Sunday, May 15, 2011


All of my life...
In every season.
You are still God.
I have a reason to Sing.
I have a reason to Worship.


Need to hear it for yourself?

Monday, April 25, 2011

sitting in the rain...

I claim no rights to this photo...found it on the web

OK well I am not actually sitting in the rain. But I am watching the puddles form outside the windows while Ashby takes a nap (2 hours early...I guess she is tired from her weekend in LA with her cousins). I just poured myself my second cup of coffee (I guess I am tired too)

Jesus is so big. I cannot believe that He died for me. At the Easter service yesterday at MEFC the gospel group sang a Kirk Franklin song called "Don't Cry". You can hear it here. "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, through for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. BUT, God demonstrates his own love for us in this: WHILE WE WERE STILL SINNERS, Christ died for us." Romans 5: 6-8

This is what God is teaching me.
While we were still powerless, Christ died for us. Its not a division of sin or doing bad things that separates me from God alone. It is also that there are not enough good things alone that I can do. We are powerless to do what only God can do.

The beauty of Easter to me that God is revealing is not only that He died in my place because I am human, broken and constantly turning to a way that leads to destruction. Not only did He die, He also rose from the dead in His power. I am actually thinking about what it means that death could not hold Him. Nothing could keep Him from returning.

Nothing scares me more than death. Nothing is more powerful. Nothing is more final. Yet God just shook it off. He didn't stay dead. How much more powerful is that than just stepping in for me for the punishment that I deserve.

I know that it isn't the pretty part of God to talk about atonement; about the fact that God is perfect and Holy. It scares people away. I know I have held my tongue because it is scary to think that the pathway is narrow and few will ever get to walk on it. I have discovered as God gently leads me away from shouldering the responsibility of my life's purpose toward trusting in Him fully, that I am afraid of this narrow pathway because of the cross. I have tried to save myself for so long. If only I could just be better. If only I could make everyone in my life happy. If only I could rid myself of my selfish tendencies, my inability, my fear, my doubt...fill in the blank.

Imagine that the man driving the nails into Jesus' hands was not a Roman soldier, but truly you and I. Imagine Him watching you do that, and His response to you is simple, deep, profound, wild love and compassion. All the while He is thinking, "If you didn't nail me to this cross, I could never come back to give you hope, to give you life, to give you all that you ache and long for when you lay alone in your room in the dark and all of the distractions are gone."

He isn't dead anymore. He is holding his hands out, nail scars reaching out to hold me even though I caused it. Could anything be more amazing. And crazy. And totally insanely hard to believe.

On the plane home last night, as Dave and Ashby slept, I cried. I don't know the exact moment that Jesus whispered into my ear that He died and rose again because of his love for me. I didn't do anything special. In fact, as I sat there tears streaming down my eyes I remember thinking how this comfort and feeling of complete peace was not my doing. And there was no guilt, no shame, no need to do something to earn it.

As the mascara ran down my face and I watched the sun setting over the horizon, Jesus was there with me. He always has been. I never had to create a place worthy of His presence. He was just there.

Washing over me as the rain comes to the earth now and puddles in the dirt. Making all things new. Making all things grow.

So I sit here in the downpour of God's love for me.

I believe with all of my heart that He wants that for you too...Nothing you must do. Nothing you must hide. Everything to gain.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The worst 5 years

Happy Anniversary to me! I know the title doesn't sound like what an anniversary blog post should be about.

Lets get real for a minute. I know I struggle with that right....

Dave and I went out last night to celebrate by ourselves before we head over the mountains today to go wine tasting and visit friends in Yakima. He said such an amazing thing. The first 5 years we were settling in. We were letting down the walls. We were getting comfortable with having to be real people while we were really in love.

The next 5 will be even better. And the 5 after that. Its actually really exciting to think that some of our hardest work might be behind us. Obviously we will always have work to do, and obviously the closer we get the deeper the "stuff" we get to work through together.

5 years ago today I woke up realizing that was the last day I would ever have to wake up by myself.

I love you with all of my scarred, dramatic and sensitive heart baybuh.

You are my forever.

ps. as an anniversary gift to us Ashby has slept through the night 2 nights in a row!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Face time

How many times do I look for God's hand in my life instead of God in my life.

It is not God that dissapoints me, it is not God that alienates me. It is my expectations of how I think God is supposed to work or how I think my life is supposed to go.

I was reading today that when we first meet Jesus we live from blessing to blessing. We are convinced of God's work by His hand moving in our life. Ashby knows I am there when she can feel me. When I give her food, or when I play with her on the floor, or when I nurse her. She cries out in the night because she can't see or feel me.

But when she grows up, and understands object permanence a little better, she will know that I exist and am a part of her life regardless if I am there or not. She will not always understand why I do the things that I do, but my motivation will be to help her grow, to protect her, and to give her what she needs to have the best most rewarding experience she can while I am around to help.

How many times do we chalk up what is happening in our lives to "God's will" but secretly we are resentful and bitter because we really want our own will. I do it all the time. How many times have we been angry at God because of the road He asks us to walk, because we have no vision for why. I am like a child, only able to think of my own feelings, my own frustrations, my own needs, and really more than anything the way that I, myself, want it to be.

When I find myself struggling with my life, which I told God a long time ago He could be in charge of, its because I have gotten out my little road map and said "Yeah, ok God just like this..."

And to be honest, I am so glad that I have a relationship with a God that is so much bigger than me. That I do not understand. That has an agenda that I cannot understand always. That does not need me to figure it out. That stood in for me when I was at my worst, sent His precious flesh and blood, and said "For [insert you name] sake, because I love her more than anything, I will sacrifice everything, to make this right."

That is not an action. That is WHO God is.

I do not always understand what He is doing in the swirling chaos of life, the mess and entanglement of my relationships, and the inner processing that goes on in my head. His hands are all over that. Looking at His hands only gives me a small picture.

When you love someone you look into their eyes to know they love you. Maybe you've never been brave enough to look deeply into the eyes of your creator. Maybe you feel the burden of your shame, your fear, your doubt, your anger, your resentment. Whatever it is, it WILL NEVER be bigger than God.

And you will NEVER understand who you are and what you were made to do without looking into those eyes and feeling the complete PEACE and FREEDOM of the most PERFECT LOVE you will ever know.

If this isn't the God you know, maybe take a minute to \ask him to show you who he really is. People in churches and churches themselves are broken. Church is a place for community but it is not the end all be all of who God is, though we might catch a glimpse there. Ask God to show up and wait expectantly. It may take a while and He may not speak the way that you expect.

But He WILL speak to you exactly how you need Him to. And when He does you will know without a shadow of a doubt how deep, how high, how wide and how strong His love is for you.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Celebration Sunday

There are a lot of cool things happening everyday in my life. I feel like God is talking to me in a way that I haven't been able to hear in a very long time. Or maybe ever.

It is intense to know that God loves me so much that he wants to speak to me exactly in the way that I can hear Him. In a way that is just for me.

Our Celebration Sunday was good. Dessert was awesome. COLD STONE!! Dave has been asking for that for at least a week straight. YUM.

What are you celebrating today?

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Big Change!

Sleep training!!

Why did I not do this sooner. Well, I know why. I wasn't ready. Having Dave home to help and be patient when I have been with Ashby all day and am at the end of my rope is huge :)

7 days ago I went on a date with my hubby and told him I was finally ready to let Ashby sleep in her own room.

The next day she woke up 8 times.
The next was 12 (every half hour until she finally got it figured out and slept for a 2.5 hour stretch)

I was getting distressed...not to mention exhausted.

Fortunately Dave was really supportive. And we stuck with it.

Little miss Ashby slept from 8:30 last night until 6 am without nursing once..and only woke up once to have Daddy rock her back to sleep in 2 minutes...

I woke up to check and make sure she was still alive and to let Kuma out to pee.

6 days and she is already made vast improvements!!! And she is napping everyday for at least 2 hours, in her own crib :)

Amazing what a little wisdom and a little perseverance can accomplish. And a really amazing husband who will get up in the night to help :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Celebration Sundays...(on Monday today)

We have decided to begin a new tradition in our house. Celebration Sundays.

There is so much to be thankful for. There is so much good happening in our lives. We just rarely choose to take the time to aknowledge it.

SO we have created Celebration Sundays.
We are going to cook a great meal, including dessert, and talk about the good stuff that happened during the week. So that we can start off the next one with praises on our lips.

We can teach our children to Celebrate the Victories that Jesus does in our lives weekly, daily.

Last night we had baked brie, a huge spinach salad, and strawberry shortcake (from scratch, one of my favorite recipes) and Maui Brewing Company Coconut Brown Ale. Yum.

And Ashby slept way better last night. Saturday night she woke up 12 times. yes, 12.
Last night it was only 4. SO SO SO much better! I feel sort of normal.

Psalm 145 (from the Message)

David's Praise

1 I lift you high in praise, my God, O my King! and I'll bless your name into eternity.

2 I'll bless you every day,

and keep it up from now to eternity.

3 God is magnificent; he can never be praised enough.

There are no boundaries to his greatness.

4 Generation after generation stands in awe of your work;

each one tells stories of your mighty acts.

5 Your beauty and splendor have everyone talking;

I compose songs on your wonders.

6 Your marvelous doings are headline news;

I could write a book full of the details of your greatness.

7 The fame of your goodness spreads across the country;

your righteousness is on everyone's lips.

8 God is all mercy and grace—

not quick to anger, is rich in love.

9 God is good to one and all;

everything he does is suffused with grace.

10 -11 Creation and creatures applaud you, God;

your holy people bless you.

They talk about the glories of your rule,

they exclaim over your splendor,

12 Letting the world know of your power for good,

the lavish splendor of your kingdom.

13 Your kingdom is a kingdom eternal;

you never get voted out of office.

God always does what he says,

and is gracious in everything he does.

14 God gives a hand to those down on their luck,

gives a fresh start to those ready to quit.

15 All eyes are on you, expectant;

you give them their meals on time.

16 Generous to a fault,

you lavish your favor on all creatures.

17 Everything God does is right—

the trademark on all his works is love.

18 God's there, listening for all who pray,

for all who pray and mean it.

19 He does what's best for those who fear him—

hears them call out, and saves them.

20 God sticks by all who love him,

but it's all over for those who don't.

21 My mouth is filled with God's praise.

Let everything living bless him,

bless his holy name from now to eternity!

Saturday, March 26, 2011


In a surprising twist, we had a 65 degree sunny day in the Northwest on a Friday. After an awesome lunch at the Beachhouse in Kirkland with our friends, we walked into downtown, got a cup of coffee, and headed down to the water. Here is a little bit of our smart girl in action!

In other news, Ashby spent her first whole night in her crib. I might have been in her room most of the night, but that is a HUGE step in the Canales household! Looking forward to the day when she is there and I don't have to go in. But, we are on our way!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

interesting discovery today

I am tired and Ashby decided to go to bed at 6 today. So sleep training is going. She still needs to nurse to fall asleep and is going for 2-3 hour stretches at night but things are slowly improving.

Anyway, made a rather interesting discovery about myself today.

My sister invited me to a (free) yoga class today. I love yoga. I LOVE yoga. Its hard, challenging, and yet very very relaxing so that is the perfect combination for me.

But what was strange is that when she invited me, I got angry. Not at her. But more I felt pressure to go, and then angry at that feeling.

It was viceral.

I love working out. Or do I? Once I am actually working out I love it usually, but I really mentally struggle to get myself to do it.

So anyway, trying to figure that one out. Its totally a pattern too. It was just really bad today.

And now Ashby is awake, duty calls.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Montezuma's Revenge...on vacation

Really really looking forward to a trip to the beach house since January when I got invited. My dear dear friend Lisa and her mom invited all the girls from my family out for the weekend. We planned meals, bought wine, had magazines and movies and workout gear, and rain gear for beachcombing. Yup. It was going to be awesome.

And then we all got the flu.

Friday night when we arrived, first it was Ashby. Then me.
Saturday 2 more bit the dust.
Sunday night, after 2 went home from sheer exhaustion and sickness, poor Lisa our hostess, got sick also and went down.

We didn't leave the house. We only cooked one major meal. We didn't drink the wine or the coffee. It was awful.

But we are closer than ever as a result of taking care of each other. It was a blessing in a way. Whoever was sick had a mom and friend and daughter to hold back her hair while she...ahem... you know.

It wasn't what we expected and we definately need a do-over. But I love my girls and am thankful that at least we could all be sick together.

Beautiful trainride down to all started so peaceful! 
Ashby and her "ceetee" (her name for auntie Kate)
Happy tired train rider. 
 The one, and only, picture of me from the weekend with my lovely Auntie Grandma (Ashby's name for my auntie mommy Molly)
 Taking Ashby to Oceanside while I slept through the post vomit fog.
Jenna, Lisa's super cute and hip younger sister 
 Ashby has named Lisa auntie LALA, which is dear to me since my nephews in Cali call me the same thing.

Locked in. She was giving us kisses through the door.
 bubbles..our newest obsession.

Again, I am not in any of these pictures, and these were taken Saturday evening before anyone else got sick. After that there was a whole lot of whispering, back rubs, and movies.

Here is to our next annual, no barfing weekend!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sleep training

For those of you moms or children that easily slept through the night early on in your are lucky.
And apparently, according to all that I am reading, very abnormal.
Most children do not sleep through the night, without parental intervention (rocking, nursing, cuddling, etc.) til they are in preschool.
Lord help me!
Ashby has been a very good little nurser since I had her. I have literally not ever given her a drop of formula. Not even in the hospital. It has been a blessing for us both (i.e. cheap, convenient, bonding, easy.) But now, at 13.5 months I am starting to want to have my body completely back before I (pause, drawing in a deep deep breath) decide to try for the next one. I am running a half marathon this summer (hill workout today...yikes and awesome at the same time) and my goal is to have weaned her by then (approximately 17 months.
I am a little saddened at the prospect, but also know I have had an incredible experience nursing her.
Back to the point.
While Ashby has been an incredible nurser, she has also not been an incredible sleeper. The thing is that I could always put her right back to sleep with nursing, but with the exception of a few sweet months when she was waking up after 5-6 hours, she has been waking every 2 hours, on the hour (sometimes more) to nurse. And mostly just to pacify herself.
Dave and I would like our bed back. And I would LOVE to have 7 hours of uninterupted sleep, maybe even more.
So were working on it. I had to finally let go and say "She is going to be ok, feel loved, and safe, without sleeping in my bed." I know that logically, but when you have a sweet baby who grows into a sweet and happy toddler, it is hard to change something knowing that it will be hard for them too.
I'll keep you posted. We're using the no-cry sleep method book. Which has been more like the minimal cry sleep method book.
Progress so far in 2 weeks. A daily 2 hour nap in her crib. By herself.
Some parents think I am nuts for just now getting this milestone.
In many ways I do too.
But Parenting is not one-size-fits-all. Life is very different for all of us. I feel bad for some of the "i'll never be that parent" statements I have either thought or made in my life.
I'll leave you with a few of my sweet sleeping baby pictures.
4 days old.

tired babies

LOVE the ergo

when she finally fell asleep in the car..(shes not a huge fan)

Monday, March 14, 2011


This theme is my theme right now.
My mantra...
"You are enough, you have enough, there will be enough."
Mantra is simply a word or phrase you repeat over and over and over until it sticks. Or for me it is my prayer. It is the work that God is doing in me. It is the root of some of my deepest fears:
I will not get enough (love, food, money, stuff etc.)
Which really means that I am afraid that by myself, without any of these other things, that I am not enough.

I am not enough. I am so afraid that I am not enough.

But Jesus tells me that I am. He tells me that He made me on purpose, and that because He made me with a purpose, I have everything I need to complete my purpose.

Ephesians 2:10 " For we[insert your name here] are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which He prepared in advance for us, that we should walk in them."

1. He handcrafted ME. (you too :)
2. He made with with Christ Jesus, who has the divine power to demolish any and all strongholds and anything that sets itself up against the knowledge of Christ (2 Corithians 10:3-6).
3. He made me to do specific works, with a purpose, and we are supposed to walk in them.

All leading me to believe that if He did all of that work, He would not have wasted it on something that I cannot do.

Katie said something to me from this book that she is reading right now. "A walnut seed can grow to be 2 things. A flourishing, productive walnut tree or a sad, sickly one. It can never become a rose bush."

So today I will keep praying my prayer of enough. I will keep asking God to show me that I am and will forever have enough if I trust Him.

And don't try to get enough for myself...but that is for another post.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Looking Back..

In the past year my body has done some amazing things. Namely carrying a life, birthing that sweet baby girl, and then recovering from gaining 50 pounds (yes, I said 5-0!) and getting healthy after toxemia (pregnancy induced high blood pressure...not fun).
I've also supported a life by producing milk (crazy that is what those things are for!)And yes, I am still breastfeeding. Sometimes I love it, other times I want to have a break. I am beginning the weaning process, but its a little work. Especially with this girl...chichi mama is her nickname.

I think the hardest thing about motherhood is that it is so completely non-self centered. You literally could and in some ways have to lose yourself. I am not talking about using your baby as an excuse to let go. Sadly I think that happens a lot, and who could blame someone. Motherhood is EXHAUSTING (she says after night 2 of sleep training with a toddler who wakes up every 2 hours at least...). But if you lose yourself in the midst of that, I feel like you could start to resent your position and your children.

So I decided to post something. Its hard for me to post this because its pretty vulnerable. Especially for me: with all of the weight issues I have had in my past (another post, another day). I never want to like myself for my body, but I also don't want to let myself go for the sake of not finding my identity in my shape. But, my body has been to the brink and thankfully, with a lot of work and a lot of encouragement, back to where I feel like I am taking good care of myself.

So here is a progression of the last year....

1 week after ashby born.
2 months after...starting to exercise again..
5.5 month Ashby walking at Cannon Beach with my mom (isn't she cute from behind!)
October..walking the dog on a more regular basis (wearing a 19 pound baby on a regular basis is helpful too)
new years, after a really well-rounded 1800 calories a day cleanse (no starvation for a nursing mommy)
Hawaii, just about 1 year after she was born.

total weight lost: 70 pounds.
Tricks: none.
1. Hardwork and getting outside at least 4 days a week
2. Cutting out sugar and processed foods (with a few exceptions)
3. not giving up and learning when I use food for comfort not for fuel.

So here I am. What a difference a year makes.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

To my readers...

OK. So i am horrible with blogging lately. I think the biggest reason is that SOOO much happens every week, day, minute etc and I never feel caught up. So when I go to blog I don't know where to start and that ruins it for me. Also, I don't know what to put on here.

So my question is this:

Since I am doing this for you mostly, what do you want to see? What do you want to read about?

I would love your comments and thoughts. (all 5 of you...I think)

Then I am going to set a 2 days a week blogging schedule and just get to it.

Love love love to you.

PS I hear ceramic things hitting the floor in my living room....yikes! Time to run!

Friday, February 11, 2011


Ashby turned 1 yesterday! But before that we had an amazing vacation in Hawaii. We really needed the time to reconnect as a family. And we discovered that Ashby loves all things related to water. She spent most of her time exclaiming "Wow" with her arm straight out, palm pointed upward, pointing at whatever amazed her. Here are a few shots of our time.

We had a fabulous time. I wish I was still there only because I had nothing I had to do. Except read and tan and eat and walk and hang out with my babies! Next year we are definitely bringing grandma and grnadpa so we can sneak away a few times!