Mental Health & Counseling

The Devil in the Ditch

July 19, 2023

A Balanced View of Mental Health Preamble   There is no doubt a greater awareness of mental health in our church circles, as well as in the world around us, than in the past. We have made strides towards a better recognition of not only the physicality and fallibility of our brains but also the resiliency and capabilities to heal. This is a good thing and may we continue to grow in our understanding and appreciation for what God is doing…

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Jury Duty

June 3, 2023

I am sitting at the back of a small room in a large federal court house, my palms sweaty and wishing I had better prepared. As in, I should have notified my work that the small print, which I read late last night, said “prepare to be here the entire day.” My summons paper said be there at 8:15 and I thought, in the manner of thinking I prescribe to, that this meant I would be out and back to…

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Mental Health & Counseling

Conference Care Meeting

May 8, 2023

In three weeks or so, the St. Mary’s Ontario congregation will host what is known as a Conference Care Meeting. These meetings used to be held semi-annually but since the pandemic have been resumed on a yearly basis. They are a two-day platform of lectures, presentations, sharing, and fellowship. These are open meetings and everyone is welcome.  The care meetings have usually centered around understanding and caring for children from hard places, often defined as adverse childhood events related to…

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Mental Health & Counseling


January 28, 2023

A Review of Perception and Lens Therapy The man stands on the corner of Doom and Gloom, repining to the empty sky. “I am a failure, a moron, a worm. Everything I touch turns to rubbish, I am useless and worthless.”   The ophthalmologist, walking home from work, sees the man there, bearing his soul to the infinite blue. Curious he walks over, listens to the ongoing diatribe of defeat and then says, “Excuse me, sir, may I see your glasses?” …

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Mental Health & Counseling

Open Minds, Open Hearts

January 19, 2023

A Brief Primer on Mental Health We work with many people from our conservative Mennonite constituency on a weekly basis who entrust us with intimate glimpses into their lives, their challenges, and the battles they face with mental and emotional health. There is still a cry for a greater understanding of these issues. There are those suffering from mental and emotional dysfunctions and disorders whose needs are not being effectively met. Many times they feel sidelined, judged, or misunderstood, which…

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Mental Health & Counseling Travel

In Transit

January 14, 2023

Tran·sit  /ˈtranzət/ 1. an act of passing through or across a place. * * * * * It is a good and safe rule to sojourn in every place as if you meant to spend your life there, never omitting an opportunity of doing a kindness, or speaking a true word, or making a friend. John Ruskin There is a wide world out there, full of pain, but filled with joy as well. The former keeps you on the path of growth…

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Everything Else Travel

The Christmas Adventure

December 25, 2022

We tiptoe out of Chicago in the early morning hours, the sun just brewing over the horizon, flight apron employees breathing out steam, stamping their feet, and slapping their gloves together. Weather radar shows storm clouds approaching but they’re at least ten hours away yet.  We are finally backed out of the gate twenty minutes after the captain comes on and says, literally verbatim: “Well folks, this metal tube you’re in right now is basically a flying computer. Seems we…

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Home for Christmas

December 23, 2022

Home for Christmas. What a lovely, nostalgic phrase. Said slowly, relishing warm and comfortable thoughts of knocking snow off wet boots, sitting with hot cups of chocolate, discussing the real estate market with my father, and telling my mother I will only have one more piece of that pie (ok, two if you insist).  While booking the tickets, I was trying to compute the last time we had been home, doing the math, working through the tangled algebra of COVID-19.…

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Mental Health & Counseling

Retreats and Intensives – Acute Care for the Mind

December 17, 2022

Sometimes we need a hospital. When we are suffering a physical ailment—for example, an infection, appendicitis, or chronic issues such as congestive heart failure that has worsened—it becomes critical enough, at times, that we need something called acute care. The same applies for mental illness. There are psych facilities, or to use an old term, mental hospitals. These are needful at times, especially if someone is acutely suicidal, suffering a psychotic episode secondary to schizophrenia, or experiencing a nervous breakdown. These…

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Everything Else Mental Health & Counseling

The Neon Gods They Made

November 27, 2022

“And the people bowed and prayed To the neon god they made And the sign flashed out its warning In the words that it was forming Then the sign said: the words of the prophets Are written on the subway walls And tenement halls And whispered in the sounds of silence.” Sound of Silence – Simon and Garfunkel, 1964 * * * These gods are relatively new gods. Created of the people, by the people, for the people. They may be…

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