Sorry friends, it’s been awhile since I wrote my last blog post.
I wonder if your summer has been as busy as mine. I didn’t intend for it to be this way.
Today I took a long walk, alone, so I could hear the sound of my own heartbeat.
And I’ve been reading a quiet little book called The Quotidian Mysteries by Kathleen Norris.
My strength returns to me with my cup of coffee and the reading of the psalms…
When I allow busy little doings to fill the precious time of early morning, when contemplation might flourish, I open the doors to the demon of acedia. Noon becomes a blur—no time, no time—the wolfing down of a sandwich as I listen to the morning’s phone messages and plan the afternoon’s errands. When evening comes I am so exhausted the vespers has become impossible.
What is keeping us busy?
Rosalie. Need I say more? I feel so lucky that we live ten minutes away from our first grandchild. She is almost four months old. We try to help Taylor and Rik as much as we can, but many times it seems we fail. Two weeks ago we went to Estes Park to stay in a condo with them. Taylor was in a wedding. The first night I was in tears after one hour. I just could not make that little girl smile. I think it’s because she’s smart and she realizes I’m not Mom or Dad.
It’s okay to feel small, because when you do, it means God feels big.
Today my daughter had a doctor’s appointment. Rosalie started fussing. Tay handed her to me and asked me to take her to the bathroom to change her. Well, I haven’t changed a baby in a public bathroom for 25 years and we didn’t have those folding diaper-changing trays you find in public bathrooms.
I found a tiny bathroom and there was no place to change her. There was a narrow counter for people to set things on, but not really big enough to change a child easily. I put her on the changing pad on top of the narrow ledge, holding her with one hand as I wrestled to find what I needed in the diaper bag. Her shirt was sopping wet down to her belly button and she had a soiled diaper. By the time I had a clean diaper and clean “onesie” half buttoned up she was shrieking the loudest noise you could imagine.
I looked around at the scene and decided I’d take her down the hall, half dressed, and hand her to her mom. Then I went back and picked everything up and got the stroller. My daughter wonders, “How were you ever a mother?”
At the beginning of July, I moved my counseling office. I had been at my old location almost ten years. I was sad to leave my former building because I love the people there but I’m in a nice new spot on the third floor of the 1st Bank at Kipling and Belleview. I love the views of the mountains and trees.
John and I have been doing Airbnb mostly for the fun of it. After wondering what types of people were guests or hosts, we just dove in. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to list our place, and how easy it is to get guests. We’ve had about 98% of our dates blocked off because we were getting inquiries every day. So far it’s been a blast. We’ve had five sets of guests and we’ll have four more in August.
We’ve been able to have a lot of fun in the mountains with family and friends. One day we rented Razr ATVs and rode all over the mountains near Grand Lake. It was a little stressful when we found ourselves blocked in an area that was closed off. Only we could have done that! After much pondering we drove the ATVs down a steep incline where the roadblock was, and came up the other side.
A few weeks ago we joined friends at the Colorado Irish Festival at Clement Park. We listened to the Moxie Strings and the Elders.
There is nothing better than putting your arms around your friends and random strangers, swaying to the music, while listening to this song:
Put your arms around each other
And sing to the angels up high
Shake your fist at the devil and begrudgers
Give a kiss to the one by your side
It makes you laugh wholeheartedly when they tell you to kiss the person on your right and left.
My clients are keeping me busy and I love seeing them. In fact, today I posted this on my Facebook page:
True Confession: even after almost a dozen years of counseling I still get nervous before I meet each new client.That’s because you never know what story they are carrying. But after doing so—each and every time—I feel something holy because they trusted me with their struggle.
So it’s been a great summer but I’m purposely trying to slow down. For some reason I feel a bit stressed. Maybe it’s the upcoming election or perhaps it’s the near daily ISIS attacks, but this quote speaks to me:
Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things I most value, and the intentional removal of anything that distracts from it.
–Joshua Becker, author of The More of Less
What I’m reading:
The Power of the Other by Henry Cloud – Combining engaging case studies, persuasive findings from cutting-edge brain research, and examples from his consulting practice, Dr. Cloud argues that whether you’re a Navy SEAL or a corporate executive, outstanding performance depends on having the right kind of connections to fuel personal growth and minimize toxic associations and their effects. Presenting a dynamic model of the impact these different kinds of connections produce, Dr. Cloud shows readers how to get more from themselves by drawing on the strength and expertise of others. You don’t have a choice whether or not others have power in your life, but you can choose what kinds of relationships you want.
The Rosie Project by Don Tillman – Genetics professor Don Tillman’s ordered, predictable life is thrown into chaos when love enters the equation in this immensely enjoyable novel. Never good with social cues, Don explains his difficulty empathizing with others, which he forthrightly says is a defining symptom of the autism spectrum, as a result of his brain simply being wired differently. Diagnosis is not the issue here, as the reader is rooting for Don as he searches for ways to fit in. With his fortieth birthday approaching, he designs a questionnaire to find a compatible female life partner using his overriding devotion to logic. But he finds his quest competing with the request of a woman to discover the identity of her biological father. The protagonist is passingly similar to that of Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (2003), but Simsion’s first novel is not as dark, focusing instead on the humor and significance of what makes us human. Don is used to causing amusement or consternation in others, but as his self-awareness and understanding grow, so do his efforts to behave more appropriately. Determined and unintentionally sweet, Don embarks on an optimistic and redemptive journey. Funny, touching, and hard to put down, The Rosie Project is certain to entertain even as readers delve into deep themes. For a book about a logic-based quest for love, it has a lot of heart.
The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney – The four Plumb siblings are waiting for their inheritance (affectionately called the nest) to be dispersed once the youngest sister turns 40. The nest has been growing exponentially since their father’s untimely death when they were all adolescents, and each one of the Plumbs has been making poor financial decisions in the hopes of being bailed out by the nest. Instead, the oldest brother is allowed to withdraw the majority of the money early to be used as a payoff for an unfortunate accident he causes. The story develops as the remaining siblings begin to navigate life and the consequences of their decisions without a safety net, but the plot is much more complex than a look at four dysfunctional and often selfish siblings. Teens will initially be pulled into the story by the shocking events in the prologue, but they will connect with the siblings as they recognize aspects of themselves in each of them. The epilogue goes beyond a typical happy ending, illustrating how the siblings have changed and learned more about themselves. YA readers will enjoy immersing themselves in the trendy side of life in New York, as well as coming to understand how adult life may not be all it seems on a well-crafted surface. VERDICT A strong choice for demonstrating how adulthood is as much of a discovering process as adolescence. Purchase where coming-of-age tales are needed.
The Real Thing by Ellen McCarthy – From a Washington Post weddings reporter who’s covered more than two hundred walks down the aisle comes a warm, witty, and wise book about relationships—the mystery, the science, and the secrets of how we find love and make it last. Ellen McCarthy has explored the complete journey of our timeless quest for “The One,” the Soul Mate, the Real Thing. This indispensable collection of insights—on dating, commitment, breakups, weddings, and marriage—gives us a window into enduring romance. The Real Thing features many more nuggets of wisdom, valuable information from the latest studies on commitment, candid testimonials from a variety of couples, and the personal story of McCarthy’s own search for “the keeper”—which begins, ironically, with a breakup the very same day she started as the Post’s full-time weddings reporter. Whether you’re looking for love or looking to strengthen your relationship, this book is a wonderful and clear-eyed map to the human heart.
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi – This is a powerful look at a stage IV lung cancer diagnosis through the eyes of a neurosurgeon. When Paul Kalanithi is given his diagnosis he is forced to see this disease, and the process of being sick, as a patient rather than a doctor–the result of his experience is not just a look at what living is and how it works from a scientific perspective, but the ins and outs of what makes life matter. This heart-wrenching book will capture you from page one and still have you thinking long after the final sentence.
I haven’t seen any great movies. Do you have anything to recommend?
What I’m Looking Forward to:
I’m not professional but I love playing around with my DSLR camera. Half the time I don’t know what I’m doing but I’m my own entertainment. When John was working in Telluride last week I was standing out on the deck, in the rain, trying to capture full moon pics. John and I are taking a trip and I don’t want to take my DSLR with all its heavy lenses so I bought what’s called a bridge camera. It should arrive tomorrow and I can’t wait to play with it.
In a couple weeks John and I are headed to Europe to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. God willing, if these ISIS attacks slow down, we’ll be seeing Germany and Austria for a few days and then joining a Villages of Italy tour with 17 others on a Rick Steves group.
I must listen to my life and try to understand what it is truly about — quite apart from what I would like it to be about — or my life will never represent anything real in the world, no matter how earnest my intentions.
-Parker Palmer (Let Your Life Speak)
I’d love to hear what you’ve been enjoying this summer!
Lucille Zimmerman is a Licensed Professional Counselor with a private practice in Littleton, CO and an affiliate faculty teacher at Colorado Christian University.
She is also the author of Renewed: Finding Your Inner Happy in an Overwhelmed World. Through practical ideas and relatable anecdotes, readers can better understand their strengths and their passions—and address some of the underlying struggles or hurts that make them want to keep busy or minister to others to the detriment of themselves. Renewed can help nurture those areas of women’s lives to use them better for work, family, and service. It gives readers permission to examine where they spend their energy and time, and learn to set limits and listen to “that inner voice."