Thursday, May 28, 2009

Children and Storm Stress

Helping kids deal with the distress of natural disasters

By Dwight Bain, Nationally Certified Counselor & Certified Life Coach

Monster storms like Hurricanes, Tsunamis, Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Floods, Blizzards, Forest Fires and Mud Slides destroy more than communities- they destroy emotional security and stability in the lives of everyone impacted by these critical incidents, especially children. Equipping counselors with response techniques is essential so they can make a positive difference during the rebuilding process. Here are some key elements to know in serving children who have been emotionally traumatized by natural disasters.

How are children affected? It depends on the age of the child. The younger the child, the more they look to their parents for emotional security and strength. If a parent is “shell-shocked" or psychologically “numb” and not able to manage their own emotions or responsibilities; the child feels even more pressure and becomes more confused and stressed. Remember, it's normal to be overwhelmed by a major natural disaster, which is why it's so important for caregivers to take care of themselves in order to effectively take care of children through the months of recovery and rebuilding after the storm.

Focus on the needs of Younger children by noticing what they are saying, drawing or doing to determine if they are feeling stressed from the storm. (Very small children may display developmentally inappropriate or delayed behavior which may require medical or psychiatric intervention). School age kids need to talk, draw or take positive action, (like kids who didn’t lose their homes hosting a lemonade stand to raise money for kids just like them who lost everything during the disaster). If you give them something to do to help, they can take positive action and sort through their emotions immediately.

High school age kids may try to act "cool", yet are often more scared about the changes and losses than any other group. They may need to experience a bit more "reality" at times to open up their ability to talk about what is happening around them. If the situation is stable enough, older teens can help in neighborhood clean up, which connects them to others in the important task of rebuilding after the storm. Another approach is to see if they are willing to talk with peers, siblings or family members, to build confidence in expressing their stressful emotions to others.

Be alert for dramatic changes in behavior, such as a ‘happy-go-lucky’ child before the storm who now continually watches world disasters on the news. Focus on any dramatic shifts in personality. Watch for major changes in sleep, dietary or appetite patterns, school performance, peer relations and so on. If you see major changes, seek professional assessment with a pediatrician, child behavioral specialist or psychologist. (See a full list of warning signs at www.StormStress.com).

What are some ways to help kids talk about storm stress?Reach out to children on whichever level is most likely to connect. Talking, writing, drawing, even making up a song or puppet show about the impact of the disaster will lighten someone's emotional pain by watching or talking about their experience. Some families use newspapers as a discussion starter, since talking about any crisis event can help kids gain confidence to move from the panic of survival to move toward building strength after the storm.

Are there “hidden media dangers” that make storm stress worse?Media overexposure is dangerous to kids, so avoid this by limiting TV news updates. Children or adults have experienced media overexposure when they show a depressed mood; or by going "numb" to normal emotions associated with stressful events, (e.g. no compassion or inappropriate laughter). Carefully sort through media outlets-like TV, Internet, radio or newspapers, to screen out stressful or inappropriate content that would be depressing to a child. Set boundaries during the rebuilding process to protect them from additional stress in media, since it is important to protect the safety of their home and minds by managing media exposure.

Watching catastrophic problems in other parts of the world causes more stress in an already stressful situation because you don’t have the power to control the very sad stories caused by these disasters. That’s why it is wise to move from negatives to positives images during highly publicized disasters like Hurricane Katrina. Parents should sit down and discuss the impact of media and create limits on any stressful images that might further stress their children. Some families without electricity discovered that not having the distractions of Internet, cable television or loud music playing in their homes allowed them to reconnect as a family on many levels. Openly discuss these issues so that home becomes a more positive place with more energy to mange the stress from this disaster without making things harder from the hidden stress of media overexposure.

Is it okay to talk about what happened to our family with others?Silence is not golden in a critical incident, it's dangerous. One of the best things to help yourself as well as others is to tell your story. Talk about where you were when the storm hit. Use this same technique to help kids talk about how they made it through the natural disaster, then add the powerful element of sensory recall by asking about what the storm sounded like, smelled like, looked like, felt like or even tasted like! Listening to the stories of others who survived brings emotional recovery faster.

This is important for everyone involved, kids, grandparents, Mom, dads, employees, employers, firefighters, police officers, nurses, teachers, students and on and on. Everyone has a story about how they survived the killer storm and telling it helps them heal while giving others a chance to connect to family, neighbors and coworkers in a powerful way. Also, ask others, including pastors, or people helpers like counselors and nurses since many times these professionals are so busy reaching out to meet the needs of others, they neglect to take time to deal with the storm stress in their own life.

It's normal to be tired, worn out and stressed after a natural disaster however it's not okay to ignore caring for your own needs as a counselor. Anyone impacted by natural disasters may need to change their schedules for a while in order to take care of their own mental health. Helping kids is important, however if your caregiver tank is empty, let someone else help until your strength comes back. That's best for you and those you care about since it prevents the psychological burnout caused by Storm Stress.

Reprint Permission- If this article was helpful you are invited to share it electronically or in print with your own list at work or church, forward it to friends and family or post it on your own site or blog. Just leave it intact and do not alter it in any way. Please include the following paragraph in your reprint and thanks for helping us to help others by spreading the word. "Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group, www.LifeWorksGroup.org eNews (Copyright, 2004-2008, by the LifeWorks Group)"

About the author- Dwight Bain is dedicated to helping people achieve greater results. He is a Nationally Certified Counselor, Certified Life Coach and Certified Family Law Mediator in practice since 1984 with a primary focus on solving crisis events and managing major change. He is a member of the National Speakers Association and partners with media, major corporations and non-profit organizations to make a positive difference in our culture. Access more counseling and coaching resources designed to save you time by solving stressful situations by visiting his counseling blog with almost 200 complimentary articles and special reports at www.LifeWorksGroup.org

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Three Cigars that could have changed the Civil War

by Ron White, author and coach

It was September 1862 and the fate of a nation was about to pivot on three cigars serendipitously stumbled upon by a Union soldier – Sergeant Bloss. The stage was the United States Civil War and the scene was that of a recently vacated rebel campfire. Bloss spotted an envelope with three cigars in it and was proud of his treasure. As there was as scamper to find a match to ignite the cigars, a piece of paper wrapped with the bounty was noticed. It was a find that would shake the course of the war from its tracks.

The paper was General Robert E. Lee's battle plans and they had just fallen into his enemies fortunate hands. Lee's soldiers were just coming off a victory at the second Battle of Bull Run and they needed to do two things. First, they had to keep the Union off balance and secondly, re-supply his own forces. The scenario called for a daring move – just the kind of courage that made General Robert E. Lee famous over a century after his death. His plan was to temporarily split his forces in an effort to pick up stragglers around the country as reinforcements and then reconvene for a bold move on the heart of the enemy at Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington.

When the note was carried to General George McClellan, Commander in Chief of the Union Army it was obvious what he was holding. If the note had not been found, Lee would have had a clear run to re-supply and the war would have been over in weeks, if not days. Yet, because of this find – General McClellan also had an opportunity to end the war within days. With the knowledge that Lee had split his forces he could ambush each wing – divide the enemy and destroy them at his leisure. The war would still be over in days, yet now it would be a Union victory.

So what did McClellan do? As remarkable as it seems, he hesitated and did nothing. He performed no reconnaissance and issued no orders and not a single one of his commanders dared to tell him to do so. The forces did meet in a battle that headed off Lee from his re-supply mission and that battle was known as Antietam. This battle was a draw and the war would continue for another four bloody years.

140 years after this battle, we can look back at scoff at General McClellan's inaction. How could someone hold the roadmap to success in his hands and fail to act? How could someone in a leadership position lack the courage to be bold? Knowing success was inevitable – how could nothing be done?

While it is true that General McClellan was ultimately replaced eventually by a leader who was decisive and courageous – General Grant, we can learn a lot from McClellan.

You see, you also have three cigars in your hands with your enemy's battle plans. The enemy is not foreign forces, instead the enemy is you. These battle plans tell you that you will win the war of success if you:

- Educate yourself

- Act decisively

- Abandon the something for nothing mentality and work hard

- Refuse the victim mindset and take responsibility for your life and success
You also hold the battle plans in your hand that will ensure your success.

Yet, many just as General George McClellan will look at these orders and do nothing. Too many will not act, too many will lack the courage and decisiveness to take responsibility for their success and instead lead lives of quiet desperation.

Read these battle orders LOUD and CLEAR – your success is GUARANTEED if you will only act to educate yourself, work hard, take responsibility and act!

The battle for success in life is in your hands. You have found it rolled with these metaphorical cigars. Success is not the elusive mystery that so many believe. It is the product of decisive actions, a lot of hard work and accepting responsibility for your life. There you have it – you have the battle plans in front of you to ensure success. Now, what will you do? Will you hesitate and do nothing as General McClellan. Or will you seize this opportunity to defeat the enemy and guarantee success for yourself?

The enemy is moving. There is no time to waste – you have the battle plans – march forth!
Reproduced with permission from the Ron White Ezine. To subscribe to Ron White's Ezine, go to http://www.MemoryInAMonth.com Copyright 2008 All rights reserved worldwide.

The Secret to a better life- learning to count the days

By Dwight Bain

Too many funerals. That’s what I said to my friend a few weeks ago after learning of another sudden death of someone much too young. I was struggling to make peace with the grief when God’s Spirit took me to Psalms 90, written as a prayer of Moses. Listen to these incredible words that are over 3,000 years old, but just as relevant today as when they were written.

Psalm 90
“ 1 Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.
2 Before the mountains were brought forth, Or ever You had formed the earth an d the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.
3 You turn man to destruction, And say, “Return, O children of men.”
4 For a thousand years in Your sight Are like yesterday when it is past, And like a watch in the night.
5 You carry them away like a flood. They are like a sleep. In the morning they are like grass which grows up:
6 In the morning it flourishes and grows up; In the evening it is cut down and withers.
7 For we have been consumed by Your anger, And by Your wrath we are terrified.
8 You have set our iniquities before You, Our secret sins in the light of Your countenance.
9 For all our days have passed away in Your wrath; We finish our years like a sigh.
10 The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they are eighty years, Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; For it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
11 Who knows the power of Your anger? For as the fear of You, so is Your wrath.
12 So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom.
13 Return, O LORD! How long? And have compassion on Your servants.
14 Oh, satisfy us early with Your mercy, That we may rejoice and be glad all our days!
15 Make us glad according to the days in which You have afflicted us, The years in which we have seen evil.
16 Let Your work appear to Your servants, And Your glory to their children.
17 And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us, And establish the work of our hands for us; Yes, establish the work of our hands.”

So after reading this scripture I sat down with some friends and literally took a calculator to number out the days of a life time to make every one count. Here’s what we came up with.

Numbering days to make a difference for God's Kingdom

Average life span is 85 years, or 31,025 days of life granted to make a difference

50 years = 18,250 days lived, and 12,775 days remaining to make a difference

55 years = 20,075 days lived, and 10,950 days remaining to make a difference

60 years = 21,900 days lived, and 9,125 days remaining to make a difference

65 years = 23,725 days lived, and 7,300 days remaining to make a difference

70 years = 25,550 days lived, and 5,475 days remaining to make a difference

75 years = 27,375 days lived, and 3,650 days remaining to make a difference

80 years = 29,200 days lived, and 1,825 days remaining to make a difference

85 years = 31,025 days lived. Now it's time to meet your Maker, begin Eternity and find out if your efforts made a difference for the Kingdom of God or will just make for a big bon-fire! I challenge you to make every day count!

So, you and I have a choice today. A choice to count problems and waste time complaining about what isn’t working; or a choice to count blessings and invest time into making a positive difference. Which one will you choose? Better decide now because the clock is ticking down the days.

Reprint Permission- If this article helped you, you are invited to share it with your own list at work or church, forward it to friends and family or post it on your own site or blog. Just leave it intact and do not alter it in any way. Any links must remain in the article. Please include the following paragraph in your reprint."Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group weekly eNews, (Copyright, 2004-2009), To subscribe to this valuable weekly resource visit www.LifeWorksGroup.org or call 407-647-7005"

About the author- Dwight Bain is dedicated to helping people achieve greater results. He is a Nationally Certified Counselor, Certified Life Coach and Certified Family Law Mediator in practice since 1984 with a primary focus on solving crisis events and managing major change.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

What we can learn from the Walton Family?

by Darryl E. Owens, from OrlandoSentinel.com

With the stock market shedding value like gossip-rag celebutantes shed clothes, I'm sure all my 401(k) will afford me in retirement is a Starbucks frappuccino. Small, please.

In my misery, there's plenty of company. Take my fellow baby boomers -- the 57.8 million of us who census projections suggest will be around in 2030, when the youngest would be 66. Right now, boomers aren't bullish on our wallets.

As a recent Pew Research Center Social and Demographic Trends survey noted, "most boomers have children to worry about, and most have at least one living parent. Three-quarters are homeowners, at a time when home values are stagnant and the mortgage crisis is heating up. Boomers are edging toward retirement, which potentially means living on a fixed income.

"Two in three boomers said getting ahead is tougher now than a decade ago. Investment gurus say the stock market is for building wealth in the long run. After the past several volatile weeks, I've all but resigned myself that in the long run, retirement will mean polishing my greeting skills and donning a blue Walmart vest. Retirement, schma-tirement.

Needing an emotional balm to coax me from the ledge, and not satisfied with the wisdom from our leaders on high, my thoughts revisited the mountaintop: Walton's Mountain, to be exact -- home to the Depression-era family of the long-running '70s series The Waltons.

The Waltons were fictional, but the Hamners of Schuyler, Va., were real enough, inspiring Earl Hamner Jr., the eldest of Earl and Doris Gianinni Hamner's eight kids, to pen The Homecoming, a novella that inspired the TV series.

Feast or famine, the Waltons persevered. Sure it was scripted, but were there lessons to be learned?

On her front porch two decades ago, Doris Hamner shared the family's secret with Dwight Bain, who attended college about 40 miles away in Lynchburg, Va., and today is a Winter Park licensed mental-health counselor:

*Know what you believe: "Because she was rock solid about what she believed, and passed that faith along to her children, they could face any adversity with the courage of knowing that God would see them through. That faith gave light to carry the real Walton family through some of the darkest days our country has ever faced."

*Do everything together: "The real Waltons did chores together, they prepared meals together, they worshipped together, laughed, cried and said goodnight together. No matter what they faced, they never faced it alone."

*Keep positive: "They praised and encouraged one another in the process instead of attacking it as being a dumb idea. Earl Hamner Jr. had the full support of his entire family as he began to write articles for the local paper as a teenager. Because he received praise to press on toward his dreams, a television series has inspired millions to do the same."

The Hamners weren't guarding any secret to thriving in tough times.
"We just did everything together," Doris Hamner told Bain.

The Waltons embodied what the Hamners lived: Strength and assurance drawn from bedrock family bonds is the best bailout plan when it comes to riding out stormy seasons.

"Who knows," Bain says, "perhaps it may also lead to a future generation hearing the simple stories of how your family grew stronger during the stress. [That] would make Doris Hamner very, very proud."

Darryl E. Owens can be reached at dowens@orlandosentinel.com
original source: orlandosentinel.com/news/columnists/orl-dowens-101808,0,5766084.column

The Modern Day (Real Life) Indiana Jones

by Vic Johnson

One of my life's most valuable possessions is my journal. Why? Because my journal contains my dreams! And my dreams are my future!

I learned this principle from a story about a 15 year old boy by the name of John Goddard. John, one day, happened to hear his parents and another adult talking, and the other adult had been telling John's parents about how miserable his life was and how much he had failed. He wished he was John's age again and could live his life over and do some things differently.

Well, John heard the anguish in his voice, I suppose, and he made a vow that he was going to do something at 15 years old. So at 15 years old he took out a legal pad and began to write the things he wanted to do in his life, what he wanted to accomplish. Before he was finished he had 127 things on his list. He called it, "My Life List".

Today John is in his late 70's. Of his original 127 goals, John over the last 55-60 years has accomplished 111 of them, plus 400 other ones that he set along the way. And just so you know these weren't some small goals, here are some of the goals that John Goddard has accomplished that were on his list:

- He's climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, he's climbed Mount Ararat, in fact, he's climbed every major peak in the world.

Now just that, how many people just doing that, would be one great life experience? But that's just one of 500+ for John Goddard.

- He took Marco Polo's route through all of Asia and China. - He ran a mile in five minutes, he broad jumped 15 feet, high jumped five feet, and so on...

- He was the first person to explore the entire 4,200 mile length of the Nile River (that was his number one goal!). When he was 15 years old, no person had ever done it, but that fifteen year old boy didn't know that, it didn't matter to him. He put it on his list and when he did it, USA Today named him the modern day Indiana Jones. He's been down not just the Nile River. He's been down the Amazon, down the Congo, etc.

- He's been to 122 countries and lived with 260 different tribes.

- He's explored the Reefs of Florida, the Great Barrier Reefs and so on...

- He's flown 40 different types of aircrafts. Still holds civilian air speed records. Just that alone would be a great life experience; that was just one of John Goddard's goals.

- He's read the Bible cover to cover.

- He's taught himself French, Spanish, Arabic (who reading this could not learn a foreign language in the next couple of years?).

And that is just a portion of over 500 dreams that John Goddard has accomplished.

I hope we all learn from John Goddard! Here are two major points that were impressed upon me:

1) John Goddard's goals (dreams) were written down. How many of you have heard that before, to write your goals and dreams down? Because for 20 years I heard it and I had never written mine down, until just three years ago. Brian Tracy says if you'll write your goals down you have a 100 times greater chance of success, just by writing them down. Now I look at that mathematically and then by an inverse way, from an opposite way. What it says to me that if I don't write my goals down, I only have a 1 in 100 chance of succeeding. Write your goals and dreams down.

2) His dreams were BIG! I've found that a small dream will not give you the bullet proofing you are going to need. A small dream won't protect you when bad times come. A small dream does not have any power at all - it has to be BIG!

So get started today! Go get a journal (or wipe the dust off the one you have) and write down your BIG goals! And then get started on your life story!

Reproduced with permission from Jim Rohn's Weekly E-zine. To subscribe, go to www.JimRohn.com All contents Copyright © JimRohn.com except where indicated otherwise. All rights reserved worldwide.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Barb Waldron- A Heart to Help Others

Barb Waldron is a Master’s level intern completing her Counseling Psychology degree from Palm Beach Atlantic University in Orlando. She loves to celebrate life and help others feel appreciated, cherished and valued so they can experience the difference their lives make to others.

She has a passion to inspire hope and develop people’s potential through counseling, training, and public speaking, to create positive change in people’s lives. Her areas of interest are empowering people to break free from the limitations of their past and walk into their God-given freedom, as well as finding meaning after stressful loss or change. She has served for almost twenty years in corporate America as an Employee Advocate to guide employees in personal or professional crisis, and to help them achieve resolution of major conflicts by finding rapid solutions. She has created employee recognition programs and championed the corporate culture, earning a reputation for trustworthiness and excellence.

Barb is also a leader with Cleansing Stream Ministries, an international Christian discipleship ministry dedicating to helping people walk with God daily, teaching them how to break free from their painful traumas, unwanted habits, addictions, relationship problems, and anything that hinders growth - resulting in living a victorious Christian life. She has helped over 150 people overcome significant life issues through this ministry. Barb believes that the power of prayer and daily Bible study lead to the abundant life God has for each person.

As a public speaker, Barb delivers inspiring messages of hope that illuminate people’s strengths and point them toward God’s faithfulness to respond to their struggles and challenges. She created a Career Intervention Workshop to help employees disillusioned with their careers cultivate a new awareness of their God given strengths to help them succeed with powerful transformations in their professional and personal life. Barb also serves as a volunteer with Samaritan Care Hospice in Orlando to help families manage grief and loss. She is the co-creator of Acts of Encouragement a monthly community outreach to help people in need.

Academically, Barb’s background is extensive, having studied at Asbury Theological Seminary with a focus on leadership, spiritual development, and counseling, which led to a her desire to pursue a professional career in counseling. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Campbell University in North Carolina.

Shouldn't Christians Have The Best Sex?

Linda Riley, LMFT & Certified Sex Therapist


The Greek philosopher, Sophocles said, “One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life. That word is love.” The Russian novelist, Fyodor Dostoevsky’s definition of hell is the “inability to love.” The apostle Paul says, “Without love we are nothing.” Life without love is an empty meaningless experience. God has designed us with both the need to give and to receive love. The capacity to love is a gift from God as love is a Divine energy. Our world seems to be moving, away from love for God and for others towards self-love. As a result of this shift, we are experiencing great difficulty creating healthy loving relationships, both emotionally and sexually. Love is what brings meaning and depth to sex. Helen Singer Kaplan says, “Love is the best aphrodisiac.”

God designed sex to be an awesome experience; magical, mysterious, romantic and most of all passionate. It was intended to be a powerful means of unity and pleasure. But our culture has reduced it to an ordinary and often meaningless experience. Often it leaves one partner feeling used or damaged in ways they barely comprehend. In today’s culture, sex is viewed as a harmless form of entertainment and not just “adult” entertainment, as children of all ages are wounded by inappropriate and wrongful sexual encounters. As people move from one partner to the next they feel a sense of disillusionment and dissatisfaction and often even boredom. We are spiritual beings and we were designed in specific ways for specific purposes. Our spirituality affects our sexuality, and when we disconnect the two we forfeit the beauty, meaningfulness and pleasure sex was intended to bring. God invented sex and it was meant to be a most extraordinary experience.

Sex works best in the context of a committed loving relationship. When we diminish both ourselves and our sexuality by sharing it at random we damage ourselves both spiritually and emotionally. Sometimes these encounters leave us with sexual dysfunctions like loss of sexual desire. Since sex is designed to enable us to become one flesh, we give a part of ourselves to those we have sexual intercourse with. Sex outside of a committed loving relationship is an act of selfish gratification. Our first sexual experience as a child, teen or adult, profoundly affects our feelings about both our sexuality and sex in general. Our sexuality is more fragile than we realize and often sexual experiences leave us wounded in some way. One young woman, I worked with in therapy, told me she thought that having sex while drunk at parties was just part of the whole college experience. She didn’t realize how damaging this was to her until she became involved in a meaningful relationship and found she had lost her sexual desire.



Pornography has become an epidemic problem and it will ultimately destroy attraction and desire for one’s sexual partner. It’s all about selfish gratification .and is both addictive and progressive. Generally we don’t realize this until it is too late, because of the way culture normalizes pornography. Arousing pornographic images get projected on to women and result in a depersonalization of sex. Just like with drug addiction sexual addiction escalates and more is required to arouse and satisfy, opening the door to sadomasochism and masochism as well as pedophilia. Pornography always diminishes a person’s capacity to love and experience intimacy. I have counseled with numerous women who have told me their partners prefer to masturbate rather than to make love to them. When marital partners lose their sexual connection they start to feel like room-mates and become bored and unhappy in their marriage.

If you have and maintain a strong emotional and spiritual connection than your sex life will never become dull and boring. The better the relationship the better the sex will be. The best sex involves not only meeting our partner’s physical needs but their emotional, spiritual, and intellectual needs too. Marriage is God’s best gift; it holds the answer to the existential loneliness that is inherent in human nature. God created us in His own image and we are fundamentally relational beings because He is a relational God. The loneliness that is so pervasive in the world today stems from our loss of connection with both God and our partners. We live in a “ME” culture and we want what we want. Even therapists influence clients to focus their energy on themselves, asking questions like “What do you want? “Or, “What makes you happy?” Real happiness occurs when we develop the capacity to think more about others than ourselves. It comes from giving love not just trying to get love. Wouldn’t our relationships be better if we were asking questions like, “How can I make you happy”. And “What are your wants and desires.”

In our very sexual society we think sex is about erections, intercourse or orgasms. This creates a goal orientated approach to sexuality and it also brings a feeling of pressure to perform or at least to please into our bedrooms. We need to realize that sex is really about pleasure and connection. What causes sexual dysfunction or inhibits good sexual function is our: anxiety, fear, anger, hostility, resentment and lack of commitment which manifests in a lack of trust for our partner. Pressure to perform or please makes us anxious and worried about failure or disappointment rather than relaxing and just accepting erotic pleasure. Spiritual growth is about becoming a healthier person by addressing issues like, selfishness, anger, anxiety, fear, and forgiveness. It enables us to become more loving and sensitive towards our partners and hopefully it allows us to better communicate our deepest longings and emotions. So, if we are actively growing as Christians, shouldn’t we have better sexual relationships?


Reprint Permission- If this article helped you, you are invited to share it with your own list at work or church, forward it to friends and family or post it on your own site or blog. Just leave it intact and do not alter it in any way. Any links must remain in the article. Please include the following paragraph in your reprint. -


"Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group weekly eNews, (Copyright, 2004-2009), To receive this valuable weekly resource subscribe at http://www.lifeworksgroup.org/ or call 407-647-7005.

About the author- Linda Riley is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Certified Sex Therapist, woman's support group leader, divorce recovery expert, and guest lectures for medical staffs around the country. She is a radio and television guest, with over 25 years of experience in marital conflict and intimate communication between the sexes.

Access more counseling and coaching resources designed to save you time by solving stressful situations by visiting their counseling blog with over 150 complimentary articles and special reports at http://www.lifeworksgroup.org/

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Marital Update!

Danger lurks behind the new iPhone 3.0 software

by Michael Smalley

I am not a paranoid person, but let me be perfectly clear, I’m a little paranoid about the implications surrounding the new 3.0 software upgrade for the iPhone. What is making me so nervous? I read a post this morning from Apple Insider where they reported, “Apple has given signs it may allow more risque software on the App Store once iPhone OS 3.0 and its enhanced parental locks become a reality”.

The phrase “enhanced parental locks” is what has gotten me so nervous (oh yeah, “risque” doesn’t exactly cheer me up either). The iPhone seems like it is going to make it easier to watch and experience porn directly on the phone through third party apps. The porn industry is a multi-billion dollar industry that I can assure you will take advantage of any loosening of the rules for content on the iPhone.

Porn destroys.

No matter how diluted our culture tries to make porn, like it is no big deal, it is a very big deal and a major problem in basically any category of violent crime, divorce, abuse, etc. I have an iPhone, and it is the greatest phone I’ve ever owned. If you know me, you know that is a big deal statement for me to make because I’ve owned many phones in my days (you might say I’m a cell phone addict).

Why is porn so destructive?

Because it objectifies women and men. So those who get addicted to porn (which is as powerful of an addiction as any hard core drug) start viewing women and men as merely objects to make them happy. That is why porn addicts can so easily commit heinous crimes against humanity, because in their mind, they are not attacking a person, they are merely attacking an object who they feel has little or no value.

I so desperately do not want porn to be a part of my life that I use a service called Covenant Eyes. (www.covenanteyes.com/) I want you all to know that I make no money for promoting Covenant Eyes, so this is truly a non biased review. I want you to check them out because filtering just does not work. It is not that the filtering companies are slacking on protecting us, it is just that filtering is insanely complicated to do correctly.

What I like about Covenant Eyes is that it is not a filtering service but rather an accountability service. All the program does is track your online activity and send a weekly report to an accountability partner of your choice. You do not want to visit porn sites because someone WILL find out about it and keep you accountable to your commitment not to view porn.

In my experience, the only way someone truly breaks free from the bondage of porn is to get in to a serious accountability relationship. Covenant Eyes easily provides the accountability you need to be successful.
Porn addiction is a killer

But you may be one of those people who really does not see a problem with porn. You may even watch porn with your spouse (and yes, I run in to this issue more than I care to run in to it). You’re thinking that porn hasn’t negatively effected your relationship, so what is the big deal? I say to you that porn is effecting your relationship, you just do not see it yet. Porn addiction and use is a slow, methodical killer that numbs you to the reality of the destruction going on around you. The meth addict says the same thing, by the way. Then one day they look in the mirror and see a shell of themselves and their teeth have rotted away.

Your sexual relationship needs boundaries because your sexual desire is never satisfied unless you tell it to be satisfied. Your sexual desire is like a wild animal that needs to be tamed. How many times have you read a report of someone who has raised a grizzly bear and then died at the claws of that same grizzly bear. Just like the wild grizzly, your sexual desires need to be contained and kept in a safe boundary.

Safe Sexual Boundaries

What does a safe boundary look like sexually? It looks like a husband and wife, committed to each other, and serving each other in bed. You can not allow your sexual desires to run rampant with selfishness. You must take on an attitude of kindness, servanthood, and caring in your sexual relationship with your spouse. This is what keeps your sexual morality from degrading in to something destructive.

The danger of this new iPhone update is that it may make finding and experiencing porn on your iPhone even easier than what it is today. I would recommend that if this becomes a reality, you allow a friend or accountability partner to set a password for the parental controls so that you can not access hurtful and inappropriate content. Hopefully the parental controls will be helpful and protective, but I would not count on it.


About the author: Michael and Amy Smalley have authored several best-selling relationship advice books including Communicating with Your Teen, The Men’s Relational Toolbox, the DNA of Relationships, More than a Match, and Don’t Date Naked. They have spoken to millions of people around the world through their live events, international evangelistic events, and special speaking. In 2006, they launched their Marriage Restoration Intensives, working hand-in-hand with couples to teach them valuable skills to maintain their marriages. Michael currently serves as the founder and Executive Director of the Smalley Marriage and Family Center in The Woodlands, just outside Houston, Texas. The center provides local counseling, special intensive marriage retreats, and training for professionals and lay-people. To learn more about their outreach to strengthen marriages, visit http://www.gosmalley.com/

Sexting- What a Parent Can Do?

By John Thurman

He came into my office visibly upset we shared a quick greeting and before you know it he shoved a cell phone close to my eyes and said, “Look at this!” I was thrown for a loop when I began to focus on the screen of his fifteen year old daughter’s cell phone. It was her sans blouse and supporting garments. First of all there is no woman young or old that I need to see other than my wife. This still somewhat shocking episode, but it began a new phase of my counseling practice, working with parents and their teens after the teen has been busted for sexting.Since that cold winter day a little over a year and a half ago I have worked with a dozen or so teens and their families coming to terms with this phenomenon.

How has Sexting happened?

First of all teens are not well known for impulse control, but up until the advent of the camera phone and web cams, the photos of nude and semi-nude teens was regulated to “Girls Gone Wild,” and other shady and pornographic sites, but that has all changed and parents need to wake up and smell the coffee.

Manipulating Parental Ignorance

What most parents don’t realize is that their kids can sometime play them for the fool. You don’t have to be a techno wizard or a curator of pop culture to know a little bit about Facebook, My Space, and tweeting on Twitter. In an article from the current Reader’s Digest, Pamela Paul, author of Pornified: How Pornography is Transforming our Lives, Our Relationships, and Our Families, “It is appalling…Among girls and boys, porn has become increasingly accepted, even as kind of cool.” A far cry from sneaking a peak at you older brother’s Playboy. Now, nude and semi-nude images of young men and women are a mere click or two away from any internet user.

You are the Parent!

Principle 1 - You are the parent, you pay the bill, you own the phone, you have a right and responsibility to be a good watchdog.

Principle 2 - Get out of denial and learn how to check up on your kid. Privacy has to do with changing clothes and going to the bathroom, not ignoring all of their tech communication.
Resources to Protect your Teen

There are a number of key things you as a parent can do to be effective in lowering the risk to your teen. Remember you are the parent-you have every right to have access to your child internet accounts and cell phone, after all, you do pay for them. Forget about their privacy, except when it comes to using the bathroom and dressing. Be nosy, know where they are going and where they have been. Here are some resources that can help you protect your kid from the dangers of Sexting.

www.wiredmoms.com - you should really check this group out, they will show you how to check up on you kids. Or visit their Twitter page at http://twitter.com/wiredmomsCell Phone Spy Elite-a device from www.security.com that retrieves deleted text messages from cell phones.Sage Eyes, from internet safety.com which tracks your kids instant messaging, monitors online social networks, and can impose online minute restrictions.www.websafety.com -software you can load into your kid’s cellphone and computer alerts that will advise you if inappropriate content is going out.www.yoursphere.com -a fairly safe social network LMK, for “Let Me Know,” is based on the Girl Scouts site lmk.girlscouts.org where girls can talk to other girls about internet safety.

Keep buying those cookies!

* Another way to learn more about teens and sexting is to watch this link from Good Morning America, http://www.abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=7337547&page=1

About the Author:
John Thurman is a counselor, speaker,and writer who focuses on helping people learn to develop resilience by bouncing back from setbacks that they have experienced in their personal lives, and relationships. He has been married over thirty-five years and has is based in New Mexico. Find out more by visiting his website at http://www.johnthurman.net