Peace in Our Homes

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”    Deuteronomy 6:5-9

love planet 3d concept - heart shaped earth

What does peace mean to you? Is it nothing more than a lack of violence? Or perhaps it’s a quiet, serene atmosphere? I took a survey to see what people in the keys think and here are some of the results:

A clearer state of mind; ability to function without worries (anxiety)”

“Inner peace means being okay and still in Christ even when things are crazy on the outside. Knowing where I belong in Christ and that it is all for His glory, even if I hate the situation, or love it. That God is enough.”

“Understanding and Comprehending”

“Peace of mind to me means knowing that I can hand my burdens to God constantly and He will help me through it.”

In Judaism there is something called “Shalom Bayit”. This literally means peace in the home. It’s about getting along with one another. But even more, it’s about healthy ways of resolving problems and conflicts. It’s about working together, believing the best in one another, learning to truly hear and understand what is important to the other.

Shalom Bayit relates, very closely, with what Christians mean when we say the marriage vow, “for better or worse”. Unfortunately, both of these very healthy concepts have been perverted by so many to keep victims in abusive marriages. Neither Shalom Bayit nor “for better or worse” provide ANY justification for abuse of any kind for any period of time in any family unit. Rather, they both call especially the adults in the family unit to work together as a team in covenant with one another AND God YHWH. We are to admonish one another IN LOVE, and that love is agape. It is not the fuzzy warm philios or passion of eros. Agape is love in action that can only exist in covenant with the One Who Loved Us Into Being, God, YHWH, Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer.

We are also charged with teaching the ways of agape to our children. We teach them when we guide them in healthy ways of settling differences. In Matthew we learn: “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Our demonstration of God’s ways in our own living is the best teacher yet. We know we are living in this peace when our home life generates Hope and Life.

Sometimes we must leave our homes for safety. God, YHWH, never  intends any of us to live in abuse in any of its forms: physical, sexual, emotional, economic, spiritual, emotional. One of the most powerful statements I’ve heard any pastor say is, “For better or worse does not mean until your spouse kills you.” So often victims think that they are breaking their vow if they leave the one abusing them. Absolutely not true, the one abusing you broke the vow when they first abused you. There is no longer a vow for you to keep. There are people who will help you. Your local abuse shelter, Living Springs Counseling are two of the safe places to contact. The 24 Hour Domestic Violence Hotline: 305-⁠743-⁠4440 in Monroe County, FL. Or you can call the Florida State Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-96-ABUSE.


May your home life generate Hope and Life. May we all continue to grow in our ability to navigate disagreements and other challenging conversations with those we love. May we continue to deepen our ability to live into God’s love both in receiving and giving. May the peace of God.

May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another that together you may with one voice glorify the Creator of all, Source of all being, God, YHWH, Sustainer, Redeemer, the One Who Loved Us Into Being. 

John tells us that Jesus the Christ said: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Peace my friends, my family, my brothers and sisters in Christ, my colleagues, my neighbors. Peace.

Love – Pam

Meet our new Hospitality Hostess

Sylvia Maltzmann
Hospitality Hostess – Sylvia Maltzman

Living Springs Counseling is proud to introduce you to our new Hospitality Hostess, Sylvia Maltzman. Sylvia has a beautiful heart and wants to give back. She has great compassion for God’s people, her brothers and sisters. Starting in September she will be sending email cards from 123Greetings to anyone who has given us their email address as well as their birthday or anniversary date. We do this because we care very much about all who have interacted with our agency in any way.

So, if you would like to receive beautiful cards and aren’t sure if you’ve given us your information please fill out the form below. Pam will be the only person to get the information from this form and will pass to Sylvia only email addresses and birthday and anniversary dates that we don’t already have.

Sylvia is a Messianic Jew who lived most of her life in Miami Dade County. She has recently moved to Islamorada. Thank you Sylvia for your ministry.

Is Christianity Even Relevant Today?

Standing in the face of trouble

Today’s World often seems filled with turmoil, struggle and hate. The people we want to look up to continue to say and do shocking things. Our leadership, at all levels, is filled with people who disrespect others and make selfish decisions. So many of our leaders, from local positions all the way to our top national leaders, have become perverted by the power they hold. How do we move forward as Christians in such a place as this?

There have been at least 231 mass shootings in the United States during 2019 so far, 220 people have died and over 900 injured. (gunviolencearchive, wikipedia) Other sites return even greater numbers of people. Where do people get the idea that the best way to get their point across is to shoot massive numbers of strangers? How do we move forward as Christians in such a place as this?

So many have been deeply hurt by the Church. There is great corruption in power to which even the Church (the institution) has succumbed. The Church has espoused some teachings that do not fit within the divine agape of the One Who Loved Us Into Being. Even individual Christians have demonstrated hateful attitudes and behaviors. We are witnesses to corruption and hate from our local communities all the way through to our global leaders. To where can we look for hope and healing? Does Christianity hold any real hope and healing for us today?

There are certainly wonderful things happening too. In the last week, I personally witnessed someone who lost everything since Hurricane Irma, giving their time, energies, skills and yes, even some things to others. Having chosen a new life and spent the last year putting everything into place to begin, this person has witnessed others in need and chosen to compassionately do what they could to help and encourage. Why? Because, especially through this horrific time, this person became aware of God’s strength, guidance, healing, and love in their life and for their life like never before. Out of deep gratitude for these divine gifts, this person is now living larger than ever imagined with much less.

Especially in times like this, it’s important to focus on and meditate on those things which encourage us, build us up in healthy ways, things that lead us toward hope.

I believe there are core truths that Christians and non-Christians can hold onto. Richard Rohr puts it in such a beautiful way: “Whether or not you identify as a Christian, Richard invites you to see the Christ—the unifying principle of wholeness at the core of the universe—in everything and everyone. What does it mean to be the Body of Christ, the cosmic and coming Christ, now and for the future?”

“Unifying principle of wholeness at the core of the universe-in everything and everyone” Can you imagine, if we each meditated on that, just deeply thought about it, a few times each week what a difference it would make in the way we interact with one another and the rest of creation? Think about the difference it would make in your life.

In fact, I’m inviting you to try it out. Intentionally, for the next 3 days meditate (deeply think) on the phrase: “Unifying principle of wholeness at the core of the universe – in everyone and everything“. Do this at least 3 times a day for 3 minutes at a time. You’ll need to set aside (turn off phone, essentially go into a closed closet, turn off TV, make sure rest of family (roommates) know to leave you alone for 3 minutes) and see what happens.

What we pour into our minds, hearts, eyes and ears makes a difference in who we are. To build the strength to stand through the tough times, we must fill ourselves, again and again, with unifying and timeless principles.

Please come back and share your results:



Upper Keys 4th of July Parade!

happy dolphins

YAY! Dolphins are Jumping for joy!

It’s time for our annual 4th of July parade where we celebrate our freedom created by our ancestors, protected by our military, and that you and I are responsible to keep in check by our living, voting and speaking up.

Some of the things that threaten our freedom is stressors, depression, violence, apathy and unhealthy relationships. Living Springs Counseling provides a space where you can address these stressors in your life and create new healthier happier ways of living for you and your family. If you are a person of faith, we include your faith in your journey. Our fees make all this affordable for you and/or your loved ones.

Living Springs Counseling will be marching in this year’s parade handing out ice pops. We invite all our supporters to join us and the fun. Be at Anthony’s parking lot by 9:30 am and look for our Golf Cart. The parade route is approximately 1 mile. If you have a wheelchair, bring it and hand out ice pops too!!

To contact us for appointments call 305.942.4226.

The High Tea Extravaganza! is coming June 15th

2 Time Crazy Hat Competition Winner

Each year we have such an amazing time at our High Tea Extravaganza! We hope you’ll come join us again this year! If you haven’t been there yet, there’s no time like the present. Above is our 2 time winner of the Crazy Hat Competition. Who will win this year?

Imagine a 4 course meal of finger food AND supporting a vital local not for profit for just $25.

Imagine laughing, eating and enjoying all kinds of natural teas …

Imagine silent auction opportunities galore …

AND you don’t even have to dress up! That’s right wear whatever feels right to you and have fun doing it. You might ask, ok so we can have fun … why else would we support this organization.

Living Springs Counseling helps build and improve the quality of community here in the Keys. We accomplish this by …

Living Springs Counseling provides the ONLY very affordable Certified Pastoral Counseling in all of the Florida Keys. You are able to address depression, grief, stress, faith, and relationship/couples issues. We do not take insurance (42% of working age Monroe County residents don’t have insurance anyway) and you’ll find that our sliding scale is very affordable. Even homeless residents and residents on disability can afford us.

We also offer parenting classes (approved by the UK Family Court for mandated parenting classes), continuing education classes for clergy, and last resort Rx assistance for Monroe County Residents.

Of course, we ALWAYS accept donations. Please click on our donations page above.

Click here To purchase tickets to our High Tea Extravaganza! June 15th; 1-3 PM at MM 98.5 bayside – Pirates Cove Clubhouse

Looking forward to having fun with you!


Living Water

Did you ever wonder why scientists get so excited when they find a planet with water? They regularly bypass all kinds of truly amazing planets, stars, galaxies and more with a plethora of valuable discoveries and go straight to the planets that include water. It turns out that scientists have never found any substance that sustains life better than water. Where there’s water there’s probably life.

Guess what amniotic fluid is. You guessed it, water. Did you know that the water of amniotic fluid does much more than protect the developing baby? As pregnancy continues, this water provides a way for electrolytes, proteins, carbohydrates, other nutritional and developmental elements to get to the developing child. Even more, when the fetus swallows this water, it  helps in the formation of the gastrointestinal tract. Water is vital to human creation.

Do you know why plants need water? Plants are about 90% water. When plants are not watered properly they wilt. This is because of something called turgor, which is water pressure inside the cells that make up the plant’s skeleton. When a plant is properly hydrated, there is enough water pressure to make the leaves strong and sturdy; when a plant doesn’t get enough water, the pressure inside the stems and leaves drops and they wilt. Plants also need water for photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is what plants do to create their food, and water is critical to this process. Once in the leaves water evaporates, as the plant exchanges water for carbon dioxide. The water from the leaves evaporates through the stomata, and carbon dioxide enters the stomata, taking the water’s place. Plants need this carbon dioxide to make food. Transpiration – this exchange of water for carbon dioxide – only occurs during the day when there is sunlight. This is why you might find dew on plants in the morning. The plants contain a lot of water because all night long water has been entering through the stem and being pulled into the leaves where it can’t evaporate. Since the water doesn’t evaporate at night, the water has no where to go so it remains on the leaves as dew. When water evaporates from a plant during transpiration it cools the plant, in the same way the humans sweat to cool off in the heat. A mature house plant can transpire its body weight daily. This means it gives off a lot of water! If people needed that much water, an adult would drink 20 gallons of water a day. (UCSB ScienceLine)

Not only does water create life and sustain life, water can also be destructive, hurricanes, and beautiful, Niagara Falls. Water refreshes us, swimming, and provides a source for exercise and healthy nutrition (fish and seaweed).  Water cleans and feeds.

No wonder God choose water to be used in baptism. Water gives us rainbows. God led the Israelites to freedom through water. God provided safe passage through the river Jordan to the promised land. In creation, God swept across the waters and brought forth light.

Our lives are blessed by water in more ways than we know.

How has your life been blessed, changed, rearranged by water?

Here is a quote from my book: Becoming: A Spiritual Journey

“Jeremiah has a wonderful understanding of God as the fountain of living water that has so completely flowed through my life in the years since. It’s not even just a river of living water as John talks about, but an actual fountain. I picture a magnificent shower of water shooting up from the center, cascading down with its refreshing life-giving breath on everything willing to receive it. Dancing around the fountain, I see life flourishing and growing in a brilliant array of greens. A fragrance of joy and hope permeates the air as new life buds forth. This is the vision my Creator gave me as I struggled to reach out for just a drop, knowing that God’s right hand was holding me through it all.”

May you know God’s Blessings through water today and everyday.

Building Your Love Map

That special person, the one who not only always has your back, but also walks alongside you, laughs with you, encourages you, holds your heart as a great and wonder-full treasure; has taken vows to continue to honor you and respect you for life.

Yes, that one, close your eyes and picture him or her. Let your mind flutter through the many superb memories, one to the next and next. Listen to your heart. What is it saying? What feelings fill you up? At some point, during this exercise you’ll come to a screeching halt. There are also times you and your spouse have said terrible things to one another.

All married couples disagree from time to time, this is normal and healthy. However, some couples are cruel to one another regularly. Some couples turn disagreements into personal attacks. This is not normal and it is not healthy. Sometimes couples are more like roommates, this is not normal and it is not healthy. Sometimes one spouse makes all the decisions, sets the rules, controls the money and assumes the responsibility to punish any perceived transgressions. This is not normal and it is not healthy.

If you want to get the most our of your relationship, if you want a healthier relationship that you can count on, if you want to feel loved and make your spouse feel loved … a good way to start is by rebuilding your love maps. John Gottman, PhD and his wife have carefully studied relationships and how to heal relationships for over 40 years. The Gottman Relationship Counseling process is proven both scientifically and with many couples. Gottman trained therapists are in demand and people will pay hundreds per session.

Our Pastoral Counselor is a Gottman trained therapist. Dr. Feeser has completed her Gottman Couples Therapy training and utilizes this process with our couples. However, because of the economic strains on our community, Living Springs Counseling charges between $30 and $70 per session on a sliding scale. Call us 305.451.9554 to discuss possibilities and make appointments.

Here are some typical Love Map questions:

Who are your partner’s best friends? What things is your partner most worried about right now? What does your partner dream about accomplishing? Describe your partner’s worldview.

There are many fun ways to build your love maps. Contact us to find out more. You and your spouse deserve to love and be loved in healthy ways. We look forward to hearing from you.




With Love to My Readers As We Anticipate Christmas

I Wonder As I Wander

Love Came Down Let’s Pass It Around

Advent Season, Hannukah, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, 12 Days of Christmas, St. Stephan’s Day

December is rich with meaning and it’s spelled LOVE. This isn’t the warm, mushy,squishy, wishy washy love. The love that God actually gave to you and me must have much greater substance than that. Give any one of us a bad day and we can do serious damage to the mushy squishy love. The love God gave, gives and will continue to give to us can and has withstood the tests of evil, death, nastiness, hate, loss, grief, anger, threat, indifference, life, chaos, and so much more, imaginable and unimaginable.

So, what does this love look like? Where have we witnessed it? When have we shared it with others?

God’s love, agape, works to overturn the injustices we tend to normalize.

  • Asking why doesn’t he stop abusing her (rather than why doesn’t she leave) AND then getting the answer and working to force him and others like him to stop.
  • Running a food bank and setting it up to respect the people who use it.
  • Creating a community where there truly is housing that people of all income levels can afford.

These are not easy things to do. Most of us can’t even agree on what’s appropriate. Agape love is messy, it’s risky and has cost. Agape does, agape gets up, rolls up it’s sleeves and gets to work for the good of all. Agape love respects each person as one of God’s very own beloved. Agape love understands each person as one of inherent worth and continues regardless of any resistance. Agape is also something that we participate in as God’s very own beloved. If we truly believe in God and have a living relationship with God then we are continually called or urged by God to live out this life giving love.

I’ve seen this love when a couple adopted a teenage girl, almost ready to age out of the system. They did this for her benefit and yes, they loved her with familial love too.

After Irma, many families have been homeless. There was a lady who reached out to another lady and her little girl who were living in their car because their home was gone. The three of them are now living together until the woman and her daughter can get back on their feet.

What examples of agape have you seen?

It does take a community.

Did you know October is “Domestic Violence Awareness Month”?

Who wants to increase their awareness of something so awful? Most people prefer not to even think about it … that is, until someone they love is touched by it. Did you know that no matter what your role in the community, you can make a difference with just a few simple adjustments.

With the Kavanaugh case hot on our minds, this is a good time to refresh ourselves on how we believe we should treat other people.

Most Christians will agree that we should treat other people as children of God always. However, wouldn’t it be nice if it were just that easy? While our intentions may be good, our choice of words or actions may not be as good as we think. It’s not always easy to try to hear ourselves as the person to whom we’re speaking hears us.

For instance: Never say, “the first time he’d hit me I’d be out of there.” You haven’t experienced what your friend has. By the time the abuser gets their victim to the hitting phase, they’ve conditioned their victim to accept it. I know how unbelievable this sounds, but abusers are very good at what they do.  Their victims can be doctors, lawyers, teachers, professionals, blue collar workers, homemakers, rich or poor they do not discriminate.

Here’s a few things you can do now to help:


  • Simply don’t laugh at jokes about abuse in the family. When with friends and someone says : You better get home before your wife beats you with a frying pan.
  • Always tell other women and especially girls that they deserve to be treated with respect.
  • Complement teen age girls for the good they do and positive things about their behavior. Not just your children, but anyone’s children. Who’s going to complain when you’re complementing their child.
  • Discourage gossip.
  • Support your local Abuse Shelter. You could donate money, clothing, time, or even in kind services.

In the Church:

  • Clergy use sermon illustrations with women as the hero’s instead of victims.
  • Don’t treat the children as children.  Treat them as members of God’s family with something to say.
  • Teach about the women in the Bible and their amazing strengths.
  • Teach about important women of our day whose faith has made a difference.
  • Post the various wheels everywhere and talk about them.
  • Invite the local Abuse Shelter or Victim Advocates to come speak.
  • Study scripture to see how Jesus treated women vs how the culture of Biblical times treated women.
  • Celebrate the contributions of the women in your congregation.
  • Children’s programs: ie from SAMHSA

What to do when talking with someone who is in an abusive situation:

  • Get person into safety FIRST!
  • Listen (active listening)
  • Establish a trust relationship
  • Tell her she doesn’t deserve to be treated that way.
  • Compliment person
  • Be aware of the negative messages she may have received from her church
  • Do not rush victim into forgiveness
  • Do not ask why she stays
  • Affirm her worth

Employers can:

  • Be aware that if an employee is receiving lots of calls from spouse or gifts delivered to work from spouse they might be in a situation of abuse. Before assuming otherwise, be sure to make yourself familiar with what is going on with your employees. An open door policy is very helpful in these cases. The employee is not going to share with you if they are afraid of losing their job or a reprimand from you.
  • At staff meetings, let your employees know that you will stand with any employee who is in an abusive relationship. Invite them to share this information with you so you can be helpful to them.
  • Have the phone number of the local abuse shelter (DAS in the Keys) on hand. If one of your employees is being stalked move them to a position where they do not have to answer the front phone or sit in the lobby or close to it.
  • Treat any visiting abusive spouse the same way you would anyone disrupting your office. Do not let them have access to your employee. Establish a protocol ahead of time.

When victims feel that their community has their backs, they will be more empowered to better their lives.

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11


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