Author Archives: OnlineMinistries

Sharin’ the Journey — A message from the Director

holy handiworkOne of the most exciting parts of working with clients is witnessing “Holy Handiwork.”  As a counselor I get to witness God’s working in people’s lives and I also am blessed in that client’s in turn often are my teachers and messengers.  Some time ago a client came and shared that in several areas of his life he felt stuck, frustrated and out of options.  One area in particular was his job.  The client explained the various ways he had tried to pursue improvement for himself while becoming a more valuable asset to the company.  This process and his attempts to advance had been ongoing for several years.  More recently he questioned and opened up conversations with supervisors and their bosses to try and understand why the opportunities he longs for and feels qualified for have not been presented.  The client described that the response from those he had spoken to has turned out to be nothing more than “rhetoric”.

During a session this week the client described that he had decided to make himself a parachute.  The parachute image represented his decision to change direction and create for himself a safety plan.  Instead of trying to pursue advancement in the company he had decided to return to school to first attain an Associate’s Degree and then on to his Bachelor’s Degree.   With this degree added to his significant manufacturing experience new opportunities are on his horizon.  What the client shared next was a great lesson for me and I hope you can find meaning for it in your life as well.

He took out his phone and pulled up a message he had been holding onto as it had inspired him to rethink his actions.  He read, “If God shuts a door.  Stop knocking.  What doors closed and openis on the other side of the door is not in your best interest, not in your highest good.”  I immediately thought of the gospels of Luke and Matthew where each encourages us….

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

The insight from this client’s message — that if we let go (stop knocking on what we think is for us) and let God guide us to the door…we will land on the threshold of what best serves our needs and brings us to who we were created to be – has proved to me that scripture is alive with richer perspectives and deeper meanings.

Thank you God for continuing to open the doors, that lead me closer to You!

business with jesus

I Openers

                                                                                                                                                                     spring flowers

We clean our yards…

             We clean our houses…

How about doing some…



                                 Spiritual Spring Cleaning

On occasion Marcia shares with us the beginnings of CCM.  This story includes a moment when Marcia, while waiting upon God, remembered her earthly father’s words “Cleanliness is next to Godliness.” and so she scrubbed the floor.

We invite you this spring to do a little Spiritual Spring Cleaning.  Our Spirits can get heavy and weighed down by various things in our life.  In Matthew Jesus tells the leper, “Be Clean.”  Jesus was referring to the man’s physical ailment but we could use the same inspiration to lighten the load on our Spirit so that we might make more room for joy in our lives.

*Do you have Old Baggage dragging behind you?  Hanging onto old hurts, unforgiveness and bitterness is like old baggage in the attic you just can’t seem to part with.  You are so familiar with it, you don’t even realize it is hindering your life and dragging down your Spirit.  Remember the letting go is a gift to you; the gift of freedom and peace.                                                             

*What drains your Spirit?  Is it a situation, a person, or an activity you do that you don’t really like doing?  Is it something you have been meaning to do and never get around to?  Make a list of these things and see if every day you can take one thing off the list.  If this is too much, try weekly to remove something from the list.  This may include recognizing that what you have been meaning to get around to isn’t meant to be anymore. Think fun!  Mary Poppins was on to something when she made the work for the day fun.  So sing, invite a friend over to help, include music, and for sure limit your time to 1 hour.  Next treat yourself to doing something REALLY fun.

*What habits do you have with the way you treat your body that need to be released? Our Spirits are housed in our bodies.  If we don’t treat our body well what impact might that have on our Spirits.  Certainly we run the risk of experiencing a drop in our energy level.  Do you need to drink more water?  Do you need to get more exercise or rest?  Is there a health issue that you have been trying to ignore.  Now is the time to clean that area up.

*Is it time to take out the garbage…What thinking patterns do you need to release to have a lighter Spirit?  If your Spirit feels heavy, chances are you have thinking patterns that need to be released.  Begin to walk awake to what you are saying to yourself.  As you listen you will recognize the fear inducing, heavy thought patterns.  This is a wonderful opportunity to “talk-back” to that voice and reteach it.  Very often what is ACTUALLY true is the exact opposite of the limiting belief.  If you are looking for a source of healthy thinking patterns to replace the less useful ones check out the book:  THE LANGUAGE OF LETTING GO.  It is filled with inspiring healthy patterns that can lighten our Spirits.

*How is your alignment…(no not your tires…) Are your actions and your words reflecting what you truly believe?  If you believe “with God all things are possible”, do your actions reflect this belief?  If you believe you are called to share joy and love, are the words out of your mouth complaints and gossip or supportive and compassionate?  The more congruent your actions with your beliefs the lighter and alive your Spirit will be.

spring cleaning bucket_opt


                                       Thanks to M. Fairchild and S. Riutta for inspiring this post.

Word Alive

bees and a heartTransmission:  What message are you sending?

Do all things with Love, and Love will touch everything you do.

Every day of our lives we affect the world around us.  This fact is so easy to forget in our busy lives with so many distractions.  If our life of yesterday was shown on the 6:00 news, what would the message be?

As believers, we are called to love God, others, and self.  Most often, love is a conscious choice and that means we need to learn to slow down enough to choose to transmit the good news of the love of God to our world.

“Do everything in Love.”  I Corinthians 16:14


I Openers

Hip Hip Hooray!!  tulips and daffodils

                     Spring is on its way!

We have reached the last installment of our series on ways to boost your mental health and maintain balance in your life.  Anticipation can be such a fun, joyful experience.
Knowing that the beautiful bright colors of the first tulips and daffodils are on the way
can certainly bring hope to a winter weary heart!

TIP #9: 
Refresh yourself…

Get plenty of sleep. A bedtime routine isn’t just for kids. Going to bed at a regular time each day can lead to better sleeping.  Sleep restores our both our mind and body.  However feelings of fatigue can still set in if you feel constantly rushed and overwhelmed when you are awake.  Allow yourself the gift of time even during your day time schedule.  Remember the old saying, “Stop to smell the roses.”  Slowing down can be a great way to refresh.
TIP #10:
Build healthy self-esteem…

Self-esteem is more than just seeing your good qualities.  It is being able to see all your
abilities and weakness together, accepting them, and doing your best with what you have.  For example you may not play golf, tennis or cards well enough to be a star, but that should not stop you from enjoying the game.  Building your confidence is about letting our strengths shine and knowing we have the ability to work on our weak points which helps us mature, grow and feel engaged in life.
TIP #11
Get involved….contribute to your community…

Being involved in things that really matter to us provide a great feeling of purpose and
satisfaction.  You should always remember that you make a difference, no matter how big or small your efforts.  Read to children at your local library, help out a neighbor, work in a community garden, or do something nice for a friend.  There are many great ways to contribute that can help you feel good about yourself and your place in the world.  An effort to improve the lives of others is sure to improve your life too.

TIP #12
Have a spirituality to call your own…

prayerful womanLearn to be at peace with yourself.  Get to know who you are: what makes you really happy, what you are passionate about.  Learn more about what you believe.  Give yourself time to learn what “leaning into God” means to you.  Learn to balance what you are able to change about yourself with what you cannot change.  Read scripture, get out into nature, use daily inspired readings  — finding your way to connect to Divine Love is an adventure worth embarking on.







Sharin the Journey — A note from the Director


Just when you think you may have heard it all, someone group hugcomes along to remind you —  that what you have heard is only the beginning.   Sr. Caroline, Director of The Bridge Between Retreat Center, joined us during our staff meeting this month to share insights and stories related to the theme….”So, Who hugs the huggers?”  Our time together began with an invitation.  We were asked to close our eyes and breathe in the Divine and breathe out the Divine.  After a few moments Sr. Caroline had us open our eyes.  There she was sitting with a fur hat on her head complete with ear flaps and visor.   The room filled with laughter as Sr. Caroline explained that when she needs a hug she puts on this hat.  The next hour or so was filled with idea after idea on how to intentionally “on purpose” bring joy, love, gratitude, and emotional, spiritual and physical hugs into our daily lives.

Here are a few insights we learned or were reminded of……

Be kind to yourself.  Know when you need a hug and ask for one.  YES, ASK!  PLEASE ASK!  Scripture is always reminding us… to just ASK!                                       

Dream Big….Really Big….Even Bigger!  A favorite movie of mine takes place in Scotland.  Towards the end of the movie there is a scene where Ted Danson is kneeling by the bed of a tiny Scottish girl.  He says, “Sorry Lizzy, I have to see it to believe it.”  The little girl responds, “No, Mr. Demsey you have to BELIEVE IT TO SEE IT.”  Believing is a hug for our soul.

Giving yourself a mini-vacation or what I call a “brain-break” is free but the results are priceless.  Sr. Caroline encouraged us to take time as often as we need to get outside and take a few deep breaths of fresh air or sit in a chair and just observe the view out the window.  How about closing your eyes,  imaging a favorite place and the just beingman hugging dog in that placlady hugging cate for a bit.  Let’s not forget how our pets can provide an instant mini hugfest.  The renewing power of any one of these mini-vacations is truly a hug for any hugger.

It is easy to see how our actions affect others and the environment.  We were challenged to be aware that our thoughts carry the same impact.  How different we would think (about others and ourselves) if we truly embraced just how connected we are.

Speaking of connecting…stories are a wonderful way to enjoy the oneness of our human experience.  So here’s a story Sr. Caroline shared and it’s our hug to each of you….

Sr. Caroline used to work at a local parish.  On this particular day she needed to make
a phone call to a couple.  She dialed and instead of hearing the voice of one of the
adults, she heard a little boy whisper…”Hello.”  Sr. Caroline asked, “Is your Mom at
home?”  The little boy again whispered, “Yes, but she is busy.”   Sr. Caroline politely
replied, “Would it be okay if I call back in about 20 minutes?”  Again with a whisper
the little boy stated, “Yes that should be fine.”  Sr. Caroline went about taking care
of a few other tasks she had on her to do list.  With these the tasks completed she was
ready to make her return phone call.  She dialed and once again she heard a whispered,
“Hello.”  She had reached the little boy again.  Sr. Caroline asked for his mother but was
again told that she was busy.  So this time Sr. Caroline asked the little boy if she could
talk to his Dad.  To her surprise the little boy whispered, “I’m sorry he is busy too.”  At
this point Sr. Caroline’s curiosity was peaked.  She engaged the little boy in a few more
questions to which he answered each question in a whisper.  Finally Sr. Caroline to ask
the big question….”What are your parents busy doing?”  This little boy didn’t hesitate
but rather answered proudly,

                                                  “They are looking for me!”little boy on phone hiding

“I” Openers

yoga peaceAs promised, in last month’s issue of Wellbeing, we are sharing ways to boost your mental health and maintain your life balance.  To add to the 4 tried and true tips from January we have 4 more ideas that can melt any humdrum mood February and it’ frigid temperatures have us in.

TIP #5: Learn to deal with and manage your stress effectively…

Stress is a normal part of life.  How we deal with it depends on our attitude. It helps to know what triggers our stress.  This gives us a chance to avoid unnecessary stressors and prepare or manage others.    Winding down from stress can include relaxation breathing, yoga, or a mini-vacation — brain break.   To take a 5 minute vacation — each day set aside 5 minutes for a mental health break.  Find a spot to be alone and give yourself to permission to day-dream.  Enjoy dreaming about a place, person or idea, or think nothing at all!  You will feel like you have been on a mini-vacation.

TIP #6      Deal with your Emotions…

We are all challenged to find safe, constructive ways to express and share our feelings of anger, sadness, joy and fear.  How can we deal with our moods?  Share joyful news with a friend; “cry on a friend’s shoulder” when you feel blue.  Physical exercise can help you deal with your anger.  Keep a stack of your favorite funny cartoons or a collection of humorous stories or videos for times when you feel the need to laugh.

                                            healthy habits

TIP#7             Take time to enjoy…

Set aside time for activities, hobbies and projects you enjoy.  Let yourself be spontaneous and creative when the urge takes you.  Do a crossword; read a book, sew, scrapbook, draw pictures with your kids or grandkids, play with your pet, bake, cook, or write a letter to someone special.

TIP#8    Participate and share interests…

Being part of a group of people with a common interest provides a sense of belonging and is good for our mental health.  Join a sports club; a band; a dance class; a theatre or choir group; a book or car club; or a bible study.  If you know your way around the internet, google  –meet up groups–.  Meet up groups can connect you with people who have similar interests to yours.  Recently a client shared that her Meet Up group took in a local art event.  Now that’s a great way to bring beauty into a blustery winter day.


Book Nook

Eckhart Tolle is an author some will recognize and some will not.  You can listen to his message on tape or dig into his writings — either way he is definitely worth learning from.  He has been around sharing his insights for some time…yet his message is timeless.


ECT               ECT2

Both books opened up a new world of NOW for me.  I like so many miss our nows and therefore miss a lot of life.  This pair comes highly recommended.


“I” Openers

Is there a better time in Northeast WI to winter wisconsin
talk about mental health than when we
have been facing record snowfalls and
low temperatures?  We think before cabin
fever has you in its grips – NOW is the
perfect time to share some tried and true tips to keeping the spring in your step and the smile on your face.

Enjoying mental health means having a sense of wellbeing, being able to function during everyday life and feeling confident to rise to a challenge
when the opportunity arises. Mental health includes striking a balance in all aspects of your life: social, physical, spiritual, economic and mental.  At times, you may tip the balance too much in one direction and have to find your footing again.

Your personal life balance will be unique to you.

In the next three issues of our newsletter, WELLBEING, we will be sharing ways to boost your mental health and maintain your life balance.

TIP #1:  Receive as well as give

Many of us confuse having a realistic view of our good
points with conceit.  We have trouble accepting kindness
from others.  We often shrug off a compliment with a, “Yes,
but…”  and put ourselves down.  Accept compliments —
Next time someone compliments you, say, “Thank you! I’m glad
you think so.”

TIP #2:  Take care of yourself

Be active and eat well — these help maintain a healthy body.
Physical and mental health are closely linked; it’s easier to feel good
about life if your body feels good.  You don’t have to go to the gym
to exercise — gardening, vacuuming, dancing all count.  Feeding your
body yummy healthy foods can keep you feeling good, inside and out.

TIP #3:  Challenge yourself

Learn a new skill or take on a challenge to meet a new goal.  Learning
improves your mental fitness, while the process builds confidence and gives
you sense of progress and achievement.  This formula adds up to be
a boost to your emotional wellbeing as well.

TIP #4:  Notice the here and now

Take a moment to notice each of your senses each day.  Simply “be” in the
moment — feel the sun, notice the air you are breathing.  It’s easy to be
caught up thinking about the past or planning for the future instead of
experiencing the present.  Practicing mindfulness, by focusing your
attention on being in the moment, is a good way to do this.  Making a
conscious effort to be aware of your inner and outer world is important
to your mental health.


Sharin’ the Journey — A note from the Director

      heavenly heartThe decision to have a third child was a difficult one for me.  A self-professed work-a-holic, I was content with our two daughters, ages 7 and 4, and the family life we enjoyed.  My husband, however, had a vision of a larger family.  Like with most challenges, I decided to give it to God.  If He wanted us to have another child, so be it.

        Much to my surprise, God not only wanted us to have one child, He decided to gift us with TWO.  As I sat in the parking lot after my first doctor appointment overwhelmed with the concept of twins, tears flowed freely in awe and fear of the road He had placed before me.  I wondered if in some small way I was feeling what a young Mary experienced in the wake of the visit by the Archangel Gabriel.  How would I get through the next seven months of worry for not just one, but two little beings dependent on me for existence?

        The answer was prayer.  One of the first gifts we received from a good friend and her mother was a promise of continuous prayer.  The pregnancy that followed was by no means routine, with unexplained rashes, bleeding, umbilical issues, the death of our beloved pet, early contractions, and eventual bed rest.  Through it all I was sustained by the presence of God we experience through prayer.  Every time the anxiety threated to be too much, I would hastily recite three Hail Marys one for each baby and the last for myself.  This practice reminded me that I was never alone in my worry, there were others pulling for me and with me every step of my journey.  Prayer gave me the faith to realize that, “This too shall pass.”

        Through the gift of prayer; my own, that of others, and the experience of Reiki I was able to carry my twins to 38 weeks.  This is a rare occurrence with a multiple pregnancy. In a very real way, the experience of my past year has demonstrated the incredible role prayer can play in our lives and in our world.  As I gaze at the two little faces of my healthy twin gifts, I invite you to pause and raise a few words heavenward the next time you or a friend are in an unexpected or unwanted situation.  It can make all the difference.

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will  be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.  Luke 11: 9-10