overflow

10720967_10204845791570423_38004014_n

 

I’m always amazed at the way God speaks to me.

I don’t know why – I shouldn’t be.

This week, in the Gentle Holy Yoga TV practice Brooke Boon leads, she mentions a verse in passing about how our words reveal our heart.

And it sent me digging.

God lead me to a big chunk of Jesus’s teaching that my NIV Bible calls The Sermon on the Plain. And that kind of works – because it’s in a big section of Scripture where Jesus just sort of lays it out there in easy to understand language.

There’s the Beatitudes, which are so contrary to the world’s way of living but clearly set up Jesus’s plan for His Kingdom.

He says to love your enemies.

And is pretty adamant that we are not judge.

And then He gets to this part about trees being recognized by their fruit and how it’s the same with people.

 Count on this: no good tree bears bad fruit, and no bad tree bears good fruit. 44 You can know a tree by the fruit it bears. You don’t find figs on a thorn bush, and you can’t pick grapes from a briar bush. 45 It’s the same with people. A person full of goodness in his heart produces good things; a person with an evil reservoir in his heart pours out evil things. The heart overflows in the words a person speaks; your words reveal what’s within your heart.
Luke 6: 43-45

This. Oh, this:

The heart overflows in the words a person speaks; your words reveal what’s within your heart.
Luke 6:45b

My words are an issue I’ve been working to tame for many years. They were my first defense when I was teased as a child and my ability to use them is something I take too much pride in. It’s so easy to slide back into using them in ways that doesn’t bring God glory.

But the idea that they reveal what’s my heart?

That’s a little bit overwhelming.

And something to continue to pray about and work on.

There’s something else that God showed me, though: I think sometimes we need living in the era of social media asterisks and notes in Scripture. Because it’s not just the words of our mouth – it’s the actions of our fingers.

It’s the photos we post on Instagram.

The jokes we share on Twitter.

The images we reshare on Facebook…and the words we post.

It all adds up to paint a picture of the fruit that we’re growing in our faith walk.

And it brings to mind these verses that Paul wrote…

The weapons of the war we’re fighting are not of this world but are powered by God and effective at tearing down
the strongholds erected against His truth.
We are demolishing arguments and ideas, every high-and-mighty philosophy that pits itself against the knowledge of the one true God. We are taking prisoners of every thought,
every emotion, and subduing them into obedience to the Anointed One.
2 Corinthians 10:4-5

Taking every thought and emotion and subduing them into obedience.

I wonder sometimes how much more critical that it is today than it was in the era that Paul was writing in. Today, it’s not just the words of our mouth, but every photo, status update, comment, meme – everything we post to social media – is out there.

It all reflects on us, it all reflects on Jesus and it all reflects on our relationship with Him.

It can ruin.

Or it can help others see Jesus in us, and want to know more about Him.

Lord, I confess that there are many times my heart doesn’t mirror Yours and that the overflow of my mouth has reflected that in ways that don’t honor You or those I’m with. Help me to become even more rooted in You, so that my life overflows with Your presence and love. Remind me to take my words and thoughts captive, to subdue my heart to obedience to You. Father, I love you and I pray my life would be a reflection of You.

Amen.

*all Scripture is from the Voice translation

this I know: Holy Yoga

 

10694941_10204827317508583_1784996156_n
Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of my decision to pursue becoming a Holy Yoga instructor.

It’s gone so quickly.

I’m so in awe of where God has taken me during this year. He has strengthened and grown me in ways I never knew I was capable of. He’s called me into a deeper relationship with Him and into a deeper knowledge and understanding of His word. He’s prepared me for opportunities I could never have dreamed of.

And He’s taught me a few things that Holy Yoga isn’t…

  • Holy Yoga isn’t all skinny white girls in Lululemon pants.
    Seriously.
    At my instructor’s retreat, all shapes, all sizes and all backgrounds were represented. There was even one very brave man who went through it…he was outnumbered by more than 100 women.
    But my classes have seen nearly as many men in them as women, and ages have ranged from teens to a students in their 80’s.
    And the attire – well, it’s ranged from typical yoga wear to shorts and t-shirts to one gentleman in his 80’s that wears the knee pads he uses when he’s installing flooring.
    For reals, friends.
    It’s been all shapes – from super active Jazzercise types to plus sizes. And they’ve all had successes and growth, regardless of their weight. They’ve also all seen struggles.
    Holy Yoga is an incredibly welcoming place to be.
  • Holy Yoga is a judgement free zone.
    Can’t touch your toes?
    It’s okay.
    Can’t remember the names of poses?
    Me neither sometimes.
    Balance an issue?
    It will get better. I promise, just keep with it and it will get better. Speaking from experience on this one.
    Need to take a few extra breaths in child pose or spend part of practice just resting on your mat?
    Oh, I’ve been there. And I’ll probably be there again someday soon.
    Don’t want to take your socks off?
    Well…okay…that’s your call…as long as you’re doing chair yoga.
  • Holy Yoga is not a competition.
    It’s about you and the Lord.
    Not you and the person next to you that can do a wheel into a headstand into a scorpion.
    If you can’t do a pose, do your best. As an instructor, one of my biggest goals is to give you as many modifications as possible so that every single person finds what they need.
    Your practice will grow with consistency.
    And in all honesty, as you’re working your practice and surrender to God’s grace, you don’t even notice others around you.
  • Holy Yoga isn’t all power flows, headstands and perfection.
    It can be, but it doesn’t have to be – the flow part, that is.
    It can be intimidating to follow yoga teachers on Instagram and Facebook, to see the 30 day challenges of craziness and hear that little voice that says:
                      Self, I can’t even. I can’t even stand on one foot or touch my toes. I might as well give up now.
    Remember: no one starts there. And many yogis with regular practice never make it there and that’s perfectly fine. Gentle is good. Slow is good. Making a space – any space – that you can call sacred and meet with God is good.
    It’s never going to be perfect.
    And that’s okay.
    Those imperfections, those places where we feel like we just can’t do it anymore and oh my goodness if we hold this downdog for one more second, I’m going to die – that’s where God meets us most deeply.
    When our physical and emotional selves break down, God breaks through.

And one thing that I know for sure Holy Yoga is:

  • It’s filled with grace.
    The sort of grace that only comes from spending time as you quiet your body, mind and heart before the Lord.
    The sort of grace that says imperfections are okay.
    The sort of grace that welcomes all, encourages all and does away with judgement.
    It’s the grace that lets of go of expectations and seeks God in the moment, breath by breath.
    It’s the grace that makes space – in your heart, your mind, your body – for God to bring change.
    The grace that brings us to God’s feet, in worship and in humility and in the knowledge that apart from Him, we are nothing.

You can find Holy Yoga instructors by searching here.  If there’s nothing in your area, I highly recommend Holy Yoga TV, which brings you several new practices a month of varying levels with excellent directives and instruction (and that I only recently figured out I could download to be able to practice later).

 

menu plan monday: 10.06.14

 

 

clean eating mpm

Oh my goodness, friends. It’s been a “only the grace of God has gotten me through few months”  – compounded by a second, emergency surgery for the girl when a doctor’s appointment last week showed that some of the screws from her fusion had shifted a bit and were pressing into her nerves.

But we are home and she is recovering beautifully and we are slowly attempting to find new schedules and routines.

Saturday, I’m making six gallons of chili for a chili cookoff booth our church is doing on Sunday.

And I am so incredibly grateful to have some sort of meal plan heading into this week. My mantra is simple, simple, simple.

Monday
Crockpot Chicken
Mashed Potatoes
whatever veggie I can pull out of the fridge

Tuesday
New York Steaks
Broccoli
Rice Pilaf (with homemade bone broth and minus the pasta)

Wednesday
Pulled Pork – on sammies for the family and on a bed of shredded cabbage for me
Salad

Thursday
BBQ Chicken (our local butcher shop makes their own marinades with great ingredients and packages – it’s a great deal for my budget and my time!)
Baked Potatoes
Salad

Friday
Chicken Tacos (on a salad for me)
Guacamole
Carrot Sticks

Saturday
Minestrone – but I’m looking for a great recipe – any suggestions?
Grilled cheese on Udi’s Bread
I’m planning on doing Soup and Sandwich Saturdays through the fall and winter

Sunday
leftovers

How do I meal plan? Like this!
Shared at Org Junkie’s Menu Plan Monday.

on balance

 

 

10408910_776737862389225_4002425058481651134_n

‘Doing what is wrong keeps everyone off balance and insecure, but those who do right by the Lord will never be uprooted’
Proverbs 12:3

Remember those How I Spent My Summer Vacation essays from elementary school?

Here’s the short version of mine:

June was quiet. We spent a few days in the Bay Area for Church Conference and ate too much. My Mom had hip replacement surgery on July 1st and I spent a wonderful week with her to help out however I could. I ate too much. We went to family camp and it was awesome. So was the food, of which I ate entirely too much. The Pastor had a heart procedure that corrected at least six arrhythmia and I ate too much. I taught my first series of Holy Yoga classes at church and we are in the planning stages for launching Amador Holy Yoga throughout our community in October. Tomorrow, The Girl has surgery to correct her scoliosis. I gained at least 15 pounds.

Yikes.

Balance has been few and far between for me at the  moment.

I have stayed rooted in God’s word – more often than not.

I have exercised – more often than not.

I have eaten incredibly poorly – more often than not.
(though I haven’t felt nearly as bad as I deserve because I’ve been minding the gap with this – I can’t wait to see what a difference it will make when I’m eating right, exercising and continuing with my daily shakes and caps)

It’s been a summer to remember.

For all of those off balance moments, God has been there…gently – and not so gently – nudging, reminding, drawing me closer.

I’ve seen over and over how digging into His word and resting in His presence has brought me through a summer that has been busier than I like, more stressful than I care to admit and one that I will forever mark by surgical waiting rooms.

I have been off balance – thrown out of joint – but I’ve been securely held by a God who loves me.

I look forward to schedule again and margins and normalcy, but that’s still a bit off.

That’s okay.

I have the tools and am working on the discipline. It’s a journey – one that truly only ends when we stand in the presence of our Creator – and I’m walking each step with Him by my side.

100 Healthy Days

10502261_10204033124094244_1485359601881507218_n

I have long been a believer in baby steps to change.

Maybe you’re one of those people who can clean out the fridge and pantry, start a new training program and never look back.

I salute you.

But I’m not one of you.

The changes I’ve made in my life and diet have all been accumulative. They’ve been one change and then another. Some haven’t worked for me. Some haven’t stuck. Sometimes, I have to make the same change over and over and over and over.

And that’s okay.

When we take enough of those baby steps, they can lead to something big.

Big change…physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

Maybe what you’re celebrating today is not drinking soda.

High five.

Maybe it’s making space for quiet time.

You’re the bomb.

Maybe it’s going for a walk for the first time in ages.

You go.

Maybe it’s making a menu plan full of foods that nourish.

Yes.

Maybe it’s running a marathon.

You’re crazy and awesome.

Whatever it is, share it. I’m sharing on Instagram (user name skwidlund) and Twitter (also skwidlund), and on Fridays I’ll share some of the photos and thoughts here. Use hashtag #100healthydays so we can find each other.

Don’t let this be stressful. Just let it be one intentional action or change each day. If you miss a day, it’s totally okay. This is one of those big picture things.

On Wednesdays, I’ll share one healthy idea or  focus or tool…in case you need a little prompting.  I know I will.

Baby steps, friends.

Fit Friday: Holy Yoga TV

Can I share with you one of my favorite new things:10296744_646607002096739_4216245645921873452_n

Holy Yoga TV

For a minimum donation of $10 a month, you can subscribe to Holy Yoga TV and have access to 4 streaming videos a month with some of the best Holy Yoga instructors around.

I’ve done three of this month’s practices, although I haven’t yet attempted the firefly pose breakdown because that’s a bit of a stretch for my practice right now. The three I’ve practiced – a gentle, a slow flow and a power – have all been excellent. The intentions (always Jesus focused), the flow, the instruction are all so glorifying to God. And at about 20 minutes, they’re are just long enough to get in even on a busy day and feel like you’ve actually accomplished something.

10366004_10203860564060351_641864671299157624_n

Most days, I’m perfectly happy to do my own thing – to design my own practice as I go, but it’s a blessing to be able to practice with Brooke, Amy, Stephanie and JoAnn for new ideas and those helpful reminders about form and breath. In fact, I’m still feeling that super deep karate chop lizard pose Amy leads in her power class. I should probably confess: as a certified instructor who isn’t quite instructing yet, I’m excited to be able to work those flows that I intend to work into my own classes when the time comes.

Looking for a way to begin or grow your yoga practice while entering into His presence?

Here it is.

And it’s tax deductible.

Holy Yoga Retreat

1979743_10203629647567583_8369264794196131156_n

I’ve been pondering how to write this post since I got on the bus to come home from Holy Yoga retreat.

Sitting on that bus, Luke 2:19 kept coming to mind about Mary treasuring things up and pondering them in her heart.

And I knew that was what I needed to do.

God revealed so many Truths to me that week. Not little t situational truths, but capital T Truths from God’s mouth to my heart.

1979851_10203615079883400_1782582004059257174_n

And a lot of them came from the mouth of Brooke Boon. God’s original design for me is an invaluable gift. It’s something I’ve read about, something I’ve studied and something I’ve never fully been able to grasp and live out.

10172650_10203611443152484_2009380443701663289_n

I was pushed and challenged in ways I didn’t expect. Leading up to retreat, I was nervous about whether or not my body would be able to handle all the movement, the altitude and the sleep disruptions. It was hard, but I was shocked at how well I felt the entire week. God truly met me where I needed Him most.

Exhausted? Yes.

Pushed to my brink? Absolutely.

Embraced by a Lord who loves me like crazy? Yep.

He also used my fear about my physical weaknesses to drop another Big T Truth:

I set a lot of limits on myself without realizing it.

It wasn’t easy to hear, but I needed it and it’s been something I’ve carried with me in the month since I came home. No longer am I so easy to say, “I can’t do that” or “My body won’t let me”. I’m pushing myself harder and finding that I can do so much more than I realized.

10312397_10203612574420765_7602865902956060263_n

The Lord called me to go deeper, to be more vulnerable. During one of our evening practices, one of the master instructors that was doing assists, whispered into my ear that I don’t have to strive so hard to be my own Rock, my own Strength.

It was a Big T Truth straight to the heart ugly cry sort of moment that I will look back on years from now as a turning point in my relationship with my Savior.

We say in Holy Yoga that it’s Jesus first, yoga second and that was evident in every aspect of the week. It was a huge leap of faith for me to begin this training in January. It was a bigger leap for me to journey to retreat, to take my hermit-self on a plane and a bus to sleep in a cabin for a week with people I’d never met while I physically, emotionally and spiritually exhausted itself.

I made friends that I have come to treasure.

I made sisters that I can call on to pray for me and to encourage me in times of need.

I discovered who God created me to be.

And I learned how to teach yoga.

It’s a Get To!

IMG_3108

To say it’s been a while would be to a bit of an understatement.

Okay, a huge understatement.

It’s been busy. So busy. I’ve been scattered. But God has been good.

So good.

IMG_3098

I’m now a fully certified Holy Yoga instructor. I still get the giggles when I say that. I have had some thoughts percolating since I got home from retreat a month ago that I’ll share soon. I’m not teaching yet, but soon. I’ve been resting in the many truths the Lord spoke into my heart during my nine weeks of immersion and week of retreat.

It has changed everything.

IMG_3085

I’m also on round 2 of the 21 Day Fix.

Guys, I seriously love this program. It’s like they built a program just for me. The portion control I can never seem to really get down on any other way of eating is easy with the Fix. The 30 minute workouts that challenge me but are varied enough to not bore me after a two weeks. Also important – it’s real food based and easy to adapt to gluten free. I think I may have finally found that sustainable plan I’ve spent so long searching for.

Actually, I love it so much I’m considering drinking the Kool Aid and becoming a Beachbody coach so I can help others discover this program.

I know! That’s just plain crazy.

Best of all?

This is finally all truly a get to.

I get to choose healthy foods. I get to strengthen my body and seek a more healthy way of life every day. I get to grow my relationship with the Lord as I move my body in worship.

It’s a get to.

And it’s an awesome place to be.

coming into the light

20140309-164142.jpg

Here’s the thing:

I picked up Abba’s Child by Brennan Manning for the umpteenth time the other day. It’s one of those books that has been in our library for as long as I can remember, that I’ve read the intro to a few times, but never one that I’ve gotten any further in.

The other night, as I finally made it into that first chapter, Coming Out of Hiding, I ended up in tears.

I’ve been hiding for so long.

I’ve shared quite a bit about my issues with food in the past, but I’m not sure how honest I’ve been.

I took on my first diet at age 10. By 12, I was exercising in my room. At 14, once I got into high school with an open campus at lunch, I ate mojos with cheese, a candy bar and a diet soda every day (because that was healthy?). At home, I snuck food all through high school and purged a lot of what I ate when I went on binges (which was fairly often).

By the time I got married at 21, I’d already lost and gained probably 100 pounds.

Now, at 38, that number is probably closer to 300 and at no point have I ever had more than 70 pounds to lose.

Married life and motherhood hasn’t change too much. I’m the queen of the yo yo dieters. I will be super strict for a short amount of time, see successful weight loss…but it’s at the detriment of my mental health. I become obsessed and that obsession can only last so long before I spiral downward into binge and stress eating, and of course begin to gain weight again.

My diet constantly swerves between a day of righteous, nutrient dense eating and a day of coconut sweet rolls and a bag of Dove dark chocolates. If I know I’m going to be home alone (a rare treat), I plan and hoard what I’m going to eat when no one is there to watch me. I’ve hidden food in my purse to get it into the house and I’ve hidden food from my family.

And I’m beginning to see my attempts at different diets – the severe strictness with which I see success and tend to find my self worth – as very disordered and very unhealthy. They’re my attempts to be in control and they’re my disordered responses to stress.

20140309-165126.jpg

I live with guilt and shame on a daily basis about my inability to pull it together. I know that to serve Him in the way that He’s calling me to, healing has to come and this disordered relationship has to be set straight.

And I know that part of that comes from bringing this dark, scary part of myself into the light – into the Light of Christ, but that I also need to come clean with those around me.

In my head, I know that my salvation and my self-worth have nothing to do with my weight or my eating habits. But my heart – that wicked, deceitful things – tells me a different story.

And I listen to that voice that isn’t the Lord’s.

That has to stop.

I’m rooting into God’s word, I’m studying His promises and I’m praying that He would show me the way He has set for me to healing and true wellness. I’m letting go of the tight reins that I so often cling to as holiness and seeking a path of sustainability.

Again.

I’m okay with failures, but I have to choose intentionally not to linger or wallow in them. I know that the Lord will catch me when I fall, will bind  up my wounds and that my faith in Him will always be met. And through my instructor training through Holy Yoga, I’ve truly learned that His grace is bigger than all my needs and will cover my emotional scrapes and bruises.

I don’t know where this goes from here, beyond deeper into my relationship with the Lord and His presence.

 

 

This Lenten season… rooting into God’s word. turning off some distractions. focusing on His callings on my life.