"Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias. Say that your main crop is the forest that you did not plant, that you will not live to harvest. Say that the leaves are harvested when they have rotted into the mold. Call that profit. Prophesy such returns. Put your faith in the two inches of humus that will build under the trees every thousand years." ~ Wendell Berry
Friends & Neighbors,

Tis the season to be .... Merry? We've all had quite a year, haven't we? 

This holiday season seems to be yet another challenge in a litany of challenges in 2020. Many of us aren't experiencing the joys that normally come this time of year. I'm sure that most everyone is hoping that 2021 begins something new with our world, and that is my hope as well. Though I think we will have to be the ones that change, not the world around us.

Masks are probably here to stay.

Zoom meetings will continue to replace face to face meetings.

Family gatherings will have more difficulty because of health conditions, growing political friction, and a general feeling of pain from all that we have been through this year. 

I want to introduce you to a new colleague of mine, share a post about thriving in the holidays, and encourage you with one of my favorite poems. 

The Holiday Spirit is alive and well even though it seems to be more difficult to find and experience. How are you experiencing the Holiday Spirit this year? 

Be Well,

Meet Marten Fadelle

Marten is a Marriage and Family graduate student at Trevecca Nazarene University here in the Nashville area. He is going to be interning with me at my office starting in January. Marten has a great deal of life experience that will be a huge benefit to the clients he works with, and in the greater Nashville community. 

Marten’s gentle and curious presence will be a cool drink of water to anyone struggling with anxiety, disruptive life circumstances, or recovery. He has evening and morning spots available at reduced fees starting January 4th. 

:: Areas of Experience ::
Grief and loss
Career transition
Mid-life challenges
Relational conflict
Spiritual Formation and Direction  

:: Fees ::
$55 per session (sliding scale also available)

For more information about Marten or to book an appointment, visit his website here.

Thought for the Day

When you discover that you are not God. What happens next? 
Thriving The Holidays

Raise your hand if you don’t feel some twinge of anxiety about the family dynamics during the holidays.

If you’re honest, you feel pretty conflicted about having your parents or siblings over for Thanksgiving dinner, much less visiting your childhood home. And you likely feel somewhat reluctant about going to your in-laws or some other place than what is normal.

Surviving the holiday season is all about eating more food, drinking more wine, and watching more football. Basically, if you want to just make it through the holidays without rocking the boat, spend as little time sober around your family as possible. And by sober, I don’t mean alcohol and food inebriation, rather I mean that you not engage with what you really think and feel. Alcohol and Food provide great buffers to numb out the pain that so many of our family situations trigger. Surviving is about just getting by, Thriving is about being present and not letting the old patterns and behaviors become the go-to actions.

Here’s some ideas on thriving this holiday season:

1. Don’t expect changes to have occurred in any of your family of origin relationships. This isn’t to say that you need to expect them to have not changed, but be available for surprise if that has happened. You’ll build resentments if you have unrealistic expectations.

2. Practice not saying all that you have to say. It’s easy to get triggered and have a flood of old emotions come sweeping in during time with family. Use caution about what you say, and who you say it to.

3. Plan your exit strategy ahead of time. Set boundaries for how much time you will spend, and where. Don’t let big decisions be made on the spot, make those proactively.

4. Be mindful of eating and drinking indulgently. There is always copious amounts of food and drink during holiday celebrations, and it’s easy to numb out to excessive caloric intake or alcohol.

5. Continue a somewhat normal routine. Take some of your normal non-vacation habits with you. Bedtime, morning activities, mealtime, exercise, etc. The more familiar you are with what the day holds the healthier you will be able to respond to challenging situations.

Above all, be honest with yourself and those that are committed to truth and vulnerability. The holidays can provide some great contexts for healing, but that doesn’t mean that everyone has to be involved in that process.

Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays!

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