• Come Holy Spirit!


    Walking with our God is an incredible adventure, isn’t it? I’ve learned to expect the unexpected! Journeying with Jesus is ripe with irony and heavenly realities that conflict with my human inclinations. Surrender equals Freedom. Deny myself in order to be truly content. To be fully alive in Christ, is to die to the world.

    How do we possibly live these out?

    I’m sure there are many answers to that question. The answer I am carrying into 2018 is this: by living each day in close relationship with the Holy Spirit.

    “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 14:26 emphasis added

    When Jesus left us and made His ascension into heaven, He told us that we would receive the Holy Spirit who will teach us all things and help us remember everything we need to know. So wait a minute…let me think about this…muddle through on my own…or let the Holy Spirit be in charge of my daily life? Well, I’d like to take door number two, but I often fall into the trap of believing that I have to go it alone, that I “should be able to handle this” or I’m “supposed to know the answer.” Perhaps you’ve felt like that too?

    Living Life in the Spirit

    I got to know the Holy Spirit about 7 years ago when my parish offered a “Life in the Spirit” seminar. The 8 weeks of the seminar was a great time of fellowship, learning about the Holy Spirit and hearing stories of Him in action in people’s lives. It was very uplifting and showed me that there was this exciting and vast aspect of my faith that I had not yet personally experienced. I met people who were very alive in the Spirit and I was drawn to them. I wanted what they had!

    Immediately following the Life in the Spirit seminar, the organizers began a weekly prayer meeting, which has been going strong ever since. I had never attended a regular prayer meeting before, and now found myself eager to get there each week. Fast forward seven years…
    I wish I had the words to properly convey how my spiritual life has shifted over the past several years. One of the most profound discoveries has been this: The Holy Spirit lives within me. His residence is the human heart. Being filled with the Holy Spirit, therefore, is an internal exercise – not something that happens to me from the outside. Being filled with the Holy Spirit requires only that I open my heart and let Him out into my life!

    I recently read these words, written by Father Dave Pivonka in his awesome book “Breath of God,” which really resonate with me:
    “What we need more than anything else is God. This may sound odd or even harsh, but more than we need prayers answered, more than we need healing, we need God’s Spirit. This is just so foundational and fundamental to our faith. If we have a deeper relationship with the Spirit of Jesus, allowing his Spirit to animate our life, then this affects everything else. We will look at everything and respond to everything differently.“

    I can say a hearty YES and testify that this has been my precise experience. The Spirit of God has slowly and steadily changed my heart, my mind, my priorities, my behavior, my relationships…everything. Like a most welcome breeze of fresh air, the Holy Spirit has breathed new life into every area: my marriage, my mothering, my ministry, my family relationships, my friendships. I am eager to allow Him to continue His work in 2018!

    The Holy Spirit wants to take us on a journey that will change who we are and how we see the world and the people around us – for the better! He waits patiently for our consent to be led on such a journey, which can begin with a simple prayer: Come Holy Spirit. Father Dave writes: “That’s it. No long, complicated, or prolonged prayer, just “Come Holy Spirit.” If you were to do that ten times in one day, it would take roughly one minute. I imagine God will bless this prayer. He delights in sending His Spirit to us.”

    Happy New Year and may the Spirit be with you!

    Copyright 2017, De Yarrison

  • A God Who Waits


    We know that Advent is a time of prayerful waiting. And we are not waiting alone. God waits with us. In fact, He’s not just waiting for us during these 22 days of Advent, he’s been waiting for us our entire lives! And he will continue to wait for us until the moment our earthly life comes to its close. What in the world is He waiting for?

    “…a God who waits that He may make Himself known to us perfectly as the gracious One.” – Andrew Murray (1828-1917), South African Missionary.

    This Advent, God has invited me to consider that He is waiting for me to have the eyes to see Him more clearly; to have the heart to experience Him more authentically as He is: the gracious One. That’s a lot to wait for as this might take me a while! But He’s not just sitting around twiddling His sovereign thumbs, passively waiting for me. His is a very alive, very active waiting, where He constantly reveals bits of His glory to help move me along. Each time I am awe-struck by the majesty of the night sky,
    I am drawn closer. When my precious 2-year-old curls up on my lap and presses his cheek to mine, I am overcome by God’s goodness.

    He draws us into Himself through these encounters with His glory, His love, His goodness. And my desire to live enfolded in His peaceful presence intensifies. My commitment to trust Him and serve Him above all else strengthens. It is a beautiful, purposeful dance. Because there’s something else that He is waiting for: He’s waiting for my yes. For my continual yes, actually. My willingness to submit to His plan, each day of my life.

    One day, back in the Spring of 2014, I was cleaning out the drawers in my bedside table and I discovered a book titled, Preparation for Total Consecration according to Saint Louis Marie de Montfort. I remember thinking, “Huh, I didn’t even know I had this book. I wonder where it came from? This looks interesting.” And it made its way from the bottom of the drawer to the top of the nightstand. Every couple of nights, I would open it, read a prayer or two, and return it to the nightstand. A few months went by and I felt a lot of energy towards the daily prayers at the beginning of the book. So I began carrying the book around with me and reading through the daily prayers each morning. I spent months reading the prayers every day and never going beyond page 6.

    Then one day, I flipped to a different page (page 11) and read a paragraph that shocked me. It was shocking because the words I read there described exactly an interior state I’d been struggling with for some time. I hadn’t been able to put words to my feelings before and reading St. Montfort’s description was truly a gift to me. And there it had been, merely 5 pages away for almost a year! I could almost hear God saying, “Sheesh, it took you long enough. I thought you would never turn that page! The suspense has been unbearable!”

    That encounter taught me just how patiently He is willing to wait for me! He so patiently waits for us to have the eyes to finally see what He is revealing to us! And all that He reveals continually shapes and molds us into the women He has created us to be. So that we might fulfill the heavenly purpose for which we’ve each been created.

    Here during Advent 2018, let us pray for the eyes to see our God more clearly, to seek Him with an open and expectant heart. Let us pray that the Lord will help us move out of our way whatever blocks our sight. Here are some lines I learned from St. Louis de Montfort that pretty much have it covered:

    In the name of Jesus, I renounce a spirit of the world.
    In the name of Jesus, I renounce myself.
    In the name of Jesus, I renounce my pride.

    And may I add to that: Lord Jesus, give me the grace to be open to Your patient and gentle stirrings in my heart. Help me to always follow Your lead. I submit myself to your Holy Spirit, this day and everyday. Do with me what you will. I am ready for all, I accept all! Amen.

    With love,
    De

  • Self-Compassion – The Power of a Pronoun

    In a coaching conversation earlier today, my client and I went on a journey that began with a messy situation (literally!) with her kids to which she reacted in anger and frustration, and ended with compassionate connection and self-support. Her inner dialogue shifted from a blame-based: “Why do I always…I never,” to a unity-based: “I’m with you…Let’s look at this together.”

    A pivotal moment leading to her inner shift came when she was able to experience herself as a “You” rather than just an “I.” Let me explain…

    When we refer to ourselves, we pretty typically use the pronoun, “I.” I did this, or I said that. When others refer to us, they use the pronoun, “You.” You did this, or You said that. Each of us, in fact, is both “I” and “You.” Big deal, you may say. The big deal comes when we think of ourselves in terms of “You.”

    • I extend to YOU the same kindness that I extend to other people.
    • I extend to YOU the same ‘benefit of the doubt’ that I extend to other people.
    • I recognize that YOU need my compassion, just like other people do.
    • I extend to YOU my understanding that I would extend to anyone else.
    • I extend to YOU the same forgiveness that I extend to other people.

    Consider that the YOU being referred to in the above statements is, well, you, the person reading this post. Now re-read the above five statements, this time, imaging yourself as the subject of each statement. Try inserting your own first name, such as: “De, I extend to you the same kindness that I extend to other people.”

    Wow. Feel a little strange, perhaps?

    As you said each statement aloud, some may have felt true or right. Others may have felt inauthentic or like a stretch for you to believe. In the case of the latter, there may be an underlying belief or assumption we are holding about ourselves that contradicts with the statement. For example, if saying, “I extend to you the same understanding that I would extend to anyone else,” has you thinking, “Yeah, right. No way can I do that!” you may be holding a contradictory belief, such as:

    • It’s not ok for me to make a mistake.
    • It’s not ok for me to need help or ask for help.

    Let’s just call these what they are – lies. It’s fascinating to press pause on the automatic conversation that unfolds in our minds throughout the day and write down the words we’re speaking to ourselves. Would we utter these words aloud to any other human being? Would we hold our best friend to the same unrealistic standards to which we hold ourselves (never make a mistake, never ask for help)?

    As I’ve shifted my view of myself to a YOU, I’ve been more and more able to replace the unkind self-talk with compassionate and supportive self-talk. Seeing myself as YOU, helps me remember that I too am a human being with valid needs, just like you are. I too am imperfect and doing my best, just like you are.

    Let’s close with a prayer.

    Heavenly Father, I pray that you will guide us as we journey along the pathway of self-acceptance and self-compassion. Help us to grow in loving relationship with ourselves. Thank you that You’ve made us each whole and in Your image. Please help us to see ourselves more clearly. To see ourselves as You see us, Lord; as we truly ARE.  Amen!

  • Be of Good Courage

    Being courageous is a matter of the heart. Not of our muscles or our bravado. Our hearts. The continuing natural disasters and horrendous violence occurring around us have been calling me to pray for a more courageous heart; a courageous heart to lead me in bringing greater compassion, humility, and charity into my little corner of the world, beginning in my own home.

    So, what does a courageous heart in action look like? Well, I’m still learning…here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

    1. Courage is not always about BIG, BOLD action. The times I’ve behaved most courageously in my relationships have involved being still, closing my mouth and opening my heart. Moving beyond the habitual desire to fix, rescue, provide solutions. Led by a courageous heart, I am more present, more able to listen empathically and connect on a deeper level to someone who is hurting or angry or anxious.
    2. Courage means following my heart. The word courage comes from the Old French ‘corage’ and the Latin ‘cor,’ both meaning heart, innermost feelings.
      If I listen to my mind-chatter going round-and-round long enough, I can talk myself into or out of just about anything. When I choose courage, I get still & quiet in my mind so I can tune into my heart. I think of it as tuning into God’s voice within me rather than the noise of the world with all its what ifs, you should, you shouldn’t, but then they’ll think
    1. To be courageous is to be vulnerable. Courage is born out of our vulnerability. Opening myself up and revealing my vulnerabilities requires strength and courage. Putting on “a brave face” or “staying strong” in the midst of my hurts doesn’t actually require much courage. Invulnerability is easy and comfortable. However, for me to lean on my husband or a close friend and say, “I’m not doing so good today and I really need to talk” or asking “Will you help me?” takes courage!
    2. Courage is unnecessary unless we are afraid.

      Being terrified but moving ahead and doing what must be done – that’s courage. The one who feels no fear is a fool, and the one who lets fear rule him is a coward. – Piers Anthony

      So long as we are alive, we can expect to feel fearful, at different times and to varying degrees. As the quote above says, to live without feeling fear is “foolish.” We are fooling ourselves. Denial. To live in collusion with our fear is cowardice. A trick of the enemy to keep us quiet and small. To acknowledge my fear, and move ahead anyway, is courage.

     

    Biblical Reminders

    Here are a few truths for us to hang onto as we seek to approach our daily lives with more courageous hearts!

        • God is with you every single second – ALWAYS. (Matthew 28:20)
        • You are designed for greatness, made in the image and likeness of God himself. (Gen 1:27)
        • God has a mighty plan for you. You were not born to play small. (Jeremiah 29:11)
        • You can do all things through Christ! (Phil 4:12)

    This is one of my favorite scripture verses and always gives me courage: “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

    A Closing Prayer

    As I was writing this post, the scene in the garden of Gethsemane came to mind. The scene where the soldiers came to take Jesus away. Peter was ready to fight, drawing his sword, and taking a bold action, which may have looked courageous (Matthew 26:51). As I thought about that, I became aware that every time in my life when I’ve chosen “fight” or “force” over peace and acceptance, I was driven by my fear, not my courage. Jesus chose peace and acceptance while enduring ridicule, torture, and even death. I pray that I will look to Jesus as the source of my courage:

    Heavenly Father, I pray for a more courageous heart! I pray for the courage to endure my trials with my eyes always on You. Give me the courage to sit with others who are hurting and the grace to stay quiet and simply listen. I pray that I may follow the way of Jesus in opening my heart to those who would mistreat, misunderstand, or misjudge me. Show me how to stay open and courageously vulnerable so I may not miss any of the highs or the lows that You would have me experience in this lifetime. Please help me to get quiet everyday and listen for Your voice. Thank You for Your constant love and guidance. AMEN.

  • The Power of Perspective Shifting


    My mom and I are taking a trip across the country in a few weeks. We, along with my two teens, will fly from Philadelphia to Seattle, stay in a beach house in Port Angeles, and attend my cousin’s wedding in Olympic National Park. The other night, Mom and I were sharing concerns about the trip: are we spending too much money? Should we have rented a house at the beach or just stayed in cheaper accommodations? Will we even know anyone at the wedding? Is Zach going to be ok without me for 5 days??

    Worrying is not very much fun. Thankfully, I had my coaching hat with me 😉 .

    With my coaching hat on, I thought, you know what’s done is done and what’s to come will come. Worrying won’t change any of it. So let’s try on a new perspective. How do we want to feel right now?

    Peaceful. Excited. Grateful for the opportunity to travel together.

    Together we decided to stand in the perspective of “cross-country adventure with my grand-kids / kids.” Any adventure worth its salt will contain the unknown, the unfamiliar, and the unpredictable. Through the lens of “cross-country adventure,” facing the unknown, unfamiliar, and unpredictable excites me, raises my curiosity and sense of anticipation. Which feels infinitely more fun than worrying!

    What circumstance or area of your life would benefit from a perspective shift?

    Here are two ways to begin:
    1. First is prayer (isn’t prayer the best first step for everything?!). Father God, I ask for Your help to shift my perspective about ______. I’ve been worrying rather than trusting You. Help me to see this situation/person through Your eyes. Please correct my thinking; remove any thoughts that cause me to step off the path that leads to You – to light, truth, and peace. Place new thoughts – Your thoughts – into my heart and mind. Saced Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in You!

    2. Second is a fun little exercise…
    Pretend that you are taking off a pair of glasses and setting them down on a table. These glasses hold your current perspective. All your thoughts, worries, fears, and assumptions about that circumstance or relationship. Before you on the table are dozens of other pairs of glasses, each with a different label.

    There’s the Mountain-top Perspective glasses, the Forest Perspective glasses, and the Bubbling Brook Perspective glasses.
    – What if you looked at that circumstance from the “mountain-top” perspective? Standing high above, up out of the
    mucky details, where the air is refreshing and crisp. Get curious about what you might see from this bird’s-eye-view.

    There’s the Salsa Dance Perspective glasses and the Waltz Perspective glasses.
    – What fresh thinking might be available to you while considering the Waltz perspective, with it’s smooth, flowing,
    comfortably rhythmic movement?

    There’s also a long line of glasses labeled with colors.
    – How would your world look different if you chose to wear the Yellow Perspective glasses today? The Hot Pink
    Perspective glasses? The Sage Green Perspective glasses?

    Worry, anxiety and frustration can leave us feeling stuck or powerless. The truth is, we have the power at any moment to create a new experience for ourselves. The very moment we become aware of our worry, anxiety, or dissonance, we can gently pause our thinking, take a breath, and begin to pray for help to shift our perspective. Whether our circumstance ever changes or not, isn’t the issue. When we shift our perspective, we shift how we’re feeling about the circumstance and how we’re choosing to relate with that circumstance.

    And this becomes the difference between being captive to our circumstances or going free.

    The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. – Philippians 4:5-6

  • I’m good, thanks.


    I’m good, thanks. How many times do I hear these words, or some variation on the sentiment, in a day? Here are a few recent examples:

    I accidentally bumped into a young man in the market and said, “Excuse me, I’m sorry.” To which he replied, “No, I’m good.”

    I said to my 2-year-old, “Zach, I’m tired. Let’s take a rest.” To which he replied, “No Mama, you good.”

    Two weekends ago, I was chaperoning a youth retreat. I was walking across campus to meet my group and two girls passed by me. One was coughing, choking on something. I asked her if she wanted a bottle of water. She replied, “no, [cough-cough], I’m [cough] good.”
    Me: “I’ve got three unopened bottles in my backpack. Please take one.”
    Her: “[cough] No, I’m good. [cough]”
    Her friend was just staring at her like, “take the water already!!”

    I set my pack down, pulled out a bottle of water and practically forced it on her. She did take it and drank nearly the whole thing in one breath.

    What is going on? When did we decide that we’re all “good” and don’t need to accept help or apologies or even water from one another? How did this sentiment become so commonplace that it has become an automatic response from my 2-year-old?

    And perhaps more importantly, I wonder what we’re not saying when we’re saying “I’m good.” I have a hunch that we might not be saying things like:

    • Yes, I could use some help right now.
    • Thank you for noticing [me].
    • I would really like that, thank you.

    Vulnerability. A knee-jerk, “I’m good,” dances around our vulnerability.
    What makes us vulnerable is what makes us beautiful: giving compassion, laughing out loud, praying with someone who is hurting, showing spontaneous affection. These authentic expressions are the source of connection and intimacy in our lives.

    Hearing “I’m good” lets me off the hook. Frees me up from seeing your vulnerability, spending time listening to your story, and experiencing your need.
    Saying “I’m good” lets me off the hook from showing my own vulnerability; from sharing the truth about my needs, worries, or difficulties. I don’t want to do that anymore.

    “speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” – Ephesians 4:15

    What will it mean or do for us when we speak and listen to the truth from one another? Without having answers or rushing to solution. Simply giving the gift of our presence to one another.

    Copyright 2017 De Yarrison

  • Up to the Mountain, Journey with Jesus


    I love to think of our faith journey as a personal pilgrimage we each take with Jesus. In the Gospel reading back on Sunday January 29th, we journeyed with Jesus up to the top of the ‘Mount of Beatitudes.’ And there we stayed, over the next four weekends, listening to Him instruct us on, as Matthew Kelly might say, becoming the best version of ourselves. We heard the attitudes-to-Be (or the Beatitudes), we heard His call for us to be salt and light to the world, to love our enemies, pray for our persecutors, and so on.

    Now we move with Jesus towards another mountain – Calvary. Throughout these 40 days of Lent, we make our way across the valley and begin the climb once again. This 40-day journey is likely to be arduous, requiring us to think carefully about the baggage we bring along. How about we set down our bags, open them up, and have a look inside? What have I been carrying around with me? What have I stuffed way back into the corner of that bag? What specifically is Jesus calling me to empty myself of and leave at the trailhead?

    Self-Criticism? Negativity? Anxiety?
    Anger? Pride? Lust? Envy?

    Give it to Him! We’ll walk lighter; not just for 40 days, but, potentially, forever. When we make it to the garden on Easter Sunday, there will be no tour guide waiting at the gate, handing back our stuff! “Here you go Miss, here’s your negative thinking back. And you Ma’am, don’t forget to pick up your anger on the way out.”

    How does one simply set down that habit or thought pattern that we’ve lugged around for years? Is it possible that I might actually live without self-criticism, negativity, anxiety, anger, or envy?? I believe the answer is Yes – in a continual ever-deepening relationship with Jesus. Below, are 3 steps that have us lean into Jesus to free ourselves of the ‘stuff’ He is calling us to release. These steps are based on the work of Neal Lozano and Unbound, Five Keys to Freedom in Christ (www.heartofthefather.com)

    Step 1 – Repentance. Jesus’ first word in the gospel of Mark is “Repent.” Repentance is the expression of sorrow and acknowledging our participation in sin.
    Step 2 – Forgiveness. Journeying with Jesus requires a willingness to forgive from the heart. Often, the person we find hardest to forgive is ourselves.
    Step 3 – Renunciation. Each Easter, we renew the vows of our baptism, beginning with, “I renounce Satan and all his works and all his empty promises.” Renunciation is a declaration that I will no longer make a home for sin or the deceptions and power behind it.

    Here’s how I’ve used these steps to help me unload self-criticism from my bags.

    Repentance:

    • Jesus, I’m sorry for speaking unkindly to myself.
    • Jesus, I’m sorry for placing so much pressure on myself and not placing my trust in you.
    • Jesus, I’m sorry for not accepting myself.

    Forgiveness:

    • In the name of Jesus, I forgive myself for putting pressure on me to be perfect.
    • In the name of Jesus, I forgive myself for comparing my accomplishments to others’ accomplishments.

    Renunciation:

    • In the name of Jesus, I renounce the lie that I am not worthy.
    • In the name of Jesus, I renounce a spirit of self-criticism.
    • In the name of Jesus, I renounce negativity towards myself.

    Now that our bags have so much space in them, how about we fill them up with intention? What would be helpful to carry with you as you journey? I’m claiming self-acceptance, peace, and deep trust in the Lord.

    What will you claim for this next leg of your pilgrimage?

    Copyright 2017 De Yarrison

  • Brave Journey, a Reflection on 2016

    In 2016, I had the privilege of being in coaching relationship with one brave soul after another. Together, we experienced the incredible freedom that comes only in the tailwind of a great act of personal courage. Similar to the aerial dancer who flies from one tethered safety line to the next, these acts of courage often contain a breathtaking “no hands!” moment.

    Photo by Sonia Cirse. Edited by De Yarrison.

    Growing forward always involves that confronting moment when we know we can no longer hold onto what’s been. We must let go of “the way it is,” leave our comfort zone, and take an untethered step out in the direction of what will be now. The vulnerability of that moment gives life to strength and courage that we may not have known we possess. How exhilarating!

    I am grateful and blessed to have supported women journeying into and through that bold moment this past year! I’ve summarized below accounts describing some of the terrain we’ve crossed together and the essential shifts that resulted. I hope you will be as inspired as I am to get a glimpse of what’s possible!

    We bravely faced our fears of failure and admitted our over-controlling behaviors.
    Situation: A client was stuck in unproductive thought patterns and behavior patterns towards co-workers and family members.
    Shift: recognizing and releasing self-judgments and unrealistic self-expectations. Learning to relate with compassion and acceptance towards oneself, which naturally led to relating more compassionately towards others. This has fostered more positivity, trust, and openness in relationships (both at work and at home).

    We bravely faced self-imposed conditions and limits on one’s worthiness, i.e.: “I’m not valuable unless…” “If I don’t do _____, then _____ will happen.”
    Situation: A client and business owner was overwhelmed with busyness and exhaustion, which was taking a toll in important relationships.
    Shift: Recognizing the fears that were driving behavior (fear of disapproval, of not getting things done, of failing). Shifting the inner conversation from one that placed conditions on self-worth, to one that is self-supportive and self-accepting. This is leading to the ability to honor one’s own needs and take better care of oneself physically and emotionally.

    We bravely faced the uncomfortable truth that how we are regarding ourselves and our performance is not the way others’ may perceive us.
    Situation: a leader was unknowingly perceived by peers as territorial, defensive, and lacking confidence.
    Shift: Took responsibility to be intentional about one’s presence and one’s impact on others. Began asking the question: how do I want to BE in this meeting / conversation / relationship? And then self-managed thoughts, words and actions to make that so.

    We bravely faced the incredible dichotomy of letting go of control in order to experience peace-of-mind.
    Situation: a client was faced with life-changing circumstances that were neither desirable nor within her control.
    Shift: Discovered deep inner strength, enabling a rich journey through frustration, fear, anger, and sadness into acceptance and hope in new possibilities.

    Wow, huh!? Do you see yourself in any of the situations described above? There are typically common themes surrounding our individual stories.

    Onward! 2017 with Intention

    At the end of every day, we have a story to tell. We write that story moment-to-moment, through every decision made, each word uttered into our relationships, and how we choose to see or regard the people in our lives. In the situations above, change happened because individuals were ready to honestly look at the current story they were existing within. And upon realization that the story was not one they wished to continue, they tore off a fresh sheet of paper and began drafting the next chapter by reflecting on questions such as these:

    What comfort zone am I hanging out in that is no longer serving me?
    What unhelpful or unproductive thoughts am I giving my mental energy to?
    What have I been tolerating that it is time to say no to?
    What positive qualities am I ready to own and to express freely?
    What must this next chapter of my story include? What are my non-negotiables? (i.e.: higher priority on my physical health, more authenticity or speaking what is true for me, invest more of myself into my relationships, practices that enhance my peace-of-mind, etc.)
    When I look back on my life in 3-months, 6-months, etc. what do I want to see? How do I want to feel?

    How about you? What are you ready to invite more of in your life this year? What is the untethered step awaiting you? I would be honored to support you as you ready yourself for that bold moment! Here’s to a courageous 2017 together!

    With love,
    De

    Click here to find out more about coaching with De.

  • Here I Am

    I recently read the quote below by St. John Paul II:

    “In your heart and on your lips God places three little words that are so important in the Bible: ‘Here I am.’ They were spoken by the Son of God when he came into the world and his whole life was a constant prompt response of ‘here I am” to his heavenly Father. ‘Here I am’ was the Virgin Mary’s response to the Angel of the Annunciation when she humbly accepted the mission to be Mother of Jesus and, hence, Mother of the Church. And ‘here I am’ must be our response too.” – St. John Paul II

    When I read that, I knew how I wanted to conclude my Advent: by making “Here I Am” my daily prayer and intention. Here I am, Lord. Trusting only You. Surrendering my plans in service of the Divine Will.

    With Christmas only days away, my “Here I Am” might look like:

    • Letting Jesus be born anew in my heart.
    • Praying for an open heart and an open mind to the Lord and His desires each day.
    • Praying that I will be open to His answers to my prayers and accept whatever He gives me. That means accepting the “feel-good” blessings as well as those blessings that come disguised as trials.
    • Expecting ‘new life’ from God: growth, new opportunities, new challenges, new joys.
    • Extending His mercy outward, especially to those in greatest need of experiencing Christ’s love and peace.

    At this moment in our world arena, so many members of our human family are living in unimaginable, horrid circumstances. I am thinking especially of the children in war torn, bomb-barded areas of Syria. The photos below break my heart and leave me grieving that I cannot scoop each precious child up in my arms and wipe the dirt and tears from their little faces. But I know that Jesus can. And His Blessed Mother, Mary.

    Please join me in praying for these children and all our far-away brothers and sisters whose Christmas will not be filled with feasts and gift-giving and joyful gatherings this year.

    When I wholeheartedly offer my “here I am,” I am pulled into the miracle of that first Christmas. The events of the first Christmas didn’t happen just once, a long time ago. They happen again and again, each time we allow the truth of the incredible Incarnation to change our hearts a little more.

    I wish you and your family a very blessed Christmas.

    With love,
    De

  • Busy and Holy – can the two co-exist peacefully?

    Last Thursday evening, I had the privilege of speaking at an “Advent by Candlelight” event at a lovely Catholic church in Mount Holly, NJ. Below is an excerpt from my talk along with a download to help us all hold onto the ‘holy’ in the midst of our ‘busy!’

    Have you ever sat down and considered how incredible The Incarnation really is? That awe-striking moment when, because He loves us so much and desires to be as close to us as He can, God made the unlikely decision to become one of us. To meet us right where we are and join us in the messiness of our humanity. God’s holy Presence, dwelling within and among us.

    Ahhhhh, let’s rest here for a moment. Presence ourselves in His Presence. And while we are resting here, let’s take a moment to think about and plan for how we will remain in His presence throughout this Christmas Season. Thankfully we have this time called Advent, when we get to slow down and prepare our hearts for the celebration of our Savior’s birth.

    Yup, so between now and Dec 25th we all just slow down, right?? Ummm, not in my house! Yours? Is your December calendar as crazy as mine?!

    These weeks leading up to Christmas are busy! Yet, all the busy-ness makes them no less holy. Busy and holy, can the two co-exist? Let’s talk about that. Actually, let’s not talk about the busy. We’ve got that part down, right? There is certainly plenty to DO.

    Let’s talk about the holy: Preparing for the arrival of Jesus. Welcoming our Savior into our homes and our hearts. This is the most important to-do on any of our lists, yes? And the particulars around this to-do – welcoming our Jesus – read more like a to-BE list than a to-DO list. How am I BE-ing in the midst of the DO-ing?

    You see, we can DO any of the tasks on our list in such a way that we will BE squarely in the presence of Jesus – or not! I can run my errands while mentally reviewing the list, worrying that I forgot something at the last stop, focusing on the time because I haven’t got enough of it. OR…I take a deep breath and say one of my favorite prayers: “Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything.” And then I put on a rosary podcast or a Christmas CD and allow myself to BE in God’s presence. And the doing gets done.

    I can clean my kitchen and bake the cookies while feeling anxious about all there is to do. Which usually morphs into silent judgment and complaints about my kids and husband not helping me enough and how I have to do everything myself (tell me I’m not the only one who does this please). OR…I take a deep breath, “Jesus I surrender myself to you, take care of everything.” I BE in God’s presence. And the doing gets done.

    We’ll Find What We’re Looking For
    Take a look around the room and find all the red that you can in the next 5 seconds. Count everything red that you see. Ready, Here we Go.

    5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1.

    OK, so how many brown objects did you see? What?! Probably none, because you weren’t looking for brown! Take a look around again. Does that mean that there is no brown in the room? Of course not. Well, what does it mean?

    It seems that we will find whatever it is we are looking for. If I’m looking for red, I’ll find red. If I’m looking for all that needs to get purchased, and wrapped, and cleaned, and baked… I will find them. I’ll find them and so long as I keep my focus there, they consume my mental and emotional energy.

    Likewise, when I look for beauty, I find beauty. When I look for generosity, I find generosity. When I place my mental energy on all that I am thankful for, I find blessing upon blessing. And gratitude. When I go about my DO-ing without intention on my BE-ing or my mental focus, it doesn’t mean that beauty, generosity, blessing, and gratitude are not there, it just means that I am more likely to miss them!

    What is it that you will look for this Advent?
    What is it you don’t want to miss?

    Joy? Peace? Gratitude? Love? Connection? Grace? Write them down. Make yourself a to-BE list. Then, close your eyes, put a hand over your heart, take a long deep breath, and Be. Be in His presence. Be with Grace, with Peace, with Love. Know that God is right here, waiting to be invited into your plans, your day, your busy.

    “Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28

    Our Jesus does not want to be reserved only for moments of prayer before meals, or when I lay in bed at night, or sit in the pew on Sunday. He wants all in! Each day for the remainder of Advent, sit down next to Mary, even if you only have a moment. Gaze with her, on the baby Jesus. Gaze on the face of God. See His love for you. Come back to the holy. Come back, and rest in His Presence.

    Advent Breath Prayer Cards
    I made a set of six Advent breath prayer cards, which you can download by clicking on the image below. Print out the sheet, cut them apart and place around your home, car, office, or anywhere that you will run into them throughout your day. Each image contains a simple prayer to help you return to Jesus and to peace. Say the first part of the prayer (the words before the three dots) while breathing in, and the second part of the prayer while breathing out. Breathe in holy, breathe out busy.

    With love,
    De

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