Showing posts from July, 2011

Child Custody – Don’t Lose Your Kids in the Divorce

By Chris Hammond, MS, IMH

Before you begin reading, let’s discuss what this article does NOT address. It does not address any legal issues or offer any legal advice or discuss strategies for getting what you want in a divorce. For that advice, you are better off consulting with an attorney. Rather the focus of this article is on the relational aspects of child custody, the importance of not losing your relationship with your kids and the dangers of losing who your kids are as a result of the divorce.

Relationships are an important part of our lives. Relationships begin when we are born, whether good or bad, and continue through childhood into adulthood. Good relationships strengthen our relationship with others, with ourselves, and with God and have a lasting positive effect. Conversely bad relationships, especially in childhood, tend to have a ripple effect on adulthood negatively affecting our relationships with other, with ourselves, and with God.

A divorce can bring out th…

Do You Need A Mistress?

By Chris Hammond, MS, IMH

What? How could you ask such a question? Are you kidding me? Don’t you know that mistresses are evil? While this may be true in some circumstances, I rather prefer the title of “Mistress” and often use it in my communications.

The word originates from the French word “Maistresse” which is the feminine version of the word “Master”. In addition, the “Mrs.” in front of so many female names is actually short for “Mistress”. The definition is of a woman who is in a position of authority, who in control over something or someone. The term later came to mean a kept woman by a married man, but I rather prefer the original meaning and abbreviation.

So what does the original question have to do with the definition of the word “Mistress”? Quite simply put, everything. I imagine that “Mistress” is exactly what God intended when He created Eve. She was created to be a helpmate to Adam, to bear children, to work the land, and to rule over creation alongside her hu…

The Wedding Is Over, Now What…

By Chris Hammond, MS, IMH

I love weddings but I love strong marriages even more. Once the wedding and celebration is over, the marriage begins but where do you begin? What comes next? Here are ten simple steps that are easy to implement the first day and lay a good foundation for a healthy marriage.

1. You are part of a team now with your coach being God. There really is no point in working against each other, trying to compete with each other, or holding resentment towards each other. Each of these behaviors destroys teamwork. Rather your marriage should be a pattern of working together as members of the same team.

2. Forgiving the small things such as the things that annoy you or frustrate you lays a pattern for forgiving the large things. In every marriage, there will be large things that you will need to forgive and if you have been forgiving the small things all along, the large things become easier.

3. Don’t just remember what you love about your spouse, but regularly communi…

What Not to Say to Your Unemployed Spouse

By Chris Hammond, MS, IMH

Having your spouse out of work for any extended period of time can be stressful especially in an economy where the unemployment rate is the highest it has been in over 20 years. Many unemployed workers are looking for any job whether it is in their profession or not just to cover the bills. In addition, there is also an increase in the number of employees dissatisfied in their work place but afraid to change jobs for fear of an extended unemployment. Talk about stress.

Added to that stress is the normal stress of a marriage relationship. As if there wasn't enough to be stressed about in a marriage with mortgages, finances, kids, in-laws, bills, minimal cash flow, lack of communication and decreased sex drive; now add to that the stress of unemployment. These are the kind of stressors that can make or break your marriage relationship, but this is precisely the time that the vow "For better or for worse" was intended.

It is hard to know what t…

What to do When You Lack Motivation

By Chris Hammond, MS, IMH

Ok, admit it. Some days you completely lack motivation to do the things you know need to be done. It’s not like you don’t know what needs to be done or lack something to do; it’s that you have zero desire to do it. In fact if you lined up all the things that need to be done you could actually spend your entire vacation time doing them and the list still would not be complete.

There are clothes in the washer than need to be moved to the dryer so they won’t get mold on them and have to be washed again, but you still don’t do it. There is a report you have to complete and a pending deadline all too soon but nothing you write makes sense. There is a crack in your windshield that has been there for days, weeks, months or dare I say years but you have not gotten it fixed. There is a friend you know you should contact because they are going through a rough time and you love them dearly but you dread the conversation. Or there is my personal favorite, you know t…

The Foundation On Which We Build Our Lives

By Jennifer Graham, MS, IMH

“Are you telling the truth?”

You might be able to recall the childhood memories associated with this question! Let me portray perhaps an all too familiar scene:

Johnny: “Mom! Jimmy hit me!

Jimmy: “Did not!”

Mother: “Jimmy, are you telling the truth? Did you hit your brother?”

Little Jimmy is caught in a moment; a host of thoughts fill his mind: “Great, here I am again. If Johnny was tougher I wouldn’t be in this mess! Technically it wasn’t hitting… my hand just brush against him with unusual strength! I have really been giving it my all in P.E. class. This is just like Johnny to open his big mouth. No, I didn’t hit my brother, Mom, maybe Johnny is not telling the truth…”

The reality is that Jimmy did in fact hit his brother but he struggles in his mind and emotions about stepping forward in what is true. He expends his whole mental process because there is something that he thinks is greater and is attempting to protect and/or hide.

You have heard it said, “Hone…

Day Job? – or – Dream Job?

A career mapping strategy to create positive change

By Dwight Bain, Certified Life Coach and Nationally Certified Counselor

Most people don’t realize that we actually spend more hours of our life working than any other single activity. That’s why it’s more important than ever to know where you fit in your career, because if you are drifting and feel lost in your career, you literally are drifting and letting life slip through your fingers. I believe in a process where you can map out your ‘DAY JOB’ (responsibly working to meet your obligations), on the way to your ‘DREAM JOB’ (doing what you were born to do).

Day jobs pay the bills, and dream jobs fulfill the deep desires of the heart to live out your purpose. And since most of us won’t start in a ‘dream’ job, it’s important to know how to strategically move forward with career direction to leverage your ‘day jobs’ into living out our destiny, by working at activities that are so meaningful and fulfilling that it almost doesn’t seem li…

Decreased Sex Drive in Married Women

By Chris Hammond, MS

It happens sometimes. You begin to notice that you are not interested in having sex with your husband as frequently as before or the thought of having sex at all is unappealing. Your sex drive seems to be decreasing and you are unsure as to why this is happening. There may not be any logical explanation at first but looking past the decreased sex drive to underlying issues may reveal one of the sources of the problems.

Be honest. This is not a time to be silent with your husband. He needs to know that you are experiencing a decrease in your sex drive and perhaps not achieving an orgasm as frequently as before. Most likely he has already noticed (unless you are faking an orgasm which is lying) and is wondering what is wrong and if he is at fault. Check for any relational problems in your marriage such as difficulty with in-laws, finances, communication, or the kids. Getting help with these problems and dealing with them can improve your sex drive.

Talk to your…

When A Friend Disappoints and Has an Affair

By Chris Hammond, MS

Our lives seem to have seasons. For a time being my husband and I were in a season of graduations, then marriages, then kids, and now we are in a season of divorces. I used to laugh at the fifty percent of all marriages end in divorce statistic smugly thinking that my friends would not be in that category, but now reality has set into my life. Fifty percent of marriages ending in divorce is a conservative number among my friends.

Most of the stories are similar in that they began with an emotional affair on the part of one spouse and then ended with a physical affair. In some cases the affairs did not last but in many of the cases both parties divorce and then remarry. As a friend to both spouses and unfortunately sometimes even a friend to the “other one”, the boundaries of friendship seem to become strained no matter how much like Switzerland I attempt to become. Having learned from many past mistakes, here are a few suggestions as to how to handle learning …

Jonah: Favorite Angry Guy in the Bible

By Chris Hammond, MS

Anger is an intense emotion that sometimes comes without warning or justification; however, learning to question the sources of anger can provide healing. In the moment of anger, you are not likely to rationally evaluate these questions but returning to them later can help you to manage your anger in the future.

The story of Jonah is familiar (he is the guy who was swallowed by a big fish and spit out three days later) but if it has been a while, review the four short chapters found in the Old Testament in the Book of Jonah. The Bible is filled with practical stories of people who struggled with the same things you struggle with today and provides practical application to your daily life.

Who was Jonah angry with? Initially, Jonah’s anger and deep prejudice towards the Assyrians who were the enemies of the Israelites was revealed by his reluctance to go to Nineveh, the capital of the Assyria. Many years earlier, the Assyrians had invaded Judea and scattered t…

Unexpected Anxiety Attacks

By Chris Hammond, MS

I was in the dentist office watching my daughter have some work done on her teeth when all of a sudden I became aware of my heart pounding in my chest and then racing very fast. My daughter was fine, she was not in any pain, the dentist and assistant were very polite, and the environment was extremely friendly but I felt like I was losing it. Shortly afterwards my stomach felt like it was in my throat, my palms became sweaty, I felt light-headed, my breath became shallow and my thoughts began to race. I am physically healthy as I have very low blood pressure and normal cholesterol levels so this was clearly not a heart attack. Rather, it was an anxiety attack.

Perhaps this has happened to you recently. You run into someone unexpectedly, you walk into a hospital room, you are watching something on TV, you are in the middle of a conversation, or you are eating dinner out and all of a sudden for no particular reason you find yourself in the middle of an anxiety at…

Now What: Recovering from the Negative Emotions of Bankruptcy

By Chris Hammond, MS

Filing for business or personal bankruptcy is one of the more difficult decisions you will make. Combine this decision with the unexpected negative emotions and at times things can seem to be overwhelming. See the article titled, “Surviving the Emotional Side of Bankruptcy” to help identify some of the negative emotions that are often experienced. Once you identify the negative emotions the next step is to cope and then finally to overcome the negative energy and look for what you can do.

Regain control. There are many factors that are completely out of your control during bankruptcy but there are some factors that are within your control. The economy, the value of your home and in some cases the prospect of a job in your area of expertise is beyond your ability to change. However, your spending habits, budgeting, taking care of yourself physically, and increasing your income potential are within your control. Place your energy into evaluating your current si…

Surviving the Emotional Side of Bankruptcy

By Chris Hammond, MS

The decision to file for either a business or personal bankruptcy is difficult enough. While you may have prepared yourself for the short-term and long-term financial consequences for the decision, most likely the emotional consequences have yet to be addressed. Each person is different and for some the emotional reactions are less than others but for the most part, each walks through the different stages although not necessarily in any particular order. By being aware of the emotional stages to the bankruptcy and learning to cope effectively you can begin to heal from the storm of bankruptcy.

Shock – Is this really happening? This is the most immediate reaction to the reality of filing for bankruptcy and usually lasts for a couple of weeks. It is similar to a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming car; you feel paralyzed, overwhelmed, and insecure about the decision you made. Worse, some your past decisions are what contributed to this moment so you ar…

Is Your Storm More Like Jonah, Job or Jerusalem?

By Chris Hammond, MS

Our recent economic times have hit many people hard with more people homeless, in the process of foreclosure, without jobs, working jobs well beneath their skill level or filing for bankruptcy than I have seen in my lifetime. While it is easy to blame others for our troubles and in this economic climate, there are certainly factors beyond our control; we also must look at the actions we have taken to contribute to the problem. Jonah, Job and Jerusalem all faced overwhelming difficulties and while we may not be swallowed by a great fish, have our home and family destroyed in a day, or have our king assassinate every family member in a feuding family, we can apply the lessons learned from their lives to ours today.

Jonah. Jonah knew what God wanted him to do, he just did not want to do it so he took a ride on a ship headed for the opposite direction of what God wanted. The result was a great storm nearly sank the ship, the crew confronted Jonah, Jonah confessed he…

Defining Mr. Right or Mrs. Right

By Chris Hammond, MS

Whether you are still single or find yourself single again, the prospect of dating can be overwhelming. There is quite a bit of advice about dating but not much about preparing to date. Deciding in advance why you are dating and what type of person you want to date, makes the decision of whether or not to date someone or how long to date someone much easier.

Why date. For some, the purpose of dating is to discover if the person you are interested in getting to know better is has the potential for becoming a long term partner. This is not about getting a marriage proposal on the first date; rather it is an acknowledgement that there is a desire for something more at some point in time. For others, dating has one purpose, to have fun. For the fun seekers, the idea of any commitment longer than one date is too much for them. Generally speaking, this is why those interested in just having fun are not good matches for those interested in long term commitments.


Why Rest?

By Chris Hammond, MS

For a musician, the symbol for rest on a sheet of music signals them to completely stop playing for an interval of time. It is a period of silence that is sometimes used as a dramatic pause to draw attention to the next few stanzas, sometimes it is used as relief for the intensity of the previous stanzas, sometimes it is used when changing from one cord or instrument to another, and sometimes it is used to mark the beginning or the end of a piece.

There are several different symbols used in music to signify different periods of rest such as whole note rests, quarter note rests and eighth note rests. Just as in music, we too have different periods and purposes of rest in our lives. We need rest both mentally and physically in order to renew our strength, gain proper perspective on our circumstances, or prepare of a period of future intensity such as the birth of a baby, new job, new home or new relationship.

Daily Rest. Our bodies are naturally designed for dai…

Positive Parenting

By Linda Riley

Points to Consider:

1. Depend a lot on God and prayer. Pray for them and with them.

2. It is wise to control our children when they are young, as we cannot control the choices adolescents and teens will make.

3. Take an active role in selecting their peer group in their early years of school, choosing children who have parents with similar values. This avoids a lot of problems down the road.

4. Develop their character through deep-focused discussions, teaching important values and beliefs.

5. Provide them with a standard to help measure what is right and what is wrong.

6. Through communication, help them learn how to think and evaluate choices for themselves.

7. Model what you are teaching and what you believe.

8. Be interested in them and what they’re doing.

9. Look for character-building opportunities.

10. Don’t over-control, but confront them on accepting responsibility for their choices and actions.

11. Take children to church and Sunday/Sabbath school when they are young so t…

How to Get Really M.A.D. to Make a Difference

By Dwight Bain

Are you facing an incredibly difficult time in your life right now? If so, know that you are not alone, even though it may feel like it. During the painful times of life it is easy to get mad at what is going on around you, and it is normal when you feel hurt to lash out in anger, literally to pass on the pain to others.

When we are hurting it is easy to hurt others, but it's also dangerous to be self-absorbed. An angry response spikes up the stress hormone cortisol in the body, which hurts our health in countless ways because of the stress response. Did you know that when you change your focus to do something positive, your brain releases endorphins to neutralize the stress, and bring healing and greater peace? Literally God designed our brains to make our body better when we get outside ourselves to help others. I was reading a devotional from "My Utmost for His Highest" by Oswald Chambers yesterday and saw this phrase. "Self-pity is satanic." …