Inspired by our recent voyage to Alaska where I bore witness to these beautiful icy islands of the sea, I though I would share with you a post I had written recently for my incredible friends Chelsea and Mel at where I have the privilege of being a life coach and clinical counsellor. Enjoy!

I draw a lot of icebergs. A professor in graduate school suggested I always keep a large writing surface to draw on during sessions with clients. This was a less than thrilling idea for me as the most I can draw are stick people living in a square house with a triangle roof. I recently went back and looked at what I frequently draw on my used flip chart paper and saw iceberg after iceberg!

The reason I draw so many icebergs is because clients usually come in presenting me with an “issue”, we chat for a while and then find that the presenting problem they first contacted me about (eating disorders, cutting, loss of a loved one, etc.) is the tip of the iceberg. We discover that the actual work must be done on what is below the surface of the water, that large mass that doesn’t show up above the surface. The hurt, the pain, the unfelt grief, the masked emotion, the inability to express emotion – THAT’s what we really need to look at.

Now it is true that we can work at strategies to chip away at the tip of the iceberg; however, it is of my opinion that unless what is lurking below the water is addressed, the tip of the iceberg will continue to surface.

Is chipping away at mass below the surface more challenging than staying above the surface of the water? Absolutely, but it is necessary if you don’t want the iceberg to keep bobbing up to the surface.

Chipping away at the mass of ice hidden under the surface often requires us to consider how the iceberg started forming in the first place. That can be a challenge for those resistant to revisiting their past, yet it is a necessary step if we are going to breakdown both the base and tip of the obstacles that are hindering our smooth sailing.

Hiit home question? Are there any icebergs in your sea? What might be lurking beneath?


Everyday I’m Puzzlin’

I have loved puzzling ever since I can remember and almost to a point of it being problematic. When I start a puzzle I have a hard time stopping until it’s complete. My love for puzzles is so great that in grade 8 my parents bought me a “Roll-O-Puzz” that I have to this day for rolling up puzzles that are taking up precious dining room table top real estate.

It means that sometimes I don’t start a puzzle until I know I have time, but it also means that sometimes I am plagued with guilt about not getting around to doing all the other things because I am so focused on figuring out the puzzle in front of me.

When I think about my passion for counselling, I think it’s a lot like doing a puzzle. I love to figure things out. I love to make connections and find ways to get the pieces to fit.

When I initially meet a client I feel that that initial meeting or two is much like opening a puzzle box and looking at all the pieces and then slowly starting to sort them out in a way that works best for a client – flip over all the pieces to the picture side, sort the edge pieces out, sort like colors out, etc. In time, what unfolds without even realizing it is I am working with my client on a beautiful puzzle of their life, coming alongside to see where the pieces we have laid out fit – because they all do into this glorious, wonderful mosaic that is each individual life.

There are some principles about doing puzzles that I have learned:

  1. You can’t multitask while doing a puzzle. Doing a puzzle requires concentration and focus, you are looking and searching for pieces – trying to fit pieces together – you need to remember what you tried so you don’t frustrate yourself going back to try to put the same two pieces together over and over again.Similarly, counselling requires focus, when I am with my client, or doing some processing work myself, I don’t have distractions around. Trying to do anything else would take away from the delicate and intricate work we are doing during the therapeutic process. Concentration on organizing the pieces and seeing how they fit together requires total concentration on my part.
  2. It requires patience. Depending on the number of pieces you have in your puzzle box, your puzzle may take 5 minutes, or it may be something you work on for months at a time, coming back to it every so often when you have an hour or two of time you can focus on it. Trying to rush through a puzzle misses the point completely of doing a puzzle. You are not going to force pieces to fit together, they either fit or they don’t. Doing a puzzle slowly and methodically, in my opinion, is the best way and the most enjoyable way, to get a puzzle put together. Similarly in counseling, the way forward that works best is to go at a pace where you don’t feel you are trying to get the puzzle pieces to fit together with help from a hammer. The way forward in counselling is to let the process unfold like a puzzle. There are times when concepts will seem to come together effortlessly – like doing the edge and then there are other sessions you will work away at and if you’re lucky – you get once piece together, but man, when you get that one piece to fit it feels so good and it means that there is one less piece to put in going forward.
  3. Each time I sit down to build my puzzle after having some time away, things seem clearer, fresher……after staring at the same pieces for a while sometimes getting up and taking a break helps everything to reset. When I sit down the next time I feel like I’m seeing with refreshed eyes, and I try to fit pieces together I didn’t see before.

People come to me with their puzzle boxes, and I have brought my puzzle box to my counsellor before. When I come with mine, it can feel daunting and overwhelming. It can feel like a 5000 piece puzzle with pieces so scattered and small I don’t know where to begin. And yet through the therapeutic process my counsellor and I or myself and my client begin to make sense of the pieces. Through a relaxing, calm, therapeutic session we try things on and out, we attempt to put pieces together and find that some fit on the first try and others are going to take a while to piece together. I leave every session feeling like progress has been made, be it 500 pieces put together or just one – there is momentum and it is forward and you can start to see the picture a little clear each time you sit down and let yourself go into the beautiful work of puzzling your masterpiece.


about my eating disorder

For those of you who have heard me speak or read my past blog entries, you know that when I speak of Ed, I’m not talking about a physical human being I know. I am definitely, though, talking about someone I know all too well: my eating disorder. When I spell his initials, it is of course – Ed. He’s not just special to me, although he most definitely makes me feel that I am his most special prize.  He’s known by millions around the world – intimately, lovingingly, longingly, mysteriously known.

I wish I would have never met Ed. I wish his cunning, seductive ways never entered into my life. Many times I ask myself why I ever let such a cruel, heartbreaking, soul crushing individual in. Someone who has taken and destroyed so much of my soul. Someone who has stolen precious moments with cherished people that I will never get back.  Yet I believe it is all for a purpose and for a reason. Sometimes I struggle to put a finger on exactly what that purpose or reason is, but alas, here I am.

Sometimes I think it’s for the parents of kids going through eating disorders. The kids whose lives Ed has invaded. Parents who now find themselves alienated from the children they once knew so well. And not only alienated but turned against. I write, I speak,  I talk, and I counsel so those parents hold out hope that their kid may have a chance at a life. That this hopeless despair won’t last forever. That they can talk to someone who has been in their child’s shoes, someone that believed dying was the better option than gaining half a pound.

I write for the individuals who have no clue who this monster  – that they allowed in their life – is. Those who bought into the lies of Ed. Who listened when he told them it would be easy and lovely and so much better if they obeyed his ways. I want those people to know that they are not crazy and it is not them, it’s someone who they met.  They gave that person – Ed – too much, but now they can unfriend. They can separate themselves.  They can have a better, freer life.

I do it for my daughters. I hope with all that is within me that my girls never meet Ed, but chances are they will know about him. I want them to have the facts and know the repercussions of letting him in. I want them to learn from me all about this horrible creature who takes so much and gives nothing in return. I want them to get the word out to their generation to be strong, proud women who are capable and knowledgeable and who blaze trails of empowerment for themselves and those around them.

And lastly, but most certainly not in the least, I do it for myself. I do it because I know that I am worth the fight against Ed, that although I know him I don’t have to let him control me. I fight against him daily because I know that there is a better, free-er, lovelier path in life than listening to and obeying his lies. There are most certainly days of weakness, fatigue, frailty when I am caught off guard that Ed can bring me down, although with each conscious choice I make to disagree and disobey Ed I gain ground . As much as I try to safeguard my house against his presence and seal every crack, there are days where he finds the hairline fracture in my solid structure and he gets in.  He gets into my head, into my body, and into my heart… and so, I fight on. I recognize when Ed is in my life and I rebuild, reseal and restore.

I won’t stop fighting. I won’t stop getting the message out there about who Ed is and I will forever more work to give families and those struggling with eating disorders hope for a better, more vibrant future and prove to the world he can be beat.



It’s really no surprise that an NFL aficionado like myself would pick up former NFL player and coach Tony Dungy’s book, Quiet Strength, and decide, “Yep, that’s the book for me to read over Christmas break 2017.” I do love a good biography and since purchasing the book at the Willow Creek Leadership Summit that Tony spoke at back in 2010, it has sat on my bookshelf starting me down – literally. The front cover is a picture of Tony when he was the head coach of the Colt’s (look at my NFL knowledge – it’s blowing your mind isn’t it?!) with headset on and a stern look on his face that conveys, “Pick up this book and read it…. NOW! Hut! Hut! Hike!”

To be honest, I really am not that much of an NFL fan. I do LOVE going to Seahawks games and watching the Super Bowl halftime shows and of course I get Derek’s weekly Fantasy Football updates but that is the extent. However, I felt a nudge to pick this book up from my shelf and take it with me to Palm Springs this past month. Within the first few pages, I could tell already why I felt God prompt me to take this book. It is a leadership book that is different than most.  It focuses on leadership through service and an unwavering dedication to that which really matters in life. Tony wrote, “We often can’t see what God is doing in our lives, but God sees the whole picture and His plan for us clearly.”

I know Tony was not the first, and will not be the last, to attest to the simple truth that God sees the whole picture, but for some reason over Christmas that simple truth made me pause.

Often I get caught up in the busyness of everyday life. Mornings start with an alarm clock named Stella coming into our room at an unconscionable hour, prying us from delicious slumber and the day is off to a blazing start. Lists are crossed off, errands are ran and life doesn’t stop until the dishwasher is empty, the dryer is on and Gerry our dog has gone out for one last pit stop.

In the midst of the haste I think I know what I want for my future, but I get carried away in the need for control. I feel my shoulders tensing all day long just hoping everything goes according to plan and nothing gets derailed.  Then I read words like Tony’s and I breath a massive sigh of relief, resting in the knowledge that it’s not my story after all, it’s God’s story. He constructed a narrative for me long before I ever existed on earth, a plan He handcrafted uniquely for me, a story where He already worked out the kinks and details, a journey that will allow me to rest in the assurance that I am daily living out my life purpose.

There is a song I have been listening to called Control by Tenth Avenue North that ties in this concept of God having a plan for my life and having the knowledge of knowing He has a plan for me to give Him control of my life.

I’ve had plans

Shattered and broken

Things I have hoped in

Fall through my hands

You have plans

To redeem and restore me

You’re behind and before me

Oh help me believe


God You don’t need me

But somehow You want me

Oh how You love me

Somehow that frees me

To take my hands off of my life

And the way it should go

God You don’t need me

But somehow You want me

Oh how You love me

Somehow that frees me

To open my hands up

And give You control

God has a plan for my life and His plan is exponentially more amazing than any plan of mine. In Ephesians 3:20 Paul describes all that God is able to do in each one of us as “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine”.

Just think about that for a second.

Imagine your most incredible, far reaching dreams.  Imagine the things that seem impossible to you right now, aspirations that seem like wishful thinking….do you have some of those hopes and dreams in your mind ? Those pale in comparison to what God has in store for you! The only question that remains is: are we willing to give up control and let Him do what He has the power to do in our lives?

Life unfolds better than I could ever imagine every time I intentionally stop myself in the busyness of life and picture myself in my car (which is a metaphor for my life), taking my white knuckle gripped hands off the wheel of control, exiting my body out of the driver’s seat, opening the door and going around to the passengers side, sinking into the seat, and allowing God to take control of the wheel. Every. Single. Time.

So today, I encourage you to take Tony’s advice.  Be the passenger. Go along for the drive! Trust Him, He’s got the only map you’ll ever need.  You’ll go to places far beyond anything you’ve imagined.

Confessions of a Perfectionist

It’s true, that’s what I am, a perfectionist, or for those more comfortable with letters, I would be an A type. Because I am a perfectionist this blog post almost never got blogged (don’t let your bad grammar stop you Kristin!) and here is why…it’s because of thoughts like these ones listed below, thoughts that I have more than I would like to admit.

  • Who is going to read what you write?
  • Don’t even start writing it, it will never be good enough
  • Someone else will do it way better than you
  • Someone else has already done it way better than you
  • You’ll make so many mistakes and everyone will point them out
    • or maybe they won’t point them out to you, but they’ll secretly judge you and then when the see you they’ll be thinking, “Oh, that’s Kristin, the one with the pointless, grammatically incorrectly, irrelevant blog.”
  • Shouldn’t you be doing the laundry, dishes, thinking about meals to make your family (that will never actually come to fruition), cleaning around the Keurig machine for 17 minutes like you did this morning….you know, doing anything else other than sharing your thoughts with the world?

And that is just the tip of the perfectionist iceberg.

I feel this pressure that if I start something it has to be perfect, so when I get 10 letters, 10 words, 10 paragraphs in and it’s not what I consider “good enough” I scrap the whole thing and then beat myself up for how much precious time by myself I have wasted and now how much more I have to do in other parts of my life that could have been done already had I not wasted all this time on something that someone else is already doing better than me. (I purposely put no punctuation in that paragraph because that’s how fast my thoughts flow, there is no time for punctuation in my thoughts!)

Yep, it’s rambly (and yes, I will be making up words) and circular reasoning, but it’s my mind.

Add to that the physical sensations that come with it….a heart that feels like it’s going to beat out of my chest, sweaty hands and feet, inability to focus and basically what you have is a typical day in the life of Kristin Edstrom.

I know to the outside world (or so I have heard) I seem very calm, cool and ever so collected. Chilled, relaxed, mellow, go with the flow. So basically what I am is a pretty good actor, because most days, I don’t feel that way. I feel frantic, stressed, burdened, guilty… so, so guilty about never doing enough, being enough, listening enough, producing enough, cleaning enough, being present with my kids enough, cooking healthy food enough, budgeting enough, educating myself enough, relaxing during the moments I have alone enough – can anyone relate to that feeling of hurry up and relax already I’ve only got 45 minute and then I’ve go to be home to relieve whoever is looking after the kids and be thrown full force into the parade of snack requesting, washer emptying, dryer loading, folding, junk removaling (look for that one under the “new words” category in Merriam-Webster 2021 version), vacuuming bliss that I feel is my life.

So how does this not drive me insane? I am tensing up just thinking about it.

Well, I have learned a few tricks over the years (I find therapists become therapists because they know the benefit of therapy through personal experience, be it with another counsellor or through the work they’ve done themselves in their own lives.)

The first thing I do is to breath. I used to hate it when this was a suggestion for calming down. I mean honestly, “thanks Einstein” for that riveting revelation (and alliteration while I am at it). But seriously, deep breathing is like a freaking day at the spa when you do it correctly…and by doing it correctly, all I mean is trying to take the deepest breath you can, hold it for a second or two and release it fully (there, I just saved you from purchasing a $5,000 yoga pass). Breathing…..even as I write about it, I just took a deep breath and it feels so good.

Secondly, let’s talk about electronics. “I want to throw my phone into the lake.” is a true sentence I said with gusto to my husband 26 days ago. Yes, we have technology to thank in regards to many advances we have made as a society, but sometimes I also have technology to thank for my sweaty palms and increased heart rate.

I can have fairly good concentration and then a text message comes in and it’s like a virtual squirrel in my mind and my whole train of thought (which let’s be honest, as a mom is slightly derailed 87% of the time anyways) comes off the tracks completely.

So I have silenced the texts and put my phone away. I try to only look at it a few times a day (I am in training for that) and take 5 – 10 minute chunks of time two times a day or so to respond. My closest friends know that I won’t respond to them right away and it’s not a sign of disrespect, it’s rather a sign of respect for myself and when I can respect myself, I can better serve and respond to others.

Lastly and absolutely most importantly, I have the power of God on my side. To know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my worries, my stress, my anxiety can all be calmed when I give them over to God, that is seriously the best news ever. God is absolutely unbelievably awesome when it comes to relieving all my anxiety and worry when I just give it to Him – but I gots to give it to Him and that means giving up control, and not having control does not sit will with a perfectionist.

However, there are mornings when I literally open my google calendar and with anxious thoughts racing at the sight of all the tasks I need to accomplish in one week, one day, one hour, I just pray, “God, may my agenda be your agenda.” Any it happens. On days when I do that, when I give up the control and give it over to God my days work out seamlessly. What needs to get done gets done and I don’t stress about the things that don’t matter at all. Conversely, if I tried to control my day, EVERYTHING would matter, I wouldn’t focus on the things I actually got done, I would just stew and worry and fret about all the tasks that went unfinished. So yes, giving my perfectionistic way to the one who makes things work perfectly is absolutely essential.

So there we are, a brief look into the day in the life of a perfectionist and how I cope.

For the record, this is a purposely unedited blog post because to make it perfect would mean that it would never exist. There is beauty in the imperfect and when we can open ourselves up to the gift that imperfection (nod to Brene Brown) can be in our lives, a beautiful, rich, meaningful, purposeful, joyful life unfolds.

Imperfectly yours,


Notes from a “yes” addict…

I know I’m not alone when I say, “Hello, my name is Kristin Edstrom and I struggle to say, “no”.” It’s taken me awhile to get to this point in my life – and still each day is a battle to stop my habit of saying, “yes” too quickly. The following is a letter to myself, incase I ever forget about the importance of saying “no”.


You have had a long track record of being a people-pleasing, overachieving, perfectionist who definitely has a fear of missing out, #fomo. Yet, you feel that you have come to a point in your life where you are looking at the trajectory of your life and wondering, “If I don’t start saying “no” what is going to give?”

You have recognized that most important principle of learning to say no is this: when you say “yes” to one thing, you are always subsequently saying “no” to another. This is called “opportunity costs”, and, as you’ll recall, it’s the only aspect of your first year economics course that stuck with you.

Remember that day when you came to the realization that choosing to see another client in the evening because their schedule didn’t line up with yours meant that you were basically telling your girls “no” (not explicitly but subliminally)?  When you said yes to a bend in your schedule, you told your girls: “I’m not going to spend time with you right now giving you a bath, reading you stories and tucking you into bed tonight because fitting one more client in is more important than spending time with you.”

So, when you choose to look at your phone or take a call when your kids are around and wanting your attention, you are choosing to say “yes” to looking and perhaps responding to that text message.  By saying “yes” to the phone check, you said “no” to paying attention to your kids. In not so many words, perhaps no words at all, you tell your girls that your phone and whoever is on the other end of it  is more important than them.  You are teaching them, through modeled behavior, that it is ok to do that to you and other people in their lives.

Remember Kristin, Lily and Stella won’t outright tell this to you, but rest assured that a “yes” to something society is pulling you towards is almost always a “no” to them.

Kristin, there will come a time when you want your girls to ask you to drop them off inside at their classroom, that you will want them to ask you to go to Boston Pizza on a Thursday after school – just the two of you, that you will miss those times that they take you by the hand and show you the drawing of you that they have been working on – there will be times when you are wanting to blurt out “YES!” to them and the only thing you will receive in return will be a car door in your face before you can even get out the words, “I love you!” at school drop off, you will be wanting that invite to a private date at Boston Pizza after school, but instead receive a text asking if they can go over to a friend’s house to have pizza, you will be waiting for them with pencil crayons sharpened and ready to draw with them, only to find out they’re staying out late.

Your kids in absolutely every way right now are asking you to be the stars in their life. They are asking you in tangible and intangible ways, directly and indirectly to be their centers – to come alongside of them and give them security, admiration, encouragement, a place they can be safe and secure…..they want more than anything right now for you to be their biggest allies, best friends and constants.

These moments and years are fleeting, you are told that and feel that fleetingness on the daily. You know that in time, you won’t be invited to snuggle until they fall asleep (“with both legs in the bed mommy” – you have really got to get Stella a bigger bed!), you won’t be asked to follow them up and down and all around the playground, you won’t be the one they want to always sit next to at the dinner table. So, right now, never leave them guessing what you’ll say when they put the invite out – never leave them thinking “she might say no.”

So Kristin…if at all possible, go to the park, take your bikes out for a ride together, go to the ice cream store, stop and feed the ducklings, play on the playground, give under ducks, read the books, look at the artwork created just for you, whatever the request….DO IT ALL, because there will come a day when that little hand is reaching for another’s and you will so badly crave the feeling of it reaching for yours. Life is not too busy to literally stop and smell the roses – it’s going by so quickly that you can’t afford not to.

Right now say “no” mindfully as MUCH as you can to things that aren’t truly imminent and pressing in return for spending quality time on your children and on your own well being.  This might be saying “no” to returning phone calls, answering texts, committing to anything outside of your family, putting courses or school work that will stress you out and limit your time with your kids on hold – there will be PLENTY of time for that afterwards – trust me – and even if there is not – you’ll be glad you placed first things first. Your kids want and deserve YOU – raw, real and beautiful YOU – not you on your cell phone, not you trying to balance everything, not you with a perfectly clean house, just YOU – the one who brought them into this world, you, the one who saw them through all their firsts in life, YOU, the only one that can be their universe right now. YOU are the only one that can do that exact job. Anyone else can do the jobs you are saying “yes” to right now, ANYONE (I know it may not feel that way, but trust me, there are lots of people that can fill in for you in life right now)– but if you say, “no” to the job of being a parent, no one, absolutely no one, can fill in that job for you. It will be the best investment of time, energy and love you have ever given.

Oh, and Kristin, you’re a great mom and you are doing a great job at raising your girls, you may not feel that way everyday, but you really are.

With love,

Your 36 year old self.

Put on those smart pants of yours!

Ah October, you beautiful month you, here I am, sitting down at my kitchen table in an empty house, two spice-spiked autumn breeze candles with hints of ginger, amber and bergamot, plus a base note of musk (I don’t think autumn candle scents are overrated at all!) glow subtly beside me as the crisp autumn air is punctuated by the remaining warmth of the summer sun……

So where to begin this Fall…how about with education, or perhaps backing that up, let’s begin with the feelings of doubt and hesitation one feels about formal education. I write this post because it’s not only a boat I have talked with many clients about being in, it’s also a boat that I have been in myself that I had to step out of. The boat of doubt. The boat of, “I’m doing what I’m doing in life right now because the fear of doing anything else is paralyzing me and stopping me from stepping out of the boat.”

I was definitely there six years ago. I had graduated with an undergrad in psychology in 2002 and then worked with my family for years, always knowing that I wanted to be a Clinical Counsellor but never actually thinking that I was smart enough to pursue a Master degree. That fear of not feeling good enough, smart enough, capable enough, held me back and kept me in a very small boat on a giant sea of possibilities with little sense of direction.

In addition to the feelings of doubt and worry came a feeling of being pregnant, and it actually was more than a feeling, it was a reality. I was 29, pregnant and not living my dream. Then one day, the small, faint voice that sounded oddly enough like Stuart Smalley, got loud enough to convince me to pull up my boots and apply to the Gonzaga Masters of Counselling program.

On a chilly April morning at 4.5 months pregnant I headed into the Gonzaga University “pageant weekend”. It was like a very toned down Miss America….no bathing suit or evening gown portion, but certainly lots of time with the “judges”, (the profs of the Masters of Counselling program), and lots of time chatting up, figuring out and eyeing your fellow contestants, a portion of whom would be the lucky few to make it into the two year graduate program. If ever there was a time that I felt incompetent and doubtful, it was that weekend, not knowing if I would be worthy enough to make it into the program.

Fast forward 5 months and one, one week old baby girl later, I started the Gonzaga Masters of Counselling program. A two year journey of intense learning, personal and professional growth and moments of extreme relief followed by periods of stress and anxiety. To make this story “pithy” (a nod to my prof Elizabeth’s favorite expression), I did it! I received my Masters in Counselling Psychology and today I can say that I am confidently in the place that I know God wants me to be -raising a family and collaborating with others to help them live their best life.

I tell you that story because, as I mentioned above, my story of self doubt is not unique. I have had the privilege of counselling and coaching many amazing individuals who for various reasons have stopped short of pursuing their dreams, many of which involve pursuing higher education. The reasons vary: the timing is not right, the cost is too high, they are too young/old, but underlying most is the common ground of fear and doubt that they are not good or smart enough.

Let me be the first to tell you from personal experience that you ARE good enough. You CAN do it! It is a step by step process. It is a staggering mountain to look at from the base, but by breaking down the journey into one step at a time and literally just putting one foot in front of the other day after day and pacing yourself, that once unattainable peak becomes more and more within reach.

In the past year I have had the opportunity of seeing six clients begin formal education that they once thought was an unrealistic goal. Each one is now invested in education that is meaningful to them and pursuing goals in fields they are truly passionate about.

For other clients, the education may not be in a formal setting such as a college or university classroom; however, I believe education plays a massive role in the therapeutic process. First, there is the learning about one’s own self – how you process information about yourself and others, how you form your set of beliefs and values, and why you make the conclusions that you do. The first part of therapy is really an education about you, dissecting all the parts that make you tick and then tuning the parts up and putting them all back together in a way that makes sense for you.

Second, education is gained through various forms that can include but are not limited to reading, in session teaching, exposure therapy (a fancy way of saying trying things that you have been scared to try in the past out), journaling, meditating, and praying.

The ways in which we learn to grow are endless. Most of us just need to take the giant leap of faith and believe that once we jump, we can actually soar!

DID YOU KNOW: For those in universities such as UBC-O, many counselling services, including those by yours truly, are either fully or partially covered? If ever there is a time to seek counselling it is during the strain and stress of school! Check out your benefit package today to see if you qualify. Here is UBC-O’s information for current students.

These are the days…

Probably the first item I ever bought at J Crew was a shirt that read, “These are the days”…..Which can be taken any number of ways…..the way I take for the most part is, “These are the days, enjoy them because they’ll be gone before I know it” (or so everyone tells me). But then there is the interpretation of “These are the days, hold on for dear life because life is messy and grueling and there are some days when you don’t feel anything and feel everything all at the same time.” Such was my day yesterday.

For no apparent reason at all I was feeling very blah. bland. gross. off. and dare I say, ugly, yes, I said it, the “u” word. Yep, me, the girl who appears to have it all together was feeling ugly. Ugly on the inside and ugly on the outside. For starters, I was feeling like a bad mom, perhaps it was the cavity that appeared on the dentist x-ray despite my diligent attempts at brushing and flossing L’s teeth like my life depended on it, perhaps it was the not only one, but two pee-pee accidents (that’s mom talk for urinating in yer undies) S had whilst in the dentist office (one of which was caused by me getting upset at her that she wasn’t being quiet enough for the dentist to tell me that my daughter’s cavity would only cost me selling of one of my kidney’s on the black market to fix), or perhaps it was because I had all of 4 minutes to get out of my pajamas, into the shower (while entertaining a waiting audience of littles on the other side of the glass and refusing to open nail polish lids and cautioning against pinched fingers) lotion up, do my hair and makeup, make myself breakfast, brush my teeth and only be 7 minutes late for our dentist appointment. **Only the shower happened, in case you are wondering, and I’m pretty sure I still have soap on my back.** My hair was going on day 6 of not being washed and my chin was breaking out like a bad habit to the point that I could have had a starring role in a Pro Active commercial next to Adam Levine. So yes, “These are the days” J Crew, they really, truly are.

These are the days when feelings of failure take over and no matter how hard I try, how much I know or how much I want to fix myself, there is something that keeps me from doing all of that. Something that keeps me wallowing, feeling sorry for myself, there is a comfort there, in the pity, sadness and purposelessness. These are the days when I like to be in that space. Is that so wrong?

In all my years of counselling wisdom I have come to the point of knowing when to “let”, when to sit quiet and let emotions be. Truly feel emotions instead of trying to “fix”. There is a certain beauty in it. There is beauty in imperfection. There is a vulnerability that I actually want my kids to see in me when I feel this way. I want them to see that although there are rainbows, there are also unforeseen storms that we must weather that eventually create that beautiful arch of color in the sky. To quote a song from the Garden State soundtrack (and date myself), there is beauty in the breakdown.

So feel it. Feel those emotions, be them good, bad or otherwise. Give them space and room to breath. Don’t let them take over your life, but do allow yourself to sit for a moment (or day) in them and then figure them out, figure out what the lesson was, look at the rainbow and get up on your feet again and continue on your journey, because after all, “these are the days”.



Now here is a story all about how…..

The Story of Adele Northan

Adele Northan was born in 1915 on a homestead in Saskatchewan.  She had 8 brothers and one sister. Being raised in the 1920’s and 30’s in a large family, where resources were always tight, she was not able to fulfill her dream of being a nurse.

Subsequent to Bible School in Winnipeg she moved to Detroit where she worked in a home of a wealthy family. She had met Joe Kornalewski, who had emigrated from Germany, at her parents’ home in the early 30’s. Joe was friends with her brothers.  In 1940, Joe who had gone to seminary training was asked to serve a church in Leduc, Alberta.  However, the call to serve the church was based on his coming as a married man.  That was the catalyst for Adele and Joe to marry in Detroit in 1940. It was a great marriage.

While in Leduc 2 children were added to the family, David in 1942 and Tim in 1945. In 1946 the family moved to Minitonas, Manitoba and then on to Kelowna in 1952, where Joe served the Grace Baptist Church.

Almost immediately after the move to Kelowna, Adele started looking after some elderly ladies in the parsonage. Her desire to be a nurse many years before, still a motivating factor.  In 1957, when Joe retired as pastor, Joe and Adele built a house on Pandosy Street, one block from the Kelowna General Hospital (KGH). This home is currently the hostel located across the street from KGH.  The thought was to provide room and board for Registered Nurses who moved to Kelowna. Virtually from the first day the home was complete, Adele was asked, for a short term, to look after an elderly lady that needed to move out of KGH.  That lady and up to 14 elderly folks lived in the Adele’s home with her family until 1962 when Adele and her husband built the first Private Hospital in the Okanagan Valley, named, Still Waters.

While it was a Private Hospital licensed under the Hospital Act of BC, its purpose was to serve the elderly who had nursing care needs.  In 1968, the Joseph Benjamin Residence, which provided residential accommodation, was opened adjacent to Still Waters on Sutherland Ave., named in memory of Adele’s husband who had passed away in 1965.

With her vision of wanting to provide excellent care to an ever increasing population of elderly, her two sons, who had joined the family enterprise, built Lakeshore Place in Kelowna, Westside Care in West Kelowna, and Sun Pointe Village in Rutland.

By this time a third generation had joined the family enterprise and continued providing for the housing needs of seniors in the Okanagan by developing in partnership with the Hall family, the 5 Regency Retirement Resorts.

All of this was possible because of the vision and foresight of one remarkable woman, who had steadfast faith in God and His plan for her life.   Adele’s legacies of generosity, caring and serving have been passed on to both her children and grandchildren.  In her lifetime she traveled extensively, played golf into her 90’s and continues to be an avid reader.   It would be a significant omission from Adele’s story if we didn’t mention the 1000s of scrubbers she has crocheted and given away to everyone she encountered. This gesture endured her to many people.

Adele has touched countless lives as pastor’s wife, a care provider, employer, mentor and friend.  She gave many women their first employment opportunity.  She was and continues to be an inspiration to her family, her friends and those who she comes in contact with.  It is only fitting that a lady of her character should live to celebrate her 100th birthday.



“And that’s the danger: When we fritter away our one and only life doing things that don’t really matter, we sacrifice the things that do matter.” ~Bill Hybels, Simplify

Here is a typical day in my life…..My alarm clock goes off (which would of course be my 19 month old Stella’s voice in the baby monitor asking for me) I hit the ground running. In a matter of minutes Stella has a bottle, the dishes are being unloaded from the dishwasher, the clothes in the washer are transferred to the dryer, the stove is on for eggs, the cutting board is out for fruit and that all has happened in under 4 minutes since I heard my baby angel cake’s voice.

That pattern of cramming that much activity, into that short period of time continues all day and does not stop until my head hits the pillow at night at which time I start to feel guilty for all the things I had not accomplished during the day. Sound familiar? What in the world right? Why are our lives operating at a Mach 10 speed, like we are millions of chickens all looking for our proverbial heads and realizing at the end of the day we only skimmed the surface of our “to do” lists – not even touching on the items towards the bottom that really mattered.

When I am operating at this speed, I need only to look at this video of Lily when she was about 20 months old….she is in our backyard smelling each and every tulip and once done, kissing each and every one of them goodbye, as though it was the only thing that mattered. She literally stopped and smelled the flowers. And isn’t that what we need to do? To slow right down and get back to the small, meaningful, enjoyable moments in life. Those are the times that we will cherish, the times that we will look back upon and be so thankful that we stopped spinning in a world that never does and just for a moment, we stood still, breathed in the beauty around us, took time to make that meaningful phone call, cancelled the class at the gym to have coffee with a dear friend, stopped for five minutes to be grateful for the view from the lookout, had the conversation with a spouse at the end of the night and resisted the urge to get to all the tidying done around the house.

We need to start stopping our “to do” list and start focusing on our “to don’t” list. To slow down, and enjoy the gratification an uncomplicated life has to offer. Will it be scary to not be over scheduled? Of course, our society tells us we need to be 5 different places at once and always be available for the next best thing. But in time we will gain a sense of meaning and purpose knowing that we have just as many hours in the day as Mother Teresa did and she spent all of hers doing what matters most – being with others, spending time with them and slowing the heck on down (pretty sure those are her words exactly). So do the same…..take time…..slow down…..smell the roses (or tulips!)

What one thing today will you put on your “to don’t” list today on the path to uncluttering your soul?