Freedom


I just finished reading “Grace Intervention” by Bill Giovannetti.  I recommend it to anyone that is struggling with a relationship with God and believing His love for us is unconditional. He loved us so much that He went to “Calvary” to purchase us. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13 NIV. God’s grace is incredible and I still struggle believing it, but  ‘Grace Intervention ‘ made it more clear to me. I was raised in a legalistic environment, where I thought God had all these rules I had to follow and if I did not, he would reject me. I could never measure up and it sucked the life and joy out of me. My relationship with God was based on fear, not love. Now I know different.  I have been set free from the bondage of performance, because God is not interested in my performance.  He loves me because of who I am, not for what I do. I cannot earn God’s love.  It is not connected to my performance.  It is a gift of unconditional love. God desires a relationship with us. He wants us to know Him as He knows us. If you have read any of my previous blogs, you know I lost my brother from pancreatic cancer in July. He had a relationship with God and it was demonstrated by the way he died. He never questioned his suffering and dying.  He knew where he was going and that gave him peace. That is what believing and accepting God’s love and grace can do. I want to live this year with a better understanding of who God is and follow Him from gratitude for what He did for me and the price He paid on Calvary to purchase me. He desires to give me life in abundance if I will embrace his love and grace. I hope you will join me in this journey of knowing God more fully. Read “Grace Intervention” to get started. I look forward to hearing from you. Vickie Parker, LMFT vickiemft.com, Online...

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Have you ever driven to work and when you arrived you realized you were not even aware of the drive? Your mind had been somewhere else the whole time. You were operating on pilot control. We have different areas of our brain and when we are living on pilot control we are not living in the present.  It takes practice to live in the present. The prefrontal part of our brain has the function of placing us in control of our life and making conscious choices that give us more control of our life.  We still feel emotion, but we rise above the feelings and decide how we want to respond. Our brain is a muscle and if we do not use this part of our brain it does not develop. As we practice being present and being aware of ourselves and our environment it also helps us build better relationships with the people who are important to us, because we are more attentive. More and more research is being done on the brain and a big question is where does our brain stop and our mind begin or are they integrated?  If you have ever had an addiction you understand how complicated the process of the brain and mind is.  No matter how hard you try to stop doing the behavior, it feels like the addiction takes on a mind of its own and you cannot control what you do. It takes a lot of discipline and help from others to kick it. When we practice awareness and being present we are exercising what is called executive thinking. An article written by NCLD editorial group, “defines executive functioning as a set of mental processes that helps connect past experience with present action. People use it to perform activities such as planing, organizing, strategizing, paying attention to and remembering details, and managing time and space”. It develops in our teen years, if we are in a healthy, supportive, environment that encourages us to take responsibility for our thoughts and actions. Parents that are over protective and do not allow children to suffer the consequences of bad choices can delay executive functioning. Sadly there are many adults that have not developed their executive functioning and have not taken responsibility for their life and are dependent on society or parents to take care of them. Keeping a job and being a productive person in society is very difficult if not impossible to accomplish. Some of the ways you can practice being present and aware is through meditation, prayer, yoga, and other forms of relaxation and control.  If you have not tried it, it...

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We live in such a fast paced world and we get so wound up that we are unaware of our tenseness. Learning to relax through relaxation exercises can help get us centered back to emotional health and healing.  Being busy can may lead to stress and it can act as a deterrent  to getting in touch with what is going on inside of us.  If we stay busy we do not have to stop and listen to what is going on in our bodies and head.  If we do not know what is going on inside of us, we think we are not responsible for our inner turmoil.  We just continue on that road of insanity, which is continuing to do the same thing day after day expecting a different result. Relaxation exercises slow us down, but it takes work and consistency to get good at it.  It is like working out.  At first it is fun and we are excited about our goals, but as we progress it becomes harder and harder to remain disciplined to keep it up.  That is the way all new things are when we make a commitment to do something different. Relaxation exercises can help us sleep better, manage stress, reduce anxiety, process through our anger issues, get over our fears, and enjoy life more by learning to live in the present.  Want to jump into the conversation about #relaxationexercises, tweet your thoughts Tweet  Relaxation Exercise:  Here is a helpful list of my favorite relaxation exercises. The goal here is to practice. Go ahead, give them a try. If it is possible play some soft music that has no words. Lay down or get comfortable in a chair. Keep your legs uncrossed unless you are in a meditation position. Close your eyes and elevate them slightly. Begin by focusing on your muscles in your body Then focus on your toes by tensing them up and holding the tension for a few seconds and then slowly relax them. Relax them beyond what you would consider relaxing normally and concentrate on just letting go Then curl your toes down, tense them a few seconds and then relax and let go Continue this process by tensing each set of muscles and then relaxing them, starting with your calves and moving to your upper thighs, buttocks, abdominal, upper and lower arms and making fists with your hands, neck, jaw, tongue and cheeks, and last eyebrows by raising them up as high as you can. Then concentrate on any areas of your body that still may be tense and relax Next, focus in on your breathing and be...

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What Are You Thinking?

What Are You Thinking?


Posted By on Mar 3, 2014

It isn’t what happens to us that makes us feel a certain way, it is what we think about what happened that determines how we feel.  We all have a belief about things and we interpret everything that happens to us through our brief systems.  If we believe we are unworthy of love, then no matter how much someone loves us we will interpret their actions as unloving.  We will sabotage our relationships. If we want to change our beliefs about our world, then we have to challenge those beliefs and ask ourselves “Are the beliefs that we have rational or irrational beliefs”?  If we are depressed and do not want to take an antidepressant, because we do not want to take medications even if it helps us feel better, it is important to identify the real beliefs about taking the medication. If the belief is “We do not want a substance to control how we feel, because we will become dependent on it”, Is that a rational belief? Do we take vitamins?  If we are diabetic and need insulin, don’t we take that?  It all helps us feel better and live longer, hopefully. Why is taking an antidepressant different?  We are lacking something in our brain that is stopping us from thinking rationally and we feel bad. Antidepressants help balance the chemicals in our brain so we can see our world more objectively and realistically. It gives us hope that we can work through difficult things. Research shows that if we are depressed we do not live as long. Being depressed affects our health. So what is our real belief about taking the antidepressant?  Maybe it is because we do not believe we deserve to be happy or we do not want to give up control.  Something inside of our brain is telling us an irrational thought that we should not enjoy life.  Antidepressants alone do not help us feel less depressed.  It is important to examine our thoughts and change our beliefs about our true identity and give ourselves permission to be happy. As we change our core beliefs about ourselves and learn to love ourselves that will help us feel better. Being able to connect with others builds confidence and can help our depression, and sometimes we need help to think more clearly and give ourselves permission to reach out and trust people close to us. If our belief is that we do not deserve to be loved and be significant, then whenever we have those feelings we are going to feel guilty about being happy.  We will quickly sabotage anything good that is happening to...

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Going for “The Super Bowl”

Going for “The Super Bowl”


Posted By on Jan 19, 2014

I am setting here with my husband watching the Sea Hawks and Forty-niners play football. We were in town today and it was not near as busy as usual and I am pretty sure many of them are at home or at friends watching the game. The Bronco’s won earlier so we know they are going to be playing whoever wins this game. We love football in our country and I think it unites us as a nation. It is incredible some of the plays that are made. The hours and hours of practice that it takes to perfect the plays is obvious. There isn’t a lot of room for error and most of the time they can make the play. That is the way our life is. It takes practice to get where we want to go. If we have a goal that we want to reach we have to make a plan and do the things we need to do consistently every daily to get there. It is not always easy, but the ones that accomplish their goals are the ones that are committed and continue even when they do not feel like it or get discouraged. The journey can be difficult and if we have someone who can come along side and keep us focused it is a lot easier. My husband and I are working on losing the pounds we put on over the holidays and it is really challenging. If we were not doing it together it would be a lot harder to follow through when we get hungry. The first week is usually the worst, because it is hard to see anything happening, but if we will stick with it, time will be kind and we will see the pounds come off slowly. That is the hard part, being patient because it takes time. No immediate gratification with dieting. The things in life that are worth having are the same way. Going to school and graduating, getting a job and making money is a long process. It gets pretty hard, but the ones that keep on trucking and doing what they need to do everyday will eventually make it. The players at the Super Bowl are going to be there, because they did what they needed to do. The ones that did not, got weeded out along the way. I think that is one reason we love to watch football. We have a lot of respect for the players because they have worked so hard to get there. Part of us would like to experience the high that comes with the win. The...

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It seems to be part of our human nature to compare ourselves with others. We tend to compare the best things we know about someone with the worst part of ourselves. No matter how good you strive to be, if you are comparing yourself to others as a measuring tool to evaluate your value, you will always find someone who appears to be better than you. It is a never-ending destructive cycle. I think it is a distraction, because we waste so much energy comparing ourselves with others that it allows us to think we can never measure up and so we stop working on ourselves. We are saying, I do not like who I am, I can never measure up, I am not good enough and the destructive self talk continues. We choose to compare ourselves with others so we do not have to take responsibility for who we are. I love the story in my “Streams in the Desert” on January 7th. A king went into his garden one morning, and found everything withered and dying. He asked the oak that stood near the gate what the trouble was. He found it was sick of life and determined to die because it was not tall and beautiful like the pine. The pine was all out of heart because it could not bear grapes, like the vine. The vine was going to throw its life away because it could not stand erect and have as fine fruit as the peach tree. The geranium was fretting because it was not tall and fragrant like the lilac; and so on all through the garden. Coming to a heart’s-ease, he found its bright face lifted as cheery as ever. “Well, heart’s-ease, I’m glad, amidst all this discouragement, to find one brave little flower. You do not seem to be the least dis-heartened.” “No, I am not of much account, but I thought that if you wanted an oak, or a pine, or a peach tree, or a lilac, you would have planted one; but as I knew you wanted a heart’s-ease, I am determined to be the best little heart’s-ease that I can.” “Others may do a greater work, But you have your part to do; And no one in all God’s heritage Can do it so well as you. If only we could see how no matter who we are, if God has put us here, we have a unique job to do. We have value not by what we do, but by who we are. There is so much peace in that. If we focus on who we are and...

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