Growing up my family would tell stories about their lives and the past. One story has stayed with me. My grandmother got a call one night saying my grandpa was on his way home, and that he was drunk and had a gun. With seven small children in tow, my grandmother got all the children out and went to a safe place. When they returned in the morning a neighbor’s car had been shot up. This was just one of many stories I have heard over the years.
I have completed several internships over the years and most have been in domestic violence shelters. I was a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for almost 4 years helping abused and neglected children. Until recently, I was a court advocate at Clay County Courthouse helping people fill out Orders of Protection. As a counselor in my private practice, I help people empower themselves with better choice and life skills.
I tell you this not to pat myself on the back but to show how sometimes it’s not our past that helps define who we are but the history of generations who came before us. My past has not be been abusive but I am still influenced by the experiences my mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and so on. So in the present I can help those who have similar situations break the cycle and have different experiences to hand down to future generations.
If you or anyone you know needs help to escape a domestic violence situation you can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-787-7233.
For more information please see my Resources page at https://www.trinitycounselingkc.com/domestic-violence.html
Or contact me by phone 816-200-2532, or email Nicole@TrinityCounselingKC.com.
I created Trinity Counseling from the idea that out past builds the foundation of who we are. Our present is how we put together the lessons from that past in order to be who we want to be. Past, Present and Future.
I believe that in order to understand who we are, we must acknowledge what helped shape us. Sometimes that can be a emotional, scary and down right upsetting thing to do. Our past help make us who we are and working through some of the past can help help us have a great future.
On this page I will be posting some of my thoughts and ideas as well as ideas from others. This is a safe place to ask questions, post ideas, thoughts, poems or anything else that has helped shaped the awesomeness that is you.
Spring is finally peeking it’s head out from under the covers. I don't think I could have survived another cold, wet, miserable Saturday soccer game. Don’t get me wrong, I love, absolutely love, going to my kids soccer games. I even like going to soccer practice. I get to sit in the great outdoors, feeling the sun and the wind. I get to close my eyes and breathe, sometimes it’s my first deep breath of the day. It’s my time. If I don't want to interact with other parents, I don’t. I can read a book, listen to a podcast, look at Facebook, or just sit with my eyes closed.
It is part of my “taking care of me” routine. We all have busy lives and taking the time to slow down and check in with ourselves is very important. If we don't refill our stock piles of energy, empathy, sympathy, love, compassion, stick-to-it-ness and other must haves, we won’t have it to give to anyone else.
I encourage you to find time in your routine to take care of yourself. Sometimes we find the answer in the unlikeliest places… like soccer practice.
I woke up Monday to the tragic news that over 50 people had lost their lives and over 500 people were injured in a senseless act of violence in Las Vagas. I kept up on the details as they came throughout the day on Monday, still looking for a reason that this happened. Was there a history of unstable behavior, mental illness, loss of job or relationship that sent him over the edge. As of this post I don’t believe there has been any reason given.
My children saw a piece of the news and asked what happened. I told my 8 year old boys that a man went to a room in a hotel in Las Vegas and began shooting at people attending a concert across the street. He killed over 50 people and over 500 were hurt. They, of course, asked why. This was an answer I could not give them. I said, I don’t know. Sometimes people do things because they are sad, angry or have an illness, but I don't know why this man did what he did. What I do know is that people stood in line for hours to give blood to those who were injured, while others handed out water and food. People all over the world are praying for the people and families of those who where killed and injured.
I told my boys that even though we see a lot of mean and hurtful things in this world, we also see how people come together and help. It is our darkest hour that shows us who we are. We are still a world filled with love, compassion, empathy and good will towards our neighbors and strangers. There will alway be good people, and good will overcome the darkness because it only takes one light to shine to dispel the dark. You can be that light in a world full of shadow. We can all be that light and then darkness will never overcome.
My thoughts and prayers go out to Las Vagas, the people and families that were hurt and killed. The rescue workers, doctors and nurses who face tragedies head on, with such grace and courage.
Now that school is in full swing and we are getting back into a somewhat manageable routine, I still find myself stressed out and tired. In between work at the court house, my practice, soccer, theater class and everyday “stuff”, I find it hard to get a breath. I tell my clients they need to talk time for themselves but I need to listen to my own advise.
So while I can’t not take the kids to practice or theater, I can make the most of the time while there. I have discovered I love going to soccer practice. I can sit in my chair and talk to other mom’s or just sit in peace in the outside fall air. I can listen to books on tape (that is one of my favorite things) or catch up on some reading for work.
The point is, even though we have busy lives and sometimes, if not most times, can’t really catch our breath. Recognizing the small moments in between where you can take those breaks and sit out in the fall air while watching a group of 8-10 year old run up and down a field. You and the mom next to you laughs and smiles because you don't have to do that. For that, I am eternally grateful.
If you see someone without a smile, give them yours. It seems like a lot of people needs smiles lately. There is so much tragedy in the news and hardships in everyday life that it may be hard to smile. Feeling overwhelmed, tired, unappreciated, down trodden and sometimes unloved or unwanted, can really take a toll on us. So if you are having a decent day and can spare a smile or two, please give one to someone who may need it. A kind gesture from a stranger or friend can go a long way. So, on this Monday morning, may we all be generous with a smile or nod to someone who may just need a small random act of kindness.
I don’t know about anyone else but I just feel… blah! I’m tired, have no energy and just don't have a lot of motivation right now. The little guy in my head likes to remind me that I’m a counselor and should know how to change how I feel (Sometimes I just want to kick my little guy in the head). That said, I know I need to drink more water, cut back on the sugar, get moving, take deep cleansing breathes. I know all this stuff, but actually doing is something different. How can I motivate my clients if I can’t even motivate myself.
One thing I have noticed about me is that I will over think something and make it seem harder than it really is. So… today I have drank 3, 20 bottles of water (and eaten a cookie).
At least it is a start. I will take a few minutes to breathe today. Whether it’s in the car before I leave work or when I get home before I go inside. A few minutes of deep breathing will oxygenate your blood and allow you to think clearer. I feel better already.
What are some of the things you do when you feel blah? I would love some new ideas and tips you all might have.
I helped a young woman fill out an ‘EX-Parte’ petition (restraining order) today. After I was done asking her questions in order to fill out the paperwork, I gave her a brochure I created about “Red Flags in Relationships.” As she read it she began to cry. She said, “Why didn’t anyone tell me about these? If I had known about these, I would never have gotten involved with him.”
This is a statement I hear far too often. It made me wonder if anything is being taught to our teenagers about relationship abuse. What is it and how to recognize the signs? So I did a bit of research and the answer I got was “no.” It is not taught in school, church or community centers, at least the ones I called. So the next person that asks me where am I supposed to get this information, my answer will be: nowhere. That answer breaks my heart.
We are doing our teenagers such a disservice by not giving them information that may one day save their lives. I know that sounds melodramatic but I have known people who have lost their lives to domestic violence. Families who are so stuck in a cycle of domestic abuse that almost everyone was either a victim or an abuser, going back for generations.
So here is a list of some warning signs:
We all have that little voice inside that tells us when something is not right. For the most part we have learned to disregard that part of our intuition. Either way, that nagging feeling may end up saving your life. Whether you are walking to your car in a parking garage or just had a shoving match with your significant other, you need to listen to that voice.
Domestic violence is still something that we keep a secret because of shame, embarrassment, fear and any one of a hundred other reasons. This is an issue that breaks all barriers; race, religion, socio-economics, education levels, gender, and country. We can change the number of victims but just educating ourselves on the “red flags” and speaking up when we see them. Domestic violence is no longer a “family matter” and it is time to “air the dirty laundry”.
Every year we all make our New Year resolutions. We want to lose 30 pounds, eat healthy and get to the gym 8 days a week, start that new business or change just about every aspect of our lives. This year we are really going to do it! The reality is that most of us fail at our resolutions because they are unrealistic. We look at the whole goal but not the steps it will take for us to get there. When we set smaller goals in order to get to the big goal, we are more likely to stick to the resolution we set.
Take the example of losing 30 pounds. Do you really believe that you can get to the gym every day? Life happens and things come up. Getting to the gym three days a week seems more realistic to me. Start small. On days you don’t go to the gym - take the stairs at work, walk around the building, switch that afternoon “pick me up” to the morning so you have more time to work off the calories. Sometimes it is easier to reach your goal if you do it with someone else. Having an accountability partner can get you to the gym or to remind you to put down that doughnut. Having someone else who knows what you are going through because they are right there with you can make the goal much more obtainable (and the journey more fun!)
I know I can get overwhelmed and lose interest or momentum in trying to reach a goal. Eighteen months ago I decided I wanted to start a private practice. The goal was to have an office and clients, but to reach that goal there were so many little things that had to happen. If I did not break tasks down into manageable groups or goals I never would have accomplished my overall goal. If the goal that week was to build my website, I had to figure out who would host it, what content, pictures, or text to add, and a million more issues. Even though it actually took a month, only by breaking down that monumental task into more manageable pieces was I able to get it done.
If you fall off the wagon, don’t beat yourself up. Pick up where you left off. Our lives are not defined by how many times we fall, it is defined by how many times we get back up. By changing a few of our routines and breaking down larger goals into smaller steps we make obtaining our New Year’s resolutions a reachable goal.
It’s funny, last week I was saying how I feel ready for the holidays for once. Then I realized that Thanksgiving was next Thursday and all that calm I felt went right out the window. To be honest I am not really sure why. I mean, I am making two things. I don't have to clean my house for weeks because people are coming over, or get up at the butt crack of dawn to start a turkey. So why do I feel so anxious?
We see family that we haven’t seen since last year, while the decorations and meaning of the holidays are meant to bring people together with joy, love, and incredible happiness. These are feelings you only get to have this one time of year. If I don't feel these feelings from November 1st to January 2nd, then there must be something wrong with me! Somewhere along the way I think I got it into my head that the holidays are supposed to be perfect.That’s a lot of pressure, or at least it is to me.
I remember having the most amazing holidays when I was a kid. Each year I have been trying to recreate that feeling but it never completely materializes. That thought got me thinking. As a kid we don’t have all the responsibility of being an adult and could just enjoy the moment. Just live in that moment. Now have to think past this moment into the next fifty so I can stay on track.
This year I have decided to TRY to stay in the moment when I can. Stop to admire the decorated tree or smell the wonderful scents of the season. I don't have to do that 24/7 but two or three times out of day is doable. So this season, remember to stop and breathe in the season, just one moment at a time.