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Showing posts from 2014

Learning to feel...Again

November has been a crazy, busy month. Again. In looking back, I discovered that I only posted once in November last year and the year before. Apparently, my life in November tends to distract me from writing. Anyways...

I'm back and reflecting on what has been happening since I last blogged, in October. Some of the noteworthy events:

I attended a seminar on Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy and The Allender Center's Intimate Mystery marriage conference. I baked three batches of delicious pumpkin bars using real pumpkin from Ben's farmBen and I bought my granddad's 2005 Toyota Prius after he passed away (Bittersweet because of his passing and the fact that I will stop driving the Saturn wagon that I bought from him and my grandmems after she stopped driving in 2003. I have driven that beloved car for 11 1/2 years and 160,000 miles.)Ben and I discovered the perfect cigar chair for my office while wandering the stores of Lake Geneva, WI after our marriage conference.We …

An antidote to envy

I was running on Saturday and it was insanely beautiful all around me. The leaves were exploding with color and the sun was streaming through all the branches without leaves. It was unseasonably warm and the river was sparkling. There was a costume party at the pavilion where we had our rehearsal dinner and there were several people fishing. Even the animals were out and crowding the path to sun themselves. I saw three small snakes, several crickets and a few fuzzy caterpillars.

I wasn't having the best run, but my heart was filling up with all of the beauty. I finally slowed to a walk and found myself tearing up as I started repeating to God, "You are good. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places."

I experienced in that moment what I struggle to experience in my daily life. I felt enough before God and my life felt full despite my unanswered prayers and challenging circumstances. I felt completely free from envy and frustration and full of hope, peace,…

Happy Fall

My heart is full today.

I got up early and did my hair. After months of wearing it crazy and curly, it feels nice to wear it straight. It's getting really long now. I find myself getting stuck when I lean against furniture and my hair held in place by my back prevents my head from moving.

I drove Ben to work. It was so nice. I love starting my day with him as I sip coffee. We drove to the farm together so he could get in the fields and I could have my piano lesson.

I am having so much fun playing piano. It's like a delicious secret to me on most days. I am starting to be able to play by ear and I'm just graduating into playing beyond the basic pattern of blocked chords, hands together, then the right and then the left. I've had moments where I'm playing, and singing!, without almost no conscious thought. I led, by myself, for an hour at last month's 12-hour burn with R2HOP and I have been playing on Wednesday nights, when Ben leads, three times now. I can still…

Self-Esteem

Almost everyone I see in my practice is experiencing insecurity and frail self-esteem, in at least one area of their lives. Even those of us who like to think of ourselves as basically emotionally healthy can find weaknesses in our worth and qualities possessed by others that we find superior to our own. Without an unshakable foundation to hold us up through comparison, the risk of rejection and unmet expectations, we will crumple under feelings of failure, disappointment and shame.
Only God, who is perfect in love and knowledge, can give us a self-esteem that will last. Only He, who knows us completely, and so intimately, can say that we are delightful and be believed. We need His love and truth to persuade us that we are beloved in order to feel that loved with ourselves and everyone else.
God says that we are dark, but lovely. He uniquely sees our struggle with sin, doubt and fear. He knows who He has made each of us to be and how far each of us actually is from that person. But st…

Looking back and then ahead

I'm trying to get back into writing a blog post once a week.

I think that Fall prompts me to write because I first started posting to a blog in the fall of 2011. I was an intern with the Fire in the Night program at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. Several people were supporting me financially and many more were praying for me to encounter God in that season. I kept an almost daily record of what I was learning and shared it through my blog.

Here is a quote from my post three years ago:

In the notes today, Mike Bickle suggests the following identity and my heart really resonated:
Our primary identity (value/success) is found in who we are in our intimacy with God which consists of being loved by God and in being a lover of God. I confess, "I am loved (by God) and I am a lover (to God/others) therefore, I am successful." We find our identity or success in being desired by God and in loving Him instead of seeking our primary value in how much we accomplish …

A trip to France and approaching a year of marriage

When we got engaged, my wonderful French friend invited us to spend our honeymoon in France. She owns a small cottage by the sea and a home in the mountains there, as well as a wonderful little condo in Chicago.

I've been to France several times, even living there for a semester during college, and I really wanted to bring Ben to visit this country that I love. But, I knew that we would be far too exhausted to enjoy a trip to France just after the feat of planning a wedding. So, I asked my friend if we could use her Chicago condo for our first few days of marriage and save our trip to France for this summer. She graciously accepted.

We spent a little over two weeks in France at the beginning of August. It was absolutely delightful and oh so romantic. It was truly a second honeymoon and we felt extremely blessed that the Lord had given us a double portion because our first honeymoon was also so lovely.

I found myself comparing this trip to my trip to France for my 30th birthday. I…

Beautiful Tension

In my life and my work, I experience a lot of tension. I usually find it where things are not as I would like them to be.

September has seen lots of extra space in my work week. My beautiful tension is found in receiving these gifts of time in the midst of my desire to have a busy practice. I spend some of the time catching up on tasks that need done, while other moments are spent more leisurely.

So many of the people that I see are suffering from painful experiences, past and present, and my challenge is to help them find joy through relationship with God even as they wait for Him to shift their difficult circumstances. There is sadness and anger toward God for allowing them to experience such distress. There is also real comfort as He connects with them in their aching.

I want to use my gifts to produce and create even as I experience fatigue and desire rest. I love the work that God has given me to do and still prefer to be on vacation. I want more and I want less.

I have been taki…

Perception

I had a dream the other night that I was teaching a class on perception. I was using a children's curriculum and I was adapting it for adults. I wasn't sure exactly what I was going to teach and the class start time kept getting delayed for various reasons. But, I remember how excited I felt about the material. I felt the thrill of discovery over something profound and I was full of anticipation about sharing my findings with other people.
One thing that I have been thinking a lot about this month is the presence of both great evil and great love in my heart. This month has been busy for me with activities. As many of you already know, I struggle emotionally when I live at a certain level of activity. It's like the door to ugliness in my heart is thrown wide open. I know that it is not my circumstances that are creating the terrible thoughts and feelings that I discover. They live within me all the time, just waiting for the right person or situation to reveal them. Even w…

1001 gifts

I'm going to count gifts today.
#981: Waking up early without wanting to cry#982: I have met all of my exercise goals for this month#983: AND I still feel excited about my exercise goals for this month#984: Ben fixed my tail-light and I can drive my car without fear of being pulled over#985:  #986: We tried a new soup recipe last week and it turned out really delicious#987: Reading for pleasure#988: The sobering realization, yet again, that I cannot do my job, at all, without deep partnership with God#989: New clients AND familiar clients#990:#991: I have serious silly-ness hidden within me and Ben knows right where to find it#992: Surprising my parents by installing the new microwave while they were gone#993: Recognizing that knowing how to handle "not getting what you want when you want it" well is one of the most valuable life skills and being able to cultivate it despite discomfort#994: Thin mint coffee creamer sweetening my afternoon#995:#996: Practicing the piano t…

Growing Pains...

You may be wondering what happened to me during February and March and I have been asking myself that same question recently. There was a lot going on and no time for writing.


I had two wonderful opportunities open up. My mom started teaching a Bible study on Heaven on Monday nights and Ben and I were invited to join a group of young couples who were going through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace curriculum on Thursday nights. My mom is a talented teacher of God's word and I have gotten so excited about spending eternity with God in a real place that I can't wait to experience. Financial Peace University (FPU) has been great too and Ben and I are learning some valuable principles and strategies about money, budgeting and savings. But the downside to all of this is that I filled up my only two open nights during the week.

Now, I did pause and consider the consequences of my actions before I committed to these two opportunities. I remembered the brutal exhaustion that I lived w…

Learning how to learn

I have always been a good student. I think it's partly because I happen to learn the way that most education is offered. The other part is that I work hard to do everything perfectly and please the person that I am working for. What has been less obvious is the incredible pressure that I have struggled with internally as I strive to perform externally.

My first instrument was the French Horn. I played the French Horn in 4th and 5th grade. I loved playing as part of a band or an orchestra. But, I strongly disliked carrying my French Horn on the bus to school. It was somewhat heavy and definitely awkward. I had to find an empty seat so that it could sit next to me or risk blocking the aisle because it certainly didn't fit under the seat. Then there was the fear of people judging me for being weird and playing the French Horn that further complicated things.

I switched to piano in 6th grade. In my imagination, I played amazingly, with ease and skill. In reality, I stretched my sm…

Don't forget to sing in the lifeboats

Ben got a book of quotes for his birthday. It is entitled: "Don't Forget to Sing in the Lifeboats." It has some fun and interesting quotes and the title always catches my attention. To me, this is a great metaphor for choosing joy despite difficult circumstances.

This morning, I found the same quote, in full, at the bottom of my notepad. "Life is a shipwreck but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats." - Voltaire

I was nestled into the couch, with my Bible in my lap and my coffee in my hand. I was trying to finish yesterday's reading in Job so that I could get caught up and start on today's reading. But, in the back of my mind, I was actually anxiously contemplating my schedule for today, which is full of appointments and a Rotary lunch meeting.

This quote stopped me short. "Life is a shipwreck." As I thought about this statement, I affirmed that this is true, in general. It reminds me of Jesus' words: "In the world you have tri…

Writing, blogging, update

Blogging is hard right now, but I have been writing. I have been scribbling notes here and there; in notebooks with a pen.

I wrote pages and pages on the way back from the OneThing conference in Kansas City. I was thinking about what Mike Bickle said about self-hatred and how abiding in the love of God can drive it away. I was remembering some of the things that God has told me to tell clients struggling with self-hatred. I was reflecting on things that God has told me in my own struggle with self-hatred. I was writing down everything that I could remember that I have ever learned about self-esteem and how we can change the way we view ourselves and our bodies.

I have been penciling notes into the margins of my Bible again. I was wonderfully challenged by a message that Francis Chan gave during the conference. (Revelation 3:1-2: "you have a reputation for being alive, but in fact you are dead! Wake up, and strengthen what remains, before it dies too!) I have become so very lazy …