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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Woman's Bible Therapy Group

Saturday, April 15, 2017 @ 8:45 PM

Are you wanting a closer relationship with God? Are you struggling with feelings of shame, hopelessness, grief, doubt, fear, and insecurity? Have you experienced a painful event and are unable to move past it? The women of the Bible also experienced many painful events that led to feelings of shame, hopelessness, grief, doubt, fear, and insecurity, just to name a few, all while living in a time period that was radically different from ours. Yet, every one of these women share our human condition. What can we learn from them as they persevered through those events? How can we make personal application of those lessons? The focus of this group is to discover the lessons the extraordinary women of the Bible teach us, to make personal reflection of those lessons, and to make life changes by walking them out through application of interventions such as, psychoeducation, spiritual disciplines, coping skills, and journaling.

DATES:
Beginning: Thursday, April 6, 2017
Ending: Thursday, June 8, 2017
Time: 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

Cost: $20 per session (10 sessions)

Seating is limited.

LOCATION:
2425 N. Courtenay Parkway, Suite 9
Merritt Island, FL 32953

You can PURCHASE the BOOK from Amazon:
Women of the Bible: Heroines and the Lessons They Can Still Teach Us
• ISBN-10: 1618933671
• ISBN-13: 978-1618933676

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Melissa K. Weedman, MA, MHC, BCCC @ (321) 543-3833

Friday, April 07, 2017

Bullet Journaling

Friday, April 07, 2017 @ 3:47 PM

We’ve all been there: you make plans with the best of intentions, even putting them into the calendar on your phone, and you insist that you won’t forget. The day comes around, you are sitting at home and get a message from your friend asking where you are, and you panic. How could you have forgotten?

In this digital age, it can seem like our technology is a foolproof method for remembering. We have apps to do anything and everything, and doing anything analog just seems needlessly cumbersome and time-consuming. Yet, we also find ourselves forgetting appointments, feeling unprepared for the day, and not accomplishing what we planned. This is because there is less intentionality in typing something into your phone or computer versus writing it down. Your mind isn’t forced to really think about what it is doing because typing is so quick. The note, appointment, or whatever else you may store digitally is forgotten as soon as it is typed. All of these lapses in our day-to-day memory can leave us feeling mentally taxed, far too busy, and anxious for the days ahead.

What if I were to propose a simple solution? The “Bullet Journal” is an analog system for planning and organizing your life. Now, you may be tempted to tune out because you’ve tried physical planners before and never lasted more than a few months at best, but hear me out. The bullet journal is essentially a do-it-yourself planner/journal/notebook. All you need to make one is a notebook and a pen. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive because you can make your bullet journal whatever and however you want. You can plan out your schedule, but you can also plan trips, make lists of ideas or books to read, make sketches, set goals, and track habits and emotions! This blog will cover the foundations of starting your bullet journal, with ideas and examples.

The main concept behind bullet journaling is the idea of “rapid logging,” or making quick notes, in order to avoid getting bogged down by the task of journaling or planning. As you can see, I have included some examples of “spreads” or pages as I prefer to do them in my own bullet journal, but they can look like whatever would be most helpful to you. Usually there is a little bit of trial and error throughout the process of bullet journaling, and you will eventually find out what works for you! There is a plethora of inspiration on Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, blogs such as bohoberry.com, and the official bullet journal website: bulletjournal.com.

To read the entire article from our therapist, Laura Lanier, go to the website listed on this blog.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

feeling Stuck?

Tuesday, April 04, 2017 @ 4:42 PM

I often hear my clients say they feel "stuck". This of course can mean a number of things, some of which may include, feeling afraid, sad, angry, lonely or lost. Like being lost in the forest, with no sense of direction, no clear path to follow, and no exit signs, it can feel overwhelming and very scary. Feeling this way over a period of time is exhausting and so you freeze or get "stuck".
There are many ways we can lose our way or get stuck in life. Sometimes we lose our way because we stopped paying attention to our own inner warning signs to either "slow down", "turn around" or "walk away". Sometimes we find ourselves lost in another person's overgrown and chaotic life, and by focusing so much on how to help them find their way though their mess we never realize how far we wondered off our own path. Sometimes our focus gets blurred by the hurts from the past, the pressures of the present and worries about tomorrow. We lose our way because we are not watching where we are going. We are distracted.
I have found that offering my clients a way to see themselves for an outside perspective can be most helpful. It is like stepping out of the painting of your life and looking back at it from outside the frame. This way, together the client and I can better pinpoint where they may have left their path and then determine the best ways to slowly and carefully make their way back. As a fellow sojourner, I too have wandered and lost my way. I have come to realize that having a trusted fellow traveler as a companion can be the greatest comfort of all. This is one of the reasons I love being a professional counselor. To be able to walk alongside someone and encourage or support their transformation is a gift many have given me. What a privileged to share this sacred journey. Make the choice to call and ask for help today. Your path to new life is waiting!

Monday, April 03, 2017

The Key to Overcoming Pornography Addiction? Get to the Root.

Monday, April 03, 2017 @ 5:38 PM

By Eddie Capparucci, LPC, CSAS

It is difficult watching men who have been struggling for years to get themselves free of pornography. I remember going through the challenge of erasing porn from my life and the feelings of frustration and hopelessness each time I failed. Today, as a Christian counselor I get the opportunity to walk with men as they take up the battle against pornography and it’s heartbreaking to hear their stories of endless attempts to get sober only to succumb to temptation over and over again.

“I have tried everything that has been asked of me in the past,” said Larry. “The Internet security, support groups, accountability partners, you name it and I have done it. And don’t get me wrong, they certainly help for a while but it never fails as time goes on the same hurtful feelings start coming back and I find myself using once again. Sometimes I feel like I have done nothing but put a band-aid over my sexual addiction. It stops the acting out until it falls off.”

As Larry spoke I knew right away what he was struggling with in his quest to be porn free. He had never gotten to the root of his sexual addiction problem. You see, at the heart of all addictions is emotional pain. Addictive behaviors are used in an attempt to conceal the hurt we feel by serving as a distraction. And they do an excellent job at keeping our emotional pain in check – for a brief time. But once the “high” of our addiction has worn off, we find ourselves right back where we started.

Now you may be saying to yourself “I don’t feel any emotional pain. I use pornography simply because I like it.” This is not unusual. What that means is you have done an excellent job in suppressing troubling emotions. In fact, you may have a difficult time in expressing any emotion beyond anger, happiness or sadness. But lying at the core of your addiction is a rationale for why you abuse sex. And that is exactly what you’re doing – abusing sex.

The emotional pain that leads to sexual addictions can take on many different forms. Over the years I have identified numerous reasons men abuse sex including: an overwhelming need for affirmation; a sense of entitlement; the need for control; the hunger for attention; feelings of weakness; inability to emotionally engage; early sexual stimulation or abuse; and a stress buster. It is not uncommon for men to deal with two or more of these emotional troubles.

Behavior modification has its place in treating sexual addictions and is extremely valuable. But a key to freeing yourself from abusing sex is learning to identify and manage your emotional pain. And that requires getting to the root.

Look for Eddie Capparucci's new book entitled "The Making of a Sex Addict: 9 Reasons Why Men Abuse Sex due out in late 2017.

3 Reasons Why Your Might Need Pornography Counseling

Monday, April 03, 2017 @ 5:33 PM

By Eddie Capparucci, LPC, CSAS

I can’t tell you how many times I have spoken to men who say “yeah, I look at porn but I don’t think I have a problem”. To them, pornography and masturbation are something all men do and it’s not a big deal. What they fail to understand is they're engaging in pornography is damaging to others as well as themselves. So how do you know if you have a serious porn problem that requires professional help? Here are just three examples.

1. Your wife says she's upset and you still use.
If you are getting pushback from your spouse about your pornography use and you continue to use it knowing the pain it causes you need to see a counselor. It is obvious your need and desire for pornography and masturbation are clouding your ability to see and address her emotional pain. “If she’s upset with porn that’s her problem, not mine,” is something I have heard on numerous occasions from men attempting to justify their actions. Nice attitude to have toward someone you supposedly love. A professional counselor will help you get out of your own head and focus more on addressing the pain your wife feels. Be advise if find yourself in this position your marriage may be in serious trouble.

2. You would rather spend time with porn than people.
If your predominant thoughts when at work, school, or church are centered on pornography; or you find yourself preferring to sit home and watch porn rather than be with friends and family then you need help from a professional counselor. Obsessive sexual thoughts centered on porn images captured by your brain, or an anxiousness in wanting to get to your next opportunity to view porn are key issues that can be addressed with the help of a competent mental health professional. Whether you are aware of it or not your obsession with pornography is crippling your ability to emotionally connect with others, which will result in missing numerous opportunities that would bring you a sense of joy and fulfillment.

3. Porn/masturbation is hampering your sex life.
It is not unusual for men who engage in chronic pornography/masturbation to suffer from various sexual dysfunctions including: erectile dysfunction, delayed ejaculation, and leaky erections. Some men must engage in sexual fantasy by replaying pornographic images in their mind in order to become and stay aroused when having sex with their partner. Chronic pornography use also has been proven to have a negative impact on the brain through the above normal increase of dopamine that is released when viewing. Over time, the brain suffers damage that is similar to that of someone who abuses drugs.

A certified sexual addiction counselor can help in the process of rebooting the brain, while assisting you in learning how to remove pornography from your life.

Sunday, April 02, 2017

What does the BIble say about being "Offended?".

Sunday, April 02, 2017 @ 11:19 AM

In todays world there are many things that can cause us to take offense. Friends, family members and even people we don't know sometimes say things or do things that can cause us to feel insulted and even hurt. Sometimes people are just careless with their words and they say the first thing that comes to mind, while others may use words as weapons and in a deliberate attempt to hurt us and to see what our reactiion will be. Either way in the end we walk away offended.

With that said I think its fair to say that at one time or another in some way or form we have all been offended by others. Hurtful words, sarcastic remarks, and even a dirty look can offend us. So how can we get past what someone said, or what someone did so that we can move on and forgive and forget? I will tell you how. We can choose not to get offended. Although it does sound easier said than done, when we realize the amount of strength and power we give to the offense we would probably think twice about allowing our offended feelings to ever creep up on us again. When we let what others say or what they do effect us, we are giving them control over us. God loves us. He wants our eyes to stay fixed on Him. He wants us to be more concerned with Him and less concerned with what others say and do.

In an effort to change our outlook on how not to be offended, we need to realize a few things; the first and most important is to remember who's you are; Your a child of the most high God. We should all be standing in His strength. We should look to the Lord for the answers to the questions we have regarding how to handle 'life's issues" and other situations that we all will come across living in this crazy world. No worldly situation is too big or too small for God to address in the Bible and in the case of being "offended" there is no exception. God addresses "feelings of being offended" in the Bible and here is what scripture says about being offended;

Proverbs 19:11 says;
"Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense."

God blesses us when we do the right thing. That means when someone does offend us and we hold our tongue instead of returning insult for insult , or when we just walk away without a word after someone deliberately offends us, God blesses us. Don't give in to others who try to manipulate circumstances to get to you.

James 1:19 says;

"Know this, my beloved brothers; let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.

James 1:19 is saying that getting angry is foolish. Think about the energy that is put into getting angry and then think about the result of the anger you feel toward the situation. Did any amount of that anger fix the situation? Anger is a waste of time. Whats done is done, anger won't change anything but, prayer will. Would it not be better to say a prayer asking your Heavenly Father for strength and for wisdom during this time?

2 Corinthians 12:10 says;

"For the sake of Christ, then I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

When we turn our eyes to the Lord and look to please Him only, we can stand strong in the face of adversity.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Hope

Saturday, April 01, 2017 @ 12:53 PM

Hope

Mark 5:4 , 15 " ...No one was strong enough to subdue him...When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind;

Have you ever been in a place where you felt like this? Where there seemed to be no solution, no help to be found, your situation was dire because no one had what it took to change the circumstances or those involved including you?

I think we all have been in that place, are there now, or might be heading into it. At these times we often feel alone, afraid, anxious and powerless. Add the self inflicted sense of false guilt because " Christians shouldn't feel this way" or the harsh, legalistic shaming from others that tells us "you need to have more faith..." Or perhaps worse, just neglect and a sense of rejection, and you have a recipe for hopelessness. The Enemy seems to like to use these tactics of our own inner critic, others, and top it of with the resulting isolation from the body, or the pack so to speak. Have you ever watched the nature shows where you see the Lion or the Wolves hunting? Have you noticed that they seem to target those animals that have become separated from the herd? Folks we are sitting ducks when we isolate. It leaves room for all the above. Remember scripture tells us " ...yet we are not unaware of his schemes." Yet when we hurt, we forget and cannot see, that's when we really need one another.

Here is the key, looking back at Mark 5, the man possessed had no hope, as he could not be helped, bound or even caught so someone could try to help. He was out in a desolate, lonely place ....separated. But Jesus....The words jumped off the page at me today that there was one who just so happened to land in that place where he was. Do you think that was an accident? Jesus could and did subdue and bind the Enemy, He also in that process, restored the man to life, broke his isolation and exile, and told him to tell, others how much God had done for him. Wow!! So what in life is overwhelming you, keeping you apart? Have you become hopeless of change or restoration? Run to Him, He has the power, grace and mercy not only to overcome the Enemy, but to heal, restore, and lead you to healthy, life giving relationships in the body.

Recommended reading:

Safe People Cloud & Townsend
Safest Place on Earth. Dr Larry Crabb
He Loves Me Wayne Jacobsen

Friday, March 31, 2017

Hypnosis vs. Therapy: What's the Difference?

Friday, March 31, 2017 @ 10:44 AM

Hypnosis vs. Therapy: What's the Difference?


10:10 Clinical Director Ara Trembly has written a detailed comparison of the two modalities for The Hypnosis Examiner. You may access the article at:
http://www.qissagebodysystems.org/hypnotherapy/newsletter/Volume%201%20Special%20Edition.pdf.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Seeing Red: How to keep anger from hijacking your brain

Wednesday, March 29, 2017 @ 11:34 AM

Fuming. Seething. Steaming. Powerful language to describe an equally powerful emotion. Anger is a natural reaction to perceived threats, stress or injustice, but can feel overwhelming. Here’s what’s technically happening behind the scenes when you get mad: The amygdala sounds an alarm triggering the adrenal glands to release catecholamines dopamine, adrenaline and noradrenaline through the veins of your body. When adrenaline reaches your heart, it beats faster and more vigorously, causing blood to be pumped 3 times as fast, preparing you for action. You begin breathing faster, your stomach tightens and your muscles begin feeling tense.

So, how do we keep anger from hijacking our brains?

Anger is not inherently good or bad. It's designed to protect us and others from harm. It also has some benefits, like increasing our confidence and decisiveness as well as motivating ourselves and others to act. Anger becomes a problem if it is felt too intensely or frequently as it has damaging effects on your health. Chronic anger changes the structure of your brain, leading to greater reactivity and perpetuating the anger experience. Anger is also problematic if it is expressed ineffectively as it can hurt others, damage the quality of relationships and lead to losing friends, loved ones and jobs. Reacting in anger can also put you and others at risk of physical harm and leave you feeling remorse and shame.

So, how do we keep anger from hijacking our brains?

Perhaps you already know you have a problem with anger. You say you’ll change, but when push comes to shove, you fall back into the same trap. You’re not alone. Anger is a powerful emotion you don’t want to underestimate, so let’s face it, you’re going to need a plan. The steps below will help you create an individualized plan for disrupting anger before it costs you. I’d recommend detailing your plan in a note on your phone so its readily available. Before you get started creating your plan, define the problem you want to overcome and your intended goal. Then you’ll be able to measure the effectiveness of your plan. For instance,

“Problem: I yell at my kids and wife when I get mad.
Goal: Speak to my family in a calm, respectful tone, even when I feel angry".


Step 1: Know your triggers
A trigger is any stimulus that leads to intense emotion or problematic behaviors. Triggers vary from person to person and are often based on your values and personal history. Imagine carrying a weapon and not knowing what sets it off. That could be dangerous, right? The same is true with emotions. If you want to react well when you get mad, you will need to become aware of what sets you off. Knowing your triggers increases your ability to prepare to cope when these events occur.

Figuring out your triggers may not come naturally to you, but there is a trick: keep an anger log. After you lose your cool, note the date, time, what was going on around you, things people said/did, thoughts you had, emotions you felt and physiological sensations before you got mad (headaches, etc). After tracking these for a couple of weeks, you will begin to notice some common themes. These are your triggers. I’ll post some common triggers soon to give you some clues on what to look for.

Step 2: Acknowledge that you are angry in the moment

Regaining control once you're infuriated is a formidable task. However, most people don’t actually become enraged instantly. Typically our anger escalates gradually, but many people aren’t aware of their mild to moderate emotion. Being unaware of mild to moderate emotions puts you at risk for losing control. Work to notice the physiological signs of anger before its at its peak. Spend some time slowing down when you are angry to label your emotion and notice what it feels like. Observe the changes in your body, the increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, sweaty palms, tension in fists, etc. Scientific research demonstrates that naming your emotion can shift your brain into a more rational state and that mindful awareness of emotion increases our emotional control.

Step 3: Use effective strategies for reducing your anger level
When you are angry, you can take steps to feel calm again. Once you notice a trigger feeling of anger, it's important to make time to practice using techniques that keep anger at a manageable level. The angrier you are, the harder it will be to effectively use these skills in the moment so try practicing when you are only mildly annoyed, gradually using the skills at a higher levels of anger. The primary goal is to bring the physiological arousal down, which is typically best accomplished through relaxation strategies, such as deep breathing. Deep breathing, also called diaphragmatic breathing or belly breathing means breathing in slowly and deeply through your nose, filling up your diaphragm (muscle between your chest and abdomen) for about 10 seconds and then slowly releasing the air out through your mouth for another 10 seconds. (Note: Avoid using any mood-altering substances that might cause you more problems in the future.)


Step 4: Evaluate & Revise Your Plan
After trying out your plan, evaluate how effective it was at reaching your intended goal. You may be tempted to skip this step, but it’s crucial for measuring what actually works and what doesn’t. If it worked, note what worked. If it didn’t work, try to diagnose what went wrong. Did you stick to your plan, following each of the steps? Do you need more time to practice using the skill? Use your evaluations to revise your plan. Keep working the plan and revising until you have a solid plan that works!

Anger can be very complex and this plan may not fully address all of the underlying causes of your anger. If your anger is upsetting or costing you significantly, counseling can help you overcome it. Anger is very treatable. Call Amanda Berge to discuss treatment options. (224) 633-3319

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Kindness in Our Marriage

Tuesday, March 28, 2017 @ 11:54 AM

By Waymon and Charla Hinson

Kindness in marriage? What is it? How does it get shown? We have wondered about these questions and have enjoyed the discussion and hopefully our marriage will be stronger as a result. Since the earliest of days of our marriage, we have been a highly ritualized couple. We have been intentional about these matters. From the earliest days of our 47 years of marriage to each other, we have created rituals, or patterns, around daily events as well as celebrations that signify to each other that those things matter and that we within the circle of those behaviors matter uniquely to each other....

Saturday, March 18, 2017

5 Tips to Enhance Your Marriage

Saturday, March 18, 2017 @ 8:27 PM

5 Tips to Enhance Your Marriage

By:

Lee J. Langley, M.S., LMFT



1) Speak to each other as if your pastor is over for dinner.

2) Avoid addressing your spouse by his/her first name, especially during heated discussions or when you are about to make a request. Use pet names whenever possible. Most husbands (and some wives) hear their proper names as the beginning of some sort of disrespectful interaction (reminds them of when mom was addressing them as kids). Pet names never inspire that feeling

3) Make it each day’s goal to make your spouse’s life better in some way. (Dr. Laura agrees with this one).

4) Remember how you acted with your spouse when you were courting. It’s likely very different than what you do now.

5) When there's conflict always ask yourself: Do I want to be right or do I want to be loved?

The question is: "Why wouldn't couples utilize these very simple and practical concepts to reduce conflict and increase love in their marriages"? The answer I'm given almost every time in counseling is that IT ISN'T FAIR. Husbands and wives feel it just isn't fair that they are expected to act in this way while they feel mistreated by their spouse. In fact, it is this relentless quest for fairness that often derails a relationship that was once very treasured.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Be Shrewd As A Serpent, Yet As Innocent As A Dove

Sunday, March 05, 2017 @ 4:58 PM

“Be Shrewd as a Serpent, yet Innocent as a Dove”

All women absorb messages during their lifetimes, and these messages have a profound influence on a woman’s voice. Women—especially women of faith—receive numerous messages about how they are supposed to behave and these messages influence a woman’s voice.

Sometimes we give specific messages more value than others, such as…be gentle, be kind, be patient, be loving, be innocent.These are powerful and truthful messages. As women of faith, we should treasure the pursuit of these qualities in our character.

On the contrary, as women, how many times have we been given these messages:

Be hyper-vigilant, guarded, calculating, astute. Be marked by a practical and hard-headed intelligence. BE SHREWD! Do place as much value on developing these characteristics as we do on being innocent, kind and patient?

Think about the definition of the word “shrewd.” It means to show sharp powers of judgment, to be astute, sharp-witted, intelligent, clever, canny, sagacious, perceptive and savvy.Being shrewd is a great quality to have.

Let’s pause for a moment and really reflect on the message given to us from the Book of Matthew:

“Be shrewd as a serpent, yet innocent as a dove.” Matthew 10:16.

Do you hear it? This powerful instruction puts as much emphasis on being shrewd as it does on being innocent. In fact, it suggests we should put equal weight on both qualities when we make decisions. We should not be more innocent than we are shrewd; we should pursue a fifty-fifty balance.

In my blog post “Create a Meaningful Ruckus,” I wrote about the tendency of the feminine soul to associate the feeling of tension caused by rocking the boat with having done something wrong. This tendency may be rooted in the fact that women have often absorbed more messages about being loving, kind, and innocent and fewer about being calculating, savvy, and shrewd.

I would estimate that within our church walls, 90% of messages created for women emphasize patience, love, and kindness, and fewer than 10% of messages emphasize the importance of being shrewd. Yet, according to the book of Matthew, these character attributes should have equal weight.

Quite frequently I observe women in my counseling office feeling guilty when their circumstances require them to act shrewdly. They have not yet created a mindset that being shrewd is as honorable, valuable, and imperative as being innocent.

Why must we equally weigh being shrewd with being kind in all of our decisions and interactions? Because shrewdness prevents us from confusing being kind, loving and gentle with having a high tolerance for crap. There is simply no other way of saying that, my friends.

In order to find your voice and create more balance in your decision-making process, be both innocent and shrewd.

I hope these insights encourage you to find your Voice!



DIALOGUE QUESTIONS:

Do you give yourself permission to be shrewd and calculating? Or do you put more emphasis on developing a character based on being innocent and kind?

Do you find that overemphasizing being innocent and underestimating the value of being shrewd leads you into relationships or circumstances that create having a high tolerance for crap?

Is there a decision you are currently making where you need to practice being shrewder and less innocent in order to bring balance to your thought process?

How does meditating on Matthew 10:16 reduce the false guilt you may have about being more calculating, shrewd, and hyper-vigilant?

Have you been given the message that you need to be shrewd, lately? If so, did you resist or absorb that message?



Margo Tirado
www.margotirado.com
Counselor Coach Speaker Blogger

Saturday, March 04, 2017

My Brain on Grief

Saturday, March 04, 2017 @ 12:16 PM

I remember it just like it was yesterday. My mother came into my room, waking me up from a peaceful slumber to tell me that the most important person in my life had passed. Wait, this just can’t happen, I thought at the time. That person is my only “safe” person. That person is the only one that I feel truly loves me. That person is the only one willing to take care of me when I get sick. “That person” was my grandmother and I had just turned sixteen. Living with a mother battling severe depression and a disconnected, authoritarian father, losing my grandmother meant losing my only safe place.

This was when I became acquainted with grief for the first time. Now 40 years later, I realize it truly has been woven into my core and is inseparable from my very soul. Katie McGarry in Pushing the Limits describes grief this way…”Grief doesn’t get better. The pain. The wounds scab over and you don’t always feel like a knife is slashing through you. But when you least expect it, the pain flashes to remind you you’ll never be the same”.

Grief doesn’t just hit us when, as in my case, we lose the most important person in our world, but can flow into our lives in unexpected ways. As a professional counselor, I have specialty training in helping people cope with grief that comes to them in a variety of ways. One client came to me when it dawned on her that her abusive childhood had stolen away all her memories of having a childhood at all. Another came to me grieving the fact that she was in her 30’s and had never been in a close relationship with another human. So grief takes many forms.

We don’t have to view grief as an enemy. Quite the contrary, we can view grief as something to embrace, love and make peace with. The grief that I feel from the loss of my grandmother is “sweet” to me. As it nudges at my soul, it releases a smile on my face when I think about the last time she put her arms around me and told me how special I was. And I remember how she always let me win at monopoly while baking my favorite chocolate cake. Kristin O’Donnell Tubb in The 13th Sign describes grief this way, ”Whoever said that loss gets easier with time was a liar. Here’s what really happens: The spaces between the times you miss them grows longer. Then when you do remember to miss them again, it’s still with a stabbing pain to the heart.” While this writer agrees with Ms. Tubb’s quote, I would like to add that the “stabbing pain” is followed by gratefulness, in that every time I experience that pain of remembering my grandmother it is followed quickly by the joy and love that she gave me in my life.

April is a time when we are made aware that there is a type of grief that is not always followed with joy—National Infertility Awareness Month. So when grief comes to a couple as they live day by day childless, knowing that the one thing they want may never happen, how can one turn that to joy? This is an unrequited loss that can turn into complex, prolonged grief if not attended to. While there is not “pat” answer, one thing I am certain of is that in the case of all grief, acceptance brings relief. As all other options are exhausted for the couple that desires a child, trusting that God is there to comfort and accepting “what is” can bring some relief. C.S. Lewis put it this way…. “getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point and move forward.” I believe there is much wisdom in this quote. Trusting God is not always easy, but it’s always necessary—even when we have to grieve the loss of what could have been.

As I reflect on grief, I am reminded that God himself is most intimate with grief. Isaiah 53:3 reminds us with these words…He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised and we esteemed him not.” Is it not wonderful to know that our God understands our grief and one day promises to make all things right—even our grief—no matter what the cause.



Renee Trimble, LPC Intern, LCDC
Licensed Psychotherapist

3/4/2016

Sunday, February 26, 2017

When Perception is Everything

Sunday, February 26, 2017 @ 2:04 PM

It’s February 2015 and 6 months since my first and last blog post. Since relocating my family, life, and business, it has been a whirlwind of change, to say the least. And although most of the change has been really good, it has still been really hard and at times, very stressful. In general, I personally am usually okay with change. In fact, I like to create change! But I also REALLY like to be in control of it! Like anything in life, however, we are often not in control of the circumstances or the details that can arise. What we are in charge of is ourselves and how we will react or respond to any given situation.

“If we could control ourselves all day long, THAT would be a really good day!” – Danny Silk, author of Loving Our Kids On Purpose

Some transitions in life can be short like the eyeglasses with transition lenses that people wear that adjust to when they are outside in the sun or indoors. And then there are the long ones… like a woman in labor:

5 Ways To Build A Better Spouse

Sunday, February 26, 2017 @ 1:54 PM

Researchers will tell you that marriages end in divorce because of issues in these top 3 areas: communication, sex, and money. Communication issues will range from not talking to one another (not opening up) to continuous conflicts or verbal abuse. Sexual issues could range from not having enough sex with someone having an affair. Money issues could include fighting over not having enough to pay bills (and the stress it produces), to battles over who will pay for what and the separation of finances as a means of control. All three of these issues have one common denominator in them: lack of trust.

We all know communication is key in relationships. There are several ways to improve your practical communication skills, money management, and sexual connection. I will offer a few of those in my next few posts. But first, I want to address the deeper issue of trust that can undermine a relationship in all of these areas.

If you value trust in your relationship, you will not only trust your spouse, but you will be trustworthy. You will be fully committed to them and loyal to them. If you trusted your spouse, you would give them the benefit of the doubt that they would never do or say anything to harm you intentionally. And you would behave the same way. Trust means you have given yourself fully to one another and will mutually care for the other’s heart as your main priority.

The Holiness Process

Sunday, February 26, 2017 @ 1:36 PM

“The fruit of the Spirit is grown in the soil of adversity.” This is what I heard in my spirit as I was studying in Galatians 5. In order to grow our character to be more like Christ, we have to embrace the difficult seasons in life and find a new way to respond to them. We cannot respond out of our flesh, our human nature or fallen nature. We must embrace the mind of Christ and use the power of our free will to choose to move in the opposing spirit of what is attacking us in those moments. Instead of fear, I choose love. Instead of a harsh word, I return a kind one. I will honor someone who may not deserve it because I am choosing to be honorable. This is how we enter into our identity as a son or daughter of God. We set our boundaries, filter the lies from the Truth and choose to respond as Jesus would. This is the Holiness Process each believer is in while on the earth. The command to “Love one another” can only really be fulfilled as we learn to forgive others and ourselves, and choose to love regardless.

Know Your Season

Sunday, February 26, 2017 @ 1:18 PM

Do you know what season you are in? I don’t mean, is it Fall, Spring, Summer or Winter? What I mean is…do you know what your present day life is to be focused on? What assignment(s) have you been given? What are you to be focused on? Are you in a season of healing, growth, or rest? It is time to move past the past. Don’t fear the unknown future. But instead, focus on today. What has God put in your hands today to manage and steward well? WHO has God put in your life right now and what are you to learn from them or help them with? Don’t despise your present circumstances. Look for the treasures hidden in them.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

5777: The Year of the Sword

Wednesday, February 22, 2017 @ 7:50 AM

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

Several years ago, the Lord highlighted the Hebraic calendar to me. I think the times and seasons of the Lord are very significant for us as His people, and we can learn a lot about what is important to God by studying His calendar and His plan as it is laid out in Scripture.

This past year, on Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), I gave a message at my church about the new Hebraic calendar year, the year 5777, which had just begun on Rosh Hashanah, 10 days prior. It was beautiful timing because these days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are called the Days of Awe, or the Days of Repentance.

These are the days when traditionally, the Jews believed that God opened up the book of life to inspect his sheep and evaluate his people. During this time, the Lord is measuring the words, deeds, and heart of his people, just as a shepherd measures his sheep as they pass beneath his rod. The Days of Awe are a time of repentance, a time of crying out to Him, just as David did, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10).

You’ve probably heard that the word repentance means, “to turn away,” and that is true. But what’s more important is what you are turning to. The word literally means “return.” It is a picture of returning to God, to see things the way He sees them and to confess that what He says is true.

I’d like to share a few thoughts about the current Hebraic year that we are in, the year 5777. We know from Scripture that numbers are important to God. The number seven is found everywhere in Scripture and is a symbol of perfection. There are seven days of the week, seven feasts of Israel, seven lamps on the golden lampstand, seven Spirits of God, seven churches in Revelation, etc., so I believe that this year is a very important year for God’s timing and bringing things to completion and breakthrough.

The symbols for the year 5777 literally mean “May this be the year of the sword,” and the year is represented by the Hebrew letters Hey, Tav, Shin, Ayin, and Zayin. Every letter in the Hebrew alphabet is a symbol with deep meaning, signifying a number, a picture, and a sound, which is fascinating to me as a musician.

The letter Hey has a numerical value of 5. The letter represents divine grace, breath, spirit, revelation, and the light of God. Literally, it means behold. We are in a season of grace where the Spirit is moving and bringing new revelation and insights into the knowledge of God.

The next two letters, the Tav and Shin, have the numerical values of 400 and 300, forming 700.
This is the seventh century in a season of divine grace, a beautiful time of awakening and repairing of the Kingdom.

The letter Ayin has a numerical value of 70, and the letter Zayin has a numerical value of 7, forming the last two numbers, 77.

The Ayin symbol is made up of a pair of eyes and knees bent as in prayer, signifying eyes to see and to obey. It is a picture of submitted servant leadership. In Luke 10, Jesus sends out 70 disciples, giving them the power and authority to preach, heal, and cast out demons. In Numbers 11, Moses appoints 70 elders that received the same Spirit that rested on Moses. These were leaders who served leaders in perfect submission to God.

The final number, seven, is the number of perfection and completeness. The letter in Hebrew is a picture of a sword with a crown on top, signifying a warring King, Jesus. Another interesting point is that Zayin derives its root from the word nourishment, and the word for bread is also contained in the word for war. We have these great and precious promises, that as we war from a place of rest, we will have our daily bread.

The word for this year that I am pressing into is that this is a year of the war, but not from a place of striving. We war from a place of rest and worship, in complete submission to God, under His divine grace. We war in the way God wants us to war--from the throne room of God. We are seated in heavenly places, and Jesus is our high priest and king, who has been given all authority in heaven and on earth, and who has sent us out under His authority to advance the Kingdom of God.

What change will you be making this year to learn how to war from the place of rest? Can you identify what you are to let go of and what you are to step into? I believe the Lord is calling us to be intentional about pressing into times of rest like the Sabbath. Only from a place of rest will we be able to see victory! What can you begin to do even this week to cultivate more opportunity for intentional worship and intimate time with God?

Scriptures for Meditation:

"Come to me all you who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest...take my yoke upon you...my yoke is easy and light.." Matthew 11:28

“So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest...” Hebrews 4:9-11

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:4-7

“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’” Matthew 28:18-20

Monday, February 20, 2017

5 Levels of Faith

Monday, February 20, 2017 @ 8:27 AM

As we wrap up this series on faith, I want to share with you the various levels of faith that are demonstrated throughout Scripture. Jesus loves every ounce of faith we have, and he responds to all levels of faith…even the smallest, most meager display of faith.

Tenacious faith: The woman with the issue of blood battled the crowd and dared to touch the edge of Jesus’ garment – Jesus’ prayer cloth. The tassels on his prayer cloth represented pomegranates, which are symbolic of the promises of God. She was unclean and would not have been allowed to touch a rabbi under the Law. But she believed that as soon she touched the hem of His garment, she would be made clean. She was persistent and tenacious in battling through the opposition of the crowds as she grabbed hold of the promises of God.

Persistent faith: Jesus told the parable of a persistent widow who persistently asked an unjust judge for a just ruling. Because of her constant pestering, the unjust judge finally ruled in her favor, just to be rid of her. The Lord said, “And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:7-8)

Friday, February 17, 2017

Plan A: Believe God.

Friday, February 17, 2017 @ 7:49 AM

In my last blog, we took a brief look at supernatural faith and how faith can become a struggle if hope is lost.

So, I want you to do something for me. Just try this out and see if it works. The next time you face loss of hope, disappointment, or a testing of your faith, go straight to Plan A: Believe God.

Meditate on the Truth

First, search the scriptures and find out what God says about your situation and meditate on the truth of His word. The word meditate may sound foreign to you, but believe me, you know how to do it. In scripture, the word meditate is haga, meaning to moan, growl, mutter, muse, or imagine. This same word is used in Isaiah 31:4 as a picture of a lion roaring and growling over its prey. The lion is tenacious and stubborn. He will not let go of his prey though many enemies come against him. Have you ever worried about anything for a period of time? Have you chewed on that worry like a bone? Have you tenaciously held onto it until you felt the worry lift? That is meditating, but it’s meditating on the wrong thing. When you worry, you may even be meditating on the plans of the enemy! Jesus commands us not to worry. (Matthew 6:25) Instead, scriptures encourage us to meditate (chew on, mutter, imagine, or muse on) the promises of God.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Supernatural Faith For A Supernatural Year

Monday, February 13, 2017 @ 9:07 AM

“Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen.” (Hebrews 11:1)
Every time a new year comes around, I get excited. I know God has good plans for me and my family…plans to prosper us and not to harm us. (Jeremiah 29:11)

This year, as I was listening to what the Lord has in store for me, I heard, “Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.” (Isaiah 60:1) This was His encouragement and assignment or theme for the year.

When I know I am hearing from the Father’s heart, a supernatural faith rises up in me. I can sense His joy and peace over me, and I know those good things are coming!

Have you ever experienced this type of supernatural faith? Or is having faith sometimes a struggle for you? What if you possessed the gift of faith from God? Not a faith where you simply believe in God, but a faith where you believe what God says is actually TRUE for you!

Thursday, February 02, 2017

A Word Imagined

Thursday, February 02, 2017 @ 4:55 PM

by Jennifer Christian, LPC and Dr. Jeff M. Christian

Words of hate tear at the fabric of our society; words of kindness mend.

Imagine.

Imagine life without unkind words. Imagine comments sections on your favorite website that only allow constructive criticism, words meant to further the conversation rather than out-shout those who disagree.

Today, online words of hate, abuse, fear, and violence are rampant. The intensity of negativity overwhelms us, a tsunami of words altering our lives without us realizing their enormous power. This new world often feels devoid of kindness. Few of us would choose to pass on this world to the next generations, so we begin this project in the hopes that we can change the future by changing the present.

We have power to create a better world.

Imagine.

Imagine a world that offers encouragement. Imagine a world where people matter. Too often, though, we feel helpless in even thinking about making a change. Where should we begin?

Well, we have some ideas... http://www.jenniferchristiancounseling.com/counseling/a-word-imagined/

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

HOW TO LOVE SOMEONE WHO IS BITTER!

Wednesday, February 01, 2017 @ 7:34 PM

How to love someone who is bitter….

We all know someone who is bitter, whether a coworker, a family member, a friend, or a spouse, you cannot deny the invisible stench of their bitterness. Often, you can hear it in their tone of voice, their responses and most often their direct communication.
People who hold onto bitterness can be oblivious that this root is deeply seeded in their hearts. If we were to approach them directly on their bitterness, the response can turn ugly fast. So often we are left not knowing how to respond.
Know this, the truth is at one point of their lives they have decided that they are sick of the hurt and pain that others caused them or maybe the injustice done in their life. They have unconsciously made the decision that they will no longer in their mind “allow anyone to take advantage of them anymore” So they hold on to the anger, thinking it’s their defense and their friend. This causes them to mull over conversations and wrong doings in their mind over and over again. The bitterness seeps in deeper and deeper and they weed grows sometimes so big that they can barely see through it anymore. It steals their joy, it steals their peace and it steals from them daily. And all they must do is give that over to Jesus, who is the one who can cut the root out.
In the meantime, until they give that up to Jesus… we all feel the stinky effects it leaves on us!
So how do we love and approach someone with bitterness?
First let’s define bitterness. the dictionary defines bitterness as “having a harsh disagreeably bitter taste, like that of aspirin, quinine, wormwood or aloe. Boy that is bitter! And let’s just think of when we have a bitter in our mouth, noting tastes or seems right after that.
In the same way, they have a hard time hearing god’s truths, or perceive information in healthy ways regarding themselves, others, and God, leaving it very difficult for their loved ones around them to be in a healthy communication.
The bible often talks about bitterness and to get rid of it fast! (Ephesians 4:31:32).

As a Clinical pastoral counselor, I have learned that behind bitterness, is usually a person who has a hard time believing that they are worth being loved themselves.
Somewhere along the line they came into agreement with the lies of not being good enough and/or that God does not love them enough. Unfortunately, the devil loves this type of self-talk because it doubts God’s goodness and loving truth!
True healing for them, is too have them come out of agreement with the lies and into the truth of Gods promises.
You can help them, and protect your own heart as well.
Here are some easy steps to remember when dealing with someone with bitterness,
1. Choose to forgive that person. (Luke 23;24) If we look beyond the layers of bitterness you will truly find a person so hurt and often broken. Before the next phone call, day or meeting up with this person, try saying this “God I choose to forgive_________ I know only you can change their hearts, so therefore I choose to forgive_____________.

2. DON’T Own It! Yes, bitter words can come out like arrows to our own heart. Don’t own it, it was never meant to be ours to wear in the first place. Remember …It is their stuff, not yours! When you start to sense the bitterness coming, you can choose to lovingly cut the conversation short or change the subject.

3. Pray for this person! My goodness, this person needs our prayers in the worst ways! Can you imagine living with bitterness? It steals their joy, it steals from them living in the moment and it steals from them hearing the truth from God. Pray, Pray and more prayer.

4. Fight back with love, the bible says that love covers a multitude of sins. With every arrow shot to our own hearts, fight back with kindness and love.

5. Serve Them, consider doing something out of the ordinary, Jesus washed the feet of those who did not deserve it.. However, by washing their feet, he was showing them the loving kindness and authentic love that God has for them. It breaks down barriers!

6. Lastly, Respond and DO NOT REACT, bitterness is that ugly, it would love to take you down too! It would love for you to exemplify the same behaviors of mulling over the conversation repeatedly. NO! Don’t do it … it’s a trick from the enemy. Keep your joy! And Give it over to GOD

Finally, you will be shocked if they do break away from bitterness that underneath that mess, is a loving, caring and sensitive spirit that can be a blessing in your life!

I hope this article helped you and please share if it can help someone else..

Carrie Price -Knospe, M.A
Redeemed and Renewed Counseling
Licensed Clinical Pastoral Counselor


www.redeemedandrenewedcounseling.com

Friday, January 27, 2017

Surprised by God: A Journey of Divine Discovery

Friday, January 27, 2017 @ 1:37 PM

Most of us say we know God, but do we really? Have we allowed our traditions, our fears, even our wounds to cast an image of God that is lifeless or irrelevant? Get ready to discover a God who is more wonderful, more affectionate and intimate than you could possibly imagine -- a God who has interest, care and compassion for you and your situation.
Surprised by God is about a journey of discovery - If you have a longing for more than just religious routine and ceremony, this book is for you. If you have a voice inside that tells you that your life can be so much more, then dare to come on your own journey of "divine discovery". Dare to be surprised by God!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Live, Love, & Laugh Couples Retreat

Wednesday, January 25, 2017 @ 10:05 PM

This 3-day weekend retreat is a great weekend get-away for any couple wanting to revitalize their relationship! The Live, Love, & Laugh Couples Retreat has the potential to strengthen relationships or repair ruptured relationships by helping couples identify behaviors that are damaging to the relationship and replacing them with intimacy producing behaviors. The couples will leave with a better understanding and appreciation of each other. Come and experience your partner in a different way that will improve connectedness and increase intimacy. The retreat will take place at Murphin Ridge Inn, a bed & breakfast, on April 21-23.
Visit http://www.waybridgecounseling.com/couples-retreat for more information.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Mindfulness Potpourri Workshop

Monday, January 23, 2017 @ 3:52 PM

For many Christians, the thought of Meditation, using Prayer Beads or Essential Oils or participating in Yoga are for 'other spiritual orientations,' not for Christians. But guess what??? God wants us to enter into a quiet place in order to hear from Him. We can do that many ways and the four I mentioned are just a handful of opportunities to get closer to God.
The Mindfulness Potpourri Workshop offers participants the opportunity to be part of a group of Christians attempting to get quiet and still in our loud and fast world and to explore ideas and practices that you may never have considered using before.

February 18 from 8:30am-1pm, The Center for Contemplative Living will be teaching us how to meditate.
March 4 from 10am-12pm we will learn how to use essential oils to calm our nervous system.
April 1 from 10am-12pm we will be taught how to use Prayer Beads as a way to be mindful but to worship God as well.
May 6 from 10am-12pm a certified Holy Yoga teacher will be teaching us how to worship God through yoga.

All sessions will be held at Sloan's Lake Community Church, 2796 Utica St., Denver, 80212
You may attend all sessions for $60 or select which ones you'd like to attend for $20 per session.

Please contact Ellen Perricone MSW, LSW for more information or to register: htjourney@gmail.com or 720-810-4740

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

8 Minute Inteview with Empire Broadcasting Group - Studio 2

Wednesday, January 18, 2017 @ 4:05 PM

I will be interviewed on a online Radio Talk Program on January 23, 2017, Monday at 11:15 am. to answer questions about my services and tell about my inspirational story as founder of Faith and Healing Ministries.

Hope you can tune in!

The website: http://empirebroadcastinggroup.com/listen-live/studio-2/

Writing Your Own Self-Care List

Wednesday, January 18, 2017 @ 10:18 AM

By Jennifer Christian, M.A., LPC 69112

Today during my routine morning walk I began to ponder the many self-care skills that I use regularly. Over the years, I have learned that I feel better when I make time to:

Walk
Eat right
Nap
Practice gratitude
Practice prayerful meditation
Practice yoga
Have fun
Plan enjoyable activities
Spend time with friends

This may seem like a no brainer to some people, but personally it has been an evolution of self-acceptance and self-compassion. Healthy habits that are so natural for me today were nonexistent several years ago.

I remember the first time I received a self-care list. It was about 10 years ago. I was fatigued, stressed out, and pushing myself harder and harder to be perfect. I could not go on this way much longer. I was at a breaking point. I found Nancy, a therapist who began to help me process how I found myself at this point and how to move forward. During one session, she gave me a self-care handout that addressed physical, emotional, and spiritual health. I had never seen anything like it. What a radical concept!

As a child, I received a version of a "Christian" message that I should always sacrifice my own needs on behalf of others. Somewhere along the way I learned that my needs were not only unimportant, but that it was selfish for me to express my needs. I was told that whenever I felt empty and exhausted I should pray harder and God would provide. But years and years of emptying myself for others wore away at my physical and emotional health. Moreover, there was not enough of me to go around, and my children and husband sometimes got the short end of the stick. This approach was not sustainable.

When Nancy handed me the self-care list, I began a journey of learning self-care and boundaries. In the beginning, I carried the list with me wherever I went, especially when I found myself around difficult people who suck the life out of me, treat me like I do not matter, or that they should always come first. I needed a reminder that it is okay to respond to myself with care. At one point I even carried my self-care list to a challenging family gathering in another state. I referred to the list several times as a support to say “no” when needed, or to allow myself rest when I was tired. I began to experience a positive difference.

“When you doubt your own importance, you’re allowing the manipulations of difficult people to gain a foothold. However, when you understand that your time, money, dignity and needs are vital to your well-being, it’s easier to tune out people who want to break your boundaries.” Margarita Tartakovsky

Now I practice responding to myself in the same way that I want to respond to others: with love, compassion, kindness, gratitude, acceptance, and gentleness. I continue to learn what it is to be a compassionate and loving person every time I practice compassion and love with myself. I am a recovering perfectionist, so I often have to start my compassionate practice over again daily...

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Walk With Me Grief Support Group

Tuesday, January 17, 2017 @ 2:27 PM

The Walk With Me ® Grief Support Group is facilitated by Tonya Ratliff, the Owner and Director of Trinity Family Counseling Center. Offered at no cost to the community, this group is designed to provide the attendee with an overview of the entire grief journey.

Tonya’s approach to the group is one fueled by unconditional compassion, as she assists those in attendance in coping with the anguishing adjustment to a life that has changed without their permission.