Practical Family Living News
Volume 23, Issue 5Christmas 2016,
The Effects of Aging
By: Cheryl Welch, BSN, RN, M.S., LPC-T
Getting Older is the Reality of Living but for some of us we go fighting and screaming into the aging stage of life. It seems as we move into our fifties we realize we have wrinkles, graying and thinning hair, arms that jiggle, the tone of the voice sounds weaker, the memory has been challenged, and somehow we are even two inches shorter than we were in our 30’s. The process of aging occurs to every individual but when we look into the mirror and it happened to us, we panic. Part of this may be related to how our Western culture portrays old-age giving perceptions that older citizens are no longer productive, can’t make effective decisions, and struggle with memory. These are aging myths. In cultures representing collectivist societies the older adults are considered knowledgeable and are leaders (Fastame, Penna, & Rossetti, 2014). Although, genetics play a role in the aging process and life expectancy, individuals can take steps to improve their health and extend effective cognitive and physical activity. Two environmental factors individuals can avoid that cause wrinkles are ultraviolet sunrays and smoking. This might be the time to stop the sunbathing or smoking. Stress is another factor in the aging process causing physical signs of aging, as well increases the chance for illness and disease. Ways to decrease signs of aging related to stress, other than through cosmetic interventions, are to manage stress effectively by using relaxation techniques, exercising, having periods of alone time, prayer and meditation, enjoying a fun activity, healthy eating, effectively managing time and resources, etc. Aging is a fact of life. How you perceive growing older is your choice. But you can improve longevity by taking care of yourself. The upcoming holiday season places undue expectations that add stress. Relax and enjoy the season of faith with the celebration of Christ’s birth. Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. (3 John 2, NIV) Fastame, M. C., Penna, M. P., and Rossetti, E. S. (2014). “Perceived cognitive efficiency and subjective well-being in late adulthood: The impact of developmental factors.” Journal of Adult Development. Springer, 21:173-180.
Self-Compassion vs. Self-Destruction
By: Carrissa Pannuzzo, M.A., LMFT-T, LPC-T
We live in the most in-debt, obese, addicted, and medicated adult cohort in history, according to researcher Brene Brown. We can easily find a multitude of ways – Facebook, sugar, pornography, alcohol, etc. - to numb our vulnerability. Vulnerability is a scary thing and many of us were taught at a young age that our feelings surrounding our experiences are wrong, shameful, silly, something “big boys/girls” don’t do, and will get us hurt, rejected, punished, or something else. Through abuse, trauma, neglect, and rejection we get the message that we are less than, unworthy, not valuable, or some other lie. These messages lead to a sense of self-loathing. Depending on a person’s experience it can be anywhere from minimal to defining. It can manifest more or less during different periods of a person’s life. We can be more or less in control over our self-concept and choices depending on how much healing we’ve done, how many loving, accepting people we have in our lives, what self-care skills we’ve developed, and other protective and healing factors. When these deep questions and doubts about worth are activated it’s not uncommon for us to medicate it away, even by using destructive means. Eating disorders, self-mutilation, alcohol and drug abuse, and other harmful choices allow individuals to, strangely enough, cope with the pain of self-hatred through numbing, distraction, soothing, and as a means of communication when words don’t suffice. So how do we stop? How do we heal? The process begins by acknowledging our pain, accept our intrinsic value given to us by God, and finding safe people to heal with. The more we face our pain and counter the lies, the freer from shame and numbness we become. We can have the abundant life that Jesus promises. Learning new, healthy, caring ways of self-soothing to replace the self-destructive ways gives us new choices. Our God loves us mightily and sees us as worthy beyond measure. When we accept his view of us, through work in the depths of our souls, we can be compassionate with ourselves, and this allows us to be more compassionate with others, too.
By: Christine Vander Wielen, M.S.W., LCSW
Recently, I was wrestling with a software program used for bookkeeping. Struggling for more than an hour, I relented and called tech support. The technician’s name was Kay. I was barely able to keep my impatience and irritation out of my voice as I explained the problem to her. After an hour of working together, the issue was resolved. Before we hung up, Kay thanked me for my patience in working with her and then she said, “You will be more prosperous this year and every year to come. You and your family will enjoy health, happiness and peace throughout the year.” The help and blessing from Kay will not be forgotten soon. It was humbling and thought provoking. Kay went out of her way to bless me even though I did not deserve it. I had begun the conversation clearly irritated and very prideful. I was full of myself and frustrated that I was having difficulty. In short, I could not do what I wanted when I wanted. Our Heavenly Father blesses us in so many ways, that we often forget to be grateful. In our fallenness, we can take His blessings for granted and become self absorbed. The minute something goes wrong in our lives, we shake our fingers towards Heaven and demand, “How could You do this to me?” We approach God from a place of pride and frustration many times instead of asking our Heavenly Father, “What would you like me to learn from this?” This holiday season, let us remember and give thanks for one of the greatest blessings He has given mankind, the birth of His Son. And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we saw His glory, glory in the same manner as the only child of the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 May your holiday season be filled with joy, peace, and many blessings!
Jesus, Savior Pilot Me
By: Brenda Spina, M.S., LMFT, LPC
Feeling a plane lift off the ground releases a myriad of emotions. Watching the ground fall further away, I am reminded of my powerlessness in which to keep the plane from continuing its journey to the next destination. Having made the choice to go, to purchase a ticket, and get on board, I have put my complete trust in the hands of the pilot as he flies the massive machine up and forward. Somehow the wonder of Jesus choosing to place his complete trust in the Father feels similar. The same is true when we choose to journey with the Lord as our pilot. Knowing the plan will include vulnerability, discomfort, miracles, separation, and joy. It may be a stretch, but once we commit to the journey, the enjoyable and difficult days may feel filled with similar emotions. Embracing the vulnerability, discomfort, and joy of each day is a part of living. The same reality exists more so around holidays. Allowing yourself to acknowledge what is real yet rely on the Spirit of God. Whether the plane lands well or not, the end result is all a part of the Father’s greater plan. We can plan what we have the ability to control: when we go, when we leave, what we will bring or not bring. The rest is in the hands of the Lord. He leads and guides us through it all. Just as we listen to the pilot’s announcements so we listen to the voice of God. The days may be filled with good conversation, yummy food (definitely not plane food!), football, presents, games, naps, conflict, tension, and the relief of leaving once again. Whatever the case, the journey is ultimately in the hands of the Lord. Whatever comes our way, His promise is to provide exactly what we need when the time comes. Our job is to listen and obey. As we do, my prayer is we would become acutely aware of His guiding, protective hand. Jesus, Savior Pilot Me Edward Hopper, 1818 - 1888 Jesus, Savior, pilot me Over life’s tempestuous sea; Unknown waves before me roll, Hiding rock and treacherous shoal. Chart and compass come from Thee; Jesus, Savior, pilot me. Though the sea be smooth and bright, Sparkling with the stars of night, And my ship’s path be ablaze With the light of halcyon days, Still I know my need of Thee; Jesus, Savior, pilot me. When at last I near the shore, And the fearful breakers roar ’Twixt me and the peaceful rest, Then, while leaning on Thy breast, May I hear Thee say to me, "Fear not, I will pilot thee."
Changes at Practical Family Living
By: Lynda Savage, M.S., LMFT, LPC
Those who are newer to the PFL team love to hear stories of the early days when Lynda and Paul would record the programs in a make-shift basement studio. So much has changed in radio and media since those early years. Have you noticed the recent media trends? People are consuming media in multiple digital and on-demand formats. Printed books, newspapers, and traditional television are being traded in for ebooks, online news sites, and streaming on demand services. “Analysts at the investment research and management firm Bernstein sent a note to clients on Thursday that said they’re downgrading media companies like Disney and Time Warner, which own TV networks like ESPN and CNN, respectively, because they are “structurally impaired.” (http://www.businessinsider.com/traditional-tv-is-in-decline-2015-8) What does this have to do with Practical Family Living? It means if we intend to continue to provide substance and hope through media and Christ-centered materials, we need to embrace the changing media platforms or risk becoming “structurally impaired”. We are moving from a small Christian market -i.e.northeast Wisconsin, opening it up for people to watch and partake on demand from anywhere in the world. While you are about to see our methods change and grow with technology and the times, our message and purpose remain the same. Because of your prayer and financial support Practical Family Living has been able to record 3,600 programs, publish hundreds of articles written by our therapists, and has held countless workshops, classes and seminars for couples, adult children, those grieving and more. Most of these are still available at PFL.org. The biggest change you can expect to see from Practical Family Living is beginning in 2017 we are moving our radio based ministry to one that is more easily accessed on digital, on-demand formats. You will notice an increased attention to social media sharing as a way to get our offerings in front of as many people as need them. While you will no longer hear us during a 15 minute segment on the radio, you will notice an increased number of classes, seminars, and speaking engagements on our calendar, and short radio segments in the future. Healthy individuals, couples, and families matter to us so much that we are willing to expand the way we produce our vital materials to distribute them farther than ever before. In order to do this, we will need to increase our monthly donors. Please partner with us financially by sending a one-time or monthly tax-deductible donation to PFL, PO Box 1676, Appleton, WI 54912. MEET & GREET - YOU ARE INVITED! Hors d'oeuvres Short teaching on encouragement & FREE BOOK by Lynda Savage January 12, 7-8pm 1476 Kenwood Center - Menasha