Celebrated My 10th Spiritual Birthday

I can’t believe that today I can say that I’ve been a Christ follower for ten years…that is a DECADE! I’d like to be able to brag about how much I know or have grown as a Christian, but I still feel like I’ve just barely scraped the surface of what it truly means to grow in trusting God daily.

Miss Photographer

Something that I thought would be fun is to reflect on those first few moments and my journey into becoming a Christian.

My entrance into the church was through serving projects. Our area in the tidewater had been struck by a powerful hurricane in 2003. Schools were out for a few days, so I was bored. The guy that I was dating shared that his youth group was highly involved in the community. That youth group and youth director had organized projects going into the most severely affected homes and helping those people to clean and remove the storm debris.

Because of that I started to join the youth group in various activities. This led to deciding to go on the fall youth retreat.

IMG_7902 IMG_8317

One of the distinctive memories of Eastover is in riding the ferry over to that area. My youth group always thought it was fun to hold crackers or pieces of bread and wait until the seagulls would swoop seeing if they would be brave enough to maintain holding the food until the bird snatched it. Lots of screaming and laughter filled those moments.

IMG_8198

We would ride the ferry to an amazing retreat facility called Eastover. This is a beautiful dorm style facility set in a rural area. It is gorgeous with the crunchy leaves on the ground. Our days were crammed with Bible studies taught by various leaders, and many active relay races (I learned in youth ministry that this was to tire the youth out so they could focus on the lessons…sneaky…sneaky).

IMG_8119

Between all of the sessions I realized that I was opening my heart to believe about the things that were being taught about this man named Jesus. That night at the culmination Bible message (being taught by my future leader to Brazil) they offered an altar call for those who wanted to dedicate their lives to Christ. I remember standing there knowing that I wouldn’t go to heaven if for some reason I died…honestly, I was thinking that if Christ came back my boyfriend at the time would go to heaven and I wouldn’t. I remember wishing “just let someone else go first, just let someone else go first” Then, the Pastor said, “okay is there anyone else who wants to come forward” and I beelined to the front to pray with my youth director and accept Christ into my life!

IMG_8257

Afterwards, I remember praying at the front of the room with my boyfriend at the time. It was funny because I really had no idea how long I was supposed to stay there on my knees. We stayed there for awhile as everyone began to clean up the room, and head out to the bonfire under the stars. Finally, I decided to stand up, and I remember that my legs felt numb from resting on them so long, so that it felt like I was a newborn lamb walking on my legs for the first time.  It was a neat thought and metaphor for my new life.

IMG_8261

Walking out to join the youth group, I was quiet an somber, struck with the giantness of the heavens above me, of the beautiful starry skies above, and how I was going to live up there one day.

That night I shared with one of the girls near my bunk bed, my decision. She informed the rest of the room, and they did one of the coolest things that I’ve ever experienced…they began to sing “Happy Birthday” to me.

217720_1034441750344_1655_n

Therefore, Eastover still holds a special place in my heart. I attended each retreat even through my college years, returned to lead and teach sessions to the youth! The final year that I went, my husband and I were invited to attend together! It was one of the coolest things we’ve done as a couple. Surprisingly, I know I took my camera (there are pictures of it around my neck) but I can’t seem to find the pictures anywhere! Instead, I’ll fill this post with pictures from my 2008 visit.

It is cool to share this milestone with you. I’ve done so much growing from that moment, from mission trips, from personal failures, from witnessing God’s victories, from quiet seasons, from times where God’s providence has been so obvious in my life. I can truly say that no matter what the season is, that God has proven that He will always be there for me. Here’s to the next few decades of living my life for Christ…I cling to the promise that He will finish what He has begun in me. Philippians 1:6.

Random fact…I haven’t looked at these pictures in years, and they are prime example of my need to sort and edit my photos! But, it is neat to see that these pictures from 2008 are definitely in the same style of the pictures I still take today five years later. Its neat to thing that I have similar things that I tend to capture photographically.

Discovered Modern Scrapbook Supplies

In case you can’t tell, I like pictures. Not only do I like saving pictures from every random day of my life (let alone actually exciting events), but I also enjoy securing random paper products that “prove” my actions that day: receipts, business cards, flyers, programs, tickets, decorated napkins, candy wrappers. Somehow it is like by gripping tangible things from those moments that maybe I can freeze those moments in time. Thus my proclivity towards hoarding such momentos means as an (almost) 26 year old I have piles and piles of pictures and stuff. I keep all of it saying “I’m going to scrapbook it…one day”

IMG_4435

The problem is that it takes too much time, energy, and supplies to make that one day happen.

IMG_4434

But I decided that maybe if I scrapbook/memory make right after said event is over….maybe then I’ll develop a habit and eventually I’ll also be able to back track?

IMG_4431

An attempt to organize memory stuff with the intent of making it pretty later…these binders document my college days…which were a few years ago.

Right after the beach trip I began to purchase supplies, some paper, some beach themed stickers and waited for Shutterfly to have an amazing sale on pictures. Bam! They offered 101 free prints at Halloween. I began to design some pages with those beach pictures and I realized that what I wanted was to decorate a few pages, but then to have album type pages to insert pictures at mass.

I went to the craft store to get a binder with my Michael’s coupons…and what do you know they were having a buy one get one free….so of course then there was no reason not to get 2 albums!

In the modern day there are new types of scrapbooking/memory making materials available for the busy modern day woman. Instead of a scrapbook with posts which limit the pages there are 3 ring binders. Instead of just blank scrapbook pages there are album pages designed in all types of sizes, where the goal is to use journal cards that add color/design/theme as well as space to record specific memories about the event. It is genius! Less of the cutting, gluing, designing free space pages where the goal is to make them look as frou-frou (ps that is actually a French word!) as possible.

Some of the main brands with these types of products are: Product Life, Recollections, Echo Park and We R Memory all of which are available on amazon. By far Product Life is the best promoted, creating a community of people who use the product in order to collaborate together.

I’m excited! Compiling one’s memories is so much quicker with those tools. Then, you still have the option if you want to “freestyle” a page. I’m hoping that my zeal over the past few days will continue to become a lifestyle habit.

One of the coolest discoveries that I’ve made about these types of scrapbooks is Ali Edwards and her “one little word” projects. Basically, at the beginning of the year (the goal is to try and memory make throughout the year with these binders) you pick a word that sums up your hopes/goals for that year. Well since I’m making my binder at the end of 2013 I can cheat and select a word that sums up what 2013 has been like. I chose “Carried.” These past 4 months especially have been a testament to how God has supported us through various trials and changes, and that we’ve grown in learning to support each other.

IMG_4436

Here are the pages I created after the 5k I jogged:

IMG_4437

IMG_4438

 

IMG_4439

 

IMG_4440

Entered the Final Quarter of Internship

keepcalmandcounselon It’s been awhile since I posted about my internship progress, some of it was due to wanting to avoid ethical entanglements, making sure I wasn’t actually discussing my clients, etc.

Now, I’m in final quarter of my final semester of internship…I can’t believe I’m at this point! Here are the stats: 191.25 F2F, 24.5 Individual Supervision, 22.75 Group Supervision, 401.25 Related Activities hours for a grand total of 639.75!! In total we are supposed to have 600 hours, but its about getting the “right” 600 hours. At this point I need 48.75 face to face hours left (9.5 of which can be observations) to reach by Dec. 14th. It’ll still be close, but I’m averaging more like 7-10 hours per week now.

Entering this last stretch is cause for reflection at the rest of the journey. Beginning my 3rd semester placed me in the role of Office Manager again unexpectedly…but I felt more confident in that position. Oddly, I liked the symmetry at beginning and ending my internship in the same way. One of the biggest difficulties in my internship has been the problem of “no shows.” Due to having fewer of my own clients I participated more in cotherapy. This meant that I was able to see other types of therapies: family therapy, EMDR, play therapy, premarital and other styles of doing therapy.

Counseling is teased as a “social non serious science” but in my opinion that makes it more challenging! Gravity and other physical laws will always behave in those ways, whereas each depressed person will respond differently to the same technique! Cotherapy has been an enriching experience that I’m grateful for, as I know many others are unable to sample such variety of counseling.

At this point I can confidently say that I know that I click in counseling. There is nothing more fulfilling than being able to be Jesus to these people as they go through trials in their lives, and hoping to help them develop coping skills. As difficult, challenging, and infuriating as aspects of being a counselor can be, I know that I was made to do this.

I know that I want to pursue residency to obtain licensure to open more doors in the future. I have no idea where this will be, but I know that God will show me in His time. At this point I’m focusing on 240 hours, going to veg the last two weeks of December. Then, in January I’ll figure out my “next steps.”

Faced My Biggest Driving Fear

 

intersections_ahead

There are those moments when you are faced with something, simply based on perspective it could either be your biggest challenge, or your biggest opportunity. Today I was faced with one of those moments.

My husband called me, and said “You are going to hate me.” My first fear was that he was in an accident himself. He says “You have to come get me…and I’m on that road.” He had visited a shop on his lunch break, and had locked his keys in the truck, and needed rescuing.

I googled directions, compared the routes….pretty much all of them involved the highways which I’ve just started driving on again. I could avoid that road, with THAT INTERSECTION altogether…but that route would be longer and more complicated.

I took a deep breath, made a decision, and told my husband that I was on my way.

In the hospital when my friends had visited, I had off offhandedly mentioned how this accident would affect my fears. My friend told me “You are a counselor, you can CBT your way out of that.” So I’ve tried to be careful with the thoughts I’ve had. I tried to be careful about telling myself what I was and wasn’t able to do. In an emergency I knew that I was going to have to believe that I could drive where I needed to be able to drive.

I was nervous, but I was also excited, envisioning how I feel when I accomplished what I set out to do….to drive myself through that very same intersection where my car was smooshed less than 6 months ago. I was slightly shaking, not sure if due to nerves or adrenaline.

God made it really easy for me…each highway merge was without complication…all of the other cars were very far away. I’m so grateful for that. I came up to that intersection, where I’d failed to complete my left before. My goodness it is so much easier when there is not traffic blocking your visibility! I easily crossed the double lanes to turn left. I cheered loudly in my car at this, I’m not ashamed to say.

I even returned home via the highway…and there was more traffic congestion, which was good to practice in. I don’t think my driving anxieties are cured….as I had driving aversion tendencies before that car accident…but God has shown me that I’m more capable than I believe and I don’t need to be afraid. I hope that I always pray that He will guide me, allow me to make the wisest decisions when I travel.

In Jamaica they have some of the highest amounts of traffic collisions each year. These areas are marked with death toll signs to serve as warning. While riding in the van to pick up children from school or to go to Bible study they would each pray that God would guide the vehicle to safety. I want to remember to yield my “auto” and “cruise control tendencies” to Jesus on a daily basis.