Last weekend, the movers loaded up all our stuff in a big truck and hauled it from Grand Rapids to a storage facility in Metro Detroit. My husband and I have been driving back and forth every weekend since I began here and although it was bittersweet to say good-bye, we were relieved to have that step in our journey complete. We were tired, a bit sore and ready for some self-care. It was a beautiful sunny day, so we drove the extra 45 miles to the Big Lake.

I was fortunate enough to grow up in a small town on the shores of Lake Michigan, and it has always been my favorite place to reflect. There is something about the smell of the water and the feeling of wind on my face that just soothes my soul. We took CeCe for a very long stroll along the boardwalk and when we reached the pier, I was flooded with memories.  I could see swimming in the lake as a child, getting sunburned after a long day at the beach as a teen, bringing my husband to this very spot on one of our first dates, and clutching the little hands of my sons as they toddled so they wouldn’t fall in. I immediately felt peaceful and calm. It refreshed me for the busy week ahead!

Our days here at Vista Maria are often full and may feel anything but calm. When I bring folks for tours, you have cheerful smiles on your faces- but I know only too well that fulfilling our mission can be very hard work. Everyone here contributes to healing our youth and families. Giving of ourselves is rewarding but exhausting- and it is said that you can’t serve from an empty vessel.  I sincerely hope that you are taking time for self-care to fill your cup so you can pour into others. What are your favorite ways to take care of yourself? Do you have a favorite spot, like me? Do you encourage fellow Good Shepherds to take care of themselves, too?







P.S.  A quick update about the CEO transition; things are moving along nicely as we near the end of April. Last week I officially became the Chief Administrator from a licensing perspective, which means that I am legally responsible for all operations. I spent this Wednesday in Lansing with the Michigan Federation for Children and Families, advocating for our youth and families. Yesterday, with the support of my colleagues, I participated in my first Board of Directors meeting. And of course, Angela has been very helpful and introducing me to friends of Vista Maria and sharing years of wisdom before her departure in late May!