• Life,  Missions,  Spiritual Formation,  Stress Management

    Hope

    Still here, friends and readers!  Ever had seasons of life where you are just barely hanging on? That’s where I’ve been living for the last month and a half.  At times our calling, work, character flaws and spiritual attacks create a perfect storm of discouragement and depression.  And it’s just hard.  Even though we know these seasons are temporary (please, let them be temporary, right?!), it often effects our productivity as our energy is focused on maintaining the basic foundations of life.  Hence my absence here on the blog. So I just want to let you know I’m still here and my purpose remains the same: to love, care and…

  • Missions

    Belonging: A TCK’s Friend or Foe?

    “How do you cope with feeling like you never belong anywhere?”  This question was posed recently in a TCK group I follow and the answers were many and varied.  Anything from advice to stick with other TCK’s, to some saying they haven’t figured it out, and others saying they’ve learned to feel at home with themselves wherever they are.  The post really got me thinking about the idea of belonging and the challenge it typically poses for most TCK’s. I could ramble on about the years of frustration and hurt this word caused me in the past, we all could, but what have I learned from those years?  Is this…

  • Life,  Spiritual Formation,  Stress Management

    H.A.L.T…What Is It Good For?

    Seems this topic of the connection between our emotional/mental and physical health keeps coming up lately, so why not write about it?   I’m more and more convinced that this is an area we too often overlook.  We don’t need studies to tell us that when we’re tired we feel more irritable, emotional, or forgetful.  You may have heard the acronym H.A.L.T., which stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely and Tired.  I first learned this acronym working as a family counselor for a drug and alcohol treatment center.  We all knew that if a person was dealing with any of these components it caused them to be more susceptible to a relapse…

  • Missions,  Spiritual Formation,  Team dynamics

    Leading When You’re Not in Charge: 3 Key Steps

    Do any of these thoughts sound familiar?  “I could do that better if I were leading”; “I know exactly what this agency/church/group/team needs, if they would just listen to me”; or “if only I were in charge…”  I’m certainly guilty of these thoughts at various points in my life and my guess is you are too.  Unfortunately, they are typically misleading and unhelpful thoughts.  You can find entire books written on this topic (and I hope you’ll find them and read them), but for today let’s look at three simple steps we can take toward being better “behind the scenes” leaders.   Be Positive Being positive doesn’t mean you have…

  • Missionary Kids/TCK's,  Missions

    Once an MK, Always an MK

    It’s not my purpose to use this blog as an outlet for my own story and experiences, but from time to time things take up too much space in my mind and heart until they are freed on paper. Up until last week it had been quite a while since I remember having that distinct “MK feeling”.  It comes much less frequently than it used to.  It’s a difficult feeling to put into words but for me it resembles a surreal mix of melancholy, sadness, wonder, grief, and joy.  It’s an acute awareness that I am small in the world; that belonging, life, and home are relative; that in fact…

  • Missions

    Cracks In Our Armor: The Fall and Rise of the Righteous

    Pretty sure I’m not alone in the experience of hearing news of a friend who has perhaps had an affair, or left their family, or succumbed to drug and alcohol addiction, pornography or any number of moral and spiritual failures.  If this has not happened to someone you know, you’ve certainly heard this in news headlines about trusted evangelical leaders.  Our hearts break and we feel shocked, saddened, betrayed, and often angry.  Some pass judgment, some show grace, but at some point we ask the question: “how did this happen?” That’s what I want to talk about today.  We have to be aware of the cracks in our armor and…

  • Life,  Missions,  Spiritual Formation

    Insecurity

    Hello! My name is Heath and I am insecure.  I work in a job that causes me to feel lots of insecurity.  I love my job and I don’t want to trade it for a more secure job.  Well at least most of the time, and besides, the NBA doesn’t want me anyway.  I am insecure as a missionary because I don’t always fit in, making friends can be hard, and being good at Japanese is a pipe dream.  I could go on but those are some of the things I struggle with.  I know that I am not the only one who struggles with insecurity. I am insecure, so…

  • Missions,  Team dynamics

    How to Ruin Missionary Teamwork

    #1-  Be Passive Aggressive This is guaranteed to work.  Increase the use of sarcasm, sarcasm is always well received!  No one gets their feelings hurt when you use sarcasm.  Give a fake smile.  Fake nod of approval works too.  Guilt trips would be on point.  Deliberately avoid responding to your teammates.  I could go on about this one!  No, please don’t do this!  Be honest and open.  Kindly and respectfully challenge passive aggressive behavior when you see it.  Clear the air.  It’s much easier to navigate team dynamics when everyone is being honest. #2-  Make Assumptions It’s always best to assume that you know your teammates thoughts and intentions.  You’re…

  • Stress Management

    Self-care: Tired of hearing about it yet?

      The term “self-care” gets thrown around quite a bit these days.  Depending on the context in which you have heard it you may have positive or negative connotations about self-care.  Missionaries (and anyone in a helping profession for that matter) naturally give of themselves.  Your time, your energy, your heart, your home and sometimes your finances are spent for the good of others.  Unfortunately if you aren’t careful, you wake up one morning finding you have nothing left to give.  This is where self-care comes in.  Actually no, self-care needs to enter the picture long before you have nothing left to give. Let’s start with defining what self-care IS…

  • Missionary Kids/TCK's,  Missions

    My MK Heritage, by Marc Gibbs

    Perhaps not so unique after all… I don’t remember a time where I have begrudged my MK (missionary kid) upbringing. In fact, I am pretty sure I gave it rather little thought until I moved to the US. For all intents and purposes I grew up like another French kid.  I just happened to be bi-lingual. In fact any marked difference from my school mates came more from the fact that I was a practicing protestant in a world of nominal Catholics and less from the fact of my American origins. I of course had a distinct advantage being Caucasian growing up in Western Europe.  I didn’t stand out in…