Christian Counseling of Mid Michigan

Healing for the heart, mind, and soul.


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Welcome Erin!

 

We are thrilled to announce that Erin Zimmer, LLMFT has joined our staff.  She has a passion for working with children, families, couples and individuals who are struggling and looking for help to live their best possible life.  Erin has daytime and evening appointments available and is excited to join the team at Christian Counseling of Mid Michigan!


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Children of Changing Families

Christian Counseling of Mid Michigan will hold a support group called Children of Changing Families for children experiencing family divorce or separation. It will begin on April 28th and be 5 weeks long ending May 26th. The group will meet weekly for 1-1/2 hours per session. The cost is $10 per participant, with a maximum of $20/family. Scholarships are available in cases of financial hardship.

Children who have recently experienced parental separation or divorce are welcome to participate. The group may also benefit children whose parents have separated or divorced in the past, but who are struggling to accept it. Those interested may sign up or receive more information by calling Christian Counseling of Mid Michigan at 989-317-4664 by April 26th. There is a maximum of 6 group members so early sign-up is encouraged.


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Surviving The School Countdown

The warm weather has arrived and you are finally remembering the reason you choose to live in Michigan.  When the shorts and t-shirts are pulled out from their long-term storage, everyone’s mind turns to summer plans and exciting vacations.  Unfortunately, our alarm clocks quickly remind us that we still have another month of school to survive before we can fully relax and the fun can begin.  So, how do you and your child survive the last month of school, the time when you’d rather be outdoors than at the table doing Math homework?  Here are a few pointers to help get you to the end:

  1. Keep Your Schedule Consistent: As much as you would love to relax on things like dinnertime and bedtime, it is vital that your schedule remain as consistent as possible so that your kids can continue to function at a healthy level. Their daily schedules require the same amount of concentration and stamina as they have throughout the school year.   Sure the sun is setting later, but that doesn’t mean your kids need to go to sleep later.  With all the energy they expend outside, kids need more sleep this time of year, not less.
  2. Review the Requirements: As the school year comes to a close, now is the time to look back at those long-term projects and set a plan to complete them. For example, that English project that will take more than one night to complete but has not been worked on at all throughout the semester will need to be broken down into achievable goals.  Relaxing on the school work might let something slip through the cracks and result in missing assignments and low final grades.
  3. Relax Your Weekends: With nice weather and spring activities, the weekends tend to fill up very quickly this time of year. It’s easy to find yourself running from one sport to the next, not to mention dances, recitals and various other showcases.  Be sure to schedule in some relaxing time so that you don’t come away from your weekends exhausted.  The weekday activities still require the same amount of time and energy as they have all year.  Going into them with less energy only compounds existing problems.
  4. Stay Engaged In Learning: This applies to both you and your student. Continue to ask them how their day was, who they played with, what they enjoyed, etc.  You may get the same answer as you have all year, but they need to know you are still interested in their learning process.  Help your student to remain invested in their work.  Assist them in choosing topics they are passionate about for their final projects, books or presentations.  Engage them with hands on activities and introduce nature artifacts to assignments they need to accomplish.  If they are more passionate, it will be easier to push through the end of the year work.
  5. Create Incentives: Everyone is more motivated if they are looking forward to something rewarding. Set up some incentives for your child to be successful in their final weeks.  Maybe it’s a trip to the ice cream store, a picnic in the park, or a visit to the zoo.  Choose something that will motivate them to finish strong but that will also encourage them to look forward to what the outdoors has to offer them this time of year.

 

Michigan is a great place to live with its changing seasons and fabulous summer activities.  As you look forward to enjoying your time away from the routine of school, be sure to finish strong so that everyone heads into summer on a high note.  Who knows, it might make going back in the fall that much easier too.

-Emily DeJong, L.M.F.T.

 

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Christmas Celebrations

The staff here at Christian Counseling of Mid Michigan, would like to share with you some of our most meaningful experiences from Christmas past and traditions that we share with our families. Our hope is that by sharing our memories you will be inspired to create and share your own traditions and memories with your family. Traditions help families to bond and give meaning to holidays they are activities that bring pleasure to each member and deepen our love for each other.

Joyce:  Christmas 1970 – Ames, Iowa. Family- Mom, Dad, and Eric 2 years old. Iowa winter was so, so cold. Our cars need a heating pad and blanket over the battery and engine. The radiator has a heater too. The day before Christmas, Dad goes to find a Christmas tree. Safeway has one left! It is free! We were poor! But, it is also bent and crooked with limbs at odd angles. A true Charlie Brown tree. Eric didn’t care! It was decorated with everything we could find or make. Popcorn, cranberries, candy canes, lights, and bright balls. At the end, our tree was still odd but we loved it and Eric always remembered that tree as the best tree. The pictures come out each year. Our Charlie Brown Christmas made us feel rich in love and helped us remember Christ’s humble entrance into the world.

Joan: My daughter, daughter-in-law, and I packed two of my little grandchildren on a sled while my eight and eleven year old grandchildren trudged with us through the deep snow of Charlevoix. The children’s mission was to give away one hundred dollars that had been given to them for Christmas (for this purpose). They had to make decisions about how to distribute their monetary gifts in meaningful ways.  I followed the children from restaurant, to pharmacy, to fudge shop, and beyond. Among other donations, they paid for a couple’s breakfast, bought coffee for a window washer, contributed to a costly prescription, treated a young girl to her favorite donuts, bought fudge for a child, and were genuinely thrilled by the gratitude their generosity inspired. This was a touching lesson in the joy of giving to others that will remain with them (and me) for years to come!

Emily: My favorite holiday tradition…On Christmas morning we put a candle in a coffee cake and after reading the Christmas story from the Bible we sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus. It is a great reminder to even the youngest kids that Christmas means more than just gifts.

Duane: Christmas is a time to celebrate our family bonds and see love for each other. And a time to celebrate the source of our blessing through Jesus Christ.

Kara: I have two greatest Christmas memories with my family.  One that we still do to this day is my Dad will read the Christmas story from the Bible on Christmas morning then we sing a few Christmas carols and he prays for each of us individually before we open presents.  The second tradition we no longer do, but I have great memories of it from when I was younger.  My Mother was usually done with her shopping very early and my parents would often put all the presents under the tree a few weeks before Christmas.  To keep things interesting though, our actual names would not be on the presents, instead, there would be code names on the presents and we had until Christmas morning to figure out the code in order to know which presents were ours.  I can remember sorting the gifts by their code name, counting them (of course we all thought we were the code name that had the most presents!), and spending hours trying to crack the code.  In the end, my Dad usually gave us a clue that would give it away.

Jimi: My sister’s birthday is Christmas Eve, and when we were growing up, we would go out for dinner on our birthdays. After mass, the only restaurant open on Christmas Eve was Burger King. So, we would go to Burger King for Whoppers after mass, then head home to open one present before bed.

Catherine: My favorite Christmas tradition began with my parents. My family would attend the Candlelight Christmas Eve church service. After church, we would drive around looking at the beautiful lawn decorations while Santa Clause delivered our presents. When we got home from our drive, my dad would turn off all of lights except for the Christmas tree. My mom would sit close to the tree and have us kids sit on the floor facing the nativity. Mom would read the Christmas story from the bible and then we would sing a couple of Christmas Carols. My parents let my brothers, and I each open one small present before going to bed. My husband and I have continued these traditions with our children and added the celebration of Advent. Our children look forward to singing the songs and lighting the candles each week marking the anticipated Joy of Jesus birth. The three of them have commented many times over the years that they will carry on the Christmas traditions with their children.

Jerry: When I was a teenager, my mother would often babysit the girls across the street. One Christmas, the parents decided to give many gifts to the girls (divorced parents seeking to buy approval). The youngest waded in and soon had the paper ripped off all of her packages. Then, in a demanding voice, she asked, “is this all?” That scene, etched in my mind, carried over to the days when our two children approached Christmas. My wife and I decided to do the Twelve Days of Christmas, but with a twist. Starting on December 13, we handed each child a small gift, enjoyed the moment of opening and ‘Ooos’ and ‘Ahhs’ and then we went about the day. When Christmas came, the kids already had many days of anticipation and opening. The traditional opening of gifts was done with the usual excitement that surrounds Christmas. This tradition was carried on into their late teen years.

Merry Christmas and Blessed New Year,

Joyce, Jimi, Jerry, Joan, Duane, Emily, Kara, and Catherine

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Are you ready for the holidays?

The holiday season is upon us. Are you prepared to handle the family dynamics? MindBodyGreen has a great article with 5 tips.

1. Create a solid understanding of who you are and what matters to you.

2. Don’t try to solve other people’s problems.

3. Carve out time to get into your body.

4. Allow other people their autonomy and their opinions.

5. Set boundaries that make you feel good.

To read more about these tips, please follow the link to the article in MindBodyGreen:

5 Tips To Handle Family Dynamics During The Holidays.