Monday, October 31, 2016

Extraordinary Listening

by TLC Nielsen

I met Juli Chaffee at church more than a decade ago. As a mother of three, business owner, counselor and spouse of 25 plus years, Juli has learned the art of true listening. She runs the Crossroads Counseling Center and is a new board member for Refuge for Women, a nonprofit organization which officially announced a new ministry home in McHenry County in October 2016 to help victims of human trafficking.

Welcome, Juli!

Q) You are one busy lady and also a runner. Where do you manage to find the time and energy?
A) Time is probably my most valuable resource right now. I wish I had more of it!!  There are so many important and valuable relationships, experiences, goals, and tasks that I need to attend to every day, so I work intentionally at prioritizing- but sometimes what I want to do and what I need to do clash and I can’t attend to everything.  I try very hard to find balance so that every day includes a little bit of self-care in the midst of all the “shoulds.”

Q) Besides running, what else do you do for fun?
A) I love travel, camping, reading, cooking, entertaining, and spending time with family and friends.

Q) Why did you become a counselor?
A) I’m not sure if there is a short answer to that- there are so many different layers to what led me into this profession.  I knew from an early age - probably 13 or 14 - that I wanted to be a social worker.  My natural gifting includes mercy, empathy and wisdom.  I also have a passion to be with people who are hurting and have learned over the years that staying present with someone in the midst of their pain, and then helping them walk through it with patience, acceptance and strength, is very holy and important work.  I love what I do and find it deeply satisfying.  

Q) How did you decide to branch out into your own practice/business?
A) Having my own practice was a goal I always had, so it was a natural progression towards that end.

Juli Chaffee

Q) Who influenced you the most throughout your life?
A) Honestly, there isn’t one person that I can point to who carries more influential weight than another.  My life has been shaped, in joy and pain, by many people and experiences.  If I had to narrow it down though, I think my kids have most influenced me.  For me, being a mom was life changing. It was the most important decision of my life to create a person (yes, of course my husband helped) and then to RAISE them!  Holy cow, what a scary privilege and honor. I worked very hard at “learning” who my kids were, what they needed, and how to best care for each of them uniquely in each stage of growth or sometimes in each hour of the day.  They helped me learn how to be kind when I was tired and grumpy, patient when there was “just one more story", grace-filled when I didn’t “do it perfectly,” joyful in the messy, to laugh every day and, most importantly, how to trust in myself rather than the opinion of others. 

Q) In what types of volunteer activities are you involved?
A) Unfortunately, I have had to limit my commitments due to the previously mentioned busy life:-) One area I am committed to is my position on the board of Refuge for Women. I am in love with this organization: what they stand for, their model for healing and restoration, and the integrity that is woven into all aspects of the program.

Q) How did you end up as a board member for Refuge for Women, an organization dedicated to helping human trafficking victims move forward?
A) I attended their fundraiser last spring and through a series of conversations with different people at the event, my name was given to Karen Schultz, the Chicago Director of Refuge.   We met for coffee to talk about the ministry, the needs of the board and what I might be able to contribute.  After a couple conversations, some prayer and “interviews” by other board members, I was asked to join!

Thanks for checking in on the Extraordinary Ordinary blog, where ordinary folks with extraordinary journeys share their adventures! If you’d like more information on how to help the efforts to rescue human trafficking victims, here are a few links:

Refuge for Women on Facebook:
National Human Trafficking Hotline: 888-373-7888
Free online course on how to help from Moody Bible Institute: