Archive for the ‘Spiritual Growth’ Category

After having such a rough first half of the year, including a mental meltdown in front of my boss, I had to take a major step back from my life. I had to learn to listen to my body and take care of myself. I had to learn to speak out for myself.

Steps for recovering from burnout:

– Went to my doctor and tried some different medications.

– Started seeing a counselor each week. I began to learn that how I interpreted the expectations placed on me created real physical stress for me.

– I cutoff all ties from my job, no phone, no email.

– I stayed at home most of the time. I learned that I could not go to the store on my own without a panic attack.

– I spent a lot of time reading, writing, praying, sleeping.

– My husband would take me out of the house several evenings a week to keep me from being too housebound.

– He actually sent me off to Savannah, GA for a week. He drove me down there and got me settled in. I had a little apartment, time to read, rest, and walk on the beach.

– Once I returned, I actually started cleaning my house again, and doing laundry. I even began cooking again.

You see, I had been working so much for the past 2 years, I didn’t even know what a schedule for real people looked like. I learned the flow of eating regular meals, taking a shower, housework, rest, spending time with family, all things I really did not do much of for the previous 2 years.

What matters most

I began to remember the important things in life. Time to think, time to spend with my husband, time to dream, time to relax, time to spend with friends and family. Time to volunteer for those less fortunate.

I realized that there was more to life than money, than recognition. That if I didn’t have my health, my faith, or my family, what good was anything else I had? I learned that I had to devote time to developing who *I* was as a person.

I learned to search my soul for what my passion was, what I was meant to do in my life. I have realized that the passion I had in my job to help others with their lives was very important to me and that I wanted to use that further. And I realized that I loved to write!

Learned my limits

I also have learned that I have limits. I actually think I thought that I was invincible. I like to tease that I finally learned that there is a God, and it isn’t me! I think He is much better at it than I am, lol!

I do best if I am not around large groups for long periods of time. I need a balance of time alone versus time with others. As much as I thought I was a people person, I have learned that I love to be around groups for a short time, but then I have to be alone to recharge.

Even though this year was one of the toughest in my life, I am grateful for the lessons I have learned about life and about myself. I hope that I will live a lot longer because of it and that I will be healthier and happier!

I encourage you to take a look at your life this past year.

What didn’t work?

What did work?

Have you learned some important lessons?

As we move into 2011, I am conducting an 8 week Journey to Balance here on my blog. It is free to participate, just be sure to subscribe! If you know someone else who would benefit, be sure to share by clicking below!

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I have recently gone through quite a bit of change and turmoil in my life. I basically had a mental meltdown back in July. (I don’t like saying ‘nervous breakdown’ and it is not a true medical term anyway!)  I had gotten to a point where nothing in my life was working. I had pushed myself to the MAX in so many different areas, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, in my relationships and in my career. My body finally had enough and said NO MORE!

My Life at a Standstill

depressed in a boxI had to take a medical leave from my job. I could barely leave the house, much less go to work. I couldn’t even go to Walmart by myself!  I reduced other responsibilities I had. Luckily my kids are mostly grown, so they can take care of themselves most of the time!  I stopped just about anything and everything I was doing. Pruned it away.

Rotten thinking

I had to start working on my mind as well. I had some pretty messed up ways of looking at things.

Things like…

  • I have to do all that is expected of me
  • I have to do it if I want it done right
  • My way is the best way and therefore the only way
  • I have to keep up a front that I am ok
  • I had to look the part of the professional role model all the time

Notice that these thoughts are all based on the big “I”. As I started pruning these things away with the help of my psychologist, my hubby and much prayer, I realized that alot of these thoughts were based in…


And, although I like to joke about this, I have had to REALLY learn that there is a God, and it isn’t ME.

I am NOT all powerful.

I CANNOT do everything.

I AM NOT Superwoman.

So, I am pruning out these thoughts… although I do find it is an everyday struggle!


Now that I am beginning to feel better, (more on that in a minute) I am also starting to prune away in my physical surroundings. I had surrounded myself with a lot of STUFF. I think that lots of stuff is another way of hiding. I am tired of hiding behind ANYTHING, so I am pruning away my belongings. Getting rid of the extra, the stuff that doesn’t add joy or value. 

Want growth? Gotta prune!

Now, I am no gardener, but I can tell you this, pruning is necessary for growth. If vines and trees and bushes are not pruned properly, they can never grow to their full potential.

In the Bible, in John 15, Jesus is portrayed as the gardener. As the Gardener, he examines each and every branch and twig in our vines to see if they are healthy or not. We also need to take this role in our lives.

Examine your life. Ask these questions

  • Am I fruitful in this area?
  • Or am I just spinning my wheels?
  • If I rid myself of “this”, could I better use my time over “here” instead?

Prune, or be pruned!

And, personally, as a Christian, I believe that if we do not make these adjustments to our vines on our own, the Gardener will bring or allow things into our lives to do the pruning for us. That, is what I feel happened in my life. I had let many things get out of control, I had weeds and vines all intertwined and had allowed quite a mess!

But I think that the Gardener was sitting back and saying, “I have SO much more for you. There is such great potential for you, but you cannot see it with all this overgrowth.” And so PRUNING was required. I had no choice at this point. I was at the end  of myself, and so the pruning began.overgrown vines

Cutting away those things that were unhealthy for my mind, soul and spirit. Clearing away the brush so I could see the open sky waiting for me. Chopping out completely the limbs that were diseased.

Was it painful? Absolutely.

Was it humbling? You better believe it. You see, before, I had quite a plant growing. I mean, I had vines going every direction, and it looked liked there was growth and life there, and then it was all cut away.

Now, however, I have hope. I know that the Gardener only wants the best for me. And instead of that mess I had, with his pruning, and my new growth with his guidance, I can grow into something more like this, with beauty, and the opportunity to see and do so much more than I could have before.

flowering vines

Am I there yet? Nope. I’ve got a lot of growing to do. I’ve gotta make sure I am doing the right things for the right reasons. I have make sure my thoughts don’t get skewed again. I need to add the right things to my life for the right reasons. For now, this is how I see myself.

sproutSee that little shoot growing from the cut stump? That is me. Rising up from my pruned state, green leaves reaching toward the sky in anticipation of what is to come!

Have you ever been through the “pruning process”? What are some things that were pruned away?


My goal is to help as many people as possible with these issues we all deal with! Be sure to subscribe via email or RSS so you don’t miss any posts! If you know of someone who would benefit from the info in this post and in my blog and you would like to share with them, please click on the appropriate link below!
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…are you who you want to be?

This song by Switchfoot really shook me at the core when I was examining my life. Yes, we do have to deal with life circumstances, but there is a lot we CAN DO to change our situation!

Be sure to scroll past the video.

Please ignore the timing being off in this video.  They otherwise did an awesome job of editing and putting together the content.


This is your life

My goal is to help as many people as possible with these issues we all deal with! Be sure to subscribe via email or RSS so you don’t miss any posts! If you know of someone who would benefit from the info in this post and in my blog and you would like to share with them, please click on the appropriate link below!
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computer virusOur brains have been compared to computers many times, and I even wrote a post about having too many ‘windows’ open and being on overload

We all know how destructive viruses on our computer can be and how important it is to have virus protection installed. and if you’ve ever been overrun by a virus, you know how difficult and frustrating it can be to rid your computer of it.

Protecting our mind

When it come to our minds, however, we’re not so careful to protect ourselves from the, often devastating, effects our own thoughts can have on it. The more serious of these thought viruses can lead to mental health problems such as loss of confidence, mild depression, self esteem issues, and a distorted perception of ourselves.
depressionThis has been an issue of mine recently. See, when my brain was completely overwhelmed during the time surrounding my mental meltdown, I believe it became susceptible to many harmful ‘viruses’ or thought patterns. And, because my mind was in such a fragile state, these thought patterns were able to move right in and make themselves at home!

How then do we combat these thought viruses and protect our minds in order to stay healthy mentally and physically?

The answer could be ‘thought awareness’. This is when we recognize the thoughts that could lead to a downward spiral of negative emotion resulting in mental and physical problems, in effect, viruses in our minds.  This is a technique that I have been working on, becoming aware of ‘what’ my mind is thinking and the possible reasons ‘why’.

4 Ways to to control the viruses in your mind

1. Negative self talk.

In 2 Cor. 10:5, it says: “casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ”.  We can bring our thoughts into our control by the power and knowledge of God.

When you recognize that you are talking to yourself in a negative way, recognize it for what it is; Your mind has tried to protect you from being hurt emotionally so starts talking to you in a negative way in order to protect your feelings.

For example: you want to start your own business and have a desire to work for yourself. At first you are really excited by the prospect, but immediately your mind start telling you it will be too hard, you will have to work very long hours, you will have to network, which you hate doing, you will have to do this and that and it will be way too hard.  As soon as you recognize these thoughts creeping in,take these thoughts captive, bind them, and carry on with your plans.

2. Get rid of the past.

We tend to dwell on negative events from our past in an effort to understand why they happened.  My counselor and I discussed that some things we will never understand.  We need to give ourselves permission to feel and then to put our past where it belongs, in the past. We don’t forget it, we don’t ignore it, we accept that is just ‘is’ and we move on.

3. Use affirmations to train your mind.

It is important to understand that we CAN train our mind. We can teach it what to think about. Affirmations are a great way to do this. Affirmations are positive statements that you repeat to yourself everyday to ingrain the thought into your mind as truth.

bibleAs a Christian, I believe some of the best affirmations to be found are in the Scripture

We must pray for the strength to overcome the negative thoughts, and use Scripture to replace them.
Here are a few to start with-
It is the Lord Who goes before you;
He will [march] with you;
He will not fail you or let you go or forsake you;
[let there be no cowardice or flinching, but] fear not,
neither become broken [in spirit–depressed,
dismayed, and unnerved with alarm].
– Deuteronomy 31:8 (AMP)

I pray that you may prosper in all things
and be in health,
just as your soul prospers.
-3 John 1:2 (NKJV)

ARISE [from the depression and prostration
in which circumstances have kept you
–rise to a new life]!
Shine (be radiant with the glory of the Lord),
for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
-Isaiah 60:1 (AMP)

But God,
Who comforts and encourages and refreshes and cheers
the depressed and the sinking,
comforted and encouraged and refreshed and cheered us.
– 2 Corinthians 7:6 (AMP)

Casting the whole of your care
[all your anxieties, all your worries,
 all your concerns, once and for all]
on Him, for He cares for you affectionately
and cares about you watchfully.
– 1Peter 5:6-7 (AMP)

He heals the brokenhearted
and bandages their wounds. 
– Psalm 147:3

4. Take a leap into LIFE!

Christ came so that we can have life, and life more abundantly.  He wants us to live full lives, but many times our negative thought patterns keep us trapped within our comfort zones.   We all live in comfort zones and that’s great because they can protect us to a degree. However, comfort zones also stop us from learning about ourselves and growing as individuals.  Apathy is found within the comfort zone, abundant life is outside of it. 

It is time to step out of our comfort zones into the LIFE that is waiting for us!

leap of faith

I believe that God has something just around the corner for me! I am doing my best to learn all I can about where I ‘am’ right now, as I know it will be a stepping stone to the next great thing He has in store for me! 

What about you? Where are you in your life? Does you brain have a ‘virus’?  Do you struggle with negative thoughts?  How do you overcome them?

My goal is to help as many women as possible with these issues we all deal with! Be sure to subscribe via email or RSS so you don’t miss any posts! If you know of someone who would benefit from the info in this post and in my blog and you would like to share with them, please click on the appropriate link below!
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We watched ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’ last night

under the tuscan sunI am a bit envious of Frances’ freedom to just buy a villa in Italy. Now, granted, she got that freedom by her husband having an affair and and a nasty divorce, so I don’t envy that part! (if you have not seen it, you can watch the trailer here). She arrived there with the one suitcase she was traveling with. The ability to start afresh with no physical burdens to bear is an awesome thought.


There is a move in this country, and even the world, called minimalism. It has also been called voluntary simplicity. As we have achieved and acquired so much in our lives, it now feels if IT is weighing us down.

The more stuff you own, the more your stuff owns you.

As I have been journeying down the road from my mental meltdown, and working through the healing process, I have been trying to redefine who I am, what I want from this life and what I want to give back to those around me.

I know now that I do not care for this house full of stuff. (I am so glad we didn’t upsize 3 years ago!)   I grew up in a very cluttered home and have realized the clutter makes me anxious (don’t need any more anxiety!)  So I am working currently on beginning to clear some of the extra stuff from our home. I want to create some ‘white space’ around me, room to breathe and create a beautiful yet simple home for us to relax in.

The more things you commit to, the less of ‘you’ there is.

Speaking of relaxing, the minimalist movement is not just about reducing stuff, it is about creating space in your life, space for the things that are most important to you. Living life YOUR way, with balance and peace in the areas that matter the most to you.  People who live a minimal lifestyle are living intentionally. They may be involved in activities or committees, but they choose intentionally how they want to spend their time by what is important to them.

Minimalism does not look the same for everyone.

There are some who are part of the 100 item challenge, I don’t think I’ll ever be there! Maybe 1000 things?

Others reduce their belongings and purchases to leave a smaller footprint on the earth.

Myself, at this point, am at the point where I am minimalizing mentally and emotionally, to quiet the noise in my head from several years of overload. The piles of clutter around me are indicative of what is happening inside my head. 

As I begin to quiet the noise and be comfortable with who I am and see the beauty inside, I am ready to create some beauty around me. I finally feel I deserve it!

The Healing Process

As part of my healing process, I have greatly reduced the things and activities I am committed to, even my job (currently on medical leave). The majority of what I am currently involved in either has to do with taking care of my body, soul and mind (gym, doctors, and church!) or spending time with my family. These are the most important things in my life!

Eventually I will have to add back in other things, but at this time, I am enjoying gaining peace within my soul and mind. God has been gracious to come down and meet me where I am, broken and desperate, and move me towards healing.matthew 11:28 poster

What are your thoughts or experiences with simplifying your life?

My goal is to help as many women as possible with these issues we all deal with! Be sure to subscribe via email or RSS so you don’t miss any posts! If you know of someone who would benefit from the info in this post and in my blog and you would like to share with them, please click on the appropriate link below!
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Resources for minimalism and voluntary simplicity





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