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The best ways to get ready for your Spiritual Direction appointment.

June 10, 2019

(see the full article at my Spiritual Direction website here)

  “What do I need to do to get ready for my Spiritual Direction appointment??”

Simple answer… show up.  For in person appointments your spiritual director will have most everything in order so all you need to do is walk through the door.  For my in-person visits I have a candle, a Bible, bottles of water, a notepad,  and pens and pencils for my clients to use.  The sound machine is whirling away distorting any unwanted interruptions.  Before you get there I have already  fiddled with lights and temperatures… sometime I have a nice fire crackling in the fireplace.  I strive to make a comfortable safe atmosphere.  Then we can concentrate on being with God and each other.

Clients who are going to their first appointment I would suggest having any questions  you have about spiritual direction and your director jotted down on paper.  Your director may ask you to tell a bit about yourself, faith practice or spiritual walk.  If you don’t have a practice  to share… don’t worry… lots of people don’t.  Some spiritual directors will send you some on boarding paperwork to fill out.  First appointments are often about getting to know each other through conversation and questions and answer. Usually a first appointment ends with a mini-session.

With modern technology we get the luxury of being connected regardless of time and space.  I have clients all over the world and we get to meet through FaceTime and Zoom. With this opportunity comes some responsibility for you. People ask me what can they do to make their appointment even more special. First things first you don’t need anything at all… we can have appointments with little to no special things. I meet with people who are in their office or in their car. God is everywhere. A nice quiet space is virtually all you need.   But here is a short list of things I have put together to make it simple for those of you who want to make a special box of things you use just for your  online spiritual direction appointments.

A lovely soy candle
Salt candle votive
beeswax tea lights


small tripod

tripod with selfie stick

phone clamp (I use this most)


teal journal (other colors available)

simple wrap journal

journal and pen

unlined journal

Do Not Disturb Signs:

Door knob black and gold

humorous  sign

Sound Machine:

Dohn Machine (I own many of these for years)

Sound Machine


palm cross

prayer beads

prayer stones

communion cup and set

God the Shepherd

March 26, 2019


This week is the last chance you have to sign up.  Those of you who have been waiting to see what the weather would be like…. it says 75*!!!  What could be better?  The shearer will be here …. The food is ordered… The meditation room is properly meditated… we have the cutest little diapered house sheep that the internet has ever seen!   It is going to be great.  I don’t want you to miss out on this unique opportunity.  We aren’t having another one till next year!

Think of all the times you have seen the Scripture refer to sheep or shepherding… you have probably seen it over 500 times….Five Hundred times it is mentioned!  Shepherding was common place when the Bible was written… like going to Target or Costco or sitting on cold metal bleachers while watching kids not hit a baseball is to us.   You need to know what it means that God calls us to be shepherds but also that we are to be Shepherded.   You need to have the authority to do a major eye roll every time you hear a pastor call us “dumb sheep”…  you need to come out to this retreat.

Go sign up… bring a friend!!!  It is easy to sign up just click here at Oasis Ministries or call.

Free Anxiety ToolKit

July 26, 2018

Today on The Late Service Podcast , Steven and I  are talking about anxiety.  And just like I promised I have a freebie that I use with my clients…  and now it’s  available to you.  In Spiritual Direction we work with Breath Prayers and many find them invaluable in their daily rhythms.  I hope this freebie proves helpful.  If you enjoy it please share it and comment below!  I have more handouts which I have created for clients in my Spiritual Direction practice and if they are helpful I would be happy to share them with you!

So click here to get your FREE The Anxiety ToolKit.

If you have any questions on how it works please feel free to reach out to me.

Be Blessed,


How to Acquire More Time

November 7, 2017

(I was asked to guest write for the site “Wholly Mother” and wanted to share it with everyone here….  Go check out their site, it is a wonderful resource for health, wellness and fitness. )

Here it comes… I can always feel it before I see it….

It starts with the simple redirection of “You don’t want to get that for your birthday, honey… Christmas is closer,” I  absently divulge to my eighth child as I mentally brace myself for the four year olds inquisition of how many “sleeps” till Christmas. I pull Siri close whispering my question and furrow my brow closing one eye and peeking out the other….  the verdict is in and so is all the Christmas chocolate at the grocery…. 56days…. even less “sleeps”.

I see you Christmas… but after all these years of mixing in children, two companies,  ministry, both homeschooling and brick and mortar schooling, family obligations, shepherding my flock of dairy sheep on my farm…. and now a thriving Spiritual Direction practice and The Late Service podcastthis. isn’t.  my. first. rodeo.

(be sure to click on all those links)

Can I let you in on two  secrets…

One,I believe in you.  I am a mother…. and you are too… and no matter how overwhelming the holidays can be as they surge like white (christmas) rapids through a narrow month and half canyon… You are going to do great at so much of it.  You will buy the gifts and deck the halls like no hall has ever been decked before. Some things will go just as you planned and some will slide sideways… count it all as a win, you are amazing and you will rock the socks  stockings off the holidays.

But here is the thing… the second secret is… and this will change your life… you need to carve into this holiday season  and right where you gape it open, insert time.  I know… time is a tricky thing and all the merry making and such burn straight through that bullion-like  commodity. Much like the scotch tape and scissors, time never seems to be where you left it.

The key to acquiring more time, which I wish I had learned many many babies ago, is to breathe.  They taught us it for labor… but who knew it was a life hack for getting more time? This God of ours… He did everything with breath… He breathed into us… He used His breath to create the stars in the sky… and when Jesus wanted to pass on the gifting of the Holy Spirit it says He breathed it onto them.  When we connect with our breath we are connecting with one of the very first things He ever shared with us.

So breathe…. in for a count of four… hold for a count of four….out for a count of four.

Breathe…. when that family favorite gets a bit blackened and take out is required

Breathe…in that delicious hot drink and lock eyes with that person you love.

Breathe…. as you slink your cold feet beneath the sheets and tuck them under his warm legs…. because he hates it but he loves your nearness

Breathe… before you get out of the warm car and everything is remotely hushed.

Breathe… before you flip the page on a lovely Christmas Jan Brett book as you drink in these lovely babies of yours who may not remember what they got this year but who will never forget their mother used to snuggle them.

Breathe because it is a gift that every mother knows is true as they wait to hear the first one from their newborn.

Breathe because doing so is like a momentary Sabbath , reseting and resting simultaneously.

Breathe because it is a type of holy communion… it is one of the very first gifts He ever gave us… and each second we stop time and breathe we are offering up this moment in remembrance of the One who gave all of these moments to us.

So breathe…. in for a count of four…. hold for a count of four…out for a count of four.


Has everything been rushing you by…..

August 11, 2017

I would love to invite you into a moment.
A few deep unrushed breaths
Where you just sit
And for a moment (don’t fret it’s only a moment) let yourself do…nothing.
What does it feel to have a moment where you need nothing more…
where you need to be nothing more than what you are right now..
In this here and now you are enough.
Can you feel it?
What does it feel like?
Allow yourself to be curious.
Breathe again.
You are enough.


silence wrapped around …

January 5, 2017



Silence wrapped in some more silence with a side of quiet sitting in a puddle of stillness.

My first time at school seemed to be a lot of this … on repeat. Going to school to become a spiritual director seemed  more like getting the corner market on being still…. and then stiller still.  Everyone seemed so good at it.  God seemed “dusty” here.  Multiple times in the quiet, when you aren’t supposed to have any thoughts, I would beg Him,” Are you here?”



Everyone knew how to do this…. but me.

Everyone knew the songs… but me.

Everyone wears really sensible shoes… but me.

Everyone was on their 2nd, 3rd or even 5th career… but me.

Everyone either was in Princeton Seminary or had a ministry degree… but me.

And I was okay with that… but I was , and still am months later, acutely aware of our differences.

It’s sort of like a game of constant catch up… which is probably just what my problem solving brain needs….

Because sometimes the silence is a lot.

Because its not just a moment here or there….

It is silence wrapped in hush with a side of quiet tied up with no thoughts.

and if you peek your eyes open… you would see my eyes peeking too.

Our instructor sat down next to me during lunch, “How is your stay going?”

I think I pled the fifth. I mean, silence is what they are all about… so it seemed appropriate.

I wanted more.  I wanted to be taught how to help… to serve this ever growing Sunday Dinner community.

Pack me with some tools to take back.

I had a dump truck full of silence.

But yet in the chapel of my car on the long drive home… I felt filled.

And in all those silent spaces noise and life rushed in as I walked  back through the door into our busy family.

In the morning following,  I sit and worship… in the loud noise of how Him and I meet each day. Him and I know each other well here.  I can here Him well through the noise.

“Where is this in Your Word?  Where is this contemplative… this centering… this quiet space.? Where?!!  They say this is the ancient way. .. so help me see…”

And with my eyes open, the letters before me blurred and the words with them…. space between each letter and word illuminated,  a glowing  aura orbiting … the margin brightened…. space between each page seemed to take on a life of it’s own.

“There.  All that I am saying which is bigger than the confinement of your words and your letters.  There.  I have language that is beyond what your eyes can see and your ears can hear.  Beyond what you can develop language for.  Your letters alone limit what can be written.  Each space around each letter is a pause before the next sound… I am in that.  Even the seconds , days, years and books of the Bible have space  between… which is contemplative. The entire Book is full of the space between~ the quiet space. The end of every psalm has a quiet moment where I respond … feel it. This depth and width and height is for the seerers.  Even in what seems quiet I am still conveying so much.  The words are so much easier to grasp, at first… but if you can contemplate the space between there is much to be learned… much to be meditated upon.”


He is amazing.

the here and now.

May 14, 2016






The light changing in the bubbles bring tears to my eyes.  The colors refract differently inside of it and at once I get to see my favorite color palette of opalescent iridescent pinks and teals. I am so thankful to clean this milk machine bucket…to scrub it like new. Years of milking by hand have served it’s purpose.  I have raised up this herd and there are so many to milk.

Doing any of this makes “no sense”…. but at the same time it makes perfect sense.

Time and time again He stands next to me and without judgement says,”You don’t have to do any of this… this is all for you… but if you don’t want this… you don’t have to continue.”  I have lifted my head off of rain soaked sheep caked in mud and worse and set my jaw, “No.  I am still in… I still want this.” As I tried again to milk a sheep whose triplets have chewed her up and is forced to wean. With the back of my hand I smear my bangs out of my eyes and lie to myself that it was just rainwater that wiped over my forehead.  I try again… “step 1 wipe everything off…again…..”

“You don’t have to do this,” He says standing next to me as I find a rejected bleeding and blue three pound lamb off in the pasture.  “I am still in… just help me.”  Within minutes He sends  the biggest sheep dairys in the country  with encouragement and wisdom.  Now, lil’davey run freely through Sunday Dinner from person to person hoping for a good scratch.

And I don’t need these sheep… I don’t need this milk… but at the same time… We do need it…. I need this.

I need the being a shepherd and walking with a Shepherd.

I need the walking on water as all the weaned lambs scream and the rain pours and the shit is knee deep and the milking must be done or something worse could happen but not one animal will cooperate and milking took hours and my husband is in the hospital …. and He takes my hand and tells me to “see none of it… but see All of It.” I step out and  He is right… we don’t need to see through our minds… See through Him.

For my birthday I get a milking machine… similar to the one my grandfather used on his farm years ago.

I get to do this.  It’s not your dream… but it is mine… and I get to do this.

I get to care for these animals.

I get to wipe off these healthy lambs as they make their way here.

I get to choose to sell them to a solar panel farm to walk out their days happily mowing.

I get to learn how my grandfather and his father milked and still made church on a Sunday morning.

I get to lug this huge milk machine….HUGE I tell ya!

I get to watch as this is my children’s normal as they run around playing catch with lil’davey.

I get to do it all with Him.  I get to hear Him speak about things that might not matter one fleck to anyone but me… but He speaks because that is what we do.  He likes Shepherding I know this…. I get to know this first hand.

I get to see how a Shepherd can see none of it… but see All of It.



I am not who I once was…

March 31, 2016



(warning: animal abuse mentioned)

As I watched from way across the field I witnessed this grown man hold his dog still as he punched him over and over.  The image becoming blurry until the tears overflowed.  My eyesight cleared in time to see him  drag  the dog home.

I am such a baby.

Once I  could  have handled this.

Years ago, I remember watching from a short distance, people  attempting to herd a flock of sheep  onto a trailer. They clearly didn’t know what they were doing.  I am not sure what they were thinking ,as a bucket with some feed rattling around would be enough for most sheep to follow you…. but I watched as they  roped one.  I knew that would never work.  Sheep have an “oppositional reflex” which makes them pull back if you pull forward. So they yanked with their backs turned to the sheep, the rope over their shoulder…. and the sheep just laid down.  I remember being paralyzed as I watched her march back the length of the rope and closed fist punched that sheep in the face. I mean she just punched it full force over and over again all the while pulling the rope tighter… until it just lay there.   She was strong and I knew it.  This was years ago when times like this would make me feel enclosed in glass…. like an aquarium.  I stood atop the little hill in my aquarium as I held my pregnant belly and watched this sheep just lay still… it was surely dead.  They got the last sheep onto the trailer … no one flinched at her behavior.  They did not say a word as she walked over to it and kicked it a few times in the ribs… The other people just locked the trailer…. as if nothing  had happened… if nothing was still happening.

But then again… I wasn’t doing anything either. Barely able to feel anything in my little glass box.

She left and  I broke loose enough that I found myself  knelt down next to the sheep, “come on buddy..”  I couldn’t feel any breath. His eyes were open and dull.

“come on buddy, ” silently praying over this unconscious or dead sheep as I looked over my shoulder to see her returning.

Without a word to me she kicked him again  in the ribs as she walked past. I grabbed his face, “come! on!”

He lept up.

I helped him towards the trailer. The other man opened the ramp to let him on.

No one had stopped her… perhaps no one knew her well enough… or perhaps they all knew her too well.

She was tough.

I used to think I was tough.  I had watched and not a tear was shed.

Now I can’t even see this stranger’s  dog  without crying.

I guess I never was tough. I was paralyzed. I was blind. I was silenced. I was alone.

So now…. Now I can feel my limbs go cold as fight or flight kicks in.  I can feel the hot tears. I remember watching.  I remember feeling it. I see my  paint stained fingers shake as I type this memory today.

…. isn’t “feeling” tougher than being immune to abuse?

Isn’t it more cowardice to say nothing when abusers abuse?

Isn’t it stronger… tougher…. more evolved… to say, “Stop”?

Well I will not side with abusers…. and I haven’t for some time.





Rest Assured

March 26, 2016



It’s the “rest assured” that made me take pause and ponder before the next sip of tea. This man who was paralyzed in life could have brought an animal to the temple and been cleared of any sin.   Clearly he had friends who would help him with that… he had friends who would cart him around on a gurney… those are good friends.

No, he did not believe he was forgiven.  He was stuck in life because he could not move forward….paralyzed.  In his mind there was no sacrifice that would suffice.

Jesus didn’t say, “I forgive you.”

He said, “your sins are forgiven.”

This guy needed to know he truly was forgiven… He need not be stuck any longer.

He could move forward.

He didn’t need to be paralyzed in that same place.

He was not the same person.

No longer paralyzed by his dis-ease… he could move.


One lamb was enough for this guy.

One Lamb is enough for you.

Look at the paralyzed places in your life… You don’t need more than one Lamb.

He did it. This weekend is a celebration of His success and your freedom.

That dis-ease does not need to stop you anymore.

Believe in the ability He gave you to move forward.

“Your sins are forgiven.”



She gets to stay.

September 15, 2015


Processed with VSCOcam with kk1 preset


At the start of  this milking season I thought little Rose was not going to see next year here on the farm.    Not because she was sickly but because she was not a big producer.  I would bring her little pittance of milk in , comparing it to the others and remark, “I guess we will have to sell the little one… no emotion, she will go… but she is so sweet and so proud to get up in the milking stand.” My HusBen would shrug and tell me I could keep her or sell her it made no difference to him…. so of course I would continue to convince him ,”You should see her…she has such heart.  She jumps up on the door to peer in  and  watches the other girls get up on the milking stand and now she is just so thrilled and proud to be part of that crew that she acts like an old pro.  She gives her all…you should see her.”  My tall Midwestern Swedish HusBen would feign interest and tell me to “keep her then” as he has taken to slapping a Pennsylvania Dutch “then” at the end of his sentences.

Now, as we wind down this years milking season I have decided to keep her.  I did the math and in comparison to the older girls she could not compete…. but when I flipped a few pages back and compared their rookie years to Rose’s… she gets to stay!  She held her own and in some ways is far better.  She is sweet , a good mother and above all she is a proud well mannered milker.  I hope she can teach next years rookies a thing or two.

I am glad He compares us to sheep.  Sheep seem to get better the more time you give them.

So with all that said…

I shall keep her then.

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