Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Renew Your Mind

This morning I went to a session at the Renew clinic. If you don't what that is, it's an outpatient eating disorder clinic (like one that I want to start!). I went because I have established a relationship with the facility to, hopefully, begin a music therapy program.

The session was great. A small group of women discussing life. Not food, not specific eating disorder behaviors, but life. You see, eating disorders (or any mental health issue) is not about the title of the diagnosis (ironically), but about the underlying issues which brought about that behavior. These women were from all backgrounds and cultures, but they were able to communicate due to one common factor.

The way the therapist took the session was also an inspiration. She began the group by reviewing the last session and suggested they started the homework aspect, but one girl brought up a current issue and the group began to focus on her concerns. The therapist took the group in the way the group wanted to go, which is amazing....not many therapist are willing to do that.

Whether I am able to practince music therapy at this facility, it was still a great experience and motivated me to continue to pursue my dreams.

Jen C.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Crying out to Jesus

The words from Third Day's song are an indication about what I have been going through the past few weeks.

And to all of the people with burdens and pains, Keeping you back from your life, You believe that there's nothing and there is no one who can make it right. There is hope for the helpless, Rest for the weary, Love for the broken heart, There is grace and forgiveness, Mercy and healing, He'll meet you wherever you are Cry out to Jesus, Cry out to Jesus

In 2 Corinthians 12:7, Paul speaks of a "thorn in the flesh" that is placed there "lest I [Paul] should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations". He was in agony, wishing that God will take him home to heaven instead of suffering with this annoying and consistent piercing in his spiritual life.

This is what I have been going through the past several weeks. Spiritual attacks have been so heavy, I have literally grabbed my head in agony, praying that the thoughts will go away. The devil throws those small darts at my heart, waiting for me to give into my flesh and fall back in past eating disorder behaviors.

The purpose of me writing this is if you have experienced these same piercing darts of agony in your spiritual life, I have one answer: pray. Call on the Lord's name and rebuke the devil from attacking you. Sometimes, it won't go away so quickly, but the truth of God's word will set you free.

I would like to hear if any of you have any of these experiences. If so, please share. Sharing these experiences will encourage others and let them know that they are not alone. Thank you and have a wonderful night.

Monday, December 8, 2008

It's Been Too Long

I'm so sorry to all my readers for not posting sooner. I suppose I also took a "holiday" from my blogging, but there's no excuse. I need to give everyone an update on what is going on with my life!

I found a great new program that is located in Olathe, Kansas! So near to us, and I didn't even know about it! The program is called Renew- visit the website at http://www.renewkc.com/. Basically, it is an out patient eating disorders unit that specializes in nutrition, counseling, and one-on-one therapy. This would be the place to start a music therapy program!

Can you tell I'm uber excited? I sent an email and left a voice message to the Executive Director last Tuesday, but no word yet. Nathan and I have been praying about this opportunity, but I don't want to get my hopes up. With this whole economy extravaganza, many businesses are cutting back by issuing hiring freezes. God has this in his control.

In two weeks, I am speaking again at VITA (eating disorder unit at Research Med). Please pray that God will use me. I usually speak every two months.

Love you all and I hope you are having a wonderful holiday season. Mom and I are baking Christmas cookies this weekend. Check out the recipes I'm using at http://www.foodtv.com/. Chocolate Secret Surprise Cookies (Paula's Cookie Swap) and Gingerbread Cookies (12 Days of Cookies).

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Meeting New People

I had a super exciting weekend! Thanks to my friend, Jessie, she introduced me to this awesome, God-loving girl, Laura. She shares the same passion as I do with helping those who struggle with an eating disorder. We met for coffee and had an awesome conversation. She has a wonderful testimony--God has brought her a long way.

It's so uplifting and encouraging to meet people who share the same passions as me. I encourage everyone who reads this blog to pray for someone who shares the same desires as you do. Whether it be business, art, yoga, exercise, sewing, running...whatever, find someone to share your passions with.

I remember my friend, Megan, in high school. We were both in band together. Can you guess what we talked about all the time? Band! What geeks we were, but we were so excited to talk about trombone performance pieces, accessories, mutes, we would even get together and play etude duos. Yes, it's geeky but that motivated me to become a better musician and I had a great friend.

This was not what I thought this blog would be about, but I hope it's an encouragement to you all. Meet new people and share your passions. Have a wonderful and God-filled day!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Biomedical Foundations of Music as Therapy

The title might sound like a boring topic for a music therapy conference. In fact, Biomedical Foundations of Music as Therapy is a textbook we had to read for one of our MT classes. The book discusses the relations between the brain and how it relates with music. Fascinating material about how music is deciphered on one part of the brain while communication is utilized on the other. When music is used it connects both sides of the brain. Pretty cool, eh?

One section of the book is entitled Biomedical Determinants of Control Reversal Therapy. It explains how to utilize Control Reversal Therapy (CRT) for individuals with eating disorders. It dissects the brain of someone who is diagnosed with anorexia. Results have shown a loss in brain tissue and are connected with personality characteristics, such as, perfectionism, excessive worry, need for control, inflexibility, panic attacks, and internal dialogue.

Two things are going wrong here. One, is that because the lack of nutrition is causing brain atrophy, which can only result in a decrease in judgment, emotions, and overall feelings of pleasure (i.e. food). Two, the innate personality characteristics of the victim only further the process of allowing brain to wither away.

Think of it this way. The characteristics described above are usually in the people who have uncanny self-discipline (These are the people who wake up at the crack of dawn to run 6 miles or have their homework finished two weeks before it is due.). Now, let's say that an individual has this distorted concept that they have to eat less in order to be considered "perfect" by others. They will stop at nothing to accomplish this unrealistic goal. No matter what someone advises them to do, they will consider quitting the ultimate failure.

CRT is in place to change overall thought patterns. Anorexia and bulimia is a way of thinking. The individual has to choose to think differently. Can you imagine how difficult that could be? But it does happen...there is hope. For instance, catching the disease early helps the individual remember their prior thought patterns of "normal eating". Music can be used as a tool to help these individuals build and process new thought patterns.

I hope this gives you more insight on eating disorders. If you have any more questions or need clarification, please ask!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Memory Verses For Ruby

After last night's not-so-good news of the presidential election, I was feeling bummed. I asked God to show me a promise that I can hang on to and share with others. Well, he did just that.

One verse was shown to me by my wonderful husband. That is Romans 13:1

"For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God."

Is that not a powerful verse written so many years ago? You see, despite popular belief there have been other national leaders that were not highly favored by the population (and even still to this day). No matter what Barack Obama (and our Democratic Congress) has in store for us, it's all under God's plan. he knows exactly what is going on. We need to PRAY for our nation for God to continue to bless us (and that we don't do anything stupid, like break our alliance with Israel.).

Another verse that was shown to me today was while I was driving in my car from work this evening. As much as I love KLove radio station, the DJs can be really, really corny but nonetheless, they do preach Jesus with no end. One of them shared this verse in 1 Samuel 16:7

"But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for [the LORD seeth] not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart"

I had forgotten about this story until now. This fits perfect with a key verse for the Ruby Center. The "Lord looketh on the heart". Was David perfect? Absolutely not. He commited sins that if any leader were revealed that would be the end of his career. Just think, if any woman or man were to know this truth about God...how different their body image would be. No man can judge them rightfully on the outward appearance. It's their walk with God that is eternal.

Isn't the Lord amazing? I love these verses. We can find comfort and joy in His words, so know that God's will will be performed no matter the circumstances.

With Love,


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Disability and Unemployment

Working at a facility that is state funded, I come across individuals that have no means of paying for their stay at an inpatient unit (let alone pay for their prescribed meds). Upon many assessments, I have asked patients if they will go back to a job or if they will try to find one after discharge. Up until this point (which has only been 2 months) I have yet to have someone is able to go back to work. Here are the excuses:

  • I have a mental disability that inhibits me to maintain a job (i.e. schizophrenia, psychosis, drug induced mood disorders, borderline personality, etc.)
  • If I get a job, then the government won't pay me unemployment, so I can't have a job. No job, get meds. Have job, buy meds yourself.
  • Why should I get a job? My mom gets welfare and I am living with her, we are doing ok. There is no reason I need a job when we get paid by the government anyway.
Does this not make you angry? I understand excuse #1; there are people so ill that they will be unable to have a job even if they tried (i.e. responding to internal stimuli, having hallucinations that can impair judgement, etc.). However, excuses #2 and #3 make me so angry...not at the patients, but at the government!

I'll break it down for you. The government says "Hey, it looks like you can't work because your diagnosed with a mental disorder. We'll save you! We'll tax the middle-class and upper-class society in order for you to stay home all day and have as much benzos, anti-depressants, and hallucinagens as you need." Don't let me say, don't let me say it....ahh, pity...WE'RE GOING TO REDISTRIBUTE THE WEALTH. Everything is equal here.

Does this sound fair?!? Let me tell you, if there is anyone who has a heart to help these people, it's me. I want to work with them and help them make decisions to choose the right way in their recovery. But we can't allow the government to give them a crutch! They will fall down again and again knowing that they will never hit rock bottom. Are you as angry as I am? I hope so.

What can we do? VOTE! Do not raise taxes of any sort. Even if they make you believe "But it's for the children". That's a load a crap. Here's a way to help the children...Vote for education vouchers to be given to any citizen in order to either send their child to a better school, private school tuition payments, or home school financing. Freedom of choice. I think I remember reading that in the Constitution somewhere.

Comment if you will. Call me a conservative red neck, who holds onto her religion and guns. But remember, it's your money.