Game Night

Game Night

Do any of you watch games shows on TV? I swear, it doesn’t matter what I’m doing, but if I’m flipping channels and Wheel of Fortune is on, I have to stop and watch for a few minutes.  I have no idea why, but that show always hooks me in.

And honestly, there’s nothing better than a good Family Feud montage.  You know…where they put together all the outrageous clips of what family members have shouted out under pressure.  I find them absolutely hysterical.

Needing to Be Right Leaves Us Nowhere But Alone

Needing to Be Right Leaves Us Nowhere But Alone

I’d say the most common things couples call and ask for support around is communication.  Yes, intimacy and healing trust are close seconds, but the initial call is usually around communication.

And communication in and of itself is a tricky thing.  Because honestly, most communication is really up to interpretation…or perspective.  Unfortunately you aren’t built to be an accurate self observer and often times you leave a situation believing you were entirely right, when in fact your perspective has left you blinded to what really just went down.

I Hope You Know.

I Hope You Know.

I was sitting with a friend at lunch the other day, with a perfect view of the walking path and park.  A sweet little toddler and her dad were walking and for whatever reason she started getting frustrated (we all know how toddlers are) and the dad got on his knee, slowed down and started to calm whatever frustration baby girl was struggling with. My friend turned to me and quietly said, “I hope he knows how important he is to her…he’s her whole world.”

Her words took my breath away, because it’s so true. 

And so today, in honor of Father’s Day this month. I want to remind all of the fathers, uncles, grandpas, and best friends….You SO make a difference.  And I HOPE you know how important you are.  You see we model relationships after what we see. NOT what we hear, NOT what we believe, but what we SEE.  And the most important relationships we SEE are those that are right in front of us. 

I know you’ve all heard me say this before, but I believe that you can model very healthy relationships to your children, even if you’re divorced or separated. The determining factor is how You show up. Are you respectful? Are you kind? Do you think two steps ahead of how your words/actions/behaviors potentially injuring others? 

Your ability to positively impact your children is not determined by whether or not you stay married. It’s determined by how you treat each other.

And the role model of a father is hugely important. I know that many men see their primary job as provider. And I’m not here to argue or dispute that. The intention of this blog post is to inspire those fathers that discount the important role they play in their children’s lives or think their presence is best served by sitting on the sidelines. 

My encouragement to you is to get in the game.

You are a vital part of your children’s lives and every moment that you’re there, championing them, supporting their mom, building up their self-esteem, encouraging their successes and unconditionally loving on them as they fail has a tremendous ripple effect on their future relationships.

No matter how small the moment is, take it.  No matter how silly it may seem, slow down.  No matter how worried, stressed or scared you are, know that you have the ability to reassure the little ones in your life.

And no matter what, I hope you know how important you are. 

Happy Father’s Day from one really appreciative mom.

Yours,

A

Saying "I'm Sorry" vs. Asking for Forgiveness

Saying "I'm Sorry" vs. Asking for Forgiveness

I had the most amazing/eye opening conversation the other day and I simply had to share it.  It was this thought provoking discussion on the difference between saying “I’m sorry” versus asking for forgiveness.

As many of you know, I’ve worked hard to become a better apologizer in my own marriage.  As a middle child, I have some stubborn characteristics and admitting when I’m wrong is probably one of the places I’ve pushed myself to grow and change the most.  Because it’s honestly the place I’ve struggled the most.

Trying Doesn't Guarantee Success

Trying Doesn't Guarantee Success

I hate making mistakes.  I know that’s an odd way to start a blog post, but it’s the truth.  I don’t like making mistakes and I really don’t like letting others down.

But as a wife, mom and business owner I’ve learned that I do let people down.  It’s not intentional. I’m not trying to disappoint or drop the ball.  And yet it still causes hurt.  

I’m (still) working to accept that I’ll continue to let others down, especially those that matter the most.  Because at the end of the day, I’m only human.  And being human means that I can only do so much, be so much and try so much.

My Biggest Pet Peeve

My Biggest Pet Peeve

I love learning about people’s pet peeves. I know that sounds odd, but I feel like learning about people’s pet peeves is super interesting but also helps me feel like I know them better. So depending on how well we know each other, there is a chance that I’ve asked you this question.

And to be fair, I’ll share one of mine with you.

I CAN NOT stand it when someone doesn’t try because they don’t believe that a little bit can make a huge difference.

I don’t know how I developed this pet peeve, but I have some ideas.  

Circumstantial Evidence

Circumstantial Evidence

Are any of you into the crime shows?  I feel like I was so into them at a point that I started spouting off legal info without even knowing it.  One of my favorite terms was circumstantial evidence. You know, using conclusions connected together to create fact. There always seems to be great debate in crime shows about whether or not to use the circumstantial evidence to make an arrest, go to trial, look for a conviction, etc.

And although those shows are about courtroom dramas, we have a way of bringing that same chaos into our living rooms and our relationships.

Don't Make It Worse!

Don't Make It Worse!

I love my kids to bits, but some days they are lunatics (remember I say this with love).  We’re deep in the parenting phase of “helping” them to become productive members of society.  Seriously this is what it feels like! 

One thing that seems to be rearing it’s ugly head is this phase of “not starting the issue, but equally contributing to making it worse”.  Any of you out there with kids older than mine, please don’t message me and tell me this phase never goes away (only kidding). 

Acceptance Is Harder Than We Think

Acceptance Is Harder Than We Think

Do you remember the trend a number of years ago that was focused on “tolerance”?  I don’t know about you, but that campaign always drove me a bit crazy because honestly, the word “tolerance” kind of drives me a bit crazy.  It feels like one of those words that is cloaked with disdain when you say it.

I guess my biggest issue with the word, “tolerance” is that it feels like a half assed way to accept someone.  We know that in love, our greatest need is to be unconditionally accepted by our mate.  Yes this can be a lot harder to do than you realize. Often times you end up “tolerating” aspects of your partner rather than accepting all of who they are…unconditionally.

Working Towards Understanding

Working Towards Understanding

Over the years of being a couple’s therapist, I’ve come to realize that I’ve chosen a very interesting line of work.  I feel blessed to have a job that I truly enjoy and humbled to have folks trust me enough to let me into the most intimate space of their life…their relationship.

One pattern that I see come up over and over again in the counseling room is this idea of agreement.  It’s amazing to me how stuck folks can get trying to find a place of agreement.  Simply put, love isn’t one of the places that we should be seeking agreement.

Fighting For Each Other or Fighting Each Other?

Fighting For Each Other or Fighting Each Other?

We’re in our intimate relationship for a reason.  Hopefully reasons.  And despite all the amazing reasons.…sometimes we need to take a step back to be sure we’re really fighting for each other and not accidentally fighting each other.

I believe in love, both personally and professionally, and sincerely believe that there are SO many reasons we should fight to make our relationships work.  (Side note: I also think that there are some reasons not to fight to make relationships work…but I digress).

What Motivates You In Love?

What Motivates You In Love?

I was listening to sports radio during my drive in the other day and the discussion was on maintaining motivation.  I am truly fascinated by sports (some would say fanatical) because the idea of someone dedicating their whole lives to perfecting a talent is amazing to me.  It takes a special kind of person to sacrifice the way athletes do. Yes, there are big pay offs, but there are also tremendous sacrifices made along the way.  And in order to justify the sacrifices, you not only need dedication to your craft, but you also need an ability to stay intensely motivated.

 Or you’ll simply fall flat.

I Need You To See Me

I Need You To See Me

My toddlers are quickly becoming kids and will be starting Kindergarten this Fall. It’s truly hard for me to believe that they’ve grown so quickly and to realize the little people that they’re becoming in the world.

Their independence is fierce and their desire to figure things out on their own is becoming more and more hardwired.  I often find myself sitting on the sidelines, waiting for them to ask for help versus jumping in and doing like I did in those early years.

The Gap Between Our Ideal Marriage And Our Actual Marriage.

The Gap Between Our Ideal Marriage And Our Actual Marriage.

Social media is a phenomenon that I find endlessly fascinating.  It’s amazing the “version” of your friend’s relationship you can buy into if you’re only going off their Instagram pics.  It can create this growing pressure to put out your own polished version of love and while also rattling your confidence in your real relationship.

 

You see, when you look around, people are usually sharing examples of ideal relationships, not what they really look like behind closed doors. Whether it’s social media, movies or your own internal expectations, there can often be a gap between your ideal marriage and your actual one.

Peak to Peak Principle

Peak to Peak Principle

Picture yourself standing on one peak and being able to easily see the other peak in the distance. Now begin making your way from one peak to the other.  As you dip into the valley, you begin to lose sight of the peak you’re heading towards.  As you descend, the fog thickens, the trees become taller and denser. You try your best, but despite all you’re looking up, you can hardly see the peak you’re walking to any longer.  You begin to feel defeated and slow your pace, wondering if you’re even going the right direction.  You begin to doubt yourself and even wander off course.  Eventually you decide to just sit and wait for the rescue party, because it’s not worth trying on your own.  You’ve completely lost perspective of where you needed to be headed.

 

Are You Making Decisions Based On Your Past Or Present?

Are You Making Decisions Based On Your Past Or Present?

I’ve been diving into all sorts of different learning these past few months and challenging myself to learn from other helpers and healers, not just other therapists.  In order to be the most dynamic helper to the folks I work with, I feel it’s my role to also challenge myself to hear other voices and perspectives, especially when it comes to all things love.

 

I was watching a webinar by a woman who does energy healing through flower essences…(told you I was expanding my learning)….and she was sharing about this continual pattern we get stuck in of making decisions based on the past, not the present. 

What If We’re Just Broken Together?

What If We’re Just Broken Together?

There’s this beautiful song by Casting Crowns, Broken Together, that I can’t stop listening to.  There’s so many messages in the song, but the one I can’t shake is this beautiful message of being able to last forever because we’re broken together.

 

Holy powerful song folks (I linked it at the bottom).

 

I believe that we live in a culture that glorifies wholeness to a fault.  It leads you to believe that the only way things last, is if they’re perfect.  That damage, pain, betrayal, injury are things that you can’t ever heal in love. 

 

Are You Free Of Clutter In Love?

Are You Free Of Clutter In Love?

Spring is in the air and it’s that fun time of year when I start to go through closets and drawers to create some extra breathing room. I’m a big believer in getting rid of the old in order to allow space for the new to come into your life.  And with my home and office being “lightened” of stuff, it makes me think about all of the areas of life we hang onto things.  Can we be cluttered in love?

If Something Is No Longer Serving You In Love......Why Do You Keep Doing It?

If Something Is No Longer Serving You In Love......Why Do You Keep Doing It?

Love is a crazy thing. I’ve been doing this work for over a decade and I’m still fascinated, intrigued and inspired by it.  At times love can feel so simple and clear while the next it feels confusing and scary.  Love pushes us to be honest, to be vulnerable, to be intimate, to forgive and to self-reflect.  And friends, that’s not always the easiest thing.

 

One of the more intriguing things in love is this habit you get into of continuing a pattern or behavior, long after it’s served it’s purpose.  Couples share with me all the time in my Sacramento therapy office about so desperately wanting things to be different, to change, to grow, but are so unsure or defeated of how to get it to change.

Does Anger Make You Dependent On Others?

Does Anger Make You Dependent On Others?

Anger is truly a dynamic feeling. It’s one of those feelings that you’re regularly denying exists, stuffing it down til it boils over or struggling to let go.

 

What’s so fascinating about anger is the longer you hold onto it, the more dependent you become on the other person, and not in a good way.

 

Let me expand on this for a second.