I am a high empathy person. Often inappropriately labeled “too sensitive” or “emotionally immature,” I feel the emotions of others and can easily read the emotional climate of a room. This ability came in handy as a social worker. I could tell you in a matter of moments what was going on in a foster family or a family of origin simply be spending time interacting with them. However being a high empathy person is not as helpful during say – family disputes, faith shifts, facing the extreme emotional reactions of others, standing beside someone in physical pain, or dramatic election seasons. As an emotionalRead More →

Donald Trump Won – What Do We Tell the Children? When you finally wake up this morning and dare to sneak a peek at the election results, you might be left with one question: Donald Trump won NOW what do we tell the children? If you have spent much time talking to them about the election, the candidates, watching the debates together, giving them the opportunity to form their own opinions, discussing what kind of character is essential for a president, AND THEN TAKING THEM TO SEE YOU VOTE – today might start off rough. Honestly I need Kahlua for my coffee. Because NOW weRead More →

Writing Tips Skim Scum Off the Top Sometimes I start writing first thing in the morning and I need to skim the scum off the top before I begin to dig down far enough into the unbroken, truthful parts. Here I am wading through emotions and a history which are not necessarily what I want to focus my energy on, but they are roaring their ugly, little heads wanting to be acknowledged anyways. I ignore the scum at my own demise. So, every single time I begin to shape my morning pages I spend about five to ten minutes removing the emotionally crusty top layer.Read More →

First they came for Ann Voskamp and we shook our heads and wondered “Have they lost their minds?” Then they came for Rachel Held Evans and we hung our heads and questioned, “Who fed this group of angry, entitled beasts?” Finally, they came for Jen Hatmaker – and we looked at her life, her love, her brave extension of grace and declared, “Well now they have gone and done it.” First, They Came for Ann Voskamp – the Farmer’s Wife I remember when they (the pitchforker-wielding faithful of sincerely held Biblical beliefs) came for Ann Voskamp. One of the first success stories to come outRead More →

When I walked out those church doors for the last time fear clung to me. Heavy across my chest I felt the pressure of it – of letting life on scripted-terms go. I didn’t understand at the time, but the package of religion I had inherited included a heavy dose of fear-mongering faith. The first step beyond those doors is frightening. “Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.” – Pema Chodron ““Self-deception is the enemy of wholeness because it prevents us from seeing ourselves as we really are. It covers up our lack of growth in the Spirit of the truthfulRead More →

“We’re all put to the test… but it never comes in the form or at the point we would prefer, does it?” – Charles Morse (Anthony Hopkins from the movie, “The Edge”) Failure is an option? We like our tests a little more clear-cut then they tend to come, don’t we? We’d like a trumpet announcing, “This is a test.” Or some gigantic neon arrow sign. Sometimes we feel something is important, but we have no clue what the tests we face look like before they happen. So we’d really like one of those annoying “This is a test of the emergency broadcast system” announcementsRead More →

Yesterday I shared how the words we allow to be spoken into our lives and into the lives of our kids matter. With this in mind it is important to seek out groups – whether of faith, friendships, or our families – which offer the tools necessary to living as healthy, wholehearted people. What follows are three essentials healthy families offer children. These are what I have uncovered as MY FAITH SHIFT affected how I see kids and how I parent. Three Essentials Healthy Families Offer Children ONE: Safety To Question Are questions safe or squashed in our homes and in our churches? Why? DoRead More →

“Our words are powerful, so powerful that they can change our reality – the quality of our days and nights.” – Sarah Ban Breathnach A tipping point moment as a woman occurred for me a decade ago.  I stood on a stone patio outside a beautiful wedding reception. A man my husband and I spent a long time trying to navigate better (healthy, whole, separate, mature, and respectful) pointed his index finger within inches of our toddler’s face. He spoke humiliating words over her from his rage because she was refusing to cooperate with him. Her father and I stood helplessly beside her. We didRead More →

The greatest fear I held when we transitioned our family out of the local church: WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN? But sifting my own history revealed a history of abuse and sexual violence perpetrated against children. These are non-negotiable for me. I began to ask a number of important questions as we considered staying out, finding new, or returning to our faith origins. The most important question I asked: “Can an unhealthy church raise healthy children? (Can an unhealthy church HELP PARENTS raise healthy, wholehearted kids?) A History of Abuse We knew nothing. There was a deep history of sexual abuse in the churches we hadRead More →

One of the greatest concerns in the midst of dismantling your faith is how shifting belief constructs affect parenting and raising children. What follows are four ways faith shifts affect children. And yes, they are all positive. Where I Have Been, Who I Want to Raise During my childhood and teens years, I was raised within two separate religious denominations which had both split from the same beginning about a century ago. While they formed away from one another they both developed some of the same toxic patterns: a heavy presence of spiritual pride, greed, hoarding of wealth, hiding, exclusion of the “other,”  inequality forRead More →