And so it begins!

We have arrived at St Jean Pied de Port!


We got our Pilgrims Passport and are ready to begin walking tomorrow, uphill all the way! It’s suppose to rain most of the day… yikes! Amazing people we have met.



And so it begins!




Here We Go!

The day is here…I can’t believe it! Close to two years of thinking, planning and plotting have arrived!

On Sunday some family and friends gathered to send me off. These are the people who have prayed, encouraged and walked (life) with me. I was humbled as many circled around me and prayed for this journey.

My simple prayer is “Lord please keep me safe, well and walking!”.

The Pilgrim’s journey to Santiago begins at the front door of one’s own home. The pack is ready, the shoes broken in, and only the bare necessities are being carried.

(I’m also on the Walk to End Alzheimer’s -notice the shoe laces-a disease my Grandmother had.)

So I’m off to Paris, France first thing in the morning. I will meet up with my walking buddy, Jill, for a day to explore Paris on Saturday. Then on Monday, May 1 we will head to the Southern border of France, a town called St. Jean Pied de Port. This is where the walking of 500 miles will begin!

The first two days are up over the Pyrenees mountains and has been known to be the hardest part of the walk. I will let you know if I agree!


Starting May 1, I will be reading and journaling though the book,  The Ascent to Santiago.  My cousin, Ron Ottenad, wrote this after his Camino experience. I invite you to read and journal along with me if you’re so inclined!



I ask for your prayers as I travel alone to Paris for the first few days. Thank you for all your encouragement and prayers!  I know you believe in me.

Talk to you soon.



What Is “The Way” And Why In The World Would I Want To Walk 500 Miles?

The Camino de Santiago means… “The Way of St. James,” This is an Christian Pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain. The legend believes this is where the remains of the apostle James lie.

Today, many people walk the 500 miles of the Camino for their own reasons. Some want a religious reflection time or an emotional healing, a challenge or just for fun! My reasons are not as clear cut! I only heard about the 500 mile Pilgrimage a couple of years ago. My cousin decided to walk this journey; he blogged and wrote a book about it! I was drawn in and immediately in awe of the experience. I remember thinking… “I have to do this”!!! I am in a transition phase in my life and it makes sense to walk this journey now!! To be very honest, I am afraid to wait! So in 22 days I will begin my Camino journey!

I have been preparing for 2 years, physically (sort of), emotionally, and spiritually!

Physically: I have struggled with my weight my whole life and it has prevented me from doing many things. I decided I wanted to do this, I could do this, and by God’s strength I will do it!!!

Emotionally: spending the last several years finishing my Bachelors & Masters Degrees plus 3000 clinical hours in pursuit of becoming a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist…I finished and am in private practice. One of the things I impress upon my clients is how important their own emotional health is and each person must be their own advocates! How can I teach this if I don’t model it!!

Spiritually: I have known the Lord since I was 13. I believe in Jesus with my whole heart! I know that I need some time and head space to hear from the Lord in this next phase of my life! I want to walk to listen and be ready to hear from the Lord! I’m not expecting any great revelations…. just His still quiet voice without the clutter of life!
So there you go!
In 22 days I will head to Paris, meet up with my walking partner and head to St.Jean Pied de Port to begin this 500 mile, 40 day walk across northern Spain to Santiago! I invite you to follow me, pray for me and participate in my Pilgrimage along the Way!

Walk and Talk Therapy?

Sometimes it is good to get outside, walk and process as we talk.  Adding movement to traditional therapy, advocates say, is a catalyst for getting clients to talk more openly about their emotions. They also point out that walking releases endorphins, which can elevate moods, and that for some clients, a lake or a sidewalk is less intimidating than an office setting.

Walk & Talk sessions are conducted exactly the same way with respect to processing challenges and concerns, discussing relationship worries, working through recovery, healing, and addressing goals – the only difference is our session is conducted outdoors while walking. I conduct my Walk & Talk Sessions from a walking path around a local lake in a relaxing tree filled neighborhood where privacy is respected.

Clients have shared with me that sometimes it is hard to sit in an office across from a therapist.  They state it is less intimidating and relaxing to walk beside someone and talk about what is on their heart and mind. 

“I enjoy the beautiful atmosphere of the lake, ducks playing and a cool breeze in my face.  Being able to relax and walk had freed me up to just talk without being confined to a couch.  I feel more productive walking and talking.”

Q: How is this different from traditional therapy in your office?

The only difference is that we conduct the session outdoors while walking together. Outside of that, and wearing a pair of tennis shoes, nothing else changes. Many clients share that the act of moving as we walk side by side helps to process areas of their life that may feel “stuck.”

Q: What about bad weather?

It is always the client’s choice to make the ‘weather call.’ The office is always an option and I respect your choice in this. If you prefer to walk outside, then I am not concerned about a few raindrops or sun rays.

Q: Is this a workout?

No. The client sets the pace. The focus is on your processing, and not on exercise – although getting the blood moving helps connect the brain, and clients share that burning a few calories is an added benefit that they enjoy! There is nothing physically strenuous about the session. The walk around the lake is flat, few stairs and a very relaxing beautiful environment.  If you prefer a slow pace, that is fine. If you prefer a faster pace, no problem – you set the speed! Will you feel better after a walk therapy session? You bet you will. If you get tired, there are benches to sit down on and rest for as long as you like.

What Elementary Age Boys Need Most from Their Parents

Here’s a great answer to the question “What are some things you suggest we do BEFORE they are teens?” by Monica Swanson

“In my recent post “What a Teenage boy needs most from his Mom,” I confessed that the teen years are my favorite.   I love my teen boys, and the glimpses of manhood mixed with occasional remnants of boyhood that I see in them.  The teens years are what I call my reward for all of the hard work that came in the younger years.

So, what about those younger years?  Many people have commented and emailed asking  “What are some things you suggest we do BEFORE they are teens?”

A good question indeed. READ MORE

Simplify Your Life

I’ve always admired Pastor Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Community Church. Here’s an interview with him about his recent book on such a needed subject: Simply Your Life.  I see this a lot in my counseling…people over complicating their lives, adding clutter (relational and real) that they don’t need and don’t have to say yes to. Here Hybels specifically talks about  “decluttering your soul. This isn’t about cleaning your basement or buying a new Day-Timer. This is saying, you can have a messy desk and an uncluttered soul and you’re in a better shape than the other way around. Some people walk around with enormous anxiety or their pulse racing and if you say, ‘Are you doing all right at work?’  they’re great. Yet they’re carrying around an unrepaired relationship. Until they get that fixed, they can’t unclutter their lives because relational rifts clutter up our lives and souls.

Alcoholics Anonymous : What Is A.A.?

Alcoholics Anonymous : What Is A.A.?.

Alcoholics Anonymous is an international fellowship of men and women who have had a drinking problem. It is nonprofessional, self-supporting, multiracial, apolitical, and available almost everywhere. There are no age or education requirements. Membership is open to anyone who wants to do something about his or her drinking problem. Find out more:

Teenagers and Anxiety

Does any of this sound like your child or teen?

  • clinging, crying, and/or tantrums when you separate
  • excessive shyness, avoiding social situations
  • constant worry
  • avoiding situations or places because of fears
  • complaints of frequent stomachaches or headaches
  • experiencing sudden and frequent panic attacks

If so, your child may be experiencing anxiety. This website can help.
Here, you will find practical strategies and tools to help you manage your child’s anxiety, whether your child is just beginning to show symptoms, or has been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. To begin, continue reading, to find out more about anxiety — how it looks, how it works, and how to recognize if it is problematic. If your child has been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, you may prefer to click immediately on this disorder on the menu. READ MORE


Stress and Burnout in Ministry


by Rowland Croucher

It was a grey Canadian morning in April 1982. The children had gone to school, my wife to work, and I did something I’d never done before. I turned the phone down, put a note on the front door, and went back to bed. I was burned out – and within two months resigned my ministry there. read more