A Broken Thanksgiving

It is Thanksgiving Eve, though I have seldom heard it described in such a way, not like
Christmas Eve or New Years Eve. But tonight it seems appropriate. It is the day before ‘the day’ set aside for thanks and gratitude.

Yet I sit huddled on my sofa, tears just boiling under the surface waiting to spill over. Emotions are all over the place and I wonder if I will ever again feel free to experience joy without a deep sense of sadness.

If all the conditions were right,

if all of our daughers were home, and everyone was getting along.

If I felt good and wasn’t afraid my health was taking a turn for the worse.

If I my weight was under control and I felt strong and full of vitality.

If my finances were abundant and I didn’t have to wrestle to balance bill paying and gift giving.

If we could see our parents more often and more easily.

If there wasn’t so much loss in our world, so much hurt, so much anxiety for the future.

If all the conditions were right would I be happy then?

I wonder. How right would everything have to be for me to be happy?

But who am I kidding. Conditions will never ever be all right again.

I’m broken.

My heart is broken.

My emotions are broken.

My thoughts are broken.

My spirit is broken.

My famiy is broken

My finances are broken.

My body is broken.

No matter how hard I work to get all the pieces of my life in order, and healthy and at peace, there are so many things that are out of my control.

Relationships I care about deeply are hurting and not mine to mend.

Health issues are causing suffering, yes some are from seasons of neglect, others are not. Some of them is just is the way my body is responding to life.

And then there are those circumstances that have broken me. Dreams dashed. Daughter’s death.

These are not new things. I have dealt with these issues and their aftermath many times. You would think after 10 years of grieving I would be ‘over this’. I even wrote a book about what I have learned in the middle of the mess of it all. These aren’t new circumstances and I am not just beginning the journey of dealing with them. I have been at this a while now.

But it doesn’t change the fact that I am, in this moment, in tears for it all again.

It is Thanksgiving, one of my favorite of holidays because of family and gratitude. Yet I am consumed with all that I have lost.- again.

I am angry that I am broken- still.

I despair that once more- christmas will be broken and there is nothing I can do to change that fact.

Tears flow! I let them pour out. My body constricts with the agony of the moment.

Then hush! Tears subside. My body quiets. Even in the sadness of the moment, in the middle of it all I hear a whisper- a God whisper,

“My child, Will you seek me in your broken Christmas? Will you give me your ache and enter the season with eyes wide open and heart willing to hear what I am about to show you?”

Hmmm?

I’ve been in a place like this before. A place I can’t imagine being anything but what it is now. I have stood in awe, seeing God show up and showing me—more!
More of him!
More of Life!
More of Hope!
More of Love!

Ok Lord! I’m not at a place where I feel life and hope very well right now. But in this moment, I will trust that You, God are who You say you are!

I will be honest about what I am experiencing.

I will remember who he has shown himself to be in the past- my own story yes, but also through out time and scripture.

I will watch for him yet again in the advent of his coming.

I know I am not alone in this journey of feeling more broken than whole. Of wanting life to be easier and more, yet consumed by the losses, some recent, some long ago.

It is often hard to do broken in community- and yet, it is nigh to impossible to get through it alone.

Oh broken friend, will you join me in daring to watch for God to show up in this advent season?

Will you leave a comment below that just says, “I’m Watching!” I’ll know that you are in the journey with me. We can pray for each other as we allow our brokeness to find its place in the season.

Here’s to us living a broken thanksgiving- a broken advent and yes, a broken Hallelujah!

P.S. LISTEN IN to Mandisa’s song called Broken Hallelujah! https://youtu.be/cH16B5449Iw

I Am A Tribewriter!

Occasionally I will recommend to you a resource that I believe in.  Usually it is a book or an author that has really spoken into my life and work.

I invite you to check out this one.  If you have ever had interest in blogging or writing a book, this is something you want to look into.  If you want to skip the story and go to the bottom for the post for the details, click here.

Otherwise, read on!  And yes, I am an affiliate of Jeff Goins.  I believe in him and in the Tribewriter course and community.  I’m delighted to share him with you- as well as the Tribewriter Course.

Just over a year ago, as Jeff Goins was launching another class of Tribewriters, I found myself desperately wanting IN!

I had been watching from afar for a couple of years, all the while trying to write a manuscript for a book that I didn’t want to write.  It was started by my 15 year old daughter, Leisha.  We found it in her journal the day after she died in a car/pedestrian accident. She only wrote one chapter, but in that chapter she mostly told my story and ended it with “and then I was born.” I knew this was a book that needed to be finished by me.  But I couldn’t imagine how I would ever be able to do it.

Then came Jeff Goins. I signed up for the the TRIBEWRITER Course- and got a ticket to the 2015 Tribewriter Conference.  That has made all the difference.

Continue reading I Am A Tribewriter!

Meet ONE of my Superheroes!

20160918_144124Yesterday I shared a post about heroes and side kicks.

Well, one of the highlights for me at the Tribewriter conference was to meet one of my super heroes.  This is Carrie Wilkerson, recently called a SASSY entreprenuer. I have also heard it said that she is the little Texan with the big voice.  She was introduced as the ‘small town girl who was able to think beyond city limits” or the ‘big sister in business and life”.

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She is also Carrie Wilkerson, the Barefoot Executive.  I know the picture to the right is not very good, but I wanted you to see that she lives up to her name.  She came on stage with this beautiful pair of heels, but within 7 minutes of her presentation, she was barefoot.  She does this regularly.

Below is a little better picture but you couldn’t see her feet.

I met Carrie about 11 years ago when I first started direct selling with Mary Kay.  Carrie did that too for a while, but she was always doing more than makeup.
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One of the things I most admired about Carrie is that she has always been about doing what she does ‘Carrie style’.

She’s not afraid of the hard stuff- or I should say she is faithful about doing the hard thing afraid.

She is honest about what the challenges are, but will not let you get away with excuses.  She’s done it!  We can too!

STOP IT! She will say and did say from the stage on Sunday.  “Don’t say you want something different if you are not willing to change your perspective.” Quit making excuses.  Start looking at it from a different perspective.

“Don’t be paralyzed by the invisible audience.” THEY can paralyze your effort to pay your bills or invest in those around you.

STOP IT!

What you have to offer is of VALUE.  If you have something of value that will transform others and you don’t share it, you are a ‘transformation horder.”

STOP IT!

If it is of value, you have a responsibility to share it.  It is not your responsibility if they aren’t ready to accept your gift.  Do it like you need to do but do it!

SHARE IT!  PURSUE IT! YOU HAVE MY PERMISSION!

I’ve been listening and coaching with Carrie in different ways for 10 years.  She has been consistent in her message, faithful to her own calling and an example in the journey.  That makes her a side kick, as well as a super hero!

Yep, she may be 12 or 15 years years younger than me, but this little gal continues to be a ‘big sister’ to speak hope into my life.  I am grateful that she is mentor, coach and friend. She even wrote an endorsement for Lovely Traces of Hope. Check it out in my book.

Who is your hero?

How are they also a side kick for you in your super hero journey?

I got to give mine a hug this weekend.  How can you say thank you to yours?

DO IT! PURSUE IT!  YOU HAVE MY PERMISSION!


carrie-headshotWant more information about Carrie Wilkerson, you can find her on Facebook at Carrie Wilkerson, the Barefoot Executive, or go to carriewilkerson.com.

 

Lovely Traces of Hope
Lovely Traces of Hope

Want to know more about
Kathy’s new book,
Lovely Traces of Hope,
check it out at Amazon.com today.

 

 

 

 

Heroes…and sidekicks!

This weekend, I attended the TRIBEWRITER conference in Franklin, TN which is a marketing conference for people who don’t think of themselves as marketers. It’s a gathering for writers, artists, and creative entrepreneurs to grow their craft, share their work, and get the attention their work deserves.”

In my previous post, I shared some of the effects of last years conference; the primary one was the completion of the “LOVELY TRACES OF HOPE” book which I had been working on for several years before committing to finish it.

This year, I am still sifting through the ‘one thing’ i will do because of what I learned.  But…Jeff Goins, founder and host of the Tribewriter event kicked us off with a great reminder.

batman-with-his-sidekick-jeff-robin

Jeff introduced us to his superhero son, Aiden who is 4.  Aiden is Batman.  He wanted Jeff to be – not Superman, like Jeff was last year, not Spiderman or The Hulk.  You guessed it, Robin, Batman’s faithful sidekick.

Jeff reminded us that often, as business owners, authors and creatives of all kinds, we think our purpose is about being the super hero to our clients and readers.

In reality we are there to be a sidekick to the stories in our tribe. My story is only truly effective as I influence the reader engage with their own story.

I do that by:

  • Being Present- show up, yes, but more than that- engaged!
  • Being Helpful- Give first, often you will benefit, but help anyway.
  • Being Brave- learning to do that next hard thing afraid.

Think like a sidekick and make it about ‘them’.  The act of being allows activity to follow identity.

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As I sat and listened to Jeff’s comical, but motivating challenge, I read the words on the card at my table.  The picture below may be easier to read.

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Ok! This is exactly why we need to be present, helpful and brave.  If we dare to look into the depth of the world’s darkness, then people will be willing to listen to us as we dare to shine light into theirs.

I’ve never been very good at the super hero role.  How about you?  Are you a super hero?  Sometimes we become one in our story out of necessity. But often it is not because we are super great – it is because we were present for someone, or helpful to them at a time when they needed us to be brave.

But who are you a side kick too right now?  Is it your family or a close friend?  Maybe it is a client who is counting on you to help them do what they need to do.

Well, I am Kathy, and I’m your sidekick!

So…how can I help you? What’s going on in your story? Leave a comment below or email me at kathy@greenhopecoaching.com.


Lovely Traces of Hope
Lovely Traces of Hope

Wondering if Kathy knows what it means to struggle to find hope in a dark place? Get Kathy’s new book called Lovely Traces of Hope?

Go to Amazon.com to order. 

A Journey to Be!

Below, I am REPOSTING a post from a year a go.  I wrote this during my first ever writer’s conference- TRIBEWRITER’s in Franklin, TN last August 2015.  I remember being scared, excited, sick to my stomach and sure this was my next right/write step. 

Today as I prepare to attend my second Tribewriter conference, I read this post agin.  I am in awe of all that has happened in a year.  

A year ago, I spoke the words “I am a writer” for the first time. A year ago I declared that I would finish writing and publish a book.  

Now it is done.  It took a great deal more to complete this task than I ever dreamed, but I have a book to show to the Jeff Goins as I thank him for helping me own who I am and  for introducing me to Christine Niles and others who inspired and challenged me through this process.

I don’t know what I will learn this year at TRIBEWRITERS, but I’m scared, excited, sick to my stomach and sure this is the next right/write step. Pray for me!

*******

As a child, did you ever wonder what you would be when you grew up?  Journey to Be

I did often.  It had everything to do with being a mom, and working with music and worship in the local church. And if I happened to be married to a pastor, that would be all the better. I never wanted to be anything else.

But today I sat in a room full of people and realized that is not who I am anymore.  I still have the same gifts and abilities.  I still love music and prefer to use it to lead others in worship.  I still have a husband who thinks about ways to teach God’s word and loves to talk about church leadership.

The fact that I am not what I once was used to feel like failure, then just loss.  But today I came to see in fresh ways that all that WAS is part of all that IS.   All that I have learned is part of all that I now share.

From the memories of all that I am from to the discovery of the voice that has always been within me, I am still me.

Only more!

I’m more aware!

I’m more raw!

I’m more real!

And that is good.

Today I came closer to identifying and becoming content with who I am!

I am an entrepreneur.   I own a business.

I am a coach and a speaker.

I am part of a tribe and I am a leader of tribes.

I am also a writer!

It is out of who I am now that I will write.  It might suit you and it might not.  I might speak to the core of your issues and I might not.  I might write out of the suffering more than the healing and I might not.

But I will write because I must. I will continue to explore who I am coming to be because I will not go back.  I will continue to share the truths that I am being taught.

From the memories of all that I am from to the discovery of the voice that has always been… Click To Tweet

I will not count the past as lost, or wasted.  I will see it for the training ground it has been.   I will not fear the present or the future because I have known the hand of God in bringing me to this point.  I will trust it as I continue on.

Today I have seen more of me.

And it’s ok!

So are you!

Who are you today?  What do you need to embrace in this day?

Join me in the journey to be,  won’t you?

The Beauty of Signing a Book!

OK! It’s official! I’m an author!  I held my first book signing thanks to the gracious and persistent Tanya Augsburger of the Bluffton Public Library, Bluffton, OH.

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Months ago- before there was an actual book, Tanya engaged me to consider hosting an author event at the library.  I thought she was jumping the gun, but I appreciated her thinking ahead for me. It was a delight for me to work with Tanya to put together this book signing event. I am so grateful for her and the Library for hosting this opportunity.

I knew that book signings were often part of an author’s next steps.  I knew that it was valuable to connect with interested and potential new readers.

But I witnessed so much BEAUTY in this moment and in the people who attended. Continue reading The Beauty of Signing a Book!

Influence Like a Dandelion

Ten years ago next weekend, we gathered to remember a spunky little gal named Leisha.

We celebrated her life And mourned our loss of her.

We remembered the things she didTo make us laugh

To make us cry,

To make us crazy!

She touched our lives and she taught us,

She changed us in the living and the dying.

Would she have made such a difference in our lives if she had just lived?  I know I’m her momma, but I think so.

The day she died, I met her on our country road. I was teasing her because she was so eager to get her driver’s permit. I said,” you just want power. ”

I could see the wheels spinning in her head and her eyes were sparkling.

She spoke,  “I don’t need power. I want to influence. I want to say, I’m going come with me.”

“Honey you were made to influence,” I replied as I stroked her nose like I had so many days since she was born.

10 minutes later,  she was gone.

I want to influence. I want to say, I'm going come with me. Click To Tweet

my first bookSeveral have asked why, out of all the pictures I have of Leisha,  I chose a black and white one of her blowing a dandelion for the cover.

Well, dandelions have long been important at the Burrus house.

For one thing, Continue reading Influence Like a Dandelion

So yesterday my book came!

my first bookSo yesterday I celebrated when I received the first copy of my first

book (not sure if it is first or only yet).  I was filled with raw emotions: happy, sad, celebration and grief all mixed together.  But I was in awe that this had actually come to be.

That same day two other books came out:

Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequist, ‪#‎presentoverperfect‬
and Uninvited  by Lysa Terkuerst, #‎uninvited‬

Both books are already best sellers on Amazon.

picture by Shauna Niequist
picture by Shauna Niequist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I chuckled to myself that all these books came out the same day. Continue reading So yesterday my book came!

Thank you Professor Sittser

This past week, I have been working intently to finish up details for publishing the Lovely Traces of Hope book.  I had one of those moments  as I sat late into the night reading/ editing/ proofing yet again through my own story.  

For the umpteenth time, I was reading through Chapter 14, Turning East, which I have sent to many of you already. (Click here if you haven’t read it yet.) In that chapter, I share excerpts of Jerry Sittser’s book called A Grace Disguised. Jerry literally led me through much of my grief through the sharing of his own story.

Several months ago as I was reworking that chapter for the book, I sent Jerry a letter to thank him for being bold enough to share his story because of the influence it has had in mine. 

Here was his reply…

Continue reading Thank you Professor Sittser

Intentionally Designing Hope in LIFE and Marriage