Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Making Whole: Healing Through Art: Emotion Chair

by Diane Steinbach

Making Whole is a bi-monthly art therapy column focused on art to heal. 

 Have you ever wandered through a furniture store trying to pick out that perfect chair? It is not as easy as one would think. The choices are endless, ranging from wood to wicker, upholstered and overstuffed to backbreaking stiff and ornate. Each chair as you look upon gives you a different feeling. One might make you want to hop in and take a nap, while another makes you feel regal or perhaps even tortuously put-in-your-place. 

We are all like chairs, when we present ourselves to other people. Sometimes we present ourselves as the comfy chair, sometimes as the throne; not to be approached.

Take up some colored pencils and paper or whatever your media of choice is, and create a chair that represents how you feel today. For fun, overemphasis the qualities your feel today in the look of your chair to make a fanciful chair that leaves no doubt about how you should be approached. 

Processing:  Look at the chair you created. What does the chair say to people that approach it.  Write out the words that it might say around the chair.  Are those the words you Really want to say to people? Are they protecting you or serving you in some other way? 
If you could help the chair to be more approachable (if it is not approachable)...what could you do? If you want to draw that solution, do so. 
If you want, draw the type of chair you'd like to look like.  How can you get from the chair you Are, to the chair you want to be? 

Options: Feeling Extra Motivated? Take a plain wood chair and turn it into your fantasy chair! By making your Emotion Chair dimensional, you acknowledge the power of that emotion, and in the case of negative emotions, once acknowledged, the emotion, and the effort of creating it in a 3 D model, helps to relieve the negative impact of it and reduces the power it has over you.

Diane Steinbach is an art therapist and the author of: Art As Therapy: Innovations, Inspiration and Ideas:, Art Activities for Groups: Providing Therapy, Fun and Function and A Practical Guide to Art Therapy Groups

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

God Speaks: Real Stories of God's Guiding Hands in Real People's Lives: Iraqi Soldier's Dream

The book "Treasuring Grace" was inspired by a dream in which co -author Tracy Roberts feels that God spoke to her and directed her hand in the writing of the story. Many people feel God's special influence in their lives in direct or indirect ways.  This column seeks to bring you some of their inspirational stories.

The following is a story reprinted from

The Dream
I can never forget the years when I was fighting against Iran. I was an Iraqi soldier and all those years were a dark time in my life. Everywhere I walked there were bodies and body parts. The blood of the war victims covered my clothes.
One day I decided to escape from Iraq. Carrying a small bag, I walked many days through the desert and mountains with help from Kurdish people living in the area. I arrived in Turkey and from there I applied to enter Canada as a refugee. When my papers were completed I came to Canada.

I was in a very bad shape emotionally and physically. The culture, lifestyle, language and environment in Canada were totally different from my home country. I couldn’t adjust quickly to this new culture. I felt lonely. My spirit was down – with no hope, and no family or friends. I was surrounded by strangers and didn’t know what to do. The only way to survive was my Holy Book. I spent hours reading and praying.

One day I met an Iraqi person and we became friends. Then he told me that he was a follower of Jesus Christ. I left and didn’t want to hear from him again. He told me that he was trying to help me get out of my miserable life.
My friend offered me a Jesus Film and a Bible. I was very hesitant to accept his gift, but something inside me encouraged me to take them. I watched the film and was very excited. I started reading the Bible. I read about the miracle when Jesus rebuked the wind and calmed the raging of the water. My life was exactly like that and I needed the same miracle.

I was very confused. If the Bible was true, then Jesus must be more than a prophet. I asked my friend many questions. One day in the middle of my confusion and very tired I asked God, “Please show me the right way.”
That night I fell sleep and had a dream. An angel came to me and asked, “Do you want to know the right way?” He showed me my religion’s way, and he showed me Jesus’ way. Then he told me that the right way was to follow Him and in order to be saved. I woke up very happy, and joy filled my heart for the first time in my life.

After I received my Canadian passport, I went to a Bible school to become an evangelist.

Read more at :

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Monday, January 21, 2013

40 Years Later: Roe vs Wade

We call this the Month of Life, and there is no shortage of opinions and essays being written this month on the Roe vs Wade decision all those years ago.

The Pro Life movement has come a long way, and we make strides everyday to educate and bring to light the truth of life to women who may have been blinded by the promotion of the choice movement. With every step forward we must continue to battle ahead to educate new generations. has a great opinion piece on the 40 year anniversary I wanted to make sure our readers saw... check it out....

40 Years Later, Abortion Has Solved Nothing for Women

by Serrin Foster | Washington, DC | | 1/21/13 12:24 PM

Did you hear? Planned Parenthood has decided that they won’t use the phrase “pro-choice” anymore. With support for abortion at an all-time low (41%) they took a poll. After using a term that has been intentionally misleading for decades, now they say it is “confusing.”
After a 40 year experiment on women, we are not confused.
All people are equal. All choices are not. Abortion is a bad choice for women–sometimes deadly for women, and almost always for their children. Women who have suffered abortions increasingly tell us that they regret their abortion, and that it hurt them in many ways.
Forty years after the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton on January 22, 1973, we remember 56 million missing American children and hundreds of women, perhaps thousands, who have paid the ultimate price.
Sarah Weddington accepted injustice when she argued Roe on the grounds that poor women, students, and working women don’t have the support they need. The founders of the National Association to Repeal the Abortion Laws (NARAL) betrayed women as well as children when they sold abortion as a way to achieve equality in the workplace.
Abortion has solved nothing. It has only masked the problems that women face, especially the most vulnerable: the poor, students, young working women, struggling families, victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, and yes, birthmothers.

Read more at :

Friday, January 18, 2013

Making Whole: Healing Through Art: Prayer Flag

by Diane Steinbach

Making Whole is a bi-monthly art therapy column focused on art to heal.

Prayer flags are a tradition that goes back thousands of years back to India. According to, "Bonpo priests used solid colored cloth flags, perhaps with their magical symbols, to balance the elements both internally and externally. The 5 colors of prayer flags represent the 5 basic elements: yellow-earth, green–water, red-fire, white-air, blue-space. Balancing these elements externally brings harmony to the environment. Balancing the elements internally brings health to the body and the mind.
Buddhists added their own texts to increase the power of the flags. There are ancient symbols, prayers and mantras for generating compassion, health, wish fulfillment, and for overcoming diseases, natural disasters and other obstacles."

Prayer Flag Project

You need:
Scrap fabric in both solid colors and patterns
Dimensional fabric paint
Cording or heavy string

In this art process, You are asked to take a square of fabric of your own choosing. It can be a solid color, or a vibrantly patterned piece.  Choose a color or design that you resonate with... something that represents who you are on the inside... your personality...your soul.  The square of fabric can be cut with rough edges and should be at least 8x8"big. 

Next, take black "Slickers" or a black dimensional fabric paint, and paint on a word that represents a hope, a prayer, that you would like to send to the world.
Perhaps you don't want to use a word, and keep your hope or thought more private...use a shape or symbol instead.
Maybe you'd like to release something on the wind? Release regrets, sorrow, along with your hopes and prayers... make a separate flag for those thoughts.

Make as many flags as you like. 

Cut a small hole in the top left and right corners of the flags to pass cording through. String your flags along the cord and hang between two trees or posts so that the wind can blow across the flags to carry your prayers to the sky. 

NOTES:  In this process the act of releasing regrets on the wind can be a powerful thing, as is stating one's hopes and displaying them and releasing them to the "universe" in this way. It is like making a promise a concrete thing and giving it more power. It can help motivate and lift a person to a new level and is a visual reminder of goals for the future.

Diane Steinbach is an art therapist and the author of: Art As Therapy: Innovations, Inspiration and Ideas:, Art Activities for Groups: Providing Therapy, Fun and Function and A Practical Guide to Art Therapy Groups

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Attribution Some rights reserved by Nivedita Ravishankar

Monday, January 14, 2013

Are Sex-Selection Abortions A Reality in the US?  recently posts that although China and India are already known offenders of sex-selection motivated abortions, it seems that other European countries and even the US are beginning to show data that indicates that the practice is beginning to take hold here as well.

It seems that some immigrant women, once they find that they are carrying female infants, may be forced by "old-school" husbands to abort infants of the "weaker" sex.

Read on....

Not Just China and India: Sex Selection Abortions Spreading Around the World

Experts Say Selection Abortions Are Increasing
in the U.S. and Europe

Efforts to expose and combat gendercide and sex-selection abortion have mostly focused on countries such as India and China. But now experts are reporting that this problem is spreading in Europe and the U.S., too.

mom and boy

According to a recent article by Elena Ralli at New Europe Online:
According to a recent study by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), in Albania, 112 boys are born for every 100 girls, while in Kosovo and Montenegro the figures stand at 110 and 109 boys per 100 girls respectively. …
In countries like Albania and Macedonia these EU laws [against sex selection abortion] are being ignored since female births keep on decreasing[;] however, women’s rights activists also see a trend towards gender selection in EU member states as well.As a result, Danish media have indicated the existence of “abortion tourism” to Sweden, where terminating a pregnancy is legal until the 18th week. Moreover, studies from Norway and Britain suggest a gender imbalance among immigrants from Asian cultures, especially among second and third children.
In a November 2011 resolution, the Council of Europe voiced its concern over the rising trend of prenatal gender selection. But the EU has no legal say on the matter since abortion law is decided and adopted by individual states alone. As a result, EU cannot press for improvements in candidate nations either.
And in an article at National Review, population control expert Steve Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, offers some shocking information on sex selection abortions in the United States:
[Dr. Sunita Puri],  who practices in the Bay Area, wanted to find out why so many immigrant Indian women in the United States were so eager to find out the sex of their unborn children, and why so many of them choose abortion when they found out they were carrying a girl.
What she discovered over the course of 65 interviews conducted over several years profoundly shocked her. Fully 89 percent of the women carrying girls opted for an abortion, and nearly half had previously aborted girls.
Puri’s report, published in Social Science and Medicine this last April, makes for grim reading. Women told Puri of their guilt over their sex-selection abortions, how they felt that they were unable to “save” their daughters. Even the women who turned out to be carrying boys this time around could not shake their remorse over having earlier aborted daughters in this deadly game of reproductive roulette.
They also made clear that they were not free actors when it came to reproductive “choice.” Many, when it was learned that they were carrying girls, became the victims of family violence. Some — in an effort to make them miscarry — had been slapped and shoved around by angry husbands and in-laws, or even kicked in the stomach. Others were denied food, water, and rest in order to coerce them into aborting their unwanted girl babies.
Mosher also sited research showing that sex-selection abortion “is widely practiced among certain Asian-American communities:”
Jason Abrevaya of the University of Texas analyzed U.S. birth data and found unusually high boy-birth percentages after 1980 among later children (most notably third and fourth children) born to Chinese and Asian-Indian mothers. Moreover, using maternally linked data from California, he found that Asian-Indian mothers are significantly more likely both to have a terminated pregnancy and to give birth to a son when they have previously only given birth to girls.
Columbia University economists Douglas Almond and Lena Edlund also found clear evidence of sex-selective abortions in what they called “son-biased sex ratios,” that is, a higher ratio of boys to girls than would occur in nature. Looking at the sex ratio at birth among U.S.-born children of Chinese, Korean, and Asian-Indian parents, they found that first-borns showed normal sex ratios at birth. But if the first child was a girl, the sex ratio jumped to 117, and if the first two children were girls, then the sex ratio jumped to 151. That is to say, for every 151 boys, there were only 100 hundred surviving girls. The rest had been eliminated.

Read more at :

Thursday, January 10, 2013

God Speaks: Real Stories of God's Guiding Hands in Real People's Lives: The Story of Fatima

The book "Treasuring Grace" was inspired by a dream in which co -author Tracy Roberts feels that God spoke to her and directed her hand in the writing of the story. Many people feel God's special influence in their lives in direct or indirect ways.  This column seeks to bring you some of their inspirational stories.

In this column we highlight personal stories of everyday people and their real life experiences with God or angels and I began to think about the Saints of the Catholic Church...all everyday people who had extraordinary experiences with God. 
One of the most inspirational stories of faith and miracles from the Catholic Church is the story of Fatima and the Miracle of the Dancing Sun.  

 " In 1917, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared a total of six times to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal. Sister Lucia, the oldest Fatima Seer said, …there is no problem, no matter how difficult it is, whether temporal or above all spiritual, in the personal life of each one of us, of our families, of the families in the world, or of the religious communities, or even of the life of peoples and nations, that cannot be solved by the Rosary. There is no problem…no matter how difficult it is, that we cannot solve by the prayer of the Holy Rosary. With the Holy Rosary, we will save ourselves…sanctify ourselves…and obtain the salvation of many souls.” (

Check out the below video to see images of Miracle of the Sun..


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Being Grateful Each Day in the Month of Life and Beyond

As we celebrate the month of Life, I am reminded that each day of life is a blessing from God. I try to be grateful each day, to remind myself, especially when I am feeling down, or tired, to count my blessings, but real life bursts in and I forget sometimes. This is something I want to try to remedy, and I urge you all to join me.

Another blogger at A Holy has done a beautiful thing. This author and blogger has shared a Joy Dare where she has created a gorgeous illustrated monthly calender that you can hang on your fridge that will remind you to be grateful.  Guided "grateful for" prompts for each day remind us, and our kids, to live consciously in the world, to see God's graces and to celebrate the small ...and big gifts we get and often take for granted.  What a gift this is indeed!

Here is a taste... then follow the link below to go to A Holy Experience website and download the monthly calenders for yourself. Check out her other books while you are there.  They look awesome!

The Joy Dare

t’s habits that can imprison you and it’s habits that can free you.
But  when thanks to God becomes a habit –  so joy in God becomes your life.
And  with this habit of keeping a gratitude list?  You:
1. Have a relative absence of stress and depression. (Woods et al., 2008)
2. Make progress towards important personal goals (Emmons and McCullough, 2003)
3. Report higher levels of determination and energy (Emmons and McCullough, 2003)
4. Feel closer in their relationships and desire to build stronger relationships (Algoe and Haidt, 2009)
5. Increase your happiness by 25% — (Who wouldn’t want a quarter more happiness!) (McCullough et al., 2002)

Who doesn’t want all that?
So! Print out each month’s Joy Dare!
1. Each day of the month has a prompt to look for three gifts.
2. Print it out for the fridge, for the kids, for your family gratitude journal — and take the dare to live in fullness of joy — right where you are!
3. Joy is a function of gratitude — and gratitude is a function of perspective. So take these prompts to help you see and change perspective — give thanks — and live all His joy!
4. Use the daily joy dare prompts — to help you count your own One Thousand Gifts:

Get the rest at

Friday, January 4, 2013

Making Whole: Healing Through Art: The Art of Rebirth

by Diane Steinbach

Making Whole is a bi-monthly art therapy column focused on art to heal.  

Acknowledging our past traumas and the scars and ugliness left behind is a necessary process to go through before we can shed that burden and be reborn into the new day. In order to free ourselves from the guilt, sadness, pain and grief we may feel, we must face it and then consciously let it go.  This is very difficult for some of us, and unless it is physically enacted, this internal process may never take place. That is what this art process seeks to do.

Taking markers, paints, pencils or any art medium of choice, on paper and create an image of your past painful experience or trauma.  It can be an abstract expression of the lasting feeling you have, a realistic image that may haunt you of an experience, however you want to express it is fine. Take your time and express it fully on the paper in all its colorful or bleak ways it comes to you. Allow it to dry if you need to before moving on to the next part.

Once your initial image is dry (if painted) or completed. Look at the image and talk about what it represents (if in a group) or write out your feelings about the image. Write directly over the picture if you like.  Take a deep breathe and let go of those feelings.  Allow yourself the ability to move on from this dark place to a new place of lightness and forgiveness and bright new energy.

Now...Bring out a fresh piece of paper and a glue stick.  Tear apart the old image and use it to create a new image on the fresh paper. It may be hard for some people to destroy the old image, just as it is hard to let go of the old pain and trauma, but you must. You must rip it and tear it into pieces in order to make the material for a new image that will represent your moving forward.  Take the pieces of the old picture and create something of beauty with it.  Tear it apart and glue the pieces into a new shape, overlap them, add to them, whatever you'd like... but there should be nothing of the old painting or picture left whole. 

By tearing apart the old image of our trauma, we show that we have strength over it. By using it to create an image of something new and beautiful, we recognize that although we have conquered it, we can still acknowledge that it is part of us.. but it doesn't have to hurt us anymore. 

Can you use art to be reborn? Be brave enough to try.  

 Diane Steinbach is an art therapist and the author of: Art As Therapy: Innovations, Inspiration and Ideas:, Art Activities for Groups: Providing Therapy, Fun and Function and A Practical Guide to Art Therapy Groups

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