So While Everyone Makes Their New Year Resolutions . . .

I hate New Year’s Resolutions!  I really do!  I have not made one for several years because I have very little will power and that is what resolutions are all about. How much will power do I have in order to change a behavior.   When the resolution is broken, self assurance either wavers and  the internal mantra  “I told you so” becomes the dominant ‘voice’  there is no real growth in life.

So instead of resolutions, I want to make a few growth goals.  Not to reform or to change a habit or behavior, but to grow who I am.  If growth happens in a year, great, if it takes longer, so be it.  It is not about “power of the will”, but the desire to grow and to improve or strengthen my character, NOT to change a behavior. Behavior modification is like a habit, blow it once, and it is all by totally blown. It will take 21 more tries to make it a habit again.

I don’t want to live habit after habit. Rather, I want to live a life that is full of growth and deepening of character.

A “journeyman” is one who has been an apprentice of someone else for years and then becomes a master at what they were studying.  I want to be a journeyman when it comes to living a mature, Spirit filled life.  Ones who are still learning called those years, “journeyman years“.  That is what I want to invest in this year.

This year’s blog will be about this journey this year.  Next time, I will share one of the growth challenges that I am embarking on.  I have to make a list and see what God wants to grow in me first.

So, my fellow journeymen, come with me and see what this year of growth and deepening your character will do for you in 2015!

Trying to Blog again

treeIt has been so long since I have blogged. I am not quite sure why. I love writing. I love blogging. I see it as a way for me to express who I am and why I live the way I live and for Whom I live. I have been on this year + journey of transition and reclamation into American culture and life. It has been a year of wondering what God is up to and what I am to be about now that I am no longer working with youth, church, mission organization or “church” culture. It has been interesting to see how so many of my fears and thoughts have been for nothing about returning to America. Don’t get me wrong, I miss Poland very much and I really miss my relationships!  I miss the noise of my neighbors laughter and singing and their smiles and the good food Mira always made for me! Oh, I miss my holidays in Poland!

BUT . . . I am so glad to be here in Colorado. The work that I am doing and the live that I am making. I am not making a new life for myself, but writing a full new chapter in my life’s book. A chapter that is completely different than any other of my past chapters. I am excited and looking forward to what tomorrow is bringing.

I look forward to welcoming the new year with a new look at blogging.

Know Who You Are, Love What You Do!

“Do you know who you are and why you do, what you do?” It is a question that I have been pondering and working on for the past year. I have always had a good sense of personal identity, but could not actually express it.

About 12 years ago, I was involved in a wonderful community group and during that time, my friend Steve Tonkin, would constantly bring up the idea of personal “passion”; what really gets you going and how do you make a living while using your passion? I have always been one to live my passion. Little did I understand that my personal passion was actually an expression of my personal identity. My identity being based in my personal faith in God.

For over 15 years, I worked jobs just to make enough to live and still have time to do what I was really passionate about, mentoring young people. Years later, I even moved to Poland to follow my passion.

During my time there, I took various personality, and strength tests to see how I mixed with my team. What did these “tests” tell me? They told me how I behave, but NOT what motivates me or what my identity was expressed. Motivation is the internal “hard wiring” that everyone has. Personality is “how” motivations are expressed, but it does NOT create motive. Because I tested for only personality, some of my outcomes were confusing and even demoralizing due to the fact that a few of the test told me that I was conflicted and did not understand myself. I was nothing more that a well meaning, but confused person. Neither was true and I lived in silent, self-doubt from wondering if I was just fooling myself. Well, I was not. I KNEW who I was, but my motivations were not evaluated, only the expression of those motivations were. Everyday, I find out new depths of what I have known and am still discovering about myself.

I have been transitioning back from Poland for nine months now. During this time, I have joined STC, a company started by Steve Tonkin. Steve has gathered a group of people who desire to train corporations and their employees to learn who they are and love what they do. Our goal is to help these people learn the language of Intrinsic Motivation and to change the company’s internal culture by using this new language and value each other with respect and thus reworking what it really means to work in a team.

My next several blog entries will be about what I discovered about myself and how I am walking this journey. I function out of four of the seven motivations and will share with you how those four look in my life.  I do believe that my transition time from living in Poland to now in the US has been a bit easier than I anticipated because I am aware of who I am no matter where I live or what I am doing.

So, join me in this new series of self-discovery . . .

Feeling Like A Foreigner In My Home Country

As I look back over the past several months, I cannot believe that I have been here for a little over 9 months.  Has it really been that long and yet, has it only been 9 months? Many have wondered how my transition has been going. I can say that it has been difficult and beautiful, heart wrenching and joyous all at the same time.I am not done with my transition.  I know I have many more weeks and even months to work things out and to start to feel like Colorado is still my home.

Where has God been in all of this? Right by my side. Even as I have not felt anything but confusion and frustration and emptiness, He has been right here, faithful, loving, patient, kind and understanding. I have not been able to “feel” His  presence as I did in Poland, yet He has never left. Even during these times of emptiness, I know that the it is part of my transition and just the natural rhythm of things.  How have I coped?

I can tell you that in God’s great mercy and love, He brought me to a group of peers who have embraced me and loved me and have helped me through this time.  They understand my emptiness and have encouraged me to dig deep in my faith and follow Him no matter what. They have been God’s “hands” and “feet” to me and I am so ever grateful!

10258157_10201812345976941_6039326791777978965_oEaster was last week. It was strange.  I felt strange. Christmas was not strange for me due to the fact that I come home during Christmas most years.  It is still an “American” culture holiday to me. Easter was different though. It was foreign to me and that was confusing and even empty.  I did not know some of the songs and even though it was in my native language, it was foreign.   I looked over at my friend who is also going through transition and we shared a look of “I am so glad you understand how I am feeling!” My emotions were swirling and as much as I wanted to feel happy for Jesus’ resurrection, all I could do was cry out to God and ask for His Grace.  And He met me.  It was a small voice, but He was there.

I have joined a “read through the Bible in a year” study, just to make sure that I will stay reading my bible. Several weeks ago as we were readying, one of my favorite verses reminded me God’s presence with  Moses words to Joshua and Israel as they were getting ready to enter the Promise Land, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deut. 31) I am taking this verse to heart.  

I will keep you unto date as I continue this new journey . . .

Just When I Thought I Would Blog More!

I noticed that it has been a very long time since I have blogged.  I cannot believe that I am not longer a Josiah Venture missionary.  It is a very weird feeling. It all really hit when I no longer had access to my email or donations page and then I got the “exit” letter.  Wow!  So what now?

I am looking forward to my future as much as I looked forward to my time in Poland almost 8 years ago! I am working hard to develop media for business to use as templates in their presentation as well as looking for a new launch of another venture in January.  I will let you in on more of this in the future, but right now, I know I am exactly where God wants me and look forward to where He will lead me!

I am looking forward to Christmas and being with friends and family.  It is a very strange feeling though that I will not be jumping on a plane right after to return to Poland.  I know that I will have another round of re-entry shock in January when I don’t go anywhere.

Tomorrow, I get the wonderful gift of going to the Bronco’s game!  That is something that I have truly enjoyed being here!  Bronco games that are not 3-7 days old!  Yippy!!!  Go Broncs!

Transition is just a “Pair of Ducks”!

1403309_10151741776883339_861791614_o(1)My time at the Hideaway with MTI was amazing! Such a wonderful time and painful time and joyous time and peaceful time all at the same time.  It is all a paradox of returning to the US and starting the new chapter of my life.  It was refreshing to be with a group of people who were and are experiencing the same things and feelings and problems that I am.  I was able to see how being sad and happy at the same time without having guilt of either place is possible and good.  I have known this in my head, but last week it moved to my heart.

This morning at church we had communion and tears came to my eyes after I took the elements.  They just were not “Polish” and the time felt so foreign to me. It was not as intimate as I have had for the past 7 years. I was grieving for the church family I have had, amongst the family that I now have.  My good friend, Jen sat there hugging me, understanding me and comforting me.  What a wonderful gift God has given me in this beautiful woman, sister, fellow returned missionary.

As I miss all of my dear ones in Poland, God has given me a dear group here who has loved me well, encouraged me and even challenged me.  Just what I have needed.

If one member suffers, all suffer together. . .


“If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” 1 Cor. 12:2, was lived out in front of me and in me today.  I am at my debrief/reentry week in Monument, CO at the Hideaway center and am having such a wonderful and insightful time as I process my transition time and see how God is working in me.  I am with a group of 13 other missionaries who are either coming “home” to America, moving to a new country/island, or switching jobs within their organization.  We have been talking about transition and emotions along with what God has for each one of us.  Today was the transition bridge.  As I sat there amongst these beautiful brothers and sisters, I was a bit choked up with emotion, because they understood what I was going through.  We all gave words to our experiences and feelings and over and over again someone would say, “Yes! That is how I feel!” 

We also talked about the fact that no one understands the missionary mindset besides other missionaries.  It is a unique “band of brothers and sisters” who have a type of life that allows them to understand their world view and the way they experience God.  I am not saying that missionaries are any better, in fact, many of us this week would say that we are much worse than others, but there is a special bond and lifestyle that “home” people will never understand, as much as they want to. 

This is a very special group of people whom I have had the wonderful privilege of walking along side this week.  I am eager to hear how God works in each one of us in the coming weeks, months and years.