The Tapestry Blog

  • Sailing Close to Shore

    As we kick off the year 2013, please allow me to share with you one of my favorite prayers by Sir Frances Drake: 

    “Disturb us, Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves, when our dreams have come true because we have dreamed too little, when we arrive safely because we have sailed too close to the shore.

      Disturb us, Lord, when with the abundance of things we possess, we have lost our thirst for the waters of life; having fallen in love with life, we have ceased to dream of eternity; and in our efforts to build a new earth, we have allowed our vision of the new Heaven to dim.

     Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly, to venture on wider seas where storms will show your mastery; where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars. We ask you to push back the horizons of our hopes; and to push into the future in strength, courage, hope, and love.”

    It is my hope, that you will be challenged by this prayer, as I am, to reach far beyond what you believe to be your potential. I can vouch for God that He’ll take you places you never dreamed possible. Don’t allow fear and disbelief keep you too close to the shore this year. Don’t allow the busy-ness and commercialism of our culture to keep you from seeking God with all your heart. Dare boldly to venture out into uncharted territory in full confidence that God is with you!

    Here’s to a fabulous and God-directed 2013!

    - Jeff Faulkner

  • Engaging Kids After Newtown

    As difficult as it is for adults to comprehend the violence that took place in Newtown last week, children and adolescents will also have to confront the reality of this tragic event.  In the days and weeks ahead, parents and caregivers can help kids cope with tragedy by engaging them relationally, conversationally, and spiritually.   

    Relational Engagement

    Exposure to violent experiences can potentially undermine children’s basic sense of safety and trust in others.  You can offer reassurance by deliberately spending time with your kids, allowing them to experience your caring presence on a regular and consistent basis.  Be physical, caring, and loving to them.  Young kids, especially, need to be held, rocked, and cuddled.  Cultivating strong relational bonds is one of the most effective ways of buffering the negative impact of traumatic stress.          

    Conversational Engagement

    Do not be afraid to talk to children about the shooting.  Avoiding talking about it can make it seem even scarier and more threatening.  Begin by asking what they already know and listen carefully for misinformation, misconceptions, and underlying fears or concerns.  If children do have information that is inaccurate or untrue, be sure to correct them in simple, age-appropriate language.  Be honest but wise in sharing details of the shooting.   

    Limit children’s exposure to media coverage.  Information and images related to the tragedy may be upsetting.  Ensure that they have time to play without the news being on in the background.  Whatever media your child is exposed to, be sure to discuss it with them, answer any questions they have, and reassure them of your love and care.   

    Consider sharing your own feelings about the shooting with your children.  This will help them understand that they are not alone with their feelings.  You may express sadness and empathy for the victims and their families.  You may even express some worry or fears of your own.  Talk about some of the ways you cope with difficult situations and invite your children to join you.          

    If you’re concerned that your child’s reaction to the shooting is interfering with his or her health and wellbeing, contact a local mental health professional who has expertise in trauma counseling.  The therapists at Tapestry Associates are available to help.      

    Spiritual Engagement

    In keeping with Jesus’ words to his disciples, let little children go to him.  Encourage them to pray their thoughts and feelings about what happened, and all that happens in their lives.  Avoid attempts to explain tragedies like these, but make much of God’s love and goodness in the midst of them.  Continually point children to Jesus, our greatest source of comfort in both life and death.

    -Stan Hoover

  • What’s Going On Under the Hood?

    I have been dealing with some emotions over the past week and a half that have not plagued me in quite some time.   I have been extremely agitated, short-fused, lacking in joy, and downright ticked off.  Anger has reared its ugly head.

    I know a lot about anger. I used to teach an anger management class to violent offenders.  Here’s a little of what I learned working with that population. At its core, anger is a hard emotion. It’s easy to see, easy to recognize. Everyone around you knows when you’re mad. The problem is that anger only serves as a sort of “check engine” light that gives you some indication that something else under the hood is wrong, but it gives you little to no indication as to what that something else is.

    You see, anger is always, always, always, 100% of the time about some softer emotion that it is covering up. Let me describe with a simple example. If you were sitting in my living room and my little dog ran up to you and bit you on the leg, what would you do? More than likely you would react by kicking the dog away from your leg. That kicking response is the response of anger that is a natural self-protective mechanism to the dog biting you. The dog bite hurt.  And therein lies the essence of anger…anger is really about being hurt and attempting to protect yourself from further harm.

    So, now that we know this, it’s time to do the hard work of finding out what those softer emotions are that the anger is serving to protect you from.  Here it is – I feel:

    ·         Disregarded

    ·         Embarrassed

    ·         Shocked

    ·         Scared

    ·         Tension

    ·         Inadequate

    ·         Pressured

    ·         Unloved

    ·         Uncared for

    Now, wouldn’t it be a whole lot simpler just to blow off some steam, lash out in anger over my situation, chew some people out, stand my ground, etc., etc.? These softer emotions are more difficult to know what to do with.

    The trouble is that in expressing my anger, I end up hurting the people around me. And that’s not loving. Jesus told us that other people would know that we are his disciples, if we have love for one another. That’s important to me. And I’m a long way from doing it well.

    What I’ve learned is that to be really good at loving others, I must first learn to love myself in light of God’s amazing love for me.  When my softer emotional needs are being met through my relationship with my heavenly Father, I can begin to display compassionate responses in the midst of trying circumstances, that would otherwise cause me to lash out in anger.

    If you’re dealing with anger, please contact one of our counselors today who can help you talk through and sort out what’s really going on under the hood, embrace God’s amazing love for you, and begin to live of life of compassion toward others.

    -Jeff Faulkner, M.S., LPC

  • Living with Joy

    Imagine the TV show, “19 kids and counting” and this would give you some idea what the Elliotts experienced when our family of five brought into our home, seven more girls at Big Oak Ranch. Those days were rich with blessing, spilling over with activity, challenges beyond our imagining, much laughter, and sometimes heartbreak.

    One October we took our girls to the Fall festival at their school, to be followed by the high school’s football game, a highlight of the week. One of our youngest, newly eight- year old “Trina” became enthralled with the cakewalk. After several failed attempts, she soon turned in all of her tickets to increase her chances of winning the grand prize … a goldfish. Knowing the longevity of such fish in general and the chances of survival of this little fish, in particular,  in our busy household, I was praying Trina would give up and move on to other games. She had already experienced so much loss and pain in her short little life; I just wanted to protect Trina from anymore. Unfortunately, the Mom running the activity began to feel so sorry for this determined little girl, she finally rigged the results and Trina became the proud new owner of the treasured goldfish. I inwardly cringed as she came running to share her exciting news. “I’m going to call her Joy”, she sang out. Now I was really worried, how could I let Joy die in our home when we were already facing so many challenges?

    Right off the bat, Joy led a blessed life. Her first night consisted of sitting in a plastic bag in a very cold van for about six more hours, while we attended the game, before we could get her home and situated. But survive she did. She was the namesake of a much admired sixteen year old in our home. Now, at least two girls had quite an investment in keeping her alive. I don’t think there ever was such a beloved fish. She lasted for almost a year, due in part to Trina’s devotion and in greater measure to God’s intervention and grace.

    Looking back, I have thought of how I almost missed the Joy, and in doing so, would have denied Trina that experience. In this Christmas season, we too can become so overwhelmed with the frantic pace that we, too, might not slow down enough to invite Joy into our homes. Don’t miss it! Keep your hearts and homes wide open and expectant, hoping for and inviting in, the full measure of all that God has for you.

    Merry Christmas from our home at Tapestry to yours….

    -Beverly Elliott

  • Why People Seek Counseling – Love, Joy, & Peace

    There are many reasons people seek therapy, including feeling stuck, not feeling good, being unhappy, loss of a relationship or loved one, etc. I contend that the majority of the multitude of reasons people seek out the services of a professional counselor can be categorized into three broad areas: relationship problems, depression, and anxiety.  Isn’t it interesting that the first 3 fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5 are the direct opposite, or positive opposite, of these negative presenting issues?  Love, Joy, and Peace. I don’t know about you, but I find that fascinating.  Maybe there really is something to the Bible holding the answers for the problems in our lives.

     Now, I have enough education, training, and experience to also be able to say that these problems are not just spiritual, and there are many psychological or physiological explanations to the things we experience in life.  There are psychological features to anxiety and depression.  There are physiological explanations for anxiety and depression as well.  And as for the relationship problems, well, there are personality features and life experiences that shape who we are and create a prism through which we interpret the events and conversations in our lives.  Understanding our backgrounds can explain why we have relationship difficulties.  These explanations that are other than spiritual do not bother me, because they are all truth.  And all truth is God’s truth.  These other explanations also do not negate the spiritual reality that exists within them.  You see, fundamentally, all of the things that we struggle with in this life are a result of being fallen people living in a fallen world and are therefore, spiritual in essence.  The human mind with all of its psychology, the human body with all of its physiology, and our complicated life experiences are fundamentally spiritual – they were all created by God – and that’s a pretty spiritual thing, don’t you think? 

     So, please allow me to encourage you that these issues can be overcome.  It’s God’s desire that you overcome them.  These issues represent a destruction of Love, Joy, and Peace in our lives.  This is not what God desires.  He wants us all to experience love at its deepest level – John 3:16 says that God loves us so much that he gave his only Son to die for us – that’s incredible love and He wants us to experience it.  Scripture says over and over again that He wants to make our joy complete. Jesus said in John 14:27 “my peace I give you”.  The first three fruits of the Spirit are Love, Joy, and Peace.  Notice that these are the fruits of the Spirit of God – not the fruits of you working hard at developing coping mechanisms are strategies to deal with circumstances.  You see, ultimately, this is all spiritual.  If you deny this aspect of what you’re struggling with, you will never know complete healing.  The best way to overcome these issues is to fully understand them from a psychological perspective, physiological perspective, from the perspective of your background and life experiences, and from a spiritual perspective.  When you attack these issues from all angles, you will surround it (whatever it is) and it will surrender and you will find Love, Joy, and Peace.

     If you are having challenges in these areas, please schedule an appointment with one of our counselors today. We would be thrilled to walk with you through these struggles, help you understand and make sense of them, and walk more in step with God in your life and experience the Love, Joy, and Peace that God desires for you.

    -Jeff Faulkner

  • Overcoming Circumstances

    Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside of them was superior to circumstance.
    -- Bruce Barton

     Bruce Barton was a man of many talents who worked in advertising, editing and writing for newspapers and magazines, and author and publisher of several books including a best seller, The Man Nobody Knows in 1925.   He went on to become a United States Congressman.

     Upon graduation from college in 1907, Barton had difficulties in finding a job after his graduation as the country was in a severe recession at the time. The only employment he could find was as a timekeeper in a Montana railroad camp. He eventually found success in advertising and writing, but due to mounting pressures in his career and his marriage, he admitted himself into a sanitarium in 1928.  Eight years later, he ran successfully for Congress in 1936, and for two terms he represented Manhattan's affluent "silk-stocking district."

     Circumstances in Barton’s life didn’t inhibit him from achieving some great things.  From time to time they certainly slowed him down.  But, he dug deep to find the courage to face the circumstances he encountered.  The circumstances in your life may be severe and harsh at times.  If you believe that there is something inside you that is superior to your circumstances you will be able to rise above your trials and overcome them. Better yet, if you believed with 100% confidence that God is with you and “has your back,” no obstacle can stand in your way.

     Application

    1.      Have you ever overcome any adverse circumstances?

    2.      Did you at any point feel that your circumstances were too much to overcome?

    3.      How did you eventually overcome them?

    4.      What is it that is inside of you that is superior to circumstance?

    - Jeff Faulkner

  • There’s No Place like Home

    Several years ago my son had a job assignment that took him to Western Siberia. It sounds like a joke but it’s really true! There was a tent city that had been built to accommodate the workers who came from across the country or around the world to build this facility. There were restaurants, gyms, even a movie theatre along with sleeping quarters. They had food and shelter and though with spotty coverage, even his phone worked occasionally, and he could communicate somewhat with the outside world.

    Sometimes this job took him to Moscow where he searched for something familiar in restaurants. He found one McDonalds and one restaurant called American Café where the wait staff dressed as cowboys and cowgirls. Though vaguely familiar, it’s just not the same. Nor should it be, for he is American through and through, and Southern to boot! Russian tastes, customs, and climate are not his own; his citizenship is in the U.S. of A.

    When he returned from such a trip, his family awaited his arrival with great anticipation. He could sleep in his own bed and enjoy his wife’s good cooking while surrounded by loved ones. This is where he belonged and it felt so good to be home.

    Do you ever feel like something’s missing in your life? The basics are covered and maybe even the extras are as well, but somehow it’s not enough. In planning for the holidays, you may do the best you can to have these days hold special memories for your family. When the actual day arrives, it falls far short of those dreams of perfection.

    That’s because you actually are designed for perfection and anything short of that leaves you feeling disappointed at times. Heaven is our home and that’s where our citizenship lies (Phil. 3:20). That’s why sometimes our lives fall so far short of our hopes, dreams and expectations.

    Sometimes we are blessed enough to feel as if we are experiencing heaven right here and now. But sometimes, we are reminded by the pain of unresolved hurts from the past, current struggles in present relationships, job loss, economic uncertainty, health issues, loss of loved ones, or unmet expectations, that this life is not all there is. Remember at such times, we are not home yet! A future awaits and loved ones await with Jesus at the head of the line, looking to welcome us home!

    In the meantime, get on with the business of living out His purpose for your life right here and now. With His enabling you’ll find “strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow”. For the joy set before him, Jesus endured and persevered (Heb.12:3), and He will be faithful to help you do the same….

    -Beverly Elliott

  • The Winds of Adversity

    "Do not fear the winds of adversity. Remember: a kite rises against the wind rather than with it."

    B.J. Marshall

     Adversity knows no boundaries.  It is no respecter of persons.  The rain falls on the just and the unjust alike.  When adversity comes, your response is the single best indicator of how you will come through it. 

     My hard drive crashed.  I lost a lot of data.  I spent the better part of two days getting my system operational again.  Business backed up and I felt the stress.  I remarked to my wife at the end of the day that there are many people in the world dealing with significant adversity – far greater than losing a hard drive – and I can’t imagine the level of stress and heartache they are experiencing.  I wondered out-loud how they do it.  They have health problems, death of loved ones, relationship challenges, political strife, war, famine, and the list goes on.  A friend of my wife’s recently suffered a miscarriage.  We did not see or hear from her for months – even though we made a multitude of attempts to contact her. My problems pale in comparison to the loss of life.  And yet, I can cop a bad attitude right quick.  And a bad attitude can drive your little kite straight into the ground – and depression can take root if you allow it to.

    I’m not suggesting that you live in denial with regard to circumstances.  Emotions are real and cannot often be denied.  In fact, it is not healthy to not experience a true emotional response to pain.  These tough emotions have to be experienced and processed in order to make sense of life.  But in the midst of the harsh realities of life, we have choices to make.  When the winds of adversity blow, there must be a foundation of belief that keeps your kite afloat and guides your choices.

    Application

    1. How do you typically respond to everyday adversities?  Like losing your car keys, losing a sale, your hard drive crashing, or a crash while driving?

    2. How have you responded to significant adversity in your life?  Do you have a tendency to deny or minimize the problems?  Do you tend to allow them to drive you in to a deep depression?  How can you maintain a balanced response to adversity?

    3. What does your belief system tell you about adversity?

    4.  How do you help those around you keep their kites flying high?

    5.  If you need to talk to someone about the trials in your life and your responses to them, please contact a counselor, a pastor, or a dear friend today.

    - Jeff Faulkner

  • Difficult Choices

    "Excellence is an art won by training and habitation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but rather we have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then is not an act but a habit."- Aristotle

    It has been said that a good habit takes at least 28 days to establish. In contrast, bad habits seem to be natural and are established by default. As an example, if I desire to exercise daily and I don’t get up one morning in time to exercise I have made a choice to reinforce a bad habit. Excellence then, as the quote suggests, is the product of a lifestyle characterized by difficult choices. Unfortunately, the choices necessary to reinforce a good habit are never the easy ones to make.

    A significant factor in the arena of habits is that habits lend themselves to addictions. Most people think of addiction in terms of substance abuse or workaholism. But addictions take many forms – watching television, wasting time surfing the web, Facebooking, checking email, yelling at your children, being critical. You name it, we can become addicted to it. Many of our seemingly harmless addictions are performance and development killers. I remember when I realized the power of addictions one night when a championship football game was on television – I had been trying to establish a habit of getting to bed earlier, so that I could get out of bed earlier and exercise in the morning. But I simply did not want to miss the game. It was as if there would be a part of me missing if I didn’t stay up to watch it. The pull against the difficult decision to give up the game and go to bed was like an electromagnetic one. And it’s these kinds of habits or addictions that will kill your performance in every area of your life – growing in your career, being a loving and engaged father, being a great wife, getting involved in your friends lives, spending quality time with your Heavenly Father, etc., etc. So decide now to be one who will make the difficult choices. If you need help in addressing some issue, seek out help from a professional counselor, a trusted friend, your pastor. Maybe answering the following questions will help.

    Application

        1. Name one good habit that you have been trying to establish.

        2. What are the hindering bad habits that get in your way?

        3. Describe how these bad habits are self-limiting behaviors that hinder your performance.

        4. What are the consequences of the choices you make that reinforce your bad habits?

        5. What are the benefits you are losing out on by not making the difficult choices?

        6. Write an affirmative reminder that will help you overcome and establish this good habit.

        7. Once you have this one “licked”, try it on another habit.

    - Jeff Faulkner


  • In God We Trust

        Watching the Dow and daily economic news along with the Presidential campaign while anticipating the upcoming momentous election, I am tempted to get anxious. While running today the following story came to mind.
        It was Fall, twenty six years ago when our youngest was four. She and I were going on an adventure together to fly and see cousins in Cincinnati, and we were both very excited. I had even bought one of the “new” wheeled suitcases in honor of the occasion. The night before I had packed our bag and left it by the back door in anticipation of loading it into the back of the car, the next morning. In the morning I fed everybody breakfast and we said our goodbyes. The bag was no longer by the door and I assumed my sweet husband had already loaded it into the car. When we arrived at the airport, I discovered the bag was not there. (It turns out that my daughter, enthralled with the concept of a suitcase on wheels, had been rolling it around and had left it at the base of the back stairs.) At that point it was too late to call and ask my husband to bring it, so I made a decision. Being before the days of cell-phones, I didn’t know whether he had noticed the missing bag. I knew if he had discovered it, he would immediately try to bring it down and catch us. Otherwise, it could just go up on the next flight to Cincinnati. Worse case scenario, I would just have to drive back down to the airport to pick it up. With that in mind, and with one eye on the curb, I got into the line for curbside check-in. “We’ll just wait here and see if Prince Charming brings our suitcase before we get to the desk,” I told my daughter. When we got to the front of the line, you guessed it, up drove my husband. He jumped out and brought us the bag in perfect timing…We laughed for years at that story and my absolute confidence that my sweet husband would come to the rescue if he had spotted that bag.
        Are you standing in the lines of uncertainty, with what-ifs scenarios and backup plans running through your head? Your “Prince Charming”, (Rev.19:11-16), is standing at the ready and will absolutely come through in His perfect timing either to deliver you out of your situation or walk/dance you through it. He is near, and will never leave you nor forsake you, (Heb.13:5). For this reason you can trust him, and leave your anxiety at the door…( Phil.4:5-6).


    - Beverly Elliott
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