Archive | January, 2012

Life’s Simple Instructions

30 Jan

Be at Peace with God

 

Be at Peace with Yourself

 

Be at Peace with Others

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Imprisoned

22 Jan

Can you image being imprisoned for 18 years?

I can’t. I wouldn’t even want to be imprisoned for one hour.

But most of us are imprisoned and we don’t even know it or call it something else.

Say what? Yes, we are imprisoned by addictions, relationships, lack of education, lack of proper job skills, the past…I think you get the idea.

Let’s start with addictions. In my professional and personal opinion, addictions are under reported. For instance, “they” say that 3% of the Oklahoma population has a gambling addiction. Casinos are popping up everywhere in Oklahoma because casinos are legal on tribal lands. Why are casinos multiplying? It is not for the casual gambler, it is to feed the need of the gambling addict. And there are lots of them.

So how does an addict become imprisoned by gambling? The addict will spend most of their “time” gambling. Time, if he wasn’t imprisoned would be used on productive and meaningful activities. Money that is supposed to be saved or spent on family is gambled away. The average, everyday delights of this world are not enjoyed because the addict’s focus is on gambling and what it can provide. How does the addict free himself from this prison? By asking for help!

What about relationship imprisonment? I used to marvel at long-term marriages, you know the ones that lasted over 20 yrs. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am sure that there are some very healthy long-term marriages out there but highly doubt that many. In the last few decades, as you know, the divorce rate for first time marriages have held at about 50% and for remarriages that number jumps up to 80% that end in divorce. As gender roles have changed, individuals escaping their relationship prisons have increased and of course, cohabitation without marriage has skyrocketed. Individuals want to keep their get out of prison card handy.

So how do you know you are in a relationship prison? The first sign it that your individual rights are threatened. Who you can see, where you can go, what you can do? If you are in a healthy relationship, your partner should be able to trust you and support you in your chosen activities. The second sign is that life becomes very routine and boring. In a healthy relationship, each person should continue to pursue individual interests, look for couple activities and just not settle for the ordinary routine. The third sign that you may be in relationship prison, is that you lose hope. You lose hope in yourself and hope in the relationship. You think or say “this is just the way he or she is and nothing will change”. I am here to inform you, we all can change and keep changing, that is one of the beauties of life. If you find yourself identifying with his type of prison, please don’t just escape, talk to your partner about your concerns so you can get back to living free.

In sum, life is too precious and wonderful to spend in prison of our own making. Take that step today to make your life and those in your life better.

 

Job Search

20 Jan

I have been unemployed since early October 2011. In all of my working years (since 89′), this is the longest that I have been unemployed. Fortunately, I have been blessed to have a frugal unemployment benefits income, just barely making my expenses each month.

I have a Master degree and over 20 years experience in my chosen field of human services. I am also a licensed clinical social worker. So where are the job offers? Good question indeed. Well, for starters I live in a rather small city of about 26,000 which is located about 75-90 minutes from the larger cities in the state of Oklahoma. Obviously, part of my challenge is where I chose to live. In the past, I have lived mostly in larger cities where I was exposed to more job opportunities.

I had two interviews (for two different locations) for a probation officer position in mid-December. Despite my qualifications, I was looked over. I interviewed for a (mental health) therapy position around the same time and was told I was hired but the company hasn’t contacted me since. I interviewed for a housing director position with a local Indian tribe last week. I was told the next day that the hiring committee was impressed with my qualifications but Indian preference took the job. I did some research on that “preference” and found indeed that tribes can do that as long as the Indian chosen for the position is “on or near the reservation” which of course, I will never know in this case.

I also interviewed for a position of  vocational director for a business that supports people with developmental disabilities last Friday. As of yesterday, I am still in the running for that position.

I am not bitter or down about my job search experience over the last three months. Like I said, I  have been blessed with just enough income to “get by” which has allowed me time to really get in touch with who I am and what I want to do next in this life. I have been able to re-establish my ties with religion (currently attending two churches), have increased my spirituality, and have had the opportunity to help others (without getting paid). If you are looking for a job, know that God has your back and he will open the door to that job that he wants for you.

Prayer Life

19 Jan

I have been praying the same prayer for almost 17 years now. I pray in morning and thank God for his blessings and ask him to help me live by his will. I also ask  him for forgiveness for my past thoughts and deeds and I ask him for help for the new day ahead. I have found that I have gotten positive results from this prayer but after last night, I need to do a little more in my prayer life to get even better results.

I learned that there are 3 main areas to pray on. I need to pray for purpose and power of God to be in my life. I need to pray for myself to increase my character to better walk with God. I need to pray for others to increase my love for others. I will pray for others (ie. my spouse-if I had one, when spouses pray together only one in 2000 couples divorces), forgive others (ie. when you are angry with someone, pray for that person and see the angry melt away, and relationship challenges (ie. I look at my relationship with God and seek his wisdom in relationships as well).

The most important lesson I learned last night was when I increase my time in the presence of God, he will trust me more and give me more to do for him and his children. WOW!

In the beginning…

18 Jan

I know it may seem weird, but I want to write my first post on the Monica Lewinsky scandal of the 90’s.

I have recently viewed her interviews with Larry King, Barbara Walters and HBO’s documentary “Black and White”. I hadn’t really thought about Monica or Bill (Clinton) since the 90’s. At the time of the scandal, I didn’t do any research into the issue on either side. I remember forming the opinion that Monica’s and Bill’s relationship is a private matter and should have never made it to public light. That was about it.

After viewing the three interviews from those times, I have more to say on the scandal. First and foremost, I believe Monica was used first by her married boyfriend in Oregon and then by Bill. Both of these men took advantage of a very vunerable young woman. Monica had a lot of self worth and self esteem issues because of her weight issue and she was easy prey for these two men. Later in the scandal, the boyfriend standing with his wife basically put Monica down and laid all of the blame on her. In a similar move, Bill repeated the boyfriend’s behavior, of course on a very large stage.

Second, even though Monica was used by these men, she still made the choices to be with them. Monica, herself said that she was very stubborn and was her own boss but I believe she could have been persuaded to end both of these relationships if her family and friends would have stepped in and helped her to see the error of her choices. Something Monica didn’t mention in the three interviews.

Third, I believe it was very wrong for Hillary (Bill’s wife) to stay married to Bill. At the time of the scandal and I believe before this particular scandal, Bill had been unfaithful on other occasions. However, as Hillary put it in one of her interviews, you have to be true to yourself. In her case, she had political aspirations and her husband was her ticket. If she had truly been true to herself, she would have divorced Bill and made her own way politically which I believe she would have done just fine.