my competitive team was working really hard on their beam routine, and I could see one of the girls just totally losing it. She looked defeated. At one point, when we were starting over for maybe the 20th time, she said she wanted a nap. I told her we had to keep moving forward, but that if it would make her feel better, I could give her a hug. Her whole face lit up and we hugged and I told the group that if they were ever feeling discouraged or frustrated or just needed a minute they could get a hug. The whole group just softened, and then they came back refreshed and even stronger. It was seriously beautiful.

Put this one on your must-read list asap.

Sunday, November 8, 2015


I've always been flexible. I can't remember not being able to do the splits and my shoulders pop out of socket just because. But my back has never actually been *that* flexible. Now, I realize gymnasts have crazy standards when it comes to who is flexible and who is not, and that the least flexible of competitive gymnasts is probably more flexible that 98% of everyone else. I've never been able to do a seal stretch and touch my toes to my head, and yes, the children have harassed me about this. 

But guess what happened today? 

My toes said hello to my head! Woohoo. 

Which means, one day, they'll do it in a handstand. Until then, 

As family we go

Today was a heavy morning at church. You know when you walk in somewhere and can just tell something is off? Yeah that was it. Unplanned family style service. Stripped down set up. Quiet. Pastor and family now where to be seen (or heard! There are 4 kids in their mix). 

Well. Our community pastor announced that last night, our pastor's youngest son, 18 month old Thaddeus, was given a preliminary diagnosis of leukemia. I wish I knew how to capture what happened in the room when we heard, together. I know that my friend and I had tears in our eyes as we processed, and that when we all prayed, we held hands. I know that Pastor Joe answered the question he read in our minds "what can we do?"  because we were so ready to do whatever he would tell us. We are richly provided for in that we have a Seattle children's cancer wing nurse in our body and that we have learned a theology of service by experience. Everyone in our church has served and been served in times of deep need. 

It's a really hard thing, and there are a lot more questions than answers right now. But I am so sure that we're going to approach this as a family, because that's who we are in Jesus. 

Here's a message I sent my friend Tina about it - 

This is the quote I wrote down from our elder who preached today "When life sucks, as it often does, we're here for each other". He was amazing because he literally had no notice and his family had also been through a lot lately...he stood up there and talked about Romans 12 and said "I know for a fact that I don't need to tell this church to serve more - please don't hear that - this is an encouragement for what you are already doing. I've heard the stories and have been loved by this church more than you even know or understand. Someone coming over and saying hey can I help you organize your kitchen or just watching people's kids for a few hours or a few days" and then he started crying and he goes "wow this is the most embarrassing thing I've done in the occasional times I've preached but I'm so glad I get to be embarrassing with all of you" 

As family we go 

Saturday, November 7, 2015

First, Last, New

First time as a meet director. Sometimes when people asked me "hey, you're in charge, right?" I was really tempted to say no 

Last star league meet. How crazy is that? 

New shirt 

It's Seahawks colors but still looks really cool. 

Friday, November 6, 2015


We played around with trying to hit and hold tuck handstands today with a new instructor I really like. I've actually never really hung out in this shape before and I can dig it. I held this one for a long time too! 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Yet another poopy picture

Ugh. Blame Josh, my acro yoga partner in crime. He wore me out doing crazy things and now I'm tired and handstands in our kitchen. Whatever man. 


I've been reading amazing books lately 

The Precious Things of God - Octavius Winslow 

It's Not What You Think - Jefferson Bethhke 

Coming Clean - Seth Haines 

All of these books. My heart. And Titus right now is totally slaying me. Specifically 3:3-7. Rebels become heirs. Think about it. 

And my 6am Bible study. When I first started church (s)hopping, and I found Anchor, it was almost love at first hymn. But when I found out there was a group of people who dedicated themselves to waking up at 6am every Thursday to study the Bible, I was sold. These are my people in the fullest sense of the term. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Can I even handle this

6 months of daily handstands is a lot. A girl can only handle so many 10:30pm kitchen inversions... To be continued 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Jeans and a sweater

I don't remember the last time I wore jeans. But if I'm going to wear jeans, you'd better believe they're going to be from the gap.