Tag Archive | Minister

Potential… Lost… Found and Tapped

***Woo busy few weeks… Grandma Visit, Easter… I promise to get back into the swing***

Potential. What does it mean to “have potential”? To “tap into potential”? To “waste potential”?

Through out my life I have often wondered what my own potential truly was. Have I actually found a path that uses my potential the best way? Is the potential gone after I chose my path?

Potential as a word has a few definitions:

  1. having or showing the capacity to become or develop into something in the future.
  2. latent qualities or abilities that may be developed and lead to future success or usefulness.
  3. the quantity determining the energy of mass in a gravitational field or of charge in an electric field.

Well… we can ignore the last one (I am not a whiz with physics). For my use here I am focusing on the first two. In high school there is a lot of discussion about your potential – your capacity to become something in the future. What direction is your life going to take as you reach adulthood? Now, I was told I could become pretty much anything I wanted… which was sweet. Though, thankfully, my Dad did suggest not a doctor (I am queasy about blood), maybe not something that requires strong knowledge in the sciences (yah… not something I excelled at) and possibly NOT maths (yah I have a hate hate relationship with higher level math… if it doesn’t hurt me, I won’t curse it out… much).

So… I went from high school to college and a direction in the fine arts. I found I had a lot of “potential” with courses that required a bending of thought and discussion… philosophy and religion. I found a direction – I PLANNED to become a minister in the Lutheran church (specifically the ELCIC – Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada). Potential tapped… right?

Ok, some come along with me here – I think EVERYONE reading this blog has realized something – Lisa is NOT a minister… or a philosopher… or a religious scholar… or (and this is grasping) a university professor in any of these disciplines. Nope, 100% wife and mother. So answer me this…

Did I waste my potential?

Who I was in high school with her interests and dreams and graduating marks, who I was in college with my wide eyed enthusiasm and excelling marks… did these “Lisas” get wasted? Or has it gone into hibernation waiting to be tapped?

Where 20 yr old Lisa was sure she would be a minister… 37 yr old Lisa is sure she is a good mother, a strong teacher, a rather fantastic crocheter (if I do say so myself). She has tapped into a NEW potential, something that was not held up as a solid opportunity way back in high school (because really, motherhood at 17/18 years old… nope not for me). I don’t believe I wasted it, I tapped into my potential for those 3+ years. I learned, I grew, I argued, I laughed and cried. BUT, in the end, I found NEW potential.

I found those latent (existing but not yet developed or manifest; hidden; concealed) qualities that were not tapped by my college education with our decision to start a family. Do I regret it? Nope! Amazingly enough, I filled my yearning for working in the church with committee work and promptly learned – I suck at politics. And, as much as I love the church, in any organization there are politics.

On top of that… and this should be no surprise for people who know me, I am shy!

No, I don’t think I wasted my potential. Would someone from the outside looking in come to a different conclusion… possibly. But here is a new question for you – does that matter? Often you will hear people talking about someone’s wasted potential. How they SHOULD have done this or that instead of the career they chose based on their own knowledge of that person at particular times of the person’s life.

She should have gone with that career in writing, after all in college she wrote such amazing papers. He should have gone into medicine, look at his amazing marks in science. They would have made an amazing singing group – after all they did all that singing in small bars during college.

The saying, “The grass is always greener on the other side”, comes to mind. Looking at his or her life as a youth, as a college student it may look as if they SHOULD have gone this way or that, but can we ever truly be in another person’s head? This is something that Ken has to deal with often. Depression, plus high intelligence and add in a strong personality and you have someone with lots of potential.

That potential is there with options. Some are absolutely obvious, some deep inside and kept secret. Using Ken as an example (cuz… Depression = Ken = my examples) he was an athlete up through to college and rather successful (this was known), he was and is very good with computers, but deep inside that muddled head of his is an artist, a bit of a scientist, maybe even a comedian.

So… let’s review what he did with his potential. Sports ended before we got married (choice and illness). Computers continued through to today. Art is something that he toys with and need to come back to again (again choice) and scientist has gone by the way-side.

So has he lost potential? Wasted it? Well, we came to realize now that sports/athletics were actually negatively impacting Ken’s mental health. Competition on that level and the stress to his body was not helping his inner dialogue. Of course, on the outside he broke records, played hard and won. BUT while everyone watched that potential being tapped a whole new potential was brewing underneath – the potential to lead to self harm, depression and possibly death.

Direction changed to computers, which has morphed now into the much healthier (due to having to be accountable daily to many and face to face communication) project manager. Project manager may not seem like the height of tapping potential but I am sitting here watching him grow and excel.

So, while some may say he had so much potential, I see it as he has so much adapting potential. KEN has adapted to a whole new lifestyle post depression, he has adapted to our family as it has grown, found a career that makes him the best he can be and stretches his limits. No, he is not an athlete, or a scientist or currently an artist BUT he is Ken. Amazing, ambitious, unique Ken.

So we have each tapped some potential and are always looking to find more. That is the other thing. So I am a mother, but I found a new potential in crochet, and I am not half bad at the recorder, maybe the piano will be some untapped potential I never even knew I had! That cannot be wasted if I never knew it existed, right?

Together Ken and I have the potential to be amazing, I kinda think we already are… just a bit! After all, humans are creatures of change even as we fight to stay the same. So, doesn’t it mean that our potential is ever changing, ever growing and morphing into something new? Now, I doubt I will ever have the potential to be a fighter pilot (ACK heights) or a sumo wrestler, but who knows, maybe… years down the line… you will come to read about Lisa the biblical scholar and Ken the divine artist?

After all, depression or no, personal limitations or not, our potential is there! And we ALL have the potential for greatness on some scale or another. So be that great person – after all… I already know you ARE!!!!IMG_20160624_221658



Therapy… A Safe Place To Be

I know I have brought up therapy before in passing in previous blog posts regarding our journey to healthy living. I don’t know how I can every emphasize enough that medication without therapy is not the optimum solution. It is proven time and time again that you need a full body/mind/soul examination to get on the road to becoming healthy on a LONG TERM BASIS. I can tell you right now, I speak from experience. Not the personal experience of a person unwell, but of the person standing there wishing they could do more but watching while an unbalanced plan simply falls to pieces.

This is not my first rodeo as they say… In the span of my relationship/marriage to Ken this is the SECOND time we have experienced the severe lows of full blown depression. The first time (which is years ago now) we began on the right path. He took himself into the doctor to explain things just weren’t right, he was put on medication (Zoloft or some sort of like brand has, and still works best for him) and taken to a counselor. This is terrific, we were able to stop the world and get him help. BUT in Alberta at the time, this was a stop gap. Said counselor would then (on the psychiatrist’s recommendation) find him some sort of group or continuing therapy within the confines of our location and basic healthcare.

The reality of this is that not all locations are equal. Not every area has enough therapists, or even psychiatrists. I have had friends who simply saw their GP for all medical managing. Ken was placed in an AMAZING group therapy program that worked wonders… for a time… and then the doctor in charge was transferred and the rug was pulled out of the program. Job done, keep seeing your GP, maybe a psychiatrist and we will hope for the best. The reality of that is that it was NOT the best… When someone has not seen a therapist or entered into some sort of counselling program, while the medication may be helping and the severe thoughts quieted, that person is NOT healthy. They are on the path but just like a long hike has signs and tour guides… you don’t drop a depressed person an a stack of pills and say… Cool you be good now.

Left to their own devices are they going to take that necessary medication? Without dealing with the issues that have led them to the horrible compulsions and thoughts do you really think they are just going to poof away because they alerted one doctor (or maybe more) that something isn’t quite right?

We don’t expect cancer patients to just become healthy after a treatment, there is follow up. We shouldn’t expect people suffering from anxiety, depression, bi polar disorders to struggle alone. And that is where therapy comes in. Now I am all for sharing with friends and family. As Ken says – Sharing is Caring… (and then we all groan and I have to hold myself back from decking him), but when you share with a loved one or a close connection there is the risk of holding back (for their benefit and your), the fear of rejection… therapy comes without those stumbling blocks.

Not everyone, as I mentioned before, can afford/access therapy. BUT there are options… if you are religious (or at least open to religion) there are many churches where the minister or someone else within the church who can be your sympathetic ear. That is what they are there for. I, myself have talked to my fair share of ministers throughout my life. They have been a support and a safe place for me during many tumultuous times. Often you can go into your county offices… public health in Canada… they will have posting, pamphlets or even a knowledgeable person who can work out your options. We have found many therapists actually have a sliding scale according to your wage and circumstances.

More and more people are trying online or e-therapy. I do not know much about this version of therapy other than it is a way for people who simply cannot make it in person to carve out an hour and skype and interface with a trained therapist over the computer. Talkspace.com has an explanation with the main reasons why someone may chose this option HERE. In the end what is important is a connection on some level with the person you are talking to. If you can find that via Skype and that works for you, job done. There is further discussion at the bottom of the page linked about TEXTING therapy. I do not know anything about that, nor have I done any research, but I stand by my statement… the form that works for you is SUCCESS not what works for the other people around you.

There is no shame in asking questions. NEVER feel ashamed for working within your own resources to get the very best help you can get.

Of course there is more to therapy than just finding an office. You really do need a good connection with your therapist. We really lucked out with Ken’s she is accepting of his rather, unique humour… she acknowledges and supports our homeschooling and has even worked to implement it into his therapy (creating a deeper connection and healing some of the wounds inadvertently made as he fell into a deeper depression previously)… the connection he forges with her allows him total honesty and in turn we have seen him accept her direction fully and work to truly create a sustainable lifestyle of new patterns and coping skills. This is all possible by a COMBINATION of medication, therapy and the WILL/WISH to be well.

I really want to emphasize this… all these measures, medications and external support are going to come for naught if the person in question does not WANT to be healthy. Therapy is a vehicle to get you on your way but you have to put in the effort (gas) and steer yourself. It is up to the rest of us to work hard to remove the taboo and the fear and disgust some people still see as attached to the idea of seeing help from a professional. I believe it is up to us to educate ourselves and our children on how amazing and productive this choice is. There is nothing to be embarrassed about when you have the strength and the will to seek help. Instead we need to embrace these individuals, celebrate the step and share our experiences. I have seen time and time again when we mention our love of Ken’s therapist that others feel they too can open up or even ask where he goes. It scares and saddens me to think that there are people out there suffering in silence because they don’t feel that they can seek help.

So let’s see… sum up… medication alone is not the optimum way to treat mental disorders… therapy is an amazing tool… there are many versions of therapy and many providers… find what works best and is most affordable for you and RUN WITH IT… therapy is something to be proud of (you have made a huge step and sought help)… this is something we need to teach ourselves and our children…

And as always… our home is open, our love is here and you are NOT alone. Take heart, the journey may feel long and difficult but you don’t have to travel it alone. We love you! Please feel free to share information or suggestions in the comments. I try to check them as often as I can. I could not resist sharing this little meme… There is work to be done and not just for those who are suffering… we need to learn to acknowledge the struggle and not expect them to just… snap out of it.13087730_1891558407737461_5681903751797484645_n

Sunday Sunday…

Definitely did NOT wish it was Monday… not when the day was beautiful and the kids dressed in their Sunday best once again. No, while I had shed some tears and had some emotional moments today I had some moments of joy and contentment as well. So lets get going with the recapping… we had to get out to the van dressed, packed up and ready to go by 8am once again. There was quite a bit of reticence from the boys who were rather unimpressed by the idea of another long drive. We assured them it was for a good reason and that they WOULD have fun today at church…

Dressed to impress

We made good time even with some road repair going on and got to church in time to meet the rest of the kids and start Sunday School. I have to admit I appreciate long car rides (when the kids are in decent moods) as it gives Ken and I a chance to chat about things without the distraction of tv, computers, internet, etc. Sometimes it is the closest we get to quality one on one time. Especially if the kids are occupied or better yet, ASLEEP.

Anyway, this was a very special Sunday… first of all it is the FINAL Sunday School session of the year. Bittersweet as we have loved our year of Sunday School. The kids have made friends among their classmates, enjoyed their teachers and fellowship. We have felt totally welcomed and accepted by this church and the new minister. So they practiced their song for the OTHER big event of the day – the dedication and presentation of the nativity and “other” costumes mom made for the church. There are well over 30 done and at the church. Everyone was over the moon when they came in to them all laid out on the tables for perusal. 

Of course before the costumes could be handed out and chosen there was cookies and juice! Even Echo had a cookie. 

Cookie time

For Echo too

And then… PICKING COSTUMES! Trinity decided she didn’t want to dress up as there was no Chococat or princess but the boys were all over that as were most of the kids. Mom was there to help out with the dressing up. Proof positive that they ARE versatile for ages and sizes. 

Dressed up

With an angel

By the time everyone was dressed up Mike got there from his conference (on the bike) and church was ready to start. Hugs all round and then up to sit in the sanctuary. The group at the front were adorable. I am so glad we were able to be there for the dedication. We even made it through the whole service, communion and then…

In the front of the church singing

With a sentinel

And some more

Time to finish celebrating the end of Sunday School. I have to say I feel VERY blessed in our choice of church (it was the only ELCICin town and it has been a perfect fit for us!!). I went back after everyone had shook the hand of the minister to chat about how things are going and he took the time to sit in his office and listen to my cry a little, talk about my faith and options and say a prayer together. He has offered to connect me with the minister here in town who is actually a friend of his(!) and if we are ever in town this month and need to talk we are to let him know. 

Mommy and Echo keeping busy during service

He was more than understanding about my need to use only email right now and while he does not have answers for us he has our back in prayer. As several members of our church came up to me to tell me also. Emanuel and Trinity’s teachers (who are sisters) were very hopeful for it all working out for us and willing to ask around about some possibilities in rentals they are aware of. People also came up to inquire about Echo’s health. It makes me feel so good to know that other people are still thinking about her surgery and her recovery. I know that Ken and I are still concerned and will be until she is off the baby aspirin. 

After the Youth ran lunch the kids were outside to play games in the yard. There was everything from a beanbag toss to tug of war to a scavenger hunt. Well more of a litter pick up but they were so proud after! Even Trinity and Echo warmed up towards the end and the time in the sunshine felt so… renewing. 

Throwing sponges soaked in water at the Youth

Tug of war

We said good bye to our church friends and headed out for a run to Michaels for me (I will disclose my purchases there, as small as they are, tomorrow) and then on to Kristen and Fydo’s to grab the cards she had made for the sale (pictures tomorrow) that were hiding under their welcome mat and then… Aunty Karyn at the park! Trinity was beyond excited and as soon as we got parked and changed out of church clothes (all except for yours truly as I managed to forget mine in the hustle out the door) all the kids made a bee line for the park. 

Park time

Visiting with Aunty

Checking out the sand

We played and chatted until Echo decided she was done in the sun and wanted to sit in the van with her water cuppy. Then it was time to say a somewhat tearful good bye to Karyn and head out of town. With tired and done in kids and a baby who felt the ride home was pure torture it was quite the drive. We were all done in… and then there was the added unexpected excitement of a lost dog found on our street that mom and Mike had to take the pound so they could find the owner… and the finding of a patch of torn fur on Gypsy that we can’t figure out where she lost it… 

I am working my way through the first two manga in a new series that I plan to blog about tomorrow as well as another book I am working through during my baths! So those entries to come… We are also starting our USA unit with a focus on Minnesota so I will definitely share my links here too… I am determined to keep our educational ball rolling after all! Keep in mind that I have a few more crafts to complete for the sale… some adventures still to be had AND pet sitting, our anniversary and my birthday to look forward to. While we hustle our buns with the rental hunt I am going to grab everyone moment of joy I can find and hold on tight… and this month I am determined to be successful on ALL fronts!!! 

Grandpa time