Daisies: A Legacy

I just finished my afternoon cup of tea. When I was a little girl, my grandma (a British war bride) watched me nearly every day and together we would enjoy a daily tea time. Through all of those formative years, this woman taught me so much. Still now, at 89 years old, she teaches me so much. My grandma had six children (5 boys and 1 girl). She lived through a very dysfunctional, abusive relationship and had no where to go as her family was across the ocean. She had no car, no drivers license, no money and no way out. They lived in a tiny house and in that place, she raised these six children and taught them love. 

The past 5 years of my own life have been wrought with hardship. But out of that pain came a vision. A vision to create a space for women to come with their heavy burdens and find support, clarity, community, empowerment, love and grace. These were all things I desperately needed and could not find during my darkest days. All of what we offer on our Holistic Health Retreats are aspects that would have made all the difference for my grandma, had she had an opportunity for something like this. 

We just finished leading our second retreat. At each of these retreats, we leave daisies in random places as they are my grandma's favorite flower. She is a part of this retreat. Her wisdom, her tenacity and strength, her ability to hear the voice of God...it is all interwoven into the very fabric of what we offer and how we offer it. 

Numerous times during both retreats, I just sat back and listened...as community and connection were formed. As strength was found and grabbed hold of. As clarity rose to the top and the swirling confusion began to subside. As women who are nothing alike, found similarities and made connections. As they were brave and authentic and tried new foods and new practices. As I watched gifted women live into their calling, using their gifts to serve others and to honor God. I leave these retreats so full. Full of life and hope. Humbled. Grateful. 

The word "Daisy" comes from an old english word which refers to the fact that they open anew with each new dawn. Daisies are a tenacious little flower, beautiful. If you trample them down, they keep reaching up. The daisy symbolizes purityinnocence, loyal love and beauty.  In the very center of the flower we can see what appears to be the sun. That is how it is with my grandma. At her center, is the Son. As a team, we feel humbled by the invitation to be involved in this kind of work. The brave women who show up at these retreats are tenacious. These women keep reaching, keep growing. They don't give in or give up. They try again with each new day. The fight for love.  Just like a daisy...just like my gram.


To see pictures or to register for a three day retreat: http://khcounseling.com/retreats/  To register for a one day Space to Breathe Retreat: http://khcounseling.com/day-retreat/

To see pictures or to register for a three day retreat: http://khcounseling.com/retreats/

To register for a one day Space to Breathe Retreat: http://khcounseling.com/day-retreat/

Hey You ~ Move Towards the Light

Growing up, no one ever told me that this life would be a fight. A fight for balance, a fight for truth, a fight for a voice, sometimes a fight for sanity. Sometimes we have been fighting so long, that we just have to survive. I remember times like this. Times when I just had to do the next right thing. Make the next right choice. Do the next hard thing. Show up. Be brave. In really hard times, just get up. 

Its during these hard times that a support system is so important. Friends who can speak truth over you...sometimes hard truth, but always sprinkled with grace and love. Family members who accept you as you are, and (hopefully) love you with the closest unconditional love this world can offer. And sometimes mentors, therapists, counselors, and spiritual leaders who can offer you help in ways that others cannot. Sometimes the questions are too many. The hurt too deep. You need a window to climb out of the dark room. The best therapists, are those that help you to do just that. They help you to spot the Light, and move (however you can) in that direction. Light casts out fear and depression and hopelessness. The more we bring things into the light, the more freedom we will find. 

Going to therapy is brave...therapy is for the strong. It is for those people who want to live and love more courageously. I cannot wait to meet you, brave one!

Give me a call at 616-422-7509 or drop me an email at kristen@khcounseling.com and let me know how I might aid you in your journey. Or join us for a guided holistic womens' retreat in which we pour into and nourish your mind, body and soul. Check the website for details: http://khcounseling.com/retreats/ 


Dear Me ~ Do Not Forget The Thaw

Dear Me ~ 

Remember when you wrote this? Remember how this process began? Do not ever forget.

I remember when I first started to run almost a year and a half ago now. I could barely make it twice around the subdivision. I would eagerly give up after I hit that second loop because I was tired and ready to be done. But now I hit that second loop and have no problem pushing right through the breathlessness. I really don't think I am in any better shape. I have had a pregnancy and two months of no exercise. The difference is that my view of pain has changed. When I was pregnant, I wanted so badly to go out and move. To run, to feel the wind, to have that outlet. But I couldn't. I could barely make it through a day. I think two years ago when I started using exercise as an outlet, I knew in my spirit that I was about to enter a defining time of my life. I didn't know then all that would come down, but I sensed it. Having lived the past two years, I have learned to lean into the pain, knowing it will make me stronger. I no longer run from it. I have learned to lean in.

Tonight as I ran, the snow was melting all around me. Water was running down the street in cascading rivers reaching for the drainpipes. It was as though I could visibly see the snow hills shrinking. I couldn't help but feel it in my soul too. Tonight I felt the thaw. So much has happened and I have gone to such lengths to protect my heart, that it has been safe, but frozen. Which means all but dead...dormant. Tonight as the streams of melting snow ran down the road under my feet, it was as though it was running out of me too. That maybe, just maybe this is the beginning of something new. That spring could be on the horizon. That new life is about to spring up, and the parts of me that have laid dormant will awaken in the warmth of the spring.

I didn't want to thaw. I resisted it. I knew I was choosing to remain safe and to keep my illusion of control. I loosened my grip on hope and faith and love. I all but let it go. But Love held me. And the warmth of Spring is gently beckoning me. And my heart, while still buried under a mountain of snow, can feel the sun seeping through, and instead of refreezing in an attempt to be safe, I think I am going to give into the thaw. I had convinced myself that to thaw was weak...to trust, to believe, to hope, to dream...it all felt weak. But I am learning that to open up...to take risks...to even begin to hope is the strongest action I can take...because it takes a thousand times more courage than does staying holed up in my protected safe zone. I hope to go forth smarter, wiser...but with the same heart that God created me with. There may be cracks and scars...but its still mine. I am still me. I don't want to be held back by the bondage of shame and fear and hurt that has held me captive. I want to go forth in freedom. And to do that...I must give in to the slow thaw. I must begin to dream again...to hope...to love. And that starts by simply opening up my hands, and lifting my face to the Son...basking in His warmth, knowing that in it and through it all, He held me. And He holds it all.

Do not ever forget, me. Do not forget the journey, and the lessons that you learned along the way. You will use them your whole life through.




Hey You ~ Joy is an Act of Courage

Dear You ~

For as much as I hate physically running, I am an emotional runner. Its what I do. Its what I have always done. When I feel scared or vulnerable or hurt, I run. I hide. I cloak myself in anger and isolation and build walls of safety in an instant. And I hide behind those walls. Taking those walls down is so very difficult. And the more times I try to take those walls down brick by brick, the higher they go if a wound is reopened. And before I know it, I look around at my walls and realize that I am safe...nothing is getting through those walls...but I am all alone. Safe...but alone.

We were made for community. For relationships. But those of us that have been hurt in relationships  (everyone reading these words), sometimes we start sliding down the slope of cynicism. Bitterness creeps in and robs us of every bit of beauty we once saw so easily in this world, in others, in relationships. So how do we stop it? How do we reengage? Is it worth the risk? 

Happiness is not something that just happens to us. It is something we have to be purposeful about. Joy is all around us, but we have to actively tune into it and often, actively choose it. Which is no small feat in this crazy world. It takes an act of courage to begin again. To try again. To feel again. To love again. Courage to hope.

So lets lift our faces up to the rain. Stop running from it all and just let yourself start to feel. Choose a path, and follow it, embracing the decision to rebuild. These are lovely words, but so very difficult in practice. Only the courageous will survive. After all, "Joy is an act of courage."





Dear Me ~ Drop Keys

Dear Me ~

You have fought valiantly through years of very difficult. You fought to hold on to truth. You fought to hold on to relationships. You fought to believe in redemption. Not just for your story, but others too. During those really dark times, you often wondered if anything could ever make the depth of that pain "worth it." Perhaps you still do not know the answer to that question, but what you do know is that God makes beautiful things out of the dark. You know that you will always remain a warrior, fighting for truth, hope, and for redemption in all of the dark places that so desperately need the light of Hope. You will carry your flame that was forged in fire and you will use it to light the way for others. 

Be brave. You know that you will not be everyone's cup of tea. That is ok. All flowers flourish in different environments. Water those in your care. Honor those who desire to grow in other gardens. Equip your flowers to transplant and grow gardens of their own. This was never about you, anyway. Its always been about them, for them. You are honored to pour out, and in doing so, are filled up, as long as your heart remains tuned to the Audience of One.

Be confident. Speak truth. Drop keys. Help others to unlock their cages and to walk free in their lives. Honor others power, knowing that you can point them in a direction, but they must choose to walk. Give them resources and help them see how they live each day pens their life story. They are the author for as long as God gives them the pen. Choices have consequences, risks can be terrifying, but ultimately, if they want something different, they must choose to do something different. Just as you did.

Lead well, love well, and always remember that grace is a way of living. Live well.