FREE Honoring the Rhythm of Rest e-Book!

the value in telling our stories

Remember my September story?

How I felt God surprised me with opportunities to companion others’ journeys — more than I anticipated?

Friends, this beautiful surprise continued into the past month!

This wave of goodness caused me to step back and reexamine ALL. THE. THINGS (okay, not really, but almost).  Thinking through next steps in offering services was my focus.

Sometimes a crisis makes us stop and reconsider next steps.

And sometimes, it’s the other way around!

value in telling our stories

The last several weeks I explored various Christian ministries and organizations supporting the stories of women :: particularly women encountering harm within their homes and churches.

Part of my calling and writing centers on bringing awareness and hope to these topics. 

As I learned from people much further on the journey…

…as I made connections and outlined partnership possibilities,

my heart felt incredibly encouraged. 

The evils of domestic, relational and spiritual abuse seem more rampant within our culture. The impact is harmful and often ignored; perhaps because we believe it couldn’t actually happen in our community circles or we are simply unaware.  

The need for change feels large. Yet still, I see God’s handiwork.

He is redeeming the hurt. 

Transforming stories of harm. 

Restoring hope lost.

Equipping open-hearted spiritual leaders and raising up voices.

While my work sometimes feels stretching, tender or difficult, it also moves me towards God’s promise: 

When we allow it, he turns our story ashes into something beautiful.

Yes and amen. 

value in telling our stories

Value in Telling Our Stories

I’ll share of these organizations later and then offer more detail on my other website.

For today, I remind us of this:

God invites us to share our stories.

Throughout Scripture we find a God retelling and recounting his story and that of his people; both beautifully woven into one. 

The many God-ordained celebrations of the Old Testament speak of One who welcomes his people to ‘remember, remember!’ the story of their journey**and then to tell others.

The key word here?  Invitation. 

As we consider sharing our stories (or asking others to share), let us check:

Are you responding to a holy invitation or a human expectation?

 

** I recognize certain stories may be best remembered in private, individualized environments such as counseling or therapy.

value in telling our stories

Storytelling Ingredients

From experience and a general understanding, it seems we need a few things for successful storytelling:

A desire to share 

No one can decide for you how and when, which parts or in which order your storytelling should unfold. We should never pressure anyone to reveal more than they desire. 

I’ve led or taught all kinds of small and large groups through the years…and can relate to sticky situations when ‘over-sharing’ happens. Definitely, it takes compassion and skill to work through those!

I also reflect and notice where my past actions could be interpreted as putting pressure; and sometimes I didn’t even notice.

Let’s tread carefully here, friends.

Vulnerability

Sharing our stories includes a level of exposure.

Deciding to entrust parts of our journey to a person or group means we release certain outcomes.  We cannot control how our story is received!

You can make every effort to be conservative and cautious, honoring and humble. 

Check your heart motivations a dozen times. Receive counsel on how to share, when and if you should.

All this — and someone (or many!) may still be offended, angry, think you are over-sharing or focused on self, and a host of other responses.

Does it matter?

Yes and no.  More on this in another post!

value in telling our stories

A safe community

Scripture holds multiple psalms, laments, and prayers of individuals pouring out stories of loss, pain, celebration and praise to God alone.

I believe this a valuable pattern! Writing or journaling for an audience of one also benefits us.

When an invitation arises to share in other relationship circles…

…we need a safe community.

One willing to lovingly bear witness to our story, whether we know them well or not.  Choose your company and community with care. 

In return, offer safety and this same care to stories you choose to hold.

:: ::

I’ve appreciated hearing your stories over the last several months — thank you for sharing!

 

 

0 comments
Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

    a peek into my month :: September 2019

    Yes, it’s mid-October.

    And yes, I am only now offering the September update!

    In my last post, I shared how September felt WILD in the best and beautiful kind of way. How the month caught me by surprise.

    More details later in this post, but first a few family updates. Things I actually planned in September…

    a peek into month

    homeschooling

    a peek into month

    Our 16th year (or maybe 17th…I lost count) of homeschooling started last month.

    This year I have a high school junior, 8th grader and 4th grader — ages 10, 13, and 16.

    Two play fall sports, so the calendar reflected many, many practices and games well into October. The high schooler also works a part-time job.

    It’s the busy we choose, so I am okay with it.

    Depending on how football playoffs go, we rest for about two months until musical theatre rehearsals begin for all three!

    a peek into month

    I completed my first graduate course!

    Often I’m asked my study path or goals…and there is no agenda right now. I simply love to learn and everything aligned to take this particular course.

    The topic of trauma and trauma healing is certainly a heavier one.

    I’ve gained so many insights to chew on and consider!

    These inform how I approach spiritual and emotional care for myself, my family and in working with others.  Good stuff.

    a peek into month

    a peek into month

    a peek into month

    a peek into month

    In between the busy, I took time for extra cooking last month.

    You know, beyond just feeding everyone.

    We whipped up homemade pretzels, canned applesauce and apple pie filling, enjoyed plenty desserts from said apples, and I canned grape juice for the first time.

    Thanks to a friend for the Concord grapes and use of her steam juicer. (Unsure if this is the exact one pictured here).

    I often process mentally and emotionally through a creative project: cooking, paper crafts or journaling, decluttering.

    And with what happened business-wise in September, it’s no wonder I took on extra cooking!

    a peek into month

    Back in May I shared my vision and hope for working from home — to use in fresh ways skills cultivated over 20 years in church ministry.

    In July I quietly launched this website.

    While I informed a few communities, it definitely felt a slow, soft launch. Nothing flashy or fancy.

    I’m a one-person business with a goal of not burning myself out.

    In September?

    I can only say God had other ideas than a slow start!

    spiritual direction

    I received email after email from those seeking spiritual support and care.

    After briefly meeting together and discerning next steps, many became regular clients.

    I responded yes to offering spiritual direction at a medical and health conference. We called it a ‘listening room’ and created safe space for processing. Those interested included young adults, support group leaders and several couples.

    I responded yes to two future speaking engagements.

    ALLthis happened in the space of about three weeks — completely taking me by surprise!  Applying general business sense, I anticipated much more time.

    But God friends. But God.

    ::

    So that was September — at least a peek!  A wonderfully wild month…

     

     

    0 comments
    Add a comment...

    Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

      God is in the waiting :: my story of not knowing what’s next

       

       

      September was absolutely WILD in the best & beautiful kind of way, catching me by surprise and throwing every plan to blog more out the window! A monthly update is next.

      For today, we move to October & November’s theme: STORY. The email community receives the inside scoop — join us to learn more.

       

      ::

      For five months after the kids and I left our home, I slept on a basement floor.

      It was a carpeted room in a basement apartment, but the floor nonetheless.

      My dear friend and her family anticipated our stay would last a few weeks. That’s what I had shared — maybe this space of time before returning home?

      But we never could return.

      Many, many times I lay on that basement floor wondering just what would happen next. Every part of me felt raw and tender, exhausted from the year’s experiences. My head believed God’s presence defined my darkness. He promised to never leave me — ever. 

      By my heart felt utterly and completely overwhelmed.

      We’re going to make it… I prayed and believed over and over again. I just knew it.

      Come hell or high water.

      Goodness, I probably shouldn’t have prayed that one. The chaos came and rose in severe amounts.

      My healing journey took generous godly counseling/therapy, spiritual direction, prayer, faithful friends who listened and cried, a super sharp no-gimmicks no mud-slinging attorney, the kindness and accountability of several faith communities, and a God who never once let me walk alone.

      And while I’m learning chaos does resurface, I did make it.

      I made it to the other side of waiting.

      pastoral care

      I have been waiting for 1043 days…at least it feels like it.

      1043 days ago I walked into what some call liminal space. (don’t bother looking that up in the dictionary. So not helpful).

      I like this definition:

      “Liminal comes from the Latin word limen, meaning threshold – any point or place of entering or beginning. A liminal space is the time between the ‘what was’ and the ‘next.’ It is a place of transition, waiting, not knowing.

      Liminal space is where all transformation takes place, if we learn to wait and let it form us.”

      That sounds all philosophical and even theological beauty until you actually have to LIVE it.

      Don’t get me wrong — I believe God is in our liminal space. The place where we wait (and wait and wait) for him to show us what’s next.  Where the questions grow louder, the doubts stronger, and everything feels upside down.

      Been there?  Still there?

      We’re not alone: dozens of heroes of faith experienced the same.

      God meets us in the waiting. Makes us more like him in all sorts of good ways. I truly believe it.

      But friends, between time is HARD.

      waiting on God

      Our journey over the next several weeks includes sharing around ‘liminal space’ and what emerges when we stay and experience this tough place with God versus against him.

      I’ll invite you to recall and ponder your own STORY(ies) — of fear, doubt, celebration, hope.

      Of times when the in-between threatened to sink you but didn’t. Of how you found God in your story. These experiences are often messy, unabridged versions of our deepest needs on display.

      That is okay too. It’s more than okay.

      God is in the waiting friends — He really is. And if today finds you ‘living the liminal’, know I have prayed for us, asking for all grace and compassion. You are seen.

      It’s true.

      I’m not the same woman lying on that basement floor. She – in all her brokenness – is forever part of my story however.

      I embrace this without shame, acknowledging how God shaped and molded her anew.

      He can do this for anyone…

       

       

      1 comment
      Add a comment...

      Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

      • Missy SmithOctober 15, 2019 - 2:07 pm

        Thank you for sharing your message & faith driven heart! 
        I’ve been in the space as well in different ways of our life. One form is the grieving process with losing multiple loved ones since 2014. Another is the family probate that was set in place in 2016. There’s more ways that we are waiting too. 
        But again, thank you. Your message holds so much reassuring truth about where God is during these periods in life. ♡ ReplyCancel

      four sacred rhythms you need in your life

      I’m trying something NEW the rest of 2019.

      Each month our conversations and my writing will center around a theme. 

      After all, I need organization for my bajillion ideas and a sustainable pace for offering said ideas to this community.

      I also want to offer you helpful and useful content!

      So, I introduce monthly themes for our journey together.

      sacred rhythms

      September :: sacred rhythms for your soul (or just ‘rhythms’)

      Overall, I support women in living courageously — encouraging they show up fully in life.

      By this I mean allowing ourselves to be both visible and vulnerable in spaces and relationships we choose.

      Too often the opposite lives true. We create dozens of ways to otherwise NOT show up how necessary or desired. These unhelpful patterns certainly find way in my life. The courageous women I work with see it in theirs.

      Stick around friend…

      We’ll explore much more as time moves along.

      In September I want to focus us on living from a centered SOUL.  It’s one key aspect of living courageously.

      sacred rhythms

      What do I mean by a centered SOUL?

      We each hold HUGE capacity to connect, attach, turn our attention towards.

      My faith defines this belief. But simply watch the tiniest ones among us!

      Babies naturally desire to bond in physical, emotional ways.

      In fact, they need to in order to thrive. Healthy living includes caring for this lifelong need.

      I invite you to pay attention to where your SOUL, the truest part of you, centers and attaches — to what defines your core focus. You and I will make decisions, take action and give definition to our lives based on whatever holds our attention and allegiance.

      If we want to show up and live courageously? We must intentionally decide our soul’s focus.

      QUESTION: How do your soul needs shape everyday life?

      sacred rhythms

      four sacred rhythms: a rhythm of REST

      Today I welcome you to consider four rhythms I believe meet the soul’s needs. First — a rhythm of rest.

      In my larger faith community it sometimes feels REST is a negative four-letter word among Christians.

      A dicey topic to approach, but I am convinced we are created for pause.

      Work holds important place in life of course. After all, the original biblical command names six out of seven days set aside for it.

      However, this work pattern needs supported by a pattern of REST. Time for laying aside compulsions to do more and allowing ourselves freedom from busyness.

      I get passionate about keeping regular rest patterns matching our life season. I plan to share more this month.

      QUESTION: what does your pattern(s) of rest look like?

      solitude

      four sacred rhythms: a rhythm of SOLITUDE

      Friends, community is great and necessary (see below) — remember courageous living includes allowing ourselves to be visible?

      Well, practicing community and visibility needs supported by a rhythm of solitude.

      I’ll go as far to say we better understand who we truly are by practicing solitude. Who are you really when God is the only one watching? 

      Depending on your faith upbringing, that question may sound belittling. Not my intention though.

      Just asking you to notice: when away from the expectations, attention or approval of others, your productivity or a need to be constantly occupied…who are you in the presence of God alone?

      A practice of solitude allows space for God’s deepest work. We are then truly empowered to live our best self in Christ!

      QUESTION: How do you resist or avoid being alone?

      sacred rhythms

      a rhythm of REFLECTION

      Lately I’ve been flying through our days.

      It’s not our norm, thankfully. But September, with its transition from laid-back summer days to school routines, is simply cray-cray (my kids’ word suggestion for ‘crazy’)!

      If I constantly live at this speed, there is little time to NOTICE.

      To see within me and around me what needs seen — the primary purpose of reflection. We simply cannot live at high speed, barreling from task to task.

      Remember: perspective and direction for our next steps often comes through noticing our past steps.

      A rhythm of reflection allows space for both.

      QUESTION: When do you look back to evaluate, celebrate or notice what’s already happened?

      : :

      a rhythm for SPIRITUAL FRIENDSHIPS

      Okay, true confessions.

      The first three rhythms of rest, solitude and especially reflection come SUPER easily for me. I’m not perfect, but I am consistent.

      I probably carried a journal of reflective thoughts from the time I could write! Outside of ones taken in the middle of a difficult separation, I still own all journals from age 11 to now.

      Pausing for solitude?  Check, piece of cake.

      Making space for rest?  Yep, a consistent practice.

      Noticing my need for spiritual community and friends?  Hey…wanna see my favorite pens and journals?

      community

      Practicing the presence of people requires effort for me.

      It doesn’t come so naturally.

      I find this no better or worse than anyone else’s struggle; it’s simply a rhythm I keep before me to cultivate.

      Placing ourselves in community is important.

      Whether you find it simple or difficult, being on the giving and receiving end of support, love, trust, challenge, play, laughter, prayer, soulful conversation and encouragement is a needful rhythm for your life.

      QUESTION: Who do you talk to about your spiritual life? How often?

      : :

      These words are September’s cornerstone theme — the post from which other thoughts and writings flow.

      If you’re part of the email community, a few practical tools and resources to accompany this post are in your inbox!  We’ll continue exploring together.

      Want to join the community? Click HERE to get started.

       

       

      1 comment
      Add a comment...

      Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

      a peek into my month :: August 2019

      Months ago when I shared of my writing transition, several long-time readers mentioned missing Domestic Serenity themed posts.

      Homeschooling, everyday life updates, what I’m reading, helpful household tips and more were on the list. I admitted I would miss these as well.

      After launching a new site in July, I got to thinking…

      …it IS important to occasionally share about everyday life! At least it’s important to me.

      So you will find family updates in posts titled ‘a peek into my month’. I imagine these posts every 5-6 weeks as a quick summary of our days, maybe hitting on areas I wrote before.

      It’s true, writing extensively on topics above is now history. Time to move forward.

      Next week we dive as a community into NEW topics I’ve been itching to write about. If you’re an email subscriber or social media follower, you’ll notice new rhythms emerge in those spaces as well as this site.

      But for today – and monthly afterwards – just a peek at what we’ve been up to as a family!

      a peek into my month

      a peek into our month

      a peek into my month

       

      A Peek into My Month

      August began with a weeklong vacation in Virginia and a quick stop in Washington, D.C.

      We took in as much relaxing as possible, with an eight-hour day at the waterpark the highlight. Plenty of touristy things filled our time too. The kids tolerated my full-on homeschool mode sharing details of each monument and memorial.

      Our interest in history is high, so don’t feel sorry for them!

      a peek into my month

      a peek into my month

      a peek into our month

      Virginia’s Civil War Museum is incredibly well done!

      During our week I took a Zumba class offered by the resort, which served to highlight my lack of top-notch coordination skills (I was convinced it existed). My teen son participated with me; fairly sure he was trying hard not to laugh.

      Ah well, can’t be gifted in everything right? ?

      To add to that slight humiliation, family trivia night showcased our need to brush up on topics such as US History, Star Wars, US Presidents and national sports figures.

      We scored perfectly in one area however — CANDY!

      a peek into my month

      Back home again…

      Resting unplugged for a week refreshed my soul. I felt energized for August projects:

      • revamping our home systems such as training kids on new chores. Every August I bump them up to bigger tasks or switch them around and reassign.
      • bulk shopping for paper products, cleaning supplies, shelf foods and grab-and-go snacks
      • outlining the homeschool class I’m teaching at our co-op
      • practicing several InstaPot recipes (yum)
      • decluttering!

      My teens worked their part-time jobs as much as possible this month before school routines limits availability. I’m so proud of their dedication to saving and giving!

      My work in August included offering spiritual direction to new clients – grateful.

      A new invitation came this month: to provide spiritual care for patients diagnosed with a genetic disease. A medical community recognizing how holistic care for suffering persons supports wellbeing… such a gift. (*I know this isn’t new territory, it simply blesses me).

      This month’s reading included heavy topics as I wrap up a graduate course: Waking the Tiger, Healing Trauma by Peter Levine and finishing The Body Keeps the Score, Brain Mind and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk.

      I did manage to read a Shopaholic series book while on vacation — total light-hearted, non-educational fiction!

      a peek into my month

      Fall sports began for kiddos involved….ah, September is FULL.

      We attended our local fair and indulged in too much funnel cake and homemade root beer. My youngest was singled out in a juggling show. Though we watch this artist year after year, he loves it!

      Pretty sure the fair is where I caught last week’s stomach bug, needing four days to recover. Whew.

      I know August still offers more days, but it seemed time to share.

      If anything wild and exciting happens before September arrives, you can hear about it in my next ‘a peek into my month‘!

       

       

      2 comments
      Add a comment...

      Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

      • AliceSeptember 7, 2019 - 8:30 pm

        Your kids are beautiful!  Looks like you’re a fun bunch for sure.  Thanks for inspiring me and helping me get organized.  I don’t follow many blogs, but yours is top-notch.ReplyCancel

      • JenniferOctober 16, 2019 - 12:13 pm

        I love this. ?ReplyCancel

      when your soul can’t find the words…

      soul care

      Over the past year I’ve had opportunity to companion several women through incredibly tough journeys.

      Some through my spiritual direction work and others just as a friend who relates.

      We have laughed (because hey, that’s a simple stress reliever), cried, prayed together and most of all did a LOT of waiting.

      Ugh, waiting.

      The experience feels like an unexpected guest at times, am I right? It’s the surprise no one intended would actually happen but yet, here we are.

      I waited with these women on practical matters: court processes, judge’s decisions, insurance responses, testing results. We waded through waters of intangibles too…waves of difficult emotions in their unexpected season.

      And sometimes we simply sat in silence.

      Recently one friend* offered aloud, ‘I just don’t know how to pray anymore! I have no more words.’  My heart felt taken by her thought.

      I could relate to a silenced soul.

      soul care

      When your soul can’t find the words

      Sometimes we need silence.

      To be in and with our emotional responses, questions, thoughts without interruption of speaking or writing. Just being. 

      Other times, we need something else.

      I recall my loss for words during a season of intense overwhelm. Several years had been spent exploring and facing realities difficult to accept as true. I felt exhausted : emotionally raw : spiritually spent.

      At that point in time, I too didn’t know how to pray. My thoughts could hardly quite wrap around my daily experience…

      …I lost my own words.

      So I began a practice used many times before: when my soul loses its voice, I borrow from another.

      Pulling out my favorite notebook, I started writing

      and writing

      and writing some more.

      I copied words which expressed my needs and desires at the time.  Multiple Psalms found place in my notebook and I moved on to writing other Scriptures of comfort, hope and peace.

      soul care

      Silence is Okay

      I firmly believe in the beauty and power of silence.

      Maybe my introverted nature readily embraces the gift, but I feel our communities – families, churches, schools and more – are simply too loud, too often.

      It’s as though we are afraid of quiet!

      Friend, if silence is your soul need, if you cannot construct thoughts or words around your experience and just want TO BE…

      …then take it, create it, protect your silent and quiet time — perhaps alone?

      Be okay with sharing you prefer not to talk right now or let phone calls go to voicemail. Allow yourself freedom to rename boundaries or add more in.

      I suggest you insulate, not isolate. 

      Let someone know you are okay, how to check up on you or where/when to reach you. Then for a time protect your space from outside influences which may feel overwhelming (insulate).

      soul care

      But if your soul needs words…

      and cannot form them,

      I offer you borrow from someone, somewhere which aligns with what you might say if you could: read, speak or write these words.

      In my season, I found Scripture most reliable to express my heart.

      I also borrowed from books, uplifting quotes, encouraging emails of friends and more. I copied or pasted into my notebook anything which spoke my soul’s needs.

      Try it? Let me know if you find this helpful.

      And if you hold another practice which supports your journey, consider sharing!  I would love to hear.

      :

      * note: these are thoughts of a personal friend offering affirmation to use her words; my spiritual direction work is completely confidential.

      :

      I leave you with a blessing from author Jan Richardson

      Blessing in the Chaos

      To all that is chaotic
      in you,
      let there come silence.

      Let there be
      a calming
      of the clamoring,
      a stilling
      of the voices that
      have laid their claim
      on you,
      that have made their
      home in you,

      that go with you
      even to the
      holy places
      but will not
      let you rest,
      will not let you
      hear your life
      with wholeness
      or feel the grace
      that fashioned you.

      Let what distracts you
      cease.
      Let what divides you
      cease.
      Let there come an end
      to what diminishes
      and demeans,
      and let depart
      all that keeps you
      in its cage.

      Let there be
      an opening
      into the quiet
      that lies beneath
      the chaos,
      where you find
      the peace
      you did not think
      possible
      and see what shimmers
      within the storm.

      —Jan Richardson

      1 comment
      Add a comment...

      Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

      this is me

      NEW! I recorded this entire post for you!

      Feel free to listen by clicking HERE. (If you ignore mistakes and audio quality in some spots, I think it will do!)

      This is an EPIC post friends.

      The original plan included less words, more posts.

      I chose the road less traveled in blog land, where 400-500 word limits guide the way. Well… not this time.

      If you’re new, several months ago I shared of a significant shift in my writing and offered why. The change includes a new platform.

      Before the transition from here to there, I want to re-introduce myself. Actually, more openly introduce myself for the first time.

      Just parts of life I hope to carry into future work and writing.

      Grab some tea?

      I’m Daniele. And in no specific order — this is me.

      I am unapologetically Christian.

      I land in the Protestant camp.

      My life experiences range from charismatic holy roller to contemplative Christianity, with sprinkles of other perspectives in between. To stir the pot, I attended two high school years in a Catholic environment and loved so many things about it!

      I am deeply committed to following Jesus.

      At times, life led me to question beliefs. But, I cannot remember questioning loving him. This truth remains core to who I am. It influences everything I do.

      I believe life with Christ offers us all something good.

      : :

      My future website and writing focuses on the soul care of women  in any life season, with special space for those overcoming struggles. Helping women care for their spiritual lives and unique personalities is my heartbeat.

      My approach reflects my faith though I avoid offering pat answers. I work to stay away from Christianese language and references.

      The sincere desire is women of various faith backgrounds find hope and healing.

      I won’t seek to make everyone happy (impossible) or water down a message.

      In short, naming I am unapologetically Christian means I am unapologetically open to all God’s people — whether we hold similar perspectives or not.

      I am a voice and advocate.

      Alongside my commitment to Christ, I feel grieved for my faith community.

      I speak of larger Church vs local.

      I wrestle with perspectives towards women, struggle with what feels like rampant disregard of their voices.

      My grief relates to practices of belittling, denying or ignoring abuse and acts of violence women face in their lives and within church.

      It’s an ugly, tender topic. But it is reality.

      I was just exiting church leadership as the #metoo and #churchtoo movement erupted. As I watched, I wondered how church communities planned to respond. How I would respond.

      Even now I sit with more questions, less answers.

      But I am moved to give voice and help others do the same.

      A path forward cannot include bashing men or spewing rants at spiritual leaders. Yet I cannot support silence. A touch of my future writing opens the door for these conversations.

      My faith calls me to love mercy, to walk humbly, to act justly.

      I once heard a sermon demonstrating dependence of each part upon the other. It’s lopsided Christianity without all three.

      All three I embrace moving forward.

      I am Haitian.

      At first I felt odd including this description in my lineup.

      But being Haitian is one aspect I’ve not shared much online or in every day life. Quite honestly, up until recently this heritage identity fell into the background of my life.  I want to change this.

      I am first-generation American.

      Like many of my cousins, our parents immigrated from Haiti and set out creating new opportunities for themselves and their children.

      Reconnecting to this part of me includes dusting off Haitian Creole and more involvement in the culture. Creole is a language I understand yet rarely speak.

      Haitian people are some of the most resilient I have met. This resiliency connects deeply with the soul care services and writing I plan to offer.

      You will see this people group highlighted in my work — another way of me keeping connected.

      I hope to share stories of Haitian women who have triumphed over tragedy, and of organizations and communities supporting their journeys.

      This vision is developing slowly. I am excited about connections made already!

      I am a survivor.

      [trigger alert]

      Talk about ugly, tender topics. Sigh.

      I shared with you recently of making phone calls, sitting with other women and doing the hard work of sharing my story.

      It’s a story I kept silent for multiple reasons.

      The stigma, the accompanying shame, and fear of others interpreting my life only through this event. More importantly, gentle care for the one person I felt it impacted the most: my daughter.

      But I learned through a devastating experience last year the cost of that silence, of not owning my story more publicly and assuming protection from other places.

      As I sat in court that day, a voice inside me awoke.

      I will own my story — all of it, every part. It is mine to share.

      This vow cascaded into me getting support for just how to own, how to share with others.

      Then I did.

      My survivor story

      At the close of my childhood, I was sexually assaulted and became pregnant.

      It was the most traumatic event of my first decades of life.

      I lost my innocence, my sense of safety.

      My identity shattered into all kinds of pieces no longer representing the true me at all. This contributed to a mindset of accepting other violations to my body, mind and soul.

      For a long time I wanted to erase that terrible day.

      To believe faith in God enough to cover up the loss, the memories, the after effects. God carried me through no doubt…and I have done the hard work of healing over the years.

      I accept complete healing from trauma probably comes in our eternal state.

      However, I believe it possible to thrive now, to recover from living the terrible again and again.

      From a more settled and healed place, I will passionately support women by offering trauma-sensitive soul care, whatever their pain.

      [Note: in America right now, we’re experiencing a hotbed of debate around women’s rights, abortion, the sanctity of life. Keep in mind I share today a personal story, NOT a political stand (I do hold one). If possible, please avoid interpreting my story this way.]

      I am an entrepreneur.

      I always seem to have a business idea in my head!  Seriously.

      My family background includes many who busted traditional models to create avenues for supporting their families.

      I’m kinda in that lot.

      In the next phase I will offer multiple services and resources at no cost to anyone. Freely I have received from others, freely I desire to give.

      I also plan to offer services and resources with a price tag attached.

      You may wonder what’s the big deal. I agree.

      Yet online I’ve seen this move viciously attacked.

      Bloggers and website owners criticized for benefitting financially from their life story whether it’s losing weight, surviving cancer, overcoming a struggle, handling their money well or being an organized Mom!

      It’s craziness in my opinion.

      : :

      I have no plans to pull anyone’s heart strings to get to their purse strings.

      I’m just a Mom who has been out of the traditional work force for nearly 20 years. I prayed for an idea to do something I truly enjoy which supports availability to my kids.

      And God birthed one.

      Fear creeps into my thoughts of course. What if this all fails? 

      Then I think —  but what if it doesn’t?

      I am a sensitive-souled carrier of LIGHT.

      Accepting my personality type with all its beautiful strengths and touchy blind spots came slowly.

      I better understand my sensitive and highly intuitive nature, and desire to offer it as a gift to others.

      For personality nerds like myself — I’m an INFJ, Enneagram Type 5.

      • I experience emotions deeply, my own and others’ (sometimes even before they share them) — or completely the opposite! I can forget my emotional side, staying way too much in my head
      • my type avoids engaging the news, certain movies or books – most stories overwhelm
      • all my senses are heightened! Different sounds & lighting in particular cause me sensory stress
      • staying connected to my body and physical needs is WORK for me. If engaged in a project of my passion (*cough* like creating a website *cough*), I can easily forget to sleep, eat, and other basics!
      • I need significant time alone in order to show up fully in my relationships

      So…

      Can my personality type really sit with other women, maybe in their painful story, and be a friend on the journey?

      YES. Yes I can.

      It requires paying close attention to my own soul care and self-care needs. I also need community, support and accountability outside myself. My life reflects all these. Grateful.

      But most importantly, I am a carrier of LIGHT.

      This is what truly motivates me, moves me towards action.

      On my own I could (and honestly would) retreat, especially after experiences of the last two years. But LIGHT does not hide, does not leave never to be seen again.

      I am deeply convinced my right now includes this work:

      to carry light into darkness

      to remind others they too are light

      This is me.

      “And you, beloved, are the light of the world. A city built on a hilltop cannot be hidden. Similarly it would be silly to light a lamp and then hide it under a bowl.

      When someone lights a lamp, she puts it on a table or a desk or a chair,                                    and the light illuminates the entire house. 

      You are like that illuminating light.

      Let your light shine everywhere you go, that you may illumine creation, so men and women everywhere may see your good actions, may see creation at its fullest, may see your devotion to Me, and may turn and praise your Father in heaven because of it.” ~ Matthew 5

      I’m Daniele.

      And I welcome you to carry light with me!

       

       

      0 comments
      Add a comment...

      Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

        what to do with someone’s story

        Friends…

        Changes are happening behind the scenes of this blog!

        The NEW website moves along as my (small) team works on details. I feel incredibly proud of these next steps; it reflects so much of my heart.

        As we move forward in community…

        I plan for two things before transitioning in about 4-6 weeks:

        • to reintroduce myself
        • to introduce the upcoming website

        Sharing personally feels to me necessary and helpful. On this blog I’ve talked quite a bit about parts of my life, but very little about myself. I want to change this.

        To be clear, the new website does not focus on my life story, past or present. I’ll reference experiences and share more personally. But the focus is not me.

        What keeps me plugging through an ever-growing to do list and writing page after page of content is: others. 

        I hope to support women in life-giving ways. It’s really not much different in vision than my church ministry work of many years, simply a shift in topics, platform and approach.

        In order to move forward, I want to share parts of myself/my story carried into this next chapter. Some parts might feel light — like an aha moment. An oh, I didn’t know this about her insight.

        Other parts friends, I imagine may feel heavy or difficult.

        Writing online is tricky.

        It reminds me of random connections with those in my community circles. For example — at the grocery store, a parking lot, at a park, a restaurant. Having heard some version of our family’s story, they asked:

        So how are you really doing? I heard ____, is that true? Did you? Did they? Was there?

        The conversation sometimes felt unfair.

        Almost a sense of entitlement in a need to know details and expectation I provide them. I hold regrets around several of those short interactions, wishing I had simply offered:

        Thanks for your care. Really, it’s important to me. But in the time we have together I couldn’t possibly unpack my story with you. I can tell you we are well.’

        And then offered a big hug.

        This happens online too.

        We receive a little news or insight, a few facts, a new tidbit and form our OWN version of the story. We interpret words to mean this or that. A sentence taken out of context, unspoken parts imagined.

        Maybe the actual story told feels overwhelming to us.

        Oh goodness! Surely it wasn’t that bad? And it hurts us to think perhaps it may have been. And we did not know, did not see, did not understand.

        So we sometimes soften, ignore, reject or change the story to soothe our emotional needs.

        Friends, I am not pointing fingers. I’ve done this too.

        I have close to 20 years experience holding other women’s stories. Stories of celebration and pain, of happiness and grief, of terrible wrongdoings or shocking confessions. So I understand…taking in another’s words, listening openly, holding still with this person in the toughest of places?

        Well, it is hard work.

        It is heart work. Most importantly, it requires I do not add or subtract from words entrusted to my care.

        On the other hand…

        Sometimes the most helpful path is to step away.

        To realize we cannot engage a story openly or hold our inner selves still enough to listenThis is not a sign of weakness, maybe it is self-care.

        Maybe we need separation for our own wellbeing or to honor the story of another (because we’re tempted to manipulate somehow). These steps take gut-level honesty. I invite you into this self-reflection as we move forward.

        My heart focuses on reflecting as well.

        I have wrestled with realities of blogging (or any personal writing), understanding the risky door opened in offering vulnerability and story sharing.

        I have prayed, counseled with others and experience enough peace moving forward. This does not make me right. It only means I have taken my next steps seriously and done some heart work.

        Hmmm…so much more rumbling in my thoughts around story. But really, this post feels long enough!

        Instead I leave you with this:

        Thank you for reading here today. Really, it’s important to me. In the time we shared together, I couldn’t possibly unpack all my thoughts with you. I can tell you I am well. I hope you are too.’

        HUGS.

         

         

        2 comments
        Add a comment...

        Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

        • KathleenApril 30, 2019 - 12:56 pm

          This was so incredibly helpful! I will reflect more on how I interpret what I read. Thank you for being open and for teaching me something today!ReplyCancel

        • DanieleMay 1, 2019 - 12:01 am

          You are welcome Kathleen! Thanks for reading here and taking time to comment. ☺️ReplyCancel

        keep moving forward

        ::

        I’ve been working on some huge-to-me projects lately.

        There are multiple notebooks going, scratched out lists everywhere, plenty of networking with other writers and organizations and more.  I feel full of purpose and determination.  Alive.

        The creating of content and community I shared just two months ago is coming together!

        (I’m also busy with everyday life like running kids to musical rehearsals, teaching geography at homeschool co-op, or procrastinating on laundry chores — the latter of which I excel).

        Yet in all the excitement, there is sometimes a gnawing fear.

        When I am invested in a project, and I mean truly dedicated heart, mind and soul, the vision of said project sometimes comes to me in a WHOLE big chunk.

        I go from zero ideas, blank space to oh-my-goodness-I-know-EXACTLY-what-should-be-done. In one swoop, I can envision the entire thing. 

        Don’t get me wrong. I’m a quiet, reflective introvert who appreciates time to turn an idea inside out (and back again) before taking next steps. It’s my norm.

        But sometimes….

        …the total opposite happens, and it’s just where I find myself now.

        Unfortunately, this mega download of creative thought brings ALL kinds of fear-based questions for me:

        Who are you to do this, Daniele?

        Do you even know enough? (ugh, this one plagues me)

        Look, someone else is already doing what you have in mind — and it’s better!

        What exactly are you planning to contribute to this topic?

        And many times in my past…I’ve gotten stuck right at those questions. I pause. I reconsider. Basically, I get scared that whatever it takes I just don’t have.  Anyone else?

        I wish today there was some quick fix to offer. There are great books written, and better advice given, on overcoming fear. I honestly have no fancy wisdom.

        Just this friend:  sometimes, giving up is simply NOT an option.

        Yes sometimes, it’s altogether right to release a dream.

        To say a gentle goodbye or not now or to wait. You may find yourself settled deep in this season. Then relax, I’m certainly not here to make you feel guilty.  This post might not be for you.

        But for those whose next step feels huge…

        …whose God-calling or heart-vision looms larger than life…who are afraid and maybe tempted to give up…

        DON’T.

        If you can’t run with the vision right now, walk it.  If you can’t walk, crawl it.

        Little by little, baby step by baby step — live into the big, the hard, the impossible of it all. Take fear along if necessary, just don’t let her run the show.

        I believe God is with you, for you!  Keep moving forward.

        ::

         

        0 comments
        Add a comment...

        Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

          the power of story

          I’ve spent the last several months intentionally connecting with different women.

          I spoke with my three daughters, other family members, close friends, cousins. Sometimes only once, but often multiple times. It felt important to allow ample space (and grace) for questions and reflections.

          At my invitation, each conversation centered on one thing:

          Sharing my story.

          Well, at least some unspoken parts.

          Pieces of my life everyone understood as having a background, but parts not discussed face to face, much less heart to heart.

          After thought, counsel and a good dose of please-help-me-God prayers, I made phone calls, Face Timed (is that a word?) and sat across from women holding intimate space in my life.

          We talked…a lot.

          We cried, took plenty of deep breaths. Question after question rose softly and loudly.

          There was Silence. Anger. Disbelief.

          Apologies. Sorrow. Regrets and finally PEACE.

          It’s a story I plan to write here before this blog transitions and one I’m entertaining an invitation to share with a much larger audience.

          But in order to feel comfortable with any future steps, I wanted those intentional conversations held first. Very grateful — even though it felt messy at times.

          In the midst of these months, I pondered the power of story.

          Your story, my story, the stories of others.

          The ones we tell, the ones we keep. The ones which may never see the light of day.

          Is this really worth it? I sometimes wondered after I hung up the phone or wiped tears.  Facing details and emotions of our journeys is often intense work — laying ourselves bare holds challenges.

          I don’t pretend to understand the psychology and neurobiology supporting our story sharing with others. From experience I know it to be transforming.

          It’s simply amazing how our brains, bodies, emotional and spiritual selves literally transform through talking things out! [Other helpful tools may also be necessary, I get that].

          So I’m still pondering, wondering.

          Thinking on the power of story, imagining I have more to write in the future.

          Today friend, I wonder about you.

          What containers of grace lie in your community circles — space to offer your words to a listening soul? Alongside of relationship with God, who is allowed to hold your story and journey, past or present?

          I’m aware of the fear facing our desire for soul-to-soul relationships…

          …and the ease of choosing isolation versus the work of connection.

          If these thoughts describe yours today, may you start small. Maybe begin with offering thoughts to God, sitting with them in prayer.

          And if you feel well connected, well supported?

          Well, celebrate this of course!

          Then, I encourage you check in with a friend today, maybe your ‘strong’ friend. You know – the one who seems to have it together or you believe is doing okay?  Yes, check on her.

          May you and I make room to hold someone’s story today.

           

          1 comment
          Add a comment...

          Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

          • Suzanne BroadhurstJanuary 31, 2019 - 10:43 am

            As I just shared on FB along with your writing …
            —–
            This is so beautifully written, so real, so alive with the heart of my story, too – this past year especially – that I share it as a touch of detail in the sea of my world.?
            —–
            Thank you, Danielle, for sharing your heart with us. May we draw strength from the God above as we walk in the valley below.ReplyCancel

          what would you like to do next?

          Let's connect

          find Me on instagram @daniele_evans


          Daniele Evans