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We are happy to announce we are now SYMBIS assessment certified!  SYMBIS is a Premarital assessment tool which stands for Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts developed by DR.’s Les and Leslie Parrott to help couples contemplating marriage understand their strengths and weaknesses as they move toward their special day.  Couples will complete a computer assessment designed by psychologists and based on research with thousands of couples and then go over the results with a trained marriage facilitator.  We are very excited about this additional resource’s implementation into our practice!

Thank You

I admit it. I am about to sound like a cranky old lady, who rants about the younger generation, but I am not that person. I have a problem that people do not require their children to learn the art of writing thank you notes and showing gratitude to people. I see these attitudes invading marriages and families, and it disturbs me that the art of gratitude is being lost amidst the growing entitlement I see in marriages and families. Here is the rule by which I try to live: I will not use the money or item someone has given me until I first write a note of thanks honoring the sacrifice and gift that was given to me. That same rule applies for my children. One of my children follows the rule very easily and the other needs to have some motivation applied to make sure it occurs. I have a personal mission in life that they will not be entitled children who become entitled adults because it will cut off the flow of favor they will receive as adults; people honor people who honor them. I am seeing a whole new generation of people who expect behaviors from people with whom they are in a relationship because “that is what they are supposed to do.” I have men who tell me that their wife needs to give them sex because that’s what they need, but they fail to give the nurture their wives needs to be cherished. I have wives with husbands who fail to engage them as they are supposed to because they are constantly criticizing their husband. I have children telling me what their parents should be doing but failing to honor it when they do it for them because it is the expected behavior they have of their parents. I have employees telling me what they deserve, yet fail to put into the job what they expect out of a job. Do you want your children to be less entitled? Do you want to be less entitled and more gracious? Start writing thank you notes. When someone does you favor, gives to you, or does something for you out of the ordinary, write a thank you note to honor what they have given. In the grand scheme of life, people who honor will receive more and people who do not honor might or might not be honored in return. Thank you for listening to my old person rant. I appreciate and honor your support of me and my desire to blog.

Yeah, me, too

There are some days when you just need a little more validation than other days; occasions in which our confidence is shaken for any number of reasons. I recently had one of those days when I attempted to find a dress for a wedding. Things just aren’t distributed on my body in the same way as they used to be, and trying on dresses (or swimsuits) triggers some uncomfortable, vulnerable shame feelings that don’t usually exist in my day. Some days we just need someone to say, “yeah, me, too” or “ I totally get what you are saying” or “you are normal, and that would be a normal reaction to (fill in the blank).” Validation can be so healing to your soul when you have grown up in a family where people did not talk about feelings. Or, maybe you were constantly told not to feel specific feelings because the feelings were not acceptable, or perhaps you were told how you felt even though you were not feeling what you were told you were feeling. Validation is a powerful way for people to feel better about their circumstances, to have clarity about their circumstances, or to sometimes make a relationship feel safe because it makes people feel empowered to move forward instead of staying stuck. Do you want to be a better friend, spouse, parent or employer? You need to extend validation to the feelings that are being expressed to you before you share your wisdom or thoughts on the matter. People can be empowered in conversation with you because you have validated them, or they can be made to feel powerless in conversation with you because you have invalidated their feelings. There are many aspects to being a good friend and one of them is loving validation. I want to be the person who validates people’s feelings to create bridges of empowerment for people. I want to be the person who says to the 50+ woman struggling with her waning beauty “Yeah, me, too. You are normal.”
Proverbs 17:17 “A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity.”

Truth Can Wound if not Shared Carefully

Hearing truth about ourselves can set us free, but it can hurt like a knife that is cutting us. If the person sharing that truth is not carefully handing that knife to us in a way that is going to protect us and not hurt us, it can wound. Unfortunately, I see most people sharing truth in a manner that is not going to help the person with whom they are sharing the truth. Sharing truth, like handing someone a knife, can be used as a weapon to hurt the other person or it can be handed to us in a way that can empower us to cut away those things that are sucking the life out of our relationships and ourselves. I can cut away the things of the past if I understand how and where to use that truth knife, but if I am not caringly handed that truth and empowered in how to use that truth, I am likely to hurt myself or others in how I use it. I can remember many years ago being told that I was intimidating and that I needed not to be intimidating because it’s not what a good leader does. The reality is my personality type can come off as being very confident, so I knew there was truth related to what was said, but I was not instructed in how to cut away that truth with the knife of truth, only what not to do, and it left me feeling powerless as to what to do and feeling self-hatred about myself. Sometimes we want to tell people a truth that may hurt but have no idea on what the recourse is for that person. This can still be shared in love, but let the person pray about it or go to another friend or mentor for advice and counsel. When we hand people hard truths, we need to walk with them (if invited to do so) and instruct them into how to use this weapon to their benefit so that they can be empowered to use the weapon of truth, because that is exactly what truth can be if trained how to use it appropriately. We can skillfully use that truth to cut off the things that have attached themselves to ourselves in a parasitical fashion, but we cannot skillfully use truth to our advantage if not instructed and trained in using truth. When I came to understand how I expressed information about myself was contributing to the how people were experiencing me as intimidating, I could modify how I presented myself and this, in turn, modified how people experienced me. I needed a person who was powerful to empower me with truth, not a person who felt powerless hand me a truth which made me feel powerless. Are you empowering people when you share truths with them? The truth only sets people free when they are trained on how to use truth. Ephesians 4:29 says it this way, ”Say only what is good and helpful to those you are talking to, and what will give them a blessing.” To be honorable people, we need to share truth honorably and empower both ourselves and others in our speech and communication.

Ephesians 4:15-16The Message (MSG)
14-16 No prolonged infancies among us, please. We’ll not tolerate babes in the woods, small children who are an easy mark for impostors. God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do. He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love.