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Posted by on Oct 13, 2014 in Blog, Relationships & Family | 0 comments

Scattering The Ashes Of A Loved One: Things To Consider

If your loved was cremated upon his or her death, it must be decided what should be done with the ashes. Because many people have watched movies or television programs where ashes are released, they may have a romanticized notion of what releasing or spreading ashes can be. The death of someone you love is painful enough without being unprepared for what is involved in scattering his or her ashes. Below you will find some helpful information so that you will be better prepared to for what spreading or scattering ashes can entail.

The ash isn’t what you think

It is natural to assume that you will receive a container of campfire-like ash from the funeral home who handled the cremation services. After all, even if the word ash didn’t bring that image to mind, television and movies certainly portray it that way. It is important that you realize that the ashes of your loved ones don’t look as you imagine they will. They likely contain small bone fragments as well as pieces of metal that may come from tooth fillings or surgical implants. The ash itself is also more like coarse, heavy sand, or even tiny pebbles, not a fine soot, as you may expect. 

You have many options

Often people believe that scattering or spreading the remains in the deceased’s favorite place is the best choice and most people feel they must do that on their own. However, there are actually many options out there and many companies who can assist you in more unique options. These include:

  • Having your loved one’s remains taken into space
  • Having pencils made from the ashes, with your loved one’s name embossed on the finished product
  • Wearing the ashes in the form of jewelry, much like lockets, or have the ashes actually turned into diamonds 
  • Having hour glasses made using the ashes
  • Combining the ashes with soil to grow a memorial tree

If you prefer to go the route of scattering your loved one’s ashes on your own, there are some things you should consider:

  • Crowds- Will you feel comfortable releasing the ashes in an area where there are many strangers to bear witness? 
  • Permission- What are state and local laws regarding the release of human remains? Do you need a permit? 
  • Will you scatter the ashes all at once, or would you prefer to spread some in several different places?
  • Will you hold a ceremony and invite others to release the ashes or will it be a solitary venture? 
  • Do you want to hire a company that has experience with ash release, such as a charter boat for an ocean release or a plane for an air release, or would you prefer to handle it all on your own? Do you have the means to do so?

There is no timetable 

Unlike burial, there is no hurry to release or spread the ashes. You may wait as long as you would like. Once you feel comfortable with the idea of scattering the ashes, you can begin to plan where you would like to lay your loved one to rest.

It’s possible you will never feel that you want to scatter the ashes, and that’s perfectly acceptable. Keeping the remains in a beautiful urn in your home is a fine choice. You should not spread the ashes unless you are ready. It’s a final goodbye you don’t want to regret. 

Scattering, spreading or releasing ashes can be a wonderful way to honor the deceased. Find the choice that is best for you as you say your final farewell to your loved one.

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Posted by on Oct 8, 2014 in Blog, Relationships & Family | 0 comments

How To Treat Sudden Swelling In Your Extremities

If you’ve suffered injury to (or removal of) one of your lymph nodes — the glands that help circulate white blood cells throughout your body and fight disease — you may notice occasional and severe swelling of the limb near your injured or removed lymph node. What causes this swelling, and how can you treat it? Read on to learn more about lymphedema and what you can do to minimize your symptoms.

What function do the lymph nodes perform?

Your lymphatic system is composed of each of your lymph nodes (present in your neck, armpits, and groin) and is part of your circulatory system. Your lymph nodes are special glands that help circulate lymph — a fluid containing white blood cells and other powerful disease-fighting substances — throughout your body. When you’re suffering an illness, your lymph nodes often swell, as they become overtaxed at the effort it takes to fight this illness. In addition, if you suffer from an immune disorder or certain types of cancer, you may have to have one or more lymph nodes removed.

What causes swelling of the limbs near this affected lymph node?

Once you’ve had a lymph node removed (or if your lymph node has been damaged by illness or injury) you may notice occasional sudden, severe swelling of the arm or leg near the affected site. On rare occasions, this swelling can impact more than one limb. This swelling is called lymphedema, and is usually the result of a failure of the lymphatic system to properly drain and filter lymph from the limb. If you have lymphedema, you may notice that your limb feels heavy and is painful — in some cases, the skin on your affected limb can even thicken and harden.

What can you do to treat these symptoms?

Although there is currently no cure for lymphedema, there are ways you can control your symptoms to minimize their effect on your daily life.

  • Keep the affected limb elevated as much as possible. The gravity will help gradually drain excess fluid.
  • Massaging the limb can also help force the extra fluid back into your body.
  • If one or both legs are affected, you can purchase special compression stockings in the diabetes care section of most drugstores. These stockings will help force the blood and lymph back into the rest of your body, as well as preventing further lymph buildup. If your arms are affected, you can try tightly wrapping them with a cloth bandage for the same effect.

In severe cases that are not helped by the methods above, surgery may be necessary. However, most cases of lymphedema can be easily treated and managed by simply compressing the limb. Contact a company like Dynamic Rehabilitation Services for more help with treating lymphedema.

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Posted by on Oct 4, 2014 in Blog, Relationships & Family | 0 comments

Reassess Your Influence And Values For A Healthier Family Unit

Today, many families find themselves in dysfunctional relationships. If you feel like your family has lost sight of good relationships, you’ll want to seek out therapy. But if your goals are to be successful in family therapy, you must reassess and restore your understanding of family values, and how to be a positive influence.

Understading Values of a Healthy Family

Many things could be said to specifically spell out what a healthy family should look like. However, when you boil it down, two main characteristics rise to the top: love and respect.


The problem with love is that it has been greatly distorted and misunderstood over time. The love that’s needed in families is not always expressed as an intense, happy emotion. In fact, even healthy families sometimes don’t like things their members do, and find themselves angry and upset.

Rather, the type of love present in a healthy family is a deep, lasting commitment to one another. This commitment brings with it a willingness to work out problems as they arise. Loving homes are safe places to mess up and learn from one’s mistakes. Love seeks to build others up, not tear them down. It is honoring, not shaming. Love sees the best in people, yet isn’t afraid to acknowledge their shortcomings. It celebrates its members’ abilities while strengthening them in their areas of weakness.


While love is the underlying motive in a healthy family, respect defines its members’ interactions. The bottom line when it comes to respect is the golden rule: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you…” (Matthew 7:12). Though this idea is taken from the Bible, it is solid practice regardless of religious beliefs.

Respect shows itself in everything you say and do. In fact, it’s often the small things you do that communicate respect. Couples respect one another by making time to connect despite a busy schedule. Parents respect children by allowing them to try new things and develop their abilities. Children show respect for parents by following their rules. These are just a few ways respect can be shown.

Cultivating Love and Respect

Once you have a clear idea of love and respect, the next logical question is, “How do you get there?” Checking out can help, and so will going to therapy. However, the bulk of the work will take place at home. Here are a few thoughts about cultivating an environment of love and respect.

Time is Essential

It is impossible to improve any relationship without spending quality time. Spending time together as a family tells its members that each of them, and the family as a unit, is important. Time can be spent doing an activity or simply enjoying a meal and catching up. The important point is that you’re together, and focused on one another.

Have Fun Together

There are times when you’ll need to let go of the stresses of life and simply play. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that play is not only vital for a child’s cognitive development but for their relationship development. Children are excellent at play, but typically, adults struggle in this area. Especially after a crisis in your relationships, the temptation is to take life too seriously. The hard stuff must be dealt with, but fun can go a long way in relieving stress and making hard things easier.

Leaders Lead by Example

When families are in crisis, parents have to be willing to lead by example. They must be the first to say they’re sorry and make things right. They must be the ones to end destructive behaviors and start to learn new ones. When love and respect are modeled by leadership, family dynamics start to change.

Healthy families are ones that show love and respect toward one another. They interact in ways that demonstrate commitment and value of family members and the unit. This is the ideal to which therapists can strive to bring their clients as they seek to bring healing and restoration to families.

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Posted by on Oct 2, 2014 in Blog, Relationships & Family | 0 comments

When A Couple Dies Together: Tips For Planning A Funeral For Two

At times, death can come for a married couple at the same time. If a couple dies in a car accident together or dies close to each other for another reason, the loved ones of that couple may decide to have a funeral for two. Planning a funeral for two or more people at the same time can be challenging, but here are some tips to help you out:

Reduce decisions and save money by purchasing products for couples

If you are planning a funeral for two, you will need to pick out caskets, gravestones, and other elements just as you do when you are planning any other type of funeral. If you want to save a bit of money and speed up the decision-making process, consider buying elements that can be used for both people. For instance, one couple in the United Kingdom were cremated in a coffin for couples, and headstones for couples or families have been popular for generations.

Remember to individually honor each person

A couples funeral is a great way to honor the love and bond that a couple had while living on earth, but it should not distract from the unique joy and beauty of each individual. Keep this in mind as you prepare the funeral, and try to integrate unique ways to honor each person.

For instance, you could have someone who was a friend to the couple write a eulogy that honors them both, but then, you could have other people deliver eulogies that are more focused on an individual.

Consider a memorial service rather than a funeral

A funeral takes place relatively soon after the deceased person has passed, and traditionally, the deceased person’s body is present at this event. A memorial service, in contrast, can take place at any time, and the body is traditionally not there.

If relevant to your situation, consider having a memorial service for two or more of your lost loved ones at the same time. If you have a big family full of far flung members, you could even have an annual memorial service for everyone that your family has lost that year. This could be done in addition to or instead of a traditional funeral. 

Honor each person’s religious preferences

If you are planning a couples funeral for an interfaith couple, you will need to deal with that issue carefully. You can have the funeral in one person’s church and ask the other person’s minister, rabbi, or imam to co-officiate. Alternatively, you could have the service at a funeral home so that there is no religious conflict.

For more ideas and tips on planning a funeral for two, contact a funeral home (such as Ahlgrim & Sons Funeral And Cremation Services LTD) today.

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Posted by on Sep 26, 2014 in Blog, Relationships & Family | 0 comments

The Basics About Putting A Child Up For Adoption

An unplanned pregnancy is something that a surprisingly large number of women face. Although it can be a stressful situation, adoption is the greatest solution for numerous reasons. Adoption is where all legal rights and responsibilities of the child are permanently given to a new set of parents.

Instead of terminating the pregnancy, the child is able to be given life, and by giving custody to a family who, for example, isn’t able to conceive, the unwanted pregnancy becomes a miracle.

There are private and public adoption agencies.

  • Public agencies are run by the state and have programs for foster children and adoption. There are lots of older and special needs children looking to be adopted through public agencies.
  • Private agencies are very different and are licensed through the state to do domestic or international adoptions. It is a good idea for parents to research a few different agencies, to find one that best fits them and can meet their needs.

Closed Adoption

Closed, or confidential adoption is very common. Often times, the biological mother or parents want to continue with their lives as they had before the child was born. The couple or family who adopts the child wants to raise him or her as their own, and not have to explain the story of how they came to be until the child is older.

This makes closed adoption an ideal decision. The legal records of the biological mother isn’t accessible, and the biological father is usually not even put on the birth certificate. This makes it very difficult for the child to find his biological parents when he or she is grown.

This situation is really only possible with an infant, who will not have any recollection of anything other than the adoptive parents.

Open Adoptions

Open adoption is when, after the process is complete, information is shared between both parties. This is preferred by biological parents who would like to know about the child as he or she grows up. Sometimes, in an open adoption, the biological parents play a somewhat important role in the child’s life, perhaps as an aunt or uncle.

More commonly, though, the biological parents don’t have such a significant role in the child’s life, but get to see him or her a couple times a year, and receive pictures and other bits of information by mail. If you want to know more, click here to investigate and learn more about adoption.

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Posted by on Sep 15, 2014 in Blog, Relationships & Family | 0 comments

How Pregnancy Counseling Can Help Women With Unplanned Pregnancies

It is important for women dealing with unplanned pregnancies to know they are not alone and there are people who want to help them. Even women experiencing planned pregnancies struggle with the transition into motherhood, hormones, feelings of discomfort, and vulnerability. Up to 16% of new moms experience acute postpartum depression after giving birth, so as a precaution, women with unplanned pregnancies need to be especially diligent about seeking help to avoid complications in the future.  Going to pregnancy counseling can give you the tools and guidance you need to make the right choices. Keep reading to learn more about pregnancy counseling and its benefits.

Be Informed about Your Options

When learning about an unplanned pregnancy, one of the first decisions a woman makes is choosing between abortion, adoption, or raising the child themselves. A pregnancy counselor should not make the decisions for the patient, instead they should make sure that the pregnant woman is completely aware of all her options. For example, a woman who is thinking about abortion should be informed that there are both in-clinic procedures and pill methods. She also should completely understand the current developmental stage of her child before making that decision.  

A woman who wants to keep her child but feels that adoption may be a better option because she doesn’t have the funds, should be given resources to either go to school or find a job. She may be eligible for programs designed to help unprivileged pregnant women like WIC. When a pregnant woman knows she has resources available, she may be less likely to make a decision she will regret in the future.

Learn Healthy Ways to Cope with Stress, Anxiety, and Depression

Unplanned pregnancies create uncertainty about the future for many women. Combine this with crazy hormones and some women find they are struggling with stress, anxiety, and depression during their pregnancy. It is important for the mother and baby’s health to make sure they are keeping their stress levels down and maintaining a positive attitude when possible.  A pregnancy counselor can be a great person to talk to, and they can also give tools for managing stress. For example, a pregnancy counselor might recommend that the woman sticks to a whole foods diet, practice yoga, and meditates on a daily basis to increase their overall level of happiness.

Plan for the Future

Pregnancy counselors are expected to know about state programs and volunteer organizations designed to help women who are pregnant or have small children. A pregnancy counselor from a place like Hope’s Promise can help the expecting mother plan for the future, which can help reduce fear of the unknown and offer the pregnant woman and her child a more stable environment before the mother gives birth. Once a child is born, it becomes more difficult to attend counseling sessions, so becoming armed with knowledge beforehand can be greatly beneficial.

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