Purify – Holy Yoga Retreat

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      ARE YOU SERIOUS?

Yoga + Chef cooking for me + worshipping with other Sisters in Christ

I’m there!

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On my way up to the yoga retreat at Idyllwild, I thought a lot about Purify.  My heart says, it’s full, no more purifying for me. But I had no idea how God was going to bless me through this 3 day retreat. We did yoga facing looking out from floor to ceiling glass windows, which gave a panoramic view of the snow capped mountains. We were “completely” spoiled by the delicious food made by Michelle, owner of Flavorful! our ears were blessed to hear music by singer and song writter, Lyndi Hoenegger. The most rewarding above and beyond the yoga + food was meeting sisters in Christ who has a heart to draw us closer to God.

During our time at the retreat, there were a few sharing sessions where the Holy Yoga Instructors shared, gave testimonies and challenged us to think about our defenses and how that blocks our ability to receive. Furthermore, we were encouraged toward allowing God to purify our motives, minds when it comes to self image. There was so much that I received out of the weekend, but here are the highlights.

SELF IMAGE

For me, my weak spot, my hair. My family has a history of thin hair, so growing up, I braced myself for the day that I’ll be bald. I can’t imagine feeling beautiful when I’m bald. Yet, God spoke into my heart that if I can’t love who He’s made me to be, then I am dishonoring him. In Genesis, He says, “we are made in his image”, and if we are made in the image of God, whatever shape, size or bald, we are “LOVED” and “BEAUTIFUL” because we are HIS. It was so reassuring to hear those words in the midst of a huge FEAR for the loss of hair.

In a separate session, Lyndi shared with us about Eve. Eve was God’s creation of women and how beautiful she must have been. While in paradise being so close to the Creator, she still doubted God’s goodness. Tempted by the serpent, she went against God’s command to not eat of the fruit from the tree of knowlege. Made in the image of God, aren’t we all like Eves? How easily we doubt the goodness of God and we try to chase the image of what the world tells us is beautiful.

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What would life be like, if we chose daily to believe that we are beautifully and wonderfully made? That we possess in us, a part of Eve. In the passage Psalm 139: 14 it says, “I praise  you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that well.” What if God sees me beautiful, even if I was bald. During this weekend, I felt that God took away my fears about my hair and replaced it with LOVE and AFFIRMATION that He sees me as His beautiful daugher. I want to live daily in that truth!

HOLY YOGA

I always loved yoga because it gave me time to reflect and just be. Doing Holy Yoga with christian music is amazing because the whole pracetice if focused on worship through mind, body and spirit. Check out some photos from our yoga sessions.

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FOOD

My new found LOVE is Kale. The week after I came home from retreat, all I ate for the week was organic fresh baby kale with roasted beets. I went straight for the local farmers market and picked up the simple ingredients. So here it is everyone!

Kale – wash, i take away the stems/ Beets (red or golden) – sauteed/ Dressing – a squeeze of lemon, olive oil, honey, pepper & salt.

Meet the Chef Michelle of Flavorful! Michelle was the mastermind behind this delicious Kale Beets Salad Receipe.

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PHOTOGRAPHY

Photography is my passion. When you put together worship and photography, I’m in heaven. It was so great being able to photograph some women in Catalyst sessions – photography sessions that captures someone in the moment and celebrating who they are. AND i was able to take pictures of everyone doing yoga and having a great time. Here are some highlights from a Catalyst and group photos.

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Lastly, the talented team that created the Holy Yoga Retreats.

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For more information about Holy Yoga or attending a Selah Retreat Event, go to www.holyyogala.com or www.holyyogaoc.com for more information. If you live in Los Angeles area, contact Holy Yoga Instructor, Joan Jahng and if you live in the Orange County area, Tasha Anderson or Brooke Thompson can answer your questions.


Soaked & Scrubbed

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All of us girls here LOVE the healing and therapeutic properties of essential oils. But since we’re all about keepin’ it real …
we’re really just obsessed with stuff that smells good. REALLY GOOD.

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For our last Holy Yoga Selah retreat, we made some yummy sugar scrubs and bath salts for our guests to take home and enjoy.  They are so easy to make, yet so indulgent to use. Have fun experimenting with different sugars, base oils, & essential oils.  And quality does count since the skin is the body’s largest organ. Use organic sugars & base oils, and high quality essential oils.

We LOVE doTerra oils which are organic & therapeutic grade.

Basic Sugar Scrub Recipe
two parts sugar
turbinado sugar is nice-but white sugar is just fine.
one part oil
almond, olive, & grapeseed are good choices
essential oils

for our Purify Sugar Scrub Recipe
doTerra essential oils of Lemon & Peppermint

* next week we will share our salt bath soak recipe.

Written by Guest Blogger: Tasha Anderson www.breathinginhim.com


When Things Don’t Go My Way- Part II

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_MG_2176I’m TURNING 34 this Sunday! Starting to feel like I better do all the athletic things that I want to do in the 30s, and bracing myself for the years where everything aches and i no longer care to take fitness risks. So, for my 34th birthday, I planned a BIG BEAR snowboarding trip. Went straight to Big Bear Mountains deal and found myself a $269 dollar package that includes 2 nights in a cabin (2 miles) from the Snow Summit/Bear Mountain, plus 2 weekday lift ticket.

I’m a planner, I like to map things out and plan it ahead of time. However, as much as I can plan my events, I cannot stop my family from getting sick! Much like Valentines day, my husband is sick and cannot come on the trip with us. It’s Thursday and Eman has a small cough. This morning, I  called into Big Bear to see if I can reschedule. Luckily they are flexible.

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When things don’t go my way… Happy Valentines Day

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1_MG_4048_croppedSTEP 1: Plan a unique Valentines Day for my husband

STEP 2: Be really excited when he’s surprised

STEP 3: The Best Valentine’s Day EVER 2013

So step 1-3 was my plan, but as we all know, plans don’t always pan out. Hair done. Check. Nails done. Check. Cute dress. Got it, check. My husband would be so surprised to see my dressed up in my best all beautied up! I picked out a restaurant, Nik & Stef’s in Downtown LA, an inexpensive Happy Hour to start off our date. Then we would be off to see Backbeat, story about how the Beatles got together as a band. Our Valentines date would be  perfect… To top it off, I would surprise him with a night at a beautiful hotel in Downtown LA with a view. Everything was working out perfectly in my mind, my anticipation ran high.

4 days before Valentines day, I’m sick. My son gets sick. My husband gets sick.

Back to the drawing board… don’t book the hotel, probably no dinner and we’d be lucky if we could watch the show. Then came the day of celebration, my husband had to miss the show.

When things don’t go my way, I’m not in good spirits and the glass half full girl, starts getting a little negative! But thankfully, my amazing husband was still being cheerful, playful and trying to comfort me by telling me to make another date of it. It also helped to turn my focus on God and be honest with my feelings (though they were not good feelings). I prayed and let it go.

So, on actual V-day, we went to our favorite local restaurant Scardinos for dinner, which our table for 2 turned into 3 because babysitting fell through, so we had our son with us. It was not the Valentines day I expected, but I’m grateful for my husband, my best friend and the rock of my life. His kindness is one of the reasons I love him. That night at dinner, he showed a little act of kindness to someone else, and it made our Valentines Day memorable.

My Valentine’s Day card from my husband, he wrote,

“To a beautiful and amazing wife, I love you.”

And in returned at dinner, I let him know “I’m so glad that I’m married to you.”

Thank you God for blessing me with the gift of my husband…. humbling me to remember that my plans are not always the best plans.


Holy Yoga – Orange County, CA

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Strength. Beauty. Wisdom.

These are words I think of when I think of Tasha. I was blessed to have a chance to take pictures of Tasha in a Catalyst session and was invited to participate in a Holy Yoga Session at Saddleback Church, Lake Forrest.

CATALYST SESSION- As I was photographing Tasha, it was like watching someone do a dance. The yoga poses come so naturally to her, with such strength, control and calmness. I had to stop and ask Tasha, “How long have you been doing this?” It’s so wonderful that God has given her such an amazing ability to lead yoga students into their practice of yoga and into a place of worshipping God, all at the same time.  Here are some photos from the session that will make you want to learn from her!

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YOGA SESSIONS WITH TASHA-

I’ve done yoga before and to me, it was always strange to do yoga with music where I don’t understand the lyrics. But in Holy Yoga, I can enjoy Christian music that focuses on Jesus. Tasha leads us through each yoga pose and surrounding the time of practice and meditation on the Word of God. Each breathe, each move and every moment during the practice was worship. The practice ends with a light shoulder massage from the instructor, ending with a great sense of relaxation. It was such a treat to be in Tasha’s class and experience God through fitness, prayer and  meditation. If you live in the OC and have never done Holy Yoga before, you must stop by one of Tasha’s classes. Below is her schedule of classes. I felt blessed being there!

SOUTH IRVINE &LAKE FOREST
Instructor: Tasha Anderson-tashaa@holyyoga.net
Monday- Holy Yoga Flow Level 1/2
              9:00am-10:00am
              Saddleback Church-Lake Forest
              The Refinery Gym-Class is Free

Tuesday-Holy Yoga Flow Level 1-2
9:30am-10:45am

               Location-The Garage-Irvine           

Wednesday-Holy Yoga Flow Level 1-2
             6:30pm-7:45pm
              Location-The Garage-Irvine
                   
*The Garage Irvine is located in South Irvine, near University High School and UCI.

for directions or to reserve your spot (949) 228-4851 or tashaa@holyyoga.net

1 class per week-*$50 for 6 week session.
2 classes per week-*$75.00 for 6 week session
Drop in Fee-$10 per class ***fees are suggested donations

For  more information about Holy Yoga in the OC, please visit her website www.holyyogaoc.com.

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Biblical model for marriage

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Marriage.

Do you think fairy tale wedding day, honeymoon, romance when you think of marriage? Or do you think living life together with another person who has as many flaws, distrust, brokenness as you?

Broken person + Diamond Ring+ Broken person = Happiness?

God’s formula -

Broken person + Christ redeeming sin + Broken person = Joy in marriage

So this morning, SEEK! I’m so fortunate that after attending a MOM’s CAFE (a version of the Moms of Preschooler’s program- MOPS) at Journey South Bay Church, located in Redondo Beach, CA, I met a wonderful woman Susan who is now mentoring me. She had no idea what she signed up for when she agreed, but I’m sure she is finding out now that I’m a MESS! I needed more sanity in many areas of my life ranging from setting priorities, marriage, parenting, personal growth and focusing on Jesus. But our first meeting was about marriage. She gave a great handout with many many words on it. It was overwelming, but when you disect that it’s saying, there is so many treasures in it.

Well, to start, God has a lot to say about marriage and little did I know, there are tons of passages on it. I took some time and cut and pasted a bunch. I hope this will be helpful for many women who have the same questions as I do about marriage. I will be digging to the Word, what will I find???

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Catalyst – an artistic photography experience

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God is amazing, as I’m seeking His will first and following my passion for photography, it has lead me to a place where LIFE, PASSION and MINISTRY come together in a perfect fit. What is Catalyst? A Catalyst for me is a SPARK! Something that sparks and brings to life a new thing!

In the last 2 weeks as I’m struggling to see photography as a career, God brought into my life a new idea (through the advice of an amazing Holy Yoga instructor, Joan Jahng) that I should take pictures of women doing Holy Yoga. Holy Yoga is an amazing practice and ministry centered around Christ. Through listening to Christian music, meditating on scripture and doing yoga poses with the focus on the Lord, you can both get the exercise your body needs, but also feed the soul that hungers to be filled with God’s truth and healing.

So it started, a SPARK! Catalyst a photo session for women who wants to have pictures taken of them doing yoga and also at the same time express themselves in their own unique way. This photo session celebrates God’s creation through beautiful yoga form and poses, but that’s not all, you also get to express yourself in the way God has crafted and made you.

As I’ve been shooting Catalyst sessions, I felt that the Holy Spirit reminding me that it’s a struggle for women to see themselves as beautiful and wonderfully made by the Lord when in front of the camera. It’s so easy to let the devil take away our sense of self worth when you are put in front of the camera. In response to God’s leading, I felt that before each session, it’s important to pray and ask God for help. God’s word and prayer will give each women encouragement and the strength to face the camera with FREEDOM, BEAUTY and and to BELEIVE that God sees us beautiful in his sight.

I’m so grateful! Ministry and passion, coming together for HIS PURPOSE and GLORY. It’s a privilege to be able to serve, encourage and bless my photography clients with the gift of prayer and God’s word. God’s beauty that surpasses words, Brooke in love with the Lord.

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What is Project Seek First the Kingdom?

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Jo_books_MG_1017The journey of life - a road paved with people, events and surprises. My first year of college in 1998, I went to Catalina Island on something called the Mark Study, an inductive bible study that goes through the gospel of Mark which documents the life of Jesus. Inductive studies are challenging because you are asked to read the scripture, look up corresponding passages that link to what you are reading, review cultural context, ask questions and seek answers. Finally, the next step is to respond and apply the word. Through this intense study of the life of Jesus, I was taught to ASK. SEEK. RESPOND.

The question asked of me at the end of this study after seeing how Jesus loved and walked with his disciples, cared for the lost, widow, poor, healed the sick and finally dying for humanity, the question was the same question he asked his first disciples.

Do you want to follow me (Jesus)?

Will you walk with me (Jesus)?

My response, yes!

Little did I know that saying yes means a life of surrendering to God’s will (as Jesus did), giving up my dreams, in exchange for his dreams for me, and a narrow path that many will travel, but few will stay on. Since that day from Mark study, I’ve been faithful, then not so faithful, then coming back to ASK AGAIN of JESUS. SHOW ME! IF I SEEK, WILL I FIND? WHAT WILL I FIND?

So, if anyone is reading this, I would ask you to join me in asking. I have a gazillion questions! How does Jesus meet all my desires, that I shall thirst no more? When my husband and I don’t agree, how do I find trust and respect to hear each other out? What do I do with pain that life brings? Why am I always stressed? Why does God answer some prayers and not other? How do I parent my child so that he will know Jesus? If I choose to put Jesus first in all that I do, will he really meet the desires of my heart?

So, Project SEEK FIRST THE KINDGOM, which came fromt his passage in Matthew 6:25-33. I want to seek and I will share what I find.

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.


Studio Baby Photography – Torrance, CA

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Having baby photos taken is a wonderful way to celebrate milestones in your baby’s life. I enjoy capturing the baby smile, giggle, yawn, stretch and whatever silly gesture that comes about. Every move is worth capturing to remember a special time in your child’s life. After I had my son Emanuel, I remember my camera being my best friend. I would take a picture of everything and every move. It’s so fun to look back at those memories.

Tips for parents preparing their child for a photo session

1. Babies are great after a nap! Make sure your child is well rested before a photo session

2. Make sure baby is well fed before the session so baby is in good spirits

3.  Allow your child to be himself/herself. When I take pictures, i encourage parents to sing, dance, clap and enjoy making their baby smile. If the baby is tired or not in me mood, take a break. Genuine smiles make a great photo!

Check out some photos from a baby session recently.

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