My New Book Living More Than OK

My New Book Living More Than OK
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Monday, October 31, 2016

Life Wounds Can Be Bearers of Light

One myth about positive psychology is that it just focuses in on happiness and ignores the difficulties of life. That is so far from the truth. Yes it does provide research on happiness which of course is a good thing, as who does not want to be happy. Just think of it, even our Declaration of Independence speaks of happiness, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness….”. Still, positive psychology does speak to the illnesses and hurts that affect mankind. The principles they research can aid in overcoming hurts and wounds that are realities in our life journey.

I thought of this as I was listening to Switchfoot’s latest CD, Where The Light Shines Through. I want you to focus your attention to the lyrics of their title song. As always, first click on the title and listen to the video of the song

"Where The Light Shines Through" Switchfoot (click on the title to hear the song)

When you're feeling like an astronaut
Stuck on a planet even time forgot, and
You're a version of yourself, but you're not the same
You try to keep the wound camouflaged, and
The stitches heal, but the years are lost, and
Another bottle on the shelf can't numb the pain

Why're you running from yourself now?
You can't run away

Cause your scars shine like dark stars
Yeah, your wounds are where the light shines through
So let's go there, to that place where
We sing these broken prayers where the light shines through--
The wound is where the light shines through
Yeah, the wound is where the light shines through

Ain't we all just Abraham's son?
Saint and sinner with the song and drum, and
We're fallen on our knees, we all bleed the same
And the only tattoos I have are scars
I got your name written on my heart
And the story that brought us here ain't the thing that changed, no

I wanna see that light shining
Brighter than the pain

Cause your scars shine like a dark star
Yeah, your wounds are where the light shines through
So let's go there, to that place where
We sing these broken prayers where the light shines through
The wound is where the light shines through

Mama, ain't the blood just proof I'm human?
Mama, ain't the wound just retribution?
Well Mama, ain't the scar like a vision of grace?

The wound is where the light shines through
The wound is where the light finds you
The wound is where the light shines through
The wound is where the light finds you
Your scars shine like dark stars
Yeah, the wound is where the light shines through
It's where the light shines through
Yeah, yeah, it's where the light shines through
Yeah, the only time to our heart, oh oh
It's where the light shines through
Where the light shines, where the light shines through
Where the light shines though
It's where the light shines through

As I listened to the song I thought of times of wounds in my life. Back in Chicago there were wounds of hurtful relationships, memories of my mom’s death and oldest brother’s death. There were work difficulties and times of wondering what should be my direction in life. Over the years I have worked with students and in counseling practice I have observed many people’s life pains and wounds. The song speaks truth in that while we go through life wounds, we can feel as if we are outside of life like outer space as we experience pain because we know the pain is not where we are meant to keep living. You feel as if you are somewhere, where God has forgotten you. Some people hide the pain as I made mention in my book, Living More Than OK, some can smile and say “everything is OK while living in the pain”. Others turn to substances like drugs or alcohol, “Another bottle on the shelf can't numb the pain”. Like hiding they find substances do not help with the pain long-term.

The song encourages facing the pain and learning from the wounds that come into our lives. The lyric phrase “Well Mama, ain't the scar like a vision of grace?” to me points out that our wounds can be a turning point to learn more of God’s Grace in our lives. Letting the light shine though our wounds breaks the hold of life pains on us and bring us back to earth where we can serve others who are hurting.

The song writer reminds us that we are all fellow brothers and sisters who each have our own wounds and scars. As we let the light shine through we can learn to grow in our lives and learn to be better people helpers to those around us. I have met people who after the fact are thankful for the tough times they went through as they became stronger in their life journey because of the difficulties and wounds they faced. As I look back of course I did not enjoy in the moment, my life difficulties but they have helped in serving college students as I can be real with them about what they will face in their futures. The past difficulties have been helpful in serving counseling clients, as I can encourage those hurting that the light will shine through in their lives if they do not give up.

Reflection: Think through some of your wound times in your life. In looking back do you see some light shining through that you learned from? How have the hardships and difficulties in your life journey made you a better person today?

Monday, October 24, 2016

Think and Use Your Brain in This Presidential Election

I try to stay away from politics in my blog. Work and school research has been so busy I have not written recently. Also recently the election has worn me down as I see the possible increase in problems for the country if Hillary gets elected. So I thought this week I would focus in on critical thinking, which I am a believer in the importance of it and how it relates to the election.

I remember back in the primaries Dr. Ben Carson kept using a phrase “Use your brain and think for yourself”. Dr. Carson was our favorite in the primary race, (as you know over the years I have mentioned him often in my blog). We as a family felt he was the sound rational thinker to help turn the country around. His thought that the politicians are the problem is one concept that tapped into my thinking. When he dropped out Mr. Trump was the only real pragmatic outsider left. It helped us to see Dr. Carson be supportive of Mr. Trump.

What has disgusted me about this race is that people are not using sound thinking in looking at the candidates. Listen and think of what you hear from Hillary supporters. They cannot tell you one good thing Hillary has done for the country in her 30 years of living off the taxpayers. Instead all they do is say trashy and nasty things about Mr. Trump. Their statements are all based on negative emotions instead of thinking.

Facts and solid thinking are on the side of Mr. Trump. From the beginning he has been solid on the need for strong borders. Knowing that the Border Patrol and ICE has endorsed Mr. Trump is important to think about as who knows more about the border’s needs than these professionals. Hillary’s supporter’s counter with lies that Mr. Trump said all Mexicans were killers and rapists. This is a lie as you can go back to the tapes and see he never said “all”. There are many Hispanics who are voting from Mr. Trump but you would never know by listening to the media. The facts show Mr. Trump was and is right -- just one clear example was the death of Kate Steinle; shot by an illegal immigrant while out walking with her father. Mr. Trump is right that we don’t have a country if we do not have a border. In the Summer we went to Big Bend National Park and one trail was by the Rio Grande river. There they posted warning signs to not enter Mexico illegally or face fines and prison. Think about it!

Probably the most disturbing thought I have about Hillary becoming President is her pathological lying. My best example that makes me livid goes back to her lies over Benghazi. In my book, Living More Than OK, in the chapter on critical thinking I discuss her lies about the 4 brave Americans who died in Benghazi. The facts show that she did not listen to the Ambassador’s hundreds of request for more help. Then worse yet, lied to the faces of the families of the killed 4 brave heroes in front of the coffins telling them they would get the YouTube video guy! Facts from emails prove she texted her daughter and leaders of Egypt and Libya that it was a terrorist attack before she told those lies to the families. That lie is more than pathetic it is sick. With their blood on her hands, she should not even be allowed to run for president.

Mr. Trump has discussed details of his 100 day plan to show how to build our defense, return jobs, and Make America Great again ( by the way what is so bad about that phrase??- think about it). All Hillary does in her few speeches, when she has energy to go to a rally, is to say lies about Mr. Trump and give out the regular empty promises politicians have been saying for years – 30 years in her case. As Mr. Trump has said – what has she done in those 30 years except get rich? Think about it.

Wikileaks and Project Veritas have shown proof of the corruption and the collusion with the mainstream media that has made me sick about this election. Every voter needs to watch some of the Project Veritas videos and think about what the truth is about Hillary Clinton. I remember Watergate and the Nixon administration. The corruption of Hillary and Bill makes Nixon look like a choir boy.

I could go on forever as there are so many positive reasons to vote for Mr. Trump. One of the most important reasons to think about is the Supreme Court. A president is there for 4 maybe 8 years but the next president will appoint 2-4 Supreme Court justices who will affect the next generation. Voters need to think about what kind of Supreme Court do they want? A court that honors the Constitution like the candidates Mr. Trump has announced or a court that legislates from the bench that Hillary wants. Think about it.

As the election is close it is hard to know what will happen. I fear for the country as the media is worse than any media under communist regimes. They are not reporting objectively instead they are slanting the news in favor of Hillary’s lies so as to brainwash the voters. WikiLeaks and Project Veritas have proven the media is in collusion with Hillary. Even going back to Hillary versus Bernie; Bernie would have won the primary if it was not for the media. Going back to Dr. Carson’s statement I list at the beginning. If the voters use their brains and think then Mr. Trump will win and the country can move forward out of the mess of the past 8 years. If lies and corruption continue to blind non-thinking voters then Hillary will win and the country will basically continue on a spiral down to further destruction.

Reflection: What are you basing your vote on- blind emotion or critical thinking? Have you looked into the facts from Wikileaks or Project Veritas?