Wednesday, July 23, 2014

It Is Finished.

I finished my last class for my Masters in Counseling Psychology today. 

I am now a Qualified Mental Health Professional.  I don't think anybody calls us this, but I am a Counseling Psychologist, but most call us "Counselors." 

I am now qualified to do diagnosis and mental health evaluations, but more than anything...I am done.

I hated my school since I ended up there.  My entire cohort hated the school.  We had two suicides in 2012 among the faculty, and in graduate programs which are really small, two deaths are pretty significant.  That left others to race and fill us in, and one of the Ph.D's?  CUCKOO!  Seriously mentally unstable. 

The worst I got told when I asked for an extension when my wife's grandfather was dying, was "Its not like you're sick, Mariellen is sick, you've just got a death."  And I was going "...please tell me you don't treat patients anymore."

Her evaluations were so low that she was eventually removed from teaching and a few times she walked in and she looked totally terrified to be sitting before us.  She should be!  It was the worst thing I've ever seen in my life professionally.  A colleague of mine, who already has his Ph.D. from Berkley and was a professor at a university up here just getting another Masters degree, got into a bit of a tussle with one of the other Ph.D's on the faculty and they started slapping down their credentials in emails at each other.  And you know what?  I don't ever want to be like that - so full of myself that my degree becomes a substitute for a personality.  I think that's why I went through the hell I did - I needed to be humbled!  I mean really, if you aren't good enough without the degree, then you'll never be good enough with it. 

On a humorous note, since he was a professor he was familiar with schedules and student burnout and our university did some wild scheduling that totally hosed spring break.  He called them out on it in the middle of a meeting when they said that "after consulting everyone this is what we came up with." He said "Well, nobody asked me!"  It went downhill after that.

At any rate, they decided to put him on academic probation where if he said anything someone else considers controversial he would be expelled.  And....then past us walks some girl wearing a "Planned Parenthood" t-shirt and my colleague says " know....I'd be expelled if I wore that same shirt."   Possibly....if he took it off her while she was wearing it at school, that and I doubt it would fit so who knows.

Anyways, it's been bogus and then my turn in the barrel came. I was put on warning status over something that was completely bogus and should never have happened.  I have nothing good to say about it and I told them so, but I wont' ever question the results.  I came away with a severe ability to handle total stress unlike anything and with a sense of confidence in myself belonging in this field.  I was able to negotiate politics now professionally in the psyche field, and I am able to hold up and keep doing my job.

Sad and scary to say but that is a gift that I wanted.  I see that gift in President Hinkley and President Monson and all the other Brethren, I wanted it.  And well...many gifts require the refiner's fire.  I hope I never pass through another fire like that again - it was the worst I've ever been through with all I got riding on me.  Something tells me it won't be the last time though, but maybe next time I'll handle it better.

At any rate, my specialty is treating sex offenders - my goal? No more victims!  It amazes me when Latter Day Saints profess to believe in the atonement and beg for forgiveness themselves but would throw a sex offender under the bus and believe they can't be saved.  Or shouldn't.  Sadly I meet too many.  But....maybe that's something we have to work up to. Took me a year to wrap my head around psychopathy and criminogenic thinking because psychopathy is a DARK world. My other specialties?  Forensic (criminal) psychology and psychosocial addictions and severe psychiatric and personality disorders (abnormal psychology). 

I have much much much more to learn and at this point I've only learned the basics to enter the field but I am now....Qualified.  I am so glad to be done, the shock is still registering so for now....I think I will close this circus and perhaps write more...tomorrow.

Thank you Heavenly Father for helping me make it this far and accomplish this.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Every Herb: Ginger Root!

borrowing this from Wikipedia but that's it right there
Here, again, the Lord has shown that his wisdom is greater than man's medicine. 

I don't think of myself as a "purist" or a "vegan" as it carries so many political connotations, but we are told to "live" the Word of Wisdom - I wonder if that means coming to know healthy foods that naturally are medicinal for us?

At any rate, here again, is yet another super-food that has gotten me through the sickness of the stress of graduate school (the military was healthier for me than graduate school and the stupid part about graduate school is that I am paying for graduate school).

Heartburn?  Indigestion?  Nausea? Motion sickness?  Flu?  Menstrual cramps? (I haven't had those yet, don't foresee it, but you never know). Even arthritis?

Well, the first three are common to graduate school.  And they can either stem from not sleeping, or contribute to not sleeping, but either way - they need to be fixed!  So....what? Go and buy a bunch of pills for $20.00? 

Nope!  Just get a root of ginger and keep it in your spice drawer! (I know you have one).  Usually runs around $2-3 for a single root at the store which can easily last you 6 months and is way more effective than "pills" and covers way more infirmities.  When discomfort rears its ugly little head, cut off a slice about the thickness of 2 quarters and dice it up small so that you can swallow it, take it with your beverage of choice, and let the healing begin.

the doctor is in
Normally for upset stomach issues, the ginger literally feels like my stomach is being massaged from the inside, it provides that much relief.  Better than anything I've ever taken for those issues and I've stopped taking everything else.

Ginger root has a lot of anti-inflammatory compounds, so much in it that I'm not going to write it all here, but I will link to a website that has written more on it with even more details and health benefits than I have HERE.

At any rate, here is yet another aspect of the Word of Wisdom that gets overlooked.  God already made the medicine for us, we just have to know where it is and to take it.  Now why am I writing all of this?  Partially because I never knew it.  The other part is, I am personally expecting our world to fall apart in the coming years.  I have wondered how we are going to survive being cut off from the things we rely on to care for ourselves (medicine namely) and am finding already exists!  We can literally grow our own medicine!  There are plenty of good LDS farmers who can help us with these things!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Proclaim Peace!!!

(click to read)

Every Herb: Citrus Fruits!

One of the greatest, most overlooked uses I've found for citrus fruits as I've navigated graduate school is: TREATING DEPRESSION!(or negative moods in general).

Now depression can be caused and treated by a lot of things, but citrus fruits can hold a one key helping people pull out of depression or at least feeling depressed, stressed, overwhelmed, angry, emotional etc......their scent!

Our sense of smell goes directly to the emotional processing parts of our brain.  Which is why the sense of smell quickly evokes memories much more strongly and quickly than any of our other senses.

However, citrus smells have the unique property of automatically cheering us up, helping us feel energized, and improving our mood.  There's a few ways to do this.  One, you can actually take a slice of citrus fruit (lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit) and dab a bit of juice on your wrists.  The other is you can make a spray out of essential oils and spray it in the room and immediately lighten your mood.

Interestingly with our children, when they are in a bad mood, we have sprays that my wife has made and we "zap" them with a bit of scented spray when they are in a bad mood and PRESTO! Instant happier children. 

mmm, feel better already....
It's almost like the dream spray every parent wants that you could just spray your child and have them instantly behave better - it really works! (results may vary, not available in all children).

As I struggle with stress so much in school, I have made my own spray blend that has lemon, lime and orange essential oils in it, and when I'm recognizing that I have a negative mood, I spritz the room and I feel much better pretty darned fast!  The advantage is that when I feel better, I have an easier time doing the other things I need to do that also help me elevate my mood.  It doesn't *cure* mood, but it can help you shake off a funk that is keeping you from doing other things.  Just another tool in your tool bag for coping with life.  But they really do work (especially orange, lemon seems to energize, grapefruit seems to clear my head, lime seems to soothe).

The best part?  It is compatible with the Word of Wisdom, is a gift from our Heavenly Father that is readily available around us and it is healthy for us! 

So, there! I have two entries on the Word of Wisdom that don't have to do with conspiracies or becoming a pharisee and completely miss the point.  The point of the Word of Wisdom is that our Father in Heaven gave us the things of the earth to bless us, and in many cases, they are already "ready to use" for us if we just knew what they are and were.  Citrus fruits are yet another gift that can lift our spirits and gladden our minds and help us be happier in life!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Every Herb: Garlic!

As I'm a broke student in graduate school (for a few more weeks)  I've had to learn how to do a lot of things in less-traditional ways when it comes to health, home and just about everything else.

Unique to our faith among Christendom is the Word of Wisdom, which not only warns us of conspiracies in the last days as well as things to stay away from pertaining to our health, it confirms the purposes of the creatures upon the earth in regards to man and beast for our temporal salvation.
A garlic a day keeps the doctor away!

I don't know how many people know about garlic, but I've discovered it to be an amazing "superfood" almost.  Honestly, you should always have some of this in your house at all times, and I'm going to tell you why!

One of the most notable uses I found for garlic is for: DENTAL PAIN!

I had an abscessed tooth that was causing me severe pain, I was losing sleep, but couldn't afford the dentist, didn't have insurance, and the Orajel at the store just wasn't strong enough.

Garlic actually soothes pain.  Cut a clove in half and put the cut-side against the gum/injury in your mouth and just keep it there.  It is going to burn like crazy - eye-wateringly-crazy for about 3-5 minutes as it goes to work, but after that....voila!  My abscessed tooth was numb and I could concentrate and function! 

But that's not all.  Garlic has a natural antibiotic in it that doesn't mess with the rest of your system, called allicin.  Allicin is released when garlic is crushed or cut and has something to do with the sulfur compounds within the garlic.  As this is not an extensive commentary on the science of garlic, I will not go into too much detail on how it works.  However, not only is garlic antibacterial, and has been shown to be more effective in wartime (it has anciently been used in treating battlefield injuries and even as recently as World War II) than antibiotics with less side effects (diarrhea), it kills: bacteria, fungus, microbes and protozoa in your digestive tract without harming the friendly ones to you, kills intestinal worms, parasites, viruses, it also reportedly lowers blood pressure and cholesterol.

But I found when I got sick (and I got sick quite frequently with stress it seemed), chopping up some garlic cloves and downing a few three times a day staved off most sickness that didn't even get a chance to run its course.  Colds?  Gone. Sinus infections?  Gone. General illness?  Gone.

Every. Single. Time.

Now, when the kids get sick?  We chop up a garlic clove and give it to them before their sickness even has a chance to run its course and *PRESTO*.  Better.

And most notably with my abscessed tooth, the garlic immediately went about fighting the infection on the spot.

He needs a clove or two....
Now I wish I could say that I didn't have to go to the dentist and my mouth was cured, but such was not the case.  My case was very severe and my face swelled up like half a grapefruit, but the garlic bought me some time and made life bearable and got me through when none of the store-remedies weren't working.  It was pretty impressive! 

At any rate, there's a few things I always keep in the house now in our spice drawer, and garlic?  At 33¢ each?  For what it does?  A must-have.
Now what does this have to do with my religion?, among other things, has helped me see that Heavenly Father has prepared a way for the Saints to be saved temporally in these last days as our world gets more corrupt and it gets harder to get some things. 

So....GARLIC!  Go get some!  Now!  I DON'T CARE IF THE STORE IS CLOSED!  GO!  Be the first in line! Camp outside like a garlic-groupie!

Oh, and will you sweat a garlic smell if you take a bunch?  Is Thomas S. Monson a Latter Day Saint? 
But you won't be sick.  

Wear perfume and take a shower.

Monday, July 14, 2014


 If you look at Doctrine and Covenants 4, there is a chain of virtues at the end of it, each virtue practiced leads to the next virtue: 

Remember, faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence.  Ask and you shall receive.  Knock and it shall be opened unto you. (Doctrine and
Covenants 4:6-7).

 I never understood what "godliness" was until today...but first.

I really struggle with my negative feelings towards others.  Various life experiences have left me passionate and very opinionated about a lot of things, and intolerant about a lot of others.  Extremely intolerant.

For example, my neighbor the jerk who backs into my car while he's drunk and then thinks nobody sees it so he drives off and doesn't report the damage to my Acura.  However, my Brother in Law saw the whole thing by said crook.

A confrontation with the neighbors yielded nothing and he still comes and goes, pretending he never did anything, and as a result never made amends.

Yes, this is what I'm talking about.  Another example, graduate students who make comments like "I'm pretty sure that 98% of the time blah blah blah" and I'm like, "Did you just make up your own statistic to form a 'fact'?  We can do that now?  And nobody is calling her out on it?  And this person is going to be in charge of someone's mental health....gets to define reality...?" 

Well, first off, I've been conflicted because I thought I was supposed to have love and compassion for everybody - as in I should like them.  Regardless of what they do or did.

I learned today that we aren't required to do that. 

When you've got someone who is a dishonest jack-hole like my neighbor - I learned today I am not required by the Lord to like him.  As an  example the Lord made it clear what he thought of King Herod and he didn't like him.

And you know what??  I get so TIRED of going "Oh, maybe they are this, maybe they don't understand that, maybe they had a bad childhood...."

You know what?  Just stop it!  Stop the madness! Stop it!

Most people know the basic difference between right and wrong.  The ones that don't are in my classes at the mental asylum.  And things like my neighbor did are wrong.  It isn't the crime of the century, but it sure as heck isn't an act of friendship and trust on my most valuable commodity!  And I'm not required to do mental gymnastics of a co-dependent nature to "like them" when their lives smack of bung-holery and dishonesty and disrespect.

But today as I learned what "godliness" is I found a way to cope with my feelings.

Godliness" means that we have a godly perspective about things.  To see things through the perspective of the plan of salvation - to not judge after our eyes - to not place an entire judgement upon an individual based on a single act - to still treat them as Christ would have us treat them (honestly and with integrity) but we don't have to like them.

And notice in this chain of virtues that "godliness" is not the final virtue, but a step in a chain of virtues, all of which God possesses.

 Well....godliness?  Maybe I'm not there yet, but I'm working on it.  Perhaps as I practice godliness then charity will come and I can be as the Anti-Nephi-Lehis who were able to lay down their lives that they wouldn't offend another human being.

I want that.  I want to be able to do that.  I can do that and have done that more than a few times in the military where I didn't think I was coming home or at least not any time soon, to protect another.  But you know what?  Doing it in the heat of combat situations is one thing, doing it in your daily life?  That's an even greater challenge.  And that's the one I want to be able to do.

So for now, perhaps godliness is a virtue I need to continue to develop and then maybe in time charity will come. 

But for now?  I don't like him.  Or a million other people.

And that's....okay.  I can still treat them as Christ would have me treat them.  And quit fighting with myself in the meantime over how I "should" feel or am "supposed to" feel.

I can find peace in repentance as I develop godliness and cast the rest upon the Lord as he has commanded us to.  Because if I hate myself for not liking them, how can I ever love them as I love myself?

Monday, July 7, 2014


I like to think of myself as a full-time, faithful, fully-active Latter Day Saint.

This recent Fast Sunday made me think a bit different.

I realized just how many corners I cut fasting for starters.  Not that I want to be a Pharisee, but it is those things where you notice you start justifying yourself, or where your thoughts really are on such a topic as fasting.

When you start looking at the clock wondering "how much longer do I really have to do this?"

"Will it really matter if I stop doing this right now?"

"God isn't going to really bless me for going hungry while I pray.....will he?"

"Has it really only been two minutes....?"

"What's an hour anyways....?"

You begin to question your faithfulness and spiritual depth and begin to wonder "Do I always do this, or is this just a today-thing where I'm not really with it?"

I can't say we've all thought these things, but I do know that this time I noticed them.

At any rate, strangely, something came out of my fast that was totally unexpected and that was a bit of knowledge and reflection of myself.  I began to see through this course of thinking where I was the source of - or catalyst to - many of my own problems. 

Suddenly, an exercise that seemed one of futility became one of fruitful faith that enlightened me and gave me power that I didn't have before - because I could see things I hadn't before.

I began to see just how undisciplined my mind is and how often it has been, and how fasting can be a measure - a test - of our self-discipline, our spiritual discipline, our faithfulness, and our spiritual depth.

I really came away from the fast having my prayers answered in a way that I hadn't expected. 

And at the same time, had I just been engaged in hollow ritual with rote prayer - I don't know that I would have been blessed.  I was given the free-agency to experience this commandment and choose, and by my choices and even thoughts, I came to see where I have erred and have been weak.

My weaknesses shall become strengths.  And we are given weakness that we may learn to be humble...

So for the law of the fast, I say "Thank you Heavenly Father" for this commandment that gave me strength, insight and vision to help me conquer my life's challenges and weaknesses.