my pool of bethesda


I am crazy for this blog of mine! It has evolved into a series of open letters to my powerful girls. This space will forever be for my heart, and all are welcome.

Today’s letter is addressed to both of my babies.


While you were sleeping I had a powerful experience reading a story in John, and I could hardly wait to share.

One day Jesus found himself beside the pool of Bethesda. Many congregated here because they believed it possessed healing qualities — when the water bubbled, whoever was first in the pool was healed!

Jesus addressed a man who had been unable to walk for 38 years! I imagine the man spent much of his time watching everyone else be healed. Jesus asked him, “Wilt thou be made whole?”


The man, not recognizing the Savior, answered, “Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.”

Lights seemed to turn on in my head and their short conversation struck me! This interaction became a lesson on Introspection, Trust, No More Excuses, and always, Faith in Christ.

The man told himself: “I would be made whole, but I can’t.” In other words: I can't walk. I move slowly. Everyone beats me. I've already tried it and when I try I fail. I have made multiple attempts and they did not work.”

Without hesitation Christ says, “Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.”

The man packed up his bed and walked away! But was he free of every problem every day after?! Nope! Was he "whole" right away?! Nope!

But he could walk!

My lesson from the pool of Bethesda was: no excuses; keep a steady closeness to the Savior, no matter how weak, unfit or unable I feel. He will do the rest.

Girls, in your attempts to “dream big and after you’ve done that dream bigger,” will you kick perfectionism and quick results to the curb?!

In seeking Him who makes you whole, your first miracle might be “getting your legs back.” But others will follow! You may witness one at a time, but over the course of your life - miracle by miracle - He will enlighten your mind and soften your heart, helping you become exactly who you were born to be. And He will do it because He loves you, because He is perfect.


Sometimes our invitations to “be made whole,” come via another’s voice, and they can be hard to recognize. Your mind might play tricks on you and say, "Well, actually there's this thing I’s hard...and that thing...then this other thing happens...and no one is helping me.... But, yes! When I clear this all up then I will come and ‘be made whole!’"

If you will instead say,

"Yes, I’ll choose faith to be made whole. I will take the smallest possible step toward healing. And when I try and it doesn't seem to work I'm going to try again! And no matter how many times I fall I will not stay there! I know the Savior’s way fills me with happiness that spans the eternities, so I'm going to keep trying so He can mold me into exactly who I want to become,"

you will never be wrong.


It does not matter how many detours you take, how many times you slip up or fall down,

it is in your turning toward Him, again and again and again, that He makes you whole.

That is saving grace.

One word of caution: beware the differences between shame and guilt! Guilt feels like: I made a mistake but when I say “I’m sorry” I am filled with confidence, unity, happiness — I am healed. Shame feels like: I am bad. I have made too many mistakes, there is no going back. I am not worthy of love, blessings or forgiveness.

Shame lies. And shame never comes from God.


For now you live in an imperfect world and you will lose your footing. When that happens, hear Christ at the Pool of Bethesda saying to you, “Annie/Kate, Rise, take up thy bed and walk.” He is always helping you, one miracle at a time, even when you don’t see them right away — Bethesda does mean house of mercy or house of grace after all.

Never give up on yourself, your faith, your God. He knows exactly how you feel, all of the time, and He will pick you up as many times as you need.

I love you with all of me.

He loves you always.



If someone comes to your mind as you read these posts please feel free to share them. I would love for anyone who needs this to find it.

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SEATTLE: I’m coming back in June when the babies are born!!

UTAH: I’ll be there in May.

This is where you book your very own snuggle sesh/hang out/photoshoot!

Click here to ask any questions in the world (though I may only have answers for .00000001% of them ;)), or to share your thoughts with me. I listen better than I talk and I would love to hear your heart!


(Side note on this Sister Pic my dreams are made of: my girls have been wearing their hand-me-downs for years!!)


xo, Christina

Portra 400

Ilford Delta 3200

Pentax 645nii

Canon 1V

The sun

A family who says yes to it all, smiling the whole time

Goodman Film Lab

Little Things

While our family was in town last week we spent an evening watching “The Office.” Pam said, “No big reason. Just a lot of little reasons.” That’s how I feel about life currently - in love with it for the little reasons. I secretly hope I have acquired the peaceful, mindful attitude of a 60 year old woman: life is good and beautiful and happy and peaceful and don’t fill it up with too much extra stuff and family is the most important thing and hug and kiss and tickle and squeeze your people a million times every day.


One afternoon I was randomly reading a section of John Gottman’s book, “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work.” The part I read talked about how marriages have the greatest success when the couples focus on what they are doing well - what brought us together? That stuck with me because I have been thinking about people - I am trying to train my brain to focus on what is going right - what I do well. I believe when we spend too much time focusing on what we need to improve we get sucked into a hole that doesn’t feed our mind, body, or spirit. I just wonder what would happen if I paid more attention to recognizing and celebrating my strengths, I’m practicing it anyway! And then maybe I’ll use them to help my partner, family, neighbors, etc. That’s a big deal to me.

I’m in the process of writing all of the strengths of each member of my family and posting it somewhere. I want the constant reminder of our gifts - our talents - front and center. I wonder if it will help me be more “other focused” instead of “self focused.” I just am interested in seeing where it leads us…


I want to blog once a week. This is the start of it. I take gazillions of pictures. Everything on film always. I want to share my pictures, creations, art, thoughts without much reservation. I’m going to worry less, think less, and send more stuff out into the universe solely because it brings me joy.

Seattle, Bay Area, Utah, My mind is reeling! I’m starting to not be able to sleep at night ‘cause your pictures keep me up. The flutter in my stomach tells me it’s going to be oh, so good. I’m thinking about you, planning for you, and am so, so proud of you for laying down your fears and doubts and insecurities to say YES to preserving these unmatchable and completely irreplaceable days.

Muy buenas noches,


A Goosie Girl and a Momma

On Sunday at church Kate was sitting on Tyler's lap. She was on a giggle fest and he, of course, was loving it, cracking up because she was cracking up and I was sitting on the sidelines enjoying it all while also shooting Tyler keep-her-quieter-you're-egging-her-on looks, as Annie lay asleep in my lap.

It was a beautiful moment followed up with this thought: "Those two have a special bond - they giggle like madmen, are both big teases, and they have way too much fun together and..." Then I thought, "Wait! Kate and I (capital "i") have a special bond! She is crazy about me! Wait!" And as I went down the line of every family member, I could see: "That's her spiritual gift! To make everyone feel like they are the most important person in the world!" She says just the right things with all the right feelings combined with tight squeezes around your neck and kisses and random, "Mama, I love you so much." or other random, "Thank you so much, mama."

That has been her way since she was TINY! I can still remember her frequent, unprompted, "Tay-too, mama"s as I gave her milk or food or wrapped her in a blanket. She felt gratitude in each of those simple moments and expressed it freely - I could, and still do!, feel her sincerity, appreciation. Making a sacrifice for another is effortless for her. She came out of me that way - sweet and snuggly and funny, a natural class clown.

There was another part of her though, a sad part. Even as a baby she would scream for endless hours of the day and night without anyone or anything able to console her. No amount of rocking, bouncing, or feeding helped. We had a running joke when she was content, "Don't look at her and don't talk about her." As soon as anyone made a peep about her she would start wailing all over again.

Sometimes Tyler would come home from work, sling her tiny body completely over his shoulder and go about his business, hands-free, helping with dinner, playing with Annie, cleaning up the house, sitting in the kitchen entryway chatting with me while I washed dishes. She was content there - but only with him.

She is naturally very mindful - present, can never be rushed - overflowing with unique qualities of easily withholding judgment and spreading endless amounts of love, allowing her to make each person with her feel they are the most important person in the world. She is filled to the brim with gifts and talents and love and gratitude - an old soul in a tiny, orange body.

And, sometimes she also gets sad. Like when she melted down yesterday.

***I wrote the next part last night but it didn't feel complete. This morning I added the backstory (the above) which adds to the story of our lives, dynamics that will evolve, grow, change, over time, and I don't want to miss a detail.***

This one had an epic meltdown today. When she gets into a rage there is no coercing, no easing her out. She goes to the depths. All I can do is leave her alone, and only she can bring herself back. Her tantrums don’t happen often, but when they do they are increasingly worse: stronger, louder, heavier, sadder. 

I’m kind of a patient person. I handle them OK, until I’m in public and she loses it. Then all I think about is how everyone starring might be thinking about I should parent. All I can think about is what they are thinking and then I have to work reeeaallllyyy hard to ask myself, “If there were no one looking, watching, listening what would I do? What would I say?” I have to pretend she and I are completely alone.

Today it was a man sweeping his concrete - he said nothing, did nothing, kept sweeping around us, as I sat on his lawn trying to keep Kate from running away (This was the first time she has melted down by a busy street and I couldn’t keep her locked in the car. She kept screaming and escaping and running.) So then I had to hold her, which is worse, because she screams louder trying to tear herself from my arms. There is no talking, no reasoning, no anything. 

So I automatically think the worst: Does he think I should spank her into submission? Show her who’s boss? Make her learn that feeling nothing is better than feeling sad and frustrated and out of control?

Then my heart races, tears well up, and as I sit holding my screaming-bloody-murder child as “neutrally” as I can, my mind wanders to all the babies who don’t have someone holding them while they hurt. Then it goes to other scary places of what this scenario will look like in a few years. Who or what will she run to?

And I wait. I wait for my brain to think of something, anything to do next. I wait for her to come to. I wait for the seconds that feel like hours. I wait for a passerby to give a dirty look or say something that stings.

I don't remember how I got her back in the car alone while a friend loaded my stuff for me.

And then, finally, I heard a sobbing whimper, “Mommy? Mommy?” I turned and saw her arms stretched out wide, big, blue eyes billowed up and overflowing with alligator tears. My sweet babe letting me come to the rescue. 

My first thought is always the same: “Wow - we made it through another one.”

I quickly scooped her up and she squeezed my neck and I tried to wrap as much of me around her as I could and she cried and cried and all I could say was, “I love my beautiful Goosie so much. I’m so sorry you are sad.”

I stood rocking her back and forth, rubbing her back and waiting for her to breathe steadily again. I kissed her wet cheeks, peacefully buckled her in her seat, and drove away sweaty, my heart still pounding out of my chest, my own tears about to pour out in buckets. Tears for me, tears for her, tears for all the babies and all the mommies who are sad.

And we drove to daddy’s work because, “Mommy? I want to go see daddy? Can we go see daddy at his wohhrk?”

“Of course, Goosie.”

It was dark. I pushed this Portra 800 to some crazy limits. #blessfilm