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Today’s Positive Thoughts

Give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men.
Psalm 107:31 NIV

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18 NIV

Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
Hebrews10:24 NIV

Today’s Positive Thoughts

December 19, 2014

I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.
Job 19:25 NIV

Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise.
Proverbs 19:20 NIV

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Ephesians 4:2 NIV

Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
Hebrews10:24 NIV

Morning Show Links

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A Blue-Print to Break The Holiday Blues

A recent USA Today poll asked this question,

“Which best fits your holiday emotional state?”  

Relaxed – 18%
Joyful – 31%
Stressed – 27%
Depressed – 24%

Why do people feel so overloaded with additional problems during the holidays? I believe the majority of the pressure they feel is from trying to live up to unrealistic expectations of a ‘perfect’ Christmas.

Remember Clark W. Griswald from the movie ‘Christmas Vacation?’ He is the laughable, but best illustration of a guy who tries to do everything right, only to have literally everything go wrong. (Plot Spoiler Alert) Dysfunctional relatives, one blown bulb derailing all of the decorations, the Christmas tree goes up in flames, the turkey is dry, the check for the swimming pool is set to bounce, add in a crazy cousin kidnapping the hateful boss, while the dog destroys the house chasing a rabid squirrel and a senile senior citizen sings the national anthem; basically the whole 9 yards of Christmas chaos.

The movie makes us laugh because there are elements that hold true in many holiday customs that everyone follows. Traditions that may not have much to do with faith, or even common sense, but that still become a passionate pursuit for millions of people desperately seeking the perfect holiday. Holiday stress doesn’t create perfection or peace, but it does take the focus off the simple message of the Christ child to put it onto a thousand other things that don’t have much to do with the peace of the Christmas season at all.   The time between Thanksgiving and New Years Day will cause people to feel really good or really bad without much room in the middle. The focus of this special report is for those in-between to not slide into the holiday blues and lose the true joy Christmas was meant to bring.

Making the Holiday’s more Miserable  

The holidays can make depressed people feel sadder, people with addictions to have more cravings, worried people turn into a bundle of nerves and sadly it’s the time of year that many give up on their mental and physical health because they are just too “busy” to take care of themselves. The solution is not to ignore Thanksgiving or Christmas but rather to realize it is imperative to set holiday boundaries.   People may not understand the words “holiday boundary” but Psychologist Henry Cloud calls it “a line during the holiday’s that marks a limit for everyone”. He believes that depression, cravings for substances and anxiety symptoms all worsen between Thanksgiving and New Years Day because people are unable to say “no” to all of the extra demands on their time, money, and energy.

Bottom line- the holidays don’t bring gifts to some people, this season just brings more problems.   Why? many times it’s because  they don’t want to offend or hurt the feelings of their family and friends, so they keep silent and tolerate situations or endure guilt-ridden obligations that only occur during the holidays. Sometimes that silent tolerance makes a complex situation much worse, while all of this dysfunction steals the real joy the holidays were meant to bring.

It is essential to take care of yourself by having the courage to set boundaries   You can set limits on spending because it’s not necessary to try to stimulate the entire economy by buying gifts for every relative, neighbor and postman in your neighborhood. It is okay to say “No” and remember that giving your “presence” is often a much more thoughtful gift than just sending “presents.”   Did you know the average American will gain 6 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years? That’s a pound per week! You are allowed to say “No” to overeating or over drinking at holiday parties and you are allowed to keep a healthy lifestyle pattern with exercise and especially sleep. Many people starve themselves of sleep by trying to decorate, wrap or travel 20 hours per day. It is dangerous to be sleep deprived and can be life threatening when drinking and driving. Holiday boundaries can keep you and your family safe when you enforce them.

How to break the pattern of Holiday Blues   Have you ever watched someone have a “melt down” during the holidays?  If you aren’t familiar with this phrase, it means to be so totally stressed you can’t think or function normally. So, back to understanding why people ‘melt down during the holidays’ since this self-destructive process steals motivation and makes life miserable. It makes no sense. Why would people make impulsive choices during the Christmas season that only makes their life worse? Even more important is to stop the cycle before it steals energy and creativity to move into the New Year with strength. Here is a blueprint to show how ignoring basic boundaries can lead to a bad case of the holiday blues. Good news, once you figure out the formula you can learn to do the opposite, which will allow you to enjoy every day of the holiday season, instead of feeling miserable while enduring it.

The Blueprint for ‘Holiday blues’  

First understand there really is a process to create a “Holiday Meltdown” experience where life goes from bad to worse. It follows a series of predictable steps. People suffering from the Holiday blues have conditioned themselves to follow a pattern of behavior that makes every day of the Christmas season chaotic and potentially every holiday tradition a catastrophe.  They never allow themselves to relax and count blessings during the holidays because their total focus is on pleasing others. They don’t actually have good days, just less miserable ones where nothing goes right because they usually are looking for the worst possible scenario. It’s like the old saying, “Cheer up- things could get worse. So I cheered up and sure enough, things got worse.”

If the only things you are searching for are more problems this time of year then you can be sure that you will find more than enough to stay stressed out and afraid. Here are the basics of the ‘holiday blues’ which I have mapped out in a reverse blueprint process and remember the more elements of this blueprint you have in place between Thanksgiving and New Years Day, the worse you will feel and the worse your decisions will be- guaranteed.

Spiritual Strategies to create Significant Emptiness and build the Blues-  

1)    Ignore God and anything that would inspire you to see beyond yourself. No Bible reading, no prayer, no journaling or meditation about the blessings of your life, which would stimulate gratitude. Avoid any type of function that takes you out of your own world or that might make you aware of the greater needs in the rest of the world. Even though you are doing many religious things, mostly focus on yourself while ignoring everyone else, especially the poor.

2)    Skip going to any peaceful church or concert where you might find quiet inspiration to focus on hectic shopping malls. Make sure to skip any activity that places you around positive or prayerful people. This includes helping the homeless or reaching out to other families who may be facing tough times this Christmas. As long as you stay focused on yourself and your problems you can feel empty, afraid and alone which will worsen the Holiday Blues.

Media Noise to block the real Message of the Season  

1)    Focus on the evening news and current events, especially big tragedies or world events you can’t do anything about. This approach is guaranteed to discourage you with negative media messages which often are full of depressing images that discourage from exposure to a continual flood of bad news. This focus on bad news can speed feeling a big case of Holiday Blues by making you afraid to even be alive.

2)    Make Hollywood celebrities your main focus, especially if they have multi-million dollar lifestyles that you could never hope to obtain. Keep up with the drama of every tiny detail of their lives; in fact spend more time studying what is happening in the lives of famous strangers this Christmas than you do in understanding what is happening in your own family life.

Physical Steps to Fuel the Holiday Blues  

1)    Ignore your own health. You can do this faster by neglecting to get enough sleep. Push your body to the limits and never sit still to take quiet times to just sit and rest. Follow the rule that ‘burning out is better than rusting out.’ (Forgetting that either way- you are out)

2)    Stay idle. Sit still and watch TV or the Internet; but never exercise or move around. In fact, stay inside most of the time and never allow yourself to see sunshine or feel the wind on your face over the holiday break. Nature is to be considered evil because being outside often reminds people of the beauty of creation. Use amusing entertainment to replace all forms of physical fitness.

3)    Eat anything you want, especially large portions of comfort food like cakes, pies, candy and cookies followed by soda with lots of sugar and caffeine. Remember the rule – the worse the food is for you, the worse you will feel.  Avoid anything healthy or nutritious if you want to suffer for months with the Holiday Blues.

Emotional and Financial Methods to make it worse  

1)    Keep all your fears inside and never take time to release pressure in healthy ways. No journaling, no mapping out insecurities on paper to prevent feeling panic. And make sure to never set goals that would give you a positive point of view in facing the future. Stuff your stress to ruin your day and make you a mess by trying to use money to manage mood in you and your family.

2)    Don’t ever set a holiday budget or create a realistic financial spending plan for gifts– in fact, just let your financial obligations pile up until you feel like you are drowning in debt and financial fears come January. Not having any idea where you stand financially is sure to make you feel worse and prolong the Holiday Blues well into the springtime.

3)    Never tell anyone what keeps you up at night, in fact, avoid any coach, counselor, pastor, menror, family member, co-worker or friend who might be a safe person who could help you process your fears to find greater strength. Go it alone to improve your chances of feeling miserable as a martyr.

How do successful people find new energy for the New Year? 

Can you relate to feeling overwhelmed, undervalued, empty, lonely, unloved, stressed, depressed or afraid during the holidays? Then you have likely followed the ‘Blueprint Holiday Blues; (BHB), but don’t feel bad because most people have some degree of trying to please others which drives them toward tolerating irresponsible behavior instead of confronting it and holding the other people accountable. This is why so many people can relate to the Blueprint for Holiday Blues.   Some of my worst holidays were spent with a dark cloud of moodiness overhead that I made worse by following the blueprint for holiday blues. I was too focused on me, myself and I instead of honestly looking at the challenges directly and seeking outside help to cope.

Successful people have learned to identify the ‘blueprint for holiday blues’ so they can make rapid adjustments to feel better fast. The real problem is when you feel so exhausted and beat up by unrealistic schedules that tomorrow look’s worse than yesterday and forget about New Year Resolutions!

So what about you -do you wake up refreshed this time of year with positive energy to face a new day or do you live exhausted and ‘stressed out’ day after day?    Moving from being ‘Freaked Out’ to Feeling Good Again   Successful people take positive action to break the pattern that creates ‘holiday blues’. Everyone faces challenges and tough days but some face them with strength by doing the opposite of the formula listed above. I’ve seen people try it both ways, and ruin some day of their life because of being so moody. Thankfully if you have healthy people around you they can confront you with verbal boundaries so you can change. People who say, ‘snap out of it’, ‘get on track’, ‘you were meant for more than this and Christmas is bigger than your pity-party right now.’

Do you have someone who comes alongside to challenge you with positive steps to break the ‘holiday blues’ process? On your worst days do you go it alone, or allow safe people to come close and help? If you don’t have those people know that my purpose in life is to add value to others, so until you believe in you, I’ll believe in you. God placed you on this planet for greater things than you could ever imagine!   Please let today be the day you break the ‘holiday blues’ process to really embrace feeling good.

No matter what you are facing today, you will face it better by doing the opposite of the blueprint listed above so you can develop spiritual, emotional, financial and physical strength. You really do have the power to change and make today better. Choose to set some boundaries and break the cycle and when you do, tell others what you learned so they can break out of the ‘holiday blues’ too.

About the author- Dwight Bain helps people re-write their story through the power of positive change. He is a respected author, Nationally Certified Counselor, Certified Life Coach and Certified Family Law Mediator in practice since 1984 who leads others to solve crisis events and manage major change.

Reprint Permission- If this article helped you, you are invited to share it with your own list at work or church, forward it to friends and family or post it on your own site or blog. Just leave it intact and do not alter it in any way. Any links must remain in the article. Please include the following paragraph in your reprint. “Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group weekly eNews, (Copyright, 2004-2014), To subscribe to this valuable counseling and coaching resource visit www.LifeWorksGroup.org or call407-647-7005

Thanksgiving Cupcake

from John Rivers

Ingredients:

4 cups     Your favorite cornbread batter
2 cups     Your favorite stuffing/dressing
1 cup       Turkey, sliced thin and cut into bite sized pieces
2 T           Juice from the turkey or chicken stock
Gravy
Mashed Potatoes
Cranberry Chutney

 

Instructions:

Measure your cornbread batter into a mixing bowl.

Using your fingers, break apart the stuffing and add it to the cornbread.

Use a rubber spatula to ensure that the stuffing and cornbread batter are well combined.

Add the turkey and juice/stock to the cornbread mixture and stir with spatula until completely combined.

Coat a muffin pan in bacon grease or pan spray.

Scoop batter into pan.

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until top is firm to the touch and edges are golden brown.

While muffins are baking, heat mashed potatoes and gravy.

Use a skewer to poke holes into the top of the cupcake.

Fill holes with warm gravy and lightly smear gravy on the top surface.

Using an ice cream scoop, spoon mashed potatoes on top to look like frosting.

Use your fingers to make indentations in center of potatoes.

Spoon a small amount of cranberry chutney into cavity.

Enjoy the goodness!

Green Bean Casserole

from John Rivers

 

For the Sauce

1 C       ground, canned fried onions, French’s
2 lbs    French beans, ends trimmed
½         Sweet Vidalia onion, diced
8 oz     White mushrooms, sliced
3 T      butter
1 t        kosher salt
1 t        black pepper
½ T     garlic, minced
½ T     fresh thyme
¼ C     AP Flour
1 ¼ C Chicken broth
1 ¼ C Heavy cream
½ C     Parmesan cheese, graded

Preheat oven to 375

Blanch beans, transfer to ice water bath to hold.

Pulse canned fried onions in a food processor until finely ground. Combine with flour and set aside

Melt butter in a large skillet and sauté mushrooms and onions with S&P until onions are cooked thru. Add garlic & thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds

Add flour & onion mixture and cook until golden, about 1 minute. Stir in chicken broth and cream. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally until sauce is very thick, about 10 minutes.

Add green beans and Parmesan cheese, mix well to coat completely. Transfer to a casserole dish, cover and bake at 375 for 30 minutes. Remove lid, cover casserole with onion topping and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until top is brown and casserole is bubbling. Allow to rest for 15 minutes before serving.

 

For Topping

2          slices of hearty white bread (grilled cheese bread)
2 T      unsalted butter, melted
2 C       canned fried onions

 

Lightly toast bread, pulse in food processor until coarsely ground. Toss with melted butter to coat. Mix in fried onions.

Breaking the Busy Mom Syndrome

by Dwight Bain

 

60 Proven Strategies to find new Strength in High-Stress Situations

We’ve all seen her – a busy mom trying to do everything and chronically being overwhelmed and stressed out because she can’t get it all done. So why don’t people reach out to help her? More importantly, why does she try to do so much which could lead to burn out – or worse – even Compassion Fatigue? What drives some women to the point of complete exhaustion?

Before you dismiss this as an overstatement, consider the newest definition of those who care for so many, with so little support. It’s called “Caregiver Stress Syndrome” and is a clinical way to describe the real physical and psychological changes as a result of chronic stress from on-going caregiver responsibilities.

Caregiver Stress Syndrome are actual physiological, psychological and emotional symptoms that can result from the ongoing strain of caregiving for a loved one, or attending to the all of the needs of others.”

 

How can you tell if you have crossed the line from being busy and overcommitted into being at risk for dangerous stress? Take a pen and score yourself on the stress symptom checklist below. Think about your life or even better, have someone who knows you well take the list and score what they see in you. Remember, many of these symptoms are common with day to day stress, but combined they can put you at risk for serious medical or emotional problems.

 

Warning Signs of Dangerous Stress 

 

PHYSICAL

Fatigue Sweating Shortness of breath Loss or increase of appetite Nausea or Diarrhea
Elevated blood pressure Tightness in chest or chest pain Muscle fatigue or weakness Insomnia or Hyper-somnia Increased cold or flu symptoms
Pacing Heart Palpitations Shallow breathing Fainting Abdominal pain

 

EMOTIONAL

Anger Stress Anxiety Tension Apathy
Fear Panic Guilt Uneasiness Alarm
Numb inside Impatience Depression Shame Nervousness
Grief Loss Irritability Apprehension Overwhelmed

 

BEHAVIORAL

Restlessness Impulsive Avoidance Edgy Rapid speech
Tense muscles/neck Easily startled or jumpy Hyper-vigilance Withdrawal from others Accident proneness
Anti-social acts Inability to rest Intensified pacing Increased use of alcohol Increased use of caffeine

 

COGNITIVE

Easily Distracted Poor concentration Forgetfulness Errors in judgment Mental Fog
Decreased decision making Reduced creativity or mental focus Diminished productivity Loss of objectivity Self-consciousness
Confusion Fear of losing control Frightening visual images Fear of injury, death, pain Flashbacks-nightmares

 

The more warning indicators identified in a single category or across multiple categories, the more that person may be over-exposed to dangerous levels of psychological distress. If you are feeling overwhelmed with dangerous stress symptoms reach out to a trusted medical or psychological source so you can develop a logical plan to stabilize and recover.

 

What can you do if you are over the line from busy to burnout to dangerous stress?

 

Use the “STOP-REST” Strategy as soon as possible. The letters are an acrostic for rapid recovery of caregiver stress, and each letter stands for an immediate step to rapidly recover. Here’s how it works.

S- Symptoms. Identify your stress symptoms across all categories.  (Use the list above as a guide)

T – Time. Get honest with how much time it takes to accomplish all the things on your list.

O- Obstacles. What is standing in your way? Is it a roadblock of money, guilt, obligations, What are they and then rank them from the most impossible to the most manageable?

P- Priorities. These are the core values in your life which must be lived out. Everything else waits on your primary priorities.

R- Recharge. Figure out what refreshes your body and soul and connect to that activity daily. (There are over 60 strategies listed out below to help you get started).

E- Environment. Do you recharge better with people – or alone? Curled up with a book, or out in Nature? Knowing the right environment will allow you to select activities or events which energize you, instead of drain you.

S- Supports. We need each other and moms are usually the worst about asking for help. Yet, the only way to really grow through challenging experiences is by having safe people to lean on. 

T- Trust. This is more about trusting God than trusting others. If you are a person of faith you have an opportunity to grow as a believer through every trial and challenge. If you believe God is there for you, use the times of pressure to cleanse out old fears to replace them with new confidence God won’t let you down, and that you are not alone in the journey. 

 

What are some fast ways to get back on track?

Start with your STOP doing list. Here’s how Stanford Professor Jim Collins describes this overlooked strategy. “Most of us lead busy, but undisciplined lives. We have ever-expanding “to do” lists, trying to build momentum by doing, doing, doing—and doing more. And it rarely works. Effective leaders make as much use of “stop doing” lists as the “to do” lists. They displayed a remarkable amount of discipline to unplug all sorts of extraneous junk”.

 

First, decide what you need to Stop doing today to Achieve more tomorrow?

 

 “Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.” – M. Scott Peck, MD

 

Next begin to implement healthy ways to cope across the different areas of life. There are over 60 healthy coping skills listed below. Pick one or two of these proven strategies to put into practice and watch how quickly your perspective will change. So while you can’t make stress go away, you can grow stronger in spite of it. Don’t believe it? Try it over the next two weeks and you’ll see why millions of people in high stress situations practice these coping skills. They aren’t smarter or stronger than you – just more disciplined to use proven steps to recharge. The full list of physical, emotional, relational, behavioral and spiritual steps are mapped out below to get you started in protecting your health and the health of the busy or burned out caregivers you may know.

 

Once you identify what works for you, reach out to others and share the list with them. Together you can make a difference as you move beyond carrying your burdens alone to experiencing the powerful connection of managing the pressures of life with someone who cares.  That is the fastest way to move from being a burned out caregiver, to one who blesses others with care and compassion because they found a source of renewal and strength.

 

Physical: 

  1. Sleep, (7-9 hours)
  2. Sleep rituals- Same time to wake up and go to bed
  3. Predictable daily schedule
  4. Healthy Diet with Regular mealtimes
  5. Hydration throughout day
  6. Nutritional supplements
  7. Low impact exercise
  8. Yoga/Pilates/Stretching
  9. Deep breathing
  10. Relaxation routines/massage or energizing naps
  11. Regular physical checkups, including blood work
  12. Medication, (as prescribed by your physician)

 

Emotional:

  1. Esteem building exercises, especially with photos or images
  2. Laughter/Fun/Playtime
  3. Face anger, anxiety and apathy directly
  4. Journal out negative emotions
  5. Let go of painful past memories
  6. Say “NO” to bad habits
  7. Talk through issues to get through issues
  8. Identify and process hurtful emotions
  9. Write letters to vent out disappointment, (then tear them up)

 

Relational:

  1. Face relationship issues
  2. Voice your needs to others
  3. Confront conflict directly
  4. Connect with friends/family
  5. Share your burdens with others
  6. Join a support group
  7. Utilize counseling supports
  8. Join a hobby group which involves others
  9. Say “NO” to manipulative behavior
  10. Hugs/affection, (from pets or people)
  11. Learn the love language of those close to you

 

Behavioral:

  1. Daily planning time
  2. Utilize organizational planners
  3. Short term goals
  4. Daily hobbies for enjoyment
  5. Creative activities for relaxation
  6. Develop victory list of accomplishments
  7. Create a bucket list of lifetime goals
  8. Reading for personal development
  9. Pay it forward” to do good for others
  10. Learn something new everyday
  11. Take on new challenges
  12. Leave work stress at work
  13. Take a training course to gain a new skill

 

Spiritual: 

  1. Meditation
  2. Volunteer to help others
  3. Reading for spiritual growth
  4. Forgive those who have wronged you and forgive yourself
  5. Listen to inspirational music
  6. Attend a Bible study
  7. Attend worship services
  8. Make prayer a regular part of your day
  9. Develop spiritual landmarks
  10. Observe a day of rest
  11. Memorize scriptures for strength
  12. Remember, “Things come to pass – not stay”
  13. Re-create spiritual peace out in nature
  14. Build spiritual strength through spiritual experiences
  15. Attend church socials to experience greater spiritual connection

 

Being a busy mom is a normal part of life, but with these coping skills it is my hope you will move from stress to strength and find the meaning behind these thoughts from Reverend Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who said, “There is meaning in every journey that is unknown to the traveler.”  Because once you are able to “STOP and REST” you will see so many blessings from God you missed before and find greater joy in the process. I hope you start today.

 

 

About the Author – Dwight Bain helps people rewrite their story to move from stress to strength. He is a Nationally Certified Counselor, Certified Life Coach and Family Law Mediator in practice since 1984 with a focus on solving crisis events and managing major change. Bain partners with media, major corporations and non-profit organizations to make a positive difference in our culture. Follow him on social media at www.Facebook.com/DwightBain or on Twitter @DwightBain Access more counseling and coaching resources designed to save you time by solving stressful situations by visiting his counseling blog with over 800 complimentary articles and special reports at www.LifeWorksGroup.org Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group weekly eNews, (Copyright, 2004-2014), To receive this valuable counseling resource at no cost, visit www.LifeWorksGroup.org and click on the subscribe for E-Newsletter at the homepage. You are welcome to share this resource with others on your blog, social media, or work or church newsletter. Simply leave the article intact and all links must be reprinted. Thank you for helping us to help others.

SYATP 7 Day Challenge

by Dr Brian Pikalow (Pastor at The Venue Church)

 

“429” is a code for EPHESIANS 4:29: “DO NOT LET ANY UNWHOLESOME TALK COME OUT OF YOUR MOUTH, BUT ONLY WHAT IS HELPFUL FOR BUILDING OTHERS UP, ACCORDING TO THEIR NEEDS, THAT IT MIGHT BENEFIT THOSE WHO LISTEN.” This code means to “BLESS.” Bless your principal. Bless your teacher, etc.


Day 1 (Thursday): “429” Your Principal Day

4:29” is a code word taken from Ephesians 4:29 for building the school principal up with your words and/or actions. Write an administrator a note of appreciation. Thank your principal for “See You At The Pole.” The administrators have a tough
job and rarely do they get any notes of “Thanks.” Hand deliver the note, drop the note off at the school office, or mail it.
If you know one of the administrators, you might feel comfortable asking them if you could pray for them and any needs at the school.
Think about how the school is a better place because of the leadership of the administrator you’ve chosen to write to.

Day 2 (Friday): “429” Your Teacher Day – Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor. Galatians 6:6

Write a note to let a teacher know he/she is special and that you prayed for him/her today. Teachers help people, so pray a prayer of thanksgiving for them.
Teachers have a hard job, so pray a prayer for them to have strength and wisdom. Teachers work long hours, so pray that God would strengthen and bless them ‘4:29’ one of your teachers. Hand the note to the teacher and job ‘teaching’ something that could cause such dispute say, “This is for you…Thanks.”

Day 3 (Saturday): “429” Your Parents Day – Honor your father and mother… that you may enjoy long life on the earth. Ephesians 6:2-3

Do something nice and caring for, and with, your parent(s). For ideas see the illustration below. From an Advice Columnist: “I’m a 16 year old teenager who is a nervous wreck from getting yelled at. All I hear from morning to night is; stop being mean to your brother, get off the phone, hang up your clothes, do your homework, and clean your room!” The Advice Columnist’s answer: Stop being mean, get off the phone, hang up your clothes, do your homework, and clean your room.
Do something for someone today that will demonstrate the love of God to them. Remember that unconditional love is the best way to witness for Christ. 
Well, you get the idea… spend time with Mom, she’ll love it! Do some chores your parent needs done without her having to ask.
• How about giving a “I Love You Mom” or “I Love You Dad” Card.
• “Thank you Mom for loving me, for all your sacrifice, for listening, and giving those special hugs.”

Day 4 (Sunday): “429” Your Pastor Day – The elders who direct the affairs of the church well—are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. 1 Timothy 5:17

Write your Pastor a note of appreciation and encourage him/her. Thank him/her for being a leader you can follow. Thank him/her for preparing a special message the Sunday your friends came to church. Offer to help anyone who could use assistance. Write a note thanking him/her for being God’s Shepherd for your church. Let the Pastor know you’re praying for him/her, his/her family, and the church. Write him/her a note so they have it in writing. Thank that individual for all that he/she does. Let your Pastor know that you’re praying for him/her.

Day 5 (Monday): “429” An Outsider Day- …the kindness of God leads you to repentance… Romans 2:4b

There are probably students in your school who believe very differently than you do. They don’t believe what they bible says and maybe don’t even believe that God exists. The bible says that the kindness of God can lead these people to repentance. They may think that they could never be a Christian, or that Christians don’t like them. Many of these students believe that Christians hate them and that God may hate them too. But God offers love and forgiveness to everyone who repents and puts their trust in him. And He gives freedom from the things that keep us in bondage to sin.
Think of someone at school who might feel out of place at a church. Make time today to talk to them and show them through acts of kindness that God loves them. Be kind, without compromising your biblical moral beliefs. Ask them what they think about God. Explain how God loves them and wants them to know and follow Him.  

Day 6 (Tuesday): “429” Your Mentor Day – Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.

Hebrews 13:7
Write a note or call the person who influenced you to follow Christ, and thank them. If you’re unable to get in touch with him/her, then write or call the person who has most recently impacted your life for Christ. Write down your story of how you became a Christian. Write a note or call the person that most influenced you to follow Christ. If you can’t contact him/her, then write a note to the person that most recently has impacted your life for Christ.

Day 7 (Wednesday-one week after SYATP): “429” Your School Day – Serve whole-heartedly, as if you were serving the Lord and not men. Ephesians 6:7

Did you realize could help you fulfill your community service hours for school? Service projects are fun and meaningful for all involved. You need to get this day organized with your youth leader in advance. Clean up a local street or vacant lot around the school. Start a canned food drive at your school to fill your school’s food pantry. Almost every school in Seminole and Orange county has a food pantry for hungry students. Plant flowers or trees at your school.

Scared of School

Scared of School: Warning Signs of Bully Behavior and How to Protect Your Child

School should be one of the safest places instead of a scary place because of bully behavior. Yet the recent number of horrifying acts of violence from bullies toward shy and introverted kids has everyone concerned, from the President to local school and law enforcement officials. However, the most important group to take positive action to protect their kids at school is always their parents who are the most tuned in to the needs of their children.

It is essential to know what to look for in protecting your child from the dangers of bully behavior.

Here are the classic warning signs of a child who is being victimized by bullies:

  • Talking about being scared to walk to school
  • Acting scared to ride on the school bus
  • Plead for you to drive them to school instead of ride the bus
  • Develop a phobia about going to school
  • Act sick on school mornings
  • Lie to avoid school.
  • Skip school
  • Failing in school work
  • Have mysterious broken or damaged books, backpacks or torn clothes
  • Always hungry, (from bullies taking lunches or lunch money)
  • Verbal changes, especially stammering or inability to express fears
  • Develop eating disorders, inability to eat or excessive over-eating
  • Discussing suicide or threats to harm themselves instead of going to school
  • Develop sleeping disorders, active night terrors or nightmares
  • Mysterious disappearance of personal possessions, (cellphones, ipads, etc)
  • Missing money or stealing money to bribe bullies
  • Silence about the major changes in their behavior
  • Mysterious appearance of bruises, cuts, scratches or broken bones
  • Passing on the pain by bullying younger siblings
  • Major changes in behavior, completely withdrawn or totally aggressive
  • Lies and deception to cover up all of the major changes in behavior

(If you aren’t sure how to spot the more dangerous warning signs from gangs, weapons, substance abuse or when a fight is going to erupt, there are a number of web links at the end of this article to give you greater insight of what to look for, and more importantly, what to do to keep your child safe).

Here are five key strategies you can use to protect your son or daughter from bully behavior at school or in the community.

 

1) Listen to your child’s fears and frustrations

Sadly many of the kids who felt like committing suicide to escape bully behavior held all of their fears and frustrations inside until they began a self-destructive cycle ending in their death. Bully behavior at school is not a new problem. However these days there are dangerous gangs and violent individuals in or around just about every school environment. Sometimes the bully violence comes from neighborhood gangs, but it’s far more likely that the threats, harassment, intimidation, fights or acts of violence will come from someone inside your child’s school. Student’s who use weapons against other students, like the Virginia Tech or Columbine shooters for example, often make threats long before acting on them. It is essential to listen to what is going on so you know how to respond.

Become more involved in talking about safety with your child, instead of just talking about academics or daily activities. Ask your kids direct questions and then really listen to their fears and frustrations about what’s happening around them at school. Keep the conversation age appropriate and allow your child to do most of the talking as you hear about their experiences with bullies or other situations that might have made them feel uncomfortable or afraid while at school, (Remember to change the conversation slightly depending on the ages of your kids and the pressures they may be facing at school, since it’s important to talk about safety to kids of all ages so they know what to do to stay safe while at school or away from their parents).

 

2) Get involved at their school & ask direct questions to teachers and administration

The greater the level of parental involvement the greater the chance that your child’s school will have less intimidation from bullies. When kids are involved in healthy after-school activities like sports, music, drama or scouting they are less likely to be in a dangerous situation, because everyone is engaged and involved, instead of bored or detached. Parents can spot and then quietly solve a lot of problems that may be in the ‘shadows’ by getting more involved in the lives of their children and encouraging greater involvement in healthy activities. Sometimes the easiest way to avoid becoming victimized by bully behavior is to be involved in activities with others instead of feeling insecure and isolated when threatening people or situations come along.

Kids need their parents to be involved in their lives at every age and life stage, either as classroom volunteers or to help with after school sports or extra-curricular activities. The extra support for your child builds a greater sense of connection and self worth since these activities are essential to develop important social skills and personal confidence. It also provides another set of ‘eyes and ears’ on the school campus to notice what pressures your child is facing from their peers.

If you see anything that makes you feel uncomfortable don’t be afraid to bring it up to your child’s teacher, school administrators or school safety officers. Also, if you are unsure about the safety at your child’s school to deal with more serious crisis events like school violence, then ask to see a copy of their critical incident preparation training guide, or school safety plan so you can review it with your son or daughter and then pass it along to help other parents as well.

 

3) Use national media events as springboards into serious discussions with your child and their friends

Much of the televised news reports about death by suicide to avoid school bullies is shocking to say the least, however, you can use news stories from the paper, television or an Internet news source to bring the facts of a national story out in the open to then ‘springboard’ into a more personal discussion with your son or daughter about how to deal with issues they might one day face on the local level at their school.

This can especially be important with older teens who may believe they are invincible to the harsh realities of violent and aggressive bullies who direct their rage toward innocent people in public places, especially schools. Something about seeing a group of crying teens gathered around a makeshift memorial to honor their fellow classmate who died tragically makes it more real… because it shows regular kids, just like them, who were victimized by dangerous bullies at or around school. Asking, “what would you do if you saw someone being bullied in a locker room?”, or “does anyone at your school make threats to hurt you, your teachers or other classmates?” are all ways to get directly involved in protecting your child, as well as preventing the next breaking news story about another school tragedy from happening on their school campus.

 

4) Have open family meetings about bully issues on a regular basis, don’t go silent on this potentially life-threatening issue

Every family should have regular discussions on how they would need to respond to bully behavior. Education officials encourage parents to have a plan for their personal safety should bully behavior happen against them. Knowing what to do and then reviewing that plan monthly will remove a significant amount of panic because planning removes panic.

If your son or daughter received a threatening note or heard about an act of violence from a bully, do they know who to call to protect themselves? When your son or daughter has insight on what to do when facing a bully they are better equipped to manage their fears, instead of internalize them which can build up into self-destructive behavior.

 

5) Pray for your children, for their friends, their class and their teachers

We can prepare our kids to know how to respond to bullies at their schools, but ultimately we can’t protect our kids from everything. Bullies can infiltrate just about any school setting. However, we know that God is bigger than any bully and that He is always a safe place to turn throughout the hours of the day when we can’t be there to guard our kids.

Many parents have the habit of praying for the safety and strength of their kids throughout day when they are apart. Why not give it a try so you can move from feeling scared about what you can’t do, to feeling secure in knowing that God always hears your prayers. Moving away from panic through prayer is a powerful way to get through any crisis and it’s a great practice to model for your kids. When your children learn to pray as their first step in dealing with pressure situations, they will have a remarkable power and peace in dealing with any situation, at school, work or in personal relationships as they grow into an adult. Prayer is a life skill that makes any situation easier to deal with, because you don’t have to carry your problems alone.

The bottom line is to take positive action to protect your child from experiencing more pain in the future from bullies at school, in the neighborhood or anywhere they may face tough people who want to intimidate them. Building your child’s confidence now will protect them for a lifetime.

For more detailed information about school bullies to review in preparing to talk to your kids visit:

US Department of Education http://www.ed.gov/category/keyword/bullying

National Crime Prevention Council http://www.ncpc.org/

For helpful resources to save time by solving other parenting challenges from a Faith based perspective visit:
http://www.LifeWorksGroup.org/
http://www.Family.org/

Most of all – never give up on staying connected and involved with your child’s life. The more engaged you are, the more you can be their safe place against the challenges they will face in every grade. You never stop being a parent, and in protecting your children from bully behavior you are protecting them from a lifetime of pain.

 

 

 

 

Reprint Permission: If this article helped you, you are invited to share it with your own list at work or church, forward it to friends and family or post it on your own site or blog. Just leave it intact and do not alter it in any way. Any links must remain in the article. Please include the following paragraph in your reprint.

“Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group weekly eNews, (Copyright, 2004-2014), To subscribe to this valuable counseling and coaching resource visit www.LifeWorksGroup.org or call 407-647-7005

About the author: Dwight Bain helps people re-write their story to find greater significance and success. He is a Nationally Certified Counselor, Certified Life Coach and Family Law Mediator in practice since 1984 with a primary focus on solving crisis events and managing major change.

Back to School Prayer List 2014

Welcome to our Back to School Prayer List!  Please join us in praying for these sweet kiddos as they head back to school…maybe even pick a few names and pray for them throughout the year.  Add your child to the list by going over to our Facebook page: Z88.3 Mornings.

Pre-School & Pre-K:

  • Joscelyn
  • Chloe
  • Jordyn
  • Dallas
  • Carolina
  • Gaige
  • Leighlynn
  • Jahziel
  • Morgan
  • Noah
  • Cooper
  • Tristan
  • Gabby
  • Makenzie
  • Kellin
  • Jazlyn
  • Marius
  • Izabella
  • Abby
  • Jacob
  • Hannah
  • Zachary
  • Billy
  • Pierce
  • Angelique
  • Gavin
  • Owen
  • Maddox
  • Layla
  • Drake
  • James
  • K’manti
  • Mylah
  • Colson
  • Dylan
  • Emily
  • Skylah
  • Quinton
  • Lily
  • Patrick
  • Grant
  • Chloe
  • Alexis
  • Noah
  • Gabi

 

Kindergarten:

  • Braydon
  • Sydny
  • Yanely
  • Ysabella
  • Rafael
  • Kaden
  • Zona
  • Isaiyah
  • Meranda
  • Hannahgrace
  • Joel
  • Julian
  • Jackson
  • Cohen
  • Mia
  • Frankie
  • Cara
  • Cruzen
  • Talen
  • Alexis Joel
  • Ryan
  • Angel
  • JohnCarlo
  • Adrian James
  • Kaitlyn
  • Nehemiah
  • AJ
  • Matthew
  • Trystan
  • J’valyn
  • Logan
  • Preston
  • Dalton
  • Brian
  • Abigail
  • Sierra
  • Charity
  • Marcos
  • Jaxon
  • Imani
  • Genesis
  • Hannah
  • Brandon
  • Mason
  • Kamryn
  • Aleah
  • Boston
  • Sofia
  • Joey
  • Makynna
  • David
  • Julian
  • Connor
  • Jeremy
  • Chris
  • Alexis
  • Trinity
  • Jose
  • Kristina
  • Camila

 

1st Grade:

  • Kelsey
  • Ricardo
  • Juliana
  • Caden
  • James
  • Candace
  • Aidan
  • Noah
  • Makayla
  • Christopher
  • Rylee
  • Joey
  • Brayden
  • Owen
  • Kaleb
  • Josiah
  • Jordan
  • Joshua
  • Fabiola
  • Lindsay
  • Robert
  • Willa
  • Noah
  • Skyla
  • Grace
  • Michaiah
  • Hannah
  • Carl
  • Bradly
  • Luis
  • Logan
  • Terrence
  • Jenny
  • Hunter
  • Christopher
  • Gabbie
  • Emma
  • Rowan
  • Jack
  • Andrew
  • Leilani
  • Dom
  • Evin
  • Cordell
  • Noemi
  • Eli
  • Sebastian
  • Andrew
  • Christopher
  • MorganLayne
  • Gabriel
  • Aislynn
  • Anthony
  • Janina
  • Miracle
  • Corey
  • Madison
  • John
  • Zander
  • Chelsea
  • Gavin

 

2nd Grade:

  • Isaiah
  • Connor
  • Gabryela
  • Destin
  • Savannah
  • Clayton
  • Brooklynn
  • Sarit
  • Xander
  • Jewel
  • Kendall
  • Kade
  • Nicholas
  • Christian
  • Noah
  • Jazmine
  • Michael
  • Sofia
  • Patrick
  • Jadalysee
  • Eli
  • Kayleb
  • Micah
  • Kaylin
  • Autumn
  • Aubree
  • Briannah
  • Isabelle
  • Stefanny
  • Natalia
  • Matthew
  • Alexia
  • Bella
  • Lexi
  • TJ
  • Amari
  • Menzie
  • Camryn
  • Taylor
  • Joshua
  • Julia
  • Joshua
  • Jeshua
  • Auroras
  • Kayla
  • Adrian
  • Makenzie
  • Clayton
  • Lucain
  • Peyton
  • Reagan
  • Adriana

 

3rd Grade:

  • Nathan
  • Emily
  • Ricky
  • Elijah
  • Jasmine
  • Emma
  • Robbie
  • McKinsey
  • Matthew
  • Ashlyn
  • Abby
  • April
  • Sophia
  • Tayneiha
  • Mykailah
  • Isabella
  • Benjamyn
  • Anastasia
  • Alex
  • Tatiana
  • Rei
  • Destiny
  • Lucian
  • Kaya
  • Grace
  • Ben
  • Rebecca
  • Moralya
  • Odreanna
  • Isaiah
  • Jocelyn
  • Anthony
  • Kayla
  • Jalen
  • Candence
  • Mariah
  • Aimee
  • Dylan
  • John
  • Eli
  • Andre
  • Caleb
  • Nick
  • Nathan
  • Zoe
  • Isaac
  • Justin
  • Lyannie
  • Viggo
  • Vanessa
  • Hope

 

4th Grade:

  • Adrian
  • Shayla
  • Alli
  • Luc
  • Amaris
  • Anthony
  • Caitlyn
  • Graceson
  • Kaleb
  • Reed
  • Valerie
  • Allyson
  • Austin
  • Colin
  • Jonathan
  • Helena
  • Josiah
  • Kaide
  • Gael
  • Grace
  • Samuel
  • Elias
  • Krisaniel
  • Noelani
  • Noah
  • Erin
  • Hannah
  • Joshua
  • Alan
  • Yezenia
  • Zachary
  • Anastacia
  • Hunter
  • Brady
  • Cori
  • Danasia
  • Mikaylah
  • Dylan
  • Gabriella
  • Alyannah
  • Makaya
  • Kaitlyn
  • Noelani
  • Isabella
  • Emma
  • Andrew
  • Kelby
  • Nina
  • Hailey
  • Ethan
  • Joshua

 

5th Grade:

  • Lanna
  • Anthony
  • Bri
  • Allison
  • Hannah
  • Logan
  • Ariana
  • Austin
  • Seth
  • Shekinah
  • Alston
  • Briana
  • Shane
  • Lauren
  • Abner
  • Benjamin
  • Daniel
  • Grace
  • Kayla
  • Angelo
  • Leah
  • Christian
  • Charlie
  • Aiden
  • Cole
  • Alexander
  • Chase
  • Kaleb
  • Kenya
  • Teagan
  • Jayda
  • Anna
  • Rian
  • Anthony
  • Amaya
  • Eddie

 

6th Grade:

  • Jessica
  • Sara
  • Jackson
  • Kevin
  • Olivia
  • Briana
  • Daniel
  • Brittney
  • Brooke
  • Brylee
  • Adrian
  • Mia
  • Kaleb
  • Joshua
  • Christian
  • Andreas
  • Phillip
  • Sam
  • Jacob
  • Joshua
  • Gabi
  • Keegan
  • Ana
  • Gracie
  • Kerri
  • Owen
  • Rafael, Jr.
  • Trinity
  • Ana
  • Daniel
  • Ashlee
  • Anthony
  • Mikaila
  • Sarah
  • Genesis
  • Daniel
  • Emelia
  • Alexander
  • Kaylee
  • Zachary
  • DestinyAva
  • Tia
  • Kyleigh
  • Avery
  • Ben
  • Kevia
  • Matthew
  • Conner
  • Christian
  • Tiffany
  • Victoria
  • Hannah
  • Brooke
  • Natalie
  • Javier
  • Amber

 

7th Grade:

  • Pablo
  • Meghan
  • Kayla
  • Nayeli
  • Javelyn
  • Dalton
  • Timothy
  • Anthony
  • Craig
  • Lexi
  • Matthew
  • Tito
  • Thea
  • Tiana
  • Jason
  • Zeke
  • Jaiden
  • Katie
  • Amari
  • Aaron
  • Taylor
  • Joshua
  • Isaiah
  • Timmy
  • Cameron
  • Brielle
  • Rachel
  • JanMichael
  • Connor
  • Jacob
  • Isaac
  • Caleb
  • Nicole
  • Kevin
  • Bianca
  • Josiah
  • Steve
  • Rebecca
  • Cheryl
  • Zach
  • Desiree
  • Amber
  • Ethan
  • Wilnide
  • Jenna
  • Azariah
  • Ian
  • Isaac
  • Jayden
  • Tristan
  • Myles
  • Jovan
  • Bryson
  • Ian
  • Chloe

 

8th Grade:

  • Madison
  • Mikaila
  • MaKenzie
  • Lauren
  • Gannon
  • Clayton
  • Nathan
  • Paola
  • Carlos
  • Larry
  • Alexa
  • Sarah
  • Alexandra
  • Mariah
  • Alezander
  • Jaymes
  • Keaton
  • Andrew
  • Gabie
  • Mitchell
  • Jacob
  • Hannah
  • Caleb
  • Victoria
  • Pedro
  • Samantha
  • Aaron
  • Parker
  • Angelynn
  • Christian
  • Daniel
  • Hailey
  • Abby
  • Tysha
  • Grant

 

9th Grade:

  • Kamron
  • Paola
  • Justin
  • Martin
  • Corey
  • Emily
  • Tiffany
  • Amanda
  • Thiffany
  • Melissa
  • Zach
  • Brandon
  • Kristina
  • Nate
  • Oleg
  • Camden
  • Evan
  • Nychy
  • Kellie
  • Carter
  • Andrew
  • Atraeu
  • Maribel
  • Jodi
  • Alex
  • Naomi
  • Tana
  • Ben
  • Katelyn
  • Gregory
  • Jazmyne
  • Sam
  • Karina
  • Samantha
  • Bethany
  • Brandon
  • Paola
  • Michael
  • Kevin
  • Imani
  • Courtney
  • Titi

 

10th Grade:

  • Joshua
  • Lexi
  • Ricky
  • Stephen
  • Brandon
  • Kaley
  • Mackenzie
  • Leandra
  • Rachel
  • Joseph
  • Steven
  • Christhian
  • Yariliz
  • Nick
  • Misael
  • Rebekah
  • Christian
  • Drew
  • Kendall
  • Isaiah
  • Daniel
  • Connor
  • Courtney
  • Matt
  • Michael
  • Samantha
  • Natalie
  • Pualani
  • Brelan
  • Caren
  • Casey
  • Jasmyn
  • Hayley
  • Adrian
  • Jessenia
  • Brittney
  • Isaiah
  • Alexa
  • Brogan
  • Alyssa
  • Zack
  • Cesotta
  • Abigail
  • Matthew
  • Lexi
  • Devon

 

11th Grade:

  • Luis
  • Sumari
  • Kailey
  • Nick
  • Tyler
  • Ray
  • Luis
  • Javier
  • Sarah
  • Tricia
  • Madison
  • Ashley
  • Ryan
  • Cheyenne
  • Joshuah
  • Jamie
  • Ariel
  • Daniel
  • Nathan
  • Giovanni
  • Deni
  • Mandy
  • Natalie
  • Dodlene
  • Brandon
  • Chance
  • Brendon
  • Erick
  • Nick
  • Kennedy
  • Xiara
  • Brendon
  • Hannah
  • Daniel
  • Elijah
  • Joshua
  • Holly
  • Mary

 

12th Grade:

  • Adrianna
  • Valeria
  • Madison
  • Amanda
  • Ashlee
  • Caitlyn
  • Katie
  • Kristina
  • Ryan
  • Kwon
  • Richelle
  • Jackie
  • Sierra
  • Jessica
  • Sara
  • Isaiah
  • Michael
  • Daniel
  • Joseph
  • Hakeem
  • Johanna
  • Destany
  • Valeria
  • Kathryn-Anne
  • Hollie
  • Harry
  • Tori
  • Kayla

 

College:

  • Arianna
  • Amanda
  • Phronzie
  • Sarah
  • Josh
  • Oniel
  • Matt
  • Jen
  • Robbie
  • Darien
  • Kaylynne
  • Kelsey
  • Sarah
  • Chris
  • Daivd
  • Lynnette
  • Andrew
  • Heidi
  • Corenza
  • Michael

 

Other Students:

  • Michael
  • Samantha
  • Brit
  • Kat
  • Zach
  • Nylaeve
  • Jacob
  • Breanna
  • Arianna
  • Abby
  • Matthew
  • Angel
  • AJ
  • JayDon
  • Perseus
  • Kenaiha
  • Lealany
  • Christian
  • Alberto
  • Raybekah
  • Richard
  • McDinho
  • Gwen
  • Jaylen
  • Nicholas
  • Ben
  • Chris
  • Lita
  • Jake
  • Mariela
  • Parker
  • Alana
  • Alexander
  • Andrew
  • Adrianna
  • Hannah
  • Ariana
  • Amaris
  • Ricardo
  • Rafael
  • Alex
  • Nikolas
  • Kaiton
  • Naythan
  • Brian
  • Sebrina
  • Destiny
  • Cody
  • Joey
  • Aaliyah
  • Melenyn
  • Jeovani
  • Gavin
  • Kevin
  • Joshua
  • Mayra
  • Alan
  • Bryan
  • Anthony
  • Irma
  • Savanna
  • Natalie Clough
  • JohnyBade
  • Francisco
  • Kaleb
  • Abraham
  • Ezequiel
  • Daniel
  • Gabriella
  • Nathaly
  • Samantha
  • Nathaniel
  • Desheila
  • Abiel
  • Camila
  • Sebastian
  • Gabriel
  • Sophie
  • Addie
  • Liam
  • Viyonce
  • Lucylena
  • JJ
  • Erika
  • Joey
  • Kaden
  • Charmaine
  • James
  • Gerard
  • London
  • Tryeanna
  • Ariana
  • Kelsi
  • Zack
  • Anjanette
  • Kaiden
  • Judith
  • Khoula-Mae
  • Laura
  • Christopher
  • Tyler
  • Ryan
  • Johnny
  • Anthony
  • Vinny
  • Lily
  • Gio
  • Polly
  • Hailah
  • Elianna
  • Lionell
  • Cruz
  • Haley
  • Chase
  • Kyler
  • Rainey
  • Summer
  • Tommy
  • Maria
  • Mick
  • Joel
  • Sammy
  • Adriel
  • Snowlyn
  • Christina
  • Jessi
  • Emily
  • Luci
  • Kyla
  • Ella
  • Scruton
  • Joey
  • Heaven
  • Dayton
  • Bailey
  • Amyre
  • Gerald
  • Gericho
  • Geremiah
  • Delena
  • Luis
  • Stephanie
  • Braelyn
  • Raven
  • Dylan
  • Corbin
  • Chris
  • Hannah
  • Matthew
  • Hannah
  • Bryndon
  • Holland
  • Alaina
  • Szabo Kids
  • Southwood Elementary Students
  • Pinewood Elementary School Students
  • Wheatley Elementary School Students
  • Cornerstone Charter Academy Students
  • Pine Castle Christian Academy Students
  • Ignite Youth Students
  • WAVE Students
  • Lee Middle School Students
  • Brevard School

Teachers:

  • Angel
  • Jay
  • Calvin
  • Mrs. Ellis
  • Jennifer
  • Hickman
  • Martin
  • Laurie
  • Southwood Elementary Teachers
  • Palm Bay Christian Preschool Teachers
  • Pine Castle Christian Academy Teachers
  • All Central Florida Teachers

Depression warning signs and understanding what to do about it

A special report from Dwight Bain

 

The Associated Press reported for decades that Oscar-winning actor Robin Williams struggled with clinical depression. He had won every award, had achieved fame, fortune and the status of a global celebrity. Yet, in interviews he described his life as a “meaningless struggle.” Fame will not make you feel better, and drugs or alcohol only numb the pain. He had trouble getting out of bed and was hospitalized or placed in treatment centers multiple times. But it didn’t change the outcome. Why? How come a talented man with so much to live for wasn’t able to reinvent his life to move past depression and what can we learn from his tragic death to help the people you care about?

 

I believe if you can talk through it – you can get through it, so talking about the subject of depression may lead thousands of others to take time out to evaluate their own lives, or the lives of those they care about. Depression affects children, teens, adults and seniors. The following special report and depression warning symptoms check lists can help you better understand depression, what often causes it and what to do about it. Remember, if you are experiencing overwhelming symptoms of depression that you will need to see a licensed medical or psychological professional for assistance because depression doesn’t get better by itself – but left untreated it can get much worse and often lead to a premature death.

 

UNDERSTANDING DEPRESSION

 

Depression is more than sadness or having a ‘bad day.’ It is a long-lasting, often recurring illness as real and disabling as heart disease or arthritis, Adults who experience clinical depression may feel an oppressive sense of sadness, fatigue, and guilt. Performing on the job may be difficult … going out with friends may be unthinkable … merely getting out of bed may be impossible.  The person who has depression feels increasingly isolated from family and colleagues – helpless, worthless, and lost. This is why it is so important to reach out to be there for those you care about struggling with depression. Your presence can make all the difference.

 

Depression is a very common emotional condition.  In varying degrees of severity, it affects 6-10% of all U.S. adults, more than ten million people in any given six month period, according to the American Psychiatric Association.  At least one in five Americans will experience a major depressive episode during their lifetime, with women twice as likely to develop depression as men and remember that children and teens can also be at risk for depression.  Listen to the words of author Don Baker as he describes his own journey through depression.

 

It is impossible for those that have never been depressed to fully understand the deep, perplexing pain that depression causes.  For four years I appeared healthy, without bandages and without crutches.  There were no visible scars, no bleeding, and yet there was the endless, indefinable pain that no doctor’s probing fingers could locate- no drug could totally relieve. There was always the pain and along with it the desire for oblivion- that would only come in restless snatches of restless sleep.  I seemed to be out of touch with reality.  Life was a blur, often out of focus.  My life seemed to be nothing but pretense and fantasy.  No one really cared, I felt-not even God.  The only solution-at times-seemed to be suicide.  To be told that Christians never get depressed only pushed me deeper into my black hole of depression.  The way out of that black hole was a long and painful process- one that required the sensitive and insightful counsel of a friend… friends can help you through it, and God can use it to enhance and enrich your life.   -Don Baker, from the book, “Depression”

 

 

HOW DO YOU KNOW IF A PERSON HAS DEPRESSION? 

 

If you or a person you know has exhibited four or more of the following symptoms for more than two weeks, professional help should be considered:

 

  •      Sleeping too much or too little
  •      Frequent wakening in the middle of the night
  •      Eating too much or too little
  •      Inability to function at work or school
  •      Headaches, digestive disorders, nausea, pain with no medical              basis
  •      Excessive crying
  •      Thoughts of death or suicide
  •      Lack of energy, constant fatigue
  •      Slowed thinking
  •      Difficulty in concentrating, remembering, making decisions
  •      Loss of interest in daily activities
  •      Loss of sex drive
  •      Persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety, hopelessness
  •      Restlessness, agitation, irritability
  •      Feelings of inappropriate guilt or worthlessness

 

 

WHAT CAUSES DEPRESSION?

 

We know that depression results from an interaction of several factors – environmental, biological, and genetic.

 

Environmental Factors.  Stress resulting from the loss of a job, death of a family member, divorce, or ongoing health or family problems can trigger depression.

 

Biological Factors.  Depression may also be tied to disturbances in the biochemicals that regulate mood and activity. These biochemicals, called neurotransmitters, are substances that carry impulses or messages between nerve cells in the brain. An imbalance in the amount or activity of neurotransmitters can cause major disruptions in thought, emotion and behavior. Some people develop depression as a reaction to other biological factors such as chronic pain, medications, hypothyroidism or other medical illnesses.

 

Genetic Factors.  Because depression appears to be linked to certain biological factors, people can inherit a predisposition to develop depression.  In fact, 25 percent of those people with depression have a relative with some form of this illness.

 

WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?

 

Doctors know more about depression than perhaps any other emotional illness.  Because of research and medical advancements, 80 to 90 percent of those with a depressive disorder can be treated successfully.

 

Evaluation.  A complete evaluation with a qualified professional is the first step in seeking treatment.  Only a licensed physician or psychologist can diagnose a person with a psychiatric disorder.  During the diagnostic evaluation, the physician or psychologist will determine if any other factors are contributing to or even causing the depressive symptoms.

 

Professional counseling.  Various psychotherapies, cognitive behavioral therapy or “talk therapies” commonly used in the treatment of depression focus on the causes and effects of the illness.  Interpersonal therapy helps people deal with problems in personal relationships.  Cognitive therapy helps patients change negative thoughts or perceptions, such as high achievers who are convinced they are failures.

 

A DEPRESSION CHECKLIST FOR YOU AND YOUR LOVED ONES

 

The purpose of this checklist is to help you assess patterns of depression. There are no good or bad answers — only honest ones. Please answer Yes or No to each question as it applies to you.

 

_____ 1.       Do you feel sad or “empty” much of the time?

_____ 2.       Do you find yourself becoming irritable and quick tempered?

_____ 3.       Have you lost interest in ordinary activities?

_____ 4.       Do you find it hard to get out of bed in the morning?

_____ 5.       Do you tire easily?

_____ 6.       Is it becoming increasingly difficult to focus or concentrate?

_____ 7.       Have you gained or lost weight recently?

_____ 8.       Do you find yourself crying frequently or more easily?

_____ 9.       Do you feel anxious or tearful much of the time?

_____10.      Are you having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or waking up                                            early in the morning?

_____11.      Do you feel guilty or overly responsible for others?

_____12.      Is your attitude more negative than it used to be?

_____13.      Are you overly critical of yourself or do you find yourself lacking?

_____14.      Do you feel taken for granted by family, friends, or other                                                         relationships?

_____15.      Are you increasingly impatient with your children?

_____16.      Does your work day stretch on endlessly?

_____17.      Do you have thoughts about dying or death?

_____18.      Have you started drinking or using drugs to dull your pain or have                                           previous habits worsened?

_____19.      Do you sometimes feel that other people are criticizing or talking                                             about you?

_____20.      Do you find yourself experiencing headaches? Stomach aches?

Muscle pain?  Chronic aches and pains?

_____21.      Have you tried to hurt yourself or put yourself in dangerous                                                     situations?

_____22.      Is there a past history of depression for you or another family                                                           member?

_____23.      Do you find it hard to make decisions about everyday matters?

_____24.      Are you pulling away from family and friends and spending much of

your time alone?

_____25.      Have you lost interest in your sexual relationship?

 

If you found yourself answering “yes” to more than a few of these questions, it may be time to reach out for help. Remember- Depression doesn’t go away by itself or get better if left alone – it only gets worse. Please don’t let the people you care about suffer with depression alone – be there for them.

 

WHO IS AT RISK FOR DEPRESSION?

 

  •      People who have a family member with depression
  •      People who have experienced a stressful or traumatic life event
  •      People who lack the social support of a spouse, friends, and                extended family
  •      People who abuse drugs and alcohol
  •      People who have chronic medical illnesses or persistent pain

 

IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE DEPRESSION …

 

  •      Remember, your depression is not your fault and it can be                   effectively treated.

 

  •      Seek treatment.  Don’t let misconceptions about emotional illness or the      discouragement of your depression stop you.  Either on your own, or by      asking a friend or family member, contact your family doctor, community      mental health center, or local medical or psychiatric hospital for help.

 

  •      In the weeks until treatment becomes effective, you can take some      simple           steps to help you deal with life on a day-to-day basis:  Break large tasks         into small steps; set easily managed priorities; participate in light exercise      and relatively undemanding social activities, such as attending a movie or visiting a friend.  Simply being with others can be helpful.

 

IF SOMEONE YOU CARE ABOUT HAS DEPRESSON…

 

  •      Encourage treatment.  Remember that the symptoms of depression may      prevent a person from trying to get help. Your           personal physician, mental     health center, or local psychiatric hospital will be able to help you find a      treatment specialist.

 

  •      Adjust your expectations and offer support, understanding, and

 

  •      Demonstrate that you know the person is in pain.

 

  •      When the person says or does something upsetting because of the      depression, try to put your reaction into calm, reasonable words.  This will      help the person understand how his or her conduct affects others, and      help you better cope with a trying situation.

 

SIGNS OF DEPRESSION

 

How do you know it someone is depressed?

 

  • Appearance – sad face, slow movements, unkempt look
  • Unhappy Feelings – feeling sad, hopeless, discouraged or listless
  • Negative Thoughts – “I’m a failure!” “I’m no good!” “No one cares about me”
  • Reduced Activity – “I just sit around and mope” “Doing anything is just too much of an effort”
  • People Problems – “I don’t want anybody to see me” “I feel so lonely”
  • Guilt and Low Self-esteem – “It’s all my fault” “I should be punished”
  • Physical Problems – sleeping problems, weight loss or gain, decreased sexual interest or headaches

Suicidal Thoughts or Wishes – “I’d be better off dead!” “I wonder if it hurts to die”

 

If the warning signs and symptoms of depression sound like you or someone you care about, it may be time to reach out for some professional help. Call a hotline, speak to a pastor, chaplain or counselor. Don’t go through depression alone.

 

THERE IS HOPE IN LEARNING MORE

 

Reach out for help … because the more you learn about depression, the better you will understand that it has specific causes and effective treatments.  And like any illness, depression can affect anyone at any time.

 

By reaching out for information you can recognize the signs and symptoms of depression.  That knowledge may someday allow you to help someone get the treatment he or she needs to live a healthy and fulfilling life.

 

 

Behavioral Strategies to overcome Depression

 

  • Make a short “To Do” list of activities you can succeed at today
  • Think of ways you can improve your health
  • Ask for what you want – you might get it!
  • If your health allows, run, jog, walk or swim with a friend
  • Help someone else who is less fortunate
  • Make play a high priority – remember “Laughter is the best medicine”
  • Reach out and touch someone else.  Join a ball club or a homemaker club.                  Reach out to someone who is lonely.  Give away a dozen friendly smiles.
  • List the ways you belittle yourself
  • List the ways you can let go of your depression
  • Answer these questions: Do I really want to change?  What benefits do I get for being depressed?  What does it do for me?  What payoffs would I get if I let go of my depression?  If I was not depressed what would I be doing?
  • Ask yourself, “What do I need that I am not getting?”  Often the basis for our feeling depressed is the fact that we do not like ourselves.  And what we need to do is start liking ourselves.  Find one thing you like about yourself and think about it.  If you have trouble with that think about the fact that you are still alive.  You have come this far in life. You are still here.  You have a purpose in life – and as you find it you will find greater meaning and strength – so keep walking toward the kind of life you want to have and don’t stop.
  • Get busy doing things you enjoy, like being with a friend
  • Make a “stroke” file.  It is almost certain that at some time in your life people said they liked something about you.  Jot down that positive stroke on a scrap of paper and put it in a box or file.  Add any letters or cards from people who let you know they appreciate you. You can add to your collection at any time.  Then, when you feel down, look in your stroke file and let yourself enjoy the compliments you have received from others.
  • Make a list of things you like about yourself.  Think about and enjoy your positive assets and accomplishments.
  • Pamper yourself. Give yourself some pamper time.
  • Take a soothing hot bath for 30 minutes while listening to your favorite music.
  • Take a leisurely walk.
  • Lie down under a tree and experience your oneness with nature.
  • Have a cup of hot tea.
  • Bake some cookies.
  • Go for a walk with a pet or friend.

 

And remember to pray for guidance. You are not alone in battling depression. God will be there for you if you call out to him. Thanks for reading and remember to share this important information with others. Thank you.