School starts up on Monday and I am overwhelmed. I am remembering how painful my body can be during those long days and wishing I could just stay home. That’s the truth of how I feel. 

God’s truth, however, is that he is merciful and faithful and answers prayers. Pray that I will have amazing strength this year and that I will have a good attitude through the hard stuff. Joni Eareckson Tada is one of my heroes and she said once that when Jesus says to take up your cross he is not actually referring to the disability itself but to the attitude you choose to have about that disability. Whoa. I want to smile the joy of Jesus. 

Soon, I’ll have to write about the awesome demonstration of God’s faithfulness that totally happened to me this week. But now, to bed! 

I think I might just move in at Whole Foods. I don’t usually go into public places and make friends with strangers while shopping. However, this happens frequently at WF. Today, I went right after yoga to get the ingredients for these amazing avocado/hatch chili enchiladas (yummm). I was wearing my yoga clothes and no makeup and my hair was all hippy-ish. I wouldn’t be caught dead like that in many places, but the gym and WFs are totally game. There was this other chick there who could have been my sister- also sporting her yoga gear, minimal makeup, and hippy hair. We met at the kombucha refrigerator. She asked me if I knew that you could brew your own kombucha- I resolved to do this 2 days ago -and we had the lovliest chat about kombucha brewing and wished each other luck in our endeavors. Ha! I love kindred spirits. I am such a dork and I love it! 

My body was exhausted today and, gratefully, I didn’t have to work so I was able to recover with a lot of rest. Yoga was absolutely amazing and I felt improvement in my symptoms the moment class ended. So, so great. I have been working on focusing my intention on Jesus during my practice. This is REALLY hard for me because I like to compete with everybody in class. So un-yogic. But, that’s where His grace comes in and I get to enjoy this amazing hour of feeling my body using its strength and for a little bit, the weakness seems to melt away. 

Then, I came home and Husband was doing the dishes. 

Servant-Hearted Husband, Friendly Kombucha Girl, feeling my body become stronger and my heart refocus at yoga class, home-made enchiladas that were the bomb, and my first ever home-made chicken bone stock simmering on the stove. I like today.

If you’re reading this, you should leave me a comment. My blog is lonely. 

:] -Katie 

 

Fibromyalgia brain!!!!!!! Every now and then, I’m not just dealing with pain. Sometimes, my brain just stops working- like there is a cloud in my brain. I can’t talk or breathe right and noise (Oy! I’m a music teacher!) makes me crazy. Yoga says breathe and body says can’t. I can’t demonstrate properly on the clarinet and I have to apologize to my kiddos for being cranky. It makes me think I don’t like teaching. I’m writing this here with you as my witness. The TRUTH is that I love teaching, I am human and humans get cranky. 

Deepest Teacher Fear #1: I will take out my own discomfort and pain on a student the way my teacher took out his suffering on me. 

I try to stay honest with my kids, but even an apology can’t completely undo a harsh word. Kids with anxiety troubles and emotional struggles and ADD and ADHD and everything else are already challenging to teach with kindness and patience all the time because the job is demanding and we are on a deadline. Oh, but I try! Then you add in the fact that on some days breathing hurts, sitting in a chair hurts, my throat muscles spasm and I can’t talk without pain, I try to play my clarinet and my numb fingers won’t move. Then I get so overwhelmed, so absorbed in just surviving the day. I get cranky and usually with the kids who need unconditional love the absolute most. 

My mom used to pray that God would be my mom where she failed. I pray the same as a teacher. Lord, be my students’ teacher where I fail and cover up my failings with your grace. 

Blog friends, pray that I will have strength to love deeply and teach with a full heart this year even when it hurts to breathe. 

I need prayer and I need forgiveness and I need a team backing me. This is truth.

Today was rough and breathing hurts. 

To yoga and to bed. 

Love,

Katie 

I am a firm believer in spiritual battle. I have felt the physical and emotional effects of this ongoing warfare a lot in my life and I think it is really important to acknowledge this other realm that really does exist and impact our lives whether we see it or not. Some of my dearest friends have very clear spiritual vision. They are so brave! I am thankful that so far, I have not been called by the Lord to actually see anything in the spiritual realm, but thankful too that I have been given the opportunity to feel it. It is deep and powerful and full of God. 

The deepest passion of my heart- aside from serving the Lord in loving my husband and making a home for us and our future children -is to minister to artists. I know that God has placed a calling on my life that is completely real. I believe that art is powerful. I believe that it shapes the culture and history of nations, that it feeds the emotionally and spiritually hungry, and is a tool used by the Lord to strengthen his heroes and to bind up wounds. Contrary to what I have been taught in secular arts environments, art should not be the final end and aim of an artist’s life. This creates a void that cannot do anything but suck energy, happiness, and strength from a life. I watch this daily. Combine an artistic spirit with a perfectionist will and leave grace completely out of the picture and you get, well, most artists. It is a lifestyle full of empty purpose. 

I say “empty purpose” for a specific reason. An artist’s life does not feel “purposeless” ever, I don’t think, because as long as there is something to be created, there is a reason to get up every morning. This “purpose” becomes empty when we start playing around with the dreadfully dangerous idea of “art for art’s sake.” Go to art school for any period of time and you will find that this is a phrase thrown around a lot for philosophical purposes. We all try to answer the deep questions of, “Why am I so driven by this passion to create? So driven that I deny myself basic needs like food and sleep just to keep practicing? What is it in me that makes it completely impossible to stop?” Artists are so deeply passionate. But rather than admit that there must be a God who has placed an anointed purpose on their lives, they choose to claim that Art is the Supreme Ruler and that the Legacy they leave behind will determine the success of their lives. Empty. Empty. Empty. Because we are all going to die. So you better work hard and not sleep in order to exert what tiny bit of control you have over what people will think of you after you die. Woah. So there is a purpose to get up every morning, but it is a really scary, depressing one. 

Here’s the scariest part: If Satan can keep someone so wrapped up in this “purpose” that this person doesn’t even have time to stop and eat, Satan can also thoroughly distract them so that they cannot hear the saving voice of God speaking truth into the heart that says, “You were made in my Image as a creator and your creation is for ME!” Art for Art’s sake is a strategic ploy to distract the artists whom God would use for great purposes in this cultural battle. Really, it’s quite a brilliant idea. 

This is why I am so, so, so thankful that God used a variety of circumstances to scoop me out of that mess of crazy. My husband, my friends, my parents, my teachers, all have been used by God to confirm His will for me in teaching my precious students and fibromyalgia sealed the deal. I’m not just teaching them music. I know that I am under God’s command to train these young women and men for battle. When I see their eyes open to the realm that is waging war around us, my own calling is confirmed yet again. 

If you want to read more about the place where I first felt the Lord’s anointing on my life, here is where you can access that info! 

I wasn’t going to post this blog on Facebook quite yet, but I decided I would quite enjoy having some readers! So, thanks for reading! 

Today I did my very first real forearm stand at the wall!!! I wasn’t totally comfortable with my head position and I definitely feel some pain sensations in my cervical vertebrae, but HECK! I DID IT. It was so fun to feel so strong. I also have made a lot of progress with my upward facing dog and am feeling my lumbar spine start to bend more freely. I love this so much. I feel so weak so often and betrayed by my body. I have never thought of myself as “weak” but find myself feeling that this label is totally inevitable. Today, my body was really strong for about 40 minutes and the label was defied. Today was a victorious day! 

Ever since the last day I practiced clarinet the way I determined to spend my whole life practicing- the day I remember so well -I have struggled with the belief that others view me and label me as weak and lazy. I believe that in some cases this is warranted, but I also believe that, more often than not, I am simply projecting my fears on others and essentially accusing them of judging me in a manner that they are not. I am so thankful the Lord is actively freeing me from this perception of others as harsh and unable to understand or believe in my physical limitations. My greatest fear has always been that people will not love and accept me. This is so unfounded and such a silly lie from Satan. Though people may not accept me, Jesus has already claimed me as his own and in this I am free to be who he made me to be. Successful in the eyes of the world or not, I am Katie Whaley and I have an autoimmune disease and I am a clarinetist and I am a teacher and I love, love, love yoga and I am a wife and I am an organic-eating, tree-hugging hippy and I love tattoos. Also, I really like who God made me to be. 

I was so angry that I developed this disability or disease or whatever it is. (FYI some doctors have said fibromyalgia, but even if that is the case, I am not going about the treatment of the pain in any normal manner. I’m alllll about the holistic approach and I am a firm believer in simply using wisdom to approach the management of my pain and the total reliance on a God who knows my suffering to carry me through every day of my life.) I am SO not angry anymore. Gosh, I’m so thankful Jesus freed me from this. Now, I totally still get frustrated and cranky and overwhelmed and I take it out on my poor, sweet husband. But, ultimately I know I have finally been able to really and truly rest the state of my physical body in the hands of the Lord. 

Wellllll, maybe. I guess I need to be honest and speak some heart-revealing truth here. I haven’t totally trusted God. I still trust me. I trust that if I eat healthy and do yoga I can control my pain. To some extent, this is just simple wisdom speaking and, to some extent, it is self-reliant pride. Jesus can handle it. I really love healthy food and yoga, so I’m just going to keep it up and try really hard not to boast. I’m seriously, genuinely sorry, y’all, for when I go on and on about health related topics in a know-it-all manner. I like to say it is because I am passionate, but really I think it is because I am prideful. I’m sorry. 

So, anyway, I have found that yoga is totally a means of self-expression for me and that my artistic heart is fulfilled on my mat. Yoga is so beautiful and I am so grateful for the deep truths I have learned from yoga teachers and yoga practicers and from my own practice. Here’s a list. I think it’s cool, so hang in there with me. 

1. Practice is great but sometimes you have to just play (I have totally applied this to music!! Same super concept.)

2. Sometimes it looks really funny when I play around with a new pose. Laughing at myself is healing. 

3. Tuning into my body has shown me how to tune into my heart. 

4. I can feel my spine. I can FEEL my spine! 

5. The muscles I use for downward facing dog are the exact muscles I use to support my clarinet tone. 

6. Watching a room full of clarinet students do downward facing dog for the first time is seriously entertaining. 

7. Parallel learning is the bomb.com. 

8. There is a good kind of sore and a bad kind of sore. Any risk of the bad kind of sore should be avoided even at the cost of the good kind of sore. (Basically, re-injury is bad and I can avoid it be paying really close attention to the sensations in my body.)

9. Competition is good- but only to a small extent. Teamwork is always the best way to learn. 

10. Grace. 

If you’ve never practiced *ahem* played around with yoga, please try it. It is so much fun and can potentially change your life. 

More important than yoga, if you have never met Jesus and you want to, let me know. He will most assuredly change your life. 

Hey hey! Leave a comment for me! 

Love,

Katie