Lent is my favorite season of the church year, but I didn’t start observing Lent until I went to college. At that point in my life, Lent was very much an idol. It was like… More
Call me a weirdo, but I absolutely LOVE the season of Lent. You know how most people feel about Advent and Christmas? Yeah, that’s how much I love Lent and Easter. Easter is handsdown my favorite holiday. While I enjoy the warmth, anticipation, and celebration of our Hope coming into the world in human flesh for the first time, there is something about Christ’s timeless sacrifice that fills me with even more warmth, anticipation, and celebration. We know how the story ‘ends’: Christ dies for us, ALL of us, in our brokenness and Christ rises again. And so I love the Lenten season, as a time of inner reflection and denial to self with the foreknowledge of what is to come on that glorious Easter day.
I think one of the reasons I love Lent so much is because of the transition into Spring. I am not a Winter girl by any means. Bring on the sticky, humid Virginia summer any day! And so I look forward to the changing of the seasons from Winter into Spring. And I enjoy how that transition can so beautifully parallel our own Lenten journey. As we transition into a new season outwardly, we start to shed the layers: the warm winter coats, the bulky sweaters, the snow boots, and various warm accessories. And we come into the new season with less weight to carry as we don lighter clothes and trade in our mittens for unbound and open hands. And as we shed these physical layers and begin to free our bodies just a little bit more, the Lenten season invites us to shed our inner layers.
You see, just like onions and ogres, humans have a lot of layers, too. And those layers can be a good thing; they become a part of us, our character, who we identify as. But they can also create a distance or a block between us and our Savior. So much as we are about to start shedding our outer layers in favor of the lightness and warmth that come with Spring, let’s start coming face-to-face with those raw, inner layers and get rid of whatever is keeping us from fully living into Christ’s sacrifice for us.
One of the best ways we can live into that sacrifice is by being in relationship with God, in all three persons. Most mornings throughout the year I try to spend a dedicated amount of time doing devotions. But often I can get burnt out and start to make it part of yet another routine. During Lent, I usually find a renewed sense of purpose and connection during my devotional time. I rededicate my time, giving it up to His control rather than mine. My favorite Lenten devotional is from She Reads Truth. I have the 2016 version and I have used it for the past 2 years and will continue to use it for at least a few more. There is plenty of space to write notes for each day, and I have loved seeing how my thoughts have changed and grown over the years. This year’s Lenten devo is absolutely stunning, and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in starting a daily devotional. There are 5 days worth of readings each week, and then a break on the weekends to catch up or meditate on a suggested verse. And don’t worry men, there is also a He Reads Truth version of the Lenten devotional.
My question for you this Shrove/Fat Tuesday is: what are you willing to shed? Or maybe, what do you not want to shed that you know you should?
Our lives are in a heavy state of transition. We are just a couple of weeks into the new year, but a couple of weeks can bring a lot of changes. My husband entered this year in a temporary state of unemployment, and while we’re handling it well so far, it has brought little changes to some of our usual habits and my financial mindset. It has also brought a bright new hope into our lives as we strive to start a new church in a spiritually poor area. But the heaviest transition we have had to face thus far in 2018 was the loss of an immediate family member. This death was not anticipated or expected in any regards.
On January 5th, Dennis and I headed up to New York to be with his family. We were there for a full week. A full week of being constantly surrounded by extended family members who I still barely know, constant preparation and cleanup, and not doing anything that I normally do. And let me tell you, it was so healing.
This morning as I sat down to do my devotional, I reflected that I had only done devotionals (and very short ones at that) twice while we were away. I also realized that I only did yoga a few times, and always much shorter than my usual practices. I didn’t even set an alarm most days, and actually managed to sleep in for the first time in months. The more and more I thought about it, the only thing that carried over from my regular morning routine was sitting down with my morning cup of coffee. And now that we’ve returned home, with the old To-Do List still sitting in my planner, with meals to plan and prep, lunches to pack, and shopping to do, I find myself letting go of all the “have to’s” I’ve been holding on to. I finally feel like I’ve let go of the control and rigidity that I have allowed to have a hold on me for the past year. And it’s all because of perspective that has come from this period of transition.
Times of transition can bring out the worst in us. They can cause anxiety and uncertainty that lead to various avenues of control masquerading as stability. But times of transition can also serve as great reset points. And in this transition, for the first time in a long time, I’m choosing to let go of control and welcome the unexpected. I am a creature of habit and routine, but I am excited to see what letting go of my self-expectations and “have-to’s” will do.
Ah yes, it’s that time of year. Time for renewal and rejuvenation. Time to embrace where we’ve been, where we are, and try to be okay with where we’re going. I’m terrible at New Year’s resolutions. I have never had the experience of meeting anyone who has fulfilled more than 30% of their resolutions. New Year’s resolutions set us up for failure in the coming year, and they also encourage feelings of inadequacy for our previous selves. But I have seen many bloggers come up with words of intention for the year. I like the idea of setting an intention to live into a word (inspired by The Word) throughout the year. The ones that have been sticking out to me over the past few weeks are ‘hope’ and ‘joy’. There are a number of things that I am hopeful for, that I have been hopeful for for most of 2017. And yet with each passing day I’ve had to become content with the fact that it might not be time for those hopes to be filled. And that’s where joy comes in. Finding joy in the hard times, in the missing pieces. As we enter and progress through 2018, I know that I will continue to hope and I want to continue being joyous even if those hopes don’t come to fruition or meet my expectations in the new year.
For those who know us, it is no big surprise that Dennis and I will be starting 2018 with some major changes. We are going to be dealing with a lot of unknowns, a major change in our finances, and most likely a lot of feelings of failure and rejection. But I also know that 2018 will be the year that I start regularly teaching Holy Yoga classes. It is also a year for me & Dennis to step out in faith like never before, together and individually. So yes, I am entering 2018 with a lot of hope and a lot of joy. And I want to remind myself of those 2 words as often as I can throughout the year, in the good and the ‘it could be better’ times. That is my intention. That is my New Year’s resolution.
I am so excited to jump start my year and these intentions with the Holy Yoga Experience! It will truly be a culmination of my 2017, and a spiritual renewal for the upcoming year. The Holy Yoga Experience is happening nationwide on January 6th. Whether you’re looking for a physical or a spiritual renewal, you’ll find it at the HY Experience. Bring your mat, bring your Bible, bring your fears and expectations. Let Him meet you where you’re at.
2016 was a whirlwind of a year. For me, it was mostly the year of Dennis & Sarah. The year we started dating, got engaged, and planned a wedding in a matter of months. The year that (almost) all of my dearest girlfriends came together from around the world to be awesome, sassy bridesmaids (#itsquirkyitsfun) and also became new best friends with each other.
It was also a year of incredible peace. Among the busyness and craziness of planning a wedding, job hunting, house hunting, and church activities, life certainly had its stressful moments. But for the first time in my life I felt at peace, a peace I hadn’t realized I was missing. And yes, cheesy as it is, that peace was (and is) mostly thanks to the hubby and God.
Married life thus far has included numerous runs together and a couple of hikes. We headed up to New York to be with family for Thanksgiving and I got to go on my first hike with my sibling-in-laws! And New Years Day was celebrated with a short hike with good friends.
As we enter the new year, I’m not making any resolutions. I just want to embrace everyday, practicing self-love and selflessness, growing closer to my husband and stronger in my faith. That being said, I do have some plans for this year:
- Run at least 1 half-marathon. I’ve got my eyes on the Park-to-Park half in April. However, we’re also trying to get pregnant over here so I’m cautious to sign up for anything just yet. Any advice from pregnant runners?
- Get my running fitness back to where my weekly mileage is about 25+.
- Start journaling again, sometimes prayer journaling, sometimes just reflections.
- Tackle my GI issues once and for all by keeping stress at bay and eating what feels good, not just what tastes good. But also listening to my body and what it needs.
- Become a certified yoga instructor. I’ve been thinking about this for about a year now, and there are a couple of Christian yoga programs I am particularly interested in. I think it would be such a cool outreach/ministry opportunity as well as a way for me to really connect the physical and the spiritual in my life.
- Create our first home together, with a good yoga space and large kitchen. This one should happen sooner rather than later as we are just a couple weeks away from closing on a house.
So….somehow I’ve only published one post and that was weeks ago. If you read that, you might remember me saying it’s been hard for me to keep at blogging in the past? Obviously still true BUT at least I have a reason this time!
Over the past 2 months I’ve been dealing with some serious abdominal pain. My fiance and I went up to NY to visit my future in-laws (I love them!), and I spent half of the trip exhausted and unable to eat much of anything. I did at least manage to scarf down half a slice of NY pizza and 2 NY bagels. After that trip, my fiance and mom made me promise to go to the ER, and when I finally did we found out I had an ovarian cyst and a UTI. Not at all an IBS issue like I thought it was. Apparently these things can happen frequently and without pain…or they can be the most gut-wrenching, I-want-to-die experiences of your life. I’d say I’m somewhere in between.
With all of the body issues going on, as well as 2 bridal showers and just general busyness, I haven’t been running nearly as much. But this week has definitely been better now that my body is feeling better and my appetite is coming back. I have to constantly remind myself to LISTEN TO MY BODY. It’s hard.
The man and I hit up the track early this morning for 3 miles. 6am and there wasn’t even a hint of the sunrise yet. I love these early morning runs and getting to watch the world wake up 🙂
We had 1/2 lb. feta lamb burgers and grilled plantains for dinner last night, and I’m still super stuffed from that so breakfast was light and easy with a banana and my fave Dark Chocolate Dreams from the Peanut Butter Co. This is the best stuff! I always end up going back for ‘just one more’ spoonful.
I’ve been a long time user of Bloglovin’ as a way to follow health and fitness bloggers. Since I’m hoping to actually blog a bit more regularly now, I figured I might as well link my blog to my Bloglovin’ account so you guys can see who I follow and which recipes I’m dying to try!
<a href=”http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/18206311/?claim=hbu2znfdhww”>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>
Soooooo I’ve tried this whole blogging thing a number of times, and have just never had the nerve to hit the publish button. There are so many incredible blogs already out there! So many inspiring women who write about running, food, and faith. But I figure, if nothing else, at least this can be a place for me and mine to share and remember for future years.
Right now, my life is kind of all over the place. I love to run. I started running about 4 years ago and have never looked back. But I’ve been dealing with various injuries since last September and had been on a running hiatus. Thankfully, I have been back into running for about 2 months now and I have an incredible, selfless fiancee who joins me for a couple runs each week. Having him there helps me push myself mentally and physically, which is just what I need if I want to get back into the running shape I was in a year ago.
Aside from running, yoga, and (not enough) strength training, I work part-time at my favorite theatre while continuing to search for a full-time museum job. I have a Masters in Museum Studies and I want to use my dang degree!
Oh and that fiancee I mentioned earlier? Yeah, we’re getting married in 2 months!!! It’s a very exciting time, but also stressful. We’re super cheesy and crazy in love. We’ve been together for 5 months, but we both knew within just a few short weeks that we were going to get married. However, we’ve only officially been engaged for a month, so we don’t have a ton of time to plan.
That’s pretty much my life right now. I love to cook (meal prep for the win!) and read when I have extra time, which is rarely these days. I’m working on running more frequently and slightly shorter distances to build up my strength and endurance. Hoping that tomorrow will be a 4 miler morning, as long as I can get up and out before the sun rises. Don’t want to melt away in the humidity.