Colorado Life Coach: Disappointment

6038735179_718a51a52b_oWe all experience it…Disappointment!

It hurts. Sometimes, it really hurts.

Maybe I thought by this time in my life (meaning, by the time I was this old), I’d either be used to disappointment, handle it better, or able to dodge it, but I’m not.

It still hurts, and sometimes the surprise is what catches me.

If I were able to predict and prepare, maybe it wouldn’t hurt so much. Maybe if I walked around waiting for the next shoe to drop, it wouldn’t hurt so much, because I’d expect it. Then I’d just say, “Oh, there you are again.”

The problem is, I’m an optimist. I believe God. I look for the good. I believe things will work out. I believe the pain is worth it. I keep trying. Someone once told me I’m loyal beyond what I should be.

So I get hurt when:

~Someone lets me down

~Things don’t turn out the way I hoped

~Plans change into less than I was told

~Someone else gets asked to do something I wanted to do

~Friends don’t call

~People don’t care or like what I’m doing

~Someone else does what I’ve done and they get a lot of recognition, but I didn’t

Sometimes life moves along smoothly, but disappointment always returns. And I’m always shocked.

I know people who use humor in everything they do. When life is hard, things don’t seem funny to me.

I’m sad. I’m lonely.

I listen to uplifting music, pray, talk to friends, and go to counseling. I eat high protein, low carb food, and exercise regularly. I even do neurofeedback, get chiropractic care, and an occasional massage. I practice self-care.

I have a degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. I get this stuff!! I teach this stuff. I can help others navigate their way out of this stuff. And here I sit, disappointed again.

The bible says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12. I think the problem is it takes so long to fulfill the desire, that sometimes the heart is too sick.

I know many Christian friends who would say that we’re not going to see true healing until we die. I get that. I believe that to a point. But, Jesus said that he came to heal the broken-hearted. He didn’t say he’d heal them after they died. I believe him. I love this verse. I live by it. Sometimes it’s just hard, because my heart longs so deeply for the desires I believe God placed there. It’s hard to wait.

I once heard about a woman who had been married for 60 years. She was asked how to have a good marriage that lasted. Her answer: “Sometimes you have to get through a hard decade or two.” Wow!

That’s reality.

And even in the midst of disappointment, I got an email from a friend. It’s a devotional by Liz Curtis Higgs on Leah from the Bible. My friend even highlighted the areas that I would highlight for you:

When no one else sees, God sees. When no one else cares, God cares.

God sees. God hears. And God’s timing is always perfect.

Thank you God, and thank you friend for the reminder today!

How about you? How do you deal with disappointment?

This post written by Colorado Life Coach, Carrie O’Toole, M.A.

Colorado Life Coach: No More Wimpy Prayers!

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Big prayers!

I’ve always dreamed and prayed big…until life slows down, and it doesn’t seem like my prayers are being heard.

At times, I’ve felt this burning deep inside that says, “Go for it! Ask me anything! Have courage! Dream Big!”

At other times, I feel like a nobody who’s prayers just bounce off the ceiling as I sit all alone.

I just started reading the book, The Circle Maker, by Mark Batterson. It’s about praying big prayers. In fact, he says that God doesn’t answer vague prayers. That hit me. Do you find yourself just praying to get through the day? Praying that your family would just get along? That you’d just have enough money to make it through the week?

God is huge!!! He does more than we could ever even think to ask or imagine. He’s powerful and he likes to show it! He is Almighty! He’s the King of the Universe!

When the only prayers we ask him are things that will probably work out alright anyway, or that don’t really change anything, we’re limiting him from doing what he loves to do.

What if we believed that he really could do those things our hearts have longed for most of our lives? What if he actually put those longings there in the first place? What if we spent a little time and thought through all the areas of our lives, and asked God what he’d like to do in those areas? What if we listened? Then what if we actually prayed that he would do all of that and more?

Our lives would change!!

I actually drew circles in my journal yesterday, with each family member, and all the issues in my life in different circles. As I prayed through them, I started to feel something stirring deep inside me. It’s hard to describe, but I know God was pushing me to pray harder, to ask for more, to go for it. I felt like he was urging me on to ask him for everything I’ve been too afraid to ask, or too afraid he wouldn’t answer. It really was amazing. I started writing in my journal and the words poured out. I asked and asked! I reminded God that he was the one who put those dreams there all those years ago. I got more and more specific.

I know God doesn’t always answer prayer in the way we want him to. Bad things happen: people don’t always recover, marriages don’t always work out, we don’t always have the money for everything we need, abuse and pain are real.

But, what if we got on board with God’s plan? What if we asked what he wanted for our lives, and then started praying for those things? What if it set our hearts on fire to the point where we couldn’t NOT pray?

That’s where I’m at! I have to pray for these things. I have to pray for healing, for reconciliation, for growth, for restoration!

I’m tired of praying that God will bless my meal, and protect me each day.

No more wimpy prayers!! I’m going Big!

Won’t you join me?

This post written by Colorado Life Coach, Carrie O’Toole, M.A.

Colorado Life Coach: Guest Blog!! Stacy Voss, Savoring Christmas

Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 9.46.05 AMThis is my friend, Stacy Voss! She’s just written a book called, Savoring Christmas, and I was to share it with you! Here’s Stacy answering questions about her book!

Stacy, could you tell us a bit about your book?

Sure. It’s called Savoring Christmas—the very thing I think most of want to do, yet have the hardest time figuring out how to actually make happen. We typically get so busy in December that we just can’t wait for it to be over, but there’s been this thought that keeps riveting me, challenging me to my core. What if we actually savored Christmas? Not just stopped grumbling about the many activities, or streamlined the things we have to get done, but actually cherished this most incredible event and reveled in Christ’s birth as if it were the first time we’d heard of it.

Can you give us an example of what it means to you to savor something rather than rushing through it?

I had my book launch last week. It was so very exciting, yet it also fell on the same week as some other things that took a lot of time and energy. Someone made the comment that they bet I couldn’t wait for my launch party to be over (they said this days before the party).  I just had to laugh since the whole party was about savoring, yet here was someone encouraging me to rush it away. They weren’t wrong, it’s just how we’ve come to do things here. Let me tell you: my party was so incredibly rich. It was a chance to celebrate what God is doing, as well as an amazing time for me to tell some of my friends how much I cherish them. I’m so glad I didn’t wish any of that away.

That philosophy of savoring versus rushing sounds great, but is it actually doable?

I’ll be the first to admit it isn’t easy. It is a challenge that goes against the culture, but when we stop and think about how much love went into forfeiting the beauty, safety and grandeur of heaven for our sakes, well, it seems so very worth stopping for a bit and truly reflecting on that. Besides, I try to give practical, easy-to-do things in my book that help us all savor Christmas like never before.

Care to share one?

Absolutely! I suggest we create treasure boxes this Christmas, just like Mary “treasured all of these things up in her heart.” We can jot down something amazing that happens each day during advent, or write out something unexpected that helped reveal the meaning of Christmas. Whatever it is, what if we set out to fill up our treasure boxes and therefore trained our hearts to focus more on Christmas?

I just have to ask. Your book has 31 devotions in it, but it starts December 1st. What’s that all about?

Great question! I toyed with starting the devotions the day after Thanksgiving and having them end on Christmas, but I couldn’t just stop on Christmas Day, especially because one of my most popular blog posts is entitled “The Meaning of Christmas: Disappointment.”

Let’s be real. The 26th rolls around and so many of us feel let down. The kids didn’t like the presents as much as we’d hoped, we didn’t receive that thing we wanted, the turkey didn’t cook well, or whatever. It happens. It’s just as real today as it was when people were disappointed that the majestic king they’d hoped for was born in a stinky stable.

The last part of the book wraps up the Christmas season and then turns into a time to prepare ourselves for the upcoming year. After all, why spend a month getting ready for the Messiah and not prepare to let Him guide and direct us in the days to come?

Great point. Would you be willing to give us a teaser, and where could people get a copy if they’re interested?

You can read the first 4 days on Amazon (http://tinyurl.com/mawz9m9). It’s also for sale on my site at www.stacyvoss.com/store.

Well, Stacy, thanks so much for guest blogging here today.

Thank you! It’s my pleasure!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colorado Life Coach: Becoming The Least Of These

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“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!” (Matthew 25:40)

Maybe you’ve heard this verse before. Maybe you’ve thought about helping someone “less fortunate” than you.

This is good! Don’t get me wrong! As humans, we need to help each other. We all need help at some point, and when we’re doing well, it’s good to help those who are struggling.

I believed I had something to offer others, so I set out to do that. In the process, I became the one who needed help. Can you relate?

When I was seven, we adopted my brother from Vietnam. Adoption was normal to my family. I didn’t understand why some people questioned us about it. “Is it weird having an adopted brother?” “What made you want to do that?” To me, it was weird that more people didn’t adopt. I mean, if there are kids out there who don’t have parents, and you have an extra bed, can’t you bring one of them home? This was my seven year old thinking.

Fast-forward twenty years. My husband and I wanted to have children, but struggled with infertility and miscarriage. We adopted our son Brendan at birth, and then had our biological daughter Katie, 15 months later. When they were seven and eight, we decided to adopt again. I remember thinking that we had enough room, enough money, and enough love to share with at least one more child. Maybe we could bring in a child who didn’t have a family. That’s adoption, right?

I love adoption! I think it is a wonderful option when biological parents, for whatever reason, can’t take care of their child.

What I didn’t understand before, is that adoption is only possible because of loss. Maybe I sensed this, but no one talked about it. We all hear about how wonderful it is to offer a child a home. What we mean is, “We’re happy that we get to add to our family, and can’t wait for this little child to love us in return.”

Here’s the problem. Many children placed for adoption are traumatized. They didn’t have a choice in this whole situation. Maybe we think we are helping some poor child, but have we thought about what their life has been like until now?

We adopted our son, Sam from a Vietnamese orphanage when he was 3 1/2. It was the only world he’d ever known. He had never been outside the gates before we took him away from everything familiar: his friends, his home, his bed, his caregivers, his food, his language, his history, his culture. We brought him home because he was “the least of these,” and we had something to give.

Over the years, the toll of parenting a traumatized child with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) became more than I could handle. I remember the day I thought, “I started out with the intention to help ‘the least of these,’ but now I am ‘the least of these.'” I couldn’t do it anymore. My body was falling apart. My emotions were falling apart. My mental health was falling apart. My family was falling apart. I couldn’t heal my son. I couldn’t help him trust me, or attach to me, or want to be part of our family. I couldn’t do it.

I was now the “least of these.”

And I was alone.

We made the heartbreaking decision to place our son with another family from our church. He seemed to do better there. He was less anxious. He was oldest, and didn’t feel the need to fight for position. It’s actually way more complicated than this, but I don’t have room to expand in this blog. If you’d like the full account, please read my book, Relinquished: When Love Means Letting Go.

The loneliness was physically painful. Have you ever made a choice that was not socially acceptable? If so, you may have a glimpse of what I’m talking about. We lost our child. I lost my son. Our family went from five to four. It felt like cutting off a limb, and trying to continue living.

My family grieved differently, and it was ugly. We didn’t have a funeral for the loss of our child. There is no “Relinquishment Day” when we post pictures of the children we used to call ours, but now live with other families, or in group homes, or therapeutic foster homes. We lost our small group, our church, many friends and family members because of our decision. I’ve been called a monster online.

It’s been 5 1/2 years since I’ve seen my son.

In that time I’ve done a lot of healing, had lots of counseling, earned my master’s degree from Liberty University, and founded Carrie O’Toole Ministries.

I learned along the way, that we’re all “the least of these” at some point, and it’s arrogant to think otherwise. My hope and prayer is to help others understand the importance of attachment and the effects of trauma on children. I desire to bring awareness to the adoption and foster care communities, because it does not help a child, when he enters a home unprepared to deal with his trauma, and the family falls apart. I’d love to help counselors understand the nuances of treating families raising children with RAD. Ultimately, I want to bring awareness to the societal need for early intervention with childhood trauma and attachment.

People’s lives are at stake!

~Certainly the children, who will need to overcome so much to be able to have healthy relationships.

~Definitely the families who love them.

~The counselors, therapists, teachers, coaches, pastors, and all who love these children.

~Our society. When children grow up without learning to trust, without learning cause and effect thinking, without consciences, and without empathy, society is in trouble.

Carrie O’Toole, M.A. is an Attachment-Based Intervention Specialist and founder of Carrie O’Toole Ministries. She serves on the board for the Institute For Attachment and Child Development in Littleton, Colorado. Carrie uses her coaching, writing, speaking and podcasting to help others overcome relationship difficulties. She is the author of Relinquished: When Love Means Letting Go and a Board Certified Christian Life Coach. Carrie and her son Brendan are producing their first documentary on adoption.

 

Documentary: Here We Go!

 

We have filmed our first several shoots for our documentary! We’re so excited for this project!

Over the last few years, my son, Brendan and I have been working together shooting videos for my website, Podcasts, and short films. As I published my book, Relinquished: When Love Means Letting Go, detailing our journey of adopting our son with severe Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), we’ve discovered how little people know, or understand about the topic of adoption and attachment. We talked at length about how different our lives would have been if we had known about RAD, if the agency had given us a thorough history of our son, or if we knew where to find better treatment. We truly believe adoption is a wonderful thing and we want more people to adopt. We also know first-hand the problems associated with parenting a traumatized child.

We kept asking, “What can we do about it?”

We couldn’t find anything in print or on film addressing our questions, so we decided to do something about that! We decided to make the documentary!

The adventure begins! We don’t know where it will take us along the way. Unlike a feature film, where you have a beginning, a middle and an end; with a documentary, we start with a question and see where it leads us.

We begin with the question, “What is adoption?”

IMG_1725Brendan and I filmed at the Institute for Attachment and Child Development (IACD). IMG_1726Forrest Lien, Executive Director for the Institute explained a great deal about attachment, how it should happen, and what families face when traumatized children don’t attach. He shared the model of treating Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) used by the Institute. So many families could be helped with this treatment model! I wish we had known about it when Sam was in our family. I would have brought him to the Institute! Our next shoot was with Chris and Dyan Roosma. They are treatment parents with the IACD. These are a brave, well-trained, non-reactive couple who have chosen to share their lives and their home with their biological and adoptive children, as well as 4 children in treatment at any given time. These kids come into their home because they are not doing well in their own homes, and their families are falling apart. Chris and Dyan are not always successful, but they describe how they work in their home, with a treatment team, with the families, and within the community to help these kids learn to trust and eventually transition back home. IMG_2116Carrie interviewing Chris and Dyan Roosma. We’ve interviewed a young couple early on their journey toward adoption. Adam and Jamie have given us permission to follow them through the process! It was so amazing to hear their story, and get a glimpse into their hearts for adoption. We can’t wait to share their story with you! On a different note–we filmed with Kim and John Shepard for a different short documentary that we will hopefully be able to produce in the next month or so. Through my book, we discovered that the Shepards adopted from the same agency, and the same orphanage, at the same time we did! We have video of our kids in the same room at the orphanage in Vietnam! The heartbreaking part of this story is that both children are not living with their families at this time. We’ll take a look at this interesting coincidence. IMG_2120There you go! our first documentary blog! Stay tuned for updates, and share with anyone you think might be interested! If you click “subscribe,” you’ll automatically receive updates. This post written by Carrie O’Toole, M.A.

Colorado Life Coach: 0-60

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Do you ever feel your life is at a total standstill?

You’re working on things, but nothing seems to happen.

Maybe your job is going nowhere, or your marriage is in a rut. Maybe you’ve tried for years to lose weight, but can’t get motivated to do it.

Whatever it is, life seems to be on hold.

Have you been there?

I know I have many times!

I had a busy spring, but when summer hit, it felt like everything just stopped. In some ways I was thankful! My daughter moved home from school and I enjoyed time off with my kids. I was tired after publishing my book, and a consistent schedule of podcasts and coaching clients. But over the summer everything slowed down. We had several podcasts that still needed to be posted, so it didn’t matter that we weren’t producing more. My client base slowed down, but I was thankful for the time off.

As fall approached, I began wondering what was next. Don’t we all go through seasons of life where things begin to look different?

Well, this ministry is no longer resting through the summer–things are speeding up!

There are so many amazing things I’d love to share with you, and ask you to pray for:

1. I’ve been asked to join the board of directors for the Institute For Attachment and Child Development. I love this place! They help the traumatized children no one else can help. They save families. They bring hope and healing to families who have been through the ringer in ways most people will never understand. I’m so thankful for this non-profit organization, and I’m excited to use my ministry to bring attention, and hopefully donors their way.

2. My son Brendan and I began filming our first documentary together! We begin with the question, “What is adoption?” We are focusing on all aspects of adoption, and trying to shed light on areas that aren’t talked about openly. Our hope is to better prepare adoptive families, provide better services after the adoption is finalized, train up a new generation of therapists who can help traumatized children attach to their parents, and bring awareness to the issues impacting our schools, churches, and society as a whole.

3. We’re filming a shorter documentary focusing on 3 families who adopted from the same agency, at the same time, from the same orphanage in Vietnam. None of these adoptions worked out, and these children all live in other locations today. Each of these families felt they were the only ones, yet there were so many similarities. This is an amazing story that needs to be told.

4. I attended the national conference for the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) a few weeks ago, and was certified as an “Attachment-Based Intervention Specialist.” At this conference, I met the president of AACC and he asked me to be a guest on their webinar.

5. In January I’ll be the guest on the training webinar for the AACC. During my time in Virginia, I’ll have the opportunity to speak to the student organization of the AACC, the psychology and counseling faculty at Liberty University, to record a counseltalk CD with AACC President, Tim Clinton, and to lead the 2 hour webinar, offered to 50,000 Christian counselors worldwide. This is an amazing opportunity to share my experiences of parenting a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder, as well as what I’ve learned about treating these children and their families, with the next generation of counselors.

Like I said, 0-60!

Here’s the thing–I’m not that scared! I’m a little nervous, because I take these opportunities seriously. People are hurting, and I feel I’ve been given an opportunity to change things and help them.

God has been preparing me for this my whole life.

For months, I’ve been sensing him say, “Get ready!” “It’s coming!” “Hold on!” “I’ve prepared you for this, you don’t need to be afraid!”

It’s so amazing that I can just do my job and enjoy the ride!

Can you relate? Share your comments below!

This post written by Colorado Life Coach, Carrie O’Toole, M.A.

 

 

 

Colorado Life Coach: A Few Days With A Bunch Of Shrinks!

What’s it like to spend a few days with a whole heard of shrinks?

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I’m on my way home from the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) national conference in Branson, MO. What an amazing time.

At the airport in Denver before I left, I wrote a blog called, Money and My Dad. I remembered how my Dad never worried about money because God always took care of him.

So here I am on the flight back home, and you know what? God truly took care of me in so many ways!

  1. On the flight to Branson, I sat next to a woman who offered to drive me to my hotel so I wouldn’t have to pay for a cab. As a thank you, I gave her my book. It turns out she has an adopted sister, who has adopted 4 children of her own. They are struggling with many attachment issues. She couldn’t believe I had written a book on this subject!
  2. I took an intensive training to get certified as an “Attachment-Based Intervention Specialist.” The course was taught by two men I’ve admired for a long time, and use their books for my intensives, retreats, speaking, and coaching.
  3. I gave them each a copy of my book, and they were truly thankful. One of these men asked if I would be interested in doing a webinar to teach other counselors about Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). This has been a dream of mine! So many counselors don’t understand this disorder, and without proper training, can actually do more harm than good for the families. Both men remembered me throughout the training, and I developed relationships with them that will carry into the future.
  4. I got to meet up with many other B.L.A.S.T. (Building Leaders, Authors, Speakers, and Teachers with Shannon Ethridge) members throughout the conference. We are all pursuing ways to encourage others through our own stories. It’s so amazing to be around others who are doing what you are doing. I felt so encouraged and uplifted.
  5. A friend paid for two of my meals because I had paid for some of her expenses a year ago. She even “happened” to have the exact granola bar for me when my salad came without protein and I was still hungry!
  6. I went to the conference struggling with some personal stuff. During one of the large group sessions, a fellow Blaster noticed, and asked if she and her friend could pray for me. It’s been a long time since someone’s prayed with and for me in that way and it was powerful. The next night, my roommates  prayed with me for an extended amount of time, and I felt different, lighter, healed up, when they were done.

This time away was not just about learning at a conference, although I learned so much!

It was not just about reuniting with people I know from BLAST, although I thoroughly enjoyed our time together!

This was also a time of healing for me. I’ve been struggling lately. When I struggle personally, it’s hard to do much with my ministry.

I’m amazed that even with the struggles, opportunities keep opening up.

~Just this morning, I received an email from a woman who “happened” to stumble upon my website. She asked if I’d be interested in talking to the head of their chamber of commerce about speaking to women in leadership.

~Last week I was asked to join the board of directors for the Institute for Attachment in Littleton, Colorado. Today they asked if I’d conduct the interviews for monthly videos on their website, because not only am I a counselor/coach, but I’m an adoptive mom who’s struggled. What an honor!

~I met several people who would be great to interview for the adoption documentary I’m making with my son.

~A “Big Cheese” kind of person told me he wanted to work with me because he’s looking for educated, strong women willing to step up.

Here’s the deal: Sometimes I’m a mess! Sometimes I’m really tired because I don’t sleep well. Sometimes I’m scared. Sometimes I don’t feel like I know what I’m doing. Sometimes I don’t feel qualified.

And yet…here I am flying home from a sacred time with God and so many fabulous people.

I have much to process, and I don’t know exactly where to start.

I DO know this: God loves me. He adores me. He’s prepared me for whatever is coming, so I don’t need to be afraid.

If you support Carrie O’Toole Ministries, would you do a few things?

  1. Subscribe to our YouTube channel
  2. “Like” Carrie O’Toole Ministries on Facebook
  3. Follow me on Twitter @CarrieOToole
  4. Pray for me, my family, and this ministry…and if you think of it, tell me you prayed!
  5. Buy my book, read it, and pass it on to your pastor, teacher, or counselor friends. Help me spread the word that attachment is important, and traumatized children need special help to heal.
  6. Invite me to speak at your church, college, workplace, or conference. I truly get relationships, and everyone wants to know how to make them better!

Thanks for reading this blog! This is an exciting time, and I’m thrilled to share it with you!!

This post written by Colorado Life Coach, Carrie O’Toole, M.A.

Colorado Life Coach: Money and My Dad

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Money is important!

It can buy you lots of things you need. It can provide a sense of security in tough times. It can make you feel as if nothing can touch you when others who don’t have it struggle so much.

I was thinking about my dad today. He’s been dead for 14 years, and I thought of something that happened right before he died. I wasn’t there, but here’s the story:

My mom and dad went to a restaurant after playing golf. A homeless man stood on the porch as they walked inside. During their meal, they watched the man go into the restroom, and come out cleaner, with combed hair. As my parents got ready to leave, the man singled out my dad, and asked him for money.

Here are a few things you need to know:

*My Dad was an Episcopal priest, and normally wore a collar. That day he didn’t have on his collar, so that wasn’t why the man approached him.

*My Dad always used cash. When he got paid, he cashed his check and put all the money in a clip in his pocket. He never checked how much he had left. He never left some of the money at home. He put it ALL in his money clip. He always trusted that God would somehow make the money last until the next paycheck. God always did.

*My Dad did not know this man. He knew tons of people. In fact, at his funeral, about 5 people I didn’t even know all told me he was their best friend! He called waiters by their first names. He remembered people. He didn’t preach at people-he became their friends.

*There was no reason for this man to pick my dad out of all the people in that restaurant that day, but he did.

He chose my Dad.

Why?

Maybe God nudged the man through the people and told him “stop, ask this one” right when he got to my Dad.

You know what my Dad did when the man asked? He emptied his money clip and handed the man whatever was left.

My Dad gave the man everything he had.

I don’t know where he was in the month. Maybe he had 5 days til payday, maybe he had 29. I don’t know. I just know he gave a smelly, dirty man he had never met before all the money he had.

In my adult life, I’ve lived through times where I had to watch every penny from paycheck to paycheck. There were times I couldn’t buy school supplies until the next paycheck. I learned to save several hundred dollars a month by clipping coupons, shopping sales, and going to several stores to get the best deals. I’ve also lived when money was plentiful. I didn’t need to count, because there was always enough. I’m in that phase now, and very thankful. It does reduce stress knowing there will always be enough.

But that’s not the point.

I’ve watched God provide money that wasn’t there over and over again. I’ve watched bills get paid, because a check came in that we weren’t expecting. I’ve watched people show up to clean my home when I couldn’t do it due to my insomnia. I watched God provide for other people in similar ways. We’ve felt the urge to give to others when they were in a desperate place, and it’s felt so great to be able to do that. Sometimes it’s us. Sometimes it’s other people. Sometimes I don’t even know how it happens.

I just know I don’t need to be afraid. I don’t need to worry about money.

Maybe I’m thinking about my Dad and money today because I have other worries. If God can take care of every bill since I’ve been alive, can I trust him with the other things too?

How about you?

Have you ever seen God provide for you in a financial way, that you just knew was Him? Please tell us about it in the comments below!

This post written by: Colorado Life Coach, Carrie O’Toole, M.A.

Colorado Life Coach: Heading Into A Hurricane

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We got out a week ago today.

I’ve been thinking of writing about my experiences, but it’s been difficult to know where to start, or what to focus on. How do you put into words, something that was so significant, yet went almost unnoticed in the United States?

I decided to just write my story. Here it is:

I didn’t sleep very well this summer. For about a month, I didn’t sleep much at all. I finally went back to the psychiatrist and asked for sleep meds. They help, but I’m bummed that I need them again, and I don’t like the drugged feeling I live with most days.

I absolutely love summer! I like to be warm, or even hot! I love flip-flops, and no jackets, and bike rides, and eating outside. Because of the sleep issues, and the extra rain this summer, I started looking for a way to extend the season.

Several friends posted pictures of their vacations in Cabo San Lucas, and they were stunning. I wanted to go!

~There is no time change! I wouldn’t have to worry about jet lag further messing with my sleep!

~There’s a direct flight from Denver-only 2 1/2 hrs.

~It’s in the safe part of Mexico.

I tossed the idea around in my brain for several weeks. I prayed about it. I talked to my husband. There were 2 weeks that were possibilities, but I just didn’t feel I could make the decision. It’s not that I couldn’t decide, for you praying folks-you’ll get this: I didn’t feel I should decide yet. It wasn’t right. It wasn’t time. I don’t know-I just didn’t feel right doing it through most of August.

At the beginning of September, I looked at my calendar and the week of the 13th was totally clear. Nothing. Nada. No appointments. No clients. No podcasts. Nothing. I prayed about it, and felt OK to book it.

We have a timeshare available to trade, so the next piece of this puzzle was to find a place to stay. The most beautiful place, Grand Solmar at Land’s End Resort and Spa was available. We could get a 1 bedroom with a full kitchen, right on the beach.

All I had to do was push the button. I pushed it!

I booked our flights and we were set to go in 2 weeks! My biggest relief with the timing is that my daughter Katie’s 21st birthday was September 21. I asked her if she was OK with us coming home on the 20th. She was fine with that and the plans just fell into place. We had no headaches booking this trip.

My prayer for the trip: “God, please just let me rest. I’ve been so tired. Sleep hasn’t been easy or restful. My body is tired. My mind is tired. My spirit is tired. Please let me enjoy your beautiful creation! Show me the ocean, and let me walk barefoot in the waves. Let me lay in the sun, boogie board, snorkel, and maybe go out on a boat at sunset. Thank you for the ability to just go like this. Thank you for the time-share to trade, and the money to pay for the plane ticket. Thank you for the time-off. Thank you thank you thank you.”

I’ve sensed a change coming in my ministry for several months, since the release of my book. I called my web designer and told him I’d like to update my site. I’ve been working with a coach to update my relationship intensives (now to be called retreats). My main goal for Cabo was to rest, but when I rest, my brain gets excited. I knew I’d have lots of inspiration from the ocean and palm trees, so I took my computer to begin the process of these updates.

I was so excited.

Can anyone relate? Have you ever looked forward to something so much, and felt it was so needed, and even blessed by God? Share your story in the comment section below!

Obviously, this is just the beginning of the story. I’ll write part 2 soon!

This post written by Colorado Life Coach, Carrie O’Toole, M.A.

Colorado Life Coach: Riding Through Life With A Flat Tire

3876813093_05c78eb7a8_oI couldn’t keep up!

No matter how hard I pedaled, no matter which gear I used.

I couldn’t keep up!

I’ve been biking all summer. I can’t ever keep up with my husband. I like to think it’s because he’s 6’4″ tall, and his tires are waaay bigger than mine. But this last week, I just couldn’t keep up with anyone in my family. I was huffing and puffing, and needed to stop more than normal.

What was wrong with me?

I’ve been slow all summer. My sleep has been an issue for about a month now, so I figured my energy must be low.

Over the weekend, my husband said my back tire looked low. He filled it up for me. About 10 minutes into our ride, he said it looked low again. We made a detour to the bike store. Once again, they filled my back tire, and we headed to a restaurant for lunch. By the end of our meal, my tire was totally flat again.

I walked my bike back to the store while my husband rode home to get the car. Turns out, I needed a new tube.

The next day we tried again.

Oh my gosh! I rode like never before! I was way out front, and having to wait for my family. I was using gears I didn’t realize I was good enough to use. I didn’t need to stop. I wasn’t even winded.

What the heck?!!!!

You mean it wasn’t me? All summer long, it wasn’t me? It was my tire!

Does anyone know what it feels like to try to live on almost no sleep, or depressed, or anxious?

It feels like…

~What is wrong with me?

~Why does life seem easier for everyone else?

~Why can’t I  just function without all these problems?

~Life would be so much easier if I wasn’t exhausted all the time.

I don’t want to complain, but it’s hard when I’m always exhausted!

What if…I have a flat tire? What if…I’m not lazy, or out of shape, or whatever else I’ve thought about myself?

What if my brain chemistry is off?

What if I’ve been through a lot in my life, and it takes a lot of energy to recover emotionally?

What if someone could replace my inner-tube, and life could be easier?

I’m not a drug pusher! Believe me, I’ve fought against taking medication most of my life. I’ve tried chiropractic, supplements, baths, exercise, 5HTP, Melatonin, hormones, massage, alcohol (sort of kidding, but a margarita here and there makes me sleepy), essential oils, and anything else you may suggest that I forgot to list here.

Sometimes my brain just doesn’t work right. We live in a fallen world. Sleep is important. My hope and prayer is that I won’t need medication to sleep the rest of my life.

I’m not one to just take the pills and hope life will get better. I’m in therapy every week. My checking account can vouch for this! Medication is not a substitute for working through your problems.

But you know what? It’s a heck of a lot better than riding on a flat tire.

This post written by Colorado Life Coach, Carrie O’Toole, M.A.


Contact Carrie O’Toole to schedule a confidential telephone call or appointment for coaching.