The Life Map – Official Book Launch

I’m so very excited for the ‘official’ launch of my book The Life Map.  This is a book designed to help readers map out ‘step by step’ the path to reaching their goals in life.

The evening will be a night focused on inspiring attendees to ‘Live out their Life Map’, and I know that everyone will leave feeling energized, motivated and more equipped to get their goals accomplished in life.

The night will be filled with powerful spoken word and worship, led by Nadia Goode, Londa Larmond, Jennifer Lewin, and many more

Book Launch

It feels Wonderful to have accomplished one of my MAJOR goals for last year… ‘to finally write my 1st book’.  I’ve had the book inside of me, wanting to write it for over 12 years.  When I think about how much time has passed from initially getting the inspiration for the book and actually writing it I am reminded of the importance of making a plan and slowly BUT SURELY working towards getting it accomplished.

I know I’m not the only person who has dreams inside of them that take years to manifest, so I know many readers will relate to my excitement.  My hope in writing and publishing the book is that others will be motivated to not let one more year go by without getting their dream realized!

Looking forward to seeing you there

Colleen

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Being the Light of the World!!

be-the-light-of-the-world

Not sure about you, but lately I’ve been reminded of a lot of the DARKNESS that surrounds us in the world today.  Terror attacks, meaningless murders, natural disasters, planes falling from the sky; the list goes on and on.

It’s easy to feel a sense of hopelessness and discouragement; to feel uneasy, anxious and unsure about what tomorrow brings.  I recently heard a mentor of mine say that she tends to listen to JUST enough of the news to catch relevant info and turns it off to avoid hearing about all the unpleasant things going on in our city.  I was a little surprised, but then I thoughts, well I know I usually feel pretty down after watching many news programs, so I guess that’s her way of taking care of herself; avoiding hearing about the bad stuff.

Well regardless of how people manage their fear, anxieties, and frustrations one thing I was reminded about today is that I am the ‘light of the world’.

Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven          

It’s a beautiful illustration isn’t it? We’ve all had the experience of being in the dark, feeling disoriented, confused and perhaps a little afraid, and THEN a light comes on.  It could be the light of a candle, a very small flame, or the light from a flashlight and WHAT a difference it makes.  We are able to see clearly the things that once caused fear and confusion.  The effect of a light, even just a little is powerful and world changing.

Well that’s what we are called to be, world changers one light at a time 🙂 Instead of focusing on the things that are out of our control (most of the terrible things going on in the world) we should focus on ensuring that we are allowing our light to shine in the darkness that is all around us.

I often say that I want to leave a positive ‘taste’ in the mouth of the people who’ve interacted with me (figuratively speaking).  I am very intentional in my interactions with others. I try to focus on being pleasant, positive and encouraging whether spending a few moments, or having extended time with someone.  Over the years I’ve heard the saying ‘it’s nice to be nice’, and this is true, but don’t just be nice to be ‘nice’, be nice because your being a light.

CBM

1st Post for 2015… yaaaay!!!

I'm back

I’m back!

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written and published a blog post.  I fell off my blogging schedule, had a baby, and wrote a book (The Life Map) all the while feeling guilty for not keeping up with my blog 😦  I’ve been encouraged by many not to worry about having fallen off, and they’ve encouraged me that I’ve had good ‘reasons/excuses’ for my absence on my blog.

Well in spite of the excuses I’m happy to be back and look forward to getting back into regular writing.  I’ve always found writing to be therapeutic and I also enjoy hearing how the posts encourage those who read them.

So…. It’s a New Year! I always get excited for new beginnings.  I love Mondays, the 1st of the month, Birthdays, Anniversaries, and New Years.  It’s an opportunity to:

  1. An opportunity to acknowledge time that has past
  2. Reflect and be thankful for blessings received
  3. Plan and prepare for what’s next

I feel very thankful for being able to ringing in the New Year in health, and with my family and loved ones by my side (also in great health).  As I think about the past year I must admit that while I took each month very seriously and had goals I was working on; now that we are in 2015 it’s hard to deny that 2014 seems to have flown by.  It didn’t feel like it at the time, but now that it’s over it sure feels like 2014 just whizzed by.

So keeping that in mind you must be very intentional about what you will do with your time throughout 2015. Take a moment and jot down a few exciting things you have on the horizon for this year.  Things that are already schedule to take place that bring you a sense of joy.  Then consider what goals you are setting for yourself to accomplish over the year.  What are the things that are going to help you accomplish that plan?

Knowing all the things you need to accomplish a particular goal in advance can sometimes be a challenge, but you can start off with at least a few tools/resources for getting started. It’s great to have ideas for what you’d like to get done, but truth is, without a plan it just WON’T get done.  So take a moment and decide 1 or 2 things you can start doing right away that will help you accomplish the goals you’ve set for yourself in 2015.

Personally I have a lot of goals I’m working on this year, and the most important things I need to help me realize my goals is setting aside daily quiet time with God.  I realize more than anything last year that all the things I want to accomplish can’t be done well without God’s hand in it.  So the first thing I commit to working on this year is establishing consistent time alone with God every day.  This is the most important thing I can do for myself in 2015, and I am confident that this very small yet significant step will help me realize the goals and dreams I’m going after this year.

I’ve recently been really inspired to create a prayer room however currently our family is living with my parents, for the next 11 months which means I have limited space to create a prayer room.  I came across this great blog post by  Sheri Dacon – Quiet time with God: A How to series (part one on finding a space) that encouraged readers to start small if space is limited, so my mission this week is to create a ‘prayer corner’. If you follow me on Instagram @colleenblakemiller or Facebook (same name) I’ll post the pictures in the next few days once I’ve got it all set up.

Wish me luck!

CBM

Getting rid of a BAD attitude

bad-attitude

No one likes being around a person with a bad attitude, but if we are honest, we have all experienced being at a place in life, where our attitude has NOT been good.  I believe that a bad attitude begins with some kind of ‘upset’ feeling that begin deep down inside of us, that eventually  makes its way onto the outside, where people can see  it.

Many times people have good grounds for feeling upset, but by the time it translates into a ‘bad attitude’ for others to see, the focus gets shifted from what has upset them, to the impact they are having on others around them (i.e. you may hear people say: ‘what is up with YOU’, ‘what is YOUR problem’, ‘what’s with the A-TTI-TUUUDE?!?!)

So the 1st step I would suggest for getting rid of a ‘bad attitude’ is to figure out what it is rooted in.  What has happened or what was done to you that has caused you to feel upset inside.  If that seems like ‘too big of a task’ then the likelihood is that there are probably SEVERAL things that has upset you, and you’ve got to take some time to sort through all of what you’re feeling.

2nd step – Once you’ve discovered  what has upset you, you’ve got to determine what needs to be done to bring you back to a place of feeling ‘at peace’ within yourself.  Maybe you need to talk with someone who has upset you, or maybe you need to do something that is going to correct a negative thought/belief that popped up by the action of another, or maybe you just need a hug.  Whatever the case, your work is to figure out what you are needing, then go about trying to get that need taken care of.

3rd you’ve got to be honest with yourself and admit that your attitude is stinky :s  There’s no way you can get rid of a ‘bad attitude’ if you won’t admit that you’ve got one.  Don’t be afraid to go to the ‘mirror’ (metaphorically) and check out how things are looking.  Do yourself and the people around you a favor and take a retrospective look within, to see what’s not operating the way you’d like it to be.

4th Begin working at correcting your negative thought process that has allowed you to maintain the ‘bad attitude’.  If someone hurt your feelings by being rude to you, don’t allow the thought ‘well… I’m going to give them back a rude attitude if they are going to be rude to me’ to remain in your mind.  Think about what is going to allow health and wellness to flow into your life, and focus your mind on THOSE things ex. ‘wow, she is pretty rude, but let me not stoop to her level and be rude back, let me be the bigger person’.  Not an easy thing to say or do, but again I encourage you to think about what is going to allow health to flourish in your life?! And I would encourage you to strive after THAT above all else.

Maintaining a healthy attitude is an ongoing process in life, as there are many things that try to get in the way of doing so, but with intentionality and determination it can be attained, as long as you REALLY want it!!

Colleen

bad attitude_flush it

Have a New Husband by Friday (part 1)

BS4W – March 9, 2013

We began our March 9th group by reviewing the homework from the last bible study (scriptures that encouraged us to be respectful and submissive wives)

The scriptures that were shared were as follows:

  • Colossians 3:12-13
  • Proverbs 18:22
  • Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
  • Genesis 2:22-24
  • Colossians 3:23-24 (this one was mine 🙂

Our study for the week of March 9th was inspired by the Book: Have a New Husband by Friday by Dr. Kevin Leman

new husband

The Book is split into 5 chapters ( Monday through Friday), and this week we focused on the 1st two chapters (Monday & Tuesday).  I found the book to be an easy read, and was only disappointed that there were no scriptural references for the many points made in the book.

The 1st Chapter (Monday) focuses on Secrets, and the most significant one that stood out to me was that: husbands want to get it right!

  • He wants to be a good husband
  • He wants to please you
  • But he doesn’t know how to do that
  • He needs your help

The 2nd Chapter (Tuesday) Focuses on the fact that ‘he is a different creature that you’.  God has created men and women as equal, but we are not the ‘same’.  Dr. Leman encourages us to embrace that fact, as many frustrations, disappointments and fights are rooted in our lack of willingness to accept that husbands have been created to be different than wives.

In our study we talked about some of these differences, and how we can quickly take a stance that ‘our way’ of doing things is automatically the ‘better’ way, and we explored how that attitude comes from a spirit of pride.  We also talked about the negative long term effects of not letting go of that type of prideful thinking in a marriage (resentment, lack of respect, constant arguments to name a few)

The scriptures I selected to help underscore the above mentioned point were:

Genesis 2:22-25

  • How God created Eve specifically for Adam and His intention for them to be partners and companions that would enhance life for each other.

Galatians 6:2

  • We are instructed to carry each other’s burdens and while we live in a world that encourages us to be ‘independent women’ it is actually biblical to allow others (in particular our husbands) to help carry some of what burden’s us down in life.

Romans 7:14-25

  • The fact that we are ALL struggling to do what is right, and we have no hope to actually do this without the power that we receive through Christ.

Some of the discussions Questions discussed throughout the study are below:

Discussion Questions

  1. How do you demonstrate to your husband that you need him?
    1. Is it a struggle to express that you need your husband?
    2. Which differences (between husbands and wives) seem MOST challenging to live with?
    3. How do couples learn to grow in spite of their differences?
    4. What do you imagine God’s plan was in making women and men so different?

And as always we end off our study with a time of prayer*

*(If you are unable to make  it to the study, but would like to send a prayer request, please feel free to do so by e-mailing colleenblakemiller@gmail.com)

Blessings,

Colleen

Recent Interview

Photos for Colleen Blake-Miller

I was recently interviewed for a blog by Pauleanna Reid.  I actually had a lot of fun answering the questions, and I thought it would be nice to post the interview questions on my own blog as well.

I found that answering the questions helped me to reflect on my life, where I’ve come from, some of the things I’ve been through as well as things I am striving towards in the future.  It is always nice to reflect on where I’ve been, and for me, it is VERY important to always be thinking about where I’m headed in my future.

Perhaps some of what I have shared will cause you to reflect and think about how YOU might answer these questions, and help encourage you to continue pressing forward toward your future goals.

Enjoy!

  • How old are you? 20s/30s/40s?
    • I’m 35 years old
  • What is your zodiac sign?
    • Sagittarius (don’t really follow/know much about my zodiac sign though)
  • What is your educational background?
    • I did an undergraduate at York University, then a Master’s degree specializing in Marriage and Family Therapy at Tyndale University
  • Where were you born? Raised? Live now?
    • I was born in Montreal, grew up in Ottawa and moved to Brampton at 17 and have lived here ever since
  • Single or Taken?
    • Taken (happily married for 6 ½ years)
  • First job ever?
    • Babysitting (I miss those days!!)
  • First “real” job?
    • I can hardly remember I believe it was at the Sears portrait studio at Bramalea City Centre.  My parents started chatting with the manager and somehow convinced her that their daughter would be a great employee and she actually hired meJ
  • Your 5 “must haves” of the moment?
  1. My Bible
  2. My hubby/very bestest friend
  3. My 2 little boys (they keep me smiling every day)
  4. My sweet treats (just about anything sweet usually will do)
  5. My hair done… at all times (well at least when I’m leaving the house)
  • How would you describe your personal style?
    • Classy, Warm, Bubbly, Attractive & Very Welcoming
  • What is your favourite book?
    • The Road Less Traveled
  • What are you currently listening to?
    • Ummmm that’s a tough one… I love music, but don’t always have it playing (learning to enjoy silence).  I am usually always in the mood to hear my favorite Hillsongs tunes
  • So what do you do?
    • I am a Psychotherapist
  • Take us along the path (personal & professional) that took you where you are today.
    • I have always known that I was going to be a counsellor/family therapist, ever since I was very young.  I was always that friend that people went to, to talk about their ‘issues’.  I found that I never tired of listening and talking through problems with people, and as I got older I realized that I have an innate nature inside that wants to encourage people who come into my life.
    • Because I knew this was the path that I wanted to take it was easy to figure out what academic path I would take, so it was a no brainer to start my post-secondary studies with Psychology.  As I matured I realized that my faith was as important in helping me understand people, the world I live in, and a solid understanding of how to help people find hope, so for my graduate studies I went to a Theological Seminary that would help me deepen my clinical skills as well as help me grasp the theological and spiritual foundations for my future work in Family Therapy.
  • What’s the toughest thing you’ve been faced with thus far?
    • Healing from my abortion 10 years ago.  I kept it a secret from my family for 2 years and suffered in silence, feeling like I had a ‘mask’ on not allowing myself to be seen.  After having a spiritual encounter at a conference I was at for work I realized that God could do so much through me if I would be courageous enough to break my silence and talk about how I was able to find healing.  After taking the difficult step and sharing with those closest to me I actually experienced a GREATER level of healing and restoration that I continue to see grow and flourish each and every day.  God took a complete and total mess that I created for myself and turned it into a beautiful life that I now feel so blessed to have today!!!
  • What did your parents want you to be?
    • My mother wanted me to be a nurse (I think she still secretly hopes I will change my mind one day…. LOL)
    • My father wanted me to be whatever I felt I was supposed to be.  Surprisingly I ended up doing what he had ‘planned’ to do with his life (professional counselling), he began going down that track academically and coincidentally I ended up completing it! Funny how life goes eh?!?
  • What’s the best piece of advice you were ever given?
    • To believe in myself, and trust God and His plan for my life
  • What advice do you have for women who want to follow in your footsteps?
    • I would encourage anyone wanting to pursue a career in professional counselling/psychotherapy to start first with doing their own personal work of understanding who they are, and never stop continually doing this work, as this is the BEST gift you can offer your clients.  I would also encourage them to adapt a ‘life long learning’ approach, as there is so much to learn in this field you can’t ever think a ‘degree’ is enough to help you attain the knowledge you need to be the very best you can be for your clients.
  •  Is it possible for a woman to successfully balance both love and career? Why or why not?
    • It IS possible, but it’s NOT easy, and it is a constant juggling act that requires you be honest with yourself and continually growing in self-awareness, so you are able to do what you need to do to take good care of yourself and the ones you love.
  • What’s next for you?
    • My goal is to continue to grow my business, and build a stronger presence within my community as a therapist who is capable and caring of the clients she is blessed to work with
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years… 10 years?
    • Personally being stronger in my faith, and a more dedicated wife and mother with teenagers (yikes…)
    • Professionally: continuing to engage in my community, doing more speaking, teaching and writing that will positively impact the people around me.
  •  And last but not least, where can readers find you? Facebook, Twitter, Website, etc.

The Respectful Wife

Oh boy!!!!

THIS is a subject that I find VERY difficult!  I found myself hesitating as I was preparing for this week, and feeling myself resisting doing my readings to prepare for the group/study.  I know that probably doesn’t ‘sound’ very good, but I figure it’s important to be transparent and honest about how I feel when I consider the subject ‘The Respectful Wife’.

To be honest I don’t really struggle as much with the term ‘respectful’, it’s more so the area of ‘submission’ that goes hand in hand with respect for a husband (in the Word) that becomes a bit harder to swallow.  I realize it is hard for me to embrace to subject of submission given the day and age I live in.  Society sends the message that I as a woman I am ‘independent’ and ‘liberated’, so it makes the topic of ‘submission’ seem oppressive and archaic.

Well in spite of how I ‘feel’ and how society sees things, I want to walk in obedience of what God’s word says in the Bible, even if it challenges, confuses, and even frustrates me at times.  I realized in working on this study that there needs to be MORE dialogue on this subject, and I have got to take on the responsibility of understanding more of what God says on this subject in His word!

The passage we focused on for our study was Ephesians 5:21-33

Ephesians 5:21-33 – Instructions for Christian Households

21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[b] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[c] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband

In this passage we are called as wives to:

  • Submit ourselves to our husbands
  • We are told that our husbands are the ‘head’ of the wife
  • And we are to submit ourselves to our husbands in everything
  • We are told that we are members of Christ’s body
  • We are told that ‘two become one flesh’
  • We are instructed to respect our husbands

In this passage there seems to be so much more asked of the husband than the wife, (just look at how much of the passage is directed towards the husbands), yet personally I feel like what is being asked of the wife seems harder.

I realize however (even though it seems ‘harder’) this is not God’s intention (to make things harder for the wife, or the husband).  It seems hard for me (as a wife) because it is not in my nature to ‘submit’.  If God were asking me to ‘love’ my husband as Christ loves the church, and be willing to give up my life for him, I can honestly say that would be way more natural/easy for me to do.  It doesn’t take much for me to love, and as a group we discussed how natural our love for our husbands has come.

So this I believe speaks to the challenge and sacrifice, because we are being asked to do something that is not typically ‘second nature’ to us.  As we read in the passage however, in Gods perfect ‘design’ when you have a wife that is submitting and a husband that is loving as Christ loves the church and literally putting his life on the line for his wife, it would make submission (for the wife) and loving (for the husband) a lot easier.  But we are ALL struggling to do what we’ve been called to do.  Husbands AND wives are dropping the ball, and we find ourselves in a ‘stuck’ place not wanting to budge until we see the ‘other’ person stepping it up and doing a better job at their ‘role’.

Well I am not about arguing over my role vs. my husband’s role.  God has designed a specific role for a wife, and a specific role for a husband, and in spite of how difficult it seems at times to embrace our differences, I believe we have so much to gain by allowing God’s design in marriage to be fulfilled through our mutual submission to the mandate He has placed over our lives.

Instead of looking at what my husband is doing and judging if he is doing a ‘good enough job’ in his role to determine if I can ‘submit’; I choose to focus on what I believe God has called me to do, which is respect and submit to my husband.  I will also focus on daily prayer for my husband asking God to develop and grow my husband into the man and husband He has created/called him to be.  I then place ALL my hope and trust in the Lord to allow my marriage to grow into a strong and healthy place that will honor and give glory back to God.

A couple of passages from the book we focused on this week are below:

Book – Real Marriage: the truth about sex, friendship and life together by Mark & Grace Driscoll (Chapter 4 – The Respectful Wife)

Respect starts in our heads and includes our minds and thoughts.  Disrespect also starts in our heads and can begin with a very subtle temptation that over time affects our hearts and hands….. Disrespect starts when we think things like: That was a dumb decision he made; I can do better than that.  I wish he were more like ______. I’ll just fix all the things he does wrong.  I hope the kids don’t grow up to be like him.  When he is out of town, life is easier.  Pg. 67

If your husband isn’t working on his part of loving, you are still called to work on your part of submitting, knowing that God hears your prayers and honors obedience.  This doesn’t mean if there is abuse or harm you are to endure it.* But, as a helper on mission, you are supposed to respectfully discuss how he can be loving and ask how you can be respectful.  Biblically these go hand in hand, and you are to help each other understand how to live out what love and respect mean. Pg. 84

Discussion Questions:

  1. What are some of the initial thoughts and feelings that come to mind when you hear the word ‘respectful wife’?
  2. What are some barriers that get in the way of you respecting/submitting to your husband?
  3. What scriptures help you understand how to grow in your ability to respect your husband?
  4. How can we begin to shift the ‘head’ and ‘heart’ disrespect that slowly creeps into our lives?

* It is important that we discuss the very disturbing reality that there are husbands who are engaging in violent and abusive interactions with their wives.  Let me be VERY clear in saying that I believe when there is any form of violence and or abuse and a woman is unable to be assured of her safety this calls for immediate intervention and immediate removal from the environment that is unsafe.  It is impossible to work on improving a relationship when abuse and violence is ongoing.  The safety of all parties is priority #1 before considering how to go about working on relationship issues.

If you are a woman who is currently in an abusive marriage or relationship you need to remove yourself and other vulnerable individuals (i.e. children) from harm’s way immediately.

Leaving a situation where abuse is taking place is not an easy thing to do and it is important that you gain supports to help you make a plan to safely removing yourself and other vulnerable individuals.  Enlisting the help of a pastor/spiritual leader, counsellor or crisis support worker are all viable options to consider.  Below I have listed 2 agencies that specialize in supporting women in abusive situations that need help.

Assaulted Woman’s Helpline

GTA: 416.863.0511

Toll Free: 1.866.863.0511

Website: www.awhl.org

Peel Committee Against Woman Abuse

Phone: (905) 282-9792
Email: pcawa@pcawa.org

Website: www.pcawa.org

Blessings

CBM

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