Resolving to Look Up

Looking Up

Looking Up

Hmmm, has anyone else noticed that the gym isn’t quit as full as it was 2 months ago? People’s social media status posts are much less motivational and overall I don’t hear anyone talking about resolutions.  Everyone was so excited in January to make life long changes but how many of us maintain the consistency needed to see these things through.  I started today by examining my own personal new year’s resolution which is to live life fully and with no regrets.

 It sounds good but have I really been living a no regrets life I questioned.  The answer is for the past couple of weeks I must honestly say that I have not been living life fully.  When faced with various financial and personal challenges I fell off.  I allowed my problems to become bigger than my goal, bigger than my vision and purpose.  Here in lies the problem for many people.  We get so wrapped up in the day to day issues of life we lose sight of the bigger picture.

 Psalms 121: 1 states “I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from?”  Instead of looking down at the problem, look up today.  Look to the almighty Creator who is our source and our help. Today as I refocus myself I encourage you to do the same.  Go grab that journal and revisit the goals you set for this year.  Pray and spend time with God, seek Him to help you stay focused.  Don’t allow temporary problems to become permanent obstacles to your life long goals.

Raising Awareness: Digital Abuse

digital abuse

digital abuse

When thinking of abuse in relationships the obvious forms of physical and verbal abuse are typically considered.  However in our information age driven by technology, digital abuse is a real issue.  Digital abuse is really emotional and verbal abuse perpetrated through technological means including the internet.

 It is particularly important for parents and teens to be aware of the various forms of digital abuse because it can easily be overlooked.  Check this list below of various ways digital abuse can occur.

     -Coercing partner to send sexual images or statements via phone

     -Putting partner down on social media through posts or status updates

     -Posting private pictures of partner online, particularly without consent

     -Controlling who partner can have as friends on social media

     -Sending hurtful or threatening messages through text, IM, Facebook, and other forms of media

     -Spreading rumors or gossip about partner online

     -Forcing partner to provide passwords to phone and social media accounts

     -Stalking partner through social media sites, insisting on check ins online through twitter etc…

     -Becoming angry when partner does not answer phone or respond to posts

     -Sharing messages partner sent without consent

     -Constantly texting, calling, posting etc… to keep tabs on partner

If you believe that you or someone you know may be experiencing digital abuse please seek help.  You have a right to privacy and to have your boundaries respected in a relationship.  You can seek help by contacting the counselors here at Family First or find local help in your area by visiting loveisrespect.org.

A No Regrets Life Principle 4: Leave Boldly

No regrets quote

No regrets quote

So this is my final week in my journey to a no regrets life. While reading the book One Month to Live I have revisited the importance of living with passion, loving others, and learning from my experiences. This week my final principle to a no regrets life is “leave boldly”.

In reading this final section of the book the authors pose the question, “What type of legacy do you want to leave behind?” I am done rushing through life. Too often we are focused on working to live, striking it rich, or building a name for ourselves. But I ask myself, what good is any of this if it doesn’t benefit anyone? I want to leave a lasting legacy that centers on doing God’s will and blessing others.

It’s not only what we do in life that matters but why. It is important to examine the motivation behind your actions. Selfish motives will not build a legacy that lasts because it will not leave a meaningful impact on anyone. In studying these chapters I have remembered what is truly important to me- spending time with God, reading His word, enjoying my family and friends, doing things that build the kingdom of God….this is what matters.

So as I finish reading the book One Month to Live I recognize that the journey of living this has only just begun. On my wall I have hung up a sign to remind me of the principles of living a No Regrets Life daily. If you are feeling purposeless or just need to be reinvigorated with a passion for life I encourage you to pick up the book One Month to Live and begin your journey today.

Am I Being Abused?

teen dating violence

teen dating violence

The first step to getting help is recognizing that there is a problem.  Often people in abusive relationships do not see that the relationship is unhealthy.  There are honeymoon periods where things seem great and they enjoy spending time with the person they’re dating.  However there are moments filled with violence, verbal aggression, intimidation, and control. What you need to know is that abusers are manipulative and these honeymoon periods are designed to keep you in that unhealthy cycle of abuse.  Check out this power and control wheel to see if you recognize signs of abuse in your own relationship.

Power & Control Wheel

 

If you’re still not sure take this relationship quiz to determine if your relationship may be unhealthy.

If you or someone you love needs help please reach out to a professional.  Here at Family First Counseling our counselors are trained to help you deal with the feelings and emotions that you may be going through as a result of abuse.  If you need shelter or advice on getting out of an abusive relationship, try contacting the domestic violence hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or chat with an advocate online at www.thehotline.org

 

The Obama Marriage: Tips from the First Couple

President & First Lady Obama

President & First Lady Obama

While tabloids spew rumors of a marriage on the rocks, extra marital affairs, and divorce; Barack and Michelle Obama appear to continue to maintain a strong marriage.  Marriage is hard; I could not imagine the added pressure of living your life under the scrutiny of an entire nation.  Over the years I have watched the Obamas and I have often felt inspired by the loving relationship they seem to share.  Here are a few marriage tips I have learned by watching the first couple.

Healthy Couples are Friends. According to Michelle Obama, “Our relationship was first a friendship. It took off from there.” A marriage cannot be built on feelings of attraction and butterflies in the stomach. It is important for husbands and wives to have a strong friendship which includes enjoying each others time and conversation.

Continue to Date .  While the President and First Lady are busy running the nation, they still manage to find time for date nights.  Some cynics may argue that this is for the sake of the camera but their body language and chemistry together seems to indicate something different.  If they can find time for a date, most definitely the rest of us can.  They go out for dinner, dancing etc…; they make it a point to have fun down times together.  Date nights really can help couples reconnect and keep the romance alive.

Enjoy each other's company

Enjoy each other’s company

Stay connected through communication. Michelle has stated that despite being apart, often for extended periods, she and President Obama talk every morning and night.  Effective communication helps to build intimacy in a relationship.  Sometimes spouses are tired from a long day of work or being with the children but this is no excuse.  Make an effort to talk about more than the mundane details of your day, discuss your feelings, hopes, and dreams with one another.

I know that none of these tips are secrets; you’ve probably heard them before.  The thing is they work if you do them and do them consistently.  I think the Obamas are proof that a relationship can withstand just about anything if nurtured the right way.

Source: Sheri & Bob Stritof. “Quotes about the Marriage of Michelle and Barack Obama.” About.com

 

Abuse Is Not Love

Teen Dating Violence Awareness

Teen Dating Violence Awareness

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention month. According to loveisrespect.org 1 in 3 teens has experienced physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner. If you are a parent of a teen or you’re a teenager yourself follow my blog posts this month as I share important information about dating violence.

When we think of abuse the first things that come to mind are black eyes and bruises. However physical violence is not the only form of abuse that occurs in relationships. Emotional and verbal abuse is often equally damaging to a person and occurs more frequently. The victim in the situation will often question, “Is this really abuse?” because there are no scars. Check this list to see if you or someone you know may be experiencing emotional or verbal abuse.

Some behaviors that qualify as emotional or verbal abuse by a partner:

  • -Name calling and put downs
  • -Screaming and yelling at you
  • -Isolation, keeping you from family and friends
  • -Controlling your behavior  ( i.e. what you wear, where you can go)
  • -Requiring constant check ins through phone call, texts, or other means
  • -Blaming you for their abusive behavior or words (“you made me do this”)
  • -Threatening to commit suicide or harm themselves if you break up with them
  • -Monitoring and controlling your use of the phone, computer, etc..
  • -Using threats to expose your personal secrets in an attempt to control you
  • -Starting rumors about you, including on social media

If you think you or someone you know is experiencing emotional/verbal abuse please reach out for help. The counselors here at Family First Counseling are ready to help.

For more information on teen dating violence or to find help in your local area check out www.loveisrespect.org