health

Confidence.

How many of us want to be a more confident person? I'll be honest and say that l've spent a lot of energy in my life trying to figure out how to be more confident. I was searching for an unwavering, unshakable confidence that no matter the turbulence life brought I had everything together (or at least looked like I did). It was exhausting. Since becoming a Christian and hanging out in Christian communities one thing I've noticed and admired is this sense of settledness - not to be confused with apathy - they have in their identities regardless of the circumstances. 
The key to being a more confident person is not by becoming more confident in our abilities but becoming more confident in our identities in Jesus Christ. Because at that point when we are completely settled in Him, our abilities don't seem to matter. Sometimes we're going to crush it and sometimes we're going to mess up badly but if you have a relationship with God you will always be a valued, adored and cherished son or daughter of the King! 
Rest in Him. He made you uniquely and wonderfully in His image. You don't have to try to be anything. The most beautiful thing you could be is you ❤ 

A Long Obedience in the Same Direction Leads to the Intimacy & Deep Joy we Crave

 

Well folks, it's going to get real here for a minute. There's no food pictures, recipes or exercise routines in this post. It's a little different from the usual WBL posts but absolutely still health and wellness related - enjoy!  

My husband and I just got married in June (whoo hoo!) and this past wedding season thousands of couples have also said their "I do's" and started this life long journey with their partner. Leading up to my wedding day I've learned how totally sacred, sweet and beautiful marriage is. It is two people CHOOSING each other for the rest of their lives. It's heartbreaking that our culture views marriage as easily disposable and that divorce is not only acceptable but a likely reality for many couples. The day I said  "I do" I freely chose to commit to Nathan (AKA The Baron of Ballard - he requested that I say that...) through any circumstance.

In our life together we will experience the deepest joy, intimacy, and love possible and we will also experience hurt, sadness, loneliness, misunderstanding, anger, frustration and emptiness in our marriage at times. I think and am learning, reading and discovering after previous relationships that marriage calls us to suffer well. We are not supposed to crumble in adversity despite the world telling us adversity and unhappiness means our marriages are failing. We are broken humans living in an imperfect world and in desperate need of salvation outside of ourselves. My heart and all of our hearts are prone to wander. As New York columnist David Brooks points out in his book The Road to Character, "people tend to shoot for happiness but feel the most formed through suffering." I can relate. 

The good news is that marriage is not supposed to make us happy - so I can let go of that expectation! I realize that of course happiness is a byproduct of marrying someone you love but marriage is supposed to make us holy. Marriage sharpens us. Brings oneness. The purpose of marriage is not to experience the "happily ever after" - regardless of what we see on social media, on TV and in movies. Every couple has a side that's not shown publicly and comparison will truly rob us of joy in our marriages. 

Investing in your partner by having the courage to confess your heart felt struggles (that one has taken me a few relationships and lots of practice to learn), asking for forgiveness, choosing to forgive, seeing the best in your partner (rather than assuming the worst), sacrificing yourself and your needs for your partner, being kind and lovingly pursuing their heart will point them to truth and ultimately result in an intimacy that will strengthen your bond and grow you deeper into relationship with God and one another. I learned later on in my 20's that my partner will never, ever fulfill me... The most unloving thing I could do is walk into my marriage with Nathan and put that expectation on him. When I've changed something in myself I've seen my relationship start to change. 

One of the best pieces of marriage advice I got from a couple was about sin in marriage. When your partner wrongs you look past the hurt it caused YOU and pursue their heart. What led them to this place? How can I point them back to truth? My prayer for married couples is that God would give us the strength, maturity and love towards our spouses to earnestly walk alongside them by bringing light to a potentially dark situation - even when it's the hardest thing to do. 

One thing that's been really fruitful in our marriage is Sunday night weekly recaps where we have a series of questions we ask about each others past week. We've adapted this from #beating50percent: 

1.) what's something that brought you joy this week? 
2.) what's something that was hard? 
3.) how can I be praying for you this upcoming week?
4.) what's one specific thing I can do for you this week? 
5.) is there anything that's gone unsaid, convictions, confessions or unresolved hurt that we need to address? 
6.) what's a dream, thought or vision that's been on the forefront of your mind this week? 

5 Best Day Hikes with Kids

Franklin Falls  Round Trip - 2.0 miles Elevation Gain – 400 ft Difficulty- very easy  Directions: From Seattle, head east on I-90 to exit 47 Denny Creek/Tinkham Road. At the top of the exit ramp turn left and cross over the freeway. Go .2 miles and turn right at the stop sign onto Forest Road 58. The road crosses under the freeway and after .2 miles turn left. Continue ahead for 2.4 miles and take a left just after Denny Creek Campground and arrive at the Franklin Falls trailhead.

Franklin Falls 
Round Trip - 2.0 miles
Elevation Gain – 400 ft
Difficulty- very easy

Directions: From Seattle, head east on I-90 to exit 47 Denny Creek/Tinkham Road. At the top of the exit ramp turn left and cross over the freeway. Go .2 miles and turn right at the stop sign onto Forest Road 58. The road crosses under the freeway and after .2 miles turn left. Continue ahead for 2.4 miles and take a left just after Denny Creek Campground and arrive at the Franklin Falls trailhead.

Twin Falls  Round Trip - 2.0 miles Elevation Gain – 500 ft Difficulty: Easy  Directions: From Seattle, head east on I-90 to exit 38 West. From the exit ramp, turn right onto SE Homestead Valley Road. Cross over the South Fork of the Snoqualmie River and take the first right. At the first and second forks, bear left. The road runs out at a junction with the Iron Horse Trail, which you will hike along for about a third of a mile before it connects to the Upper Twin Falls trail.

Twin Falls 
Round Trip - 2.0 miles
Elevation Gain – 500 ft
Difficulty: Easy

Directions: From Seattle, head east on I-90 to exit 38 West. From the exit ramp, turn right onto SE Homestead Valley Road. Cross over the South Fork of the Snoqualmie River and take the first right. At the first and second forks, bear left. The road runs out at a junction with the Iron Horse Trail, which you will hike along for about a third of a mile before it connects to the Upper Twin Falls trail.

Rattlesnake Ridge Round Trip – 4.0 miles Elevation Gain – 1160 ft Difficulty – Easy to moderate depending on skill level  Directions: From Seattle, drive east on I-90 to exit 32 for 436th Avenue SE. Turn right onto 436th Avenue SE, also signed as Cedar Falls Road SE. Proceed about four miles down the road to the Rattlesnake Lake parking lot on the right.

Rattlesnake Ridge
Round Trip – 4.0 miles
Elevation Gain – 1160 ft
Difficulty – Easy to moderate depending on skill level

Directions: From Seattle, drive east on I-90 to exit 32 for 436th Avenue SE. Turn right onto 436th Avenue SE, also signed as Cedar Falls Road SE. Proceed about four miles down the road to the Rattlesnake Lake parking lot on the right.

Little Si Round Trip – 4.7 miles Elevation Gain – 1,300 ft Difficulty – Easy to moderate depending on skill level  Directions: Traveling on I-90 East, approaching North Bend, take exit for 436th Ave SE and turn left. Head 0.5 miles on 436 Ave SE and take a left on SE North Bend Way. Proceed 0.3 miles and turn right on SE Mount Si Road. The main parking lot for Little Si will be 0.4 miles on your left as the road straightens out after the bend (if you pass 439 Pl SE or 440 PL SE, you have driven too far).  There is an overflow parking lot west of the main lot tucked into SE Mt Si Rd and 434 Ave SE. There is a trail connecting the two. Be warned that both lots may be full on weekends. There are two toilets in the main parking just off the trailhead. Discover Pass is required.   

Little Si
Round Trip – 4.7 miles
Elevation Gain – 1,300 ft
Difficulty – Easy to moderate depending on skill level

Directions: Traveling on I-90 East, approaching North Bend, take exit for 436th Ave SE and turn left. Head 0.5 miles on 436 Ave SE and take a left on SE North Bend Way. Proceed 0.3 miles and turn right on SE Mount Si Road. The main parking lot for Little Si will be 0.4 miles on your left as the road straightens out after the bend (if you pass 439 Pl SE or 440 PL SE, you have driven too far). 
There is an overflow parking lot west of the main lot tucked into SE Mt Si Rd and 434 Ave SE. There is a trail connecting the two. Be warned that both lots may be full on weekends. There are two toilets in the main parking just off the trailhead. Discover Pass is required.

 

Talapus & Olallie Lakes Round Trip – 6.2 miles Elevation Gain – 1,220 feet Difficulty – Moderate  Directions: From Seattle, head east on I-90 to exit 45. Turn left, and drive under the freeway on FR 9030. In 1 mile follow the road around to the right at a junction. Continue straight on a gravel, sometimes severely potholed road to the trailhead at the road's end. Northwest Forest Pass and Alpine Lakes Wilderness Permit required, both available at the trailhead.

Talapus & Olallie Lakes
Round Trip – 6.2 miles
Elevation Gain – 1,220 feet
Difficulty – Moderate

Directions: From Seattle, head east on I-90 to exit 45. Turn left, and drive under the freeway on FR 9030. In 1 mile follow the road around to the right at a junction. Continue straight on a gravel, sometimes severely potholed road to the trailhead at the road's end. Northwest Forest Pass and Alpine Lakes Wilderness Permit required, both available at the trailhead.