The Wilderness Experience – Easy Does It

Dear Reader,

It occurred to me that my moving from Ooltewah, TN to Cleveland, TN caused a pause in my leisure play of Pokemon Go. Yes, I am one of those that have this game app.

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Unfortunately, I was unable to place the app onto my Windows smartphone. I am only able to play Pokemon Go on my iPod Touch. Therefore, I can only use WiFi to access the Internet (I do not have data on my iPod because it’s not a phone). Where we live, there are barely any Pokemons and absolutely any Pokestops to gather Pokeballs nor any Pokemon gyms (Pokeballs are needed to capture Pokemons; I have about 20 Pokeballs left).

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So I am experiencing something that I have spiritually known as “the wilderness experience.” I had learned about this concept from Kanndis Geter; a lady who I had once done medical missionary work with. She had me to recall the story of Moses. After Moses had fled from the face of Pharaoh, he dwelt in the land of Midian (Exodus 2:15). While in Midian, he “kept the flock of Jethro” in the desert (aka: wilderness) (Exodus 3:1). The previous lifestyle Moses was used to was no longer available for him to access (just like I can no longer access the Pokestops at Southern Adventist University). While other things are no longer accessible, I am using this time to keep my “flock.” In the Pokemon Go app, my “flock” are my previous Pokemons I had already captured. Two of them, I have been able to grow and strengthen because I am able to capture the pre-evolve versions of them (need those to 1. increase their strength, called CP, and 2. evolve them).

Pidgeotto, the evolve version of Pidgey, has only 176 CP. I say “only” because I have viewed how those who are more serious in their Pokemon Go experience has their Pokemons’ CP in the four-digits (ex: 1,284). So, while in Cleveland, TN, I have been able to capture a lot of Pidgey Pokemons and, after transferring a Pidgey that I captured to Professor Willow, I receive one Pidgey candy. As you can view below, I only need to capture three more Pidgeys to evolve my Pidgeotto.

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As for Raticate, this Pokemon is in the highest evolved state. However, it is on 312 CP. To increase the CP, I simply need to keep using the “power up” option.

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So how is this associated with the “easy does it” (an old saying from Alcohol Anonymous) that is in my blog title? It is a slow process to increase the CP. The exact meaning is “Combat Power.” Combat power is needed to fight against another Pokemon in the gyms. When I think of combat power, I think on a spiritual realm. Moses was given a type of combat power. He learned how to deal with the children of Israel while they were experiencing their wilderness experience (Exodus 13:18) because he had kept the flock of Jethro’s for many years. I understand from those who have own sheep that being a shepherd is not an easy task. God had given Moses an important task to watch over His flock (Exodus 3:10) but, prior to this, God allowed him to experience a wilderness experience.

Are you also going through a wilderness experience? Is God preparing you for a future spiritual combat? To prepare, one must continue to put on the Christian armor (Ephesians 6:10-18). Avoid pessimistic and irrational thoughts. Continue to move upward and onward. One day at a time. Easy does it. For me, it’s literally one Pokemon at a time. In my realistic world, I have been taking it one verse at at time (encouraging verses found in the Bible), one job application at a time, one book at a time, and (while doing volunteer work at Foundation House Ministries), one client at a time.

And if you are in the process of recovering from any event or situation, I want to encourage you to take it one day at time. “Easy does it.” Don’t give up. Keep collecting your Pokemons and watching over your “flock.” Let go and allow your Higher Power (that is greater than yourself) to have control over what is out of control in your life. Let this Higher Power restore your sanity. Know that you are not alone and there is hope and help to conquer your despair.

Alcohol Anonymous

Steps in Recovery

Codependent No More – Audible Version of Book

The Best Part Of Downtime – Relationships

Hello Readers,

While reviewing phone address names and bloggers on my list, I just realized the best part of having downtime: relationships. Last week, I had called someone that I haven’t spoke to in a while. I encouraged her and she encouraged me. It was great to play catch up with her.

Not to re-hatch what I had previously written today (yes, two blogs in one day), I will refrain in explaining how downtime itself can be an opportunity. Instead, I will say this, relationships often die because we fail to keep in touch. So, if there is someone that you haven’t spoke to in a while, do not just send them a message through Facebook, Twitter, or even through a mobile device. Give them a call. Hear their voice. Or even Skype them to see their face expression. Reconnect with acquaintances and friends. Or, you will have years past by and will not be able to connect with them again because of change of address, phone number, or even death may hinder a reunion.

I’m trying to reach one person myself. Hopefully I will hear from her sometime next week.

Downtime With My Creator

Hello Readers,

Throughout the years of having “downtime” (in between jobs, missionary work, etc.), I have learned to take this as an opportunity to get to know my Creator more. At first, I did grumble and say “I WANT TO WORK!” but, in my early 20s, I was just starting to view the Bible and life differently. Sometimes, when we are so busy working or so busy with our life that is in front of us, we forget some basic things: just being.

As I am typing this, I am aware of the singing insects of the summer. Sometimes, it’s easy to tune out those sounds. Even the sound of myself typing reminds me to be present in the moment. Downtime like this doesn’t come often; especially the older one becomes (I haven’t had downtime like this for over four years). So, I say to simply enjoy it, reflect on life (blogging, journal-ing, etc.), and make it work for you.

For me, I find adventure in studying a subject in the Bible. I am currently studying on guiding principles on prayer (see blog with same title). Then I do some housework and review some of my textbooks. I also read for pleasure as well as my Counseling Today magazine. I try to do sometime creative as well before my family members return home. During the entire time, I tell myself to listen, feel, taste, smell, and see things I often overlook. Even a string on the floor!🙂 I take it all in and thank God for every moment.

I do create a memo list but don’t take it too seriously; stress is not needed at this time. The sad thing is that, any day, now, this time will be snatched away and I’m back to working again. But, until then, I’m enjoying every moment of it all!

Guiding Principles on Prayer

Hello Readers,

The following Bible study is a work in progress so here is what I have so far. I will continue to edit as I study this topic:

GUIDING PRINCIPLES ON PRAYER

Study The Details Of:

  • Psalms 51 (David’s prayer)
  • Daniel 9:3-23 (Daniel’s prayer)
  • Matthew 6:9-12 (The Lord’s prayer)
  • John 17 (Christ’s prayer)

David’s Prayer – Psalms 51
Daniel’s Prayer
The Lord’s Prayer
Christ’s Prayer

Appendix A

Pre Post-Master Supervision

Hello Readers,

After completing my last class for the clinical mental health counseling program at Southern Adventist University, I had to wait for all the paperwork to be completed for my professor to send in a final grade at Records. Until then, I do not have a physical diploma. Today, I see that my final grade was submitted. I called Records to make a request that I would like to pick up my diploma instead of having them mail it to me. I had my undergraduate diplomas mailed to me because it came from Arizona (went to University of Phoenix by doing online classes in psychology). But, since I am still close to Southern, I would like to pick it up from there. Something about getting the diploma while on the school campus that is different than getting it from a mailbox. I mean, it’s not a utility bill or something. It’s an achievement that I would like to get from the school itself.

But that’s just me.🙂

In other news, I have been searching for someone who has the right requirements to be a post-master supervisor and is also willing and able to do so. After attempting to find a professor from Southern, I had found one lady from Lee University. But she charges $50 per session. Is that a reasonable price? The reason she charges is because she has to provide her own insurance and tax license for her private practice. One of the professors at Southern (who hasn’t transferred her supervision to Tennessee just yet; can only supervise students) recommended me another person who has his license in clinical social work. I had also contacted two other colleges to see if someone from the social work department (has to have “clinical” in their license) could also supervise me.

I have also been looking into two companies that provides professional liability insurance: HPSO and CPH and Associates. Healthcare Provider Service Organization (HPSO) is the same insurance company that provides professional liability insurance to ACA (American Counseling Association) members. Since I was a student (legally one until September), I was covered with this insurance. But once my student status stops, my insurance with them will expire. I will not tell you  more on which one I am going to choose and why because it isn’t my intention to promote either one. Everyone has a preference and should use what works for them.

So that’s what has been happening thus far. Looking for work as well. Foundation House Ministries would like for me to be their in-house counselor but has to wait for their grant(s) to come (supposed to be next month). Then, the last time I had known, they said that they won’t know how to divide the grant(s) up until January. In the meantime, my husband has been able to find work and not me.😦 So, I have changed my status from intern to volunteer at Foundation House. And, since I don’t have a supervisor, I haven’t been doing “counseling” at the office.

For reference, here are the following:

Rules of Tennessee Board for Professional Counselors, Marital and Family Therapists, and Clinical Pastoral Therapists:

  1. http://tennessee.gov/health/article/pcmft-statutes (click on the “click here” underneath the word “rules)
  2. http://share.tn.gov/sos/rules/0450/0450.htm (direct link)

Healthcare Provider Service Organization (HPSO): https://hpso-affinity.myinsurancepurchase.com/index.php

CPH and Associates: http://www.cphins.com

Saying Goodbye – Summer III, Week 14

Hello Readers,

It’s been a long journey but I made it! I completed my hours of internship two weeks (during week 12) and I also was able to walk during the summer graduation ceremony at Southern Adventist University. At the end of June, I was given the opportunity (along with other Behavioral Research Institute interns) to obtain direct and indirect hours at Foundation House Ministries (FHM). Dr. Vining was my supervisor for this site. Because I was getting more hours at FHM, there was no need to continue to gain hours at Health Management Services (Dr. Biller’s office). Foundation House liked me so much that they want to hire me but they will have to wait for their grant(s) to come through in September and then they will know how they are going to divide the grant(s) in January 2017.

Today, I said goodbye to the interns at Dr. Vining’s office (Youth Counseling Services) as well as my classmates at Southern Adventist University (those that had started the clinical mental health counseling track after I had started). I shed a lot of tears hearing the well remarks at Dr. Vining’s office. Dr. Vining prayed and sent me off with blessings.

So this chapter in my life is closed.

After all the paperwork and final grade is submitted, I will officially have my master degree in September (Southern graduates students monthly). That is when I will officially smile and grin; holding my master degree in my hand. Until then, I have the ability to volunteer my time at Foundation House (God granted my husband a job that will allow him to pay rent and all our bills; husband has given me his blessings on working at Foundation House).

But I’m not done yet.

I will have to research about professional liability for employees (employment as a mental health counselor) and also look into who could supervise me to calculate hours to become a candidate for the licensure exam (have to work 10 hours per week for two years in Tennessee while under supervision). So the journey is not completely over. It will be over when I have my LPC (licensed professional counselor). Or will it?😛

Edit: Since the time zone is off (apparently, WordPress thinks I still live in California, the “today” is August the 10th and not the 11th). I fixed the time zone in settings but it won’t change here. So annoying!

Why Southern Adventist University?

Hello Reader,

While browsing through my old files on my computer, I found something that made me smile: the essay I had to write to explain to Southern Adventist University why I desired to obtain my master degree from Southern. I share it below because it’s an awesome testimony of what God is doing in my life (written April 2013):

Why Southern Adventist University?

Early this year, I had completed my bachelor’s degree in Psychology at University of Phoenix Online Campus. Prior to this completion, my desire was to become a counselor. This desire has been a personal goal for several years. Noting that I needed a master’s degree to become a counselor, I had reviewed the American Mental Health Counselors Association standards for the practice of clinical mental health counseling. Because I had noticed that Southern University had the accreditations, curriculum, and semester hours needed to fulfill the standards, I desire to receive my education from Southern University.

Career Goals

I had encouraged fellow Seventh Day Adventist young ladies during my short time at Hartland College. This motivation originated from viewing how one young lady appeared sad after I had anonymously given her a note of rebuke. I was a “new believer” and therefore lacked the comprehension of the Holy Spirit’s transformation of one into a new creature. Instead, I was prone to reprove and rebuke so the individual would attempt to change him or herself into something new. Upon seeing how depressed this one young lady looked after the rebuke I had given her by note, I was motivated to fix quickly the emotional pain I had caused.

The previous years of elementary school came to mind. During elementary, I was blessed to have a few girl classmates who were into arts and crafts. We exchanged letter and note crafting ideas and I had kept the concept of intimate sharing in mind. While at Hartland College, I had used flowers from the local area and notes of Biblical promises to encourage the one young lady. In the note, I explained that God was working in her life to become the young lady He desired her to be. This action became a habit as I continued to leave flowers and God’s promises around for other young ladies to read at Hartland College.

I know how it is to be the receiver of encouragement. Upon viewing how happy and self-determined the young ladies at Hartland College became because someone showed that he or she cared, I was inspired to continue to remain compassionate. It took me a while to remove the mental scales of bias in connection to the school of psychology. Prior to reading the textbooks for my associates degree in Psychology, I thought psychology only included the theories of Sigmund Freud! Once those rash ideas were erased, I saw how in theory negative behaviors could be changed into something positive. I desired to help those who wanted to change their behaviors.

Originally, I had desired to work with children. I loved studying about the mind and child development. The reason was because it appeared that it is easier to change the behaviors of a child versus an adult. However, recalling my confusing teenage years, I regressed to wanting to counsel the latter adolescent years. I want to work with those who have low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety. I believe Southern Adventist University can give me the tools to achieve my goal.

Interpersonal Style

People who come to know me realize I am a thinker. Others who watched me grow up assumed that I was shy. However, I often found myself in awkward social moments that caused me to display mild anxiety. Therefore, unable to comprehend how I ought to carry myself in certain circumstances, I appeared shy when in actuality I may have been scared to death that I would perform a social “no-no.”

During my teenage years, I was labeled stuck up. This was another social misunderstanding. My natural aloofness was a result of the thinker personality. In addition, my introvert personality causes me to avoid high stimulant areas to reduce the chance of a mental overload. As a result, I avoided large social gathering and was therefore labeled stuck up until I learned how to cope in such situations.

With those traits in mind, it may sound odd to say I am also a helper. Shortly after Capital City Seventh Day Adventist church had an evangelistic crusade in the Natomas area in 1999, many youth from Capital City were inspired to go into diverse areas of America to pursue missionary work. Between attempts of obtaining training in the areas of medical missionary work (at Hartland College and M.E.E.T. Ministry), I was asked by a few friends to help them with literature evangelism and Bible work. As I had helped them, the events helped me to gain self worth and social skills as well as the opportunity to share encouragement to my fellow workers. Prior to this, I was still getting to know who I was in Christ: a jewel worth His time to polish.

My personality styles of a thinker and a helper were united when I realized my interest with the mind of people instead of only the physical well being. This dismissed the medical missionary attempted and increased the desire to help people with their individual situations. I wanted to be a part of their reasoning process as God desires to come together and reason with us as individuals (Isaiah 1:18). More of this will be explained later on in the “My World View” selection.

My Family

I was born into a Christian home. My father, [name has been removed], was a Methodist Episcopal whereas my mother, [name has been removed], was a Seventh Day Adventist. I attended both churches for a while. I recalled the ending of attending the Methodist church was because my father had stopped attending himself. This was shortly after my paternal grandmother had passed away.

Although most of my maternal side of the family was attending Capital City Seventh Day Adventist Church in Sacramento, California, I lacked the knowledge of the basic Seventh Day Adventist beliefs. Upon learning them during an evangelistic crusade, I had felt cheated and hurt. I was sitting on a gold mine of information but failed to learn the entire truth, as in history and doctrine, until I was 17 years old! For a while, I resented my maternal side of the family but came to understand that obtaining knowledge of Christian truth is an individual thing and ought to refrain from hating those who failed to take time to teach me.

Both sides of my family have strong Christian roots. We are spiritually bond to our Maker. Both sides have helper personalities and a history of humanitarianism. To obtain my master’s in clinical mental health counseling would be help my fellow humankind. If my grandparents would have known I would tread this road, they would have smiled and encouraged me to take this journey.

My World View

Prior to attending Hartland College, one section of the Bible had grabbed my attention. I understood that once I had allowed the Holy Spirit to do His job in my heart, I would be able to present the gospel in a practical way; similar to how Jesus presented the love of the Father while He walked on the earth. The verses were the following:

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:1-3)

Upon understanding that this was the verse that Jesus had quoted while in the synagogue, I understood that as Christians, Christ’s representatives on earth, I had a duty to address such similar situations with fellow human beings. This was also confirmed during a time when I was helping a group in Maryland, called The Wedge. A friend, one of the fellow workers with this group, happened to have an audio series by Drs. Ron and Nancy Rockey; called “In it to Win It.” The series were based in how Satan desires to damage anything that has Christ in it; including people.

Accepting that people are either born damaged or placed in a situation that will allow Satan to attempt to damage the person (physically, mentally, or spiritually), I desired to be a part of the movement of healing those damaged souls. This type of world view has equipped me with the motivation to become a counselor. I want to set them free of the mental bonds that they are wearing. As a result of setting the people free from such burdens, my Father in Heaven will be glorified.

Valuing Diversity

In understanding that people are diverse, I have learned to be flexible in responding to and meeting the needs of people with a different value system, spiritual perspective, or cultural difference from myself. I embrace diversity because I was different from my peers while growing up. It was quite difficult to speak with others that had different spiritual perspectives. However, I came to understand God allows bits and pieces of truth to shine upon the perspectives of others on a continual basis. I want to share small tokens of God’s love and mercy in their time of need, pray for the person on my personal time, and allow the Holy Spirit to impart Bible truths in due time. Addressing the need is my focus and I will avoid forcing people to accept my spiritual views.

Personal Self Care

I also believe taking care of self is crucial to retaining counselor wellness. Mental and physical exercise is important. Temperance in the things that are good, such as food intake, is also important. One must have the right amount of sleep to refrain from irritability and to maintain the ability for information retention.

When I realize I am presented with a stressor, I take deep breaths and count to 10. I remember that yelling or similar behaviors often make the situation worse so I pray to God to keep me from displaying inappropriate behavior. When applicable, I remove myself from the stressor. If this action is unavailable, I remind myself this situation will pass and will treat myself to a massage, bubble bath, or a positive outlet.

Because the graduate program may be demanding, I will use the above personal self care tips as well as to seek social support. Keeping a web blog is also a positive reinforcement for one can recall how God revealed His power in difficult situations. With the writings of adversity and triumphant written down so closely together, one can be certain that God will display His mighty hand once again.

Strengths and Weaknesses

According to an Ethics Awareness Inventory, my ethical awareness inventory scoring summary was high on obligation. My ethical perspective is based “on an individual’s duty or obligation to do what is morally right” (The Williams Institute, 2008, p. 2). Because of this perspective, I often look to find what a person’s intent was instead of focusing on the result of the matter. Here is where the thinker personality can often get one into trouble. My ethical style causes me to avoid supporting policies that deny the right of individualism. I believe in fostering personal growth instead of dismissing it for the sake of social structure. However, personal growth has to avoid trampling over the law of God: love God with all your heart, soul, and mind and love your neighbors as yourself.

My weakness allows me to know that I have room for growth. I desire to learn how to refrain from over thinking. In addition, I realize that the right choice for an individual may appear the wrong choice for social structure. Moral decisions can be difficult to ascertain. Fasting and prayer may be needed to gain the knowledge of what action is best. I am reminded that when I am weak, God is strong. I will rely on God’s strength and wisdom when my weakness may be a hindrance to effectiveness while enrolled in the clinical mental health counseling program at Southern University.