On beginning counseling

Midway through February and you may still feel stuck, that the year still really hasn’t started for you.  If you’re on the fence about trying counseling to work through what you’re struggling with, I hope this post encourages you.

Reality is hard and exhausting but not telling the truth about it, to yourself and others, makes it harder and more exhausting.
Worrying about being found out, about people seeing you for who you really are and being disappointed is exhausting.
Truth is, that may hurt, to be rejected, to be a disappointment but from what I’ve seen it hurts more to be alone and unloved.
For people to just know and love you for your mask.
It’s like in the movies when someone turns the wrong way and they just miss out on bumping into their soul mate.
So close but so far, and the farness may as well be the world away.

Sometimes when you begin the work of counseling it is like digging a path down into your heart.
And one of its benefits is it opens you up for others to follow you down and meet you there.
(sometimes pain, trauma or grief serve the same purpose, by abruptly tearing into your life)
When a spouse does this work, there can be a real confusing shift in the relationship, a disconnect or lack of emotional intimacy.
Or it can point out an inequity of how much depth there is in the other.
To be fair to them, be patient and don’t lose hope.
They may not have realized that this is what they were committing to at the start.
Maybe you didn’t either.
It’s a skill we can all learn. A journey we can all begin.

The power of simple words and small beginnings

Happy New Year!

In the past few weeks you might have seen folks on social media posting about their word or theme for the year.  You can also see people writing about their resolutions and goals.  Do you have a word or goal for the year?  Here’s something I’m focusing on:

I got an early start and started writing a parenting book in December.  As of today I’ve written 24 days straight and I will write every day until I’m done.  The plan is to publish it later this year, likely in the Fall.

As I was writing this morning, I was musing about the why and how and what of writing. I’m writing to help parents, dads and mom, overcome insecurity and fear.  I’m writing about how what I’ve learned training, competing and coaching Mixed Martial Arts and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can help with relationships and life.  And I was struck by the question of writing enough, not just “Will it be good enough?” but “Will I say enough? Will it be long enough?”

Not only do I want to encourage parents, as presumptuous as it may sound, I want to write to change peoples’ lives.  I don’t want to shy away from that.  If I’m not writing something that could potentially change someone’s life than why bother.  I want my words to have that type of impact.

This week I started listening to Tim Grahl’s Book Launch podcast and in episode two he emphasizes that you have to believe in the book you are writing will help others.  As I’m writing, I know it will because it is helping me and what I’m writing has helped my counseling and coaching clients and patients for many years.

While writing I was listening to some worship music oo YouTube from the Passion Conference 2017 being held this week. I realized that in songs, the number of words isn’t what makes them powerful.  Complex and artful prose may be impressive but simplicity can be significant and even more helpful. I listened to 4-6 word phrases that shifted my heart and mind and I thought of other songs in my life that have changed my trajectory or kept me on track and it made me realize the number of words and pages my book isn’t the most important target to shoot for.

There is power in simple words and small beginnings.

I’ll go with you.

I’m sorry.

I have a dream.

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound.

I’m proud of you.

You’re hired.

It’s not the critic that counts…

I will…

You don’t have to be perfect.


You can do it.

I need help.  

Thank you.

You are not your past.

I forgive you.

I’m not there, yet.

God, grant me the serenity…

Welcome home.

I’ll listen.

I can’t…but I can…

Let’s start over.

I miss you. 

I love you.

Small shifts in our thinking, in our communication, in our habits can undo patterns that have been in place for decades.  Living a different way, achieving a different outcome often doesn’t just mean changing our outward behavior – the most powerful changes often involved changing what we believe and how we see ourselves.  And if we are trying to make an impact in others’ lives, just the right words, at the right time – even if it’s just a handful – can make the difference. I hope in the stories and metaphor, illustrations and teaching, of my book many of those simple phrases above will sink into my readers in new and deeper ways.  And I hope in the meantime I will write blogs here that will encourage and support you this year.

Are you beginning something this year?  Are you starting over?

What’s something simple but powerfully true that you can tell or remind yourself of today?

What’s one small habit you could start that would make a big difference in your life?

Feeling Stuck and Self-Sabotage, A Video Blog


Last month I did a daily Facebook Live video challenge on a variety of my favorite topics.

This video from Day 2 was on getting unstuck and the power of the word WHY has to either keep us stuck or to motivate us to grow and change.

It explains the importance of answering our unanswered WHY’s.

It also explores why insight, introspection and over-thinking aren’t enough to grow.

I wrote a post that offers other questions that are more effective than why?

Calling All Prodigals


God doesn’t just have a heart for prodigal sons and daughters.
He waits for prodigal parents and spouses too.

You can be going a million miles an hour and feel like you’re not going anywhere.
You can be surrounded by family and feel alone, a million miles away.
You can have a place of your own and not feel at home.

The saying goes: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Sometimes that provided strength is simply the ability to stop and ask for help.
Or the strength to look around and realize how far you’ve drifted and turn towards home.

We are all sons and daughters and dearly loved.