My Granny Ray had two sayings that I am reminded of quite frequently: “Life gets tedious”, and “This too shall pass.” She didn’t necessarily use these together on the same occasion, but I have found that you can count on both. She used the saying about life being tedious to let me know that whatever I am going through is just part of life and that each person will go through difficulties in life.

Paul Faulkner, in his series, “Making Things Right when Things go Wrong”, sets the premise that things do go wrong. And life is the process of making things right when things have gone wrong. So what can you do about a bad situation?

  • Re-frame your thinking. Look for a positive aspect to the situation. Sometimes it is not what actually happens to us that matters as much as how we react to what happens. The Apostle Paul suffered a thorn in the flesh. But when he re-framed his thinking he was able to say, “When I am weak, then I am strong”.
  • Act better than you feel. Actions seal your commitment to something. While you cannot will yourself to feel a certain way, you can will yourself to act a certain way, which will cause your feelings to follow along. Faulkner says most of the good that’s done in this world is done by people who don’t feel like it. They are people of faith because faith is acting on something you cannot verify with your feelings.7bc994a82a277dc98a861bb33488415d.jpg
  • Cut your line when it is tangled. Experienced fishermen simply cut the tangled line, pull out a new line, and get on with their fishing. The line of life sometimes gets tangled by guilt and resentment. The way to survive and make things right that have gone wrong is to live one day at a time – today.
  • Keep cool, even when you are hot. Once you lose control of your temper, you are no longer capable of making things right. The problem goes unsolved and you must also deal with the damage that your anger has caused.

Life does get tedious. So maybe you find a solution to your difficulty. Maybe you find a way to live with it. Maybe you just start over. I think that Granny Ray was trying to tell me that it is up to me to change my life when things go wrong. But we can also rest assured, this too shall pass.

Cookie Adams

 

If you are a parent, then you most likely have dealt with a some challenging behaviors.  Some parents seem to have more difficulty than otherimages.jpgrs.  The difference is not always luck.  Parents can do specific things that can make problem behaviors worse, keep them the same, or make them decrease.

As a parent, our ultimate goal is to have children who routinely exercise self-control and acceptable behaviors.  It is best to assume that a proactive “teaching” approach will keep yourself calm and avoid power struggles with your child.

  • Rule # 1: Never argue with your child!
  • Before the behavior occurs, discuss choices your child can make about how to act.  Anticipate problems and discuss ways of solving conflicts, how to handle frustrations, and how to express their wants and desires appropriately.
  • Encourage your child to use their words in order to get their wishes and feelings known. “You are too close to me.” – rather than pushing; “Stay out of my backpack.” – rather than hitting; “I really want to go swimming.” – rather than demanding, begging, and pleading.
  • Acknowledge appropriate behavior and reward it intermittently.
  • Remind your child of the reason behind any rule or consequence to a behavior at the time the rule is being enforced. Have them repeat the reason for having the rule, back to you.  “Kicking can hurt someone.” “Kicking doesn’t solve the problem.”  Brainstorm other ways to deal with the problem.
  • Teach your child how to make and keep friends. (smiling, talking, listening, cooperative play, turn taking, how to start a conversation, interactive play, sharing…)
  • Teach problem solving and resolution skills. (role play with puppets, books)
  • Be empathetic to your child’s problems and frustrations. Help them process ways to deal with disappointment, anger, irritation, and sadness.
  • Seek to discover the cause of the behavior. You will gain insight that will make you more empathetic to their problems.

Diane Reed, LPCC

I have found it to be true that when we are working on improving ourselves from time to time it is difficult to continue without major progress. A passage from a meaningful book “The Prophet” by Kahil Gibran may be helpful with this.

You are good when you walk to your goal with bold steps. Yet you are not evil when you go thither limping. Even those who limp go not backward.

The point of this quote is that from time to time we will be moving slowly. Struggling through conflict and difficult circumstances. We can be hopeful as long as we keep moving, it may be a limp, but it isn’t regression.

During those times of “limping” we are available to walk along side for support and guidance. Feel free to contact us at 270-442-5738.

 

Justin P. Lewis, MA, LMFT

 

Have you ever met a joyful person who was chronically worried? Giving in to fear is a joy-killer.  When you live in fear you will know the pain of constant, chronic, low-grade anxiety. But when you overcome fear, you will know delight.

According to current research, most worriers tend to have high-capacity imaginations.  They usually carry above-average IQ’s. They are often people with much creative potential. But their imaginations run toward the negative. They tend to catastrophize:

  • What if bad things happen?3Luke122526-225x300.jpg
  • What if I get in an accident and wreck the car?
  • What if I lose my wallet?

All these things are contingent, set in the future, and may never happen at all! In fact, most of them won’t. But living with a fear-filled perspective robs you of life now!

A healthy sense of perspective allows us to assign these events a realistic assessment that helps us get on with life. But when you live in fear, the power of the “what if” becomes overwhelming, and you will go through life without joy. Joy and fear are fundamentally incompatible.

Exerpts from: If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat – John Ortberg

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away!

Debt is definitely a bad four-letter-word!  Statistics published by NerdWallet, Inc. suggest that the average household has credit card balances of $16,748.  The average household with any kind of debt owes $134,643, including mortgages.

The strain of debt puts an inordinate amount of strmoney-and-marriage.jpgess on a marriage, especially when coupled with the everyday stressors of marriage such as raising children, caring for elderly parents, career changes, occupational stress, and retirement planning.  As a result, many marriages end in divorce, exacerbated by family debt.

Many couples have discovered that by following some proactive steps, they have eliminated much of the problems associated with being in debt.

Suggestions for proactive financial responsibility:

  • Both parties must be active participants in the ongoing financial process.
  • Discuss finances with your spouse frequently (at least weekly).
  • Agree upon ground rules for credit and debit card usage.
  • Create a system for tracking your purchases.
  • Inform spouse of large purchases and increasing balances.
  • Monitor your balance frequently (at least weekly).
  • Elect to have your credit card company send you phone notification after someone makes a purchase.
  • Close credit cards that are rarely used.
  • When closing an account, do so in writing, and get a closing confirmation notice
  • Monitor you credit rating.imgres.jpg
  • Pay your bills in a timely manner.

Never ignore a credit card bill!

Suggestions for attacking debt:

  • Using cash makes you more aware of what you are spending.
  • Cut all necessary spending.
  • Stop expensive hobbies, habits and travel.
  • Learn to cook, plan budget meals, take your lunch to work, eat at home.
  • Consider a 2nd
  • Sell unnecessary possessions – boats, campers, club memberships…
  • Consign rarely worn clothes and household items.
  • Pay off smallest credit cards first.
  • Don’t buy new cars or new furniture….
  • Repair what you can before considering replacing.
  • Check your account for electronic withdrawals (phone bills, online memberships…)
  • Stop all unnecessary automatic withdrawals.
  • Consider TV options- cable vs. digital receiver; public radio vs. satellite radio
  • Control your thermometer (heating and cooling).
  • Unplug any appliances that you do not use regularly. (printers, computers…)
  • If you must shop for clothing, shop consignment stores.
  • Shop off-brands and wholesale grocery stores.
  • Clip coupons, watch sale papers, and accept free samples.
  • Resist shopping online, watching digital shopping networks, and window shopping.
  • Take good care of what you have, it needs to last!
  • Before you buy, determine if it is a want or a NEED.money-bag-clip-art-bag_of_money.png

Keep some money for an emergency fund.

Extra funds are to be paid toward credit card bills.

There is nothing like the sense of accomplishment that comes from paying all of your debt.

Karen Diane Reed, LPCC

couplehand.jpg

There are a number of aspects to a healthy marriage. For this post, I am going to just focus on one of them. It could be argued that this is the most important.

  1. Focus on yourself.

A first glance this may seem selfish. It could come across as self-serving or being concerned only with ones own feelings. That is not the angle I am navigating. When we focus on ourselves in an appropriate way, we notice our own behavior rather than point at the behavior of our spouse we avoid unnecessary conflict. A primary way that resentment builds in a marriage is for one spouse to feel responsible for the other. This could be in tangible ways or emotionally. If one person in the relationship feels the need to make sure the other is feeling a certain way, it hinders growth.

Be responsible for yourself while maintaining responsibilities to your spouse. Treat them appropriately, focusing your energy on how you act rather than trying to control how they act. It seems, when we do this, our positive behavior influences the other and it creates a context of growth rather than resentment and stagnation or deterioration. Of course, it should be noted, if one person in the relationship puts the other in physical danger there are appropriate boundaries that must be drawn.

So, focus on your own behavior. Instead of blaming, do your part.

Justin P. Lewis, MA, LMFT

Do you carry your cell phone everywhere you go?  Are you constantly checking to see if you have new messages, texts, emails, or other forms of data? Do you put your cell phone on the table when you eat? Do you lay it beside the bed at nights? Our cell phones are helpful devices to serve a purpose in our lives, but it has become a potential addiction for many. You can notice people walking with their cell phones, while oblivious to others around them. It may prevent you from developing person to person relationships that require time to develop. Cell phones typically foster communication with sound bite messages rather than conversation. Facebook, Instagram, texts, and Twitter are frequent avenues for exchanging information or photos. Some are personal while others are impersonal and viewed by many. Messenger is a source for communication in a personal way between two individuals.

Teens and preteens are frequently distracted while in classes. Inattention creates poor learning skills resulting in poor grades much like ADHD. ADHD is a neurological and behavioral problem interfering with learning. Cell phones have become a distraction causing a reaction and irritability when information is not processed quickly or instantaneously as expected.  Please read to learn more about Smartphone addiction or over use.  There will be additional blogs on our website (www.ccchope.com) and Facebook page about the Smartphone which will include: 1. What is the smartphone addiction,  2. Effects of smartphone addiction, 3. Signs and symptoms of smartphone addiction,   4. Withdrawal symptoms from smartphone addiction, and 5. Tips for helping children and teens.

Think Positive! Wow, that’s a lot of pressure. When you are going through a struggle, it’s not easy to will yourself to think positive. While, “It’s ok, just think positive”, seems like good advice, positive thinking alone does nothing but get in the way of reaching your goal.

Take action. For progress of any kind you need to focus most ofgoal.jpg
your energy on positive action.

Define your objective or goal. It is important to know exactly what result you want to achieve.

Make a list. There are steps that you need to take to get there.

Track your progress. Every improvement you experience stimulates and rewards your brain, making you feel good about the accomplishment. When you feel good about something you’ve done, you get more motivated to keep doing it. However, accountability is a key ingredient to reaching your goals.

You know where you want to go; you know how to get there; you are motivated because of your positive actions. Positive thinking can get you started. But even successful people have negative thoughts. Just positive thinking by itself can be a stumbling block to solving a problem or reaching a goal. Take positive action instead.

Disagreement and arguments are common in most all relationships—between coworkers, spouses, siblings.  In the heat of the moment, angry words can destroy a relationship that took many years to build.  By following a few short tips, individuals can use the opportunity to strengthen a relationship rather than destroy it.

Disagreement Do List

  1. Agree upon a time to discuss the issue
  2. Be aware of your body language (appear nonthreatening and relaxed)
  3. Avoid interruptions (phone calls, texts…)
  4. Control your tone of voice and volume
  5. Listen, Listen, Listen
  6. Think before you speak
  7. Make good eye contact
  8. Ask clarifying questions
  9. Be non-judgmental
  10. Be empathetic

 

boxing-gloves10 Rules of Fair Fighting

  1. No name calling
  2. No interrupting
  3. No blaming or accusations
  4. No cursing
  5. No yelling
  6. No sarcasm
  7. No defensiveness
  8. No generalizations (you always…)
  9. No physical/emotional intimidating
  10. No walking out without naming a follow up time.

 

Diane Reed, MA, LPCC

One thing that we can all count on in our life are stressful situations. These moments–long or short–will happen in many different areas. There are strategies to be incorporated in our daily life that will offset, or prevent stress. The following are four common ways to handle stress:

Handling-Stress

Exercise. An active lifestyle is helpful in distracting the mind in addition to the physical benefits. The human brain actually operates in a way that physical activity creates a happier existence.

Prayer or meditation. Taking our stress to God removes the pressure of carrying it all on our shoulders and provides the comfort of knowing we are not alone. Additionally, when prayer or meditation is taking place intentional solitude has been created. This personal time can provide a sense of peace.

Journal. Writing down feelings is a way of letting things out. It is one way to unbottle the feelings and relieves some pressure. Also, writing down all the good things is helpful in remembering the positives in life.

Talk to a counselor. Verbalizing the stressful situations can provide a sense of peace. A counselor can help change thinking process and give suggestions that are specific to the particular situation.

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At the Christian Counseling Center we have training and experience helping those struggling with feelings of stress.

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