Grace Groups week two and three….

Today we had a jump-start to Grace Groups. We met from 2 to 630 and went through lessons two and three. It was good to be with my group and to get to know them better. We all shared a ten minute version of our stories, so there is a greater understanding of who we are and where we come from. I find that so helpful the process that now lies ahead. Let me highlight a few of the key things we discussed today.

Week two we look at what does it mean to respond well to one another. We look at the story of Tamar which really is a very vivid picture of abuse and generational sin. If you want to read it, check out II Samuel 13: 1-22. We then really look at the damage that is caused by silence. In Grace Groups, it is our hope to respond well to one another and we discuss what responding well sounds like. It is a great skill to learn how to enter into shame with grace, validate pain with empathy and affirm dignity with truth.

We also took time to look at the lesson of Nehemiah. Nehemiah illustrates a pattern for rebuilding lives that are damaged or broken. Damage happens in all kinds of ways. War, natural disasters and epidemics impact multitudes of people Domestic violence, abuse and neglect, poverty and tragedy impacts individuals and families. All of these also impact future generations, communities, and societies. How do you rebuild from such devastating damage? The book of Nehemiah is an interesting case study that has a parallel framework.

We take time to look at what it means in Nehemiah and in our own stories, what it means to Face it (:-3), Feel it (1:4), talk about it (1: 5-11), Ask for Help (2:-18), Look at the damage(2:11-20),  unite with others (3:1-32), Expect Opposition (4:1-23, 6:1-19), Expect Disruption (4:10, 5:1-13) and Renew Relationships (7:1)

So, you can see we covered a lot of territory and we shared a lot of heart. I am thankful for the men and women who are taking this journey during these next weeks. It is my hope that they will continue to grow in curiosity about who they are and how God created them to be…..

The journey continues…..


I have had an interesting experience the last few weeks as I drive down East Paris towards 28th. You see there is a rut in the road and EVERY time I find that my left front and back wheel are stuck in it. I think it  is a rut in an unexpected place, and think this each time, as it pulls me towards the center line. The first time I was surprised by the rut, but each time after, I have the following thoughts as soon as I hit it, “oh yes” I need to remember this is here. I am sure that the next time I will remember to adjust my steering,  just by a small amount and avoid the rut…but today again, I was stuck in the rut.

This rut on East Paris reminded me of a reading I found very insightful…


Autobiography in Five Short Chapters  By Portia Nelson

Chapter One
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost …. I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.
Chapter Two
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend that I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in this same place.
But, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.
Chapter Three
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
see it is there.
I still fall in … it’s a habit … but, my eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.
Chapter Four
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter Five
I walk down another street.

Guest Blogger: Linda

I met and have known Linda through our involvement in Retelling and Open Hearts Ministry. I am thankful for her friendship, shared heart to journey with people and our shared passion for Scrabble. I appreciate Linda and the commitment she has to simple and authentic living. Thanks Linda for being my friend and a my first guest blogger! 🙂


Trish has been sharing her journey to her heart. Thank you, Trish for encouraging many of us to press on and into our own journey of the heart. There is an invitation here.

A letter to Dear Abby, recently posted in the GR PRESS, gave me pause to consider that it is never too late to begin a journey to one’s heart.

There’s an invitation in this letter to look at your own story and examine how a seemingly innocuous episode from your childhood might have altered your perception of your true identity.

“My lifelong friend from childhood wonders why I am avoiding her. Now that I am in my 80’s, the unfairness of a lie from our past is still plaguing me. Seventy-five years ago, at a Sunday school picnic, I saw “Mary Ann’s” mother take something from another woman’s purse. As she looked around, she caught my eye and an ugly expression came over her face. Days later, Mary Ann told me people in our church were being told that I was a thief. Not having the maturity to handle the enormous falsehood, and knowing it wasn’t true, I chose to ignore it. But it didn’t go away. It followed me all my life. I learned later that Mary Ann’s mother had a habit of stealing from homes where she worked as a practical nurse. Losing my reputation because of this woman’s weakness made the lie all the more painful, and I so want to be cleared at least in my friend’s eyes. But do I want to hurt my friend in revealing her mother’s responsibility in switching the blame for HER theft? Please help.  (signed) In Lingering Pain,

Graham, Wash.

Dear Abby responds: Write Mary Ann a letter and tell her exactly what you have told me. I’m sure she knows her mother’s character very well, and it will come as no shock to her. Then the two of you should decide together how her mother’s slander of you should be handled.

I can only imagine the sense of freedom that this dear soul has experienced in recent days now that her lie has been exposed to the truth.

What lie from your childhood is causing you pain – perhaps blocking authentic relationship with a friend?

How might simply bringing that lie into the light of TRUTH set you free?

Take courage, dear One; find a trusted confidant who can help you process the lie.

Begin journaling, join a grace group like RETELLING, start seeing a Spiritual Director…Step out on the healing path.

One of the benefits of this journey into the heart is living without regret.

If you have not yet begun a journey to your own heart, let me ask, what are you waiting for?

Grace Group Week One

Tonight I spent the evening doing something I really truly love. I spent the night at Mars Hill as the first session of Retelling kicked off. Retelling is a Grace Group where a small group gathers weekly and in invited to explore their own story. I have been involved with the ministry of Open Hearts Ministry ( since 1996 and this ministry has propelled me into the journey to my heart. I find it to be such a privilege to sit with other men and women who are interested in knowing themselves better. I enjoy the process of discovery that occurs and empowering each member to be curious and to wonder about places in their own heart and soul….

Our Journey Guide says it well…..


to a healing journey… experience where you can explore your story and find your heart…

to a community of fellow travelers…people seeking to be real, to dream, to come alive….

to an environment of grace and affirmation…a safe place to look at the past and discover a future…

to a fresh relationship with the Wounded Healer…a God who knows, cares and is intimately involved…

Come along with us on a journey of transformation

Now doesn’t that sound inviting and an adventure of a unique kind…

Our first session is about how The Journey Begins.

You are about to begin a journey that will take you deeper into life’s experiences. You will be joining others who each have their own stories in what we call a Grace Group. Together you will look at people and events that have left their imprint on your heart. This will be a journey of discovery. Some of it will be painful. Some of it will be surprising, and some of it will be exciting. You will hopefully arrive with a greater understanding and real appreciation of your story, as well as a deeper intimacy with the Author of your story.

And tonight I met a group of courageous woman who are going to unpack their stories in new ways with new travelers. I am excited to know them more fully and to learn about myself in new ways…

Let me leave you with this thought….

“The past is the place we developed our deepest convictions about ourselves, life and God. One cannot enter another’s past merely by hearing the conclusions and convictions that resulted from it, but by being invited into the story itself…when one is permitted into this terrain, the guest stands on holy ground.”  Dan Allender

Thank you Jesus for allowing me to experience Holy Ground….

The mystery of a day…

Do you ever have a day when you wonder why things go the way they do.

I have had that kind of day today.

It is the kind of day when I have to remember life is not black and white with crystal clear outcomes to complex situations…

It is the kind of day when I have to remember that loving people takes alot of energy and if I am going to feel depleted, I am glad I invested my energy into relationships…

It is the kind of day when I have to remember that we are all wounded in some fashion through life and in that we at times wound others.

It is the kind of day when I have to remember that  we are also all created in God’s image and have the opportunity to bless and bring good things to one another.

It is the kind of day when I have to remember that each day holds some mystery and in time (at sometimes the most surprising times) purpose to the unknown is discovered.

It is the kind of day when I am thankful for the promise in Lamentations 3:22-23

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,

for his compassions never fail.

They are new every morning;

great is your faithfulness.

Thankful for a new day tomorrow…..

Car repairs…

are one thing that make me feel very inadequate. I am not sure what happens to the fairly confident 41-year-old woman when I stand in the garage and wonder what I will have to decide. The best solution I have found to this dilemma is to dial-up my Dad. My Dad is a great source of information and support while I converse with mechanics, ask questions and give the A-OK on estimates presented.

And that is where I found myself Monday, facing the questions of how to respond to the repairs needed in light of my faithful Saturn Vue having 209,000 miles. I spoke with my Dad and gave clearance for new O rings and new front brakes.

I went in with an oil leak. I wasn’t sure exactly what was causing it and so the new O rings were a pretty easy fix. Now, I also have a mechanic who is proactive and said since he was in there anyway, he was going to look around. He found (and showed me) how my front brakes were almost completely worn and would very soon be metal on metal. Oddly, I had a sense of appreciation for him in that moment. I appreciated that he took the time to plan ahead, to fix the immediate, to evaluate other risks and to recommend a fix for something before more damage could occur.

I got to thinking…

I want to be proactive this week in my assessment of my thoughts, actions and attitudes to ensure I am functioning at my optimum. I wonder if there are things I should evaluate and tend to before they continue to deteriorate and cause more damage. I am being intentional in my wellness plan (currently down just over 40 pounds) but the scale number is not the only indicator light I need to keep my eye on. I have recently been thinking about how I do quite well when I am eating according to a prescribed meal plan. But I want to really sharpen my self-control and self-discipline in these days as well so my long term success is not about an outlined plan, but a well developed and mature heart, mind and soul!

I find it wonderfully odd and amazing that the trip to the garage this week brought me to this conclusion for the journey to my heart….isn’t life always full of surprises!


Diary of Anne Frank….

I spent yesterday afternoon watching the Civic production Diary of Anne Frank…..

It got me thinking…

I can’t really imagine what it would have been like to live in hiding for two years…

I can’t really imagine what it would be like to dictate that your family not make any noise from 8 am to 6 pm every day….day in and day out….

I can’t really imagine the fear and the paranoia that would set in my mind if I had to live that way….

I can’t really imagine how it was to know that people were being gassed in the concentration camps…

I can’t really imagine what it must have been like for my Dad as a young boy to live amongst the war every day…

I can’t really imagine what courage it took for my Grandfather to help hide Jews in order to keep them safe…

I can’t really imagine what the moment would be like when they discover your hiding place…

I can’t really imagine the horror of the train ride or the separation of the men and woman and children or the mass graves…

I can’t really understand that era in history…

When I consider all I can’t imagine, I am thankful for the many many things I have been spared.