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  • Writer's pictureAdrea Tilford

Finding Joy and Peace in the In Between

Updated: Apr 23, 2022

I had a counseling appointment yesterday. It was wonderful and hard. I've been on a break from counseling for about 4 months and though I really enjoyed the break, I had some big topics to work through with the safety of my counselor's presence.

I cried a lot. I was emotionally spent.

So, I took a walk for integration. It helped some.

Yet, as I drove to pick up my children from school I could still feel the dysregulation. My mind still a little foggy, my body exhausted. I knew I needed to continue caring for me even as I began again to care for my girls.

One had practice and I took the other to the bookstore. We sat in the cool air and read. The smell of the new books eased stress. The lack of a next step eased stress. The focus on images in a story eased stress. By the end of our time at the bookstore, I was feeling regulated and ready to tackle the night ahead. My regulation directly impacts the regulation of my children so this is important, essential work.

This story shows how sensory integration strategies can help regulate the nervous system.


Sitting on the floor.

Cool air.

A comforting smell.


They all help soothe the nervous system.

Saturday I'll release another podcast episode. It's been a journey to say the least and the more I create the podcast and talk through the why of having it, the more I believe it's work that is helpful to my journey as a writer and speaker AND that it's cool to connect with people I otherwise wouldn't. I get to hear some incredible stories of how God is at work in this world. That's pretty cool.

My next interview is with Kayla Hunley. I met Kayla when she was in her early twenties, finishing undergrad and saying yes to babysitting for a mama who had some particulars around trauma informed care. (me) Much has changed for Kayla in the time between then and now. Her story is inspiring, hopeful and insightful.

Kayla and I talked about a lot in our short time - and of course we went over my 30 minute aim. In her current work, Kayla has learned about Adverse Childhood Experiences or ACES. In the mid 90s Kaiser Permanente completed a study in which they looked at the correlation between adverse childhood experiences and chronic health manifestations later in life. What they found was staggering and should be changing the way we do life. Many ACEs are preventable. And all ACEs can be treated with integration processes and caregiving shifts more effectively if we continue to learn about them. There's so much here and I encourage you to keep doing your research if this is new to you. The CDE offers a list of ACEs and more information here.

Kayla Hunley reached out to me soon after I publicly began to talk about hosting a podcast. She reached out with a desire to share the healing work that God was and is doing with her diagnosis of Chrones disease. When we first talked, Kayla was unaware of her positive ACE score. In the wait, God has helped her see and begin to integrate the traumatic events from her childhood and is leading her to help others' with positive ACE scores in their healing process. Kayla leans into the promise that though there is much time between now and the full restoration we'll experience in heaven, joy and peace can be found in the in between. Joy and peace exude from Kayla - in person and on zoom! She has much to teach us about healing and the in between.

Listen in on Saturday to learn more!

Kayla is currently a pediatric occupational therapist with experience treating behaviors, sensory concerns, and trauma in children from birth to 23 years old. She was diagnosed with severe Crohn's disease in September 2020 and has on a journey to heal mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Throughout her healing journey, Kayla has identified her own trauma from childhood and witnessed how it manifests first-hand in her life. This understanding makes her not only a better wife but occupational therapist too. She currently resides in Colorado Springs, Colorado with her beloved husband of 5 years and her two beagle mixes, Bailey and Marshall. In her free time, she enjoys researching sensory and behavioral interventions for her patients, sewing, visiting local coffee shops, and exploring the great Colorado outdoors.

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