Holding Hope Services

Julie Fanning LCSW



End of Ultimate Blog Challenge

At the beginning of April I decided to participate in the ultimate blog challenge of 30 posts in 30 days because I like competing with myself and because I felt like I was lazy about getting posts up.   I completed a lot of blog starts but not so many finishes and I felt like I wanted to finish some.
I ended up with   26/30  posts (counting this one.)  Not so bad.  There was a moment last week where I thought “I’m not going to make my goal, I better do a bunch a quick posts.”  Then I thought, “why?”   The 30 out of 30 was a goal I made up for myself.  (It was a should but since shoulds are all made up there is no reason not to change it.)   I have had an exceptionally busy two weeks and I decided balance and down time were more important than completing some random blog posts.
I believe this is something for all of us to remember.  First, goals are flexible.  Yes, it is great to reach a goal but it is about the journey not the destination.  Many goals are not meet at all cost goals.  Two,  taking care of ourselves and finding balance is more important than reaching an arbitrary goal.
Thank you to everyone who read my musings this past month.  My hope is I am energized and will post regularly!
Happy May Day Tomorrow.

Things Not To Say

I saw this article on things on to say to mothers.  Worth reading!

8 Things Never to Say To moms 

Several things I wouldn’t say to anybody, not just moms.

A good rule of thumb is to be kind in your intractions.  Telling someone they really need to dye their hair (if it is not your very best friend in the world) isn’t helpful.  The other day one of my bosses said that to me.  Instead of being helpful (which I know her and she was genuinely trying to be helpful), I wasted moments of my life worrying about my hair.  Just saying.
So..  Ask yourself if what you are saying is helpful or hurtful (before you say it.)  Be Kind. Be Kind. Be Kind.

More of My Thoughts on Food and Stuff

Since working in dialysis I have been fortunate enough to work with some phenomenal dietitians.  For someone who has weight issues it can be daunting to start working with a dietitian.  Initially, I would wonder “are they watching what I eat?” and wonder if they are judging me for my weight.  Turns out those are my own issues and not my coworker dietitians.
When I became friends with the nutritionists I worked with I saw that they were also just people with a specialty and passion for food and nutrition.  Sometimes they struggle with their weight and eating too.  I’ve become a person who completely encourages individuals to work with nutritionists if possible.  They can be so much a resource.  (They are not the eating police.)
“I know what to do, I just don’t do it.”  I am sure I’ve said it before.  Many of my family and even clients have said it too.  The thing is I think that is just an excuse not to move forward and live healthier.  Nutritionists can help in so many ways.  The Nutritionist, Christine, with my practice is a busy mom.  I bet she can help you plan easy and healthy meals both you and your kids can eat.  She has a passion whe can share with people. In my quest to give up (or at least greatly reduce) my intake of diet coke, Christine, was the first person to help me figure out an alternative.  (It turns out it isn’t the taste of diet coke that was keeping me drinking it.  Water, flavored or otherwise wouldn’t work as a substitution because it was the carbonation I was craving.  Who knew?)  I have been maintaining a greatly decreased intake of diet coke because she asked me the right questions.
Taking the time to join weight watchers and talk about is helpful because I am not just living in denial, I am paying attention to what I eat.  I know sometimes that I put food in my mouth without thought and I bet I’m not the only one. This is one way for me to take responsibility.  I don’t know how far I’ll go but this time is wasted because it is a time when I am present and in the moment with food.
Ok.  Probably more than you ever wanted to know about my thoughts on Nutrionists and food but what the heck.  Today’s parting advice:  Don’t let past perceived failures get in the way of living the way you’d like today.

Tell Everyone

I am someone who hasn’t known a day of my life where my weight wasn’t a struggle.  Although I believe in the connection between our mind and body I haven’t made a concerted effort to live a healthier lifestyle recently.  Now I am taking that step.  I’m trying to mesh my values and my actions.  (This pretty much always leads to a more content soul.)
First I cut my intake of caffeine (particularly diet coke) by 95%.   I’ve seemed to work this into my daily life so I have started the next step – losing weight and healthier eating. 
I want to lose weight but my overall goal is to physically feel better and live well.  I joined Weight Watchers online in an effort to really focus on my eating.
My instinct is to keep it a secret.   If I don’t tell people I’m trying to lose weight then it won’t matter if I can’t do it.  Wait.  I realize this means I’ve already decided to fail.  Not good.  I would benefit from following my own advice.  1) Don’t decide the outcome before I’ve lived the journey.  2)  It is not a pass/fail situation.  Every change I make, every time I take a moment to be aware of my food, every healthier choice I make is progress.  It isn’t about the finish line but about changing the way I live and enjoying the journey.
This I will remind myself.
This time I’m telling everyone what I’m trying to do.  (Day 2 of working on healthier choices.) This is a subject I have a lot to say on so I’m sure you’ll be hearing about this again.  Live the journey before you decide you are going to fail.

In Your Twenties

This article caught my eye on my FB feed. 
It is definitely worth a look.  I love working with adults in their young twenties.  It is fun looking at the possibilities of life and all that may come.  I often find myself frustrated.  More than once in consultation I have talked about separating my issues from the young clients.  I struggle with the idea that so many in their early twenties don’t seem motivated to get out there and live life.  Many seem OK to live at mom and dads forever.  It is not unusual for a 24 or 25 year old tell me their mom told them they weren’t allowed to do something.  Inside I’m thinking, “You’re an adult – you can do it anyway.”  Of course if you’re financial dependent on the parents then maybe you can’t.  
I don’t think it an issue of laziness just different expectations and current trends.  I want the young people to get out there and do amazing things, find their careers, find their passions, and experience experiences.  I constantly checking if it is my wishes or their goals that I’m championing because obviously clients know themselves best and know what they want and honoring that is imperative.
I agree with the author about the twenties being a huge defining time in our lives, however it is not the only chance.  I know I am so very different than I was even at 30.  I have more passion, hope and drive so I don’t believe not having a wild and crazy twenties is definite deterrent to creating oneself but all that time when you could start embracing life.  Think of your twenties and what you could have missed out.
Remember, without those experiences you won’t have good stories to tell as you get older.  Just a thought.


Happy Beginning of the Week.

How about you make tomorrow (or Today) a sparkling day.  Stop saving all your special outfits and your anticipated activities for a special day.  How often do we save something so we have something to look forward to.  Why?  Live today.  I have this blue shirt I love to wear.  It has sequence on it and I don’t think a day has gone by that I’ve worn it and someone hasn’t said “you look sparkly.”  Well, why not.  I was going to get my hair done – why not celebrate.  I wonder how great today could be if you just decided to sparkle and celebrate.  

April is…

April is Stress awareness month…
Another reason to celebrate – yay.  (Which could alleviate stress ~ see how it all goes together.)
I think of stress as being heavy and weighted.  Stress brings us down when we are focusing on too many things or have some gigantic worry on our mind.  Even good things can contribute to stress like having a baby or getting a new job.  What is important is how you take care of yourself.  Some people exercise, some people scream, some people have sex, some people get lost in fanfiction for hours (totally not me – really.)  What do you do when you are stressed?  Do you have a plan?  Keep a list of activities to distract and calm your mind so you have a readily available idea to jump into.   It is important to step back and combat stress occasionally.  Without a break from stress your mental and physical well-being can be negatively impacted. Below are some links to follow to find out more about stress awareness month.


I wanted to amplify the Veteran’s Job and Resource Fair my brother coordinates in the Elgin area. 

Veteran’s Summit – Elgin, IL May 22, 2012 9:00-1:00pm

There will be lots of services there which could be helpful for veterans.  You can also find out information about the fair by going to the Elgin Community College Calendar at .

If you are looking for resources they are out there.  There is free mental health counseling for veterans of the OIF/OEF campaigns through Give An Hour.

You can also look up services through the VA at Veterans Administration or get information from National Veterans Foundation .

You are not alone.  There is assistance out there!

Doctor Who Quote 2


I’m ready to share my next favorite Doctor Who quote (and no they are not in any particular order.)

For the previous Doctor Who Blog Post follow the link below.

04/03/2012 – Doctor Who Quote 1 (and explanation)

“Letting it get to you. That’s being alive; it’s being here right now. And that’s the best thing there is.”-11th Doctor, /The Doctor’s Wife/

Many of people’s struggles with the problems in their life have to do with avoiding emotions.  I’ve said it before allow you to feel those uncomfortable feelings – they aren’t going to go away by ignoring them.  Not only will feeling those emotions help you, feeling them will also enable you to be comfortable around other people who are struggling with their own rough feelings.    You can sit with them and witness instead of distracting them in an effort to lighten the mood. (Yes, I know I am guilty of this. I’m working on it.)
I think this quote is not just about struggles but staying in the moment and living fully.  When you feel passionate about something, shout it out to the world.  When you are happy – share it.  When something gets to you – speak out.  Feel.  Be alive.  Don’t worry about looking stupid or doing it wrong – just live.

And just for fun the BBC trailer from the episode “The Doctor’s Wife.”

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