I just returned from the trip of a lifetime!! With 9 of my high-school students in-tow, we took off for Young Life summer camp last week for 7 glorious days! Soooooo amazing. We woke up at the crack of dawn every morning to zoom through the hills in dune buggies, launch ourselves off of the ropes course, and climb up the tower. We jumped in the pool with our clothes on in the middle of the night, square danced across the basketball courts, and catapulted each other off of the blob!! I was pegged with water balloons, made mud angels in the dirt, and got pied in the face TWICE. We laughed at the skits, clapped for the band, and cried during the amazing talks. It was phenomenal! I’ve never experienced anything quite like it! In fact, I had WAY more fun as a leader than I did back in my camper days!
When I went to Castaway camp my junior year of high school, it changed my life. I experienced adventure the same week that I met God. It was amazing. My life was completely turned upside down. Sure coming home to my same routine and same friends was a challenge, but luckily, my family moved right before my senior year of high-school and I got to start all over. I changed the way I dressed, I went to church, got actively involved in Young Life, and joined a new group of friends. We played fugitive instead of drank, had ice-cream sundae’s instead of pot, and ate pizza by the swimming pool instead of sneaking out at night. It was by far my happiest year of high school. I’m so grateful for my leaders that back then led me to the feet of Christ and am so blessed to now get to experience His work as a leader myself.
As always I’m amazed. By the 6 beautiful girls I got to room with for a week. By the loving support of a whole crew of leaders from every corner of the West coast. By a speaker and musician who brought us the gorgeous message. And by our wonderful creator who made it all possible. I can only expect even greater things to come. I am so blessed!
Thank you everyone for an amazing week- love you all!Read More
I ran like my ancestors for 5.8 miles today and that is going to have to count for this week’s training. In fact, I wouldn’t even truly call it running, more like hiking while pretending I’m running. When I left my house I had the goal of beating my last time. Halfway up the enormous hill I changed it to just wanting peace. I have so many other fun things going on this week that a run just wasn’t in the cards.
I’m getting ready to pick-up 6 high-school girls and haul them up to Young Life summer camp where we will spend the next week! I’m so excited!!! The next seven days will be loaded with obstacle courses, singing, dancing, mountain biking, swimming, and endless late-night slumber parties with my girls. Seeing as the fun begins tonight, I just needed a moment to not be running around like a mad person (and thus not running in general!).
I love the beauty of Marin county! I especially enjoy one particular windy trail that reveals a vista of my small town snuggled into the hills. Every time I get to that view I can’t help but imagine myself as an explorer who has been trekking through the hills for months only to come upon this quaint village. It is especially breathtaking at night when the lights of the town are twinkling and you can picture people drinking wine until their lips turn red and eating plumbs by the fire for dessert. It seems like such a sleepy town, undisturbed by the world. It’s as if there is no other civilization around, just this tiny paradise nestled among the hilltops. Somehow I always get “O little town of Bethlehem” stuck in my head and wind up singing Christmas songs the rest of my run back to my hilltop home. It’s hard to believe I get to live here!!!
Now that I’m recharged, I’ve got some craft supplies to buy and my hair to get cut before the fun begins. Send me your good vibes while I’m away and I’ll see you in a week!Read More
I was inspired by a recent commenter to discuss how yoga connects to the rest of my life. I cover a variety of different topics on this blog, some of which might appear to have anything to do with yoga. They do! Yoga is a lifestyle!
Yoga for Physical Health
First of all, yoga is asanas. Movement. Movement that strengthens your arms and legs. Contortions that stretch those powerful muscles. Inversion poses that circulate your blood through your veins. Twists wring out your organs and stimulate digestion. Back bends unfold every vertebrae along your spine. Movement means exercise, exertion. It means curing your back pains, toning your muscles, taking care of yourself. Yoga poses or asanas can be done at every stage of your life and will support every physical health goal. But movement is only the first step. Yoga is so much more!
Yoga for Mental Health
Just breathe! Simply inhale the word “let” and exhale the word “go” and feel all your troubles melt away. Listen to your breathing, do what the teacher is instructing, and forget to worry about whatever it was that was plaguing you before. Yoga eases anxiety, removes depression, and let’s you be you. Once you’ve made it to the mat, the hardest work is over! Let the teacher take it from here and realize that you are in good hands. There is nothing more for you to do than listen to his voice and take rest whenever needed. Ignore the girl doing push-ups in between chaturangas. Distance yourself from the guy doing Cirque Du Soleil. This moment is for you and you can do whatever you want with it. This is where peace comes from. If you don’t believe that yoga can transcend you mental health, then you haven’t given it a chance. Relax! Yoga can do the impossible and bring you to balance.
People have brought every possible excuse to the door: I have chronic depression, its hereditary, there’s no hope. I’m too deep in my grief. No one can help me! I’ve lived with this pain my whole life, it’s not going anywhere! Yoga tells you to leave those excuses behind and come sit on your mat. It tells the wounded they will heal, the struggling that we’ve been there. Sometimes going through the motions is the first step towards a whole new you that is just waiting to unfold.
Yoga as Prayer
Most of all, yoga is prayer. The bliss, the revival, the peace you feel after class isn’t an accident. It’s the answer to a prayer! Sometimes you may not recognize it. You associate prayer as being with the mind and forget that prayer can be done with the body. Sometimes the best thing you can do to get close to God is to relax in Him and let your body do the talking. It doesn’t have to take such an immense effort. Just be, be with God. Go through the motions. That strengthening you just did? That’s God taking care of you. The joy you feel as you stretch your hands to the heavens? Worship. Those balancing poses? They are there to humble or strengthen you. The rest you feel as you bow in child’s pose? Surrender. That peaceful feeling? The holy spirit is sitting with you. Don’t think, just be. Let your body do the praying. The ground will hold you, the spirit will move you. Let God answer your prayers and enjoy the calm that settles in your soul.
Yoga as Lifestyle
How can something that affects all aspects of your body, mind, and soul not affect your life as well? Yoga meets me every day whether I am at the studio or sitting at my desk. When my back and legs start to strain from sitting at work, I know to head for the copy room and stretch it out. When anxiety is begging for my attention, I’ve practiced letting that go before! Just breathe. Every movement, emotion, or sensation that I can feel, I have practiced. Letting go in yoga is practice for letting go in life. Reaching toward the sky and bowing down is showing me how to worship and surrender. Every step of my day from loving, laughing, playing, working, and enjoying, is something I experience both in yoga and in life. Learning yoga has been and continues to be one of my favorite things in life!! So yeah, yoga is a lifestyle. It’s the lifestyle I want to live everyday!
Hope you have a beautiful week!Read More
I have nothing in common with athletes except that now we have the same app. My husband got the Strava app this week and we have both become totally infatuated with it! Not only does it do all the normal running app stuff (tracks your run on a map, tells you how long and how fast you ran) but it also compares you to all of the other people who ran that same route!! So fun! Intimidating also, but definitely fun. After Garret’s first run with the app he discovered that some chick is beating him like crazy! (Needless to say he has a new mission on his runs).
So I tested it out and took to the trail. Check out how I fared:
Not too bad!! I ran 5.4 miles in 1:08! I also discovered that I am in last place for every segment on that trail except for one mile-long downhill section where I was 6th place out of 8! Now I have something to work towards!! So fun to use this thing!! I couldn’t use previous running apps that I tried because I don’t get internet or cell reception out here, but Strava uses GPS! Just dandy!
My second new infatuation this week is the discovery of another excellent yoga instructor. Once I find good teachers, it’s hard for me to stray- but I tried a new one this week and am so glad I did! Christian Allaire taught an amazingly powerful yet peaceful class and I loved it! Such a hard mix to get right! I felt sooooo amazing afterwards! Going again this week for sure!
I also went to another power class with my beloved Susan and am feeling strong!! I’ve never been able to hold plank so long!! I’m truly starting to believe that this half-marathon has nothing on me. Now I just have to make sure to do some solid training this week since I’ll be out at YL camp next week. Maybe I can squeeze a longer run in if I plan right. I need to work on my endurance!!
I hope you all had a good weekend!! Suck a beautiful one in Cali!Read More
I warned you that I might write about my spiritual life from time to time- but I’m still hesitant. For some reason, even mentioning that I believe in God can be such a controversial subject! People either react with excitement or get super uncomfortable. Isn’t that a bit odd? Anyway, SPOILER ALERT: I’m going to talk about God, take it or leave it.
For starters, God has been tugging at some particularly interesting advice in my life lately. To put it simply: LET GO! Yep, the theme continues. I’ve been clutching at any threads that will allow me to have control over my own life. That’s just the thing! I don’t!
Here is why I’m holding on: I’ve mentioned a little bit that I sometimes have BIG fear in my life. Specifically, the fear of losing someone I love. It is the topic of all my nightmares and the cornerstone of every anxiety bout or worry. If I’m worried because husband isn’t answering his phone, deep down it’s because I’ve feared the worst. If I’m stuck in a panic because a bruise on my arm appears to be a blood clot (due to my extensive medical knowledge, obviously), the heart of my fear is seated in worry of putting Garret through mourning or pain.
Sure, any therapist will tell you that the reason for my fear is past trauma. I have experienced true fear of death in my life which has heightened my awareness that bad things can and do happen. One good friend of mine calls this the “Sh** Club.” Once circumstances in your life cause you to join, you no longer feel remorse for someone who is upset over a breakup or a rough day at work. That’s trivial pain to us members. Real plain dumps years of your life into a black pit. Having seen the bottom of the pit- I don’t want myself or anyone else to! So I worry.
Here is why I should let go: I am a tiny pebble floating down a river. Sometimes the river seems perfect and peaceful and I can soak up the sun when I’m beached by a sandbar. Other times its rough for me and my pebble friends. There are rocks, rapids, or trees that appear out of nowhere. We are tossed and turned, soaked and cold. It can be difficult so we try to hold onto branches or sand to keep our head above water. But God is there. God is standing from a very high vista point and can see the ENTIRE river. He can see that little pebble Elle is stuck in a rapid and can’t get out. BUT He can also see what I can’t: that just around the river bend, the water becomes crystal clear. If I can just make it through the rapid and come around the other side- I will be able to see the beauty of the teal waters and lounge in the astonishing sparkle of the sun.
I can’t see the big picture because I am just a small being in an infinite universe! Just as a child will get upset when her Dad tells her to stop playing the dryer- it is only because she doesn’t see what her Dad knows- That playing in the dryer is dangerous!
Let God: So in a prayerful request to God, I asked that he help me to let go and let Him take over. At first I resisted. I prayed, “Lord I want you to take care of my life, I want to trust you… but I don’t.” I feared that a closer relationship with God would leave me exposed to all the heartache in life. That bad things would happen to me, but as a Christian I was just supposed to weather the storm! I couldn’t let that happen!! So a small piece of me held on. I told God He would have to wait. Until…
While listening to a Timothy Keller podcast on the subject of submission, it dawned on me: I don’t have control of these things anyway! Just because I believe I have control, doesn’t mean I do! I can feed husband as many colorful veggies as I want but that doesn’t keep bad things from happening. I will worry with or without God. People who don’t believe in God weather just as many storms as people who do. At that moment I gave it all. I said, “God I’m yours, and I trust that your will is far better than mine.”
From that moment forward I have been transformed. I now know that every worry that comes my way, I can simply pass along to God and say “Thank you for taking care of this for me!” I trust that whether or not a rapid comes, God can see the big picture and will always take care of me. Just as Jesus endured struggle, in the big picture, God needed that moment to bring us to today. God loves us amazingly and will always do the best thing for us. We just have to keep in mind that we can’t see the big picture, but rejoice that God does!!
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?”
~ Luke 12:22-26Read More