Take a Moment to Breathe

Between my sister and I, we’ve spent a total combined 15 years on the swim team. A lot of people find competitive swimming to be difficult because they see it like running underwater. Go as far as you would on your two feet on dry land but try to not breathe. When really swimming is all about the breathing. Making sure you let the air out when your head is in the water and that you quickly and efficiently raise your head for a millisecond to get air. You can get as strong as you want — but if you don’t learn how to breathe well in the water you’ll never get very far. Learn how to breathe — and learn the most important time to take those breaths. 

Pay attention to your own body right now. Are you holding your breath? Is your posture slumped forward so your abdomen can’t fill with oxygen? Are your shoulders slumped and tense? How’s your breathing these days?

5-5-8. Five second breath in, hold your breath for five seconds, and then let your breath out for eight seconds. Apparently this breathing pattern will help alleviate anxiety and stress in the moment by reminding your body to just focus on the breath. I heard about it from Megan Dahlman who is a personal trainer and has an amazing fitness and health website called Strong Mommas.

I had to put 5-5-8 breathing into practice this last weekend driving by myself over the Astoria-Megler bridge on my way to a girl’s camping trip. It’s a four mile long bridge with roller coaster heights and there was a pink sunset happening as I drove across it. The Columbia river was glowing with peach and orange hues and my heart was racing with panic and excitement. Whenever a big change is on the horizon in my life I have dreams that I take a bridge or a ferry to a new place because I take the wrong exit and get stuck on a course that I did I not choose. The bridge connects between Oregon and Washington going over the Columbia River. For me, it’s the poetic capstone for the transition I went through this summer moving from Bellingham, WA to Eugene, OR and not having a clue what waits on the other side of the bridge. So yeah, breathing exercises are necessary for me when it comes to heights, change, and the unknown.

But controlling my breath only takes me so far– it helps in the moment to ward off panic. But only when I take the time to fully take in the adventure I’m in and see the way God is present do I really find peace.

How about your brain? Is it racing with all of the tasks you should do? Is it a train that’s taken the road less travelled, and things ahead look quite scary and unknown? Oh wait, that’s me.

Can you relate?

Welcome to Limbo, There are no Free Snacks

If you can relate, hello! Welcome to limbo. There are no free snacks and the lines wrap around the building. We’re waiting to see where Jesse’s internship portion of the grad school program will be. He has interviews Tuesday, September 11th and the companies are in Vancouver, WA, Bend OR, Los Alamos NM, and Springfield, OR. After the interviews we will find out which internship Jess has been offered, and which one we will accept. So a big week coming up!

If you’ve been around me you’ve heard my jokes about being a trophy wife this summer while Jess is in school and we have no income. Jokes aside, supporting your spouse through Grad school is NO JOKE (I see you other spouses out there, and I raise a glass of your favorite beverage to you!) The only two things keeping me somewhat sane during this season has been:

1. Date Night 2. New and Old Friends.

We made date night the ultimate written in stone absolutely must happen every week even if it needs to rescheduled to a different day  in this season.Because relationships, just like life, need spaces where you come up for air and reaffirm: this crazy stress is not reality. We are not slaves to our jobs, school, or our familial roles.

We are made to connect with other people — we need those friends we can sit with and just breathe. Someone else’s stories and problems and victories to remind us that we’re not just caught in an endless loops, back-and-forth in the pool. Hard work and persistence offer little reward in the day-to-day. We’re aiming towards a goal, a prize that won’t fade or diminish.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way as to take the prize. Everyone who competes in the games trains with strict discipline. They do it for a crown that is perishable, but we do it for a crown that is imperishable.…

1 Corinthians 9:24-25

Spiritual Discipline of Rest

God created the world in six days, and rested on the seventh. He hovered above the waters. Endless water and darkness. And he was there, right at the beginning.

I thought not working this summer would make finding rest really easy. Not working actually made it more difficult for me. I find myself running from chore to errand to chore and then sitting panicked at the laptop telling myself: “Write, just write!” If I spend time watching Netflix or reading I feel guilty, feel like I am stealing something from people who work all day. Sitting still makes me feel anxious. My IT band injury is and was making exercising difficult. Rest has to become a spiritual discipline. A muscle I exercise just as much as I would’ve used my arms or legs back in my days on the swim team. 

I’ve clung to this truth: God already knows what’s going to happen. He’s already at the part where Jess starts his internship. He has gone ahead before us and prepared the way. God is the bridge between the moments of our lives, holding us above the river and painting the sky. Even if the waters ahead are difficult or smooth sailing — God is there waiting either way.

God is already at the ending at the beginning. God is outside of time. We strongly desire a linear, limited, God who we can completely understand. How often do our prayers ask for something hard to end? When to Jesus it’s already finished. He’s already taken his final breath on the cross and said “It’s finished.” We are in the portion of the story called “Here but not yet,” like Tim Knipp preached at Hillcrest, Jesus has brought the kingdom of God to us — but its not completely here yet. 

So rest in the Creator God who made the world in six days. Run with the God who conquered death and fights against the darkest parts of our world.  A God who breathed our air, calmed our seas, and whose sandals filled with dust. Breathe in the promises and mission of Jesus.

While it is daytime, we must do the works of Him who sent Me. Night is coming, when no one can work.

John 11:9

Last Thursday Jess and I waltzed underneath trees lit with twinkle lights outside an ice cream shop while a french polka band played. It was the first time Jess has tried dairy-free ice cream that he wasn’t allergic to, And didn’t cause a stomachache for either of us! Should’ve put mutual lactose intolerance and latex allergy into our wedding vows. It was also Jesse’s last official day of summer classes before the internship interview event next week. It was the first time we’ve come up for air since June. Out of the haze of smoky skies and looming deadlines and unknown destinations.

6 thoughts on “Take a Moment to Breathe

  1. susanhomeschooling says:

    I need to learn how to breathe… Life is so hectic that we end up having aching bodies because we just don’t take time to relax. That’s great that you have a date night with your husband–it’s such a needed time!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. teachmejoy1 says:

    I was just talking yesterday to another homeschool mom whose daughter learned that when you slump over and are curled up, you are more prone to worry and distraction. When you sit up straight and make power muscles, even for a few minutes, it changes your mindset to be more positive! This is so fascinating how God made us!


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