About Me

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My name is Courtney. I am a Substance Abuse Therapist training to be a Mental Health Counselor. I desire to possess a sense of wonder each day. Join me.

Saturday, January 18, 2014


This week marks my third anniversary as a Substance Abuse Therapist.
It feels more like ten.

I wish you all could see me in my element at work, because it really feels so vastly different from my home/personal life.
It's difficult to describe.

I've learned a lot in the past few years (understatement).

I feel that my professional skills have grown exponentially.

My courage and even personality have also grown (in good ways I hope).

This week I began growing my Mental Health Internship Caseload.

I am so grateful to say that I love it.
It is wonderful to feel "Yesss, this is what I was made to do".

Professors have said, "There will be a point when you will be meeting with someone and think to yourself, "Wow, this person really needs help.... they should talk to a professional.... like right now".

And then, you realize, that that professional....is you.

Yup, felt that.
It's humbling, scary, and exciting too.

So anyway, my body and mind is adjusting to this new work.
I was in bed by 8:30 on Wednesday night. My mind just couldn't think anymore thoughts.

Learning so much these days.
And always, I'm in awe that I have the privilege of hearing stories and entering into the lives of others.
Who would have thought?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


I slipped, slid, spun, and hit a guard-rail on my way to work this morning.
Quite frightening.

I am okay. I didn't hit anyone.

The officer that came to help me was very kind, and helped me to get straightened back around.

My grandparents (of course) came too.

I went on my way with a scrapped-up, but drivable vehicle.

My coworkers said, "You look, white as a sheet."

Yes, it was scary.
A wake-up call. A reminder of fragility.

I'm still a bit shaky.

During lunch, I closed my door and pulled out my knitting to help myself settle down some more.

I feel very humbled and awake now.

Time to be more careful, alert and all the more reason to increase my practices of gratitude.

Some things are just so sudden, and out of our control.

In lighter news,
I'm spending that last part of today, training to be a wanna-be therapist (aka Intern).
It's refreshing.
I'll be able to work with REAL, diverse, local people (and not just MDOC Men, men, and more men).

Four more days until take-off --> NZ.

So, VERY ready.

I'm most looking forward to the simple things: sitting, talking, reading, wandering around and jogging outside.

I'm gonna push aside some of the mess I've created until my return.
Maybe a weekend job to fund a new car? I don't know.
One thing at a time!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

a mess. but change is a comin'!

I picked up Karissa last night and recruited her in helping me make some monster-cookie-mix gift jars.

My kitchen floor still displays all the evidence. Neither of my vacuums are cooperating. Everything just needs a good scrub.

In Regards to an update,
This fall has been difficult. Not sure why necessarily.
I think I've tried, but really, I haven't felt like myself.

I've been stretched pretty thin at work and my motivation for school is running on empty.

I haven't exactly been my best self lately, and it shows.

Most nights I call my mom (or my grandma) and complain.

Most mornings I barely put myself together before entering the office.

(I'm not kidding, I've skipped-out on makeup and mascara more this Fall than ever before. a mess.)

I can't remember the last time I blow-dried my hair.

I don't have anything specific to complain about which maybe makes my situation more frustrating.

But, I think I'm getting over it.

Studying "Thanks" with Mars this month has been helpful. Kent encouraged us to continually recite the Lord's prayer and give special awareness to the line: "Give us Today our daily Bread".

I've also been encouraged to write a gratitude journal.

It's helping.

 I am very relieved that it is Thanksgiving week. It couldn't come at a better time. I am so ready for time with family, rest, and communal practice of thanks.

A countdown is also a source of motivation:

I only have 1 (ONE!) more night of class,
1 (ONE!) more paper,
2 (TWO!) more nights of Practicum,
and (THIS IS SIGNIFICANT) 12 more days of Full-time MDOC work.

Thank goodness!

But, probably the biggest countdown is: 3 (THREE!!) more weeks until I am on my way to New Zealand!!
(My mom brought over a suitcase for me to borrow It's getting real!)

This week I am turning in my "Application for Graduation" and my Application for the NCE (aka the biggest exam of my life).

Change is right around the corner and I am eager for it to get on over here.

When I return home in January:
I will be doing MDOC two days a week and Mental Health Counseling/Internship the rest of the week.
I will also be just days a way from turning a quarter-of-a-century old. (not sure what to think about that yet)

But, yes, back to the Lord's prayer...I just need to ask for this day.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

look to nature

Yesterday the guys and I were discussing how to prevent relapses.

This included talk about coping skills, self-care and nourishment.

Most agreed that you can't really face life's big challenges well (e.g. recovery), when you have not taken very good care of yourself.

Self-care practices are often the best forms of preventative medicine.

I led the guys through an activity to identify what little, practical  things help them feel most nourished and alive.

I noticed that so many identified self-care items that were relational and also nature-connected. Not such a big surprise, right?

It reminded me of what we learned about on Sunday....

What is Jesus' advice when we are faced with worry?
Jesus tells us to look to nature.

 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[? (Matt 6:26-27)

The vast natural world reminds us that we are not in control, and that is a beautiful thing!
Nature has a way of grounding us and filling us up.

I know that everything is spiritual, but it is such a gift when I am CLEARLY aware of the overlap of my work, school, church, and personal 'lives'!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

If I knew..

If you would have told me several years ago that my professional life would look like it does today, I would have likely: a) changed my major and b) freaked out

life is funny. ironic. time changes things.

For example, last-week, I found myself leading a discussion on healthy romantic relationships.
Can you imagine?
Oh my heart. I truly believe that God has a great sense of humor.

The latest news is:

I've been somewhat coerced into leading another group.
That makes THREE groups. I only "agreed" to do one evening (I need to have one weeknight "free" to preserve some sanity and Tues/Thurs are booked for school).

So, beginning tomorrow, I'll be facilitating 10 hours of Group therapy per week.
Did I mention that part?!
Plus fabulous hours of paperwork, of course.

Oh, and my new group? Its already booked with 12 guys.
That's not a "small" group...it's more like a CLASS (of ALL MEN, did I mention that? lol)

I'm a bit nervous to say the least.

But, seriously, I am so blessed to be able to do something that I am passionate about.
Even though most days are filled to the brim with challenges.
Another positive- groups make the day feel like it is going by so much faster than individual appointments.

Last week Wednesday I had one of the best group facilitating experiences ever. I showed up, presented the discussion topic, and they guys took it away.

They stayed on topic. were appropriate. and opened up more than ever before.

It was phenomenal. The power of group-work- it's real folks!
P.S. for counseling friends--- I felt like I was in a Corey-Corey film (without as much of the awkwardness).

Anyway, lift a prayer for me and my nerves around dinnertime tomorrow? Much appreciated!

Grace and Peace.