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Will you rise with a listening ear and a compassionate heart and faith the follows through?

Will you rise with a listening ear and a compassionate heart and faith the follows through?

In these United States, there are some outliers that seek to breed a new division.  It like so many divisions of the past will be conquered and unity will prevail.  Short answers are not welcome.  Long listening is needed.

In the original war between the states, the United States divided over many issues. The biggest was the issue of individual and state rights versus federal oversight and decision making.  Along with that came the issue of slavery, a heinous institution that continues to plague our world and be accepted in the darker corners of the USA in human trafficking and domestic violence.  Those institutions don’t worry about race and color or even age.  They exhibit the willfulness of mankind to control the lives of those deemed weaker.

In the original war, we lost more men than in all other wars combined.

In the original war, we moved on to enslave and slaughter the Native American while attempting to free the African American.

In the original war, men like U. S. Grant kept slaves and fought for the Union and men like Robert E. Lee spoke against slavery and fought for his state of Virginia and the Confederacy.  It was a time, where honor and duty was to family, community and state and the divisions ran deep and deadly.  Brother killed brother.  Neighbors killed neighbors.   As a nation, we have come far and have far to go.  People will be people.

In the original war, we found peace as a nation through decades of unity.  World War I and II brought all together in a common fight.  After WWI, the Southern states began celebrating Memorial Day along with the Northern states.  It took a long time and a common pain to bring the nation to semblance of healing.  Civil rights remained uncivilly distributed and still pose issues causing us to work to decide what is a right and what is a privilege and what is a personal preference.  It is not easy work.  Our streets ran with blood during the civil rights marches and they run red again with anger and violence.

In the current war of ideas and preference, we move every day closer to destructive disunity.  National treasures such as the right to free speech are trampled. National treasures such as the belief that all mankind is created equal and worthy of due dignity and respect are trampled. Today, it is a few.  But a few can be built to many and many can destroy the union.  The union is a fragile commitment to civil discourse and respect of differences.  Multi-cultural means respect for differences not blind robotic similarity.   A man’s heart is a man’s heart and it will not be changed by imposition and anger.  It is changed in discourse and compassion.  Hate builds hate.  Compassion and contrition builds friends.

Compassion is what we have lost. In our search for meaningless meaning and trivial attributions we have abandoned our God and our commitments.  Marriage is meaningless.  Children are abandoned by their fathers at birth or shortly thereafter.  Our churches, our deepest social glue, are empty and entertaining.  Employee and employer have no real relationship but money and benefits.  We are like overused Velcro, ready to disconnect at the slightest pressure.

Compassion breeds commitment.  Compassion means we see and feel the hurt and pain of another and are moved to do something to relieve it.  Anger wants to relive it not relieve it.  Anger wants to point fingers and blame and shame.  Compassion wishes to hide the hurt and find a solution.  We have regulations that prevent speaking of medical and financial conditions, but no such honor of the issues and diseases of the heart.

Compassion breeds contrition. As a child, I was raised in a church that took a moment in every service to acknowledged that each of us is flawed and working it out.  As a community, we looked at each other and admitted our broken condition that we might look at each other in support of repair.  We knew we each were wrong.  We reminded each other and committed to grow a better life.

As I child my mother and father taught me respect for others regardless of their emotional, mental, financial or physical pains.  Hate is a pain bred of fear.  Fear is a pain bred of lack of love.  Love is a commitment to forgive and heal and sometimes overlook.  Love in action kills fear and disarms hate.

The only thing that will win this war of ideals will be acts of contrition, commitment, and compassion. 
There is a third party missing in the battle.  The voice of compassion can look at a rebellious flag, statue, or organization and speak peace.  Martin Luther King, Jr and those that followed him attempted to teach us that.  The voice of compassion can speak loudly a right direction in the face of strong opposition without violence without hate without anger.  William Wilberforce and the strugglers in England that brought about deep social change and ended slavery in the United Kingdom taught us that.  It is men and women of faith that have been our salvation in free nations over the history of mankind. It is not the men and women of war and hate that have prevailed in our free nations.

Should we follow the lines of hate and imposition versus compassion, we will become like others that give up freedom to be right and then have no rights.  Should the right hearted rise up and take the streets with compassion and faith, this moment too shall pass and be written in the history books as an uncivil unrest that was conquered by community.

Will you rise?  Is there an ounce of compassion to understand and listen in you?  Will you listen long and speak slowly?  Should enough join in this then the voices of dissension will go quietly and as a nation we will move another step forward in our quest for deeper unity.  It won’t be easy.  It never is.

Maybe we will become more disgusted with human trafficking and family violence and seek long lasting solutions. Maybe we develop strong patience to understand our nation of immigrants must merge and merge and merge again with growing ideas and assimilation of cultures.  That process never ends in a free nation.  We change.  We morph.

But to destroy our treasures of freedom of speech, religion, and assembly is frightening and unacceptable.  To destroy the dignity of mankind is frightening and unacceptable.  To destroy the free pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness is frightening and unacceptable. To fracture our families and accept and indenture any is frightening and unacceptable.  Our nation has freedoms. Will you rise with a listening ear and a compassionate heart and faith the follows through?

Negative Responses

Negative responses in Pastoral Counseling. 

 Yes, that happens. Someone reminded me that I should expect negativity among those I counsel and pray for and love the person with greater  concern .

 It takes a persistence, a positivity, and a personalization repetitively to get through the filters in the client. It works though. 

One commented to me yesterday on how much they appreciated that I keep coming back, I don’t give up on them. It is breaking through the cloud. Another commented that they are now doing the same for others. They are tapering their anger and finding themselves less and less aggressive when upset and more and more listening.

Do you find yourself stuck in the negative thought stream? You can beat it. It is worth the journey.

Message me .  Let’s move forward.  As a pastoral counselor, I am available for online consultations along with onsite.

The World is No Longer Flat and Other Myths

Many programs and approaches used daily to assist those strugglers with addiction, depression, anxiety. Ptsd, and other mental health interruptions presume incurable disease. Yet, research over the last 4 decades in cognitive behavioral therapy and positive psychology have shown a different light. Much like the day a man broke the 4 minute mile in running, the undoable was done and others are running as fast. Work by Drs. Aaron Beck and Martin Seligman have broken mental health science into territory of healing and health. 

So why do we continue to do what we have always done and get the same results? Change comes slow. Old school resists new strength.  That is a tale of mankind.  We discover new venues and hold fast to what we know for long seasons.

In this area, it can be sad.  A Struggler stays under longterm depression, when solutions to interrupt and build a new and hopeful life are passed over.  Another misses days without anxieties and stressful mental stretching because there is not a recent trained positive psychology practitioner in the area.  Some grasp incurable disease model because that is all they know and all they have been taught.

We are committed to get the word out. It will take more decades of declaring healthful and hopefhopeful living is within reach of most.  Nothing works for everyone, right? But no road will take you there if you don’t know where you are going.  Go toward health, hope, and healing.

These are not spiritual solutions, though the research points to evidence that you should include spiritual components in any approach to overall mental health. I believe in Spiritual solutions and scientific mental health solutions. Spirit and science work powerfully together, there is no conflict. Truth is truth.

Get the word out. Encourage and inform those you love. Ask your physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, therapist would CBT or posite psychology be for you. The world is no longer flat.

Beating the Statistics: Building Resiliency

Elijah’s Journey

Fear and failure are faithful teachers of exemplary courage.

Studies :

Why men aren’t working

The problem is particularly pronounced among men between the ages of 25 and 54, traditionally considered the prime working years. Their participation rate has been declining for decades, but the drop-off accelerated during the recession. The high mark was 98 percent in 1954, and it now stands at 88 percent. A new analysis from the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers, slated for release Monday, found that the United States now has the third-lowest participation rate for “prime-age men” among the world’s developed countries.

What is going on here?  Our unemployment statistics are skewed. They don’t include non participants. They don’t include thousands of men, who have taken the low road of living off momma or the taxes of the working people (the government).  What is going on here?

Opioid addiction

Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the US, with 52,404 lethal drug

overdoses in 2015. Opioid addiction is driving this epidemic, with 20,101 overdose deaths

related to prescription pain relievers, and 12,990 overdose deaths related to heroin in

  1. 5 Rudd RA, Seth P, David F, Scholl L. Increases in Drug and Opioid-Involved Overdose Deaths — United States, 2010–2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2016;65:1445–1452. DOI:

Now, we have to face this other incredible factor of fear.  Suicide is climbing. It is attacking older and older Americans as a outcome of choice.  Why come to the place of abject despair and check out?

Preponderance of violent death in teens and white men.

In a follow-up to their groundbreaking 2015 work, they say that a lack of steady, well-paying jobs for whites without college degrees has caused pain, distress and social dysfunction to build up over time. The mortality rate for that group, ages 45 to 54, increased by a half percent each year from 1999 to 2013. NPR

Violent death among older white men and younger everyone is disturbing.  Why would youth and aged both take the same path?

Past failures predict strength

In short, the findings suggest that mental toughness is something like the physical strength: It cannot develop without exercise, and it breaks down when overworked. Some people in the study reported having had more than a dozen stressful events, and it showed.

With all of the preponderance of death stands this oppositional study, or is it?  When you dig through the details you find that a few disasters, deaths, job loss build strength.  A continual stream destroys the internal engine of the mind and negates natural resiliency, come back power.

Job loss is one of the most powerful of all forces of destruction, especially when you had no input to the issues. Losing a job is one of the most stressful life experiences, so it’s normal to feel angry, hurt, depressed, scared, grief at all that you’ve lost, or anxious about what the future holds. Job loss and unemployment involves a lot of change all at once which can rock your sense of purpose and self-esteem. While the stress can seem overwhelming, there are many things you can do to take control of the situation, maintain your spirits, and come out of this difficult period stronger and more resilient.

A person who has six high intensity items in a period of a few years ends up in a destructive phase.  Death, job loss, car wreck, divorce, debilitating disease, etc tear at the mental fabric of the soul.  Given time to rebound and rebuild, we become stronger. Given a flurry and no time to rebuild and we find ourselves destroyed.

Elijah’s Journey

He is faithful even when we think ourselves faithless.

I kings 19:4

3 Elijah was afraid[a] and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, 4 while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” 5 Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.

1 Timothy 2: 8 Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, 9 for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained. 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.

11 Here is a trustworthy saying:

If we died with him,

    we will also live with him;

12 if we endure,

    we will also reign with him.

If we disown him,

    he will also disown us;

13 if we are faithless,

    he remains faithful,

    for he cannot disown himself.

14 Keep reminding God’s people of these things

So How Do We Respond in Covenant?


Elijah had a covenant with God based on faithfulness.  Elijah submitted himself as a servant to God to follow His ways.  God committed Himself in faithfulness to provide a successful life.  True, that life could be tough at times, but always coming to a good end.

When we are pressed to the wall in life there are a few tips to bouncing back well and being stronger for the next thing.

  1. Get busy bouncing back as quickly as possible. The longer you dwell on the downside, the longer your pain and the less your resiliency for the next issue.  Now, give yourself some space.  A major downside can take 3-5 years to process the grief.  But that does not mean you have to dwell on it and live in it.  You can begin being active on the solutions rapidly.  Elijah took a vacation to the mountains and looked for restoration.  He then came back into the world and began a big journey.
  2. Engage others. Elijah went to Elisha and others as soon as he brought his head up.  He had been on a lonely trek for many years as part of his journey and service.  It was time to get into the group and let others hold him up.  Don’t walk alone.
  3. Listen to the voice of your biggest supporter. Elijah’s biggest supporter was God. I pray your biggest supporter is God. If you allow Him to be, He is. But if you have not reached that point of friendship with God, then allow Him to speak through someone else.  Your biggest supporter might know you better than you know yourself on the downside.
  4. Surround yourself with empowering voices. I hate to say this, but people who love us might be the worst in a time of big pain.  They will drag you back to where you were when the pain happened.  That might not be a good place to go.  If we go back to where we were, we will come back to where we are.  Remember that.
  5. Do something. Okay. Quit the pity party.  Get up and be a servant of faith.  Serve. Serve.  Serve others.  Quit seeking your solution and be the solution for others.

Set At Liberty – You Hold the Key

Moreover, the violent crime rate in the United States has been nearly cut in half since 1991, yet the prison population continues to climb. This unique and counterintuitive situation has many causes but one result: lots of people in prison.”   Responding to Mass Incarceration June 12, 2017

“A Wall Street Journal analysis shows that since the 1990s, sparsely populated counties have replaced large cities as America’s most troubled areas by key measures of socioeconomic well-being—a decline that’s accelerating.” Rural America is the New Inner City

These trends can be broken one community at a time with your support and local, compassionate provision of key education and coaching.

SOLUM cracks the puzzle. Thank you for contributing and being the solution.  For three and a half years your support allows us to work directly with the probationary population of Cooke County, Texas to develop reliable and consistent methods of stabilizing fractured families. Those methods are ready to be packaged and distributed across the U.S.A.

At the core of much of this angst is the abandonment of families by fathers.  41% of our children grow up without dad at home.  41% of the children being born today are being born into unmarried situations.  It is not hard to understand the first number will rise beyond belief due to the second number.  The result is a violent and uncivil situation.   There is a solution.  You are the solution giver.

Why does our solution together with you work?


  • Resources are taken where resources are scarce.  Outside the metro zones there are few resources to help fractured families.  There is a huge vacuum of needed workers and counselors.  Families have to travel over an hour to find help.  We go where others leave.
  • Approaches are research and evidence based.  Proven approaches and materials are integrated.
  • High accountability is administered over an extended time frame developing consistency of personal practice for recipients.
  • Faith based hope and compassion are core to every interaction.  Prayer covers your work at SOLUM.  We care genuinely for each and every person and give dignity and excellence in service.

When you have a few minutes update yourself on how you have helped through SOLUM in 2016 at Results.  There are some incredible stories included so you can see the real impact of your support.

How do we put your dollars to work to make it happen for fractured families?

  1. 90 day intensive Life Skills workshops based on CBT and trauma principles. CBT is the consistent approach that assists with depression, anxiety, and addictions. Our grads report decreased anger, better life management, and complete their probations.
  2. 90 day intensive parenting workshops with a CBT and trauma base. Our grads build more stable homes.
  3. 120 day intensive Life Skills and relationship workshops in high schools and for pretrial diversion.
  4. Mental Health First Aid training for the community leaders.

Whom do you serve through SOLUM?  Every time we touch a family together with you, another generation gets a better chance forward.

  • Adult and teen probationers and parolees and their children.
  • Families of origination where children have been taken into state foster custody.
  • Pretrial diversion for light offenders.

Thank you for your love for others.

Contact me anytime.


Phil Larson, Director 405.388.8037


Turn the tide

This current article like so many looks on the dark side.

 It is real, but so is the good will of people in counties like Cooke County, Texas, where SOLUM works on a fresh model of community transformation. It is real across America. And we have constant opportunity to do bigger bigs and greater greats to set a new standard for rural America outside the metro.

Thanks for being you and caring.
Phil ;-{) 4053888037

Flowers in the Rocks

Flowers in the Rocks

Five years ago in a period of two months, Dian and I went through the loss of her father, my favorite aunt, a good friend in Mexico during a mission trip, and relatives of each of our three married-in kids. In the same time frame we went through a corporate reorganization that directly impacted five operations I was directing, betrayals by trusted friends, some high stress incidents affecting our children and a major automobile accident.  We used the opportunity of change to redefine our lives and daily living. 

I am proud of my wife of 39 years and all my children (born, married in, and those who have adopted me) that stand with us. I am proud of friends who support us in the changes and laser focus of fixing fractured families.

Not one day of the five years has been easy. Every day has been wonderfully fulfilling and thousands of lives have been changed for the better. God is faithful. Read it again. God is faithful.

This picture was taken during a day of prayer and neditation and processing in the hard rock country of Western Oklahoma. There is beauty in hardship. Hardship is the pathway to peace. 

Today I move from giving 1-on-1 counseling for anger control to studying expanded therapeutic techniques to prayer and counseling with folks working through probation, parole, state custody of their children to Pastors of huge and small congregations, lawyers, and business professionals. I am in court testifying and community organizations advising.  I speak to thousands of state legislators and publish life change books.  

The phone never rests, emails continually come, texts go out and in, and messages come across multiple social media channels. 

People discover hope and healing. Family fractures are fixed.  God is good.  Read it again. God is good. 

Maybe you are processing changes in your life.  Remember two things. God is faithful. God is good.  Now go find the flowers in the rocks.