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Archive for the ‘stress’ Category

       Actor Willie Ames is famous for his roles on Eight Is Enough (1970’s) and in the show Charles in Charge (1980’s), he has had a large fan following over the years.   Willie also starred  in video’s from 1995-2004 as a superhero named Bibleman; winning a whole new generation of young fans.  He became a Christian and an ordained minister after struggling for years with drug/alcohol addictions.  He appeared to have things together in his life.

        Just this past November Willie, and his second wife Maylo McCaslin Ames, wrote a book together called Grace is Enough.  Shortly after this book was published, on Thanksgiving 2008, Willie Ames allgedly tried to take his own life.  This is why God tells us to keep our eyes on him and not on man ( or woman).  We are vulnerable to attacks by the enemy (Satan) and we can fail one another as role models from time to time.  It is unfair to put someone on a pedestal as an example to follow because they are; for all intents and purposes, human just like us.  Only Jesus is the perfect example to follow.

         It seems that Willie found himself in the position of having to declare bankruptsy, having his vehicle repossesed and having his wife of 22 years ask him for a divorce.  I am sure the fear of failure, rejection, the possibility of an upcoming divorce, slipping back to the pull of his addictions, and the financial difficulties all contributed to his suicide attempt.  When people are overloaded with difficulties that come all at once…that is when escape starts to sound good…it is an illusion that a Christian is tempted with by his spiritual adversary, Satan.  Suicide is not a solution…it is an really just another way to self-destruct; it an attack on that person’s physical and spiritual being.  http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/  It is important to seek help when depression and despair overwhelms a person. 

        Willie is a Christian yes, but he is a human being also.  One who has struggled with these issues of addiction and self-destruction.  He has tried to live in a place of leadership; which is admirable.  From reading excerpts of their book….it sounds as though both Willie and Maylo have allegedly come from previous places of dysfunction.  No one lives a perfect life…Christians are a work in progress; and, some of the same negative circumstances and forces that affect non-Christians, affect Christians as well. 

         I hope that through this time of difficulty, that Willie and his family can receive proper spiritual counseling and emotional counseling to help them sort things out.  Certainly, we wish him well in his healing path.  As anyone who had had to struggle with these kinds of issues…it is important to know that support is very important from family, friends and, health care professionals; when it is needed.

          For those who would condemn or look askance at Willie’s actions and ask incrediously, how a Christian could do such a thing; I would counter that by asking that person to think compassionately.  When people are in despair and going through some of the worst situations that life has to offer …faith is a lifeline… but, faith is a fragile thing sometimes.  We are to encourage one another and lift each other up.  While Willie played a superhero….he is not superhuman…he is a man who has to find his way back to a place of prominence, by putting faith into action once again,. 

          Do you think Christians are immune from depression and confusion; or should they be?  Do you know any other Christian who has struggled with addictions and depression and then been able to build their life back up from that desperate place?  Have you yourself been there?  National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

National suicide prevention lifeline: Suicide hotline, 24/7 free and confidential, 132 crisis centers nationwide               1-800-273-TALK       .
http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
Update:  you may also want to read:  http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20268391,00.html

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This is the time of year when people make all kinds of resolutions…some are attainable and some are not. Many times people make New Year’s resolutions and set themselves up to fail because they are too big or grand…the promises they make to themselves; or to others, just aren’t realistic. However, I think i have come up with the primo resolution. I want to celebrate the things in life that make me happy! I want to nip things in the bud that hold me back from achieving in the areas of life that I have been afraid to take a chance on.

I resolve to do more of the things in life that make me happy, healthy and that put me in a more financially secure postion. I am going to do less of the things which consume my time, in which I don’t have control over the outcome. I will make more of an effort to be less stressed…more at peace with the choices I make in life, and to do more serviceable types of things for others; not because I have to, but because that makes me happy.

Lord knows there is lots of negativity in the world both outside of my home and inside my head; I am going to work very hard at overcoming negative thoughts that could prevent me from being successful in the things that I decide are important enough to spend my time on. These are all do-able resolutions. They are not a quick fix for any one problem in the world, or in my life but, they are good practices in general. So, it is lifestyle choice…a work in progress.

If I make a mistake and realize it…it doesn’t mean I have to go all negative and stop trying. It simply means that, I am giving myself permission to have a do-over…a start over…a chance to improve. In other words…I resolve to do more of what makes me happy. I have a pretty basic happy nature…but circumstances have the ability to bring anyone down…I am making a decision to allow that to happen less often. What have you resolved to do in 2009?

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        When you have given your all and feel like you have nothing left to give…that is a great time to do a little Rest & Renewal.   Stop, don’t make any decisions; or, take any actions when you are feeling burned out and overburdened.  Stop, take a few deep breaths and re-evaluate the situation when you are feeling more refreshed.   Rest, eat healthy, drink water; ponder the blessings in your life and be thankful for them. 

         Don’t allow yourself to dwell on the negatives.   It is too easy to feel discouragement or weariness in that frame of mind.      When your vision is clear you will be in a better position to see things as they really are…assessing both the positive and the negative; allowing you to act accordingly.

        Emotions and physical limitations can blind you to your actual situation.  Give it a little time and remember to recharge your batteries.   No one says that you have to do all and be all things to everyone around you.   It is a wise person who takes the time to make sure that their own physical, spirtual, and emotional needs are met…then, and only then, can you continue to pour yourself out, or give to others in a real purposeful way.  

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        Here is a story that illustrates the breakdown of American business.  Jim Crosby and his sister Linette are in a fierce and immediate battle to save their family owned mint farm business.  They are to be foreclosed on, any day now…they need to sell bottles of mint oil to save their business.  They are located in St. Johns, Michigan.  Michigan is one of the hardest hit states when it comes to the economy.  People here are struggling to hang on to the most basic necessities of life…this family only wants to be able to continue to provide a service to their customers…both old and NEW!  It is their dream to be able to continue marketing their mint oil.

         Their business has been owned by their family members since the early nineteen hundreds.  This is their legacy…and it needs an influx of cash, today.  You can visit their website ( http://www.getmint.com)  and help, to try to save an American owned business.   In a day and age where American business owners are moving out of the country left and right, to get cheaper labor and make more of a profit; it is nice to be able to support a company that has stayed in America while producing their product.  If you use mint oil for cooking, baking, tea, health aid, air freshner…or any other use…please buy from this company and help them stay in business…but, don’t dawdle…they need cash now to stay in business.  The bank that is planning to foreclose on them…could take their bottles of oil and they could take the equipment needed to continue producing the oil…thereby, putting them out of business.

         We have to make a stand for some kind of return to common sense…producing in America, selling in America and buying in America…this is how we build a strong infrastructure in the country once again.  You can build up business, jobs, and housing markets by keeping American’s working.  You want to strenthen the economy?  Stop buying everything from other countries (because it’s cheaper) and start supporting American owned and operated business that produce quality products.  The job or business that you save just might be your own!

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         What a stinking mess we are living with.  Fear smells up a place…we have a huge financial crisis, a huge political crisis; and, it could be a privotal moment of rescue or a plunge into the abyss and truthfully, the whole thing could go either way!

          Huge meetings are taking place in Washington…panic is like a throbbing headache…it is there making it presence known…threatening to turn into something much worse than a mere pain.  Into the frey, we have a bailout plan that was possibly agreed upon, until some say McCain derailed it with the House Republicans who disagreed strongly with parts of the plan. 

          Throw on top of that…a debate that is scheduled for tonight between Sen. McCain and Sen. Barack Obama.  Battle lines have been drawn, in a somewhat blurry manner.  Sen. Obama says he will definately show up for the debate…McCain says…we should reschedule the debate and focus on this immediate crisis with a plan for the financial stabilization for our country.  Our leaders have been in financial denial too long to let this negatively impact our country any longer.  It is time for commitment to understanding the problem and taking action.

          Who is correct…Obama says the debates are important to help the people understand how the Senators would handle things if they were the chosen one for the Presidential office.  McCain says, these meetings in Washington are critical and that they should be involved in them.  This whole thing is larger than a difference of opinion.  Does it say something very basic about Obama’s nature to hold to the plan for the debate when all of the rest of the country is focussed on this crisis?  Does he feel set apart from it all?  Or is he making a statement by letting the others take the action behind the scenes?  Is he right to stay out of it?  Or should he be more involved? If he doesn’t get involved in the planning of the bailout…will he understand best how to run the country if he should win the election?  Will Obama will the voter’s approval in November for not going to Washington at this time? 

        Is McCain right to be in the middle of things?  Should he be in there fighting for the things to be included or excluded in the bailout plan?  If he wins the election will it help him to run the country by being involved in the planning of the bailout?  Should he back out of it and go do the debate?  Will McCain’s involvement hurt his chances for election in November?  Or will he be seen as trying to make a difference?  Does his involvement help or hurt his chances for election?

          What i don’t understand is why they both can’t be right?  Why can’t the debate be moved to Washington and take place there…while the rest of their time could be focussed on the meetings to keep current on what is happening behind closed doors.  Those meeting are going to not only impact the country in deep and profound ways…but, will also impact whoever does end up in the Presidential position!  This is real, this is so much bigger than either of the candidates and they both need to understand that the American people are going to have their decision made for them by the end of this crisis!

          This is no time for game playing, no time for political mud slinging, no time for experimentation…this country is looking for someone to take the helm of this country and be proactive in guiding the ship to a safer, less rocky course than it is on at this very moment in time. 

          Wall Street is in turmoil, the American tax paying public is in no position to fund a bailout when most of it’s residents are barely surviving as it is.  Banks are collapsing, housing is bottoming out, businesses are busting out all over the place, people’s investments and retirements are in jeparody…this is shaky ground; reminescent of what happened in Russia just a few short years ago. 

          Other countries are getting nervous as well.  Beware of the person who says they have all of the answers…because no one possibly can.  This is uncharted areas of expertise.  The last thing we need is a knee jerk policy…however, we need to start doing some major corrective action or things will not be able to recover. 

           Anyone with half of a brain knows that you don’t make crucial decisions when everything is imploding…because you need to make rational choices.  How in the heck did we get this far gone in this country before the “experts” in the markets and financial infrastructure sent up a red flag or a flare?  Couldn’t they see this coming down the road early enough to start changing the direction of this disaster?

           People’s very quality of life is slipping through the cracks of our governing body.  Something has to be done…but, who knows best?  Who do we trust?  Are we going to waste time having a political showdown between the two very people who could possibly be running the government in less than two or three months?  The sky is falling people…the sky is falling…for real this time; we are not crying wolf when we say…we need an immediate comprehensive plan to stop this country from disappearing into a black hole in the universe!  It is time to pray for the leadership of this country and ask that they be given wisdom in their decision making!!!  update:  Breaking news…McCain now says: he WILL attend the debate this evening in Oxford, Mississippi!

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        Another family has made the news by dropping off their children, 9 of them from ages 1 to 17 at a hospital in Nebraska.  It is in my mind, in cases of abandonment, almost as if the children are treated like a litter of unwanted puppies.  In mid July, Nebraska made its own news headlines by instituting a “safe haven law”. 

         Most states in the US have some sort of a safe haven law which is designed to protect children who are either unwanted; or, in unsafe environments regarding living conditions, or in situations of neglect or abuse.  The safe haven laws are meant to allow a safe place for children to be left such as a hospital or a fire station.  What is unique about the new law in Nebraska is that it doesn’t clarify who has the authority to drop off said children…it could be a baby sitter, grandparent, parent, neighbor or what have you.  Another important point, most of the states that implement safe haven laws usually are set up to protect infants.  Nebraska made headlines by not limiting the reach of the safe haven laws to infant only drop offs…it basically says “minors”…leaving the new law open to interpetation.

         The courts will have to clarify the definition of the safe haven law so that the protection of the children and the people who abandon them is more clear.  At the moment, anyone under the age of 19 is allowed to be dropped off in a safe haven.  There will be no legal repercussions as long as abuse or neglect is not involved.  In some ways, this may help those situations where we read about newborn infants born to teen mothers who are dumped in a garbage can or left outside alone.  Maybe in those cases, some children will be saved…but, this new law opens up a whole new set of issues regarding children and their families.

         I know that the law was set up in good faith…to protect the children.  However, you have to wonder about the psychological damage to those same children who are old enough to understand that they have been abandoned by the people most trusted in their lives.  An infant does not comprehend the abandonment until they are older and the information is presented to them…an older child certainly does understand the idea of abandoment and there certainly will ensue emotional and psychological damage.  However, i will say an infant may not understand the full scope of abandonment; but, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t affected by it; when they are affected, it is often called an attachment disorder…where the baby has trouble bonding with their caregivers, either giving or receiving love…sometimes, it is even turned into a failure to thrive.  All human beings deserve to be loved and wanted.

         Studies have been done on babies or infants who have been abandoned in other countries and left in orphanages…if they do not get enough human interaction that shows love or caring…those children can actually die from the lack of human, loving touch.  Don’t think that when an infant is dropped off, even at a safe haven…that they won’t know the difference between being wanted and unwanted.

         People who find themselves in desperate circumstances may be tempted to go the route of the safe haven in a moment of extreme duress.  However, the long term consequences make me wonder whether this is a viable option.  People who abuse or neglect their children willingly or freely are not going to be so very concerned about making sure that the place they abandon their child is considered a safe place.  It would be better to put into place programs that facilitate helping families who are in danger of imploding. 

         Not to mention, those parents or caregivers who are feeling desperate…say…in a financial crisis…they can’t afford to feed or house their children…may think that this safe haven is an option for them.  The consequences of such an action could be considered permanent…even if their circumstances change in time.  Their custody could be forever impacted by that one moment of temptation to abandon the children in a safe place. 

         I wonder if other options are being given as much media & legal attention, such as making a short term placement with social services; for short term foster care in cases where, say a housing or financial need is threatening the ability to keep a family together? 

          Children aren’t like litters of animals…not that animals should be abandoned either!  Being a pet owner or a parent is a huge responsiblity…the demands are serious.  People should not enter into the role of a pet owner or parenting without alot of thought!  Parents need to take their commitment to parenting seriously. 

          If a parent is considering abandoning their children…wouldn’t it be better to work with an agency and make a permanency plan such as adoption?  Definately, if that were the case, doing it in infancy is better than waiting until a child is old enough to be scarred by an emotional and physical abandonment by their parents or caregivers.  At least by making sure that the child/children were placed in a safe and loving home…a child would have a chance to grow up and to be nutured in a loving environment. 

          No one should ever be made to feel unwanted, unloved or unprotected.  Abandonment leaves permanent scares that impact their young lives and often, other generations of lives as well.  What are your feelings on the safe haven laws?

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      Anyone who has lost someone to death realizes just how precious life is.  Anyone who has lost someone, due to suicide, realizes what a waste of precious life, suicide is.  No one wants to talk about the horror of suicide; there is no way, to make the subject easy to discuss.  When the media does a story on suicide…it seems that there is an increase in suicides attempts that take place.  It is a careful balance to bring awareness to a terrible tragedy that affects so very many people; and yet, not give it so much attention that it plants seeds in the minds of those who are most vulnerable.  Here is a site that can shed some light on the subject:  http://www.suicidology.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=2

         This week is National Suicide Prevention Week.  It is important to bring the message of hope and restoration.  Hurting people need to have a reason to live; they need to know that someone cares and is listening to them.  Those same people need human intervention to help them when they are vulnerable.   It is crucial to educate the public on ways to observe and interact with individuals who are struggling in their life and may be at risk for a suicide attempt.  People experiencing loss, loneliness, physical or mental health problems, financial problems, depression or isolation are at risk.   Every life has value and is worth saving!  Won’t you take a few minutes to learn more?

        There is a team of committed people who are working very hard to educate and bring awareness to the public about the issue of suicide prevention.  The team is called Ken McArthur’s Impact Action Team; and they are trying to communicate the importance of teen suicide prevention.  Here is a glimpse into the combined efforts of the Impact Action Team : http://speakupsavelives.org/general/speak-up-save-lives-message-to-be-broadcast-live-to-15-million-people-wednesday-morning-at-730-am-on-comcast-cn8  Check out their message and their goals…witness the impact that individuals can have by joining together with like-minded people.  Have you been affected by suicide during your lifetime?  If you could do ONE thing to help prevent a suicide, what would it be?  Speak up…someone who needs to know could be listening! 

       

       

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          Suicide is not a pleasant subject.  It is a word that makes most people cringe.  People who have lost a loved one to suicide cringe too; they have more of a reason to be disturbed by the word.  Most of us don’t stop to think about suicide death on a daily basis…but maybe we should.  For those directly affected by a suicide…it is an especially difficult thing, to grieve…because there are so many added things to work through. 

          Loss is one thing; that is bad enough…but, add to that… justifiable feelings of abandonment, anger, denial, financial distress, shame, isolation, shock and even rage for being rejected by the loved one; for something as unknown and final as death, many times without any warning that suicide was being considered. 

           It is a hard subject to talk about because studies often have shown a correlation to discussions about suicide and the rates of suicides that have increased after say a media interview or article that is published in a large viewership.  So how do you address such a terrible thing as suicide without taking the risk of an outbreak of suicides?  I am not sure…but i do know…that listing some of the signs or risk factors is important…because it is possible to at least become aware of some signals that may alert friends or family to a person who is contemplating taking their own life. 

            Some of the obvious signs are:  sudden changes in personality or behaviors, drug or alcohol use, life changes such as loss of job or marriage, verbal comments such as life isn’t worth living…, depression, neglecting personal well-being or appearance, loss of interest in things the person previously enjoyed, extreme mood swings, sleeping excessively, giving away precious things, avoiding close friends or family, isolating themselves, gaining or loosing noticeable weight without trying, lack of effort at school or job, listless, a feeling of hopelessness or failure, lots of negative or sad comments, focussing on negative circumstances and obsessing about them.

             There are times when people are more at risk than others, for some it is during their teenaged years if they struggle with acceptance and sometimes depression, for others it is in middle age when possible sudden life changes are perceived as failures or loss such as divorce or forclosure, the elderly are often at risk of suicide because of health issues, isolation from friends and family and many times because of financial issues.   It is important to remember that some medications carry the risk of increased thoughts of suicide…so talk to your doctor about these issues if there is any concern at all.

            All ages and sexes are at risk of a potential suicide.  People must get better at listening to each other; and, they need to stay connected by communication on a regular basis.  No one wants to think of friends or family doing the unthinkable; but, it can happen to anyone. 

            Many people try to respect people’s privacy and back off when in fact, it is at these times that they are needed more than ever.  Fear of not knowing what to say or do is common.  When in doubt…it is always best to contact a professional.    Here is a national hotline to contact if you or someone you know is dealing with the idea or fear of suicide:   1-800-273-TALK.
www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

                The impact of suicide is long lasting on those survivors who are left behind.  Every life that can be saved is a gift…every person has value.  We must begin to find ways to open the opportunities to share with one another the hurts and disappointments in life and find ways of overcoming the effects of those things in our lives and in the lives of people that we care about.  Do you know someone who was able to turn the corner and avoid the tempation of suicide?  How did they do it?  Do they share with others about their experience?  Many people in schools, nursing homes, and professionals in your local communities could benefit from that knowledge so that they can help others.  How can those experiences benefit others?

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      Is there no end to the humiliation that Kwame Kilpatrick is willing to endure to stay in office?  I mean, the man has been in jail in the last week, been released, ordered to wear an electronic monitoring device, his travel has been restricted, he has been “invited” by local clergy, to please step down from his position out of respect for the people of Detroit, Michigan Govenor Granholm says that she won’t pardon him should he be convicted of the charges before the court, and now, the coupe de grace…he is being “un-invited” to attend the Democratic National Convention, allegedly, by a spokesman for  Sen. Obama; because the focus would be taken off of Senator Barack Obama; and, Kwame Kilpatrick would be a “distraction”. 

       My opinion is, who could tell whether Mr. Kilpatrick was a distraction, what with the news that Oprah will be there, Bill Clinton will be making a speech, and of course, Hillary his former competition will be there.   This whole Democratic National Convention is looking like a big ole slice of distraction pie anyway…but still, enough is enough regarding Mr. Kilpatrick.  The stress of this whole case, has to be having an enormous effect on him and his family; it is hard enough to go through these issues privately…but, publically is a whole different matter.  As far as he goes, i guess it is his problem…he put himself in that position…but his family and friends…that is another matter…they aren’t the ones being accused but they are in the middle of it just because they are close to him.

       Besides Mr. Kilpatrick being pushed and pulled like a human yo-yo between two court room jurisdictions; being allowed to travel to the Democratic National Convention by one judge, forbid by another, told to wear the electronic monitor, then given permission to have it removed; only, to have it re-attached four hours later, it has to be taking up all of his time just to deal with the legalities; when and how does he start healing his relationships. 

       How many times, and in how many ways, does Mr. Kilpatrick have to be told to move on…it is a little like a woman throwing herself at a man; a man who: a).  doesn’t want her, b)  doesn’t need her, and, c).  is thinking about filing harassment charges against her; and finally, d).  has to go into the witness protection program, because he can’t get away from the woman who has turned a little extreme, and is acting out a role in a fatal attraction, kind of way!   I mean really, a compulsive person who is driven to act in ways that are not in their best interest, and can’t seem to help making things worse for themselves; and, is in denial about it…really needs to find a way to understand that the ordeal has to end sometime…so why not take control of the resignation before it ends in total political humiliation?   Of course, i don’t know how much more humiliating it could get than to be publically un-invited to your own party’s national convention.

         Like a moth drawn to the flame…the moth can’t seem to help itself before it is too late.     Isn’t there someone in his personal life, or one of his close advisors that he respects, who cares enough about him to say…step down…do it for yourself or, your family if for no other reason;… because this isn’t good for you, your family, or for Michigan?  This last year in politics has been nothing but controversy for Michigan…most of us have had enough frustration and embarassment.

        The whole mess has elevated to a new level of dismay with each new court appearance, or news article that gets published, or video clips that make the nightly news.  Someone, somewhere is thinking that this will make a great book with all kinds of insider explanations…please don’t…some of us have to continue to live in the state of Michigan…even after the Kilpatrick soap opera is brought to an end; and, healing begins to take place. 

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       Have you ever known someone who is in a totally disfunctional relationship and just seems destined to repeat patterns of negative and destructive behaviors?  I was thinking on this last night with a young teenaged couple that i know.  They spend all of their time together…fighting…hurting…crying…begging…breaking up…for-giving….manipulating…emotional arm wrestling…isolating…and starting all over again.  They are on the phone…or in person…tuning everyone else out..until they self-destruct.  Then, the explosion, they want everyone to feel their pain.  When counseled…all they can think about is “fixing it” and getting back together.  They get back together all right…but nothing ever gets fixed.  It is an emotional war that definately takes prisoners.

        Then today, someone else that i care about deeply…has decided to once again go up for a heaping dose of all you can eat at the salad bar of pain and abuse.  Taking a little taste of negativity, nibbling on a chunk of guilt large enough to choke a horse, a dip of put downs and innuendo, a spoonful of diced self esteem, add a sprinkling of despair, a serving sized dollop of loneliness, add a slice of isolation, a bowl of anger, and lets not forget a huge serving of accusation.  Hey, you’ve already paid the price…there is no limitation on how much you can have…it is there if you only want more.  (more…)

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