Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Girls Got Baptized!

Last Sunday November 11th, both Kathryn and Ellie were baptized at our church.  We had discussed this for the last few years, over and over and over again, and it was exciting to see them make this step of their own choice. We had a dessert reception afterwards and invited neighbors and friends from school to help them share their experience, and we had a great time.  While we were sitting in the service waiting for their baptism, I was flooded with memories of all the conversations that had led up to this.  As a parent, you so want your kids to follow Jesus, but you know that in the end, they must make their own choice.  I've made many mistakes as a parent, (and hopefully done some things right!) but it was a joy to see our children making a public decision to follow the Lord.

Notice the foot! :)

Thanks to our friends Tori and Lori who took great pictures when I couldn't find my camera!

Friday, November 09, 2012

Catching Up, and a New Blog!

I haven't blogged for a long time.
Sometimes it's because you don't have much to say.
Sometimes it's because there's too much to say.

Either way, I want to catch you up on our lives and share some new direction.

We've been through some major transition in the last 6 months.
I finished my MAC degree and started working for a wonderful counseling agency. 
Jim started his PhD.  And is still teaching full-time at SLU.
We swapped full-time student roles but both are taking on new jobs.

We're doing some wonderfully exciting things through our church.
Leading and coaching community groups.
Teaching opportunities centered around topics that we love to talk about.

Oh, yes, and we are still parents :)
The girls are in 2nd and 4th grades.
They add a various cornucopia of activities, like Girl Scouts, gymnastics, Ambassador Club (like the student council of the elementary school), playing the cello, and the chess club.

It's a very full life.

I haven't spoken with anyone in quite some time that doesn't describe their life as "busy."  We also feel this pull.  Where is the space to live life as God intended, with reflection, with restfulness of heart, with gratefulness-inspired giving, and joy?  I'm in pursuit of it.

So I'm launching a new blog.  ("Wait, I thought you were too "busy", you say.)

I've been thinking some time about a blog that could dovetail with my counseling practice, offer therapeutic thoughts towards LIFE, and be another means of making myself available to clients.  So, I'm going to keep this blog, but I'm going to let this be about personal and family updates.  And grandmas, I do have pictures to post soon!

But the new blog is going to be counseling related.

I'm going to kick it off with some insight from a wonderful book I've been reading called The Whole Brain Child, by Dan Siegel, who offers some tremendously helpful and extremely practical strategies for helping children live with integrated minds. Its written for parents, but I promise you, if we would put these thoughts into practice as adults, it would change us!

I'd love you to pop on over to this new site and subscribe to that blog too!


Friday, August 31, 2012

End of Summer Pictures

View from the top of the Arch during Nana's visit -- it's Busch Stadium!

There's a great Westward Expansion museum at the base of the Arch

Remembering our Texas roots

Early morning fishing trip at Rockport, TX--up before the sunrise!

K with Uncle Aaron

Caught a "mud dog"-- looks like half catfish, half salamander...

An ancient shipwreck?

Pelican Party

Fun boatride after the fishing trip...

Cousin's matching outfits for staged dance performance

Cousin Andrew

Swimming with Dingo and Uncle Jim

New cousin Margaux!

Last fling of the summer trip to Six Flags

Love the ice cream!

Ellie's impromptu dance moves

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Playful. child-like. creative. and free...

These are the lessons from grad school to me.

In pursuing a counseling degree, I’ve learned some stuff. 

I’ve learned about addictions, anxiety, depression, and various psychological disorders.

I’ve learned about family systems, behavioral therapy, emotion focused therapy, and various methods for helping people.

I’ve learned about counseling in groups, differing cultures, marriages and families…

I’ve learned about neuroscience and types of attachment in children and adults and how this plays out in relationships.

These are all good and necessary, and some of them fascinate me.  But they have not been the most important things…


When I was 6 years old, I remember an art lesson in school where a very old man taught us about the color wheel.  I remember his face.  He wasn’t our normal art teacher, and he only came once, but I his eyes danced as he showed us how to make colors.  We painted our own 12 point color wheel.  I was fascinated. Not just “red and yellow make orange,” but all the tertiary colors. Back then, I didn’t know they were “tertiary colors.”  I just knew I was delighted that you could make all that beauty from just red, blue and yellow.

My grandmother painted with watercolors.  I remember a few lessons she gave me.  I painted a portrait of my teddy bear, Huggy; a butterfly on a flower, and a house in the country.  I still have those somewhere.

When we lived in Singapore, I bought an art project at a craft store-- 3 square mirrors, framed by wide plain wood.  I imagined what I might paint on them. I sketched it out on paper. They sat in a closet.  When we moved to Beijing, the unfinished project came too.  I’d saved the sketches.  I took them out and looked at them.  No, this isn’t it, I thought. Something else. I sketched out a new idea. Yes, I will paint this… later.  And they sat in the closet.  When we moved to Saint Louis, the mirrors made yet another trip across an ocean… and found their way to another closet.

Last week, when I’d turned in my last project, I took them out of the closet.  The day had come!  I had carried these darn mirrors around the world, and they belonged in the closet no more. And guess what?  They aren’t in the closet. They are on the wall!


I’m not a great artist.  Aside from public school art class, I haven’t had any formal art training.  It isn’t because I’m good at it, but because it makes me feel alive, that it now hangs on the wall.  The mirrors aren’t the only thing that has come out of hiding.   

When I was a little girl, my very favorite children’s story was The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster. It tells the story of Milo’s clever and silly adventures in the kingdom of Wisdom.  My 4th grade teacher introduced us, and I couldn’t wait for the end of the day when we she would read to us. I longed for that kind of adventure an in imaginary land!

I know it’s appalling, but I just read the Chronicles of Narnia for the first time in my life this year. I started out reading it to the girls, but then at night, I would pick it up again and fall asleep to the dreamy thoughts of Aslan’s adventures.  “No fair, mom!  Stop reading ahead!”  Ellie was not pleased when she found out, but I didn’t mind reading it through another time.  The scene where Jill’s thirst drives her to approach the dangerous lion… the scene where tiny Reepicheep convinces the ‘cowardly’ princes they absolutely must go forth into the darkness… seem almost inspired. Seeking out and reading really great stories together is very favorite activity to do with the girls.

I love children’s literature, but I’m not extremely well read.  I remember as a freshman in college, talking with a friend about all the great stories she had read and loved.  I was embarrassed. I nodded my head, yes, yes, I’ve read those too, having no idea what she was talking about.  It isn’t because I have a fabulous library or I’m exceptionally smart that I love children’s books. It’s because the really great stories speak to the soul, if you have ears to listen. I’m learning to listen.

When I was in 6th grade, I joined the band.  I tested with ‘potential’ in flute and percussion.  I knew that I wasn’t going to do the same thing as my sister, so percussion was the winner.  As a percussionist, you learn to play all the instruments—xylophone, marimba, bass drum, snare drum, tambourine, etc… but I played the keyboard instruments the most.  As a ‘percussionist’ you run across a lot of crazy boys who like to hit stuff.  They weren’t ‘serious’ about it like I was.  They were wild and obnoxious.  They were ‘drummers,’ but I was a ‘percussionist.’  In the 7th grade, I played the piano in the jazz band.  It was just me and the drummer, sitting in the back.  I played the piano, but I watched him.  He was having a lot of fun.

In high school my parents bought me a marimba from a new music maker who was trying to get rid of his stock from a music convention before traveling back home.  It was a beautiful instrument.  It was made of polished rose wood, and it had a deep and mellow tone.  I loved that resonant sound.  It was also enormous.  Probably 8 feet long.  During our 4 year stint in Dallas, it came to live in our kitchen.  I loved looking at it, remembering it, but with babies and grad school, there wasn’t much time to play.  It was also worth a lot of money.  It paid for one semester of seminary.

When we moved to Beijing, I started to notice that whenever music was playing, I began tap-tap-tapping.  And, I noticed that I started watching the drummer.  I watched him play, unselfconsciously and free. I started to wonder if maybe… Jim, what would you think if?... no, that’s a silly idea. That’s what crazy boys do.  But I never stopped watching him.  In Saint Louis, I met another drummer who loved to hit things. But he made beautiful music, and you could tell he played with passion and joy.  I started to investigate… no, yes, no, YES!  In December, my husband bought me an electronic drum set that lives in our basement.

I’m not a great drummer.  I’m not even a little bit good. But when I’m playing, something comes alive in me. Passionate, free expression is not just for crazy boys!  And I imagine that one day, I will be a part of the worship team, drumming along, vivaciously alive.  And maybe there might be another woman in the audience whose soul would become inspired to consider that she too was made to be…

 …playful.   child-like.  creative.  free.  These are the lessons from grad school to me.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Graduation weekend!

My supervision group--greatest group ever!
My friend Kathleen-- first introduced me to the program 3 years ago and we got to graduate together!

My sister in law Julie and nieces Emma and Ally came

Here's the woman behind most everything I've learned this year! Thank you Diane!! 

I love this pic!

And here's the man behind most everything I learned the year before! Love Dr. Zink!

Time to PARTY!  See it?? Back right?? MARGARITA MACHINE!

My supervisor Judy

There is it, folks!