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Guiding My Younger Self through the Teen Years
Written by Allison Ricciardi, L.M.H.C.   


allison nametitleI have many fond memories of my teen years. But as much as I don’t enjoy getting older, I wouldn’t want to go back to those years for anything. Or let me rephrase that…I wouldn’t want to go back to who I was in those years. In plain English, I was pathetic…as were most of my friends.

But pathetic wasn’t my natural state. I wasn’t born that way. I became that way and it’s the disc jockeys and the soap opera writers that I blame.

I still enjoy listening to oldies from the 70s and 80s, my coming of age years. They’re nostalgic and comforting - like an old t-shirt. But when I listen to the words of some of those songs (I’m one of those people who actually listens to each word) I realize why my life and relationships were so chaotic during those years. Drama was presented as the norm (and still is). Crazy relationships, pining for the one that dumped us, fantasizing about romantic reunions with such aforementioned slugs seemed normal…and even romantic. My dad warned us about watching soap operas. But of course, he seemed so ridiculous. I thought for myself, after all. I wasn’t going to be influenced by what I watched on TV during such impressionable years. Seriously. Didn’t he realize how smart I was?

But with the wisdom of years I see his point…maybe even more clearly than he did. He knew what the advertisers know…what we see and hear does influence us, a lot. If not, why would companies spend millions for a 30-second slot during the Super Bowl?


Read more: Guiding My Younger Self through the Teen Years  [Guiding My Younger Self through the Teen Years]



Accidental Traditions
Written by Brenda Snyder, LCSW   


brenda-snyderA woman who marries a man with children definitively surrenders the storybook ideal of her wedding day and married life. She also loses the clout she might have had to form her new family’s traditions.

When two people marry, they each bring spoken and unspoken expectations about how their lives will work, sort of a blueprint for creating a household, a family. Sunday mornings in one household are for reading the newspaper, drinking tea and wearing pajamas until noon; in another, 8:00am Church and breakfast at her grandparents’ house is the norm. He celebrates Christmas Eve; she opens gifts on Christmas Day. Salt and pepper are the traditional condiments on one dining room table; one finds Tabasco sauce on another.

In a first-time marriage, a couple sorts most of these things out, compromising here and there, until a new blueprint is formed.

Not so in a stepfamily. 

Read more: Accidental Traditions  [Accidental Traditions]



Increasing Your Trust in God During Difficult Times
Written by Gloria Lange, RN, LCSW   


rosary-on-bible morgue-file jclk8888Eight spiritual steps toward increasing your trust in God when going through tough times, and overcoming adversity with the Spirit of God.

Step 1: Turn to God

Realize that you don’t have what it takes in your own strength to overcome adversity. It is not by your own strength or power, but by the Spirit of God that we will overcome our difficulties. Turn to Jesus. Don’t shut down, don’t freak out, and don’t isolate yourself from those who can help you. Turn to Jesus.

He said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)

If you have sinned, go to confession and turn back to Jesus. We overcome adversity by allowing God to go before us. God is the fighter of our battles. He never expects you to fight the battles alone. He knows that you need the power of His Spirit. He has promised us His spirit to be with us until the end of time. Trust God and allow Him to work His timing in your life, because God has a plan and purpose for all things (Romans 8:25). Jesus defeated death with the cross. He defeated adversity before you and I ever had to face it in our lives. We need to have faith in the Lord, in His word, and live His word in our life. Have faith in what He has told us to do through Scripture.


Read more: Increasing Your Trust in God During Difficult Times  [Increasing Your Trust in God During Difficult Times]



How to Help the Grieving
Written by Dana Mayeux Nygaard, LPC   


dana-nygaardGrief comes to almost everyone at some point in their life. It seems as if we also cannot escape the pain of others who are experiencing grief. The news, social media and air waves inundate us with countless tragedies such as, unexpected deaths, suicides, miscarriages, cancers, accidents and other heartbreaking tragedies.

The palpable pain of others is so intense that it can be overwhelming and confusing to know how we should behave in such extreme situations. Some people when confronted by the grief of others turn away and without meaning to shun those in need of comfort. While others unintentionally distress those grieving a loss with statements like, “You shouldn’t be sad because they are with God.” or “It’s time to move on, you are making everyone sad.” or “God will not give you more than you can handle.” Some go as far to say, “It’s over with and we can’t keep dealing with it.”

Others use misguided, popular theology by saying, “Now they are angels in Heaven.” Catholic theology teaches us that angels are pure, disembodied spirits, while humans are comprised of both body and soul. Thus, humans do not become angels and angels do not become humans.


Read more: How to Help the Grieving  [How to Help the Grieving]

ct angel"For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare not for woe, plans to give you a future full of hope." - Jeremiah 29:11