Maybe it’s menopause, but I’ve been waking up a lot in the middle of the night. Whenever I wake in the night, I pray. And lately a lot of you have been getting prayed for!

 

Last night, I prayed for my friends who suffer from depression.

Friends - one teenage girl comforts another

 

Depression may be one of the worst things I’ve experienced. When you suffer from depression, you understand you should want to live, but you can’t remember what the reasons for wanting to live are.

 

A dozen years ago I was there. I told a friend how bad I hurt inside and she insisted I call my doctor. The receptionist at my doctor’s office said, “Can you come in on Monday?” I said, “I don’t think I can stay around ’til Monday.” She responded, “Let’s get you right in!”

 

Within a few weeks, with the help of medication and counseling, I was feeling back to normal. Maybe not perfect, but I was on my way. Nowadays I am filled with joy and zest for life, and I barely remember how bad I felt.

 

As a counselor I thank God I’ve experienced depression. It gives me great empathy for folks who suffer with depression and anxiety. Without knowing how awful it is, I don’t think I’d feel the compassion and urgency to help others with this mental illness.

 

And depression is a serious medical illness; it is not something that you have made up in your head.

Read more here.

 

In 2014, an estimated 15.7 million adults aged 18 or older in the United States had at least one major depressive episode in the past year. This number represented 6.7% of all U.S. adults. For women, the number is higher. It’s more like 8%.

 

Based mainly on the 4th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), in the NSDUH study a major depressive episode is defined as:

 

A period of two weeks or longer during which there is either depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure, and at least four other symptoms that reflect a change in functioning, such as problems with sleep, eating, energy, concentration, and self-image.

 

The good news is depression is very treatable:

Read more here.

 

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AboutPic

 

I’m so thankful for my career. I actually have three jobs, and I love the variety:

  1. I’m a Licensed Professional Counselor – I counsel adults, not kids and I see both men and women, in a small office near Columbine High School here in Littleton, Colorado.
  2. I teach part-time at Colorado Christian University. When I’m offered a course it’s usually evenings. Four-hour increments, and the class only lasts seven weeks. Five of those weeks are in seat and the other two the students use for writing final papers. I’ve taught a lot of courses including Counseling Skills, Social Psychology, Human Sexuality, and Lifespan & Development.
  3. I am the author of two books. One is my book Renewed: Finding Your Inner Happy in an Overwhelmed World published through a traditional publisher (Abingdon Press) and the other is a self-published ebook called What Does God Say About Suffering? The second book is shorter; more of a booklet. For the past three years I’ve been researching and writing a third book. I don’t want to say much about it until I figure out how I want to have it published.

Each of my professional vocations feeds and enhances the other parts: My counseling informs my teaching. My teaching informs my writing and research, and my research informs my counseling, etc.

 

In addition to my three careers, I often get asked to speak. Sometimes it’s to a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group, sometimes to churches, sometimes I give talks at my local library. I’ve had the honor of speaking at Denver Seminary and twice to the incoming Master of Arts of Counseling students at Colorado Christian University.

 

I have an upcoming engagement that you might be interested in: On February 27th, 2016 I’ll be at the annual Writer’s on the Rock conference at Bear Valley Church in Denver (Lakewood) Colorado. What I love about this conference is that it’s affordable—just $59 and that includes lunch—and any level of writer is welcome. That means if you want to learn how to write better love letters to your grandchildren or how to market a current bestseller, you’re going to find a workshop that meets your needs. I will be speaking about my experiences of turning a time of pain and growth into a published book.

 

In late April I get to zip away to Spokane, Washington to speak at Moody Bible Institute. I’m eager to share the topic of my latest research and upcoming book. The title and specifics are still secret, but the topic pertains to why some people thrive after experiencing trauma and others do not. You will not believe the interesting conclusions I found!

 

Of course, life is not all about work. With so much output, I need input. Here’s what fills me back up:

Attending University of Colorado basketball and football games, walking with my husband and our dog Chipotle, doing yoga at the rec center, swimming (I love swimming laps but I also love playing with water weights in the warm therapy pool and talking with my pregnant daughter), taking photographs (I’m an amateur but thanks to Molly I know how to get my camera setting off Auto), cooking, watching TV or movies with my husband (I’m a huge Homeland fan. I also like Dateline and Downton Abbey. Also, I’m a news junkie. I can tell you the one word Megyn Kelly uses to start each broadcast.) Once in a while I’ll read a novel, but most of the time I’m reading non-fiction and researching what helps people thrive. Lastly, spending time with my two grown kids and son-in-law, and soon my first grandchild, is what gives me the most joy.

 

What are you up to? Read any good books?

What’s your favorite wind down activity? 

 

 


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Why I Love Old People

I love old people. At least the ones I see at the rec center where I go swimming.

When I walk by the lazy river I see them walking in little clusters. Almost always they are smiling while they talk.

I’ve noticed something else. Most of them have given up on modesty. I think it’s because they are more interested in others than themselves. They peel off their bathing suits and wander around the locker room talking to each other. They don’t even try to be discreet. It’s quite a contrast to the fit young lady who drapes her beach towel over her body and dresses herself hunched over.

Overweight middle-aged woman playing under a water fountain splashing into a swimming pool as she stands chest deep in water laughing as the cascade pours over her head

And the political conversations . . . Older people say what they want, and they don’t apologize, but they give each other respect. (You’ve probably heard me tout the top five regrets of the dying…one is that people wish they had spoken up for what they believed.)

Here’s one conversation I overheard the Monday after the recent shootings in Colorado Springs.

Lady #1: Oh wasn’t that horrible. That poor officer gunned down.

Lady #2: Well it’s no worse that what’s going on inside that abortion clinic.

Lady #1: (In a friendly way) Well, no one should be killing anyone.

I got the impression one lady was conservative and the other liberal, but after the conversation they exclaimed their goodwill toward each other and promised to meet again on Wednesday. I rarely see younger people give each other that respect.

 ++++

I have a stress fracture in my foot so my doctor said no weight bearing exercise. My daughter is pregnant. Our combined conditions compelled us to investigate the water aerobics class a few weeks ago. Feeling awkward and unsure, we pulled our floatie noodles from the closet and slipped into the warm water. Immediately a heavyset elderly lady greeted us. “Hi, I’m Maureen, come on it, you’ll love it. I have arthritis and this warm water and gentle movement feels so good. You’ll see.” She went on to educate us about the class and introduce us to others. I was struck by her kindness and what seemed like acceptance of her own frailty and weight. Since Maureen was in her early 80s, my guess is she’s experienced her share of suffering. She might not have too many years left on this earth, yet what exuded from this weathered woman were kindness, joy, and peace.

 ++++

Yesterday,  I went to see a movie called Youth. A friend of mine who is literary recommended it. My husband and I sat in the back and laughed each time something weird happened. We didn’t understand the storyline but we sure loved the  cinematography, setting, and acting. My friend Carolyn who initially recommended the movie said she didn’t understand it all either, but it was a great conversation starter over a glass of wine.

Lots of people fear getting older. Not me. I’ve seen the research that shows most people get exceedingly happier as each decade goes by. People don’t have their peak life experiences until their mid 60s and early 70s. Happiness levels dip a tiny bit in our late 70s and early 80s but never do they go down to the levels of people in their early 20s.

I’ve written several articles about life getting better as I’ve gotten olderLife, so far, just gets better as I grow older. 

Do you dread aging?

Got anything to share with me about youth or old age?

Read any good books or seen movies on this topic?

I’d love to hear.

Even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save.

Isaiah 46:4


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