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Posts Tagged ‘counseling’

Have you ever met an individual that is so rare and special that you could compare them to a valuable gem?  Let me tell you about such a person, Jessica Angelique, who has a passionate mission in life to shine a light on life changing non for profit organizations.  Jessica has had an interesting life full of ups and downs and because of that she has dedicated her life to making the world a better place.  Her heart has been drawn to organizations that help build people up and educate them; which allows them to positively impact the world for the better.  She is in need of help to continue to expand her ability to impact the world by educating them through a wonderful opportunity called the Pepsi Refresh Project.

Pepsi is offering up an opportunity to win a $250,000 grant to those who win the most votes in their category.  Jessica Angelique is the creator and executive director of Definitive Voices.   She is also an author who has written of her life’s journey; navigating through the challenging foster care system into a positive, purpose filled adulthood.   She uses her voice to empower people and organizations to be aware and proactive in their communities to build up those in need.

Through Definitive Voices Jessica uses social media to shine a light on individuals and organizations that are doing their best to help people improve the world through education, awareness, and hands on action that is changing the lives of those they encounter.  Jessica needs your help by getting you to go to this link and vote for her Definitive Voices so that she can expand her ability to positively impact the lives of others.  It only takes a couple of seconds once you register and sign in using an active email and a Pepsi password.  Here is the link to cast your vote daily until the 28th of February: http://www.refresheverything.com/definitivevoices(more…)

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       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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     For those who have not heard the news story this past week; a man by the name of Bruce Pardo dressed up as Santa and went on a shooting rampage directed at his ex-wife and her family.  He was aware that they held an annual Christmas party.  He had been planning this for quite some time.   About a week or so before the shootings took place…Bruce Pardo and his estranged wife,  Sylvia, were officially divorced after 2 years of marriage.  This man who dressed up as Santa, needed help.   If he had gotten it…maybe this tragedy would not have happened.

        It sounds as if  the Pardo’s marriage was one of deceipt.  Mr. Pardo had not disclosed to his wife that he had a child from a previous relationship that he did not see, nor did he help support.  It seems that when this child was a toddler in Mr. Pardo’s care; the child ended up in a pool and almost drowned.  The young child is now around the age of 7 ; but, Bruce Pardo kept this child a secret from his wife.  She discovered that the child existed by going through tax papers and finding out that he claimed the child as a dependent.  He denied the situation and Sylvia called her mother in law who confirmed that a child did in fact exist and was disabled.   She filed for divorce…he did not want it.

       It seems that during this time…Bruce also lost his job and then was ordered, by the court, to pay support to his soon to be ex-wife.  By all appearances…Bruce did his best to follow through on the court’s dissolution of his marriage….yet, all along he planned his revenge on the woman who divorced him and those who were closest to her and helped her to leave him. 

        Bruce rented two vehicles and he had things planned out.  He had an extra large Santa suit made up for him.  It seems that at the annual party, Santa always showed up.  He went to the home with a gift in his hand…when the door was opened by a young 8 year old girl…he opened fire, shooting her in the face.  He then went about shooting and looking for specific people.  After he shot the people he went looking for…he then used a homemade device to set the home on fire; inadvertantly causing himself 3rd degree burns when part of the Santa suit melted into his skin from the incendiary device he used to start the fire.

         People in the home had tried to hide and some were able to flee.  A sister of Sylvia’s escaped to a neighbors with the young 8 year old girl who was shot in the face.  She was able to call 911.  After starting the fire, Bruce Pardo shot out street lights…allegedly to help further his escape. 

         People are speculating that he had plans to shoot his own mother who was planning on attending the Christmas party, at her ex-daughter in laws parents home.  She felt ill that evening and was not able to attend.  Bruce blamed his mother for siding with Sylvia in the divorce.    Also allegedly a possible victim of violence was the divorce lawyer who represented Sylvia.  One of the rental vehicles was sitting near the lawyers home. 

        It appears that Bruce changed his plans after he was burned.  It is thought that he was in great pain.  He allegedly had purchased a plane ticket for Illinois to go there and cross the state line into Iowa to see a friend.  He also had about 17,ooo.oo dollars plastic wrapped to his body.   Instead of implementing those plans…he drove approximately 30-40 miles to his brothers home and broke in and shot himself dead.

         What is hard to understand is; didn’t anyone who knew him or had occasion to spend time with him, during the weeks preceding the violence, see his mental breakdown?  Was he so good at hiding his wrath that he was able to misleed the people in his life?  Or did he isolate himself a this time?

         Those familiar with the divorce situation say that he seemed almost eager to have it over with.  The neighbors say that he was friendly and even wished them a Merry Christmas after telling them he was attending a Christmas party. 

          People who knew him said he was a friendly guy.  They are shocked.  And yet, a close friend of Sylvia allegedly said that Sylvia said he changed almost immediately after the marriage.  He became secretive.  Others say that Bruce had a secret guilt about the child that was gravely injured on his watch.  The mother of the child allegedly says that he was involved when the child was in the hospital; but then…he didn’t visit nor did he support the child.  In fact, he kept the child a secret from many…including his new wife.

         The thing is…people who struggle with mental health issues dont always get the help that they need.  Bruce Pardo needed that kind of help to cope with the feelings that he had from the tragedy that happened to his child.  He needed support and counseling to heal up from the guilt that he most likely felt after the child was injured.  He needed to have pre-marital counseling to help him break the news of this part of his life to his intended wife. 

          Sylvia needed a husband who could share this past with her.  She needed him to seek marriage counseling when their marriage appeared to flounder shortly after it began.  She needed some indication that the man she married was deeply disturbed and capable of such violence.  She needed protection from the man that she fell in love with. 

          Experts will tell you that people who are in a state of flux…or life changes are often the most vulnerable for domestic violence.  This is a dangerous time when emotions are raw and assets or custody rights are at stake.  Passions are running high.  It should almost  be mandatory to have to have some sort of counseling to help people through the maze of emotion and legal wrangling that takes place.

          I can’t help but to think of those that lost their lives and those who were left behind to deal with the aftermath.  God help them.  The things that they saw and heard will live with them for a very long time.  And what about those who weren’t there; but, were directly affected such as Bruce Pardo’s mother or his brother.  What about them?  People need to pray for all of them.  They are not responsible for his actions…and yet, they are directly affected by them as much as Sylvia’s family and friends.  His brother…can you imagine…how will he ever be able to go back into his home?  He has to wonder…why did his brother come there to commit suicide?   His mother…she was obviously friendly with Sylvia and her family; how will she relate to the surviving members?  They are all hurting…will they be able to help support one another or will it be too painful for them to see each other?

          So many questions and so few answers.  The thing is…unfortunately…people who are depressed or going through trauma often don’t think past the moment, about the long term effects of their actions.  It is the survivors that are left to cope with both the questions and the answers.

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          Maurice Greene was this week’s celebrity to leave dancing with the stars.  Maurice Greene was paired with Cheryl Burke.  They danced well together this week…it looked smooth and they received the same scores as Cody Linley and his partner Edyta by the judges.  However, fan base was much higher for Cody who’s fans number quite high because of his high profile on the show Hannah Montanna. 

          However, Maurice was a good sport…but, I am sure that he learned that young himself being in sports.  Maurice knows you don’t win every sport event and you just learn to take away the positives and learn from the negatives.  He was a true gentleman.

          This week’s results show was a little different.  I really and truely enjoyed Julianne and brother Dereck’s dance number together.  It was high energy and very entertaining.  What is even more amazing is that Julianne just had her appendix taken out two weeks ago because it was discovered that she had endometriosis.  That is a very painful condition where the lining of the uterus grows outside of the uterus and starts to cover internal organs and can actually cause infertility issues down the road. 

           Julianne’s performance was nothing short of a miracle.  Anyone who has ever had abdominal surgery knows that it takes time to heal.  Obviously, she didn’t just start learning and performing the routine with her brother yesterday…she had to have been practicing during that two weeks.  Wow!  Totally inspirational.

           What wasn’t so inspirational on the results show was the tip toe through the tulips of counseling( w/Dr. Drew) with the professional dancers and their celebrity partner’s relationships.  I didn’t enjoy that…except for the sliver of the session between Julianne and Cody (they have been unable to perform on the show due to her surgery for the last week or two-Edyta filled in for Julianne in a very professional way).  Cody really communicated his respect and caring for Julianne and she was visibly moved to tears as well.  I don’t think that the viewers of the entertainment show really needed to see the dancing couples deal with the issues involved on an emotional level that should have been kept private between the individuals–and a counselor if that was needed…not broadcast for the whole world to see.  It was a bit too tabloid talkish for me.

           Also please, can we get a new co-host for Tom for next season of dancing with the stars?  Samantha Harris is way too awckward in her interview skills. This creates uncomfortable situations for both the dancing teams as well as the viewers…it just takes away from the show.  She just tries too hard or something but there is always some major social goof…it has come to be painful to watch.  Such as her comment this week to teen Cody, “Did you ever think that you would be dancing on live television with a naked or half naked woman?”  Is this appropriate for a show that young children are watching?  Please, powers that be…bring on a new co-host for Tom. 

          

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      This should make us all weep.  It was reported in the last couple of days that 1 infant out of 50 has been abused/neglected before they reach the age of one. Out of that group, one third of them is less than a WEEK OLD!  Where is the natural protective instinct that even animals have towards their babies?

       These numbers are horrible… even one baby is too many…but one out of 50?  A baby less than a week old is doing nothing beyond eating, sleeping, filling a diaper, and giving/receiving love.  Those beautiful little babies are so dependent on those around them to survive.  Imagine being abused from the very beginning of life; it is a cycle that will repeat itself over and over again if it isn’t stopped.

         Of course, i know in my logical mind about those who are so consumed with addictions and rebellion that they continue to use drugs and alcohol during pregnancy.  My heart is another matter.  I have children that were adopted who were victims of their parent’s drug and alcohol use while they were still forming in the womb.  It burdens those children everyday with learning disabilities, physical deformaties and or limitations, retardation, psychological well being, as well as having socially acceptable skills and life long medical problems.  Is it fair?  No!  Is it abuse?  Yes!   Read up here:  http://www.nofas.org/ or http://childwelfare.gov/.

         The news report went on to educate me further.  It seems that the neglect and abuse before the age of one includes things such as drug/alcohol use during pregnancy as well as after birth.  Trust me…i live with those results everyday.  My children were abused before birth and they struggle in ways most people don’t understand.  They are “special needs children” because of that abuse.  See this organization for information:  http://marchofdimes.com/.

           Then, the article informed me that those same babies that are abused/neglected, before the age of one, includes those situations where the mother did not receive proper, prenatal health care …or the mother did not follow up with doctor appointments and or normal health care during that first year.  Here is some helpful information:  http://kidshealth.org/ .

           Alot of those statistics, i am sure, are a direct result of the health care crisis in America.  Many people don’t have health care coverage.  Poverty is a huge player in this part of the scenerio.  I know money can prevent people from getting the check ups that they need.  To walk in the door at my doctor’s office it costs $84 per 15 minute visit.  Imagine a young mother (or father) having to take that infant in for care every other month or so plus the cost of immunizations.  Check with your local health departments for help with those costs.

           Some of the other statistics were infants under the age of one who did not have proper housing, food or clothing.  Again those numbers are influenced by the national economy.   Take a look at this:  http://feedthechildren.org. or http://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/.

            My personal opinion is that a larger section of our population was left out of these statistics; those  little lives who are aborted each and every day.    Is not killing a young life just as abusive as  some of these other abuses/neglects?  The number of aborted babies, i would dare to say, would jump these numbers of abuse/neglect into the stratosphere.  Some would say that abortion is a personal/moral choice some say it is a political choice.   There are organizations that try to help, by offering alternatives to abortion, such as:   http://healthybeginnings.org/ or http://www.bethany.org .  Those who have been affected by abortion often need help healing from the trauma even years down the road.

        It is easier in our minds to dislike the person who physically/ verbally abuses, or neglects to feed or give emotional support to a young child; than it is to understand, that we all must play a part in changing things or we become a part of the problem.  Silence or inaction on these subjects is equal to condoning them.

           If you are able to support a young parent with physical or emotional help…do it.  If you are aware of drug/alcohol use in an expecting mother…educate her to the consequences,  seek medical intervention and/or report it if she refuses help.  If you see or suspect abuse report it; you might save a life.

             While i am trying to wrap my mind around these staggering numbers of affected people…i am also processing the idea of so many young lives being hurt just by being born.  What must we do?  We must make a positive impact on those around us.  We each have areas of influence where we can impact positive changes.  Take a look at this website for protecting children:  http://keepingkidssafetoday.com.

              We must take action.  We must continue to educate.  We must continue to stand between ignorance, addictions, abortion, poverty and plain old abuse and protect those who can’t protect themselves.  We must build up our programs of intervention with jobs, health care, anger management, parenting classes, drug and alcohol counseling, family planning/pregnancy counseling, mental health/counseling; and yes, when necessary even prosecution of those who would visit pain and neglect on our littlest and most helpless citizens.  After all, they can hardly do it themselves. 

         

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