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Vickie Parker (Personal Profile)
66 followers -
online Christian marriage therapy and counseling
online Christian marriage therapy and counseling

66 followers
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Do you know what makes you happy? Do you know what makes your spouse happy?

My husband and I attended a couples seminar yesterday, sponsored by our church. The speaker was a man named Mark Gungor.  The title of the seminar was "Laugh Your Way" to a Better Marriage and he was hilarious. My husband and I have been intentional about attending couple's seminars whenever we can, because it keeps our relationship fresh. It is like hitting the reset button in our marriage. It is a reminder to do the things we need to do, to make our marriage happy, and not do the things that make it unhappy.

Mark reminded us that if we are living a life that gives us purpose and meaning, we will be happy.  It is also important for us to know what makes our spouse happy. If we do not, we cannot be supportive of what their dreams are.  By knowing our spouse's dreams, it gives us insight on why they do the things they do.  It may not make sense to us, but it does to them.  I always say, "Knowledge is Power" and the more we know about our spouse, the more we understand what makes them happy.

Do you know what makes your spouse happy?

Mark Gungor, has a "Flag Page" on his web site, www.flagpage.com, that allows you to see what you are good at and what words you need to hear from your spouse that will make you happy. There are 56 positive traits that you can choose from, that most describe who you are. It was fun to do and it was accurate on describing me.

If you would like to check out Mark Gungor's Flag Page and discover what makes you happy in your life and also your spouse's, go to www.flagpage.com.  It will be a lot of fun. Do it together.

Vickie Parker, LMFT

Vickiemft.com

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Do you know what makes you happy? Do you know what makes your spouse happy?

My husband and I attended a couples seminar yesterday, sponsored by our church. The speaker was a man named Mark Gungor.  The title of the seminar was "Laugh Your Way" to a Better Marriage and he was hilarious. My husband and I have been intentional about attending couple's seminars whenever we can, because it keeps our relationship fresh. It is like hitting the reset button in our marriage. It is a reminder to do the things we need to do, to make our marriage happy, and not do the things that make it unhappy.

Mark reminded us that if we are living a life that gives us purpose and meaning, we will be happy.  It is also important for us to know what makes our spouse happy. If we do not, we cannot be supportive of what their dreams are.  By knowing our spouse's dreams, it gives us insight on why they do the things they do.  It may not make sense to us, but it does to them.  I always say, "Knowledge is Power" and the more we know about our spouse, the more we understand what makes them happy.

Do you know what makes your spouse happy?

Mark Gungor, has a "Flag Page" on his web site, www.flagpage.com, that allows you to see what you are good at and what words you need to hear from your spouse that will make you happy. There are 56 positive traits that you can choose from, that most describe who you are. It was fun to do and it was accurate on describing me.

If you would like to check out Mark Gungor's Flag Page and discover what makes you happy in your life and also your spouse's, go to www.flagpage.com.  It will be a lot of fun. Do it together.

Vickie Parker, LMFT

Vickiemft.com

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Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely!
StopWatching.us is a coalition of more than 100 public advocacy organizations and companies from across the political spectrum. Join the movement at https://rally.stopwatching.us.

This video harnesses the voices of celebrities, activists, legal experts, and other prominent figures in speaking out against mass surveillance by the NSA. Please share widely to help us spread the message that we will not stand for the dragnet surveillance of our communications. 

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Got interviewed on KRCR last night.

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Anxiety, Why is it so Bad for Us?

Anxiety is prevalent in our society and we see its' affects everywhere, in our relationships with our spouse, our children, our job and the way we live our life in general.  Anxiety is a mood. When it becomes a mental disorder, that is, characterized by excessive, uncontrollable and often irrational worry about everyday things that is disproportionate to the actual source of worry, it is diagnosed as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

Mark Twain said it this way, "I've had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened".

Anxiety effects our health because when we are in a state of anxiety, it puts our body in stress and we have a fight or flight response to an event or thought, (a stimulus). When that happens it releases adrenaline into our system and we experience an increase in blood pressure and heart rate.  The fight or flight response was originally meant to help protect us from real and imminent danger.  We had to decide immediately whether to stay and fight or run to get away from the danger.  It never was meant for long periods of time, like in the case of anxiety.

Treatment for anxiety disorder is learning to be aware of our thoughts and taking responsibility for what we are thinking.  Don't let our thoughts run wild.  Be aware of irrational fears and the need to control the outcome of everything. The truth is, the only thing we can control is ourselves and that is a full-time job. Everything else is a variable.

Breathing exercises are helpful in lowering anxiety levels.  Take deep breaths and say to yourself, "Relax" as you exhale.  Concentrate on relaxing your whole body and practice it at least three times a day for 10 minutes.

Also, there is a great book named Feeling Good, by David Burns that helps with learning how to manage your destructive thoughts and change them to think more positively.

We all worry about things at some time in our life, but if it is effecting our quality of life and we have no joy or peace, then be proactive and get some help.  Life is too short to live in a state of anxiety all the time.

 Vickie Parker, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

To read more of my blogs or schedule an online counseling appointment, visit my web site @ vickiemft.com
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Last summer my daughter-in-law, Sarah, and I did a sprint triathlon.  It was a lot of fun and I worked hard training.  I already ran and biked, but had not swan competitively, so I had to train for that. We talked about doing it together again next year and I decided I would.  It gives me something to work toward and keeps me motivated to always try just a little bit harder when I exercise.  I came in forth in my age group in the event and my goal is to come in first next year.  That means cutting 4 minutes off my time.  Hopefully my bike chain won't come off next year.

The event is exhilarating, and the journey in preparing is so rewarding.  It also gives my daughter-in-law and I something to do together, besides shopping, which we love to do. Already we are building memories.  Because the event fills up so quickly we felt we needed to sign up as soon as registration opened, which was midnight.  We both got up and registered and unknown to each of us until 6:00 in the morning, we could not go back to sleep.  It was a long day and we had to laugh because registration is still open two days later.  Like she said, "We will not be doing that again."

I heard a psychiatrist say that one of the things that creates happiness for us is having something to look forward to. I believe that is true.  Another thing my husband and I are going to do this summer is take our grand kids camping.  We have 11 grand children so getting them all there at the same time may be a challenge, but we will do our best.  They range from 5 years old to twenty-two years old.  Our oldest just got married so we gained another grandson.  Already I am planning on what we can do with them that they will enjoy.  I know we will be swimming, but setting around the campfire at night eating s'mores is the best.  I love to hear the chatter and laughing over just silly things.

Staying connected to my family keeps life meaningful and grounded. I cannot imagine life without them.  Building memories is important and nothing can take that away from me.

If life is boring for you, then I suggest planning something fun with someone you love.  You will be surprised how much better you will feel, just thinking about it.

To read more of my blogs go to my web site @vickiemft.com

Vickie Parker, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

vickiemft.com  Online Counseling
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                                  Entitlement Mentality In Relationships

My pastor told a story that has stuck with me about what "Entitlement Mentality" looks like.

One day the doorbell rang and a women answered the door. It was a man who handed her ten, one hundred-dollar bills. He said, "This is for you, a gift with no strings attached." She couldn't believe it. He turned and walked away. She was so excited. The next day, the same thing happened. This was too good to be true. Again the next day the same thing. She started watching for the man to arrive and he was faithful in coming everyday. Then one day she saw the man coming up the street, but he went past her house and went to the neighbors. She was furious. "What is he doing giving "my" money to the neighbors, who does he think he is?

What started out as a gift, becomes something we feel is ours, even though we have done nothing to deserve it.

How many times have we done that? I know I have, especially in relationships. We fall in love, get married and this wonderful woman or man can do no wrong. We feel blessed to have this person in our lives. Then as time goes on, we realize this person isn't as great as we thought they were. They don't make us feel good all the time and what happened to all the good sex and romance? We start taking them for granted and start feeling like we are entitled to more. It becomes all about us, not about giving back and appreciating them for who they are.

When we start focusing on our own unmet needs and not the needs of our spouse we are falling into the trap of entitlement mentality thinking. Relationships take work on both sides, but as soon as we start expecting them to meet our needs, there is a switch from feeling grateful to feeling entitled. Everyday is a gift and every breath we take is a gift. Being grateful and refusing to take ownership of things that are not really ours, in the first place, can make our lives a lot more simple and enjoyable. When we can get to the place where we believe that everything we have is from God and we really have no rights to anything, then we can be grateful for even the little things. When we lose something, we know it was never ours in the first place.
How we react to our world is about who we are inside, not about the world.

To read more of my blogs, visit my web site @ vickiemft.com

Vickie Parker, LMFT

Online Counseling
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                                   Coping with Aging Parents

This week my dad turned 87 and my mom turned 82. They are still self sufficient, but they like my husband and I checking on them often. Last year they had to sell their home, of 30 years, out in the country, because they no longer could take care of it. They moved down the street from us so they could be close, in case they needed us and many times they have.

They have adjusted well to living in town, but there is so much they cannot do anymore, like change a light bulb because they cannot balance themselves on a chair or ladder. The world has changed so much in their life time and they are out of touch with technology and have no desire to learn anything about it.  The only way they stay in touch with their grand kids is by phone, which is difficult since they can't hear very will. I feel sad because they are so disconnected from the world.  When we get together as a family, they miss a lot of what is said because of their hearing loss.  A lot of their friends have passed on and I know that must be hard for them. My dad repeats himself a lot and my mother gets frustrated with him sometimes and he with her. It is hard to see them struggle with the frustrations of getting older.

 I often wonder what it will be like for me as I get older. I am trying to learn from what I have seen in their life and hopefully avoid some of the things I see them going through. I am trying to embrace change instead of resist it. It is hard to keep up with the technology and sometimes I wish the world would stop and let me off, but I know that is not going to happen. I do not want to be left behind and I want to stay connected to my grand kids as much as I can.

There is no doubt that the world has changed dramatically in the last 25 years and I cannot imagine what it will look like in another 25 years. I will be 88 years old then and God only knows what my life will be like. My goal is to still be engaged in life and growing, embracing change.

For now, I am trying to be a good daughter and accept my parents for where they are. I cannot change their life and the frustration they are experiencing getting older, but I can be there for them so they know they are not alone.

To read more of my blogs or schedule an online counseling appointment, visit my web site at http://www.vickiemft.com. or visit me on Twitter.

Vickie Parker, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist 
Online counseling @ vickiemft.com
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Do You Clip Other People's Cocoons?

In "Streams in the Desert " by Mrs. Chas. S. Cowman there is a story about a boy who finds a cocoon just before it metamorphosis into a butterfly.  The boy brings it into the house and a few days later, sure enough, it started moving.  He watched it with curiosity as it started its journey emerging from a cocoon to a butterfly. The first wing appeared after a long struggle and it was beautiful.  The boy watched intently as he waited for the other wing to appear.  He felt helpless as he saw the butterfly struggling to free the other wing.  Finally the boy became inpatient and decided that bringing the cocoon into the house had somehow dried it where the butterfly could not free its other wing, so he took a pair of scissors and took a very small clip off the top of the cocoon.  When he clipped the cocoon the other wing very quickly emerged, but when it did it was still wet and all shriveled up. The butterfly drug the wing around for a few hours and then died. It never was able to fly.

 
The story was to point out that we do the same thing to people that we see struggling.  We want to make it easier for them, when in fact the struggle is what helps them grow and mature and become more beautiful as a person. God equipped us to struggle and with the struggle comes self-confidence and strength to overcome adversity so we can live a fuller more productive life.  Parents often will clip their children's cocoon's when they don't allow them to struggle to overcome obstacles in their lives. The problem is, the world is a hard place and if our children do not learn how to struggle at home and overcome adversity, where they have a soft place to fall, how are they going to survive in the world when they leave home. Parenting  with Love and Logic  allows kids to learn how to make good choices.  When they don't,  they struggle by paying the consequences, which helps them grow and mature.  That is the way real life is, and one of our responsibilities, as parents, is to prepare our kids for the real world

 
If we find ourselves taking on other people's stuff we are probably trying to clip their cocoon.  It is important to respect people's boundaries and it is not our job to go around trying to rescue them.  If we are uncomfortable with seeing people struggle, it is probably because we do not understand the value of struggling.  When I recognized this destructive behavior in myself, I had to work hard on correcting it.  It was not easy, but has helped me look at people differently and realize people are stronger than I have given them credit for. I can come along side of someone and have empathy without trying to rescue them.  It has also given me a new perspective on my own struggles and knowing that in the struggle growth and maturity occur if I stay the course and do the work.

 
Next time you see someone struggling, remember it is not a bad thing. Give yourself permission to come along side and support and encourage without rescuing.  It will give you a newfound freedom to accept people right where they are and watch them grow and mature through the struggle.

Please check out my blog for more relationship tips or, for online counseling, contact me through my website:  http://vickiemft.com.

 Vickie Parker, LMFT
Online Counseling
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