Saturday, September 30, 2017

Take Back Your Thoughts

“I am so stupid!” 

“We just can’t catch a break.”

“I always get the raw end of the deal!”

“Nobody likes me.”

Have you ever caught yourself thinking these kinds of thoughts? Maybe they have actually slipped from your lips in a moment of exasperation.

Do you wonder why you feel the way you do emotionally on any given day? Or maybe you wonder what life is going to throw at you next and whether you can handle it?

Me too... but not anymore. 

As you now know I am training to become a Nutritional Therapy Consultant. I hope to pair this knowledge with the training I already have on life coaching. In my continual effort to stay current on coaching and therapy methods I have recently come across a model that made so much sense to me. My thought process clicked into place and I could see clearly how it all played out. This has made a huge difference in helping me dissect my thinking and change it for the better.

The basic model is set up like this.

Let me walk you through it.

Our life circumstances are the things that happens to us. For example, a car accident, sick kids, weather, company layoffs, or a spouse leaving us. We cannot create our circumstances.

Circumstances are different than life course decisions; mindful decisions to leave a job, have a child, get married or move to a new place. We have complete control over life decisions but not the circumstances that happen to us.

We do, however, need to process these circumstances. This is where the next step comes in: Thoughts.

We have thoughts about our circumstances. These thoughts are the statements in your head that sometimes slip out of our mouths. They can be positive or negative; true or false. 

These thoughts then cause feelings within us.

Feelings (different than thoughts) are not positive or negative; true or false. They are a light on the dashboard  of our lives telling us what is going on in our minds (thoughts).  You can read more about the emotional dashboard in this previous blog. Our feelings are Clue #2.

Once we are feeling something we act on those feelings and our behavior exhibits outwardly what is going on inwardly. Our actions are Clue #1. The clue numbers are reversed and you will see why in a moment.

All of these steps lead us to a result where we find ourselves saying derogatory statements under our breath and acting out in ways that are detrimental to ourselves and possibly those around us.

Maybe a recent argument with a spouse or child left you distant and not talking.  A bad day at work led you to the local hang out after work drowning your sorrows.  A failed attempt to lose weight found you moping on the couch with a bowl of ice cream mindlessly bingeing on Netflix. 

These are examples of actions and their results.

Think of a situation in your life where you have acted out because of how you felt. Take a look at your result and start walking the process backwards.

What actions led to the result?

When you think about the action what feelings surface?

When you center on those feelings what thoughts start popping up in your head about yourself and your circumstances.

STOP there! Can you pinpoint your thought? What was the specific thought that started this whole domino effect? That thought came as a result of some circumstance in your life – but you can’t change your circumstances (past or present). You CAN CHANGE your thoughts about them.  These thoughts caused the feelings that led to the action?

Once you can pinpoint the specific thought, evaluate it. 

Is it a keeper? Probably not. Delete it! Toss it! Throw it out. It’s garbage pickup day for the mind. Put it to the curb!

It is not serving you.  It’s enslaving you!

Change the thought to a truer, healthier thought. Maybe the thought was true but had a negative spin on it. Change it to have a positive spin.

Here are some examples.
THOUGHT: “I am a bad mom.”
HEALTHY THOUGHT: “I blew up at my son, but I know I am not a bad mom. I will revisit that conversation and try to explain myself more calmly and work with him to create a better solution.”

THOUGHT: “I hate my job.”
HEALTHY THOUGHT: “I had a bad day. I was already tired. Then I spilled my coffee in the car. I just had a bad start. I really like my job. Maybe I could try to go to bed earlier to feel more rested and not need so much coffee! That would be genius!”

THOUGHT: “I am fat and will always be fat.”
HEALTHY THOUGHT: “I could stand to lose a few pounds. I don’t know if this new diet is right for me. I can’t stand how hungry I am all the time. I just want some good tasting food and to feel full. I think I’ll do some more research about a balanced way to do this with real food."

Now the dominoes can fall and have a better result for you mentally and physically.

These negative unhealthy thoughts wreak havoc on your emotional, physical, spiritual and relational health. You have the power to change them!

Now you have the opportunity to take back your mind, feelings and actions which will turn into much better results! 

Print the model chart above and hang it somewhere to remind you of this process. You do not need to be a slave in bondage to your thoughts and feelings. Start TODAY by confronting your own feelings and work backwards to adjust those thoughts!

I am so excited for you to find the awesome change this can make in your daily lives. Just knowing you have a choice to control these aspects of your life is so freeing!

If you have an example of how this process helped you, please share in the comments. We would all love to hear from you and be encouraged!

From one healthier wife to a host of other healthier friends, have a wonderful, mindful day!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Blog Revival!

I know…I know… why are you seeing this blog in your email??? Wow. Blast from the past –right?

So I haven’t posted in almost  4 years.
A lot has happened. I really didn’t fall off the face of the earth.

I have grown and changed a million times since then.  In short this is what the last four years have held:

A journey to the Adirondack Mountains that led to
o   Husband’s job change
o   New ministry – bi-vocational jobs
o   Family move
o   My job change
o   Kid’s new schools
o   Several trips to TX and Mexico to build and orphanage
o   First born’s HS graduation and college start
o   2 teenage drivers
o   2 junior high daughters
o   Husband’s trip to archaeology dig in Israel
o   Paradigm shifts on several levels
o   Me going back to school – Wait! What?

Toto we are not in Kansas anymore!!!

Nope. We are in the woods of the mountains and on different paths than we ever thought possible. We thought leaving everything in the city to come to the mountains was the grand adventure but God keeps opening new doors and asking us to walk through…so we are. And we are excited and honored to do so.

This blog was generally focused on the lessons I was learning as I was healing my marriage and in some aspects it may continue serving that purpose from time to time. However I would like to branch out from the marital health realm and include emotional, nutritional, physical and spiritual wellness to this blog.  All of these fall under the umbrella of “a healthy wife” – or husband, child, family member, friend, etc. At some point I may need to change the name of the blog but for now it’s all good.

One step at a time.

I want to catch you up to speed.
I am launching out on an adventure of my own and have enrolled in an online nutritional therapy program to become certified to use nutrition as a way to achieve level of wellness. This is ground breaking territory and I am super excited to use my 10 plus years of personal research and experimentation to help others find a better quality of life – whether physically, emotionally or spiritually.

Will you join me on my journey? Some of you are new to my blog and can sign up to receive them in your inbox. Thank you if you do!

Maybe you don’t want the wellness part but want to keep up with me. That’s cool too. Thank you.  I look forward to hearing from you.

The rest of you are well worn traveling companions. We’ve been on this road a while. I hope you stay the course. There are greater things up ahead around the bend. Watch for them.
Posts may come at random but there will be a Wellness Wednesday post where I will share with you some new tidbits of what I am learning so you can be in the know and make choices that better your life too! Small steps can lead to a whole new life.

Watch for the next post.

Until then take care of yourself, be thankful and hug your family. (or kiss your husband -Ha!)

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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Is there ever TRUE Healing?

Is there healing in Christ?

True healing?

Does He offer that promise to heal us of our infirmities both physical and spiritual?

I have been chewing on this for awhile now - having many friends and family with chronic physical illnesses and also spiritual struggles, issues and battles.

Scripture is clear that God CAN heal physically if HE WILLS.

Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.  Psalm 103:2-5

People brought all their sick to him (Jesus) and begged him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched him were healed.  Matthew 14:35b, 36

These are only a few passages that mention physical healing or bear witness to people being healed by God.

But what about the healing of the heart? 

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

Ok but does he HEAL us to the point of FREEDOM from our issues, struggles and addictions…

My friends and I who battle daily with Satan over that tendency to despair or that urge to emotionally eat or that draw to escape life into a drink or a x-rated website - these on going attacks that we endure and fight... Is there healing and freedom from this?

“Maybe not this side of heaven.” The words of my battle weary husband scarred from the enemy’s deep wounds and relentless attacks.

If I fast for the freedom will I end up wasting away to nothing for nothing? If I pray fervently for the freedom and do not receive it have I prayed in vain?

The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

Even the Apostle Paul lived with an issue that tormented him and cause him to be a battle weary soldier at times.

To keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.  2 Corinthians 12: 7-10

Ahhhh… These struggles and issues can be tools in the hands of our maker. We fight the good fight but He may choose to leave us in that battle.

It is in the position of weary brokenness that we are most receptive to the Lord’s molding and shaping. The battle brings us to a place of humility and desperate dependence.

Pride and independence keep God at arm’s length.

What if I admitted (to myself and God) that I ultimately have no power to handle the struggle and MUST lean on Him to empower me? (He already knows this, but I need to hear myself say it again and again)

Desperate Dependence. It has a nice ring to it. It feels more God controlled, safe and somehow complete.

The struggle is part of the journey not necessarily the problem. Joy and sorrow...

The struggle is where I meet God naked, weak and empty handed. I have nothing to offer that would save me from my battle and bring freedom.

I may stuggle 'til the end of my days but if it brings me deeper and closer to my Father then I will trust him and keep fighting the good fight. 

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

Thank you Lord for a renewed perspective and a refreshened hope today.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Sometimes Life Stinks

God works in ways that I don’t understand. That’s a good thing.

His ways are higher than my ways. That is a relief. 

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9

But then life happens. 


Everything looks like doom and gloom. Stress and crisis.  Hurt with no healing. 

Sometimes, I struggle to see God’s hand in my circumstances. I no longer hear His voice whisper to my soul. I feel lost and confused.

But then the light breaks through and I see Him in the actions of a loving friend or I hear Him in the words of an encouraging coworker. A ray of sunshine beaming through the dense dark clouds. 

It is God personified giving me the tight embrace I was longing for. The assurance of His presence. He is here. He does care.

It is God reaching down to one of his daughters to say, “Press on child. I am not finished yet. You can make it. This will not crush you. I am holding you in the palm of my hand. Safe and secure. I am here.”

Did you see the sunbeam? That was for you. 

Did you hear me in the kind words? That was for you. 

Did you feel the love in the action? That was really from me to say “I’ve got this. It’s okay.”

I’m the kind of person who can get her brain in a tizzy rather quickly when the day begins to escape me. I feel the loosening of my grip when events, attitudes and details begin to slip. 

Detail oriented, yes. Control freak, sometimes. 

I remember a season of life recently where circumstances developed to a frenzied state beyond anything I could have imagined. My grip of control became a mute point. The carpet was literally yanked out from under my feet. There was crisis at every turn.

Children with school issues. Tight finances and needed expenses. Thick marriage tension. Sudden death in the family. Leadership turnover in the workplace. Despair lurking around every corner. Depression tempting me to take the plunge.

I was in a pit looking up at shovelful after dark shovelful of heavy dirt cascading down on me. I stood empty handed, mouth gaping, in utter disbelief.   

Seriously. How much does God think I can handle? 

Darkness. Silence. Solidtude.

Oh… yes. I forgot… I can’t handle any of it. That is why HE is here.

My life is not my own. I was "bought at a price". My life has been dedicated to God for his greater purposes. I lay it down daily, hourly, sometimes moment by moment. 

Each new day is another opportunity for my waking prayer to be, “As You wish.”

In the 1988 film, “The Princess Bride”, the hero, Wesley, responds to each request of his beloved Buttercup, with the words, “As you wish.”

What if that is how I responded to every request from the Lord -or every circumstance he allowed to come my way?
“As You wish, Father. Your way is best. Always.”   

Sometimes I still find myself surprised, dishearten, and even depressed with my circumstances. I need to remember that He is in control.  I have given my day, my year and ultimately my life to him.  

If this is what he deems as the road conditions for my journey, then I accept.

I accept less than perfect children. 
I accept the painful struggle toward a healthier marriage. 
I accept the financial situations that test my trust in God’s provision.  
I accept the early death of my father. 
I accept the difficult transition at work.

As you wish, Lord. As you wish.

You Lord, see the whole road with its hills and valleys. You see the joys and the sorrows.

You see how much I will learn and grow if I persevere in trust through each challenging day. 

You see when I need a sunbeam on a cloudy day or a word of encouragement for my thirsty soul.

You see …and You gladly provide.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Even Though I Walk Through the Valley

As I round the bend toward home I see #3 and #4 child sitting on the front steps waiting for their mama to return. Pieces of paper in their hands indicate news. They spot me, jump up excitedly –wildly waving said pieces of paper. As they run toward the van I can hear them through the closed windows, “We got our teachers! We got our teachers!”

One child, face beaming with delight and excitement. The other child, face downcast, dejected, eyes threatening to spill over with hot tears. One received her desired teacher of choice and can’t wait for the first day. The other received the teacher we were asking the Lord to withhold and stomach knots have already formed, tears now spilling, small frail child climbing up in my lap as I stay seated in the driver seat.

We prayed this would not happen – the unwanted teacher. The broken heart. The difficult, fretful start to a new school year.

Later that evening the news comes of a friend’s young adult son dying tragically in an accident. Thrown from the car. Dead on arrival.

Another friend on another day confused in a foggy depression. Months of struggle. Unemployment, health problems, marriage tension.

Yet another- sharing news, trembling, that the bundle of joy in her womb is now still, silent, no more … again. Her second one in less than a year.

The Pastor and the church are doing this Psalm reading thing. Read 5 Psalms a day. The whole church – tracking together. The morning sermon was on Psalm 23. So familiar yet still new and still meeting needs.

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…”

Pain all around. Deep sorrow. Piercing grief. Fearful agony. 

An insecure friend fighting her own demons of doubt and unworthiness.

A wife’s premonition that her husband is less than faithful.

A teen’s betrayal by a close friend who chooses others over her time and time again.

A heart weary of doing the good everyday… pressing on… waiting in hope.

After the sermon a time to come forward and pray. First the broken mother and father of the dead  son – coming for hugs, prayer and support, tears flowing. Mother motions toward the 3 other rows of friends and family who accompanied them to church in honor and love. Family after family file up to the front until there is a massive mob of arms holding each other on the outside rim keeping the bodies together. Intermittently through the invitation song an arm or hand here or there breaks free and points up to heaven praising the one who walks with them in the valley. Giving glory to Him, all present, all knowing, who comforts.

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for you are with me…”

Maybe we had it all wrong – Maybe I had it all wrong.

Praying for a different teacher –praying against this one. We were also praying for the “right” teacher. The teacher that God thought our child needed.

Maybe that is what he delivered.  Maybe this IS what she needs.

Can my child “fear no evil for [God is with her]?” “[God’s] rod and [His] staff they comfort [her]?” 
She will have to make the choice to accept it. This is her valley. A huge voluminous valley when viewed by 9 year old eyes. This feels like life and death. Her response and attitude will set the pace and course for her year. I pray she feels her Savior’s arms wrapped tightly around her little frame as she walks into class that first day.

And my friend with her mob of family and friends – she is already walking securely with her Savior – leaning heavily on him during her own first dark days with the empty seat at the family table.  The missing hugs and laughter at the holidays.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.“ James 1:2

God sees the big picture. These trials and tragedies are part of the larger plan to grow us into stronger children of the King.

Psalm 23 has widened the canvas of my thinking. 

“His rod and his staff, they comfort me.” The rod and staff are used for correction and guidance to keep us on course and away from the wrong path.

These are hard lessons to learn. Heart wrenching lessons of looking intently at the mirror of His Word –walking through the tragedy with Him - and coming away changed. 

The empty womb. The empty bank account. The dark morning depression. What then?

“Even though I walk…” “Consider it pure joy…” “I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” “…they comfort me.”