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What superpower would you like to have?

Counselors often ask weird questions like, “if you could have a superpower, what would it be?” A woman whose suspects her husband of cheating might like to have the power of being invisible so she could spy. A traveling businessman may like to fly so he didn’t have to wait at the airport. Having boys, I have been asked this question too. As a matter of fact, one of my boys asked me which superhero was my favorite and I said “Captain America” (honestly because he’s the cutest) and my son being the wonderful judge of character he is, said, “why because you want to kiss him?”, No I said…”because I’m patriotic and love my country;  besides, I can only kiss your daddy like that ;).” Kids…

Here’s a thought on what I consider to be a true superpower, LOVE. We see images of love all around, we see things in then media that look like love according to some, we hear songs about love all over the radio, etc. Let’s look at love as a superpower and maybe it’ll help you through a Thanksgiving dinner or other fun and challenging moments in life.

1 Corinthians 12: 3-14 gives a completely different definition of love than what were are often exposed to in this crazy world. It introduces the definition in verses 3-7 by saying “If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.”

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

Do you have this superpower? Love has the power to transform lives, free people from pain, heal, and much more. This is much more effective than being invisible or flying. We long and need to experience this superpower. ry this definition of love and see what happens!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thankful for the love of Christ who showed this definition of love by laying his life down for me,

Natalie 🙂

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boundaries christian counseling counseling divine encouragement Uncategorized

If you are a jacka** stop claiming to love God

Today’s post is a venting session. Confession is a great thing when done the right way, to the right person and coming from a genuine heart and mind.

I’m not perfect and screw up daily. I love deeply and honestly. I value speaking the truth in love. Here is my truth speaking this week…

If you are rude, negative, hate people, gossip, think you are always right, get offended easily, treat people who don’t believe like you disrespectfully, think you are too good to go to a bad part of town, judge others, or you constantly have any other harmful attitude….PLEASE do not claim to be a Christ follower.

News flash, Jesus loved, served, forgave and spent time with the lowest  people in society. Zacheus was a thief, the woman at the well was a whore, Mary and Joseph were poor…

Jesus also didn’t have time to get caught up in petty drama, focus on people’s feelings who were too sensitive and selfish, He was the hardest on those who thought they knew God. They were so legalistic that the missed the whole point! Jesus came to seek the lost. You have to realize you are lost though before you realize you need help.

If you are a negative, hateful person and think you are a child of God, I question that sincerity of your relationship. So before you say you have a relationship with Jesus to others, check yourself… When is the last time you prayed, loved the unlovely and listened…? Do you really have a relationship with Christ?

If you are struggling with the sin of a bad attitude, give it to God and ask him to help you change. Enlist good friends who will hold you accountable, not always agree with you, and speak truth to you in love even if you don’t always want to hear it! Get counseling to help with your negativity. Look for opportunities to show grace to others. Help restore people who’ve screwed up by forgiving them not blasting them. Also look at how your time is spent.. Are you helping others or are you only focused on yourself? Turn your gossiping into prayer time. You’ll be amazed once you try to be positive and loving how much better you’ll feel…

Loving speaking truth today,

Natalie

Pictures of godly friends!.. Go to a concert, help a friend move, go have lunch with a kid… Instead of hating others…

    

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boundaries christian counseling counseling divine encouragement inspiration mental health

Keeping your mouth shut…

Anyone who knows me, knows this is a struggle for me. It is an area in my life that I constantly have to work on. We all have at least one of these types of struggles… There are times when I think I’m doing better and learning and using my words for good, then I fall flat on my face and realize I still need to be humble in this area and need God’s help..

Yesterday I gave my sister a pretty big piece of my mind. She didn’t exactly ask for it, but when she called it was on! Of course in my mind, I was expressing helpful, honest thoughts that she obviously hadn’t thought about before. The problem is it wasn’t the right time nor was I in the right frame of mind to consider whether or not she was asking for my thoughts so it wasn’t pretty.

I’m a teacher, counselor, mother, etc. and people often ask my opinion. I’ve learned but am still learning that we must have boundaries even in the areas of giftedness in our lives. I also need to be sensitive as to what role I need to play in a situation and to learn whether or not an opinion is warranted.

Maybe your struggle isn’t your mouth. Whatever it is, I love how Priscilla Shirer encourages us, “When we live within the boundaries that God’s spirit impresses upon us, the things we do have will be accompanied by a divine nod of approval that will multiply their usefulness and our enjoyment of them.”

You see over the years, my sister has at times asked my opinion and I think often values it, which if you knew us is saying a lot, but yesterday I didn’t live within God’s boundaries and I didn’t wait for his divine nod of approval for me to share thoughts/concerns with her; therefore, it resulted in a fight.

The good news is, we can fight and get over it fast which we are less than 24 hours later. We are all a work in progress. This week, think about your strengths and think about proper boundaries you should should place around those so that you’ll use them in just the right times and places.

Thankful for forgiveness,

Natalie 🙂

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christian counseling counseling encouragement humor inspirational mental health spelling bee

Does a funny spelling bee announcer ease your disappointment?

I read an article in USA today and came across this when talking about the National spelling Bee, “…A collective sigh could be heard when spellers were eliminated when they missed words like “menhaden” (a type of fish), “citronella” (an oil used as insecticide) and “verbigeration” (continual repetition of stereotyped phrases). Applause followed each spelling. Laughter often rang out when pronouncer Jacques Bailly used words in humorous sentences — for “odyssey” he talked about getting lost in Costco for 35 minutes.”

I’m sure in the moment and context it was rather humorous and the announcer hopefully helped some of the disappointed children who studied so hard to prepare but in the end fell short. No one normal likes to see a disappointed kid. Of course, as adults if we cushion our children too much and never allow them to be disappointed this often makes them turn out to be bratty, annoying adults.

Life also allows very difficult disappointments that can be devastating such as infertility, a failed pregnancy, cancer, divorce, family disputes, not getting a job, losing a job, and much more. Some often wonder if there is a “God” why he would allow hurt and devastation. I don’t know all the answers but I know this. Hurt, devastation, loss, disappointment, and all evil was not God’s intention when he created us. He desires that we live an abundant life. However, when humans decided to go against God in the beginning, hurt, pain, devastation, and all evil was the result. I think God’s heart breaks when we are disappointed. I know this was not his plan, but thankfully He made a way through his son Jesus to restore us!

God can use all things (good and bad) to do a good work in our life. Think back in your own life, what have you learned from difficult times? What joy have you experienced on the other side of pain? I never want my kids to be disappointed but it will happen and when it does, I’ll be there to help them through it, to learn from it and hopefully plan for it not to be repeated. I think God as a loving heavenly father does just that. Let him love you and be with you through times of disappointment. Let your friends help you and encourage you. Ask for help and don’t try go through discouraging times alone.

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Love, Natalie

I often hear people say if there is a “God” why would he let bad things happen.

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50 shades of grey christian counseling divine humor inspirational mental health pulling back the shades reading reedeming love sexual abuse sexual violence

50 shades of what?

Oh the women who’ve asked their friends this question over the past several years…Some have read it gladly, some have read it secretly, some haven’t read it because of guilt of who would find out, some haven’t read it for other personal reasons. Let me start out by saying we shouldn’t judge others and put ourselves on a pedestal for having read or not having read anything. This is not a judgmental blog, simply one I hope you think about…

The book 50 Shades of Grey, the book by EL James is widely popular. I agree with authors Stattery and Gresh of their book Pulling back the shades that the  “50 shaded” book addresses the needs of women to:

  • to be cherished by a man
  • to be protected by a strong man
  • to rescue a man
  • to be sexually alive
  • to escape reality

All little girls need to be cherished by a father, protected by a father, and then I think they grow up wanting the same things. Being nurturers by nature, we also want to rescue at times. God made us sexual beings and in the right context, it truly can be experienced as His gift to us. We also at times want and need to escape reality. However, outside of God’s plan and help many women seek to fulfill these longings in the wrong places. Our longings that God created will never be fulfilled out of his will and ways. Only when addressed according to God’s standards, do I believe these longings can truthfully be addressed.

The statistics on sexual abuse and violence are extremely horrifying. I do not agree with the “50 shades” book showing that the way to heal from being taking advantage of is to ask someone else if they’d willing let you take advantage of him/her. It definitely romanticizes many things about sex. One sad truth told is that if you don’t properly deal with your pain, you will transfer it to others, mostly likely the ones you love the most. God intended sex for wonderful things as a gift to married people. However, sadly the devil has perverted this wonderful gift in many disturbing ways and so many people are hurt, devastated and traumatized. But, I believe individuals don’t have to be forever damaged by these acts. I believe with God’s help, intensive counseling, and loving friends/family healing is possible.

Positive ways to be cherished, loved, and protected can be found in God. Read the Psalms and, let him love you. Let him protect you and He cherished you already more than you know. Let Him love you thru allowing others to help you. Look at all of the goods things in your life, James 1:7 says these are all from God. Realize how much you are cherished and protected by focusing on the good in your life. If you are married, be sexually alive with your spouse. God didn’t just intend sex for us to reproduce or else the Song of Songs wouldn’t be in the Bible…If it is difficult for you to enjoy sex in your marriage, get counseling! Lastly, if you need a way to escape reality, try reading Redeming Love by Francine Rivers or Divine by Karen Kingsbury or simply get out into nature and enjoy creation!

Have a great week and God Bless,

Natalie 🙂

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american sniper christian counseling counseling humor inspiration mental health military ptsd veterans

Not quite an American Sniper but a just as tough American Aircraft Mechanic!

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This past weekend, my husband and I went to see American Sniper. Scenes from the movie, thoughts about veterans, and mostly memories of my dad being in the military have replayed in my mind over and over the past few days. I don’t want to spoil the movie, but I highly recommend it.

I know I often write about my parents, and it’s honestly because I’m blessed to have some pretty amazing ones. My dad was an aircraft mechanic in the Air Force and Air National Guard for 36 years. He served in Desert Storm and the War on Terror in Afghanistan and Iraq during my childhood, teenage and young adult years. Honestly as a child, at first I hated him being gone because my mom was a drill sergeant when he was gone (as a mother now, I know why…dad was also the one who helped with homework…). The wives though are some of the truly unsung about heroines. Mom always said everything went wrong when dad left from water heaters breaking to snakes showing up on the front porch. I would have hated to see some of those terrorists up against my mom when my dad was gone. I watched her kill a bat with a broom and chop a snake’s head off with a shovel when he was gone one time. When he got home as a child, I wanted to know what treasure he brought me. He was gone sometimes 6+ months at a time. He also helped fight fires and things out west every year it seems. As a teen, I remember having nightmares about him in war. As a young adult, I remember meeting him at the airport once when he came home from a long trip to Afghanistan and I was so honored and so overwhelmed with pride, that I almost wanted to sign up for the Air National Guard so I could be like him. Who cares if he wasn’t a sniper, he and every service man and woman have very important jobs and do so to protect us and our freedoms!

I hope today’s blog encourages you to pray for our country, our leaders, our military, and anyone who fights for the freedoms we take for granted daily. I hope to inspire you to say “thank you” to service men and women you know, encourage the families of those who are here struggling while those in their families are serving or even write a congressman to support bills that fight for the proper treatment of veterans.

Lastly, support efforts to help veterans and their families adjust as they return home. PTSD is very serious and people suffering need our prayers, support and assistance whatever this means for you. Maybe it means volunteering, donating funds to aid in treatment of these individuals, paying for someone’s meal to say thanks, or simply saying thanks.

According to the http://www.ptsd.ne.gov site, An estimated 7.8 percent of Americans will experience PTSD at some point in their lives. About 3.6 percent of U.S. adults aged 18 to 54 (5.2 million people) have PTSD during the course of a given year. The traumatic events most often associated with PTSD for men are rape, combat exposure, childhood neglect, and childhood physical abuse. About 30 percent of the men and women who have spent time in war zones experience PTSD. An additional 20 to 25 percent have had partial PTSD at some point in their lives. PTSD is only one side effect of service, many lose families, and much more fighting to protect us.

I’ll end with the words of Dr. Martin Luther Kind Jr. “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘what are you doing for others?'”

Proud to be an American,

Natalie 🙂

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christian counseling counseling humor inspiration mental health Uncategorized

Traumatized by Kenny G…

For the younger readers..maybe I have one…:), the name Kenny G may not ring a bell to you. He is a talented musician and was popular in the 90s during my dating years. Of course, he was more popular with the adults than the teens…

Disclaimer: I do not apologize for sharing this story to benefit others even if it embarrasses my parents b/c they embarrassed me.. 🙂 I am not perfect, God is still working on me…I’m sure my kids will pay me back one day too..

It all began with me having a bad date with a guy who will remain nameless. He is probably the only one of my friends or acquaintances who doesn’t know this story..:) and may never know it… I wasn’t really that interested in him at the time which was really the only reason it wasn’t a great date. Anyways, I came into my home around 9pm and the lights were out all over the house. Still to this day, I do not know where my other two sisters were…one was 8 at the time, so she should have been home…maybe she was at a sleepover. At any rate, I walked to the back of the house where all of the bedrooms were and I hear Kenny G music playing from the parental bedroom…I banged on their door, said the music was too loud and hibernated in my room until I was 20…just kidding it was only until the next morning.

As you can imagine, this was traumatizing… the thought of my parents listening to Kenny G “love songs” all alone…Maybe they were just dancing…yeah right!?! This is only one of many stories about how my parents have traumatized me over the years. However, as I get older I realized these are good things to be traumatized by. I never doubted my parents love for one another, even when they argued. Their love for one another taught me so much and still is teaching me.

How can you traumatize those around you for positive things?

-Talk kindly about your spouse, your friends, your family, your kids. Tell a funny story about you and ______ even it is embarrassing. It makes you genuine and relatable!

-Don’t be scared to be affectionate to your kids, even when they are teens and adults. Teens may act like they hate you kissing them on the check in the car rider line at school but they honestly feel loved and appreciated when you do. Don’t be afraid to talk to your children about your dating or other life experiences and how you learned from them. Love them the proper way so they’ll know what to look for and what to avoid. Don’t just fuss at them…show them.

-Don’t be afraid to share your failures with others and talk about how you’ve overcame those failures. Failure is a part of the process, is is not who you are!

-Forgive even when it isn’t merited. Forgiveness doesn’t right a wrong, it just releases you from bitterness.

Proverbs 12: 6 is my words states that the words of good people can save the wicked. God’s words of wisdom spoken thru us can help those around us!

Have a great week,

Natalie

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christian counseling counseling humor inspiration mental health

Expectations of strippers

Disclaimer: Let me start out by saying that these stories are intended for humor not examples to live by, but also remember that whether or not these are true…humans judging humans doesn’t work. Judging behavior sometimes, but not judging the person. Ok, enough said…

Many moons ago, some friends while celebrating an upcoming wedding with a bachelorette party went to a local club that had dancing in one area, male strippers in another and female in the other. It was for everyone..fun right, lol. Anyways, these friends went to laugh and embarrass themselves and one another at the male stripper area. This is why girls go to these places, it isn’t for the dancers.. So the girls are sitting down, laughing as one stripper dressed as a cowboy comes out. Of course he was in good shape, a good dancer, but as he gets closer to the bachelorette party, the bride begins to have a strange feeling that she knows him…She looks over at her friend and says, “Oh my…that’s my neighbor”. This wasn’t exactly what she expected to happen at her bachelorette party. He looks down, says hello to the girl, and dances on…

Also, many moons ago, a different group of friends were taking another bride out for a bachelorette celebration and decided to surprise the bride with a visit to a male dancing place.. When the party arrived, they were welcomed in at no charge. When they walked in, they realized they were the only females there…They weren’t exactly expecting to be the only group of girls watching and laughing together while some dudes danced…They fled the scene after they realized the awkwardness…

Sometimes we struggle with situations, circumstances, experiences, relationships, etc because our expectations are wrong. We think college will be a party and an extension of high school without parental guidance. We think we will live happily ever after once we are married. We think once we __________, fill in the blank, everything will be hunky dory (as we say in the south).

No matter what your belief system is, you can probably agree that people are not perfect, this world is not perfect, and things in the world are not perfect. We need to expect challenges along the way and not just rewards or blessings. As CS Lewis states, “Whatever men expect, they soon come to think they have a right to: the sense of disappointment can, with very little skill on (the devil’s) part, be turned into a sense of injury.”

As you continue through the day, think about your expectations for yourself, your marriage, your children, your job, your family, your friends, etc.. Are they appropriate? Author Donald Miller states, “When you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them for who they are.” Don’t expect anything except God to be perfect. Since you are not him, expect that you will not be able to fully understand something that is perfect. Don’t even expect a life with God to be without challenges. Just expect that He’ll walk thru them with you. Expect your job to have flaws, expect your marriage to have challenges, expect your children to be different from you. Change your expectations to realistic ones. Maybe that even means to expect good things to happen to you, if you are a pessimist.

Have goals, have expectations, have hopes, but make sure they are realistic and that these things don’t define who you are. Being who are you today is defining. My hope and prayer is that this means you are kind, loving, compassionate, giving, thoughtful,etc. You can be this kind of person with God’s help no matter what your expectations, circumstances, etc..are.

Have a great day!

Natalie