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Warning Warning

Television shows of the 1960's were so different than the high tech, 3-D, High Definition, reality based TV shows of today. What was new and exciting then, is old, boring, and outdated today. Recently, I was sharing with some of my staff about some of the "old shows" and I shared about one show I loved called, "Lost in Space". It was the rave to consider space travel back then because for the first time, NASA was sending people into space and men were landing on the moon. TV shows like this were precursors to the Star Trek and Star Wars movies of today. Lost In Space was about the Robinson family who left Earth headed to a community outpost, but became lost and eventually landed on an unknow

Wash Over

I remember as a child, swimming at the beach and being pulled out toward the depths of the ocean by the unseen undercurrent. As fear gripped me, I panicked and swam frantically toward the shore in an effort to reach safety. The harder I swam, the more I found myself drifting further toward the opposite direction of my family who did not even know my dilemma. I could feel the strength leaving me as my struggle began to decrease in intensity and I all but gave up hope of seeing another day. Just as the waves were about to wash over me, something miraculous happened. I noticed that when I quit fighting the current and let it carry me, I moved closer to the shore. I began swimming with the curre

Second Chances

When my daughter had her first child, Serena Selah, I was baffled by the name choice until she said it meant, "Serenity with God." I love that. Serenity is something on short supply these days of hustle and bustle and distraction at every moment of our lives. We push on, press through, and survive our lives instead of taking time to enjoy them. Recently, I too fell into the daily grind of life and decided to take a break from it all and spend some time with my horse Chancy (Pictured). Chancy or "Second Chance" has been with me most of her life. I found her when a friend of mine wanted to purchase her as a 6 month old from a pony-mill (much like a puppy mill but for horses). She stood alone i

Own It

I love the video with Beyonce and Justin Timberlake called "Single ladies." In the song Beyonce says, "If you liked it then you should've put a ring on it." Do you know wedding rings initially were not a symbol of love, but of ownership. Is that what Beyonce meant? Many of our customs today were founded centuries ago. The history of the engagement ring goes all the way back to Ancient Rome. According to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), Roman women wore rings of ivory, flint, bone, copper and iron "to signify a business contract or to affirm mutual love and obedience." Rome during Ancient times was also known for divorce. People were getting married and divorced for the silliest th


Last night I attended a Memorial Service for three teenagers: Drake Ruiz, Jacob Ivasco, and Daniel Hawkins. They were killed by an irate driver who ran them off the road and into a tree. He was eventually arrested but the damage has been done. All that lay in the aftermath is brokenness: Broken hearts Broken dreams Broken families and friends An entire community morns the loss of these three young men and all this brokenness was caused by one Broken man. It's hard to understand why someone would cause so much pain and suffering with no remorse and no consideration for life. It's why my theme for this week has been to stress the issue of hate, anger, and lack of concern for others. There is s

All Ours

What do you value in life? Do you look at the home you purchased and think proudly of the work it took to buy it? Do you look around your home at the knick-knacks you've acquired over the years and smile at the memories of your travels where you acquired each and every trinket? Do you marvel at the expensive cars in your pristine garage and think to yourself, "I've arrived." Do you look at the license plate in the photo that reads, "All Ours," and twinge with jealousy? Do all these signs of success bring you a sense of accomplishment and self-worth? Do you see these things as the legacy you'll be passing on to your children long after you're gone? Then consider for a moment your children. In


This morning when I was throwing out last week’s vegetables and replacing them with new veggies for this week, I was considering if I would eat them before they would become next weeks throw outs. Then of course my mind drifted (as it often does) to how many other things we consider disposable: I began to think about unfinished projects, to-do-lists, chores, and goals that we leave unfinished. We throw away our dreams, we throw away our hopes and ambitions, and sometimes we even throw away our lives through the use of drugs and alcohol. It seems that people have become expendable too as we throw away relationships and children that we abandon, marriages we give up on, and children we abort.

Wait Graciously

Yesterday, I was waiting in line at the check out counter of a store where I had stopped to purchase a Thumb Drive for my computer. A lady was having a hard time making up her mind what she wanted and continued to shop even while the clerk attempted to complete her sale. If I wasn't running late for a meeting and in such a hurry, I might have thought it funny, but 10 minutes went by without the sale completing. The elderly salesman had difficulty seeing the computer screen and pressed his nose closer and closer while the lady continued to shop and add more items to the sale, which only slowed the progress even more. My impatience grew as long as the line building behind me and the deep breat


Yesterday I received a call from one of our partners, Olive Branch Community Church in El Cerrito, a small community of Corona. I was informed that 3 families who used to attend the school were experiencing a huge loss: 3 teenage boys were forced off the road and killed by an angry driver. I was asked if I could help. Of course, I said I would. These types of crimes are so common place today. People who are constantly being victimized at the hands of others who are totally out of control. Our children are under attack and are literally dying in the streets, families are broken and hurting, grieving their many losses, and are in need of emotional support. We live in an ever increasing world o


I have been called "a control freak," but I don't see myself that way. Sure, I love the rain as long as it doesn't inconvenience me. I love affection when I'm in the mood. I want to lose weight, but don't want to change what I eat or have to exercise. Yes, I want to work only when it fits into my schedule, but is that really being a control freak? Or, is it that I just know what I like and don't like and I'm stating my preferences? Have you ever had thoughts like this or been accused of being a control freak? Can we be a control freak when it comes to our own life? After all, aren't we supposed to be in charge of our life? Don't consequences happen when we "loose control" and end up in jail,

Unexpected Blessings

Yesterday, I was driving to work and pulled up to a red light. An older woman in a car pulled up next to me and motioned for me to roll down my window. Instantly, my heart sank as I rolled down my window and contemplated what was wrong: Did I accidentally cut her off? Is she going to tell me I have a flat tire? Out of her mouth came the most unexpected words, "I hope you have a fantastic day. God bless you.“ Stumped, I mumbled a thank you and bless you back at her and the light turned green. The rest of the day the memory of that blessing made the day happily fly by. Words can bring forth life and they can kill a person's spirit to the point of suicide. Words have the power to build up wall

Class Act

In the book, Make Yourself Unforgettable, Dale Carnegie Training authors write that to be a person of class means, "...the mysterious, intangible will to win that empowers a champion to meet whatever challenge presents itself." They go on to explain how the ability to see obstacles as opportunities is invaluable. Recently, I was speaking with one of my Associate Therapists who I supervise. She is preparing to take her board exams and has test anxiety. She shared about her prior struggles with testing and how her efforts to find comfort in prayer have failed because she constantly takes back the worry she attempts to put down and refocuses again on the evidence of the past. I told her it all

Dont Stop

One of the best parts of being a Clinical Supervisor working with Masters Degree Students in Practicum is to offer them an opportunity to stretch themselves and step outside of their comfort zone. I encourage them to explore personal growth options within the Encouragers organization. One such student, Kameron Kaveh (Pepperdine University) offered to write this blog (his first) on the subject of Success: What does success mean to you? When you see success do you picture a gold medal, always coming in 1st place, a big house in the suburbs, a fancy car, or a report card with straight A’s? Does the idea of success often coincide with a fear of failure? When you see failure does your heart sa

Cheerful Givers

The United Way of The Inland Valleys ( recently donated to Encouragers Counseling & Training Centers a generous grant of $9,387.20 to go toward our Leadership Program (pictured: R-L: Amanda Strickland, Kameron Kaveh, Marguerite Ferrell, Vicki Coffman, Erik Nilsen, Mary Conley and Jennifer Thornton). The ECTC Leadership Program was designed to afford both the pre-licensed therapist the opportunity to gain clinical experience by donating hours to those seeking otherwise unattainable mental health services. People like the homeless, foster kids who have aged out of the foster care system, and wives and children who have been abandoned without financial support. This gener

Let It Go

The soundtrack to the movie FROZEN "Let It Go" (lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez) won "Best Song" at the 2014 Academy Awards. The song represents Elsa's journey from being judged by others to her acceptance of her right to "let it go" and live the life she was designed for. Now isolation in a castle made of ice wouldn't be my way of letting anything go, but the fact that she was not going to let anyone else make her choices for her I can appreciate. Do you live in an ice castle of your own making? Are the walls that surround you made of bitterness, resentment, and self-condemnation? Do you justify your choices even while you wish you could do otherwise? I have a picture fram

Hail Mary

In sports there is a play called the "Hail Mary," which basically is an attempt to do something incredibly difficult or challenging. Quarterback Roger Staubach successfully threw a 50 yard pass during the 1975 NFC Divisional Championship when the Dallas Cowboys were trailing 14-10 to the Minnesota Vikings. Starbuck later coined the effort as a "Hail Mary" and the name stuck. A 3-pointer from mid-court was considered a "prayer shot." Golden State Warriors' Klay Thompson breaking the record for making the most 3-shots or Michael Jordan's flying through the air to dunk the ball have become so commonplace the difficulty seems all but gone. Now we expect those shots to be made with more regularit

Humor Me

There is a saying, "Humor is the best medicine" and I often prescribe humor as a therapist. Laughing in therapy lightens even the darkest mood and can bring the client to a place where things do not seem as bad as they are. I'm not moving the client toward denial of their difficulties, but I am trying to bring the circumstances into a proper perspective.The pains of the past will only hurt you in the present if you let them. Pain is never pleasant, not in the original experience and neither in the retelling of the experience. The point of therapy is to open the scabs of the past and clean out the infected memories so that healthy healing can take place. When I was a kid, Ann Landers had a we


To "relate" to someone is to have understanding for a situation, to feel a connection, empathy, and compassion for another. In the 60's people would ask, "Can you relate?" and another way to say it was, "Can you dig it?" Relatability is how well you can accomplish this or if you are relate-able. Relationship ships are built on the foundation of relatability by two or more people. Relationships also break down when two people cannot relate to each other anymore. So it appears that Relatability is a pretty big deal if you want to have a successful relationship with your partner, your children, your parents, and your friends and coworkers. It drives who you vote for at the poles, the degree you

Buyer Beware

Yesterday I heard some very disturbing information and it has me up at 1:30a.m. writing this. Our Children are under attack and we are inviting pedophiles and murders into our homes and they are romancing our children into the sex trade. I kid you not. Look at the society we live in today... School shooting Human Sex Trafficking Sexting Porn Addictions Drug and Alcohol Addiction Vaping Anxiety Depression Suicide What do these things have in common? Our children are under attack and parents are not even aware. The City of Perris hosted Opal Singleton who is a one-woman warrior attempting to engage parents, children, law enforcement, churches, and anyone who will listen. She is the Training an

Gratefully Bound

One of the most amazing blessings I personally get to have is to provide a Practicum Site to Students who need hours of training in order to graduate with their Masters Degree in Psychology. This is a mandate of each University and unfortunately, there are not enough Practicum Sites where students can get their hours. Consequently, Encouragers Counseling & Training Centers gets too many phone calls from panicked students desperate to find a site or they will have to lose all their financial and educational investments until they can get into a site. Since the first of the year, we've received several calls from students in tears because they will not be able to graduate and will have to pay

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