Monday, August 15, 2011

Life lessons from Winnie the Pooh.

“If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together.. there is something you must always remember. you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. but the most important thing is, even if we're apart.. i'll always be with you.

Some of my favorite stories growing up were the ones I read in Winnie the Pooh. Hidden amongst the cute and cuddly were always some important life lessons. Even as a child, I often felt a sense of faith and hope after reading them. Lets face it...those little guys are awesome. A piglet, a pooh bear, a rabbit and a bouncy tiger. Who wouldn't love the endearing qualities of each one of them? They always knew who they were, and weren't afraid to be themselves. Eeyore in all his pessimism was accepted by Pooh and his friends. Tigger and his excessive amounts of energy, piglet and his fears, Rabbit with all his control issues. And through it all, the one thing I took away from the crew of Pooh is the concept of unconditional acceptance and a sense of togetherness. Sure they had issues with each other sometimes, what community doesn't? They bugged each other, they hurt each others feelings, they could be insecure, jealous, grumpy, impatient, stubborn, irritable....(this is starting to remind me of a certain girl I know, who may or may not be writing this blog.) But all in all they knew how to love each other. They knew they were in it together, and they knew how to ask each other for help. They knew how to support one another.

Ladies....we could learn a lot from this bunch.

Let's always remember just how lovable the women around us are. Just how lovable WE are. And how important it is to accept the quirky, broken and messy parts of ourselves and each other.

After all...

Pooh-bear has an eating disorder,
Piglet has anxiety,
Eeyore has depression,
Rabbit has O.C.D.,
Tigger has ADHD

Now there's a group in need of some love and acceptance. So when you feel alone, or buried underneath your struggles, or just flat out tired and run down...think of Pooh and his crew. Pick up the phone and give someone a call. Ask for help, lean on a friend, cry on a shoulder, lend an ear. We're in it together.

Take some time today to tell a special person in your life that you love them. And remind them of what it means to have a friend like them. We need people in our lives (and we need to be the kind of people) who are willing to say "when the whole world's stacked against you, I'll be by your side." This is my lesson learned from Winnie the Pooh. What's yours?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

starting the day.

Contemplative reflections and prayer time can be such a beautiful start to a day. One particular prayer that I love is by a man named Frederick Buechner. I encourage you to start your day with this one. Read it once slowly, sit in silence and take it in, and then read it again.Perhaps you want to read it alone, maybe there's a loved one in your life that you can pause with and read together. However you choose to, let it wash over you. May this be a moment for you to open your heart and take in your life. this life. today.

“Lord catch me off guard today.

Surprise me with some moment of beauty or pain.

So that at least for the moment

I may be startled into seeing that you are here

In all your splendor,

Always and everywhere,

Barely hidden,



Within this life I breathe”

Sunday, August 7, 2011


I met a woman today who touched my heart. She and her family have spent their summer hosting a little girl from Afganistan. A few years ago, this beautiful little girl had a wall of her house fall on top of her. Her skull was fractured, her face was badly scarred. She came to America with a severed optical nerve, loss of hearing, and an ear infection. Thankfully, she is alive and smiling today because of this woman. But this isn’t the whole story…. last summer this woman lost her own flesh and blood. Her daughter died suddenly. She was 6 years old.

I received a prayer request today about another beautiful woman I know that just lost her mother in a house fire. She was in a wheelchair; her father couldn’t get her out of the house in time. A mother, a grandmother, a wife…..lost. I cried this morning as I prayed for them. I wonder how they’re coping.

I talked to a friend today, who told me of her friend who is living with and struggling though a battle with stomach cancer. She has had the majority of her stomach removed. The cancer has spread to most of her lymph nodes. She can’t eat from her mouth, she is fed through a tube. She has a long journey through Chemotherapy before she will be out of the woods.

Women facing tragedy. Women facing loss. Loss of jobs, loss of relationships, loss of health, family, loss of innocence.

Women living through pain.

My heart is hurting. I honestly said out loud today….”I think I’ve heard enough, this is so much tragedy to hear about in one day”. I don’t know what to say. I feel so helpless, I feel so sad, I want to make things better. I will never be able to. I can’t fix this. I can’t even pretend it’s someday going to feel normal again. I can only cry, pray and hope.

I hope for a world someday where there is no pain, I hope in a God who bears our burdens, who is near to the broken-hearted. I hope in a God who knows the pain of the human experience, of losing a son. It’s the only thing I know how to do. I wish I had some profound thoughts on living through pain. I don’t. The only thing I do know that pain hits us all, in one way or another we are all walking through (or at least know someone who is facing) great pain. So I guess the only way to live through it….is to be in it together. I’ve heard it said once that “Joy shared is doubled, and burdens shared are cut in half”. So I will share, I will weep, I will pray, I will hope. I will hope for you. I will hope for me. I will hope for this world. And I will not let go of the promise: The promise that someday there will be no more sorrow. And today, though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we have a God who knows us, who is always waiting to comfort us. So I pray today whatever you are facing, that you take the hand of the one who knows you and though darkness surrounds you, that you may have the strength to believe He walks close beside you. And always will.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A true soul shepherd....think about it.


met them where they were

was compassionate

acted out of explicit moral context but was never condemning

spoke with Authority

invited choice

asked probing questions

affirmed faith responses

was scandalously inclusive

set limits and took care of himself

dealt with each person uniquely and individually

related in a manner that affirmed peoples value

was never coercive or manipulative

spoke in ordinary language

didn't minimize the cost of discipleship

dealt at the level of motivation, not just behavior

preferred dialogue over monologue

never allowed his own needs to get in the way of meeting the needs of others

invited engagement, not passive receptivity

gave HIMSELF, not just advice

accepted the trust people placed in him.

THIS is why I will forever be a student of this wonderful Soul Shepherd

Sunday, July 24, 2011


In the last month God has been speaking to my heart about so many things, and to be honest, I haven’t heard God speak in a long time….a really long time. Not that he hasn’t been speaking, I think it’s more that I haven’t been listening. Or maybe God withholds his words from us sometimes to let us see things in ourselves we need to see? I’m not really sure I know about that, but that’s for a different blog.

Back to the point. I want to talk about dandelions. They grow just about anywhere. Have you ever noticed them growing out of the cracks in cement sidewalks? I have. And they do. They’re stem climbs through the soil in the crack and somehow amidst all the struggle they stay alive, they actually bloom beautifully. The thing about Dandelions is that they are incredibly resilient. Rain, snow, hail, or heat….they WILL bloom where they are planted. Pretty interesting to me. I can’t describe the thought this evokes in me without being cheesy, so I’m just going to say it. Here goes….I want to be a woman who knows how to “bloom where I’m planted”. There, it’s out. Cheeseball 1, Christin 0.

But let me be honest. The reason this analogy affects me so much is because I have a really hard time doing just that. I go along in life fearing and questioning and to make matters worse, looking to all kinds of circumstantial things to help me feel better about the fearing and questioning.

Sometimes I seem to live as though I need permission, to have fun, to create, to really live. I don’t think that many words can describe this pattern of living, but first, I can tell you what it’s NOT. It’s not brave, abandoned, exciting, or strong… is more……timid? No….(well it is, but that’s not enough of it) Sensitive? No. There’s a way to be sensitive without being….dare I say it? Cowardly….yep! That’s it. I’m a complete chicken. And now that I said it. There’s no going back.

So pressing on, I started by examining the reasons I tend to be afraid (that’s somehow and easier word to swallow than the word coward.) And the number one reason I came up with is this….I like to protect myself. Bottom line. I don’t like pain, I don’t like being uncomfortable and I especially don’t like being embarassed.

Somehow I feel like my self protection prevents me from ever experiencing pain, or being embarrassed. Realty check!! It doesn’t. The only result of hiding who I am and protecting is felling really alone when I do face hard moments in my life. Because hardships are unavoidable, they really are. As much as I want to believe that life will always go my way and I will never get hurt… I know the truth, in fact I think I learned that truth when I was a little girl. I’ve just been hiding from it for years. But alas, its is here. The pain, the heartache. Its all here, right on the surface and deep deep inside me. So I ask myself, what do I do with all this? And then while on running recently (I think a lot when I run). it hit me. I don’t DO anything. I learn how to BE, with myself, with others, with God. The thing about pain is that when we run from it, it only chases us down more and when its catches up to us (and it always will) its even stronger that it was 5 miles before. So the secret to “working on” this for me, is to be honest with it and with Jesus…..not for the purpose of fixing or finding the right memory or self help book that taps into my wounded heart. It’s being wiling to sit before God as his child. The God who is “I AM”. God who is good. God who IS love.

I think being with Him, in true intimacy, would in fact allow space to “bloom”. And I wonder what would happen if I bloomed wherever I was planted? If I let my God given strength and dignity be petals, and my dependence on him, the roots that run strong and deep? I think and hope my life could be (at the very least) and encouragement to others. I want to live with the freedom to say, “I don’t have it figured out”. So there we have it. I am on a journey. One that is at times......incredible, and sometimes very painful. But I’m on it. And I’ll do what it takes to just be on my path.

I pray. I seek. I trust you Jesus. Help me to learn to just be.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

what I want.

I have started writing agian. Writing is really powerful for me, it helps me discover things about myself. This is a portion of a paper I wrote for class that I really enjoyed writing. The topic was why I'm chosing the helping profession of Psychology. So often I get caught up in talking and thinking about what I dont want to do. Who I don't want to become. It's refreshing to look back at things I've written and be reminded of what I love, what I want. And more importantly, what I want my life to be about.

I believe in the power of the human spirit. I believe that we were created for relationship, that this life is challenging at best, and at times very, very hard. I believe that we are not alone in it though.

I believe that the human spirit can be shaped and molded for good and for bad and that we as human beings have the power to affect each other greatly. At times that power is abused, and other times that power is positively transformative and profound. We were created to love, serve and live together in community. If there is ever any question about that fact we need only to look at what happens to the human mind and spirit when they are isolated from companionship and human contact.

As humans we need each other. We need God. This is my belief.

When I think about my value for relationships and how they work in our life, I have to acknowledge the fact that it is these values that drive me toward the helping professions. I have a particular interest in the counseling profession simply because of my experience and the transformation I believe can happen to a person through a sound understanding of their story, a good therapist, and most importantly God’s healing power. In order for me to fully embrace my call to this profession I had to first understand my story. I also had to embrace the fact that my story is not finished, that I like any living breathing person am in the process of growth. A process I care deeply about.

As a child I was always aware that fear was a big part of my life, I was afraid to fly, afraid of the dark, afraid of getting sick, afraid of just about everything. I had no idea where fear came from, what to do about it and it always seemed as though my fears were a burden to my parents. As an adult I now can look back and gain understanding as to why I was so fearful. Some of it was rooted in the basic human condition, but a large majority of it was due to the fact that I grew up in a very unsafe place.

I didn’t know that what my sisters and I experienced on a weekly basis was a very chaotic and unstable existence that some kids would never know. I also didn’t know how much those experiences were shaping me; creating fears, insecurities and shame that would continue into my adult life.

I heard a quote once that human beings are born with two basic fears; the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises. All other fears must be learned. I grabbed hold of many additional fears in my childhood; fears that were too hard to face and eventually turned into anger. This is my story. I want to help others discover theirs. I believe that I was created to help others find out who they were truly intended to be. This belief shapes my life. Every conversation, every interaction, and every move I make. And I wonder how many other people have an understanding of what beliefs shape their life?