Posts Tagged ‘Compassion Counseling Center’


Lessons Learned from a Mammoth Charity Garage Sale…

The nonprofit counseling center that I helped to start in 2015 is now in its 4th year! In fact Compassion Counseling Center is nearing the 4200 hour mark for number of sessions it has provided to our area citizens.

Unfortunately, there is still a gap in what our clients often can pay and what it costs us to provide an hour of therapy. We need a total of about $ 6000, bare minimum, to cover this gap for 2019. We have chosen to never turn a client away because of an inability to pay because we believe that changing mindsets for the better is the key to improving life in our communities.

This past Saturday the small church that hosts Compassion out of pure kindness, Oakdale United Methodist Church, also hosted a massive garage sale for Compassion.


My New Adventure…

Forest Trail 1Those new to MaryAnn In Progress (MIP) may be wondering why I decided to leave my volunteer position at Compassion. Go here to learn more about Compassion.

Since Compassion’s opening almost a year ago, we have completed 800 hours + of counseling. The average fee is a little over $ 7 per session. Our cost for providing counseling is currently over $ 15 per session. We rely on donations to make up the difference.

I began as Compassion’s Board secretary and then as a daily volunteer who scheduled appointments, arranged rooms for counseling and church purposes, created new client files, drafted grant proposals, promoted Compassion, and did any other tasks that needed an extra set of hands and/or feet. It became so time-consuming that I finally had to give up posting here 3 times per week. While I thoroughly enjoyed working with the other volunteer staff members, something else was going on internally.


My Next Favorite Thing???

This might shock you…I want an Apple Watch.

I think.

Since I’ve blogged about loving all things Samsung and only use Apple products for music purposes, this will shock the family and most of my friends. Way back in the dark ages, I used to teach computer skills to preschoolers. We had 2 Apple computers and 2 Windows driven computers. I didn’t really have a bias one way or the other then about which operating system was better. But when the Apple computers constantly had to be rebooted and were pricier in all respects than the Windows computers, I became a huge fan of Microsoft-driven products.

Thus, I was reluctant to even buy my kids iPods when they first came out. But even I have to admit that Apple really developed and marketed that technology well and transferred that success to iPhones. I just have a fundamental problem with waiting in line for more than an hour for anything, except maybe a Harry Potter movie at an IMAX theater.

The price for an Apple Watch also stops me. The cheap version will be $ 349. And I know me. I will want at least the middle of the road model, starting at $ 1,000. If I choose to let my first-world self to have full rein, I could get the full meal deal for a mere $ 17,000. Trust me….this 3/4 Scot will NOT be buying that model.

As someone who religiously tracks her treadmill progress, I have fallen in love with fitness devices that are “intelligent” and fit on my wrist like a watch. However, the devices I’ve encountered so far don’t seem to be able to do everything I wish they would do. One has a wrist band that I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing into my own bathroom. One makes me push buttons to signal when I’m going to sleep, which I usually forget to do. Another does not have great support and the battery is difficult to change out. Le sigh!

The Apple Watch “threatens” to not only handle all of the above, but also allows me to text, email and phone people by speakerphone with its Siri technology. And I can use my favorite apps on it. Why would this be helpful? Because I’m usually fishing around in my voluminous purse for my phones (I carry one for me and one for Compassion Counseling Center) or digging them out of my too-tight jeans (You will hear me whoop and holler if baggy jeans ever become popular again.) only to answer them when the call goes to voicemail. Having something on my wrist that I can easily locate would be a welcome relief.

The geek writers say its GPS functionality doesn’t work well and the battery barely lasts a day before needing recharging, but I’ll lay odds that Apple will improve this over time. Yes, there are Android versions already available, but have you seen much advertising about them? Neither have I. And I don’t really spend time investigating stuff I never see advertised.

The Apple watch also can send your heartbeat to another person. While this might be a cute thing to do, I’d really prefer that it send it to my cardiologist when I’m having my next heart attack. But give Apple time. I’m sure they’ll not only figure this out, but probably figure out how to send them my blood pressure and EKG in another 10 years.

While I write this, Apple is informing those willing to already purchase the Apple Watch that they won’t be released or shipped until June. (I feel a line forming.) Thus, it will probably be quite some time before we common folks can truly evaluate it.

I just have an inkling that this technology is going to evolve into something I just can’t live without. If so, move over, Dick Tracy. Here I come.

Monday’s Post: Did you know the definition of the WOW? 

You Might Also Like: My Favorite Things: Samsung Anything; and My Favorite Things: Oakdale United Methodist Church


A New Direction…

upward direction

Many, many moons ago one of my favorite nieces (Yes, you read that correctly and it is intentional.) recommended that I become a Spiritual Director. What is Spiritual Direction?

Here’s what Reverend Jeffrey S. Gaines says about it: “Spiritual direction can mean different things to different people. Some people understand it to be the art of listening carried out in the context of a trusting relationship. It is when one person is trained to be a competent guide who then “companions” another person, listening to that person’s life story with an ear for the movement of the Holy, of the Divine.”

I dismissed this notion at the beginning because the only training program for it, at the time, was 5 hours away from my home in a city I hate to navigate, thanks to its incessant, fast-paced and rude traffic snarls. I, instead, pursued a master’s in counseling.

As I did, it became evident that I’m not really cut out to be a counselor. Why?


To Fleece or Not to Fleece…

A Different Kind of Fleece

A Different Kind of Fleece

My dad was a minister. Since he was multi-talented, Dad often had other professions: college professor, consortium director, nonprofit executive director, and Navy chaplain. When employed elsewhere, Dad often filled in as a guest preacher for ministers taking vacations, for churches in between ministers, or to promote Christian charitable organizations.

Since he seldom preached in the same church twice in one month, Dad recycled one particular sermon repeatedly. And since my brothers and I often accompanied him on this “preaching circuit,” we heard this particular sermon so often that we practically had it memorized. Thus, the following name was a dirty word to us, growing up as the PKs, or Preacher’s Kids.


Gideon was a rough and tumble “judge” in ancient Israel. Since God didn’t like the idea of the Hebrews having a king, but understood the need for an day-to-day leader, He created the position of judge to help lead those wayward Israelites. These judges didn’t sit in courtrooms; they were often leading the Hebrews into battle and spoke for God in foreign lands.


Lessons Learned from 9 Weeks at a Nonprofit Counseling Center…

phone booth

When I’m not writing, reading, or taking care of my family and home, then I’m probably volunteering.  Lately I volunteer at Compassion Counseling Center, Inc. Compassion has a unique mission: to help the hurting and to support the next generation of counselors.

Compassion is into its 10th week of counseling now. And as the Board secretary for Compassion, I just reported on “the status” of this “experiment” at our first quarterly Board meeting for 2015. We are off to a good start despite ice storms, rolling Spring Breaks and people not even knowing we exist.

Compassion, as of right now, has completed 72 hours of counseling and 35 people have been seen by Compassion counselors. Because we are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, we are able to offer counseling at a very reduced rate. Our average session fee is currently $ 13.83.

Fifty percent of our clients pay less than that, based on a very generous sliding fee scale. Some pay nothing at all. We have 14 hours of counseling sessions scheduled for the rest of this week. That is well above our average (over the past 2 months) of 7.22 counseling hours per week.


Word of the Day: Flashback…

These roses are the same as those sent by the hubby yesterday!

These roses are the same as those sent by the hubby yesterday!

Yesterday was a somewhat monumental day for me…for several reasons.

Compassion Counseling Center had all 4 counseling rooms going at the same time…a first for the Center since it opened on January 15th. This week we are seeing 7 new clients…another first. And two of our three counselors-in-training are pretty much getting the hours we want them to have each week so that they can complete their practicums on time. The other counselor-in-training is closing in on that mark quickly and the large reason for not being there already is simply a matter of scheduling, not a lack of people requesting our assistance! I’ll take these kinds of birthday gifts any year. They are directly sent from Heaven.

But, I realized it was significant for a whole host of other reasons. As Facebook did what Facebook does best–alerting my family and friends that it was a special day for me and that awesome group of people took the time to extend birthday wishes, I couldn’t help but flashback to previous birthdays that involved them.


Word of the Week: parvenu

Book Club: What does an 108 year old rabbi say about the Messiah? Go here to find out.

Compassion Counseling Center Update: We officially start on 1/15/2014! Thanks to a “tribute gift” of $ 1000, Compassion begins counseling in 16 days! A tribute gift is a donation made in honor of, or in memory of, someone special to the donor. Go here to see the beginning of the Tribute Gift Page and go here to honor or memorialize someone special to you! Since Compassion is a 501(c)(3) charity, all donations are tax-deductible.

Also, Compassion will have a Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony on Wednesday, January 14, 2015 at 4:30 pm at Oakdale United Methodist Church, 2675 Overhill Drive, Stephenville, TX 76401. YOU are invited! We will have refreshments and tours for all those attending. If you would like to attend, please go here to let me know. Yes, family and friends are welcome! I just need a “head count” for the sake of ensuring enough refreshments for everyone attending.


Word of the Week: meed

Book Club: Are you willing to take a walk on the wild side with me in January 2015? Yes? Terrific! Go here for all the details.

Compassion Counseling Center Update: We have an approved budget of $ 21,130 for 2015! That’s the good news. The bad news? There’s only $ 614 in our bank account right now. Care to forego a latte to help us get started in 23 days? Go to the ad to the right of this post to donate online!  Care to write a check instead of donating online? Send to: Compassion Counseling Center, 2675 Overhill Drive, Stephenville, TX 76401. We can post memorial/honorary gifts at the web site to remember/honor your loved one and we can list organizations as our partners for a donation of $ 500 or more. And please share our web site with family and friends: Thanks for thinking of us and please pray that we will have a “full docket” of clients on January 15th!

Twelve Days of MIP continues this week. Go here to see the first post from last Wednesday!

Good morning, Word Lovers! Last week’s WOW was soigne and Merriam-Webster Online says that soigne is: well-groomed, sleek, elegantly maintained or designed. If that is the case, then I’m seldom soigne, even on a good day.

This week’s WOW is meed. Not mead, which I already know, but meed. I have a feeling about 10 of you are about to tell me how clueless I am on this one:

meed (ˈmēd) 1. The way 90% of Americans spell mead *le sigh* 2. my seed 3. when I feed me

What’s your definition guess for meed? Go here to educate me!

Wednesday’s Post: My 9th and 10th most favorite posts of 2014

You Might Also Like: Word of the Week: soigne; Word of the Week: refulgence; and Word of the Week: malversation


Word of the Week: soigne

Book Club: This Friday’s post will be the Slow Reader Friday discussion of Christine Caine’s UnstoppableThis book is quickly becoming one of my favorites!

Compassion Counseling Center: We have $ 760 to raise by 1/15/15. If you would like to help people in our area get much-needed counseling, please go to the link to the right and donate. Memorial/Tribute gifts can be given in honor of a special person in your life and organizations can become a Compassion partner for a contribution of at least $ 500. Our partners and our Tribute honorees will be published on our web site. Compassion is now a 501(c)(3) public charity and U.S. donations to Compassion are tax deductible.

The 12 Days of MIP:  Beginning this Wednesday I will start revealing my favorite blog posts for this year. Do you have favorites? Go here and tell me about why you liked a particular post!