She said, “Don’t Go Into Pain.”

I had a really hard day. One of those days when you work so much that your eyes burn and leak liquid exhaustion. Then it ended with an argument with Josh, my husband, and he slept on the couch. When we are upset we don’t hold it inside and ferment our feelings; no, our method is always right up and out of us, and that can be like gun fire sometimes. Yes, it was a really crappy day, to say the least.

The energy of the next day had to unwind itself from the coils of the day before so it felt stiff. Although work demands were less and the schedule was a bit more pliable and our argument was mended. It felt tasking to release the tension that had been held.

So I went to a yoga session and the teacher was new.  She taught the class different than the power yoga flow that I was expecting.

She started so slowly. With extended Savasana. We hardly ever stood upright onto the mat, lying down the majority of the time with simple movements; with simple postures. It was so slow that I started to feel anxious. There was no burn, no sweat, no challenge, no flow… I began to think that maybe I should go home and do a work-out video online afterwards. I was Concerned that it wasn’t going to be enough work for my body.

What I was missing at first, was the whole point of what she was leading us into…


I spent a few days away at Orcas Island in the Puget Sound just last week. It was our annual trip that my husband and I take in honor of our anniversary. We go somewhere new every year. But the last few years we have visited a new island within the Puget Sound. I have nicknames for each island… Whidby Island, is “The Island of Serendipity.” San Juan Island, is “The Island of Activation.” And Orcas Island, is “The Island of Mystery.”

While on our mini vacation at Orcas Island we decided to get massage therapy at a nearby spa. This year we added massage and chiropractic care into our employees benefits, and I was just setting up one of our employees with a massage therapy appointment before we had left for our trip. I went back and forth as to whether we should spend any of our time getting a massage for ourselves. It’s so much easier to give this gift to someone else than it is to take the time, and to allow our own selves to enjoy the same treatment that we offer.

We realized though that we needed it too. So we booked the appointment. We hadn’t gone to get a massage in at least 6 years. It had been a while. The night before we searched google for all of the awkward questions like,  “Do you wear underwear when you get a massage?” Seriously!! It’s hilarious, I know! But the search led to so many awkward stories on the massage table. The verdict was to do what you want to do, we both wore underwear under the sheets. Prude?! I guess. Oh well!

Massage therapy create miracles though. It is the slow working of loosening and literally removing the tension that exists within the held spaces of our muscles. It is a slow process that takes time and after a while you give into the rest and begin to relax, and I nearly fell asleep. It was a healing experience.

Afterwards we chatted with the massage therapists a bit and they shared their experiences of trying to get people to relax.

“Lawyers!!” my masseuse explained, “Lawyers, have the hardest time. When I let go of their heads while massaging their necks, they literally continue to hold their head up, tense the entire time.”

They both went onto to explain that learning to relax is an art.  And it takes practice for a lot of people to actually relax their bodies.

I have experienced this all over the place in life. We are taught to work hard and get results from the pain. To the point that in our society the art of rest. The art of knowing when to be still. The art of relaxation, is often undermined by buzzing thoughts of what needs to get done after you “rest”. Or pushed into a category as least important.

In my personal experience, I would say as a general rule in our society, personal rest and self-care is far too often at the very end of our priorities.


As I laid there lifting my legs while keeping my core flat to the floor. Wondering when the challenge of yoga balance and posture flow will take place. I heard her say again, “Don’t go into the pain…”

As she was saying those words, I was tightening all of my muscles and trying super hard to make my body work hard, to create resistance, to create pain. Because remember, “no pain, no gain.” Right?

Then we grabbed our resistance bands. Thinking we were really going to get into it now…and yet we remained on our backs on the floor, lifting and stretching our legs, gently and slowly using the bands. She then echoed her words into the room again…”Don’t go into pain…”

The second time her words really hit. I literally felt my body sink into the floor and relax. It was as if her direction allowed me to give myself permission to relax. It was not about pushing myself. The whole reason I went to yoga was to release tension and this class was the very gift that I needed, yet for half of the session I fought and resisted the gift.

“Don’t go into the pain…” her words reverberated into my mind. So much meaning there!

Her words calling us to not go into pain, was counter intuitive. She wasn’t asking us to work hard in that moment to get results. She was asking us to stretch, to breathe, to meditate, to rest. She was calling us all into our own healing therapy.

I let myself breathe deeply within, exhaling freely. I said yes to her simple movements and allowed myself to meditate on life and rest within the gift of learning to relax.

Certainly there is a time for pain. It is true that the fire we go through in life shapes us into who we are. But sometimes I think we put ourselves in the fire when we don’t need to be. I think we get really good at stepping into the fire. I think we are taught to face the fire all the time. But in this moment, it wasn’t fire that I needed, it was water and earth. It was fluidity and grounding.

Sometimes we need to remind ourselves, “Don’t go into the pain…” because the act of rest then opens our senses to unfold, slowly massaging out the layers of pain that need to be released from the tension held within. Sometimes it takes a quiet space to then allow the pain to be regurgitated and recycled into something new of beauty into our world.

Within our pain exists great opportunity for joy and rest and peace.



Whole 30: Day 34 & Still Going!?



I bought Melissa Hartwig’s Whole 30 Cookbook  an entire year ago. Sometimes I can be slow to move. I like ideas. I like the idea of what makes other people feel healthy and happy and free… but it can sometimes take a snails pace of progression to implement my own movement towards something. I like to sit back for a while, perceive what I deem to be authentic and/or inauthentic and then suddenly take action, similar to an obsessive stalker. No joke, I appear as all or nothing so very often, when in actuality I have been contemplating my future actions for quite some time.

Anyways, I read her book a long time ago. I then loaned it to two other people who then proceeded to take the Whole 30 journey themselves. And I watched their results, again like a freakish stalker!!! And finally at the turn of 2018 I decided NOW is the time for me to try it for myself! So I did it.

Week One: The first two days were all pomp and circumstance. I was taking Instagram photos of my shopping cart full of nearly every vegetable available at Fred Meyers Grocery. I cooked with vigor and focus, following a perfectly organized pre-planned menu. I played the Buena Vista Social Club in the background of the kitchen and drank Kombucha while I cooked.

Then two days into it became the hardest point of the entire journey.  This was the moment when I realized, “WOW, I have way more sugar addictions than I would ever have admitted to or even realized that I had.” In the Whole 30 lingo world they call it the “Sugar Dragon”. It is no joke. In our modern go go go society, many of us are eating fast and hardly paying attention to what we consume, so often it is quick processed carbs and fast sugar relief that gets us through the day and gives us that immediate fix that we think we need to get us by on a moment to moment basis, yet for long term nourishment and whole body sustainability, we are simply anesthetizing ourselves for the next fix with outrageous highs and lows.

On a personal note in my faith, I have found that feeding my body well in a way that says, “Hey body, I care about you” is a whole other level of spiritual embrace and I am fixated, awakened and inspired on how much respect our sacred temples (physical bodies) need.

Something that I have really soaked into this year is: If we really REALLY  believe that God the Creator of all that is has “fearfully and wonderfully made” us [Psalms 139:13] … then we ought to start treating ourselves and one another like we believe it.

Anyways, back to the first week and why it sucked! My body was detoxing EVERYTHING!!! Sugars of all forms, from carbohydrates to anything processed… i.e. all the grains, including rice and chips and crackers and bread… zero legumes, zero corn products, basically no boxed items at all… think whole foods all the way! No juice drinking, nope, we eat our fruit and veggies in this program, we don’t drink them. No dairy, and not one single sweetener: no honey, no maple syrup, no agave, nothing zilch nada. And last but absolutely not least no wine (no alcohol) I have a thing for wine. Ya know, the sipping on a cup while I am making dinner glass. The “let’s celebrate” glass. The “life is so hard today” glass. There is always a reason for a glass of wine, or we like to come up with all the reasons. But remember I chose this though!! I kept saying out loud, “I choose not to have this…” That was my motivator: it is by personal choice.

Needless to say, the first week, I had the most terrible headache, I say that in singular form because it felt that after the initial, “Let’s Do This!” day one and two, I basically had a singular headache for days…. which made me have to lay in bed at moments, it made my family run and hide from me at other moments, all the things that normally bug me like sounds of food eating; smacking sounds and little kid arguments were 10 times more annoying than before. The ibuprofen would not get rid of these kind of migraines. My body was literally detoxing some major Sugar Dragons! I basically wanted to live in my room the whole week.

Then week two set in. I started feeling slightly better, but week two was kind of ronchy in it’s own form. Let’s just say the headaches had visitation rights but at least it wasn’t constant. But, this week was the week when I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I realized that my body was doing some serious work and even though it hurt, I appreciated the pain in a way of realizing how much of a reset I really needed. It was empowering to feel how hard my body was working and realizing how good this reset was for me. I felt tired all the time, I napped more than ever. I typically love naps as it is, even though I hardly get a chance to embrace siesta! However, week 2 of Whole 30… I gave into every opportunity of siesta…every single day. I was so-sooooooooooooooooooo tired!!! 

Week 3: This was the kick ass week. Not Tigers Blood yet (a term used in the Whole 30 community referring to phenomenal amounts of energy and clarity and all around feeling great!). It was the week when my body started to feel right. I had very little cravings for things like pizza and pasta, my arch nemesis’. I love those salty grained carbs! In regards to cooking, I felt like I had the meals down. I no longer had to follow a meal plan, I simply began using all the produce and herbs and spices and seafood and chicken and venison and beef that I had stocked up on and began creating wondrous meals. I really found my rhythm. Every meal felt good and the coolest part is that my family appreciated it too. I fell in love with the flavors of everything! Embracing fresh flavor and trying new things.

We had in the past year gotten into an eating-out funk. There are only 4 of us, and sometimes it felt, in the moment of hunger paired with busy lifestyles that going out to eat was the easy answer. But if you really check out your bank statement and then do the math comparison of eating-out v.s. a week of groceries… home cooking always wins! Plus it will likely be the healthier option. It takes time though and practice and getting back into that discipline of pausing and taking the time to create food in your home. I began to really appreciate this time, plus when I cook my husband does the dishes so that is a major win win. And vice versa… so I can’t lose!!! I do prefer dishes over cooking actually, and my husband is an amazing cook! But I basically managed the whole 30 meals, it was my thing and the fam just played along.

SIDE NOTE: For my kids and my husband though, I did add fermented sourdough bread and rice and cheeses to meals, because they weren’t strictly on the reset.

Week four: This was the point when I began forgetting what day I was even on. I no longer cared about how far along I was, or how long I had to go… I was content and feeling clear minded and energetic and healthy! I began to get a dose of  the Tigers Blood, that all the Whole-30-ers talk about, but realistically only in the afternoons. I used to feel really tired and drained by about 2:00. My energy bank now runs high at that time of day and I have plenty of energy left to spend on into the evening.

I thought maybe Whole 30 would make a morning person out of me. Nope. I think I am doomed to always be a foggy-waker. I am OK with that! I like my slow contemplative mornings, as long as no one talks to me. Ha! — I did however, find a stronger desire to go to bed on time and to wake in the morning a little earlier. My body had so much energy during the day that by the time 9:30 p.m. hit, I already had my PJ’s on and was cozied in with a good book to fall asleep to.

As cheesy as this sounds, I started to feel like me again! Really! It is amazing and simultaneously tragic how convoluted our lives can get based on how we treat our bodies. Before the Whole 30 I had insane highs and lows from blood sugar issues. By week four, I had zero issues with hunger or mood fluctuations. Prior to Whole 30 I had a painful break out of eczema on my fingers. I went to the doctors and he gave me steroid cream. I tossed the cream and started this reset instead. You wouldn’t believe the difference in how much it has healed!

The last two days of Whole 30 flew by and I hardly had time to even think about what would be next. I lost 10 pounds, without even keeping track. I had a doctors appointment prior and an appointment after the 30 days, the doctor showed me the difference on the scale. It felt like a pretty stellar applause for my efforts, however, what I truly appreciated about the Whole 30 cleanse is that it is not about weight loss at all! In fact, they talk about that over and over in their guidelines. What it is focused on is learning to maintain food freedom, learning to care for your body, self-respect and resetting ourselves to a point of then attempting to understand what makes each individual body feel great!

Weight loss with the Whole 30, is only something that comes natural if your body needs it, it isn’t something that you crash diet into or force, or manipulate or obsess over. There are no scales involved in this program! Just before and after, if you so feel inclined. I absolutely love that! It is about time we get our eyes off of the scale every day and focus more genuinely on how we feel, our energy levels, our fitness and strength levels to be able to do the things we want to do and be the people we want to be. What we put into our bodies is EVERYTHING!

I have personally found that the Whole 30 gave me a deeper sense of body talk awareness…meaning, that I could feel when something didn’t feel right. I could sense when maybe I needed a shot of fermented brine to settle my stomach, for example. My appetite didn’t fluctuate, my body was feeling cared for and nourished and loved. I could feel the difference. I am learning to really listen to the signs and ways that my body is talking to me.  It brings a new sense of intuition and a fresh level of self-confidence.

The Whole 30, for me, was a wake up to the sacred nourishment of my body as a pure temple, worthy of celebrating. I am 34 days into it, and although I am officially done, I am actually having a hard time letting go of this philosophy. I figure, if I feel this good, why stop!?!? I do want to add in a few grains though, but whole grains such as brown rice and quinoa, maybe some Ezekiel sprouted grain bread, maybe sourdough. Maybe a little dairy and see how I feel.

I had a glass of wine after my 30 days on a belated Valentines date night with my husband, I can’t remember the last time I ordered a single glass of wine and didn’t want another. I was fully satisfied with enjoying one solitary glass. It was a really healthy and beautiful dining experience. I savored the flavor and how it paired so well with my meal. Then we were done and I was completely satisfied.

I used to think balance was a pretend thing, and I always failed at trying for it, but now I am realizing that to a degree it isn’t all a wash, it just takes a lot of discipline to obtain…A LOT! But it is there, it really is… and it can be within reach if we work for it. I have so many aspects in my life that I need to balance out, I think I always will in different ways…it keeps us motivated doesn’t it?! To strive towards new things, to continue the work of progression throughout our life journey.  But the way I treat my one body and what I put into it, is on the top list for me.  The results are worth it and I react as a better human towards others when I feel good, especially my sacred own, my two kids and husband. Feeling good physically and mentally changes so much and food truly effects all of that. I am finding freedom in my health and consciousness and I see this as just a stepping stone into a practice of whole living.





A Beautiful Lament

ash wed

There is something enticing, mysterious, grounding about the liturgical procession of an Ash Wednesday service. Albeit, this was my first one that I have ever attended. I appreciated the depth and slow movement of things. Nothing was rushed, everything lingered just a bit longer than I am used to in a service. Words were spoken clearly and slowly…soft music played on an acoustic guitar in the background. Lights were dim. Hymns were sung.

It was beautiful. The enneagram 4 in me wanted to hang onto to the “bright sadness” of lament.

Part of my church upbringing contained some of that similar essence growing up in the Nazarene congregation, we held onto many traditions. The reading aloud as a group from declarations used and passed onwards through the generations. We sang sacred hymns that have been sung by saints long before our time in those pews.

But we didn’t grow up with the practice of Ash Wednesday or Lent. This year, like many other years in the past, I heard friends begin to hum about their lent traditions and how they will be experiencing it. Every year I appreciated their traditions, but never found interest in engaging with it myself, but this year I felt a strong desire to partake in this practice long-held by so many people of The Church.

During the service as we reflected on words and silence and music that captured the concept that we are humbled by the mere idea of our human mortality, yet at the same time we carry hope in our eternal communion with God.  Embracing the wonder that we are made from the dust and transformed into beautiful beings, God is making us ever new.

Ash Wednesday for me represented a silent soaking inward of the miracle of what it is to live in this one wild beautiful life. This temple that we call our body, created and designed from dust and to dust we shall return [Genesis 3:19].

Ash Wednesday was a reminder, a fragrant message, to treasure this magical life that we are gifted with. What an opportunity, a joy, a pleasure.

Ash Wednesday was a day that encouraged me to continue the awakening of self-love and respect of thy temple because the Kings of kings and the Lord of lords made this perfect body. This soul held captive for a time, in the physical form given to my name, may I show this humanity gift of mine thankfulness and love, generosity and care.

Ash Wednesday was a time that gave me a sense of urgency to love others, deeper and closer. As a mother my mind always goes to, “How well am I showing my children love…” and then I trail onto my husband and my family and my neighbors globally and locally… Now is the time to love and I am honored to be a part of the lives that cross my path and to whose path my life crosses through as well. Our relationships with people are sacred spiritual encounters.

Ash Wednesday was felt in my gut, in my heart and in my mind. Deeply. A sacred slow contemplative time of embrace. A beautiful lament for a broken world, redeemed by Christ’s sacrificial love.

I was thankful for the ponder and the thoughtfulness, the meditative wide openness. I needed that. I love loud and wild and expressive church but I also love quiet and paused and reverent church … It is all embodied in enticing forms of the mystical gathering of celebrating The Christ.  I am hungry for it all and I am thankful for this new experience.

– Jenny Rose Foster

I Am Love


Our personal value is as deep and as wide as we see it to be. Our self-worth is what we speak it to be. Who we are is as low or as high as we believe. God’s story of Love and value for us is limitless, yet we have a choice: To limit or to embrace the fullness of the love-offering and all of our worth.

I am selfish. I am a sinner. I am impatient. I am fat. I am too skinny. I am awkward. I am shy. I am too loud. I am worthless. I am unheard. I am foolish. I am too angry. I am too opinionated.  I am a nag. I am stupid. I am too emotional. I am unable. I am [fill in the blank with something negative].

How often are the words of: “I AM” pointed towards ourselves in a negative tone?

How often are we, instead, speaking words of life to ourselves?

I am beautiful. I am smart. I am forgiven. I am generous. I am perfect. I am worthy. I am confident. I am passionate. I am emotional (it’s a good thing). I am opinionated (that’s a good thing too). I am a voice. I am intelligent. I am awesome. I am unique. I am talented. I am [fill in the blank with something positive].

It is the negative words we take home at the end of the day and claim ownership of and begin using those words against our own person-hood that takes the living life right out of our beautiful growth. We have all been called names, and they hurt. What hurts even deeper is when we begin to call those very names to our self.

As a mother I need to be careful. Our children are listening and we are actually the molders and shapers of their growing lives! How important is this job!?!

Just the other day, my two kids were fighting about who gets the easiest part of the dishes. I had a head ache, and their arguments were frustrating and in my moment of frustration I said to them, “You guys are being so selfish.” And my daughter looks at me and says, “I am not selfish!”

She is absolutely right. Her declaration back to me stopped me in my tracks and my daughter put me in my place, so to speak. She had every right to declare that to me. And I said to her: “You are absolutely right, you are not selfish.”

But what if I kept calling her that. What if I kept saying she is selfish, would she someday grow up and point the word at herself and say: “I am selfish”?

Words bring life or death. We choose the result.

The Message says in Proverbs 18:21:

Words kill, words give life;
    they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.

We have a choice! We truly are what we believe ourselves to be and we are also, in part, what others believe us to be, if we let them !!

I want for my children, to grow up without so many words to have to slay. I want them to be released into their lives with ease and freedom to be able to know and declare without hesitation: “I am Love”.

We are sons and daughters of the most high God. Heirs to the Kingdom. And we get to live right here and right now in purposeful living, to choose to live on earth in our present state as it is in heaven, in the very best way that we can… and that is living this life through and in love.

So stop it! Stop right here and right now, stop belittling yourself. Stop lowering yourself and calling it humble. Stop questioning your abilities. Stop believing the self-defeating lies that speak words of death into your living life! And may we stop speaking negative words to and about others. We need leaders, parents, friends, neighbors that speak life, not leaders that call other people shitholes (sorry, it just fits the point of the story!).

Today I wrote the words: “I AM LOVE” onto the palm of my hand. As a reminder of who I really am. By speaking that I am love, I am believing it into reality. I am practicing and re-learning healthy words. I am actualizing who I really am by declaring words of life into existence.

If I want to be a loving mother, then I must be love. If I want to be a loving wife, then I must be love. If I want to be a loving friend, then I am love. I must practice love and it starts with belief!

We all tell ourselves things that are unproductive and belittling to who we really are. We all have those fear driven words that attempt to keep us lowly.

Here is the truth. The full solid golden truth is that we are love children. We are created, designed, imagined, and deeply loved by God who is the way and the truth and the life [John 14:6]. Our God is Love [1 John 4:8] and we are created in the image of Love [Genesis 1:27] therefore we are also love.

It is finished, a long time ago. We are forgiven. We are free to be who we are made to be. And the dirty trick is that so much religion and noise and jargon and abusive words and and… it all attempts to keep us in a lowly place of self-attack, never thinking we are enough. Believing that we have to do something or earn our way to a place of value. That we need to know the right people, dress the right way, and act in a way that pleases others. Accepting the myth of an imaginary ladder to climb or pyramid to escalate within in order to feel worth and value.

Why do we do this to ourselves? It is because of fear. Fear is lies and fear is self-defeat. Fear keeps us down and fear also drives us to accomplish things for the wrong reasons. Fear puts us in an order of levels of worth, labels and segregation. Fear states a very clear “us and them” mentality. Fear keeps us locked up. Fear makes us feel shame. Fear is the ego leading the way.

To say I am love is revolutionary in the face of fear. What I want to amplify here is how divinely profound it is to really believe in love. To really believe that you are loved. To actually love yourself. To declare yourself as a vessel of love. It’s a big deal.

To love God and to love others without also ourselves is not sustainable. It won’t last, it never does and it never will. God intended for our love to abound within and without because God first loved us. What I mean is, Yes, we that choose the way of Christ we love God and love people, but we also love ourselves. If we truly believe the word that says: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” [Psalms 139:14] then we see how important it is to value our God-created selves; praising God for creating us, for we are God’s works — God’s Magnum Opus, Filled with love from the Creator in the very fibers of our meticulously created bodies. How beautiful!

Love is a choice.

We are, my friends, as amazing as we believe ourselves to be. And God knows how amazing you are. 

My Body Screams: Love Me!

Love me


I started the practice of embracing one-word or one-phrase for the new year, about 3 years ago. It was something that I had never heard of before, but the idea drew me in because I love the concept of a small spark of direction into the new mentality of a fresh year…As if a candle has been lit into unknown territory and a flickering glow dances forward.

The first year, 2015, I meditated on the word: TRANSCEND … For me the meaning behind that word was to transcend beyond my personal fears.

For 2016 my word for the year was: WONDER. It was a word asking me to draw into the core of childlike wonder, to adventure, to exploration, to embrace the beauty that is around us in every moment. The wonderment of on earth as it is in heaven. The admiration of the  little things.

For 2017 my one word was: LISTEN — And ironically it was also the year that I began writing publicly with more vigor. As I listened and lent my ears; tuning into opinions and perspectives and other people’s stories outside of my familiar realm, I began to hear and learn and I found that the direct result inspired me to write with more transparency through my own stories. I hope that this was felt through my words last year.

However, during the last quarter of 2017 something broke within me, it was a realization that I had been opening my ears to everyone else yet ignoring the promptings from within. I had been so focused on listening on the outside to others and to the noise, that I had forgotten to also practice listening on the inside.

Realizing how much of a “people-pleaser” I tend to incline to be. Easily loyal to other people’s wants, needs, opinions, and even other people’s directions for me, that I dismissed the need to pause and listen to myself and ask myself if I am OK.

I assumed that the word Listen was for me, to deepen my practice of listening better to others, and yes of course, I think that is part of it. However, I discounted the importance of leaning into my own depth and actually listening to my own needs.  Taking the time to listen to my self, my body, my soul, The Spirit, my whole, is an act of loving myself and I have found too often that I put my own being aside.

This whole concept of redirecting my “one-word” to Listen inwards felt conflicting at first. I have been raised in a culture of spirituality that says, “If you want to be great in God’s Kingdom, learn to be a servant of all…” Whilst that is true, yes we all need one another…yes, we all create the branches of one tree. Volunteerism and activism and servanthood-ism, and community-ism is all very beautiful, honorable, necessary and part of the picture. I also think though that the practice of putting others first has become such a dominant mantra in my faith that in my personal experience, I too often discount my own important needs of worth and value and healthy survival.

I have been learning and practicing a life-faith, based so much on others that I have forgotten to listen to myself and be there for me. I think it is a common syndrome in my faith and it appears too often to lead to physical or spiritual burn out.

Last year, I had so many strange health issues. Emergency level allergic reactions that put me in the ER and received strong medications to bring the reaction down. Then I got strep throat, which I have never had as an adult. I hyper-extended my thumb and it still aches to this day. My immunity was low and I seemed to catch everything despite all of the herbal tonics and vitamins and pro-biotics I took … I even caught conjunctivitis. I had low energy, inflammatory infections, pain in my chest out of nowhere that put me on my back and caused difficulty in breathing and then as of recent, an aggressive form of eczema attacked my fingers and has caused sores and nail deformations.  So as you can see my body has been literally screaming at me to pause and LISTEN to my own being.

My body is screaming: LOVE ME! 

What am I able to give and how much can I love, if I cannot even pause to love myself enough… if my energy, my health, and my sense of peace isn’t well within my soul.

So for 2018, I have known quite clearly, that my word for this year is HEALTH | The Year of Health.  I know, it is the most cliche’ new years goal for so many people, but being directed on a path to health for me is not just about a gym membership and health food. For me, I see my journey this year as something deeper than that. For me it is about the kind of health that equates to loving myself… pausing to care for my body, the temple, both physically and spiritually. To care enough about my value as a whole person and by embracing a healthier perspective of my worth.

For the first time as an adult, I have obtained regular health insurance. I haven’t seen a normal primary care doctor since I gave birth to my son 10 1/2 years ago. Crazy, I know!!? This is the year that I am going to give myself the generosity of self-care. I am going to get all the check ups, I am going to see the chiropractor, the acupuncturist, the nutritionist, and the therapist. You bet I am going to get my money’s worth out of this insurance… it is expensive!!! Holy Moly!

My body has been talking to me for a long time, and I finally started to listen and pay attention once it began to literally yell at me at the top of it’s lungs. The realization of this is that it takes a whole lot of internal yelling for me to pause and say, “OK, how can I take care of me?” I only hope that I will actually learn to listen before my body begins to scream again.

I know that what we see on the outside of our body and how we react to life is a direct result of what is happening on the inside. Healing begins on the inside, both physically and spiritually. God knew what God was doing when we were created. Body whole-healing begins right in the core…and in the gut of things.

My journey this year is to learn to deposit worth and value into my temple; nourishment to my body. To live with a purpose that says:

Body I love you.

Body I am thankful for you.

Body you are worthy.

Body you are valuable.

I want my actions to show my body value for the beauty that I am. For if we really really believe that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, wouldn’t we care a lot more about our own fearfully and wonderfully created selves?

My journey this year will be to learn to say yes to the things that I need to say yes to and to say no to the things that I need to say no to. Because caring enough for my own body and caring enough for my own value is also caring enough to give myself the gift of time. Which essentially leads to loving those I love so dearly a whole lot healthier and loving those that are in my world a whole lot warmer.

As with any word for the year, I don’t think the story stops at years end. To Transcend, To Wonder, To Listen, To Choose Health… those are all good practices, life quests. It is just that sometimes we need those light flares of reawakening to bring us back into balance.

What are your words both present and past. What is your body telling you? Your heart and your mind? What are you hearing that you might be ignoring?

May we, care enough for ourselves to listen in to the whispers of our bodies before they become big screaming declarations. May we, reach into this year with progressive steps forward, always growing, always learning, always becoming whole.

For you are made of stars and earth and beautiful things. You rise each day as a God-breathed creature. Uniquely designed and created. 

You are made of life and love and joy and all things pure. You are made fresh and without blemish. You are perfectly and wonderfully conceived. 

Much love, – Jenny Rose Foster



Image from SheLoves Magazine 

There is beauty in the gathering, but I got hurt along the way too. I have been burned by judgement, platforms and expectations. I have been told I was not baptized by the blood of the lamb. I have been told that as a woman, I could not preach, or lead, or do anything that had to do with teaching men, unless they were children under the age of 18. I have been told through a sermon that I was a blot and a blemish.

As I stepped away, as I removed myself from the equation of gathering together, I realized it was  impossible to run from that which I am. For, I am the church.

I am the Church and you are also.

We are the church, just as we are. The Church, The Body, The Bride … made in the image of an uncontainable God. Church is not defined by four walls, a pulpit and a stage. No, it is far bigger than we make it out to be, because it is you and I. Yet, God asks that we gather together to create it.

As I began searching for a church again, I found it in the most irregular places. I found church on the streets, at concerts, at my dining room table, and around a fire pit singing songs and tellings stories. I have found church in the forest and in the bustling city. I have found church everywhere.

After years of not attending organized church, I decided to return. It took me a while to find a place that felt safe enough. There is no perfect church, because there are no perfect people. And now I find myself on Sunday mornings, gathering in a school building in my hometown with a wild bunch of Jesus lovers.

I choose the church, and that means I choose the people. It wasn’t an easy choice, because people are messy. But I really believe the church needs us. The Bride needs the people who have been through it all. The Body needs the wanderers and the wild ones, the audacious and the unconventional, the misfits and the outcasts and the lost church kids who haven’t found their way back home again…

– Jenny Rose Foster


Story Keepers



There is something like magic that happens within, when you begin to tell your stories.

As words form and take shape from your heart and your mind to your throat and vocalized or extended through written words.

Sometimes it begins in a whisper

Maybe for a while it is held within the space between only you and God.

And then maybe it is a story you dare to share with someone close, someone that you hope will listen.

And then maybe it is shared in vulnerability in a broader sense.

…and sometimes that story develops into a ROAR!

Beauty happens when you tell your story. Whether that is in quiet trust or public display…beauty happens.

There is something tangible that can almost be held thick when a story is shared between one human being to another.

It is the connection, the vulnerability, the truth-telling.

It is the releasing of a piece of yourself to be received by another.

It is the combined comprehension and resonation of the human experience.

Your story is a freedom song getting it up and out of you, putting words to it, making a face for it…bringing color to it. It takes bravery to offer pieces of yourself to others.


I have a story.

You have a story.

We all do.

Stories worth telling.

Worth value.

Treasured scripts of life.


Your story can be told in words written.

In words spoken.

Your story can be told in pictures.

Or in music and sound.

Your story can be expressed in rhythm.

And in dance.

Your story can be told in all ways of expression…in the ways that only you know how to tell it.

The sharing of our stories does something within, but the most beautiful part, the magical and mysterious practice of story-telling, is that it does something within others too. It is the “Yes, I feel that also…” affirmations. It is the “I am not alone in this…” acknowledgement. It is the spurring on of dreams and visions. It is the grounding of togetherness and solidarity of personhood, sisterhood and brotherhood. It is the mind sparking and daring and collecting of thoughts and instigation of change, forward, upward movement with depth that keeps us close to our roots…because we’ve gone deep first. It is the feeding of one mind to another, one experience to another, the dispelling of us and them and the creating of WE. It is the keeping and documenting of the past and the foretelling of the future.

I began telling my stories to the first open ear that would listen. Really listen. And I kept seeping little parts of myself outwards to show-and-tell.

My way of telling is through written word. I have been a writer by calling, by gifting, by form of expression from the moment I began to spell.

I remember bringing a fictional story to life in kindergarten with the help of an older student. Everything about the story telling process. The creation of characters and storyline from my mind. I adored the formation of a story from the words put into sentences to the narrations that coincided. Stories both fiction and non-fiction have everything to do with life portrayed through experience and imagination.

Some of the first listeners of my stories as a child were my sisters and my mom. The short stories I would write. The magazines I made up: “Strictly For Kids Club”, and the comics I created.

There were also the sacred places where I shared my stories, like a verbal diary – out loud into the air. Beneath the canopy or upon the branches of my favorite trees; it was in those shelters that I began telling my stories to Jesus, to the trees with the audience of the insects. Simply talking, simply conversing. Feeling the warmth and welcome Spirit and deep love of Christ. Feeling the safety.

Later I began telling my story to others. I slowly found the courage to share parts of me. As I began to share my life, I began to see that my stories mattered.

I began to grow and become a person that realized that my voice counts for something.

By telling my stories I began to gain confidence.

By telling my stories I began to see myself in a new form.

As someone that often defaulted to guarding myself in relationships; careful to keep people at arm’s reach and no closer. The act of telling my stories outside of myself and my safe places, it gave me a sense of vulnerability, yes… but it also gave me a sense of freedom. To dig deeper into relationships and by sharing my stories more often than not it then opens the doors for others to share their stories with me.

You are the keeper of your stories. Your part in this human journey is valuable, worthy and beautiful. Maybe your stories are shared in small circles around the table. On couches or around fire pits. Maybe your stories are shared in books or articles. Or spoken through a microphone. Maybe your stories are shared while fishing or taking road trips. The practice of passing down our stories through the telling of what was and what is and what is to come, is the verbal practice that has been handed down through all tribes and nations from generation to generation. May we be sacred keepers of the stories that come our way. Listeners that value words given to us:

Listening ears are quick to listen, slow to get angry.

Quick to listen, slow to judge.

Quick to listen, slow to speak.

– Jenny Rose Foster


** The painting shared with this article is part of my story told in picture. Yet, another form of story-telling and story-keeping.  We are all in this together. May we see glimpses of this beauty.