The Truth About Fall

Autumn. The miraculous time of year where woman thrive in their warm, blanket-like ponchos and trendy duck boots. Coffee flavors explode into all-things pumpkin and outdoor festivities seem prominent around every turn. Children prepare their costumes for October’s end and inevitably, before we can stand it, Christmas tunes will be in every store and scene.

Can you sense my cynicism? I mean, what kind of season calls itself for what it is….Fall. The leaves fall, the temperatures fall, the rain…falls. And with it…my cheerful persona quite obviously falls right along with it.

What is it about this season the everyone loves so much? What about the colder temperatures and the flavored coffee is so captivating? Perhaps my friends can share their thoughts with me? Anyone?

Autumn has long felt like the season of goodbye’s for me. Someone said it best when they said: “A fallen leaf is nothing more than a summer wave’s goodbye.” I couldn’t agree more. Summer saying goodbye.

I can’t help but dig deep into my own records, my own thoughts and opinions and wonder what causes this unsettling of the changing season. It could be that my adult memoirs are not filled with particularly beautiful memories of this time frame. That perhaps some of my alternately, unhappiest-of-moments are hidden deep within the fall and winter calendar.  The chill in the air doesn’t provide a comfort or console that my personality, for-so-very-long, desired.

So what do I do? I live here; I work and thrive here…and we have seasons. All of them. Even Fall. After what feels like a short eternity of rain (in reality only onesolidweek) my heart longs for the sun. I crave the warmth and the rays of a golden touch. My children are cooped inside with runny noses from cold mornings and the tea kettle is the most employed person in my home.

But alas, in my grumbling and complaining (which I promise) I am devoted to stopping…perhaps I can find peace with the changing seasons I am planted within.  After all, it is most important to recognize that my feelings are not the object of my authority. I’m reminded: “To every thing there is a season..and a time for every purpose under heaven.”

For Fall…What is the purpose? Perhaps I can ponder the color in every tree. The branches they die, they tumble down but not before the miracle that happens within as the colors morph. It is unlike any art mere humanity could create. 

For rain..perhaps the mud soaked ground is preparing the soil for a spring-ahead full of abundant planting and growth. It speaks of the harvest that we celebrate this season as we gather the food the ground has given and assemble our family and friends in communion for Thanksgiving.

The brisk air open my airways and reminds me of the breath granting life to my lungs. Each day is a gift. I am reminded.

And so with my open-hands instead of cold fists, I will welcome the changing season. My attitude can fall away right along with the leaves and just maybe I can learn to enjoy each passing moment.(More coffee, please!) Just as we wave with the leaves a sorrowful goodbye to the past, perhaps now is the time to wave hello to the coming season. And just like that?..The seasons change. 

Are you in need of pregnancy help? Have you been caught unexpectedly by a positive test? Have you experienced an abortion and need to chat with someone about your feelings? We are here to help! We are a fully-staffed, free clinic located HERE in Youngstown, Ohio. Conveniently situated near St. Elizabeth’s Hospitals main and Boardman, Ohio campuses. You can reach us HERE to schedule an appointment online. Let us know how we can serve you today! #KnowYourOptions 

Create

change youngstown abortion pregnancy help center

The world around me seems to be crawling back to life. The once quiet neighborhood streets are bustling again with morning commuters. School busses line the roads as the children begin their fall education yet again. Even the air outside seems to blow in the wind with the feeling of new, and crisp life.

I can’t help but ask myself….In our quiet months at home, hidden from the outside world, did we miss the essence of life? Did we enjoy the introverted season of staying apart and seeking out silence a little too much? I did not. Life is best lived with fulfillment in my mind. Carpe diem! Let’s get this show on the road! I thrive on face-to-face interactions and the hustle and bustle of daily routines.

In the chaos that was the season I unaffectionately call “Corona” it became so easy to become detached from the outside world.

We watched the news and scrolled -through- feeds that told us what we thought was in our “best-interest” but when I step back, when I really look around at what was deemed “best”…the thing that was missing was always just around the corner.

Have we become too complacent? Have we gotten used to thinking only of ourselves, of our own families, and given ourselves the permission to not serve others because…Covid? Because…fear? (When did fear overtake family? When did it become ok for fear to override friendship?)

I must ask myself, what am I doing outside of “me.” Where have I drawn the line between what is best for my family and what is selfishly absorbing my time, my thoughts, my energy. What habits have been created that I must break? Have we created (even more) narcissism as we do what is best for our families, altogether forsaking the task of what we can do for others?

The last six-months have been confusing. They have forced us to be healthy in our own homes, to detach from society and polarize our (most-important) opinions. But was it for the greater good?

Let me challenge you this week: Go back out of your comfort zone. Find a way to reach out to someone you have lost touch with during this crazy year. Leave a care bag on their porch, a coffee, or a home-cooked meal. Send a handwritten letter to someone who might love to hear that you actually care.

The recent year has been a debacle of anger, of hurt and confusion and doubt. Covid has devised a crater between friends and family. Let’s re-focus on the corporate side of humanity now. Lean in to your community and create a pulse again. Only then will we begin to feel life the way that it was intended for us, whole, healing and happy.

“You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”
{Winnie the Pooh}

Are you in need of pregnancy help? Have you been caught unexpectedly by a positive test? Have you experienced an abortion and need to chat with someone about your feelings? We are here to help! We are a fully-staffed, free clinic located HERE in Youngstown, Ohio. Conveniently situated near St. Elizabeth’s Hospitals main and Boardman, Ohio campuses. You can reach us HERE to schedule an appointment online. Let us know how we can serve you today! #KnowYourOptions 

#BeginAgain

I find it so hard to think outside the realm of this current year. It feels as though every decision, every set back every, single day rests on the unsettled atmosphere of what is happening in the streets, neighborhoods, cities…and the world around us. 

At any given moment, the world could change again. In an instant, our lives could shift and we can be left hanging like we were back in March when the whole world came to a screeching halt.

Sometimes I feel like I’m holding my breath; I’m waiting for the “next shoe to drop.” The next bad thing is waiting just around the corner or we can feel it breathing down our neck like it’s about to pounce…bringing our walls around us to a crumble. 

Does any of this make sense to you? Does 2020 feel like an impending doom, like we’re stuck in a revolving bad dream. Groundhog’s Day; We can’t seem to wake from this terrible slumber? 

{Control + Alt + Delete}

Recently, I woke up to a Twitter notification on my phone. It was a person I don’t even follow on my news feeds, yet somehow I ended up with his status update. His wife had just died unexpectedly and suddenly. As he came to the social world with his sorrow, my heart ached for his immediate loss and unknown future. Who would he hold when the nights were long? Who would hold him as he wept in painful tears with a broken heart? And immediately my heart sank as I put myself into his shoes. I can’t even imagine his pain, nor do I want to. 2020 can take a hike. 

This year has been hard. Some might even call it The worst. And it’s not even over yet. The  truth is, we don’t know what any of the future days, months and years ahead will look like either. Perhaps, this is why so many have found themselves in the pit of depression, riddled with anxiety… which might explain the vast suicide rate in our nation these last, few months.

I take a deep breath. (Because sometimes I feel like that’s all I can do when everything feels so unknown around my circumstances.)

 I exercise the skills I have learned in my personal, counseling sessions. I take control of what I can: my own thoughts and my own fears. I’ll acknowledge them for a time. I can realize that they come from an honest place, that they intend to be truthful and probably hold some credentials for what is happening in the real-life I’m living.  But I am in control of them. 

My thoughts do not control me. 

I place them neatly in a little box in my mind and set them on the shelf there. I can (and eventually will) revisit them later, but my fears won’t control me anymore. No. I will control them.

 I recognize that I cannot control what the future of this world holds. I cannot imagine what a future after pandemic looks like  even though I try, or what the state of a nation in civil unrest will be in a few short months post-presidential election. The world around me is on fire. The days are evil. Life is hard. 

Living in turmoil is never the answer. And in a world on fire, I can make the choice to extinguish the flames. I can take up peaceful amends and choose to love my neighbor in the cold, civil  war that is raging in nearby cities.  I have no reason to join in the chaos that corrupts our environments. 

I will choose to spread love in my words and my thoughts and my deeds to those both near and far from my political convictions. We may have grown up differently, but we both bleed red.

We both have souls. We both live in an unsettled season Where if anything? We can agree to disagree… that something has to change.

Let me challenge you in what’s left of this year: 2020. The year that tried to break us all. 

Take your weary thoughts, your fearful concerns, your angry agenda and lay them down. Place them in a box on a shelf and revisit them later. Take control of the memories, the setbacks, the letdowns, and own them for what they are. Control the thoughts…because that is all they are…and they do not have the privilege of consuming your beautiful spirit. 

Remember that you were made for so much more than just surviving but in the chaos of this year, we must begin our thriving. 

There are three months left of 2020. Can we make a pact? Can we gather our boxes of heartache and let-down and unknown, can we stack them together and carry each other’s loads? I am ready to move on. Ready to begin again, but we can’t do that until we lean on each other’s shoulders. 

We are here for you. We are listening. We are ready. #BeginAgain

Are you in need of pregnancy help? Have you been caught unexpectedly by a positive test? Have you experienced an abortion and need to chat with someone about your feelings? We are here to help! We are a fully-staffed, free clinic located HERE in Youngstown, Ohio. Conveniently situated near St. Elizabeth’s Hospitals main and Boardman, Ohio campuses. You can reach us HERE to schedule an appointment online. Let us know how we can serve you today! #KnowYourOptions 

Wilderness

 

Wilderness

I try to talk with my friends, acquaintances and colleagues about the present year.

“How are you?!” “Great!” “Fine” “So good to see you!” We go through the basic rhetoric as we each mumble with a hidden smiles and squinty eyes beneath our mandatory face masks.

(Can you tell I’m trying to smile at you?)” Are you excepting hugs”?

This year feels like such a mess, doesn’t it? Doesn’t it feel so angry and confusing and backwards? Trying to find the words to describe life is frustrating to me; and putting word-to-thought is my job. It’s what I ENJOY doing, yet I can barely find words for conversations these days when they do arise. (Please, be kind, and tell me I’m not the only one?)

Speechless. It’s the way so many of us are feeling as we watch the news and keep up with politics and social stances and argue over family meals as we tear each other apart in discussion about what is real and what is important. Our feelings control our conversations. Who can blame us? It’s how we’re left hanging two-months before an election and six-months after the rise of a global pandemic. Speechless.

The other day I ran into an acquaintance while standing in the school parking lot. Upon grabbing up our little ones, we relived the end of the last school year, and with hopeful intention, we pray for a better year ahead. “What did the year look like for your family? How did you survive”? We ask each other in-so-many words.Then my friend used a certain word to describe her year. And Just as she spoke it, I felt a wave of confirmation blended with conviction rush through me. My lack of understanding finally felt a sense of completion. I couldn’t put a finger on what the year felt like until now. Until she told me: Wilderness.

A season of drought. Of seeking after something. A time period of refrain and wandering and keeping our eyes fixed on something….something I just couldn’t put my finger on. My wilderness felt kind of deserted and dry.

As she spoke this to me, I spoke back with intention and vulnerability. You see, I felt kind of discontent in this season of quarantine. I felt the loneliness that an extrovert purposely diverts themselves from to avoid feeling lonely. The separation from my friends and my church and my children’s playdates was unbearable. My heart longed for more. My soul was created for companionship. I felt wilderness too, but we were in very different seasons.

Her season was in seeking; My season was in solace. 

So just like that, in a school parking lot, a place where so many conversations were cut short back in March, where learning from and leaning on other’s shoulders was stripped from us, I gained wisdom and revelation that I had so dearly craved and missed over my wandering season that is Covid.

What are we doing in this wilderness? Are we wandering around aimlessly grumbling, complaining and searching for the way back to the way life used to be? Lost like so many before us? Or are we seeking refinement in what lies ahead, waiting patiently for the next door to open, being hopeful for the promises and blessings that lie-in-wait on the other side of this year?

My perspective has shifted thanks to my generous friend and her wise use of words. In this wilderness of life, which perspective will you choose? My neighbor…What does your wilderness look like?

Are you in need of pregnancy help? Have you been caught unexpectedly by a positive test? Have you experienced an abortion and need to chat with someone about your feelings? We are here to help! We are a fully-staffed, free clinic located HERE in Youngstown, Ohio. Conveniently situated near St. Elizabeth’s Hospitals main and Boardman, Ohio campuses. You can reach us HERE to schedule an appointment online. Let us know how we can serve you today!

#KnowYourOptions

Noise

Noise

noise 

So much noise. I wake up in the morning to the sounds all around me. The children waking, the cars on the road, the news stations harping on what seems like “the end of the world” crashing down right outside my front door.

Do you ever get tired of it? Do you ever just crave a few moments of peace and quiet and stillness just long enough to hear yourself think? 

We live in a world of constants. At every turn something is vying for our attention. Social media, billboards, radio, phone calls…The noise is almost so loud sometimes it feels like it’s all too much to bear.

When I find myself in the carpool lane, in the Dr’s office waiting room, or sitting on the couch in the late evenings, it’s difficult to drown out the silence with all of the days noises drumming through my ears.

If I had to place my finger on it? It’s almost as if we haven’t figured out the art of how to Be Still. 

Being still doesn’t always mean we have to sit on a yoga mat and find inner peace (though, I will admit that is quite often a calming place to begin.) To be still doesn’t always look like being alone or locking yourself away in a quiet room, because -let’s face it- that isn’t always possible. Being still can be a process that looks different to every person, yet for the sake of sanity and peace? We must re-learn the practice and art form that is to Be Still.

When you wake in the morning? Don’t reach for the smart phone. Instead, open the blinds. Make your bed. Grab your morning coffee and sit in peace as the sun rises or the kids play. Be present. 

When the afternoon slump hits? Browse out your office window or car window for a few moments. Absorb the beauty that nature has waiting for us. Listen over the traffic for the sounds of the birds and the kids playing nearby. Soak in the warm sunshine or the drizzly rain and enjoy the peace that is present in the simplest of moments.

As the evening turns to dusk, consider the stars. Watch the night sky for the wonder and awe that is created for our viewing pleasure. Seek out the shooting stars and make a wish for what your heart desires. Sometimes being still and enjoying the moments that we once cherished in our childhood will restore rest and bring the peace we need to rise and do it all again.

So when you begin to hear all the noise inside your mind? When the lights and the sounds and the chaos of this life all start to feel like a little too much to handle? Practice the art of being still. Remember: there is so much more to this life than the craziness that we create. And enjoy the little things, after all, they are the big things!

 

Are you in need of pregnancy help? Have you been caught unexpectedly by a positive test? Have you experienced an abortion and need to chat with someone about your feelings? We are here to help! We are a fully-staffed, free clinic located HERE in Youngstown, Ohio. Conveniently situated near St. Elizabeth’s Hospitals main and Boardman, Ohio campuses. You can reach us HERE to schedule an appointment online. Let us know how we can serve you today!  330-788-4000

#KnowYourOptions

 

Impossible

Pregnancy Help Center blog discusses what impossible means and how to overcome it

Hey friend. I’m wondering. What uncertainties are you facing today? Is the world bearing down on your shoulders and stressing you out? Do you face an unknown fork in the road…unsure which weary road to travel next?

Sometimes this life throws us curve balls. Decision must be made that we cannot foresee consequences. Outcomes loom that may alter our futures or instead reveal a greater picture to us. What does that look like to you? What is yourWhat if” that you’re carrying daily?

Can I sit with you? Can I be here just for a minute to remind you that sometimes the scariest and biggest unknowns in our lives turn out to be the character building, integrity forcing growth points in our lives? Don’t get me wrong, these decisions are scary and haunting and tend to keep you up at night…but they don’t have to. 

I can tell you from experience that sometimes the scariest decisions in my life have only led me into a deeper understanding and empathy for those around me. That in fear I have coward to the chaos but in faith I have flourished into peace. 

What If…

When the “what if…” questions arise and you must make a decision that will impact your future…try leaning into your choices with knowledge.  Find hope that we are here to surround you with love and comfort. Seek understanding in the decisions that await for your approval. 

Don’t be afraid to take the unknown path, to take the road less traveled, to be the bigger person and forge a way where a way seems impossible. Because haven’t you heard? 

Nothing is impossible. 

“When God is about to do something great, he starts with a difficulty. When he is about to do something truly magnificent, he starts with an impossibility.” 

Armin Gesswein

Are you in need of pregnancy help? Have you been caught unexpectedly by a positive test? Have you experienced an abortion and need to chat with someone about your feelings?We’re here to help! We are a fully-staffed, free clinic located HERE in Youngstown, Ohio. Conveniently situated near St. Elizabeth’s Hospitals main and Boardman, Ohio campuses. You can reach us HERE to schedule an appointment online. Let us know how we can serve you today! 

#KnowYourOptions