How an Entomologist Taught Me to Deal with My Pain.

What if we could look objectively at the pain and hurt of life? Could we, like a wine critic, take time to reflect on its different nuances, rolling them around our palettes?

This guy here, the one with the big, black ant on his nose, and the enormous grin plastered across his face, makes me think that we might be able to do just that.

Justin Schmidt, the King of Stin

Let me introduce you to Justin Schmidt, a.k.a. The King of Stings; an entomologist from Arizona.

Having allowed himself to be stung thousands of times (yes, thousands dear friend) by over 80 of the world’s most venomous insects, he’s become famous for developing the Schmidt Pain Scale that categorizes the pain these creepy crawlies inflict.

Not only is he able to objectively dissect the agony, and rate it on a scale of 0 to 4, he adds descriptions that wouldn’t be out of place on a nice bottle of Pinot Noir. To give you an idea of quite how mad this man is, here are two of my favorite descriptions from his book The King of Stings.

When stung by the bald face hornet, he described the pain as

“Rich, hearty, slightly crunchy. Similar to having your hand smashed in a revolving door.”

and the Eastern yellow jacket was

“Hot and smoky, almost irreverent. Imagine W.C. Fields extinguishing a cigar on your tongue.”

Pain, either physical or emotional, seems to be as much a part of life as breathing and the Kardashians doesn’t it?

So how can crazy Dr Schmidt, with his wild pain descriptions and agony scale, help us deal with the kinds of hurt and pain inflicted by life’s ups and downs?Continue Reading

Easy Reads for When Life’s Hard

Do you ever find yourself asking questions like,

Am I the only one?

                                      Why is this happening?

                                                                                        Where are you God?

and saying things like,

Life’s not fair!

                                 Stop the world and I want to get off!


I’m so tired I could lie down and sleep right here in the supermarket pet aisle, snuggled between the dog biscuits and the low odor cat litter, and sleep for a week.

and perhaps you’ve yelled, to no one in particular,

I want three large scoops of mint choc chip ice cream in a waffle cone, with extra sprinkles and chocolate fudge sauce, and I want it NOW!

Or maybe that just me?

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Do you Feel Anxious When You’re Trying to Relax?

This is totally me, except I'm a brunette.

Ironically, I’ve found an unexpected hour to relax can be disastrously stressful.

Have you ever felt like that?

Your world is spinning with deadlines and demands, you’re feeling over worked and under appreciated, then you’re suddenly presented with an unexpected moment of calm; a glorious opportunity to finally relax. Yet the relaxation you so desperately crave remains tantalizingly elusive as you spin in circles, desperately trying to decide how to spend your precious free time.

In fact it’s so ironic I gave it a name: Relaxation Anxiety*

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Are You Praying for Revelation?

Have you ever prayed for God to tell you what on earth you should do? Prayed for Him to show you in a ridiculously obvious way that leaves no shadow of a doubt that He’s spoken? You know, write it in the sky, or in the froth of your cappuccino?

I have, so SO many times it makes me wonder whether God should just get a cell phone. Don’t you think it would make life easier for everyone?

When we were praying for a clear sign that we were to move to America, or not (I really didn’t care, I just wanted to KNOW), I was surprised by what God gave me.

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You can read what happened over on Katie M Reid’s website. Katie is a fellow author who describes herself as a Tightly Wound Woman of the recovering perfectionist variety.



I’d also recommend reading her story of how a closed door unlocked grace that she wrote for this website. It’s a wonderful reminder of the power of grace in the uncomfortable places we find ourselves.


A Closed Door Can Unlock Grace

This week on Their Story, Their God, I’m thrilled to introduce you to Katie M Reid. Katie’s honest confessions of being a tightly wound woman, and the struggles and eventual joy it brings, are salve to so many of us who battle the control freak giants lurking within us. Grab a cuppa and enjoy discovering the grace in a closed door.

A Closed Door Can Unlock Grace: By Katie M Reid

She found grace behind a closed doorI was five minutes late. The door was locked and on it was a sign, “Next session starts at 11:30.” I knocked, hoping they’d still let me join the 10:30 training session. A woman cracked open the door and reiterated what the sign said.

“But I have a nursing baby at home” I explained.

“I’m sorry, that’s the rule they set.”

And the door closed.

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Their Story, Their God – Whispers & Wisdom from Others

As I head “off grid” this month (Yes, we’re heading to a secluded mountain cabin with no wifi or cell phone service and 45 minutes from the nearest grocery store. I’m still not sure if it’s brilliant or bananas – I’ll let you know) I’m excited to invite two friends to share Their Story, Their God, with you.

This week Kellie Stuart shares the touching story behind her new book Like a River From It’s Course. Kelli is not only a successful author (you can read all her accolades in her website bio), but a wife, mum to four rambunctious kids and a selfless friend. In the short time we’ve known each other she has made me laugh, encouraged me to be a better person and writer, and inspired me to more of who God created me to be. I know her writing will do the same for you.

If you read one book this summer, it should be Kelli’s. It’s part of our history, it’s part of our humanity, and it’s a story of God meeting us in the midst of horrendous evil. Grab a cuppa tea and enjoy both Kelli’s story and her book.

My Story, My God, My Ukraine – By Kellie Stuart

My mom and I stepped out onto the sidewalk, and I took it all in. The city of Kiev stretched before me, and I blinked back tears. I was back in Ukraine for the first time in five years and the sights, sounds, and smells were like music to my ears.

I was home.

Not really home, of course, since I’m as American as apple pie. But Ukraine had rooted a place into my heart a decade before this particular trip, and it felt like I’d come back to a place that was always meant to be mine.

“I’m so happy right now,” I told my mom. We looked both ways, then hustled across the street toward the trolley stop. Just as I stepped up onto the sidewalk, my foot got caught on a wire that was lying randomly on the ground. And before I could say, “I love Ukraine,” I fell flat on my face.

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How to Break Spiritual Apathy and Recapture Your Get Up & Go

When I’m tired I can’t be bothered to be spiritual.

It’s easier for me to flop on the sofa in front of the TV than get on my knees in front of God. When I’m worn out I’d rather devour a box of Oreos than a book of the bible, or procrastinate rather than pray.

Do you find that being spiritual can sometimes feel too much like hard work?

Does tiredness turn you into a physical and spiritual sloth too?

When a good night’s sleep doesn’t fix the weariness, it’s so easy to slowly drift away from God isn’t it? I call it the Downward Spiral of Spiritual Apathy. It looks like this (I’ve drawn a very scientific chart).

Spiritual apathy cycle

The Downward Spiral of Spiritual Apathy

If we want to feel alive physically, we need to come alive spiritually. Somehow we must break this downward cycle.

But how on earth do we break it and feed our hungry souls, when we can’t be bothered to get off our bums and open the fridge door, let alone feed on the bread of life?

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Recapturing Your Get Up & Go – Week 2

Welcome to week 2 of …

Feeling Weary? The Secret to Recapturing Your Get Up & Go.

Some days, and seasons of life, can zap our energy faster than a couple of rounds with Mohammed Ali, can’t they? If running late is your only workout,  yet you’re still zapped at the end of the day, you’re not alone. Over 75% of us feel tired many days of the week.

The good news is, there’s no need to carry on feeling worn out.  We can shed that sloth like feeling and recapture our get up and go when we Keep Moving Forward PHYSICALLY, EMOTIONALLY & SPIRITUALLY.

In Week 1, I talked about what it looks like to keep moving forward physically. If you missed it you can catch up here,  and if you’ve put some of the steps into practice do share in the comments below how it’s gone and how you’re feeling.

This week we’re going to Keep Moving Forward EMOTIONALLY

Let’s be honest. Unless we grew up in a vacuum, or on Little House on the Prairie, we all have emotional baggage. Yours might be cute, matching, carryon baggage or more like my cardboard box shrink-wrapped in airport security tape, but either way, we all lug around our emotional baggage.Continue Reading

Feeling Weary? The Secret to Recapturing Your Get Up & Go.

Get up and GoDo you ever feel weary? Maybe even a bit apathetic towards life? Like your get up and go has got up and gone, without leaving a note to say “goodbye and thanks for all the chocolate”.

I do and I’m so frustrated. Despite a restful week at the beach, eating, sleeping, reading and learning boogie board (who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?), I’m in a weary funk and it’s driving me crazy. Nothing traumatic has happened, so I should be rested and revitalized; yet within a week of being home, I feel weary and woebegone.

Do you feel a bit like that too? Weary for no particular reason other than life, with its ongoing demands and worries, is draining the energy out of you like a blood sucking leach.Continue Reading

I Thought I Understood, but I Don’t.

I’ve been debating whether or not to share this post. It’s personal yes, but that’s not why I’ve hesitated. I’ve faltered because it reveals my heart for where I believe God is taking me with this blog/writing/speaking gig, or whatever it is, that He seems to have called me to. Sharing that is scary. No, not scary. Scary isn’t it – I’ve done scary things and this doesn’t fit into that box. Petrifying. THAT’S what it is.

What if I’m wrong? What if I can’t do it? What if you all think I’m bonkers (more than you normally do)?

But I’ve decided share it in spite of my fears, because that is what I would tell you to do if you came to me with this seed of a dream you felt God had called you to, and it meant putting your heart on the line. I’d tell you God is good and will be there no matter what, and I’d tell you to put your big girl knickers on, pull up your boot straps and believe Him. So, Bridget Jones eat your heart out – my big girl undies are bigger than yours,  so I’m about to hit the “publish” button.



I have a confession and an apology to make, so I’ll get right to it and wont dilly dally or procrastinate – I’ll save that for tomorrow.

It seems that in my desire to reach out, walk along side you, and cheer you on as you navigate life’s often stormy waters, I’ve rather arrogantly assumed I have a unique understanding of whatever you’re dealing with right now. That just because I have had the bottom fall out of my world, and have felt loss and pain, that I can magically slip my rather large, calloused feet, into your shoes, and feel the hurts, struggles and pain that are unique to you. I’ve realized that I can’t and should never have assumed I could. I’m so sorry and terribly embarrassed for thinking so highly of myself.
My misguided arrogance slapped me around the face like a wet kipper when I read these words in an essay by my friend Patrice Gopo.Continue Reading