The Supermom Sham

By Guest Blogger, Abigail Wilson, MA Social Services, Reflections Counseling Administratorbusy-mom

Ok ladies and interested gents! It is time to do something courageous and real!! Take 2 minutes and join me in this simple but important exercise.

1. Take a deep breath and admit you are human and not super-human! We don’t have superpowers and we can’t magically have a perfect life with the twitch of our nose! Repeat after me, “I am human and that is okay!”

2. Once you get this down pat, move on to the next statement, “If I ask for help when I need it, I will not be a failure, and I will be a success.” Let’s face it, if you are trying to keep up the appearance of having it all: a meticulous house, spotless perfect children, a perfect marriage, 2.3 kids and a dog that never sheds, all while baking cookies for PTA and volunteering or working, the truth is you likely lack sleep and burn the candle at both ends.

3. It is time to take five and let yourself not be perfect and for once! So, moving on…

4. Leave the dishes in the sink so you can enjoy some down-time! If you can bring yourself to follow these tips, you will be helping yourself in the long run and avoiding burnout…..which is bad.

Note: Burnout can occur at any time and can increase anxiety and depression and increase stress, so in order to avoid this, take care of yourself first so you can take care of others. Instead of fighting the ugly mommy wars some are intent on fighting, rely on each other and help each other out. Swap baby-sitting time, arrange for a play date so you can have a tea and unwind while the kids play together, do something for yourself while the kids are at their practices, splurge on a cleaning person even if it is for one hour per month (I do this and it is amazing to come home after a long day to a lemony fresh house, even though it is destroyed again by the end of the night), and don’t forget to save the end of the night for a wind down with yourself or you and your spouse.

If you need some more tips on not getting burnt out, call us at 941-301-8420 or write to us at reflectionscounselingcenter@gmail.com

 

If You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling…Read Up!

happy-couple-1

Ever feel like “your relationship song” is  more like The Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin,” than the song you danced to at your wedding? If so, don’t hit the relationship panic button yet (or ever, for that matter). Instead, remember that sometimes the way you show love and affection may not be the way your spouse prefers.

Today, take a moment to think about or better yet, to ask your spouse the ways they enjoy being loved by you and tell them how you desire to be loved. Maybe you don’t think Cinderella or other fairy tale characters had to spell it out, but you know what, we never heard the rest of that happily ever after story, and she probably worked really hard to keep that Prince on his toes after such a flourishing beginning!

Give your relationship the time and attention it deserves if you also expect it to flourish, and by doing so, you treat your relationship royally. Read below excerpts from our book for a few quick tips to relationship health, and for more, buy RELATE: A Guide to Marital & Relationship Repair here for more help! http://www.amazon.com/Christa-Hardin/e/B00HAD1FYU

“This chapter targets ways that you feel most loved most by your spouse. You may not even know your favorite ways to feel loved by your spouse, and if you don’t know, how can they know? Consider the question of when you feel most loved for a moment. Is it when he or she scratches your back, reads aloud to you, cleans the house, is considerate of your sexual desires, listens to you, plays your favorite sport or video game with you, works out with you, enjoys the same music or art as you, takes you on fun dates, plays with the kids, works hard for you, or something else?  List the top five specific ways you enjoy feeling loved by your spouse here.

What are my favorite ways of being loved?

 

  1. ______________________________________________
  2. ______________________________________________
  3. ______________________________________________
  4. ______________________________________________
  5. ______________________________________________

Now try to get your significant other to share his or her favorite ways to feel loved by you. If he or she is unwilling, write down the ways you think you can love your mate the best here.

 

What are my mate’s favorite ways to be loved?

 

  1. ______________________________________________
  2. ______________________________________________
  3. ______________________________________________
  4. ______________________________________________
  5. ______________________________________________

Now, for both practical and romantic reasons, try loving your significant other in their favorite ways! If he or she is doing this book with you, ask them to try to do the same for you. If you feel overwhelmed by their list, try to love them in just one of these ways each day. Now review the main points of this chapter, and begin the wonderful recharging of your relationship!”

Esther’s Awakening – Preparing for God’s Royal Call on Your Life

true beauty

Do you need a reminder of your true beauty in Christ? If so, spend time with an RCC therapist preparing for God’s royal call on your life. In six sessions, you can get an awful lot of good insight and training for the journey! Please call us if you’d like to participate, or if you’d like to invite an RCC therapist to lead your small group or luncheon into a deeper and fuller relationship with the King! Here are the simple steps to this transforming time.

1st Session: ¨ Realize.  In your first session, you will be reminded of the biblical journey of Queen Esther, a strong, wise and yet humble and feminine leader of the Bible.  You and your therapist will draw a parallel to Queen Esther’s experiences, as you begin to realize your own journey as God’s royal daughter (1st Peter 2:9).  In addition to a traditional evaluation by a licensed therapist, you will get a treatment plan and an assignment related to your presenting issues.

2nd Session: ¨ Reflect.  In this critical step, you and your counselor will together unravel and reflect on secret threads of isolation, fear, and grief in your life, in light of the future hope you have in Christ.  Like Esther, there may be something keeping you from your true royal calling in Christ.  Your assignment will involve journaling, interviewing, or another reflective measure for awakening any past resentments, hurts, or hindrances.

3rd Session: ¨ Reveal.  In your third meeting, your therapist will gently guide you through difficult memories, truths, and any painful history you have revealed. Your therapist will offer inspiration, wisdom, hope, and light for your future, despite the difficult issues of the past.  Together, you will uncover the things still in darkness, and speak truth to the lies of the past and present.  Your assignment will involve pairing healthy ways of coping in present difficulties, instead of hanging on familiar but unhealthy habits.

4th Session: ¨ Restore.  Having decided to turn from unhealthy ways of dealing with your life’s issues, your new goal, like Queen Esther, is to devote yourself to purifying, restoring and prayer.  Your therapist and you will join together to stop the cycle of shame and sin in your life or family system.  Your assignment will involve permanently incorporating healthy and pleasing elements of spiritual, emotional, and physical self-care, and both inner and outer beauty.

5th Session: ¨  Reclaim.  In this session, you will revisit the story of Queen Esther, and tell your own story as well, including all of the parts of the journey towards healing.  In this meeting, you will prayerfully plant good seeds for future harvests in your life, and set new standards for godly and royal living as a beautiful daughter of the King, Most of all, you will reclaim a celebration of the present and good things to come!  Your therapist will also give you a special gift or memoir to commemorate your healing journey! *

Please call today at 941-301-8420 or write to me at christa@reflectionscc.com if you need more details!

Avoiding A Holiday Hangover – The Twelve Days of Christmas Care

Avoiding a Holiday Hangover – The Twelve Days of Christmas Care

Although there is potentially more fun to be shared this Christmas season, there is also doubtlessly hard work to complete in preparation for it as well, difficult family members to love, a plentiful amount of sweets to tempt you despite your body’s desire for healthy foods, and often less sleep and exercise as well.  Unless someone is intentional, a holiday hangover of sorts is imminent.

Taking care of yourself through the holidays is not an option, it’s a call.  Remember, God commands you to love others as you love yourself (Mt 22:39), but you need to love yourself in good ways for you to be able to love others well!  Similarly, we learn in Proverbs 11:25 that, “A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.”

To help you remember to keep your head afloat and even more, to stay refreshed, here are twelve creative ways to to help you to fully enjoy the entire Christmas season!  We hope you will add your own ideas below or take these suggestions to keep yourself ready for celebrating the reason for the season.

1 –  Take time to schedule in moments to listen to your favorite Christmas carols, with a cup of hot cocoa, tea, or coffee.  Do nothing work-oriented for a half an hour, but just enjoy the rest and good music, as well as cuddles if you have a willing family member or pet!

2 – Do a Christmas Bible study today, looking for reminders of the hope and special gift of Jesus’ coming!  Peace on Earth is another important focus, and these reminders can be found in Isaiah 7:14, Luke 2:1-20, & Matthew 1 & 2.

3 – Make or purchase a cozy winter soup with healthy ingredients. For an extra memorable meal, serve it in a bread bowl with a big salad on the side.  Yum!

4 – Come up with a realistic exercise plan and commit to it. For a quick workout, try a seven-minute plan on your smartphone!  If you aren’t used to working out, walk briskly for fifteen minutes a day, even if you are talking on your phone while doing it (but only if this is the only way you can do it – otherwise, enjoy a few quiet moments)!

5 – Buy and package some one-serving portions of nuts, sunflower seeds, cranberries, or raisins (or another healthy snack, such as simple protein bars) and keep them in a handy cupboard, your desk at work, and your glovebox, so when the cravings come, you have something both handy and energizing!

6 – Schedule in time this month with a friend who really refreshes you!

7 – Schedule in a date night with your spouse or significant other and if you are single, schedule a night to pamper yourself with a friend or on your own with a festive event.

8 – Visit a church for a candlelight service or special Christmas children’s program.

9 - Take a really luxuriously long shower or bath today, soaking in some suds or using extra of a favorite product.

10 – Treat yourself to a favorite reasonably priced restaurant one day this month.

11 – Enjoy a favorite TV program, favorite online or board game, or a good book, but do it marathon style, not just for 20 minutes. Enjoy an hour or more of just watching a favorite film, but make a big cozy deal of it!

12 – Write a simple Christmas list, being thoughtful about two or three things you’d really enjoy.  if you don’t have anyone to give it to, start a simple jar and plunk change in every day, writing your goals on the outside, so it will be something to look forward to.

Most of all, every time you get annoyed, take a few moments to deeply breath and remind your body that you are fine, that you are going to make it through anything, and that you are eternally grateful for each moment you have!  God bless you this Christmas season!  As always call us or write to us if this season’s dealings are too difficult to bear alone!  941-301-8420 Sarasota & Bradenton Counseling www.reflectionscc.com
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Becoming a Biblical Trophy Wife

PastorsWife

This brief devotional will help any woman who is wondering just what her role in marriage is, especially if her blissful bridal days are long gone and the monotony of a matriarchal life has settled in.  Don’t grow stagnant, you are worth the effort it takes to make a great marriage, and you are a wonderful and holy reward to your husband!

“[To husbands] Enjoy life with the woman whom you love all the days of your fleeting life which He has given you under the sun; for this is your reward in life and in your toil in which you have labored under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 9:9

Word to the Wise

Do you ever feel guilty about all of the things your husband has on his plate (not to mention you and your heaping full plate)?  Sometimes I really do.  I think about all of the things my husband has to be responsible for and I see that most of the time, he is happy doing it.  However, sometimes I find myself feeling sorry for him and all of those duties.  The man I married all those years ago didn’t have to pay for a home, cars, kids, school books, medical expenses, help with chores, change diapers, and basically spend all of his time serving.   The man I am married to now (still the same man here!) does have to do all of that, and about a zillion other things also, and so do I.  Instead of feeling sorry for him or myself, lately, for that matter, I am trying to remember that through the hard and easy days both, marriage was made for us to bless and help one another (Genesis 2:18-22).

How can we bless one another when we are spent?  Since love is our call as Christians, offering the reward of putting your best foot forward for this hard working husband of yours seems like a good place to start.  King Solomon, the wisest man on earth, who wrote the book of Ecclesiastes, validates this sentiment by saying in our passage above, that YOU are your husband’s reward for his hard work.  This is really wonderful news.  This week, pause before you begin each new discussion or time together, taking care to check a sour attitude and or litany of your latest headaches, bills or homework difficulties.  Remember to enjoy the reward you are, and to share it with your husband in this short life you get.  You have a teammate to run this race of life with you, and after a long day of hard work, it is your reward to enjoy one another in whatever ways you both desire.

This doesn’t mean you ignore difficulties in your life, but it does mean that you know when to lay the hard matters aside for the day at the Lord’s feet through prayer, and then enter a period of quiet surrender to God’s power in your life, despite the circumstances you worked so hard during the day to handle.  I know life is hard, but I am so glad we as women may enjoy getting rest after the long workday as well as to being a godly reward to our hubbies!  Next time, you can wink up at God when someone uses the cliche “trophy wife” because you are that and so much more, a prized, beloved eternally valuable reward, versus the fake plastic cultural imagery we have become used to envisioning when we hear that term.

In your family life, exercising your wonderful role has great value also.  As much as your children may pretend your marriage does not hold meaning for them, it doesn’t take a family therapist to tell you that this isn’t true at all.  Our children love to see their parents in a healthy marriage, and if God wills, we hope one day they will enter into a healthy marriage also.  It is especially important then, that we show them the example of marriage in its proper place.  Try to show your children a healthy marriage by showing how spouses work together to educate their children and meet their basic needs, but also enjoy their marriage by taking the occasional time out to nurture their marriage through an anniversary dinner or a regular date nights, as well as time spent together after the kids go to bed at night.  Your children may grumble, but they are learning the labor and reward of marriage, as well as the inestimable value of finding a spouse who will both love and refresh them after a hard day’s work!

Marriage Mission

             After the children are in bed this week and thereafter (or if your husband works nights, be creative about your couples time) try to think of something you can do that you would both enjoy doing.  If you already do this nightly, twist it up a notch with a gourmet snack, a new piece of lingerie, a new game, or anything at all that will add more fun and flavor into your night together.  Relax and enjoy one another. The bills, the worries, the headaches, and the daily drama will all be there the next day.  By doing this, you share in the labors of love, and decrease the likelihood that your man will be hungry or tempted for attention from anyone else!  You go girl!

 

RELATE – Giving the Best Gift to Your Spouse This Season!

Are you ready to RELATE?

RELATE is a simple, refreshing, and effective relationship repair program.  Designed by a marital expert, RELATE helps couples to work together to create the relationship they’ve always wanted.  When a couple is relating well together, they can thrive in the world far better than the two of them could have done on their own.  The steps to relate better in this book can be worked on individually, with a coach or counselor, or completed as a couple. 

Is RELATE for you? 

A. The RELATE program is designed to aid a couple that is stressed, overloaded, bored, or otherwise desperate for more relationship satisfaction.  This program focuses specifically on restoring lost feelings of love or respect for one another, on reminding a couple of their greater commitment to their spouses and families, and on building them up to be a solid team once again, or even for the first time.

B. The RELATE program can help even if just one member of a relationship wants to participate while the other is doubtful or uninterested in change. A willing mate can make a great change in a relationship by trying new steps respectfully.  It is often the case that both spouses are committed to the relationship, but only one wants help.  As most counselors know, when even one person makes healthy changes in a relationship, a family system often shifts in the right direction.

C.  The RELATE program is NOT for the couple that is uncommitted or unwilling to take part in change. Examples of this are where one or both mates are in complete withdrawal from the relationship, when one mate is happily caught up in an affair, when an individual is in an abusive relationship, and in other extreme situations.  In these instances, individuals and couples should pursue therapy or outside help more intensive and specifically tailored to their issues.

If you fit models A or B, then the good news is, RELATE can help you!  Here are five tips to help you get the most out of this RELATE relationship training!

  • Read the material carefully.  This program is designed to be efficient, so simply skimming this book will leave a gap in your relationship repair.
  • Do the assignments.  They’re not complicated but they do take effort, like anything worth doing.  Simply reading a book or attending a meeting to talk about what’s going on are not magical solutions.  The key to success lies not only in your momentary participation, but also in your lasting efforts in working toward a healthier relationship.
  • Don’t give up before the end!  This is a short training program, so finish it fully.  Do your best, and expect great results.  Even if your mate isn’t dedicated, keep it up.  You can’t lose when you are trying to love others well!
  • Pay special attention to the heading “LOVE NOTES” that you find sprinkled throughout the book.  These brief tips will help you to make sure you consider your mates’ feelings and express love toward them even when you don’t agree on everything.
  • Expect success and have fun!  Keep an attitude of hopefulness and celebrate even the smallest of positive changes!  Soon, you will be celebrating a lifetime of love. 

 

Listen Up – A Word on Active Listening for Families

not-listening

Listen UP – A Word on Active Listening in a Family

I struggle with being overly talkative sometimes.  You’re probably not the least bit surprised by that.  I am woman, hear me roar…right? I mean, we adults all have a lot on our minds, and someone needs to hear about it.  How do we negotiate our desire to speak with our passage this week?  Won’t we be missing out on something if we don’t speak up when we have an important or interesting thought?  Let’s remember that God loves us more than anyone could, and does not want us to miss out on anything good.  We may, however, miss out on plenty of negative things if we know when to hold our tongues.

God’s Word in Ecclesiastes instills in us the right of silence to prevail at times.  If there is any doubt that often quiet is preferable to God, there are many Scriptures that teach us about the foolishness of talking too much, such as Proverbs 10:19 and Matthew 12:36.  Though it may not come naturally for you, this week and always, let’s try to model for our children our ability to listen as well as to speak.  This can be done through showing your husband or wife reverence by lack of interruptions when he is speaking, by looking your children in the eye when they speak to you instead of at the computer, a text message, or a television program, or just by letting them observe you quietly sitting and enjoying a cup of tea.  They will remember the images of us, their mothers and fathers that they see the most frequently.  May it not be of us talking incessantly, interrupting them or their spouse, or glued to the phone or computer.

Don’t beat yourself up for being talkative this week, instead focus on being more intentional with your words.  God made you to communicate after all, and that’s to be celebrated, not stifled. If it doesn’t seem natural to slow down verbally, try to read the nonverbal/body language of others around to see if you are overwhelming them today.  If so, take a step back, breathe and be a great role model of temperance (patience) with yourself, your spouse and your children this week

Likewise, we must remember that God also says in this same passage, that there is a time to speak.  In these times, when you feel the Holy Spirit’s nudge to use your strong voice, trust the Lord to provide, even if you are fearful.  It is especially important to speak when we see a child being hurt, when our spouses, children or friends needs a good word, in our teaching and in our work life, and to stand up for someone being violated in any way.  I want to encourage you that even when you don’t know the right words to say in a major situation, pray, or listen UP (as in upward to God).  Luke 12:12 encourages us not to worry or fear, “for the Holy Spirit in that very hour what you ought to say.”  We can then, take the step of faith together, knowing that we have the best possible footing in God’s Word and promise of protection for our every word and work.

Kids Can Too!!

Though learning temperance may take a lifetime, start your children young!  One way, in addition to modeling temperance, is to have the kids practice this simple reflective listening exercise, taught by many counselors to establish a strong listening and compassion base with arguing families.

Taking one child at a time, tell them you are going to teach them how to be a really good listener.   Tell them you want to them to tell you something that has been hard for them lately.  Facing them, repeat back what you have heard from them, but say it in slightly different words.  For example, depending on what you heard, you might say, “I heard you saying that you feel bored lately since your brother is at camp.”  Your child may wonder at your repetition, but let them know you did this because when they say something important, you want to make sure you heard it correctly, and to make sure he or she felt understood.  Try to do this back and forth a few times with happy and hard thoughts both, and let your child know that as much as you really want to hear them, you also want them to hear you when you are speaking to them, and may ask them to do this “true listening”  exercise from time to time.  For younger children you can even hold up a mirror to help them to remember the reflective/true listening concept.  If you want to prove your point further, a quick game of “Telephone” can illustrate how easily words can be misinterpreted, especially if you have a larger family.

Marriage Mission

Ask your spouse about his day or how he is doing sometime this week, with the entire family present.  If the kids ask you a question or interrupt during your conversation in person or on the phone, send them off.  Don’t interrupt your spouse until he or she gives you the non-verbal signal that they are done speaking.  If he or she expresses joy or frustration, try to empathize with or mirror what you heard them saying, when the time comes.  Try to not correct anything he or she said or “one up” them with your news. Try to do this each day this week, around the same time.

If this consideratate conversation style becomes a habit, don’t be surprised if you notice your spouse opening up more, feeling safer with you, or being in a better mood.  A man or woman who feels appreciated usually treats his or her family with protective and special set-apart love.  If it helps, designate a certain place in the house or your yard (ex: the bench in the garden) for your special conversation time with your spouse after work, so you model respect for your spouse’s winding down time, and your children recognize a time when they are supposed to wait and allow the grown ups to have conversation, too!

-Excerpt/Modified by Christa M. Hardin’s, Help for the H- Hero, 2013.