Sunday, May 26, 2013

A domestic violence survivor, continued...

Click on the below article link to obtain background information to this blog post:

Maxine Browne continued the interview.

In her words, “Then, thank God, I snapped out of my way of thinking and chose to leave my husband instead. The marriage lasted for 10 years. I thought marriage was meant to last until death do us part, unless there was adultery. This was how I was raised. This was what I believed to be right and true. However, the emotional and mental abuse took such a toll on me that I felt I could not go on. Today I see the flaws in my logic. But at the time, this plan seemed to be my only way out. I was going to hang myself in the shed. I didn’t want to make a mess and my daughter would not find me. I didn’t ask myself how a mother’s suicide might affect my 10 year old.

I clearly remember having the thought, if God doesn’t care more about me than this I care more about me more than this! This thought opened my thinking, and I began to seek other options.
I talked to my oldest daughter. ‘I can’t do this anymore. I have nowhere to go, but I can’t live like this.’ She said, ‘Talk to Mary (a family acquaintance who worked with troubled youth). She never tells you what to do, but you figure things out while you talk to her.’

So I called Mary. I made a Saturday appointment. ‘I feel frozen,’ I said.

She said, ‘You are not frozen or you would not be sitting on my sofa. You are moving, you just can’t tell you are moving.’

‘I don’t have anywhere to go.’ She said, ‘Come here.’

That was Saturday. I moved in with her the following Tuesday evening.

All I needed was a plan, an exit strategy for my situation. Before Mary spoke up, my only option was suicide. With a better plan came a better outcome.”
Her counselor’s advice, “I had a very wise counselor. She said, ‘Maxine, the lawyers will all go home one day. Negotiate matters so that in the future you can all attend high school graduations and weddings without drama. Think long term, not short term.’ With this background, I negotiated my custody, visitation, and divorce settlements. I protected myself from verbal abuse on his part. If he began to insult me over the phone, I said, ‘Someone is at the door. I have to go now. Have a nice day.’ If he would begin to insult me in person, I would say, ‘I have to go now. Have a nice day.’ I’d Exit. I protected myself so I could recover.

All negotiation was based on long-term thinking. I also found that I could ask him for nothing. If I asked for a change in weekend visits, it gave him power, so he would deny my request. I learned to keep my power by never asking for favors. It worked for me.

After he remarried, things got even calmer. We recently attended my daughter’s high school graduation with absolutely no drama. We had separate celebrations to prevent negative incidents. We created a system that works for everyone.

Her spirit evolved, “This was not my only abusive relationship. I was confronted with the question: Are all men dogs? Or is there something broken in me that attracts broken men? I must say that the latter was the only logical answer. So I began an aggressive course of healing my inner self. I went to 4 years of Adult Children of Alcoholic meetings to resolve issues of being raised in an alcoholic home. I went to 2 years of individual therapy and one year of domestic violence support group therapy.
My faith has gone beyond a traditional Christian faith to a more expanded spiritual view.  I read lots of books and focus on inner peace and healing. I believe God is everywhere, not just inside a church. We are all connected. We are all one and God dwells within us all. Today I feel whole. I married a wonderful family man with a healthy life view. Today we are at peace."

Her advice for anyone suffering domestic violence, “An abuser never wears a sign or a black hat. As a matter of fact, when you meet him, he will seem perfect. He will woo you. He sweeps you off your feet. He can’t get enough of you. This may not be alarming; it may even be charming. Be careful! He may be an abuser.
He hates your family and friends? Watch out! This could be a red flag that you have met an abuser.

He may be concerned with how you dress. He doesn’t want anyone to think of you like one of those women. Oh, oh! Watch out! He may be an abuser.

These three signs are the most common early warning signs:

1.     Whirlwind romance
2.     Isolates you from friends and family
3.     Excessive possessiveness or jealousy

If you see this pattern, please talk to a domestic violence advocate.”

Maxine talked about her book, “Domestic Violence is not about physical assault. It is about control. One person in the relationship tries to control the other person through a series of tactics. In my book, Years of Tears, I share the story of what my family suffered during my 10-year marriage to a controlling tyrant. For the book, I interviewed my two oldest children who tell the story of being abused by their stepfather. I show how control tactics were used against our family. I then outline the impact the tactics had on the family and the red flags I did not see that could save you or your friend from the abuse we suffered. The book is available on Amazon and there is a Kindle version,”

You can contact Maxine for a speaking event by emailing her at, follow her on Twitter (@MaxineBrowne) or connect with her on Facebook at

Saturday, May 25, 2013

How to measure calories without counting, continued...

Click on the below article link to obtain background information to this blog post:


I liked this Dr. Oz show (I like many) and I think I will start using my hands to measure what ends up on my plate. It is a simple method. I think I'm going to head into the summer months trying to do better with my calories. I will test Chris Powell's formula relevant to current weight times twelve. If this is the real number I can bench to, for me, it is eye opening!

Do you count calories? How are you staying healthy? Leave me a comment.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Adlerian therapy, continued...

Click on the below article link to obtain background information to this blog post:

Examiner article

During my Spring Theories class we reviewed 11 different therapies and each has a unique spin.  By providing a bit of insight each week on each one of these theories, it has helped me to absorb a little more. What I like about what Alfred Adler brought forward is that it stems from Freud but it has more heart. Freud was a master-mind but it seems like he was stuck on the sexual motivation premise believing that everything connected back to early developmental sexual issues before the age of 6 years old.

Alfred, who had worked with Freud, eventually spun off into his own school of thought; one with heart. I believe it has more merit to it. It is holistic and purposeful but still recognizes much of what Freud brought forward about the unconscious and early development although this development was tied to social family aspect.

I'm curious about this arena, I'm hoping you find it equally interesting!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Congenital abnormalities, continued...

Photo provided by Matthew Murphy

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Matthew Murphy talked about his rock bottom, “My rock bottom was revealed on many levels. The tragedies of seeing our only child undergo life-threatening surgeries while sitting and waiting helplessly is the hardest thing that I ever had to go through. The stress was immeasurable, and you learn not to take advantage of any second that you have in this life or those you love. It was also not until I saw pictures of myself did I realize that my improper lifestyle choices in food, smoking, and lack of exercise were going to impact my little time that I would spend with my son in this world. I wanted to change my own lifestyle to extent our life together. I saw my son overcome the impossible, so in honor of his recovery, I decided to attempt what I considered impossible, to go from an overweight smoker to an Ironman triathlete while helping raise awareness for our cause. The Ironman triathlon is known as the hardest one day endurance in the world consisting of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and a 26.2 mile run all in one day. It took nearly 2 years of my life and countless hours of training while still maintaining a full time job, but finally on May 21, 2012, I became Shawn’s Ironman by crossing the finish line at the Ironman Texas in just under 16 hours. The awareness of my journey continues to inspire others to start their fitness journey and use their own races that range from a 5K to Ironman to help fund the Shawn’s Anomaly mission. Many families are receiving needed assistance that was not there until the non-profit was formed. Unfortunately, the need is greater than the supply, but Shawn's Anomaly is steadily growing with awareness and contributions from the community, sponsors, and corporations.”

His support, “I have to give all credit to my faith in God and our supportive family and community that we have around us.  I can't imagine being able to overcome adversity like this without that trinity.  I also have to give a lot of credit to my wife for being by my side during this whole journey and picking up the slack while I was out training to become Shawn's Ironman.”

This experience has changed him, “It physically reshaped my body and my mental state as well. Even though it was first introduced because of tragedy, I started to realize how resilient the body was, but our greatest challenge is overcoming the hurdles and doubts in our mind. Crossing the finish line of the Ironman triathlon was just exclamation point to a three year story that revealed many life lessons on relationships, overcoming adversity, charitable giving, health and wellness, nutrition, and love. It proved that anything is possible if you put your mind to succeeding and overcoming the hurdles of life that will inevitably come along while you are on your journey. I now do motivational speaking and use our story to help inspire others to overcome their impossible and live up to their greatest potential. Through a program that we started this year called, iDO!, we offer free motivation and accountability for those that are trying to make a lifestyle change. So many know they have it in them enough to say, ‘I can’ or willing enough to say, ‘I will’, but sadly they never get around to doing it. Our mantra, i Do!, helps them achieve their dreams, I know that this all happened to my family for a reason. Change and awareness were needed not only in the world, but in me too. We are happy to see that Shawn is growing up to have a pretty normal life, and we hope that our efforts through Shawn’s Anomaly and the iDO! program will give others the opportunity to live happier lives. I, also, continue to do as many Ironman events that I can to help raise awareness and money for other families in need. Our life was changed forever, and we now hope that our experiences will help with change in the world.”

Matthew’s advice for others suffering through congenital abnormalities, “My most important advice is to acknowledge that YOU ARE NOT ALONE! Even though it may feel like are alone, sadly 1 in 30 children are born with congenital anomalies. It is guaranteed that there is another family and community that has gone through what you have been through.  Second: NEVER GIVE UP!  Take the journey one achievable step at a time. Eventually we’ll run out of steps, and that is when our journey is over. Finally, KEEP MOVING FORWARD! A sedentary lifestyle will always reflect on the negatives instead of the positives of your past. 

One of our main missions at Shawn's Anomaly is to provide assistance to families affected by congenital abnormalities. If you or someone you know is looking for guidance and support please contact us through the contact page of”

Matthew’s passion, “To be honest, my passion has not changed much since the day I was born.  I have always wanted to help others and live up to my greatest potential.  Fortunately my destiny was revealed through adversity to triumph journey.  I am most passionate about spreading awareness about congenital abnormalities through speaking engagements and the upcoming documentary, helping others prove that anything is possible, and being the best father and husband I can be.”
His closing words, “We just released a new video that summarizes our iDO! Health & Awareness campaign on  This message is for everyone that wants to make a positive change in their lives.  I am also available for group speaking engagements. 

Readers can always contact me through the website, via twitter (@shawnsironman),, or my email (matthew.murphy at”

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Family counseling, continued...

Click on the below article link for background information to this blog post: offered more techniques used by Family Therapists:

Family council meetings are organized to provide specific times for the family to meet and share with one another. The therapist might prescribe council meetings as homework, in which case a time is set and rules are outlined. The council should encompass the entire family, and any absent members would have to abide by decisions. The agenda may include any concerns of the family. Attacking others during this time is not acceptable. Family council meetings help provide structure for the family, encourage full family participation, and facilitate communication.

This technique, often used by strategic family therapists, involves meeting with one member of the family as a supportive means of helping that person change. Individual change is expected to affect the entire family system. The individual is often asked to behave or respond in a different manner. This technique attempts to disrupt a circular system or behavior pattern.

The stress level of couples and families often is exacerbated by a faulty decision-making process. Decisions not made in these cases become problematic in themselves. When straightforward interventions fail, paradoxical interventions often can produce change or relieve symptoms of stress. Such is the case with prescribing indecision. The indecisive behavior is reframed as an example of caring or taking appropriate time on important matters affecting the family. A directive is given to not rush into anything or make hasty decisions. The couple is to follow this directive to the letter.

This technique, widely used by strategic family therapists, attempts to place control in the hands of the individual or system. The therapist may recommend, for example, the continuation of a symptom such as anxiety or worry. Specific directives are given as to when, where, and with whom, and for what amount of time one should do these things. As the client follows this paradoxical directive, a sense of control over the symptom often develops, resulting in subsequent change.”

Family can make or break a person. Therapy is a path to removing the “dys” from dysfunctional family.  If you’re suffering in an unhealthy family unit, perhaps it is time to explore therapy, individually or as a unit, it can't hurt!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Deepak's 21-day cleanse, continued...

Lifetime Art Impressions, LLC photo

Click on the below article link for background information to this blog post:

Examiner article

First, the pizza photo might look good but it seem more like I was grazing in a meadow as apposed to eating pizza. I'm all about getting healthy but I'm not really embracing the pizza as shown above!

I'm always willing to trying a meditation challenge, especially when it is presented by 2 of my favorite people, Dr. Oz & Deepak Chopra. The affirmation/questions he is posing during the meditation is really interesting and inspiring. I'm curious to see what is brought forward when I give this a shot.

On the Dr. Oz show, they spend only about 3 minutes doing this although, I must spend more time getting to a relaxing state in order to fully embrace his words and then see if I'm open to a natural response.

It seems, as of late, I've been putting my meditations low on the list of priorities and therefore I haven't been doing them very often. I really have to make an effort because, much like Deepak, I believe in the power of meditation.

What are your beliefs? What works for you? Drop me a comment, I'm curious.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

True stories about Hollywood, continued...

Photo of Gaelyn's book provided by Gaelyn Whitley Keith

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Gaelyn Whitley Keith continued her interview.

She described HJ Whitley’s life, Tragedy plagued HJ’s early life. As a small child over half of his siblings died from a Cholera outbreak. Just a few months prior to his 18th birthday both his parents died in a tragic accident. HJ felt that was more tragedy than most men could bear yet how was he to know that a few years later his wife and baby daughter would be killed in a horrendous house fire. Fortunately from the recesses of his mind HJ’s was able to draw on the encouraging words his had bestowed to him.  His Father told him the world was his for the making. HJ was a progressive man, one of the first to accept new ideas. Even at a young age he had been a leader in search of additional fortune, opportunity and a new life, HJ set out to make his mark on this country. Courage and inventiveness became his trademarks.”

Gaelyn continued, “HJ Whitley purchased 500 acres of lemon groves in the heart of Hollywood. Wanting to leave his own personal mark on the town he was about to develop he knew he would need to find some type of industry to help it grow. In October of 1911, HJ Whitley was fortunate to meet the Horsley brothers walking down Hollywood Blvd. He offered them the use of his estate on the corner of Hollywood Blvd and Whitley Avenue to complete a film test. On October 26, 1911 the first Hollywood studio completed a film. The filming was a great success and convinced the Horsleys that the area offered the perfect setting for a studio: to the north there were mountains for cowboy movies, to the west the Pacific Ocean for pirates, and in town there were banks for robberies. Nestor studios opened the next day on Gower and Sunset. Eventually this small studio would become Universal Studios. It is hard to believe the movie industry is just a little over 100 years old. HJ Whitley’s friends began to tell him and others that if life offered HJ a bag of lemons he would just turn it into lemonade.

He accomplished so many things in a variety of industries. For example:  While sailing down the Nile in Egypt he notices cotton fields blowing in the breeze. Disembarking the boat he traveled to find the owner of the estate. He then purchased enough cottonseed to bring Egyptian cotton to California. Everyone he told this idea to said he had gone plumb crazy. Cotton would never grow well in California. He just held his tongue until the fields were white as snow and ready to harvest. Today it is one of the largest cotton industries in the world. However his greatest influences are seen in Hollywood. While on their honeymoon in 1886 the Whitleys rode out to the foothills of what would one day become Hollywood. HJ was scouting out the landscape to determine where he would begin development on a new town. A Chinese man driving a wagon pulled alongside of them. Getting out of the wagon the Chinese man bowed and in a thick accent said, ‘Up early, work hard, Haully wood.’ Immediately HJ declared, ‘That’s it.  I’ll name this new town Hollywood – Holly will represent my British ancestry and wood my Scottish.’ Additionally he came up with the idea for the Hollywood sign, the stars that are now on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and perhaps the greatest was getting the movie industry – the directors, the producers and stars to settle in his town Hollywood.”

Her current endeavors, “I am working with a Hollywood scriptwriter on two movie scripts. The first is a short animated film for children and will be used to introduce the world to the Whitleys. The second will be an amazing saga similar to Gone with the Wind. If it is well received there is a potential for two additional movies.” 

She talked about her book, “It took me over 10 years to complete my first book, The Father of Hollywood. I have shared my stories over the radio, on television, and of course my favorite way is with book clubs around the world. I always enjoy talking to my readers and answering their questions. With the world become more accessible I can even talk to readers on conference calls or face-time.” 

Visit Gaelyn’s website,
Take a look at this video,