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Thursday, August 01, 2019

The 10 Upsides of Family-Owned Businesses

Thursday, August 01, 2019 @ 3:57 PM

Creating, building, and sustaining a family business is not only a fundamental American dream (over 20 million family businesses in the U.S.– 92% of all U.S. businesses), but is also a powerful dream in most other modern capitalist economies (for example, over 75% of all U.K. businesses are family owned). The benefits of family businesses are manifold, genuine, and in many cases psychologically profound. Remember, though as you read this, that Solomon tells us, "It is better to have a friend that is near than a brother that is far away" which means in families and business it's important to have relationships that are from the heart and not just based on role-obligation or expectation.

Consider WIIFF (What's in it for the family). A family business:

1. Creates a heritage for the family and serves as a medium for perpetuating a family's history, traditions, pride, and core values and belief

2. Serves as a powerful testimonial to the success and potency of a family

3. Provides the ultimate career and financial safety net one’s children and grandchildren

4. Offers participating family members greater independence and control of their fate than a more traditional career path

5. Establishes a very special glue (a bonding material, as it were) that can hold a family together around a common set of interests, activities, challenges, opportunities, threats, milestones, relationships, and daily schedules

6. Demonstrates to an entire community (and various sub-communities) that this is a family to be admired and respected

7. Makes it more certain that individual family members will have the fullest opportunities as adults to “stretch“ developmentally and to self-actualize

8. Improves the chances that family members will be able to involve themselves in meaningful philanthropic activities and become pillars of their communities

9. Makes it more likely that financial advantages, non-trivial net worth (a.k.a. wealth), and “security“ will accrue to the family

10. Provides greater stability and welfare for its employees and for the community in which it operates
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Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Spiritual Leadership in the Home

Wednesday, July 31, 2019 @ 1:33 PM

Marriage Center

In my practice, I hear wives talk about how desperately they want their husbands to lead. This desire usually comes as a result of having witnessed their dad or other significant male figure modeling spiritual leadership in the home and/or learning perhaps in church that being a spiritual leader is predominantly the role of the man. But wives aren’t the only ones who want their husbands to lead spiritually, husbands want it too. So what seems to be the problem?

Communication Do's and Don'ts

Wednesday, July 31, 2019 @ 1:27 PM

Marriage Center

If it seems that you and your spouse have grown apart or are struggling to connect, the problem may be rooted in your communication styles. It goes without saying that conflict is inevitable in marriage, but how you handle conflict can either strengthen or weaken your relationship.

There are certain styles of communicating that will make it extremely difficult for your relationship to thrive and can lead to the eventual destruction of your marriage. Why? Because communication is the key to building and maintaining relationships. When communication is mishandled, every area of your relationship is negatively impacted.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Eight Ideas About Grieving Well In Leadership

Thursday, July 11, 2019 @ 10:13 PM

Loss in leadership is inevitable. Certainly leadership is about gain in so many ways which is why we forget sometimes that it is commonplace for us to have loss in leadership.

What do we lose in leadership? You might be surprised about some of the things that we lose along the way.

1. As John Maxwell says few of us end up with people that we started off with. It is normal and perfectly healthy for us to lose people along the way. Not in the bad sense but because people move on, change careers, move on with their life perhaps to a different area and even get promoted to a different area in the same company or organization.

2. Even if we have members of the same original team sometimes the loss of certain key people may make your team a very different one. There are times when the same team will be given a new assignment or purpose that wasn't the same as the old one and everybody feels loss at the same time.

3. There are also times when you make mistakes or have failures or members of your team or group blow it and you have to deal with the losses that come from that. Maybe even as part of that your sense of ideal around the other person or persons has been hurt.

4. Loss is connected to hurt and anger. It can be all kinds of things like losing a chance or losing an ideal. Maybe somehow you've lost some sort of value or values. Perhaps you or your team have lost motivation at least for a season.

5. Unmet expectations, disappointments and a loss of purpose can help us feel frustrated as leaders but also can cause hurt and grief. The loss of opportunity can be a big issue. Not recognizing these can cause dissonance in our leadership.

6. Of course when you have to let somebody go you can grieve even if it's a mutual agreement for them to leave. The whole process of letting somebody go can be a huge loss too. Your loss feelings might be mixed in with your confusion and your anxiety around conflict.

7. In order to deal with grief as a leader first understand that loss is part of the role. Next make sure you express your feelings to God, others and even yourself. Scripture tells us to "Grieve with those who grieve and rejoice with those who rejoice." Be willing to share. Writing out what comes up can also be very helpful as well as writing out a letter to someone you lost as if they were far, far away. Only send the letter if it is wise to do so.

8. Writing out your ideal if the situation warrants that can also be helpful. For example, writing out how a sales project or team building experience was expected to go after a failure or mission creep makes the whole thing go sideways can be very helpful.

Debriefing and a “post-mortem” with a coach can do much to clarify and reset things. Resolving the grief feelings and renewing a sense of purpose can be very helpful.

Monday, July 08, 2019

You Can't Please Everyone

Monday, July 08, 2019 @ 6:59 PM

A big struggle in life for some people is being a "people pleaser".  I know, I am one.  I try to please people, I do it because I want people to like me.  Now, I have come a long way in this and I have learned my lesson (many times) when I get caught in the trap.  But I have had to learn that being a people pleaser is both bad for others and harmful to me.  Do you struggle with being a "people pleaser"? 
Here are a few quotes I found helpful on this topic:

“I can’t tell you the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone.”  – Ed Sheeran

“You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

“When you say “yes” to others, make sure you aren’t saying “no” to yourself.”  – Paulo Coehlo

“Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.”  – Lao Tzu

“If you try to please all, you please none.”  – Aesop

“There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.”  – Aristotle

“If you live for people’s acceptance, you will die from their rejection.” – Lecrae

“The only thing wrong with trying to please everyone is that there’s always at least one person who will remain unhappy. You.”  – Elizabeth Parker

“A healthy relationship will never require you to sacrifice your friends, your dreams, or your dignity.”  – Dinkar Kalotra

Your Turn:

Do you have any thoughts or quotes about the harmful effects of being a "People Pleaser"?  In 100 words or less please send me your ideas to terry.porter@healthfio.com.  Please remember to like and share this post and follow terry-porter.com/blog.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

3 beliefs that block us from hearing God

Thursday, June 20, 2019 @ 4:42 PM

Vector Ministries

God is still speaking to His people.

His communication with us is not simply a thing of the past, a relic of a bygone era.

In fact, God speaks to us all the time.

I work to help people discover more of His presence and power in their lives. That includes learning to hear God speak and discerning how to respond to His leading.

In my time working with people, I have found 3 very common beliefs that block people from hearing what God is speaking to them. I want to share these common misconceptions so that together we can break through the barriers they bring.

The 3 Beliefs That Block Us From Hearing God:

1. The belief that God is not speaking.

Many Christians believe that God only spoke prior to the writing of Scripture. Many others, who believe that God occasionally still speaks assume that they are not spiritual enough to hear Him or that He does not have anything to say to them.

Yet, I find that God is regularly speaking. In fact, sometimes He is quite chatty and He has plenty to say to anyone who wants to take the time to actually listen.

Scripture gives us no indication that God has stopped speaking to His people. In fact, it says the opposite. When Paul said to the Corinthians to eagerly pursue the gift of prophecy he was telling them that it is indeed possible to receive revelation from God that they could each share with the community (1 Corinthians 14:1). In other words, Paul told the entire Corinthian church—who were not known for their stellar spiritual maturity—that each of them could hear from God.

Throughout the history of the Church there are countless stories of men and women of faith that have had incredible encounters with God. Such accounts are given to us to show what is possible.

The same is true for the cases we find in Scripture. Examples of God interacting with His people in the Bible illustrate how ordinary people can have extraordinary experiences with the divine. The stories in Scripture are meant to instruct on what is possible when we walk with God.

2. The assumption that God speaks audibly from outside us

Truthfully, God 'speaks' in a variety of ways, but very seldom audibly. Most of what He communicates to us privately comes from the still small voice within. Since His spirit now resides in us, His voice will almost always come to us from within (as opposed to without). Yet, we often ignore His voice.

If we dismiss our own internal dialogue, we will dismiss the chief way God has designated to commune with us. His voice is often softer, slower and gentler than the world around us. Life in modern society is fast-paced, invasive and loud. So, we have to intentionally cultivate an inner quiet that allows us to be present to ourselves and aware of God’s Holy Spirit speaking.

God honors our freedom to choose, so He rarely speaks loud enough to command us to do something. He seems to reserve that kind of interaction only for the times we are headed for serious trouble.

Instead, His leadings tend to be more gentle prompts, reminders, a series of “coincidences”, feelings and even physical sensations. Sometimes He will bring a verse from Scripture to mind or give us a certain word or phrase. Often, He will give us a certain gut feeling that we can use to discern the situation around us.

Many people have much more mystical and charismatic encounters. But, even if you have not experienced that kind of thing, you can be sure that God has already been speaking to you in a variety of ways.

3. The lie that God is unkind.

Most Christians would profess that God is a loving God. Yet, when it comes down to it, they have failed to really internalize that truth.

Because of that, many people carry the assumption that God is really displeased with them and their choices. They feel that He is disappointed with our sinfulness and really wishes that we would get it together.

Truthfully, God is not as focused (obsessed really) with sin as we are. He has already made provision for it to be paid for upon the cross.

He already knows who and what we are. And, He has chosen to redeem us and set up shop within us anyway. He is under no illusions as to what we have done or what we are capable of. Despite our frailty, He is still pleased with us.

Scripture says that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. Therefore, any and all words, thoughts or ideas that make us feel bad, shamed or dirty DO NOT come from Him.

In fact, His voice tends to be the exact opposite. He is generally encouraging, uplifting and empowering. He is the warmest, friendliest and most fun Being that has ever or will ever exist! Even when He does convict us of sin He does so in such a way that shows us that we are capable of so much more.

This is relevant because I regularly find that people dismiss communication from God because it sounds too affirming, too encouraging, too friendly, too imaginative, too hopeful and too playful. His words are much more full of life than they are accustomed to. Their own negative self-talk and condemning attitudes tend to convince them that God must share in their abasing self-perceptions and therefore the 'nice' words they hear from Him must be a product of their own wishful thinking.

Now, not every pleasant thought that passes through our heads comes from God. However, it would not hurt any of us to believe that God is more kind and encouraging than anyone we have ever known.

Conclusion

Truly, we all need to examine our thought-life and take our thoughts captive to the love of Christ. Our minds need to be renewed to the truth of His goodness and acceptance of us.

This is truly what it means to have a relationship with Christ—to recognize that we are indeed one of His sheep that hear His voice and to live in constant conversation with Him.

So, here are 3 Great Truths:

1. God is still speaking to us.

2. He speaks in ways that we are meant to understand.

3. His messages to us are encouraging and full of life. When we live from these truths, we will experience a new freedom and exuberance in life.

Help to Hear His Voice:

I have put together some great resources to help you begin to hear God’s voice and to grow in your relational conversations with Him. The AGAPE prayer (https://www.VectorMinistries/resources) is a good place to begin and Spiritual Reading is a great tool for connecting to God’s communication through Scripture.

Be sure to check out the resources page and let me know how they are working out for you.

Blessings!
Patrick

God Likes You!

Thursday, June 20, 2019 @ 4:38 PM

Vector Ministries

God likes you.

No, really. He actually really likes... you.

Take a moment and let the words sink in: God likes you. He really does.

Most Christians are accustomed to saying that “God loves us.” It seems that John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life,” is the most widely recognized verse of them all. We all seem to know it.

Yet, it seems that very few believers actually internalize the truth of it to the point they understand that God not only loves them, but He actually likes them too!

Though many of us know John 3:16, I find that not many of us are familiar with the next verse: “God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him (John 3:17).” God is pleased with everything that He has made—including each one of us. When He made the earth and everything in it, He saw all of creation as being “good” (Genesis 1:1-24). God did not give up on creation, including each one of us, after the fall.

Often people find it hard to believe that God likes them.

Many of us feel embarrassed or even ashamed in His presence. Often we import experiences with our earthly fathers onto God and assume that our Heavenly Father behaves the same way. It may be difficult to believe that God actually likes us, but it is a journey that each one of our hearts needs to take.

The fact is that God likes each one of us so much that He aches to be with us.

Scripture says that Jesus endured the suffering of the cross for the joy set before him (Hebrews 12:2). The joy he was after was the reconciliation and reunion of his people—his friends. Jesus was clear, he considers us his friends (John 15:5). And, so was Father God; He calls us co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17), which means that we are brothers and sisters to Jesus. He is our big brother, the firstborn of the redeemed children of God (Romans 8:29).

Christ did not suffer because he felt obliged to put up with us for all eternity. No! He suffered because he could not stand to live forever without us. He died to be with us.

The whole work of God is the reclamation of His creation, including the restoration of His people.

Everything He does is because He wants to be near us. This is what it means that He is a jealous God; He wants a relationship with us. Have you ever pondered over this? God so desires a relationship with us that He burns with jealousy when we devote ourselves to other idols. He so desires our affection that His heart is wounded without it. Christ wanted to be a reconciled family with us that he was willing to suffer and die in order to achieve it.

Why? Well, it seems pretty easy to say that it is because God loves us. But, really, does that explain it? The word love is so convoluted in our culture that sometimes it loses its meaning. I certainly think that in the church it is easy to lose sight of what God’s love for us really means.

Truly, what it means is that God likes us: He likes who we are, He enjoys spending time with us, He likes talking with us, He values our input and listens to our prayers, He plans good out ahead of time: good gifts to give us, and He takes a vested interest in the course of our lives including every detail.

He has stared adoringly at our faces so many times that He has counted the hairs on our head. He knows our every wrinkle, every blemish, every sin and He still adores us anyway. Nothing we have every done will ever change how He feels about us (Romans 8:31).

When we really start to get the fact that God likes us—not just loves us, but actually likes us—our whole world begins to change. For me, it has meant a greater degree of security in who I am, and consequently, more courage to step out into new adventures. It has given me the assurance that no matter what happens in life, and even if I should fail utterly, that God will still be my friend and be proud of me for trying.

Know this: should you fall flat on your face, God will still smile every time He sees you.

I know that this wasn’t something I grew up hearing in Sunday school, but the Bible is clear that God “will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs (Zephaniah 3:17).” God actually makes us songs to sing over us because He delights in us so much.

Can you picture it? God dancing and singing in Heaven because He so adores His people?

God likes you. Think about it today. Ponder it. And, above all… dare to believe it. It will change your life. It certainly has changed mine.

How do you know that you are following God's path for your life?

Thursday, June 20, 2019 @ 4:37 PM

Vector Ministries

I think every one of my clients has asked it in one way or another. Maybe every Christian has asked it. It certainly is a common question.

And, let’s be honest, it’s a good question to ask.

It’s a good question to ask even if our motives are mixed. Sometimes we ask God’s will because we genuinely want to know. Sometimes we ask because we aren’t 100% sure we want to follow His will. And, sometimes we ask God’s will because we really want to try to hedge our bets and mitigate the risk that is inherent in making any choice in life.

Every journey comes with risk. Sometimes we are so scared of making the wrong choice that we want a guarantee that it will all work out. So, we end up seeking God’s will not so much out of a desire to do it His way, but more from a place of being afraid to get it wrong.

But, regardless of our motives—however mixed they may or may not be—I think God genuinely wants to communicate with us. He wants us to seek His will. And, He wants to make His will known!

In most cases, God communicates to us in ways that we are meant to understand.

So, what does it look like to “hear” Him speak to us about our lives? How do we know that we are on the right path, making the right choices?

Generally, the process goes something like this: Inspiration, Affirmation, Confirmation, Formation, Generation, and Opposition.

Let’s take a look at the process in a little more depth:

1. Inspiration—God inspires you with a thought, idea or feeling. You get an insight or urge to do something. Often, we think that these thoughts are our own and don’t realize they come from God. Sometimes we dismiss them outright as being ludicrous or impractical.

Example: One day, seemingly out of the blue, you get the thought that you should move to Denver.

2. Affirmation—As you begin to think about the possibilities of this Inspiration someone or something gives you encouragement to keep considering it as possible. As you step into the idea, you get more reasons to hope that you are on the right path.

Example: You run your crazy idea to start a business by your best friend and surprisingly she tells you to go for it!

3. Confirmation—As you step forward, circumstances come together to help make a way. Life opens up possibilities and opportunities. You knock on the door and it opens a little bit. It’s like when God did the impossible and parted the Red Sea or when He parted the Jordan—after the Israelites stepped in.

Example: You decide to go back to school even though you can’t afford it. You put in an application, and lo and behold, out of nowhere you get a scholarship opportunity that makes it possible to go.

4. Formation—As you continue to walk the path that you are on, it becomes so natural to you that you simply don’t question it anymore. This is simply what you do, birds fly, fish swim, and you do X and no longer question if it is the right thing to do. It is so clearly the will of God. It’s been Inspired, Affirmed and Confirmed so often that it is now ingrained in you and you have been formed by obediently following this path. This has become second nature to you—or more appropriately, this is your renewed nature in action.

Example: You made a decision to volunteer as part of a ministry. Despite your misgivings you felt God lead you into it and you did it. Now you have been doing it for so long that it has become a part of your life—and it gives you life. Every time you go, you just know that this is where you are supposed to be.

5. Generation—Your life with God blesses others. Your journey and the wisdom you got from walking this path now provides Inspiration, Affirmation, Confirmation and Formation for others. You generate new life in others as they seek to journey with God.

Example: You have been following God’s leading in your marriage for years. And, now younger couples are beginning to come around you asking for insight on how to do this life. You get to pass on what you have learned to a younger generation.

However, know that if you are really following God, you will make an impact in this world and you WILL face Opposition.

So, there is a sixth principle to be aware of:

6. Opposition—In this life, you will have trouble. There are forces at work that actively oppose the will of God. As you step into following God’s leading, you will likely encounter some push back. This could come at any point along the journey. You may encounter it as early on as Inspiration. It may come to try to counteract Affirmation. It may create counterfeit experiences to try to tell you that the Confirmation you received isn’t legit. It may come to upend your formation and make you doubt your course. Or it may come to condemn your Generation and tell you that you don’t really have anything of value to offer others.

Example: When I felt God’s call to go to Bible college, I told my mentor who I trusted very much. He dismissed it outright and told me that I was arrogant to even consider college. And, he wanted me to abandon the idea of going to a Christian school. In fact, he said that I had too much baggage to ever consider going into any kind of God-related vocation.

I really valued that man’s opinion. But he was just wrong!

Something else was speaking through him—something negative, something that wanted to keep me playing small.

Opposition often comes from up close. Sometimes it comes from those we love.
But, if we are wise, what often is meant to hurt us can actually confirm that we are indeed on the right path.

No Christian gets through life without encountering Opposition! When it comes try to remember that your battle is not with flesh and blood but with dark forces and spiritual strongholds that stand opposed to the will of God.

Now, just because we run into obstacles or opposition is not, in and of itself, an indication that we are on the right path. But when it comes in combination with the other parts of this process it is a good indication that you are headed in the right direction!

Seldom does something worthwhile come easy. But Jesus promised that the gates of Hell would not withstand the advance of his people.

As we step forward, bringing bits and pieces of Heaven to Earth, we will see trouble. But we will see victories as well! And, even more so, we will see how God can transform our lives as well as the world around us.

I am sure you have your stories about how God has come through for you. Maybe you could share one today. Can you tell someone about a time that God did something amazing in your life?

I’d love to hear a good story. I am sure that you have plenty of them to share.

What are some of the things God has done that told you that you were on the right path?

How do you know when you are stepping into God’s will or following His leading?

Blessings,
Patrick

Monday, June 10, 2019

Should I Use My Medical Insurance For Counseling?

Monday, June 10, 2019 @ 7:12 PM

One of the questions I’m often asked by potential clients is, “Do you take insurance?” I mean, you pay for health insurance for a reason and you want to use it when you can, right? While I don’t participate in direct billing with insurance companies, there are many insurance policies that will reimburse for treatment you’ve received. These are generally known as Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO) or Point of Service (POS).

The Seven Myths of Christian Counseling

Monday, June 10, 2019 @ 6:53 PM

There are a lot of myths in regards to Christian counseling. Probably the biggest myth is that Christian counseling is about telling people what God wants them to do! Today’s Christian counseling is not about telling you what to do our believe, but rather it’s about exploring how ones faith (Regardless of what that is) impacts their own identity and ultimately their life story.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

PTSD: Community Awareness

Wednesday, May 29, 2019 @ 6:14 PM

Alpha Counseling

The public is invited to a free workshop on PTSD. The workshop will be on Thursday June 27, 2019 from 6:00 pm until 8:00pm. Learn from multiple professionals on the warning signs and symptoms of PTSD, learn treatment options for PTSD, and learn how you can help. Stand with us and be part of the solution to PTSD!

Alpha Counseling is a safe place in which we encourage our clients to bring their faith into treatment. We treat all mental health and dual diagnosis disorders. We offer an environment of healing, growth, and support. Our highly trained and experienced state licensed counselors are here to help you, and walk with you in discovering solutions in a compassionate and faith driven atmosphere. We are dedicated to helping you achieve your individual, marital, and/or family needs for healing, strength and growth.

Monday, May 13, 2019

LOVE NEEDS: Discovering Your Top 10 Languages of Loving

Monday, May 13, 2019 @ 1:07 PM

"Love Needs: Discover Your Top 10 Languages of Loving" will help you and your partner take the guesswork out of what "better" really looks like. This book is based on and includes the 30 item "Love Needs Assessment" developed by two skilled therapists, Dr. Mike and Rhonda Garrett. Over 2000 couples were assessed over a six year period to bring this evidence-based questionnaire and guidebook into existence. Every short chapter (30 total) helps the reader learn more about how to give and receive love practically and specifically. Every page is packed with fabulous ideas and tools to help breathe new life into hurting couples and develop a workable plan for maximizing healthy couples. “Love Needs will strengthen the best of marriages . . . Congratulations! You’ve written a winner!”Dr. Henry Oursler, Founder, Bringing Truth to Life, President, LeaderShape“. . . an excellent guide to marital enrichment . . . I would highly commend it to couples and counselors.”Sam R. Williams, PhD, Professor of Counseling,Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, NC“. . . a resource to share that can breathe new life into hurting couples.” Tim and Joy Downs, Family Life Speaker Team, authors of Fight Fair and One of Us Must Be Crazy“. . . a workable path to a maximum marriage.” Dick Purnell, Cru Staff, author of sixteen Christian books“. . . Well written, easy to read, full of helpful steps.” Sharon May, PhD, Founder of Safe Haven Relationship Center, author of How To Argue so Your Spouse Will Listen“The church and the professional counseling community owe you a big “Thank you”. What a great resource!” Anthony Thomas, LCSW, Executive Director Marriage Menders & Family Counseling, “. . . a spectacular set of tools, wisely applied, that will help any husband and wife.”Paula Rinehart, LCSW, therapist, teacher, author of Strong Women, Soft Hearts and Sex and the Soul of a Woman

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

3 Steps to Protect Your CoParenting Relationship

Wednesday, April 24, 2019 @ 2:11 PM

3 Steps To Protect Your CoParenting Relationship

I know, you just walked out the door and never want to see this person again. But you will. Your shared family, the kids you love, will make sure of that. So let’s protect the one aspect of your relationship that will remain: Your CoParenting Relationship.
Step 1 Choose the method of divorce that gives you the greatest control and the least conflict.

Many newly separated people don’t realize how many options they have for getting a divorce. Each situation presents its own issues, so consult a well trained lawyer to find the right one for you. In my experience, there are 3 basic ways to get a divorce:

Litigation-the one where a judge sets the timeline, and makes the final decisions and the process is very public. This one includes something called discovery, where everyone competes to be the best and to show the other person as the worst.
Mediation-the parties sit down with a third person [and most of the time their lawyers] and hammer out an agreement. This typically has a time pressure of trying to get it done quickly and can be done at any time during a litigated divorce. Discovery may be a part of this option as well.
Collaborative Divorce-the parties each have a lawyer, and some neutrals like a mental health professional and a financial professional, who work in an interest based negotiation to find the best future for the family. This process gives the parties more control over the final product, their schedule, and their privacy. Discovery is not a part of this option.

As a mental health profession who has worked with divorcing families for 15 years, discovery damages the CoParenting relationship in nearly every case. Avoiding that process can increase your chances of a good CoParenting relationship and a stable agreement.
Step 2 Communicate well.

Divorce includes a lot of change and stress. During this time, lots of emails, texts and phone calls can become extremely emotional and counterproductive. Read books on communication [I recommend Bill Eddy’s BIFF: Quick Responses to High-Conflict People, Their Personal Attacks, Hostile Email and Social Media Meltdowns.] Then apply what you learned. Be brief, informative, friendly, and firm when you communicate. Make sure you put dates on the times when you need replies. When you get a communication from your CoParent, don’t just hit reply. Take a bit to breathe and think about the best way to communicate.
Step 3 Maintain a business relationship with your CoParent.

By far, this advice has helped my client’s parents the most. Reminding yourself that you are no longer managing the other parent’s life and emotions changes how you respond to them. Remembering that most communications will be limited to business arrangements of finances, coordinating schedules, and communicating events can help you not become emotional.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Be Angry and Sin Not

Saturday, April 20, 2019 @ 12:51 PM

The Pastor's Place

I once asked God you said "Be angry and sin not." How can I be angry and not sin? Today He answered. Psalm 42 says that you can pour out your heart to Him and He hears us. Whether it's joy or suffering and pain and in particular, anger. So what's in our hearts that God would actually want to hear about it? He already knows we're angry, and why, but there comes a release of it's power when we take it to God and God can help us and teach us His way. Mercy triumphs over.

It's okay to tell God that you're angry and why. This is the pouring out of your soul as David did. If we can learn to trust God with our feelings, knowing He won't get mad at us that breaks the power of the sin of anger. We often don't think about when we're angry but blurt it out like fire. We may have been angry as a child but didn't know how to process it and a parent may not have taught a child how to handle because they didn't know either. But if we take it to God, it's a whole new world.

We can shout, scream, cry through the situation. This brings the release that quenches the bitterness, the unforgiveness. No root of bitterness can spring up if we avoid it by pouring out our heart to God.

The human heart may hold love, but the heart of man is filled with evil of every kind. God isn't surprised by our negative feelings. Expressing our anger at the wrong we endured or are enduring produces character that maybe God thought it the best way to teach us. Suffering brings an anger, or rage. God is above it all and in it all and He never gets tired of our tears. He never grows weary of us coming to Him. It's in our reaching to Him, drawing near to Him that He can extend His mercy and graciousness. Mercy triumphs over judgment. Mercy is forgiveness. We judge when we are angry. If we learn to forgive the offender, we release them from what we feel towards them, in this case, anger. Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift. It goes beyond words.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Sexual Violence Awareness Month Workshop

Tuesday, April 16, 2019 @ 6:20 PM

Alpha Counseling

April is Sexual Violence Awareness Month

You are invited to join Alpha Counseling for a discussion regarding taking your first steps to healing from sexual violence. If you or anyone you know has experienced sexual violence, or if you want to take a stand against sexual violence, please attend.

Speakers to include representatives from North Idaho Crisis Center, Post Falls Police Department Victim's Advocate, as well as Dr. Debbie Nunez and John Huffer, LMHC from Alpha Counseling. Participants will be able to write words of inspiration on the healing wall.

There is no charge for the event and it is open to the public.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Freedom In Forgiveness

Saturday, March 30, 2019 @ 7:18 PM

As we near Palm Sunday and Resurrection Sunday, many of us begin to focus more on forgiveness; forgiveness for self and for others. This can oftentimes be a difficult and confusing action to take.

Many people think that when we forgive we are saying that what someone did to us is OK. We believe that forgiveness is a way of letting someone off the hook for a wrongful act. However, let us not confuse forgiveness with permission. When Christ said in John 8:11, “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more,” He did not give permission for sin, but forgiveness. He was differentiating between forgiveness and permission.

You see, forgiveness is not for the person who wronged us, it's for ourselves. When we hold on to resentment, bitterness brews within us. Bitterness is a root that grows in our hearts and can negatively affect other areas of our lives. Bitterness takes us down and steals our joy, which can lead to depression and anxiety. Unforgiveness is like carrying around a backpack filled with rotten potatoes, which weighs us down and prevents us from moving on.

Forgiveness does NOT:
...excuse the one who hurt you or did you wrong.
...mean you re-engage in a relationship with the one who hurt you.
...equal trust. Forgiveness is given. Trust is earned.

Forgiveness IS:
...saying goodbye to bitterness and resentment.
...gaining freedom from pain.
...releasing the beauty of peace and happiness.
...letting go in order to move on.

Forgiveness Is Freedom!

Forgiveness is hard, but is it also possible. If you need help forgiving someone, including yourself, I’m here to help. Living with bitterness and shame is not God’s plan for you. Working with a professional therapist can help you process the wrong that was done to you, help you discover the strength to forgive, let go of shame and guilt, and recapture your joy.

Why should you forgive? Because YOU deserve it!

Gretchen is currently accepting new clients and may be contacted by email at gretchen@anxietytraumatherapy.com or by phone at 619-272-6858 x713

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Fixing Your Blind Spots: How To Become More Self-Aware As A Leader at Home, Church Or Work

Thursday, March 28, 2019 @ 12:38 AM

"First, remove the beam out of your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother's eye." - Matthew 7:5. Self-awareness can become one of your most powerful tools. Being able to step outside of yourself and see your own junk can be very helpful for leaders and their relationships. Self aware people are largely successful. You can become so self-aware that it becomes neurotic. But this happens in the case where you are judging yourself rather than evaluating what's going on. Here are some ideas to help create more self-awareness as a leader:

1. Invite feedback especially from direct reports. You can use a 360 degree feedback mechanism but it can also help just to have conversations about how you're doing.

2. Pay special attention to how others feel around you. While you don't want to give them too much power, you also want to make sure that you're being sensitive to them while also being independent of their opinion.

3. Ask yourself what you are truly feeling. Get a chart with some feeling words and ask yourself what you're feeling in regards to a situation with your relationships with your associates. 

4. Check your assumptions and your entitlement. These two issues can really get you into difficult situations in relationships in the workplace, home or church.

5. Check out your ideal self or despised self. These two parts can help us understand a lot about what we're thinking and feeling about ourselves.

6. Ask yourself how something happened not just why. Attempt to debrief with yourself and with others exactly how a problem or a success occurred.

7. Understand what you might be afraid of. Know what are real threats or just cues that might be triggering you into anxiety.

8. Shaming yourself will help your heart to hide. Real guilt, as opposed to shame, can be used to learn lessons and make amends.

Be encouraged to take at least one idea here as a first step. Get outside feedback whether that's counseling, coaching, a friend or a mentor and find a small attainable goal.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Black Pearl Blue Hope, Surviving through Mental Illness

Thursday, March 14, 2019 @ 12:18 PM

L. Nicole Goodman takes the audience on a journey; humbling sharing her world with living with mental health and what it looks like on a day-to-day basis. Her family and friends offer insight and perspective. Through her transparency, she redefines the stereotype making her book and short firm truly inspirational pieces.

Understanding Mental Health: Bipolar, Depression, & Anxiety, The Breakdown

Thursday, March 14, 2019 @ 12:13 PM

This book is an educational resource that can be used to understand the identities of Bipolar Disorder, Depression, and Anxiety. Each condition’s symptoms are broken down. The material also includes interactive questionnaires, noting sections and offers a guide to understanding different treatment options. The highlight of this book is its ability to not only highlight essential coping skills but its explanation of how-to-apply these skills in day-to-day living.

"This book is a must-have for churches, community agencies, mental health professionals, and households! What I love about this book is that anyone can read it and walk away having a credible information source to begin the process of exploring mental illness and seeking treatment options. Just like we have to know the symptoms of a stroke or heart attack, we have to know symptoms of mental illness too!"

-Beatrice Akins, LCSW, LCDCI

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Broken Fences

Thursday, December 27, 2018 @ 9:06 PM

The Pastor's Place

This scene always reminds me of broken fences and the brokenness of life. We often put up fences to keep people out but in that attempt, we often keep ourselves in. We don't express ourselves in an appropriate moment but let it build up and then take it out on someone who really doesn't deserve it, although they may just trigger it.

Broken fences, broken pieces, broken lives. Jesus fed 5,000 people and it is told that they always had broken pieces left over and they picked them all up. I often wonder what they did with them. But it tells me that even though brokenness is a part of life, Jesus will pick up those broken pieces and do something with them. And you can be sure He does all things well.

The Loneliness of Sin

Thursday, December 27, 2018 @ 8:53 PM

The Pastor's Place

Genesis 4: 3-15

Cain and Abel were the first brothers. Both went to the altar to offer a sacrifice to the Lord. God accepted Abel’s offering, a firstling of his flock. The Bible says God respected Abel and his offering. But Cain did what he shouldn't have done; mainly, he offered something from the ground. God didn't accept the offering or respect Cain. Have you ever wondered why? I believe it was because in just a few short chapters prior to this encounter, God had cursed the ground. Able recognized the significance of giving the first and best. Cain became very angry. Notice that even after The Fall, God still talked with man. He asked Cain why he was so upset. Now, that’s a caring God if you ask me!
God told Cain that sin was waiting at the door and desired to take over in him. Wow! God was trying to teach Cain a lesson but he wasn't listening. He wanted to be resentful, bitter and angry to the point that it led to murder.

Verse 7 shows us that sin will pursue us and run us down if we allow it. We are to conquer the sin in our lives by mastering it. That tells me that sin will keep coming at me until I either give in to it or overcome it.

I often wondered why God asked Cain where his brother, Abel was. Doesn’t God know everything? It reveals that Cain felt no remorse, no guilt for what he’d done by killing Abel. By telling God his punishment was more than he could bear, he shows he wasn’t really convicted about his sin, but only concerned about the consequences of getting caught. It would have told a different story if he had said, “I have sinned against you, God. Please forgive me of this terrible thing I’ve done. Things could have possibly gone much better for Cain.

This passage shows that God still talked with man even after they had sinned and fallen in the Garden. Cain had no sense of guilt because the Law had not yet been given. He had no fear of God. (Romans 5: 12, 13) God still desired to commune with man. It wasn’t until after the Law (the 10 Commandments) was given that sin became evident. God talked with man up until Exodus 20: 18-21 and it was not God’s choice. God NEVER left man. Man chose to leave God.

As a result, Cain was destined to be a vagrant and a wanderer. A vagrant is defined as one who wanders from place to place without a permanent home or livelihood; a person who constitutes a public nuisance. No root, no plans, no future. A fugitive looking for some destination, some quiet haven, a place of safety and satisfaction.

Gen 5: 16 As a result of his conversation with God--and notice, God was trying to help Cain with his anger and sadness, but Cain walked away. He left God’s presence. The loneliest people do not know God’s presence. Those who choose to walk away from God’s help are truly lonely. Separated from God with no hope of their own.

Here are some reasons for Cain’s actions:
1. Unbelief/Disrespect
God had taught Adam and Eve the meaning of a blood sacrifice. They taught it to their children. Cain and Abel both knew the truth. Cain chose to not believe and offer whatever he wanted to offer instead of what God required. In his indifference, he gave an offering of the ground, the ground God had cursed.
2. Hatred
Cain closed the door of communication and killed Abel out of his hatred. He chose not to master his anger and by killing his brother, he let sin master him. It can be so easy to be like Cain.
3. Jealousy
Many of us look at our siblings and feel cheated, rejected, the less favored. This has an effect of children that can last a lifetime. We grow up feeling like everyone else has it better.

The Stages of Sin:

1. Anger. Cain became angry at the rejection of his sacrifice. This led him to start thinking. His countenance fell. He probably felt sorry for himself, too, which fed his anger. Not mastering his anger, he let it lead to murderous proportions and it overcame him. Sin crouched at the door and Cain let it in. Sin will usually crouch or try to hide until you are taken by it. Satan roams the earth looking for someone to devoir.
2. He lied to God
Cain went to talk to his brother, but his true intent was different. Not only did he have unbelief and hatred, but when God asked him “Where’s your brother?” Cain was dishonest and said he didn’t know; he wasn’t his babysitter. Like satan, Cain became a liar and a murderer.
3. He despaired and was lonely. He reacted to feelings. He closed the door on the
Life God wanted for him. (Genesis 4: 13) I believe the anger and the rejection he felt caused Cain to leave the sin unconfessed. Surely he knew God’s grace. Why didn’t he trust God to forgive him? Instead, he blamed God, accusing Him of giving him a sentence greater than the sin.
4. Cain proclaimed his destiny: “I am a wanderer and a fugitive.” Cain became a
farmer. Now he built a city to be rid of loneliness. He introduced manufacturing of tools and weapons of bronze and iron. He introduced human culture and civilization based on human effort. His civilization had broken-down standards. In verses 18 and 19, Cain’s descendant Lamech had two wives. God’s standard is one.
Sin starts with a thought and turns into an action if the thought is entertained.

He settled in a place called Nod, which means wandering. The generational curse of murder began with Cain. In verse 23 Lamech killed two people. Cain built a city, a civilization and a culture without God. He had things and activities but no salvation. Cain was ultimately lonely looking for satisfaction. Sin was at the root of his loneliness. Not all loneliness is from sin. That’s why examining yourself is so important.

Cain built a civilization where people had opportunity and culture, science, even a certain amount of technology, but Cain was still a fugitive and a wanderer because he was unrepentant and without God. Life without God is no life at all here or in eternity. John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life and have it more abundantly.

Job also faced loneliness, but this was a different kind of loneliness. (Job 19: 13-15) God will sometimes isolate you to get you to call out to Him. He will remove every distraction in order to become your best friend and it’s only through this separation that people will see change.

Loneliness is a malnourished soul that results from living on substitutes.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Reconciliation: Toward Creative Counseling and Education

Friday, December 14, 2018 @ 5:02 PM

This is a book emphasizing conflict (trials) as the dynamic of life, and shows the methods by which reconciliation may be applied to find connections in conflict which lead to growth and maturity. Reconciliation is a Biblical concept expounded by St. Paul in his Epistles, among which is 2 Corinthians 5:11-21. This book may be further observed on the Amazon.com browser.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Escaping the Pain of Offense: Empowered to Forgive from the Heart

Sunday, May 20, 2018 @ 7:59 PM

My wife had a toothache that developed into unbearable pain the day before the recent holiday. Her dentist’s office was closed for an extended time and she decided to make an appointment with another dentist who handles emergency situations. The x-rays from the visit revealed a likelihood of an infection that was treated with a medicine. Thankfully not a root canal needed, but the pain drove her to seek relief even though the timing was not good.

Emotional pain can be similar to a physical pain in many ways. Disappointment, worry, anxiety, depression, or feelings like abandonment, shame, fear, powerlessness, damaged, invalidation, and hopelessness are common and come in varying degrees for different people. The pain can be intense. It pops up unexpectedly. It can pop up with bad timing. If you try to ignore it, it will only get worse. Sometimes the source is hard to identify. The only lasting solution is not a quick fix, but takes time to heal. For true healing to occur, the root cause must be identified and dealt with properly.

Root causes of emotional pain are often not easy to determine. It may take the help of a “soul doctor” (counselor) to get better. The root cause of emotional pain almost always involves some sort of offense. At the very least, it takes the form of a perceived threat to a person’s comfort, pleasure, or power. At worst, an offense is a gross injustice or disregard for truth. In my experience as a counselor, I have found that when a person is willing to do the hard work of identifying and rooting out offense, it transforms their inner life for lasting results. In the previous few articles I have written a lot about offense, but this article deals with the best solution; that is forgiveness.

The things I learned about forgiveness during the 3 year research project to culminate my seminary degree, changed my life forever. I still consider myself a learner on the topic. One only learns about forgiveness if he practices forgiveness. Since offense creates the need for forgiveness, and since offense is part of an inescapable human condition, the only way to learn about forgiveness is to practice it. How does one practice forgiveness? As an answer to this question I authored the book called Escaping the Pain of Offense: Empowered to Forgive from the Heart.

Below is an overview of the book. The goal is to help people in three aspects of life: understanding what true forgiveness is (and isn’t), applying this understanding to inner life change, and applying it to relationships with people. I divided the content into three sections of three chapters each.

The first section, Part One, is called Foundations. The chapters in Part One are called The Cycle of Offense, Misunderstandings, and Divinely Initiated (the basic theology of forgiveness with many biblical references).

Part Two of the book is called Transformational Healing: Between God and Man. This section is the heart of the matter, distinguishing forgiveness from reconciliation. The simplest definition I have discovered for forgiveness is “surrendering to God the right to judge.” Forgiveness is a matter of getting your heart in the right place before God, and nothing (or at least very little) to do with how the offender responds (or doesn’t respond). The three chapters of Part Two are called Receiving God’s Gift, Surrendering to God, and Trusting God for Change.

Part Three, applying forgiveness to relationships, is called Conflict Resolution: Between God, Man, and Fellowman. Whereas forgiveness is for the offended person restoring right relationship with God, reconcilation adds the offender to the mix. The Bible is clear about the necessity for brothers and sisters in Christ to relate to one another in love, peace, and harmony as much as possible. When God’s Gift of forgiveness is truly received in our hearts, we are genuinely prepared for the reconciliation to be pursued. Reconciliation requires two hearts surrendered to a higher judgment, not just one. In some cases complete reconciliation is not possible (eg. Death, imprisonment, lack of safety), but again, the freedom of forgiveness (escape from the pain of offense) is still possible. The three chapters in Part Three are called Forgiveness and Reconciliation, Reconciliation in Relationships, and Conclusions. I refer to marriage, church, and community relationships for practical application.

At the end of each of the three sections I include a few pages of material to encourage looking into more detail on the topic. These sections are called Follow-up and Practice. I include End Notes that correspond to numbered references throughout the text. These references are included in an eight page Bibliography at the end of the book. These are great resources for further study of the topic. At the end of the book, I also include a Study Guide. This study guide presents questions for further exploration and deeper reflection. The questions can be used for self study or group study.

Finally, the book includes three Appendices. Appendix A includes a number additional resources (sample prayers included) that have been meaningful in my own journey and have helped others in our counseling ministry. Appendix B is about my personal healing journey including forgiveness. Appendix C is the content of a pamphlet entitled Overcoming an Abortion that has been distributed by the thousands and helped many find Christ Jesus as a Refuge for their pain. It highlights the truth of Jesus being our pain bearer and our escape for the debt of our offenses and payment for the debt of offenses against us. No matter how much guilt or shame we carry, Jesus is our Refuge, and best solution to the pain.

You may have heard of the three typical responses to emotional pain; flight, fight, or freeze. Escaping the Pain of Offense is not a book about escaping in the sense of a flight (nor fight, nor freeze) response to pain. The above details about the book show that substance and sufficient effort is necessary to become a victor and not a victim. The book is different from other books on the topic of forgiveness in that it emphasizes the inner life transformational growth journey. Personal growth occurs by embracing forgiveness as an ongoing process of changing our inner person.

Forgivenss does not solve all the problems a person may have, but it prepares the heart for answers to be implemented. I recommend John C. Maxwell’s book called The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth. Maxwell’s book contains a chapter called “The Law of Pain.” He shares how to turn pain into a growth experience. Maxwell elaborates on 5 specific ways to grow through struggle. I would add (perhaps as a per-requisite) “Seek Corrective Understanding and Consistent Practice of Forgiveness” to his list below.

You grow best when you::

1. Choose a Positive Life Stance

2. Embrace and Develop Your Creativity

3. Embrace the Value of Bad Experiences

4. Make Good Changes after Learning from Bad Experiences

5. Take Responsibility for Your Life

Maxwell’s book will help you with many aspects of personal growth. But all the growth expertise in the world will not help a heart that is unwilling (or lacks the emotional capacity) to change. And it’s not all or nothing. Any part of your heart that resists positive change will hold back the entire growth process. The human heart changes bit by bit, incident by incident, offense by offense, forgiven offender by forgiven offender, etc. For the Christian, fully surrendering judgments to God is the path to growth. A mere decision does not qualify as full surrender. Thoughts and beliefs must be accompanied by surrender of the soul (mind, will, and emotions). Growth is only as current as the last time you allowed God to take his rightful place as Judge in life circumstances.

Is there an area of your life in which you know growth needs to happen? Maxwell’s book is filled with very insightful practical application to help. But is there a part of your heart that feels pain, stress, or negative feelings mentioned at the beginning? I wrote the book Escaping the Pain of Ofense: Empowered to Forgive from the Heart to help people find freedom through forgiveness. The book has helped many people already. For those who think their level of understanding and practice of forgiveness is adequate, I encourage you to rethink whether your beliefs are holding you back from God’s best for your life. I am not saying this to sell more books. I am sold on the idea that greater measures of truth about forgiveness are essential for positive change. My book is available online or by contacting me. I am so convinced of the message that if you cannot afford to buy a copy, I will make it available at cost. Write me and remind me of this offer. Check out more about the book at http://book.bluerockbnb.com .

Also write me with your feedback or requests for more input on the topic. May this not only be the beginning of a successful New Year, but also a new beginning for a brighter future of real, healthy, and new growth in your life!

This article is published at:
http://authoredhersh.blogspot.com/2018/01/escaping-pain-of-offense.html

More on simpliar topics is on the blog site.

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Four Stages of the Obsessive Love Wheel

Friday, June 16, 2017 @ 11:08 PM

Obsessive love is an oxymoron: it’s not about love at all. It is about owning and possessing another person.
Often people confuse an obsession with being in love. When the two are fused, it can lead to volatile, destructive relationships. Obsessive love is the kind of love that leads to murder, rape, stalking, false accusations and suicide among other things. An obsessive love wheel divides this kind of love into stages that can be clearly identified in certain behavioral traits.

Four Stages of the Obsessive Love Wheel: 

  1. The first stage relates to the initial attraction. This is an overwhelming, emotional or physical attraction that ignores any signs of incompatibility and focuses on physical and emotional traits rather than personality characteristics. The Obsessed begins to have magical fantasies about the person, and then signs of controlling, obsessive behavior begin to show.
  2. The next stage is an anxious one, where the obsessed begins to create unrealistic and baseless notions about the other person abandoning you or being unfaithful. This can lead to depression or violent reactions.
  3. The third phase is the stalker or obsessive phase, when the obsessed person may follow the target, continuously call, stop by the office unannounced, drive by and even monitor the targeted one. Obsessive questions are usually a characteristic of this phase.
  4. Finally, the obsessed person enters the destructive phase. This is usually triggered by the targeted one fleeing or leaving. This phase is characterized by depression for the obsessed, substance abuse and thoughts of suicide. Obsessive love easily transitions from one phase to the next, even the slightest signs of it should be checked and preventive measures should be taken. An Obsessive Love is not love at all, it is all about control and possession of the targeted one.

Saturday, March 04, 2017

A Reflection 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.

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Mastering Stress, Maximizing Success The Complete Guide

Saturday, June 04, 2016 @ 9:35 AM

LAE-LAH Inc

Stress is as necessary to life as eating and communicating. Without stress we would not be able to appreciate our limits or attain our objectives. Being under the right kind of pressure, whether self-induced or externally created, is integral to responding appropriately to the challenges of everyday life. To desire an existence that is stress-free is quite literally a death wish, for it is stress that tells our bodies when “enough is enough” and we need to STOP!

Stress—what is it? As you navigate through the pages of this book, you will be able to grasp the concept of stress on different levels.

How can one manage stress and maximize success? As you approach this journey let the words marinate within your mind and penetrate your body and soul. You are on the road to managing stress and maximizing success.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Brain Power: How to Fine-Tune Your Brain Naturally

Thursday, February 25, 2016 @ 3:11 PM

Written by a 4th generation Christian Missionary Physician, this book offers insight into how the brain works, integrating biblical knowledge with cutting-edge science and nutritional information. It is a great resource for any individual or therapist.