By |November 23rd, 2015|

As we approach the holiday season, it is easy to get bogged down with the stress of shopping, attending holiday parties, and meeting the expectations of family and friends.  We can easily become hurried, frazzled and down right agitated by what we perceive as the pressure of the holidays.  If we are not careful, the holidays turn into a holidaze!  However, with a few guiding principles, you can lower your holiday stress this season.

1) Set realistic expectations for yourself.  Perfectionism is especially rampant during the holidays as many us try to create the “ideal” for every aspect of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years.  However, if you start off with healthy expectations, you can really reduce your stress.   Pick three things this season that are really important to you and focus on making only those things excellent, not perfect.   Let go of the rest!

2) Let yourself say no!   Many of us are guilty of saying yes to everything and everyone because we want to keep everyone happy.  The trouble is when you say yes to everything you end up exhausted and burnt out.  Instead of everyone being happy, you and those around are disappointed because it is impossible to keep everyone happy!  This holiday season, practice saying no out of love for yourself and others.  Ask yourself these questions to help you know what to say no to:  1) Am I saying yes out of guilt to make another person happy?  If the answer is yes, change it to no!  2) Is this event/thing a priority for me or a close loved one? If it is not a priority, say no! 3) Will saying yes deplete or increase my energy and ability to love God, myself […]

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You will reap what you sow

By |November 10th, 2015|

“You will reap what you sow. “ This is a powerful concept that is woven throughout scripture.  I think for many of us, we don’t understand the real power of this concept.

It is easy for us to hear this concept and apply it to what we believe are other people’s bad actions.  “They will reap what they sow,” we say in judgment.  But often times, we fail to apply this concept to ourselves. When you really, understand this concept, you see that it doesn’t just apply to the “bad things” that others do.   It tells us that there is cause and effect in our lives and our relationships, which can be positive or negative.

What about applying this concept to your side of your relationships? Do you recognize that what you sow, through your words, actions, body language, and even your thoughts, yields a result in your relationships?  Today, I want to challenge you to examine your relationships.   What kind of yield are you getting?  Do you sow words of love and encouragement into your relationship with your spouse?  What about your children?  Your friends, coworkers, and even your enemies?

If you notice that your relationships aren’t going the way you want, it may be time to examine your part.   You can create an environment for good or an environment for bad.   Try today to choose your words wisely, smile frequently and think about the positive qualities of those around you.  You will likely find that you begin to reap better relationships!

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Look in the Mirror

By |October 27th, 2015|

Many people spend their life looking out the window. They peer through the curtain, focused on the outside. What’s outside their heart, their mind, and their thoughts. These people focus on problems and look to blame others for their struggles. They think things like: “I didn’t get the promotion because my boss is mean;” “I can’t go to church because there are too many hypocrites there;” or “My neighbors are always making too much noise, that’s why I never get a good nights sleep. “ All these thoughts are externally focused and lead to emotions like anger, anxiety and feeling out of control.

The truth is people who are always looking out the window can’t ever be truly happy, because they have given away all their power. They stare out the window, paralyzed, fixating on all that is wrong with everyone and every situation in their life. Change and happiness are possible, but they require a different point of view. Instead of looking out the window, we need to look in the mirror. When we are struggling with anger, anxiety and feeling out of control, usually it is because we need to deal with ourselves. We need to peer into own heart, mind and thoughts and pay attention. The real power to change, lies within dealing with yourself. If you are tired of feeling stuck, try looking in the mirror today. You may find the answers, you have been looking for. It might be painful at first, but spending time understanding your emotions and dealing with your own thoughts and motives will eventually lead to feeling better. One of the best ways we can “look in the mirror” is by walking with a counselor or coach. […]

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All We Have is Time

By |May 27th, 2013|

Time has always fascinated me. No human can live free of its clutches. Time is constant and rapid. Our life is but a minute dot on its expanse. God, existing outside of time, gives us time, not for us to serve it, but for it to serve us. King Solomon exclaimed, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end” – (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

Time matters. Since we are only on Earth for a speck of the timeline, let’s manage our time wisely and make our minutes count. Here are three considerations to motivate you in managing your time:

We all have heard this from those who have lived life longer than we have, but we ignore it until we wake up one day and realize how much time we’ve lost. The second hand is ticking as you read this. God gives us time to steward. This line from a Psalm depicts this truth so eloquently:

“A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night” – (Psalm 90:4).

We need to realize every hour, minute, and second is precious. Because my life on Earth is finite, I put more thought now into my time with people and what I do during the day. I give time with God my first priority. Like the Psalmist continues to passionately express, our time on earth is short; be wise and realize…

“Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, […]

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Meet you where you are

By |May 8th, 2013|

We Show up

What is it that makes a difference for people who are struggling? Is it what we say? Is it what we do? We naturally want to do something about a situation when people share their circumstances – offer a solution, suggest a course of action. But one of the most valuable things we can do is simply to show up!

By spending time with others, we eliminate their aloneness. Some of the most lonely people I know are in a room full of people. They often feel alone in their circumstances and their challenges. We let clients know by our presence that they do not have to deal with anything by themselves.

Hear their story

What we hear for the first time as you begin to share your story, may very well be the first time you have heard it out loud as well. We are providing not only a relationship, but a place you can vocalize what you are experiencing in your life. The exercise of putting your story into words can be extremely helpful in itself.

There is no judgment. No condemnation. Just listening and reflecting. For these moments, your are the priority. Someone listening to you like you are the most important person on the planet. You may tell more than you want to. And all of us will be the better for having heard it.

Matthew LaGrange

“Don’t underestimate the value of doing nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.”-Winnie the Pooh

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Spring Cleaning

By |May 6th, 2013|

We all have a closet or drawer in our house where we store our junk. For some of us this is a small drawer to throw extra pens or loose change. Others, like myself, have a whole junk closet filled with old books, games that are no longer played, clothes that don’t fit, parts to household electronics that we can’t find, and the list goes on.

This year, as I started my Spring Cleaning, I began with my junk closet and found many of the above-mentioned items. Some of the items were painful to see, reminding me of how things used to be. Other items, brought both joy and sadness, like the pair of vintage blue dress shoes that belonged to the grandmother I lost several years ago.

All this cleaning got me thinking about how our hearts and minds get cluttered. Much like the closet full of junk in the hall, we all have memories and feelings we have stuffed away in the recesses of our minds. Thoughts we hope will just go away. Feelings that resurface over and over, that we try to avoid. Thinking that if we pull them out it will cause too much pain. We hope instead we can just close the door and forget. The trouble with this is that just like the junk piles up in the closet our feelings have a way of sticking around and getting in the way until we deal with them. Hurts turn into anger, anger turns to bitterness, bitterness leads to hurtful actions which bring guilt and then shame. So what is the trouble with this? With all the emotional junk piled up we don’t have room for the good. It is important that […]

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A History Lesson

By |May 6th, 2013|

I want to ask you a question. What is history? I have asked this questions so many times in class, and the answers have always fascinated me.

“It’s the story about what happened before.”
“It’s the past.”
“It’s what we read in books and we hear from teachers.”
“It’s what we are told about what went on a long time ago.”
“It’s what happened through the eyes of the winners.”

What would happen if we thought about history a little differently? What if, instead, we looked at history as His story? Think about that. History as we normally think of it exists only in the past. His story includes the past, the present, and the future. God’s story began before the creation of the world, it is being written now in the present, and many chapters will be penned in the future.

What’s more, we are a part of His story. We rarely think of ourselves as being part of history, yet we are certainly part of His story. And not just some footnote or stuffed into the appendix. We have our own chapter in His story.
It’s critical that we understand our story in light of His story. Understanding how God has written His story into yours, in all the ways that happens, enable you to be more intentional about sharing His story with others.

We help you discover your story at His Story Coaching and Counseling. We exist to be a place where your story is heard, and His story is revealed!

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