Monday, October 29, 2007

Sonrise Update

Don't forget we're meeting tomorrow at 121 CC from 8:15-9:15 to talk about the Biblical concept of rest. OT perspectives tomorrow (refer to e-mail)... NT perspectives the following week!

Reader friends... I've been a little quiet on the blog front because I'm writing a new book. I can only stuff so many words into the hours between school drop-off and pick-up... so I've had to shift gears a bit. Check back sometime later in the week for an interview with Stacey Rao on the upside of disappointment!

I hope everyone's doing well... and I pray that you find rest in God today.

Love,

Sarah

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sonrise Update

Wonderful session this morning, friends. Appreciated everyone's insights on some really vital areas, including the importance of memorizing key Scripture that can be called upon in our moments of struggle and need. This week, try to identify and memorize one verse that speaks to the area in which you are most challenged or tempted. Also, loved EA's idea about keeping a journal of God's "rescues" so that we can easily be reminded of God's past intervention in our lives.

Next week, Stacey Rao teaches on disappointment. Very excited about that! The following week, let's talk about rest. OT & NT perspectives and the role of sabbath in our lives today. More background on this to come.

Looks like we are in agreement that Starbuck's off Northwest Highway could work for us and 8:15 is a better start time. Will check with KP and the others to confirm this. Next Tuesday, though, let's plan to meet at 121CC Church (down from Cowamunga's) at 8:15 for Stacey's talk.

More later!

Love, Sarah

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Template Change?

Hmmm.... do we like this? Or are we too blue?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Toni Trueblood on Life After Pain, Pt III

Christian counselor and radio personality Toni Trueblood recently shared her thoughts on surviving the loss of our pets. We left off with a question for Toni about the best advice she would offer someone mourning this type of loss...

Toni:

Talk about it. Grieve, grieve, grieve…and memorialize the pet somehow. If you can’t manage it anymore, call me. I care very much.

Sarah:

I know you care. When my dog dies, I will be your What About Bob? patient (Do you remember that movie? Funny!) But Ruthy's pretty much always with me. She follows me around the house. Actually, she left my side briefly the other day. My parents sent us a piano last week. It's been, I don't know, 30 years since I've practiced? I was attempting Moon River by ear and Ruthy left the room. But, short of this kind of torture, she is a most loyal friend. Do you think we could all take a lesson on loyalty from our furry friends?

Toni:

Yes... and many more lessons, may I say! Unconditional love being the biggest! (Say, can you teach me to play the accordion?)

Sarah:

No, sorry. I'm struggling with Chop Sticks on the piano. (The accordion? Toni, I'm not sure your dogs will like that.) You know, my current professor is a dog lover? I sense he has hope if not optimism that we will see our beloved pets in heaven. Thoughts on this?

Toni:

Oh yes! Theologians argue a lot on this, but here is what I think: Scripture is silent as to whether pets are without a doubt in Heaven. The pets die, but the love does not. Because the love goes on…our connection to our beloved creatures is not broken. I think somehow we will be together…but perhaps not in Heaven itself…because I believe that heaven is not our final stop. It is reigning with Christ in the new Creation. And animals will be there. Christ calls us to him for eternity, not just heaven.

Now, will the animals in the new Creation be our animals? Don’t know! Hope so!

Sarah:

Interesting thoughts, Toni. I hope so, too.

OK... How about some word associations!

Toni:

Ahh…a student of Carl Jung! Sure... go ahead! I love this!

Sarah:

(Don't give me too much credit there... I'm thinking it came from some place else... like People Magazine!) OK!

Dogs and cats...

Toni:

Dogs... love, love, love, love. Cats…unusual!

Sarah:

Laughter...

Toni:

Never enough & healing.

Sarah:

Music...

Toni:

Bocelli. (as in Andrea) & Dr. Glenn Kreider at DTS.

Sarah:

I'm a Dr. Kreider fan, too! I remember a DTS Chapel where he talked about the theology of U2's music. I thought, wow... I get this!

OK, Toni! That's a wrap! Thanks for joining us!

Toni:

Oh, Sarah, thanks for the opportunity to fellowship online!



Toni Trueblood is the sunny voice from 94.9 KLTY radio. A Dallas Theological Seminary graduate, she also now counsels people who suffer. Her speciality areas are women's issues and pet grief. To learn more about Toni's ministry, you can visit her website here: www.tonitrueblood.com

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

I Have a Headache

I feel sorry for Earthlink technicians today. Specifically, the ones who've had to experience my psychological degeneration in the wake of yesterday's seemingly simple query: Hey, my e-mail's a little slow, can you help?

Eight technicians, two hours or so on hold, two disconnects (them), one hang up (me.... not as bad as it sounds... technician number 7 told me to hang up on technician number 6), and a bucket of tears later (me, again), my e-mail is now restored (I think). But what a process. Not even the mood altering reflection: "Hey, at least you have your health!" could give me perspective today.

They had me deleting things and restoring things... and deleting things and restoring things. And when none of that worked, they had me go ahead and try deleting things and restoring things. We'd fix something in my mailbox, then break it in Todd's. Then we would delete some things and restore some things. At one point, it appeared that we had blown up something quite fundamental to the operation of the computer. "Oh, my dear," said the gentle voice on the other end of a crackling phone line, "I must now get you to the supervisor!"

Some of you have sent e-mails that are precious to me, including notes from my nearly 83-year-old father (shame on me for not backing these up). When it seemed that all of that was gone... some three hours into today's session(s)... I lost it (in a quiet, sniffly kind of way). It took four more Earthlink technicians and the better part of five hours today to find those e-mails. Mercifully, they were not lost. But somewhere along the way, I think I lost my mind.

And the point of this story is?

I wish I had a pool:




(Very, very mature, I know...)

Coming Tomorrow: Toni Trueblood and a better attitude!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Toni Trueblood On Life After Pain, Pt. II

Welcome back for more of my interview with Christian counselor and radio personality, Toni Trueblood. Today, Toni talks to us about how to survive the loss of a beloved pet.

Sarah:

Hi, again! Picking up right where we left off yesterday, Toni, why don't you tell us more about pet grief.

Toni:

Thanks, Sarah. It’s really about kids and adults managing the loss of the loved one. It’s not about what you lost... it’s about your ability to manage that loss. We don't have to get over it... but we do have to manage it... or get through it, if you want to think of it that way.

It is not just an animal! It is a devastating loss that often turns into anxiety disorders or depression. And the fingers of those afflictions reach into our work, church, and personal lives, and can choke the joy right out of us. Some folks mean well, but they just don't understand how what might be a minor loss to them is actually complicated grief for someone else. The good news is Jesus is our healer!

Sarah:

Toni, is this personal for you?

Toni:

Yes. Several years ago (right before the cancelled wedding event) I lost the dog I loved more deeply than I can even tell you. Her name was Guido (yes, that’s right!). I took her out of a shelter in Terre Haute, Indiana when I was a TV anchor. She was with me 13 years. Not having family and being single, she was my all! When I lost her the bottom fell out of my life and I experienced depression and worse... the inability to get help. There was minimal support and that was about it! I was suffering so much. I ended up with a grief counselor who worked with women who lost spouses. She helped me a lot, but it was a Christian counselor who saved my life. I knew that God was calling me to help others with this issue, and any other life issue, using His Word.

Sarah:

Don't you offer group therapy on pet loss?

Toni:

Yes, on a needs basis. It's called "Guido’s Group.”

Sarah:

There's something really powerful and restorative inside of healthy groups. I see this in our life group. We're not a "therapy" group... but we're there for each other in all kinds of ways and it can be tremendously supportive.

But, back to the pets.... Toni, can you compare the grief process for animals to how we feel when we lose a human intimate? Do we go through the same kind of mourning process? Is it more or less? Different in any way?

Toni:

It is very similar because loss is loss, and love is love. Love comes from God, its author. When we lose the object of our love it hurts! It’s OK to hurt.... we’re supposed to. But what is not healthy is when we can’t get past it to “do life” again. The loss leaves a big crater in our hearts that really only God can fill.

Grief unfolds in stages, and no one goes through them the same way or in the same progression. It takes a skilled counselor to walk alongside the person, to comfort as well as professionally assist. I once knew someone who didn’t cry at a funeral for a family member. Turns out he was an Army veteran who feels very, very deeply, but became a master at concealing those feelings. His grief ... his healing process... would be very different, from say, mine. I cry very loudly! Wail, actually…

Sarah:

Best advice you can give someone who has recently lost a pet...

Next Up: Toni's final thoughts on surviving pet loss and more. For information about Toni's ministry, click here: http://www.tonitrueblood.com.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Next Sonrise Meeting: 10/16

Hey, friends! Our next Sonrise meeting is October 16th! We have to find a new meeting place because Cowamunga's is closing on 10/14. I am so sorry to report that. We do have other options in the Grapevine area, including 121 CC which Ross offered up. Anyway, I'll e-mail everyone this week and we can "chat" further.

Next Meeting's Topic: Eat, Pray, Love...

The book Eat, Pray, Love is number one on amazon.com this week and the author is looking like Oprah's newest bff. If you haven't heard, EPL chronicles a year in the life of a woman who dumped her husband and set off for twelve months to find pleasure (food in Italy), spiritualism (a mystical kind of yoga "stew" in India) and love (a lot of sex with a guy named Fillipe in I forget where). I spent about 45 minutes with this book at Borders this afternoon and found myself worrying about things like societal impact (no kidding!). It's a chatty book with TMI galore. It's reminiscent of Thelma and Louise, only without Louise and the violence. But, honestly, if you are a wife or mother battling discontent or depression... what do you do with a message like this? Do you stay or do you go? Do you chase after God or do you find "salvation" in the god that you can wake up from within? I can't imagine the author intended for anyone to model her. She's just telling her story. But, all the buzz is bound to plant some seeds that are just, well, icky.

So... with that as a bit of background... let's look at some Biblical angles on eating, praying and loving for our next meeting. This week, check out: Proverbs 23: 20-21... Isaiah 45:20 ... and Matthew 22: 37-39. Then we'll talk about all of this next time! Love, Sarah

Coming Tomorrow... Part II of my interview with Toni Trueblood!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Toni Trueblood On Life After Pain

Join me for the next couple of days as we chat with the ever lovable, bright and multi-tasking Christian counselor Toni Trueblood from 94.9 KLTY radio.

Sarah:

Hi, Toni!

Toni:

Sarah! Hi!

Sarah:

You have a world-class laugh. So, is the glass half full or half empty? (I think I know the answer to this one...)

Toni:

It is totally full because things aren’t always they way they look! (What do you think of that? Ha!)

Sarah:

Oh, good answer!

OK, Toni... many of us know you as the cheerful voice on 94.9 KLTY radio here in Dallas. I know you're deep into a new counseling practice as well. Are you switching gears? Or just doing some serious juggling?

Toni:

Some juggling...

Sarah:

Also speaking at women's conferences... and you've written a book?

Toni:

Yes, that too! I'm still on 94.9 KLTY, but in a special appearance capacity.

Sarah:

Tell us about your counseling focus.

Toni:

Why thank you for asking! I'm a Christian counselor affiliated with the Center for Christian Counseling. Right now I’m in the Flower Mound office, but I’d love to find my own office near Irving where I live. My clients mostly come from churches but some come by word-of-mouth.

Sarah:

How would you headline what you do?

Toni:

My basic message is... There is a healthier life past the pain.

Sarah:

That's huge... getting people from pain to a better life. How do you approach this?

Toni:

My counseling is better described as “personal discipleship" and it's totally rooted in God’s Word. I developed a therapy called “Toni’s Toolbox Therapy.”

Sarah:

How does it work?

Toni:

It works like this... You are the overall project with the goal of becoming more like Christ. I target the heart, not the symptoms. And through this therapeutic process, your depression, anxiety, trauma, etc. are effectively dealt with... along with the obstacles and other impediments that inevitably surface along the way.

Every person is a unique creation of God... and needs his or her own "toolbox," from which to draw when a challenge presents. Ultimately, God has the answer... I just work with you to find it. It's personal discipleship!

Sarah:

You've poured your passions into a couple very specific areas...

Toni:

Yes! One area is "Women’s Issues." We are special creations of God! Our challenges as women are very much the same. I've personally been through some pretty big stuff. I wrote a book a few years ago about the event that God used to finally get me back to him totally broken, so He could launch me seriously on the road to being an instrument for His purpose. (By the way, I believe that purpose is to get His Word into peoples’ lives for transformation!)

Sarah:

What's the name of your book?

Toni:

It’s called Hey God! Looking for Love Here!

Sarah:

Hmmm... do you want to give us a little teaser?

Toni:

OK... I was left at the altar twice by the same man. I seriously wanted to die. My story is about how God took me from that point... to dumping a successful media career... to Dallas Theological Seminary to obtain a Masters in Biblical Counseling... to where I am now. Point is: how you can move on past the pain, too!

Sarah:

Two words come to mind: "His loss." I'm sorry, Toni.

Toni:

Wow, thanks for defending me! But actually I see it as a “God-allowed backhanded blessing.” I was struggling to survive the painful and humiliating blows, wondering what in the world was happening to me. It was a deep, dark place. Darker and deeper than anywhere I had ever been before (I was 43 then). That’s where He met me. Right there, and in a cosmic “snap,” my focus turned from myself to God. He surely used it for my good!

Sarah:

Cosmic "snap..." what a great descriptor. I'm so glad that you have this wise, spiritual perspective on your pain. I know you're helping so many people today by your example. Thank you for that, Toni.
So, "women's issues" are obviously close to your heart... what else?

Toni:

My other specialty is "Pet Grief Therapy." I'm the only therapist I know of in the Dallas/Fort Worth area doing it. The therapy is not counseling or support, it goes way past that...

Come back soon for more of my interview with Toni Trueblood! Next up: insights into healthy grieving for those who've lost a beloved pet.

Visit Toni's website here: http://www.tonitrueblood.com/

On my iPod... Dreaming with a Broken Heart by John Mayer

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Gospel According to Brad?

"What's important to me is that I've defined my beliefs and lived according to them and not betrayed them," People Online reports. "One of those is my belief in family. I still have faith in that."

If only I were a celebrity correspondent... I could have maybe asked Brad a couple more questions!

(Pic of Brad Pitt from wikipedia.com)

Coming soon... fresh, fun, tug-at-the-heart insights from KLTY's Toni Trueblood!

Messy Leaders

The mighty Viking, Canute the Great (c. 995 – 1035), once ruled a vast empire that cut across Scandinavia and the British Isles. A friend of Christianity, Canute once got so fed up with his flattering courtiers, he had his throne hauled to the edge of the shore and dramatically commanded the tide to halt. Before long, the king was knee-deep in lapping waves and no doubt licking ocean spray off his chin. Then, rising and turning to the quivering group, he admonished:

"Confess now how vain and frivolous is the might of an earthly king compared with that Great Power who rules the elements and says unto the ocean, 'Thus far shalt thou go and no farther!'"

The King's humility before God was noble. Yet, he wrestled with what we might characterize today as "anger management" issues. Prone to impulsive judgements, and wild swings between lashing, merciless retribution and remorse, he was hardly a model for the faith he worked so hard to advance.

After reading the accounts of missteps and misdeeds on the part of the patriarchs in Genesis, I'm struck with the graciousness of God as He has entrusted all kinds of flawed human beings with active, prominent roles in His redemptive plan. Reflecting upon Jacob prior to his transforming wrestling match with God at Peniel (Heb: "face of God"), he exhibited conniving, selfishness, callousness and a spirit of rebellion. Quoting Gerhard von Rad (Genesis, 1972) in Victor Hamilton's Handbook to the Pentateuch, "God's work descended deeply into the lowest worldliness..."

Seems to me more and more, it's a messy world and sometimes trail blazers are messy people. Which may beg the question with respect to ministry preparedness: What are we waiting for?

On my iPod... Harvest Home by Big Country (with a nod to Canute)

(Pic of Canute on coinage from Wikapedia.)

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Sonrise, cont.

Small group, heartfelt discussion. The book on mourning I mentioned is A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis... an incredible read. Please keep AC, KP, AG and family in prayer this week. Next week's topic t/c. Love, Sarah

On my Ipod... Don't Blink by Kenny Chesney