Life Is...
A Sanctuary from Stress from Life Coach, Joyce G. Moore

Another Opinion Series

101 - Be On Guard for the Blind Spots  |  102 - How Many "Thresholds" Yet To Cross?  |  103 - No Child Left Behind  |  104 - God is the How |  105 - Recession Proof Your Relationship |  106 - The Needs of our Children for Positive Growth and Development |  107 -"Dirty Laundry". Ouch! 108 -How Do We "Bridge the Divides"? 109 - Needing Some Sage Advice - The Spying Parent 110 - "We Are Free" or So Some Think;111 - "Wacky" Conditions Affecting Human Behavior;112 - The Dependency Trap;113 - No Favor But An Obligation;114 - Overcoming Grief and Getting to a "New Normal"; 115 - Triggers for Anger, Rage and/or Antagonism"|  116 - Secrets No More" |  117 - "Good Trouble vs. "Bad Trouble"  |  118 - "The Unmaking"  | 119 - "Mind Gazing To The Rescue"  | 120 - "The Divided Family"  | 121 - "Living and Surviving in Pivotal Times" |  122 - "Believing "The Big Lie" - How So?" | 123 - "Seeking the Wonderful World of Good" |   124  - "Preventing and/or Repairing a Broken Heart"  | 125 - "Protect the Impressionable Mind | 126 - "The Crossroads of Our Lives   

126 - "The Crossroads of Our Lives"

There are so many things, people and situations that can bring us to the crossroads of our lives. In todayís political climate many lives have reached that junction and it is causing lives to unravel. This fraying is triggered by fears and uncertainty.

Our educational systems and our personal freedoms are being seriously affected by the chaotic political intervention. Our attentions are being drawn into hearing, reading and feeling the results of the conflicts and division that is swirling all around us. One person insisting that their way and their way alone is the only system that everyone must adhere to is insane. If we all donít walk in lock-step to the beat of their drum, they will create consequences that are extremely dangerous to our democracy.

Those who fail to distinguish fact from fiction, truth from lies and who do not internalize the consequences of performing illegal, immoral and unacceptable acts are the most serious offenders. They create problems within our society and irreversible harm for themselves.

What we are currently going through in 2023 is stifling too many of us to live in much needed peace and harmony. Those who are wide awake can see the direction that some are trying to steer our lives. The leadership of some is going to place our lives in jeopardy and create an endless series of crises. We all must be aware of the root causes of so much division, unrest and civil discord. Be on the look-out for the power grabbers, greed, brain-hacking, fear mongers, propaganda, sabotage, lies, control freaks, fraud, corruption, revenge seekers, envy, jealousy, haters, selfishness, back stabbers, subliminal messaging and anything that does not sound right, look right or smell right. Unfortunately, this is not an all-inclusive list. If we are lulled to fall asleep, the unscrupulous folks are at work adding to this list.

These crossroads are riddled with landmines. They are going to cause the death of our Democracy. If we allow this to happen, it will be wise to spell out what you want to be written on your gravestone. This is not intended to be a joke. This is something that is very serious. Please join forces with anyone who wants the best for our children and our peaceful future.

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125 - "Protect the Impressionable Mind"

It is not a secret that those things we see, hear, feel, smell, touch and personally experience have an impact on us. Extreme levels of exposure can profoundly influence us emotionally, mentally, physically and/or spiritually. Any undesirable exposure by anyone and at any age, can trigger a reaction involving unintentional behavior.

Too many movies, television programs, commercials, newscasts, political rallies and other public forums contain various elements of misery, mayhem, murder and destruction. This exposure has an impact on the human psyche and can be a driving force for encouraging some to engage in negative behavior. This is especially true for the most vulnerable and impressionable among us, such as those who have internalized hate, those who have been abused, those who lack self control, those who lack conflict resolution skills , etc. These people are more likely to be drawn into acting on impulse or even premeditated uncivil behavior.

Those who fail to distinguish fact from fiction, truth from lies and who do not internalize the consequences of performing illegal, immoral and unacceptable acts are the most serious offenders. They create problems within our society and irreversible harm for themselves.

There is a parallel between substances ingested and visual stimulation when people are seeking euphoria. If a little feels good for the moment, then a little more is desired to elevate those feelings next time. This causes a variety of addictions. Once a person has reached a threshold that exceeds their ability to act with;in aceptable norms, they are no longer able to be trusted. They are among the impressionable who make wrong decisions.

There are subliminal messages that also tap into the subconscious. Even the warnings that inform us of potential side effects of various products do not prohibit some from agreeing to use these products. If they need to believe the products will deliver, then they become a consumer of "hope". They are among the impressionable who tend to ignore warnings.

How can we do a better job of protecting the impressionable mind? We must be distrustful and suspicious of all promotions that offer goods and services claiming that life would be much better if we patronized those making these promises or else we will miss out on blah, blah, blah. We must think and rethink before falling for this "poo poo".

We must minimize our exposure to things that infringe upon our rational abilities and negatively invade our psyches. Do not be lulled into a deep sleep. Remain an active member of "The Woke Generation". Keep your eyes and ears open for those who want to suppress your intelligence. Protect your mind at all costs.

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124 - "Preventing and/or Repairing a Broken Heart"

How do we acknowledge and admit our feelings of brokenness and manage to move forward? When the pain of our internal feelings becomes overwhelming and we realize that our lives are impacted by so many negative events surrounding us, where do we turn for help?

The pain may be triggered by so many things - events, people, and even illusive stuff we can't even identify. That feeling of being out of control and unable to master gaining control can trigger frustrations and feelings of defeat. For those of us who feel as if we are walking along so many painful paths, in such a chaotic world, feelings of brokenness can be triggered. Witnessing so much division, hatred, discord, struggle, greed, selfishness, ignorance, etc., it is impossible to turn a blind eye.

For those of us who must encounter our own personal struggles and witness the intensity of the struggles of others, it certainly can have an impact. So often the failure of willingness to share the depth of our own struggles with others may be due to a lack of trust and a fear of being blamed and/or judged for our outlooks. So, too many suffer needlessly in silence.

The stigma of not being able to effetively manage our lives and our ability to minimize the feelings of brokenness and hurt should not rest entirely on any one person. We must collectively be a part of a society that will come to the aid of those who are crying out for needed help. Fears and anxieties that are bottled up for too long are dangerous to one's mental, physical, emotional and psychological health.

In attempting to seek relief from any kind of pain, some rely on drugs (legal and illegal), alcohol, self-mutilaion, illicit sex and many untold actions and escapes. There comes a point of no return where one becomes caught up in harmful addictive habits.

Of course, prevention is the key. But this may not be easy. It is so important for us to identify and accept our own unique personalities. When we recognize that we are also deeply concerned about the plights of others, we are among the population of "Empaths". Those of us who are empathetic to the predicaments of others and who tend to internalize their situations too deeply, must take care to avoid taking on their brokenness.

We owe it to ourselves to minimize becoming victims of a "broken" heart. It is not because we do not care or empathize with others, or that we must ignore our own feelings of hurt, but we must continue to focus on staying positive. Make it a daily ritual to cast positive thoughts and take positive actions. Cast a shining light of love and human kindness into the universe. Maintain hope for a brighter future - ever so difficult as the task might be. Staying strong is our daily responsibility and our own personal obligation to ourselves.

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123 - "Seeking "The Wonderful World of Good"

Contrary to the prevailing feelings of many, there is an abundance of good and goodness existing all around the world. Unfortunately, too little information of its existence is being shared in the media. The focus appears to be on topics highlighting (Three M's) misery, mahem and murder. Then add in a liberal serving of sex and the public's appetite becomes the popular drawing card for making more of the same.

Are more folk really drawn into patronizing and demanding more news, movies, books and other forms of media that make the "Three M's" the main theme of the stories? Or is it that there is a tendency to settle and become drawn in to what is readily available?

Many professionals in the field of psychology believe it takes five good thoughts or events to eradicate one bad one. The odds of being exposed to more "good than bad" are becoming more difficult. Our constant exposure to the things and events that are happening all around the world and even outer space, make us more anxious as to how to insulate ouselves from being concerned about our own health and safety.

The lines for the thrilling rides at the theme parks are much longer than those for the calmer experiences. The desire to experience the rush and intense excitement is the overwhelming draw. This excitement triggers the brain to want more. The euphoria and climax can become an addiction. When enough is not enough, it can cause some to seek some very dangerous outlets and behaviors that involve harming themselves and even others. Are we, as a people, predestined to self-destruct? Is what we are seeing, hearing, reading and feeling about negative events causing us to become too complacent and too accepting of the Three M's? Do we not want for a more calm, peaceful, harmonious and loving life and world?

How do we not become so obsessively drawn into entertainment that features excessive misery, mayhem and murder? It would benefit us to understand how too much of this exposure drawns us away from the "good" that enhances the pleasure centers of the brain. It is important to actively engage in behavior that delivers more overall health benefits. So much good and goodness is happening all around the world. We must demand to bring more of it out of hiding. It would help to change the trajectory of our currently hate-filled and violent world. It is up to each and every one to do more good and to demand more good. Good does not have to lack excitement. Seek out good excitement and reap the benefits.

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122 - "Believing "The Big Lie" - How So?"

How is it possible that so many people cling to believing inunsubstantiated ideas, uncorroborated claims, unproven expressions and an endless torrent of rants and lies? This question can be answered by understanding the human phyche and how we tend to internalize and react to the information coming in from the "power grabbers".

The mind is like a human sponge. It allows us to absorb information by using our five senses. We make decisions by what we learn as we gather available information. If the information sounds inaccurate, then our actions will reflect it. So we react by using our smell, our touch, our taste, our hearing and our sight. If one area is more compromised, then we learn to strengthen our abilities in one or more of the other five senses.

We have the ability to learn and even unlearn. There has to be willingness and a desire to do either. Once we learn something, the next step is to remember and know how we want or need to apply what we have learned. Appropriate action helps us to reinforce and strengthen the ability to truly internalize the information. The actions that need to be taken to aid in remembering involve: Reading, hearing, seeing, a combination of seeing and hearing, speaking what has been learned and a combination of speaking and acting it out.

The Chinese Proverb:
I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.
"One picture is worth a thousand words."

"The Big LIe" has a strong hold on a segment of a population when the message is expressed relentlessly. Those who are exposed to the rhetoric are hearing it over and over and seeing the messenger delivering "The Big Lie". Being a participant or attending in-person events certainly adds reinforcement. When the messenger is a master manipulator, they plant thoughts into the minds of those who have a willingness and desire to be drawn into "The Big Lie".The messenger knows how to apply hype, theatrics and "poor me" by claiming to be the victim. Through all of the hysteria, the people buy into the message and internatlize it as factual.

One way to derail this series of unfounded, unsubstantiated and false claims is to assign counter-messengers who have the ability to deliver more forceful and convincing successions of evidene. Develop a team of leaders who can rev up a crowed of followers and make those voices heard louder and more believably. Find every avenue to present credible, authentic, realistic and plausible data. Keep it flowing. Keep it flowing.

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121 - "Living and Surviving in Pivotal Times"

Is there any wonder that so many of us are confused, angry and concerned about the quality of our lives? With the expansion of so many forms of communication and even miscommunication, we are trying to make sense of those things that affect us and making decisions about how to safely live our lives and minimize the stressors. Unfortunately, we are living in a time where too many enjoy creating public discourse.

Getting to the root causes of the uneasiness takes an awareness of who to trust, how, when and what is happening and how it may touch us. Be aware that people who tend to be more empathetic are more deeply affected than those who are more self-centered and self-absorbed. Over time, some are able to distance themselves from the pains of others in an attempt to establish a personal shield.

As I began the task of thinking of the many issues, events, concerns, headlines and social unrest that really personally affect us and/or someone that we know, the list of possibilities appears to be endless. The challenge is to review the following list and evaluate how many items you can identify that may affect the quality of your life. The next step is to work on solutions that are within your ability and your control. We must come to the conclusion that some things "take a village” and that is a another challenge within itself.

The following list is in random order and tends to be a bit overwhelming:

Climate Change Lightening Wild Fires
Winter Storms Earthquakes Floods
Hurricanes Tornadoes School Shootings
Homelessness Droughts Pandemics
COVID-**19 Suicide Epidemic Homicide Epidemic
Gun Control Opiod Epidemic Bigotry
Bullying Scams "The Big Lie"
NFTs Mental Illness Polarization
Mask Requirements Bit Coins Road Rage
Exclusios "Black Lives Matter" Democracy Challenge
Family Divisions Hate Speech Judicial Appointments
Racial Disparities Power Grabbers Abductions
Abortion Challenge Constitutional Challenge Domestic Violence
Slavery Free Speech Challenge Gender Discrimination
Reparations Holocaust Violent Movies
Political Divisions Urban Sprawl UFOs
Violent TV Shows Prison Reform Censorship
Subliminal Messaging "Critical Race Theory" Aliens
Gentrification Redlining "Defund the Police"
Educational Reform Unemployment Inflation
"No Knock warrants" Heathcare Riots
Protests Police Brutality Voting Rights Challenge
Racial Tensions Rebellions Capitol Invasion
Bomb Scares Rising Crime Intimidation
Supply Chain Issues Parental Rights Gun Control
Famine Wars & Rumors of War Voting Rights
Evictions Censorship Pursuit of Freedom
5G Upgrades Moratoriums
Robberies False Imprisonments Animal Cruelty
Pet Scams Prostitution Unruly Passengers
Ponze Schemes Drunk Drivers Deficit
Hostage Situatios Background Checks Getting Boosted
Immunizations Crumbling Infrastructure Handicap Modifications
Internet Trolls Pollution Profits Over People
Cyber Attacks Erosion Mudslides
Medicare & Medicaid Social Security "The Dreamers"
Deportations The Stock Market Illegal Drugs
COVID Variants Fraud Remote Learning
School Shootings Rapes & Incest LGBTQ Rights
Church Shootings Synagogue Shooting Flag Controversy
Injustice Government Overreach Monument Controversy
"Food Deserts" Prejudices Daylight Savings Time
Justice System Veteran's Affairs

Now, the question is: Is any one President or any one entity in a governing body able to fix a system that has so many issues? The best thing that any person can do is to be mindful of those things that affects one personally and develop a strategy to mitigate and/or change what needs to be changed. There are so many other things that could be added to this list.

The challenge is to make your personal "Gratitude List", Include the things that are going right in your life and be ever so very grateful for every single thing that you are able to add to that list. Remember, happy endings don't just happen. It is up to each of us to think of ways to make good things come to fruition and to write those things into our personal manuscripts.

Say: "If It Is To Be, It Is Up To Me."

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120 - "The Divided Family"

It has been said, “You can please all of the people some of the time but you cannot please all of the people all of the time”. The people include family members. It is also true that we cannot be all things to all people.

Now, let’s think about some issues and behavior that may be troubling when it comes to conflicts within the family. The list is really endless, but the following are some of the most frequent offenders:

• The War of Words. Those verbal battles, where raw feelings and emotions are expressed in angry tones. This type of an exchange can trigger retaliatory outburst and the tit-for-tat triggers more of a division within the family if people begin to take sides.
• The Defensive Personality. This individual feels that others are out to make them feel like “the bad person” or even an outsider. This person tends to defend their actions and cast blame on another and/or others. They may even attempt to “Guilt trip” others who they cannot get to respond to their expectations.
• The Blaming Personality. Some people know that they are not doing the things that they could do to add to the family unity. Rather than step up and become more involved, they deflect the guilt by blaming others. This type of manipulation is used to physically, mentally, emotionally and even financially weaken another, causing them to “cave in”.
• The Exaggerated Ego Defender. Some people have a very inflated and fragile ego. If they feel as if they are being judged or looked upon as being inferior or they feel a tiny bit disrespected, the defensive personality is going to become more pronounced.

When just one person or many people are not able to think rationally, this throws off the balance of civility and triggers friction and a deeper divide. Without an appointed and respected person to bridge this divide and reunite the family, the fracture remains.

It is true that we can pick our friends, but our family is assigned from birth. Sometimes it is necessary to agree to disagree and separate from a fractured and/or divided family. Making the decision to hold on or let go of involvement in the lives of a dysfunctional family is not always easy, but for the sake of one’s personal sanity, it may become necessary. It is important to weigh all options before making any snap-decisions.

Time has a way of healing some wounds. If a simple apology is all that it takes just do it and move beyond the fractured past.

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119 - "Mind Gazing To The Rescue"

Our unique mind is the intangible part of our being and the brain is that very tangible vital organ located in our head. The brain allows our mind to control our thoughts, our imagination, our memory, our emotions and how we perceive our realities. The brain is the controlling organ that influences our mental and physical behavior. The brain is the tangible driving force behind the intangible mind.

Now, as I was sitting in a very quiet and peaceful space, gazing out my window at the barren trees and thinking how several weeks ago they were covered with brown, red and golden leaves, my mind became mesmerized with an assortment of random thoughts from my past. As I allowed my mind to freely wander, it felt so spontaneous and exhilarating. It was a unique experience. No effort to direct my thoughts. This differs from meditation that encourages us to clear the mind of all thoughts.

Allowing my mind to gaze into my past in an unstructured format and even gaze into the recesses of my mind, and giving it freedom to remove all mental boundaries and allowing it to introduce things known and unknown, is my idea of ‘Mind Gazing’.

A quick lesson about the three parts of our unique mind helps us to understand how these three parts influence our thoughts and behavior. There is the conscious mind, the subconscious mind and the unconscious mind. The conscious mind is the thinking mind. The subconscious mind is programmed in our childhood. It is the intuitive part of our being and is deeply imbedded by our life experiences. The unconscious mind is the creator of our dreams. Our dreams can be about things and places that we have never been to or experienced.

There are so many techniques to explore as we seek to make this journey of life as pleasant as possible and remain in harmony with the universe. Continue to explore a variety of things that help to open the chambers of your mind as you seek ways to enhance you mind, body, spirit and emotions.

Personal Note:

My personal discovery with ‘Mind Gazing’ happened when I was intentionally sitting, attempting to map out my day. I was experiencing a new found freedom after the death of my husband. Having been a caregiver for so many years I needed to establish my own “New Normal”. A new freedom, a new set of responsibilities, a new life and a new me.

What is on your mind?

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118 - "The Unmaking"

Whoever thinks about unmaking a loaf of bread? Since there is no possible way to accomplish such a task, why waste time on such a thought? To those who have taken on the task of making bread, the focus is on the recipe, including the proper ingredients and the proper technique to assure a successful outcome. As the bread bakes, the aroma causes us to salivate and elicits eager anticipation of sharing a warm slice of bread, with or without any garnishes.

Rather than thinking about the unmaking of a loaf of bread, let's focus on the need to accumulate the ingredients for a successful society where the recipe allows us to bake more togetherness, respect and tolerance into a more United America. Since it is evident that the current recipe has included too much hatred and division, many of us wish we could unmake it. It is necessary that a new recipe be concocted to assure a more "Cohesive Cultural Loaf". Who and when will someone produce a successful "starter" that we can all share in order to experience a more amalgamated society? Is that even possible?

Wait! Maybe it is time for us to focus on how each of us can make our own "starter" and help to produce a more delicious "Cohesive Cultural Loaf" for our family, our community and ourselves. Remembering the words of John F. Kennedy, "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country." For starters, think and decide what you can do for yourself. When we take time to look within, we just may find a valuable recipe for creating personal harmony and many undiscovered talents. Take time to do your own research and development. Those who experience personal satisfaction are less likely to spew hatred.

Since some want more government and some want less, this is one of the many issues that has fashioned a "Melting Pot" that is boiling over with anger and hatred. We need more people to become a part of the solution and not continue to be a part of the overwhelming problem. The 64 million dollar question is, how do we transform the "me, me, me" society into more "we, we, we" society?

Who would not welcome a new day and a new dawn where we could wake up and smell the aroma that energizes and rejuvenates us? When will it dawn on us that we must all take part in the sucessful remaking of this cultural enterprise? Life is a journey, but we have to consider our desired destination. Remember, the destination is not the same for everyone. The best way to continue to have your daily bread is to continue to make a fresh loaf. Think about ways to make it so well that there will be no need to think about "The Unmaking".

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117 - "Good Trouble" vs. "Bad Trouble"

The Honorable Congressman John J. Lewis coined the phrase "Good Trouble". Trouble has the potential to bring worry, anxiety, distress, misfortune and attention to those who are involved and/or affected by the actions that some may call "trouble". For every action there is a cause. Most often the attention will be given to the person who caused the trouble and it may trigger some reaction. There may be an immediate need and/or responsibility to address the situation and react. Some reactions may be effective if done humanely. Other actions may be inhumane and trigger further negative reactions.

We owe it to our civil society to take time and pay attention to the need to address the root cause of certain actions that trigger any form of "trouble". We must understand the concept behind the saying, "Hurt people hurt people". The behavior of people who are acting out in a variety of destructive ways is an indication that they are hurting. The decision whether to hurt them in return or help them is one that must be made ASAP. To continue to hurt them is not a humane choice. Listen to the messenger. Do not unnecessarily hurt or shoot them

The messengers are delivering the message to society that there is a need for a social healing. Too many are choosing to use drugs (prescribed and illegal), abuse alcohol, inflict hurt on others, deliberately hurt themselves, blatantly annihilate property and so many other acts of destrucrive behavior.

Reformation, reckoning, refocusing, redirecting, rethinking and remembering (RRRRRR) are the six R's that must be employed to get to the bottom of a viable and lasting solution for addressing the troubled temperance of the person and the good intentional outcome.

Society has a number of "Boils" that are bursting all over the nation and the world. The best way to keep the boil from bursting and infecting others is to surgically attend to it by a professional who knows how to contain the pus and treat the wound. If not done correctly, the fluid from the boil has the potential to infect others. This "Boil" is symbolic of what is happening in our so called "civil" society today. We can help to circumvent the spread of future boils by having trained professionals staffing our established institutions, by adding Social Workers, Nutrutionists, Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Counselors, Mediators, Specialty Teachers and Aides, Community Liaisons and other "Foot Soldiers" who are compensated to work with and for the people within their immediate communities.

The money spent for jails, prisons and other institutions of incarceration could be better spent to create a better society - one that reflects compassion and meets the needs of those who are really hurting. Hurt people should not be allowed the opportunity to continue to hurt other people. They need help.

Remember that despair often leads to hatred. Ignorance often leads to despair and fear is a major cause of hatred. There is a connection between despair, fear and hatred. They can all trigger "Bad Trouble". The time has truly come for us all to work together to stamp out despair, fear, ignorance, hatred and so many other of society's "Boils". The hard but necessary work must continue to be done, with a genuine intention to fight "the good fight" even if it calls for getting into "GOOD TROUBLE". Thank you Honorable Senator John J. Lewis for being a "Foot Soldier" and getting into "Good Trouble".

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116 - Secrets No More

Secrets are intended to be kept hidden and kept undisclosed, but what happens when a secret is discovered and someone takes personal delight in revealing the secret of another? Too often such revelations can change the life of the person who wants to remain "in the closet" or wants their situation to remain private.

The desire to keep certain events, feelings, lifestyles, acts, relationships, misdeeds, habits, and/or quirks from the knowledge of others is a personal right. People do live their lives attempting to impress others by living lifestyles of which others might approve. There are so many things that people do to stray from expectations. Anyone living "under the spotlight" may just "go off script". The critics are standing by to take glory in sharing such enigmas.

What might hurt more; the fact that someone decides to reveal a once-hidden secret, or how they take the liberty to disclose? An attempt to shame or defame or hurt a person who does not deserve such treatment is cruel. Being judge and jury in deciding how another adult should live their lives is taking unfair liberties. Sometimes parents and other related individuals attempt to intervene in casting judgments in the lives of their children regarding situations of which they disapprove. Children struggle to maintain various secrets because of the fear of disapproval and ostracism. Lack of understanding the feelings of others is so prevalent.

Now, what if the person with the secret has insight that the secret is about to be disclosed and they decide to do their own revealing? They may decide to do a "layer reveal". First they tell those who may be entitled to know and only those who they feel will offer the best support and understanding. The heart will be pounding in expectation that "all hell will break loose". It may feel like taking a dive into the deep end of a body of water for the first time. How long can a person stay under water before they have to come up for air?

There are so many reasons that we tend to keep secrets. Fears of judgment or misjudgments by others certainly are two main factors. Humans make many unwise decisions and sometimes allowing them to surface may be very cathartic. Such purification can free us to move on to bigger and better things. Whose life is it anyway? Just keep in mind who has to "pay the piper".

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115 - Triggers for Anger, Rage and/or Antagonism

The following is a short and conservative list of situations that may cause people to lose control of their behavior and become angry, enraged and antagonistic. Awareness may help to defuse unpleasant situations.

  1. Lack of education, information and/or communication skills
  2. Inferiority complex
  3. Unfavorable experiences (from childhood through adulthood)
  4. Lack of examples of role models for how to deal with anger, etc.
  5. Being economically deprived
  6. Feeling detached, ignored and/or neglected
  7. Feeling misunderstood
  8. Rough treatment and/or feeling manipulated
  9. Unfair judgment and/or being wrongly accused ("Bad dude")
  10. Lack of a spiritual connection
  11. Lack of an identifiable purpose
  12. Feeling trapped, threatened and/or framed
  13. Oppression (Harassment)
  14. Lack of basic survival skills
  15. Lack of basic resources
  16. Fears (including fear of failure)
  17. Lack of problem solving skills
  18. Identity crisis (confused about gender)
  19. Lack of hope and/or lack of trust
  20. Dysfunctional families
  21. Dysfunctional communities
  22. Unwanted isolation
  23. Feeling crushed and emotionally broken
  24. Failed support system
  25. Drugs, alcohol and/or other substances
  26. Wanting more out of life
  27. Medical and chemical imbalances
  28. Feeling dehumanized, worthless and/or defeated (beyond redemption)
  29. Lack of compassion for others and/or lack of humility
  30. Encountering bigotry and racial bias
  31. Feeling unloved and unlovable
  32. Unfair confrontations
  33. Inflated ego, vain and self-centered personality
  34. Lack of internal peace, self-love, self-respect and/or the ability of self-control.

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114 - Overcoming Grief and Getting to a "New Normal"

Grief is related to a series of emotional feelings that one might experience because of a loss or a change from the usual way or ways of living one's life.

It is reflected by feelings of sorrow, heartache, anguish, pain, misery, sadness, unhappiness and confusion. While experiencing "grief", the peace, joy and so many other good feelings are missing from one's life.

Loss of any kind can trigger feelings of "grief". Among the things that can trigger "grief" are: death of another, divorce, loss of health, aging, loneliness, loss of personal property, loss of a job, traumatic personal experiences, disasters, financial issues, etc.

So it is important to understand the various stages that one may encounter while attempting to transcend the uncomfortable feelings that one may experience. One of the most important points to remember: It is most crucial to do everything to move out of the "Stages of Grief" as quickly as possible. One must focus on the "Light of Peace and Joy" and begin to heal and re-establish the best quality of life that one deserves.

                     Stages of Grief and Getting to a "New Normal"

There are various "Stages of Grief" that have been identified by various professionals who serve those who are attempting to seek balance in their lives after a loss. The stages are:

"New Normal Readjustment"- Things are different from before the loss. This is a period of "Rebuilding and Adjusting" to this phase of one's life. This is a period of mental, physical, emotional, spiritual and possibly financial adjustments. One must stop fighting and use their energy to move forward. Reattach with things, people and activities that bring needed peace, joy, happiness and calm into their life and the lives of others. This must be done without guilt or remorse.

If someone you know has experienced a loss and is struggling to get through this transitional period - please share this information.

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113 - No Favor But An Obligation

There is a rash of pedophiles on the loose in too many communities. Some harmful thoughts are ticking in their heads and these thoughts are kin to a time bomb. I refuse to accept the premise that there is nothing that can be done on a grander scale to help these "sick people". It is needless to say that we may wish that this behavior would just 'go away'. For those who think this way, please "take your head out of the sand".

These pedophiles have recurring desires for engaging with innocent children - emotionally, sexually, etc. These young children are not able to understand what is happening to them. Some have been taught to "respect adults" and are not mature enough to know that these 'sick interactions' are not acceptable. The behavior of drawing these young children into acts of the pedophile's lust, and acts of emotional and physical experiences has proven to be traumatic and can scar these children for life.

The sheer displeasure of being involved in the wrong person touching, fondling, and forcing themselves onto you is difficult to process. It can result in confusion, guilt, secrecy, withdrawal, unexplained behavior, and so many acts of victimization. Without positive intervention, the wrong that was done them can trigger future acts where the victim victimizes others.

When these pedophiles are identified and have gone through the legal system, they are required to keep their distance from schools, parks, areas where children frequent, etc. Are these people expected to self correct? Any other "sickness" is treated by applicable professionals. While these people are isolated, there is nothing to keep them from thinking about acting on these strong desires. They tend to be repeat offenders.

I do know that when I grew up, folks would call a problem a problem. Now we tend to call it an issue or a situation. Well, we have a PROBLEM and something needs to be done to treat it. Back then, folks would also hide the fact that they were diagnosed with cancer. It was treated as if the person had done something criminal to bring this cancer on themselves. This situation of dealing with what is happening to our children is a "Cancer" in too many communities and there is a need for a healing.

While we spend billions of dollars funding wars, we must recognize that "charity begins at home". We need more programs in place to help heal the broken and the mentally challenged. How about a program where folk who recognize the fact that they need help, can confess, without fear of ridicule or punishment? Confession is said to be "good for the soul". And the soul of our society needs a vehicle for such to take place.

How about a HELP(4357) line, manned by qualified people who can listen and offer needed directions and resources. This could minimize the calls to 911. This may be the solution to saving a society that is quickly destroying itself. What city, state or federal entity will initiate this HELP line? Remember: It is No FAVOR but an OBLIGATION.

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112 - The Dependency Trap

There comes a point in our lives when we must begin to become more and more dependent on our own abilities to function and begin to attend to and manage our own lives. As infants, we humans had to depend on someone else to attend to our every need. Unlike many animal species that are able to begin to attend to their own needs almost from birth, we humans must depend on others for our survival for many years.

Herein lies "The Dependency Trap". Too many humans are unable to wean themselves from the intense need to lean on others. These leaners depend on others to think for them, tell them things that they should be able to figure out for themselves, provide for endless financial support, provide for survival resources and an array of everything from A to Z. Hence, if things do not work out as they so desire, they tend to blame others for their disappointments.

We live in a unique world where information is so abundant in so many technological forms and basic, easy-to-access formats. Certainly there are so many opinions and so much misinformation. This may account for so much confusion and a need to seek input from others who may be able to clarify issues. Seeking clarity from various reliable sources is a healthy way to continue to learn and grow. As we become more knowledgeable, we are better able to become less dependent and free ourselves from unnecessary leanings and dependency.

When we are able to make well informed decisions, we can better use our energy to live our lives and enjoy feeling more self-assured. I continue to hear the statement made by President John F. Kennedy - "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." I wish to think it should be that we ask, not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for yourself. You see, I still think of that old saying - "charity begins at home".

Now, with all of that being said, I cannot help but think of how many times I have heard how "The White House" is being blamed for all of our woes. The unemployment, Social Security, budget balancing, foreign affairs, oil production, the pipeline, the housing market dilemma, the healthcare crises, the downturn of the financial market, gay rights, racial inequality, gender biases, immigration situation, domestic and foreign terrorism, endless wars, gun laws, job out-sourcing, visa restrictions, overhauling of the educational system (K through college), and the list goes on and on ... .

How can one man who serves as our leader be blamed for it all, when we do not exist under a dictatorship? Consider the fact that so many others who are also a vital part of our unique political system, can undermine the best intentions for progress. The system is obviously broken. Nonetheless, in order to really "fix it", there are so many ideas and opinions it would take an endless amount of time to sort through each issue and more individuals need to be fair in their willingness to toss out useless and costly ideas and make wise compromises. Who is going to get credit? Which party is in power and how can the other party take control? So, the stalemate continues. The people who are suffering are the "score keepers" and even when the score determine the winners - those in charge do not honor the decision.

It is my opinion that those who are most affected must understand that it is counter-productive to wait for the good to trickle down. Things really have to correct themslves at the "grass roots" level. We must take charge in our homes, in our local communities and manage our lives, our health, our finances, our education and our personal resources. Avoid falling into the old "Dependency Trap" in every possible way. Do all that you can, for as long as you can for you.

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111 - "Wacky" Conditions Affecting Human Behavior

The conditions that I will list at the end may or may not exist in any medical publications or be recognized in any professional psychological studies. Those that are not recognized - are made up by me - as I observe human behavior and study so many issues that tend to cause "wacky" or unusual flare-ups.

There are so many issues that can trigger 'out of character' behavior for those of us in the human race. Even certain domestic animals attack and their owners can not identify what may have caused such unusual behavior. Some things can be predicted based on experience and the inevitability of knowing that a person can stand just so much before they "explode" - because they have reached a breaking point.

The essence of our physical being (aka the body) is the mind (that part that generates thoughts and stores knowledge), the spirit (the vital force of being alive), the soul (that which holds our consciousness), the emotions (that which senses agitation, disturbances and feelings in general). The human body reveals our tangible existence and the other aspects are intangible qualities that are living in the human body. So, our actions provide clues of harmony or disharmony. These clues reflect what we may be sensing or feeling.

When our emotions sense any agitation - that can trigger certain degrees of uneasiness and a need to react. When too many events have become unmanageable, we experience "emotional overload". It has been said that when a total of three unresolved and/or traumatic events occur, it can cause this "emotional overload". For some it may only take one event to trigger an outburst, a flare-up or some "wacky" behavior.

We can not place our lives on automatic pilot and expect everything to be smooth sailing over rough seas. We must constantly navigate our lives as best we can - in order to avoid events that can trigger these "wacky" or unusual flare-ups. However, some people do not have the needed capacity to organize and manage their lives in order to avoid distress, anxiety, danger and problems that may lead to unfortunate circumstances. They may need help from family, friends, community organizations, professionals of all types and so many more.

Some of the following can be triggers to "wacky" conditions that can affect

It is not always about the things that trigger the behavior but how intense, how long and how we perceive the benefits or the harm. Are our perceptions in keeping with reality or are we in denial?

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110 - "We Are Free" or So Some Think

When I think of the meaning of "free" I think of getting something for nothing; being able to move about without any restraints, regulations, restrictions, censorship, limitations, expectations, obligations or attachments. Can we honestly say that we are free from any of the above?

Now, this brings me to think about freedom. I offer the opinion that freedom comes from the art of mastering your own thoughts, actions and state of being. This includes creating your own reality and claiming your own personal power. To experience total freedom we must feel it in our mind, body, spirit and emotions. By feeling such freedom, does it allow us to act out in ways that may conflict with the laws of society and other customary laws? Too often some of us surrender our personal freedoms in order to satisfy the wishes, desires and needs of others. The more compassionate we are, the more we tend to surrender. Does this free us from guilt? I wonder.

Sometimes we even have to surrender to some part of ourselves for our own needs. If our body lacks the desired freedom - because of some physical limitation - then we depend on our mind, spirit and/or emotions to sustain us. If the right knee becomes disabled, the mind signals the left knee to carry the bulk of the weight. The body lacks total freedom to move as it has been accustomed to. You get the picture.

We do have certain freedoms to make our lives as much to our satisfaction as we may choose. Sometimes we have to resort to rebellion in order to accomplish "our own reality". I think of how many "Freedom Marches" had to take place in order for us to have gained certain freedoms. How many people do we owe our deep felt gratitude to for so many to have freedom to: 1. Vote, 2. Eat at lunch counters, 3. Enter the front door in places of business, 4. Use public restrooms, 5. Drink from public water fountains, 6. Get a public education in the community in which you live, 7. Have freedom of speech, 8. Have freedom to worship as we please, 9. etc., etc.

Where do we lose our freedoms outside of ourselves?

As we become more infused with conventional wisdom, remember lessons learned from our past and take notice of those around us, we may tend to take our lives in a direction that will allow us to use or utilize the freedoms which can best serve us. I wish to emphasize the word "use" and not "abuse" those freedoms that we think we have.

How do me make our freedoms and our ideas - within and outside of ourselves - come to life?

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109 - "Needing Some Sage Advice" - "The Spying Parent"

Several days ago a friend called to say that he "needed some sage advice". He had a situation where he discovered his 18 year old son had posted some unsavory information about himself on "You-Tube" and the father confronted the son about this posting. Needless to say the son became very defensive and accused the father of "spying" on him.

I asked the father if he felt that his discovery was one of spying or any personal intrusion. I pointed out the fact that any information where everyone is privileged to it is in no way an act of spying. The son was - no doubt - ashamed of his father's discovery and decided to lash out at his father as an immature method of making his father feel that he had done something out of character. In my view - it is certainly in character for parents to serve as protectors of their children.

Parents have a tremendous responsibility to know what their children are involved in and to offer needed guidance and input - to assist their children in avoiding any unnecessary mishaps. The sacrifices that many parents make in order to provide time, money, insight and so very much more - should be rewarded with respect and a deeper understanding of the role of a "good parent".

When trouble visits because of some thoughtless behavior on the part of a child - the child expects the parent to use every resource to bail them out. I've used the old quote before - "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure". This has been said by many wise men for so many years.

This young man is 18 years old, but I ask, what does age have to do with it? This 18 year old is still dependent on his parents for financial support and obvious parental guidance. As with many 18 year olds - he is still lacking some needed wisdom. This is only the latest episode where his father felt it necessary to intervene and make his son aware of some distasteful behavior that could be potentially harmful. This young man is still 'riding the trouble train' and is not aware of how or when to bail out before encountering a head-on collision.

This, "I only want you to intervene when I call" attitude is too pervasive with many of our youth. Is age a determining factor as to when parents should back off and allow the situation to become so crucial that a bail-out will require more time, money and emotional involvement? Should parents be expected to break their backs and their banks too in order to settle foolish behavior for ungrateful, selfish and thankless children?

The sense of entitlement without a sense of responsibility is causing a backlash - where parents feel like hostages in their own homes or houses. Some parents feel guilty because they have to work long hours just to provide the basic necessities. To make up for not having time to spend with their children - they buy unnecessary things and give in to disrespectful behavior. They do not assign age appropriate chores at every stage of the child's development. Helping them to understand that doing any job right is about learning pride in a job that is well-done. They are uncertain as to how to correct (punish) these children when they do not follow the "rules of the parent". Some parents do not practice withholding favorite things, activites and programs - to teach that this is kin to having your "pay docked" for not doing a job well. Teaching children about their "responsibilities" - as well as their rights - is the missing element in many homes. These teachings are what your children will encounter in the "real world". Teach good old attitude adjustments all along the way.

Home is the place where parents teach the ways of the "small world" - in preparation for the "big real world". In actuality, both worlds are real. The pecking order, the rules, the responsibilities, expectations and the rights of everyone should be understood. Children do not have to be raised to require so much but appear to understand so little. Give them love but keep a little for yourself.

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108 - How Do We "Bridge the Divides"?

As a people, as a nation, as a world - we are so divided on so many issues - that I often sit in sheer wonder and amazement as to how will we or can we ever unify our thinking and begin to agree on some key issues. It would help to respect those who differ with us.

Will we or can we ever agree on: how to stabilize or effectively improve our educational systems, health care, social security, monetary system, political system, system of taxation, racial equality, gender pay equality, gay rights, right to life, abortion issues, a woman's right to choose, stem cell research, marriage vs. civil unions, state's rights vs. federal rights, crime, voter's rights, mental health issues, jails/prisons, police forces, military agendas, foreign policies, gang wars, drug wars, homelessness, cultural differences, religious differences, euthanasia, our shrinking water supply, ways to save our planet and the economy, and so much more???

Here in the "United States of America", I do find that in regard to so many issues we are not too united. There are too many divisions, manholes, potholes, ditches and cracks in the systems that keep us divided. Too many people are feeling frustrated and not able to enjoy, "... life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness", as promised us in our constitution. In anticipation of unexpected changes over which we have little or no control - we experience anxieties and fears in regards to our futures and the quality of life that we may have to endure.

We cannot ignore that we have to continue to look over our shoulders to determine if someone is trying to sneak up from behind to cause us undue harm. We live our lives in constant surveillance. We know that it is necessary to lock our cars and homes. We set our car and home security alarms. We arm ourselves with whatever protection that we feel will offer us peace of mind for the moment.

The "have not's" take from the "have's", the "have's" also take from the "have's". Some have come to realize that we cannot completely practice trust and faith - for some have done so and are now suffering great losses.

Certainly I am not even thinking about living in a utopian state. I dismissed believing in fairy tales many many years ago. I also keep in mind that throughout our lives we are sure to encounter some hurt and suffering of some degree or another. It might be mental, physical, emotional, financial or even spiritual. It matters not what type or who caused it - it all hurts. The older we are, the more effort has to be expended in order to bounce back. The time, available resources, personal strengths, determination, and positive mental attitude are some of the major factors regarding the degree of our recovery.

With so many issues dividing us and so many variables - each of us must survey our own lives and determine the resources needed to "bridge our own personal divides". If the ultimate decisions are out of our reach - continue to pray and unite with those who you feel you can still trust to help you through. Then pray that you will not be the prey.

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107 - "Dirty Laundry". Ouch!

"Let's not air our dirty laundry" - some say. Dirty laundry needs to be aired, I say. Even some that has been thoroughly washed could benefit from airing out from time to time. Of course this "dirty laundry" is a metaphor for our problems, our faults, our secrets and other things that we think that we can hide.

The ironic thing is that so much is already hiding in plain sight. A little double talk here. How could so much that is obvious to so many be hidden? The truth is, that the things we do not want to talk about are some of the very things that we need to have some meaningful dialogues about. A little meaningful "problem solving" - in an honest attempt to reach some meaningful solutions - make some meaningful changes.

Hatred, prejudices, illicit sex, killings, other numerous crimes, and every other horrible behavior is being aired, written about and exposed in every way that people are able to share the events. We can't escape the exposure - if we listen to the news, watch violent movies, read the tabloids, receive e-mails of such happenings, hear what others are so anxious to share with us - we are captives of the exposure. Our "dirty laundry", the "dirty laundry" of others, creates a stench that is permeating the air we breathe.

It certainly hurts many of us to see how "dirty our laundry" really is. If more of the right people begin to hurt, maybe something can be done to clean up this filth. Who are "the right people"? I start with the policy makers; those people with the clout to institute more meaningful changes within every community. At the same time parents should be given more support to work with their children within the home. Some parents are really afraid to apply some of the needed discipline to correct their children's behavior.

If more begin to hurt in some meaningful ways - we can see more being done with our educational systems. We will see less dirt, filth, nasty acts committed by those who are uneducated, ignorant and greedy. Yes, greedy. The greedy have sent our society into a real bad tail-spin. They can be cast into the bunch that has robbed our society - big time.

It has been said that, "misery, mayhem, murder and sex sells". It makes money and the voyeurs, teamed with the producers of such, keep the "dirty laundry" piled up for others to dive and and find the dirt.

Are we too deep in to clean our way out? Has this obesssion with dirt become an addiction for some, and others have to adjust and live with it? Too many are hurting and too many are unable to escape the environments that are causing the hurt. For them I say, Ouch! It has to hurt. Let's all begin work on some real solutions to minimize the hurt.

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106 - The Needs of our Children for Positive Growth and Development

When I heard the father of a very famous deceased entertainer remark that he could raise his grandchildren, but only heard him express the fact that he could offer them food and make sure that they got adequate sleep - I began to make a list of so many things that children need to assure that they have a better chance at life. No doubt he knows that those two offerings are not enough to make those lives blosson and develop into productive and happy human beings.

Our lives cannot be placed on automatic pilot and children need so many things to build a strong foundaion for positive growth and development. It is the responsibilities of those adults who are the immediate caregivers to know of these "so many things". Too often "life" gets in the way and clouds these things. Would you say, "We can't see the forest for the trees"? There is no one size fits all and no particular order as to how these needs should be provided. It is not like making a cake; but you can be sure that if any of the following are not taken into consideration, the process of child rearing will likely suffer and the parent or parents will have to "pay the piper".

What can you add to the following list?
Family, food, nutrition, sleep, clothes, shelter, transportation, love, nurturing, structure, safety, understanding, discipline, spirituality, chores, responsibility, exercise, education, friends, answers, honesty, fun, laughter, games, fairness, mentors, pride, hope, faith, creativity, celebrations, traditions, rituals, respect, harmony, cleanliness, hygiene, culture, medical care, dental care, eye care, psychological guidance, fashion coaching, safe environments, respect of self, respect for others, racial pride, decision making opportunities, appreciation of others, good communications, appreciation for personal belongings, positive directions, life coaching, anger management, taught proper self-defense, talent recognition, talent development, kind words, earned praise, earned rewards, teaching of morals and ethics, guided freedom, taught to share, to appreciate a positive sense of self, to appreciate individuality, recognize a sense of belonging (family, friendships, school, organizations, community, citizenship, etc.), understand "smart fears", music appreciation, art appreciation, sports appreciation, history appreciation, ancestor appreciation, science appreciation, math appreciation, reading appreciation, pet or something to care for, financial coaching, overall character building, understanding the consequeces of their actions, allowed to dream, to have worthy dreams supported, to be able to explore, to be taught the importance of extending gratitude - THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

As you read the above list, it has to have dawned on you that those needs do not stop at childhood. They may begin there and children depend on those who are responsible for their upbringing to provide these things. However, when we leave our formative years, we can recognize how many of these things we need to be present in our lives for us to feel fulfilled and in balance. As adults,nodoubt we have developed the wisdom to identify and articulate our needs. For children who are dependent on others to provide for those needs, it can be a life of frustrations and defiance when some of these needs are not met. Our children need us to provide and/or at least communicate why we are not always able to do so.

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105 - Recession Proof Your Relationship

A recession is a decline in economic activities and if it is allowed to cross your threshold it has the power to cut into relationships like a sharp knife - causing wounds so deep that the scars may never heal. Before this is allowed to happen it is wise to map out a plan to "Recession Proof Your Relationships". There are some very basic things that can be done to ward off pending disasters. Relationships tend to suffer when we encounter financial issues. The most prudent thing to do is to practice prevention and honest communication skills - among other things.

Many years ago I saw a sign that read, "I heard there is going to be a recession and I am not going to participate". Well, we may not personally participate but those around us are caught up in the mechanics of 'what is' and we too are affected by it all. How could we not be affected in some way when so many signs of a recession are all around us? It is bound to "spill over" into our lives. How many relationships are you involved in that may become strained if a financial disaster should strike?

Relationships need 'oxygen' and without it - they die. At a time when people really need one another to communicate their fears, embrace one another and make a commitment to get through a storm - they too often abandon one another. This is not the time to cast blame and alienate needed support and affection. We must continue to 'keep hope alive' everyday and in every situation. That inner voice must remain calm and spend needed energy on creating solutions. Know that when any unwanted situation invites itself in, we must sharpen our coping skills and think of ways to usher this uninvited guest out of our lives.

Before a fire, it is suggested that we conduct a "Fire Drill". Why not conduct a "Recession Drill"? By doing so we are better prepared to determine a course of action and plan with a clear head, rather than one that is filled with desperation and panic. Of course the best time to be in control is to take measures in hand from the very start. Such things that we have heard for so many years, like "waste not, want not" and "stash away funds for a rainy day". Back then, those funds needed to be in the amount of six months of bills and funds needed to survive during any lack of income. Today, if one is without an income because of a job loss, it may take more than six months to get another job to replace that income. So, know how likely it is that you or another "bread winner" may be out of a job. Would age, lack of skills or training, poor job performance, poor health, inadequate transportation, poor attitude or any other obstacles that may prevent needed advancements stand in the way of getting another job? Do not be in denial. This is one enemy to our success in relationships - as well as advancing in our own personal lives.

Take an inventory of your own personality and situation. Know your own strengths and weaknesses. Talk with others who are a part of your life - your spouse, your family, your friends, your co-workers, your minister, your neighbors and anyone who can shed more light on what you may need to do to prepare yourself for a recession.

By all means use every possible resource to energize yourself and get needed ideas to keep yourself and your relationships harmonious. If there is a need to prepare for another career - go to the library and do some research and even some soul searching. Plan to visit trade schools, adult education programs, community colleges, technical schools and four year colleges. Value yourself and your relationships. Say those ten two-letter words, "If it is to be it is up to me".

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104 - God is the How

Some may make every attempt in the universe to try to remove God from the hearts of those who truly believe in His Divine presence. There are so many different beliefs in and around the world and these beliefs help to sustain those believers. We should learn to respect those who practice peace, not war and love, not hate. Of course this is my opinion. I know that you have yours.

Now, I said all of this to really get to the real motivation behind this message. I woke up asking myself, how did (does) my sister manage to accomplish so much each and every day as she takes on so many chores? It came to me that, "God is the How". We all need to have an anchor in our lives and it is evident that God is truly my sister's anchor.

It is not only all that she does but her loving attitude. This story goes back in time, when my sister was the caregiver for our mother for over six years. For two of those years, she held a demanding job from 11:00 P.M. until 7:00 A.M. She would come home and perform chores that included the traditional cleaning, food prep, washing, special attention to our mother's needs, taking the grandchildren to school (when their mom needed her to), visiting and servicing her sick friends, paying bills, shopping, making appointments, taking our mother to doctor's appointments, and only she and God knows all else.

She tried to find time to get adequate sleep during the course of all of this - but could only manage to get 4 to 5 hours of sleep before it was time again to head for her night job. "Burning the candle on both ends" was an understatement. She finally had to take an early retirement. Although she had put in more than 30 years, she was not eligible for full benefits because she was many years short of 65 years old. A financial sacrifice was made in order to make our mom a top priority. I continue to applaud her for her willingness to do this and think that I can never do enough to show my appreciation.

My sister decided to have a 95th birthday celebration for our mom. This was a last minute decision, because twelve days prior to this, our mom was released from the hospital after being admitted after suffering from "Congestive Heart Failure". She was sent home and placed in a "Hospice Program" and a team of health care professionals were assigned, helping to offer needed support. We, the family, know that it was all God's will.

During all of this, my sister was also dealing with a major move and discarding over 30 years of, "just got to have and keep this stuff". She was one of many who had suffered from foreclosure and a very painful ordeal with her lender - based on a technicality of not sending "certified funds" vs. a personal check. This is a situation that is so hard to believe or understand - "how" this could be allowed to happen. The attempt to settle this matter went on for over seven months. As she communicated to rectify this, she was treated like a tennis ball - being batted back and forth from one person, one department to another. After one last ditch effort to speak with someone who would represent the 'voice of reason' it was decided that it was best to save sanity and move on.

Our mother passed in December of 2010. It is as though it was just yesterday, because the situations of those prior years and all that transpired are still fresh in my mind. My sister continues to manage the day to day chores as a devoted mother, grandmother, sister, devoted friend, church memeber, bill juggling, caring for her four dogs and so very much more. She keeps a smile, a positive attitude of gratitude for her mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health. She does not declare "pity parties" nor stand on a "soap box" and preach about all that she is doing. It is so evident that she has a strong but quiet belief in God. I woke up with this revelation - "God Is the How" for so many of us who manage to go from day to day and continue to defy the odds.

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103 - No Child Left Behind
I have lost track of how long ago it was that the promise was made to put in place a program called "No Child Left Behind." I heard President George W. Bush utter this promise to the nation and what a grand idea it was. As of this time (August 2008) it appears to still be only an idea. It can still come to fruition but the "village" must organize every able bodied person to take part in the process.

Too many of our children are being left behind -- educationally, emotionally, physically, spiritually, mentally, nutritionally, health wise and in nameless other categories. The challenge is of such a magnitude that one institution can not expect to "win" the battle. The responsibility starts in the home but too many parents find the challenge too great to effectively manage. Too many parents are just hoping to get the child or the children to school age and make it the responsibility of the schools to take over the rearing process.

We must 'cast a broad informational net' to inform females that they must lay a secure foundation, even prior to conception. What does that mean? Even before a child is conceived, the woman (in too many cases young girls) must nurture their body to be able to give birth to a healthy baby. Improper nutrition, drugs, pollution, mental and physical abuses experienced by the mother already places the baby at risk. These children have the potential of already being "left behind."

Expecting only one component of our society to make a plan, execute the plan and pay for the execution of a winning plan is one massive undertaking that is doomed to failure.

It starts in the home and extends into the community. The community is "the village" and to those who are unaware of the resources that the village offers, they too are at risk of being left behind. Before children are old enough to enter school, they need to begin the socialization process beyond the home. They need clean well equipped parks and play grounds; churches and spiritual institutions that offer uplifting programs; exposure to cultural events and a variety of good wholesome entertainment.

Our children depend on the adults to provide for their basic needs: food, clothes, shelter, medical, education, culture, safety, specific rules, structure, transportation, socialization, good examples, etc. If the child senses that any of these are not being met, they have a sense of fear and this will be reflected in their behavior. The longer it takes for these basic needs to be put in place, the more likely it is that the child will begin to act out in ways that are unacceptable and dangerous.

More money for Parent Education in our communities would be a wise investment and a wonderful "ounce of prevention" -- with fewer needs for more jails and correctional staff and institutions. I know "the village" does work, because I grew up in the "olden days" when the village was well staffed by every adult who had the authority to intervene when necessary. God knows, you never wanted it to be necessary. The consequences created the necessity to do right. It would not hurt to reinvent the "olden days" and the "village."

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102 - How Many "Thresholds" Yet To Cross?
Between the 'miracle' of birth and the 'mystery' of death, we encounter many "Thresholds" that we must get over or through. Some encounter what feels like endless numbers and some "Thresholds" appear so high that we do not have the slightest idea as to how to begin the process. Through it all we must hold on to hope and faith.

In this context "Thresholds" are circumstances and points in our lives where something begins to change; the level at which something starts to take effect. Others may refer to "Thresholds" as obstacles, issues, events, episodes, crises, situations, and problems. It is worth mentioning that years ago, when we had a problem, we called it just that, and we began to come up with ways to solve it. Today, many are caught up with new terminology for the same old human conditions. The important fact is that we must spend more time on real solutions than concerning ourselves with labels. Ok, enough about that.

Some "Thresholds" can appear mighty high. Let's not focus on height, for what really matters is the attitude that we have. It is one important primary factor that will determine how we perceive the magnitude of the "Threshold" and the determination to get over it.

From this point on, the "Threshold" shall be referred to as the "T". Remembering from our teachers as to how important it is to dot each i and cross each t, now may be the time to understand the value of a proper "T" crossing.

From conception to inception at our birth, we depended on others to attend to our basic needs for survival. Some of our development was innate and some was dependent on our caregivers. When we became aware of our successes, we would rejoice and those wise caregivers would smile and acknowledge our accomplishments too. As we cross our "Ts" from infancy, to toddler, to preschool, to pre-teen, to teen years, to young adulthood, to matured adulthood, to middle age and onward into the senior years - we can look back and recount the number of "Ts" that we have crossed. We may wish to use our wisdom to anticipate some of our future "Ts" and begin preparation for the inevitable periods in our lives - to pave the way for a smoother transition - for the next possible "T".

The daily news is a grim reminder of the impermanence of things and people. Many people are losing their jobs, life savings, homes, personal belongings and the priceless gift of life itself. We never know how many more "Ts" we have to cross. So, I realize that each moment is a precious gift and we need to share it in PEACE and HARMONY with others around us. May we continue to pray for those who are less able to cross their "Ts" and help others when we can. May God bless and strengthen you.

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101 - Be On Guard for the Blind Spots
I have made it my life's mission to live my life defensively and that includes my practice of defensive driving. I know how I wish to be responsible for any situation that confronts me and have a quick action plan, if I think that it is necessary, to avoid any incident that may bring harm, injury, discomfort or any unpleasantness to myself and/or anyone else.

Sometimes we are made aware of the fact that it is not always possible to avoid all situations with which we are confronted -- no matter how much we think that we can or should. Life presents us with "Blind Spots" and what appears to be 'out of nowhere', danger springs forth. Well, here is that situation that I wish to share.

Several days ago I was pulling out of a parking lot and as I approached the street to make my right hand turn, I looked to my left and no cars were coming, I then looked to my right and the sidewalk was not visible because of a thick row of hedges. As I looked to my left again to make sure that the coast was clear, I proceeded to pull out into the lane of traffic. As I began to do so, much to my astonishment, all of a sudden, I saw a person's head in front of my car. I immediately stopped to determine if what I was seeing was real.

Well, it was a person in a motorized wheel chair who had apparently swerved into the street to avoid being hit by my car. Thank God that I was moving slow enough for him to make a defensive maneuver. I really could not believe my eyes. I managed to roll my window down and asked if he was alright? He looked over his shoulder and shouted back in an angry tone, "No thanks to you. You need to look where you are going." I was shaking and thanking God that this situation was less than tragic. He was in such a hurry that he continued on his way -- as I sat in total shock -- trying to regain my composure. I looked in my rear-view mirror and saw a car behind me. I realized that I needed to move to another location to compose myself and analyze what I might have done differently to have avoided this close-call. Only repeating to myself over & over, "by the grace of GOD."

I allowed myself to take the blame and to determine my responsibility in this situation. When I shared the circumstances with a respected friend, they had 'another opinion' and they reminded me that there were things over which I truly had no control. The hedges that blocked my view and the low visibility of the man in the wheel chair are the two main things over which I had no control. In addition, I now am aware that the panel on my vehicle is another obstruction and the motorized wheel chair was moving at such a speed and suddenly appeared from the "blind spot." Should we both share the situation?

It is my observation that too many people who ride bicycles, wheel chairs and people, who step out into traffic and think that drivers see them, are placing everyone in danger. I still think about that day but I can not continue to take the blame for what could have happened. I still take extra precautions and appeal to others to do the same. It is not enough for us to claim our rights; for we must also accept our responsibilities for safety sake.