How to Have a Bad Day

Cheryl’s day was not beginning as planned.  She forgot to set her alarm, and so she and her husband who always relied on her to get up first were both late for work.  On top of that, their dog had diarrhea on their bedroom floor. She thought “Of course!  This always happens to me!”  She hurriedly got into her car and looked at the time; only five minutes behind.  At a stop light, she grabbed her coffee travel mug and as she took a drink, the lid she forgot to screw on fell off and coffee spilled all over her
Read More →

Categories: Mental Health, Personal Growth, and Stress.

The Gift of Presence

“Nobody’s walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no. We’re all in this together. This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here!” ~ Clark Griswold The Christmas holiday is listed as a significant life stress on the “Life Stress Inventory.” Just for reference, other events listed on this inventory include moving, changing jobs, major illnesses and legal trouble. You can take this inventory yourself at https://www.stress.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/stress-inventory-1.pdf  I just took it and scored 215, which means I’m 50% more at risk for stress related health problems.  That tells me my stress management and self-care routines are important for me
Read More →

Categories: Marriage.

Thanksgiving 2022

Once November starts, the remainder of the year just flies by with all the plans, festivities and the extra work that goes along with them.  The frenzied pace can prevent us from really enjoying the purpose of the special days of thanksgiving and other holidays at the end of the year.   Take some time now to think about Thanksgiving.  The name of this American holiday spells out clearly the purpose of the day.  The word “holiday” is an old English word meaning “Holy Day.”  Basically, its a day that is set apart and made more special than other days. 
Read More →

Categories: Marriage.

The Amazing Rat and What it Can Teach Us

Recently at our office we listened to a talk given by a really smart guy with a PhD in psychopharmacology.  He described a study he conducted on rats (think “Rats of NIMH”).  Rats were put into four groups for this experiment.  In group one, the rats were kept alone in their own cages with nothing.  In group two, rats were alone in cages with “enrichment toys”.  I’m not sure what enrichment toys look like for rats, but I imagine a running wheel, things to climb or chew on, and maybe a coffee table book, “Cheeses of the World”.   In
Read More →

Categories: Addiction, Children, Family, Mental Health, and Relationships.

Are you a Bystander or an Upstander?

Most of us know the story of The Good Samaritan that can be found in the Christian New Testament book of Luke chapter 10.  Jesus tells a story of a Jewish man that was mugged and left for dead along the road.  A devout Jewish man, and then a Jewish priest both passed on by without helping the injured man.  A third man passed by who was a Samaritan.  Samaritans as a group did not like Jews, and Jews didn’t like Samaritans.  However, it was this Samaritan who stopped and came to the aid of the victim along the road. 
Read More →

Categories: Faith issues, Family, Parenting, Personal Growth, and School.

So this is Christmas…

What is Christmas?  Seriously, with all the commercialization and hype its understandable why the Grinch’s complaint is “…All the noise, noise, noise, NOISE! They’ll bang on tong-tinglers, blow their foo-flounders, they’ll crash on jang-jinglers, and bounce on boing-bounders!”  The “hustle and bustle” can be exciting and at the same time overwhelming.  What’s it all for?  Who is Santa Claus, and why is he watching me when I sleep?   The history is this: Santa Claus is a derivative of Sinter Klaas, which is the Dutch derivation of St. Nicholas.  So that’s why we can look at Santa and say “Good
Read More →

Categories: Holidays.

Cancelling Your Family

Bryan Regan, a stand up comedian, joked recently: “Hey, I saw something interesting today on social media. Somebody posted a very strong political opinion. And somebody replied, ‘Good point. I changed my mind’.”  Of course this got a lot of laughs, because this kind of reply on social media never happens.  Social media platforms are used to bolster support for our own beliefs, not to challenge them.  This especially seems to ring true in our post-COVID era.    There are marker events in history that create observable shifts in our culture.  COVID is one of those events.  It has brought
Read More →

Categories: Children, Family, and Relationships.

The Comparison Trap

Over 150 years ago, Henry David Thoreau observed “The mass of men live lives of quiet desperation”.  This would suggest that mental and emotional suffering is a common and constant state of life.  What has changed, though, is we now have the ability to do something about it.  Now more than ever we have available to us tools for self-improvement such as education, technology, and psychological treatment.  That being said, just because we have more ability to better our lives doesn’t mean that we will actually do the work.  Self-actualization, the process of reaching one’s potential, is like anything else
Read More →

Categories: Marriage.

Willing and Able, Aware and Care

In the dark comedy movie “Downhill”,  a vacationing family faces imminent threat from an avalanche.  The crisis of the story occurs when Will Farrell’s character Pete runs away right when his wife and family needed him the most.  The rest of the movie entails Pete trying to regain his family’s trust and heal the rift in his marriage.  It’s not really a funny movie in my opinion, but it does illustrate how marriages can experience a symbolic “avalanche” of stress.  The story illustrates how difficult it can be to heal and forgive when we’ve been hurt and abandoned by those
Read More →

Categories: Couples, Marriage, and Relationships.