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Monday, December 10, 2018

4 Reasons Your Child Misbehaves

Monday, December 10, 2018 @ 2:53 PM

Your child misbehaves severely at their childcare-something is terribly wrong!

Buzz, buzz. You check your phone and realize its happening again. ‘They just called yesterday! Can’t they take care of one 3 year old?’ you think to yourself. But you know, he misbehaves a lot, even for you. Mama Bear is about to take over, but you are still unsure if that is the right tact. You know something isn’t right, and you are ready for it to be fixed-you just don’t know what to do. Swallowing tears of frustration, shame, sorrow, guilt, you wonder if he will be going back tomorrow. Wondering what you are going to do, you square your shoulders, prepare yourself and walk into the building.
What do you do when your child misbehaves?

What could be happening?

1. HALT — Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired

This is an acronym that helps to remind me that we all get cranky when our bodies aren’t working right. Talk to those around your child and find out if there is a pattern. Do they have difficulty right before nap? Mid-morning? Right before pick up? Look at their eating habits. It is important to not jump to the next idea until you have really looked at your child’s pattern. Knowing when and how predictably your child misbehaves will let you explore how changes to the environment could help them behave better.
2. Physical Issues

There is good evidence that some behavior issues can be related to how a child experiences the world. Vision and hearing problems, certain allergies, illness, and sensory processing issues can all cause misbehavior. To learn more about sensory processing issues, check out the checklist on sensory-processing-disorder-checklist.com. This is a great site to help you understand these issues. If you prefer a book, find the Out of Sync Child by Carol Stock Kranowitz.
3. Conflict Or Change At Home

Your child’s emotional, physical, and psychological world is based on the foundation of your home. If there is a lot of conflict, chaos, and inconsistency, your child will react to that. Can they count on spending connecting time with a parent? Has there been a big change recently? Involved grandparents become ill, parents separate, siblings are born, dogs die. Even good things can disrupt a child’s world such as a new home, new bedroom, and even a new pet.
4. Abuse/Neglect

As parents, we jump to this often and want to switch childcare or school the minute our child begins to act up. Not all childcare/schools are equal and there is clear evidence that predators target young children. However, most of the time the difficulties with your child do not arise from abuse or neglect. Most of the time, your child simply needs different skills than the teacher already knows or the difference between home and childcare confuses your child. Hurt feelings on the part of a child are difficult to handle. Think about workplaces that were not comfortable but didn’t actually break any rules. Be sensitive to your child’s make-up and carefully evaluate how you feel your childcare or school is handling daily activities. A change in teachers or schedules may be difficult for your child.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Are We Missing the Positive?

Sunday, November 11, 2018 @ 1:22 PM

By Glyndora Condon MS MFT LPC

In today's culture I often will read something that I believe is a positive post. Someone has done something kind for another; has posted a challenge of their life that they have been overcoming; the economy is growing with many over a million of people now rejoining the work force; that corporations are returning to the USA, that the water is being cleaned up, that the USA is becoming respected abroad once again; and many other similar "good news" that we should be grateful for, praising those who are instrumental in the good actions that are occurring; yet to my dismay-as I read the comments underneath-there will be comments of the contrary. Someone should have done more, or why did they not do something other, or this is a lie, or it is about time, with the focus on anything but the positive. Why do we see the negatives as we ignore the positives? Why do we prioritize anything other than what others are achieving? Did you know that it takes an average of 20 positive actions (comments, behaviors) to undo one negative?

There have been occasions when I made a point to go and visit family, a shut-in, to bring food to the sick; to give a gift, help pay one's debts, invite someone over to my home; visit at the hospital, and/or other acts of simple grace. Yet while within the occasion, the person who I wanted to love or to prioritize would focus on something negative. I called at the wrong time which was not appreciated; I was not dressed to par; they did not like the soup or dish; my house was a mess after I had worked all week; The person used their time pointing out to all of the flowers and gifts sent to them and brought to them-as if disappointed that I only visited; I should have forgiven their omission of not reimbursing me for a loan provided and then also let them keep the apartment or item in default- otherwise I am un-Christian. With these negative reactions and rejection of the grace, I would find myself questioning my worthiness, my gift, and my intent. Why else were they so disgruntled and negative?

With these responses then I have actually asked, "Are you coming to visit me or to assess my house keeping?" I also have to make sure that I am not trapped in a manipulative strategy intended to create shame or guilt as others are working their passive aggressive; or other forms of control. When I know that I am doing good with the right heart and not to feel worthy-then I have to risk such rejections but feel good that I did a selfless thing for someone; feeling positive although others may not receive these gifts well. This mindset takes much effort since I have battle social anxiety disorder and fear rejection automatically. Those who seek some negative motive under good behaviors and those who look for negatives in what was not done-instead of appreciating the heart, the effort, and the person; are missing the positive and therefore losing the blessing intended for them.

I too stand convicted for not appreciating so many blessings that have gone by the wayside due to the frequency, which seemed to drive almost an expectation instead of the realization that this is a gift each time, and that I was owed nothing. Sometimes people compare their lives to others and believe them to be less blessed which results in resentment or covetousness.


As I apply the scientific tools to this issue; I realize the need that seek assistance with a more ancient document which speaks upon grumbling vs. thankfulness. Luke 17:11-19 spoke of 10 lepers (most were Jews, but also there was a Samaritan in the mix). Jews looked down upon the Samaritans as unclean and lost people and therefore this parable is applicable to today's issues of racial tension which not only applies to color, but also; differences of gender, religion, intelligence, physical appearance, special needs, age, and many other populations of differences that some feel are less than their own. As we think of this issue-we can remember other scriptures where the "unlikely person" rose to an occasion and served those who thought themselves better. However, today I wish to consider only the construct of thankfulness and positive thinking.

Ten lepers begged for mercy and Jesus healed them. All but one, walked away without a word of gratitude-but, one did return, a Samaritan; who thanked Jesus. We also read of the approximately 2-3 million Israelites who were freed of bondage and were being brought to the promised land; yet within only a few verses we hear them grumble of their situation (freedom) while on their journey. A story of "The Grumbling Monk" humorously yet also sadly depicts our thinking. He wanted to become a Monk. He was advised that this would be a 3 year task of much sacrifice to which he agreed; and he could only utter 2 words each year of those 3 years. The first year his two words were: bed hard. The second 2 years then he said, food bad; so the third year he said, I quit. He only seems to see the negative instead of the opportunity to listen, to observe, to learn.

Thankfulness takes intentional effort. Psalms 103:2 states for us to forget none of his/her benefits. Other verses that also speak about God's wish for us to be grateful are: Psalms 97:12, 77:12, 95:2, 100:4, and Thessalonians speaks of the need for us to be grateful in everything; and give thanks (the good, and the bad). Some of us mutter, what do I have to be thankful for? Well, let us ponder this question.

We are to be thankful for Christ who died on the cross to forgive us of our sins which is founded in 2 Cor. 9:15. Did you wake this morning? Were you able to see when you opened your eyes? Could you hear the birds singing outside? Did you sleep in a bed within shelter? Did you have at least one meal today? Did you have clothing to wear? Is there anyone who loves you on earth? Are you in fairly good health today? Have you had good health most of your life? Are you able to walk? Reach? Hug? Eat? If so then aren't we blessed? While comparing ourselves to others-are any others worse off than us? Should we be comparing ourselves, or should we be focused on us and helping others who have less than us? God is pleased with our thankfulness (Luke 17:15).

To lift us from anxiety, stress, resentment, bitterness, and other negative moods we must identify the distortions of thoughts and reframe our thoughts to more positive thoughts. Scripture tells us to cultivate a thankful spirit. Therefore in addition to the scientific tools that we would employ in counseling we would also use an adjunction of:
1. Daily prayer the minute that you are waking to thank God for you many blessings.
2. Listing all of your blessings quarterly so as to keep abreast of the new ones you that you find along your journey.
3. Create some project that you can display so that you have visual reminders of those blessings.
4. As a friend to help hold you accountable to thank God and others for their gifts.
5. Visit and serve those who are less fortunate: The widows, the homeless, those in prison, the sick, the poor, the blind, the deaf, the grieving, and other.
6. Be in the Word.
7. Let your self talk include how richly you have been blessed, and sing praise.


If we look for negatives-then we will see the negatives since these are many and difficult to forget. If we seek positives then we must be purposeful and intentional in what we are prioritizing and gleaning from our world. We must challenge our distortion of thought, release the need to manipulate others, and have courage to trust in our heart. Perhaps others will follow our lead as we model a positive resolution.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Premarital Counseling: Before You Say I do

Sunday, October 14, 2018 @ 11:09 PM

Pre-Marital Counseling: “Before You Say I Do”

The most important investment for a couple who are planning to get married is premarital counseling. I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT). I specialize in couples counseling. Many of the couples I have counseled had perpetual issue beginning before they said, "I do." I do not know how many times people thought that things would be different after the ceremony. When I am counseling couples who are looking to go to the next step in their relationship, marriage, I highly recommend they complete pre-marital counseling.

What Is the Cost?

If you are planning on staying married until death does us part, invest in your marriage by getting professional pre-marital counseling. More is spent on the wedding and divorce, then many are willing to spend on the marriage. A posting on WeddingWire 2018, stated it was too much to pay $950 for six sessions of pre-marital counseling. This person said they would be looking for other counselors whose price is much lower. Many couple’s belief one to two sessions are enough for pre-marital counseling.
According to WeddingWire.com 2018, so far this year the average cost of a wedding is $30,000. This is not including the honeymoon or ring. According to WomanDivoce.com 2018, the cost of a divorce is from $1,500 to $15,000. One would think $30,000 is a lot of money to invest in a wedding. $15,00 for a divorce is half of the cost of an average wedding. According to HRT 2018, the price of premarital counseling is one to two percent of the cost to get married.
As I look at these figures, I am so surprised at the amount and number of people who actually invest in the marriage. HRT 2018 states about forty-four percent of couples who get married consider premarital counseling, and one percent of couples who get remarried consider premarital counseling.

There Are Only Benefits to Premarital Counseling:

1. Enlightens each person on what they are getting. Remember there is no perfect person. As you uncover the different areas listed before, with a clear and informed conscious you can say I          have enough to work with: (please note this is not a complete list)
     a. Marital readiness
     b. Yourself
     c. Stability
     d. How they deal with stress
     e. The in-law/out-law Relationship
     f. Sex
     g. Conflict management
2. Answers question about the relationship and each other, you didn't know to ask
3. You learn the tools for effective communication
4. When there is an area of disagreement, you learn to come to a win-win outcome.
5. It is always a good thing to learn before you say I do, “Is this the right person for you.”

The Investment:

Please note there is no guarantee that your marriage will succeed for a lifetime. However, the percentages of marriages that lasted have invested in premarital counseling are substantial. Start your life together learning what it will take to safeguard your marriage before it starts.
Begin with Premarital Counseling.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Discover Your Parenting Style

Friday, August 31, 2018 @ 12:52 PM

God implores the parent to teach, guide, discipline, and to be the example that is appropriate for their children-consistently; without exacerbating or creating intolerance/rebellion. God speaks of teaching the children morning, noon, night without ceasing of His principals and of His love and justice. The "hows" were not exactly provided other than the above instruction.

Parenting is an awesome role and responsibility given to those blessed with children. As with most all situations when one deals with life, the parents must adjust as the baby begins to have mobility, and again adjust with teaching the child life skills that will create the character and integrity suitable to negotiate healthy relationships, vocations, lifestyle, and sense of self; as the child grows into the adult who is a contributing person to the family, community, and nation, and then called upon to be able to lovingly and effectively guide their own children through the developmental process.

RESEARCH AND COUNSELING

Often as I work with children/adolescents-and when addressing negative behaviors I will simply pose a question, Why? Many times the answer appears to solely rest on three factors: One or more parent has stated that this child will not be any good, has stated the child is stupid and does not know how to think or act, or that the child will never achieve anything of great merit, and/or will be like Uncle ? who in fact is the family's addicted member, or incarcerated member; therefore the parent is providing mixed messages and little confirmation, praise, guidance, affirmation, or validation in the perception of the child. OR the child is using their parent or significant other's example of poor decision making, poor self control, and bad judgment, or substance use, as well as; the child is perceiving their world from a viewpoint of entitlement and is oppositional of authority figures; possibly due to overly submissive parenting of one who may be overcompensating and/or who may be overly protective, and smothering; and/or the absent parent giving mixed messages, or absent in attention, as they focus on self or work, or other. Or; the parent operates from an approach of an authoritarian parent who rules with a dictator type of approach, dismissing any input of the child, with strict and a large list of rules, and hard consequences, often condescending, often blaming, often ridiculing, pushing, and attempting to hold the child to an extreme standard of perfection.


Children often will shoot for the standard given them and modeled for them. Parents who then focus on encouragement, praise, and solutions, as they teach the child how to utilize knowledge and discernment, how to be flexible when plans changes, how to prioritize, how to budget and how to raise funds for their goals, how to choose friends, how to respect each other, how to set boundaries and speak effectively with assertive and mindful communication to maintain their boundaries, how to maintain their self control and know when to pursue and when to wait, how to be truthful, and the importance of doing what is right regardless of if others are watching while encouraging their children that this is reachable for them- will often have children who will try. Is important to do our best in every thing that we pursue or am responsible to do-but we are not perfect, and regardless of that fact-we are most loved. Asking questions to aid the child to think of options and the consequences vs the benefits is helpful as the parent guides the child in this process; and allowing the child natural consequences of decision made. Reviewing choices made with the child and helping the child to see better options is also a better approach.

During counseling then-the parents are aided with better coaching and parenting strategies while also learning about how their own background of parenting may not be the best solution. The children are provided tools to identify their thought distortions, increase their self image, increase their social skills, increase their communication skills, and the importance of each choice that they make. As the parents and children progress then we blend them and use role play so as to grow their skills and to tweak their approach with each other. Often if behaviors are also being experienced at school or work, then we are in contact with those entities to provide resources and tools for them as well so as to work with the parents and children on a successful intervention to effect change.

Parents can be warm and attentive or they can be distant and/or self absorbed. In addition, there are four basic parenting styles of which parents adopt while rearing their children, (Baumrind, 1975, 1991). These will be described and then will be related to how a ten year old might behave or develop under each style of parenting. 

Authoritarian Parenting Style

This style is demanding, and punitive, exhibiting little warmth. Parents assume more of a dictatorship holding their children to difficult, high standards. Punishments do not match the crime, parents do not explain themselves or why rules are in effect, and are not concerned with being role models . Parents are rigid and so are their rules and expectations. Children who are brought up with these parents experience extreme control issues, do not develop a sense of discipline or an inner morality, are not very verbal, and are often unhappy, fearful, anxious, fail to initiate activity, and have weak communication skills. Should they need to ask for guidance during a sensitive experience, they would not feel comfortable consulting with their parents.


Authoritative parents set high goals and they are active role models. It is a nurturing and warm style of parenting. Children who are reared with these parents are blessed and become cheerful, self-controlled and self-reliant, and achievement-oriented. They maintain friendships with peers, cooperate with adults, and cope well with stress. Their social skills are often keen. They normally have close bonds with their parents.


Indulgent Parenting Style

These parents are focused on their children and are heavily invested, purchasing lots of gifts and possessions. However, they offer little direction (Goodner, Robert, 2001). Parents are responsive but undemanding and more like a friend. They are affirmative but do not hold their child to take responsibility for their conduct. In fact, the parent excuses their child’s impulses, aggressions, and sexual conduct. This is due to their inability to say the word no. There are vague boundaries or guidelines set for the child to adhere too. The child then rules the roost. Children often lack self-control, have behavior problems, do substandard work in school or on the job, do not take responsibility for their mistakes, are immature, insecure, demanding, and are selfish. In addition, they are not dependable, have little motivation, and have external moral codes according to (Egeland & Farber, 1984). They are however highly social and usually have good self-esteems.


Uninvolved Parent

Parents who are these types are uninvolved, neglectful, selfish, and do not communicate with their children. In extreme cases they reject and may even abuse their young. Normally however, the basic essential needs are met. The child is fed and clothed. However, the parent is concerned more about their own conveniences and comfort, entertainment, and concerns. Children occupy themselves. They are demanding since they learn they must be to get their parent’s attention. They have low social skills, expect to get their way, and are aggressive, non-compliant.

Which parent type are you?
Therefore, children are reared with differing parenting styles that contribute to specific behaviors and development. The authoritarian and the permissive parents will teach children to not be disciplined internally. They will also possess external moral standards that basically means they would obey so as to not be caught. The neglected child will do whatever is necessary to get one’s way regardless of any consequences, blaming others for their poor decisions. However, the child who lives in a home with authoritative parent will be the most rounded, happier, reliable, and more content child.
It is important to know how parenting styles effect children. With this understanding then counselors might be able to recognize behavior cues and better understand the reasons behind a child’s behavior. Parents should have a balance of discipline and love. Children need role models and nurturing; however, they also need boundaries and to be held responsible. In so doing then the parent is more likely to be an authoritative parent. The authoritative parent tends to be the most effective as they guide their child and teach their child life skills. Parents only have 18 years to teach through modeling and through direct instruction, as well as; by utilizing positive reinforcements and also when needed, negative reinforces. Consistency in how one parents, is often a huge factor as to the child's reception of the intended lessons and constructs.


Other issues rise when parenting styles differ between parents, When one parents with one style and the other with their own, this becomes an environment where children are confused and can also employ manipulative measures as they use each against the other. Heal and Hope works to gain unity between parents and to help teach parents how to better engage and to train their children in life skills. When parents learn how, what, and why, then they can achieve respect and feel more confident as they parent.


Not only are these important but nutrition is often mismanaged. The central nervous system should have the best nutritional foods from which to draw from and to build from. It appears that some parents may believe that as long as they feed their children three times daily, then this is nutritious; but this is not the case. People can be obese, eating more than recommended, yet still be nutritionally starving. In addition, research is showing more correlation with gluten and sugar; and their influence with Autism and ADHD; and when one truly researches natural and organic foods and mental health; one can easily see many disorders that are exacerbated with certain foods. Avoiding such often lowers the symptom-logy at times to where the client is no longer meeting the clinical criteria for diagnoses.
Therefore, while children's brains are developing, parents need to prepare a wholesome and healthy variety of vegetables and also provide fresh fruits, baked, broiled, steamed foods; that are not providing high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated fats, dyes, preservatives, hormones, or other such harmful ingredients since parents are building the very foundation of the central nervous system and all organs with a blend of healthy eating, exercise, moderate sun, and fresh air. Food can help with impulse control and also with seizures. Food is far more important that it is given credit for, and it is important as to what we put into our mouths. Some mental health illnesses may be the result of what we eat. Please let that resonate a while.


In addition, we are seeing more harm from the excessive hours of the phone, gaming, and internet connections-in how our brains are being wired. Is this a skill worth the hours of investment? Or would not something more creative and stimulating use of our brains be advised? Parents today have more concerns than those two decades ago. Children have access to many harmful unknowns as they click into the internet. This inclusion is creating a new addiction since the brain is altered by excessive use and by the exposure to criteria which is not appropriate for children.


Another issue: Parents are now busier than ever before as they are over booked with trying to get their children in every imaginable sport or activity-as if this shows that they are good parents. This actually leaves little time for real teaching, as the coaches and the schools seem to take our children into their forums-for extended periods of time; and instead model and teach our children cultural and personal beliefs along with the subject matter. Children are less able to resolve conflicts and/or unable to use discernment-leaving them vulnerable for unplanned for life experiences. Children are often unable to be flexible or to have self management. Inflexibility is common amongst dysfunctional homes and behavior.


Parents need time to model how to be flexible and how to discern. When children witness and receive consistent messages then often they will own the discipline, making it theirs. It is therefore most wise for our children to learn the construct that are good and healthy for them. The best people to instruct them would be their parents when the parents are operating and are providing the healthy examples for their children-yet this takes time. Busy is not always best. Parents need time with their children. They must grow independence, integrity, dependability, conflict resolution skills, communication skills, self management skills; while teaching a multitude of life skills during the short 18 years of childhood.


Children who do cultivate integrity and dependability then can be awarded more freedoms with each passing challenge that tested the child's character and self control, as they demonstrate that they are able to resolve conflicts and negotiate their walk while being true to god, others, self and to their life skills learned.
Words that encourage, lift, instruct, build, challenge, and guide are far more effective as parents steer their child; and parents must allow the child to earn their benefits and consequences without condemnation, and without lowering standards. A child often will strive or themselves settle depending upon what their parent believes is probable or possible for that child. It is far better to cheer, "you can do it!" than to forecast, "you will never be_________." In addition, comparing children negatively tends to divide children and instill a lower sense of self.
Will all children who are parented appropriately come aboard and own this discipline? Most will but some will not. God is our heavenly father. He parents all the same with standards as he demonstrates how and why. He models for us yet some of us owns his teaching and others of us do not. We see families who are parented well, yet one of the children turns from the core beliefs and risks negative behaviors. Somehow that child felt unloved or less loved. Somehow that child did not want to control their impulses.
Often we as parents want to believe in that child and will sometimes cater to or lower the standards for that child as we hope that they will come on board. We plead and we beg, yet our child resists as he/she demands freedom un-earned; or things unearned; which places parents in places that are most difficult as they may sometimes placate to the child. This reinforces the negative behaviors and makes it more difficult for the parent to rise above this standard without real drama and problems.


Often, the fear of losing their child drives a parent to give in when the parent needs to stand strong, and firm, upon the convictions- as they uphold the rules in the home. Once this pattern is produced then the parent faces a strong hold of distorted thoughts and behaviors that will resist change; but change is a must if the child will rise above their self will and dysfunctional mindset. Parents then must stand true, model truth, and trust God as they reset boundaries and enforce those boundaries; even at the risk that the child will "hate" them.
Parents instead are to place the child's well-being foremost as they provide tough love in those cases. In many cases, the child will learn and will turn around, and in time-will appreciate their parent for their love and guidance, their perseverance and their decision to not give in. A few children do not turn. In these cases we support the parent and the work with the children as long as we are allowed, to attempt to instill the life skills that were not instilled in the home. In the end, it is the child that determines their fate at this point. When children turn from their parents we may need to see if the child is engaging with substance abuse, or has become addicted to something which has taken control of that child. These brains are developing. What they are exposed to, are fed with, and have modeled to-will effect the very functionality and health of them. Parents need to be present and to be the examples that their children need to become the most that they can become.

Children are very confused, are very self centered, and are not naturally sharing or thoughtful in most cases. They are bombarded with negative influences in this culture. Often children follow their peers without considering the consequences. The parents need to be of one voice with one plan. They need to work together to create time with their children and to model healthy and positive behaviors consistently. They need to know where, with whom, what, how, and what are their children into. Although they must relax their protective parenting by age 10-11 to allow the child some flexibility to experience their world, they still need to be involved and watchful and to be open to talk with their children. This will be an age where the child will push parents away and is discovering who they are. For protective parents-then this will be a difficult yet important aspect of their growth and development.

Discipline and Rewards are important. When the children are young, then discipline is often time out, the removal of a toy, and like. As middle aged children; then the discipline is often a restriction of time on games or the screen, restriction of company or their ability to go to a friend's house or an event. When an adolescent then much the same continues. Discipline is more effective when certain aspects are in play:
1. Respect of the role of parent must be in place.
2. Respect of the authority to implement the discipline must be in place.
3. The child must be willing to submit to that authority and adhere to the punishment.
4. Consistency to follow through as promised is a must.
5. Enough time for the change to occur.
6. The absence of hypocrisy in that is expected and what is modeled.

Without the above criteria then the child can easily laugh and walk from the parent while pursuing whatever they wish. Children need to respect those in authority and their roles since they will meet with forums filled with the same or like rules with consequences that govern each of those forums. If the child is to achieve and be successful-they must comprehend this construct and be willing to perceive the importance for these to be in place. Only then will they navigate their world more wisely.

We help our families to develop better tools and better perceptions of life. If you find yourself grappling and frustrated, then contact us at Heal and Hope Counseling Services.

Dealing with Strong Willed Children

Friday, August 31, 2018 @ 12:47 PM

Parents who have strong willed children find parenting stressful. Power struggles occur and neither parent or child are successful. Children question parameters and respect, and parents question respect and obedience-with neither winning the battle. This article helps to provide parents with a few of the needed changes of their approach. More coping tools and like information can be procured with entering into parenting class or individual sessions offered by Glyndora Condon MS MFT LPC: Enjoy the article.

Strong. Willed. Children. Immediately what comes to mind is; defiance, rebellion, and other negative traits: yet some notable strong willed people to tribute are Peter and Ester of scriptures, along with many other scriptural individuals; Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, and like contributors or much positive discoveries. Strong willed children can be channeled by parents and this is a powerful and empowering construct!

How do we know that we have strong willed children? Let's take a stroll and please mark those issues that apply to yourself, your mate, or your children, Ready?
1. This person does not think anything is impossible and this person will attempt to conquer against all odds.
2. This person pushes at a pace as if a streak of lightening to get it done, one way or other.
3. Will argue to argue to see where all of it goes.
4. Easily bored and therefore will create a crisis.
5. Rules are thought of as guidelines and often too picky and unreasonable.
6. Creative and resourceful people.
7. Grand crusades from issues.
8. Will milk the situation when challenged, taking it as a dare; of which they accept the challenge.
9. Will take a simple request to a major issue in a millisecond.
10. Gifted with sarcasm.
11. If not given choice and threatened with a consequence; the person will accept the consequence to prove that one cannot make one do anything.
12. They want authority figures that will not allow them to bend the rules without consequence, the ability to follow through with quick resolve consistently which builds security and trust in the word of that authority person IF THE COMMUNICATION IS DELIVERED WITH RESPECT AND CALM RESOLVE-BUILDING RESPECT.
13. Lessons are often learned the hard way as repeated non compliance is chosen even when consequences are in place.

So how did you do with the above questions or statements? If you marked 8-10 then you have a potential trouble maker, lol; but 11-12 is a definite assessment of a strong willed person and often trouble maker due to the insatiable need to challenge and see where the limits really are. These strong people can be persuaded but not pushed.

Dictator commands and threats will drive the negative reactions since these are seen as challenges and disrespectful of them, They have no boss and cannot be forced to do anything. They will choose to die if needed to prove their point of their free will. They know you can't make them love you, obey you, or even make them eat good food. Spending time pleading and reasoning falls on deaf ears.

How do we then get things done, teach responsibility, life skills, and receive respect from these people?
Give choices. Be concise about what they are expected to do and what the consequences would be but with a positive twist.
An example of the delivery of a slight tweak of how to parent are as follows.

WRONG: I told you to clean your room. Clean it or you can depend upon losing your PHONE! Got it? (child rolls eyes and continues phone or screen; or laying around) Then the power match is on...with no winners.
RIGHT: Let's clean it up please.
WRONG: You can hate me and be angry all you want but you will do what I say! (Child thinks or says, nope; or make me)
RIGHT: Oh, I am sorry that you are angry at me; I guess that means you don't want cuddling time? (meaning-anger or not, I expect the work or request to be done promptly or there will be the consequence).
WRONG: Cut that tv (or other screen) off and do your homework! (Child-no, later, got to finish this first, or this is not fair!) Power struggle incurs.
RIGHT: Feel free to watch your favorite show on tv when the homework is done. (Child understands that there is a process expected and knows the consequence of no favorite show if they choose to procrastinate).
WRONG: Buckle your seat belt! (Child-NO, Buckle your seat belt NOW or else. Child NO), (Where does the parent go now with this? pleading? Threats, pull over and buckle it for them? Spanking? Either way, you could not make them do what they did not want to do).
RIGHT: Please put on your seat belt. (Child-no) Parent (Why?) Child (because it is too tight and I don't like it on). Parent- Okay so let's loosen it a little bit to help it to be more comfortable and put it on, okay? Okay, (The parent then has made a small compromise yet kept the resolve that the belt will be worn).

Wonder if the child still will not put their seat belt on? The law that the parent is subjected to is-All passengers and self must be seat belted or there will be a ticket. Parents can relay that message and show their resolve that they will comply with the law; then proceed to unload from the car. (If this is a situation where the family is planning to go to an activity the child wants to go to). This works like a charm. If to somewhere the child does not want to go-then the parent will need to give a consequence that fits this issue exchanging their next activity for this one with a resolve to not attend. Either way the auto does not leave the drive way. Perhaps all but the child and a parent leaves but the consequence of losing the privilege of going to their event is implemented.


A parent's job is to teach, hold their child accountable, and apply consequence; using modeling (example), specific rules and consequences to expect, while following through quickly if wrong choices are made. parents must teach life skills but more importantly character traits. A parent cannot make the child do anything and to have leverage then they need a relationship with their child. That relationship is vital and must be one with trust and respect. With prompt follow through and consistency while applying the consequence if the child chooses it-the child learns the limits earlier and will more likely choose the better choice. A parent who pleads and threatens their child repeatedly teaches procrastination and disrespect as the child begins feeling as if there are not limits and therefore is at higher risk to make negative choices as they face challenges that are likely to not be followed through-remaining dependent and deluded as to their invisibility.

I did some security work at one time, and was advised that if I wrote a ticket or contacted the police; then I did not need to give a warning since they had to pay the consequence of parking in a handicap area or stealing merchandise; but if I gave a warning and chose not to apply the consequence then the person's acceptance of that warning and following through with better conduct was expected and if that person violated the warning and grace the 1st time then they needed the consequence instead.

Teaching the child to be prompt in good choices, to discern, to be responsible for their choices is vital. The approach of this teaching is also most important. Consistency and clear expectations are absolutely necessary. Warnings are to include the expected behavior and the intended consequence should a wrong choice occur with encouragement to choose compliance but yet the choice is theirs. This warning needs to be brief, firm, without insulting or disrespectful remarks or attitude. It needs to be clear that we know we cannot make them choose the right choice and that they might choose the negative consequences of their choice to not comply but; we hope and pray that this will not occur-and yet we know that they may have to learn the hard way. It may take them a few attempts of noncompliance and suffering the consequence (fitting for the crime) before they choose that maybe they need to comply...and parents lovingly and greatfully receive their choice without "I told you so" or other igniting and challenging remarks. Avoiding power struggles are a must especially with older children who could very well walk out the door. Expect them to test your parameters.

Parents can simply say, "I know you have a choice and that you can choose the consequence. I hope you don't since it hurts me to see you hurting yourself-but I also love you enough to try to guide and teach you-the best that I know how-to be the best that you can be so that your future is awesome." This message implies and speaks love yet also speaks a resounding resolve to remain firmly planted upon one's boundary. The parent's love needs to be in their face, body, tone, and words.

Parents need their children to know that they love them so much that they will do anything to keep them safe and to teach them how to be successful with people and with responsibilities-no matter how hard this is-no matter how long it takes- even if it means that their children choose not to love them because parents are focused upon what is best for their children. It is never ever too late to love. Calmly apply the consequence.

There are many coping tools and strategies that aid parents with strong willed children. We can teach you. It is possible that nutrition issues are playing into this issue, or another strategy that involves more goals and point system is better for a child-which we can assist. What we know is this; there are too many warnings and not enough tickets today and this enables our youth and creates power struggles where all parties lose if continued.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Questions You Can Ask to Get Your Life Unstuck

Monday, August 20, 2018 @ 3:56 PM

Questions You Can Ask to Get your Life Unstuck
As part of a client’s therapy, I always ask him/her, “What do you hope to accomplish with our time together?” Kudos to the recent client who answered, “I want to stop feeling so afraid all the time,” Wouldn’t we all? We may couch it in softer terms and say we’re worried, anxious, restless, or stressed, but at the core it says the same thing: “We’re afraid.”

When my 20-year marriage fell apart, I felt overwhelmed with anxiety. Where would I live? How would I support myself? What else could go wrong? I was sure that if I found answers to my questions I’d stop fearing that any minute the sky would fall.

· Why did this happen to me?

· Who is to blame?

· What went wrong?

· When will I feel better again?

We try to fix our pain with certainty, as if relief is just one right answer away. We think, if we only knew the answers, then we could get our life together and move on. Like a song stuck on auto-repeat our minds go over and over the never never-ending loop.

· People who binge eat want to know: “Why is it I can succeed in every area of my life but still not be able to control my weight?”

· Clients getting divorced ask: “Why do I have to go through this when it seems so unfair?”

· New retirees, wonder in disgust: “Why haven’t I figured this out by now?”

What we really want is to stop feeling afraid of life’s difficulties. We want to feel comforted when we’re sad and hopeful about good things to come. We want to enjoy the company of those who embrace us and to live the purpose God designed us for. We want to love and be loved. And we want to get unstuck so we can experience this!

Underneath our demand to know why our life is the way it is, lurks the faulty belief: We should be better than this. Life should be better than this. The problem is: It's not. We're not. So we stay stuck. Until we start there, we might as well chase the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Once we accept: It is what it is; I am who I am, we begin to ask the questions that can lead us forward.

In John chapter 14, after telling his disciples about his upcoming death, Jesus anticipates their fears and says: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” Control is not the answer. What we need is Peace. Shalom: The absence of fear and anxiety. Peace changes everything. By trusting that God is good and still in control, no matter what life brings, we can ask completely different questions.

· What if I didn’t have to figure this out but only had to trust and obey?

What if I only had to do the next right thing?
· What if everything really IS working together for my good?

How does that change my interpretation?
· What if God wants to use me for a new purpose?

How can I step out in faith to find out?
Do you feel the difference? Seeking answers to these questions starts us on a new adventure to a bigger, more spacious life than the one we’d been living. The questions that get us unstuck are the ones that lead us to letting go of our fearful grasping for control and direct us to discover what God may be inviting us to.

I don’t know any other way to get there apart from trusting God. I know that doesn’t sound very “counselorish”, but it’s the only therapy that works. When we trust, allow, even delight in, the loving presence of God in our lives, anxieties cease. The inner storm is calmed. We can finally relax enough to move forward.

It begins by trusting that God’s plan is better than our own. Our lives are in his hands. He cannot fail us. We progress by LIVING THE NEW QUESTIONS in anticipation of what God can do with a life surrendered to him. We step out in faith not because we know the answers, but because we hear God's prompt: "Go ahead. I've got this covered."

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Is Monday Really the Best Day to Take Off?

Tuesday, August 07, 2018 @ 1:34 PM

In one of the counselling residency courses that I took in my training, I recall one of the instructors commenting how in Canada, the highest suicide rate is during a sunny Monday. It’s one of those little details that I never forgot, and have had much time to reflect on it. I have observed over the years that I receive many more counselling enquirers on a sunny Monday, compared to a cloudy Monday.

I also heard it said that more heart attacks happen between 8 and 9 am on Mondays than any other time of the week. The stress of the new week and individuals rushing to get to work can exacerbate the numbers. This latter fact tends to make a lot of sense when one considers rush hour stress. Yet, I’ve always wondered about what it was about sunny Mondays that would cause people to attempt suicide?

It would seem that a person feeling depressed on a cloudy day would find the weather to be agreeable with their “gloomy mood” (Gloomy is an interpretation and it would seem that cloud and rain has been given a bad rap by many people, yet it’s only an interpretation from their own head. Liquid sunshine and the ability to see the silver lining in every cloud is maybe a better approach to weather. But I digress.) One can take a certain comfort from the weather reflecting their “feeling blue”.

On the other hand, a sunny day is seen as being contrary to the depressed person feeling down and can possibly make someone feel like~ “…what’s the problem? It’s a bright, sunny day! Why is it that you feeling so blue?!” That thought can make a depressed person feel even worse. Therefore they may attempt suicide. Let’s face it, Mondays are hard!

In light of the above information, I would like to challenge the members of the Clergy (Jewish, Christian and Muslim) all across Canada: Why do many of you choose Monday as your day off? As we’ve observed, Monday is the day that you are needed the most! It’s true that some of the hardest work is done on a Friday, Saturday and/or Sunday and so Monday would seem to be the most natural for one recharging their batteries. Yet it seems that we are letting our faith communities down if we don’t pay attention to these societal realities: our services are desperately needed on Monday.

Therefore, taking Tuesdays as a day off might make better overall sense. It’s something worth considering.

Yvon Malenfant 778–862–5240 www.harpo.ca

Yvon is an Inter-faith Spiritual Counsellor in Coquitlam, BC.

https://medium.com/@kalhoun/is-monday-really-the-best-day-to-take-off-5845a41a6861

Friday, August 03, 2018

CONTRACTS WITH ADULT CHILDREN

Friday, August 03, 2018 @ 9:57 AM

In connection with the parenting of adult children, the need to build character and their willingness to accept responsibility is paramount as a life skill for older children, which should start when the children are young; as children earn items of interests and/or suffer the consequence when the child does a mediocre job or is defiant. These lessons are difficult for parents since parents do not want their children to suffer, but understand that life's decisions will result in the benefits and/or the consequences of those choices; and therefore; it is prudent to enact tough love-when their children needs disciplining and training. The lessons for adult children often involve higher end items such as cars, motorcycles, possibly rent, purchasing a house, and like items; and therefore the understanding of "Contracts" is vital.


Definition of contract:
1. an agreement between two or more parties for the doing or not doing of something specified.
2. an agreement enforceable by law.
3. the written form of such an agreement.
4. the division of law dealing with contracts.
7. the formal agreement of marriage; betrothal.
14. to incur, as a liability or obligation:to contract a debt.
15. to settle or establish by agreement:to contract an alliance.
16. to assign (a job, work, project, etc.) by contract:The publisher contracted the artwork.
17. to enter into an agreement with:to contract a free-lancer to do the work.
18. to enter into (friendship, acquaintance, etc.).
Origin of contract
1275–1325; (noun) Middle English (< Anglo-French) < Latin contractus undertaking a transaction, agreement,equivalent to contrac-, variant stem of contrahere to draw in, bring together, enter into an agreement (con-con- + trahere to drag, pull; cf. traction) + -tus suffix of v. action; (v.) < Latin contractus, past participle of contrahere
Related forms con•tract•ee, nouncon•tract•i•ble, adjectivecon•tract•i•bil•i•ty, con•tract•i•ble•ness, noun con•tract•i•bly, adverbnon•con•tract, adjectiveo•ver•con•tract, verb (used with object)post•con•tract, nounre•con•tract, verb (used with object)

Young adults, without fully developed brains and highly distorted thought processes, often feel entitled and that the parent owes them their free ride even when they are chronologically adult age. Therefore their acceptance of contracts is viewed as mere formality and that regardless of their choice to keep their half of the agreement or not; they will still get their item listed in the contract without consequences; other than the usual and expected parent's voice of concern or anger when the parent is saddled with the payments.

Parents must make it clear that should default occur on the child's end; then the consequences and losses that are strictly and clearly stipulated in the contract will prevail- due to the bad choice of the child. It also must be clear that-in case of purchase; then this is a business transaction and will be considered as such (as if this was not a child and parent relationship)-so that the child learns to be responsible for their signing of any contract.

Children are then responsible to read the contract and to acknowledge that they comprehend such consequences prior to agreeing to sign. Once signed, then both parties are subject to the terms of the contract. If the adult child defaults then the parent is liable to following through with the terms that result in loss of the item within the contract so that the child learns the important lesson that they are responsible for their choices; the good choices would have earned them their item-and the bad choices would earn them their consequences. If the parent fails in standing firm; then the parent reinforces irresponsible and dependency character of their adult child. If however the parent actually parents correctly-the parent must understand that the child is most likely to rebel and blame the parent for whatever the consequences that they experience due to their lack of character, distortions of thought, and defense mechanisms of denial. projection, misattribution of blame.

Parents must be aware that their child can be most vengeful, angry, and hurtful-and can use the only thing that they can control to hurt their parent-at this juncture-and be willing to accept that consequence while they stand firmly on trying to teach their child to be responsible adults. This may mean that the parent is disowned; that the child will trash their parent to others; that the child who may have children can withhold their children from their grandparents; and also the child can become aggressive towards the parent and other family members who may not agree with the adult child's false interpretation of their consequence of their wrongful choice to default. If parents back down and enable their child at this point of time-then the parent has reinforced their child's rebellion and irresponsible behavior. Therefore many parents chose not to enter into such an agreement due to the risks-and refuse to bail their children out of the consequences that they incur when they default with others instead (which still may lead to such rebellious aftermath if the child is of an entitled mindset and believes that the parent's role is to bail them out regardless of their behavior).


As I grew up and was provided a loan by my parents or grandparents; I knew one thing-that if I did not honor this contract or loan and repay it with interest as I promised-then I would no longer have this door of opportunity open again should I find myself in need of it. It was a time for me to prove myself as responsible and to find favor. My family were wise in how they rendered such lessons for me to grow. It first began with small amounts of money (300-500) and as I proved to be responsible-then they were willing to risk larger investments for me. With each success-my parents learned that they had nothing to fear since no matter the hardships that I was confronted with; even things that I had not accounted for; then I would make sure that my contract with them was taken care of-even if it meant I worked more hours or a second job.

Therefore, the benefits were plenty for us both who were in the contract. They received constant payments with interest for their family home and an apartment complex and the pride that their child was honorable-and I received self respect, competence, wisdom, and the products purchased. This disclosure only confirms that parents and children can enter into such contracts when both are understanding the terms and are willing to honor the contract. My parents had seen responsible behavior with less duties and agreements prior with each of their children and treated each transaction as a business; and we knew that they would hold each of us accountable prior to deciding to enter into any agreement with them. If we fail, then we would have the just consequences to endure. I believe that this is key.

Even with this absolute knowledge however; a child who believes that they are entitled and who is unable to take responsibility due to emotional immaturity and their cognitive immaturity-may still hear the warnings, read the conditions, enter into the agreement-then default and blame the parents for their consequence and the price of that can be most hurtful to both child and parent-as the child hurts with their delusional beliefs and the parent suffers the vengeful retaliation and loss of their family.

If or when the child or parent find themselves in pain over this or a like issue-and if either cannot forgive the other's perceived unfair behavior-then it is most advised to seek counseling with a professional to help both to come to a less distorted perception and a state of forgiveness. Only then can the family be restored. At this time, the less people who have been pulled into the conflict with possible false beliefs as to who is at fault-then the easier the transition. Fault is not the issue at this juncture since now we have a fractured and hurting family to heal. Others may then become a hindrance with healing if they are there with blame and harsh judgment towards the other; and it will need to be resolved with appropriate boundaries so that the outsiders will accept the decision of the need to forgive and to heal.

I am here to assist any family who is suffering with this issue. Call and make an appointment: 423-790-4906-speaking with our Office Manager, Steve.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

What's on your face?!

Sunday, June 17, 2018 @ 8:12 PM

“Just as water mirrors your face, so your face mirrors your heart.” (Proverbs 27:19 The Message)

Now that is a sobering thought! If I am not at peace with God, myself, and others, my face will reflect my struggle. When I spend time with Jesus, my face reflects Him. When others look at my face what do they see? If I studied your face, what would I see?

If you are sad, I might see liquid pools of pain. In every culture tears are the language of the soul. God placed tear ducts in our eyes because hurt is meant to be shared. When hidden from others, bitterness tends to creep in. Although anger may cover sorrow the face will become lined with hardness.

On the other hand, tears touched by God’s love are mingled with a sweetness that is emitted only from a surrendered heart. For you see, the sweetest perfumes are extracted though tremendous pressure. Myrrh is costly because it takes time for the tree that has been cut to yield its fragrance. Has sorrow softened your heart so that your face reflects Jesus the Man of Sorrows?

Jesus, please transform my heart so that my face bears a strong family likeness of You. Where bitterness has hardened my heart like a rock, please strike it so that water will flow out from my eyes. I am willing for the river of God that brings life to all things to flow through me. I want my expression to be softened by Your comfort. When I am sad or scared, may Your comfort soften my expression. When I am angry, may Your spirit of forgiveness relieve the tightness of holding onto offense. Transform my countenance so that people are drawn to You in me. Amen.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Greatest of All - Love for Self

Wednesday, June 13, 2018 @ 10:48 PM

For many years I lived a life defined by other’s expectations of me. From a very early age I was told I was smart and I spoke well, so instead of engaging in activates that I longed for in my heart like dance and sports I conformed. I read books, participated in plays and basically said and did all the things that were expected of me. It all looked great on the outside and looking back it was not all bad.

It wasn’t until my junior year of high school when I heard the lyrics to Whitney Houston’s song Greatest Love of All that I paused to think, “what if”. Now mind you, it was only a pause – a momentary interruption in the normal ebb and flow of my teenage life. But that brief pause planted the seed of “what if” that allowed me to begin to think a little differently.

Later as a young adult, I can recall sitting in my bedroom miles away from everything familiar on a cold, rainy and just plain dreary day again listening, a little deeper this time, to the lyrics of Greatest Love of All. I was 21-years old and had made the very grown up decision to relocate 1,025.7 miles (15 hours and 21 minutes) awawy from everything I held dear. And again, living a good life but just not fully the life I wanted. This time however, a second song immediately followed. It was Stephanie Mills’ “Home”. Now I know what you’re thinking, “God does not speak through R&B music”. Well, I am here to tell you that on that faithful morning God used the morning DJ on a Milwaukee radio station to play just the right songs at just the right time and in just the right order to get this girl’s attention!

The lyrics that struck a chord in me where:

I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone's shadows
If I fail, if I succeed
At least I'll live as I believe
No matter what they take from me
They can't take away my dignity……
Learning to love yourself
It is the greatest love of all
(Whitney Houston, Greatest Love of All)

AND

Maybe there's a chance for me to go back
Now that I have some direction
(Maybe there's a chance I'll get home)
It sure would be nice to be back at home
Where there's love and affection
And just maybe I can convince time to slow up
Givin me enough time, ooh, in my life to grow up
Time be my friend
And let me start again
(Stephanie Mills, Home)

I won’t say that everything changed overnight, and I immediately began to make decisions without giving a second thought to what others believed. I will say that this revelation started me on a journey of self-discovery. One that has had it’s ups and downs and wins and losses, but a journey that I will never regret, because it has led me to discover the fearfully and wonderfully made woman God designed me to be!

What I have learned and strive every day to pass along to those I encounter and engage with, is that living authentically begins with accepting ourselves as we are, flaws and all. It is living a life where our daily actions align with our beliefs and values. It is being true to ourselves and boldly embracing the amazing person that God has designed us to be!

The Hidden Problem of Cops and Alcohol

Wednesday, June 13, 2018 @ 1:02 PM

Cops. You either love or hate them.

We love them when they rescue Miss Kitty from the storm drain, but not so when they write us a ticket for doing 50 in a 35.Whatever your perspective on cops, consider this: cops have significantly higher rates of alcoholism, along with suicide and divorce, than the general public. Which means that along with the power comes a measure of pain.

Alcohol abuse among cops is both serious and widespread. Some studies estimate that between one-quarter to one-third of all police officers in the U.S. have drinking problems. And it's no coincidence that law enforcement is considered one of the top most stressful occupations in the country.

What makes it so stressful? Interestingly, physical danger doesn't top the list. Among the top stressors are: poor supervision too lenient or too tough); no reward system for a job well done; ambiguous policies and procedures; and a public that doesn't truly understand and often views them harshly.

Well, hey, we all have problems, right? Why don't these cops just take up yoga or see a therapist?

Problem is, it's not how they roll.

Police culture is like...John Wayne! Be strong. Don't let 'em see ya sweat. Never apologize, it's a sign of weakness.

You get the idea, pilgrim.

Booze has been part of cop culture since the first NYPD officers began pounding the beat in 1845. In the days before "patrol" meant riding around in a climate controlled SUV, a nip or two of brandy was essential to spending eight hours on foot post on a cold winter's night.

Drinking also was—and still is—the preferred method of dealing with the stress of the job. See, cops don’t generally like to tell their families about the nasty stuff they deal with. They can try to talk to their civilian friends, but frankly if you haven’t ever walked the walk then you’ll never really understand.

Cynicism and distrust of others is very common given the nature of police work. It’s hard to just walk into some strange therapist’s office and begin spilling your guts.

So they drink alone. And when they get together after work. Because sometimes the only person a cop will talk to, is another cop.

As a former EMT and reserve police officer, I'm blessed to serve members of law enforcement as well as other First Responders in my practice, Milestone Group. This work has included helping these men and women identify their inner strengths and the resources--family, friends, faith--that they have. If you're a cop looking for help, or you know someone who is and you live in Monmouth County, NJ, please give me a call. I'll be happy to help. My number's 732.291.1993.

There's also a wonderful hotline, Cop2Cop, manned by retired law enforcement men and women. If you’re on the job and you think you might like to talk to someone who’s been there, done that, here’s their number: 1.866.Cop.2Cop (1.866.267-2267) and website: http://ubhc.umdnj.edu/cop2cop/main.htm

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Things Are Not Always As They Seem

Tuesday, June 12, 2018 @ 11:28 AM

As a young child I enjoyed dressing up in my moms high heeled shoes, jewelry and any piece of fancy clothing that I could get my hands on. It was like being transported to a magical land of make believe. I would spend hours pretending to be a fairy princess or a celebrity! It was great, but at some point, the make believe would end, the clothes, shoes and jewelry would go back in their proper places and I would once again go back to being Crystal. The little girl that lived on West 6th Street.

Even as a teenager and young adult I would spend hours getting lost between the pages of a romance novel. I would spend hours reading about and dreaming about love everlasting, moonlight kisses and magical romances. Again, this was enjoyable, but there would yet again come a time when I had to return to reality and embrace my life for what is was. Sometimes good, sometimes bad, but most of all tangible and real!

Today as a wife, mother and mental health clinician I still find myself getting lost from time to time in a great day dream. The key word however is dream and the reality that it is just that a series of thoughts, images and sensations that are occurring in my mind, not in my reality.

So often, however, it is hard for many to accept the everyday realities of life. This leads them to hide behind their titles, careers, money, marital status and so on. Many of us on the outside looking in buy into the mask, engage in the superficial conversation and walk away with the belief that because everything looks good it is good. This is so far from the truth!

With the tragic deaths this week of Fashion Designer, Kate Spade and Celebrity Chef and TV Personality, Anthony Bourdain, it has become all to clear that we must pause as a society and take the time to look behind the façade that so many put forth. We must begin today to ask the uncomfortable questions of those we love and often of those we have chance encounters with.

Questions like:
• How are you doing spiritually?
• How is your marriage really going?
• How are you doing with your finances?
• How are you doing with your purity? In both thought and action.
• How are your private thoughts about yourself?
• What do you need most right now?

We can no longer accept the standard polite “I am good” or “things are fine” responses. If we claim to love someone we must be OK with maintaining eye contact during those few moments of awkward silence that often come when we ask the tough stuff.

We must begin to look past materialism and titles when we feel in our gut that something is just not right. Feelings of hopelessness are real. People are hurting. People are dying because of the stigma associated with Mental Illness. We no longer have the luxury of keeping it safely tucked away in the shadows only to be discussed in secret discreet whispers during family gatherings.

According to a 2016 Center for Disease Control Report, suicide claimed the lives of nearly 45,000 people and was listed as the tenth leading cause of death overall in the United States. However, suicide was the second leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 10 and 34 and the fourth leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 35 and 54. In 2016 there were twice as many suicides (44,965) in the United States as there were homicides (19, 362).

When you feel something is not right 9 times out of 10 something is not right. Below are a few warning signs that someone may be having suicidal thoughts:

•Unusual Focus on death – talking openly, dwelling on the topic or researching ways to kill themselves

•Making plans for death – updating their will, giving stuff away, saying goodbye, writing a suicide note

•Becoming withdrawn – avoiding close friends and family, losing interest in activities & social events, becoming isolated

•Showing signs of despair – talking openly about unbearable pain or feeling like a burden to others

•Changes in mood or sleep patterns – depressed, anxious, sad, or angry. They may also be very irritable, moody, or aggressive. They can also suddenly become calm once they have decided to go through with it. They may also sleep a lot more or a lot less

Proverbs 20:5 says “The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out”. We must start today to be that man/woman that will take the time draw out what is really going on within a person.

If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255). It’s always open, and you can speak to a trained counselor.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Five Things You Can Do to Improve Your Relationships Now

Thursday, May 31, 2018 @ 1:49 PM

When individuals seek counseling their relationships are often directly or indirectly affected by the issues they are facing. Counseling can help by providing an objective point of view and tools to help build communication and understanding between people, but you don't have to wait to make some immediate changes that will begin to improve your relationships now. Here are some tips that can help:


1. Learn to listen non-judgmentally. You cannot force another person to change but many people try to. The more you push the more they resist. You might even be able to compel the other person to change, for you, for someone else, or for a secondary gain (such avoiding a breakup) but the truth is, lasting change will only come from an internal transformation.

The renowned psychologist Carl Rogers founder of the "person centered approach" to understanding personality, proposed that all individuals have a concept of the person they should be, what he called the “ideal self”. Given the right environment they will grow toward that “ideal self”. In the wrong environment, that "ideal" is something that they see as continually out of reach.

When a individual doesn't feel valued by others they tend to devalue themselves as well. They can become defensive and resistant to change. That does not suggest that they need others to approve of their behavior, but rather that others listen and try to understand their perspective.

Rogers believed that most people know what they need to change, but the truth often hurts, which is why they tend to push back when pressured. When someone feels valued as a person they are more likely to accept the possibility of change without being pressured.


2. Don’t spend the time another person is speaking formulating your response: Just try listening. If you’re thinking of what you’re going to say next, you’re not really listening. Sometimes, especially during a heated conversation, there is a tendency to ignore what others are saying and focus on why they are saying it, even going after their motivation (“why are you bringing this up now?).

Reacting this way is essentially ignoring the message and attacking the messenger. Thus, healthy communication ends and a conversation becomes a battle of words, with each party defending themselves and attacking the other. At this point the whole point of the conversation may be lost. “What were we talking about actually?”

Show that you are listening by “reflecting”, restating what the other person said in your own words: “What you are saying then is that you feel unappreciated?”.


3. Not every statement requires a response. Don’t “one up” others with your similar or more terrible experience. Learn to be comfortable with silence. Silence gives power to a person’s words. It can encourage the other person to continue talking or go deeper. It can also give power to hurtful words when they are directed toward you. Silence can be more effective at demonstrating that word hurt than than a verbal retort that hits back.


4. Speak using “I” statements. Statements prefaced by "You" tend to be confrontational and critical. For example, “You don't care about me” is more confrontational than “It feels to me as if you don't care". The first assumes the other person is uncaring. The second is a personal statement. There is a difference. You statements tend to be attacks and cause defensiveness. I statements are more effective at keeping communication open and resolving issues.


5. Share power. This doesn’t require much explanation. A healthy relationship involves sharing power. People who continually demand their way usually end up in frequent unsuccessful relationships.

What do your boundaries convey to those around you? {Part 1 - Physical Boundaries}

Thursday, May 31, 2018 @ 12:25 PM

"Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others." - Brene Brown

What do your boundaries convey to those around you? {Part 1}Boundaries have been coming up a lot in sessions these past few weeks, so I felt they were a relevant topic to discuss. I will focus this email on physical boundaries and the next email on emotional boundaries.

I encourage you to take a look at your own boundaries while reading through this and identify where you can build them up. I will guide you through the process of identifying what your boundaries look like, how they make you feel, and how you can strengthen them.

What ARE boundaries anyway?
Many people have not been introduced to the idea of boundaries or what they look like. Boundaries are established by you, based on what helps you feel comfortable and safe with another person in which you are in relationship with. They are totally subjective to each individual person.

What purpose do boundaries serve?
Boundaries are important for all relationships - not just romantic relationships (which many people think of when you mention boundaries). They allow you to acknowledge what you feel and provide safety in relationships.

How do I know what I need?
Most people actually allow more than they are comfortable with, but don't take the time to be mindful of themselves in a safe situation to figure out what their boundary would ACTUALLY look like. Instead they trudge through life being triggered, feeling anxious, and often not being able to enjoy the relationships in their life. What do I mean by this? Well, when I help my clients establish their boundaries, I first ask them to establish a physical boundary - whether this be with items in the room or through a line that they draw on the ground. After they establish their boundary, I ask them to notice their body and see if this physical boundary indeed feels safe for them (our body is our best resource, and often provides great biofeedback). Often times it is discovered that the client in fact ISN'T comfortable with this physical boundary and there is a deeper emotional reason for this.

Whether this be that they are afraid of taking up too much space, so they tend to make their boundary smaller than they are comfortable with.

They never knew that they were allowed to set a boundary or didn't know what that looked like and therefore were experiencing major anxiety whenever someone would come closer than desired.

Maybe they thought that they were setting boundaries by not welcoming the person and being somewhat off-ish, but the person moved toward them anyway.

However, until they took the time to be aware of themselves and establish that their boundaries were often being crossed, they would not have had the opportunity to identify what had been causing the discomfort and anxiety that often occurred in social situations. This exercise empowered each of my clients to recognize that:

1. They have the right to set boundaries with others in their life.
2. This gets to look however they need it to look.
3. Having boundaries is healthy, and they had clarity around why so many situations in their life felt uncomfortable.

They were no longer in the dark and had answers to questions that were lingering, and this was so relieving.

How do I set boundaries?
If through reading this, you wonder if your boundaries need further building and strengthening, I would love to help you do this. However, I don't want you to do it all at once. I will send 2 follow up emails this week to encourage you through this process.

The Importance of Emotional Boundaries

Thursday, May 31, 2018 @ 12:24 PM

When we fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel used and mistreated. - Brene Brown

A few days ago, we talked about physical boundaries and the importance of taking the time to be aware of what your body is telling you about the physical boundaries that you have set. Today, I want to focus on emotional boundaries.

What are Emotional Boundaries?
One of my favorite sayings is, "you teach people how to treat you". Many people respond to this with, "I can't control how others treat me". You are right, you cannot control others, however, you can control how you respond to the way that others treat you.

Emotional boundaries focus on two things:

1. They focus on what you are willing to accept from another person's behavior.

2. They focus on only taking responsibility for your feelings and emotions and not the other person's emotions. Emotional boundaries can get sticky when we start to take on other's emotions. What do I mean by this?

Do you have relationships in which the other person has no regard for how their comments will affect you? I want to take a moment to empower and encourage you that YOU HAVE A CHOICE! You can choose to stand there and let them treat you that way, to let them call you names, to let them yell at you, but you do not have to. You can demand higher respect for yourself.

Do you have a boundary in place to protect you and your emotions? What does it look like?

Are there things in your relationships that are destructive to you?

A lack of emotional boundaries are:
1. Not being able to say no to someone and sacrificing your own emotions.
2. You are giving, giving, giving, and not receiving anything in return from the relationship.
3. You are being abused - the other person gets to do and say whatever they want and you allow it.
4. You feel emotionally exhausted after engaging in conversation or time with this person.

Do any of these feel relevant in your life?

"Lack of boundaries invites lack of respect." ― Anonymous

Demand Respect for Yourself by Putting Physical Boundaries in Place!

Thursday, May 31, 2018 @ 12:23 PM

Setting boundaries is a way of caring for myself. It doesn’t make me mean, selfish, or uncaring (just) because I don’t do things your way. I care about me, too. - Christine Morgan

You have taken the time to do some self-reflection. How has it been going?


So far, you have taken the following steps:


1. You identified what your physical boundary looks like. I would encourage you to give it as much character as you need to be able to envision it. Red, prickly, a bubble, soft, glass, etc.


2. You decided how far your boundary would span. Was there anything that created discomfort in deciding this? Were you afraid that you might get pushback from someone when setting this boundary?


3. You then practiced putting this boundary in place. While you were practicing, did you verbally express this boundary to those around you?


Ask for What You Need.
The #1 thing to remember when setting a boundary. You are NOT responsible for the other person's reaction/response to your boundary. You are only responsible for doing what is best for you by asking for what you need.


Setting Physical Boundaries
Physical boundaries can encompass any of the following:
1. Your body
2. Personal Space
3. Privacy


Personal Space
You explored one area of setting a physical boundary when you examined how much space you needed to feel comfortable. Now, lets take this a step further. What would it look like if you made others aware of your personal space by setting a boundary? The following are some examples of ways to enforce your boundary:


1. If someone comes into your personal space, you can move away. This shows them through body language that they have come too close.
2. You can say to them, "I am uncomfortable with this amount of space, I am going to take a step back."
3. If they continue to move closer, you can put your hand up, tell them to stop, and move back yourself.
4. If they continue not to respect your boundary, you can walk away.


Boundaries do not have to be rude. You are asking for what you need. Most people will respect that.


Privacy
We all need and deserve privacy. The level of privacy each person needs though is individual. Maybe this means that you are in the bathroom or your bedroom and need privacy. Maybe this means that you have a journal or place in your phone that you keep notes that are personal. The following are some examples of ways to enforce your boundary:
1. Express what you want and need.
(ex. You can say, " I need privacy in my bathroom or bedroom, and I ask that you not come in unless you knock, out of respect for me and my privacy.")


2. You discover that your boundary isn't enough and you need more.
(ex. The person respected your boundary and knocked, but didn't wait until you responded and came in. You can then say, "I appreciate you respecting what I asked for with knocking, would you also wait until I respond, as I also need that time to prepare for you to open the door.")


3. Can I say no to someone after they respected my boundaries?
Yes. You can ALWAYS say no. If someone respects what you have asked for thus far and you still feel like you need further privacy, you can always ask for that. (ex. "Thank you for respecting my boundaries. Now is not a good time, can you come back please?")


The same goes for a journal or private notes in your phone. If someone asks you to read them and you do not want someone to read them. (ex. You can say, "No. Those are my private notes and I do not feel comfortable with you reading them.")


Your Body
Your body is sacred and you get to treat it as so. You get to determine what you are comfortable with and who you are comfortable with.


If you have experienced a boundary violation in this area, I would encourage you to spend extra time around figuring out what feels safe for you.


YOU get to determine what feels safe. Do you feel comfortable letting anyone hug you at any point? Does it matter whether they hug you from the front or come from behind you? Do you need to be in a good spot mentally to accept touch/hugs? What do you need around feeling safe with touch?


You can set boundaries around your body by saying:
"I am not comfortable with you touching me without my permission."
"Please ask my permission or let me know before you come up to hug me."
"I will let you know what I am and am not okay with. I am not okay with you touching me however and wherever you want."
If they are touching you without your permission or aggressively, you can tell them to, "Stop!", push them away, then walk or run away to a place that you feel safe.


In all of three of these areas, there can be different comfort levels. It can change our comfort level if we are the ones initiating touch, the proximity, or level of privacy, in comparison to someone else initiating it. We can feel more comfortable if we initiate and less comfortable with others. When others initiate, it can be unpredictable, which can raise the levels of discomfort. ​

Demand Respect for Yourself by Putting Emotional Boundaries in Place!

Thursday, May 31, 2018 @ 12:21 PM

Whatever you are willing to put up with, is exactly what you will have. ―Anonymous

Let's Review.

So far, you have taken the following steps:

1. You identified times that you feel angry, sad, or guilty in a relationship.

2. You identified situations or people that you may need to set emotional boundaries with.

3. You noticed how you feel after someone crosses your emotional boundary.


Setting Emotional Boundaries
Most people have never been exposed to or taught what healthy boundaries look like. Therefore, this tends to be a foreign concept for many, so If you have felt that during this process, you are most definitely NOT ALONE!

Notice Warning Signs
Are there relationships or situations that you consistently find yourself feeling guilty, angry, or sad? Do you find that you feel disrespected and drained? Do you have a sensation in your body, your gut telling you that something isn't right?These may be warning signs or red flags signifying that a boundary needs to be set. What are the red flags in your relationships?

Notice the Obstacles
It can be easy to neglect and ignore red flags that pop up in hopes that things will get better. It can also feel overwhelming to think about setting a boundary, especially if you have never put one in place. Setting a boundary can also feel unpredictable with not knowing how the other person will respond.

Take some time to acknowledge the feelings that you experience when you think about setting a boundary. Fear and guilt are two common feelings that are experienced when one thinks about enforcing their boundary. What will that person think of me? Will they still want to be around me if I am direct with them?

Stay present with these obstacles that come up for you. If you ignore these red flags and let these obstacles get in the way, they keep you from setting a boundary, leaving you feeling stuck and drained from this relationship.

Give Yourself Permission.
This step is absolutely one of the most important. You have to be willing to acknowledge how you feel and allow those feelings to take priority. Once you have allowed your feelings to be a priority, you can then give yourself permission to set boundaries around your needs. This allows for you to be empowered and stand up for yourself.

Everyone is Responsible for their own happiness
It is not your job to make sure that everyone around you is happy. Bad boundaries exist when you are focused on taking care of others and neglect your own needs. This leaves you feeling exhausted and unfulfilled.

Healthy boundaries allow you to take a step back and remember that you can only control how you feel. You cannot fix or change anyone else. Therefore, you have to let them be responsible for their own happiness.

Own Your Feelings.
Your feelings deserve room in the relationship. However, no one else can decide this or fight for this, except for you. If you are not okay with something, trust your gut. Trust that you know what you need. Be willing to only own your feelings and don't worry about protecting everyone else's. When you start allowing your feelings to be acknowledged, you are doing what is best for you. The weight of the world comes down on you when you carry your and everyone else's feelings. Own your own happiness.

Saying No.
​"I encourage people to remember that “No” is a complete sentence."
― Gavin de Becker
You get to say no if someone is asking you to do something that does not align with your morals or you are simply not okay with. Saying no allows you to stand up and protect what is best for you and doesn't sacrifice your needs. Saying no, protects you from giving and giving and not receiving anything in return.


Also, if someone makes you uncomfortable with how they are treating you, you do not have to stay and take it. You get to say, "I feel disrespected and I will not stand here and let you treat me this way. If you continue to do so, I will walk away, or I will leave."


What are the biggest obstacles standing in your way of setting a boundary?
Are you fearful that the other person won’t respect it?
Do you fear that you will lose the relationship?
Do you fear being an inconvenience to others?
Do you fear that you will feel guilt in setting an emotional boundary?

You best teach others about healthy boundaries by enforcing yours. ― Bryant McGill

What your body is telling you {Sensorimotor Therapy}

Thursday, May 31, 2018 @ 12:19 PM

Do you desire a more present and enjoyable life?
What about the ability to live for each moment and not feel so numb?

I have mentioned to you that I am training for Sensorimotor Psychotherapy currently and will continue to do so throughout the next few months. This therapy is AMAZING and is blowing my mind with how well it works. When we are willing to connect and be open without judgement to what our body needs to communicate, it is able to release in the way that it needs to. We tend to get stuck thinking about how we feel and therefore neglect our body. Often, when you ask someone what they are feeling, they give you a thought. We are a very cognitive society, however, this doesn't give our body the space and acknowledgement it deserves. It has it's own experience with whatever trauma or stress you endured.

When we give our bodies permission to FEEL, we allow for any energy that is pent up to be released, whether that be through movement, emotion, or simply through mindfulness (being present with our body in the moment without judgment). Often times, it can be uncomfortable to allow ourselves to connect with our bodies. Maybe you feel sensations that you would rather ignore, maybe you have pain, or maybe emotions arise that are too overwhelming.

Our bodies are not meant to be sedentary after trauma or stress. Trauma is meant to be released, not held in and suppressed within our bodies. Emotions and sensations are there, whether we want to acknowledge them or not.

If you are a current client, you have maybe heard me tell the story of how a Gazelle handles trauma. When a Gazelle is being chased by it's predator, it is in flight (fight, flight, or freeze). To survive, it's frontal cortex (reasoning part of the brain) has to shut off and it has to flee as fast as it can to survive! While this fleeing is taking place, it's nervous system is pumping cortisol (stress hormone), and adrenaline through it's body. It's heart is racing and the body is working in full force. When the Gazelle is able to escape it's predator, it's body goes into repair mode by shivering it's entire body to "shake off" the trauma that it just experienced. It's life was in danger and it survived. But just because it survived does not mean that the trauma does not still exist within the body.

​The same is true for a Dog. Have you ever sat with a dog shaking through a thunderstorm? Their way of dealing with stress and anxiety is by "shaking it off".
These responses for both the Gazelle and the Dog are instinctual. They don't think about the fact that they need to shake, but rather their body takes care of it for them by doing what it needs to do to get back to a place of calm.

We as humans love to suppress any effects that we have from traumatic experiences, because it is too uncomfortable to allow ourselves to feel what comes after this kind of experience. Some common things that people face after a traumatic experience are: anxiety attacks, they feel like they could crawl out of their skin, they are hyper aware of their surroundings, and they have difficulty falling asleep. Their body is ON, full force, all of the time. This state is EXHAUSTING, it gets old, and it doesn't allow for the person to live their normal life. This is frustrating and people want the quickest possible way to get it to stop, so they can feel normal again. Suppressing these emotions and not acknowledging what our body just experienced does nothing, but trap the trauma. The trauma gets stuck and doesn't have the ability to move, until we give it the opportunity to do so.

So, what can we learn from these other creatures? Well, that we may need to give ourselves time, space, and the ability to check in with our bodies and acknowledge how they have faced trauma or stress. Once we have given ourselves the time and space to do so, we can allow for any releasing that needs to happen whether it be through movement, releasing of emotion, or simply acknowledging sensations that may feel stuck.

Therapy is tough, especially when confronting emotions and sensations that we would rather ignore. But the freedom that comes from allowing our body to not be held captive anymore, is refreshing. It allows you to live again. The more we are able to be mindful, the more we can check into the moment and enjoy our experiences to the fullest extent.

​Are you feeling stuck? Do you find yourself in thought and unwilling to get connected with your body? Are you ready to break free and allow yourself permission to not feel trapped anymore?

Mindfulness is a way of befriending ourselves and our experience.
- Jon Kabat-Zinn

Thursday, April 19, 2018

The LGBTQ Need Stronger Family Support

Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 9:38 AM

Sitting on the couch, you are stunned. The news isn't exactly surprising, but your heart doesn't know that. Fear, nervousness, the concern over how someone in your Sunday School will react... all these emotions and thoughts flood your mind. Then you think, will I ever see grandkids? Who can I talk to about what to do about all this?

For many families, revealing issues with an LGBTQ family member can stress their support networks and challenge beliefs. Things that used to be outside the family or theory get up close and personal. For a christian family, situations like this can challenge their religious beliefs, and cause conflict within the family and in figuring out how to put feet to their beliefs. Finding support at church can be challenging or at least uncertain in how the family will be supported or not. What happens when struggling families don't find the support they need?

LGBTQ children comprise 46% of the homeless population*. The Durso/Gates study published in 2012 showed that service providers for these homeless children indicated 7 in 10 clients had experienced rejection by their family and 54% experienced abuse in their family. The National Alliance on Mental Health states “LGBTQ youth are 4 times more likely and questioning youth are 3 times more likely to attempt suicide, experience suicidal thoughts or engage in self-harm than straight people. Between 38-65% of transgender individuals experience suicidal ideation.”** Regardless of worldview, these children are important to our families and to our communities at large. And our society watches us to see how we care for our children. Strengthening and maintaining connections within the family provide these children with the protection, guidance and support they need.

I understand these issues in a very intimate way. My father was a pastor in a denomination that moved to ordaining openly gay pastors. He left gracefully not wanting to cause division or conflict. He lost a lot, personally and professionally for his personal beliefs. A few years later, my brother came out as being in a longterm gay relationship. Throughout the next few years, my family worked to maintain our relationships while still openly communicating about our beliefs. This process was not easy but boy is it worth it! My brother and his husband come to family gatherings, have joined a church, and he continued to see a relationship with Christ as possible and positive. He even shares his faith with their children. He has always been one of my favorite people.

Sharing my story and feelings about maintaining a relationship with a family member whose beliefs are not mine feels powerful. Helping other Christians to maintain these critical relationships by sharing the comfort I've received is a calling I can't ignore.

If you would like to learn more, go to our website. The group is for anyone over 18 who is looking for support in a situation like this. We will talk about our struggles openly and share stories that will help give you hope. And we will relate to the intense feelings you may be having about this topic. Meetings will start when 3 members join.


*Durso, L.E., & Gates, G.J. (2012). Serving Our Youth: Findings from a National Survey of Service Providers Working with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth who are Homeless or At Risk of Becoming Homeless. LosAngeles: The Williams Institute with True Colors Fund and The Palette Fund.
**https://www.nami.org/find-support/lgbtq

Monday, March 05, 2018

What is Truth?

Monday, March 05, 2018 @ 7:57 PM

The Pastor's Place

Pilate asked Jesus, "What is truth?"

Truth can be anything you believe to be true--even if is a lie. The longer you are told a lie about the same thing continually, it eventually becomes a truth to you.

Psalms 24: 3,4 asks, "Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully."

Believing a lie to be the truth is lifting up your soul to what is false. People swear to the truth; in the courtroom, your right hand is laid on the Bible and you are made to swear to tell the truth. Suppose as a child, you were called a name over and over, i.e. stupid or ugly or no good--either in words or actions--how your parents treated you in relation to being stupid or lazy or any other negative word. The child starts to believe they are stupid or worthless or unloved and eventually those things become a truth they live by through life. That child has lifted his soul to what is false and was deceived by a lie. Just like Adam and Eve.

Jesus always told the truth. He told us, "I tell you the truth" many times in His teachings. His truths are different from ours and makes it difficult at times to relinquish our lies that we believe are real. So, what is truth and what are lies and why are we so reluctant to face the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? Jesus also told us, "I am the Way, the TRUTH, and the Life; no man comes to the Father except through Me."

Truth in a lot of cases is hard to face but in knowing the truth, feeling the pain of it, releases us from its influence and we are truly free.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Its Important and Necessary to Grieve

Tuesday, January 30, 2018 @ 2:58 PM

Nothing in life can prepare us for the death of a loved one, especially when it’s child who has delighted its parents and relatives. This past year, a dear friend (she's fine with me writing about this- though with no mentioning of names) suffered the immense and traumatic loss of her 10 month old child to the quick onset of pneumonia. It shocked their family into an emotional vertigo and everything spun out of control.

So many friends went to their knees in prayer and cried out to God for this child. But in the last few days of her sweet life, her little lungs couldn't take the stress. Suddenly... she was gone.

Ecclesiastes 3:2,4 describes that "there is a season for everything, a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot… a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance."

Whether death results from a sudden accident or an extended illness, it always catches me off-guard. Death is so deeply personal and so stunningly final. I find that nothing can emotionally prepare me for its arrival. Oh my yes, I'm stunned, but mostly heartsick for my dear friend. And the baby.... oh how soft and beautiful she was! How can she be now gone?

With every death, there is a loss. And with every loss, there will be a deep and profound grief. Talking about that loss and anguish and rage is so very necessary. It cleanses the emotional buildup of sorrow and shock, leading the way to the very personal understanding of how fragile and temporary life is for us.

Merriam Webster’s Dictionary defines “grief” as a, deep and poignant distress caused by or as if by bereavement. It originates from the Latin word “grevis” or “gravis” meaning "heavy".

So, grief could be described as a heavy, devastating injustice or trauma to our souls.

Grief doesn’t come and go in an organized, specific passing of time. Just when I think the pangs of anguish have gasped their last breath, another wave sweeps in and I am forced to revisit the memories, the pain, the absolute.

Sometimes I do everything I possibly can to resist the demands of grieving. I want to avoid this fierce, yet reverent journey. I fight against the waves of anguish, terrified of being overwhelmed, of being discovered, of becoming lost in my brokenness. (Yes... this is pretty transparent writing folks!)

When a traumatic loss happens we can feel disconnected from everything around us. Our thoughts scatter like the wind, with very little to hold them down. Our "emotional skin" feels intensely fragile to the touch.

Our culture tells us to move past this grieving process quickly. “Hurry up!! Life and death happen! Take a few days, weeks perhaps, to grieve, but for goodness sake, don’t stay there too long!”

Grieving can make those around us extremely uncomfortable. Friends sometimes don’t know what to do with our pain. Loved ones struggle to find the right words to comfort our aching wounds.

Yet grief, as painful a season as it is, is a necessary part of our healing. To run from grief is to run from the very thing that can calm the pain of our aching soul. Grieving is the process God uses to bring us to a place of wholeness. Grieving is His great gift to us. It is a necessary part of our journey. Healing.

The hymn "It Is Well With My Soul" is one I've been deeply strengthened by many times in my life when loss or sorrow threatened to take me under. I've been humming it the past week as I grieve for and with my dear friend. I want to fix this...change it!... go back in time and reverse the way this trauma played out!
I can't.
Oh Lord.... help.

As I finish my cathartic writing here, I'll share where the hymn I mentioned was "birthed" from.
Take time to read this information and then the words of the hymn will mean so much more to you. They sure do speak to me right now.

The hymn was written after several consecutive traumatic events in Horatio Spafford's life.
The first was the death of his son at the age of 2 and the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which ruined him financially (he had been a successful lawyer and had invested significantly in property in the area of Chicago that was extensively damaged by the great fire).
His business interests were further hit by the economic downturn of 1873, at which time he had planned to travel to Europe with his family on the SS Ville du Havre. In a late change of plan, he sent the family ahead while he was delayed on business concerning zoning problems following the Great Chicago Fire.
While crossing the Atlantic, the ship sank rapidly after a collision with a sea vessel, the Loch Earn, and all four of Spafford's daughters died. His wife Anna survived and sent him the now famous telegram, "Saved alone …". Shortly afterwards, as Spafford traveled to meet his grieving wife, he was inspired to write these words as his ship passed near where his daughters had died.

"It Is Well With My Soul"©

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;

Whatever my lot,
thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.


Friday, January 26, 2018

Tips for Talking to Kids After a Traumatic Event

Friday, January 26, 2018 @ 2:32 PM

God’s word is full of sorrow, suffering and —hope. God is always in control even when we may not understand what has happened or why. God cares and he promises he will turn our suffering into glory.That said: Parents absolutely must take care of themselves so they are able to give their kids what they need. You cannot pour from an empty cup. Children (and parents) keep in mind that it may take a long time to mentally and emotionally to recover from the trauma (s) your community has experienced, and everyone needs to be able to express and cope with their stress in different, non-destructive ways.

A Guide for Parents

  • Provide Kids and young adults with opportunities to talk about what they are seeing on television and to ask questions.
  • Do not be afraid to admit that you cannot answer all of their questions.
  • Answer questions at a level your child can understand.
  • Provide ongoing opportunities for your kids to talk. They probably will have more questions as time goes on.
  • Use this as an opportunity to establish a family emergency plan. Feeling that there is something you can do may be very comforting to both Kids and adults.
  • Allow your kids to discuss other fears and concerns about unrelated issues. This is a good opportunity to explore these issues also.
  • Monitor your kids's television watching. Some parents may wish to limit their child's exposure to graphic or troubling scenes. To the extent possible, be present when your child is watching news coverage of the event. It is at these times that questions might arise.
  • Help Kids understand that there are no bad emotions and that a wide range of reactions is normal. Encourage Kids to express their feelings to adults (including teachers and parents) who can help them understand their sometimes strong and troubling emotions.
  • Be careful not to scapegoat or generalize about any particular cultural or ethnic group. Try not to focus on blame.
  • In addition to the tragic things they see, help kids identify good things, such as heroic actions, families who unite and share support, and the assistance offered by people throughout the community.
  • Pray for your kids, and your community together. 

Additional resource: Talking to Children about Disasters https://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/emotional-wellness/Pages/Talking-to-Children-about-Disasters.aspx

Monday, January 08, 2018

The Painful Sting Of Harsh Words

Monday, January 08, 2018 @ 4:01 AM

I have been thinking a lot this week about arrogance and those “finger pointing” individuals who enjoy belittling others and just love to be plain old “snarky”. There is a such a harsh “sting to the heart” when the cruel words of someone else intentionally does a “verbal slap down” or shames you. Usually it occurs when THEY believe that THEY are absolutely right or have "superior" knowledge, and that others are the "lesser" and are the wrong- big-"dummies".

This mean and sour arrogance which uses power to belittle or harm others is something that crushes and cripples hearts and dreams.

As a believer, our faith should not be arrogant —nor should a person of faith belittle others! We should never use our faith to pretend that we are superior or more informed than others! NO! NEVER! Belittling is a form of bullying! It’s when someone makes you feel as though you are little, minuscule, not good enough.

Arrogance is the opposite of humility, and humility is supposed to be a Christian virtue. Jesus Christ who, in coming into the world and living and dying alongside of us, lived out what humility is.

You will never reach the place of honor or full use by the Heavenly Father, (and can actually be disqualified from many opportunities) until your insecurities and need to needle, belittle, compete with, or shame others is addressed, repented of
- and buried!

Those who have the sickness of pride in their hearts speak of others’ sins with contempt, irritation, frustration, or judgment. Pride is crouching inside of our meanness and belittling of the struggles of others. It’s cowering in our jokes about the ‘craziness’ of our spouse, the mocking of that ‘too sensitive friend’. It may even be lurking in the prayers we throw upward for our friends that are — subtly or not — tinted with the color of exasperated irritation.

Sometimes, we use sarcasm to voice harsh words we otherwise would not say, often intentionally hurting others. Once the pain is inflicted, however, we retreat, saying, "Oh, I was just kidding." But the sting of our words hurts so much that those we have injured withdraw. Our words don't feel like jokes at all.
Jesus' words should be a warning to those of us who are tempted to use sarcasm as a weapon: "But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken" (Matthew 12:36).

Sarcastic remarks usually seem like “no big deal” to the person who makes them. But to the recipient, those words make lasting impressions that scar to the very core of the heart.
Many times, sarcasm shames a person, causing them to feel belittled and unworthy. When shame takes root in the heart, it can cause disastrous behavior, because the person now feels worthless and seeks desperately to find anything that will make them feel otherwise. Shaming others is a serious offense with serious consequences. Jesus said, "By your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned" (Matthew 12:37).

Are your words kind and constructive? Do they desire to seek peace and unity, or are they driven by your fleshy desire to sting, aggravate, retaliate, tease, belittle, control, alienate, shame, and manipulate through sarcasm? YEAH... alllll of those HURT PEOPLE!

The enemy is camping out at the gate of your every relationship. Children, spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, parents,co-laborers and more. He is lurking around every corner, seeking to find that one open crevice where he can enter. If he has been entering in and camping out in your home or relationships through the use of sarcasm, it is time to boot this verbal enemy out and lock the gate behind him.

Die to your need to be snarky and always the one with a chirpy sarcastic comeback! Allow Christ to show you His ways that love, peace, and compassion can be the source of every word that proceeds from your mouth.

"All of you, clothe yourselves with humility towards one another, because, 'God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.’ Humble yourself then! Bow low under God’s mighty hand, that he may use you to the fullest at the proper time.
1 Peter 5:56

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Six Tips on Staying Healthy through the Holidays: A Wholistic Approach

Wednesday, November 15, 2017 @ 1:58 PM

For many of us, staying healthy through the holidays may be challenging. There may be extra stress of many types, and more temptation to eat unhealthy foods and to over-eat. What can we do?

Here's some suggestions:

1. Get plenty of fluids, especially pure water: at least 40 oz/day. Consider keeping a thermos of healthy soup with you.
2. Get plenty of rest.
3. For those with difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep: daily healthy eating, stress management including moderate exercise such as          walking, and prayer will reduce problems with these. Reading Psalms and Proverbs in the Bible, will provide guidance.
4. Some suggestions for dealing with stress:
          make a list of all the things that feel like stressors and how you feel about each one, share your feelings with the Lord in prayer.
          Make a list of at least 3 things you are thankful for each day.
          Consider joining a small group at church.
          If you have a Christian counselor reach out to them as needed.
5. Healthiest foods: most vegetables, especially natural sweet potatoes or yams. Most fruits, especially berries, cranberries. At least 60-90        grams of protein/day. Start with a 20-30 gram breakfast smoothie.
6. The Dr. Oz show website has suggestions including a Holiday Breakfast Smoothie and suggestions for eating before going to the holiday        gathering.

 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Desperate People Don't Look Pretty, but This is Who Jesus Came For

Tuesday, November 14, 2017 @ 8:23 AM

Admitting that you’re desperate out loud (and honestly)... often means that you risk ridicule from onlookers who may thrive on others who are in pain. But, don’t worry, those individuals will eventually be in a place where life hits them head on as well, and desperation will shock them! As a Christian, to be desperate for Jesus to help us, means that we humbly have to face our brokenness.
To see and admit our need for healing.
We would have to admit we are in need.
That we got off course.
That we are hanging on the edge of a rocky place and we are getting scared and weary of the exhaustion.
And friends, we are all at one time or another , all of these things!

We do need Jesus!
Of course we will be reminded, all too regularly by others who are masking pain and doubt, that "desperation isn't attractive".
DESPERATE PEOPLE DON’T LOOK PRETTY. But this is who Jesus came for. He came for those who could admit that they can't do life well on their own and for those who are empty and want the sanity that Jesus offers.

We must let go of our ugliness and be willing to run to Jesus! It doesn't come easy either! Accepting the fact that we have bought the lies others have spoken over us, is not easy! “I spread out my hands to you O God! My soul thirsts for you like a parched land” (Psalm 143:6).

DO YOU KNOW WHAT IT SOUNDS LIKE WHEN GOD CALLS YOUR NAME?
Can you hear the tone, the gentle kindness which he uses when He says your name?

Do you know what it feels like? Do you feel the softness of heaven’s breath coming near your very soul? Do you feel the warmth of it all?

AS HE CALLS EACH OF OUR NAMES, HE MAY SAY SOMETHING DIFFERENT.
Sometimes, many times - as a matter of fact, He reminds me, "Let go of the past. There is nothing there for you. Go forward. Don't pause in the road I’ve laid before you and don't look back for one moment!”

Dear Reader,
Close your eyes today and “hear” His voice as He speaks softly. Listen with your heart. Close out all of the sounds. The ticking away of time, the screaming laundry or dishes, the buzz of your phone demanding that you respond, and especially shut down your own voice that tries to convince you that you are absolutely hopeless or are too broken.

Climb up under a shaded spot - under His shadow, right at His feet and soak in His presence on purpose. Not by accident.

LOOK AT HIM FACE TO FACE ON PURPOSE TODAY AND HE WILL MEET YOU THERE.
Listen to what He tells us in His word - at this very moment.

“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine.

When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you’re between a rock and a hard place,
it won’t be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God, The Holy One, your Savior.

I paid a huge price for you:
That’s how much you mean to me! That’s how much I love you! I’d sell off the whole world to get you back. I'd trade the creation just for you.”
-Isaiah 43:1-3

Monday, November 06, 2017

Understanding and Taking the Enneagram Personality Test

Monday, November 06, 2017 @ 6:15 PM

Laura Novak

In my work as a therapist, I enjoy using various assessments and personality tests that can aid clients in their journey toward self-awareness and personal growth. The Enneagram is a personal favorite of mine and can be a great tool to help you delve into a deep understanding of yourself. The enneagram helps us understand our compulsive, unconscious drives. Anyone that wonders, “why do I keep doing the same thing over and over again,” and all of us wonder that time to time, could benefit from the wisdom of the enneagram.

The Enneagram takes into account how various unconscious messages heard during childhood may affect your personality. In our childhood, we begin to develop our way of relating to the world, based on what our experiences were as well as our own natural temperament. Then patterns develop, and sometimes certain patterns don’t work for us. The Enneagram also helps us further understand our strengths and weaknesses.

There are nine different personality types, and with each type, there is an explanation of how that type functions at a healthy level, and average level, and an unhealthy level.

The nine types are as follows:

  1. The Perfectionist (the rational, idealistic type)
  2. The Helper (the caring, interpersonal type)
  3. The Achiever (the success oriented, pragmatic type)
  4. The Individualist (the sensitive, withdrawn type)
  5. The Investigator (the intense, cerebral type)
  6. The Loyalist (The committed, security oriented type)
  7. The Enthusiast (The busy, fun-loving type)
  8. The Challenger (The powerful, dominating type)
  9. The Peacemaker (The easygoing, self-effacing type)

The following is a link to the test: http://www.eclecticenergies.com/enneagram/dotest.php (there are many free tests available online.)

Here is another website about the enneagram, as well as another enneagram test, you might find helpful – https://www.enneagraminstitute.com.

If you explore more deeply, you will learn some concepts that further explain your enneagram type, such as wings, security points, stress points, and instincts. There are many components to the enneagram. If you are interested, there are MANY helpful books to further your understanding, including the following:

The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types by Don Riso

The Complete Enneagram: 27 Paths to Greater Self-Knowledge by Beatrice Chestnut

Keep in mind that no types are right or wrong, and no test can fully explain you. However, this can be good a starting point in gaining clarity, further understanding our strengths and weaknesses, and understanding differences between people. Plus, it can be fun and you may find yourself having some “a-ha!” moments when you read a description of your type. For more information on the enneagram and how it can provide insight for your life, contact Laura Novak, LCSW, CADC.

Friday, November 03, 2017

Grief Must be Expressed

Friday, November 03, 2017 @ 11:48 AM

Many theories have been developed about the stages of grief. Each of them points out that there is no time frame; each individual will proceed at his/her pace. Although there are stages, these stages do not necessarily follow in any order; emotions will ebb and flow, rise and drop because we are human, and each of us is unique. My frame of reference indicates that, although we can offer certain guidelines to clients, and prepare them for the path their grief may take, it is best to allow them to naturally experience their feelings as they unfold naturally, and merely be present and bear witness to their individual grieving process.

During my own grief, I learned there are feelings in me that are so strong and deep, they NEED to be fully expressed, and that was necessary for my healing. The sadness or pain must be expressed. Sadness has movement and will express itself in its own time. By being mindful, and aware of our emotions and honoring them, we heal naturally. The experienced counselor will help guide and support clients through this process.

The processing of our painful emotions tests our resilience and permits us to find positive meaning in life. It is important clients seek professional counseling in profound grief and loss, to ensure their mourning is appropriately managed, and they do not become stuck or depressed. The wise counselor will intervene and treat. There are many creative resources to assist clients in expressing and moving through the grieving process. An experienced professional will collaborate with you and find the best natural fit for you to tangibly design storytelling, rituals, memory books, poetry, art as a tribute to your loved one in their honor.

When we grieve, the sadness overtakes us and rules our life for a while, and then a shift toward healing takes place. We learn to reconstruct a new way of being in the world, holding the memory of those we have lost in our hearts and minds forever. Our hearts may become tattered and torn (never broken, we must not allow that), and the sadness may never leave our hearts and that is our testimony of how we love. The sadness shows how deeply we have loved: the investment we have made in loving those we have lost and continue to love.

 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Turn Your Will Over

Wednesday, October 25, 2017 @ 6:15 PM

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” ~Matthew 7:7

Does anyone notice the door? Do you get it? What do you see in the picture? I took this picture in downtown San Diego and thought this was the perfect quote to go with the picture.

Last time I checked the Lord's Prayer did not say, "MY will be done…" It says "THY will be done..."

In the 12 step program there is a saying, Let go and let God. Not let go of just the parts that I want to let go of but to let go of ALL of it. When we turn our will over to GOD, we are free.

BUT I have to do the ACTION of seeking HIM, asking for Him to take over and I have to actually do the ACTION of letting go and of knocking. God will be the one to open the door, not me.

That is why this picture is so classic! Did you notice it yet? There are no door handles!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Get Fit Spiritually and Physically with the Daniel Plan

Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 1:19 PM

What is the Daniel Plan?

The Daniel Plan is a plan for health utilizing faith, food, fitness, focus, and friendship. It was authored by Pastor Rick Warren and Drs. Mark Hyman and Daniel Amen. It is a research driven, evidence based program to get fit both spiritually and physically. Here are some excerpts from the book:

The Focus of the Daniel Plan

The Daniel Plan is unique because it is based on the Bible. It is based on God’s best plan for our lives. And while change of any kind is never easy, it is a necessity for our emotional, physical, and spiritual health.
Making radical changes in our lives requires radical commitment, perseverance, and doing a lot of hard work on our hearts. Pastor Rick Warren teaches us about five key elements to make sure the changes that we make actually stick.


1. Lasting change requires building your life on the truth. Nothing will change permanently until you dig down to the bed-rock of truth about your life and God’s purpose for it.

“If you continue to obey my teaching, then you are truly my followers. And you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” John 8:31-32 (NCV)

2. Lasting change requires making wise choices. You won’t change until you choose to change.

“Get rid of your old self, which made you live as you used to—the old self that was being destroyed by its deceitful desires. Your hearts and minds must be made completely new, and you must put on the new self, which is created in God’s likeness” Ephesians 4:21-24 (TEV)

3. Lasting change requires new ways of thinking. If you want to change how you act, you must begin by changing how you feel.

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2 (NIV)

4. Lasting change requires God’s Spirit in your life. You cannot change by willpower alone. You must have God’s power.

“Why don’t you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence?” Galatians 5:18 (MSG).

5. Lasting change requires honest community. The deepest changes in your life will only happen as you open up to a few trusted friends who will support you.

What Foods Can I Have?

From Dr. Daniel Amen

  • Cravings can be the culprit that derail your good intentions to stick with a brain healthy program. Here are 10 simple changes you can make to your daily habits to get better control of your cravings.
  • Avoid your triggers
  • To control your cravings, you have to control your triggers. Know the people, places, and things that fuel your cravings and plan ahead for your vulnerable times. For example, take a snack when you go to the movies so you aren’t tempted by the popcorn and licorice.
  • Balance your blood sugar
  • Low blood sugar levels are associated with lower overall brain activity, including lower activity in the PFC, the brain's brake. Low brain activity here means more cravings and more bad decisions. Low blood sugar levels can make you feel hungry, irritable, or anxious—all of which make you more likely to make poor choices. Here are tips to keep your blood sugar levels even throughout the day so you can reduce cravings and boost your self-control.
  • Eliminate sugar, artificial sweeteners and refined carbs
  • If you really want to decrease your cravings, you have to get rid of the artificial sweeteners in your diet. Things like candy, potatoes, white bread, pretzels, sodas, sweetened alcohol, and fruit juice causes your blood sugar to spike and then drop, so you feel great for a short while and then you feel stupid and hungry. Be very careful with high-fat, high-sugar, high-calorie foods because they work on the morphine or heroin centers of the brain and can be addictive.
  • Eat slow carb, not low carb
  • Carbohydrates are so important for good health. Bad carbohydrates such as simple sugars and refined products are the ones to avoid. Choose high fiber carbs like vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains! They will keep you fuller longer and help you with weight loss.
  • Drink More Water
  • Dehydration can contribute to increased hunger. When your body sends signals that it is hungry it can actually be an attempt to get more water. Sometimes hunger is disguised as dehydration. If you drink a glass of water before your meals to make you will feel fuller and can moderate your food intake.
  • Prioritize Protein
  • Do you want to feel satisfied longer? Make sure protein is an important part of your diet. Protein fills you up and regulates your blood sugar while making your body release appetite suppressing hormones.
  • Manage your stress
  • Chronic stress has been associated with increased appetite, obesity, sugar and fat cravings, addiction, anxiety, heart disease, cancer, and depression. To decrease your cravings, get on a daily stress-management program including deep-breathing exercises, prayer, and other relaxation methods.
  • Follow the 90/10 rule
  • Make great food choices 90% of the time. For the remaining 10%, cut yourself a little slack and allow yourself margin to enjoy some of your favorite foods on occasion.
  • Get moving
  • Scientific research has found that physical activity can cut cravings whether you crave sugary snacks or things like cigarettes, alcohol, or drugs. Instead of immediately giving in to your cravings or focusing on how much you want something, get moving if at all possible. Make this a high priority and stay committed to exercising each week.
  • Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night. 

Can I Exercise?

DO'S
• Do choose activities you enjoy; the best activities for you are the ones you’ll do.
• Do get an exercise buddy or accountability partner to keep you honest.
• Do start off moderately, with a few minutes of exercise, and slowly increase.
• Do drink lots of water before, during and after your workout.
• Do cool down after exercising to relax your muscles and gradually lower your heart rate.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Helpful Strategies for Dealing with Change

Sunday, October 15, 2017 @ 8:15 PM

Change is inevitable; we cannot escape it. And change is hard!!! Whether change is something that hits us by surprise, or we are enveloped in some long-suffering pain, we are called to examine some of those habitual behaviors that keep us bound in a comfortable controlled environment, rather than dare push that circle of comfort. Once we do make the decision to step out of that comfort zone, we must boldly move forward and never stop moving, always implementing our innate potential.

Ecclesiastes: "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might..."

We must accept that pain is a necessary part of life, but pain and change are opportunities for growth. Regardless of age, the seasons of transition are many: puberty, graduation, first job, marriage, kids leave home, job loss, death, retirement, etc. THE DEMANDS OF LIFE DON'T MATTER NEARLY AS MUCH AS HOW WE RESPOND TO THE LIFE CHANGE. Attitude, open mind, creativity, positivity, and trusting yourself are key.

Change is Hard

Change is stress inducing and risky. Change causes us to make adjustments to our habitual way of being. We are forced into the unfamiliar. Our brains have stored up certain chemicals based on our life experiences. When we are forced to deal with change, the brain experiences shock and discomfort. It is accustomed to operating at ease, in the habitual style. It becomes scrambled when patterns change and it has to create new chemical cocktails. This brain scrambling is transferred to us by the effects of anxiety, stress, shock - an entire host of emotions that leaves us confused and seeking clarity. We need faith, a strategy, a plan and goals to execute our plan, and know that it is okay to ask for help.

Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding..."

HELPFUL STRATEGIES

  • Attitude/open mind/positive/creative
  • Accountability/self discipline
  • Adaptability/dare to risk/ INNER WISDON
  • Vision/dreams/plans/goals
  • Proactive/prioritize
  • Don't give up/ask for advice/try a new strategy
  • Remain flexible and adaptable/ LISTEN
  • There are no failures/ INTENTION
  • Eliminate guilt, fear, regret/
  • Use DISCERNMENT
  • Know that you have made a difference/ ZEST FOR LIVING
  • Maximize what works and give gratitude/ Implement CHOICE
  • Free will
  • Surround yourself with positive, supportive people
  • Be brave BRAINSTORM IDEAS


The demands of life are opportunities for GROWTH. Our purposeful response to them is necessary.

"I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor." Henry David Thoreau

1 Corinthians 5:17 "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.