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I will make this a regular part of my Bibliotherapy series because I think that it is pertinent information. Hoopla is a free app that you can download on a mobile device and perhaps on some computers, depending of what version you have of Window or Mac. I am familiar with using it on my phone because I always have it with me and can read or listen to books if I am on the go or waiting at one of the various appointments we have in our family. Hoopla connects to your local library and you can check books, movies as well as television series and other goodies for free. You have a set amount of time that you can read, listen or watch the items on your mobile device until they are returned. I think it is such a great option to not only utilize one’s local library, but to take advantage of what our mobile devices can do for us in a positive manner.
My first review is of Dirty God, a book that has the main purpose of driving home the whole idea of Grace. Mr. Moore seeks to explain grace, God’s grace, how to receive grace and how to extend grace. He does this in an easy flow format that can be followed buy traditional reading as well as via audio format. The reason why I chose to look into this book came about from a referral from a friend whose daughter read the book for her college class. I had been working with the addiction and homeless population for a little over half a year, and I had begun to learn the real meaning of grace. I was intrigued in the book for this very reason. I am a HUGE proponent of the idea of extending grace and learning to do this unconsciously. What do I mean by unconsciously? It means that you give kindness because it feels good and natural. You don’t judge people because of their once drug use or their homelessness, their unplanned teen pregnancy or incarceration. You look at people and see a human being without having to try.
So, why Dirty God for therapy? I would likely use this in an overt Christian counseling session, for someone who is struggling with giving or receiving grace. I think it is vital to educate individuals about grace from the ground up, an elementary education so to speak. If you get a chance to read the POV article from Pastor Steve VanderWest and myself, you’ll hear from a pastor’s mouth, how vital the truth of Grace should be to share. Depending on the individual, I would either suggest the whole book or a particular chapter (s). Grace is often an elusive entity for those who come into the counseling office because the fear of not having love or giving enough love. A fear of rejection often plagues individuals because of their mental health struggles and the knowledge as well as understanding of grace is a useful tool to healing.
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Humor is wonderful. I know that I thoroughly enjoy the feeling of a good laugh. I also enjoy intelligent humor that really makes you think then hits your gut with a punch line. I use humor daily to combat my own mental health issues, mainly depression and anxiety. I use humor when I mentor, when I counsel and well, basically any time I can get a good joke in. Our pastor is fantastic at adding a punch line to his sermons, which is most surely necessary for me to stay engaged. It’s like the song says in Mary Poppins, “I love to laugh” especially to the point where my cheeks hurt from smiling. Below are some ways that humor is vital to our mental health. I could not come up with this list on my own and have sources I used from research. As I have a Psychology background, I often site in APA, so please bear with me if that is what you see.
Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, Vol. 20, Nos. 3/4, Winter 2002 (2002) HUMOR AND ITS CONTRIBUTIONS TO MENTAL HEALTH. Bill Borcherdt Clinical Services of Winnebago County and Private Practice, Neenah, Wisconsin.
Schneider, M., & Voracek, M. (2018). A joke a day keeps the doctor away? Meta-analytical evidence of differential associations of habitual humor styles with mental health. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology.
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So, by this point, it's been decided by my husband and I that we are going to return home to our home state. For the duration of his fifteen-month deployment we were up in the air about the future of our lives. As the months draw near to my husband’s ETS date, we've decided that our goal is to get back up to the great state of Michigan, where we were both born and raised. There are a few bittersweet moments mixed in with making this decision. You come to grow and love the places you create as your home and the extended family that is created out of new friends. This home in Kansas is the first home of ours, and literally where our daughter was born. On top of that, I made a best friend in our neighbor just south of us, and I am going to miss her greatly. There are a bunch of small things that I'll miss, but for the most part, I am ready to go back home. To live in our home state together as man and wife will be kinda nice. As many military couples can attest, we were married in a court house, far from our family, and even though we knew each other for years and were from the same state, the military just didn't afford us the opportunity to have a home wedding. It was a “do where you are” kinda wedding if we wanted to be married and many military couples don’t want to wait for leave in order to get married. I have learned that no matter how far away you are from your "home" you can make a "home" anywhere with a little will and heart investment. My husband and children have become my home, and those I've met along the way have certainly made a home away from home for me. I've been blessed to experience the independence the military life can provide and the chance it also gives you to branch out and learn how to sometimes depend on new people.
Life Today: Always An Army Family
It has been 9 years since my husband’s ETS date. November 16, 2009 a date that I remember and will likely remember for years to come. Although my husband was in the Army before we became husband and wife, it has been a resounding part of our life that has shaped how we react with the rest of the world. It’s the knowledge that we are part of the 1% club that bonds us together, making us beam with pride. Our oldest daughter was born near post; her umbilical cord was cut with 5-50 parachute cord (as she was born unexpectedly on our bathroom floor), our 8 year marriage has only begun to truly flourish as we had spent nearly half that time away from each other (my husband went to school for 18 months after his ETS date), and our house is adorned with military objects, including the his folded re-enlistment flag and the Pledge of Allegiance. I am currently in school earning a master’s degree in Professional Counseling, so that I can work within the military community.
Honestly, I wish we were back in the life sometimes and I feel guilty because I did not dawn the uniform myself. However, I do not want to spend any more time away from my husband as we raise our four children and my husband finally gets to experience many things that he lost out on with our oldest two children. It has been fantastic to see him with our children, to know that he is here when it snows too much or the pipes freeze. Having my husband around to co-parent our children and to kiss every night before I go to bed makes me the happiest women alive. Yet, I have this feeling that we are now separated from the 1% club. I am striving to find a way to connect to a world that had such a profound impact on my life, to give back. I have even resorted to asking my husband if he was sure that he was done with the military life. Truthfully, I know that we are done with active duty, Reserves or even the National Guard and when I think of deployments, I am thankful to God that we decided to leave active duty. The interesting thing is, separating from the military is more than just a soldier’s experience (albeit very important), but a family’s experience as well, an Army wife’s experience. When I see a uniform out of the corner of my eye, I feel butterfly’s in my stomach. When I hear certain songs on the radio, I can become overwhelmed with tears because they remind me of a time when I had to say good-bye to the love of my life, the father of my children. Certain sites remind me of post, a grouping of houses that looks like they could be on a military installation. As I think about no longer being part of the “active” 1 % population, I am reminded that no matter how you look at it, we will always know what others do not know, what others have never felt, what others maybe do not have the courage to do. I am always an Army wife inside my heart. As a professional counselor, I work to utilize my Army wife mind and heart in a civilian world to inspire and heal.
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After thirteen years of marriage, I thought that it might finally be time to send something back to the past. Let’s face it, after over a decade of marriage, you start to forget the person your spouse was long ago. Sometimes you may forget that he or she is a person that is not physically attached to you. There are times when I look at pictures of my husband, when he was in Korea (Army) and I swoon. I know during this time my husband was far from the man that I have become to know. He was a young soldier, rough, dedicated to having a good time and unattached. It seems like so long ago that he was far from the doting father of three daughters and one son, but nonetheless, the man in the photo is the same person who came back to find me. He is the one who turns to look at me and suddenly I have tunnel vision. I take a mental prayer break and thank God that I have him. Our life has not always been like this and there are still many times that we simply co-exist next to each other. The reality behind the romantic love story can be boring sometimes and messy at other times.
What’s the point? I laugh as I write this, thinking about the boy my husband was long ago. I think about the other’s he has been with, his girl friends or one-night stands. I have even seen pictures of these ladies while my husband sorted through parts of his past, which had been stored away in boxes. These momentous were like pieces of the past that were suspended in time: photos, letters even articles of clothing. I can’t lie, I feel a tinge of jealousy when I think of them in some physical form. Then I think about how many times I get to kiss him when he walks in the door or the times, I get the eye wink from across the room. I use this as a component to keep our love alive as we raise four children and stumble through the different trials in our life. Below are a few tips to keep the love alive in your marriage.
The simple thought of my husband reminds me that the father of four has needs and desires of his own. These thoughts remind me that although we share the same spirit and often breath in synchronicity, his breath is still his own. It’s amazing how we forget that we are two different people with desires and needs. Sometimes these are not met, but that doesn’t mean that we cannot take steps to maintain love and desire in a marriage.
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