A Way Out of the Cave

Sadness is like a dark cloud fogging over your brain with despair making you want to curl up in a ball and lie in your bed forever. If no change to the mind happened, people would stay in their dark cave forever.

Depression keeps away hope. In its darkness, light is hard to grasp. Negative thoughts stand in the way from the truth preventing the steps to a better frame of mind to be seen.

Anxiety begins with depression’s lies. Then thinking spirals into a panic not allowing for reasoning.

Who is to stop such madness but the trained mind of the person who practices climbing out of the cave knowing all too well the habitual ways of the one who prevents himself from taking the first action. Yet for that person in the cave, they sometimes have a hard time seeing the first step.

Once I sat in a dark cave.  The tour guide then lit one match.  It was amazing to everyone how much one little match lit up the whole cave.

If you find yourself or know someone in a dark cave of depression,  focus on the first action of lighting a match. The magic is in learning how to see the light. For the quicker you can ignite a flame, the more you can see all you need to see which is the first step out of the despair.

Once you see the first step, your brain begins to see a path for hope. The momentum of taking the first step motivates you to keep climbing.  If you know someone suffering from depression, or do so yourself, learn to question the current thinking.  What is it that is causing the depression?  What lies are being told?  Are those lies really true?  What can they be thankful for?

If they can name even one thing that they can be grateful for, the mind reframes.  It becomes the match giving them a different perspective of their life and their abilities. It makes them see all the times where they demonstrated strength and where those lies were not true.

Help those who cannot see the light.  Guide them to the first step.  A glimpse of hope and optimism goes a long way.  It will guide you out of a cave.

Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Crisis text: 741741

If you live in the Dayton, Ohio area, schedule free counseling by email: counseling@southbrook.org

To share inspiring stories or be referred to a Professional Counselor email: everythingforthesoul@gmail.com

The photograph was taken in Ireland.

Joyful Simplicity

Growing up in the country as a child in the 70’s the electricity would go out frequently. Sometimes it took hours or even days to go back on. That meant no TV which forced our family to rely on simpler entertainment. Our home would be lit by candlelight. My scratchpad and pencils next to a nearby flame allowed enough light to trace images from my coloring book for hours. Oftentimes my family would agree to play board games and cards. Those family stories shared during those moments of darkness with just little flames of light are still cherished. 

While reflecting on those simpler days thinking of all the special moments where very little money was required to be happy, I remember:

  • Climbing our large apple trees and enjoying the fragrance filling the Spring air of the apple blossoms that were in full bloom.
  • Waking up to the birds’ singing in the morning with a slight breeze coming through the open farmhouse window making the sheer curtains dance peacefully in my room.
  • Being taught how to put a worm on a hook by my Dad and getting to cast my line all by myself. Even if no fish would bite during those fishing trips, I still have fond memories of getting to enjoy a picnic lunch in the peaceful silence of nature with maybe an occasional sound of cows mooing in the distance.
  • Picking wild strawberries on the side of a country road and running back home to share my exciting harvest of a handful. Or more accurately the remains of the leftovers after I ate the largest ones even before they could be washed.
  • Walking down to our nearby pond/mudhole and catching tadpoles with my sisters.
  • Going in the hay mile to play and finding a surprise litter of kittens.
  • Watching the amazing ability of an ant carry food more than twice his size for what could have been hours.
  • Getting to go along with my older brothers and sisters to pick up large rocks out of a field before my Dad and older brothers and sisters could plow the fields.
  • The satisfaction of touching a cute brown little piglet through the fence long enough to feel his coarse hair and admiring his pretty long-eyelashes.
  • Pushing the bubbles of pitch on the tar country road on a hot summer day.
  • Getting to grill out and eat with the family on a picnic table in the barnyard.
  • Watching Mom make apple pies and getting to play with the leftover dough

Making mud pies, finding toads, and embracing the feeling of grass on our bare feet while dancing around in the yard are some of the simple things of childhood that brought many of us joy. 

Now in adulthood with larger houses, entertainment at our fingertips, no time for hobbies or board games, many of us have begun taking the ordinary things for granted. Usually, when unfortunate circumstances occur, it can become a wake-up call to a larger life lesson that leads us to appreciate each other and the simplest of life’s pleasures once more.

Whatever obstacles that could be in front of us with economic uncertainty, one thing remains in our control, our attitude and outlook to overcome our struggles.  Remember tough moments too shall pass.  Meanwhile, whether it is memories of your youth or simple pleasures from today, share your favorite moments where it was the simple things that brought you joy.  Hope and optimism can conquer all fear.

If you live in the Dayton, Ohio area, schedule free counseling by email: counseling@southbrook.org

To share inspiring stories or be referred to a Professional Counselor email: everythingforthesoul@gmail.com





Find Your Way Home

Have you ever been away from home so long that you craved to just sleep in your own bed? When you finally got home you found yourself feeling so thankful for the simple things like your own pillow and your safe haven didn’t you?

Sometimes in life when we find ourselves stuck, have lost someone close to us, or feel overwhelmed with life’s burdens we crave getting back to normalcy we once took for granted. In tough times it can feel we have a mountain to climb to get over the exhaustion or heartache and find comfort and joy with life again.

The past couple of years in writing this blog, it has been my therapy for the times when I needed a mind reframing. My mind can get stuck in negative thinking yet when I write I start realizing I have control over how I look at what I am facing. The faster I become aware of my downward spiral, the faster I can take control and stop letting myself derail.

I thought this blog could help other’s not feel alone. Yet when I hear of some people’s burdens I think how could this possibly help them? I have heard so many stories of painful life challenges much tougher than my own. I want to be able to pour all my love into their wounds so they can feel that same comfort of getting to crawl into their own bed after being away for too long.  Nothing I do seems to be enough for what hurt people need.

Yet, just as I am about to close down my blog from feeling my pursuit is too impossible or I begin to worry about what others think after sharing my vulnerabilities, I find myself back in the same place.  Writing for therapy.   It helps me realize that we all need help reframing our own mind sometimes.  More importantly, when we find someone who listens and seeks first to understand us, that one person who cares provides us with that feeling of comfort that we could all use occasionally.  No matter what challenge, big or small, we can all use someone who understands and helps us find our way back feeling home when we feel lost.  

Please keep seeking first to understand.  If it has been a while since someone stopped to listen and understand you, then email your story to everythingforthesoul@gmail.com.

Or schedule an appointment with your local listener:

Professional Counselors

Find Your Value

Have you ever seen a fish flapping around out of water? It is hard to watch, isn’t it? You want to quickly put them back in the water where they belong.

Similarly, how often do you try to be something you are not by focusing on changing your weaknesses rather than enhancing your strengths?

If you have ever taken a new job in your past and remember the feeling of all you needed to learn you know each new position has a state of conscience incompetence. Depending on your fit to the role given your strengths and weaknesses, your feeling of value to each of your employers may have varied at first.

After a year of self-discovery in a new venture, there were times I felt like a fish out of water. I became to realize that all the biggest strengths were not what really mattered when it came to the measurement of performance in the new position. Then I went back to the industry I had spent most of my career development in and where all my strengths fit.

When comparing the two new job roles, the biggest difference was my belief in myself. I was sold the first role without my complete buy-in that I could do it. In the second role, I knew it fit my strengths and was sold myself. Now when I focus on growing in my strengths, my excitement soars!

If we don’t control that ugly critical voice inside our heads, we can let ourselves destroy our own happiness and feel like we are drowning. When we focus too much on our weaknesses rather than our areas of strength we hold ourselves back from blossoming into our very own extraordinary.

When we feel valued it feels amazing, doesn’t it? We feel our worth skyrocket and it sparks our enthusiasm and motivation to keep swimming!

If you are not feeling your own value, look at why that is? What is it that has always made you special? Are you operating in your areas of strength or are you too focused on trying to fix your weaknesses?

When you realize your areas of strength, you will have all the confidence in your ability to grow and find the value in yourself. You will feel like a fish back in the water and more importantly, you will no longer feel confined to your fishbowl!

To focus on your areas of strength here’s a link to get you started:


Do You Have A Thinking Problem?

Have you ever asked yourself if all the thinking you do is productive?

Sometimes we can create our own melancholy: a feeling of pensive sadness, typically with no obvious cause.

Have you noticed that when you have let your mind go into a downward spiral of feeling insufficient, other people‘s praise goes unheard.

When your life choices seem to big to bare or you are overwhelmed by self doubt, ask for spiritual guidance. Read positive messages, or get into your place where you can remind yourself of all your true powers to persevere.You have to take baby steps and not look at the mountain.

To fight against it you must awaken to the present and grasp at all those positive things happening right in front of you. List those things to be grateful for and bring joy back into your mood through music or spiritual guidance.

You don’t have to go through life’s struggles alone. You can ask for help. Resources are all around.

Today after not feeling well for multiple days in a row due to a flu virus, I felt this overwhelming fear of not being good enough and began questioning all my decisions and worth. I began second guessing what my gut was telling me and wondering if I was truly good enough to handle any of the new career options I was examining after my job loss. The thoughts of possible failure took over.

Then I read one of my spiritual leaders Josie Muterspaw’s post from Shine Healing Ministries. She reminded me I was not alone in the self doubt we can all struggle with and how when we ask for strength, God gives it to us.

Whatever challenges you are facing, you can overcome them. Stop thinking and start seeking strength.

If you would like to share your story, please email me at everythingforthesoul@gmail.com.

Shine Healing Ministries

Grateful Hearts

If you are like most people when you have a setback, there are days where you struggle to get your attitude in check and there are days where you can see more positives than negatives. One day you feel like life isn’t fair. The next brings a whole new outlook.

After a stressful few days, my body began showing signs of internalized stress. While I had many good days after a setback, my internal fears and anxieties took over me which resulted in chest pain, self-pity, ache muscles and ultimately a fever blister. I struggled to control my thoughts and down spiraled into everything that wasn’t right in my world. As much as I strive for life perfection, something happens that reminds me that perfection isn’t what life is about.

If we get caught up in the way life “should” be, then our love for life itself is lost. Yet when we focus on what we have to be thankful for, our worries, regrets, and shortfalls disappear. Sometimes struggles require taking a moment to shut down, get some rest and remember to read some positive messages to help reframe the brain.

While as much as I didn’t like myself yesterday for my attitude, resentment, and body revenge from stress, today is a new day because I start with an attitude of gratitude. Today my heart is full of love for all the people who touched my heart this year. All the people who I learned from. All the people who supported me.  All the people who shared their stories with me, listened, and showed how good life can truly be if we just focus on the other hearts of the people on the journey with us.

Christmas Tree at Ruffino’s On the River in Lafayette, LA

On this Christmas morning, may we all embrace the Christmas spirit and remember our grateful hearts all year long!

If you struggle with anxiety or mind reframing here are some helpful resources:

Positive Messages

Anxiety Intervention

More Time

Do you ever say, “if I only had more time then I would do …?”

Now think of a time when you thought you had time to do something and put it off. When you then realized you didn’t have as much time as you thought before the deadline approached, how fast did you get it done? Quickly right?

If you are like me, when you are crunched for time and feel like you won’t have it in the future, you get everything done in a matter of minutes.

If you have been using the excuse saying if only I had time to: take up hobbies, call old friends, see your parents, exercise, give back, have fun, or any other things that you say are on your wish list, stop making excuses.

Truth is, there is some other reason why you are not doing your wish list. Don’t believe me? Then I challenge you to write down three things you have been saying you wish you had time for.


1. Bicycling

2. Family activity

3. Creative project

Now write down what you feel you must do that takes priority over the wish list with weekly hours noted.


1. Work/job 50 hours

2. Commute 5 hours

2. Grocery shop/cook/eat/clean up 16 hours

3. Laundry 3 hours

4. Clean 2 hours

5. Errands/shuttling kids/sports 14 hours

6. Sleep 56 hours

7. Exercise 7 hours

8. Hygiene and self-care 7 hours

Calculate how much time your need list takes in a week.

From the example above: 168 hours is a week – 160 (need list) hours = 8 hours weekly remaining

In this example, there are 8 hours a week for the wish list.  After you calculate your remaining time, what do you have left?

Now think about how are you currently spending that time?

Do you see how you have time for any of the three items from your wish list?

I share this example because once I had extra free time to do the things I thought I wanted to do, I still put them off until I felt my time was running out.  While I did do more fun things with that free time, there was a much larger amount of time wasted because in my mind I thought I could do it in the future.

In reality, none of us know what our future holds. So make your list each day and include:

1. What needs to be done?

2. What can wait until tomorrow?

3. What will I regret not doing if I don’t get a tomorrow?

Make sure each day includes something to fill your sense of accomplishment and also something that fills your soul!

For a list of ideas visit:

Create Something #FindJoy

Discover Something New